Monday, August 27, 2007

I know, it's been a while...

I've just been incredibly busy...but I promise to post on Thursday with some of my WIPs and my new FOs.

On a side note...I've asked for a raise at work, because I work way too much and too hard for the pitiful pay I was getting before. They've agreed, but I'm still waiting to hear on how much they will give me. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Stitches Midwest Market

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend any classes at stitches Midwest, but I was able to attend the market...
Let's just say that I spent way more money than I planned. Here are some of my recent acquisitions:

Okay. Starting from the far left, we have Lorna's Laces in the color argyle. Here's a closer look:

The next was another Lorna's Laces in the color Purple Iris:

Next is Koigu KPPPM in dye code P829B:

After that, I got some hand-dyed yarn from a shop called Ellen's 1/2 pint Farm LLC:

My last "stash" acquisition was a self-patterning yarn by Sockotta:

Fortunately/unfortunately, depending on your viewpoint, it doesn't end there :) I bought my first swift:

...and ball winder:

As well as some sock-blockers from a shop called Purrfectly Catchy Designs. They have a website as well as an Ebay store. They also sell purse handles, stitch markers and sock patterns. Here are my sock-blockers:

My last purchase were a set of Addi turbo circular needles in size 1 with a 40" diameter. I got them from a booth where there was a lovely woman named Liz giving a demonstration on how to knit 2 socks on one circular needle using magic loop. She passed out instructions as well as her business info, so that if you have any questions you can call her. Here are the needles:

Here's a list of all the vendors' sites that I shopped from. There were so many there, that I will only list the ones that I actually purchased products from.

I bought my Lorna's at Jimmy Beans Wool. Starting August 20th, they are going to offer a specialty color of Lorna's that was absolutely gorgeous, and I think you can only buy it online.

I can't remember who I bought the Koigu from, as they did not give me a receipt for my purchase :(

The lovely blue yarn came from Ellen's 1/2 Pint Farm LLC. She had many wonderful yarns in some absolutely gorgeous colors. I had a hard time choosing just one. I think I returned to this stand three times before I finally decided on one.

The Sockotta came from Sutter's Gold 'n Fleece. This was the same shop where Liz was giving the demonstration on how to knit the 2 socks on 1 circular needle.

Those were my adventures for the day. Tomorrow or the day after I'll post my current progress on my Cookie A. Twister Flower sock!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

A bit about me...

I'm a newbie to blogging, so you'll have to forgive me while I try to get the hang of this.

I first started knitting about 6 years ago, but only ever knit scarves, since that was all I was comfortable with. Then, back in November, I decided to knit scarves for all of the servers that work for me. Well, let me tell you. After the first two scarves in garter stitch, I started to get bored and wanted to do something a little more exciting. That's how I came across the knitting help site. It's a wonderful site with videos of almost any technique you can think of. While I was browsing around her site, I came across this really neat scarf idea. It's the pattern for the elongated scarf at the bottom right-hand corner of the page. I unfortunately did not think to take any pictures of my scarves, so I have no record of them :(

After that, things just started falling into place. A wonderful gay friend of mine that knits turned me on to stitch n' bitch. I bought all of Debbie Stoller's books and I've never been the same since :)
I read each of them from cover to cover, and pored over all the interesting patterns. My first sweater was from her book, Stitch n' Bitch Nation. It's the men's sweater with the flame pattern on the sleeves. My husband saw this sweater and wanted me to make one. I told him I'd try (the pattern was riddled with techniques I had never dreamed of learning) and went and bought the yarn and needles required that afternoon. That sweater took me about 3 months to finish, but it was so exciting to be learning all of these new techniques (intarsia, increasing, decreasing, seaming, color changing, reading a pattern, duplicate stitch, etc.) that it didn't seem at all that bad. It was euphoria every time I was able to figure out/master a new skill. This sweater was knit in Lion's Brand wool-ease. Here is what the FO looks like:

Here's a close up of the sleeve:

While in the midst of this project, I joined my local stitch n' bitch group. A good number of these women were working on socks,which seemed foreign and scary to me. They were using a large number of pointed sticks and yarn that looked like thread to me. I said, uh-uh, no way will I ever be able to make socks. That's just too scary. Our group then decided to make some baby hats for the Afghans for Afghans project. The yarn needed to be wool, so I made my first foray to my LYS. I'm sure I looked lost and confused, because Kelly came up and asked if I needed some help. There I bought my first 2 balls of merino, fingering weight yarn and a baby hat pattern. I made three baby hats for the project, all of which were knit with Claudia's hand-painted merino yarn. Here is a picture of all the hats knitted by my stitch n' bitch group:

As you can see, there were also some gloves and mittens and sweaters in the mix. This project was a really rewarding one.

After that I made a shawl, which I ended up not particularly liking. I'm not a fan of the pattern or the yarn I used. I think I'm going to donate the FO and the rest of the yarn to a local charity.

Then, for some reason I started feeling brave. I saw all these women making socks and they kept telling me how it's not that bad, really. I had had a brief encounter with the double-pointed needles to make a pair of thumbless mittens for boss' granddaughter, so I figured I would give it a try. I went and bought the book Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch. If you don't have this book already, it is a must. It's loaded with useful information, and I completely taught myself how to knit socks from this book.
This was my "class" sock, which was knit in Lions Brand wool-ease:

Right after I finished that sock, I got so excited that I knit up this pair of baby socks in Claudia's hand-painted yarn:

I think they look better folded over like this:

(I know, I know...this is starting to get boring) :)

I got started on this sock knitting frenzy. I have made 3 adult sized pairs since April of this year and am working on my fourth. Here are the ones I've finished so far:

This first pair was a birthday gift for my boss. It's hard to see, but it has mock cables. These were knit with Fortissima Socka yarn. I was very proud of these.

These were a birthday gift for my husband. They are knit in the woven stitch with Regia Bamboo yarn. Here's a close up of that:

This next pair was my first real exciting encounter with lace. I knit it with Panda Cotton, which is actually made mostly from bamboo, with a bit of cotton, and a little bit of elastic. It was a fairly simple pattern. This is the monkey sock pattern by Cookie A, which you can get here for free:

And a close up:

While completing these socks, I decided to take a stab at a baby sweater for my nephew. His birthday is coming up at the end of September, so I figured I had better start now, since my last sweater took 3 months. This was my major knitting project while we were on vacation in lake Geneva. I worked on the baby sweater (it's from a wonderful wallaby sweater pattern) while my husband read the final Harry Potter book out loud. I finished that baby sweater in 5 days!! Here is what the FO looks like:

It was a wonderfully easy, seamless baby sweater pattern. I knit it with Debbie Bliss Cashmerino yarn. If you are interested in one yourself, the patter is written for all sizes between children's size 2 to adults XXXL. You can purchase a copy yourself here.

My current project is another Cookie A sock pattern, which I'm knitting with tofutsies sock yarn. Here is where you can see a picture of what the socks should look like when I'm done. I haven't gotten terribly far because this pattern is far more complex than anything else I've done before. I'll upload pictures as I go.

That's it for now. If you've made it all the way through this without falling asleep, kudos to you! If you have any thoughts or suggestions on how better to keep this blog, please send me a note. I am always open to constructive criticism.