Thursday, August 20, 2009

Denial isn't just a river in Africa

Last night, we went out with some of the girls from knitting club. Man I have missed them! I finally got to see Joy's handspun aeolian shawl in person. Oh my god, is it amazing! Total love! I'm still intimidated by my silk, so I haven't spun it yet. We all went to Dave & Busters and just had a blast. The boyfriend found a game he was absolutely fantastic at, so of course, we won a bunch of tickets. Beats me if I know what we'll use our tickets on.

But getting together with everyone reminded me that I want to try to have a fiber party before the new school year starts. Holy crap. I won't be going to school this september.... I'm graduating! It's still slowly sinking in.

To get back to the title however, I think it's time to admit that my stash has gotten away from me. I still vehemently believe that I have not achieved S.A.B.L.E. That's stash aquisition beyond life expectancy for those that are not familiar with the term. But I have alot of stash. I have atleast 5 unfinished projects, and a queue that's starting to intimidate me with its size. I'm feeling a need to declutter my stash and things, and I'm feeling the need for a yarn diet.

Yeah, I said it.

Yarn diet.

Of course, there will have to be rules and exceptions. I'm debating on whether or not to start it before next month, because it's my birthday month. Yes, I expect yarn for my birthday. It's my birthday after all! (IOW, if you don't realize the best present for my birthday is luxury yarn, you don't know me very well.) But I'm slowly thinking up rules to solidify the yarn diet. Exceptions would include birthdays, major holidays like christmas, and anniversaries. New yarn cannot be acquired unless 3 projects get completed. Gift yarn can only be acquired if there is a project selected. I can't decide if there needs to be a time frame on gift yarn projects, because there's 8 balls of elann super kydd upstairs waiting for me to knit them into scarves for the mom and sister. Due to current family drama, I really don't feel that they deserve any presents. (Bottom line, apparently they think that I should risk my health to make them happy. I disagree.) I don't care if they paid for the yarn. Mmm, perhaps I should pose this to the selfish knitters.

Anyways, back to the stash that seems to grow like tribbles. Mostly because I keep finding bits that I forgot I had, which is a bit unnerving. I'm kind of frightened that I could achieve SABLE, so I must swish through the projects as fast as my knitterly fingers can take me. I suppose that means I should finish sewing the grad dress. Whoops!

Friday, August 14, 2009

There's a first time for everything

Even running out of yarn it seems! So shocking, especially for me! I'm notorious among my friends for having more lace scraps than I know what to do with. One particular ball of yarn lasted through a hat, a crocheted rose, AND the choker, Asphyxiation. Seriously.

I think I finally jinxed myself, though. As I finish the last few rows on the Panache shawl, I feel trepidation building as the ball of yarn shrinks and shrinks an shrinks... I'm cutting out something like 20 rows and I'm STILL not sure I'll have enough yarn. I unravelled the swatch for more yarn, and I'm still not sure I'll have enough. It's a very unsettling feeling, and one that I am entirely unfamiliar with.

I'm trying to see this as an opportunity, because I really like the mods to the pattern that I am making in order to adjust to a lesser amount of yarn. I didn't like the final 3 repeats of additional feather and fan that happened before the crochet cast off. That's going away. I didn't quite like the look of the "eye" of the feather, so now it's going to be much smaller. I may even have to use some of the alternate bind-offs I saw in ravelry, because they seem to use less yarn. Seem to. I'm not sure. I do NOT look forward to frogging back 12 rows because I ran out of yarn AGAIN.

In some ways, I can't shake the feeling that this is what I get for trying a style of yarn I usually don't like. That's right, I usually find the rapid color changes of hand-dyed yarn far too busy for my tastes. Other people like them, and that's fine, I've never really been one of them. Then I found the lovely semi-solid lace work by YarnAddictAnni, and thought I could give it a shot. 1200 yards of lace weight is more than enough to make anything.

Or so I thought.

