All the colors of the rainbow

When I was a child, I loved bright colors. Red and pink were my favorites and one would have been hard-pressed to find a clothing item of mine that didn’t at least contain one of those colors (since I almost refused to wear anything that didn’t). However, by the time I had finished high school and started college, my one requirement for clothing was to allow me to blend in, or rather, to render me invisible. It is no great surprise then that I wore a great deal of greys and blacks. If there was a dark corner somewhere, I could probably have disappeared into it with the clothes that I wore. My wardrobe would have stagnated in this spartan and gloomy color scheme were it not for the fortuitous fashion trends a handful of years ago that brought back the deep purples and bright, jewel-toned greens. Who can resist the deliciousness of rich plums and brilliant emeralds? I certainly couldn’t and soon found myself acquiring clothing items of (gasp!) actual color. And when I wore them, surprise of all surprises, no one pointed, no one laughed, and no giant beam of stage light appeared to track my every move. It was quite a revelation. Fast-forward a few years and today, the inside of my closet is a veritable rainbow.
So, in a celebration of color, I’m really excited to participate in Lolly’s Project Spectrum . I’m especially happy about March’s colors --- my childhood favorites -- red and pink. For March, then, I will be adding one more project to my needles: the multi-directional scarf in Silk Garden colorway 84, a festive mix of pinks and reds and greens. Yes, I know I complained about not quite liking the colors a few days ago but they are growing on me. Now I am quite looking forward to seeing the skeins knitted up.
In other knitting news, almost everything is at a semi-stand still. Mom’s vest is on hold until I have enough time to go by the LYS to pick up needles of the proper size (why must they close by 6:30pm?).

Pomatomus has made no progress past the first three rows of ribbing due to repeated needle/stitch dropping and subsequent frogging. Klaralund is keeping my stuffed animals company on the armchair while I continue to dither over which edge of the body pieces to sew to the sleeves. The only thing that is progressing at a clip right now is the fiery bolero (here is a wanna-be artsy shot).

Go stockinette stitch.

It finally happened.

I tried and tried to remain strong but now I wave my white flag and declare defeat.
I have finally succumbed to the sock disease allure of sock knitting.
When I first started knitting and came across the vast hordes of obsessed sock knitters, I though, why? Why knit something that costs less than a few dollars to buy at the store? Why knit and knit just to have something that will be trodden and mangled into a holey mess? Really, why bother? I wondered. That is, until I saw the luscious selections of sock yarn in gorgeous colors...Koigu, Lorna's Laces, the list goes on and on.
So I bought some.

Not to make socks, of course, I told myself. Oh, no...to make satchels and scarves and...and...
and then I saw Nancy Bush's beautiful sock patterns and my resolve trembled. I bought some tiny DPNs…size zero and size two. Still, I told myself, these are just for one of these days when I might want to try a sock or two. Yes, someday in the far-off future when I find a pattern I really love.
Then today I saw these and I cracked.

Is it crazy to try to make Pomatomus on my first attempt at socks?


Rain, rain

Today was a wet and blustery day -- the kind that makes me want to curl up inside on a window seat in a bay window with a hot cup of tea and a good book. While I lack for both the window seat and the bay window, I did stay inside for most of the day and caught up a bit on my reading (did I happen to mention that I love acquiring books?). I managed to squeeze in some knitterly activity as well.
First of all, I overcame my dread of blocking (it’s really not so bad after all!). A box of T-pins, a few pricked fingers, and some steam got me from this

to this

which, by midweek, will hopefully turn into this.

Now I’m in a bit of a quandary. I intentionally finished the top edge of the sweater in purple (my favorite color strip of the skeins) but now that I matched it up to the sleeve edges, I’m not sure if I like the strong color contrast. I’m leaning towards seaming the front and back upside down so that the brown/dark green edge is at the top as in the picture below. (The picture is much brighter than the one above as I finally gave up on trying to get my dratted camera to produce a focused image without the flash.)

What do you think?

This is when I wish I still had roommates. It is much easier to drag another person over to give you an opinion when they live in the same house.

