Thursday, March 31, 2005

off the needles...

It's been a pretty slow day, so I've been sneaking in a row here and there...It has helped pass the day. And, I have just finished knitting the pieces of my Rebecca wrap! I couldn't have asked for a faster project. I originally said that I was going to start this project on April 1st. I made this estimate based on how long I thought it would take to finish knitting the Onde raglan. Well, it's March 31st and both projects are already off the needles.

Tomorrow is my Friday off...It looks like I'm going to have a finishing party! I have already sewed the sleeves and body for Onde. Tomorrow, I will seam the sides and arms, and I will pick up stitches for the neckband. Adding to the list, I should be able to wash and block the pieces for the wrap. If I'm feeling really ambitious, I'll post some pictures!

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

"The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it... I can resist everything but temptation." -- Oscar Wilde

Yarn Diet, Schmarn Diet...To heck with it all! I know that there are only 9 more days 'til the end of my Yarn Diet...but, today I gave in to temptation.

Recently, I added a new eBay seller to my yarn temptation watchlist. This morning, my visit to her store was innocent enough...I just wanted to order a copy of the new Rowan mag, which I still haven't received.* Well, the offer that was featured today was just too good to resist! Not only was I able to order the magazine, but I also ordered 3 packs of Rowan cotton/blends. I got one pack of Cotton Glace, a pack of All Seasons Cotton, and a pack of Handknit DK for $100...Oh, and that includes shipping from the UK! The magazine was $20 + $10 for shipping, but is well worth the cost when you consider how much I saved on the yarn.

I'm not going to try to come up with some lame justification for making this purchase. I don't have any specific projects in mind. None of these is what I would call a favorite...Actually, I've never used any of them. The only thing I can say is that the price was right!

* This is quite a long story, that I will not go into. I don't want to flame anyone, I just want a copy of the magazine.

argh...blogger ate my post!

I hate it when that happens!

Monday, March 28, 2005

really fast knitting...

Last week, once I was done with the bulk of the Onde raglan, I swatched and cast on for the Rebecca Wrap. The pattern is in English, but there's something about the way that it is written that is very foreign still. Once I got the gist of the pattern, the two sleeves went by quickly. I have also finished the back.

I'm working with Knitpick's Andean Silk. So far, I really like this yarn. I think it might be a little thicker than Soft Kid, which the pattern calls for. But, I was able to get my stitch gauge on size 8 needles, and the row gauge isn't too far from what the pattern says. The yarn is soft and fairly easy to work with. And, It doesn't shed too much.


That's what the pieces of the Onde raglan are doing right now. I finished the front piece last Thursday. I got up the Saturday and washed the pieces. The Onde had a strange smell to it, like mineral oil or some sort of finisher...I wanted to wash the pieces well to get some of that smell out. The Sew E-z board is great! Having the inch markings makes pinning pieces a lot easier. Phildar patterns have very detailed schematics, so it seemed fitting that this was the first project that went onto the blocking board.

The down side, so far, is that the board isn't as big as I thought it would be. For larger projects, such as a men's sweater/cardigan, I will probably need to block the sleeves separately. I don't think that will be a big problem since I usually knit sleeves first.

I foresee a seaming session this Friday when I have the day off. I'll have to make sure I get a good movie to put on in the background.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

back to work...

I'm back from my weekend trip to New York. Once I got off the bus, there wasn't much time for knitting. I did get a little knitting in here and there, but not as much as I would have liked.

Since I'm technically still on my yarn diet, I didn't make a point to find any of the famed stores in New York. I did pop in to a small store in my friends' neighborhood in Hoboken. It was cute and well stocked with Rowan's line.

I made a lot of progress on the Onde raglan. I would have been able to finish it on the bus ride home yesterday, but I ran into a problem with the pattern translation. After the first set of raglan decreases, I had more stitches remaining the pattern said I should. Also, the neck shaping is hard to decipher. If I follow the directions as stated, I have about 6 stitches fewer than needed to properly finish the neck. So, instead of getting frustrated on the bus, I decided that it would wait until I got home.

This morning on the way to work, I took a look at the pattern in French...My French is very rusty and I'm not too familiar with their knitting terms. But, I could clearly read the neck shaping decreases and they are not the same as written in the translation. I'm going to rip back to the place where the front splits and try again. Then the pieces will be ready for blocking on my new Sew E-Z board, which came last Friday!

Thursday, March 17, 2005

looking forward to the weekend...

I'm taking off for a few days, so you might not hear from me until the middle of next week. Tomorrow morning Maya, my college friend/roommate, is coming to visit for a week. And, the two of us are going to NYC to some other faces from the past.

