Thursday, March 29, 2007

there is something sublimely satisfying about entrelac. it has something to do with the lack of yo's, cables, or thinking of any kind. when you think about it, it's essentially just stockinette in more than one direction. there's no counting, there's no pattern following (well, at least not if you're just knitting until you run out of yarn). it's not a challenge. it's mindless sit-in-front-of-the-tv or on-the-bus-commute knitting.

normally, what i enjoy the most about knitting is the learning process. i love to teach myself new techniques. i love to learn it and then try to understand exactly what it does to the knitting.
but since i enjoy this learning/growing/challenge, it is a seriously nice change of pace to go back to the easy stuff every now and again. the nicest thing about entrelac is that it doesn't LOOK easy. non-Knitters (including the i-can-knit-a-garter-stitch-scarf knitters with a small "k") look at it and think, "wow, that looks hard". pshhh. don't tell any of the non-Knitters the secret, please.

i finally picked up a copy today of the Spring Interweave Knits and Vogue Knitting. they are, in my opinion, the two best knitting magazines around. i'm interested to see what Eunny does with Interweave. it's created a lot of buzz on the blogosphere, i know. Yes, Eunny is young. But, frankly, she could knit circles around knitters twice or three times her age. And, well... I'm young. I think that Eunny has a sense of style that is no so out-there-trendy as to lack appeal to older crowds, yet still fresh and interesting to me as a 20-something knitter.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

I finally finished the triangular part of my shawl from Folk Shawls and my lace knitting class. I'm working up the gumption to pick up the stitches for the edging...

I also think that entrelac is going to save the blue and peach yarn... hard to say for sure since I'm only a row or so into it, but I feel optimistic :-) It is kind of fun and stripey, but not as boring as knitting something straight-up stockinette.

In other news, I cast on for a super-secret project. Knitters might recognize it, but I won't link to the pattern since the recipient is an occasional reader of this blog (I think). Anyway, I love love love the yarn, but am a bit perplexed with the gauge. I'm not a particularly tight or loose knitter. I often need to adjust by one needle size to get gauge, but usually nothing drastic. By all rights, this yarn should have been an exact sustitute for the yarn used in the pattern (in weight, yardage, and fiber content). Needles called for by pattern: US size 7. Needles I have to use to get gauge: US size 10.5! Wow, I'm glad I swatched!

This past weekend, I drove up to PA and listened to the stash & burn podcasts on my way (thanks, Pia, for introducing me to them!) They motivated me to resolve to stop buying yarn at least until Maryland Sheep & Wool.

And then the very next morning I got an email about a HUGE sale at the Knit Happens online store - everything was 55% off! Take a moment to let the gravity of that statement set in. FIFTY-FIVE PERCENT OFF EVERYTHING. Geezus, that's a good deal. We're talking about Cascade 220 for like $3. Cashmerino for less than $4.
So, um, my resolve faded, and then completely disappeared as I frantically put a boatload of yarn in my shopping basket (least it be grabbed up by others while I was deciding)... and then I just bought the whole damn lot of it.
So, apparently while the rest of you are knitting from your stashes, I'm doing my damndest to keep the LYSs and online retailers in business....

Monday, March 19, 2007

one more shot of the fugliness, for good measure:

so now what am i going to do with all of this??? suggestions are welcome. i might try some entrelac (after the scarf episode, can you believe i even just typed that?) or it might be making the trip in to the "long term" stash...

this is the other yarn i picked up for a super-secret future project! It's Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport, and... well, let's just say i can't stop touching it:

Also, let's all just take a moment to recognize that Janet is an idiot because she did not ask the lovely store with the lovely umbrella swift and ball winder where she spends unspeakable amounts of money to wind her skeins because they seemed "busy" during the anniversary sale (where she was spending unspeakable amounts of money...) so now Janet has an unspeakable number of unwound skeins of sport weight yarn.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Saint Patricks Day means two things: Guiness and the Anniversary Sale at Knit Happens. I celebrated fully with Guiness yesterday, and I stopped by the sale this morning (okay, okay... so by "morning" i mean 1pm). I bought... well, more than I planned, as usual.

My most random purchase, by far, was this handpainted merino. It is a muted orange and blue, which those who know me will understand is a color combo that is close to my heart. In the skein, it's lovely. I liked it so much that i cast on immediately on the metro ride home for a swatch. In stockinette, the yarn was practically self-striping.

I decided to try it in a pattern from Scarf Style, using a pattern made for painted yarn called "Misty Garden" by Jo Sharp. It is lovely yarn, and a lovely pattern. However, it is clear that the two do not combine to make a lovely scarf.

