February 2013


I haven’t forgotten about you all.  Or about the my Liebster nominations that I need to post. It’s just that I’m at Stitches West and I am terribly exhausted. But once I get back there will be nominations and a recap and all sorts of things!

On Sunday, I went on a huge finishing binge. I finished four works in progress. Granted, all three of them needed was ends woven in and blocking, but still, I actually finished four things! I present to you the list of all the things I finished.

I finished my Roosimine socks (finally!). All they required was weaving in ends, so it’s a little sad that I didn’t finish them earlier. In case you haven’t gathered, weaving in ends is not my favorite thing. But they are done and so very cute. I knit them out of Hazel Knits Artisan Sock in the colors Cherry Fizz and Chocolatier.

Roosimine Socks

My favorite way to do colorwork

I finished my Echeveria Socks, which I knit out of Knitpicks Stroll Tonal in the color Springtime and in the undyed yarn. This was a mystery knitalong, which meant that I didn’t know what the finished socks would look like. But I really like them. And they were a really fun knit–there was cabling and colorwork, so I definitely did not get bored.

Echeveria Socks

These socks make me think of spring. I love this green.

I finished my Vertebrae Cardigan, which is an adorable frontless sweater. I made it for my adorable nephew. I get to see him when I go up to Stitches West, so I really wanted to finish it so I could give it to him. It’s knit out of Classic Elite Liberty Wool, in the Majestic Mountains colorway. I really like how it looks; it reminds me of those Southwest style mountain paintings.

Vertebrae Cardigen

The front

Vertebrae Cardigan

The back. I love how the colors turned out

And last, but not least, I finished my Celestarium. I know I said that I would finish it on Thursday night, but I miscalculated a little bit. The edging row was actually an applied, five-stitch wide garter stitch border. Meaning that for each stitch around the shawl (576 stitches for those of you keeping count), I had to knit 10 stitches (five on the right side and five on the wrong sides). Meaning that last row was 5760 stitches, the equivalent of ten rows of knitting.

I didn’t finish until very early Saturday morning.

But it’s done and so, so, so pretty. It’s made of Tosh Merino Light in the colorway Volga. The color variations knit up in such a way that it looks like when they take time-lapse photos of the sky and the stars all kind of smear (kind of like this.) I am so happy with it.

Celestarium

The whole shawl

Celestarium

Closeup

So now, the only thing I have on the needles is my ‘Olina socks, which is an odd situation for me. But that’s okay, because I have done literally NONE of my homework for Stitches West. So guess what I’m doing tonight and tomorrow.

It’s a happy day today. Ruth of the blog Kangath Knits has nominated me for a Liebster Blog Award. I’m really honored and happy that such a fantastic blogger and designer (seriously, check out her designs, they are stunning) considers my blog deserving of recognition. The Liebster Award is not an award proper. There is no voting or applications. Liebster is German for “well-loved” and the purpose of it is to bring to light small blogs that aren’t well-known. I will pay it forward and recognize other bloggers I consider great and amazing. I’ll post my nominations some time next week.

The other part of the award involves responding to 11 questions that Ruth has posed to me and posting 11 random facts about myself. I’ll do the Q&A today, and the 11 facts will come in a later post. It’s actually really hard for me to think of 11 facts about myself that are actually somewhat interesting.

1. What kind of music do you like?

I like all kinds of music. Seriously. I can’t think of a single music genre which does not have some artists or subgenres that I enjoy. Yes that includes both the giant umbrellas of country and hip hop. Some of my favorite artists are Neko Case, Tegan and Sara, Lady Sovereign Elvis Costello, Gram Parsons/Emmylou Harris, Nick Drake, The Beatles (yeah, that ones a cop out but I love them), The Sex Pistols, and Le Tigre. No, that is not a comprehensive list. I also listen to a lot of classical and musicals (I love Sondheim).

2. Do you prefer the weather to be so cold your nose hairs freeze or so hot you sweat just thinking about moving?

I definitely prefer cold weather. I can always put on a sweater (or seven). There isn’t much I can do when it’s too hot. Being a knitter, I am prepared for cold weather.

