So even though I don’t blog here as often as I used to, I still knit.  And sometimes, when I get a wild hair, I actually take pictures of my projects.

We got a copy of New England Knits several months before the book came out and I was completely in love.  I’ve honestly become part of the group of knitters who rarely buys books or magazines anymore, preferring to purchase single patterns (not surprising, given my job I guess).  But this book…I had to have it.  I found at least a dozen projects that I immediately wanted to cast on.   It’s like my dream book.

First I did a quick knit – I mentioned it in my last post.
Birdies

When you’re sad, there’s really nothing like casting on something quick out of Malabrigo.  Even better, having cute birdie buttons to put on it.  This is the Brattleboro Hat, super quick & easy and lifted my spirits immediately.   Awesome buttons are from Blue Manatee Buttons, of which I have way too many of now – they are all so adorable.  I need to find more projects to put them on.

I had a hard time picking my next project.  I finally settled on Salem Hooded Jacket.
Merlot Hoodie

I had some Swish Bulky in Merlot Heather that was intended for another project but I decided I wasn’t in love with the project anymore.  And I loved this sweater – a hoodie with pockets!  Best of all, it’s called Salem – while I have no idea which Salem they mean, Salem MA has always been one my favorite places.  So that’s what it refers to in my mind.

While it’s a “bulky” yarn, it’s really more of an aran to me and I got gauge on size 9s. I cast on & went to town.
Merlot Hoodie

The only think I didn’t love was just the top closure – I have so many knit cardigans that only close at the top.  So I decided to add buttons.  I’m glad I did, I really like how it turned out.
I love buttons

I found some really awesome buttons at Twisted too.

There were a couple of odd things – the sleeves are much wider than how they appear in the photo in the book.  I had gauge & everything but they end up being bell sleeves.  I don’t really mind, but if I was to do this again, I would probably start with fewer stitches & a smaller needle size.  The length is also the same for all sizes.  I added a couple of inches to them, and they are
Merlot Hoodie

The other is the hood – it’s also the same size for all sizes.  Well I have a huge head (“That’s a huge noggin. That’s a virtual planetoid!”) so after trying it on, I wasn’t happy with it.  So I added a few more inches too it & am much happier.
Merlot Hoodie

A couple of other small mods – I slipped the first stitch on each side of the body, intending to pick them up & added an icord bind off like my Central Park Hoodie.  But when I finished, I liked it how it was without it.  Pockets I think ended up being smaller than the pattern – I did them like Rooibos but I don’t think I knit long enough.  But they are big enough for small items, which is all I need them for.
Merlot Hoodie

Overall, I’m really pleased with it.  Plus it only took me about 3 weeks! It’s been a remarkably cool summer (not complaining, especially after the Hell On Earth last summer)  Not quite cool enough to wear this regularly yet, but I think this will be worn quite a bit this fall & winter.

Next is the Greenboro Cardigan – a nice garter stitch sweater.  And I’m particularly excited about my yarn choice
IMG_5471

It’s Capra, our new cashmere/merino blend yarn, which I absolutely love. (yes, there’s even quotes from me on the new yarn page about it.)  And I love this color – generally I’m not drawn to orange, but I am more & more and this is the most perfect color (it’s called Tiger Lily).  I’m hoping to finish this one pretty quickly – I’m hoping to photograph it on my Seattle holiday at the end of September…with my guy.  I hope.  Fingers crossed.

I don’t normally get too personal here – or anywhere really.  But it’s been a rough couple of months, mentally.  The thing about long distance relationships, you expect the long distance part to be over at some point and then when that date gets pushed back & pushed back & pushed back, it has a wearing affect on you.  And that has been getting to me.

Part of me feels my complaints are not nearly as bad as what others are going through and I shouldn’t be so down. My SO isn’t fighting a war in some distant land for years on end.  We both have jobs & are financially stable. We’re both healthy and have great friends & family.  So I keep such whining to myself for the most part- I may make the odd post on facebook or a passing comment to friends  but try my best not to have a pity party and have everyone feel sorry for us.  But it still has been getting to me a great deal.

And in this internet age, it’s not like we don’t have the option to “see” each other every day.  It’s not like when I was growing up – my father was in the Air Force and there would be months and years that he would be sent on TDY where we were lucky to get a letter or a phone call every couple of weeks.  We now have cell phones with unlimited minutes to anywhere in the US, gmail chat – even video chat.

But you can’t hug a video image.

And while I have a wonderful job and coworkers and fantastic friends & family that I spend time with, it makes me feel lonely sometimes.  It’s not the same.

So in the midst of yet another delay, other annoyances this week, and the prospect of an uncomfortably hot weekend in Portland – I had reached my breaking point.  So I took myself to the Oregon coast.

