Jun 29, 2007


That's the theme around these parts lately and I'm loving it! Don't tell my boss though, he might think it refers to the work projects I have in queue and we all know how that could affect my knitting productivity.

In August 2006, I met my knit buddy Cindy and she gave me this beautiful Sangria sock yarn that she had dyed herself. Now, this was at a time when I didn't even know that people had such talents with fiber, so I was especially grateful and really impressed. She has probably been looking forward to this FO about as much as I have, so I'm proud to present, my Sangria socks - finally a pair!

yarn: Sangria from Cherry Blossom Fibers
source: Cindy

pattern: Garter Ribs, a 4-stitch pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks

This pattern is a breeze. Just really a K2 P2 rib row followed by a straight knit row. But it makes the ribbing look just a little different, subtle, but cool. I also really liked the slight change up on the gussett for these. On both sides of the heel flap, you knit a 3-st garter border. I like to think this will work wonders for reinforcing that area. That Charlene Schurch knows some neat little tricks I tell ya!

Look ma! No pooling!

needles: Size 1 1/2 (2.5mm) dpsn and circulars - I used ALL the knit in the round techniques to get these done.

A bonus: Thanks to these socks, I met my goal for the June KAL over at stashalong. For those of you who haven't tried socks yet, let me join the chorus and say that there is NOTHING quite the same as a pair of handknit socks. I tried them on last night, and when I took them off, my feet missed them immediately. If you find just the right pattern, heel shaping and fit for you, you won't be sorry.

We're on vacation until Monday, so lots of knit time in the car. I believe my next adventure will be a winter pullover for one my girls to wear on a trip we have planned to Canada.

What's on your pointy sticks? Has the finishing fairy been to visit you too? If so, treat yourself to some swag by entering Amanda's Contest!

Jun 26, 2007

Super Saturday & Ravelry

Woo hooo!!!

I got my
Ravelry invite in my email today and I had to laugh at myself for how excited I was. It was like opening a present and you sort of know what's inside, but some of it is hidden and you can't WAIT to explore it all. Great day in the mornin'! I'm hooked. Must save some of this for the wee hours when I can really indulge....Get your email addy on the list quick so we can be neighbors over there! Go go go!

Our latest Super Saturday adventure was a family trip to Sea World in Orlando.

Sea World Trip June 2007

Del made a funny comment recently about how Floridians take their vacations to other Florida cities and that made me giggle because it's all too true. The girls had no CLUE this trip was coming, and that just made it all the better. The sound of their screams when they realized where we were was worth the price of admission and then some. I'll let the pictures tell the rest...

For a closer look at the photos, check out our
Flickr Slideshow.

Jun 25, 2007

Another Shrug? Sure, Why Not

You'd think I have secret plans to move to a remote arctic village or something the way I'm craving (and finishing) wooly sweaters lately. Working for a NJ-based company certainly helps to justify my winter fibers collection somewhat, but as for the rapid succession of sweaters joining my to-do list lately (when it's 94 degrees on a cool day here), well...I really can't speak for it. Some of you are knitters and crafters, you understand the compulsion. The rest of you are still scratching your heads as to why I knit at all! Ha! :)

Well, if you've been reading here for a while, you know how I feel about supporting local artists - and by local I mean those in my expanding circle of friends and loved ones. To my delight, yet another superstar has popped up in my circle - she's not a newbie by any means, but she's new to me and I'm glad! Introducing
Sarah Wilson.

Sarah's a featured designer now at my
LYS, and one of the newest members of my InStitches knitting group. Sarah doesn't know it, but her latest design, the Girl's Best Friend Shrug has come to the rescue of my stash in a BIG way. Here are some shots from the pattern:

Now I know EXACTLY what to do with those 4 delicious skeins of Malabrigo that I bought at Stiches Midwest last year. YAY! Nearly 800 yards will be gobbled up by this beauty, and I can't wait! If you like this one too, just CLICK HERE to download the FREE PDF.

Enjoy! I'm sure we haven't seen this last of this lovely lady's talents.

Jun 19, 2007

Knitting as Therapy

I've heard small bits of information on the topic of inmates knitting, but this article gives some interesting insight and "insider" commentary. There is something to be said about people repaying their debt to society and turning out charity items for others. Good on them!

