Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Comfort and Joy

I have been a bad blogger of late.  It turns out that working full time eats up a lot of free time.  My job is very busy, so I have no spare day time to blog. This is complicated by the fact that I've been doing holiday knitting recently.  So much of knitting can't even be shared right now.

But tonight I did a little something for myself.  I wound up 2 skeins of Lorna's Laces Greenline Worsted in Ysolda Red. I plan for these to become a hat and mittens.  The colorway is a bright, bright red.  This little phone photo (my camera is dead of course) doesn't even come close to portraying the glorious, almost  neon, red of this colorway.  But I have Christmas carols stuck in my head and this colorway makes me feel cheery so I had to share anyway.

Hopefully, my camera batteries will charge quickly and then I can share a better in progress shot soon.  I hope everyone else if enjoying the holiday season and finding their own little bits of joy.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Yikes it's been so long since I've updated.  Working seriously cuts into my blogging and internet time but I've still been enjoying lots of fiber related goodness.  Like I went to Rhinebeck for the first time, and it was awesome!  I only did a day trip on Sunday and can now understand why people go for the weekend.  There is so much going on that I just couldn't get to everything.  I walked around all the vendors and animals but I missed out on the events since I was so busy fondling yarn and fiber.

I did get lots of goodies.  The one I'm most excited about is my new Bosworth spindle made of Tasamanian Rose Myrtle.  It weighs 26 grams and spins beautifully.  In the picture its wearing some baby camel fiber, another Rhinebeck goodie.

I also went to the Stitches yesterday.  I didn't sign up for any classes since they filled up so quickly but I wandered around the market place for awhile.  I loved the Miss Babs booth and simply could not resist getting some of their lovely spinning fiber.  I picked a wool, bamboo, and silk blend in their 'Up up and away' colorway.

And tomorrow marks the beginning of Knit a Sweater Month! Rather than start a new project I'm pledging to finish my current sweater project before November is over.  I have a pretty serious head start so maybe I'll actually succeed.  Below are the fronts of the Minimalist Cardigan from the Fall 2007 IK.  They're coming along nicely and the back is already done.

I'm using Berocco Ultra Alpaca.  What is truly amazing is that I bought this yarn to make this sweater probably two years ago.  How often does a knitter buy yarn for a project, get distracted by other things for a long ass time, and then actually use the yarn for the intended project?  This is a first for me at least.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Perfect Morning

There is no better way to spend a chilly October morning then sipping a hot cup of coffee and reading about yarn.  Well, maybe it'd be a tinsy bit better if I was actually knitting but this is great too.  I'm enjoying one of my last days of unemployment by reading Clara Parkes The Knitter's Book of Yarn.  

The Knitter's Book of Yarn: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing, Using, and Enjoying Yarn

I picked this up from the library recently since I've heard so many great things about Clara Parkes books (btw the Hartford library has a surprisingly decent collection of knitting books).  I've read the first two chapters and have to agree that is book is pack full of useful and interesting information.  Clara Parkes clearly knows her stuff.  For each fiber she discusses its properties, what sort of projects it's good for, and advice for what to look for in yarn.  There is also lots of great information about some smaller yarn companies and farms.

As a beginner spinner I find the fiber information incredibly useful because she discusses things like how much twist a particular fiber needs.  Angora, for example, needs lots of twist to keep its short downy fibers together.  And apparently many commercial yarns skimp on the twist to save money which is part of why angora yarns shed so much.

This book makes me desperately want to fondle yarn so I have to break every now and then to wind yarn into cakes for a new project and to ply some singles I finished last week.  This is a corri cross from Fiber Story in play room.  I spun the singles on my Spindlewood mini and am using my Kundert to ply.

So far I'm pretty impress with myself.  The singles are much more consistent than my last yarn.  I fumbled a bit with the plying at first but I've settled into a grove now and its progressing nicely.  The finished yarn will be fingerweight-ish and I have a lot of it.  Four ounces apparently makes a lot of fingering weight yarn.  But it'll be perfect for a lace scarf or shawl.  

