Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Went nuts and ordered an awful lot of yarn, last night. For the two sweaters I described--Cashsoft DK in "Savannah" for a plain raglan (or perhaps cardigan?) tipped in Cashcotton DK "Pool"; also, and here is what really makes me squirm in delight, Felted Tweed in "Treacle," that wonderful dark purply brown, and three colors of Yorkshire Tweed DK to do a little fairisle border--mint green, turquoise, and cream, as promised. I also have a supply of Cashsoft in pale blue to knit "Empire" from Rowan Classic #1, otherwise known as "The Menorah Sweater." I think I will knit it without beads... and I think I will knit it soon. I am all about brown beige and blue right now. I'm even considering navy, which is very fickle of me. Bad Kat. There, I've been punished. Anyway, I'm so excited, I had trouble falling asleep last night.

And here, boys and girls, is a moral for you (since this blog contains so few, I know you will listen up): when I checked my email today, the big and reliable company that I ordered most of this yarn from (Jimmy Bean's Wool) had emailed me to say that neither yarn was in stock, so shipping would be delayed two weeks.

You know that I pretty frequently attempt to do business with a small company, and get angry when they can't fill my order and get it in the mail in a timely fashion--or worse, when they've let me "purchase" something that they don't have. I went with JimmyBeans, one of my favorite yarn websites, because they're so big that such things happen rarely. But, this goes to show that they do still happen. Yarn is apparently a precious commodity, judging by its scarcity and price. 50g of wool yarn costs several times more than 50g of wool, you know--even with machines to spin and dye it. So I am sitting on a bunch of yarn orders, I guess. Not only all that, but five skeins of Soft Lux in "Pearl" from a small company with a pretty website and great selection, but merely mediocre service, The Knitting Garden. I made an order with them last summer and first one color had been discontinued and was unavailable, then its (first) replacement got "lost" in the post. Now Soft Lux is waiting in the wings. I'll keep you updated on the drama.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

I finished the first Soda Shoppe Sock (my name for the pink-white-brown yarn) with a picot edging, which flares outwards... how does one prevent hemmed edges from flaring outwards? I don't understand. Elizabeth Zimmerman says to decrease 20% of the stitches, which is well and good, except that knitbloggers all over the internet are producing nonflaring picots with nary a word of changing the stitch count from outside to inside. I am left with the conclusion that it is something wrong with me.

I bought "Special Knits for Little Cherubs," which I have wanted ever since Alison of The Blue Blog knit the little denim jumper last summer. It was 30% off. It is just wonderful. The patterns are simple and really retro, as in lots of gray and oatmeal grounds, with sometimes small touches of colored patterns and always full fashioning, 1x1 ribbing, and button bands reinforced by ribbon. I absolutely love it, and am pretty sure that I will soon find myself knitting childrens' sweaters for no recipient in particular.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Yesterday I was struck by Single Sock Syndrome for the first time. Eeeek! The first Embossed Leaves sock (in green below) came off the needles. With two sets of sock needles, one occupied by the Fishtail socks (which, I am beginning to think, will be frogged), and a hearty overdose of knitting that requires mental power--I gave in to my instincts and started a new sock, in plain stockinette, with the delicious Neapolitan ice cream yarn. And look at how far I got in only an afternoon and evening!

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I can't get away from it, I am just a plain stockinette kind of girl. I knit while I watch TV, so I like to be able to keep my eyes on the screen. I have now promised myself to always have something in plain stockinette going. And that YARN! Can you see how scrumptiously edible that yarn is??? I always want to eat the fabric that wool sock yarn knits into, but *this* is beyond anything. I actually licked it, just out of curiousity. Sadly, it is not flavored...

Which brings us to the question of my Sockapaloooza socks, still unstarted. The yarn is variegated. It is Lorna's Laces, which is known for pooling. Does it mean--as so many bloggers I know would agree--that I should do a very plain pattern? Nyeehhhh, not sure. Actually, I was very happy with the way my own Elfine socks turned out, and with the pictures of Amelia's in the pattern. It sort of cries out to be knit in variegated, you know? One thing is for sure, the contours of Embossed Leaves would be wasted on that yarn. So for now, provisionally, I have decided to do Elfine... unless someone has a lace pattern that looks more like grapevines, and that would therefore be more appropriate for the colorway.

