Friday, April 28, 2006

The Hazards of Blogging

One of the Hazards of Blogging is that when you don't blog, friends and family start yelling at you because you haven't posted in a while. So, dear friends and family, here I am with updates about my current projects.

Now, just to refresh, since I haven't been around much, let's say it all together now: Jennifer is not a monogamous knitter. Very good....

Since I seem to be sweater challenged, I decided to start with this beautiful pattern from Wendy Bernard of Knit and Tonic. If you haven't been there before, go check her out. Not only is she hilariously funny, observant and smart, she's a psychotic knitter, too (a little heavy on the knitting OCD if you ask me). A woman who's stash the proportions of which I can only aspire.

Project 1
The Somewhat Cowl
This lovely piece of work calls for Blue Sky Alpaca Silk at $11.95 USD per hank. For a sweater that would fit me I would need 16-17 hanks. Yeah, that would have been about $200.00. I don't like it that much. So, I decided I'd try something else and see if I can't figure it out. Off we went to (see post below). I chose two colors, Raspberry and Eggplant (ok, Aubergine, whatever).

Minor problem: the gauge of Elann's Baby Alpaca Silk is fingering weight, Blue Sky is sport. I have to double the strands of Elann to get the right gauge in a fabric that isn't transparent. (Can we say: Wow, this sweater is going to be WARM...)

It's a top down raglan and while the setting in this pic isn't all that great, the color is pretty true and the shaping is somewhat visible. The bottom of the U is the back neck, the shoulders are at the right and left and the little wedges near the pointy ends are what will become the VERY DEEP V-neck.

I love the color. It almost perfectly matches the same color in BS Alpaca Silk. Love it! The best part? 40 some balls at $2.50 each is still only half the cost of the BSAS! Love that!

Project 2

The Sock. Inspired by Alyssa's Eye of Partridge Heel from Sensational Knitted Socks and by January One (another of my favorite blogs). I saw J-O knitting this sock and she said she got the pattern out of Folk Knitting in Estonia.

"Well, heck", says I,"I've got that book"!

I picked it up at the IK Hurt Books sale for like $4. Awesome. I went and found the little chart. It's an 8 st repeat, and I figured out how to do it in the round. The join from row to row is a little weird, but who cares. They're beautiful. (Was I talking about Wendy Bernard being knitting OCD? Yeah. Takes one to know one). The photo's a littel blurry but the colors are pretty true. I love the way the green and the berry look together.

I've decided that I will knit down through the heel flap (I've never done the Eye of Partrigde heel) and then start the second sock, otherwise I'll never finish the pair.

Project 3

Um... oh yeah, the Lady Eleanor wrap from Scarf Style.

This is the lovely yarn that Darling Mumsie picked up for me. I don't think it's the color way I asked for but that's okay, I love it now. I had to buy two more hanks because I made it half way and figured out that the wrap wouldn't be as long as I wanted with the 11 hanks I've already got. So, 13 it is. This is up to ball 6 or maybe 7. I'm thinking about doing the Lattice Fringe that's shown in the book. We'll see how that comes out. If it's icky, I might have to do an edging from Nicky Epstein's Knitting on the Edge. What about the cables fringe that's on the cover? Too much? Yeah probably.

So THEN I went to knitting class last night and my lovely, wonderful instructor Josie asked me what we were going to get me to do that would be hard for me since this class is supposed to be about doing something you've never done before and pushing the limits.

Well.... we did say I'm not a monogamous knitter right?

Loads of people in class are doing these beautiful Cabled Sweaters from the Alice Starmore book Fisherman Sweaters. (I own that book, too) And now, I've caught Cabled Sweater envy. I've been looking at the sweater that's on the cover, called Innishman or something (if you've got the book, it's the one with the bobbles).

So, I picked up two balls of Kathmandu DK Tweed in colorway 418. I don't think I'm all that crazy about the color now that I've worked it a little but the yarn is beautiful. It's got little flecks of pink, purple, orange, goldenrod and steel gray in it. I'm thinking of swatching on some of the Black Water Abbey wool that I've got and if I like the texture once it's been washed then I might get some of the Wine color. So yummy.

