Tuesday, January 30, 2007

It's Not Even February Yet

I finally finished the Watermelon Cardigan. I hate sewing up sweaters. Just for the record. I think I'm really lousy at it. I probably need to work on that, but I another sweater is not really on the horizon for awhile.

It fits Grace, but it is big enough to last through next year too. I decided to go ahead with a tie in front instead of the zipper. I was anxious to finish it and the zipper was at Joanns and I wasn't, so I can always put it in later if would end up being better.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Round 2

I ripped. I started over. This time using size 4 needles. I can get it over my hand now, and am wondering if it is too big. We'll see after a bit. If it is I will probably live with it since the cuff fits fine.
As you can see, I switched the colors.
So far, the fair isle chart is going fine, even though the back side of the mitten is not symmetrical so you have to pay attention. The palm of the mitten is a very easy repeat pattern, so it all evens out.
I'm now worried the red is going to bleed into the white. Never a moment without anxiety. I have no experience with red Debbie Bliss, and I guess I could have "washed" the yarn before knitting, but that seems more than a little complicated and it also sounds like a giant knotted mess waiting to happen. I'll live on the edge and hope.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Oh, What to do...

I started the Anemoi Mittens. The directions are very detailed, and this is not the simple pattern you find in a magazine. It calls for things I have to look up to figure out. I first looked up the tubular cast on, then gave up on that and did my regular long tail cast on and it looks fine.

It calls for size 0 needles to do the cuff with. I am making a size large, since I have big hands, and the body is supposed to be size 2 needles. Since I am lazy by nature, I didn't swatch, it is a pain to do in the round, and I figure jumping in and starting is just as good as swatching. Right? It's only a mitten. I figured size 0 for the cuff would be too small, so I started with 2's. I'm using Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino. It seems thicker than I thought it would be and the band calls for size 3's.

The cuff uses 2 colors and with the red and white I chose, looks pretty good. Very candy cane like. However, it is too small. With the stranded two color ribbing, it doesn't stretch much, and I can't get it over my hand. Here is my dilemma. Do I--

  1. Rip the entire thing out and start over using 3's or 4's?

  2. Keep going and give them to a small handed person? (who?)

  3. Keep going and use them as a Christmas decoration (they are cute)

I'm leaning towards ripping the whole thing. It took me about 2 hours to do the cuff, slower because of the fiddling with the two colors. I'm not anxious to rip, but maybe I ought to bite the bullet.

Here goes.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Sock Yarns Don't Count!

They really don't. I don't make this stuff up, folks.
Wendy herself said this in her rules for HER own Knit from Your Stash thing. See right here.
I have not ever said I was going to join this particular event, I know my own limits. I am merely going to try for the month of February to finish a few things. I can't finish it all, that would take more than a month. More than a lifetime more likely.
I like yarn. It is a fairly innocent thing to like. If I see some that I want, chances are fairly good I will continue to buy it. I am, however, going to slow down for awhile as I await Stitches.
Now, if you would like to support me in this endeavor, I thank you. Those who support me tend to get better knitted presents than those who give me a hard time.

Friday, January 26, 2007

It is still January

I know. I can't get away with anything around here. I went to Knitter's Haven and came home with two very innocent skeins of yarn. I just swore I wouldn't buy any more. (I seem to have a slight problem that some may call addiction, but bear with me while I rationalize It).

It is not February. That is next week. I just bought some gray/blue/white items to get a running start with Project Spectrum. And one is sock yarn. Doesn't count. The other was way cheaper than Prism Stuff that is like $60 a skein, this was $9. And it was black and white and gray. Very practical. I was very saintly to only buy these two little items. I usually am much worse. Ask Mom.

Now, I must admit to doing a little slipping at the fabric store. The heart fabric was so hard to resist, and it was already in packs of little squares. So cute. I can't resist a heart. I LOVE Valentines' Day. I also had a coupon. Work with me here a little, a coupon cannot be ignored, it is savings after all. I got a book on scarves, hats, and gloves, since that is what I have been doing a lot of lately, and everyone around me seems to want to make a hat. It is like research.
I also had a little fun at Starbucks. They have the cutest stuff for Valentines Day. I got the chocolate with pink mug yesterday, and spent the rest of the day debating with myself whether I should have gotten the pink with chocolate. So today I did. And the pink teacup too.
Look what I got in the mail today!
I got all the classes I signed up for originally, which is good. I also got a list of HOMEWORK I have to do. Yikes!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

February is for Finishing!

