Saturday, February 27, 2010

Mission Accomplished (part 2)

I am so excited that I signed up for two groups in Ravelry. I was starting to get a tightness in my chest thinking about working and trying to knit a scarf, spin eight ounces of unknown fiber and then knit a cowl with it. I don't usually set deadlines for projects but for the Ravelympics that was required. You cast on during opening ceremonies and then have everything done by closing ceremonies.

This is my second time doing something for the winter Olympics. The first one was this. I was so excited that I made it! I gave it away but it was still such a thrill for a pretty new knitter. I thought I had been knitting longer than what I thought, but guess not. So I think that I should make this an event from here on in every time there is a winter Olympics whether or not it's with a group like Yarn Harlot formed or Ravelry. Either way, it is a challenge either with time or a skill. Fun, fun!

My second challenge was to spin a declared fiber and then knit it into something.
I picked a project and then tried my best to match the type of yarn the original pattern was knit in. It was sock yarn. I have never tried to spin that small before so this was a challenge for me. I bought a tool months back that would help me gauge how thick I was spinning. It's such a basic tool, but it did the trick when the directions were read and followed. Yes, I followed the directions. You know that is so unlike me but this was the Ravelympics you know!

The tool that was used to help me gauge my spinning is called a WPI Tool Kit. It's such a simple concept and works like a very basic charm. This my first time using the tool. When using the tool, you wrap the yarn around and around to measure an inch. There are four one inch marks on the tool. Then there is a card the helps you determine what kind of yarn you have just spun. I was shooting for 15-18 wpi (wraps per inch). That category is called sport yarn. I managed to get 12 wpi. I thought I was going small but guess it wasn't quite small enough. I still need way more practice getting small. I have heard from other spinners that once you've gone small, it's hard to make fatter yarn.

So I got 412 yards from the eight ounce of roving. It was WAY more yarn than what I needed to make the Good Luck Cowl. The most important part is that I finished it! My assessment is that I need to spin a wee bit tighter and this roving wasn't really the perfect yarn for this project but it turned out okay.

While I was knitting it I started to get panicky. It was looking kind of small. When I cast off I ran into the bathroom and tried it on. It fit. I have a short neck thank goodness? So it's done and now it needs to be wet and blocked. Here is my favorite model showing it off.

So with my finished Robin's Blue Egg Hat and now my newly completed Good Luck Cowl, I am ready for the snow they are predicting this week. Oh, goody!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mission Accomplished (part 1)

I finished the first of two scheduled projects for the Ravelympics. I completed the Irish Hiking Scarf. It was easy and fun at the same time. It refreshed my memory about how to do cables and how wonderful a knitted item looks with cables. I won't let this project be the last one with cables. I will have more cabled projects in the future. I was thinking a pair of socks...anyway my first project is done!

The scarf ended being a wee bit over 60 inches. I had hoped for 70 but since I knit one other scarf and a hat to match that scarf, there wasn't enough to make this scarf really long nor is there enough to make a matching hat. I am disppointed about the hat because I have seen a matching hat for this pattern on Ravelry. I might have to break down and buy another skein of this same yarn and try that hat.
Here is the scarf stretched across my dining room table. I hope the cables are the way they are supposed to be. I think they are. The next step is to wash the hat and the two scarves and get them dried and stored away until I have enough of them to mail off to OFA. Now I am off to finish spinning my roving for the next Ravelympics project. I am almost done with the spinning and then the knitting will begin!

Since this post was created I got this...I am really excited to knit for a logo. Silly, I know but it was fun and despite how easy the pattern was I feel like I pushed myself to get it done in a timely manner.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Revving Up for Ravelympics

I have been laboring over what to knit for weeks and what Ravelympic groups to join. Don't you know that I would finish other projects (UFOs) and then be left with time to kill until the official cast on time. This can make a compulsive knitter nuts. No sticks and strings in my hands? What do I do while avoiding laundry and housecleaning? Look for a small project to whet the knitting appetite but of course!

