Sunday, December 24, 2006

Yarnmonster on Vacation

This blog is officially on vacay:
I am in Tucson, AZ. After three hours of sitting on the runway at Newark airport on Thursday, I (drum roll)... FINISHED all my Christmas knitting! Woo hoo!
So now I have time for leisurely pursuits again. Yesterday, we took a drive out to Gates Pass, a mountainous area covered with cacti, for some knitwear photography. Birch and the Hourglass Sweater are old FOs, but they never had very nice pictures taken of them, and I felt that they deserved better.
More photos here.
I also brought 3 small projects along to keep me busy during the trip, as the holidays can often involve much sitting around, both on runways and off.
The stockings have progressed a little:
And I started some of Eunny's Endpaper Mitts in 2 colors of Koigu: And, after much swatching and planning and debating, I decided to go with the Kimono-Shawl-turned-scarf pattern for the Christmas cashmere:It's been nice getting a chance to frolic in the sunshine a little bit--the weather here in Arizona is very pleasant during the day, tho' it gets a little chilly at night.
I hope everyone out there is having a Merry Christmas Eve, or what ever holiday you may be celebrating! See you all soon--next stop on this blog is Cancun, where I'll be meeting up with my family!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Holidays are for Happiness

This weekend, I took a little break from the gift-knitting to attend a most lovely holiday party Chez Carrie:
It's the Spiders!
The food was delicious, the conversation delightful, and Carrie and Marie outdid themselves as co-hostesses of the event. I ate lots of cookies, drank a good deal of rum cider, and after the gift exchange, somehow managed to walk away with this: Yup, that's cashmere, baby! Somewhere between 500-600 yards, courtesy of Miss Jess Fig & Plum. I was up late last night looking for the perfect pattern for it--I want a soft, somewhat lacy scarf to wrap around my neck, all of my scarves are either too wide or long and heavy. I'm thinking about a scarf-sized version of the Kimono Shawl from Folk Shawls (here's a lovely example of this pattern). That'll keep me busy during the holidays.
And because a girl can't just make stuff for other people ALL the time, I took a time out to do a little sewing the other day:
And a little more time out:
Both are reversible drawstring pouched to hold the myriad of small knitting projects I have on the needles. The ribbons, apple corduroy, and skull fabric are from Brooklyn General, the pink inside fabric is from Purl Patchwork, and the tropical inside fabric is from Mood.
Back to knitting! You're all just going to laugh at me when I tell you I've had yet another one of my gift recipients request something different from what I had started making him. But it's not too big a deal--I can still use some of what I was knitting.
And much thanks to Veronique for all of her hard work on my dad's present! My friends need to forget their knitting projects more often. ;)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Holiday Mania

I have been knitting away on my Christmas gifts over here, and despite this, am making NO progress on the Christmas Self-Torture in my sidebar because I KEEP ADDING MORE!!! People, loved ones, if you're reading this, we are officially closed to any further requests over here! No more! My fingers are raw and my elbows ache. Why, oh why, did I do this to myself?
Occasionally, however, I have to put all of these gifts aside and work a couple of rows on these:
Mmm, Norwegian Stockings, I love you! And I have to say, I'm *loving* the Baby Ull! The analogy that comes to mind is milk chocolate-y softness, but this may be inspired by the color as well.
But I know a post all about Top Secret Christmas Knitting is less than thrilling, so I included some snippets of what I have been working on. Family, read on only if you WANT to see the snippets, otherwise, catch ya later!
Hand-dyed Kona Superwash:
Knitpicks Telemark:
Zara:
RYC Cashsoft DK:
And then sometimes I just lose all self control. I read this post and was consumed by the need to make a dishrag:
It's crumpled 'cause I use it!
And then the writer of said post informs me of this:Wow, a Mason-Dixon sampler for just $15.99? Who could resist? Not this Yarnmonster, obviously.
But now it's time to buckle down. Make some tea, stick a pillow behind my back (maybe a heating pad too), queue up some Law & Order on the DVR, and get knitting!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Stranded in Norway

