Saturday, August 2, 2008

What's On My Needles

Originally uploaded by k_purls2
Hi, right now I'm working on a mini KAL with Crimson Purl and Adrienne. Yes, Adrienne, press on my sister! Ok, this started in June after I read one of Crimson Purl's posts about a visit with Adrienne and her habu score. Off we started. Who knew that knitting with habu was like a giant trying to play footsies with Thumbelina! Man, it has been quite an adjustment to knit with this dental floss. LOL But, the yarn is so beautiful, I've been determined. I started knitting it with straight needles which drove me straight crazy. So, it sat for a few weeks. This week I switched to circulars and I'm soaring! Now I made a few adjustments primarily to the width, so we'll see how it goes. I'm determined to get this baby completed this month because I've already prepared a Fall/Winter knit list!

I'm also working to finish my first pair of socks on two circulars. I'm about 75 percent finished....

Still working on my Nikki Epstein purse...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Birds of a Feather

Flock together! Yes I have yet another lone sock!

Meet Birds of a Feather, from Sock Pixie. The yarn is Plymouth Sockatta. Once again, I shortened the length of the cuff. One day I'll knit a taller cuff. This pattern was very easy, my first time doing a slip stitch for color work. I really enjoyed it. The only problem is...the sock is too big. I keep knitting big socks and I don't know why! Unfortunately, as I may have mentioned in an earlier post, this sock was supposed to be a gift and the receipient's foot is smaller than mine. I'm going to have reallocate the gift to someone with a larger foot and wider ankle. I'm trying the sock again, but this time, instead of casting on 64, I'm casting on 56 and see what that yields me.

I'm also tickled to say I'm learning how to knit two socks at a time on two circulars! Yipee! So far I like it. There's a lot of tangling, but it works out. I'll get some pix uploaded soon. Last, but certainly not least (it's actually the real reason I'm posting today)... tagged me! I like reading Kris aka kniftyred's blog. She knits beautifully and her family tales crack me up! She and her daughter did some gardening recently and I'm totally jealous. On the sock tip, she's got some really cute FO's!

Anyhoo, here are my responses

I was tagged by Kris at Kniftyred to play in a meme.

The rules: Are posted at the beginning. At the end of the post, the player then tags 6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blog and leaves a comment, letting them know they've been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you've posted your answer.

1. What was I doing 10 years ago? Standing up in my friend Jessica's wedding. I'm going to post a picture because I think I totally look like a Supreme with that frosted make-up and dress. Oh to be young again, my hair was so thick and luscious. Sadly, I was also spending precious last days with my grandfather, PawPaw.

2. What are 5 things on my to-do list today - not in any particular order? Work, work , work, laundry, knit some baby socks for a shower this weekend, go to the post office, wash dishes, send out thank you cards from my birthday, call some people about my friend's baby shower, work on my two circ socks (see why I'm overwhelmed? Always packing the day too tight)

3. Snacks I enjoy: cupcakes, twinkies, lemon squares, dried apricots, gala apples, tortilla chips and guacamole, snickers, skittles, cookies, pretzels

4. Places I've lived: All Chicago neighborhoods: Morgan Park, Bucktown, Wicker Park, Justice, Rogers Park, Lawndale

5. Things I would do if I were a billionaire: figure out how to share it with others, get a Ph.D. in art history, buy a home on Longwood Drive in Beverly, spend a month in Paris, set up a trust fund for my grandchildren (which I don't have yet) oh and given the current climate, see if I can't buy me an oil refinery. Buy Rowan and Karabella Companies. Establish a scholarship fund for cake bakers. Yes I would.

I'm tagging






Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Thank You Baby!

Show and tell! Look at the knitting love I received on my birthday from my family!

A delicious cake. Yellow cake, lemon meringue filling and buttercream frosting. Oh yeah!

A Namaste, clutch bag. This bag is BAAAAAhhhhD! I really like it. I'm going to be a little fashionista with my clutch/knitting bag. It opens up to store needles and then there are two insides. One side for small/sock projects and the other is for my ID, credit cards, keys. Thank you to my dear hubby. He must be tired of seeing me run out the door with my purse, diaper bag, and overflowing burlap knitting bag.

I also received a gift certificate to Nana's Knitting shop, a knitting pattern book from my friend Kelly and, this cute little card.

