Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Donegal Swatch

Alas Christmas has passed and my mother sent me the Knitpicks Palette yarn to make Alice Starmore's Donegal sweater. The colors on the left are the background colors: red, purple, blue, green, and ash. The colors on the right are the pattern colors: petal, blush, cream, sky, and mist. Thirty colors seems like a lot to choose from but compared with other fair isle yarn manufacturers these colors are slim pickings. I had a hard time substituting colors but I figured that swatching them would tell me if this would work. So I have immediately swatched these yarns. This is the result:

I am happy with the pattern colors but am not sure what to say about the background colors. I wish the dark colors were not so bright. I was thinking about scrapping the red and green and perhaps substituting something more in the brown range. Maybe bark and wood. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

As for those of you who have read the post about last years Christmas gifts from my hubby, you will not be disappointed. Here is a picture of me holding my shiny new dust pan. (I think this will become a Christmas tradition.) The good news is that I also received gold earrings and a yarn store gift certificate from hubby.

I also received a pound cone of Zephyr in ice blue that I picked out for myself. I guess that I can't really complain this Christmas.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Yarn Sale!

Yarn Sale. Do any words make your heart beat faster? This morning my LYS had a progressive yarn sale with 50% off all of your yarn for the first hour this morning. I had to restrain myself a bit but this is what I came out with.

1. 2 balls of Kidsilk Haze in Heavenly. I think that I will make a lace scarf from this.

2. 2 balls of lace weight yarn in cream. This was a leap of faith since the ball band is written in Chinese. Each balls is 62.5 g. I will make some type of shawl from this.

3. 2 100 g balls of Regia Cotton sock yarn in Navy & Blues and Pale Blue/Tan.

4. 2 balls of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock yarn in Black Watch. I had been wanting to try this for awhile and am finally getting a chance.

5. 6 balls of Cashsoft Baby DK in crocus to make Soleil from Knitty.

6. And finally 2 balls of Rowan Polar in silver lining for a quick scarf.

This should keep me in yarn through the summer.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Library Books

I love to check out knitting books from the library. One of my newest acquisitions is Aran Knitting by Alice Starmore. I generally check out the books just to have a look through the patterns. I have been enthralled by the introduction materials, however, which discuss the probable origins of Aran knitting. The author comes to the conclusion that Aran knitting probably evolved from the Scottish Gansey in the 1930's from the inspiration of one person. From there on the Aran people experimented with it in an attempt to make it marketable. The research that she did is fascinating. The patterns are also great. I would love to make Fulmar that is on the front cover. I have some other sweaters that need to be finished first though. The other shocking this was that this book is available through Amazon for the low price of $229. Thank goodness for libraries.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Leaves In Relief - First Sleeve

I have finished the first sleeve on my Leaves In Relief sweater from Knitty.com. The nice thing about doing a sleeve in the round is that you can actually try it on to make sure it fits and I am happy to say that it does. The bad thing about this pattern though is that the sleeve will only come out the right length if your row gauge is correct. I don't know about you but it is hard enough for me to get my stitch gauge correct without also having to worry about rows. I think that my sleeve is a bit long but it still works well so I'm not going to worry about it.

I thought that there might be an error in the pattern but I contacted the designer, Ariel Barton, and she promptly clarified things for me. I am making a large sweater. At the end of the sleeve you end on a row 16 which has 16 pattern stitches per each of 3 needles. The pattern also says to increase 27 stitches along the way which adds 9 stitches to each needle. The pattern, however, says that you should have 78 stitches on your needles by this point. This stitch count only adds up to 75 though. Ms. Barton said that I also need to add in the initial increase row (3 stitches total). So by this point each needle should include 16 pattern stitches plus 1 initial increase plus 9 increases. A bit confusing but it all worked out in the end.

I think that the one thing that makes this pattern hard is the designers attempt to write the pattern for so many different sizes. The variety of sizes makes reading the pattern somewhat confusing but it is wonderful to see a pattern that includes plus sizes.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Ghost of Christmas Past

This is a picture of me last Christmas. Yes, I have lost a lot of weight since last year but that is because I am 8 months pregnant in this picture. Yes, I am also holding a squeegee and a toilet brush. These are both gifts from my loving husband.

