Saturday, November 29, 2008

Actual pre-nuptial progress

With all the guests, decoration making, flower arranging and such, I still did manage to get the Wrap Me Up wrap done other than the "piping" at the end. I have to do that and then block it before doing the final edging. Knitting sure helps. I am taking my socks around today, in case I get to relax while getting my hair done or in any preparation breaks.

Thanks for the wedding good wishes. I'll be back to more in-depth knitting posting next week! And of course I will post photos of the wedding shawl serving its wedding duties, at last!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Pre-Wedding Means Little Knitting

Yvonne asked when the big day is, and it's next Saturday. November 29! Most of the weekend was spent doing pre-wedding stuff, like getting my dress, getting my hair done and such. Lee drove me to New Braunfels, where the dress store is, so I could knit. Only I discovered that, darn it. I needed more beads on the section of Wrap Me Up where I was diligently plodding away. He kindly took me to the Hobby Lobby there (which is really a lot cleaner, nicer, and well stocked than the one near me). I didn't find the same beads, but I found some round ones that were blue with dark pink swirlies on them. They look fine. And I got to knit a bit on the way home. Still, all my dithering about wedding plans means I am having a hard time reading and following instructions, so I am doing a lot of tinking. Good practice, I guess.

So, there isn't much to report other than a bit more on some socks and some interesting segments on Wrap Me Up.

However, yay for me, I ordered stuff. First is some yarn from Knitivity, and it arrived this weekend. That's it in the photo. The left and right ones are "mistakes" so they were discounted. I particularly LOVE the green and black one. Ray did, too, but I took it. The middle one is his surprise yarn of the month from October. Not all that autumnal, but I like green!

The most exciting thing I got, though, are three sizes of those new Kollage square needles. Someone had some at Chicks with Sticks last week and I could not believe how wonderful they felt. I just had to have some, to experience that marvelous cable in my own knitting. Darn the luck, I can't switch to them in the middle of my socks, so I will have to wait. But wowee, they feel wonderful.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wrap Me Up and pre-Nuptial Highlights

Wrap Me Up in Progress
Originally uploaded by sunasak
I finally got some photos of the Wrap Me Up wrap that I can share. Wow, this is one hard-to-photography item. It is so long, and parts of it curl up where stitches are hanging out, waiting to be attached. You just can't get a good view of the whole thing!

The first image here is of the last part I worked on. If you look at it up close you can see that the top part is a really nice twisted stitch pattern that would sure look good on a scarf or vest. Under it is a part with half linen stitch in the middle. And on the side are my nemesis, the bobble. I avoid them usually, because I hate how ratty they get after a while, but it was fun knitting them with the Cash Irhoa. I am now on a section that consists of a lot of triangles, which would make a really nice scarf (and probably IS some scarf pattern). It will get attached using three needle bind off. That technique is used in a couple of places in this pattern, with the bound-off edge on the right side, as a decorative element. I think it's a great idea.

If I finish decluttering my family room tonight, I may get to start attaching that part this evening. But, right now wedding prep takes precedence. I mean, I have to get moving! I have a wedding license now! (And our county apparently wins awards for its decorative licenses--I knew there was something noteworthy about this county other than having a round rock in it.)

The other photo shows the whole wrap laid out on my couch. It doesn't really tell much, does it?

And in knitting shop news, they gave me a little mini-wedding shower, or more like a "bachelorette party." They'd gotten me a really nice cake, of which I am sharing a photo, with red roses and a happy bride and groom on top (Pat had considered painting the bride dress red, but well, you know, ran out of time). I would have loved to try the cake but was so full from an incredibly delicious pre-Thanksgiving potluck at work that I couldn't cram any in. I will have some tonight! We had happy plates and napkins to go with the cake, and they put a red feather boa on me, so I felt quite festive.

I got some nice gifts--nice smelling bath things, some organic treats (plus a cute felt sewing bag), and the ever-so-appreciated Home Depot card (in a cute case!). Then there were the funny gifts. Pat had knitted me a fuzzy pink thong. Darn the luck, I think the hip measurement is TOO SMALL, so I will not be wearing it. There may be some photographs of it surfacing later--my phone ran out of space so I don't have one now. And then Pilar and Michelle brought in a most hilarious honeymoon kit with cute stamped message in two languages (makes me feel so bilingual). It contained water to hydrate us (I am sure we will need that), BOTH whipped cream and Magic Shell chocolate (gee, what is that for?) and a 6-pack of scented "massage oils" from our friends at K-Y. I did not open them all and smell them. Well, much hilarity ensued with THAT. It sure was nice to laugh and have some fun--see, I really AM enjoying my pre-wedding time like I said I would! Lee and the kids also got a kick out of the gifts.

