Y'all know what time it is...

It's Friday, and it's a return to form with some very special sock yarn.

Every time Socks that Rock starts to ship out, I turn into a little kid about the mail. I race home from work wondering, "Is it here yet?" Well, last Saturday, this turned up in the mailbox...

Yeah, probably it's Socks that Rock, but until you open it you never know...

Yup, definitely Socks that Rock! And ooooooh, the pretty colours...

A lot of people have asked "What do we do with the mini-skein?" I have no idea, but it does make a great way to embarrass the hell out of your boyfriend:

I still can't believe I got him to sit still for that.

Here's the goodies that came with:

On the left is a card with different pictures of this month's yarn in the dye process. The Dyer's Notes this month were really sweet, and I like that there was no "Let me tell you, the buyer, why you're WRONG WRONG WRONG" attitude unlike the Grasshopper shipment. The pattern is brilliant - it comes with instructions for toe up AND cuff down. I'm still not convinced that I like short-row heels, but it fits in really well with the design of the pattern - which is just stunning!

Finally, just the yarn...

I don't even want to use it up, it's so pretty. But this month's socks are a definite MUST knit for me.

In other news, I got another thing I'd been lusting after: My invite to Ravelry! The set-up is amazing, and I'm constantly fascinated by just how clever it is. It's amazing to enter a project and then instantly be able to see who else is working on something and what yarn they've chosen. I still have a ton of work to do on my profile - I plan to spend a part of this weekend updating my stash photos (I'm going to at least try to admit to my total stash) and needle collection. If you're on Ravelry, look me up! My screenname there is LaCane.

If you haven't signed up yet, do it! The wait list is still fairly long, but the two designers are going to work on it full time, so they've said they expect to start plowing through the list very soon.

Coming Soon: Um... More Arietta


When Knitting Disaster Strikes

No no, don't worry, it's not Arietta.

Arietta is moving along slowly but surely, as I experience a wee bit of knitting project burn-out: That's the second front piece. I'm usually all right about motivation for finishing off second pieces (except for that One Sock that keeps lingering. I really do plan to finish that someday). I think part of the problem with this is that it's the same 40 rows, constantly. Excepting the bottom pieces of course. I'm determined to finish this before I start any other projects, but I have to admit that the sock yarn stash is calling to me.

All right, the disaster. Yesterday, as I was going to put on a shoe, I caught the heel on the Icarus I had so lovingly draped over one side of my dining room table:

Yargh. I'm still in too much of a state of shock to even THINK about fixing this. Well, I guess that's not entirely true. I've at least pondered that a graft might just be possible. But then, I've never been good at getting my grafts to look nice. I have an extra ball of the alpaca I used to knit this, so I suppose ripping back to the beginning of the edging is possible... I don't know, but it doesn't bear thinking about for long periods of time. Part of me wants to throw it in a closet and deny all knowledge.

Okay, enough of the mopey stuff! Today is Miss Violet's (of Lime and Violet) birthday!

Happy Birthday Miss Violet!

It is, of course, her 21st birthday, right Miss V? ;) I hope your day is full of soft and yummy yarn-y goodness!

Coming soon: Mmm, sock yarn


Obsessed? Me?

Occasionally I get hold of a project that overcomes my tendencies to work wantonly on several projects at a time. Arietta seems to be that project. Despite an overwhelming urge to join the current slew of Jaywalker knitters, I've been nothing but faithful to my sweater.

So, to recap, last time we met I had a left (not right, sorry) front that was this big:

Late Saturday afternoon I picked up the needles, and put on a Mythbusters marathon. By Sunday evening (don't worry, I didn't knit all Sunday - cleaning and eating happened too :)) I had this:

That's a full left front, nice and attached to the back. This sweater uses something I've never tried before - a three needle bind-off on two needles. I find it dreadfully clever, and if I must knit in pieces, this is how I'd like to do shoulder attachments.

Here's the bind-off up close:

The only thing I don't especially care for is that the brown peeks through a little, but I suspect it's only noticeable up close. Otherwise, the fact that the pattern lines up so nicely fills me with knitterly glee.

