Tag Archives: yarn

I’ve got the blues…

And I love them! Blue is my favorite color. I’m still plugging away on the blue Ishbel and the blue Ruffle Tank. And now I’ve won some beautiful blue yarn from Lorajean at Knitted Wit.

blue sky

It’s 400 yards of fingering weight sock yarn, colorway Blue Sky. Lorajean noted that I don’t knit socks, but that’s not completely true. What’s true is that I don’t knit socks with fingering weight yarn! Someday I may. But wouldn’t this blue make a gorgeous scarf or shawl?

blues

I also harvested the first of the blueberries on Sunday when I got home from Carmel. I made blueberry cobbler, and we had it with vanilla ice cream for Father’s Day dessert. It was delicious! While I was picking the berries, I noticed a blue jay on the corner of my roof, with a big fat blueberry in his beak. I think there’s enough for all of us, but that was pretty cheeky of him!

Travel knitting

I’m going away for a weekend with the Piano Babes. Too bad I haven’t played the piano very much this year. Oops. Knitting and blogging have taken up a lot of my leisure time! But I’ll try to resurrect the three Granados Waltzes from Valses Poeticos that I played this year. Wish me luck.

I’m trying to decide what knitting to take for the plane. I think my socks on dpns (poor languishing Kai-Mei) would be a bad choice because it’s so easy to drop a needle. Circular needles are great for plane knitting, because you can’t drop one! That means I should take the Ruffle Tank. Or my new Ishbel. Or both.

addi ishbel

New Ishbel? Yes! I was feeling sorry about not using that glorious blue Claudia Handpaint Silk Lace. It was a bit spendy, and I was feeling guilty. I bought some Addi Lace needles, and it has made all the difference. I also went down a needle size to a US 5. The silk glides along on the metal needles, and I’m a happy camper.

addi points

This doesn’t meant that I don’t love my Lantern Moon Ebony needles. They’re still my favorite. And they’re working great on the Ruffle Tank! I finished the back, and have cast on for the front. This is a great knit, just enough pattern to it that I’m engaged, but simple enough to knit while watching old episodes of Firefly. Mmmm, Firefly. I’m going to be sad when the 14 episodes are done!

Have a great weekend! What’s on your needles?

Promises and Potpourri

I can’t remember exactly when our blueberries ripened last year, but there are promising signs out there.

blueberry promise

All five bushes are heavily laden again this year. I hope they’re ripe soon; I love blueberries!

My Ruffle Tank is showing signs of promise, too. The knitting is easy, and it’s a great take-along knit. I’m almost to the armhole shaping on the back, and still on the first of three skeins of yarn. I don’t think I’m going to run short.

back

It’s interesting knitting with this linen/merino mix. It’s string-like, but not really hard on the hands. I know that when it gets washed and dried, it’s going to get a lot softer, and it will help even up the stitches, too.

And one more sign of promise:

robin nest

This robin is nesting in Carole’s lilac. Since our wreath nest was abandoned, Carole says we can share this one instead.

In other local news, Lorajean of Knitted Wit is having a contest. She’s participating in Take Steps for Crohn’s & Colitis, a fundraiser for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. For every $5 you donate to Take Steps on her behalf, she’ll enter your name in a drawing for some wonderful prizes, including a Lantern Moon circular needle case, and hand-dyed yarn and fiber.

Deb Accuardi of Mt. Hood Fibers is starting a local sock club, which includes a lunch at Gino’s Restaurant in Sellwood (Portland) with every yarn/pattern release (every other month from October 2009 through August 2010).

And lastly, Saturday is World Wide Knit in Public Day. Last year I was on a camping trip, knitting in a field. I have several choices for this year: Hollywood Farmers’ Market at 8 a.m., Pioneer Courthouse Square at 10 a.m., or Hillsboro from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Get your needles ready!

Looking for a WWKIP Day event near you? Check here!

