Monthly Archives: January 2010

Slow and Fast

I obviously go through many different moods while knitting. From week to week or month to month I change my mind about what I want to be working on and for how long. This always shapes the decisions of my next project. This time, however, it was something quite different. I received my sweater quantity of Madelinetosh Tosh DK (formerly Worsted) in the color Kale from The Loopy Ewe and I just *had* to cast on with it that same day. That rarely happens to me, but this color is just perfect for the Swing (rav link) pattern and I knew that’s what it had to become, even though I originally bought it for another pattern altogether. Of course, my life being not as easy as I’d like it to be, this pattern is written for a true-to-heavy worsted weight and Tosh DK (now aptly named) is definitely nowhere near as heavy. Which means that I had to cast on a heck of a lot more stitches to get the correct size. And, to make my life even easier, this whole jacket is knit in rib, which really sort of sucks as I am no fan of the purl stitch. Yes, I realize I never make things easy on myself! However, it *is* coming out extremely good and I’m loving the color and the yarn in the pattern:

Swing Jacket - WIP

I think it’s looking very pretty in all that rib. And here’s a close-up view:

Swing Jacket - WIP

Hopefully this won’t take forever, but it’s already been very slow going. I only have 6 inches done and still have quite a bit left to go, though those 6 inches already took me 4 days to do, so who knows how long this will really take? I’ll have to see, though I really hope to be done with it before I go to Stitches West at the end of February. 🙂

Of course before the *must cast on a sweater in this yarn right now* mood struck me, I was working on some quick to knit projects! One of which was a pair of fingerless gloves that I’ve been using all the time when the weather warmed up. Now that it’s colder again I’m back to my leather ones until probably April… or until Stitches West since California is so much warmer than here! In either case, these fingerless gloves are absolutely to-die-for soft! Made with one of my all-time favorite yarns, Fiberphile MCN, I felt like I was in heaven when I slipped these gloves on the first time. Not only are they ridiculously luscious against the skin, the color is just amazing as well:

Snow Over Cedars Mitts - FINISHED

The pattern does get a bit lost in the yarn (especially in pictures) but that’s because I probably should have picked a tad bit of a lighter color. But I honestly don’t care! I just think these turned out with a bit of Wow! in them that I love. Plus, the color is amazingly beautiful and just has a glow to it. They were also an extremely quick knit (took 4 days) and they also only took 169 yards of sock yarn! Basically that means I still have enough left of my skein to make another pair if I wanted to. Not too shabby.

Snow Over Cedars Mitts - FINISHED

Pattern – Snow On Cedars Mitts by Anne Hanson (rav link | project link)
Yarn – Fiberphile Merino Cashmere Sock in Dark Amber (rav link | store I used)
Needle – US2 (2.75mm)
Cast on – January 10, 2010
Cast off – January 14, 2010
Modifications – None

I hope everyone is keeping warm out there! It’s starting to get in the high 20’s again this week, so hopefully I won’t be too cold. We’re house hunting this weekend as well and really hope that we will like the townhouse we’re off to see on Sunday. No matter what people tell you, house hunting has been no fun and I really want to find something we love (and can afford!) soon!


Still alive, still knitting

I have been knitting up a storm around here (in a good way – although is there ever a bad way to knit up a storm?) and have really been so busy with so many different things going on that I haven’t had the time to come in a properly start a post. What a worthless excuse, but there it is!

First and foremost, I do need to say that as it is the not-so-New Year, I do have some resolutions that should be listed for propriety’s sake.

1. Knit more colorwork – seriously, I really feel like this is one area I’m desperately lacking. I’ve done two colorwork patterns in my life and neither or them I’m in love with nor use that often. This needs to be remedied. Soon. And, since I’m a sucker for punishment I just might do these socks as a first project for this. Am I crazy or what? Most definitely, I’m sure.

2. Knit more sweaters – This one is obvious – at least to me. I’ve done exactly two adult-sized sweaters and really should get cracking on more. I’ve remedied this by starting out with again another crazy project. I’m currently doing Swing (rav link) from South Seas Knitting and must be insane in that I’m *modifying* it to work as a DK weight… have I mentioned I’m not a proficient sweater knitter yet? Well, you might spend the next post on here reading all about my failures in this respect, but I’m going to remain optimistic for the reason mentioned in the first resolution.

