Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Best Thing I Ever Made

Some of you may have deduced from my absence on the blogosphere that I've been a bit busy. Look who decided to make her grand entrance:

Rainbow arrived on her due date(!) this past Tuesday, December 15, at 6:39 p.m. She was 7 lbs. 9 oz. and 20 1/2 inches long at birth. We're experiencing some of the usual challenges involved in being first-time parents and a first-time baby, but the Mister and I are enjoying every minute and are utterly smitten with our daughter.

I expect it will be a while before I'm posting and commenting regularly -- I'm going to be a bit busy in the weeks and months to come!

Monday, December 14, 2009

On a Kick

After finishing my Corazon mittens, I was in the mood to knit some more colorwork mittens, so I cast on for another pair, knowing full well that they probably wouldn't get completed for quite some time. I had seen the Vespergyle Mittens on Ravelry a couple of days earlier, and I knew I had a lot of colorwork-appropriate fingering weight yarn in my stash, so it was an easy choice to make.

This is Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift that I acquired from Kenny. It's my first time working with shetland, and I can see why it's so often used for colorwork -- this stuff is sticky! I somehow dropped a stitch at some point and it literally went nowhere. I'm significantly past where this picture shows at this point (the thumb gore is almost done). I'll have to take another picture when I can get some good light to do it justice, because the pattern is really pretty.

Meanwhile, I've also been keeping myself somewhat busy with my Lady Eleanor Stole, which now has about five skeins of Noro Kureyon worked into it. Unfortunately, it's turning out a tad shorter than I expected considering I've used half of my yarn at this point. Here it is thus far, with a book for scale.

As luck would have it, the colorway I picked is now discontinued. Luckily, a bit of Googling turned up an online yarn store that still had some in stock, so three more skeins are on their way to me. I'm hoping that the extra yardage and a good blocking will result in a stole I can really wrap around myself.

Baby Watch 2009 continues. Tomorrow is my official due date, but I think it may be a while yet before Rainbow makes her grand debut.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Mi Corazon

What do you do when you're itching to start a new project (but can't start something really big) and it's suddenly freezing outside? Knit a pair of mittens!

Pattern: Corazon by Joeli Caparco, winter '06 Knitty
Yarn: Knit Picks Telemark (100% Peruvian highland wool), colorways Alpine Frost (approximately 1.5 skeins) and Snow Leopard (approximately half a skein)
Needles: US 2 (2.75 mm) and US 3 (3.25 mm) dpns
Started/Completed: December 6/December 9
Mods: moved top decreases in one stitch from the edge and grafted a little sooner than specified

As colorwork patterns go, these were pretty easy. The tops of the mittens contain the pattern that requires paying attention to the chart, while the pattern on the palm side is just a simple alternating of the two colors. I really did knit the first mitten in a day (though understand that it was over the course of most of the day, meaning more than five hours of knitting time total). The second one took just a few evenings of casual stitching.

This pattern had been in my Ravelry queue for quite a while, and I'd even swatched for them a long time ago, back before we moved into our house. Somehow, even without writing anything down, I'd remembered that I'd need to go down a needle size than what was specified in the pattern, so when I finally pulled out the pattern and my yarn, I just cast on.

Though these were a fast knit, I can't say I'm completely thrilled with the outcome. They came out a little on the squat side, though they do fit fine, and I had some issues picking up the stitches above the thumb hole -- though that's really more to do with the fact that I was trying to pick up stitches knit with two colors. The yarn is also a little on the rough side, but it's designed for colorwork in outerwear garments, which means these mittens should wear well. I'll have plenty of opportunity to try them out right away, too, because it's been snowing all day here and is supposed to go down into the teens tonight! Brrr!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Knitting While I Wait

No baby yet. I'm 39 weeks today, so one more week until my due date and until I start getting really impatient for her to arrive. I'll keep you posted.

Today I had lunch with Amy, who surprised me with a beautiful gift for Rainbow -- this fuzzy flannel quilt.

As you can see, it goes perfectly with the decor of the nursery (which is just as well, because I'd be tempted to keep it for myself it if didn't!). The reverse is white with little pastel hearts, and you can see the swirls of the quilting a little better.

The quilt is super soft and will be great for both wrapping Rainbow up and putting it on the floor to cushion her. I fully expect that it will become her special blankie as she grows up! Thank you so much, Amy!

It was actually good that we met up today, because in the middle of lunch, I started coming down with a migraine (the first symptom of which is always a loss of vision on one side of my visual field). I couldn't very well go back to work when I couldn't see, and as Amy was on her way to Trader Joe's and Natural Stitches, she was kind enough to give me a lift home. Thankfully I was able to sleep it off and am feeling better, but it did put a bit of a damper on the day.

But enough about my headache. This is a knitting blog, right? I've been hesitant to start any big new project, so I pulled out an old WIP in the past week or so. Remember the sock yarn scrap blanket? I finished two more squares in the past several days.

