Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Work in Progress Wednesday v.82

Happy leap year y'all!  Didja miss me?  I'm freshly returned from Stitches West and all the craziness that let up to it, and super happy to be home and getting back to WIPW this week.

Stitches was great.  Calfornia was great.  Seeing my all my awesome girlfriends (and remembering that I have lots of awesome girlfriends) was super great.  It was all so fantastic that it will get its own post this weekend, and you'll want to check it out because there's a giveaway involved.  I won't say what it is, but it might be yarn, and it might or might not involve the words Tosh and/or Madeline (not necessarily in that order).  Because I love you guys!  So don't forget to come back and get all entered and whatnot.  Okay?

You may remember this pre-trip picture of my nicely caked yarn for my next project, Narragansett...

And all of you were kind enough not to point out how I was a complete idiot to think I'd be knitting through 3 skeins of yarn on a 5-day vacation.  Thanks for that, but you would've been sooo right.  I toted all 3 of those yarn cakes out to California and back, and managed to knit just under half of one of them.  So much for wishful thinking, right?  Anyway, here's how it's looking now:

This is a top-down sweater, so what you're seeing is the boat neck and the beginnings of the raglan increases for the sleeves.  I'm loving working with this yarn, but I'm a bit worried that it's so squishy the sweater might not hold its shape.  It's feeling very loosey goosey at the moment, even though I'm knitting just a smidge tighter than gauge.

I've also been following a modification that someone used for smaller eyelets on either side of the raglans, and I'm a bit on the fence about how it's working out.  I really like the idea of having smaller holes, but I'm not sure it's working out too well.

This picture is as close as I can get to illustrating my point with bad light and a jet-lagged brain,    I may soldier on a bit longer, we'll see.  This is a fun and pretty zippy knit, so undoing a bit of it won't be too much of a disaster if it goes that way.

In other news, Tink over at Master of a Thousand Things FINALLY received her swap package from me!  I'm a little bummed that it took so long, but so glad she's finally got her hands on her goodies and really excited that I can finally spill all my secrets.  She's blogging about her gifts now, and has opened all of her hand knit gifts in her first two days so I can finally give them their time in the FO Friday spotlight.  Woot!

I can't decide if the opening or the watching of the opening is more fun.  I'm a smidge overly happy about both, I think.  Anyway, after you stop by Tink's blog, go check out the rest of the (zillion) WIPW entries.  They're totally worth the trip.

See you Friday!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Blog Hub Swap -- Day 7

It was inevitable, I suppose, that I would eventually come to the end of the giant, shiny, prettily wrapped gifts that have been piled on my counter for the last week.  And what a week it's been!

But before I go getting all nostalgic on you, we have time for one more present.  The Grand Finale.  One of the requirements for this swap was that we include 100 grams of yarn for our swapee, so I've purposely saved the yarn-shaped package for last.  And here it is:

It almost seems a shame to open it, but let's be honest:  The anticipation is killing me.  So off comes the wrapper, and inside...

This! It's a skein of Posh Yarns Sylvia 4-ply, 50% merino and 50% silk.  It's exactly the color of the ocean in a thunderstorm, and it is, I kid you not, the single softest thing I have ever touched.  Ever.  I am absolutely awestruck at it.  Wow.

Chrissy's note (and a peek at Ravlery) tell me that this is a tough yarn to get your hands on, and I can absolutely believe it.  It's by far the nicest skein of yarn I've ever had, and you're talking to a girl who just picked up her first skein of Wollmeise. 

It seems only fitting to arrive at this lovely skein on the day that I'm dipping my toe into the Stitches West marketplace for the first time.  I'm hoping to bring home lots of new friends for this little skein, and maybe a few who are worthy of its company (But probably not.  Seriously.  This yarn.).

I can't tell you how much fun this swap has been, and if you were on the fence this year, I wholeheartedly encourage you to jump in next time.  It's been all kinds of awesome.  It's also a ridiculous amount of work, and so I want to shout out a special thanks to Chrissy at Stitched Together who has spoiled me rotten over the last week.  The amount of time, energy and thought that went into this package is staggering, and I appreciated every last second of it.  Thank you, Chrissy!  You are indeed the Wonder Woman of Swaps.  I hope you had as much fun as I did.

And with that, I'm officially beginning my vacation.  If something exciting happens, I'll pop in with a quick post while I'm away, but otherwise, I'll catch up with y'all next Wednesday when we get back into the regular groove around here.

Hope everyone has a spectacular weekend!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Blog Hub Swap -- Day 6

Day 6 of The Blog Hub Swap meets Work in Progress Wednesday -- it's a knit blogger's perfect storm!  Let's get to it then, shall we?

