Monday, September 29, 2008

I rate a bunch of magazines

Originally uploaded by kbshee
For some reason, I've acquired several new issues of some knitting magazines in the past two weeks. I thought I'd give a little review of each of them in case you're considering buying a few.

Creative Knitting November 2008:
Why I bought it: It was at my grocery store and I like to send the message that they should stock more knitting magazines.
Quick recap: a bunch of simple sweaters, some Christmas projects, and some ideas for Christmas gifts.
Will I knit anything out of it? there's a pattern called "My Favorite Cardigan" which is a worsted weight sweater with sme cables on it. It is cute but I"m not chomping at the big to knit it.
My .02: nothing in here you haven't seen before.

Verena Fall 2008
Why I bought it: I loved the fist issue so I subscribed.
Quick recap: Lots of things in brown yarn, some fair isle and cables, and some kids stuff.
Will I knit anything out of it? Yes. I love the Brit Knits section. If I could get away with wearing a knit plaid kilt, I'd knit that in a heartbeat.
My .02: I didn't like this issue as much as the first, but it is gorwing on me.

Debbie Bliss Fall/Winter
Why I bought it: I'm not a huge DB fan, but the mag is from VK and her patterns are generally really nice.
Quick Recap:gorgeous pattern after gorgeous pattern. I don't knit 'for the home' but some lovely things there too.
Will I knit Anything out of it? Yes. I ordered some DB Rialto on sale from Webs to knit #20, a cable vent jacket with a peplum. Gorgeous.
My .02: if you like classics, take a peek.

Interweave Felt: Special Issue
Why I bought it: I think I was kinda bored.
Quick Recap: felted toys, scarves, bags, garments and rugs. Some nicely done articles about some felting artists.
Will I knit anything out of it: Yes. There's something for someone for Christmas in one of the pages!
My .02: if you are interested in felting, why not? Nothing outstanding or would make me say 'let's FELT NOW' but still a few interesting techniques.

Knitsimple Fall 208
Why I bought it: See Interweave Felt
Quick recap: like it says...simple shapes i sweaters, blankets, socks, hats and mittens. I do like how they use embellishment to perk up simple things. Good articles and great book reviews.
Will I knit anything from it: Yes. Some cute hats and mittens.
My .02: if you're a beginner, this is a very accessible magazine.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Lovely Day at Silk Creek Alpaca Farm!

I had a great time on Saturday at the Open Farm at Silk Creek Alpacas, where Brownie lives. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera...but my colleague and next-office-door neighbor Kelli came with some family and friends and took some pictures. It was very cool to see the entire alpaca process: all the alpacas, of course, and then Bil and Julia had bags of shorn fleece out, I had rovings and batts, and then I spun some into yarn. I also tried to teach spinning on a drop spindle, which was a disaster. People seemed pretty enchanted by watching the wheel, though.
It was a beautiful day...foggy to begin with, but warm and sunny, and the alpacas seemed happy to have some company. So many people came: people from the J school, friends of mine (Evan was very brave, he fed the alpacas!) and neighbors that Bil and Julia haven't met. I rarely find such a great sense of family as I did yesterday.
Speaking of family: our little Cody dog had surgery on Friday...he had a catheter inserted to make delivery of his next round of chemo a bit more effective. The surgery was very, very rough on him, and he's still feeling pretty out of it. So hold a good thought that our little guy gets back on his feet (literally) soon.

And one more thing...Brownie the Alpaca has a blog! Bil helps, I think. Check it out here .

Thursday, September 25, 2008

More Wollmeise!

Originally uploaded by kbshee
I love me the wollmeise yarn! One of the highlights of the summer was getting into the Wollmeise yarn club...and I also promised myself that I would start KNITTING with the yarn as opposed to just admiring it from afar. Each skein is a work of art.

These are socks for Tim, in the colorway Raku-Regenborn or something like that. The yarn was the first skein of Wollmeise that I got my hands on. The yarn comes in a HUGE skein...almost 600 yards...which means that there is plenty left after a pair of socks for, say, saving up to do a Wollmeise Charlotte's web.

