Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Fiery Puffs

This week I met my minimum requirement of 7 puffs. I had so much fun with the colour theme last week I dug around in my stash and found scraps of yellows, oranges and reds for this weeks fiery puff collection! Some more minis came in the mail yesterday so next week expect another collection of minis turned into puffs!

Yarns Used This Week:

ONline Supersocke Butterfly Colour in 1154
Knit Picks Stroll Tonal
Fleece Artist Merino 2/6
Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label (leftovers from My Vampire Boyfriend Socks!)
Mary Maxim Bamboo Soft Stripes


Monday, 30 January 2012

Done in the nick of time...

I finished my My Vampire Boyfriend socks last night, just a few days ahead of schedule! I am super impressed that I managed to finish these on time and that I didn't give into second sock syndrome. So what did I think about my first month of my self-imposed sock challenge?

The pattern: A really enjoyable pattern by Kate Atherley. By the end of the first sock I had the pattern down. My chart was always near by, but the second sock went much faster and I managed to knit it in a little more than a week. It was a great pattern that you need to pay attention to and it challenged me (in a good way) the whole way along. I love the addition of the "bitemark" cable along the sides and the modified heart for the heel and toe. This pattern is available for free in the Fall 2009 issue of Knitty.

The yarn: This was a wonderful skein of Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label in a one-of-a-kind colourway. I love Tanis's yarn and it feels great to finally have a pair of socks in it! The socks are soft and sturdy and the colour variations are beautiful.

The book: As you may recall, I am also reading Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter as my book challenge for this month. I am not quite done, but it has been a great book so far. Between the three jobs and the sock knitting I have been a busy bee this month.

I'll be back with the February sock of choice soon.

Happy Knitting!


Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Back on the Hexi Track...

After my complete failure last week to complete a single puff, I doubled my efforts this week and managed to turn this....

Into this...

The shipment of mini-skeins definitely did its thing and inspired me to make 13 gorgeous puffs in wintery blues and whites. Glad to be on the right track again! Also, I loved trying a bunch of yarns that I had never tried before. My favourites were the Wollmeise, Bare Sheep Company and JL Vinca. I will definitely be seeking them out for future knitted socks.

Yarns Used This Week:

ONline Supersocke Butterfly Colour in 1154
JL Vinca in 806
 Koigu KPPPM in Snowdrift
            Bare Sheep Company Merino Nylon Sock in Dumbledore  
      Lazy Perry Ranch Sock in Turquoise
      Woolmeise 100% in Karnblume  
      Dream in Color Smooshy in Lunar Zazzle
      Lion Brand Sock Ease in 100 Marshmallow
 Patons Kroy Sock in Blazing Blue
Regia World Ball Color in Argentine
All Things Heather Sock in Turquoise
Araucania Ranco in Sky Blue

      Happy Knitting, 


Monday, 23 January 2012

Baby Blanket Indecisiveness

I'm in a quandary. I have friends who recently found out they are expecting. My mind is already in overdrive for all of the things I will knit for this wee one. I love knitting for babies: booties, hats, sweaters, mitts, toys, you name it. I have some time before the little one is expected to arrive, but the largest investment of time and resources will have to go into a blanket. I want this blanket to be something that the little one will grow up with so I need something classic, soft, hardwearing and beautiful. I have been scouring Ravelry and Pinterest for some time trying to decide on the perfect first project for baby.

I absolutely love this...

Hansel Blanket From The Shetland Trader (link)
But I also adore this...

Baby Chalice Blanket from Lykkefanten (link)
And this...

Zig and Zag Sock Yarn Pram Baby Blanket by Debbie Orr (link)
And then there is this...

Forever Baby Blanket from Purl Soho (link)

Sigh... and this is just the tip of the iceberg. Does anyone out there have any advice for a knitter in need of a perfect baby blanket?


Sunday, 22 January 2012

Belated FO Friday

Time for another finished object Friday (well Sunday, but who's counting?)! Despite the total neglect of the "me" projects over the past week (socks, cardi, puffs) I have been knitting for my next favourite group: babies! There is nothing more satisfying that making something warm and wooly for a wee one. Last weekend I made this sweet hat for a friend's baby. The I Heart Cables pattern is in the winter issue of Petite Purls, an excellent, free online knitting magazine specializing in patterns for small humans.

One of the best things about this hat was that I got to use the pom pom maker that Kevin made me for Christmas for the first time. It is so much easier than any other tool I have made or bought before. I plan on making another pair of the Frodo booties to go with this great heat.

'til next time,


Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Let's Not Talk About It...

So its time for a Hexi check in, but I sadly have zero puffs to show this week. I found out last Monday that I would be teaching a new class starting Wednesday nights so I have been completely swamped with trying to get caught up with that. In fact this blog post is a brief break from writing a lecture about gerontological theories. Woot!

What did arrive in the mail today was this...

12 mini skeins of yummy sock yarns that I bought on etsy from LadyDanio for puffs. Hopefully this will inspire me to double my efforts to have lots of puffs for next week.


