Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fun with Ysolda!

Today was the big day!  Finally, time for my Perfect Sweater class with knit designer extraordinaire, Ysolda Teague.  It was SO much fun.  Really. 

I had no idea how long it would take me to get to the LYS holding the class, so I left straight from church and arrived about 90 minutes early.  Oops.  I found the store...
And started walking down the street in search of a coffee shop or something where I could have some breakfast and sit and knit at least until the store opened.  I went about 1/2 mile down the road, then crossed and walked back about 3/4 of a mile before turning again and heading back to the store.  Not a cup of coffee (nor a bathroom, sob) in sight. 

Fortunately for everyone in class, the folks at Fancy Tiger were lovely and let me use their loo.  The store is super cute, too.
They have tons of fantastic yarn.  I was swimming in Madeline Tosh, Lorna's Laces and Malabrigo.  They also had a fun display of undyed natural wools complete with pictures of the sheep from whence they came. 

Needless to say, I had little trouble killing the hour I had left.  I also had little trouble killing my budget.

I found the exact perfect quirky buttons for Snug (which is why you didn't get to see it last Friday), and now I can finish up the last bits and get it gifted.
And a skein of Tosh Sock in a gorgeous brown shade called "Twig".  It's incredibly soft and so pretty.  Love.
I also found a needle felting kit to make 2 little penguin ornaments,
because I was in the market for an extra hobby to kill some of this annoying free time I have on my hands.  Yeah, right.  Really, I bought it because it was too freaking cute to pass up, and I've always wanted to learn how to do needle felting.

Finally, it was time for the class.  I wish I had more pictures of that part, but the room was pretty small and pretty full and I had parked my way-too-early self smack in the front... so pulling out the camera while Ysolda was talking seemed sort of awkward.

Suffice to say that she's just as brilliant as you'd expect and much friendlier and more charming than you'd dare to hope.  There was lots of discussion on choosing (and substituting) yarn, swatching, calculating ease and altering patterns so that they actually fit you.  All of the knitters in attendance (at least the ones at my table) were really fun and excited to be there, which was pretty cool.

Ysolda also travels with all of the sweaters from the book, so we got to spend some time trying all of them on.  Bliss!  They're all so gorgeous.  The Lauriel on the rack was knit in exactly my size and in a yarn that made my heart stop.  It was a dusty plum shade of Malabrigo, and I'll be emailing her assistant shortly to confirm the name of the colorway.  And then, I think I'll buck my cheap-yarn-buying ways for once and order enough to knit myself exactly that sweater because it looked pretty freaking awesome on me.

After the class, she hung around to pose for pictures...
And sign books.  How cool is that?  Oh, and she loved my Angostura.  See?
Best knitting day. Ever.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Work in Progress Wednesday v.64

Hey y'all!  It's officially the Wednesday before my sweater class with Ysolda Teague, and you know what that means, right?  Right.  I can think of little else.  I ordered yarn for my next sweater, which has arrived just in the nick of time.
The pattern is Lorna Suzanne (which appears to exist only on Ravelry), a pattern I became instantly smitten with.  Caveat:  The project page makes it look an awful lot like an old lady sweater, worn over a collared blouse and with a little chain holding the collar together, but really, it's not.  Take a look at the finished sweaters -- it's a super cute pattern and I'm looking forward to diving in.

My instructions are to bring a swatch in progress to class on Sunday, so I plan to get that going tomorrow.  Is it bad form to bring a swatch for a non-Ysolda sweater to a Ysolda class, do you think?  I hope not...   I'm having a bit of a hard time getting to the swatch though, as I've finally (barely) started on Peerie Flooers and it's really, super hard to put it down. 
...which is lucky, because I just now realized that I was supposed to do 3 rounds per color and I've done 2 of each.  And then I cut the yarn.  Sigh.  Guess who's frogging 3 colors worth of fair isle tonight?

In happier news, Snug is not making an appearance here this week since I finished it up last weekend.  I'll add the buttons and give you all a proper show and tell on Friday.  Here's a hint:  It's pretty stinking cute.

