Wednesday, January 30, 2008

What's up with Suzy Girl Wednesday

So, I have a few projects, both FO's and WIP's to share. While riding home on the train tonight, I thought I'd do a 'what's on my needles' post tonight and designate Wednesday my regular update day. Hopefully it will be just the nudge I need to get something done to share on Wednesdays.
I give you.... What's Up with Suzy Girl Wednesday

First, my finished Best Friend Scarf. This was the second time around for this yummy yarn, Reynolds Odyssey. It was knit, blocked, worn, frogged, skeined, washed, dried, re-wound and knit again. I guess I just can't get enough of this yarn. But I'm happy to report that the BF scarf has been in steady use since it came off the needles and so far it's been very well behaved. No excessive rolling. I'm very happy with it. And I have some of the Odyssey left, maybe half a skein or so, which I'm hoping to use with a coordinating yarn to make a hat.

And speaking of hats, I now have 3 finished hats since I went off on a hat tangent. I posted previously about my little brown hat. And now I have a finished, wearable Koolhaas and a chunky Foliage hat. Koolhaas was knit with yarn from my stash, Araucania Nature Wool in a burnt orange color. The photo doesn't really capture the color well, it's a bit subtler in person. And I'd like to think that from behind my head doesn't really resemble a pumpkin. But I've gotten several compliments when wearing it. I love the pattern and definitely plan on knitting another.

Foliage is a dusty rose pink, this time Araucania Nature Wool Chunky from my stash. Aside from the rather fiddly cast-on, this was a very quick, enjoyable knit. The hat is knit from the top down so you start by casting 4 stitches on size 10.5 dpn's. Then you work a row of increases and begin to knit in the round with 2 stitches each on 4 dpns. A bit clumsy, but when you get through the first few rounds it's all good. I really like the Araucania and in fact, just bought some more this past week. But that's another story for anther day.

What I don't have, is scarves to wear with them. Now, I'm not a big fan of matchy, matchy hat and scarf sets, but I would like to have a complimentary or coordinating scarf to wear with these new hats. So I'm going to be checking my LYS out this weekend and see if I can find some suitable yarn.

WIP #1 just happens to be a scarf. The pattern is Orca Tails by Oceanwind Knits. I've had this pattern in mind for quite some time and recently got the opportunity to purchase some Noro for it. The pattern as written, call for Kureyon, but also suggests Silk Garden as an alternative for a lighter scarf. I bought Silk Garden. With all the beautiful Noro colorways I had a really hard time deciding on one. I ended up choosing an earthy toned colorway that I might be able to wear with my brown hat and even Koolhass. But Orca Tails is a long, skinny scarf and rather lightweight with the Silk Garden so I'm thinking it's probably going to see more use as a early spring/late fall scarf. Maybe to wear on weekends with a jean jacket.

WIP #2 is a pair of socks. Cookie A's Monkey socks to be more specific. I did my best to resist the call of the monkey, but now I'm asking myself WHY?? Obviously 3000+ ravelers can't be wrong. And they're not... I'm loving the Monkey socks. I'm doing the version without purls in Louet Wild Cherry sock yarn. The pattern is an easily memorized repeat and a fast knit.
WIP #3 has been a bit neglected recently while I've been making hats and starting new projects. It's the Celtic Tote from the Winter '07 Interweave Knits. I'm just getting into the cable pattern on the first side so it's still in the early stages but I plan on getting it back into regular rotation very soon. I'm using Lion brand wool in cocoa brown and a color called Lemongrass for the cable outlines.

So there you have it. That's what's up with me this week and now I better get to knittin' so I have some progress to report by next Wednesday!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Shock, Awe, and Unbelievably Excited

We are truly grateful and thankful to Bea from Baa Baa Blacksheep for giving us the following blog award:

The rules are as follows: “Give the award to 10 people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration and make you feel happy about blogland. Let them know by posting a comment on their blog so they can pass it on. Beware you may get the award several times.”
Do we even need to tell you that we laughed and said "Yea!" quite loudly, when we discovered our award. We are humbled and grateful for this award from Bea, and hope to continue to make her day.
Now it is our turn to pass out the awards.

