Thursday, September 27, 2007

K1 T2 Package!!!!

I am so lucky. Some people join swaps and end up having a lame pal. Somehow I end up with the greatest pals ever. My K1 T2 secret pal Sarah is no exception! We share a love for the Asian culture, and I have really enjoyed talking with her about food and other things Asian!

I got my package from her last night. Wow. Sarah sent me some amazing teas that I cannot wait to dig into. First up is Earl Grey which I love. Next, a vanilla tea made with vanilla beans. YUM. Then Melon Pear White tea. That sounds heavenly. And it smells even better! I swear it smells like a fresh cantaloupe. I am going to go pour myself a cup as soon as I finish this post.

Sarah also made me some gorgeous carnelian stitch markers and the cutest little coasters! There is also a bar of handmade soap that smells incredible and a honey stirring spoon that will be used immediately. Also in the package (as if that wasn't already enough), Sarah sent some awesome Trekking wool/bamboo sock yarn in the most calming neutrals-- browns to greys to a slight olive, with ORANGE (my fave!) running through it.

Thank you for the awesome package, Sarah and for a great swap. I hope to stay in touch (it's a red thread thing, after all)!!!

Here is a pic of the package contents. Drool away!

Some photos of WIPs

I thought I would share a couple of WIP photos. I wish that our camera was a little better at capturing the details, but it's pretty old, and I'm not the best photographer in the world. I always feel badly posting pics because I feel like they don't do the items justice! Oh well. Hopefully bad pictures are better than no pictures?????

First up is my Clapotis. I have done one drop stitch thus far, and am one repeat in to section 3. I love this yarn, and I hope that the finished product isn't too bulky, because I can really see myself wearing it A LOT if it doesn't make me look like the Michelin Tire woman! This yarn has a lot of beautiful variation in the coloring. It goes from a deep red to a bright red and has some subtle hues of purple and pink throughout. In person it has so much depth.

Next up is my first EVER sweater! I am using the Knitting Pure and Simple top down cardigan pattern, and the yarn is Araucania Nature wool. I am in LOVE with the coloring of this yarn. It's hand dyed, again, with subtle variations in the tone. I think it will give the finished sweater a richer look, and hopefully it won't look like Mr. Rogers' cardigan! I am about 12 rows away from dividing for the arms. It is really cool to watch the shoulder seams appear and see the shaping work, especially since the whole thing is knit as one piece with no "real" seaming! Okay, here it is:

Comment moderation

Hi friends. I have turned on comment moderation. If you are involved in any swaps or KALs, or in fact, anything knitting related, the moderation is not directed at you! I have tried to avoid moderating the comments. Recently, spam comments have appeared, and I am trying to prevent more.

Please don't let the moderation keep you from posting again if you are a knitter! I love to see your input/comments!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Fall Into Autumn Swap Question of the Week

It's time once again for the Question of the Week for my FIA Swap. The question is:

Autumn has now officially begun here in the States!! What is your favorite thing about Autumn/Fall? Why?

Well, to be honest with you, we don't really have much of an Autumn in Houston. I miss it terribly. Our Winter is more like Autumn, and it doesn't really set in until mid-to late November. That being said, my favorite things about the season are the changing of the leaves and the chill in the air (I really would love a cool evening here!!!). I , hate, hate, HATE (have I made myself clear?!) the time change and it getting dark out so early. In fact, I dread it every year, and it takes me the longest time to adjust to it. I just feel robbed of my day when I leave the office and it's already pitch dark out. Somehow I can convince myself that there is some time left in the day during the summer, when it is light out until almost 9pm.

Ooooh, I like being able to wear sweaters and jackets a lot, so I look forward to the cool air for that, too!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Clapotis progress

I cast on for the Clapotis, and have gotten through all 7 repeats of the increase section. I did the first repeat of the straight section (section 3), and it was a lot of fun and a very nervewracking to drop a stitch intentionally and watch it go! I totally don't understand how the rest of the drops will work. I can see very clearly where they will go. But from the pattern, it seems like I will just keep dropping stitches in the same exact place each time. When do I drop stitches through the rest of the piece? Maybe I'm just too tired to make any sense of it at this point. But if anyone can explain to me how it works, I'd love to hear it. The pattern calls for you to P1, remove the marker, and drop the stitch each time at Row 8. For 12 repeats... How does dropping a stitch one stitch in each time get you the ladders anywhere but the edge???

My camera (old, crummy thing that it is!) died before I could take a picture tonight. I'll post picutres of the progress soon.

Thank you (again!) Secret Pal!

