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

Glossary:

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)
Cuff
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

Body
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

Thumb
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.


Friday, September 16, 2011

When Cold is a Source of Inspiration

It seems strange to me that my creative juices can run dry for months and then all of the sudden, the knitters block lifts and I have all kinds of ideas for things I want to design. Much of the summer I struggled with this. I have a beautiful yarn and I have a vague concept, but the design just didn't jell. I can't tell you how many swatches of this, that and the other thing I started and unraveled. Hub would kindly ask what I was making, which kinda made me grumpy, even though it wasn't his fault. I am sure he was getting a little lot cheesed off with my snippy behavior.

Today I was sitting in my office, it was before 8am and I was feeling a little chilled from my walk in from the parking lot. I know, its not like it is winter, but it was in the low 40s, which is cold to me (in September). I sent a text to my brother to see what he was up to since we hadn't talked in a few weeks. Not that we aren't friendly, we just communicate more with this method and, well, it works. I told him that I was thinking about making chili (I didn't because I hadn't gone to Meijer's and frankly was avoiding it) because it sounded like something that would warm me up. He mentioned that it was getting close to hunting season and I hoped he still liked the camo hat and neck gaiter I made him last year (not that he would tell me if he didn't).

After I sat my phone down I thought that it would be nice to wrap a blanket around me.

All of a sudden, EUREKA!

I could design my own blanket. And then my next thought popped into my head. I could make it like a quilt!

I love when an idea comes that easy. Maybe I need to stop forcing it (and possibly give up my control freak ways) and just let the ideas come when I least expect them. Maybe I need to relax and have another mug of hot chocolate and butterscotch schnapps.



Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sandstone Lace Cowl

The Sandstone Lace Cowl was inspired by the delicate pale taupe and pink tones that you can see in sandstone mountains. The yarn is a delightful combination of silk, rayon and linen that creates a light weight garment that drapes with ease and has a fine sheen. The pattern is simple to work and easy to take along and knit wherever. It does require some simple crochet to connect the two ends and to finish the edges.



Size: 8" x 23" prior to connecting

Yarn: Nashua Handknits - Sonora, pink - 2 balls (approx 175 yards)

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

Glossary:

K - knit
P - purl
PSSO - pass slipped stitch over
SC - single crochet
SL 1 - slip stitch from left to right needle as if to knit
Slip Stitch - insert hook into first stitch worked, YO, pull thru both loops on hook
YO - yarn over

Gauge: 21 stitches per 4"

Lace Pattern:

Row 1: Knit across
Row 2: K1, *P4, YO* repeat to last stitch, K1
Row 3: K1, *YO, drop YO from previous row, SL 1 , K3, PSSO 3 knit stitches* repeat to last stitch, K1
Row 4: Purl across
Repeat these 4 rows



Sandstone Lace Cowl

Cast on 42 stitches
Work lace pattern and repeat until piece measures 23". End on row 4
Bind off loosely but do not cut yarn. Turn inside out with right sides facing and slip remaining stitch onto crochet hook. SC the 2 sides together thru the back loops to end but do not cut yarn. Turn right side out and work SC around side. After working last SC, work slip stitch and cut yarn. Work SC around other side. After working last SC, work slip stitch and cut yarn.

Finishing: Weave in loose ends with crochet hook and block.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Knits That Fit

It sounds so simple. You follow a pattern from a magazine or website for an absolutely adorable sweater. Size medium sounds good, that is what you normally buy from the store..... and several months later you have a sweater that is cute - when it isn't on you. A HUGE MONUMENTAL disappointment.

So, what did go wrong?

Our good friends at Potter Crafts come to the rescue with a new book that addresses this very issue that knitters encounter time and time again. Knits That Fit is a conglomeration of instructions and tips to create knit items that fit as well as how to alter those that don't currently fit into something that will.

The first thing I learned was that there are 5 places where individual fit should override the pattern (this seems obvious, but is often ignored):

  • Garment length
  • Waist length
  • Sleeve length
  • Cuff width
  • Shoulder width

Knits That Fit also provides some guidelines for how to match certain shaped sweaters to appropriate bottoms, whether skirts or pants or leggings.

The big take away I had from this book is math is your friend and don't be afraid to override the pattern to get a better fitting result.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Marlee Cloche

The Marlee Cloche was designed to keep you warm and stylish while walking on a brisk fall afternoon.




