Thursday, May 28, 2009

Shoes... Ahem.. Yarn Under

I decided to take on the task of doing some spring cleaning. Of course, this meant organizing all of the yarn first. My past purchases from WEBS and The Fiber Fix were still in the bag that they came in, hidden in the closet somewhere. This was getting ridiculous. I needed to do something, and I needed to do it fast.
So, my mom was clearing out old things from her closet as well, and she bought something called "Shoes Under". So then I thought hmmmmm...I could put my yarn in that. Lo and behold, it worked.


AFTER - Holding 42 skeins of yarn, with room to spare

Here is a secret..... they are selling this thing at Duane Reade and CVS for 9.99. I am sure other major Drug Store chains have it as well. Just check the As Seen on TV section.

My friend Raphael came to my house during by ball-winding shenanigans. He is an architect, and was impressed with the design of the swift. He was even more impressed when he saw it in action, and thought it was an ingenious idea. He said that I was part of an "Underground Knitting Club". Kind of like a fight club, but just for knitting. LOL!!! Call it what you want, but he had to try his hands at ballwinding. Do I see a smile on his face?

So, after balling up that pretty blue MadelineTosh Worsted, I had to swatch and cast on for Stephanie Japel's Textured Circle Shrug. Lion Brand is doing a KAL and although I am a few weeks behind, I am sure that I will catch up without a problem.

Here are the details so far.....

My swatch gave me 5.5 sts/inch instead of the 4.5 stitches the pattern called for. Based on how the fabric looked, I liked my size 6 swatch better than the size 7, which gave me 5 sts/inch. (Whoa Nelly..... I actually did a swatch!!! Yes, It's true) Above the gauge counter is my size 6 fabric, and below it is my size 7. You can't really tell a difference in the picture, but trust me the size 6 fabric feels a lot nicer than the 7. The 7 looks a little "holey" to me.

So, I casted on for the Large size, even though I am a Small. The raglan construction of this pattern makes that very easy. For the S,M,and L sizes, you cast-on the same amount of stitches and just do the raglan increases to fit the specific size. Ever since I made Wicked, I have loved Raglan sweaters, so I think this will be a good one. Also, I am very happy that this pattern goes up to a 2X size. I have a lot of friends and family who are not as small as me, and I think this pattern is gorgeous, and I am happy that the designer didn't forget about them too. Every woman needs gorgeous clothes, regardles of their size.

I am also alternating skeins every 2 rows. I think this is working out very lovely for me. I am just a little worried about what I will do when I get to the sleeves. Any ideas??? I will kindly take any advice.
As for the Spring Cleaning..... I have managed to try on every pair of pants that I have and I realize that 17 don't fit. I put those in a "just in case I lose 10 lbs" bin. I haven't gotten to the shirts yet, because I got sidetracked making shrugs. LOL!!! Wish me luck!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Mystery Sock Madness

I am officially out of the Sock Madness competition, and I must say that is was an eye-opening experience. I learned many valueable lessons.
On Sock #1, I leared how to do an afterthought heel.
On Sock #2, I learned how to do Fair Isle colorwork.
On Sock #3, I learned how to cable without a cable needle on 2.25mm needles.
On sock #4, I learned the importance of loving the yarn that you use for a project.

So, while knitting my Ishbel Shawl as therapy, I decided to peruse Ravelry and came across The Mystery Sock from The Knitter's Brewing Company. Mystery Sock KAL details can be found HERE! I couldn't resist. I casted on on May 5th. The second portion of the pattern was released on the 5th, so I figured I wasn't too far behind, and with all that Sock Madness bootcamp training, it would be a piece of cake. Yeah, right!!!

Problems have arised, but I am determined to work through it.
First of all, the sock has 99 beads attached on each foot. So, I sorted through my bead collection to find some beads that were supposed to be part of the "Secret of the Stole" KAL from eons ago. So, I got the pretty beads, and matched it up with some stash yarn. Lo and behold, I find some Socks that Rock mediumweight in Cobalt Bloom. Yippee!! It is a harmonious blend of tans, purples, and pinks. The beads are pinkish and have a pearlescent tan shimmer, so it is perfect. Or, so I thought.

I rush to cast on, and grab a needle that I thought was a size 0. It turns out that it was a size 1. However the pattern calls for a size 1 needle....I keep reading.. the sock is 66 stitches. Well, I used a 0 on my sock madness #1 sock, and it worked out fine with my Socks that Rock. OK... cast on. (At this point, I still don't realize that I am using a size 1 needle).

26 rows later, a row away from the end of clue #1, I decide to try on the sock. It is way too big and I am astonished. So, I check my needle stash again. Duh!!! I finally find the size 0 for real this time. RIIIIPPPPP!!!! Cast on again.

So, I am happily on to Clue #2 today, and I figure that since I have a longer length of the sock, that it is worth giving it a try. Here are my results.

Not quite the fit I wanted, and the yarn feels very stiff. I double check the gauge. I get 9 sts per inch. The pattern calls for 36 sts/4 inches. Ummmm.. last time I checked 36 divided by 4 is 9. What is going on? So, I feel like I am about to cry, and wonder if I have any MMMMMMalabrigo sock yarn that will do the trick, since it is really soft, and thinner than the STR Mediumweight. Then I remember.... tadaa!!!.... I have some Archangel that has been sitting in my stash.

I hold the beads up to it, and look at how lovely it glistens.
So, I am about to embark on another casting on journey. Since the pattern calls for 66 stitches, and there are holes and lace, I have decided to use my size 0 AGAIN!!! Three times better be the charm. The 3rd clue comes out on Saturday. Eek!!

On a better note, I recently received a yarn order from WEBS. When I went to the actual store a few weeks ago, I took a pair of shoes with me to match up to any worsted weight I could find. I got the exact color in Madelinetosh's Worsted. The colorway is called Norway Spruce. I am thinking that this will be a Francis Revisited, and the leftover yarn will make a shawl. Possibly, a Springtime Bandit, unless I fall in love with another pattern. I need to have two options to wear my pretty shoes. Sadly, the store didn't have 8 skeins in the showroom, so they made a special order for me. I am so happy. My sock blues are a thing of the past.

On to some more fun news.......Yesterday I attended the Veet Spray On Sioree Summer Kick-Off event. I decided to enjoy a little facepaint since Veet's slogan is "What beauty feels like". Here is a picture. Of course, you know they had to decorate the place pink to match my personality. I loved it!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I'm Not Feelin' It!!

Sock Madness had the kickoff of Round 4 last Thursday. I was so excited to get started. The pattern called for a variegated yarn, as well as a solid color. The original designer used MMMMmalabrigo. However, I had other plans for my Mmmmmmalabrigo, so I just used something I had in stash. One day in the past, on a yarn binge, I bought Paton's Kroy Socks 4 -Ply and Stripes. Why? Why ? Why?

So, I used the Paton's yarn, and this is about as far as I have reached.
Back - red line is for the afterthought heel.
I like the pattern, but the yarn feels so rough to me, and I have lost all mojo on this sock. I think I want to turn the yarn into a bird's nest. When did I become such a yarn snob? Geez!

So, the magic number for the people that get through to the next round is 8. As of last night, there were 7 people done. I decided to end the torture and work on this. I don't feel like I really forfeited the competition. I feel like I just decided to make something that was more enjoyable.

Last night I started to work on the lace section of my Ishbel Shawl made put of Mmmmalabrigo Sock yarn in Solis.

So, I checked the Sock Madness blog this morning and saw that position #8 is taken. I don't feel bad at all. I am loving my Ishbel Shawl. It is so soft and Squishy.

The golden rule of life - Do what makes you happy!!!