Sunday, January 29, 2012

FO Friday - Sunday Update

Hey y'all!

Just a quick note to let you know that I've finally gotten my sweater dried out and buttoned up.  Updated post with new pics are here, in case you were breathlessly awaiting their arrival.  Or maybe that was just me...  :)

Have a great week!

Friday, January 27, 2012

FO Friday -- Blocking Rocks Edition

Man, I LOVE it when I finish a sweater.  I love it even more when it fits and doesn't turn out kind of wonky.  And I gotta say, I had some concerns.  Here's how Lorna Suzanne looked when the knitting was done and the ends are woven.  It's pretty much the definition of wonky:

Yikes.  But I gave it a little swim in the sink, carefully squished some water out and then used approximately eleventy billion pins to wrangle it into submission.  Like so...

Seriously folks, I'm a girl in need of a set of blocking wires.

**This is the part where I show you the "after" bit, with the buttons all sewn on and the sweater looking fabulous on me... except for the part where it's totally still wet.  Sad panda. 

I contemplated going after it with the hair dryer so you guys could see, but that seemed a bit rash.  Instead, you get this picture with buttons carefully balanced amongst the pins, where if you squint, you'll be able to tell sort of how it might look say, tomorrow...

I promise I'll come back this weekend and update the pics on this entry with something more satisfying.  Sorry! **

Okay, so it took me until Sunday evening, but here are pics of the sweater in its full glory!

Pardon the squintiness, I was looking directly into the sun, and in a mad rush since Mr. Right and I were headed out to the trail to try out our brand new backpacks (more on them later!).

Here's a slightly closer shot...

That shows off the lace better.  I love this thing, and it's just a smidge bigger than I expected.  The only thing I wish was a smidge different was the neckline. It's a bit lower than I'd like.   If I had it to do again, I'd keep working the front for another inch or two before starting the decreases.  But as it is, I love it quite a bit, and am planning to wear it to work tomorrow. 

And one final shot of the back:

Pretty decent fit, I think. 

The yarn wasn't quite the color I wanted, but I think it worked out okay in the end.  It's Valley Yarns Northampton, which is dirt cheap and not bad to work with.  I used just over 4 skeins and so have enough left over for a pair of fingerless mitts or some such.  Not a bad deal at all.

As for the pattern, it was awesome to knit and the designer was incredibly patient with all my silly questions.  I read somewhere that she named the sweater after her mom, which I thought was an incredibly cool idea.  So cool that I totally copied her.  On my project page, this is actually called Janet Lavonne, who just happened to be the world's coolest grandma (despite her rather appalling fashion sense). 

She tried until she was blue in the face to teach me how to knit, then finally gave up and taught me how to crochet instead.  That didn't take either, but I think she'd be pretty pleased (not to mention jaw-droppingly surprised) to find that I'd actually knitted a whole (wearable, even!) sweater and named it after her. 

Next up in the ol' sweater queue is Narragansett, which totally line-jumped Idlewood when I found that amazing Shepherd's Wool that I picked up at the Loopy Ewe.  I'll start swatching as soon as I finish my Mousie (more on him Wednesday)!

For now, I'm going to go pester Mr. Right into taking me out to dinner to celebrate sweet sweater-y (almost) success.  And then I'm going to go check out everyone else's FO successes at Tami's and Fiber Arts Friday.  Can't think of a better way to start the weekend.  Cheers!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Tale of Two Bottles

Once upon a time (a week ago Wednesday, to be exact)...

There was a girl who was trying to power through a cold she was gifted by her generous boyfriend.  Determined to function as normally as possible, the very smart girl had been taking Dayquil before bed to ease the sniffles without the Nyquil hangover.

But alas, on Tuesday night, the sniffles were too much for the Dayquil, and a tiny shot of Nyquil was required.  The girl awoke on Wednesday morning, ten minutes late and in a cold medicine fog.  Rushing around to get ready for work, she grabbed the cold medicine bottle from the counter...

(You see where this is going, don't you?)

And took a giant glug of Dayquil while she was brushing her hair.  Except that it wasn't Dayquil at all.  It was the Evil Nyquil that had been left on the counter the night before. 

The dumb, slow-witted girl quickly grabbed the daytime cold medicine and took a shot of that too, before realizing it would do no good.