I just saw a new Knit a Long for February and it got me thinking....(scary, yes). This upcoming month would be dandy to finish some things I have started. Hopefully the cardigan will be done by Feb 1, but I do have a couple of things I have started that I have tried to forget about, hoped my knitting friends forgot I was doing (to avoid the nagging), or yarn I bought but never quite got around to starting.

Since I am going to Stitches and plan to acquire a few (ahem) items to knit once I get home, I need to get as much done as possible to clear the path. Does that make sense?

My rules for February is for Finishing
  1. No yarn purchases until Stitches
  2. Clear out any long forgotten projects and finish them or frog them

Simple, yes. If I concentrate on this for a month, I should be able to finish a few things and get rid of things I will honestly never do.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

UFOs and Monkeys

I'm finishing the watermelon cardigan. It is not exciting me terribly, but I need to get it done. Small unfinished objects are easier to ignore. Large ones are a monkey on my back, nagging at my soul until I finish them. This cardigan has been eating away at me very slowly, for a year.

It is almost done. As you can see, the pieces have been finished. I need to block them, then sew them up. The pattern was from Better Homes and Gardens Knit It! Magazine and it called for Fun fur at the neckline. I am very over fun fur, so it will get a few rows of garter to match the border edge. The pattern also calls for ties at the front. I am going to try for a zipper. It is pretty heavy, so I think a secure closing makes more sense.
I finished the pieces late last night and this morning was Knotty Knitters, and I am still procrastinating with starting the Anemoi Mittens, so I started a pair of socks. I know, I know. Wanna hear about the socks?
I am making Monkey, by Cookie. Very cool pattern so far. So logical, so straightforward. Lace that makes sense. Isn't that nice? The yarn is Tofutsies, by SWTC. It is superwash wool, cotton, soysilk, and chitin, which is made from shrimp and crab shells, and is naturally antibacterial. It is the most fun combo of colors. The sock thus far is sort of half blue/purple and half green/pink. Not a sock for the color-challenged. I also bought this yarn in black/grey/white. That I am saving for project spectrum.
I've got to start the mittens. It starts with a tubular cast-on. Why? I don't know. I had to look that up in Vogue Knitting. That is how far I've gotten. I really want to make them. Really I do. Really.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Fun with Fiber

The substitute teacher part of me likes to torture students. Not seriously, but it is fun to mess with their minds a little. This I did to my junior high knitting elective students on Thursday.

We played a little game I coined, "Fun with Fiber." What is that, you ask? Well, here goes--

I have been working on knitting swatches of different fiber yarns that I own, such as cotton, wool, alpaca, etc. I had ten distinct yarns that were 100% of the particular fiber. Knitting ten swatches instead of starting the Anemoi mittens was pure pleasure, let me tell you. All in the name of education. I labeled them A, B, C, etc. Then I made up a "test" form for them to match to the swatches. I also came up with a fact sheet that we went over as a class beforehand that discussed animal fibers and plant fibers (spellbinding for me, but they were not quite as thrilled as they should have been).

Then they went at it. They did it in pairs, and it took FOREVER. They were so stumped that we barely made it through all of them before class time was over. Even Alex's teacher tried (we use her classroom and I taught her to knit a short while ago). The girls were "eyeing" the prizes, which were some fun novelty yarns I had gotten on sale at Michaels/Joanns. I told them the prizes would have to wait since we were out of time. When I went to the papers to correct them, I found the sad state of fiber knowledge in the youth of today.

The best student scored 5 out of 10. That's not a passing grade folks. Even Mrs. S. got 3 of 10. I'm thinking on Tuesday they get to have some more fiber torture lesson before any free yarn is handed out. Many of them were obvious (scratchy acrylic, Peaches n Cream cotton, Cascade 220 wool, Tussah silk (from Artfibers that I haven't even knit with yet), and rough hemp cord. I thought it was going to be pretty easy, so I threw banana fiber, soy silk, and bamboo in there for interest.

I grew up with weekly sewing lessons in 4-H from the time I was 10. I knew what different fabrics felt like probably even before that, due to my time spent being dragged to fabric departments. I was a feeler. I liked it. I wonder if I was a good shopper when I was taken there by my mom, or if I acted like Alex does when he has to go with me. I don't remember. I do know that the knowledge of fabric and fiber carries over to shopping for clothes, so I think this is a good lesson for these new teenagers to learn. Maybe we'll even talk about washability on Tuesday. A little laundry lesson will sure spice things up.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Jennifer knits...

