29 March 2006

Finishing is fun

I have finished another project that was cast aside last summer! My satisfaction with Soleil led to my finishing of this: It started out as Tempting from Knitty but quickly morphed into something different. I hate knitting ribbing so I chose a cabled rib pattern to jazz it up. I don't know if it was because of the cables or if I miscalculated last summer but when I picked it up a few months ago, I realized that I didn't have nearly enough yarn to knit the sleeves. I looked in all the Portland yarn stores but couldn't find the yarn. Of course I no longer had the labels and I don't remember what brand I bought. All I know is that it's 100% merino. I narrowed it down to 2 brands and considered ordering the closest color of each to see which is the match but it all seemed like too much work, so back in the basket it went. I finally decided to just finish it as is, which means it's a tube top! I wove some brown ribbon around the top to make it prettier and I really like it! I also really like that it's no longer in my knitting basket haunting me. I wan't super excited about a tube top because I've never worn one before but I have 2 strapless dresses that I like so this shouldn't be any different.

I am now knitting the "modern bustier" from Alterknits with Main Line from Knitpicks. It's a new yarn from them and it's 75% pima cotton, 25% merino and it feels lovely! I don't have any pictures yet but it seems to be a quick knit so check back soon for an update.

In non-knitting news, I present my letter G for the ABC-along. G is for Garden, and since my vegetable garden isn't growing yet, I am showing you my cactus and succulent garden. I used to think that crowing cacti was a stupid idea because they're all prickly and not very touchable. Then my great-aunt Amy died. I couldnt go to Colorado for her service but my mom told me that she had a huge cactus garden in her yard and that at her memorial service, all her friends brought a plant to add to the garden. My mom was telling me about all the interesting plants people brought and it made me look at them in a new light. Then in May, Mike and I bought a house and it has a great enclosed front porch with huge windows and we wanted to fill it with plants. I decided to make the porch my cactus garden and that expanded into a cactus and succulent garden because there are some cool succulents out there! It makes me think of Aunt Amy and, in a way, my grandma, who was her sister. This one reminds me of seaweed, though it also looks exactly like the things that come off the heads of the Snorks. This is a string-of-pearls and is my most special plant in this collection. My grandma (other one-not Amy's sis) gave my mom a lot of plants when she moved into a smaller home. My grandma had a lot of really unique plants and the string of pearls was one of my mom's favorites that she got from her but my mom wasn't able to keep it alive. This was all before I was old enough to remember but I heard the story. I saw the plant in a nursery while I was on vacation and really wanted to buy it but I couldn't. Two Christmases ago, Mike found some at a nursery and bought me 2 little plants. It's not thriving the way I would like it to but it's a really slow-growing plant so I'm being patient. It reminds me of my grandma and I love it.

Some of you may have noticed (although you probably didn't) that I skipped the letter F. I just wasn't feeling inspired so I skipped it. Maybe it'll make a surprise appearance later but don't hold your breath. Blogging should be fun, not forced.

21 March 2006

Hurry up spring weather!

I finished something! I started knitting soleil last summer and just now finished! I didn't quite finish it last summer when the weather started getting cold so I put it away until now. In honor of project spectrum, I decided to finally finish it. I thought I had a bit more to knit on the straps but when I pulled it out of the basket a few days ago, I realized that all I had to was graft the straps together and crochet around the edges. Why couldn't I have quickly done that last summer? I figured I'd have it done in 1/2 hour or so but three evenings later, I was still crab stitching around the edges! I do not like crab stitch but it did turn out nicely. Here's a close up of the lace edge.
Here are the details for all you detail lovers:
Pattern: soleil, from knitty. It's a great pattern.
Yarn: Bamboo from southwest trading company. It's really shiny and has a really nice drape. This yarn feels a little rough but it's nice to wear against the skin. I guess rough isn't the right word. It just has some texture to it that is really interesting. I think it'll be great in warm weather- I just need that warm weather to get here!
Modifications: I made it about an inch longer than specified and I think it's perfect!

