Wednesday, July 30, 2008

FO:Cotton Bamboo Girl Tank

Pattern: Cotton Bamboo Girl Tank by Sara and Joelle Meier Rioux
found in Classic Elite Make it Modern
Needles: Clover Bamboo US3 16" and Susan Bates US5 29"
Yarn: Classic Elite Cotton Bamboo 6 skeins of Orchid Ice
Buttons from Joann Fabrics
The cotton bamboo tank is done and already worn to work today. I love it! I'm learning the hard way that I need a bit of negative ease in my garments. This tank is just a little too baggy and since I'm sure the cotton will stretch I do wish I had chosen the small size. It's no big deal, I can take the side seams in if I really want to. I think I'll wear it a couple of times and see what I think. The pattern is really easy and very well written, it was so pleasant to knit. Picking up stitches for the armholes while not my favorite part, made for some nice cap sleeves. I'm probably in the minority but I don't really like to wear sleeveless shirts to work but the cap sleeves are just enough to make me comfortable. The yarn is amazing. Soft, silky and not too heavy. The color is a beautiful mix of purple and pink, I wish the pictures could capture it. I absolutely love the cotton bamboo and I am going to get more of it I promise you. Perhaps a flutter sleeve top is in my future. This booklet is hands down my favorite pattern book and I'm slowly going to make everything in it. I don't have too much more to say about this, it was just a nice, easy, fun knit that I really enjoy wearing. The only slight complaint, it wrinkled during the day easily.

A nice shot of the very cool short row cap sleeves

And the buttons that are a perfect match, how lucky was that! Thanks to my husband who came with me to Joann Fabrics on our anniversary and helped me pick them out, what a sweety.

My sister's gift is all done in time for her birthday tomorrow, as payment I'll get some shots of her modeling it this weekend.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Pick up 711 stitches

That's how many stitches I have picked up in the last week. 355 to finish the cotton bamboo tank (now finally dry so photo shoot will come shortly).

196 for my sisters gift soon to be done. 160 stitches from the cast on edge to make the folded hem on my newly started Banded Peasant Blouse. I don't know why I didn't just do a provisional cast on so I didn't have to worry about picking up stitches. My hands hate me for blindly following the pattern. If you make this save your hands and do the provisional cast on. I'm really liking the Louet Merlin and the eggplant color for the band is so much nicer in real life, I'll get a better picture once I am further along.

I started Guinevere but totally wasn't following the chart so I had to rip it out. I am thinking of using that as an unofficial Ravelympics project but I'm not sure I can finish it in 17 days and I'm still not sure I want it in white. I know I have the yarn and should use it but I don't know. Anyway I am glad to be past the difficult parts of my projects and have some nice, albeit long easy rounds to work on.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

FO:Button Up Shrug

Pattern: Button Up Shrug from Classic Elite Make it Modern Kristen TenDyke
Yarn: Classic Elite Soft Linen a little over 4 balls
Needles: Denise US5 and US6

These are probably some of the most unflattering pictures of myself but I'm in a meh kind of mood. This has been done for a month but I just got enough energy to do the FO shoot today and get it out of the way. If I could keep this shrug on I would like it but the button holes need tightening and I'm not sure it will ever sit well on my shoulders. I guess I should have made the smallest size (I made a medium). I know what needs to be done, I need to rip out each end and make it shorter, then maybe it will be wearable. I really don't want to do it. I have to decide if it is worth the work and frankly I'm not sure it is. The shrug looked really cute in the booklet but the arms are big and I'm not sure it flatters my body at all. As far as the pattern goes this was a very easy knit but I don't like how loose the button holes are and may try another method if I were to make this again. The yarn requirement is way off which is annoying for such an expensive yarn. I have nearly two complete balls left over which is about $20. I don't see any finished ones on Ravelry yet so I'm not sure if it is just me, it will be interesting to see some other finished shrugs. I've been knitting like crazy lately so I should have some more flattering FOs to show very soon :) Now if you'll excuse me I have some seaming to do!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

WIP round-up

I'm a bit all over the place lately and my seriously slow computer isn't helping my blogging at all. I finished the button up shrug the day we left on vacation but still haven't gotten around to photographing it. Next time I swear. So let's look at the mess I've gotten myself into now.
First up the back and about half a front of the cotton bamboo girl tank. I love this yarn and I've been making good progress. I really want to finish it but when you are dividing your time not much gets done. Please mind my ghetto blocking station of garbage bags on the spare bed. Some day I'll get a real blocking board.

Next up we have some secret deadline knitting for my sister's birthday at the end of the month. The yarn is Mission Falls 1824 cotton in a great rusty orange I got when Yarns at Lace Wings closed. I love the color and I actually like the way this is knitting up but man is this yarn brutal on my hands. I'm getting as much as I can done a night but it's a good excuse to switch off when I start to feel hand fatigue.

In the car ride up to Maine I cast on for the Lace Ribbon Scarf but I stopped after 12 rows. It was easier to pick up my Leyburn socks during downtimes so this is stalled. I wish I had learned magic loop before I started those darn socks, I swear they'd be done by now rather than languishing in UFO land. I need to frog the first one back because the leg is huge so we'll see what happens there. Add to that the magic loop socks which you saw last time, arabesque which is totally failing the one hexagon a week goal, most of the back of my printed silk cardigan, and swatching. I'm hoping to reign myself in. I want to start socks for my husband and the banded peasant blouse for which I got gauge with the Merlin and then today I bought this. Now I don't usually go crazy and buy a pattern as soon as I see it during lunch at work but this was so so pretty. As of right now I am going to make it in white Louet Merlin I had earmarked for the dollar and a half cardigan but after swatching I'm not sure it will be a good sub for that. It'll be pretty plain but at least I can wear it with a bunch of stuff and the Handmaiden called for is just to spendy for me. We'll see. Hopefully I can make myself finish something before I cast on. It doesn't help that the pattern is printing right now.... I need help.