I love the Oregon coast – I will say it’s in my top 3 favorite places on earth. I felt my body instantly relax when I came around the bend and saw the ocean.

I found a perfect place – a hotel in Seaside with ocean view from the room and within walking distance of the Boardwalk (as opposed to right on it – way way way too many screaming kids).  It’s quiet and relaxing.

It’s my weekend dammit, so I decided to do some of my favorite things.

I listened to a lot of music.

I love Mumford & Sons. A. Lot.

I had a new book to read

behind the curve I guess.

I, naturally, had knitting.

Brattleboro Hat from my new fave knitting book, New England Knits

My room had a jacquzi so I had a little relaxing spa.

Um, I may have a problem with Lush...

I ate & drank.

And just attempted to relax.  I don’t know if I feel better.  I still feel sad & a little empty.  But I guess I’ll just keep managing.

Awake my soul...

Or…what I’ve been up to in the past several…months. Sigh.

I went to the coast for my birthday with my mom & her dog Maddie

It was cold – I wore my wool hat all weekend.  But it was wonderful.

She taught me to crochet…and I liked it.

Adva Scarf – I need to do a proper photoshoot of it, this sucker is long.

I blogged about these guys for work. Violet the Octopus is my favorite.

Sun Hat, pattern by Linda Permann, who’s one of my favorite crochet designers now.

I started sewing again after several months hiatus:

Yup it’s a skirt again, though I did buy something to challenge me a bit:

The yellow is actually much lighter.  I’ve been into yellow lately.

I went to Black Sheep Gathering

Yes it’s an alpaca, not a sheep.  I loved this guy.

4 generations – Grandma, Mom, Me, and Niece.

Unsurprisingly, Blue Moon got most of my Black Sheep money again.

I also finally finished a pair of socks this year.

Oh My Goth socks in fact. In my defense, I only worked on these at work during meetings, except for the last couple of inches.  I love them, although a cashmere blend mid calf pair of socks isn’t great for July.  Though it has been quite a cold summer this year.

I started a new pair:

Pattern is Gull Wing by Chrissy Gardiner, yarn is Cherry Tree Hill Mango semi solid.  I’m also into orange lately.

And my latest obsession the past couple of weeks

I’m running, as well as working out on a regular basis.  I started Couch to 5K a few weeks back & I’ve grown to love it.  I’m on Week 5, and doing pretty well.  I also started going back to my favorite class at the gym, Power Flex.  And I’m paying for not going in several years – OUCH.  But I’m just tired of being a fat cow. :/

So that’s my couple of months in a nutshell.  I think between blogging for work, writing my project info on Ravelry, doing short updates on things like Twitter, and just not in the mood to write when I have the chance, this poor blog gets left by the wayside.  I miss it though.

So apparently I am on a sweater making kick these last couple of months – I realized last week that I haven’t even finished a pair of sock this year!  I think it’s mainly because I pretty much only knit at home now – odd, considering where I work.  When I was in MA, I was on a train for up to 2 hours a day, which made for great sock knitting.  Now I have to drive to work & when I’m at home, I feel the need to work on bigger projects – or really short ones that take like an evening to complete – see my abundance of toys.

I mean I do have a pair of socks I work on during meetings or when I’m out & about:

GothSocks - I'm even doing toe up two at a time for the first time!

They just don’t get much love on them when I’m at home.

Instead, I’m doing sweaters…or more accurately vests.

Ravelry Red Vest

Started: April 25th

Finished: May 5th

Yarn:  Malabrigo Worsted in Ravelry Red, less than 3 skeins

Pattern: Back-to-School U-Neck Vest by Stefanie Japel

Needles: Size 7US & 5US

So one Sunday afternoon, I was restless.  I wanted to get out of the house & didn’t really have anywhere in particular to go.  So…why not go to Twisted?  I actually went to look at some of the new Blue Moon they had gotten in (I’ve been thinking about making Rooibus and I wanted to see if they had any of the called for yarn – De-Vine.  They did, but the colors didn’t grab me) and to see the lovely sweater sample of The Traveling Sweater.  And I while I was there I began poking around the worsted weight yarns.  I’ve been wanting to make this vest, pretty much since I got the Fitted Knits book – I even had semi-planned some of the new yarn colors for it, but I won’t get that until late summer. But after Rilana finished hers, it jumped to the front of my queue again.

I really wanted red.  I wandered around Twisted for quite awhile, trying to make decision.  I even had a coversation with the ladies there about my Ravelry bag I was carrying, so I was almost embarrassed that this particular Malabrigo was the one I settled on.  “Hi!  I’m a huge Ravelry Dork!”  But it really was the perfect red.

I realized that, while I love Malabrigo, I’ve never actually made a garment out of it.  I’ve also never used the more semi solid colors.  It was love at cast-on.

