Monthly Archives: March 2009

Last Blanket… Ever?

Okay, not really but for a while at least! I swear blankets just suck the SOUL out of you. Although I loved knitting Girasole, it was very big and took quite a while to finish. Then, crazy me, decided to make another blanket right afterward. A baby blanket, of course, but boy what a BAD idea! Especially when the blanket is just not interesting knitting at all… garter stitch all the way through with just four increases per row? Can we say M-O-N-O-T-O-N-O-U-S? Indeed, it reminded me very much of one of my college professors who had the most boring voice in the world (interestingly enough he was also the Unabomber’s roommate while he was at Berkeley and the rumor on campus was that he was a suspect for the Unabomber before they actually caught Ted Kaczynski… probably untrue, but one look at this professor and you wouldn’t doubt it!). I’m surprised I didn’t fall asleep more often in that class. 150 students and an 8am class makes it the perfect class to sleep through. Perhaps it was because it was Calculus and falling asleep through it was probably not the best idea! But I digress… I’m talking about the Baby OpArt Blanket that I made for my soon-to-be-born nephew. The end result of it is pretty cool, if I do say so myself:

Baby OpArt Blanket - Blocking

Baby OpArt Blanket - Finished!

This blanket is a perfect example of the difference that blocking can make. Here it is pre-block looking all wonky:

Baby OpArt Blanket - Pre-Blocking

I do love the end result, but not sure I’d ever make it again… never-ending knit and purl rows = not fun! Plus all the ends to weave in! It wasn’t so bad as I always weave as I go, but still not that fun. Also a perfect example as to why you should never leave all the ends to weave in until the end. I think I’d go crazy if I had to do that!

It’s all ready to get picked up… my brother-in-law is coming to New York (they live in San Francisco) for a quick 1-day business trip and I’ll give it to him then. I have these little tags that I made and printed out from Moo.com and I just love how they look:

Baby OpArt Blanket - Finished!

Very professional, no? 😉 I actually only made them so it’s easier to give knit-recipients care instructions. Here’s the back of the card:

Baby OpArt Blanket - Finished!

I didn’t put tumble dry low as an option on the card as most yarn isn’t tumble dry low… I figured it doesn’t look so bad to scratch it out and write it in. I’m NOT a professional, afterall!

Now that I’m done with blankets (for a long while at least), I’m moving on to a great shrug that I’m test-knitting. I’m very excited about this shrug as I just love the pattern and the yarn that I’m using is just gorgeous. It’s a merino/seacell blend from one of my favorite yarn sources, Fiberphile. It has a nice sheen to it and is just beautiful knit up. The pattern, Liquorice Shrug (Rav link), is so far knitting up very easily. It’s an intuitive pattern and is easy to get a hang of it and to understand what’s supposed to happen next. I’m not that far into it, but here’s what I have so far:

Liquorice Shrug - WIP

And just to show you what I mean about the yummy-ness of this yarn, here’s a close-up of it:

Liquorice Shrug - WIP

Also, I just received my new small-project knitting bag from the Tink-n-Frog and I love it! It’s cute, fits a sock project easily (plus scissors and other knitting notions) and is easy to carry either on the wrist or on the shoulder. How much more can you ask for?

Knitting Bag

Knitting Bag

When not knitting I’ve been trying to spend as much time outside as I can. The pups love being outside as well!

Happy Pups

Next week we’re going to Central Park to see if more flowers are in bloom (I hope so!) but for now, here’s a small preview of Spring. I can’t wait until all the trees are covered in blossoms… it’s why I love Spring in the East Coast. 🙂

Signs of Spring

Happy Birthday DH

My DH (Dear Husband) is a St. Patrick’s Day child. He actually is Irish, but doesn’t drink alcohol which pretty much makes St. Patty’s-get-drunk-until-you-pass-out ideology moot for him (I drink, but definitely not enough to make up for him!). Although he probably should have been named Patrick, he isn’t because his older brother already had that name. He also rarely wears green on his birthday (or ever), so the fact that it’s St. Patrick’s day doesn’t really matter all that much to him – though it certainly is an easy way to remember that it’s his birthday!

We decided to stay in last night (I cooked a yummy Brazilian dinner for him) instead of going out as New York is absolutely crazy on St. Patty’s. It’s like all the drunk come out in hordes and take over the streets, though I guess that’s the point? I went out for two reasons yesterday: one to work (quick and painless and didn’t pass any bars on my way there) and two to buy some cupcakes for DH’s birthday. Both of us absolutely love the Buttercup Bake Shop for its yummy cupcakes and always get some (or one of their cakes) for our birthdays – we’ve been doing this for 3 years now, since I moved to New York. I wasn’t so lucky in avoiding the St. Patty’s drunkenness while getting the cupcakes, though.