Oh, and the sugar plum yarn I won. It's so pretty, I'm thinking a scarf some day.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

New Yarn

I meant to get to this earlier but a raging case of poison ivy that requires steroids has had me sidetracked a bit. I decided to take a sick day from work today to adjust and I think by tomorrow I'll feel pretty good. Anyway, on to the yarn.

In Portland, Maine (which is a great city by the way) I stopped into two yarn shops. The first was Central Yarn Shop where I got some Lane Cervinia Forever for my first Magic loop toe up 2 at a time socks. I worked on these while visiting my inlaws for the fourth and I love it. I wish I had learned how to make socks this way first as I'm sure I would enjoy it more. They are moving along so quickly and once I am done, I am done. Love it. I am past the slip stitch heel. This was nice shop. The 86 year old man whose daughter now runs the business shared some nice stories with us so I had to leave with something.

Next we stopped at Knitwit Cafe a really nicely laid out shop where I got some Louet euroflax for a summery scarf, I think a wavy razor shell scarf maybe.

And last week I went a bit crazy at WEBS. Man that place is dangerous. I went a little crazy with the Louet Merlin but come on, it was like 50% off. I meant to only get it for the Banded Peasant Blouse from the spring 2008 IK but I also ended up getting some white for the Dollar and a Half Cardigan found in the IK magazine I also picked up. I also got some Frog Tree Alpaca sport for the White Witch Mitts and some Valley Yarns Huntington in Charcoal to make socks for my husband. I made him some before I knew what I was doing and they stretched out too much. Now that I know magic loop I can make him some custom fit socks, he's really supportive of my hobby and didn't mind going to all these yarn shops on vacation so I was to reward him for that. That and I still haven't cast on for that sleeping cap he's been wanting.

I also won a yarn naming contest! Sweet Paprika now has a yarn named sugar plum. Of the three people who suggested that I was the random winner so they sent me a skein which I forgot to photograph. You can see it in the link above but I'll show it next time along with all my WIPS, and as I am also suffering from cast-onitis there are many. Off to slather some calamine lotion on.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Trip Report: Falling Waters-Franconia Ridge- Greenleaf hut-Old Bridle Path

We got back this weekend from our trip to Bar Harbor Maine and North Conway New Hampshire. We had a great time and did some serious hiking. When I plan a hike I like to Google for trip reports, I find it really helps to know what you are up against so I'm putting this out there for anyone thinking of doing this particular loop. Get the AMC hiking guide if you plan to hike in the mountains, it's the best resource.

Bar Harbor was nice but very foggy, expensive, and crowded. I'm not sure I'd go back, it's a long drive.

The white mountain area in New Hampshire is my most favorite place in the US that I have been to. If there were any way possible for me to live there I would do it in a second. This was our second year there, last year we hiked Mt Washington and this year decided to do a classic loop including part of the Franconia Ridge trail.

After much googling :) I decided to send us up the Falling Waters trail. This is a great way up to Little Haystack. The trail gets its name for the series of waterfalls it passes on the way up. These give great rewards as you make your way up and give a good excuse to pause and catch your breath while taking pictures. The rocks can be a bit slippery so I like it as an ascending route but there were plenty of people who chose to go down that way and I'm sure it would be fine. No scary sections at all this way up and it is doable if you aren't in as good of shape as last year...

We did the small side trail to shining rock, a large wet slab of granite. It's pretty, if not that exciting.

We stopped for lunch on Little Haystack where the bugs were intense, then it was across the ridge to Mt Lincoln and Mt Lafayette. You are above the treeline for 1.8 miles on the ridge and it is fabulous. The trail is wide enough that it is not scary and the views even in the haze were insane. I read on a clear day you can see to Canada. The only downside to this route is that Little Haystack is the smallest of the three peaks so you have to go down and then up again twice to summit Mt Lafayette before beginning descent. After that last push my legs were really tired.

Then it is down to the AMC greenleaf hut where you can fill up water bottles (I filled up the two I drank on the way up) and grab some snacks if necessary. We didn't rest too long as we were getting tired and knew there was a chance of storms in the afternoon. You do not want to be above the treeline in an electrical storm so pay close attention to the weather.

Old Bridle path (not Old Bridal path as my husband thought. I stopped dead in my tracks when he said the trail must be easy if brides used to walk up it :) ) was an old path used by horses. It is a good way down as it has several rock staircases and isn't as slippery as the falling waters trail. It also gives you great views of the ridge you just hiked. Once back into the woods the trail is really easy, we had to rush our tired, aching legs the last 0.5-0.25 miles as we heard some rumblings of thunder but it never rained.

The round trip was about 8.2 miles and took about 7-7.5 hours. It was very tiring and intense but well worth it. Last year up Mt Washington in July we had to hike in pants and sweatshirts but this time I was hot in my long pants, I sweat more than I've ever sweat in my life. We saw shirtless guys and a girl hiking in a bikini bottom, quite a difference. Bug spray didn't help fend off the crazy viscous bugs which was the only downside to the trip. In my opinion this loop is more tiring than hiking Mt Washington because you go up and down a few hundred feet in elevation gain several times but it is worth doing at least once. Those unobstructed views and lack of car traffic like on Washington is amazing.

So that was the highlight of our trip. We stopped in Portland, ME on the way up to Bar Harbor where I got to visit 2 yarn shops. I'm making one of my semi annual trips to WEBS tomorrow so next time I'll be back with a yarn filled post.