It's National Alpaca Farm Day this Saturday at Silk Creek Alpacas and I'll be there mid-day (10-2) to spin alpaca and to show anyone interested how to spin on a drop spindle.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Quality Control

Originally uploaded by kbshee
It is very important to have a good quality control person. Mine, as you can see, is Juneau, who is giving my purple Fylingdales a good once-over since I completed the first sleeve.

This is the first time I've picked up sleeves and knit down. I love this technique. As longtime blog readers know, I hate seaming. So this is terrific! I know you can also pick up and knit set in sleeves,but I'm not sure how...short rows? If you know of a website with good tips, or even a real book, let me know!

It is fall here in Oregon (well, technically I guess it is fall everywhere) but definitely cooler and cloudier. Which is fine, I love our NW winters!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Flippy Flopping in Florence

We left a drizzly Eugene this morning at 10:30 and drove the dogs over to Florence. We wanted to give Cody a day at the beach before he starts chemo again, and we picked a great day. The sun was shining, it was warm with no breeze, and Cody had the rare opportunity to swim with seals! Well, not exactly....the seals were hanging out in the bay area where Cody was fetching, but he never got close to them.

He is so cute with his flippy floppy ears. He's even cute from the rear. Here is evidence:

Friday, September 19, 2008

Things I've learned this week

Originally uploaded by kbshee
1. When you knit a tank top, and you are knitting it for someone (me) who needs it to be 40" around, and the length from top to bottom is 20", the whole tank top will look like a square. And subsequently, when you put it on, it will look like you have a square on your top half.

2. Wearing a square on your top half is not pretty.

As a result, I will be knitting the KSH sweater from the new Mason Dixon knitting book, sometime in the future.

3. Cody's cancer has returned, and we'll be trying another round of chemo with him. He feels and looks great.

Originally uploaded by kbshee
4. I'm much into purple these days, as you might have noticed. The tank is a deep purple.

5. It looks like the blogosphere wants me to knit Hanami, so I will! I found this merino lace yarn guessed it..a purple color in the stash so I'll use that. I also have beads for the cast on. I think it is a good choice, so thank you for your help.

6. I think that's all!

Monday, September 15, 2008


I need a football game knitting project.

I like watching Duck Football. I like hanging out with Tim when he's watching the NFL. And I need a pretty complicated pattern to work on during these times, because while I like the idea of hanging out and watching football, I have FADD (football attention deficit disorder) and I tend to lose interest very fast.

So what should I knit during games? Help me here. My choices are:

1. The Jeanie shawl from Knitty. I have DIC in the stash to make this.
2. Seascape from Knitty. I have Curious Creek Silk/merino in the stash for this.
3. The Hanami Stole I don't have anything necessarily set aside for this, but I do have two skeins of Am Kater Polar from Wollmeise which might be gorgeous for this.
4. Complex Cabled Socks, such as a pattern by Cookie A. or a pair from A Fine Fleece. Regardless of the pattern, have plenty of yarn to make, and these would be either pink or purple.

So help me out by picking your favorite!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Faceted Ribs

Originally uploaded by kbshee
I finally finished these socks..the faceted rib socks..on vacation. The yarn is Vesper Sock Yarn and the pattern is from the Little Box of Socks. It is a great pattern for a striped yarn, because it gives just enough variation to make it interesting.

The colors are bright and fun, I'm not that crazy about the base yarn for these socks but the colors do make up for it.

I also had to search to find my spindle today, because i'm going to help out at the Open Farm day at Silk Creek in two weeks...I offered to bring spindle and wheel and spin some stuff for a few hours during the Open Farm. The drop spindle made no sense to me but now it does....after spinning on a wheel for a while...and I still find it hard to believe that anyone has the patience to spin an entire sweater on a drop spindle.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Purple is the New Black

Originally uploaded by kbshee
I've been working for a few weeks on the Fylingdales Gansey from One Fine is turning out to be both a fast and fun knit. I bought the year..Classic Elite Tweedy Something...from someone on Ravelry and when it arrived I was sort of astonished how bright it was. Bright, bright purple, with flecks of red, yellow and green in it. Over the summer, I pretty much decided that at least, for me, purple is the New black and I've been amassing a sub-stash of purple yarns.

