Wednesday, August 29, 2012

How I Ended Up With Yak Yarn

I had the weekend off and ended up driving North a bit to visit friends, sight-see, and try to find some local yarn.
My son's toes and mine, in the South Fork American River
We had a blast, but somehow the yarn thing didn't work out. I decided I wanted to go to Mostly Natural, a little sewing slash knitting shop that I'd been to once before. It was sort of an unusual experience because the person behind the counter- knitting a beautiful beret- was a man. I talked to him, Eric, for some time and discovered that it is a family-owned business and he was originally hired to help do carpentry work. When he was interested in working behind the counter they told him he had to learn one of the skills: sewing, knitting or crochet. He tried all three and he liked knitting best. Crochet, he said, was too easy! He had knit all the caps in the shop that were for sale and I quite regretted having people in the car waiting for me. This time I decided I would go and shop around as long as I wanted.
The only problem was that I couldn't remember where it was. Too proud to rely on my fancy GPS (a decision I regret) we drove around Diamond Springs for longer than I'd like to admit and then ended up just going to Lofty Lou's which is right on Main St of Placerville.

We got there at 4 and I was fully prepared to spend the next hour and a half there poking around until I found the perfect chunky weight wool for a hat. Something soft and preferably local. That was the plan.
Until I found out they actually close at 4. We had gotten in the door about a minute beforehand and so it just felt really rushed and like we were stepping on their toes. I grabbed a skein of clearance Yak and got out of there without so much as squishing anything.
Well that's not true. I squished some qiviut because I always do and the lady at the counter said, "The stuff in this basket is pretty pricy...." and then trailed off like that would get me out of the store. This was before she told me she was closing Right Now and I got a bit offended. Not visibly, of course, but I had always heard of but never actually encountered yarn shop snobbery. Then once she told me she was closing I realized I was the rude one and got out of there.

I was pretty bummed out because driving to the yarn shop out in Placerville is a costly and time-consuming thing and I ended up with nothing but clearance yak.

I really think that working at the Hobby Lobby is feeding my soul indigestibles. I feel like I really NEED that small yarn shop experience where you get to chat with the owner and talk about gussets and then buy yarn that comes from a sheep with a name and a personality. But it will have to wait until next week, at least. Maybe I'll throw down for some qiviut.

Anyways, the yak is actually pretty exciting, although the label calls for dry cleaning and I'm not really sure a person like me should own anything that needs to be dry cleaned. I also saw that label AFTER deciding to make a hat out of it and I don't know if that means something bad will happen if you wear it in the rain. The yarn is Shokay Shambala Yak in a soft dark red. It was 50% off, and I decided a nice textured hat would be nice. I'm just making it up as I go and it looks like this.

I realized directly after going to Lofty Lou's that I didn't have a circular needle for a hat and we ended up driving all the way to Michaels in Folsom so I could pick one up. And then they had their Paton's Classic (remember how that's my favorite yarn?) on sale and I bought a little bit of that. Which I kept in my trunk because I don't actually think I have room for it in my stash and also because then my mom would be like "MORE YARN?" when I came in the door. Because by a little bit I mean about 7 balls.

What's funny is that in Michael's I ran into a lady who needed help picking out a needle size and I helped her out, sang the praises of interchangeables and then we both admitted to each other that we had just stepped out of "real" yarn shops- she Rumpelstilskin and I Lofty Lou's. Then we sort of giggled about our addiction and I, at least, felt a certain kinship will all knitters world-wide.
And that's the thing I was looking for in the LYS.

Anyways, sorry for the long post and for my general absence in the blogosphere. Work and all... I hardly ever get on the computer at all. Happy knitting. Maybe next time I pop in I'll have a yak hat to show off ;)

Friday, August 24, 2012

FO Friday

I think I have a problem.

I started this sweater with the full intention of giving it away for Christmas.
As I knit the sleeves and noticed a mistake I wondered if perhaps its imperfection would less endear it to it's recipient. I would fix the mistake with duplicate stitch, and I would still give it away.

When I bound off for the neck, I noticed it was a bit snug and I thought perhaps the recipient would find it restrictive and only wear it when she saw me. I started wondering if she would find the colors garish, and whether it would be a truly appreciated gift.

As I cut the steek I started having the sneaking suspicion that, perhaps, there was nobody else on Earth who understood what time and effort it took to create this sweater.

And now I have another sweater.

Am I the most selfish knitter in the world or what?

Materials: Hobby Lobby I Love this Wool and Patons Classic Wool
Pattern: I used the charts from Fairly Easy Fair Isle, but changed the gauge and yoke decreases. I also worked it in the round with a steek (using this excellent hand-sewn method) instead of knitting the body flat.

