Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Dear Wisconsin, please make up your mind.

I say this with deepest sincerity and warmest affections. Well, as warm as they can be on a day like today! Why my impatience? Yesterday the weather was sunny with a high of 45 degrees (balmy weather for January in Wisconsin) and today I had classes canceled due to winter weather advisories and a -30 degree wind chill! How is a girl supposed to knit under these conditions?In knitting news, I have decided to give myself a new strategy for tackling some of my WIPs. It has come in the form of organization which I took th liberty of doing over winter break. Let me introduce you to the mecca of all that is yarn related and pleasure inducing-- I give you YARN CENTRALNow, I should probably take this time to point out that Yarn Central is conveniently located next to Shoe Central--an area of slightly lesser passion in my my life, but definitely still pleasure inducing.

I also hate to point out that Yarn Central is somewhat closely related in proximity to Textbook Central, which is certainly not pleasure inducing. (I'm thinking some new zoning laws need to be passed on this area of my closet)Now to explain the awesomeness of my new layout. The set of two drawers each have their own category of contents, both of them yarn related. The bottom drawer contains the yarn of projects to come. Yarn that can continue dreaming to seize their own destiny. Well, until I seize it for them anyway.
The top drawer contains all of my works in progress. All of them! It is so much easier to take account of what i have to work on when it's all physically in one place to look at. So here is my vow: I solemnly swear that I will finish every single object in the drawer before starting something new. With the exception of ONE baby sweater that I have to knit for a close friend who's due in March. This is my promise to myself, to ultimately gain control over my projects.

Projects in Question include:
  1. Wide Collared Vest
  2. Tree Jacket
  3. Back to School U-Neck Vest
  4. Bird in hand Mittens
  5. Forest Canopy Shawl
  6. Embossed Leaves Socks
  7. Le Slouch
Do you see why this has become a problem? I'll certainly have enough there to keep myself busy for the semester.

It also [unfortunately] means that I have to overlook all of the beautiful yarn I showed off yesterday until this mission is completed. Who thinks I can do this?

Monday, January 28, 2008

All my bags are packed

That's right, I have just completed the grueling (maybe not that bad) and tedious 4 hour drive back to school. Admittedly, it was a tight fit getting all of my belongings (read: all of my yarn) to fit into the back of my compact sedan. I wasn't thrilled with the idea of having my yarn basket loose in the backseat, so quick fix there:

(Well if you'd buckle up a cute child, why wouldn't you buckle up a cute basket of yarn?)

No trip back home is complete without a visit to Iris Fine Yarns. It was my one last hurrah before starting the semester, so obviously that meant stocking up on goodies to keep me busy over the next few months (who cares if that's what homework is usually for!)
The major purchase was 10 (count them, TEN) skeins of Elizabeth Lavold Silky Tweed. I had kept reading about how amazing this stuff was and I honestly couldn't figure out what the big deal was. Yeah. That was until I felt it. Talk about smooth and amazing, this stuff is incredible! So, why 10 skeins you ask? Because it's being made into this . That is the sweater "Patti" by Sarah Hatton. Granted, it is slightly more trendy than most of the stuff I wear, but I think it's cute enough that it won't matter.

Moving on, we have 3 skeins (I know only two are photographed, one was prematurely wound) of Blue Sky dyed cotton. I'm thinking of making them into this which is the Ribbed Lace Bolero by Kelly Maher. Who doesn't love an extra lacy shrug for spring?

Lastly, we have one [adorable] skein of Malabrigo Lace in Tuareg --This will definitely be made into a lace shawl of some sort, but I have yet to decide which one.

To close, As I was unpacking, I noticed that my collection of knitting books has expanded to the point of being considered an actual library. Admittedly, I have discovered that I love buying new knitting books almost as much as I enjoy knitting the projects inside of them. Hilarious. Click on the photo to see a more detailed list of titles, Twinkle & Jo Sharp are apparently too big to stand upright with the rest of the group...troublemakers.

Oh, my mom is on Ravelry now, check her out!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I Seriously forgot?

How on earth could I forget to blog one of the most pivotal moments in a knitter's life? How could I? I mean, if making the analogy between knitting life and real life, what I forgot to blog was comparable to graduating from college, getting married, or maybe even having my first child! What was it I did you ask?

I turned my first heel!
Was it unbelievably difficult? Not exactly. Was it slightly more nerve wracking than knitting a hat or scarf? Yes. Luckily for me, I had my mom there to show me what that heck I was doing during the entire process (Thank you mom!). There were moments when I was spotted saying things like "I have to pick up stitches from where??" and "What do they mean cut yarn?!". Apparently I chose a sock pattern that wasn't exactly ideal for the first timer sock knitter, but with some creative reworking on my mom's part, I ended up not having to "cut yarn" and I did manage to successfully complete my first heel! HUZZAH!

