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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

New Yarn Options?

I've been looking at adding to my yarn bases lately, so I've begged for samples from a few places and some packs arrived today so I wanted to share with you guys! I got about 10 samples, but I picked the nicest and/or most practical choices. I like to try to stick with superwash yarns for ease of care, but two of the three choices are NOT superwash, so keep that in mind if it's something that's an issue. Let me know if any of these appeal to you! I'm not going to do a poll (way too tired tonight for that), so please leave a comment real quick with a yay or nay vote for each one.

#1 100% Superwash Merino, Bulky weight, 120 yds. This yarn is really soft and squishy. The twist is not super tight, which allows for some of that softness and I can already imagine it being an absolute dream to dye and knit with.

#2 60% Suri Alpaca/40% Merino, Worsted weight, 220 yds. Um. This is the first thing I pulled out of the box because my knitter sense went WILD. No wonder what with all that alpaca! Also very soft, but a little furry thanks to the alpaca content. I'd wear it though. And drool all over it.

#3 70% Merino/30% Cotton, Bulky weight, 170 yds. I'm not 100% sure about this one. The cotton ply makes the twist a bit uneven. It's cool looking though. It's soft and lofty, but I'm betting that the cotton strand that's plied with the wool isn't going to dye, so it might be...interesting looking. I'll dye up a snip and see. I'm open to it if y'all like it!

I'm still on the look out for a different fingering wool/nylon blend, but I'm pretty happy with the Louet fingering and I'll be offering their sport weight as soon as they have more in. I'm not quite as wild about their heavier weights because the twist is just SO tight to me. I've found a superwash worsted that I'm happy with, so I didnt' post it, but you'll see it soon enough. I'll probably dye up the occasional bulky or worsted for the shop, but I'm thinking they might just be optional bases for custom orders.

Input, please! Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

Friday, June 13, 2008

pretty new friends

Oh hi! This is the first post from my new iMac. I *love love love* it. So much so that I don't want to download anything or create documents or even upload pictures. I want it all pretty in its pristine-ness for as long as possible. But since I have to break its cherry at some point, have a looksee!

It comes out of the box like they made it at Ikea. Flat keyboard, itty mouse and remote, cord and computer. Plug it in and go. One must make room for the requisite kitteh towels though so they can enjoy right along side. Molly approves. As much as she can approve of anything.

It's so shiny and pretty, I just want to pet it. The only negative here is the desk. The comp is too high for me at the top and too close to me at the bottom. I'm going to IKEA soon to have a look around. I'm thinking this desk would rock my socks.


Oh! Also, my CPH is coming along. I'll be starting on the left front this evening, then the sleeves when I finish that. It fits perfectly too, at least according to my crazy try-on attempt. This project makes me so happy and I've no idea why. Maybe because it grows fast.

I'll also be dyeing some yarn for the shop this week. It's been way too long. I have some new fiber samples coming soon so I'll have some questions for y'all about what new yarns you'd like to see. I'm looking for a different wool/nylon base and a few other things, so your opinion will mean a lot. Look for pictures and a poll soon!

p.s. If you're a music whore like me, check out Musicovery. I like Pandora a lot, but this site fucking rocks. Set it to dark and calm and have an emo boo-hoo fest, or set it to energetic and light and kick ass through a workout. L.O.V.E.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Yummy Weekend

It's always amazing to me how quickly weekends, holidays, and sick days can fly by, but work days, even when you enjoy what you do, can just drag on and on and on. I know this happens to everybody, but it always catches me off guard when it's suddenly Sunday night and I still have a ton of things to do to prepare myself for Monday. Thanks for sneaking up on me again, Monday. Love you.

This weekend was not quite as busy as the last, but I still managed to dye, wind, and package a ton of yarn for the Sock Club that's going out hopefully tomorrow, sell and package and ship my extremely heavy sewing/embroidery machine and all its accessories (YAY!), work on the Central Park Hoodie, and make a delicious meal that will feed us all week.

Meet Risotto with Wild Mushrooms and Peas from Tyler Florence's Real Kitchen cookbook. And my glass of Pinot Grigio. Yum. It was so good I had two.

