Saturday, January 24, 2009

Noro to the North

Note: none of the pictures in this post are accurate representations of the fabulousness that is Noro's colors. All photos were a) taken indoors at b)Midnight or 6 AM, and thus in c) a total lack of natural light.

Well guys, I did it.

Chair + Scarf + Midnight = Tired

It wasn't easy, but it was worth it.


I overestimated how far along I was when I posted yesterday. I thought I was closer to 3/4 done, when in fact I was only like 2/3 done. I was very tempted to skimp out there at the end. Around 10:45 PM, a small voice in my brain said, "You have such a tiny little ball of each color left... if you just bind off now, nobody else will ever miss those last four or five stripes." But the thing is, I knew I would miss them, and I would feel bad for having skimped on a gift for someone else. So here's what was left over at the end (besides a fabulously dark and broody scarf!):

What was left

Counterclockwise from the scissors we have: the scissors and yarn needle used to weave in the ends (there was no way I could leave the ends until this morning, although I considered that as well. But I wouldn't have been able to sleep.) Next, the little bits of yarn that got snipped off after the ends were woven in. Then, the leftovers of each color: that strand of black would not in fact have made two more rows, but only 1.5 more rows. I know because I knit it just to make sure, then ripped it back to bind off in the lighter color. I was a little surprised that there was this large of a difference in the yardages of the skeins, because there was very little difference (less than a yard) between the leftovers from my first scarf. Most of the knitting was done yesterday between 9:30 and midnight, because it is very difficult to blow off work for knitting when work primarily consists of preparing for and leading orientation meetings. I did, however, knit in the restaurant where we had dinner (the waitress never uttered a peep about it). I even got up with the significant other so I could say hello to the puppy he's traveling with (and by puppy I mean nearly-full-grown Neopolitan Mastiff named Grendel) and to snap a few farewell shots of the scarf, fulfilling its life-purpose by staving off the early morning chill.

Leaving for the Great White North

Doesn't he look intrepid? Or maybe just bleary-eyed...

Either way, I'll try to bug him for some action shots of the scarf in Canada for next week. In the meantime, I'm gonna try and find someplace that serves a decent breakfast here (i.e. not Denny's) at 7:30 in the morning.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Hurry Up!

The significant other is going on a road trip with one old friend and one huge dog to Vancouver, BC tomorrow. I can barely believe that I forgot about this until yesterday, but I will freely blame first-week-of-classes stress. I am in a frenzy: between meetings, powerpoint slides, responding to work emails, and scheduling, I will be trying desperately to finish his Noro Striped Scarf so he can have something warm and handsome to wear in the Canadian winter. The scarf is about 70% done, but dudes, that's still a hefty chunk of 1x1 ribbing left to go.

I have until 6AM tomorrow morning. I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Baa baa!

So lately I've been thinking about sheep and following. The animal comes up a lot with knitters and knitting, but I'm also feeling the pressures of the herding instinct since I last posted. Some of the results have been awesome. In thinking about sheep, I've been trying to plug along with the fleece. After some drive band issues, which were ultimately solved by me getting off my lazy butt and getting a ball of kitchen cotton string from the hardware store down the block, I'm up to 2 (count 'em!) full bobbins of singles. I really really really want to get other spinning on the wheel, especially now that both of my fiber clubs are in full swing. It's especially difficult to resist chucking the fleece in the closet in order to have a short fling with this:

Hello Yarn Superwash BFL "Night Sky"
December Hello Yarn Fiber Club, "Night Sky" Superwash BFL

Oh. My. Gawd. First of all, the colorway speaks to me (Night Sky?!?!?) as if I custom-ordered it, and it's heavenly-soft superwash BFL. I've only used this fiber once before, and it was one of the easiest things to spin ever. So I want to spin other things besides the fleece these days, but I know if I free up the wheel for other projects, it'll be ridiculously difficult to get back on it. Which means I'm doing some spindle spinning!

