WOLLMEISE!!

2010-10-07 02:32:00 +0000

I apologize for not posting. My apology comes with a picture of my Wollmeise haul and my stupid cat. That's Yarneater. Notice how she is lurking. She's an awful cat.

Not a whole lot is going on knit-wise right now. I'm working on a scarf for a friend that is taking for-ev-er. Um. That's really it.

I really need to knit more so I actually have something to blog about...

Cold Sheep

2010-09-16 02:31:00 +0000

I did something stupid. Something vastly, horribly, fantastically stupid. I made a bet. With Jason. About yarn.

Some of you can see where this is going. Those of you who can are probably already laughing.

See, it all began in Germany...

While on my honeymoon overseas I made the happy discovery that in Germany, there are yarn shop EVERYWHERE. And I mean that. We were there for just shy of two weeks, and we went into a total of nine yarn shops. Only one of them was intentional. (Wollmeise, but that is deserving of a blog post all its own.)

I thought it was interesting to see the differences between German yarn shops and American yarn shops. Shops in America are bigger, and tend to carry a little bit of a lot of things. German shops (at least I noticed from the ones I went into) were much smaller on the average, and didn't seem to carry as much variety. The biggest difference that struck me was that yarn shops in America seem to encourage knitters to go in and just hang out. I have yet to go into an American shop that doesn't have some assortment of chairs or sofas, more likely than not filled with some number of knitters just hanging out and doing their thing. None of the shops in Germany had any seating for customers inside. I'm still not quite sure why that was, but I thought it was an interesting difference.

The other happy discovery I made regarding knitting and Germany was that German yarn is way cheaper than yarn in the US. Of course, the yarns that were cheaper were mostly yarns manufactured in Germany, so I suppose it makes sense. All I know is I scored several skeins of ONline and Zauberballe for the equivalent of 50% off. And Wollmeise, of course. But that is deserving of a post of its own.

Amid all this craziness of abundant yarn shops and cheap yarn, I ended up making this phenomenally stupid bet. For the life of me, I can't remember exactly how it came up. All I remember is I was in Rothenberg ob der Tauber, clutching a bag stuffed full of cheap yarn, and telling my husband that I could go six months withuot buying yarn. I know, I know. I don't know what happened either.

Well, that was in August. The bet officially started in the beginning of September, and I'm now just over two weeks into it. There's not much actually riding on it (the winner gets treated to a fancy dinner out at the restaurant of their choosing) but it's still a bet, and I still want to win, if for no other reason than to prove to myself that I can say I'll do something and actually stick to it! Abandoned KALs aside, I want to show that I can follow through with something I say I'm going to do.

So far I've been doing quite well. Mostly because I haven't really had time to do much knitting, between starting a new job and having work done on the house. I've finished a pair of socks and a shawlette, and I'm about halfway through the second of the abandoned fingerless mitts that I really need to get finished up for my awesome friend. I have a couple of larger projects planned that will hopefully carry me through the bulk of the Cold Sheep time. (two afghans and a sweater)

The really awful time is going to come around Christmas when I'll have a little bit of money that is all mine to spend with no strings or guilty feelings attached to. Maybe I'll save my Wollmeise for that. :)

In the meantime, I need to get my shawlette blocked and photographed, and my socks photographed. Hopefully my next post will have some pretty pretty pictures.

i'm not dead

2010-09-10 03:05:00 +0000

I promise. Nor have I forgotten how to type, nor has my computer been kidnapped by evil computer-stealing aliens who have an irrational hatred for blogging. Although if the latter did happen, then I would have a very cool post ready to put up if/when I ever managed to get my compter back.

And for once my lack of posting doesn't stem from sheer laziness. I know, right?! Crazy!

And speaking of crazy, that pretty much sums up my life right now. A great big ball of crazy. Not all of it is the bad sort of crazy, but it's certainly not all the good sort of crazy either. Mostly it's just hectic. And, well, crazy.

I promise promise promise (see! a triple promise! I'm really serious!) that I will start posting again soon. I've got a lot to blog about, and I'm thinking that breaking it up into multiple smaller posts might be more doable than trying to hammer out one massive post. We'll see how that plan goes.

But for now, I'm still here. And still knitting!

Fo!

