Unpacking books from boxes

April 25, 2009 § 1 Comment

I was going to wait with the showing off until my other package had arrived, but it hasn’t, and I’m itching for some yarnwhoring.

Birst off: I finished the Wave socks! Just now, while waiting for my pasta to cook to a nice al dente. My roomie was overjoyed and put them on straight away – she’s off to the park with them now. How cool is that?

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Also, I started winding one skein of my Malabrigo laceweight from Ithaca into a ball. Which sucks. Why? Because as nice and soft as the stuff is, it’s also kind of fuzzy. In the slightly-felted-and-sticking-together way. Never in my life have I wanted a swift and a ballwinder more than today, and I’m usually a person who tremendously enjoys sitting there with a skein of yarn around my knee, winding away. So it’s pretty much a huge pain in the ass, and it had better be worth it.

I’m planning a couple of new projects: First, it’s the 18th birthday of Christian’s sister on May 1st, and since I’m spending Beltaine with Christian at the Externsteine (a mystical rock formation in the middle of the forest, 10 minutes from his home), I’ll be there, and she’s said she’s excited for me to be there, and… I need a present. I’m thinking fingerless mitts, since she’s a gamer… either with some kind of WoW symbol on it, or in red with a white cross, because her boyfriend is Swiss. Red and white would be great, since I’m on a yarn diet until the end of May and I have both in my stash.

Then, speaking of Beltaine, I want something to knit while sitting in the shadows of stones that are supposed to have been a Germanic place of worship. (regardless, there was power there when I went this winter) I’d like for it to be something special, because it’s Beltaine after all, maybe even vaguely thematic. I would LOVE a shawl, but I’m also aware that I’ll be seriously drunk there. I’m contemplating just taking the SYS, since I’m at the garter stitch edge now, but Beltaine is a time of starting, not finishing. The call of nature to make something is deeply ingrained in me.

And then, with the last thing on my List of Things I Want To Cast On Right Now, I also come to my super-duper purchase. See, Saskia and me are going to this concert in November. It’s not a rock concert, far from it. In fact, it’s in the Gewandhaus, a prestigeous concert house here in Leipzig, and it’s Max Raabe und das Palastorchester, which is… well, a big band, I guess, in the style of the 20s and 30s. They’re amazing. They also cover pop songs in that peculiar, awesome style, like ‘Oops… I did it again’ or ‘Sex Bomb’. (click the links for muuusic!)

So, I already know which dress I’m wearing, mainly because I only own one. It’s a shortish, black affair, nice but nothing spectacular. So I figured, there’s enough time till November, I can knit a hugeish dressy shawl for that occasion.

So I went and bought Nancy Bush’s ‘Knitted Lace of Estonia’.
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It’s a magnificient book. As always, it has some history, this time obviously about the lace knitting tradition in the town of Haapsalu, Estonia:
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and vintage photos
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and truly amazing, incredible patterns. There are fourteen of them, ranging from relatively simple scarves to the most intricate and huge square shawls (like the one on the cover), and me and my roomies just sat in the kitchen for half the evening going ‘oh, look at THAT one!’ ‘holy crap!’ ‘I want one like that, can you make me one?’ ‘oh my GOD just LOOK at that!’.

Two of the patterns caught my attention in particular. One, the Leaf and Nupp Shawl, is rectangular, while the Miralda Shawl is a triangle where you cast on from the lower lace border and decrease down the middle and at the sides. What they have in common, though, are the lovely little nupps and the sheer stunning beauty and ingenuity of the pattern.

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I have a feeling the Leaf and Nupp Scarf is a bit dressier, with the laceweight yarn and the open pattern. The Miralda is lovely, no doubt, but it also loos like something you’d wrap yourself in against the cold drafts that whisper through your enormous stone castle while you recline on your ottomane and have one of the maids fetch you the bard to dispel the dark shadows of wintertime, if you get my drift.

