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So I think it’s time to admit that grad school is bad for blogging.  I always mean to find the time to put something here, but sometimes that time just doesn’t exist.  That being said, I am so not ready to give up on this yet, so I promise to try and do my best to make time when I can.  But the reality I’m facing is that posts just won’t be as frequent as they once were.  So I’m going to stop apologizing for not posting and just do my best to post when I can.  That is my oath to you from now on.

So now that that is out of the way.  Ravelympics came and went.  I finished both my projects (hurray!), but it was sort of anticlimactic because they were small since school work has been heavy the last few weeks.  March 1 came and my internal clock seemed to know it was Malabrigo March even when my conscious mind did not.  Within in the first three days of march I cast on two projects with Malabrigo yarns.

As you might guess, this was largely motivated by a need for some color in my life.  Here in Philly things are just starting to warm up.  It’s supposed to be beautiful today, but last week it was hovering around the 40s, back and forth from grey to sunny to drizzly again.  And the solution was these little guys.

The first to come was a Verdaia shawl, cast on in Malabrigo Sock in Agaus (which in truth is not quite so blue in real life, a reality my camera refused to accept).  This new shawl pattern cropped up a few weeks back and right away I liked the looks of it.  I had originally planned to make Clothilde with this yarn, but when push came to shove I had plenty of other sock yarns I would be happy to use for Clothilde and nothing else I wanted to use for this.  It’s a nice pattern, the body is relatively simple, with slightly more complexity coming up in the edging.  More details are here.

A few days later I was really feeling the need for some serious lace.  And because Verdaia is relatively simple, I needed to add in something else to fill that void.  In addition to that, I could not stop thinking about this yarn as soon as the sun peaked through the clouds.  It is Malabrigo Lace in Sauterne and it is the most perfect yellow in the world if you ask me.  So I cast on for Aeolian.  This pattern rocks.  And so does this yarn.  I had forgotten how awesome it feels all the time.  I truly love it.  More detail on this one can be found here.

Those two projects have been grabbing most of my attention in the past week.  But Spring break is coming up soon.  And once I recover from having my wisdom teeth out  my plans are minimal and will hopefully involve lots of knitting!  Fingers crossed.

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Look at me!  I have an FO & pictures so I can actually show it to you!  It’s been too long since my last FO post, but since I’m devoting June to finishing (mostly) I’m hoping to have even more to show you soon.  For now I’ve got my Ulmus shawl that I made for the Fans of Through the Loops group on ravelry.

Pattern: Ulmus (ravelry)

Source: Through the Loops

Yarn: Malabrigo, Sock & Claudia Hand Painted Yarns, Fingering

Needles: US 4

Started: May 10, 2009

Finished: June 9, 2009

Find it on Ravelry here.

Kirsten has come through with another great pattern for the Ulmus.  It’s a beautiful design and wonderfully written.  The main body of the shawl becomes good mindless knitting once you get the feel for it and then the lace spices things up a bit towards the end.  And it has good stashbusting potential for those of you who are into that kind of thing (not me, I of course bought more yarn for this project).

I did actually start out with a different color combination before I went with this one.  I had initially chosen two colors of Malabrigo Sock in Lettuce and Eggplant.  In the balls the colors looked lovely together, but in the pattern it was too much contrast for my taste.  I went hunting for other options and settled on these.  I’m so glad I did.  While it’s a rather unexpected color combination for me, I think it’s really beautiful and I love that I ended with a result that is unlike anything else I own.

The shawl comes in three sizes and I chose to make the Medium.  Before starting I did swatch & check gauge, but I must have loosened up as I went because once I blocked, the shawl came out to the dimensions listed for the Large.  It’s bigger than most of my shawls, but it’s been fun to play with how to wear it.  And I managed to work it in a few days before it started to get quite hot and humid around here.  Oh, and did I mention how great it feels to be finishing things?

…trips to my LYS that is.  I’ve got the pictures together of the rest of the lovely things I acquired at Stitches East.  So here is the second half of what I brought home with me from Baltimore this weekend.  I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I do.

Yarn: Yarn Love, Elizabeth Bennett

Color: Bella

Dye Lot:

Amount: two skeins at 195 yds each

Purchased at: Yarn Love booth, Stitches East

stashed on ravelry here

Oh my gosh is this yarn amazingly gorgeous.  It’s almost hard for me to come up with anything else to say because it’s just so pretty.  It’s pretty to touch, and pretty to look at and it smells pretty.  Really, really pretty.  At first I planned to make socks with it, but someone has put the bug in my ear that it might just be too pretty for socks and I think they might just be right.

Yarn: Black Water Abbey, 2 Ply Worsted

Color: Navy

Dye Lot: 131207

Amount: one skein at 220 yds

Purchased at: Black Water Abbey booth, Stitches East

stashed on ravelry here

I’d seen the gorgeous colors that Black Water Abbey comes in and knew I wanted to get my hands on some.  I’ve been wanting to make a new hat and I’ve been in the mood to do one with cables.  I haven’t picked a specific pattern yet, but I thought a classic Irish Aran yarn of this type would be well suited to a hat of that kind.  And while the color is dark, I don’t think it’s so dark that the cables will disappear.  While the colorway is called Navy it’s really more like a mottled black and purple.  It’s very unique.

