Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Decisions

I'm going to learn how to ski! Which means, of course, the first thing I did was knit a pair of grey balaclavas for me and DH. Then I decided I didn't want a ginorm balaclava squashing my hair (I already have a hood on my jacket and about 2 dozen knitted hats) and opted to knit a tight-ish cowl that could be pulled up over the face instead.

This presented the perfect opportunity to try out the shorter lace Addi circular needles. To back up... I decide to lose the usual 5 lbs of holiday weight, plus what I refer to as "St Louis weight" and "med school weight" (5 lbs each), and settled on a set of interchangeable Addi circs as the perfect reward for reaching my pre-midwestern figure. However I am quite puzzled by the choices. Online, the regular Addi turbo interchangeable circs are in a silverish (?nickel) finish, usual length needles, 10 sizes, 3 cords. The lace interchangeable needles, are in a nickel finish, 8 sizes of needles 2" shorter (ostensibly because of shorter cords), 4 cords. At the local yarn store, the lace needles come only in a copper finish (the 2010 version, apparently). What a dilemma! While I believe I have knitted with the nickel (or other silverish metal) finish lace and regular Addi's and prefer the lace tips, I was not sure. So I bit the bullet and got a pair of the copper-finish, lace, short needles, for this project. My conclusions:

1) fingers smell like pennies -- copper finish bad
2) it is really uncomfortable/painful to knit with short needles because hands can't "rest" on the needles
3) knitting on a copper finish is slow, not very "turbo"
4) for teeny projects, double pointed needles are easier and faster. The tiny circular cord is ridiculous and inefficient unless I take up socks/hats full time.

So I am 90% convinced to get the regular (not lace) Addi interchangeable turbo needle set, despite the fact that I like the lace tip more than the regular tip.  I do want to purchase from the LYS that has taken the time and cost to show me the options. But I wanted to get some opinions from people who have tried out all 3 sets (or 4 sets, if there is a lace nickel finish set out there where the needles are regular length). Specifically, is the finish on the regular Addi interchangeable needles the usual Addi nickel finish? What is the join like? Which set did you get, and why? Help!

Monday, January 16, 2012

FO: I Have a Dress

allegheny5

Hooray for MLKJr weekend--I was finally able to get a button and finish up this Allegheny dress, pattern by Thea Colman (babycocktails). I didn't use Shelter, the yarn called for in the pattern, because the colors that I really liked were sold out. I subbed Berroco Blackstone Tweed instead, and it worked out great, with bang-on gauge.

allegheny1

I love this cable! The tweediness obscurs the cabling a little bit, but overall the fabric drapes well and the tweediness is of the good different-shades-of-same-color variety, not the bad multicolor-clown-barf variety. And the bits of angora and mohair bloom in the spaces between the stitches but there isn't the  puffy halo effect.

allegheny4

Mods included dropping and narrowing the waist, shortening the skirt, and adding a little bit of bust shaping. Since the skirt part is shorter but starts lower, it ended up about as long as the original pattern. It hits about 4 inches above the knee,  about as short as a knitted dress can go without being scandalous. So PSA for people with longer legs (ie everyone): the skirt really should be knitted longer, or invest in leggings.

allegheny3

This is one of those patterns that has the perfect balance of easy stockinette in the round, and "fun" stuff like the cable, ribbed waist, and faux belt (so adorable!). Also, it's been a long time since I made a FO garment that was so cute and wearable. It's the perfect weekend dress! Thanks Thea!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Happy Knew Year!

The knitting group held the annual knitting group hand-made gift exchange again... this is held after the new year to avoid all the holiday hassles. It was a jolly good time!

Kateri received mini-stockings made by Colleen. Anna was elf for the evening and looks adorable.

 Colleen received a beautiful knit scarf (?Persepone? Something Greek) from Emily.


Emily received a cabled hobo bag from me--an oldie from 2008 that I made for myself but never used.

 I received a lovely silk leafy cowl from Silvana.


Silvana received a gorgeous Rock Island shawl from Christine. She got a shawl last year and the year before too, very lucky!


Christine received a knitting-machine-made ribbed scarf and hand-made jewelry from Kateri.
She has long fingers and knits freaky-fast. She is the only person I know who gets paid to knit. (Don't be too jealous, because she is now knitting her FIFTH Aeolean Shawl. Hole giant pile of guacamole. Just think of SECOND sock syndrome. Could you knit FIVE iterations of the same lace shawl?)

Food was potluck this year, and we ended up with a perfectly balanced and light feast.
Quinoa/sweet potato salad, salad with ginger dressing, garbanzo/tomato/cucumber salad, and grain-free bread. All vegan, hooray!

 I made Korean New Year's Soup again this year, this time in veg and vegan versions. It kind of looks like vomitus here, but it tasted good. Notice the new dining room wall color, painted on new year's day! It covered over the really dark orange.

Which is not to be confused with the slightly lighter yet very orange living room, below, still intact.
The sweets, not to be outdone, included vegan brownies, fruit salad, 3 teas from Traveling Tea, and champagne.

  We had Christine's cake and ate it too!
What a delight to spend the first bit of 2012 with such a wonderful group of knitters. Thank you knitting ladies!

This kicked off my 2012 New Year's resolution... Until now I've made as many resolutions as I'll turn that year. This year, I decided I'm getting too old. So I was inspired by my dear friend Liz, who picks a word or theme for the year.  So, my word for this year is CELEBRATION.

Looking back on 2011, and the 5-10 years before that, mostly all I can remember is all the work I did. Granted, I was in medical training, which turns one into the mistress of delayed gratification, but still. What's the point of living if you don't make the time/effort to drink eggnog (forgot in 2011), don't decorate for holidays, save the champagne for a "special" occasion, never eat off the good china, don't travel the safari, put off getting together with good friends/family for another night, leave the vases empty, or save knitting with the good yarn? So, the goal for 2012 is to live each day like it's a special day, and celebrate all of my blessings now, not later. I'm off to a good start!