Zarzuela Knits and Crochets
My blog about my knitting, crocheting, and anything else I feel like ranting about!

Summer of Socks blog is ready to roll!

Here we go! Come check out the new home for the Summer of Socks!

I'm outta here until June 12th. There may be a random post here or there, but don't expect much from me until then. I wish anyone in the U.S. a very happy and safe Memorial Day weekend! See you all when I get back from bassoon camp!


First things first,


Ahem. Now where was I? Oh yes...

Sorry for the sporadic blogging this week. I really have no idea where the week went! I guess all this build up to the big vacation is finally hitting the fan (if ya know what I mean) and it just seems like I've been so busy with other things that I haven't gotten the time to blog. The first major load of my stuff went to NJ on Thursday morning (woot!) and now the packing for vacation and for sending more stuff to NJ this weekend seems to be consuming all my thoughts. Well, that AND the Summer of Socks, which is up to 75 members (remember: today is the last day to sign up!). Look for an update on that early tomorrow morning.

So since this really is a knitting and crocheting blog and all this stuff about alongs and moving and such is not exactly exciting I will attempt to not bore you with a display of what is actually going to go to bassoon camp with me craft-wise. You probably already know that bassoon have to go to bassoon camp right?

First up is the lacy leaf cocoon:

Very close to being done at this point. I'll be very interested to see how the sleeves actually work out. So far I still love the yarn but, I'm sorry to say, the pattern directions are terrible. I got the errata from the Interweave site and that only covers part of the pattern and even THAT is not very clear. I hate to write badly about such a pretty pattern, and I don't know if it is the designer or the magazine editors that are to blame for the overall write up, but the directions are very poorly done. Luckily this pattern includes two very good pictures or I may have given up on this long ago.

Next up, the latest installment of HWJF socks:

Just to refresh your memory, these are being made in Opal on size 1 needles. The smallest needle I've used before now is a 2 so it's a bit of a change. There are several more stitches involved with these (84!) but I really like the fabric so far. I can see where this might be better for sock fabric as it is a bit more sturdy. But I'm questioning my sanity in trying these for the bigger feet of my guy instead of me first! ;-)

Allow me to introduce you to Bob:

Bob is my green project for May and Project Spectrum. (Ummm... can you say "Not gonna finish by the end of May". Yeah.) I figured I could probably only take so many pictures of green leaves before I made you all sick, and, well, I haven't taken a single one yet so better to go with this plan. I'm doing this in the sadly discontinued Cotton Ease in Pistachio. I saw a similar one here and thought it might be interesting and might not look awful on me. Green really isn't a color that speaks to me much, and I guess it's apparent since I haven't gotten very far with this. Oh yeah, and my gauge isn't quite right.... so this ought to be interesting.

Lest you think that I should be satisfied with three measly, near complete projects for 20+ hours of driving and 10 days of sheer joy on top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere with no TV, no internet, no radio and only a newspaper in which to get the hockey scores, I present this:

Which is all the other stuff I'm taking with me (here's hoping HWJF doesn't see this picture in the next 24 hours!). I'm going to attempt some more spinning, perhaps start a kiri shawl, a pair of socks for moi, and a tube toporini. Think that's enough to keep me busy for the next two weeks?

Frog pond


Frog pond
Originally uploaded by Zarzuelaknits.
Believe it or not, I do still knit. I even have another F.O. to show but I can't make it happen until the 'puter gets back from NJ. In the meantime the lastest HWJF sock went to the frog pond this weekend. It was too big, the increases were all wonky... in a word, it was just wrong (perhaps we should be afraid that I am hosting a sock along?). So Monday night I gave it another shot and the pic shows it in its current state of "much better"-ness (I.E. users click the empty space to see).

In the meantime, besides this project I'm having a hard time deciding what to bring with me on vacation. The lacey loop will probably not be done so that will go. I actually do have a green project spectrum knit (that I hope to show you before the month is over!) so that will go. I was thinking about maybe starting a kiri shawl or a tube-topporini. I just can't seem to make up my mind and I only have a few days to go!