I'll have to hide some of it from Tuba Boy, though, since he is dating now and informed me yesterday that it is entirely possible to be TOO sexy. I am so happy to have raised a boy with a healthy ego!

Now I just have to try to not break any more nails before the Big Day. I will knit carefully.

PS: at Chicks with Sticks yesterday, I saw some square needles. They felt really good, and the cable was silky smooth. Now I want some. I guess I better check it out on the Internets.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Comfort Socks Done and Gone!

Comfort Socks
Originally uploaded by sunasak
Yay for me, I did indeed finish the Comfort Socks on Tuesday night, got lots of photos taken, and then gave them to Suzanne so she can send them off to the recipient. it was nice to hear people compliment the finished product. Katy points out that my items look a lot better in person than on the blog. I think most of them look better full sized, too--you are always welcome to click on them to see details.

And for your convenience, I will put in a couple more photos of the socks that are more close up. Lee is the foot model, and he has larger feet than the recipient, so the heel looks wrong. But, in the end, these are very nice, serviceable socks. Shepherd Sock is strong, smooth yarn, but nothing to get all excited about. Luckily the colors can be quite exciting (these are subtly nice).

But since I was so good and knit these subtle socks, it was a real treat to start the cashmere blend stuff from Creatively Dyed. I did an entire ribbing section, but think 72 stitches is too wide. I think I will start the sock again at 64. The author of the Spring Cable socks said it could be easily adjusted, and sure enough, there's just a cable on the side, with the rest stockinet I can handle that. I don't want much to detract from the subtle flow of the colors in the Winds of Change colorway I chose (shown in last post, which, for some reason, got posted on the wrong day, but I have fixed it). MMM. it is pretty.

I got to do a bit on Wrap Me Up yesterday, and that was oh-so-excellent. Unfortunately, I saw that I had done a section in the main color that should have been the contrasting color. Then I looked and, lo and behold, that section was mostly the navy blue part of the main yarn. So, it contrasted anyway. I did not rip that. I did rip a few rows when I realized I had mis-read the pattern in the windowpane check block. So, I am still not out of my "knitting mistake" period. It's OK. I like knitting on that pattern.

I will have to sit down and do some Maelstrom, though. I am hopeful that a few repeats, at least, will get done over the weekend. With the wedding coming up, I have to do a lot of house straightening, so there may be less knitting in the next few weeks. I hope you can understand! I am SURE you can understand!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

4 Things Meme, New Socks

First: I finished one of the Mineshaft Comfort Socks last night! I had to separate the socks when I got to the toe, because I needed to readjust the stitches. I am so relieved that the end is in sight. I will be able to hand them over to Suzanne on Sunday, so they can be sent to her father-in-law!

It took a LOT of effort to decide what yarn to use next, but I didn't break out the random number generator this time. I wanted something cheerful with blue in it, but was not wanting to rush out and make socks from any of the new yarns. I then spotted a beautifully mottled cashmere blend skein from Creatively Dyed, as pictured. I want something soft and fun, and not stripey, so that will do. I think I'll use the slip-stitch pattern I was trying to emulate the first time I started the Mineshaft socks, only I will look at the instructions this time.

Speaking of the new yarn, I got a nice note on Ravelry from the dyer of the Accidental Knitter yarn. She'd read my review and commented that I seemed like the right person for the extra colorful yarn. What good sales strategy to write a personal thank-you note when she couldn't be at the show herself!

Meme, as Promised

I was tagged for this meme a week or two ago and hadn't had time to get to it yet. Since I am such a bad responder and an even worse tagger, I'm not tagging anyone in particular--if you feel like doing this, though, that would be cool--let me know so I can read yours! There is at least a wee bit of knitting content in this.

4 Things I Did Today:
-Uploaded a new biography to Eddie Collins' website.
-Ate some delicious oatmeal from the cafeteria.
-Gazed at the piddly amount of rain falling from the sky and wished it were more.
-Put a poppy as my Facebook icon to honor veterans.

4 Things on My To-Do List:
-Get nametags for the wedding
-Reschedule my hair appointment so that it does not conflict with a wedding dress fitting.
-Finish my Maelstrom and Wrap Me Up projects.
-Put my dining room furniture back together.

4 of My Guiltiest Pleasures:
-Bejeweled. It's the only computer game I like. It is on the computers, the phone and the Palm Pilot.
-Lattes and mistos. I just love coffee and steamed milk.
-Expensive sock yarn (duh).
-I love fast and beautifully made cars, even though I guess I will never again have one thanks to the economy and my guilt about wasting energy. Also I love trains. I got all excited at a train photo one of Beccano's friends took, just yesterday (this kid is an amazing train expert).

