Monthly Archives: May 2009

Easier Knitting, Easier Life

As much as I love to knit – and I do! – I still tend to get very frustrated when I need to do something and I don’t have the right stuff to do it with. Although I just love the ease of chart knitting, I began to find that most of the time I would get lost in a row (especially if it was a very long row) and would often have to use the tip of my needle to follow a line completely… this was not so helpful when I was actually using said needles to, you know, knit! So instead I started to use another piece of paper to cover the chart line by line so I could read it. Genius, right? NO! With two lovely, rambunctious dogs who are allowed on the couch where you knit most of the time this idea quickly went out the window as the paper kept getting thrown off its place with speedy little pups hanging around. I needed an alternative and quick! I had of course heard of using magnets for this and went in the search of finding these. I was happily surprised when I stumbled upon Slipped Stitch Studios on Etsy and found that not only did she carry these awesome magnets, but they were also covered in the most adorable fabric! Just look at this set I got:

Magnets

The magnets come in sets of 3 different sizes and she has many many different kinds to choose from, though I have to say I think my little sheep are just beyond adorable. 😉 Plus they do their job SO WELL. I haven’t had a single pup-run-by charting casualty since I received these and I’m beyond happy with them… and not only are they chart friendly, I’ve also found that they work great as bookmarks when using books for patterns. What more could you ask for? Apparently, in my case, project bags!

Project Bag

I’ve found through my years of knitting that even though Ziploc bags are pretty awesome in a pinch, they are too flimsy to keep sharp needles in. This is a big problem when knitting with double pointed needles which can punch holes through the plastic and then fall through said holes, either getting lost in your purse or breaking – both of which have happened to me several times. I do still use ziploc bags to store yarn – they’re awesome for that! – but for actual projects, they haven’t really done the job very well for me. I already posted before about a great project bag I bought and I was so happy that I was able to carry my projects without needles poking through everywhere that I absolutely had to have more bags. So I was happy to see when I went to order the magnets above that she also makes awesome bags too! I love the fabric that she uses PLUS she updates the site very regularly, pretty much daily, with new fabrics and things. The bag pictured above has the cutest explosion of bumble bees when opened, too!

Project Bag

I also got a large project bag from her in this awesome Knitmare fabric:

Large Project bag

You can’t tell in the picture that well but the book the skeleton was holding reads “Quick and Easy Knitting Projects” and the dog is playing with yarn in one picture and destroying a project in the next. How great is that? I also snagged another small project bag in the Knit Pirate theme:

Project Bag

And to give you a close up:

Project Bag

Notice the skeletons have scissors for bones and buttons for eyes! I probably have plenty of project bags for now, but I still covet more of them… I think I’m going to get a Ravelry one next! They are so cute and definitely usable! Every single project bag I have now is currently occupied with a knitting project, so I found it money well spent.

In addition to being able to carry my knitting as well as reading charts correctly, I was having a bit of a problem counting rows. I don’t really MIND having one of those Kacha counters or even the ones that roll to get the numbers, but I did find that it was becoming very annoying to put down my knitting (or at least drop my working yarn) to hit that counter and/or turn it. Plus, whenever I put it into bags, the numbers would sometimes change and that was just not cool… especially with how much I like to carry my projects in my purse. So the time came for one of those row counters that hang on the knitting (I’m not much of a fan of the ones that go on your wrist because I would never remember to have that on all the time). I love the look of the long gorgeous beaded ones out there but honestly I tried one and didn’t really enjoy it because it would either snag on my stitches or it would dangle way too low and be very distracting for me. As I’ve been knitting lots of socks, I didn’t want something that would hang 6″ down… just personal preference. No wonder I was beyond excited when I found this awesome row counter:

Row Counter

Not only does it meet my above requirements (guaranteed snag free and shorter in length), it also can count up to 110 rows, which is pretty awesome. I used it on my Twisted Flower socks (rav link) and I can tell you that it worked like a charm! I got it from Jed’s Joy on Etsy, if you want to get one for yourself or check out her other work. I highly recommend it! 🙂

And to show off a pair of socks that I actually used all of the knitting gadgets I covered in this post for, I have completed my Twisted Flower socks!

Twisted Flower Socks - FINISHED

These turned out wonderful, if I do say so myself, and I am beyond happy with the finished product! I would recommend this pattern for everyone who’s looking for a little challenge but who’d love a gorgeous pair of socks at the end of it!

Twisted Flower Socks - FINISHED

In addition, the yarn used shows off the pattern beautifully! Wonderful stitch definition and SO soft! I love Merino/Cashmere blends.