Also since this yarn is almost done, I won't feel guilty about buying more fiber Sunday at Rhinebeck.  Total win!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Project Round Up

OhSewCrafty recently posted that rather than making a Rhinebeck sweater she's challenging herself to finish WIPs she has laying around.  Recently, I've been really tempted to start Audrey in Unst with some beautiful alpaca yarn my brother got me from Peru.  But I've been inspired by my fellow blogger to instead focus on finishing some of my projects before I start a new one.

First up, I have an FO! I finished sewing down the cowl and weaving in the ends of my Somewhat Cowl last night.  Its currently drying on my bed, yay!

I'm also contuneing to knit away on the Earl Grey Socks.  The first one is done, and I started the second yesterday.  I'm already 3 inches or so into it since I only worked on it during knitting group last night.

I even dug out a project that had been hiding in the stash bin for quiet sometime.  These are Bella's Mittens by Subliminal Rabbit.  Yes I know, they're from the Twilight movies, and yes I did like the Twilight books, and yes that does makes me either a huge dork or a 15 year old girl.  What of it?  These mittens are going to super cozy and cute and perfect for my walk to work this winter.  I just dug them out last after knitting but I've completed another dozen rounds so they shouldn't take too long.

Also I just want to say how happy I am with the response to the jojo cowl.  Its already been faved 99 times and queued 25.  Thanks everyone, I'm glad that people like it!

Monday, October 4, 2010

jojo cowl

Almost two years ago my mom gave me a single skein of Knitpicks Imagination.  I liked the colors but had no idea what to do with a single skein of fingering weight yarn.  It sat around for a long time while I waited for inspiration.  Then finally it came to me, a cute little cowl to help keep the chill away.  

I pulled out the stitch dictionary, experimented, and I eventually settled on a stretchy slanted rib, which also makes it easy to loop around twice for days when you need a little snuggle. 

I really like the way this simple stitch helps break up the colors and creates a rainbow zigzag on mine.  It also looks great on the wrong side.

Its so simple and quick that I decided I'd share.  It only took me a couple nights to complete so its a great way to use up small skeins of fingering weight yarn.  With the holidays coming up it's make a great little gift too.

1 skein Knitpicks Imagination in Gingerbread House
size 4 16" or 24" inch circular needle

Cast on 160 stitches

Row 1: Knit all

Row 2: yo, K2tog to end

Repeat Row 2 until piece measures about 7 inches.  

Knit one row.
Loosely bind off, block if you want, and enjoy!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Pipes in the Valley!

Today was Hartford's 9th Annual Pipes in the Valley, their Celtic music festival.  Despite the heat it was so much fun.  There was all sorts of cool stuff there.

Like Highland cows, which are the cutest cows ever.  Their long coats are adorable but with the temperature hitting 90 today I felt pretty bad for them.

There was an itty bitty owl from a bird rescue place.  I forget the name, but these little guys are native to Connecticut, how cute!

Robbie bought me pretty new earrings

There was music.  That's the Red Hot Chili Pipers accompanied by local pipers.  It was definitely cool hearing covers of rock songs with bag pipes.

Of course, I knit during the show.  I brought my latest sock project along.  My friend Katie won VIP tickets so we got to hang out in the 'VIP Garden' and drink free Ten Penny Ale, yum!

Ah, there's nothing like ice cold beer and knitting on a hot day.  Now its time to cool down and hope I didn't get sunburned.

Monday, September 20, 2010

One of Those Days

Ever have one of those days that just starts out with things going wrong?

This morning I opened the fridge for my usual morning orange juice.  While shuffling things around to get to my oj, a jar of pickled eggplant antipasto fell and the plastic cap snapped.  Pickled eggplant splattered all over the fridge and kitchen floor.  Then I almost broke a wine glass while loading it into the dishwasher.  Not a promising start to the day.

I'm changing plans for the day.  If I start cutting out the pattern for a new skirt or peeling sweet potatoes for dinner I'll probably just cut my finger off.  Instead, I'm going to make a cup of tea and work on this pretty little thing.

