It has been since I last bought yarn!

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Snowbird Finale

It seems only fitting to end this year on a very positive note- and so I give you, by far, the nicest (and most complex) thing I've ever knit to date.

I'm so proud of myself for knitting these I just keep picking them up and gazing at them- like I'm sure some new parents would do with a newborn.

Pattern: #06 Snowbird Mittens (Vogue Knitting Fall 08) by Elli Stubenrauch

Yarn: Koigu KPM in coloray 232950 (blue) and Regia Silk 4 Ply in 002 (white)

Needle Size: US 2

Notes: I was knitting these so tight that I had to go up a needle size to compensate- but I tend to knit very tightly on things I have never tried before. (hmmm stress much?) These aren't perfect- I still need to master the art of stranding the yarn on the inside, but I must say I'm proud of the valiant effort I put forth.

I should also note that knitting these has not placated my odd obsession to knit mittens. So much so that I'm already eyeballing other color strand projects. And followers of my Ravlery favorites page will note I've been going to town favoriting as many faire isle mitts as I can. I'm even considering purchasing Folk Knitting in Estonia (book by Nancy Bush) to get her sweet, sweet patterns. Geez. Obsess much?

As if these mittens weren't triumph enough- I also knit up the final number of hats- bringing the grand total to 52.

I won't lie. There were plenty of times when I asked myself, "why am I knitting so many of these?" this year but ultimately I know why. This is the ultimate stash buster project. I chewed through a lot of my acrylic stash that I had purchased and promptly stop using when I became a yarn snob. There are still in roads to make in the stash- which is why I'll be doing the "52 hat challenge" again. Anyone out there with me? (MiL I'm looking at you....)

Lastly but not least- even the purse project has seen some movement. I'm knitting the jaywalker pattern and decided to make the leg a little longer, given that I usually have so much of this style of yarn left over.

Progress continues at a slow pace... but it continues and I look forward to modeling these in the new year.

Looking ahead, I'm hoping to finish up the design on a blanket I have to have knit by the end of January- and of course with the latest stash enhancement, I can practically feel the yarn calling me to knit it. Next year you're probably going to see more of the same items-- sweaters, socks, and mittens- but you never know what will catch my eye.

I'm planning to spend the New Year cozied up to the husband, and knitting- which is just about the most perfect New Years I could plan. Have a happy one- and see you again in 2009!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Yarn Saling We Will Go...

In what has accidently become the BEST. TRADITION. EVER. the Mother in Law and I set out on Boxing day (26) and the day after to do our annual yarn saling. As a child I lived for Christmas morning, but as I got older- I found the anticipation waning. I feel like a kid again as I count down to the yarnie deals on the 26th.

First we headed over to Make 1 Yarn Studio- for it's annual Boxing day blowout. We waited in line in the cold, along with fellow obsessed knitters with a couple familiar faces. (Hi Viv! Hi Mary!) This year we were to the back of the line and didn't get a chance to pummel the yarn grab bags. MIL walked away with some lovely Art Yarns Sock yarn- yet I was surprisingly restrained and purchased nothing. (I'm kicking myself for not bringing the camera to capture her purchases - just check out her Ravelry page in the next few days... she's "felicity".)

I suppose I should stop here and say quite frankly- I knew what I wanted to buy this year. I did my research and stored the info on my iphone. I also went in with a few rules. No sock yarn. NO exceptions. This was a sweater quantities only spree. I also had three sweaters on the list and I hoped to fill them- I was a lot more discerning customer than I've been in the past.

So with empty hands, we decided to check out Knit One, Chat Too's sale over on 17th. I was fully prepared to skip this one this year as last year's sale left me rather under-whelmed. However, with empty hands, and a relatively clear conscience, I felt we should head on over. AND THANK GOD WE DID. I found my first sweater's yarn- which I had decided I wanted to knit in the yarn that was recommended. Say hello to my new Classic Elite Cotton Bam Boo!!

I'm going to attempt to knit Pam Allen's Cotton Bam Boo Smock Top (Rav Link) in this lovely shade this spring/summer. The pattern sizing called for 8 balls, but being ever the pessimist I bought a "safety skein" just in case I need more. Besides at 30% off the regular price it was a good deal. MIL also scored some baby yarn in the sale bins for all the baby things she's planning to make this year.

