Thursday, June 30, 2011

To Maryland, Michigan, and back

Last week the hubby and I went on vacation to visit family.  I left before Mr. SpiderKate, so when I arrived in MD I was free to go to a local yarn shop without him! I've often tried to get Mr. SpiderKate to go to yarn shops with me, but usually it ends up in boredom for him and then I end up feeling rushed.  This way I could take all the time in the world! 

My mom and sister picked me up from the airport and after lunch we were off to Fibre Space in Alexandria, VA.  Let me just say that this is a really nice shop and I wished I lived closer to it.  There was a lot of very pretty yarn, so much so that I had trouble on deciding just one.  I ended up with some sock yarn called Studio Sock by Neighborhood Fiber Co. called Studio Sock.  The yarn is 100% superwash merino in color Columbus Cir.  The yarn is a very pretty light blue (think close to sky blue, only slightly darker).  It is very soft and I'm planning on knitting a shawl with it.

Mary's Potato Chip Scarf
While at home I also got my sister knitting again!  Right now she only knows the knit stitch (didn't want to learn the purl stitch yet), but she's doing a really good job at it.  Once she felt confident about the knit stitch (wasn't adding or subtracting stitches anymore - we all know how that goes in the beginning), she was ready to move on to her first real project.  I thought a good first project for her would be the Potato Chip scarf.  I wrote down the pattern for her and away she went!  I haven't made a Potato Chip scarf myself (though it's on my short list of quick/fun projects), but thought it would be a fun first project.  It's interesting enough to not get boring.  And besides, who can resist the way it twirls up! She's knitting her scarf using Spud & Cloe Sweater.

Mary with her Potato Chip Scarf!
Once my mom saw how much fun my sister was having, well she wanted to make one as well!  This made me want to make one as well, but then I came across the Easy Drop Stitch Scarf pattern.  This pattern was definitely calling to me.  I cast on for that scarf and so far I'm loving it.  It is just nice to work on an "easier" pattern sometimes - gives a good break from all the lace knitting.  I started to cast on for this scarf when my mom noticed me using in the long tail cast on.  She was just about to cast on for her Potato Chip scarf and wanted me to teach her the long tail cast on.  I really like the long tail cast on, especially casting on for a short number of stitches - I find it easier to get the right length tail when it's not for too many stitches.  My mom picked it up easily and was off knitting her scarf.

Teaching Mom long tail cast on!

I had a lot of fun in MD visiting my family!  It was really nice to spend some time knitting together and just hanging out.  Highlights of the trip include Fibre Space, walking around the National Harbor, going to Washington D.C. Nationals game, and going to D.C. Cupcakes.  My parents are going to Dallas, TX later this year and I'm looking forward to visiting them when they are out there.  

Me at D.C. Cupcakes!
After our visit in MD, we flew to MI to visit with Mr. SpiderKate's half of the family.  We had a good time out there as well.  We spent part of the time with his dad and Step-mom and the other part with his mom and step-dad.  We were also there during the family reunion and it was really nice to be able to go to that since we haven't been to one in a couple of years.  We will be seeing them again when Mr. SpiderKate's brother gets married in December, so we are looking forward to that!

Easy Drop Stitch Scarf
Oh, did I mention that right before leaving on the trip that I cast on for a new pair of socks? Oh yeah and remember how I just wrote that I cast on for a scarf at my parent's house! I finished two before leaving and then suddenly I'm already back up two projects!  I just can't help myself ;o)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Making progress

My updated list!!
1.  Rose lace stole
2.  GAP-tastic cowl
3.  Sweetheart socks
4.  Einstein coat
Yes, I'm happy to say that I've finished 2 out of 4 on my list!! I'm really happy to have these projects done, especially since I'm going to visit family next week and it will be nice to go knowing that I've closed out some knitting projects.  The other big reason to get these projects done is that it opens up the possibility for new yarn purchases. Unfortunately I don't have any finished photos of either project yet, so I'll save those for another blog post.  A photo of my afterthought heel in progress will have to do for now.

