Monday, June 25, 2007

Progress, progress

I’ve become obsessed with my Seraphim shawl. I just love the yarn, Jade Sapphire’s Cashmere-Silk. It’s a rich rich red called Ruby Slippers, sheer heaven to touch, knit with, and I’m loving the way the shawl is looking. It’s stockinette for the first half or two thirds, and then goes to these lovely lacy patterns. Shown here with my cat Snowball as the nice white background. (photo taken by my sweet husband). I’m over half-way through the third chart, with only the edge chart, and the edging, bind-off to go. The only problem is were having a mini-heatwave, and even with AC it's getting hot knitting this -- it's going to be a VERY warm shawl!

I’m also working on the Koigu Jazz Cardigan – I’m loving it too – but I knew when I bought the yarn for it how much I love Koigu – I always said it was my favorite yarn that Yarns International sold – and I liked most of the yarns they sold! The Jazz pattern has turned out to be quite easy – so it’s currently my carry around project. Socks are languishing right now – but never fear, I’ll be back to them soon. I’ve got to finish the Panda cotton socks for my friend Lorraine before July 13th – she’s off to Nantucket for two weeks, and will need socks some of those cooler nights there.

Back to the shawl.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Traveling and Knitting and Teaching

To start here’s June 6th socks on needles;

And then the finished socks, and the next ones on needles!

A long car tip gives LOTS of knitting time – and socks, for me, are the best thing to knit on the road. My Seraphim shawl is moving slowly on, but on our five day trip to Tennessee and Kentucky, I didn’t knit one stitch on it.

My husband and I have figured out two rules for the trip(s) to TN and KY (which we will have several of over the next year or so). For me – SOCKS only for knitting projects – I don’t really want to work on anything else. And for him, a MAXIMUM of TWO instruments. This last trip he took three instruments (2 banjos and one guitar), and I took three pairs of socks, two having one sock done, and my shawl.

Our son is in a special school in TN, and we went for an orientation and therapy session face-to-face. Here a photo of “my” menfolk:

We did one on Friday, and one on Monday – so between we drove up to Shelbyville, KY which is where my grandfather was born – and he was fourth or fifth generation in Shelby County KY. Unfortunately we didn’t get there early enough to do any research – everything closes early on Saturdays, and isn’t open on Sundays. BUT . . . . just across the street from the Library was a lovely Victorian building – in fact, the old Shelbyville train station, moved there from it’s original location three blocks away on the train tracks, and it had this HUGE sign (see below) that said YARN. And then, below that – MUSIC.

A lovely little store, Knit-Pickers, designed to fit perfectly with my husband and me! A very nice husband and wife run it as their retirement. He’s a former music teacher, and she was a teacher too. There’s nice room filed with a decent selection of yarns (bought enough yarn for four pairs of socks), and then three or four rooms with all sorts of musical instruments and connected paraphernalia -- we hung out there for an hour or two, and ended up with my husband buying a guitar! If you’re keeping count, that meant we drove home with FOUR instruments.

Besides Knit-Pickers in Shelbyville, I got to go to another yarn store in Knoxville, called Loopville. She’s only been open a year, but although small, she has a wonderful selection of yarns and patterns, and knitting tchotchkies. Again I got sock yarn (three pairs worth, one of the Regia silk, which I haven’t knit with yet), and some fancy stitch markers.

Meanwhile, I have taught the first of what I hope will be several, classes at A Tangled Skein in Hyattsville, MD – it was a basic cuff-down sock class. It was three evenings, each a week apart. I had them knit a worsted weight sock. I had four students the first week, one who ended up not coming back after the first night, but the other three did, and two of the three got their socks done! And the third, is a friend from church, and she had the week from h*** and no knitting time. But she knows where I live . . . . and she also comes to my Tuesday evenings knit group. They were a great bunch, and I really enjoyed doing the class.

