Saturday, April 28, 2007

Oops I did it again!

I placed another order with Sheri at The Loopy Ewe. That darn free shipping and handling for orders over $50 gets me everytime. That also happens to me with KnitPicks and their $45 free shipping limit. Oh, and did I fail to mention I also placed an order with them on the same day? Somebody please help me. So are you wondering what I ordered? Guess you'll have to wait until everything arrives so I have photos of it. (he he he)

Did I hear you just ask what's on my needles? (Or, were you cursing me for not telling you what I ordered?) Well, not pictured is the Handsome Triangle Scarf and the Matinee Coat because there's not much of a change in either. I just cast off a square for Julie and it's currently blocking although I don't have a photo of it. I did start a sock though! I know, you're not surprised. I mean, how could *I* not have a sock on my needles? This is Cherry Tree Hill Supersock yarn in the Green Mountain Madness colorway and I'm knitting it into the Snake River Socks pattern. I love the yarn, I love the pattern, and I think I may give these to my mom for Mothers Day. After all, she does live next to the Snake River.

I also received my order from Sundara Yarn. I ordered this sock yarn back in March and had honestly forgotten about it so it was a very nice surprise to see Mr. Mailman bring me a package. I ordered this yarn for 3 reasons.
1.) She lives in the city I was born and left my heart in: Seattle, Washington.
2.) The yarn is named after one of my most favorite trees: Cherry Blossom.
3.) Her yarn always sells out and I was curious to see if the yarn is as good as I've heard.
Although I haven't knit with it yet, I can say that I'm very thrilled with my purchase even though with the shipping and handling costs, I doubt I'll order very often from her in the future. We'll see if I still say that though after I knit with it.

I also received the sweetest surprise from Entrelac. I was commenting to her that I needed a contrasting stitch marker so I could identify the center of my shawl and before I knew it, I had this beautiful blue Swarovski crystal marker in my mailbox. She even sent me this one from her personal collection ... for free! I am in love with these dangle free stitch markers and I'm definitely impressed by Ana and her amazing turnaround time and customer service.

Inspired by Teyani's post, here's "my knitting spot". This is where I usually sit to do all of my knitting. DH and I have been married for almost 4 years, and the first 2 1/2 years were spent sitting on the sofa next to him. However, when I learned to knit, I then discovered that this chair was more comfortable than the sofa, so I moved and poor DH has had the sofa all to himself. He probably prefers it though since when we used to sit together and he'd start to doze off, I'd tap him to wake up. Now he's across the room and when he dozes off to sleep during a movie we're supposed to be watching together, I just ignore him and keep knitting. He gets his beauty rest, and I work on my knitting. We're both happy.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

No Sheep For You Review

I originally saw the No Sheep For You book at Stitches West and instantly knew I should add it to my very small knitting book collection. Although I'm not one of the very unfortunate people that is allergic to wool, I do appreciate the non-wool fiber options that are currently available, and I also appreciate the great designs this book has to offer. Marrying non-wool fibers and great designs into this book was a brilliant idea.

The first 3 chapters (about 25 pages) is an introduction covering information about the non-wool knitting fibers currently available, the differences between them, and understanding them for yourself. This section had so much great information in it, and it really helped me understand where fibers come from and how they may or may not work in my next knitting project.

The meat of the book is obviously the patterns and there are twenty of them ranging from simple to complex. There is a great variety in patterns and surprisingly there were even a few for men. As everyone I'm sure knows, the author is Amy R. Singer and she has contributed a beautiful shawl pattern, but I was surprised to see such other amazing contributing designers such as Barbara Gregory, Sivia Harding, Amy Swenson and Jenna Wilson, just to name a few.

I can't say I like all the patterns in this book, because I don't, but a few of them really stood out and if I were to choose a few that I would definitely knit, these are probably my favorites.

From left to right, top to bottom:
Bacardi, Tuscany, The Bag, Cables and O's, Morrigan

I was surprised that the book inspired me to take the patterns I didn't particularly care for though, and think of ways to change them to suit my needs. I definitely can't afford to knit a bathrobe out of silk, but maybe I can find an different fiber that would produce just as beautiful an object at an affordable price. There's also a cardigan that has wonderful lines, but I didn't like the decorative design feature of the fleur-de-lis, so obviously if I knit it, I'll omit that particular design. I also love the Bacardi cardigan, but I could never pull off that color palette, so won't it be fun trying to find colors that suit me but that also blend together? There was even a cardigan for a man that my husband might even wear, but only after I change the neckline.

I think this book is perfect for those of you who are allergic to wool and I urge you to add this to your knitting library. And as for the rest of us, who couldn't use a knitting book that opens our eyes to the world of non-wool fibers and provides some beautiful patterns as well? Won't it be fun for us to knit these non-wool patterns into wool fibers?

Final note: I know I promised this review awhile ago, but my original post didn't get saved and rewriting this just never seemed a priority. I've never written a book review or anything like this before, so please don't be too harsh. This was extremely difficult for me to do and so I've definitely stepped out of my comfort zone.

Saturday, April 21, 2007


Laura followed up on a request I made from her to show me how she stores her cross-stitching threads and such, and wrote this great post, so I thought I would reciprocate.

