I have lots to blog, but it’s been a really rough week. Someone in our extended law enforcement family passed away from cancer this week. He was a great man and we are hurting for his family. I know you’ll understand that I just don’t feel much like chatting right now. If you see a police officer, give them a wave or thank them for all they do.
Â I have a case of start-itis in the worst possible way.Â I want to cast on for a ton of new projects.Â There’s no rhyme or reason to this start-itis, I just want new new new.Â I don’t want to focus.Â I want to play.Â Luckily I finished this little baby sweater (or almost finished) so I can almost justify starting another project.Â I still need to make the little I-cord loop closures, but those will be done shortly.Â I needed to block it first in order to figure out just how long the closures need to be.Â And as long as I was blocking it, I might as well take a photo at the same time.Â
Yarn:Â Pagewood Farms Alyeska.Â One skein was perfect for this project.Â I did have one big issue with this yarn.Â I think it was a problem with this particular skein because I’ve knit withÂ Pagewood FarmsÂ yarn before and never had a problem.Â The yarn kept fraying and individual plys would break.Â Because it was superwash, I couldn’t just spit splice the ends together.Â I randomly added in bits of a pink and green ribbon yarn to jazz things up as per my Stashology class at Stitches.Â Every so often I used an overhand knot to tie on a piece of the ribbon yarn.Â I tried not to do too many rows of the ribbon yarn on the back of the sweater since I thought a baby lying on this wouldn’t like the feel of the knots too much.Â Normally I wouldn’t tie knots in my knitting, but with the ribbon yarn it seemed like the only way to really get it to stay and not unravel.Â We are getting some new baby cousins on my husband’s side of the family, so this sweater will go to one of the babies (we know it will be a girl).Â The other baby is still unknown as far as which flavor it will be, so I’m going to wait to knit for that baby.Â Both will probably be given lots of knitwear!
To reward myself for finishing a project, I decided to cast on for a sweater for myself.Â It’s Solaris, a free Berocco pattern, made out of Rowan Lima.Â I’m planning on doing a fairly big modification on this sweater, basing it on what someone else on Ravelry has done.Â I’m done with one sleeve so far and I am absolutely loving the yarn.Â It is making a beautiful fabric and it’s gorgeous to work with.Â It may become my new favorite yarn!Â Perpare to hear a lot about this yarn as I work on the sweater.Â I just can’t help but pet the yarn and admire it as I go.Â The yarn and the fact that I’m knitting something like this for myself feels like total indulgence.Â I’ve realized that I don’t knit for myself very often and that maybe it’s time again.Â
I also decided that Christmas is just around the corner and that I’ll need to knit a little something special for the girls.Â I’m making this sweater in pumpkin orange for Lily.Â She’s always asking me what I’m knitting for her, so I know she’ll love it.Â Plus, orange is her favorite color.Â Â For a four year old, she has an exceptionally long list of what she’d like Mommy toÂ knit for her.Â I’m debating about doing a heavily modified version for Addie.Â I’m thinking about making it more of a full length cardigan with long sleeves.Â It will probably be navy blue, since she’ll be able to wear that to school with her uniform.Â
I don’t know if it’s the change of seasons that’s making me feel this need to start new things, or maybe it’s just coming off the high of Stitches.Â Maybe the combination of wool fumes and the chilly nights are making me a little crazy.Â Am I the only one who wants to indulge in fresh from the garden tomatoes simmered on the stove and a new project?Â
I seem to be collecting photographs of finished items but just not blogging about them.Â Mostly because they just don’t seem to fit any one post particularly well.Â Plus, when my home life gets busy, my blogging takes a bit of a back seat.Â Suffice it to say that life seems to have sped up to hurricane force now that the girls are in school.Â We’ve got piano lesson one night a week, a garage sale to get ready for (yep, it’s round 2 for the summer since the last one was a dud) and a house that seems to dirty itself.Â Seriously, do the dirty socks grow on my living room floor???Â Why is it that we have an automatic dish washer and an automatic laundry washer, but not an automatic putter-awayer of any sort?Â I know my trials and tribulations are no different than any other working parent.Â And I also know that I am lucky to have a husband who helps out.Â So why is it completely overwhelming at times?
Enough whining.Â Here’s a bit of a random assortment of finished items.
1.Â Cruiser Mittens.Â Made from Misti Alpaca Sport weight and Rowan Kidsilk Haze held together on size 3 needles.Â I do these on 9″ circular needles because I don’t like switching needles all the time, that’s just how I roll.Â The combination of alpaca and Kidsilk Haze is wonderfully soft.Â The photo is of the unblocked mittens, I wasn’t in a rush to block them because they’reÂ a Christmas present.Â As I was working on these I realized that with just a simple heel added in, the pattern would make amazing socks.Â I even have more Misti Alpaca to do this with.Â Â Hee hee.
2.Â Basic Lined Mitten.Â Made with Malabrigo Twist on the outside and Berrocco Ultra Alpaca Light for the lining.Â These are the mittens I made for a friend in trade for doing some minor body work on my car.Â He’s been hinting that he’d like a matching hat for Christmas.Â I finished the mittens right after the Finish-a-long challenge ended so I couldn’t count them in my total.
3.Â Sweet Norwegian Baby Cap (not the original pattern, but there’s a link to the English version and sweet photos) out of leftover sock yarn.Â You might notice this is the same yarn that made a pair of socks last year for my sister and the troll vest.Â I bought this yarn at a fiber festival and promptly lost the sellers tag.Â I wish I knew where I bought the yarn because it is lovely stuff.Â It also seems to be a bit of a never ending skein since I still have a tiny bit left.