And last Saturday, Yarns International the now web-based yarn store had one of their local sales in a hall, and I was there to help all day – they had a WONDERFUL new shipment of Koigu (if you don’t know Koigu – it’s one of my all-time favorite yarns). I really, really (I mean REALLY wasn’t going to buy any more – I’ve got lots ---) buuuuuut the yarns are all “hand-dyed spaced-dyed,” and the colors are incredible, and different from batch to batch – and from shipment to shipment. Yarns International has stocked Koigu since it first came on the market, and I worked in the physical store for eight years, and saw the shipments as they arrived. So Saturday, by the end of the day, I had fallen in love with one colorway, and found a pattern I really like, and ended up with enough yarn to make said sweater. I’m trying to be good and not cast-on until I finish some of the other projects started . . . .but, I’ve already done gauge swatches, and I’ve started the cast-on . . . . . .

But back to Seraphim. (And yesterday was Paul McCartney’s 65th birthday. Guess which Beatle was my favorite . . . well, he IS left-handed.)

Late breaking – I’ve cast-on and knit three rows so far on the Koigu sweater – pictures of that start next post.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Socks and shawls, and luscious yarn

I seem to be stuck on socks, and shawls. I finished the Claudia Handpainted silk Diamond Fantasy Shawl, and it’s lovely. Still haven’t blocked it, as time to do so hasn’t materialized yet. Hopefully soon. Photos to follow on that.

I’ve given myself a summer sock project, which I may have mentioned awhile ago – knitting enough pairs of socks for my two closest friends to be able to have comfortable socks for next winter. For my bestest friend, Nela, I’ve already finished two pairs, and am well on the way with two more – the first three pairs are toe up, but the most recent is cuff-down – and then she went with me to A Tangled Skein last week, and I had her choose sock yarn for me to make socks, so she’ll be getting that pair too. That brings her socks up to five pairs, so I feel I need to divert to my other closest friend, Lorraine –
to getting her more socks. I’d, truth be told, rather knit socks for Nela, simply because I can knit her WOOL socks, and Lorraine can’t wear wool. The new Panda Cotton from Crystal Palace Yarns is heavenly. It’s 55% Bamboo, 24% Cotton and 21% elastic nylon. I’ve got one sock knit, which unfortunately didn’t fit right, so I’ve got to rip back to the heel, and redo (it’s a toe up). THE REASON both of them need handknit socks is they have thick ankles, and commercial made socks are very tight, if not too tight on the ankles. They also are VERY appreciative of getting handknit socks – and they both been there for me most of my life!

Meanwhile, while I was at A Tangled Skein two week s ago, Cheryl (one of the owners), showed me some heavenly yarn – Jade Sapphire Cashmere/Silk. It’s expensive, and to make a shawl you need at least two skeins. I drooled a lot, but restrained myself. BUT I couldn’t stop thinking about the yarn. I really couldn’t. That was on Wednesday. Sunday afternoon I looked through my shawl patterns. I found one that would only require two skeins. So before I went somewhere else, I made a detour to A Tangled Skein and purchased two skeins. I wound one that evening when I got home, and cast-on for the new shawl. The color I got is called Ruby Slippers, and it’s a very subtle variegated reds and close to deep red violets. It’s GORGEOUS, and even more heavenly to knit with. I’m very pleased with the splurge – and the shawl is going to be wonderful. It’s a pattern my friend Hannah just finished recently. It’s going to be a shawl that goes with anything and everything! And nice and warm!

And no more new yarn of any kind for quite sometime – and no more new project s (except socks) until I finish several (like three to five). Except for the Teddy Bear sweater for a friend’s project. (And I don’t need to buy yarn for that, there’s lots in my stash!)

Update from having written up to here last week. I’m still going on the socks, but the Jade Sapphire Cashmere/Silk is soooooo seductive – I’m half-way on the Seraphim Shawl – just finishing the first chart (which comes after many, many rows of stockenette stitch.). Just love knitting on it. Not many photos this post – so I’ll close with a photo of my “kitten” Barnum (he’s only 15 months old, and won’t be FULL grown until he’s about 4 years old) sleeping among all my boxes of yarn – my stash!

One reason for so few photos is my camera is giving me grief – new one coming soon! And then a photo of our old lady dog, Kaitlin. It’s a really true photo of her now!

And a wonderful comment from my husband last night. As he was getting undressed, he said that the “commercial” socks he had been wearing were tight on his ankles, and he didn’t see any reason to wear them anymore – so he threw them in the trash, and said he knew he had much better socks in his drawer! Guess he’ll get the next pair after I finish the two pairs for Nela (both at the heel one up, one down).