Saturday, February 28, 2009

Just breathe.....

Oh, my. I feel like I'm living in a fog or a dream or watching a movie being made. I am aware of the reality but have no free will, no say or input into what is happening. I can only visit this reality occasionally, for short periods of time, without having to remind myself to breathe. In the meantime, I will avoid all and just keep knitting. The Queen socks are almost done and I need to finish up the Lovefest, more than ever!

Where are surrogates when you need them??

Saturday, February 21, 2009

She doesn't get it

My darling daughter, who gets so much of everything, does not get my fascination/obsession with yarn.

Yesterday, as a treat for enduring yet more tests, I went to both LYS. I was ostensibly searching for the Magical Mitten pattern (no luck) but took the opportunity to fondle some yarn. Both of these stores are sweet in their little yarn-shop-in-old-houses sort of way, but they both left me cold for inspiration. Just too much of the same old, same old. (Not to mention, walls of acrylic...what's the frickin' point??) I should have spent the time fondling my stash yarn instead.

Still, did I manage to avoid all temptation? No, of course not. In the second shop, I spotted the display of Schaefer Anne and meandered over. Before I got to the table, I spotted this.

Before I even got my hands on it, I knew it was coming home with me. The colors - not my usual fare - knocked me out. As usual, my crappy camera does not begin to show the intricacies of this colorway. The copper is bright and shiny, the browns and tans are deep and rich and the subtle shades in between are perfect. All this and it feels like silky velvet. I swooned. I petted. I carried to the counter. Ah, sweet euphoria!

When I got it home, I was opening my purchases on the bed when my dd came in. I quickly grabbed the yarn, ripped open the bag and handed it to her, saying "Look at the yarn I bought! Isn't it exquisite"?

She turned it over in her hands, looking at it somewhat dubiously, and then tossed it back towards me, letting it fall unceremoniously onto the bed. She didn't say a word...just gave me that look that says some combination of "mom, you've lost it" and "it's only yarn". I could only gasp in disbelief as I snatched up my new yarn and fondled it closely to my heart.

I really am a sick person.

I really am sick since just hours before when
I opened the mailbox, I found this and it prompted almost precisely the same reaction in me. It's a gorgeous 700 yards of Dream in Color Baby in Dusky Aurora. Oh, how I love it!

Maybe I'm not so much sick as I am fickle??

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Making progress despite all........

I've been busy. Busy with doctors and tests and busy with knitting. I finally finished the Cape Cod sweater for my sister. It became a bit of a trial since I ran out of yarn, managed to find more on Rav and finished with this much to spare! Needless to say, the last few inches were filled with a dread of running out yet again. I love it, love it, love it but am terribly afraid its going to be too big. My gauge was spot on, but it just looks larger than I envisioned. We'll see.

I also finished the socks....a pattern I loved which was faster than lightening to do. Of course, they are also smallish socks which always helps them to zip by. They aren't at all what I wanted (see previous post) but I do love the pattern and have my fingers crossed on the yarn. It was lovely to work with but I'm not sure they will hold up. I don't know that I will become a member of the Araucania fan club...

Next, I've been making squares for the Lovefest Throwdown. Its the most gorgeous cashmere (thanks to our generous kitty) and the "squares" are more like swatches and it's given me the opportunity to try out a whole host of patterns. I've been playing mostly with designs from Knitted Lace of Estonia and I'm loving them all! I have 7-8 (I've lost count) of the total 17 I need to make already finished and am determined to get them done before I start any other major project. I let these people down once before and I won't do it again. The deadline is in April and since I don't know when surgery will be or how soon after I will be able to knit, I want to get them done! No pics to show - they will be a surprise!

My next big project will be a wedding shawl for Alana. I showed her a boatload of patterns and she has narrowed it down to these - the Triinu Scarf (enlarged to shawl size), the Madli Shawl, and the Maikell Shawl - all from Knitted Lace of Estonia as well as Alpine from VLT.

I will be delighted to knit any of them and cannot wait to get started!! It's taking all the restraint I have not to cast on NOW and spend all of my free time working on any one of these beauties, but I'm not giving in! My plan is to use the white Zephyr I bought last year....we'll see if I opt for something else instead. I do love Zephyr though so I'd be hardpressed to change my mind on this, though I did adore the yarn I got from Joslyn's Fiber Farm - Shine. It was luscious with a beautiful sheen. I have to look at the dress again to see what fiber will look best.

I must say that one great thing about doing all these swatches is that I have finally gotten comfortable with nupps! I'm no pro and they don't come naturally, but I can make them and they look damn good! This will be a plus if I opt for the any of the three Estonian patterns...they are very big on nupps! Apparently this is because shawls were sold by weight and nupps made them heavier, thus more expensive. In any case, they don't scare me like they once did, which I'm happy about!

