31 January 2007

Some adorableness to distract us

I'm joining some KALs (Kidsilk and A Sweater a Month, so far) and found this pattern when exploring what various members have been up to.

Ruby Slippers for the wee set - how adorable! The first pic in the entry is hysterical.

I'm thinking about a cowl/hood/smoke ring thing for my new skein of KSH. I'm on the hunt for a good lace pattern that will work in the round, stretch my abilities a little, but not make me crazy. Any ideas?

Spenser's still missing

That's our pup, Spenser. If you've seen him, please get in touch with us or contact Gloucester Animal Control. Thanks.

P.S. Knitting content: I drove by Woolcott & Co. yesterday on my way to pick up Isobel, and there was a parking space RIGHT in front. Since I had a few minutes, I bought a skein of Kidsilk Haze in Candy Girl. No idea what I'll do with it, but it was just too luscious and cheery to pass up.

30 January 2007

DELAY: IMOnday: Yarns in the Farms, Beverly Farms, Massachusetts

I'm sorry to have to delay my review of my (tipping my hand, here) favorite yarn store, but Spenser, our sweet, gorgeous, but not terribly bright English Setter, ran off from the dogwalker yesterday during an off-leash stroll at the Goose Cove Reservoir, and we're still looking for him. Please keep him in your thoughts, as it was 13ยบ last night in Gloucester.

I'll try to do the review later this week, since I even have pictures of the shop.

29 January 2007

Weekend knitting

One muppet head down, three to go. The first one is a Fun Fur rainbow colorway. I've got purple, pink, and a crazy Moda Dea fun fur and loopy double-strand in the wings. If you're interested in participating and need yarn, A.C. Moore is having a fun fur sale this week.

I also finished a cabled footie from One Skein in bright pink Cascade 220 Superwash. The other one is cast on but I've only had a chance to do one repeat. I think they might be a little big, but that's probably OK. Think I might be able to make a pair for Peter out of a more manly color.

27 January 2007

Done and done

I cast off Grandma's shawl last night. That Marmalade colorway is soooo luscious. And then I washed it with some lavender Eucalan. I like the Kookabura wash but am such a lavender girl. The best thing (at the end of a project, anyway) about Kidsilk Haze is how quickly it dries. By this morning the shawl was ready to curl up in. I'm going to send it to Grandma on Monday. Maybe I'll even get a picture before it goes.

What next? I stopped by Windsor Button (watch for a review next month) yesterday and picked up some Cascade 220 Superwash for a pair of the cabled footies from One Skein, as well as a couple of skeins of Fun Fur for Kate's Chemo Caps. Then I have yarn for Fetchings, a hat for Peter, and a sweater for Isobel, amongst many other skeins, of course.

But have you seen these cable purses? Very nice.


I started a fun fur hat and a cabled footie. We'll see how long it takes to complete them. Needles on fire!

26 January 2007

So close!

Just a few more rows for Grandma's shawl, and then I'll have to send it out to Illinois. Three skeins of Kidsilk Haze on your lap is so amazing. And I have another three in a taupey colorway that are waiting for the right pattern, perhaps Wing o' the Moth.

Confession: I ordered some yarn in my first group buy from 100purewool. Very exciting! I chose some bulky Corriedale for a hat project (Undyed, Springtime, Ocean, Rosado, and mmmmmmm Celeste - that last one might be for me), a skein of the merino laceweight in blue knots (now that Handpaintedyarn no longer seems to offer their laceweight merino) for some sort of shawl, some of the worsted merino in Sky for a sweater for me (top-down raglan, I think, with ribs, perhaps), and a couple of skeins of the worsted in Pasionaria for a Minisweater.

Luckily, all that will take a while to get here so I can work on some stash busting: Fetchings for me, a ribbed hat for Peter, and a sweater for Isobel, I think. Then there is that Hourglass Sweater in Schaeffer yarn to think about. And the Slouchy Cardigan from Greetings from Knit Cafe in ??? What yarn? They used Twisted Sisters Alpaca, I think. Maybe Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca & Silk? I heart that yarn.

Oy, I still have all that boucle calling out to be a sweater, but I'm going to have to write up a pattern and do schematics and measure for that one. I should figure it out though and get started.

