Monday, December 24, 2007

Knitmas Eve!

So much to do, so much to do----so I will attempt to make this a quick F.O post about the super-fabulous Jade Empire!

Pattern: "Jade Empire" by Penny Ollman (knitter's magazine, issue 88, fall 2007) Size small
Needles: 5mm
Just under 9 balls of: Michell & CIA Luxury Collection 100% Fine Merino Superwash DK
Colourway: teal

I sewed it all together last weekend, and in the week since I think I've worn it at least three times! This is MAAAAAAAAJOR for me. It definitely marks the first really wearable thing that I've knit (garment that is...). I love it! I don't think I can even stress that enough. the bell sleeves, the empire waist and flare--me loves!

I even love the colour, which originally was *also* a bit of stretch for me---I don't usual wear a lot of bold colours (unless they are "under" vests and cardigans) but for the most part I am strictly a black and neutral kinda girl. The yarn is really nice (and was on sale!) though I have noticed some slight pilling already...I'll have to see how that develops.

I will definitely get a lot of wear out of this baby, and have already gotten tons of compliments on it every time I've worn it. The pattern was well laid out, easy to follow charts etc., but it's the kind of knit that "looks" like it was complicated to make, so people are always extra impressed when you tell them you've knit it. I took a bit of chance on the magazine, as there was literally nothing else I was interested in in it, but in the end it paid off, I couldn't be happier!

I didn't bother blocking it after I pieced it together, since it didn't seem to need it, though the button band could probably use a bit of a spritz just to get it to lay flat but bah! that is what I have to say, bah!

AND, today you get a two-fer! I FINALLY busted out the DPNS again to finish Fetching's mate.

I had originally started them in the fall, got one done and then a massive snowstorm blew in so it seemed kind of pointless to complete them. But that's the thing about Ravelry---every time you log in there Bam! your wips are in your face nagging at you to get them done (yes there is some residual catholic-school based guilt here, but that's about all). So I just bit the bullet and finished it's pair. Second sock sydrome no more. Plus there are several new things I'm itchin' to cast on right now, but I am trying to be good until some other works-in-progress can get done.

SO, try not to eat too much and get all yer Xmas knitting done peeps! (She says as she scarfs another rum ball on day three of birthday/xmas/eating/drinking extravaganza). Oh well. Hopefully I'll get to see some of you over the holidays --(miss Muffy I'm lookin' at yoooouuuuuuu...)

Happy Holidays everyone,
xxoo Cara

Friday, December 14, 2007

Knit York City (part 2 -shop 'til you drop!)

I feel as though I have enough New York fodder for several posts, but I'm going to do my best to try and cram it all into this ONE. There's an F.O on the horizon that I'm getting excited about (please God let it fit!).

Right now it looks like this:

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I started piecing it together last night but realized after knitting all the ribbing down the front and around the neck hole that I had forgotten to insert button holes. DUH. So now I'll have to rip all that out again tonight and *hopefully* get most of it sewn together. I think that may be a bit ambitious though what with oodles of Xmas related crap still to do. Nevertheless I'm hoping for a big FO this weekend. This will mark the first time I've ever knit a sweater in a size small, which yarn-wise is a blessing. I blocked out the pieces the other day to the stated measurements in the pattern and it still looks HUGE. I really don't know what the deal is with this thing. I get that it's supposed to be a bit flowy, but still. I'm kinda worried. I'm hoping a final blocking will rectify that situation. And speaking of things that are enormous, and maybe I'm crazy but I'm also planning to throw my Drops 103-1 jacket into a hot wash (and possibly the dryer) this weekend. Is that nuts? It needs a serious shrinking and it is partly acrylic so I'm hoping this will work out. At present it is totally unwearable, so I think it's worth taking the chance.

Ok well I've already blathered on enough that I feel like this post is too long and I haven't even started yet. I have verbal diarhea this morning.

Without further adieu my happy fibre freaks, here's the yarn I bought in NYC:

Click HERE and scroll the image if you want the deets on what everything is.

I love the little heart-shaped stitch markers and "kooly koala" zippered critter case,

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that I got from this place:

I totally just stumbled on to it on our way out for happy hour one was literally just a few doors down from our hotel. A very cute place, with food/counter service so you could sit and eat and knit. Lots of people at little tables that would periodically call out for the staff to come and help them if they were having trouble knitting. Very cute, and the staff there were really nice. They have a library of knitting books for patrons to reference and use if need be. A small place, with lots of nice yarns and a WALL of Cascade Magnum.