I wound up having to walk on the street (2nd Avenue, no less) to avoid the crowds, and I wasn’t the only one either. The worse are the cops getting drunk. New York is FILLED with Irish cops, military personnel, national guard, etc. who took part in the parade getting liberally drunk around the city – in uniform no less, which I always find a little strange to watch. They take over the sidewalks in throves and will not budge – not for anything! It’s like running against a wall… a drunk wall that is laughing and loud, but a wall nonetheless. Thus the walking on the street – no less dangerous, of course, due to the hordes of drunk people taking taxis left and right and not realizing that yes indeed there is a difference between your body and air!

Despite all this, I do enjoy St. Patty’s day and not only because it’s DH’s birthday and I get cupcakes either, I promise! Though if it was only for that reason, could you really blame me? 😉

Buttercup Bakery Cupcakes

Those are German Chocolate, Devil Dog, Red Velvet and Vanilla. Yum! Oh and just for good measure, a close up shot of my favorite – Red Velvet (DH’s favorite is the German Chocolate):

Buttercup Bakery Cupcakes

We wound up having a great night staying in and the little clovers on the cupcakes made us feel like at least we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day a tiny little bit… even if we didn’t drink!

Hope your St. Patrick’s Day was wonderful!

Spring Knitting…

It’s going to be the end of me, I swear! Between a million birthdays from here until May (including my own), friends being pregnant, test knitting a pattern, doing a Cookie A. sock knit along, temperatures starting to rise (so I want to be outside more often than inside knitting) and the new issues of Knitty and Twist Collective looking pretty darn amazing, I’m not sure how I will get everything I want to get done, well, done! I have WAY too many projects in the works and most of them I either would like to finish right away just because I want to wear it before Spring is over or I have to finish it because it’s a birthday or a due date, etc.

I guess first I will talk about me because this blog is, for all intents and purposes, for me. So this is where Knitty and Twist Collective come in. Seriously, how awesome are these issues?

On my list to knit? Knitty is free, so I’ll start there. Let’s see, there’s the Amazing (and yes, that deserves to be capitalized) Aeolian, which I have gone gaga for and in my crazy state of mind bought beads and a small crochet hook so I can make it with beads. Have I ever done bead knitting? Hell no, and I’m scared out of my mind about it but the results are oh-so-pretty I think I’m just going to have to brave it out! Next, I already bought the yarn (Berroco Pure Pima cotton) to make Decimal, which I am in love with! I mean what’s not to love? It has lacey goodness, a nice fit and gorgeous bell sleeves. I also love that they modeled it on a big girl, not because I’m that big per se (I’m smack dab in the middle of medium and large usually, which sucks in its own way as store-bought clothes rarely fit me right) but because I wish people would be more mindful of all sizes and show their garment being worn by more than one kind of body – I seriously think it would be awesome if all patterns would get at least 2-3 different models (with different body types) to model their stuff. At least that way people would have a better idea as to what the garment might look like on them. But I digress, I am talking about the awesomeness of Decimal and how I’d love to be able to finish it before Spring is over, but probably won’t be able to because of all my other knitting obligations. I am also finding myself drooling over all three sock patterns (Absinthe for its yummy cables, Cirque for its loopy-ness and Cachoeira for its lace – oh and the fact that Cachoeira means waterfall in my native Portuguese, of course!) and the gorgeous Sourwood Mountain fingerless gloves which I really would love to cast on right away. And if I had a boy, I would totally be making him Steggie, which I think every little boy would love to own!

Now moving on to the Twist Collective, I don’t have as many patterns on there that I’m dying to knit, but I can’t help but mention that I am seriously head over heels in love with Primrose Path, which is just gorgeous! I’m definitely casting on two socks, Barber Pole and Netherfield, as soon as possible. I would love to knit, though I know that sadly I won’t get to any of these any time this year, Botanical Lace Cardigan, Cherry Fizz and Pamela. All three are just beautiful and I think Cherry Fizz would be a lot of fun to knit, if one of my knitting blog friends would like to try it! 🙂

As if those issues being filled with goodies is not enough, I have plans to cast on a February Lady Sweater for myself. I have this lovely Madelinetosh Tosh Worsted to use for it and am so excited to start! I am also dying to make myself Almeara gloves but those are for the winter and will most likely be on hold until I can get around to it after the summer, unfortunately. I do have another slew of projects lined up for me as well, but I’m not even going to mention them as there’s no way I’ll be getting to those any time soon!