Did you catch that? My knitting book diet was blown. I bought Greetings from Knit Cafe after talking about the Slouchy Cardi with a friend. And there are a couple of other things in there worth making: the Alpaca & Silk Beret, that lacy mohair shawl, and a few others I'm spacing on. It's a nice book

25 January 2007


The sweater was dry enough to wear yesterday, so I closed it up with a vintage sparkler from my great aunt and went to work and Knit Night in my creation. I'm very pleased with how the sweater turned out, though I still need to figure out a permanent closure solution, as the pin had pulled on the points of the sweater by the end of the day.

Knit Night was fun, and I finished my second square for the blankie - as mentioned earlier it was a Van Dyke lace pattern that looked like little hearts. Just a little twinge after knitting with the cotton again. I think it might be a summertime fiber for me. Man, I'm getting old.

Have you seen the preview for the new Interweave Knits? I think I'll buy this issue! Socks from Eunny and Grumperina, some great-looking sweaters from Stephanie Japel (Glampyre), Kate Gilbert, and a beautiful shrug from Pam Allen. Where to start?!?

I'm wearing a long-sleeved shrug I knit up over the holiday break today, but I think it needs alteration. It's basically two rectangles (well, I did increases every so often). Each is one skein (165 yds) of Handpaintedyarn's Merino Bulky (six-ply). I kept the stitches live at the end of the first one and then Kitchener Stitched it to the second (good practice). Some ribbing at the cuffs, and I seamed up from each end about 15". Easy, peasy. But it does this bulgy thing around my shoulder blades. I'm thinking of picking up and knitting a ribbed collar/hem around the opening, since I have another skein of yarn. Oh, I really like the colorway (Paris Rose), though they don't seem to have it in stock any more.

I'll write up a shrug recipe when I figure out what more needs to be done on this one. They're dead easy and can be done a few different ways (knit a big rectangle and sew up from either end to make sleeves, knit in the round and then flat and then in the round again, Kitchener two rectangles together or do a three-needle bindoff).

P.S. Jill (and anyone else looking for help on installing a sweater in your cardi), check out Bonne Marie's zipper tutorial!

23 January 2007


Coming up in the next few weeks: Yarns in the Farms, Windsor Button, and Arbella Yarns.

Check in with Purly in Gloucester for all your Greater Boston area yarn shop review needs!

Dry, already!

Still not dry.

Still. Not. Dry.

Well, as of dinnertime last night, anyway. I couldn't bring myself to check it this morning. It had better be dry tomorrow or ... I'll just ... have to wait. I want to wear the sweater tomorrow to Knit Night at Yarns in the Farms, even though I haven't figured out how I'm going to close up the cardigan.

I'm totally obsessed with ribbon ties on sweaters at the moment!

  • Jenna Adorno's Tempting - cute and easy
  • Rowena from Knit 2 Together
  • Oh mah gawd! How adorable are tenlittlefingers's coats?!? Wow. Be sure to check out the white jacket in the sold items. Adorable! And she's in Paris, no less. Le sigh

    So, how could I do ribbon closures on this cardigan? I think I'd probably have to add a buttonhole band or crochet on some loops (now that I'm so proficient at the crochet edge) for attaching the ribbon.

    I'm also obsessed with Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk. Lustre! Color! Silk! Alpaca! Oh, my pocketbook.
  • 22 January 2007

    IMOnday: Seed Stitch, Salem, Massachusetts

    Shop: Seed Stitch
    Location: 10 Front Street, Salem, MA 01970
    Telephone: 978.744.5557
    Website: seedstitchfineyarn.com
    Hours: OPEN: Tues-Sat: 11-5PM, Thursdays: 6-8PM (Community Knitting)
    Payment: Credit Cards Accepted

    I visited Seed Stitch for the third time on Sunday during their big sale. Apparently, they're moving a few doors away some time soon. Their current space is sort of long and narrow but full of light, which is good for the shop but not for items displayed (very attractively) in the windows. They have a long project table down the middle with chairs all around, sort of refectory style, as well as a couple of comfy chairs up front by the windows.

    Most of the yarn is on shelves on either side. Some skeins of sock yarn are displayed on dowels, and a pile of Mmmalabrigo is in a cool cart thing on the ground. They stock Cascade, Rowan, Jo Sharp, J Knits, Malabrigo, Debbie Bliss, and a few others I'm blanking on right now. They also have little bags of colored roving, a decent needle selection (Addis and Brittanys for the most part). Victoria, the owner, is very friendly and personable, and she has a handful of employees.

