My Big Ticket Purchase at Tahoe

So I purchased a hank of Koigu in this typically blue/ purple/ gray range at the Wool Tree in S. Lake Tahoe, and I am presently just contemplating it. What does it deserve to be knitted into? What am I capable of knitting it into?? I would like to be able to make a pair of slipper socks with it, but I am going to have to get more sure of myself with the 2 circulars method (I hate DPNs) before I can attempt that sort of project.

It would felt, and nicely too, I bet.

What do YOU think I should do with it?

On another topic, when I took the business card of the people at the Wool Tree, I turned over the card later and discovered the coolest thing. They have a stamper apparently that they use on their cards that says, "Knitting Needles I Own" and then five lists horizontally, so you can circle those you have. The categories are DP's, SP's, 16", 24" and 36" and the numbers run according to what is available for those types, 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10, 10.5, etc. So clever, and easier than a spread sheet by far!!

Tomorrow it's off on another adventure, during which I will be traveling long hours in the car. Darn. I guess I'll have to take the knitting bag with me. :^) And at the end of this voyage is my mother, who I am hoping will be able to teach me how to crochet on the edges of something knitted, so I can make Leonie's cape a little more frilly. And I need to be able to crochet a little rosette (perfect since her mother's maiden name is "Rose").

Visiting a Yarn Store While On Vacation

While DH was at meetings for his conference yesterday, I did the only sensible things: I got a mani/pedi and then went to the local yarn store in S. Lake Tahoe, The Wool Tree. I heard that I had just missed a 50% off everything sale (zeut!) but was thrilled just to fondle the skeins that remained (a whole store full of course). And there was still a 50% off bin. Here are two I found in that bin--crayon sort of colors, variegated, in what I would guess to be a wool blend, and a more subtle blue/violet/cream variegated, also probably a wool blend. The ball bands were nowhere to be found which resulted in what the nice lady called "an executive decision" about their cost--$2 for one, $4 for the other. Sounded good to me!

And I found another in that bin that called out to me, pale blue gray, soft as a kitten, and a label all in French. I know "laine" just fine but decided to be brave about the "poir de chameau" until I could find a computer to translate it. Half price--$6.50. And it's camel hair! So it will make something soft and lovely.

I'm all set to try out one-skein projects now. :^)

I got one other big purchase but will save that for tomorrow's blog. Time to go for another foray into the wilderness, this time near Fallenleaf Lake, to Lily Lake and its attendant falls. I'll be knitting!

Grandeur? What grandeur?!?!

My DH and I are visiting Lake Tahoe and went hiking up to Horseshoe Falls, just west of South Lake Tahoe. It's an arduous hike from the point of view of a less athletic person like me. But I didn't trip over the numerous branches, rocks, and roots that tried to lay me out, and I got to the base of the falls in one piece. Good thing, because I was overcome by all the scenery and the thunderous water roaring downhill. So I got out my knitting project and relaxed for a half hour while DH climbed farther up to near the top.

The only place as breathtaking as this in my experience is Zion National Park in Arizona (or is it Utah??).

Anyone who has never been in the Sierras has to come to Tahoe once in your life!

Starting something again!

Making something new. I have some Manos del Uruguay Cotton Stria in melon, and I decided to use big needles to make it lacey. It has my sister's name all over it, and it would make a good light wrap for summer evenings in Okanogan. It's nothing difficult--just garter stitch. I could have made it when I was just starting except I would have dropped stitches and mysteriously added other stitches.

Tale of the Bulky Winter Hat

This is moi, in my newest too too warm winter hat. One time when I'd love to have hair extensions so I don't look like a bald eagle wearing a woolen cap.

For sheer results gratification, bulky wool is the
best. I started this hat while doing the glasses case, since it seems everyone but me has more than one iron in the fire, and when I got bored with one, I switched to the other. Frogged it back twice, but once I got it going right, I could easily have knit it in an hour and a half, finish work included.

