Saturday, October 31, 2009

Printed silk

In Chicago, Bethany and I went to a great thrift store near her house, where she found an amazing bomber jacket and I found a brown and white print silk dress. Yesterday was incredibly warm, and since I have a long day on Fridays, I like to dress up a little.

Dress: Kate Hill (?) 100% silk dress, found at the Brown Elephant in Chicago, IL
Cardigan: Random thrift find in Issaquah, WA
Shoes: Free from swing friend
Jewelry: Glass pearls (?) given to me by my mom when I was probably 6. I'm pretty sure there are some awesome pictures out there involving me, those pearls, and a velvet polka dot dress with a red sash at Christmastime.
Socks: Gentleman's Sock with Lozenge Pattern by Nancy Bush, from Knitting Vintage Socks.
Truly, would any of my outfits be complete without a little hand-knitted something?

Speaking of which... I have recently discovered the joy of knitting gloves. My research partner from this summer requested a pair of gloves, so I grabbed some red Ranco from my stash and cast on. Turns out that his hands are the exact same size as mine, so I can try them on as I go. He also gave me full approval of the color last Thursday.

It's funny, actually - for some reason, up until now I've had an aversion to knitting gloves. Too fiddly, too many ends. I think what it really comes down to is appeasing my ridiculous perfectionist standards: big yarn makes bulky gloves, makes joins sloppy, and does not give me the delight of not having any ugly holes to patch between fingers. It turns out that gloves knit in fingering weight make me swoon a little. How perfect is that, to knit a glove that fits your hand... like a glove? (You'll have to excuse me - sometimes I hurt myself with the terrible punnage.)

As a last note, when I went to Japanese History dressed like this, my professor looked around the room and said, "Well, it looks like maybe no one has dressed up for Halloween today. Except maybe Cory." I suppose that I could have grabbed a ladle from the kitchen, walked around knitting, and proclaimed myself a demented housewife, but the truth is I have no talent for baking, my yarny skillz are purely selfish, and I dress... let's face it, kinda weird.

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Stash Appreciation Wednesday: Wollmeise Edition

Wow, it's been a while! Last week was fall break, and I went to Chicago to visit my yarny friend Bethany.

We had a great time! I'll have more about yarny goodness that was acquired on the trip, but for now, this is a picture of Bethany and me on the bank of Lake Michigan. There was a lot of construction on the El while I was there, which sometimes threw a wrench in travel plans, but for the most part I was seriously impressed with the transportation system. Buses every 8 minutes what?!?

Anyhow, since it is Stash Appreciation Wednesday and I've missed the last two weeks, I'll share one of my recent acquisitions from Ravelry.


It's Wollmeise, dudes. Only one of the most coveted fingering weight yarns on the market, and it seems that it really does live up to the hype - massive yardage, soft, and incredible colors. It has such an interesting construction; the first time I saw it, I thought it was a cotton although it's just a multi-plied, tightly twisted wool yarn.

It's destined to become some twisted stitch knee socks for a private reading that I'm doing.

On an unrelated topic, I found a great use of a shibori scarf I finished back in August!

Combining colors surprises me so much sometimes. Who knew that grey, yellow gold, pink, brown, and dragonskin green would go together?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Stash Appreciation Wednesday: Silk Edition

First up, I just want to rave about the magic of blocking. I finished knitting this little shawl about five months ago, but it was so... meh. It looked kind of ugly, to tell the truth. Sloppy and yet glossy, and too small to actually wear. But then I had a fabulous weekend about two weeks ago in which I blew off my homework for a few hours to block three pink shawls in a row. And let me tell you, I had never truly appreciated what blocking does for a piece. All of a sudden this little crumpled ball of yarn is light and big enough to wrap around my neck, with all the drape and crispness one would associate with silk. And the color, which had started to look sort of drab and unappealing, is almost the exact color of cherry blossoms, although in the wrong season entirely!

The pattern was Shetland Triangle, I have no idea what size needles I used (US 8s, maybe?), and I used 3 skeins of a sample colorway of Louisa Harding Grace Silk & Wool.

Anyhow! Onto the yarn that hasn't been knit yet, although it's related because it's also a silk and wool blend.

This is a skein of Mini Maiden that I got in Santa Barbara, at the amazing yarn store Loop & Leaf. I have to say that I'm very loyal to Smith's for my workhorse yarns, but as far as luxury, colorwork, and unique yarns go, this yarn store is hands-down my favorite yarn store ever. It was incredibly aesthetically pleasing, with hooks on the wall to hang the skeins, and little sections of each yarn: a corner for Handmaiden; a section for Habu (also, biggest selection of Habu I've ever seen); a section for Alchemy. Seriously, seriously wonderful place. I also purchased my copy of A Fine Fleece at this store.

The yarn is a heavy laceweight, and I'm planning to use it for another project from Knitted Lace of Estonia. The color and hand is what drew me to it - I was really hoping to find a truly golden yarn, and this is it. I'm actually surprised that my camera was able to pick up the true color, but the photos above are pretty accurate.

And, as usual, I want to cast on with it right now. However, research for my materials chemistry class is calling my name - and luckily, I was able to convince my professor (who was also my boss this summer at the nanotechnology company) that fibers and yarns totally have relevance in materials chemistry. So guess what my final project is on? Yeeeeah.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

FO: Miralda

Last week, I finished one of the most enjoyable projects I've ever made. The combination of cashmere in my favorite color, an amazing pattern, and perfect needles made this project whiz by. Monogamy never felt so good before.

Yarn: Jade Sapphire Mongolian Cashmere 2 ply, color Vintage Rose. I used a little less than 2 skeins, so probably 600-700 yards.
Pattern: Miralda's Triangular Shawl, from Nancy Bush's Knitted Lace of Estonia
Needles: I find that Nancy Bush patterns usually call for needles that are a little too small for me to get gauge. I didn't do a swatch, I just used US 7s of Addi Turbo lace needles, which were absolutely perfect for this project.
Modifications: Check the errata for this pattern! I had to change one of the printed charts to correct a mistake. Otherwise, none.
Time: This took me about 2.5 weeks of completely monogamous knitting, and every minute of those 2.5 weeks were thoroughly enjoyable.