Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Way back in January I joined a little Ravelry group called "Knitting Olympics". We were a grand total of 25 people interested in doing a little Knitting Challenge during the Summer Olympic games. The Moderator contacted the Yarn Harlot to see if she was running her Olympics. She was not. So, out of respect for the YH's event, we changed the name to Knitting Olympics Trials. 6 months go by, and I think, "hmm. I better decide what I'm knitting." I go check in on the little Ravelry group. Dude. It is soooo not little anymore. Ravelry has gotten behind the project 150%, and it is now called "Ravelympics"! There are crazy events and teams and sign ups and... (whew!)!
I am signed up for the "Afghan Marathon". I plan to complete two blankets during the Summer Olympics. One would be easy. Two will be a challenge! I signed up to compete for Team LSG and Team New Haven. Yep. I'm double dipping. (Triple if you figure they are both on the Summer Knitting Goals list.) So starting Friday the 8th of August, expect to see a lot of posts about these two projects:
Mommes Lysedug
Oma's Lace
I'm off to do sit ups to get ready. (right. I'm drinking Iced Coffee and daydreaming about knitting instead of working. Sit ups. HA!)Maybe tonight I'll wind the yarn, you know, for training.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

#11 North Roe Shawl

I love beach knitting. To some, knitting alpaca by the side of the ocean, in the blazing heat and humidity doesn't sound the least bit appealing. (I think those people are crazy, but I suppose you have to be crazy to know crazy). This year I decided to take a shawl from my Summer Knitting Goals list on vacation. The results of my Vacation, and tons of wonderful quiet knitting time, and a beautiful Holiday present.

Name: Grandma M.'s North Roe
Pattern: North Roe Shawl by Odile Buatois-Brand
Yarn: Plymouth Yarn Baby Alpaca Lace, color 1265, 2 skeins
Needles: KnitPicks Harmony Needles, size 5
Notes: I chose this pattern for a few reasons. 1. I wanted a triangle shawl 2. I wanted an easily memorized pattern that I didn't need to refer to often, as that is difficult on the beach 3. I wanted something that looks harder than it is
I think I was pretty successful!

The pattern is really adjustable. You can make this as big or as small as you want just by knitting more repeats of chart 1 or 2. I knit 4 repeats of chart 1, and two of chart 2, followed by the edging. Oh, and in the interest of full disclosure, I don't think I understood the pattern correctly. The original is in French, and translated into English. I don't think the whole thing is actually translated though. The pattern never actually mentions chart 2. I kind of guessed at what to do by using the picture. If I could read french, I might have discovered some secret directions that made the shawl even more awesome, but I like the current awesomeness level just fine.

This is my first time using the Plymouth Baby Alpaca Lace too. I understand this is a fairly new yarn to the market, so that explains why I didn't see very many projects made with it on Ravelry. It is a very nice lace weight yarn. I'd say it is not as soft as the Misti Alpaca I love so much, but it is similar to the Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud. The color is gorgeous - the FO pictures really don't do it justice. The unblocked picture from yesterday is a much better color representation.
The yarn does soften up after a good washing, and it blocks really well.

My Grandma M. is my paternal Grandma, and her favorite color is green. I love green too, I just can't wear it very successfully. In fact, in this color, I'd look like I might be a zombie. So, I jump at the chance to knit in green for people who wear it. Now, Grandma M shouldn't wear this color, but she does. Who am I to judge an 80+ year old's color palette taste - especially when it fits in with my desire to knit with citrus green?

Overall, another successful Summer Knitting Goals, Lace2K, and Holiday Knitting project! With #11 out of the way, #17 is on the way next!!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Best Laid Plans

I don't know if you noticed, but I never did post while on vacation. I had intentions, I really did. The relaxing just got the best of me, and I never did manage a single post. In fact, I never even took a single picture. Not one. I did, however, knit like a crazy woman.
I had a great time catching up with my extended family, playing in the sand, riding my bike, (and lets not forget) shopping... you know, the basics of a great vacation. We had beautiful weather - it only rained once, and that was at night. The only drawback was the cold water. It is usually cold, but this year it was "JESUS F*CK! I HAVE FROSTBITE AND CAN'T CONTROL MY SWEARING!!!" cold. The lady from the yarn store (more on that in a minute) told me the water was April cold. WTH? I couldn't get past my calves, not matter how much I wanted too. Even DH, who can stand nearly any temperature to go swimming could only bear it for 5 minutes. It was the kind of frigid that knocks the wind out of you.
I did manage to surpass the lazy one day and pedal down to The Knitting Niche. I like to stop in every year and chat. The owner is originally from CT, and always remembers me. Not my name, just that I'm from CT, and my family is from PA. We chatted for a while about costumes and vintage patterns. She showed me an awesome collection of Victorian pattern magazines. (OOoo. jealous) I ended up only buying three skeins of yarn, but a very awesome three skeins they are.