    While it's not the sort of place you're going to settle in to for the day, it is inviting and airy. The project table gives you space to figure things out, and I imagine it's a good set-up for a class. Be sure to check out the website for the class schedule. The book selection is pretty good, though most of them are spine-out on shelves, so you sort of have to know what you're looking for. Perhaps some are out on the project table when it isn't laden with sale yarn.

    The first time I went there, I had Isobel in tow, and the space proved to be quite child-friendly. The open space would even accommodate a stroller, though you'd have to get it up one (two?) step(s) to get in the door - the charm of old Salem, dontchaknow.

    The Art Director says, the logo for the store is colorful (chartreuse green and purple) and eye-catching. I like the font choice, having used it for our wedding paper trousseau back in the day. My only concern is that it's not the easiest thing to read, though it's not very difficult. It's elegant and a little different, which is good.

    Overall, Seed Stitch is a new-style yarn shop that should satisfy most knitters (no fun fur, folks).

    P.S. Can you believe I didn't buy anything at the sale? I walked around with some DB Astrakhan in my hands for a while but couldn't figure out what to do with it, since it's similar to the HPY Boucle sitting at home. I think I was still in Alpaca Sweater shock and not really ready to find the next big thing.

    P.P.S. I'll let you know Seed Stitch's new address as soon as I know it.

    Block Around the Clock

    Finito! I did a single crochet around the hem, neck, and edges on Saturday. I tried doing the crab stitch (backwards single crochet - thank you so much, Carolyn, for helping me figure it out!), but it was such a pain and didn't seem to add anything to the finished product. I crocheted around one sleeve and am, apparently, a tight crocheter, so I pulled that out and am leaving the sleeve edges alone for now. I also tried crocheting a little scalloped edge, doing a crochet one, chain three, then crocheting the second stitch (skipping one stitch), which I think I picked up from Annie Modesitt on Knitty Gritty Episode 408, though looking at the page on DIY, I don't think I did it right. Oh, well. It was sort of cute but fussy and kind of a pain. The single crochet firms up the edge, and I think that's enough.

    Blocking is like boiling water: a blocked sweater never dries.

    I washed it Saturday night after doing that crochet edge and am still waiting for it to dry - hopefully by tonight.

    While washing the cardigan, the yarn gave off a little bit of dye and looked more lavender than I had thought while working with the yarn. Maybe it's the bare bulb in the bathroom (267-year-old houses are the ultimate WIPs) or knitting in the dimly-lit Keeping Room. I should compare the yarn to my Pantone books. Hold on... I'm going to go with PMS 214-7 (25% Cyan, 10% Magenta, 0% Yellow, 0% Black). But the lighting here in the office is a little whacked.

    So, I'm back to working on Grandma's Shawl (and should join the KSH KAL, no?) and may have exacerbated my carpal-tunnel syndrome doing a couple of squares for a baby blanket in Blue Sky Alpacas Cotton that a bunch of us at Yarns In the Farms are doing together. I'll be fine. But my first square is too small, and I charted and reverse stockinette-stitched a letter on it. My second one seems to be the correct width, and I'm doing a Vandyke stitch from a Mon Tricot stitch dictionary that looks like lacy hearts. But it's on stockinette, so I'm not so sure it's a good idea. Guess I have to check with the gang to see if the blanket should be reversible or if we're not going to line the back or what.

    Speaking of KALs, there's a handy list here, and I'm tempted by the year of sweaters but don't know if I'm enough of a joiner.

    OK, back to my real job. Watch this space for yarn shop reviews! IMOndays coming your way...

    19 January 2007


    When three people from different parts of your life mention something within 24 hours, it can feel kind of spooky. Have you seen the Subway Knitter's CharlieCard Mittens? My colleague mentioned them yesterday (hi, Marissa!). My dollface, ex-pat, London-living girlfriend sent me this link this morning (hi, Suz!). And my dear LYS co-owner sent me the link to Colleen's blog just now (hi, Jill, and Carolyn, who sent it to Jill!). Whew! If only I took public transport to work. But I'm an evil driver these days, since it would take twice as long to commute if I rode the T (and be more expensive due to the recent fare hikes).

    Anyway, I'd checked out Colleen's blog some time back, as she's a New England Knits gal, and I'd thought about joining that ring (I may yet do it).

    18 January 2007


    As in Alexander. Just found this genius sweater on Andrea's blog. She is the owner of Fable Handknit. Anyway, that sweater is gorgeous - the color, the scale, the simplicity. I might have to work out something similar for myself. But then that would be the end of the bulky sweaters, as the Regal Alpaca is also on the bulky/heavy worsted side.