Suzy Girl tries to keep up with lot's of blogs... but you know, there is never enough time for blogs, ravelry, knitting and, oh yea, work. But if forced to choose, the 5 bloggers that I greatly admire (in no particular order) are.........

Del over at cozy's place - I've been a lurker for what feels like forever. This was one of the first knitting blogs I started reading regularly, right after the Yarn Harlot and crazy aunt purl. Not only does Del knit beautiful things, she keeps me laughing at her everyday life as wife to the Weedinator and mom of three that I have come to know as #1 Girl, Animal Magnet and the Dimpled One.

Rachael over at cattywampus - another multi-talented lady whose blog I lurk on. She quilts, she knits, cooks, gardens and does good deeds (Heifer International) among other things. I'm constantly inspired by her beautiful knitting projects. And, apparently she's going to be a Philly girl again soon!!

Knitting Novice over at String and Stitches. She's been a constant source of inspiration and just plain fun. I love reading her blog and hearing what she's up to on a daily basis as she embarks on new projects, juggles husband, kids, job and fends off those pesky "non-knitters with benefits". She never fails to make my day.

Star over at Keep on Knitting in the Free World. Another lurker situation. I found Star's blog while searching for some kool-aid dyeing tutorials and she has a great one! I stuck around because not only does she dye, she spins, and she knits the coolest socks. Now, the secret is out. Plus, I'm a big Neil Young fan so she had me hooked just with the name of her blog.

Hanna over at evergreen knits. I'm a lurker but an admirer from afar. She has a beautiful blog, great photos of her projects and I love everything she knits. A no brainer choice for me.

Jenny Girl also tries to keep on top of things, but as you can see, I too have trouble. (We received this award on Thursday/Friday, and it's now Monday. Slacker!) My favorite 5 blogs, in no particular order are ........

Tienne from Tienne Knits a wonderfully talented knitter who also finds time to do some design work. She writes from the heart and is most definitely one crafty and inventive chick.

Cindy from Cindyknits a great gal from New England who manages to involve her family in her knitting. Her pictures of New England are beautiful, and make you feel as though you are there beside her. Cindy also manages to spin in her spare time.

Tina from the Knitting Contessa who, like the rest of us, tries to find time for everything. She is a funny and realistic gal, who tries to handle life the best way she can. And loves chocolate, need I say more.

Ashley over at Postcards from Pemberley. I have been reading her blog since she posted on ours about my Kool Aid dyeing. She is a sweet girl who helps with her siblings, and knits, spins, and dyes when she can. Jane Austen fan too!

Mintyfresh at Pepperknit. I am more of lurker than a poster at her blog, but she is another one who is way more crafty than I am. Her work is beautiful and colorful, and her writing is interesting, a different perspective on things.

Honorable mentions: Bea from Baa Baa Blacksheep not just because she gave us this award, but because we genuinely enjoy reading her. She is good people, and we consider her our friend. Also, Nicole and Jenny from the Stash and Burn podcasts. Both gals have blogs too, but Suzy and I get excited when there is a a new podcast posted. It makes work go by so much faster.

Lets face it, all of these blogs are wonderful and make our day, hence the award. They are all great knitters who continue to inspire us with their tales of life and knitting. Please check them all out when you get a chance. You will not be disappointed.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

