Friday, June 29, 2007

We're off!

DSCF7153, originally uploaded by TheKnittingCook.

I've packed up what is probably way too many projects, and we're off to explore Germany. I'll announce shoe contest results on July 3rd. Have a fantastic weekend!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Thick lace

After trying to work the Nightshade singles into a thick version of "Cherry Tree Leaf" (or whatever that one's called from Victorian Lace Today), I finally gave up (too thick of a garter stitch edge for such heavy yarn), and bought Forest Canopy Shawl.

I found that when the pattern and the yarn agree, things go much more smoothly. This is what I accomplished just yesterday.
Forest Canopy in progress
Worsted/bulky weight yarn is shockingly quick to knit up.

Detail of lace pattern:
Forest Canopy detail
I'm a little bit worried that the shawl might be too dense to drape nicely, but I've committed to it now, and I'm just to going to hope for the best. This will be wonderful to throw around my shoulders in the dead of winter even just in the house. Thick and rugged, but certainly warm.

I don't know why I'm so in the mood for this knit right now, but I just am. If I stay like this, it'll speed right off of my needles.

I've been trying to get the Socks That Rock Silkie in Beryl to work with a nice pattern for my Sockapalooza Pal, but nothing yet. I'm going to try something else tonight though, so I'm hoping for the best.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I Sniff Yarn

Mmmm...the scent of fresh yarn, drying in the spring breeze.
Yarn out to dry

A peek into my weekend:

Cool Rain
Click here to see why I drafted the Cool Rain the way that I did (hover pointer over pic when you get there).

There was also some knitting, but it's all getting ripped and counting as a learning experience. Well, all except one thing, which I can't really tell you about yet.

Thank you for all of the shoe suggestions! I thought that all of my specs were so picky that there just couldn't be a shoe that good, but you've all proved me wrong. Wow! Where have I been? Now I have a new problem. I want them all.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

A contest, and a trip to the mall

In exactly 10 days is my 2nd year blogging anniversary. I've been trying to think what would be an appropriate way to celebrate, and as I reflected on my 2 years of knitting (because the first day of this month marked my 2 year knitting anniversary), I realized that I, apparently, love to knit socks. And love to wear them. However, a brief inspection of my closet confirmed that I have no shoes that will display handknit socks to any advantage.

My summer "uniform" is a calf-length skirt with a t-shirt or polo-shirt. I need shoes that will look good with that outfit (and a pair of handknit socks), and still be comfortable enough to wear as I walk around on cobblestone streets. My feet are flat, so support is a definite issue, and I don't wear heels anymore because of children and back pain (a low sturdy heel might be an option, but flats are probably better).

So what does this have to do with a bloggiversary, you ask? Because I'm turning this into a contest. I want to buy these shoes next month, because right now, I'm living in flip-flops. This is where you come in. Find me a pair of shoes that I can buy for myself online. They need to be under $100, in the colors of brown, tan, burgundy or similar, a supportive structure/cushy sole, and meet the above requirements for fashion. I'm a size US 8-1/2 or EUR 39. I love Mary-Janes (or similar), but don't generally wear clogs. No pointy toes, but no total square toes either. I'm 5'3" with big feet, so I don't want them to look bigger. =)

If you find me the link to the pair of shoes I decide to buy, you get some good stuff. I've got a little stockpile of some handspun, chocolate, gummies, and sock-yarn. Want it? Leave your links in the comments. Contest closes whenever I decide on the 1st.

Here's some pics that I took in a shoe store yesterday to give you an idea of what I like. Click for more details.

Shoe Inspiration

Yesterday, I went to a German mall for the first time. My husband stayed home with the boys, so it was just Daisy and I with my friend Jillian.
(This is on top of the parking garage)

Jillian is American, so between the English conversation and the familiar surroundings, I almost felt like I was back in the States again.

There were, however, some differences. Like this produce store tucked into a corner.

Mall Fruit

There was also a fresh pasta and cheese counter. You just don't see that back home, where malls are the land of the ultra-processed with nary a fresh thing to be found.

