Friday, December 30, 2011

Its The Berries

I thought and thought and thought and thought while I was knitting the sock. Frog? Just make one? Make the toe a different color? Try to find some of the unlabeled yarn in a similar dye lot (ok, I was delirious at that point). I decided to make a different color toe. Digging thru my stash, I found this yarn that was of similar weight and decidedly dissimilar look. Well, why not take this contrast thing all the way?
The kitchener stitch on the toe was not horrible either, despite what I have read. I guess that means you can't always believe what you read (gasp!). My swatch (yes I really did a swatch) worked out perfectly and consequently, the sock fits. Wow, it does feel quite good as well. I need to get going on the other sock now to make it fair for both feet.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Never Assume Anything

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I received a sock knitting kit from the family. OK, mostly from the hub who thought this would be a great way to stop me from grumbling about seaming my sweater since socks have no seams. He is a pretty smart guy.

So, I picked up the needles and started cranking away, well, knitting slowly is more like it, I am not exactly a speed demon on dps. Since its not a race, I was enjoying myself. Until......I looked at my dwindling ball of yarn. And I am pretty darn sure there is not enough left to finish a sock. Therefore (although I am not a math whiz) I believe there is not enough yarn to make 2 matching socks.

The lesson learned here is to not knit with yarn that has no label and therefore no yardage information. Never assume anything because you know what that does.......

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Lessons Learned - Drift

As I learned in my project management class, it is important to end a project with a wrap up called lessons learned. Now, this is not only the bad things that you don't ever ever want to happen again, but also the good things that you definitely want to happen again. I am hoping if I actually write this down, that I just might learn from this latest project. Please note these are not in any particular order, just as they pop into my head and spill out of my fingertips.

  • Calculate and buy the correct amount of yarn to avoid dye lot issues (enough said)
  • Don't be afraid to rip back if you don't like how it looks (did this on the sleeves)
  • Knit the sleeves in the round if you hate seaming (this was a time saver and sanity saver for me)
  • Knit the back and fronts together if you hate seaming (apparently I missed this tip)
  • Read up and learn from the wisdom of others on Ravelry (learn from other people's mistakes)
  • Don't be afraid to deviate from the pattern to make it fit (I made the arms longer and wider)
  • Everything takes longer than you think it will (it just does)
  • Blocking makes your stitches look awesome (weird but true)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Its Over When the Buttons Are On

Well, I finally finished the cardigan. The seams are sewn. I tried it on and I have to admit: 

Thank you Norah for designing such a beautiful sweater and thank you Berroco for sharing this pattern. Once it dries (no, it is not wet in these pictures) and I sew the buttons on, I will share some pix wearing it. What a great addition to my wardrobe for 2012. I am already planning what to wear with it.

We had a wonderful Christmas and my dear husband came up with some very practical gifts with the help of my observant children.

  1. Chocolate - you can never go amiss with chocolate, especially Bliss darks
  2. A tomtom - for the wife who can get lost in a square building, its a shame they don't work indoors
  3. A joy of socks kit - for the wife who has never knit socks and grumbles about seaming
May the magic of Christmas stay in our hearts all year around.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas to All

Well, no BIG surprise, but did not finish the sweater. I finished the button bands and I set 1 sleeve and 1/2 of the other sleeve. It is very exciting to get to the end of the project and see the results! I am feeling the itch for a new project coming, but I need to stay focused, focused, focused. That bag of grey wool is calling my name. I bought enough for a sweater (really I added correctly this time). Now I am just searching for the right pattern. I have been scouring Ravelry, but just haven't seen "the sweater" yet.

But I digress....on my current sweater project, I love how the button bands are finished on this sweater, they end with one row of knit, one row of purl and then a cast off in knit. It curls up so nicely and looks quite sharp. I took a close up so you can see just how it looks.

We had a touch of snow Christmas Eve morning so I thought I better get a picture before it totally melted away. It was interesting because on the north side of town, there was no snow, but we kept ours until after noon. It looks like it is going to be a brown/green Christmas for us here in Holland, which is very unusual.