Ishbel, you heartbreaker

Heartbreakingly gorgeous, yes?

ishbel

It’s been a bumpy road with Ishbel. First, I chose a yarn that I didn’t enjoy working with. Then I switched to a different yarn, and ran out before I was done. (Sooooo close. 1.5 rows, plus bind off.) After a rescue by KellyinTexas from Ravelry, I finished the knitting on Saturday.

Here it is unblocked.

unblocked

unblocked close

I was pretty pleased, and started the wet block process. I bought blocking wires last year after making my Shetland Triangle shawl. These are a great invention. I love how easy it is to pin out points with these. But seriously, I am going to have to get a plain white towel for blocking. This cacophony of color is just too much!

blocking ishbel

What is it about a blocking shawl that is so attractive to cats?

mookbel

As I was pinning the shawl out, I noticed this disintegrating section (without the needle in it, of course).

bad corner

I must have dropped a stitch during the bind off. I was devastated. But there was nothing I could do, until the shawl was dry. Which gave me time to think it through. There were bound off stitches on each side of the dropped stitch(es), so that meant the run was confined to a small area. After Ishbel was dry, I picked up all the live stitches I could see, and then removed the blocking wires. I tinked back the bound off stitches (luckily, this was near the end), and then proceeded to recreate the three rows that had ripped out. This took three tries to get the lace pattern correctly. I finished binding off again, and voilĂ !

corners

See the second from the bottom motif on the left? Yeah, I fixed it. Due to the bit of curl, you can’t see the whole motif, but it’s there. It just needs to be blocked to bring out the point. But no, I’m not going to re-block the shawl right now. It’s just fine the way it is.

But I have a comment, and a question. I never quite memorized the lace pattern, despite the fact that the repeat section is the same in sections A, B, and C. Is it because I was fixating on the holes, and not the solid parts? Which is figure, and which is ground? The branching holes, or the solid parts that look like leaves on a vine? What do you see?

figure ground

Despite all the stumbling blocks, I’d love to knit this shawl again. But I think I’ll make the larger size with the smaller border, or the smaller size with the larger border, to make sure I don’t run out of yarn again! And this yarn blocks like a dream, and is soooo soft. I’m going to love wearing this!

Ishbel, by Ysolda Teague
Larger size, with larger border
Malabrigo Sock yarn in Violeta Africana, one skein plus a few more grams!
Size 6 (4 mm) needles (Lantern Moon ebony circulars)

While I’m waiting…

While waiting for Ishbel’s yarn supplement to arrive from Texas, I started a new project. (I could have finished the second Kai-Mei sock, but I was looking for an excuse.) It was either the Ruffle Tank or the new Single Skein Club project.

I was really hankering for a semi-mindless knit, so I started the Ruffle Tank. No charts to follow, just 9×2 ribbing for the first 13 inches. I can manage that. I’ll start the Club knit when Ishbel is done. Only one chart project at a time!

back start 2

This is my first experience with linen, and it’s really different. Where the Malabrigo Sock is buttery soft, the MerLin is like knitting with twine. But I like it! It’s crisp and “dry” and “hard” feeling. The fabric is a bit stiff, but I know that it will soften up when I run it through the washer and :gasp: dryer. Hey, the label says I’m supposed to! I’m not following the advice given in my Tips & Tricks class with Lily Chin; I should wash and dry and hang the swatch. But I just want to get started, and the tank isn’t terribly fitted. Fingers crossed; I just want to knit.

We had a stellar dinner when my in-laws were visiting. Vickie made an unbaked version of it a few weeks ago when we were camping. If you can make it on a Coleman stove, it must be manageable in a real kitchen! We had it with polenta then, but pasta is way easier for me to coordinate. Sorry I don’t have a picture; it disappeared quickly! And the in-laws would have thought I was weird, taking pictures of dinner. Well, weirder than they already think I am.