In the hat zone

I never got the hat thing. Now, I’ve heard many new knitters turn out hats like crazy, but I just never made that many hats. Even as a new knitter. First, I think I was always a bit intimidated by the fit thing. Unlike a scarf, a hat has to fit.
When my kids were little, I made a few hats. On straight needles, so I had to seam them up, a big, ribbed, turned up cuff and to top it off, a pom-pom. Forgive me, but this was the ‘80’s. When the grandkids came along, I made a few more hats. And again, nothing too exciting. Ribbed cuff, stockinette stitch, knitted flat, again that damn seam, (no pom-poms this time around). My hat making was more a labor of necessity, rather than a knitting adventure.
So fast forward to 2008, and even though my fellow bloggers and ravelers have been knitting lot’s of cute hats, (Jenny Girl and Knitting Novice among them), I’ve pretty much been ignoring hats. Until winter got serious here in Philly and I realized I had no hat. Not a single hat in the house that I could claim as mine. Not even a store bought, generic hat was lying around.
About the same time I had been listening to some old episodes of “Ready, Set, Knit”, the podcast from WEBS. I know, I really need Brenda Dayne and Jenny and Nicole to come back from their Holiday breaks. I’ve resorted to downloading all the old episodes of several knitting podcasts and have been listening to them on my train ride. Anyway, the first WEBS knit along on their podcast was a simple hat made from measurements. So I grabbed my tape measure, measured my head, and last Tuesday evening, I took a trip to my LYS and picked up a couple of balls of Reynolds Whiskey and knit my little brown hat.

It’s just a plain beanie type cap knit in the round. I used the Whiskey double stranded, since it’s a Dk weight yarn on size 8 needles, (dpn’s no longer scare me since I learned to knit socks this summer). And it was quick, and it was fun and it keeps me warm. So now, I’ve re-examined my stash with a new eye. I’ve added several hats to my ravelry queue.

I started Koolhaas by Jared Flood, I’ve got stash yarn earmarked for Foliage by Emilee Mooney, Odessa by Grumperina and for this cute little button hat by Rachel Iufer. I think I get the hat thing now. But I'll let you know for sure, if Koolhaas is a success (i.e wearable).

Friday, January 18, 2008

Jenny Girl wins again

When I stumbled upon Tiennie's blog, Tiennie Knits and noticed she had a contest going, I just couldn't resist entering. Someone gave her a box filled with yarn for each day of Christmas. Overwhelmed by generosity, Tiennie decided to pay it forward, and hold a comment posting contest on her blog. She gave away all that yarn! I was lucky enough to have been chosen, and this is what I received.

"Ohhh, ahhh", as I opened the package. My DH just laughed. See baby, no diamonds, just soft and pretty yarn. Don't worry I didn't verbalize that thought. In the comment you had to specify what your favorite colors were, and Tiennie would try to fill your wish. So, I wasn't exactly sure what I was going to receive. I was just happy to win. You could have given me straight up black for all I cared.

Thanks again to Tiennie. I highly recommend checking out her blog, not just because I won yarn, but because she is a very talented knitter. She created a sweater from scratch after seeing one in a movie she liked. Come on! I so could never do that. Tiennie also has some designs posted on Ravelry.

I'll have some FO and WIP pictures next time. I'll try to at least.


Saturday, January 12, 2008

All up in the Kool Aid and don't know the flavor

I just had to jump on the Kool Aid yarn dyeing bandwagon. Suzy Girl did it some time ago, in the fall, and I must admit I was jealous. At first her yarn didn't look so good, but once she wound it up and then knit it, it looked delish. She had to keep an eye on that yarn let me tell you. So, Suzy inspired me and I couldn't wait to try Kool Aid dyeing.

This is what I started with . You see that green yarn? Get a good look because you won't see it again. I was trying to over dye it, and it didn't quite work out. Guess I was drinking the Kool Aid when I came up with that idea. The yarn is Patons Classic wool Merino. I had 3 skeins of white, but 1 of them got knotted up, so that left me 2. It took me quite some time to put those skeins into hanks. I don't have the proper equipment, so I used a tall boot shoe box. Worked well.

