Thursday, July 26, 2012

longing stockings

the day after i got back to the states from studying abroad in florence, i needed to cast on some socks. it was the kind of urge you just can't say no to. my hands and mind would not be satisfied with anything else. since it was monday, and my LYS was closed, i went to one the next town over, mockingbird moon. there, i found dream in color everlasting.

next step was to find a pattern to go with this colorway, tidal. i really wanted to keep up with an island theme, as my honey was on the mediterranean island of cyprus. i found this pattern, mermaidia by christine jeffery. it's a great little lace pattern, an easy to memorize 6 rows.

i basically just applied the stitch pattern to my favorite method of doing 2-at-a-time, toe-up socks. i cast on 15 stitches on each side, and increased to 33 on each side to have enough stitches for the lace repeat and to do a slip-stitch heel. i repeated the lace 12 times on the instep, and 12 times around the leg.

weirdly, the yarn from the center of the ball pulled out darker than the yarn pulled from the outside of the ball. not a big deal on socks, but i might be upset if it was a sweater.

this is the closest to the true color.
this is my third time using a dream in color yarn, and i like this brand a lot! this everlasting is a great 100% springy merino. it's not as thick as the smooshy, which makes it perfect for socks. i think it'd be great for a scarf like this one.

can you tell i love using instagram?
these longing stockings were bound off yesterday, and my honey comes home in just a few hours.  and here's another 400 yards to july's mile! 1.3 miles and still 5 more days in july!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

the january cardigan

i have been working on this sweater off and on since january. that makes it my longest project ever. of course, it could have gone much faster if i wasn't under any budgetary constraints, and didn't frequently cheat on it with the other 17 projects i've worked on this year so far.

thank you, serenity, for modeling this for me!
the yarn is koigu kppm, which readers of the blog and anyone who's talked to me about knitting for five minutes will know that it's my 'desert island' yarn. the brown MC is 2393 (10 skeins) and the blue verigated CC is P451 (2 skeins). i managed to get gauge throughout with US3 needles.

sewing up, before and after
the name of this cardigan is skipping stones, by mel clark, from koigu magazine #1. the act of skipping stones holds a very special place in my heart: on my first date with my honey, we went hiking, then for a swim in a creek near the trail, and he taught me how to skip stones across the surface of the still water. he also found me a heart-shaped stone that i've kept on my bookshelf ever since.

my favorite part of this cardigan? maybe...
 i'm so glad that this cardigan is finally done, my friends at knit night will recognize it as the sweater that i've been lovingly referring to as "that same f-ing sweater." so much stockinette! and so much sewing up! the sleeves took foooorever...mostly because i had to make them a bit bigger, and then mess with the decreases for the cap shaping.  including all those snaps! but totally worth it! it might have to hibernate in my closet where i can't see it until it's cold enough to wear it...

oh snaps!
apparently in a post a few months back, i counted using 3 skeins of this koigu... i'm not sure how accurate that is, for the striped side panels and the back... and i apparently never counted again if i used a skein in a specific month, so i guess i'll count the other 9 skeins here for july's mile! this sweater usually only got pulled out when i was at work, but i got a lot done on it during spring break in march while watching a lot of hockey games out at the ranch.

so july, you get another 1575 yards! now up to 1.1 miles! woot woot!

Friday, July 20, 2012

diving deep

i've succumbed to a bit of crochet fever recently! this adorable little guy is the deep sea diver by maffers

and i have to say, i'm glad i started with the squid first, because this guy was more of a challenge! especially the neck brace of the helmet, that took me a few tries to get the hang of (i think i was attempting to single crochet into the BACK of the chain, instead of the right way around).

the yarn is the same as the squid, more trilli from firenze! still loving it! though it does get a little splitty if you have to use the same bit 3 or 4 times. the helmet, gloves, and boots are color 20, the body is color 21, and the portholes are sublime dk color 276, some left over from this hat.

i used about 210 yards, bringing july's mile up to 374 yards, or .2 miles! stitching right along!

Friday, July 13, 2012

crochet calamari!

last week, with the skein of the purple trilli, i started my first crochet project!