I used Blue Sky Bulky (alpaca/wool), and it is thick and incredibly soft. Can't emphasize enough how cushy and wonderful it feels. I ultimately needed a bit more than one hank. Used size 13 circular needles, and I sort of followed a pattern from the BHG booklet
Learn to Knit. The pattern helped me figure out how many stitches to cast on (40), but since I knitted it in the round, I just did the stitches I wanted to (garter, some stockinette, and then back to garter for a bit, which made a nice multilayered brim, and then the rest of the hat in stockinette).

AND I DID THE DECREASES WITHOUT A PATTERN. I started with K3,K2tog and then a row of knit, then K2 ,K2tog and another row of just knit. Then K1,K2tog and it was getting pretty tight. I hate DPNs, so I did it by flipping a loop into the circular (sort of magic looping it I guess) and finally did K2tog to the last stitches, then threaded the end yarn through and pulled it tight to do the finish.

Anyone who knows me knows I'm not into tassels and doodly things, but I think this one is begging for something, a thick short tassel perhaps.

The Yarn Harlot--visiting my neck of the woods soon!

I just read on the Yarn Harlot's blog that she has new tour dates, and she is coming to my favorite LYS Sept. 9! I have X'ed that evening out already in my datebook.

In other news, I made the glasses case again, smaller and with felting wool this time, and I had to use the fabric shaver on it, but now it looks perfect!! I love it when I ultimately succeed. :^)

Lesson #5476 and learning

UPDATE: Well, the "glasses case" I knitted did felt, at least on the burgundy stripes. The blue stripes are apparently a wool blend or superwash, because they are still gorgeous stockinette stitches, not felted blue stripes. And shrinkage was NOT 50%. LOL. So I am trying again, knitting a new case, using the burgundy with a little of the blue Donegal that I made a scarf out of in May. Smaller too, by a third. I think this will go much better.

About to be felted

Here is my next project, something little. I decided to enjoy a simple knitting assignment, at the same time planning for something I can really use--a glasses case. So I have knitted this pouch (about 5x7") and will felt it tomorrow. If it shrinks up as much as I hope it will, by about half, I will block it and let it dry as a pouch/envelope shape, and then I want to stitch in a glasses cleaning cloth on both sides of the interior, so that they are always rubbing against something that will keep them LESS smeary. At the top--I am thinking of Velcro actually, but I might play that part by ear (or should I say eye?).

Wish me luck!

Jordana Paige and me = happy!

If you see my post about the final rows of the baby blanket below, you will note that the yarn store owner, Hollis at Full Thread Ahead, was a kind soul who took my defective yarn back and gave me a working skein. No trouble, no hassles, no anything. Top it off with the fact that she had also given us 20%-off coupons for the store, for participating in WWKIP day.

So, I saw that the fates had allied themselves in favor of my purchasing a Jordana Paige knitting bag. And I looked at two and decided on this one. It's as big as a Gladstone doctor's bag, and I could keep three knitting projects in it easily and still have room for my small purse. If you see in the first photo the small zipper bag, it is anchored near the top so that small items can be easily reached, like my Chibi needle holder and scissors, my Kacha-Kacha, and other vital things.

There are zillions of smart pockets, slots, and devices for making knitting types happy. I could run my yarn through one of those snap loops you can see above, so that it didn't get tangled up in another ball of yarn or etc. I think there are spots for straights too, but I'm not quite sure if that is their real intent.

It closes like the purses my mom used to have in the 60s (pocketbooks, she called them), and on the outside, if you see in the picture where the buckle thing is, it has what amounts to a small purse with lots of slots and things, so I could really take things out of my purse and keep them there. Then I would always have my knitting because I would always have my purse attached to the JP bag. :^) That could be good, could be bad, depending on my strength of will. Knit at the supermarket? Knit in classes? Knit while waiting for x daughter to finish x appointment? Sure! Like a good girl scout, always prepared.

Finishing the baby blanket--two mistakes and two lessons

Here it is, the finished baby blanket. I am really happy with it in most respects. The texture is baby-friendly and cushy, the colors bright and nontraditional (for a newborn anyway), and the size perfect for anyone just born to about age 4 (after that, perhaps as a cape?).

