Friday, September 08, 2006

lace-ing along

I picked up the Lotus Blossom Tank again after a few weeks hiatus. After trying to map out the pattern with Juanita, we decided to just knit the pattern and see how it turns out. Since the height of my stitches is taller than the SWTC bamboo, 26 rows instead of 36 rows in 4", my angle will be much steeper. I am onto the stockinette on the back.
also, I started a quickie project - Branching Out from Knitty - using Karabella Boise - which is cashmere (and I think merino) in a muted coral-pink color.
Blocked the blue cashsoft cabled sweater back/front and arms, and they look all about the same size now.
Thinking about a couple of others...

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Violette Sweater (pink cable)

I'm still at work with the Louisa Harding Violette Pink cable sweater.
I'm past my waist and still going strong. I took a break last night to pick up an old project, the red and brown sparkle tank shown back in January as a UFO. I had overknit the front, and forgotten to bind-off at the armholes, so I ripped it back and re-bound off in the appropriate spots. Now, I'm joining the second ball at the neck, so I can finish up. With today turning cool-ish in the 60s from yesterday's 90s, I'm thinking I'll knit sleeves on this one, maybe even 3/4 length sleeves from the top down. I can hardly wait, it'll be a new technique for me.

I also started swatching with Calmer in Coral. Made my 4" swatch then, re-read the yarn band. The band says 21 stitches for 4 inches on a US 7; the pattern says 21 stitches on a US 8. I'd probably be closer on a US 7, so I'll have to try that again later.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Lotus Blossom Tank

I'm about 2" into the stockinette and realizing that my pattern repeats are about 2" longer than what the pattern calls for. It seems that I didn't confirm row gauge. No way to do that with the change in yarn to the Madil Eden. I have 22 st wide and 26 rows high, versus the pattern's 36 rows. So, It'll take some adjustment. I'm printing the graph paper now and hope to map out what changes I will need to make.

I knit the third ball of the Louisa Harding Cabled knit top. It's slow-going. Even though I enalarged the pattern on a copier so I could see it, I still need to pay attention, otherwise I find the row getting out of synch with the number of stitches, or I find myself holding the cable stitches to the front instead of the back. It's just not normal for me to hold it to the back! unfortunately, that's 2 times each side that I'm holding it to the back, so I'm now noticing right away when I hold it to the front by mistake. With all the cabling, I can see it WILL need the 12 balls called for in the pattern, since the balls are only 83 yds, and it gets taken up into cables pretty quickly. Not all of my hearts look like hearts, especially the ones at the seam where the increases are occurring. Oh well. Who's going to look up at my armpits when I'm wearing the sweater ?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

found my first tank


Found my first tank top (didn't fit - i knit too big). The top is made with Berocco Soft Twist Bulky weight and GGH (Muench) Verikeri (which is a similar green with gold bits in it), held together. The scarf is a drop-stitch scarf I found I made last year as a Christmas present for me. It's Louisa Harding the angora blend and ribbon of the same colorway. Here's a close-up of the neck so you can (hopefully) see the gold gilt part.

July's Fetching Gloves - in a local show

In July, the Knitting Bee (shop near me) had a Customer Trunk Show featuring customer's nitted projects made with KB's yarn. I entered 2 items :

A beaded bag that I had made in a class last year at KB, from Rowan 4-ply soft in Black, and metallic beads on a US 3 needle.

AND the "Fetching" gloves from the Summer Knitty, made with one ball of Cashmerino Aran on a US 7 (supposed to be Us 6, but I gooofed when I grabbed my Denise needles). It took about 6 hours to knit total, and they are luxurious to wear.

Here they are up close and personal. The cables on the wrist and knuckles are so enticing...


Monday, August 14, 2006

Lotus Blossom Tank




It's 70 degrees and while the weather is perfect, I'm madly knitting my lotus blossom tank towards completion. I'm a bit more than half way - having finished the 4 repeats of the lotus lace (alien heads), and I'm in the stockinette now. This was taken without my flash. The color is actually a light blue.

This next one is with my flash - so you can see the color closer...