So what types of projects, besides socks, do *you* bring on vacation?

The big event of the weekend...


The big event of the weekend...
Originally uploaded by Zarzuelaknits.
So in case you haven't figured it out already from the picture (I.E. Users click the empty area to see the pic) the big event this weekend was HWJF'S move to our new apartment (I don't move in until July 1st although HWJF and I will be taking my stuff down there slowly over the coming weeks). Believe it or not, we picked up the truck at 8:30 Saturday morning and had it back by 2:30 the same day. Talk about tired and sore! But we did it.

The new place is great. There is a pond behind our building which is inhabited by ducks and geese (which was quite the entertainment on a number of occasions) and the complex is surrounded by a golf course so it is nice and quiet. The apartment itself, except for a few minor problems is awesome. So nice to have an extra full bathroom and the extra space. The appliances seem to be very new too so that was lucky. Overall we are both very happy.

I'm the one that will be going through the biggest adjustment at this point. After this weekend things have suddenly gotten very 'real'. When I think about the fact that soon I won't be going back to CT at all, I get very sad, while at the same time I'm very excited about all the good things (like having HWJF in the same state, extra money, less commute) this move will bring. For now I am going to try and concentrate on packing for bassoon camp and packing up my apartment. I can worry about adjusting to a new place later, right?

Socks are taking over my life!!

Well, not really. But there sure does seem like a lot of sock stuff floating around in my world right now. Thanks to Lolly posting about it on her blog, the Summer of Socks is approaching 50 participants! Incidentally, if you'd like to sign up please, please, please DO NOT leave a comment. Send an e-mail to Zarzuela1996 at yahoo dot com with your name and blog address and which parts of the along you would like to participate in. It just makes it so much easier for me when I'm putting you all into the spreadsheet and the blog. Speaking of the blog, for now, please be sure to add the feed for this blog to your feed reader of choice (Bloglines or otherwise). There will be a separate blog for the along and when it is ready I'll let you know from here. This blog will also be moving very soon, so be sure to stay tuned for updates!

I'm also very excited to tell you about some of the prizes that have been offered. Jen will be donating a skein of her handspun (which I saw in action at SnB last night and was quite impressed), Morgan has offered to donate something yet to be determined, and Paula has a skein of Regia up for the winner. Then Mama E also said she would donate some of her handspun and dyed yarn (I'm loving the blue for the next month of Project Spectrum)! And on top of all that, we have a corporate sponsor! Tara of blondechickenboutique.com and I will be working out the details of a donation from her soon to be up and running shop featuring organic and fair trade handpainted yarns! How cool is that?! Thank you all for your generosity. If you would like to sweeten the pot, do let me know...

In the midst of all this I've been knitting on... wait for it... a sock! Shocking I know. I finished one this past week:

This is the Broadripple Pattern from an old issue of Knitty. I'm using Cascade Fixation since the pattern calls for it. When I was looking for a pattern for this yarn Lolly suggested something with ribbing and Beth suggested something with lace and I thought this kind of combined the two. Now I am not making an accusations here mind you, but now that the first sock is done, doesn't this look a bit Jaywalker-esque? I am enjoying it just as much too. Although I'm on a self-imposed yarn buying moratorium, I may try to pick up another two balls of this before I go on vacation. I kind of like the fact that I'm cranking out a pair of socks on size 3 needles. They seem so big compared to the size 1s I'm using for the latest HWJF socks!

I also am wondering what the hell I was thinking when I picked out this color. If you are a long time reader you know that my color palette of choice is generally more geared to the blue side (understatement of the century, I know) but I decided to try and break out a bit with this selection. Um... yeah. So I really don't know what the heck I would wear with these. Perhaps they will become weekend bumming around socks. They are definitely squishy and comfy so I do think there will be more of these type in my future, just not this color.

I do have more to show, but time and energy are short (that's what staying up until 11pm entering names when you have to be up at 5am will do to ya!). Perhaps there will be a post this weekend, but perhaps not since there is a rather big event planned. You may just have to wait until Monday. Evil I know. Have a great weekend (and please send dry thoughts to central NJ. Rain would really suck this weekend)!


