A little bundle of yarny goodness

My llama fiber arrived from Lehman Llamas over the weekend. It is a little bundle of yarny goodness. If I can get ahead on the #$!&@ auction knitting, I will start on my llama hat soon. Behold:

Future Llama Hat

There are now three of us in the llama-along (say it three times fast). We won't be officially starting until mid-February, so please come join us!

I am a bit less enthused about my mitered bag. The photo below cleverly hides the fact that the wrong side of the bottom will be facing out when the bag is complete. I believe I followed the instructions for picking up the stitches for the sides correctly, and after the bag is felted it probably won't even matter, but I am still annoyed. Not annoyed (or mature) enough to undo my work and do it the right way, but nevertheless, annoyed.

Would you buy this?

I am also not thrilled about the colors. The grayish square just doesn't seem to fit. The skein that square came from also has blues and teals, which I thought might blend well with the other skeins and tone it down a bit, but the teal didn't repeat in this square.

So the question of the day is this: If you had enough dough to attend a $125/plate charity auction, AND you'd been drinking all night, would you bid on this bag? I wouldn't, but I won't be there anyway. Plus I hate teal. Don't even ask.

Maybe Clapotis will turn out better. My friend Anne showed me hers last night - just lovely. If she'll let me I will post a pic.

Back to the subject of wonderfulness via the US mail - I succombed to a direct-mail campaign for a crafter's book club. Here is my first shipment:

My Nascent Knitting Library

I figure I'll never have to buy another pattern again as long as I live. A couple of books are still on their way - Last Minute Knitted Gifts and Crocheting School. When I get a chance I will post book reviews. In the meantime, I'd be interested in your thoughts on these books.

Oh, something else arrived in the mail - my knittable samples from the evil Elann. Cotton is the word of the day. I will resist, and Sharon will help me. We have formed a new 12-step program to facilitate our recovery: Yarn Hos Anonymous (YHA). We can lick this thing. More details coming soon.


Homage to the square

A woman from a charity auction I (over) committed to, and quickly forgot about, called yesterday, to get details on (read - remind me about) my donation. "Ummmm, let's see... A felted bag and a, shall we call it a wrap? In a month? No problem." Click. Panic sets in!

Of course, nothing in my stash inspired me, so a trip to the yarn store was in order. (When isn't a trip to the yarn store in order?) Here are my new treasures:

Noro Kureyon, #150, 147, 40

Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, #22

I've been wanting to do mitered squares, so I started knitting this last night with the Noro. Here is my first square:

My first mitered square - glad I didn't pay for a class!

Noro seems to be controversial, but I love knitting with it. In my obsessive and sleep deprived first month of knitting (it was a bit like a torrid affair, really) I made four versions of the ubiquitous booga j bag, two with Noro. I get a little headrush when the color starts changing.

Don't be intimidated by mitered squares - if you can do a decrease you can do a square. You don't even have to count. Do they really offer classes in this? Geez.

For the lovely Silky Wool, I am thinking Clapotis.

I continue to make hats, and because I am a bit, can I say, attention deprived, I don't usually use a pattern. I made the one below over the weekend, for the next-door-neighbor baby, who is supposed to arrive on the scene any day now. Since the baby has gone full-term already, I don't think this will fit. But it sure looks cute on Tommy.

Maybe a bit small for a newborn, eh?


It's a Llama-Along!

We were pounded with snow - again - over the weekend. Time to stay inside and knit. And cook. And eat. And dream up a knitalong I hope a few of you will be interested in - The Llama-Along! At the very least, it is fun to say.

I've been wanting to make one of those Peruvian-style earflap hats for awhile, for my son Brian. I chose this free online pattern because it will give me more experience working from a chart and doing colorwork. The chart looks simple, so I think this would be a great project for someone new to working with color. It would be fun if you would knit it with me.

I can hardly wait to get started, but I think I will order a kit from Mount Lehman Llamas , both to thank them for their pattern, and so that I can get natural undyed llama fiber. The kit is incredibly inexpensive and the price includes shipping. I think this pattern would also be great in commercial yarns like Lamb's Pride or Montera.

If you are interested, head to the Llama-Along group page to sign up. Since I have never hosted a knitalong before, I'd love to read your comments on this.

The tentative start-date is February 15, but we could start sooner if we get a good group together and everyone has their yarn.


Look what Dave made me!

This afternoon I IM'd Dave to tell him I was blue and unmotivated to do anything - knitting, reading, blogging - I couldn't even do yesterday's dishes. That happens to me sometimes.

So guess what he sent me to cheer me up? The new banner at the top of the page!

Now I am feeling motivated.

(Update, 12/23 - He made me the cool button on the left sidebar, too! If you want my button, please copy it to your own server - Thanks!)