2010-07-23 01:41:00 +0000

I've been on something of a finishing streak lately. I finished my Saroyan, and my Tardis Cowl.
Saroyan first! I knit it up in Malabrigo Twist in Taureg. Now, my love affair with Malabrigo is a long and happy one. Malabrigo Sock is lovely and soft and drapy. The worsted is soft and fuzzy and warm. But oh, the Twist! It's so soft and squishy and the colors are lovely and I never want to knit with another yarn ever again! I want to make a great big blanket out of it and snuggle underneath it and never come out.
I had some measure of problems with this project. (surprise, surprise, yeah?) Accidentally left this sitting out one night and my stupid cats got ahold of it. Woke up to find yarn all over the floor of the bedroom, yarn leading out into the hall and down the stairs, yarn all over the downstairs of the house. Let me tell you, you don't really comprehend just how much yardage comes in a skein of yarn until you see it all spread out like that. Of course, then came the epic detangling session, during with Yarneater and Kleptocat continued to try to make off with it.
Because they'd eaten part of it, my estimations for when I needed to start the decreases were off and I ran out of yarn two repeats early. But I threw in some extra decreases then bound off early and the difference between the two ends is hardly noticeable when it's worn, so I'm satisfied.

I can't wait until it gets cool enough to wear it. It's way too heavy to get away with wearing now. Sigh.
Then I also finished my Tardis Cowl. I was a bit nervous to knit a cowl. I'd never made one before and wasn't sure if it was something I'd actually wear. Now that I've finished it, I'm so in love with it. Knit up in Malabrigo Sock in Persia. The buttons I bought came from Natural Stitches here in Pittsburgh.

Now I'm working on my silk shawl made in bribe yarn. It's so lovely, and I wish I could afford to knit in silk all the time. Knitting it on Knitpicks Options is something of a recipe for insanity, but I'm managing, and the finished shawl (so far) is well worth a little effort. Mmmm, silk.

ketchup!

2010-07-11 22:36:00 +0000

I really need to be better about blogging. I mean it this time. Really. Aw, hell, who am I kidding?

I've been in something of a knitting slump lately, which, quite logically, means that I've also been lacking in motivation to post in my blog about (*gasp!*) knitting! Since my triumph over the evil Quadrat, I've finished a grand total of.... one project.
Not to fear, however, I have also started a whopping six others. Yep, still me, still living down to expectations.
Project the first: Sweater! I picked up a few balls of James C. Bretty Marble Chunky in the rather lovely and subdued colorway Lichen. I got the fantastic idea into my head that I would knit a sweater without a pattern. Honestly, what could go wrong? I had this pretty mental image of a loose, comfy sweater I could throw on when I got chilly, and it would be soft and pretty and comfy and I would love it forever. I used my measurements to calculate my increases and decreases, and because I'm an idiot who didn't allow for any ease, the thing fits me like a second skin. But it's okay, really, because it's cute and has shaping, and my mental image of the finished sweater adjusted. Then I came to the sleeves. And because I'm also a lazy idiot, I decided I'd just knit them straight because I didn't feel like doing math. Did the first, and it looked like crap and fit like crap, so I ripped it out, and there my poor sleeveless sweater sits to this day, begging for sleeves. But by now, of course, it's the height of summer and I just don't feel like working on something I can't wear for months yet.
Project the second: Fingerless gloves for a friend. I started the first, and had to keep pausing to have him try them on. First one is now finished, second is cast on, I'm just lacking the motivation to keep going on it because, ya know, the whole summer thing makes me not want to work on winter stuff.
Project the third: Saroyan wrap. Bandwagon knitting for the win! This project actually started out with no small amount of promise. Knit in Malabrigo Twist in the colorway Taureg, it was fantastic. I loved the pattern, I loved the yarn, I loved knitting it. Then I left it out one night and Yarneater and Kleptocat got ahold of it. Let me just say this: you don't fully comprehend just how much yardage is contained in two skeins of yarn until you see said skeins of yarn spread out all over your floor. Both upstairs and downstairs floors. Yow. Saroyan, after an epic detangling session, is now sitting in timeout because, despite carefully calculating how many repeats I could get per skein, and the assurance that Other People on Ravelry made it with far less yarn than I started out with, I have three leaf repeats left, and quite definitely not enough yarn to finish it with. I'm not sure why I'm procrastinating on this. It's not as if waiting will make more yarn magically appear.
Project the fourth: Triangle shawl. Years ago I was given a skein of Artyarns Silk Rhapsody in an attempt to win back my friendship and support. (It was a rather good attempt, too. Any of you out there who would also like to buy my love, please take note.) Because it's much more expensive than any other yarn I've ever bought for myself, it spent quite a bit of time languishing on my shelf while I waffled on what exactly I would do with it. I eventually decided on a simply triangle shawl with yarn-over increases. This yarn is so fantastic, why hide it with a pattern? This one I'm actually savoring rather than procrastinating on. I'm only working on this when I'm in a good mood,because I want to have only positive memories attached to the finished project. (Unlike pretty much everything else I've ever made.)
Project the fifth: Socks! I started them, I lost interest halfway through the second pattern repeat. Same old story.
Project the sixth: Because I apparently am a glutton for punishment, and as if I didn't already have enough on my proverbial plate, I joined a KAL for the very lovely Tilting Tardis Cowl. We all know my track record with KALs, but I'm enjoying this one so far. I don't want to jinx myself, but this may be the one I actually finish! Fingers crossed!
Aaaaand if you made it through all that rambling, I feel that I should reward you with some pretty pictures. This is my one and only finished object. I modified the crap out of another Dane Shawl, and I'm really happy with the results. Yarn is Malabrigo Sock in colorway Persia. I ran out of yarn two and a half rows from the end, and ended up having to buy a second skein. I know, I know, having to buy more Malabrigo, how did I ever cope with such a tragedy?? But fear not, the remains of the second skein are slowly but steadily becoming my Tardis Cowl, and it looks lovely so far. I need more pics of my WIPs.
Anyhow, this shawl will soon find a new home with my very lovely mother-in-law, just as soon as I can get my lazy butt to a post office. Or the next time I'm in Tampa, whichever comes first.
All in all, I'm very pleased with how it turned out. Now to finish more things, and hopefully blog about my adventures knitting them!