So here's the dilemma. I have a (ahem) fairly large chest these days. Should I make the sweater size that's an inch larger or 5 inches larger? I know it's supposed to be a bulky sweater that can be worn over a lot of other stuff, but if it's too big, I probably won't wear it then either. Hmmm... I'm wondering if I should even bother since it's a drop shoulder. Hmmm... but it's so pretty.

Stop by Alyssa's Blog and wish her Happy Birthday today!! Have a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

I am a Total Slacker

Sorry I've been so out of touch lately. I've been held captive by the sunshine and I haven't spent much time on line at all. I've been reading but not posting. I hope you all are well and that the lovely sunshine has made it your way.

To commemorate the departure of said sunshine here are some pics of my lovely coming up garden:

No idea what this is, it's a wild tree/ shrub growing in the thicket next to my house. We've seen them in tree form along the bike path (It's not a Crab Apple, it produces dark black berries the size of small blueberries). I'm thinking it might be an Elder Berry since we've had a big problem with the Box Elder Bugs getting into the house this season (I'm a geek but not that bad, the exterminator told us what they were and that we couldn't do anything about it, they'd just go back outside once it gets warm.)
Grape hyacinth which I usually don't like because people plant them as little individual plants just hanging out there by themselves, but this year I put in three different shades and they're all clumped together in a 1x2 foot patch next to the Hyacinths: dark blue, pale blue and white. So pretty.
Dicentra Spectabilis, commonly known as Bleeding Heart because of their unusual shape.
Um, tulips. Love me some spring tulips!

These beautiful blue flowers below really are this blue. They're an oversaturated summer sky blue and they're no bigger than a pencil eraser each. The plant is Brunnera Macropylla "Jack Frost" and the leaves will be heart shaped and the size of salad plates in the warmest part of summer with that beautiful silvery pattern that is just starting to appear on the leaves. Right now the plant is the size of a paper box and covered in these beatiful blue captured bits of heaven.Happy Spring, and if you're local, don't forget to cover any tender plants you might have. It's supposed to frost tonight!

Monday, April 10, 2006

They came! They came!!! Two shipments!!

Introducing the Lovely San Remo from Catherine Lowe. The yarn is enough for an ample sized sweater for my ample size these days and it all came in just six balls! That's just over and one half ball each part: front back and two sleeves. There's also enough here for a much larger swatch (think 12x12).

I'm so excited, I just hope my attention span can handle it!

Next we have the lovely Baby Alpaca from Elann. Two colors: Raspberry and Aubergine (a.k.a Eggplant, which I guess is a less marketable color than its identical French cousin)

This yarn is destined to become the Somewhat Cowl from Wendy Bernard at

I'm a little concerned because the gauge is a little bit finer than the Blue Sky Alpaca Silk. That means more math! I just want to sit and follow a pattern to the recommended gauge. (sigh) I'm sure it will work out fine, I'm just a little disappointed and now concerned that I'm not going to have as much yarn as I'll need.

Send it back or keep it? What do you think? Sorry the pics are so dark, I'll take some fresh ones tomorrow or later tonight!

By the way, GROUP NIGHT is Tomorrow night and we'll be meeting at the Border's Cafe at Lake and Skokie Blvd. from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. Hope to see you there!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Monogamy (or the lack thereof)

I've been having a knitting crisis ever since I finished the Harlot's Knitting Olympics. I didn't participate in any official way, but I decided to challenge myself nonetheless.

I was a success at completing a project in a specified time (see Ene's Shawl), but that whole Complete-a-Project-in-a-limited-time thing got me all wonky in the head. You see, I am not a monogamous knitter. Now don't get me wrong. I'm all about monogamy in my marriage and it's wonderful. I'm not knocking the whole wedded bliss thing. But, damn if a girl's gotta sow her wild oats somewhere!! And where better than in knitting projects??!!