(As a matter of fact, I'm working on a shell and shrug in purple Kid Silk Haze, which I think is the ultimate purple color. I also bought some great purple yarn in the colorway 'amethyst' from Cherry Tree Hill, to make cable socks in One Fine Fleece. Anyway, I digress.)

Originally uploaded by kbshee
Here is a closeup of the sweater (and this color looks sort of demin-ish, which believe me it is not. It is purple purple purple). The sweater is knit in the round, and the bottom half is plain stockinette. Then, there are some garter rounds (a 'welt' pattern) and then the upper half is the cable and seed stitch pattern. It looks really good, and this yarn shows the cables well.

About half of the cable pattern is knit in the round, and the second half is knit back-and-forth as you divide for the armholes. I've finished the back and I'm now working on the front. I can tell where it switched from in-the-round to back and forth but I don't think it is all that noticeable!

A fun knit, a fast knit, and I can't wait to wear it! The sleeves are picked up and knitted down, which I've never done before but I'm looking forward to that. And since this yarn felts, I've done spit splicing ends to weave in!

It might be the perfect sweater!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Brownie FAQ!

Originally uploaded by kbshee
1. What the heck are you going to do with an alpaca?
We see Brownie as an investment....every year we'll get her wonderful fleece, and she should be a good breeder, so hopefully she'll start producing some cria of her own in summer of 2010. We plan to probably sell the cria at this point, but 2010 is far away!

2. Why is she so much darker than her mom?
That's the magic of never really know what color you'll get. Brownie's dad was white, so there's little to predict what happens there.

3. Why isn't she living with you?
Alpaca do best with a group of alpaca, and we're happy to board Brownie with her family!

4. How cute is she?
Not as cute as a bunny, but just about.

Monday, September 08, 2008


Originally uploaded by kbshee
Remember that poll a week or so back...what would be adding to our family?

Well, here she is. Sorry to disappoint you all who thought it might be a baby. And I guess the poll was a bit misleading since she isn't actually LIVING with us...but whatever.

This is Brownie. We didn't give her that name but it seems somewhat fitting (although I think I keep calling her Coco in my head). She's two months old (tomorrow) and is a beautiful alpaca cria! She looks brown but that's just her outside baby looks like she will be either a very dark brown or a bay black alpaca when she grows up.

Originally uploaded by kbshee
Brownie and her mom, Milkyway, now live at Silk Creek Alpacas in Cottage Grove, about a 20 minute drive from our house. Silk Creek is owned by Bil and Julia Morrill...I work with Bil and met his wife Julia yesterday, and they're both great. They currently have five alpaca on premises with another five on the way (including Brownie's half sister!). Brownie will board with them indefinitely, and she'll get lots of visits from me. We're so excited about having a new baby in the family.

Vacation was good....a bit too windy for kayaking but we managed to find stuff to do. Cody was a crazy fetch-in-the-water dog which is all we could hope for!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Is it a creature from the sea?

Originally uploaded by kbshee
Or is it the Mohair Portrait scarf?

It's the latter! But you guessed that. This can be used as a wrap-around-the-neck scarf, as a pull over your head scarf, or as a wimple (which doesn't look good on me, fyi). It is very stretchy, which is good, and I knit in a bunch of beads in the lace (a bit hard to see in this photo). But all in all I'm very pleased with this knit.

Monday, September 01, 2008


Originally uploaded by kbshee
I don't think I ever posted a picture of this sweater, which I finished off this week after it sat for more than month with ends hanging out and no buttons. Anyway, I wove in ends and sewed on buttons, and voila, a FO!

The yarn is Artful Yarns something...the stretchy ribbon yarn that is discontinued (Vaudeville?). I bought it from someone on Ravelry for something like $2 a ball.