In other news, I'm behind in the ABC-along (again) so here is my F photo. F is for Farm Fresh. I belong to a CSA, which stands for community supported agriculture. In my case, I'm a member of the 47th Ave Farm in Portland and every 2 weeks inthe winter months and every week in the summer months I get a bunch of seasonal, locally grown, organic produce. Here is part of today's share.
Clockwise: Sprouting broccoli florets, rosemary, broccoli raab (actually not related to broccoli!), the prettiest head of cabbage ever, an entire salad bowl of kale and purple broccoli. We also got potatoes, onions and parsnips. I love veggies!
Support local farmers and get organic veggies by finding a CSA in your area!

15 March 2006

Last scarf of the season

This winter knitting season, Mike has gotten a sweater and now a scarf. He's made out better than I have and I'm not sure how I feel about that. Actually, I have really enjoyed getting in touch with my inner gift-knitter this last fall and winter. Thinking about all my thousands of stitches keeping a loved one warm and oh-so-stylish makes me feel about as warm and fuzzy as wearing my own hand-knits does. Here are the details of Mike's latest accessory.

Yarn: Rowan felted tweed. I used 2 strands held together. I really, really like this yarn. It's not the softest yarn for a scarf but Mike picked it out (he wanted tweed or nothing) and he's really happy with it. If it weren't so expensive, I would knit myself a sweater out of this yarn. Every picture I take makes it look like a different color but this picture is the best (color-wise). It has flecks of white, light blue and dark orange which really gives it a lot of depth and interest. Needles: Size ? bamboo (I set them down and now they are lost)
Pattern: My own. It's a saxon braid cable with 5 stitches of garter stitch on each side. Here is a picture that shows the cable pattern clearly.
All in all, I am really happy with it and, more importantly, so is Mike. I'm also happy that my next project will not be a scarf.

As I've been knitting this brown scarf, I've been very envious of all you project spectrum participants and your lovely pink and red eye candy. My next project will be red and just to prove (mostly to myself) that I am participating in project spectrum, here are my favorite pink and red things from my house. The first is Cradle. She is a fairy and was named by the artist I bought her from because she looks so comforting and watchful. Like she's cradling the viewer. She's really big- about 3 1/2' x 4 1/2'- so it really is like she's watching over us. It's actually dark pink fabric that was marked off with tape and the negative areas were bleached lighter. It's very cool and I love her. Here are some other things.

06 March 2006

Pink, Red and the letter E

E is for evergreens and emerging life.

One of the great things about my job is that there is a trail through the woods on the property. I love the evergreens for their height and beauty and I get to look at them all day. When not looking high in the trees, though, the trail hasn't been very pretty this winter. With the coming of spring, I have been discovering life emerging from the seemingly dead vegetation. It takes some close inspection but things are starting to grow and emerge from the bare branches. I thought I'd share some of my pictures with you because I love this time of year!
(If you're just here for the knitting-I've got that covered! It's after the nature pictures)

I wish I could tell you what all these plants are but I really don't know. I'm pretty good at identifying trees but that's about as far as my plant knowledge goes. I wish my backyard were looking this pretty and full of life. It's a mess of weeds, bare ground and a lumpy lawn but I need the rain to stop before I can fix it!

This isn't on the trail through the woods but I thought I'd include the flowering cherry tree because it's pretty and pink and it's pink and red month at Project Spectrum.

Speaking of Project Spectrum, I have some knitting to show you! I finally finished my red Cascading Leaves sock. I finished the 1st one right after Christmas but then I got sidetracked by other projects so it's been sad and alone- until today! I love, love, love this pair of socks because it's the first pair I've ever knit for myself! The yarn is sock garden from knitpicks and it's so soft and snuggly on my feet. Look how nicely they fit my feet! The only drawback to the sock garden is that it's 100% merino -that explains the super softness but it also means they won't be the most long-lasting socks unless I treat them very carefully.
I used this pattern to make my mom some socks but I didn't really like how square the toe was on her pair, (sorry, Mom!) so I changed it on mine. I'm looking for a new sock project now! Now that I have 1 pair, I think I need some more. I don't want my 1 pair of handknit socks to be lonely in my drawer. What is your favorite sock yarn? I've only used the sock garden and Lorna's Laces shepherd sock which is lovely but a little pricey.