Over on the back burner, Sock is still trundling along.  I've got another inch or so of foot to go before I start decreasing for the toe.  And then... sock #2.  Some day.  I'm almost sure of it.
Finally, I'm putting together the last mini skeins for the beekeeper's quilt sock yarn swap now that everyone's yarn has arrived, and am hoping to get everything mailed out by this weekend.  Fingers crossed!
Phew!  It's been a busy week.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to get ready for the blizzard we're expecting tonight.  In true Colorado fashion, it was 80 degrees (27 C) yesterday and we're expecting a foot of snow to fall between tonight and tomorrow afternoon.  What's the weather doing in your neck of the woods these days?  Are you building an igloo, or still trying to beat the heat?  Share in the comments!  And then go visit WIPW -- there's amazing stuff happening out there!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Work in Progress Wednesday v.63

OMIGOSH, you guys!  The coolest thing happened this week!

So you know I just finished Angostura, and I've been all gushy and happy about finally having a knit garment that fits, right?  And I'm kind of obsessed with Little Red in the City and what a great book it is, and how I want to knit pretty much everything in it and all that.

Well, Ysolda's latest blog entry popped up in my reader on Friday.  It was titled, "Is Ysolda Coming to a Store Near You?"  And I thought, "Wow, wouldn't that be nice?"  But she lives in Scotland for crying out loud.  Denver seems an unlikely spot for a smallish book tour.  And then I clicked.


And then...  I went and found the store online, and looked at the list of classes she's teaching, and saw "sold out" listed next to the first two -- but not the last one.  So I started calling the LYS at about 7:45 in the morning.  Curiously, they did not answer the phone.  I went back to work until a more reasonable hour and called back at the stroke of 10, when happily they did answer the phone.  Long story not so short...


I got the last spot in the last class on the last day she's here and I've pretty much been jumping up and down ever since.  I'm so excited!  It's not until the 30th, so I have some time to figure out what swatch I'll bring to practice on.  But oh man, did I mention that I'm excited?

Right then. Sorry about the detour.   Back to the order of business today.  It's WIPW.  Again and already.  Jeez, that was a fast week.  I've become completely scattered of late, so today you get quick glimpses of lots of stuff without much progress in any particular direction.

Up first is Snug.  The recipient arrived on Sunday morning, and so Snug will officially be Snug-ette when all is said and done.  It's moving along, though not as quickly as it looks like it should:
(Note to self:  Photographing concrete-colored things on concrete doesn't really show them off very well.)

I think it's going to be pretty cute though, once I find some wooden toggle buttons (anyone got a good source?) and embroider the front a bit to girly it up.

Sock doesn't look much different than last week, which is actually very exciting news:
See how it looks all dull and boring?  I've spent the last inch or so of the stockinette portion practicing my continental knitting. Miraculously, I can't actually see a difference between those stitches and the regular variety, which is kind of awesome.  I'm determined to learn how to do two-handed stranded colorwork so I can feel okay about diving into Peerie Flooers in the next few days, which right now looks like this:
...Pretty, but not really the look I'm going for in the end.  Hopefully, it will be easier than it looks to get this project rolling.  Fingers crossed and all that.

The other really fun thing is that almost all of the yarn has arrived for the Power Puff Yarn Swap I'm hosting.  It's SO fun to find it in my mail box and arrange it all on my kitchen table.  Once the last package shows up, I'll get everything divided up and back out to everyone.   Here's a sneak peak for those of you participating...
Fun, no?

That's it for me this week.  I'm looking forward to checking out everyone else's progress over at WIPW -- we all seem to be picking up steam with the fall knitting.  Yay, fall!

Friday, October 14, 2011

FO Friday -- Squee! Edition

In the interest of ending the suspense... this is a very happy story.

Angostura came off the needles Friday night, and I dunked it in the sink with some Soak and then promptly had a mini panic attack. Can you block superwash this way? Will it pull out of shape and stretch and distort and be ruined forever? I ran around in circles clutching my pearls for a few minutes (figuratively, of course), then did what any reasonable knitter would -- I started a thread on Ravelry. In a few minutes, I had all sorts of reassuring responses, including a couple from the folks at Cascade Yarns, which I thought was pretty impressive.

I pinned the pieces very carefully so they would flatten out but not stretch. In the morning, everything was dry so I seamed the sides (an aside: I know everyone hates seaming, and I'm supposed to hate seaming and go to enormous lengths to avoid it and whatever. But. The OCD part of me kind of loves watching stitches come together so evenly with mattress stitch, and gets a bit of a thrill with the perfect little seam that appears inside. Am I the only one?)

