Friday, December 22, 2006

yarn stash?! no, not me!

i have never considered myself a knitter with yarn stash.

yarn was purchased when a new project was being planned and about to be knit. economical and non-frivolous. that was that. so imagine my surprise when i found my non-existent yarn stash filled a whole cardboard storage box with virtually no room to spare!

my first unconscience inkling that perhaps i did indeed have yarn stash was when i needed a present for the office gift exchange. i wanted to knit something personal and realized i had two balls of crystal palace red mohair frappe in a bag in the sewing room that just might make a great flying v scarf from exquisite little knits. and it did.

my first conscience inkling that i had yarn stash was when i went to the LYS' secret saturday sale and bought two skein's of noro kureyon with a pattern in mind but no one in mind for the finished project. that was the day i thought, "hmmmm, i wonder if those various bags of yarn stashed around the house constitutes 'yarn stash?' ". and lo and behold it did.

who knew? obviously not me! as my cute husband would say, i have been living in the state of denial!

so this is what a non-existent yarn stash looks like. some of it is earmarked for a project, like the blue cotton and silk frogtree in front, which will hopefully turn into the shell game, a pattern from the garter belt. then there is the various sock yarn; in the upper right hand corner is this truly lovely lavender and green cotton and silk yarn by the name of fable from artyarns. the dark yarn next to it is rowanspun aran in a lovely navy tweed color that has hopes of someday being the bookworm vest from cheryl oberle's folk vests book.

but the rest of it is just stash. i fell in love with the ry cashsoft in various colors. also the jo sharp silver grey kid mohair. the most unusual find for me is the gray skein of fingering weight yarn from black water abby yarns in ireland (yarn next to the blue frogtee). i had read of this yarn, looked at their website and found a nearby trunk show. i look forward to knitting it up. the two bags in back are filled with leftover yarn from various projects. there is enough brown cascade 220 leftovers to knit up a felted hat from pick up sticks! yeesh!

amazing how yarn can just multiply like that! now i guess i should actually knit something with it all! so i better get to it! happy holidays to all!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

christmas blooming

i am home sick today and instead of resting i am taking pictures for my blog! oh brother! but all seven of the african violets are blooming at the same time and i could not let this kodak moment slip by. they seem so content on the kitchen window sill even though it is quite cold outside, by northern california standards anyway.

now i will go rest...and knit the red mohair scarf that will not be finished by tomorrows gift exchange. think it would be tacky if i gave it away on the needles with promises that it would be finished soon?!

Monday, December 18, 2006

it's outta here!

so, the gray baby alpaca scarf is done and gone! finished it in time for the holiday luncheon last friday. whew! here it is modeled by the big guy. the person who picked it out during the white elephant exchange liked it so much she didn't take it off!

so now i am once again cramming to finish a scarf for a thursday holiday breakfast. i don't think i will finish it in time. so i may have to attend with a non-knitted cutesy gift from my traditional gift stash and start a knitted gift stash for future use. we'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

a sewing repose

this weekend is the annual madrigal feast put on by the music department of the h.s. the kids go to. this is the only year both kids will be in it. this will be the big guy's fourth and final year; and it is my sweet friend's first. it is a real joy to see them both performing in the same production. except for the costumes.

i have known about this weekend and all of it's responsibilities since forever. unfortunately, possessing that knowledge did not inspire me to get started on the costumes until about a week and a half ago. luckily the big guy had most of his costume. he just needed a few additions. it was my sweet friend who needed a whole costume from scratch. the last few days have found me glued to the sewing machine. i came home from work early today so i could finish putting bone in her vest as well as finishing some other odds and ends. i don't think the fam has heard such gnashing of teeth and cursing since...well..forever. it is what happens when i continually prick myself with the pins and sew the shoulders of the vest in such a way it resembles a horse harness instead of a young woman's vest. but amazingly, it all resolved itself. they are at dress rehersal, as i type, with costumes completed. well, everything except for a muffin hat!