3. 10 shawls in 2010 – I’m completely and 100% sure I can do this. So I’m hoping to do 20 in 2010…. will this be feasible? Hmmm…. dunno. But I sure as hell will try! I wear the shawls I’ve made all the time, so I know for a fact they won’t go to waste. Plus, they can always be given as gifts to others! Not too too worried about this, but we’ll see.

4. Learn entrelac – Not hard, necessarily, but something I have yet to do. In addition I’d like to learn how to knit backwards to make entrelac easier. This I think is my easiest goal but also the one I can see myself not accomplishing due to the fact that I’m way too lazy and a horrible procrastinator… but maybe the sight of these gloves (rav link) (which I’ve been dying to make) will prompt me to go through with this resolution sooner rather than later.

And that’s that. Not too bad, no? I will try to update you all on my resolution progress as the year goes by! In fact, I have started out with two of those resolutions – the first is the Swing jacket that I’ve started and will share a WIP pic with you next time, and the second is my 1020 shawls in 2010:

Theory Shawlette - FINISHED

That is the Theory Shawlette made in Malabrigo Yarn Silky Merino. It’s a gorgeous yarn and a beautiful pattern. I love how it came out though I wound up with more of a scarf than a shawlette, mostly due to the fact that I had a very hard time blocking this shawl! I am usually a pretty proficient blocker (if I do say so myself) but this one was really pissing me off! If I pulled hard on the width it caused the pretty edging circles to pucker and look distorted. If I didn’t pull hard, they scrunched in on themselves! And I would have had to use a million pins to keep those circles nice and straight (I even tried it with wires and either I’m a complete idiot or it was just too difficult for me – couldn’t figure out an easy and proficient way to pin this out). So I didn’t bother. I blocked it lenght-wise and then just pulled on it with my fingers every now and then to make the width a little longer. In either case, I wound up with a longer and skinnier shawl than I intended. But that’s okay… it still makes for a gorgeous scarf! 🙂

Theory Shawlette - FINISHED

Pattern – Theory Shawlette by Jennifer Lang (rav link | project link)
Yarn – Malabrigo Yarn Silky Merino in Cape Cod Grey (rav link | store I used)
Needle – US8 (5mm)
Cast on – January 15, 2010
Cast off – January 21, 2010
Modifications – None

This wasn’t in fact my first FO of the year, but I think I will save those for another post. 🙂

Before I head off, however, I am *so* happy to report that my last entry on Australia was picked by the all-mighty editors as a Freshly Pressed post! It made it onto the front page on as you can see on this screen shot here:


This pretty much made my day that day (not to mention upping my viewership 10x from the average that day), so thank you so much to the editor who decided that my travels were worthy and to every one of my readers for keeping me writing. You are all beyond awesome! I promise, I’m not crying over here… at least not that much. 😉

Australia Part II – Adelaide and Barossa Valley

I thought it was about time to squeeze in an Australia post here. If you haven’t read the last one, you can find Australia Part I here.

After we left Sydney we went straight to Adelaide. The city itself reminded me of Sacramento and as I am not a big fan of Sacramento (no offense to anyone who lives there!) I have to say that I wasn’t a *huge* fan of the city. That *might* have been because it was literally 110 degrees Fahrenheit (no I’m not making that up) on one day and never dropped below 100 degrees the whole time we were there. It was pretty miserable. The actual city is very small and there’s not much to do there, but they did have some nice buildings (especially at the University) and the Botanical garden was neat – though not as nice as Sydney… also probably due to the heat! We only spent a day and a half there, though, as the other day in Barossa Valley (which was beautiful… more on that below) and the next day in Kangaroo Island (next post) which was really cool and made the whole trip to Adelaide more than worth it – really!

Even though Adelaide didn’t melt my heart – I promise you it did try! – I have to admit that parts of it were beautiful. I particularly liked their Performing Arts Center:

Adelaide Performing Arts Center

Adelaide Performing Arts Center

They also had these cute little outdoor cafes in cool older buildings:

Cafe in Adelaide

I did really like some of their architecture as well. This part of the street drew me in for some reason:

Street view

The University was very nice as well. And those purple flowering trees? Could one of you Aussie readers *please* tell me what they are? We saw them everywhere but just had no idea what to call them. I’d never before seen a tree with purple flowers and they were gorgeous!


