Pumpkin and a Little Spice

I’m working on another sock from Knit. Sock. Love.  and it finally strikes me why I really enjoy knitting patterns by Cookie A. The last two pairs of socks that I knit were not of her design. Those socks and I developed a bit of a love hate relationship and as I sit knitting this new pair in a festive pumpkin colour, it strikes me why.

Most socks that I knit have some sort of pattern running across them. I can’t bear the thought of knitting a plain sock these days. Herein lies the problem. Having a patterned fabric, typically, means repetition and I get bored to death doing the same thing over and over. (Rather ironic that I’m so drawn to knitting since it requires doing exactly that, but I digress). The last two socks I knit, while I’m quite pleased with the final product, were really a test of my will. Repeat after same repeat. It took me almost four months to finish one pair because I kept losing interest!

Enter Cookie A. Her patterns keep me hooked right from the beginning. (Well at least after I’ve finished the cuff. It’s pretty difficult to spice that up.) As I’m reading through the third chart for the left sock, (third of eight different charts used for this pair), it becomes crystal clear. Almost every line is different. Not so different that it’s difficult; once you get going its possible to read the rows below to anticipate what you should be doing. But different enough that I don’t want to toss them aside in search of something new. In fact I have a hard time putting them down because I “just want to do one more row” to see how the pattern comes alive in the yarn. That of course leads to several more inches of sock before I finally put them down.

That’s been my knitting eureka moment of the day. Not sure why it’s taken so long for me to figure it out, but at least now I know.

I’m looking for sock patterns with a little bit of spice.

Any suggestions?

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Finally Traded

I’m so happy to say that the Ultimate Trade between a friend is finally complete and I couldn’t be happier. In a nutshell, I knit her a sweater in exchange for a lap quilt. I was more than thrilled when the final quilt turned out to be a little larger than a mere ‘lap quilt’.

When determining the projects, she picked out the sweater pattern and the yarn colour she wanted and has an idea of what to expect in the final project. I, on the other hand, left the choice all up to her. Having seen the results of her other quilting endeavours, I was such a fan of them that I felt leaving the choice up to her would leave me in good hands.

While she suggested this trade many months ago, we didn’t get down to serious business until the end of the summer. Anyone who’s knit a sweater/cardigan knows that it’s no small feat. It’s not one of those projects that is (at least not when I do it), whipped out in a week or two. I wasn’t worried though. I mean, she had a whole quilt to make! Well you know what they say about assuming… I certainly felt silly once I heard that after only a few days of us getting started she had the squares all cut out. Enter my panic. Crap! I hardly had the garter band of this sweater done.

Thankfully, the cutting out was the quick part of the process (or so I was told). Still, she was finished sewing the quilt together long before I had finished my end of the deal. I still had an ace in the hole though. Finishing a knitting cardigan is relatively easier than a quilt. I just had to sew a few pieces together. She had to send the whole thing away to get quilted! (Spoiler, the quilting is fabulous. If ever the woman who quilted it reads this. I LOVE what you did with it! The thread is wonderful. Once you see the pictures you’ll all see what I’m talking about.)

By time I had packaged up the cardigan and hastily (yes, I apologize for the state the parcel arrives in, I was NOT prepared at the post office!) sent it off, I had word that my parcel was already on the way!

Just a few days before her’s is due to arrive, I received this lovely surprise.
Parcel
(Notice it’s sitting on another fabulous quilt that was made just for me. Don’t worry, it’s not going to be ousted from its spot.)

Unfolding
As I unfold it the anticipation is building. So far so good! I love the blue fabric. Finally I can’t hold myself back any more and I unfurl it across the bed.

Revealed
The more I look at it the more I love it. The lighter blue panels really pop out against the darker blues and black. Black, I can’t say that I would have chosen black! It’s a good thing that I left it up to her.

Details
Here you can see our two favourite fabrics. Her’s: the blue polka-dotted one. Mine: the blue strip just above.