The title is my new mantra. Why you ask? This

requires it. Yes friends, I am the type of knitter/crocheter that looks at a pattern and says, "Wow. That looks really cool and I think it would look good on me." I am not so smart as the rest of you that might look at something like this and say, "Wow. That looks really cool but maybe chaining 6 eleventy-billion times might not be the most pleasing experience." I am apparently not smart enough for that. So here I am, resigned to my new mantra in the hopes that it will be worth it in the end. And if that wasn't enough, try doing it on a bouncing train and running out of yarn in the skein just one loop away from a complete round.

I'll be dodging the men with the white coats who keep running past my door if you need me...

Summer of Socks update...

Edit: SIGN UPS ARE NOW CLOSED!!!! Please feel free to follow our progress over on the blog.

I want to thank everyone who has signed up for the Summer of Socks so far! I threw the idea out there last Friday in a caffeine induced fit of inspiration (seriously people at Dunkies, you should listen to the people who ask for decaf. It's usually because we really can't have caffeine and generally for medical reasons. You could really kill somebody!) and the response has been good. Now that I've gotten some time to think things through a little better I want to address some issues that have come up.

First, the main point is *not* about the competition. It's just a friendly knit/crochet along where you can keep motivated to knit socks while you are out and about this summer. Afterall, it is vacation time for most of us and what better portable project is there than a sock? You don't have to think "oh I'll never knit more than one pair so I won't join". That's not the point! Please feel free to join if you just want to knit some socks this summer and would like to do so along with a group of like minded people. And if you've never knit a sock before, this would be a great time to give it a try and let other people in the along help you out if you run into a problem.

Secondly, for those of us who need or want a challenge and/or some extra motivation, you can be part of the contest to see who can knit the most pairs of socks in three months. If you want to participate in this part, just let me know and I'll keep you on a special list of contestants. Only socks that are started June 21st or later and have a pair completed by the Sept. 21st deadline will count in this contest. I want to thank those of you who indicated that you would be willing to donate a prize. In the meantime, Lolly had a great idea in that if there is enough interest, we might be able to get a corporate sponsor to donate the prizes! So tell your friends and maybe there will be extra special goodies at the end!

The third thing is that I think we could have more than one contest going during the three months so that people can participate on several levels. So if you have a contest idea, please let me know. As I was thinking more about summer and sock knitting I thought of a second contest idea. We will also have a "Take your sock on vacation" contest. What you'll have to do for this one will be to take a picture of you and your sock at some interesting place that you end up at this summer. Now that doesn't necessarily mean you have to travel far and wide, there can be cool places right in your back yard! You can send your pictures in as the along goes... um... along *snicker* and we'll all vote for the best pic at the end. And of course there will be some sock related prize to the winner. As things go along (there's that word again) I'll set a submission deadline and give you an address to send your pictures.

So to summarize you can participate in three different ways (so far). 1. Just knit or crochet socks and interact with your fellow sock-loving friends. 2. Sign-up for the most socks in three months contest. 3. Sign up for the traveling sock contest.

Sound like fun? I sure hope so! If you've already signed up, leave a comment and let me know which ways you would like to participate. And if you haven't signed up, what the heck are you waiting for? E-mail me at Zarzuela1996 at yahoo dot com with the subject "Summer of Socks" and be sure to include your blog address and which parts you would like to participate in.

And in case you are just dying to get a button on your sidebar, the lovely and talented Beth was nice enough to make some buttons for us this weekend! Thanks again Beth!!

Please be sure to save to your own server!

Aren't they just too cool?

I promise this will be the last major post on this for those of you who don't want anything to do with socks! Next time, actual progress on projects that involve knitting and crocheting. Really.

The main reason I'll miss CT...


