Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Oy vey, Christmas is almost here

Christmas is less than a week away and I am looking forward to two glorious weeks away from work. I think those were my exact words in looking forward to a week off at Thanksgiving. We will be spending the official holiday in Minneapolis and then heading to Wisconsin for a few days - during which time we will be celebrating my husband's birthday. It is a big one, but I won't disclose it out of respect for his advanced years.

My mom-in-law just is recovering from getting her spleen removed. For an organ with such a low profile (what the hell is if for?), it sounds like it was connected to every other organ she has. So, she's laying low recuperating. Probably seeing some Andy Griffith, maybe a little Elimi-date. We'll see if we can get some candids at Christmas. I am sure she'll be back to her socks before you know it. Here's the offending organ:

For those of you who know me, I had to use this sketch drawing of a spleen because I can't look at the real deal. Sue's a trooper though - I am sure she'll be ready for the holiday cheer and ready to put this whole thing behind her by the time we get there. She's just taught her sis how to knit socks. I need to get everyone to use their digi cams so I can blogs their projects.

The Hollyberry Lace Leaf Scarf:

This is turning out beautifully. I can't wait to see it blocked because it is a little floppy at the moment. This is my first experiment with lace and I have unknit as many rows as I have knit. I keep getting one extra stitch and then I am unknitting. This requires some concentration.

The pressure is off of finishing this before Christmas because it just won't be done, so why try? To quote Homer Simpson, "kids, you tried your best and failed miserably. The lesson is 'never try'." A finished product will come together over the holidays. I have to finish this scarf, a pair of socks, and get some plans together for the Gaffer's Gansey. I can't believe I nearly forgot....that gorgeous quilt in the background was made Mr. Knits a Living's grandma (aka Granny). This is just one example of her beautiful quilting.

And then I fell in love with this yarn:

To make some fingerless mitts:

These are "Dashing: from Knitty:

I am going to use Berroco Ultra Alpaca in color 6280. I hate it when colors are numbers. There are so many people thinking up names for lipstick, nail polish, paint....why can't all yarn have names of the colors?

I am waiting for pictures to be sent to me from my folks so I can blog our Sunday b-day bash. I wonder if they feel guilty for not following through on a commitment they made to me.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A Study in Scarlet

I named this sweater A Study in Scarlet named after a Sherlock Holmes book published in 1887. It is the first book by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to feature Sherlock Holmes. I think I will read that next.

I nearly finished this sweater last year, but finally did the last bits recently. This is an Elizabeth Zimmerman EPS sweater done in Nature Spun worsted weight in the color Scarlet. This pattern was developed from the Opinionated Knitter. I love how I can make my own patterns. The cuffs and bottom hem are in a knit/purl pattern and the collar is in a k2p2 rib. I also put in bottom hem in gray. I wore it today for the first time - to work - and zowie, was I warm. My mittens are felted with Scarlet trim - just a coincidence, but I am very color coordinated this day. Featured lipstick to coordinate: Earth Red.

Here are close ups:

This was great fun to make. This was the first pattern I made with the EPS system, I liked the tidiness of drafting the underarms together, experimenting the hem and patterns for cuffs and collar was fun, and the fit turned out just how I wanted it.

And lastly, here's a snap of Minnesota winters. You can see the very beginning of snow on the ground in the background. This was Thanksgiving morning and the pic above is not even two weeks later - 5 degrees and 10 inches of snow with more to come.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Knitting hangover

Have you ever had a knitting hangover? It isn't pretty. I was up until 2 am working on my sock from Knitting Vintage Socks and watching a TV series Kidnapped. I got the DVD from the library and became immediately addicted. Well, this is the aftermath on the next day.

I had been hoping to get my yarn from Knit Picks on Saturday to get started on the Gaffer's Gansey for my dad-in-law during the first Minnesota snow storm. We got about six inches and no new yarn. It did finally arrive today - during our second snow storm, and we're scheduled to have two more by Saturday. Yikes - it is going to be a long and snowy winter. I had a 90 minutes commute home from work - to travel 4 miles. I could have walked home faster. Have I mentioned that I hate taking the bus? But when I got home, I had more problems. The yarn...not good, as we say in Minnesota.

The color for the Gaffer's Gansey is probably too bright for a man. I will have to wait to see the verdict from the recipient.

And my clumsiness with rolling up a hank of lace weight? Also, not good...

But my new project is off to a great start. I am making the Lace Leaf Scarf from the Holiday 2006 issue of Knit Simple out of Andean silk from Knit Picks in Hollyberry. I was going to knit it with the lace weight (seen in the mess above) but I am too mad at that yarn at the moment to include it with this project. After dismissing the lace weight Alpaca Cloud from Knit Picks, I thought I might include the Misti Alpaca in the scarf (seen below). But you will see I am sticking with one yarn - and regular knitting needles to boot. Very old school! This will be a gift for a good colleague at work - someone who has been very generous with her time and support.

In closing, I feel compelled to share with you that Wiley (the cat knitting on Thanksgiving) has developed a large ego after seeing himself on the web. Tobey, his brother, feels he is a much better model and better behaved. I can't say I agree with the better behaved part, but he is a charmer...

The camera adds a few pounds, right?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Back from Thanksgiving

Just a couple quick pics from Thanksgiving. It was a great week spending time with family and relaxing.

