Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Not a Copy Cat
by Vickie
While away for Christmas vacation I brought knitting with me to kill idle time in the airport and while visiting my son and his wife. For some reason, Orbitz gave us a layover in MN for eight hours and I knew that would be prime knitting time and I was armed and ready! I took some 1824 cotton yarn to make this hat again. I am going to donate them to charity so thought since I had the time and it wasn't too complicated a pattern I would be able to get a lot done. Turns out I only got two finished, but I did get some other important knitting done instead.

My son has never asked me to knit anything for him. I did knit a wool scarf (he picked out the yarn) two years ago and I have never heard that he has ever worn it, except on this trip to AK. I flat out asked if he ever wore the scarf and he said yes that he had worn it to the Christmas party for his work recently. While we were watching TV he asked me if I could make him this hat. I said no, but maybe I could come up with something like it. Since I already had a hat pattern with me I figured that would give me a place to start.

So the son wanted to go to a local sporting goods store and lucky me there was a local yarn shop (which I will talk about by name in a later post) right next door. What are the odds?? So I went in there and looked around at the different yarns and didn't find anything on my own. The person working in the shop showed me some yarn I had never used before so I mulled it over and decided it would do well with the pattern I had in mind. My son came over to find me and these are the colors he picked out for his hat.
I have never knit with Llama before so these would be perfect. It was soft and very easy on the hands to knit with. I used 100 stitches for the base of the hat. The largest baby hat that I had was 80 so I more or less guessed that 100 would be a good start. I also went on the Internet and looked at other hat patterns to see what their stitch count was. 100 was the average amount. So 100 it was.

My son looks better with darker colors around his face and I had seen that most of his clothes were darker colors so I started with the green first. I started with knitting the first row and then knit the moss stitch to give the hat the texture I wanted and so that the brim of the hat would not roll. I knit the moss or seed stitch several inches and then decided to change the color and just knit from there thinking it would blend right in. Wrong. So you can see from the picture that I only did one band of the knitted stitch.

Then when I changed the color I realized that I had to do the whole hat in the moss stitch so that it would continue to have the texture and didn't have an indentation like the knitted band had. So it was an easy pattern to knit.

Decreasing for the top of the hat was a little bit of a challenge. I started with 100 stitches and everything came out even with every other stitch being a knit stitch then a purl, but when I started to decrease the pattern was disrupted. So I tinked it back and added one stitch at the beginning of the first decrease row. I did the decrease row in the knitted stitch and then I knit the row between the decrease row in the moss stitch. You hardly notice the rows of knitting. It did change the pattern a bit but since it was on the top I didn't really care. The hat turned out well and my son was pleased. He had to try it on about three times to see if it would fit and how long I needed to make it.

This is the hat finished. You can see that I only did a few rounds of straight knitting. Then when I saw the indentation I decided I didn't like it, so I just continued with the moss stitch.

This is my son with the newly finished hat on. The picture is a little dark because he was playing video games when I insisted hat he try the hat on for a photo for my blog.

Here is a side view of the hat.

I am pleased with the way the hat turned out with my minimal knowledge of creating patterns. It was fun and I gave my son something I think he will wear a lot. I did give him the bad new that if he washed the hat he could put it on his key ring later...I will wait for the news from him that he forgot and washed the hat. LOL!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Comes Early
by Vickie

I was on the phone with my mom when there was a knock on the door. Guess who it was? It was Santa Claus...well sort of. Santa was dressed up as a mailman. Isn't he cleaver? I thought so because I have been waiting for what he brought.

I have already showed what my basket looked like that I sent to my Secret Santa Swapee and now I get to show you what I got. I have to say I was a bit nervous but I wasn't disappointed at all. Check out the pics.