Everything related to my cross-stitching is contained in this Sterlite storage container that fits under my bed. Not very glamorous, but it has been very practical and I really haven't found anything better.

Lets take a peek inside, shall we?

This is my current work in progress. I started it *years* ago and really feel inspired to finish it for DH's birthday in June. Most of the cross-stitching is complete except the white stitches in the fifty stars. I have put off doing the stars because 1.) there are so many of them and 2.) they are mostly comprised of partial stitches. It will be a bit time consuming, but actually the entire project has been very time consuming since most of the work is in blended stitches. The overall finished projects always look better, but boy are they a *lot* of work.

This is my current stitching cloth "stash" and a few accessories/tools. As far as the stitching cloths, unless I've purchased a kit I love, I only now knit on linen or evenweave. I just don't like the look of the Aida and really don't enjoy stitching on it at all. The knitting accessories include my frame kit, some hoops, needles, magnets, finger protectors, etc. The only thing I really use though is the frame kit.

The stack of patterns includes some I like and quite a few I don't, but most of them holds a memory of something I've stitched and given away, so I doubt I'll ever part with them. Isn't the stack of completed projects shameful? I wonder if anyone else has a stack of projects like this that just need a good cleaning and framing.

This is all the floss I currently own. Obviously most of it is in bags in numerical order, but I am in the process of transferring everything to the cardboard bobbins because that system is much simpler for me. I wonder how long this transfer is going to take? Maybe I could wind ten or so a day? I probably should go purchase more cardboard bobbins and another container though.

In knitting news (for those knitters who stuck it out), the Debbie Bliss Matinee Coat for my sisters 3-day old baby is blocked and ready for seaming, the VLT Handsome Triangle shawl is really coming along nicely, I've pulled out some yarn to start on a pair of socks for DH, and I've got to get with it and finish a square for Julie.

However none of that will be happening on Sunday since we're going to see the grandkids play t-ball, get a re-cap from the step-daughter about their trip to Hawaii, and then go out for sushi dinner to celebrate her purchase of a bigger home (maybe a baby is being planned?), and her new job. We are so proud of her and have lots to celebrate! Hope you all are having a wonderful weekend too!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Beautiful Baudelaire's

My April SAM KAL 3 socks are completed and ready to wear ... well, ready to wear if I weren't currently wearing sandals.

Pattern: Baudelaire by Cookie A.
Pattern Source: Summer 2006 issues
Yarn: Socks That Rock lightweight in Jasper
Needles: (2) KnitPicks Circulars size 1 US
Modifications: Judy's Magic Cast-On

Notes: I *so* love that this pattern was written from the toe up. Maybe I had a bad experience with cuff down socks or something, but toe up socks just feel natural to me. Also, after having to convert the last few sock patterns I knit, it was nice just to follow the instructions as written. I also am glad that I was able to see Cookie demonstrate these socks on a recent Knitty Gritty episode since she does an interesting modification to the short row heel. When the directions say to wrap and turn, she instead turns her knitting and then does a wrap (yarn over). It's really very clever and I much prefer it to the normal wrap and turn method. The 8 row 22 stitch pattern repeat was fairly simple and at some point on the leg section, I finally had it memorized. I also really liked the added touch of the cable going up each side of the leg next to the lace pattern. As usual, Cookie hits a home run.

I've finally acquired a smallish sock yarn stash now and have quite a few wonderful patterns, so now it's just narrowing down the choices. Since DH's birthday is in June, maybe I should knit a pair for him?

Monday, April 16, 2007

Try not to hug the mailman

I love the anticipation of waiting every day for the mail when you know you have something arriving, but when you get two items in one day, it's difficult not to hug the mailman.

After receiving my first order from The Loopy Ewe, I now know why everyone loves Sheri so much! I had a difficult time narrowing down my yarn choices on her website, but I let Project Spectrum be my guide and I stepped out of my comfort zone to purchase only yarns in shades of green, pink and yellow. I also decided to try out some new yarn companies. I mean, how can you say you adore Socks That Rock if you've never tried Fleece Artist or Lorna's Laces and such?

from top to bottom:
Fleece Artist Basic Merino Socks in Nova Scotia
Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Tickled Pink
Cider Moon Glacier in Congo

Not only did I receive my order in just a few days of placing it, but everything arrived packaged beautifully. The skeins of yarn were wrapped in white tissue paper and finished off with The Loopy Ewe seal. In addition, my invoice included a personal handwritten note from Sheri as well as needle inventory cards and small sample yarn cards of Regia Silk and Regia Bamboo. I will most definitely be purchasing more yarn from Sheri in the future.

On the same day, I also received another set of 10 stitch markers from Team Entrelac. They arrived just in time since I've started my next (first?) lace project. It's hard for me to put into words how ideal these markers are. There's not a single open gap or rough edge (burr), so I'm not scared of it snagging the delicate laceweight yarn, as other makers have done before. I also love how beautiful each tiny bead is, so it looks like jewelry for my knitting. You also can't beat the price or the speed at which she ships! Both my orders arrived on my doorstep in less than 48 hours! It seems that she doesn't have a lot of her stitch markers on her etsy site since she's trying to open her own storefront, but you can see all of her stitchmarkers here. Go ahead, take a peek, she makes them in ALL sizes!

