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rosamund’s cardigan from interweave knits, fall 2009.  details here on ravelry.

kick ass link of the day…check out this great sarah palin tribute sweater on the little red blog of revolutionary knitting.  crude and clever at the same time.  i love it.

on to my more mainstream style of knitting, i’ve decided to participate in NaKniSweMo this year.  this, for those of you who say that my blog is like reading the foreign language of knitters, is the annual “national knit a sweater in a month” event.

i’ve picked a project that seems pretty quick, the february lady sweater.  yarn of choice is dream in color classy in the colorway cloud jungle.

Dream in Color Classy Cloud Jungle

i’ve been admiring this color for quite a while, mostly because it is a bit odd. slightly variegated with every color you can possibly imagine. in the end though, it comes out looking most gray, and i love a good gray sweater.

my swatch grew like nobodies business, so i decided to go ahead and knit a size down. the whole thing is pretty nerve wracking. i’ve knit down to just a few repeats in to the lace and this is one tight ass sweater right now. if it stretches and grows as much as my swatch, i’ll be in good shape. if not…ugh! my knitting history has given me very little faith in swatching. thus far, my knitting success has actually been greater for sweaters where i’ve cheated on the swatching.

November Lady Progress  2 11.3.2008

after a little time off from blogging, i have a little parade of FOs to share.  the dreary seattle weather is making photographs difficult these days, so today i’ll just post a little one.

Nightshade Cowl Complete 10.28.2008

(Ravel It!)
pattern: darkside cowl by sarah fama
yarn: sundara sock yarn in deadly nightshade
needles: US 8 circs

the yarn is the from the most recent sundara seasons winter shipment.  called “deadly nightshade” it is a gorgeous variegated purple, varying from deep, mysterious plum to a lighter, icy lavender.  i was a little unsure what to do with it as it is pretty highly variegated, not something i like for larger projects.  so, i thought a cute, cozy cowl would be perfect.

the darkside cowl turned out to be a great choice.  i held the yarn double to get the an appropriate gauge.  it is really warm and cozy.  the stitch pattern is super squishy and stretchy, so gauge isn’t really all that important.

i’m really happy with the way this turned out.  great use of a single skein of sock yarn, and i’m always looking for uses for sock yarn that don’t involve knitting socks.  i think i’ve worn it every day since i finished.

i’m sorry i’ve been mia lately.  my work life has completely taken over the past month.  frankly, it is really miserable.  i think i’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel though, so hopefully more from me soon. 

during all this craziness, mike and i did manage to take a quick trip to san francisco to celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary.  love that city.

while there, i had an opportunity to do something i’ve been wanting to do for quite a while – visit artfibers!

artfibers photo cropped

i’ve been hearing about artfibers forever on the stash and burn podcast and i was really excited to visit.  i completely dorked out on yarn for the entire afternoon.  they have such a great setup, and i had the shop to myself the entire time i was there.  not only do they offer their own yarn, not available anywhere else, but you can knit swatches in any yarn, any color.  i tried out about seven different bases before selecting sweater quantities of two.

Artyarns Yumminess

i ended up with a cone of sylph in a beautiful purple color and a cone of ming in a pretty, buttery yellow.  i really wanted a cone of kyoto as well, but they didn’t have enough of the vibrant red color, which was the most appealing to me.  i have no project plans for either yarn yet, but i’m sure i’ll come up with something eventually.  they are both so soft and luxurious.  i’m open to sweater pattern ideas if anyone has one.  most of the patterns knit on ravelry with either of these bases are shawls.

it was a really wonderful, relaxing afternoon (very much needed given the work stress i’ve been dealing with lately), so i was really sad to receive an email from artfibers just two weeks later explaining that they are closing the retail location and will be online only for the time being.  details are on the artfibers website here.  since i don’t live in SF, this really doesn’t affect me all that much.  however, i found myself unusually bummed that such a great spot was closing.  i don’t know the ins and outs of the business, but i really hope they’ll be able to make in internet only or find a new retail location.  it would be really sad for the community to lose such a great resource.

anyway, i have a few FOs to talk about later in the week.

the popularity of noro yarns has always been a bit of a mystery to me. one of my very early knitting projects was the infamous booga bag, which was all over the knit blog world at the time. of course, i knit it with noro kureyon. i found the whole process to be utterly miserable. it’s hard on the hands, there were multiple knots in every skein, and, ferchristsake, there were twigs and wood debris right in the yarn! not to mention, and i know this is sacrilegious, i’m personally not a huge fan of the noro colorways. dare i say i find them garish? and, i absolutely love bright colors.

several years later, i found myself drawn to the noro striped scarf brought forth into the world by brooklyntweed. i admired the colors and the lovely stripeyness, but when i saw these socks over at the split yarn blog i went over the edge. absolutely swoon worthy. a few days later, i found myself at little knits (one of the coolest yarn stores in seattle, btw) and they had a great price on silk garden. i caved.