    And it's almost done! I finished knitting the sleeve and did up all the seams last night, while watching Terminator 3. In case you didn't already know, it's awful! I enjoy the occasional sci-fi/action/adventure movie, thought the first two T movies were pretty good (loved Linda Hamilton's biceps in T2), and I like Claire Danes. But this was filled with expensive explosions and baaaad acting. Wow. But that was good for finishing work. Now I just have to sew in the sleeves (eep) and figure out how I want to fasten the fronts. I'm dreaming of ribbon bows in some floppy, scrummy, ombre silk, which is probably impractical.

    Oh, and then I have to crochet around the edges. I think I get the single crochet thing, having watched a couple of Knitty Gritty episodes lately that used it. But then you're supposed to do a row of "crab stitch", which is, apparently, backwards single crochet (!). Guess I'll be googling that one.

    In yarn acquisition news, the yarn buyers group I belong to is doing a group buy of 100purewool yarn. They have merino worsted (similar to Mmmalabrigo according to some) and merino laceweight. But I'm not as wild about the colors as, say, Handpaintedyarn/Malabrigo. But the laceweight merino seems to have disappeared from HPY's site, so I'm guessing Malabrigo will have that line soon. And 100pw's site is tough to navigate and get a good idea of the colors without clicking fifteen times. That makes me crazy!

    But why am I cooing over lace yarn anyway? Am I a shawl type of person? It must be the artsy me. So, what pattern would I do: Eunny's Print o' the Wave Stole, Anne'sWing o' the Moth Shawl, Polly's Kiri, Stephanie's Snowdrop Shawl? And those are just the free ones (oops, Anne's isn't free, but that's OK). Then there's Victorian Lace Today, which seems to have taken parts of the knitting world by storm.

    17 January 2007

    So close!

    We're up to the final shoulder shaping on the final sleeve. The sweater should be complete by this weekend, which means I have to get back to my other WIP, Grandma's Shawl. Oh, the guilt of it all. And then I've got to make my square for Amy's baby blanket, but that will be quick and fun.

    Knit Night at Yarns In the Farms was enjoyable, as always, last night. Jill hosts Tuesdays, but Carolyn came by, as well, which was great. I wish I could just go both nights to see *everyone*, but there's more to life than knitting (blasphemy, I know!).

    Hey, that's me in the poncho on the couch! And here's a picture of Mom's Clapotis! Oh, the pictures from the shop are great, aren't they? I just love the camaraderie I find there.

    That's the news from here. I'm thinking about an original pattern for my Handpaintedyarn Boucle, as well as color options for all that Lopi, if I'm going to turn it (or some of it) into a sweater.

    16 January 2007

    The Kindness of Knitters

    Do you have some fun fur? That may not sound like a question that will lead to the aforementioned kindness, but if you've got some lazing in your stash, make a chemo cap out of it for the tweens and teens at Children's Hospital Boston for Mini's contest. Many thanks to Cara at January One for mentioning this .

    As mentioned 2007 is the Year of Knitting for Meeee, but hats are quick, and this could make such a difference for a youngster. And it gets the fun fur out of the stash!

    Alpaca in the home stretch

    The second sleeve is almost complete, though we had a small disaster last night: the screw that connects cable to needle snapped on my Bamboo Sister Set last night. I had forgotten to pair the increases and only discovered my error when getting ready to do the next set, nine rows later. Not a big deal, since there are only 44 stitches OTN at this point, and I know how to weave in a needle back where I need to be and frog safely. But clearly, I shouldn't have used the "slack" of the needles the project is ON.

    Lesson learned: use a tapestry needle and that piece of dental floss that floats around your tool kit, post-Clapotis disaster.

    Luckily, I have another size 9 needle (bamboo circular), probably purchased before the Sister Set entered my life, so I could regroup and continue. Not sure what to do about the Sister Set. Peter seems quite upset, since he purchased it for me way back when. But it may have lived out its useful life to some extent. I'm not a very tight knitter, but I have snagged up the tips some - to the point where I had to file one down a bit with an emery board (also kept in my handy tool kit).

    I really like the compact nature and flexibility of the SS, as well as that the needles are bamboo, but I may need to explore new options. I love my Bryspuns but really prefer a set. I might have to check out the Knitpicks Options set, though I'm not a huge fan of metal needles. Word is they are more satiny than Addi Turbos.

