To Finish Off the Year

It’s been ages ago now (and perhaps seems even longer), but this summer I participated in the Summer ’11 edition of Seasons of Lace. It was fun to knit lace along with others, even if I still haven’t finished Rock Island from the KAL. (Soon, I hope!) But that was summer, and this is winter, so I was very surprised a couple weeks ago to receive an e-mail that I had won yarn in the Resurrection Lace Raffle! Just before Christmas I received this little beauty, a skein of Twisted Fiber Art yarn, Muse base (wool-silk), Warlock colorway, generously donated by Cathy Cate of Hither and Yarn.

DSCN9850

Thank you Cathy! Now I just need to decide what to do with it…

In other knitting news, I successfully finished a pair of Hot Waffles Knits for my brother for Christmas. I didn’t get any pictures, but this:

DSCN9804

is what they look like. Yes, they are exactly the same as my Dad’s Mitts. I think my brother likes them; I know he’s been wearing them already. So that was a success.

Not so successful:

Two of at least three short sections from the middle of my ball of Cascade 220 Superwash. They were only holding on by a single ply, which meant more ends to weave in. It looks like maybe the yarn snagged on a piece of equipment or something. I’ve never had this happen in commercial yarn before (although I have knit with yarn from mom & pop companies that’s been broken and knotted). I’m not overfond of weaving in ends, and in black it’s just torture. So I wasn’t too happy by that, but I bought the yarn so long ago, that there’s nothing I can do about it. (And none of the other balls I bought from the same dye lot had that problem. Weird.)

There is one thing I can do–I swear, no more knitting anything in black that requires seaming or weaving in of multiple ends. I mean it this time!

New Knits!

Despite my tendency towards bouts of project monogamy, I find I’ve suddenly succumbed to new projects. In a way, this is out of nowhere—I hadn’t been consciously planning on starting new projects—but really, this has been in the works for a while.

My dad has been hinting around since the tail-end of last winter that a pair of fingerless mitts would be really nice. With the arrival of chilly temps, now set in for good, I think, I’ve finally got around to doing something about it.

DSCN9740

I had some leftover Cascade 220 Superwash in the stash in black, so earlier this week I cast on for a pair of Hot Waffles (Anne Hanson). I forget how fast DK weight knits up. Or anything with rows of fewer than 100 stitches! I’m almost finished with the first one, but I want to have my dad try it on before I get too much further. It seems a little small to me, but it might be OK. (I um, only sort of checked my gauge. I decided it was ‘close enough.’ And I didn’t have the next needle size up anyways. At least they’re fast if I have to start over!)

The next new project is actually still only in skein stage. I need mittens (or gloves). Soon. I managed to finish out the winter last year by repairing my old gloves but they’re not going to make it far this year. While I’m at it, I also need a hat to go with my relatively new winter coat (I made do last year with just a scarf). Seeing as this is all coming at once, and that it would be nice if the yarn matched, I started poking around for what might work. Anne’s Monkey Bread Hat & Scarf look so nice and cozy in the yarn she used, that I simply couldn’t resist, and better yet, there was a perfect red in stock:

DSCN9741

As usual with reds, the color isn’t quite right; it’s actually a little darker. The yarn is Great Northern Yarns 70% Mink/30% Cashmere. Everything I’ve heard about it is positive: very warm, soft, lovely bloom, wears well. I ordered enough for a Monkey Bread Hat & Scarf, and for the mittens, I’ve decided to go with Ysolda’s Snapdragon flip-tops. Aniko on Ravelry knit hers in this yarn and they looked so nice and cozy. Plus I really like the idea of the combination of mittens (ease of knitting—all those fingers + ends is the number one reason I’m avoiding gloves) and ready access to fingers for anything fiddly.

I’m still working on Rock Island, but theses projects will probably be taking priority for the next little while. And there may be a good deal of skein petting involved. The mink/cashmere really IS soft!

too many choices…

The knitting has been pretty unexciting around here lately. At least, to me that is. I think I’ve managed to find one of those black holes of knitting wherein no matter how many rows–or pattern repeats–one knits, the project doesn’t get any bigger. I’m not even working on a circular shawl, or a garter-stitch scarf!  Yet I keep pressing on, primarily, I think, because I know I need to finish it and so I tell myself “just two more rows and then you can work on something else,” by which point it’s too late to move to something else. Note: although the length of said knitting is not (apparently) growing, the length of each row is.

Of course, the other reason I keep working on this little miscreant is that I’m not sure what I’m doing next. That is, I’ve picked a pattern. I’ve picked the yarn. I just haven’t been able to decide on the needle size. You see my quandary. Ahem. This doesn’t even relate to my typical “gauge issues.” It’s lace. Rectangular lace. Gauge is almost an afterthought consideration here. I just couldn’t decide which swatch I liked the best.

DSCN4244

It took me three weeks to decide that I really did like the middle one the best (and only after swatching a bit of the center pattern). I’m choosing to blame stress at work.

At any rate, I expect this to be my summer project. And possibly fall as well… The specs:

I’m planning on (mostly) following the traditional option of  knit the edging first, then the borders, then the center. However, instead of all the sewing called for by the pattern, I intend to knit the center to the borders as I go. Another knitter on Ravelry used this plan, with lovely results. Now that I’ve finally decided on a needle size, I can’t wait to get started!

Which means, it’s probably about time for another project to pop up. After all, I haven’t had a good rash of startitis in quite a while. There are also many lovely yarns looking longingly at me, just waiting to be knit–some have even been assigned patterns, so danger is eminent. To compound matters, the Great Lakes Fiber Show is this weekend. I expect to do some damage…after all, Briar Rose Fibers and Knitting Notions will be there, and I bought more than enough from them both last year! (In fact, most of it is still sitting around. Although some has been used.) I’m hoping, however, to find some yarns for some of Susan Pandorf’s Gardern Variety Patterns, which are the latest addition to my growing pattern stash. I think I’m going to have quite more than enough to choose from to knit this summer!

stash enhancing

it’s been so long since i had the opportunity to take photos during the day, in natural light, that i had forgotten how much better they are. fortunately, i have the week off between christmas and new year’s (yea!) so i was able to snap some daytime shots.

even the notoriously hard to photograph red seemed to come out pretty accurately.

classic elite 150
classic elite classic one fifty #7255

i didn’t have to fuss with flash and none of my pictures were (too) blurry.

ecological wool
cascade ecological wool #8087

although this laceweight is really a bit greener in reality. i did fuss with it a little in photoshop and i think the color is a bit better than the original pic, but still not perfect.

claudia hand painted laceweight
claudia hand painted silk lace, navy olive

the yarns are all the result of a recent trip to my newest lys, yarnia yarn shop and cafe. i’ve been there before; i bought the yarn for my dad’s hat there. it’s a cute little shop overflowing with yarn – it can be hard to tell what all’s actually there. but the owner is very friendly and talkative. unfortunately she also carries laceweights. 100% silk laceweights. i entered with the intention of being good – only buying yarn for two projects i desperately need – gloves and a new knitting bag. but then i saw the claudia hand painted and…well…opps.

i also now, finally, own a ball winder and swift (no pictures…yet). fortunately for my yarn budget, these were chirstmas gifts. i have yet to try them out, as all my (too many) projects currently underway already have yarn in ball form. however, soon i’m sure…