I also overbought.  I bought 5 skeins – yes, I don’t know what I was thinking, as it took less than 3.  So now I have some extra, for a lovely hat & scarf or something.  Malabrigo – there’s really nothing like it.  And price-wise it wasn’t bad, which is why I went with it (I was tempted by Dream in Color Classy but that was nearly twice as much)

I did a ton of mods to the pattern – you can see my notes here if you really want to know – and I love how it came out.  I’ve never really worn vests until recently (starting with My Vest, finished earlier this year.)  Now I’m a vest fool – my next few sweater projects are planned out & most of the ones I have the yarn for already are vests.

It certainly was perfect weather to wear them this past week here – seriously, it felt like it was February again.  Plus another reason to love making vests – I don’t get stuck in sleeve land! 🙂

This was the quickest I’ve ever finished a garment – yeah it’s a worsted weight vest.  But only 10 days?  Record for me.

Now I have a new project on the needles – Watershed by Amy Swensen.  Yes it’s vest-ish as well.  I may have a problem.  It’s also lace.  I’m really broadening my horizons I guess!

Not long after I started in my new position at Knit Picks , my new boss mentioned they were thinking about doing an event in the spring since the previous event with an author went over pretty well & we had a lot of new yarns coming out. And they wanted me to work on it.   I was excited – I’ve done event coordinating before, my last job was as a conference & speaker coordinator (which pretty much was just one BIG event actually) and in my bookstore life, I was pretty involved in all the Harry Potter release parties.  And this was with yarn!

I decided that little sample balls would be really cute & once we got the okay, I started working on winding them up (with big help from the Customer Service dept & other coworkers).  But I wondered what on earth would knitters do with these little balls?  So I made a couple of examples 🙂

When we started doing promotion for the event, I got nervous.  It’s sometimes awkward working where I do – walking the fine line between wanting to promote our own products & not stepping on LYS toes – I’m well aware of the feelings toward KP. (Luckily we are friendly with my favorite LYS – Twisted – a couple of the designers in my program are even employees there.)  I was worried no one would show up & I would fail at putting together an event – I mean, the Facebook & Ravelry event pages only had a half dozen names other than employees.  In addition to the yarn samples, we planned a fun raffle & a designer panel with our in-house designers & 2 of my IDP designers so I didn’t want to be a waste for them!

Our very empty event space during setup

But we showed up at our event space at Ecotrust (a great place to hold an event by the way, they are awesome to work with) anyway & hoped for the best.  If I do say so myself, our yarn sample  display looked awesome.

I was particularly happy with how the Stroll Tonals looked.

Once the doors opened, my nervousness disappeared – well except we would run out of chairs.  I got no pictures of when our guests started getting the yarns – I was too busy chatting with them all (and trying not to sound like I was gushing, especially about the Tonals, Stroll & Shadow)

I did however get a shot of just how many people were there during the raffle:

Yeah, I was being really silly, being nervous.  I wish I got more pictures though – that’s pretty much the extent of them.

I’m so happy how it turned out – it was a lot of fun meeting a lot of people I only knew through the IDP program or Ravelry (shout out the LSGers/Rubberneckers!  Nope, still not shipping to Scotland.).  I’m so excited for future events – we’re already planning a possible one for our new fall yarns that will be even bigger. 🙂

You know as a knitter, I consider myself so lucky to live in the PNW that would be the (Pacific Northwest for those not familiar with that term).  We have great yarnies & festivals here and the knitters/crocheters/spinners/weavers to support them.  We were playing around with Google Analytics the other day at work & the term knitting is searched by people in Portland more than anywhere else. (Seattle was number 2). Casey at Ravelry said something similar a few weeks ago on twitter as well.  It just makes me so happy.

Not only that, we have fantastic designers as well!  I realized both major projects I finished in the past week were by designers here in the Portland/Vancouver metro area (and, actually, now that I think about it, another project I started & finished in the past couple of weeks – Bunny Nuggets – is by Rebecca Danger, who lives up near Seattle.)

First, a purchase from Sock Summit that I finally finished.

Rita Prairie House Shawl

Started: February 6

Completed: April 11

Yarn: Lotus Yarns Chakra in Pinup colorway Rita

Pattern: Prairie House Shawl by Star Athena

Needles: size 4 Harmony

Notes: I actually started this with a different Lotus Yarn quite awhile ago but I didn’t like how it was looking.  Since I fell in love with this yarn while helping out Melanie at Sock Summit, it made sense to work it up in Star’s pattern that I got there.

This pattern was wonderful, though I had to fudge the last couple of inches because I ran short – in fact when I finished I had about yard left.  Whew!  Luckily, it’s not noticeable since I will pretty much wear as a scarf anyway.

