Sunday, August 17, 2008


I'm just a little out of the whole blogging thing lately - reading them, writing, Ravelry, etc. It's all beginning to feel a bit like homework! Plus so there's so many other things that I'm enjoying too much right now, including knitting, preparing for football season, cycling, etc. So, I decided to give my blog a bit of a rest!

And so, for now, I'll leave you with this marvelous cartoon my BH found for me by
natalie dee:

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Take my breath away

Has it ever happened to you when opening a box or gift, you literally gasp with delight? It happened to me this week after opening a wee giftie to myself from The Loopy Ewe:

Two skeins of an indie sock yarnie, Enchanted Knoll Farms. The colors are "Gold Dust Woman" and "Big Sky." I'm in yarn love. I almost don't want to knit it up but they are destined to become two of Cookie A's new patterns which I recently downloaded. I think this is the purdiest sock yarn I've ever seen!

I'm also bursting at the seams with spousal pride. BH had an article accepted and published by this on-demand zine. How cool is that!!

Not much else to report, I'm afraid, other than I'm having a good and busy time at my new spot (lawdy how the week flew by) and looking forward to the beginning of football season! I set the stage this morning by watching an online replay of the 2008 Orange Bowl (with commentary by Barry Alvarez) and the Colts will be playing in the Hall of Fame Game tonight. Don't get me started on the Packers and whatsisname's hoped-for comeback. If I were to be at a game in which he appeared, I'd be one of the hopefully not-too-few booing him. I thought he was a great quarterback, but - cripe - does this make him look like a money-grubbing diva. I never idolized him like some oddballs who were in tears the day he announced his "retirement" and I did think it was time for him to move on. But now, unfortunately, I think I will always think of this quagmire - rather than all of the great things he did for the Pack. It's great that he apparently loves the game so but I'm thinking he likes the glory and the press coverage even more...despite his, in my opinion, well-practiced persona.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

In the midst of everything

This week involved changing...oh, about 90% of my life! (or so it seems). All good, but change nonetheless. And, with so much change, I was downright exhausted after each day.

Shockingly, though, there was a bit of knitting going on! I did manage to finish one of my Baby Cable Rib sox. It's amazing how quickly they do go when knitting with sport weight yarn. The color is really delightful although it is definitely my mind, peridot is green but, hey, I'm not complaining.

Instead of a regular stockinette heel, I dialed up one of my favorite slip stitch patterns - Eye of Partridge. I think it complements the delicate cable quite nicely.

I also picked out and started my fall sweater project: the Circles and Bobbles sweater from Kristin Knits! I'm modifying the pattern slightly to make the sleeves closer at the wrist and I'm omitting the somewhat goofy pom-poms and drawstring at the neckline. I'm almost finished with the circle section and - with all of Kristin Nicholas' patterns - the design and colors make it a fun knit!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need a nap!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Everyone loves a parade

In this case, it's a sock FO parade:

First, presenting Cookie A's Pomatomus Socks knit in a very un-Ewe Little Dickensesque colorway of Koigu...I love 'em.

Then, I finished a bit ago the On Your Toes socks by Ann Budd (these were essentially for a toe-up sock class I taught this summer).

Having completed those two pair, it was time to cast on for the next! So, I went stash diving and found this delightful Peridot color of Fleece Artist Sea Wool purchased from The Loopy Ewe last year. Problem was that this is more of a sport weight yarn and I only have 1 sock pattern for sport and, problem #2, it was written for 2 circular needles and, problem #3, it was another toe up sock recipe. I didn't feel much like doing another toe up again so soon and I definitely didn't feel like making the pattern putzes - easy ones, I know, but putzes all the same - to adjust the #s for DPNs. Were these hurdles enough to put the kabosh on my stash choice? Nope, not if one is a member of the Church of Schurch...Charlene Schurch, that is.

I reached for my trusty More Sensational Socks and, within minutes, I was knitting merrily away on my new pair embellished with a very sweet Baby Cable Rib:

The motif matches the yarn color perfectly.

