Monday, December 31, 2012

Favorite Yarns of 2012

These are the yarns that I liked the best this year and are currently available. They are all sock yarn. That's probably because I use fingering weight yarns more than any others. I've knit with all of them. In no particular order:
  • Madelinetosh Tosh Sock, 100% merino. This is available from multiple sources.
  • Plucky Knitter Primo Fingering, 75% merino, 20% cashmere, 5% nylon. This is available from multiple sources.
  • Socktopus Sokkusu Original, 100% merino. Available from Socktopus' web site plus a few other locations.
  • Cephalopod Yarns Skinny Bugga!, 80% merino, 10% cashmere, 10% nylon.
  • String Theory Caper Sock, 80% merino, 10% cashmere, 10% nylon.
I haven't knit with these yet. They're the ones that are shouting at me to use them immediately.
  • Quaere Fibre Shiny, 75% merino, 20% nylon, 5% stellina. The colors are so good that I went off my yarn diet twice in the past two weeks to pick up more.
  • Mad Color Fiber Arts several different bases. I just finished a Firefly-themed club. The yarns were great matches to the characters. The JessaLu project bag was icing on the extra-chocolaty cake.
  • Cakewalk Yarns Footsie, 75% merino, 25% nylon. Cakewalk's dyer has a unique dyeing style resulting in yarns I can love. There's a lavender with a bunch of other colors that's calling to me right now. Must resist. Must use pretty yarns I already have. ETA: resistance was futile. I bought it.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

WIP Wednesday

I just joined a WIP Wednesday list, so I'm repeating a bit from the previous post. Here's the current state of the epic Tardis Afghan:
It's the first time I've spread it out and looked at it in over 100 rows. I'm happier with it than I thought I might be. Jasmine the cat approves, too. ETA linky to other WIP Wednesday people

Vincent and The Doctor

It is a touch lighter in real life, but overall the colors are pretty accurate. I like it very much.

I finished a sweater, a shawl, and a pair of socks over the last couple of weeks. I've been far to lazy to wash and block them. I bailed on the Advent scarf. About halfway through it I decided I'd never use it and I wasn't doing a good enough job on it to give away. I am back to working on the epic Tardis afghan. It's going to be huge, easily the largest object I've ever knit. I'm a few rows short of the halfway point. I made some obvious mistakes in the starfield pattern that surrounds the Tardis. I've decided that I can live with them. If I do any more frogging on this thing I'll probably give up and I would rather finish it.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy Christmas at Downton

It was a good delivery day: two FedEx, two UPS, and two USPS packages, including this:
It's Lorna's Laces Sportmate in the Christmas at Downton colorway. I tried to adjust the color, but had no luck. I could probably get a better representation of the color if I took a picture outside. I'm not going to do that because it is cold and I'm a lazy slug. Everything's more green than blue. What's showing up here as turquoise is closer to teal. At any rate, it's pretty yarn and I'm interested in finding out what the KAL is going to be. My fingers are crossed that it isn't a cowl.

Quaere Fibre

I bought a skein of yarn from Quaere Fibre in an auction. The picture doesn't do it justice:

Somebody Tweeted about the company this morning. You can guess what happened next. I ended up buying a skein of sock yarn on the same Sparkle base. There was only one and the colorway is Vincent and The Doctor. It looks like Starry Starry Night was put in a blender and the colors used to dye the yarn.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Knit away the sad

This time of year is not very cheery for me. Generally I shut up and wait for it to go away and it always does. This year the Sandy Hook murders have left me unable to do much of anything but cry when I see pictures of those lost children on tv.

The new Rule 1 is: no news shows.

Rule 2 is: do something positive about the situation. A Tweet led me to Danbury, CT based Happily Hooked on Crochet Club. They, in conjunction with a crochet guild in Virginia, are doing something positive. They are collecting hand-stitched stuffed animals and prayer shawls for the Sandy Hook kids and their siblings. A Ravelry group called 600 Monsters Strong is working on the same thing. They've got some great suggestions for the safest/most comforting monsters.

I chose one of Rebecca Danger's adorable monster patterns, Daphne and Delilah. It has the added fun of a pocket on the front of the momma monster for stashing the baby monster. I'm going to use the Sandy Hook school colors of green and white. Traveling from Walmart to Walmart on the week before Christmas looking for the right colors of acrylic yarn was a Bad Idea. I chose to buy it online and throw some money at expedited shipping. You've got to take care of yourself before you can expect to comfort other people.

ETA: The HHCC reports that Newtown is overloaded with stuffed toys. If you're just now running across this post, check out the 600 Monsters Strong Ravelry group. They are planning for the project to go beyond the current situation.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Drops Advent Calendar

I just remembered one of my favorite fibery holiday things. The Drops Design 2012 Advent Calendar is under way. This Norwegian company offers a free pattern every day in December leading up to Christmas. The link's to the American English version. There are versions for a number of other languages. The patterns even include an estimation of what it would cost to knit them using Drops yarns. I printed out yesterday's pattern because it reminds me of a sweater I knit several decades ago.

Free John Bates

One of the quickest ways for me to get into knitting mischief is Ravelry. If I look to see what my Friends are getting up to, I have to do what they are doing also.

Today it was a Downton Abbey-themed KAL. Jimmy Beans Wool has a limited edition yarn from Lorna's Laces. It's Sportmate in a color called Christmas at Downton. I like the colors. It'll ship just before Christmas so it joins my Cookie A membership as a present to myself.

The KAL starts right about the time that Season 3 of Downton begins in the US. I hope it's a pattern I'll like!

Sunday, December 2, 2012


Back during the dark ages, I was working in the computer field. We supplied some basic technical support to people who had software problems. There was an expression used behind the scenes called RTFM. It can more politely be translated as "Read The Funny Manual". You've already got the instructions, pinhead, just follow them!

I was reminded of RTFM when I took a look at some of the advent scarf pictures. I went back and looked at the instructions and guess what? I hadn't read the funny instructions.

I restarted the scarf and learned something important. If I follow the instructions, it's much faster and easier to follow the pattern.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Advent Scarf Day 1

We get a new pattern every day for 24 days. Each daily pattern is separated by a little strip that can include beads. The beads I picked are tinier than what the pattern calls for. I like how they look and I know I'll like the relative lightness.

I finished a sweater and two hats this week. None of them particularly excite me. The hats are going into the winter stuff donation box because they may suit someone else. They aren't bad, just not what I like. The sweater needs different buttons. It was an experiment that sort of worked and sort of didn't work. The lesson I learned from it is that I must put larger projects in a time out before I commit to them.

I've been sick, so many things have been annoying me. I decided to not do any socks for the time being. I started a shawl called Wingspan that I'm knitting out of some Regia Kaffe Fasset-designed colorway. It's all garter stitch. I'll know for sure I'm feeling better when that begins to annoy me.