Broken and beaten (and also nicely warm and fuzzy-feeling), the girl stumbled to work and spent the longest day of her life, which included 3 Diet Cokes, 2 double shot lattes, innumerable trips to the bathroom and a few head-on-desk catnaps.  Her day did not include any knitting at all, for fear that the foggy head would send her back to the frog pond of doom.  It was not a good day.  But when it ended, the cold had been banished (due to excessive doses of cold medicine), and after a long, long sleep the girl was back to her very smart self.

The morals of the story (in no particular order):

Waking up before getting up is wise.
Orange in the morning, red at night or just give up the fight.
Caffeine is your friend.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Work in Progress Wednesday v.77

Happy Wednesday, everyone!  I'm ecstatic to report that there's not much on the needles around here this week, since Lorna Suzanne is done (!) and swimming around in a sink full of Soak as we speak.  If I can find some buttons, I'll be all ready to share on Friday.  Eep!  I'm so excited.  This one will definitely be a great candidate for one of those Blocking:  Before and After photos (I hope), because it was looking seriously rough when it went into the bath.  The collar was curled, the hem was flipped, the lace was scrunched.  It was not pretty.  Keep your fingers crossed!

In other news, the Duckie sock has been feeling some love this week when I wasn't working like mad to finish up the sweater.  We have heel turn, folks:

I'm still madly in love with this yarn, and convinced that I need to try the fingering weight version.  It's a dream to knit with, the colors are gorgeous (and much more muted than in this stinky pic) and it feels amazing in my hands.  Love.

The mitten has been utterly neglected this week in my push to finish the sweater.  Since it was not the sweater, and not a portable project, it got back-burnered in a big way.  I've pulled it out again today though and here's how it looks now, just having started the thumb gusset. 

More love for the mitten this week, I promise!

That's it for stuff on the needles, but happily I now have some more stuff next to the needles.  Do y'all know about The Loopy Ewe?  They're an online seller of loads of incredible yarns, and (I think, but don't quote me on this) one of the only places in the US where you can buy the yarn snob's holy grail:   Woolmeise.  Until very recently, they were based in St. Louis, with a small store front where local folks could come in and shop.

As luck would have it, they just packed it all up and moved to Colorado!  What're the odds?  Anyway, they opened on Thursday and I had to wait all the way until Saturday to make the 80 mile drive north to go visit.  And it was awesome!  So much gorgeous yarn, and so beautifully organized, and such friendly people that I lost my mind just a tiny bit.

Say hello to my new friend Madelinetosh (Tosh Sock) in Calligraphy.

It doesn't photograph so well in crappy light, but it is beyond beautiful.  Sigh.

I also made friends with Stonehedge Fiber Mill Shepherd's Wool in Sage.  Four times.

I can't begin to describe how soft this yarn is, and I love, love, love this color.  A quick peek at the Ravelry comments tells me that some folks have had trouble with it pilling, but I have high hopes regardless.  It's set aside for Narragansett.

If I weren't getting ready to go to Stitches West, I'd have lost my head some more, but I'm practicing restraint.  In case you're not in the mood to practice restraint, I've installed a little Loopy Ewe button over there on the right and you can click over and see what all the fuss is about.  I gotta say, I'm pretty smitten.  I even joined up and became a Loopy Groupie

That's all for this week, I'm getting ready to dive into a few little projects for my swap partner in the next couple of days so we'll all have something shiny and new to look forward to next time.  Whee!  Until then, you can content yourself with checking out the amazing projects that are happening on the rest of the WIPW pages.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Work in Progress Wednesday v.76

Hey, y'all!  Welcome to Not-So-Much-Progress Wednesday!  Mr. Right has been so kind as to pass along his creeping crud to me over the last week, so there's not been a whole lotta knitting going on around here lately.  Just lots of sniffling, grumbling and the tiniest bit of whining.  And I haven't been much of a prize to be around either. (Kidding!  No, really...)

Anyway, Lorna Suzanne has a collar now, and I'm getting ready to pick up the button band tonight. 

I best get with it and find some buttons so I know what size to make the button holes.  Suggestions, anyone?  I'm thinking something simple and pewter-ish or dark shell, but am open to ideas (or links!) if you'd care to toss any out there.

The sock is marginally bigger...

though it only got worked on while the Broncos were being decimated in New England on Saturday night.  Yikes, that was an unpleasant game for us Colorado folks.  Good season, though!  Thankfully, I'm still loving both the pattern and the yarn. 

Finally.  Finally, there is some mitten attached to my epic cuff.  It's not much mitten, but it's there, and it's growing. Slowly.  At this point, though, I'll take whatever forward motion I can get on these.

