Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Expedition Update

I think I have enough progress on my Expedition pullover to show you what the yarn looks like knit up now.

I've knit the body up to the armholes and am now working the back separately.  The odd thing is that it only took me three days to knit the body, but I've already been working on the back for four days and I only have a couple of inches.

I owe it to the fact that with the stockinette body, I could knit and study at the same time, but now that I'm doing cables and patterning, I have to watch what I'm doing, which really decreases the amount of knitting time I get throughout the day.

This sweater is going to be fantastic though, and I think it'll survive anything.  It will definitely be one I keep forever.  Also, I'm still convinced that the color of the yarn knit up looks like watercolor painting.

Whoops, I have to run to dinner before a sectional, then rehearsal, then rehearsal, then a lecture on performance, then another rehearsal, and then practicing.  (I have to keep reminding myself that I love doing what I do, otherwise I sometimes forget.)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A New Arrival

Thanks to everyone for your kind comments, I'm feeling much better now (though the congestion and cough are still lingering).  The important thing is that I don't feel sick anymore.  Woohoo!

At the beginning of the week I got another package in the mail containing a sweaters'-worth of yarn from Todd (chiknitterguy on Ravelry) as a thank you for looking over his new sweater pattern, the Expedition Pullover.

There are actually six skeins of this Bartlettyarns 2-ply Fishermans Wool, but I naturally had to start swatching right away so I could have my own Expedition as soon as possible.  I am seriously in love with this pattern!  This "Light Heather" colorway is going to look really nice too.  I'm not sure if you can see, but there are little flecks of color all over in the yarn and when it's knit up, I feel like it almost looks like watercolor.

This yarn is woolen-spun, so it's very airy and is going to be extremely warm this winter.  It also still has the natural oils (lanolin) in it, so it's going to be relatively water resistant and it has a pleasant sheepy smell to it.

I'll show pictures of my progress as soon as there's more than a couple of inches to show.  (also, sorry for the return of crappy pictures.  There's only so much I can do with dorm-room lighting, a misbehaving camera, and a tight schedule.)

Oh!  I've had a few people ask me, which I guess means I forgot to mention it here, about the results of my ensemble placement auditions.  First I have to give a bit of a back story (a short one, because it's past midnight-thirty and I want to go to bed).  One of my really great friends, Paul, is also a senior clarinet performance major.  He and I have always challenged each other and really depended on each other for support, motivation, and that little bit of necessary competitiveness.  Ok, so there's Peter (me) and Paul, and we're both tall, skinny, clarinet performance majors.  People Everyone is constantly getting us confused, calling me Paul and him Peter, even our close friends.  (In fact, even Paul himself has greeted me saying, "Oh, hi Paul!"  Yeah, not kidding.)  We played on each others' Junior recitals last year, and for the past three years when our forces are joined, we have become the singular "music librarian."  Anyway, he and I - we're interchangeable.  So, placements went up, and what do you think happened?  Yep, Paul and I are both listed as "co-principal" for both the orchestra AND the Wind Ensemble (the higher of the two bands.)  So, essentially, he and I have fused into the same person, namely Pauleter, and we are the principal player of the orchestra and Wind Ensemble.

Ok, this guy has to get off to bed.

Monday, September 21, 2009

I Have A Cold

...and now you all know what my trash looks like.  You should feel honored.

Just a short update here as I don't have much to say.  I survived the first week of school (and even managed to stay caught up with studying AND practicing until yesterday!).  Things are busy and I barely have any time for knitting.

This is what I've managed:

That's 1 of the 14 pattern repeats of Fernfrost (it'll look a lot prettier when blocked, I promise) using some of the gorgeous cashmere from Joan, and some of Delain's second sleeve.  I have three more inches before I can do the sleeve cap.

Ok, I gotta run to orchestra rehearsal.  The nurse very kindly (note the sarcasm in my voice) notified my conductor that I will not be in rehearsal due to illness, but if I can physically get myself on stage in time for the downbeat, there is no way in hell that I would voluntarily miss a rehearsal.  ...and I email the Maestro to let him know just that.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Very Warm Welcome

Thanks for your messages everyone, I did make it to campus safely and have settled in quite nicely, but I made sure to snap a few photos of the blooming Dahlia in my back yard before I left on Sunday morning.

This thing is huge, it's got to be at least four feet tall.  As I commented to someone earlier, I have always been secretly afraid that it was going to lean over and eat me whole one of these days... but I made it out of the state safely, no worries.

It really was quite pretty though.  (don't mind the dead bugs - it really bothers me that we had that trap in my back yard.  You know how I am about bugs...)
(I don't know why this picture is so grainy, it looked fine before I uploaded it)

My post title refers to two things about my return to campus.  The first one being the heat.  Holy freaking quiche!  As soon as I say that I'm ready for colder weather to return, it decides to skip on back up the 80 degrees with enough humidity to make you think you're drowning.  Of course, it doesn't help that my windows face the perfect direction in order for the afternoon sun to turn my room into a sauna, but seriously.... this is ridiculous.  I may start begging for colder weather pretty soon.

