Posts Tagged ‘yarn’

i love to read! – blog contest psa

May 6, 2008

The lovely blog One Scheme of Happiness is having a really cool blog contest!  She has lots of great prizes, including a lovely necklace from pookeh (Sandra at I May Be Knitting A Ranch House) and some Brooklyn Handspun yarn.  To enter, you get to talk about your favorite books!  Which, if you are anything like me, is a very exciting prospect.  Go enter!  I want some more summer reading suggestions myself, so I’m totally keeping my eye on this one.

What books did I suggest?  Three recent reads which – now that I think about it – were all last-minute impulse check-outs at the library that totally delighted me.  I seem to have good library instincts!  Here they are:

Loving Frank by Nancy Moran – historical fiction about Frank Lloyd Wright.  As I noted in my comment, I’m not a regular romance-y reader, but this book was so much more than that.  Swedish feminism, architecture, Oak Park, travel…just read it.

The Sister:  A Novel of Emily Dickinson by Paola Kaufmann – Ok, I love Emily Dickinson.  Not just because she has my same name and ALSO I’m very aware of how trite it is to say that I love Emily Dickinson.  Whatever.  This book is also historical fiction, about Emily Dickinson’s sister.  It is so compelling, and now I really want to find some violet pencils.  Ahem.

Smart Girls Like Me by Diane Vadino – I guess this could sort of fall under historical fiction?  Because it’s about a woman in New York right before the big Y2K crap?  Ok, that’s a stretch.  The girl in this book is really neurotic, but I loved her.

Good luck everyone!

wip: Rusted Root

April 27, 2008

(Not that I’ve been posting that much recently, but things are in danger of slowing down even more because I’m starting a new job and I will actually be in a real office all week long. I thought I’d spread out some posts about my current wips to give you some material for the next week or so. And hopefully at least one of these will become a FO by then! This one is dangerously close.)

So you know how there are some patterns that it seems like basically everyone has knit, and anyone who hasn’t knit it by now probably just doesn’t get their kicks from that pattern and so that’s that, no more of those FOs? It seems to me that Ravelry is changing that, because there are new rashes of Clapotis, Pomatomus, and – yep – Rusted Root all over the place. For myself, I never realized how cute this pattern was until I looked through pages and pages of cute knitters wearing their finished tops! All the different colors and styling really made me see the potential in this simple sweater. Ok, it also helped me to see that this sweater is really simple, and that people knit it really fast.

This is where the sweater was on April 16:

Rusted Root 4/16

(Those are my Pomatomus socks!) This was three days after starting – but keep in mind that the “first day” was just swatching, and the second and third day (April 14 & 15) I was working for a tax preparer all day. At this point, I was almost through the raglan shaping, about to separate the arm stitches.

Five days later, April 21, I had this:

rusted root in progress

At this point, I was through with the waist decreases and starting a straight knitting portion before doing hip increases.  Since then, I’ve completed the hip increases and knit several inches…I just have a little bit more to knit lengthwise, then I’ll do the ribbing, the neck ribbing, and the sleeve finishing!  This is going to be my  first finished garment and it’s so close I can taste it.  (No pictures, sorry!)

Despite my new job and loss of daytime knitting time, I’m being extremely monogamous with my knitting right now (ok, I’m having a sort of on-the-road affair with my lace ribbon scarf, but this sweater could in no way be mistaken for travel knitting during rush hour on the subway in NYC) and making time for this sweater every morning before work and every evening while watching TV or waiting for GFF to come home for us to eat dinner or whatever.  I’m DETERMINED to wear this sweater a lot before it gets too hot for such a heavy (albeit cotton) top this summer.

Want an example of my extreme at-home project monogamy?  I’m seriously yearning to cast on for something new (in particular, I’m dreaming of slinky bamboo or silk tank tops – even though these don’t really make that much sense in my wardrobe – and new socks and lace shawls).   Yesterday, I spent over an hour pulling all my yarn out (I really don’t have that much)*, searching Ravelry for patterns to use with my most summer-appropriate choices, and basically just feeling all these different yarns.  I found a partial ball of Cascade Fixation and cast on 40 stitches in the round, knit 4 rounds (just to ease my yearnings) and immediately ripped out and rewound the yarn.  I mean, really, that could hardly be taken to count as cheating on my project!

So I hope to have this done soon, hopefully by next weekend, and I will post a FO report then.  In the meantime, I’ll try to post about my Lace Ribbon Scarf and the socks I’m working on (the second of which will be my traveling project when LRS is finished).  Happy Sunday knitting, y’all!