MMMMMMmohair. I don't know what I will make yet, but I'm sure it will be pretty. This stuff is gorgeous. I have used similar mohair yarns before, but this is my first time for this brand - Idena Lux Mohair. We'll see!
The really nice thing about having such a laid back trip is the copious amounts of knitting time. I managed to knit an entire shawl and a half a sock! I didn't even knit the entire time I could have knit. I read some magazines, watched tv, and went for walks!

The shawl is The North Roe Shawl, and it is for my Grandma M. Yep - another holiday gift, and on my Summer Knitting Goals list. I'm blocking it today, so a FO report will be coming tomorrow.

I also started some socks for the other brother. Retro Rib Socks in Trekking made an awesome back-up project for the beach. I'm glad I took a back up project, too. I finished the shawl on Thursday night, and would have been knitting less on Friday. Sure, I went to the yarn store, but I didn't have needles or patterns along. I like to knit form patterns at the beach, not just wing it. Winging it is not relaxing. I don't want to think. I just want to knit. Someone else can do the thinking for me when I'm on Vacation.
I think that's it. I'm trying to get mentally back into work and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It is not easy. My brain is firmly still on vacation.

Friday, July 18, 2008

#7 Fuzzy Plums

These mittens are the shizknit! Seriously! So satisfying, and so cute. I hope the recipients like them as much as I like making them!

Name: Fuzzy Plums
Pattern: Fleece-Stuffed Mittens from "Favorite Mittens"
Yarn: Valley Yarns Berkshire in Eggplant, 1 skein
Needles: Vintage DPNs in 4 and 5
Notes: I decided to do the "diamonds" pattern in the thrumming, instead of the "lines", this time. I like the effect a lot! The lines were easier to thrum during the decreases - more intuitive, but the diamonds came out fine. My one little note about this fleece stuffing pattern: I have a "square and even" issue, meaning everything has to be lined up. In the diamond pattern it is really easy to start dropping thrums during the hand decreases to "keep things lined up". The next time I will keep more in play towards to finger tips, even if that means the pattern squishes a bit. More fleece in the finger tips= more warm.

Oh, and for some reason my thumbs are slightly different. I have no idea why. I just placed the starting thrum differently. I know I am the only one that will be bothered by this, so I'm totally not going to worry about it. I just thought I'd point out my folly.

Well, that completes #7 on the Summer Knitting Goals list! I am ready to head on Vacation! I am not taking more mittens with me. I don't think thrumming is good beach knitting. I am taking the shawl for the other Grandma ('cause, you know, Alpaca is the far superior choice for beach knitting) and a pair of socks. Maybe I'll have lacy tan lines on my legs!

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Nutmeg Knitter inspired me to fill out this meme too!

