bid farewell

this is the last we'll see of the malabrigo striped sweater. i may try to knit him up again, but i am really not happy with my very very poor carrying technique. who would have thunk that carrying yarn in a knit-in-the-round piece was that much different than in a straight piece? and here i thought i was an expert after so successfully carrying on skerf's.

see where the stitch marker is? if you follow that up to the neck you can see the not only obvious bad carrying technique but the crooked "i can't carry straight up". what an embarassment! i guess the only thing straight up around here is my martini. so...i am going to frog the whole thing and i may attempt this sweater again, but perhaps knit in a different technique, like say, from the bottom up? or maybe in pieces and then seamed together? who knows what 2008 will bring...


coolass coolhats for coldheads

ok, so there's 5 days left until christmas, and i clearly haven't done any more holiday gift knitting since my last post. i figured the gifts that are left to finish won't be delivered until the second week of january when i will personally hand deliver them when i am back in minneapolis, so i have plenty of time to finish them up.

in the meantime i have been working selfishly on new items i figure i NEED, since i will be out in typically 4F to 22F temps for that time of year.

yes, that is koolhaas. lovely design, especially since i am a huge fan of Rem Koolhaas. although this pattern is easy to get into a rhythm with, it's not a good one to work on when you can only dedicate yourself partially. in other words pay attention, otherwise you will end up with an unclosed cable.

it's knit up in ryc's cashsoft dk in color 00515 'tape'. lovely yarn to work with as it is super soft and glides effortlessly over bamboo needles, an absolute dream. as long as you are paying attention. or at least remember to stop and admire your work often, because if you wait until you think you are practically finished as you are just about to weave in those ends and decide to check out your skillz, you'll frustrate yourself to no end when you find a whole row of bad cabling due to one little missed stitch. thank you very much.


holiday knitting

i've been able to knock off a few gifts - knock them off the list that is. as in, i've changed my mind as to how many hand knit gifts there are going to be this year. i came to the realization that knitting under stress and pressure is knot enjoyable, and if it's knot enjoyable then it's knot worth knitting.

however, i have been able to complete an earflap hat family and they are ready to be sent:

these earflap hats are going to my sister, brother in law and niece in ohio. of course, i kept all the colors in the same family since the hats are all going to the same family. HA~! i am full of them tonite, aren't i?

i've made progress on the striped malabrigo sweater - i am about a third of the way down but i have stopped production as i am not sure i am liking my craftsmanship. because it's knit in the round and has horizontal stripes at regular intervals, i am carrying the yarn and my technique for carrying yarn while knitting in the round is yet to be desired. i can CLEARLY notice where my carrying is happening and it bothers me. plus, i can sadly say that i didn't choose a very wise place to carry. on the bright side, thanks to the advice of jason, i have resolved the issue of the little jogs where the color change happens.

no photos until i can decide what to do...frog or continue.


a striped...??

ok, this is all that i have been working on this week:

it doesn't look like much, but already i have frogged and started over 4 times, and tinked back several rows, i don't know how many times...

at first i was using the incredible, custom-fit raglan sweater formula. i got down to joining the circle, and decided that i didn't like that neck opening and wanted to do a more standard ribbed neck. so then i went to my trusty knitting from the top book by barbara walker. i followed her tutorial a couple of times, modifying my version each time i restarted.

now, finally i am contemplating frogging once again, because a) i am worried that i don't have enough yarn to complete a whole sweater, in which case i may end up making a vest. and b) i am not liking the color jogs in the striping as i am knitting in the round. if i end up doing the vest, this wont be a huge issue since i can always place the color changes down one of the sides, under the arm. i guess it's worth searching the internet-s for tips on how one might avoid these ugly little color jogs. any tips?

(oh, and in case you were wondering, yes there will be some orange detailing in this piece as well. the yarn is malabrigo worsted in olive, bobby blue, and rhodesian)


why i woke up with a migraine...

which was caused by my annoying smoke detectors...

at around 4am the smoke detector in the master bedroom started beeping. at first i didn't know what it was as i woke up thinking, "did i dream that i heard a beep or was that really a beep?" i laid there trying to go back to sleep and what seemed like a minute later it happened again. there was that high pitched beep. i realized that it was the smoke detector and knew that when it does that it means it needs to be reset.

