Sunday, July 13, 2014

Is It A Coincidence?

I've been spending lots and lots of time watching Netflix because of the summer hiatus of TV programs. Now that Orphan Black and Da Vinci's Demons are over, I need to find new sources of relaxation. There's a lot of stinkers out there but I've been fortunate to find programs like Life, Hemlock Grove and my new favorite Bitten. Can't wait for the next season--which isn't until 2015!

One of my daily habits is to look through the pattern section of Ravelry and I found two really pretty patterns. One is called Stonehaven and the other Bear River. These things figure prominently in Bitten, which doubled my enthusiasm for them. I wonder if the designer, Laura Aylor, is also a fan. I ordered some deep red Venezia worsted for Stonehaven, have to troll my stash for the right yarn for the second sweater.

I'm off schedule for completing the sleeves for a sweater I have been working on FOREVER because I've been swatching for a color blocked shell in a 100% cotton yarn called Windy and a thick/thin combo, also 100% cotton, called Rosa. I've also been fooling around with the Deco Sunburst Shawl. Hear that sound? Ripit Ripit

Saturday, July 12, 2014

They Say Bad Things Come In Threes

If that's true, I've certainly exceeded my quota. My neighbor's master bathroom leaked into my living room ceiling, then I missed the memo about proof of dryer vent cleaning being due June 30. These are mild inconveniences compared to the loss of my father and my cat (separate events) and the potential for unemployment looming over me.

I love being a Knitter and I love the fact that when the going gets rough, I can rely on the support of my knitting community.

When Indie (the cat) died, I headed up to my LYS and sat with my friend Mary Lou, also a cat lover. I bought yarn for a hat class I'm taking on Craftsy.

The ladies in the community where my parents live(d) invited me to join their crochet group any time.

And rather than fret and worry about my job, I've been taking classes at Shaina Bilow's Knitting School. There such great positive reinforcement there and I'm making better progress on my WIPs.

Lucy and I are hanging in although we need to get started on the organization of my stash soon. Christmas is only 6 months away and we have two babies due this year. We'll post progress reports soon.

Monday, January 16, 2012

To Frog, or Not to Frog?

As part of my New Year's resolution to knit from my stash, I've been organizing and reorganizing my stash, trying to confine it to one room. I've prioritized the projects I want to finish, but of course, found a new idea while "organizing". I ended up with four skeins of Cascade 128 Superwash in Ruby after Christmas and matched it up with Jared Flood's Wool Leaves. The pattern has been languishing in my Ravelry library waiting patiently for a project.

The pattern calls for two strands of worsted knitted together at a gauge of 10 stitches = 4". I appear to be getting 10 stitches to 3"; the width unblocked is 24" after I completed the moss stitch border and one repeat. The blocked width is supposed to be 26" so I may be okay; however, I've been looking at other projects on Ravelry and it appears other knitters went a lot wider (I cast on 91 versus 71 stitches).

I should admit that I've already cast on and ripped back three times. The first time, I thought I miscount in the pattern but later learned the pattern shifts because of decreases. I cast on again and then thought I messed up the four border stitches on each side. And then cast on again and realized that I misread border rows 5 and 6 and ripped back AGAIN.

So I'm a little reluctant to frog once again, but don't want to knit up a puny blanket. What's the right size blanket for a baby? And does Cascade 128 soften up? What would you do?

Monday, January 02, 2012

2012: The Year of Finishing and Using Up Stash

Happy New Year! May 2012 bring health, wealth and happiness to you and yours.

I had the week between Christmas and New Year off and had a very long list of projects that I intended to finished, however, I didn't make much of a dent. I did finish this Gingerbread Sweater for my niece. The sleeves are mega-long, so hopefully she can wear it next year, if she's not too cool at 12.

Meanwhile, I've got a gorgeous sweater using Blue Sky Alpacas Bulky in progress based on a Rowan pattern out of one of the new books. Actually had to rip back the Prism Plume and Stuff hat I started from a recent issue of Knit N Style.

And I'm taking a mitten class. I did try to make one earlier in the break but ended up with too many stitches and didn't know why, so I ripped that back and enrolled in the Shaina Bilow Knitting School. We're using Chunky Alpaca and I've got both mittens knitted to the point where decreases are started. Next week we're measuring and shaping and we're starting thethumb gussets.

So busy, busy, busy. What's on your needles?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Christmas is Coming

Going to make an effort to finish the KAL this year. My plan is to use life lines and to skip patterns that stump me. I gave up some where in the first week last year because the bobbles threw off my stitch count more times than I care to remember--this year, if I have to rip back more than 3 times, I'm waiting for the next day. The scarf will be plenty long unless I run into trouble more than once a week.