quadrat

2010-04-07 05:52:00 +0000

I fiiiiinally finished my Quadrat. Finally finally finally. Like, this sucker is blocked, ends are woven in, and EVERYTHING!!

And! Most exciting of all! IT ACTUALLY FITS!!

Now I've started another sweater. Plain, top-down raglan in chunky yarn. After this cabledy madness, I needed something blessedly mindless. This definitely fulfills that. Mmmm, stockinette.

Ravelympics and other things I should have blogged about a month ago...

2010-03-27 06:05:00 +0000

Seriously. I fail at blogging. I don't know what the hell my problem with it is. I enjoy blogging, I just never do it. Le sigh.

So. In addition to failing at blogging, I also fail at Ravelympics. I came really darn close, though, and if several key things hadn't gone wrong (mostly my inability to follow a frigging pattern, but also a feline-related incident which was most certainly Not My Fault) I definitely would have finished. So while I don't get to claim success, the experience did teach me one very important lesson:

Monogamous knitting can be magical.

Yeah, that's right. I said it. I knit a sweater in a little over two and a half weeks. That's impressive for me. Really impressive. Like, scary-crazy-bust-out-the-party-hats impressive.

What's even more impressive is the sweater actually came out good. Like, really awesome I'm-not-ashamed-to-send-this-off-to-my-mother good. See??


Yeah, I wasn't making that up.

My knitting self esteem is at an all-time high.

I'm also chugging away at my Quadrat. I've got about 40 rows left on the sleeve, then blocking and seaming which will be a walk in the fucking park after all these rows of cabledy death. I've got high hopes of finishing it up this weekend.

Then April is going to be my WIP-wrasslin' month. I plan to get several of my larger outstanding projects finished up so I can start off my summer knitting with a clear conscience.

Along those same lines, I also spent most of the remainder of my Xmas money on yarn today. (and I actually kept to my resolution of not buying more than one new skein for every two I use up from the stash!) I picked up two skeins of Malabrigo Twist in Taureg, two skeins of Dream in Color Classy in November Muse, and one skein of Malabrigo sock in Persia. AND I have projects in mind for all of them! The twist will become a wrap for me, the Classy will be a cropped sweater, and the Malabrigo sock with become a shawlette for my mother-in-law.

For now I'm going to wander off back to my Quadrat. Almost there!