Jillian and I couldn't help giggling about these transparent boxer-briefs in the men's section of one of the department stores.

Transparent boxer-breifs in the men's section

(I claim no responsibility for ending up there.)

We visited my favorite store, H&M, and Jillian bought Daisy some dresses that were just too cute to pass up. Of course we had to dress her in one of them right away (she's my tiny baby-doll).

I also made a few purchases. I've been wanting a hat with a bill for a while, to keep out the sun while playing outside with the boys. The trouble is, I look terrible in hats. At H&M, I finally found one that suited me.


I've also been wanting some wide, fabric headbands for a long time, and keep telling myself that I'll just sew some up. I've got fabric, I've got elastic, how hard can it be to just sit down and make them? Apparently, too hard for me.


I adore this one, and don't regret the purchase. In fact, I think that I need about 20 more.

Of course, there was a souvenir yarn purchase. What's a trip to the mall without some new sock yarn?
Souvenier yarn

I know the colors are insane (my question is, what nation does this represent?!), but I couldn't put it down once I'd picked it up, so it just had to come home with me.

I finished spinning the first 4 ounces of Nightshade, and drafted out the second half of the batch.

That's been sitting around, however, because I remembered that I had this:

Cool Rain

And suddenly knew what to do with it. It's going to be cute.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Joy of Swatching

This past weekend, I spent some time swatching, and dreaming of new projects. I had just re-organized my stash (all the while fighting the urge to photograph and catalogue everything in Ravelry, in favor of actually knitting and spinning), and so I knew exactly what I had.

Here are the candidates for "next on needles".

I finally decided to do with some beautiful, discontinued Berocco Denim Silk (thank you Sarah!) that I've had for over a year now.
Sahara, cast-on

One of the Green Gables socks got finished:

There was also about an hour of knitting that produced half of a Meathead hat...but I ran out of yarn (some of my First Edition handspun that I haven't found a use for yet.)

Today the children and I went out shopping for a sunhat for Daisy. I only wanted to go to one store (the emotional effort of making it into and out of one store takes a good chunk out of the day, I assure you), so we finally settled on this ridiculously large, floppy swim-hat that makes Daisy look suspiciously like an overgrown buttercup.
Sun Hat
(I just realized that's kind of a boob shot. Whoops! I don't really feel like taking the time to crop it though. Ah well.)

I knit a little bit on Sahara, listened to the newest episode of Cast-On with my iPod, and the boys zoomed their cars and trucks down the big slides of our favorite playground. (Thankfully, there were no other children at the park to get hit by the flying vehicles!)

Random bit of news -- KnitCast will release a new episode next week!! I'm terribly excited; Marie Irshad has always been my favorite, and as the original knit-podcaster, holds a special place in my heart.

Well, all of the children are currently napping, so I'm going to spin while I've got the chance.

Monday, June 18, 2007


Yesterday we went to a Krauterfest (herb festival), celebrating garden life. Click on the collage for more details about our adventure.


This is completely random, but I just saw this fascinating and morbid bit on Amy's blog: Life Gem (turning a loved one into a gem. You have to click, you know you want to.)

Last week I received some lovely things from fellow fiber artists. To welcome Baby Daisy into the world, Abigail sent me these handcrafted stitch markers (I had admired her work a few months ago on one of my podcasts), which have Swarvski crystal versions of each of my children's birth stones:
(Notice also the adorable card she made!)

Click here for a close up. Abigail, these are so gorgeous. I love them. Thank you so much! As you can see, one is already missing from the set of six, because it's in a project.
(I can't tell you too much more about this project than this detail pic, because it's a test knit for someone.)

Then, if you remember from a few weeks ago (regarding the Green Gables handspun sock yarn), I had written about my life-long love affair with all things Anne Shirley. On Tuesday, this showed up in the mail:

Susanne (who's 4 & 6 year old boys suggested the name Leia), is the generous soul behind this gift. I was so excited and blown away. Thank you, thank you! I look forward to reading through the entire series again. (And I do still check your blog from time to time to see if you've added any posts!)