Hmmm, my husband always gives good love, but I never expected him to throw a little yarn goodness my way. He never seems to thrilled to share my affections (LOL). Will there finally be peace between my yarn and my man? Aww, there will be because he loves me. I love you too babe.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

My Birthday Wish


Happy Birthday to me. Thank God for birthday cake, cupcakes, buttercream frosting and another glorious year of life. Praise Him!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I'm Slippin' and Knittin,' My First Slip Stitch Pattern

Woo hoo! I'm just bubbling with delight over this sock I'm working on. The yarn, the needles, the pattern, all lined up! ooooo la la! And, as a perfect topping, this project is a gift! Oh the love. OK first of all, the yarn. It's a stash bust! Well over a year ago, I purchased some happy spring colored Plymouth Sockotta. I tried to pull up the color, but I think it may be discontinued. I also have one ball of solid red Plymouth Sockotta. I didn't think I would like knitting with it because it felt kind of waxy in the skein, but so far, so good. Together, the colors make me crave the Skittles rainbow! Knitting and sugar high? Delicious.

I'm a maverick, knitting these babies on 9" size 2 circulars. Every time I knit a stitch, I start singing "isty bitsy spider, goes up the water spout..." It's so small and really drives home the reality of knitting on small needles. I must say though, I'm flying through the rows. Ladder problems? Gone. I love knitting socks on these circulars. Time to give knitting 2 socks on "normal" size circulars or the magic loop method a whirl. Don't get me wrong, dpns are workable, but this is so much faster! These circulars are going to have me strung out on socks!

The pattern is Birds of a Feather from Sock Pixie. It's a very simple pattern. I've never knit the slip stitch for color work. The happiness of the multicolor yarn is leaping for joy with the red. I really love it! C'est tres facile!

Birds of a Feather I love you. Just don't tell Baudelaire.

P.S. The stars are lining up for a season of sock knitting. My LYS, Nanas Knitting Shop, just started a sock club and they'll be teaching sock classes for every level in May. Beginner, toe-up, magic loop, 2 socks on circulars and pattern making! That Tricia, such a talent.

P.S.S. Going to see Yarn Harlot tonight, who should I take BF or B? Oh the decisions. Oh, I'm so shady. As Jill said on "The Real Housewives of New York City" "I've been a very bad girl" tee hee! Yes the show is a guilty pleasure. I love it!

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Yipee! One sock done, now I'm waiting for the other shoe, or sock as it were, to drop. But it won't do it by itself. I've got some knitting to do.

This pattern is the baudelaire sock by Cookie A. from It is a toe-up design. I edited the length to make it an anklet with a picot bind off. Toe-up sock knitting comes in handy when you are unsure about the available yardage of your yarn. I bought two skeins of beautiful lace weight cashmere (Nep A-96) at Habu during my NY trip. I only have 200 yards total. I know, yikes. So, I combined it with a skein of School Products lace cashmere. The aqua of the lace cashmere brings out the orange and aqua flecks in the Habu cashmere. Voila! An anklet is born.

The pattern is straight forward and if you lose your place, the lace repeat is easy to pick-up/find your way. I've only made one full pair of socks before, also toe-up, but with short row shaping for the heel. This pair or ahem, sock is a gusset heel with wrap and turns. I think I like short row shaping better. I had a difficult time figuring out how to lift up and knit the wrap stitch. To give a fair opinion, I have knit 2 individual toddler socks from top down and three-quarters of a man sock top down. I still prefer toe-up.

This time I tried a different cast on method. The provisional cast-on yields a nicer toe than the figure-eight method in my opinion. If you are interested, there's a great archive article in knitty that explains several toe-up cast on methods.

The only thing I'm curious about is the width of the ankle. It's a little loose. I think next time, I'll toy with doing some decreases to get a better fit. I'm also curious about size. I wear an 8.5 shoe, should my sock be a smaller size? My finished sock is a little big, particularly at the heel.

Baudelaire sock, you're so cute. I'm going to knit you a partner real soon.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Glutton For Punishment

OK, today was my first day back in blog and online knit land. I did a lot of cyber cruising to catch up (man I missed some good stuff! Happy Belated Birthday again to Crimson Purl and Nik and Kamika! Knifty Red finished a whole lot of stuff AND vacationed! Thank you to Tricia at Nana's for putting out a friendly APB on me! Passionknit unwittingly sent me on a cruise for cupcake blogs. I LOVE CUPCAKES! The crazy thing is I was just thinking today what fun it would be to have a cupcake and pizza birthday slumber party).

