August 30, 2008

VIP (very important pr0n)

So important that it is showing up a day late apparently. Oh well.

I dithered forever on what yarn to choose for my wedding shawl, considering a surprisingly wide variety of fibers and colours (I'm not wearing white, so I have options). Eventually I decided that it needed to be something classic and pretty but subtle.

Zephyr laceweight wool silk in Sable. It is exactly what I was hoping for. It is light but strong and soft with a subtle sheen. I'm still on the first pattern repeat but so far I'm pleased with how it's working up. This shawl probably won't be the biggest project I knit this year in either size or stitch count but it will certainly be the most significant, the most emotionally loaded. I want to enjoy the process as well as the result. Work in progress photos coming soon.

I was also lucky to receive a little gift from Stitches. Socks That Rock lightweight in the Knitter's Without Borders colourway.

Great yarn and a great cause - no way to go wrong there.

The only other thing I have on the needles is un-blogable since it's a gift for someone who reads here. Just a little stash-busting something, but it's fun to work on. Here's a sneak-peek.

Added to the list of things interfering with actual knitting this week is this book:

Lisa Lloyd's A Fine Fleece. This book has been out for a while and I hadn't really had a lot of interest in it. The theme of the book is knitting with handspun yarns and I don't spin. I can drop spindle a bit but I've long thought that I'd rather knit yarn that make yarn. However a thread in one of the Ravelry Cable Knitters forums led me to some project photos and I knew I had to get a look at this book.

Do I need to tell you that I wasn't disappointed? It's not that often that I get a book and really want to knit even a quarter of the projects in it. That's fine with me (truth told I've bought a whole book for one pattern at least once) since I know that tastes change and inspiration is valuable. A Fine Fleece? There are only a couple of patterns in there that I don't want to knit. In many cases immediately - I am only being saved by the crazy that is my life right now.

As has been mentioned once or twice before I am a big fan of texture work and the cabled patterns in this book are incredible. They vary from reasonably simple to extraordinarily intricate. Each project is shown in both handspun and a commercially spun yarn (nice for us non-spinners) and the photography and styling are lovely. It's not going to make me a spinner (though never say never) but I think at least one project from this book is going to be on my needles this winter.

August 25, 2008

Ravelympic Wrap-up

It was a close-run thing, but I made it.

Yarrow Ribbed Socks
from Knitting Vintage Socks
Berroco Alpaca Fine colours 1288 and 1285

So far 551 sock put participants have posted their finished items on Ravelry! And team Ankh-Morpork Knitters Guild came through with 40 finished objects, only slightly behind our arch-rivals over at team Hogwarts.

At the moment my primary feeling about these socks is relief that they're done. They still need a wash and patting out, but they look nice. I'm a little unsure about the toe, which Nancy Bush calls the French Toe. Instead of having two decrease points, with one at either side of the foot, it has three decrease points and sort of swirls up to the top. It was interesting to knit but I'm curious to see how it fits, both in shape and in length - the feet on these ended up being a bit shorter than most of Adam's socks. Alas it will be another three weeks or so before he can try them on.

Toe aside the pattern was clear and straight-forward if not especially interesting. It's a good boy-sock pattern though, and those aren't always easy to find. The yarn is nice and soft and fuzzy without being too fuzzy. It's also kind of splitty (not crazily so, but enough to make you pay attention) and very fine. I knit these on 2.25mm needles and probably could have gone tighter. The suggested needle size on the ball band is 3mm, which I am guessing is not a sock-based recommendation. Certainly at my tension a 3mm needle would have made for some very open results.

The socks are a mediumish Men's size and I have quite a bit of each colour left over. If I reversed the main and contrasting colours I think I could get another pair from the yarn easily, so it was a good value. It will be interesting to see how they wear and whether the Alpaca content makes them noticeably warmer than 100% wool.

No time to rest on my victory though, I'm hoping the yarn for my wedding shawl will arrive early this week and that will be a whole new saga, no doubt.

August 23, 2008


State of the Ravelympics socks:

Nearly to the toe on the second one. I think I'm going to make it.

State of The Moozer:

Clipped, clean and not at all "doggy". Will it last?

Isn't it Yarn Pr0n Friday?

Misti Alpaca Laceweight, bought at the Make One Studio in Calgary. They had a great selection of Misti Laceweight, but just this lone skein of black. I had to take it. Not sure what it wants to be yet, perhaps one of Anne's little nothings?

Photographing black yarn: Kind of vexing.

August 19, 2008

Ravelympics Update

With four days to go I am behind schedule again.

I can't believe that for the last Olympics I knit a sweater and this time I seem to be struggling to get through a pair of socks. I think it's back to late-night marathon knitting for me; maybe I still have a chance. At least I can multi-task and get caught up on podcasts.

Ravelry members can look here to see all the amazing people who have already crossed the Ravelympic finish line.

I have been busy, but not insanely so. I have time to knit but it seems that other things sneak in. With less than a month before we move there is always something that feels urgent. Normally I'd knit to take the edge off these times, but lately I've sometimes been too frazzled even for that. I'd best get back on track though because the yarn for my wedding shawl is on the way and reality is finally starting to sink in. I've got a lot on my plate.

With all this going on I'm not making it to any fiber festivals this summer. But my Mom, Lynne and her friend Linda are going to be at Stitches this weekend manning the Swallow Hill booth. If you're going please stop by and say Hi. And if you're not going to Stitches but need to flex your credit cards a bit anyway Tina at Blue Moon has posted her new colourways (whimper).

Wish me luck for the home stretch!

August 15, 2008

Friday Yarn Pron

Noro edition!