There are more things on the needles, but I don't have time to write about them at the moment. More in the next post!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Swap recieved, and Max turns 2

Yesterday, I was just about to blog something all miffed about how I am probably going to be the very last person on earth to see the inside of Ravelry, when I noticed an invite in my email. I couldn't wipe the smile off my face the rest of the day. Hooray for total time suck! Now I need to make sure that I still continue to actually knit...(holy freaking crap, that thing could consume every single second of spare time!)

This past weekend was Max's 2nd birthday! There was also a street fair nearby, so we ate out the whole weekend, and consumed vast ammounts of ice cream. What better way to celebrate someone turning 2? Click on the mural above to look through all the pics and read descriptions about German food, if you'd like.

On Monday, I went to the post office to mail out a box for my swap partner in the Knitter's Tea Swap, Samantha.
While I was there, I discovered a box from Sam waiting there for me! Here's what she sent:

Thank you so much Sam! I especially love the fiber (I've been wanting to try blending, and that color will be perfect for carding!!), the tea balls (I drink loose tea often, and for some reason have never bought a strainer or ball yet -- I just use disposable empty tea bags, which is a bit fiddly), and the chocolate....well, the chocolate is already half gone. Delicious!

A few other things arrived in the mail yesterday, but I'll blog about those in the next post. If you're on Ravelry, look me up: FaithAnne. I'll try not to live there...

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Do they rock?

Well, as it turns out, Megan actually does have a blog! And she lives here in Germany, has baked my banana bread, randomly bought the same color of blue Wollmeise on the same day that I did, knits lots of socks...

I have a confession. I've never knit with Socks That Rock. I hadn't even ever seen it in person, but my Sockapalooza pal indicated that she would love socks knit with some of that, so....I ordered three skeins, one each of Silkie, Mediumweight and Lightweight, for comparison. I mean, if I'm going to do a thing, I might as well do it right.

My pal loves dark green, so I ordered the Silkie in the shaded solid colorway, Beryl:

I thought that this was quite varigated for a "shaded solid", but I adore the different green tones, so I wound it off into a ball for my pal's socks.

I ordered the Mediumweight in "Lemongrass", a colorway I've seen on several blogs, and always admired.
Very unfortunately, although you can't tell in the picture, the yellow is actually neon. I was less than pleased, because (to me) it seemed to clash badly with the tan-ish brown and the olive tones of the green.

The lightweight was in a color that I was especially excited about. Hoofle Foofle looked like a bowl of yellow sunshine on the Blue Moon Fiber Arts site, which I was so in the mood for.
As you can see, it's actually shades of apricot. Now, if I had wanted apricot, this would have been totally perfect. I, however, cannot stand to knit with anything orange. It totally turns me off, and I don't know why.

I emailed the ladies at Blue Moon, and they were very gracious. Tina tweaked the color on the Hoofle Foofle photo to reflect more of the peachy tones, and I mailed back that skein and the Lemongrass for a full refund.

As far as the yarn itself, I still haven't knit with it (although I will be casting on with the Silkie soon), but I wasn't terribly impressed with the yarn itself. I prefer Lorna's Laces, Louet, Koigu, Wollmeise (oh Wollmeise ~sigh~). But, I know that there are a lot of Socks That Rock fans out there, so it's just a matter of my own preference.

But who knows? Perhaps I'll come around yet.

Well, on to other things. Especially for Becca -- here's a new dishcloth pattern that I came across, and it looks like a lot of fun: Pinwheel.

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Dream Socks

Answers to some questions from the comments:

Megan guessed correctly the yarn used to knit my mom's socks: OnLine Sierra Color #894 (click that link to buy it at half-price from Little Knits!)