Now, I’m off to indulge in a bit of startitis.
It’s what all the well dressed trolls are wearing this year.Â What?Â You don’t have a well dressed troll?Â Or even a badly dressed troll?Â Hmmm…Â Well, let me show you what the well dressed trolls are wearing in my office.Â Because really, you can’t have a necked troll hanging around the office, it’s just not done.Â Cue the runway music please.
This stylin’ troll is sporting a green vest made from mystery stash sock yarn dyed with the pollen from one perfect flower in the deepest darkest regions of the forest.Â The vest is practically duster length to allow for full coverage of the entire troll body.Â The trim along the bottom of the vest is seed stitch. Each piece is painstakingly knit with teeny tiny needles and lots of fairy dust.Â The vest was made of 3 pieces which was seamed together to allow for greater stability in the full length garment.Â The vest retails for $99.Â Or the price of one lunch, depending upon the hungriness of the hand knitter.Â All that fairy dust and teeny tiny needles makes a person hungry.
In all seriousness, one of my co-workers asked if I could knit him a vest for his troll.Â He writes a story about a troll every so often and includes clues about where the little troll is hidden.Â This story is sent out to his family so that they can find the missing troll.Â The winner not only keeps the troll, but all of the troll’s gold as well (rumored to be $100). The idea of knitting a troll vest out of leftover yarn just struck me as funny, so I whipped up a little vest.Â Not knowing exactly how big the troll was, I made the vest long with extra large arm holes.
As for the yarn, I know I bought it at Shepard’s Harvest Festival 2 years ago and made a pair of socks out of it.Â I also finished a little baby hat and had just enough for a 2 inch vest.Â I would say I got my money’s worth out of this yarn.Â The pattern was one I made up as I went.Â I probably will not be publishing it as I don’t see much need for troll vests.
Day 2 of Stitches started off with amazing Italian leftovers from Rosebud.Â Yum!Â I think garlic may still be oozing from my pores from this experience.Â I drove over to the convention center for my Stashology Class.Â I was supposed to have brought stash yarn, but I had forgotten that bag at home.Â I grabbed some random skeins that I had brought with me; a bit of the leftover yarn from the mittens I was working on, sock yarn and some new yarn that I had just bought at the market.Â (Have I mentioned that the market was amazing?Â Because it was.)Â Christine Blysma started off the class by saying that we were going to leave all our preconceived notions about knitting and combining yarns at home.Â Boy was she right!Â We started making a mini skein of yarn by combining about 10 different strands.Â We wrapped them around our arms and then cut them off.Â Christine had us share yarn and add in surprising colors, including using some novelty yarn that people had.Â I’m not going to completely ruin the surprise of the class, but suffice it to say that this was not the easiest exercise.Â You really have to let go and let the yarn decide what’s going to happen next.
I admit to being a huge yarn snob, so I didn’t expect to use any novelty yarn.Â Now, I don’t think I’ll be going out to buy any fun fur or railroad yarn any time soon, but I did kind of enjoy using the ribbon yarn.Â In fact, I could even see a place for the eyelash yarn on occasion.Â I tend toward the subdued and plain, so this is a very very big step for me.Â In fact, you might just want to double check that you’re reading the right blog.Â Because, well, using novelty yarn and combining colors was just plain fun.Â I kind of felt like I had cut loose and that there were no rules.
Christine showed us some very classy pieces that she had knit, all using fun novelty yarns in combination with beautiful fibers.Â The little pop of color that railroad yarn can add to a fine merino can really make a big impact.Â Check out Chris’ patterns on Patternfish.com for some ideas of what I’m talking about.Â I bought 2 of her patterns and plan on buying the Omega Wrap pattern as well.
Chris completely blew my mind at one point.Â As we were passing around one of her jackets, one of the other students asked if she fastened her buttons onto the garment with pipe cleaners.Â Yep!Â She has found that by using a pipe cleaner with a shank button, it holds the button on more securely.Â Huh.Â Who woulda thunk?
So what did I do with all this new found knowledge and lack of knitting inhibition?Â Well… you’ll just have to wait until I can put the buttons on it to find out.Â All I’ll say for now is that it’s not on my Ravelry Progress Bars and it’s not helping any of those things get finished over on the right hand side.
As you can see, I’ve got a new look to the blog lately. I’ve been working on some changes with the help of my new friend, Lindsey.Â She’s a knitter, a blogger and a computer guru.Â She helped me get the blogroll back up and figured out how to do the Ravelry progress bars.Â Now it’s up to me to keep those progress bars up to date!
In other news, it’s the first day of school today.Â It was Lily’s first day riding the bus and as you can see, she was so excited she could barely stand still!Â It’s a little easier on Mom and Dad that they are riding the bus together in the morning.Â At least I know that Lily has her big sister watching out for her.
I started a Turn the Square hat over the weekend and ripped the whole thing out last night.Â I got to the decreases and decided I just didn’t like it.Â My gauge was off (always a killer!) and it was just coming out too big.Â I like my winter hats to fit snuggly and this one wasn’t.Â I decided that since I didn’t really have a good idea who this hat was being made for, it didn’t have the best knitting mojo.Â I had someone else in mind for the hat, and then my husband kept commenting on how much he liked the colors of the hat and how nice it was turning out.Â Even though he has 2 other hats knit by me (including one other Turn the Square), I decided this hat really should be made for him and it should be made with love instead of indecision.