FO: Mona Lisa Dragon Rider

So you know how a few weeks ago I told you about drinking the koolaid and falling down the rabbit hole of stripey socks?  Well, here is further proof of my addiction.

This was my Camp Loopy 1 project.  The prompt was to knit with a yarn I had never used before, which was the perfect invitation to pick up another skein of self-striping.  The Loopy Ewe carries a lot of lines I had never tried, but I finally landed on Desert Vista Dyeworks because this colorway, Mona Lisa, was such a departure from my usual socks.

What really makes these socks is the pattern.  Alice Yu's Shur'tugal is one of those magical patterns that looks great in any kind of colorway and so was perfect for self-striping.  It kept the color without obscuring the pattern and was a lot of fun to knit.  Seriously, every time I find myself wanting to knit socks I start with Socktopus.  That book is amazing.

To find more great FOs, check out the gang over at Tami's Amis!


Knits on a Plane

The time has finally arrived!  I am flying out this week to go to my cousin's wedding, staying with several different family members over the course of four days, and traveling by plane, car, and possibly bus.  But before I can leave I have to answer the all important question -- what am I going to knit?

I had originally planned to knit Bad Oyster by Alex Tinsley, but then I ended up casting on last week and . . . well . . .

At this rate I may be done before I even leave for the airport.  The pattern is just that addictive.  It would make great travel knitting, but since I am so far along I have wound two skeins of Knit Picks Imagination for the Nasturtium Socks.

But wait.  These are anklets.  What happens if my plane is delayed or I have to wait longer for my ride than anticipated?  There are so many reasons I could find myself stuck with only one pair of anklets to knit.

So I'm packing extra yarn.  There's no reason I need more than two projects worth, right?  I mean there are yarn stores in the universe.  Then again, maybe I'll pack a sweater . . .

To see more productive works in progress, check out Tami's Amis!


FO: Woodland Grave Beret

I don't know when hats became a big part of my wardrobe, but they seem to be here to stay.  They are one of those items that I did not realize I wore a lot or knit with great frequency until a family member I had not seen in some time knew about my hats from pictures.  Then I began to assess my hats, wonder if I should knit fewer, give some away, stop wearing them as much.  But I quickly realized that I love my hats.  I'm completely addicted to them and so far I have not found a point which I would consider too many.  That being said . . . I seem to be on another hat kick.

But how could you not knit another Alana Dakos leaf beret pattern?  This only makes three (I gave away a fourth).  And they are just so well written and charted that they are a dream to knit.  Pressed Leaves is has a lot more purling than the others I have knit, but it is just as satisfying


I bought the yarn specifically for this pattern while at Stitches South at the Cephalopod Yarns booth.  The purchase itself was an impulse buy, but I justified it by only buying one skein for which I already had the perfect pattern.  Traveler is an excellent yarn.  It is DK weight, which I do not knit with all that often, and brought out the stitch definition in the pattern perfectly.  And don't get me started on the color (Candy Kingdom).  Since when do I have a thing for pinks?

To see more FOs, head on over to Tami's Amis!


Geektastic Thursday: Gorillapod

I'm sure many knitters go through this.  You knit something awesome.  You finish it.  You immediately want to take photos of it to put on Ravelry or your blog to show everyone, but of course this is the one time that there is no one available to help you out.  I am blessed to have a husband who has learned how to help me take pictures of my knitting, but we are not home at the same time for much of the week.  I often end up scrambling to get his help taking an FO photo because the light has gone or I have not quite finished weaving in those ends.  On Tuesday I had a later shift than normal, so I dug out one of my favorite wedding presents and decided to give it a go all on my own.

This is the Joby Gorillapod.  It is a flexible tripod designed for small cameras and specifically made to be used in a more rugged environment.  The legs are made of multiple ball joints with no straight pieces so that they can be wrapped as tightly as possible around tree branches, park benches, and just about anything else you can think of.  The swivel head also pivots so that you can take a shot from any angle.

I had an absolute blast playing with ours.  I went into the woods behind our apartment and climbed over downed trees and was able to use the gorillapod and the camera's self-timer to take shots more in line with what I had envisioned.  Nothing is more fun than scaring the neighbors by hanging almost upside down trying to see if that gets a better look at the stitch pattern (it didn't, but it was a cool idea).  The shots I got were not the best ever, but with some more practice and creativity, I think this will become my new go-to way to take knitting photos.  You can rest assured my husband will be glad that we won't be running from any more lightening any time soon.