(follow me on instagram: kkpwnall)

the pattern is Squid by Maffers on ravelry, who's got some really adorable designs! i think it was a great first pattern, it almost solely uses single crochet, with occasional increases and decreases thrown in. the increases and decreases are simply and perfectly explained in the pattern directions.

invaluable in teaching myself to crochet have been these videos by the Crochet Geek aka Teresa on youtube, that were recommended to me by a customer in the shop a few months ago. her videos and explanations are clear, and i love how after showing the method at normal speed, she shows it again in slow motion, so you can see it really clearly.

it really is purple like the above picture, somehow this one turned out blue!

i bought the e-book of the Squid and Deep Sea Diver, and i think i'll start on that one next!

oh, and this'll be 164 yards of july's mile!

Monday, July 9, 2012

lace cardi

this cardigan is the Celery Cardigan, by Veera Välimäki. i love what it does for the gorgeous kettle-dyed manos lace, especially the garter stitch sections. it's impossible not to like manos' colors! and the short rows were a lot of fun, though i did feel like i needed to do a whole section at one time so as to not lose my place.

this project took me two months of on and off knitting to finally finish (and still needs a name!). partly because i was in italy, partly because this summer has been incredibly hot already, and my hands tend to sweat anyway, and this would make the yarn tight on the needles, no matter how loosely i tried to hold it, and end up making me really frustrated when i couldn't get my stitches to move.

i also had a problem with laddering. it seems that i can't avoid it on cardigans that have markers separating the fronts and back, that no matter how tightly i pull the yarn across the marker, it ends up creating a mess. so i used purl bee's fake seam tutorial again. and it may have made it worse... i really hoped that it would all even out in blocking, but i've been having a hell of a time with that too. i got advice from my boss, from my mother, and from knitty, but it hasn't really helped. i lay it out on my yoga mat, and spritz'd it with some water, but i don't think it looks any different, and the laddering/fake seaming is still evident. this blocking didn't seem to make these stitches relax at all. does anyone have some advice? the yarn manos lace, and it's a baby alpaca/silk/cashmere blend.

i wrote a haiku to this lace weight cardigan:
two double fake seams
fingers crossed you will block out
messy, messy knits.

i might just stick to sock weight or bigger...

EDIT: i soaked it with some yarn wash for 15 minutes, and rolled it out in a few towels to get the water out, then layed it out for a few days. it seems to be pretty ok, but that seam is persistant. might just have to live with it.

Friday, July 6, 2012

april/may/june's mile

i made Cassy Dominick's Tuxedo socks from spud and chloe fine, a wonderful wool/silk blend that's delightfully springy! cassy's pattern is really great, with a stitch pattern that's easy to memorize after a few repeats. love love love the texture! (400 yds)

i also made up Stephen West's Dustland hat from st denis nordique. i added a few extra repeats to make it slouchy. i love this wool, it'd make a lovely sweater! (225 yds)

i used Vernoica O'neil's bourough pattern to make a set of convertible fingerless gloves for my fabulous study abroad roommate, nina. all the pics i took of them turned out blurry, hopefully she'll send me a good pic! (200 yds)

and finally, i finished Veera Välimäki's Celery Cardigan in manos lace. this gorgeous yarn was a gift from my family last christmas, and i love this color! (1095 yds)

so, out of 3 miles, i did 1.09! woo... in the mean time, i did have finals, graduation, and studying abroad in florence! i think that's a pretty good excuse ;) i'll just have to make it up with all the fancy new yarn i got from italy!

i apologize for the lack of action shots, my honey/photographer is abroad for another 3 weeks :)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

yarn from firenze!

before i set off for my month abroad, my lovely sister looked up some yarn shops there for me! (warning: photo heavy post! and rather drool-worthy!)

my favorite by far was Campolmi Roberto Filati at #19red Via F. Portinari (protip: when in florence, residences are numbered in blue, and businesses are numbered in red). 

the first time i went, i was so overwhelmed, i just looked at everything and bought a few skeins of sock yarn (plus a skein of worsted wool/acrylic and a set of needles to make my roommate some gloves). 

after that, i looked up projects that had been in my ravelry faves for a long time, and made sure to take down their yarn requirements in meters, as well as the needle size requirement in mm, as this shop didn't use worsted/dk/sport/etc like i'm used to.