3. If you were forced to choose only one knitting technique to use for the rest of your life, would it be cabling, colorwork, or lace?

This is a really hard question, because I love all of these techniques. They all have so many applications and such diversity. But if I had to choose, I would choose lace. I just don’t think I could give up my crazy complicated lace shawls.

4. What was the last book you read?

I re-read The Perks of Being a Wallflower, because seeing the movie made me kind of nostalgic for the book.

5. How do you tie shoelaces?

I use the two loop method and double knot them. They still always come untied.

6. Name one thing you have done that will you never do again.

Start a land war in Asia? No, seriously, I am reluctant to say I’ll never do something, because you never know where you’ll end up in the future and how you may change. But if I can avoid it, I don’t think I’ll be teaching children ever again.

7. Describe your relationship with your camera.

I always forget to use it when something interesting is happening, which I regret later.

8. Apples or bananas?

Bananas. Unless I’m looking for something to pair with cheese.

9. What scares you?

The future. I’m always worried about time running out before I have time to achieve my dreams. Losing someone I love.

10. Name three knit designers whose work you admire.

It’s hard to pick just three. But I love Cookie A, Hannah Fettig, and Alana Dakos. As a bonus, I really love Syvia Harding and Romi Hill.

11. What do you like to do after a hard day?

Knit. Watch really good or really bad television and movies or go see a band a low-key bar with my sweetie and knit.

Cookie A Sock Club Bag and Indigodragonfly MCN Sock Yarn

My pretties!

I came home on Monday to a very exciting package. My first shipment of yarn from the Cookie A Sock Club had arrived! The yarn is Indigodragonfly MCN Sock, a lovely Merino/Cashmere/Nylon blend in the colorway E Pluribus Nom Nom Nom (Out of Many Jars, One Cookie). That name makes me giggle every time I read it. I just love the green color and how squishy it is. And I totally adore the adorable little project bag that came with it.

One of the reasons I signed up for the sock club is that I really want to try new yarns. But I’m sort of picky about the colors I wear, which is one of the reasons I love socks. I can wear socks in any color, even if it’s a color I wouldn’t wear in shirt. This is why sock clubs are great. Since you never know what color yarn you will get with a yarn club, getting sock yarn is less of a gamble. Of course, this first shipment is right in my comfort zone. But next month, when it’s some bright, crazy orange, I’ll be happy it’s sock yarn and not laceweight or something where I’d be more likely to make something I wear up by my face.

Cookie also gives two patterns and two cookie recipes with each shipment (okay, those come as a PDF download through Ravelry, but same thing). The recipes were basically for grownup versions of Fig Newtons and Pecan Sandies. Both of them look really delicious and I can’t wait to try them.

I’m utterly torn about which sock to make. Both Ernie and Newton are fantastic patterns and I legitimately can’t decide between them. This is almost making me wish I’d sprung for the extra yarn option. I guess I’ll have to get some other pretty yarn to make the other pattern.

Otherwise, the only update I have at present is that I am on row 53 (out of 56) of the final chart of my Celestarium. I will finish that sucker tonight if it kills me. (Which it shouldn’t. I have very few beads left to place, so I’m currently just mainly doing stockinette in the round. I should be fine. As long as saying “I should be fine” does not tempt the knitting fates into trying to prove me wrong.)

It’s funny to me how knitters turn up in all manner of places. Yesterday I went to a talk/book signing for a new Lee Marvin biography and low and behold, there was another knitter. I was in line at the coffee shop attached to the bookstore, getting a cup of tea. She noticed my shawl (which is how I knew she was a knitter, because by and large non-knitters do not comment on knitwear). We exchanged a few words about knitting and I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be funny if she were here for the same thing I was.” Then I went upstairs and, there she was. She was working on something pretty with beads. It’s not really where I would expect one to turn up, but then again, I was there too (I was knitting socks). By the way, if you have any interest at all in Lee Marvin, buy Dwayne’s book. Seriously. Buy it. Do not pass go.