Size:

22" circumference

Yarn:

Patons - Classic Wool Denim Marl - 1 ball


Supplies:

US Size 8/Metric 5mm 16" circular and 5 double point needles

crochet hook to weave in ends

needle and thread


Notions:

One button


Glossary:

K - knit

K2 tog - knit 2 together (decrease)

K1 f/b - knit 1 stitch in front and back of stitch (increase)
P2 tog - purl 2 together (decrease)

Gauge:

5 stitches per inch


Ridge Pattern:

Row 1: Knit across

Row 2: P2 tog across

Row 3: K1 f/b across

Row 4: Knit across

Repeat these 4 rows



Marlee Cloche
Cast on 110 stitches and join in round.

Knit 4 rows (stockinette stitch)

Begin ridge pattern and repeat until piece measures 7". End on row 4

Decrease shaping:

Row 1: Knit 9, k2 tog, repeat across row. (100 stitches remaining)

Row 2: Work row 2 of ridge pattern

Row 3: Work row 3 of ridge pattern

Row 4: Knit 8, k2 tog, repeat across rnd. (90 stitches remaining)

Row 5: Knit 7, k2 tog, repeat across rnd. (80 stitches remaining)

Row 6: Work row 2 of ridge pattern

Row 7: K1 f/b for 3 stitches, knit 1, repeat across rnd. (70 stitches remaining)

Row 8: Knit 5, k2 tog, repeat across rnd. (60 stitches remaining)

Row 9: Knit 4, k2 tog, repeat across rnd. (50 stitches remaining)

Row 10: (switch to dp needles) Work row 2 of ridge pattern

Row 11: K1 f/b for 1 stitch, knit 1, repeat across rnd to last stitch, K1 f/b (38 stitches remaining)

Row 12: K1, k2 tog, repeat across rnd to last 2 stitches, knit 2 (26 stitches remaining)

Row 13: K2 tog, repeat across rnd (13 stitches remaining)

Row 14: P2 tog, repeat across rnd to last stitch, purl 1

Cut 10" tail and thread on needle and run thru remaining stitches on  dp needles, then run thru the center and secure

Finishing:

Weave in loose ends with crochet hook and block. Fold up front of hat and sew on decorative button.


Sign Party

A few weeks ago, my friend Sharon invited me to a Life Expressions Decor party via Facebook. I had never heard of it before, so I asked her what it was all about. She told me it was really fun and you get to make a sign to take home. Sounded like a fun and crafty event. It was really fun, and not just because it was with Sharon, who always knows how to make everyone feel right at home. We got to pick out a saying with lettering the color we chose and then paint our board one of it seemed like 100 different colors and then attempt to apply the lettering straight. The weather co operated and we even got to paint outside, which is a much better place to paint, in my opinion. I think that everyone had a great time and the signs looked pretty awesome as well. I still have paint under my nails from last night.




While we were there, I got to see Sharon's new baby alpaca that had been born earlier in the day. He was so cute! Sharon and her husband run Lake Effect Alpacas and currently have 22 alpacas on their farm.


I also bought some roving while I was there. I am going to make thrummed mittens with her roving. It is a beautiful olive color, although it isn't as easy to see in the pictures.









Monday, September 5, 2011

Reading Writing and Arithmetic

Pick up a stitch in every slip stitch minus four for a total of 300 stitches. Sound like gibberish? This was the start of the collar for my shrug. I sighed when I read the 300. I hate counting. So, I took the lazy approach and used my markers to mark every 20 stitches. Why not 10 you ask? Well, I have lost enough of these little rings under the couch that I simply don't have enough anymore. It still worked. I was actually to the cast off around 8pm last night when my brain was simply tired out. Not sure if you ever have this, but I kept making mistakes over and over (and tinking over and over). Finally, I just put the shrug down and picked up a book to read myself to sleep.

Three and 1/2 hours later, I finished the book. The title: The Violets of March. The author: Sarah Jio. I picked it up at the library yesterday morning after reading the back and being mildly intrigued. Sometimes I feel like I get in a rut with books and I need something different to liven things up. Sarah is a first time novelist, but writes for quite a few popular magazines. I have to admit that the part in her book I loved the most was the plot twists and turns regarding the diary. That is all I am going to say other than this is a fabulous read.

After some serious blog redesign, I picked up the shrug and got to work. I am really pleased with how it turned out and now that the weather has cooled off, I will actually have the opportunity to wear it.
Now, I get to move on to my next project.......


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Shrug Sans Collar

This morning I finished the body of the shrug (yeah!). I wanted to take a few shots before I add the collar.....and before it starts raining outside. As I cast off the sleeve, I realized that I did not follow the pattern correctly, but I like the way it turned out regardless. Onto the collar. Think I can finish it this weekend? The race is on!