Saturday, December 31, 2011

100th project

According to Ravelry, I completed my 100th project this month.  I know that there are a few small projects (charity hats, blanket squares, etc.) that I didn't log as projects, but everything substantial has been entered into Ravelry since I began knitting in 2007.

Unlike many more veteran knitters I have never been a knitter "without" Ravelry, and honestly I don't know if I would love it as much without having such an amazing source of information and inspiration constantly available to me.  It's so fantastic that if I'm struggling with a pattern I can instantly find tons of other people who have worked through it before and help me out.  I can choose a pattern and instantly know if there are errata.  Wonderful.

Here is my 100th project.


This is Sharktooth.  It's the first pattern from the Stephen West Westknits Shawl Club.  Have I mentioned before that I have the most amazing boyfriend in the world?  For Christmas and my birthday (which fall way to close together for my personal enjoyment) he splurged and signed me up for a membership in the club.  For 5 months (starting in December) I will receive one pattern every month along with the yarn required to make the pattern.  Overall there will be 9 skeins of yarn meaning some of the shawls will take more than one skein.  All of the patterns AND the yarns have been designed by Stephen exclusively for the club.  I have always loved Stephen West's designs and his color sense has always appealed to me so I'm super excited to be in the club.


The yarn for the first installment was Madeline Tosh Tosh Merino Light in a colorway aptly named "Stephen loves Tosh."  It's impossible to capture the subtle nature of the colors of this yarn.  The predominate color is sort of a rust or bronze color but there is blue ranging from very dark navy-black to cobalt in some places.  Of course, being Tosh Merino Light it's buttery soft.  However, it does kink back up on itself a lot making it a pain to work with at times.  It's a problem common to single ply yarns and it's so soft and so beautiful that I mostly forgave it for the hassel.  


The club installments are shipped on the 14th of every month and I have given myself permission to tear into the packages and cast on immediately as each one arrives even though on of my goals for the new year is to finish up as many of the projects that have been lingering on the needles as I can.

I have my reservations about the way the club is being run.  I feel that the yarn store Stephen West has chosen to coordinate the club (because he is living in Europe) is not necessarily dealing fairly with the club members.  They have come out and said that there have been "mistakes" on their end and that it's all due to the fact that the club is large and hard to coordinate.  I will wait until the end of the club, trying to give them the benefit of the doubt, before I make a full evaluation of their level of service.  I do hope they have managed to work the "kinks" out and that it really was just a matter of organizing a large shipment for the first time.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Fastest Scarf Ever

A few weeks ago I knit the fastest scarf ever.  It was during finals and I needed a quick project to take the edge off.  Crystal Palace's Tutu yarn was just the right thing.  In two half-afternoons I had this scarf.


If you follow the yarn link above you can see the unusual nature of the yarn.  You knit through small openings at the top of the ruffle-y strand and the rest of the ruffle hangs down creating the texture of the scarf.

I didn't follow any pattern, I simply cast on nine stitches and knit every round until I was out of yarn.  I followed the cast on and bind off instructions provided at the link above.  Start the finish the scarf took about 5 hours.  Lots of the ladies in my knitting group were whipping them up for holiday gifts because they go so quickly, and I decided to jump on the band wagon.  (Mine, of course, was for me and not a gift.)

I'll admit I should wait until my hair is dry to take pictures, but my photographer (Ryan) is, sadly, not available to take pictures for me at my every whim.

I'm not too big a fan of the variegated colorways, but I think this yarn looks really nice in solid colors and creates a unique scarf unlike most other knit projects.  

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas is coming

In case you didn't know.  I didn't knit many Christmas presents this year.  I knit a pair of socks and some fingerless gloves for my grandma and aunt, but those were mailed off weeks ago and I wouldn't really call them "Christmas gifts" so much as just "gifts."  My brother is getting a pair of Triforce gloves sometime soon, but they're not his Christmas gift and I don't feel pressured to have them finished.

The one gift that I really felt pressured to get done for Christmas was my mom's and it's done.  I made my mom a set of BYOBs because she generally uses the grocery store-brand reusable bags and they fall appart pretty quickly.  These are much more sturdy.

I may have used them on my last shopping trip... Just to make sure they worked they way they were supposed to...

These were knit with the newest 100% cotton yarn in the Knit Picks line Dishie.  The colors are Swan (white), Azure (light blue), and Jay (dark blue).  The Jay color is sadly being discontinued so if you like it, you'd better snap some up.  I used almost 3 full balls of each of the main colors and less than one ball of the Swan.

My opinion of the yarn is that it is perfect for market bags, would make great exfoliating bath accessories--wash cloths, bath puffs, shower glove, etc.--but that it's probably not ideal for anything else.  The yarn is very tightly spun.  This makes it incredibly sturdy--I think the light blue bag has about 10 pounds of groceries in it in that picture.  At the same time it makes the yarn very rough.  I found my hands aching after working with it for too long because it had no give and had a stiff rigid feel.  I would never use it to make a garment or toys with, but sturdy bags, and bath things are right up this yarn's ally.


In this picture, the light blue bag has been through the washing machine and dryer but the dark blue bag has not.  You can see that after washing the bags shrunk in height but got wider.  Definitely something to take into account if you are knitting something where gauge is important.

As for the pattern, knitting it once was a bit tedious.  Knitting it a second time in quick succession was painful.  The pattern is basically a sea of seed stitch.  You knit a base in seed stitch.  Then pick up stitches around the base and work in seed stitch.  Add stripes in seed stitch.  Then you get a blissful 32-row break where you do a simple lace pattern.  Then it's back to more seed stitch.  Seed stitch stripes. Seed stitch handles.  You get the point.


All of the posts online say that these bags come out very big and they are not wrong.  I think these are still OK grocery bags, but they are certainly on the side.  I would probably size them down a bit--maybe take out 20 stitches or so.  They stretch quite a bit when anything heavy is put in them.  Anyway, I hope mom likes them.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Ryan's present

This year, Ryan is getting an iPod (he's already got it, so there's no risk of spoiling the surprise.)  His old iPod was stolen from his car earlier in November.  It was the second time someone has broken into his car and taken his iPod.  (Consequently, it's been easy for me to think of presents the past two years.)  Along with this year's iPod, I gave Ryan this:


It's an iPod case with a long i-cord attached to it.  It's not pictured because I was hasty but I attached the other end of the i-cord to a lobster clip.  The idea is that Ry can clip the iPod to himself so that he wont forget to take it out of his car.  It sucks that people are such jerks.  What sort of messed up sense of entitlement do you have to have to think it's OK to break into someones car and take something?  Jerks.  Pure jerks.