I actually showed great restraint and grabbed the camera for this shot before tearing into the gift. I can't believe I didn't open first, put it back together and then take the photo. There was nice book in the bottom of the box. I will show more of that later.
After tearing into the basket I set everyone out to take another pic. There is a lot of stuff here. I was surprised at how much came in the box. Let me list the items:
1. A reindeer bath mitt
2. Peppermint Life Savers
3. Tons of different teas and even a box of tea bags
4. Handmade wreath and Christmas tree beaded ornaments
5. Jasmine and Vanilla Bath Soak
6. One ball of Berroco Comfort Sock yarn (color way #1812-needs a cool name)
7. 2 skeins of Araucania yarn (colorway Copihue)
8. 2 Maroon square candles
9. A magnetic tape measure (it's too cute)
10. Creative Couture Yarn Traveler
11. Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles
12. Stitch counter for needles

I love to knit socks but usually use only dpns. Now that I have this book, I might have to re-think that.
These are the handmade wreath and Christmas tree beaded ornaments. I have not done any knitted beaded anything. This inspires me to give it a shot. They are very cute.
In all honesty, this is the icing on the Christmas cake. I loved the yarn. The colors are so me, fall with no blue or pink!! I just love the yarns. I am going to make socks as soon as I can from Berroco. The Araucania is destined to be fingerless gloves. I hope that I can find a pattern that will use the same yardage. The label says about 48 yards. I am not sure if I will have to buy more or do two different yarns to get the gloves but I am determined to make myself a pair so I can learn how to do the thumb part. I have been thinking about making a pair while knitting a new pair of socks I am working on right now.

I haven't done a swap in years and years because I got burned so I am very pleased that this one turned out well. Thanks to Amanda from CA. You did an outstanding job!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Fiesta Time!
by Vickie
I mentioned in an earlier post that I joined a Ravelry Christmas Swap. I don't usually join these things but I couldn't resist this time. I mailed my package yesterday.

I forgot to take a final photo of the basket all wrapped up. I had some of that plastic shrinkable sheets and used a hair dryer to give the basket a professionally wrapped look. It was super easy! I crammed as much as my $40 would allow.

You won't see my Fiesta Shawl in the basket because I packaged it in a separate container. I also gave my Secret Pal a ball of purple roving that I knew I wasn't going to spin. I have four fleeces that should be on their way here sometime between now and Jan. So I will have plenty to do later!

Here's a close up of what's in the basket. I had such a good time doing this and I hope the person loves it. I think I might do this again.

My person said she is sensitive to wool so I looked for a yarn that would fit the bill. I found Fiesta. I talked about winding it in another post but did promise to show the finished shawl. It was super easy and I really was surprised how well it turned out. It's good for a beginner knitter. Even better!

Here is the promised picture of the shawl. It's not large and I really think of it more of a scarf than a shawl. I did realize after I finished that the cast on was a little too tight but the upside is that it made it sort of circular. It would be lovely as an accent piece on a light colored or black blouse. It was sent to someone who lives in a warm climate so I think it could be worn in spring and fall. It wouldn't keep anyone really warm.
I hope my Swapee enjoys everything in the box. I gave each item careful thought. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

by Vickie
I had a different post saved under draft about my yellow lace socks by Charlene Schurch. I looked back at Ravelry to see when I notes the project started. It was dated April 3. There were two others in a group of women at a shop were I used to hang out that were all going to knit the sock together. One has dropped the idea, one has finished and this one has a dilemma.

I started working on the gusset knowing that I had lost the row count of a 24 row pattern. I thought I was so smart by trying to take a short cut that would like me meet my goal of finishing my 2008 UFOs. I worked on the first sock for about the last three to four hours and got to a point where I could try it on. It's too big. I have never had that happen before. I know why after sitting and starring it for a while this afternoon.

It should fit snugly. I decided to start the gusset and continue on in stockinette. The stockinette is more loose and hence the sock does not fit. So now I have no idea what to do. I really don't want to frog the socks. They have taken too long already so I want to get them done.