i climbed out of bed, ran into the office and got a chair and climbed up to press the button to reset it. nothing happened. it continued to beep 15 seconds later, and at this point at 15 second intervals. meanwhile, i am thinking "damn it why does this have to happen at 4am". so then i remembered, "oh, perhaps you are supposed to hold it down for like 10 seconds to reset it." so i press the button again, and after holding it down continuously, it makes a constant beeeeeeep. which then triggers off the one in the next room (in this case the hallway) to go off. which then triggers the next one to go off. chain reaction. so of course i am sooooo irritated at this point because there i am standing on a chair in the dark pressing a button and all the smoke detectors in my house are going off. i decide, ok maybe i'm supposed to hold the button for 15 seconds and not 10. thank god it worked.

by this point i am totally awake and couldn't fall back asleep. of course i laid there tossing and turning. finally when i felt comfortable and had my eyes closed, i noticed a light/dark light/dark seemingly flashing happening. i open my eyes and sure enough, there is a strobe going off outside. i get up to look and there is a police car right at the corner of my house, and a paramedic truck in the driveway across the street. i see the cop go running across the street from the paramedic truck to his patrol car, grabs something out of there and starts flashing a light around. i thought, oh shit there's someone running around the neighborhood they are trying to pursue. i hear a woman's voice shout "over here!" as a firetruck comes racing down the street with an ambulance in tow...all this without sirens. since i am already up and looking i continue to watch. needless to say, it was just someone who had to be taken away in an ambulance around the corner...no fire or major excitement for me to watch.

so by now it's like 5am and i know i have to get up at 6, but i am so irritated and tired that i decide to lay there and try to relax. by the time the alarm went off, i had fallen asleep and i decided that i would lie there for a few minutes before i got up and at that point realized that my head was killing me.

whew. how is that story for an excuse to call in for work? at least i will be able to test if knitting can help calm a throbbing head.


quick update

i have managed to finish noro striped skerf #2:

there is a slight color shift from noro striped skerf #1:

which i've done intentionally by switching one of the alternating colorways since these will be going to the same family of friends. i need to get the third one done (which i will switch out the second new colorway in hopes of creating a varied continuity in the lot) in order to check them off the list.

FINALLY...progress is being made to the vest for G (yeahyeahyeah, don't even ask me about the second jaywalker sock):

lastly, but not leastly...i've gotten a little further on the hexagon throw. i had to put it aside for the moment to try and get a few other time sensitive things done.

not sure how long this one will be on the back burner (probably until after the holidays). my intention is to have it fit my queen sized bed by the time all is said and done.


mystery yarn

speaking of swag, my mother just got back from PRoC and brought back this skein of sock yarn for me. problem is, none of us can read chinese so we don't have any idea what it is. i am guessing ram? there's definitely the wool symbol on the band.

it's got some really nice color variation in it, it's four ply with one strand of dark chocolate brown, one strand of a grey-ish brown, and two strands of a grey-ish purple-y lavender.

in other knitting news

i actually have knitting updates...

earlier in the year i bought gankloads of noro silk garden in colorway 249 with the intention of knitting up a blanket. i had visions of a chevron pattern but i got too excited with the colorway i just could not wait to delve in. so i cast on for a sweater vest and quickly got bored of what i was doing. so it sat in the back of the closet until this month when i decided to frog the whole thing and actually start that blanket.

the pattern is inspired by the hexagon bag pattern by Norah Gaughan from Knit Simple Magazine, Fall 2007.

speaking of sweater vests, i've done a little more work on the vest for G. he's been asking about it so i guess it's due time to add another row or two...


swags o comin'

as i sit here waiting to leave for the airport i am creating a new blog post with my window open. outside, i hear hoards of people screaming and cheering at first reminding me of the sounds of folks on a roller coaster, the sound coming in waves. then i realize, i live nowhere near a theme park. ok, perhaps there's a carnival somewhere nearby? sad, i sit here in my house in front of a computer when there are clown faces to shoot water guns at in hopes of making that balloon pop.

perhaps it's that sports stadium in town...i hear becks is back from injury, yeah that's what i hear. oh wait. that stadium is more than 5 miles away.

upon closer inspection, i.e. all my windows open and me running from room to room peering my head out on all sides of the house i discover it must be one of the local high schools - football game? - marching band competition? i hear 'bring it on' music. i hear cheers in waves. yeah, that's what it is...it's not the carnies coming to take me away at all.

earlier this week, a second installment of my SP11 exchange came in. TOTALLY excited about this package...four skeins of panda wool by crystal palace. i have been eyeing bamboo yarns for a while now but you know how it goes, coveting new yarn but reasoning with yourself to restrain unless you have a project in mind. i could never think of something to make with it. sometimes, you just need a swift kick in the arse...or someone to gift it to you. i LOVE the color variation in this yarn, it has a slight sheen along with the blue and greyish-blue stranding it gives off the illusion of glimmer or sparkle, both of which i adore.