Speaking of matching, I did - true to form - exchange my treat purchase of Dream In Color Smooshy to something much more appropriate...Summer Sky.

It's the name and the serene color that will forever link it to my New Beginning that's coming up very quickly...this Tuesday in fact!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

New beginnings

In just over a week, I will begin a new chapter in my life. To mark this very special and very happy occasion, I allowed myself a few knitterly indulgences from Loop:

This lovely silk case from Della Q to hold my DPNs, plus a skein of Dream In Color Smooshy sock yarn in Go-Go Green. This photo makes the green look really bright...but it is a bit more subtle with slight undulations of blue.

I had originally hoped for Chinatown Apple which has been on my Loopy Ewe wishlist forever. Sadly, though, Loop only had that color in the worsted weight. I may hold on to this skein and exchange it for Chinatown Apple when they receive the next shipment. I have a few greens in my sock yarn stash and I want this one to be special and particularly memorable!

I also downloaded three new patterns from the gloriously brilliant Cookie A., including Django, Ornette, and Moselle. Ah...there's something about summer and socks, isn't there?

Speaking of summer and July in particular, hearing such phrases on the teevee as "things are getting a bit grippy down there" and "this rider is finding himself in a spot of bother" can only mean one thing: Le Tour! Dear Phil Liggett is in fine form this year and we enjoy his commentary immensely, so much so that we bought a volume of his "poetry" a few years ago, Dancing On The Pedals which is chock full of classic Liggettisms!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

what's your favorite?

If anyone is out there...I'd like your opinion!

I'm currently suffering from my favorite internet site ennui and eagerly looking for new fodder, knitting-related and otherwise. Just leave a comment noting what your favorite site is, and I'll go check it out.

Of course, I'll try not to get more depressed if there are no comments...

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Yesterday, BH and I made the trek west to attend the Graduation Open House for our twin nieces. Of course, being anywhere near Madison means a trip to Lakeside Fibers.

If I had my own shop, I'd want it to be just like Lakeside...well, with a few changes (not into the whole weaving thing, more sock yarn, and I'd probably want my staff to be a bit more engaging). It's lovely, though - Rowan, Dale of Norway, beautiful decor and fixtures, fantastic natural light, and - gasp! - a coffee shop built right in with comfy chairs and tables that offer this view:

ah...Lake Monona in June. Can't tell you how much I miss living in Madison. It's always been my kind of town and I've never felt more at home anywhere.

It has always been a dream of mine to 1) actually bring knitting with me on a visit to Lakeside and 2) have the time and inclination to savor a cuppa whilst knitting. My wishes came true yesterday. After poking around for a bit while BH made his way to another Madison institution for his particular brand of geekdom, I reposed blissfully in mine. With a fine brew, a lovely lake breeze and peace of mind, I whipped out On-Your-Toe sock #2 and knit.

What do they say...imitation is the best form of flattery? Well, to imitate a knitter and writer who I admire very much (and secretly wished she were my neighbor...I mean neighbour), I snapped a photo of the sock à la the Yarn Harlot:

Sock #1 is complete and on display, hopefully drumming up some interest in my upcoming class!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

What I meant was...

My oh-so-dreamy Dream In Color is actually Cloud Jungle! No matter the color, this yarn is divine and all the hype is well-deserved.

I started the On-Your-Toes socks by Ann Budd from last summer's Interweave Knits this week. Don't get me wrong, Interweave Knits is by far my most favorite knitting mag and I think Ann Budd is wonderful. However, the directions for the cast-on seem to be missing a few critical points. I even turned to the Innernets to see what other knitters did...there was no shortage of similar complaints, but very little in the way of clarification! I had to futz and putz with it to actually make it work and - after a few choice words during several failed attempts - I got it. When I cast on for the second sock, I think I'm actually going to photograph it and post it so there will be something out there.

