Saturday, December 24, 2011

still crocheting away ...

Josh's blanket isn't done yet. But I'm getting close!

Getting close!

I'm putting it on hold so that I can knit on a secret project with a deadline looming. I told Josh that his blanket might be a birthday present instead of a Christmas present! (His birthday is in about six weeks.)

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

I got an iPhone!

Oh, how I have been counting the days until my Verizon contract was eligible for renewal. The weekend after Thanksgiving, it was time, and I made two trips to the Apple store in order to find an iPhone in stock. Since then, I've barely put the phone down!

I'm afraid I'm a little obsessed with Instagram and Hipstamatic.

I brought it on a walk with Josh and Gracie ...

Stockley Gardens

I love my neighborhood.

To work (that's our Christmas tree):

Ye olde Pilot Christmas tree

Out to eat:

Sope and taco for me, gordita and tostada for him.

(That's lunch at Jessy's Taqueria, a really awesome place in Ocean View.

But mostly I take pictures of Gracie snoozing beside me on the couch:

Mournful dog is mournful.

I am always open to app recommendations, so let me know if you have any that you can't live without!

Friday, December 2, 2011

knits for friends

Oh hai.

Things have been busy 'round these parts.

Especially my knitting needles.

I've got something like a dozen FOs since August + am going to do my best to blog about them. Tiffany is doing a blog-post-a-day thing in December, and while I clearly missed the boat on that, as it's Dec. 2, I'm going to do my best to post less sporadically this month.

Speaking of Tiffany ...

I knit her some socks (Rav link)! Way back in August.

socks for Tiffany

Sometimes, friends just need a pair of hand-knit socks, ya know? Knitters are the best people to receive hand-knit socks because they know the work that goes into each stitch. And getting those texts from Tiffany when she got the surprise package in the mail just made my day! (And months later, it still makes my day to think about it.)

(By the way, this is Yarn Pirate sock yarn in Wildflowers, a color I've had in my stash for several years.)

Also falling under the category of "knits for friends" is the next pair of socks (Rav link):

Melissa's Socks

These are for a swap I did with my Twitter friend Melissa. This is Cascade Heritage Paints in a lovely semisolid blue. Y'all, this yarn is heavenly to work with. Really soft hand, no splitting, and SO reasonably priced. Go get some now + be amazed at the loveliness (and thriftiness). Oh, and in exchange for the socks? I got tons of delicious canned jams. I cannot wait to open strawberry margarita jam in the midst of a dreary wintry day and have a taste of summer on my toast. Thanks, Melissa!!

I'm in the midst of Christmas crocheting ... though the knitting is all done (in fact, three of my four knitted gifts are already at my parents' house -- BOOYAH). Here's a progress shot of an epic ripple blanket I'm making for my beau:

Josh's blanket = halfway done!

By the way, it's folded in HALF in that shot. SO huge.

It won't be done by Christmas, especially with a four-day break looming in which I will be skiing in Colorado and not lugging around a massive blanket. But he's OK with that. =)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

a knitter's rite of passage

I've just finished my first chemo cap. (Thankfully, my dad never needed chemo so I never had to knit him one. I just knit him lots of socks for his cold feet!)

FO: Kevin's chemo cap

(Green is Neighborhood Fiber Co. Studio Sock in Edgewood. Tan is remnants from a shawl I knit a few years ago from an Etsy shop that has since closed.)

This is for Kevin, a friend of my parents'. He is a homebuilder -- he built my parents' house. I think it's safe to say it's their perfect home.

A couple years ago, Kevin had a leg amputated because his circulation problems just got to be too much. He's been in and out of the hospital for the past few years and it's been touch and go.

Recently, he found out he has a rare cancer (on his tongue, I believe). I can't imagine going through so many difficult things in such a short period of time.

So I wanted to knit him something.

Whether he needs chemo or not (they're still figuring out a treatment plan, I believe), he now has a hat to keep his head warm in the window.

It has five stripes -- one for him, his wife, and his three kids.

I hope it brings him some comfort.

Monday, August 1, 2011

other recent knits!

I promised I'd be back!

Here's what else I've been up to, knitting-wise ...

I knit yet another Sockhead Hat (a third!) -- this one for my college BFF's birthday:

FO: Koigu Sockhead hat

A confession: This was going to be for me. It is Koigu, and dammit, I deserve something knit from the only Koigu in my stash. But then I was daydreaming, and I thought, "BOY, J would love this." And once I visualize a possible recipient in the knitted object, I just can't get it out of my head, and it must go to that person. The timing worked great, because her birthday was within a few months!

