Tuesday, February 24, 2009

New Arrivals

The tightlywound household has been a tad bit chaotic lately, thanks to some new arrivals.

First of all, in mid-January -- TD and I "arrived" home. To a house. That we own. (Well, us and the bank.)

The move itself was less than spectacular, and we took every bit of the two weeks of "extra" time to get all of our crap out of the apartment, but we managed (without killing each other -- score 1 for our future). The house is in the same neighborhood where we were renting, and I couldn't be more pleased with the location. Both TD and I hate the 'burbs with a passion (largely because the idea of having to get into my car for EVERYTHING makes me want to weep), so I am glad that we were able to find something that we could afford in a prime in-city location.

We started settling in, and I started itching for another new arrival.

Less than a week of searching on petfinder.com, and we were approved to be the new forever home of this little golden retriever pup. We re-named him Ward (as in Hines). He is the cutest little guy in the world, particularly when he thinks he might get a treat.

I am a dog person, while TD is a cat person. Our plan had always been to get a puppy and a kitten relatively close in time so that they could grow up together. Well, when we went to pick Ward up from the shelter, there was a crate full of kittens in the entry. You can see where this is going, I'm sure.

We took home this little guy, too. His name is Woodley, and he is the sweetest, most people-friendly kitten I have ever seen.

As if that is not enough new arrivals -- our friends gave birth to a beautiful baby girl on Valentine's day.

I thought that this new addition needed some handknits to help welcome her into the world. (Also, isn't this a knitting blog?) Luckily, I had a plane ride to and from Panama, and plenty of sock yarn scraps. She's also getting the previously-made BSJ (that matches the booties on the right), which I am sewing buttons on today (pictures to come).

Friday, February 06, 2009

So Starts My Love Affair With Colorwork

Isn't she beautiful?

Pattern: Selbu Modern
Yarn: Malabrigo Sock, in colorway names that I have forgotten, purchased at Natural Stitches
Needles: US size 3

I should have gone up 1 or 2 more needle sizes because she's smaller than I would have liked. You can see that the colorwork is slightly distorted because it is stretched so much to block. I loved knitting it, though, and was actually impressed at how even my stitching is for a first-timer. The "guts" -- which I forgot to photograph -- actually look quite neat, too.

I love the kettle dyed Malabrigo for this project. The orange is nearly-solid, while the purple has a good deal of shade variation, which you can see in the "flash" photograph below.

She's pictured here during the blocking process (on a plate). It was so small that for a minute I thought it wasn't even going to stretch over the plate. Thankfully, with a lot of effort, I squeezed her on.
If I'm feeling brave later, I'll take some pictures of it on. I can't decide if it looks completely ridiculous or not. It's too short to cover my ears, though, so it definitely is not a below-freezing kind of hat.

This was my first time using Malabrigo sock, as well, at it lived up to all of my expectations. It really is as beautiful as the worsted weight Malabrigo. The twist is relatively tight and the yarn feels squishy. It is a pleasure to work with, and I see many projects in my future. Well done, Tobias!

Friday, January 30, 2009

cold weather, and cold weather knitting

First of all, I'd like to congratulate Miss Tightly Wound (or, as I will henceforth refer to her, Mrs. TD elect) on her recent engagement and homeownership. I will take a teeny tiny bit of credit for helping pick out the ring (in fairness, he did most of the work, but I'm homeless, jobless, and single, so give me a break).

The good thing about a mid-winter move back north is that now I can actually WEAR my handknits. AND due to the aforementioned joblessness (but really, anyone need a moderately skilled, just out of grad school social worker?), I've been knitting up a storm. The other good thing about the move north is actually being able to go into a yarn store and touch things, not to mention talk to real, live knitters. Nothing makes me smile more then going into Kathy's Kreations in Ligonier and having Kathy Zimmerman tell me how lovely my Clapotis is.

Here's the not-so-short list of my recent cold weather inspired knits.

Pattern: Shifting Sands Scarf
Yarn: 2 skeins Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Continental Blue
mods: cast on 42 instead of 52 stitches

This was my first project with Malabrigo, and I'm totally smitten. Also - I followed the instructions linked from the pattern site to teach myself to cable without a cable needle. I think I've already forgotten how, but at least I know I'm capable of it now!

Pattern: Koolhaas
Yarn: Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Continental Blue

Despite the apparent difference in color, my Koolhaas was made with the same yarn as my Shifting Sands (there is no natural light in western PA these days, my friends, and my camera sucks...I'll try to do better, I swear).

I am especially sorry to not have a better picture of my lovely Druid mittens. Not only that, but I've completely forgotten what this yarn is. This pattern is, without doubt, slightly beyond my skill level. My mittens have several mistakes in them that I didn't notice immediately. Luckily, the mistakes are relatively unnoticeable to non-knitters. Better pictures will be forthcoming when I take some.

I have a few more things on the needles (they're repeats of my sisters projects...every time I see her and she's wearing one of her knits I think to myself, "I want that"). Upcoming: cozy cabled mittens and roman earflap hat.

