Tuesday, May 23, 2006

In the aftermath of a yarn sale!

"The next knitting injury that comes through here, we'll be all over it like stink on cheese." ~ House

Project progress:
~ Garter rib socks are done, after claiming the lives of no less than four double-pointed needles, and are now with my mom to wear as she pleases!
~ Cabled hat is done (unfortunately, I forgot to get a pic), and gifted to my brother's friend's wife yesterday after her graduation.
~ The blanket is off the needles and, thanks to last night's Stitch 'n' Bitch meeting, two color blocks' worth of ends have been woven in.

Saturday, I inadvertently stumbled upon a sale at the local yarn shop. It was the first real yarn shop sale I've been to; all other yarn sales I've encountered were at AC Moore.

It took me about two seconds to realize that a local yarn shop yarn sale is as close to a craft store yarn sale as cashmere is to sandpaper. There was yarn everywhere. Stephanie's porch and living room were absolutely covered with baskets and bags of the stuff. For a moment, when I saw it, I literally stopped in my tracks. I had no idea where to start.

Finally, after looking, digging, feeling awesomely soft skeins, and running into people I know from Stitch 'n' Bitch, my mercifully small budget (not a phrase you hear often) allowed me to walk away with a decent amount of yarn, rather than buying everything in sight, which I inevitably would have done if I had more money to spend.

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Le yarn! The top three skeins are destined to become a felted bag of some sort, and the bottom three will be two-color, cabled socks. Note how the small budget also allows all sale yarn to be accounted for in the form of future projects!

Today, I gave in and made adjustments to the toes of the crazy colored socks.

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No matter what I told myself about the way the toes were, or how nuts it was to rip out perfectly good kitchener stitch, the original mistake I made on the decreases was driving me nuts. So, I decided to bite the bullet and fix it. Personally, I think they look better, and they're definitely more comfortable to wear. Now all I need is a pair of shoes that will show them off!

Socks are definitely my new knitting love. I thought I'd be cool with continuing on with my sweater-knitting plans, but somehow knitting sweaters was a lot more appealing in the winter. Right now, my knitting calendar is full of plans for socks, bags, stash reduction projects, and my first-ever attempt at lace.

Yep, that's right, lace. Feel free to call me crazy, but the alpaca yarn I bought at the NY Sheep & Wool festival last year needs to become something, and this struck me as just the thing. I'm hoping it, along with the cotton bag pattern for my mom, will show up in the mail tomorrow so I can get knitting!

Also did some stash management and sorting today. It's frightening how big a stash can get when you're not looking.

Mood: disoriented

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

First real, regular update!

Ladies and gentlemen, it is Tuesday. What's so special about Tuesday, you ask? I'll tell you: Tuesday is now the official Yarn Ho Blog Update Day!

Yep, after coming across a knitting webring the other day (while shamelessly browsing this infamous blog), I discovered, to my mild dismay, that I don't write in here enough to qualify to join said webring. And so the time has come to give you, my nonexistent readers, something more to read about. Or not read about, as the case may be.

First off, I must admit that I'm not the first in my circle of friends to bear the title "Yarn Ho". In fact, the first to be called this isn't even a person; it's the little red car of my friend, Al. I believe it was our friend, Amanda, who originally dubbed the car "The Yarn Ho", and the name has stuck. 'Tis quite a fun name to bestow upon things that tote yarn (like Al's car), and people who knit obsessively (like...well, like a lot of people I know).

Okay, now that Photobucket has decided to finish uploading stuff, on to le pictures!

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Garter stitch rib socks from Charlene Schurch's Sensational Knitted Socks. I first saw the book in a KnitPicks catalog, and ended up requesting it from the local library system. The setup struk me as strange at first, but after knitting sock #1, I think I'm in love. The toe and heel constructions are pretty much the same as the ones on other socks I've knit, but these somehow came out neater and more attractive.

These are actually cotton socks for my mom, who is terribly allergic to wool. (Yes, you unbelievers, there is such a thing. She can't even hug me when I'm wearing a wool coat without getting itchy.) They've been my "desk project", so to speak; something small that I can work on while waiting for websites to load on our terribly slow dial-up connection, or waiting in line at the grocery store, or waiting for the lovely ladies at the local Jiff-E-Mart to make my weekly sub sandwich. Needless to say, these socks have been around a bit.

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This is a more recent project (read: started on Friday afternoon) that's the result of a random yarn encounter. I was between doctor's appointments on Friday and found myself with about an hour to kill, so I popped over to AC Moore and started browsing yarn. Yes, I know, terrible me, cheating on my local yarn shop, but I was far from home at the time and desperately without anything to knit.

So, there I was, poking around at the recently-expanded yarn collection, when I came across this lovely, if you can believe it, 98% acrylic/2% rayon blend that's soft as a cloud and a pretty decent price. It has little flecks of color in it to make it appear tweed-y. I was in love. Due to my budget, I usually find a project first, and then the yarn, but this time was the first time the process has reversed itself. I saw this stuff and thought, "Sweater. No, can't spend that much. Baby sweater? No pattern. Hat! Yes, hat."

And so it is. Hats are something I can do without a pattern, and I'm hoping to give this one to my brother's best friend's wife as a graduation present. I threw in a few cables to make it interesting, and knit incessantly during the family Mother's Day gathering to keep myself grounded in the midst of my great-aunt talking about American Idol.

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And this...is my baby. What started out as a stash reduction project has turned into one of the largest things I've ever made. This is the Hearts & Stars Blanket from Zoƫ Mellor's Adorable Knits for Tots.

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See? Hearts and stars in moss stitch inside cute little stockinette squares, surrounded by moss stitch borders.

Technically, the blanket is supposed to be knit in all one color, but I didn't have enough of any one color in my stash to do that, so I thought, "Hey, intarsia would look neat." I, of course, didn't think this through and had no idea what I was getting myself into, but it's turned out quite nice anyway. This thing has been my baby since some time in early March, when I cast on and knit the first moss stitch rows at the Stitch 'n' Bitch group I go to on Monday nights. Since then, I've knit my way through the entire first season DVD set of House, MD, several new episodes of the same show, a couple episodes of Lost, and a viewing of Robots with my 10-year-old cousin. I've stuffed it in my knitting bag and toted it to Stitch 'n' Bitch every Monday without fail. Now, here I am, on row 29 of the last repeat of a 36-row pattern. Add to that the moss stitch edge and I only have 17 rows to go before I bind off.

Excuse me a moment. *SQUEEEE!*

Then I have to weave in all the ends. Ouch.

Once all that's done, this cute little (LITTLE?!) blanket will be making its way to the local chapter of Project Linus. Charity + stash reduction = a win-win situation for all involved. I wish I could see the little kid who gets it. That would be beyond adorable.

Whew, yet another reason why I should be updating this at least weekly: I won't need to go back and recap so much knitting! Not that I don't love yammering about my own projects, because, not gonna lie, I do. I shall return next Tuesday with more from the land of crazy knitting!

Mood: rushed