My sister hosted a Christmas party last night at her house (Christmas Eve) so we enjoyed a potluck dinner, dessert and then presents. It is always fun to see the family, laugh and share stories. I am hoping you and yours are enjoying a fabulous Christmas holiday together.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Will She or Won't She?

Six weeks ago I was confident - beyond confident that I could finish my planned sweater in time for Christmas. Those words are coming back to haunt me....the new found freedom I experienced mid last week (driving) has put a bit of a crimp on my knitting. Tomorrow is the home stretch. Does it count that it is done if it is sewn together but not dry? I will say yes. I am working on the button band currently, so that is the last of the knitting.

The sleeves seemed to take F-O-R-E-V-E-R...... I kept measuring and they kept staying the same length. I ended up making them 19" instead of 18" as the pattern called out, I must have monkey arms or something.

 I picked up the buttons from Jo Ann's. They are dark purple with a ring that is light purple.

On another completely different topic, I came downstairs the other morning and found these lovely roses on my doorstep. What a lovely surprise! When you are first ill, you sort of expect flowers and that sort of thing, so to receive a bouquet weeks afterward was very refreshing. And you are wondering who is the thoughtful giver? It was my sister-in-law and brother-in-law.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Avoiding the Sleeve Seam

I hate the finishing that comes with making sweaters. Did I mention I hate sewing? I do. I really do. So, you may be thinking to yourself, well why the heck does she make sweaters if she hates to sew? Well, the answer is, I like to make sweaters.

I thought carefully about this one and decided to take the advice of some of the other Ravelry patrons and make them in the round. Now, I am not much more fond of knitting with dps, but it seemed the lesser of the two evils. I think my next sweater will be in the round raglan, ha ha!

I have been feeling MUCH better this week, what I refer to as week 3 (the 3rd week after surgery). I went out to lunch 2 times this week. I also had to go out to the doctor since my son was sick and required some antibiotics. Not nearly as fun of an outing, but hey, when you have been in the house for almost 3 weeks, anything seems like an adventure.

Christmas shopping is just about wrapped up, I guess it should be since we are about a week away now from the big day. The snow we had melted, but we are getting a dusting now. Wonder if it will be a white Christmas this year?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Now Another One, Just Like the Other One

I finished the left side of the cardigan yesterday evening, but I was too pooped to start on the right side. Tired both physically and mentally. I think when I saw the pattern state 'make right side just like left but reverse shaping' I just sighed and put it down for the night. Sometimes I am just not in the right frame of mind  (no pun intended) to figure the math out. Last night was one of those moments. This morning I was feeling in a more analytical frame of mind, so I cast on 60 and started on the right side.

Yesterday we received our 1st snow of the season, which amounted to about 3". It was a big thrill for the kiddos, who are always up for sledding in the back yard. With a little more snow, we will be dragging out the cross country skis.

My internet shopping has been going well this season and Mr. UPS and Mr. Fed X have been making regular stops at my house. Next comes, the wrapping.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Left Side, No Your Other Left

I finished the back of my cardigan yesterday and started on the left front. I am always confused when a pattern tells me the left front. Is that the left side when I am wearing it or the left side when I am looking at it? Either way, I am making my way up the waist decreases. I am pleased with my decision to use the separate dye lot on the double seed stitch portion. Yes, it is a bit pinkier (if that is a word), but at least it looks like I meant it to be that way.

Well, almost time for my afternoon nap. What will I do after I have to go back to work? Sneak a nap in the bathroom? Perhaps schedule a 2 hour meeting every afternoon in the room with a couch?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Dye Lot Gamble

I have been slowly knitting every day this week on the back of my cardigan. All week I have been thinking about what I am going to do with the 3 balls that do not match my dye lot. It appeared that I had 3 options:

1. Ignore my problem and just knit as far as I could. This would likely result in a color change in a very strange and unwanted place.

2. Knit both of the sleeves at the same time with the different dye lot and if I started to get too low, do some alternating rows to blend it. If I had extra, use it on the ribbed button band.

3. Knit the lower ribbed portions of the back and fronts in the regular dye lot and the upper double seed stitch portions of the back and fronts in the different dye lot. This would look like I did it on purpose.