Monday, December 22, 2008

I said yes

(wouldn't you?)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Quick and Dirty Update

Well, it has been a long time since you've heard from me. I know, it's shameful. I've been busy with work, house hunting, house buying (!!!), traveling to weddings, and life in general. Enough excuses, though! I'm glad that my sister has been able to pick up the slack and keep the blog afloat during my absense!

Speaking of my sister, Ms. Loosely Knit is deserving of some SERIOUS congratulations. She received her M.S.W. this weekend, and I could not be more proud!!!

(image shamelessly stolen from facebook, because I wasn't able to be there to take it myself)

What's that, you say? Oh, knitting!! Right-o. I plum forgot; this is a knitting blog.

Despite my prolonged absense from the blogosphere, I have not stopped knitting. In fact, I have been quite the busy knitter. I'll show you 2 FOs today that have been done for awhile and are fully integrated into the wearable knits rotation, and then maybe in 6 months I'll show you my current WIPs (just kidding -- I'll try to make it a LITTLE sooner than that)!

Amazingly, I actually have finished PAIRS of socks! Good thing, too, because the winter weather is certainly here, and wool on my feet makes me a happy girl!

Pattern: Madder Rib Socks, from Knitting Vintage Socks
Yarn: Socks That Rock lightweight, Pebble Beach (I love you STR, I really do)
Needles: US size 2 (and maybe US 1s for the heels and toes, although I really don't remember)
Modifications: Short-row heel (my first) -- quick, easy, and good for the varigated yarn to prevent pooling.

Pattern: Embossed Leaves from Favorite Socks
Yarn: J.Knits Miami colorway
Needles: US 2s, US 1s for heels and toes
Mods: Not a single darn one -- this pattern is perfect as is!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Curse

During my past few trips north, I spent quite a bit of time with an old friend. After seeing my knitting, he asked that I knit him a scarf. I basically never say no to these requests, I like knitting for other people. So after getting back to the Florida heat, I dug out some Debbie Bliss Cashmerino (my favorite yarn for knitting for boys) from the stash and got to knitting. I managed to get the whole way through the scarf before having second thoughts.

Men's Cashmere scarf from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts
Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky colorway 17032, charcoal

I'm not usually a superstitious person, but for some reason I can't manage to make myself send this scarf. I'll admit, this is far from being a sweater for a boyfriend, but just how far does the curse extend? Perhaps it's better to not knit for a potential new boy, some of you may remember the entralec scarf disaster of my sister's past (if not I suggest catching yourself up here). Although in my defense this does scarf did not take weeks of 8 hour knitting marathon days, nor did it have a hundred ends to weave in, I fear I may have actually learned nothing from my sister. We'll see if this thing actually gets sent or if it just sits in my apartment gathering dust.

In other news, I finished my friend Jedi's (her real name, no joke) hat. She had been asking for a hat for awhile, but I had some trouble deciding on a pattern that wouldn't be ludicrous for Florida. I decided on the ZigZag beanie from the Fall 2008 Interweave Knits. I sort of love the way it turned out, and may eventually make one of these for myself. The mohair is just light enough to be feasible for be wearing on the "cold" days in Florida.

GGH Soft Kid colorway 63, light blue

Up next: hats and scarves for myself, not just other people. In about a month, I'll have more free time than I've ever wanted, so perhaps there are some sweaters in my future (I just won't have any money to buy yarn).

Friday, October 03, 2008

When things start to go to crap in my life, I knit. And boy have I been knitting. There's nothing like the sound of knitting needles clacking to bring me back to sanity (and, as a bonus, to irritate my now ex-boyfriend).

I'd been meaning to make Clapotis for quite some time, but hadn't been able to justify shelling out the dough for the Lorna's Laces Lion & Lamb colorway I'd fallen in love with (I'm a poor grad student, good yarn is definitely a luxury around these parts). Luckily, major life restructuring was just the excuse I needed. I know every knitter and their brother (sister, friend, mom, etc.) already has a Clapotis, so I'm sure I don't need to tell you that by about half way through I was ready to give up on the k, k, k, kbl. I persevered, though, and I now officially have a new favorite knitted item.

Unfortunately, the lighting in my apartment is sort of crap, so the pictures don't do the colors in this justice (the colorway is 308 Huron).

In keeping with the theme of monotonous knitting, I decided to make a baby blanket for an expecting friend. She and her fiance decided they didn't want to know the sex of the baby, so I decided on a neutral yellow for the blanket. I do all of my yarn purchasing online (due to the lack of a decent LYS in my area), and I was moderately terrified when the yarn showed up. Seriously, the skein reminded me a little of baby puke. I decided to start knitting, anyway, and I actually think it looks lovely now.

Pattern: Big Bad Baby Blanket from Stitch 'N Bitch, knit on size 9 needles with Koigu Painter's Palette Premium Merino held double throughout (I recognize it's a little ridiculous to knit baby things with hand-wash only yarn, but doesn't every new mom deserve one ridiculous hand knit?)

The recipient of this blanket was born Oct. 2, and she basically makes me want to knit baby things until my fingers bleed. I mean really, look at that face.

Mia Jean

Coming up: lots of cold weather knitting for my inevitable post-grad move back north.