It has been since I last bought yarn!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Loose Ends

I've been slow on the knitting progress this week. I had hoped to come here and show you my cute swatch for the next blanket, or perhaps a finished sock and some hats. But alas, our upcoming European adventure requires attention and despite my desire to pick up the needles I have to put having a hotel to sleep in ahead of knitting a few rows. (Bed is only very slightly ahead of knitting.)

That's not to say I haven't been working on stuff- I thought I'd use this post to catch you up on what I've managed to squeeze in amongst gasping at European hotel prices. First up- is my portion on my first WCOBB blanket. Behold... I give you the "quail" cable pattern.


I'm not going to say much about this blanket- mostly because the color palette is kind of paining me to talk about. WCOBB is about helping OTHER people and doing something very nice and kind hearted. It is not about "colors that Jen likes to knit with", as you can probably tell. The blanket's theme is "Butternut" and I decided the cable pattern I chose made me think of nuts. I do look forward to working on another blanket however- and will let you know when I'm knitting for it again.

I also eeked out some progress on the purse sock last weekend when I was in Saskatoon, (*cough buying yarn*), and here it is in all of it's glory. (I'm hoping this sock has a passport, because it's about to see a lot more of the world soon!)


That's a cute looking Monkey sock. And so SOFT! Can't wait to wear these little babies around my house in the winter!

And glory of glory- I also finally got my Knitpicks shipment for baby blanket #8 billion that I have to cast on. The cream color is a little darker than I would have liked, but I do think it's going to make some cute and soft teddy bears!


Aside from a little more "stash enhancement"- I wanted to share some exciting news with you. (Although I'm so stupid because I should have taken PHOTOGRAPHIC evidence.) My mom finished her first scarf and she still wants to keep knitting. She knit the whole thing! I'm so proud. Go mom! I promise to take photos next time I'm over there. She's already diving into a sweater project next, now that I WILL photograph! (FYI MiL she might be calling you for help when you get home... you've been warned. :-0)

Must dash- it's now time to gasp at restaurant prices and late reservation times. Not to mention making the agonizing decision WHAT TO TAKE WITH ME on he big trip. (And research local yarn shops!)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Triumph, Tragedy & Yarn Shopping

I am feeling the full spectrum of emotions on the knitting front these days. One minute I am swinging on bliss that my latest blanket project is off the needles, on the other end, I am wallowing in the mitten that bit me back just a little too hard. And whether I was celebrating, or wallowing- I also bought yarn. Sit back and let me show you what's happening.

Firstly- let's begin on a positive. MY BLANKET IS DONE and it is lovely. (And yes, it resembles a girly princess birthday cake.)


Pattern: Classic Ripples by Meredith Montross
Yarn: Bernat Baby Softee Solids in "Pink", "White" and "Soft Lilac" (Acrlyic and I'm NOT apologizing for it!)
Needles: US size 6
Thoughts: I'm actually very satisfied with this- it's soft and pretty and I kind of find myself having a hard time parting with it. That's not to say I won't, (because how many baby blankets does a childless woman need?), it's just to say I'm a little fond of it. BUT, and oh is is it a big BUT here- this is one boring pattern. B.O.R.I.N.G. If you want inane knitting- look no further.

So- feeling triumphant- and proud of myself I celebated like a knitter- and I bought yarn: (Totally impractical, but pretty and unbearably soft yarn.)


It's Twist of Fate Bunny Love- and it's part angora and silk and so deliciously soft I just run it over my skin to feel it sometimes. It's also insanely impractical, given that it's cobweb lace weight and I have never knit lace in my life. However- I feel like if I ever have the time to experiment again and my friends take a break from the pro-creating for five minutes, this is just the yarn I want to play with. I bought it on a wim at the "Not Sock Summit" event we had in Calgary for those of us feeling a little bitter that we weren't in Portland. The lovely Erynn brought the yarn- and apparently has zero respect for my yarn diet.

Celebrating more- I committed myself to a little mitten knitting, given that I have been so charmed by the Druid Mittens. I spent Friday in Saskatoon- and while my friend was at work, I snuggled up on her couch with my ipod and the mitten. I had dreams of coming home with one mitten off the needles and feeling and additional sense of "Oh My God I'm Awesome!" feeling.

Oh my God I am NOT awesome. Behold- a mitten so badly screwed up- I could not fix it. (If you want to sob, I'd understand.)


I started dropping stitches on the side cables. The yarn is dark, and small, and the cables are tight and try as I did, I could not pick up the stitches and they just kept dropping. I had to stop and face my fate. Restart. 75% done a mitten and I have to rip the whole thing back. Tragedy of tragedies! And so I ripped back.


All the way back... *sigh*.

All those tight little cables, bobbles and stitches didn't want to be torn up- so instead of ripping nicely, it looked like this when I was done:



I can't even use that yarn any more. I've wasted alpaca and I feel so sad!!! I still think I have enough yarn to knit a pair of the mittens again- but do I have the heart to do it? Screwing up that mitten really sucked the wind out of my sail. Suddenly I don't feel so keen on knitting on it anymore. SO, I wound the yarn back up, put it in a ziploc bag, and I'm not going to look at it for awhile until I can get past what it put me through. Perfectly good alpaca-- gone forever. *sigh*

Facing the brunt of my tragedy, I was left with no choice but to console myself. I bought more yarn.


