Friday, December 31, 2010

Project recap

Here we are at the end of the year already.  I cannot believe have much time has flown, for better or worse, this year. I have been jumping from project to project so much lately, I am starting to lose track of where I am in this crazy scheme.  I have been trying to find some sort of counter widget I could install on the sidebar to track the number of projects completed/remaining, but so far, no luck.  Until I find a suitable tool, I will have to rely on doing a project recap from time to time.

Now, I started this insane project the week of Oct 22.  This means 10 weeks have elapsed since I started off on this insane project, and if I were completely on schedule, I would have 10 projects completed. 

To recap, here is a list of my completed projects since Oct 22:

1. Boy socks/little boy socks (2 pair completed from same skein)
2. Garter yoke baby cardi
3. Mossy socks
4. Socks for the Boy's dad
5. Abi and Emi socks (2 pair completed from same skein)
6. Fabel cable gloves and socks
7. Rick socks
8. Sunna diamond lace scarf
9. Laurel hat

Add to this one sock yarn give-away so far, and that would bring me to 10.  Not bad, actually :)

Not sure whether to count this as nine or ten down, but a little over 40 to go.  Happy knitting in the new year!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A flurry of Christmas knitting

Merry Christmas, everyone.  The past week for me has been a flurry of finishing last minute projects and getting ready for the holidays on top of a busy work week.

I took a brief break from sock yarn to make a hat for my good friend Tilly.  She had seen a picture of a hat in one of my pattern books and fell in love with it, so I had to make one for her for Christmas.  Like me, Tilly loves all things purple.  When I found some sumptuous yarn in a cashmere, merino, and silk blend in the perfect shade of purple, I knew I had to use it for Tilly's hat.

So here it is, the "Laurel" hat from Jared Flood's "Made in Brooklyn" made from Sublime cashmere/merino/silk, completed in just under 3 days.  The top photo is during blocking, and the bottom photo was taken just before wrapping and is more representative of the true yarn color. 

I bought three skeins to reach the yardage the pattern called for, and only used 1.5 skeins.  I am debating whether or not to make another since it turned out so well and was an easy knit.  It was also a nice break to work with needles larger than a 2!

My next Christmas project was a scarf for my dear friend Nate, who also happens to be Tilly's mother-in-law.  I had been looking for some time for a pattern that would do justice to my new skein of Sunna, which I acquired at Rhinebeck this year, in the beautiful Cape Cod colorway.  Since Nate is partial to the Cape, and appreciates good cashmere on the level that I do, it seemed a perfect fit.  I chose a diamond lace pattern from the Spring St. Denis magazine by Kat Coyle.  I love Kat's patterns, and this one was a fun knit--pattern interesting enough to avoid boredom, but easily memorized so I did not have to cart the chart around with me.  I ran out of yarn short of the 32 repeats suggested by the pattern, but it still blocked out to just over 6 feet.
Here is the detail of the diamond pattern during blocking. The colors are pretty true, but the depth of the colors is not coming through well.  Nate wore it all day Christmas day, so I think she liked it.  Good thing, because I really wanted to keep it for myself.

My final last-minute Christmas knit was a pair of socks for Tilly's 3-year-old son.  Started these Christmas eve and finished them Christmas day.  No photo, since I left them there for him, and the yarn was the leftover Lang Jawoll from the boy's socks I made last month.  Nice and simple 2x2 ribbed socks with a short-row heel.

So my December totals so far are: six projects, but only three skeins of sock yarn from the stash consumed.  I will decide whether or not to count the hat against my project total since it was DK and not sock weight, and a new yarn purchase and not from stash. 
In the meantime, I am trying to decide on my next project.  Contenders are: a second diamond lace scarf for me from one of my skeins of Bugga!, a pair of socks from the skein of STR in an orange/purple colorway (trust me, it is prettier than it sounds!) that I wound last month, or a pair of socks for my niece Taylor from my second skein of Fortissima Mexiko.

Monday, December 13, 2010

December week 3

I can't believe we are already halfway through December!  Where does the time fly?

In the past week, I flew 7000 miles, knit 2 socks and half a glove, and contracted a case of food poisoning.  One sock and the half glove were the completion of my December week 1 project, and I hope to have them in the mail to their new owner shortly.  All in all, very happy with the end result, but had a hard time matching tension between the two socks, which has never been a problem for me before.  I completed sock 2 using about 3 yards more than sock one, with threw the colors off completely for glove #2, and I had to do some patching with leftovers from the first skein. 

For December week 2, I resurrected a project that has been sitting quite a while.  The "Rick" socks from Cookie A.'s "Sock Innovation".  I started these quite a while back in a fun sock yarn from Decadent Fibers that I picked up at last year's NHSW festival.  I only ever got as far as the first 1.5" of ribbing on the cuff, so I am counting it as a whole project :)  Anyway, one sock completed last week, and the second underway now.

I also had the chance to visit Tanya Alpert's knitting shop in San Diego where I finally found Habu's silk stainless steel yarns in person.  I have been wanting to try these out for quite some time, but was a bit nervous to order on-line sight unseen.  After talking with Tanya and seeing her lovely creations, I overspent (of course!) and came back to the cold northeast with lots of Habu and some lovely new projects in mind.

Next on my list will be a scarf for a friend using a combination of cashmere-merino sock yarn and my new habu silk stainless steel.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Perils of Travel Knitting

Thanks to all who responded about the yarn give-away.  My skeins are now happily winging their way to Australia and I hope they find a happy home there.