A few years back Nate and I got into a routine of trying out recipes from the cookbooks we bought and making sure to only buy a book if it had a recipe we were POSITIVE we would make. This book is one of our favorites, along with Tyler's Eat This Book. We got incredibly lucky and found about five recipes that became instant favorites. This risotto is one of them.

Now, I don't really do mushrooms. I took some pretty heavy hitting botany classes in college and I have a healthy respect for fungi. I don't feel as though it belongs in my body (in general). However. This dish is so good, it was hard for me not to eat some for breakfast this morning. Granted, I do have to pick out the more obvious, larger mushrooms (portobello) since they don't cook down enough for me to wrap my brain around putting them in my mouth, but the sauce, peas and cheese make me so happy.

On the knitting front, I got to the armhole section on the CPH last week and I'm now working the fronts and back separately, which is kinda confusing at the moment, but I'll figure it all out.

"As the Knitting Grows." Would make a great soap opera title, eh?

I'm also working on a few swatch/shop samples for my LYS, Main Street Yarns and Fibers and making technique swatches for the knitting class I'm teaching this month. FUN! The best part is that I get to work with new yarn and knit little things I might not make for myself. Whee!

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

The Blame-it-on-everyone-else Cardigan

I took lots of pictures this weekend when I wasn't dyeing yarn that I can't show you, knitting, cleaning my bathrooms, throwing old stuff out, steam cleaning a chair, moving said chair up two flights of stairs, putting together a gym, playing WoW, and otherwise dealing with the ridiculous heat. I might have been a little busy.

I also might have ripped out some projects I can't bring myself to finish.

Lenore. (Sorry, Madge.) I love this yarn, love the pattern (not that I was doing the pattern stitches on the foot, but still), and yet I just can't work on teeny tiny yarn with teeny tiny needles right now. So I didn't rip, but I carefully stowed away for another day so it would stop staring at me from my knitting bag.

Socks I hadn't really started yet, with some Lorna's Laces in the Grumperina colorway. Same reason as the Lenores. The yarn is sooooo teeny. But soooo pretty. Another day.

I did NOT rip this pair. The yarn is Blue Moon's Little Bunny FooFoo in the medium weight (ahhh so nice). I've been trying new things with this pair of socks so I couldn't just rip them. I might put them away for a while instead.

Hello, short row garter stitch heel! So comfy. I learned this heel method in Lucy Neatby's class and it's so much faster and simpler than a heel flap.

As you can see, these are toe-up and I have so much yarn that I think they're going to be knee highs. I'll be working on these for a while. Love the way the colors are knitting up! No pooling! (It's all about the number of stitches cast on, seriously. When I do the increases for my calves I'll probably be singing a different tune.)

Instead of socks, I'll be knitting on this pretty regularly. I blame y'all since y'all were right, of course, so I finally cast on for the CPH in Cascade Sierra.

I started with the 36 bust size and about 3 inches into the ribbing I remembered that cotton doesn't stretch like wool does and that I'd had to make a rather large button band for my first CPH because it wouldn't close even with a fair bit of blocking. So I ripped and recast on the 40 bust size. It will be big, but I'm cool with that. Better big and comfy than too small.

I'm knitting the back and both fronts at the same time. Somewhat slow going (god I hate to purl big long rows), but hey, no seaming!

I'm about two more cable repeats beyond this. If all goes well I'll be finished with this by July. Sure it will be too damn hot to wear it, but I'll admire it (and pet it) and wait impatiently for October to roll around again.

It's refreshing to actually see some progress after an hour's worth of knitting! You guys were soooo right. I love this sweater.

Thursday, June 05, 2008



It's official. We're going to DC for the inauguration!!!!!!!! See my pretty hotel up there? It's less than a mile from the White House and the Mall.

Somebody pinch me. Holy shit.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

On to fight another day

Thanks so much for all the love, emails, comments and general good thoughts. Venting and talking with y'all made me feel so much better. It's good to know you're not alone in rough times, eh?

I've had an entire Tragic Cherry Woe Cake and it looks like I'm going to live. See?

I'm currently enjoying some chocolate from Germany (a gift from our graduate exchange student this year - she rules) and it's super rich and kind of hard to eat, but still very good. I'm sure I'll manage to choke it down.


