Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Post-holiday Post

I made a few holiday gifts this year. Normally I don't. The holidays are busy as it is and I don't like to add pressure to get more done by the 25th. But this year I planned to make two scarves and I started early.

I finished the shifting sands scarf for my bil Brian, but I forgot to take a picture of the finished product. Doh. It looked lovely in the Manos del Uruguay and he loved it. Here it is when I started it. Imagine, if you will, it finished and approximately four feet long. That's Milo blurred in the corner. He has a thing for wool.

I also a knit an Irish Hiking Scarf for my dad using Malabrigo. I've had Malabrigo in my stash for awhile now, but this was the first time I've knit with it. Now I understand what all of the fuss is about. It's divine. Smooth as butter. There's Milo again.

Project: Irish Hiking Scarf
Yarn: Malabrigo, Rich Chocolate color 161
Needles: KnitPicks Options size 8
Start: November 12, 2008
Finish: December 20, 2008

Since I finished waaay before Christmas, I decided he also needed some fingerless gloves. So I cast on the Maine Morning Mitts. I went up a needle size than the pattern suggested so that they would be a little bigger for a man's hands. These were knit up in two evenings.

Project: Maine Morning Mitts
Yarn: Noro Kureyon color 178
Needles KnitPicks Options size 8
Start: December 21, 2008
Finish: December 23, 2008

My mom told me today that he's been wearing both the scarf and the mitts. There will likely be a sweater in his future. Maybe next Christmas. Maybe.

I made another pair of Fetchings for my friend Wendy who I saw yesterday. I ran out of yarn at the bind off and still needed to knit the thumb, so I made an emergency trip to the yarn store for another ball. Sadly, I was finishing them in the parking lot right before seeing her, so I did not get a picture.

That's it for this year's holiday knits. It's New Year's Eve and I'm giving some thought to goals for 2009 of the knitting variety and otherwise.

Happy New Year everyone!!!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Knitter's High

We were in New York at the beginning of November for a few days. Jeff ran the NY Marathon. I cheered him on from the sidelines with a hot latte in hand.

I completed a marathon of my own kind that week. About a month before I started Linden from Twist Collective. Apparently, our trip to NY was all I needed to motivate me to finish. One month, 9 days later I had a gorgeous sweater to keep me warm in the crisp fall air.

Project: Linden
Yarn: Cascade Pastaza color 0063 (dark brown)
Needles: KnitPicks Options US Size 9
Start: September 20, 2008
Finish: October 29, 2008

We went to Central Park for a little photo shoot. I wore it everyday that we were there. It's perfect for the fall weather and it's soft and super cozy. The pattern used Green Mountain Spinnery Yarn Over, but I had Cascade Pastaza that I had received as a birthday gift and had been waiting for the right pattern to come along. I thought it would work well since the Green Mountain is wool with some mohair and the Pastaza is wool with llama. The llama gives the yarn a light halo similar to mohair.

I couldn't get gauge with Pastaza. I needed 3.5 sts. per inch, but the best I could get without getting too loose of a fabric was 3.75 sts. per inch. So I decided to make the next size up figuring it would come close to the size I wanted. It's a little bigger than I planned, but I have room to layer and since it rarely gets cold here in Southern California, this will serve as a winter coat nicely.

It's been a long time since I've completed a sweater for myself. I wore it proudly. I kept telling Jeff to feel how soft it is. I guess it doesn't matter if the yarn is in the form of a ball, a skein or a sweater. We still want to pet it constantly.

This sign was outside of our hotel in Soho. The irony of it made me giggle everytime I saw it.

Seriously. No honking? In NYC?

Their solution for parking is creative.

Believe it or not, I only visited one yarn store. Purl Soho. It's a very nice little shop, stocked full of great quality yarns. I also visited their fabric shop just a few doors down the street. I would definitely be a regular if I lived in the city. Wanna hear something shocking? I didn't buy any yarn. I know. I almost don't believe it myself. I was going to get some Koigu since they have a very good selection, but they didn't have the color I was looking for. So I bought two of the latest magazines and left yarnless.

