Tuesday, January 30, 2007

You spin me right round baby

You spin me right round, baby
Right round like a record, baby
Right round round round...
---lyrics by Dead or Alive



Well I finally succombed to the peer pressure... I learned to spin!

Amie taught me and Sarah how to use a drop spindle on Sunday and yes... it's true.... I loved it!

I am not going to show you my first attempts at spinning - the "yarn" I produced was a pretty crappy thick and thin mess.... although - I will keep it forever as my first hand spun!

You can check out Amie's blog for pics of me wearing the "dunce sheep" for dropping my spindle a few too many times!!

After an hour (or three) - I eventually got the hang of it and moved on to my own hand painted roving that I made at Mama E's class. I love how it's coming out! I think I may actually make something out of it!






I look forward to more spinning and maybe a big purchase in the future.....

Monday, January 29, 2007

These Socks really do Rock!

It's official! I'm no longer a Socks that Rock virgin - I finished my first pair!

Here are my Lucy Socks that Rock:




Yarn: Socks that Rock™ mediumweight
Color: Lucy
Needles: US 2 DPNs
Pattern: Basic Sock with 2x2 ribbed cuff

I can't tell you how much I enjoyed working on these beauties. The yarn was so soft and squishy. It was just a joy to knit with. I now totally understand what all the fuss is about!! Many other bloggers have raved about this yarn before. I admit - I was sceptical. I mean - it's just another sock yarn - how different can it be right? Well let me tell you...

Socks that Rock sock yarn is better than sex!


That got your attention right?


OK - so maybe I exaggerate a little - but not much! This stuff is fab. Go out and get some right now. I'll wait...

Back so soon?

OK - then here are some more closeups pics of my socks - did I mention I love this yarn?












Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Belated snow pics and another FO

Look mom – snow!

Here's Hurley checking out the first snowfall of the year.




and....

It's Super Bailey! I love this shot of Bailey running up the steps - it looks like he's flying!




I forgot to post pics of my pups playing the snow last weekend. They love snow! Hurley likes to eat ice cubes and when it snows - I think that he thinks it's ice cubes falling from the sky! He'll run a few steps... then lick the snow... run a few more steps... lick, lick, lick. It's quite a site!


I also forgot to post pics of my latest finished socks. I started these way back in October - and then forgot about them for a while...

But here they are - all done and ready for action!

I present my Plain and Fancy socks!




This yarn is made by: Plain & Fancy Sheep & Wool Co.
Unfortunately they don't have a website to share - I got it at the Taos Wool festival. I think you may be able to purchase it at some yarn shops and other wool festivals. Here's an article on the Taos Wool festival that mentions them....and also supplies their email address.




I have also started on some new projects of course...

One is with a new yarn from Noro called Silk country. It's 88% silk and 12% alpaca and so far I love working with it. It is mainly a solid color (unlike most Noro yarns) and it has little flecks of brown and black alpaca fiber in it - giving it almost a tweed look. I made one mitt with them last night and should have the second done soon. I'll post pics soon too!

I'm also almost done with the second sock I started with Sock That Rock in the Lucy Colorway. I love this yarn. I can't say enough good things about it. It is the first time I am using STR and now I know why they rock!! They make the nicest squishy socks ever!

Monday, January 22, 2007

To Dye for

I had the best weekend! I spent all day Saturday with a few great ladies learning to dye yarn and roving at Mama E's first fiber dying class.




Here are some of my skeins:




Thanks Sarah for sending me the photos! I was a bad blogger and forgot my camera - doh!

At first I had a somewhat difficult time deciding what colors to use. (I tend to stick to greens and blues.) So after a skein or two of green - I was like... what now? So I had to move my color choices somewhat outside of my comfort zone. I tried some reds, some browns and silvers and discoved I love those colors too. I am really proud of my work and I can't wait to knit up some socks and other stuff with my new hand painted yarn!

I had a blast getting to know the other gals too. We all worked really well together - sharing dye and offering suggestions. Sarah and I shared the microwave duties and soon we had it down to a science!

Thanks Erin and hubby for the awesome lunch and for a great day!!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Projects for 2007

I have cast-on -itis! I can't stop casting on for new projects! I can already see that 2007 will be a great year for knitting new things. I have so many ideas and so many projects that I want to start!

Somebody stop me!

As for future projects – I would love to do more Fair Isle knnitting. I actually just purchased this pattern from Nordic Fiber Arts.




It's a mitten kit and it comes with yarn too – I selected Tan as my background color and Cranberry as the accent color.


I have been wanting to make this type of mittens for a while now - I just hope I will actually have a change to wear them this year - it's been so warm I haven't worn mittens or gloves at all lately! (Not that I'm complaining!)


I also plan to cast on for the Lady Eleanor from Scarf Style soon – I picked up some cool yarn (Paton’s SWS) in Natural Earth colorway. I think it will set off this pattern beautifully.

I also still plodding away on a top down sweater of my own design. I am using this gorgeous yarn – Araucania Nature Wool.

Here is the color I am using:




The dye lot I have is actually a lot more variegated than this images suggests – some portions are almost white – while others are a light to medium lovely bluish color. I bought an entire bag at Stitches East and some of the skeins have more color than others – so to avoid a noticeable different when changing skeins – I decided to use two skeins at once and alternate strands. This is helping to give it a much more uniform look and so far I love the fabric is it creating. I am knitting on size US 7s and I feel like it’s taking me forever!