My friend Jenn, Jackie, Janet and I got together last weekend so I could teach them how to knit. This wasn't my first teaching experience of the week. Just days before, I taught knitting to my friend Shelly. Armed with my trusty Stitch and Bitch book, I showed them all how to cast on, hold on to the yarn and make stitch after stitch. They all struggled a bit at first, but then they became like newly-born giraffes, wobbly at first, but trying with all their might to stand on their own two feet, completely unsure of every step. And then, miraculously, they've each taken off! Look at this progress:

Shelly: Stopped by the day after lesson No. 1 with a problem, but had a bunch of lovely knitting, all perfect in perfect rows! Called again to ask where I got the yarn she was learning with. She's somewhat of a perfectionist and has started again and again, got a knot and is now "fixing" it in her own special way.

Jackie: E-mailed in that she's knitted for hours and is making progress.

Jenn: My star student! At first she added stitches to just about every other row. She's now overcome that problem and has completed the scarf we started last Sunday. And, get this, she had two sets of needles so what did she do? She started another. She stopped by today to learn to cast off and is now the owner of not one, but two scarves! That's certainly not bad for a first week. Here she is, showing off her two scarves. I'm so proud!

(BTW... my boss even stopped me with a knitting question this week. She's on her first project and was struggling so we had an impromptu knitting lesson in her office! I feel like Cindy or something... teaching knitting everywhere I go like the pied piper of stitches!)

Friday, January 19, 2007

Just something silly

Here's a site that should make all you knitties out there giggle a bit.


Good Things are Coming!

Our Good Things gals met last night and planned our year. Of course, we made sure we were well fed before we got down to business. Boy, are we good cooks (and crafters, and shoppers, etc.)!

Here's the plan --

Tues, Feb 6 - Tea Party at Cheri's, tea exchange, bring your favorite teacup
Monday, March 12 - Decorate cupcakes at Nola's, Cindy will organize the craft
Tues, April 17 - Scrapbooking canvas things by Carey and Tracy, at Tracy's
Thursday, May 10 at Tammi's, "Patriotic" gingerbread houses by Nola (Cindy on frosting duty)
Thursday, June 7 at Chrissy's, Summer gift exchange
Thursday, July 12 - Go to a movie or something, Carolyn and Lori organizing
Thursday, August 16 - Carey's house, Carey's craft (stamping? I might be wrong)
Tuesday, September 11 - Carolyn's house, Christmas is coming craft by Lori
Tuesday, October 16 - Cindy's kitchen, Tracy makes Pretzels by hand (yum)
Thursday, November 8 - Chrissy's house and craft (I missed what the craft was)
Tuesday, December 4 - Christmas gift exchange, cookie exchange, at Tammi's

Doesn't this sound like fun?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Scrapbooking is an art!

I finished the canvas scrapbooking dealie that I've been talking about for months. I saw one of these in a scrapbooking store in the Sacramento area. The sample at the store was advertising a class. Because I'm not in Sacramento, I decided to see if I could make one without paying the $20 for the class. The silly thing is it was SO easy! The canvas is 12-by-12 and was on sale for half off at Joann's. I printed my own picture and used scrapbooking stuff I had in my stash. The whole project took about 10 minutes to complete and most of that time was spent looking at my pink papers! Now that I know how easy it is, I simply must do about a million of them. It took me longer to print out the 8 by 10 of Grace than to complete the whole project. If you can scrapbook, you can do this. I simply mounted my photo on paper and added the ribbon. To stick it on the art canvas, I used Red Liner Super Sticky Tape. Instead of using paint to give the canvas edge some color, I sponged some ink in a matching color along the edges. What fun!

We've converted!

It was scary, and I'm not sure if it was worth waiting for, but we are live on the new Blogger! We look a little different, and I wish I knew how to customize our banner on top, but for now, here were are!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Corded for a Sunday

This weekend was COLD! Perfect snuggle under a blanket and knit weather. I should be knitting a soft warm afghan to hold on my lap while I knit it, but instead I'm doing little projects. Part of my knitting ADD.

Sunday, I started and finished Corded, a little bag made from Noro Daria Multi, color 21. I used the 10 1/2 dpns as the pattern directed, and the dimensions came out perfectly. It is hard to tell from the photo, but it is little, 7" wide at the top. I plan to line it and add a zipper at the top. Then maybe I'll use it to hold my knitting "goodies" or something. It is too pretty to hide actually, so I'll maybe have to come up with another use. It feels really interesting too, almost wiry. I included an up close texture photo for good measure.