I was so tempted to just chuck the indicated cast on and use a trusty provisional one I've used for toe-up socks before. But, as this is for a class I'm teaching later this summer, I thought it best to work out all the kinks in the pattern beforehand. Glad I did - the results were well worth the fleeting frustration!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Fork report

Another opportunity to stick a fork in a project 'cause it's done. Introducing the Striped Raglan Pullover, aka Design #1:

Cripe, even without my mug in the shot, I am the most unphotogenic person on this planet...

Most surprisingly, I'm actually thrilled with it. I didn't like it much to begin with, but it really did grow on me. I adore the colors and the neckline, plus it fits like a dream! And it was fast with a capital "f"! I'm usually on size 3 needles lately and this one, with 4.5 spi just seemed to fly by. I did some modifications by the seat of my pants including changing the edging from a 2x1 rib to seed stitch (and the needle size change, etc. that goes along with that) as well as making it longer. Originally, I had planned a sweater that landed at the top of the hip but since I had a lot of this yarn and it would have been more than a little awkward to return it, I decided to use more of it and make it tunic-length, replete with side slits:

Of course, as soon as it was completed, I decided to putz with it and, naturally, add some length to the sleeves. But, since this is knit top down, there was no need to break out the scissors. All that needed to be done was to un-do the cast off edge (the cuff), rip back, add another stripe and re-knit the seed stitch edge. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

I can definitely tell that it is going to be a warm weather favorite. All that remains is a light block and Design #1 will have successfully emerged from the pile-o-worsted weight-stash!

Friday, June 6, 2008

What a haul!

I celebrated another birthday last weekend and, if I do say so myself (and despite me saying repeatedly that I really didn't want anything other than a nice day), I made out like a bandit. In addition to a multi-year renewal to Interweave Knits, I scored some PDC (pretty darn cute) stuff from Little Miss Matched (the tights that I wore this winter were always good for total strangers starting a conversation). BH ordered some over-the-knee socks plus this too-cute-for-words sock coin purse:

Little did I know the whole story behind these 2 gifts :-) Just another reason that I love him so.

Then there was a tin of Alterra's Starfire Anise Tea. I first had a cuppa this a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it. With many of my most favorite tea ingredients, it sure is a wonderful treat with dinner.
Mark & Nancy, Washie & Maddie's original People, sent me this print. If you have read their blog, you'll know how perfect this is, beyond the fact that one deer is knitting and the other is reading. I pretty much bawled when I opened up the package. Where the heck did they find such a thing?!?

In cycling news, our pre-dawn commutes to the gym and back have begun. I had forgotten how lovely it is to be pedaling up Lake Drive as the sun rises and the birds chirping madly away. It does, in so many ways, get the day started out on a high note, especially being able to cruise up the big hill at a good clip and barely breathing hard. It's just over 11 miles round trip so it is pretty easy to incorporate the ride into our workouts when we do get there (even this morning's 60 minute spinning class). I finally cashed in my Wheel & Sprocket gift card from Christmas to get a new bike computer so I can start getting an accurate read on the mileage (nearing 200 already). This new model also has a thermometer and, as we passed through several micro-climates lakeside today, it was interesting to note how just a few degrees' fluctuation really feels like much more.

Knitting-wise, I'm just doing the very last bits of finishing on the Striped Raglan and I like it quite a bit. I'll have a photo of it this weekend as well as a picture of a new sock in Dream In Color Smooshy in the Dusky Aurora colorway for a class I'll be teaching this summer!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

A piece of cake

Ravelry puts a cute little birthday cake on your avatar:

Photos of the birthday haul (got wonderful gifts!) and the nearly completed striped raglan coming soon...

Sunday, May 25, 2008

It's growing

The striped raglan top down sweater is growing both in size and on me.

This week I finished one sleeve and will probably finish the 2nd tonight and - as it looks more like a sweater and less like some misshapen rectangular mish mashery - I'm liking it a bit more. The colors, as I mentioned last week, really rock my world.