1.5 stitches to the inch?! A beast. I picked up a purple hank there too just for the hell of it. You can see that one here. I only bought the one skein though and am thinking that I will probably crank out a couple more of Twinkle's Aspen hat with it.

I definitely spent a lot of money at School Products. That place is awesome. I probably spent about $130 dollars there, which to me is a lot given that I'm buying with no "plan" or project in mind per se, but it's alleviated when you realize "I just bought what would be the equivalent of about 500 bucks worth of cashmere anywhere else". So for that reason, School Products gets a SERIOUS thumbs up from me!

A close-up of the stuff I bought at School Products can be seen here.

In that same neighborhood was Habu. Right through this door...

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Habu is gorgeous, in that simplicity of style that is common to Japanese apparel and interiors. But to me it's still a novelty ---stainless steel and silver yarns etc. I love the way it all looks, but I don't know if I'd enjoy knitting with it. And the price --woo doggie!

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately for my pocket book) they were actually seriously low on stock in most things, so apart from the visit, I took a pass on actually buying anything there. I think their popular knit-kits might be the way to go with them.

A couple interior shots of Habu for you:

And given that I have knit so many things out of last minute knitted gifts, I felt it only natural that I need go to its mother ship, Purl Soho. The woman who served me was actually the book's author, Joelle Hoverson. This is also a very pretty little store in an upscale area.

This shop was pretty much too rich for my blood. Though I didn't manage to get out of there with out buying some Blue Sky alpacas worsted hand dyes first. Total impulse buy. At the very least I should have bought two if I *had* to buy, but I didn't. Plus it was PACKED in there so I was feeling like I just needed to get the hell out:

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I felt bad for the BF. He couldn't hack it so he mostly just sat outside on the "husband bench" with some other dude. Surely it's not always like that in there? Even working in there would be difficult I think. There was nowhere to move and one person at the center table was just endlessly ball winding for people.

There was also a fair bit of yarn and knitted items available for sale at the Bust Craftacular as well. The ladies from Traveling Rhinos were totally awesome and had some great yarn for sale too. Again, why can't I be a millionaire?! Look how cute they are!

I threatened to put this photo of them on the internerd and well, mission accomplished! They were actually directly across from the Amy Sedaris table, so that was kinda handy.

Wanna see everything I bought at the craftsale? Well you don't really have a choice. And really, if you've gotten this far in my post you're in it for the long haul.

Click HERE and scroll the image if you want to know exactly what I bought and from whom. I think my favourite stuff is the jewelery, which you can see here in more detail --the storm cloud and "diamond" necklaces will no doubt be in heavy rotation. There seriously was SO MUCH MORE that I could have bought there, and I defintely plan to go back next year. For all you Blythe fans, did I also mention that Gina Garan was there as well as a whole table of Blythe dolls, and accesories and those uber cute little felted ones that I've had my eye on for some time. But gah, it's just one more expensive thing that I should probably avoid "collecting" if at all possible.

Anyway, I should probably quit while I'm ahead lest I'm actually forced by blogger to publish this post as some kind of novella. Imagine If I had a second blog devoted to all the clothing & record shopping and eating and drinking I did while I was there?! ai yi yi. And now California in less than a month. Did I also mention how broke and in debt I am right now too? At least I'm loving life I guess. Anyone knowing of any great yarn stores in the San Diego, Orange County, L.A, san Luis Obispo area, by all means, please indulge me!

Phew! (wipes brow), I think I'm sweating now--- so I'm signing off. I'm starting to grow nostalgic for my life in New York a few days ago...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Knit York City! (part one --snood city USA)

So here's the first thing I'm going to say about my most recent trip to New York this past week: I was in good company because...,

-The knitted slouchy beret is EVERYWHERE

Even the BF who is normally immune to noticing such things was compelled to comment on it. Naturally none of them appear to be handknit, but still, this snoody beret proliferation of such sheep-like proportions was enough to make me pause... I think I need to stop knitting these things. Surely they will be dead in the water soon enough?

A couple of my own snoods made the rounds:

Le Slouch meets L' Amy:

...and of course she was awesome. Too bad it's all wonky on my head in that photo. I also lugged my book all the way there for her to autograph:

And I bought some stuff from her craft table:

The little Santa is from one of her cupcakes. Yes, it was instantly devoured. Nothin' finer than cupcakes for breakfast.

