Saturday, November 7, 2009

Fall Frenzy

Fall is definitely great knitting time for me. For a while now I was waiting to blog until I could take some good pictures, but it turns out that my camera is on the fritz. I thought at first that it was the rechargeable batteries being wimpy, but it isn't. Fortunately the camera is still under warranty, and the husband is a techie-guy, so that will sort itself out. Meanwhile, a picture-less update.

The LYS, Lambikin's Hideaway, had a great yarn tasting and fashion show on Hallowe'en. It was a lot of fun to spend several hours with so many knitters, checking out so many great new yarns, snacking, and learning a few new techniques. The whole staff did a great job putting on a pretty intense and seriously fun afternoon. My entries for the fashion show were the Marjorie sweater I made my mom for Christmas last year and my new Clessidra socks. The socks won the prize for difficulty/technique. I'm still very enamored of these socks and have worn them several times.

I came home with one of the $1 old magazines and a whole bunch of one of the featured yarns of day, Portland Tweed from Classic Elite Yarns in a blue jean color (#5047). This yarn is going to become the Wrap Cardigan (Ravelry link) from Contemporary Knitting by Jo Sharp, my first sweater for myself! Lambikin's will be offering a class on this sweater in early 2010, and the book comes with the class. I'm really looking forward to it.

Meanwhile, I'm still knitting on the 2009 Secret Christmas Project, although the second half is going a little more slowly than the first half. I'm also knitting some amigurumi from a book I was given for my birthday. I've almost finished a fish and have started a jackalope. I'll write more about those in a while, because there's something else that has taken most of my knitting energy recently.

More Washcloths!
I've been sick, kinda sick, recuperating, and trying not to get sick again for large portions of the last two months. Washcloths seem to be the greatest project for knitting when I don't have a lot of mental or physical energy and need something comforting to do. Also on Hallowe'en I restocked my stash of Sugar 'n Cream cotton and have been churning out washcloths at the rate of nearly one a day. I've also recently borrowed the first Mason-Dixon Knitting book from the local public library, so perhaps that has influenced me. My total tally of washcloths for the year stands at twenty. Twenty. I hope my family isn't tired of getting washcloths for Christmas yet.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Washcloth Extravaganza

I've been sick some this week, which means that washcloth knitting has been about the right level of mental activity for me. They're short, entertaining, and don't take much exertion. So I've been working my way through my stash of Sugar 'n Cream.
First, here are two Ball Band washcloths I did a while ago.

The "mortar" for both of them is the Sunkissed colorway, and the colors for the "bricks" are Cornflower and Yellow.
The washcloths I've been making this week are ones I've created from stitch patterns in a little book I have from Leisure Arts, "Beginner's Guide: Knit Stitches & Easy Projects." I've just been adding garter or seed stitch borders and selecting a number of pattern repeats that will result in a stitch count between 40 and 50. Here's the first one:

Horseshoe Print in Key Lime Pie. I really like the scalloping that happened on the cast on edge, and I might try blocking this one.

Next is a Trinity Stitch pattern in Cornflower. This is a great bumpy stitch to use for washcloths, but I can't do it for very long at once. The pinching-and-pulling motion I do with my left hand when I "purl 3 together" gets pretty stressful for my thumb. I need to practice knitting this with looser tension.
I've started one more in a Saxon Braid stitch pattern using Yellow. After that I estimate that I'll still have enough Sugar 'n Cream for 4 to 6 more washcloths. I've already done 10, and I think 15 is the minimum I'll need to give them as gifts for Christmas. Here's the current supply:

There's definitely a color scheme here.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Fall, Football, and Knitting

I love this time of year. The leaves are starting to change, the new school year has all its promise, we're getting some beautiful weather and I get to start thinking about getting my sweaters out of the closet. We're getting close to baseball playoffs and the football season has started.
I've always been a big baseball fan, but before I became a knitter I was not a football fan and didn't even really understand the game very well. In 2004, I had just started knitting in earnest that summer and was really enjoying knitting while watching baseball games on TV. I knit Christmas stockings throughout the playoffs, but then the Red Sox swept the World Series and I was suddenly all out of baseball for five months. I needed more knitting-friendly TV, and thought perhaps football would be just the thing. 2004 was Ben Roethlisberger's rookie year in the NFL. Ben and I went to college together - by which I mean we were in the same school at the same time. So I decided to become a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers right about when Big Ben got the job of starting quarterback.
Football has really grown on me, and now I enjoy the game itself, and not just as background entertainment for my knitting time. This confuses both my dad and my husband to no end. Neither of them like football at all, and would feel their lives no less rich if no such game existed. Neither of them particularly like baseball either. I thought for a while this summer that I wouldn't get to watch football this season. The switch to digital TV has not gone smoothly in my town and I'm really not pleased with the situation. But recently we borrowed a better antenna from a friend, and we're getting quite a few channels again, and I've had football on TV each week so far.
This is the first year I've had this blog and a Ravelry account, and so far football season is being really good to both. These past several Saturdays and Sundays I've really caught up on my Ravelry updates, have sorted out my pictures and have started catching up here on the blog. As the season continues I plan to finish my two current projects (guitar strap and Secret Project), knit a couple of Christmas stockings for the new nieces, knit lots and lots of washcloths, start more socks, and hopefully work on the nieces' blankets and get started on a layette set for my cousin's baby-on-the-way.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Clessidra socks

