Friday, June 30, 2006

live to knit

Not much going on in my knitting world. I’m working on the front part of the Eliza tank, but I don’t have anything else going on besides that. This week I’ve been surfing knitting sites for new patterns, yarn, and what not. Here are some of the things I found that were interesting and would like to share:

  • Blue Alvarez’s “Licorice Whip”- a lacy summer sweater. Her designs are cute, though I haven’t made any yet. This might be first, because it’s by far my favorite. She suggests 100% cotton, but I’m sure a wool replacement would make for a toasty fall knit.
  • “Nautie” by Knitty- I’m feeling the need to stashbust and I think this stuffed sea creature is too cute. I gave my away my last stuffie, Andes, to my 4-year old nephew. I figured he would be a more appropriate owner. But this is a good summer stuffie I might just give away.
  • “Tips on Walking and Knitting at the Same Time”- posted by a Craftster gal. I actually saw a woman knitting while driving a few weeks ago when we were stuck in traffic in Philadelphia (FU, Penndot). The pace was a very slow crawl so it wasn’t exactly dangerous. Needless to say I was in awe. I don’t think I’ll ever be so hardcore as to knit while walking or driving. Walking and knitting seems like a safer combination so if you want to give it a whirl give it a clicky-clicky.

Camping in the 1,000 Islands was very nice. We had a lovely time at Wellesley Island State Park and will want to go back again. The place is freaking huge. It’s a hike to just walk around the campgrounds. We never touched the hiking trails. Nor did we go canoeing. But that’s ok; something to look forward to for next time. I got bit up pretty bad on my one leg. I don’t think I’ve ever had bug bites that made me look like I have the “the plague”. Not pleasant, but they’re healing. Note to self: next time buy the damn bug spray.

While waiting for our boat tour at Alexandria Bay, Mr. V and I walked around some gift shops. One store actually had a section of YARN! A little corner tucked away in the back devoted just to yarn. Of course I had to fondle, though, sadly I made no purchases. I have more yarn than I know what to do with. I was tempted though because they had Cascade 220 Superwash on sale for $5. >.< But it was a nice surprise.

I’ll post some Mr.V’s digital pics this weekend. I still use film, so I’ll be waiting a while for my images. I’ll post some Eliza pics soon too.

For you locals: Fireworks are at the Inner Harbor this year and start at 9:30 pm. I’m not going, but I figure I’d pass it along.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Summer Fun

Well, my summer fun activities will continue this weekend. Mr.V and I are doing a weekend camping getaway to the 1,000 Islands. You know, the wonderful cluster of islands resting where the St.Lawrence River dumps into Lake Ontario. I heard it's beautiful, and the camping is supposed to be good. Not that I would know because I have been camping exactly once in my life, and it wasn't the best experience in the world. But it wasn't because this "city grrl" isn't down with mutha nature, it was because we were at a campground that had nothing except, well, ground. It was boring. But this time I've booked a shady spot close to the St. Lawrence River at Wellesley Island State Park. It supposed to be nice, and they have stuff to do not only at the park, but at nearby Alexandria Bay, NY. Here is the itinerary:
  • Hiking
  • Swimming (as long as there is no goose poop on the beach *crosses fingers*)
  • Canoeing (can rent them on site)
  • Cooking dinner over a fire outdoors (this idea of this fascinates me, even if it is just hot dogs)
  • S'mores!
  • Tent sleeping (which isn't bad with an air mattress, again, sleeping without proper roof=fascinating)
  • Waking up at the crack of dawn, in which case we will do one of the first 3 activities again.
  • Q: Would toasting pop-tarts over a fire be a complete disaster?
  • Travel to Alexandria Bay, NY (about 10 min from park)
  • Go on 2-Nation, 2-Hour boat tour of the 1,000 Islands
  • Stop by Boldt Castle on Heart Island and ponder yet again why I am not independently wealthy. Also take lots of pictures.
  • Go Mini-Golfing
  • See other sites in Alex-Bay
I think that list looks pretty fun. Mr. V and I are excited because if we really like it than this might be "our" place to go every summer. Just like my family has "the shore" (aka: Ocean City, MD). If all goes well, next time we might stay on the Canadian-side for a little walk on the wild side. *nudge-nudge, wink-wink*

As you can see, there is no knitting on that list. But that's ok. I'm almost finished with the back part of "Eliza". Maybe I'll finish that tonight for good measure. I'll be sure to post pics of my trip and progress pics of Eliza next week.

Other activities I have planned for this summer in no particular order:
  • Harborfest
  • Boston!
  • Utica Boilermaker 15K (yeah, 15k. I'm training now with a friend from work and I have to say the heat is making me a little discouraged, but I'm trying to stay positive. Call me crazy, but I'd much rather run in 30 deg cold than 75 deg heat. But at least I can say: "yeah, I ran 9.3 miles on a hot summer's day just to see if I could." or is that really something I should brag about....?)
  • JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge (this is a 3.5 miler happening August 1 at Onondaga Lake Park and after that15 k, this should be a piece of cake. Check and see if your company is participating. It's a great event for runners and walkers alike.)
Phew! Have a good weekend everyone!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Anthropologie-Inspired Capelet

Here it is! The efforts of LAST weekend. I really mean it too. I finished most of it between Friday and Sunday of last week. *insert big-toothy grin* I weaved in the last of the ends on Tuesday (not like there was a lot of them).

And here is a really bad, self-made model shot (I should really start modeling my FO's on stuffed animals. or I could always have Mr. V take a shot, but at the time he was napping and I didn't want to disturb him).

Someone should develop a tutorial on how to properly take a picture of yourself while wearing your latest knitted creation. Hmm....

Project: Anthropologie-Inspired Capelet by Julsey723 on
Yarn: Bernat Softee Chunky (100% Acrylic) in some green color indicated by a number (how creative!), 1.5 skeins (total cost of yarn ~$4 for 2 skeins)
Needles: Denise Interchangeables Size 11, long circular
Mods: Lengthened the body, perhaps, a bit too much cuz now it looks like a cardigan rather than a capelet. Since I'm taller I was afraid a short capelet would look funny. But adjusting the length was extremely easy: just keep knitting after you separate the sleeves.
Woulda-Shoula: You can see that the front edges roll a bit. Blocking will take care of this (I'm sure) if you go out and buy the Rowan Polar that is recommended. But if you're cheap like me, then you'll just have to widen the garter st edging to 4-5 sts instead of just 2. I imagine that should take care of the problem. It doesn't bother me so much. If I were to make another one I would do that, because it would most certainly be made of acrylic (please don't hurt me). Would I make this again? Sure, maybe as a gift, but I'm not into repeat-knitting to be honest.

I haven't worn this out yet because it needs to be washed and dried. That's what I normally do to my petroleum-byproduct clothing items, they just feel nicer after a good wash and a dose of fabric softener. I've been into green lately. Green is quickly taking over my wardrobe. At least I'm over my black phase. Color is good. Color is my friend...

Friday, June 16, 2006

Summertime Rambling and Ashley Paige's Sexy Little Knits!

Thanks for all the compliments on the Mountain Laurel Blanket! And thanks so much coming back to read this blog!

This will be my third summer in Syracuse. I’m surprised to see the difference in behavior between the people of PA and the people in CNY. I get the impression the folks in CNY really take advantage of the summertime. I’m sure it has a lot to do with the fact that wintertime around here makes it almost impossible to be overly-adventurous (unless you do a winter activity like skiing, snowshoeing, and ice fishing). So, CNY’ers seem to get out and enjoy themselves. There’s lots of going-ons downtime, people are finally discovering the Inner-Harbor, people are hitting the parks, lakes, and beaches… My point is for most people life is busier in the summer. I think that’s why I’ve been neglecting this blog for while. Not that I’m overly busy, but blogging time has been replaced by trip planning, trip-taking, or other sorts of summery things. And when my downtime comes around I find that I’d actually like to knit, watch movies/anime, or read. I can’t blog about knitting if I’m not actually knitting anything. I’m sure once Autumn is upon us once again, I’ll be more attentive to blogging again. But I’ll try to post up at least once a week for now on.

Now, onto the knitting-related:

I finished the Anthropologie-Inspired Capelet Tuesday night. I started it the Friday before that. So I pretty much had it done over the weekend. That’s my kind of knit! Pictures this weekend

In the mean time I’ve finally decided on what to knit with that recycled yarn from long ago (that’s just been sitting waiting to be used). I decided on this pattern from Berocco. I’m not a huge fan of Berocco designs, but some of their more recent stuff is pretty nice (don’t tell the You Knit What! girls). Either their patterns are right on, or waaaayyyy off. But this, I like. There are some other ones I’ve been scoping as well.

Did I tell you how much I love my local library (Hazard branch on W. Genesee for you locals)? I love them because not only do they have an awesome DVD collection that includes a good selection of anime (doubly awesome because anime is quite pricy, I saw the complete series of Last Exile thanks to them, and not to mention the first 5 seasons of The Sopranos… but I digress) they also are really good about ordering the newest knitting books. Lately, there are always at least one or two knitting books gracing their New Items shelves. Sweet. I got this one yesterday:

Sexy Little Knits by Ashley Paige

It’s quite intriguing. She’s not kidding when she says the knits are little and sexy. Sexy cuz they’re little. It almost puts a Victoria’s Secret catalogue to shame. But what I like is that designs aren’t vulgar-sexy (which really isn’t sexy, imo) more like Vogue-sexy. There are lots of bikinis (which I find most interesting), some summer-wear which aren’t my cup of tea, and some “loungewear”. She has a pattern for hipster panties, which I’m going to look into to. I like these new books that gear towards the young and “hip”. I hope to see more.

I showed Mr. V some of the bikinis when I was paging through, and then later on I saw him paging through it on his own which I thought was cute. I don’t ever recall him paging through one of my knitting books or mags on his own before. Not that I mind, but I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself (but don't get the wrong idea about him, Mr.V = best hubby Ever). Honestly, he only liked one or two of the designs, and he thought most of the bikinis were too skimpy and unpractical since knitted bikinis aren’t really meant for swimming. Oh well, I still recommend it.

Friday, June 09, 2006

I'm back, and I'm NOT empty-handed

I guess I've been on something of a blogging hiatus. Since the last post (feels like forever ago) I was knitting the f**k out of the Mountain Laurel Blanket in hopes of completing it by June 2- the day I go (went) to visit my brother, SIL, nephew, and my new neice (to name a few). Unfortunately, FO-bliss was not in my stars. But I gave it all I could. I even knitted during the 3.5 hr drive down to my hometown in the Lehigh Valley of PA (no, I wasn't driving and knitting-Mr. V was nice enough to chaffeur). I was still left with one more side border to knit and attach.

So I showed it to them in all its half-finished glory, graciously accepted compliments, held the baby (adorable, btw-now I want a baby but that's another post), and proceeded to enjoy my visit. In the end, I think admitting defeat was the best thing for me. During the time I was at my MIL's house in York, PA I managed to get within a few inches of the finish line quite easily. It was nice knitting without panicking or with my inner track coach whistling at me to keep up a good pace.

Thursday night (while comfortably back home), I did my victory dance... well, my victory pat-on-the-back. And I found myself staring at the blanket laid out on the bed. Just staring. I can only imagine the look of my face, the shape of my smile while hovering over my new creation. Yes, my SIL is not the only proud, new mommy in the family.

I can't believe I made something so big and so fancy.

My MIL and her friend asked me how many hours I spent on this. I can't really say. I worked on it so sporadically in the beginning and then I worked like a machine in the end. I didn't really take notice. Not that it really matters to me. A qualitative description is alright by me: a really, long time.

One of the things I love about this blanket is that there is a lot going on. Here are some detail shots for posperity:

So without further ado:

Project: Mountain Laurel Counterpane Baby Blanket by Kim Salazar
Yarn: Caron Simply Soft, 100% acrylic, color "Orchid", 5 skeins (cost of yarn ~$10)
Needles: Denise Interchangeables Size 7 for the whole blanket
Mods: Not too many modifications except I used size 7's instead of size 5's because my yarn is acrylic and I wouldn't be able to block it if the gauge was too tight. Meaning, I was afraid the blanket wouldn't lay flat on size 5's. Plus, larger needles mean less time. The blanket measures 42.5"x39.5", larger than what would be needed for a newborn, but this way they can get more use out of it.
Woulda-Shoulda: As far as the pattern goes you can't ask for better. The pattern is easy to read, and surprisingly not as complicated as one might think. There is lots of lace but after completing 18 full hexagons, 4 half-hexagons, 6 seed-stitch triangles, and several feet of cable and lace border you get familar with the patterns REAL quick. I believe there is one error, and it's on the border pattern, second-to-last row, you k2tog instead of k3tog. Can't miss it, and it'll become pretty obvious to you why it should k2tog instead of k3tog. The only thing I would have done different for this project was start it earlier. Let me repeat.


I'd say start soon after you know she's expecting. That way, you can knit your heart out when you're feeling adventurous and put it away for a while when you're bored out of your mind. As everyone knows, knitting the same thing day after day makes Cath a dull girl... I mean... you get the idea. But for those who persevere there is great satisfaction when all said and done (sorry if I sound like Yoda). Also, I took the suggestion of someone on Craftster and sewed the pieces together as I went along. It helps, but if you really hate sewing and weaving in ends then this pattern is not for you, sorry. I believe Karin is knitting this (or will be soon) for an expectant. So check her out if you want more Moutain Laurel action. Good luck with that and the apartment search, Karin!

Now that's over,

I've CO already for my next project: the Anthropologie-Inspired Capelet. Small project, bulky yarn. Awlriiight!