Friday, January 28, 2011

Blue And Green - No Surprise

A very strange thing happened to me the other day.

I sat down in my floral couch (it's no secret anymore.  I can't even pretend it's anything but floral) and when I looked in my knitting basket, my Autumn Arbor Stole wasn't there.

For the past 19 months, that shawl has kept my knitting basket company.  But you guys, it's done.  I don't think my size 6 needles have ever been so relieved, but I was sort of at a loss about what to do.

I'll do a proper post once I take more pictures, but it does feel good to have that piece finished.

Now, I felt the need to start another lace project immediately, because it's not right to not have one of those on the needles at all times, right?

I have the yarn to start one of the patterns from Knitted Lace of Estonia, but I didn't feel like committing myself to such a long-term project.  I have that MadTosh lace that I posted about a couple posts back, but I'm still debating which pattern to use it for.

I was reading on one of Tina's blogs* about a designer I hadn't heard of before, and I loved some of her designs.  I even have some nice fingering-weight yarn that would work.

But then late one night I needed to start something immediately.  Do you ever get that way?  I just wanted to wind some yarn and cast on so badly.  I searched my apartment for the perfect indulgence and found myself happily knitting none of the above.

It's not even lace!  But it's just what I needed.  This is Stephen West's Blue Whale pattern, available only through A Verb For Keeping Warm's Pro-Verbial Club (or through a knitting sister in the club willing to part with the yarn and pattern) using their Luster yarn - 75% BFL, 25% silk.

Ooh, Ravelry tells me that the yarn what created especially for the club as well.

It does have a nice shine to it, and I'm excited to get further along in this pattern.

I finished my Westward hat about two weeks ago now, but I forgot to take a picture before giving it away.  The teal and black together looked too feminine - you'll see if I ever remember to snap a picture.

*On an unrelated note, I just wanted to put the word out that Tina is currently trying to raise some funds for a friend in need.  You can stop by her other blog to read about what's going on and if you feel compelled to donate, I know she would be incredibly grateful.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Birth of a Knitter

This past week I had the honor of introducing a muggle to the magical world of Knitting.  And not just any muggle, but my boyfriend the muggle (henceforth referred to as "The Composer").

He had previously accompanied me to a yarn shop and experienced first-hand the wonders of an LYS.  Hearing exclamations such as, "I just want to knit SO BADLY!" and listening to an entire store full of customers putting in their two cents about the February Lady Sweater in the commemorative edition of Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Almanac (I was explaining to him the importance of Elizabeth Zimmermann in our world), he seemed entirely enthralled.  There was also the wonder and awe that only a ball winder can bring to a muggle.  (What is it about guys and their fascination with those?  It must just be a gadget thing.)

He then asked me to teach him how to knit.  (!!!!!!!!!!)

I even let him use my ball winder.

The picture is blurry because he was having too much fun.

I taught him how to cast on and how to do the knit stitch.

I knew that he was hooked, but I don't think he realized it yet.

And yes, I do have a floral couch decorated with knitted and crocheted blankets.  You all knew I was an old lady at 23, right?

And look, progress!  I should tell you - that night he stayed up until 2am knitting on that swatch and I very distinctly heard him say "Just one more row..." several times.  We all know what that means, right?

The next day, I found this sitting on the table at school:

Yep, he already brings his knitting with him everywhere and takes great pride in showing it to everyone who happens to walk by.  He's doing a good job, isn't he?!  He (well, I) bound off that swatch and called it a potholder only to cast on for his first scarf during class this past Tuesday.

Yep, knitting in class.  He's hooked.

And that's how yet another cute male knitter was born.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Minor Stash Enhancement

Thank you everyone for such a warm welcome back to the blogging world!  I've really missed being here and I'm going to try to keep it up as much as I can now that a new semester is about to start.

Before driving back to Pittsburgh I had to stop one last time at The Yarnery, one of Minnesota's finest yarn shops.  (That's not an opinion, it's a fact).

I was a bit frantic when I arrived and started simply pulling skeins off the shelves left and right.  I walked in the door, grabbed the latest Vogue Knitting (I really like the Men's Fair Isle Cardigan as part of the "Chalet Chic" collection) and then continued to snatch things up that I had no use for.

Normally I buy yarn strictly on an "as needed" basis and was therefore quite appalled by my behavior.  I believe the fact that I was drawn to buy yarn simply because I wanted it means that the knitting bug has come back at full force.  I managed to resist most of the yarn piling up in my arms in the end, but I did go home with two skeins.

The first was a skein of Malabrigo Twist in the 'Teal Feather' colorway.  I have absolutely no idea why I bought it.  Heck, I'm still not convinced that "teal" is even a color!  But when I saw this yarn, there was no hesitation.

When I got home I remembered that I have a skein of Twist in black that I bought many moons ago and, correct me if I'm wrong, but I think they would be very happy together.

My plan is to knit them up into Stephen West's Westward Hat from Westknits Book 1.  Ooh, you know what'd be sweet?  It would be awesome if I could get two hats out of these skeins and reverse the colors.  I'll have to see once the first hat is finished.

The second skein I bought was Madelinetosh Tosh Lace.

The 'Tart' colorway jumped out at me as soon as I walked in the door.  I've never knit with Madtosh before and although the color is gorgeous, the yarn definitely has that superwash-y feel to it.  With only 950 yards, I haven't picked a pattern yet.  Any suggestions?  I'm thinking I may even try to design my own, but that could end in disaster and I don't have much time these days to sit around and sketch things out.

It's very pretty though, no?