Friday, June 18, 2010

New Style

Hey there! What do you think of the new style? I want to thank the blogger team for making this update to the blog as easy as possible! I nabbed the photo from Yarn 365. But then, I guess it's not really nabbing it if it's my own, right?

The next blog project is going to be to cut down on some of the clutter there on the sidebar. I think the main offender is the blog list. It'd be good to cut that down to size. Back in the day, I used to use that blog list to read all the blogs. Now I use google reader, so I'm a little less concerned about it, but it's still nice to show some love to the folks I follow. Trouble is, I read a LOT of blogs now, and I'm not sure I really want ALL of them listed on the sidebar, for fear the sidebar will never end!

I do, however, think you should check out this post by Knit Princess. It's a hilarious comic panel and kind of made my day. I wish I were going to Comic Con this year so I could get a great photo of Darth Vader holding up some nifty yarn for Yarn 365.

At any rate, I'm really happy with the way the redesign of the blog turned out and I'm looking forward to going through that blog list on some other day.

On Queue Confusion and Startitis

I have wandering eye these days. I finished my Seraphim Shawl (RavLink), it just needs to be blocked. And I'm currently working on another project of epic proportions (read, lots of stockinette and small gauge). The miles of tiny stitches in stockinette, I think, are leading me to want to knit with bigger (worsted!? DK weight!?) yarns so I can actually wear a new tank top this season.

I just finished the armhole shaping of the back of this t-shirt I'm knitting out of Silken Straw. I think the front might go quicker because the front will have all the deep v-neck shaping, but it's still a slog. I know the finished product will be nice though, it's being knit out of Alchemy Silken Straw. I'm really surprised at how far 2 skeins is getting me. I'm alternating skeins for the back because I was worried about the hand-dyed yarn pooling too much. I shouldn't have a problem at all getting through the whole back with two skeins, and I might even have some left over for a sleeve. All that being said, the gauge is REALLY small, and I'm knitting it on size 2 needles.

So, I'm contemplating taking yarn and just casting on sometime next week for another tank top. But which yarn!? Which pattern!? I have three yarns to choose from in the stash:

Cotton Tank Options

1. Rowan Purelife Cotton 2. Sublime Soya Cotton 3. Rowan Calmer

I'm pretty sure I have enough of these for one of the following projects:

Of the four, the two that are calling out to me immediately are the first and second. Ravelry folks have knit these two in a variety of sizes and they actually look pretty decent on busty folks. The VK one I'm interested in because a part of me wants to see how many items I can knit from that one issue. The Norah Gaughan is calling to me because I'm dying to know how it's constructed and because it looks pretty awesome and might be able to be worn for a longer period of time than a tank top. At the same time though, the tank top might go quicker, and honestly, I think that's kind of what I need right now. What color, do you think it would look best in? I'm kinda of thinking blue.

Any advice?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

What I Took Away From the Swap

I was pretty good at the swap last weekend. I brought a lot of stash yarn (I realized I brought quite a bit more than I actually listed), and a lot of it magically went away! The key to swaps is that you should always bring back less than you take with you. For this swap, I really wasn't in much danger of taking back more than I brought with me, but since I'm moving at the end of July, I really was trying to take as little as possible.

That being said, of course I fell to a few pretties:

Laceweight silk

Some sort of lace weight silk. I'm not sure what I'll do with it yet, but it sure is pretty and soft.

Twisted Fiber Art Kabam!

Twisted Fiber Art's Kabam! yarn in Giles colorway. This might turn into a really pretty scarf, or, more likely since it stripes, it might turn into a nifty pair of socks. Maybe Rick from Cookie A's Sock Innovation (I'm kind of addicted to her book right now).

I also picked up some of my friend Malia's handspun yarn:

Malia's Blue/Green Handspun Malia's B/W Handspun
(click on the images to make them bigger on flickr)

At the party, we also dyed yarn. It was my first time dying at all, and I was really impressed with how the wool yarn took the dye. The yarn I dyed was leftover from my Over the Knee Stockings (the successful ones - Malia dyed the yarn I used for the unsuccessful ones). There's a before and after shot at the end of the post. First, we soaked the yarn to get it ready to take all the dye.

Yarn to be Dyedv

The Louet Gems I used is at the bottom of the pot.

Yarn in Mango Kool-Aid

I used the Mango Kool-Aid to get an orangey color.

Drip Drying Mango Yarn

Isn't it pretty!?

Here's that comparative shot I was telling you about.
Before and After Dying

I think I figured out a way to re-invent my knitting blog. Before Ravelry I used to post all sorts of project stuff. Since Ravelry, however, all of that goes onto Ravelry and then there's not much else to post about. I do a fair amount of fiber artsy stuff, so I think from now on this blog is going to be more about all other yarny stuff I do. Like the dying and swap party, moving the stash, knitterly books I read (I recently read Sweater Quest and rather loved it, so a review of that will be coming up soon), event recaps and such. What do you think of that? I guess if I have issues with knitting I'll still be posting them here, or any triumphs and stuff like that. I'm just having an issue keeping up with knitting and posting about knitting. Posting about knitting actually takes up knitting time, so I think I'll get back to the knitting now, and come back later with a book review!

