High in the sky apple pie hopes… Sunday, Jan 20 2008 

Spring yarns are trickling in at the store and they are super tempting! I have so much cotton, linen, hemp, etc. in my stash, I’m forcing myself to NOT gorge on anything from Berroco or Classic Elite, specifically the highly tempting Seduce and Soft Linen. Trying to ignore the totally adorable patterns from Norah Gaughan and Pam Allen. To quash these cravings and celebrate the fact that I think this is the year I’ve finally accepted that I’m a fledgling designer (long time readers will know that there has been much internal consternation surrounding that self-appointed title), I’m working up a little pattern that will take just a few skeins of these gorgeous new yarns and hopefully be a cute mid-season accessory. I wasn’t allowed to buy the yarn on Saturday because it is just that new (not in the Webs system) but hopefully by next weekend because it’ll be a quick knit, and I want to wear it!

Now, for some heart-stopping cuteness. In November (my month of knitting a million sweaters) I hinted at some unphotographed FOs, two tiny dog sweaters I made for a (very talented) friend’s adorable pomapoo. Shara snapped some pics and left them for me in the comments but I want everyone to meet the very dapper Diego!
Diego

And his new little sister Sadie, wearing the elfish green hoodie I originally made for Diego!

Sadie

That face!!

Sadie

I used the very adaptable Basic Hound Hoodie (Ravelry link but you can Google it for a free PDF). The first beige hoodie was knit with about half a skein of Tahki Soho Tweed which is a very nice yarn, soft and quick knitting. The green hoodie took half a skein of Berroco Ultra Alpaca. In the store the Cascade 220 is right next to the Ultra Al and…it makes the Ultra Al look really good. For about 1 dollar more you get a vastly more luxurious yarn in totally unique, complex colors. I’m not knocking Cascade 220 (or it’s awesome rival yarn Northampton) but if you haven’t used Ultra Al, I implore you, buy a skein, knit some little gloves or a hat (or both). You’ll fall for it.

More handspun…I need to start knitting it before I have yet another stash to manage. This is what I’m calling Wheat Sheaves, spun from 4 ounces of Spunky Eclectic BFL in Monkey Farts, most hilarious color name ever. I’m actually kind of happy with the pictures I got of this one, so lots more at Flickr.

Wheat Sheaves

I’ve also been practicing my photo skills on the Sundara Season’s Club shipment (this is Tickled Pink, the spring selection):

Tickled Pink

It’s been interesting, I chose Autumn and Spring, my favorite seasons in real life but I’m thinking I should have stuck with my CMB season, Winter. Those skeins have been deep reds or weird combos of green and charcoal or magenta and black. I live for weird colors! I sold and traded my silk lace weight because I’m just not that masochistic. If I ever really get into hardcore lace knitting it’ll be with something sticky.

What else? Oh yes, I had some exciting scores at Target the other day, got a creme brulee set for 5 dollars!! Steve, owner of Webs and wisecracker overheard me telling a coworker and shouted, “you know why it was 5 bucks, because no one makes creme brulee at home!!” I beg to differ, I made it immediately and had a very delicious breakfast the next morning!

Creme Brulee

Won’t be making a habit of it though. They include a “low-cal” version but it’s probably not worth the dairy. Besides a momentary freak-out about the butane torch (visions of explosions, probably the REAL reason no one makes them at home) I had success. I also made paneer (Fresh Cheese in Bittman) the other day, which was very fun. I’m having a streak of food luck, what should I make next??

CR

Whiskeytown! Thursday, Jan 17 2008 

To paraphrase Martha, good things. Very, very good. Cap Karma only took one ball of Queensland Kathmandu Aran Tweed (currently on sale for $4.29, $4.29 people!! OMG, Brett, please don’t be offended that I knit you a 5 dollar hat). The yarn is so incredibly soft and tweedy I found it hard to put down. And hey, cables are FUN, I forgot.

Cap Karma

Close-up:

Cap Karma closeup

And out in the world, shopping for bulk nuts for Whiskey Cookies!

Cap Karma

They looked so pale and plain we thought it’d be a good idea to add some Demerara sugar on top! They came out of the oven looking kind of disappointing, like flat, pale pancakes. How did they taste?

Whiskey Cookies

Delicious!! They were so breakfast-y with a hint of banana from the whiskey (does anyone else think whiskey tastes like banana), we decided to add a maple syrup swirl to the last batch. There are…only a couple left. Highly recommended cookie, I’ve never had such luck with baking in my life. The texture is…NOT unlike the soft squishy cables of the Cap Karma.