Finished object!

This pair of Clessidra socks is the first completed project from the yarn I acquired in anticipation of fall. This is also the first project I've made for myself in a while. From the Spring 2007 edition of Knitty, these socks are named for the hourglass cable pattern that goes up the back of the legs.

I started these knee-high socks during my church's leadership school, did a lot of knitting during my family's vacation at the lake, and finished them on a weekend trip to help my brother settle in to his dorm at college.
I really enjoyed this pattern and the yarn. These pictures don't capture the colors of the Malabrigo "Velvet Grapes" sock yarn very well -- on my monitor they look much too red. Most of the yarn is a deep purple with stretches of dark red wine, and spots of brighter grape-purple. There was a bit of a difference between the two skeins, but not enough to be very noticeable. The colors didn't pool on most of the socks, but started to on the heel flaps and ended up in a bit of a barber-pole stripe on the feet.

I like the way the stripes kind of continue from one foot to the other. This last picture comes the closest to capturing the colors.

I'm looking forward to wearing these socks with some of my knee-length skirts as the weather starts to get cooler.

My brother's guitar strap is coming along well, and I've got a good start on the Mystery Christmas 2009 Project. I updated my Ravelry account yesterday, so a lot of the details are over there. The Mystery Project isn't there yet, but it will be. The intended recipient does not have a Ravelry account, so the scoop on this project will be up there before it's here.

I had a great time making these socks, and I need to find another pair to make. My mom has such small feet that store-bought socks never come close to fitting her. George's guitar strap is currently filling my daily travel-knitting needs, but after that, I think I'll try to start a string of Mom Socks.

I'm off to knit and try to distract myself from the lack of a group Knit Night tonight!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Fall Yarn Acquisition

Over my two weeks of vacation -- one at Leadership School, and one truly on vacation -- I have done quite a good bit of knitting. But before I show that, I'm going to give the details of the yarn I bought in my fall yarn binge. This binge missed my LYS's fall sale by two weeks (note to self: plan a little more next year), but I was seriously low on projects going into vacation weeks, and that just couldn't be allowed.

First, the yarn for the 2009 Christmas Surprise Project:

Plymouth Yarn Encore, worsted weight, 75% acrylic, 25% wool. I needed to pick a machine-washable yarn, and on the only day I had allotted for shopping for this, there happened to be not a huge selection at the LYS. I am, however, very happy with this yarn, and probably would have chosen it even from a much larger selection. The color is named 0668 and is a wonderful heather green with lots of light orange, and little hints of blue.

I swatched for this project on Vacation Week 1, going back and forth between size 8 and size 9 needles. I forget now what I decided and Leadership School took enough of my mental energy that I neglected to write it down at the time. I believe size 8 will be what works best. I have yet to sneak satisfactory measurements for this project, so work has not yet begun in earnest. The picture may or may not show all of the yarn - I'm trying to keep even the size of the project secret. Last year's secret went very well and I'm hoping to repeat that performance.

Next, the yarn for the Guitar George Strap and for my socks:

On the left is Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy (designer's choice), approximately sock weight, and 34% hemp, 41% cotton, and 25% modal. This color of orange (named 015), is just the right shade for my brother. I'm significantly modifying a belt pattern to turn it into a guitar strap, so the amount of yarn was a bit of a stab, but I think it will work well.

One skein of this has already transformed into the beginnings of a strap. That brought me to a point where I needed more information on guitar straps and it looked like I was nearing some decision points, and it felt easier to start my socks.

