Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Back to the blanket

Another week and where exactly has the month of May gone to? I have absolutely no idea because I can't see any way that I've actually been at my job for nearly four weeks now. The summer research is by far the best job I have ever had and it's such a pleasure to go in to work every single day. That ofcourse leaves me inspired for lots of knitting time in the evening!

After the massive amounts of guilt I've been feeling about the baby blanket, this weekend I bought the first two seasons of Grey's Anatomy and spent most of the weekend just knitting the blanket and watching Greys. It took me until last night to finish it. And I couldn't stop. I didn't want to stop until I knew that Meredith got back together with Dr McDreamy. I have to stop falling for series where the heroine is constantly getting screwed over by love because I was crying way more than should be normal for a tv series. But I was ever so impressed when for two episodes they should the main characters knitting. Izzie even gave her boyfriend a hand knit sweater, then he died. Really puts a new spin on the "never knit your boyfriend a sweater" legend doesn't it? So this is what the baby blanket currently looks like:

It's about 22 inches at the moment so just another 22 to go before I reach the 44 inch mark, hooray! This two baby blankets thing is looking more and more do-able.

After the massive amount of blanket knitting I took the last two nights off from it and mostly was picking at the second Monkey sock. I have about two weeks to finish them before the go and get mailed off for a birthday. Completely do-able!

And I may or may not have placed in another order at The Loopy Ewe. Shh! I caught the sneak up last week. It's really hard to explain to your ride why they have to hold on so that you can order yarn at 7:15 in the morning so that it's not all gone by the time everyone gets to the site. I got all different brands from what I ordered last time with the exception of another Claudia Hand Paint because I am absolutely in love with how it's knitting up on the Monkey's and because I saw a picture on the Sockapalooza Pligg of someone knitting with it in the Carousel colourway and knew that I needed it.

As I read through my regular knitting blogs and through the Pligg, I cannot believe the amount of people knitting Monkey socks at the moment. It seems like just about every second blog has someone knitting them or talking about imminently needing to knit them. The blog-o-sphere really has added a slightly crazy dynamic to the world of knitting by starting "crazes". The "popular" pattern of the day. I only hope that it doesn't have the same effect as it does on most commercial goods. It's a big fad and then it gets tossed and forgotten about real quickly. Some of the crazes are for really gorgeous patterns and it would be a shame for them to get tossed because of the internet created "novelty" to wear off... Just some thoughts.

And, in a bit of exciting news, I'm waiting rather impatiently for the post office to deliver my ISE4 scarf. I heard from my upstream pal last week who says it's on its way. That was a week ago so it could be here any time now. I just have to forget how much the post office seems to hate me and with any luck it might be here by the end of the week *knocks on wood*. I promise lots of pictures when it arrives!

Happy knitting :)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Socks socks and more socks

It's been about a week and a half since last posting, and just when I was getting good at this, oh well :P This has actually been a really productive week knitting wise for me and I set a personal record for sock finishing so I can't complain at all.

First and foremost, I finally settled on a pattern for my Sockapalooza4 Pal and have started knitting it up. After all the talk I've heard about them while pattern searching I decided to try my first pair of Jaywalkers by Grumperina. My pal specifically requested no lace so I think that this pattern satisfies that requirement perfectly and it seems to show off the yarn quite well so I am happy. I just wish slipping those two stiches over was a little easier on my bamboo needles... Here's what the sock looks like with the yarn attached:

I'm actually surprised at just how dominant the brown is. I didn't think the brown to other colour ratio would be so high before I wound it. But it's definitely on the brown side. The picture clearly doesn't capture this but what is so nice about the Fleece Artist is the gorgeous sheen to the yarn. It just seems to radiate so I'm very happy with it.

On the finishing socks fast front, with all the Monkey fever that's been going around, I decided to cast on with my new Claudia Handpaint in Jill's Pink. At first I was being selfish and wanting them for myself but after seeing the colour knit up, I know that they're destined to be sent to a dear dear friend of mine for her birthday next month. There really couldn't be a sock better suited to her. I'm just in love with the luscious softness of the yarn and can't wait to finish the second.

How could anyone not just fall in love with Monkey socks? How I do wish these could have been destined for me though *sigh*
And it seems that I somehow managed to not have a FO shot of the Hedera socks so here they are:

I am exceedingly happy with how they turned out. I was wearing them last week to university with a skirt. There was just no way I could hide them under pants all day. Though I must admit that I spent most of the day without the shoes on and was happily getting out of my shoes to show them to fellow knitters and fans of knitters in the math department. Who really needs shows anyways?

In the interests of full disclosure, the baby blanket hasn't been touched. This has now become exceedingly alarming as I just found out that a friend of mine from school is also having a baby in September so she'll absolutely need a baby blanket. Right... My cousin better not be having twins or I am seriously screwed. Perhaps all my built up sock karma will make the knitting Gods smile in my favour? Maybe?