I'm thinking a black zipper, although I bought three different colors, and using the circle fabric I lined the inside of the bobble bag pocket with. I always end my sentences with prepositions. Maybe Carey needs to edit my posts. Are you listening, sister?

I'm also knitting a bunch of swatches from different fibers I have. I plan on playing "Name that Fiber" with the knitting elective girls. So far I have wool, cotton, banana silk (from SF last year) and hemp. I'm working now on mohair and I've got a few more to do. Then more searching to see what I can come up with.

I have gotten out the needles and yarn to start the Swirly Mittens (they are really called Anemoi Mittens). I will start them soon. I'm procrastinating. Why? I don't know.

I haven't heard from the hat person to get the pattern for the fur hats. Carey is also doing a charity knit of scarves. Maybe she'll post the details. Hint hint.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Naughty Knitters unite!

Mini at the Minestrone Soup Blog is doing a knit for charity to benefit Childrens Hospital of Boston. Now, I realize we have a hospital here for children that would probably benefit from the same thing, but this one is an organized effort and a good place to start.

Anyway, knitters all over blogland are joing together to knit child cancer patients hats using fun fur or something similar. I have emailed Mini and she will be sending me the pattern, but I read that they take about an hour to make and they are done on fairly large needles.

Now, most of have to admit we went through our fun fur stage, and while fun at the time, it might not hold the same appeal now that we have discovered "the good stuff." Some of us may have been guilty of overbuying (who me?) and may have some lurking in the corners of our yarn stash not going anywhere. Here is the perfect way to rid, oops I mean do something positive with the yarn that we aren't that crazy about, but some child would be delighted with.

We can each knit a hat (or more) and I will send them to Mini to put together with zillions of other knitters and we can make a difference to a child.

There are prizes involved, and if we were to win, we can fight over who gets the spoils. If by some chance you don't have any fun fur, both Michaels and Joanns are having big yarn sales these days, and it is under $5. Not a bad deal.

I'll give you the pattern as soon as I get it. Then lets get knitting!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Warm Hands Warm Heart

I finished the second mitten this morning, just in time to be worn to the freezing gym to watch Alex's basketball game.

Grace's first reaction was, "Now make me red ones."

When I finish a project my immediate thought is "now what?" I get this feeling of empty space needing to be filled. Then I mentally go over what is next and I get overwhelmed with the list. For a split second the possibilities are delicious, then I remember which item on the to do list is most pressing, and then get going.

I think I will take out the "monkey on the back" that has been taxing my spirit, namely the watermelon cardigan for G that I started last year. Luckily I knew I was not speedy with finishing things so I started it in a size much too big for her last year, which should be about right now.

I looked at the pattern again this morning and it is easy. It is really interesting (at least to me) how I was choosing simple patterns then that I wouldn't even consider now. The only thing I'm not looking forward to is the finishing part. Sewing seams by hand is a drag.

The cardigan will be my "mindless knitting" for use while doing social knitting, and I will start the Eunny mittens for use while I'm doing "concentration knitting" since I'm going to have to pay attention to the chart.

On the computer front, Blogger is finally ready for us to switch to the new version. Hopefully all of this will not disappear and nothing will mess up. Think happy thoughts.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Toe Up and Finished

Lucy socks are done. The last one started with stripes like the first and then morphed into swirls. I'm calling them fraternal twins.

The Socks that Rock yarn makes a nice sturdy sock. It might come in handy if it snows tonight!

It is ironic that the day I finish my first toe up socks, Wendy posts very detailed instructions that further explain her method which I used. I did most everything right. You'll have to squint to see what I am talking about. (It only involved how I pick up the wraps and knit them. Very technical stuff)

The next item on the agenda is Warm Hands Warm Hearts Mittens for Grace. The pattern is by Maggie's Rags, and I am usuing Debbie Bliss cashmerino dk in color 18009 on size 4 needles. I am making her the size medium, although they seem like they will be a little big. This one I finished up just now, and I will hurry and cast on mitten number two in time for the big freeze tonight. Luckily children have small hands.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A Note From Emily

Dear Mom,
I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news. I have observed you in your knitting moments, and speaking to fellow knitters. It all seemed normal, but then after doing some studying I realized something. You have been diagnosed with craziae yarnoptia, a rare disease where you are too obessed with knitting. The symptoms are feeling yarn, constant need to visit knitting web sites, and babbling about patterns. In this unfortunate situation, we cannot do much. We can only wait for it to pass.