Friday, June 11, 2010

What I'm bringing to the swap tomorrow

I went through my stash and weeded it out. I'm getting rid of a LOT of yarn. Granted, I still have a LOT left, but still. It felt so good to go through my stash and get rid of the stuff I don't see myself using anytime soon. Here's a list of stuff I'm bringing, so you have an idea:

A Denise Needle set that is missing one size 15 tip (I was using it as a cable needle when I was knitting the blanket for Beth and Erich and I think I dropped it on a Peter Pan bus to Providence).


YARN (in no particular order):
  • 1 skein of Knit Picks Stroll in Navy
  • Partial skeins of Knit Picks Stroll in Cocoa and Buckskin
  • 1.75 skeins of Misti Alpaca Chunky in teal
  • 1 skein of strange teal yarn
  • 3-ish skeins of Berroco Suede in grey
  • Partial Skein of Berroco Suede in kahki
  • 7 skeins of Sublime Cashmerino Silk Aran in Sage Green
  • 6 skeins of Mission Falls 1824 wool in green
  • 1 skein of Malabrigo Chunky in a dark green, black, blue colorway
  • 3 skeins of Rowan Denim in dark blue
  • 1 ball of Rowan Kid Classic in white
  • 1.5 balls of Rowan Kid Silk Haze in green
  • 1/2 balls each of Lacey Lamb in Rose, off white and pink
  • 1 skein each of Mission Falls 1824 in black and teal
  • 2 skeins of Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in Grey
  • a couple skeins of strange mohair in different colors
  • 1/2 skeins of Lamb's Pride Bulky in Blue and Raspberry
  • Several Skeins of Karabella Aurora 4 (I don't really want to know - this is from the original attempt at the over the knee stockings)
  • 3/4 of a ball of Rowan Calmer in Navy Blue
  • 2 balls of JoJo Land Harmony

This has freed up space in the sweater box and in the box of pretty. Actually, that's mostly because at the bottom of the box of pretty is where I generally keep odd balls. Check out Yarn 365 for an interesting oddball photo. So, if Stan's reading this, buddy, at least know that I tried to whittle down the stash. There's a lot of yarn on that list up there.

Also, check out the odd things I found lying around in the stash! How random!

Things I found cleaning out my stash...

An Alpaca finger puppet, a button from a bag, a stitch marker (!?! HOW!!??), a Paiette from a Sparkle Hat, and a ball band from some Sweet Georgia Speed Sock (Clapotis circa 2007!)

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

BEA 2010

BEA 2010 was recently held at the Javits Center. It was actually during the week (as opposed to on a weekend) this year which I think was great for publishers. The floor was actually pretty crowded, which was a great sign that having the show during the week is a good thing. I wandered around connecting with old friends in the industry and nabbed some crafty catalogs. In general, I found that there are a LOT less knitting books on the horizon this year than there were in past years, but that there are a lot more sewing books. I do, however realize that I missed a few publishers I normally hit up and while I didn't think that Interweave was there because they weren't with the group they used to be with, they actually were, and I totally missed their catalog. :(

I should also mention that I'm taking full advantage of the new Amazon Associates program that Blogger and Amazon have teamed up on. In return for my linking to amazon (which I do all the time!), if someone actually buys something from one of my links, I get a (small) cut. Why not, eh? Just wanted to mention it in the spirit of full disclosure. If it feels too pushy, just let me know. On the up side, the Amazon Associates program will totally liven up this blog post with nifty boxes of the books being reviewed (when they're on Amazon).

At any rate, here's a recap of what I've found in the catalogs!

$27.50 | October | Hardcover

I'm sure we all remember Barbara Walker's Knitting from the Top. While that book is an immensely useful resource, McGowan's Modern Top-Down Knitting gives Walker's book a bit of a face-lift for these modern times. The book is actually endorsed by Walker herself, a coup for McGowan. Modern Top-Down Knitting includes patterns not just for dresses, but also for dresses, skirts, tunics and accessories. This one is sure to be a captivating inspiring resource!

$27.50 | September | Hardcover

Go ahead, tell me you don't love the cover of this book. It's freaking adorable, isn't it?! The projects from Joelle's last book were really great. Somehow, I think that this book will be just as good, if not better. Personally, I'm ready to knit that hershey kiss hat for bunches of kids this winter!


$29.95 | October | Hardcover

I do love Amy Butler's fabric prints. I also have a love affair with bags. I sometimes even sew. So logically, I'm pretty excited about sewing some nifty Amy Butler bags from this book. I have found some of her pattens to be a little bit complicated, so I'm hoping that her bag book won't be as difficult as other patterns I've tried to make of hers. The description does say that the book includes only 12 basic patterns for bags, however, if you're familiar with her style, you might realize that those 12 basic patterns will be able to create even more different looks (26 according to the catalog).