But I digress, the real reason for a second post in one day is to show you something I just saw over at Vogue Knitting totally connected to my previous post. The Spring Summer preview is out. Check out this link and guess what I'm eyeballing. Yessssss I'm a glutton for punishment. I'm bout to man up and go get'em! I must redeem all of the pouting and complaining. If get up the needles to do this, it will be one helluva redemption. In the queue it goes...

And thank you so much to everyone who has already left notes of encouragement on my previous post. I don't know how to get your email addresses so that I can respond back individually, they don't come through to my inbox. But thank you thank you thank you. They really warmed my heart!

Fair Isle Vest for KAL Complete

It's been a month since I last blogged, but I have been knitting. Truthfully, part of the reason I hadn't blogged was because of my discouragement with the vest. I didn't want to verbalize my issues and be a wet blanket for the world. Then, I was working on a very large project that kept me strapped to the computer on overdrive. I couldn't bear one more second to get on and blog. (that's right get out the violins and hats to join my pity party). I wanted to share another FO, but this post is dreadfully long. Sorry. I tried to make it reader-friendly by numbering each lesson.

I completed the vest almost two weeks ago and wore it last week. It was a great beginner fair isle project since the pattern area is relatively small. It looks decent in this photo, but just wait until I start to "expose" all of the issues!

Pattern: Rib/Fair Isle Vest, by Melissa Matthay, Vogue Knitting Fall 2005

Here are all the hard lessons learned:

1. This piece is knit in two flat pieces but fair isle is better done in the round. Thankfully, my personal knit gauge was consistent so the rows lined up for seaming, but the edges were a little messy adding time to finishing

2. Somehow my gauge for row height was off when I started knitting, which affected the pattern because it was supposed to be a deep neck "v." I think knitting in the round would have alleviated this issue. It could have also been my stranding technique that lengthened the stitches. I ended up with more a low crew neck because the pattern called for the neck shaping to start the row after the armhole decreases ended. Had I understood the construction before hand (note to self: read AND understand pattern before starting), I could have made adjustments. Additionally, because of the row height problem, the fair isle starts at point that intersects my breast. I was expecting it start and the base of the bust. I have a small bust and the intersection combined with the crew neck gives me a flat chest look.

3. The fair isle pattern was confusing. The chart is like 18 stitches, but is a repeat. However, the chart wasn't built to be one-size-friendly, meaning go the end of chart and repeat. For my size, I had to mentally figure out the motif and adjust where I started to keep the motif consistent. Unfortunately, I didn't figure that out until the back was completed, which brings me to lesson 4.

4. I like the colors I chose, but together, they don't show the motif as well as the pattern sample. The blue and green harmonize such that the pentagon doesn't stand out and then the fuchsia vibrates because it is complimentary to the green. Instead of an identifiable pattern, it looks like gratuitous color blotches in my opinion. I used this to my advantage...I didn't frog the back. I don't think someone can easily tell the pattern is off unless they are closely staring at my back, which could happen if I wear it in the ice-cream line.(I know that was real janky on my part)

5. When ribbing flat, take note of where you end so that when seaming, you don't end up with a single knit or purl column at the seam. I probably could have alleviated this by starting each row with 1 knit or 1 purl or starting the front k2 and the back p2. With my arms down, one can't tell, it will be my personal issue. I almost reseamed to make a big ole' purl column in an effort to camouflage my mistake with a design element, but what the heck, my vest in all its glorious imperfections mirrors life.

6. Don't use superwash yarn for fair isle garments. As I read more about fair isle and gained hands-on experience, I learned wool was better to use because the fibers will stick together as you knit and fill out during blocking. Overall, mine is OK because it is a small area, but had I knit a sweater completely in fair isle, I think you would see some gaps. I was really worried during blocking and actually put the vest in the dryer on air to fluff it out some. Even still, the one superwash (Lorna Laces green) is a little unruly in the group. It was beautiful to knit with, very soft, just the wrong project.

7. Use the same brand yarns. I stashed busted to put this vest together. The fair isle portion I used Lornas Laces Superwash, Cascade 220 wool and a mystery ball of superwash (I can't remember the name) They were the same gauge, but the ply looks different in all of them (this is me knit picking) which I didn't notice until after the project was done. (Note to self: Pay attention to your swatch!)

