Day Four!

Today was the last day of Vogue Knitting Live; last classes, last trips to the market place, goodbyes. It was a great day though!

In the morning I had Fingers First with Amy Detjen. We learned how to do gloves (not mittens) from the fingers down. By doing the fingers first, you get a better fit to your whole glove. I was a little nervous about this class because I’ve never done gloves before. I’ve done mittens yes, relatively complicated mittens too. I really wasn’t sure what to expect. We were asked to bring a 5X5 gauge swatch and 400-500 yards of fingering or sport weight yarn. I picked Dye-version sock yarn in the colour Morgan LeFay. It is a cool green and purple colour. I ended up bringing two skeins because I didn’t want to run out during class. I really don’t think I am going to need two. I guess I will have to make a hat… and scarf… and Paul a matching set. Oh well, tis the nature of the knitting beast, and lets be honest… can a person really have too much yarn?
 Any way, I LOVED Amy’s class, she had so many little tips and original ideas I am going to use in my every day knitting. I am also totally in love with gloves now too. The way Amy taught them… they’re shockingly easy.
I am very close to being done my glove that I started in class. I don’t think I will be able to stop. After class I was in the marketplace scouting out appropriate glove yarns. I ended up buying a couple skeins from Nerd Girl Yarns that would work well. They’re Supernatural themed, I know Anthony will be jealous of my Gank Demons gloves. Muahahahaha eat your heart out Mr. I-can-buy-that-in-a-store.
After getting some Shibui yarn in their beautiful colour UV (really intense purple), Paul and I went out for the obligatory Chicago deep-dish pizza. It was massive. Together we could not finish a 9” pizza, although I really thought of it as more of a quiche, or a quicha.
During lunch Paul and I talked about the itinerary for the next few days and if we should go back to the marketplace once more before it closed. I ended up going back again for a second round while Paul took some of my yarn to the balling station. This way, I have the opportunity to cast on while I am here.
At the Knitche booth, I bought more yarn for another gradient scarf… or two. Kathy’s employee Amanda tried really hard to sell me on the colour honey. Apparently if the bag was not opened, she may not have had the opportunity to buy a skein either. I wasn’t completely sold on it at first, but it ended up working so well in my colour combinations I got two. I don’t know if Kathy was more likely to throw Amanda or myself out of her booth by the scruff of the neck. I guess I had the advantage of being a customer while Amanda had no such protections, lol. It was all in good fun. I had such a great time with them every time I visited their booth, which was more often than I could normally afford. Everyone was very helpful and extremely nice, Kathy even took my eight balls of Shibui back to her store to wind them into equal thirds (as called for by the pattern). I will be visiting her store on Wednesday and picking up my yarn before we head home.
The marketplace closed at 4pm and for me, that was the official end of Vogue Knitting Live Chicago 2013. I am definitely going to do it again; I met so many people and loved talking to so many different knitters from different backgrounds and experience levels. Each person was different in their own way and had something special to offer to this conference. This is a place where I really feel accepted and competent. I don’t think you know this is a feeling you’re missing until you find it somewhere, and after you’ve found that kind of acceptance, it’s hard to live without. I have no doubt I will see many more Vogue conferences.
For the next few days, Paul and I plan to see the sights. We bought a Chicago Go pass, which gets you into all these different tours, activities, museums, etc. We have two days to see as many as we can. Resting for the rest of tonight was probably a good idea, because we may be very busy in the next couple days.

This one is for Carol!

I am finally getting over this cold! Some days it still hits me a little harder than others, but for the most part, I am much better.