My second knitterly act was to start the fiery bolero. (Funny, the camera/light now makes the yarn look red...it's really a dullish tangerine orange, I swear.)

This is the first time I have worked with non-wool/alpaca yarn and I’m not sure if I like it. The Cathay untwists and splits very easily as threads making up the fiber have nothing to hold them together. In the first few rows, I was constantly inserting my needle in the middle of a strand or losing a thread of yarn during a stitch so that it then stuck out of the fabric. This hasn’t happened as much now that I am more rows into the piece…perhaps it had to do with how I cast on?
Tomorrow promises to be even more rainy and miserable. Boo.


Yarn! And negative knitting.

I love acquiring yarn the same way I love collecting books. There’s just something about all that potential inherent in such a little package that beckons (screams, rather) for me to take it home. Books whisper endless promises of being the best narrative I will ever read while yarn, well, yarn just skips directly to sending images of all the brilliant and beautiful things it can become (while conveniently blocking all memories of a little issue called gauge) dancing through my head. What can I do but pull out the credit card in the face of such onslaught? This is why my tiny studio apartment has three overflowing bookshelves and stacks of books scattered everywhere and my yarn stash is filled with random, project-less skeins. This year, to keep my yarn buying within limit, I decided to only buy yarn with specific projects in mind. This was great in theory except that I forgot about my tendency of always looking ahead and getting excited about next cool thing to make. So, while I did stop buying random skeins just for the sake of having the yarn, I now have enough yarn queued up for projects to last me through next year. I’m certainly don't regret my pending projects but alas, all that yarn buying means a yarn diet for the next few months. Anyway, one package of pre-planned yarn goodness arrived on Friday and I’d thought I’d share.


Here is Debbie Bliss Maya for a Fiery Bolero ( IK Summer 2005) so that I wear a dress that I love but that has unfortunately placed shoulder straps to the BF's friends’ wedding. (The color is much less fiery and day-glo than the picture suggests and the dress is a lot greener)

Noro Silk Garden for a multi-directional scarf. I had admired this colorway, number 84, at the lys but am a bit disappointed with the skeins I got. The colors skew a great deal more to hot pink than I expected and there is very little of the bright green color I like in any of the skeins. Hmph.

And last but not least, WEBS Stockbridge yarn in a pretty mulberry color for a Veste Everest ( IK Fall 2005 ) for my mother’s birthday in April.

I’ve been very excited about making the vest for my mother so I went ahead and swatched and cast-on for it despite having only had three hours of sleep and not being all that mentally coherent. As you might expect, this all turned into a lesson in negative knitting. Not only did I miscalculate the gauge I needed (I’m making the vest between sizes offered in pattern)and cast on too few stitches, I also knit some unknown number of rows with two needles of different sizes before realizing. So here is where I was at the end of all that mess:

And here is where I am now

After all that, I needed some instant gratification to perk myself up. So I made this:

Say hi to Baa!

(That’s a quarter next to him for reference)


Block Party

Thanks so much to everyone who commented on my first post and helped out on the Knittyboard with my font formatting woes! (Here is a super helpful link to a html code cheatsheet someone suggested).
Now as I threatened promised, here is a picture of my very first almost-sweater.