I received another wonderful package from my SP11 pal yesterday. I am beginning to wonder if I know this person in real life. It's either that or she has incredible intuition. Every card, comic and package she sends me is spot on. This time around, I received some Knit Picks merino in a colorway that I just love. I have been wanting to get something more "fall" colored, and this is just perfect. I also got a box of Stash tea that I had been eyeing. When I was purchasing for my K1, T2 pal, I saw this raspberry tea and wanted to get some for myself. In the end, I talked myself out of buying for me! But now I have some and it is fantastic. Also in the package were some treats-- candy sticks and chocolate cherries. YUM! And last but not least, Chinese stamps! Woo hoo! Thank you pal. I will have a great time with all of it. Sorry the picture stinks. My camera battery died and this was the only shot I got first!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Late to the party!

The bandwagon was just about to pull away, but I managed to jump on first. I'm doing a clapotis. I can explain my tardiness to this party. See, when the "first wave" of clap-making occured, I hadn't even been born as a knitter. Last year at this time, I was still making square swatches and ripping them out, then starting over, just to get the hang of knittting and purling!

But I've been wanting to do a Clapotis for many months. The clappy is really the perfect thing for Houston winters. I am going to use Malabrigo worsted in Amorosa . It is gorgeous stuff. I hear that it can be a little "sticky" for the clappy, as the yarn doesn't want to make the drops easily, but I am going to try it anyway. I've seen many Malabrigo Clappys on Ravelry, and they are beautiful.

I was confused about a few things on the Clapotis pattern, and did a Google search in hopes of finding some discussion about the pattern. I did better than that! I found the Second Wave Clapotis KAL! Holy cow-- you mean there are other knitters out there that haven't done a Clapotis yet? I really thought I was the very last person on Earth! Woo hoo! Cast on begins on Sunday. I may have to cheat and start tonight though. :-)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Harlot

What a great night. Purl (forevermore known as the "Wine Harlot") and I set out together after work to go see the Yarn Harlot, who was not only in Houston, but appearing via my LYS. We had planned the evening weeks ago, and were both really looking forward to it. Just before we headed out, I got into a spat with my parents, followed by a spat with my husband over the same subject matter-- our a/c. Yes, it was entirely trivial and stupid, but frustrating. At the same time, it turned out that Purl had an equally frustrating experience. By the time we got in the car together, we both needed to blow off steam. Suffice it to say that when Purl suggested that a glass of wine might be in order before we headed into the Harlot venue, I leapt at the idea. I'm never one to turn down a glass of wine anyway. There is a little Italian restaurant next to the school where the Yarn Harlot was speaking, so we stopped there. Three hours later, we were still there drinking wine. At some point, we were faced with the decision of "stay and drink wine" or "go hear the Harlot". As much as we both wanted to do the latter, neither of us particularly wanted to do it at that exact moment in time. We were having too much fun gabbing and sipping our wine! We stayed put. I did end up seeing the Harlot, just not the Yarn one. Instead, I spent the evening with the Wine Harlot. And it was a blast!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Woolgirl Sock Club Package #1

OMG OMG OMG. I am so excited I could burst. I am totally in love with Woolgirl and the amazing yarns that she carries. You may have seen me gushing all over my blog about Jen ("Woolgirl") and her amazing customer service and equisite yarns. Well, a while back I joined the first installment of her Woolgirl Sock Club. The first package went out last week. I have been watching the Woolgirl Sock Club blog and have seen lots of people posting about receiving their package and talking about the wonders of the yarn and the contents of the package (Jen is so generous in her shipping of items-- she always tosses in little treats, and the sock club packages were no exception). I wanted to throw a tantrum befitting my 3 year old when my package didn't arrive before I left work on Friday. I have NO capacity for suspense, and it has been driving me crazy all weekend to see the package that people are raving about.

It. just. came. I literally grabbed it out of my secretary's hands and tore into it. I must have looked just like my aforementioned 3 year old! The contents of the package? Unbelievable. I don't want to ruin the surprise for anyone that has not yet received the package, so suffice it to say that the yarn is definitely up to Woolgirl's equisite standards. Lots of wonderful goodies in the package as well, and a fun contest that already has me thinking...

Have I mentioned yet how much I love Woolgirl??? Oh-- and I should also mention that I have NO connection with Woolgirl, no financial ties to her business and, in fact, have never even met Woolgirl! I'm just a dye-hard fan!! :-)

Fall into Autumn Topic of the Week #2

This weeks topic for the Fall into Autumn Swap is:

When you knit or crochet dishclothes, washclothes or face clothes, what do you use? What size needle or hook? Wood? what type? Metal? Plastic? A specific Brand? Why do you love that needle or hook so much? Is there one you are dying to try? Is there a particular yarn you love and use all the time for clothes? What is so special about it?