along with the yarn is a packet of licorice pastilles (yum.) chocolate covered coffee beans and a bar of lindt chocolate with hazelnuts, some various notions, and my absolute favorite? halloween themed pencils. oh, and i can't forget the little treats for kitty. every single thing in this package is perfect - somehow, my secret pal KNOWS me. thanks sp!!


first FOs for fall

just in time for halloween, i finished a few things to send off to my little niece.

meet bubby. this being los angeles, the land where many strive for "perfection", this little lovely might have to go under the knife. look at that face!! by no means would this one survive in the land of wanna be starlettes, just look in the back of an la weekly. heck forget the back on almost every other page (!!) there are ads for "personal enhancement". bananas. i think i have talked myself out of it. the face is fine, it's full of character - it looks like a kid's drawing...or my first attempt at embroidery. however you want to look at it.

oh, and i mustn't forget the candy corn hat!!

it's made from lion brand's microspun in lily white, mango, and buttercup. [dodging eggs] i know, i know but being a kid's hat and all it's perfect for throwing into the washing machine. AND surprisingly it's super soft (for microfiber acrylic) and actually wasn't a nightmare to knit with....


give me a P, give me an O, give me....eh, ferget it

ok, so here's the question, do i like the pompom made the old-fashioned manual way:

or do i need to get a pompom maker:

the above photo courtesy of roy, my new knitterboypupil. the pompoms he made were put together using the small sizes of clover pompom makers. the prior photo is a hat i am making for my niece, the photo doesn't show the sparkly-ness of the blue yarn which is so cute, with a pompom made by me the manual way, with a debit card of course!! what do you guys think, should i invest in a pompom maker or keep to the messy tussled look?


sp11 swag-one

hurray! a package from my secret pal came this week!

inside, was a great skein of sock yarn hand dyed by my secret pal herself. loverly! some black licorice...which is SO divine. some delicious chocolate, and finally a tin of mice bathed in catnip.

thanks for the great package secret pal, and for thinking of miusey while you were at it, she went CRAZY for the meeces!


too little, too soon

too little:

yes, that's what's in my freezer right now. and yes, i do have an ice cream maker that makes delicious ice cream. but you know what? sometimes i just get lazy. that and i don't have all the ingredients to make whatever flavor hits my mood at any given moment!

too soon:
i finished knitting a small batch of holiday gifts. i won't show them now, they still need to be blocked to look pretty for the camera. plus i have a lot more to go so i might as well wait and shoot the lot together.

too little:
knitting that is. due to a recent (minor) wrist injury coupled with the US Open going on the last two weeks, i have been taking it easy on the knitting. keeping it simple with the noro striped scarf #1 and the simple stockinette stitch hats holiday projects. i did attempt a start at a new project though, i knit up a small swatch to measure gauge...took a look at the swatch, decided which tension i prefered with which needle size and ripped it out. as soon as i started casting on for the project i realized i hadn't done a stitch count. great. so i reknit another swatch. good lord, venus williams' new outfits are too distracting for knitting!! thank god i was of sound mind...or was there not US Open that day, that i was able to start the project - it's a super yummy vest knit up from malabrigo in the violetta's colorway. photos to come when it's further along.


old dogs, new tricks

men's knit night part one.

last wednesday we had our first session of knitting night down in the hood. that's right, in my town there's an ikea, david beckham at the home depot center, and a bunch of skogs knitting. well, there's one skog knitting and two learning. but i must say, they've caught on quite quickly, check out roy's progress by the next day:

he started the night before at my place and got almost an inch and a half done, after putting down his practice swatch and cast-on for the first time for knitting in the round. not bad to attempt for a first project, eh? by the end of the night i didn't have the heart or the energy to tell him how crappy his ribs were, he concentrated so hard at getting the rhythm down...he actually knew it but we were all too tired to verbally acknowledge it, so the next day he frogged the whole thing and started fresh:

and by friday:

he's been doing great with decreasing for the crown, and i even showed him how to transfer from circs to dpns. tonight is session two and we'll get that puppy off the needles. we've got two more interested in learning tonight and by the time i'm through i'll have a men's knitting circle even if i have to create one from scratch myself!!


and there IS knitting!

the right jaywalker is done, working on the left now. i was kind of surprised by the way the fit of this sock turned out, as i was reading in blogland a lot of jaywalkers said that this sock came out a bit snug and small. i found this sock to be loose actually! i am using koigu and although the label recommends using a US3, i am actually knitting on a US1. and i am making the smallest size the pattern calls for. upon examination of the finished piece, my tension is not a bit loose, so i can't figure it out. i am going to continue with the left and see how it goes.

