Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Lot's of WIP's

I've been hit by that cold that seems to be going around everywhere but thanks to some mean sinus medication my head is working at the moment. So what have I been working on?
The Koigu Pomatomus fingerless mitts are being renamed Mermaid gloves. They are my first pair of gloves and I was a little scared as I couldn't find a pattern using dpn's and thin yarn, but in the end I think I got the concept and now I'm halfway on the thumb gusset. This pattern is so beautiful, it's hard to put the needles down. The project had stalled a bit because one of my dpn's broke, and though the socks are knit with four, I prefer five needles. In the mean time, I've been working up my Rowan Cork. It's reached its final incarnation, Kathy, from the Rowan Cork Collection.
I think Barbara Walker was getting to me with her talk about listening to what the yarn tells you. I really had my own ideas what this yarn was supposed to be, first, self-designed stockinette sweater (it turned out to look like a sack), then Raindrop from the Plaid Collection (didn't really work gauge and lookwise) until I looked through the Cork Collection booklet I'd gotten as a freebie when I ordered the yarn. And there it was, a cardi that was pretty, for sure, but didn't really blow me over. At this point my need for de-stashing this yarn was greater than my need for the dream cardi and I cast on. And finished the back in a week and the left front. It's such a fast knit and I'm loving it more with every row. I'm a happy knitter right now! But I'm not a happy sewer. I'm not happy at all with my skirt pattern. When I cut the tissue pattern I was already suspecting that this skirt might not be as A-line-y as I'd like it to be. Yes, it is smaller at the waist and then slightly flares out, but it looks more like an H when I wear it, making me feel sort of compact. Good thing I made this out of an old sheet first before cutting into my lovely silk wool. This pattern would work better for a stiff cotton, so I need to look for something more swingy that brings out the drape of the fabric.
Thanks for your great suggestions on chocolaty places to go and brands to try!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Color, Chocolate and Jewelry

Mmhh, rolls right off the tongue. My chocolate consumption has gone up quite a bit lately, not because it was Valentine's day, but because I found a new love: Dark chocolate. I never used to like it, but for Christmas a kind coworker gave me a sample box of the most delicious dark chocolate by Vosges Haute Chocolate. The Oaxaca bar has bits of chili and pepper in it which combine so well with the dark chocolate. I'm also curious to try their
Red Fire bar with ancho&chipotle chili peppers and Ceylon cinnamon or the Black Pearl Bar with Japanese ginger, wasabi and black sesame seeds. On top are two bars by another favorite, Dagoba. On a trip to Anthropologie long ago I found Marie Belle's Chocolate Rose Tea. So yummy. This makes me sound like a chocoholic...I'm not really, but these are so tasty! I eat my bars very slowly, so one lasts about two weeks. The Oaxaca is long gone, but I got the two bars of Dagoba for my birthday last weekend which are current wip's. There was also a new yarn purchase. I know you want to give me a hard time when you see the photo because you think it's socks....
nooo, I'm making fingerless mitts, using the Pomatomus pattern from Knitty. I was going crazy not having a portable project (a Big Wool cardi is not portable whatsoever. I've tried) but didn't want to do socks. The silvery aqua Koigu was so pretty and really asked to be knit up in that wonderful pattern. It's gorgeous, and easy to memorize. I'm using US 1's instead of the called for #2's and so far the so.., eh, glove fits perfectly. I'm getting a little creeped out at times when the veins in my hands are popping, because their color match the yarn exactly. Can you see it?
Koigu in 'Vein'
The Big Wool cardi is still not progressing because I keep changing the design. I'm reading Maggie Righetti's Sweater Design in Plain English and she's making me a little insecure with her expertise. I wanted a sweater with purl side out but Maggie says this creates funny bulges. Maggie also says that 2x2 rib is a bad idea for a button band, because it will stretch out infinitely. Now I'm not sure if I believe everything she says, but it's hard not to listen to a woman with so many years of experience. Just from reading blogs alone I've learned a lot of what not to knit. But come on, a 2x2 rib button band? They're everywhere! And unless you have a toddler pulling your cardi all day long, how much can it really stretch out? I'm going to ignore the button band advice.
Here is the necklace I've been making for my co-workers, just a simple gold wire circle on a delicate chain. There was no morning sun and I took this myself, but you get the idea.
Circle necklace

Monday, February 06, 2006

Oh. Hello!

