Thursday, December 28, 2006

why do i get bananas? they're only good for one day

A little bit of progress has been made on the Melon shawl.


I can only knit so much at a time, and then I have to put it down. The colors are looking pretty interesting - I can't tell if I really like it or not. I think I do, though. My mom likes it so far, and that's what's most important.

I went to the yarn shop today and found the 4-ply cashmere on sale (again!), so I bought two skeins of black to use with my leftover red from the hybrid. I'm going to make it into a stripy sweater of some kind. I don't really like how much this yarn pills, but I love the yarn so much that I am willing to put up with it. (No pictures because everyone knows what black yarn looks like.)

I also bought some Manos for my friend for Christmas. She's a pretty new knitter and she wants to make a scarf like one she has already - a stockinette tube. I got her some addis, too, and I'm going to teach her magic loop. I really don't like knitting with the magic loop method, but it's worth learning, so she's going to learn it. I have no picture of the manos because I forgot to take one before it got dark. It's a pretty purply color - not exactly the shade she wanted, but it's close.

After today I have yarn waiting for four sweaters. Three of them I'm interested in making, the other one not so much. I'm not exactly sure what to do with that one, the front is nearly finished, but it is very time consuming and I don't like it very much. I guess it will just sit there with the rest of the yarn until I can be bothered with it again. I also want to make venezia right now, before the rest of them (look at this beautiful one, I'm so jealous). What to do?

Monday, December 25, 2006

happy festivus!

candy cane

I hope everyone had a great day today!

Friday, December 22, 2006

very little knitting this christmas

The first week of my two week vacation is nearly over (it didn't actually start until Tuesday afternoon), and I have about two inches of knitting done. I gave up trying to figure out which shawl/scarf to make for my mom, so I just handed her the Victorian Lace Today book and had her choose. She chose the Melon pattern and asked for it to be 24 inches wide instead of 17, and maybe shorter than 72 inches. I'll probably keep it 72 inches long - that extra length is always nice.


The pretty purple Jade cashmere is turning into a melon shawl. The variation in colors looks okay - I think I will like it better when it is bigger. Right now it sort of looks like the colors faded in certain parts. I'm sure it will turn out okay, though.

My Christmas present was a new camera. The ever popular
D50 (thanks to Jared). I think in another life I took lots of photos, because I have always loved cameras and taking pictures. The last three days I have been trying to remember how to use an SLR, and I have remembered most of what I learned. When I was about 13 I used to take my parents' Pentax to school and take pictures of all my friends, and I sort of learned how to use it on my own, mostly thanks to the light meter. I really have no idea how or why the pictures came out, but they were always beautiful with that camera.

Here are a few shots from the last couple of days:


A flower, the cat, self-portrait (practicing with the wireless remote!), and a silly picture of my dad (that camera really brought out his blue eyes).

I also got an interesting shot of our Christmas tree. I haven't figured out how to take nice pictures in the dark yet, but I thought this one was pretty neat:


In all my 23 years I have never had a real tree, though my mom tells me we had one when I was 3, but I don't really believe her. We have always had a fake tree with lots of semi-tacky ornaments, some antique ornaments, and lots of colored lights. My dad conveniently threw away the fake tree while he was cleaning out the garage (it was about 18 years old, it needed to go), so mom and I had to go buy a new one. While we were driving around last night my mom suggests we get a real tree! I was so excited. This morning we found a pretty nice one and it was only $40. My mom picked it out (which is only funny to me because she's Jewish), and I think she did a great job. I decorated it tonight with lots of colored lights, old ornaments and candy canes. I think it's cute.

I have been reading a great book on photography, so hopefully my pictures will get better. Maybe we will have a little bit of sunlight tomorrow and I can get some more knitting shots.

I hope everyone is having nice holidays!