So, I don’t know. I’m sure I’d like to knit both of them, I just don’t know if they’re the right thing for the occasion. Rectangular shawl… I don’t know. They always feel more like scarves than like stoles to me. I’ll have to see. On the other hand, maybe there’s a textile museum affiliated with the Gewandhaus? Now that would be some inspiration.

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Long time no blog…

March 1, 2009 § Leave a comment

I’ve decided to try and blog more about my knitting. I mean, seriously, with the amount of time I spend doing it, it’s a shame I don’t document it more. So, I’m back, just in time for one hell of an exciting time: I’m going to the US for two weeks, and it’s yarn shopping time!!!

Being the person that I am, I’ve already made a comprehensive table vaguely titled ‘YARN SHOPATHON 2009’ , with columns for project name, size, yarn weight, yardage requirement, suggested fiber and suggested colors, and six fairly large-scale projects listed.

I managed to narrow my extensive Ravelry queue down to three cardis and three shawls, which, by accident or fate, all require around 1000-1500 yards of yarn, albeit in various weights. These are the times where it sucks to be a) tall and b) a fatty, cause if I was short and petite, I could probably afford all six projects, while now I’ll have to see about which projects I find the perfect yarn for before my money runs out.

For starters, there’s the Tempest Cardi, which I definitely want to make. What’s especially exciting about this is that Finger Lakes Fibers actually carries Fleece Artist yarns, and I’m hoping the BFL/merino fingering, too. I’ve never touched BFL in my life, but after hearing all kinds of great things about it, my expectations as well as my excitement level are pretty high. However, the thin yarn aspect of it (while making it relatively cheap and, most of all, light) is kind of scary for someone of my size. To be honest, I haven’t even looked at how many stitches I’ll have to cast on, simply because I fear that would slightly dampen my enthusiasm. Cough. But – big needles!

Then there’s the Inverness Cardi. I used to be simply in love with this, but somehow my excitement slipped a bit in the past week or so. I don’t know why, but this is somewhere at the end of my priority list. Even though it’s DK yarn, but it’s suggested to be knit in a cotton blend, and if there’s a natural fiber I hate to knit, it’s cotton. It’s so hard on the hands!

I’ve only very recently started to consider making a February Lady Sweater. Everybody’s doing it now, it seems, but it is a gorgeous pattern. Thicker yarn too, though that means more weight and more money to be spent.

But what I’m most excited about are shawls. I’ve never seen lace-weight yarn here in Germany, so I knit my two shawls in sport (5-ply) and fingering weight yarns. Which was a lot of fun, mind you, but somehow it feels like it wasn’t, you know, the real thing. Not real lace. So now that I’m going to a country that seems to have enough laceweight to pave the streets with, I’m going to try and buy a couple of kilometers’ worth of it :D

There’s Muir, which I’ve been lusting after ever since it came out, and would have made long ago if it wasn’t for the lack of availability of lace yarns, the miles and miles of really thin yarn, and my low confidence in my knitting skills at such a large scale. And then I left the low confidence behind, replaced it with cockiness, and here I am, looking the Muir challenge bravely in the knee. So to speak. God, that’s a lot of yarn.

Then I definitely want to make another Swallowtail shawl, with more budding lace repeats and in finer yarn. I had loads of fun making Python, and it took me less than a week, too. This time around, if I can give it away, it’s definitely going to my grandma. She’s in the hospital at the moment, without any knitted things whatsoever – I left my Sand Shawl there for before and after the surgery, but she insisted I take it back with me when I visited her. So a shawl is definitely in order for her.

And then, last but not least, there’s the Mohana shawl, which, after my initial paragraph on how fingering weight shawls aren’t really the real thing, seems kind of hypocritical. But I am a fickle, fickle woman, and besides, if I decide I NEVER EVER want to knit a shawl again, I can make a couple of socks from whatever yarn I buy to make it. I’m thinking Misti Alpaca, since other knitters seem to find it quite gush-worthy, and oooh alpaca.

