Sunday, May 27, 2007

Summer's almost here!

It's Memorial day weekend and it sure feels like the start of summer. Our second 90 degree day in a row. The garden is loving it. I must say, I'm quite please with how the garden is turning out this year. I put in fewer plants this year and rotated where things are planted. We put down weed barrier cloth and topped everything with straw. I think it looks pretty, but more important, I'm hoping I don't have to do much weeding when it's stifling hot out. This is the main part of the garden.In the front row there's a Tom Thumb cherry tomato in a pot (barely visible), Big Beef tomato, Better Boy tomato. Next, between the tomato trellises there is a rosemary and two basil plants, but they are too small to see yet. Next row, 2 Roma tomatoes. Next 2 Sweet Slicer cucumbers. I'm trying a homemade trellis made with steel enforced plastic posts and heavy twine. Those cages just didn't cut it last year. The rest of this bed has onions. 5 rows of Candy sweets (planted from onion sets) and 2 rows of Walla Walla from seed. The Walla Wallas aren't doing so well, but I'm trying to baby them along, keeping my fingers crossed.This is the side bed where I usually plant my tomatoes. This year I've got a yellow squash (which I'm hoping doesn't spread too much (they can get pretty huge and that bed's only 3 foot wide, YIKES). Next are 4 Big Bertha bell peppers. I've got 3 eggplants after that, but they haven't grown a bit since I planted them a month ago. They haven't died, but they aren't flourishing either. Will have to see what becomes of them. Finally, two rows of radishes and 2 rows of spinach, both of which I was able to harvest some of today.This week yarn porn...SOCKS THAT ROCK!!!!!!!!
I am so not exaggerating when I say EVERYONE in the knitting blogosphere is raving about this yarn. And has been raving for a good long time. But since I run hot and cold with sock knitting, I've never wanted to shell out the money to get some. Then I saw a skein come up on the KnitSwap list for $12. How could I resist? This is STR mediumweight in Lagoon. It's so soft and pretty. I carried it around with me and left it sit on the coffee table where I could see it for several days. I'm saving it for Summer of Socks. I'm REALLY hoping this sock-jones doesn't where off before then.

I also got this set of sock yarn from a seller on ebay.
She described the yarn as "so silky you'd swear its half mohair". I beg to differ. The yarn is pretty, although the colors are nothing like what they looked like in the auction picture. But to me the yarn feels coarse. I'm not at all sure what I'm going to do with it. I had thought of knitting Montego Bay from the Summer IK. But after swatching this yarn for it, I don't think that would work. Definitely not going to be socks since it's way to scratchy. I've got about 500 yds total. Any ideas?

The Mister Joe Blanket socks are finished. Although I couldn't get a decent picture for the life of me.
This very unflattering photo at least shows off the patterning and funky heel detail. The socks are incredibly comfortable. This isn't a widely talked about yarn, but I sure like it.

Currently on the needles: I've finished the first of the Regia Bamboo socks and am well underway on sock 2. I've cast on the Katsara yarn using the stitch pattern from the Tube sock pattern from Drops. Do check out their site. Hundreds of free patterns. The search function is kind of flaky, but lots of great patterns.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

L&V have corrupted me

I recently decided to try to catch up on some of the new knitting podcasts. Well, new to me. Since I've been spending so much time working in the garden, I've had plenty of time to load up the MP3 player and listen. Boy, I had no idea what I was missing! Brenda Dayne is still the reigning queen of knitting podcasts, but there are a ton of great ones out there now. I'll try to get the sidebar updated soon. Meanwhile, if you've been living under a rock as I apparently have been, check these out:
Socks in the City

Sticks and String
Stash & Burn
and finally...
Lime and Violet OMG, I can not say enough good things about this podcast. They irreverent, totally yarn obsessed, sweet, funny, smart, ever
ything! Go, download, listen, laugh your ass off! Warning, they are SERIOUS stash enablers. I can not listen while at the computer for fear of buying everything in yarn porn.

Mother's day was this past weekend. Here was my gift to
mom...A lovely scarf knit from some of the fab wool she brought me from New Zealand. So totally the wrong time of year for a mohair scarf, but she seemed to love it anyway. I made the pattern up, an inch or so of garter stitch, 1 row drop stitch, K 1 row, 1 row drop stitch, repeat until you run out of yarn. I should have made the scarf slightly skinnier so it would have been longer, but it's a completely usable scarf as is. I did a bit of beading in the fringe which looks really cute and adds a bit of weight to help the very light scarf hang a bit better.

