Thursday, September 27, 2007

Tidbits and Miscellany

First, thank you all so much for your helpful comments on my last post. While I started blogging for myself and my own record keeping, it's really great to get support and advice from others out there. Knowing people are stopping by is great motivation in so many ways.

Yarn Sale
One "LYS" in this area is actually a news agent. They have a small (but luxurious) selection of high-ticket yarns - RYC, Rowan and the now discontinued Jaeger. Unfortunately, they have recently decided to stop selling yarn, and are selling their inventory at 2 GBP a skein!!! This is roughly a 50-60% discount over normal prices. I did indulge, but won't be sharing my finds with you today. The majority of what I purchased is for Christmas knitting, and some recipients-to-be read this blog (hi mom!). So much of the fun of gift-giving is in the surprise, so I hope you'll understand. If you are local, head out to Market Cross News in Beverley (located in the Saturday Market) and go wild!

Things to Come
I have a few ideas ruminating in my head for recurring posts here. I hope to get the first of these started in October, so stay tuned and check back. If there's anything you'd like to see or see more of (would you like to know more about me? want more pictures?), let me know!

In Progress
I'll post more details on this later, but here's a part of what I'm working on right now. It is very seasonally relevant, but it's not a turkey.

Bird Leg

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Two FO's and some beading

Lately I've been feeling like there's just not enough time for anything - but not in a bad way. I've just been hit with a desire to create, to craft and to learn. I have been good - I haven't started a bunch of projects that now lay unfinished, but we all know that is a very slippery slope, and I'm starting to slide.

Before I sank into the quagmire of starter-itis, I really wanted to finish the Ballerina Wrap Sweater I begun for my neice. As I was working on the 0-3 month size, and she was a large baby, there was really a clock ticking and I didn't want to delay. At last, it is done.

Completed Ballerina Wrap Sweater

Start - End: July 21 - September 20, 2007
Pattern: "Ballerina Wrap Cardigan" from Sublime #600
Yarn: Sirdar Snuggly Baby Bamboo in Pink
Needles: KnitPicks Options size US7 (4.5 mm)
New-to-me: Making (and sewing up) a sweater!

This was the first sweater I've ever done, and I really think I learned a lot in the process. Granted, most of the stuff I learned came a bit too late to be useful for this sweater, but I know it now and will be able to use it in the future.

While I received a lot of help over the course of finishing this up, I really really have to thank Susoolu for practically holding my hand through the seaming and setting of the sleeves. I reached that part of the pattern in a state of near panic and she really helped me see the light at the end of the tunnel. All told, this was an enjoyable process, one I'm glad I did for the first time on the miniature scale. Perhaps I'm ready to make something to get through the cold and rainy English winter.

What are your best tips for sweater making? Best resources, hints, and tips online? Drop me a comment because I would really like to hear them!

Given that it's fall and it's my duty both as an aunt and as a knitter to keep adorable soft baby feet warm, I decided to use some of my leftover edging yarn for a pair of booties.

Mary Jane Booties

These are the same booties I made before, knit up in the Sirdar Snuggly Baby Bamboo. All other details can be found here. Together, the set is really quite cute.

Sweater and Bootie set

One of the projects that I'm really itching to start is some bead knitting. While I still haven't started that yet, I tested the waters this afternoon by making myself a couple of stitch markers.

First stitch markers

I used lobster clasps on them, and I'm not sure if this was a good or bad idea yet. On the one hand, I can use them either as regular stitch markers, or removable ones. On the other hand, they are small enough that they don't fit anything larger than a 4.0 mm needle. Still, it's a start and I can't wait to use them to bring an extra level of luxury to my knitting.

Stitch markers

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Losing myself in the pages

Today, I picked up a number of titles from the library that I reserved over the weekend:

Library Acquisitions

They are Knitting by Sarah Dallas, Knitted Toys: 21 Easy-to-Knit Patterns for Irresistible Soft Toys by Fiona McTague and The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs.

When the librarian handed me the books off the reservation shelf, she said "Oh! The knitting books!", which made me a bit worried. Had I become that girl? Some weird knitting-obsessed person?

As I pondered, I wandered the market and found my way into the Oxfam Bookshop. I was able to get a few books there for 2 GBP each:

Oxfam Acquisitions

They are Simple Crochet by Erika Knight, Simple Knits for Easy Living also by Erika Knight and a book of fondue recipes from Marks and Spencer.

Yeah... One crochet book and one knitting book. *sigh* I guess I am that girl!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

WIP: Toe warmers

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.
~ Eleanor Roosevelt

I'm sure that Eleanor Roosevelt never intended this statement to be applied towards something as harmless as knitted footwear. Nevertheless, I think it is still sage advice for anyone embarking on their first pair of knitted socks.

In fact, I decided to truly look fear in the face and for my first pair of socks cast on... a pair of socks. Toe-up. I think they'll fit, but keep your fingers crossed for me as it's still a bit early to tell.

My first socks

I started this while on our Swiss vacation on the train from Interlaken to Luzern. I had to frog a couple times as I kept dropping stitches that I couldn't coax back on the needles. To ease my frustration, I would look out the window at the gorgeous scenery we were moving through - gorgeous blue-green alpine lakes. At first, I had to go really slow to keep confusion to a minimum - which sock was I working on? Which yarn? What needles? (This is where KnitPicks having different colored cables would be extremely useful).

The details: These are the "On Your Toes Socks" designed by Ann Budd. They can be found in the Summer 2007 issue of Interweave Knits. The wool is Cygnet Wool Rich 4 ply, which I picked up at a Sheepish Woolshop Tour. So far, it's ok to work with. I still have a bit of difficulty when I drop stitches in that I find the yarn a bit splitty.

In other WIP news, I have finished all the pieces for my Ballerina Wrap Sweater. All that's left is to piece it together and add the edging. I'm not entirely convinced that I know what I'm doing, but I think that I will once again listen to Mrs. Roosevelt's wisdom.