Jun 16, 2007

Travel Tales / Super Saturday

Yesterday I returned from a 7-day trip away from home. Another one of my classic leisure/business combos. I found out that my friend Gia was going to DC for a conference and so I hitched a ride with another friend of ours from New Jersey into DC. We had a good time catching up and exploring some places in the city. We also spent some time with another couple of friends and their adorable baby Zora. Korey and Kishanna are expecting again this fall and it was great to see them.

Eastern Market DC 060907
DC festivities on a hot Saturday afternoon

Gia @ Eastern Mkt
The lovely Ms. Giavanni

Tunde Marce and the socks 060907
Tunde & I with my knitting in public on World Wide Knit In Public Day

The Browns_2
Kishanna, Korey, and little Zora

From the knitting bag, 2 main projects kept me company during the trip, the Forever Jacquard self-striping socks

Forever Jacquard Socks on 2 Circs

and sock #2 in the Sangria Sock pair. Because the blue socks have both my KnitPicks size 1 (2.5mm) circulars in use, I ordered another 32# size 1 and will attempt to complete this sock using the Magic Loop method. My status over at the Stashalong depends on it. Wish me luck!

Sangria Sock 2 Close Up

How are things in your neck of the woods?

Jun 9, 2007

May I Present: The Hot Lava Cardigan

You have been patient dearest reader, and I will make you wait no longer.
After about 3 weeks of knitting on and off, plus 1 full day of blocking, my Hot Lava Cardigan made its debut in our photo studio yard on Friday.

Hot Lava Cardigan 001
Pattern: Hot Lava Cardigan by Blue Alvarez Designs
Needle: US Size 10 ½ (for collar) and 11 for sleeves and body
Started: May 15, 2007 / Finished: June 4, 2007

If you’ve perused my sidebar lists, you’ll see that this is one of the items on my “I Can’t Wait to Make These” list. I couldn’t add it to my progress bar list of course, because that would have spoiled the surprise. This shrug (it doesn’t really strike me as a cardigan) has been on my wish list for more than a year. It’s actually one of the first projects I downloaded from the web and stashed away to make. The only delay all this time has been to find just the right yarn – enter Noro Iro.

Hot Lava Cardigan 002
Yarn: 5 skeins Noro Iro, Color # 43?
Purchased at Knit NY in January 2007
Retail ~ $19.99 per skein (I won yarn money in Atlantic City – hee hee)

Noro’s Self-striping blended yarn is 75% wool and 25% silk, and if you’ve ever felt Kureyon or some of the other Noro yarns, you know that that little bit of silk can make the difference between “mmmmmm” and “yes, it’s a gorgeous colorway, now get it off my skin!!”. But I digress.

This yarn was mostly great to work with. I have to qualify that because the fiber itself was wonderful. There wasn’t too much slubbiness so my gauge stayed on track most of the way through. And the colors flow well into each other. That is until you come across a knot. And in 5 skeins of this, I came across at minimum 3 knots per skein. Uh huh. You know what that can mean for a sweater knit in the round that you’re cruising along with – unexpected and unwanted stops and starts.

Two things about the knots: On the one hand, it didn’t allow me to predict color changes in the striping as I would have liked. But I gave up a notion of perfectly symmetrical sleeves and fronts right from the beginning, so that was fine. On the other hand, coming across my first knot jolted my memory about using a felted join. Because these are all natural fibers, I was able to undo the knots, wet the two ends of the yarn and rub them together to felt them – then I just kept knitting away. Well, the major triumph here of course is that I used this SAME technique for joining a new ball of the yarn. And what does that mean? I only had THREE ends to weave in when I was all done. Beauty!

Hot Lava Cardigan 005
Sleeves knit using the Magic Loop method (very clear instructions!)
Shoulders/shrug knit back and forth on 24” circular
Back and front of the bolero section knit in the round on two 24” circulars

The other technique this sweater allowed me to really put to the test is blocking. It would have been difficult to show this in before and after shots, but trust me when I tell you that the shrug part of this was cutting off circulation and airways. After I blocked it, I could breath and smile and love it again. If you make this, you'll definitely want to try it on as you go - the shrug needs to fit well across your back, and the bolero section needs enough increases to fit around your back and curve just right toward to front to avoid curling. Knit and learn darlings, knit and learn!