The hat I knit last winter in Noro Kureyon was a big success so I figured it would be worth stashing a few more balls of the same colourway. Mittens, I think. These two skeins (bottom) turned up at River City Yarns in Edmonton.

River City is such a great shop and has a great selection - a lot of the standards but some yarns that I've never seen in the flesh as well. The staff is great and friendly too. I wish this shop had been around when I lived in Edmonton back in the dark ages.

We spent a day in Calgary as well and stopped by the Make One studio, which I hadn't even seen since it's expansion. Amy wasn't around that day, alas but we had a nice chat with Sandra (Hi Sandra!) and couldn't resist adding this skein of Kureyon Sock (top) to the 149 collection.

That was actually the second skein of Kureyon Sock that I acquired on that trip; the first was gifted to me earlier in the week. Strangely I would never go and deliberately buy and wear crazily mis-matched purple stripy socks but I can't wait to knit this into some for myself. Yet another knitting mystery.

Kureyon Sock 188 Thanks Mom!

There is more vacation stash to be shared, but I think I'll spread it out a bit in hopes of actually getting back to regular Friday postings.

In Ravelympics news once I got settled with the new pattern my pace picked up nicely. Sock one is past the heel and if I can get it done before Monday I think I still have a chance to finish the pair on time.

So far this is the most accurate shot of the colours in this sock - it's vexingly difficult to photograph. It's going to be a busy few days with friends visiting from out of town and lots of planning for the move but if there is knitting time to be found I will find it.

August 12, 2008

Hindsight is 20/20

I suffered an early setback in the Ravelympics on day two when I had to frog all work completed to that point and start again. With a different pattern.

The pattern I started of with had a sweet little twisted stitch cable detail. Fun to work and (in theory) a nice non-fussy accent for a boy sock. It was all printed off and laid out with the yarn ready to go on Friday. Unfortunately it soon became clear that this yarn and this pattern were not meant to be together.

The Alpaca Fine is soft and lovely to be sure, but it is soft and lovely because it is somewhat loosely spun and has a very slight halo. And the main colour for this project, Blueberry, is also lovely but is a dark, light-sucking blue. The result, completely unsurprisingly to everyone with an ounce of sense (but not me), is that the sweet little twisted stitch detail was lost completely and the rest of the sock was looking a little floppy.

I slept on it Friday night (not literally because: pointy!) and in the light of the morning knew I had to rip. Fortunately I was only a few inches in. Needing a new pattern quickly I did what I should have done in the first place (ah, hindsight) and dug out my Nancy Bush books and choose a nice simple-but-interesting ribbed pattern. A solid weekend of knitting and I'm back on track.

Since speed is of the essence I've gone back to aluminium needles for these socks. I actually started the ill-fated pattern on some Inox double points I picked up last month. The Inoxes are steel, which is wonderfully smooth and pointy but (since the laws of physics apparently still apply) WAY heavier that aluminium. They'd be manageable for a nice hard spun wool being worked tightly but they just weren't playing well with this yarn and I feared that I would be courting hand pain with the marathon sessions the Ravelympics demand.

So far today real life has interfered cruelly with knitting time, but I think that if I can finish the leg and knit the heel flap by Wednesday morning I might be able to have sock 1 done by the end of the week. Knit knit knit.

August 7, 2008


With only a couple of hours to go before the Ravelympics I have yarn but have not yet decided on a pattern. I spent a couple of hours last night leafing through New Pathways For Sock Knitters - and while it is a fascinating book and there are some patterns I am eager to try, I'm not too sure that completely rethinking the way I knit socks is something I should undertake just now.

The fact that it has taken me this long to get around to even reading this book says a lot. I received it for my last birthday (which is in November, for those who do not feel the need to check up on my Ravelry profile) but promised myself I wouldn't get 'too involved' with it until I finished my Christmas knitting. I finished my Christmas knitting Christmas morning (shocking, I know) and 24 hours after that found myself happily, if unexpectedly, engaged. That rather took over for a few days and a month later I moved to France and Cat's book was packed away in a box, not revisited till this week. Which is a shame, really, because I so want to knit through a few patterns in this book and understand what's going on but I fear it's still going to be a few months before I can really get stuck into it. Sorry Cat, your brilliant mad knowledge will have to be theory-only to me for a while more.

The yarn for this project, picked out by Adam before he headed back to France is new to me (clearly there have been interesting yarny developments in my absence). Berroco Alpaca Fine sock yarn. There's a good bit of wool in there too, as well as some reinforcement which I'm hoping will give it some spring. I'm looking forward to trying it though and think these should be some nice, soft and very warm socks. The lovely yarn is seen here reposing on my lovely new bag. It was a bit of a splurge, but I treated myself to a Namaste Knitting Messenger. Now that I'm knitting some larger projects again, I need a larger bag sometimes and this one has capacity. I think that it will hold a decent sized piece of knitting AND my laptop and camera if necessary. It's like a mobile blogging unit!

And warm socks will soon be needed, because by this winter we will be living in Kingston, Ontario. I don't know much about Kingston, but I do know that they have real Canadian winters there. After several years of living in milder climes it's going to be nice to have a reason to break out the heavy artillery (wool-wise anyway). Also it is close(r) to Rhinebeck, as Adam likes to point out (I think I've mentioned before, this guy knows his audience).

I won't be going to Rhinebeck this year though because I'm getting married that week. I know, I know this is like an NFL nut getting married on Super Bowl weekend. We needed to set a date pretty quickly after we got engaged and I was clearly slightly stunned and not processing information at full speed. Strange but true: in those few days wool was not the foremost thing on my mind. I've since recovered, clearly.

Here are some snaps from our vacation in July, click on the top pic to flip to the next one. Stash enhancement still to come!