Saturday, March 31, 2007

Blue Bamboo Zephyr Socks

Just in time for the very last day of Project Spectrum 2.0 and my Sock A Month KAL (although this is my second pair), I finally finished the socks!

Blue Bamboo Zephyr Socks

Pattern: Zephyr Socks
Source: Domesticat
Yarn: Regia Bamboo Color 1061
Needles: Addi Turbo Lace size 1 US; (2) 24" circulars

As usual, I knit these from the toe-up using Judy's Magic Cast-On. I kept the sole stitches to 26, but increased the instep stitches to 36. On the heel flap, I made sure I ended up with 27 stitches before starting the leg and kept the 36 stitches from the instep to end up with a total of 63 stitches on the leg section. The original pattern has 52 stitches, so I definitely had to take time to do recalculations to fit this yarn to my size 8 foot.

Notes: I'm going to confess my shortcomings that I chose the wrong pattern for this yarn and the wrong needles for this yarn. Independently I'm sure I would love each item, but together spelled misery for me. This pair of socks took a month to knit and they should have taken no more than 2 weeks. By the way, the jogless bind-off worked BRILLIANTLY! Thanks again Amber.
  • Pattern: It is brilliantly simple and easy to memorize. I recommend this pattern and will definitely keep it in my binder of favorites.
  • Yarn: I mainly purchased it out of curiosity because it had bamboo in it AND it was the perfect colorway for February/March Project Spectrum colors. The yarn is comprised of 45% bamboo, 40% wool and 15% polyamide. I enjoyed knitting with the yarn but I especially LOVE how the yarn feels on my feet. It's extremely light and airy and feels like you're barely wearing anything at all. In fact, if I were to wear socks with my lingerie (which I don't), these would be the perfect socks.
  • Needles: This was my first project with the new Addi Turbo Lace needles. My personal opinion is they are great, but definitely not for all yarns, like this bamboo yarn. Since the bamboo yarn doesn't glide like most other sock yarns, and since the lace needles grab the yarn a tiny bit, it was a bad combination. I definitely should have knit these with my KnitPicks Circular needles. That said, I'm definitely going to give these needles a try again with a different yarn and I definitely see the value of these needles when knitting lace. In fact, I will buy a pair specifically for my next lace project since the KnitPicks needles are too slick and the original Addi Turbo needles just aren't pointy enough.
I definitely recommend the yarn, the pattern and the needles, but not in combination together. Isn't it fun to have so many learning opportunities with each knitting project? I'm definitely learning so much in my knitting adventures.

Thanks to everyone who posted comments about my shawl. It's still sitting in time-out, but I have a feeling it may get a frogging soon.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Bear With Me

A few of you have been wondering where I've been for the last week. Well, I haven't sat at the computer for DAYS and I'm trying to get caught up on reading all of your blogs. I've missed you all and am curious to see what you've been up to, so bear with me, I'll get to your blog very soon.

In spite of not posting or reading blogs in about a week, I HAVE been knitting. The Zephyr socks are coming along ... because they have to. I'm anxious to finish these by Saturday in time for Project Spectrum. The colors for February and March are Blue, White and Gray and since this Regia Bamboo sock yarn has all these colors in them, I'll be mad knitting on these for a few hours to finish them. I can't wait to try that jogless bindoff!

I've been working on the Shoulder Shawl in the Cherry Leaf Pattern from Victorian Lace Today, but when I stretched it all out ... well, I'll let the photos tell the story.

I like these gradual colorway changes in the yarn on these two sections, but....

what is with the "stripe"?
What happened to gradual color changes?

Everything has a gradual color change expect that one spot! BLECH!

I'm not thrilled with the "stripe" going through this so I've tossed it in a bag like it's in "time out" or something. I just can't look at it. When I bought the yarn I thought it would be perfect for a shawl, but sometimes you just never know until you knit with it. So, dear reader, what would YOU do?

Option 1: Finish it and hope that it looks better once blocked?
Option 2: Frog it and hope to find a project suited better for the yarn at a later date?

On a positive note, yesterday these little beauties arrived!

from left to right: cream, green mountain madness, java, and bark

Go and check out the 20% off sale on Cherry Tree Hill supersock merino yarn at Chez Casuelle. Shipping and handling is free on orders over $25, so how can you not?

