February 28, 2014

Surfing At Home

My biggest issue with making the Acer Cardigan is that it was one color.  Not striping, not tonal, but monotonously blue/light purple.  Thank goodness there was ribbing and cables because I slept while knitting the sleeves, which explains all the times I had to rip back.

However, after a stash dip for what was on top of the stash heap, I came across two skeins of Wandering Wool yarn I bought at Stitches East (Hartford, CT) last year.  The gray skein is called gray matter, and the gradient ball is gray dawn.

For the life of me, I don't know why I bought gray yarn:

But I think it had something to do with the colors inside the gradient ball, that blue is so lovely:

No matter the reason, I purchased this yarn back in October and there it sat until I watched Diane of the Knitabulls Podcast and learned she made nine pairs of Stitch Surfer socks, and she's having a Stitch Surfer knit along going on in her group in March.  Nine pairs!!  It might also have had something to do with Heather of the Bunniphish Crafts podcast having Knitty pattern contest where I might have a ghost of a chance of winning something.

Or maybe I just find knitting socks to be a palate cleanser and the pattern is free.  Either way, the journey has begun:

I can see how these socks can become like potato chip knitting.  It never gets boring.  Of course, if you don't like the purl stitch, they might not be your cup of tea, but I find it fun and interesting.

It's going to be more fun when I start digging through my scraps, and instead of finding two colors that match, maybe I'll use four colors and make mismatched socks.  Won't that be scandalous!

February 27, 2014

¡Yo Lo Hice! (I Did It!)

The Acer Cardigan is done and is blocking on my living room floor!  Yay!  There was a moment or two when I suffered from boredom with knitting with the same color for all those miles, but I powered through:

The pattern is mostly well written, but there came a part where the explanation for the back arm shaping instructions were unclear, and without giving away anything (since this is a paid for pattern), it said, 'knit to x stitches before the arm edge, wrap & turn twice.  What does that mean to you?  Also, I'm not real happy with the button placement, but that can be changed after the sweater dries.

This sweater was knit with Valley Yarns Northfield in the purple haze colorway that I purchased at WEBS.  I used US #6 needles and used the entire two months of the KAL with Knits 'n Things Podcast (Heather V) to get it done.  It took me the whole two months to realize that I don't like making sweaters in pieces - top down is the way for me.

Here are the buttons on my sweater.  Don't they look like the Knitting in Circles Podcast logo?

OK, enough about the sweater that you've been hearing about for two months.

Here's the other thing I did.

My personal deal was to stop buying yarn and work from stash.  OK, let's face it, that's my resolution every year and every year I fall off the wagon in January (thanks to Vogue Knitting Live!).  Anyway, since January, I've used about 15 skeins of yarn from my stash, (I am so proud of myself!) and I only purchased one skein of yarn at Vogue.

However, and I'm not sure if this constitutes falling off the wagon, but Greenwood Fiberworks was having a sale, and they sent a private message to some of their customers a day in advance.  I took one look at the page and knew I was doomed.  So instead of buying yarn I bought fiber.  (Does that count as falling off the wagon?).  If I have derailed my yarn diet, then all bets are off!

I decided to go way off the grid for colors and purchased 4 ounces of heathered BFL in Tiger Lily:

I also purchased 4 ounces of superwash merino in Passion Fruit (Hey, it's February and this was my 'date' - with the spinning wheel, dang it!):

And then, as if that wasn't enough, I bought a surprise polwarth sample pack.  Half an ounce (called pigtails) of each with a surprise carnival batt thrown in:

My order arrived very fast and was wrapped so beautifully I hardly wanted to open it at all.   However, the shop owner, Carolyn, was so nice to send me that email and to provide me with so many color choices and a discount, that  it was hard to resist.

Now it's time to clear the wheel.  Below is some punta fiber that I purchased from She Spins, LLC (Juanita).  Talk about nice people - her husband prepped the fiber for me, which takes customer service to a whole new level!  I was so flattered and impressed that I put it on the wheel right away - where it's been getting no love because of the sweater.

Thank goodness I didn't sign on for the "Spin Your Bin" contest where you had !  I was smart uneducated enough to stay away.  Instead, I signed on for 50 skeins in 2014 group where the rules say: spin 50 or 26 skeins or spin 20% more than you did last year.  I'm behind on all counts, and I don't think I can make it up during the Tour de Fleece.  50 skeins or 12?  Did I mention I have a problem with math?

So much more to tell, no time or space on this page, so I'll see you real soon.

February 17, 2014

Springtime On My Mind

We've gotten so much snow here in New York City that I'm rethinking my retirement plan of moving to Canada.  I've wanted to live there since forever, but the amount of snow, ice and cold that we've had this winter (not to mention gray clouds and frigid cold), is only a drop in the bucket of some areas in Canada and I can't stand it!  All I can think is, "I can't wait until Spring!"

With that in mind, I've turned to knitting socks with bright colors.  Get your sunglasses, folks.  These socks are bright.

First up is a pair of socks I test knit for Bunniphish (Heather) back in January:

They're called 'It's A Blizzard, ho!'.  They were made with Madelinetosh sock in chartreux (which means 'OMG, where'd you find that color?).  I used US #0 which made them a little more snug than I"m used to, but they fit and I don't feel like me feet are wearing a girdle.  Heather designed these for someone and the pattern (US $5 on Ravelry) is higher in front than in back.  So cute!