Echeveria Socks

Moving on, I’ve been working on my Echeveria socks. I finished one sock, and cast on for the second one. Progress has been slow. I was almost done with the first cuff chart on Friday when I realized I had made a grievous and unfixable error. So I had to rip back, which was annoying. Then I made more mistakes and had to tink back a few rows again. Honestly, since I’ve already knit one with no mistakes, you would think I could knit a second one. But apparently not. I worked on them a bit at the Lee Marvin book signing, and I’m about to the part where I was when I had to rip them out.

The reason that progress has been so slow on the socks is mostly because I’m not working on them nearly as much as I’m working on my Celestarium. I’m determined to have it done to take to Stitches West. I’m on row 28 of the final chart, which has 55 rows total. There is also an edging row, so we can call it 56 rows. That leaves me 28 rows to complete. That may not sound like a lot, but each row is 576 stitches long at this point. I would like to have it completed by Saturday, so that I can block it on Sunday and have it ready to go. I’m leaving early Wednesday morning, so Monday is the absolute latest day I can block it to guarantee that it will be dry by Wednesday, so aiming for a Sunday blocking is giving me a one-day grace period. I need to find approximately 15 hours of knitting time between now and Saturday while also working full time, taking care of more stuff around the house than normal because Ron is sick, and having a couple of evening commitments this week. I may have bitten off more than I can chew.

'Olina Socks

My miniscule progress on the ‘Olina Socks

I also cast on some toe-up socks for the Sockdown February Challenge. The pattern is ‘Olina by Emily Johnson from the book My Grandmother’s Knitting out of Handmaiden Casbah. I cast them on February 1st, and that is exactly how much knitting I have done on them. I somehow still believe that I will finish the Celestarium, finish the Echeveria, weave in the ends on the Roosimine, weave in the ends and block the Vertebrae cardigan by the time I leave for Stitches (which is in NINE days) and have these at a point where it’s feasible for me to finish them by the end of February. This is totally do-able, right?

Wow, I went a long time without writing. I’m going through a lot of transitions at work right now, both on a personal and a company-wide level. They will probably be good in the long run, but the transition time is murder and it is eating my brain. There are a lot of growing pains. On top of that, I’m off for four days later this month, and there’s a huge workload lately, so I’m drowning in my to do list. I’m working really hard on figuring out a way to manage my work schedule and responsibilities so that I don’t feel dead when I come home. I know I’ll get there, but thank you for bearing with me while I do it, and I’m sorry for all the delayed entries.

But I know you don’t read this blog for the fascinating content of me complaining about work, so we’re moving on to something much more exciting.

I finished the Frost Flowers Stole! Sunday morning, I woke up and decided that I was going to Kitchener all of those hundreds of stitches. I curled up in the armchair and I did it.

I have to admit, that after grafting, I held it up, and I was underwhelmed. The pattern wasn’t showing like I wanted it to at all. It looked like a spaghetti noodle-y mess.

Unblocked Shawl

This just isn’t that pretty

I had forgotten about the magic of blocking. Of course I was going to block the shawl, but I didn’t get around to it until Tuesday night. And then I remembered–some water and Eucalan and pins and wires, and you get pure magic.

Blocked Frost Flowers Shawl

Magic!

The whole thing

By the way, this thing is absolutely gigantic! It’s easily longer than I am tall. I had no idea it would be so huge, even though the pattern specifies it’s dimensions at 67.5 inches, which is quite a bit longer than I am. I consistently don’t read dimensions when it comes to projects that aren’t garments, so I’m always surprised at the size (or sometimes the lack of size) of my shawls. I really should look at those more closely.

But I’m so very pleased with how this shawl turned out. Someone in my knitting group joked that she would get married again if I would let her wear it (she has sworn off marriage forever, stating that her first–which ended in divorce–was one too many). I laughed at that. I laughed harder at the suggestion that she forget the wedding and just wrap up in the shawl (and only the shawl) for her wedding night.

One more, because I love it!

This is definitely one of the prettiest things I have ever knit and even though the pattern is a little daunting with its 992 stitch cast on and its 470-some-odd stitches to graft, it’s so worth it for what you end up with.

To recap, it’s the Frost Flowers Stole by Charlene Schurch, knit in Unique Sheep Marici Laceweight, in the color Sugar Baby. I used size 7 needles, with an incredibly long cord, and lots and lots of stitch markers.