i've started on my holiday gift knitting:

a series of hats will go to recipients in the colder regions, and of course i could not resist the noro striped scarf craze that is going around. i had to jump on that bandwagon thanks to jared - he's an inspiration to us all!!


sp11 questionnaire

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
i like wool, wool blends, cotton, mostly any type of natural fibres. i don't care for angora or mohair, too itchy and alpaca usually has too many loose fibres. i also don't care for novelty yarns.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
right now i have the clover needle case. i like it because it's not fussy, although...it's PLASTIC. but so far that is the nicest thing i could find (from a product design standpoint)

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
i started knitting about 7 years ago, my room mate at the time was an avid knitter, and she was always making some very cool things. so one trip back home to visit my family, i asked my mother and grandmother to show me how to knit. when i returned home i was excited to sit and knit with my room mate. i would say that i am probably an advanced-intermediate knitter now, i have done a lot of scarves, blankets and a few sweaters, but i am currently doing my first lace item....still not advanced enough to even THINK about intarsia!!

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
yes, i do. http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/1IHEIV9UD2JMS/

5. What's your favorite scent?
i am pretty particular about scents. for example, i love almond scent. but depending on the quality of the product, it sometimes can smell more nutty other times more like cherries. i think in general, i like things that smell "clean" and i don't mean necessarily like soap, but not heavy and perfume-y, or too complex. i also like citrus scents. my favorite candles are still the lemon and grapefruit kitchen candles from williams-sonoma. they're so fresh smelling. i guess there are some floral scents that i like too. it all depends what is producing the scent...i usually stay away from the fake, chemical smelling stuff...like the glade plug ins and things like that. i tend to like things that smell more natural.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
yes, i love chocolate mainly. chocolate covered nuts, any kind. especially dark chocolate. probably my favorite candy though would have to be a toss up between salt water taffy (all flavors) and black licorice (such as licorice all-sorts). ooo or those peach penguins.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
nothing crafty at the moment other than knitting. no spinning going on here. i just bought some bare cashmere, next step is to order some dyeing supplies. i have been reading a lot in blogland about it and am about ready to take the plunge.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
yes, and all kinds of music except gangsta rap and headbanger metal.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?
don't really have favorites. i am the type that i like things depdending on my mood at the moment. this applies to color too. but, some colors i really don't like are the flourescents that were really popular during the 80's. teal and burgundy combinations, peach and mint, hahaha....i guess all the bad stuff from the 80's. that's not to say i wouldn't go for something burgundy or mint or teal, there are a lot of good colors out there but it really depends on the intensity, richness, the undertones that make up the color.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
single with a partner and a cat!

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
scarves...sometimes. not that often living in l.a.!! no hats, or mittens or ponchos.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
hmm. again, depends on my mood, what pattern i may happen across, who needs a gift....lol

13. What are you knitting right now?
hmm. a flower basket shawl, a jaywalker sock, an earflap hat, a birdie, a candle flame shawl...oh, and a scarf. hey, what can i say it's august and i'm starting my holiday gifts.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
depends on the item. i am not one who is fond of things that don't have a specific purpose.

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
both straights and circs. definitely material of choice is bamboo...although i must say i did buy my first pair of addi circulars for the lace projects, and i am growing quite fond of them!

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
yes, to both.

17. How old is your oldest UFO?
gads....2yrs. and i didn't even include that in question 13.

18. What is your favorite holiday?
halloween. for the decor really. second is christmas. again for the decor.

19. Is there anything that you collect?
yarn. yarn. and yarn. hahahahah. good italian shoes. oh!! i am a sucker for hair products, and anything kiehls.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
i have a subscription to Craft:. see my amazon wish list to see any books i desire.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
not at the moment

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
yes!! i am now. size 8 men's

23. When is your birthday?
nov 14

24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what's your ID?
yes, i am. you can look me up as skogknits


moving swiftly along

recently i ordered some great sock yarn from yarn nerd, and became totally frustrated at the knots that formed as i was trying to make a cake from the hank. perhaps it's my knobby knees that the hank was rested on as i was winding on my ball winder or perhaps i was paying too much attention to victoria beckham in welcome to america...but i had to snap the yarn and got three balls out of it in frustration:

lesson learned: sometimes it's nice to do things by hand, you get that really involved feeling in the end, you can take ownership and pride in the project. a real sense of one with your craft. other times, it's worth the money, the time, and your sanity to invest in tools to help you get the job done. enter, the almighty swift:

i've held out a long time, convincing myself that i don't need one. well, you know what? my life is so much easier now, and to prove it, here she is in action:

and perhaps i went a little hog wild in the process?