In other news, it is my day to try out Bare Escentuals makeup for the first time. Gee golly I hope it really is as good as people say!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Aside from plain old being-busyness, I think I have been avoiding my blog because of the Knitting Olympics thing. I am out altogether. I just am. I am such a spectator--never a competitor. Hate competition. Demoralizes me. Makes me queasy. Makes me feel like I'm competing for resources--in this case, time to knit. Don't like it. Therefore, I am out of it.

I am, however, an avid spectator. My two favorite Knitting Olympics projects are a pair of red lace shawls, one of which I had the pleasure of naming and one of which I am just proposing a name for now: Eunny's Fire Flowers shawl, knit from the Frost Flowers pattern in A Gathering Of Lace, and SweetGeorgia's Peacock Feathers shawl, which I rather predictably think of as the Fire Feathers shawl. Phoenix Pheathers? No, Fire Feathers. So I am watching Fire Flowers and Feathers. And enjoying every vicarious post.

There. I have that off my chest. Now I can go back to my Embossed Leaves socks. Phew! I emerged from an unconscious yarn diet this morning, and ordered five skeins of Rowan Soft Lux in Pearl, to knit the little beribboned hat and the little bebeaded scarf from Rowan Classic Woman. I have decided that I only want to wear black, gray, cream, and chocolate brown. What was I thinking with all that colors nonsense? I'm only really happy in dark neutrals, with perhaps some cream accents. So those are the colors I'll be buying in, until a new mood strikes me. I am sort of, kind of, in a fantasizing sort of way, thinking about buying Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk in "chocolate" to knit my second, proper Lara of. I would love that sweater, if I knit it. But damn it would be expensive.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Four jobs I’ve had:

1. Sales clerk at a fussy junk shop, frequented by "rich women with too much time on their hands"
2. Clerk at the Interlibrary Loan desk at my university
3. Instructor of the introduction to linguistics class at my university
4. Consultant to an internet search engine

Four movies I could watch over and over:

1. Moonstruck
2. Kill Bill
3. Gosford Park
4. As Good As It Gets

Four places I’ve lived:

1. Pittsburgh
2. Wichita
3. Fort Wayne
4. Trento, Italy (briefly)

Four TV shows I Love:

1. Good Eats
2. Barefoot Contessa
3. Mystery Diagnosis
4. Rebuilt

Four Places I’ve Holidayed:

1. Eureka Springs, Arkansas
2. Disney World
3. Paris
4. Monterey Bay

Four of my favourite dishes:

1. Chicken pepper stir fry
2. Tomato, spinach, and chevre pizza
3. Lasagna
4. Creme brulee

Four websites I visit daily:

1. Neopets
2. Bloglines
3. LiveJournal
4. The Straight Dope

Four places I’d rather be right now:

1. Venice
2. Paris
3. London
4. In bed

Four people I’d like to tag:

If you haven't been tagged for this meme yet, congratulations, you have been now.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Michelle Kwan is out, and so is my Flower Basket Shawl. Sorry, folks--I just don't like the pattern enough, don't like it in this yarn, don't want to be working on it right now. I might frog it or I might put it away for another time; I'm just not sure.

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Does this inspire you? It doesn't inspire me.

In its place, I have chosen a proper Olympic sort of knitting project: one of the Norwegian mitten kits I bought from Nordic Fiber Arts a couple of months ago, when Wendy was knitting them.

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Ahhh, now isn't that much better?

Now. Several years ago, I knit a couple of pairs of mittens with stranded colorwork on them. They were very cute; I called them a success. They were at true worsted gauge, however, whereas these are being knit on US4 needles--something like a light DK weight. Also, those were knit with a squishy-gooshy acrylic yarn (forgive me. I was young, and I did not know) on size six needles. This yarn is Wool with a capital W, scratchy and stiff and not particularly sproingy. I don't remember if I managed to knit with one strand of yarn in each hand, when I did those mittens, or not. What's for darn sure is that I'm fumbling this time around. Progress is slow and I fully expect the beginning of the mittens to look much messer than the end of them. They may not be objets d'art, but they will definitely be a learning experience.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Image hosting by Photobucket The first Embossed Leaves sock is progressing well, in spite of having to tink back for half of a repeat yesterday, after knitting one half of the chart twice in a row. D'oh! As stated previously, I am being hard-headed and using my usual toe-up design instead of cuff-down, as per the instructions. The leaves therefore go up instead of down... I am cool with that.

