Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Road Trip....

Ive been busy planning my Spring knitting with a few new purchases. I know I have a ton of WIPs but there's something about Spring that calls a knitter to put a few designs into the queue. I've been meaning to start a real sweater but haven't found the right pattern until now. My friend Bruce fixed that problem with his new book, "Knits Men Want, The 10 Rules Every Woman Should Know Before Knitting for a Man". Bruce is an accomplished culinary author with 15 books already under his belt. For his knitting book, he designed the perfect mix of men's patterns and was fortunate to have Jared Flood of BrooklynTweed fame photograph all of the designs. His Ski Sweater is definitely my favorite and one that is making its way into my Spring queue. The book is lovely. It's a great read and turned out really well. Congratulations Bruce!

I also picked up Folk Shawls by Cheryl Oberle. It's a classic lace knitting book that will serve this hobbyist for a lifetime. I'm especially enamoured by the Kimono pattern since it's definitely within my reach. It's knit in one piece and extremely straightforward in its design. Too often shawl construction is impossible to understand and a deal breaker for me but this design is perfectly balanced. If you want to see a photo of it, head over the amazing Eunny Jang's website for a few photos!

In the quest to find the right yarn for this shawl, I went on a road trip yesterday to Sarasota, Florida. It's about a 90 minute drive and I heard a new store opened there called, A Good Yarn. First off, I never felt more invited in any yarn store than this one. They opened last Fall and their customer service and friendly staff were amazing. Go there, spend money and tell Susan I sent you! The local yarn store is a critical part of our craft and too many of our purchases are being made online. The store experience is so sensory, I don't know what being a knitter will be like if stores continue to close. End soapbox.

I didn't find the silk/silk-blend I had in my mind's eye but I did find this amazing sock yarn from Three Irish Girls. This yarn is going to be my first pair of socks on the CSM. I'm getting better acquainted with the machine and soon (I use this term loosely) it will produce actual socks in this beautiful colorway.

My last find was my new notion case. It's made by a company called Knit Happy and it's the bomb. If you didn't know, I love boxes, cases and bags. It holds everything except my double-pointed needles. They're ten inchers but crochet hooks fit just fine and it folds up into a cute little box. I could have lived without the logo but hey, a little free advertising for a new company goes a long way. Go to their website and find a local store that sells it and buy it there! begin soapbox, end soapbox

Once you open it, it contains 4 wonderful compartments to hold all of your notions. All of the stuff in this photo came out of three containers to fit in this one, amazing case!

While I was in Sarasota, I had lunch at their park/marina in the downtown historic district. At least I think it was the downtown historic district. The grilled grouper was yummy and the weather, started out poorly & really windy but some time between the grouper and the coffee, the most amazing blue sky appeared for the remainder of the day!

Thanks Sarasota and the wonderful women at A Good Yarn!

And thanks everyone for the comments on the slippers! Such high praise for such a simple project, you're all the best! They were received last week and my niece has proclaimed them a perfect fit!

Monday, March 29, 2010

I know it's been around for a few weeks but this ad is really cool and it made its way from the craft world to the mainstream. I just saw it on Towleroad. How'd that happen? Enjoy a little Monday morning creativity everyone!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Slippers & Surprises...

First surprise, YarnHarlot knits faster than I do. She claims on her blog that this project took her 1.5 hours to complete. Maybe time moves more slowly in Canada but in these parts it took about 3 hours which means she knits twice as fast as I do. I suspect she knits even faster than that especially since she's got the determination of a gazelle running from a tiger and I have the attention span of a flea. Did you see her Ravelympics Sweater? Holy Moly! Back to the matter at hand, seaming took another hour. In total, this project took me 4 hours (see how good I am at math)!

This is how the mess starts....
Second surprise...felting does in fact overlook the sins of terrible seaming. The first slipper was joined so poorly, I considered scraping the whole project. The second was seamed with a bit more expertise and in the end, wasn't too bad. I continued under the premise that in felting no one would know. "I can flatten out this super thick, bulky spot after it's felted, yeah, sure I can." If you've read my blog for any amount of time, you know I hate finishing. It's tedious and I'm not good at it. Enough said!

You'll feel better once they're assembled.

Third surprise...gauge actually matters. I know , I know, it's the basis of all knitting projects but with felting I always think I get a free pass. My tension was a little loose but I continued on since I didn't think I had a size 13 needle. Yeah, it's knit on really big needles (size 15 US) which is why it's such a quick project. I know, like the math, more earth-shattering news. I now know that the seaming problems were due to the over sized stitch size by not using the right size needle. I guess I'm a loose knitter, more surprises!

And then you'll feel even better once they're felted.

Final surprise...I really like this pattern. If you knit these slippers, search YouTube for "seaming french press slippers", the tutorial is excellent and takes all the guesswork out of the process (except for how her stitches line up so nicely and mine well, didn't). It's definitely an afternoon project and one that I highly recommend as a quick gift. I wish the photo was better, the yarn is a spectacular color and the sparkly, flower buttons are perfect for my niece!

This pattern is the French Press Slippers by Melynda Bernardi. It's $7 bucks but well worth it, not just for the pattern but for the tutorial on YouTube as well. Oh, one more thing, be sure to check out the minimal errata on her blog as well, it's very minor but helpful. Go Melynda!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Cove

If you haven't seen this film, you need to buy it on Amazon, rent it at Blockbuster or put it into the #1 position on your Netflix queue. I can assure you that if you don't need to pause this film several times to either be sick, weep or leave the house for air ... you're not human.