i miss sewing. i have sewn my whole adult life. i love being able to make something new to wear. then i discovered knitting. with these last few days of sewing i found i missed sitting with the fam and catching up on their day while i knit. sometimes in the quiteness of knitting, my sweet friend and i have the best talks. that can't happen while sewing. at least not while crunch sewing! so, though muffin hats still need to be made, i can take a breather and knit a bit.

with that said, here are some pictures of the felted bags! i love the way they came out. i shared them at the LYS this past weekend and they were oohhed and aaahhhed over. i love the tweedy look knitting with two colored yarns held together gives. and i love the spice the third yarn contributes. i like the surprise of felting. when knitting, i liked the look of the red yarn combo and was concerned about the green yarn combo. after felting, i love the look of the green yarns. the size of the bag is just what i envisioned. the pattern had called for knitting 6.25 inches before starting the keyhole handle. i knitted 7.25 inches which made the bag a bit bigger. after i finished knitting them, i was concerned the bags were to big. when felting, i let them agitate five times in a row, each time adding a full kettle of boiling water to get them to this size. they came out much better than i expected. i can't wait for christmas to come so i can give them to my friends. i may even make one for me.
and sew a new christmas blouse to match.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

they are done!

just finished the felting wash for the evening bags. they look terrific! pics and specifics to come!

Monday, November 27, 2006

a milestone

my cute husband's 50th birthday was this weekend. saturday night was supper with family and friends at one of his favorite chinese restaurants in san francisco. sunday, his actual birthday, was cake and ice cream at the house with some close friends. he had a wonderful weekend! it was a delight to see him have such fun.

now it's time to go back to holiday knitting!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

time is flying

whew! it has been a while since the last post! who knew!? time has been zooming by. thankfully i have been able to just kept knitting.

i am up to my eyeballs in holiday knitting. the first of two felted clutches is done and i am halfway through the second. the base for both of them is two different colors of cascade 220 held together with a third yarn as an accent/texture. the finished clutch is brown and maroon with collinette prism in autumn as an accent; the other clutch is brown and green with crystal palace musique in heath as an accent. the clutch itself is a very fast knit. if i spent some quality time on the second clutch i could have it done in a few hours. which would be a good thing since i am real excited about seeing how these will turn out felted.

another project is a gray scarf. this is for a holiday gift exchange i have in mid-december. the scarf could be for a male or female, so it presented a challenge in choosing the pattern and yarn. i decided on a gray cascade chunky baby alpaca (i have this thing for chunky alpaca, not sure what that is about!) for the yarn and the men's cashmere rib scarf pattern from last minute knitted gifts for the pattern. i thought it a lovely pattern. plus it is a totally easy-peasy knit. so easy in fact i am making the same thing up in ry cashsoft dk in a milk in coffee colored brown for another friend. it is fun working the same pattern up in two totally different yarns. the gray chunky scarf is going to be long and thin while the brown cashsoft will be long and wide, depending on how long i feel like knitting. i think i may fringe both of these scarfs, which i have never done before. at the moment, the pattern and yarn seems to be calling for it. so i'll see what happens when i am done with them.

then there is the feathery light stole from exquisite little knits out of a beautiful eggplant colored misty alpaca/silk dk weight yarn. absolutely luscious! can't wait to see how that turns out. the color suits a dear friend quite well.

and there is the fetching fingerless gloves courtesy of and jo sharp silkroad dk tweed in emporio. i absolutely love this yarn and have made other projects with it in various other colors, but this color has proven to be a challenge. i find i can only work on it during the day or under very good light. i also don't do the dpn thing. so i am figuring out how to knit this up with two circular needles. so far so good. this is another project that could be finished very quickly if i just spent some quality time with it. but alas, since these are for me they have taken back burner status. but soon, very soon.

and last but not least, there are the socks. the first sock is very close to being done, but not quite there yet. i just keep it in the rotation and slowly knit away at it, knowing it will be done soon!

plus i got an opportunity to work at the LYS a couple of sunday's a month. just enough to pay for the yarn addiction! but with a regular 40 hr job and a family with two teenagers, my time does tend to get sucked up. i wouldn't change a thing, though. i am having to much fun!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

