Sunday, February 26, 2006

Alpaca Extravaganza

The Alpaca Breeders Alliance of Northern Colorado is holding its 2006 Alpaca Extravaganza this weekend at the Boulder County Fairgrounds, about 15 minutes from where I live. Some SnBers from Boulder met up there: Alex, Jenifer, Meike and (Meike's) Alex. They had an amazing assortment of alpaca products and kitsch: from stuffed animals of all sizes and cookie cutters (yes, cookie cutters!) to lovely garments, roving, and a nice assortment of alpaca yarn. Although I was tempted to make many purchases, I decided not to buy anything. Perhaps that was the easiest decision since their were so many nice yarns and I had limited myself to $40 which wasn't enough for even 2 skeins of the yarns that caught my eyes.

Alpacas tug at my heartstrings. There soft coat, doe eyes, and sweet temperment make them an ideal candidate for a pet. Although, the cost is prohibitive at this point. (Adam, don't you want alpacas!) Even if I don't have alpacas, I think it would be very cool if Meike and Alex had some! Alpaca farming may suit them. (Meike and Alex, don't you want alpacas!)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Wednesday is here again!!!

No pics to post today. I've been knitting a bunch, but since I am working on this cardigan, which involves many, many knits and purls, I still have no FOs to share. Getting closer though!

You may ask, why would Wednesday be so cool to require three (3) exclamation marks? Typically this much excitement is reserved for exciting news, birthdays, and perhaps (but only perhaps) Fridays. For me, Wednesday is the best day of the week. It is my dependable stitchNbitch which is really quite amazing. Some Wednesdays we have upwards of 20 knitters stop by over the course of the evening! Other Wednesdays, we have a smaller crowd of 5 or 7 knitters! On occasion we have an intimate knitting group of 2 or 3, which is also nice! Some knitters come early and leave early. Some come late and stay late. There are also some die hards who come early and stay late. We are a talented group made up of beginners to experienced. Some of us don't mind synthetics, while others will only work with handspun. There are beginning knitters who really are just learning the stitches and working on their first scarf. There are strong technical knitters who work on complicated patterns. There are designers who have to change the pattern. There are cable, lace, socks, sweaters, scarves, hats, mitts, faire isle, etc. A bunch of us are contributing to a blog, snb-boulder. Check it out!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

More on Cardigan and Knitty Excitement

MORE ON CARDI: I realized after looking back, that I was having trouble uploading photos to blogger on the day I was going to post the very beginnings of my cardigan. In this picture, you can see the neck underway and a picture of what the designer's FO looks like. So, I have been making some progress!

KNITTY EXCITEMENT!: Jenifer got a pattern of a lovely summer swishy shirt accepted into Knitty! I'm so excited for her. I'm also excited because, guess who ended up being the model for the shirt! Me. Now Jenifer is a knitwear designer and I am well on my way to being a supermodel. Congratulations Jenifer!

Cardigan progress

This is the V-neck cardigan I am working on for my Knitting 2 class. If you browse back a few days you can see a picture of it when I was just getting started. Now I am below the raglan seams, working on the body and sleeves alternately. I've tried it on a couple of time and it is fitting really well. This is supercool!

TOP PIC: This is really a picture of one of my cats, Portia. Notice her poofy tail. It is her most precious possession. She struts around the house, showing it off like a newly engaged girl showing off her new ring! This morning, Portia was very interested in what I was doing with my sweater. Really, a project with lots of strings hanging off of it is one of her favorite things in the world.

RIGHT PIC: Oh, it is another picture of Portia!, but I think you get a better idea of how the cardigan is progressing. If you look closely under the cardigan's left sleeve, you can see another grey kitty hiding in the background. That is Dex. He is jealous that Portia already claimed the coolest spot in the house as her own!

BOTTOM PIC: This one is in sepia colors! Almost everything looks a lovely vintage when captured in sepia.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Flower Power

Doesn't this picture look like a yarn ice cream, flower cone and a chocolate cherrie on top?! Scruptious, I could eat it up! So here is my flower progress. I am doing better than I expected, but not as well as I hoped. Maybe my flowers should have been my knitting olympics project!

BACKGROUND STORY: I am knitting 150 of these flowers for my June 3, 2006 wedding favors (with some help from my dear knitting friends.) Imagine each flower is perched atop a chocolate colored box the size of a small box of tea. Each flower will be
fastened onto the box with the chocolate colored ends from the bobble.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Me & Michelle

The knitting olympics and winter olympics are going into their 4th day, but some of the knitters and athletes are not in their tip top, 100% condition. Sometimes what makes someone strong is knowing when to say when. Michelle Kwan made a decision not to compete in these olympic games giving another athlete a chance. I made a decision not to work solely on a lace project, because I need to give other projects a chance. My Knitting 2 sweater and my wedding favor flowers are both suffering from the Knitting Olympics.

Although I will still be knitting and watching the Olympics, it won't be with the same feeling. I know, and now you know, I changed events in the middle.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Lace Scarf Start

Yesterday, I went into Shuttles (LYS) to visit my Knitting 2 teacher. I was (and still am) at the point in my top down cardigan where I need to take off the arms and continue knitting the body, so I wanted another pair of eyes to see if it looks like this dear sweater of mine will fit me. Luckily it looks good. While I was there, I couldn't help spending some time looking through lace books and scarf patterns, hoping I would find THE ONE. The problem is, when I am working on my first of anything, it is better to start off simple, and leave THE ONE for later. After looking through all of the books and scarf patterns and talking to a very nice lace knitter for a while, I decided that I should not invest any money in more books or patterns at this time. I remembered that I had a pattern for a lace top at home which I thought would work well as a scarf.