About 600 yards later, I look at my doubled yarn and wonder where it all went. I'm actually a combination knitter (read: my purl stitches sit backwards compared to "normal" knitting styles.) and I've heard that it's a style that uses less yarn. My history of projects and scraps have most certainly been a testament to that fact. But now, the fickle yarn gods have laughed at my hubris and ensured that I will run out of yarn JUST once. Just so that I will live with the taste of fear of yarn shortages and be humbled. I have to wonder what do I need to sacrifice in order to appease their fickle nature? I'd gladly burn my DPNs as a sweet sacrifical incense if it meant that I wouldn't run out of yarn. But I'm not sure bamboo wood makes for good incense.

Damn yarn gods.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tink, tink, tink

Sadly, that is not the lonely sound of a solo coin bumping around a can. I wish it were. Unfortunately, I have to tink back some rows on the panache shawl, because I am running out of yarn and I want to do the border. Well, I want to do certain parts of the border anyways, including the gorgeous scalloped edge. It's going to require some interesting fudging.

I recommend using a smaller needle size when you tink so that you have more room to weave the needle around the stitches. So, let's say you need to go back three rows and you're using a size 7 needle. With a size 6 needle, insert the tip at the beginning of the row, and weave it in. You'll always have 2 stitches between the needles, because the third stitch is in the row you're picking up with the smaller needles. It occurs to me that this would make sense with pictures. I don't think I'll subject you to picking up stitches in lace. It's hard enough to see your patterns, much less trying to decipher rows. Perhaps I'll do a tutorial on it if there's a demand for it.

Long story short - use a size smaller if you have to rip back to a row. And stick end caps or needle point protectors on the ends when you are done so you don't have the project sliding off one end. That'd just be tragic to have an unraveled mess just because one end slipped off and frogged itself while you were working on the other end. Not that I've had that happen before... often. I learned. Hopefully, I've spared you the agony. Although, if you were really smart, you'd have used life lines and not had to deal with this whole mess!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Souvenir Yarn

So, this past weekend, I went to Bay City, Michigan.

Can I just say how much I love Michigan speed limits? 70 mph and that means if you don't drive 80+ you will be run over. It warms the cockles of my little Texan heart. Needless to say, my driving style fit right in. I went up there to visit the boyfriend who is away for 2 weeks on guard duty. It's a little weird having him away, and I miss him. I'm really tired right now, so I miss him more it seems.

So I have new yarn to snuggle when I miss him. We stopped by A Piece of Ewe, the yarn shop in Bay City. I recommend going, they have a healthy selection of yarn despite their small size. I saw some eye-blindingly bright jawoll sock yarn that felt deliciously soft because it was a superwash wool and silk yarn. I would have walked away with a skein of that, except it came in magenta, neon green, and highlighter yellow self-striping blends. Yarnmaiden may love those colors, but I almost passed up on fondling the yarn because it was so garish. Sorry, no love for the uber bright colors from me.

I did make out with some Elsebeth Lavoid Silky Wool yarn, in this gorgeous jewel-toned purple color. I got enough to make a sweater for me, which I really, really want to start so I can pretend that my boyfriend is hugging me when he's not around. Except, the needles I need are in use with the second panache shawl. So I wound up winding a skein into a ball for me to fondle. It's also absorbed some of the scent of his cologne so it reminds me of him. We also got some beautiful pale blue silky wool to make a shawl for his grandmother. I offered to do a joint Christmas present for his grandmother: he buys the yarn, I make the shawl. Considering that it takes me, oh, a week, to knit panache if I'm completely focused on it, I am totally not worried about knitting the shawl.

I'm just resisting the urge to buy more needles, but I may lose the battle. Knitpicks has their new zephyr needles out and I am seriously tempted to try them. Even with shipping, cables and needle tips are cheaper through knitpicks than any lys and I am on a shoe string budget. Hooray college student budget. There's light at the end of the tunnel, with graduation on August 30th. Which also means resume brushing up and applications out the ears.

