Saturday, September 21, 2013

Autumn Thoughts

The weather has cooled off, hitting the 40s in the nights and high 60s during the day, which means that fall is under way and winter isn't far behind. The leaves are just starting to turn colors, but we have a couple of weeks before the true beauty is shared with us. For some strange reason, when the weather turns cooler like this, my thoughts always turn to knitting. I do knit in the summer, don't get me wrong, but I love to snuggle up on my recliner and knit when it gets cold. It also seems like I am more inspired to get my UFOs finished as well for some reason.

While I finished the oatmeal cardigan last week, it really wasn't done done until today when all ends were weaved. Although, to the purists, it isn't blocked yet, so I guess you could say yet another step exists, but for my purposes, it is finished.

It is not a WOW I love it sweater, but I think it makes a cute accessory. I should know better than to make a boxy sweater. If I made it again, I would have made it longer, maybe hip length and used something like a hook and eye shawl clasp to hold it together. There are some cute ones on Etsy.

Onto the next project. I think this will be one of my own designs, so watch for it soon.

Monday, September 2, 2013

A Fruitful Day

I think I might be turning into my mother. My son invited a friend over and I found myself cleaning the house to impress both the boy and his parents. That is just plain weird. I am pretty sure an 11 year old boy does not care if my knitting is sitting on the couch or if my laundry isn't all upstairs in the closets yet. Or at least I choose to believe this. (I base this on my own 11 year old who could probably go without showering for a week or two and not be terribly troubled by this.) And I guess if his parents don't like my messy garage, I am fairly certain they won't tell me to my face. I do live in Western Michigan, after all. I will just be fodder for their dining room table talk. So, let there be a big cheer out there for the moms who don't have an immaculate house. (like me)

With some additional time off, I managed to finish the right front, so here is the front of the oatmeal cardigan, side by side. I think I am going to add some shaping to the sleeve as opposed to just a straight sleeve since my lower arms are kind of skinny and I think it will look funny to be all floppy.

Between knitting, laundry, helping out at my mom's garage sale, baking peach pie and picking tomatoes, it was a pretty fruitful day. I guess I better get out there and get some beans picked.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

All Righty Then

I had a supplier visit scheduled and we decided it would be a car trip (whoo hoo!). Car trips ALWAYS mean knitting, because it is more likely than not that someone in the car wants to be the driver, at least more than I do. Our destination (drum roll please) was Pardeeville, Wisconsin. Have you heard of it? Or have you been there? It is a little town outside of Madison, which I am sure you have heard of, population of about 2100, give or take a few. It takes us about 5 1/2 hours to get there, so plenty of knit time. I packed my oatmeal cardigan and away we went.

Only one slight issue on the way there, when we stopped at the oasis (rest stop) in Chicago, I dropped my row counter and I could not figure out for the life of me where it went. I searched the floor and around the ground outside the minivan, but it was nowhere to be seen. So, I just grabbed a pen and proceeded to use the old fashioned hash marks. They work, just not as convenient. Interestingly enough, at the next stop, it was discovered in the back seat. Phew, very happy. While on the trip I managed to finish the left side and a good portion of the right side. I spent a lot of time noodling on the sleeves. The pattern has you sew the shoulder seams and then pick up the sleeve stitches and knit from there. I find it kind of inconvenient to have a whole sweater connected to the sleeve when I am knitting, so not sure if I will do them separately and then sew them in? I am not super fond of sewing either, so it is a bit of a dilemma.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Always Read The Directions......Always!

I am guessing you are reading the title of this post and thinking, "Well duh!" I know it makes sense seems ever obvious, but it is ALWAYS good to get a reminder. These types of reminders typically occur in the example of a story. And this one is no different.....I call the title of this story "A Tale of Two People Who Didn't Follow Directions"
Left Side of Oatmeal Cardigan

As I mentioned in a previous post, we traveled to the U.P. for a long weekend. On the way, I took my Oatmeal Cardigan (latest work in progress) to get some knitting in while on the road. After all, its a good 6 hours to Munising from my house. And a TON of knitting can be done in that amount of time, even considering that it will get dark at some point. I know some of you are saying,"Just bring a light with you." I guess I could, but I never have done this, so its just a habit not to at this point. But I digress; I am on the part where you do the neck shaping and now I have to pay attention. Previously, the back was just stockinette. I look at the directions and much to my surprise dismay, I did not circle the size I was planning to knit. I frowned to myself. Did I choose to knit the medium or the large? Hmmmmm......well, it is a boxy cardigan without a lot of shaping, so I decided guessed that I must have knit the medium. So, I knit my 18 shoulder stitches, switched to the new pattern for neck stitches and then got to the other shoulder. Oh boy. I have too many stitches left. I recount the 18 original shoulder stitches, yup, there are 18. I recount the neck stitches, yup, that is correct. Therefore, I deduce that I must not have decided to knit the medium but the large. At this point I get out my tape measure. Hub looks over because he can sense my agitation. What about gauge? Yikers! What if this sweater is H U G E ??? As I look at the measurements, I remember that I was getting the size medium measurements with the size large stitch count. I give a sigh of relief and then begin my favorite task of tinking my way to success.