Wednesday, 11 January 2012

WIP Wednesday - Startitis Strikes Again

Before I get into the knitting update I took some pictures this morning of this incredible gift I got this Holiday. The base has tiny spikes in the bottom that hold the flowers upright. I finally picked up some flowers yesterday and am loving the way they look.

A new year and another case of startitis has plagued me. I have the sudden urge to knit. all. the. things. This has resulted in me casting on much more than I can realistically handle at the moment and has slowed my progress down on all of them. In addition to my new hexipuff habit I have on the needles:

My Kara Cardigan, with 5 repeats done. Still no sleeves.
My mini Angus monster which has seen no action since last week;
My Vampire Boyfriend Socks (more about them tomorrow);
6 projects carried over from last year, including my citron shawl, a pair of garrish orange and black socks, thrummed mittens, a crocheted Noro shawl, a pair of gloves and a pair of slippers;

and this new addition, Bella's Mittens.

I had been resisting this pattern for a while, since it was a Twilight thing - I prefer my vampires to be either Byronic of Buffy-ed - but then I saw them knit up at Passionknit this weekend and I could resist no more. They are now my Wintersong Mittens and I am knitting them up in a wonderful colour of Malabrigo twist called Indiecita. I love the colours and the yarn and can't wait to wear these on the cold days ahead. Hopefully, by Friday I will have something finished other than another hexipuff!

Happy knitting, and knitting, and knitting....


Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Hexi Check

This week I made another 10 hexipuffs to add to the collection. I am trying to hold to one a day so that I don't get bored of them and stop. I usually have a problem with "big" projects like this because of my short attention span. So far, I am enjoying the puffs and each one of them feels like a tiny finished project to me so that is helping. I am also getting to explore all the sock yarns in my stash which has been fun. I picked up 2 new colours of Koigu at Passionknit this past weekend (one is seen above in a speckled pink) which I love. I may have additionally ordered some mini skeins of etsy.... can we say obsessed!? Oh well, there are far worse things to be addicted to than stringy fibre.

Yarns Used This Week:
Knit Picks Felici
Knit Picks Stroll Multi
Knit Picks Imagination
ONline Supersocke 100 Butterfly Color
Shelridge Farm Soft Touch Ultra Standard Handpaints

'til next time. Hexi out.


Friday, 6 January 2012

First FO Friday

In keeping with my attempts to post daily, I introduce Finished Object Friday where I will show you a recently completed project (or two).

Meet Murray Jr! I came across this pattern as a result of our visit to Good Karma Farm in Belfast, Maine over the holidays. This little monster designed by Joshua Carlson, or bearded knitter, was designed to use up the tail end of a skein of Good Karma Farm's 60/40.

Before the addition of limbs and his eye, this monster looked just like a pickle!
But with embellishment, he is the cutest pickle monster I have ever seen!

Mini Gabby and Pickles are fast friends

Lola isn't sure what to make of this pickle with dangly legs hanging out on her back...

"Mush, great grey beast, mush!!"

"On second thoughts, maybe I'll just sit here." 

This was the first skein of the Good Alpaca Farm 60/40 that I have used and I loved it! It is a bit rustic (in a lovely way), and softens up beautifully after a gentle soak in Eucalan. The best part is that the colours are gorgeous.

I used some more of this skein of 60/40 to make a small hat for a friend's new(ish) baby. Murray Jr. will be a gift for her 8-year old sister. I hope she loves little alien pickles as much as I do!


Thursday, 5 January 2012

Literary Knitting

I mentioned in my New Years post that this year I would be participating in the Self Imposed Sock Knitter's Club in 2012. This idea by the Yarn Harlot is a wonderful way to both destash my ridiculous sock yarn collection and inspire me to move away from plain "vanilla" socks and try new and challenging sock patterns. I have always been envious of people who have patience to make a sock with features like cables and lace, heck, even ribbed socks impress me! I have a collection of sock knitting books but I never knit from them. This year is going to change all that. I am determined to become a more adventurous sock knitter.

As per usual with these silly ideas I have, that wasn't enough. Another goal for 2012 is that I want to read more for pleasure. With knitting taking over my life, most of the reading time I have is saved for academic purposes and my teaching. I want to read at least 12 books this year for fun. This is a low goal and I hope it will be attainable. These two ideas came together and I thought, wouldn't it be fun if the books I read somehow have a connection to the projects I'm knitting. Realizing that my idea of fun might greatly differ from the majority of the population, I picked out January's project and book with gusto. 

January Self-Imposed Sock and Book Club

The Socks: My Vampire Boyfriend by Kate Atherley, published in Knitty, Fall 2009, free pattern

Photo borrowed from Knitty, Fall 2009. Link above.

The Yarn (the stringy variety, not the story): Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label in a One-of-a-Kind Colourway

My progress:

I think I may have chosen a doozy of a first non-plain sock to start with. The cables in this sock make my eyes come in and out of focus, but so far I am enjoying the challenge (and it is getting easier. I have knit the three pattern repeats for the leg and am about the start on the heel flap. I have a long way to go and must not give in to SSS (second sock syndrome). I have joined two KAL (knit-a-long) groups on Ravelry for moral support and encouragement to get these done by the end of the month. I think I am going to need it!