Afterthought heel in progress

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I'm on a roll

This is just a quick post to say that I'm on this kick to finish the projects that I have laying around.  Here is a list that I'm going to hopefully be calling done soon:

1.  Rose lace stole
2.  GAP-tastic cowl
3.  Sweetheart socks
4.  Einstein coat

Right now I think that the two top are the Rose lace stole and the Einstein coat.  My main motivation for finishing these up is that I'm going to reward myself with yarn afterwards! Okay, it might not be yarn for myself necessary, but I have a few people in mind that I want to knit for and I can't do that without new yarn!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Coming out of hibernation (zzzzz)

Okay, I'm finally doing it.  I'm bringing my Einstein coat that I started in 2007 out of hibernation.  Prior to going into hibernation I made a lot of progress on this - in fact the only thing left to do is finish the right sleeve and start/finish the left sleeve.  Then it is all finishing after that, at least that is my understanding of the project.  When I started knitting this I was living in Indiana going to grad school and the local yarn shop owner was basically directing me on how to knit this.  I wasn't following any pattern myself because I simply would sit at the shop and she'd tell me what to knit next.  In retrospect this makes no sense to me, but at the time it made perfect sense. 

The owner had knit A TON of these jackets and could knit one in her sleep, that is how well she knew the pattern, so I trusted her judgement and directions.  She modified the pattern for me by starting the sleeve differently to avoid the "bat wing" look that the pattern ends up giving.  I think she even did the sewing up the side to where I would pick up the stitches and start the sleeve.  If I could go back in time I would tell myself to NOT let her teach me the pattern that way and instead insist of being able to follow and understand the pattern myself.  I'm not sure it ever makes sense to instruct a person in that manner because what happens when you move (like in my case) or become too busy to work on the project.  Ugh.  Oh well, not much I can do about it now but figure it out and press on.  Wish me luck!

Friday, June 3, 2011

I'm seeing red (the good kind of red)

There's been a lot of purple in this blog lately and it's time to mix that up with some red.  Red is one of those colors that I love to hate.  I love it and I hate it.  I think it stems back to my childhood.  As a child with blonde hair, my mom was always wanting me to wear red and if it wasn't my mom, it was other people.  I never wanted to wear red or any bright colors for that matter because I didn't want to stand out.  I was a fairly reserved child (though some might say otherwise) and wanted nothing more than to blend into the background.  The wildest I ever got was having orange as my favorite color - at least that is what my sister would have you believe.  I never wore orange though, not that I remember anyway.  I never broke a bone and was hardly ever scraped up like my brother and sister.  In fact, the worst thing I remember happening to me growing up was getting a splinter or two.  I still hate splinters to this day!  
WIP - new shawl design
Somewhere along the lines my color preferences changed.  It probably had to do with growing up and gaining life experiences, but once the world of color opened up to me there was no going back. The ones that speak most to me now are yellow, turquoise and red.  I'm often drawn to these colors in yarn shops and tend to purchase them without even really thinking about it.  Purple is slowly growing on me as well.  There is just something I can't explain about picking up a beautifully colored skein of yarn and not wanting to let go.  

Night time knitting with the game on
I can't seem to get a good picture of my shawl in progress, so the pictures I have will have to do for now.  I believe I mentioned it once before, but I'll mention it again - the yarn is Lacey Lamb by Jade Sapphire Exotic Fibres.  Let me just tell you, that this yarn is tiny!  I didn't fully realize when I bought it would much of a lace weight it really is, but it is soo incredibly soft to work with that I can't let it go.  I'm knitting the shawl on size 4 needles and at first it was a little tricky using larger-ish needles with tiny yarn.  Once I got some "meat" to the shawl, the yarn + needle size hasn't really been an issue.  What has been an issue is getting good photos of it.  I might have to ask Mr. SpiderKate to take a crack at photographing since he seems to (generally) have better luck at it than I do.

One of the best photos I could get today