As you can see from the photo I have made great progress but now I have no idea what row I am on in the pattern sequence and the only way I can make the sock continue to have the proper flow is to figure out what row I am on. The rows are so similar that I am not sure I will be able to tell one row from the other. I will have to do this to both socks.

Should I frog the socks back to the cuff and start all over? Or should I tink back the rows until I can figure out what row I am on.They are such lovely socks and I really don't want to start all over but...if anyone else has any suggestions, please let me know. I want to finish these by 2009.


Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Finished Projects
By Vickie
I am so proud of myself these days. While I was having computer problems I decided that I needed to set a little goal for myself. Since I wasn't blogging, I should have more time to work on finishing things. So I talked myself into finishing some UFOs that I have looked at everyday on my Ravelry account. The pictures of the UFOs were annoying and they needed to be dealt with. So I did.

I can't remember in which order I finished them but I got two things done right off the bat that I have left undone for way too long. The first one was my Blue Heron Clapotis. I bought two skeins thinking that would be enough and it wasn't. Then I was lucky enough to find someone who had some extra on Ravelry and bought some from the nice lady. Sadly it was not the same stuff and I still didn't have enough to finish my Clapotis. So just by chance one day I dropped into see a friend who works at one of my LYS and there was more the same yarn I started my Clapotis with. Lucky for me. Too bad I didn't buy enough the first go round because I got a 20% discount. I finished my Clapotis, finally.

Then feeling really motivated, I finished another long standing project, my Lily Chin shawl. It took 10 balls of a cotton yarn that someone gave to me. It's huge and I love it. I haven't worn it yet but will shortly because the weather is changing here. Even though it's cotton, I think it will be plenty warm. I thought when I started this it would be easy. It was not that easy. The pattern is easy enough but if you don't use life lines you will rip you hair out trying to back out hundreds of stitches. I could see there was a mistake, just couldn't figure out how to fix it. So I learned my lesson about using life lines.

I would knit this again, but I would start off using life lines instead of waiting until I was ready to quit. I love the cotton and it was frustrating and fun at the same time. Thank you to the person who gifted me the yarn. I hope you are pleased with the way it turned out.

I did take my very first neck down sweater class and I have almost finished that too. I will show a picture of that as soon as the wind stops blowing long enough to take a picture of what's done but that will be a later post.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Missing in Action and Missing the Action

I have missed blogging so much these last few months while having computer problems. This evening while trying to load my pictures from my camera, I experienced a few more snags. If it wasn't for DH coaching me through some things on the Internet, I still would not be able to blog with photos.

Despite not being able to post, I have been knitting like a fiend. I will take some more pictures of all the projects tomorrow so I can finally post what I have been doing while missing in action.

I did join a Secret Santa Swap via Ravelry. I am a bit leery about joining because I got burned with a cross stitch swap in the past. We have a $40 limit excluding the postage and it has to be to the person by December 15. I am done, done, done! My person was so easy and I am so excited to hear what she thinks.

Part of the swap is to knit something for the person. I knit three dishcloths (which she didn't ask for) and the shawl below.

I have never wound a skein to a cake or ball before but after reading the label, it said to wind it into a ball for ease of knitting. So I actually followed directions for once. Fiesta is a Rayon Boucle and it's very textured. I used Addi Turbos #15 needles. It was very slick and slide around everywhere. I started the shawl twice. I dropped a stitch and it was a total disaster to try and find it. I found the dropped stitch and fixed it, but it left an awkward looking hole that I just couldn't live with. So I ripped out about two hours of work and started again. The second time was much easier and I did finish it.

I loved how the colors shimmered but have to say it was pretty tough on my hands. Thankfully it was a short project that went very quickly. I am not a fan of blue but the blue and purple look great together. It's not large enough to use as a full blown shawl to stay warm but more like an accent for a blouse with a lovely shawl pin. I liked it so much that I was thinking about looking for colors that I like better and making myself one.

