Friday, November 27, 2009

Giving Thanks

Greetings again!

I want to first say that I feel so rude for not thanking you all in my last post for your wonderful birthday wishes.  I really appreciated each and every one of them and I was surprised by the number of comments I got from people who had never commented before.  So thank you all so much!

Wanna see what my sister got me?

The Fall issue of Verena Magazine, which features an entire spread of men's sweater patterns that I love. I definitely recommend checking them out if you're a guy, or knit for guys.  You can flip through some of the pages on that link to see a few of the patterns.  There's one (okay, three) in particular that I really want to make.

She also included a nice little (blue!) notebook that I'll be using for the podcast from now on to take notes and such.

The notions case is from Fleegle's etsy shop, and it is absolutely fantastic.

I'm tempted to go out to buy more things just to fill it up!

What's that?  Oh, you want to know more about that fiber?  Sure!

It is two ounces of beautiful merino from, oddly enough, a bead store (or at least that's what I think it is) in San Diego.  You guys, really, this stuff is absolutely gorgeous.

It's in the "denim" colorway.  I have a question though.  I don't know if it's top or roving.  I mean, I think it's combed and it looks like all the fibers are aligned, but is it possible to get that color blending in a combed top?  It looks like something that would come off of a drum card, which is why I'm a bit confused.  Either way, it's incredibly soft and I can't wait to spin it up.  It's not at all like the other merino that I spun up this summer (in a good way), which looked like this when it arrived:

It took quite a bit of pre-drafting to get that to be spin-able...  However, this new merino feels a lot less sproingy and crimpy, I wonder how it's going to behave as yarn.  It's not at all compacted right now and I think it's going to spin like a dream.  ::sigh::  This is one of those times I really wish I had a wheel.

My mom also sent me some cute stationary from the Knit it Up etsy shop.

The one at the top of the picture, on the back, says, "...but I'm really thinking about yarn."

Thanks sister and mom!

Oh!  I also did some swatching the other day with some really pretty colors of Malabrigo (tortuga, bobby blue, and apple green) to potentially make a hat.  I love malabrigo hats.

Except, the problem is, the swatch ended up just looking like the 80's...

It no longer exists.  I am no longer tempted to combine those three colors into a hat.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

And The Winner Is...

Ok, so it's been over a week since my birthday, I think it's time to reveal who is the lucky recipient of the beautiful skein of malabrigo sock in the previous post.

I'd also show you pictures of my knitting, but I don't have any pictures of my knitting and I don't have time to take pictures of my knitting.  I honestly don't know how I'm even functioning at this point.  I just turned in my last final, which should mean that I'm done!!!!  ...but I'm not.  There's a project that I just ran out of time to do that my teacher was very explicit in stating that she would not accept late assignments, and then she emailed me later on wondering when she should expect to receive it?  My short answer was "Never", but she didn't seem to like that one very much.

Anyway, I'm only allowed to be on campus for 18 more hours and there's a lot to do before I can leave, so we'll see if this project actually makes it to the finish line.

I don't even want to talk about grad school at this point.

Oh!  The contest!!  I forgot.  Sorry!

The winner is...

Jacey!!!!!  Woohoo for you!  I'll send you your yarn as soon as: a) I contact you about an address and b) I have time.  The waiting will simply cause suspense and make its arrival all the more exciting, I promise.

Did I mention I finished my Expedition?  I even blocked it and everything.  He needs buttons and ends to be woven in, but I'm not going to do that until I get home.  I'm also ready to knit the heel on my second sock.  It's all sorts of exciting.

Some of you have been asking to hear me play clarinet - well now you can!  At the end of my latest podcast episode you can hear me serenading all you listeners with a movement from a Brahms sonata.  It's a good time to be had, for sure.

Back to work.

Monday, November 16, 2009


Today, November 16, is my birthday.  I am officially 22 years old.

I had hoped to have something profound to say in this post, some words of wisdom, some questions to ponder, but I have nothing for you.  I started a list of 22 things that I am thankful for, but I didn't have time to finish it.

I will be spending my day working on final projects and practicing for a grad school audition tape I am recording on Wednesday.  As you can tell by the fact that I'm posting this at 4am, this is going to be a long week and I don't really have time for legitimate celebration.  It would be nice to be able to take some time for myself to knit or watch a movie, but I don't know if I can squeeze that in right now.

Anyway, in place of any intelligent things to say, I would instead simply like to say thank you to all of you readers.  Thank you for your ongoing friendship and kind words.

As no birthday would be complete without a gift, I thought it would be fun to have a blog giveaway!

I picked up this beautiful skein of Malabrigo Sock yarn in the Persia colorway for one of you:

Believe me, I would get all of you yarn if I could afford it, but sadly I can't.  I've never actually knit with malabrigo sock before, but I hear it's wonderful stuff.

As seems to be common procedure, I will draw a name from all of the comments on this post and one lucky person will receive this beautiful yarn!  I will make the deadline a week from today - November 23.

Thanks again guys for being so wonderful!

Thursday, November 12, 2009


There are numerous things that you can learn from the above picture:

1.  My room is a mess
2.  Sometimes I take really terribly crappy pictures
3.  ...and this is the most important one... I'm so close to being done with my Expedition!  I just need to knit an applied i-cord along the neck, weave in some ends, give it a nice blocking, and sew on my buttons.

I thought that finding buttons would be a lot harder than in was.  I thought I had already checked my LYS a couple of times before and always came up short, but the other day I came across some that I really liked.

and yes, that is the actual color of my sweater.  Who knew?  I steam blocked that swatch and I really like the way it looks.  I'm going to do that with my sweater as well.