We spent the rest of the day at the Botanic Gardens and these are my favorite shots from there:


So I guess I’m ignorant, but I’d never before actually SEEN the middle of a fern. I was amazed at how much it looked like a flower! So pretty!


Glass house

I thought this plant looked really soft from this particular angle:

Don't touch!

But it really really isn’t, LOL!

Don't touch!

This one just cracked me up… I guess Santa loves his salads! And since it is summer during Christmas there (and they were having a Christmas Pageant on the day we were there – in 110 degree weather… it was insane!) I guess Santa eats healthier stuff than Milk and Cookies up North! 😉

Santa's garden!

Adelaide Botanical Gardens

Adelaide Botanical Gardens

I think this picture perfectly demonstrates Life and Death:

Dead and alive

Most of the plants were dying (it was SO hot there) and most of their water was dried up too. But there was signs of life here and there:

Adelaide Botanical Gardens

Adelaide Botanical Gardens

Adelaide Botanical Gardens

I feel in love with this sculptured fountain… it’s made out of sheets of glass!

Adelaide Botanical Gardens

Adelaide Botanical Gardens

Adelaide Botanical Gardens

And one more… a self portrait (of sorts):

Self Portrait

They also had a really neat area for Lilly Pads! I’d seen Lilly Pads before, but I guess never these kind! They are just so awesome check it out:

Lilly Pad

Can you tell that they have SPIKES on them? I’m not sure if a frog would like to land on one of these!

Adelaide Botanical Gardens

The next day we went to the Barossa Valley which is famous for its vineyards. We went to a wine tasting (which was very very good – the Shiraz is amazing – of course) and to look at the scenery. No pictures of the wine, though, as I was too busy drinking it! 😉

Barrossa Valley

Barrossa Valley

Barrossa Valley

You won’t believe it (I know I didn’t) but the next picture is of this enormous tree that some guy *lived* in for 11 years (that’s right eleven YEARS) of his life during which time he married AND had two kids (or maybe three?) while saving money to build his house and move them in there. Honestly, how crazy is that?

Tree House

We also stopped by a small German village in the Barossa Valley. It’s called Handorf and it’s just so quaint and cute. It really does feel like a transported piece of Germany – well, except for the deadly heat and the Australians! 😉

Handorf Village

Ice Cream Shop

How awesome is this? They had a PUPPET shop! I don’t think I’ve ever seen one before in my life. Especially not one as cute as this!

Puppet store

Knife maker

Handorf Village

I love this mailbox!

Mail box

And just for my knitting friends, an Alpaca store! They raise Alpacas in this area and a lot of the stores were selling wool:

Alpaca Store

And I know what you’re thinking: who would need wool in a place this hot? I was wondering the same thing myself and must say that I think they’re nuts! Honestly it never gets below 60 or so there… but I guess to each their own! But even the thought of *touching* wool in that kind of hot weather (for my celsius friends it was *43* degrees at the time!) was sort of revolting, as sad as that sounds. I was thinking that they must not do much business in this weather and then I saw this sign which you all have to thank my husband for the picture of as he made me take it for you!

It was 43 degrees that day!

Now I’m just wondering how often they’re closed during the summer, LOL!

I will leave you all (and expect an awesome entry of Kangaroo Island next time!) with a picture of a wild Koala we saw when heading back into Adelaide. I did also see Kangaroos and Wallabies but never once got a good picture of one… koalas are easy as they rarely move! 🙂

Koala bear in the wild

Oh and thank you to those of you who let me know that Australia has now overturned their no-knitting-needles allowed rule as of Christmas day! I can now travel to Australia again and bring my knitting with me on the plane (don’t know when that will be, but you know)!

A look back…

Wow, I can’t believe it’s already the 4th of January of 2010 and I have yet to write a post! To top it off, I didn’t even get a chance to come on before the New Year to write up this look back at 2009 knitting. What a bum I am! In my defense though, I was extremely busy both with my Christmas knitting (not all of which got done by Christmas since I’m such a procrastinator) as well as with family. Going to California and then coming back to New York with my two teenage cousins who spent a week with us tearing through a freezing cold city (seriously, it’s been a high of 28 or so pretty much all week). We had a great time and I’m sad to see them go but at least that means I have some time to do a blog update, something I very badly needed to do.

Before I go on with my look back, just wanted to send out a Happy New Year to all my blog friends! Oh and also to apologize for doing absolutely zero commenting the last few weeks… I’ve just barely skimmed through posts but will start back on regular reading as of now, I promise!

