Friday, January 25, 2008

A Wicked Debut - The First Sweater of 2008

Don't make me get my flying monkeys as I have one Wicked sweater and I can't find my ruby slippers! I can't believe how quickly this sweater knitted up once I concentrated on it. It was about 35% finished when I picked it up last weekend and now here it is complete before the week had passed.

Wicked Specs
Pattern: Wicked by Zephyr Style
Yarn: Cascade 220 Heathers Ocean Heather - 3 skeins (and I have been sweating over whether or not I would have enough yarn since Sunday when I set it aside to ponder the situation and only got the courage to pick it up and finish it last night.)
Needles: Size 7 Knitpicks Options
Start Date: November 18, 2007
Finish Date: January 24, 2008 (This sweater would not have taken so long but it took a vacation from the first weed of December until January 19. All in all, I would estimate that the actual knitting and finishing time to complete this sweater was around 30 hours if that.)
Project Notes: I'm not usually a blue person but, when I saw the Cascade 220 Ocean Heather, it called out to me that it would be perfect for this sweater and I am really glad that I headed the call. I didn't really do any mods to this sweater. The directions were very clear and it was a very quick and easy knit. As most of the sweater is stockinette and the crossover pattern is fairly simple, I would recommend this project to beginning knitters looking to tackle their first sweater. The most fiddly part of the project is the pocket and it's not all that fiddly in the grand scheme of things and can be left off if you don't like it or feel like attempting it.

In other FO news, I knit Grandmother's Favorite Dishcloth as part of the Year Long Gift-A-Long. This will be part of someone's Christmas or birthday present this year. This was knit out of Peaches and Creme cotton on size 7 needles.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Monday, January 21, 2008

And what did jsins do all weekend? She knit, knit, knit!

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a great weekend. I spent my weekend watching West Wing episodes on dvd and knitting like a knitting machine.

I have an FO from this weekend. Allow me to introduce the cutest little thing that I have ever knit, Saartje's Booties by Saartje de Bruijn.

Project Description

Pattern: Saartje's Booties by Saartje de Bruijn

Yarn: Joan of Arc by Yarn Love in the Fling Colorway (50/50 merino/tencel)

Needles: Size 2 addi turbo

Start/Finish Date: January 20, 2008

Notes: This is a quick knit that is super cute. It's a great way to use up leftover sock yarn. The yarn I used for these booties is the same yarn I used for my Dublin Bay socks. The only downside to this pattern is that for such a small knit, there are alot of ends to weave into not that much knit material.

I also made a bunch of progress on Wicked this weekend and am hoping to have it finished by next weekend. I'm a bit nervous because I am getting dangerously close to running out of yarn. I think that I should have enough but I didn't buy an extra skein like I usually do for this project. I have never needed the extra skein on any other Zephyr Style patterns so I thought I wouldn't need it on this one. The yarn is Cascade 220 Heathers in Ocean Heather. The color in the close-up of the pocket is the actual shade.

I also completed a lace repeat on the Evening Stockings for a Young Lady while I was watching Northanger Abbey on PBS last night. I am a bit worried about the fuzziness of the yarn. It seems like it will pill alot. I enjoyed Northanger Abbey but found it to be extremely abbreviated. The first hour was well done but I felt like everything was rushed in the last half an hour to reach the conclusion. I think it would have been much better if it had been a 2-hour movie rather than an hour and a half.

Have a great week!

Friday, January 18, 2008

TGIF - It's time to knit, knit, knit all weekend long!

Happy Friday folks!!!!!!! I am so ready for the weekend and some serious knitting, movie watching and chill out time. I cast on for the Evening Socks for a Young Lady from Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush on Sunday evening. In the limited knitting time I've been able to squeeze in since then, I've finished the cuffs and completed 2 lace pattern repeats. I am knitting the modified version of the pattern to make regular socks rather than knee highs.
Here is a close-up of the lace pattern. I am using white Kraemer Sterling to knit these socks. I have to agree with Clara Parkes's review of the Kraemer Sterling. The silver strands are really cool and give a nice affect. The silk content adds a little sheen and it is an incredibly soft yarn. The nylon halo is a bit strange. If I didn't know any better, I would think that there was either mohair or angora in this yarn due to its fuzziness. The yarn is working really well with this pattern and I am excited to see how the finished socks turn out.
Here are some model shots of the Dublin Bay socks. It is incredibly hard to take pictures of your own feet! I am extremely happy with the way these socks fit. I wore them yesterday and they did not slouch.
My 2008 knitting goals are to complete 12 pairs of socks, 12 sweaters and at least 12 small projects (hats, accessories, baby stuff, toys, etc.) and to knit from stash until I have run out of yarn for one of the previously mentioned project goals. I haven't decided whether I will spend this weekend focusing on the Evening Stockings or on my Wicked. I've been on a bit of a sock kick starting out the year but, as the weather has returned to more seasonably accurate January temps, I could really use a new hand-knit sweater to debut.

In other knitting news, I purchased Son of a Stitch and Bitch by Deb Stoller and The Knitters Book of Yarn by Clara Parkes this week. In non-knitting purchases, I also ordered No Direction Home, Martin Scorsese's documentary on Bob Dylan that aired on PBS. If you are a Bob Dylan fan, this documentary is a must see. It has extensive interviews with Bob Dylan now as well as alot of performance footage. As a companion to Don't Look Back, it is amazing.