What I did bring home was perfume and gourmet chocolate! Talk about indulgences!

Monday, October 13, 2008

This is hilarious!

I'll be back soon with a longer post! I have something new on the needles and an FO!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Consultation with a Harlot

Last night I had a dream. A very vivid dream. I was on a yarn crawl with a group of people I don't know. Apparently I knew them in my dream, but now that I'm awake, they're strangers to me. So we visit a couple of yarn stores. I remember browsing the shelves and petting the yarn. There was lots of laughter and 'oohing' and 'awing', as there always is on a yarn crawl. I don't think I bought anything though, which is not typical of a yarn crawl. Not for me anyway.

Then we went to an event. I can only surmise that it was a knitting event. Most likely, we were going to hear the Yarn Harlot speak, because I found myself backstage with her while she was getting ready to go on. She was wearing a black strapless cocktail dress that had a full skirt, pretty low heels with pointy tips and a deep red lace stole that she knit herself, of course. I could not tell what the pattern was, or the yarn she used for that matter. It was very pretty though. You'll have to take my word for it. Her hair was very fancy in a simple, yet elegant up-do. Now, if you know anything about the Yarn Harlot, you know this is not a look that she would sport. Still, she looked very pretty. Almost ballerina-esque.

I was telling her about my latest dilemma. She told me to talk fast as she sprayed hairspray on her 'do' and inspected herself in the mirror. I have decided that my next sweater project will be Linden from Twist Collective. I was very excited because I already have yarn in my stash that I've been looking for a pattern for. It's Ella Rae Classic in a slate blue/charcoal grey color. Perfect. Or so I thought. I knit my swatch with US size 8 needles. Not even close to gauge. So I tried size 9. Not close enough. I refuse to go up in size because I won't like the fabric. Even the swatch where I used size 9 was too loose for my liking. Hmm. I told her I was thinking of doubling the yarn and swatching with size 7's or 8's to see if I could get gauge. The problem with that is that I would then need to acquire 3 more skeins of yarn in order to have enough. She laughed. Not at me, more like with me, if I were laughing. More like a, 'I've been in your shoes before my friend, learn from my mistakes' kind of laugh. Then she told me to choose a different yarn. Sigh.

Then I woke up, frustrated because I really want to use this yarn in my stash. I think I'll knit another swatch doubling it, just to see if I could get gauge. I also have some Cascade Pastaza in a yummy chocolate brown in my stash. I think I have enough, so I'll swatch with that too.

In the meantime, I'll finish up my Shetland Triangle shawl. I'm on the 10th pattern repeat for the body. I think I'm going to do 11 before starting the border. Milo was assisting me with the photos. Really, he just loves yarn as much as we do.

I also cast on a holiday gift. The Shifting Sands scarf designed by Grumperina. I needed something to knit in a social setting. I attempted the Shetland in public and wound up exactly back where I started that day. This will be for one of my brother-in-laws. I'm using Manos del Uruguay in color 27.

New projects on the needles, old projects that need to be sewed up, it's getting busy around here. But the best kind of busy! What's new on your needles?

Friday, August 15, 2008


Where did the time go?!

Many things have happened since I last posted. Most notably, I gave notice at work and will be joining the ranks of the unemployed for awhile. This was a difficult decision because I enjoy many aspects of my job. The main reason for this decision is to spend more time with Jeff. He's only home on weekends and since I work in retail, it doesn't allow for us to spend much time together.

Another reason is that we are in the process of adopting a baby from China! This involves a lot of paperwork and organization, which I want to be able to focus on more intently. It will be a couple of years before we get our baby girl, but I'm excited nonetheless.

Speaking of baby girls. My sister had hers July 23rd. Meet my new niece, Ciena Renee.

Isn't she sweet?! I finished her Tulip Baby Cardigan, finally. I couldn't have done it without Madge. Not as quickly anyway. This is the second Tulip kit I've made and I've run out of the border color both times. Aack! The first time I was able to steal from one of the other kits, because I have plenty left over from all of the other colors, but not enough of the border. This time I didn't have that particular color in the other kits. I was telling Madge about my dilemma and that I would have to order a skein of that color. She told me she thought she had that color at home and she wasn't going to use it. Score! Thanks Madge! You saved the day.