On Sunday morning, I got up at 5:15(!) to get showered and make-up'd and cute in time to go pick Mr. Right up from the airport. And it fit! It fit precisely the way I dreamed it might! Here's the outfit:
And the back of the vest:
And a detail of the front:
And the verdict:
All in all, this is probably the best knitting experience I've ever had. I owe big thanks to Kris and Denise in my lunchtime knitting group who convinced me to knit the right size. Also, the pattern is fantastic and well written and not at all something I'd like to light on fire. The vest is warm and squishy and comfortable, and I've worn it twice already this week. I don't want to light it on fire either, for the record.

The details for those interested:

Angostura, by Ysolda Teague
Size 38 with one mod: I took about 1" of length out of the back above the cable
Knit with Cascade 220 Superwash in the Ruby colorway
For 2 6" square swatches and the vest, I used about 3.2 skeins

Now, I'm off to relish everyone else's yarny successes over at FO Friday and Fiber Arts Friday. See you there!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Work in Progress Wednesday v.62

Wanna see me set a land speed record for WIPW this week?  Okay.  Here goes.

Sock!  Back and bigger. 
Back, because I thought I'd lost it in the frenzy to finish Angostura (come back Friday for pics and details and squee-ing!).  I had a day where I was sure I'd left it in Pennsylvania or New Hampshire or on an airplane.  Instead, it was just mushed into the bottom of the carry on bag that I forgot I'd taken.  Bigger because I knit on an airplane from Denver to Kansas City late last night and then back again on another airplane on the way home tonight.

Speedy WIPW for the same reason.  I am stupid tired at the moment.  So.  Tired.  And so I'm going to bed immediately.  But when I wake up, I'm going to go check out everyone else's WIPW

Nighty nizzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz   

Friday, October 7, 2011

FO Friday -- Not So Much Edition

Just a quick note, for those following along at home:  Mr. Right's schedule got changed (again), and he's now coming home on Sunday instead of Friday.  Boo.  Consequently, Angostura has proceded at a slightly more normal pace over the last couple of days.  It's currently upstairs, being blocked and pinned into submission so that the sides can be seamed tomorrow. For some reason, the fabric is curling like crazy, even after a good long soak in a soapy sink. 

Pictures of the(hopefully!) spectacularly fitting FO next week, promise!

In the meantime, have yourselves a spectacular weekend, and kick it off by visiting FO Friday!


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Work in Progress Wednesday v.61

Okay, so last week, I was a teensy bit knitting-obsessed.  This week, I'm more like a woman possessed.  Somehow I got it into my head that I could finish Angostura in time to wear it to pick Mr. Right up from the airport on Friday morning (he's coming back from his epic long business trip, we're still working stuff out and I'm looking to knock his socks off).  And since then, I have been knitting like a fiend.  Here's what it looks like now (pardon the curly edges -- I was racing a rainstorm):
That means, all I have left to do is knit the right front.  And the right shoulder cable.  And then bind off, attaching the shoulders to the back.  And then block it.  And then sew up the side seams.  And then run five miles so I can actually sit down in the skinny jeans that I bought last weekend.  All of which is totally doable. Right?  I'm almost sure of it.

I'm still utterly in love with this pattern, even if I do keep making incredibly stupid mistakes along the way (you can post stalk me on Ravelry to get an idea of just how stupid.  We're talking epic here).

In the 90 or so seconds I haven't been knitting on Angostura in the last week, I've managed to become completely smitten with two new knitting patterns: For this and these.  Holy cow.  Have you seen these?  I'm so smitten that I fell all over myself ordering the exact yarn from WEBS, enough to knit both patterns, only to find out that I am but one of a zillion or so people who have to knit them NOW, and that almost all of the colors are on backorder.  Sigh.  I'm trying to wait patiently, but it's not going so well.  Cute though, huh?

I've also knitted more of Snug, which still doesn't look like much:
The blue lines on the sides are meant to be removed to pick up stitches for the sleeves.  Once those are done, I think it'll look more sweater-y and less dishcloth-y.  Here's hoping.  The pattern is interesting, but seems to go through all sorts of gymnastics to avoid any seaming.  I'm not sure yet that it's worth it.  I'll keep you posted, though.

No more puffs have puffed this week, but I'm currently making mini skeins for the yarn swap I'm hosting, and I'm sure once I have a pile of yummy new sock yarns to play with, they'll be popping off the needles again in no time.

In the mean time, you can busy yourself by visiting all the fun stuff that's going on over at WIPW.  As for me, I'll be the girl huddled in the corner knitting the red vest as fast as my wee  little fingers can carry me...