Saturday, December 30, 2006

Out With the Old, In With the New

As the old year comes to an end, I have been taking stock of my WIP and planning for the upcoming year. You might remember my Shetland Lace Shawl from Gathering of Lace.

Wish it farewell because it is slated for frogging. I had completed. One edging, one border, and maybe a third of the center. At this point, I realized that early in the border I had made a noticeable mistake. I see no way to fix it except to frog it and although it is not horribly noticeable it has sapped my enthusiasm to finish the project.

The good cluster (quite blurry).

The mistake (also quite blurry).

I am also planning to frog my Amble socks. They have been sitting around too long and I don't like them. Good bye also.

On a happier note, I received my Jamieson and Smith yarn for Alice Starmore's Katherine of Aragon sweater. After swatching I have decided to substitute one of the background colors with a Jamieson color. For more info see the Tudor Roses Knitalong.

Happy New Year and Happy Knitting!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas Knitting Completed! Now what?

Well, Christmas is done and I have completed my meager Christmas knitting goals.

Gloves for my aunt. My aunt always talks about gloves that my mother knit for her 35 years ago. She described them as being knit very tight and being very warm. Apparently they caught on fire during a bonfire. She has been mourning them ever since. She and my mother have always referred to them as gloves. Come to find out they were actually mittens. I told her I am not knitting her a pair of those also.

Yarn: Nature Spun worsted in silver sage.
Needles: Brittany dpn size 1 1/2 (2.5 mm)
Pattern: Belinda's Gloves, my own design
Size: women's large

I also knit my husband his first pair of socks.

Needles: Knitpicks Options dpn size 0 (2.0 mm)
Pattern: my own basic sock pattern
Size: Men's 10 1/2

Finally, I knit my neighbor some socks. She has been a great help to me since our move to Michigan.

Yarn: Knitpicks bare, 75% superwash wool and 25% nylon, handpainted with Kool-Aid
Needles: Knitpicks Options dpn size 0 (2.0 mm)
Pattern: my own basic sock pattern
Size: Women's medium

I also was quite lucky myself this year. Instead of my husband buying his usual toilet brushes and brooms I received:

1. Fair Isle Knitting by Alice Starmore
2. Tudor Roses by Alice Starmore
3. Sweaters from Camp by Meg Swanson

I can't complain.

My next goal is to take stock of my current WIP's. I will be doing some frogging and some finishing hopefully.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

WIP Wednesday

The Mara class has started a WIP challenge to encourage all of us to work on our unfinished works in progress. I have elected to work on Fulmar which I have been tackling on an off since March 2006. Although I have put countless hours into it I have only reached 40 cm out of 60 cm on the front. I must still finish the back and sleeves.

The time consuming part of this sweater is the gauge (252 stitches for each row) and the numerous cables (every right side row). This was something I really wanted to make so I figured that I would just continue plugging along until I was done.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Unveiling the Gryffindor Scarf

Along with the other obligatory Christmas knitting I have finished a Harry Potter Gryffindor scarf. I will be donating this scarf to my church for a silent auction on December 9, 2006. The scarf was knit in the round with Knitpicks Merino Style DK weight in hollyberry and harvest colorways. I think the colors are just perfect.

The scarf came out beautifully at 67" long before fringe and 6 1/2" wide. I will be sorry to see it go but hopefully it gets some bidders. My church is only five years old. The congregation is still trying to expand programs and acquire a permanent home. Although Unitarian Universalists were everywhere in Massachusetts, there has not been a Unitarian Universalist church in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 60 years. It is exciting to be part of the rebirth of such an entity.

If you would like to bid on my scarf, the All Souls Community Church annual Silent Auction will be held on Saturday December 9th at 12pm at New Branches School, 256 Alger Street SE, Grand Rapids, Michigan. It will be OPEN to the public. The auction will include a “strolling” lunch, which will consist of different pasta stations set up around the items to be bid on. Tickets to the auction are being sold at for $5/ family and at the door.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A Tale of Six Mittens

I have been knitting a bit of this and that lately. It seems too overwhelming to document everything, so I will focus on mittens for today. It has been getting quite chilly in Michigan so warm winter clothes have been inspiring.

First up are my son's mittens. I used my leftover Palette from Knitpicks and the book Fair Isle Mittens and Gloves to knit these up. The only thing I was missing was yellow yarn so I dyed the light grey yarn with lemon-aide Kool-Aid and voila we have yellow. My only misgiving is that it is probably silly to make such intricate mittens for a child who will probably loose them by Christmas.

