Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Cozy Corner

Ellen's sofa has inspired me. A few days ago she posted about her favorite place to knit/crochet, and I enjoyed reading her post so much that I thought I'd post about my favorite spot, too.

Most of my knitting/crocheting occurs here, in a corner of our well-worn sofa in our living room. As you can see, project bags surround the spot!

Where do you sit when you knit or crochet?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Erato Is On Vacation

I've started this post
Each time
it resembles Melba toast

What is it about lace? Knitting it is as exciting as eating spicy green curry, or riding a roller coaster, or saying yes when you should say no. But blogging about it? Dull as that school paper you had to write on your least favorite subject. Mine was on Anthony Trollope; Barchester Towers almost killed me.

My Gothic Leaves unfurl. Using two very different yarns makes each a unique knitting experience. And the pattern is as friendly a one as you're likely to find anywhere. Plus, the design reminds me of scarabs, which imho is very cool.

A half complete scarf.

A quarter complete shawl.

In other news...

...my June Socks That Rock club yarn arrived on Saturday. The colorway is Firebird. Peachy keen goodness...

...I snagged a spot in Yarn Pirate's Booty Club. The sock yarn madness continues...

...the summer knitty? Ho hum. But I like the new Knitscene...

...my roving stash has been born! First I ordered this awesome pink hand-dyed BFL from Carolyn...

...and then my Mom was kind enough to pick up this lovely teal mystery fiber (I think this is the same kind of stuff with which I'm practicing right now)...

...and some Clear Waters Farm Corriedale from Llamas and Lambs.

I'm also spending way too much time on Ravelry, but I'll post about that later. Now, it's back to knitting...lace.

Friday, June 22, 2007

My Next Project

Melanie is hosting a contest for some of her yummy hand-dyed yarn. She wants to see either 1) your first finished project, or 2) the next project you're going to do. I'm going with option two. I'll be making Pick Up Sticks felted Triangle Purse in this girly pink/red combo.

I'll omit the little circles and add a vintage brooch. Some choices from my collection:

So, what's your next project going to be?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Mystery Stole 3

Mystery Stole 3 begins on June 29th. I'm swatched and rarin' to go. At this time there are almost 2,600 people from all over the world signed up, and the Yahoo list is abuzz with people deciding on what yarn to use and whether or not they want to add the optional beads. Pattern creatrix and group moderator Melanie has told us that this pattern works best in black or white. Bet you know which color I picked. Yep. JaggerSpun Zephyr in Ebony. Even raided the stash for it. (I bought it on sale last year from Red Bird Knits, but have since discovered Sarah's Yarns is the place to go for Zephyr.) I'm using US 3 29" Bryspuns, and will be omitting the beads.

Within my local knitting group, there are four of us who will be participating: Mary, Marie, Seattle Marie and myself.

It's incredible to think that 2,500+ people will be knitting this pattern together. Sorry to get all California new-agey on ya, but the thought of all of us working the same stitches at (roughly) the same time is magical. I always love our online knitting/crocheting community, but some moments are extra special. This is one of them.

Sign ups close on July 6th, so if you're thinking about it, go sign up now. Fiend will be happy you did.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Hot Socklet

Pattern: Generic cuff down socks
Yarn: Nashua Handknits Creative Focus Superwash in color 02 - 1 and a smidge skeins
Needles: Bryspun US 4 5" dpns
Rating: 10 little piggies

It's been a long time coming, me knitting my first pair of socks. Since last summer, actually. But now, now I'm the proud mama of socklets, and I'm feeling downright giddy.

A great big round of applause goes to Barbara, who guided me through the process with aplomb and humor. We've been meeting regularly over the last few months for Sock 101 classes, and yesterday we finished up with toe decreases and grafting. Hey, grafting is pretty cool.

So is this scrumptious Artfibers Galicia Barbara gifted to me.

Is this my color or what? Yowza. But before I run off on a tangent extolling silk, Artfibers, and asking for opinions on what lace scarf pattern I should use with it, back to the socklets.

I'm exceedingly happy I finally figured out how sock construction works. And that these fit, even though they were meant to be for a child. Heh. Obviously I'm still iffy on the math, so thank goodness for Sensational Knitted Socks; I'll be making my next pair - another generic cuff down stockinette pair out of Artyarns Ultramerino 8 in color 127 (a birthday present from Mary - man, I'm blessed with great friends) - using this dandy reference.

And, to keep the momentum going, I'm taking Cookie A.'s toe up class with Ellen and Barbara at Unwind in a few weeks, too.