I don't want to show the whole shawl, but just a tease in case someone on Ravelry goes snooping around.

I hope I can get back into the routine of blogging on a regular basis with no more hiccups!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Time Out
by Vickie
I swear I have been meaning to post but my lap top has been playing games with me lately so I finally caved and bought a desk top. What is the most frustrating part is that not everything will transfer from XP to Vista. So some things will be on one and the rest on the other. I have not posted because my photos of what I have been doing are on an external hard drive until the desk top arrives. I can't download anything but I sure have been busy taking pictures of what I have been working on. The upside to not hanging out on the computer is that I am getting more knitting done and I am pleased about that for sure. Just as soon as I can get the new computer set up, I will be back on to blog. So for now I will just keep knitting and taking pictures of everything! I think I got an email from Dell that things are moving right along so hopefully it won't be too much longer! Thanks to those who stop by and keeping trying. I will have something up here soon, I hope!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

All Things Brown
by Vickie

I have been afraid of something in the knitting world for a few years now and I think that I have finally begun to conquer my fear. I signed up for neck down sweater class. I tried to knit a sweater a few years ago and I really didn't like the yarn I chose so I frogged it. I took that yarn and started a prayer shawl that is someplace in my stash storage area. I really will finish the shawl but I am thinking it won't be any time soon. What I really should do is put the whole thing on scarp yarn and put that needle back into the mix.

The main thing that I have been pouring myself into is the neck down sweater. Those of you who have already got the sweater thing figured out please bear with me. I have had this silly phobia about knitting a sweater for years and now I am trying to meet that fear head first. Here is where I have gotten so far. I missed the first class which was the first Thursday after Labor Day and now I am a week behind the rest of the group. I have to say, I have made good progress and it's been pretty easy so far. It's mindless knitting but that's okay with me for the first sweater that I will finish. I am hoping that this sweater will be the one I can build on and do more intricate things with later. I would love to embellish the bottom and the sleeves later down the road.

This picture was taken a few minutes ago in the morning sun so the color that looks like orange is from the sun. The pattern is from Knitting Pure & Simple. It's the Neckdown Cardigan for Women #9725. I found out from the instructor that if I had any questions I could go here and check out to see if anyone had asked the question that I have. I did check out the site, but what I mostly checking out are all the varations that others had done with the basic sweater pattern. I got some great ideas and I think I might have knit a few more of these for myself.

I picked Classic Worsted Tapestry yarn adn the color is 7012. I think the name of the yarn is Capers. It was not an expensive yarn and I really didn't want it to be in case I frogged it. I really didn't want to spend a lot on this sweater after what happened to the last one. The next sweater yarn is already in my mind. I can't remember the name of it but know exactly where it is in the shop. They had better not rearrange before I get the name of the yarn!

I also finished all the gift bags for the dinner group of friends. I have not however even made adent in the scarves I want to put in each bag. I may be changing my mind about what I put in the bags if I run out of time. We'll see...

So I finished the unnamed unseen Christmas gift. It's completely done! I felted it on this past Friday and then it spent the weekend in front of the pan packed with plastic shopping bags. I turned it inside out and gave it some fan time and it dry as a bone. I can't show you yet, but I will as soon as Christmas is over. The intended reads my no peaky.

Monday, September 08, 2008

On the Move
DH and I were lucky enough to get some time off from our jobs at the same time. So we decided to head out of dodge and go someplace where we could do little or nothing. I brought some of the UFOs that I talked about in the last post so that I could honor my goal of getting something finished and soon. I really did make some good progress on a project that I can't show you and can't talk about. The person that will be getting this project for a gift at Christmas reads my blog every now and then, and I really didn't want to let the cat out of the bag, so to speak. But I can give you a quickie look...
Okay, there is the unnamed project and it's in the van traveling down interstate 64. I am using size 13 Addi turbos and Eco Wool. That's all I can say. I promise later to show the finished project.