Friday, March 23, 2007

NOT Eye Candy Friday

Since every Friday in blog-land (or blog-ville if you prefer), I see AMAZING photographs for Eye Candy Friday, I decided that since I don't take amazing photographs (yet), that I'd start "NOT Eye Candy Friday" for myself. This may be a weekly thing, or it may be a one-time fluke for today, who knows.

I've now discovered that I live under a rock and that Amber is my neighbor. She posted about the jogless bind-off in the round and it is brilliant! I've never seen it before (because I must live under a rock) or if I had, I must have disregarded it. This is exactly the type of bind off that is perfect for toe-up socks and I can't wait to try it on my current pair.

This pair of socks has been tossed aside and ignored for about a week though. I've either been burned out on sock knitting (perish the thought) or got so tired of ripping out the heel that I couldn't stand to look at them any longer. Now I have renewed energy to complete them so I can try that bind-off. Thanks Amber! Now these socks may be finished in time for my March knitalongs. Just in case you're wondering, this is the Zephyr Socks pattern knit in Regia Bamboo yarn.

The winner of my blogiversary contest, Abby, got to meet the Yarn Harlot on Thursday. I'm really happy for her, but I'm sooooo jealous. I found out the Harlot is going to be stopping in Northern California for her book tour, but not southern California. She didn't come here for her last book tour either. Maybe I should move.

I have the BEST husband. The other day I was looking at my Amazon wish list when DH walked up to me and asked what I was doing. After stating that I was just adding books to my wish list, he asked me which ones I want. Why all of them, of course. I showed him my top five and next thing I know there was some button clicking going on and all the sudden there was a page about my order being sucessfully placed. WOW! And here's what he bought me!

Most of you already own Socks, Socks, Socks so I won't go into any details about it other than to say I was pleasantly surprised that there were so many sock patterns that I really loved and could actually see myself knitting about half the patterns in there. The No Sheep for You book really deserves its own review. I normally don't review books, but of the blogs I read I haven't seen anyone review it, so I thought.. why not me? So as to not "bore" you with it today, I'll save the review for another day.

This weekend involves a library book sale, visiting a new knitting store,watching the grandsons at itty bitty t-ball, spending some much-needed time with DH, and of course knitting! I should have some fun things to blog about next week. Have a great weekend!

Monday, March 19, 2007

And the winner is ...

I was going to use a random number generator for the Blogiversary comment prize, but instead I decided it would be more fun to print out the list of commenters, and draw them from my favorite monstrous coffee mug



And the winner is.....

Congratulations to Abby from Yarn and Cocktails for winning the skein of Trekking XXL #104. Please email me your address so I can get it in the mail to you. Thanks to everyone who participated. It was so fun reading all of your "favorites" and getting to know your knitting personality a bit.

A week or two ago, I signed up for the Victorian Lace Today Knitalong. I made it in just under the gun though since they aren't accepting any new members. Can anyone shed some light on why a KAL would accept a limited number of participants?

Anyway, I decided to knit the Shoulder Shawl with the variegated Graceful laceweight yarn I purchased at Stitches West from the Yarn Place. I'm not sure I *love* the variegated colors for this particular pattern, but it's good practice anyway. I'm also a bit nervous because the pattern calls for 900 yards and my skein is 900 yards. I went down a needle size and I suppose I could leave off a pattern repeat if I need to. This may be a nail biter!! Thankfully Laura has agreed to teach me how to crochet since this shawl has a crochet edge. Well of course it does. I never go the simple route.

And totally off topic, for those of you thinking your gas prices are a bit high, Sunday afternoon I saw this:
(click on picture to make larger)Yes, that really does say $3.12 a gallon for basic unleaded gasoline in Lake Elsinore, CA. OUCH!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Spring Sunday's

Just a reminder to leave a comment on my Blogiversary post to win free yarn. I'll be taking entries on that post until Monday, March 19th at noon (PST)

Do you ever wonder what people do on the weekends? I usually don't since most of you blog about it, but I rarely share my weekend events, so here's a peek into what I do every Sunday afternoon.

