Sunday, March 23, 2008

f.i.n.i.s.h.e.d.

I have been a busy girl. Knitting, not knitting. Working. (as usual.)

Let's see what we have to show for it. Two knits for the husband. He's been patient, and deserves fun handknits.

A sweater!!! I grew a sweater in my garden bed, in the snow!
No, this pattern is Flood by Kim Hargreaves. It's my first sweater and I'm pretty proud. It's knit from Rowan Plaid and has taken about 6 months from start to finish. Finishing a sweater feels like such an event. It's done. All of the hours of knitting, blocking, seaming. Done. Woohoo! It's a little big for it's intended giftee, but he wears it anyway.

Second, finished object:


Thuja from Knitty, out of Cherry Tree Hill Supersock DK, in the Java colourway. These socks were so simple and I loved knitting them. The yarn is very soft and has lots of spring. He wears them all the time, and I wear them, too if I can. They are too big for me, but fit him perfectly.

So, that's what I have for today.... Happy Easter!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Catching up

It's been a while. Things in my non-knitting world have been rough. As I am in charge of a residential program for 15 children with mental illness, I have been responsible for making sure that each of them have a holiday celebration in concert with the beliefs of their family of origin and understandable by my staff and within time and financial constraints. Not easy. In the middle of this, my dad got sick and I had to spend some unplanned time in Maine. (He's ok now.)

Needless to say, I am thrilled that the holidays are over and it's 2008.

In my knitting world, I was able to finish a few projects at the end of 2007.

This is a felted tote bag that my mother-in-law commissioned me to make for her sister for Christmas. I used Knitpicks Wool of the Andes for the first time and found that it does, in fact, felt beautifully. For the price, I think it may become my go-to yarn for felting. The colors aren't really what I would choose, but the recipient loved it, so what more can I ask? There's a little bit of novelty chain yarn in there, too. The patten is from Fiber Trends.I also made two pair of fingerless mitts, one for myself and one for my brother's girlfriend (which I'm gifting this weekend). They were both of Cascade 220, using the Cabled Fingerless Mitts pattern. I added one cable repeat for the gift mittens, as the ones I made myself feel a little short.

These are the ones for Danielle. Please forgive the crazy outfit and messy background. No pics of the ones for me - but they're getting plenty of use. I really wasn't sure if I would get a lot of use from the fingerless mitts, but I happen to love them. I use them at work while typing, as my computer is right next to a not very well insulated window. When running errands, they allow me to have access to my fingers to get my keys, wallet, dog leash, etc. They're great.

So, that's it. I did knit a few gits that I didn't have time to photograph - a bunch of mini mitten ornaments, a scarf, and Knitty's Calorimetry. All things I plan to reproduce en masse for future gifts. I'll try to post plans for this year's knitting in my next post. For now, cinnamon buns are beeping from the oven..

Monday, October 8, 2007

Baby blanket - finally finished!!!

Look what has gone for a wash!


After months of work, I have finally finished and gifted the baby blanket I made for my friend Jen, who is due to have her third baby tomorrow. I so enjoyed working on this project. It's a log cabin in 4 colors of incredibly soft egyptian cotton.

Four colors you say? Isn't it a violation of artistic principles to use an even number of something? Why yes it is. I tried to avoid this for about a month. I tried a variety of other colors, to make it 5, or to reduce it to 3. It did not work. However, I feel despite the even number of colors, the result is quite lovely.



Check out my first attached I-cord:


I attached a cotton flannel backing with two layers of batting in between. This was the first time I have lined anything, and I'm so glad I took the chance to give it a try. This project allowed me to develop so many skills- picking up stitches, attached i-cord, backing/lining something. And, best of all, the recipient liked it. Yay for me!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Time to myself

A month ago, when things were very hectic at work, I scheduled to take this week off. I correctly predicted that things would start calming down at bit and I would be able to be away from the program and just recharge. In a strange turn of events, I actually followed through with the vacation and did not go to work at all this week. (I have checked my email each day, though.)

What did I do with my time? I feel very domestic saying this, but I really just worked around the house - and it was great. I organized, cleaned, caught up on laundry. I built this, all by myself, with my own two hands:


It is an IKEA file cabinet on wheels. I'm pretty proud of myself that I put it together with no help at all. I even used power tools!

I also went to Maine to spend some time with my family. All of our birthdays are in August, September, and October, so we kind of celebrated them all at once. I spent a little time in Old Orchard Beach, re-acquainting myself with pier fries. If you've never had pier fries from Lisa's Pizza in OOB, you are seriously missing out. They are hand cut crinkle fries, cut on the thick side, greasy, and you must load them with vinegar and salt. They are incredible.