it was a gorgeous shop! and the woman who helped me was so nice and understanding, and put up with my incessant questions about what colors were available, meterage, and cost. she also told me that at this shop, they import the wool from scotland and australia, and "places that have sheep." then, they dye it, spin it, and package it there in the shop! buying there reminded me of watching my boss buy from yarn company representatives that come around every few months. instead of wandering the shelves of yarn, i looked at color/sample cards, and then was brought the yarn when i had made decisions. and the price was none too shabby either!

i stuffed my carry-on suitcase full (along with some other souvenirs too)!

in no particular order, here's the breakdown!

this trilli is 100% wool, knit on a US 2 to 5, and it's got 150 meters per 50 grams. for a stateside comparison, i'd look at sublime dk in softness and sheen. and with this green, i'm going to make the Pomme de Pin Cardigan, by Amy Christoffers. this green was really hard to photograph, it kept coming out grey, and this blurry picture best captures the color.

i also got a skein each of purple, sky blue, tan, and brown in order to seriously learn how to crochet. i've had a few stops and starts in teaching myself, but i've long been enamored with the whimsy of these designs by Maffers, and i'd love to try my hand at them!

and i picked up two more skeins in cream and navy to make some totoro mitts from this formula by brella. they're just adorable! i might make them fingerless...

this sock weight yarn, baby irrestringibile, is a 100% merino wool, in gorgeous jewel tones! and at 400 meters to 100 grams, it'll be great for socks and cardigans!

paulie by isabell kraemer will be lovely in this gold and wine red!

i'll get just the simple, cozy, solid-colored cardigan i've been wanting from the Division Cardigan by Amy Christoffers.

i also picked up some svezia merinos irrestringibile, a worsted weight of 50% wool and 50% acrylic with 250 meters in 100 grams.

i'll make myself a nice Hendreary Hat by Ysolda Teague with this mustard and heather blue.

out of the same mustard, i plan to make the Levenwick Cardigan by Gudrun Johnston.

and, in a nice heather grey, i'll make the Creature Comforts Cardi by Madelinetosh

and last but not least, i got this huge skein of a cotton and linen blend to remake a sweater that i designed last winter (have i still not posted about that?)! i think it'll be great for summer!

my fingers are itching to start knitting with all this, but i can't decide where to start!!

what's your favorite yarn, brought back from a vacation?

Monday, July 2, 2012

a stitch-travelouge

last week, i returned to fayetteville from a month-long study abroad in florence, italy! i was studying art restoration, and worked on cleaning a 16th-century oil painting in the classroom, as well as restoring the guilding on a massive alter piece up five floors of scaffolding in a church in rocca imperiale, calabria, southern italy.

needless to say, it was a whirlwind! i had every intention to blog while i was abroad, but it kept getting away from me while i was visiting the uffizi, the accademia, the pietre dure, the pitti palace, climbing the duomo, finding the best gelato in all of italy, and a fabulous yarn shop! time has a curious way of getting away from me...

so, here's a bit of a montage of my favorite things i did while abroad! i took over 1500 photos, but i'll share a few gems here:
the church of santa maria del fiore, and the iconic duomo of bruneschelli: right down the street from my apartment, i walked around this awe-inspiring architectural marvel every day on my way to class. if you turn right down this street, you'll get to the yarn shop. if you go right around the dome, and take your next right, you'll find the world's best gelato.

there's also good pizza and wine if you keep going around, right next to the swatch store.

view from the top of the dome: quite a hike, but absolutely worth it.

there are great vistas all around the city. this view is from the bardini gardens.

spent a weekend in rome, and my roommate for the night took this awesome picture of me throwing my coin into the trevi fountain. you can see the coin if you look straight up from my hand, it's right above the water/winged horse's head.

the town of rocca imperiale, with a 13th-century castle on the top. it was the height of apricot and tomato season while we were there, and i ate myself sick on citrus fruit. the food here was some of the best i've ever had! i spent a week here with my classmates and professor, doing restoration and laying on the beach.

the church of st francis where we worked on the guilding, matching the colors with tempera paints.
the painting, freshly cleaned.

on the flight back, my can of coke was only a little taller than my small ball of yarn.

and i spent the night in a 'cabin' hotel room in heathrow. it. was. adorable. the word i came up for it in my sleep-deprived state: adorablesome.

stay tuned for the yarn i brought back with me, and what i plan to do with it, as well as a post about all the things i've finished in the past months!