Project: Dream in Color Tulip Baby Cardigan #2
Yarn: Dream in Color Classy
Needles: KnitPicks Options US Sizes 7 & 9
Start: End of June 2008
Finish: August 10, 2008

I still love this yarn and plan on making an adult size sweater out of it some day.

I cast on for the Shetland Triangle Shawl. I'll take pictures when I get further along.

I started a food blog called Bun in the Oven. I've been thinking about it for awhile but didn't think I had time for it. Now that I do, I can share my other obsession with the world.

I'll leave you with this photo. As you can imagine, kittens get into everything.

Cooper was sitting with me on the couch and started playing with the tissue box. Well, he put his head into it and couldn't get it out. He kept backing up trying to get it out and he backed himself off of the couch and into the corner. I was laughing hysterically and had to get the camera before I could free him from his situation. I laughed until I his expense. Poor guy. That was a moment I wished that I had a video camera. Priceless.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Catchin' up

Warning: this post is long.


A few weeks ago I went to Boise, ID to visit Jeff. He's been working there since February. I had never been there and wanted to see what it's like. One day I had the rental car while Jeff was at work. What does a knitter do in a new city with nothing but time on her hands? Yarn crawl, of course. The first stop was Puffy Mondaes, which is actually in Nampa about 20 minutes from Boise.

This is a great shop. It looks like it used to be a house. There are several rooms, including a kitchen where they have dye workshops. The staff is very friendly. Natalie was working that day and we talked about yarn and Ravelry. They have a good variety of yarns, including some I have never heard of before. I couldn't resist the Banana Silk.

It's made from the stalk and leaves of the banana plant. It's very rustic looking. The ply is uneven creating a thick/thin yarn. It comes in beautiful saturated colors, which is what attracted me to it. I had a hard time choosing, but in the end, I went with my favorite. I'm thinking it wants to become a scarf someday.

Next stop was Ewephoria, also in Nampa. A very nice yarn and quilt fabric shop. Since I'm a sucker for all things fiber, I bought this fabric.

Someday I'll use these to line felted bags. Or maybe sew them into bags if I ever learn how to sew (on my list of things to do). I especially like the one on the left.

My last stop was Fuzz in Boise. This was a nice space and the women working there were very nice. I didn't buy anything because they didn't carry anything different than what I can get from my LYSs here at home.

The knitters in the Boise area are in good hands. And if you ever find yourself there, you won't be short of LYSs to visit.


One day after work I called Jeff to let him know I was on my way home.
Jeff: "Milo got into your knitting bag and scattered your knitting all over the living room."
Me: "Did he unravel it?"
Jeff: "Not all of it."
Me: "Oh sh&t."

Luckily, he only unraveled the ball of yarn attached to the sweater I'm working on and not the sweater itself. Jeff said Milo looked very guilty when he found him lying next to the mess. It's a good thing he's so darn cute!


I'm in the home stretch on several projects.

The Noro sweater just needs seaming and then a crocheted border.

I'm almost finished with the last piece of the Cable & Rib Sweater. Then I'll have to sew it together, knit the collar and sew in a zipper.

Tulip Cardigan #2 just needs the border and the sleeves. I have to finish it this week, since my sister's shower is a week from today. Time to hunker down.

Happy 4th to those of you in the U.S. I hope everyone is having a nice weekend and your knitting is close by.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Yarn trip!

My knitting group had been talking about taking a trip to Solvang for a looong time. Sunday we finally made the trip. Solvang is a small Danish inspired town in Santa Barbara County (Central California). There are bakeries, windmills, Danish restaurants, fudge shops, art galleries and tons of shops. Of course, there's a yarn & fiber store to visit too. Village Spinning & Weaving (in the photo above) was our ultimate destination. My first impression of the store was that they didn't have much of a yarn selection. Almost two hours later, I'd say we found plenty to keep us interested.

