Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What am I doing?

Well, besides whining about my sprained/twisted ankle and can't ski this morning?

My brother and sister-in-law finished THEIR WIP, a beautiful baby girl, on Monday. So this means that the baby sweater needs to be finished before we visit next month. Carrie and I decided to make a larger size so that Baby would be able to wear it a bit longer, and so that she would have ample time to finish the project. Somehow it ended up in my basket, but that's OK. This is a sweater made from Sirdar Snuggly DK, colour 0260, from an older Pingouin magazine.

The back, sides and one sleeve are complete. Half a sleeve and the hood, and we're good to go.

We visited Jason and Coris down in Virginia for Christmas. They have a lovely new home. They are lacking a beautiful afghan for their living room. The Yggdrasil Afghan from Interweave Knits seems to fit the bill. I'm using Patons Shetland Chunky in Soft Teal, which will accent their colour scheme beautifully.

Jason and Coris -- I know it doesn't look like much just yet, but wait! It'll improve dramatically! This is one ball of yarn to date.

We've had a couple of customers inquire at the shop about Patons new laceweight yarn. It is 80% acrylic, 10% mohair and 10% wool, and dyed using a technique called "space dying." Basically, this means that the colour repeats are very l-o-n-g. Since Barb has an allergy to mohair, I was drafted to try the test piece. Dutifully I picked up a skein and tried to find a project.

I will admit to a fair bit of prejudice about this yarn. It just doesn't feel as nice as lace-weight alpaca. Why would anyone knit with this instead of alpaca? Eh? And this prejudice is perhaps why I've had to start a project with this yarn five times. Yes. Five times. I can report with full and complete honesty that the yarn withstands the rigors of repeated ripping and knitting. Beyond that ... well, I'm still not sold, but I AM knitting with it. This is the Double Bordered Scarf from Jane Sowerby's Victorian Lace:
I'm 32 rows into it, and finally starting to enjoy the process. I'll let you know how it all works out. In the meantime, this is probably going to be a Christmas gift for one of the youngish ladies in my lives. (You know who you are!)

I have committed myself to finishing the Great American Aran Afghan this calendar year. To that end, I knit up one of the remaining unworked squares -- the Jay Campbell square.
This square is worked from the outside in, circularly. Interesting concept, worked well, and the chart was impeccable. Don't know why I hesitated so long on this one.

Finally, we started a Knit-Along project at the store. The Arching Cables cardigan from the Fall Interweave Knits. I decided to use Elsebeth Lavold's Silky Flamme.
I'd been looking for a project for this wool so that I could showcase it at the store. This is it. A delightful project, not incredibly difficult but beautiful to behold. Here you see the belt, which took slightly more than one skein of wool. I'm just finishing the third ball here, so it will use a fair bit of wool. As Clairol would say, "I'm worth it!"

So ... what are you working on?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

This just in ...

and going quickly! My last shipment lasted less than 24 hours. Any bets on how long this one will last?

For the record, this yarn is now sold out. It lasted less than 2 business days. What a great seller!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

What I've done in January ... and there's still time left!

It's been quite the month for me -- from finishing projects, starting projects, and everything in between!

Firstly, and there is no photo to go along with this, I've been x-c skiing THREE times! The first two times created an amazing variety of bruises. My knees look like they've been painted various colours of green, blue, purple and black. So unattractive! But the third time? Not a single wipe-out, and a grand time was had by all. I'm looking forward to this weekend -- the potential for another three ski outings!

Remember Doug's (non-existent) Christmas socks? This is how they look now!

The boy is ridiculously happy!

We are teaching a fair isle class at the shop. In times past, I have used all kinds of bad words, in many combinations, to express my displeasure with fair isle. I did learn, finally, a technique to wrap the yarns so that they don't tangle around each other. The result:
This lovely hat and fingerless mittens. I used Patons Classic Merino and some neat yarn my step-daughter brought home from her trip to Ireland, on a 4.5mm for the hat, and 4.0mm for the mitts. Doesn't the inside of the work look nice? (Not that I'm fishing for compliments or anything!)
These little ensemble just might become a gift for the young ladies in my life. All four of them live in cold climates and a little extra warmth would be greatly appreciated by them.

In other news -- January 2 was the one-year anniversary of the shop's big relocation. We decided to have a party. But first, we needed to clear the counter of coffee mugs. Doug built and installed this for us, the morning of the party. Cut it a bit close, but after giving him a ball of yarn for his unknit socks, who am I to complain?
Since the party, he has installed a second, smaller panel which holds 18 mugs to the left of the first panel. Interestingly, a number of ladies brought cups in, and we're now looking at a total of 16 empty spaces.

I did mention that we threw a party, right? Parties involve food.
It was all delicious. Entirely too good. At the wool shop, however, there are no calories, so were just fine with it all.

And if you have delicious food and wool, you just know there will be friends!

All told, we had 20 people attend the party, as well as another half dozen who stopped by and shopped. Or dropped off chocolate.

I'm so excited that Doug procured the Addi Click needles for me. The fair isle set above was knit with them. For the hat I used the 16" cable, and it was quite nice to not have to finagle magic loop. (Did I say that out loud?!?) And you all know how dedicated I am to knitting everything possible on circular needles. So, guess what I did Tuesday?
Started a new project on my new Addi Clicks!

Friday, January 07, 2011


This past year has been the Year of the Sock. This pile of socks represents my year. Almost one full pair of socks per month ...
Did I learn anything from this endeavour? I certainly did. Knitting a pair of fancy socks every month, along with the myriad other projects that I knit was not nearly as easy as I had thought it would be. In fact, it was downright difficult. I'm not certain, but I think that the number of months that I actually finished on time was far fewer than the months I didn't. I did, ultimately, knit a pair of socks for every month -- but only if you count the plain striped socks for December. While not originally planned, these are the pair that saved my claim of "a pair for every month!"

Well, that and the fact that I finished the November socks on Christmas morning. Yes, my youngest son did, in fact, receive a pair of socks still on the needles. Everyone else? Well, the claim is that a picture says a thousand words.
Beginning with the 1:00 position and moving clockwise, you see my daughter-in-law with some lovely Arequipa socks, my step-daughter with hand-dyed Briggs & Little, my daughter with the fair-isle Naturally Loyal socks, myself with the Dream in Colour sparkly yarn, youngest son with the Colinette Jitterbug November socks, eldest son with the Misti International Alpaca sock yarn, and ... well, there's poor Doug with a ball of yarn.

Yes, even with knitting a pair of socks every month in 2011, I ended up short one pair of socks for the gift-giving. Now, I do have a bunch of socks for the ladies in the family for 2012 ... it just turned out that I was short on socks for the men in my life. I have since made great strides toward rectifying this oversight as I'm on the toe shaping for sock #2 of his pair.

And Doug definitely deserves a pair of socks after he got me the fabulous Addi Click needles for Christmas.

I did, however, give him a very awesome gift too:
A KitchenAid professional model stand mixer. Doug has been wanting a new stand mixer for ages, especially since last Christmas his then-current mixer lost a part. Still worked, but was no longer a "start and walk away" model. He'd been wanting and wishing for a new mixer all year, and I decided that he deserved a new mixer. Does he look happy?

In fact, he was so thrilled with the mixer that he immediately hauled it out to the daughter-in-law's kitchen and the two of them mixed up a batch of cinnamon rolls.

Hope everyone else had a delightful Christmas and New Year.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

You should see what my honey got me for Christmas!

I had the best Christmas ever. You should SEE what my honey got me: