Recognize this?

Only one person even harzarded a guess at my WIP from last week, Susan was the only one and she was half right, sort-of, partly.  I finished up last night during the Oscars.  It’s the Turtle-neck Shrug from Scarf Style and does double duty as a scarf.  ShrugShrug_scarf_1  I knit it out of the Rowan Kid Classic which is called for in the pattern, 4 skeins, only I had to go back to my LYS and buy one more skein for the last inch and a half of the turtleneck (grumble, grumble).   The picture isn’t helpful at all with regard to color – it’s not really black – it’s more a dark charcoal grey.  I chose not use the called for Orange color, though they had it when I bought mine.  I could only have worn Orange on UT game days around here and though I attended UT, team spirit is just not my thing. This project has been a bit of a splurge for me, I have to be a bit more thrifty for a while, but I think I got this need for something warm and wooly out of my system AND just in time for this:

Peach Recognize this?  It’s a peach blossum and though they can herald the arrival of Spring in Central Texas, it can still freeze in March (or even early April) which has been known to decimate entire peach crops for the year.  This peach tree has never born fruit and only a few blooms, badly planted and maintained legacy plant from previous owner, but I am still cheered by blooms.

In fact, The bright sunny day we had yesterday inspired me to look through all my knitting mags from the past couple of years in search of a decidedly Spring Project and see if you recognize what I found. 

Ms_shell And I have the yarn already!  It’s from a Vogue Knitting, I believe, though I am not in front of it right now, so I’ll have to verify.  I know a lot of folks don’t like Vogue and don’t find their designs all that wearable or practical.  I have done several projects out of Vogue, though there are some designs that are a bit far out or a bit too uh, er, Urban Chic, which just isn’t me.  But I thought this was cute, though I probably passed it right up when the issue first came out.  Now I can do entrelac, and I think that changed my perspective.  Sometimes a re-visit of the mags after some time has passed and some experience is achieved brings new eyes to the viewing.

So, what’s your next Spring Thing?

Looking for yarn in all the wrong places…

I met a deadline on a contract job yesterday while taking the holiday off from my real job and decided to waste the rest of my day surfing Ebay.  While some of you knitters are going on yarn diets and purging your stashs, I on the other hand am stash poor.  So I decided to try to find a few random deals to inspire my fiber dreams.  So can some of you pros out there tell me, what’s the deal with Ebay?  I have been using Ebay since it started, since before they made any money.  Way back then, if you wanted to win something and not spend a fortune, you had to sit on top of the auction till the bitter end, sometimes into the wee hours.  Now there’s all these software bid-sniping packages and services you can buy or subscribe to which essentially do your bidding for you.  I tried to win some great yarn and I think I was only successful at driving the price up for the ones who actually won it.  One last second (literally) bid came in and it was only 1 cent over mine and then the clock ran out.  These bidders must be professionals.  I was completely outclassed.  So I downloaded a trial version of one of the many different products for successful bidding and I did finally win some random lots of yarn (There will be a new stash viewing when they arrive).   I think I won 4 auctions and the grand total I spent, shipping included, came to less than $40.  Okay, I’m cheap.

All the really great yarn is high to begin with.  But what has really floored me is just how  much yarn is out there for sale.  We have one lone yarn store for about a 5 county area and that means sometimes I buy yarn online.  Ebay is fun because it is so random, I don’t know what is so appealing about someone elses cast off treasures, but I feel like I am rescuing yarn somehow.  If anyone has a suggestion or testimonial about the bidding software that they use, feel free to comment as I am still in the evaluation stage with the current one.

I have ripped the Flower Basket again and now I think I am beginning to be able to read the pattern – the upside down basket pattern.  Now that’s scary, but hopefully, it shan’t be ripped again. 

For the tender hearts who’ve expressed their kind thoughts, thank you again, I know we aren’t alone in the loss of a beloved pet.  Here is the last picture taken of Minerva with Abby who will miss her very much.

Abbyandminnie2

I can knit later

I kept hoping to be able to blog some happy news, but unfortunately our little kitten, Minerva, tested positive for FIP.  The vet says she might have a couple of weeks, though she does not seem to be suffering right now.  He said she would lose her appetite soon and decline quickly.  We sill spend a little more time with her.  All she wants to do is sit in our laps and follow us around.  She has complained little.  She really has been the most beautiful, pleasantly dispositioned pet we have ever had and she is adored by us all.  Dammit. 

Thanks to all those who sent good wishes.

80 degrees

That’s right, it’s 80 degrees here today.  Guess what I’m doing?

Jaybag Well, a little bit of bird watching and I managed to finish attaching the straps on my Market Squares bag which was felted yesterday.  I like it.  If I do another, I may try the fuzzier yarns with mohair, I think that look is cool.  This one is fairly smooth in the Cascade 220.  I might try plain straps too, though these braided ones stay on the shoulder nicely.  The bag is plenty big enough to carry almost any knitting project I am working on if not several. 

I solved my lace chart reading delimna, but it’s still a long slog through this pattern.  Fbs1No movie watching or conversations while working on this thing.  Maybe I will memorize the pattern before it’s done, but it will be done.

Now, Susan of Hugs and Kisses Socks fame likes to post WIP’s for us to guess what they are.  Well, I really suck at that game, however, I thought I would try her end for a change.  I don’t have any prizes available unless you are willing to take pot luck, quite literally, but go ahead and take a look.