Seriously you guys.
Should I be really nice and give it to her after all? I believe she would be good about hand washing (unlike my mother) and the only thing I'm not sure about is the colors. It would probably ft her very well, and I doubt she would be turned off by the little mistakes and bright yellow hand sewn steek on the inside edge. I already have a smaller knitted item for her, though, and I have quite fallen in love with this cardigan. What do you think?

More FO's as usual at Tamis Amis

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Cardigan X: Stage 1

My sweater is now a sweater.
It is not, however, a cardigan, and you can really tell when I wear it that it needs to be cut down the middle.
P.S. Before I washed it, it wouldn't go over my head and the sleeves were way too short.
Now I'm concerned about what exactly I'm going to do with these obscenely long sleeves.
The next time I check in with you guys I will have weaved in the ends and underarms, as well as sewn along the front for the cut.
And hopefully it will soon be a cardigan.
Right now it is still wet from blocking.
In these pictures I'm wearing a wet pullover.
The things I do for you.

Monday, August 20, 2012

KAL update

That's 14 inches of black stockinette stitch.
I spent my day off knitting and re-watching Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitting Workshop. This morning I plan on joining the body and sleeves before work and hopefully will have a beautiful FO Friday post for you guys ;)
In related news, I have been gifted an old digital camera and might actually have pictures that don't disgust you fairly soon. Although, in order to take the pictures off of the camera I have to take out the card, put it in a weird black thing, put THAT into my computer, and then when I put the memory card back in I have to re-set the time and date. But it's functional and I'm excited and grateful.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


I finally acquired another ball of Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool.
After finishing the second half of my ribwarmer, I sewed the pieces together and eagerly sewed them together.
A little too eagerly, I'm afraid- I haven't had quite so much practice seaming garter stitch as with stockinette and my seam is quite obvious:

You'll notice I didn't seam the very top or the very  bottom. I plan on sewing that little Peter Pan collar thing down a bit, but I like the way it rolls in the front and refuse to sew the neck up the way the pattern suggests. Apparently it makes for a very warm neck, but I don't think I need the extra warmth.

The ribwarmer is blocking now- the wool grew quite a bit- so we'll see if I end up sewing the neck down or not. I haven't decided what color- if any- I plan on using for the I-cord border, or whether or not it needs buttons. I did buy some nice light pink ones, but I'm not sure if they'll work after all.

 Depending on how it turns out I might just call it done. It's really not a shape I think I could wear in public- maybe out camping or under something else- and the short rows are at a really awkward sort of place around the bust. The armholes are outrageously deep and I don't know if I feel like investing the time into I-cord and buttons if I'm not going to wear it. I don't know. It will be dry tomorrow and I'll think about it then.

Short update

This no camera/no phone thing is getting to me...

I want to share with you my new textured swatch, and the pattern I'm thinking of knitting next. I have been reading through Patterns for Guernseys, Jersys & Arans and I find myself drifting in the knit/purl panel direction. It wouldn't be a true Guernsey because I am not keen on knitting underarm gussets, but the look would be similar.

I'm using Paton's Classic Wool in "Jade Heather," and size 4 needles. I want it to be tightly knit to reflect that era, but I am skipping the high neckline in favor of, perhaps, a scoop neck, and substituting set-in sleeves for the drop shoulder technique.

I expect to have a lot of fun knitting this sweater- I'm sorry to say it's not a personal design but a sampler taken from the pages of Knitting in the Old Way. Unfortunately the pattern is not on Ravelry already so I can't even direct you to a picture in that way, but there is a photo here that is quite similar if not identical.

But alas no pictures of my beautiful swatch at all.... instead I will assure you that I am still working on Cardigan X in spite of my recent Guernsey fever, and that both sleeves and 5 inches of the body are complete.

Friday, August 17, 2012

FO Friday: Pantalones

Pattern: Nethergarments by Elizabeth Zimmerman (Modified to fit me)
Yarn: Lion Brand Wool-Ease scraps
Needles: US 5 (3.75mm)
Cast On: July 6th 2012
Cast Off: August 13th 2012

I have always wanted to knit pants. From the moment I first saw this pattern- and especially upon sight of such beautiful pairs as rududu's, maritparit's, and karen's- and I cast on a pair immediately. In sock yarn. On size 0's. That pair is still tucked away in a drawer, most likely because hours of knitting would provide only an inch or two's progress and having reached the knee I knew it was only going to get worse. So I cast on this pair instead. (Worsted weight is my favorite.)