Fifty things you didn't know about me. At least I don't think you do.
1. Do you like blue cheese? no, not really.
2. Have you ever smoked a cigarette? Yes.
3. Do you own a gun? Own? no.
4. What flavor do you add to your drink at Sonic? Vanilla or Strawberry
5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments? Holy Crap, Yes.
6. What do you think of hot dogs? DRoooollll
7. Favorite Christmas Song? Bob and Doug McKenzie's 12 Days of Christmas
8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? Coffee
9. Can you do push ups? yes. It's torturous, but I can do it.
10. Favorite movie? Blues Brothers!!
11. What's your favorite piece of jewelry? my Pearls
12. Favorite hobby? knitting
13. Do you work with people who idolize you? I'm wonderful, why wouldn't they?
14. Do you have ADD? ducks... wait, what?
15. What's one trait that you hate about yourself? stubborness
16. Middle name? Marie "Maiden Name"
17. Three thoughts at this moment: I don't want to fold laundry; I have to pee; When is that damn Mama Mia commercial going to go off the air?!
18. Three things you bought yesterday. lunch, oil change, ginger ale
19. Name 3 drinks you drink regularly. water, water, coffee
20. Current worry right now? salt. that shit is in everything!
21. Current hate right now? Salt and ABBA
22. Favorite place to be? the beach
23. How did you bring in the New Year? I don't remember - that's a good sign, right?
24. Where would you like to go? Europe
25. Name three people who will complete this. uhh, I didn't take mind reading in college
26. Who's answer do you want to read the most? everybody's! I'm nosey.
27. What color shirt are you wearing? grey. boring
28. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? sure. not is silky pjs though. You slide out of bed.
29. Can you whistle? yes
30. Favorite color? black, purple, red
31. Would you be a pirate? Yes, duh. Drinking, cussing, and plundering. Love
32. What songs do you sing in the shower? Whatever pops in the brain Jukebox.
33. Favorite girl's name? Victoria
34. Favorite boy's name? Geoffry
35.What's in your pocket right now? cell phone, pocket crap
36. Last thing that made you laugh? The Stitch n' Bitches
37. Best bed sheets as a child? uhh...I don't remember
38. Worst injury you've ever had? ripped hamstring
39. Do you love where you live? I love my town. I wish I lived in my own place so I could paint.
40. How many TVs do you have in your house? 2
41. Who is your loudest friend? I'm not answering this. It can't go well.
42. How many dogs do you have? Dogs? eww. none.
43. Does someone have a crush on you? Of course! I'm smokin!
44. If you could marry a movie actor/actress who would it be? Marry them? Hell no! Use them as a boy toy....
45. What is your favorite book? At this moment, "Favorite Mittens".
46. What is your favorite candy? Snow Caps
47. Who is your favorite sports team? Err....
48. What song do you want played at your funeral? Tuesday's Gone by Metallica
49. What were you doing at 12 AM last night? knitting and watching tv
50. What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up this morning? Crap.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

#12 - The Zetor Scarf

Last night I decided to stay up and just finish those last 4 pattern rows on the Zetor Scarf. I didn't want to take this project on Vacation with me, as I would finish it the first day, and it would just be more stuff to haul around. Therefore, I was finishing it, damn it! I was a little tired today, but it was worth it.

Name: Grandma's Zetor Scarf
Pattern: Zetor Scarf by Jatta Saukko
Yarn: Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud, Iris colorway, a little over 1 ball
Needles: Knit Picks Harmony, size 5
Notes: This was a very simple lace pattern, if you read charts. If you don't, this might be a good excuse to start! Really, it looks more complex than it really is.

The yarn was left over from my Mom's Icarus Shawl, and I liked working with it then, and I like working with it now. No complaints at all from me. It is a hard color to capture in pictures, though...

The pattern is not written by a native English speaker, so I had a bit of a translation "moment" when I started the pattern. Once I read through the whole thing, it was rather apparent what I was supposed to do. My one note would be that the pattern tells you to work chart 2 as many times as you want. To knit it like the one in the picture, work 29 repeats. I did a little math in my head, and figured out that I needed 6 repeats to get a good size shawl. "WTH?" I thought. "29?!" I JUST, and I mean JUST, realized that the author meant 29 repeats of the section between the bold lines, and not 29 repeats of the 16 row chart. Duh. Anyway, I seem to be the only person that didn't understand this right away, since nobody on Ravelry knit the pattern "as written" and has a 60 foot wide scarf.

I am very pleased with this scarf. It is much more intricate looking than it really is, although I did get really bored towards the end. I think my Grandma will like her Christmas present! The bonus - getting to cross #12 off the summer knitting goals list!

Monday, July 14, 2008

All Hail Mr. Ship!

Things have been a little busy around chez' Costumechick this last week. I finished my July Socktopia socks 4 days ago, and still haven't posted about them! I either need to get my ass in gear, or I need to make more hours in the day. Either will work, but the "more hours in a day thing" in more likely, at this point. So, this morning, I'm stealing some Charlie time to post on my blog. You guys are do lucky. You rank above Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. That says something...
First, some back story...
My Little Brother is a "type A" personality, "go-getter", "super human" type of guy. I say that because we are cut from the same cloth. (ah, a little plug for the awesomeness of Costumechick. :) ) He is 11 years younger than me, but we compete with each other like we are twins. Which has the higher IQ (me, for the record), which has more awards(him- he's a kiss ass), who had harder college courses (probably a push, but we both think our major was harder), which political party is better (he has no ground to stand on), and on and on and on and on.... But, I love him to death, and when he called me to tell me he own the "Mr. Ship" contest, I said, "the what?".