It seems that this blog has, inexplicably, succumbed to the seductions of Norway. Not sure why--I have no Norwegian heritage that I'm aware of, though my Grandma is Finnish--but there's no denying it. It was only after I joined "Stranded: The Colorwork Challenge" that I became aware of my new love of all things knitted and Norwegian. We were asked 2 questions:
What are your projects for this knitalong?
and
Is this your first colorwork project? If it isn't, what was your first, and has it survived the test of time?
My projects? Well, I'll be starting with some Norwegian Stockings from Nancy Bush's Folk Socks.
Who wouldn't want to knit these? I hope all of you folks form the Norwegian Knits KAL aren't too tired of seeing these stockings, because I've got to have a pair.
Also thinking of, as I mentioned before, this Knitpicks ski sweater. Also "inspired by" Norwegian knits. But I think I'll see how I do on the stockings first.
And no, this will not be my first colorwork project, but close. More like somewhere between my 3rd and 5th, depending on which of the 3 projects I have on the needles get done first. My first and second colorwork projects, however, are also of Norwegian descent:
EZ's mittens (all about those here) and Ufserud. Both using Knitpicks Telemark in Northern Green and Bayberry. The hat used one ball of each and was knit on US #4 dpns.
Neither has had much of a chance to withstand the test of time, esp. since as of 2 days ago it was still 72 degrees F here in NYC. But I think I'm pretty safe with these--could they ever go out of style?
Anyone have any more fabulous Norwegian knits for me? I'm always ready to add to my already-long list of Projects to Knit.


Thursday, November 30, 2006

Belated Bog (aka. The Last Bog Post Ever)

So, I've had these photos for days, and I'm just now posting. I know, the shame.Pattern: Bog Jacket from Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitting Around
Yarn: Undyed Irish aran-weight wool bought in Galway, and 1 skein Louet Gems Topaz for I-cord edging
Needles: Addi Turbos, US #8, 32"
Modifications: I did all of EZ's suggested mods except the pockets. This included: longer sleeves with short-row arm shaping, waist shaping, shoulder shaping, "phoney seams", and i-cord edging. I also installed a double-direction zipper instead of buttons b/c I thought it would be more wearable and modern that way.I am completely thrilled with how this turned out. While I was making the jacket, I was having very serious doubts. It looked like a giant mass of white wooliness, which still smelled a little sheepy, to be honest, and I was afraid the fit would be really off, since it was such a strange form of construction. It turned out to be a snug, fitted wool jacket!
The knitted-on i-cord edging really added a lot:
And though it took several hours to do, it was well-worth the effort.
What's next? I've got several Christmas presents on the needles--don't worry, I'm not going to complain endlessly about them here, but I will photograph them once it's all over so you can see what I was up to. But I will tell you that I had to learn how to do INTARSIA IN THE ROUND for one of them. Which is best avoided, if you can help it. Also working on the colorwork hat from the last post, which is almost done. And Rogue. And four pairs of socks. We like to keep it interesting over here at Casa Yarnmonster. ;)

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Happy Tofurkey Day!

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving!
So geez, people, when I told you not to forget your Tofurkeys, I didn't really expect you ALL to run out there and clear the shelves of them! We had to go back 2 days in a row before I managed to get his hands on one, and that was only after pushing through "a mob of frantic vegetarians". But get one he did, and it was quite a success.
I've been thoroughly enjoying the holiday, cramming in as much knitting as possible. Wednesday was a whole day of cozy wonderfulness at Brooklyn General, Kaitlyn's new place of employment. Have you seen it since they moved to their awesome new space?
It's so big! And lovely and inviting too. It's a few blocks off of the G or F train, but well-worth the trip. They have lots of awesome fabrics:
And Lobster Pot cashmere!And did I mention how friendly the staff is? ;)
We hung out, knit, ate, and played with Baby MJ all day while the wind howled outside--what a perfect day to have your fingers wrapped up in wool, right?
I made some progress on a new hat:This is intended to match my mittens--if I don't become overly frustrated by my tension issues and rip the whole thing out! I'm in training for my next KAL experience, Stranded: The Colorwork Challenge. Still not sure what my project for that is going to be, but I've got some ideas.
Hope everyone is enjoying their holiday weekend!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Rhinebeck Project #2