noro stripey done 9.11.2008

(Ravel It!)
pattern: noro striped scarf
yarn: 2 skeins each of noro silk garden colors 241 and 282
needles: US 7 addi circ

i bought two skeins each of three colorways, knowing that i’d end up using just two of them for this project. surprisingly, i ended up going with two colorways that created fairly subtle stripes. they are very different in saturation of color, but both are primarily purples with some blue, green, and a little pink thrown in. the result is that the stripes through most of the scarf very faint, purple on purple for example. although there are a few spots where they are quite obvious, green and pink.

noro stripey done  3 9.11.2008

i love the effect. it is a really beautiful scarf. i also surprisingly found that i did enjoy knitting with the silk garden. much, much softer and more pleasant that kureyon. i’m really happy with this knit and can’t wait to get more use out of it later in the winter.  incidentally, it was a really quick project.  the knitting went very fast and i finished it in just a few days.

i was at the beach earlier this week and the scarf got a little photo shoot, which was also my first time using my new tripod. you’ll have to ignore the fact that it is 80 degrees and i’ve got a sunburn in this last photo.

noro stripey done  2 9.11.2008

certainly, one of the funnest things about knitting is project planning. with the finishing rush that was the month of august behind me, my head is spinning with thoughts of fall/winter knitting and what projects i’d like to take on this next season. i have a bit of planning startitis, and every time i turn around, i’ve got some other pattern swirling through my head. there are, however, a handful of projects i’ve been eying for quite some time. i can’t wait to get them started.

i’ve recently added a new book to my knitting library, Custom Knits by Wendy Bernard of the knit and tonic blog. i loooooooove this book. really, i think it might possibly be the best knitting knitting book from those that have grown out of blogs. the patterns are beyond beautiful. i would absolutely love to have every single one knit up and happily making a home in my wardrobe. this is so exciting to me as i find, despite that knitting has become very popular in recent years, there are still a preponderance of new patterns coming out that are dowdy and unflattering on a multitude of figures. so, i’d recommend Custom Knits based on the patterns alone. however, what makes the book an absolute gem is that the patterns are all very easily customizable. many of them have options provided, but with very little creativity they could all be taken even further. also, all the information on making adjustments to size, collars, lengths, sleeve styles, etc. is provided in the book along with enough into to easily design your own basic sweater. add this book along with Barbara Walker’s, Knitting from the Top and I may never need another knitting book. okay, maybe the Walker Treasuries.

custom knits book

the arrival of Custom Knits has me thinking about a sweater project i’ve had in mind for the past several months. a pretty simple cardigan, with a garter yoke. after completing the apres surf hoodie, i’m pretty much sold on the idea of knitting more sweaters in fingering weight yarns. it really didn’t take all that much longer and heavier yarns, even worsted weight, often just feel too hot to me. i was very lucky to nab enough sundara sock yarn in the graphite colorway for this project. i’m pretty excited to get started and i hope to be swatching within the next couple of weeks.

however, i do have a few things already in the works that i want to keep making progress on…

namely, my wicked cardigan (Ravel It!), a noro striped scarf (Ravel it!) and la digitessa socks (Ravel It!). i’m sure i’ll blog more about each of these individually. i’ll leave it at this for now ’cause i like to torture myself with lists of things i need to complete.

august is almost over and i’m blogging to present one last FO before the month officially ends.

Juno Regina complete 2

(Ravel It!)

pattern: juno regina from knitty
yarn: sundara fingering silky merino in winter sky – 1 skein plus another 25 grams from a second skein
needles: US 4 bryspun flex circulars

mods/comments: i made just one modification to the pattern. rather than knitting in one length from end to end, i knit the first half two times and the grafted the two halves together. this worked out really well to create a perfectly symmetrical scarf and the graft is not noticeable at all after blocking.

i do love everything about this FO.  the pattern is really well written and beautiful.  it had interesting lace bits and long mindless knitting too.  the yarn.  i cannot say enough good things about sundara’s fingering silky merino.  it is absolutely luscious.  it feels and looks amazing, and i can’t wait to knit a full sweater out of it.  this colorway, winter sky, was originally a winter shipment from the season’s club, but is now offered as part of the permanent collection.

i guess this wraps up my august race to the finish.  i’m very happy with the results.  i finished three of the four projects that had been hanging on for just too long.  it feels good to have them complete and i can move on to fall knitting with little guilt.  the final project, my moon dance stole, isn’t finished quite yet.  i did make some good progress on it though and i expect i’ll be posting it as an FO within the next couple of weeks.

now with a holiday weekend ahead (yay!) i can plan my next set of projects.

after what seemed like days and days of finished, the apres surf hoodie is finally done!

