Sunday, January 30, 2011

Crafting together is better than crafting alone

Today I had a few friends over for a crafting day. We usually see each other at our LYS (Local Yarn Shop), where we're almost exclusively knitting (and sometimes a crocheter sneaks in). But Suzanne & Holly wanted to sew aprons for their daughters and Jan needed to felt some things, so we all met up at my house to drink beer, eat brie and maybe maybe make some stuff.

That's Suzanne, using one of Holly's daughter's dresses to decide what size to make the apron. There are all kinds sewing supplies on that table, not the least of which is that awesome BBC Dark Star Porter. It fueled the whole day.

There's Holly, sewing away. The apron was so cute. I really should have taken a picture of it before everyone went home. Maybe I can get a shot of the finished apron at our next Craft Day?

And, finally, there's Jan, working on a garter stitch polar fleece scarf after starting the washer to felt some slippers. Note the spiffy granny square afghan, made by my husband's grandmother. I think it makes a nice addition to the plaid sleeper sofa & 1970's-era paneling in our basement. It's made from acrylic yarn, which Grandma probably purchased in the Seventies. That might have been the last time those colors were in style. I hope they'll make their comback soon, at which time I'll be ahead of the curve!

In knitting news, I have completed Scent of Lavender. It looks like my mom is going to get these socks, and give back the Herringbone from Kiel socks I made her for Christmas. (She's not ungrateful, it's just that I made them too long for her dainty little feet. They'll fit my gargantuan feet just fine.) The Lavender socks turned out beautifully: the lace patterning is delicate without being prissy and the variegated color of the yarn added interest and depth to the pattern. It almost feels like I'm in the south of France when I look at this pic.

Since I've completed those socks, I've started another pair: Milo, by CookieA from Sock Innovation. These are for my husband, who currently only has one pair of handknitted socks, which he will soon wear out. It seems that no sooner than I wash them, he's asking whether they're dry and if he has permission to wear them again. Getting a second pair into rotation should give me a little breathing space in the handwashing department. Who knew he'd like his socks so well?

The new socks are being knit from Mountain Colors Crazyfoot in the "Wild Horse" colorway. It's mostly dark blue, with some hunter green, cobalt & purple thrown in for interest. This is the second time I've worked with this yarn and I can't say enough about how much I love it! The colors move beautifully through the fabric without pooling or flashing. Just lovely variegation throughout. The pattern is challenging without being too difficult, but doing them two at a time & knitting from both ends of the ball might just up the degree of difficulty. I've made quite a few of the patterns from the book so far, and every last one of them has been challenging & interesting. My Bex socks got third place at the Kentucky State Fair last year! (They were up against some stiff competition: a pair of very cute child's kilt socks and a pair of stranded colorwork socks knit from Wollmeise. Better luck next time, I guess.)

Well, that's about all for this time. Next time I'll have a progress update on the Milo socks and maybe another project on the needles as well. See you then.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Snow Day!

It's a snow day here in Louisville. Whenever the local schools are closed, so is my office, so I get to stay home today. I'm trying my hand at making my own naan. I'm still not sure yet how it will go, as they're only on their second rise and I still have to cook them. (N.B. it didn't come out all that well. I had the griddle too hot, so they were more burnt than cooked and a little denser than I'd hoped. I'll give it another try some other time.)

Another thing I've done today is pack up the goodies I'm sending to Germany for a swap. I've been collecting things for the last few weeks, in order to make the shipping deadline, which is next Monday. The star of the package is this gorgeous sock yarn from Tyrannosaurus Knits:

There are other things in there, too. My swap buddy has told me that she likes dark chocolate and espresso. So I'm sending 4 oz. of espresso from Highland Coffee, a little bag of dark chocolate-covered coffee beans and a small box of bourbon chocolates, both from Muth's Candies. There's also a book by one of my favorite authors, Wendell Berry, a copy of Vogue Knitting and some cute little beaded stitch markers.

I've got it all packed up and ready to go! Now all I have to do is get to the post office. I think that will happen Monday, but I might be able to get there on Friday. Let's cross our fingers.

In actual knitting, progress continues apace on Scent of Lavender. The heel has been turned and I'm working my way down the foot. There's only about 3" left for the foot, so I can probably have it finished by the weekend. It's such a lovely pattern. I can't wait to have it done & blocked!

That's about all I've got for today. The yarn I special-ordered for my next project has arrived at my LYS and I can't wait to get my hands on it. But that's all for another post. Until next time, then.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

I'm (kinda) new here.

So, for a while now, I've thought about blogging. I haven't been thinking especially hard about it - it's just something that has occasionally popped into my head. I've been pretty active on Ravelry and Facebook for some time, but neither of those places is my blog and is not really the forum for longer strings of words and groups of photos. So we'll see how I do at this. And if there's even a "we" in this thing. Maybe my husband will read it once in awhile.

I've already completed two knitting projects this year! Three weeks in, even! Granted, the second thing was a really simple cowl that I improvised, but still. Two things.

The first thing I finished was a pair of socks: Sockstravanganza, by Kirsten Kapur from the Brave New Knits book. It was a fun project, knit from Cascade Heritage, with plenty of technique to keep them interesting. The cuffs had a lovely stranded fleur-de-lis pattern and the leg & top of foot had two kinds of cabling. Had I read the pattern a little more closely, I would have noticed that the back of the leg was supposed to have been done as a 2x2 rib. But I couldn't be bothered, so it has cabling on the front & back. I did, at least, know to do the sole of the foot in stockinette.

I've started my third project of the year, Scent of Lavender, by Stephanie van der Linden in Around the World in Knitted Socks. It's a beautiful lace sock pattern, which I'm knitting out of Black Trillium Fibre Studio's Merilon sock yarn in the Lilac Mist colorway. It's hand painted, I think, and just gorgeous. It might be a little busy for the lace pattern, but as soon as I saw it in the store, I knew this was its destiny. It's very pretty. I've got half of a chart repeat until I can turn the heel.

So, there's the start. It remains to be seen how well I'll keep up. Let's keep our expectations low, alright?