Now I love Christmas and it has nothing to do with the getting. I love picking out the perfect presents for people, making things for people I love, singing Christmas carols, drinking egg nog, baking cookies, decorating the tree, everything. None-the-less last years Christmas presents were . . . well . . . what can I say. I got a toilet brush.

This year I decided to things into my own hands. I have ordered myself some lovely new yarn and have told my husband that he needs to wrap it for me. Now everyone is happy because he doesn't need to figure out what to buy me either and I get, well, yarn. So stay tuned for the pictures of the new yarn after Christmas . . .

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Starting Leaves In Relief

Now that the Peacock Feathers Shawl is behind me, I have launched into starting other big projects and finishing up other small projects. The one project that I am starting is the Leaves In Relief from the Fall 2005 issue of Knitty.com. I had been hoping to have some company in knitting this but I cannot find anyone on the Internet that has started this sweater or who seems like they are actually planning to knit it. It is such a beautiful sweater but I think that all of the charts are scaring some people away. My life, on the other hand, is filled with wiping bums and cleaning up baby spit-up so I am finding that unless it includes complex charts I am not interested. I think I need something to keep my brain moving.

Anyhow I have started that first sleeve in silver sage Nature Spun that I purchased from the LYS. I have just been plowing through chart B and have found it quite easy and engaging after I got going. A lot of people have commented that they don't like the sleeve on this sweater. That was my initial reaction but I like the way the leaves compliment the twin trees. Now that I am actually knitting the leaves, I love them. I have been trying to think of a way to adapt the stitch pattern to a hat maybe.

So far I am loving this pattern. My only reservation is that it seems very fitted and I am not sure how it will look on me. I have been thinking that maybe a few sit-ups and 10 less pounds will compliment the sweater better. Maybe it will motivate me.

By the way, thank you to everyone who commented on my Peacock Feathers Shawl. I have been rushing to my computer each day to see what people have to say. It is such a feeling of accomplishment to finish such a complex piece. Thank you!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Unveiling the Peacock Feathers Shawl

My Peacock Feathers Shawl is finally finished. I feel so empty without it to work on. This was my first lace project and I am thrilled with it. It took me 4 months of fairly steady knitting to complete. Then again I have a 3 1/2 year old and a 11 month old to impede my progress. My baby loved to pull on the shawl while I was knitting it resulting in stitches falling off the needles.

I used about 1000 yards of Alpaca Cloud in Iris from Knitpicks and size 4 Addi Turbo needles. The finished size was 86 inches by 45 inches, almost the same as estimated in the pattern. The pattern is, of course, the Peacock Feathers Shawl from Fiddlesticks Knitting. I found life lines and stitch markers to be invaluable. I had a lot of fun knitting this pattern in spite of my numerous frogging incidents.

Related links:
A Peacock Birthday
Chart 1
Chart 2
Chart 3
Chart 4
Chart 5
Chart 6
Chart 7
Before Blocking

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Peacock In Progress - Blocking

As I write my Peacock Feathers Shawl is blocking under the ceiling fan in my son's room. The transformation is amazing. I could have fiddled with the pins all day but I finally just let it go and am trying not to visit it while it dries.

I used the Yarn Harlot's method of blocking except I blocked it on the floor with towels. Blocked it measures 88 inches across.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Peacock In Progress - Before Blocking

I have finally finished my Peacock Feathers Shawl! Hurray! Unfortunately my family's response was underwhelming. My husband said that it was good that I finished because now I could start to knit something useful. My daughter was more interested in my tape measure. Oh, well (sigh).
The shawl is 65 inches by 32 inches unblocked. It is bigger than I thought it looked on the needles. The crochet cast-off was also harder than I thought. I have been an avid crocheter for a long time. I found it hard to crochet cast-off while trying to keep the remaining stitches from falling off the knitting needles, however. Plus the cast-off required 1320 chain stitches. That is a lot of crochet but off-course by then I was inspired.

I am hoping to be able to block my shawl tomorrow if I can convince my husband to pen the kids up somewhere so that I can do it. Meanwhile my house is in shambles, my family is malnourished, and all of our clothes are dirty in my obsession to finish this shawl.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Selecting Fair Isle Yarn

Question from the comment section:

How do you select yarn from Knit Picks Palette to substitute in a fair isle pattern?