DH and I have found a little town in VA that we really like. We have been there once before about four years ago. Boy has it changed. What I love best about this little town is that it fit so well into a plan to do this thing I wanted to do all the month of August (this is a Ravelry link). I am thrilled I squeezed in this activity before the time was up. My friend Jennifer gave up her bag since she couldn't go. I made good use of the bag. Here is where I ended up...

On the Lamb was a stop on "Get Your Knits on Route 64". The funny part was we planned to go to Staunton before I even knew there was a yarn store or that it was on the list of shops to visit. I truly thought that I would hit The Knitting Sisters and some of the places in Richmond, but it never worked out that way.

DH and I thought a nice walk to the shop would be just great on such a lovely weekend. Boy were we ever wrong. The walk to the shop from downtown Staunton was way longer than we thought. Four blisters later we got to the shop and it was closed. They would have normally been open but the owner had a death in his family and opened a little late. He was nice enough to leave a sign on the door, but my blisters didn't really care. This is the front of the shop. It's an older two story home. What I really loved, was the really huge clump of lavender as you go up the stone steps. I was thinking how they could harvest that and make money off of the lavender by making small bags for people to buy.

I enjoyed the shop and came home with some wonderful yarns. Since I had the bag I got %15 off of some yarns that I wouldn't ordinarily buy. I am hoping that I can find the right projects for them.

Here they are and yes, they are all lace. I really love the lace shawls and scarves so that was my motivation for buying these yarns.

This is Malabrigo and the colorway is China 1. The picture doesn't seem to give credit to it's true color. It's more of a deep red or maroon than anything else.

The middle photo is Malabrio again and the colorway is Mariposa 125. The yellow is Malabrigo and the colorway is Butter 61. I did buy one more Malabrigo lace skein but I gifted that to my friend Jennifer for letting me take her bag. It was a great exchange. I am not usually one to follow a yarn brand trend just because everyone makes a fuss about it. This was a nice variegated lace that caught my eye. I never paid attention to the brand until later. I had never heard of this brand of yarn before. I usually don't buy anything with Mohair but this isn't as fuzzy as other Mohair I have knit with. It's so soft and since I am into yellow all of a sudden I couldn't help myself...

This is Wagtail Yarns from Childers, Queensland, Australia. it is 100% Fine Kid Mohair. It is a 4 ply yarn and there is 100 grams or 410 yards. The colorway is Lemon 150.004. This is another skein of Wagtail. The colorway is Midnight Red 320 900. It's a burgundy color. So that is my haul from On The Lamb. I am glad I found them. Now when we go again in October I will have someplace to go and sit and knit for a bit.

I think I might be done with stash enhancement! Well until the next time...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Knitting in Circles
by Vickie

Lately I feel as though I have been knitting in circles. I realized once I started looking at my current UFOs that I have a lot of circular needles occupied. I have signed up for a sweater class and need to get these things done before then but frankly, I feel like I am running out of time.

Here is official documentation of my current UFOs. I guess if I see them and you see them, I can't lie about them.

I truly believed that I had a grip on not starting too many projects at one time but all of a sudden I feel time breathing down my neck. Some of the UFOs are going to be Christmas presents if I ever get them finished. So if I list them here maybe I can whack them out one at a time. Since Labor Day weekend is fast approaching I might have some more time to get them done. A four hour car ride to and from our destination will help providing I don't have to help drive.
This is my second Clapotis. I ran out of yarn and had to find more. I had someone mail me some but her yarn had metallic in it and mine didn't so the search was on again. I went back to the original place I bought the first two skeins and found a third one by accident. So now all I have to do is finish the last little bit of the decrease section on the end and I am done. I have plans for the first Clapotis as soon as I finish this one.
This is a Lily Chin shawl that I work on when I have to time to constantly pick out my mistakes. There are so many stitches on it now that I rarely touch it, but I want to get it done soon. I need the space!
This pair of socks started out as a group knit between a group of friends. Sadly the friendship have fallen by the way side and so has finishing this pair of socks. I have to do the gusset and after that it will go quickly, but like so many other things I hit a snag and set them aside. Usually when I go that, it means ripping out something that I don't have the patience to do at the moment. So to keep a cool head, the project gets set aside and then basically forgotten until I go digging for something else. Yesterday was a digging day evidently.

