Thursday, February 24, 2011

It's Just a Shot Away

Shelter Square

I made it almost a week before casting on my only yarn purchase from Madrona. If three days is "almost a week". The snowstorm that rolled in yesterday had me thinking that I might get some "snow day" knitting in today (didn't happen), so it seemed like a good idea to start something new.

This is my swatch for the Augusta Cardigan from New England Knits, and it turned out great. Size 8 needles, 4 stitches to the inch, lovely bloom to the yarn when washing. It's a good thing that the gauge panned out after washing, because I cast on the back while waiting for it to dry. The yarn is Shelter in the Long Johns colorway, and this is the first time I've knit with it. I have a few other skeins in the stash, but what I've really wanted is to knit a sweater, so now that I've got enough yarn it was hard to hold off. Plus, I finished the body of a sweater that I started back in November (the Fiona pullover, which I have no recent photos of an haven't even posted about), so I was feeling a little accomplished. I've lost the pattern for Fiona with just the sleeves to go, so I may keep looking for it a bit before I can try to wing the sleeves.

Anyway, back to Augusta. Maybe I can finish the ribbing tonight!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Oh-oh-ooh-ooh Domino

Madrona Domino Knitting

I was only able to get into one class at Madrona this year, so I haven't got very much to report this year. I've been very lucky (and put more effort into) getting into classes in the last 3 or 4 years, so even though I was a little disappointed, overall it worked out fine. I saw some friends from prior years (Hi, Stephanie!), and I had time to check out the Marketplace (9 skeins of Shelter may have come home with me. It may have been the color "Long Johns").

The class that I was able to get into is one that I've had my eye on for awhile, Vivian Høxbro's Domino Knitting. It's a technique that I haven't tried before, but I've got one of Vivian's books and I really like the modern look & the interesting construction. The class was great--in three hours, we covered basic square construction, a half triangle, weaving in ends as you go, and setting in a square. The class project is a hat, which I may even finish if I have enough yarn--I pulled out a bunch of the Nature Spun Sport that I'm using on the Chevron mittens, and there probably isn't enough of the grey to finish the hat. I love the way my squares look (although they were so "neutral" compared to Vivan's samples!), and I'm excited to try this on a bigger project. Maybe a baby blanket? Maybe a hat from Vivan's book Knit to Be Square, or the big triangle pillow. So many options!

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Do You Have One Really Funky Sequined Space Suit, Bowie?

Sparkley Beret
Sparkle Beret, ribbing side & top

Since my return from Paris (which still pains me, by the way), I've overcome a fierce bout of jetlag, started a transition to a new job, and have been juggling a number of things that should have been done in early January. It's been a little tough to find the mental energy to work on anything at home that requires any attention. I'm emerging from that fog now (but may get sucked back in at any moment), so here's a little update on the Sparkle Beret: I've passed the second set of crown decreases.

As a recap: the pattern is Laura Chau's Lightweight Raspberry Beret, using Yarntini's Sparkle Sock yarn in Midnight Snow. Yes, the flecks you see above are sparkley! I'm knitting the women's large size, and I'm not sure if it's my gauge or I estimated my head size incorrectly, but it feels like it's going to be a little too roomy for me (my fine, thin hair requires no extra hat room, since it's really just the illusion of hair). I do know a few folks with more robust hair than I have, though, so if it doesn't fit me it should be easy to find it a home. I somehow believed that I could finish it in time to wear in Paris, which was ridiculous given my atrocious completion rate. It was part of my fantasy that I could make berets for the whole group going to Paris (there were six of us), which first occurred to me in late December. Ha--but at least I didn't start six berets.

This weekend, I did start a new project involving a chart (details in a future post), and so far I have been able to handle the mental strain, but I am really itching to finish up some long-term projects that really don't require a lot of work. The biggest challenge is that many of the projects have been separated from supplies/yarn required to complete them, so digging out all of the pieces may take up a lot of my available knitting / napping time. Oh, precious napping time!

Do You Have One Really Funky Sequined Space Suit, Bowie? : Flight of the Conchords

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Back, and Beret-ed


I've been back home for 6 days, and am just about over the jetlag, but not nearly over the wonderful time I had in Paris. I'm hoping to make it back there soon, although it won't be soon enough!

Shortly before I left, I finished Estella (Rav link), which I started just before Christmas but haven't shown here yet. It's a beret that looks more complicated than it is, although the decreases were a challenge because I kept ending up with the same number of stitches as I started with. I used some Berroco Ultra Alpaca that I bought when I was swatching for the Liberty blanket. These colors that didn't quite work out for that project, but I think they look good for this one. I schlepped it all the way to Paris, but it was really too warm to wear most of the time, and I forgot to bring it with me when it was cold enough.

I started a second beret a few days after this one, with a simpler pattern but glitz-ier yarn:

Sparkle Beret

I needed something relatively plain to knit while at the movies on Christmas, so I started Laura Chau's Lightweight Raspberry Beret using Yarntini Sparkle Sock. I've just started the decreases, so there is a glimmer / sparkle of hope that I'll finish it while it's still cold out. Although it's been in the 50's here, so I may need to send it to my chilly east coast friends!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Paris: A Few Fotos Dramatique

Paris streetlight -1

This photo, taken before dinner at Au Vieux Paris last night, does not overemphasize the atmosphere of Notre Dame at night in the rain.

Laduree, Champs Élysées

Laduree Champs Elysee. Macarons and cafe in an amazingly decorated bar.

Parc Monceau, Paris

Parc Monceau in the late afternoon, where I went for a short run before dinner. My pedometer has put my daily steps around 20K since I got here, but with foie gras at every dinner and more to come, a little extra exercise can't hurt. Parc Monceau is a real neighborhood spot, with people strolling and kids running around like crazy.

Only two more days here, it's gone really fast. Today's agenda includes museums, a trip to La Drougerie (craft store), pre-dinner drinks at L'Avant Comptoir, and dinner at La Ferrandaise.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Paris 2011: Day 1

First day in Paris: Took a 2 hour orientation walk while waiting for my room to be ready, but left the camera behind. This is the only photo I took. After checking into my room (which is very clean and cozy), I took a four hour nap, then worked for a couple of hours, then had a light dinner at L'Avant Comptior. If you consider a lard sandwich and ham crocettes to be "light". It was delightful. I expect to go back tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

This Time, It's a Blowout


I blew out a sock. I'm pretty sure it's fixable, just need to locate the yarn & darn it up, but I was surprised when I pulled them out of the wash (I use one of those lingerie bags when I wash handmade socks). I finished them in 2009, though, so they are almost two years old, and they are thin enough to wear with my clogs so they do get regular use.