Then, as if bright isn't enough, I made these:

These are called Snow and Ice by Stephanie van der Linden from the book Knit Socks for All Seasons.   I love these socks!  If they don't remind you of summer (as opposed to winter), then nothing will.  They were so easy to make, after I modified the pattern to have fewer ends to weave in.  I used Paton's Stretch in kelp, and Lion Brand Sock Ease in white, US #2 needle.  These socks are 'wavy', which my son says means 'cool'.

Now I have to get back to my sleeves.  Oy!  The sleeves of any sweater are so boring to make that I always get side tracked.  The sweater is about 75% done, I just have to plow through.  Give me strength!

My next pair of socks will be plain vanilla socks, I think.  I have the yarn all ready - and I'm using yarn from stash.  It's still early in the year and so far I've only purchased one skein of yarn while at Vogue Knitting Live.  I'm so proud of myself.  Stash is going down, down, down.

February 12, 2014

Sweater Update

I know some folks think I've given up on all but talking about the Acer Cardigan, but in fact, I've been slogging away on the sleeves in preparation for slogging away on the button band.  Just have a look at all of the yarn bands I've accumulated (except for the one Miss Kitty ate):

And as I work on the sleeves, one at a time and in the round, I figured it was time for an 'almost finished' photo update:

And then I had to do a double take because:

Holy smoke!  Have a good gander at my giant mistake that will not be covered by the button band, that is as obvious as my hands on the keyboard:

The only good thing about this mistake is that it can easily be fixed with a little snip or a giant rip back.  Dang!

So, I'm going to have some tea, knit on my sock and mope for a bit, and then tonight I'm going to do whatever I decide to do (can I farm this out and have someone else fix it?), and finish this sweater for once and for all.


February 07, 2014

Let Me Explain ...

I know I said I would talk about my sweater progress, but slogging through sleeves is no fun to knit - or talk about - so just know that I'm slogging through sleeves on the Acer Cardigan.  That said, and because sleeves are no fun, I took a small break every now and again.

A small break means knitting socks.  I finished a pair of socks:

Plain vanilla socks with watermelon yarn by Abi Grasso (KnitPurlGurl on Etsy), Needles: US #1 Addi Sock Rockets and I used the Fish Lips Kiss heel (US $1 on Ravelry) which is easy as pie (the second time around).  There is a wait list for the yarn, but it's worth it.

Then, keeping a promise to Cynthia (if she made her husband a pair of socks, I would too), I knit these socks for him:

Cable Rib Socks by Erica Alexander from Interweave Knits 25 Favorite Socks.  Yarn: Dream in Color Smooshy in cloud jungle, Needles: US #1 and US #2.  This pattern is easy, fast and attractive. I've made them before and I'll probably make them again.

And then, because you can't have a trifecta without having at least three of something, I cast on yet another pair of socks:

I'm keeping with the 'can't wait until Summer' theme and using all of my bright colors.  Of course, the Patons Stretch Socks (multi) yarn was loud and wild (not that I mind much), but the yarn is also thinner than I prefer, so I had to add a solid.  If you know me at all, you know that loud colors (and sometimes scary loud) don't scare me.

In personal news, my glasses are being held together with a band aid because both Krazy Glue and Gorilla Glue didn't work.  I look more like a geek than usual and I can only wear the glasses in the house.  In case you didn't know:

Tomorrow I go for my eye exam which is just in time because the glasses weren't working anyway.  The glasses broke about a week or so ago and I couldn't get to the eye doctor because every appointment was  during a snow storm.  So, tomorrow I'll go and get two pair of glasses - one for public wearing and the other for sleeping.

Yes, I fall asleep with my glasses on - and sometimes even wake up with them still on.  Do they make rubber frames?  That's what I need.  How geeky would that be?

February 01, 2014

Everything But The Sweater (Dang!)

Yes, I'm still working on the Acer Cardigan, but ...

My mother was recently diagnosed with diabetes, and while she works her way out of denial, she signed us up for a workshop.  Knowing that she was anxious about it all, I thought a pair of socks would make her happy.

Some time ago I purchased this Duet Yarn in DeKay weight from A Swell Yarn Shop (no longer in business, she's taking time off to have and raise baby) in all its purple-y goodness:

And made her these plain vanilla socks which I gave to her on the way to the workshop:

She loves them.  I've never made socks in DK weight before, and I was pleasantly surprised at how fast they knit up.  I used Addi Turbo DPNs in US #2 and I really can't stand the needles.  Never thought I'd say that about Addis, but they're too heavy and too long and I'd trade them for some Addi Sock Rockets in a heartbeat.

Meanwhile, turns out that my mother inherited the gene for diabetes and she has been asymptomatic for years.  Now that the symptoms have shown up she has to pay attention to it.  I learned at the workshop that I could be at risk too.  What?!  

So the Acer Cardigan went back in the bag (I don't have the brain cells to deal with it just yet) and I went into denial mode.  So, sidetracked once again, I pulled out some Lion Brand merino:

and knit a hat for my local bodega owner, Richie. He's been asking me for a long time to make him a hat and I needed some instant gratification.  He said that he wants a hat in the same colors as the flag of Yemen.  I had the yarn, it wasn't expensive to make, it was a fast knit and it was mindless.  Instant gratification

And then, well, I pulled out the Acer and under the bag was some yarn I bought from Abi Grasso (KnitPurlGurl on Etsy) - watermelon yarn.  Oh boy, after all the gray and white of winter, what could be more fun than this:

Bright, cheery, Springtime.  I love the feel of this yarn and the way it works up in socks:

So, I'm going back to the sweater as soon as I finish these socks - in a day or two.  After all the fun of knitting these socks, it's going to be hard to go back to slogging through sleeves, but  I'm going to get to it.

Sweater progress will be in the next post.  Promise.