Friday, February 05, 2016

may i introduce to you...

the last couple of christmas' i have made hats for everyone in the girl house.  even the big guy, though he is a guy and technically doesn't live here.  last years hat was the vermonter, which was a very quick knit, considering i am the slowest knitter on the planet.

as i was wondering if i should continue with the hats for christmas tradition, the best sister ever made it quite clear she was expecting a hat for christmas.

that being said, i decided  it was going to be a slouchy hat.  i had been wanting a slouchy hat for awhile.  i had already started searching ravelry, favorite-ing quite a few slouchy hat patterns.  in the end, the pattern i chose for us came to me through a classic elite yarn email.  it was the fresco simple slouchy hat.   i saw it and knew it was the one.

hat for the best sister ever.  colorway, sea green
fresco refers to the classic elite yarn used.  i am not one for using the suggested yarn on a pattern, but i had also received an email from Webs which listed discontinued fresco yarn colors at 50% off.  the least i could do was take a peek.  plus, the yarn was a blend of wool, baby alpaca and angora.  so yummy.   there were three color ways listed i was willing to gamble on, a different color for each of us.  so i made the purchase, hoped the yarn would would be wonderful and arrive before christmas.

which it did, just barely.  and it was all shades of wonderful. soft and warm.  the colors were much richer than the online color swatches.  i loved it and i knew the girls would.  now i just needed to knit it up perfectly.  no pressure.

while knitting,  i was concerned others would not be as enamoured with a slouchy hat as i was.  or maybe they wouldn't like the yarn, or the color i had chosen for them.  so i just continued knitting.
hat for my sweet friend.  colorway, fern

though i missed the christmas deadline, i knitted all through christmas weekend.  my sweet friend kept asking what i was knitting.  i kept giving her vague answers.  and then the first hat was done.  this one was for the best sister ever.  and she loved it.  she thought it was the perfect hat.  she wears it all the time.  it is warm and she loved the color.  and she loves bragging to all that her sister knit it for her.  relief.

on to hat number two.  this one was for my sweet friend.  it happened to be the same colorway pictured on the pattern.  which is an ideal color for her.   it is beautiful.  though she is not prone to hats, she does wear this one.  she loves the color and rocks the style.  it looks great on her.  relief again.


my hat.  colorway, mallard blue
now on to the third hat, mine.  other than a technical challenge mentioned in an earlier blog, this hat is a dream.  i love the color.  it is a mixture of both blue and green, like the duck it is named after.  it is rich and jewel like.  and it slouches just the way i wanted it to.  i love it.

for the moment i am glad to be done with the hats. but even more, i am thankful for our silly little tradition.  i get to knit a bit of love for those i love while keeping heads warm during the cold winters. as well as bringing much joy and delight.  and that, after all, is the most important thing.

Friday, January 29, 2016

it's been a hard...

in the past few days i have finished the first sock, have finished the never ending cowl and whipped up a baby hat for a friend.   pictures, etc., to come.

i plan on starting the second sock, a more casual hat for AP and a very simple, one skein of bulky yarn cowl for me.

but i find i am stalling at the cast on.

yeesh!

Monday, January 25, 2016

it is the cowl that never ends...

my sweet friend has a box of clothes sent to her monthly.   these clothes are well made chic pieces that can be a bit pricy.  she picks the pieces she likes and sends the rest back within a certain time frame.  in octobers box was a black and white cowl made from a yarn that was 100% acrylic.

my sweet friend fell in love with it.  she thought it was the best thing ever.  i told her i could knit her a cowl since the price for the 100% acrylic yarn cowl was a bit much. i thought buying  an acrylic yarn at a local craft store would be less then purchasing the clothing box cowl.  and my knitting it would be a money saver. she agreed and sent the cowl back.

then began the adventure...

after weeks of searching ravelry for the perfect cowl pattern, she found one that met her criteria.  we were now ready to choose yarn.  i gave my sweet friend the choice of going to a yarn store or going to a craft store for yarn that was similar to the box cowl.  being the daughter of a yarn store junky, she picked a yarn store.  so off to the LYS we went.  the pattern called for an amazing amount of bulky yarn, none of which was catching her eye since the yarn of the cowl she liked was two toned and none of the bulky yarn at the LYS was.  i then suggested getting two different color DK weight yarns which i would hold together as i knit so the cowl could have two colors.  she thought this a good idea, picked out a yarn she liked in two different colors and off we went.

