Thursday, November 19, 2009

Two Little Pigs

When my sister had her little girl, I knew I would have fun making gifts for her, but I never knew just how much fun! I've become a total sucker for any cute kiddie knitting pattern I see - filing them away until they become age-appropriate and ready to move into the live project queue.

Last week I found this pattern for Piggy Mittens, and it landed in the "must make for this Christmas" file! How cute are these! They are probably a little big, but I'm sure she'll enjoy them for puppets or mittens for the next couple of years. They are a really quick knit, and I made them from two colors of leftover stash Cascade 220. I swear if it got cold enough here to wear them, I'd make a pair for myself!

We're excited to have shipped to one more state - welcome Rhode Island! Only four left to go. How cool would it be to get all 50 by the end of the year.

Shipped to 46 states (92%)


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Happy Birthday Green Flash and a Bertha Update

One of the many pleasures of San Diego County is that it is the home of many great breweries. The most well-known of the bunch is Stone Brewing Co, brewer of Arrogant Bastard Ale. Some of our other faves are Port Brewing Co, which also makes a mean pizza, and Alesmith, for which I have fond memories of sneaking out of work early on Fridays with my boss to enjoy their tasting room many years ago.

Yesterday, one of our local breweries, Green Flash Brewing Company, hosted a festival in honor of their 7th birthday, and we were there to help them celebrate. It was a beautiful sunny, warm day for the mostly outdoor event that featured tastings from 20 local brewers, BBQ, pizza, and the opportunity to share a beer with some fellow members of the SD Beer Club.

I wore my Martini Scarf to the event which couldn't have been more appropriate. Not only did it fit the cocktail theme, but the scarf color happened to be the theme color of the event. The scarf caught the eye of a couple of the women in attendance - one who was a knitter, and one who worked for Port Brewing. She asked me if I could knit them to sell in their gift shop. Ha! Clearly she is not a knitter :-)

My hubby and I have a tendency to get pretty geeky when it comes to visiting production facilities due to our background in biotech product manufacturing. Consequently, we enjoyed checking out their equipment room, and bugged a couple of their employees with riviting questions about their process like filling machine dead volumes and CIP chemical content.

On the knitting front, I've finished the tank top portion of the Big Red Bertha Twinset, and it turned out well! I really like the border pattern I chose, and plan to feature it more in the cardigan. This yarn is very soft for 100% merino - not itchy at all! I used about 600 yards of the 2000 yard skein for the tank, so I should have plenty left for a long-sleeved cardigan to match. My apologies for the blurry self-photo of this project.

I also started knitting the most adorable piggy mittens for my niece - I just love knitting things for her! I should have completion photos of the piggies for my next post.


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Bertha Red is Out of the Trunk!

I seem to really have a bad case of "Start-itis" lately, but this latest project seems adequately justified in my mind for two reasons. First, I'm consuming stash - and lots of it! Second, if this goes well, I'll make a second one for my sister for her birthday. Therefore, this is R&D.
Just over a year ago, I purchased two "Big Berthas" at the Torrance Fiber Festival. Big Bertha is not the real name for this yarn, it's just the name my knitting buddies and I have adopted for these hugantic skeins of sport weight merino that we bought in bulk from Newton Country Yarns. Each skein that I bought contains 2000 (!) yards, and I got them for about $35 each. What a steal.

So over the last year, I've been thinking about what to do with my Berthas (and how nice it would be to get them out of my yarn trunk), and finally decided to go with a sweater twinset. I haven't drawn the whole garment out as I usually do - instead I'm just playing it by ear as I go, and I'll let the yardage determine my path. All I know is that there will be a tank top, accompanied by a cardigan-ish sort of second layer.  Yay!

My two Berthas are in different colorways. The one I've chosen to start with for myself is a variagation of reds, oranges, and a dark color that is black, navy, eggplant, or some combination of those. It's very fall-ish, and outside my normal color pallete, so I'm enjoying it. The remaining Bertha, Bertha Blue, is in vibrant aqua, green and magenta. It really pops!

Big Bertha is a very soft and "cushy" yarn. It's 6-ply - or rather three plies that are each comprised of two plies. Confused yet? I'm sure there's a name for that, but I don't know it! Anyway, the plies are loosely twisted, and the resulting yarn is very plump and has great elasticity.

I've started on the tank top. I knit a 4" wide border that I REALLY like (see top photo), then picked up stitches along the top of it and churned out the rest in stockinette based on some gauge calculations. The dimensions seem to be turning out just right. Stay tuned for more updates on my progress.

We've added another state to our "Shipped To" list - welcome Mississippi!

Shipped To 45 states (90%)

Five states to go... Oklahoma, Arkansas, Rhode Island and both the Dakotas.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Torrance Fiber Festival!

Yesterday was the annual Fiber Festival in Torrance, CA. Sponsored by the Southern California Handweavers Guild, this event showcases weaving, but has something for everyone who likes to play with string!

Seven of us from local knitting groups carpooled north to the event again this year. Our routine begins with meeting for breakfast at 8am so that we have lots of energy for shopping when we arrive at the event! The drive was great - no LA traffic to impede our ultimate goal of arriving shortly after the show opened.

There were all kinds of yarns, rovings, fleeces, books, tools, beads, buttons, looms, and spinning equipment. None of us left empty handed. A couple of the girls scored sweater quantities of Malabrigo that I could see they were casting on in their minds before even leaving the booth! Several of the group members are spinners, and purchased beautiful fleece and roving. One lucky shopper purchased two beautiful alpaca fleeces that were in lovely natural light grey and chocolate colors, and were soft as a cloud. Another was excited to find a book she had been looking for.

I was quite disciplined (since I haven't used what I bought there last year yet), and made only one purchase. I scored a skein of Hand Maiden CamelSpin (7o% Silk and 30% Camel) that is in lovely fall colors and is SO unbelievably soft. I've ridden a camel before, and it was a big nasty animal, so I'm always amazed at how soft it's fur can be when spun. I might try to make a little shrug out of it, or if that won't fly, it will become the most luxurious pair of socks EVAH!

After we exhausted ourselves and our credit cards, we piled back in the cars for our next traditional stop for lunch at an area Noodle House, and were joined by a group of knitters from Orange County that we have met through Stitches events. It was a pretty animated lunch since everyone was still on their yarn-buying high! Finally, with full bellies we made our way back down the freeway with our new purchases. The first thing I did when I got home was log into Ravelry to see what I might like to make out of my new camel yarn!