Thursday, July 19, 2007

Born a Ramblin' Knitter

Been all over this past couple of weeks, including Manchester, NH, where I attended the a day-long workshop at on ganseys hosted by Beth Brown-Reinsel at the TKGA conference . Primo. And here is a pic of my little gansey:
Okay, so I didn't knit all of it within the confines of the six-hour workshop, but I did knit the entire body and one of the sleeves. The other sleeve, plus the neck (and weaving in about a thousand ends) was knitted in my hotel room that night. Then I washed and blocked it. Had to buy blocking pins (had a jones to block), and blocked both the teensy gansey and the lace scarf I've been knitting for my best friend's 41st birthday at the end of this month. It was to be for my cousin's birthday last month, but, well, she ended up getting the socks I was knitting for my friend to give her next month.

Ain't that always the way? The scarf:

The simplest lace pattern known to man, as you might guess. Kid silk haze. I think the color is "vino" or something like it. I'm very sure that I need to block it again, as it has been folded up rather haphazardly in my suitcase for the past ten days.

Okay, so back to the conference. I loved the workshop with Beth--she was very accessible and tried to make sure everyone progressed and understood what was going on. I was very happy and proud to see that I was not the pokiest knitter there, but I fell somewhere in the middle of the pack. Truthfully, I've only been knitting seriously for less than two years, so I was worried that I would just fall behind, especially considering that some of the people there were lifelong knitters. But I did well enough. Learned a new provisional cast-on that I used for some socks. In fact, these socks:

Colinette Jitterbug, bought on my trip in this colorway (whatever it is--I forget) and copperbeech. I used the provisional cast on because we've all heard stories about the yardage of Jitterbug, haven't we? But I managed to get a decent cuff on both, and even decided to stop knitting before all the yarn was gone.

One of the best parts was meeting other knitters. Met Kimberly, who blogs Somebunnyslove. We started blabbing after classes on Thursday and didn't stop. Even ended up going to dinner together before the show. She initiated me to the wonders of Ravelry, for which she is an editor and I mere lowly person on the beta waiting list (number 109,354,832, I think). I am hoping I never get on Ravelry because I think my entire life will disappear into it. It's a black hole.

As for the show--well I bought surprisingly little yarn. One skein. One silly little skein. I'm already knitting socks with it. Here:
Tess' sock yarn. Very reasonably priced ($15), and I really like the way it's knitting up. I'm not a fan of pooling, but this yarn doesn't really pool. It sort of shades, or something, at least the way I'm knitting it now, with only 64 stitches around. I started out at 80 and that was waaaay too big. Looked different then. Not bad. Just different. I like this better.

I visited many yarn shops during my travels, but brought home only three skeins total. Also bought some more sock needles, short and plastic. The ponys snag a bit, truthfully.

So it's been a very knitterly week! I am going to be at Stitches Midwest next month as well. After that, my knitting travels will probably be over for a good long while. But up soon...another contest! Yay!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Late to the Party, and Yarn Pr0n

So, I started Jaywalkers. Yes, those Jaywalkers. The ones everyone and their uncle Fred have been knitting for years now. I've wanted to knit a pair but I could never decide upon the yarn. It seemed to me that the yarn had to not only be self-striping (because variegation would hide the chevron pattern), but have thick stripes. Fat striped yarn is not as ubiquitous as variegated or thin striped yarn. Longer color runs take more work I guess. I could have started them on a number of different more mass-market yarns (sassy stripes, Regia nation colors, etc.), but I wanted them to be special. I was a Jaywalker virgin and I kept myself pure for just the right yarn.

Enter yarntini in the pureknits colorway. Gorgeous, gorgeous stuff. I started a pair of mermaid socks with it but frogged halfway down the first cuff. The pattern wasn't doing quite right by the yarn, I thought. Not quite right. Lovely pattern. But just not for this yarn.

So these are the Jaywalkers. You'll notice the little part on the gusset I had to pull back and reknit. I tend to be a perfectionist about socks, which is really not logical because imperfections in socks are the least likely to be noticed by anyone. Logical or not, I often spend an inordinate amount of time fixing tiny little mistakes that no one would notice but me.

Thanks to the Yarn Harlot's excellent tutorial on fixing cables, I was able to apply these same principles to knitting socks in the round, and have done so many times. I'm still not sure whether or not this is a good thing or a bad thing.

Okay, so that's the sock with some stitches ripped. Here is the sock in progress now.

I realize now that I shouldn't have bothered, because I messed things up trying to fix them.

The fuzzy, white-stitches-in-the-brown-stripe part is not much better than the bumply part that reknitting supposedly fixed. Well, I try to tell myself that I'm a process knitter and that there's something to be learned from every "fixed" mistake. Meh.

In other news: YARN PR0N!

I love looking at the newly acquired yarn of others. This is some of what I've gotten in the past few weeks.

First up: Koigu! From the Patternworks sale. I was lucky enough to get some before it all went away.
L 2 R: Cherry Blossom Fibers in Raspberry Truffle, White Oak Studio in I Love Lucy, Seacoast in Autumn, Miss Babs in Rock Wall, and Lavender Sheep in Bad Girl. All these were acquired from the Lovely Jen at Woolgirl (see left for link).
Below is the beginnings of another sock. The yarn is, I think, Cherry Blossom Fibers in Tartan. I'm pretty sure of that. Can't find the tag now. This is sooooo soft. I'm loving the color combo too. Almost masculine. Almost.
Very nice!!!
I must admit that I also just bought out the store at Full thread ahead's eight hour sale yesterday. CTH stuff. Lots of solids, a couple of colorways. CTH is one sock yarn I've actually never used. Just haven't gotten to it, I guess. I'm planning on doing my first colorwork mittens with the stuff I bought. I also got some tiny toes, tofutsies (the reaction is so mixed on this yarn and I'm eager to try it out and decide for myself), and madil kid seta.
I will post on that when I get the packages. Yes, packages. I put in two orders! (Femiknitzi hangs head in gluttonous shame).