Yours truly,
Insane Knitter Observers Corporation

Saturday, January 06, 2007

2007 Finished Item number one

I'm dancing a jig!

Mr. Mo has his socks. So far he says they are comfortable. Hope he likes them.

I'm SO happy.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Socks in progress

I'm so bored of knitting the black sock. It has taught me a few things

1. I have knitting ADD. I am DYING to start something new. I can hear Maurice's voice echoing in my brain if I don't finish these now that he knows I'm knitting them. We have history in that regard (circa 1991).

2. I do not see well enough to knit black objects. That means my window of opportunity is very small, especially on rainy dreary days.

3. We need lamps. That would help the situation.

I have actually made some progress, and when I'm forced to knit something else because of lighting issues, I have been working on the toe up Lucy socks.

I decided toe up has its merits. It seems to fit really well and is a smoother looking sock. I haven't decided if I like it better or not. Maybe. I do like this yarn. Socks That Rock does rock. The coloring is fun too. Pool and Latte'. (inside joke). I feel like I need to go buy an outfit to match my socks. Only another knitter would understand that logic.

I have joined two new Knit a Longs. One is for First Toe-ups. I thought I would join with other kindred spirits to try something new. The site has a lot of tutorials with different methods. For the record, I am using Wendy Johnson's method, a la Wendy Knits, and a la Lucy the cat.

The other KAL is Project Spectrum. Starting in Feb, for each two month period of the year, we are to focus on a particular set of three colors, either alone or in combination. Feb/March is blue, white, and gray. I wish it was valentine colors, but I will attempt to stretch my color boundaries and learn something new. The Lucy socks would go nicely, but they will be done long before February starts. So will Grace's new mittens that are blue. They haven't been started yet, but if I wait until Feb, it will be too warm to wear them. California winter, you know. (Sorry Pat).

I'm not much of a gray or white person. I wonder if cream counts.

Anyway, I need to ponder these compelling topics later. Must press onward with sock.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Marie-Ann's socks

I received an email from Sweden! Remember a few posts ago when I was commenting that I
wished I could thank the person who taught me to knit? Well, I got an email from her!! I hadn't heard from her in awhile, and through the magic of the internet, she has now seen my blog.

And she sent me a photo of the socks she knitted! Aren't they great!?! She commented that they were similar to the ones I knitted for Jean.

Today at Knotty Knitters, Lisa was convincing me that knitting is like multi-level marketing. If someone I taught to knit (Tracy) teaches someone else to purl (Natalie/Suzelle), I actually get partial credit for it. I REALLY like this concept. A lot. If you take this one step further, Marie-Ann gets credit for teaching me, Carey, Lisa, Suzelle, Tracy, Natalie, and around 50 others (mostly junior high girls) the gift of knitting.

THANK YOU Marie-Ann! We all thank you.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

New Year Knitting

We celebrated the New Year here -

City of Alcatraz and

Lombard Street

It was very nice. Dined at Mooses and Joe DiMaggio's in North Beach (very good) and had ice cream with Maurice's Aunt Vera at Ghirardelli Square (soon to be a time share).

Yes, of course I went to Imagiknit. Could I pass that up? Here's the goodies I walked out with.

Some koigu for some socks, some hand dyed alpaca for something lucious (I thought the color combination was unusual and nice), some Debbie Bliss for Grace some mittens, some Noro Daria for a purse from Grumperina, and the cutest knitting needles with funky knobs on the ends. And some size 0 DPN's for good measure. And a little something I found for Tracy. Hmmm....

I had fun there.

I also knitted in the car, but still having trouble seeing the black giant sock. So I worked on my Lucy sock, and hooray, finished it! I will buckle down during good daylight and get the black sock done soon. Promise.

Then I have to do Lucy sock #2 and go back to the Trekking sock that needs a friend from before Xmas. THEN I can start something new. Next in line immediately are the mittens for Grace. She requested them, how could I say no? I should have done them for Christmas if I would have had an extra month that would have not have been a problem.

Speaking of Christmas, I forgot to tell about what Santa brought me--

Some Socks that Rock (I did mention that but here is the photo of the Rocktober colorway) and some new books. I LOVE knitting books. The cable book is by Melissa Leapman. I am taking her cable class at Stitches West. The Victorian Lace book author is going to be the opening speaker. I am counting the minutes until I am there.

What did you knit this weekend?