Apres Surf Complete 2

Ravel It!
Pattern: Apres Surf Hoodie from Sprint 08 Interweave Knits
Yarn: 9 balls RYC Cashcotton 4-ply in Peppermint
Needles: US 4 Addi Circ for the body; US 3 Addi Circ for the hood

Mods/Comments: i fiddled with the sizing a little bit as i wanted just a little bit of positive ease and i am between sizes. other than that, pretty much stuck w/ the pattern.

in hindsight, i wish that i had gone a little narrower in the shoulders as the seams fall down a little bit more than i had hoped. i think i could have avoided this problem to some extent if i had done a larger gauge swatch (damn that swatching!). the finished pieces grew much, much more after blocking than my swatch. i’m guessing that the larger expanse of lace in the front and back just opened up more than my small 5″ swatch.

Apres Surf Complete 3

other than that, i am super happy with the final project. i really wanted something to slip on in the summer evenings when we are hanging out on the back deck and the temperature starts to drop. this will be absolutely perfect for that purpose, so comfy and cozy!

i absolutely love the ryc cashcotton too. it is ridiculously soft and easy on the hands.

Apres Surf Complete 1

what most of the world considers normal summer temperatures, like 80 or 90 degrees, we in seattle call a “heat wave.” it has been fairly hot this week and as the warm days have gone on and on, our house has gotten hotter and hotter with each passing moment. knitting has almost been impossible as my hands are constantly sweating, which fucks up my gauge and makes knitting generally uncomfortable. this is messing with my race to the finish in a big way. i can, however, report that i have actually factually completed one of my projects…

Candied Cowl Done 8.8.2008

Candied Cowl (Ravel It)
Pattern: None – made it up
Yarn: Sundara Sock in Candied Chrome
Needles: US 2 16″ Addi circ

of course, i finished the easiest of the projects. i love the way it turned out and i’m sure i’ll get a lot of wear out of it come fall and winter. it was a great use of the variegated yarn, which i always find difficult to deal with. i haven’t blocked it yet or taken photos with it on an actual human, but i’ll get around to that sooner or later.

the apres surf hoodie is in pretty good shape too. knitting is done and i’ve been working on the seaming a little bit each day.

Apres Surf sleeve seaming

my seams look fabulous, if i do say so myself. you can’t even see them! i’m really proud of how they are turning out this time around. even the set in sleeves are looking pretty good, something i’ve struggled with a fair bit. a year or so ago, i took susanna hansson’s “finishing for the finicky” class at so much yarn in seattle. i highly recommend the class to anyone who struggles with finishing or seaming. it is wonderful. susanna has many great tricks and tips. in addition to seaming, the japanese short rows she teaches are amazing. anyway, the last thing i have to do on apres surf is take out the provision cast ons and do the applied i-cord to bind of at the waist and sleeves. the weather is supposed to cool down tomorrow, so hopefully i’ll have an FO soon.

i have recently been a little bit overwhelmed by my number of WIPs. many great projects in the works, but nothing has been completed for quite a while. over on ravelry, a bunch of people are participating in “ravelympics.” [side note: cutesy knitting words make me want to stuff a ball of peace fleece down someone’s throat. i adore all the girls on the sundara boards, but i think the sundara stash needs to be confiscating from anyone who uses the word “sundarians” to describe sundara yarn fans. it reminds me too much of pearl jam fans who call other fans the “jamily.” barf!] anyway, the point of the ravelypics is to start and finish a project during the 17 day course of the olympics. it got me thinking about setting a silly knitting goal for myself to help me really get things done.

so, for the month of august, i’ll be racing to finish a number of wips that have been languishing.

1. the much maligned apres surf hoodie. [side note 2: dumb name. why not just call it the after surf hoodie? does that one french word make it somehow cooler? i guess i’m really pissy about words that bother me today.] i’ve talked enough about this knit. all i have is to finish a sleeve cap, sew up the seams, and block. should be easy.

2. the candied cowl. mindless tv knitting. 3-6 inches to go depending on how long i decide to make it. also easily completed by the end of the month.

3. seattle sky juno. i have not yet blogged about this particular project. i started it before i started up on the blog again, and i haven’t really worked on it much since. the yarn, sundara yarn’s fingering silky merino in the winter sky colourway, is absolutely too die for. the perfect yarn for this project and i think the FO is going to be spectacular. i’m a little more than half way done and i’m reasonably comfortable saying this one will be done by the end of the month too.

Juno Regina progress 7.9.2008

4. moon dance stole. here’s were it gets a little hairy, people. i would really love to get this lovely stole completed by the end of the month, but i have a really hard time working with lace weight yarn for any time period longer than, say, 15 minutes. so, i get bored after about two rows and want to move along to something else. however, i’m going to try my damnedest to get it done. i will absolutely not cast on for anything new in august unless all four of these projects have been completed. nothing like torturing myself through a knitting project.

Moon Dance Progress 8.1.2008

wish me luck!

p.s. i gave up coffee as of this morning. lack of proper caffination may be the cause of my crabbiness about “ravelympics” “sundarians” “jamily” and “apres.” 😉

Hello!

i'm chris. i knit and spin a lot. i cook and eat food grown and made locally. i fail at the "local" part more than i'd like. i am learning to be a gardener. i'm in love with two pitbulls and an advocate for the breed.

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