I was hoping to write up a longer post today, you know, another one of those long thoughtful ones, but I ended up doing other things.  Don't worry though, I already took pictures, so I'm going to write up the post maybe this weekend.

Instead I'll just show you my sock again.  I've only knit about ten rows since you've last seen it, but you've never seen it on my foot, so I thought I would show you what it looks like.

Alright, I've got some major work to do, I'll write again soon!

Monday, November 9, 2009

My Weekend Getaway

Doesn't that look wonderful?  I spent the weekend up at Bjorklunden, my school's "North Campus" with my clarinet studio (remember I went there last year with a few fellow knitters?)  The thing I really love about this place is that Lake Michigan is literally right outside of the lodge.

This time I didn't have nearly as much knitting time as when I went there to knit (shocking, I know), but I did still get a bit done on my Regatta sock.

I actually had forgotten the pattern back at school, but on Saturday morning I remembered that I had emailed it to myself earlier in the week and I was able to print off a copy.  I then finished the foot (I actually knit it too long and had to rip out a bit - see above about not having the pattern at first), and then I knit the heel.

...and then I ripped out the heel because I realized I had followed the directions for the smallest size instead of the largest (which, in this case, made for a longer, pointier heel).

...and then I re-knit the heel, but it looks just like the second picture, so I didn't take another one.

I wasn't able to bring my Expedition Pullover with me because I packed really lightly, but I'm halfway done with the second sleeve on that one, so it'll hopefully be done really soon.  (Although I'm also currently in my last week of classes before finals and I have to get ready to record an audition tape early next week and I have papers and final projects to deal with, so we'll see how quickly it actually happens.)

I was really lucky this weekend at Bjorklunden because the weather was very accommodating and allowed for very pleasant walks along the lake shore and through the woods.  I'm not sure if you know this about me, but I have a thing for nature, and I love to take pictures of it.

Really this is as close as I ever get to an ocean, and even this is extremely rare for me.  You should have seen how many eye rolls I got from friends because everything excited me and I kept exclaiming things like, "Look, it's the ocean!" or "Ooh, here comes another wave!"  They may think I'm easily amused, but I like to think more that I'm simply still awed by the natural world around us.

And I mean, really, it does look like the ocean (I think).

Although oceans maybe aren't normally surrounded by coniferous forests, but I don't know, I could be wrong.

While sitting on a rock ledge over the shore of the lake, I was able to do some early morning thinking in relation to knitting.  I was trying to be aware of all of my senses while I sat on the rock and knit, and I began to notice how differently I perceived my surroundings because of the fact that I was knitting.  Normally I would find myself gazing out on the lake, taking in all the sights, while listening to the birds and soaking in the smell of the woods behind me, but when knitting, my perception shifted to one much more centered around the auditory sense.  Instead of seeing the lake, I was listening to the waves crashing on the rocks below.  I then extended this to the woods behind; no longer smelling it, I tried to hear it - I listened to the wind in the trees, leaves falling, twigs snapping.  I then listened to the sound of my needles, the sound of the yarn running through my fingers.  How was I contributing to the cumulative sound of my surroundings?  It was a really interesting experience.

I also thought about where we bring knitting.  It didn't slip past me that although I was secluded in the north woods of Wisconsin along the shore of Lake Michigan, I still had knitting in my hand.  I thought about the places we bring knitting as a companion, as a source of meditation, as a record of memories - a documentation of sorts.  No doubt these socks will now always remind me of my experience that morning by the lake.  I then turned the question around, no longer was it "Where do we take knitting?", but "Where does knitting take us?"  I don't necessarily mean that only in relation to physical location, but mental as well.  I wondered, if I had been without my sock, how long I really would have spent out there on that rock.  Did my knitting allow me the opportunity to experience the world around me in a different way?  Perhaps it opened my mind to meditation, or offered enough distraction for me to not notice the chill of the rock, maybe it calmed me enough to allow my mind to be enveloped by my surroundings.  We all know where we take our knitting, but I'm curious, where does your knitting take you?

...and just because I'm hanging on to any hint of color I can find in early November, here are a few more pictures.

(and some strange residue left on a rock - I have no idea what it is, where it's from, why it's there, but I thought it looked interestingly like chains of crochet.  I'm assuming it's from some animal or plant.)

Take care!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I Told You It Would Happen

I used my extra hour last night to knit and now I can actually show you stuff.

Yesterday in the mail I received this beautiful skein of hand-dyed sock yarn from Liz of MacKintosh Yarns.  It's a new base yarn that she's trying out and she asked me to knit up a pair of socks to see how well the yarn wears.  How could I say no to that?

So yesterday I swatched, got gauge, and knit a toe.  It was my first short-row toe.  I quite enjoyed it.

I plan on turning these into Anne Hanson's Regatta Socks.  (I hope that's ok, Liz!)

I have also completed a sleeve on my Expedition Pullover and my goal for tonight is to finish the collar.

Now that a sleeve is done and I've tried it on, I'm really excited to finish this sweater.  (Sorry it's taking so long, Todd!)

I also had a 4am love affair with my Fernfrost, but that didn't last for very long because I was tired and eventually went and reclaimed my bed.  There wasn't enough progress to show here.

...and I'll leave you now with the last of my colorful fall photos.  Unfortunately most of the trees here are bare now, I took these pictures over the past couple of weeks.

Ooh, and on that note, I gotta go!  My school's concerto competition finals begin in less than an hour and I'm supposed to be playing in them - better warm up!  Happy knitting everyone.  (and happy November!)