Thank You, Thank You

The lamest part of Jake's imminent entry into law school is my scrambling, stressful search for a job. Several people have helped me out by writing beautiful letters of recommendation, and I just had to thank them with some fiber.

Pattern: "Ruffle Lace Scarf" by Suzie Blackman, available free here
Yarn: Knit Picks Suri Dream - 74% brushed suri alpaca/22% Peruvian wool/4%nylon
Colorway: Hollyberry

Plus: For such a big-impact, lush scarf, this took surprisingly little time. I think this yarn, leftover from the shawl extravaganza of my sister's wedding, is a perfect pairing with this pattern. The lace, when lightly stretched, appears much more complicated than it is, almost like more of an "old shale" look. Despite the mohair look, this thing is heaven directly on the neck.

Delta: This so isn't me, the yarn or the project. They're both so flamboyant! My former department head Sonya looks great in fun, bold-statement accessories. RED is just her personality. However, I'm still a little worried that it won't play nicely with the rest of her wardrobe.

Pattern: "Just Enough Ruffles" by Laura Chau, available for pdf purchase on Ravelry
Yarn: Malabrigo Merino Worsted (aka knitter's crack)
Colorway: Sauternes

Plus: I cast this darling on one Saturday afternoon when I was bed-ridden and feeling utterly pathetic. Something about the luscious texture of the fiber, combined with the zen-like simplicity of the pattern...I could not put it down. It was like chicken soup for my knitterly soul; all my other projects looked rough or difficult or irritating in comparison. The whole thing flew off the needles in about 24 hours, and only the 600 stitch bind-off felt like a chore. I'm quite sure I'll be ordering more Malabrigo and settling in for some cozy merino therapy again very soon.

Delta: You always take a certain amount of risk ordering hand-dyed yarn online. I was hoping for a softer sunlight yellow (a color I happen the think the recipient looks amazing in), and this had a touch more orange than I had anticipated.

Jake visited Washington and Lee last weekend for an open house for admitted law students. I think he really fell in love with the place, which is a good thing, since it's currently the front runner. There are still ELEVEN schools to hear from, but he's expecting rejection or wait-list from most of those. Anyways, he took lots of pictures of the town for me, capturing its boho/intellectual charm. Independent bookstore and coffeeshops, local yarn shop, natural foods grocer, AVEDA salon, beautiful 19th century churches, red brick sidewalks everywhere, farmers markets, vineyards....yeah, I could handle it. ;-)


Stargazing With the Wool Over My Eyes

Pattern: "The Clutch You'll Never Give Up" by Leigh Radford, available in One Skein
Yarn: Fiesta Watermark (Tequila Sunrise) - leftovers from Easy Wave
Mods: After reading Ravelled comments, I decided to go a bit bigger all around and just use the pattern as a guideline. In the end, I CO 80 stitches and increased 4 stitches every 12th round a total of 4 times. I also added an extra row after finishing the handle. I obviously needle-felted a stargazer lily onto one side.

Plus: I cannot believe how perfect the dimensions came out. It fits my wallet, keys, phone, and lipgloss perfectly. Nothing spilling out, nothing getting lost. You can't plan for perfection like that. It is granted. I was especially lucky since I didn't babysit the process like last time, hovering over the washer and pulling it out every 10 minutes to check the size. I set it for a hot and aggressive wash and then walked away, totally zen about whatever would come to pass. Go figure. I am further delighted with my first foray into needle-felting. It was fast and intuitive, and most importantly, I didn't stab myself ONCE.

Delta: Ummm...I wish I could have figured out how to needle-felt tiny fuchsia dots like on a Stargazer. Whether I manipulated the yarn or the roving, it was too blunt and blurry to work.

I'm still playing with my scraps to make some toys like this one: "Fuzzy Mitten Lamb," by Barbara Prime, available as a free download on Ravelry here. I used Knit Picks City Tweed in Orca (leftover from Jake's Cobblestone) and Sirdar Juicy DK (leftover from my terrible Spring Beret). The latter was not an ideal choice since the gauge was different, but I've absolutely got to get that stringy crap out of my stash.

Last, but certainly not least, Watts family afghan square #20, my first entrelac technique. I heart this mucho. Need to work on making the edges straight, though.


Share Time

Modern Ma'am has flattered me with a request: reveal seven facts about myself and then pass the love on to seven other fabulous bloggers. First, the TRUTH.

