Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Good-bye November

So, here we are again. On the bright side, November is finally on its way out the door. I don't know about where you are but here the weather hasn't been doing anything to further endear this month to me.  Dreary, drizzly rain all week, and more on the way. 

On another note, shortly after my last post the blocking of the blanket was finally complete and I gave it to its eagerly awaiting owner (who loved it). 


Up until this point I haven't formally reviewed any patterns or yarns I've used.  I think you and future me will definitely find it useful if I do.  The pattern is The Bobble Baby Blanket and is available as a paid pattern on Ravelry.  It is a well written PDF and is clearly illustrated with many photographs.  I would totally recommend the pattern.  That said, I found it slightly frustrating that the yarn requirements are listed in grams rather than yards.  My friend had already made this blanket in Cascade 220, so I did the logical thing and converted her yardage into my KnitPicks Swish DK, arriving with an order of 11 skeins in Sugar Plum.  I used 8 skeins and wound up with a blanket whose length spanned our double sized guest bed.  It's not the end of the world at all, but it is definitely surprising.  

Now onto the yarn.  Generally I liked the yarn - it was consistent.  There were no knots in it, and it was pretty soft, though not as soft as Cascade 220 superwash.  I washed it in Eucalan even though it is machine-washable, simply because I didn't want to mess it up before giving it to the new owner.  It smelled distinctly of wet sheep when I took it out of the laundry sink.  This is likely a good sign, one that means it actually came from a sheep, but it was a bit alarming to me, who had not yet washed a large project entirely made of wool.  The other thing I learned is that I hate that colourway.  I'm not sure if it was the colour itself or the lack of variegation in the yarn, but either way by the end I wanted nothing to do with Sugar Plum or anything resembling it.  It just seemed dead to me.  Once it was all washed and blocked and set aside and I was no longer forced to look at it, I liked it again.  Over all I would recommend this yarn to someone else, and I would knit with it again, but it would not be my first choice. 

Snapping me out of this colour funk is my latest love, as you know, my ripply blanket.  I am loving this project for all it's wacky colour changes, plus this yarn is soft, soft, soft!  The only problem I'm having so far with this is that I start getting a blister if I work too long on it.  Solution - alternate with knitting.  Hehehe.

And what am I knitting?  My UFO socks that have been shoved in my knitting bag begging for some love since well before I got married last June.  What can I say?  It turns out that I'm a fickle and unfaithful crafter.  But at least I always come back.  

November clearly wasn't all bad.  Mr. Frogged took me to my favourite Mexican restaurant, Dos Amigos, the other day, and allowed me to knit socks in public while drinking a lime margarita.  The food was great, the drink was great, the knitting got a little sketchy - I'm not gonna lie.  I don't think one is meant in any realm to turn a heel and consume alcohol.  It's just a thought.  But look how far I've gotten!  Erin from the Anatomy of Knitting Podcast is right.  No matter what happens, you always feel very clever after turning a heel.  I used some bastardized version of Wendy Johnson's Toe Up Socks With a Difference.I'm working with Shibui Knit Socks and I do like it very much.  It's boingy somehow and feels good on my foot (in my first pair of socks). I'm kinda champagne taste with a beer budget when it comes to sock yarns, so it's fortunate that I have small feet and that I like ankle socks so I get 2 pairs per skein. 

What I don't understand is how I ended up with this crazy hole in each corner?  Is it because I didn't wrap my stitches?  But the pattern stops wrapping after a certain point.  Is it because I didn't keep track of when to stop working across and occasionally knit right the way across?  I think that might cause this but any confirmations would be greatly appreciated.  Post me a comment to help solve this mystery. 

Lastly, I went to a thrum mitten class at Serenity Knits in Newmarket this weekend.  I cannot say enough good things about this store.  It's such a pleasant relief from the small, overfull stores you often find in The City.  It's roomy, but not overwhelming.  There is a lot of selection, and their yarns are clearly selected with care.  In case you don't know, thrums are essentially 4 inch bits of roving that are worked into stitches within a mitten, or hat, or sock to add a fleecey layer of warmth to the garment.  Traditionally, I learned from Beth who taught the class, they were used in Newfoundland and Labrador in unwashed wool providing the fishermen with warm and waterproof mittens.  Naturally I bought the materials for the class - Fleece Artist Thrummed mitten kit - Yum, and I am making this first pair for Mr. Frogged in a lovely green colour as you can see, and in a size large because he's got big hands and is obviously masochistic by requesting such a big mitten.  Can you see the cute little heart-shaped stitches that the thrums create?  I mean, very manly arrow shapes....

Naturally, to dispell mitten envy, and quite possibly theivery, I had to buy a kit for myself in this luscious red.  Please ignore my finger encroaching on the photo.  I'm posting unusually late tonight and promise I will get you better pictures of my mitt yarn soon.
There was a 10% off student discount at Serentiy, so I obviously bought something else too.  Oops...
It's not my fault.  Really it couldn't be helped.  First of all, it's the coolest sock yarn in the world because it's designed for two at a time socks and has been dyed two strands at a time, allowing me to make identical socks without having to curse out loud.  Second, it begged to be brought home with me and practically hopped in my knitting bag when I threatened not to succumb.  I had to buy it or risk the yarn framing me with shoplifting.  Tough decision, but someone's got to make it.  

Oh jeez, I'm getting a serious case of the head nods so I better go to bed.  Until next time, friends, Happy Crafting!

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