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January 28, 2008

Finished: Mum's Blueberry Shetland Triangle

Welcome to our next installment of Christmas Presents on Parade! Today our subject is none other than She Who Bore Me, the Mother of Elliphantom herself! Seen here modeling her Christmas Shetland Triangle:

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This is my Mum

You may say to yourself “didn’t we just see a Mother-in-Law modeling a blue shawl designed by Evelyn A. Clark?” What of it? The matrons in my life like their blue triangular shawls. Who am I to argue?

The Specs:
-Pattern: Shetland Triangle, by Evelyn A. Clark, from Wrap Style.
-Yarn: Blue Moon Silk Thread, one skein in the color “Haida,” knit doubled.
-Needles: Size 6 circs.
-Start to finish: November 29, 2005 - December 16, 2007.


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Notes:
My first attempt at this shawl was all wrong. Mum had requested a navy or black shawl for her Christmas gift and, come October, I found myself traveling down the uncomfortable road of “this yarn is not quite what I had in mind…” with 4 balls of navy Cashsoft 4 Ply. It was so soft. It was so squooshy. It was so…blah.

Wendie gets full credit for pointing me in the direction of the silk thread. She and Mr. Wendie were visiting (Thunk and Señor One-Ply-Short share an enormous passion for boy-type nerdly pursuits) and I was woe-is-me-ing my little heart out to Wen-Wen about the all-wrong-ness of the Cashsoft. Thank goodness for knitterly friends with an eye on the hand-dyed yarn market, is all I can say.

The Pattern:
A typical Evelyn A. Clark pattern with an easily memorized pattern repeat. To sum up: no problem-o.


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I inherited all of her good qualities.

The Yarn:
I really like the Silk Thread…it’s lovely and silky and drapes like a dream. My only complaint is that the dye didn’t penetrate the entire skein, leaving little undyed patches here and there, which is not so nice in a super-dark colorway. I was on a tight schedule though, so I didn’t have time for complaining and exchanging. It looks fine knit up (the white just looks like a little extra shine on the silk), but I’ve definitely become a center-of-the-skein checker. Heed my wisdom born of experience and go and do likewise.

Mods:
I knitted an extra six lace repeats. I agree with the Bigger is Better philosophy of shawl knitting. It’s difficult to sweep around looking fabulous if you have to keep adjusting your wrap. Make it big. Make it enormous, if you must. The worst that can happen is that it’ll look dramatic.


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Final Verdict: Lovely, lovely, lovely.

January 16, 2008

Reentry

Hi there! I know I've been gone a while. Sorry about that. Shall we dive right back in then? Excellent.

Christmas was good...and that's all I have to say about that for now. I'm feeling a bit paralyzed by the thought of summarizing the last month or so in one post, so I think I'm just going to sprinkle a little Christmas here and there as I remember things.

Today's holiday tidbit: Thunk's Mum in her Christmas flower basket shawl (yes, I waited 8 months to gift it. That is what we call delayed gratification).

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I have the cutest mother-in-law ever (photo courtesy of the parents-in-law).

Other items of note:

1) I have somehow accumulated six unblogged FOs (the earliest is from September). I plan on doing something about that. Soon.

2) My camera is on the fritz. What exactly caused this is anyone’s guess, but I think I may have freaked the poor thing out a bit by taking too many pictures of yarn last week. In other news, my Ravelry stash page is up to date!

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This is a photo I dug out of the elliphantom archives.

3) I’m amazingly behind on my blog reading. So behind that there’s no way I can catch up. If you would be so kind, do me a favor and let me know if there’s anything good I’ve missed, K?

That's it for now. More soon. Really.

December 5, 2007

19 days

Christmas knitting is in full panic mode here at Chez Elliphantom. If there were a virtual elli-cam you could witness me flitting between projects and not being able to finish any of them because I keep distracting myself with something else I should be working on. I totally love the holidays. So productive. Too bad it makes me all twitchy. Here's our sampling for today:

First up, Mum’s blueberry-flavored Shetland Triangle:

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Hello. I am silky and blue.

This project hasn’t managed to make it onto the blog yet for various reasons. Back in October I knitted almost an entire one of these in navy Cashsoft 4-ply before I decided that it wasn’t up to snuff (read: too chunky and blah-looking). So that version got sent to Project Purgatory to await its fate, and I ordered up a hank of Blue Moon silk thread in the Haida colorway. Much better. I’m knitting the shawl with the yarn doubled and it’s turning out just exactly as I’d envisioned. Hooray!


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Ho there.