This amazing group of women, only some of which are pictured above. Since three of us are moving away all at about the same time we decided to get together for drinks and fondue on Saturday night. At one point we went around the table and we had an architect, an entomologist, an engineer, me, an international relations specialist, and a montesori school teacher in the group! We were missing a few dear friends like the graphic designer/ webmaster extrodinaire, the economist and the nurse, but you have to admit, that's a pretty diverse group of women! And what did we all start off with as the common denominator? Knitting. If I find the Stitch 'n Bitch group in NJ to be even half as diverse and interesting as these people, I will be impressed.

Thank you ladies for a lovely evening and for being such great friends for the past two years! I will miss you all!

Summer of socks anyone?

Edit: SIGN UPS ARE NOW CLOSED!!! Please check out our progress on the blog.

So I may be getting myself in serious trouble here, but I'm thinking blogland may need a "Summer of Socks" knit / crochet along. After listening to the Knitters review tour of Maryland and seeing some general interest in blogland, I'm thinking the time is right. Besides, those of us in some of the year long sock alongs may need a little mid-year motivation right? I know I set myself a little personal goal of 12 pair for the year and I'm a bit behind so some extra motivation might be good.
So here's the deal:
We will challenge ourselves to see just how many socks we can knit from solstice to solstice (or thereabouts), June 21st to Sept. 21st (I'll be going on vacation in a couple of weeks, so this will give me time to get everything organized before we start). No pressure. Just see what you can accomplish in 3 months. If enough people would be willing to make a small donation along with me, we could have a prize for the person who knits the most pairs in the three month period (they are going to need to replenish the stash after all that sock knitting!). If there are enough donations we could even have a 1st - 3rd prize.
To sign up send an e-mail with the subject "Summer of Socks" to Zarzuela1996 at yahoo dot com with your name and blog URL (you must have a blog so we can see your socks!) by May 26th so I can link to you on the sidebar. Please indicate if you'd like to make a prize donation in your e-mail.
If you are so inclined, we could certainly use a lovely button of some sort. One other thing, if this ends up getting to knitting olympics popularity levels, I could use some assistance from the technically inclined to bail me out when my inbox explodes! So please indicate any willingness to help in your e-mail too.
Now to sit back and find out just how much trouble I'm in...

Crochet returns!

First, thank you all so much for all the nice comments on the Heirloom Aran Pullover! I was so excited to finish it and I really am happy with how it turned out. But I do feel a bit liberated in that I can finally move on to things that aren't wool! Speaking of which...

This here little blog has been seriously lacking in crochet content for quite sometime. In fact, I just went back and figured out that the last thing I completed that was crocheted was the wedding afghan I made last July. Yikes!

I guess I just haven't been inspired by many of the crochet patterns I've been seeing lately. A lot of the sweaters just don't seem to drape nicely or have design elements that are interesting to me. I did buy this book a couple of months ago, but I either wasn't in the mood to get into another big sweater project or didn't have the cash to buy the yarn for it (mostly because I was buying yarn for other things).

I realized recently that I hadn't crocheted much of anything except for the occasional granny square for Heartmade Blessings (something else I really hope to get back to after I move to NJ and have all sorts of new free time on my hands *yeah, right*) and I really wanted to get back to it. I thought about doing a doily but my eyes are a little tired these days after 7 hours a day or more of staring at a computer screen. Then I heard about Crochet Cast and after listening to a couple of episodes and checking out some of the new IK Crochet issues the bug finally bit.

While it may look like a weird ass doily at the moment it really is the Lacy Leaf Cocoon pattern by Annie Modesitt. I just think this is such a pretty jacket and the fact that it was inspired by a classic doily pattern must have scratched that doily itch I was having or something. I picked up the yarn at Webs when I went to see Stephanie and it is really lovely to work with so far. The tencel content really lets the yarn slide nicely.

My only problem so far (after getting the errata update) has been the directions after round 19. I'm not sure exactly what they meant to do, but instead of doing the rounds as numerically listed, I worked round 18 five times and then went on to round 12 before ending off the MC. Here's hoping it works out. Anyone else out there working on this and ending up equally confused?

I have more plans for making patterns from this particular issue, but I'll blog about that when I get to them.