Twisted Flower Socks - FINISHED

Twisted Flower Socks - FINISHED

Pattern – Twisted Flower Socks by Cookie A. (rav link)
Yarn – Fiberphile Glimmer Merino/Cashmere Blend in True Heart (rav link) (store)
Needle – US1 (2.25mm)
Cast on – April 3, 2009
Cast off – May 26, 2009

On a non-knitting note, I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend (or a great weekend overall if you don’t celebrate Memorial Day)! We had a pretty nice weekend though poor Kubrick was sick for a lot of it. He’s still not 100% and is on meds. He was very lethargic and just down during the weekend though he recovered from that on Monday and he’s been acting like everything is just peachy now, so you don’t have to feel too sorry for him. We took them on a nice walk in Central Park when Kubrick started to perk up a bit and they had a great time, in case you can’t tell by the tongues!

Tongue anyone?

Tongues!

I hope your day is as happy as theirs was! 😀

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Lonely Socks

Okay, I swear I do NOT have second sock syndrome (lovingly grudgingly called SSS by those struck by it), but I do have “I want to cast on everything right now” syndrome. And no, I won’t put that into an acronym for you. In either case it just so happens that I have a SINGLE sock of every sock that I have on my needles right now, so that’s what I’m going to be updating you all with today – oh and just one more project thrown in at the end for good measure, but let’s take this one sock at a time, shall we?

First up, my Twisted Flower sock (rav link) that I blogged about previously, is and has been finished for about a month now. I really really hope to finish this one by the end of May, but we’ll see how successful I’ll be at that. In either case, the sock has turned out lovely, if I do say so myself. I just adore this pattern – even though it is very complicated and not for the faint hearted – and can’t wait until I have the pair done so I can actually wear them!

Twisted Flower - WIP

The yarn is lovely for the pattern too, showing off the cables beautifully with gorgeous stitch definition – and it’s incredibly soft to boot! What more could you ask for?

Twisted Flower - WIP

I love the back of the sock so much! Here’s the back of it up to the heel. It looks just gorgeous from this vantage point, methinks.

Twisted Flower - WIP

Moving on to yet another Cookie A. sock, I’m knitting Glynis (rav link) from the Sock Innovation book for my Makin’ Cookies KAL that I mentioned previously – basically we’re knitting one pair of socks a month from the book. This sock has given me way more problems than it should have. First, I picked this beautiful Fiberphile yarn to knit it up with only to find that it was way too busy for the pattern and I couldn’t see what was going on with it at all:

Glynis Socks - WIP - Frogged

Although I do like the color of the yarn a lot (and will be using it for another pair of socks), this pattern just did not work out with it how I liked it to. Case in point, I forgot to move markers at the end of every 5th pattern row so instead of the pattern going down in a straight line, as it should have done, it was going down in a diagonal (notice how the yo’s are going down):

Glynis Socks - WIP - Frogged

Not only that, but when I tried on the socks I found that they were very tight, which I was very surprised about until I realized that I was knitting with needles one size too small – yes I am very smart, why do you ask? So it went the way of the frog pond… let’s all have a moment of silence for this unfinished sock that will never be.

..

..

Moving on…

After taking a day (or two) to mourn the loss of all that work, I dug through my stash and found a lovely Socks that Rock in Siren Song that I thought might do the trick. And what do you know? It did! I just love how this yarn knit up and the swirling pooling effect actually went with the pattern so well, I fell in love with the pooling too… how’s that for a come back from the previous frogging?

Glynis Socks - WIP

Just so you can see the awesome swirly pooling better:

Glynis Socks - WIP

And, of course, the finished sock:

Glynis Socks - WIP

Glynis Socks - WIP

Honestly, as much as I love how these socks turned out, I am not really a fan of the actual pattern. Usually I can get into a pattern pretty quickly and just “see” where it’s going to take me after about one or two repeats. With this one, it just never clicked with me. It’s not that it’s hard – the repeats are very easy – it just was not that intuitive to me. So I’m hoping that maybe with the second sock it will become intuitive? Maybe? Well, until then, I’ll leave with with more awesome pooling on the sole of the sock:

Glynis Socks - WIP

And for good measure my favorite part of the this pattern – the cable-like swirls formed by the pattern – highlighted in a picture:

Glynis Socks - WIP

And just when you thought I couldn’t be possibly knitting another sock, I surprise you yet again (it’s all part of my evil plan to, errr, confuse you? hehe)! For here’s a THIRD pair that is only halfway done, with a lonely sock just waiting for its mate. This sock is actually my first toe-up and honestly I’m not enjoying it that much. So far, the fit of it is just not as nice as the fit of the cuff-down socks I’ve done so far, but then again maybe I just need more practice? These are the Diamond Gansey Socks (rav link) from the Socks from the Toe Up book by Wendy Johnson.

Diamond Gansey Socks - WIP

Diamond Gansey Socks - WIP

Sorry for the crap pictures! I was tired when I took these or something… here are some nicer ones from when I was starting out the toe (my first toe up, remember? :)):

Diamond Gansey Socks - WIP

Diamond Gansey Socks - WIP

These are a gift for my mother and as she’s not into lace-type socks, I thought they would be perfect for her. I think she will love them… I just hope they fit! On second thought, I probably should NOT have made my first toe up socks ever a gift, huh? Um, oops?