That's me on the far right hanging out with the family(DH is taking the photo) watching the grandkids play "itty bitty t-ball". It's so adorable watching 3-5 year olds running after their own ball after they hit it, sitting at the bases looking in the grass for bugs, or crying because they "never get the ball". DH & I are loving every minute of it. This is the first year both boys are playing together on the same team, but we found out that next year the oldest will be playing regular t-ball on Saturdays. At least now we know we'll be hanging out at the baseball field on both days of our weekend. So why am I wearing an "Angels" shirt you ask? Very good question, and here's the answer. I'm supporting the Grandkids team. Every year they are assigned to play on a team that is a mirror image of a MLB team, and this year we are the Angels. Last year we were the Dodgers, this year we're the Angels and maybe next year the Yankees?

Pregame Warmup
Mom says to keep hydrated!There's no crying in baseball
By the way, please go to Lara's blog and read this post. She needs help from knitters and I'm hoping that maybe a few of you who read my blog, will help her with a knitted item for a family in need.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Happy One Year Blogiversary... to ME!

It's like a broken record. Everywhere you look people are having a blogiversary. I believe something must have been in the water (or yarn) that month because a year ago today, I also got bit by the "blog bug"! I think I started reading 10 blogs consistently then, but as of today, I have 216 blogs that I'm subscribed to. Yes, insanity has hit an entirely new level around here. So much has happened in a year and I've made some great new blogging friends (although I've only met two of them) and I'd love to increase that number this year.

Of all the stats I located about my blog though, these are my favorite:
  • 4,776 people have visited my blog (about 1,000 of those were in February)
  • 127 posts have been written (including this one)
  • 536 comments have been left here
Thanks to all of you who frequently comment. It really does make my day to see so many comments on a consistent basis. I sincerely try to respond back to every comment I receive, but occasionally one falls through the cracks (or I can't locate an email address) and for that I'm sorry. I hope you continue here with me for my adventures into my second year, and I look forward to whatever my blog brings me. (an income would be nice)

In honor of my one-year blogiversary, I'm going to do the predictable and give away yarn. I was going to make it a contest, but I don't want you to have to work too hard for your freebie, so here's what I'd like. Leave me a comment on this post about your favorite yarn, knitted item, knitting book, and knitting accessory between now and Monday, March 19th at 12:00pm PST. I'll use a random number generator to choose the winner and that person will receive this skein of Trekking XXL. Come on people, it's time to finally de-lurk. After all, this is FREE.

Since I haven't posted since Monday, I could bore you with all the things I've been doing, but I won't. I will, however share with you the best part of the week. On Wednesday I went to Laura's beautiful home up in the hills of Orange County California. WOW! Talk about some stunning views!! Of course, I didn't think to take any photos because I'm an idiot! It's the truth, what can I say? We had a wonderful afternoon of showing off some of the items we've knit and I brought my yarn haul from Stitches West to show. The time passed too quickly (as usually is the case when knitting and yarn are involved) and as I drove home I was very thankful for blogs. I finally realized that the reason I blog is to keep in contact with those of you who have the same obsession for knitting as I do. I love connecting with people who can appreciate the joy, happiness, sadness and frustration that we call our craft, and the opportunity to hopefully someday meet some of the amazing people we correspond with through our blogs. Am I sounding too sappy? Okay, I'll shut up now.

In family news, my baby girl is turning 4 years old on Saturday.

This is Kya and I guess she's really not my baby, as much as she is my dog, but since I never had kids of my own, (other than step-children) I consider my pets my kids. I know some of you may understand. Ever since she was a puppy, she'd lay on the ground and roll her ball around with her paw. It's one of my favorite things to watch her do, so I just had to include a photo of it for you.

And just so my handsome 3-yr old doesn't get left out, this is Duke.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Cup a what?

DH: That is beautiful honey, very nice work.
ME: Thanks
DH: What's that called again?
ME: (I think I've told him a million times this is called a Clapotis)
DH: Cup...a.....
ME: (Did he say cup?)
DH: Cup a tea?
ME: Did you say cup a tea?
DH: uhh.. yes
DH: What? (looking at me wondering what's so funny) What's it called?
ME: (still laughing) Clap-o-tis
DH: Well I don't know, wasn't I close?
ME: You're *so* getting busted on my blog for this.

So, I'm not calling it the Clapotis anymore, it's now the Cup-A-Tea.