The Chicago cardigan for my sister Rae is on the home stretch. All parts are knitted and the main body of the sweater is assembled. Still left to do: picking up and knitting the neckband and buttonbands, weaving in ends, and sewing on all those dinky little flowerlings. Anybody want to come over and help with that? I’ll feed you Christmas cookies and homemade hot cocoa! Anybody? What, no takers? Darn.


The current Plain Old Socks:

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Mmmmm...cookie

The usual recipe. Knit with the rare and wonderful Cookie A. Handpainted Sock. Kricket has claimed this pair already and, since she’s worn the heck out of the last pair I gave her, I have no qualms about sending these her way. We’ll see if they get done by Christmas. They get lower priority since she did get a birthday knit this year.

In other knitting, the Argyll vest knitting is on hold until I get Chicago and the Shetland Triangle finished. More projects planned. Stay tuned.

p.s. those of you drooling over the fishie bobbins from the last post...I regret to inform you that I found them at the thrift store. I do recall that they were made by Phildar, and it looks as if they have some similar ones for sale on their website. I have no idea what shipping from France costs.

p.p.s. no links in this post. I have to get back to my knitting.

September 14, 2007

Phlegmish

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Hi there. I'm unblocked.

Why is it that when I get sick it always happens on the weekend? Just for once I'd like to be nice and sick on a Wednesday. I had so many lovely knitting plans, not to mention that I've had to cancel a playdate with Wen-wen. We were going to go thrifting. I was going to make pizza and cupcakes. Bah.

Do me a favor and have some fun and report back to me, K? I'm in need of some vicarious thrills.

Here, have another photo.

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blockitty, blockitty.

p.s. grump, grump.

July 18, 2007

Goings on

Wow! It's kind of hard to come down from that Demi post, but I guess it's time to move on. Thanks much for all the thoughtful comments; I'm all pink and blushy here.

Getting back to the slightly more mundane...here's the latest Plain Old Sock project I've been carrying around with me:

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This is Luna Park, color 203* and you're looking at sock number two. I haven't posted about this project yet because, well, let's just say that I'm a bit underwhelmed. The colors aren't quite as charming knitted up as they were in ball-form, and the yarn is annoyingly unbalanced which means both socks have a bit of a twist to them. Also, for merino it feels an awful lot like regular old sock yarn. Nothing special folks. Move along.

In other project news, I finished the first half of Hanami, picked out the provisional cast-on and started knitting the second half. Everything was looking lovely...I got a few inches in before I noticed that I was getting some nasty pooling. What gives? Needless to say, Hanami is in time-out for a while.

Fortunately, I have (relatively) new yarn to console me:

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Hello. We are an impulse purchase.

Two Saturdays ago I may have spent some quality time in the sale section at Stitches and Scones in Indy, and we all know I'm nothing if not helpless in the face of discounted lambswool. I blame Wendie for taking me there and Jared for making a cameo as the little voice in my head who kept saying "but it's Tweeeeeeeed...**"

All right, I'm off to go knit now. More new-projecty excitingness coming soon!

*Didja see how I remembered to tell you what yarn I'm using for a change? 10 points for me!
**I'm sure he's not this whiney in real life.

July 6, 2007

Anatomy of a fuzzy purple post

Part I: Salutation and a Lame Excuse

Ahoy there, knitterly people! I know things on the blog have been about as exciting as watching ice cream melt on the sidewalk, so you guys all get ten points for hanging around. The knitting has been chugging along at a leisurely summerish pace (slowly, and without deadlines) and, well, you know how it goes.


Part II: Attempt at Distraction and Pacification with Pretty Yarn

Find here a picture of my lovely new angora to ease the shock of reentry:

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Souvenir yarn from Paris, courtesy of the Parents du Thunk.


Part III: The Knitting Bit

Ok, down to business. The Modified Hanami is progressing nicely...I'm nearing the end of the first half. Here's what things look like currently:

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Hello there. I am warm and fuzzy.

A slight aside: it suddenly occurs to me that this is the second year running that I find myself knitting a shawl out of kid mohair in July. Could it be a subconscious rebellion against over-air conditioned workplaces, or perhaps just a coincidence?


Part IV: Tardy Finishing Disguised with Positive Spin

I bought buttons and sewed them onto Demi yesterday! Stay tuned for FO shots. Finally.

June 24, 2007

Hi there!

So you may have noticed that I’ve been a bit absent from blogland lately. Not to worry! I’ve just been busy and then I had to go to San Diego last week for a conference. I meant to blog before I left but it seems that I underestimated the time I needed for packing and all that. So here I am! Still alive and everything.