And in my last post I said I was giving myself a goal of finishing a sweater in 2 weeks. Well, that didn’t really happen, but I did finish it in a little over 3 weeks & finished it just in time for our Knit Picks event (more on that in a later post)

My Vest

Started: March 13

Completed: April 4

Yarn: City Tweed DK in Lemon Curd

Pattern: Adagio Tunic Vest by Suzanne Frary

Needles: Size 4,5,6 Harmony

Notes: Who knew that I would love a yellow vest.

But I do.

It took me awhile to pick the color actually – I love City Tweed & really wanted to try the DK weight.  Finally I settled on Lemon Curd & I’m glad I did.

When Suzanne posted this on her blog, I was in love.  Cables!  In the round! So I decided to actually make my first vest.  I still don’t think vests are all that flattering on me, but oh well. It’s comfy & good for our crazy weather at the moment.

Another thing that’s new for me – a cowl neck.  I hate turtlenecks on me (plus I don’t like things tight on my neck) but a cowl…hmm, I figured I’d try it.  And yep, love it.

I’ll be wearing this a lot.

So I was going to write about the Knit Picks event that I coordinated but this is a bit long for a post already.  I have a post here on my other blog but I’ll put up a more detailed post here in a couple of days.

So, um, hi.

I took a bit of an unintentional break from this blog – I think between blogging for work, Project 365, and Twitter/Ravelry/etc, I just didn’t have the energy.  I’ve also been keeping to myself a lot lately in my personal life – I’ve been in a funk for the past couple of months – and since this is my personal blog, I just didn’t feel like writing about myself.  I almost thought about giving it up completely but I do really miss having a space of my own to write – it feels more private than something like Facebook – even though it’s really not.

So I thought I’d finally resurrect the blog to show off a FO that I have been working on since July.  How sad is that?  But finally, it’s done & my first sweater in over a year

Tabby Calluna

Started: July 25 2009

Finished: March 13 2010

Yarn: Knit Picks City Tweed HW in Tabby

Pattern: Calluna, with major mods.

Needles: Size 7US

Notes:  Of course I didn’t work on this nonstop since July – I may be a slow knitter but I’m not that slow.  First it was the horrible heat that went on at that time last year.   Then after working on it for awhile, it was time for holiday knitting.  Then I did a bunch of small things for myself because of all that holiday knitting.  Finally in February I picked it back up & worked pretty much nonstop on it because I was worried I would never finish it if I didn’t & I did really want this sweater.

Twirling!

It was worth it – I’m so in love with this.

I did a tons of mods – pretty much I decided halfway through that I really just wanted another Amelia on the top, so this sweater is a combination of both.

  • I followed the pattern for Calluna to the armholes. I made two inadvertent changes because I wasn’t paying attention – did seed stitch for the back panel instead of moss & made the top cable smaller (I also added a an inch to the length but that was on purpose)
  • I set it aside and started the sleeves. Cast on 45 stitches each, knit in garter for 3 inches, then started st stitch – I wasn’t going to moss or seed for the entire sleeves. eek. Increased 2 stitches every inch & knit for 19 inches because I wanted long sleeves & I have monkey arms.
  • Attached sleeves just like Amelia. Decreased on arms every row to the end.

  • I started the button holes sooner & made more than either pattern. I wish I had just started at the bottom though.

  • I did not want a shawl collar but I did want it higher than Amelia. I pretty much followed Calluna again & tried on the sweater until I figured out how high I wanted it, then put the band on holders & decreased like Calluna.

I love this yarn – honestly it’s my favorite sweater yarn.  It’s so so so soft & cuddly – it did grow, as expected with an alpaca blend but I don’t care.  I love tweedy yarn & I love how the cables look in it

Granted, I won’t get as  much wear out this sweater as I’d want to – spring is on the way! But still I plan on putting it on as much as possible.

I felt so embarrassed how long it too me to finish this that I’ve set a challenge for myself – knit a garment  within two weeks.  See, while I did participate in the Ravelrylmpics, I don’t feel I challenged myself as much as should have.

While I love them (it’s the Temple Cats pattern & I adapted it for some matching mitts) I finished them in like 5 days.  So now it’s time to step up in my own little knitalong

Okay, so it’s sleeveless, but it is in DK weight – it’s still a challenge for me.  Funny enough, I didn’t plan it this way but it’s the same designer as my Olympics project – Suzanne Frary, who is awesome.  And yes, it’s City Tweed again.  I’m not normally a vest wearer or a color yellow wearer but I really like this pattern.  So we’ll see how it goes.  I’m planning on combining it with my Project 365 too – only taking photos of myself is a little boring (there are a lot of pictures of my feet) so I figure this with reinvigorate me with it.

So that’s all the knitting news!  Hopefully I won’t go as long between posts again.

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