I use Addi circs for anything they can possibly be used for. I usually use a size 7. If those are already in use for another project (and they frequently are) then I use my Lantern Moon straights, which are rosewood. I love the Addi's because nothing "sticks" to them. Yarns just slide right along without bunching and getting caught. The process is smooth and easy. I have the same experience with the Lantern Moon wood needles, but I prefer using circs wherever possible. I enjoy using the shorter needle that the circs have, as opposed to straights. Am I making any sense here? I have a head cold and I think I may be making sense only in my own addled brain!

As for yarn that I use all the time, I really like natural fibers. Blue Sky Cotton is a fave for summer, and Debbie Bliss Cashmerino and Cascade merino are things I use a lot for winter. In general, I am a HUGE fan of hand-dyed yarns.
Woolgirl is my hands-down favorite store for yarn. Not only does she carry the most delicious hand-dyed yarns, but the customer service truly can't be beat.

Right now, I am trying to settle on a nice semi-solid cotton or hand dyed wool to make this
sweater out of. It calls for a lot of yardage, and I don't want to completely break the bank. Some of the things I have been considering are Patagonia Nature Cotton by Araucania, Art Yarns Supermerino, Queensland Collection Kathmandu and Malabrigo worsted. I am also in love with the idea of Lobster Pot's Whale of a Skein and I'm waiting for Woolgirl to have it in stock. It looks gorgeous from the glimpse I have seen so far!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Hurricane knitting

We had a pop-up hurricane here in Southeast Texas last night. Bizarre. Normally, we hear about a formation out in the Carribean, then watch it develop for a week or more as it heads into the Gulf of Mexico. Then the predictions start about where it will head and when it will hit. Regardless, we are on our toes and thinking about the possibility of a hurricane for days and days. So what happened yesterday was literally a freak of nature.

Yesterday morning I woke up and watched the weather forecast as always. We were hearing that there would be heavy rains throughout the day. That's all. Just a bunch of rain and the usual chance of flooding that occurs in Houston when heavy rains hit. What started out as a "ridge of low pressure" yesterday morning became Tropical Storm Humberto by lunchtime. Before it came ashore, it was upgraded to a hurricane. None of our weather people (or even the National Weather Service) called this one. Everyone was forecasting a lot of rain, and some heavy storms, but the "H" word (hurricane) was never mentioned. I left work a little early yesterday, in order to beat the "heavy storms" and traffic. All the hysteria that went on here, and we got NOTHING. Can I just tell you that we never got so much as a sprinkle at my house? It ended up hitting a bit East of Houston/Galveston. I'm sorry for the folks in Beaumont, High Island, Port Arthur, etc. who felt the wrath.

The silver lining in the hysteria is that I got some knitting in! I finished a second dishcloth for my K1T2 pal, and I began a cloth for my Fall into Autumn pal. I'm about 1/2 finished with that. I also got a little more work done on the new baby blanket.

All of a sudden, the "hurricane sock swap" that was held this summer makes sense to me! You can get a LOT of knitting done when you are sitting around waiting for nasty weather!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A new blanket

I cast on last night for a baby blanket. Some dear friends of ours are having their first baby (a girl) in November. The last baby blankie I did was a thick, cushy one-- I used two strands of Dream Baby held together throughout the blanket. It is super soft and warm. But too warm for Houston. That one was made for my godson in Canada. For the new one, I wanted to do something a little more delicate for a girl. The trouble is, I haven't ventured in lace work yet, and YO's drive me batty. Doing a whole blanket with YO's involved would certainly mean a lot of ripping out!! So, while I was trying to decide what to do for the blanket, I did a swatch with the yarn I got. It's another Dream Baby yarn (I don't love the synthetic fiber, but it is soft and is machine washable/dryable which is a must for baby wear in my book!) and this yarn is a pretty light pink with blue, yellow and other speckles in it. While I was doing the swatch, I just liked the simplicity of the swatch itself. It was just a couple of garter stitch rows and then a few stockinette rows. I decided that I would do that very simple pattern for the blanket, so I cast on about 98 stitches, and I'm going to do about 25 rows in garter stitch (it will be about two inches or so) for the top border, then do 15 or so garter stitches at the beginning and end of each row with stockinette elsewhere on the row. It will be very basic, but I think it will be nice for a Houston girl. What do you think? Too basic? Too boring? Thoughts??? They are greatly appreciated, you know!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Fall into Autumn Question of the Week

The Fall into Autumn Swap has a "topic of the week"-- this week's topic/question is:

Now that in some geographic locations the weather is starting to turn cooler, do you change the type of yarn(s) you knit/crochet with? If so, what do you now knit/crochet with instead and why? If not, why do you not switch and what do you knit/crochet with?

My answer:

This is the first Fall that I have really had a chance to even think about this. I began knitting late last summer, and didn't know what I was doing this time last year, so I was just using whatever yarn I had on hand! If and when it gets cooler here in Houston, I will turn to more wool projects. It is usually warm here through the middle of November.