Next up is a hat for a friend's birthday ...

FO: Colleen's hat

This is a modified Sockhead Hat (no slouch) knit from Neighborhood Fiber Co. Studio Sock (about half a skein) in Edgewood (a beautiful forest green). The recipient is from Seattle so I knew she'd love the lush green-y-ness of the yarn!

Finally is the hat I am most proud of.

But first, a little backstory.

I knit a hat for this recipient over a year ago, before he was born. His mama and papa put it on him + he wore it OUT. (This pleases me greatly.) And now it's too small for him.

I had a crazy vision of a colorwork hat that included whales (I know ... I'm crazy, right?) and knew what his gift for his first birthday would be. A little browsing on Ravelry landed me a chart.


FO: Abbott's Whale Hat

I'm so so happy with it. It's retro and bold and fun and perfect for the wee one! It's actually a little big on him, so he should be able to wear it for a year or two. Details about the yarn are on my Rav page.

Finally, here is a sweater for a friend who is due with a baby in a few weeks. The father-to-be is a hip dude and I wanted to knit their wee one a grandpa sweater just like his or her papa!

Baby Evans' sweater

The pattern is the Scrappy Socky Stripey Cardi -- an excellent pattern for using up bits of sock yarn. (I really want to knit another one ...) I used Madeline Tosh sock in Golden Hickory and Hazel Knits Artisan Sock in Jay Blue.

Baby Evans' sweater, buttons

The buttons came from The Yarn Lounge in Richmond.

I am in love with this sweater + will definitely make more for other babies in the future!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

recent socks

Ahem, let's pretend I didn't take off the past two months from blogging ... instead, I'll show you what I've been up to, knitting-wise! This post is all about the socks ...

First up is a pair of 2x2 rib socks I last blogged about in March ...

FO: Montego Bay socks

This is yarn I got at Maryland Sheep & Wool last year -- Autumn House Farms Strideaway Twist sock yarn in colorway Montego Bay. It's really lovely yarn, just awfully thin. I knit these on size 1 needles and I think they'll wear like iron!

These next socks were for a friend as a pick-me-up gift.

FO: Lauren's socks

The yarn is Socks that Rock mediumweight in the colorway Paula Mae A Night at the Show. (BOY does this yarn knit up fast.)

I knit a pair of baby-sized socks out of the leftovers, for a friend who gave birth to a baby girl about a month ago.

FO: Bella's socks

Don'tcha love how different they look even though it's the same yarn?

Next up is another pair for me -- my first picot-cuffed socks:

FO: Green Picots

This is STR lightweight in a rare gem. It's funny, I think one sock looks like it has more purple than the other! I can't wait to wear these when the weather turns cool again.

Next up -- some socks for my dad!

FO: Dad's Father's Day socks

This is Lion Brand Sock-Ease in colorway Toffee. As it turned out, the color looks lot like honeybees, and my dad started bee-keeping this year, so they were extra appropriate! (On a side note, my dad had some bloodwork done this week and found out he is still cancer-free, six months since his surgery, so we are all so happy!)

Next up -- some tweedy socks for me:

FO: Tweedy socks

This is yarn I got on my trip to Missouri last year with my mama. It is Hand Painted Knitting Yarns Sock Donegal in a colorway unique to the store where I bought it (Simply Fibers in Springfield, Mo.).

And finally, the piece de resistance ... knee-highs for myself!

FO: Tour de France knee-highs

I took these on as a Tour de France project. I know spinners have the Tour de Fleece, where they try to spin a certain goal during the 24-day bicycle race. But since I don't spin, I wanted a knitting challenge. I've had this hand-dyed, DK-weight yarn marinating in my stash since the fall (when I purchased it at Knitting Addiction in the Outer Banks) and this was the perfect time to take on the knee-highs. The first one was knit in all of a week -- same goes for the second. I finished with about 10 days to spare in the Tour!

back of the sock

They were knit from the toe-up. Since I wasn't using my usual 64-stitch sock, I needed to find a new number formula to do the gusset increases + heel turn. This site was super, super helpful. I mirrored calf increases along the center back of the sock.

I don't know when I'll wear 'em -- it is rarely cold around here -- but I'm sure I'll find a time!