Have I found buttons for Demi yet? No I haven’t. Have I been knitting? Yes I have! Meet the latest shawl:

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green = provisional cast-on

Continuing in the stashbusting theme of late, the yarn is some that I got from the lovely Lois last November. The kidsilk-hazey nature of this yarn lends itself nicely to shawl-ness, but I didn’t want to pick a super-complicated pattern since there’s quite a bit of variegation in the colorway. For a while I considered adapting the Mason-Dixon Bubbly Curtain into shawl form, but then one day I happened upon Melanie’s pattern for the Hanami Shawl and decided to run with it.

I’m skipping the basket weave half, and I’ve upped the gauge quite a bit, and I’ll probably quit the cherry blossom pattern before I get down to the point where the eyelets all line up (otherwise it’ll be Really Long) but a Hanami it is nonetheless.

Time to get back to the unpacking!

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I knit. Yes I do.

May 10, 2007

Finished: Flower Basket Shawl

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The Specs:
-Pattern: Flower Basket Shawl, by Evelyn A. Clark, from Interweave Fall 2004.
-Yarn: Knitpicks Alpaca Cloud.
-Skeins: Two 50g skeins in the color "stream heather" knit doubled. 95g used total.
-Needles: Size 10 Brittanies.
-Start to finish: Spring 2005 - April 29, 2007.

Notes:
Started way back in the spring of 2005, this shawl has been lurking in the bottom of my knitting basket for a remarkably long time. It was the first lace project I ever attempted and I'm not ashamed to admit that it kicked my heinder the first time around. But what a difference a couple of years can make! I pulled this one out and finished up the remaining 3/4ths of the shawl in less than a week (much of this on a single Saturday I spent at home recovering from a stomach bug).


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Put on your party dresses kids, it's a finished flower basket!


The Pattern:
I can't say I loved knitting this one, but the pattern was everything it needed to be: clear and free of mistakes. I found that using a large number of stitch markers and counting my stitches at the end of every row really helped keep things moving along smoothly.

The Yarn:
Nice and soft and insanely affordable. The alpaca makes this one Very Warm shawl.


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Mods:
Way back when I started this one I must have decided that I didn't like how small the shawl looked in this picture, so I went up three needle sizes from a 7 to a 10. Time went by and I forgot that I had done this, so when I picked it back up again I decided to add two lace repeats to ensure that it wouldn't be too small. I used a short set of straight needles (not recommended, I could hardly get all the stitches on there at the end) so I had no way to know how big this shawl was until I bound off and held it up. Turns out that mine is a whole 14 inches wider than the original...larger than I had anticipated, but just fine with me!

Final Verdict: You have no idea how satisfying it is to finish this one up. Happiness all around!


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May 9, 2007

Feeling Shawly

Wow, thanks everybody for all the nice comments on the baby sweater! Imagine me all pink and blushy. I think that I can safely say that I have sufficient motivation to get that pattern written up.

In other news, we got out and took some shots of the Flowerbasket Shawl yesterday. Let me tell you, alpaca shawls are not for 84 degree days. And how is it 84 degrees already anyway? I don't have enough time to do a whole FO post right now, but I thought I'd quick give you some pre- and mid-blocking shots to keep you occupied and marveling about the miracle of lace.


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hello, I am lumpy.


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smooooooth...

April 25, 2007

UFO Roundup

There has been regrouping. There has been knitting.

Need a refresher on what’s on the needles over here at Chez UFO? Me too.

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brittanies, jump rings, and alpaca cloud

Starting back with the oldest and most languishy of the lot, we have the Flowerbasket Shawl, started sometime in the spring of 2005. Those of you who have been hanging around for a while might realize that I’ve only blogged about this project once (back in January of 2006) when I hauled it out in all its neglected glory to motivate myself to get a move on. As you can probably guess, no moves were made…until last weekend.

I’m currently cruising along with less than two repeats to go before the edging. Somewhere in the past two years lace knitting has got a whole heckofalot easier for me. Time to finish this one up!


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Demi: most of a front, all of a back

Ah yes, the lovely Demi. I started her in November of 2005 and the front and back have slowly materialized over time. Problem is that I keep getting distracted by other projects and shunting her off to the sidelines. No more! The goal for Demi is to get her knitted before the weather gets too hot so she’ll be ready to keep me warm when autumn hits. My other secret goal is to get her knitted before Jared and Ashley finish theirs (don’t tell).


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Sockiness

Jaywalkers:
I started the Jaywalkers in late December and I’m only up to the gusset on sock number one. Seems I just lost momentum.

