Sunday, January 29, 2006

Secret Pal Strikes!

I returned from a weekend of camping with the in-laws in the desert (we won't go there), to find a package for me from my secret pal. I love receiving packages. Unexpected ones are even better.

What did I find in my package? A handcrafted card and several gifts along the "winter blues" theme. I'm new to the Secret Pal stuff and I never though of a them, but I like it.

  1. Handcrafted card
  2. cute glass bubble magnets
  3. choxie peanut butter pretzel candy bar (which my kids and DH helped me devour)
  4. 3 skeins of Manos del Uruguay cotton Strias in turquoise (so soft & lovely)

Thank you so much secret pal. I love the gifts. I see from the postmark that you are from NY. I hope you are staying warm. Fortunately for me, San Diego really doesn't have a winter but I'm from the east coast so I know what a real winter is. Pics to follow soon.

I'm already planning/plotting what to make with the manos cotton. I just love softness of manos and the subtle color variations of kettle-dyed yarn. I may just have to make this. I think I'll make the Chevron tank from Rebecca #29.

I'm really lovin' this secret pal thing (who doesn't want to get spoiled). Now I need to get on the ball and mail a package to my SP.

On another note, I didn't get anything done on FLAK. I did however start the Heart Throb sweater for my daughter with the GGH Bali in pink. (Yeah, I know I'm not supposed to start a new project until I finish one and am up to date with FLAK). I figured the I needed something easy for the camping weekend. I go a few inches of it done after having to restart twice due to my mistakes (I couldn't seem to do k4, p4 across a row consistently).

I ordered the Rowan Kidsilk haze for Elfin that I plan to knit for the knitting Olympics. I chose the color majestic and I hope it will look good with the bilberry color. I ordered only 2 skeins (that's all they had). Shipping was free, we'll how long it takes to get here from England.

Monday, January 23, 2006

FLAK Part 3

I washed and blocked my cable swatch. I think I squashed the cables a bit trying to get the extra water out. I had to stretch the moss stitch section out a bit to get to be the same row height as the rest of the sweater.

The saddles are on the needles and I should have them finished before the next part is published. I'm trying really hard to keep pace but I'm bad at focusing on one project. I also have the WCTP to finish, 2 pairs of mitten in Lamb's Pride, and a scarf.

I signed up for the Knitting Olympics over at Yarn Harlot. Crazy me is going to attempt to finish Rowan Elfin in 16 days. The sweater isn't too bad except for those Kid Silk Haze ruffles. I guess I'm just a glutton for punishment. Anyway, I have the felted tweed already and I just need to choose a color of Kid Silk Haze to match.

I think I can. I think I can. I'll save at bit by making the arm ruffles into a single instead of three.

On a stash enhancement note I picked up some Rowan Felted tweed for some fingerless gloves for DH in a manly gray color.

I've also set a goal to make Sophia the Heart sweater from Jaeger pattern. I already purchased some GGH Bali in pink for this sweater. Her birthday is on the 19th, so I want to finish by then.

Even better if I finish it by Valentine's day. I plan to also finish Fletcher hooded sweater in Cotton-ease from Rowan Pipsqueaks for Vance.

I have to redo one shoulder, hood and finish. It was supposed to be completed for his birthday in June. I really need to finish it before he grows out of it.

That's all that's on my plate at them moment (not really). I promised to myself to finish for stuff. I'm better at the small stuff, quicker and less finishing.

My job contract is currently through February, so until then my knitting is limited to the evening and weekends. So much to knit, so little time.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

SP and Finally Pics!

I received a wonderful e-card from my secret pal. She kindly reminded me to post my questionnaire (I was a bit confused on the dates and didn't think anything was happening until the 15th). Thank you secret pal. I hope I've given you enough information about me. I'll try to post more regularly on my blog and share my knitting ups and downs. Just let me know if I commit any SP faux pas as this is my 1st participation. I'm so excited. I love surprises as much as I love to give them.

Okay. Finally I have pics to post on my blog so it won't be so boring.
FOs first.
I have two
My Hat of Choice , pattern courtesy of SouleMama

This one is Manos in chartreuse color.

Hat #2 is Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride in Chianti, which knit at the same gauge as Manos. This is a quick easy and great pattern for a hat. Unfortunately, both of these are gifts but I plan to make on for myself.

More Hats Completed (actually before Xmas but I'll post anyway)

My son modeling my daughter's cabled hat in Gedifra Fashion Trend Stripe Fino. This is one of the wool/acrylic blends that feels too acrylicy to me, but its pretty. I made this hat a little too small as well. I should have accounted for the cables not stretching much.

Another hat completed.

This one is Cameron's Cap in Reynold's Odyssey a luscious and soft merino yarn with a subtle striping effect. At $10 per 100 yds, its pricey but very nice yarn.

We Call Them Pirates hat is coming along nicely. A progress pic.

I'm already at the decreases and sadly the hat is too small for intended recipient. I thought adult pattern at 26 sts per inch knit with Dale Baby Ull at 32 sts per inch would be the right size for a toddler. Well, its more like baby sized. The fairisle doesn't stretch much like other knitted hats do. I'll just have to wait for an expecting mom who likes skulls and crossbones for her baby. I almost forget, there's a skull mitten pattern as well. I'll be trying that one out soon.

FLAK (Follow the Leader Aran Knitalong) Update -- I'm on 2nd round of swatching the cables. I ripped out the one on #6 addi and started again on #4 Bryspun circular. I like the #4 version much better, the cables are better and more defined. With the fact that the Cascade 220 seems to relax and grow a little after washing, I'm much better off on the #4. I'm a little behind but as long as the swatch is finished this week and I start on the saddle this weekend, I'll be fine.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Secret Pal 7 (SP7) Questionnaire

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer higher quality and/or natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand?

