Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Dear Knitwear Designers,


Please stop coming out with terrific books with patterns that I-must-knit-right-this-minute.  The cooler weather has given me a severe case of sweater knitting-itis and I've been buying your publications like a crazy person.  There seems to be no end to great looking patterns & I am stuck knitting random hats & baby items because I can't make a decision.  Can you hold off until next year so I can get a few of these done just in time for Spring 2012 as is my tradition of sweater knitting?  Thank you.


PS - I threw in The Knitters Book of Socks because I just got it last night and I love it too.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Barn Raising Quilt

I seriously can't believe what I'm about to tell you.  It is totally shocking to me because I have never even once visualized this as a finished project.  EVER.  Are you ready?

Unblocked Barn Raising Quilt

I started this project in April of 2008.  The general concept was to use sock yarn scraps to make a 7 inch square until I had 42 squares - that is what the pattern calls for (I ended up with 56 because apparently that's exactly how crazy I am).  I had so many sock yarn scraps back in April 2008 that I really thought I need to do something with them.  Reality is that I had exactly 8 scraps, I went back and checked.  I made a few squares & came to the realization that it would take me 14 bajillion years to knit up 42 pairs of socks & have enough scraps to finish up this blanket.  I came up with a brilliant idea to get new scraps for my blanket - I would ask all the knitters I knew for one of their yarn scraps.

Here is what I found out.  When you tell people that you are looking for sock scraps for your blanket, they will offer you every single sock yarn scrap they have in their possession.  I know why, honestly, because now I have scraps that I would love to (and do) put into the hands of people who would love them.  What I quickly figured out is that if I took every scrap from one knitter I knew, the blanket wouldn't become about all of the knitters I knew.  My friends laugh that I was pretty strict about it, like "I have already given Tasha a scrap so she sure won't take another one."  For the most part that is true.  I didn't want to have a blanket full of someone else's scraps - I wanted this blanket that would take me most of my natural life (or 3 1/2 years) to finish to mean something to me.  My "rules" really made people think about which scrap meant something to them so they could give it to me.

For example:
Manda gave me this Zen String Blueberry Pie scrap because I drew her name in a swap & I gave her this yarn since purple is her favorite color.
Manda Blueberry pie

Becky gave me this scrap which we affectionately called the Groovy Greg Brady sock yarn.  I was with her for the many weeks that she worked on these socks.  There were many stories told over coffee at our local coffee shop, much gossip shared.  Groovy Greg Brady is a part of those memories for me.
Groovy Greg Brady

Liz has several scraps in my blanket.  This is her favorite yarn because it's Aggie yarn.  Not only that, but I bought this yarn for her.  We were on our first ever trip to Kid N Ewe & she really wanted this yarn but passed on it because it was literally one of the first booths we visited that year & she wasn't ready to buy it.  When she wasn't looking I went to the vendor and bought the yarn for her.  She was SOOOOOO disappointed that she wouldn't stop talking about it forever.   I was going to give it to her for Christmas but I broke down & gave it to her that weekend, that is how sad she was that she didn't buy it when it was available.
Liz Aggie Square

This is the yarn that I used for my mother-in-law's birthday present from 2009.  I chose the yarn and pattern specifically for her, and that shawl was one of the prettiest things I've ever made.  The best part?  Based on the prodding of my friends, I entered that shawl into the Texas state fair and won a 3rd place ribbon in 2010.
Happy Forrest

Amy gave me this Madeline Tosh scrap & if you knew Amy you'd say, yep, that looks just like Amy.
Amy square

I really could tell you about every single of the 56 squares in my blanket but I'm sure that would bore you to tears.

