Sunday, April 27, 2008

Color Fun

Yep, that Noro yarn sure is fun!

Pattern: my own design
Yarn: Kureyon Sock
Needles: 2.25mm

The colors in the yarn are a lot of fun, but I don't think much of the yarn itself. It seems very fragile and I don't expect much durability from it. I increased the stitch count to 80 for this pair and used my standard heel flap, but I still have problems getting them on. There doesn't seem to be any give to the yarn. The yarn was very rough to work with, but it did soften up nicely in the wash.

It was a really treat to puzzle out how to design the heel on these socks. I love the stripes on the bottom.

I was debating my options when the colors started to come too close together. Do I just let it happen? Or should I edit out one of the colors? I decided to accept the yarn the way it came, and now I'm glad I did.

My life is like this sock. Sometimes there is great clarity and sometimes there is a muddy mix-up. All I can do is push on through the mess to reach the clarity. It is the contrast between the two that make up the beauty of the whole.

Just Enough

We had a beautiful weekend. The weather was warm and the sun was bright. I took the opportunity to wash the winter woolies in preparation for storage. The hammock worked beautifully to dry them all in double quick time!

I sat out to watch them dry, to knit and to supervise Dexter. We bought him a big knuckle bone at the pet store. You should have seen his eyes light up when they spotted this beauty.

But it was too big! Poor puppy. Fortunately, Jim is handy with an axe and he chopped that thing in two for Dexter.

Every Thursday Dexter and I go to Rally-O and agility class. Last Thursday the trainer said to me "Laurie, you don't give yourself enough credit. Dexter is doing awesome." For some reason, I really heard her that night and it has changed my attitude over these past several days. I always felt like I wasn't doing enough, that Dexter wasn't responding well enough, or that he wasn't behaving well enough. Enough for what?!

And I recognize that this is an old pattern of mine. This feeling of "not enough". It's an uncomfortable way to live, let me tell you. It used to be that there was never enough food. I would obsess about it. Then I switched to knitting. Healthier for my system at first, since I stopped eating as much. But ultimately, sitting on the couch knitting non-stop wasn't good for me either. I knew getting a dog would be a good thing for me, to keep me moving, but I didn't think I'd switch my "not enough" obsession over to him.

You know, recognizing the pattern is the first step. I'm really glad I can see it. Now I can accept it, and consciously evaluate, yes there is enough. I live with abundance, I can enjoy quality instead of hording quantity, and I accept that sometimes, you just have to live with good enough.

Mystery Revealed

The Mystic Light KAL was a lot of fun. I enjoyed the mystery, the pattern, the yarn and the finished product.

Pattern: Mystic Light KAL
Yarn: Fleece Artist Blue Face 2/8
Needes: 4mm

This shawl will be a Mother's Day gift to my grandmother. It's a bit small on me, so it should be just the right size for her.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Latest Thing in Sock Yarn

I just found something I'd never heard of before. Flat Feet sock yarn (scroll down for pictures). Essentially, it's sock yarn knit up on a machine, and then hand painted. I've heard of this concept before. I just think it's really clever that someone thought to market it.

But I don't think I'd enjoy knitting it straight from the flat as is recommended. It's hard to keep even tension with crinkly yarn.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Not Quite What I was Hoping for...

Like any big dreamer, I often find that reality doesn't meet up to my expectations. After my first Noro sock, I was all fired up to create ones that would fit my feet. I bought two skeins that I thought would work well together:

But they don't. Not so much.

I should probably keep knitting, to see if I like it better later, but I'm just feeling blah about it. Or perhaps I'm burnt out. After all I did accomplish quite a bit of this type of knitting in a very short time. Plus, my second sock wasn't coming out as nice as the first.

Which is part of the reason I switched to the other colors.

So this weekend I knit mostly on the Bee Fields shawl. It's nice to know that I can pick something up again after putting it down for quite sometime. Today, I booked a day off for myself, but I've been restless with the knitting and so not enjoying it like I thought I would.

I spent some of my day outside, knitting on the Mystic Light shawl and I was surprised on how brilliant the colors look. The winter light really took the vibrancy away from this yarn, but the spring light is bringing it out in spades.

This was shot under cloud cover, or it would have seriously blinded your eyes.

And in keeping with today's theme, here's another project that wasn't coming out quite as I'd planned:

This is the Aspen Leaf pull over, just about ready for the leaves. I used a provisional cast on, so I could line the inside neck with something really soft to accommodate Jim's sensitive skin. I think my gauge is too tight, and it just looks more purple than I'd expected. I was thinking of doing my calculations after the leaves to see if I needed extra increases to get it to fit. This is part of the reason I was knitting it top down. But I just can seem to get around to knitting those leaves, and it should be the fun part of the project!

I know this is a common phenomenon. A knitter has a big idea, starts a project with gusto, and then wanders off when things don't turn out quite as expected. So far my strategy is to let things marinate. Later, I will either rip or carry on. But I have noticed that projects are accumulating. I'm going to have to do some housekeeping very soon.

