Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Quick Update

I am currently on a trip with my parents - they flew to London from Seattle last Thursday, and we've been having a good time so far travelling around and doing a bunch of family history at the same time.

The bad is that I haven't knitted as much as I would like, and that our schedule has meant that I haven't been able to go to some stores (such as Get Knitted) that I was hoping to go to.

The good is that they came bearing gifts! I had ordered a ton of stuff from Knit Picks that they brought with them - some yarn to finish my Ravenclaw scarf, new cable lengths for my Options set and some yarn for my first ever sweater! Soon, you will get to enjoy (making fun of me) knitting up A Cardigan for Arwen.

I'm either brave or very, very stupid :)

Monday, March 19, 2007

Spring Sprogs (FO!)

Spring is here, a-suh-puh-ring is here.
Life is skittles and life is beer.
I think the loveliest time of the year is the spring.
I do, don't you? 'Course you do.
--Tom Lehrer, "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park"

Ahhh... spring. I don't know about where you are, but here in Jolly Ole England, spring is in full force. Hundreds of daffodils can be seen almost anywhere you go (it's quite breathtaking, actually), and cherry blossoms are starting to appear. It's a time when heavy coats are put aside, people look at their gardens (usually in dismay), and this year - two of my cousins are due within weeks of each other.

As a beginning knitter, I had to think long and hard about what to make them. They are sisters-in-law, so I didn't want to make a sweater/blanket/bear set for one and then a pair of booties for the other. Also, while I'm up for trying anything, I did have to think about projects I could do - twice - in the amount of time I had left myself (about 3 months). I decided baby booties would be the best course of action.

Pattern: Ballet Pumps (left) and Mary Janes (right) from Sublime's "15 Designs for Babies".
Yarn: Plymouth Dreambaby DK (50% acrylic, 50% nylon) in colors black (113) and pink (126).
Needles: KnitPicks Options 4.5 mm (US7)
New-to-me Techniques: Increases (Make One versions A and B), Decreases (K2tog TBL and K2tog), short row shaping.
Start/Finish: Mary Janes: 03 FEB 07 - 12 MAR 07. Ballet Pumps: 05 MAR 07 - 12 MAR 07

My cousin, Dave, and his wife, Heidi, are expecting a girl. I know that this is what they were hoping for, as they already have a son, and so I thought the pink would be a perfect choice for them. Of course, at first I was reading the pattern entirely wrong (as you may have read in my earlier post.

My cousin, Michelle, and her husband, Chris, are also expecting a girl. I thought the combination of black bootie with red ties would fit in nicely with their goth lifestyle.

This was my first project using my new Options needle set that I had received at Christmas. All I can say is that I really love this set. As a new knitter, I was so thankful to have a variety of needles available to me as I was swatching for these. The cables are nice and flexible, the tips nice and pointy, and in some ways I think I may prefer them to my Addi Turbos (can I say that and still be a knitter?). If you're thinking of getting a set of interchangeables, I highly recommend these. The bonus is you can buy any of the pieces individually should you lose a tip or a cable or just if you have that much knitting to do.

I also enjoyed working with the yarn. While the recommended yarn is a lovely-to-the-touch cashmere/merino blend, I really felt that something machine washable would be a bit more important. As it is, this yarn is quite comparable in softness, plus it came in black, which was a must-have!

All in all, I really enjoyed this project. Once I figured out how to read the pattern correctly *blush* I could easily sit down and work one bootie up in an evening. That combined with how little yarn is used is a great weapon to have in your knitting arsenal for that last minute baby shower.

Monday, March 12, 2007


I just wanted to give a thank you to the many who have commented, welcoming me to the land of knit blogs and knitting (since I'm still a beginner!)

I've listened to several podcasts, where the hosts will talk about what a warm and welcoming community this is, and I just have to say how true it is, and how much it is appreciated!

I have a couple more FOs to post soon - two adorable pairs of baby booties that I'm early with (at least, I haven't heard of the recipients being born yet!)

I'm heading into York tomorrow, which will (of course) include a stop by a yarn shop :)

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

FO - Irish Hiking Scarf

Pattern: Hello Yarn's Irish Hiking Scarf
Wool: Lion Brand Wool-Ease (80% acrylic, 20% wool) in Oxford Grey #152. 3 skeins used.
Needles: Addi Turbo US 8 (5.0mm) circular
New-to-me Techniques: Cables!
Start/finish: 20 Dec 06 - 29 Jan 07

My husband, who I tend to call Mr. Tall in the blogosphere, bikes and trains to work every day. The cold and wet weather here in England is a lot different than in his native Southern California. I felt very guilty about having the car during the day while he is stuck commuting, so I offered to make him a scarf as a peace offering.

I showed him a number of patterns that I was really gung-ho to try, and we both agreed on this one. It is manly enough for him and it gave me something new to learn, so we were both quite happy.

I cast on our first day back in the states for Christmas. I accompanied my mother-in-law and brother-in-law as we took grandma to a doctor's appointment. I cast on in the waiting room, and 8 rows in, when I successfully turned my first cable, I was so excited, I quickly showed my brother-in-law. He did a god job humoring me and seeming impressed. I found the pattern really easy and fun and quickly got to the point where I just didn't need the pattern anymore.

At first, the yarn felt a bit scratchy to me, but I got used to it, and it started feeling very nice. It was a good match for my addi turbos - I felt like I could fly along on this project (fly is a relative term for me as a beginning knitter).

Mr. Tall is also quite happy with it, and got to use it a few times before spring made it's debut here in Yorkshire. I'm also really glad that I got the make-a-project-for-your-husband thing out of the way as that seems to trip a lot of people up ;)

If I was to do this pattern again (which I would like to do), I would most likely stagger the cabling in the middle row, so that there was cabling every 4th row, as I really looked forward to that part. It might also be interesting to make the middle cable a different color, and if you use two skeins of the same color for the outside cables, this may be possible, right? Again, beginner here so I'm still figuring all of this out ;)