Ah, full circle…

CR

“It’s about making yarn by hand.” Wednesday, Jan 16 2008 

So, remember those Calvin Klein ads from the early 90s? The ones that looked like they were set in a basement and all creepy? Well, that’s my bathroom. Behold, a makeshift dye lab, made of a tension bar and a bucket! This is a Louet Hand Dyed Sock Kit, it will eventually be a pair of socks and then it will live at Webs. It’s like a mash-up of girlie colors and animal print. I followed the directions to the letter and they didn’t say to unwind the skanks (skein-hanks) so I left them wound and ended up with lots of white spaces! I thought I’d saturated them pretty well, burrowing the squeeze bottle nozzle into the skein, but apparently not. Oh well, I tend to like a lot of white in my sock yarn.

Louet Sock Kit

This is what it looks like wound up:

Louet Sock Yarn

I started plying the Spunky Eclectic BFL in Monkey Farts. It has a really pretty translucent quality, very pale milk chocolate brown and vanilla pudding yellow, okay, now I feel like Homer Simpson. It was very easy to draft, and since I don’t have plans for it I experimented with TPI and different drafting techniques (from the fold, semi-woolen spun, etc.) and now I’m plying it in a very haphazard manner, seeing what happens when I treadle really quickly and barely support the yarns (a tightly wound Koigu-ish effect) or when I treadle slowly and let the twist into the singles slowly (a calmer, softer effect, with a bit of a barber-pole effect).

After consulting this I know that I’ve been stripping and pre-drafting and plying two identical (in theory, they don’t match up because I’m still pretty uneven) bobbins together which should yield a somewhat self-striping yarn. It’s fun learning on my own, but I can already tell I’m going to get lots of bad habits this way. It’s also a problem that I don’t really know the technical side of what I’m doing. For instance, ratios? No idea.

Monkey Farts

Secret knitting continues!

Knitscene Project

Speaking of dying, Gail/Kangaroo Dyer was the guest on Ready, Set, Knit this week! It was a great interview. She is great about inviting people to come dye with her but I’ve never been tempted, I just don’t think dying is for me. All I could think of during the process was A. I’m screwing this up and it will be ugly and a waste of Louet, B. this is messy, C. this is wasteful (all the water, the microwaving and the Saran Wrap/plastic bags)! Also, there are sooOOooo many already dyed yarns that I love. Fiesta Baby Boom in Plum Pudding (I don’t even like pink!), Pigeonroof’s Nightshade and this sushi colorway from Keegan Lane Yarns, and so on and so on…
CR

Mad Hatter Tuesday, Jan 8 2008 

Oof, I’m sorry, I said I’d tell you more about design endeavors “tomorrow…” on December 31st. Well, I’ve been busy! I’m working on lots of design submissions, my Knitscene project and two new designs that will appear in a follow-up to the gorgeous Sensual Knits from Sterling/Hollan. It just keeps mushrooming, it’s very, very good way to start the new year.
So, you know I like to knit and model hats, but I have a lot of them so I’m always happy to knit for hat wearing friends, especially friends with beards! Speaking of BEARDS, how excited am I? The beards in late night (Dave, Conan) are just fantastic. Up with beards!! This is a Turned-Brim hat from Quietish, knit for a UMass friend. We both have love for redheads, Harry Potter, and Wii. We’ve both been resident assistants at UMass, study in the communication department and are irritated by our non-voting peers.
Turned-Brim Hat
Pictures came out sort of dark so I went for sepia! It’s actually green and brown, deets on Ravelry. Turned out a bit too long, so the turned-under hem became a turned-up brim. Oh well! Next up is a Cap Karma for this willing hat-wearer.
Turned-Brim Hat
Also exciting…my Spiffy Knits Burrow fiber is all spun up, plied and ready to be knit! I was kind of obsessed with the single and how much it resembled a favorite Noro Kureyon colorway in the new sock yarn weight.
The Burrow singles
I wasn’t sure how I liked it after plying, but I think I do!
The Burrow plied
The Burrow close-up
The Burrow plied
My plan is to make a Maltese Fisherman’s Hat (from EZ’s Knitter’s Almanac, best 8 dollars you’ll ever spend) a la Knitting School Dropout, who I’m lucky enough to know in real life. Don’t all my friends look so cute in hats?? If you haven’t had enough, check out these two new hats from hat queen Ysolda Teague.
I might be sort of silent this month, I have a lot of knitting to do. I’m working at Webs about three days a week and working on some school projects, etc. Stitches West is right around the corner, this will be the best ever, I’m sure of it. West is always my favorite and this year I’ll be on the West coast hanging out/working hard with some favorite knitting pals (as well as the huge, ridiculous Webs caravan, so fun)–I sort of can’t wait.

CR

P.S./Note to Self: Drops Spring/Summer 2008 is awesome!! I love the poetically named: FA-023, O-280, OO-68, R-492, R-495, SA-035, SA-040, Z-312. No links, just go look!

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