At that point I started investing more time into finding the perfect yarn. Yes, the blue rowan (pictured earlier this month) might work nicely, but I thought a soft cream might work even better.


Yarn: Jaeger Spun 50% silk/ 50% wool blend
I chose this very fine yarn 310 yards = 1 oz. I purchased 2 ozs. This light vanilla color makes it very easy to see all of my stitches!

Pattern: Lace pattern from Stefanie Japel of Glampyre's Orangina. I want to make Orangina anyway, so why not perfect the lace pattern by making a scarf out of it first. My plan is to knit 2 halves and seam them so each end is scalloped. The lace pattern is really quite easy with only a 4 row repeat and purling on all the wrong sides. It calls for multiples of 9 +4, so I cast on 40 stitches for a narrow scarf.

Needles: US 6

I have a closeup of the lace, but blogger's photo uploader isn't responding anymore. I'll try posting it later.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Knitting Class / More on Lace

KNITTING CLASS: I am taking the Knitting 2 class at Shuttles. Each student chooses a sweater pattern out of the Knitting 2 binder to be worked over 4 class sessions. There is one class per week for 3 weeks, one week off (probably to get caught up on the knitting), and a final class.

Pattern: Knitting Pure & Simple Neckdown V Neck Shaped Cardigan (241)
Yarn: Cascade 220 in Ivory
Needles: US 6 32" addi turbos
Gauge: 40 sts = 4"

So far it has been going well. I really like how the pattern does the raglan sleeve increases.

LACE: Ok, so Jenifer left a comment that maybe I should use a sockweight yarn for my first lace scarf and save the kidsilk haze for when I have more experience. That got me thinking about what I have in my stash that would work well for a lace weight scarf. I have some Rowan 4 ply soft merino pictured here on the right in this lovely blue color that I am leaning towards. I think this would be perfect! Between the flowers that I am working on and the above sweater, I may not be able to start on the lace scarf for a month. That will give me lots of time to find the perfect pattern!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Creative Festival / Lace / Flowers

My friend, Meike, and I went to the Creative Festival yesterday. This is an annual craft show with a lot of quilting and sewing and a little yarn and knitting. I even saw some drop spindles which I am dying to try out.

One booth had a lot of fine lace perhaps knit out of alpaca which I was drooling over. It made me want to put in the time and effort to learn some lace patterns. I have some kidsilk haze in my stash that would make a lushous lace scarf. I saw the branching out scarf on knitty and thought that might make a good first lace project. What is a good first lace pattern?

I did start the Meadow Flowers Shawl (p. 22) from Knitter's Stash (ISBN: 1-931499-66-7) which you can see above. It starts at the bottom and increases to make the triangle, which leaves the project moving along quickly at the beginning and increasingly slower. This might not be a good pattern for me because n0w I have quite a few stitches on my needles, and I am intimidated by them. That is why I am thinking that a narrow scarf might make a better learning project than this one.

On another topic entirely, not even knitting related, I got blooms on my amaryllis! Every plant I try to grow that doesn't die from my lack of green thumb, will be eaten by the cats (esp. Dexter, see profile for picture.) So, someone suggested I try an amaryllis, that they were great for people who have trouble growing plants. Dexter did gnaw on it at first, but I guess it didn't taste very good, because he leave it alone now. Voila! I have some organic shapes and some lively color to brighten up my house. I have some other bulbs (I believe they are hyacinths) that I am going to start on next.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Ganglion Cysts

I developed what I came to find out was a ganglion cyst. My doctor said it might be caused by any repetitious activity that I do with my hands. Hmm, now what activity might that be!?! He aspirated the cyst, but said it may come back if I continue to irritate it. Has anyone else had a ganglion and been told that it might be caused by your knitting?

Been gone so Long

Ok, so I go a job! Not as much time for blogging and knitting, so I gave up the blogging and kept on knitting! My job is at the Boulder Public Library, and I love it. In addition to getting a job, I am now engaged to be married and am working on a wedding for June 3, 2006. Lots of appointments to keep and phone calls to make.

And if that isn't enough, I am taking social dancing lessons, having eye surgery, going skiing, rooting for the Steelers, keeping the house (somewhat) neat, making dinner, having some questionable moles removed and trying to maintain my relationships with my friends and family (most of whom live far away from me.) Sometimes I shower. I would love to write a novel, but I am not working on it now. Maybe after the wedding.

More about knitting.

With the help of my stitch n bitch (or should I say SNB) buddies, I am making flowers to dress up my wedding favor boxes. We went on a stash enlargement expedition to some Denver stores on MLK day, and I bought a bunch of different yarns all in shades of pink to match my wedding colors. Each flower has a chocolate brown bobble in the center. For the most part, we have been using the patterns found in Melanie Falick's Handknit Holidays. I also have a Nancy Epstein book with a bunch of flower patterns and Nisa from my knitting group used a crochet pattern to make me 2 beauties. Right now, I am shooting for 150 flowers, but I only have about 25 done. 150 knitted flowers should make a pretty impressive display!

When I am not knitting flowers, I am working on a top-down raglan cardigan for a knitting class I am taking at Shuttles. Not very far along with this, but it is going well, having fun with it. G0od KIP project since there is a lot of stockinette with a minor amount of shaping. Simple.

No pictures on this post, I know, but perhaps next time. Now I have to finalize the wording for my invites and enclosures, have lunch, bike over to stationer to drop it off (exercise), come back here, start chili for dinner, get ready and go to dancing lesson. Whew! I like being busy, but sometimes I wish I could spend a tad more time knitting!