Projects currently on going, I’ve got the sweater for Carol’s husband, which is turning out great! I bought more of the reflective yarn with my gift certificate, so there will be more hats. I still pluck away at mom’s tomato bisque socks, when I get the chance.
Carol will be glad to see an update about the sweater; I know you’re waiting in anticipation! Since I am designing the pattern myself, the going is a little slower than I am used to. I’ve had to rip out a couple rows and do them a bit differently because I wasn’t happy with the end result. Actually when I first started I had to rip out the entire thing because my gauge was off. I used a basic pattern for a starting point and when I knit my swatch my gauge was on the small side. I know, that never happens!! My gauge is usually so lose; I have to go down several needle sizes in order to make the appropriate size. This time I had to go UP a needle size. However when my gauge was still a bit small I used the next size up as a reference because I didn’t want to keep upping the needle size. If I had done so, the weave would have been so lose, the wind could blow right through. I made a sweater that has this exact problem; while not that bad, it is certainly not a feature you want in a lopi sweater/jacket.
I kept my needle size and the beginnings of my sweater looked small. When I measured it up, I needed about 3.5 more inches in width, so I adjusted my size again and started over.
I am really happy I did, the size looks great and if my gauge is a little tighter because I am purling intarsia, it is okay. When I first started knitting intarsia, the thought of doing it purl-wise almost made me have some kind of aneurism. However, after Paul’s sweater and the Eagle Sweater, I’ve gotten the hang of it, now if I could just find a way to make the patterns easier to follow when I am doing it… That might take some time and trial and error though. We will see how it goes.
The hats! When I went home for my birthday I brought a few to show my mom. Like I mentioned all my aunts and uncles were there. One of my uncles drives a snowplow in the winter; my aunt grabbed the day-glo orange hat and declared it would match the shirt he has to wear while on the plow. It fit, and since it was his birthday on the first I gave it to him as a birthday present. After that, there were orders… many orders. I think this is going to be a Christmas thing. EVERYONE GETS HATS!!! They are nice hats, so it is nothing to sneeze at, surprisingly soft. I thought they would be rougher because of the reflective material running through.
Today Paul and I are headed to his parent’s place where Paul will be helping them renovate a bathroom. So, I am bringing lots of yarn. Paul’s brother, Chris, his girlfriend, Allie asked me if I could teach her to knit, so I am bringing the reflective yarn and think a hat would be an amazing first project! It would go so quickly and she would have a finished object to take home. That is what I am going with, in the round may be awkward to start, but I’ll keep a close eye on her and it should be fine.

Indecisiveness is the Spice of Life

I’ve started mom’s hat and scarf. To be honest I have finished the hat and am now just working on the scarf.

I found a hat pattern that has little eyelets, which swirl up from the hem to the top. I used a really small size needle to fit the gage needed for the pattern. You can’t really see that they are eyelets; there is just a hint of the pattern. Although it wish I had altered the amount of stitches needed and had bigger eyelets, the effect is rather interesting.
The scarf is something of my own design… okay, so I picked an interesting stitch and went with it. I made a small garter stitch boarder and then started this mountain and valley stitch. The very first line is easy enough S1 (for the edge), YO,* K4, K2TOG, YO* repeat specified section. Wrong side S1 and purl to end. Right side S1,*YO, Next two stitches go no a cable needle held in back, K1, K2TOG from cable needle, KTBL the SECOND stitch from needle and leave stitch on needle, then KTBL the first stitch on the needle and pull both off* and repeat. Was it just me or was that confusing?! I was looking for an easy stitch that would show up with the black yarn/mohair combo. I guess I don’t really know the definition of easy stitch… For the record, it looks good! Accents the yarn really well.
The mohair makes the Cascade 220 really REALLY soft and fluffy. I absolutely LOVE this combo. I may have some left over; maybe I could make mittens, or fingerless gloves? Mom’s also got some sock yarn to be paired with mohair; it’s going to make some extremely comfy socks.
I developed some project ADD this week and kept going from one thing to the other to another. I’ve ended up starting my grandma’s sweater and the Papaya Shawl from the Year in Colour. I haven’t been working on those too much lately. Since I’ve started work again my headaches have been more intense and more frequent.
Simple projects are the easiest for me to get on board with so far. I started the Tomato Bisque socks with the yarn Mom purchased from the Purple Purl. I did them in a simple rib pattern. The first sock turned out kind of small but I have enough yarn to do two more, so I’ll call that one a test sock. Which is fair because the yarn is so unusual. It is stretchy like elastic so I am trying to use a loose gauge.
As it stands I am trying really hard to focus and complete one project and NOT cast on one more…

Fiber Foray

It has been a crazy week; sale at the Purple Purl last weekend, the general aftermath of a yarn sale, going back to work, and of course getting everything knitted!