Monday, December 18, 2006

festivus (don't mind us)

How annoying is this?

what a mess

That Superyak is stupidly packaged, and oh it gets tangled so easily. I want to throw it in the trash, but I love the yarn so much, I am willing to spend half an hour fixing it. :-(

Please excuse the grumpiness tonight. I should probably not even post this, but I will because I want to remember how grumpy I actually am right now. See, I don't really like Christmas anymore and it is dangerously close to Christmas. I have been dreading this almost all year, and now that it's here I don't really know what to do with myself. It is all stupid, but grumpiness is always stupid. Maybe I should quit celebrating Christmas and start celebrating Festivus. I don't know if my family would go for that, though they might. I doubt it will help my grumpiness. I am looking forward to my Christmas present to myself. It's going to be good this year, and I'm getting it early, too - tomorrow. That will help with my grumpiness, for sure.

I just have to keep packing for my trip home and get the rest of my yarn in balls to take with me. How do you pack yarn for only a week and a half trip? I don't know what projects I'll feel like working on, so I am bringing a few options. The next post will have real knitting pictures, I promise. Something pretty I think. Definitely not anything in that black Superyak - there's been
enough black around here lately.

Please don't mind us tonight, we'll be back to normal tomorrow.

Sunday, December 17, 2006


We had our office Christmas party last night and Santa showed up with some really nice presents for all the girls.


(The boys got cash and cigars :-)

Every year we have a great big party in a tent outside my boss' house. Inside the tent are Christmas trees, lights all around and tables with gorgeous flowers (this year there were red roses and white orchids, cala lilies and tulips). We have a delicious dinner and she always has a dance floor and music for after dinner. As always, it was a great time, and the surprise diamonds made it even better.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

baby it's cold outside


Yak in Brioche stitch. Yak and Merino actually that looks just like oatmeal and feels like I don't know what - something nice and soft. It grew a lot after I washed it. This is before:


And after:


Prime Rib Watchcap by Elizabeth Zimmermann from Knitting Without Tears
Karabella Superyak - 50% Yak, 50% Merino in Oatmeal (I mean color #10150)
1 skein plus a little bit
Size 8 Addi Turbos
Took a couple of days - I really can't remember when I started or finished it actually. Sometime this week (yeah, this was a pretty crazy week).

This is really great yarn. It's very soft and knits up quite nicely. The lady at the yarn store here in Tampa knows how much I love cashmere, so she suggested I use the Superyak for some hats I wanted to make for my dad and brother. It is soft like cashmere, but it feels a bit tougher, and it's not as fuzzy (even though that top picture looks pretty fuzzy). I also like it for the men's hats because it has a manly look to it, but it's soft as butter and not at all itchy. It is supposed to be bulky weight and the sleeve says to use size 10. 5 needles. Elizabeth Zimmerman says to get the bulkiest yarn and fattest needles you can find to make the prime rib watchcap, so I thought this would be good. With size 10.5 needles the stitches were super loose and it was quite horrible. I went down to size 8 and it worked out well. I think size 10.5 needles would work well for stockinette stitch, or for something drapy like a scarf, but not for a hat. I wouldn't mind a sweater jacket out of this stuff, but it would be expensive. I'll stick to the hats for now.

This hat was knit flat on 60 stitches, but besides that I followed the directions. The prime rib stitch (also called brioche) is a nice open rib, and is more fun to make than regular ribbing. I could have gotten away with using only one skein, but I didn't know that it would grow so much after washing. I know that's why you're supposed to wash your swatches, but I always just rip them out and use that yarn to start knitting.

This one is for my dad, and I have some black Superyak for my brother. I'm still looking for a pattern to use for his hat and my hat. I was thinking of Odessa for me, or a modified version of it somehow. I still have no good ideas for my brother, besides a plain old hat in the round. I have some time to figure it out.

One more thing about the yarn - it comes in these weird hanks that don't fit on the swift. I had to hold it on my arm while I wound it, and made a little bit of a mess with the second go. I don't really understand why they make it this way, but at least it's not lace weight!