I was the proud recipient of 4 – yes 4! - of Barbara Walker’s books in her series “A Treasury of Knitting Patterns” for my birthday and Christmas from the wonderful Nicol and so I think I am going to add a cool cable or something down the middle of the sweater front (instead of going bored to tears with just plain stockinette.) The basic pattern is from a class I took at Stitches East on the “Unpattern” Top Down Sweaters.

I like the idea of having this basic plain sweater pattern and then having the option to make it more decorative by adding cables, or lace or a trim of some kind.


I also finished up a project that had been sitting 90% done for a few months now.





All I had to do was attach handles and the ribbon to this baby and she was ready for a night on the town! I made this while in New Mexico over the summer/fall – in one evening in my hotel room. It was such a quick knit and great for someone new to cables. The free pattern is available here.

I was back in New Mexico last week on Thursday and Friday for a brief visit. (Actually it was for a party celebrating the grand opening of a new building where I was working last fall!)

There was snow everywhere! It was so beautiful to see everything covered with a layer of snow. Especially since we haven’t seen any yet back in Maryland. I was with four other co-workers and dragged them up Sandia Mountain to see the whole city under snow.



They went up kicking and screaming – but once they got up there – they were happy they went. I tell ya – people just aren’t adventurous!! I did get to have some of my ‘ole favorites again – A big plate of Santa Fe cakes for breakfast and a stuffed Sopapilla with green chilies for dinner. Yum!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Jaywalking

My first socks of 2007 are completed! I made the famous Jaywalkers. It seems like everyone is making these babies!

Here are mine:




Yarn: Autumn House Farm Herdwick Sock yarn
Merino Super Wash 450 yards

Needles: Size US 1 DPs

I absolutely loved this yarn. The colors are so rich and vibrant and the yarn is very easy to work with. I highly recommend it!

I think the zig zag pattern of the Jaywalkers really bring out the best in this yarn too.






I look forward to making many more socks this year. They are definitely addicting!
This is my 6th pair of socks and hopefully I can double that number (at least) this year.

Happy Knitting!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Branching Out Photo Shoot

I made my mom the Branching out lace scarf for Christmas. Her favorite color is blue/turquoise - so I made her the scarf and buttonhole bag to match.

My mom was very self conscious about posing for a photo shoot. She didn't think she looked enough like a "model". Well I think she looks gorgeous!!

Let's hear it for my mom!! The scarf model!!














This was my first lace and first blocking experience - I love how the open work "bloomed" when I blocked it.


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Kickin' it Philly style...

"I walked the avenue till my legs felt like stone
I heard the voices of friends vanished and gone
At night I could hear the blood in my veins
Just as black and whispering as the rain
On the streets of Philadelphia"

- Bruce Springsteen - "Streets of Philadelphia"


Yesterday hubby and I took a little drive up to Philly. He was going to pick up some new wheels for his car and wanted company for the drive. Now - although the thought of going on a car errand with him didn't thrill me - I thought about it for a second and then realized - I had never been to a yarn shop in Philly before... maybe we could arrange a trade. I'd accompany him on the trip - if we can stop off at a yarn shop too. A deal was made and off we went!

Hubby had to go all the way up to Plymouth Meeting, PA to pick up the wheels - so I looked for a yarn shop that would be on the way back to town. Thank goodness for Emily (our friendly little GPS unit) because she mapped out a course for us that lead us right to The Knit With in Chesnut Hill.




Chustnut Hill was such a cute area - there were little shops and cafes and the homes were gorgeous! The ivy covered stone mansions lined the streets. The building that housed the Knit With yarn shop was the oldest biulding in Chestnut Hill. I got the full history from James (one of the shop keepers). Here is a pic of James and I




The drive up and around Philly was full of nostalgia and memories for me. I am a PA girl - born and raised about an hour north of Philly, and I spent a lot of time in the Philly area. I also know a ton of people who live in the area. So - almost every exit we passed reminded me of someone. "Oh - I used to date a guy who lived there... or I used to know someone who lived off that exit... or I went out with a guy who worked there..." Yeah. The walk down memory lane was enjoyable for me - but maybe not so much for hubby :) He learned a little more than he needed to about my college dating experiences! Oh well!

It was so cool to see some of the old places I used to go. Hubby never really spent much time in Philly - so I played tour guide for a little and took him to Pat's and Geno's for a traditional Philly cheesesteak. I don't about you guys - but to me - a cheesesteak means steak, cheese, and fried onions - maybe even peppers and nothing else. NO lettuce tomato and mayo like they add here in Maryland. I haven't had a good cheese steak in years!! So I was ready for some cheese steak tasting!

First we headed to Geno's. The neon lit up the dusky sky beckoning us to come in. We ordered up a steak to share.


It was good!


Next up was Pat’s


Wow! I had forgotten how good Cheese Wiz tastes on a steak! (I know what you're thinking... Cheese Wiz? YES Cheese Wiz!)

Pat’s was the winner!


I really wanted another one - but I was full :(

After that we roamed around the south street area a little and then headed back home.

On the drive up - I was knitting (duh) on my first sock of 2007. Hubby got me this gorgeous yarn...


And I am making a Jaywalker out of it. Here's my progress so far...



I love how the colors are zigzagging!



Today - it's back to the grind.