Spontaneous Legwarmers

I see a lot of knitters talk about how they plan for their next project.  When they decide what they are going to knit next and how they keep track of what order and what yarns they want to use next.  There are spreadsheets, charts, lists, cabinets -- it gets pretty intense.  Well, I think we can all agree that I'm much more, um, shall we say spontaneous.

I have wanted to knit Prana for what feels like forever but which logistically cannot have been more than a year and a half because that's how long ago The Knitter's Book of Socks was published.  when I put in my Camp Loopy 2 order I decided to add some new needles to try and then one thing led to another and I had these lovely ChiaoGoo Red Lace needles in US 3 and I was casting on a pair of socks.

Of course as soon as I cast on I realized that the yarn I had originally picked did not have enough yardage and you would have thought this would have gone back to the bottom of the idea pile (Because that's what my organizational process is.  A giant pile of ideas that I sift through in my brain), but oh no.  Enter my mother-in-law to the rescue!  Several months ago she sent a skein of Regia Hand-dye Effect that she picked up in the LYS by the salon where she gets her hair done.  I knew I liked that woman for a reason, not the least of which is that she, like my mom, will appreciate that I am knitting purple leg warmers in the sticky heat of summer.

For more works in progress, have a look at the linkage happening over at Tami's Amis!


Sweater Indecision

Yesterday was my Monday off, which means that normally I would plop myself down in front of the tv and marathon my way through something and knock out a huge chunk of knitting (there, the secret is out -- you think I make all this progress?  Really I just don't do anything but knit on Monday), but we had our big quarterly meeting at work which meant that I needed to bake for the potluck style desserts.  In between batches of raspberry coconut macaroons I gave in to my sweater longings and finally decided to swatch.  But since I still could not decide which sweater I want to knit first, I decided to swatch both.

I thought that maybe whatever sweater I hit gauge on would help me decide.  Then I would not have to worry about things like math or what not and that today I could just cast on.  Nope.  Would you believe I hit gauge on both?

Something's gotta give or these sweaters are doomed.


FO: Prissy Socks

Self-striping socks seem to be all the rage these days.  It seems you cannot turn anywhere in the online knitting world without running into someone raving about how awesome they are and how much they love X dyer from whom it is of course just impossible to score yarn.  I admit, sometimes I get annoyed with hype and dismiss things that seem to be fads, but when it comes to self-striping socks, well, I am totally smitten.

I picked up this skein of Lollipop Yarn on a Ravelry destash, which is probably the only way I will ever be able to acquire any of this yarn because her updates sell out so fast.  This skein of Prissy is on her 75 wool / 25 nylon base and is a joy to knit.  The yardage is so generous that at 425 yards per skein I could probably knit a matching set of wristers.

Of course I waited to take pictures of these until last night and then a huge storm rolled in so my photographs are not nearly as fun as I was hoping.  I decided to knit Virginia Rose-Jeanes' Vanilla Latte Socks pattern, allowing the simple pattern to show off the stripes to their full potential.  I went with a 3x1 rib and subbed in my go-go garter eye-of-partridge heel from Hermoine's Everyday Socks.  The texture added just enough interest to keep me going and I love the way the ribbing looks going down the foot of the sock.

The real highlight for me was getting the stripes to work out going into the heel and matching across both feet.  I did not think that I would care, but it was oddly satisfying in the same way getting all of the laundry done and all put away and all of the carpet vacuum can be.

For more FOs, check out who else has linked up over at Tami's Amis!


Sweater Imaginings

The knitting is still strangely monogamous around here lately.  I am working almost exclusively on my Mona Lisa -- Dragon Rider socks, which I do not have a new photo of because the last photo I took was of sock one and now I find myself in the awkward spot of being in almost the exact same place on sock two.  So a progress photo would be pointless.

Despite my monogamy I can feel second sock syndrome nipping at my heels, so I am letting myself develop notions of a new garment.  Yesterday I pulled out two sweaters' worth to see if they had decided what they would like to grow up to be.

The wound yarn above is actually purple -- a skein of Madelinetosh lace weight that I bought on our honeymoon last August.  I had originally bought it for a Geodesic Cardigan, but now I think I would rather knit Stephanie Japel's Nevis Cardigan.  And then I started toying with the idea of striping in the Malabrigo lace, but yellow and purple is too ECU for this region so maybe adding in the green as well and doing large thick stripes that start after the bust?  Or maybe I have watched too many episodes of Pretty Little Liars and Aria is beginning to rub off on me.

