Thursday, October 15, 2009

still cold...

As I still haven't gotten around to sewing up my purple sweater, I naturally cast on another one -- after all, I'm still cold! I had one more sweater quantity of Northampton in the stash, this time in Ocean Heather, and I was sufficiently impatient and cold that rather than take the time to do my own math and knit an original sweater, I grabbed for another pattern, this time the Olive Branch Yoga Hoodie from Valley Yarns.

I do like Webs in general, and the Valley Yarns products in particular. I'm a Smith grad (class of '06!), so for four lovely years Webs was my LYS, and even though I now live in Wisconsin, I still think of Webs as a bit of a spiritual home. They were always very kind to and tolerant of students with lots of yarn lust and not much money, or at least they were to me. I spent plenty of happy hours browsing around the store and warehouse during the less busy times of the semester. I also scored my copy of Tudor Roses there before I'd even heard of Alice Starmore.

Northampton is such a wonderful yarn. Northampton was a lovely crunchy place to live, and having its namesake be such a practical 100% wool just feels so fitting. I do wish it came in more colors, but the 100g skeins and the price are excellent. Much as I love the endless colors of Cascade 220, I find Northampton to be springier and more elastic and generally nicer to work with, not to mention how much I appreciate not having to ball the yarn myself. Hanks of Cascade 220 are pretty, but don't have the same instant gratification.

Anyhow, I've already made it 80% of the way through the sleeves; top-down sweater construction is a wonderful thing and this one is just cruising along! There's almost no sewing up to do, but I expect this sweater will stall when it comes to installing the zipper. It's always something, with me.

Still, who knows how many other wonderful sweaters will get within spitting distance of completion before I get warm?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

necessity as the anti-procrastinator

In 2007, I knit a wonderful grey alpaca hoodie from the fantastic Girl From Auntie Rogue Hooded Pullover pattern. I'm not normally a big pattern knitter, but it was such a gorgeous and well-written one that I succumbed with good cheer. The resulting sweater is lovely and soft, and oh so warm, but I've always wanted to knit it again in wool. (Knitting from a pattern once is a lot, and to do it twice should be an indication of just how great this pattern is.)

Last winter, I pulled some lovely purple Northampton (a favorite workhorse wool of mine) out of the stash and cast on. I got as far as the kangaroo pocket before it got warm out and I set it aside. Now, though, it's gotten chilly again and I started looking around for something warm to wear and decided it was time to get a move on!

It probably only took me a week or two of knitting in the evenings to get the pieces finished, and then I only procrastinated for a couple of days before blocking. I didn't block the grey sweater, and have regretted that decision ever since (not enough to actually wash and block it, of course -- every time I look at it and wish I had, I'm cold enough that I put it on instead!).

So, now I have a very beautiful, warm sweater that'll be ready to wear just as soon as I get around to doing the sewing up...that's the great downfall of an otherwise divine pattern. If it were only knit from the top down, it would be perfect. Hmm....


Thursday, October 1, 2009

quilt blocks, all grown up

Well, the octagons have finally begun turning into squares. At first I was only using very light colored fabrics (white backgrounds with small patterns) for the corners, but I decided that was too boring, so I decided to spice things up a little.

I am rather fond of the way the blocks look once the corners have been added, but before they've been ironed flat. They make such interesting patterns!

And I think they'll look quite interesting once they're all assembled. Too bad I've been dragging my feet on this one; it's gotten cold out and I've been more motivated to knit.
Keep warm!