I also signed up for several new KALs that should hopefully keep me on target with my 2008 goals. They are as follows:
Socks from Stash Club (I definitely don't need to worry about running out of stashed sock yarns in the next 12 months.)
The Complete Jane Austen KAL (I have been looking forward to watching this series for months!!!! My Sunday evenings are pretty much booked for a while.)
Year Long Gift-A-Long (Knitting gifts all year to avoid panic attacks as the deadlines draw near, what a novel idea.)
Stashalong 2008 (Hopefully, this will keep me on the straight and narrow in regards to my knitting from stash goals.)

Hmm... why am I so dedicating myself to knitting from stash this year? Well, I am making a valient attempt to become debt free this year (with the exception of my student loans, those will be an ongoing process for the next 10 years or so.) I am also going to try to track my progress in becoming nearly debt free on the blog as well. I just haven't worked out the details of how to do that.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!!! See you next week!

Monday, January 14, 2008

The first FO of 2008!!!!!

Allow me to introduce my first FO of 2008, the Dublin Bay socks by Ryan Morrissey of Mossy Cottage Knits. They are a bit loud but so am I so I won't hold that against them.
Project Details:
Pattern: Dublin Bay Socks by Ryan Morrissey of Mossy Cottage Knits
Yarn: 1 skein of Yarn Love's Joan of Arc in Flirt. (50% merino/ 50% tencel blend)
Start Date: December 22, 2007
Completion Date: January 13, 2008
Notes: Downsized the pattern from 72 stitches to 64 stitches, which was a wise decision as they fit perfectly. Otherwise followed pattern as written until heel turn and toe decreases, then relied upon Sensational Knitted Socks to get me through rather than do the math myself. (Yes, I am lazy.) I love the Eye of Partridge heel flap. It works perfectly with a multi-colored yarn such as this and I also like the uniform thickness it gives the heel flap in contrast to the slipped-stitch reinforced heel flap. Even though the yarn pooled alot, it still works due to the rainbow nature of the colors. The feel and stitch definition of the merino/tencel yarn is excellent and it has a lovely sheen to it. My kitchener stitch is the best it has been thusfar on the toes. There is still room for improvement but it is nice to see that it's getting better. I also have finally figured out how to knit socks that actually fits my feet on this, my third attempt at making socks for myself. These were knit 2 at a time via Magic Loop. Heel flaps through gussets knitted separately.

It feels nice to have my first FO of the year. I am now continuing on Wicked and have cast on to make a modified Evening Stockings for a Young Lady from Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush using white Kraemer Silk Sterling from my stash.

Happy Monday Everyone!

Friday, January 11, 2008

A Satisfied Customer...

And one last 2007 FO... I knit this garter stitch cap for my cousin Jamie for Christmas this year. I'd say the fact that he put the hat on immediately upon receiving it and has not taken it off since makes this my most successful gift project yet. Who'd have thunk that something so simple would have the most impact?

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

An old FO, a few more recent and a WIP

I'll start off with an old FO that I've been wearing alot recently (until very recently when the temp has been in the 60s and 70s, what a weird January we are having.) The scarf pictured is the first cable project that I ever undertook in October 2006. Knit for an intermediate knitting class at Ewe Can Knit, a lys in downtown Pittsburgh, the yarn used was Reynolds Rapture, silk/wool blend.

I finished the garter rib socks that were e.'s Christmas present just in time to gift them before he took off for Florida for the holidays. The yarns used were black Crystal Palace Panda Cotton and a black/tan/white/grey skein of Tofutsies for the leg and foot.
Betty Jean wasn't sure what her Christmas present was and tried to put it on her head like a hat. However, it is the Mason Dixon Dishrag from Mason Dixon Knitting made with a red/pink/white variegated Peaches and Creme cotton. I omitted the yarn over round as I didn't think it would show up very well in the variegated cotton.
I started knitting Wicked the weekend before Thanksgiving. It has not progressed much farther than it is in this photo as I got caught up with finishing Christmas present projects and have been working fairly consistently on the Dublin Bay socks that I am knitting at the moment. I am hoping to finish the socks by the end of this weekend and get back to Wicked so that I will have a new sweater to wear when the weather returns to its normal winter state.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The I'm still kickin' but I've been a slackin' blogger post

Yeah, that post I wrote about dedicating myself to posting at least 2 times a week in November (I think...) was unrealistic due to how crazy the end of the year turned out to be. However, we are now in a new year and I am rededicating myself to be a more prolific and thoughtful blogger.

In my first post of 2008, I wanted to show off a funky little knitting book that I found, Knitted Icons. When I heard about this little gem, I just knew that I had to have it as what knitter's life could be complete without a little knitted rockstar? I am going with my all time personal favorite, Bob Dylan.
In my blogging slackerdom, I have yet to give a proper shout out to my amazing Secret Pal Karen. I had so much fun being spoiled by Karen. I felt like I was getting a package from an old friend each time something arrived. In the final package, I got a lovely bounty of red/rust colored yarn, two great patterns, a little notebook and a bar of soap that I will let you see for yourself.
The Fiber Trend scarf pattern will look amazing in the rust-colored merino bled from Morehause Farm. I'm also looking forward to knitting up the Crystal Palace Cotton Chenille that Karen included in the package as well.
Proving, once again, that she knows me well, Karen included a bar of Queen of Everything soap. This will be placed in a special spot in my bathroom to let everyone who enters know exactly who they are dealing with.
Karen, I cannot thank you enough for how great of a secret pal you have been. I'm looking forward to keeping in touch with you and hearing about your knitting adventures.

To close things out, I will leave you with one of the projects that I have knitted in my blogging absence, Le Slouch made out of Malabrigo worsted in the Damask Rose colorway. I loved this knit. I started it and finished it during a Saturday afternoon.

Happy New Year Everyone!!!! I look forward to knitting and blogging with you.