We also spent some time shopping in the Old Port in Portland. I LOVE the Old Port. There are cobblestone streets, little shops and boutiques, lots of pubs, and it's right by the water. When I was in college, I would drive the 20 minutes from Brunswick down to the Old Port to just get away. They had the best coffeeshops.

In one of the parks there this week there is an art installation. Unfortunately, I can't recall the name of the piece or the artist, and my google-fu is weak today. It was a participatory piece in which the audience takes red ribbons and ties them to branches and trees in the park. Each ribbon was to represent a relationship that the audience member would like to to try to repair in the coming year. As I've previously written in this blog, symbolic action is interesting to me, so I thought this piece was very engaging. I tied a ribbon and spent a few minutes in awe at all the ribbons and the relationships they represented. It was a brief visit, but special. The whole visit, and writing about it, reminds me how much I miss Maine. I live here in Massachusetts, but Maine truly is my home.

There also has been knitting. Some updates on ongoing projects:
Flood - the husband's sweater:


I am enjoying my first foray into cables and into knitting a sweater. The cables are really so much easier than I thought! This picture is of the back, and I'm about 10 cm from the armholes. (Since it's a Rowan pattern, it's all metric). After much discussion with my knitting group about the pros and cons of flat vs. round, I decided to do as the pattern said and knit it flat.
I'm also making progress on the Multidirectional diagonal scarf out of Rowan Tapestry:

I love the long runs of color. It's such a simple pattern, but it's very satisfying. I'm 1.5 balls in, and I think I'll end up using at least 3 balls total, but maybe I'll dip into the fourth.
And, the Cascade Fixation Socks.

I have been knitting frantically on these because I want to finish them and move on. I'm at the heel flap on the second sock. I like watching the colors change, and I like the way the socks are coming out, but I just don't like the needles I'm using. I was first using Brittany's, but they were too "sticky" for the cotton. I then picked up some metal ones at the LYS, but they are not the nickel plated kind, they are metal with an enamel or some other coating over it. They're faster than the wood, but still not as fast as I'd like. So, I'm looking forward to the next project.

And that is the status of my life right now. Back to work on Monday. I do feel a little more relaxed. I could use another week to finish getting things in order in my house, but it's much better than when this week started. Vacations are good.

Monday, September 3, 2007

How to convince the husband that more yarn is a good thing.

It all started on Friday night of this gloriously long weekend, when I was having very strong cravings for new yarn. Now, if you've seen me on Ravelry (where I'm Lorigirl), you'll know that I do have a stash. It's not all catalogued, but it fills a dresser and a plastic bin. I also do have a number of projects on the needles. But, I wanted to shop.

Now, to actually shop for yarn this weekend, and spend money on yarn, I would need the husband's blessing. I also was dying to go back to visit Webs. How would I get the blessing to increase the stash yet again, and drive an hour to do it? I would have to make him part of the purchase process. Two strategies at play here:

1. I did have $12 worth of merchandise from Webs that I needed to return. Getting money back is a good thing, and the husband supports that.
2. I would have to convince the husband that this trip is about him. Ever since he felted his beautiful Irish fishermen sweater in the wash, he's wanted me to knit him a replacement. So, this trip is really for him, so he can pick out yarn and a pattern for his new sweater.

This worked! We went to Webs and he tolerated a brief walk through the store, and then sat with Elliot in the "non-knitting partner" section of the store and read magazines. I took my time browsing patterns and yarn, and gave him a few choices after about an hour. He made his choice - Flood, in Rowan's Plaid yarn, in the "washed pebbles" colourway.

I have cast on, and knit about 2 inches on the back, but have decided to make a change to the pattern, to knit it in the round. Since I much prefer knitting to purling, and the body is mostly stockinette with the 3 cables, I think this will make it a much more enjoyable knit. We'll see. This is my first sweater, and my first time cabling, so I'm excited about the chance to expand my skills.

Stay tuned for pics of my progress.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Worth the wait

My socks are here!! Yay! Check out the gorgeous socks my pal, Annemarie sent me:

They are the Horcrux socks made from ONline Supersock and I LOVE them!
They are very soft and the purples and black are beautiful together. They arrived in the mail last night and I wore them all night. I wish I could get a better picture of the pattern, but it just wasn't working out.

Funny thing is that I was planning on making these socks for the husband. However, seeing them makes me think that they might be too lacy for him, so this is a good thing. For me, though, they are perfect. One of the nice features of this pattern is the ribbing all the way down the foot - this makes them fit really well.

My pal also snuck some other goodies into the package:

She sent the leftover yarn from my socks, a sachet of lovely smelling bath salts, some very cool knitting themed cards, and a ball of the same type of yarn that she used for my socks, in a beautiful blue colourway. I am so lucky. Thank you Annemarie for being so thoughtful!