Thursday, February 23, 2006

478 yards of skeinly goodness

I just had to include some pictures to illustrate how freaking big the skeins of Cascade Ecological Wool are. Here's how it ships in hank form. Looks innocent enough...

And here's how it looks rolled up into a ball! That is a quarter next to it! That is one big ball o' yarn.

I think I'm getting better at rolling my own center pull balls. It took most of Project Jay last night for me to roll up this one, but isn't it pretty? The first ball isn't used up yet and I've already knitted close to 16" of the body with it. The ball is all hollowed out (more of a bowl now) but the yarn still feeds quite effortlessly from it.

I only had to order 3 of these skeins for the Men's Zip Raglan Cardigan. That ends up being more yarn than the 9 skeins of Manos I would have needed for the 42" size sweater had I not substituted. So much savings! And it's ecological! Did I mention it's soft?


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Knitting inheritance

In the process of going through Grandma's apartment, we found needles and crochet hooks of every size, all sorts of notions, patterns, books and magazines, and a carton full of yarn! As the sole active knitter in my family, I have inherited all these treasures. The patterns are especially exciting because they're covered in Grandma's notes. Judging by the sheer volume of knitting stuff, it would seem that Grandma was much more of a knitter than she made herself out to be. Mom recognized a short wooden needle with a red ball on the end (sadly, without a mate) as what she learned to knit on when she was a child. (Apparently my family is full of closet former knitters!) Most of the yarn is acrylic, but there are a couple of skeins that say 100% Pure Virgin Wool, as well as some unlabelled mystery yarn. Everything is at least 20 years old, some of it dating back to the '50s and '60s. There are also bags full of small crocheted squares. I'd like to learn how to crochet so I can finish the afghan project that was probably started 25 years ago. I hope to post pictures of some of these items in the near future.

For now, no new pictures, but I have been knitting! Branching Out is probably close to halfway done, and the lace pattern is showing up better now that it's weighing itself down a bit. I'm also about a foot into the Men's Zip Raglan Cardigan. I was originally going to use Happy Wool but due to a fire in a Jerusalem post office storage room, that fell through. Instead I went with Cascade Ecological Wool, color #9010, and I love it! It comes in such enormous skeins (478 yds.) and it's so soft!

The Fairly Easy Fair Isle stares at me from its hanger, taunting me with its dangling ends and its unseemly proportions. I still think blocking could turn it into something I'd actually wear, but the sweater is too big to fit in the bathroom sink and I'm reluctant to use the bathtub and waste all that extra water. Excuses, excuses!

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Thursday, February 09, 2006

FO: Angora baby booties

These are the angora baby booties I knit for our landlord's new baby. I'm not sure I bound off loosely enough, and it might be tough to get the baby's feet in them, but angora baby booties are pretty impractical anyway. No matter, they look pretty and are very, very soft! I just hope no bunnies were harmed in the making of this yarn.

Angora baby booties
Started: Feb. 4
Finished: Feb. 5
Pattern: From Last Minute Knitted Gifts
Yarn: Belangor 100% Angora by Joseph Galler, one skein, white
Needles: US 4 bamboo dpns


Monday, February 06, 2006

Socktopus and odds and ends

John made a Socktopus for a friend's birthday, and every socktopus needs a hat so I knit him one. I improvised the pattern and used leftover Bernat Satin and bamboo double-pointeds (size 8, I believe). It was a very satisfying, instantly gratifying knit. I finished the hat just as John was adding the final touches to the socktopus. I have to say I really like working with that yarn -- so soft and shiny.

This is the beginning of Knitty's Branching Out with some 100% cashmere I got at School Products. I can't decide if the yarn is too lightweight for this pattern. It might be fingering weight but I'm not sure -- the tag doesn't give much information. Maybe it would look better with a smaller needle size rather than the US 8 which the pattern suggests (if that's even what I'm using -- to be honest, I can't recall), but then it would be super skinny. I'll have to do a few more pattern repeats and see if it shapes up. The Silky Wool suggested in the pattern sounds lovely and is surprisingly inexpensive -- I may order some online since I can't seem to find it in stores. I'm sure I can come up with something to do with the cashmere if Branching Out isn't the answer. The trick is I only have about 250 yards.

I've also made some more progress on the Koigu sock (hopefully someday to belong to a pair), my ongoing portable project. The heel flap is almost done. Over the weekend I borrowed the needles I've been using for the sock to make a pair of angora baby booties from Last Minute Knitted Gifts for my landlord's baby. Those are complete; pictures to come.

While watching the SuperBowl and the L Word last night, I finally seamed up the Fairly Easy Fair Isle's underarms and sleeves. The fit doesn't appear to be too bad -- the sleeves are snug and longish, just how I like them. The jury's still out on the body -- might be a tad looser than I'd like -- but today I bought buttons at M & J Trimming so soon we shall see. There are also a gazillion ends that need to be weaved in.

Socktopus hat
Started: Feb. 3
Finished: Feb. 3
Yarn: Bernat Satin leftovers in sapphire
Needles: US 8 bamboo straights

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Grandma, I miss you

Friday night, Grandma passed away. She had been very sick so it wasn't unexpected, but it's still hard to accept that I'll never see her again. Grandma was such a warm and caring person, always thinking about everyone else, no matter what she was going through. Somehow there was always a sparkle in her eye and an incredible smile on her face. You could count on her to find the bright side of any situation. And she had such a great sense of humor -- she was so quick with the one-liners, even on the way to the operating room. All of these things that made her so special will stay with me forever. She set one heck of an example for her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, not to mention everyone who was lucky enough to have met her. I am so grateful to have had her in my life!