Sunday, March 30, 2008

Spring has sprung!

Well, it's that time again. Where I've held out on posting about my lovely FOs, and instead have been wearing them and demanding whomever sees them to admire them wholly. Today, two hats and a shawl!
First up, we have Tam C of knitty's three tams pattern. Size 8 needle, Patons Classic Merino and my very own handspun! I will be honest, the handspun quality is poor. The yarn is mostly overspun, with a few parts that are severely underplied. I didn't finish or balance it, so it is shown in all its wonky goodness. But, it is my own yarn, and I love it all the same. Roving was purchased from and spun on my ashford drop spindle. (That's right- this was pre-wheel yarn!)

Again, we have another three tams pattern. This one is tam A, knit with size 8 needles. The brown yarn is again Patons merino, and the pinky yarn is leftover Patons SWS- a yarn that always looks good in colorwork. I think the SWS yarn might be leftover from this hat. Every time I use up SWS leftovers, I always get a great FO. The drape of the soft singles yarn helps make this tam a lot less bulky than the one above. Everything else is about the same, oddly enough- other than this hat used up a LOT more main color than the one above. So make sure the working yarn is a full skein if you make this pattern.

Finally, my newest pride and joy is the Swallowtail Shawl from Interweave Knits. Only instead of a shawlette, I made this one HUGE. It easily wraps all the way around me and hangs all the way down my back. Yarn is Louisa Harding Grace. The color is really hard to photograph well- it is a pinky red that changes shades depending on the light source. (The silk makes the pink stand out more in the light). This is a pretty true color above though. Unfortunately, to get the picture above, I had to use flash to offset the windows behind it, and the flash washes the stitch pattern out. There are small, square ruby-red beads instead of nupps again. For an unknown reason, the edging gave me a harder time than the last shawl. It might be because this shawl has 2 more rows than the pattern calls for?
I loved working with this yarn, and would do so again in a heartbeat, were it not so expensive! This is also a singles yarn, so it was important to keep maintaining the twist to get the pattern to stand out and look even. The more I worked with the yarn, the easier it was to keep the twist. I think this would make a wonderful yarn for the Lady Eleanor entrelac stole from Scarf Style. It is warm, but light and lofty; the silk gives a wonderful hand to the touch.

So, that's it for the FO parade for this month. As always, there is more detail on all these projects, and extra pics, in my ravelry profile.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Favorite Color Swap Questionnaire
1. What are your top three favorite colors?

Blue, green and pink
2. What crafts do you really enjoy?
Knitting! Love to knit. Also, beading.
3. What products do you really covet?
I love knicknacks, magazines, pretty much all those things you find at the store right by checkout.
4. What other activities do you enjoy besides your favorite crafty things?
Hmm. Well, I enjoy hanging out with friends and travel, but you can't really put those in a box. I do enjoy using my digital camera quite a bit.
5. Is there anything you collect?
Yarn? Does that count?
6. What is your zodiac sign and/or Chinese zodiac symbol?
I'm a Libra and I was born in the year of the Monkey according to wikipedia.
7.What are your favorite…
…types of music and/or bands? I have a notoriously bad taste in music. Like a legendary bad taste.
…authors? I haven't really read anything that grabs at me recently. I loved reading Mario Puzo novels (The Godfather). But I adore magazines!
…animals? Dogs! I love dogs! Also, sheep (relating back to that yarn thing)
…places to shop? I like the Gap/Old Navy for clothes, and religiously shop at Target for just about anything else.
…season? Spring or Fall.
…yarn/fabric/paper/other craft supplies? Sock yarn- just about any kind. I'm really in a lace groove, so laceweight yarn is really nice. I sew some, but not a lot. Fat Quarters might be a good idea.
…candies or goodies? I don't really ever use candles, so maybe not them. I love candy! Especially that of the gummy/ chewy variety. And doubly especially the Haribo brand. Mmm, candy.
8. Do you have any wish lists?
9. Are you allergic to anything? Nothing that would be in the box, I hope! Although I'm sensitive to cigarette smoke.
10. Do you have any pets? What are they? Sadly, no. :)
11. Anything else? My ravelry handle is kelbel. I'm very excited to swap!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

FO at last!

She is done! And is it possible I love her more?

Bottom edge, pinned out and ready for her close up.
Swallowtail Shawl, IK Fall 2006.
Classic Elite Alpaca Sox yarn, one skein
size 6 needle
my ravelry write-up
My favorite part- the beaded edging

I think my favorite skill I learned last year (aside from knitting lace altogether) is how to put beads into your knitting via a crochet hook. It can be really tedious if there are a lot of beads, but it is definitely worth it. I wish I had some flower beads, they would have really added in something special. As it is, I'm happy with the silver lined glass beads. They shine! Little round or flat pearls also would have done well here. However, I have yet to find a pearl that has a hole bigger than laceweight to string through.

Blocking and looking pretty.
I can't wait to make this shawl again! There are so many great things about it. The pattern is really simple; anyone could do it. The knitted on edge. Exchanging beads for nupps. (The nupped versions are equally as nice, too- with a little instruction, a beginner knitter could whip those out quickly.) The yardage required is only about 450 yards, meaning you can exchange a variety of yarns without breaking the bank. Silk, merino, bamboo- something to let those smaller skeins of fancy yarn shine! I think it would be really easy to add in repeats to make it bigger, or maybe use a laceweight yarn and bigger needles for a really open lace effect.
This yarn is a dream to knit with. I loved how it slides nicely along my addi lace needle cord- there are some yarns so sticky, nothing makes them slide nicely. It has two plies, which stay together pretty well. There were a few points that the plies came apart, but that was really more to do with me not picking up both plies when knitting through the back loop. The beads were rather tough on the plies, but that had to do more with the tiny crochet hook than the yarn itself. It behaves like alpaca should- it drapes, it sheds and it is so soft to cuddle up. I am definitely investing more in this sock yarn! As a bonus, I had purchased two skeins to make a different shawl- so I can either knit this one again in the same color, or make a matching pair of socks! (Mmm, alpaca socks!)