Today's beautiful parcel looked like this before I ripped the paper to shreds daintily removed the contents of the package.  And inside, as we've all come to expect was such a fun surprise!  It's this.

A very shiny, very British, very be-flagged pencil case.  Love!  It even has *gasp* multiple compartments, and a bright yellow zipper.

You may not know, though clearly Chrissy does, that I'm a super stationery geek.  I get abnormally excited about pens and pencils and papers and organizing.  It makes me all swoony just writing about it.  Even better?  Inside my new pencil case, were 3 super amazing pens!

They're Frixion eraseable gel pens.  Eraseable gel pens? So cool!  And I have black, blue and hot pink.  Woot!

Only one day left -- I can't believe it's amost over.  One more shiny package, then all that remains is for me to pace around impatiently waiting for my package to reach its destination so I can live vicariously through my person's week-o-pressies.

As for the Work in Progress Wednesday portion of today's festivities, I have some shocking news.  I have absolutely. nothing. going. on.  I don't think this has ever happened before, and frankly it's weirding me out.  After much frantic knitting, the Duckie Socks are done, done, DONE!  And so cute.  You'll have to take my word for it until I get back from vacation and can get a proper FO Friday post together.  For now, suffice to say I love them and will try not to wear them out before I can get pictures.  Fingers crossed on that front.

The Mittens of Doom are still firmly in time out.  And so all I have to show you is this:

It's the first three skeins of Shepherd's Wool, fresh off the ball winder and swift so I can swatch for Narragansett, which I desperately wanted to finish in time for Stitches West, but since I leave tonight, I don't think we're quite going to make it.  I'll get a couple of hours of good knitting time on the plane, but there's only so much distance between Denver and San Jose, and somehow it doesn't seem to be enough to pull off a whole sweater.  It will sure be fun to try, though.

Even though I'll be heading off into the wild blue yonder tonight, I have one more day of Blog Hub Swap to share with you, and I think it's going to be an extra exciting one, so be sure to check back in for the grand finale tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I promise to come back with lots of new yarn and goodies and pictures and stories next week, and might even check in once or twice while I'm away.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Blog Hub Swap -- Day 5

Day 5!  I opened my package this morning to find...  chocolate!!!  Really, it doesn't get any better than that.

I have a bag of Cadbury buttons, *and* a bag of Thornton's chocolate truffles, which look to be available only in the UK.  Lucky Brits.  And lucky me!  Good thing we did all that hiking yesterday.  

Also inside the pack was the prettiest little card.  As you can see...

And inside the card was a lovely note saying that Chrissy had chosen the Idlewood pattern for me because she liked it a bunch and thought it would look great on me.  How sweet is that?  I'm super excited since I already have yarn on hand for Idlewood and am looking forward to casting on.

The pattern is in my inbox even as we speak (she's fast!), and patiently waiting for me to finish eating my chocolate.  This could take a while.

Looking forward to all the fun surprises and goodies that Day 6 holds.  See you tomorrow!

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Blog Hub Swap -- Day 4

Hi again!  Wow, I can't remember the last time I've posted entries 4 days in a row!  It's exhausting being showered with thoughtful gifts.  This morning, after the usual stumble into the kitchen, I picked out a parcel with a pink ribbon.  It was just a pinkish sort of morning.

Can I just take a minute to tell you how glad I am to have picked a pink pack?  SO glad.  Look what I found inside...

It's merino roving in the most wonderful mix of ocean-y colors I've ever seen.  Chrissy's note said I'd mentioned that I want to learn how to needle felt, so she thought this would be good practice.  How awesome is that?  Really seriously awesome, if you must know.  I have a little needle felting penguin kit...


that I picked up at Fancy Tiger when Ysolda was in town, and I've been dying to try it.  Hopefully, I'll find the time to dig in once I get back from Stitches (just 2 more days!).  Then once I have a penguin, I can felt him a little blue iceberg to sit on.  How fun!

Also inside (I know!  Ridiculous.), was this little pack of button-shaped soaps.

Cute!  And my note said that the roving could also be used for wet felting, and that felted soaps might be a good idea.  Felted soaps are an epic idea!  They'd be great for backpacking, since they could be used for washing hands and dishes and pretty much everything else.  Awesome. 

Huge thanks to Chrissy for another amazing gift!!

Speaking of backpacking, I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but Mr. Right bought me a brand new, fancy schmancy pack for Valentine's day.  And even though it's still the dead of winter here in Colorado, we've been loading them up and taking them on hikes to practice for an actual overnight trip at some point when the weather is more reasonable. 