Now for obligations… I’m test knitting a pattern that Yarndancer previously test knit for. It’s a shrug (Rav link) that is lovely and probably will be a pretty quick knit. I’m waiting for my yarn to arrive to cast on for it as though I have tons of sock yarn in this house, I don’t have enough of a single color to make the whole shrug! I’m excited to make it as in the end I’ll have something for myself at least. 🙂 I’m also taking part in a Cookie A. sock knit along on Ravelry based on her new book coming out, Sock Innovation. I’m very excited about doing this, but now that means I have yet another thing to knit every month. Ah well, what won’t I do for the sake of knitting, no?

And last, but certainly not least, I have a slew of birthdays coming up, to name just a few, my friend’s baby girl will be turning two in April, another friend of mine has a birthday in May (she requested this scarf in a thinner version, and I already bought the yarn for it, so that’s ready to get cast on), my sister-in-law’s birthday is in April, my brother-in-law’s birthday is in May (and his girlfriend is also in May), and another good friend (the mother of the girl turning two) also has her birthday in May. Of course I won’t be knitting something for every one of these people (that would seriously be ridiculous as all of them are packed into the end of April/beginning of May), but I’m going to try to knit the majority of the gifts as I love giving knitted gifts to people. But we’ll see how many I actually end up doing. I have a sneaking suspicion it will only end up being two of them knowing me.

And as if there weren’t enough birthdays during the end of April/beginning of May, I’m going to be an auntie again (my brother-in-law’s wife is expecting her second baby – a boy) and of course he’s due in the beginning of May. Originally he was due on May 3rd (my birthday!) but now I think it changed to the 6th or something. Regardless, he’ll be born smack in the middle of all these other birthdays! But I’ve been good and have already started a baby blanket for him! I chose to go with OpArt as I think my BIL and SIL will enjoy it and like the sort of “modern” approach of it. I’m about 25% done with it.

Baby OpArt Blanket - WIP

Baby OpArt Blanket - WIP

I really like how it’s coming along but it was a true pain to start it. The 4 stitches at the beginning are very awkward to get started with and I made a ton of mistakes with it. I had to rip it out 3 times before I got it right. So, of course, after I get it right (and had worked it up to the 10th stripe), I find out that stupid me thought I was using a size 7 needle when it was actually a 6. At that point I was too pissed at all the ripping back to care so I just switched to the sevens. You can tell for sure if I let you know but since the stripes are increasing in size anyway, I don’t think anyone will be able to tell. Plus, it’s a blanket and not a sweater that needs to fit to an exact size, so I’m happy with it. I might do the last 30 rows or so of it in a size 8 to bring it back up to the right size, but I might not. We’ll see what I feel like doing when it’s a little bigger.

I wish there were more knitting hours in a day! I probably could knit all the time (well, when I’m home anyway), but who wants to do that when there are cuties like this hanging around?

Kissing Mommy

Belly Rub!

So if I don’t get it all done when I want to, I can just point to them. I mean, who can blame me?

Babies are tiny, blankets are big and socks are random

I have had a very busy knitting week mostly because a very close friend of mine told me on Friday that she is pregnant and expecting the baby in November! I am SO excited for her as not only is she a really great friend and a wonderful person, I’m sure she’s going to make the best mother. I’m one of the first people she’s told and I am so happy that I just needed to do something for her right away. So I ran out to my LYS and bought some adorable buttons to knit up some booties for the baby. They turned out SO cute and SO tiny, I can’t even believe it! I mean, I’ve held babies before and have been around them plenty, but I guess you always forget how small they are when you don’t have one in front of you! I call these Rainbow Booties. It’s the Saartje Bootie pattern (free pattern link) knit up using Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Select. It was a super quick knit and I love how they turned out! I think they’ll be awesome on a boy or a girl and they aren’t the usual pastel colors, which I think my friend will enjoy.

Rainbow Booties - Finished!

Rainbow Booties - Finished!

Rainbow Booties - Finished!