I could have probably happily stopped here- given that I was really excited about finding the exact yarn, for a great sale in a color I really liked. I was on a yarn high! But the promise of more yarn deals and the fact that I had a remaining $90 credit on my Pudding gift card couldn't keep me away.

Day two the MIL and my mother (a non knitter interested in yarn sale madness), schlepped over to Pudding to be the first in the store. We were the first in- but that little store filled up fast. MIL again, found some excellent finds in the sale bins, where I hmmmed and haaaaed- and was heavily tempted by Koigu. Ultimately I decided that I needed more information. So, after waiting for poor MIL in line for 30 minutes (not because it was busy but because the staff is woefully unfamiliar with the till), I left empty handed and we drove over to Gina Brown's.

Gina Brown's has been off both the MIL and my radar now. We went a long time ago and were rather disappointed by the selection. This time around we were awed- both by the line that stretched all the way around the store, but also by the selection she had. Gina's is BACK ON the radar! Ultimately we were scared away by the line- but we did wonder around, checking out the selection and mentally noting what was there. There were a couple of interesting things, including some baby bamboo that would have been a great substitution for the Classic Elite- so I guess if I decide to make two tops- I know where to go.

Deciding that I did want to buy at Pudding- we schlepped back there, where the store was a little less swamped. I grabbed some Noro Silk Garden- for the "everyone is doing it so I shall jump off the bridge with them" self striping scarf. (Rav Link)

I know, I know.... it's not a sweater.... but I've been wanting to make this for some time- so really, there's no guilt. So don't even try! Plus- 20% is hard to argue with!!

I also decided to step outside my little knitter box and knit with a tweed yarn for one of my sweater projects. And so- justified the purchase of the Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed- perfect for my intended 28 Thirty.

The pattern calls for 600 yards- but I bought 700, again, just to be secure in the knowledge that I'm not going to have a catastrophic heart attack when I run out with 2 inches left to go on the sleeve. I don't know if I could recover from something like that! (yay 20% off!)

And that is what I bought. 2 days, 4 yarn shops and around $200 dollars later- I bought what will probably be my sweater stash for the year. I'm also patiently waiting for the Loopy Ewe to get their next batch of Malibrigo in, for one last sweater purchase. I'm hoping someone will shower me with Loopy gift certificates for my birthday this year, so that I can have a little falling down over there too! (I'm shameless- I know.)

Stay tuned to the blog for the year end round up and final 7 hats (Hopefully!!) as well as shots of the completed Snowbird mittens (Hopefully!), coming up in the next few days.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Fighting with Faire Isle

So... I was into the mitts.

Really into the mitts. Like only knitting the mitts... staying up late past my bed time because I just wanted to get one more row done. And yes I made progress- but that little voice in the back of my head kept saying "just try it on". I hate that voice.

Houston- we have some gauge issues. It turns out I must be stressed, because these are knit at a gauge so tight they practically cut my circulation off to my wrists! And so- because I want to actually wear these without causing damage to my circulatory system, I did the only thing I could do. (Sensitive knitters look away...)

I ripped them out. Every last, pretty little stitch. Right back down to the beginning.

And then I just felt a little disheartened. I stepped away from the mitts. I stepped away from the needles. (I may have stepped towards the wine to console myself.)

I knit hats instead.

Hats don't fail me. Ever. I can just knit hats and let my brain wonder and the hats will always look right. Yay for hats!

But then... something wonderful happened... (Wollmeise sock club members look away if you don't want spoilers)

I got my half of the wollmeise sock yarn. It is gorgeous. GOR-GE-OUS. I keep fondling it and daydreaming about all the pretty differnt socks I can make with it. The color is regal. I need a regal pattern. Got any suggestions?

So- with the yarn in hand, and inspiration swirling around in little clouds of knitterly joy- I did the only thing I could do...

I picked up the Snowbird mitts and decided to try it again. I can do this. (Just on bigger needles...) Cross your fingers that I'll have some success this time.