Friday, December 31, 2010

Color Work in Shades of Grey

My first Fair Isle knit.  I have done 2 projects in intarsia, both kits for my son and nephew. 
Front-loading back-hoes, but that's another story.  I started this before Thanksgiving and was determined to finish it before the New Year.  Made it with a day to spare!
I found this pattern in an English knitting magazine (Knitting) last year as part of their holiday pull out.  I went to the Drops website because the pattern in the pull out was a little vague in spots.  The pattern on the website was a little less vague but still vague. So I guess I'll just have to channel my inner EZ and without tears, just knit on. I ordered the yarn online from Garnstudio.  It was here in 2 days.
This is my first time stranding my yarn.  I read the tutorials, watched the Drops tutorial and cast on.
I frogged the first attempt because I didn't like the wonky jumps from row to row without continuity.  So I added a stitch in charcoal grey at the end of the first round as a "seam" stitch.  Whenever I got to the end of a row I dropped all the colors I was working with and picked up the charcoal grey, wrapping the loose yarns, I knit my seam stitch.  This worked out great.  I didn't have to worry about jogging stitch's from row to row to eliminate the uneven appearance.  Maybe after I am more experienced at this I will be able to change color from row to row and stitch to stitch without seeing the jump. 
Or maybe not - for now the seam works fine.
Happy New Year Everybody

Monday, November 1, 2010

My first KAL - Socks

I joined the Socktoberfest KAL on Ravelry.  I never did a KAL before and wasn't sure if I could keep up with the progress through the entire project but thought to myself - "Self its socks! How hard could it be?"

It wasn't hard at all and it turned out to be fun.  Mostly because this was a mystery pattern that you got to see as you knit, week by week.  I have seen ThroughTheLoops sock patterns By Kirsten Kapur before but I've never knit one myself.  I have wanted too for a while and this was the perfect opportunity to introduce myself to this talented designers work.  I have not been disappointed at all.  Her socks also happened to grace the cover of Brave New Knits. My current favorite book to drool over.  I did not finish these yet but I did manage to start and finish two other pairs. 

One pair is this plain 2x2 rib throughout the leg and down the instep.  I lost the yarn band but I love the color.  Very earthy and autumn.

The other pair I knit with an afterthought heel and a 2x2 ribbed cuff/leg.  My first afterthought heel.  I like it better then a short row heel - it looks cleaner and tighter.  I also love the colorway.  Its funny, before now I never would have picked this color.  Now I love it.  It was a gift from Susie.  Thanks Susie!

Monday, October 25, 2010

I can't stop drooling.

Forget me - save the book.  But I warn you drooling and lip licking will ensue.
This book is that good.  I can't figure out which design I'm going to knit first.  Only kidding, I know exactly what I'm knitting first - Jared Flood's Woodsmoke Scarf.
Then I am toying with the idea of knitting Anne Hanson's Hydrangea Neckwarmer.
Ysolda has the beautiful little Orchid Theif Shawlette that I am dreaming about wearing.
Then there's the Sprouting Cloche from Norah Gaughan.
And so many more I'm going to pass out from dehydration.
I have enjoyed reading about so many of the bloggers I already read and getting a pattern too just brings these very talented designers and bloggers, authors and artists all, right home to my yarn stash with great joy.  If you happen by a book store or your LYS check it out.  I warn you though, bring a napkin or two because you will be drooling.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

October is for knitting nirvana...

October is proving to be a month of knitting nirvana for me.  The month didn't start out that well.  My beloved old suburban, Betsy, has put in a request for parts and is not moving until she gets them.  She is a stubborn old gal and we are getting those antique pieces for her as best we can.  But imagine my panic.  October has a yarn crawl and the big NYS Sheep and Wool Festival at Rhinebeck!  This situation had to be fixed and fast. We took a look around and found a younger sister for our Betsy. Another GMC we'll call Ivy.  Thanks to her, October's knitting needs have been saved!
October started with Susie turning me onto Socktoberfest 2010 on Ravelry.  So I committed to a month of sock knitting.  I thought to myself - self you'll knit nothing but socks this month.  What can I say, I was listening to myself the way my teenager does - selectively.

I have managed to get one pair done so far in Socks that Rock yarn.  I love the way these self stripped.  I love Socks that Rock sock yarn - it is the bomb!

Next, over the Columbus Day weekend, Susie and I went on a yarn crawl.  Her husband was nice enough to drive us and hang out. We hit La Casita, Brooklyn General and I went on to Purl.  It is very gratifying crawling through yummy woolen fibers all over New York City. 

