Friday, November 23, 2007

Ravelry Cup a Tea Swap

Sorry so long with no posts! I've been spending too much of my free time knitting, and not enough of it writting about the knitting. =]
Before I get to my new projects, I'm going to do a write up of the wonderful swap I participated in and the awesome package I recieved! (My poor recepient still does not have her package...I have to wait for the yarn to arrive!)

My 'upstream' swapper (I think that's the term) was CynthiaCC, and she gave me an amazing package!

This is the box - look how nicely everything is packed!

And this is my loot!

In there is:
  • Weekend Knitting (which I've wanted forever but never got around to buying)
  • Good Earth Organic Seven Spice Chai Tea (which i haven't tried but which smells awesome)
  • Yogi Indian Spice tea (which I brewed up as soon as I finished taking pictures)
  • Mirage tea (from her local tea shop - Cynthia kindly included a description: "A superior blend of coconut and pineapple bits with marigold and cornflower blossoms." It smells divine and I can't wait to try it!)
  • Cranberry Orange biscotti (how fall! Since yesterday was filled with Thanksgiving treats, I decided to wait before opening these, but I can't wait!)
  • Mirage Yarn from Twisted Sisters in gin blue(That Cynthia is smart - did you notice the yarn has the same name as the rooibos tea? They match!)
  • Blue Face Leicester Aran from Fleece Artist in Marine (So beautiful! It's an amazing combination of blue and green and purple - it's my favorite color mix!)
  • A lovely card (with beautiful blue and white flowers)
AND! Last but BEST!
  • A hand made teacozy!
I'd just finished making a teacozy as a gift for my friend's birthday, so I've been frustrated by how hard they are to make, especially to fit my teapot - a Personalitea from Adagio. Cynthia's cozy fit perfectly!

Of course, once I finished unpacking all the goodies I simply had to go make some tea! It was late afternoon, so I tried the Indian spice. As I was opening the teabag, the yogi tag gave me this bit of wisdom:

It seemed very applicable to the wonderful generosity of the knitting community in general, and, in this case, CynthiaCC in particular.

Here's a shot of my teapot enjoying its cosy:

Now, I'm sure you saw that and laughed, but my thought at the time was "wow, I've never seen a cozy pattern so smart! It keeps the top of my tea warm, but keeps the bottom flat to sit on my desk! I wonder if she made it up herself." After taking the cozy off I realised......I'd had it on backwards. =] Hey, whatever keeps my tea warm!

A million thank yous to Cynthia! This was a great introduction to the knitting swap world. =]

Expect another post about what *I* have been knitting later in the day, but until then, drink some tea! If you've never had Adagio tea and want to try it, you can get a free gift certificate by entering your name in the little box on the right hand side. (The aplet was designed by Adagio, so I won't see your email address, only them. There's no catch to the free tea; a similar certificate is how I started drinking them and they're one of my favorite tea places yet!)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful. —Buddha

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Start-itis, a Frogging frenzy, and my young Stag bag

Well, I've done quite a lot since I posted last! I had been hoping to accompany this post with photographs, but I can't for the life of me find the cord to plug my camera into my computer! This is what happens when I clean...
First off, I finished my Time of Your Life socks! Very excited. So far I've washed them and partly blocked them, but I haven't finshed sewing in the ends. I'd been waiting for darning needles I just ordered (which came in yesterday, so I don't have an excuse anymore...) but I do have a nice photoshoot of them! Stuck on my camera of course, but you'll see them soon.

I'd gotten so used to knitting while I watch tv that it was hard to go without something to knit. So I didn't. I knitted a 'garter mug cozy' from the Holiday 2007 issue of Interweave knits. This pattern is why I bought the magazine, and I was very excited to knit it, but I'm rather dissapointed! I tried the resulting cozy on every mug in my house, and there was only one it could fit onto at all, but it was too baggy to be useful. I started a second version of that, probably not in garter stitch (because I really don't see the point) and I'm paying more attention to the increases - I'm going to try knitting up a few rows without doing the last three inc rows to see if that fits my mugs better. I'd been hoping to give these for gifts, so it'd be nice if I could figure out some way to salvage the pattern. One thing I like about doing the pattern in stockinette instead of garter stitch is that I could (with my new found color work skills) have a design like a snowflake or an initial.