Here's everything I've got so far:
I'm already a wee bit into the right front, but only as much as the picture of the left front, so I shan't bore you with it. I'm hoping that I can get this thing finished in the next two weeks, job and life permitting. The fronts go VERY fast, but I suspect the sleeves will be a bit of a slog. Then there's the button band, so I'm going to have to do some buttonhole research - it seems like there are millions of ways to make a buttonhole, and everyone has their favourite.

Of course, I also have to buy buttons.... sounds like a whole new thing to get obsessed over.

Coming soon: Oh, just guess.


The Audience is now... Deaf!

No knitting news today. The Grad-Student Boyfriend and I went to see Skinny Puppy last night along with Jessica and her man, and needless to say - no knitting got done. Mind you, it would've been nice to have a few sock needles for protective purposes (note to self: next time, stand further away from the mosh pit). Still, it was a great concert, even if the opening acts sucked harder than my Dyson. Only problem is, today I'm about at half hearing, and my voice is shot.

Jo, thanks for the advice on the set-in sleeves! :) One of my biggest "issues" with knitting is I hate hate HAAAATE to pin, but I'll make myself do it right. I'm one of those types that tends to try and speed through finishing once the knitted pieces are complete, and it bites me in the arse every time.

All right, stealing a page from Crazy Aunt Purl's book here. I have nothing else, so here's a cat making a silly face:

That is all. See y'all again Monday.


Nothing New to See Here

But for those of you who are enjoying the progress on Arietta, you're going to love this post.

So yesterday, we were here:
Today we are here, and then some:

That's a finished back, mind you, and the beginning of a left front piece. It's sort of disheartening to realize that even though the back is a ginormous piece, I've still barely made a dent in the actual knitting. Thank goodness the fronts get small fairly fast.

My biggest worry right now?

The seaming up when I'm done. Per the pattern (and forgive my big fat fingers in the picture, you all know how stockinette curls if not held down), I carried my colours not in use up along one side. This has made for one side with a very thick edge. I'm hoping I don't end up with gigantic uncomfortable seams.

I also realized that this will be my first set-in sleeve sweater. I was thinking to myself that surely, having made two cardigans and five pullovers I must have set in sleeves at some point in there. But I haven't! The Eris sweaters are raglan top-down in the round, as is the Simple Knitted Bodice. My favourite off the shoulder sweater was raglan knit flat. The Tulip cardigan is just sort of cap sleeves. And the Noro sweater of Doom was just... bizarre. But no sleeve setting.

I wonder if I'll ever be at a point in knitting where I won't regularly run into things that make me feel like an utter novice. Now, if that sounds like a complaint, it's not. I'm the type that gets bored easily once I know something more or less inside and out. I'm just consistently amazed that a hobby that involves making loops with thread can be so incredibly complex and endlessly entertaining.

Coming soon: Well, probably even more Arietta. I'm in the "obsessive knitting" stage right now. We'll see if it lasts.


Actual Arietta Progress

Well, despite having survived last week entirely on Stress and Frappucinos, I did manage to stick to my goal of working on the WIPs. I did NOT cast on for anything new (I know, I know!). I've made progress on the Grasshopper sock, but the damn thing is wildly uninteresting to look at. I mean, "Look! One inch of... more p2tog yo."

Anyway! The last time we saw Arietta, she looked like this:

Now she looks like this:

I've got a few more inches to go up the back, and then it's time to move on to the fronts. I have to admit, a cardigan on size 3 needles is slow going. Still, the result is lovely, and I think worth it.

In case anyone's interested, here's a closeup of the pattern itself:

I still haven't made up my mind if I like those purl bumps. The pattern says that it adds texture, but I think I like a slightly smoother fabric. Of course, we've yet to block, so who knows what'll happen to it then.

Someone on the Knittyboard was considering making the new Unmentionables pattern from the same yarn I'm using, Shine Sport, and was told it was too heavy a yarn. I never thought so until I got this far in the cardigan back (it's so light in the skein) - this is going to be a sweater with WEIGHT. I'd be worried if it wasn't the yarn the pattern called for.