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*I can tell that GFF finds this extremely odd.  She can tell it makes me happy to look at my box of possibility, but she is a little confused when I also pull out my bag of scraps (you know, all the little leftover balls at the end of projects) and start to look at those, too.  But I’m not alone in this type of behavior, right?

beginning again

March 5, 2008

Yesterday Ana from snowangels made a good point in my comments – the high cotton content of the Vickie Howell Craft yarn means that the yarn will stretch like crazy, and knitting at an ultra-loose gauge will only compound that. Good thing I have Clara Park’s Knitter’s Book of Yarn waiting for me on the hold shelf of my local library! I forget to take into account the properties of yarn when I’m cooking up projects in my head, but paying attention to what your yarn will do out of the skein and all looped around itself is a huge part of any knitting project.

This is actually part of something bigger that I’m trying to focus on in my knitting this year. For the past year and a little more, I have been knitting pretty obsessively. Mostly I have used yarn that has been given to me or bought on the cheap to make free patterns. I have knit most of my projects while also watching TV or movies or — occasionally — while reading a book or magazine. My attitude towards mistakes has been to get things back to the right stitch count or to close up holes as quickly as possible and damn the craziness this often causes. So my alpaca Fetching mitts have some ribs out of alignment, the toes of the Hedera socks I made for my girlfriend do not match at all, and I spent most of last summer knitting Orangina in complete denial that the top and arm holes were going to be way too large and the ribbing ridiculously tight. (I’ve since ripped out Orangina and started knitting the Josephine top from IK, and I’m now in denial about the fact that the back is two inches wider than it should be to fit properly.)

I’ve yet to make a garment that I can wear, and before I invest more time and money into making one, I’ve promised myself that I will start to be more mindful and careful with my knitting. I am dealing with the fact that I need to rip out the whole back of my Josephine top (all the knitting I’ve done on it) and start over; likewise I need to rip out the entire first sleeve of my Must Have Cardigan (my “gauge swatch” which has already been ripped multiple times) and begin again.

Begin again. Begin again. This is something I’m trying to incorporate into all parts of my life, actually. Approaching life as a beginner, and not persisting in past thoughts or actions, but looking at things afresh…over and over again. It’s hard, obviously, but also – dare I say it? – transformative.

So it’s back to the drawing board with both sweaters currently on my needles. As I think about it, when I began the Josephine top I decided to make it almost tunic length, which I’m no longer convinced is the best thing for this 100% cotton top. With my Must Have Cardigan, the needle size I used caused the fabric to be quite tight, not nearly drapey enough. I’m not just trying to get through these projects, I’m trying to create wearable garments that I will love. It’s time to rip; it’s time to begin again.

And I’m going to go back to my swatch, and begin again with it, too. In No Sheep for You, Amy Singer tells us to not just knit the darn thing and measure the stitches, but to wash it, pin it up to test for sagginess, carry it around to see how the fabric will wear, and really find out what that yarn is going to do while you’re at it. My swatches are partly for teaching myself new stitch patterns and techniques, but there is much to learn about the yarn itself, too.

yarn review: Vickie Howell Craft

March 4, 2008

I recently had the good luck to receive a large box of leftover balls of yarn from Cirilia and left over skeins from a few others via the Stash and Burn Ravelry Group.  Because I don’t have a large yarn budget these days, and I’ve been wanting to improve my techniques and abilities, I’m taking these wayward skeins as an opportunity to try new yarns and knit swatches of new stitch patterns at the same time.  I hope to do a series of posts reviewing the yarns, stitch patterns, and techniques I try, and to also post ideas for future knitting projects that these little adventures give me.

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This yarn is a-mah-zing.

In the Ravelry Stash and Burn group, we have a thread Nicole started called “Would you like to try…?” People post about leftover or partial skeins they have, and send them to other people who want to feel it, swatch it, basically give it a try.

Lynnewio sent me a partial skein of Vickie Howell Craft yarn from South West Trading Company a few weeks ago and I’m just now swatching it up.

craft swatch

This yarn is luuuuussssshhhh. Seriously. 70% cotton and 30% milk fiber, dk weight. It feels like buttah between my fingers, and this swatch is so slinky. (I’m learning that I love swatches. Now I just have this soft piece of knitting I can touch whenever! And I don’t have to worry about whether or not it fits or if the color looks good on me!)

I’ve read a few posts on Ravelry where people didn’t enjoy knitting with this yarn because of significant pilling.  I didn’t have any pilling while knitting with it, but I also haven’t washed my swatch yet.  I plan to wash it and put in my bag for a while to see how it holds up.   I would like to knit Imogen in this yarn on larger needles for a very drapey, Habu-esque layering piece.

(BTW, have you looked at the kits at Perl Grey?!  I want to knit so many of these pieces!)