On the right above, Malabrigo sock yarn, 100% Superwash Merino Wool, in color 204 "Velvet Grapes." On my monitor, this picture looks significantly darker than the yarn. I absolutely love this yarn. I spent a long time choosing it and I'm very pleased. I'm making knee socks, so I needed to buy two skeins, making them quite the most expensive socks I've ever owned, but they are definitely going to be worth it! I finished the first sock on Vacation Week 2, and am almost at the end of the calf decreases on the second sock.

Also in this fall's acquisition I bought a set of 6 Brittany double pointed needles - size 1 and 5 inches long. These are the right size for both the guitar stap and the socks, so my brohter's gift is being pushed back a little more while the socks are on the needles.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Cross stitch and more washcloths

So I just barely finished my secret cross stitch project in time. I made a wedding sampler for our friends who got married on Sunday. Absolutely everything about the whole event was gorgeous. I would have had (just barely) enough time to snap a quick picture of the finished and framed project, except that when Pat borrowed my camera for his Independence Day weekend trip, both sets of batteries got worn out, and they hadn't been recharged yet. So I'll have to wait until T&B get back from their honeymoon and open presents before I can get a picture of it. It was quite a push Thursday, Friday, and Saturday to get it done, but I made it. I've been cross stitching MUCH longer than I've been knitting, having started when I was six years old. I love it, but knitting is so much more portable and versatile.

I made more lunch hour washcloths:

The rest of the super size ball of Summer Splash Sugar 'n Cream in hmm... what's it called... a trellis pattern. There was just enough, although I'm still defying this "square" concept.

Zigzag Eyelet pattern in Key Lime Pie color, still Sugar 'n Cream.

After this year's cross stitch binge was over, I spent all of Monday's Knit Night choosing and buying yarn for my next THREE big projects: (1) This year's Mystery Christmas Project, (2) a guitar strap for my brother (probably also a Christmas present, but he knows about it, so no mystery), and (3) socks for ME! I needed to buy all this at once because for the next week I'll be at my church's Leadership School. Eight full days of driving to Wisconsin and back (carpooling = extra knitting time), and sitting in seminars and services and group meetings. Very excited for all of the learning and knitting I'll be doing. There will be some internet access there, so hopefully I'll post in more detail about each of these projects and yarns soon, but for now, here's a teaser snapshot of my knitting bag from Thursday:

Now I'm off to pack. Will I have more clothes or more yarn in my suitcase? It's a toss-up.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Christmas in July

Toward the end of last year, a customer came into my LYS asking if there was anyone who could do some duplicate stitch for them. She had some beautiful old Christmas stockings which needed new names on them. I gather that these stockings are on their next generation of users. No one who works at the store had both the time and inclination to do a bunch of duplicate stitching, but the next time I was in for Knit Night, I was doing the finishing work for my 2008 Stockings, which included duplicate stitching names, and they passed the job along to me. I made arrangements to do this job after this spring's blanket knitting was done, and I left them for her when I went to Knit Night on Monday.

I'm pretty good at duplicate stitching - having made over 25 Christmas Stockings so far - and feel pretty good about how this turned out. Here is a shot of part of the lettering.

I didn't have anything in the stash that exactly matched the red used in these stockings in both color and weight, so I had to do a little bit of hunting. Caron Wintuk worsted weight in "Christmas Red 3005" fit the bill. It was a smidge too thick (perhaps just because it's new), but I think it worked out well. There were four stockings and this project took two Knit Night sessions to complete.

These stockings resemble the Mary Maxim intarsia-based stockings I usually do, but are a pattern I've never seen before and have different detailing, including the size and spacing of letters. Sample stockings were included so that I had a model for the lettering, but I largely had to work that bit out on my own. It took a little longer that way, but I thought it was a fun challenge. My favorite detail:

jingle bells on the toes.

I've worked a little bit on some more washcloths during lunch hours this week, but all my evening time has been devoted to the secret cross stitch project. I hope to post pictures of this next week. Then I'll need to buy some yarn for this year's big Christmas project as well as some socks for me. I'm going to a conference week after next --- six and a half days of presentations, work groups and discussion. I'll need to stock up on yarn and prepare some good-sized projects!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Cotton Candy Wrap-Up

Today I met my two new nieces and gave them their cotton candy dresses. Here are all three of these dresses before they got the finishing touches.

It's hard to get accurate color on all of the dresses at once -- the purple is a deep plum and the pink is bright Barbie-pink, and its hard to get the camera to capture both of those colors together.