2 months and counting

unbelievable but true, christmas is only two months away.

i have had round 1 of my x-mas gift stash for awhile now. i bought it with my first paycheck from the LYS which was very exciting. love being able to fund my knitting addiction and support the LYS.

what you see in the picture is two felted evening bags, three pairs of socks and a stole. the felted bags will be two colors of cascade 220 held together, joined by a third "textured" yarn, something colinette i think. i am midway through the first bag and it looks great! and such a quick and easy knit!

the socks...there is no way i will finish three pairs of socks by x-mas but i can dream! i got the regia yarn on-line quite a while ago so have no idea what it will be like on the needle.

and the stole...i am taking another stab at the feathery lace stole from exquisite little knits. this time with misti alpaca dk 4 ply in this gorgeous aubergine color. heaven.

and this is just for friends! who knows what i am going to knit the fam!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

pictures, pictures, pictures

here are the pictures of the diagonal blue scarf/stole and the pink airy scarf. i was holding out for better pictures but my sweet friend wasn't available to model and i had to give the pink airy scarf away. oh well. for some reason these pics just didn't cooperate for the previous post. so here they are now!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

a busy week

i got a bee in my bonnet!
last weekend i was determined to finish the diagonal lace scarf i am making out of frog tree chunky alpaca. so i did.
i also had a brilliant thought about making my boss, who is celebrating every month of her 50th year, the airy scarf out of last minute gifts. i chose a pink ggh mohair in honor of the breast cancer awareness month. i had made the scarf out of this yarn before so knew it would be a fast knit and the yarn easy to work with. so i did.
both items are lovely. i can't wait to wear the chunky alpaca scarf/stole. it is not quite cold enough yet. but almost.
now i need to finish the sock(s). i have a few more pairs to make before christmas. better get a move on.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

the curse of the last ball

i am very close to finishing the chunky blue stole. i am on the last ball of yarn.

this is supposedly a scarf, but since i am knitting it up in frog tree chunky alpaca instead of the chenille the pattern calls for, i think it will be more of a stole. and it is soft and warm and really lovely and i can't wait to finish it so i can wear it. but for some reason, the closer i get to the end, the more mistakes i make and have to unknit.

every time i do a "yeah!" because the size of the last ball of yarn is noticeably shrinking, i find i missed the pattern 5 rows back and have to unknit to correct it. or i wind up with 42 stitches on my needle instead of the 40 i am supposed to have. and then i correct it to find i have 39 stitches instead of 40 and then i have to correct that! good grief! i am experiencing flashbacks of the slippery poncho which was ripped apart instead of finished due to the endless mistakes made while knitting with the last ball of yarn!

so i stop and take a breath. then i carefully put the scarf back in its bag, make a cup of tea, work on another project, remember my sweet friend would have never really worn the slippery poncho anyway and move on. at least for the moment. i was really hoping to wear the chunky blue scarf to work on monday.

so maybe i'll have two cups of tea and get back to it to see if i can work through this curse.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

it's a bowl w/a handle!'s an ice cream scoop!'s first sock with turned heel and picked up gusset stitches!!


it can be done! and all i had to do was follow the directions! who knew!

see you at the toes!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

bag inventory

the bedside knitting bag collection has gotten out of control.

each of my projects has it's own bag. i thought of myself as a finish one project start another knitter, but my bags tell me otherwise. i find myself shame faced. with christmas knitting on the mind and needed needles in the bags, i decided to take stock of what exactly is in the bag pile.

the red verigated mohair/angora scarf was the first to go. it didn't even make the picture. though it looked quite lovely in the pattern i was knitting up, i realized i probably wasn't going to give it to my mom. southern california doesn't really call for mohair/angora scarves so i will need to think of something else to knit for her as well as something else to do with that beautiful yarn.

next was the lovely but deadly slippery poncho. after plying my sweet friend with tortilla chips, salsa and those cute little mini pizza's from trader joe's she loves, i asked if she would seriously ever wear the poncho once it was fixed and finished. or should it be ripped apart with the intent that something else would be made with the yarn, like a tank top or t-shirt she could wear a camisole under. inbetween bites of tortilla chips and salsa, she agreed. two down.