This is Klaralund in pieces from the second book by Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton for Noro and mine is knit in Silk Garden colorway 34. After coming across Mari’s version on her blog, I decided that I had to have one and when a bag of the discontinued color came up for sale on ebay...…
Klaralund is purported to be a great first sweater as it is essentially composed of four rectangles that are seamed together. So far, it has been a super easy knit (mostly St st, great while watching TV) that has resulted in the four pieces in the above picture. Now all that remains is to finish weaving in the ends, block, and seam into a finished garment. So why am I dawdling and dragging my feet? Well, I have blocked exactly zero times in my life. Of course, being the nerd that I am, I have attempted to read all the advise that I can find on blocking but all that has accomplished is to immobilized me with indecision. Dunk in water and pin out? Pin to shape and steam? Spritz with water and iron? Mold and fix into shape with mental powers?
My mother, a former avid knitter who has never, ever wet-blocked (had never in fact even heard of the practice of dunking pieces of knitting in water and pinning out to dry before she moved to this country), merely made non-committal noises when I recited to her the opinion of many that Silk Garden needed wet blocking to bloom and soften and all that jazz. I had originally been determined to follow said consensus of many (when in doubt, be a lemming and leap) until I stopped and considered just how cold, damp, and sunlight-less my apartment is (It is otherwise quite lovely. Really!). Thinking about how long it usually takes my towels to dry, I began to have visions of carefully pinned out and mold-encrusted sweater pieces whenever I thought about wet blocking. So, onto Plan B*...pin and steam! This will be the event of the weekend. Wish me luck!
*Plan C should Plan B fail (and hopefully not in such a way that results in felted squares): trip to my parents'’ warm, sunny, and non-damp house an hour away for some fun with water, pins, the almost-sweater, and a cliff.


First scribblings and stabbings

I always find a blank page intimidating but rather than letting it sit here and taunt me while I try to think of the most eloquent and brilliant thing to say, I'm just going to dive right in.
Welcome to my blog, my imaginary audience!
I'm a relatively new knitter (started last November while stuck at home with the flu) and completely new to blogging/public rambling. Hopefully, this blog will be a fun way to chronicle my newly found obsession hobby. In terms of knitterly progress, I have managed so far to turn out three and three quarters scarves, a pair of mittens, and almost a sweater (Klaralund). I'm sure I will be talking a great deal in the future about the last, my almost-sweater, as I venture into blocking and seaming land.
With all that said, I'm actually not going to talk about knitting in my first post. Oops! But some of it is fiber-related!
So, onto the stabbing, otherwise know as the new-to-me fiber craft I discovered tonight:
Needle Felting!
I went to a class at one of the LYS tonight and it was wonderfully fun. Lots of meditative and stress-relieving stabbing of a pile of roving with a needle and you turn this

into this

Cool or what? In addition to a fun two hours of stab-stab-stabbing away, we got to take home the needle, the foam block for the stabbing (the green oblong in the first picture) and lots of roving in pretty colors to stab (can you tell I am really excited about the actual technique of making the felt?). One of others attending the class brought adorable clothing shaped cookie cutters, one of which I used to make the sweater. The ornament/ball is just made from free-forming a pinch of roving into a sphere and decorating it with bits of roving in other colors. Love, love needle felting! Instant gratification, though, being the Type-A person that I am, I did end up spending a good part of the class time punching away at quarter inch spots on the ball, trying to make sure all the colored bits were evenly spaced and such. Sigh...

Now for the non-fiber related content...

Booking Through Thursday

    Collecting Authors

    Today's questions were suggested by Cate.

  1. Are you currently collecting any authors? Why?
    I've been collecting Diana Wynn Jones' books for several years now since I came back across a book of hers that I loved when I first read it in junior high (Howl's Moving Castle). I'm always amazed at her writing and how well she creates a wonderfully fantastical world that doesn't take itself too seriously and still retains a wonderful sense of humor. Moreover, her characters are never one dimensional and the plots never veer towards the predictable and saccharine as some children's/young adult books tend to. I absolutely adore that genre of books, even though I am well beyond the age it is intended for, and I like her books the best of all.

  2. Do you have all of their books? If not, why not?
    No, still picking them up here and there.

  3. Did you buy all the books in the collection at the same time, or did you buy a book here, a book there?
    I've been buying them here and there. I enjoy just randomly coming across a book of hers that I don't yet own...almost like receiving an unexpected gift (yes, I'm that easily amused).

  4. Have you read the whole collection? If not, why not?
    I think I have almost read every single one. Some of them I haven't gotten to because...hmm...I'm saving them for a rainy day?

So that's it for today. Actual knitting-related content tomorrow and pictures of my first sweater-to-be!
My apologies for the lack of links and buttons in the side bar...still figuring much of that out. If anyone reads this and know of how to modify the font/paragraph format without doing it to the entire post (I've tried highlighting the word to no avail), let me know!