Well, I just looked at the yarns and used my natural artistic talents. Actually, not. In reality it took me three days of obsessing until I gave up and decided that I would order the yarn, swatch it and at $1.79 per skein if I need to change some colors so be it. I was also beginning to feel like a bad mommy because color combinations was all I thought about.

First I took some graph paper and colored in the pattern to try to get an idea of how the colors interacted with the pattern. Then I looked on the Internet for pictures of other peoples Donegal sweaters. Not a single picture used the same colors as the pattern book. It was rather interesting to look at what people had selected. I chose which color variations I like best and tried to see if I could come up with a similar combination out of the Palette yarns. Although the Donegal pattern calls for 11 colors I ended up altering the pattern to use only 10 since I couldn't find 11 that worked well for me.

As for the Palette line from Knitpicks, I am grateful for it since it seems like the only fair isle yarn out there comes from England. On the other hand, there are only 30 colors to chose from which seems like a lot but is not compared to the 161 colors from Jamieson & Smith. The Palette colors seem quite bright also. I don't know why they don't make colors in the darker range such as Burgundy and forest green. I figure that I will give it a go. Check back after Christmas when I knit up a swatch to find out whether this is a failed experiment.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Upcoming Goals

As I am winding down on my Peacock Feathers Shawl and as the New Year approaches I have some knitting goals.

1. I have ordered Nature Spun yarn in silver sage to knit Leaves In Relief from the fall 2005 Knitty. I have set up a group on yahoo in hopes that someone would like to knit with me. I love the intertwining trees on this sweater. I have used charts for Fair Isle and lace but I do not ever remember using them for aran knits so this should be a learning experience.

2. For Christmas I requested some of Knitpicks Palette to make Donegal from Alice Starmore's The Celtic Collection. I probably have had this book for 8 years and have been looking longingly at the sweater for that long. I have not done Fair Isle with fingering weight yarn before plus I am planning on using the two-handed method for this sweater which is also new for me. I'm really looking forward to it.

3. My last goal for 2006 is to make a lace project using cobweb weight yarn. I am currently thinking about how I should work up to that. I also would love to do the Wedding Ring Shawl but I don't think I have the ability to concentrate on it the way I would like at this point in my life. Either my 3 year old and 10 month old are pulling at my yarn or it is late at night and I am tired. There is no other knitting option. I will have to ponder this goal a bit more.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Peacock In Progress - Chart 7 (Finally!)

I have finally finished Chart 7 of my Peacock Feathers Shawl. That means I only have the edging and crochet cast-off to finish. My goal is to have it finished and all blocked by Christmas. Now that the end is in sight I am much more motivated though. Of course, I would have been done with chart 7 awhile ago if I had not had that unfortunate tinking incident that resulting in my frogging 12 rows. I figure that I frogged about 4000 stitches. What did I learn? Never get too confident to put in life lines.

Each row is 450 stitches now. I'm happy to get 2 rows done per day. When I stretch the shawl it looks so nice. I can envision how it will look blocked. Right now it does not look that impressive though.

I have also put my one mistake in the shawl. Somehow I ended up with one extra yarn over. I tried to fix it but I ended up with a lot of extra yarn where the extra yo was so it wasn't really fixable. As a result there is an extra hole in the shawl but I think that I would be hard pressed to find it at this point.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Stashbusting Projects

I have taken out the book Oddball Knitting from the library. I have also been continuously unpacking which is leading me to organize my stash. I really should get rid of a lot of my yarn but it seems to have so much potential. I thought that it might be fun to list some projects which could help you use up your stash. Feel free to offer any stashbusting suggestions!

Stashbusting Suggestions
1. Stashbuster spirals socks
2. Mittens and gloves
3. Holiday ornaments
4. Knitted flowers
5. Bookmarkers
6. Winecozy
7. Nosewarmer
8. Wig
9. Balls
10. Stockings

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Another Winecozy

I have finished another wine cozy. I figured that these would make good hostess gifts for the holiday. The first one I had made for a friend who invited me for Thanksgiving tomorrow. Unfortunately with the snow coming through we are not going to be able to make it since she lives two hours away. I guess I will save the cozy for her when I see her again, however. Meanwhile I am in the business of preparing an unexpected Thanksgiving dinner.