Oh! On Sunday there were two new additions to my family. After the long anticipated death of my over 3.5 year (extremely!) old betta fish, two new goldfish joined the house. Pythagoras in tan and Hypatia in orange:

And just so that Mittens doesn't get jealous of the fish :) a pic of kitty in the knitting

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Going Loopy

This past Thursday was a pretty amazing day here. Not only was it my 22nd birthday, and not only was it Whacking Day (a perfectly innocent link and holiday, no worries), but it was the day that I received my first order from The Loopy Ewe which must be nothing short of the most fabulous sock yarn store in the entire world. I just about died looking at all of the gorgeous yarn. And when it arrived, I had to be reminded that I had band and had to stop continually petting the yarn that came (fibre addiction anyone?). And everything wonderful anyone has heard about the owner Sheri is 100% true. She was great emailing me back and forth making special arrangements for my money order and answering all of my questions. The package came so quickly and it included a hand written note that she puts in every order. Here is what I got:

From left to right we have:
-Cherry Tree Hill in "Winterberry" 420 yds 100% superwash merino fingering weight
-Cherry Tree Hill in "Brights" 420 yds 100% superwash merino fingering weight
-Apple Laine in "Strawberry Jam" 2 190 yd skeins 50% wool, 20% mohair, 20% silk, 10% nylon

-Regia in a mystery colour (there may be a colour but I don't read ...German is it?) 210 m per ball, 75% new wool, 25% Polyamide
-Claudia Hand Painted Yards in Jill's Pink, 180 yds/skein, 100% merino wool
But I have to say what's the most exciting thing about this order. The Regia. Mostly because I did not order it. Sheri always includes goodies in the packages, and sometimes it's yarn. I got enough for a full pair of socks. How is that for customer service? So yes, I highly recommend that every one who has never visited goes and takes a look at her store from my link above or by the image on the sidebar of my blog. It is well worth the trip.
In my personal knitting, the shawl is a bit bigger, the baby blanket is... the exact same size. I have mostly been focusing on the 2nd Hedera sock to free up needles to try my new sock yarn. Here's the Hedera thus far:

Hopefully they'll be done soon and the needles will be all mine!
I'm still at a loss for a pattern for my Sockapalooza Pal that I'm knitting for. No lace...hmm... I guess that leaves me with a pretty cabled sock. Now to only find a nice cabled sock pattern... If any one has any suggestions, I'm all for them at the moment!
And, in a little piece of excitement for myself, I've been blogged! Tuesdays on the Sockapalooza Knittpligg you are supposed to write blog stories about others socks you've seen. My post about the Fleece Artist wool choice was written about on this blog (aren't I a geek!). And if anyone would like to see the package I sent my ISE4 pal, you can read Sharon's post on her blog. It's really bizarre to see my knitting on another person's blog across the world... I really don't think I ever knew what a huge and amazing world I was getting myself into when I was introduced to the world of knit blogging. One crazy rabbit hole indeed...

Monday, May 7, 2007

Sockapalooza4 Yarn

After this weekend's trip to the yarn store I also picked up the yarn for my pal. It's the Fleece Artist Sea Wool in the colour Seastorm. Since starting on my Hedera socks I've fall in love with this yarn and I can't see how my pal wouldn't either. And some experimenting in colours you wouldn't normally see chez Jenna so it will be a great adventure. Now if I could only settle on a pattern for the yarn...

It'll just take some more searching. But the yarn is very lovely and there has to be the perfect pattern out there somewhere!

More yarn

More yarn for me! It's my birthday this Thursday so I've been treating myself to some yarn. Well, lots of yarn actually, but let's not try to argue semantics here :) On Saturday I took a trip over to Ram Wools and got mostly yarn essentials and a treat.

The treat for me was 1260yds of "Fiddlesticks Knitting" lace weight yarn (50% Merino wool, 50% tussah silk) in the colour indigo. I've been wanting to make myself a shawl for forever and I figure birthday yarn is a good excuse. I settled on making the Snowdrop Shawl by the Yarn Harlot. I think that it's definitely manageable for a first lace attempt and it's easy to memorize. I'm making good use of lifelines in the pattern and taking a good lesson on the fiddliness of lace. It's crap to unknit :) But I'm a trooper. Here's my progress so far:

I keep reminding myself that lace is meant to be blocked and then I'm happy with it. Though I must say that I'm rather alarmed at the number of people who are seeing it and asking if I'm making underwear :S

As mentioned before, my cousin is having a baby this summer and I'm in mid baby blanket (it looks the same, only longer, so no picture this time). Now about a month ago I bought a Debbie Bliss Baby book and fell in love with all the adorable patterns. As she still doesn't know the baby's sex, I can't make any clothes for them. But, I couldn't resist. So I made some baby socks for my research supervisor's daughter. But I apparently have no concept of baby sizes and blindly follow book guidelines so they might be too small. But he has hopes they might just fit for a bit (here's to hoping). I stupidly forgot to take a picture this morning so there's no picture of them. But I assure you that I'll knit more because they're too cute. And my first time using more than one colour. So I was very proud of them.

But my weekend wasn't all fun and knitting games. I nearly threw a tantrum at my yarn. The lace weight yarn, very near the start of the ball had a HUGE honking matt/tangle. I spent 2 hours trying to salvage it but it wasn't working. The yarn was literally like fused together and had I eventually seperated it, the yarn would have been so frayed that it would have become unuseable. Here's one knot that I couldn't get out:Remember, this is lace weight yarn (you can see how thin the one strangling piece is) so that should tell you just how badly it's knotted in the middle there.

Then, comes my Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino for the socks. All I had to two was 4 rounds of 32 stitches on the cuff in one colour and then I got to change. Practically an inch from where I had to switch colours (and all would have been fine):

They kindly decided to tie on a new piece of yarn right there. So there goes the first few yards of the ball, all for not. I understand that this happens, but right at the start of the ball making it totally unuseable?!?! These were both expensive yarns so I would expect better, but I digress...

For non-Sockapaloozers on here, you might be quite impressed to know that our group, with 1000 sock makers "broke blogger" . There were so many sock knitters on the blog that it couldn't handle it so they've had to move the message board on to a program called Digg. It is really cool. It basically involves people posting stories from different blogs instead of it all being on one blog. Any one can go read look at all the cool sock posts here. So that means seperate posts on my blog for sock stuff.
(More on the other yarn I've acquired when it arrives sometime this week