To most of you who know me, this will not come as any surprise. (Well, duh, Jen, we've known that about you since you started knitting.) And you know, I kind of knew that, too. But then there was that unprecedented success with the Knitting Olympics and I somehow got it in my head that this was the "right" way to knit. I've been working on Lady E and I've actually quit knitting cause I'm bored.

Knitting for me isn't about having new stuff to wear, it's more about the act of knitting itself. I find knitting to be a very meditative activity. I feel the stress of my day just drain away with the feel of the fiber flowing through my fingers, the sound of the needles clicking away, the rythm of my hands and I love to see the new material unfold before my eyes. However, I also don't like to feel chained to the idea that I M.U.S.T F.I.N.I.S.H. the project I have in my hands before I start a new one. It's been over a month since the end of the Olympics and I have only 1/2 of a Lady E wrap and about an inch of that Jaeger swatch done.

Oh, yeah, and about that Jaeger swatch, I'm giving up on that particular sweater for now. I just can't get the hang of that whole two-color-purling thing (that sweater isn't done in the round...). I've been practicing two color knitting backwards, which seems to work much better, but my tension is still all wonky and I get frustrated which defeats the whole zen-meditation in knitting thing. So, for now, I've put it aside.

I am at peace with my newly accepted "Knitting Floozy" status and I have happily cast on for another project that is challenging but not impossible and will give me a quick fix for something satisfactory. Meet the Purly Whites inspired socks.
Sorry for the dark pic, it's raining this morning. The pattern is one she picked from Folk Knitting in Estonia (which I also own) and I like the way it looked so well, that I went to my stash, picked two complimentary colors of (mmmmmm....) Koigu and cast on. I even measured my washed and finished gauge on the older pair of Koigu socks that I did on size 1's. I should probably be knitting these on 0's since I'm such a loose knitter, but I'm pretty happy with how the fabric is coming out in stranded knitting on size 1's. I don't kn ow if you can tell or not, but the dark color is this lucsious brown-y green like a fir tree and the red is acutally a magenta pink. It looks good together in real life. I just couldn't see myself wearing bright pick socks and the green is too nice to make for anyone but me!

I used a 1/2 twist rib on the cuff to ensure that the cuff stays stretchy forever and I'm going to try that really pretty Eye-of-Partridge heel that Alyssa does. I'm also thinking about getting my Sensational Knitted Socks spiral bound this weekend as I'm tired of fighting with it to stay open.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

"Drowning my sorrows in Yarn"

Kathy mentioned that I shouldn't go out and drown my sorrows in yarn or anything. But funny you should mention that!! Last night, in a moment of weakness I went and bought enough Alapaca Silk from to make two (yes, TWO) Somewhat Cowl's from Wendy Bernard at!

Yes, I'm an addict. I got Raspberry and Aubergine. I don't usually wear Aubergine (plum) but DH made me try on a turtleneck in that color a long time ago and it looked really nice. So there you have it. Drowning my sorrows in yarn. The best part is that enough yarn for two sweaters from elann only cost me about $60! Alpaca silk!! Yummy.

I spent a lot of time thinking last night about why I haven't finished a sweater yet. (It's true.) I think my problem is that I've never actually been able to follow a pattern. I always want ot create my own design but the problem is that I don't have ANY sewing experience.

Mom said she would come visit this summer and teach me a little, but I'm guessing that I'm going to need to actually take a class at Vogue Fabrics to really begin to understand better.

I must say that Catherine Lowe ,Eunny Jang and Grumperina have been truly inspiring for me.

Two new sweaters, here I come! I will follow a pattern! :)

Saturday, April 01, 2006

It sold.

Well, DH called me this morning while I was out. Our Realtor friend called and said the house sold yesterday. (I knew it would go fast; listed on Sunday sold on Friday. We should be so lucky).

That being said, I've still started the process of getting our Townhome ready to sell and I'm going full bore with that so that when the house comes along that's meant for us, we'll be ready!

I'm disappointed but I knew when I saw the sign go up last Sunday that the timing wasn't right. Ah well, this whole process will definitely make me a smarter woman!


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