on the needles

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Hoodie Update

Here's the latest picture of my progress:

Not much shaping until you get to the armholes. I've actually finished the back but my picture taking isn't keeping up with my knitting!

Happy Birthday Lukie

For those of you who don't know him yet, Luca is an Italian Greyhound who is my faithful knitting companion.

He is a second hand dog that I saw advertised in the paper. I sent my husband to pick him up to so the first time I met Lukie was in the hallway. He came right over and sat in my lap and I was just astonished at how beautiful he was. He was only three months old. It was love at first sight.

Luca turned one year old on April 19th. Happy Birthday Lukie!!

So happy birthday Lukie. Thanks for knowing everything about me without having to be told. Thanks for knowing that I like soft small doggie kisses and not big wet ones! Thanks for knowing how to always stay right beside me without ever getting underfoot. Thanks for never getting carsick on our rides together. Thanks for all of your funny little habits that make me laugh and never annoy me. Thanks for accepting treats with gentle grace and never getting spoiled or greedy. Thanks for letting me dress you up as a dragon for Halloween and not complaining even though I knew you hated the spiky hat.

Thanks for knowing just where to sit on the couch to maximize snuggles and minimize knitting interference. Most of all thank you for loving me just as much as I love you!

Looking forward to many more years together!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Pullover hoodie progress

The pullover hoodie is moving right along. Here's a photo of my progress a few days ago:

Of course my faithful Lukie was keeping me company while I knit and sleepily posed for this picture.

I'm a lot further along now. I have started the contrasting stripe and am ready to do the armhole shaping. I lost about a day's worth of knitting when I had to frog back about 13 rows and redo them because I had misread the pattern! Arrgghh! I really need to learn my lesson about knitting when I'm super tired. I am a Katia addict now. I ordered several of their pattern books because I think they are written so well. They also tend to use unusual effects that you don't find as much with other designers - like dropped stitches, combining knitting and crocheting, and embroidering on top of knitting. I wish it were a little easier to find some of their yarns in the US. If anyone has a great source drop me a line!

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Finished Clapotis # 2 & Elann is my new bestfriend

Well I finished up the Verdes Clapotis and spent about two an a half hours unpicking the "dropped" stitches. I'm positive the Malabrigo yarn felts like a dream because it grabs onto itself with only the slightest encouragement. Unpicking EVERY SINGLE dropped stitch is a big pain in the a**. After making two Clapoti (I assume that would be the plural of Clapotis - Clapotises sounds really wierd) I am starting to seriously reconsider making myself one out of the same yarn. I'm ready to use a yarn that actually unravels by itself. That's supposed to be part of the fun of this pattern right? I guess whenever the urge to Clapotis strikes me I will cruise around the blog world and look at other examples to get some yarn suggestions. I've seen some gorgeous ones!

This picture is a very good representation of what you get in terms of the color and variation of Malabrigo yarn. Each skein varies subtly within itself and from other skeins - even within the same dyelot. If you enjoy a bit of an organic look and feel than you will really enjoy this yarn.

In any event - one thing is for sure. No more wool for me for awhile. The sun is finally shining, the days are long and I finished the Clapotis just in time. I can't imagine sweating away the summer under huge piles of wool like that! I know, I know, I really will finish the last two inches of the sleeve for my York sweater but after that no wool for me. I have discovered the look, the touch, the feel of cotton! It really is the fabric of my life! Which brings me to the title of todays entry - Elann is my new best friend. She's fast and cheap and has great yarn. What more could you want in a best friend? ;) I visited her the other day & came away with this:

It's Katia's Regata in Whitecaps. Lovely cotton. It will become this:

With the stripe in Navy Night:

The whole thing was under $30. It arrived on the day I finished the Clapotis so to my credit I actually did dive in and start the summer hoodie right away. Even more astonishing - I actually swatched. Repeatedly. I am discovering that I usually need to adjust down at least one, and half the time two, needle sizes. Is that normal? Does knitting make me relax so much that really knit that loosely? Because of this it is sometimes impossible to get the yarn to knit to the EXACT gauge. Instead of 19 stitches per four inches I end up with either only 18 or 20. I chose to go with the 18 since the size medium that I am knitting was actually going to be a wee bit big anyway. Hope that was the right choice! I guess we will see. Progress so far:

I also - during the mundane, boring, non-knitting parts of my life - visited Old Navy and found these:

They were about $20 each and I think they will make great knitting bags. There are several pockets inside for all of the do-dads and gadgets. The bags are lined and fit comfortably over the shoulder. Not too big & not too small. I love the print on the light green one and the lining and glittery bits on the army green one.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Aran Hat and Clapotis

Ok - my KAL buddies have encouraged me to go on with the aran hat. :) I am pretty sure I will like it when I get more of the cabling done. I guess I just had to put the project aside for awhile so that I could get rid of my doubt. After all - it won't hurt to continue with it - it's only a hat for goodness sake. I definitely like the color and agree with Mary Beth that it is very difficult to capture in a photograph. Especially using a flash! The hat is for my step-dad and I know he will love it. It will make him think of our wonderful trip to Yorkshire where we walked on the moors in a light English rain and were followed by a band of strange black faced sheep. We visited the Bronte Parsonage Museum and ate tons of strawberries and clotted cream. We are always talking about going back together and I am sure that when we do the aran hat will go along with us! When I start knitting on it again I am abandoning the cable needle though. I had been using this:

It's a great needle as far as cable needles go but I think I dislike the fiddliness of using a third needle. I'd much rather proceed with method and definitely try method too. I'm sure it will be a much faster that way in the end. I also will NOT knit (on this project at least) while waiting for my daughter to finish tap class. The sheer noise and chaos level of that experience wasn't pretty. There is not enough room for all of the parent and siblings (most in strollers), not enough seats and nowhere to go to escape from hoards of little girls in tap shoes thundering up and down the aisles. Don't get me wrong - I adore my daughter and love to watch her dance and tap away with such joy - but......there is not enough Tylenol in the world to keep the tap class headache at bay!

Right now I am cranking away on the Clapotis. Using my lovely new citrus stitch markers and soft soft Malabrigo. You couldn't find two yarns that are more different than the Black Water Abbey and the Malabrigo. It's fun to switch back and forth between them - keeps it interesting. :)

Progress on the Clapotis - I've turned the first corner! This is my second time around with this pattern so it is going pretty quickly and is luckily still interesting to knit. Just the right mix of "mindless automatic" & "pay attention to what you are doing" knitting.

My yummy citrus stitchmarkers. I love the yellow against the green.

These are the stitchmarkers I was using on the Clapotis. Nothing wrong with them - but the color was so close to the yarn color it gave me an excuse to buy the citrus markers. :)

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Black Water Abbey Project Stalled.....

Well - Here's a photo of how far I have gotten on my aran hat for the Black Water Abbey KAL. The Slate yarn is pretty dark and difficult to photograph. I really feeling bummed out by this work so far. It's just not doing it for me. :(

The color in the photo is pretty close to the actual yarn color - which I think is part of the problem. I am not seeing much stitch definition. Cables are still rather a "process" for me so I got a bit discouraged by the lackluster results. Why knit cables if you won't be able to see them? So my question is - do I need to tough it out and proceed a bit further into the knitting and see if having a larger sample to look at makes the cables more obvious - or - should I rip it out and knit the same thing in a lighter color? I am leaning towards the latter at this point but any input would be most helpful.

In more cheery news - more visitors to my backyard feeder:

The Red Bellied Woodpecker - I love these birds! They are a bit more shy than the Downy but I still see them quite frequently. I can't tell the males from the females so I'm not sure if we have a pair or not.

Mr Cardinal

Mrs Cardinal