I made the winecozy using a Fair Isle pattern from Knitting Over the Edge. I expanded the waves pattern from a 7 stitch repeat to a 9 stitch repeat to fit the circumference. I am planning to start a fair isle sweater after Christmas. My mother is buying me yarn to make the Donegal pattern from The Celtic Collection for Christmas. I have been wanting to knit this sweater for ages and I have finally gotten up the courage to do so. I'm hoping to have my Peacock Feathers Shawl knit by then. Hopefully.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

FO - Winecozy

I have just finished my winecozy, a hostess gift for Thanksgiving. Although the pattern calls for worsted weight yarn, the gauge is 4 stitches per inch. The yarn I used knitted up at 5 stitches per inch though so I made some alterations to the pattern. I also knitted it in the round because there was no way I was sewing it up afterward.

Winecozy alterations:

Gauge: 5 stitches per inch

Cast on 54 stitches. Knit pattern as written on 4 double pointed needles.

Form ridge: Turn work inside out and purl on wrong side picking up purl bumps of the row 6 rows down as written. Turn and continue to knit in the round.

Row 1: [Ssk, k2, k2tog] to end. 36 sts rem.
Row 2-3: K across.
Row 4: [Ssk, k2tog] to end. 18 sts rem.
Row 5: K across.
Row 6: [Ssk, k1] 12 sts rem. 12 sts rem.
Row 7: K across.
Row 8: [K2tog] to end. 6 sts rem.

You might also be wondering about my Peacock Feather Shawl. Last week I got up to row 193. I realized that I had made a mistake on row 191 that I could not correct. I tried to tink back to correct it and dropped some stitches resulting in a big hole. To make matters worse, I had not put a lifeline in at row 190 because things had been going so smoothly so I ended up frogging back to row 180. I figure I frogged about 4000 stitches. I didn't have enough chocolate in the house for that experience.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Peacock in Progress - Chart 6

We have finally made it to Grand Rapids, Michigan and I am up to my eyeballs in boxes. The good news is that I know where my yarn is. As long as that is accounted for all is well. It has also rapidly turned into fall. I have gotten to wear my green aran sweater for the first time. I think that was overly ambitious, however, since I had to take it off by afternoon.

I have finished chart 6 of my Peacock Feathers Shawl. It is turning out fairly nice and I am actually having a lot of fun with it now. I think that I find knitting it enjoyable so long as I do not have to shift the stitch markers which I find quite time consuming and annoying. I finished my first 440 yard ball of yarn on row 170. I have 3 balls left which makes me think I may have quite a lot leftover. I am thinking of doing the Estonian scarf that was in Vogue Knitting or Branching Out from Knitty. We'll see what I am in the mood for when this is all over.

Monday, October 10, 2005

My First Knitting Project

I have recovered most of my vision and am frantically getting ready for our big move to Michigan this week. In sorting out all of our Stuff (I think it deserves a capital letter), I came across my first knitted piece ever.

When I was 9 years old I knitted this blanket for my stuffed rabbit. I used garter stitch. The cast-on edge is way too tight and there is a hole from where I dropped a stitch. All-in-all I am quite impressed with myself though. This trip down memory lane . . .

Unfortunately I am a packrat so back to sorting through the Stuff.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Peacock in Progress - Chart 5

I finished chart 5 of my Peacock Feathers Shawl last weekend. Unfortunately I finished it in time for my daughter to accidentally poke me in the eye. I have been having daily visits to the doctors but I think that my vision is finally beginning to return. I haven't been able to work on my shawl because it requires better vision than I have at the moment. Instead I have been working on an item that requires only stockinette stitch. For awhile I was knitting it with my eyes closed because it hurt too much to open them. I am anxiously awaiting the return of my vision.

As for chart 5 of the shawl, it does seem to be going faster and I am having an easier time remembering the pattern. Of course, chart 5 and 6 are very short. The good news is that the last two charts seem to require few marker shifts.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Berry Blue Thumbless Mittens

By Lorri Ann R.