Karabella Superyak

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

pretty lights on the tree

The Christmas Hybrid by Natalie, thanks to Elizabeth Zimmermann

Christmas Hybrid

Seamless Hybrid by Elizabeth Zimmermann from Knitting Without Tears
Jade Sapphire 4-ply Cashmere, about 1200 yards
Size 4 Addi's for the body, size 3 for the edges
September 24 - November 26, 2006
Finished Size - 36"

Named Christmas Hybrid because the yarn was a "Christmas present" to myself, and because it's red. Not just red, crazy red. The Seamless Hybrid is a recipe, not a strict pattern, but
I'm sure people already know about it, so I won't go on too much. It really is seamless, though there is some grafting involved, but I love to graft - I think it's great fun.

I had to
re-knit the back saddle and get rid of a few stitches by knitting two of the body stitches with one saddle stitch (this probably makes no sense, sorry), because the back ended up sort of bubbly. A little steam from the iron helped to fix that as well. I didn't fully block this sweater, but just steamed it a bit, which was enough to relax it a bit and make the decrease seams around the top look better.

Christmas Hybrid

I added shaping in the waist to get rid of about 5 inches, so it fits me pretty well. I don't like the collar, but I will do something with that one day when I have the energy to rip it all out again. I would like it to be wider and rounder - right now it is quite square. This is the third sweater I've ever made, so I don't really have all the fit and finishing tricks down yet. They get better every time, though.

I have almost 3 balls of this yarn left. I can't decide if I want to buy another color and make a stripy sweater (I was thinking black and red), or use it for something else. It pills like crazy, but it makes up for that with its softness. I bought a sweater shaver just for this one. :)

Sunday, December 03, 2006


The Alpine Knit Scarf is complete:

Alpine Knit Scarf

Alpine Knit Scarf

Alpine Knit Scarf
Victorian Lace Today
Jade Sapphire 2-ply Cashmere, just over 800 yards
Size 4 addi turbos
60"x18" blocked
44"x18" before blocking
November 18 - December 3, 2006

The book says the pattern is from 1847, and was designed by a lady named Jane Gaugain. It is knitted as one piece, and the points on the edges are made during blocking. I made no modifications, but there is a tiny error on one of the charts. There is a knit square where there should be a purl square on the chart for the center, but it is very obvious. They call it a scarf, but I think it's really more like a stole. It's wide enough to wrap yourself in and keep your arms warm.

I used some leftover Koigu to help with the blocking. The pins weren't working on their own, so I tried the Yarn Harlot's method for the second time. It didn't work very well the first time I tried it, but this time it helped a bit. It makes me want some blocking wires for Christmas, or just to only make lace with all scalloped edges.

Alpine Knit Scarf

I can't believe I have to give this away -it is one of my favorite things I've ever made. The pattern is so pretty and the fabric drapes perfectly. I will have to make another and keep it for myself.

This is a Christmas present for my boss' wife, who is one of my favorite people in the world. Whenever I wear my
Print o' the Wave, she always asks me to make her one. She has a very classic style, her clothes are all very simple, but when she decorates her house it is very opulent and rich, and she always likes things that look like they were from Victorian times. I think she'll like this piece, and it's black so she can wear it with nearly anything. We have a fancy dinner to go to next Saturday, so I'm going to give it to her early in case she wants to wear it to the dinner. They are going to London for Christmas, so hopefully she'll be able to use it there, too. She certainly won't get many opportunities to wear it here in Florida.

People (non-knitters) sometimes ask me how long it takes me to make things. I always sort of try to figure it out and say a few weeks, or a few months. One of my friends asked how many hours it took to make a pair of socks. I had no idea, because it takes me more than hours to do it, so I told him maybe ten or twelve hours, but I still have no idea. Because of this I tried to keep track of how many hours it took to make the scarf. I got to about 17 hours and then lost track, but I think I worked out it would take about 22 hours with the average time per repeat. So whenever people tell me I should sell my knitting, I just tell them it would be too expensive. I'm sure a lot of knitters have that conversation with people.

Here are some more pictures:

Alpine Knit Scarf

Alpine Knit Scarf

There are more on flickr, if you click on one of the pictures it will take you there. I don't think it's harder to knit black lace, but I think it's harder to photograph it.

I have too much to say and show for one day, so I will save the other things for tomorrow and then I can have two posts in one week instead of just one. :-D