Mr. Right was very proud of his artsy fartsy mitten photo, and was very sure you would all appreciate it.  So here it is, in all its glory.

Personally, I like the "Look!  A flower!" pic myself, but I might be biased.

At this point, I'm kind of dying to finish something, so I'm focusing on the last bits of sweater now.  Once I get there, I hope I'll relax a little, but I'm already itching to get that Idlewood going.  And the mitten finished.  And the sock...

For now, I think I'll just go bask in the warm glow of too much cough medicine and other people's successes at WIPW.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Work in Progress Wednesday v.75

After last Friday's adventure in an abandoned mine, we now return to our regularly scheduled WIPW programming.

I gotta say, I had so much fun knitting that Peerie Flooers hat, and I was soooo excited to start the mittens.  And folks, it just isn't going well.  Case in point:


Remember this picture from last week?  I snapped it and proudly proclaimed the cuff to finally be finished.  Yeah, not so much.  I started reading the next section of the pattern which said something like, "Now join the oatmeal colored yarn."  And I said out loud, "Oatmeal colored yarn?  I'm already knitting with the ...   ...   Oh.  Crap."  That's right.  Half of that ribbing was supposed to be done with light blue, and I totally just didn't make that switch.  Off to the frog pond, again.

(Many) Hours later, it looks like this:


Not much different, but I assure you there was LOTS of work involved in getting there.  This time, the cuff really is done, the ends are woven, and I've attached the cuff lining to the mitten, joined the freaking oatmeal colored yarn, and started working up from there, with lots of help from my knit night buddies.

Attaching the cuff was a fiddly process, for sure.  But I'm over the hump now, and promising to keep the chart close by as I dive into the body of the mitten.  Say a little prayer for me.

Lorna Suzanne, on the other hand is a much better behaved project.


I had some math trouble with the neckline cast off, but I fudged it just a bit and it turned out great.  Next up is picking up stitches for the collar.  Yay!  I also tried it on a couple of days ago, and while the sleeves are a bit tight, it's nothing a good blocking won't fix, and the rest of it fits pretty darn well.  Phew!

In other news, we went 4-wheeling with a bunch of folks in the snow on Sunday, which was a lot of fun.  Also, pretty:




And, since I am a smart girl, I always take a knitting project with me for those times when we drive half a mile and then 3 trucks get stuck so we sit for an hour.  Unfortunately, the sweater was too big to bring, and the mitten was too fiddly (fair isle in the cab of a truck?  no thanks), so I had no choice but to cast on a new sock that would be just right. You can call me Goldilocks.

I had some Socks That Rock in Motley Hue that's been languishing in the old sock stash for ages.

Picture 229

I was so smitten with the colorway when I bought it that I didn't realize it was sport weight yarn and not fingering.  Oops.  Last week, I finally found a (free!) sock pattern that calls for sport weight sock yarn, and now my Duckies are on the way.


This is a fun little pattern, and I gotta say, I'm wowed at how fast this thicker yarn works up.  It's amazing!

Finally, in case you're part of the Blog Hub Group on Ravelry and haven't already seen it -- There's a swap looming!  I totally signed up, and you should too.  It's going to be a blast, and I'd especially love to send fun little packages to one of you.  So go sign up.  I'll wait.

Okay, good job.  Normally, I'd tell you to go check out everyone else's WIPW entries, but I figure I've been bossy enough already today.

Friday, January 6, 2012

FO Friday -- All Mine edition

Full confession:  Every once in a while, I kind of cheat on an FO Friday because it's fun to play along, and even though I don't have a whole project done, I still want to take part.  This, you might have guessed, is one of those weeks.  (ETA:  I remembered that I don't need an actual FO to hook up with Fiber Arts Friday, so I'll semi-cheat over there, too)

Look!  A puff!

It's made from Noro, and though it's pretty huge compared to its compatriots, it's pretty and ocean-y and I kind of love it.

Here is the (pathetically small) pile-o-puffs (5!):

So um... that's all that I managed to finish this week.  But I have an adventure to share, too!  That counts for something, right?

The background:  In college, Mr. Right and his buddies were in Arizona, where there are all sorts of abandoned mines laying around.  They spent lots of their spare time exploring the tunnels.  I think he's crazy for doing this.

Fast forward to Christmas day, 2011.  Mr. Right declares that we're going to go check out the old mine we spotted last time we went four wheeling.  I tell him he's crazy.  We go anyway, probably because he's called me a wuss or something and I have way too much pride.  Stupid pride.

