Monday, January 31, 2011

and the winner is...

I'm so sorry! It totally slipped my mind that I was supposed to draw the winner yesterday. I blame it on sweater brain. I cast on a new sweater (not hubby's) and I was madly knitting on it before & after work yesterday. After last year's sweater fiasco (long story short: I knit a sweater but it's too big because I shrank), I'm knitting a size smaller and I'm dying to find out whether it will fit. The faster I knit, the better it'll fit, right?

Anyways, the correct answer to the contest's skill testing question is 12. I finished a grand total of 12 pairs of socks last year. A very small drop in the bucket compared to Gladys who has knit something like 15 pairs of socks in the last 4 months. I'm sure if we knew how many she knit last year, we'd all swoon with envy.

C., Jade, and pencraftco correctly guessed 12 and the RNG (Ricky is unavailable to assist me; see below) picks pencraftco. Yay! Send me an email at yarnfloozy AT gmail DOT com and I'll get your prize in the mail.

I was grocery shopping last week and had to pick up some cat food for Phoebe. I did a quick browse of the toy section and found Pawbreakers. They're a hard compressed ball of catnip. I threw one of those in my shopping cart.

I had a lot of groceries so it took me multiple trips from the car to get everything into the house. During one of my trips, I found this:

Yes, that is Ricky face-first in the bag hunting around for the Pawbreaker.

After he successfully fished it out of the bag, he proceeded to slobber all over it.

I eventually rescued it from him, wiped the spit off the package, and put the Pawbreaker on the ground. He loves it. It's a little tricky to play with because it rolls really well on the hardwood floors. Phoebe gave it a smack and it rolled clear across the house, through the dining room and ended up under a chair in the living room. So we've quarantined the Pawbreaker in one of their shallow food bowls to keep it from disappearing.

It's a sunny day today so I'll have the opportunity to take pics of my new projects. I hope that sweater fits otherwise, you're getting a picture of frogged yarn.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

off the wagon

I seem to have fallen off the blogging wagon. I don't know how that happened. I'll have to chalk it up to sheer laziness because I do have lots to blog. And even a contest to tell you about.

I have been knitting. All sorts of stuff and I'm battling a bit of startitis. But I resolve to only cast on a new project if I finish an existing one. So far, so good.

Last week, I finished a pair of socks for a Rav KAL and surprised Gladys when I gave them to her for her birthday (a little early).

Pattern: standard top down sock; 64 sts; slipped stitch heel flap
Yarn: Crystal Palace Mini Mochi, col 102; 2 skeins used
Needles: 2.25mm dpns
Notes: One skein had two breaks which completely interrupted the colour progression and the other didn't have any knots. The yarn has a slight thick'n thin texture but it's very subtle. It's a very squishy yarn for a single. It's not overspun and I didn't have any biasing issues. It's very soft. My 57th pair of socks.

Thank you to Gladys' hubby for helping me out with the measurements. While Gladys was at knit nite, he photographed a pair of her socks with multiple rulers so that I could read off the numbers that I needed. What a great guy!

I teach classes at my LYS and this year, hats/tams/berets are very popular so I thought that I'd teach a class. I've been auditioning patterns since Dec. One pattern required 4 different sets of needles, there were buying issues with two other patterns, and the latest one was just too tricky for an advanced beginner class. But I loved it so much that I made one for myself anyways.

Pattern: Liffey by Knotting Noodles
Yarn: Blue Moon Socks That Rock Mediumweight in col Mustang Sally

Needles: 3.25mm circs & dpns
Notes: I had some issues with the pattern. See my Rav project notes for details. This hat is a bit on the tall side for me. When I pull it down, it pushes on the temples of my glasses. I'm going to block it wider to see if that pulls the crown down. For the icord edging, I picked up sts along the cast on and did an applied icord. The only advantage is that it's easier to keep the icord from twisting. The yarn bled onto my hands during knitting. My nails are pink and so is the finger holding the yarn. I expect that it'll bleed quite a bit in the wash (these pictures show the hat unblocked).

So I'm looking for my next project to cast on. I've swatched for hubby's Dale of Norway Whistler sweater. I got gauge on 3.5mm needles but I need to block it before making a final decision. The only thing I'm missing is a 3mm circ for casting on.