So while you were looking at those pictures I know exactly what you were thinking.  "Tasha, block that blanket, please, those squares look like they have nipples."  No?  Go look at those pictures then tell me that's not true!  Here's where the story turns a little sad.  After I finished the border I immediately wanted to block it out.  I tried to steam it but the border is just too tight.  Having said that, I really LOVE the way the border looks.  I love the icord, I love the pink, I think it adds exactly what I wanted for the finishing.  I refuse to change this project status to "not finished" right behind it being finished.  I am going to rip out the border, block this thing, then make a decision on what to do about the border.  Seriously, it only took me about 3 nights to do the icord, so I'm tossing around the idea of doubling the border yarn, using larger needles, maybe a crochet borders?  I don't know and to be perfectly honest I can't even think about it right now.  I'm currently in the EEEEEP-I-have-to-pull-out-my-border mentality.   I might even bring it to knitting tonight & let someone else do it because you know those friends that so freely gave scraps for my blanket?  Those bitches are also quick to rip out a project if you just can't bear to do it.  That is a true friend.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

What I Learned from Cast On Mania

Well, August is over & with it goes Cast On Mania.  I must admit that I'm a little sad because I was having fun casting on whatever I wanted.  Obviously I didn't start something new every single day but here is what I ended up with:

Number of newly cast on projects: 11
Number of finished projects from those: 2
Number of frogged projects from those: 3
Number still on the list in danger of frogging: 1
Number making it through to the regular WIP pile: 5

This exercise was so much fun.  Some things that I learned about myself & my process:

* I don't need to buy new needles for a long time.  Holy crap, despite having 30ish things on the needles, I still have a collection to chose from if I wanted to cast on for something else.  I have a few Knit Picks Option sets, which I truly love.  I have also been adding Addis to my stash for as long as I've been knitting.  No more needles.  Wow.

* I really love the process of picking out a pattern and yarn pairing.  I could (and do) spend hours searching for the perfect pattern for a specific yarn I have.  Or the other way around - I find a pattern that I love and spend time picking out a yarn that will work best with that pattern.  Seeing what they become together is  a really satisfying part of the process.  I have had my fair share of failures in this area, but I will admit I've gotten much better at it.  Sometimes the pairings still don't work, but I think the longer I knit the more wiling I am to pull the project out.


I decided that in September I was going to work on projects already on the needles because obviously I have a few things I could work on.  It seems like there is temptation everywhere!  I found out that a friend is adopting a baby and she will be here in a few weeks, so I had to cast on for a new baby thing.  It's the Clara Dress  that was featured in a Soak ad several years back.  I've been wanting to make it forever so I finally broke down and bought the kit in a dusty plum color.

The other temptation is from Single Skein September with the Stash and Burn podcast group.  I participated last year and I pushed through a lot of projects that I had been wanting to make.  This year I'm trying to resist so I can work on the bigger projects that I already have started.  Today is the 7th and I've only cast on one new thing (the Clara dress), so maybe I can make it without casting on more.  I just stashed my needles away and am hoping to stay far far away from them....but we'll see.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Riding the Crazy Train

My cast on crazy train took a little detour because I went to Louisiana over the weekend.  I brought a few of my projects with me but ran into a few problems - mostly needle problems!  I got to the decreases on my Sockhead Hat & had to put it away.  I must admit that when I started this madness it never occurred to me that I might actually FINISH something this month.  There I was though, on decreases with no shorter needles or DPNs.  I almost broke down and went to the new yarn shop in Hammond, LA (which looks adorable & I can't wait to visit) or to Hobby Lobby or something, but I could hear Patrick cackling in the back of my head telling me that he KNEW I'd have to buy needles.  I fought off the urge knowing that I had the dang needles at home and it was only a few more days, seriously!  I worked on some of the other projects I brought and I am trying to accept that the most adorable Fiesta Frock baby sweater is just not going to work out.  It is entirely too wide and despite adding a little bit of length, the proportions are definitely off.  If I frog something & cast it back on using smaller needles, does that count as a new cast on for the day?  I have to think so.  Here are the other things I started before I left Thursday and since I got back.

Heel Head Scarf  using this Adrienne Vittadini Trina that has been in my stash for what seems like a million years.
Adrienne Vittadini
I bought it 50% off at the Woolie Ewe way back when I realized that there was a clearance section.  I have a weird amount of it - which is exactly why it was in the sale bin.  I had a project picked out for it all this time but when I grabbed all of my stuff together to cast on for it, I realized I didn't have enough yardage.  Go figure!  This scarf with a hood has been in my queue forever, so I paired them up & cast on - isn't that the point of this exercise??