This is "Jubilee Alpaca"- pure worsted alpaca yarn from a farm in Saskatchewan. It's another softee. My very patient friend in Saskatoon (who is not a knitter*) took me to not one, but TWO yarn stores** during my visit and I fell in love with this. Miss E took me to the "Wool Emporium" after I had a tip from the lovely Anne that they carried local wools and yarn. I walked into the store and made a bee line to the "wall of Sask". (They have a wall dedicated to Saskatchewan yarn producers and it is AWESOME.) The lovely couple who owned the shop were very helpful and so charming I coudln't help it, I joined their shop's club and I'm going to have to figure out a way to get some more of this alpaca- STAT. I justified this purchase by telling myself I'd knit the mitts I promised my father in law nearly a year ago. I am convinced that he is never going to want to take these mittens off his hands agai. I'm crossing my fingers that there might be enough for mini mitts for me- this stuff is glorious. I paid more "generously" than I ususally do for yarn, but it felt good to support a local producer and I couldn't not leave with this yarn. Seriously- I'm thinking about taking it to work so I can pet it on bad days!

And so, dear reader- it's been a big knitting week around my humble home. I'd experienced the good, the bad and the ugly, in a matter of speaking and I've survived it all thanks to the healing powers of yarn. My email tells me that my latest Knitpicks order is destined to arrive tomorrow or Wed and I need to enjoy my last little time away from the blanket knitting before it all starts again. Hopefully that's going to be a story of triumph! :-)

*Seriously- how awesome is it that she took me there on a horrificly rainly, miserable day? She is made of awesome. I shall make her socks!

** I also feel I should note that I visited the Prairie Lily in Saskatoon who not only had a wonderful selection of yarns, but an incredibly friendly and helpful person working.**

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Look How Far I've Come!

Blog posts have been brief- yes I know. Brief mostly because I am knitting the worldest longest blanket. I think I've been knitting this blanket for at least 5 years now. No- really, it feels like 5 years. HOW AM I ONLY 26 INCHES ALONG WHEN I HAVE BEEN KNITTING THIS BLANKET FOR FIVE YEARS!?!? What was my life like before I started knitting this blanket? I don't remember. Here is a photo of it in it's current status. (Goal is 38-40 Inches in length)

Since essentially this is the same picture I showed you last time I came here to post, except with a few additional inches, I thought I'd show you something else. Something interesting... something that I haven't told you about before.



Yes. That is a Blanket. Yes. It is knit in the most horrible acrylic manufactured. Yes- I am INSANE for thinking a blanket would be a good project to start on. To be fair, I knit a never-ending-garter-stitch-scarf of doom to learn the knit stitch- but this was my goal. My envsioned first project- an afgan. You'll notice that it doesn't look even in this picture, that's not bad photography, that's "first time knitting" skills at their finest.

This afghan took me a year to knit. Let me say that it again. I did not have the satisfaction of a finished object FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR! (Be greatful I didn't have a knitting blog then, imagine how bored you'd be!) This was knit in pieces- 10 long pieces I then sewed together. When I started, I knitted so loosely, so afraid to pull the yarn too tight. But then, as time wore on- I knit tighter, and tighter and tighter and TIGHTER so that the last piece was nearly half the size of the first piece!

To give you an idea of size- I took a photo of this so you understand my determination- the sheer size of this undertaking is knitting nievety at it's finest. This is the blanket- on my queen sized bed....


Please do not blame this sheer insane knitting idea of mine on my Mother in Law- this is a woman who tried her hardest to talk me out of such a huge undertaking. She was also incredibly supportive- when I envitably made a mistake- I'd call in her in absolute panic. (nearly in tears) "PHYLLIS! I SCREWED UP!!!!" (Yoda like in her wisdom) "I'm sure it's not so bad Jen- we can fix it up." Calm, rational, and amazed that I was still actually knitting the damn thing, she'd meet me for coffee and pick up my dropped stitches or tink back my work to get me back on my way.

As the number of mistakes began to grow, (OH she was patient... I think about it now and I owe so much help on mistakes as karma for my own), we got creative. I'd meet her husband, (my father in law now--- don't even get me started on what a TRAGEDY it would have been for my knitting had I ever broken up with my now husband!) over lunch since we worked in the same vicinity, and he'd take it home and my mother in law would look at it and wonder what I had done now. She'd spend her evening, fixing my boo boos and my father in law would meet me the next day over lunch and deliver the goods. She always got it back to me so quickly- as if she knew if I waited to long, I'd just give up.

Eventually I learned to fix most of my own mistakes- and I'd grind out a color square a night, carving a welt in my yarn tension finger, from pulling the yarn so tight. When MiL and I would meet she'd always gently comment that "it's getting just a little tight, you might want to loosen up your knitting" as if I was mostly doing a perfect job, when in fact, especially those last few portions, my knitting is essentially bullet proof.

But- one year and a month after I cast on, (and I'd literally go a month at a time without knitting a stitch, I can't even believe that now), I cast off. And MiL was there again- helping me figure out how I was going to sew those 10 scarves together, especially when they were all different sizes, due to my ever changing gauge. I eventually finished that blanket- and we, (MiL, FiL & me) all looked on in amazement- SHOCKED that I actually finished. Thank you Phyllis and Arnold for all your support to get me hooked on this craft- without you I'd probably not be obsessed! :-)

Then I took several months off... except I missed having a project, something to do- and so I cast on again. Another blanket... that took me close to another year! So I guess knitting all these blankets is really coming full circle for me. I started out a blanket knitter- and it will probably always be a project that I'm drawn too.

Even now- I've joined the Western Canadian Oddball Baby Blanket Society (WCOBB) where I'll be knitting 6 inches of a blanket for charity. I'm slated to knit the 3rd section on "butternut" and I can't wait to get it in my hands and add my piece.

Okay- enough chatter... more knitting. THIS BABY BLANKET ISN'T GOING TO KNIT ITSELF!