Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Lord, I was born a travelin'--er--woman

I buy quite a bit of sock yarn. Maybe more than quite a bit. Certainly more than necessary, as I managed to complete, what?, one pair of socks last year? But there's just something about sock yarn. The variety of colors. The texture of the fiber. The tight twist. Something. So, like I said, I buy quite a bit of sock yarn. And now, I've finally figured out what I'm going to do with it all:

Pattern: Traveling Woman by Liz Abinante
Yarn: Sundara sock yarn in Beaded Turquoise (1 skein)

Shawls in fingering weight. Brilliant. I absolutely loved this project from start to finish. Even as I got to the last rows and they seemed endless, I still loved it. I haven't had much luck with lace weight shawls or stoles (I have a half-finished Print o' the Wave stole hibernating in my WIP basket that hasn't been too terribly troublesome so far, just sloooooooow), but this sock yarn dealy worked out quite well. After blocking, it's still quite light and floaty, but it was much faster to get through, and the yarn much easier to work with. Plus, one skein is just the perfect amount to complete a shawl large enough to drape over the shoulders, but not so large it couldn't double as a scarf.

What I could really use is some practice pinning out lace. Tricky. The patterned part turned out fine, but the supposedly-straight part across the top is a bit wonky. I'll just have to try again. Soon.
And the pattern itself--great. Not a single problem, easy to follow, and it comes with charted and written instructions, so chart-phobes won't miss out. I did 3 repeats of the Chart A, and I'm glad I did, or I would've come out with a lot of useless, leftover yarn.
I did manage to flub up the bind off--dropped a stitch somewhere along the way, and discovered it while I was pinning the durn thing out--but I patched it up ok, I don't think anyone would notice (it's the first point to the right of the center point, in case you want to check!)
A few outtake photos of me attempting to take photos of myself in the shawl, stupidly wearing a tshirt almost the same color. Must get a gorillapod!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Flock it to me . . .

In case you hadn't heard, everyone's favorite clumsy knitter has opened her very own online yarn shop!

(I stole this graphic from her site, I hope she doesn't mind!)

Even the logo is adorable. But wait, there's more! She's selling O-Wool, Malabrigo, the Fibre Company and a few other lines, as well as needles, books and more. She's got one of those "orders over $75 ship free "deals going on that we all know get us every time, and a fun-sounding rewards program. So check her out! I placed an order over the weekend, I can't wait to see my lovely yarns.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

in which horror is imminent

I almost forgot to tell you guys that a most terrible, horrible thing will be happening to me this year--horrible and unavoidable. For alas, this is the year I turn . . .












Yep, the big 3-0. Sigh. I've got about 9 more months of being in my 20s, and then, it's all over.

They say 30 is the new 20. I sure hope so. If the fact that I'm still asked with somewhat alarming frequency if I'm an intern is any indication, at least I don't look to be 29-speeding-toward-30. Not that there's anything wrong with looking 30 . . .

Oh hey, I did some knitting too:

This is the Traveling Woman shawl, and since I never finished my Print o' the Wave Stole, if this project is completed it will be my first shawl. Of course, this one is done in fingering weight, not lace weight, which makes things quite a bit easier and faster. I'm using one of the gorgeous skeins of Sundara sock yarn from the Sante Fe collection I subscribed to last year. So far, I must say I love it--lovely color and lovely feel.

I've also started an Every Way Wrap in everyone's favorite, Malabrigo worsted. So far so good, but it's just ribbing for the first 30 rows. I did manage to mess it up once already, though--not paying attention to the stitch guide, I just jumped in for the k2p2 rib, then glanced back and saw that I was supposed to start and end with a k3. Sigh.

And in conclusion, guess what I picked up this week? A lovely skein of Sanguine Gryphon Bugga sock yarn. I don't know what all the hype's about, but I'm about to find out.

Friday, January 8, 2010

in which i try not to make promises i can't keep

So, now that a new year has started, it's time for knitting resolutions, it seems. More sweaters! More socks! 50 FOs! Finish my WIPs!

I'm going to try to challenge myself while not setting myself up for failure, so here are my somewhat realistic goals:

3 adult sweaters (probably Owls, Something Red and Vine Yoke Cardigan, but we'll see)
2 pairs of socks FOR ME, which can include finishing the 2 pair I have on the needles
something stranded or doubleknit
steek something for practice

I'd also like to try to be more careful with my yarn selections this year, and accept the fact that some yarns just aren't going to work in some patterns. For example, my Wheat Ear Cable Yoke sweater turned out ok, but the yarn is just too heavy and rustic for such a delicate series of cables. That said, I think the Queensland Kathmandu tweed I used for my Tangled Yoke Cardigan was actually a good choice.

So, off we go. I've got a couple projects on the needles already, let's see where 2010 takes us!

Monday, January 4, 2010

in which i broke no bones . . .

Somewhere along the way I got the crazy idea in my head that I should try to learn to ski. Nevermind that I HATE being cold, wet and windblown. Ignoring the fact that my current hobby is expensive enough (curse you yarn! Wait, I didn't mean it . . . ), and I need an even more expensive hobby like I need a hole in my head. And regardless of the fact that, despite the recent blizzard that dropped about 2 feet of snow on the Baltimore/Washington metro area, it actually doesn't snow all that much around here anymore, meaning I have to trek almost to another state to find any of that powdery white stuff so essential for skiing. My friends have been popping off on lovely ski trips since I met the lot of them 15 (gulp) years ago, and they made it sound fun. Plus I'm determined to fight my usual January and February blahs--and if I could find something amusing to do in cold weather, maybe that would help.

So, I spent this last weekend up in the mountains of western Maryland, where there is plenty of snow. It snowed every day I was there, in fact, about 6 or 8 fresh inches after all was said and done. For reasons unknown to me, I decided to spend the first day, the day where it was about 28 degrees with a calm wind, relaxing about my cozy log cabin. The second day was the day I picked to learn to ski. The day when the high was 12. TWELVE. And the wind chill was 1. ONE DEGREE. This was obviously the ideal day for skiing.

Who on earth came up with this so-called sport? Just getting the ski boots on and off was enough of a challenge, not to mention walking in them. While carrying skiis. And poles. And wearing enough garments to clothe a small island nation. I could barely move.

Then came the time for actual skiing. I took a lesson with a man named Jon who kept yelling at me for doing things I honestly wasn't doing ON PURPOSE. I mean, if you tell me eleventy squillion times not to cross my skiis, chances are that if my skiis do cross, I didn't intend for them to do so.

I was also scolded for my inability to jam my left foot down hard enough on the ski so that the little kickstand would pop up and the ski would adhere to my foot. Sorry, I can't magically gain 20 pounds or develop larger leg muscles . . .

But after an hour slipping around on a slight incline with Jon, I managed to master slowly drifting downhill, twisting slightly to the right and left, and coming to a stop more or less where I intended. I could no longer feel my face. My contact lenses were actually freezing in my eye. I was exhausted. Jon recommended not even going up on the lift because it was so windy on the top of the mountain--gusts about 50mph. But that was ok with me--I just wanted to go home.

Skiing. I tried. I didn't fail. But I didn't have much fun either.

What I did accomplish over the weekend:

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know this is Jared Flood's Koolhaas. Knit in some Patons angora bamboo I received in a swap, it's super soft, snuggly warm and my first FO for 2010.