Fiend update: This morning was B.I.G. Big as in Fiend went to the vet big. He's so freaky skittish that we've been putting it off until we could at least pet him without him spazzing. Then, two days ago, he sported a bite on his ear and forehead that turned nasty yesterday, so in he went today. And guess what? He went into the carrier without a problem. Yep, Tom was able to pick him up and put him in the carrier without biting, scratching, hissing, yowling or twisting. I just stood there, holding the backup bribe can of tuna fish, in disbelief. Cats are so fickle. We're still waiting on some test results, but have learned he's around 12 (! we thought he was a year old - so much for our age telling ability), has been neutered, and came back negative for kitty aids and leukemia. He was well behaved at the vet, and was mellow when Tom brought him home. B.I.G. Next up, he and Maggie get to make nice.

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Week in Review

Gothic Leaf Stole

One repeat down. I heart the Euroflax linen big time. I'm also glad there are only k2togs and ssks in this pattern, as its lack of give makes for some interesting tugging here and there.

Central Park Hoodie

Still waiting for its button(less) bands. It's gonna be waiting a while; now that hot weather has hit, to look at it makes me sweat. Unless I crank the air con and get freaky deaky with it. We'll see.


Here's my first bobbin of funny single ply. My tension is all over the place since I'm still getting my hands and feet to work together. There are big puffy lumps, and thin sections, and everything in between. I'm really enjoying myself. And thanks to Carolyn, Patty and Georgia for their help and encouragement.


I received my invite a week ago, but didn't visit until a couple of days ago. Why? Because I need another internet knitting time suck like I need trepanation. But I'm curious by nature, and finally just had to see what all the hoopla was about. It took a minute tops to assimilate me. The pattern database is so frickin' cool! I don't know how much time I'll have to spend on it, but I hope to keep a running tally of WIPs and FOs at the very least.

Yarn Pirate Booty Club

Sign ups for Yarn Pirate's sock club are happening tonight at 6 pm PDT. Fingers crossed I and everyone who wants one snags a spot.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Fantasy Island

Meredith is running a competition through June 17. Instructions may be found here, but in a nutshell she's asking for a description of what three yarns you would want with you on a deserted island. For this scenario, Tom and I have donned our arch-villain guises of Lord Death Maggot and Lady Doom. The year is 1962, and the location is near Dr. No's lair.

Somewhere in the Bahamas, our luxury cruiser, the Destroyer, has foundered on a picturesque beach. Palm trees sway, the surf gently caresses the sand, and crabs the color of paprika cavort in tide pools. We, however, are miffed. We were working for SMERSH on a contract basis, until James Bond came along and upset things with that Dr. No business. Now, they're cleaning that mess up and aren't returning our calls. So, a few weeks ago, we decided to go freelance. Since we were vacationing in Nassau, we thought we'd check out the islands in the area and see if anything appropriate for a nefarious base of operations caught our eye. Nothing really has, and last night we'd decided to head to Cuba for a little gambling before starting up the search again. We celebrated our decision by imbibing a few too many champagne cocktails, and set the steering on autopilot so we could leisurely sleep in. Then we crashed. Literally. Stupid autopilot.

As LDM is moving the death ray into the underground caverns we've discovered, I'm reviewing my yarn options. Hmm, what to take with me? Let's see....

1. Koigu KPM. So versatile! Lace, socks, scarves, hats, gloves - all can be made with this delicious yarn.

2. Cascade 220. So practical! Perfect for garments, blankets, toys - and for felting little vests for the monkeys we see in the palm trees.

3. Rowan Scottish Tweed DK. So tweedy! A must for cable projects.

Yes, those will do nicely. And now I must rush. LDM is calling - seems he needs help programming our rescue jet to come pick us up. Ta ta, minions!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A Birthday and a Berroco Pattern Book That Isn't Blindingly Bad

Tom was being exceedingly curmudgeonly about his birthday this year. So, we - as in the royal we, meaning me - decided a Sunday day trip to Ventura was just the thing to cheer him up. It's close (in SoCal terms), has a cute downtown, a Mission, nearby beaches, and his favorite Mustang parts store, National Parts Depot.

It also has a yarn store, but I swear this didn't factor into my selfless role as birthday gloominess dispenser.

Well, not at first, anyway. Then I discovered that it was practically next to his car parts store. So, I waited until he suggested that he drop me off there while he went and talked classic cars and bought a new Mustang exhaust system...and then I demurely agreed that it might be fun to check out Anacapa Fine Yarns. Which he did, and I did, and fun was had by all.

Lois - here she is! - has a cozy store full of beautiful yarns, an amazing selection of needles and friendly customers.

Even though I've shot my yarn budget for the year, and have given myself an ultimatum about buying more, I found some lovelies that just had to come home with me. Obviously I need to work on my self-control issues, but in the meantime I have more green yarn!