Also hiding in the upper right corner are some really cute new stitch markers I found on ETSY.com (Search for "Sheep stitch markers" and you'll just fall in love with them.

I'm using Madil Eden (Cascade's Bamboo) and making the smallest size. A local store near me had knit it in the off-white and let me try it on. Even though I am between the smallest and next smallest size, it fit me perfectly (expanded to fit!). The bamboo has more drape than cotton, or the SWTC bamboo, and it hasn't split much, of course, I knit sl-o-o-o-wly through the lace part, so I was careful not to split it. Now, I hope I can knit it quick enough to catch the end of summer.

Also started this pink cabled top from Louisa Harding's Gathering Roses collection in LH Kashmir Aran - very soft, but my head is getting dizzy from all the cables. It's hard to see from the picture, but there are cables running up, alternating with little hearts, and seed stich made from purls in the right places. I am on my second ball, and thankfully found my very very enlarge photocopy of the pattern, so I'm not as dizzy now as I was on the first ball. The original chart is about 2" high on a letter-sized page...just a wee bit hard to see when I'm trying knit across the pattern repeat twice (knitting in the round).

Also in the works, finishing off some projects to be mailed - 2 baby boleros for friends having babies NOW...hope I can get them in the mail before the grow too big.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Project Update

A quick summary of recent projects:

MAY:

Leigh Radford's book "One Skein" came out and I started knitting right away.

The footies were first done in Lorna's Laces Worsted Weight Yarn according to the pattern except that I knit a couple of rounds first before starting the cable, so mine are a bit ruffled at the top. The kitchener at the end of the pattern is horrible because the pattern says to leave 8 stitches total on the needles. I think this should be 8 on each needle, otherwise you end up with pointy toes. Since I was making this for me, it was ok because my big toe fits into the pointy part of the pointy toe.



Later, I made a second pair for my friend and knitting mentor Juanita in this Blue Moon Fiber Arts Worsted Weight yarn in blue/tan colorway with an adjusted pattern and more stitches on the needle for the kitchener - much better, and a way better fit. With the smaller needle, the material is denser, so it doesn't squidge out when I walk on my floor, like the first pair. I'm thinking of ripping those out now and doing them over.
Yes, I really did make a pair, and I spoiled the surprise by having to ask her how long her foot was, but she is happy and will have them for her birthday in the fall.
JUNE:

I made this quick baby bolero from One Skein. Really quick, only a couple of evenings..and that was because it took me awhile to position the arms for the seaming. This is a fantastic yarn - from the pattern - Blue Sky Alpacas Organic cotton. I just didn't want to stop knitting with this yarn. It was so soft and wonderful. I did knit the bolero with the "flower" lace pattern. It's a common pattern (as I've found looking at lace pattern books), but I think her instructions are a bit different than most. This is intended to go to a friend in Germany (actually a colleague who I work with) as she is leaving the office in August.

Due to laws there, she can take maternity leave and be out of the office for 3 YEARS! and then, she can return to at least the same level of job that she had before she left. This is because in that culture, it is frowned upon for a woman to work after she has a baby. She should be at home taking care of the child during the formative years. I love that policy! Of course, workers also receive 6 weeks of vacation per year AND they don't have to earn it! so, they could just take the first 6 weeks off of the year if they wanted.
sigh..I love these american rules.

summer's here

So, summer's here, and sadly, I have not posted since March! bad bad blogger.
I have been knitting, however, my pc crashed a couple of weeks ago, so I have to re-take my pictures all over again.

Last week, the Knitting Bee shop had a Customer Trunk Show. So, the night before I madly knitted a pair of the "Fetching" pattern from the new summer edition of Knitty, in a pink-orange color of the wonderfully soft Cashmerino Aran - just one ball. It was fantastic, and I made a wonderful pair. Hope to add the pic soon.