4 Random Facts About Me:
-I used to be an "award winning" Web designer. Before it became a programming job. I like writing a lot more.
-My favorite foods are butternut squash and salmon sashimi.
-I dated three guys named "Bill" in a row in my twenties.
-I am a very tactile learner, and I mainly knit because I like to touch the yarn. Also, keeping my hands busy calms me. I know, I am not the only one with that feature!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Let the Drooling Begin!

...Or, Suna Goes to a Fiber Festival

After a little frustration at my wedding dress fitting (I got lost) and our lunch (kid at DQ in New Braunfels was not all there), Deana and I ended up having a darn good time once we got to Kid 'n Ewe in Boerne (the drive over was really pretty, too). We didn't see as many people we know as I did last year, but we saw plenty. Mostly I was intently focused on getting exactly the yarns I intended to get.

The only real disappointment was that the JoJoLand lady wasn't there. I didn't get any of that yarn, figuring I can get it if I ever head out to Yarnorama in Paige (or however you spell that town).

We found all sorts of stuff, ranging from normal mass produced yarn from a new store in Comfort to yarn from a specific alpaca. I took lots of pictures, so I will share all the stuff I got.

Here we have some yarn I got from the booth of a new LYS in Comfort. I figure I really should support any new local place to get yarn, and this stuff is some sock yarn I have never seen before. It's Pagewood Farms Yukon, which is a bamboo blend sock yarn dyed with lots of colors, though primarily purple. It is incredibly soft and bamboo-y. I think it will knit up nice and mottled, and until I knit it, will be a lovely decor item. I also got a tiny light that will enable me to knit in the dark in the car or band bus, I hope. I really needed that light last night!

Next we have another sock yarn I got from a booth with a very nice mom and daughter staffing it. I also got one of those neckaces that look like a chambered nautilus but are really needle gauges there, in black. This yarn is pretty intense, and is from the Accidental Knitter, who wins the prize for brightest clown-like colorway, best color name ("How Cool Is That!") and funniest yarn label (it goes into great detail about the fact that there are cats in the home where the yarn is dyed). I know this is a garish colorway, but it will make darned fun socks.

Now we have our final sock yarn, or at least sock-weight yarn, since this is almost too lovely to make a sock out of. It's Brooks Farm Acero, that wonderful stuff that is wool, silk and viscose. The shades or red with a little golden color remind me of my wedding dress and are my favorite colors to wear. Who knows if this will be socks or a scarf--the yarn is just luscious. Very soft, silky and with a great sheen. I also really love the way they spin their yarns. Each one is very different from the standard stuff. This one is a very loosely spun two-ply.

Now, what I really wanted was some DK weight yarn to make a shrug and some cardigans out of. I found that stuff I didn't get any of last year, from Plain & Fancy Sheep & Wool Co. I am glad they returned. I love their sport/DK weight yarn, both the colors and how it is spun. This stuff is single-ply and has some thick and thin texture to it. I ended up getting two colorways. One is called "dip dyed" and is shades of gray and brown. They call it "black/brown." The colors look to me like they will go with pretty much everything I own, and remind me of the Mineshaft color I am making my current socks from (no, no knitting on them so far today--I drove for 5 hours).

The other Plain & Fancy colorway I got is one of their many lovely variegated ones. It's called Autumn Leaves. I think what they do is dye the yarn a base color, then splash other colors on it. I think it will knit up without striping, and I hope it will really liven up a more plain item. I got three skeins of both of these yarns, which should be plenty for a reasonable shrug, shawl, or light cardigan. No way am I going to be irritated at not getting enough of anything this time! Another great thing about this stuff is that it is from Texas. I like buying local!

The other yarn I got a lot of is really special. It is Brooks Farm Duet, one of the loveliest yarns in the land. And Brooks Farm is in Texas, too, which I forgot to mention earlier. This is 50/50 mohair and wool, where the mohair strand wraps in a very interesting way around the wool strand. I got this blue and purple color, thinking it will go well with jeans. And I got a LOT of this yarn: three skeins, which comes to at least 1500 yards. I really want a warm cardigan with some length to it. I have seen a number of nice ones in magazines and books lately, and I think this special yarn would really shine in a simple design.

Now, of course I had to get me a yarn from a specific alpaca, like I did last year. This was, after all, a festival of the alpaca and mohair! I found the owner of last year's alpaca, Miss Maisie, and found out that she is fine, but getting up there in years. She had her fiber spun into some pink and purple yarn this year. But, I ended up getting yarn from another ranch, Hill Country Alpacas. Deana and I talked to the owner a bit, and she showed us this precious new baby that had just been born this week. A real cutie that is medium brown with amazing white legs. I chose some yarn made from the mother of this newborn, whose name is Escondido Shadow. It is a lovely natural shade, and spun into worsted weight yarn. I got two skeins, which should be enough for a really nice scarf or some very warm mittens, which I need for football watching. I'll remember talking to the owner and seeing the pictures whenever I see the yarn label and when I get to knit with this stuff. I really like getting yarn with a connection to its donor! What fun.