And now I must get back to waiting for updates on the game-we-will-not-discuss for which I have sacrificed one of my remaining SnB nights in CT. What a girl won't do for her team....

Heirloom Aran Pullover

Sorry for the blogging hiatus. Between blogger being a PITA and just plain needing some time away from the computer I just didn't get around to blogging until now. But I did do something important with my time this weekend...

Pattern: Heirloom Aran Pullover from Knitpicks
Yarn: Knitpicks Wool of the Andes (8 hanks)
Needles: Addi Turbos size 7 and 9, switched to a Crystal Palace Bamboo Circ, size 9 after the first full repeat or so of the back
Knit: 3/21/06-5/7/06
Modifications: None except for a few *ahem* design elements here and there

(Holy crap I look like hell in blog pics lately. Somebody stop me!) Wow. It's finally finished! I don't think I've ever been so happy with a finished object. The seaming and neckband alone took the better part of a day themselves, but I am so happy with the finished product. When I first decided to knit this, I was thinking of a much heavier and more rugged knitted fabric than I was getting with this yarn. But in the end, I'm really happy that it's a bit lighter and softer than I had imagined. I wore it around Princeton Sunday night when it was getting a bit chilly and it was plenty warm despite the cool breeze.

HWJF got that shot while I was fixing my hair and I think it actually shows the cables quite well. Only a couple words of caution with this pattern in case you plan to run out and buy it. The sizing runs small. I made the 40" size and I am by no means a size 40 and it fits me. And I did check my gauge and was right on. The other thing, beware the seed stitch horseshoe cable! While the others *look* more complicated, that one nearly drove me insane.

When I bought this pattern I really thought I would feel like this was my "magnum opus" if you will. I thought that it would be so complicated that when I finished I would feel like I had conquered the world. Well I gotta say, not so much. It was a challenge and it was what I needed at the time I started it, but I don't really feel like it was that monumental. I have a lovely finished garment that I'm very happy with and that's pretty much the end of the story. I guess I have to find something bigger and better for the next time around huh?

More regularly scheduled nonsense coming soon....

Sleeves and other creatures...

Now that my little blue distraction has been finished I seem to finally be able to turn my attention back to the beast at hand:

Kitty included for scale (of course)

One sleeve done! Does this look sort of look like a big cream cabled sting ray to anyone else?! Or (for the bassoonists in the crowd) an arrowhead plaque? Yeah. Let's just assume it really is a sleeve for now shall we? Knitting these sleeves really isn't so bad. Now that I've got a good start on sleeve number two I can tell you two things with great confidence. There are really only two problems.

Problem number one: The damn thing ends up being 105 stitches across at the widest point. 105! That's huge! At least I think so. That statement alone confirms for me that this is going to be one big cozy sweater. Emphasis on the big part. I've told HWJF that this might come out big enough for us both to wear at the same time. He said I better make two more sleeves. Fat chance dude!

Problem number two: Of those 105 stitches, every freekin one the vast majority of them are worked in seed stitch. I think I'm approaching dizzy from the back and forth. Oye! Wonder why it's taking me a while? Try knitting yourself 105 stitches in seed stitch and throw in a horseshoe cable. Yes. I am insane. Thanks for asking.

And since you already know that, allow me to confirm it for you by making the following statement:

I think I might be able to finish this by the end of the upcoming weekend.

Stop laughing. I can hear you.

Blue Gable

Green Blue Gable

Pattern: Green Gable from Zephyr Style
Yarn: Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in color Blue Paradise. Less than three skeins.
Needles: Addi turbos in size 6 and 4.
Knit: April 19-27, 2006
Modifications: I lengthened the body slightly and added six extra rows to the sleeves before the ribbing.

Although I'm not happy with the picture, I am happy with the finished object. I really enjoyed this quick, painless knit with the result being a cute top that I can certainly wear to work. I had to lengthen the body as usual (have I mentioned I'm nearly 6 feet tall?) and I put a little extra length in the sleeves since I'm not a big fan of real short cap sleeves. After reading posts on the KAL today I found out that the initial cast on was supposed to be backward loop to make more of a boatneck. I'm fairly sure that I used my usual long tail cast on and while the neck isn't as open as it could have been, I'm just fine with the result.