now, every experience i have had with holding two different yarns together while knitting has ended in tangles with me trying to sort through them.  cursing may have been involved.  this time i decided to put the different yarns in seperate paper bags like everyone suggests.  then i could put a bag on either side of whatever chair i was sitting in when kitting.

on to gauge.  i used the suggested needle size and it looked like i was knitting air.  so i kept swatching with smaller needle sizes until i found the size that gave me the drape i was looking for and maybe close to the gauge i needed.  maybe.

finally i was ready to cast on.  but since the needle size was smaller i was concerned i would need to cast on more stitches then called for to meet the 60" length criteria.  technically, if my gauge was spot on, i wouldn't need more stitches.  but my gauge wasn't spot on so the hysterical, non-rational side of my brain thought it best to add a few stitches.  which i did.  to the tune of 100 more.  just in case.

the original cast on called for 196 stitches.  adding 100 to that made it 296 stitches.  obviously, my hysteria got carried away.  i  rationalized it by being concerned about the cowl length.  the extra 100 stitches helped alleviate that concern.

so i cast on half of the stitches (296 IS a lot of stitches) before going into surgery.  i took this project with me since we had to stay in so-cal during the surgery process.  after surgery i finished casting on and started to knit.  and though the pattern is a simple two row stitch repeat, having to knit said pattern on 296 stitches was more than my mind on pain killers could maneuver.  the first inch of the cowl, though fine, reflects my muddled mind.  the spines are fine, but there is some mushiness in-between.   not to mention there is a total of 297 stitches.  yup.  so much for counting while on pain meds.

nearly two months later, i am still knitting this cowl.  the pattern calls for a knitting width of 15 inches;   this would make the finished cowl 60" long and 15" wide.  at first this seemed entirely reasonable.  each ball of yarn produced about 5.25 ish inches of knitted width.  since i had 3 balls of each color i figured that would be perfect, i would hold both colors together, use all 6 balls and when they were gone, be at the needed width.  but as i continued to knit, i realized 15 inches doubled around the neck is good if the neck is as longs as a giraffes, but may be a bit overwhelming for a mere mortal.  i decided finishing the cowl after knitting 2 balls of each color yarn would be fine.  this would have the cowl end up at 10.5 ish inches in width.

i am 1/3 of a  ball of yarn away from being done.  the cowl is currently 7.75 ish inches in width and i can't seem to knit fast enough to be able to finish it.  though the pattern is easy, it can get tricky if i am not paying attention.  i lost a stitch when i added the second ball and never made it up.  for some reason i thought it would be okay until 3-4 rows in i noticed it was really not ok.  so i had to un-knit the 3-4 rows.  which doesn't sound like much until you realize each row is 297 stitches.  you do the math.  yup, tell me about it.

i have gotten much better at reading the stitches so mistakes get caught and corrected much quicker.  and i learned when knitting an item with so many stitches, it is not a bad idea to put stitch markers every so often to make sure the knitting is on track (this came from having to correct the joining of the second ball).

and though the yarn cost a bit more than the box cowl, not to mention my time, i have to say, the cowl is lovely.  the yarn is 90% alpaca and 10% nylon.  the alpaca makes it extremely soft to the touch and the nylon helps it keep its shape.  it holds the stitches well.  the colors are grey and white which makes the cowl interesting and textured.  i know my sweet friend will love it.  i know i do.  i just have to finish the blasted thing!



pattern:  the fluted cowl by purl soho    yarn: berroco folio in pearl and mount desert.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

and i shall name them squishy...

i love knitting socks.  and i love knitting a sock with a little bit of a lace design.  it just makes me happy.

i recently started this...