Next on the menu is my daughter's pink fuzzy mittens. These are better suited for losing. I think they awful. I carried eyelash yarn with your basic acrylic. My daughter, of course, loves them.

Finally, my mittens. They are self-designed, tufted mittens using Naturespun worsted weight yarn. They are nice and cozy because of the roving tucked inside. I used a braided stitch on both sides of the cuff for the first time. I kind of like the effect.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Donegal: Part 2

My Donegal is officially blocked and it was actually cold enough to wear it today. So here is the official picture. As an aside, the wooly board is new. My husband helped me make it which almost makes up for past Christmas gifts.

On another topic, my little girl started preschool today. My baby is growing up. Sniff. Sniff.

Related links:
More Donegal swatches
Even more Donegal swatches
Ribbing finished
Slow progress
More slow progress
Getting started
Body almost completed
Donegal Finished!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Donegal Finished!

Pattern: Donegal from Celtic Collection by Alice Starmore
Needles: Addi Turbos 3.0mm and 3.25mm and Knitpicks 3.0mm and 3.25mm in a variety of circular sizes.
Yarn: Knitpicks Palette in 11 colors.

Impressions: This pattern was a lot of fun to make although the color pattern was so irregular that it was hard to memorize. This was my first stranded sweater in a small gauge and I had fewer problems with it than I thought I might. I am still not sure about the colors though. The sweater is a bit loud although perhaps that will come back in style when we revisit the 80's. The Knitpicks Palette was nice yarn to work with. It was sticky and the steeks did not run at all. It blocked out nicely and most the tension problems that I initially encountered blocked out completely. The problem, of course, is the color choices. Since this sweater uses 11 colors and Palette only comes in 30, it is very limiting. I also prefer the heathered colors found in Jamieson and Smith or Jamieson's. In the future, for the time I am putting into knitting, I will splurge on other yarn.

So my sweater is done in time for winter. For a next colorwork project I am planning to knit Katherine of Aragon although I still need to work out the colors for this sweater.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Quick Update

Just thought I would add a quick update. I am working along on my Donegal sweater. I am halfway through the second sleeve so I should be done in time to wear it for winter. Yeah!

I have finished a skirt for my daughter. Isn't it just awful? She loves it though. Colors hand-selected by a four year old girl. The pattern is from Greetings from Knit Cafe. A very quick knit for a little girl who loves anything frilly but who won't wear sweaters. The only thing that I would do differently is to use a hemmed edge on the bottom the next time around. (No pun intended.)

I have also finished my entrelac scarf finally. I am not much of a scarf knitter but I think that it came out nice thanks to the Noro Kuyeron yarn. My onlycomplaintt is that I like my scarves to be reversible and this one definitely has a wrong side.

In the future I have a lot of sock action that I have not yet blogged on. But that is for another day. . .

Friday, August 11, 2006

Donegal Steeks

I finished the body of my Donegal sweater . . .

cut the steeks . . .

and started the sleeves.

So far palette does not seem very slippery and I have noticed no runs in my steeks. I am happy with the way the seem looks. I have only cut a steek one time before on a cardigan for my husband. At that time I didn't know the name for a steek and just did what the instructions told me to do. All came out fine. As other bloggers have said, it is easier not to be scared of steeks if you don't know that you are supposed to be. It is a bit like a short row heel on a sock though. At the end of it, it seems like such a miracle that it all worked out.

Friday, July 28, 2006

To Blog or To Knit?

I've been decreasing my time on the computer in favor of spending time knitting lately. I'm pretty sure that I am spread out in too many directions. When my son was born (only 18 months ago) I brought my socks in progress to the hospital because that was the only project I was working on. How times have changed.

I was working along on my Shetland Lace Stole (self designed) in Lacy Lamb. Eventually my interests went in other directions. This is where I left off.

My main project now has been Alice Starmore's Donegal in Knit Picks palette. I can never decide if I like these colors or not. None-the-less, next time I am opting for Jamieson & Smith. I am now working on the neck steek.

I have also been working on some black cotton socks . . .

And an entrelac scarf in Noro just because I wanted to try entrelac.

And now for some finished objects:

I also finished some plain mittens for charity. A school meals program in Grand Rapids is soliciting mittens for children in its program.

And last, a tee from White Lies Designs made from Dale of Norway's Svale. It fits quite nicely. I shall have to take a picture of myself wearing it sometime.

