Friday, June 29, 2007

Super Bulky Yarn + 100 Degree Weather

Yesterday I received my Twinkle yarn and wow. It’s great - it’s incredibly soft and luscious but well, it just seemed a bit wrong holding it in my hands with the type of heat wave we had going on. You wouldn't exactly call this summer yarn.

After I left work I headed over to Yarn Connection on Madison and I think about 36th street to buy some new needles. I need a 19 and a 17 for my two projects and not only were they godly expensive, take a look at that thing!

During the NBA draft (snore), I got a chance to spend some quality time with Hart and this pattern/yarn. I didn’t bother swatching. The reason why is because I checked out the other 6-7 FOs for this project on Ravelry and every knitter used a 19 when using this yarn.

Knitting with a size 19 is hard. While projects do take longer with a smaller needle, I really like knitting with small needles – the smaller the better. And I’m a tight knitter. For me, knitting with an 11 is hard and awkward but size 19 is next level. I knew I was getting myself into this, it is just a major adjustment.

Anyway, I casted on and knit about 5 rows and it all just felt and looked sloppy so I pulled it out. At this point I was tired and with a plan to swatch on both the 19s and the 17s, I gave up for the evening.

This morning I got up at my normal time which left me enough time to shower and get to work on time. Instead I made coffee and hit the couch for a little swatching. I was on a mission and work could wait. With the 19s I was doing a tad bit over 10 stiches per 6 inch and the called gauge is 9.5. So I was pretty close. I then swatched wit the 17 and while the gauge was too high – 12 stitches per inch- my god the knitting was so much easier and smoother looking.

I did spend a lot of today trying to figure out how I could make this tunic using the 17. Figuring this out is very easy for some, but I'm a novice. I was planning to make the small and figured out that if I followed the pattern for the large the width/circum would work. But now I will likely run out of yarn as I’ll need to make more rows to get the length.

As of right now I am going to shut up and use the 19s. More pictures to come.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Twinkle Twinkle

Nothing like a little Ravelry to get you full force back into knitting.

Ravelry. It’s like My Space for knitters but better. I don’t have my head fully around the powers of ravelry but in the small corner of what I’ve discovered, I am obsessed.

Cutting to the immediate chase, I found this knitter, I can’t remember how, and her FOs were amazing. Why? Well, she’s great but she chooses patterns wisely, or at least I just love what she’s done. A large portion came from Twinkle’s Big City Knits. Click here for pictures of most patterns.

So on ravelry, if you find a person who did a (for example) sweater, you can click on that pattern (say, “Ms. Marigold” or “Jaywalkers”) and see every single FO or WIP – pictures, what yarn they used, their modifications, the needles, etc. Basically, this eliminates the annoying protocol of the past. You used to find a patter you loved, want to see if others did it or what yarn they used, and you googled the pattern name or yarn in hopes of finding blogs, pictures, yarn websites, etc. This is all about centralization.

But I digress (again).

From said great knitter, I clicked on Twinkle and I spent a monumental amount of time looking at different knitters Twinkle knits, and then looking at what yarn they used or substituted with, how much they bought/used, problems they had. In Twinkle case, patterns a) appear to overstate how many skeins and b) Twinkle yarn isn’t like Cascade – it’s hard to find. As you know, learning this is critical.

Here is what is next up:

Shopping Tunic (click here for FOs on flickr)

Magic Shawl: (click here for FOs on Flickr)
And today was all about fulfilling that dream but the scandals of immediate gratification were not met. Today, I got up, went to the local bookstore, bought said book, and perused while getting a pedicure (you know how gnarly feet get while on a trip, walking around everywhere…wait, do I need to justify pedicures?)

I then went to Downtown Knits, Purl and The Point. I was hoping for Cascade Magnum (a suggested substitution) and while the first two had a skein or two of each color, they didn’t have what I needed. I mean, did I really think any knit store in their right mind would carry a super bulky in the summer. Anyway, I came back home, planning to buy the Cascade online, and from a random google search found the Twinkle site (no, I didn’t find it easily before), where I bought enough yarn to make the tunic in eggplant and the shawl in white. So there we have it.

Hart always tells me I’m a very bad story teller. I’m longwinded, I know, but this took a whole to get through! Anyway, I can’t WAIT to start.

Finally, while I do feel like I am not paying attention to current projects but only looking for the next, I will say that I wove in ends and blocked Rusted Root yesterday and if Hart isn’t too jetlagged when he returns from Milan tomorrow, pictures will be taken. So since he will be jetlagged and annoyed by my pressing for a photoshoot, they will come this week.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Caffy McFaFa

Holy hiatus batman.

It’s been 2 whopping months since my last post and this is due to 3 reasons – the first two legit, the third fairly sloppy.

Reason #1: Late April came with, well, a tear in the retina that needed repairing. This came with stressing, plus busyness at work, and finally surgery. Horrific eyes runs in the family and my mom (who had eye surgery twice, the first when there was no laser surgery only the old knife *ugh, vomit, scream* and only after all that grief, she developed glacouma), my aunt (hole in retina) and my uncle (hole in the retina) all said, “laser surgery? no sweat”. I’ll tell you there was plenty of sweat and while not horrifying pain, there was pain.

Reason #2: Into May and we had trip planning. Hart had a business trip in Prague and I learned mid-month that I was due in Switzerland for work (the exact same week, mind you) and so we turned it into a long and great trip to Eastern Europe. Planning a 3 week trip to 5 countries in 2 weeks was no easy task. Hart and I flew to Prague late May for a few days, Hart stayed and I flew to gorgeous Switzerland, and then we met up in Budapest, went on to Slovenia and finished up in Croatia.

I am back, jet lagged, but not afraid to discuss reason number 3.

Reason 3 is that I am not feeling the knitting lately and it’s really bumming me out. I think it’s the summer but I’m not sure. Perhaps it was the full excessiveness of knitting that occurred between November-ish and April. I think, and hope, that it's due to the summer. For the summer, knitting to me = a) I’m not into summer knit looks and b) god, it’s freaking too hot to have a lap full of wool. Also, I do keep reading in blog land about community and, with the exception of Hart’s mom, who is in Michigan, I don’t have any knitting friends. Wah. I just kind of wish I had someone to knit with (wow that sounded really weird)

In terms of the agenda, I have my lovely shawl – see last post for reminder. But this piece requires full attention and focus (not what I’m yearning for at this moment) and I have to finish and block my Rusted Root (which is actually pretty great and deserves an outing).

Onto other things, I need to figure out how to create a To Do list on this blog-thing. I said back in January that I have much self-improvement to be doing but I’d like a way to track it.

The first thing that is coming to mind as of now is that when Hart and I were in Europe I realized yet again that it’s gross that I can only speak one language. I didn’t speak a lick of any language other than English. In Hungary and Czech Republic, the term for “thank you” was actually pretty hard to even attempt to pronounce. More so, in all places we visited people were too excited to speak English that I felt it would be a disservice not to let them practice. This issue of a second language is not (and shouldn't be) a big deal for many and it’s perfectly fine, but it’s not okay for me.

For me the language that makes most sense is Spanish for fairly obvious reasons. Hart is muy supportive but he always is and does not push my laziness. I think this is why I love him but our combined laziness makes for, well, procrastination. Hart and I went to an uber crazy grad school and we always joke that we are the two most unmotivated people from our class and while our b-school friends are off making millions, running marathons, speaking 15 languages and starting charities, we’d prefer drinking beer and watching Michigan games. It only figure we found each other.

SPEAKING of Michigan games. We just bought our plane tickets for the Notre Dame game for September 15th.

Finally, I got invited to Ravelry. Tres Excited.