Story two starts with me coming home from work one night. I open the door to the stench of smoke. I run in, full panic mode kicking in. "Welcome home, have a good day?" Hub greets me. "THERE IS SOMETHING ON FIRE!" I screech as I push past him. The kitchen just reeks of smoke even with all the windows open. Hub explains that our son decided he wanted meatballs for lunch. So, he pulled some out of the freezer, put them on a microwave safe plate, read the directions and heated them up. Sounds simple, right? Apparently he did not read the directions closely enough. Instead of the microwave directions, he followed the oven directions to heat for 15 minutes. Yes, 15 minutes. In a microwave. Thankfully, he decided to stop the microwave at 7 minutes.

Like mother like son. And the moral of the story is: always read the directions!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

How Superior

Back from a wonderful few days up north with the family which gave me the opportunity to get some knitting in. This time I made a much smarter choice and went with a really simple cardigan from the spring 2013 issue of Creative Knitting. I had been eyeing the pattern for a while but I STERNLY told myself no more new starts on anything until you finish at least 1 WIP. AT LEAST 1! As I was humming along on the back which is garter or stockinette, I ignored the fact that this appears to be a very boxy pattern, so we will see how flattering this turns out. At least I won't have a ton of time invested in it so I am thoroughly frustrated at the end. Well, I will keep at it for now. I am using Plymouth Encore Tweed in an oatmeal color. They call it granola. It sounds yummy to me. But back to my trip. When I say we were up north, I mean, the U.P. To those not from Michigan, that means Upper Peninsula. Past the bridge and onto the beautiful shores of Lake Superior where the water is a strangely beautiful turquoise that you don't normally see. Since blue is my favorite color, I think it would make a fabulous yarn color, don't you?

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Two Steps Back, Four Steps Forward

I have finally finished the Sea Shawl, inspite of all of the interruptions of life. Like work. And laundry. Especially laundry. I really wanted to complete it this week so, I did meet my goal. The picot cast off takes a crazy long time and I had to come back to it twice, even though I don't like leaving my knitting in the middle of a row. As I look back at the project, I wish I would have cut the stockinette portion in 1/2 and done 3 more repeats of the lace scallops. Not that it doesn't look great, because I think it is a great design, I just think it could be even better. I saw one person on Ravelry make it in total lace and that was an interesting twist on the pattern as well. I want the lace to open up so I intend to block the snot out of it, we will see how much it grows since it is only 42 x 24, which isn't very big. My daughter offered to model it, but apparently she is not as impressed with the pattern as I am since she asked me, "what is this, a bib?" Thanks, Elizabeth for the vote of confidence.... My blog program isn't working very well today, so I don't know if this is going to look strange when I post, it only lets me type in HTML, not standard compose mode(whatever standard is).

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Sea Shawl

I am still working away at the Sea Shawl, amidst the typical distractions of books, genealogy, vacation (in Spring Lake with the family), work and just life in general. I finished what seemed like the endless stockinette portion and should have been thankful for the easiness of it. Not that the lace pattern is hard, its just that you have to pay attention. This is not a multi tasking project, unfortunately. I thought to use the chart for the pattern, but after looking at it and not understanding the concept of "no stitch" I decided to just ignore it and use the written directions that Mindy so helpfully provided with the pattern.

I spent quite a bit of time tinking on this pattern before I got the rhythm of it and what it is supposed to look like. This is definitely a pattern you can read once you get going on it. I suspect the tinking was also due to me attempting to multi task when I shouldn't be. Well, its always good to give it a shot.

After chugging along, I finally laid this out and looked at it and realized, hey, this looks like feather and fan. It also gets my design gears spinning. I think I might be designing a shawl in the future.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Red White and Very Blue

Happy Independence Day to all of my friends in the United States and happy Thursday to those outside of the US. On my day off it is wonderful to note that it is sunny with a clear blue sky. Lots of opportunity to be outside.

Blue is one of my favorite colors (even though black is a close second for clothing and shoes). My new project I am working on is (you guessed it) blue. The pattern is the Holden Shawlette, by Mindy Wilkes, which is offered for free on Ravelry. My friend Jane mentioned it to me and it has been in my queue, struggling to get to the top. Well, it is finally there.

The yarn I am using is Elegance by Loops and Threads. The pattern recommends sock yarn but I am kind of picky about what touches my neck and I just could not find anything at that weight that I really liked. The color way is Ocean. As a play on words, I have named it Sea Shawl.

The beginning section is garter and stockinette with yarn overs added in. Easy stuff. The lace part looks complicated, I guess I will find out soon enough. I am in love love love with all of the pictures of everyone else's projects so I think I will use this shawl a lot.

Monday, July 1, 2013

At Loose Ends

I am back.

Not sure what took me so long, but, I am back. I think what finally kicked my butt in gear was looking at my boysenberry tunic sitting forlornly (can a sweater be forlorn?) on my knitting shelf. Finished and yet not finished. Every day I would think, "I really need to get that finished." And every day I wouldn't. I have no excuses other than I simply hate finishing. I hate the tediousness of finding every little loose end and weaving it in. And so, my project sits and waits....but Saturday, I snatched it up and did it. I weaved in all of those loose ends. While I was on a roll, I washed and blocked it. Aren't you always amazed at how much better your stitches look after blocking? But I digress.....

So I am excited to share (ta-da) the boysenberry tunic.