When I got back I immediately finished the Sockhead Hat (with needles that I already own, thankyouverymuch).  My nieces saw the nearly finished hat & both of them threw a fit & wanted it.  Right after I finished the first one I cast on for another in this Colinette Jitterbug Fruit that again, I've had forever!  Great old stash busting that I've got going on over here.
Jitterbug Fruit

Camp Loopy Project #3 started on Monday so I cast on for The Aspen Wrap in Amy Butler Belle DK.
amybutler belle organic dk
This was my Monday AND Tuesday cast on project since I started on size 9 needles & I didn't like the way it looked. I have to finish before September 15th to finish up the 3 months of camp challenges and that WILL happen.  It's been fun.

Since I'm trying to finish up the Camp Loopy Aspen Wrap in a month, I'm debating casting on more projects in August.  There are so many things I want to cast on though, and it seems to be working....stay tuned.  I'll let you know what happens!

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Still Casting on

Yes, I'm still casting on.  Since I last checked in I have cast on 3 new project.

The 19th Century Honeycomb Stitch Scarf in this Three Irish Girls Bryn
3IG Fingering Cashmere Bryn

A Girlfriend Market Bag in this very old stashed Sugar n Cream
Grrlfriend Market Bag

And tonight I'm casting on the Knit Gridded Towel in this yarn (also vintage stash!)
Gridded Towel

It is a fun exercise & I highly recommend it.  I've gotten a surprising amount of knitting done on these projects. Casting on with wild abandon is really a lot of fun & very freeing.  I have had to stop myself from casting on more than one project each day - how is that possible?

I have also have some comments about needles.  Sigh.  I do have a lot of needles.  So far I have had the sizes of all the needles I have needed, but I'm waiting for the day that I don't have what I need & have to pull from another project or (gasp!) buy more.  That was Patrick's very first comment when I mentioned the challenge, so I'm trying to keep my word that I'll have what I need to move forward on a daily basis.  I really don't see a need to buy more needles, but we'll just have to see.

Join the fun or plan your own month of casting on craziness!

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Cast On Mania August 2011

I have some craziness going on right now.  I heard about a challenge where you are supposed to cast on a new project every day of the month for a whole month.  My immediate reaction was "That is the most insane thing I have ever heard in my life".  After contemplating the idea of about 24 hours, I had a plan of action.  The more I thought about it the more it actually makes sense to me.  Half the time the problem with me putting off a project I really want to knit is simply gathering the needles, finding & winding the yarn, finding & printing the pattern and getting it all together in one place.  After it is cast on I can just grab something and work on it - no real thought required. I made a list of about 45 things that have been in queue for years - these projects range from baby items to socks to hat to sweaters - all levels of time involved.

There is no universe that I believe I will actually finish any of these projects in one day (or maybe even in the month!), but at the end of the month I  can reassess the new projects on the needles and frog the ones that I don't want to continue with.  I don't know that I will cast on something new every single day, but for the past 2 days I have & it's fun to think about what to do tomorrow.

Here's what I've done so far:
Fiesta Frock  - CO 8/6

Sockhead Hat - CO 8/5 - This is perfect movie / brainless knitting.

What about you?  Do you think this is a genius idea or it is just crazypants?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

DFW Fiber Fest - April 8-10, 2011

(disclaimer - this is "knitter Tasha" talking, not "board member Tasha" - as if I'm ever anything other than "knitter Tasha")

So, I'm pretty sure I haven't talked about this on my blog, but this year I am on the board of DFW Fiber Fest. This knitting event has a place near & dear to my heart. We are in our 6th year, so this was the very first fiber event that I ever attended. For Valentine's Day 2006 Patrick got me a full weekend of classes. I was such a new knitter - I had only been knitting for about 8 months. I took 6 classes in 3 days. Do I need to explain to you how big of a deal that was for a brand new knitter?