South American yarn smuggling cartel

My friend Sharon from the yarn store wants to start a South American yarn smuggling cartel. It looks like knitpicks beat her to it.

This stuff looks wonderful and cheap. I got some of their undyed Wool of the Andes and fingering weight merino awhile back, but haven't seen the dyed yarns or the luxury fibers yet. Sharon ordered a skein of each - market research, you know. She says I can fondle it when it arrives.

Yarnharlot is working on her fuzzyfeet, because it is even colder in Canada than it is here in Michigan. This reminds me that I have to mend my fuzzyfeet. Again. This is what happens when you wear these things around the house as slippers. And no, my floors are not made of sandpaper.

Why my feet are still cold...

I have made so many pairs of these, it is time for me to branch out. I just got a big box of Galway from Little Barn. I think I am going to make the Fibertrends clogs out of some of this. The rest will be an even more enormous felted knitting bag.


Baby, it's cold outside!

It is $&*#!@ cold outside! I left my hat at Kate's house last week, so I knit up a new one last night with the yarn left over from Joe's wine cozy.

Self-portrait, modelling the tassel hat.

Here's a better look at the hat:

Better look at the tassle hat. JoAnn Sensations Licorice and Paton's Cha Cha.

It has been so cold and dry here that the skin on my fingertips is starting to crack. The thumb of my left hand is so messed up it is getting pretty hard to knit. Dave fixed me up with some Crack Creme, which is helping, but not fast enough.

One of Dave's co-workers had a baby six weeks early, so I whipped up a quick preemie hat. When I got to the decreases I was too lazy to go upstairs and fetch the dpns, so I jury-rigged a solution with my handy Denise set! Here they are in action:

Look ma, no dpns!

Here's the finished hat. I quite like the decreases - SSK knitwise every other round.

Jared's preemie hat. Lana Grossa Big Wool, no pattern.


My knitting friends

Kate knitting a sweater for her sister.

My boys are in a playgroup with three other kids. Both of the other moms knit, so when we are not breaking up fights over toys that is what we do. Yesterday was a good knitting day at playgroup.

Deb is feeling shy...

I got a chance to knit during playgroup, too. Here I am modelling my WIP, a sample for the shop. Note the Denise needles!

I am having a bad hair day.

Yesterday was a snow day, so in the morning I had a rare chance to play with my friend Stella, who normally spends her day teaching high school English. She is also a knitter, but we didn't knit yesterday. She did, however, wear the scrunchy I made her last year.

Stella modelling her scrunchy. My design, Crystal Palace Mikado.


Portrait of the Fiber Artist as a Young Man

Brian hard at work.

Brian is going to town with his potholder weaving loom. He has 5 loops to go to complete his second potholder. I'lll have to order him some more loops. I wonder if I could knit or crochet some? Seems that a crocheted chain would be a great potholder loop, but how to join the ends?

On Bookslut today I read about the 50 Book Challenge. With so much knitting to do, I am not sure I can get 50 books in, but maybe if I count knitting books... I'll try to keep my 2005 booklist updated, anyway.


Happy New Year

Last year my New Year's resolution - the first I've ever kept - was to learn how to knit. I've been knitting steadily since March, and now even have a part-time job at a yarn store to feed my habit.

I completed at least 53 projects in 2004. Nothing bigger than a child's sweater, but still. Here's a quick tally:

- 12 scarves
- 7 pair felted adult slippers
- 7 hats
- 6 felted bags
- 5 dishcloths
- 3 baby sweaters
- 3 pair felted baby slippers
- 3 scrunchies
- 2 ribbon bags
- 1 child sweater
- 1 pair socks
- 1 nosewarmer
- 1 wine bottle cozy
- 1 headband

I keep promising to create a gallery so that I can share with the blogosphere my evolution as a fiber artist.

Seriously, it feels good to have actually kept a resolution for once. I want to do it again this year. Instead of vowing to start a fitness program, stop swearing, learn Farsi, become vegan, or any other resolution doomed to failure, I am going to once again set goals I know I can reach. Here they are:

- eat more chocolate
- continue knitting

Perhaps I should set more specific goals. How about this:

- Become skilled at socks, especially of the toe-up/short-row toe and heel variety. At a minimum, make socks for me, Dave, Brian, and Evan.
- Complete at least two adult-sized sweaters, one for me and one for Geoffrey.
- Make myself an even bigger knitting bag!
- Use stash yarn for the above projects.
- Organize stash.
- Limit myself to one visit to elann.com (the "crack house for knitters") daily. I've already broken this one.

What are your resolutions, knitterly or non?

It finally fits!
another baby sweater...
Not trafficking in baby animals, really
Some days are like that
Restraining Order
American Beauty
weaving class
yarn fairies
Coveting the scarves of friends
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