Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Remember this?

I spent much of the weekend finishing up my longest-standing UFO: the Urban Aran. The poor thing has been sitting forlornly in pieces since March. At last, it is complete.

ua done
Pattern: Urban Aran, from the Patons booklet "Street Smart"
Yarn: Elann Peruvian Highland Chunky, "Spiced Wine"
Needles: size 8 (5.00 mm)
Modifications: Like nearly everyone else who makes this pattern, I cardiganized it. I also added a row of crochet slip stitch along each edge of the front opening to make the edges more substantial.

ua model
Unfortunately, it's also too big. Too bloody big. Gauge is such a fickle mistress. I'm not quite sure what happened. I did a gauge swatch. I even washed and blocked the swatch. Everything was good. Originally I started knitting the smallest size, but then I panicked when it seemed too small. Intending to wear this sweater as a jacket, I thought it would be no big deal to go up one size. Lesson learned. Oh well, it isn't unwearable, and this is my first adult sized sweater, after all. I couldn't expect perfection. (However, I did wish for perfection.)

It isn't all bad. My finishing was pretty good, and I'm particularly happy with the zipper installation. It wasn't nearly as painful a process as I was expecting. I just basted the front opening closed, pinned the zipper in place, and then hand sewed along the edge of the zipper tape. Then I ran another line of stitching closer to the zipper teeth on each side.

ua sleeve
That's one project done, but knitting progress elsewhere seems to be eluding me. The Chevron Scarf is only half finished. I only seem to work on it at knit night. I've also started some new socks, but they aren't interesting enough yet for photos.

Next week I'll be in Salt Lake visiting family, so I don't know if I'll be able to make any blogging happen. (There will certainly be lots of knitting, though.) Maybe I'll be able to sneak in one more post before I leave. In the meantime, I'll try to become more interesting.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Wollmeise has landed

One of the main reasons to order Wollmeise directly from Claudia: just look at this packaging.

wollmeise package
How could anything inside this lovely parcel not be wonderful? I admired it long enough to take this photo, and no longer. Come on, I knew what was inside.

wollmeise open
I had seen Wollmeise in person before, but I was still blown away. I think the colorway names are clear enough in the photo, so I won't list them. Each one of these is the dark/strong intensity. Wow. Just wow.

wollmeise close
Best of all, I didn't have to throw myself into the feeding frenzy over at The Loopy Ewe. Don't get me wrong, I do plenty of shopping at TLE, and I have nothing but praise for the service I've received. However, the shopping experience there can sometimes be, well, stressful if one is looking for something specific. Besides, I get a certain amount of satisfaction knowing my money went directly to the dyer who created these beauties.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

I am a spinner!

Yes, my friends, I can finally call myself a spinner (not to be confused with a Spinner—I won't be there for a while). Behold, my very first handspun.

first handspun penny
I spun this yarn from some very coarse undyed Icelandic top that came with my wheel. It made for some pretty easy spinning for a beginner like me. This 2-ply skein is about 150 grams, 350 yards, 15 wpi (approximately sport weight). It's hardly soft and cuddly, but I could not be more pleased. I made yarn!

first handspun singles
some leftover singles added for scale

Actually, I finished this nearly a week ago, but I realized almost immediately that I had overplied it. (Ack—beginner's mistake!) After mulling it over for a day or so, I decided to run the yarn back through the wheel to remove some of the twist. No one could have been more surprised than I that it actually worked. The yarn is now fairly balanced.

first handspun close
It's so hairy!

With that yarn finished, I decided to treat myself to something from the other end of the softness spectrum. I'm now spinning up some Ashland Bay merino I bought at Heritage Arts a few weeks ago.

ab eg singles
my blue period continues

Wow, after the Icelandic wool, this stuff is like buttah! Oh merino, how I love thee.

And now for something completely different... Here's a shot of the flowers the Professor gave me for our anniversary.

ann flowers
They have nothing at all to do with spinning, but they're so pretty! How could I resist?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Two years (plus seven)

Two years ago today was Columbus Day, that most romantic of holidays. At least, it was romantic in 2005. On that day, at a quiet spot in one of the canyons outside Salt Lake, the Professor and I stood up in front of an intimate group of family and friends and exchanged our vows.

I think that group of family and friends breathed a collective sigh of relief, because some of them surely believed a wedding would never happen. After all, the Professor and I had been together for seven years before we tied the knot. (No need to rush into these things, you know.)

The past two years (well, nine years) have been full of changes, but through it all I've always known that I can count on him no matter what life throws at us.

Happy anniversary to my best friend.

Friday, October 05, 2007

From the ashes

It seems as though these socks have been in the making for ages, so actually having them finished feels a bit unreal. Bonus: it's just in time for Socktoberfest!

mb fawkes done
Pattern: Fawkes by Gigi Silva
Yarn: Mama Blue Knitting Goods Merino Semi-Solid Sock Yarn, "Uniform"
Needles: size 1 (2.25 mm) DPNs
Modifications: I did straight ribbing between the lace repeats instead of the garter ribbing specified in the pattern. Why? No idea! I do like the way it makes the lace panels pop, though.

mb fawkes close
After browsing through photos of finished Fawkes on Ravelry, I see that I'm one of the few people who did not knit this pattern in red, orange, or pink yarn. Clearly my Fawkes is a bird of a different color. Or else he's very, very cold.

This is my first time knitting with Mama Blue yarn, and I quite like it. The yarn is soft and has a nice twist. While I'm not sure I would consider this to be a "semi-solid" colorway—it has more contrast than is apparent in the photos—it is lovely. It also seemed to have a bit less elasticity or "give" than a lot of other 100% merino yarns I've used. That's not to say it was unpleasant to knit with, though, quite the contrary.

I think it's now time to turn my attention to my shamefully neglected chevron scarf. There won't likely be any more photos of it until it's finished. After all, progress shots of scarves are almost pointless. ("Look at my scarf! It's six inches longer than the last time you saw it.")

Have a fantastic weekend, everybody!