This is my first  Earl Grey sock by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee in brown Cherry Tree Hill Supersock.  I started these on Friday and I'm already on the 3rd repeat of the cable pattern.  I usually find guy socks to be very slow.  All that plain stockinette or rib just seems to take forever, but these socks feel like they're  going quickly. The little cable panels keeps things interesting, and the stockinette makes this a fast knit.

Now hopefully I'll manage not to break anything else before my much needed yoga class tonight.  Maybe I should put my tea in a metal mug just to be safe.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

FO: Orange you Wicked?

Robert commented recently that I seem to be in a finishing mood with my projects.  Maybe its having finished law school and the bar but he's right.  For whatever reason I feel compelled to wind up knitting projects that have been lingering around.

One example is my new Wicked, which I choose to model staring majestically out my window because well my I just look tired or my eyes are closed in all the photos where you can see my face...

Hmm, I really need to work on self protraits.  But I just discovered the timer function on my camera and I consider this an improvement over past efforts.  Here's another shot that shows the color more accurately:

I started this one last fall because 1) I felt this lovely orange malabrigo deserved better than sitting in the huge plastic tub of yarn in my closet and 2) my apartment was getting chilly and a new cozy sweater sounded perfect.  I made good progress at first but then it languished when I became distracted by Christmas knitting.

Its little different from my pink wicked.  I love my pink wicked but with its wide neck that doesn't like to stay on both shoulders it seems rather 80s-tastic to me.  I avoided that this time by going down a needle size, and the tighter gauge did just the trick. The neck stays where it should, though does threaten to show off my bra straps.  I also decided to not do the twisted rib pattern.  This is mostly because I didn't really want two sweaters that were the same, but also because it annoys me that the numbers in the pattern don't match up at the bottom.  This results in the twisted rib pattern not coming out quite right unless you have the foresight to count your stitches and adjust them accordingly.  I was feeling much too lazy for even this little bit of extra counting and math so I just did plain 2x2 rib instead. I also did short sleeves since I had only three skeins of yarn.  I could have made the sleeves a little longer since I still have a half ball left, but I'm happy with the sleeves so I decided not to bother.

Overall, I'm very pleased.  Its finally getting cool enough for me to wear this now. This is a great addition to my sweater wardrobe for days when its a little chilly but I don't need a full sweater.  Plus it's so bright that not even the horrible Hartford drivers can miss me.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

yoga and knitting

It's yoga month!  This probably doesn't mean much to a lot of people.  I've been doing yoga pretty regularly for about a year now.  In celebration of my yoga-versy and yoga month I've put together a list of poses that I think are great for knitters or really anyone who spends lots of time sitting.  These are all pretty simple poses, if you do yoga you've probably seen them before.  For those of you don't do yoga, give some of these poses a try.  I think you'll be pleasantly surprised how much better they can make you feel.

Note:  Just to be clear I'm not a yoga instructor.  I've included links yo yogajournal.com to show how the poses should be done, but the best way to learn how to properly do a pose is to attend a class.  Also don't do anything to hurt yourself.  I'm certainly not as stretchy as the yoga journal models, and don't expect yourself to be, just do what feels comfortable for you.  Of course, enjoy!

Bound Angle/Cobbler's Pose- Feeling a little stiff in your hips and pelvis?  I love this pose because it helps stretch out these areas after a long day of sitting.  One of my favorite things to do is lay down while in this pose to let my hips gently relax.

Standing Forward Bend- I love how this pose stretches the back.  It's also very refreshing since it helps send fresh rush of blood to your head.  I do this pose all the time, whenever I feel I could use a little refreshment.

Modified Half Moon- This is great for stretching your side and arms, but I could only find the description for a more difficult version.  Here's what I recommend you do: Stand or sit up straight.  Raise your hands above your head and gently clasp your right wrist with your left hand.  Lean your upper body to the left.  You should feel a stretch in your right side.  Hold for a few breathes.  Straighten you upper body, and then repeat for the other side.