Yarn: Malabrigo, Dos Test Skeins

Color: Blue Bellis

Dye Lot:

Amount: two skeins at 150 yds each

Purchased at: Malabrigo booth, Stitches East

stashed on ravelry here

One of the booths I was most excited about visiting was the Malabrigo booth.  I got to see Antonio and Tobias.  I got to see mini Malabrigo made Bob and his herd of sheep.  And I knew that if I name dropped my Junkies affiliation I would get some test skeins if there were any left.  And I did!  These two lovely skeins of the new Malabrigo yarn Dos feel like they have a lot of sproing.  I’ve never encountered this before in a Malabrigo yarn, so I’m really looking forward to knitting it up and getting a sense of what it feels like to work with.

Yarn: Yarn Love, Marianne Dashwood

Color: Summer Sangria

Dye Lot:

Amount: one skein at 330 yds

Purchased at: Yarn Love booth, Stitches East

stashed on ravelry here

This is my other score from the Yarn Love booth.  Let me not forget to mention that this particular booth was also very high on my list.  It was also the only booth where I purchased more than one item.  And this second of the two, while it doesn’t bring on full out fainting spells like the first is also really gorgeous.  The facets of the color are amazing and I know a stitch pattern will stand out very well with the slight sheen and even twist this yarn has.  It tends to be a struggle to keep myself from buying variegated sock yarn, but when the semi-solid yarns look like this, it becomes a whole lot easier.  Now to pick the perfect pattern for the perfect semi solid yarn.

That’s right, I’ve just returned from my one day jaunt up to Baltimore for Stitches East. I picked up a bundle of yarn but managed to stay within my budget! At the last minute plans changed and my Mom was able to join me, which made it even more fun. We at least peaked at every booth, which since we took no break to ate, put us pretty close to passing out. I met some great yarn folk, more than a few of them being ladies I truly admire. I picked up some really fantastic things and eve got a deal or two. I’ve only taken pictures of about half of my haul at this point, so this will be the first of two installments detailing what exactly I scored.

Yarn: Malabrigo, Sock

Color: Lettuce

Dye Lot: 310703

Amount: one skein at 440 yds

Purchased at: Great Yarns! booth, Stitches East

stashed on ravelry here

This was on my must buy list. I pre-ordered one skein from Yarnzilla that I haven’t gotten yet, as a back up in case I got to Stitches and all the Malabrigo Sock was sold out, but I managed to find this gorgeous skein as well. I cannot wait to use this yarn I’ve been dying to try it since buzz about its release first started to come out months ago.

Yarn: JaggerSpun, Zephyr Wool Silk

Color: Pewter – 205

Dye Lot:

Amount: one skein at 630yds

Purchased at: Stitches East

stashed on ravelry here

A week or so ago I stumbled on a Ravelry thread where folks were talking about what their favorite lace weight yarn was. This one was incredibly popular, so when I saw it at Stitches for $11 for 630y ds I snatched it up. I wish I could remember what booth I bought it at though.

Yarn: Fleece Artist, Sea Wool

Color: Victoria

Dye Lot:

Amount: one skein at 382 yds

Purchased at: Yarn4Socks booth, Stitches East

stashed on ravelry here

Apart from Malabrigo Sock this yarn has been on the top of my “too try” list for ages. I’ve heard great things about yarn will Seacell in general and this one in particular and I’ve really wanted to know what all the fuss was about. I spotted this skein early on in the day, but I’d already done some pretty significant damage in a short time, and wanted to make sure I had some funds left for later so I decided to hold back. We happened to walk by the booth on our way out the door and I spotted a sign that said it had been marked down since we first walked by. The skein I had been looking at was still there, so I had to go for it.

Yarn: Rowan, Cocoon

Color: Seascape

Dye Lot: 70100

Amount: one skein at 126 yds

Purchased at: Rosie’s Yarn Cellar booth, Stitches East

stashed on ravelry here

This is another yarn I’ve heard great things about. I was looking for a bulky weight yarn with some sheen to it for the Axel Mitts and I spotted this. The color is amazing, the sheen is amazing and it feels so soft. It was right at the end of the day, so all my resolve had worn down and I just went for it. Not that I regret it. It’s so, so pretty.

Yarn: Habu, XS-45 20/3

Color: Eggplant

Dye Lot:

Amount: one skein at 574 yds

Purchased at: Habu booth, Stitches East

stashed on ravelry here

I’ve never knit with a Habu yarn before and I’ve wanted to try one for awhile.  Their yarns always seem so luxurious.  This lace weight bamboo is no exception.  The color is gorgeous and it has a high sheen.  For a minute after getting home and unpacking my bag I thought I had managed to leave it in the gelato shop we hit after lunch on our way out of town.  I was completely panicked, but it turned out to be safely in mothers car, so I will get to find out fabulous their yarns are after all.

That’s it for now.  I’ll show you the other things I picked up (only a few more) once I get a chance to take pictures of them all.  Hopefully I’ll get to that in the next few days.