this is not all that needs to be wound in my stash, i do have to show a little self control after all.


sp10 revealed

my final package from my secret pal arrived on monday, and i have to say i am totally stoked with this package! it's got a nice creative mix of things, things that i like but would never purchase for myself. i love that sort of package, and i always try to keep that in mind when i am buying gifts for other people. when i am out and about and in a cute shop i am constantly seeing things that i like, but i would never buy for myself...i try to pick things like that for gifts. things the recipient may not purchase for themself.

i digress, the contents of my final package:

one of my favorite things in there is the casaviva magazine she picked up while in columbia, and the lavender jagger spun 'zephyr'. thanks so much secret pal!!


let "them" (meaning me) eat cake

so, i did actually run out of yarn for those jaywalkers. i have about an inch more to go, before starting the toe decreases. i mean, i have the yarn for the second sock. but if i use that now, i am going to end up with one full sized jaywalker, and one ankle sock. how loverly. because i am so close to the toe-cap, and i probably won't find the same dye lot i could potentially do a different color toe, although i am feeling like the toe-cap AND another inch may look a bit strange. well, i will go to the LYS and see what they have. you never know, one lonely hank of the same colorway and same dye lot might be hanging around.

so in other knitting news, progress has been made to the flower basket shawl. i'll spare everyone photos right now since unblocked lace is just unblocked lace. how interesting can it be...

i almost forgot to mention!!! i've added to my stash with some lovelies from yarn nerd

i can't wait to start knitting with this stuff, i just love the colorways!!


knitting going on?

yes, there's been knitting. not much, since we were in the midwest for a sort of mini-vacation last week. while wandering through the gardens of the newly remodeled museum, i stumbled across this interesting sculpture...

could it be an actual larger-than-life skein of yarn? i'll never know since i wasn't smart enough to read the placquard about the piece. can anyone guess where we were? here's a hint, the city was founded by this man, a belgian in fact!!

that's right, father hennepin whose statue is located right in front of the basilica of st. mary.

that should be enough to give it away. if you still haven't figured it out, here's a dead giveaway...one of the most famous icons of the city

as far as actual knitting goes? i decided to frog the anastasia socks - after several attempts i couldn't get a grasp of the wrap and turn technique of a toe-up. i kept getting these strange holes, let's call them eyelets, on one side of the toe cap. instead, i started a jaywalker from the top down, and of course now i am freaking out because i feel as if i am going to run out of yarn and i am not even halfway through the foot!!


new projects on board

i have once again retired my cardigan to the back of the closet. don't ask me, i don't know. i guess i am just not that interested in it since i won't be able to use it as soon as it's done. but then again, it would go in the back of the closet until cooler days if it were...typical to my nature, i am just procrastinating on it once again. perhaps it's my lack of interest in seaming?

speaking of seaming, i have started "birdie" from Hand Knits for Kids, by lucinda guy.

there is a lot of seaming involved in this project as well, but perhaps since it will be a gift that will motivate me to get it done - take the baby blanket for example.

i've also started my first toe-up socks, it's the anastasia socks pattern by mintyfresh.

so far i've only gotten up to the first sock toe cap. then i had to put it down because i have been meaning to start on a shawl for a friend for some time now, and since i couldn't decide on a pattern i just started two simulatneously. these will surely get done before the cardigan, there's no seaming involved.

flower basket shawl from interweave knits (fall 2004) by evelyn e. clark

and the candle flame shawl by dean crane

i am loving the candle flame pattern, but i think for the gift i will stick with the flower basket pattern, simply because it's more of a true lace pattern which i am sure will look 100% better once it's done and blocked. oh, and a word of advice: don't attempt to knit lace while watching wimbledon - or be prepared to try to edit a lot of mishaps. wowZa. not a pretty sight.

WHEW. that's about it for now. i'll let you know how progress goes. here's to summer knitting!!


the end is near

well, for socks #2 it's already here.

i've also finally finished the blanket:

this blanket was knit in strips 35 sts across, changing colors every 48 rows to reduce seaming all the squares together. the strips were then seamed together and the blanket was blocked as a whole. the yarn is GGH Solitaire - 44% wool, 43% acrylic and 13% elite for ease of washing. knitting in strips definitely cut my seaming time down, but man were there a lot of ends to weave in...

but the exciting news is that the pieces for my cardigan are finally blocking.

i can't wait to get this thing done, yet i am not really looking forward to all the seaming, especially since the temps have been going up and is forcasted to continue to rise. yet, to celebrate i cast on a toe-up sock. well, what else was i to do with everything else on the blocking boards?!??