Friday, April 25, 2008

Trifecta

This was a productive week in the House of Peeps . I actually somehow managed to finish 3 projects! The first is the Swallowtail shawl by Evelyn Clark. I had such a time with this shawl. I started it almost 2 years ago with another yarn, frogged and reknit it several times and finally just wound up the yarn in disgust. I just couldn't concentrate enough to do lace. This spring I decided to give it another try. I had to rip here and there, but I finally did it and I'm so proud of myself! Its nowhere near perfect, but its done and I love it and whew, got that Swallowtail off my back.




















The yarn is Fiesta Yarns La Luz Multi in colorway Poppies. Its 100% silk and a bit splitty, but vibrant and lovely to look at.

The second FO is a Sock for All Seasons - Spring Sock - designed and handpainted by none other than Lori Lawson of Capistrano Fiber Arts. This is the second to last shipment of the Yarn Tree sock club and my favorite thus far. I found the original pattern to be a little tight on me and so I increased to my standard 64 stitches cast on rather than the pattern's 56. I also carried the pattern down the top of the foot, unlike the pattern, but it just seemed to work better for me. I love these - they are the epitome of Spring!



Lastly, I needed a quick baby gift for a former co-worker. Am I only one who decides these things the night before? Once again, Mr. Peeps came to the rescue with a pattern and yarn to make a Child's Ruffled Ballerina Shrug designed by Ellen Rich. The yarn used is Ella Rae Shibu in a mauv-ish color with little pearly bits. I know it sounds weird, but its actually quite attractive.



Ok, I'm off to find a new project - happy knitting!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Back in the Saddle Again

Today (4/14/08) is a wonderful day. I'm just back from a short vacation with a couple of wonderful friends from back East and I finally got my new laptop - YAY! No longer do I have to go to the library or wait for Mr. Peeps to get home to post or read blogs or see what's happening on Ravelry. It has been a long time without computer access whenever I want for me. I'm happy to be back!

First off, the vacation was wonderful. My good friends Liz and Dave flew out to San Francisco and booked a resort in Windsor. We did alot of driving since they had never been to that part of CA before. Let's see - first we went to Big Sur (yes, I know - it WAS far, but so beautiful) and found a gorgeous waterfall and saw elephant seals. It was such a pretty day that I wished I had paints with me. It been so long since I've painted, but it just felt like one of those days - it was THAT pretty.

video

Then we did a more local day - we saw the Old Faithful Geyser - yes, there is one in California and I had to get some pictures of the animals too. We also went to the Petrified Forest and that was cool for me since I love rocks of all kinds. Dave and Liz enjoyed it for the flora and fauna also. I had read something about a castle that had a torture chamber and, of course, we were all over that. It turned out to be sort of a rip-off, the castle was built in 1993 and it was too expensive to tour. Had they thrown in a glass of wine, I'm sure we might have gone for it.

Day three was breakfast in Windsor at a great place called KC's Grille and a bit of shopping; then a long and WINDING road to the Sonoma Coast - I had some carsickness issues (this has been happening lately and it really sucks), but when we got to the ocean, it was breathtaking. We stopped to take pictures and noticed an older gentleman changing from his wetsuit to street clothes. He had a big duffle that he threw in the back of his truck. We ended up talking to him and his wife and found out he was diving for abalone. He pulled one out and let Dave hold it. It was huge and seemed to be breathing. The old man said he has a permit for 24 a year and can get three at a time. He takes them home and freezes them which I guess helps to pull the muscle away from the shell. Then his lovely wife batters and fries them and as he said "they taste like candy!" He then saves the beautiful shell for his collection. Such a friendly couple and so helpful. Its fun to talk to people on the road. When we got back to the resort, Liz and I had a white sparkly wine from Toad Hollow winery called Risque - it was crisp, fruity and delicious.

Sunday we drove down to San Francisco and went to the Golden Gate Park. We ended up touring part of the botanical gardens. It was a warm, sunny day. We took alot of pictures - Dave especially likes the flowers and trees and then headed back through an art exhibit. Then it was off to the airport to wait for my flight. I hope Liz and Dave got a day to relax by the pool!

Well, that's my little vacation - Mr. Peeps didn't join us - he stayed home and did alot of spinning. Here is a picture of the footie socks I made for Liz



















And it all took for a week to post :) Getting into the posting habit in a more timely manner is my next goal! Next post will hopefully have a new finished object - something that's been haunting me for a long time.


Til next time!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

More Big Girl Knits


Well, we went in search of the new More Big Girl Knits by Jillian Moreno and Amy Singer and we found it Tuesday at Barnes and Noble. This is sort of my review of the book and the new designs. First off, let me say that I don't need more patterns for felted bags and scarves. I already have patterns for those and there are also tons on the web. I buy these books to get help with shaping issues for clothing and it burns me a little to pay $30.00 for a book that I've been anticipating for a year to find three shawls (come on, just make your standard shawl pattern bigger if need be!) two purses and three pairs of socks. I don't want to waste my time and money on these items! I want great garments sized for me! That said, Jillian and Amy, if there are more books in the works, please focus on the clothes - us big girls can manage to find accessory patterns without too much trouble.


Now the patterns. Well, there are a few that I like. The magic halter top, orange smoothie tank and the summer chevron tank are all great. And I love the Susie coat with the cables - not that I'll have much occasion for such an item much in Southern CA, but for those few days a year when its chilly or if I visit the family on the East Coast it could work. I'll just put that in the "maybe someday" pile. No skirts this time, which is disappointing as I'd still like to try a skirt. The bountiful bohus sweater is nice, another possibility. I love the pink trellis diamond socks too, but honestly, I don't need three patterns for socks in a book for bodaciously blessed women. Its not that hard to make a bigger sock for a shapely calf. Otherwise, I'm really not that impressed. The fit of these sweaters doesn't seem up to the quality of the first book. There is still alot of good shaping information that I'm sure can help with alot of fit problems though. We've all seen Ms. Moreno's Folly and boo thing before and rehashing old free patterns is sort of a ripoff in my book; especially since neither pattern seems much improved.

Why on earth would I want to knit an overly bobbled peapod sweater? Did anybody really like those mosiac patterns in the first book and did we need another (pastille)? The slipstream pullover, while done in a gorgeous yarn was shapeless and sort of dowdy. Oh, and the guatamalan top? That is just wrong. Sorry, but there just seems to be a lack of style this time. The rest of the items are ok, I guess. Honestly, I might knit the two tanks and the trellis socks and that's it.

However, the measuring section and the adding side inserts to a too small sweater section were awesome as usual. There is a pretty sweater done in Lorna's Laces Lion and Lamb that has been languishing in my closet as its way too tight for me; I could actually fix it with the insert method. I honestly considered not purchasing this book since nothing really knocked me out, but it is a good resouce for knitting garments shaped and sized for me and therefore, will be a valuable addition to my library. If you're looking for real style though, you might want to start designing your own or go elsewhere. This just might be the push I need to get busy and design my own knits.