Friday, July 08, 2016

don't just stand there, bust a...

one of the things i did while i was rfhs was go through the yarn stash to see what was what.  one of the stash bins stores left over yarns from all of my knitting projects.  while organizing the bin, i discovered a gob of  various bits of sugar 'n cream.

there was a time when i bought a few balls of sugar and cream every time i went to a joann's or michael's.  which resulted in this...

various lily sugar 'n cream yarn
yup.  39+ balls of sugar 'n cream.

some of it was because i knitted a throw rug many years ago.  some of it was to knit a set of pac man washcloths for the big guy when he went to college.  and some of it was just because.

i alloted quite a few balls of s 'n c for another throw rug that is currently on the needles, but there are still quite a few leftover and non leftover sugar 'n cream balls of yarn to contend with.

after a little thought i decided to experiment.  i have never found a practical washcloth pattern.  there are washcloths with hearts on them, or wild geese designs or lacy ones or golden snitch ones.  but i wanted a washcloth that felt a little softer than a loofah, not as soft as store bought.

i grabbed what was left of a lime green ball of yarn, cast on 48 stitches on the suggested size 7 needle and knit one of my all time favorite stitches, seed stitch.  i knit until the yarn ran out which made for a long in width, short in length washcloth.  though the seed stitch gave it that nubby feel i was looking for, after a few uses, the washcloth stretched out to much to be useful.  hmmmm...

thank you gifts
for the next washcloth i cast on 38 stitches with a size 6 needle.  the results of this experiment was much better.  i discovered this width with a length of 7 inches was the perfect size washcloth.  and since the knit was tighter due to the smaller needle size, the washcloth held its shape and nubby-ness.

pretty in pink
so off i went, knitting one washcloth after another.   i decided a washcloth and a beautiful bar of soap would be the perfect thank you gift for those who had been covering for me while i was rfhs.  then i needed to knit a washcloth for each of the girls.  and finally a new one for myself.

the beginning of the face cloth
another discovery i made was that sugar 'n cream was to rough to use on my face.  so i looked through my stash and found a couple of balls of knit picks cotlin yarn.  i cast of 48 stitches on a size 5 needle and knit away.  the cotlin and seed stitch together made a wonderful face cloth that scrubs my face squeaky clean without taking off the first few layers of skin.
best friend washcloth
i doubled the cotlin to make a washcloth for my sweet friends best friend.  38 stitches on a size 6 needle.  the colors were sage green and dark cream.  nice color compliment and she loved the wash cloth.

all in all, i am pretty pleased with these experiments, as well as the ability to get rid of some stash.  and though i am trying very hard to  knit from my stash, i find myself checking to see if knit picks is having a sale on cotlin, just so i can have some yarn for face cloths around, you know, just in case!

Sunday, April 03, 2016

here comes peter cotton...

easter at the girl house means loads of chocolate and the ever coveted, jelly-ish jelly beans from See's candy.  This easter was no different.  lots of chocolate and gobs of jelly beans.  but i usually slip a little something else into the easter baskets.  when we first moved to the capitol, i got season passes to the local water park and some lovely beach towels.  it made for a fun way to spend the hot summer.   or it could be something as simple as an iTunes or amazon gift card for music or kindle books.

this year the theme was socks.  while i was recovering from hip surgery (rfhs) i went through and catorgorized my yarn and hibernating projects stash.  one of the hibernating projects was this...

yarn: crystal palace panda cotton solid
pattern: leaf lace socks - evelyn a clark
which is the partner of this....

when the lys closed down many years ago, the proprietor  had knitted the green sock to show off the yarn and the pattern.  my sweet friend fell in love with the sock.  unfortunately, there was no green yarn left in that yarn type, so she chose her next favorite color from the yarn that remained.  hence, the two different sock colors.

i was a little concerned about the pattern, i thought it was beyond my skill level.  in her respectfully drone way, the proprietor advised i just follow the pattern and it would all work out.  so i did and it did!  to this day, i still hear her voice in my head whenever i start hyper-ventalating about a supposed difficult pattern. i have learned to just followed the pattern and let it work out.  the up side is my sweet friend loves the sock and i finished a long hibernating project!  double yay!

in further news, this morning marked the passing of this years easter.  i started the day with my favorite breakfast, toasted bagel with sliced hard boiled egg...

i used one of the last of the easter eggs to make this delicacy which was very tasty, btw.  it made me question why the coloring of hard boiled eggs is done only at easter.  why not the rest of the year?  new techniques can be experimented with so future easter eggs can be more colorful, artistic, fun!  i am seriously considering coloring eggs throughout the year, experimenting with new methods to put to use for future easters.  suggestions welcomed!  i won't mention that i am thinking of making bagels!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

done with you

it seems a bit anti climatic now.   i am not sure what i was working on the last couple of weeks that prevented sharing of the FO's.  but it did.

the ridge cowl, purl soho
the cowl that never ends is DONE!  though i would have liked to have put it in a tub of soak to "bloom", my sweet friend was extremely anxious to have it keep her neck warm in the mornings.  so i let her.  and she loves it. she keeps it in her bag so she can whip it out at any given moment in order to wear it.  and i have to say, it looks great on her...

she wears it with a little more sass then in this picture, makes it a little more of her own.  however it is worn, it looks great and i am really pleased with how it came out.  the yarn is very light but warm and gives the cowl a lot of movement.  whenever she wears it i am  amazed at how great it looks.  but i will never make another one.

maybe i should qualify that by saying i love the pattern and i love the yarn, but i will never put them together again.  ever.

berroco foilo yarn, pearl and mount desert
the pattern called for a bulky yarn.  and though i like the movement this thinner yarn gives the cowl, i had my challenges with the yarn and the pattern as a unit.  i think if the yarn had been bulky the stitch pattern would have been easier to read and i would have been able to keep track better.  yet this yarn is so lovely!  lovely to work with and even lovelier to wear.  i still have a ball of each color way left over and i can't wait to figure out what i should use them for.

still, the cowl is done, my sweet friend loves it and i can move on to other knitting.

which i did.

neck and neck with finishing the cowl, i finished the first sock in the pair i am knitting for myself.  it is wonderful and i love it!

zig zag lace sock
colorway, nemo
the last couple of pairs of socks have been for the big guy and the best sister ever.  both pairs were short, sport type socks which means they were basically a few rows of cuff, an immediate heel flap and turn and then the foot of the sock.  just basic knitting.  i had forgotten how i love to knit socks with a lacy pattern.  something with a little interest and design.  especially when knit with a soft, squishy yarn, which makes it even more fun.

the pattern was one size fits all and i was concerned it would be a bit small, but it is really the perfect size.  i have already turned the heel and finished the gusset on the second sock.  which is very exciting since it means it is almost done.  which means i would then have a pair;  which means i can wear them!

the last thing i made was a baby hat.  i don't knit for babies but a friend of ours is having a baby in march and i thought it could use a hat or two.  so this is the first...

baby hat with top knot
sidar snuggly

this was a very quick knit.  it is easy to forget how small people are when they are born which makes their articles of clothing small.  as well as being easy and quick to knit.  hopefully she and the baby will like it.

my gauge was off a smidge on this one so it came out a little bigger than i planned.  i am thinking of knitting another hat that will be smaller.  different pattern, different gauge.

but it won't happen until next week, after the valentine knitting is done!

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.


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!