Sunday, January 29, 2012

Socktopus

I've wanted this book for a little while but wanted to have the time to have a good look through it first. I have about a dozen sock books and have really only knit from one of them so I wanted to make sure that this was a book I'd be knitting from and boy is it.

The first thing that struck me about this book was there was no color work patterns. I don't do color work socks so I was happy to see that I could possibly do all seventeen patterns from this book. Yay!

The next thing was that all the patterns are beautifully textured. I love that. They're criss crossed and hearted and all kinds of fun shapes. I also noticed that I'd actually have to work at some of these socks. There are elements I've never done before. Not because they're difficult but because I'm lazy to be honest. I've always liked easy patterns but I'm at the point where I want to learn something more so my sock making isn't so limited.

I bought this book and savored it. I didn't want to quickly browse it, other than when I first purchased it, but I wanted to take time to really read through the patterns which I did this week. The only bad thing about that was that I didn't want to put it down! I really like all the patterns. I think they're challenging but not complicated and I think Alice Yu explains the stitches perfectly.

I'm really pleased with this book and can't wait to work my way through it. Right now I'm working on a pair of Shur'tugal in Sanguine Gryphon's Eidos in an unnamed color, which is a variegated burnt orange, on Signature Needles. Tell me, can sock knitting get any better than this? I don't think so!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

My Afternoon

I went shopping yesterday and a package came today. This is what my afternoon will consist of today:




I didn't photograph the glass of wine I will be having whilst I peruse this gorgeous book because I was afraid I'd spill. Yes those are my new Signature needles which came a day early. I'll be fondling them as I look for a sock pattern to knit up.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Coveting

While at the Cookie A class, I looked across from me at another knitter. She was knitting along happily but something about her knitting caught my eye. There was a flash of red with silver tips on the table. Squinting to see what it was I realized it was this:




Yep. Signature needles. I've seen these mentioned online but never had the chance to really have a look at them. I think they were at Rhinebeck a few years ago but I passed them by because I'd heard the price was a bit out of my league. I put something up on Twitter about these needles asking opinions and one of my Twitter knitter friends, Sharrie, offered to mail me her pair so I could try them out before making, what I consider to be, an expensive purchase. Needless to say I jumped at the opportunity to try these out.

The needles arrived late last week and I've just been playing with them. They're a pair of size four circulars and the wire part of them is very soft and pliable. I haven't cast anything on yet because I'm still making up Christmas presents which are quickly becoming Valentines Day presents. After a bit though I realized I really wanted a pair of the dpns. I coveted them.

Valentine's Day is coming. Usually Glenn gets me a big box of Godiva truffles which cost about $60. Since I can no longer eat chocolate, because of my surgery, I asked for a pair of size two Signature Needles instead and he's up $10 after shipping. Hollah! They should be here this week.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Barter

After getting my gorgeous swift I realized I needed a swift bag for it. I perused Etsy but I really didn't want to spend $40 for a bag I liked. I put up a Tweet saying something to the effect of "I wish there was a barter craft site. I'd love to barter a pair of hand made socks for a yarn swift bag" Within a few minutes I got a response from Laura, who writes the blog Nimble Fingers and Steady Eyebrows, saying she thought her friend Annie, who writes the blog with her, would love to barter with me. Hollah! A bit later Annie contacted me and we emailed back and forth and came to a quick and simple agreement. I knit her up a pair of Petunia Dursley's Double Eyelet Socks and sent them on their way. I used Shibui Knits Sock yarn in a gorgeous purple variegated color which was one of the colors Annie said she liked. This was my first time using this yarn and it will definitely not be the last. Gorgeous, soft and very easy to work with which makes it a winner in my book. She should be getting them today or tomorrow. I hope she likes them as much as I like the gorgeous yarn swift bag she sent me!




Believe me when I tell you that it's even more gorgeous in person. It's got a lovely lining to it and a handle so I can carry it easily. There was just one little problem...there's a stowaway on board!




Isn't he adorable? Annie is very creative and talented and this went so well! Thank you Annie and I hope your socks keep you warm and cozy.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Knitting Class

I'm sure you've all read about Vogue Knitting Live. Allyson and I wanted to take a class but I have to admit the website for the event was a bit overwhelming. It took a while to navigate and once you found what you wanted, either it was at an inconvenient time or the class was full. Blech. We gave up. Then my darling, diligent friend found that Cookie A was giving a class at a local knitting shop! Cookie was the one designer that we both wanted to take a class from so we signed up immediately. The only downfall was the shop it was being given at isn't my favorite because of an incident that happened with the manager at this place a few years ago. I put that aside though because I really wanted to take a class from Cookie.

We got there and the class was full. Duh. Al & I were separated but I was lucky enough to sit next to a lovely lady and we chatted and encouraged each other the whole time. The class was about creating knitting stitches. Cookie explained how to decide on a shape and how to make that into a knitting pattern. She's so articulate and sweet. It really was a fun class and I'd love to take more classes with her.

The two things I learned? Which I sorta knew anyway were when it comes to knitting, I'm a follower not a leader and the other thing is I'll probably never be a knitwear designer and I'm okay with that. I think to be a really good knitwear designer you have to do a lot of hard work and I so do not want to work hard at knitting. I knit to relax and to make lovely garments and I think I'll stick to that.