Brooklyn General had a great selection.  There were basics like Cascade and lots of smaller mills and dyers too.  What a great warm store.  Very old school.  Warm and homey.

La Casita was next and yielded a great color of Madeline Tosh.  I seem to be attracted to coppery brown tones lately.

While at Purl I picked up 2 things.  The first was a pattern for a rabbit named Hop.  You'll be able to say hi to Hop as soon as I sew on his face.  No Hop is not a sock and yes he did get knit this month. Teenager ears, does that mean I'm getting younger?  Or maybe just my ears are.
The second thing I got from Purl was a skein of Jared Flood's new yarn Shetler.  I am in love with this yarn.  It is light weight yet very substantial.  This is a yarn you want to make a sweater out of and then eat, sleep and live in it.  I will have to look for the perfect pattern to knit a perfect garment out of Shelter but for now I'll just play with this one skein and dream of our future together.

There were knitters in all the stores as far as the eyes could see.  This happens to be Purl.

Next was the big NYS Sheep and Wool Festival at Rhinebeck.  Despite the cool weather it was packed.  I managed to pull myself away from the hardened grasp of woolly fibers long enough to get to the Ravelry lunch time meet-up.  A few moments with Susie, her family and Ria and then I was a gal on a mission for sock yarn!  After all it is Socktober!  I got my usual Socks that Rock stash for the coming year and was alerted to the Sanguine Gryphon presence by Ria.  Scored a few more assorted skeins of sock yarn from the great girls that run the company and dye the yarn.
I had read a lot about yarn from Blue Faced Leicester as a breed.  I wanted to check it out at the Fair.  I was not disappointed at all.  I fell in love with yet another type of woolly fiber.  This yarn is so soft.  I bought 2 skeins with a baby blanket in mind but I think I might have to rethink that. 
And last but not least I picked up a couple of skeins of Brook Farms Solo Silk/Wool blend.  The yarn makes a great scarf.

Tomorrow I am meeting Susie (and maybe Ria) for lunch and knitting. Time to get back to those socks!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

October is Socktoberfest

October is Socktober month.  My Friend, Susie, mentioned this to me last month.  I never heard of Socktoberfest before.  I went over to Ravelry and checked out the group.  I thought, this is perfect timing and joined the group.  Thank you Susie!

There is a KAL for a specially designed sock for the event.  This is my first KAL.  I like that the pattern is being released a little at a time so the design of the sock will unfold as it is being knit.  A bit of trust in the designer is required because I won't know what the sock is suppose to look like until I am finished.  I am going to knit the KAL socks two at a time so both are finished at once and because the pattern is being released bit by bit, affording me the time to slow down and smell the stitches as they fume into socks. 

I started knitting socks about two and a half years ago.  My first sock seemed to take forever as I knit and frogged and knit again (and again) until I got it right.  Actually the first pair took 3 months to finish.  Since then some pairs have taken me longer to finish but none have taught me as much about knitting in general as those first pair of socks.

 Over the summer I was reading Stephanie McPhee (The Yarn Harlot) and found myself agreeing with some of her thoughts on socks. Fancy socks are great to knit. They are even more beautiful to look at and wear.  For some, it is very hard to put shoes on over them and cover up all that beauty and design work.  While I do wear all of my creations I have noticed that some of the recipients of my hand knit socks are not wearing them.  I am told they are too pretty to wear.  The one exception - the dude who got the pair of  plain boot socks!   I decided I wanted to knit several pairs of plain or close to plain socks to wear and be worn more often.  I started at the end of September with a smaller size of the plain boots socks in Noro.  I am currently working on my eighteenth and nineteenth pairs of socks, just in time for Socktoberfest.  And with the cast on of the KAL I'll be up to my twentieth  pair.  I am hoping to knit a dozen pairs of socks this year.  I am up to nine pairs including the three pairs above.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

In Memory . . .

Rest in Peace

Janice Haywood Thompson

1/9/1939 - 9/26/2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

My Cardi 2010

I fell in love with this picture of the Long Cardigan in the Early Fall issue of Vogue Knitting.  Its pattern #01 designed by the team of Lutz & Patmos.  What I didn't fall in love with was the shorter sleeves and the too busy back panel for the yarn I wanted to use.  So lemons to lemon aide I turned this pattern into the perfect Fall / Winter Cardigan for me.
I used a different yarn, Rowan Plaid, an alpaca wool blend of 3 different colored sport weight yarn twisted together.  The colors are turquoise, lime and grey.  The yarn change called for a needle change, I used a size 11US.
I made the sleeves about 5 inches longer.  Eliminated the back panel and just worked the same cable pattern for the front and sleeves across the entire back.  I eliminated the pockets because I didn't have enough yarn. I also made the sweater a size smaller because I plan to attach a two way zipper to the front and wear it more fitted.  I still have to get the zipper.  A trip to Vardhman's on 39th between 7th & 8th is in order.  And then I can stop by M&T Trimming for a button to match the Spiral Tweed Cloche.