This photo is pretty bad -- the outer border on the square on the left is is really shades of pink and purple with a bit of orange (it's Lorna's Laces left over from my Hederas). If my counting is correct, these are my ninth and tenth completed squares. My original goal was about 20, so that means I'm halfway there. The next square is started (in greens), but beyond that I think I'm going to have to get pretty creative with my yarns, as my scraps are starting to run low.

On Sunday, I didn't have much to do (well, the Mister wouldn't let me do much of anything, I should say), so I decided to throw caution to the wind and start a new project. I thought I'd stick to something small that could be completed pretty quickly just in case and something that would be useful. Mittens! The first one was finished that night.

The pattern is Corazon, from an old issue of Knitty. It'd been in my queue for a long time, and the yarn (Knit Picks Telemark) has been marinating in the stash long enough that one of the colors appears to have been discontinued. I'm a few rows into the colorwork on the second mitten, so I should be able to finish up the pair in the next couple of days.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Twice the Fun

Here is the very last pre-baby handspun post, because the wheel has been officially retired to the third-floor fiber room to make room for the bassinet in the bedroom.

I started out with this fiber, approximately four ounces of hand-dyed Falkland that made up the November/December All Spun Up spinalong. I'd sat out the previous SAL, but I couldn't resist trying a new-to-me fiber this time around. The colors in this braid were just gorgeous and incredibly hard to capture on camera -- deep plummy purples, sapphire blues, forest greens, and just a hint of orangey gold.

I had a bit of a hard time deciding what to do with this fiber initially. Someone on the ASU Ravelry board had mentioned that Falkland is great for singles yarns because of its long staple length, and as I hadn't tried a singles yarn since the Tour de Fleece, that sounded like a good idea. I split the top in half down the length of it to make it easier to handle and sat down at the wheel. My original intent was to get a worsted-weight single, but as usual I kept reverting to something thinner than that. So the first 2 oz. of fiber (which nearly filled one bobbin) ended up somewhere in the range of sport to DK weight and approximately 200 yards. I'm not sure what I'll make with it yet (hat? mittens?), but I'm enjoying looking at it for now.

As I was spinning, I was keeping an eye on the SAL thread on the Ravelry board and saw some gorgeous laceweight singles someone else had spun with this fiber. So, I decided to use the second half of the fiber for that. This 2 oz. yielded about 406 yards, so probably enough for a small shawl or lacy scarf.

Both yarns turned out very well. I finished them using some cold water shocks to slightly full the yarn and did some pretty aggressive thwacking. I was pleasantly surprised by how little abuse I had to inflict to get the skeins to hang straight -- straighter even than some of the plied yarns I've spun in the past.

I'm already feeling a little spinning withdrawal, so I'm hoping I'll be able to get the wheel back out before too long. If I really feel the urge to spin, I might even have to get out my spindle and practice my spindling skills!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Like an Old Friend

Knitting has slowed considerably here chez Knit/Wit. I'm still working on some small things during my lunch break, but I've been loath to to start any new project for fear that the baby will decide to make her appearance before I'm done and it'll never be finished or, worse, she won't come until I finish.

So, instead, I dug through my "other crafts" bin and pulled out some cross stitching. It's been fun to get reacquainted with my needle and floss. I used to do quite a bit of stitching before the knitting bug bit me, and I was extremely surprised to find a baby piece nearly finished. I must've started it for someone years ago but never finished, and as there was only a little bit of work left to do, I appropriated it for myself. (Well, for Rainbow, technically, but I'll enjoy it longer than she will.) As it stands now, there's just back-stitching and filling in the details (name, date, weight/length) left to do:

My reluctance to start any major projects has extended to my spinning as well. I spent the weekend finishing up the falkland fiber from the latest All Spun Up spinalong. I was equally nervous about getting caught with a project in progress on the wheel, so I opted for singles instead of anything plied. I wound up splitting my fiber in half and doing two different weights; now I just need to be home when there's some sun out to get a photo or two.

As sad as it makes me, I will soon be putting the wheel away to make room for the bassinet in the bedroom. I'm hoping that it won't have to hibernate too long; as an incentive, I decided to treat myself and signed up for the Crown Mountain Farms Fiber Club for next year. I'd already decided to let my Rockin' Sock Club lapse for next year (seeing as I have about a year's worth of yarn from it still unknit in my stash), and this seemed like a good present to myself. I'll be getting 4 ounces of fiber each month, and I opted for the surprise colorway each month. The real appeal of the club is that the fiber type is different each month, so I'll get to try lots of fibers that are new to me. I may not get much spinning done early on, but I'm betting that once Rainbow is a couple of months old, I'll be able to manage 4 oz. a month. Even if it winds up sitting in the stash for a while, it'll still be nice to get a fibery surprise every month!