I hope that you all are having a productive summer. Happy knitting!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Back At Last

After over a two week journey to visit relatives we have returned to Michigan. We did almost 5 days of driving and unfortunately I get car sick so I could not even knit in the car. On a positive note, I arrived home with 2 pounds of yarn and 9 cirucular needles. I took almost 300 pictures so I will give you a photo tour of my trip.

My in-laws live in Maine and I was lucky to find an organic farm that raised alpaca, sheep, and various other animals. I picked up 2 pounds of worsted weight yarn in a mohair and merino blend. I envision a sweater in its future.

When returning home, we stopped at Niagara Falls in Canada. Lace knitters may know what vision that inspires. . . Aero circular needles, of course! I visited The Knitting Habit and purchased 9 circular needles. I purchased a few Inox greys, aero, and pony needles. They seemed to be nice and pointy. I am looking forward to seeing how they work for me.

Currently I am using my 2.75 mm needles to work on a stole out of Lacy Lamb yarn (a cobweb weight). I am designing the stole myself with the help of Sharon Miller's Heirloom Knitting. You probably can't tell much now since lace always looks awful until blocked, but my stole bears a strange resemblance to Sharon Miller's Unst Stole and Hazel Carter's Sampler Stole from a Gathering of Lace. Strangely enough these stoles bear a strange resemblance to each other so I decided to create a variation that is uniquely my own.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

In the Center of the Shetland Lace Shawl

It has been a zoo around my house lately so I am just doing a little drive by blogging. Here are a couple pictures of my Shetland Lace Shawl from the Gathering of Lace. I have finished the first edging and border and have begun the center. I feel like I am in the home stretch which, in fact, I am nowhere near because I still have 3 more borders to go. At least I feel like I am making some progress.

There has been some skepticism on the Internet about the "lengthening the edge" technique used by Hazel Carter on this shawl. She says that it is a traditional Shetland technique but other designers don't seem to use it. I have included a picture of my very long border edge. I can't say that I have any opinion about how well this will work as of yet. I am just proceeding with blind faith. Wish my luck!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Summer Knitting

I have pretty much abandonned my winter projects for summer knitting. I found this old pattern for a bedspread square and thought about actually knitting a summer bedspread. I made up a square out of DMC Senso to try it out. This is what I discovered: each square is 11" x 11" blocked and I needed about one entire ball per block (150 yards). As a result, I figure that I would need about 70 balls to make a bedspread. At $2.50 per ball that would put the cost around $200. Quite cost prohibitive. Sigh. Now to plan B, whatever that may be. (No pun intended.)

My other summer project is the Shetland Lace Shawl from A Gathering of Lace. I am up to row 35 on the first border. I feel like I am actually getting the hang of it and have been able to memorize each pattern row. My version is not as flowing as the one in the book because I am using thicker yarn. I think it may make a fairly wearable shawl though. I am often afraid to wear my Peacock Feathers shawl because it seems to fragile although it has held up so far.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Photo Shoot

I have been pondering the Soleil fiasco. The v-neck is too low and the strip up the shoulders is too wide. In addition, I would probably add a row of garter stitch at the edge to discourage rolling. I had thought of frogging it to the bottom of the v-neck and redoing it but quite honestly the bottom of the lace is curling also. I'm not sure that the yarn is a good blocker. I am thinking I will probably frog the whole thing and make up my own pattern. So discouraging. Sigh.

My WIP's lined up this morning for a photo shoot in the nice spring sun. I think I am spreading myself too thin.

First is the River Rapids sock in Lorna's Laces Shepard Sock. I LOVE this yarn. Generally I cannot wear primarily wool yarn because it feels like someone is pricking me with pins but this yarn is so soft. I love the way these socks are turning out and I have cast-on for the second sock to avoid second sock syndrome.

Next is Fulmar. I am slowly chugging along on it. I know that I am not going to finish it before next winter so I am somewhat unmotivated. I have been mostly knitting on it when I go to the LYS.

Another Alice Starmore design on the line-up is Donegal. I substituted Knitpicks palette in this sweater. I am not sure how I like the colors and have been contemplating frogging it. I figured that I would keep plugging along though and see if it grows on me.

Next we have the Shetland Lace Shawl from Gathering of Lace. I have finished the first edging and am now working on the first border. I anticipate the border to be the hardest part because the pattern is fairly long and hard to remember. This will be my main summer knitting so I imagine I will work on it more now.

