Sunday, March 23, 2008

Making a stand

A couple of weeks ago I wrote in an e-mail to a friend that I was really happy that spring was finally here, and that it came right before I cracked.

Needless to say, I spoke too soon, as the past week and half have been filled with snow, icy blasting winds, and rain that is just above freezing--so when it hits you it feels like water but it is so cold it chills you instantly. I'm not taking it anymore. Last night I wore my Mary Janes with leggings and no socks. This morning I refused to put flannel sheets on my bed. I put the t-shirt sheets on instead, which is smart because they are warm when it's cold and cool when it's hot (and makes a stand without making me cold, like the no-socks act did last night). And I made the Rochefort Chapeau from the Purl Bee:

I don't know what it is about the Purl Bee, but I am powerless to stop myself from making just about everything on their site. Maybe it's the way they perfectly capture my aesthetic or the stories and inspirations behind the projects. Joelle Hoverson, author of Last-Minute Knitted Gifts, is the brain behind Purl and the Purl Bee. Whenever I have knitting stress or am feeling uninspired, I look at that book and I feel better.

I saw the Rochefort Chapeau when it was first posted and thought, "Oh, that's cute, but I don't really need to make it." Ha. It worked its way into my head until I couldn't stop thinking about it and was mentally pawing through my stash to find the yarn. The great thing is that the Purl Bee has helped me bust so much of my stash. As much as I would have liked to use the Blue Sky Alpaca and Silk that Whitney used, I knit mine with one skein of Plymouth Wildflower DK in navy blue and one skein Patons Grace in white. It will be a great spring hat, if spring ever decides to come.

In case it doesn't, I have yet another pair of mittens to wear.

Tweedy Mittens from the Stitch'n Bitch 2007 calendar (designed by Missa of kpixie, my favorite online yarn store)
Yarn: Reynolds Whiskey, one ball each of light blue and orange
Source: The Elegant Ewe
Needles: Brittany Birch US size 7 dpns
Modifications: I knit with two strands held together, since I couldn't find the yarns called for in the pattern and no other worsted weight yarns had the right shades of blue and orange that I was looking for. I did a gauge swatch to make sure, and if you have this pattern, you might want to mark down that the gauge is supposed to be five stitches to the inch. It was accidentally left off the pattern and I found the gauge posted on Craftster by Debbie Stoller, but it is hard to find in the threads.

Another Purl Bee (and specifically Whit's Knits; so is the Rochefort Chapeau) inspiration:

The Granny Chic Crocheted Hat
Yarn: Less than one ball of Manos del Uruguay kettle-dyed wool
Hook: Clover US size I crochet hook
Modifications: None.

I still need to block it but so far I love it. It will be a good transition hat between winter and my Rochefort chapeau. Part of the reason I love the Purl Bee so much is because most of their patterns are for small items that travel well. When I'm commuting to school I need something small that travels well and that I can pick up and put down quickly when I knit during class breaks.

What is this new yarn, you ask?

A couple of weeks ago I went to a concert in Northampton, MA. What else is Northampton, MA? Webs, of course! I was really good, considering they have an entire warehouse that is open to the public. This is Kangaroo Dyer Silk and Alpaca Laceweight. I bought Evelyn Clark's Estonian Wrap pattern to go with it, but I realized this yarn will make a perfect Icarus. Since I've been doing some serious stash-busting lately, I think it's allowed. Also, when I go back to Webs in a couple of weeks to see the Yarn Harlot, I am going to buy a little more yarn. Carefully planned, all with projects in mind, and with a very definite spending limit.

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