Archive for May, 2008

side effects

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

(i know—it’s just a taste; there’s a lot more to be viewed when the pattern is released)

the thing about knitting lots of lace is that most often i am working with subtle variegates or nearly-solid yarn. i have stuff that is more boisterous though, and periodically, i realize that i am using the noisy, more-flamboyant yarns in my stash to stretch my imagination flex my design skills in a new way rebel.

i don’t even particularly like wide-striped socks, but i love this yarn AND the colors in it—or maybe especially because of them. it’s a challenge to come up with a fresh way to use yarn like this . . . and yet i need to entertain myself down the long cuff that is my preference and over the long foot that is not (but it’s what i got anyway).

these socks are super comfy; the gusset heel and premium yarn offer a precise fit which i appreciate. and what aout that striping pattern (do you mind if we marvel again over it??). i mean right down to the toe point, those stripes maintain the correct width to fit in with the rest of the sock.

normally i don’t care at all if striped socks match, but as with the merlot vine pair i knit with this same yarn brand, i am making the effort to match this pair (to the best of my ability).

and when i’m not working with that yarn, i’m having a lot of fun with these

another joyfully noisy yarn that i relish every minute with. adam has outdone himself completely with this one (truly, this is superior yarn; you’re gonna love it). and now, he has the kit listed here in both colorways. the pattern (which includes five sizes from child to large adult) is in test knitting now, so it won’t be long.

the thing is, working with noisier yarns presents its own challenges—not all stitch patterns work with the often high-contrasting colors in variegated yarn. and lots of ideas that sounded great when you were staring at the skein look positively awful in the knitted fabric. that’s just the way it is. and once in a while i like to take on that challenge and try to come up with ways to have some fun with these yarns.

when i look around there’s even more evidence of a rebellion going on,

though this one is not so much noisy as . . . . spicy? not sure but i know it’s part of my whole mood this week (lotsa small projects in yarn i would never knit into a shawl—not that there’s anything wrong with that—it’s just me and my taste).

anyhow, i really do appreciate everyone who wrote in to say “save the mitt!! (and make a scarf!)”.
thank you for that . . . i feel incredibly well-supported in this mitt endeavor, thank you. and i will knit a scarf—just because you asked me to (actually i had that on the drawing board, but it was SO good to get votes for it without asking or supplying the power of suggestion).

i have one project that’s not so flash (it’s a little flash, but not as much as i thought it would be)

here it is in the glow of the sunset last evening; you can see that the bamboo fiber really picks up and reflects the light. here’s another photo from this morning in a spot where i didn’t have such direct sun

(i added a little more to them late last night) debbieKitter’s husband steve has been asking for some time that she knit him a sock with diamonds (and he loves bamboo blend yarn). i do think we have diamonds here—and triangles, and pillars—but i don’t know if they’ll pass muster (he’s an architect; i’m sure he has something specific in mind that the word “diamonds” doesn’t really capture). but just in case he doesn’t like these, i have other diamond stitches i can try . . . and other people who will love them, in fact.

and with that folks, i think i will say good evening and get on with my work.

i’m not kidding

Sunday, May 18th, 2008

ummm, where’d that come from?

heh. yes, well.
i sat down last evening to swatch that cashmere/silk yarn the lilith sent me—remember the one i showed you yesterday?
(looks like she doesn’t have the silk/cashmere in her shop yet, but if you email her from that page, i bet she’d answer any inquiries).

and i did. swatch the yarn.

i’ve had my eye on this one stitch motif for a while, but it never worked that well in laceweight for a scarf. but here i had some fingering/sport weight yarn, and by devil, it worked a treat.

i did two swatches, one on size 5 (which i really thought was the one) and one on size 6 needles. after soaking and pinning, i could see right away that the looser swatch was just what i wanted. it looked just like a blackbery thicket . . love.

and wouldn’t you know—the name of this colorway is bramble.

“see—this was meant to be”, i thought, “maybe i’ll cast on and just get it set up by knitting a few repeats. it’s 10 o’clock now; i’ll get it started and then work on my sock while we watch TV”.

next thing i knew i had a third of the scarf done. then a half.
when we went up to watch TV, i did bring the sock along with the scarf, but i don’t think i seriously considered working on it even for a minute.

that is to say, be warned: this yarn and pattern will cast a spell on you. instead of saying just one more row, i kept saying, just one more repeat (because they’re so short, you see).

and oh, what a spell it is. please, be my guest. fall.

i really mean it—if you have been dying to try knitted lace with pattern stitches on both sides of the fabric, this is the pattern to start with. it’s so easy you will surprise yourself. you will be making knitted lace before you know it, and nary a p2tog tbl to be wrought.

i never intended to knit a whole project in seven hours—it just happened. for those who have been wondering which is the fastest little nothing, i think we have an answer—7 hours/one skein; what emergency won’t this cure?? and in fact, i know just who to gift this to.
i even knit mine a little longer than i usually like the little nothings to be, because i was so close to the end of the single skein.

i will pull the written pattern together as quick as i can.

bamboozled

Saturday, May 17th, 2008

these are the gorgeous plants my friend kris grew and gave to me for our garden; just take a gander at the thickness on those tomato stems—whoa. and there are basil, eggplant, squash, cucumber, parsley, and pepper plants too—a little of everything. i can’t tell you how grateful i am that kris includes me in her list of plant recipients every year.