I also have these skeins of Cakewalk Yarns that I bought at the beginning of the season specifically for a summer cardi.  This has clearly made up its mind that it wants to be Drifting by Cecily Glowik MacDonald..  I just need to make up my mind that I want to swatch and that I think I could rock this look.

And that I don't think giant striped lace weight is the way to go.

To see more works in progress, probably past the theoretical stage, check out the gang over at Tami's Amis!


Recording with Espresso

I am back from my little brother's graduation and chat a bit about how fast socks seem to knit up as well as how crazy my tv watching habits have become and thoughts on upcoming knitting projects.

Helpful Links:

Shur'tugal by Alice Yu

Desert Vista Dyeworks

Pressed Leaves Beret by Alana Dakos

Cephalapod Yarns

Lollipop Yarns

Vanilla Latte Socks by Virginia Rose-Jeanes

Bow and Arrow Hat by Andrea Babb


FO: Hippie Traveler

Happy Friday everyone.  I have managed to pull my sodden self back together and am comforting myself with the notion that my ikkle brother may be bigger than me now, but he still has to go through freshman year and all the amusement that entails for his big sister.  But before I became a blubbering mess I did manage a small knitting feat and turned in this hooded vest for Charms homework in the Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House Cup.

The Havasu Hoodie by Par Oiseau was in Knitscene Summer 2012, but somehow I missed it at the very back of the issue.  It is a reverse stockinette hoodie knit in pieces and then joined together for the hood.  I knit mine out of some old Lion Brand Fisherman's Worsted I had in the stash.  I had bought two skeins several years ago but had not done more than the occasional scrappy worsted project and it needed a better outlet.

You may have noticed a slight error in my version of the pattern.  And by slight I mean AN ENTIRE PIECE IS BACKWARDS! *Ahem* Yes.  It seems that when I joined the back to the two fronts I joined the back with the stockinette side facing, but the fronts with the reverse stockinette side facing, and proceeded to knit the hood as written.  I did not realize this until I was finishing up the seams two days and a new season of Arrested Development later.  So I left it, which could have been one of the better mistakes I have made.  This white yarn shows all the mistakes I made in my tension as I carted these pieces around with me and the knit side is much more forgiving than the purl side.

My loving husband is often the one behind the lense helping me to take photos of my knitwear.  For this hoodie I styled it in a sort of lost explorer with a little bit of fashion sense (not too much, we were working off of my closet).  The twist came when a thunderstorm rolled in while we were in the nature park and we tried to get "just a few more" pictures.  I don't think I have ever seen him run so fast, though he claims he was just keeping up with me.  Out of deference to him I will probably be picking much tamer photo locations for a while.

To see more FOs, hopefully photographed with less chance of immolation, check out the gang over at Tami's Amis!


Geektastic Thursday: In the Spirit of D-Day

Today is one of the most special of Geektastic Thursdays because today is my brother Josiah's high school graduation.

My brother is probably the most awesome of us all.  Where I was a total nerd in high school reading and studying myself into a stupor while trying to keep well rounded extracurriculars, he started a rock band that has done well enough to make it out of the garage and into the local indie concert circuit.  That's right.  My brother has groupies.  And you know what ladies?  He still has perfect attendance.

But while he might be a rock star now he will always be my kid brother.  I don't care that he has been able to pick me up since I left for college.  That really was not that long ago.  He really cannot be this grown up.  I refuse to admit it.

I refuse to admit that the baby brother I wanted so badly for my birthday is now eighteen and oh so much taller than me.  I refuse to admit that the kid who would get me in trouble while babysitting has a brain that I cannot even begin to comprehend.  I refuse because sometimes it feels I barely know him.  It's like I blinked and he was suddenly all grown up.

When I sat down to write this I could not get past the blinking cursor.  There are so many ways to describe my brother and so many reasons to love him and be very very proud, but one truly encompasses them all -- he is knitworthy.  For Christmas in 2009 I knit everyone in my family a hat.  Josiah wore his so much it fell apart.  So for his birthday I knit him another, and then some mitts, and another hat.  Essentially, the knit wear never goes unloved.  It gets slept in.  It is worn to rock concerts.  It is worn to school and becomes a uniform violation.  That, my friends, is true knitting love.  And what better expresses the character of a person than the love they have for their knitted gifts? 

So I hope you all have a happy Thursday.  Me?  I'll be applying more waterproof mascara than anyone knew existed and hiding behind my stripey sock.  Pay no attention to that streaky puddle of knitting in the corner.  Happy graduation, Josiah!