Rachel (who just completed an absolutely gorgeous version of Swallowtail) wondered if the Green Gables socks are for me. Yes! I'm a gift knitter by nature, but I'm not entirely sure that I'm ready to give away handspun -- and then knit -- projects yet. And also these are just too dear to me. So yes, they're for my feet only. I'm almost done with the first sock of the pair!

This past week has found me at the wheel quite a bit. This here was done for the Sunday Spin-Along. (Click the collage to go to the Flickr set if you want more details.)
The last day of May, I got my Spunky Club fiber, and got to it almost right away!
The colors are so subtle and beautiful, but the wool is a hardy Coopworth, so I wasn't sure what I'd do with it. I was thinking maybe a shawl, and since the staple length is so long, I knew that it wouldn't be a problem to spin it finely.

I split the wool down lengthwise, drafted it out, and rolled it into two bumps.
I was thinking maybe a laceweight two ply. However, after spinning up a few yards and Andean plying it together, I knew that this wasn't the effect I was going for. The subtle colors were lost and the overall look was just brownish. Might be pretty, but I really wanted the individual colors to shine. Also, in such a thin, high twist yarn, it ended up being just plain wiry, and I didn't like it.

I knew that I was going to have to spin thicker. So I decided to go for a DK/worsted weight singles. I'm on the second bobbin of (probably) four.
This is a challenge to spin evenly, but I'm re-teaching myself the long-draw with a thicker singles, and it's quite fun! I've got 8 oz of this wool, so I'm interested to see how much yardage I can get out of it this way. Maybe a rugged lacy shawl? I'll see.

In other news, I finished my mom's socks.

Pattern: Priscilla's Dream Socks from Favorite Socks (Used to also be a free pattern download at Interweave Knits, but doesn't seem to be there anymore)
Yarn: OnLine Sierra Color #894
Needles: KnitPicks classic circulars, size #1.
Pattern notes: These are knit from the cuff down, and have short-row heels and toes. I love the end result, and that coupled with the all-over rib makes these a pair of nicely fitting, comfortable socks. I will knit this pattern again.

I've sent them off to my mom today.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

A sock yarn like none other

On Friday, I placed and order with Wollmeise. I've been seeing Claudia's sock yarn pop up in different spots all over blogland lately, and finally decided that I had to see it in person. (Just so you know, if you want to order any, you need to email her directly -- hoell-wellmann AT t-online DOT de. For us Americans this might not seem to make sense, but she likes to have personal contact with each of her customers, and her customer service is very good.)

On Monday morning, the delivery guy brought me a big brown box. Upon opening, I found this:
I'm a sucker for beautiful packaging, and this gorgeously gift wrapped parcel made my day. I was even more excited when I unwrapped it and found...
Click for info on colorways

That each of the colors were just as I had hoped (they're well represented on the Wollmeise site). It's impossible to truly capture this in the photo, but the colors glow and almost vibrate with saturation. The yarn itself is a firmly spun, glossy superwash wool, and it is unlike any sock yarn that I've felt thus far. I would love to know her base yarn and dying technique, because this totally blows everything else out of the water.

I'll review it further when I finally break into one of them to cast on. For now, they're strictly decoration only until I can get over my current infatuation with their looks.

The tiny sample skein on top of the package was of her single ply worsted. The color takes on that yarn a little differently. Not quite as vibrant, but still very beautiful. It's soft, and yet the staple length is long, so it should be pretty hard wearing. I'll definitely be purchasing a sweater's worth of that in the fall.

This is the current state of my mom's socks:
They look so funny off the foot, since they're totally ribbed, but I didn't feel like putting them on for the pic. (Pattern is Priscilla's Dream Socks from Favorite Socks, and also available for free download on the Interweave site, last I checked.)

And then here is progress on my Green Gables sock. I love how it's coming out. The color shifts are working exactly as I had planned. Handspun is always a bit of a surprise, so it's nice when that happens. (Pattern is Diagonal Rib, also from Favorite Socks.)

I've got spinning to show you too from the Sunday Spin-Along, but I'll save that for the next post. Have a great day everyone!


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