Name: Mr. Ship 2007 Socks
Pattern: My own toe up with a little color work.
Yarn: Regia Nation Color, #5396, 2 balls
Needles: Knitpicks classic circs, size 0 and 1.
Notes: "Mr. Ship" is chosen during a charity fundraising pageant at Shippensburg University each year. the contestants raise money while campaigning for themselves on campus. As a freshman my brother won "Audience Choice", but not the big prize. Last year, he won. Evidently, it is odd to win as a Sophomore, but Mark is odd. I asked if he gets to cut the ribbon at car dealerships and stuff, like Miss Pennsylvania. He just looked at me. But, his reign is almost over, and I wanted to make him some commemorative socks to remind him of his days before he became a "washed up beauty queen".
Shippensburg University colors are red, white, and blue, and the Regia Nation Color was perfect! On top of being Mr. Ship, my little bro' is also a big fan of his country. (We may not agree on political issues, but at least he still believes in something, and I can respect that.) Add that to the July Socktopia theme of "patriotism", and I was set! The yarn is a bit....loud, but that's ok, Mr. Ship is not known for his shyness.

To do the fair isle portions, I used the outside of the "other" ball. That worked out well, and left very little leftovers. I did have to wind off a little from the second ball for the second sock, just to start the socks in the same place in the color pattern. I was a little nervous, but they ended up matching almost perfectly!

Overall, I think this was a very successful project. Good Socktopia theme usage, good Christmas gift, and I get to check #16 off my summer knitting goals list! All hail Mr. Ship, 2007, and his fantastic socks!

Monday, July 07, 2008

A quicky

I know what you were thinking! For shame!
I suppose it's OK. You wouldn't be surprised if my post was about *that* anyway. But it's not, so don't go getting all hot and bothered on me.
Through the wicked humidity, I've been dong some knitting!
Another two repeats on the Zetor

Some foot on Sock #2 for Socktopia

yep... looks pretty much like last week. I don't know how much I will get done this week, as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory fittings start tomorrow. Cross your fingers that it all will fit, and I'll just have to do finishing touches.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Independence Day

Happy fourth, a day late, 'cause that's how I roll. I had a nice, quiet Independence Day, mostly involving the task of Oompah Loompah puppet making. Ehh. I did have some knitting time too, and managed to finish off sock #1 for Socktopia, July. The theme I went with was "patriotism", and the socks coming off the needles are my "Mr. Ship 2007 socks".

I forgot how fast plain stockinette socks are to knit! Anyway, I added a bit o' color work to personalize Mr. Ship's socks.

I plan on reversing the pattern on sock #2, so the front of the foot says 'Mr. Ship', and the back says '2007'.

Mr. Ship, for those who don't know, is my youngest brother, Mark. He won the title in a pageant at Shippensburg University. Mark is no slouch in the ego department, so he never lets us forget that we are in the presence of Mr. Ship, and loyal subjects of his "Markdom". That's my baby brother for you. Anyway, the school colors are Red White and Blue, Mark wears loud socks, and I wanted to "honor" Mr. Ship - so out came my newest project.
These are on the Summer Knitting goals list too. I'm totally rocking my list.

Thursday, July 03, 2008


#8 on the summer knitting goals list was a pair of Thrummed mittens for my First Hand. I say "was" because they are finished!

Name: Hairy Cucumber Mittens
Pattern: Fleece-Stuffed Mittens, from Favorite Mittens, by Robin Hansen
Yarn: Valley Yarns Berkshire, in color #37 mistletoe - 1 skein
Needles: Vintage DPNs, size 4 and 5
Notes: These are fun! and fast! I have nothing bad to say about them. The pattern is well written, but I wouldn't recommend it for a first time mitten maker. It does assume you know how to make mittens and can keep a pattern going when decreasing, with out detailed instructions. But, it has lots of sizes to pick from, and the author has made the pattern simple enough that you can customize it really easily.

This was my first time using the valley Yarns Berkshire, and i must say, I am in love. it is very similar to my coveted Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted. It is soft, and cushy, and has just a little halo. The yarn is spun in a single strand, and it does have a little thickness variation - nothing compared to Noro, but enough to note. Knit up, I couldn't tell at all. I also like the color selection WEBS provides. There are a lot of choices. I chose this light cucumber green for Sara because, well, she loves green, and this is a good one to go with her winter coat.

My favorite part of these mittens is the super fuzzy insides. It feels so neat on your hands - and hopefully warm this winter! I can't wait to see the staff open all of these!