  I hope to be wearing this at Rhinebeck this year.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Back from Vacation

After we dropped our son off at college we took a long week to ourselves in the Catskills.

Hubby continued his landscaping mission and I canned fruit jam and started knitting a few Christmas presents.  Yes its after Labor Day already and Christmas knitting has begun.

Most recently I finished this great skirt from Veronik Avery's book 24/7.  An easy knit with very stylish results.  I can't wait to see it on its recipient!
A pair of socks for someone. . .
A nice Spiral Tweed Cloche also from 24/7
And just so I don't neglect myself - a slice of blue Citron
and a pair of Lacy Mock Cable socks for me.
It still seems like I have just as many projects lined up to go on the needles as are on the needles now. I guess I'll just have to keep on knitting.  I love the Fall lineup on TV and my corresponding knitting time on the couch after dinner.  I wish good luck to all who knit their friends and family gifts for the coming season.  May no frogs leap on your doorstep and the knot fairy lose your address. 
Let the Happy Knitting season begin!

Monday, August 30, 2010

On Vacation

I took my son to college last Thursday.
I have plans to make a sweater to send him.
He has to have that Ron Weasley moment before he graduates- hehehe.

But for now I am taking some time
and finishing a sweater for myself. 
I'll show ya when I get home.

Happy Labor Day everybody.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Project bags

A couple of years ago I made a few project bags out of quilting fabric I bought when I had delusions of making a real bed sized quilt.  I made a doll sized quilt and a baby sized quilt and then the allure quickly faded.  When I made my project bags a couple of years ago it seems that I did not make enough.  So since I had some time and a lot more fabric on hand I decided to take a few hours and make a few more bags. 

Mostly they are one or two skein size bags. 
I can also fit a nice lace weight or shawl project in it. 

I made one rather large one for a good sized project, now I have two larger bags.  This time I also made a wide and short one for that unusual project or to have a few extra yarn cakes at hand, just in case. 

I am enjoying my sock knitting so I like having the yarn, needles and pattern
in the bag ready to go when I am. 

Well for now I think I might have enough bags.  And its a good thing too because when sewing the new bags I realized how badly the older bags needed a washing. 
Yarn and traveling can be dusty.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Yes, it does look a little different

I changed the look of my blog today.  No reason.  Just playing around with the new template thingy and trying stuff out.  Not a big change to things, I do have my preferences. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sock it to me!

Here are my latest pair of socks.  This is the Lacy Mock Cable sock.  I enjoyed knitting these.  They are my 5th pair this year.  I had set a goal for myself to knit 6 pairs of socks this year.  I think I am going to up that goal and really challenge myself.

I finished my first pair of socks in Sept of 2008. I worked on them for 3 months. I worked on nothing else for those 3 months.  I did every aspect of that sock many times over.  Toes, heels, insteps, soles, cuffs.  Such a small item with so many parts.  I borrowed books from the Public Library.  I expanded my sock knitting library.   I devoured any magazine with anything written about sock knitting.  At last I felt comfortable enough to go forth and jump into the sock knitting world.

Considering it took me the 3 months to knit my first pair of socks I thought 6 pairs would be a good goal for this year.  Then I counted how many pairs of socks I knit last year and now I'm thinking I'd better step it up a notch or two. 

In 2009 I knit 8 pairs of socks.  So I've decided to knit a minimum of 8 pairs and an ultimate goal of a dozen in 12 months. Yes 12 in 12.  I think I'm ready. I'll have to cast on a pair or two today to make my goal.

I love wearing hand knitted, yummy wool socks.  And don't get me started on how much better wool socks are in the northeast winters then any other fiber!  Whether its top-downs by Cookie A. or toe-ups by Wendy D. Johnson, I love them all.  I am now an intrepid sock knitter.  I think I will always have at least one pair of socks on the needles at all times. 

I think by the time holiday season rolls around I might be ready for a sock of the month club - hint, hint ;)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Barbara Walker Treasury Project - Part 2

I finished and posted my last 2 swatches for the Treasury Project.  Here they are . .

The first stitch pattern here is Ears of Grass.  Maybe for a baby Blanket.  I would probably alternate the motif - sort of off center - in the rows.  Its pretty and very sutle.