I started back to work August 7th for a half-day and last week a half-day on Monday and Wednesday. I am slowly easing into the work schedule, I haven’t done any concentrated computer work, it is exhausting. Aside from that, I am happy to, once again, be a useful member of society. Next week I’ll be working half-days on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Even though I will not get as much knitting done, I am glad to FINALLY be going back.
The Clapotis Scarf was going really well, until I realized I needed another skein to finish it. I’ve checked every store within a reasonable driving distance and no one has one skein of TFA’s Blue Label yarn in Iris. I’ll have to order one online.
This past weekend I went to the Purple Purl’s inventory sale with my mom. I was not prepared. There were people lining up outside! Mom and I left Burlington with plenty of time, I was planning for traffic, and so we ended up there around 9:30am when it opens at 10am. After a quick scouting expedition for a bathroom, I noticed there were already a couple people at the door; I stopped by to say hello, since there was lots of time to kill. This is where I met Lindsay, we immediately compared shopping lists and discovered we were both after TFA Green and Yellow label yarn. Close by and listening to our conversation, her husband, a bit apprehensively, asked, “So are you going to be competitively shopping?” We assured him he had nothing to worry about, there is lots of yarn and we wanted different colour ways.
Lindsay and I started comparing TFA patterns we had tried or were planning on trying. I went to the Purple Purl with two specific patterns in mind, the TFA French Braid Cardigan and the Julissa. After I told Lindsay I had completed the Terracotta, I Heart Aran and am currently planning the French Braid, she described another favourite pattern she found on Ravelry.
“It’s a sweater with a cable and lace front.”
Me, “With three quarter length sleeves?”
Lindsay, “… yes, called the Julissa?”
Do you think we have a similar taste or what? I really wish I had gotten her contact info because it is amazing to find someone with very similar pattern and yarn taste. I did mention the name of my blog, so perhaps she’ll find me.
I won’t go on about the time mom and I spent in the line, other than to say it was one of the more pleasant lines I have been in. Everyone was friendly and chatting about latest projects or what they were looking for, while peeking in the window to zero in on which shelves they were going to hit first. As soon as ten hit the doors were open, and it was off to the races, the line hurtled inside with laser precision and single-minded determination. An idle or apathetic person would have been in very real danger of being trampled if they were in the way. It reminded me of some wild bear advice, you don’t get between a mother and her cub… or bad things happen.
To be completely honest I didn’t notice how crazy it was until after I was already at the TFA container. I was turning to ask my mom about a colour and couldn’t twist without smacking people with my purse!
It was worth it though. I ended up with 18 skeins of Green Label. Spruce designated for the Julissa, Deep Sea for the French Braid Cardigan, and Brick.
Mom ended up with two skeins of blue Spud and Chloe with accenting variegated mohair, to become a pair of socks. Dye-Versions Bamboo Sock yarn in the colour of Tomato Bisque, pink and purple variegated mohair to be paired with a solid colour for a scarf and hat. Last but not least, nine skeins of TFA Green Label in Poppy. All of which is for me to “just knit up.”
Mom, I know you’re reading so don’t think you’ve gotten out of it that easy, I WILL teach you to knit. Then you can have all the socks in the world.
All of this yarn has been left with me, so I needed to ‘adjust’ my stash. The compartment filled with my odds and ends had to be moved upstairs, but other than that, it all fits. I have one box completely dedicated to the Mom Knit List. With all the new things coming in I am a bit overwhelmed. I need to make a list and prioritize.
Alanna was inspired by mom’s Poppy coloured yarn and is planning to make the Terracotta Sweater. Since she is going to order the yarn direct from TFA, I might get a couple things and we can save on the shipping. My one skein of Iris for example; I’ve also had my eye on the Sky Palette for the cool breeze sweater. All I’ve needed was an opportunity, **insert evil, and slightly hysterical, laughter here.**
I’ve always been hesitant to order yarn online because it’s so hard to tell if you will actually love the colours. In-store I saw grape and teal, I will probably end up finding a pattern and ordering those colours in the FAR future. I think I have enough to keep me busy for the moment.
Since I cannot finish the Clapotis Scarf without that one skein, I started the Julissa.