Other than that, I'm afraid, there's not a whole heckuva much to say. I guess, no news is good news, as "they" say. Given that, here's a brief list of the things I'm looking forward to this week:

1. The weather should be cooperative for a cycle tomorrow morning
2. The National Spelling Bee
3. The lilacs are finally blooming

Sunday, May 18, 2008

William's got a fork stuck in him

Among many knitterly and non-knitterly to-doings this week, I did finish Sweet William:

The process went quite smoothly. I am a putzy finisher and tend to do and re-do seams ad nauseum, especially those for set-in sleeves, until is as perfect as can be. On this sweater, though, both sleeves were set in on the very first go:

Overall, I'm pretty pleased with it and even the modified neckline will work just fine. All it needs is one final steam and it'll be ready to make its worldwide debut.

With one sweater project off the needles, it was time to cast on for a new one, of course. A few weeks ago, I was plotting my first - albeit simple design: a striped top-down raglan with a v-neck. I was really anxious to start it back then, but now that it was time to do so, mmmm...not so much. It probably didn't help matters that my first day with it was a bumpy one. With a new day, I decided to give it the ol' college try. The initial increases are almost complete but, sadly, the jury is still out.

The colors, though, rock my world - apple green is a perennial favorite and I'm extremely fond of having blue and brown together. This is my first top-down sweater, so it looks so odd to me. Perhaps once I get past the armholes and it starts looking more like a sweater, I'll be more pleased with it.

This week's happy news brought to you by the weather, which allowed for lots of around-town bike commuting and our first ride of the season on Saturday. We just took a shortie of about 15 miles or so (must get a new bike computer - I hate not knowing our mileage and mph!), but it sure felt good to put in some road time. We rode up to the Schlitz Audubon Center with a few meanders thrown in and the hill on Lake Drive was easy for us both despite a relatively brisk NW wind. It's always reassuring to get that first hill out of the way and to be assauged that a winter's worth of work at the gym wasn't for naught! We should be on our way to our 30+ mile rides in no time...that is, if the weather cooperates!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Knitting invention?

Now, don't get me wrong, I love me some Cookie A. sock patterns. They are brilliant and beautiful. But, while knitting in the car on the way to visit my mom, with the Pomatomus heel successfully turned, it was time to embark on the gusset which meant the dreaded Chart B:

Call me crazy, but the middle of the chart had me absolutely flummoxed. The blank square usually means "no stitch" of course, but what the heck was I supposed to do? Re-position the stitches on the needle? The pattern instructions only read: "While Chart B may seem confusing and neccessarily complex, the modifications are necessary to make the top of the foot rectangular..." Ok, yeah, I get that - but how do I modify it and still make the pattern flow?

I was stuck. In the car. With no knitting! I haven't been this bored in a long time and I swear, time stood still. I just wanted to stop at the nearest public library, get online and do some searching for clarification.

Within minutes of getting home and after typing in "Pomatomus Sock Chart B" into Google, I found this helpful little thread. A ha! You just keep knitting the pattern and actually ignore the blank boxes. I've said this to my students and this totally confirms my belief that the innernets wasn't invented by Al Gore...unless he is a knitter.

With the clarification in hand, my Pomatomus continues its growth in typical Cookie A. fashion, brilliant and beautiful.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Knitting associations

I'm sure this is rather common and not just limited to knitting, but I've always closely associated movies (which, I should mention straight away, I tend to watch a few favorites over and over and over again!), television shows, books, or life events with whatever I happen to be knitting at the time.
When I started to knit seriously again in the '90s, I had just purchased the special edition of Gone With The Wind (on VHS!) and watched it nearly everyday while knitting BH my first ever stranded knitting hat (which, incidentally, was so tight that the poor dear could barely keep it on his head...but he wore it nonetheless) during a two-day snowstorm that left Ann Arbor buried under nearly 20" of snow. I can still see that nasty little hat, with yarn I bought at a craft store as Ann Arbor had no yarn shops at the time, watching our German Shepherd, Mingus try to jump through the snow in the yard, smelling the yeasty aroma from the kitchen as bread was baking in my brand new bread machine.