Finally last weekend I took a field trip to ThreadBear in Lansing. What a great yarn store. I was so overwhelmed otherwise I would have probably bought more. I came out with 2 skeins of Misti Alpaca for gloves and 3 skeins of bamboo yarn. I haven't decided what I want to do with it yet.

In parting, here is a first flowers of the season shot. Spring is here!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Soleil: It's Time for Summer!

I have finished and blocked Soleil from This sweater used 5 skeins of Rowan Cashsoft Baby DK in crocus.

Since taking the picture I have added another row of single crochet to the arm holes to keep the sweater from curling so much. After trying to wear this sweater under a cardigan yesterday I am finding the sweater not very wearable. Every time I lift my son up the sweater pulls down and I end up flashing everyone. I feel like the sweater just barely covers what needs to be covered with the result that I end up pulling it down or up all of the time. I am considering adding some croched lace to the neckline. What is a girl to do? Let me know if you have any suggestions.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Soleil blocking: I'm ready for summer!

I have pretty much finished Soleil. It is currently blocking on the floor. I tried it on before blocking it. Thus far I'm not really sure about it. It is extremely low-cut and it is also not very long. Perhaps it would work better on someone petite. The sweater also requires some pretty severe blocking to open up the lace on the bottom and to keep the armhole edge from curling. This concerns me a bit because it is a summer sweater that you would not wear over another shirt. As a result it seems that the sweater would require a lot of washing and hence blocking every time. Anyhow, I will post a picture when I am able to wear the sweater.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Stress Relief = Stockinette Stitch

Geez, it has been a long time since I've blogged. Anyhow . . . My 13 month old has learned how to climb. He has been climbing up on the kitchen table and walking around. This has put me in a constant state of stress for fear that he fall off and kill himself. Although he is fairly confident about his abilities he still falls a lot when walking across an empty room.

What to do. I feel like I am in a constant state of vigilance trying to anticipate what he will climb next. Meanwhile I am knitting one sweater of worsted weight on size 1 needles, one sweater in fair isle fingering weight on size 3's, and a shawl on lace weight with size 4's. None of these projects allow for the type of stress relief I felt I was needing. So what's a girl to do but start another project.

You might notice that my newest project is DK weight stockinette stitch on size 6 needles. Much more relaxing. I am knitting Soliel from Knitty which I was going to save for the summer but perhaps I will have it done by summer instead. I am using the Rowan Cashsoft Baby DK which I acquired at the great after Christmas sale and one of my LYS's. I am loving this yarn but it would normally be a bit out of my budget. The color is called crocus. I have actually seen crocus' lately although this yarn bears very little resemblance. The color is nice though. It is hard to tell whether it is tan, pink, or orange.

In the last couple days I have found myself straying back to Fulmar. The progress is not really noticeable. I am not inspired to knit too fast since I don't anticipate wearing this sweater until next winter.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Too Many Projects?

I figured that I would give you an update on my projects now that I have finished Leaves In Relief:

1. I haven't worked much on my Shetland Lace Shawl from A Gathering of Lace. I started it to get a sense of it. I am trying to hold off on it so it can be more of a summer project though. Over the past couple days it has been sunny and warmer though so I have been working on it a bit. I am sure that when it snows again I will lose inspiration.

2. Here is my Donegal sweater from Alice Starmore's Celtic Collection. I also have not finished much of this. I still am not sure about the colors and that it making it hard for me to stay inspired. This much I know -my next fair isle project will use Jamieson and Smith's 2-ply.

3. My newest project is Fulmar from Alice Starmore's Aran Knitting. I am using Nature Spun in pink please. I have been knitting on this a lot but am using 2.25 mm and 2.50 mm needles to knit this out of light worsted weight wool. The ribbing was killing my hands. The needles kept bending and the knitting was so tight. I am happy to say that I have switched on the larger sized needles in Addi Turbos and my hands are much happier. I have also been trying not to use a cable needle although I have needed to on some of the larger cables because the fabric is so firm. I am in love with this sweater so far though. It is just beautiful.

One of my main reason for making at least one project out of worsted weight wool is that my LYS does not carry much else that I would use. They carry a lot of bulky yarn, acrylic, and novelty yarn. I do like to go there every couple weeks to knit and hang out with other knitters though so I like to keep a LYS project going.

Finally, off topic, Meijer Gardens has a temporary butterfly exhibit going now. Aren't they beautiful? If you are in the area stop by and check out the butterflies.