Also, I have started on the Lotus Blossom Tank from the Summer Interweave in Madil Eden Bamboo in the light blue (dutch boy, I think it's called) color. This bamboo is luxuriously soft and wonderful to the skin. I'm excited to knit with it and other than the lace project being one of my first, I hope to have it done quickly so I can wear it.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

alpaca hat

went to cozy ewe for the first time ever last weekend on saturday. What a shop-it's brimming with yarn! I found a really soft yarn that I thought would be perfect for a perk-me-up felted hat with brim. Frog Tree Alpaca. I bought a beet-root red color, and a pleasing hot pink. Thought I'd do stripes.

By wednesday evening, I was tucking in the ends and it was ready to go.
I'll post a photo soon of the "pre-wash". This was the softest alpaca ev-er, in a worsted weight. Very pleasing and soft to knit with. almost luxurious. I can't wait to see if it's still soft in the post-felt phase.

pics of my socks

finally a few pics of socks I knit after my class last summer. I discovered, they really are too thick to wear inside my winter boots, but they are perfect for lounging around home...


from knitting olympics to shop hop

I returned from vacation well rested and happy. I tried to make it last as long as possible.
In the weeks ensuing, I discovered the meaning of e-mail, and threw myself back into the Shop hop preparations, winding yarn samples.

Here's a pic of some of the yarns:














You can read more from Heather on the main blog site (see sidebar).

My vacation...

I spent a warm lovely week in Florida - 80 degree weather, perfect summery t-shirt and shorts weather - a far cry from the chilly 24 degrees (F) , snow and freezing ice forecast, I'd left the day before President's Day. Good thing I brought running shoes, my feet would have fallen off otherwise.

It was a wonderful whirlwind trip through the Magic Kingdom and Disneyworld.
Monday was Epcot - I walked through all the pavillions - Canada's Hudson Bay Trading post, UK , France - stopped in for a pastry - a Napoleon, the bakery quickly became a favorite hangout. Morrocco, Japan's endless gallery of fans and foodstuffs, walked briskly through the american adventure, Italy, Germany $3 for a pack of Haribo gummi bears! China - saw an amazing show, a young girl balacing a tray of drinks on her nose., Norway, and Mexico - a lovely outside evening on the inside of a pavillion, and a quiet ride on the river under the stars.

Tuesday was Magic Kingdom - 3-D shows and a picture with Mickey.

In the evening, I watched the amazing Illuminations Fireworks and lit-world display; park hopped over to the Magic Kingdom and watched their "wish upon a star" fireworks display called "wishes", then, stayed up for the last Electric Light parade -Fantasmic! oooooooh that was my favorite!

Wednesday was MGM Studios - had my picture taken with Mike and Sully of Monsters. Yes, I rode the Tower of Terror! No, I didn't pay for the picture. Late afternoon to Fulton Crab House in Downtown Disney for a sumptuous seafood dinner ($$$) crab claws and lobster tails. Cool lego store, lots of shops, and the largest pin trading center. In the evening,watched Cirque du Soleil's La Nouba with my mom. It was good, but disappointing compared to "O" and "Saltimbanco".

Thursday was Animal Kingdom with my mom. By then it had become so muggy and overcast, it was hard to believe it was the same park. We had a great ice cream in the afternoon.

Friday was Epcot revisited and a bit of Downtown Disney to round out the trip.
finally packing and sleep at 11pm, only to wake at 3:30 or 4ish, and rush out to the bus to be at the airport 2 hours early for an 8 am flight.

It was a truly amazing and wonderful trip.
Not only did I have the time of my life, I also didn't watch a bit of TV, and I didn't touch my knitting (lonely as it was in my travel bag) the whole time.

very short of a scarf

I quickly realized after I had knit about 20 or 30 rows, that I should have made my piece bigger, doubled it, and made a fold-over double-knit purse. That would have been more practical and I would have finished much sooner.

As it was, I had a long and skinny "project" that was burning quickly through the 9-days, and not seeing a completed project in sight prior to my vacation.

no pattern here...

it was simple enough to knit the stitches on both sides, but it was really, really sloooow going. Not having a pattern in mind, I knit what i wanted when I wanted...and tried to spice it up by switching colors, changing to stripes and back, and using different designs to the highlight the differences.

As I played, the pattern grew and changed...