My first Starmore sweater was undertaken after we moved to Milwaukee, living in our "little cabin by the river" and when I was particularly enamored of Impromptu and Immortal Beloved. Meadow (sorry, just have a link to my Ravelry project page) a sweater I knit last spring, will forever be associated with Pan's Labyrinth. I still laugh at myself for some very silly mistakes I made while so engrossed in this amazing movie, trying to read subtitles and decrease properly in the midst of a lace pattern all at the same time. That's something I certainly wouldn't advise...unless, of course, you really enjoy ripping back.

My Selbuvotter mittens are Christmas 2007 and listening to The Golden Compass audiobook. Even Sweet William has its associations which aren't altogether good - when I started the sweater during this late winter, I was watching Away From Her and dealing with a very nasty bout of some sort of stomach virus that laid me flat for a few days. Unfortunately, even now that Sweet William is almost done, each time I pick it up I remember how tremendously queasy I was, too! While knitting Jack, I was listening to the audiobook of World Without End which I didn't exactly enjoy. Even after I finished the book, I still couldn't work on Jack without thinking of the characters and the plot of the book.
So, I find it rather poetic that my last completed sweater, Jack - a sweater of "firsts" was immediately followed by the super brilliant Cookie A's Pomatomus socks...a project which - in direct contrast to Jack and for reasons I shall not discuss - will be one of "lasts".

It got me thinking, though, that I and probably very many knitters out there, knit with more than just yarn, needles, notions and patterns. I knit a piece of my life into each article. I guess that's why it is so hard for me to give away what I knit. Each sweater, each amazing pair of socks, even a really bad attempt at a hat takes a snapshot of my life at that time. For better and, in this instance, for worse. Impressions, memories, life events become as an indelible part of the knitting as the yarn itself.

I began the Pomatomus socks on a very bad day - a day that I finally made a very hard realization about myself before 6 a.m. followed a few hours later by something equally as difficult to bear.
As I've worked on the socks this week, I'm pouring into this beautifully envisioned lace pattern all the complex emotions I've had to contend with both events. A simple stockinette pattern at this time wouldn't do the trick at all. Like figuring out the logic underlying the pattern, I'm figuring out the logic - or lack thereof - of my life at present.

To be sure, each time I work on the socks, or wear the completed pair in the future, I will be reminded of these very difficult times. I hope, though, that the association will become more bittersweet and that I will be a better and happier person because of my self-realization and the other event...just as one enjoys wearing a pair of beautiful lace socks that are well knit even though mistakes were made and re-dos were necessary in the process. It is my hope.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Stranded on sleeve island

But happily so. I've been able to crank out quite a bit on Sweet William this week despite having a second re-do on my altered neck. At least that's some consolation for a night or two of insomnia - bonus knitting time.

The stitch pattern on the sleeve is completely different than that on the body. At first, I wasn't digging the way it looked, but now I think it'll make quite an interesting contrast:

Here, four stitches are slipped with the yarn in the front on the RS and - with alternating these stitches - creates a basketweave look:

In honor of more spring-like weather, I broke out some suitably springy stitchmarkers (also from the delightful Jelby...creators of the felted Easter egg and sheep markers):

Yesterday marked the first Saturday in two months that I neither worked or taught. I can't tell you how much I was looking forward to a real two-day weekend. Unfortunately, I woke up Saturday morning feeling entirely crapped out physically and emotionally. I'm still a bit burned out and just wanted to do something different. So, after the gym, we packed up and head to Alterra with a pit stop for me to The Loop. Normally I want to be home as much as possible when I'm not at work but I just needed to make a change in the routine. It was 50% good. I don't like Alterra - way too hipster for me, very loud, and too filled with the Cool Couples each sitting with their own laptops, PDAs, souped-up cells, and ipods madly clicking away and speaking to everyone else in the world except each other. I really wanted to just sit and knit at a cafe and recharge. I should have followed instinct #1 and gone to The Last Drop - much more relaxed and less about "being seen".