After my disappointment with the mug cozy, I cast on some Lornas Laces in Pioneer for a pair of Columbine Socks, from socks soar. For some reason it took me two times of starting the cuff before I was happy with it, but finally the cuff was done and I was in the first lace repeat...when I dropped a stitch. I tried saving my stitches four times, but in the end I had to frog all. So sad! I tried knitting the cuffs up AGAIN but I didn't like how the yarn was pooling - especially after seeing the neat spiraling I'd gotten it todo before - so I ripped it. Again. This is not the week for those socks. Needless to say, next time I finish the cuff, I'm putting in a lifeline!

SO! My birthday fell in the midst of all this, and, since I failed to ask for much specific, I got some money. Which promptly was spent on some Ultra Alpaca Light for my stag bag. I'd decided a while ago to do this in blue and brown - ideally a rich chocolate for the stag and a nice light blue for the background. Well, my trip to my LYS changed my mind. Thanks to the lovely women at Woolstock that day, I decided to use a fawn brown for the stag and a richer blue for the sky. I cast on yesterday as soon as I returned from the store, and I'm over halfway done the chart for the front. I can't decide how I want to do the back. My mom suggested I do another repeat of the chart, probably not realizing how much easier said than done, but I'm warming to the idea. I'll see how I feel when I'm done the entire front, and if I'm up to it, I think it'd be neat to do a mirror image of the front chart, so that, in theory, both stags would be looking toward the same side. (Another way to think about it - if the pattern was stained glass, you'd be 'seeing through to the other side'. )
I'm loving this knit and I'm loving this yarn. When I was at the store I bought the two colors of Ultra Alpaca Light that I'd been crushing on since, oh, September. I have no idea what I'm going to make with the two skeins, but for now, I'm quite content just looking at the yarn and occasionally fondling it.

That's all the knitting news for now. I've been doing a bit of reading lately too, and I've finished these since my last trip to the library:
Death by Chick Lit - Lynn Harris
Needled to Death - Maggie Sefton (I meant to start with Knit One, Kill Too but it was checked out.)
Both books were good easy bedtime reads. For me a bedtime read is something frivolous, so I'm enjoying it, something light so it's okay if I fall asleep while reading and miss a page or two, and something quick, so I can finish it in a week or two.

Now, time for bed! The sooner I get to bed the sooner it's tomorrow and I can knit more!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Knitting Update!

So, I finally decided to frog my evil shawl.

Here's the story of the evil shawl, for background:
I am mad about this pattern, hence the name 'evil shawl'. I purchased this pattern at a yarn store in scituate MA with my aunt; the pattern was written by the owner of the store. I was originally told that this was "an easy one skien project," and that La Boheme would work even better than the Kidsilk Haze it was meant for. Not so. A good ways in, my aunt was looking at my progress and said "this seems like this is way to wide to work on one skein. Weird. If I didn' t trust that store so much, I'd think this was a mistake" Now I'm over half way into my second skein, and it's still less than a foot long. The yarn (Fiesta's La Boheme) drives me crazy. The color way, poppies, is a beautiful rich red and purple, and my original goal was to have a nice shawl I could wear to brighten up one of my many black dresses. I know that once it's done I'll wear it a lot - that's how I originally justified spending so much on a single skein of yarn! I ended up purchasing two more skeins, and the thought of spending any MORE money on a project I'm not enjoying is not appealing. So I decided to frog it. The yarn has been rewound, and is destined for better things. For this shawl[R], in fact, which looks even more like what I'd wanted in the first place! (Plus, I think it really *is* a one skein shawl, and the pattern writer even mentioned La Boheme as an alternative yarn!) And we all frogged (and planned) happily ever least, happily until I get the size 15 needles I need and start working with this infernal yarn again!