I felt a little nostalgic as I read my posts from that time period. Before I went. Immediately after I returned. (I'm happy to say that Alissa Barton is still putting up with my stupid questions & mistakes, as well as my not so stupid questions & mistakes). A post about my dyeing class. ANYWAY, I've been every single year since they have started & I have been there for the whole thing other than the 2 years I was a Disney with my nieces (their Easter break) and last year I even left Disney half a day early & came straight from the airport at noon to go to my 2PM class. I met some of my best knitting friends there that first year. The event continues to grow & while some people think because we "aren't as big as Stitches" or that our classes don't sell out in 15 minutes that it can't be all that. I assure you, it's so much fun. I've been to some big events & this still remains on the top of my list as a favorite.

The benefits of it being a smaller venue are apparent. You get more face time with teachers, shopping is fairly easy - it's rare to feel claustrophobic & crowded even at really popular booths. All of the people - friends or not - are so friendly and open, it's hard to find anyone that isn't just happy to be there. I guess you can say that about most knitting events, but I truly mean it. It's in my back yard & rather I was involved or not, I could never imagine not supporting a local event that brings National & local teachers together for a weekend of learning & yarn buying! If you have never been, you should come, no matter where you live. Every year it keeps growing & growing & growing - it is our goal to never get it so big that it loses what makes it so special.

What sold me being on the board was that I got to work with the Vendors. We have a lot of repeat vendors coming but the new larger venue has allowed us to expand the vendor hall to some new to us vendors. We took a lot of time balancing the needs, wants, and feedback of past students to create a good mix of vendors. I have to say, it's a lot of work. It's been a lot of fun. I truly hope it all turns out as I have envisioned it.

If you are in the Dallas area, please come see us. If you aren't & you would need to travel, consider coming next year. It just keeps getting better!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Nothing Says Love Like Zombie BBQ

This is what my sweet husband got me for Valentines Day. So much better than flowers.

Lornas Zombie BBQ

While this breaks my "no yarn" rules for the first quarter of 2011, I am pretty happy about it (like jumping up & down happy). The dyeing geniuses at Lorna's Laces created this colorway for the Sock Summit in 2009 & I fell in love with it immediately. It is even prettier in person that I could have imagined. Now....what to do with it.....

I love that man!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

New Fun Stuff

I've been a little absent from blogging because stop the presses, I've actually been knitting a lot!

My friend Lina has a brand new pattern out, Nouveau Bohemia. I pulled some DIC Classy in the Petal Shower colorway out of my stash & knit up the beret version.
Nouveau Bohemia
The pattern was very well written, easy to follow, and her photos are so great. She is a professional photographer living in NYC - I love to read her blog & see her great pictures. She is also having a contest to celebrate her blog's new home, you can enter it here. The contest ends tomorrow, so hurry!

The other thing that I finished very recently was La Novia designed by Anne Hanson.
La Novia
It needs a good blocking, but it turned out really pretty in the Pigeonroof Studios Superwash Sport yarn. The color is really gorgeous.

The other fun thing that came in the mail this week was my order from Three Bags Full. One of these was supposed to be a gift, but now I'm thinking not so much.
Three Bags Full
I was unsure about the size of these (they are the minis), but I really wanted the owls. As it turns out, they are a great size - my wound skein of Classy & my hat project fit in there just fine with a few notions with plenty of room to spare. I would love to have the bigger one as well so I'll be stalking for a fabric that I love. You know, because I need another bag....

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

What Do These Things Have In Common?


My couch ate them all. I was on a mission to find one thing - the remote, but you knew that didn't you? I moved my couch cushion - uh, jackpot! Some of this was found between the sections of my sectional, like the cordless phone (set of 4 which is why I didn't tear the couch apart to find it when it went missing weeks ago) & the Addi turbo size 11, 32 inch still in the package.

Items found under cushion:
2 pens, 1 pencil, 2 pair of scissors, a ponytail holder, a container of chibis, 1 size 4 Knitpicks Options tip, a small crochet hook, 6 stitch markers, countless beads (seriously, I stopped picking these up), and a nickel. I often hear people talk about paying for a meal with the change you find in your couch cushions & well, my nickel wouldn't buy much. But I don't know one knitter that wouldn't be happy about finding this loot which is obviously much more valuable than a few bucks in change.