This might be a UFO at the rate I am going. This is another Mary scarf for my friends. Hopefully here will be four knit.
Okay, so I included one finished project. This is bag #3 for the Mary scarves. It is a small redemption for all the other UFOs listed here. I have one more UFO but it is a Christmas present. The person who will be receiving it reads this blog, so no photos and no mentions until later what it is.

So you can see why nothing completely finished has been posted lately. I really am just knitting in circles.

Friday, August 15, 2008

It's In The Bag

I have confession to make. I love bags, boxes and containers in general. If I like the container I buy it whether or not I have any purpose for it or not. I like the idea of things being put away in a proper order, but I fall short of actually doing it. When I started knitting, the obsession with bags and storage container for my yarn, needles, book and such got worse.

I started with plastic bins, then to those colorful woven baskets from Ghana that they sell at MS&W. I have two of those woven baskets and decided this year I would abstain from buying one. I held steadfast to that. I saw oval shaped baskets this year and it took all my will power not to snatch one up. I don't need anymore baskets.

Then the next progression was felting my own huge bag. I took my birthday money one year and made a huge green monster of a bag. I love it but it's folded in a hasty manner and stored on top of a basket.

I have a great metal cigar case that holds 30 #1 dpns. I went into a cigar store with a friend and we looked a few cigars in their cases until I found one that would hold the length of the metal needles. I gave some lucky patron of the store a nice $10 cigar just to get the metal case. How crazy is that? If I ever need another case I would do that again in a skinny minute. I love the sound the needles make when they get jigged around in tube. I love the sound so much that sometimes, I just shake them up and down to hear that metal clinking sound.

Of course all of the other knitting do dads need their own containers too. They come in different shapes and sizes. I spared no expense. Newman's Own...


and Hershey's...
are all collected because they have potential uses for do-dad storage.

Not only do I have an eye for small containers but then there are those more upscale bags that will cost you an arm and a leg. I am missing one of each lately. One arm went for the Bitty Bag ...
and the leg went for the Namaste bag.
Now the big question is, WHY? Who knows why. The same question could be applied to those who hord yarn. Can you really knit it all before you die? Do you really need 50 baskets and 30 purses for store your UFOs. I don't know what the right answer is, but my gut tells me NO and heaven help me, I can't stop.

It's not bad enough that I have a collection of bags, but now I have decided that others must know the pleasure of bags (containers). Since I hate the thought of the bag and the wrapping a gift comes in being discarded to only enjoy the present inside. So this I got this bright idea that I didn't want the gift receiver to throw away the box or the wrapping. So the box would have to be worth keeping. Hence my latest project.

The double duty gift idea is from the Last-Minute Knitted Gifts book. Since I have already made one project from the book, another was in order. The perfect idea was in the book. I knew this bag would be one that would delight my friends as well as feed my need to knit I knit this with Misti Alpaca Worsted weight in Ecru or #100. It was knit on Addis #6 (16") needles. This is a beginner pattern that can be used for some many things.
Each bag will contain a Mary scarf designed by Linda Johnson of Wallis Knits. I have already knit eight of these but will do four more before Christmas for a group of women that I have gone out to dinner with once a month for the last six years. I hope that they will be pleased with their gifts come December. One bag is done and number two is about 1/3 on its way. I will have to buy two more skeins of yarn to finish the other two bags but they will get done.
I love the rolled top and the little I-cord tie. It's just understated simplicity.
If you have the need for smart packaging of a quickie gift, this little bag will sure to be a hit.