And just when you think that there’s no end to all this sock knitting, I bring you, at long last, to a non-sock project… that is knit with sock yarn, haha! It’s a lovely shawl – the Ulmus shawl (rav link) – that I can’t wait to get done! I think it will be gorgeous when it’s finished and I am SO excited about my chosen color combo, which looks awesome knit up. It’s Malabrigo sock in Lettuce and Solis:

Malabrigo Sock

And caked up:

Malabrigo Sock Cakes

And finally, knitted up:

Ulmus Shawl - WIP

Can we say GORGEOUS? Because I can!

Ulmus Shawl - WIP

It reminds me SO MUCH of the Brazilian flag and as such of growing up in Brazil and of going back to see my family! So it’s pretty obvious that I’m really loving knitting up this shawl. It’s currently my on-the-bus knitting project, so it probably won’t go very fast, but that’s okay as I’m enjoying knitting it too much to make it go by fast!

I will update the next post with some awesome knit-related stuff I got that I want to share with you guys… I was going to do it with this post but it’s already way too long and I know most of you are probably nodding off by now, no? So before I head off, here’s a picture of the pups to send you off with a smile instead of a snore!

Smile for the camera!

Birthdays Galore

It was my birthday on Sunday (Happy Birthday to me!) and I had a great time at dinner on Saturday night, brunch on Sunday morning and eating yummy cupcakes later that day (yes, the same cupcakes from my husband’s birthday earlier):

I is for Icing

My gifts weren’t too shabby either between my amazing Nikon D90 that I got last month (it was a birthday gift), a gift certificate to a manicure/pedicure, flowers, other gift certificates/cash and, of course, YARN, I think I did pretty well this year gift-wise. 🙂 One of my closest friends, who is not a knitter, gifted me with one of my all-time favorite yarns – Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca & Silk – in TWO different colors. Now is that a great friend or what?? Look at these pretties:

Blue Sky Alpaca - Alpaca and Silk

Blue Sky Alpaca - Alpaca and Silk

Two skeins in each color (Amethyst and Mandarin)… enough for a pair of gloves! I could probably even make a pretty nice hat as well as, amazingly enough, I already have two skeins in Mandarin. Plus, I’ve been ordered to make things for MYSELF with these, so no gifting them out, which works just perfectly for me!

The friend who gave me this lovely yarn is also the one who has a birthday this week and I have been making the Cherry Fizz scarf (Rav link) for. I finished it last week and I love how it came out! I already gave it to her so she can use it in this freakishly cool weather we’re getting here lately and she is so happy with it, so it was definitely a perfect gift for her.

Green Cherry Fizz - FINISHED

Green Cherry Fizz - FINISHED

Also I’m SO happy to add that I entered it as an entry in the Online Knitting Contest for March-April (Rav Link) and I won first place!!! I’m so honored to have won and so excited about this scarf winning it as it was definitely one of my most challenging knits with lots of new stitches and a very complicated chart to go with it. Plus, I think it turned out lovely too. Kimberly who gave out my prize was also extremely quick about it and I already received it in the mail! I got two balls of Lang Jawoll sock yarn as well as the book Knitalong, which I’d been thinking about buying. My husband is very excited about the sock yarn as he claims that I finally got a “guy” color to make him some socks, LOL.

Lang Jawoll and Kitalong Book

I also have another FO to share with you all… this one was very very quick (only about 5-6 hours) but it turned out quite nice. It’s the Star Crossed Slouchy Beret (Rav link) in Manos del Uruguay Wool Classica. This is also for a friend – a belated birthday gift in fact – and I really like the end result. It’s very slouchy, but I really like the extra slouchy-ness of it.

Star Crossed Beret - FINISHED

Star Crossed Beret - FINISHED

Star Crossed Beret - FINISHED

I do like the color a lot as well, it’s very limey and just plain yum!

Star Crossed Beret - FINISHED

As if you really wanted to hear of yet another birthday, my sweet baby Kubrick just turned two years old on April 30! He’s such a good boy and had a great day playing with his brand new duck toy (he won’t even let Hitchcock play with it):

My new toy

He had a lot of fun shaking it, and shaking it, and shaking it:

Shake it....

Shake It...

Shake it like a polaroid picture

He also got a birthday treat… a doggy peanut butter cup that he was nice enough to share with his little brother:

Birthday Peanut Butter cup

And here are the two pups doing a nice Sit and Stay for the treats:

Waiting for Birthday Treats

And just for fun, two of my favorite pics of the two pups taken today:

Smile in Focus

Please ignore the shoddy top knot work… we’re both in training with these. 😉
Flop

The next post will have lots of WIP’s – mostly socks – and some cool new knitting gear I’ve gotten that I love and want to share with you guys. Hope you’re all enjoying my birthday month! 😀

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