Tuesday, March 31

Finished: Moss Stitch Cowl/Scarf

This simple little project was started during a hectic period when I needed some completely brainless knitting. It also served well to use up a couple partial balls of Wool-Ease hanging around my stash.

Originally based on Eton's Scarf by Jennifer Refat, I decided to sew the ends together while it was still short and turn it into a cowl. (Due to a combination of boredom, low yarn reserves, and lack of necessity for another long scarf.)

Moss Stitch Cowl/Scarf

Pattern: loosely based on Eton's Scarf (on Ravelry)
Yarn: Lion Brand Wool-Ease leftovers in Gray Heather
Needles: Clover Bamboo straights US8
Started/Finished: February 7/February 20

Finished: Circular Shrug

And so begins the backlog of FO posts. This is a project that had been on my radar for years. I first saw it on Craftster and filed it away in my memory as "something to do sometime". When I came across it again on Ravelry last year, I added it to my queue and then forgot about it again.

I only got around to making it because I was (am?) on a stash yarn kick and wanted to use up some Bernat Denim Style yarn I received as a gift about 4 years ago. Of course it only used 2.5 of the 5 balls I had; not really good planning on my part. I have used this yarn in the past for another shrug and really love how it washes up. The first shrug has been thrown in the washer and dryer and just keeps getting softer. I originally wanted to make a full sweater out of these 5 balls .... again, bad planning.

Obligatory "as seen from above" shot:

Flat Circular Shrug

Being worn: (I will warn you in advance that this is an exceedingly awful photo of both me and the shrug.)

Circular Shrug

I still need to find a pin or button to close it with - I used a green barrette for the photo, but it doesn't stay closed for very long.

Pattern: Circular Shrug by Julia Allen (free pattern; on Ravelry)
Yarn: Bernat Denim Style, 2.25 skeins (about 440 yds)
Needles: US7 Knit Picks Options
Started/Finished: January 15/February 5

Monday, March 30

Weekend Fiber Stash Enchancement

I was originally planning a post showing off the goodies I bought on a yarn shopping trip with my Mom, but then some other things happened.

So I decided to write about how the universe is against me, how 2009 is not my year, and how I really just need a break already.

But then I came to my senses and realized that no one wants to read a "woe-is-me" diatribe, and I really don't like sharing too much personal stuff here anyway. What I do need is to realize all of the happy things I have going for me. (To start... well... I'm still alive, my family is fine, my husband and I both have jobs. That should be enough, right? Plus, I have a little extra money to buy fiber.)

Back to my original plan: yarn shopping weekend! My mom was on spring break last week so I took Friday off work so we could have a day together.

We started off Friday morning with a quick trip to Ikea in Bolingbrook for breakfast and some fabric for her. (Plus a throw rug and small kitchen container for me. It's not like I can leave that place empty-handed...)

We drove to Esther's Place in Big Rock IL, had a nice tea and chat with the owners, and drooled over the fibers. I came away with a number of different types of wool to try, all from local Illinois farms.

Maggie trying to steal fiber

Directly after this photo was taken Maggie the cat attempted to roll the ball away and I got hissed at while attempting to rescue it.

March Fiber Stash Enhancement

Clockwise from top right:
Border Leicester "Spring Forest"
Romney "Winterfresh"
Cormo combed top
Montadale "Petunias and Pansies"

Next was Knitche in Downers Grove. We actually lost track of time at Esther's Place and got to the Knitche about 10 minutes before they closed. I didn't know what to buy, but didn't want to revert to my old standby of sock yarn. (I have been feeling a little guilty about my sock yarn stash lately.) So, I picked out some lace yarn for a Hanami Stole.

Misti Alpace laceweight
Misti Alpaca

I'm very excited about this. Recently I've got it in my head that lace would make a perfect summer knitting project. True, if a bit ambitious.

I've somehow managed to amass a two month backlog of listing finished projects here on my blog. Since I use the "Finished 'XX" category to keep track of my projects for the year I am going to post them all individually in the coming weeks. Just a friendly warning. =)

Thursday, March 26

Time Flies

It is hard to believe that today is Thursday already; I've been writing this post in my head since the weekend.