Nevermind the pooling on each side of the scarf - I realize I could probably solve this issue if I alternated skeins. What I find more troublesome is that the middle portion (which is pooling-free) is... well, it's the ugliest thing I have ever knit in my life.

Now I remember why I never buy painted yarn. It looks SO lovely, but is such a challenge to make not look like crap in a knitted object. A little color variation is different - a few shades of blue that flow together is less complicated to deal with; but orange and blue? ugh. in the end, i don't want a scarf that looks like puke (come on, i know you were thinking it too).

Sunday, March 11, 2007

I'm back from Spring Break (VEGAS, BABY!), and have boatloads of work to do, so I'm going to have to make this as brief as possible...

Guess what FINALLY arrived last Monday (just in time to go on break with me)? My very first ever Rockin' Sock Club shipment!!

Before heading to Sin City, I stopped home in Ligonier, PA to see my folks. While there, I popped into the LYS, Kathy's Kreations to pick up some needles. The owner, Kathy Zimmerman, very generously agreed to sign her pattern in Lace Style and pose for a picture with me! (As a side note, should you ever find yourself in Western PA, be sure to stop in and see Kathy. Her store is as lovely as she is!)

I knit on the plane on the way down (on my TSA approved bamboo circs, of course) and made quite a bit of progress on the shawl. I'm hoping to finish the main triangle before class this Thursday. Right now I'm on row 113 (out of 172):

Friday, March 02, 2007

this is kind of random, but i have decided to de-lurk on all of the knitting blogs that i obsess over. i feel a bit sheepish (tee-hee... SHEEPish. okay. i know. i'm lame.) about the fact that I literally check these blogs daily hoping for an update, but almost never ever say anthing.

also, i am kind of sad that i don't have any online knitting friends, which i recognize is my own fault for not putting myself out there. so, here i am world! please like me.

(this is me, de-lurking... and wearing Fetching, which I actually did the finishing on in the same day that I finished the knitting... which may be the first time that has ever happened. A glass of red wine makes finishing go faster, me-thinks)

ugh, I ate too much chocolate today and now I'm cranky. Also I'm cranky because I got 29 rows into my lace shawl and then made some weird mistake that I couldn't figure out and ended up frogging the whole thing in frustration.

I did, however, finally finish something:
Sam's fingerless gloves, which, you may recall I finished knitting a couple weeks ago, and then just carried around in my bag pretending that the ends were going to weave themselves in, and now officially finished.

They look pretty good on my hands, don't you think? they feel devine, too. too bad it was like 65 degrees out today...

I needed a quick, portable knit, and I happened to have an extra skein of Cashmerino.... so I cast on yesterday morning and by this afternoon I present: Fetching!

I took a bit of a chance... I had only 1 skein + a few yards leftover from the scarf I made for my friend. The pattern calls for one skein, but notes that some people have needed extra. Since I bought the yarn in Pennsylvania and the dye lot was "5" I didn't have a lot of hope of getting more yarn and just thought I'd have to fudge it at the end if need be.

I made it on less than one skein without modifying the pattern at all... but man, it was close!
This is the leftovers (with sheep measuring tape for context):

I hope that I actually wear them. I'm not entirely convinced that I'm cool enough to pull off fingerless mitts. But they are pretty and soft and I can use my iPod while wearing them... so I'm willing to give it a whirl.

I made a purchase on Wednesday which has already changed my knitting life. After the one millionth time of digging through my bags o' stash hunting for needles, I reached my limit and bought:

Needle cases!
The larger one is Lantern Moon and is for my straight needles. The smaller is Elizabeth Austen and is for my circular needles (which I never imagined could actually be stored in an organized fashion). I love them both; they make me happy. Happy and organized!

Last night I took my very first ever knitting class. As a "self-taught" knitter, I was a little bit skeptical about the whole "class" thing, but after falling madly in love with lace knitting and deciding that there might not be enough online knitting videos in the world that could teach me how to fix that missed yarn over, I decided to take a class at Knit Happens by Michael Del Vecchio.
It was so fun! For starters, I was happy to find that not only am I not the most remedial knitter in the class... indeed, I might actually be the star student (as the only one who has ever done lace before). Anyway, before my head explodes, it is good to note that I'm not exactly a lace-knitting genius (um, which is why I'm in the class, right?)

In the class, we're making a shawl from Folk Shawls

Here are my swatches from class:

Not perfect, but not too shabby...

And here is the shawl that I worked on today... before I messed up and frogged it...

The nicest thing about taking a class is... you have HOMEWORK of the KNITTING VARIETY! I can't feel bad about doing homework, now can I?