***

What’s bugging me a lot is that I can’t take any knitting on the plane with me. That’s Bad, with a capital B, because I’ll be sitting around with nothing to keep my hands occupied for at least 15 hours. I was so excited to have so much time to knit at my hands, because I kept reading of people knitting on planes (most prominently the Yarn Harlot), and then I wrote to Frankfurt Airport to check – and they told me flat-out that I couldn’t take anything that pointy on a plane. Crap.

So I’m packing three books, have an audiobook version of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander on my Ipod (though I usually fall asleep if I listen to audiobooks when I’m not knitting), and I’ll just cross my fingers and hope I don’t die from boredom. Honestly, I don’t know how other people do it anymore.

Ya hear that? That’s the sound of dragon’s wings… no wait, it’s a fangirl

October 3, 2008 § 1 Comment

FAPFAPFAP!!!

Okay, I’m positively fapping, yes, fapping, over the Selbu Modern pattern (PDF link) for the last half hour or so, since I discovered it.

Fapfapfap…

It’s been a while since I’ve done Fair Isle, but man do I want to do this hat, and I wrote to the designer if 40g would be enough for the CC. Cause if it is, I’m totally making this from the leftover Drachenwolle, on an MC of black. And it’s gonna be GORGEOUS.

Except I have 8 3/4 pairs of socks to knit till Christmas, and that shawl, and the gloves. Either it’s Knitting ADD or just the temptation of too many shiny patterns and yarns and everything and too little time :P

ETA: She says she used about 25g of the CC… yessssssssssssssssssss!!!

Erstes Leipziger Wollefest

June 3, 2008 § Leave a comment

I went to Leipzig over the weekend, and managed to drag my girlfriend (also a knitter, but not nearly as obsessed as I am) to the first Wool Festival there.

It was in the yard behind the Kreativ- und Strickcafe, a spot of luscious green where I wouldn’t have expected it at all. All in all it was pretty small, yet very interesting and I spent the rest of my money there.

On what?

First, I finally, finally found 15cm Knit Picks Harmonies in 2.25mm, and sweet-talked them off the vendor who’d just gotten them for herself. To make up for her tragic loss, I purchased a 100g skein of handpainted sock yarn off her in orange and turquoise. I noticed how soft it was, but I didn’t really pay any attention to it until I read the label later – instead of your ususal wool, it’s 75% Merino!!! And for €6.50, too. Those are going to be luxury socks. For me. Me, and me alone. Probably the Firestarter socks. I’ll have to knit up a swatch to see how thick the stripes are.

And then I bought some turquoise roving, though I still don’t have a spindle. As soon as work pays me, I’m gonna order one off Wollschaf, but until that, I suppose I’ll just keep stashing up on roving? :P

I wasted so much precious time winding that sock yarn into a ball, I’m kind of mad about that. I was originally planning on starting a pair of socks with it on the train, and my gf certainly seemed to enjoy my legs being spread for an extended period of time (I loop the skein over my knees for winding balls out of skeins, and I had also lost my jeans prior to winding because of the stifling heat). But then I realized I wanted a really good pattern to go with it, so instead I started leftover socks (Whimsies) on the KnitPicks.

The KnitPicks. Harmony is just the right word to describe them. They’re warm and smooth, but they’re not as bendy as the bamboo needles, and that was what annoyed me about those. Kind of unfortunate now that I just bought a 15cm bamboo DPN set the other day, but I’m sure I’ll use them again. The tips are also nice and pointy, yet not too pointy, and I have a feeling they’re going to stay proper and sharp longer than the bamboos.

Also, with the 2.25mm, I’m pretty much down to a perfect 30sts/10cm. My gauge is off by 3 stitches on 2.5es (27/10) and the fabric is much tighter and smoother than with the 2.5es. It’s ridiculous how much a quarter of a millimeter can matter. So with the Harmonies, no more shuffling around with patterns!

I mean… I still want ebony sock DPNs eventually, just to try them out. (Wollschaf has some, but only 20cm and 10. I’ll just have to keep looking for a place that has 15cm 2.25 ebony DPNs I guess…)

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