Also, this is pretty snug on my feet. Quite snug, actually, and I have to be careful getting it around my heels. This makes me think that if I use this pattern for my Sockapaloooza socks (and popular opinion tells me I should), I wouldn't have to use size US0 needles after all. If they're snug on my feet, then they will be perfect on my sock pal's slightly smaller feet... right? And how about, for my sock pal, I be a good girl and knit cuff-down? With a picot cast-on, perhaps? And that darling star toe? Are we all squealing in delight yet?

Saturday, February 04, 2006

I got the pink and brown sock yarn. It was there. The gods are smiling on my neapolitan socks. I also bought Lorna's Laces in purple and green, for my Sock Pal. I'm still not sure if I'm doing Elfine's Socks or Embossed Leaves... oooh, suspense. And they will be my first pair socks in Lorna's Laces, so we get to see how they pool--and since they will be lace, and since my sock pal has smaller feet than mine, I think I'd better knit them on US0 needles. How exciting!

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Friday, February 03, 2006

Triplets! (I can't possibly have three)

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The yarn from SweetGeorgia arrived today, and it is wonderful. I have been holding it in my lap and cuddling it. It is soft and very nearly DK weight, if not actually--it certainly seems more substantial than some yarns that bill themselves as DK. It is three skeins of Speed Demon Sock Yarn in colorway "River." I know, from other blogs, that it will knit up even more lovely that it is in the skein, so I am very excited. However, the Knitting Olympics are coming up and I have another project to do for that... so... alas. Good things are worth waiting for.

I am turning the heel of the first Embossed Leaves sock. Two things about this pattern: one, the lace chart is much more mathematically pleasing than most lace charts. I really enjoy feeling that I know how things are going to work, just by looking at the digram. The second thing is: the pattern is actually far more lovely than the diagram would suggest, even lovelier than photographs suggest. You have to knit it yourself and put it on your own feet to understand. Just trust me.

Also today arrived a little pink volume of Madame Dariaux and the first and second Books of Modern Lace Knitting by Marianne Kinzel, bought on the advice of another knitblogger. It was good advice. Up to this point, the Frost Flowers and Leaves shawl from A Gathering of Lace was really the only largish lacy project I could imagine myself spending time on. These books have lots of breathtaking patterns, though, that make my fingers itch. I'm especially fond of the Thistle cloth.

One last item: Theknitter.com just emailed me to say that Trekking XXL 126 (the pink and brown sock yarn. The neapolitan sock yarn.) I ordered is no longer available, and the other color is still on backorder. I am not going to do business with them again. That pink/brown color was at my LYS ten days ago--can I hope that, tomorrow morning, it will still be there? Grrrr, how maddening.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

It's a wrap: my clapotis is finished.

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I am very happy with it. It is thick and snuggly, with the dimensions of a generous scarf. Statistics: 3 hanks of Artyarns Handpaint Stripes, knit on size 8 needles. Clapotis pattern available from knitty.com. I omitted one increase repeat and did not count the repeats in the middle, only started decreasing with hank 3 where I had stopped increasing with hank 1.

If my knitblog is the only one you read, then you might not yet know that the new issue of MagKnits is up and that it includes Grumperina's Odessa hat. Do yourself a favor and get that pattern.

Also, Sockapaloooza is on! I received my sock pal information half an hour ago. There are very few restrictions on my knitting, so I think I am going to have fun--I will likely re-knit either Amelia Raitte's Elfine Socks pattern or the Embossed Leaves pattern (I am too attached to the toe I have knit to give it away). I do like big repeats of lace for sock patterns, they make it so much easier to make progress... unlike the miserable fishtail lace, which I'd like to give up on.