last spring i started a basketweave scarf with some left over yarn, also for my sweet friend. i had plans to put ruffles along the bottom to snaz it up. i took it out ot the bag and realized how absolutely boring it was with the yarn i was using. i am not even going to check in with her. she needs a much snazzier scarf then this yarn will be able to provide. three down.

the bag holding the diagonal scarf out of blue chunky frog tree is once again accompaning me everywhere to be knit at whatever function i am at. though it looks more like a stole than a scarf, it is knitting up so well and looks so beautiful i am anxious to wear it AND free the needles.

and then there are the orange socks. though they don't get dragged about they are being worked on. i am proud to say i turned my first heel last night! now if i can only figure out how to pick up stitches. i better soon since i plan on knitting more socks for christmas! one bag left.

the bag with the pink summer skirt. this is the one that will probably languish around the longest. the hope of knitting this up so it could be worn for indian summer is not happening. not just because i ripped out two and half inches of knitting and started the skirt all over again, but because indian summer in the san francisco bay area does not seem to be occuring this year. so this can be my breather project. an easy, mindless knit that can be done inbetween all the deadline knitting.

now watch indian summer start tomorrow!

Friday, September 22, 2006

the gala

last week i was knitting my socks off.

my work place had a big 60th anniversary celebration this past weekend with dinner, dancing and a silent auction. i volunteered to donate a knitted stole with hopes the local LYS would donate the yarn in exchange for being mentioned in the program, donors list, etc., which they gracisously decided to do.

the original plan was to knit up the feathery lace stole from exquisite little knits. i picked out this lovely deep lavender sports weight alpalca yarn from frog tree yarns that was just divine. a little heavier than the mohair called for in the book, but i thought i would see how it knitted up. i was ready to adjust the pattern as necessary. so i did a few swatches, figured out what needle size i needed and cast on. the pattern is pretty simple, nothing i have not done before but for some reason i could not get past row three without having a extra stitch here or there throwing off the pattern. i spent the first two days casting on, knitting two or three rows, finding a flaw, unknitting, ripping out, casting on, knitting two or three rows, finding a flaw... i could have gone on like this until i got it right except for the fact i had to finish this piece QUICKLY!

so late one night, or early one morning, they intermingle a bit, i decided to put aside the lac
e stole for a quick knit shawl. i pulled out an oak couture pattern i had knitted previously and knew to be easy and quick. and easy and quick it was. i was knitting up to the last minute but the shawl came out lovely. it is just a triangular shawl with a yarn over edging. very simple but out of the lavendar alpaca, soft, warm and elegant. and it sold for $60. i was glad it had found an appreciative home. and doubly glad the buyer did not notice how one end had that frayed look of being ripped out to many times!

Friday, September 01, 2006

it's just k2p1

so, on the whole it has been a good week...weathering the transition between summer and school for two high schoolers who approach early mornings very differently; juggling the logistics of who needs to be where when and how will they get there; as well as balancing all that goes on at the paying job of two parental units has been busy, but on the whole, good.

i was off work last week so was able to spend friday afternoon at the LYS, a true treat. i had jumped off the precipice and agreed to teach beginning knitting if a beginning knitting teacher was needed. so when i walked in friday to discover a bkt was actually needed for the very next day i tried not to panic. and it ended up going very well. pat, the student, was a real fun gal who had a basic understanding of knitting. she learned alot, laughed alot and ended up having a good time, looking forward to her next lesson. so that was good.

i spent sunday madly finishing the shawl i was making for a friend. and that went well. besides the fact the color was real orange, and i keep forgetting to take pictures of my finished knitting projects before i give them away, my friend absolutely loved her gift and had fun showing it off to everyone at work. so that was good.

