Saturday, February 23, 2008

Swooning is Good

If you are not addicted to yarn & knitting, read no further. The following message contains unabashed, nonsensical yarn adoration. It all started simply enough. I went to my LYS, Purl’s Yarn Emporium here in Asheville, for another ball of Berocco Comfort for one of the 2 baby blankets I’m working on. I kinda/sorta wanted to browse for yarn for my upcoming Beryl top. After much contemplating, I came home with this: Queensland Collection Pima Fresca, a 100% Pima cotton yarn, hand dyed in Chile. I LOVE this yarn. It’s SO pretty, if you’ve never noticed before; I am a huge fan of the color pink. They have it in lots of summery colors, there’s a bright coral, a gorgeous turquoise and several shades of blues that would look great with jeans. But then, there it was. I kind of noticed it out of the corner of my eye, way up there in the corner. The perfect shade of pink. That dusty, subtle pink, that girly pink that makes you hear “She’s a lady. Whoa Whoa Whoa. She’s a lady.” by Tom Jones. (Alright, I made up that last part, but you get the point.)

Now of course, if you loathe the color pink, then you have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about. Suffice it to say I came home and swatched immediately while watching Sopranos Season 6. Washed and dried the swatch and was surprised to find no change in gauge at all! Interesting. I’m knitting this up tighter than recommended, getting about 5 sts. per inch on US size 6’s, instead of the 4 sts. per inch using 8’s, this obviously will give you a more flowing fabric. For Beryl, I think I need a little tighter. The yarn is very textured, which produces a great fabric, interesting and very fun to knit with, the hand dyed nature gives it beautiful tonal variations. I’m in a pink shaded heaven!

Ummm…have I mentioned I have these baby blankets to work on??? So after the swatch, I did NOT cast on, I worked on the blanket for my friends whose baby shower is in 2 weeks. Yikes. That one caught me by surprise too; I thought I had until the little munchkin popped out. This one is coming out very pretty; I’m using several different lace panels, in an asymmetrical blocks design. They are decorating the baby girl’s room in non-traditional blue & yellow, that is my color palette for this one.

Baby blanket #2 is for William the 4th, my husbands’ co-workers child. His blanket will be in 5 different colored strips of cable patterns. The center panel is an argyle pattern in a taupe color; I am so slow at cables. I can see this one will take much longer than the lacy blanket.

As for the Ruffled Jacket, I think it’s on hold until I get further with blankie #1. I’ve gotten a couple of suggestions on my sleeve cap issue, I will prevail!

Knit on!!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Knit & Sick & Knit & Sick

I’ve pretty much spent the last week in a cloud. You know, the kind of sick where you feel like your head is floating above your body?? That’s the one I had. Bleh. The only good thing about it is I was able to get a good amount of knitting done, since I could barely move off the couch without getting dizzy.

I’m working on the Ruffled Jacked by James Coviello in Vogue Knitting Fall 2007. It’s coming along pretty quickly, even though I’m using a smaller gauge than suggested. I’m used a worsted weight merino/tencel blend, called Colrain, by Valley Yarns. This yarn is a lovely color, called Grape Jelly; a rich burgundy that I can’t seem to photograph for sh%!*&@!# This is the first project where I’ve actually re-worked the math to make my gauge work with the pattern. How liberating!

The other ‘issue’ with this sweater is that the armscye was clearly not well planned out. The armhole on the back measures 9” in my size, and the cap for the sleeve is only 5 ½” – too big of a difference not to fix. Thanks to the help of “Sweater Design in Plain English” (which should be called ‘Sweater Design for Dummies’!, which is me) by Maggie Righetti, I was able to figure out how to plan the decreases. At least I say that now, I am pretty bold considering I haven’t set the sleeves in yet. This one will hopefully be finished soon!

I also completed a hat for a friend out of the herringbone stitch used in the infamous ‘so-called scarf’ pattern. This is the only stitch pattern I have used at least 5-6 times now, in various objects, I love the way it looks. The yarn is ‘Miski’ from The Mirasol Project, 100% baby llama, extremely soft and yes, very warm. I told my friend Lili she would be ready for the blizzard when she wore this one. I believe that llama fibers and alpaca fibers are along the same line (well, they are cousins after all!), about 5x warmer than wool.
This was a funny incident. My friend called me from a LYS downtown in Asheville (Purl's Yarn Emporium). Friend, "Hi, Elizabeth?? I'm at that yarn store you told me about downtown. My friend is off getting a massage, so I came here. I found some yarn I like, actually, my husband found it, it's "baby" llama and he liked it because it's called "BABY". (Mind you, she's pregnant, obviously their FIRST!!) Ummm, and it's pretty thick, umm, I'm not sure what I should get. Me: "Is Lindsey there?" Friend: Asks......"No, Lindsey is not here." Me: "Well, talk to whoever is there, tell there you want to use this as a double-thickness yarn for a hat". Friend: "O.K." So she comes back to me with this super-duper warm thickness of beautiful, baby colored yarn in a lovely mauve and a burgundy. I love it but I'm afraid.....we've hardly had a winter here in N.C., not enough to warrant a blizzard-like hat for freezing temps......Well a girl's got to do what a girl's got to do. This is my friend and she wants a pretty I made it. I just hope she get to wear it =;)

On the horizon/semi-in progress is two baby blankets out of Berroco Comfort. I happen to have a friend, and my husband has a friend, who almost live directly across from each other (and yet they don’t know each other, I think an introduction is in order!) in a more rural part on N.C. who are both expecting children, one boy and one girl. Lucky me! Two babies to knit for!!

I hope all are well and knitting like crazy!!!! I’m listening to Norah Jones and drinking some red wine and hope you are doing the same or equivalent!! Peace & Blessings to you.