Anyway, after a few rows, I packed up and went next door to The Loop and had a much better impression than my first visit there during the winter.
I purchased a The Luxury Collection by Debbie Bliss which is going to prove superb in busting through my worsted weight stash, including the lovely on the cover plus this must-knit, "Olivia" is SCREAMING my name!

This week, this little guy made me happy:
I went to Goldi's on Thursday to preview the Dansko trunk show. While many pairs caught my eye, this silly thing stole my heart. What's better is that it is also a bank! How cute is that!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Happiness is...

Here's an understatement for you: I've struggled for a very long time with simply being happy - I fret way too much about so many things. I'm really trying to turn that around, to appreciate and find joy where I can...and, most importantly, to remind myself of those things rather than focus in on any negative thoughts. I thought by listing what makes me happy today would be a good, here goes!

1. My old microwave finally bit the dust - I got it as a gift from my first husband's parents a year or two before we were married (if you want to call about a year married). This poor thing belonged in a museum and I think it was about 17 years old. But, hell, it worked well enough for what we need a microwave for which is general re-heating. A quick trip to Chez Target led to this cutie:
I'm realizing I have a thing for red kitchen appliances. My electric tea kettle is red and I can't wait until my coffee maker konks out so I can get a red one, too. I figure, if you can't have fun with small kitchen appliances, what's the point?

2. Knitting, even when it seems to be taking FOREVER! The front of Sweet William was done and I had worked out some modifications to the neck to make it more of a traditional crew instead of the wide & low neck as written. I was pretty pleased with the way the modifications worked out until I looked carefully at the darned thing - lo and behold, before the beginning of the neck shaping, I had a made an error in the pattern and added an extra row in the 6-row pattern, resulting in what sort of looked like a divot. It took a lot to see it, but once I knew it was there, I understand myself well enough to know that it would bug me until I re-did it. Seeing that I was about ready to hit the hay when I saw the mistake, I just set it aside until this morning. It took just a little bit of extra time but it's all all fixed, and I'm ready to re-cruise on the neck:

It struck me this morning that, even with this sweater that just doesn't seem to want to get finished, I love it...the whole process of knitting and ending up with something I can wear proudly and with a great sense of accomplishment.

3. Beloved Husband went to a meet up yesterday for one of his many hobbies and had a very good time. I'm really proud of him that he did this and he's inspired me to do likewise. Maybe someday I'll get up the gumption to go to a Ravelry Alterra meet up.

4. A good week at the gym. I think I was a little over-trained and have had some tough physical and emotional days at the gym. I did a little scaling back, which is very hard for me to do but it's what I needed to do. It feels very good to have put in a solid and sensible week in!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Thinking ahead

My knitting progress on Sweet William continues and I've just started the armhole shaping of the front. No photo, I'm afraid, 'cause...well, it looks a lot like the previous photos! I've taken my time back on Sweet William just a smidge (to pre-work out a.m.s and evenings) and have begun to bring needlepoint to work on during the sweet 30 minutes before I have to go to work. More on this (with photos, I promise) in my next post!

With Sweet William's finish on the horizon, I'm trying desperately to stave off my nasty bout of startitis by simply solidifying my plans for the next project. The keyword here is trying - so far, it's been successful but I simply can't vouch for how the next week will go. The pull to start another spring sweater is so curiously strong! I have been repeating to myself my project monogamy mantra: that is, having more than one project on the needles simply delays each of the project's completion! So good, and daydreaming about what comes next is making me want to complete Sweet William even more (that, and the promise of spring sweater weather).

I made a list of all of the lovelies (spring and even one fall project) that I'd like to make sooner than later and I made up my mind that if I don't knit up the delightful Manos Silk & Wool soon, it's going to languish in the stash for a while. I had pegged it for "Wildflower", but something was always troubling me a bit about the yarn and pattern pairing.