Today, we loaded 40 pounds and hiked 6.5 miles of mountain trail.  It was no joke, but it was incredibly beautiful.  So I'll leave you with a mess of hiking pictures and the promise of another fun gifty tomorrow. 

See you then!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Blog Hub Swap -- Day 3

Another day, another beautifully wrapped, carefully chosen gift for me to unwrap.  This is a lifestyle I could get used to pretty easily.  When I rolled out of bed this morning, and stumbled into the kitchen I still had quite a pile to choose from.  At Mr. Right's urging (Him - "Ooh!  Pick the big one!"  Me -- "Why?"  Him -- 'Cause it's big!"  Hard to argue with reasoning like that), I decided to open this one:

Yay, big!  Inside, I found this.  It's my very own issue of Mollie Makes magazine.

Along with a note from Chrissy that she thought I might enjoy a UK crafting magazine.  She was SO right!  I don't know who Mollie is, but what she makes is beyond lovely!  It's got a very fun, vintage-y feel to it, gorgeous photography and loads of fun inspiration.  If you're stuck in the US without access to Mollie Makes, you can get a peek of their very cool style on their blog.

The note in the package also said that the free gift attached to the cover nearly didn't make it into the package, and I can definitely see why. 

As a self-avowed ribbon junkie, I can totally understand the temptation.  And this ribbon is of the extra-cute variety, which would make it all the harder.  I'd like to publicly thank Chrissy for her self-restraint in not stripping the ribbon from the package, and I promise to give it a good home.

I'd write more, but it's Sunday afternoon now, and well...  I've got some reading to do. 

Even the dog thinks it's a lazy day.  Can't wait for day 4!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Blog Hub Swap -- Day 2!

I gotta say, I could totally get used to opening a new present every day that was specially chosen by someone who'd been researching all my likes and loves.  It's pretty fun.

This morning (and with a little help from Mr. Right), from the wondrous pile-o-shiny presents, I chose this:

Medium-sized and slightly squishy.  Perfect!  I was blown away when I opened it up.

It's a handmade project bag!  She was even kind (and sneaky!) enough to line it with fabric that I'd mentioned I liked in a comment on her blog. 

 I'm in love!  It's the perfect size, and totally adorable.  And did I mention that it has a pocket?  It does!  With a zipper, even. 

 I'm terribly impressed with Chrissy's mad sewing skillz.  Because really, I couldn't make a pocket with a zipper if my life depended on it.  And now I don't have to!  Yippee!

Oh, and get this:  Inside the pocket?  These.

Yep.  Handmade stitch markers.  AWESOME!  Clearly my partner is some sort of superstar swapper and I am one seriously lucky girl.  I can hardly wait until tomorrow to see what day 3 brings.  But I will.  (Am I the only one around here who's totally impressed with my restraint?)

See you then!

PS. I mailed my package out today!  Woot!  It's winging its way to... well, somewhere... even as we speak.  So exciting!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Blog Hub Swap -- Day 1

It's no secret that I've been working  like a crazy person to put together a swap package for my person in the Blog Hub Swap.  I've been so focused, in fact, that I completely forgot that someone was sending *me* a box.  So I was slightly confused and then enormously excited last night when I saw that the FedEx driver had left a slip on my door about a package. 

I signed the slip, and when I got home today, I found this on the front porch:

Either Chrissy from Stitched Together has managed a way to keep box and biscuit together on a transatlantic voyage, or my dog is having some sort of clandestine relationship with the FedEx guy.  Either way, the biscuit was a funny touch.

Anyway, as I was saying... I've had the enormous good fortune to have been sent a box of beautiful goodies:

From Chrisssy at Stitched Together, who I've gotten to know and very much like through bloggy things.  In addition to being a great knitter and blogger, she's also a talented designer.  I feel like I've won the swap partner jackpot!

It was all I could do not to tear every single silvery packet open all at once, but I managed.  As directed, I opened the envelope first, to find this very cool card with a sweet note inside.

 And then, since my packages weren't nunbered, I picked this one to start:

Inside was the cutest little shopping bag pouch attached to a carabiner.

And tucked inside the pouch was this awesome bag that I fully intend to stuff to the brim next week at Stitches West.  It's the absolute perfect thing for me to take along on my trip.

 Clearly, this woman has been doing her homework!  Thank you, Chrissy!

Really, I can't forget that I still have about an hour's work to do on my partner's package.  I'm hoping she's as happy with hers as I am with mine. 

Come back tomorrow to see what's behind door #2.  For the moment, I'm going to hop in the car with Mr. Right and head up to the mountains for a nighttime sleigh ride and dinner at a ranch.  I'm pretty excited about that, too.