After I finished dying my recycled yarn with Kool Aid, I knit up some thumbless mittens for my 8 month old. There is nothing as frustrating as trying to fit a baby thumb into a mitten so I have skipped the thumb. I have written out the directions so that everyone can knit mittens for the babies in their lives.

Fits approximately 6 to 18 months.

50g worsted weight yarn (I used recycled yarn (11wpi) from a white thrift store sweater that I dyed with Berry Blue Kool Aid.)
Four size 3 double pointed needles (or size needed for gauge)
Stitch marker
Tapestry needle

20 stitches = 4 inches in stockinette stitch


Make 2:

Cast on 28 stitches loosely.

Arrange stitches evenly over 3 double pointed needles. Join into a circle being careful not to twist your work. Place marker at the beginning of the row.

Ribbing: *K2, P2*, 7 times.

Repeat ribbing row until ribbing measures 1 ½ inches.

Increase row: K next row across increasing 4 stitches evenly around. (32 stitches)

Stockinette stitch: Continue to K around until the stockinette stitch portion of the mitten measures 2 inches.

Next row: *K6, K2tog*, 4 times. (28 stitches)

Stockinette stitch: Continue to K around until the stockinette stitch portion of the mitten measures 3 inches.

Decrease as follows:
Row 1: *K5, K2tog*, 4 times. (24 stitches)
Row 2: K around.
Row 3: *K4, K2tog*, 4 times.
Row 4: K around.
Row 5: *K3, K2tog*, 4 times.
Row 6: *K2, K2tog*, 4 times.
Row 7: *K, K2tog*, 4 times.
Row 8: K2tog 4 times. (4 stitches)

Finishing: Cut yarn leaving a 10 inch tail. Thread yarn onto tapestry needle and sew through remaining 4 stitches 2 times. Tack tail on inside of mitten. Weave in ends.

K - knit
P - purl
K2tog - knit 2 together
Dec - decrease
Inc - increase
Wpi - wraps per inch

This pattern is for your personal use only. Please do not copy it, post it, or sell items made using pattern.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

What's for Dinner?

Here is my first attempt at Kool Aid dying with the wool yarn from my recycled sweater. I used Berry Blue and Pink Lemonaide.

My first batch was the Berry Blue which I did in the microwave. I had the skeins of yarn wrapped too tightly which resulted in white lines throughout the yarn. I actually like the final look of the yarn although it is not what I had intended.

My second batch of yarn was the Pink Lemonaide which you can see cooking on the stove. My husband seriously questionedmy sanity when he saw me cooking wool in the kitchen at 9 at night. The color came out more uniform although the pink had a bit too much orange in it for my taste.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Peacock In Progress - Chart 4

After a Peacock slowdown, I have complete chart 4. I think that the hardest part of this pattern is shifting the stitch markers on most rows. It really slows me down but I am not confident enough to do the pattern without the stitch markers.

I have stopped counting the stitches every row. I realized that if I mess up it is always leaving out a yarn over. It is much easier to just pick up the yarn over on the next pattern row when you realize your mistake than tinking which inevitably ends up in dropped stitches or other catastrophes.

The medium-sized feathers are almost done. After chart 5 I can start working on the large feathers.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

FO - Aran Sweater

So my UFO is finally finished after approximately 5 years. The sweater was supposed to have a crewneck. I knitted it and liked the neck so much the way it was that I did not fold it over and tack it in place.

This sweater was knitted with Patons Classic Merino in a forest green that they don't seem to make any more. I have about 6 skeins left which means that I overbought. I never recorded how much I used though and I don't remember. I will have to think of another project for the rest of the yarn.

For my next sweater I wanted to knit Leaves in Relief from Knitty. I think I might use Patons Merino in sage this time. The merino is so soft that you can wear it next to your skin which I usually can't do with wool.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Recycling and Kool Aid

So I have finished my green aran knit sweater. I need to have my husband take a picture of me in it, so pictures are still to come.

My latest project is recycling a sweater. I took a trip to the Goodwill Store and found a nice white wool sweater that had good seams for unraveling (i.e. not cut knit fabric that has been sewn together). I have started unraveling the sweater for the yarn. It is a 100% feltable wool. I had thought of felting something with it but being that it is white I do not think it will work well. Since I have been meaning to try dying with Kool Aid, I figured that this might be a good opportunity. I can try two experiments at a time. I have already managed to unravel most of the yarn and have 5 ounces of yarn soaking in Berry Blue Kool Aid in my microwave. I am planning to make winter-wear for my children with the yarn (i.e. hats, mitten, scarves, etc.) I will keep you posted about how it turns out.