8. I used Jaeger extra fine merino aran for the ribbing. As I blogged about it earlier, it wasn't very forgiving in terms of stitch definition until it was blocked. It also lengthened more than I expected in blocking and didn't draw back up. It is piling a little after one wear as well. In the fair isle pattern, this yarn did not play well with the others.

9. I had problems with stranding, but scheherazaad gave me good suggestion on how to run my English stitches in the back instead of the front. I also watched a Knit and Crochet Today episode where the new strand is run under the old strand.

10. OK after 9 complaints, I'll end with a mother-in-law was impressed! She liked it. I worked on it one night in the ER with her and when I wore it last week, she noticed and was happy to have seen it in construction and then complete. So it was a good opportunity to connect with her. My mom liked it too, but that doesn't count because I could make a backward rag and my mom would gush with praise, that's what mom's do!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

So Unfair, an Update on My Fair Isle Vest

Greetings from the lily pad! I'm frogging today. I had grand hopes of finishing my KCAL project by today, which was the first deadline. Thankfully, the end date was extended to April 15.

The good news is I completed the ribbing for front and back, for a total of 27" inches of straight k2p2. Yikes. I won't even tell you how I misread the directions and actual knit 17 inches and had to rip out 3.5. Yes it did hurt. Today is my second round of frogging with this vest. I'm ripping out 4 inches of the fair isle. It's uneven. I did check my blocked swatch to see how forgiving the yarn will be and frankly, I'd be asking for a miracle if I kept building on the current stitches. In addition to the uneven stitches, my floats in the back are also a little crazy. On the purl side, I'm having challenges catching the yarn from the left hand to float with the right stitches. I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I'm knitting with both hands, Continental and English. Therefore, I expected my tension to be even. Now I see the importance of picking a fair isle that is knit in the round. You need a whole 'nother gift to be able to keep the purl side even. But, I guess if I had knit in the round, I'd be faced with steeking.

Another option could be knitting backwards, which I learned from an old Vogue magazine, but I don't know how to do so with both hands. I can only do it English. Oh well, so..........Let 'em rip! RIP my totally unfair fair isle. I'll do better next time.



Sunday, March 9, 2008

Thank You Jinann!

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I had participated in a Valentine Swap on Ravelry. Along with the Malabrigo swap, it was my first time having a swap pal. Jinann, my Valentine pal, has been so sweet and lovely. I really appreciate her. My package was so enjoyable! I'm still romping around with my cute knit bag in tow and honey I drank lattes to my heart's content...I swear she sent me the best coffee beans ever! This week, Jinann sent me some stitch markers. I love them! Don't you? The beads are very pretty. It may be hard to see but there are swirls on the beads, they look like blown glass. She also sent me another lovely pair. Thanks to Jinann, I officially have some stitch marker bling! Oh yeah, I'm a serious knitter now! Thank you so much Jinann. You are great!


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Project Runway 4, Knit On!

Oh wow, I just finished watching the finale of Project Runway. Fierce, baby fierce! It was FANTASTIC! I cried! Christian, Jillian and Rami truly truly out did themselves. Wow! I'm so inspired now to press on in my own career. Isn't it terrific how art and creativity inspires us? Jillian gave a big shot out to knitwear with several knit pieces. The striped scoop neck with the i-cord looped sleeves/wings...I'm all over that. That sweater is hot. Totally me. I also liked the ruffled black knit in gold trim, aw man, I liked everything. But the scoop neck, yep, yep. Jillian's stuff is quirky like she is. For that matter, so am I. That girl wears some tripped out stuff on the show. She's cute and actually perfect for Ralph Lauren, now to think of it, knitwear is in her career pedigree.

Rami's collection I really liked too. The judges didn't care for the color but I appreciated the jewel tones. My favorite was that fuschia tuxedo-like skirt and the black top. Michael Kors said Rami is cerebral, I couldn't agree more. He's very smart and precise with his designs. Interesting.

Christian? BAYbeeeeeeee, you are fierce. Coined the right word for yourself. This 'chile is hilarious. Me and my son loved all of his work throughout the season and today did not disappoint - everything was together. He even picked the right models. I heard him say he was looking for tall and dark models and when I saw the pieces, the black skin just stood out in those ivory pieces. Perfection. My favorite was that feather dress in the end and the first outfit. No wait, that three toned ruffle dress! Bam! Oh and let's not forget the toppers, how I love big brim hats. Reminds me of when I was little, shopping with my grandmother for her hat, suit and gloves for church. I can't wait 'til I'm "grown" so I can stroll into church with a hat like Christian made and a fur coat (yeah I said it, LOL). - Amen y'all! Praise Him!