Baked Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta

Makes 4 servings (I increased shrimp to 1.5 lbs for 6 peeps, and it was plenty)

1 T olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp)
2 14.5 oz cans diced (roasted) tomatoes with their juice
3 T smoked paprika (pimenton)
pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1 1/4 lbs medium shrimp, peeled & deveined (1 lb is enough for 4 peeps)
2/3 C crumbled feta cheese (3 oz)
1 lb dry linguine or other pasta

Start your water for pasta now and timing will be great. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Heat oil, add onion and garlic and cook until onion is soft. Add tomatoes, pepper flakes, paprika; bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to casserole dish. Add shrimp & cilantro. Sprinkle feta over top. (Start cooking your linguine now, takes 12 minutes) Bake until shrimp are cooked through and cheese melts, about 12 minutes. (Linguine is done!)

Serve over drained linguine.

Enjoy!

Ishbel, interrupted

I must be loose. A looser knitter than Emilee, anyway. She finished her gorgeous Ishbel with less than one skein of Malabrigo sock yarn. That seduced me into thinking I could do the same. As I neared the end, I realized that I wasn’t going to make it. I weighed the remaining yarn and found that it takes a little more than one gram per row. I had 10 grams of yarn left. And 10 rows to go. And a bind off row. Ouch. I really didn’t want to buy another $20 skein for about 3 grams of yarn.

interrupted

I kept knitting. Now I have three rows left to knit, plus a bind off row. This tiny ball of yarn isn’t going to make it.

Luckily, there is a Ravelry group called Malabrigo Junkies, and they have a forum thread titled “ISO/FT/FS.” In English, that’s “in search of/for trade/for sale.” Since I only needed a little, I posted there. Within a couple hours, I had a reply. KellyInTexas is my hero!

I love a happy ending, don’t you?

Single Skein Club is leading me down the path to Sock Summit

It’s June, and that means it’s time for the next installment of Twisted’s Single Skein Club. This club has updates every other month. I still haven’t knitted April’s project, a cool toe-up sock by Chrissy Gardiner. But I will conquer my toe-up aversion soon. Sock Summit is coming!

Enough chit-chat. If you don’t want to see what’s in June’s package, avert your eyes.

Still here? Let’s see!

june pkg

Look at this yarn! Malabrigo Lace yarn, one skein (of course). The color is “glazed carrot,” and that’s a great description. It’s not plain orange. There’s a depth to the color that looks like it has a brown sugar glaze.

carrot

The exclusive club pattern is the Seedling Sampler Scarf by Sarah Pope. It has three lace patterns in it, and best of all, it has beads! The beads are a bronzy color (I thought they were purple in the shop, go me) and look like seeds. The beads are strung onto the yarn before knitting. How? With this cool collapsible bead needle! I’m going to be using this needle for my other beading projects, too, so this is a great tool. And there’s a sweet SSC stitch marker to round out the package.

june goodies

I think the gals at Twisted are leading me down the garden path to Sock Summit. First there’s that toe-up thing. Yup, need to know that for a couple of my classes. Now there are the beads. I’m taking a bead class at Sock Summit, too, but I think we’re adding beads as we go, instead of pre-stringing. But still…

Speaking of Sock Summit, DH is bemused by how excited I am about the prospect of a knitting conference. I’ve gone to other conferences before (Stitches and TKGA) but the buzz around those is nothing like the Sock Summit buzz. I keep telling him that it’s the power of personality (Stephanie and Tina), and it’s almost like a cult. DH has also been fascinated by the whole Sock Summit registration ruckus. He’s in marketing, and you can see his take on it here.

And because it’s the beginning of June, I have to show you where that pile of bark mulch ended up:

stones

front flowers

Two thirds of it is in the front and side yards. The last third has made it to the back yard, but it’s in a pile! Soon and very soon…

Looking ahead

Ishbel’s knitting should be finished in the next few days, so I’m looking ahead to a new project (besides all the socks that will be happening for Sock Summit).

At our recent knit nite, Leigh Radford was wearing her Ruffle Tank (Rav link). This was featured in Interweave Knits Spring 2003, and also in The Best of Interweave Knits. I was smitten with the simplicity and elegance of her design.