Mystery1Any guesses about this WIP?  And no snarky comments about what an uninspiring color it is, I have mentioned before that I am color-challenged (or phobic), so it shouldn’t come as any great surprise.

  In other news, our delightful kitten we got from the animal shelter in December is being tested for FIP – I don’t know what it is, but it’s bad.  I am trying to think positively, but Abby is going to be crushed if it’s positive – it’s fatal.  I will be just as crushed.  She is the perfect cat.  We wait for lab results.  If you say prayers, think of a good one for our little sweetie.

Lace Chart Reading 101-Failed

I have to go to the LYS today but not to buy yarn.  Well, not specifically anyway.  For the first time in over 12 years, I need help figuring out a pattern.  Maybe I wasn’t meant to knit lace.  There isn’t a scrap of lace in my house.  Come to think of it, there aren’t any bows or ruffles either.  I don’t know what came over me to want to knit the Flower Basket Shawl in the first place, but I love it and I thought I was ready.  I got as far as the first 7 stitches on the needle and I cannot for the life of me understand what to do next from looking at the chart.  I can read cable charts.  I can knit socks with 4 different toes and heels.  I can do entrelac and knit backwards.  I don’t understand my specific deficiency in starting this damn shawl and it’s embarassing.  I will go to the Yarn shop today and beg one of the women there to point to the place on the chart I am to start knitting the pattern repeats when it looks like to me I am in the "no stitch" zone.  I don’t know how to do "no stitch".  I can do almost any other stitch they specify.  I am sure I am going to feel even more retarded when they show me just how easy and clear as glass the instructions are.  If anyone out there has done this shawl and wants to spare me being humiliated in front of my local yarn professionals, please help me out.  Of course, I could still buy some yarn if I didn’t need any remedial coaching from the staff. 

While I am at the yarn store, I think I’m going to break down and get the Rowan Kid Classic for the shrug in the Scarf Style book.  I have been wanting one and when I saw Becky’s out of Caron Simply Soft, I decided it was a wearable design, especially for someone who gets as cold as I do.

Next.

Msb_prefelt This is the last time you will see the Market Squares Bag until it is felted.  I finished last night.  I am glad it is done.  Now I can focus on other things.  I am overdue to start the Flower Basket Shawl and I have everything I need except any experience knitting lace at all.  Unless you count the eyelet lace on the wristlets.  But I don’t count that – it was just decreases and YO’s.  I have some luscious Cerise baby alpaca and plenty of it.  I yanked my favorite size 7US bamboos right out of the Must Have sleeve that I haven’t finished.  I can always get another pair to finish reworking that. 

Cerise I have been pining for the Clapotis, and checking out all the wonderful yarns that people are using and I just couldn’t afford them.  It broke my heart.  Until, I saw that Lauren was doing a lovely one out of a yarn that is well, shall we say, a bargain.  It’s wool and she says it’s soft and she provided a link soooo, I ordered some yesterday.  I can’t believe I am going to be able to make it for so little.  I love good fiber, I just can’t always afford the designer stuff.  I will post images of the yarn when it arrives.  In the meantime I am attempting lace.  Wish me luck.

Oh, and Norma’s got a brand new bag.  Helpburn, classic, of course.  Anyone for Breakfast at Tiffany’s?

With the end in sight…

Msb_moreIt is starting to look more like a bag.  I am beginning to tire of this project, but luckily, it is almost done.  With any luck I will finish tonight.  I have ordered my handles from Homestead Heirlooms and if Kandis lets me come over this weekend to use her top-loader machine, it will be felted. 

What’s really cool is Abby has also been inspired by a bird for her Market Squares Bag and I so love her colors better than mine.  Maybe I can pass my bag off on my mom and do another one.  Later. 

And in other news, was there any doubt that the Harlot would be seduced by the coquette, Clapotis?  Not here.  Hmmm, sounds like a trashy Victorian lesbian romance novel.

Bagging-a-long

Here is my progress so far on the Market Squares Bag.  I don’t think there is a way to make it look good while on the needles, but at least you can start to see the pattern colors.

Msb_progress I am glad I learned to do entrelac, though I don’t consider it fun yet.  Picking up stitches is tedious for me and requires me to count.  But I do want to do the Lady Eleanor wrap in the Scarf Style book. So I figure this is good practice.

I have joined a couple more knit-a-longs because I really wanted to do these items, but I may have bitten off more than I can chew.  Ever since I ran across The Woolen Rabbit, I have been lusting after the Alice Starmore Inishmore she has had displayed on her sidebar for a while.  So I signed up for Inishknit and hope be encouraged to tackle these fabulous and intricate patterns.

Then there’s the Townsend Socks Knit-a-long because I need to stop using self patterning yarn and do some cool textured socks and these are great.

Everybody is doing the Clapotis and I really wasn’t that impressed with it, I am not usually crazy about diagonal designs, but then I saw the Knitting Wench’s glorious scarf and I guess that is just too much for me.  Maybe I just didn’t like it in pink.  Wonder what color I would look good in?  You see, I have never really known that – I usually just knit colors I like, but I fear they aren’t kind to me.  Where are those What Not to Wear people when you need them?