After much deliberating, I decided to go with option 3. So far, I think I am ok with this choice.

I am healing nicely from my surgery but still can't go out and about. The nice thing is that we have the internet. I can do all of my Christmas shopping from the comfort of my chair. Even cooler is the fact that most websites offer free shipping. That makes me first in line whatever store I go to. No crowds or fighting for a parking place. And that is most excellent.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

No Knitting Yet

I really thought I might knit today. Really, I did. I even went down stairs to my knitting spot and got settled. But I just couldn't do it.

I had surgery on Tuesday and I came home from the hospital Wednesday afternoon, where I promptly curled up in bed and slept for 3 days straight. Man, it really takes everything out of you. Just walking to the bathroom seems like a marathon.

I finally checked my emails Saturday and was excited to see that message from Jimmy Beans, you know, the one that says your order is shipped? Well, in my brainlessness, when I purchased yarn for my Drift sweater, I only picked up 1000 yards. Doh! That will make a very short sleeved I ran back, but they only had 2 balls left, which I grabbed. I got 3 more from Jimmy Beans, probably not the same dye lot, but I will use them for trim and sleeves and make it work.

Maybe tomorrow I can knit.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Confetti Splash Cowl

The Confetti Splash Cowl was inspired by the beautiful beads and sequins in Art Yarn's mohair splash. The yarn is a combination of silk and mohair with randomly added glass beads and sequins for a subtle sparkle.

Size: 8" x 24" 
Yarn: Art Yarns - Mohair splash, red - 1 ball (approx 161 yards)

Supplies: US Size 7/Metric 4.5mm 16" circular needles, marker


K - knit
P - purl
SK2P - slip stitch, knit two together, pass slipped stitch over
YO - yarn over
Gauge: 20 stitches per 4"

Confetti Lace Pattern:

Row 1: K1, *YO, K1, YO, SK2P* repeat to last stitch, K1
Row 2: Knit across
Row 3: K1, *SK2P, YO, K1, YO* repeat to last stitch, K1
Row 4: Knit across
Repeat these 4 rows

Confetti Splash Cowl
Cast on 122 stitches, connect to work in round, place marker. 
Step 1: Purl 2 rows
Step 2: Work 3 repeats of confetti lace pattern
Step 3: Purl 2 rows
Repeat Steps 1 thru 3  three more times

Confetti Splash Cowl Chart
Bind off loosely in purl.

Finishing: Weave in loose ends with crochet hook.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Drifting Along

While I have been working on a project this week, I have also spent quite a bit of time determining what my next project will be. I knew that I wanted a cardigan but I was not certain what pattern or what yarn or even what color. So I spent a few minutes hours on Ravelry digging around and I finally decided on Drift by Norah Gaughan. It is a free pattern (I love free) on the Berroco website and is featured in a lovely mulberry colored yarn. When I got a spare second this week, I stopped in at my LYS, Lizzie Ann's Wool, and browsed around. I needed worsted weight and I wanted something close to 100% wool so I could avoid weaving in ends if at all possible (yes I am lazy but who cares). I was just not finding exactly what I wanted when I came across Rowan kid classic. It is a lovely combination of lambswool, kid mohair and nylon. I didn't go with blue this time, even though it is my favorite color. The color is called lavender ice and it sort of reminds me of an ice cream I had a long time ago....but I digress.

Now, I need to hurry up and finish what is on my needles so I can get this one going. I should have plenty of time to get this done since I am going to have surgery next week and then will be off work for a few weeks. Oh the joy, to sit and knit all day with no interruptions....I might run out of yarn! Nah, that will never happen.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Blocking and Tackling

After finishing up the blanket project, I felt the need to wrap up one of my many UFOs that are stashed in various places around the house. I started this lacy leaves scarf back in April and it got moved to the back burner after I had completed over half of it. For a reason I don't remember, probably temptation of another project, I got distracted.

Well, I tackled this UFO this week and now it is blocked and drying.