Pattern: Clapotis by Kate Gilbert
Source: Fall 2004 issue
Yarn: Brooks Farm Four Play (2 1/2 skeins)
Needles: KnitPicks Options size 8 US
Finished Dimensions: 22" x 59"

Notes: I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of knitting this. It was fun to watch two stitches grow into 107 stitches, and dropping a line of stitches after a 12 row repeat never got boring to me. It was also my first time using more than four stitch markers on one project and thankfully I had 18 jump rings hanging around here in my beading kit. The needles were good for this project, but right now I'm all about the yarn. It was HEAVEN. There are not enough adjectives in the world to describe how absolutely fabulous this yarn is. Next time I'm around Brooks Farm yarn though, I may just blow the bank! Their prices are very reasonable and now I'm especially glad I purchased the Acero yarn to try.

By the way, am I the only person who doesn't get the email adresses for those who comment on my blog? In my email inbox, it shows this:
"Commenters Name"
How in the world can I respond back to new comments if I don't know their email address? Did I set up something incorrectly on blogger?

For those of you new posters/de-lurkers to my blog, thank you sincerely for your comments about my toe up pomatomus. I sincerely appreciate it and if you send me your email address, I'll keep it on file so I can personally thank you whenever you comment.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Toe Up Pomatomus

I love that these socks not only count as my March socks for SAM3, but that they also work for February/March Project Spectrum 2.0.

Pattern: Pomatomus by Cookie A.

Source: Winter 2005 issue

Yarn: Jitterbug by Colinette; colorway 118 Velvet Damson

Needles: (2) Addi Turbo 24" circular size 0 US (2.0mm)

Notes: I seem to be addicted to knitting socks from the toe-up, so I decided to try another attempt at converting this pattern from cuff down to toe up. Chart B originally made no sense to me (and those who have knit this will understand what I'm saying), but I decided to trust the pattern & it did indeed all work out. The pattern was extremely well written and the beautiful designs that Cookie comes up with is just amazing to me. I'm most proud that I was able to calculate how to get the stitches on the heel to match up with the pattern on the leg. Personally, I think it was just dumb luck, but I'll take it! As far as the yarn goes .. YUM! I really loved the subtle variations of this colorway and would love to find another skein of this velvet series in a different color. It was great to knit with and I can highly recommend it. Since I've knit the last few pairs of socks with my pointy KnitPicks circular needles, I found myself getting frustrated very easily trying to Ktbl with what seemed like "dull" needles. I also hope to never have to knit another pair of socks on size 0 needles again. Not because it takes longer, but because I don't want to purchase another set of needles!

By the way, this is the reason I knit socks from the toe-up:
This is all the yarn that remains from this pair of socks, and I even had to omit the last row of ribbing at the top. Can you imagine what a mess I'd be in if I knit these from the cuff to the toe?

In non-knitting news, if you're interested in the slightest at beautifully decorated cakes, you must hop on over to my baby sisters blog and look at her latest creations. This is her first set of cakes that she got paid to make and I honestly think she should consider this as her future profession.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Belated FO

I should've posted about this at the end of December, or at least January, but it slipped through the cracks! This project was finished the 2nd week of December but deserves its own post, so I'd like to introduce.....


Pattern: Rick Rack Purse by Susan Lawrence

Pattern Source: KnitPicks Patterns

Yarn: Cascade 220 in purple hyacinth (body); Cascade Quatro in malta (trim)

Needles: Clover Bamboo 24" circular size 10 1/2 US

Notes: Early last year my neice (pictured) asked me to knit her a bag for her birthday that she could put her scriptures in. I thought this request was interesting and ironic, (but only those of you who know my past will understand why). My little sister and I scoured the internet to find something that might work and when we ran across this pattern, we crossed our fingers and I purchased it. The pattern was clearly written, clever, and a quick knit. Since almost everyone I know has knit with Cascade 220, I don't have to tell you how good it is. The base of the purse is sturdy, but I added some plastic canvas for extra stiffness since the scriptures being held weigh about 3 pounds. It worked out perfectly! The only thing that would've made this better, would be a lining with a small zippered pocket to hold some paper and a pencil. Otherwise, it's perfect!

In CURRENT knitting news, Pomatomus are blocking, I've started Zephyr Socks, and at Karen's request, I've included a photo of my Clapotis in progress. The colorway is so not "me", but I'm actually starting to like it. I remarked to DH last night that I had nothing in my wardrobe that would match this (since he picked out the yarn). I fully expected him to give me one of those "looks", but instead he said, "I guess I'll have to buy you something". Did I marry the perfect man or what?

Friday, March 02, 2007

Finally Finished Friday

We Call This ... Finally Finished!
I'm also thrilled because this counts towards STRANDED, The Colorwork Challenge KAL.