On another topic, I have picked my Peacock Feathers shawl back up and am almost done with chart 4. I keep looking ahead to chart 7, it is so long it seems a bit intimidating.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

UFO Progressing

After knitting like crazy on my Peacock Feathers Shawl, I have temporarily abandoned it and am almost done with my aran knit sweater. The catalyst was learning that we would be moving from West Virginia to Michigan. While in West Virginia, I have been inspired to knit with cotton. After pondering the Michigan winters I have been inspired to return to warm winter objects.

I have finally finished the sleeves on my aran knit sweater. All that remains is to sew it up and knit the collar. The collar in this pattern is knit with straight needles. I have always knit collars in the round before and am tempted to do so with this one except I figured I should try this method just because it is new.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Peacock In Progress - Chart 3

Progress on the Peacock Feathers Shawl is getting slower, not because I'm not working on it but because the rows are getting longer. They are now up to about 230 stitches per row. I find that I am getting the hang of the pattern more and haven't needed to frog although there has been a lot of tinking. Counting the stitches after each half of row is completed has saved me a lot of work.

The medium-sized feathers are showing up better now. I'm very excited to see the shawl blocked but that is a long time away.

I've been enjoying my first attempt at lace so much, I am now planning out my next lace project. It is between:

1. Something from the Heirloom Knitting book which I think might be too hard for my concentration level at the moment, especially with two small children.

2. The Frost Flowers and Leaves Shawl from the Gathering of Lace book. There is a knitalong starting on yahoo which fits into my schedule well and the shawl is beautiful.

3. Or the Mystery Shawl 2 which has the lure of a knitalong plus the element of surprise but does not fit into my schedule as well being that it starts on September 30th.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Peacock In Progress - Chart 2

I have finally finished Chart 2 of my Peacock Feathers Shawl. You can finally begin to see the larger feathers at the bottom of the shawl. I'm finally beginning to get the hang of the pattern but the rows are also getting longer. I'm sure chart 7 will be slow going. It has so many rows and the rows increase to 450 stitches each. Right now each row is 170 stitches long.

I also am loving the Alpaca Cloud yarn that I am using. It is so soft that I just enjoy being able to touch the yarn while I'm knitting it. It's a little fuzzy which might blur the pattern a little although it seems to show up okay.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

To the Frog Pond

I just had to share my latest disaster. On my Peacock Shawl, I had forgotten to put a lifeline on row 60 and put one on row 62. I got up to row 69 and then realized that I was off I stitch. I read my stitches backward only to find a huge hole. Alas I was unable to figure out how to repair it so I had to go to the frog pond. I ripped out 7 rows. That hurt. I'm almost back up to row 69 again. I love putting in the lifelines. It makes me feel like the rows before it are safe.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Peacock In Progress - Chart 1

I have finished the first chart of my Peacock Feathers Shawl. I told myself that I would only work on it when I really had time to concentrate on it but I have been somewhat obsessed.

These are the small feathers at the top of the shawl. I am still waiting for my circular needles to arrive so I am using single pointed needles.

Things that have helped me so far:

1. Stitch markers are your friend . . .

2. I have been threading dental floss lifelines through my stitches every 10 rows. I have used them. Unfortunately I have done a bit of frogging and tinking.

3. I have been using a row counter.

4. I have also placed a post-it not under the charted row I am working on. This has also helped me keep track of where I am.

5. I found that frogging can be minimized by counting my stitches at the end of every odd numbered row.

Now I'm off to start chart 2.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

It's a Peacock Birthday

For my birthday, I asked my mother for the pattern and yarn to make the Peacock Feathers Shawl. I selected Alpaca Cloud yarn in iris and ordered an extra skein of yarn, just in case. I spent my birthday balling up the yarn. This was the first time that I ever balled yarn in center pull skeins. I started balling the yarn by putting the yarn down my thumb. The end of the yarn was in my palm and looped over the top of my thumb. I then wrapped the yarn in a ball around my thumb until voila a center-pull ball of yarn. Pretty good for just using my thumb and my knees to hold the yarn.