OK I can't blog anymore I need to be somewhere focusing so I can blow up like these three. So impressed. They put last year to shame. Bravo!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

What Do Ribbing and UFOs Have in Common?

Nothing! But while I'm knitting a grand total of 33 inches of k2p2 for my fair isle vest, my mind wanders in and out of knitting consciousness. Last night, I remembered the baudelaire socks I started knitting in January. I need to finish them. They would be my very first pair of socks for myself. I made my husband a pair last summer for his birthday. Previously, I've also knit about 3 single baby socks and 3/4 of an adult sock. Discovering toe-up knitting was critical for me. In my opinion, it makes a difference to start at the bottom and see the sock being formed more quickly. Once the heel is turned, the final length of the cuff is up to the knitter. With toe-up, you can also try the sock on as you go for a better fit. Something about knitting a bottomless tube when starting top down, just drives me batty. Another reason I need these socks is because I love socks! Male dress socks to be exact. I'm in my husband's sock drawer way too much. I like the intricate color work, the comfort of the cuff, the warmth, the material of male dress socks. Women knee-high socks just aren't as nice. Why is that? Anyway, this summer, I'm going to be a sock fiend so I'll have my own stash in the Fall, made with love. Yipee! Want to see my progress on the sock?

The yarn, oh, it is delicious. These socks are cashmere baby! Oh yeah! I combined Habu cashmere nep A-96 with a skein of finger weight cashmere from School Products. The Habu is beige color with flecks of orange and pink, which glow against the turquoise cashmere. Both were purchased in New York on a trip. I've been to the city twice in the last 8 months and each time, I've come back with cashmere because you can't beat the cost! The Habu cashmere, 107 yards, I scored for a little under $10.00 and at School Products, I bought 380 yards of the finger weight for I think about $15. The Habu showroom is a very cool visit, but totally dizzying. Baskets on the floor and a small closet to select from the inventory. Definitely check out the website first and go with a shopping list or you will get lost in the shuffle like I did. School Products is right around the corner. I love that store! Yarn on cones too! In addition to the cashmere, I bought camel hair yarn and over 1,000 yards of Italian wool very inexpensively. Hot damn! I'd love to go again toward the end of the summer, if I successfully stash myself out over the next few months. Wouldn't that be a great reward? Actually, I also want to check out the Webs tent sale one year.

How did I digress? Anyway I like the baudelaire pattern, the stitch repeat you can almost remember after two rounds or so. I think I'll leave the project in the car and work on it when waiting for my son after school or while "passengering."

Progress on my KAL, yes! I'm finished with the ribbing for the front. Instead of heading right into the fair isle, I'm going to do the ribbing for the back so I can work on all of the fair isle together. Also, I'm concerned that I might not have enough of the Jaeger extra fine merino in garlic. Boo hoo! I'm so scared because it is discontinued! Yikes! But I did make contact with someone on ravelry and with an online store, both of which have the dye lot I need! Hooray!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Month of Firsts

First, let me say thank you to Kris and Kamika for their recommendations yesterday on fixing my uneven stitches. I blocked my original swatch last night and it worked! It made a big difference, even in how the yarn feels this morning. I simply soaked the swatch for about 15 minutes in cold water and then gently pressed out the water, first by hand then towel blotted (gently!). This was the first time I posted a question on my blog regarding knitting help! Thanks!

Before I go on, let me first thank my Valentine swap pal from Ravelry, Jinann who sent me my very first pair of pretty stitch markers! Before this gift, I used string and/or the standard Clover circles. I think this may be a new habit forming...

February maybe be short and the second month of the year, but it is first in my book, for I've got a long list of accomplishments this month... My first KAL, first fair isle project, first knitting swap, first time posting regularly to my blog, first time reading other knit blogs, first time making web buddies, first time finishing a sweater for myself, first time attempting to knit something based on sight and not the pattern, first knit-lit read, first time listening to pod casts, first time actually setting aside daily knit sessions and I started my first knitting bucket list. A month of firsts! Maybe this can be an annual thing. It sure is nice to look back and see how far one's come. Ah, I love February. God is good.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

There's Always One...