    Oh, so I'm about halfway through the sleeve. And the shoulders are three-needle bound off. And the one sleeve is sewn up. All I need to do is finish this sleeve, seam it up, seam up the sides, and set in the sleeves. Oh, wait, that's more than I thought. But I'm so excited, since I cast on for this sweater just over a week ago.

    12 January 2007

    Knitting around the 'net

    Thanks to Heather's nudge I put myself on the Socks That Rock Rockin' Sock Club waiting list. By the time I am invited to join, hopefully, I'll be ready to tackle socks.

    And I'm not ready because I'm still working on sweaters. I want more of my own handknits to choose from a la Brenda. Get better soon, lady! In case you've been under a rock (or don't listen to knitting podcasts - same thing), Brenda Dayne usually includes a Today's Sweater segment in her 'cast wherein she talks about the sweater, yarn, pattern, and saga that went into its creation. Most enjoyable. I want that.

    MapMuse is updating their knitting/crocheting/yarn shops listings, and, I guess, since I put Yarns In the Farms on there, I just got a request from Cindy asking for any updates to shops and groups in the area. It's such a great idea to have a central repository for this information.

    Another invaluable repository is Yarndex. Someone on the Knitlist asked for a yarn sub recommendation yesterday, and when I pointed her to Yarndex, she said she didn't know anything about it. Amazing how many resources there are online. And it's always nice to be able to help people out.

    As the chief knitting enabler in my Knitting Lunch group, I gave my departing co-worker a copy of Last-Minute Knitted Gifts so that she can make an Hourglass Sweater with me. Hehe. I'm a few stitches closer to asking my dear LYS ladies to order me two skeins of Schaeffer Nancy in Jane Addams, though it keeps bothering me that online stores recommend three or more skeins for a sweater. I suppose I'm small in the range of sweater sizes.

    Ooh, have you seen Tess' Designer Yarn? I found them via Rabid Knitter, where she made a Placket Sweater from one skein of their Superwash Merino (with yarn left over for a hat). 'Twould be great for Isobel in Rose Blush.

    On the cardi front, I sewed up a sleeve as mentioned yesterday and am starting the decreases for waist-shaping on the back.

    11 January 2007

    The Power of Knitters

    I'm sure by now you've heard the crazy news about the Socks That Rock Club and their bank that couldn't believe so many knitters would want to buy sock yarn that they shut their financial services down. If not, check any other knitting blog today (I particularly like Yarn Harlot's take. And I love that she calls non-knitters muggles. So true.

    I know Stephanie and others harness the power of knitters for good, charity-wise, but I wonder if we could harness that power for even more good. Something to think about.

    In my knitting news, I moved the fourteen stitches remaining for the right front of the cardi to a stitch holder last night while watching Bell, Book, and Candle, which I can't believe I never watched before. Kim Novak has such crazy eyebrows. Anyway, I neglected to put another skein of yarn in the ol' French Market Bag before heading out this morning, and today is Knitting Lunch. Argh. I had a little bit of skein two left and my swatch. So, while waiting for the sushi to arrive (we do things right here for Knitting Lunch), I sewed up the completed sleeve. One less bit of making up to do at the end! How genius to not have any more yarn! Ha.

    But the sleeve fits. Brava, Kathleen. The front seems on the small side, but I'm attributing that to the stockinette curl, which makes it impossible to flatten against my front for guesstimating. It's the correct dimensions, so I'm sure it will be fine.

    The Knitting Lunchers are talking about getting together once a month outside of work, since one of our own is leaving. There was even talk of a KAL, and I suggested an Hourglass Sweater, since some folks talked about wanting to make a sweater.

    10 January 2007

    Manly knitting

    Perhaps it's having discovered It's a Purl, Man and Sticks and String, and having Brian come to Knit Nite, but knitting for men has moved to the fore of my brain lately. Even Grumperina mentioned men and knitting today, having test knit a pattern for Annie Modesitt's newest book.

    So, aside from the sweater (new) for Peter, perhaps golf club covers are in the offing. There are those cute fairisle ones on knitty. And I just found these.

    Wait! Isn't 2007 the year of knitting for meeee?!? Yes, but I imagine a few projects for loved ones will crop up.


    Decreasing is complete for the waist shaping on the first front of the Alpaca Sweater. And I'm almost through the increases. Yay! Bulky-ish yarn is so great for immediate satisfaction. A completely different experience from the delightfully delicate KSH, which reminds me that I need to finish Grandma's Shawl.

