Saturday, January 31, 2009

In which I catch up for January and talk about age...

I'm back, after another month of not posting. Lots of pictures to share so lets get started...

First up is the Multi Strand afghan, which I dubbed the Cuddly Afghan because it is soft as a whisper.I knit the afghan using Patons Divine in Blue Halo and Soft Slate and Bernat Softee Chunky in Grey Ragg. It was knit on US 19 needles and took only a few weeks to complete. Although I have absolutely no need for a blanket, what with being a quilter and all and having an over abundance of those, I just had this desire to knit a big chunky project. It's a super easy knit, although it was hard on the hands and arms towards the end having all that bulk to deal with.

These socks started out as the Ragg Hikers from 2 at a Time Socks, but working in rib is mind numbing for me, especially since I chose fingering weight yarn rather than the worsted called for in the pattern
So I only ribbed the leg. The socks are knit from Knit Picks Essentials yarn in Terrain Twist. It knits up into a super cozy, soft sock. I'm not crazy about the color, much more suited to a man. But they look fine with my khakis and fit very well. I'll definetly use this yarn again.

These are the Felted Slippers with Elf Cuff from Patons Next Steps Four book.
Another very fast and easy knit. The pattern seems very odd when you start, but after awhile makes sense. The slippers are worked flat then seamed up the top of the foot. You start at the back of the heel then work up the sides and bottom of the foot to the toe. Then you pick up stitches around the ankle and knit the cuff. I used the Patons Classic Merino wool that was called for and the results were very nice. This yarn is so nice to work with and felts up into a sturdy yet soft and comfortable fabric.

I got 2 new books: Creative Spinning, which turned out to be mostly a picture inspiration book rather than alot of spinning technique. But the pictures are quite lovely and it does make me want to spin more. And also Fair Isle Sweaters Simplified.
I've looked at this book off and on over the last few years. Oooing and ahhhing over the gorgeous sweaters, but more or less writing it off as too much work. Something I'd never persevere through and finish. But it was always in the back of my mind. Then earlier this month Knit Picks sent out a new catalog all about fair isle and stirred up my mind. My friend Jen and I have been talking alot about colorwork knitting. She's interested in doing Norwegian style colorwork (which centers more around only 2 sometimes 3 colors). I love the cacophoney of color in fair isle, plus the prospect of changing colors every few rows should help to keep the knitting interesting. Both of us were a bit apprehensive about steeking that is involved with both styles of sweaters. The sweaters are knit as tubes, then you run some machine stitching done two columns of knit stitches and cut up the middle to make the holes for the arms to attach, the neckline or the front opening if you are making a cardigan. It's a somewhat frightening thought for a knitter to take scissors to their knitting, but it's been done for centuries so I'm sure its a safe and effective technique. I knit a little sample fair isle swatch and sewed and cut a steek to prove to myself it's not that bad (and it's not at all bad). Then I sent the swatch off to Jen to quell her fears as well. Jen's already ordered the yarn for her sweater so I figured I better make up my mind what I'm going to do. I've decided I'll knit the Color Your Own sweater and ordered my yarn this week.
I've decided to use Valley Yarns Northampton yarn in what Philosopher's Wool calls the Natural colorway, black and various shades of grey. I've also ordered a red, green, purple and blue and will use one or more as accent colors. I'm so excited!! Unfortuneately, the black is on backorder until the end of March. In a way it's good. Maybe I'll actually finish the Fylingdales and February Lady sweaters I've been not so much working on for the last 2 months.

And finally, I'm spending my weekend indulging in some nostalgic guilty pleasure.
As my family and friends are having a fun time reminding me about, I'm turning 40 next week. Now, birthdays mean very little to me. Often times, when I'm asked my age, I truly have to think about it. It just really seems irrelevent to me. But the turning of a decade is always a bit of a bummer. While on Netflix earlier this week, I found Sooner or Later and immediately hit add to queue, knowing this would raise my spirits. I told my sister I had rented it and lamented it would probably be a cheezy disappointment as so many of the movies I loved as a kid have turned out to be. Boy was I wrong. I'm not going to do a full movie review here since I've rambled on long enough. But I still found the movie enjoyable. The music really took me back. Rex Smith was one of my teenage hearthrobs (and he's not bad now either!) Sadly, I no longer have the book the movie was based on or its sequel Waiting Games (although I will be trying to track them done used). But I do have Forever which was THE pivitol teenagers in love novel of my teendom, so that will have to do for now. Don't get me wrong. I wouldn't trade 40 for 14. But it sure is fun to remember what it felt like to be 14 and realize now how silly I was. If age has given me anything, it's perspective and the knowledge that ANY age is good when you are in it.