I've had a such a fun weekend enjoying a few of my favorite things. What things? Well, knitting socks and lace and watching Wimbledon Tennis and the Tour de France on TV. I've been so looking forward to the Tour de France, not because I have a clear-cut favorite rider this year like I've had the last several years, but because it's like going on a trip to France and getting to see the countryside, but without actually being there. Don't get me wrong, I would *love* to be there, but this is the next best thing. Since the recent champions (Lance Armstrong, Floyd Landis) are now retired, I'll be watching Levi Leipheimer closely along with a few others. Wouldn't it be cool if an American won again? The odds are not as good this year, but it's possible. There's one thing I do know, that is knitting and watching the Tour de France on TV are excellent companions :-)
And so, speaking of knitting, I've been a busy little thing. Thanks to a little sale at KnitPicks, I've got several new books on their way to my house. I picked up EZ's Knitter's Almanac, Alison Jeppson-Hyde's new book Comfort Shawls, and the new book by Koigu. I ordered a few needles and some sock yarn while I was at it (the things I really needed ;-) to qualify for free shipping. Then I hit Michael's to buy a few balls of LionBrand's CottonEase on sale. Yes, I'm going to try again to knit a cotton sweater that fits--but don't hold your breath as I've not succeeded yet. I'm more confident, though, as my knitting skills have vastly improved since my last sweater attempt. To finish off my shopping spree I hit the Yarn Haven to pick up 2 more balls of yes, Panda Cotton! I've have intentions to design some anklets, but I needed a solid color, so I grabbed some pink this time around. Sandy got some more Kid Merino in stock and I spied a purple and green ball called violets that just screamed my name. I even grabbed the size 7 needles that Jane Sowerby knit everything Mohair in in VLT and knit a (gasp!) swatch to see how it worked up. I haven't measured my gauge, but it looks to loose for my tasted so I will most likely use a size 6 needle when I start a real project.
Speaking of real projects, I took some pix of what's up in my knitting basket. I went back to work on the 2nd Jaywalker and am almost done with the heel flap. I really want to get these things done as I'm quite tired of knitting them. But the Jaywalkers don't count for my SOS KAL, so I'm also knitting my 2nd pair of Panda Cotton socks, this time using the Victorian Lace pattern from the Six Sox KAL. Gotta love knitting socks in the summer!
I printed out the 1st clue from the Mystery Stole 3 KAL last weekend, but I had no intention of casting on until after I finished the Hanami Stole. That was before I did some blog reading and caught up with the the Yarn Harlot. Yes, even our famous and beloved Stephanie Pearl-McPhee succumbed to the crowds and cast-on the MS3 using some yarn out of her stash. That was when my resolve faltered and I did some stash digging myself. I cast-on Friday night using KnitPicks Bare laceweight and some 8-0 Champagne Silver-lined seed beads. Choosing the beads was tough because nothing really looks good with natural colored fiber. Or at least I never found anything that worked when I was tatting with beads. I felt good about my choice in the lighting of my bedroom, but when I hauled the lace outside yesterday it looked just awful. So I had a dilemma. I was half way through Chart B so I didn't want to frog it, but I needed to get rid of the beads without damaging the yarn. Being the risk-taker that I am (NOT!) I took a hammer to the beads and crushed them. Even better, was I didn't cut the yarn because the beads were so completely shattered. Cool!
So I should be satisfied now that the beads are gone, right? Well, yes, i love the look of the natural colored yarn, but I'm so disappointed to not have beads in my project. I had some amazing deep blue AB beads in my stash that looked great with some light blue lace yarn. I had 3 skeins of Alpaca Cloud in a light smoky blue, but I was afraid I'd run out of yarn so that wouldn't do, but I also had a cone of super skinny cash/merino/viscose from ColourMart. A single strand was too skinny, so I went through the hassle of turning it into a center-pull ball of double-strand. I had a little bit left over, which I double stranded into a tiny ball and decided to cast-on and knit a swatch (gasp again!) in pattern with the beads. Oh pretty! So now I'm knitting 2 Mystery Stoles, one with and one without beads--and I like them both. What a crazy fool I am for doing 2 at once!