I wasn't planning on buying anything. Seriously. I was only going to buy something if it was "special", meaning I hadn't seen it before or it's hard to find. The store has a very good book selection and, being that books are almost as hard to resist for me as yarn is, I wound up buying Barbara Walker's A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns to add to my collection, and a book called Crocheting School which looks like a great reference book for all kinds of crochet stitches and edgings. I have two projects in my future that require me to learn how to crochet, so I think this book will be valuable.

Then I saw this little sheep ornament. He wanted to come home with me.

Still no yarn for me. I was actually feeling quite proud of myself at this point. We had been in the shop for quite awhile and I was not really tempted by any of the yarn I saw. I was going home yarn-free.

Until I saw this:

A whole display of Louet Euroflax. I don't know how I missed it when I walked in, but I did. Look at all of the colors! I've seen this at one of my LYSs and also at Stitches, but have never seen such a color selection in one place. I've been wanting to buy this yarn ever since I saw Madge using it for her Gothic Leaf Stole. I knew the minute I saw the display that this yarn was going home with me. After much debate and fondling, I settled for the same Aubergine color that produced yarn envy of Madge's stash. I bought four skeins. Enough to make a lace shawl. Now I just have to decide on a pattern. I encouraged Madge to buy some too! She bought a mossy green color called Island Moss. I see a Euroflax KAL in our future.

It's hard to see the color in this pic. I'll try to get a picture of it in natural light in the future. Take my word for it, it's pretty!

Here's a pic of those of us who went.

From L-R: Linda, Mary, Me, Jillian, Pam & Madge

It was a great day! It felt good to spend a whole day with my peeps talking about yarn, knitting and all things related.

I'm posting from Boise, ID. I'm visiting Jeff for a few days. I'll let you know if I find anything interesting here. Have a good week.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Doctor's orders

Just when I thought I was better, I took a turn for the worse. So I high-tailed it back to the doctor yesterday to discuss some serious drugs that will wipe out this infection for good. Armed with new prescriptions, I left the office with instructions to take the next three days off from work and do nothing except rest and take said medicine. I think I can handle that. Three days to rest = three days of knitting. :)

Today I knit another pair of Fetchings. These are for my friend Teressa. I'm teaching her how to knit and I think these will match the purple garter stitch scarf she is working on.

Project: Fetching by Cheryl Niamath
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, color 330014 (purple)
Needles: KnitPicks Options DPNs US size 5
Start: May 29, 2008
End: May 29, 2008

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Knocked down but not out

So April pretty much kicked me in the arse. I had the flu which then turned into bronchitus. I was sick for a total of six weeks. That sucked. I was so miserable that I didn't even want to knit or read my favorite knitting blogs. It was bad people. I only took a couple of days off from work during the worst of it. I kept pushing through, thinking it's going to get better in a few days. It was a loooong few days. I've recovered and am back to my 'normal' self. Sigh. It's been a long time since I've been that sick. I will not be taking my good health for granted anytime soon.

There was some knitting in early April. My good friend Michelle was having a baby boy and I wanted to knit something for the shower.

This is a male version of the Tulip sweater made popular by the Yarn Harlot (scroll down to her June 5th entry) last year. I bought my kits from Threadbear Fiber Arts. The kits aren't on their website anymore, but they might put one together for you if you call. I know there are other yarn stores that sell the kits also.

Project: Dream in Color Tulip Baby Cardigan
Yarn: Dream in Color Classy
Needles: KnitPicks Options US Sizes 7 & 9
Start: End of March 2008
Finish: April 6, 2008

Thoughts: I love this yarn and will definitely be using it for more projects in the future. It's soft and the colors are incredible. Each one is rich and beautiful. Truly a joy to knit with. One thing I was surprised by was the gauge. This is considered a worsted weight yarn with the suggestion of using US size 7 or 8 needles to get gauge. I am a loose knitter and usually have to go down a needle size or two in order to get the required gauge for a project. With this yarn I had to go up to a size 9. That's the first time that ever happened. Hmm. I'm still scratching my head over this. I was not knitting tighter than I normally do, so I think the yarn is a little finer than a worsted. Has anyone else experienced this with Classy?