Just for the record, I also looked under Patrick's cushion & he didn't have anything fun under there. Not even one fun thing! Go figure. Go look under yours & tell me what you find - please! You never know what might be under there. I'd be lying if I didn't say that I was hoping the cushion would cough up my Knitpicks Option set complete with binder that has been missing forever. No such luck.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Yarn That is Just Too Pretty To Use

I have been reading a discussion about using up yarn that you have that is your holy grail. Every knitter has some of this yarn. It's sitting there waiting for the "perfect" project. I am determined to knit some of my precious yarn. You want to see it? Because, honestly, it's so pretty & I couldn't limit it to a couple because I have a bunch of it.

Black Bunny Fibers
Alpaca Silk
Black Bunny Fibers lace
My friend Betty gave this yarn to me & it is positively stunning. I LOVE silk because of the sheen it adds to the yarn & the alpaca blend makes it perfect perfect yarn. And that color - oh my.

Bijou Spun Bamboo / Yak from Bijou Basin Ranch
Bijou Basin Yak/Bamboo
This company had a booth at Stitches East when I went to last year. They were on my list of booths to see because I have a cat named Bijoux & I thought it was fate. I was so overwhelmed that I completely forgot about it until the last day. This was my last purchase - a splurge on 2 skeins of bamboo / yak yarn. But I know why I haven't used this. Their most recent product is a dyed, color version of this yarn. I saw them in person a few months ago & OMG they are STUNNING. Now I am dreaming of buying some colored yarn & doing stripey scarves in alternating colors. It is a bit of an investment, these gorgeous, expensive scarves, so that's going to have to wait a bit.

Handmaiden Sea Silk in Stardust
HM Sea Silk - Stardust
Sigh. This is maybe my favorite yarn ever. I love it in the skein, I love it knitted up, I love working with it, I love the final product that it makes. Did I mention I love silk? I won a Survivor pool (yes, I bet yarn on reality shows & no, I don't have a problem - that's not why I stopped at all) and I got a lot of gift certificates to The Loopy Ewe so I bought this yarn with those certificates. It's such a great color & looks truly silver on this base, which is really hard to find. It is destined to become the Eiffel Tower Shawl. I planned to make this to wear in Paris, but that never happened. I'm more determined than ever that this is what it is going to be though. I'm a little worried that I will run out of yarn, so I was waiting for enough people to finish it that I can get a better idea of if I have enough yarn to make the larger size, which is what I would prefer. Need to get on that research because it will be a divine project & I have already bought the pattern. Natalie has a ton of great patterns - check her out.

Jade Sapphire Silk Cashmere
Jade Sapphire Silk Cashmere
This is maybe the softest yarn that I own. I bought it on vacation in Destin last Christmas & immediately decided that it needs to be a Tibetan Clouds Beaded Shawl from The Knitter's Book of Wool. I even bought the beads for it, but now I'm not sure. Since I've been wearing some of my shawls, I find the rectangular ones harder to work into my everyday wardrobe. Thus the stalling on this yarn.

Shelridge Farm Soft Touch DK
Shelridge Farms Soft Touch DK Storm
I heard great things about this yarn & when I saw it in person at Stitches East, I had to have it. This color was an "accident" - she mixed her blue with forest green & this is what came out. It is completely gorgeous & is on the forefront to become a sweater for next fall. Right now I'm thinking Coraline.

The Fibre Company Road to China Light
in Dark Amethyst
Road to China Light
This yarn is positively dreamy & I have no idea why I bought it or what I'm going to do with it. Alpaca, Silk, Camel, & Cashmere. Seriouly.

Wollmeise Blaue Tinte
I think all of the Wollmeise that I own is gorgeous, so I don't really know why this yarn in particular is just too precious for me to use. It is SOOO hard to capture the true color of this yarn - the color literally glows. It's one of those yarns that I can't seem to decide on a worthy pattern for. Right now Trevi from Anne Hanson is winning, but you notice I haven't cast on for it yet.

So what is your precious, too pretty to knit yarn? I'd love to see it. And I'd love to see you knit with some of it in the new year. Happy 2011!