I'm not letting that Rhinebeck yarn collect any dust this year:
Pattern: none, just regular old hat pattern. I cast on 120 sts, knitted for about 6 inches, and then started doing 6 k2tog dec's evenly across sts every other row, till I had 6 left, then BO.
Yarn: Springtide Cashmere, 1.1 oz, purchased at Rhinebeck
Needles: Clover, the little plastic kind in the Japanese package, US size 3, 12"
I LUV my cashmere hat!!! I've never knitted with pure cashmere before, and now I feel like Eve after she ate that apple. It is yummy, especially this light airy stuff. And super warm, despite being very thin and fine. Well worth the $30 I paid for the yarn.
It was a quiet, pleasant weekend at Casa Yarnmonster, other than some dodgy-tummy moments on Saturday, for which I can only blame myself. Brooklyners, have you checked out the Stonehome Wine Bar in Fort Greene? This place is so cool, you can order flights of 3 different wines to give yourself a mini-tasting. There's a full menu as well, so you can easily make a night of it--it would be a perfect date venue as well. I strongly recommend it--as well as some Alka-Seltzer for the next morning, if you are afraid you might get carried away by your flight of wine. ;)
Sunday was spent in pleasant companionship with knitting friends--there was even some hand-sewing being done!
(Thanks to Jess F&P for the photo of Veronique--I forgot to take any pictures!) Food was eaten, yarn was knitted, and there was even a pie! Everyone thoroughly enjoyed Jess's delicious homemade pie. Not to be confused with this Jess, who has never made a pie in her life, and has even managed to screw up reheating one from the store.
I wish every day could be like that. But maybe, with the holiday weekend coming up, we can at least have a greater percentage of those days than usual? I hope so.
Don't forget to buy your Tofurkeys, everyone!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Domestic Bliss

First of all, I just have to say thank you to everyone for your sweet comments. They cheered me up so much, and it made me feel so much better to be reminded what awesome friends I have, in blogland and IRL. You guys all rock!
Anyway, this week is starting off a lot better, and I've been a busy Yarnmonster over here! Saturday was absolutely beautiful, and Veronique invited me along to meet several bloggers at Purl. I had never met Yahaira, Angela, Diana, or Jared before, and was very excited to do so. They were all very cool, as knitters tend to be. Nice to meet you, everyone! Also present were Jess, Sandra, and Carrie, so it was a whole day of knitbloggerly fun. We migrated to Brooklyn General too, which is so adorable and cozy in their lovely new space! If you haven't stopped by yet, make a trip over there, it's a really cute and friendly shop.
I bought some great fabric and Purl Patchwork, and rather than let it gather any dust in The Closet, I sat down and sewed it all up yesterday!Would you like a martini, dahling?
Patterns: Apron is from Amy Butler's In Stitches and Mitt is from Denyse Schmidt Quilts.
Fabric: Both are Anna Griffin for Windham Fabrics Elsie's Kitchen, purchased at Purl Patchwork.
I love both of these books--they are such beautiful and inspirational books, and the project instructions are very clear and detailed. This took up my entire Sunday, but I am a pretty hopelessly clumsy sewer. I think someone more experienced could whip them out a little faster.
BTW, sorry for the HORRENDOUS photos, the sun hasn't shone since Saturday, and my photographer is booked solid. :) You people deserve better.
But I had to show you the Bog Jacket:
All I have left is the zipper! Huzzah! It fits really well too, which was a relief, since my arm shaping was sort of a gamble. But I'm really happy with it. Better, finished photos to come, I promise.
That's all for now! And I hope you like the new look--we're transitioning to fall/winter over here at Yarnmonster.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Bogging Onward

