Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Thanks so much for the quick great advice!

But I managed to make a good mess over here. I think my wax spot was pretty well smushed in there. It didn't even feel waxy after a few quick ironings, but there was still a big grayish spot.

So anyways, it did start to work. But, apparently, the amount of heat needed to get the spot up was about the same amount of heat it took to make a big singed brown patch on the rear of the sweater. Or maybe I held it on too long? Am thinking that could be the problem.
Anyways, it's completely unsalvageable now.

But the good news?
My sizing is spot on, I know what to do for the pattern, and I have a ton more white yarn. (More free white yarn given to me years ago, even) And, although I had seamed one side, I had not woven in a single end. Silver lining here, right?

So, onto knitting the back once more. It'll be easy to take this back off and attach a new improved one soon. But maybe in a few days. I have a scarf idea that seems more attractive tonight.

Happy New Year's!
shit shit shit!!!

Anyone know how to get WAX off a sweater?????

I accidentally blocked over a wax drop on the table leftover from Hanukkah and now have a big bluish gray wax imprint spot my lovely creamy white lacy ass...

It's a basic wool fiber - like a thicker cascade 220. Maybe a tiny bit woolier/scratchier.
There's gotta be a trick, right? and you guys know it. right?

tell me!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Its been a fairly knitless vacation on the FO front, but I did manage to get a few small things done. These cowls are amazing for using up stray skeins, fitting in small bags and giving as quick gifts. I'm so hooked. Have three more planned :-)

The top one is the spiral cowl with eyelet edges from Ravelry whose designer and proper name I can't remember. It's actually a bit wide - and meant to be that way for the button closure - but if I make it again, I think I'll do a little narrower version. However, this design gave me a reason to match my cowl perfectly with my mittens and use another vintage button.

Now I look all coordinated out in the world. See?

(I know it would have been a perfect gift, but I wanted it!)

However, this second one is a gift - a couple rows of garter stitch, one repeat of YO/K2tog eyelets and then, ribs. I used one skein of the Mirasol Hacho merino, which is perfectly suited for neckwear - soft and cushy. Old friends from SF are coming to spend a couple of days here for New Year's (in front of the cozy Drawn On Fireplace) and this is for my friend, who's got very light hair and coloring. I think the pinks will be great on her.

In other knitting news, the white eyelet coat sweater thing is very close to being seamed up.
I'm working out the sizing by comparing it to my new favorite sweater which I got at the after Christmas sales last week.

(Segway into Huge Cashmere Bargain)

A new adventure this year for my 9 year old Maya and I was the early morning trip to the mall on the 26th. I know, it's a sad commentary on American society, but it's so fun.
Bargains, lunch, girltime. We had a blast.

AND they were practically giving stuff away. Even though, when I saw the $400 thigh length Aran weight heather gray belted cardigan with big cozy collar for $79, I was doubtful.

I had to double check with the sales chick. And she had to double check with some manager. Turns out it wasn't an illusion. I had found it in my size and on super duper sale. And I had all kinds of extra Lord and Taylor wheels and deals too. Unfortunately they didn't let me apply my additional 20% off coupon and the $15 cash card I'd been handed in lingerie, which would have brought the grand total down to about what? $50? See that small print? Says cashmere.

But hey, at $79 -- couldn't have even bought the yarn.

It would have been a lot of yarn. Comes down almost to my knees, big collar, long belt. I'm thinking many skeins. 19? Definitely 19 or 20. And it's CASHMERE.

Anyways Happy Holidays - I hope yours are full of yarn and bargains and friends and family.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

was a huge success!

She's thinking the coolest part is that it can get naked.

For her birthday, she's asking for a turtle wardrobe. I'll have to see what I can do.

And for the grownups on Hanukkah, a lot of cooking and baking.
Craig supplied some sidecars so we'd all be able to muddle through.
These might be a new favorite. How do you make one, you ask? Cointreau, Cognac and lemon juice over ice in a shaker. Pour into a glass with a powdered sugar rim.

If only the big present was here. Our new fireplace.

Three straight days of snow and we're stuck staring at the empty space where it's going to go. We couldn't wait any longer, so we all drew one in. It's not really the same.

I'm hoping the real fireplace belts out a little more heat than it's magic marker counterpart.

In the meantime, turtle is asleep in Zoe's bed and I can get back to the white project. One front, the back and a sleeve are all done. Time for some blocking and a size check before the second front and sleeve. Maybe it's the sidecars, but I'm feeling optimistic about it...