Ravelympics: Day Whatever

2010-02-21 18:38:00 +0000

So, I've been a bad blogger. I intended to update more about my Ravelympics project, but I ended up getting so frustrated with the damned thing that I could barely stand to keep working on it, much less tell others about it.

So, here's where we're at now:

Pretty decent progress, yeah? I anticipate knitting most of the remaining lace section today, and finishing it up along with the garter stitch border along the bottom by tomorrow (or Tuesday at the very latest) which leaves me most of next week to do the sleeves.

I feel very confident that I can finish it, especially considering that I lost three and a half days of knitting time to my own stupidity and lack of reading comprehension skills. I guess I should start at the beginning...

So, using my own bizarre logic and reasoning, I somehow came to the conclusion that knitting size XS at my smaller-than-specified gauge on my larger-than-suggested needles was indeed the right thing to do. In my defense, I knit tightly so I do generally have to go up a needle size or two to get the correct gauge. Well, clearly I miscalculated. After dividing for the arms and knitting a few inches, I tried it on. And crappity crapfuck, if I'd kept knitting I wouldn't have been able to give it to my mother as planned; I would have had to find someone whose arms are the same width as their torso. Needless to say, that doesn't fit a human being of any proportions, so I had to rip back.

I then spent the next day and a half ripping, picking up stitches, knitting for a bit, realizing I immediately divided for sleeves instead of knitting more, ripping, picking up, knitting, realizing I forgot to place third buttonhole, ripping, picking up stitches, etc etc etc ad nauseum.

Finally got it back on track by Thursday, after creating the strange lovechild of sizes XS and XXS and have been happily slogging through the mindless repetition of the torso. I really do enjoy this pattern and would love to make another one for myself. The lace is pretty but easily memorized, the sweater itself is coming out warm and squooshy, and even though it's a pain in the ass to switch skeins every two rows, so far the Malabrigo hasn't thrown any drastic color variations at me.

For the first time since I started this thing, I'm beginning to think that (barring me being an idiot and screwing up again) I'm actually going to finish this on time! Fingers crossed!

Ravelympics: Day 1

2010-02-14 02:14:00 +0000

So, believe it or not, I've actually got a decent start on this! I'm already worlds ahead of where I was for NaKniSweMo, but we won't talk about that.

I had my pattern all picked out.

I bought the appropriate amount of yarn.

My yarn is wound into balls. (hehe, balls...)

I swatched. Well, sort of. (okay, now this is sounding familiar) I knit a bit and it was coming out too small, so I'm knitting the next size up and it should be fine. I hope. Gauge swatches lie, anyhow.

I cast on during the opening ceremonies last night, and got a couple of hours in. I've put in a couple more hours so far today, and while it is driving home the fact that yes, I do knit slow as hell, I'm actually making decent headway on this. I'm about halfway through the raglan increases, whee!

Also, Malabrigo is soft and squishy and I think I never want to knit with anything else ever again. I loves it, even if it is kind of a pain in the ass to switch skeins every couple of rows. Most of the balls look like they're pretty close to the skein, but I have one that's sort of lighter and one that's noticeably darker despite the fact that I sat in the LYS for fifteen minutes comparing skeins of Burgundy and trying to pick the five that matched the best. I started with the lightest and the darkest in the hopes that the garter section would help to further disguise the dissimilarity in color, and it seems to be working so far.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this progresses well. I'm hoping to be done with the yoke by Monday, then done with the torso by the following Monday, which would leave me two days each for the sleeves, and two more days to do any finishing and blocking. When I first started, I thought there was no way I'd actually finish it in time, but now that I've got some amount of it done, I'm feeling optimistic again!

excuses, excuses

2010-02-08 01:01:00 +0000

So, I meant to blog more often. Really, I actually meant it this time. And then I got sick, and have spent the last week and a half fighting off what has to be the worst cold in the history of people getting colds. I've done a fair amount of knitting, and not much else.

I finished my socks.


And, yep, they fit perfectly. I didn't really follow a pattern for them, just cast on a few stitches more than I had for my 48-hour vacation socks. I almost wish that when I recklessly cast on for crap it wouldn't work out, because then I maybe wouldn't be encouraged to do it anymore. Instead, I go "well it worked out last time, it'll be find!" And sometimes that leads to massive, massive disappointment.

