Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Aaaaaand...We're Back

I feel like such a schmo for how little I've been crafting (and blogging about it) lately.  I promise I really have been busy with other things, though. 

Last weekend I was planning on driving up to Portland to visit an old friend.  My boyfriend and I got 4 hours up I-5 to Redding, stopped for lunch, then spent an hour and a half waiting on the side of the road in a tiny town while authorities cleared the highway of a 20 car pile up that we'd avoided by about 20 minutes.  We discussed our options for a while and as much as I wanted to see my friend, I made the call that I'd rather not die driving through snowy Californian mountains in the dark and we headed home. 

I spent the next week house-sitting at my parents' place, hanging out with the chugs, Minnie and Louie.

House-sitting isn't awful, but I much prefer being at my own place so a week of living at my parents kind of sapped any creative urges I might've had.  I brought some knitting with me but didn't work on any of it the entire time--just watched a bunch of cable television in awe (I don't have live tv at my apartment...just streaming Netflix and Hulu).  What a bunch of crap there is out there.  And no, buddies, I shouldn't watch America's Best Dance Crew--it's cheerleading, only less interesting.

I did manage to finish the hat for Kaili in time to give it to her for her birthday, however (and thanks to the Portland debacle we actually stopped by and saw her for a minute, cracked out on sugar and spazzing over some deflating balloons).  I'll still try to get a picture of her wearing it eventually.

The only other thing I'm working on right now is my first cowl (that I decided to make just in time for summer).  I'm using this grey yarn I really like: Lion Brand Wool-Ease in worsted weight Oxford Grey.

I've been shying away from acrylic yarns over the past few months but this is a really nice blend of acrylic and lamb's wool--very soft and easy to work with.  I've found that when it comes to natural fibers it's just as easy to find scratchy, tough-to-knit yarns as it is with acrylics.  This blend gives you no hints of artificality or natural roughness--it's just really, really soft.

I also really want to pick up some of the new bamboo yarn from Debbie Stoller's Stitch Nation line, Bamboo Ewe.

It's a 55/45 blend of bamboo and wool in worsted weight that comes in lots of vibrant colors, and like the Lions Brand yarn it has an amazing soft but firm texture that I'd love to knit with.

My boyfriend and I had a conversation about bamboo yarn one day when he said, "You should figure out how to make yarn out of bamboo because it has a bunch of great antimicrobial properties that would make it ideal for hats and scarves."  To his surprise, I told him that bamboo yarn was already a thing, and a few days later I picked some up so I could make him a hat and scarf.

I enjoyed working with bamboo yarn so much that I went on an Ebay shopping spree.  Unfortunately I discovered that you can't trust listings when they say "worsted weight" because your yarn might just show up and be fingerling, and unless I want a lot of bamboo socks I'm SOL.

Bamboo blends can be pricey when you're not getting them online, but Stoller's yarn is completely affordable at about $4 a skein even in the store (the Lions Brand is the same, price wise) which is part of the reason I'm so excited about it (I also like that she's increasing awareness about bamboo blends...hopefully other yarn companies will follow suit).

Unfortunately I can't afford to buy things I need, let alone things I really don't need like more yarn (I have a cabinet full.  And a shelf) so my Bamboo Ewe experiments will have to wait.

For now, I'm happy working the Wool-Ease cowl.  I'm not using a pattern; I browsed Ravelry for a while to find a good one, but it's basically just a giant leg warmer and I figured I could handle that on my own.  What I'm not liking is how often my stitches are falling off the needles.  Time to get some circular 11s...

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