Friday, April 27, 2007

Eye Candy Friday: A tale of three scarves

For those who may not know me too well, it’s time I came clean about something: I’m a geek. I’m a nerd, a goober, a weirdo, whatever you want to call me is fine by me (so long as it’s not derogatory!).

Having gotten that (startling, I know) confession out of the way, it should come as no surprise that I like Harry Potter. Two of my friends and I make book and movie releases an event – as much as we can given how far-flung we are.

For the last movie release (Goblet of Fire), we all dressed up in our HP gear, and met up at the cinemas at Pacific Place mall in Seattle, Washington. Mr. Tall even got into the spirit by dressing up as Hagrid (the kids loved it!)

Mr. Tall and myself at the Goblet of Fire premiere

That orchid in my hair? That was from Hawaii… See, the movie came out the day that Mr. Tall and I arrived back in Seattle from our Honeymoon in Hawaii. (Is this proof enough of my geekiness yet?) The wonderful cloak I’m wearing was made by my friend Suzi and her mom.

So, fast forward to now. I’m now living in the U.K. which is a mecca of all things Potter. My two friends have decided to come out here for the release of Order of the Phoenix and the release of the final book (Harry, you better live!). As such, I have decided to put my knitterly talents to use and make us all scarves representing the house we think we’re in! Here is the story of these scarves. (All patterns came from atypically.knit)

Suzi's Gryffindor scarf

I started Suzi’s Gryffindor scarf first. I wanted to use one type of yarn for each scarf, and I found the colors best represented by every knitters favorite whipping boy, Red Heart Super Saver. I realize I’ve likely made the scarf a bit wider than it needs to be (it’s just over 9” wide), but at this point, I’m not frogging.

I bought the yarn for this scarf when I was visiting the states last October. At the time, I picked up 4 total skeins of the red and 2 of the yellow, as half of it was for a fellow knitter here who had her own Gryffindor scarf to make.

I knitted along quite happily, that is until I finished my first skein of red yarn without being halfway through the scarf!!! No worries, after all, it’s labeled as “No Dye Lot” yarn, which means it should all be the same, right? My parents were out visiting last month, so I had them pick up an extra 4 skeins of the red to bring with them. Long story short, the red they brought didn’t match the red I already had! At this point in the scarf, I really didn’t want to have to frog and start over, so I emailed my friend also making a Gryffindor scarf. Luckily for me, she had started a scarf, but frogged it only a couple of repeats in, when she realized she didn’t have enough yarn. All should be right in the world, as we’re going to swap – the 4 balls of the new “no dye lot” for the 2 of the old. Phew!

My favorite thing about this scarf (at the moment) is how far I’ve gotten! I’m not sure yet if I’ll make it the full 14 repeats or not, as the recipient is the shortest of the three of us!

My book Ravenclaw scarf

I really, really had my heart set on a book Ravenclaw scarf. However, I really couldn’t find a suitable bronze in any of the yarns I wanted to use for this project (I really didn’t want to spend $20 or more to use Plymouth Encore for a scarf that would largely be a novelty). I had bought some Caron Simply soft, in a beautiful dark blue, and a “bone” color, which is a light tan/khaki color. While not quite the “bronze” I had envisioned, it would have to do.

Then, one night at SnB, I was talking to She-of-the-Gryffindor-Scarf, who let on that she had the yarn for a book Ravenclaw that she was not going to be able to use, as wool and her don’t get along at all. So… would I want it? Yes, please! I therefore became the very happy recipient of some KnitPicks Wool of the Andes.

After my scare over “OMG! NO YARN!” with Suzi’s Gryffindor scarf, I started knitting this one up. While I initially had planned to knit the scarves one at a time, I wanted to capitalize on my parents visit and have them bring me more, if needed. Good thing I did, as I ordered a couple extra skeins to be on the safe side.

My favorite thing about this scarf is that it’s mine. I haven’t yet kept anything I’ve knitted for myself, and this will be my first “for me” finish. It makes me glad that I ended up with WotA, and that I ended up with book Ravenclaw colors.

Katie's movie Ravenclaw scarf

Again, I started this one up in response to concerns that I wouldn’t have enough yarn to finish, but didn’t get too far before my parents came out for their visit. I went ahead and ordered more anyways, but am unsure if I’ll need it or not.