It has grown quite a bit after a soak in the sink, I think it will be a perfect gift for my friend who is a master gardener. Now it just needs to dry a bit and then I can wrap it up.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Nine Patch Star Blanket

The Nine Patch Star Blanket was inspired by the nine patch quilt block. Since I don't quilt, I thought it would be a great opportunity to knit my own version. A great project for travel, the squares are quick and easy to knit and small enough to tuck into your purse. The squares are worked on the bias, to make color changes simple.

Size: 48" x 48"
Yarn: Lion Brand - Vanna's Choice, chocolate (color A) - 7 balls (approx 1200 yards); honey (color B) - 4 balls (approx 700 yards); dusty blue (color C) - 4 balls (approx 700 yards)

Supplies: US Size 8/Metric 5mm needles & US Size H/8/Metric 5mm crochet hook


K - knit
K f/b - knit front and back of stitch (increase)
K2 tog - knit two together (decrease)
SSK - slip, slip knit (decrease)

Gauge: 16 stitches per 4"

Nine Patch Star Blanket

Solid Square (make 4 in color A and 8 in color B):

Cast on 3 stitches using cable cast on
Row 1: K f/b, knit to last stitch, K f/b
Row 2: knit all stitches
Repeat rows 1 & 2 until your reach row 42 (45 stitches)
Row 43: SSK, knit to last two stitches, K2 tog
Row 44: knit all stitches
Repeat rows 43 and 44 until you reach row 84 (3 stitches)

Cast off as follows:
Knit 2 stitches, pull first stitch knit over second stitch, slip remaining stitch from right needle back to left needle and knit remaining two stitches together. Cut yarn and pull thru remaining stitch.

Two Color Square (make 4 in AB and 20 in AC)
Start same as solid square up to row 42
Switch to second color and work remaining rows as above.

Arrange pieces per chart and sew together.
Finishing: Work one round of single crochet around outside between garter ridges, working three single crochet in each corner, slip stitch to join.  Weave in loose ends with crochet hook and block.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Getting Beyond the Never Ending WIP

This blanket feels like it has taken  F O R E V E R. A really really really long time. For something that consists of garter stitch and squares, wow. It isn't like it is the size of a king sized bed or anything. If you look at the picture, now you have a scale, it is about as wide as my love seat. Granted, I am a very impatient person, but still. Tomorrow is the day. Tomorrow I will be done. And I am very excited about that. Yes, I am excited because I can't wait to have this blanket. But also because that means I get to start a new project.....or finish one of my other WIPs.

I was struggling as I was putting the pieces together. I decided (for some dumb reason) to sew from the back, which (obviously) means you have to flip the pieces all over. For some reason, I was struggling to visualize how to lay out the pieces. Note to self, sew from the front next time. After stepping back and looking at it, definitely going to go with a crocheted border to finish it off.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Two More Rows To Hoe

The end is in site now. Regarding my blanket/quilt that is. Vertically I have 4 rows connected now with 2 more to go. After that, just the horizontal connection and then a border. I am feeling warmer already....maybe that is just the sun outside?

Today is my 17th anniversary (whoo hoo). I remember getting pictures taken outside in downtown Saugatuck and in between shots wearing the photographer's sport coat because it was a little brisk outside, especially because we were down by the water. Hope you are having a great day, we are heading north to Porto Bello in Grand Haven for a romantic dinner tonight. I can't wait to have a fabulous bowl of fettuccine alfredo. Here is a shot of us way back when getting ready to cut the cake. Don't we look young?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Alchemy of Color Knitting

In her book, The Alchemy of Color Knitting, Gina Wilde provides knitters with the background on the ideas of color and even the meanings of certain colors.

I can admit the first thing I did was go to and look up alchemy as I was not familiar with the term. (Apparently it has nothing to do with supply management). Alchemy is defined as a form of chemistry and speculative philosophy, nope, I don't come across that in everyday work.

While the primary focus is color theory, she also provides 25 patterns that simply POP due to the choice of colors. There is even a pattern that combines two different variegated yarns AT THE SAME TIME! Get this, it isn't blindingly ugly either, it is very attractive, so now you know, it can be done.