That's it for this Monday - with any luck this week will allow me to get more done. I know "in progress" pictures are infinitely less interesting than "look! it's done!" pictures. :)


A Friday without Sock Yarn...

When I was a kid, my Dad the Cop had this great cartoon-y mug that read "Kissing a Cop without a Mustache is like eating an egg without salt." Of course, that was the late 80's, and all the cops I know are clean-shaven now. Anyway, this is a Friday without sock yarn (I know! Shocking!) but I think it's still salted-egg good.

Meet Schaefer silk yarn in the colourway Bette Davis:


Lounging indolently in the bookshelf:

Now, truth be told, I was always more of a Joan Crawford fan. The woman may very well have been batshit insane, but she was still one hell of an actress. Still, the colours in this yarn are just too damn pretty to resist.

This yarn is also part of my summer projects (no really, I swear). While making the Noro scarf, I decided to switch over to continental knitting for a little while. I've got the continental knit stitch down pretty well, but I'm still having issues with the purl. I guess that's not surprising, since it took me for-bloody-ever to learn to purl English style.

Since learning a new style slows me down considerably, and I prefer to knit fast, I knew it was going to take something extraordinary to make me make an entire project without switching back to English. I believe this yarn is it. It's destined to become a sideways skinny scarf, preferably in stockinette so I have loooooooong sections of purls to get good.

Now, don't worry, I'm not joining the Anti-English Knitting style crowd (and boo! to them). Unfortunately, I picked up one of the most labor intensive ways to "throw" my yarn (not the way my best friend's sister taught me, mind you! :)). I don't drop the yarn, but I hold it between forefinger and thumb, and it involves a whole lot of arm movement. I'm told I'm a fast knitter, but I'm convinced I could be faster if I wasn't swinging my arm all over the place. I'm also hoping this will cut down on hand pain. We shall see...

Well, that was a hell of a lot of picture followed by a hell of a lot of text! If anyone's still reading down this far, I'd like to use this space to say:

Happy Birthday Sweetie!

Yes, it is the amazing Grad-Student Boyfriend's birthday. Feel free to leave well-wishes in the comments. :)

Have a great weekend everybody, and I'll see you on Monday!


Moment of Truth: Sock Yarn edition

Like many knitters, I have a few unfinished projects languishing around my house. I'm hoping to spend the summer getting those finished. The Rose of England shawl hasn't been touched in months, and I would like to actually wear that during summer when a silk shawl will actually be appropriate! I also have that poor Tulip sock I haven't worked on since autumn of last year. I don't know WHY I haven't - I can finish those socks in a day.

Anyway, one of the projects that's been sitting around is my Socks that Rock grasshopper sock. I'm not actually doing it in the sock yarn that Blue Moon sent, because the yarn is just way too pretty to be broken up by a lace pattern:

There! It is a SOCK IN PROGRESS! It's my first time working a sock on two circs, and even though I could reasonably switch to dpns at this point, I am nothing if not determined to finish on two circs. At this point on the leg, it's just constant p2togs, yos. At the rate I'm going, I should have a good knee sock by... oh, let's say 2012.

Oh, that moment of truth? Here it is:

That's the sock yarn stash, excluding the yarn for the other Tulip sock. I don't know when the hell it got this big. What's even more distressing is - I don't want to knit most of these skeins. They're too pretty. I know when I make them into a sock they will never look the same. I don't do this with other yarn... just skeins of sock yarn. They're like my mini pieces of art. You don't knit art, right?

I can't be the only person who feels like this. Reassurance in the comments would be appreciated! :)

Coming soon: Hopefully, I stick to my main projects. Don't be surprised if I cast on for Lizard Ridge soon, though.


Pretty colours and a Cat That is Not Mine

Sorry for the lack of Monday post. I'm trying to keep to a Monsday, Wednesday, Friday update schedule. Unfortunately, work intervened last night, and I didn't have time to take pictures!

A little teaser, first...
Regular readers have probably noticed I have a thing for blue hues, so it shouldn't surprise anyone that this is one of my favourite sections on the scarf.