I'm itching to do something with my Socks That Rock. I really, really, REALLY love this yarn and up til now, I've only used it to make socks. But the hat is making my fingers want to knit more of it but I'm a little tired of socks right now. Maybe I'll dig up that pooling scarf that I started last year. It's been put on the back burner because hubby thinks that it's too scratchy to wear against his neck. Why did I have to marry such a sensitive guy?

Our blogiversary was last week so it makes this blog officially 4 years old! Woo hoo! Now if only I can get Gladys to blog more often. I know she has at least one new pooling pattern to share with you.

To celebrate, I'd like to give some yarn away. Correctly guess how many pairs of socks that I finished in 2010 (remember that two of us blog here) and you'll win a yarny prize (TBD depending on the winner's preferences but it will probably be sock yarn). If more than one person guesses correctly, Ricky will help me pick a winner. Leave a comment on this post with your guess. Only one guess per person, please. Contest ends midnight Sat Jan 29th. I'll announce the winner on Sunday. Good luck!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

scrap happy

I've knit a lot of socks and consequently, I have a lot of leftovers. My feet aren't big so I usually have quite a bit left - not enough to knit another sock but too much to just throw away. Originally, I saved the yarn in case I needed it for repairs but I decided awhile ago that I'd rather knit a new sock than fix an existing one. So my bag of leftover yarn has steadily grown.

My second plan was to knit all the leftovers into "monster" socks. But I have so much good sock yarn that I'd rather knit with. You can see the dilemma that I faced. During a pre-Christmas purge, I looked at the bag of yarn and told myself that if I didn't do something with it, I had to throw it out or give it away.

Looking for inspiration, I came across a scarf that Helen made with leftover yarn. It was knit lengthwise in garter stitch and she used the ends as fringe. This idea appealed to me but she used worsted weight and she had enough matching colours that it looked nice. My scraps were too varied to look good together.

I was also attracted to a linen stitch scarf that was on display at the LYS where I work. It's knit lengthwise, too and the stitch pattern makes the scarf look woven. The quilter in me spoke up and said, "all fabrics go together if they're small enough". If I alternated a solid yarn with the scraps, everything would probably look ok. A quick rummage through the stash yielded a skein of dark purple which would work as the "base" for all the scraps. The result is my scrappy scarf.

Pattern: linen stitch; knit lengthwise
Yarn: one skein (100g) of solid sock yarn; lots and lots of scraps and each scrap needs to be long enough to work 2 rows of linen stitch
Needles: 4mm Addi Turbo Circs

Notes: I cast on using the purple. All rows worked with RS facing you. Leave a long enough tail at the beginning and end of each row to make a fringe. Worked 2 rows in scrap yarn. Worked 2 rows in purple. Repeat these 4 rows until desired width is reached. Bind off.

My original plan to use up my scraps didn't actually turn out well. I used about 50g of scraps plus 50g of the 100g skein of purple yarn which means I added 50g to my leftover bag. My scrap bag weighs exactly the same as before. Sigh.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year and new knit

I hope everyone out there had a great holiday. Ours was filled with family, food, friends, more food, more people, and even more food. We are pooped out and still recovering from lack of sleep.

In between all that running around, I managed to start and finish a quick knit. I can't decide which picture to use so you get all 5.

Pattern: Stockholm Scarf by Knitted Bliss

Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca; 3 skeins (total 645 yds) in col 62171
Needles: 40" Addi Turbo Circs

Notes: The pattern is written for back & forth knitting. I converted it to in the round by switching Row 3 for Row 1 and Row 1 for Row 3 i.e. Row 3, Row 2, Row 1, Row 4. I also eliminated the last "k1, p1" from every round. The pattern recommends a 60" circ but the whole thing fit comfortably on 40" circs.

I love it that you can wear it a bunch of different ways. The pattern is completely reversible (very ingenious) so that no matter how it's wrapped/worn, it looks the same. The yarn is great. I've had problems with alpaca (it makes me itch yet scratchy wool doesn't bother me) but this blend is fine. It did block out very large which makes it have great drape for something so bulky.

I get to wear this for the next week and then it goes to Black Sheep Yarns to be put on display. I'm teaching this in a class. I'll get it back when the class is over. Hopefully, it'll still be cold enough to wear.

Thanks to hubby for helping me take pics. Smooches!