Close up of the heart cable

Close up of the "bite mark" cable, which looks like it is being punctured by little eyelets. Love this!

As for the book, it is the perfect choice to curl up with on cold January nights. It combines two of my favourite genres: historical fiction and fantasy. The book reads like a historical biography, the story mixed in with excerpts from Honest Abe's real and imagined journals and writings. I don't want to reveal much of the plot, but essentially the journals reveal that vampires do exist and Abe was a bad-ass vampire hunter, who vowed to take out all vampires in America. The book could have come off as just plain ridiculous, but is well written and combines enough historical fact to allow the reader to suspend disbelief for the fiction. I am thoroughly enjoying it so far. This preview video for the book on YouTube says it all.

Happy knitting and reading!


Wednesday, 4 January 2012

WIP Wednesday

Checking in for Works In Progress Wednesday with an update on my Kara Cardigan. I have made some headway and have completed 4.5 of the lace repeats. I am getting close to the addition of the sleeves. This sweater has an interesting construction that I have not used before in my many baby sweater prototypes, so I am eager to see how it will turn out.

Also on the needles is this mini-monster, Rebecca Danger's Angus the Attic Monster, knit in sock yarn. This little guy doesn't look like much yet, but is sure to be a cutie when finished. My mini Gabby relaxes, while not so patiently waiting for her new friend to appear.

I have one more project on the go which I will tell you about tomorrow. I know, I know, the suspense is killing you.


Tuesday, 3 January 2012

It's Time to Meet the Hexipuffs!

Today is the first day I was really cold coming to work. It was -18 degrees Celsius and somewhere in the -20's with the windchill. Brrr. I compensated by wearing lots of hand knits: legwarmers, hat, cowl, mittens. They helped but I still have a major chill on. Now I am cuddled up with a blanket and my knitting. This is making me feel much better about the cold world outside my window. 

Tuesday will now be hexipuff day on the blog. I know what you are thinking, what the heck is a hexipuff? In short, a hexipuff is a small knitted hexagon that is stuffed with batting. Eventually these will all be tied together to make the Beekeeper's Quilt. This pattern from Tiny Owl Knits has become extremely popular and has over 2,500 projects on Ravelry. People are doing themed quilts, making pictures from the hexies, and all sorts of neat things. I personally love the random, eclectic nature of the original and I am aspiring mine to have the same quality.

I will be using up scraps of sock yarn to make the blanket. This quilt will be an ongoing project for the year. I am hoping that if I manage to knit at least one hexi a day, by the end of the year I should have enough to make a small quilt. A wonderful thing about the hexipuffs is that they are a small, portable project that takes very little yarn (and time) per puff. The pattern was easy to memorize so I have made myself a small "hexipuff kit" with all the tools I need and can take this anywhere for fast on-the-spot knitting. In the Danger Crafts Holiday Swap I got this great handmade zippered pouch from my swap partner which I am now putting to good use as my hexi kit.

I started knitting these over the holidays and so far I have managed to make 11 of them. I'll update you weekly on my progress.

Yarns Used This Week:
Manos del Uraguay Serena
Knit Picks Chroma
Vanna’s Glamor
Shelridge Farm Soft Touch Ultra Standard Handpaints
Tanis Fiber Arts Purple Label
Frogtree Pediboo

Hexipuffing to stay warm, 

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all!

What a holiday this has been. It's hard to believe that it is back to work tomorrow; I was just starting to get relaxed!

I'm not one for new years resolutions, but I do have some 2012 knitting goals.

1. It's all about the sweater. I have three batches of yarn in sweater quantities and I would like to make them all up in 2012.

2. Self-imposed Sock Knitting Club. Based on an idea by the brilliant Yarn Harlot, as a way to destash the mountain of sock yarn one might collect. At the beginning of the year you put 12 sock patterns and corresponding yarn in ziplock bags and every month you make a pair of socks. I am starting off January with a bang and may possibly have chosen the most complicated socks ever. More on that later...

3. Knit for myself! I know this may sound selfish, but as I perused all the knitted gifts I gave away this Christmas I decided that I would do a few calculations. I checked Ravelry and discovered that in 2011 I knit a total of 82 finished projects. I then realized that I have kept 6 of them - mostly hats, I adore my hats! I love knitting gifts, but I also want to start enjoying some hand knits myself!

On that note, 2 new Rebecca Danger monsters that I finished over the holidays and now reside on my desk.

Zeke the Aloof Alpaca pattern. I named this sweetie Philippe after the cute baby alpaca that we met at Good Karma Farm when we were in Maine. 

A mini Gabby the Garden Monster. I made this mini with some hand dyed sock yarn I found in the bargain room at Needles & Knits in Aurora. Love her!

Wishing everyone all the best for a happy 2012!