The spa slippers are done. Unfortunately they don't fit me though. Hoping they'll fit my sister.
They took less than 1 ball of K1C2 2nd Time Around Cotton. The color is Scottish Moor. Very well matched buttons from Joann Fabrics. I love the style and want a pair of non-wool slippers so will be making my self a slightly bigger pair as soon as I get some yarn.

Speaking of yarn. I've got my own yarn porn today. Look at this!
This is Katsara yarns Merino Bamboo sock yarn in Shalimar. The picture doesn't even come close to doing it justice. First of all, it came packed in an adorable printed cellophane bag with a little lavender sachet so it smelled heavenly. It is soft as a cloud. The colors are fantastic. I could become seriously addicted to this yarn. Go look at the colorways...I want Avalon, Monterey, Grove, Juniper, I could go on and on. Even if I never knit this up, I am happy just having it. And what is it they say in blog land? Sock yarns don't count towards stash, right?

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Current projects and what's coming up

Since finishing the Yoke Sweater (which happened to coincide with warmer weather) I've not felt like knitting anything big. I've still got the Wool-Ease Four Seasons Cardi that would love to be worked on. The poor thing sits in a box, a back, one front and maybe a third of the second front piece. But I just can't bring myself to work on such heavy knitting. Instead, I'm back on socks.

The Mr. Joe Blanket socks are finally nearing completion. I can't even remember when I started them. To be fair, they were my "take along knitting" and we haven't gone anywhere during tax season. They've graduated up to TV knitting now and making faster progress. I was completely surprised I could remember what I did with the heel since I didn't take notes (shame on me). But the socks are matching very well and should be finished before too long.
Remember the Regia Bamboo that was supposed to be Widdershins but failed horribly? It's looking great now as a plain old basic sock. I so love this yarn. It's super soft, cool to the touch and should make great summer socks. It's 40% wool, 45% bamboo and 5% polyamid. I'm on a major quest right now to collect as much bamboo sock yarn as I can get my hands on. Last year I knit dishcloths all summer, this year may just be the bamboo sock summer!
Not that dishcloths aren't part of the picture. This one is pretty cool. It's Lion Organic Cotton and the dishcloth pattern from the last Creative Knitting magazine. I'm afraid I don't know the exact issue. The pattern is such an easy repeat, a little 2 stitch cable, I memorized it and filed the magazine away somewhere. I realized when I was taking the picture, this is about done. It's one of those things I have laying in my knitting basket that I pick up and knit a repeat on when I want to knit something different. Think I'll try and finish it up this weekend.
This is the first of 2 tank tops I plan to knit this summer. This one is actually a vest pattern (Summer V-neck Cable Shell from Sarah James). I modified it quite a bit though. I hated the weird random purl pattern she used, so I'm going with plain stockinette. I also reworked the cable design on the front. The original has both sides of the cable slanting the same way which looked wonky to me. So I reworked the cables so the slant opposite each other. When it reaches the V-neck, it nicely mimics the V. Unfortunately, it will be ages before I can show this to you knit up. As you can see, I'm only just beginning the back. But, again, I'm loving it. I've been quite lucky lately to have hit on so many projects that turn out to be every bit as wonderful as I think they'll be. This is being knit in Aunt Lydia's Denim Quick Crochet thread. Yeah, you read that right, crochet thread. But it's not really. It's a worsted weight, 75% cotton, 25% acrylic yarn. I used it once before to knit a string bag, but never think of it because I never look in the crochet section. I desperately wanted to knit this vest with denim yarn, but to use Rowan Denim would have been over $50! No way was I going to spend $50 for a tank top! Then one of my searches for denim yarn lead me to Aunt Lydia's and I remembered how much I liked using it before. And it's dirt cheap, under $10 for that same tank. Now, it's not going to shrink up like Rowan, so I don't think you could use this as a one for one swap on a Rowan pattern. But if you just want a denim look, this is a great alternative.

And finally, here's what's in the wings. These are the yoga slippers from the spring Knit1 magazine. I'm going to use 2nd Time Cotton, another of my faves. It should make for soft, sturdy slippers. This color is Scottish Moor. I've also got a ball of Istambul on order in the hopes of making two pairs. We'll see how long my ambition holds up!