Friday, December 19, 2008

Much like her soon to be owner, the little turtle can smile, frown and talk incessantly. I gave her a Mr. Bill style mouth so Zoe can have some fun with it.

Sort of scary, huh?

The snow's begun out here, so I'm expecting some real progress on the white cardigan this weekend. Fought the crowds, bought food and booze, and am now settling in. Cozy.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Red wine and white yarn. Unfortunately, I'm not willing to give up either, so I'll just have to be extra careful. Almost done with the back on this project, and I cannot put it down.

I spent the day at the science museum with the 4th grade, so I deserve this.
(Looked for you Holli, didn't see you wandering the halls...)

I cannot wait to be done with this and wear it. It's not there yet, but I love it so far. The blocking worked out great on the front, and I'm hopeful on sizing. We'll see how it goes as I put a sleeve together next.

In other knitting news, I've been a little delayed on finishing up Zoe's Sheldon. I use old stuffed animals instead of buying new stuffing around here. Mafioso style, the unloved animals in our place are sometimes never heard from again. (We had a big B list so, the kids never noticed.)

However, the B list has dwindled this past year and it seemed the next guy to "disappear" might have caused a stir. Patiently, I had to wait around till a friend offered up a new volunteer to donate his insides. Today I got a great donor, and no one else around here had to vanish.
They can feel safe - for now.

So yeah, cardigan today, turtle tomorrow.
Wine now. It's not really a bad idea at all.

Friday, December 12, 2008

One front down and the back begun. If only I didn't have things to do....

Thursday, December 11, 2008

One side coming along nicely here. It's pretty much what I'm hoping for so far.

Next, A little Egg Nog recipe.

It's a half a cup of nog, with one generous shot of rum and a less generous splash of Cointreau.
Plus, a little shaved nutmeg on top.

Perfect last night when we watched Elf for the thousandth time.
It's still funny.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

I really should be finishing up Sheldon for Zoe today, but - as mentioned in my last post - I'm taking the more laissez faire approach to holiday knitting this year.

So enter this. Fresh off the rude discovery that no matter how much I loved Sylvi, she did not love me back when I tried her on. Now, I'm resigned to looking for the amazing sweater coat to take her place. And I'm thinking I may have found it here, but..

I see the posed shot of my dream jacket (below). My completely shapeless dream jacket.
If I was dwarfed by Sylvi, with her lovely A line shape and less ginormous size, this puppy would be my undoing. And the ladies at Yarns in the Farms can attest to the fact that I was swimming in poor, gorgeous Sylvi. I'm just too short for the big stuff.

See? Eeeew.

But I'm thinking there's still something here - I love the collar and I love the chunky yarn in the leaf lace pattern. And I still do have about 2,000 yards of cream colored chunky yarn burning a hole in my stash, so I sat down for a bit this afternoon.

(Which is a good thing, since I have stitches in the bottom of one of my feet and a really unfortunate situation on the bottom of the other)

And Maya even sat down with me and agreed. The idea could be saved.

So far, a shorter length and a fitted shape on top. Some straight knitting up there too instead of lace so I can be more exact about the fit - deep ribbing on the sleeves, but a little smaller sizing on the ccollar. We added a rolled knit hem, and a couple buttons just where Stacy London tells us to put them ever Friday night. We played with extra ribbing on the sides, but took it off.

Math was done and a swatch begun. We took measurements, checked them twice, and I'm about to cast on for a first side. All I need is another glass of wine and maybe to pee first (don't we all?). Don't know about you, but I've been standing waaaaay too long in front of the computer.

And poor Sheldon will have to hang out in the bag till tomorrow.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Just requires no planning. Really.

I planned on none, but somehow I manage to be churning them out. Each one is kind of a surprise. The fingerless gloves from my last post, a hat for a friend, another cowl in the works and Sheldon the Turtle all seem to be getting knit. No deadlines, no pressure. I made a hat I'm thinking of for my sister, over two Dexters. I didn't plan to make it a gift, I was just using up the yarn and doing something mindless during TV - but I'm thinking it gets put on the list.

It's almost like I didn't mean to, but the gift knitting drive kicked in on it's own. No list, no schedule. Small single skeins begging to be knit out of the stash, and the instant gratification of using them up. Maybe it's about lowering your expectations - then anything you do get done is just a bonus!