  1. Though my bachelor's degree is in Literary Studies, I originally majored in Musical Theatre at a relatively prestigious conservatory. I was kicked out sophomore year due to excessive suckage.
  2. I am a whopping 6'0 tall.
  3. My beautiful, intelligent, sensitive husband Jake is bipolar type 2.
  4. I spend every evening leaning on a heating pad due to my own stupid affliction, endometriosis. The good news is that since my surgery last June, I no longer tote that heating pad with me to work.
  5. I have only been knitting for about a year and a half, and I am completely self-taught. I think I mainly picked it up to soothe my anxieties related to not being able to get pregnant.
  6. I cannot control myself around Mexican food.
  7. I own every Will and Grace episode ever made. I watch a few other things because my husband insists that we add a little more variety to our routine.
Now, the DARE. I wanna hear more about....
famous the cat
Reckless Glue
Labor of Love
Ignorant Bliss
The Yarniad
Blue Garter

And on to the knitting:

Pattern: "Round or Pinwheel Baby Blanket" by Genia Planck, available free here
Yarn: Lion Brand Cotton Ease - worsted weight, 75% cotton/25% acrylic
Colors: Almond, Azalea, Taupe, Maize, Pistacio (pretty yummy stuff)
Mods: added a three-stitch wide i-cord bind off

Plus: Mindless, fast, low-pressure way to burn through the rest of my cotton-ease stash, left over from Temple's blanket.

Delta: I ran out of time before I ran out of yarn, and I did not have the opportunity to block it properly...or....you know....at all. Hence, a tad on the small and wrinkly side, much like its intended recipient. One of my coworkers, when the blanket was pulled out of its gift bag, said, "Oh, you made them a doily. That's interesting." He got a nice kick in the shins under the desks.

Here's a rapidly regressing sixth grader getting it nice and germy before I wrap it up. This picture is important for two reasons: 1) you can tell how small it is and 2) you can see the insanity I work with every day.


Lust for Color

Whether it's the playfully modern, graphic artistry in patterns like paper dolls and little birds....
Or it's the whispers of ancient feminist wisdom in traditions like bohus and selbu and fair isle...
Or a feverish desire to have a fancy pair of fingering weight stranded mittens for every day of the winter....


Sigh. Alas, I'm just not there yet with control over my left hand. Everything ends up wonky and puckery. I'm decided that I'll devote some considerable time over the summer to practicing continental method and stranded knitting swatches. Until then, anything I attempt in the way of colorwork falls pathetically short of expectations.

Until now. Enter "mosaic knitting" method. I would never have ventured into this strange new land had it not been for this latest afghan square. But now that I'm here, I'm simply wild about it. It's so flippin' easy and fun!

I've since been gathering together mosaic colorwork patterns I can tackle next. My top picks:
Mosaic Yoke Jacket
Blooming Cotton Scarf

Oh dear, I soooo excited, I could just pee a little.

I've also been indulging in a bit of low-stress toy-making/scrap-busting.

Pattern: "Knitted Bunny" by Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer, available free here
Yarn: Classic Elite Yarns Lush

Pattern: "Grumpasaurus" by Kat Lewinski, available free here
Yarns: Classic Elite Yarns Lush; Shibui Knits Worsted; Berroco Comfort

They're each a wee bit flawed in its own small way, but the beautiful thing is, I don't care.


All's Well That Ends Well

Breathe, lady, breathe! It's over. You can stop hyperventilating. Go ice up your poor wrists.

First, the Ravelympics Dance o' Victory!

Pattern: "Aria" by Lynne Barr, available in Knitting New Scarves
Yarn 1: Debbie Bliss Pure Silk - single ply DK weight, 100% silk
Colorway 1: Aqua (21)
Yarn 2: Araucania Itata Multy - sturdy 4-ply, 70% wool/15% silk/15% bamboo
Colorway 2: 1014

Plus: Pure silk directly on the neck--how did I live without it? I've always been crazy about this pattern; it's one of the main reasons I bought the book. I respect most of the unique (often bizarre) designs on some level, but this one just said, "Baby, I'm yours." I held the two yarns together to create my version of the perfect handpainted yarn--depth, not dashes. Barr developed this undulating, slippery thing with laminaria seaweed in mind. Hence, I wanted a really flowing, drapey result, so I intentionally planned the gauge to be a bit more open than instinct would have led me to. I think I overshot that goal a bit at the beginning with a US10.5; about 1/4 of the way in, I went down to US10 and the whole thing just CLICKED into total happiness gear.

Delta: Jake pointed out to me that the Ravelympics seems like a stupid excuse to enjoy your hobby less. I'm starting to think he's right. I cast this thing off at exactly midnight, even though I was longing for another foot. I wasn't about to pass up my chance at the gold.....er....red...... rectangle:

Why couldn't they have made it look like a MEDAL?! Sigh.

As for the mitts and the blanket, a post is coming soon about each. Just know that everything ended up just fine, with a special thanks to Jill at the Woolie Ewe for saving my sorry behind. I'll tell the full story later, but just know: SHE IS A SAINT!

Square #18 (half-way! WOOT!) (wait, only half-way?! Grunt.)