the pattern is zig-zag lace pedi socks by michele bernstein (sorry, couldn't link the pattern, just the designer).  i thought i wanted a pedi sock for winter pedicures and found this pattern on ravelry.  simple (i can follow the lace chart, which is saying something!), easy to memorize and keep track of.  just enough design to make the sock fun to knit and pretty to look at.  my only challenge is remembering i have to purl in the "knitting row".

though i wanted a pedi sock, i chose to knit the full foot version.  why?  because of this yarn.  i fell in love with the yarn the moment i unwrapped it from its mailing packaging.  what is it?  kells sport from three irish girls, color way, Nemo.  yup.  it is warm and soft and squishy and lovely to work with.  the colors are beautiful and it holds the pattern well.  i rarely work with a sport weight yarn for socks but i could become addicted.  it makes for a much faster knit.  i am almost done with the first sock!  i can't wait to finish them, i want to wear them everyday!!

but, please, don't tell my sweet friend.  she wants me to finish knitting her cowl!

Saturday, January 09, 2016

my kingdom for 5 1/2 inches....

i was in the midst of knitting my christmas hat (full explanation in upcoming post).  this was the last  of three hats i was knitting of this pattern and yarn (see above (...) ).

i kept wondering why the hat was looking like a tube and why the yarn wasn't being consumed as it had in the previous two hats .  i needed to knit 5 1/2 inches and then start the decreases for the crown.  just as i got to 5 1/2 inches i realized i hadn't done the increase round right after the 1 inch of 2x2 ribbing,  5 1/2 inches ago. which is why the hat looked like a tube and not as much yarn was being used.

holy knitting blunders, batman!

so i frogged back to the ribbing, picked up the frogged stitches with a size 0 needle.  un-knit for a few rows to make sure no stitches were dropped and everything was where it was supposed to be.  and then i knit on.                                                         

by the end of the day i had knit 2+ inches.  the hat no longer looked like a tube and the right amount of yarn was being used.

yup, that is how we roll here...

Thursday, January 07, 2016

resistance is futile...

when we moved into the girl house 4 years ago, we thought it would be a temporay situation.   we thought once i found a job we would find our own place.  but between a and b, life changed and we find ourselves still at the girl house.

since we thought it temporary, we never really made our room our own.  so over the years, as we collected things, we made do with putting them where ever we could.  which made the room chaotic.  a couple of weeks ago, my sweet friend organized her side of the room.  this inspired me to do the same.

this inspiration forced me to deal with all of the yarn i had purchased over the past four years.

yup.

i already have four large bins of yarn items: two actually hold the yarn stash; one holds knitting project yarn leftovers and one holds WIP's that have been momentarily shelved.  as i purchased new yarn, i either used it or put it aside until i could take a picture and list it in my ravelry stash page.

and then there is the sock yarn.  i love knitting socks and i always wanted to be part of a sock club. except i found most sock clubs wanting.  that is until i came across the three irish girls sock club.  their sock club allows me to choose whether i want their monthly sock yarn offering or not.  i really like their yarn so i find myself enticed by their monthly offerings more often then not.  they also have special sales on a regular basis.  and since i have been part of their sock club for the last two plus years, this made for a lot of sock yarn.  take a look...


though the yarn piled here is a bit more than sock yarn, the majority is sock yarn.  sigh...

so i organized this pile, took individual pictures and listed it all in my ravelry stash.  i then put the pile away in my almost overflowing bins before any one came home.  if they knew how much yarn i had, they would 1) demand i knit them socks non stop or 2) never allow me to buy another skein  of yarn.  which would not do because i just received the monthly sock club email from three irish girls. and, as to be expected,  there are a couple of beautiful color way options calling my name.  

sigh...

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

hello...it's me...

i felt the urge about a year ago as i was perusing the latest edition of knitty.com.  i came across this amazing sock pattern that was designed by a young man from utah.  his patterns are beautiful but it was his blog that hooked me.  it was so teenager, simple and pure.  all i could think of was how much i missed writing and how i should start up again.

but i didn't.

so here i am, recovering from having a hip replaced.  i can't drive for another 2-4 weeks so i find myself sitting around a bunch, watching west wing and downton abbey and knitting.  lots and lots of knitting.

and i think, maybe now is the time.  i hope i can keep up.