Kind of a surprise for you and the recipient, huh?

Here's one. This yarn was the leftover from a pair of lace fingerless gloves I'd made my Mom last year. She just came up to visit, so she got this matching cowl. I had no idea I was going to begin it until about two days before she arrived. And had no idea she was going to get it until about halfway through, when the project seemed to fit.

And in my bag today, another little cowl. I have a doc appt, so am hoping for a little wait. We'll see if it needs to be owned by someone once it's done. I'm thinking this is the way to go every year. Not so cost effective though, since I've also bought gifts. Makes for double happy friends and family.


In other knitting news, I went to a Twist Trunk show at Yarns in the Farms in Beverly MA - awesome little shop (if only it wasn't so far away) and really sweet people. It was fun to see the actual sweaters from the magazine - and try them on! I've come to terms with the fact that the gorgeous red Sylvie jacket did me no favors, but am happy to say that Kingscot showed a lot of promise, and made sure to come home with that pattern. It's going to get knit out of the bag of DB Cashmerino DK I've been saving.

I also bought yarn to make a fluffy alpaca shawl, after trying on a really lovely one in the shop - it's a departure for me, since I'm not a fussy lace fan - but I've been missing the fluffy alpaca of a big wrap ever since I sent Alene's Wrap back to CA, and I've been thinking of trying some big lace thing. Of course the patttern I have in mind isn't supposed to be knit out of alpaca, but I'm willing to go with the sub for the feel I want. That's all I bought, since I am still on the stash plan, but my cohorts (Kris and Carol) did a little more damage and got some lovely stuff.

Lastly, I have a new design bug - am still playing with chunky winter white yarn and a big sweatercoat with some lace in it. A swatch will come soon. Big leaves. Big overlapping lace leaves.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Between the weekend away (mmmm..), secret gifts, Thanksgiving and general distraction, there's not so much knitting I can show to you right now. But here's my tweed Rowan vest, which has been patiently sitting around in the background, waiting for some love. I'm working my way up the second front, and every time I do pick it up, I'm in love with the Kathmandu all over again.

However, I've lengthened the sweater to a below the hip vest and I'm going to run out of yarn soon, so I need to find some more in a little bit if it's ever going to be done. Of course, my colorway's discontinued. Figures. But I have faith in the internet :-)

Here's a little not secret gift - Lorna's laces and a soft yellow merino that matched - for someone who has no idea about the world of blogs. I'd made a hat for her out of this same skein last year, so this year she gets matching fingerless gloves. And, I get two less half skeins in the stash.

I also just completed that lovely intarsia vines hat, Flora, from Ravelry for another friend, but I gave it to her before ever photographing it - it's cold this weekend and she was traveling to rural PA, so I thought she could use it. Two more skeins down.

As for cocktails, part of our Cooking Class Weekend Away was cocktail class (who knew?)
We hosted Thanksgiving on Thursday and served these with the appetizers.

Northern Lights

half glass chilled champagne
1 oz pear nectar
2 tsp cassis liqueur

Very festive!

Also, on the subject of the weekend cooking and cocktail class, guess what kind of shop was right next door to the classroom kitchen? Kismet, I tell you. Probably the only LYS for miles, and it was right there - my husband couldn't believe it. I'd promised no knitting stores, no extra trips out of the way to find yarn, nothing. But it was right next door.

So, during the break, I popped over for a sec (ok, 15 mins) and was rewarded with the ONLY copy of the Debbie Bliss Fall Magazine left in the entire New England area. Trust me, I've been looking. Woo hoo.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Here's what I've been working on the past few nights. Extra inches of ribbing on the Cambridge Cardigan my boy's been wearing for the past few years. Seems the length just wasn't sitting right for His Nibs. After two years. (Some of you are noticing a Man Behavioral Pattern here and remembering a certain Debbie Bliss Incident a few years back)

Anyways, here's a happy boy, with his newly augmented sweater. I was afraid the ribs would change the look of the cardigan, but in the end, this was a painless way to make him happy.

I had a few extra skeinlets floating around from the original (is that a word? I'm thinking it should be..) so I was happy to go back and play with the stash too. (!!)

You can see how little he'd been wearing it -- it has FOLD MARKS from being on the shelf!

But anyways, he's happy now - and he's taking me away for the weekend, to an amazing inn in Maine, so he did deserve his little sweater fix, didn't he? I just have to figure out what small project I'm taking with me...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Maya covets.