I've also been working on my Quadrat again. It seems to be more-or-less behaving itself. I'm up to the neckline, now. So... about a third of the way through it, if yarn usage is anything to go by. Exciting!

I'm also gearing up for the Ravelympics, which is also exciting. I'm going to attempt a February Lady Sweater. In, erm, 16 days? That should be fun. Or crazy. Or another chance to be laughed at for not even casting on. Right.

socks!

2010-01-25 03:23:00 +0000

I'm knitting a pair of socks from an aran weight yarn. I started them late Friday night and am already at the heel turn on the second sock. (and I've been particularly lazy with knitting this weekend, too!)

I may never knit socks out of fingering weight yarn again.

Erm, at least until I set eyes on something pretty and then just omfg have to have it. Because that pretty much always happens.

Sweater is still in time-out on the mantle. I'm going to tackle it when I'm on the high I'll get after finishing a pair of socks in a weekend. That's the plan. What could go wrong?

Uh, don't answer that.

happy post!

2010-01-22 06:57:00 +0000

So far 2010 is off to a rather good start. Let's review what I've done so far!

--Case for my netbook.


I'm rather pleased with how it turned out. I designed it myself, just by doing a rough gauge swatch and some quick math (which for once I didn't botch!) Big rectangle, with a droste pattern of alternating knits and purls on the front side. I used Lion Brand Hometown USA yarn for it, which is a super bulky acrylic, which is thick and smooshy enough to make an effective case.

--Mittens!

Do you remember a while ago when I went nuts for mittens and queued fifty bajillion patterns for mittens and then proceeded to not knit any of them? Well, this pattern isn't any of those patterns. But it is mittens, so I do feel that's a step in the right direction, at least.

They're actually the mittens that Bella (supposedly) wears in Twilight. I wouldn't know because I refuse to watch it, at least without several sarcastic friends and copious amounts of alcohol. Since that opportunity has yet to present itself, I've managed to abstain from the Robert Pattinson / Twilight mania thus far.

In light of my deep and profound dislike of Twilight, it's not unexpected that I swore to myself that I'd never knit these mittens, no matter how pretty I may think they are. However, I kept seeing them around Ravelry. And then I started seeing them around my LYS. And my obsession grew. Then I came to the horrifying realization that I had yarn sitting in my stash that would be perfect for them. And so here they are. Don't judge me.

--Lastly, I knit a little something for my kitty. See how much she likes it? Squee!

The reason I took the time to knit all these things when I could be working on my Quadrat is that my Quadrat is evil. EVIL.

I know, I know. My sweater is being mean to me. Huge shock. I know.

So. I swatched. Yep, actually swatched, not my usual method of half-assedly knitting a bit and going "eh, close enough!" I knit the ENTIRE square, and then I washed and blocked it, and measured again. Came out bang-on, so I started my sweater.

First off, let me say that the cable cast-on is the devil.

So are sweaters that come with SIX DIFFERENT FRIGGING CHARTS. I knit about thirty rows of the cabling before realizing that I'd switched charts B and D, and the cabling was coming out upside down and generally looked like crap. Before going through the trouble of dropping and reknitting those sections, on a whim I measured....

And.... wait for it....

My fucking gauge is fucking off. It's not coming out smaller, as one would assume with cabling and ribbing. No, it's coming out BIGGER.

So I rip, and start reknitting, and ten rows later I realize I've actually been knitting with one size 7 and one size 8 on my interchangeable circs. Rip, start again. I'm almost done with the sleeve, and I realize that I've made one very made mistake when I ripped. I was so obsessed with not having to cast on 110 stitches with the aforementioned cable cast-on that I didn't rip the nine rows of garter stitch. Which had to be knit in a smaller needle size. Since I went down a needle size, now the cable section and the garter sections are now knit in the same needle size.

Now, the cable section draws in, as cabling/ribbing is wont to do. Which means the garter section is now slightly wider than the cable section, and is now puckery. Which means I get to figure out a way to unravel that section and pick up all 110 stitches and reknit. Because I'm sure as hell not starting this sucker over AGAIN.

Stay tuned for further adventures. I'm sure they're coming.

off to a good start!

2010-01-03 10:30:00 +0000

So, 2010... so far so good! I've been super-productive knittingwise. It's kind of exciting!