Thread
And possibly my favourite part: the variegated thread used to quilt the entire thing. It ranges through various blues just like the quilt itself. On the black squares it’s just stunning!

Front and Back
I think the swirled quilting really evokes a sense of flowing in the quilt. Perfectly combined with the colour choice!

Quilt

I couldn’t be happier with this trade. The quilt is absolutely beautiful. It also makes me think I should have jazzed up that cardigan just a bit…

I wonder how many other great things I could acquire if I worked off this barter system more often!

Mr Beaumont.

Okay, so it’s not a boat. I didn’t unknowingly bid at a silent auction and it wasn’t so far out of my budget that I couldn’t afford it. But like Friends‘ Joey, I have a deep, possibly irrational desire for this hat. I’ve admired it from afar for a while. I’ve fondled (in the loving, not erotic sense) the suggested yarn many a time. It had taken all my will power but I managed to walk away. There comes a time however, when you can’t keep ignoring it. Jared Flood’s Beaumont Tam made with heavenly Fresco yarn would eventually end up in my lap. That day has come.

If you’ve never had the pleasure of touching Fresco yarn, it’s a delightful blend of wool, alpaca, and…wait for it, Angora, to give it an irresistible halo (proof that it really is heavenly).

Here are my colours of choice.
Classic Elite Fresco

Classic Elite Fresco

So far they’re knitting up beautifully together.

Despite the fabulous-ness of the yarn and they beauty of the pattern I have run into several problems:

1. (minor) My printer refuses to print out anything unless it’s straight text. That’s my colouring work above.

2. (possibly significant) I get too excited when it comes time to cast on, thereby causing me to realize that I’ve cast on (and knit 30 rows) with the needles suggested for the beanie version of this hat.

3. (avoidable) I didn’t swatch.

4. (saving grace?) My stranded tension is so incredibly loose (despite being a very tight knitter in all other cases) that I still am a little off on gauge.

5. (impossibly) Even though my tension is very loose, (looser than suggested) I am having doubts that this will fit on my head (and I have a really small head).

Despite these problems I have soldiered on (either bravely or very stupidly) and have almost finished the first chart. I’m hoping that by some strange miracle my too small needles and too loose tension will somehow balance out; combine that  with the miracle of blocking and maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to wear this hat.

Otherwise, some child may be receiving the softest, most grown-up looking hat for Christmas.

Now time for your two cents.

Bundle Up

A few weeks back the weather started to change. There was a crispness in the air and a definite chill at night. Perhaps like most knitters, it prompted me to cast on for warmer things; things that will keep me bundled up. Predictably, mother nature is having a hard time deciding whether or not to embrace the fall and has been teasing us with a warm spell.

Despite the fact that its still rather warm I’ve turned out a fabulous pair of Newfoundland Mitts

I don’t have a photo of the finished pair but I assure you they’re both done. The pattern was incredibly simple and fun to knit. Not only that but they knit up very quick. I finished them both off in a matter of days.

While knitting these I tried out Kollage square needles. Surprisingly enough they do live up to their claim of being easier to hold. I liked them, but I’m not sure I’d be ready to abandon the traditional needle just yet. I found them to be a bit slower, especially when purling. Maybe that’s just me.

Not to be deterred by the unseasonably warm weather I cast on a hat too. I was so thrilled with the last pattern I knit by Jared Flood that I couldn’t resist trying another. And I’ve had my eye on the Beaumont Tam for a while.

Here’s a quick peek at my progress so far. Depending on how it goes the next post will either be a celebration of how a small miracle took place on my knitting needles, or a shameful admission that I really do know better and should have seen this coming.

Stay tuned!

A Heart to Heart

Here’s the truth. I’ve fallen out of love with these socks. I’m not sure if it’s the yarn, or the pattern, or the fact that I’ve been working on the since at least May. Whatever the reason, I have to face facts. I’m tired of knitting them. However I’m not a quitter (quiet you projects piled in my trunk) and I will finish these ones.

20111001-130453.jpg

Only a few more repeats to go. Encouragement is always welcome!