Cat to Cow Stretch- Inhale into cow pose and exhale into cat pose.  The combination of these two poses gently flexes your spine and opens your chest.

If you'd like to learn more yoga poses and get some suggested routines I'd suggest you look at Essential Yoga.  It's a great book with very clear descriptions of poses and the benefits of each.  If you're interested in DVDs check out Yoga for Beginners for some great intro level routines.  Barbarba Benagh gives clear descriptions of each pose and how to move into it, which is great for anyone starting out.  Shiva Rea's Flow Yoga for Beginners is also good for anyone who knows some basics but is still looking for beginner level stuff.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010


That is the view from my bedroom in my pretty new apartment.  I could do without the creepy brick building in the foreground but I do like that we can see the capital through the trees.  And well, the apartment is beautiful so I'll deal with the creepy building next door.

I've been so busy settling into the new place that my knitting has been suffering.  I have no new FOs but I have been making some progress.  First up, my somewhat cowl:

It has a sleeve- it almost has two.  Soon I'll be working on the neckline and then it'll be done.  I tired it on after finishing the body and I'm much happier with the fit.  Reknitting is always painful but worth it.  As long as I don't slack off I'll pretty new sweater for the fall.

Second, I have a cardigan going for my sister.  This is my first bottom up sweater and I have about 6 inches of the body done.

It has been sadly neglected because during the move it got stuffed in a bag and then I forgot about it.  But I dug it out today for pictures and hopefully having it within view again will help motivate me to work on it.  I promised my poor sister this sweater years ago so I really need to stop procrastinating on it.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Happy Birthday Mom!

Remember that mysterious wordless Wednesday post back in June?  Well, it has been given to its new owner and I can finally share what it was.

A shawl for my wonderful mom who just had her birthday this week.  I made it using my handspun merino and Cascade EcoWool.  My mom admired this roving when we bought it at  the Connecticut Sheep and Wool Festival.  She liked the bright and cheerful colors.  So I decided that she would have to be the recipient of whatever I made with it.

Having so little yarn I knew I had to combine it with another yarn to make anything substantial.  Looking around, I was inspired by Emilee's Handspun Showcase Shawl to make one for my mother. The simpleness of the pattern also made it perfect bar knitting, and I was quickly able to finish it.

It's still much too hot to need a wool shawl right now, but my mom loved it and I was pleased as punch that she liked it.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Crochet- The Solution of Many Problems

Shortly after the bar exam Robert and I went to Cape Cod for a week.  It was wonderful.  We slept in, grilled, rode a sea doo, swam, watched movies, and spent lazy days doing nothing at all.  But I poorly planned my knitting for this trip.  In my post-bar haze I brought only two projects, both of which soon needed a change in needle size and forgot to bring extra needles.

As soon as I realized my mistake I tired to think of new projects with cheap supplies so that I buy everything at the nearest craft store if the need arose.  Crochet creeped into mind.  Plastic hooks and cotton are plentiful at all craft store.  I looked at patterns, queued potholders on Ravelry, and thought about whether Joann's or AC Moore was closer.  I was ready if the unthinkable should occur.

My worrying was unfounded.  I had to go home for two days mid week and grabbed the required needles then.  But it was too late- I wanted to crochet.  I packed my hooks and bought three balls of Sugar n' Cream- in white, ecru, and natural twist.  I told myself this did not count as stash because I was using it right away and I could even give away the final project.

It had been a while since I had crocheted- almost a year actually.  I had to look up how to do the stitches and had a few false starts.  But for the remainder of our vacation I had no fear of running out of projects.

The square ones are the Topflappen by Eva W. and the round one is the Spiral Hotpad from Carol's Crochet.  Crochet goes so quickly that I had two of these done before we even returned home.  I even have enough yarn left to make another one or two.