Top is the front cable panel, bottom is the sleeve cable.

As it turns out, there are two versions of the Julissa on Ravelry, the boat neck and the scoop neck. I probably would have preferred the scoop neck, but I’ve already started the boat neck. The good news is, if you’ve already purchased one pattern, you get the other one at a discount price. I’ve never knit a sweater with a scoop neck before, I am going to check it out and see what patterns I can adapt.
That’s all for now, I’ll be back next week with an update on everything. I will most likely have started something new by then. I am planning on alternating between knitting my own stuff and kitting the things I’ve been commissioned to do! That way everyone is happy!

Something Blue

You probably thought this post was going to have something to do with the wedding!
I managed to get a few good pictures of the Terracotta sweater in natural light. It really shows the attractive cobalt colour.

I also finished a scarf! It is made from the Dye-Version yarn in the colour Rustico. I believe the pattern is called the Bright Eyelet Scarf. I’ve had it on my needles since April; I am relieved to finally have it done!
Now that I have finished something from my black boxes of knitting, I was able to cast on something I wanted to work on. The Clapotis Scarf is really more of a shawl; it’s knit diagonally and every five stitches you drop a stitch and unravel it to the bottom. I only just started dropping stitches to create the small ladder effect. As I am knitting along, I see the dropped stitch and have a small aneurism. I think, ‘oh s@#*, I dropped a stitch! How did I do that?! How have I not noticed before?!” Then I realize… I did it on purpose. It is not something comfortable to do; most people try REALLY hard to PREVENT the dropping of stitches.
I know Alanna has been waiting forever to take a stab at this shawl I started working on it a few days after she started. We were both really surprised to find the ladders were not yarn-overs. Even though the intentional dropping of stitches stresses me right out, I am determined to finish.
Alanna is back from Lithuania as of late Friday night. I met her for lunch with my mom Saturday and gave her the second half of her birthday present. It is a personalized yarn bowl!
I knew I wanted to get her a yarn bowl, but I had to find a good one. The only close yarn store I know of that carries them, The Wool Bin, had few choices; I turned to Etsy. As soon as I found the Maid of Clay page, I knew this was EXACTLY what I was looking for. Alanna has a hard time finding anything personalized due to her name’s atypical spelling. Since Michelle is a relatively common name, I’ve never had this problem and realized it’s something I’ve always taken for granted.
It has been so hard keeping a lid on this; I knew she would love it! Opening it, she knew it was a yarn bowl, but guessed there was more to it since I was simmering with barely controlled glee. Then BAM personalized yarn bowl and my weeks of waiting were over. This is why I don’t buy Christmas presents in advance; I just can’t stand the suspense!
On a calmer note, the washer, dryer blocking is AMAZING!! It takes the whole process from two or three days to one hour, that’s right ONE HOUR. I didn’t start with anything too delicate or precious; one of my first wool sweaters that’s not a good fit. I put it in the washer, nobody freak out, and it was fine. The wool wash cycle puts in enough water to soak the garment for a while, and then drains it with very little spinning. The drier has a small shelf to insert so the drum turns around it and circulates the air within the chamber. You arrange your sweater on said shelf and let the drier work it’s magic. I found the wool cycle was too short, only 20 minutes. I ended up putting it on ‘timed dry’ and entered in the same settings as the wool dry and putting it on for an hour. Usually there is a slight amount of dampness left, but air drying for a short period of time would take care of that, or simply re-arranging the sweater on the shelf and turning the drier on again.
The sweater was not felted, stretched, shrunk, or disfigured in any way. I deem this washer and drier money VERY well spent.
That is all the big news for now, the rest of the yarn for Grandma’s sweater; I’ll have to start that soon. I’ll get updated pictures of the Clapotis scarf and decide what project I’ll finish next.