The honeycomb heel flap

In the meantime, I have completed one sock and one glove from the Fabel, and I am particularly pleased with how they came out.  The colorway is quite beautiful, though my photos don't really do them justice.  I picked this yarn up during a recent trip to Canada, and (gluttony aside) I wish I had bought more.  I ended up doing a honeycomb heel flap and gusset, with the cable carried along the top of the foot and the central braided cable continuing into to toe shaping.  Now one more of each to go, and I can move on to the next project.

Which brings me to my sad event of the week.  First, let me give some background.  I frequently bring my knitting along with me on business trips.  I used to bring my whole knitting bag, but it has become too big and bulky, and every once in a while you find yourself in the situation of having to explain to a customs officer why you need that many needles in your carry-on.  The Canadians seem to be particularly concerned with this.  The Germans and the English tend to let it go.  Just saying...

Now I had never had a problem until the day that I call the Sad Case of the Purple Airplane Sock.  You see, I had knit the most beautiful purple sock in Malabrigo sock, which I think may be the most beautiful yarn ever invented, which I found in my favorite eggplant purple, and made up in the perfect pattern.  Angee, from Cookie A.'s book "Sock Innovation," to be exact. And I dare say, it is the most beautiful sock I have ever knit.  It was perfect in every way.  The stitch pattern perfectly showed off the subtle variegation in the yarn, the yarn had a nice drape and shine that just hugged the foot and leg beautifully, and it was oh so soft.  Seriously. Perfect. 

I completed it on a long flight from Frankfurt to Boston during a snowstorm that shut down parts of the east coast, and even made two new friends during the flight as we discussed knitting.  About a month later, I was finishing up its mate during a flight from San Francisco to Denver.  This time, I had decided to carry only the sock, the yarn, and one pair of needles and I was just finishing up grafting the toe together as we taxied in to the gate.  I had a pretty tight connection, so I quickly grabbed the blob of yarn and sock from the seat back pocket, shoved it into my handbag, and ran for my next flight.

Halfway during my next flight, I had a sudden realization.  Was the blob of yarn and sock that I picked up from the seat back pocket heavy enough?  I grabbed my purse and sorted through it twice, and sure enough, the perfect purple sock was not there.  The new sock--its mate--was there along with the leftover yarn and needle, but my purple sock had been left behind in the upper seat back pocket of seat 6E of the previous flight.

I filed a claim with the airline, thinking that a purple handknit sock might be something distinctive that they don't find every day, making it relatively easy to locate.  Of course, when I reported it, the airline worker looked at my blankly and asked if I really needed it back.  I sat there in stunned disbelief when she said "if you made that one, can't you just make a new one?"  I think non-knitters just don't get it.  Seriously.

Detail of the second purple sock.  Not quite as perfect as the first one, but still very nice.

Well, this week it happened again.  Instead of my entire knitting bag, I now carry the current project, as spare skein, and a little ziplock bag with my 16" addi turbo US size 6 circulars, which I use to cast on for top-down socks, some darning needles for kitchener grafting of toes and weaving in ends, and some stitch markers.  Sunday night, I cast on the Fabel cable sock and when I left the plane I put everything in my purse.  I checked the seat back pocket 3 times, front and back.  When I packed at my hotel Tuesday night, sure enough, the bag containing the circular needles, darning needles and markers was missing.  I can't imagine how, but they are not in my purse or suitcase, and once again, no one turned them in to airline lost and found. 

I am not sure if it is worth replacing the needle.  I cannot knit comfortably with a short needle, and the needle portion is not long enough for me until the 24" length, but it sure was perfect for casting on socks.  And I have not yet had the heart to re-knit the purple sock, though my replacement skein of eggplant purple Malabrigo has been sitting on my dresser for months now.

So if anyone out there happens to find a purple sock on a United flight or a size 6 circular needle on Jet Blue, please keep me in mind.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

November yarn give-away

Well, I did not finish the cable socks within a day as hoped, so I have decided I need to honor the nature of my goal.  So I dug deep into my closet, into one of my seven yarn baskets, and have chosen 2 50g skeins of Knit Picks Essential superwash wool in navy as the first yarn give-away.

First person to comment or email me with their address gets the yarn free of charge.  Happy first week of December!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

November 30

Well, here we are at the end of November.  I started November project 4 over the weekend, but I actually had to work on my last 2 flights which prohibited knitting.

I had made some gloves for my niece Tia, and last week her dog took a big bite out of one, destroying 2 fingers.  So I am working on a pair of replacement gloves with socks to match.

I am using Fabel by DROPS superwash wool in a green self-striping colorway.  Rather than taking the easy way out and doing a simple straight knit to make the project go faster, I added a paired cable pattern just to keep things interesting.  I was improvising on an airplane Sunday night, and ended up with 2 small cables twisting in opposite directions on either side of a larger braided cable both front and back.  I will carry the cable down the top of the foot, but am undecided as to whether to carry it down the heel as well.  Half of one sock is done so far on this last day of November.  This brings my total to 4 pairs of socks and 3.5 skeins of yarn consumed in November.  So, do I count it or no?

Cable detail
So, once this pair is done (hopefully tomorrow on a plane ride home from North Carolina) that will be 6 projects down, 46 to go.