Yes, I prefer natural fibers and quality does make a difference. I figure my time is valuable so why put my efforts into using cheap yarn. However, I’m not a brand snob, I’ve used Lion Brand Cotton-ease (sadly, now discountinued) and TLC Cotton plus. I really like Patons Classic Merino. I will use a good quality cotton/acrylic or wool/acrylic blend but as a rule, I don’t like acrylics.

2. Do you spin? Crochet?

I don’t spin (though I’ve always been interested in learining). I know how to crochet but as a rule I don’t crochet unless it is an edging on a knitted item.

3. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?

Anywhere I can find to put them. For the most part I have no organization other than I like to keep them in the original packaging (usually a plastic pouch). My needles always end up in my project bags anyways. Needle keepers are probably not for me. I use circulars almost exclusively, and douple points when I have to or don’t have two circs in the same size. I do use a small cosmetic bag for the miscellaneous stuff.

4. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?

Learned to knit when I was 9 years old. I knitted as a teenager then stopped until I was pregnant with my 1st child. I thought it would be great to knit my baby a sweater. So I’ve been knitting for almost 6 years since my 20+ year hiatus.

I’d consider myself an intermediate knitter. I’ve knitted most things and used most knitting techniques – socks, hats, shawl, sweaters, felted, lace, cables, mosiac, fairisle, intarsia. I get bored doing the same thing, so I’m usually trying something new. I just haven't knitted a lot of items.

5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

Yes, but it’s not up to date. I’ll post when I get it back in order.

6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)

Almond is my absolute favorite. I’m not very fond of floral scents. I like citrusy and fruity scents.

7. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?

Doesn’t everyone? I especially like candy and chocolates with nuts, almonds are my favorite.

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do?
Crafty stuff – scrapbooks, altered books.

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)

A wide variety. My favorites to give you an idea of my tastes in music – Clash, Joy Division, Cure, Bauhaus. As far as genres, punk, alternative, new wave (do they still use this term?)

10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?

Lately I’ve gravitated towards greens and I tend to like the more yellow greens (lime, chartreuse, olive). I like blues and purples as well.

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

Married, 2 children, daughter 4 years old, son 2 year old. They keep me busy. Several Cats – Japanese Bobtails

12. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?

Rarely, its warm in San Diego. I don’t own a poncho. I wear hat and mittens when I’m somewhere cold.

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?

Soft wool, merino or similar. (i.e., Koigu, Manos, Lana Grossa Cool Wool). I love handpaints and self-striping yarn (for socks or otherwise) because it always keeps my interest. I also like ribbon yarn for the feel and drape.

14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?

Acrylic yarn. Eyelash yarn. Scratchy wool is its next to my skin.

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s?

Arans/celtic/cables and skull motifs.

16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
Socks and lately hats.

17. What are you knitting right now?

Wee Call Them Pirates hat

18. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?


19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?
Circulars all the way.

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
Depends. Addi Turbos, Denise needles, Aero Needles, Bryspun Needles (dp and circ). I do have bamboo needles as well.

21. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?


22. How did you learn to knit?
A booklet called “I Taught Myself to Knit” when I was 9 years old.

23. How old is your oldest UFO?
Don’t Ask. I have two sweaters that I started 25 years ago. They are destined for the frog pond. I have an unassembled baby sweater for my son who is now almost 2 and half years old.

24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird?

Hello Kitty. Any feline.

25. What is your favorite holiday?

Christmas. I love decorating the tree, baking cookes, gingerbread houses, and giving gifts.

26. Is there anything that you collect?

Not really (I guess yarn doesn’t count). I have a collection of Sylvanian Families figures for my daughter (think I like them more than she does).

27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

Rebecca Magazine and Interweave Knits. I had Rowan as well but I haven’t like the new issues so I’m not going to renew. I buy vogue when I like the issue.

28. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on?

I’m always wanting something. Hmm. Malabrigo yarn, Diakeito yarn, I like the looks of Diarufurun, and Patons – Must Have Cardigan pattern.

29. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?

Steeks. I’d love to knit a Dale of Norway sweater. I like the Torrino sweater.

30. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
Yes. TUSRHTWNWOC (Toe – up short row heel and toe with no wrap one circular)
9.25 inches long, 8.5 inches wide

31. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)


Monday, January 02, 2006

No Sweaters Resolution Broken Already

I've done it. I ordered my yarn for FLAK - Cascade 220 in pear heather. I got a great deal at ebay store Cedarville Landing Yarn. Check it out if you want Cascade 220 at a good price.

To be totally honest, I started swatching for FLAK even before I purchased the Cascade 220. I was thinking of using Patons Classic Merino, so I swatched moss stitch. I went down to a size #4 needle and was still getting 21 sts per 4". From what I can tell, the Cascade 220 is slightly thinner than the Classic Merino. I actually have a skein of Cascade 220 but my swift and yarn winder are both packed and I'm not very motivated to wind by hand. I guess I'll eventually have to do it. I should probably go ahead an swatch the moss and cables so I'm ready to start when my yarn arrives.

We Call Them Pirates is having a little problem with the stranding. Over the long strands where I wrap the carry yarn in back, the black is showing through on the white skulls. I'm doing some internet searches to find out what I'm doing wrong. On another note, I think the hat may be too small for intended recipient. (Of course, I never bothered to swatch). I need about 7sts per inch to get 18" circumference and I think I'm more like 8 sts per inch which would give me 16" circumerence. That's really more of a baby size than a toddler size hat. I'm continuing on.

Also working on a mutidirectional scarf using a skein of Artful Yarns Broadway in a beautiful purple colorway. The metallic carry thread looks like iridescent beads when knitted.