All Wound Up (I'm surprised this isn't on Amazon yet)
$16.99 | September | Hardcover | Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

This is kind of a no brainer. If you knit and you have a sense of humor, you're obviously going to want to buy this book. It's really a shame that the book isn't listed on Amazon yet, because the cover is absolutely adorable.

$14.99 | November | Paperback

I know, I know, you have a knee jerk reaction to hate anything Ed Hardy. I know that having the sentence "Hardy's tattoo-inspired art is carried at stores ranging from Nordstrom to the Saks companies and is a regular favorite of cast members on Jersey Shore" doesn't quite sell it to you either (keep in mind that these catalogs are targeted towards buyers at bookstores, not the public). However, you have to admit that tattoo art makes a much better cross stitch design than those lame Laura Ashley flowers. I'm not going to lie, this is totally going on my wish list. I can totally see having some sort of Ed Hardy cross stitch pattern framed in my bathroom. I also need to mention for your stitchers out there that there's a similar Manga Cross stitch book out there!


$17.95 | November | Paperback

You may be thinking I reviewed this last year. As things are so often the case in publishing, this book seems to have been delayed. More time on the book, however, means it's going to be one awesome book though, right? I know I use her first book constantly to refer to techniques for the basics. I'm hoping this will be an amazing reference of advanced techniques I can refer back to like the first book.


$18.95 | October | Paperback

So, the first One-Skein Wonders
book was rather meh. I did end up buying 101 Designer One-Skein Wonders: A world of possibilities inspired by just one skein and thoroughly enjoyed it (I know it's silly, but I still can't wait to knit something from it - there are many contenders). I must say that with all this sock yarn I've accumulated, even though I love knitting socks, it'll be great to get some other ideas as to how to use it. I'm really looking forward to perusing this book and hope to make some awesome things out of it!


$22.99 | October | Paperback

I'm not sure about this one. It seems to be rather short and is somewhat expensive. I am, however, totally in love with one of the sweaters I see on the spreads here. A massive cowl with ribbing that changes around the waist.

$22.99 | November | Paperback with Flaps

I recently read Sweater Quest: My Year of Knitting Dangerously, which is about the author's quest to complete an Alice Starmore Sweater. I was quite inspired by this book to knit an Alice Starmore Sweater actually (I'll write a review sometime soon!). However, since I haven't knit too much with color, it might be a good idea to practice first. I have loved each of Melissa Leapman's previous books on cables. I tend to gravitate towards her cabled afghan patterns. I'm very much looking forward to her modern take on color knitting. Also, if anyone's interested, it looks like her previous books on cables are available in paperback.


$19.99 | October | Paperback

I'm not a huge fan of knitting stuffed animals. I knit the Baby Bobbi Bear because it has no seams and it's all knit in one piece and there's really no sewing. That being said, all the wild animals in this book are adorable. There are several different spreads in the book pictured. Of all of them, I think the giraffe is probably my favorite. With all my friends having babies these days, I think this book might be a great investment.

$29.99 | November | Paperback

Lorna Miser, founder and original owner of Lorna's Laces authors this helpful book on dealing with variegated yarns. Now, I personally have a TON of variegated yarn in my stash. Certainly, I have a lot of sock yarn (which is a whole other book), but I do also have some bigger variegated yarn. It will be great to hear tips from the master of variegated yarn how to best show off the undulating colors of variegated yarns. There are also several projects specifically for hand-dyed and variegated yarns.

$22.99 | November | Paperback

I've been rather fascinated by dying. This weekend I'm going to a dying party actually, and while I think we're using Kool-Aid instead of hollyhock or indigo, these natural dyes are just as interesting and even more fascinating. The little bit that I've seen of this book (and understanding it's a revised and updated edition) certainly conveys excitement and inspiration, even though I'm not a big dyer.

Lunch Bags! 25 Handmade Sacks & Wraps to Sew Today
$15.95 | July | Binding TBD

You know, the bags in this book look so cool that I think I'd actually be inspired to bring my lunch more.


$29.95 | September | Paperback

This is a new and expanded version of Alice Starmore's previously published Aran Knitting which has been out of print for 10 years. The sell piece boasts 60 charted patterns for caps, sweater and shawls, as well as 2 new pattersn. It also claims that the revised work includes expanded size charts, as well as new photography and re-knitted patterns. I think you'll agree that this beats getting the previous edition somewhere online for $250-$300, right?

$24.95 | September | Hardcover

Calling all EZ fans. Dover's re-publishing the Knitter's Almanac in hardcover! There's a new introduction by Meg Swansen and a preface by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee! They've even re-shot the book so ti'll include all new color photos of the patterns that have been re-knit in more modern yarns. I hope this refresh might get EZ into the hands of newer knitters that haven't quite realized her awesomeness. It's taken quite a while for me to realize that patterns older patterns can be awesome and don't always look out dated when they're finished.