This post will be a look back at my knits of 2009. I am really happy with what I accomplished and with all the new things I learned… it has by far been my most productive knitting year ever! To begin it, I am happy to say that this year I actually finished a whopping thirty projects! Now that’s not amazing by any means, but still quite a bit to accomplish, I think. I actually wasn’t able to do everything I wanted to do and I do still have six WIP’s on the needles that were started at various points last year, but in general I feel pretty good about it all. Here’s a breakdown for you:

Socks – This was a new one for me! I had never made socks before and was scared to death of making them! Considering how much my love for socks grew, I must say that I’m not surprised at how many I have knit since I started back in April of 2009. I hope to have many more pairs in my future!
Total: 7 pairs and 1 pair of baby socks (In Progress: 4 pairs – eek!)

Monkey Socks
Monkey Socks - FINISHED

Twisted Flower Socks
Twisted Flower Socks - FINISHED

Glynis Socks - FINISHED!

Ooo my Oolong Socks - Finished!

Eunice Sock - FINISHED

Sunshine Socks - FINISHED

Devon Socks - FINISHED

Baby Socks
Baby Socks - FINISHED

Blankets – Although I had made a baby blanket before, I had never attempted such a huge project as a full-sized adult one. It didn’t take me long to decide to make one, however, when I saw the gorgeous Girasole pattern by Jared Flood. I love how it turned out and will be making one for myself (this one went to my mom) soon.
Total: 1 full size, 2 baby size

Girasole Blanket - FINISHED!

Baby OpArt Blanket - Finished!

Chalice Blanket
Chalice Blanket - FINISHED

Neckwarmers – This pattern I’ve made many times before but it’s still a big hit with my family at Christmas time, so more had to be made.
Total: 2

Swirl Neckwarmer
Neckwarmer V - Finished!

Swirl Neckwarmer
Neckwarmer VI - Needs buttons

Hats – Nothing new here, but hats are always useful! 🙂
Total: 4 adult size, 3 baby size (In progress: 1)

Koolhaas II - Finished!

Star Crossed Beret
Star Crossed Beret - FINISHED

Stella Hat - FINISHED!


Baby Hat

Baby hat - FINISHED

Baby hat - FINISHED

Baby booties – First time ever making booties and they were a lot of fun, not to mention adorable!
Total: 1

Rainbow Booties - Finished!

Shrugs – Again some firsts… first shrug and first test knit as well!
Total: 1

Liquorice Shrug
Liquorice Shrug - FINISHED

Scarves – Definitely not a first but the scarf pattern itself was incredibly difficult to do with lots of new stitches I had never worked with before. Plus, it was my first project working with 100% silk!
Total: 1

Cherry Fizz
Green Cherry Fizz - FINISHED

Shawls – Definitely a first! This year I made my first shawls ever and I’m already hooked! You’ll be seeing a ton more from me this year for sure…. particularly shawlettes as I love to wear them as scarves.
Total: 6

Mara's Got the Blues - FINISHED

Clothilde Shawl - FINISHED

Aestlight Shawl - FINISHED

Multnomah - FINISHED

Sagano Shawl - FINISHED

Hayworth Shawlette - FINISHED

Fingerless gloves – I made these for my little cousin and they were such a great knit! I love Fingerless gloves and wear my pair all the time so more are definitely in the making for this year!
Total: 1

Nalu Mitts
Nalu Mitts - FINISHED!

Sweaters – I only made one sweater this year as I was afraid of making more after my last disaster in the previous year but this one turned out so well, I know for sure I will be making many more. I can’t wait! 🙂
Total: 1

Vine Yoke Cardigan
Vine Yoke Cardigan - FINISHED

I love looking back at all those knits and remembering where I was when I was making them and who has them now (if it’s not me!). I love giving knit gifts and I love it even more when they are appreciated so I’m glad that these items made it into good homes. I can’t wait for the next year and hope to be sharing more and more knit items with you as it goes by. I leave you now with some of the last pictures I took in 2009. Two are of the tired pups and one is of my family sitting down for Christmas Eve dinner. They are not the best pictures I’ve ever taken, but I love them anyway. Happy New Year everyone!

Sleepy Hitch - 2009

Sleepy Kubrick - 2009

Christmas dinner - Family

Stay tuned for the next post… looking into 2010 for future knits! 😀

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