    Knit Nite was fun. The group is smaller on Tuesdays, and we had a fella join us last night. A ma-yun! Apparently he's attended Tuesdays before, just not when I've been there. And he was working on matching rollbrim hats to go with mother and child rollneck sweaters in a rich green. Looked like Lamb's Pride Worsted. His other project was an amazing fisherman's sweater that he was about one foot into, with three feet to go. Always the problem with men's sweaters - they're big!

    Which leads me to Peter's sweater. I started one for him from the Knitty book before Isobel was born. It took a back seat for a while, then I finally finished and sewed it up last winter, all except for sewing in the zipper (it's a zip-neck pullover). But it's too big. I got gauge and everything, used the yarn called for in the pattern (Manos del Uruguay), but I think the 2x2 rib (which made it take forever) just made it too stretchy, and Peter never wears it. I think it needs to be frogged. Sob. I can't let that yarn just sit there unused, unloved, unworn.

    So, I need a men's sweater pattern that will make good use of a lot of Manos. It's a dark grey with pale blue (from my Manos 2x2 poncho) trim. It was a cool pattern to do up, since it has saddle shoulders. And I think I did a pretty good job picking up for the collar. Sigh.

    09 January 2007


    Yay! One sleeve down, and I started the right front last night. The joys of bulky yarn. Used a little over one skein for a sleeve, so I am pretty sure I'll have enough yarn to complete this project. 1+ skein for each sleeve, probably 1+ skein for each front, and probably 3 skeins for the back. I might even have a skein left over, but we won't hold our breath.

    My gauge looks on target (whew!), and since alpaca has a tendency to stretch lengthwise, I'm glad I didn't lengthen the sleeves any. I went with the US9s as the pattern suggested rather than the 10s the ballband recommended. Why? I probably wasn't paying attention! But I think it will serve me well in the end, as the fabric will be a little tighter, more jacket-like.

    In regards to the bulky yarn, it may put me off fine gauge knitting for a while. There is a pretty raglan sweater in Alterknits with velvet trim, but I think you knit it on US4s or something crazy like that. I'm not the largest person around, but that would take a long time to knit up. That may be what's keeping me from knitting socks. Guess I should try some knocking about the house socks in DK or light worsted to work my way up. Everyone says socks are so addictive (for better or for worse). But then lots of people are into entrelac and the like, which I just don't like the look of.

    I wrapped up the garter gloves last night for Isobel's teachers: white tissue paper tied with scraps of the same yarn as the gloves. I hope they like them!

    Knit Nite tonight!

    P.S. Like the new color scheme? Maybe if you're very good there will be pictures!

    08 January 2007

    Kid in a Candy Store

    So, after a painful Ashtanga (I thought it was Vinyasa, which would have been bad enough!) Yoga class on Sunday, I helped out the ladies at Yarns in the Farms by taking care of the shop for the afternoon. As always it was a lot of fun. I got to fondle yarn, dawdle over patterns, help a few people with projects (two, count 'em, two paying customers!), and hang out with no small creatures to worry about thanks to Peter staying home with the kitten/puppy/toddler show.

    I cast on a sleeve for the Alpaca Cardigan, which I decided was the better pattern for my Alpaca Regal. At least with a cardigan you have the option of opening for ventilation. The beautiful Trumpet sweater with it's exaggerated cowl could be a roaster, even if I am more apt to shiver than broil. I'll have to find another yarn down the line for that one.

    The yarn is yummy and knits up very nicely (and quickly!). I decided to start with a sleeve since it's smaller (I can re-check gauge without having to destroy half the project), and they can get tedious due to lack of "stuff" (ooh, increase at both sides every ninth row - be still, my beating heart), so why not start with that? When you're all excited about the project anyway, why not work on a moderately tedious part of said project? Then when you need the excitement of waist shaping to keep your interest, after the novelty of the luscious yarn has worn off (that's not possible, darling Alpaca Regal; I'll never tire of you), you've got it.

    After I'd done a couple of repeats I realized that I should have done both sleeves at the same time, but I'm too far along now, and It will all be fine. I supposed I could go back and start the other sleeve, work to the same point, then alternate, since I have the lovely Plymouth Bamboo Sister Needle Set from Peter and can change circular length with the flick of a wrist. But I think I'll do one at a time. Wrangling two skeins in my household is probably a recipe for disaster at this point.