Now for the last 1/6 of the blanket's travails: I was at the Knit in Public Day getting going on the last skein of my Karaoke yarn, when the yarn switched from variegated over inches or feet and became two strands of vastly different colors, almost like a candy cane effect, only with different colors. It was totally wrong, and yet it took me a few rows of this to convince me that I wasn't going to be able to use it (Egypt and de land of de Nile, etc.). But ta-da! I was with more experienced knitters, and ta-da! I was near the yarn store I'd bought the Karaoke from. So . . . I had help frogging the bad yarn out, and reorienting my needles in the stitches (now I know how!), and a kindly yarn merchant who offered to replace the skein with another and return the defective yarn to Karaoke for replacement. Wheeeew. Lesson 1 learned. I'd need this new info again very soon because . . .

Then I went home, bravely began again on the last section, but about 12 rows into it, I realized that a glass of wine and knitting are not always a wise combination. I had dropped a stitch in two places. So I tried catching the stitches and corrected it (great, right?), but it just looked tight and wrong, and then I counted my stitches total. Also wrong, too many. Now I might have pulled out clumps of hair and worked on my primal scream. But it was, as Jimmy Buffet once said, "my own damn fault."

So with the new working knowledge of frogging and reorienting stitches correctly, and courage left over from the wine, :^), I tore out about twelve rows and started again.

I finished it without incident, finished off the threads and joins etc., de-cat-haired it, and took a few pix. Now to wrap it up festively and mail it to the boss with the new baby boy. I hope they will love it, and that it not being machine washable will not be a detraction.

The other thing I learned from a mistake (why are mistakes so much more instructive than warnings???) is that variegated yarn such as this needs to be knitted with an eye toward some evenness of the striping. I don't know why I didn't see the huge blue stripe when I knitted it, wider than all the others by far. Ah well. I have successfully knitted my errors into it, so I won't offend Allah, and now the baby will have that much more protection.

I am so good at this sort of skating!

WW Knit in Public Day a success--and so much fun!

Here we are, at two points in the afternoon, all knitting and talking of course. Here are the projects people were doing: a swatch of practice stitches for a newbie, a sock, a clapotis, a strip for an afghan, a lacey shawl out of Kidsilk Haze, a lacey shawl with two types of yarn (one mohair-like and one lumpy bumpy jewel-tones), a baby sock, and a face cloth. And I'm probably forgetting someone.

I forgot about my project! But I need to go take a picture of it to upload, and then I'll relate my travails and the help I got when a strange series of events led to a crisis with people who could help me fix my problem!

Half a blanket!

Knitting like a madwoman all day, cramped right thumb, but here in all its present glory is . . . the baby blanket, half done. it is turning out so pretty, if I do say so myself. Did I mention that this yarn is soft? :^)

But wait! There's more!

I am trying out new stitches, and found my Vogue Stitchionary Volume One truly inspiring. With medium needles and some worsted weight, I sat down and tried out several. Here they are, in all their inept glory:

9. purl ridges
8. mock rib
7. cartridge rib
6. garter ridge rib (wrong side)
5. I don't know (wrong side?)
4. yarnovers in garter
3. seed
2. moss
1. I don't know!

It was a great exercise, and I want to continue to try new stitches with cables, and with other combinations of K and P. I was trying out things that had no more than four rows in the pattern, but if I get braver, I can try many more. When I get more clear about things like psso, ssk, etc., and knitting into the same stitch more than once, I think I will be an intermediate knitter. :^)

Baby Blanket Begun

I finally got somewhere with the baby blanket. The yarn was tricky to cast on with so after frogging it three times (and screaming primally but not very therapeutically) I realized that if I cast on with double strand and then dropped one of the strands, I would be more successful. And I was!

If this yarn looks familiar, well, you have a good memory. It is the same soy silk I used for that hat a few weeks back. I am in love with it. And BTW I am doing the purl ridge stitch, which I just learned. Odd number of rows: Row 1 K; Row 2 P; Row 3 K1P1 all the way across; Row 4 P. Repeat the four rows.