I consider them a success- they are simple, quick, and look nice.  I've decided that all those people who I feel deserve a Christmas present but I never know what to give will be receiving crochet potholders this year. Yet another problem solved with crochet.  I wish all life problem's has such delightfully simple and enjoyable solutions.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Packin Up

In just over a week Robert and I will be moving to a pretty new apartment across the street from his new office.  We're both really excited about the new place, and are so ready to move out. (Seriously, can you just give me the keys already?!)

Since he's already working I've put myself in charge of packing.  Part of this mission that I tackled earlier this week was consolidating my knitting/spinning/sewing stuff.  I did not exactly succeed, and I tired really hard.  I even threw stuff out, like this tangled mess of unidentifiable yarns.

But it wasn't enough for my plan to work.  Thoughts like, 'What if I need that half skein of cotton fleece someday?' and 'This mysterious gray yarn is really soft, I'm sure I can use it for something' started to fill my head, and it was just too much for me to overcome my hoarding instincts.

I was hoping I'd be able to fit all the above mentioned supplies into these 3 plastics bins, except of course for my sewing machine.  Instead, its all yarn except for the little bit of spinning stuff I managed to squeeze in there.  I'll just have to figure out something else for the fabric and other supplies.

So there you have it my stash, bigger than some and smaller than others. And it's coming with me regardless of how much closet space it takes up.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Catch Up FO: Pink Braid Socks

I have been so busy the past few weeks that I completely forgot to post a project I finished it earlier this summer.

These are the Braided Gem Socks from Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarn in Dream in Color Smooshy Petal Showers.  I really like Dream in Color Smooshy because well its so smooshy.  Also the first pair of socks I made with it have held up very well.  They are a year or two old, are worn constantly when its cooler out, but show very few signs of wear.  So I have faith that these socks will also last me a nice long time.

This was my first pattern from Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarn, and I really liked both the book and the pattern.  The books has a bunch of really great patterns and good advice for matching handpainted yarn and patterns.  The pattern itself was easy, fun, didn't have any mistakes I noticed, and compliments the yarn very nicely.  It was interesting but simple knitting.

What in particular is so special about these socks?  Well they are pair number nine, but more importantly they were made completely with gifts.  The yarn was a birthday gift from my sister, the book and the needles were gifts from my brother.  Thanks guys!  My family are total enablers when it comes to my knitting, and I love it.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

This week's edition: Things I can do now that the bar exam is over...

(Corriedale Cross in Play Room from Fiber Story on my Spindlewood mini)

(Potholder in Lily Sugar'n Cream)

Read for Fun
(What can I say, I love Jane Austen)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Eye Candy Friday- Swatch It Edition

I'm not really a big fan of swatching.  I usually avoid it as much as I can. I don't swatch for socks or most small projects.  But for sweaters I feel it is a necessity.  Its especially important here since I'm planning to cast on for a sweater without a pattern.

I actually kind of enjoyed making this swatch.  I learned that I should go down a needles size from what I was planning.  I want this to be a pretty warm fabric, suitable for say walking a dog in chilly Autumn weather.  I think the slightly denser fabric from the size 7s is better for my purposes here.

I also tired out a few different rib variations in an effort to duplicate a ribbing I like from a store bought sweater.  I had fun playing but I just don't think this yarn has enough stitch definition to make anyone appreciate the differences between brioche rib, fisherman's rib, and a few variations I made up at the tipy top.  They all look pretty much the same in this yarn, and not really any better than plain old rib.  I was intrigued by the slipped rib near the bottom so I cast on another swatch to continue to play with it.

I wanted a more pronounced rib so I experimented with it some more. On the right is the 'right side' and on the left my 'wrong side.'  I like the left one better since it looks neater than the right side and the other ribs I tried.  It also creates a thick squishy fabric. As I was working I realized that this is basically just a plain old slip stitch rib.  How wonderfully simple is that?  I don't know why I didn't think of it when I was working on the first swatch.  Its not exactly the same as what I originally had in mind, but I like the look of it in this yarn and its close enough.  I'd really like to make this in a variegated yarn now as those always look so nice in slip stitch patterns.  But we're moving to a new apartment in a few weeks so I really, really should not buy any more yarn since that just means more stuff to move.  I just have to keep reminding myself that I'm suppose to be using up stash with this project not acquiring more yarn.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Almost there!