My gauge was closer to 4 than to 5 stitches per inch so I didn't really follow the pattern- especially since increasing as readily and steadily as EZ directs would cause giant bulging calves. Instead I just knitted and tried them on frequently. FREQUENTLY. The reason I decided to knit pants is because EZ says it takes less wool to make a pair of pants than it does a sweater and I thought that meant it would be faster. You know why it's not? Because when you're knitting a sweater and you want to try it on to see if it fits you can go right ahead and throw it on over your shirt.
Pants not so much.
There was a lot of settling into the couch with my knitting, realizing I had to try on the leg again, going back to my room, removing my pants, donning the knitted pants, groaning to see I still had an inch or so to go, and settling back to the couch. Luckily the second leg had no such setbacks because I just read the knitting from the first, but the bum! Oh, the bum.

Following the directions led to a bum that was not for me. So I frogged that and I added only a bit of short rows, and then still had to rip back about 6 of them. There was a lot of trying on involved, but at least they finally fit decently and looked like pants.
That was a great hallelujah moment, especially since by then they had already been on the needles for more than a month.

Then there were the ends to weave in. 99 of them. I counted.

Then the I-cord. I need one of those I-cord machines. (Also a pom-pom maker that doesn't involve me making pom poms. Like a magic one where I just hand over the wool and in return receive a beautiful pom pom.) My hips are something like 36" so the I-cord had to be that and then some.

Then, finally, in 100 degree weather, I donned my wool-ease pants for this wonderful photo shoot.
And maybe danced a little. Awkwardly.

Check out more FO's with Tamis Amis and hopefully I'll see you again next Friday. (How long has it been since I finished anything???)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Baa Ram Ewe

Did you see the new free Craftsy class? It's called Know Your Wool, and the instructor is well-known author Deborah Robson.

This morning before work I'm sitting with a nice cup of coffee, learning about rare breeds of sheep and knitting away on my cardigan. Just thought I'd share, since it's free and all ;)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Proof! (Jump Into Fall KAL post #2)

I have cast on and started working on my Fairly Easy Fair Isle Cardigan!
See? See? See?
Man! Why did I choose black??? I thought about it, too. I was like, "Hmm if I pick black then all the blog photos are going to be really impossible to see. And I have already knitted ONE entirely black sweater so I know how boring they are to knit...." But black is utterly wearable, and I like the way the colors work together. So... Too bad. Black it is, and ugly blog photos it shall be.

I noticed after I took the picture that I made a mistake on the bottom dark blue fair isle. I'm just going to fix it with duplicate stitch later on. Or maybe I won't. Who knows; it's on the underside and will likely never be noticed.

In other news my pantalones (Nethergarments)are nearly complete! I'm sooooo excited- even though I will be weaving in ends for eternity.
Then once I'm done weaving in all the ends and working the kitchner for the crotch, it's time to start the looooong I-cord to help keep them up. I have a few words to say about knitting pants, now that I've actually done it, but I think I will save them for my FO Friday post.

This week is the first week since I started working that I actually have 2 days off in one week. I'm super excited because one of those days is Wednesday and I'm looking forward to actually spending some time reading other peoples' blogs. I miss my knitting community!

So anyways, I shall weave in ends today and update you guys with pictures soon. I wish I had a photographer (ha. and a camera instead of my cell phone) so I could dance around in my new pants and get awesome pictures ;)

Which is double evidence for how crazy I am because it's 100 degrees in Stockton today. Yesterday was 106! And I'm knitting with wool.

Friday, August 10, 2012

KAL with Project Stash Post #1

My swatch for the KAL is officially done, washed and blocked.
I established what kind of sweater I want at this time in my life and decided it should be:
  • Knit in the round- avoid purling
  • A cardigan, which means steeking
  • A bit of colorwork but not too much (Remember my hat I started working on? It was actually too complicated to work during breaks at work!)
  • Mostly plain stockinette, since that is what I swatched in
  • Circular yoke construction
  • Preferably a free pattern
So, after blocking my 12 stitch per 4" gauge went up to 14 stitches per 4". Which means I could go search again for another sweater, (Like True North, or the Unnur Icelandic Pullover) but I settled on Fairly Easy Fair Isle last night and it is such an easy pattern I can easily change the math and stick the same color patterns in.

I'm pretty excited about this project, because easy sweaters are always completed rather quickly and without fuss. I don't plan on adding any waist shaping or anything fancy, and I'm going to make a smaller size so I can gift it to someone for Christmas.

So that's where I am. This morning I am knitting a little bit more on my pants, because I don't have the contrasting colors for the cardigan yet. Also at lunch time I'll be knitting on my new brainless socks that look a little bit like this:
The yarn is "Walk Away" by Yarn Bee, and I'm using size US 2 needles. I probably should have picked 1s or even 0s because the yarn is quite thin, but I'm just going to keep going and perhaps give them to my dad for Christmas. Depending on washability, of course.