More recently I made a pair of Fetching for a friend's birthday.

Project: Fetching by Cheryl Niamath
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, color 330012 (a lilac)
Needles; KnitPicks Options DPNs US size 5
Start: May 18, 2008
End: May 18, 2008

Thoughts: This is the fourth pair I've made and I think it makes a nice gift. The pattern is simple, yet interesting. And they can be knit up in a day. Quick & easy. Pretty too.

Other than that, I'm still working on my Noro shrug and I'll be bringing the grey Cable & Rib sweater out of hibernation to finish the last front piece, so her up and add a zipper.

Now I've saved the best for last. April wasn't all bad. I had some major furry therapy.

We got two new kittens! I'd like to introduce you to Cooper & Milo. Cooper is on the left, Milo on the right. This picture was taken by the breeder just before we got them. They're from different litters and even though they're only 11 days apart, Cooper is almost twice the size of Milo.

This is the day we brought them home.

Their first date with the groomer.

And ready for their closeups.

Jeff and I are having a lot of fun with them. It has been 16 years since I've had a kitten. I forgot how energetic and playful they are. It's good to have some furballs in the house again. It doesn't feel right without them. And I've discovered that they like yarn as much as I do! hee hee

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Yarn Club Sign-ups Open

Sundara's Yarn Club is open for sign-ups! I've been very happy with the yarns and colors I received during the last session. I chose autumn for my color palette the first round. This time I'm choosing spring.

Life has been very busy here with sickness (I'm better now), out-of-town guests, baby showers, bar mitzvahs, kitten sitting, etc... I'll post soon with some knitting content.

Knit on!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Reveal

I went to Stitches West last month and had a great time. This was my sixth year in a row and it gets better every year. I went with my mom, my MIL, Grace, and her friend Shirley. It was a fiber filled girls weekend!

I didn't take many pictures. Unfortunately, I was distracted. My mom came down with the flu the day after we arrived. It was bad. Poor mom. She didn't leave our room for the entire weekend! She missed out on everything. I felt so bad for her. There's nothing worse than being sick away from home. So I made sure she had medicine and food when she felt like she could keep it down. I checked on her often. When it was apparent that she wasn't going to feel well enough to go to the market before the weekend was over, she handed me money and asked, "Will you buy me some yarn?" (Mwaa-haa-haa-haa-haa)

Now some of you might remember that my mom missed Stitches last year because she was sick. Next year, she's getting a flu shot! I have to say that the Stitches staff were great about this situation. They gave her credit for her classes and events that she had paid for at the last minute, no problem. Great customer service!

I took two classes this year. Fair Isle Knitting with Fiona Ellis and the Joy of Steeks with Maureen Mason-Jamieson. I took the class with Fiona because I enjoyed the class I took last year with her. She has a great energy about her. I didn't learn anything new in this class though. I had taken a fair isle class last year. I thought this would reinforce what I had learned. The problem was that Fiona knits english style and holds both yarns in her right hand. I knit continental and learned to hold one color in each hand. So I practiced what I had learned last year. Practice is always a good thing. The steeks class was fun and I learned a lot. It was actually fun cutting my knitting...on a swatch, that is. I'm not so sure about a project I had spent a few months of my life knitting and then taking scissors to it. Maureen was a great teacher and very inspiring.

Here's a picture of the Bellman with 4 womens luggage and stuff the day we left.

Now onto the loot!

Koigu, anyone? I've been charmed by the Babette Blanket deisgned by Kathy Merrick. So I decided to start collecting Koigu for the project. Foxy Knits always has a great selection of Koigu solids at Stitches West, so that was on the top of my list. I'm making a girlie blanket for my future little girl (someday). I bought several shades of pink and pastels. I'm going to add two different shades of red (trust me on this), a neutral such as taupe and possibly a shade of purple. Here are some of my favorites from Ravelry: Baizou's Babette, Angie's Babette, Chatoune's Babette... There's more to look at. Twenty pages in fact. So if you have the time, it's fun to look at the different color combinations. Do you want to see a Koigu closeup?!