And how awesome are those buttons? They go really well with the yarn too! Since I finished the booties so quickly (about 3 hours – should take only 2 but I messed up a bit in the beginning because I can’t count, haha!), I also made a baby Rainbow hat (for 0-3 months) which is also tiny tiny tiny. I used the Magic Loop method for the first time ever. It’s a very easy method and so helpful! The only thing I need to keep in mind, I think, is to make sure to really tighten the stitches at the ends (between the loop) as some of those stitches came out a little loose. It’s not that noticeable, though and I’m sure my friend won’t mind. Plus, it looks very cute together with the booties anyway!

Baby Hat and Booties

Baby Hat and Booties

I’m giving these to my friend tomorrow and I hope she’ll like them! I love giving people knitted gifts, especially when you know they will appreciate it, and this friend always does. 🙂

Moving from the completely tiny, I’m going to show you my huge Girasole blanket, which is finally finally done! I’m not going to block it, though, as my apartment is tiny and I don’t really have the space except for the bed and then I’m afraid it won’t dry in one day and then where are we going to sleep? The husband really doesn’t mind my knitting being everywhere, but I’m pretty sure he’d draw the line at sleeping on the couch in order for a blanket to dry! Though really, I don’t see why? It’ll only be one night… probably… Anyway, my mom, the recipient of the blanket, has graciously offered to block it at her place as she has the space to do it. So it’s heading off to California and she’ll take some pictures after she blocks it to show it off. I think it looks good even pre-blocking, but I’m pretty sure it will look much more amazing post-blocking. I still love it, though!

Girasole Blanket - FINISHED!

Girasole Blanket - FINISHED!

Girasole Blanket - FINISHED!

The blanket is not only big, but heavy so it really does its job keeping you warm! I think my mom, who is constantly cold, will get a lot of use out of it! Plus, although my mom has made dozens of knitted gifts for people (she’s an amazing knitter and has been knitting for more than 30 years), she apparently has never ever received a knitted gift from anyone, so this is her first knitted gift! I’m so happy that she’s getting this from me as it’s one of the best projects I’ve ever made, so it’s definitely deserving of her. Yes, I love my mother, why do you ask? 😉

Since I finally finished the Girasole, I had the time to work on my Monkey sock (the needles did NOT break this time – I am convinced it’s because they weren’t as cheap as the other ones) and I was able to finish one sock! I still have to make the second, but I am totally addicted now. I can’t believe it took me so long to make a sock. Not only were they easy to make, the heel wasn’t scary at all and worked really well. I also can’t believe how fast they go. It’s pretty awesome to be able to have a finished object in such a short amount of time, so I can already feel the socks sucking me into sock mania. Yes, I was forewarned about this but I couldn’t help it! They sucked me in I tell you!

Monkey Sock - WIP

I love the pattern and the stitch definition of this yarn is awesome. Plus, the colors are amazing and they are so comfy. I am beyond excited about having “found” socks! 😉

Monkey Sock - WIP

Monkey Sock - WIP

Close up of pattern (if you go to flickr you can see it bigger):

Monkey Sock - WIP

Not bad for my first sock ever, no? Thanks to all of you who encouraged me to take the plunge into the world of socks! You guys are my enablers, and I mean that in a good way, I swear!

A blanket, a dog (or two) and a sock

Even though I was 100% certain that I wasn’t going to do any more Girasole updates until it was completed, I find myself updating all of you when I still have 1/3 of the edging left to do (should be done by tomorrow!!!). Why? Because I am IN LOVE with this edging. Oh my goodness it is GORGEOUS. Seriously, it just makes the blanket. If I haven’t mentioned before how much I adore Jared Flood, this is a good time to say it (again? really?). Plus, being able to see the blanket in its stretched out glory (rather than constrained by a 60 inch cable) is just breathtaking. A friend actually said that she loved it so much, it gave her goosebumps – and she meant that in a good way, not in a bad, scary movie sort of way.

Girasole Blanket - WIP

I did make a modification to the edging, though I’m pretty sure it was because of something *I* did wrong and not the pattern. Instead of using double yarn overs, I only used single yarn overs as the double was making huge holes that I just couldn’t figure out and looked strange. I think the single yarn over looks very nice, if I do say so myself.

Girasole Blanket - WIP

Girasole Blanket - Edging

The other reason I just had to do a Girasole update was to show off this picture of Hitchcock taken while I was knitting up the edging:

Knitting is boring work

I think he’s telling me that while knitting is boring work, the blanket being made sure is comfy!