    Back to the fondling and dawdling, though. I have been mooning over Eiffel since checking out the Sexy Knitters Club, who are doing this as one of their KALs (Knitalongs). I've considered doing it in the suggested yarn, Hemp6, but I think I'd like something warmer, though the properties of hemp sound interesting. What about Blue Sky Alpacas' Alpaca Silk? I think it has a similar drape but with more warmth and sheen. There are a number of hanks in Blue (surprise!) at the shop. But I had also thought of that yarn for another Hourglass Sweater, knowing what I now know about the pattern (make it longer and consider alternatives to the turned hems). But the Alpaca Silk might be too drapey for the pattern.

    What about Schaefer Nancy? 600 yards per skein in some astounding colorways. Though I have to say, having mooned over the skeins at the shop yesterday, the color cards on Schaeffer's website are terrible. As are a lot of online yarn shops. Wow. But back to Nancy... Slightly finer than Elaine but same bumpy, thick and thin texture. I'm thinking Jane Addams from Memorable Women VI, which has vibrant fuchsia and some forest green. Don't look at the color card, which doesn't show nearly as much rose as the skeins of Elaine at the shop. There are no skeins of Jane Addams in Nancy at the shop, so I had to use the ol' imagination. But I think it would make a cosy Hourglass Sweater.

    I like spelling it "cosy", don't you? Such the anglophile.

    I think I'd love the Emily Dickinson or Catherine the Great colorways, but they only come in silk.

    But back to the yarn. Two skeins should make a sweater, no? I mean that's 1200 yards of worsted weight yarn. I think the gauge is spot-on to the Cash Iroha used in the book. I don't know why some of the online purveryors say you need three or four. Maybe if you're making something enormous. Oh, and I loved the online store that told you to contact them for information on how many skeins a sweater would require. Come on. They probably teach a sweater class without giving out the pattern. You have to go back each week to progress.

    And then there is the Jo Sharp Alpaca Lustre. That is some seriously yummy yarn. I wouldn't wear the orange, but it is so luscious. And the Reynolds Odyssey is alluring: 100% Merino in these multi colorways.

    Of course, I still have to finish the Alpaca Cardigan and the unpatterned Handpaintedyarn Boucle. And some Fetchings, a hat for Peter in Malabrigo, a sweater for Isobel in Malabrigo, my grandmother's shawl, a new winter hat for me in Sheep Shop 1. I should participate in the Knit From Your Stash-along, but where's the fun in that? I also need to get some pictures up on this plain, white blog, no?

    Ooh, I did finish two pairs of Garter Gloves for Isobel's Toddler Room teachers over the weekend. They were almost dry this morning, so I should be able to wrap them up tonight and gift them tomorrow!

    05 January 2007

    The best little LYS

    Have I mentioned that I love my LYS? Yarns in the Farms ("yahns in tha fahms" for the locals) is such a wonderful place. I thought it was a fantastic shop when Carolyn owned it by herself, and it's only more delightful now that she has a partner in Jill.

    When Isobel and I visited last Saturday, I forgot her sippy cup when we left. It's one of two "big girl" sippies, so being without it has been a minor hassle. And I forgot to grab it when I went to Knit Nite on Tuesday. So, we picked it up last night, which allowed Peter and Jill to meet and Isobel to play with Jill's pooch, Chaco. I love how comfortable Isobel is in the world these days. She just popped right into the shop and started playing, grabbing a pencil from the coffee table and "writing" on a scrap of paper, talking to Chaco, grabbing yarn from the community scarf basket.

    Anyway, Jill and Carolyn have been reading the blog (hi, babes!), and Jill offered the use of her microphone if I ever want to start podcasting. I had completely forgotten about that, though I have been thinking about LibriVox lately, listening to CraftLit, since I really enjoy Heather but am not in love with Henry James. I know he was brilliant, but I find his sentence structure overwrought. Then, this morning I listened to some of It's a Purl, Man. I'm only on episode two, but while Brenda recovers, I have to find other podcasts to fill the void. I mean, Lime n Violet only 'cast once a week!

    So, what would I say on a podcast? When would I find the time to do it? I'm already crazy with work, commute, Isobel, Peter, the animals, etc. I haven't even found the time to exercise, though we just joined the Y, and they have some yoga classes, so hopefully I can get back on that horse. More pondering...

    But back to Yarns in the Farms for a moment: I just love how supportive everyone is there. Yes, it is a store, but, as Jill and I discussed yesterday, it's also a community. And I hope it stays that way for a long time.