Tonight I will need to do some general cleaning around the house. I'm also going to pick out clothes to bring for the weekend. Hopefully, I'll be able to get everything I need for the 4 days into a bag small enough to carry around town if I need to. I've got a bag like this that usually gets the job done. Packing for these weekend trips is easy...until I get to the matter of what shoes to bring! I'm aiming to stick with 2 pairs this time. I want to leave room to buy a pair of shoes if something grabs me.

I'm also going to pack a second carry-on with knitting supplies, magazines, and music...That's also fairly standard for me. It's mainly entertainment for the bus ride. I've made copies of the Onde pattern and the Rebecca wrap. That should be more than enough to keep me busy.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

baby got back...

I finally finished the back yesterday night. I'm pretty happy with the way that this project is turning out. The color changes that the yarn goes through are really subtle at first. I didn't really realize that there was a difference until after the third change. Here's a look at the back:

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That's the closest I could get to the actual colors of the yarn. I had been wondering when the colors would stop changing. I'm not sure if you can see in the picture, but the ombre ends about 5 rows before the raglan shaping starts. This shot is a little closer:

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I already cast on for the front, and it looks like this will most likely be the project that I bring on the bus this weekend. If I'm lucky, I'll get the front done on the way up and get to do a swatch for the Rebecca wrap on the way down.

Friday, March 11, 2005

i'm up to my armpits...

I have been working on the back of my Onde raglan since last Friday, and I'm just getting to the raglan shaping. This is a really easy pattern and the color transitions keeps it interesting.

I would love to finish this project next week, so I can wear it when Maya and I go to New York. That's just wishful thinking! I think I can have the knitting done, but there's no way that I'll have the pieces blocked and seamed.

We're going to be taking the 'hound to NYC. At $33 round trip, it's the cheapest way to get there. And, it's a direct stops 'til Port Authority! That means four and a half hours of knitting and catching up. That gives me a week to decide what project to bring on the bus. Something new, perhaps?

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

31 days...

That's right, just one more month and the yarn diet is officially over. The good news is that I haven't added anything to my stash. The bad news is that I haven't been knitting enough to really reduce my stash, which was true goal of the yarn diet. The Onde raglan is the first project to be started with yarn from the stash. I have some Plymouth Italy Baby from Elann that I might use for Posy -- from last summer's Rowan mag.

Since there are only 31 days left in my yarn diet, I am also just 31 days away from my birthday! I'm already trying to think of something that I could treat myself to. I'm thinking about buying myself a good blocking board. I have managed to block my knitting fairly well either on the floor or the bed, but I think it's time to move up in the world. Luckily, I just got a discount code at for 50% off. I think I'm going to order the Sew E-Z Board. With shipping, it will be $63...not shabby!

Thursday, March 03, 2005

possible yarn substitutions...

I've pretty much made up my mind. I'm going to make the wrap sweater from the new Rebecca to wear to the wedding this May. It seems like a great design that I'll be able to wear again, and it's short-sleeved in case it is a warm night. What sealed the deal was seeing a finished example. It's really easy for the magazines to make their designs look good, but I think this project looks great under normal lighting as well.

I'm trying to decide whether to put down the ~$50 for GGH Soft Kid that the pattern calls for. First, I have been reading on other blogs that supplies are short in the DC area. Second, I don't really want to spend $50 when I'm supposed to be on a yarn diet. Third, I haven't even gotten my copy of the Rowan mag to determine if anything would be more fitting.

So, I have started looking around eBay for a deal, and looking around the web for substitutes. My best prospects so far include Berroco's Mohair Classic (in a cream color) and Knitpick's Andean Silk. Ideally, I would like to start this project on April 1st. That should give me enough time to get this done in time for the first weekend of May. So, I'm going to order the yarn, I need to do it soon.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

more kitten, less knittin'...

So, it's been a week since my BF and brought home our cat...The good news is that I love our cat! The bad news is that there's much less knitting being done. Auggie is 7-months old and full of energy. By the time I get home in the evening, she's ready to do a few laps around the apartment. Then, after feeding and playtime, she looks for a warm lap to take over.

I have been able to get one sleeve of the Onde project done since I still knit on the bus. But, the only way that I can knit at home is if Auggie is taking a catnap or if my BF is playing with her. Any time she sees me knitting, Auggie comes running toward me as if she's got an open invitation to play. Thankfully there has been no harm done. Right now, I have all of my current projects in ziplock bags. When I see the cat bounding toward me, I just calmly put my knitting in the bag and close it.

Does anyone have a good suggestion for knitting with a cat in the house?

all quiet on the SP4 front...

I haven't been talking much about Secret Pals because the project I'm working on is, well, secret. I did drop a postcard in the mail for my Pal, just to let her know that I'm still around. With any luck, I'll be able to finish up the secret project in the next week so that my Pal will get something in March...

Also, it's been a while since I've heard from Ms Amica Clandestina...I hope you're still out there!