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Archive for March, 2009

Cookin’ with Gas

Last night’s knitting group was wildly successful.  I finished all the chart work for my Ice Queen and even started thinking about working the picot edging before I pooped out.  All of us were nursing ourselves back from crummy days with a little knitting fix.  After a few hours knitting, we all were much happier . . . and the caramel brownie did not hurt either!

I got myself all tangled up in the instructions for the picot edging, but I am not panicking — I think I was just too tired last night and I’m going to spend a little research time on Knitty before I get myself into a total snit.  I am excited about a project started on Saturday and finished within the week, so I’m going to try and get a bit more done today and tomorrow.  I would love to put this thing in the mail soon!  I have to admit, I would also love to make one for myself too.

How to keep my knitting mojo going?  More audiobooks!  I’ve been bouncing around between more serious stuff and “beach reading” like Phillipa Gregory and John Grisham.  But I’m having trouble finding good suggestions for serious stuff.  At the moment my main complaint is about book reviews.  I’ve sniffed through NY Times book reviews for the past few years and found some treasures.  But today, when I was looking for other credible sources for book reviews . . . nada.  How could this be?  Does no one read anymore?  Is it possible that the NY Times is the only publication that deals in literature?

Come on blog buddies . . . what am I missing?

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There is nothing like hot pink mohair to kick the knitting doldrums.

About a month ago my mother in law asked me to make her the Ice Queen pattern from Knitty.  Since she loves bright colors I’ve been on the lookout for a jaw-dropping ball of Rowan Kidsilk Haze.  Even though we are on a spending freeze (basically a self-imposed moratorium on any non-essential spending) The Baron got to buy a few essential pinball related toys.  I decided that one ball of yarn would not kill us, especially since I have been in such knitting gloom recently.  And I am knitting for his mother!

I popped into Unwind the weekend before last and there on the shelf, a full 50 cents cheaper than any other ball of Kidsilk Haze, was one single bright-hot pink fluffball.  I just could not hold myself back.  I grabbed some matching beads and picked up a teeny tiny (size 11, 1.1 mm) crochet hook from Joanne’s.  Finally, after looking at the yarn and feeling fussy for a whole week, I cast on over the weekend and just raced through the project.  It didn’t hurt that I met up with Miss V on Saturday for a literati marathon.

I haven’t worked feather and fan lace before and I was a bit surprised by how easy it was to memorize.  The resulting fabric is delicate and airy but also feels warm.  I just cannot get over how filmy and beautiful the lace looks, especially in such a kick-ass color.

I absolutely love love love the end result and I cannot wait for knitting group tonight.  Right now my big decision is whether or not I should include beading along the top and bottom edges or just along the bottom.  Will beads on the top weight down the lace too much and make it fall like a souffle?  I am also wondering how long I have to wait to pick up another ball to make one for myself 🙂

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Usually I find that my knitting moves pretty directly from point A to point B: I plan a project, get my yarn and tools together, cast on and go.  When I am working on a giant project I tend to work smaller projects in around the edges, but never more than one or two at a time.

Now though, I feel like I’ve got far too much going on knitting-wise, and not too much of it moving toward a fruitful conclusion.

– Sheep Yoke Baby Cardigan:

I started this little colorwork project by trying out Fair Isle.  I was less than thrilled with the slightly lumpy result, but rather than rip it out I just cast on for a second cardigan and worked the sheep with intarsia.  I’m happier with the intarsia cardigan but there are still so many ends to work in!  I’ve been trying to darn in ends while I have my Literati Knitters to distract me, but so far it has been slow going.  I then decided (don’t ask me why) to work the sleeve in the round rather than flat.  I guess I was thinking fewer ends to weave in, but . . . I always think magic loop is such a great concept and then I remember what a pain it is!

So now I have two partially finished cardigans and a ton of ends . . . not very satisfying at all.

Add to that the fact that the baby I’m knitting for is a boy (a fact that I learned after starting the sweater) and I really want to knit something more manly for him.  Maybe a sweater and hat with stripes.  I don’t know.  I’m just not very pleased with my baby-gift progress.  And did I mention that I’m sick of weaving in ends?

– Druid Mittens:

I love and loathe these mittens.  Gauge totally deserted me since the cable pattern of the mittens shrinks the fabric up so much.  I knit 3/4 of the mitten body of BOTH mittens (again, don’t ask — I was trying to keep each section consistant by knitting the two mittens sort of at the same time) on size 0 needles before deciding that they were just WAY too small for a grown up person.  Again, rather than rip I just ordered new yarn and was back on my way.

A side note: Woodland Woolworks rocks.  They sent me one odd ball from a different dye lot than the other balls I’d ordered and when I called they immediately got the correct yarn in the mail to me along with a return envelope for the odd ball.  Of course, me being me, I put the odd ball somewhere special so that I’d be sure to remember to mail it back . . . and I have not seen it since.  Go me!

So not wanting to repeat the gauge issues I’d had with the first pair of mittens, I made two cuffs and then worked about two inches of each mitten using two different needle sizes.  I finally picked the one I liked best and ripped the other back to the cuff.  At this point I have 4 totally unfinished mittens and I’m wild to get these little suckers done, especially since they are going to end up in San Francisco where the summers are notoriously cold, but I am not too hopeful.  It feels like they will be on my needles until eternity.

– Baby Booties:

A friend has asked me to knit a pair of booties for her, something that she could give to a new baby arriving in her family.  Although it’s not normally something I’d volunteer for, Miss V and I have been plotting to create some bootie patterns so this request seemed like good motivation.  My job is to come up with the bootie form on which to build cute little bootie animals.  So far, I am not doing so hot.  I’ve given a few ideas a good test knit, but so far I am not loving anything and I’m a bit frustrated with myself.  On one hand I am trying to build a better mousetrap, but on the other . . . reinventing the wheel.  And now I’m writing entirely in cliche.

– Ice Queen:

My mother-in-law specifically requested a smoke ring.  This weekend I found a really intensely hot pink ball of Rowan Kidsilk Haze, some pretty matching seed beads, and a size 11 crochet hook small enough to fit through the beads.  I am dying to chuck all of the above and just bite into some meaty, colorful lace.

Poor me . . . frustrated with my knitting.  There are worse problems a person could have, but there you go.  Today I am a very fussy knitter.

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