Pattern: We Call Them Pirates
Pattern Source: Hello Yarn
Yarn: KnitPicks Andean Silk (pitch & cream colorways) and Elann Sonata (color 8176)
Needles: (2) Knitpicks Classic Circular size 3 US and (2) Addi Turbo size 1 US
Notes: In the future I will knit a gauge swatch in the pattern stitch since this hat fits a small child & not a mans head as originally intended. I used the two circulars method to knit the entire hat. The yarn is soooo sooo soft and I would most definitely knit with it again, unless I find something just as nice for the price. The pattern was fun, very well written, and fairly easy to follow.

I have a question though for those of you who have knit items with linings in them. Why do you have to knit the lining last? Why couldn't I have cast-on the lining section & then knit the hat section? Anyone? Anyone? I really am looking for an honest answer here otherwise I'm going to try knitting the lining first and then if it fails miserably .. I'll know who to blame. (umm.. myself)

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Stitches West 2007: Part 3 (Saturday)

Are you getting tired yet of Stitches West recaps? Well this is the very last post about it (at least for THIS year).

Saturday morning I woke with excitement, but I was also a bit sad since I knew this was my last day at Stitches. When we arrived at the convention center, we soon discovered that there was some type of dance competition going in the ballroom which was the floor above the vendor booth area. I sat DH in a comfy chair next to an end table in a quiet corner (too bad there's no photo of it) and he set up the laptop with a movie and his headphones. I knew he'd be entertained for quite a few hours since he was watching Pirates of the Caribbean (for the millionth time).

The convention center was PACKED with people & the line to get tickets for admission to the Stitches Market was LONG! As I walked in, I noticed the crowds today were about 3 or 4 times that of the first night. WOW! Good thing I got most of my shopping and browsing completed on Thursday and Friday. I stopped back at the YarnDogs booth where I'd spied the sock blocker keychain the day before & purchased it as well as some KnitKlips. I then went to the Stitch Diva booth for help on my felted clogs. Sitting in the middle of the convention floor walkway was the Curiously Clever Clogs pattern designer, Jennifer, crocheting an afghan with the largest crochet hook I've ever seen. I stepped into their booth and told one of the workers of my dilemma with the pattern and she stated I'd have to speak with Jennifer since she'd never knitted them. Of course there was a smallish crowd around her, and since I had class, I decided to stop back later.

Since teaching my little sister to knit via the internet and telephone, and then attempting to teach my left-handed aunt to knit, and then being asked by my step-daughter for knitting lessons, I decided I should probably take a "how to teach knitting" class. Since I'd never formally taken any knitting lessons I wasn't sure how to approach teaching another person without frustrating them and me (as in the case with my aunt), so I decided to learn from a professional. The class was a one-hour market session named Teaching Learn-To-Knit by Beth Whiteside. Overall the class was great, but there was one student who slowed us all down a bit and it seemed like Beth had to rush through some of the things she was trying to convey. It wasn't the students fault though since she was hard of hearing, and although she sat in the front row, the noise level was horrible. Unfortunately the market session classes were in the vendor area of the convention center in screened off rooms, and not only did you have the noise from that, but then there was the noise from all the announcements on the PA system. Although I enjoyed the class immensely and learned a GREAT DEAL of useful information, I probably won't take another market session class again unless they move it out of the vendor area and into regular classrooms.

After class, I figured DH was still entertaining himself with his movie & that I may have a moment or two to do some last-minute shopping. I ended up at the perfect booth for some lace-weight yarn to start a project from Victorian Lace Today. The first skein I purchased is 903 yards of Graceful, a 100% fine lace wool, and the second skein is 3100 yards of Heaven, a tencel and merino wool blend. Unfortunately the photo doesn't show you the stunning sheen on the skein of Heaven, but if it knits up as beautifully as I hope, I will buy a skein of this in every color!

Unfortunately I got so side-tracked by all the beautiful lace-weight yarn, I completely forget to go back to the Stitch Diva booth for help on the clog pattern. DUH! I'd carried the darn half-knitted clog and pattern instructions around with me for two days, and completely forgot! I'm blaming it on all the yarn tempting my eyes & screwing with my brain.

That's it for my adventures at Stitches. I can't WAIT for next year! By the way, I think tomorrow I'll have a FO Friday!