It doesn't help that new and exciting things are catching my eye all the time. Take this book of toys by Alan Dart for example:

I bought found it a Chapters this weekend and had to have it. (You can buy Irresitable Gifts to Knit online.) There are many toys I'd like to make in this book, but I'm smitten with this pirate:

The only thing that is keeping me from casting on, is that I have mostly fingering weight yarns and the patterns all call for DK. I'm been contemplating what the substitution would look like. I'll bet it won't turn out like I'd expect....

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A New Love

Remember when you were in high school and one of your friends would point out a boy to you? And you would say, "Sure he's cute, but I hate him! He's so annoying and he thinks he's hot stuff." But secretly, you really liked him. And maybe, and often things work out this way, you'd end up dating the guy.

Well, at the Monday meet-up at the Wortely Roadhouse (see previous post), I met the cute, but annoying yarn that everyone thinks is such hot stuff. And I dissed it. It's a single ply, I scoffed, and it's rough. I'm talking about the Noro Kureyon Sock yarn.

Well, me and Mr. Kureyon sock met up again at Needles and Pins, where I was picking up a needle for the Bee Fields shawl. There were many pretty colors and finally I agreed to take one home. It wasn't long before those colors seduced me and this weekend I was obsessed with my new love.

Isn't it pretty!! I love, love, LOVE my latest crush. I started it Friday night and finished the first sock by Sunday afternoon. I just couldn't put it down.

I knit the stranded pattern from both ends of the same ball. The heel and toe were knit on a 2mm needle, because I’ve heard the yarn doesn’t wear well, and I used a twisted hem for the cuff with a purl turning ridge.

Unfortunately, they are a little small for my feet, even though I used by standard 72sts. I should have known the stranding would take out the ease. It’s okay. I’ll just have to buy some more of this yarn and make a pair for me! Mr. Kuryon and I are an item!

I'm as flighty as your typical teenager in the spring, since last week I had a mad crush on this fellow:

That's the Vinnland pattern knit with the Soxophone Player's own color way. There is an amazing amount of color in this yarn and it was a real treat to work with. Doug creates some amazing colorways, but he is such a tease. You can't buy his yarn anywhere. Good thing I have a new crush to mend my broken heart.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Shawl Queen

Last night I went to the London Ravelry Group meet up at the Wortley Roadhouse. The weather has turned gorgeous these past few days, and we four early birds thought that we might be alone that night. Perhaps people would be out enjoying the sunshine. But no, the knitters turned up in droves.

The Yarn Harlot would have been proud to see us whooping it up, carrying on and generally perplexing the muggles. We fondled yarn, socks in progress and an especially gorgeous Tangled Yoke sweater that was still being worn by its knitter! I think the guys in the bar were very curious at that point. There were feet on the table as one knitter tried on her socks. One of the male knitters present obligingly flexed his biceps for any female that cared to give them a squeeze. He was knitting a long cabled scarf, his first, for his lady love who didn't mind sharing a little bit.

My proudest moment was being crowned the "Shawl Queen". When I think of the shawls produced by talented knitters across the blogosphere, I can only cry, "I am not worthy!" And I did so protest. But, then I was asked what shawls I have knit and when I tallied them up, well, I must confess there were a few. So, I will proudly accept my title, with the caveat that it is only for the London area.

Here is the Mystic Light shawl, knit up to the end of clue 2.

I finally took the time to read the Yahoo Group page to learn that the clues are released on Wednesdays. So you know I'll be getting the next part soon. But what to knit in the mean time?

I finished a pair of socks on Sunday (they deserve a proper photoshoot, so I'll wait to show them to you). I had nothing on the needles. Never mind that I have about three sweaters in various stages of progress. I don't want to knit a sweater, with all that angst over fit, and measurements and (horror) gauge. No, I want something fun, interesting, yet soft and relaxing. So, yup, you guessed it:

I started another shawl. This is Bee Fields from Anne Hanson at Knitspot. I bought the kit from Wooly Wonka Fibers as soon as it came out and I can't believe I waited this long to work it. What was I thinking?!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Vicarious Fun

I've spent my Friday night clicking through the flicker group for the Yarn Harlot's scavenger hunt. I just have to share some of my favorites with you. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

New Thrills

The thrill of the Shetland shawl hasn't worn off yet. I wanted to cast on another shawl right away, and the Mystic Light KAL was right there to help me out.

This is as far as the first clue takes me. It was so much fun! In the first place, I didn't look at other people's progress pictures on purpose, so I could have the fun of watching the pattern develop. Then, there was one spot where I was a bit stuck. I got quite a rush out of solving the dilemma. But the icing on the cake was the lovely, soft yarn. Every time I picked this up to knit I fell in love again. The only trouble is, now I have to wait for the next clue. I'm in lace-limbo. Fortunately, there's always a sock on the needles.

Opps! I just discovered Clue 2 today! Whee!!!!!

I had another visit from my knitting students Maddie and Anne. Anne is a working mom, so she's finding it hard get to her needles. Maddie on the other hand has taken to it like a fish to water. She finished up about 50 rows of garter stitch, so I told her it was time to learn to purl. Young students are so great, because she was all "Yeah!"

Anne and Maddie came to my house the past two nights to make sure she got the hang of it. What dedication! And it paid off. Look, stockinette:

I'm so impressed with Maddie. She was gabbing away to her mom while working a knit row and she wasn't even watching her needles. Just like a pro! Way to go Maddie!

The shirt doesn't lie, does it?