Since I am trying to do a serious stash down I went right to the source of all of my efforts. I found a ton of single balls of yarn that needed to be knit down. So I picked this project to work on while I watched the clock until cast on time. The worst part of waiting was knowing that we would be on the road while I was waiting. It's hard to pick the right project for a road trip. I didn't want to over pack but pack enough knitting supplies that I could have anything I needed for a knitting emergency at my finger tips. So one small one ball project was perfect.
Here is the perfect short-term project while traveling. This is the Knit Baby Hats 1 by Sandra Huffines. It was knit on #3 dpns with 60 stitches. I found two half balls of yarns in a zip lock bag; Plymouth Yarn Dreambaby DK and Sirdar Snuggly. I don't know which yarn is which and at this point I don't suppose it matters. I just wanted to knit. So I did and when it was finished, it was perfect timing for the opening ceremonies of the Olympics.
It's a wee bit blurry and the lighting isn't great but it's still a finished hat. It satisfied my need to knit, be a short and quick knit and it will be donated to yet another great cause sometime this year. I just love it when a plan comes together well... My model was another spare ball of yarn that was in the zip lock bag. It was probably between the size of an orange and a grapefruit. I think the pattern said it would fit between an 2-3 baby. I am not such a good judge of those kinds of things but it doesn't matter as long as it goes to a baby who needs it.
Then the opening ceremonies started and I cast on my project! Here is the pattern and the beginning of my swatch. I cast on and then measured the width and decided that it was outside the measurement specs set down by the OFA. So I went down to size 7 needles. I am using the rest of my Caron One Pound skein.

I made good progress while the opening ceremonies. I haven't done cables in years and years but found that they came back to me quickly. This Irish Hiking Scarf is super simple for anyone who is a beginner at cables. I really didn't remember how easy cables were until I got a good mojo going. It really was like riding a bike. I have made great progress over the weekend and am very pleased so far. I hope who ever gets the scarf likes it as much as I do so far. It is a bit stiff so I think I am going to wash and dry both scarves to soften them up a bit. I will post the finished project once it's done.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Simple Satisfaction
I am in sort of a knitting limbo currently. It's the time before the Ravelympics and the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics which is Feb. 12th. I have committed myself to two groups and hopefully I will accomplish the goals I have set for myself. In the meantime I want to continue knitting but on a project that I can finish by the time I have to concentrate on my two projects.

So to fulfill the need to be obsessive about knitting every single day, I decided that knitting my very first project for the Red Scarf Project was the way to go. I joined the group on Ravelry and have been looking forward to my very first project and yesterday I completed my very first project to be sent to them when the time comes.
So here is a close up of my very first non-pattern effort. It's a simple nondescript pattern of K3P3 for 6 rows and then do the opposite for the next 6 rows. I cast on 36 stitches on US 7 Addi Turbos. I used acrylic (please do not run from the room screaming) yarn because these scarves and hats are going to very busy college students who don't have time to worry about hand washing and blocking a lovely wool scarf and nor do they always have the money to have something dry cleaned. So truly acrylic or a super wash wool was the way to go. I went with acrylic because of the affordability.

I used Caron One Pound skein in the color called Claret 562. It's more of a maroon than a "real" red. I paid about $8 for it at our local A.C. Moore. I don't usually buy yarn from them but I really wanted something super affordable as I mentioned above.

It's such a simple knitting pattern that it only took me two days to make. I am not really a fast knitter but it was so easy, it was hard not to whip through it. I was so happy with the way it turned out I thought it needed an accessory... a nice warm hat to match. I did not have a pattern but used the basic concept from another hat to make this one.

I cast on enough stitches (78) to make it around my head and then continued the same pattern that I had used the for scarf. I knit about 5-6 inches of the pattern before starting the decreases. To start the decreases I knit 7 and decreased in the pattern by either P2tog or K2tog. Then one row of knitting in the pattern and so on and so forth. I did try to stick to the pattern of changing the K3P3 every 6 rows and then switching to P3K3. It worked out pretty well. I was pleased with the end product even thought it's not perfect. I hope that who ever gets the set, will have a nice warm head and neck!

Here is my model wearing both the scarf and the hat together. She looks warm although she wasn't so sure of my choice of fashion eye wear for this photo shoot.

If you are thinking that you would like to do some charity knitting and you belong to Ravelry they have a great group and their site has all the free patterns you could hope for. The site also
has care labels and washing instructions. I printed them off today to wrap around my scarf and hat.

I wound up the rest of what was left of the One Pound skein and have it ready for scarf #2 . I have chosen a cabled pattern for my 5K Stashdown Ravelympic challenge. I haven't done anything with cables in over 5 years so I thought this would help me get back into cabling. The name of the scarf is the Irish Hiking Scarf. I sure hope I can get it done in the time allotted. I don't know if I will end up doing a hat to match the scarf but I will know after I have finished the scarf! Nothing like a new or rusty skill to shore up your knitting confidence!