Friday, October 26, 2007

Eye Candy, presented to you in Technicolor

This here, folks, is somethin' special. I now give you...(drumroll please)...

...Noro Kureyon Sock Yarn!

Now, this ain't available yet. For good reason. The prototype that we got at Annie's is 100% wool. It's basically li'l Kureyon. It sticks to itself like buttah on bread. Just trying to reskein the durn thing so that two people could each knit up one sock was an ordeal. But apparently they're reworking it and they're planning on adding some nylon to it before they start selling it en masse. In the meantime, I get to knit a sample sock out of half a skein. The label said the skein has about 430 yds. I decided to conquer short rows -- both heels and toes. Take that, you pesky turn-and-wrap holes!

I'm still trying to figure out what garment I shall make next, but all this Kureyon talk got me weak in the knees and I had to go and do this:

Lady Eleanor, baby. But I keep wanting to write it "Elinor," like Miss Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility. The entrelac is highly addictive. Every time I want to put it down, it goes, "No! Another rectangle will give you yet another color change!" What can I say? I'm a cheap date.

I started with two balls of different colors and I can't decide if I should continue alternating those two colors or just keep picking up whatever color catches my eye next. Do I want two-color elegance or do I want multi-color ragamuffin-y goodness?

Also, my pick-ups don't look bad, but the side that's ssk or p2tog looks raggedy. Is this normal or am I incompetent?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

FO: Like sands in the hourglass...

I've never watched a full episode of Days of Our Lives in my life, but I always liked that narrator with his booming, authoritative tone telling me that these are, indeed, the days of our lives.

With that melodramatic start, I now present an unfussy, plain ol' stockinette FO.

Mossy Hourglass Sweater
Pattern: Hourglass Sweater from Last Minute Knitted Gifts
Yarn: Karabella Aurora Melange, 12 balls
Needles: US 7 bamboo circs
Mods: Seed stitch at wrists and hems; contrast color at inside neck lining; row gauge recalculation; extra decrease/increase on body

Verdict: Love. It. To. Death. At first, the yarn seemed clingy and didn't drape very well. But after a good wet-block, it really blossomed into a beautifully bloom-y, softly draping fabric that feels luscious and falls flatteringly. And I have used up my adverb quota for the day.

I admit, the photo is a bit lazy. I realized I wanted to blog about this sweater before moving onward to exciting things, but by the time I remembered and found someone lying around the apartment to take the picture, the sun was already setting and I knew I'd lost out on prime sunlight. Whatevs. It fits, it's soft, it's purdy.

The length worked out to perfection and I really can't ask for more considering it'll be a casual sweater for me to slip on over t-shirts and tank tops as the weather grows chillier (which it's choosing to do at a maddeningly slow pace). I lengthened the top half (the increase half) of the body in order to accommodate my, um, assets and I'm starting to see the really wonderful aspect of knitting something specifically for one's body type. The yarn...I cannot say enough about the yarn. I know 12 balls of Karabella Aurora ain't cheap, but it's highly worth it and I got a great deal on it. It feels wonderful to knit and looks wonderful to wear.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

FO: Purple Overload Socks

Purple is supposed to symbolize mystery and royalty. It's also apparently connected to the spiritual seventh chakra in feng shui applications. I think I'm needing something spiritual lately, because I'm obsessed with purple.

Diagonal Cross-Rib Socks
Pattern: Favorite Socks
Yarn: Dream in Color Smooshy in Virtual Purple
Needles: US 1 circs

I definitely f'ed up the toe on the second sock so that they're not even. Whatevs. I was working on them at my parents' place last weekend and my mom wanted them for herself. I may actually cave this time. She grabbed the finished one out of my bag and tried it on while I worked a few rows on the second. Then she dropped hints like, "You know I like purple a lot" and "My feet are very cold." Sometimes I think she's the silly kid and I'm the serious mom. And then I remember I'm really not very serious so maybe we're both just silly.

I definitely will be making these socks again at some point. They're really easy and the yarn goes so well with them. I have another skein of the Smooshy but I think I'd like to try making this pattern again with a slightly more variegated yarn.

When the sock is left alone and unstretched, I really appreciate the spirals that appear. Btw, this yarn lasts forever. I did ten pattern repeats on the leg and nine on the foot and I still have enough yarn left over to make another short sock.

