Friday, December 30, 2011

A Fall Without FOs

Holy hell has December been a month.

I haven't blogged much lately (ok, that's a bit of an understatement) because, well, life has been busy. I've been living in Philadelphia since September and have been back and forth between the East coast and midwest several times over the past three months...which is a lot, especially considering that before September I could count the number of flights I had taken on one hand.

I've since doubled that. Yeah, it's been crazy.

Life in Philly has been good so far and I really love all the new experiences I have had. I've started working in a fabulous yarn shop (Rosie's Yarn Cellar, for any of you fellow East coast knitters) and it's been a completely enjoyable experience. I actually don't hate working retail for the first time in a long time. I miss my friends a whole lot and I miss my little knitting circle I had formed back at home. But it's been a great experience so far and I can't wait to see what the next year holds.

One thing I haven't been doing a whole lot of is actually finishing things. Because working near full-time, exploring this new city and trying to have a social life where I only really hang out with nerdy dudes (sorry guys, you are still pretty fun) has seriously dug into my knitting time. And how does this even happen? I have an awesome job where I can actually KNIT while I work.

1. Noro Striped Scarf by Jared Flood//2. Rittenhouse Cowl by Me//3. Bandana Cowl by Purl Soho

The first few knits I worked on in Philadelphia were ones that travelled with me. Matt's Noro scarf has been a work in progress for the past year. I kid you not. While I absolutely adore knitting Noro stripes (more on that next time), this scarf has mostly been a movie viewing WIP. I used two different Noro colors and a beige Cascade 220. It's been so long since I started that darn scarf that I lost the tags and can't even tell you which colors of Kureyon I used. Ho hum. They were both green?

That little yellow number in the center is a cowl design I started before I left for Philadelphia. I named it "Rittenhouse" temporarily since I finished it during my first week in Philadelphia, when I kind of spent most of my time hanging out in Matt's teeny hotel/apartment overlooking the square. I have several issues with this cowl, but I have since started a revamped design that I like a whole lot more. Rittenhouse (version 1) was knitting using less than one skein of Malabrigo Worsted in "Frank Ochre," which is a FABULOUS yellow...and I don't generally like yellow.

The Bandana Cowl by Purl Soho was my first project that I actually started and completed in Philadelphia. I whipped it up in an afternoon or so and love it so much. It's my first time using Rowan Cocoon and it will not be my last. This cowl was a great little one skein wonder, though I ended up making quite a few modifications to accommodate this (slightly) chunkier yarn. I wound up having a little walnut sized ball leftover and I cut most of the top out of the pattern. It still ended up quite large and very warm. Have I mentioned how much I love Cocoon? And the color, Tundra, pretty much makes it the best basic to add to my winter rotation.
4. Bandana Cowl by Purl Soho//5. Oana Shawl by Kristen Kapur//6. ORD by Me 

These last three projects were knit entirely in Philly. If you've read my blog for awhile, you may remember the silly idea I had last year to try something new each and every month. That lasted, oh, I don't know, maybe three months? While I packed an ungodly amount of yarn with me for my visit, I ended up not really touching any of it, because once I started working at Rosie's I was introduced to a whole lot of new yarns that I have never seen before. The past few months I have tried to use as many new yarns as I can, but I still have SO many more to try.

My boss, Lisa, is the U.S. distributor for Manos del Uruguay yarns. We carried a few of the Manos yarns at the yarn shop I worked at back home, but when you walk into Rosies it's Manos central, which is pretty awesome considering Manos del Uruguary belongs to the World Fair Trade Organization, meaning the company is 100% fair trade. You can read more about the company and some of the artisans at the "About the Co-Op" section on the Fairmount Fibers website.

My Oana Shawl is knit from Manos Rittenhouse Merino 5-ply (named for Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia) and took just under two skeins of Rittenhouse. The yardage is quite generous and you get around 250 yards of delicious Merino wool for less than $20. I blame this shawl, my first complete Kirsten Kapur FO (I LOVE HER!), for the crazy amounts of fringed knits I have finished during the last month or so. Seriously, need moar fringe. The shawl is featured Knitscene's winter 2011 issue and originally called for O-Wool Worsted, but when I saw this color of Rittenhouse I just knew that I had to use it. And I started it that same night I bought the magazine.

ORD is my newest "design" knit using two strands of Manos Maxima, an one-ply, kettle-dyed yarn. There has been a crazy love for seed stitch at the shop over the past month or so, but none of that holds a handle to double seed stitch, which I am CRAZY for. I cast on for this project on my way home for Thanksgiving and almost finished it on the plane. Yes, that is just how quickly it knits up. Mine ended up a little longer than I intended for it to, but the instructions include instructions for how to make it smaller.

Bandana Cowl v.2 was knit in Debbie Bliss Donegal Luxury Tweed Chunky and was knit as a sample for the store. The yarn is rather pricey (hey, it's luxury?), so a small project like this cowl is the perfect way to stretch a yarn that would otherwise be out of my budget. Another thing I have been loving this year is tweed (again, more on that next time) and this is a really, really nice one. The yarn also comes in an aran weight, which I would love to try sometime and the colors are all pretty darn good.

While six FOs over the course of a few months may be good enough, it's not usually the way I roll, which is why I felt I needed to make up for it this past month. In the past, oh, two weeks(?) I somehow managed to finish SIX FOs. In two weeks. And, again, I will have to save that for next time...

It's good to be back :)

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