So, I've been a pretty poor blogger for the past week, mostly due to some general unrest at home. I don't put a ton of really personal stuff on my blog, as I tend to look at my blog as a sort of "Best Of" in regards to my life and projects, and it makes me happy to write cheery posts about mittens and friends and wool. But suffice it to say, sometimes Life is not so cheery, and one is not always up to writing happily about knitting on one's blog. Thankfully, most of the time, I am, but this has just been one of those weeks, you know?
But Life Matters aside, there are important things to be discussed, namely, some progress on the Bog Jacket! The main knitting of the jacket is complete, and I have, as promised, made up a little pictorial tutorial of how the top of the thing was grafted together.
OK, so basically you're knitting this huge square, and at the point where I added waste yarn (A) I also cast on extra stitches (invisibly, on waste yarn--I messed up that invisible part, tho') so I'd have longer sleeves. This is a shot after I've finished the right side, and am about to do the left:
After I've removed the waste yarn:
All waste yarn is gone, and the live stitches are in the places where they are to be grafted together:
All done!
My grafting isn't exactly the best, but I did my best. I tried to do it without the needles like EZ recommends, but I was not dexterous enough--so I watched the video on garter stitch grafting at KnittingHelp.com (LOVE that site!) and did it that way. I had to readjust afterwards, though.
So, this is quite a bit of grafting, in case you are contemplating making a bog, but it is done easily enough while watching some TV in the evening. Now all that remains is finishing the neck, doing the i-cord edging, and some end-weaving and a zipper!
I'll leave you all with a really silly dog-photo: Peru, curled up like a gigantic bean, smiling. :)

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloweenie!


***These adorable sausage dogs belong, not to me, unfortunately, but to my Mom, who is also the mastermind behind their clever costumes.
Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

A Tribute to Project Perseverance

I have some FO's to share!
Pattern: Norwegian Mittens from Knitting Around by Elizabeth Zimmerman
Yarn: Knitpicks Telemark in Northern and Bayberry
Needles: US #3 Addi Turbos, 32"I am thrilled with these mittens--I love how they look, and they were fun to knit. Who knew I liked colorwork? The only problem I had was same one Fig and Plum has complained of: my first mitten was a WAY looser gauge than the second, so now I kind of want to knit the first one over. We'll see if that ever happens, though.
Also, I finally have my ONE contribution to Socktoberfest:
My corded rib socks are finally done! Don't ask me any details, I no longer remember them. They were on size 4's, I got the yarn at MDSW, and I used a stitch pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch.
Also finished my first Project Purchased at Rhinebeck:
And a mere week after the day itself!
Pattern: Stuffed Mittens Kit from Greenwood Hill Farms
Yarn: Worsted merino from Greenwood Hill Farms, plus some white merino roving
Needles: US #4 and #6 Addi Turbos
These mittens are SO warm and snuggly! The inside is full of super-soft merino roving, perfect to nestle my cold hands in on a wintery day.
Friday night was another lovely meeting of the Spiders at the Point, and we all got to meet Melissa, whose blog has much intrigued us with its many secret projects. I got to fondle one of these super-secrets, and I have to say, with secret projects like that, I think I would stay in my house and knit 24-7. It was great to finally meet you, Melissa!
And then, I came home to Brooklyn for a little pre-Halloween fun:
We really know how to party at my house.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Rhinebeck!

