Tuesday, April 30, 2013

what a difference a few days make

Sunshine, 80+ degrees, a light breeze... the whole city of Chicago looks so much happier now. Our backyard now truly is showing signs of spring:

The flowering tree outside our back porch just burst into full bloom:
I started packing away my winter sweaters, and realized that there were no photos of my finished Aidez cardigan yet. Time to remedy that!
pattern: Aidez, by Cirilia Rose
yarn: Cascade Eco +, summer sky heather (9452), 2.4 skeins
needles: US 8 (5.0 mm) bamboo circs

I love this cardigan! It's so cozy, and I like the open front and mix of different textures. When I linked to the pattern just now, I noticed that Berroco has drastically re-formatted it, probably for the better. It's one of those patterns where you need to take lots of notes/counts to keep up with the different cable patterns, etc. It might be frustrating for a new knitter.

After perusing hundreds of Aidezes on Ravelry, I decided to make larger sleeves. Tight sleeves seemed to be a common complaint, as well as having a hard time seaming the raglan sleeves into the body. I took careful notes so that the second sleeve turned out pretty much the same as the first, but I think knitting the sleeves for the next size up would have a similar result. Otherwise I pretty much just followed the pattern.

I'm happy with my yarn choice, though it is pilling a bit already. I can't imagine using a much bulkier yarn (like the Peruvia Quick that the pattern specifies) -- the cardigan wouldn't have enough drape for my taste. I had to use much smaller needles, too.
Pop Spots was in time-out for a bit, but is now back in the rotation -- perfect for knitting on the back porch. 

One of my favorite treats these days is a homemade iced sweet matcha latte -- I use Rishi's Sweet Matcha powder, which is quite sweet and probably not for the matcha purist. It is, however, great for those of us who care to indulge in a Starbucks' green tea latte or frappucino once in a while.
We said good-bye to my old Jeep last weekend (sniff, sniff). She served us well, and actually was still running great (not to mention looking pretty awesome inside and out for being a 1998), but it was time. I loved that thing, and it's awfully weird to go from a two-Jeep household to a zero-Jeep household in the brief span of four months. My "new" (i.e., gently used) Subaru Outback is nice enough, but just doesn't have the same rugged charm.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

the calm after the storm

Some spring we're having here in Chicago. In the last three days we've seen torrential downpours, thunderstorms, flooding, hail, sleet, and a nice dusting of snow, not to mention a sinkhole that ate three cars. Our neighborhood was lucky enough to have dramatic street geysers, as sewer water surged upward in plumes from manhole covers. Of course, Mother Nature's wrath is nothing compared to the madness and tragedy in Boston this past week.
Today the sun is out, and there are a few signs of spring in the garden (thank goodness).
My second Wandering the Moor shawl finally received a good blocking.
pattern: Wandering the Moor, by Celeste Glassel
yarn: Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, verdigris, 2.85 skeins
needles: Clover US 7 bamboo circs (4.5 mm)
size: large
The yarn is wonderful, and I love the pattern, but the combination of the two is not my favorite. The yarn has a dry hand, feels very natural, has a nice mixture of rustic and elegant, and the color is simply gorgeous. That said, it feels a little limp knit at this gauge. It may be better suited for sweaters. I also made the large size this time, which was a mistake. Wearing shawlettes as jaunty little scarves is right up my alley; large shawls are sort of lost on me in terms of my wardrobe, even though I love knitting them. So, overall a project that was fun to knit, but not great to wear.
 I love this photo of Moxie. Doesn't she look feisty? Also, you can see my new antique trestle table in the background. It could use a good refinishing!

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

birthday, sheep, etc.

Busy, busy around here these days. I celebrated my birthday last week with a lovely afternoon tea with friends. I made Joy the Baker's simple vegan chocolate cake, which was delicious and very easy.
A knitting friend gave me these Lantern Moon sheep stitch markers for my birthday. Super cute!
My latest sheepie find? Cotton poplin PJ pants from Old Navy.
They come in a lovely bright spring green, too, though you may have to hunt them down in stores, since the supply online is woefully depleted (I blame/credit knitters).
We've been on the road a lot lately -- Milwaukee for Easter and Minneapolis for my mom's birthday have meant plenty of knitting time (though no photography time), but otherwise it has been a whirlwind. I promise knitting photos soon. I just blocked a shawlette, a baby sweater needs some buttons, and I should really take photos of my two latest cardigans, which I've been wearing nonstop.
We did see a great band at Space in Evanston last week! Hey Marseilles was back in town, and they put on a good show. Very different from last fall at Lincoln Hall, since they've put out a new album since then. Highly recommend! I think they'll be at Lollapalooza this summer.