Although the yarn specified is all linen (Louet Euroflax sport weight), I opted for Louet MerLin Sport, a blend of 60% wet-spun linen, and 40% merino wool. It was mostly a color decision; I liked this blue better than the Euroflax colors at Twisted. But I’m also hoping that the wool will make the linen a little easier to work with, too.

pattern yarn

The MerLin has 20 yards less per skein than the Euroflax; I’ll see how close I am at the end and decide if I need all four ruffles, or only three. I have the advantage of being short, so I’ll use less yarn in the length, too, and that may save me right there.

I seem to have done a lot of dreaming about this tank already, but I’m not letting myself cast on, or even swatch, until I’m done knitting Ishbel. I know how diverting a new project can be, and I don’t want Ishbel to languish!

School supplies

Remember how thrilling it was to get your school supplies each fall? The smell of new pencils and crayons…

Now imagine buying supplies for Sock Summit classes. Even better, right? Especially with a friend! Anna is taking two classes with me, so we went bead and yarn shopping this morning.

Here’s what I have:

supplies

Both yarns are Louet Gems sport weight. Yes, sport is as thin as I’ve knitted for socks. And I figure I’ll get further, faster with a fatter yarn!

The lilac yarn is for Star Athena’s Sock Design Workshop. The supply list said sock yarn, not too busy and not too dark. Perfect. Even more perfect is that this is the same color I’m using for Kai-Mei, and if I run out before I’m finished with the toe, I’ll just borrow a little of this. It may not be the same dye-lot (I haven’t checked), but it’s better than nothing! And it was very fun shopping for supplies at Twisted, because Star was there and now she’s met Anna, too.

The white yarn is for Hooked on Beads with Sivia Harding. And the beads are for…yeah, you guessed it. I think that some plain white yarn is fine, because I want to see what’s going on with the beads! You may find it boring, but remember, it’s just practice! Perhaps a cute sock cuff, or fingerless mitts. By the way, Dava Bead in Portland is a place of great temptation. I buy a lot of my beading supplies there.

And for Cat Bordhi’s Dancing with Socks class? I’ll probably just play with some natural colored worsted that I use for teaching. Or go shopping again. I was much more restrained than Anna, so I may have to catch up…

Life is too short…

to knit with yarn that you don’t like.

The last time I touched this Baby Bolero was when I took this photograph.

bo

The thought of knitting more with this yarn just didn’t excite me. It was hard on my hands, and hard to control the gauge because the yarn doesn’t slip along itself. Look at the wonky stitches on the sleeve. So I bought new yarn.

bo bleu

I started this on the weekend, and it’s flying along. The yarn, Debbie Bliss Pure Cotton, is a joy to work with. It’s soft and “buttery.” I love it! I still have a slight issue with a column of loose stitches between dpns (hey, it’s cotton, and not resilient and forgiving like wool), but I’m dealing with that by moving the gaps every round. I just knit a couple stitches more or fewer on each needle. The stitch definition is great.

motif bleu

Here’s the same motif in the Mission Falls 1824 Cotton. You can see the structure of the yarn is different.

motif

The 1824 is a cotton center with a thin thread wrapped around it. The Pure Cotton is two plies of equal size, twisted around each other. It’s a lot softer than the 1824. I think I’ll swatch for Angela Hahn’s Sorelle with the Pure Cotton; I’ve been wanting to knit that but haven’t found the right yarn for it. Do I need a blend? Angela used a cotton blend, and also recommended some wool/silk blends. What do you think?

cottons

In other news, I went to the other side of the mountains this weekend. Mount Hood looks backwards from over there!

hood

I was at Kahneeta with a friend and her mom, hanging out for Mother’s Day. It’s warm and dry on the eastern side of the Cascades.

snag

fly

Lots of lizards hanging out there, too!

liz1

sunset

I arrived home at 3 on Sunday. The Teen made soba for Mother’s Day dinner, and it was delicious. I hope you had a great weekend, too.