More detailed info about all these projects can be found (as always) on my Rav page.

I'll be back in a couple days (seriously) with a post about other recent FOs -- I've been knitting more than socks lately!

Friday, May 27, 2011

yarny spoils

So, about Maryland Sheep & Wool.

I bought yarn. (Duh.)

Not as much as in years past, but I definitely got a lot of goodies!

My first stop was at Spirit Trail Fiberworks. They were just opening their booth and I ended up being the first customer of the day!

I got a skein of Frija (a merino-cashmere-nylon blend) in this beautiful blue-gray colorway:

Spirit Trail Fiberworks

I have knit with Frija before (these cabled socks) and found it spectacular. I am tempted to knit another pair of cabled socks with this yarn, but we'll see!

My next stop was The Fold, which surprisingly did not have a majorly long line. I tried to resist the siren call of Socks that Rock, but it proved to be too much when I spotted this colorway I have long admired.

STR mediumweight

There, I also picked up a skein of Nightfall sock yarn -- a gradient colorway. This will make some fantastic socks.

Nightfall sock set

My final purchase was at Tess Designer Yarns. I had regretted not buying anything from Tess last year after I saw Tiffany's beautiful socks. (Last year, it was our final stop of the day, it was about 9000 degrees on the top of that hill, and I was summoning all my energy for our walk back to the car!) This year would be different. I got a skein of merino sock yarn in this beautiful peachy colorway:

Tess Designer Yarns

And a skein of Whiskers (a merino-cashmere-nylon) in this lovely royal purple:

Tess Designer Yarns

There you have it -- my yarny spoils from MDS&W!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

MDS&W recap!

I have been an absent blogger as of late, but I'm back with a fiber festival update! Maryland Sheep & Wool has come and gone, and once again, my pals Lennis, Tiffany and I made the trip from our corner of Virginia. This year we were joined by the lovely Caysie, a longtime friend of Tiffany's. I've gotten to know Caysie over the past few months on Twitter and was so so glad to meet her!

road trip pals!

We were SO EXCITED. The weather was wonderful (actually kind of chilly Saturday morning). We had lots of late-night knitting + laughs. Basically it was the perfect weekend.

At the festival, I got to meet up with my pal Kim, who I met for the first time last year. It was lovely to walk around with her and her pals for a while.

One of her pals is Steven, who made the most awesome hotpants. It was kinda fun to be with him when he got stopped for photos -- hee hee.

Steven + hotpants

Doesn't he rock those? He's got the legs for 'em! We hung out at a Twitter meetup for a little while, too, where I mostly felt shy about talking to strangers I don't know too well! But it was lovely to just sit and knit in the sun.

Saturday night was the MDS&W afterparty. It was a lovely affair, complete with a presentation by the authors of "The Fleece and Fiber Handbook."

Finally, here's a shot of our combined haul:

our combined haul

(I'll talk about my purchases in another post.)

And here's a link to all my photos from the weekend. I'm already counting the days to next year! (My mom said she really wants to make the trip next year. I am so so psyched that she could finally experience a Maryland Sheep & Wool!)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

410 Cables

410 cables -- that's how many are in the Habitat hat I knit last week.

FO: Habitat hat

I picked up two skeins of Shelter on my visit to Fibre Space in northern Virginia a couple weeks ago, knowing I wanted to knit this pattern.

I couldn't put this down - I knit it in five days.

crown decreases

The crown decreases are so smart and pretty. I haven't looked too closely at my cables to see where I might have made a mistake and miscrossed one (or more).

It took less than one skein, so I have about 1.1 skeins left -- I'm thinking about some top-down mittens. We'll see.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

birthday socks for my brother

The last pair of socks I made for my brother took more than two years (yikes). The most recent pair of socks took 13 days!

FO: Josh's socks

Yarn: Wisdom Yarns Endurance sock yarn in Meteorite colorway (about 90% of a skein), Loopy Ewe Solid Series in strawberry for the heels
US 2 needles
Knit: March 18-March 31, 2011
Rav link

I picked up this yarn at the newest LYS in Virginia Beach because it reminded me of Ohio State colors, where my brother went to school. Thankfully it knit up in a pattern this is very pleasing to the eye! (I don't mind pooling on socks for myself, but for my brother, I'm more particular.) It was very reasonably priced ($9 for 437 yards), which is part of the reason I got it (since I'm trying to save my money for Maryland Sheep & Wool), but the quality was not great: A strand of ... something ... ran throughout and it didn't take the dye very well, so its whiteness stood out against the other colors at times. (This photo shows it a little bit better than the photo above.) Also, the twist wasn't great. I'm hopeful that the socks will hold up well over time, what with the nylon + polyester content.