That's all the news that's fit to print. If you're considering this project, do let me know!

P.S. I shared some of your compliments with hubby regarding the photos of my CPH, let’s just say he was VERY happy to get out in the yard and snap pictures of this project yesterday. Thanks you guys!!

Jun 4, 2007


Noro Iro circular knitting

The mystery knit is now complete and will be blocked in the next couple of days, then pictures will soon follow. I'm about 80% happy with this one, but that should change if the blocking affects the fit the way I'm hoping it will. Much of my glee comes with having used 655 yards up from the stash and completed it in under a month!

Noro Iro Yarn & Swatch

I had a mini crisis moment last night when I nearly ran out of yarn for the bind off, but then the Yarn Harlot came to my rescue (an old post, but OH SO valuable). I didn't end up using this technique because I frogged a few rows to salvage some yarn (grrr). But knowing that this was available if I ran out mid-way kept me sane.

Leftover Noro Iro - So close!
The tidbit that's left.

Once I show you the mystery knit modeled, I will try to remember to cover some key points:

- Pattern/Technique Specifics (the wooly details)
- Spit felting (sounds so ick, but works like a charm - less ends to weave in!)
- Manhandling wool - Do blocked knits really have more fun? (or at least get more wear?)

Shrug Sleeve/body junction

In the mean time, pull up a chair at the table, the discussion is going quite well and will only get better once you show up.

Jun 2, 2007

Passion or Pastime: Why Do You Knit? Let's Discuss...

Good time for another go 'round the table? I think so. But first! THANK YOU SO MUCH for all of your wonderful compliments on my Central Park Hoodie. Whooooweee do you guys know how to make a knitta feel good! I'm really touched by those of you that keep coming by here to see what I'm going on and on about, but having some new names in the comment list was this week's extra special treat. I'd wrap you all in cashmere if I could! As I said to some of you by email and comments, I'm very happy to help in anyway I can if/when you decide to start on this pattern. I got by with a lot of help, and I'd love to offer that back to you.

Another housekeeping item; for those of you who tagged me for my 7 random things, I'm not ignoring you darlings. I acutually did this over at the BriarRose Fibers KAL - and you can read that (and ogle great yarns) at this link. It does appear though that I've waited past the decent time frame for tagging others because everyone I would have picked already has their list posted. If you do leave a comment and you have posted your 7, let me know because I would like to check them out.

April 25 - 27 006

Okay, chat time. This morning I knit a few rounds on some socks out on the patio. It's particularly stormy and damp down this way lately, which puts me in a pensive state. I got to thinking about what it is that makes me reach for my needles first thing in the morning when I get up, and again right before I crawl into bed at night. More and more I find that my packing for any trip - long or short- is not complete without a project bag crammed with yarn, needles, more yarn, a pattern, my knit notebook and a magazine...and another ball of yarn (we call this project delusion). I acknowledge that I don't have any real "down time" because every spare moment is spent pattern browsing, stash fondling, blog posting, taking project pictures, soaking up a podcast or (gasp!) actually knitting. Where did this obsession come from? And how come it has hit me so hard?

As usual, I won't give my own answer just yet. I want to hear from you! Share with me and with the others here at the table - why do you knit? If you had to label it, would it be your Passion or your Pastime, or is it some wonderful mish-mash of both? If you're one that is new to knitting - welcome! Why did you choose this handcraft over the many others available? If you're a sticks veteran, what has kept you interested this long? What makes you keep at it stitch by stitch until the next thing comes off the needles? And if you don't knit, but you do put your hands to use in some other passion or pastime - tell us about it, and why you keep at it. Go philosophical if you like - it's totally allowed.

To add to the dialogue, I'd also love to hear about why you knit or make specific things. If socks float your boat, enlighten us about their magnetism. If baby knits, lace, or charity knits really do it for you, give us reason to join you in doing that.

As usual, share freely and share whenever you like, no time limits. I like these semi-regular chances to open the floor to you out there and to learn from you. And if you'd like to know why other people pick up their pointy sticks and cast on again and again, tell them to come on by! Give them this link and they'll come right to this post:


So, why do you knit?

Let's discuss....