Now, here's some more purple. Basically, the purple loveliness of the Kid Classic is annoying me right now because I continue to try and get gauge and it will not happen. I am just going to have rewrite the pattern for my gauge and I am mad. So, lovely and fluffy Kid Classic is sitting on my bookshelf while I painstakingly go over the pattern. In the meantime, I started the Woven Trellis Scarf for my best friend. She wants a scarf. I thought I was through with scarves, but at least this one is not a lot of work for a very impressive result. Although I might kill someone when I reach the end of the fifth cord and still have to knit another one.

I also decided Mr. Smoke Shawl is going to have to deal with a partner. Part of the reason I'm finding him so fiddly is that I do not like the feel of cobweb-weight yarn while knitting. I like the end product, but it's not something I like working with. I'm terrified of snapping it, it feels more like thread as it runs through my fingers, etc. This is sad for a part of me, but the other part of me likes the fact that I know this about myself now and won't make the same mistake again. I'm going to buy another lace or fingering weight yarn in a navy or midnight blue and pair Mr. Smoke with it.

I am also sooooo close to finishing the Hourglass:

Yes, this looks like a lump of moss. It's really a finished sweater that needs a wet block and a sewing-in-ends marathon. Badness of superwash wool is that you can't spit-splice the ends, durnit.

I did the neckline hemming in a contrast color. It looks wonky but it lies flat when I put it on. The first time I knitted the sleeves to the yoke, I got two inches in before I realized I had sewn in one sleeve facing the wrong way. Dammit, I can't live with a mistake like that. A slightly wonky neckline only when folded or flat? I can live with that. Those ends are just the tip of the iceberg, man. You should see the inside of the sweater. Yikes.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

A Bad Case of the Blahs

I am running around frantic half the time trying to get things in order for MFA sundries such as letters of rec, requesting BA grade reports, narrowing down the list of schools to apply to, streamlining my creative submission, writing a personal statement, etc. That last one is pretty amusing since half of my work involves editing other people's personal statements and I can be a pretty harsh critic.

On top of all this, I started working two/three days a week at an LYS, Annie & Co. Needlepoint and Knitting. The needlepoint store has been there for ages, but the knitting part is new and has only been open for about six weeks. I took the job because I work from home and hardly ever see anyone unless I'm going "out." Also, I am no longer in denial and admit that I am absolutely obsessed with knitting. While I love working there, I'm going to have to be more productive non-knitting-wise during the other days of the week.

Also, I've swatched a bazillion times with the Kid Classic and I cannot get gauge to save my life. Boo. Gauge is suggested on US 6 needles. I've tried 4s, 5s and 6s. I sort of fall in between the 5s and 6s, so I'm trying it this time around on US 6 Addi lace needles as opposed to regular Addis.

And for whatever reason, I am just sad this week. You know, when nothing's "wrong" but you just aren't really at peace with the world? It usually passes within two weeks, so I'll just have to bide my time until it lifts.

These make me a teeny bit happier, though:

The pattern is the Diagonal Cross-Rib socks from Favorite Socks. Yarn is Dream in Color Smooshy in Visual Purple. The yarn is, indeed, smooshy. And every time I say it, I think of that part in Finding Nemo when Dory finds a baby jellyfish and says, "I shall call him squishy and he shall be mine and he shall be my squishy." I can only say that I loooooove this yarn. I want to eat it. And make a mattress out of it. It's also a tremendous value. It was $22 for 450 yds. Yowza. I finished one sock and have one repeat done on the second.

Complete non sequitur: Doesn't this look like Bart Simpson wearing a big purple turtleneck???

Maybe it's because I caught an Inside the Actors Studio last night while finishing the first sock. Instead of one guest, they featured the entire regular voice cast of The Simpsons. It was highly amusing. Watching Nancy Cartwright while the voice of Bart Simpson comes out of her mouth is really interesting. Same with Dan Castellaneta and the voice of Homer.

I did make some progress on Hourglass:

What you see here is one finished sleeve and one just-started sleeve which is now actually a one-third finished sleeve. So I just have to finish two-thirds of that sleeve and join everything up for the yoke.