The socks even made it to Ohio ahead of his birthday (which was Friday). Woohoo!

This is my ninth pair of socks for the year. I can't even believe it!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Roger That

It's my second blog post in a week ... what is going on here?!

I have yet another FO to share ... some socks for me.

FO: Roger socks

Rav link

I started these way back in September -- it took me four months to knit the first one and about two and a half to knit the second. (I'm normally a pretty monogamous knitter, but my work on this second sock was interspersed with all the socks for my dad during his cancer surgery + other projects.)

These are knit in the Roger pattern from Anne Hanson. If ever you need a clear, concise, lovely, easy knitting pattern, Anne is your woman. She has patterns that cover a range of skill levels and techniques. I like socks with unisex patterns and easy-to-digest charts (this pattern is only a mix of knit and purl stitches), and I'm looking forward to knitting another pair of Roger socks. (But next up in my queue of patterned socks is her Gridiron pattern.) My only mod was starting Roger from the toe-up; I followed the chart as-is.

The yarn is (takes a breath) Scarlet Fleece It's Tubular x2. Kind of a long name. It's a local (Virginia) yarn company! The colorway is Pacific and these socks took about 90% of a skein. It is a really lofty, woolly yarn -- I almost can't believe there is nylon in it! It feels rather rustic and squishy but I have a feeling it will hold up quite well.

I have only two projects on the needles right now. The mate to this sock:

bus knittin'

This is a progress shot from a few weeks ago on the bus home from D.C., but it's finished now. This is some Autumn House Yarns Strideaway Twist sock yarn, purchased at MDS&W last year. It is lovely and rather thin, so I'm knitting it on US 1 needles. The mate is just past the toe, so it'll be a while until I post about these being finished.

My current knitting priority is a pair of socks for my brother. I visited a new yarn store in Virginia Beach this week to purchase some cable needles. The Yarn Club is a lovely shop. I managed to avoid buying any MadelineTosh, but a skein of Wisdom Yarns Endurance sock yarn was purchased as it is gray, black and red and made me think of Ohio State colors. So I cast on for a pair of socks for my brother, whose birthday is in a few weeks, and hope to ship those off to him in time for his April 8 birthday. The last pair of socks I knit him took MORE THAN TWO YEARS. Unacceptable!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

playing catch-up

Whew. Where have I been the past month and a half? Doing lots of knitting, and unfortunately, not a lot of blogging. It seems that Twitter has become the site I use to keep in touch with pals + share my newly finished knitted items. A sense of balance is always a "work in progress' (ha. ha. See what I did there?).

So without further ado, here's a round-up of everything I've been knitting lately.

FO: Meredith's hat

Meredith's hat

This is a hat for my pal Meredith, who is soon-to-graduate from med school and become a physician assistant. She moved back to Pittsburgh already so I wanted to make her something that would keep her warm in that clime.

The pattern is Sockhead Hat. I used most of a skein of Socks that Rock mediumweight in Dilly Dilly. To account for the thicker yarn, I cast on 120 instead of 144 and I think it worked out great.

FO: Socks for Aunt Di

Aunt Di's socks

Knit from less than a skein of Hazel Knits Artisan Sock (colorway Purple Hazel), these are basic toe-up stockinette socks. They were given to my aunt Diane, who prepares my taxes every year (and I am so thankful for that!). I gave her a cowl in the past, and gift cards, too, but I felt like it was time for an upgrade to the best gift of all this year.

Next up is a pair of wee baby socks, knit for friends who are expecting a baby in August.

bebeh stripes

I gave the socks to them last weekend when I visited them in Washington, D.C., and I have to say that the dad-to-be's reaction was the best I've had to any knitted gift. People, there were tears. So of coursem I cried, too. It was a lovely, touching moment and I have to say that I am SO EXCITED for these two to become parents.

The wee socks are knit from Vesper Sock Yarn in colorway Lovely Lollipop Sky -- leftovers from a 2008 club kit offering, which I have knit into a pair of socks for myself.