This is a call for help and a sanity check. I'm knitting the bottom of my fair isle vest which calls for 16.5 inches of k2p2 rib. To date, I've completed 6 inches. But looking closely at my work, there are a few uneven stitches, popping and twisting about, vying for attention. There's always one, trying to be the superstar.

Certainly I know nothing is perfect and this can in the end add charm, but by golly I don't want all these bad stitches spotting up my 16.5 inches of ribbing! The ribbing is the bulk of the vest! I don't want homemade. I want craftsmanship! Am I needlessly obsessing or is there something I can do? Will it fix itself in the blocking process? If it matters to note, I'm knitting continental on circular needles, my tension is moderate and I keep my stitches close the tip, but not clinging to the edge (if that makes sense).

Now, it could be the yarn. This Jaeger Extra Fine Merino feels nothing like my favorite Karabella Aurora 8. Karabella's merino is soft, smooth and very forgiving on stitch definition. The Jaeger feels a little rough and heavier in my estimation. I don't know, I don't know...

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Musing on Starting My First Fair Isle and KAL

I'm working on my first knit-a-long with the Ebony Elite group that I joined through Ravelry. The KAL started February 15 and runs through March 15. After some hiccups with my first selection, the Sunrise Circle Jacket from Interweave, I settled on trying a new technique, a fair isle! I'm very excited to knit a fair isle vest.

Fair Isle has been something I wanted to try since I first learned how to knit. And, I've loved this vest since I first saw it in the Fall 2005 Vogue Knitting. The upside to the piece is that it's a good opportunity for me to get my feet wet with two strand knitting without pulling out my hair. (Please note: the picture above is not mine, it is property of Vogue Knitting Magazine).

Today, I'll show you the four colors I'm using. Proudly, they are all from my existing stash! The base color is a beige from Jaeger Extra Fine Merino. Cascade 220 in fuschia, a green Lornas Laces and I can't find the label for my electric blue yarn. I do remember though that it was purchased at Nana's this summer.

Looking at the hand wound yarn collectively, each ball is unique. The color is beautiful yet its raw shape is odd and potential unrealized. Though photographed together, each one exists alone, vying for space and attention. Check out the green ball, blurred into the background, or look at the spaces left between them. I've seen that void before, haven't you? Amazing that the strands will be woven together to create something new, different, lovely, unified and complete. Or, they can stay in the stash, beautiful but alone without a purpose. Knitting is more than technique or craft, it can be a good lesson in community and potential. I needed to remember that today.

Anyhoo, musing aside, I've also included a picture of my swatching. The base of the sweater is done with 8 needles and the fair isle is completed with size 10. Swatching the pattern was crucial for me to see how the colors went together. I settled on the blue/green mix and will pull in the fuschia as the tertiary color. When I started the pattern, I knit the strands with one hand, but once I got in the groove and watched a tutorial on, things worked more smoothly. Namely, I started knitting with both hands, utilizing the Continental and English methods which helped get the stitches more even. Although I'm on gauge, I will have to work carefully to make sure my stitches stay consistent and not too tight or loose. I'm very excited about posting my progress regularly. See you later.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

One word. Phew.

Sittin' in the park waiting for you-hoo-hoo /Sitting here on the bench / with my back against the fence / wondering if I have any sense / Something tells me I'm a fool / to let you treat me so cruel / but nevertheless I say again / you gotta me waiting / Sittin in the park, waiting for hoooo-hoo-hoo-hoo / Why oh, why oh, why oh, why oh, why oh, why oh, why / Sitting in the Park, lyrics by Billy Stewart

My dad loves this song, I do too quietly and it seems appropo for my journey and twisted relationship with the Central Park Hoodie. I googled the lyrics to get them right, but it doesn't show the group I have in mind, I think it was the Intruders, but it's too late at night to call my parents to confirm.

"Sitting in the park," once upon a time, well over 16 months ago, I embarked upon the Central Park Hoodie. It could have been a lovely short stroll, but I stopped and smelled the roses, took a few naps and became a project squator. At the end of the journey, it was darn right painful. I couldn't get through it! More than once I screamed like Florida Evans "Damn, damn, damn!" I'm so through with this sweater that I didn't even bother to make button holes, it's just going to be my lil Spring jacket sans closure. Oh, the irony! But ah, she is lovely isn't she? I do love her and am frantic that this baby is done.