Anyways, I'm kind of bummed that I STILL don't have an FO for FO Friday, but I will check out other people's projects as best as I can and hopefully will get some real knitting time soon!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

New things.

1) After three weeks of heavy lifting, assembling glass shelving, applying labels, working overtime 6 days a week, and putting up probably sixty five bajillion Christmas decorations (in August), the Hobby Lobby in Stockton is finally open for business.

2) I totally bought some Hobby Lobby I Love This Wool to try out. (Thus far aptly named)

3) I cast on a brand new pair of socks (with this yarn also from Hobby Lobby- hello employee discount!) because 3 pairs OTN is apparently not enough.

4) I promise I will eventually have a day off where I'm not painting my room or moving furniture and can finally take pictures of things in decent lighting.

5) Tonight I plan on rummaging through Ravelry for a very long time to pick out my next sweater project.

6) Today was the first time I had time to knit in a full week.

Ok no more list. Bad format. (In my head I said that in Captain Hook's voice. Just FYI.)

Friday, August 3, 2012

July in Review

July in Review

OK July was just sad. Like, pathetically sad. First I was job hunting for the first two weeks and then finally I got my job and my knitting time just went out the window. On top of the job thing, my brother moved out which means I have been getting his old room ready so my son can have his own room. I still have to paint it, and scrub the walls etc. So yeah I've been insanely busy, and knitting has taken the back burner. Especially since it is SUPER hot in my house (no a/c) so I only really knit at lunch breaks. When I get home from work, I've oddly been reaching for the guitar strings instead of the yarn string. I don't know what's up with that, but I'm ok with it because I love music just as much as I love fiber.

July Finished Objects
Links to Rav project pages
And yeah they're mostly hats. I know.
1.) Ski Sweater
2) White & Red Hat
3) White & Purple Hat
4) White, Purple & Lilac Hat
5) Brown & Pink Hat
6) Stripey Wannabe Tam.
7) Doorstop The Ghost.

6 projects completed. Surprisingly that's more than last month, but since they're mostly simple tiny little things it only makes sense.
I FINALLY only have one item carrying over from last year: the hexipuffs! (And no I haven't worked on a hexipuff and I'm not participating in the event formerly known as the Ravelympics to inspire me to make some more.)

Another Finally? My ski sweater! Thank goodness that's done! I can't wait until it's cold enough to wear it!

Techniques Learned
Steeking! First I did a front cardigan steek for my Ugly Cardigan (Which is NEARLY done but I need a cool morning to work on it- possibly tomorrow, which is my first day off from work in 9 days)
Then I did the steeking for the Ski Sweater, which was a little harder because I had to sew in sleeves rather than pick up a cardigan band.
I meant to learn the afterthought pocket and buttonhole techniques this month with the Ugly Cardigan, but like I said, I didn't finish that poor thing.

Goals for July:
1) Finish The Ugly Sweater
2) Learn Afterthought Pocket Technique
3) Crochet a baby sweater (Either the Pee-Wee or the Beyond Rectangles)
4) TOK Knit
5) Sock Knit (Patchwork socks are ideal)

Ok I didn't get a single goal done. But The Ugly Cardigan and the Pea-Wee coat are in progress. So that's good. I'm going to go ahead an let these same goals carry over for August. EXCEPT that I'm adding one in place of the TOK knit.

Goals for August:
1) Finish The Ugly Sweater
2) Learn Afterthought Pocket Technique
3) Crochet a baby sweater (Either the Pee-Wee or the Beyond Rectangles)
4) Swatch and start Calligraphy Cardigan (I want to KAL with Project Stash)
5) Sock Knit (Patchwork socks are ideal)

As for my IRL yarn purchases?
9 Skeins of weird electric blue acrylic from Big Lots
1 Skein of Patons Classic Wool (This yarn is seriously my favorite. I love it, it's cheap, and it softens nicely. I try to get some whenever I can just so the stash is bright and beautiful.)
And that's it. Not a lot of time for any yarny goodness this month.
My days lack fiber.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Modest Beginning

Hats, hats and more hats. It's all about hats this month, apparently.
Working full time and overtime means that I don't have a lot of time available for knitting. Therefore I've been tucking scrap yarn in my bag and working on hats during lunch break.
Most recent hat is this Fair Isle Tam. Out of the 5 Patons colorways called for, I actually had 4 in my stash box! I plucked yellow from a different area of the stash- I think it's an alpaca blend.
At any rate, it looks like nothing special at the moment.

That's some ribbing in poor lighting all right.
Damn I'm good at this blogging thing ;)

Happy August and check out more WIPS with Tamis Amis.