Then there are the walls in the living room which I am working on as energy and time allows. The wallpaper is off. It ended up being a two step process - one dry scrape with the razor blade and then one with vinegar and a clean razor blade. I'd like to shoot the people who think they can wallpaper over drywall without priming! It took forever, but its done and I have one wall has been sanded, primed and mudded. It's going to be a section of wall at a time since it's tedious beyond words to try and skim coat this whole room! But I'm getting there.

Lastly, I bought yarn....bunches more. I am addicted, what can I say? The odd thing is that despite all this lace knitting and drooling over shawl patterns, what do I buy but sock yarn! It really is an obsession since I have more sock yarn than I can knit in a year, maybe 2. Still there's something about the color combinations that just make me lust after them. The only ones that have arrived so far are this gorgeous Koigu and a Jitterbug that this photo does nothing to - it is so much richer and deeper than this with strands of navy so dark it's almost black....damn camera!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Cuffs, cuffs and more cuffs....

Oy vie, what a weekend. Well, not so much a whole weekend as Friday and Saturday. I think I'm losing it - that ability I once had to put two and two together.

Since I ran out of yarn on the Cape Cod sweater - here in all its amputated arm glory - I was actually "free" to knit something else for the first time in months. (I didn't pick up a needle between May and November and have been knitting on this damn sweater ever since.) Actually, I love the sweater...I really do. The detail is exquisite and, as usual, Starmore's pattern is a masterpiece. All those little stitches really do look like a scallop shell when you're done. Okay, maybe you do need to squint, just a tiny bit.

But, best of all, when I finish knitting, there will be all of 5-6 ends to weave in and that's sewing together at all!! HOORAY!! In fact, because of that, I may use this pattern as a template for every pullover I make from now on.

So...since I was able to knit whatever I wanted, did I pick up some lowly UFO? Did I actually finish something from the baskets of projects already started?? No, of course not. I dove right in to something new and decided to make socks for a dear friend who has been patiently waiting since last spring. It seemed like a great idea on Friday afternoon...after all, I was out of yarn and couldn't work on the sweater, right?

Finding the pattern wasn't that hard and it only took an hour or two, before I had it narrowed down to three different ones...leaning heavily towards two of them. But the yarn....yikes!

Now this friend loves color so I started out with this Sockotta. It was colorful and seemed appropriate since it wouldn't create a heavy wool sock. However, it looked awful. Well, it's not that it looked so bad, but none of my carefully chosen patterns worked....they simply disappeared in the busyness of the colors. I am also not a fan of cotton sock yarns and, coupled with my other complaints, it was destined for the frog pond within a few inches. It's too bad because in a lot of ways it worked.

So, then I tried this Cherry Tree Hill yarn, which I love...the colors are gorgeous and I thought it might be perfect. Nope. I tried it first with my favorite pattern and it was a no-go. Ditto the second and third. What was going on? This inability to find the right yarn for the pattern was starting to feel reminiscent of last winter when I was working with the Spunky Electric and never did find a pattern I liked for the colors. Another cuff saved. By now, it was Saturday and my frustration at lost knitting time was beginning to show. Still I was determined to find the right fit and dove back into the yarn stash once again

This time I seized on some Lorna's Laces which jumped out at me. The colors were gorgeous and for a moment, I thought I had the ideal yarn. Happily, I unwind the skein, pull out the ball winder and an hour later, I am ready to begin. I worked up the scalloped cuff on pattern one and really thought I had it. However, a few rows into the main pattern and, as usual with LL, the pooling began. I hate this so much. Spiraling would be bad enough (but maybe doable), but not pooling.

Since I did love the colors though, I decided to try pattern two. Working my way through the ribbing, I was already skeptical and sure enough, by the time I reached the leg pattern the pooling was jumping out at me like a big zit on a teenager's forehead. Man, how I hate this! It makes me reluctant to continue to buy this yarn, despite how much I love the color combos they create. Frog pond revisited. Another cuff saved.

Finally I gave up searching for color and chose to let the pattern tell me what yarn to use. It quickly led me to this Araucania which I knew was right before I even cast on. It was now 2 pm on Saturday and I am finally ready to knit. Oh wait, first, I have to unwind the skein which happily goes really smoothly. Pull out the ball winder yet again, and by 3 pm I am ready to actually begin knitting! The colors are subtle but overall, the yarn works! I am so happy I could burst into song! I'm loving the way it looks, I love the pattern and I am thrilled to be on the way with this new project.

Of course, on row two, Chelsea walks in with the day's mail and in there is this...the Cashsoft I need to finish the sweater.

Sill all was not lost as I was too stubborn to stop and by this morning, I had this.......