Feeling Green

Green seems to be working for me this month:
Behold the swallowtail shawl! (IK fall 06?). I am seriously loving this pattern. It is just small enough to be portable, soft enough that I don't want to stop knitting with this yarn (Alpaca Sox), and on big enough needles that I am making certain progress (size 6). This is what I accomplished in a week filled with overtime and about one evening of knitting straight.

Don't you just love the color? There's only one rival I've found to it thus far this month:

I don't know who brought them in, but they have been brightening my work days ever since they bloomed. Hooray spring!

Friday, February 22, 2008

All lace and no play

So, there seems to be a theme going in the lace this year...

Maple Leaf Shawl, Victorian Lace Today. Alpaca Sox yarn on size 6 needles. Despite my best efforts, I can't get all the leaves to close up nice and tight. On hold for a day I have more patience.

Mystic Waters Shawl, knitpicks laceweight, from a current kal and soon-to-be-released pattern. I've spent a lot of time on this very pretty but very frustrating shawl. Too much time- the stitches were always off and I'm tired of wrestling with the pattern. So, I've left it on a lifeline in hopes of one day finding the strength to frog and try again.

Hemlock Ring Blanket, Lion Wool. I put this down for a few months, and when I got back I was so far off it wasn't even funny. I will eventually try this one again- the size 8 needle goes super quick and the pattern really is gorgeous. The yarn is destined for a sweater, I think.
But, all is not lost! Behold the flourishes of Project Spectrum:

A Handsome Triangle Shawl, Victorian Lace Today. Claudia Handpainted silk laceweight, size 3 needle. I skipped the last repeat, as I felt it was long enough on the needles. Truth be told, I should have trudged on- it ended up a bit too short when blocked out. This pattern is probably one of the easiest in the book- although it doesn't look it from the pattern. I think it would look lovely in a variety of yarns. Maybe a dk?

Secret of the Stole I- Guinevere. Originally from a kal, pattern available now. US 2 needle, knitpicks alpaca laceweight. Lessons learned include never using size 2 needles on lace! This thing took forever as a result. It was almost painful to get to the decreases, but once I saw the light at the end of the tunnel, I powered through. The pattern is another asymetrical one- two points at one end, one point at the other. I think I'm getting to be okay with the non-matching shawls. The crossed swords are my favorite part, I like how they create little diamonds in the center.
So, lace in the red family = win. Lace in anything else= lose. I'm starting Dem Fischer Sin Fru in a handspun green alpaca yarn. So far, it's going well- let's hope the pattern is broken!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Eye Candy Friday

Okay, so I'm not an official participant, but I've been baking up some eye candy this week:

M&M cookies- distraction cookies to keep the hubby out of the "real" ones.

Chocolate chip, extreme close-up

Peanut Butter cookies and Thumbrint cookies

It's Christmas time, which means that it's Cookie Time for me. When I was little, every year around this time I remember coming home and being surprised by a big tray of Christmas cookies made by my grandma. My favorites were the sugar cookies, cut out in Santa faces and frosted with her special handmade frosting. It is delicious. It tastes like confectioner's sugar, but hardens like a royal icing. I've never been able to recreate it, despite numerous attempts. Usually, the frosting is on a white cake we call Sugar Cake, for obvious reasons. The last few years, I've taken over some of the baking responsibilites, and now my little cousins look forward to my cookies for Santa. (Hey, if there's one way to get in with the little kids, passing out cookies is it!). However, I really suck at rolling out cookie dough and decorating cookies like you'll see in the fancy bakeries, so I make due with Wilton's pre-made icing and a kick-ass collection of sprinkles. Hooray for Williams-Sonoma!

Also, we hand out cookies to the various groups I work with at work. We get a few of us together, each bringing in a TON of our own specialty cookies, and make big trays of delicious sugary goodness. So, on top of the normal cookie load (a couple dozen- one to two batches- of about five or six varieties), I'll make about five dozen chocolate chip cookies and probably buy a couple extra boxes of the good store-bought ones for good measure. Everything baked is frozen until needed. Really, a week and a half won't ruin anything. The trays we made last year were HUGE, and a really big success. It's nice to give back to people who work hard all year and don't always get the thanks for it. However, this year participation seems a little low- I hope it picks up again, because the trays are going to be a little sparse.

In other news, I finished a project from a book my sis got me for my birthday! They're cable mittens. I didn't follow the pattern, just used the cable suggested and winged it from there. They turned out great, and I can't wait to wear them:

Elegant-and-Easy Cable Mittens for the Whole Family
Book: 101 Designer One-Skein Projects
Yarn: Patons SWS, 2 balls with half of each used up
Needle: US 4, two at a time top-down
I also made a hat to match, but it turned out too small. Like, it didn't even cover my ears. Ooops. Apparently, I need a new formula for guessing where to start my decreases, since my usual one (this looks long enough, better start my decreases!) isn't working. Sigh.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

We're ready!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Mobile blogging is now a go! Oh, the wonders of technology!