It hit me this morning. I can only envision this sweater is some shade of green. Maybe it's the tulip lace pattern, maybe it's the photo, maybe it's the name. Whatever it is, my gorgeous yarn in blues and khakis just didn't set right in my oddly ordered brain.

Aufklärung #2 (pardon the German there...this has always been one of my favorite words in German, meaning "enlightenment"): the silk & wool would be perfect for "Sassoon" from the same pattern collection and which caught my eye last spring:

It certainly meets all the requirements:

1. lacy? - check
2. wearable, especially in the deep freeze that the ancient air conditioning system makes the shop in the summer? - check

3. ok in blue and khaki? - check!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Excuse me?

Ok, so I had a linguistic rant about Troy Aikman's complete and utter mis-use of the English language back in December. I hadn't heard any major offenses since then 'til this morning when - while watching ESPN's SportsCenter during my a.m. workout - when I overheard one of the Final Four coaches (I think it was Kansas) - actually say in reference to the upcoming game this weekend:

"We are apprehenseful."

I thought we had a perfectly good word already with apprehensive.

That's just downright embarrassing - especially for someone who is supposedly representing a place of higher learning.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

William marches on

The back of Sweet William is all done!

The stitch pattern, an elongated 2-stitch cable over 6 rows, is quite striking en masse - it almost has a smocked effect:

The front is all cast on and in progress, with a good few inches in already. This bad boy should be ready for its debut definitely before the weather - given our winter that just doesn't want to give up the ghost - allows.

Speaking of the winter-that-won't-end, I had, after its successful debut last week, put Jack in the cedar chest for the season. Still, I couldn't resist bringing it out on Saturday for one more wear. I really love this sweater and fully imagine absolutely living in it next winter. I'm really happy with the way it fits and so glad that the pattern modifications I made (making it a smidge smaller than the size small) made it a little less mid-90s style boxy. The whole sweater, given the yarn and the various stitch patterns/cables, is so cuddly. Whoever named this yarn Cocoon at Rowan definitely got it right!

Who knows...maybe, with temps forecast in the 30s, I might just wear Jack one more time on Tuesday. I usually don't wear anything this much in such a short time span, but this sweater is a very special case indeed!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sticking a fork in Jack

'cause he's done:

Here it is, post-blocking, in all of its wooly, cozy and cuddly gooodness. It's just what I wanted it to be - just a big ol' comfy cable sweater to replace the ones I made years ago that are now way too big for me.

With the sun a-shining today, I was also able to get a halfway decent photo of the main cable pattern:

I think, too, that with the slightly sketchy weather forecast this week, Jack will even be able to make his official debut yet this year - perhaps even tomorrow.

Onward full force to the spring sweater queue which is still a little out of control but I'm trying very, very hard to maintain all of my knitting energy on Sweet William. The poor thing won't get knit all by itself and if I start other projects...well, it just doesn't help! With lots of NCAA tourney action today (yeah, Badgers!!), I should be happily knitting away all day. Bliss.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Is spring...well, um, springing?

Without a doubt, there are signs outdoors that suggest that spring is right around the corner:
1. There have been a few days this past week above 50 degrees
2. It hasn't snowed in a while
3. The huge ice valleys in our alley/garage access have finally melted away (they were so deep not too long ago that poor Harry, our Civic Hybrid, got stuck in one and our neighbors had to help push it out!)

I thought it only fair to have a few signs of spring indoors, as well:
1. Cheery potted primroses - given to me by a very sweet customer who was particularly grateful for my one-on-one help as she navigates her first Hanne Falkenberg design. They are atop my bedside table and their lovely, warm color does the soul good.

2. The felted Easter Egg stitch markers have come out of storage and even manage to make wooly Jack look a bit springier.