Comfy Blanket

It really is a great blanket and is so soft and warm! Kubrick and Hitchcock both love it and are always found sleeping on it. I think this means that when this blanket leaves for its home (I’m knitting it for my wonderful mother who is a much more talented knitter than me!) I’m going to have to make another one so they’ll be able to sleep on it on the couch… not because I want one for myself, of course. 😉

I am almost done with the blanket but couldn’t wait and cast on my very first pair of socks! As previously discussed, I went with Monkey and am so glad I did! What a great pattern… not difficult to do and just beautiful! Of course I had a hell of a time with it because it’s my first sock ever and whenever I do a first of anything it just needs to give me a hard time. Always. It’s just my luck. Yes, I am SO lucky!

First off, I just need to share the gorgeous yarn I am using for this sock. It’s the Fiberphile Super Squish Sock in Raspberry Tart that I wrote about in my last post. Here are pictures of the skein and of it wound up… I think it looks absolutely gorgeous both ways (not to mention being completely squishy and oh-so-soft):

Fiberphiles Mosaic Super Squish Sock Yarn

Fiberphiles Mosaic Super Squish Sock Yarn

Fiberphiles Mosaic Super Squish Sock Yarn

If you look carefully in the first picture you can see my new ball winder and swift in the background. I am so glad I finally got them as they are SO helpful. I can’t even imagine winding that whole skein using my knees and hands (my old method of winding – yikes!).

So I cast on with this gorgeous yarn and started soaring through the leg. I can’t believe how fast it is to knit this pattern and was just loving the stitch definition with this yarn. Not to mention the fact that the colors were looking beautiful and just showing off the pattern so well! I was happily knitting along and had done 4 repeats of the lace pattern when I realized that my work was looking a bit wonky on one side of the lace. I decided to look at the chart once more and realized that silly me was using k2tog twice to decrease instead of using k2tog and then ssk to create the nice V shape. Argh! I was so annoyed but considering I had only lost about 2 hours of work, I didn’t think much of it and just ripped back to the rib to start over. Okay, no problem, lesson learned. So I start up again, do a lace repeat and start up on the second when – wonders of wonders – this happens:

Monkey socks - WIP

Need a better view of it? Here you go:

Monkey socks - WIP

Yes, that’s right, the needle broke not in half, as might be expected, but in a splinter! Seriously, I have NO idea how this could have happened, but I was SO annoyed! I decided that this was all due to the fact that I bought the cheapest DPN in the store thinking to myself that all DPNs are created equal… obviously this is where I was wrong! I usually never buy the cheapest of anything – unless it’s something I don’t care about – but in this case I really thought there would be no difference. I guess you live and learn – and you get what you pay for!

This all happened on Thursday. I’ve been really sick with a horrible cold/flu (not sure what I have to tell you the truth) and didn’t want to brave the weather to get new needles from my LYS. Instead, I decided to knit my Girasole as I needed to finish it anyway (and it looks amazing, as you can see up top), and order the needles online. I went to my favorite online knitting store, Jimmy Beans Wool, and ordered the needles on Friday morning. Friday evening they e-mailed to let me know that the color I requested wasn’t available for another week and asked if I wanted to wait for them to come in. I really thought about it, but decided color wasn’t THAT important, so I chose a new color (rosewood, very nice) and e-mailed them back that night. They shipped the needles on Saturday (from Denver, Colorado) and they arrived here on Monday! That’s right, two days! This is why I love Jimmy Beans and would totally recommend them to anyone. Not only do they have awesome coupons and sales, they also have excellent customer service and very fast shipping. From what I can tell from other online stores, this is a rarity in the knitting world – everything takes SO LONG to ship! – which makes Jimmy Beans even more special to me. Oh and they always put a couple of pieces of candy in their order for you. Yum! 🙂

Anyway, all this to say, I have a small amount of a sock started and here it is for you to look at. I am absolutely in love with the colors and this yarn. I can’t wait to get back to it… of course, as soon as I’m done with the blanket!

Monkey socks - WIP

Before I go, I just wanted to add that although my dogs do think that knitting is boring – I mean, really, what can they do with it? They aren’t allowed to play with the yarn, chew on the needles, roll all over the knitted item, or dig into it to make themselves a nice nest to sleep in. Basically, so boring all they can do is sleep on it. Now it’s even gotten worse as I started knitting these socks, which means that they can’t even sleep on it. I think they are feeling very upset about this as they were demoted to sleeping on the dog bed while I was knitting the dreaded sock:

Sleepy Tummies

Poor pups… what horrible lives they lead. 😉

PS: Thanks so much to Theresa and Tasha for the blog award! I’ll post about it tomorrow. 🙂

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