And then this little guy smiles at me every day...

Oh hi, I'm a cute little Pokemon.

And of course I'm listening to some great music on Pandora. Makes for happy times.

I brought a list of things that will make me happy to work with me today and so I'll be learning about my camera and knitting if I can ever stop being picky and just choose a project to cast on. If I hadn't already made the Central Park Hoodie, I'd have cast on today, but I'd like to do something different and yet I want another CPH. Oh, the drama. So I'm searching Ravelry in vain when in reality I should cast on the damn CPH and be done with it. Gosh.

Hope everyone's doing well this Tuesday. I'm going to indulge in something gross and greasy for lunch, but I'll work it off later (hopefully).

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Blerg (a somewhat lame whinefest...please bring cheese)

(ok. what follows is kinda emotional and sad and i don't do that often. or ever, probably. feel free to skip it entirely. do not, however, tell me to find jesus. done. not interested, but thanks. i'm human, and maybe not as nutty as i might sound. i'm hoping i feel better just by typing all this. scroll to the next post for knitting!)

I'm feeling way antisocial lately. It sucks. Because at the same time I wish I could just sit down with someone and turn off my filters and totally be myself and fucking vent. About whatever. I don't do that very often anymore except with Nate and he's awesome but we both know we can't be everything for each other. That's what friends and therapists are for. I have no idea what's wrong with me. I should probably just call my therapist, but that costs money. Blerg. And I don't do it here because...well, generally that's not what folks come here for. And it's my choice not to totally expose myself and be unedited all the time (or at all). I've experienced the ramifications and it's rarely fun. But fuck it, I feel like shit and I want to talk about it. If you don't like it, move on.

Usually I keep my emotions in check because it can be so easy for me to just *feel* everything. Everything I'm dealing with AND stuff people around me are dealing with. Sometimes it's overwhelming. I have to tune out and disconnect because I can't stand being so open and susceptible to other people and sometimes myself. This is exactly why I don't watch movies that make me cry. It's hard for me to recover. Like today I just sat on the floor and cried for about an hour. For no good reason. I had this visual of lying on a cold stone floor in a cave drawing circles with my fingers and feeling very numb. Kinda random but accurate. It's like I let one teeny tiny thing in and the whole fucking world collapsed. And now I have to dig myself out and rebuild and junk. Stupid metaphors.

I can't imagine how hard it would have been for me to really pursue acting. It's hard enough just to deal with myself some days. How horrible would it have been to have to live with a fucked up character for 3 months or more? I would have had to have therapy just to stay sane. And to stay myself. It's way too easy to get lost in someone else. I think that's what ultimately kept me away. The fear of losing myself.

It's the same way with voice lessons. I feel SO completely exposed. So I try to be perfect, then I'm told that it's ok to make mistakes so I can learn from them. But it's not ok, cause here I am, totally exposed AND sucking. Sure some of that is the perfectionist in me, but most of it is about being completely raw and out there. Thanks, but that's what walls are for.

Maybe that cave is not such a bad place. I feel like I'm missing something in my life right now, but I've no clue what it could be. Maybe I've just been disconnected for too long.

Finally finished!

Oh hi. I have a new teeny tiny camera and I'm learning how to use it. The one I had from a few years ago was *impossible* and awful (Nikon something or other). I'm so glad I have a good one now (Canon Powershot SD1100). LOVE it. I'll still use my Rebel for yarn and other things, but this camera fits into my purse a lot better for every day camera needs. Like when I need to catch people doing something completely stupid. Or I'm just bored.

So I finished the Lelah Top while at the beach last weekend. Other than random sock knitting it's ALL the knitting I did the entire time, and I only had to finish the straps. So lazy.

Hi. I'm blurry sometimes.

I freaking love this top. Sure I had to rip and reknit three times to get the lace part long enough and then I got impatient and had to rework the boob section twice, but it was so worth it. I want to wear this thing every day. I used about 3 balls of Rowan Calmer by the end because of the lengthening and the straps, otherwise I would have stuck to my 2 ball projection. I found a brown ribbon at Michaels and wove it through tonight so I could go out and show off. I should probably block it, but eh, whatever.