Today I received my pattern after much anticipation. I must say that I have never made a lace project before and I realize this is an overly ambitious beginning. I figure I've done about every other type of knitting at some time or another and I would rather make something that I really wanted to make. Anyhow, any lace knitting tips or any specific tips about the Peacock Feathers Shawl would be greatly appreciated.

My plan for tonight is to make the gauge swatch on single-pointed needles. After I determine the needle size then I will order myself some Addi Turbo circular needles, I believe.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Socks, Socks, Socks!

I have started two new pairs of socks this week. The first pair is the Amble pattern for the Six-Sock Knitalong. I am trying out the new KnitPicks Essential yarn with this pattern. The color is Dusk. I am using size one double-pointed needles and seem to be getting the right gauge of 8 stitches per inch. The sock seems a bit narrow but it does fit when I tried it on. The miracle of wool, I guess.

The other thing that I am trying this week is a pattern knitting two toe-up socks on one circular needle. This was a big deal for me since I have only done cuff-down socks on double pointed needles. I did the figure-8 cast on which I didn't find too onerous in spite of talk I had heard to the contrary. The worst part was tightening up the stitches in my opinion. I am still working on the toes, however. It feels as if it is taking forever but that probably is because I'm doing double the amount of socks.

I don't have a picture of my toe-up socks at the moment because I have put them in my car. Every time I end up sitting in my car with my 6 month old sleeping in the back seat, I wish that I had some knitting along so I have stashed this project in my trunk. Some day I will finish it.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Booga Bag Transformation

Before felting

I just finished my Booga Bag. I think it came out pretty well in spite of a few things. This was my first attempt at felting and I broke all of the rules.

1. I used bulky yarn. I didn't know that you weren't supposed to do that until after I started knitting.

2. I didn't make a swatch. I figured that this was an experiment and it's a bag so I didn't really care how much it shrunk.

3. I used Lopi yarn which I understand sheds too much for nice felting. I wanted to use up some stash leftovers so I did it anyhow. I didn't find that it shed too much.

4. I used white yarn which doesn't felt well because the bleaching process inhibits felting. I knew this but I thought that the white yarn I was using was more of a natural off-white color. It did not felt well though which is where I guess a swatch would have helped.

I'm pretty happy with the result, so I think I will make another bag with my remaining Lopi scraps. This time, however, I will leave out the white.

Friday, July 29, 2005


This is my unfinished object. Although there are other things I am working on this is THE unfinished object since I can't even remember how long I have been working on this sweater. About 5 years I guess. As you can see I only have to finish the sleeves so I am just going to force myself to do it. I actually went out and bought myself another set of size 8 needles because these have been in use for so long.

This sweater uses Paton's Classic Wool Merino Blend. It is from the book Paton's Outdoor Aran's, pattern # 5 "Family Sweater."

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Chutes and Ladders Socks Finished!

I finished my Chutes and Ladders socks for the six-sock knitalong with three days to spare. I joined the group a month late so that is my excuse for almost missing the deadline. If members post their completed pictures by the end of the month they are entered into a drawing to receive, yes, more sock yarn. What could be better!

I really enjoyed this pattern. I used Sock It To Me! Esprit yarn from Elann. It is a cotton and elastic yarn which is alittle tricky to work with because it stretches quite a bit while your working with it. For those people familiar with the pattern, I used size 2 double pointed needles and cast on 60 stitches.

The hint for the next pattern is that it would look best in a solid color. I am trying to decide between using more Sock It To Me! Esprit yarn or KnitPicks Essential yarn that I have ordered. It is a new solid sock yarn from Knitpicks.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Completed Harry Potter Bookscarf

I completed my Gryffindor Bookscarf just in time for the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I think it cam out pretty well and I'm enjoying it a lot. The only problem is that my 3 year old daughter also likes it so I may be loosing my place in the book to her curiousity.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Harry Potter Bookscarf

I'm waiting for the new Harry Potter book to be released on Saturday. While I'm waiting I'm busy knitting a Gryffindor bookscarf that was posted on the net. I've used thick maroon and gold stripes though which I thought more closely resembled the scarves in the movie.