but then it came to my sweet friend's pink tennis skirt. since i had finished the shawl, the next projects in the line up was a shell for me and a skirt for her. i had finally found the correct gauge for my shell. so i just needed to swatch hers. so i swatched. and swatched. and swatched. found the gauge and even cast on. except i had gotten used to using crystal palace circulars and was working with clovers. the cotton yarn of her skirt dragged on the clovers; i found myself pratically fighting every stitch. so, late one night/early one morning, after finishing the second row of 186 stitches of k2p1, i ripped it out. next day, went to the LYS and started to swatch on some crystal palace needles. and of course, the gauge was different. same needle size, different gauge. on the verge of not being good. easier knitting though, which was good. so i bought two cp needle sizes i did not have and went home to continue swatching. finally found the gauge on the same size needles i was planning to use for my shell. since i am to frugal to buy two pairs of the same size needle, the shell moves back to the line up and i start her skirt with the hope i can finish it in time for her to be able to wear it to school during the last of the warm season.

now i have done ribbing. i rib quite a bit in sock making. so when this pattern called for 2 inches of k2p1 ribbing, i thought, no problem. i can rib. but for some reason i can't. i can't get this k2p1 rib. i knit merrily along, then take a look at my knitting to find in some places i have k2p2 and in some places i have k2p1! so backwards i knit to correct the mistakes. just to find i have done them again! and again! and yet again! very early this morning, i was on the verge of ripping the whole thing out and once again starting from scratch, when the calm, less emotional voice whispered in my ear that my perspective may change if i slept on it and took a look at the ribbing later. and miracuoulsy i actually listened to the calm, less emotional voice, gathered up yarns and needles and put them in the bag to be looked at rationally in the daylight. it may not be today's daylight, but it will be some days' daylight.

until then, i may take a look at some more shawl patterns.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

the slippery poncho

i have been working on my daughter's poncho since late spring. the pattern is quite easy. a bunch of yarn overs and k2tog. no problem, really. except for the yarn.

she picked this lovely to look at ribbon type yarn that verigates from pink to green with globs of glitter spaced at regular intervals. it snagged on my crystal palace bamboo needles; it snagged on my hangnails; it snagged on it's fellow glitter globs. needless to say, knitting it has been quite the challenge. except that it looks great knitted up. it will make a beautiful poncho, albeit a snaggy one. and it will look great on her.

about a month ago, i dropped a stitch. it was an amazing reaction. it was like watching a run in a stocking, it just took off and didn't stop. the stitch just kept slipping farther and farther down. i sat there amazed that in a blink of an eye i lost about 5 inches of knitting. and then i panicked. i picked up the dropped stitch and wove it back up to the needle as well as i could, just so it would stop slipping. the next day i took it to my LYS. the master knitter there fixed it rather quickly, i thought, and i was off and knitting again.

until last week, when once again i dropped a stitch. and again it ran. i almost had it reasonably fixed until i fiddled with it to much and it wasn't fixed. so i left it for a week and picked it up again tonight. ended up ripping another 5 or 6 inches out, getting it back on the needle and having it look like a train ran through it in different places. sigh.

so tomorrow i will take it back to the master knitter at my LYS, have her chuckle at me while, hopefully, fixing it so i can be up and knitting again. and though i would like to be DONE with this poncho, i will have to patiently and mindfully knit it, in hopes there will be no more mishaps and my beautiful girl will soon be able to wear it.

until then, i think i'll have a cup of tea and work on that shawl.

Friday, August 18, 2006

the elusive search

well, i am on to the next step.

up to now i was an accessories knitter...shawls, scarves, items where gauge did not matter, except for a pair of socks that are still on the needles after 4 months. but i have taken the big leap. i am making myself a shell. which means i have to be on gauge. which is being a bit elusive.

the pattern says, 5 stitches to the inch on size us5 needles; the yarn says, 5 stitches to the inch on size us5 needles; the swatch says 7 1/4 stitches to the inch on size us5 needles! oy vey! so i try size us6 needles, size us4 needles (what was i thinking!), size us7, the list goes on. but at size us9 i may be getting it. the swatch is more relaxed, it drapes a bit differently, it is not quite as uptight as it was at size us5.

so i may find 5 stitches to the inch fairly soon. until then, i think i'll knit a nice shawl.