Here's the short version of the convoluted story...My mother was supposed to crochet me Leigh Radford's Blizzard shawl from Scarf Style. We bought 8 skeins of Blue Sky Alpaca's cotton in the orchid colorway from Nina. We - she - got side tracked. Then a few months before delivering my wonderful son, I decided to use the stash to knit myself a little sweater that would be comfortable and nursing-friendly. This decision was encouraged by my bud/knit pupil Rochonda who was working on a baby dress from Debbie Bliss' Baby Knits for Beginners. The "simple" pretty little dress project is a whole 'nother story! Reflecting back, that whole knitting episode was curseed. OK, so back to knitting postnatal. Uh, yeah. No time for knitting, let alone a bath. I started strong though, got a lot of knitting done on the way to church or stealing in moments during nap time. Then the hoodie got put down, several knit baby shower gifts, finish this, start that...take a shower, you know how it goes. Fast forward to December 2007 when I blocked it and ran to get help from Tricia on seaming the shoulders. Still we eeked along for two more months. The hood was wisdom tooth painful. I don't know why. Doesn't matter parce que c'est fini!

Random side notes on the yarn: I love Blue Sky Alpaca! I've knitted with their suri yarn and alpaca before. The cotton did not disappoint. The color is beautiful and this baby is mad warm, cuddly and soft. The Blue Sky Cotton would be perfect for a baby or child sweater. The only annoying thing is that it is pilling a little, but I think it will add to the sweater's charm as I romp around the city this spring, when the weather breaks. The other issue that I'm just beginning to understand the sagging nature of cotton (doesn't bounce back like wool), not very elastic. When I blocked the sweater, it stretched a lot in length. If I did the sweater again in this material, I would modify the length.

Misc: I started this sweater with the intention of wearing it post-baby and to accommodate my nursing "figures." Now he's weaned and I'm getting back lean. (hey a rhyme!) Consequently, my sweater fits a big in the shoulders and is a little boxy. But, it works out because it will be my grocery store, errands, run to Starbucks, lounge around the house, take my son to tennis, hang out in the park hoodie.

Lastly, I can't speak more highly of the Fall 2006 Knitscene. I have worked on three projects from it. My working copy is banged up something awful. I do have a brand spanking new copy of this sold out edition if anyone is interested...

Friday, February 15, 2008

A Thankful Heart

I entered two swaps on ravelry at the same time, Malabrigo and the Valentine Swap. For the Valentine Swap, we agreed not to open our packages until the 14. Now, as I mentioned earlier, I am new to whole swap thing, so I was tickled when my secret pal sent me anonymous emails! Let me tell you, my package was wonderful. I'm very excited and very thankful. Jinann was very sweet to me. Hugs!

I received 2 skeins of alpaca. I really like alpaca! Paca ped for socks, I'm so curious! And a lovely skein of red alpaca with gold flecks in it. I also received a skein of Cascade 220 for some good ole felting! Yipee! Isn't my new knitting bag the cutest?

Check out my photos above to share in my delight, but let me also share a testimony, you never know how God will work things out, even in small matters. Ok, so I was in Target last month and picked up the Friday Night Knitting Club, you know how we do in Target...Go in for baby diapers, come out with a basket full of who knows what. I got to the counter with second thoughts. I'm really trying to be a better steward over my financial resources. It so easy to go overboard in this beloved hobby. I left the book in the store and my friend Kelley told me she would loan me hers. Then, this week, I was out of coffee beans. I love making my own lattes. I had already been to the store three times and consistently picked up way more than I should. It just wasn't prudent to go back one more time and further over budget. So, on Wednesday, I doubled ground some old Folgers decaf. Nuff said. Let me tell you on Thursday when I opened that package and saw the book AND french roast coffee beans, I was so happy. Had I opened the package earlier, I may not have appreciated those coffee beans the way I did last night. Did you know that Caribou french roast coffee glistens in the bag? Does all french roast? I hadn't noticed.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Only the Lonely Valentine Match-Up

Happy Valentine's Day! Now there is a place in my heart for eros love. The sensation of butterflies and tingles sparked by my husband's touch. The glee as a tween to fantasize that Ralph meant me when he stood up to Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky and Mike. Let's pause and sing the line together, shall we? "If I love the girl who cares who you like? New Edition I love you!!!! But beyond the thoughts of sugary sweet "Cool it Now" lyrics, beyond reveling in sugah from my hubby, way past the delight of any chocolate, truffle or cupid wing, is my valentine hope that perfect love abounds in your life. The love that restores and redeems. The love that is patient, kind, protecting, trusting, full of hope, joy and perserverance. There is no greater love. Seek after it and be fulfilled this Valentine's Day. Be encouraged.