Colinette Jitterbug in Velvet Leaf

O-Wool Balance in Malachite

I also picked up a Knitting Pure & Simple pattern (#221 Neckdown Summer Cardigan - I've never knit a sweater top down, and figure I should try it sooner than later) and some Bryspun needles (some 5" dpns for socks and 29" circs in US 3 and 4 for the huge amount of lace knitting I'm doing this summer).

Then we were off to downtown Ventura for an early dinner of yummy Indian - it's been ages since we've had some chicken tikka masala - and a leisurely drive home the "back way" on highway 126.

Yesterday our celebration proper included margaritas and a present or two, and Tom is another year older and happily contemplating ripping apart his car engine this weekend. Thanks for all the well wishes!

Non sequitur: Just stumbled on the Berroco preview of Norah Gaughan Collection Vol. 1. Dig it!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Old Habits

I tried. I really did. I thought if I concentrated on one or two projects - instead of my usual 5, 6, 7, 8s - I would finish my CPH that much sooner. Instead, there was a lot of whinging on the blog and a sad dead in the water stall on my creativity and the little knitting I was accomplishing. So much for intentions, etc. Today it's back to my old habits, and I couldn't be happier.

I cast on my Gothic Leaf stole in the scrumptious aubergine linen, aka the sausage yarn. I've worked 13 rows, and so far the Euroflax is behaving itself. Not much give to it, of course, but there's a nice stitch definition with the US 4s I'm using. What do you think?

I've started some other stuff, too, but it'll have to wait until tomorrow. Today is Tom's birthday, and now we're off to celebrate.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Friday, June 08, 2007

Spinning My Wheel

Last summer I bought a spinning wheel. Marie was upgrading to a fancier one, and needed a home for her Louet S17. In some mad fit I bought it, and it has sat collecting dust in my living room ever since. And then, today, on a spur of the moment, Patty came over and taught me how to spin. Just like that.

Well, to be honest, I'm not sure if what I was doing qualifies as anything more than playing with roving. Mostly it was me spinning the wheel in the wrong direction, or overtwisting, or - there was lots of this - undertwisting, or...well, you get the idea. But, for two brief moments, things clicked. My hands felt it. It was magic.

Today I also signed up for Mystery Stole 3, thanks to Mary's tip off. This is my first "mystery" KAL, and it sounds like a lot of fun. I also have the right yarn in stash - JaggerSpun Zephyr in Ebony - which clinched the deal. Between this and my Gothic Leaves, t'will be the summer o' lace chez Knitdevil.

I've gotten off my duff, and the CPH hood is almost finished. After discussing it with Patty - knitting friends are the greatest! - I'm doing a 3-needle bindoff on it; grafting can wait for another day. I'm omitting buttons, too, in an attempt to move things along. This sweater, it just needs to be done.

Now, however, I have to go play with my spinning wheel. Happy weekend!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Anyone Seen My Knitting Mojo?

It was here a while ago, but I have the feeling it's now sitting next to the Rev, drinking boilermakers and listening to Tammy Wynette in a Texas roadhouse. Or maybe guest spotting on Knits Gone Wild. Because it sure ain't here. Must be time to cast on a new project, get the creativity flowing again while I finish my CPH. Which frankly, has me bored to somnolence. Time to shake things up a bit, maybe find a Project Spectrum related somethin' somethin' to work on, too.

Eight inches of the CPH hood finished. Four more to go, then onto the decreasing and grafting. I've never grafted. I love to learn new things, and am looking forward to adding this to my knitting repertoire.

Hmm, let's distract you from this total lack of knitterly excitement with a contest or two, shall we? Meredith has a Fantasy Island scenario for us here, and Jen has a TV-themed one here. I'll be posting my Fantasy Island one on this here blog soon.

Speaking of contests, Teresa picked me as one of the lucky winners in her recent bare-all-in-the stash-enhancement contest. I won this lovely Koigu and matching button and stitch markers. Thanks, Teresa, for my lovely gifties!

Fiend alert: Guess who's brave for a skittish cat? Mister Fiend. We've lured him into our lair with treats and catnip.

He doesn't stay long, usually 20-30 minutes, but one night he was in for two hours. We only let him in when our other cat Maggie is in the backyard, since he bolts every time he sees her. We have to be very quiet when he's inside; even the TV freaks his scene. This little guy is the spookiest cat I've ever known, but he's perfectly content to hang out on and around our front doorstep, with occasional forays inside, which works for us. He hides well (we're still trying to figure out where he sleeps at night), and since our attempts to get him around to the back of the house were a bust, I'm feeling more secure about him being outside at night. He's a funny looking critter, and, as you can see, a big fan of the catnip, and follows Tom around like a dog.

Patty also has some new additions to her household. She's fostering two wee kittens right now. Soon they will need homes, so please contact her if you're in the LA area and looking for a kitty.

Sunday, June 03, 2007