Only five more days until we pick up the keys to our townhome. I'm not as excited as I feel I should be. It's a combination of the fact that we moved in to our current apartment less than a year ago (and let's face it, moving sucks), we will have two residences for a month and a half and will need to figure out what to move when/where to be when, and the fact that we have to pay for two places for a month and a half. Eek.

Plus the added stress of worrying about being worried. Always helpful.

As a much needed mini-vacation getaway, I'm taking the day off work tomorrow and my mom and I are having a fiber-y weekend together visiting yarn stores. I don't really have any plans or money to buy anything, but a skein of sock yarn or some fiber might find its way home with me.

As for knitting, I seem to be on a small project kick lately. I've finished two in the last week, Fetching mitts and a spinning wheel bag. (I'll write FO posts for them soon along with a few others I've finished but never written about. I've got a whole backlog since almost the beginning of the year. How'd that happend?)

As far as projects in progress, I've still working on the same old socks. I started a project that has been in my queue forever - the Chevron Scarf from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. I'm not pleased with how it's turning out so far. The needles I chose are too large and the colors are stacking up in a way that takes away from the premise of the scarf. (Using two balls of yarn to create stripes.)

Chevron Scarf in progress

Friday, March 20

Finished: New Day yarn

Spunky Eclectic "New Day"

I finished spinning and plying my Spunky Eclectic roving Wednesday night. Unsurprisingly, it didn't end up looking anywhere near what I was imaging but I'm sure that will improve with practice. (Whether my spinning improves to match my expectations or my expectations become more reasonable is anyone's guess.) I haven't decided what I am going to make with it yet, but it has been sitting beside me all evening. It's very nice to pat and squish every now and then.

Fiber: 4 oz of Spunky Eclectic Club February '09 "New Day", Corridale wool
Ply: 2-ply
WIP: 7-8
Yardage: ~220
Started/Finished: March 14 - March 18

Projects I'm considering include a hat (Abalone by Woolly Wormhead?) and a simple lace scarf. Whatever pattern I choose needs to be able to show off the colors well.

Spunky Eclectic "New Day"

Thursday, March 12

WIP Wednesday

(This was supposed to post yesterday, so please pretend today is still Wednesday. I know, no one wants it to be Wednesday any longer than necessary but 'WIP Thursday' doesn't have the same ring to it.)

I feel as though life has been clobbering me good the last few weeks but things seem to have turned the corner and more of my brain is free to think about things other than basic survival. I usually do my knitting in the evenings, but lately I have just been sitting and staring at the TV like a zombie. Until I fall asleep on the couch.

I only have one real WIP right now, my Anastasia sock out of Misti Alpaca sock yarn.

Anastasia sock in progress

I decided to put in a placeholder for an after-though heel, mostly because I couldn't come up with the perfect heel to use for this gorgeous yarn and couldn't be bothered to use my brain and look something up. (It's the white yarn on the back half of the fabric in the photo above.) Also, after seeing a photo of the sock I realized that the yarn is actually pooling a little and creating a spiral in the opposite direction of the lace pattern. Hmm. Not my favorite look ever, but it is subtle enough to pass.

My other WIP is actually some spinning I am planning to start tonight: 4oz Spunky Eclectic Club Feb '09 "New Day".

Spunky Eclectic "New Day"

I want to make a hat and maybe mittens out of this since it matches my white and orange winter coat perfectly. I am going to try for a worsted weight two ply. So I guess this is my very first attempt to spin something into a predetermined yarn, instead of just however it happens to turn out. It will be a learning experience, at least!

Sunday, March 8

$10 Craigslist Find

Check out my new IKEA Oppala chair:

IKEA Oppala Chair

IKEA discontinued this chair in 2005 and I am very excited to find one, especially at a great price. What does this have to do with knitting you ask? Because of this awesome pattern from Veronik Avery in IK Fall '04:

chair cover

I'm so excited to start this. I haven't decided what yarn to use yet, but the pattern calls for Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool and I might just stick to that. I could buy them one at a time with Joann 50% coupons and it wouldn't cost a fortune. But I am still looking into other options like Knit Picks and WEBS for an affordable option. I think I want to stick with wool, even though it might be warm in the summer, because cotton might stretch too much and too high an acrylic percentage might get sweaty (never a good thing).

(Incidentally, the addition of this chair brings the percentage of IKEA furniture in my house up to about 98%.)