Now on to a little Valentine fun. The Only the Lonely Match-Up. A few days ago I pondered the fate of lonely yarn. It seems absurd that just about everything can be repurposed...except for a ball of re-wound or messy yarn, perhaps without its label, definitely without a project to call its own. In the grand scheme of things it is still top quality fiber(yes I have snob tendencies), it is still lovely but unfortunately very lonely. It's not you fair fiber, its me! You are beautiful and I know there is someone out there to love you like you deserve.

Could it be you, my knitting friend? Do you believe in stronger love the second time around? Take a chance! Open your stash bin to new opportunities. The lovely in each picture below is yours to adopt today as-is for $2.14 plus the cost of shipping. To pull on your heart strings and in the interest of full-disclosure (no unadopting or throwaways allowed!), I will briefly share each adoptee's story.

1. Half Skein of Lamb's Pride Worsted (85 wool, 15 mohair) in M-34 Victorian Pink
This was one of the first skeins of wool I ever purchased. I posted the sordid details about the now defunk sweater I attempted with this yarn. She's pretty, but everytime I look at her, the premature death of my first sweater haunts me, beauty never realized.


2. One skein of unknown 100 percent wool in mustard yellow
Kool Knits in Naperville was having a going out of business sale, I saw her and envisioned a delicious quickie. I settled on the derby hat in Vogue Knitting, but it just wouldn't work. boo hoo.


3. One and one half skeins of Sorriso (33 wool, 67 polyamid) in pink/green/white
I thought I was having a girl. Got ahead of myself. Nuff said.


4. Tahki Charles Baby (100 wool) in blue
See number 2 for same sob story. I never attempted anything with this gem.


5. Karabella Jewels (40 tactel, 30 nylon, 28 cotton, 2 lurex) in 3844
Karabella is one of my favorite brands, so I gobbled up Jewels from a clearance bin. I had some gift ideas but when I got home, second thoughts overtook me. The colors are pretty but I realized that me and novelty yarns lack the chemistry needed to cook up true creativity.


6. Half skein of Berroco Plush (100 nylon) in white
My friend's son Josh got some really cute boots using this plush and berroco suede. What will you do with it?


7. 2 and 3/4 skeins of Berroco Plush (100 nylon) in electric blue
I wanted to make my newborn a baby sac with this yarn. Can you say Cookie Monster? What was I thinking? Oh that's right I was delusional from lack of sleep.


8. One skein, unknown novelty (100 nylon)
I think it is Paton's but I'm not sure. I started trying to duplicate a shawl I made using Karabella Magic. This yarn of course couldn't measure up to my former love. Awwww.


9. Partial skeins, Rowan, chunky print in a khaki green
Ah, we had some good times froclicking through Wrap Style. I love my capelet made from this yarn.


10. Partial skein, Crystal Palace Cotton Chenille in merdusud (teal)
I have a heart for this yarn, my mom and I got it together while shopping at a LYS. This year at our crochet and prayer group, Shepherd's Pride, I had the privilege of making a really pretty boa for the Christmas scarves project. Good memories.


11. One and one half skein, Patons Divine (79 acrylic, 18 mohair, 3 polyester) in deep earth.
I knew she was from the wrong side of the tracks. It was dark, I had a few coffees in me, she looked good.


12. Three quarters of a skein, unknown in cream
I picked her up with number 8. I was missing my relationship with Habu mohair. Trying to recreate the magic, but alas... I don't even know her name. I think it might be Patons glimmmer. Oh, I'm so ashamed!


13. One skein, Karabella labirinth (58 merino, 12 superkid mohair, 17 polyamid) in 31305, pink/beige/grey
She was alluring, but we came up short. I do have a hat, but I had hoped for a more fullfilling relationship.


14. One skein, Schachenmayr Bambino (60 cotton, 40 acrylic) in pink mix
Thought I'd make my newborn daughter a happy hat. Boy oh boy.


15. Partial skein, Malabrigo worsted (100 merino wool) in marine
I so love our time together making my Green Gable. Sheer delight. But I'm not interested in a little love. I want more! And since I'm stash busting, I need not be tempted by her hanging around.