I wanted to do 2 skeins the same so I could make another felted bag, or a long scarf, but once I started I changed my mind. This first one I wanted to make rainbow/variegated. Now I did soak the yarn first, so the color was sucked right up. I mixed one packet of Kool Aid with 6 tablespoons of water. Very potent = very vibrant. Which is fine, because that's what I wanted. This skein is grape, ice blue raspberry lemonade, lemon lime, black cherry, and a splash of orange. At first, I was not impressed. I actually said, out loud, "This looks like something a 4 year old made. It looks like crap!" I was a little disappointed.

But after cooking in the microwave (which prompted a laughing comment of "What are you doing in there?" from my hubby) this is how it turned out. And I like it.

I liked the orange so much, that I did one skein just orange and fruit punch. Next time I'll keep the un-dyed portions down to a minimum.

And now here are the finished skeins all wound up. I still don't know what I am going to make with them. I think I have enough for a skinny scarf or something.

The next time I dye yarn, yes there will be a next time, I am only going to do two colors, the ice blue raspberry lemonade and the lemon lime. Whole skeins to make a bag, so maybe two skeins each? I like how those colors came out and think they would be nice knitted together. Regarding instructions, I had my dear friend Suzy as a resource and then I just Googled Kool Aid dyeing. Oh, and this was indeed, an all day project.


Thursday, January 10, 2008

When Good Yarn Goes Bad

So earlier in the winter, I told you about how much I loved my green scarf. I was in love with the yarn, Reynolds Odyssey, a 100% merino that is so soft and pretty. I loved the pattern. I enjoyed every stitch as I knit it into a very pretty scarf. And I enjoyed wearing that pretty scarf so much, until after wearing it for a few weeks, the tendency of my pretty, green scarf to roll drove me insane!

So insane, that over the New Year's holiday, even though I had several new projects that I was anxious to cast on.... I frogged it, so I could reknit it. And now, for lack of anything more exciting to share with you, I'll share my trip to the frog pond. And my lovely green scarf version 2. My current train riding project.

So after ripping for what seemed an endless amount of time I had almost 4 skeins worth of yarn that resembled ramen noodles. Any thought that I was going to immediately reknit this vanished. I needed to wind it all into hanks and give it a bath.

Into the sink with a little eucalan it went (thank you Bea!) and a short while later, out it came to hang and dry....

And get rewound into little center pull balls, by me, by hand....

and reknit into a new scarf (Best Friend Scarf) for me to wear.

Because I loved my green scarf too much to let it be a roller.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Yea! Jenny finally won something!

You read it correctly! Jenny did indeed win some yarn on a blog contest. This sock yarn is courtesy of Cindy from CindyKnits.
She had a holiday cookie contest and I submitted my favorite cookie recipe, ricotta cookies. Like them so much I made another batch when I came home from the parade on the 1st. Ate some, then remembered about that vacation diet I had to start, and gave them all away by the end of the week.

Anyway, when you get a chance, please visit Cindy's blog. She knits some really cute and colorful items up there in New England. Cindy also spins (which blows me away btw) and generally tries to find time to fit everything in like we do. There are just not enough hours in the day. Cindy is good people so stop by there and say hello if you can. Thanks!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Happy Belated New Year ! ! !

Slacker Jenny is back! I apologize for my lack of posts but I have been distracted by other non-knitting stuff. Oh the horror! What stuff you may ask. Well first of all I got sucked into playing my video game the week I was home on vacation. I also had some good books to read. I did manage to accomplish my Kool Aid dyeing project, which took all day I might add. (I'll post about that another time). I also spent some time visiting friends, family, and other knitting blogs, to the detriment of my own. But that's why I blog with Suzy Girl. Sometimes one of us gets busy, and so the other one oicks up the slack. That's what friends are for aren't they?