This particular mine isn't too bad, since the main shaft is high and wide and it's also fairly dry inside.  (Caveat:  I don't recommend doing this -- it's crazy -- and we had some super duper flashlights and also an oxygen monitor with us)

So we walk a while.

And then he gets the bright idea that we should climb up to an opening for a smaller side shaft.  Ugh.  And then he takes a picture of my butt while I'm climbing.  He really is crazy.

It's pretty uneventful though as this shaft only goes a few yards before ending.  The scariest part?  Climbing back down.  I sing Jesus Loves Me, which is what I tend to do when I'm totally freaked out.  It helps.

On we go down the main shaft until the water that's suddenly appeared gets too deep for my "water-resistant" boots.  I stop and hang out while Mr. Right and his "water-proof" boots keep going a while longer.  I'm not too worried since I can still see his light.  The tricky thing about mines, though is that it's soooooo dark that you can see light for a really, really long way.  Much longer than you can hear sound.

So I'm standing there humming Jesus Loves Me (less freaked out now, but still a little bit), and waiting for him to come back, and 10 or so minutes later, I hear this crazy galloping sound and see him running toward me full tilt.  I figure he's being chased by a bear or something and get ready to start running, too.  But it turns out he's been yelling to me and asking if I'm okay for the last few minutes and hearing no response.  He's pretty sure I've passed out or died of fear.  But it's just that he was way too far away for me to hear him. 

So now that everyone's reunited and confirmed alive, we decide to end this little adventure and hike out, while I explain to him in detail how many yarn stores he's going to have to visit to make up for this. It's a lot.  He thinks I'm crazy.

The end.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Work in Progress Wednesday v.74

Happy 2012, y'all!

You'd think that being on vacation I'd have found lots of time to knit over the last week, but umm... not so much.  I did manage a bit of it, though:

Lorna Suzanne is up to the start of the collar now, and I'm a little bit stuck.  I want to make sure that I understand the next step of the pattern before I go any farther, so I'm taking a pause to message the designer (who's a total rock star, by the way), to double check before I muck something up.  Good idea, no?  Anyway, here's how it looks now, a bit bigger than last week, but not too different:


I'm just a couple of hours of knitting away from collar and button bands, so hoping to get back to it soon.  Still loving the pattern and the yarn, and now convinced that I'll have enough of the latter so I'll actually be able to complete the former.  Bonus!

While I've been pondering sweater yokes from afar, I've been making a mitten cuff:


And it's done!  I'm a bit wary of doing a knitted hem on the turned up cuff lining, since it's in the round and there are dpns involved.  I've written a tutorial on doing them flat, but this seems more fiddly.  I'll let you know how it goes.  Hopefully there will be some actual mitten attached to this by next week.

And now for the really exciting news:  I'm going to Stitches West!!!  I know.  I can't believe it either.  I've actually been once before when I lived right around the corner and had knitted a scarf or two.  We went and checked it out on a Saturday, and it was huge and overwhelming, but I didn't have any idea that it was any kind of big deal.  What a waste!

Anyway, it happens to fall on my birthday this year, and so my former co-worker, who's since moved to New Hampshire (Hi, BB!) is flying out and meeting me, and we're going to do it up right this time.  We're taking a class with Cookie A (sock mistress extraordinaire, as seen here and also there), and going to the market preview, and just generally planning to soak it all up.  I'm also giving myself carte blanche on yarn purchases while I'm there-- don't get too worried, it's nearly impossible for me to spend money so I don't expect to go too crazy.  But I can if I want!  Eep!  I'm SO excited!  Is anyone else planning on attending?  Let me know, it would be super fun to meet up. 

For more yarn-related joyful excitement, go check out all the rest of the WIPW entries.  I'll see you there!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Out With the Old

Happy 2012, everyone! 

I can't remember the last time I was so happy to see a calendar turn.  Here's a quick look back at 2011:

There was a little bit of rodeo:

A vest that didn't turn out so well... 

And a shawl that turned out a whole lot better than expected:

I got my heart broken:

Then patched:

And finally healed (Hooray!):

I conquered my fear of stranded colorwork:


Met Ysolda (in a really badly lit room):


And consequently knit a sweater that actually fit me:


I even climbed a mountain:


It's been quite a year, and honestly one of the hardest I can remember.  Here's hoping 2012 holds nothing but happiness and good things for all of us!