Here's the whole scarf:

Please to ignore my dirty fire-place. I only have so much time to clean. ;) This was a great mindless project, even with my hatred of 1x1 rib. It even inspired me to practice continental in sections, and I'm determined that my next project will be all continental. I'm thinking a sideways skinny scarf in stockinette, so I have the chance to REALLY practice my purl.

I'm also thrilled to say when I was done with this scarf, I had approximately two inches of yarn left. There will be no teeny bits of Noro reproducing in my stash this time, thanks very much!

And finally, a Cat That is Not Mine:

This is Miss Sophie. I'm a volunteer for a local homeless cat center, and I happen to KNOW I have local readers (Hi guys! ;)). I thought every once and again I'd try and use the blog for something other than shameless self knitting promotion. We have a lot of really great cats, and so if anyone is thinking about adopting this summer, I encourage you to look into your local organizations. For those of you who, like me, love cats but think they have plenty already - look into volunteering this summer! I spend two hours a week at a socialization center. It's not a huge chunk of time, but the cats and I both get a lot out of it. And of course, summer season is kitten season - consider fostering a kitten (get them while they're cute and fluffy, and then give them to someone else! ;)).

That's your PSA for this Tuesday. Hey, maybe that could be a new feature here at the blog, PSA Tuesdays... or maybe not. ;)

See you guys tomorrow, and knit on!


Two stars and Norma

Oh Hooray, it's Friday, and you know what that means around here.

That's right, sock yarn! We're still in a Lime and Violet sock yarn run. I've discovered their merino/tencel blend, and it is sooooo pretty and shiny! Those who know me well know I am unable to resist The Shiny.

Here's Pegasus:

I think Pegasus is my favourite of the lot. It's such a pearlescent looking yarn in person, and I can't wait to figure out what to make with it.

Here's Aquarius:

I'm trying to stop buying all-blue yarn, but this one was too pretty to resist. Also, I'm an Aquarius, so how could I resist?

Finally, the "odd yarn out," Norma:

Again, my camera skills aren't doing justice to this yarn. It's such a pretty springy series of greens, with a very light pink shot through. Norma was part of my plan to add some new colours to my stash, and I'm so glad I picked this skein up.

Lastly, here's the 3 skeins hanging out together:

Mmmm, sock yarn.

In Actual Knitting News (tm), the Noro scarf is still going. I'm trying to use up all the yarn (Noro leftovers seem to breed in your stash - but only in small unuseable amounts that you can't seem to throw away), so this is going to be a loooooong scarf. I'm thinking it should be done by next week. Just in time for a week that will be 80 degrees plus. I always did have a fabulous sense of timing.

I hope everyone has a great weekend, and I'll see you all again on Monday!


Torn between two crafts

Knitting is totally a gateway drug. I blame this on two things: 1. If you knit long enough, you will encounter patterns that require you to learn something that is Not Knitting (crochet, sewing, embroidery, etc), and 2. Once you realize that by paying attention to a pattern, you can actually have a garment that fits like it was made especially for you instead of someone 6 inches taller and 5 pounds lighter, you get to thinking...

So I had a thought. I had a thought based on every pair of jeans I have ever owned being too damn long, and gaping in the back. I own a sewing machine. Actually, I have two in the house, as my best friend sort of docks her sewing machine here (Hi Jessica!). I have a sewing table. I have a load of supplies after my foray into sewing my costume for the Ren Faire. I have made a bodice (with copious help from Miss Jeanne's mother, who is a saint for teaching me to sew. I am NOT by nature a crafty person).

So I meandered down to the craft store, bought a pattern (and holy sticker shock! Sewing patterns are a LOT more than knitting patterns - luckily all the Vogue patterns were 50% off) and some fabric.

Several days later, I have these:

Hooray partially finished jeans. Now, in my defense, I didn't do much last weekend because I had the cold from hell. These are going to have to wait till this weekend to be finished. We shall not mention the morning of realizing I had made two left legs, please.