then this morning i went with beckie to an organic plant sale at crown point farm, a local ecology center.

i added to my tomato plant collection and got some thai basil. i would have taken photos, but it was mobbed (though it was a polite, cheery mob). as well it should be—the plant selection was fantastic, with both unusual and more common, favorite varieties represented. the health and beauty of the plants was impressive. i was a little overwhelmed with the crowd and the selection, and forgot to go back and pick out a few of the interesting squash varietals i meant to try. oh well, that’s what next year is for.

it was very efficiently managed, too, so we were done pretty quickly and home again by 11 am.

which means that i can knit the rest of the day. but first, a few photos of some new socks i just had to put on the needles in the last couple of days (don’t worry, the second mitt is on the needles, too). i’m trying not to get carried away; i have immensely enjoyed working on one sock at a time, and finishing them quickly during the spring. i’m between big projects though, and this was bound to happen. i figure that with three started, i have stuff laying around to grab and go for a while.

first—and most momentous, i think—i have finally succumbed to knitting up some socks in a bamboo blend yarn.

i KNOW. it’s only been around forever, now. and debbieKnitter has only been extolling it’s virtues (wears like iron, steve loves it, etc) to me for over a year now. and i’ve only had this yarn in my stash about the same amount of time. so long in fact, that briar rose no longer carries it (there were issues obtaining it on a consistent basis i believe). i’ve always been squeamish about starting something with it. i worried that it would not feel nice between my fingers when i knit, that it would be too shiny, that it would make a shapeless sock. i guess i’m just not very adventurous.

i have several skeins of it though, and i thought david might like some socks that he could maybe wear on warmer days. i dunno—suddenly it made sense to try it instead of just conjecture on what i might not like about it.

and now i feel like a total jerk—because i love it, and i do think it is the answer to making him some cooler, long-wearing socks. DUH. the colorway is beautiful (natch), but i really like the way it feels both to knit with and in the fabric; it’s not at all limp the way i thought it would be (based on the panda wool i’ve seen people knit with in class—nice for babies and kids, mebbe not so sturdy for manly men). and the shine simply doesn’t jump out in the fabric, the way it does on the skein. just in case, i picked a stitch that would work with the shine and i probably didn’t even need to.

jeez, i think i might have to try a tencel blend next, too (i’ve used it for a shawl, but not for socks yet.). hmmm, should i be scared of myself when i’m in this mood?

then i got a much-awaited package in the mail from adam

it’s a different batch of the same colorway i talked about a couple of weeks ago, this time in a new yarn base that adam is currently dyeing with (the sport weight i had, he no longer carries). so, we are off to (caterpillar) races once again with this project, yay.

i know it’s a little silly, but i’ve had this project on my mind for over a year, and it just won’t go away, so indulge me this. and look, now we have two colorways to play with. adam is a little worried that the mustard/gray mix (bottom, formerly known as grey poupon) might not work with the stitch pattern (p-shaw—i SO see caterpillars there), so he dyed up a nearly solid colorway as well, just in case.

now, you know what i think? i think that the original colorway is still my first love, and that it looks just like a monarch caterpillar. and the other one? love that too (ok, maybe just a little less), and that one looks a lot like a wooly bear caterpillar. (and just look at what that one becomes . . . are you gasping?)

anyway, back to the yarn—it’s incredible. it’s a bit heavier than a lot of other merino sock yarns—but not enough to go up a needle size or anything—which makes the fabric knit on 2.25mms nice and sturdy-feeling. it’s higher-twist than some—a plus in my book—but not so much that it feels too texture-y, if you know what i mean. in addition to his selection of nerdy goodness, adam has a wonderful feature in his shop where you can even order a custom color. and he has spinning fiber, too.

adam will be producing kits for the sock (hopefully in both colorways. hint, hint, this is where you might want to leave a comment if you have a strong opinion—wooly bear or monarch), which you will be able to pre-order as soon as he gets a link up in his shop.

lastly on the knitting list today is the yarn for the next little nothing

i know we have purple fans out there and i’ve got a cute pattern for this silk/cashmere blend from lilith at oldmaidenaunt.com. this one will work up a bit quicker since it’s a fingering weight. it is the color of those incredible deep, dark purple iris that are blooming about now (or maybe they’re over most places, but it seems i saw them here still).

ok, then. i’m going to toddle off to knit and get ready for a spinning class that starts here tomorrow. the first week is always chaotic; beginners get easily frustrated because spinning can be surprisingly hard to get started with (though, once learned, it feels almost like idiot work, albeit elevated, heavenly idiot work). it should be good blog fodder too, hehe.

i’m baiting them through the first week or two with the prospect of a trip to the wooster fiber show on the third week (can you believe it’s almost memorial day again??). wish me luck.

fiddlehead scarf

Friday, May 16th, 2008

the light today vacillated wildly from yellow green reflected by raindrops to yellow green reflected to broad sun—we fit right in with this next little nothing. a pretty, easy-to-knit piece with a sweet lace motif. even the wrong side looks right.

shown here in whisper merino lace, colorway sweet pea, from kim at the woolen rabbit.
robin brooch by perl grey

to purchase pattern or read complete pattern information, please click here to view the product page in the knitspot pattern shop.

thank you, kim, for sending this lovely yarn that so captures the color of spring.
and thank you rachael, for test knitting once again; i so appreciate all that you do.
and to the intrepid proofreading of another rachel (who may be lost in ravelry forever), thank you, too.