One more item I got was a skein of Brooks Farm Primero in the same periwinkle blue shades I got last year (so I am skipping a photo). My goddess, this yarn feels practically sinful to touch. It is soft and has a lovely heft, and practically glows. This purplish-blue color is also really, really full of depth. Now I will be able to actually make something out of it. The dye lots are slightly different, but I know I can just alternate rows with each skein and it will be beautiful. It really is some of the loveliest mohair yarn I have ever touched. I can now make the CeCe shrug from it. If I ever get to it...

Deana also got some fun sock yarn, including a really nice Brooks Farm Acero colorway. I am glad she went with me--we had lots and lots of yarn-touching fun, and I enjoyed talking to her while I drove and drove through the fall landscape. It's really dry here, so the trees are browner than usual, too.

Well, we are off to a concert, and I will try out my little knitting light on the way. I hope you enjoyed my photos of stash! If you drool, don't mess up your keyboard.

Before I go...

Hey, before I leave for my day o' fun (send vibes that my stiff neck unstiffens), I wanted to share this funny knitting cartoon that my friend Jennifer as well as the ever-vigilant Tuba Boy both shared with me. Maybe I could get a PhD in theoretical knitting!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Anticipating Owning More Yarn

Tomorrow is Kid 'n Ewe! I hope to get some lovely new yarn there, unless all the Chicks with Sticks who went up today have bought it all already (oh sure, yeah). And this time, enough of any one thing to actually make something. I even made sure to know what I need for one project I'd like to do. Another thing I would like to make is a heavy cardigan. I guess I will look for one today and get the yardage/type down before I go to the festival.

Deana's going with me, and she will also patiently support me as I do my first wedding dress fitting. I hope I haven't gained a lot of weight! I don't think I have--all my pants fit the same.

I am still plugging along on the foot of the Comfort socks, though spending all last night working on our wedding ceremony meant very little knitting time. Of course, people would probably rather see a nice ceremony than have me stand there and mutely wave a sock around. It will definitely be a lovely event. We even have "what happens if it rains" covered--the officiant has an indoor labyrinth! I do have to get those socks done by next week, and I am a bit concerned, because I will spend most of tomorrow driving or looking at yarn, so that knocks out a big day.

The next few weeks I have to help Tuba Boy get his college applications in, do little wedding tidbit shopping, and clean the house a lot. Don't expect a lot of finished object posts from me!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Try, Try Again

Mine Shaft Comfort Socks #2
Originally uploaded by sunasak
Here we go, the second pair of socks from the Lorna's Laces Mine Shaft yarn. I am ready to start the heel, which I have to look up instructions for, because there is an interesting one in More Sensational Knitted Socks that Charlene Schurch used with this Sailor Rib pattern. I think the sailor rib is very nice. I slightly modified her pattern by twisting the stitch on every row rather than every other row in the part that looks like a rope. Check it out up close to see the pattern.

I assure you it is very stretchy and WILL go on a normal human foot. So, I guess I am feeling a tad better about my prospects of actually finishing this and getting to work on other things some day.

It was a busy day at the yarn shop yesterday, with four students, each doing different things or at different paces. I think I did OK with it. In any case, it was fun meeting all the new people, two of whom turned out to have been neighbors in middle school. What is amazing is that one woman recognized the other's voice. That is just cool.

Nancy was on the center of her Silky Kerchief shawl, and I decided to have her do a different short-row technique to turn the corner than I did on mine (partly because I thought the other technique might work better and partly because I can't remember what I did on mine--that is what happens when you wing it). The shawl looks small, but as I recall, mine did, too until I blocked it, so we are all hoping blocking will make it big enough to wear. Mine is still a wee bit small, but I used it Saturday morning and it did keep chill off! It sure is fun seeing someone try to duplicate your work!

Nancy also let me have her copy of a book I will have to make some stuff out of--it's all home decor items. YarnPlay at Home, by Lisa Shobhana Mason, who is apparently local. She's quite talented at using simple techniques to create lovely items. There are a couple of rugs I like a LOT.

The other thing we did at the shop was look at sock patterns. I brought my entire notebook and everyone enjoyed looking at them. I am glad I could share them--seems like lots of people got new ideas from my endless supply of patterns, which is what I tend to do, as well--even if I don't knit a particular thing, it can give me an idea. Pat was so inspired that she disappeared into her office and emerged having printed us out MORE sock patterns. This cracked me up--just what I needed! However, one was a nice pattern with lace going down the heel, which I might make soon, so her efforts were all worth it!

Next weekend is Kid 'n Ewe, so I am glad I had lots of students. I do hope to get some yummy yarn!!