Oh, and here is an updated shot of my mitten. Much love.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

An Intentional Accident

Okay. I'll come right out and say it: I like the way dark purple looks with yellow.
Call me crazy (you're crazy!) but I just think that those two colors make an attractive pair. Why is this a problem? I'll tell you: last night I was reminded by my brother's fiance [Keri] that, as nice as purple and yellow are together, that they belong to a certain Minnesota football team that will go un-named. Okay, maybe they won't go un-named-- it's the Vikings. Am I a Vikings fan? No way. Do I love the Packers? Absolutely I do.
Now, that all being said, when I chose the colors for these mittens I was absolutely intentional about choosing my colors (as before mentioned, I think yellow+eggplant = fantastic)--my accident was not realizing I was inadvertently supporting the Vikings by doing this. None of this would really matter, but with my college being so close to Minnesota, I feel like I'm going to have to make a disclaimer every time I wear my new mittens! Uff da.

Now that THAT'S covered, I can talk about the mittens themselves and how much I love working on them! This is my first colorwork project and I must say it is not only addicting but is very enjoyable to work on! Here are the Stats:

Pattern: Bird-in-Hand mittens by Kate Gilbert
Made for: My Green Bay Packer loving hands
Yarn: 1 skein Cascade 220 Goldenrod & 1 skein Cascade 220 Royal Purple
Needles: US 2 Addi Turbo circs
Date Started: 1/18

I've always prefered chart reading so that's not really the obstacle here. The color work is going faster as I practice more, and I'm finding that I want to work on them more just to see the pattern developing. I suppose this is probably a common condition among knitters who stranded color projects. I will be posting updated progress of my identity confused mittens as they progress--in the mean time, GO PACK GO!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

It's been a while....

Yes. It's been a while since I did plain stockinette knitting. No cables, no seed stitch, no yarn overs, lace or anything fun-- just plain stockinette.
Yesterday I received the pattern book Jo Sharp 3 from my fantastic manager, Kristy (a slightly belated holiday present). I love the book, it is 39 patterns of gorgeous knitting. Immediately I chose one that I wanted to start and I decided to make the Wide Collared Vest. I think the pattern is classic and beautiful, however is pretty much an endless sea of stockinette. I equally love and hate working on it because It goes quickly but is boooor-ing!

Ideally, I'd like to cast off before I finish work next week Friday so I can wear it before going back to school. I suppose stockinette does have its place, it'll be good to have a mindless project to work on during the Packer/Seahawk game today -- my vest is ready for some football!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Oh I just LOVE surprises!

Here's a surprise FO for your viewing pleasure!
So, operation Holiday '07 was secretly knitting my roommate this vest! This mission was deemed successful tonight when she finally received her [belated] holiday present! The verdict is....IT FITS! A note to self: it is very challenging to knit something in secret with somebody you live with! I can't believe I pulled it off without spilling!

It might look familiar to Fitted Knits fans, it is the Back to School U-Neck vest by Stephanie Japel. The exact same vest that I started (and never finished) in purple- see, here! That is all in the past now because I can have the satisfaction of looking at my version for Jamie instead. Much better. The only modification was making the ribbed portion a little bit longer, nothing crazy. The yarn, Cascade 220 in a happy yellow color, I can't remember the name/dye lot off the top of my head. That mustard like yellow is Jamie's favorite color. My favorite color is aqua blue which is why my title photo above makes me so happy.

That vase of flowers kind of epitomizes the both of us. Okay... maybe in a really oversimplified way. Oh, and size 7 needles were used. The time to knit was off and on for a little less than one month. I am quite pleased! Happy Birthday/Christmas Jamie!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

A project of Firsts

I'm not usually one to shy away from new knitting techniques or items in general, and this project is proof of me embracing this statement. I was, admittedly, avoiding double pointed needles until this project. I love (love) magic loop knitting for projects in the round, and honestly have never needed double pointed for anything until now. Until now. I've decided to try my hand at socks! My reason for avoiding sock knitting for so long was different than my reason for avoiding double pointed needles. I knew that once I started knitting socks I would love them and never want to stop. This, for someone who is a compulsive project starter, isn't necessarily the best thing. Regardless, I decided to tackle these new skills to see what I come up with. Here are the stats:

Yarn: 2 skeins of Claudia's handpainted sock yarn in Sea Dreams
Pattern: Embossed Leaves socks from Interweave's Favorite Socks
Needles: set of 5 US 3 double pointed needles
Size: Rachel-foot size

I have 2 of the lace repeats done so far and I'm loving it. One more to go until I turn my first heel--Yikes!

Ooooh! and no ladders so far! (knock on wood)