Adventures in Morbid Knitting

Remember how I confessed that I have started watching Hemlock Grove?  Well I think that it has begun to infect my subconscious.  Because I am participating in Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House Cup I cast on a second project at the beginning of the month so that I would at least have two on the go that I could hopefully turn in for classes.  My Camp Loopy socks and the hat that I have given the rather forbidding name of Woodland Grave Beret.

I know, I know.  I have serious issues.  But before you get all up in arms that I am clearly demonstrating all of the early warning signs of a knitting serial killer, let me at least try to explain.  So this hat that I am knitting is Alana Dakos' Pressed Leaves Beret from her book Botanical Knits.  I actually bought this yarn specifically for this project while at Stitches South from Cephalopod Yarns.  The woman who sold it to me was really awesome and in the course of conversation she told me that she actually sometimes calls this their Dexter colorway (it's really Candy Kingdom) because it can look a bit like blood spatter in the skein. 

Now I only watched one season of Dexter and I figured out the big twist early enough for it to annoy me into not watching another season, but I can appreciate the reference and I knew I would have to take this project in a bit of a morbid direction.  And so to knit it while watching a trashy show marketed to teens but which contains the most gruesome "change" I have ever seen (seriously, I was yelling at Cogsworth not to watch and he was looking at me all "Dude, I'm a guinea pig. Like I care"), seemed like the perfect tribute to an awesome yarn and what is turning out to be a very well written pattern.

To see other, far less morbid works in progress, check out Tami's Amis!


A Loopy Start

There is an up side to putting yourself under house arrest.  Aside from driving my husband crazy and getting cabin fever, I got quite a bit of knitting done on my Camp Loopy project yesterday.

I think these may be the tallest socks I have ever knitted.  I like a short leg to my socks, but the challenge requires the use of at least 375 yards of yarn, so I want to be sure that my socks meet these requirements.  Plus this Desert Vista Dyeworks is stunning and I want to use as much of it as possible.  For this challenge I pulled out Alice Yu's SocktopusShur'tugal is a free download on Ravelry, but it is also included in the book, which makes it the perfect choice for an afternoon spent watching Hemlock Grove on the kindle because I can just flip through my book rather than just have to pause to constantly to check that I'm still following the pattern. (Side note:  Why am I addicted to this show?  Can anyone save me?  It's not even that good! And they just keep reusing the same dead body just with different pieces in different locations.  How is that ok?).   I love how intuitive without being completely memorizable this pattern is.  Not quite a read while I knit pattern, but it is a nice change after the swaths of reverse stockinette of my hooded vest and the long purl back rows of the shawl.

Is anyone else doing Camp Loopy?  Did you do a marathon cast on day?


Off-Roading It

I have told you before about how I really am not all that fond of running.  About how I would rather find many other things to do, including swimming, but that this is the one thing I've been instructed to do to help to stabilize my back.  There are no back twists in running that could cause me to be stuck at a funny angle for the rest of my life.  There is no arm movement in running that would pull my shoulder and render me unable to lift anything.  There is no sudden sidewise dance step in running that would scare my pelvis into rebelling against its carefully established alignment.  In other words, other exercise is ok, but running is the thing.  So yesterday as I faced the disgusting heat we have been having I decided to change up my route a bit and took a fork in the path after about a mile onto a nature trail.

Something to keep in mind about me -- I don't wear glasses when I run.  I'm not blind without them, but I am nearsighted, which makes my vision very limited.  So I guess it should come as no surprise that between dodging cobwebs (should have been my first clue), trying to figure out if the dog who was clearly not supposed to be off leash was friend or foe, and realizing I had not eaten in about eight hours, I missed this very clear sign.

It seems I ended up in an old river bed because I suddenly found myself stopped dead surrounded by moss, dead ended by a little lagoon.  It was very calm and peaceful until what I'm pretty sure was a snake went into the water by my foot and I bolted back the way I came.

I made it back to the trail and found my way almost back to the path without incident until suddenly an evil root decided that I had grown too confident in myself and determined to put an end to that.  It rose up out of the ground in my path and tripped me, causing me to fall hard on my knee before sinking back into the ground with a rumbling chuckle.  I tried to resume running but it just hurt too much so I walked instead and called my mother who kept me entertained with tales of home until I could make it the mile or so back to my couch where I could put up my leg and ice it.

I had another long run planned for today, but I don't think I can risk it.  Instead I think I will take advantage of this golden opportunity and work on my Camp Loopy project.  Tragic, I know.