Here's my mom-in-law mastering the kitchener stitch:

Here are her finished socks:

Here's Wiley knitting:

Here's me on Thanksgiving morning - Mark and I had a nice long walk in preparation for all the calories later in the day. This is my first color knitting, first dpn project, and first hat - all in one. I made this a couple years ago.

There are many other Thanksgiving pics that are posted on Flickr. This should be a good month. My father-in-law has requested the "Gaffer's Gansey" sweater from Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitting workshop.

What a great choice he made - I have had my eye on this pattern for awhile now. We ordered Wool of the Andes from Knit Picks and I am anxious to see that wool. This oughta keep me off the streets during the month of December when I can't stand going near any store for any reason. I will keep y'all abreast of my progress - (especiallly you Steve!)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Moldova, Malaysia, and Manitowoc….oh my!

I am amazed that in the first days of having a blog, I got comments from knitters in Malaysia, Moldova, and Manitowoc. Thanks to Rain from Malaysia, Nadia from Moldova, and Mary from Manitowoc!

It is getting cold in Minneapolis now and we're just making the real turn from fall into winter. The only good thing about this cooler weather is that I get to start wearing more of my woolie projects. Here is my favorite pair of mittens:

And here's the back:

Project: Norwegian folks mittens from Folk Mittens by Marcia Lewandowski

Yarn: Brown Sheep worsted weight

Needles: I think they were 3s

I finished these mittens last winter, but just recently added a liner with sport weight wool. They are significantly warmer now and the wind doesn't blow through them much. The only thing I don't like about wool mittens like this is that they are slippery on the bus. I don't need to be falling down on the bus while trying to clutch the posts. I am still not adjusted to the bus again. I rode a scooter to work until just recently and loved the 10 minute commute. It takes me 45-60 minutes and two buses to travel 4 miles to work. I know others who knit on the bus, but I have two rather short bus rides and it is difficult to get going on anything. I could walk there in 70 minutes.

Here's my scooter:

I wish I was still riding it - it is cs cool. And I get to park right next to the building I work in on a big University campus. I have the best parking in the warmer months. Until then, I have probably five more months on the stinkin' bus.

Ok, back to knitting....the pair of Norwegian mittens was a learning experience to get good with color knitting and mittens in general. I had just learned to knit and my father-in-law ordered Folk Knitting in Estonia by Nancy Bush for me. It just arrived in the mail not long after the Christmas when I learned to knit. Very cool. This book was too advanced for me and I - size 0 needles for crying out loud! I didn't think I'd ever get there. I think though that my next project will be from that book though. My socks from Vintage Socks are on 0's and I am ready!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Vintage Socks in Fall Leaves

Most of the leaves have fallen off and the yard needs one more good cleaning before the snow flies. But until that time, the leaves have made a nice backdrop for my most recent project.

Yarn: Trekking XXL
Needles - size 0 circulars
Pattern: Little Child's Socks from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks

I really love the color of the yarn and these might be the best socks I have made yet. The gauge and tension is really nice on the size 0's. The pattern is (so far) easily adapted from dpns to circulars. I don't read the entire pattern frequently enough. I usually just jump in and figure that I can figure it out on the way. I haven't had enough bad experiences with that method to change my approach.

Thanksgiving is just a few days away and I am looking forward to one entire glorious week away from work. The husband and I have Wednesday all to ourselves at home. Thursday will be with my family for all the traditional fixins. My mom makes an amazing Thanksgiving spread and we always have the same menu- or we all have a collective meltdown if we don't see our favorite dishes being served. (The cranberry/walnut salad had better be there!)

Then off to my husband's family for five days. I hope the weather's gorgeous and safe. We will be driving to the lovely Kettle Moraine area of Wisconsin. I imagine we will eat good food, drink good beer, maybe play some games, get in a few good brisk walks (or maybe even a hike), I will supervise the kitchener stitch on Sue's (my mother-in-law) socks, and maybe finish the above socks. Have good Thanksgivings!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

First Fair Isle Sweater

I finished this project at the end of last winter - with only enough cool weather to wear this once before spring sprung. This was knit with Nature Spun sport wool on size 4 circulars. The size was developed using EPS. I also made up French cuffs for this. This is nearly identical to the cream version in yesterday's post without the steeking and the buttons.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Camera obscura

Hey, the camera's not so tough! I took pictures of many of my projects this evening. The photos are alright, but I want to work on getting more accurate color. I thought I'd start by showing some of my earlier projects and work up to my latest and most favorite project to date. But it turns out that my most recently finished project had the best photos. So, here she is.....the Elizabeth Zimmerman fair isle yolk EPS sweater. I am going to post this on Zimmermaniacs and see what others think. It was a first for several things - my first crocheted steeks, my first buttonholes, an i-cord around the entire thing....all in all this took about 8 weeks and I think it is lovely. I wore it to work once - with jeans - and got a couple of compliments. Next stp.....more attractive/creative photos. Until next time....

My first post!

This is my first post and I have just created this blog tonight. This will no doubt go through several changes until I am satisfied with the look. I have decided to post a pic from one of my favorite vacations with my husband to learn how to do this. It is beautiful Lake Superior.

Now, I need to learn to use my digital camera and can't wait to start getting some good pics of my FOs. I will have pictures of socks and sweaters that I have done over the past couple of years. I started knitting three years ago now and it feels like yesterday! My third project after two scarfs was a three color, fair isle hat, knit on dpns. It was off to the races after that.