Christmas gift top
Christmas Gift Baltic Merino

This fiber was a Christmas gift from another knitter friend (my evil plan to convert all my friends to knitters/spinners/fiber-maniacs is slowly coming to fruition... yesssss...) from Smoky Mountain Spinnery in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. It's a nice heathered blend, which will make a good nearly-solid-color yarn. No plans for a project, I just split the top in two strips and will probably get my standard heavy DK to light worsted weight 2-ply yarn. I also received this fabulous yarn from another friend:

Christmas gift gradient
Christmas Fire Gradient

She knit a rectangle in straight stockinette using two strands of plain wool (most likely Patons, they are knitting bff's) and dyed it using regular old Rit dye! It's so lovely, transitioning from a very pale lemon yellow (it's nearly white) to a deep vibrant red. I have no idea what to do with it yet. Right now it's draped across the back of my spinning chair where I can admire it every day, but inspiration has yet to surface. Maybe something double knit? Perhaps a symmetrically-patterned fair isle scarf? Who knows!

Another knitting friend, hesitant to purchase something I wouldn't like, took me to her LYS and said "pick something out." I was about to get back on the airplane, had just finished two fairly complicated pairs of mittens, so I was looking for simple, mindless knitting, but still interesting. Oh yes. You know where this is going. Here's where the herd instinct comes in:

Noro Striped Scarf #1
Noro Striped Scarf #1

I have fallen down the rabbit hole (Thanks, Stephanie!) of two-row stripes with Noro. About 10 inches in, the significant other (that phrase still works if you're engaged, right?) walked by and said "Oooh! Is that for me?" I reluctantly said no, it was for me, and then told him that he didn't really want it because it was going to get pink. He then asked me: "How pink?" I would like draw your attention to the two light girly pink sections on the bottom portion of the photo. I'm not adverse to him borrowing the scarf, and he is certainly the kind of male who is confident enough to wear something with a little pink in it, if he likes it enough. However, if it's cold enough for him to want a scarf (the man is like a walking furnace, takes a lot of wind chill for him to want a scarf), I will also certainly want a big, warm, wooly two-row-striped-Noro scarf of my own. So I'm in the middle of another one, this yarn purchased with a gift certificate to another LYS, that is slightly more manly-colored and sufficiently different so that the scarves don't look too matchy-matchy. You know, just in case we decide to wear them at the same time while we're out together.

Noro Striped Scarf #2
Noro Striped Scarf #2

They're an awesome project, if you're willing to plop down nearly $40 for a scarf. I don't know if I would have sprung for this yarn myself at this point in time, given the size of my stash. I feel a little guilty when I think about buying new yarn for projects these days. Hopefully I'll get to the point where I start to forget about some of the really really old stash, so it will feel like new yarn. Hmm. Maybe I should go see what's lurking in the bottom of the basket.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

New year, new beginnings

Thanks for the nice comments on my gift knitting! Man, I felt so good about blogging two days in a row, and now I feel bad about ignoring the blog for more than a week. In my defense, something came up last Tuesday that effectively took me out of all my normal routines up until today:

Engagement Ring!

The significant other proposed! It was quite a surprise, so we don't have anything at all planned or decided yet. I will certainly be knitting something for the event, but I haven't decided if it will a larger project like a wrap or shawl (maybe Hanami? Or something from this book?) or a smaller project. The last time I was in a wedding, the bride wanted to include copper, one of her favorite colors, into the decorations, so I knit her a few roses out of copper-colored Alchemy Haiku to put in her bouquet, and a smaller one that I wore as a choker.

For now, I'm back to regular old knitting. I am currently turning this

Alchemy Haiku- Amethyst

into gloves. Specifically, Brie from Rowan 36 (scroll down for picture). I've knit this pattern once before in white Kidsilk Haze as a gift, and the Alchemy is a nice substitute. The pattern is relatively easy to follow, and it's a very interesting way to knit gloves (all flat, not in the round!). I've also been chugging away at the fleece spinning. I'm just finishing up a second bobbin, and once I have three I think I'll be doing a three-ply so I get a nice squishy, probably heavy worsted yarn. Hopefully it won't take me another month to spin up the third bobbin!