Monday, September 02, 2013

The summer of my (computer) discontent.

Remember when I muttered about computer issues in my last post?  Well, things have gone from worse to bad.  We finally got computers up and running both at the store and at home (thanks, Steve and Steve).  Unfortunately, all the old familiar programs are not there.  Including the ones used to play with photos for the blog, the website and the newsletter.  I'm adapting ... I say through clenched teeth ... I'm adapting ... I'm learning ... even if it drives me crazy.  (If Steve and Steve read this, please accept my sincere apologies if it sounds like I'm complaining.  I'm really not; it's myself I'm carping at -- this learning and adapting thing requires far more patience and grace than I generally display at the best of times.  Many, many thanks for all your hard work and efforts.) 

So, now that I seem to have a computer AND camera that will talk to each other with a minimum of angst, here are some projects that I've been working on! 

We ordered in some Moonlight Sonata by James Brett at the store.  Our sales rep. was kind enough to gift us with a sample ball of yarn to play with, and it grew up to be this lovely scarf: 

I used colour SM7 and a Feather & Fan stitch pattern using an 18-stitch repeat.  54 stitches, size 6.0mm needles, and the scarf is taller than I can reach.  Awesome and beautiful.  And simple.  That's the best part -- it's an easy to memorize pattern so that one can enjoy the beauty of the yarn and the developing pattern. There are other colours of this yarn that I yearn to knit ... so many projects, so many yarns, and only so many hours and minutes in the day.  Darn! 

I knit a lot of socks these days as well.  My children love to get socks in their stockings at Christmas, so it feels like there are always socks on the needles.  On the left is a pair of Slipstream Socks from  I'd already knit up a pair of these socks and gifted them to Barb; the pattern was so awesome, though, that I just had to do it again, especially since we were doing the socks as our July knit-along ... The yarn is Heritage Paint from Cascade Yarns; of course, I seem to have misplaced the ball band but I believe it was #9884.  The socks were knit on a 3.0mm this time, and are fabulous.  I have an idea in whose stocking these might end up, but things may change between now and Christmas.  

The socks on the right were knit using a test-dye of our Never Enough Wool signature sock yarn.  While I remembered the colours I used and the technique, we weren't ever able to recreate this specific glorious colour.  Darn!  In any event, these are plain toes-up socks, knit on a 2.5mm needle.  Again, I have an idea ... but we'll know more when the holiday arrives.

Seeing projects finish in quick succession caused me to try out the whole "project monogamy" idea again.  And for two whole months, it worked.  I knit up these scarves lickety-split:

 The bottom scarf was knit using Gladstone from Estelle, in a stitch pattern to be published in our 2014 N.E.W. calendar; the way cool red scarf is a colour called Tomato Bisque from Dye-Version in another stitch design for our calendar; and the scarf on top?  That is the Montego Bay from Interweave Knits, worked up in a double strand of Jaipur from Katia and Garden from Nazli Gelin.  I've seen many of our customers do this scarf in so many different combinations, and the result is always spectacular.  Unfortunately, we aren't able to source the Garden at the store any longer, so the colours available to us there are dwindling.  In any event, it's a $16 scarf that any person on my holiday list will be happy to receive.  Or myself.  Just sayin'.  

Then I knit up a pair of entrelac mittens from a book called Noro Accessories.  Of course, I used the Kureyon specified ...

 The truly interesting thing about Noro is its texture.  The yarns always feel rough and hard when you knit them; once completed, washed and blocked, they feel totally different.  Even looking at the mittens you can see the difference -- the mitt on the left has not been washed, while the one on the right has.  See how the lines are softened?  The tip has become rounded?  While I must admit that I really don't like the KNITTING of Noro yarns, I do love the finished projects.

And speaking of knitting with Noro yarns ... I had three balls of Silk Garden Lite in my stash, and hadn't decided what to do with them.  Barb came up with a cunning plan -- combine them with three balls of Rowan  Calmer and knit a sideways vest!  The vest comes from Noro Knits, of course.
The actual knitting of the vest was made more difficult because I decided to use two yarns and make even more stripes than the Silk Garden would have normally made, not to mention that I attempted a fibonacci idea.  I could've done a pure fibonacci sequence since I was using circular needles; however, the project was complicated enough that I decided to fudge things a bit and always change colours at the same end of the knitted piece.  And THEN I got into the design itself.  Talk about something being totally confusing!  I was ready to fling the vest out the window of a moving car, when I had the brilliant idea of checking Ravelry for knitter comments.  A brilliant knitter there said -- forget the pattern, knit to the diagram.  And she was right.  Once I gave up on trying to figure out what the pattern was telling me to do, and followed the diagram, the whole thing became a joy.  I did add an attached I-cord all around the edges of the vest to cover the carries of the unused yarns, and it did add a more finished look to the armholes.  Plus, it used up enough of the Silk Garden that I don't mind discarding the remaining twenty feet.  And the buttons ... ah, the buttons.  These are fired glass, made by a local artist.  They really finish off the vest perfectly.

Now that you've all managed to hang in to the end of this marathon post, I feel I must say something about the pictures.  Many of them appear to have been taken in the bathtub.  And that would be accurate.  This morning was such a dreary and grey day that I despaired of getting decent photos, until I remembered that we have a skylight over the bathtub, the tub is white, and I had a chance of getting good colours.  In my humble opinion, it worked.  I'll have to remember this for future photo shoots!

In case you are wondering, I seem to have taken a nasty tumble off the project-monogamy bandwagon.  It wasn't my fault -- honest.  I just didn't have the right needles in my bag, and there was wool to be knit!  So right now I have on the go a chunky, fair-isle pullover; an adorable vest being knit with my Mothers' Day cashmere/silk handpaint yarn; a baby set in Zauberball (gee, I wonder who that will be for?); a pair of socks in a cotton/bamboo yarn we are testing for next summer; and I just got an 800m skein of to-die-for pure mulberry silk laceweight.   It hasn't told me what it wants to be when it grows up so I'm open to suggestions.  I've also completed one square for a Lizard Ridge afghan ...