Sunday, October 25, 2009

Andromeda Unveiled

Finally I have had time to process my photos and show you how the Andromeda shawl came out. I have had a busy few days, but I am sure you've had plenty of other blogs to read, huh? So, here is the artsy shot of Andromeda resting on some ginger plants. I am relieved that I can see the patterning here! It's really different to see a shawl with such clear geometric patterns. I am grateful for the suggestion to make this one!

You can see from this photo that it is nto huge, but at least it does work as a shawl. In fact, I wore it yesterday to the yarn shop and today to church, and it manages to stay on, even though it's small. It looks great with a black or navy shirt.

Here you can not only see how I am doing in my project of growing out my hair, but also how it just barely manages to wrap around my arms. It does, though, add a bit of warmth to my shoulders, which are perfect for late autumn days in Texas! The snowflake on the shirt is definitely wishful thinking!

My son was very patient and kept taking photos as I tried out different ways of wearing the shawl. It does a good job as a very cheerful head-scarf, doesn't it? I was having such a bad hair day today that I almost tried this look while out shopping, but didn't want the Muslim women thinking I was making fun of them. (Our outlet mall always has lots of women in hijab, saris, and other colorful ethnic attire! I especially like the Indian families where the older women are dressed very traditionally, the middle-aged women have a few nods to tradition and the younger girls look like everyone else at their high school. I guess I am a big fan of honoring your heritage, whatever it is!)

Anyway, I am pleased with the way this came out, and equally pleased that I have a LOT of the yarn left. I will be able to make another very large shawl out of what I have left, so I will think about what that might be for a future project. I think next is a solid colored Shetland or Faroese one.

But to be honest, I don't have anything I am just dying to make right now. I guess I will just hope I can finish those lovely silver socks (I am on the heel of the second one) without running out of yarn, then make the arm warmers from the Rowan bulky yarn. I certainly have plenty of projects lined up, so I will just pick one when the socks are done.

I have been so busy the past week or so with evening activities and such, that I haven't gotten much blog reading in, so hi to those of you I usually greet on your blogs--I will catch up soon! And thanks to those of you who commented last time or sent me email. I am glad you are here.

Monday, October 19, 2009

I am a Video Blogger

In an effort to cheer myself up (oh has it been a hard day, plus I am worried about my dad, who's had a death in the family AND has a wife with a badly broken arm), I think I will post my first video blog, courtesy of my fun iPod Nano that Lee got me.

It's the locally famous Pilar showing her latest piece of knitting (in the background, Susan and John Francis provide their usual "commentary"):

I hope to show you some other projects by the people I run into, and I hope you enjoy the little vignettes! And doesn't Pilar look great in those stockings? She has a perky hat to go with it, too.

And here's one more little preview. This is Andromeda, blocking! It was teeny, weeny, tiny when it came off the needles. Like the size of a bandanna. Tomorrow I hope to show you the finished product, which is at least the size of a large scarf!

I hope someone is here reading--not a lot of comments lately, but then, I haven't been a sterling conversationalist, myself. But, at least I have a knitting problem to stew on, and those are less horrible than family issues: I have a feeling I do not have enough silver yarn to finish the Vilai socks. Oops. I will see if I can find more on Ravelry or something!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Peace and Quiet

I haven't gotten too much done this week. Lots of activities and even when I was at the yarn shop, I was so busy helping folks and doing other stuff, that not much knitting got done. That's OK. I really get a lot out of helping other people, and well, the chatting and laughing part is quite nice, too.

I am almost done with one of the plain ribbed socks I am working on. That comes from a lot of riding in buses with high school band kids! Speaking of which, since I have no knitting content, indulge me and look at the kids in their marching contest yesterday. See how many hearts, bows, presents and such you can spot. My son is one of the ones making the cymbal crashes, and playing the marimba in the front.

I have been really proud of these kids. A few weeks ago, this program totally stunk. You couldn't tell what they were doing, and they came in last at a competition. Last weekend they won a competition with the highest score of any school, and yesterday, what is in the video, they got a "1" (best you can) in the scholastic competition that is what they practice for all fall. People told the director it's the best band this school has had, which is amazing considering that some of the kids really could not figure out what they were doing not too many weeks ago.

Today I should have a lot of knitting time. I plan to FINISH that Andromeda shawl. By writing it down I am making it HAPPEN. I keep putting it off. So, look forward to seeing a small but pretty finished object in the next post!

The latest Vogue Knitting showed up today. I actually saw a couple of do-able projects, including one with lots of mitered squares that looked so fun. Who knows if it would look good on my petite round-ish frame, but it looks fun. There is also a cardigan that starts out with a cable in the back, then grows sideways on each side from that beginning. It looks like a me kind of project. I love unusual construction.

OK,off to really DO that knitting.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Stealth Project

I snuck a quick project in while taking a break between Vilai socks, the mitts for my son's friend. I really like how they came out:

I did it all mostly while talking or riding in buses to band events, so they aren't perfect. For example, I forgot to make a left and right mitt. All the cables are the same. But, they are very warm, and I should know, since I tested out the first one at a rather nippy band competition Saturday night.

Again, the yarn for this was GGH Magica, which is a 100% wool with two plys very loosely spun together. As you can see, it fits at least one teen's hand, so I hope the recipient isn't too much bigger!

Tonight I'll get back to the Silver Vilai and start the second sock!

It was a pretty good knitting weekend, cool and rainy. Plus, all the other things I had planned to do fell through, so I got in a lot of yarn shop time. It helped that Saturday's competition was quite late, so it wasn't an "all band all the time weekend." It is good to be back in the swing of things without so many other tasks interrupting my knitting friends. There was a yarn crawl going on this weekend, so the shop was open on a rare Sunday. A few of us regulars gathered and got quite tickled over some of our conversations. Most fun was trying to find balls of yarn that matched particular parts of human anatomy. You had to be there, I guess. I also enjoyed meeting some new folks who were yarn crawling--always a bonus!

Oh yeah, the other good thing about the cool weather is I get to wear all my fun knits. I trotted out the rainbow cardigan and Bridget!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Progress Report

How about me, I am posting a little more this week.I also did something I haven't done in a while--I bought yarn at the LYS! It's pretty impressive since I was only able to drop by for about 25 minutes due to an early evening meeting. The first thing I got was this, which had just come in on Wednesday. It is from a place called Handpainted Sock Yarns, and it's their Donegal Sock yarn. Look at the fun slubs and the very nice colors (I especially like the areas where one color blends into another. It's called Madama Butterfly. There's a lot of yarn on the skein, too. It would be neat to make socks and some little mitts out of it. Nice to have a new and different choice!

The other stuff is the Pagewood Farms Chugiak that the shop has suddenly started ordering in massive quantities, mainly because a couple of customers have gone nuts over it. I am happy to see new yarn, of course, and since I have decided I want to make a couple more things from the Cookie A book, I needed some semi-solid stuff. Theirs is very nice! This one is golden browns and is called Mississippi Mud. it has more colors in it than some, but I still think the complex patterns will show up OK on it. After looking at socks from the Cookie A book in multi-colored yarn, I grew pretty sure I didn't want to go that route, much as I love those yarns, so this is a good choice.

The other one is creatively named "Navy," and it is that color, too. I have NO dark blue hand-knit socks, so this will be perfect. I love the depth of this particular colorway.

But here's what you really blogged over to see. My first finished Silver Vilai sock. These two photos are done with my Blackberry, so it is NOT very representative or highly detailed. Even so, you can see that this s one spectacular piece of footware. This is the side, with the fan shapes.

And this is the front with the cool cables. This one is closer to the right color. Like the office carpet? Mmm, a classic. What you can't see are the silver sparkles. It looks kind of molten in person. The silver doesn't detract from the pattern at all; it's more of an enhancement. Anyhow, I am very pleased.

I got to the heel on my plain socks, too. I'll be working on them in school buses and such this weekend. I will also be starting the Dashing mitts, maybe today.

I did remember one other reason I was so happy with the Knitter's Magazine. It will enable me to do something with yet another two skeins of yarn that I bought on a whim. I got this Rowan Colourscape Chunky stuff at Fibers, too, and never did figure out what I wanted to do with it. But, there in that Knitter's is a pair of chunky mitts that calls for one skein each of two colorways of that yarn. Why I have two skeins of differing colorways! Woo! I can make those and either give them as a gift or use them myself! Boy, I feel virtuous shopping the yarn shop in my own house!

Well, I am tired of waiting on an email from the boss, so I am going to go home and enjoy a Texas High School Homecoming Football Game. It cooled off and I think the rain may be done, so it might be nice. And I get to see Tuba Boy!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Last Night

First, let me repeat that my silver Vilai socks with silver in them are incredibly pretty. Even dudes think so. I am really enjoying this pattern. Go Cookie A.

Last night a friend of my son's came over to pick yarn for some fingerless gloves. I thought he'd go for plain black or brown, but he chose a really pretty one that I'd bought with no real idea of what to do with it, the first time we went to the Fibers store in Brenham. That's it at right, GGH Magica. It makes long stripes and is worsted weight. It should be suitably "manly" but interesting. We chose the now-classic Dashing on Knitty. I think with just a few cables, the design will look good using this fun yarn. I'm real happy to get to use this yarn, and pleased that a teen actually ASKED for me to knit something for them. It's been a while since my kids asked, and besides, all they want is solid black (Ravelry link).

