Sunday, October 31, 2004

Happy Halloween!

The pants aren't blocked yet but I had to try them on. Here is my little lion sporting some new longies:

I can't get over how cute he looks in that lion hat. There is a whole costume that goes with it. He really gets that he is a lion and roars all day. He chases the cat roaring. Today I found him tickling his face with his own tail.

In other knitting, I've been working slowly on a pair of pants for my friend's daughter, Mary (Leo, of the longies, is her brother). They are a great pink Manos wool that I got from Gaspereau Valley Fibres when they were having a sale... I have a kilo of this pink so there is no chance of me running out. There is a great chance that Mary and I will be wearing the same colors this winter. Anyway, this pink is great and I love the very slight variation, but I felt that, as pants, there was just too much pink happening. Something needed to be done. Here's what it looked like:

And here's where we are now:

Better, yes? I am so darn happy with those stripes. Plus they made the whole thing move along quickly. I needed 10.5" of pink, and it felt like it was going nowhere. Add a few stripes and boom! Before you know it, you are kitchener grafting a crotch!

I think the pants will be a bit more sporty looking with the stripes, too. Mary is a busy, wonderful toddler and I think these will be perfect for her. And her mom, Janine, is one of those people who make knitting gifts a wonderful, satisfying experience. Ever since Leo got his longies, Janine has thanked me countless times. She tells me about all the times he's worn them and all the places he's worn them too. She tells me how great they are, how well they fit, how well they work as diaper covers (since the wool has been lanolized, they become waterproof). In short, she makes me feel so great for having knit her kiddo something. She will be on the receiving end of much knitting, unlike others who fail to mention if the item even fit or if their child ever wore it. For all the time it takes to knit something, I can't give people more than one shot at being decent about it. I considered knitting my brother a sweater for Christmas; he's very tall and fit and would look great in just about anything, especially this lovely ribbed sweater. But I know he won't get it. I know he will take it off at night and throw it on the floor. I know he will not realize the hours of knitting and appreciate the love that goes into the work. So, I will knit him a hat in a nice wool and it will keep him warm at work and he will appreciate that just as much as a sweater. Janine, on the other hand, will not be throwing my knit goods on the floor of her kids' bedrooms, and she will realize that every stitch was knit with love.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Pants are done and new yarn lives here now

Finally I got to cast something off last night! I have been spread a bit too thin lately, with all the projects going on. Working on several things a night has made a bit of progress on everything, without getting anything completed. So I resisted casting on anything new and just worked on these pants:

Not starting anything new was especially hard to do after my recent trip to ThreadBear Fiber Arts Studio in Lansing, MI. I felt a bit dizzy walking around in there, surrounded by so much yarn. There were people knitting everywhere you looked, and treats, coffee, dogs... it was amazing. My husband will be surprised to find me asking to go visit his mom, since she lives near the store. It was difficult to narrow down my selections, but I manage to only take home this:

Mountain Colors alpaca blend (50% alpaca, 50% wool) in Bitterroot Rainbow, with which I plan to make another pair of pants for Marty, and this:
Lorna's Laces shepherd worsted, a bulky worsted weight in colors that make me so happy. The reds are difficult to photograph so trust me when I say this is bright and cheery in red, purple, and orange. It's a superwash wool that will someday be a sweater. You can see I already cast on a swatch. I love how it knits up on my size 9 Lantern Moon needles. I am trying to design my own sweater pattern to make a cardigan for a friend's 3-year-old son.

Should I be concerned at all that more yarn is coming in than is being knitted and going out? I was showing someone my swift the other day and actually forgot an entire basket of hanks that could have been used to demo the swift. That's a bit disconcerting. I do have things in mind for all this yarn; I just need more time to knit!

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Pants Progress

The bulky marine-blue wool pants for Marty are coming along nicely. I cast off the first leg last night. I love how quickly these knit up on sz 10 needles. I did a garter stitch cuff on these instead of the seed stitch I had planned; the chunkiness of this 6-ply merino just didn't lend itself to a nice seed. I love how the garter stitch turned out.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Critical Error

Here's a hint: When you have so much yarn that you can't really justify (i.e. you are not a fiber vendor) and you don't want to bring attention to those huge piles (which for some reason have avoided comment thus far - and it's not even the entire stash, there are still TWO KILOS upstairs keeping the swift and winder company), DON'T ask your husband to dig through a basket for a blue ball of yarn, no matter how tired you are or how much cooking and cleaning you did that day. Here's what it sounds like:

Me: Honey, can you grab a ball of this blue chunky wool yarn for me out of that basket?
Rob: (dig, dig) This one?
Me: No that's cotton, try the other basket.
Rob: This basket?
Me: Err no that's the yarn I dyed, remember? Try the top basket. It looks like this (hold up pants-in-progress).
Rob: Ok let me see, oh that's a purplish blue, oh there's yarn on this top shelf too? Is it in this... Jesus, Trace.
Me: (shrinking down into the couch, hoping if I look smaller, the yarn will scrunch down with me)

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Winding heaven

Remember that huge haul of manos? Was anyone wondering, wow that's a lot of winding. Well, I was. The 2 huge kilos represented 20 skeins of winding. I can wind a hank of yarn in about 25 minutes. Let's not do the math here; those kilos were going to take a big chunk out of my knitting time. So I used a Joann's coupon to order a swift, and picked up a winder at my LYS. I put them together and ooh la la, winding happiness was mine. I love the quiet whirring; I love that it takes no batteries; I love feeling like a pilgrim woman, using this simple mechanical device that needs no improvements. I was able to wind a 100 gram skein during the commercial break between The Apprentice and E.R. Fabulous! Here's the setup:

I was able to tear myself away from winding long enough to finish the pumpkin hat, which as it turns out is too small for baby Evan's extremely large head. Even after some stretching and blocking, it is too tight. So Marty will enjoy it for the time being. Here's the side view:

I've cast on a new hat for Evan, but after about 4" last night, I realized that it fits me. Luckily that boy has a grandma knitting for him! He may just have to settle for a sweater from me!

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Knitting progress occurs while blog progress halts

I love having multiple projects going. When I get to the point in one where a) I need new needles or b) the concentration requirement is too high for the current situation, I can switch to the other project. So you may not notice that things have progressed, but if 5 thiings all got a couple inches longer, then that's something, isn't it?

I recently cast on 2 new projects that are very fun. Using kool-aid-dyed orange wool and Manos green, the pumpkin hat:

Breaking into my manos haul, Marty's Christmas stocking:

I received my Lamb's Pride wool/mohair blend from the Brown Sheep Company and immediately worked this swatch:

And I finally finished seaming the pink cardigan (yes it still needs buttons):

I also cast on, knit 6 inches, and then frogged a pair of pants for Marty. I realized they were not going to fit and I love the wool so much that I desperately want these to be perfect for him. So, I get to knit them all over again. I love the wool so much that I don't even mind.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

My stash is looking at me funny

Yes, I ordered the yarn. Yes, I knew it was coming. And yes, I do have plans for the yarn. But still I am struck by the enormity of the stash every time I come upon it. Keep in mind, I am a pretty new knitter with a full-time toddler on her hands. I mean, I can only exchange so much sleep for knitting.

It occurred to me today that I have two very sweet nieces in Colorado who might love a poncho for Christmas. But not out of my stash yarn... no, I would need some new yarn for that. Tonight is knitting class with Mom (yay!) and that means more shopping. Hopefully I will find the bag of Rowan's all-season cotton that I lost track of; if I didn't leave it at the LYS, then where could it be? There are also so me new Addi turbo 16" circs in there that I need for several projects. This cold weather has me itching to cast on some hats.

Last night, I whipped out a hat to match Leo's longies:

I also finished the drawstring for Mary's soaker, which I may give to Kylee now, since they seem so big. If I do that, then Mary will get longies like her brother's, but in pink!

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Holy yarn haul!

The postal carrier brought me some amazing goodies the other day! I found a great deal online for some retired colors of Manos del Uruguay; with the conversion from Canadian to US currency, the prices were so great that I ordered a ton. Here's the stash:

In case you are wondering, those two extremely large bundles are kilograms. Kilograms I tell you! The remaining skeins, which seem so tiny now, are your typically 100 gram skeins. Here's another shot that shows the size difference:

If I thought a 9-ball blanket (of 50 grams each, at that!) was daunting, boy am I in for a load of knitting now. Now for the next package: 2 3-skein bundles from This yarn is also from Uruguay, incidentally. I ordered the bulky merino (6-ply) in two colors: marine blue,

and apple green. It is so soft and wonderful!

Then one last delivery: a huge skein of blue liecester, or "poor man's cashmere," from a co-op that I was lucky enough to get in on. It is super-soft and lovely; I am not sure what color to dye it. I doesn't photograph well, but here it is:

I failed to hide these goodies before Rob got home, and all he could say was, "You better get knitting." Better get knitting, indeed.