Through the summer, I was using a lot of cottons, silks and bamboo yarns. Houston is so hot and humid in the summer (and fall, for that matter!) that I just can't bear the thought of working with something hot or big and bulky! I really want to make a couple of sweaters this Fall, and I will probably use some nice merino or cashmere blends for those.

I took a class at my LYS yesterday, and I looked for the
Knitting Pure and Simple Drop Shoulder Crewneck pattern. I am dying to make that. It seems like a nice, basic sweater to try for my first one. Unfortunately, the store didn't have that pattern. But they did have this one, so impetuous me bought it! I got some Cascade merino in a beautiful dark navy color and cast on last night. I will just have to do the crewneck as my second sweater!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Fall into Autumn Dishswap Questionnaire

Yes, I've joined yet another swap. They are so much fun, I just can't help myself! This time around, it's the Fall Into Autumn Dishcloth Swap. Here is my questionnaire:

1. Do you knit or crochet? How long have you been doing it?

I knit, and have been doing it for a little over a year.

2. Have you made dischloths before? Do you use them yourself, give them as gifts, or both?

I tried to do dishcloths early on, when I first began knitting-- they were a nice change from just knitting a swatch and trying to learn knitting and purling. But I would end up with the most fugly, unrecongnizable finished products since I would invariably make mistakes. I seem to have overcome that now and enjoy doing dishcloths!

3. What's your favorite cotton to make cloths from? What cotton would you like to try that you haven't before ?

I have really only tried the Sugar and Cream and Lions Brand Cotton. I like them both, but I would love to try something different!

4. If you knit, do you prefer circular or straight needles? For all, do you prefer wooden, metal, or plastic needles?

I think circs and straight both have their uses. I usually prefer metal needles, but absolutely LOVE Lantern Moon woods!

5. What are your favorite colors? Any colors you don't like much?

I'm a big fan of oranges, blues, chocolate brown and bright greens. I don't care much for purple.

6. What do you like best about Autumn?

Visiting someplace that actually experiences Autumn. Here in Houston, we don't really have one! I miss seeing the leaves change colors-- that is my favorite thing in Autumn.

7. Pies: Pumpkin? Apple? Pecan? All of em? or No Thanks!

Apple= yummy! Pecan= even yummier!!

8. When you were a kid, were you the one who couldn't wait to get started with school , or the one who overslept on the 1st day?

On the first day, I couldn't wait. I was the first kid all dressed in a new outfit and outside waiting for the bus. Within a week, I was the one who overslept!

9. Do you celebrate Halloween? (The real key here guys is especially knowing if you have an aversion to the holiday or little goodies/decorations associated with it, given the timeframe of the swap)

Most definitely! We have two kids who spend the entire year planning what they will be for Halloween. They would be crushed if we didn't celebrate! And their excitement makes it so much fun! We are lucky to live in a real "neighborhood" where tons of kids do trick-or-treating and I have a blast giving out candy and seeing them all!

10. If you had to choose just 3 edible 'goodies' to eat for a full year, what 3 would you choose?

Only 3? Ouch-- this one is hard! Okay, let's see. Double stuffed Oreos, raspberry scones and fresh raspberries. And if I could sneak one more goodie in, it would be Twizzlers!

11. Do you have any pets? Kids? Husbands who seem like kids? ;)

Two of each. Well, two pets (a shih tzu and a cat); two kids (one boy, one girl) but only one husband!

12. If you were to describe a particular yarn that shares traits of your personality, what would it be and why?

Something soft and natural in feel but with a bright sunshine-y colorway!

13. Do you use your cloths mostly for dishcloths, or as facecloths?


14. Favorite Fall Holiday: Halloween or Thanksgiving and why? (Feel free to share another fall memory if you do not celebrate either of these holidays)

Thanksgiving. I love the smells of the day and the gathering of the family.

15. Do you have any allergies or aversions your pal should know about?


Yarn Shopping (again!)

Purl and I went yarn shopping on Saturday. I actually did pretty good, and I think I demonstrated remarkable willpower. :-) I bought 4 skeins of Claudia in "Eat Your Veggies" and in the semi-solid "teal" colorways to do the Chevron scarf with. Here are pics of those two yarns:

I found some absolutely gorgeous Lorna's Laces that I want to do a Clapotis in, but made myself hold of on that expenditure until after I do the Chevron and get through some of my sock stash. Since I managed to stave off that purchase, I rewarded myself with one skein of sock yarn! hee hee... it's Madelinetosh and was so beautiful that I couldn't walk out of the store and leave it behind. It's the ginseng colorway:

I am dying to cast on for the Chevron. Purl and I agreed to begin them together (she bought yarn for one as well), and we are trying to find a day to put that plan in action. I'm trying to hold out, Purl!