I'm sorry for being a tardy blogger, it's February already (I'll be thirty soon for the, oh, gazillionsth time) and time is flying. January was fun and crafty all around, one of its highlights being the great knit meet-up I had on MLK day with Angela, where we talked and knit and ohh-ed over cute Japanese craft books for almost 7 hours! It was great and I hope we'll do that again soon Angela, if you can squeeze some crafty time in between your training schedule! Angela also had a hard time talking me into joining the SAL that she, Stephanie and Mari dreamt up. I'll be using this pattern:
I forgot to jot down the pattern number but I'll update that soon. The fabric I'm using is this gorgeous light-blue silk/linen/wool blend peeking out underneath the envelope. I'm making skirt B, one color instead of two. Burda patterns are nifty in that they already have the seam allowance included in the pattern, so you draw the pattern outline on the fabric only once. I've been sewing on and off since I've been a teenager and at one time even took an advanced sewing class where I made a lined jacket with bound buttonholes and welt pockets. But I don't remember how to do all that fancy sewing stuff anymore and I'm glad these days if I can manage to put a zipper in a pouch. Also, this is my first -along ever, funny that it's not about knitting.
So on to the knitting. I got rid of the last skein of sock yarn in my stash, that crazy red-blue-green-brown-orange Lana Grossa Meilenweit. Socks are for bf. Sometimes I wonder how outrageous I could get with the sock yarn, where would he draw the line? But I won't find out any time soon, because this is it, people, at least until Christmas. I'm officially socked-out. Don't care to make another pair for the time being. I mean it!
I spotted this a couple of weeks ago on the cover of DNR and had to share because it's funny:
A fair isle sweater, sleeves are right side out but the front and back are wrong side out. Reminds me of the Eighties, when we turned our clothes inside out because we couldn't come up with anything else new. Probably not a great idea for my first fair-isle project. Which I've picked, but I won't tell yet, as other stuff needs completing first.
This Big Wool cardi I've been working on since the beginning of January. You're looking aghast at the ten or something rows I've done? Yeah, me too. First I had to wrap my head around the concept of knitting top down. It is embarrasingly simple, really, unless you happen to be me and to be looking at the Vogue Knitting book. Now that I've got the idea down, I'm having problems increasing at the front edges. This is not going to be a v-neck cardi (oh how easy that would be), but the neck will be rounded and I have to cast on ten or so stitches. Whenever I try that though I get big holes or funny looking stitches, so I know I must be doing something wrong. I have consulted several knitting books without finding anything on how to increase multiple stitches in your knitting. Anyone got a book or website info they could share? I'd be ever so grateful and might actually finish the jacket this month.
The other project I've been obsessing about is this cardi, 'Raindrop' from Rowan's 'Plaid Collection'. I'm using the unravelled Cork that was once a slightly boring half-finished sweater designed by me. Now, even though both Cork and Plaid are similar in gauge, I get 15 sts to 4", while the pattern asks for 11 sts. It calls for 8 skeins, and I have ten skeins of Cork. I want to knit this top down as well because I'm not sure I'll have enough yarn, but the pattern conversion is tricky, what with all the diamonds having to line up at the neck edge. But it's a V! The jacket is straight down but I'll add some waist shaping to it.
I've also had a little jewelry factory going. I had made a very simple gold wire circle necklace for my office secret santa, and a lot of my coworkers liked it so much that they put in multiple orders for one. I didn't get a chance to take a picture yet, but I have one more to make and will photograph it.
Judy asked me how I arranged my photos into a grid pattern for my 2005 FO review. I copied and pasted each photo in Powerpoint and then cropped it. There are probably many easier ways to do it with Photoshop or other programs, but it's what was available to me at the time. Copy and paste are my friends.
Thanks Marie for enlightening me on tracing back comments! Ahh, the craftoholic and the internets. A pair at odds.