    In the meantime, check out Ysolda. I heart her. She is just adorable. And I need that Snow White pattern! What a scrummy looking sweater.

    04 January 2007

    Garter Gloves

    I'm on the mate to the first pair for Isobel's teachers in the Toddler Room, using Araucania Nature Wool Chunky in a dusty pink color. That yarn isn't very chunky. But they're coming out nicely. The other pair will be in a dusty lavender shade, and they can duke it out over who gets what color. Not really. I hope they like them. And I can't believe Isobel is leaving the Toddler Room for Preschool! She seems to have made the transition easily, but Peter said one of the teachers didn't want to talk about her cubby having moved this morning at drop-off.

    I tried changing the pattern to stockinette but found the knitting too tight. Might work at a larger needle size, but rather than fiddle a lot with all that, I switched back to garter stitch. The funny thing is that when we bought the yarn (Isobel helped me at A.C. Moore), I didn't realize that the pattern specified the NWC as an option. How convenient!

    I found a couple of patterns that might work for the alpaca: Trumpet from the girl from auntie of Rogue fame (she's brill) and a cute zip cardie from Blue Sky Alpacas. I'd probably do something other than a zipper for the closure, perhaps some sort of lace-up with ribbon. Though that might be difficult to get in and out of. Must ponder that.

    03 January 2007

    Alpaca Dreams

    This Reynolds Alpaca Regal is so yummy I want to knit it up right now. Except that it's supposed to be 60 degrees by the weekend. In January. What's a knitter to do?!? Finish her other projects, of course.

    But in dream land I'm searching for patterns/inspiration. I found an article on Interweave Knits's website about alpaca. Things to know:
    -it's very warm, so open patterns are best if you plan to wear it inside
    -it's heavy, socables will probably topple you
    -it isn't very elastic and it stretches, so knit in pieces and/or sideways

    Since I only have nine skeins, I wasn't planning on cables anyway. I did find the Eiffel sweater on Knitty - very cute. I'm not mad for hemp, and I think my gauge is close, so I may try swatching up the lace rib to see what happens. I know the alpaca is very different from hemp, but it's worth a shot. I like the shape and idea of the pattern. Only problem is the one-piece nature. And it's very vertical. I should probably save that for another yarn.

    01 January 2007

    Happy New Year!

    I've had my eye on some Misti Alpaca Chunky at the LYS and just stumbled across this pattern, which looks nice. Just a few more projects to finish up before I'm full-bore on the Knit for Me in 2007 wagon.

    I did knit up a little shrug in some bulky merino from Handpaintedyarn.com in Paris Morn, a pretty grey and rose variegated yarn, which they no longer seem to carry (or have renamed - it looks like Paris Night is now Persephone). It's drying now, so we'll see how it works. I may add a ribbed collar/edge since the part along the back is stockinette, so it curls. I ended up knitting it in two pieces (one skein for each) and kitchener stitching up the middle. I thought of doing a three-needle bindoff, since I haven't done that before, but I think the kitchener stitch works better at the center of the back. I could have done it all in one piece, but since the first skein ran out about the time I hit the middle, I thought I'd practice some finishing techniques. I also knit this flat (work on mattress stitch to finish) but could have done it in the round.

    So, I'm still working on Grandma's shawl - just added the last skein (of three). I cast on for a 2x2 rib hat for DH in some orange Malabrigo (sooo soft). And then I have to knit up something for my daughter's two daycare teachers, since she's transitioning to the next room this month. I can't believe she's moving up again! I'm thinking mitts of some sort. I found two skeins of Nature Wool Bulky at A.C. Moore - one pink, one lavender - on sale, as well as a skein of their no-name Cashmerino in a rich grey. Or maybe I'll do a pair of the Garter Gloves - they're so quick and toasty.

    At the LYS on Saturday I got some Reynolds Alpaca Regal in a lovely periwinkle color. Nine skeins. On sale. Which gives me 990 yards of Alpaca goodness. So, now I have to find the right pattern. I'm thinking a simple top-down raglan sweater with perhaps some pattern stitches somewhere. Maybe some cabling - I think the yarn would cable nicely. Since it's a chunky yarn (ballband calls for US10s), I should be able to get a small sweater out of it. Maybe I need to pick up another ball, perhaps a contrasting color for edging.

    I just found a stitch book that a friend gave me when clearing out her unused knitting stuff: Mon Tricot 1100 Stitch Patterns. There are some very pretty patterns in there I haven't seen before, and it runs the gamut. Very inspiring.