Plain Old Socks:
No problem here! This is my current portable and brainless project.

So that’s the lot. Only four projects total (and two pairs of socks hardly count, if you ask me). The biggest problem is those two ancient hangers-on up at the top. Time to pull a yaiAnn and get them all outa here!


p.s. If you’re wondering where that green baby sweater is…it’s FINISHED! FO report soon.

July 30, 2006

Finished: Krick's River Stole

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Yay! I finished it!

The Specs:
-Pattern: River, by Sharon Miller, from Rowan 38.
-Yarn: Kidsilk Haze.
-Skeins: approx. 1.75 skeins in the color Meadow.
-Needles: Size 10.5 aluminum straights.
-Start to finish: June 5 - July 28.
-For: My sister Kricket, for her wedding.

The Pattern: Straightforward and easy to follow. After a couple repeats it was possible to just check in with the pattern at the beginning of every other row, which was nice.

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Mods: There aren't really many ways to get creative with River as it's just a big old lace rectangle. My only real change was to add two extra repeats (I would have only added one but then there would have been thirteen repeats...and we all know that it's just plain bad to make someone a wedding shawl with thirteen repeats. It should be noted that I am not superstitious. My little sister is not superstitious. I know…I'm confused too). Oh, and I didn't scallop the edges when I blocked it. Not really a mod, but it affects the overall look.

Notes: Cute pattern, huge needles (and by extension fast progress)...this was my most enjoyable lace-knitting experience so far. I'm still not a kidsilk haze convert, and in retrospect I should have tried a bit harder to find some size 10.5s with pointy tips that weren't aluminum (too heavy and slippery) but I can get over that.

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Final Verdict: I hope she likes it! If not, I'll steal it back.

p.s. it should be noted that I finished this a whole month before the wedding…not bad, eh?

July 28, 2006

Block me a River

A quick post before we pack ourselves off to Michigan for the weekend...

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Crappy pic courtesy of the gloomy weather we've got going on right now. Sorry.

River is happily blocking on the living room floor, luxuriating in the breeze of our electric fan. The plan is to unpin her this afternoon, take her up to Michigan with us, do a FO photo shoot while we're there and then leave her with my brother-in-law Natey to give to my future brother-in-law Ross to give to my little sister Kricket. Got that? Right.

Blocking details: full soak and string blocking to get those nice crisp edges. You just can't see it because I used green string. Sneaky me.

On to the final order of business for the day. The proud new owner of the Knit.1 mag is...Lizzie! Lizzie, you should have an e-mail from me already so that you can reply with your address. Thanks for playing everybody!

Have a great weekend all! I'll be in the car for at least 10-11 hours this weekend so hopefully I'll have something good to show you when I get back...

July 12, 2006

Progress Report

Heh. It's been a week since I last posted. Anybody else feel like their summer is passing at warp speed? Here's what I've been up to:

Knucks:
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Yeah I know...weird name. But if you can get past that, they're pretty awesome. Every winter at work I just about lose my fingers to frostbite but I’m always way too busy with the xmos knitting to knit myself any F-less Gs. So when I saw the pattern in the new Knitty I jumped on it. I'm all about doing things early this year. If that isn't enough to impress you, I'm using the required yarn (rowan felted tweed) which I already had in my stash thanks to the generosity of the v. wunnerful Angela.

River:
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I have the pattern mostly memorized, I've made my peace with the KSH, and I’m one-third of the way finished already...all is right with the world.

New Yarn! (Installment 1):
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I’ve been pretty good about not accumulating too much new yarn this year, but I’ve been slipping lately. The first of it is eight skeins of Briggs and Young Regal, from Schoolhouse Press, for the Saddle Shoulder Aran Cardi pattern I bought last spring to make for the Thunkster. This was going to be his Christmas sweater, but then I just bought some more yarn today for a completely different “Christmas sweater". Not sure how that will work out. Let's just say I'm not having any trouble finding cute manpatterns lately.

That's it for now. I'm going to go eat toast now.

June 11, 2006

New Projects

Don't you think it's high time we had a couple of new projects around here? Me too.

Kricket's River:
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I started this one on Monday and am slowly chugging along on it. I've already had to rip back twice because of stupid mistakes so it's pretty obvious that I'm going to have to learn to respect the River and take my time. The nuptials aren't until August 25, so I'm not in a rush, I’m just not used to having to pay such close attention to every. single. stitch. The pattern is easy enough; it's the fuzzy wuzzy yarn that’s tripping me up. Kidsilk Haze knitters of the world, I salute you.