I want to share one of the things I did, on the 1st actually. I'll post other knitting related stuff later this week. In Philly, we have this parade every year called the Mummers parade. Its been around for over 100 years, and they march January 1, unless there is rain, snow, or extremely high winds. There are different groups of mummers, but the most popular ones, and the best in my opinion, are the string bands. The bands are mostly men, although there are women involved too, and they spend all year picking a theme with accompanying music, costumes, choreography, and props. The costumes are beautiful and the music makes you dance in the street. This parade has a lot of tradition, and there are whole families that have been involved with this for generations. It truly is its own little industry. Here is a link to the website for the Avalon String Band, which has some sample music. Yes, we stand, watch the parade, and dance in place :)

The parade is a big thing in my neighborhood, because every one knows someone who is in the parade. The clubhouses for a lot of the mummer groups are located in South Philly too. Some are in other parts of the city to be sure, but they are concentrated on 2 street. There is an after parade down 2 street after the Broad street parade, and this is always a blast. Lots of drinking and things which don't get mentioned the next day. In any case here are some photos of the Broad street parade for you to enjoy.



Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Knit Fearlessly

How weird is this? Tonight I came home from work and checked my e-mail while I waited for my dinner to finish and what does Interweave Press' Knitting Daily newsletter have to say??
2008 is the Year of Knitting Fearlessly!!
Now just yesterday, when I was thinking about the new year and making my knitting resolutions I was thinking about being less afraid of failure in my knitting, of trying new things and I actually wanted to say be more fearless in my knittng, but I thought I'd sound like a goof. Well, apparently Sandi over at Knitting Daily thinks the same thing.
And in fact, I want to share the list from that newsletter. It's like she was reading my mind. Weird.

"Here's some things to think about:
Is there something you haven't tried because it seems Too Scary?
Is there a technique you want to learn, or learn to do more skillfully?
Is there something that stumps you? (Yup)
Is there something that you are dying to try, in your secret knitter's heart, but haven't dared because you think you're not a good enough knitter? (Yup)
Are you always knitting The Same Old Things, and you'd like to try something new? (Yup)

Do you always knit for others, and never for yourself? Or perhaps you only knit yourself accessories, but never a lovely cardigan or pullover to wear?" (Yup, Yup)

And it was so cold and windy here today, that when I got off the train tonight, I was thinking to myself "I need a hat... I'm a knitter without a hat. That's not right". And again, Knitting Daily to the rescue. The newsletter has a free hat pattern that's simple and kind of cute. Little buttons all over it. Well, maybe I don't see myself sewing little buttons on my hat but it's still cute and timely. And weird.

So go forth and knit fearlessly!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Knitting in the New Year

Welcome 2008!!

Happy New Year!

I've spent the last couple of days feeling compelled to work on that damn pink aran cable scarf. I'm about 8-10 inches from completion and I really wanted to finish it up and get it off my needles. You know, kind of like "out with the old", so I could turn my attention to "in with the new".
Feeling like I'm on a deadline to finish it has taken some of the pleasure from the act of knittng. That, and the fact that it's, well, pink and I wouldn't have personally chosen to make if it wasn't being done as a favor and special request.
So while I've been knitting away on that pink scarf... without a cable needle btw... I've been considering what I'd like to accomplish in the new year and in the spirit of the day I have some knitting New Year's Resolutions.

  • No more deadline knitting. I don't want knitting to feel like a chore so I'm going to more selective in what I knit and more realistic in what I can reasonably accomplish in my free time.

  • Knit from my stash. It was almost nonexistent when Jenny Girl and I first started blogging but I've done some serious stash enhancement this fall (a trip to Stitches East) so before it gets out of control, it's time to cast on for some of those projects I had in mind when I was buying yarn (clapotis, Mr. Greenjeans).

  • Try some new techniques and step out of my comfort zone. I really want to knit my first sweater and tackle some charted patterns and maybe even some colorwork so I'm going to pick a small project to get my feet wet and dive in. And if it's not a rousing success the first try, well that's what frogging is for.

  • Take better pictures. That may not be within my reach but I'm going to try (the one above doesn't count).

So, hopefully I'll have some interesting, new projects to share in the coming weeks. Happy New Year!!