The second warm welcome I received was an unbelievably generous package from Joan.  (You may know her as "Cookie's Joan" or the "Fairy GodKnitter", which is so incredibly accurate I can't even begin to describe).

So, classes started yesterday and between my classes in the morning and my placement audition in the evening, I was greeted with the most fantastic package I have ever seen.  Not only did it include wonderful "back to school supplies" like pencils, post-its (I don't know how she knew about my post-it abuse problem), T-pins, stitch markers, a notepad..., but there was also just, well, here - I'll show you:

You see, she said she was going to send me some cashmere.  I thought she was kidding, but apparently she was very, very serious.  This is a 50g/354 yard skein of Plymouth Earth Ecco Cashmere, and it is absolutely to die for.  I think I'm going to knit this one up as soon as possible.  I'm thinking Anne Hanson's Fernfrost would be nice (I know we have some mixed opinions about her patterns in our midst, but I love this one).

Continuing on, there was also this:

Yeah, more cashmere.  2oz./400 yards of Jojoland Cashmere in a beautiful Burgundy color.  This is the perfect amount for Fernfrost as well, but I think the neutral color yarn would show the pattern better.

...and then there was this 100g/600m skein of Handmaiden Fine Yarns 2-ply cashmere.  This is breathtakingly gorgeous and the color variation is impossible to capture in a picture.  This one I'll be saving for that super special project.

Isn't this just way too much to handle?  I can't believe that she sent this all to me.

Also, because it probably wouldn't be a good idea to wear cashmere on your feet, she also sent this:

A skein of Socks That Rock mediumweight (a yarn that I think doesn't even need a link because it's just that well-known) in the most perfect colorway I have ever seen - Terra Firma.  It is just too perfect for words and I can't wait to use it!

Joan, I can't thank you enough for this unbelievable package!  It will certainly bring me joy all year as I knit with these yarns and I will constantly be thinking of your generosity.  Thank you so much!  (as an aside, Joan has asked that I warn anyone who doesn't know her that she actually hates people.  Beware.)

Now, if only I hadn't forgotten my ball winder and swift at home (I know!) I would be knitting all of this up right now.  I feel so helpless without them.  I don't know how they even managed to leave my sight, but somehow they're still sitting at home among my DVDs and frolf discs.  Oh, water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink...

or if it suits you better, Oh!  Woe is me! (although the origin of that phrase isn't nearly as relevant, although I guess I'm not really sailing on a ship either... but I digress)

Thanks again Joan!

(Sorry Delain, you may have to wait a while for your second sleeve to get finished.)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Double Whammy!

Do people still say that?  (Did people ever say that?)

I have two FOs to show you that have sort of been done for a while, but not quite.

The first one is Little Colonnade by Stephen West.  He asked me to test-knit this pattern along with Herbivore, but he didn't publish the pattern until just today (after "normal" Colonnade made it's debut over on Knitty), so I couldn't show it to you when I finished it a few weeks ago.

The pictures in the pattern have all the edges blocked straight, but I wanted to see what it would look like with pointed edges.  Also, as my mother had already hinted that she wanted it, I thought the pointed edges would give it a bit of a feminine look.

I used about a skein and a half (maybe less) of Regia something something Kaffe Fassett designs something mirage color sock yarn.  Yep, that's what it's called.  (Here's the real deal if you're curious what it actually is, I used the "Mirage Twilight" colorway).  US size 4 needles were employed.

I thought the pattern was really interesting to knit, and I've never done double yarnovers before, so that was fun.  I didn't understand how they were going to work until I started knitting them (they work fine).

I know people say all the time that "sock yarn isn't just for socks", but I may make an argument about this yarn.  It's not soft, it's not lofty, and it sort of held it's shape a little too well with blocking.  It kind of shrunk back down and didn't maintain it's pointy points after I unpinned it.  ...but I'm sure it would make very sturdy socks.

Of course, this being a Stephen West pattern, it was very easy to follow, fun to knit, and the results are fantastic.  I can't wait for his next design (no, I have no idea what it might be, but I'm sure he's not done designing yet.)

The other project I have to show you today is...


The zipper came in the mail yesterday and late last night I spent 3 and 1/2 hours sewing it in to the sweater.

Here are a few things I learned from the experience:

1.  It is hard to pin a zipper into a sweater.

2.  Thread is tiny, so is the eye on a sewing needle.

3.  Zippers don't stretch like knitting does.

4.  Sewing needles are sharper than knitting needles.  And they hurt.

5.  Sometimes function is more important than presentation... quiet, I've never claimed to be able to sew.

and last but not least, 6.  I think I would choose buttons over a zipper on a cardigan any day.  Much easier, much faster, much less stressful.

And for the record:

Pattern: Franklin, from Queensland Collection No. 9
Yarn: Jo Sharp Silkroad DK Tweed (10 balls in Chestnut, 1 in Pulp)
Needles: US size 6

My brother wasn't around to model the sweater for me (he's in a play and is always in performances or rehearsals), so just imagine me, but taller, and skinnier, with longer arms.