Until she goes upstairs and designs her own version.
Babycable and rib border, leftover Whiskey from her hoodie, and two embroidered hearts.

Now everyone's happy - I'm even down another stray skein.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Here's where we ended up. I did do a few knitted petals, but it seemed too serious all in gray.

So instead, we found the leftover Koigu baggie.

It's a little nutty. But I definitely had fun letting the cables and bobbles do their thing and embroidering on some loopy petals with leftover bits of yarn. The cables without flowers go all the way up to the top and meet at the little hole.

Kind of funky. But honestly, it's kind of 5 year old nirvana.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Emboldened by my newfound bobble and cable practice and inspired by the gorgeous red Sylvi jacket on Twist, I found myself playing with a skein of gray cashmere that had been growing old in the stash trunk for a few years. I needed a little freefrom knitting after following the Rowan pattern so diligently and I was soooo loving the wandering vines on Sylvi that this hat just kind of evolved into..

whatever it's evolving into. It was just too fun to weave some random ribs up the hat and make them wave around. I've stuck a lace leaf on one, a few bobbles on another, and might try to knit up a few petals for one. Like I said, not sure how it's going to turn out, but it sure is fun to knit. And I'm thinking Zoe will wear it no matter what.

After all, it's cashmere, and even at five, a girl can recognize the good stuff...

Adding to the mystery here is the fact I'll be finishing it up with Carol and Sara and a few drinks and a few kids. This particular bottle is for Carol's birthday just past (fuzzy photo on purpose since she knows wine is arriving, but not what kind..) sneaky, huh?

And although poor Paley sits unloved upstairs, this photo has been taunting me downstairs. It's the other reason I've been playing with cables. I have my trusty stichonaries and both of the Barbara Walkers out on the kitchen chopping block.

So we'll see what comes after the Rowan gets done, but it's not really looking like Paley yet.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

This isn't it.

Poor Paley will have to wait. The yarn's all piled and ready to go,
but I'm not putting this down for a while. Kathmandu Aran and Cables.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

half stash? Probably not, but it's feeling like it.

Finishing this puppy puts me at three major bags down - big bags of chunky yarn I've had for ages. Feels good. It also doesn't hurt that I LOVE this sweater. Love, love love. It knit up fast and really looks great (if I do say so myself...) From the Rowan Studio booklet #8.

It doesn't have buttons, but fastens with a little pin at the collar, and comes down about to the waist. I have a few vintage pins I tried it on with, and it laid perfectly. Guess I should use the intended yarn for a pattern more often :-)

Ah well, I didn't block since I love the rustic feel of this tweed - it's lovely and almost stiff, but not scratchy. Now onto the next bag (I have 3 left). I'm going to play with Debbie Bliss Cashmerino in a jade green - and I'm going back to the design table for this one.

But in case I get frustrated, I'm also going to cast on for Norah Gaughan's Paley at the same time. Seems like an awesome design to use up a bunch of half skeins as well as a big bag of cream worsted - don't you think?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

338 to 142. Don't see the popular vote numbers right now, but my faith is restored in the American public. What a night!

Obama's amazing - Not only what he stands for and what he hopes to do, but how long since a politician stood up there with grace and poise and actual humility? His speech was perfect. I can't wait to see who he adds to the cabinet today.

Even to a cynical liberal, it doesn't feel like politics as usual, it feels like an untarnished, fairer beginning.

Also - how cool was Michelle's dress?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Still playing with the cherry juice, and not finding any new and exciting recipes that work. This began as a martini, evolved into a gin/cassis/cherry martini and finally worked out with tonic and lime, but really.. not worth sharing with you all. Instead, the leftover juice found its way into a chicken recipe last night. And that was way better than the martini idea, trust me.
A miss. Eeeew.

Tonight, I'll stick with good old fashioned beer to calm my liberal nerves.
I'll need something guaranteed to satisfy. Can you believe how close this race is??

On the other hand (other compared to the martini, not the beer), this pattern and this yarn has turned out to be a dark horse hit. I began it only because I had the yarn really, but I think it could turn out to be a favorite knit. So quick and easy, all I have left to do is the cable band for the edging - it's already seamed up and ready to be finalized while I hang out and watch the returns tonight. Maybe that gauge thing isn't a huge scam after all..

And really, even if I didn't love the pattern, how could I not love this heavy tweedy purple?