Last (but not last) is a pair of socks for myself -- whee! This is my first time working with merino-cashmere-nylon and all I can say is oo boy. It will not be my last.

FO: Cabled Socks

These are basic toe-up stockinette socks with a four-stitch cable thrown in along the side for some excitement. They were knit from almost an entire skein of Spirit Trail Fiberworks Frija in colorway Vintage. This color is way outta my wheelhouse but I have to say, I LOVE IT SO MUCH.

FO: Cabled Socks

Whew! The parade of FOs is over for now, but there are some more FOs soon to follow...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Crabby McCancerPants socks

In my last post, I shared my black-and-gold socks and skipped over the last set of socks I knit for my dad! I got these 75% done when we were visiting my parents in Ohio and finished them by the time we made it back to Virginia. (Gotta love road trips where your significant other does ALL the driving.)

This yarn just called out to me as being perfect for my dad. It's Socks that Rock mediumweight in Crabby McHappyPants. It makes me think of fishing (which my dad loves). They're the wildest socks I've knit for him yet -- the rest have been solid or semisolid.

FO: Crabby McCancerPants socks

He calls them his Dr. Seuss socks (so appropriate)! I call them his Crabby McCancerPants socks. And speaking of that ... he is recovering from the surgery really well. I can't believe it was a month ago! He saw the oncologist last week and found out he doesn't need chemo or radiation -- just periodic CT scans and colonoscopies. I am so thankful! We are really, really lucky.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Here we go, Steelers!

I am very excited to cheer on my beloved hometown Pittsburgh Steelers today. Two weeks ago, after they beat the Jets for the AFC title, I decided to knit a pair of socks for the Super Bowl. And I came up with these, finished with less than 48 hours to spare.

FO: Steelers socks

These were knit from far less than a skein each of Loopy Ewe Solid Series sock yarn in Sunshine Yellow and Black. Here's a Rav link.

Now if you'll excuse me, there is taco dip to prepare. I'm watching the game with my boyfriend and a hometown friend and want to make sure we have lots of yummy food to eat while the Steelers are dominating the Packers!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

a new diagnosis

Last month, I blogged about an awesome Christmas gift -- an early biopsy found my dad was cancer-free (after a mass was found during a colonoscopy). He had surgery on Jan. 5, and, weeeeeelllllll.....

The more comprehensive post-surgery biopsy found that he actually has/had colon cancer. The surgeon is confident she got all of it out and that he won't need chemo, but we will see what's next after he meets with an oncologist next week. Tests of the lymph nodes came back negative for cancer, which is very, very good. So we are very hopeful here.

My boyfriend and I came to Ohio to visit my parents this week -- we found out the cancer news two days before our departure, so I am extra-glad we could make this trip! My dad is recovering well from the surgery. He and I have gone to the gym twice to walk a few laps, and he's feeling more like himself each day. We are hanging out and watching season 1 of "Modern Family" and having a nice time.

my dad

I delivered my dad's latest socks (which I dubbed "the hopeful socks" in person Saturday. Dad was willing to model them:

Dad's socks, modeled

Dad's socks, modeled

They're 2x2 rib socks, knit from two balls of Jojoland Melody.

I started another pair for him this week and knit an entire sock in 2.5 days. TWO AND A HALF DAYS. This is insanity, folks, even for me, because he has ha-yoog feet. I have not taken a picture of the finished sock, but I'm knitting them out of this yarn:
STR mediumweight: Crabby McHappypants

It's Socks that Rock mediumweight in Crabby McHappypants. I have dubbed them Crabby McCancerpants socks (what with the latest health news -- clearly we can find humor in even the toughest of diagnoses). Dad calls them Dr. Seuss socks. I have cast on the mate, but it won't be done before we head back to Virginia in a few days.

In the car on the way here, I turned the heel on the second sock in a pair for myself. I also knit nearly all of the leg. I finished it up in my spare time this week, so I have the second finished pair of socks in 2011:

FO: Orange ribs for me

I know I won't keep this frantic pace up forever, but I'm enjoying the swell of FOs right now!

Tomorrow is our last full day here, and we are going to lunch in Columbus and possibly seeing "True Grit," too. At the start of the week, my mom and I agreed we didn't need to go to any yarn stores, but, um, somehow our line of thinking changed. So we might sneak into Knitters' Mercantile tomorrow. We'll see if anything is purchased ... hmm ...