See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Work in Progress Wednesday v.80

Welcome back to another week of Invisible Knitting Progress.  I'm continuing to knit a whole lot, and continuing to make cute things that I can't show you since they're about to jump into a box and head out to my swap partner.

Thing 1 was finished last week, and is now blocked.  My first time knitting two-sided lace, and it turned out pretty darn well -- as long as I was paying attention.

Thing 2 was just a wee little seed of a project last week, and now it's done and blocked, too.  With this one, I learned how to make bobbles.  I also learned that I hate them.  Good to know!

Thing 3 is really, really killing me not to show you.  It's pretty much the cutest thing ever and you can bet I'll be posting the heck out of it once my swap partner has received and opened all her goodies.  Anyway, it's about 80% done and the only thing keeping the package from being mailed at the moment.  I'm hoping to polish it off in the next day or so.

I'd be done with it by now for sure, but I've spent my very little knitting time over the last couple of days working on Duckie sock #2 so that I would actually have something to show this week.  And here it is (in all its blurry bad-photoness)...

Breathtakingly exciting, no?  I know I've mentioned this before, but I love this pattern.  It's so easy and fast to work up, and fun.  What more can you ask for  in a sock pattern?

One thing keeping me from knitting last weekend was a field trip(!) with my Monday night knitting group back to Fort Collins to visit the Loopy Ewe.  I know, I was just there a couple of weeks ago, but I'm a team player!  I had to go support my friends in their first visit.

I exercised more restraint this time, and only bought one skein of yarn since we're leaving for Stitches in a week.  (Yay!)  But boy, did I make that one skein count:

Yep.  It's the knitter's holy grail:  Wollmeise.  The colorway is Petit Poison n.5.  And it's even more spectacularly colored in person than it is in pictures.  I have no idea what I'm going to do with it, but for the moment, it's sitting on the counter in the family room so it can be properly admired every time I walk by.  I have to say, it doesn't feel nearly as good as it looks in the skein, but I have high hopes for it once it's knitted up and blocked.  I'll definitely keep you posted.  Meanwhile, does anyone have any experience knitting with this stuff?  I'd love to hear.

And now, I'm going to go celebrate a quiet Valentine's Day with Mr. Right since it's still Tuesday night as I write this.  Hope you all got spoiled rotten yesterday, by yourself or a loved one!  And I'll see you over on the WIPW pages, but probably not until tonight (busy day!).

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Work in Progress Wednesday v.79

Okay, contrary to what you're about to see, I've really been knitting my face off for the last week or so.  Promise.  It's just that there's not much I can actually show you.

Exhibit A:  I knitted a cute thing (which I can't show off on FO Friday this week either), for my partner in the Blog Hub Swap.  It's cute(as previously stated), but it's secret.  So you only get a teensy bit of a teaser photo:

Exhibit B:  I'm knitting another cute thing for the same swap partner as we speak.  And again, you get only the sneakiest of peeks:

Elsewhere, I finished up Duckie Sock #1 during the first part of the Super Bowl on Sunday.  I like football, so it was tough to divide my attention but it was worth it to finish up the sock.  I love it.  At lunch today, I got #2 rolling so, you guessed it... there's not much to look at:

I'm hoping to get this finished in the next few days so I can wear them to Stitches West, which is only about 2 weeks away!  Whee!

And then we have mitten.  Sigh.  I brought the mitten out and took it to knit night in order to have some sort of visible progress to show off today.  I completely ignored the no-complicated-colorwork-at-knit night rule and boy did it bite me in the backside.  Allow me to demonstrate:

I got the thumb hole closed up and finished the next set of flower stems.  It wasn't until I started the next round of petals that I realized I'd managed to shift one of the flower stems and now I have to frog all. the. way. back. AGAIN.  For those of you keeping track at home, this is the 4th major frogging for this single mitten, which I started just before THANKSGIVING.  I am feeling lots of things right now, but thankful about this mitten isn't among them.  I'm going to put it into time out for a bit and get some knitting successes (and a moderately-sized attitude adjustment) under my belt before trying to move forward on these any more.

I have one more Cute Swap Thing to start -- and finish -- in the next week, so stay tuned for another picture that I can't quite show you.  Isn't this fun?  It's like those picture puzzles on the back of kids magazines.  Can you guess what they are from the mysterious photos?  Feel free to record your guesses in the comments, and all will be revealed next month.

Meanwhile, go check out actual pictures for for-reals progress from loads of other crafty types over at WIPW.  It's pretty much the most fun you'll find on a Wednesday...