This picture captures what I've been up to recently pretty well: bar review, reknitting the somewhat cowl, and dreaming up a new project for that brown yarn.  Come Thursday I'll be done with the bar and can toss those green books in the trash (or return them to get my deposit back and use it for wool).  Actually I'm ready to toss them now as I don't think I could possibly learn any more law at this point.  The bar exam starts tomorrow and the only appropriate thing to do at this point is get a nice dinner with my beau, head to bed early, and hope for easy questions.

Good luck to my fellow bar examinees out there!

Friday, June 25, 2010


I remember reading through Stitch n' Bitch way back in college when I first got a copy.  Somewhere in there Debbie Stoller explained the origin of term 'frogging' for ripping back.  My mind must be going because I can't remember if she said its because somehow the noise of ripping back a project resembles the noise frogs make or that 'rip it' and 'ribbit' sound similar.  It must be the latter.  I've heard plenty of frogs and they do not sound at all like the sad little noise of ripping out knitting.  Frogs are actually quite loud, especially when its summer and you're trying to sleep in a house that's next to a marsh.

Regardless of the origin of the term, I am currently faced with having to do some frogging myself.  Below is my Somewhat Cowl, which has been keeping me company while I listen to bar review lectures.

While I working on it, I started to think it was coming out a touch too big, and that perhaps my gauge had changed when I switched to knitting in the round.  Turns out I was right.  I decided to wash the incomplete body to check on everything and my gauge is looser on the lower half of the sweater.  I tired on the sweater and, as I expected, in the back there's a loose flab of fabric.  Sometimes, its hard being right.  

Of course, this issue was possibly made worse by my inability to count.  I added a couple stitches because I thought I needed to have the right number for the ribbing.  Turns out I was wrong about that the number.  I fudged the ribbing a bit since I was feeling lazy.

Now I could ignore the extra fold of fabric.  Its not so bad as to be unwearable. Actually most people probably wouldn't even notice it.  But I still have a few more weeks of bar lectures and if you're going to knit a sweater you might as well do it right.  So my poor little somewhat cowl shall be partially frogged.  

But at least I have pretty socks that are going well to knit on the beach this weekend.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Spindling away

I've been continuing on my journey into spinning and I've managed to finish two yarn within the past few weeks.

First up is the fawn coopworth wool I bought at the Connecticut Sheep and Wool Festival, which became this pretty little yarn.

Between these two skeins I have about 95 yards.  The weight overall is probably worested, but it gets kind of bulky in some spots and dk-ish in others.  It's pretty and rustic and I'm quite pleased.  It's also the first yarn I made with my Kundert Spindle.  Having a better spindle made a huge difference for me, and is at least part of the reason why this yarn came out nicer than the black Shetland.

My current plan is to knit this up as a hat, probably Buttonhead from Knitty.  I have some faux leather buttons that I think will work well with the rustic nature of my yarn, and of course look really cute.

I also made my first foray into colorful rovings with another Sheep and Wool Festival purchase,

I like the barber pole look of many hand spun yarns, and wanted to achieve a similar look with this yarn.  I though this would look nice since the roving had such bright cheerful colors.  To do this I split the roving in half lengthwise and started spinning each half from opposite ends, with my Kundert again.  While the same color did meet at certain point I did get my barber pole at others.

From this yarn it also became apparent to me that setting the twist really can make a huge difference.  I got Maggie Casey's book Start Spinning for my birthday and followed her directions for setting the twist with this yarn.  I don't have a before picture, but I think the yarn looks so much nicer now.  Here's a closer view:

Overall, I'm happy and I really like it.  My spinning is more even in the these yarn and I was able to spin thinner.  I ended up with about 85 yards of yarn that is probably DK to Worested in thickness, but have no idea what I'll use it for.