After finishing frogging/rewinding (which was infuriating itself) I needed something to knit while watching Gossip Girl. Almost all of my next projects either require new needles or lots of mental energy, so I decided to start knitting a Garter Mug Cozy from this year's Interweave Holiday Knits. I decided to take the advice of (), from Ravelry, and I am doing the first two stitches on either side of bo in stockinette. I'm using some TLC Ultra Soft from who knows when. The name doesn't lie, it's ultrasoft. It was a tossup between the TLC and some more Wool Ease. In theory, this could get tea spilled on it, so I figured 100% machine wash with (hopefully) less chance of pilling was a better choice. After working on socks for so long, I forgot how frustrating larger gague bamboo dpns can be. The frustrating needles combined with the frustrating tendency of this yarn to split is making this a less than perfect knit, but it's still nice and easy.

I'm going to go listen to the rest of my book-on-mp3 and do some more knitting. Later!

Thursday, November 1, 2007


So, I know I still don't have pictures up of my one sock, and Soctoberfest is 'officially' coming to an end (though over at Ravelry, it looks like a bunch of us are going to stay in the community) BUT I'm happy to say I finally made it to the heel flap of sock two. I'm also proud that I was able to figure out how to transfer my dpn pattern to two circs! I'd taken Cat Bordhi's book out of the library to figure out how the two circs thing works, but I had to return it yesterday. Luckily, I think I've conceptualized what the changes are, so I was able to figure this out relatively easily.

Let's see, what else is new....I'm participating in the Tea Swap over at the Cup 'a Tea group in Ravelry, and I'm getting excited about that. I haven't had a chance to go shopping yet - I need to wait until the next paycheck clears - but I've been planing what I'm going to get. I won't spoil it here in case somehow miraculously my giftee stumbles across my blog, but I really hope she'll like it.

I've been planning out what I want/need to get, knitting wise. My birthday's coming up and, while I know I won't get yarn from anyone, I'm hoping I'll get the means to *purchase* some yarn. Here's my purchasing plan:
  1. Yarn for my swapee! No telling any more here...yet. =]
  2. Two more skeins of Habu silk/stainless steel(R) in color 3 for mom's scarf - more on that.
  3. Yarn for the stag bag(R)!
  4. One Skein by Leigh Radford(R)
  5. If I get a good birthday haul - a swift and a ball winder.
(The linked Rs are Ravlery links. Right now I think anyone reading this has ravelry, but if that becomes not true at some point, I recommend you get on the list. It's amazing. )

Why do I want all those? Well, the first one is obvious.
As for my mom's scarf - on my trip to Purl, as I said earlier, I picked up some lovely Habu yarn after having looked at the Kusha Kusha (R) scarf. I love the textural variety that the scarf achieved, but I didn't really like the way the yarns changed. It was too 'modern art' for me, and more importantly, not the kind of thing my mom would wear. Searching through Ravelry (do I sound like someone a broken record yet with all this ravelry talk?) I found this simpler scarf(R). As I was hoping, the steel qualities show well in this larger fabric, so I'm going to make a variation of this for my mom. This means, however, I have to get two more cones of yarn, since the silk/stainless has only 281 yards to the merino's 747.

The stag bag(R). Where do I start with this magnificent bag? Despite never having done any color knitting before, I saw this pattern and new I had to make it. It even inspired me to spend this past monday doing a stranded knitting swatch! (I'll post pictures of that once I find my camera's kind of funny looking.) My biggest problem now is deciding which colors to use. I do want to use the Ultra Alpaca Light, because the past two times I was at my LYS, it screamed out at me. I want to do a brown/blue colorway; ideally a dark brown light blue. I'm trying to figure out if the 'stonewashed' is a pure gray color, or if it's a grayish blue. If it's greyish blue, then I'm thinking stonewashed and woodland mix, but I need to check the colors in person.

As far as One Skein goes, there are just so many patterns I want to make! I love the cable footies(R) and both the cable hat(R) scarf(R). For me, the scarf kind of sells the book. I love cables but haven't yet made a cable scarf because I didn't know about reversible cables and I didn't have the time to knit a tubular scarf. I need this book! I'm just counting down until my birthday. =]

Allright, that's it for tonight I think. I know, still no pictures, I'm sorry, bad blogger, no cookie. I hope you all had a wonderful Halloween! I did nothing special, and got no tricker treaters - which was good, because we had no candy. Sometimes a quiet night at home is best.