[Krick, if you’re reading this…every stitch is sheer joy. It’s the most wonderful knit ever.]

Picovoli:
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Picovoli has been on my to-knit list for a while and it looks like it's time has finally come since I need an easy project for travel knitting. That swatch there is a bit pointless, as I changed needle sizes so many times over so few rows that you really can't tell much from it at all. Regardless, I'm going to go ahead and guess that size fives are where it's at since I don't have time to reswatch.

Anyway, I'm off to a work-related conferencey thing in Columbus, Ohio and will be internetless until Thursday. I'm already horribly behind on all things blog-related, so I apologize if I haven't responded/commented/said hi lately...it's going to be a little while longer before I can get to it. Keep the blog warm for me!

May 8, 2006

Monday

I hope y'all had a lovely weekend...I did! I started up a new project but neglected to take any pictures for you. So in the meantime, hoof it on over to Hello Yarn and take a gander at Adrian's fabulous mittens. This is the first pair (that I'm aware of) that anybody has made using my pattern. So thrilling! I just love all the little additions she's made.

And, since it's not a blog post if there's no picture, here's a preview of things to come:

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March 27, 2006

Back before Yak

[warning: this entry has a high colon count]

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Update on Spring/Summer 2006 Gift Knitting Ban:

You may recall that as recently as my last entry I was promising that this would be the summer of knitting for me? Er, this is terrible...but I’m already adding to the list. This week:

a) Baby sister Kricket got engaged. She wants River from Rowan 38 for the wedding (normally elli + lace shawl = disaster, but I love her. Stay tuned to find out if love does indeed conquer all).
b) Friend S. (one of my baby buffers*) is preggie. Boy due on July 4. I may have panicked and accidentally uttered the words “I’ll have to knit a sweater” in the presence of the baby bump. No going back now.
c) Thunk asked for a new hat. If you saw the old one you would knit one too.

Just don’t let me add anything else, ok? This is it. I promise.

This weekend was spent doing adult things, like catching up on the budget. The bad news: not much knitting was accomplished. The good news: I have more yarn money than I originally thought. Coming soon: a picture of my second expensive sock yarn purchase. Tee-hee.

Update on minimal weekend knitting progress:

a) I finished the first cable and rib sock, which was a bit of a disaster (still might be). More on that later.
b) The whole time I knitted on the sock I was lustily eyeing my unfinished Apricot Jacket. As I have completely forgotten where I was in the pattern, I blocked the already finished back so I could feel like I was working on it. Next up: figuring out where on earth I left off in the pattern.

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remember me?

p.s. Thanks for all the really sweet comments about the pattern! I’m still a tiny bit afraid that the first person who tries it will declare it completely unknittable, but I guess I’ll just have to wait to find out.

*baby buffers: those people who you point to when someone asks if you are planning a family and you say “I’m waiting for X to go first.” Being a cautious person, my buffers number as many as the sands on the seashore.

January 16, 2006

I have a little secret...

I've been hiding WIPs from you. Shameful, I know. To be perfectly fair, I haven't worked on any of these in the time that I've been blogging--they've all been loitering at the bottom of the knitting basket. Since I've been in a cleaning mood lately, it seems like an appropriate time to introduce you to the Projects Which Languish:

Apricot Jacket from Rebecca 27
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I started her in September. I got 500 kinds of insecure about knitting a cotton blend. I put her down.


Heirloom Bag from Rowan 37
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This was started over Labor Day when my sister Rae came to visit. She wanted to crochet something (being good at that sort of thing) so I gave her the leftover KnitPicks Shine from the bolero I'd just made her. I had some other colors sitting around (originally for Anouk) and she whipped up all of the crochet motifs in about a half hour. I started the bag part, but once Rae went home I lost steam. Mostly because the colors are, well, a bit vile. But I'm going to finish it. And besides, Rae just asked me about it on the phone last night.


Flower Basket Shawl from Interweave, Fall 2004
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The oldest WIP going, I started it last spring when I thought I'd get a jump on the Christmas knitting. It turns out that I hate knitting lace. A lot. I picked it up again this fall and didn't get much more accomplished. It is slow. It is tedious. It makes me want to eat glass. I'd be crazy to rip out all my hard work now, right? The really sad part is that people keep citing this as an easy beginner lace project. Oh the shame.


Regia Socks

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Also started last spring…a pair of toe-up magic loop socks. Much to my surprise, I loath the magic loop. I'm going to be a total wimp and finish these on dpns.

So there they are. Hopefully putting them up in the sidebar will motivate me to finish them.