On the more positive side, I have some Karabella Lace Merino in a beige color. I'm going to use beads; I have some metallic beads from Twisted Sistah that are shades of browns and tans that should show up very nicely. I have some reds that I could use too and would be more festive for the holiday theme, but no yarn for that. I do have some natural lace weight that I could use with crystal beads. I guess I should swatch?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Taking A Compliment

One of the many things I love about events likes Stitches is seeing what other knitters do with their yarn.

There were an abundance of knitters and crocheters wearing their handmade garments throughout the weekend. I am amazed at how well done some of the designs are and its wonderful to see many of the patterns that I've coveted come alive. I saw the Kaffe Fassett Floral Jacket and the February Lady Sweater executed impeccably (the fit of the FLS across the shoulders was perfect!). I also saw someone wearing the Belvedere sweater I'm working on and it renewed my excitement about the sweater. It also made me glad I was taking classes so I too could produce a fantastic piece of work.

This is important to me because, before I packed, I chose what I would wear each of the four days carefully so I could show off my work among people who will appreciate it.

However, when I was dressing each day, I hesitated. One sweater looked too short, one of the top-down raglans has horrific batwings and my beautiful cotton Katydid sweater is suddenly short and shapeless and missing a button already. So I wore my Noro top-down raglan every day.

I love this sweater. It fits, or rather, it fits me the best of all my handknits. There is a batwing effect too, just not as pronounced as the other raglan. And I do not benefit from horizontal stripes.

But it's knit well, there are no hidden mistakes and it was warm, a significant attribute in the over-air-conditioned classrooms in October. If anyone noticed flaws, they didn't mention it. In fact, I got quite a few compliments.

Which is a fascinating dynamic. I was taken aback by the number of women who responded to compliments about their work by pointing out the flaws (obvious only to the knitter) or by belittling their work.

Ladies, it’s not necessary to draw attention to mistakes. And it is excruciating to hear you belittling a garment I know you labored over lovingly. I know we’ve been raised to be modest but when you’re among your knitting peers, I think it’s appropriate to be proud and to accept praise for your accomplishment. No one is going to think you’re boasting. After all, we’re Knitters.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Back from Stitches East

What a wonderful time! I got up super early on Thursday, packed and hit the road. The weather was gorgeous in Hartford, although I was indoors most of the time. After checking in at the Marriott (highly recommended), I had a great lunch at Vivo and went to class.

Susanna Hansson taught me how to knit stripes in the round without getting an unsightly jog. It's very humbling not being able to master a new technique right away. This skill will be useful for making the Holly Jolly Bag from Creative Knitting. Too tired to visit the Market on Thursday evening (can you imagine?).

Friday began with a great class on necklines with Chris Bylsma. I love Chris' designs and her teaching style. Spent the afternoon with Drew Embrosky, The Crochet Dude, for Beyond Beginner Crochet. This is exceptionally useful and he's a great teacher. Will look for him in the future.

Saturday was devoted to The Sweater Map with Shannon Okey. I've taken classes with her before and learned a lot and this time was no different--she is a fount of information as well as entertaining. My measuring partner Denise was great during that portion of the agenda. Net net, I've got a basic sweater designed but may not use the cashmere I brought with me--too many variables.

I'll be honest, by Sunday, I was tired and blew off the classes I had scheduled (I am trying not to think about how much yarn I could have bought with the price of the classes). I gave my Grand Prize tickets to some lucky strangers in the Market and shopped a little before traveling home.

I was shocked at how much smaller the market was this year and wandered around looking for the new BIG things. Not much was new and there were some conspicuous absences. My favorite is Glitterati from Pagewood Farms (see photo). The yarn is gray and there are pink, black and silver sparkly things and sequins all over it!

I picked up Jean Frost's book Custom Fit Knit Jackets: Casual to Couture. While it features Jean's designs, there's a detailed tutorial up front to help me find my perfect size and shaping. I swatched the Gabrielle sweater last night--I'm not there yet, but working towards it.

Meanwhile, I cast on the Floating Checks cardigan, also from Jean but not in her book. I'm using black and white Zara. This involves a lot of slip stitches, which I'm enjoying.

I bought a lot of beads from Twisted Sistah Beads & Fibers; I really like Leslie and she was able to answer all my questions. I also picked up some buttons that look like peppermints for holiday knitting and little mink balls for decoration. I'm thinking in lieu of pom-poms. I got some Cascade 220 for the Holly Jolly bag from The Yarn Barn of Kansas and then I went to The Yarn Lady. I just love their booth.

Laura Bryant's Prism yarns just slay me, however, I didn't do too much damage--I bought the Glitteri there (didn't know I could get it from the Pagewood Farm booth!), ordered two skeins of Plume so I can make the hat featured in the December issue of Knit and Style (is it out yet?)and I ordered the kit for the Shona vest. This is a pattern Jane Slicer-Smith did for Trendsetter and uses Merino VIII. I ordered the same green as the sample--hope I like it!

I did make significant progress on the Venezia sweater. Better keep those needles clicking.