Katie opted for movie Ravenclaw colors, and I think the combination is gorgeous. I’m knitting this one up in Caron Simply Soft, and I truly think the blue is simply to die for! There’s not a whole lot to say about this as I’ve just finished the first set of trapped bars.

My favorite thing about this scarf is that it is sooo soft. As much as I like WotA, there are some days when it feels really nice to me, and others where it is a bit scratchy. I’m very glad to have this scarf there that I can work on when I need a break from the other two yarns!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Eye Candy Friday: Scenes from my stash...

The other day, I realized that I am Smaug. Instead of curling up at night on a pile of gold and jewels, I curl up on... yarn. Okay, so not exactly, but as my stash resides in bins under my bed, I figure it's close enough.

After thinking about it a bit more, I realize the similarities don't necessarily end there. Like Smaug, I feel a restless urge to acquire more treasure yarn, but yet am a bit reluctant to spend knit it.

I thought that for Eye Candy Friday this week, I would share with you bits and pieces from my stash - some of which I know what I want to do with it, some of which I have no clue.

In the process of taking pictures, I realize that I have a very definite set of likes in terms of colors - cool, dark colors, mostly purples and greens. I wonder if that will change with the seasons?

I have enough of the KnitPicks Swish Superwash (in Jade) that I picked up specifically to make my first sweater - A Cardigan For Arwen, which was initially in Winter 2006 Interweave Knits. I figure having an established KAL will be of great benefit to me.

I have two skeins of this for my second pair of socks. This is Wildfoote from Brown Sheep - a handpainted sock yarn. I haven't knit my first pair of socks yet, but I have some less pretty generic yarn for my first pair. I don't want to use this yarn until I have a better idea of what I should be doing with it :)

I picked up this one skein at a gift store near Castle Stalker just outside Oban in Scotland. This is a "naturally-coloured, dark wool" that is spun from Hebridean sheep from Western Scotland.

I picked up 500g of this in Dublin a couple weeks ago. This is 100% wool, undyed from Donegal sheep. I think I might do a felted project with this (and perhaps the above Hebridean skein as contrast). I'm thinking there's enough there to make a nice bag. Any suggestions?

A few months ago, I was inspired by BlueADT to visit Coldspring Mill. Let's just say I was lucky to escape when I did! I think having Mr. Tall there helped. Coldspring Mill doesn't ONLY sell great yarn - from things they dye there to end-of-the-line things from major yarnmakers. They also sell outdoor gear and clothing (I love the outdoors) AND used books (be still my beating heart!). I found a discount bag containing 8 balls of this gorgeous yarn. I believe that it's Debbie Bliss Cashmerino, as the fibre content is listed as 55% cashmere, 12% merino. I am not sure yet what I plan on doing with it. Thoughts?

Also at Coldspring Mill, I found this. It is 960g of yarn for just under 10 GBP - yes, 1p per 1g!! This was the only info I had on it. Just from looking at it, I would say it's probably DK weight, and given the price, it's a nice soft acrylic :) Again, not sure what I might do with this. I have a few ideas but still deciding for now.

Any pattern suggestions are quite welcome :)

Friday, April 13, 2007

Eye Candy Friday!

Today is my first full day "off" since the massive trip-o-rama. I really want to post, but want to also keep it short and simple.

I present to you our cat, Caiomhe ("Kiva"), in honor of Eye Candy Friday:

Monday, April 2, 2007

Still Going...

I think the anti-stash gods are conspiring against me (or conspiring with my husband, whatever the case may be). I happened to be in the Bath area, with some free time on Sunday last week - when Get Knitted was closed. This week, I am in Edinburgh on Monday - when Handknit is closed. It's really for the best - I have three Harry Potter scarves to make before July, and I feel that I'm ready to start my first sock and first sweater (both of which I already have the yarn for).

I promise pictures to come, along with some WIP shots of the scarves in their glory. I think I may also start a baby sweater for a friend, and as I'm due to have a new neice by the end of July, I was thinking of making up a bootie/sweater/hat/teddy bear set for her.

What am I doing sitting here typing for? There's much to be knit!