This weekend was one of my favorites of the whole year--it was Rhinebeck!
I went up on Saturday with a bevy of Spiders, and it was an absolutely perfect day. Temps in the 50's, bright sunshine, and once we got out of the city, trees full of fall colors. We had hot cider and apple crisps, played with sheep and watched sheepdog competitions, and of course, shopped for yarn!
Click above for the details of my haul. I was thrilled with my purchases--I think I did better than last year, when Michelle, Jenn and I were completely overwhelmed by the enormity of the Festival. Biggest splurge? The tiny bit of cashmere I purchased for a hat. Project I'm starting first? The thrummed mitten kit, because these mittens will be so warm and soft, and fast, and Jess and Veronique got them too, and it's still just as much fun to match your friends as it was in 7th grade.
There were a ton of people there! I ran into Jenn and Jill, and lots of other Tuesday night SnB girls. I definitely missed Michelle, who was my companion last year, and far away in Indiana this year. We ran into Debbie Stoller, who was as nice as ever, and we saw the Yarn Harlot from afar. And most exciting, my pal Carrie (otherwise known as Carrieoke) was here from Georgia!
We even convinced her and her friends to come to Morehouse Farm with us for the post-festival reception they were having--which was fun but VERY crowded. But I got to meet Melanie Falick there, which was exciting, as I had an Over-the-Knee Stocking from her book in my bag. We didn't last too long in the madness, though, and left for some much-needed dinner and then headed back to the city, exhausted and happy. Sigh.
I. Heart. Rhinebeck.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Norwegian Vacation

No, I'm not really going to Norway!
I'm taking a vacation from all of that garter stitch (yes, the Bog is still unfinished) and making a pair of Elizabeth Zimmerman's Norwegian mittens! I'm using her "Spruce" pattern, which she states is not authentically Norwegian, but I think it's still in the spirit of things. This is my first foray into fair isle, and though it's a little slow, I'm enjoying it. I can't quite get the hang of the two-handed method, but I'm working on it.
And tomorrow is Rhinebeck!!! I'm so excited. Steph, Lisa, Veronique, Abby and I will be traveling up from Brooklyn and we'll definitely be attending the blogger meet-up. Everyone has declared what fabulous handknit item they will be wearing already, but as usual, I can't possibly foresee what I'm going to end up walking out the door in, so hopefully, if you're looking for me, you'll be able to recognize me anyway. I can't wait for tomorrow--I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Dog Ate My Knitting: A Tale of Woe

But first:
A Snail Hat!
Pattern: Snail Hat (3-swirl version), aka Dairy Queen Hat, from The Opinionated Knitter by Elizabeth Zimmerman
Yarn: Rio de la Plata kettle dyed wool (this is a single-ply, thick and thin)
Needles: US #7 Addi Turbos, 16"
Mods: Just changed the stitch count due to a much smaller gauge. Note to all who would knit this: DO NOT use thick and thin yarn. I wouldn't have, but I ordered it online, and it wasn't what I was expecting, so it was just sitting on my desk, and I thought, why not? When I take it off my head, it is all lumpy like one of those egg-crate things. But whatever, it's still funny to look at, and isn't humour what you're going for when you embark on a project with the name "Dairy Queen"?
As for the Bog Jacket, well, it had a rough weekend. I was nearing completion, getting quite close to the home-stretch of knitting. And then I decided to go out for some brunch on Sunday, and I left the Bog, along with all of my knitting, in my knitting basket. Only I forgot that I left a vegan chocolate-chip cookie in my knitting bag, and came home to discover that not only had my Precious Pitbull, Peru, ransacked my bag and eaten my cookie, she had pulled out the Bog Jacket for some snarfling immediately afterward. So not only was it disturbingly damp with saliva and covered in dog hair, but it also had bits of moist, chewed cookie ground into it. Sigh. So I did my best to clean it up, but it won't be able to have a proper bath till it's done. No permanent damage though, I'm relieved to say. At least Peru was a gentle molester of my knitting.
After all this, of course I lost all self control and started yet another project, the Over-the-Knee Stockings from Melanie Falick's Handknit Holidays:
I love them. I'm using RYC Cashsoft 4-Ply, and I'm quite happily in love. But I have to get back to the Bog, I know.
Also, did everyone see that this came out today? The hands-down-favorite for me was this:
Eunny's Venezia Pullover. It is just too gorgeous for words, and I have thought so ever since I saw the snippets of it on her blog (she knitted this in 5 days! 5 days, people!) without even knowing what it was. Gorgeous. Will I knit this? Um, probably not. But we can all have dreams, right?