I was very intrigued by this book, particularly since I am kind of a black, khaki, navy and white kind of gal. Every once in a while I break out of my traditional mold, but not often.

My very favorite pattern (and associated story) is for the Month of Sundays Shawl, a beautiful lace shawl in snowy mohair. The author describes it as elegant, subtle and exquisite, and it is. Doesn't that make you want to run out and get her book?

After having read Gina's book, I am going to attempt to walk past the black yarn racks and take a peak at peacock blue next time.....or maybe maple leaf red.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Putting the Pieces Together

I have been working on connecting the squares of my blanket together and my cats are very interested in what I am doing. Okay, Georgie was interested for a moment.

And after walking all over it and sniffing it for a few minutes he decided there were better things to observe out the slider window. Like leaves blowing in the wind.

Mischa, on the other hand, was not terribly impressed with my work, can you sense the irritation? She doesn't appreciate the finer arts, apparently.

I opted to use the chocolate brown yarn to make the connection and I really like it.

Doesn't it look like one of those nautical flags when it is displayed like this? Mischa is still not impressed. Guess I better get back to knitting and let the princess get her beauty sleep in.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Too Tired to Think

I can't wait to curl up underneath this blanket and fall asleep.....but I need to finish it first. These are the days that I want to knit, but when I am so tired, I tend to make mistakes, which I have to fix tomorrow.

I think I will just crash on the couch and dream about my blanket. Zzzzzzzzzz!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Keep Warm, Keep Knitting

I saw this commecial this morning and I thought it was share worthy.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Not Quite Squared Away

Still working away at my new project, I wanted to show off my progress. This isn't all of the squares, but I pieced together a corner for show and tell. I have a bit to go (sigh).

Not sure if any of you use blackberries, but wasn't today a pain in the neck? I was at two different suppliers and wondering where in the heck my emails were and why any would not go out. Those folks need to get their act together and quickly.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Hip to be Square

It has been a beautiful fall week in Holland, with sunshine and temperatures in the 70s, which for us at this time of the year is a gift. Usually it is cloudy and rainy all during October, so we will take it and enjoy!

I am making progress on my blanket, one square at a time, I am about 1/3 complete now. I was originally thinking I could knit 2 squares a day, but I am not even close, so it is taking a lot longer than I predicted (as usual).

We had a busy week, getting ready for the Pumpkin Path in Wyoming (Target was sponsoring a table). The kids had a great time with the Wizard of Oz theme and even my hub got into the costumes as the yellow brick road. They had a great time handing out candy to all the local kids at Lamar Park. Wonder why they didn't have activities like that when I was a kid?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A Little Bit Sideways

I am working on a new pattern that I hope to publish in the next few weeks provided all goes well. Its all about squares. These rich chocolate and butterscotch colors are making me hungry, however, which is not a good thing. Perhaps I need to knit in carrot or celery colors?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Love Some Bunny

During church on Sunday, I was reading the insert to the bulletin and suddenly something caught my eye CALLING ALL KNITTERS in bold print. That's me! So, I kept reading. We are starting a new ministry for families who are expecting new babies in our church. We are looking for volunteers to provide a toy in the welcome package and the pattern is provided.....I admit it, I could hardly pay attention during the service, I so wanted to walk out to the adult kiosk and see what it was all about.

Once the service was over and the kids were off to Sunday school and youth, hub and I headed over to the kiosk and picked up a brochure. The picture showed the cutest little bunny/blanket toy and had the pattern attached. At the bottom it noted the pattern from from Lion Brand. Naturally I looked it up on Ravelry when I got home and added it to my queue.

I have a lot of pink yarn left in my stash from the days when Elizabeth loved pink everything and I had ambitions to make her a lot of things that never happened. Here was a great outlet for all of that pink and yellow and baby blue and green yarn!