I really loved working with this yarn. Despite reporting to you all that the first skein had 3 knots, the last two were knot free. I'll take this to mean that first skein was the exception and not the rule, so I would definitely knit something else with this yarn in the future. I bought 4 skeins without a definite project in mind and I ended up with a fair amount of the third skein and all of the forth skein leftover. Any ideas for what I can do with the leftovers?

If you plan on using this yarn with more than one color together in a project, definitely pay attention to the warning on the label. It did loose a lot of color in the wash and might cause a problem when using more than one color (in this case, check out the sink turned toilet bowl effect here).

I think I might consider making a long sleeved version of this at some point. Might make a nice fall top. The only other thing I might have done would have been to make the waist decreases a little earlier and then add some increases for the hips.

Definitely a great pattern and a fun knit. Go get yourself one!

Sheep and wolves...

What a busy weekend! It seems like as soon as I start to relax it is already Monday and time to go back to work! Time flies when you're having fun I guess.

So Saturday after a stop to drop off a bassoon to one of his students, HWJF (that's right. The boyfriend came with me. Am I lucky or what?!) and I headed for the CT Sheep and Wool festival. I had been once before, but the weather was awful. This time it was a bright sunny day and the little festival parking area was packed when we arrived. While this is a very small festival, they sure do pack in a lot to see. There were alpacas in the first of the four barns and lots of yummy yarns. There was even someone making straw brooms! The second barn housed the sheep to shawl competition, sheep shearing demo and several vendors offering different roving and yarns. Out behind this barn was the sheep dog trial area. This is something that I always am completely amazed by, but can only watch for about 5 min. before I want to move on to the yarn. The dogs and the sheep REALLY move! I suppose if someone told me what exactly they are supposed to do I might be more interested. The third barn housed the Nutmeg Spinners and more yarn vendors. I ran into Chris here as I thought I might. For those of you who read her blog, you might be as shocked as I was to realize that little BB is already 3 months old and was about ready for her first harecut which we got to watch:

Later on in the day I got to hold her!

Isn't she just the sweetest thing?! And I even found out that cats and bunnies will get along. A new friend for Simba in the future perhaps? Hmmm...

The last barn featured the food (I'm always a little disturbed by the fact that they serve lamb. HWJF was disturbed by the taste) and several other vendors. I saw some really pretty soysilk yarn that I almost bought, but was a little pricey and the most beautiful spindles where the whorl was made of a metal circle and the center had these beautifully hand-carved Celtic knot patterns. I was a bad blogger and was too bashful to ask if I could take a picture, but trust me, they were beautiful (and a bit out of my price range).

After meeting up with Lauren and Joanne, we decided to have lunch at Reins which is always fun. It's a NY style deli that is set up to look like NYC where you can eat in Brooklyn like we did while watching the Statue of Liberty's torch burn and stopping at Grand Central Station to pay.

When lunch was done we headed back and I made my purchases:

Some new roving that will hopefully inspire me to play with my spindle some more. Slightly over 1000 of fingering weight alpaca that I'm not totally sure what I'll do with yet and this:

Opal sock yarn for HWJF for $9! I cast on in the car on the way to Hartford because the sock I was trying to make for myself just wasn't working out (more on that soon). Now I'll definitely have a SIP (sock in progress) for train knitting for a while.

Now I bet you're wondering about the wolves part... after running a few errands and getting a snack, it was off to a Wolfpack hockey game in Hartford! Ever since getting my job last fall, there hasn't been much time for live hockey. I got an e-mail on Friday that there was a game Saturday night, a play-off game at that and the series was tied 3-3. We decided to go for it and weren't disappointed. They won! (And the mojo must have been good for that other team we won't be talking about.) Definitely a great end to a fun day!

Sunday was mostly spent in frustration that I won't bore you with. What little knitting I did do at least got me to finish the first sleeve from hell (which I also don't seem to have a pic of right now).

FO pics next time. See you then!