Closeup of the inner pocket:

And a closeup of the back pocket detail:

Obviously, my sewing is not high-caliber. I'm doing my best to not be all over the place, but I'm feeling pretty good about this project so far. It's my first time sewing for a garment and not a costume. So far, the jeans fit like a dream. A bit loose, but no gaping (I haven't put on the waistband yet though, so we'll see how that goes). The legs are exactly the right length. I probably should have paid attention when the women in the fabric store told me that jeans are one of the hardest projects to sew... but since when has that stopped me from doing anything?

I'll post pictures when they're done. Sorry for all those of you who have read this far and hate sewing. ;)

There is still knitting, don't worry:

The Noro scarf progresses. No cat model this morning, as she was busy leaving orange fur all over my nice grey carpet.

By the way, Saloni, you are an eeeeeeeeevil yarn pusher. ;)


It's a love/hate relationship...

Noro is like the bad boyfriend that you could never seem to break up with. When it's good, it's so amazing that you want to knit everything with it. Then, all of a sudden, you start... finding things. Bad things, like random stickery briar-like bits. You pick them out and tell yourself it's just this one time. The yarn just made a mistake, and we all make mistakes, right? Then, in the middle of a colour scheme: a knot! A knot joining two wildly different colours and ruining the colour progression! You try to remind yourself that no one's perfect. After all, there was that little fashion disaster in the 90's that you're still trying to forget. You keep knitting.

Then, the yarn FREAKING BREAKS IN A REALLY INCONVENIENT PLACE BECAUSE IT'S UNDERSPUN AND OMG I HATE THIS YARN SO MUCH SOMETIMES. You take a deep breath. You spit splice and wait. You go absolutely mad trying to match up stripes, but it's to no avail because the colour progressions in this yarn are random, no matter if you do have all the same dye-lot. Finally, you've had enough. You look at the sweater, realize it looks better on one of your best friends, and decide that's it. You're breaking up with this yarn. You go a perfectly reasonable amount of time, and you see Noro occasionally and admire it's lovely colours. You tell yourself you're strong enough to resist and you'll never be burned by this yarn again.

Then you see something like this.


I'll break up with Noro again. Just after I finish this scarf. I can be strong.

What's that you say? Lizard Ridge?



If it's Friday, it must be sock pr0n

In a return to form, I've got more sock yarn to show off. After completely missing the last Baywood Yarns update at Nine Rubies, I managed to snag a few skeins this time!

Baywood has recently started to use Louet Gems as their base yarn, and while I had no complaints with their original sock base (it's all held up REALLY well), the Gems is so much nicer. It has more squish to it, and feels almost like Socks that Rock.

The pr0n:

Oooh, ahh. :) I'm trying to get out of my pink phase, but this is too pretty to resist.

Perfect boyfriend sock colours. Ever notice how freaking hard it is to find multi-coloured sock yarn that your boy will wear? At least, assuming he's not willing to wear crazy colours (for those of you whose boyfriends WILL wear pinks and purples and such, can you have them talk to mine? :P).

Colourway "Napa Road," need I say more? In fact, a good glass of Cabernet is sounding like a great plan right about now...

I <3 unexpected colour combos.

Are we all pr0nned out now? Good deal. Here's some actual knitting:

See, occasionally I do knit up all that yarn I buy. This is the back of Arietta, a fabulous little cardigan from the Spring Issue of Knitty. I've been looking for a reason to use Shine Sport from KnitPicks, as fabrics made with Modal fibre make me very happy indeed. I'm fascinated by the way the other colours turn the grey to a blue-y grey.

This is my first stab at Mosiac knitting, and I'm pretty fascinated by it. Appearance of colourwork with no stranding? Sign me up! The only thing that I'm a wee bit worried over is the texture, which is a little bumpy. I'm hoping some blocking flattens it out a little.

What's that I hear you good knitters saying? Make a swatch and wash it? That would be WAY too easy. Besides, I like the element of surprise.

Administrative note: This blog made a slight error in describing Jocelyn, the first model of the Angelina Cardigan. She is, in fact, utterly fabulous. :) This blog is also rabidly jealous, as she's already into Ravelry and I'm not *whine*. Also, she looks better in my sweater than I do. ;)

Coming soon: So... Lime & Violet updated again... more sock yarn on the way. I'm an addict, what can I say? And! Noro regains its hold on my soul.