I whipped out one of the bunnies last night. I think I misread the part for the head, but it all worked out I guess. I think it is pretty cute, even without its face.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Interloper

When I got home from work yesterday afternoon, my 2 neighbor girls were over. They are cute little blondies, maybe 5 and 7 years of age. One of the reasons I like these little girls is that they have 2 cats, Hershey and Daisy. Hershey is a very social cat and she comes over to my house quite often, much to the dismay and dislike of my cats, who don't like her on their turf. Unfortunately, Hershey has been lost for much of this week and likely is gone altogether. So, my neighbor girls decided they were lonesome and wanted to come and play with my cats.
Misha and Daisy checking each other out

The first little girl grabbed my roving and held it up,"Do the cats play with this?" she asks innocently. I am freaking out inside - nobody but nobody touches my yarn, even my cats at my house. "Um, no, they don't," I say as calmly as I can. She throws it down and grabs a ball of yarn, "What about this, do they play with this?" I quickly redirect her to the cat toys. Very unsettling.

Monday, September 19, 2011

La De Da Thrummed Mittens

The La De Da Mittens were inspired by one of the alpacas from Lake Effect Alpaca farm who donated fiber to create these warm and fluffy mittens. The roving is a pale peanut butter color with undertones of olive.  If you have never experienced the warmth of thrummed mittens, give this pattern a try, you will be hooked.

Size: 8" hand circumference (the thrums take up space on the inside)
Yarn: Lion Brand - Wool-Ease, forest green heather - 1 ball (approx 200 yards), 30 yards of alpaca roving

Supplies: US Size 6 and 8 double pointed needles, crochet hook (to weave in ends), stitch holder, marker & tapestry needle


K - knit
P - purl

Gauge: 20 stitches per 4"

Thrum Pattern:

Thrums are 3" pieces of roving that you tear off (do not cut)
Fold thrum in half and wrap around needle

Here is the finished thrum and its mating stitch

Row 1: K1, *work thrum, K3* repeat to last 2 stitches, K2
Row 2: Knit across, knitting thru back of thrum and its mating knit stitch, tug thrum to straighten
Row 3: Knit across
Row 4: Knit across
Row 5: K3,*work thrum, K3* repeat to last stitch, work thrum
Row 6: Knit across, knitting thru back of thrum and its mating knit stitch, tug thrum to straighten
Row 7: Knit across
Row 8: Knit across

Repeat these 8 rows

La De Da Thrummed Mittens (make 2)
Cast on 40 stitches with smaller needles
Divide onto 3 dps, place marker and join round
Purl 3 rounds
Knit 3 rounds
Purl 3 rounds
Knit 3 rounds
Purl 3 rounds
Knit 3 rounds
Purl 3 rounds

Switch to larger needles
Knit 3 rounds
Start thrum pattern/chart
Work in pattern until body (above cuff) measures 3"
Thumb Opening
K1 at beginning of round
Slip 8 stitches onto holder
Cast on 8 stitches on right (working) needle and knit to end
Continue in pattern until body of mitten above thumb measures 5", end on row 7
Shape Mitten
1st rnd: *K2, K2 tog* repeat - 30 stitches remain
2nd rnd: Knit across
3rd rnd: *K1, K2tog* repeat - 20 stitches remain
4th rnd: Knit across
5th rnd: K2 tog across - 10 stitches remain
6th rnd: Knit across
7th rnd: K2 tog to last stitch, K1 - 5 stitches remain
Cut yarn, leave 6" tail and thread on tapestry needle, run thru remaining stitches and secure

Join yarn and use dp to knit stitches from holder
Using 2nd dp, pick up and knit one stitch at left side of thumb opening and then pick up and knit 4 stitches from top of thumb opening
Using 3rd dp, pick up 4 stitches from top of thumb opening and 1 stitch at right side of thumb opening - 18 stitches picked up
Place marker and join in round
Knit every round until thumb measures 2" - finish on row 7
Shape Thumb
1st rnd: K2, K2 tog to last 2 stitches, K2 - 14 stitches remain
2nd rnd: Knit across
3rd rnd: K2 tog across - 7 stitches remain
4th rnd: Knit across
5th rnd: K2 tog to last stitch, K1 - 4 stitches remain
Cut yarn, leave 6" tail and thread on tapestry needle, run thru remaining stitches and secure
 Finishing: Weave in loose ends with crochet hook.Turn inside out and fluff thrums for lining.