Saturday, January 19, 2008

Knitting in a winter wonderland

I went to see Cloverfield this morning, and when I walked outside the theater...... SNOW!!!!! (OK, not too big a surprise. we knew it was coming.)

It doesn't snow all that often here in the Atlanta area, and it's snowed twice in less than a week. I'm a transplanted Yankee, so I don't realize how much I miss it until it snows again. It also gave me a chance to take the new camera outside and play a little bit. Here's our house from the street.

Here are some very unhappy Daffodils. The variety is 'Rijnvelds Early Sensation'. I had them in bloom before Christmas last year, so I guess they were a little late this year.

Here's the Japanese Camellia bush on the side of the house. I'm not sure of the variety name, but it's an early bloomer, and I usually don't make it around to this side of the house to see it until it's done blooming.

OK, so I'm in for the rest of the day. I've got knitting to do. I talked to my Mom this morning and found out that my niece, although she is not yet in labor, is dilated to 3 cm. The baby blanket? I'm not quite halfway finished.

I have been knitting. I finished my hand warmers, inspired by the movie Sweeny Todd. I used 1 entire ball of Rowan Cocoon, and by that I mean I had about 18" of yarn to spare. I just made up the pattern, and after I figured out the thumb gusset, they weren't too difficult.

These should do the trick if I need to go back outside anytime today. As for now, I'm going to put my feet up, sit by the fire, and knit some mindless garter stitch. Gotta rest up. Valentine's Day is just a few weeks away.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Getting fleeced

If you've been reading my blog, (what few posts I have written), I'm sure you've heard about the Icelandic ewe I adopted for a year. Her name is Chloe. During the course of the year, you get these great little quarterly newsletters telling you what's going on with the your sheep and the flock, sheep's milk soap, (Icelandics are exceptionally good milkers), and the latest photos of your ewe. My last photo of Chloe showed her after shearing. The grand culmination of the year of adoption, what we've all been waiting for, is the arrival of Chloe's yarn. The yarn was originally supposed to be spun into yarn at the mill where the fleece was processed. In December I found out that the mill no longer spins yarn in lots of less than 10 lbs. I was offered either the processed roving that I would then have to find someone to spin for me, and a small refund for the difference, OR, the shepherdess offered to hand spin it into yarn herself. I thought, "What could be better than this!?" "She has sheep." "She has a wheel." "She must know what she is doing." I requested a worsted, loosely spun, single, similar to Lopi Lite. When I first opened the box on Saturday, I was immediately taken by the beauty and softness of the yarn. It's a beautiful light grey with darker grey heathering. It is SO much softer than the commercial lopi yarns I am used to. The only problem is the weight. It is VERY thick. Much too thick for the Aran V-neck pullover I was planning to use it for. It's more like a bulky or chunky. It's about the same thickness and loft of Rowan's Big Wool. Here's a picture. Those are US size 13 needles.

I've talked to some spinners, and found out that it can't be un-spun and re-spun in a thinner weight. I have no idea what I'm going to do with it. I live in Hotlanta. There are about 3 days out of the year when I can wear something that heavy. I don't even like knitting with big thick yarn and needles. It's just a big let down, after waiting a year, and ending up with something you can't use. (and it wasn't cheap either) I almost wish I had gotten the roving and then paid someone locally to spin it for me. Oh well, too late now. Live and learn. I guess I can always move to Alaska!

On a lighter note, I have finished my first project for the Ravely group Mission: Possible 2008! It is my LSU scarf, originally intended as a Christmas gift. (didn't quite make it, did I?) I'm sure it will be appreciated, even though they have already played their bowl game against Ohio State. (LSU won)

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Knitting from stash

It is a brand new year, and I am faced with a stash larger than a couple of LYSs I know. (what can I say, I can't resist a bargain...) I have joined the new Ravelry group, Mission: Possible 2008, where I have to come up with 12 projects, knitted from stash, and finish them before year's end. These can be projects that have already been started, and only need minor finishing, to projects that are still in the planning stages. The idea here is to use up that stash! My problem is, I have come up with WAY more than 12 projects, and I need a little help paring the list down so it won't become Mission: Impossible! Here they are in no particular order:

  1. My first pair of socks. Started over two years ago, and one kitchenered toe away from being a complete pair. I'm pretty sure this one is in.
  2. Branching Out from Knitty. This pattern has nearly put me off ever trying lace again. I know it is not that difficult, it's just this thing I have with lace. (we hate each other) Still..... it is nearly finished, so I'm pretty sure this one is in.
  3. Sweater for Andrew. He picked out the pattern, and I bought the yarn over a year ago. (Knit Picks Swish in black) I've decided to modify the pattern, so I need to rip what little I have already started. He's tall and thin and will look awesome in this sweater, so it shouldn't take me too long to knit.
  4. Hand warmers. I loved the ones Johnny Depp wore in Sweeny Todd, so I am attempting to recreate them. I bought a ball of Rowan Cocoon last night, so I guess that has become "officially" a part of the stash. (I know, that's not the idea....)
  5. Lace shawl for Beth. (what... did he say lace!?) Yeah, I know, but this pattern looks do-able, even for me. The pattern was from a past issue of Knit Simple, and I picked up some Acero from Brooks Farm at SAFF last fall specifically for this project.
  6. Market Squares Bag. Started last year before The Mountain, and has finally been felted and blocked. Just need to sew on the handles.
  7. WVU Baby Blanket. Has already been started, and my niece's baby is due in February, so this one is in. Knitted in gold and navy Fantasy by Dark Horse Yarns.
  8. LSU Scarf. For a good friend of mine who is a loyal LSU fan. I hope to have complete before they play Ohio State on Monday. (look at me, I'm blogging, and I should be knitting!)
  9. Felted Sheep. Fiber Trends Pattern. Cute as can be! Knitted in Lamb's Pride Bulky. Need to finish the knitting, felt it, stuff it, and sew it up.
  10. Elizabeth Zimmerman's Pi Shawl. Habu undyed merino, fingering weight.
  11. Chloe Dress. A pattern by Beth Brown-Reinsel for my niece's first child, Gracie. I bought some soft lavender, Jaeger, sport weight, washable wool yarn from WEBS last year for this project.
  12. Round-yoked Icelandic Sweater. I'll be using one of the Lopi patterns from Reynolds, but I'm going to use either Rowan Polar, or Rowan Soft Tweed instead of Lopi.
  13. Entrelac sweater. My own, (very simple), design. I'll probably use Noro Silk Garden, or maybe Kureyon. Would like to have completed before SAFF this year.
  14. Shawl Collar Cardigan. Knitting Pure and Simple pattern, using Rowan Yorkshire Tweed Aran.
  15. Cabled V-neck Pullover Vest. I have no pattern, so I may improvise one. I want to use my Icelandic handspun from my adopted sheep for this one.
  16. Christmas Stockings. I bought 3 Christmas stocking books on sale last year right after Christmas, but still no stockings! Not sure what yarn I will use, but I'm sure I can find something. Would like to knit one for me, Beth, and Andrew.
  17. Simple Top-down Raglan. I bought enough sport weight, tweed, alpaca to do a sweater big enough to fit me. Of course I got it at SAFF the year before last, and I think it's about time I used it!
  18. Top-down, Saddle-shoulder Aran Gansey. I've been wanting to do this ever since I took Beth Brown-Reinsel's class last year. I plan on using the Knit Picks undyed worsted wool. Of course this one is going to take a lot of planning and design work on my part, so I may not get to it this year.
  19. Felted Backpack. My own design. I plan on using some New Zealand wool I bought on eBay two years. It was cheap, and I bought several colors by the pound. (I'm not saying how many pounds.) It's not very soft, but felts like a dream.
  20. Felted Slippers. Fiber Trends pattern. I'll probably use some of the Cascade 220 I have stashed, or the above mentioned New Zealand wool.

OK, that's all I can think of right off the top of my head. I'm sure I would be reminded of more if I started looking through my books and patterns. Oh, did I mention this part of Mission: Possible 2008? If you don't finish a project, you have to GIVE THE YARN AWAY!!!!!! (kinda makes me wish I had some Red Heart in the stash) So I have to seriously sit down and come up with a list that I can do. I don't want to have to say good-bye to any of my yarn. I've had some of it so long it has become like family.

Oh, and I noticed in the rules that nowhere does it state that I can not continue to ADD to my stash. (yeah, yeah, I know.....)