Aren't they adorable? I don't really need stitch markers any longer on Jack, but I've really gotten into decorating my knitting for the seasons with stitch markers ever since Christmas, when I bought all of my co-workers stitch markers from Etsy seller SeeJayneKnit based on their other hobbies/interests (e.g. footballs, coffee beans, butterflies, etc.). These are made from Jelby, a two sister team who also sell very cute things on Etsy (when I bought these a while ago, I actually also got some with violets on them, as well as a set with little sheep, one of which she has on her banner. I mean, c'mon - felt, sheep, knitting accessories. This purchase was an absolute no-brainer).

Jack, by the way, is almost complete The sleeves were finished this morning, and I'll be adding the rather large neck today. Just a quick seam-up and this one will be ready. I think, too, that I'll be able to wear it once yet this winter as snow flurries are back in the forecast in a few days!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

I've contracted a very bad case

Funny thing, I didn't think this disease was rare, but it seems like it is as there is no reference to it on WebMD:

My symptoms are pretty typical:
1. Strong urge to have a multiple hand grafts as to maximize number of projects that can be knit at the same time
2. Uncontrollable drooling when faced with lovely new spring patterns and colors
3. Even more uncontrollable drooling in the presence of yarn
I've got it but good, despite one of my steadfast yarnie resolutions of not having more than 2 projects on the needles. I'm pushing it lately, but definitely within bounds. I just don't know how long I can keep it up! Having a goodly portion left of a fairly substantial gift card to Ruhama's doesn't help my case much, either.

Here's the evidence:
1. There's poor, wooly, wintry Jack.
Like a good little knitter, I finished one sleeve this past week and I should be finished shortly. I even hope to don the sweater at least once before spring arrives.

2. Sweet William
This is my pre-work, take along project and, as I've made excellent progress on Jack, the progress on Sweet William has slowed a bit. However, I'm about 80% done with the back and still am loving the pattern and yarn immensely.

3. There are all the beautiful spring sweater patterns that I've earmarked for (cough, cough) this year yet as noted in this recent entry.
I'm ok with the above. Now for the stuff that put me over the edge. Enter the gift card.

4. Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend. I love the colors Manos wool comes in, but I don't like the thick/thin nature of the yarn, nor its predisposition to pilling. Enter their new creation, Silk Blend. 70% wool, 30% silk. Gorgeous Manos colors. It came in early February and that's when my drooling started. I couldn't pass up the damn stuff without stopping to oggle it. After a month of this silliness, I realized that I'd probably regret it if I didn't get it, so I broke out the ol' Gift Card and made the plunge.

Yummy "adobe" colorway in blues/beiges that goes with just about everything in my spring/summer wardrobe. But what would it become? I so rarely buy yarn ahead of a pattern. Surely among the Plethora there has to be one that works well? I thought to myself, "Aha! A nice lacy pattern would show off the colors beautifully!" I was right - but just couldn't get the gauge on the Lacy Cardigan. Silk Blend likes 6 spi, and the pattern calls for yarn that gets about 5 spi over stockinette. I swatched a couple of times to see how the yarn knit up with lace (gorgeous), but just couldn't get the gauge:

I pulled out my trusty RYC spring pattern collections, and lo and behold, there it was. A pattern that caught my eye last year, but I didn't have a good yarn in mind: Wildflower, from the Nature collection, has a delightful tulip-shaped lace pattern and my swatch worked up nicely after trying a size 5, then 4 needle:

I'm trying very hard to not knit this RIGHT NOW!

5. Cookie A has two new sock patterns, Marilinda and Mingus (our beloved dog, who died a few years ago, was also named could I pass up this pattern?):

I've got a box of sock yarn, with the recent acquisitons of my Dream in Color Smooshy Sock in Cocoa Kiss and Classic Elite's beautiful new Alpaca Sox in a new spring colorway which could have been dyed just for me with greens, pumpkin, and a hint of blue:

Crappity, crap.

Trying very hard to be good and - so far, as of 12:20 pm Sunday, March 9, I'm winning as I dutifully cast on Jack's second sleeve this morning and proceeded to start it. I would take any bets, though, on how the rest of the day will go...