PS. Has anyone seen Snorka's amazing Vintage Cardigan? I might like it better than the orginal. Shows how important a good photo shoot is!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

One tiger.

And one Zombie Bride, in character.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Why yes, those ARE demon baby dolls.

The one closes to Maya has pentagrams drawn in his eyes and horns on his head, the center one has vampire teeth and the one in the scotty dog dress is a more traditional dead baby doll. Maya actually thought it was hilarious and insisted on this photo, but Zoe doesn't look so sure she wants to sit down next to the freaky babies.

But she did have fun in the graveyard looking for the oldest headstone - it wasn't as pretty as this one, but it was way older.

Knitting again soon. And costume pictures.

PS - anyone want to guess where we were for these pics? It's very Halloween-y.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

First, see the finished sock? That's one looooong sitting project done!

Three purple projects. They look so different, but really, they're all purples - even the sofa is a dark eggplant. (What can I say? My kitchen cabinets also - a deep shade called blackberry) It's a favorite color. For a while there I was buying nothing but different purple yarns, so it shouldn't be a surprise as I knit down into my stash that I've hit a theme here.

I'm loving the therapeutic aspect of this little project - having never knit with laceweights really, I decided to keep it simple in the hopes of not abandoning the project. It's a stockinette scarf with eyelets along the sides. I have an unknown amount of this lovely alpaca laceweight yarn - dyed by old friend Dani of Sunshine Yarns about 3 years back.

I've always loved the lavenders in it, but kept putting it back since it was lace and the idea of those #3 needles is enough to make me shudder. Now I'm hooked on the simple stitch and the pretty, feathery texture - knit up on #5 needles :-). Reminds me of the great Rowan scarf Carol knit up a while back - everyone who draped it over themeslves wanted to keep it since it felt so amazing.

Still not so sure I'd be doing lace stitches in this stuff, but for now, it's my preferred TV knitting - and I had a few Dexters to catch up on this weekend!

The new project - for once - is an existing pattern in The Proper Yarn. I couldn't believe when I read the specs for the Cabled Bolero here that it called for 5 skeins of Rowan Aran Tweed, and when I went upstairs, that's exactly how much was in the stash. I had taken it out intending to use a completely different yarn, of course, but seeing the specs I decided to give this a shot. I even did a gauge swatch and was right on gauge. Now let's see if I fare better when following the rules...

PS - on the cocktail front, still playing with Cherry Juice. Haven't hit the right mix yet, but am thinking it goes well with bourbon. Since i was reading a novel about some elderly Brits (Quartet in Autumn by Barbara Pym) the last few nights, I've had sherry and port, just like my literary subjects. It's OK on a rainy night, but not so fun as the mixed ingredients!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Yep, another finished February Lady Sweater.

This one was knit completely off gauge, in Sublime Merino DK. Almost frogged since I was convinced it would fit only Maya, but lace and garter stitch like it when you block the crap out of them, and now it fits just fine.

The Sublime Merino is soft and clingy and drapey, which feels amazing and works great in a sweater like this as long as I'm buttoned up. I decide to unbutton, I lose all shape here and the flaps hang heavy and off to the side. Someday I'll learn my yarn sub lessons. In the meantime, I used up 7 out of 10 skeins on this, so I have enough left for some sort of amazingly soft and cozy gray scarf. I loved working with this yarn and would definitely do it again - although I might use a pattern intended for it next time :-)

As for buttons, I decided not to gild the lily. This sweater has a lot going on, so after trying out a ton of different options, I went with these. By keeping it simple, I'm hoping this can be more of a basic item that could go with a lot of different things.

I think I might take a break from garments for a while and concentrate on things without fit and gauge and other issues. I have a few smaller projects going that could use a little loving.

And it's time to get back to the cocktails, isn't it?

We decided to play with cherry juice that I'd bought at Trader Joe's by accident. I meant to get cherry cider, which is sweet and tasty by itself. This stuff has got a tartness to it, so it needs a little balance. This worked out just fine - and although I drank it cold, I'm thinking it could be really tasty warmed up a bit on a snowy day....

1/2 cup of apple cider
1/4 more of cherry juice
a shot of cointreau
a double shot of rum

We were bored, so we came up with an option #2 as well.

1/2 glass cherry juice
1/4 tonic
shot of simple syrup (more if you want more sweet)
shot of rum
squirt of lime

(this one, don't warm up)