Check out the pattern and knit a bookscarf of your own:


Sunday, July 10, 2005

Chutes and Ladders Problem

I have been working on my Chutes and Ladders socks for the six sock knitalong. I noticed that in carrying the pattern down the instep that that pattern was not centered correctly. If you notice the "chute" is immediately next to a knit row causing the cable to be kind of blurry. What I should have done is frog the sock back to the heel but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Instead I dropped the knit row, took out my crochet hook, and worked that row back up as a purl row. I think that it came out okay although the pattern is off by a row. I'll just say that I'm letting go of my perfectionism and let this sock be living memorial of that.

As for the gloves, I have finished the first one. I am now procrastinating on weaving in the ends, writing out the pattern, and finishing the second glove. That's a lot of work to do.

Monday, July 04, 2005

On the Needles

I'm currently working on two projects. The first is a glove pattern that I am designing with cables up each finger. It has gone fairly smooth so far. I am using baby alpaca / merino yarn that I found on Elann.com for the design. The yarn feels so luxurious I never want to knit with anything else again. I am trying to write up the pattern as I go along to post on the web. It seems as if a lot of knitting design is just a matter of math. I always excelled at math in high school. My parents didn't think that I was using it now (lol).

The second project that I have been working on is a sock for the six sock knitalong that I just joined. The pattern is called Chutes and Ladders. I have been perusing pictures of socks that people have completed for the knitalong. I think that I prefer the look of continuing the pattern through the foot instead of stopping the pattern at the ankle so I may alter the pattern in that way. I am using Sock It to Me! Esprit, again from Elann.com. This yarn is cotton with a little elastic which I am finding challenging to work with. It has been hard getting a consistent tension since the yarn stretches so much but I think I have gotten the hang of it. I also used the Norwegian cast-on for the first time. I think I should practice it on wool yarn sometime because it was very difficult to do with the elastic in the yarn.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Self-Striping Gloves Completed

My recent love has been sock knitting. Until last year's issue of Knit It! I never even thought about making socks but after I made my first pair I was hooked. I have made a number of socks out of Magic Stripes yarn. The wool, however, itches my feet so I have recently purchased some Sock It to Me! Esprit yarn off the Elann.com website. This is a combination of cotton and elastic. I plan to use this knit a couple pairs of socks on sock knitalongs that I have discovered on yahoo groups.

Because of my recent obsession with sock knitting I have been looking for other ways to use sock yarn. I have discovered the book The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns which lets you make about anything using any yarn. Last night I finished gloves using the glove pattern in the book with Magic Stripes yarn. I ended up frogging one finger of the glove to try to get the stripes of the gloves to match up but otherwise it was fairly smooth sailing. I used size 2 double pointed needles which enabled me to knit at 7 stitches per inch. The other thing that I learned during this process was to pick up a couple extra stitches at the base of each finger and to immediately decrease these stitches in the next row. That process eliminated any holes that previously sprung up between my glove fingers.

On a less glorious note, I had to frog almost an entire sock last night after I realized it was not going to fit over my heel. This was painful as the sock had a complicated cable pattern and was knit at a painstaking gauge of 9 1/2 stitches per inch. The gauge, of course, was the problem because I was aiming for 8 1/2 stitches per inch. (Sigh . . .) Apparently a gauge swatch worked in stockinette stitch does differ from a gauge swatch worked in the round. I had been warned. . .

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


Hello everyone! I have been knitting for 24 years ever since I was 9 years old. (I'm sure you can do the math and figure out how old I am.) Twenty-four years seems like such a long time to do anything. My mother initially taught me how to knit although I can't say that I've seen her knit anything. Any more complicated things that I have learned, I've learned from books.

In spite of my love of and long history of knitting, I can't say that I really know anyone who knits. I have been lucky enough to run across the book Stitch 'n Bitch which introduced me to both the KnitList and the concept of knitting blogs. I am so excited to have a place to share my knitting now since my husband is tired of hearing about it.

Currently my biggest barriers to knitting are my three year old daughter and my 4 month old son. They are also great subjects to knit for being that they are small and I can knit things for them relatively quickly. As a result I forgive them for being a barrier to my knitting.

I look forward to sharing my projects with you!