A 9-day olympic trial



I started with the best of intentions...complete an olympic knitted project intended for 16-days, in 9. I cast-on with the opening flame, and knit Friday through the following Friday before madly packing on Saturday for my 1-week vacation in Disneyworld.

I selected a "simple" project, teach myself double-knitting, and create a double-knitted scarf in as long as it took me to knit the 9 days. When the 9-days were up I would call it good.

Two yarns -both sparkly - one a kind of bright beet-red (almost) pink, and the other black. Both Arianna.

I cast on double the number of stitches and then knit half on the front, and half on the back.

February's project - my knitted shrug


I was knitting this shrug, going great guns the 2 weeks preceding the Olympics. It was a 2-week project, but I knitted more than I blogged, or took pictures of my knitting.

This is the back of the shrug, and a close-up of the stitches

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Shrug off the Knitting Olympics ?

For the last 2 weeks I've been madly knitting a Debbie Bliss shrug -it's from the Simply Soft book, a soothing berry color with a rolled collar. The parts are ready, and I'm ready to pick up the collar, but find myself slowing as Friday approaches.

Yesterday, the Living section of the Oregonian featured an article about the Knitting Olympics (www.yarnharlot.ca). Amazing the day that a newspaper discusses something as exciting as knitting! Most everyone I talked to yesterday either mentioned it to me or had read it.

I had dreamed about participating, and swatched a bunch of different ideas. Then, I look at the calendar and realized that I'm taking a vacation in the middle. So, my "challenge" would be to knit a project in 7 days, instead of the normal 16-day Olympic timeframe. That would definitely be Olympic. So, I have ditched the idea of a sweater, and decided to make a scarf. One that has a new pattern to me, but that will not be too complicated in the time allotted.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

UFOs

From Summer '05 - I started this Adrienne Vittadini Cable sweater. I love making cables, and the yarn I used was RYC Cashsoft (154 yards!) on a US 7. It's a cashmere-merino-microfiber blend; a very easy knit, and soft, very soft. As of now, I have knitted the back, and the front, up to the point of doing the neck (joining 2 balls), and both sleeves. I am probably about 75-80% done.


Also from Summer '05, I am even closer on this project. It's a shell with Slip stitch using Berrocco Softwist in Red, and Muench Yarn's Verikeri in Brown. Very easy to knit, but I am interrupted easily with this project(it's a good candidate for doctor's offices).


The back is finished, and the front, I am at the point of the neck. Same part as the blue. I am thinking of adding sleeves since it's winter now. Who knows ? It might take another summer at the doctor's to finish this one.

Flower Facecloths

I love these face cloths - they're from Weekend Knitting by Melanie Falick. I used Cotton Chenille by Crystal Palace. Each one uses almost one skein. Although I had enough to start another flower, the remnant is enough for the petals, but not the center, so it looks odd if you mix colors. As facecloths, they are very absorbent. As decorations, they add a little fun to the bathroom.

socks - cuff down

Socks, cuff down. It was a class in June '05. My instructor was Kristina at KB. The best idea is to start the second sock just after starting the first, so you can practice all of the techniques. I did and finished the pair just after the end of class. The green was my in-class sock. I used Art Yarns supermerino, 3 skeins. It's hand-painted yarn. That's about $25 + effort for these socks... yep. enough said.

Knitting Bee Trunk Show













In July '05, Knitting Bee held a Customer Trunk Show, and I brought my finished cardigan in to display at the Shop. It was nice to have it presented. For the kick-off party, Jamie offered us champagne and truffles, and had a drawing. I didn't win, but having my cardigan on show was enough.

Next project..a sweater cardigan

My next project was a sweater. For this, I took a class (April-May '05) at The Knitting Bee a shop near to my home. The instructor Charlene had us choose an Adult or children's drop-shoulder cardigan using an unsual pattern which mapped out all of the increases/decreases. Once we knew our gauge, we just read down the column and followed the instructions.