I was surprised by how much I liked the Feather and Fan stitch. It is fun to knit, makes a nice curvy wave and has just the right amount of "squish". It was the last swatch I made but I think I liked this stitch pattern the most.

I am going to have to make a neck warmer or 2 with this stitch.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Baby Lace Fern Hood Pattern

I posted another new pattern on Ravelry.  It took a bit of time.  This is my second pattern posting and I'm afraid too much time has passed since the last pattern posting so the memory is old faded not what it used to be.  Hopefully the next pattern is posted soon enough for me to remember how to do it without reading the entire tutorial again!
But anyway - here it is ... the

Baby Fern Hood / Hat  / Cowl

And the pattern is available on Ravelry for free - right now!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Started a few things. . .

I finished a few projects and the projects I have on the needles are, for me, things I will knit over time because they go on and on and on.  Like this scarf.  It is half way there but it has a few feet more to go before it will be the scarf I know it can be.

Really, I  have to make some room in my stash boxes for this years goodies from
Rhinebeck's Wool and Sheep Festival. 

So I decided to start a  few new projects. . .
I am knitting myself a sweater from the early fall 2010 issue of Vogue Knitting out of Rowan Plaid. I picked up this yarn at Smiley's Annual Hotel Sale here in NYC back in 2009.  A bag of 10 skeins was $30.00.   The yarn seems to be made up of 3 different colors of sport or fingering weight yarn (turquoise, lime and grey). I am glad I stashed this yarn, this pattern is what it has been waiting for.  I modified the pattern, or rather simplified it, by leaving out the center panel on the back.  I didn't really like it.  Besides with this colorway it would have been too busy.  To conserve on yarn I also left out the pockets.  I did the math and will be cutting it close on this project.  I'm working on the front right now.  I might have to purchase a couple more skeins to make the sleeves longer and I'm afraid those 2 skeins will cost me more then the other 10 did put together.  Isn't it pretty though?
I am also making the Lazy Mock Cable socks that my friend and fellow knitter, Suzy (aka KnittingKnoobie) has made several times over.  They are very cute. I messed up the 2x2 ribbing at the start - it was late at night - so it stayed that way.  I promise to do right on the next pair.  Yes there will be a next pair.  This is a fun and really cute knit!  I totally get why Suzie goes back to this pattern often, I think I might too.  By the  way this is some of the Socks that Rock yarn that I am making room in my stash for.
I am going to use this to make my next pair of socks.  Also STR but in medium weight instead of light weight.  I haven't picked a pattern for it yet.
I'm thinking I might do a second pair of Lazy Mock Cable Socks
or maybe something else.  I'll decide by the end of the week.
I have to have my vacation knitting lined up by then.
Next week we are going camping by the Jersey Shore.
I don't know if we'll be anywhere near the folks from the show, Jersey has a big shore,
but if I run into Snookie I'll teach her how to knit!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Finshed a few things . .

I've started a couple of projects a while ago.  Oh who am I kidding?  I started a lot of projects a while ago.  So I have been trying to finish them all. Yes all at once.  Yes kidding again.  I knit happy, drunk on completed projects.  How sweet life can be when I "keep it simple stupid".  Not really sure what the exact meaning of that is but for me sometimes it means don't over complicate and sometimes it means ahh - stupid you over complicated.  But I digress, I stupid. 
I mean I finished a few projects and here they are. . .
The first is a blue version of my smoke ring cowl.  I designed this with the help of a stitch pattern from one of Barbara Walkers' stitch pattern books.  I am finishing up the pattern and will have it posted on Ravelry shortly.
The second finished project is my O-Link socks in a solid color.  I made them out of Lion Brands new solid color sock yarn.  It's not luxury yarn like say STR, but it on par with other sock yarns of its price range and the colors are pretty nice.  Next time I use this yarn I think I'll double it for a more substantial fabric.  This pattern, too, is getting the final touches for posting.
And I also finished knitting A Swallowtail Shawl out of Classic Elite Yarns Alpaca Lace.  It was a bit of a challenge to get used to this skinny yarn.  But after a few repeats I grew used to it.  The biggest problem I have with this pattern are the nups.  They kicked my butt several times. They were frogged several times. I knit the lily of the valley repeat so may times I could have grown a few real ones! 
And I managed to get this out of my frustration . .
So with all of this finishing of projects you know I have to add a few new ones. 
So what if I have 2 Walker swatches, a house blanket,
a very large scarf and a rather skinny scarf to finish.
Shouldn't one always have a pair of socks on the needles and I haven't knit a sweater in a while. 
Besides Rhinebeck is coming and I haven't finished knitting a big enough hole in my stash yet.
Gotta make room!