It's been a tiring few days with kitty drama and family drama, so I really miss the boyfriend. I may wind up casting on the sweater anyways, just because. He comes back this saturday, but I'm being mopey and silly because I haven't had much of a chance to indulge myself in the past 48 hours. I've picked out the pattern already, it's the Queen Anne Cardigan. Gorgeous cardigan and it doesn't take much yardage either. Also, it's top down so it's an easy knit! I may lose the battle against new needles.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


So, I have to say, I'm totally obsessed with the panache shawl. It's the fastest shawl I've ever knit. If I had left the border out of this pattern, I would have been done with it within a week, that's how easy it is to knit. I added a border on the sides and around the neckline to give it more of a collar. The original pattern only included the scalloped lace edging at the tips of the feathers. Here's what it looks like all laid out.

And here's a picture of me wearing it.

Now, I normally don't love variegated yarns, as some of you well know, but in this shawl it wasn't too busy at all. I used knitpicks shimmer lace yarn in their sherry colorway to make this shawl. I actually only needed 2 skeins! I even have a little bit left over! I didn't double the yarn, either, just held it singly. Because the yarn is alpaca and silk, it's actually quite warm, and the lace lets the fabric breathe so you don't get too hot. I actually really want to try this in another of their colorways, possibly hush or or blue glass. The feather and fan body of the shawl really lends itself well to variegated yarns, it lets the colors show itself off in the oh-so-simple stitch pattern. Actually, I think that's why I finished it so quickly, for the first 85 rows, it's all feather and fan - which only has one row of lace stitches followed by 3 rows of stockinette. Yeah. LOTS of mindless knitting, it's wonderful.

Honestly, it's such a wonderful pattern that I couldn't help myself. I started a second one. I'm making it out of another Etsy Seller's yarn, dreamy lace by YarnAddictAnni. The specific blend which I had bought doesn't seem to be carried by her etsy shop anymore mostly because she has a NEW SHOP!!! Check it out, she has absolutely wonderful lace yarn at amazing prices and mind-bogglingly long yardage. I'm seriously tempted to buy a blue-ish colorway to make the shawl again as a present for the wonderful boyfriend's grandmother.

I have to say, it's a ridiculously quick knit, which makes it such a great present pattern. I think I may have said that before, but it really is. For his grandmother, I'd want to double the lace yarn, just so it has a little more warmth and make it out of alpaca. For the pattern, I'd recommend going with a fuzzy lace-weight like alpaca or a heavier yarn because it's knit on size 6 needles and larger. I'm also contemplating sock yarn, which would be a good weight for the pattern and seems to be really common on ravelry. Also, the original shawl/veil pattern it was derived from was knit entirely on size 6 (4 mm) needles, so you don't have to follow the recommended changes in needle sizes, it will work just fine on a single size. Much love to Lankakomero for writing up her variations on the pattern.

As you may have noticed, I made a few small changes like the border. I also cast on 39 stitches and started on row 13 to create an opening at the neckline. After I knit on the border, (which is from the babushka shawl in the best of knitter's magazine shawls and scarves book, btw) I added little ties at the neckline to hold the shawl closed. I doubled the yarn and crocheted it to the sides about 3 inches down from the neckline of the shawl NOT 3 inches down from the edge of the lace border, in order to make a lapel collar. Oh, and I only used needle sizes 4 mm, 4.25 mm (I have weird 6's), and 4.5 mm.
Welcome to Crazytown, where my friends have proclaimed me queen. Why did they do that you ask? For some reason, there's very little that I fear about knitting. Hmm, a dress in laceweight done in lace knitting written by vogue? Sounds great! I have very few inhibitions when it comes to knitting, and that sometimes ends disasteriously. Apparently, other people think this signifies a level of crazy that only the royalty can attain. Follow along with my escapades as I dive head first into all sorts of insane techniques and projects without much more than an "Oh! That looks pretty, I can make it!"

Those will probably be my famous last words.