As usual, my mind raced ahead to a different kind of design. By now, I had discovered that I was not satisfied with the majority of the knitting patterns on the market. When I went into shops and fell in love with the yarn, I would ask about patterns to use the yarn, and would often be asked, "Don't you have a pattern already ?" It seemed that most shops would like us to believe that the pattern is bought first, and then, the yarn is bought according to the pattern. In my mind, I already had an idea of what I would make, but couldn't find the pattern I wanted. In conjunction then, with the pattern from class, I worked with a colleague of mine to map out the design I wanted to knit. I made many swatches for color and gauge, and learned how to use graph paper to plan my design. I learned intarsia, and discovered that I love it.

I used Elsbeth Lavold's Angora in black (a "no-no" in the traditional knitting world for beginners) on a US 7, and Debbie Bliss' Alpaca Silk (also black) on a US 5 for the button band. The pattern called for knitting the button band at the end of the row of the front panels of the cardigan, rather than picking it up at the end. So, each row, I knit across and then, changed to the smaller needle. At each step, I multi-tasked - intarsia, sizing, button bands, button holes. I decreased for the arm hole, and added slip pockets, and a collar. It was fun and challenging.
The class was an 8-week class; we met 4 times, every other week. I was travelling after the first class, so my time was shifted slightly to finish the cardigan within the 8 weeks.

The result ? On the back, a sun setting on water, and on the front, a silhouette of trees with the sunset behind. It was fun.

One of my lessons learned - always follow the instructions for making the first button hole a 1/2" from the bottom edge of the cardigan, otherwise, t won't close.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Next up, felting

I'm fascinated with the "new", at least that is, new to ME.
After scarves, my next major milestone was felting. I dove in straight away and signed up for a class to make a felted pillbox hat. There were 4 of us in class - 2 had front-loaders, and 2 only had access to coin-operated machines. So, Elaine offered for us to use her machine. What fun! For my first hat, I used Manos del Uruguay. What a pleasure to knit with - unfortunately, after washing and felting, most of the color was lost. My lovely red and purple hat (no, I'm not 50 yet), ended up looking like something of the Dr. Seuss-style.

Everyone else loved it! well, except me.
I was more impressed with the other hats that were made in the class. One used Noro Kureyon which felted to the softest hat ever, and an incredible blending of color from one hand-painted line to the next. The lady in the middle made her hat to replace one she'd lost. It's 60 rows using Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride. That was my next project!

After the class, I obsessively knit a few hats, ok, 5 - 2 using Lamb's Pride - a Black one, and a Red one; one using Noro Kureyon (shown here as the striped pink one); a periwinkle hat from Lamb's Pride Bulky. Here they are stacked up on my table - pre-felted. Since I needed a top-loading machine that was vigorously felt and shrink my wool hats, I co-opted a coworker who has just such a machine, and offered to knit her a hat in exchange. The Periwinkle hat with the darker purple stripe is hers. I wanted to make one to match her periwinkle coat. It turned out to be just perfect.
Did you count ? I only described 4.

The fifth was an alpaca hat that I'd started during the same time as class. It's one of Bev Galeskas' patterns of a hat with a felted brim. The reason I separated it is because I wanted to show you how big the hat was BEFORE I felted it. yep. HUGE. The after-shot fits my head much better.











and it fits- what a bargain!


Here's the red one - I gave it to my friend Lynn as a gift:

Starting fresh...

Finally, a place to park my thoughts, and upload photos of various knitting projects that I've been working on in the last year.

Christmastime 2004, I asked my mom if she could show me how to knit. I'd become well...fascinated with the pretty scarves I'd seen around town, and knew I wanted to learn. We started with some Lion Brand cheap stuff, and size 11 needles. I made a long and variable-width scarf. After that, I was off and running. I was into scarves big time. It wasn't long before I had a few.
From right to left - the blue & gold one I made for my boss who was retiring in Jan.'05. She loves it and has received many compliments. The two on the left were made for other co-workers who were leaving. Not bad for a beginner.

Herakles Socks

I'm currently knitting plain socks toe-up Yarn for Toe of Sock: Sanguine Gryphon Yellow Dung Fly from a 10g mini (sport weight) Yarn...