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.