Started off the new year by organizing my queue on Ravelry. It was already fairly organized to begin with, but I added tabs for easier searching, and moved my next month's worth of projects to the top with added descriptions, plans for what yarns to use, and finish-by dates.

I've (brace yourselves, now...) knit up a gauge swatch for Quadrat. Yes, a real gauge swatch. An actualy4"x4" square with a cute little garter border. And I'm going to wash it and everything, just like I'm supposed to. I know, I know. I'm kind of shocked too.

I've started on my first project of 2010: a case for my netbook. I'm about halfway through with the knitting portion, and then it just needs to be lined. I found the cutest fabric for that, stay tuned for pictures.

And, most excitingly, I've knit about three inches on the leg of Jason's socks. Remember those? The ones I started once upon a time and then shoved in a drawer and forgot about for a couple months? Yeah, those! Maybe I'll even finish the pair of them before springtime!

Let's hope I can keep this ball rolling!

happy new year

2010-01-01 02:12:00 +0000

Yep, it's that time again! Sitting back for a moment and reflecting back upon the last year. It's been a big one for me -- bought my first house, adopted a couple of beautiful Siamese kittens, got married... It's been a year of milestones for me.

I thought it'd been a big year for me knitwise as well, but I was surprised to learn that I was actually far less productive than I was last year.

2009 saw:
--22 total finished projects
--5961 yards of yarn used up

As compared to 2008...

--24 finished projects
--9,979 yards of yarn used up

I'd only finished two more projects in 2008, and for a minute I didn't feel so bad, until I realized that 3 of my 2008 projects were crocheted afghans. Yikes. I blame it on the fact that what with moving into my new house I lost a lot of knitting time. And the fact that I've just been lazy...

So, resolutions...

1. Keep more organized in all aspects of my life. Need to keep more on top of housework, and keep my knitting and yarn more organized.

2. I need to be far more productive knittingwise. I have several large WIPs I need to get done, and I have some projects I've had planned out forever that I'd like to finish up as well.

3. I want to work through at least half my stash this year. No more buying yarn I don't have a project in mind for, and I'm only allowing myself to buy one skein of yarn for every two I work though from my stash. Realistically, as long as I can get my stash to fit comfortably on its shelf I'll be happy.

4. I want to work on my writing more this year. I want to have my book finished by summer, and ideally have a good chunk of the first in the trilogy rewritten.

5. I want to read more. For some reason I've stopped reading as much as I used to and I really want to get back to that.

Here's to hoping 2010 is even better than last year!

minor update

2009-12-29 07:47:00 +0000

Onerva is done done done! It's currently pinned out, blocking. It's nearly dry, so hopefully tomorrow there will be some picture-taking before it goes off to its new home with Sarah. I'm so excited over this project -- the pattern is simple but elegant, and the yarn is just gorgeous. Hopefully she likes it as much as I liked making it.

Because I already got my yarn in, and because I'm an impatient little so-and-so, I started my Quadrat.

By which I mean I swatched.

Erm, by which I mean I started to knit my little 4"x4" square, lost interest halfway through, went "eh, I'm not quite getting gauge but the smallest size is going to be slightly too large for me so I'm just going to say it's close enough!" and started to cast on.

However, Quadrat outmaneuvered me. See, I knew I shouldn't be casting on because the reason I bought the yarn for this to knit it NOW is so that I could participate in a KAL for it. And casting on before the KAL begins sort of defeats the point of doing a frigging KAL in the first place. Well, Quadrat told me to cast on 110 stitches using a cable cast on.

The Cable Cast-On, ladies and gents, is the work of the devil at his finest. I thought that casting on in general was a pain in the ass. I thought that knitting lace was a form of torture. I thought that Intarsia was up there with dancing barefoot on hot coals and broken glass. The Cable Cast-On, my friends, puts them all to shame. I think I made it about ten stitches before the whole thing got so tight that I could barely cast on the next stitch, and then I thought about knitting that first row and how horrible that would be if it was already this tight just casting on. Ripped it out, started again.

Rinse and repeat about half a dozen times before I stuffed the whole mess into a bag and shoved the bag under my bed, and sat down to work a few blessedly mind-numbingly simple rounds on the leg Jason's sock.

Maybe in the meantime I'll actually swatch like I should...