...and with that, I have to go shove all of my things into my car and drive across Wisconsin.  I'm hoping to leaving in 7 hours, but I haven't really packed anything yet and I still have a few loads of laundry to do, and I need to sleep at some point in there too, so we'll see how that all works out.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I Think It's Ok

I saw the maple leaves in my backyard today and I thought, "Ok.  I'm ready."  I must have had some sort of switch flipped in my brain the past few days and now I think I'm mentally prepared for the onset of Fall and (inevitably) Winter.

I even pulled out a long-lost project to work on.

Bring on the colder weather.

As an aside, I managed to transfer my blog to the new account with no problems (thanks for the help guys!).  Now all I have to do is move my whole blogroll so I don't have to keep logging in and out of different accounts.  That one may take a while.

So far I've discovered that I don't like that Gmail doesn't mark emails as to whether I have replied to them or not, and I don't like that sometimes I get multiple blog comments in the same email.  It confuses me and I don't like it - sorry if I've missed yours!  I didn't do it on purpose.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

To Whom It May Concern

Hello all my lovely readers.

Just a quick message to let you know that as of today I have a new email for all things knitting related.  You can contact me now at:

YarndudeKnits (at) Gmail (dot) com

Sorry for any confusion, and I hope this transition goes smoothly.

Coincidentally, does anyone know if I can transfer full administrative rights to this blog over to that account?  All I've done so far is invite myself, in "YarndudeKnits" form, to become a second author for the blog.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Boxes, Sleeves, and Roses

Yep, I was too lazy to actually come up with a title for this post.  Sorry.

Remember George, the yarn I spun not too long ago? (named by Cookie - it's there in the comments.  Oh my gosh, that was over a month ago...).  I sent him off to a friend in Missouri in exchange for some fresh lavender and guess what came in the mail today!

The front was even more beautifully decorated, but I thought it would be weird if I shared both of our mailing addresses on my blog, so you don't get to see that.

There was more than lavender in this box, let me tell you.  In fact, said friend did a very thorough blog post about everything inside, so I'll direct y'all over to his blog to read about it.

In summary, there's a 1/2 pound bag of Icelandic top that he would like me to spin for him, two satchels of lavender, 1 of silver lemon thyme (very delicious smelling), 5 little skeins of cotton yarn, 2 balls of laceweight wool, and an adorable little cat named Pierre who wanted to come visit.  He'll be making appearances around the blog from now on, so keep an eye out for him.  Thanks KnittaPrince!

In other news, I spent the past weekend house-sitting a very large mansion.  (They like people to be there so that no one tries to break in.  You know, just in case they get past the gate, the security alarm, and the security cameras installed throughout the house and yards.)  Anyway, this house is large and creepy.  This thing freaked me out the most:

I walk past that staircase a lot and rarely have the lights on in that part of the house, so I would always see this mannequin out of the corner of my eye, in the dark, and I think it gave me a heart attack every single time I saw it.

While I was at the house this weekend, I made Delain a sleeve.  The air conditioning is always freezing in that house and I thought Delain might get cold.  Aren't I thoughtful?

I feel really cool when I wear him like this.  (Yes, I'm joking.)

...and sadly, also while house-sitting, I watched what I presume to be the last rose of summer come and go.

I don't think it's a good sign that I'm already sad to see the coming of Winter (yes, I know Fall has to happen first, but really that's just a mild extension of winter here...).  I don't think I'm going to be a happy camper come colder weather.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Good Evening, September

I won't even bother asking what happened to August, because I have a feeling that most of us are in the same boat right now and that no one knows.  There's no denying that Autumn is right around the corner, and I can no longer use "it's still August" as my ridiculous denial of the truth.

A few days ago I finally pulled out a pair of jeans, and just this morning I threw on my Cobblestone once again.  I am still refusing to wear socks, although I fear that tomorrow will prove to be yet another win for this colder weather coming our way.

Although socks have not yet made it back into my wardrobe, I did throw on this pair momentarily to show you that they are finished.

My brother heads off to the big, bad world of College on Thursday and I wanted to get these done before he left.  I actually think I knit the second one in less than 24 hours (which isn't as impressive as it sounds because I was using worsted-weight yarn and there were only 48 stitches in a round.)  I used size 5 needles and some leftover Cascade 220.  David's Toe-Up Sock Cookbook (rav. link) made these socks so straightforward to make and I could not be more pleased with the way they turned out.  They fit perfectly with just the right amount of negative ease.  I definitely recommend giving it a try.

With this project done, I have only to finish some secret knitting (hopefully tonight - don't worry, it'll only be secret for a day or two) and then I can actually get back to some projects I'm knitting for myself.  That's right - no deadlines, no eager recipients.  Just me and my knitting.

Of course, today another brother requested a pair of mittens to match the hat I made him last winter (using Malabrigo, I don't know how well that one'll turn out) and a Ravenclaw Scarf, but I'm not going to think about those for a little bit.  I want to at least finish poor Delain first.

So, with the start of September, I am seeing an end to my summer knitting and will soon be welcoming the larger woolen projects back into my life.  How about you?