I have both of Cookie's books and have been so intimidated by the patterns that I haven't even tried to knit anything. Not anymore. I'm determined to get to steppin and knit at least one of her socks and I'm going to start with her BFF socks as was suggested to me by my new knitting friend.

So I went to learn how to create knitting stitches and instead I learned somethings about myself. I'd say that was a successful evening.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Perfect Swift

The other day I went to wind some yarn and noticed that my swift was broken. The part that's like a vice and tightens on the table wouldn't grip. I asked Glenn what to do and he said he could fix it but I should look for another one. This was only a year or two old so I was a bit disappointed and didn't want to get another swift that would break in the same amount of time. So where to look? Twitter! I put out a request for good swifts and one of my fellow Twitter knitters suggested Hornshaw Wood Works. I was told that it may be a bit pricey but that it was worth it and her swift was going to be passed down to her grandchild one day. Off I went to peruse the site and I wasn't at all disappointed! These swifts are gorgeous and beautifully made. I knew I wanted one but the only problem was which one! Tim Hornshaw makes these beautiful pieces in several different woods and I couldn't resist the Paduak, which is a rich red wood.




Needless to say, this photo doesn't do it a bit of justice. Lisa & Allyson were here when it arrived and we immediately put it together and wound up a skein of yarn. It's smooth and silent. Not only is it beautiful to look at but it works perfectly.

I was a bit hesitant about the price of it but Glenn said that I have a good investment in yarn so I should also invest in a good swift that won't harm my yarn. Also I paid over $50 for the swift that broke in a year or two so this will pay for itself in a few years. It truly is an heirloom piece.

Tim Hornshaw also has a shop on Etsy so you can also go there to order and read reviews of all his products.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Mittens For Me

Last year I made a pair of these mittens, All The Water, and gave them to my sister. I love these mittens. The first time I made them it took me a few months because I picked them up and put them down. This time they took me three days and I had good incentive to get them done. My hands were cold!




Beautiful aren't they? I guess putting down isn't an option when the temperature drops from the 50s to the 20s overnight. They're knit in Madeline Tosh Vintage and the colorway is Molly Ringwald which I just love. They're nice and thick but not too thick. The color is really lovely.

I'm currently working on another pair of Hedgerow Socks for a friend's husband and have another set of socks on the needles for a friend. After that I'm going to give the Selbu mittens another try. If you look up Selbu mittens on Ravelry, you'll get about four pages of options all of which are lovely. Look closely at them though, some of them have some cool things in there like little skulls! I'm gonna stick with the traditional mitten. Last time I tried these I didn't do so well. The mittens were too small and I got frustrated and put them aside. More than a year has passed and I think I may be ready to take on this somewhat daunting task and start my first color project. We'll see soon enough if I'm up to the challenge!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Loss & Gain

I read a bunch of knitting blogs and realized that a lot of people are doing a year in review type of post and it got me thinking that maybe I should jump on the bandwagon with this because it was a big year for me. Thinking about it I realized it was a year of loss and gain for our family. I usually don't talk a lot about my personal life here because I like to keep it just that - personal. For some reason I feel the need to share.


There was a bit of loss for us. My dear brother in law passed away this year. He was in his eighties and his health had declined drastically in the last few years. He was a guy who when in his seventies you'd have thought he was in his fifties. He'd go around his neighborhood to see if "the old ladies" needed anything from the store or any help around the house with things they couldn't do. Keep in mind he was their age or older. He was a wonderful brother in law to Glenn and myself and a great uncle to our boys. We loved him very much and will miss him always.


Another loss for us, actually more for me, has been some serious poundage. I think I mentioned earlier that I had bariatric surgery this year. I had my operation in July and since then have lost, as of my weigh in this past weekend, a total of ninety one pounds. Nothing to sneeze at for sure! I still have a long road ahead but the difference in both my looks and the way I feel has been truly amazing. This is a loss I shed no tears over. I'm on this journey for the long haul and this is just the beginning.


Ok enough loss. Now for the gains.


When you have bariatric surgery, you have to have a lot of medical tests and take some classes. At one of my classes I met a woman who, as it turned out, was having her operation the same day as me! We talked a bit and got along well and hoped we'd be roommates in the hospital. We did wind up in the same room and a friendship was forged that will last forever. She and her husband have become very dear to me. It's difficult going through a life changing, and possibly life ending, experience like this but when you go through it with someone else, it eases your mind. She's become a very close friend and she and her husband spent Christmas Eve with our friends and family. And one of the best things? She's learning how to knit! She started a scarf with the knit stitch and 30 stitches. No purling yet. She's about a quarter of the way through, has 34 stitches and hasn't given up. I love her for her sweetness and determination and am so happy she's in my life.

Another gain was this guy.




This is my great nephew Patrick! (Is is great nephew or grand nephew? I like great better. Grand makes me sound old!) He was born in October and he's Maddie's little brother. He's my niece, Joyce's, little boy. Isn't he darling? Joyce brought both the babies for a visit last month and we all had a great time. What good babies they both are! So sweet with such good temperaments. They're lucky to have a mother like Joyce who is so attentive and loving.

All in all it had been a really good year with a few bad things that happened. Glad it's over and now we're on to 2012!