Actually, I gave away the set of mitts I'd made to test an easy pattern to share with the Mensa folks to the kid who works in the music shop we frequent, so that is two. The student who really took off from that course is churning those out now, for all her little high school friends. (The pattern was loosely based on one I found on the Internet, but now I have lost the original--I don't feel comfortable sharing the pattern online because it is just slightly modified from the original.) I guess I should make my own easy pattern and post it. These were knitted flat and seamed, and really are a good beginner pattern to practice knit and purl patterns on. Hmm. I am digressing again.

The other thing I wanted to mention was that last night I went through the latest Knitter's magazine before I went to sleep. I've probably mentioned before that the last couple of years I haven't found much I actually wanted to make in that magazine--they have items with interesting techniques, but that look either uncomfortable or unflattering, so I don't consider them (though I enjoy reading all the interesting articles). However, I found a couple of things that I quite liked in this one, especially some patterns using intarsia and self-striping yarns. Finally, something I actually LIKE using intarsia. There are afghans and pillows, plus a couple of nice sweaters--a brown textured cardigan that is really fun-looking, for example. Sigh, I wish I'd write these reviews WITH the magazine, so I could be more descriptive. But hey, at least I posted something!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

New Socks,So I Have Content!

Sorry I've been blogless for a couple of weeks--it's nothing personal, but I really didn't have a lot of knitting to chit-chat about, and I have been really, really tired after work. Had a lot of eyestrain, too, which may have been why the knitting slowed down. However, a new set of glasses has helped with the eyestrain, and a bit more down time has enabled me to get some knitting to show you. Here are my retro glasses. I guess one will love them or hate them, but I think they are interesting, and I sure see better now!

So, I mentioned socks. I finished the secret Koi pair and hereby decree that following the directions correctly made a MUCH nicer sock. I may well re-do the first sock at some point. I wish I could show them to you, but they have to stay under wraps. I love the way the heel on them came out. It uses a linen stitch kind of pattern, and that really set off the Koi colorway well. I hope the sock pattern gets published soon so you can give the pattern a try!

I decided I had a real hankering to make something out of the Cookie A Sock Innovation book. So I just paged through it, realized that I liked nearly every pattern, and randomly picked out. I chose Vilai. Then I perused my (limited) selection of solid and semi-solid sock yarns (90% of what I have is of the multi-colored-and-doesn't-look-good-with-complex-patterns variety). I decided that my beautiful Tempted Hand Painted Glam Grrl yarn in Moonlight (a silvery gray) would be fun. This yarn has real silver in it, like the Dream in color Starry, and also some silk. I am down to the heel and this is how one side of it looks so far:

That is what will show on the sides of the legs. The pattern that goes in the front and back is a bit challenging to do (features a cable with stitches held in the front and back), but I think it is really pretty:

This pattern has a 28-row repeat, so I have to look at the graph all the time to do it. Of course my printer is messed up again, so I can't make a photocopy (and I worked from home all week, so can't even borrow the one at work yet!). For that reason, yesterday, I decided to start a simpler and more portable sock. I chose my newest acquisition, which is part of the Intention Yarn sock club (I forget its exact name). Lime and Violet make the yarn, though. This installment is called Simplicity, and I just loved the woodsy colors as soon as I saw it. The yarn reminds me of being deep in the woods, with lots of trees, plants and moss, but every once in a while a sudden glimpse of sky (there are random tiny blips of blue in the yarn).

I really, really like this yarn. It's that highly twisted merino base that I love so much. It feels so soft it's hard to believe it's 100% wool, but it is. I'll be keeping this in my bag for school bus and waiting in line knitting, but will work on the silvery one every chance I get. These are going to be really beautiful, elegant socks. The others I think I will rib the top of, and wear them all the time this winter. Nice, basic socks.

I am taking a wee break from finishing the Andromeda shawl, but figure I'll get back to it next week and finish that one right up.

I made it back to the yarn shop for the first time in a few weeks (I have had meetings, interviews, kid events and YOU NAME IT interrupting my prized knitting community time!), and people said the shawl was looking pretty good. I just hope it blocks out a bit bigger!

One more thing: I got that new reversible knitting book last night but haven't had enough of a chance to go over it yet to review it. At first glance it looks like there are some VERY interesting cables and double knitting techniques, and some really weird patterns, with a couple of very COOL patterns. I will try to write more about it later.

Hope you are all well. We have finally broken the drought pattern here, so there are a lot of cozy, rainy knitting opportunities and cooler weather that has let me break out my recently completed projects. All good!