Ive used her cupcake recipe before and I'm happy to report they taste exactly like Amy's! And now I feel closer to her as a result (hah!) The recipe for those can be found here. I wish I had taken a photo of her whole craft table--it was very cute. She had some pretty silly stuff...a few of those "fake cakes" she likes to do as well as a Manolo Blahnik bag stuffed full of crap and simply labelled "anything in here is a dollar". It was getting to be a mad crush at her table though. I managed to get in there right off the bat when people were kind of milling about and shy and not really knowing what to do. So I pretty much just busted in. When we went by that way later on it was a total mob scene. She must have been exhausted.

I bought some very cute little reindeer clothespin ornaments she'd made, but my favourite by far, for all you Strangers with Candy lovers out there, was the Gerri Blank pill boxes she made. Oh the hilarity:

Meeting Amy was definitely one of the highlights of this trip, even though there was a LOT more going on...the shopping! the eating! the drinking! And a few knit-related goings on as well which I'll save for some later well as more, more, more from the Bust craft sale.

More snoods also rode the subway:

Read guidebooks in the hotel room:

ate rice pudding:

and you know, just generally contributed to the overall Snood York City atmosphere that appears to be happening there.

And after getting stuck in Detroit for a full 24 hours on the way back (don't ask, I'll just cry again...) all I really have to say is: Thank God there IS knitting. Why did I not discover you sooner?

I've also uploaded a bunch of photos over on my flickr site if you want to see more non-knitting related NYC pics from this trip too.
more to come... :)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


So after being greeted on my balcony yesterday morning by this:

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(I KNOW! it's totally nuts, thank god I wrapped eveything up a week ago...)--- I then decided to re-think my morning plan-- do I want to deal with driving to work in this? answer: No. No, I don't. And then I thought: "I know, I'll take the bus! I'll go early, it'll be dead, I can knit on the ride in and give my podcasts the full attention they deserve!" I was actually looking forward to it. Which is why I'm sure you can tell where this is going....I left the house at 7:15 and got to work at 9am. After standing for a solid 45 minutes I finally clued in that there would be no bus (I later discovered they had taken all of the articulated buses off the road --without warning) and swaddled in handknits though I was, I was still totally damp and freezing. So off I chugged to the transit way. Trying to manoeuver the just-shy-of-the-knee high snow for twenty minutes is pretty much the equivalent of 60 minutes on the treadmill. You don't so much walk as "march" with your knees as high as you can get them. It's kind of like running in place (or under water...)

All that to say, man I wish I could have just been curled up on the sofa knitting...

A visit to the parental units washing machine over the weekend however did manage to finally felt up something toastie:

Here's hoping they will fit their intended recipient, as they're actually just right for yours truly. I think I can probably stretch them out a bit more though.

I will likely make these again, but with a higher back...they kinda turned more into "mule"-shapped slippers than clogs. And I seriously need to get a handle on picking up stitches--I find I always wind up with a "ridge" on one side. I'm not sure how to avoid this---maybe I am picking up in too thick a spot? And in this particular case I really did not seem to pick up enough (even though it seemed like I was doing it wherever I possibly could) and then had to make more stitches as I went. But whatever, when you know it's all getting matted together in the end, do you really care about perfection?

I had also attempted to felt up some black squares to make black bows, but when it came out of the wash "UN" felted I clued in that it must have been an acrylic after all (damn all these scraps!). So I went with red bows instead:

The ladyfest craftsale on Saturday was as usual, a mad crush. My man remarked "I can't believe you're not bothered by this, yet the record conventions make you crazy". At least I know at a craftsale I could likely take a few people in a throw down if I had to. If forced I can elbow with the best of them. At the record fairs it's always just a bunch of mean nerds shoving you out of the way. Mean nerds who are so effing anal about the lamest shit. BUT to each his own. God knows there's enough lame shit in my life that I'm pretty into as well (The Hills anyone?) whoa I just outed my lame reality TV addiction there. oopsy. They definitely need a bigger venue for that craftsale though. Half the time you can't get anywhere near the tables. And maybe I've been to too many of these kinds of sales, but I found the whole experence a bit lackluster.

But that didn't stop me from SHOPPIN'!

A seat cover for my crusier, Tokyo Drift (no more wet bum for me when I stumble out of the pub!):

And that was the only thing I bought for myself. I tried to drop a few hints on things to the BF, but he just wasn't cluing in (funny how that is...) and everything else is spoken for gift-wise:

You can click HERE and scroll the image for notes on what's what. (Though not what's for who(m). Wait...did that make sense? Who's on first? What's on second?)

All in all a decent haul, and I shouldn't really complain. Plus there are far more annoying things going on in my life that I'm already struggling not to complain about here, so I won't add it to the pile.

Enjoy the snow if you have it --my new toboggan is calling my name...