I thought so. :)

I also bought some alpaca from Honey Lane Farms.

The colorway is called Jelly. I resisted buying this last year, but couldn't resist two years in a row. I'm thinking about making a cardigan with a shawl collar.

Also on my list of things to buy was this design software program.

Cochenille's Garment Designer and Stitch Painter. This has been on my list for the past couple of years and I finally took the plunge. I didn't buy this because I want to start designing. I don't. But sometimes I'll have a specific idea of what I want to make with something in my stash and can't find a pattern that matches my idea. And this will be ideal for very simple sweaters. You just plug in your gauge, pick your silhouette along with details for the neck and sleeves and it gives you a pattern. It will be fun to play with.

Last, but not least, are my impulse buys.

Lace yarn! I'm lured by the lace ever since seeing the garments in person last year from Victorian Lace Today. They are stunning! All of these yarns are from the Yarn Place booth. From left to right we have Gentle in Dark Ruby. This yarn is 5% cashmere and 95% Australian Merino. Next is Heaven, which is 45% Tencel/55% Merino Wool. It's a very bright chartreuse like color. And it's cobweb laceweight! I don't know why, but I was drawn to it the whole weekend, so I bought it on the last day. And last is Touch which is 5% cashmere/10% tencel/85% merino wool. The color is called Wedgewood Blue. Someday, this will be a shawl for Grace. I let her pick out the color and told her the surprise will be when she gets it. Could be this year or next, for a birthday, mother's day or Christmas. All of these yarns are super soft! Maybe I'll focus on knitting lace this summer.

Stitches West did not disappoint this year and my mom has fully recovered. That's all for now. Next time I'll share some WIPs with you.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Oh Noro, how I love thee....

Just a quick post to prove that I'm still here. I cast on Shrugs & Kisses a couple of weeks ago. The yarn is Noro Kureyon color 185. This was a birthday gift from my MIL bought at Stitches West last year. I thought I should at least cast on before leaving for Stitches this year. I love the colors and how they gradually change from one to another. If it weren't for that, I'd be bored to tears of stockinette. I'm eager to finish the body of it so I can move onto the crocheted collar and bottom border. This is what it will look like (I hope):

It's going to have some competition for my attention soon. My knitting group is knitting the Lenore sock pattern and I have yet to cast on. I think I'm the last to cast on actually, so that will be happening very soon. And a dear friend of mine is having a baby in May. I just got notice that there will be a shower in April. I have a month to knit up a gift. Good thing I bought all of those kits for the Dream in Color Tulip sweater!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Stitches or Bust

Thank you for your condolences in regards to Nikko. It's been a very emotional week. Our home is not the same without him. I still find myself coming home from work and wanting to look for him like I've always done. It's going to take some time to get used to, but I know it will get better and Jeff and I are focusing on the great memories we have.

I finally have a picture of my nephews sweater!

I put the second picture in to show the cute reverse seams on the shoulder. It's a little big for him, so hopefully it will fit him next year as well. And he likes it!

Pattern: Simple Sweater w/Shoulder Seam Detail from Great Knits for Kids by Debbie Bliss

Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash in Aqua Blue (this isn't the color name - I have to find the label but it's late and I'm tired)
Needles: Knit Picks Options size 6 (I think...I really should write this stuff down before I finish...)
Started: September 2007
Finished: January 2008
This was a super easy pattern to knit. And quick too! I finished the knitting by the end of October but didn't finish sewing it up until January. I love the shoulder seams and the rolled edges. I think Anthony looks my handsome in it. When I gave it to him he wanted to put it on right away. That's all the encouragement I need to make him more handknits!
I'm off to catch some z's. I'm leaving for Stitches West tomorrow. A little yarn therapy should make me feel better.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Sweet Valentine

Yesterday we lost our Nikko. He was 16.

I was very lucky to spend 16 wonderful years with him. He was extraordinary and will be greatly missed.

My heart is broken.