I finally decided on a pattern for the dark navy Grignasco Regina that I purchased when I was with Laura at our LYS. The photo shows the beginnings of A Handsome Triangle (page 32) shawl from Victorian Lace Today. So far, I've completed 80 of the 212 pattern rows and since it's a triangle shawl knit from the bottom point up, I increase four stitches every other row, so progress is just starting to feel slow to me. I'm probably being either daring or stupid for jumping right into an intermediate pattern for my first lace shawl, but if all goes well, this should be a nice present for my mother-in-law (mum) for her June birthday.

DH & I entertained ourselves for a few days by finally adressing our landscaping problem. The sprinkers were all checked and broken ones replaced. New sprinklers were added to two areas that only grew dirt. 5 palm trees were added (2 in the backyard and 3 on the side yard of our corner lot). Last but not least, half the backyard was re-seeded for grass, since the dogs tore up the old pathetic grass that used to be there. This is just the beginning though. Hopefully soon (after recovering from all the money those palm trees cost), I'll be adding all sorts of blooming plants.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Socks, Sweaters and Stitch Markers

I'm slowly but steadily working on the Baudelaire's by Cookie. I had the most surreal moment the other day. I sat down in my favorite chair with these socks, turned on TIVO and discovered a new episode of Knitty Gritty had recorded. Since this show can be a hit or miss, I wasn't too excited until I started watching the episode and realized that not only was the featured guest the designer of the socks I am knitting, but she was demonstrating the socks I am knitting. It was so surreal. This pattern was thankfully written toe-up and although I'm not using the figure 8 cast on she uses, because I prefer Judy's magic cast-on, I really like the method she uses on her short row heel. She doesn't wrap & turn, she turns and then does a wrap in the form of a yarn over. It works very well and there is no ridge on the heel with typical short rows, which is especially nice. I'm actually a bit further up the leg than what this photo shows, so by next week, they will be complete.

Time to block! I honestly didn't enjoy knitting this Matinee Coat very much, and it's probably because it has quite a bit of acrylic in the yarn. I'm also frustrated with the sister I'm knitting this for, so that could be part of it too. The pattern was easy to follow, but what's with no schematics? Figuring out the finished dimensions will definitely be interesting.

I'm not sure where I saw these originally, but I'm sure glad I did. These are stitch markers from Team Entrelac. When I worked on my shawl (that is still in time-out), I used pieces of sock yarn as stitch markers. It worked okay, but I really wanted to find some very small, lightweight stitch markers with no rough edges and no openings that the lightweight lace yarn could escape through. After looking over these markers with my critical eye, I know they are going to be ideal for my next laceweight project. In fact, I think they are going to be so perfect that I've just placed my second order for another set of 10.

By the way, you've got to take a look at the new yarns that The Loopy Ewe added to her site yesterday. I placed my first order with her and will be receiving sock yarn I've NEVER tried before - Lorna's Laces, Cider Moon and Fleece Artist. YUMMY!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

This 'n That

I'm so thrilled that I finally received the Yarn Harlot's new book in the mail and I can't wait to start reading it. The only thing that would make it even better would be to meet her in person to have her sign it. It's not meant to be though, since she doesn't have Southern California listed on her book tour. I'm so sad :-(

I'm currently knitting Cookie's Baudelaire sock pattern with the Socks that Rock lightweight yarn in Jasper colorway. Of course since it's a red/purple tone, it's very difficult to capture the correct colors in the photo, but I think you get the idea. I'm loving knitting these since the pattern is written toe-up, so I don't have to do any pattern converting. YEAH!

Laura and I went to our LYS on Monday so I could enhance my stash. One of my sisters is have her third little girl and has requested a white cardigan sweater. Personally I think a white baby cardigan is boring, but it's what she wants. I tried to find Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino and RYC Cashsoft in white, but since there was sadly none of that or any really "nice" yarns in white, I got stuck purchasing the Sidar Snuggly DK yarn. Little does she realize (she's not a knitter) that had she let me choose the color, she would've ended up with a better overall sweater, but since she doesn't know, I'm probably the only one sad about it. The pattern is the Matinee Coat from the Debbie Bliss Simply Baby book and although I'm knitting it in the smallest size, I doubt it will fit the baby until the fall since Debbie Bliss patterns are rumored to run a little bit big.

I also enhanced my stash at the LYS by purchasing another pair of Addi Turbo Lace needles in a 24" size 3US. I noticed that quite of few of the lace patterns in Victorian Lace Today used that needle size, so I figure it may come in handy. I also found this navy blue laceweight yarn called Grignasco Regina which is listed as "merino fine" pure new wool. From what I can tell, this yarn is similar to Skacel Merino Lace since both are 100 grams and 2/25; the Grignasco is marked as 1363 yards and the Skacel is 1375 yards. Pretty close huh? I'm either going to make a lace shawl for my mother in law or my grandmother, but I haven't decided on a pattern yet, so it will sit until I feel inspired.