These dresses were really fun to make. The smaller ones I did in about a week each, although those were weeks with an unusually high amount of knitting time. The larger one is for a three year-old (Niece C), and since the largest size given for the pattern is 24 months, I had to do a bit of math to size it up, and it took longer. This one still doesn't have a button; I couldn't find anything just right in my small stash, so I'll probably take the dress to Knit Night tomorrow and go on a little hunt.
Here is little Niece H's pink Cotton Candy Dress:

When last we saw this dress, I had knitted sleeves for it (link also has details on pattern). While I think I followed the instructions correctly, the size of the sleeves didn't seem to have any relationship to the size of the armholes. I contemplated re-knitting the sleeves, but I think it is quite cute as a sleeveless dress, too, so I just edged the armholes the same way as the neck and left it.
Step-mom Lou, these babies' grandma, provided these two buttons from her generous crafting stash.

Niece V received the purple dress:

This one took about one yard less than two skeins of the Nashua Handknits Creative Focus Cotton. These are in the 12-month size.

The nieces are just too sweet. I got each of them to sleep on me a bit today, and got to take Nephew V (two years) for a run around the yard, so that was a great "baby fix."

I've just finished a paying knitting job, and tomorrow I'll take it back to the LYS and post about it. Meanwhile, this week my focus needs to be on a secret cross stitch project, so I'm off to work on that.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Just enough washcloths

Right now washcloths are just the right lunch-hour knitting for me. I'm on the finishing stages of the three Cotton Candy dresses, and the next Niece Blanket has gotten too big to fit easily in my (quite sizable) purse. So over the past week, I made these two washcloths out of another ball of Sugar'n Cream. First, a "Wavy Ribs" pattern:

I think this pattern works pretty well with this colorway, a Sugar'n Cream Stripes, and apparently its name is "Tie Dye Stripes.". Second, a "Ribs and Welts" pattern:

This one takes more paying attention to the directions than I usually prefer for lunch-hour knitting, but I like the end result. I've made both of these patterns before, as Christmas presents year before last. Not sure where the patterns came from though - I seem to only have the photocopies to hand. I developed quite a collection of dishcloth patterns that fall, and I recently uncovered the cache of copies of my favorites.

But back to the "Ribs and Welts" -- This was a "Super Size" ball of Sugar'n Cream, and I've been operating on the understanding that each of these balls can produce two washcloths. I had several yards left over from the washcloths I made during Reunion Weekend, so I wasn't concerned or paying much attention to my yardage as I neared the end of the second cloth from this ball. I definitely started paying attention on the last row, though.

I did not cut this yarn. This is exactly how much I ended with at the end of the cast off.
You can see all the ends in this picture -- this is every bit of one Super Size ball.

I may need to pay more attention as I knit the "Climbing Latice" pattern out of the second half of the Summer Splash ball.

I added buttons and ribbons to the three Cotton Candy dresses today, and will be giving the two small ones away to my new nieces when I finally meet them on Sunday. Pat took my new camera with him on his weekend trip, so I'll have to borrow a camera to get finished pictures of them tomorrow.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Three days - three dishcloths

This weekend was my five-year college reunion. I love going to reunion with the wonderful ladies of the old Western College for Women, and I haven't missed one yet!
This year there was a call for people to bring old kitchen supplies so that the current students can have all the cookware they might want in the dorm kitchen. Since I've only had my own kitchen for not quite 5 years now, I haven't really accumulated much in the way of kitchen ware that I don't use anymore. So I knit them a couple of dishcloths instead!

I knit these while in reunion events this weekend out of one ball of Sugar'n Cream. Both knit on the bias, increasing one stitch every row until I felt it was big enough and then decreasing one stitch every row. Somehow the rates of increase and decrease look different, so I ended up with non-square dishcloths, but I figured it didn't really matter. On one I used yarn overs to create a little border and on the second one I did not. I love watching the variegated yarn change colors and stripe or pool. The colorway is Sunkissed, and the darkest blue here (not that you can tell from these pictures) is almost the right color to be Western blue. Just in case you're wondering, my new camera can indeed take better pictures than this; I just took these quickly in the ground floor corridor late Saturday night before I turned the cloths in to the collection box. They got a lot of cool stuff for the kitchen, including dish soap and cook books. The students should be all set next year!

I finished the two Western dishcloths before all the reunion events were done, so I knit another one. This is the advance guard of the Christmas Knitting.

That's a somewhat better photo. Also Sugar'n Cream, Summer Splash colorway, knit in the Bee Stitch from Leisure Arts' "Kitchen Bright Dishcloths." Again, you can see I'm not terribly focused on the idea of square. Which actually fits really well with being at a Western reunion.

I had to set aside the third Cotton Candy dress for a week, but am ready to get back to work on it at knit night tonight. Meanwhile, enjoying a rare afternoon off!

Thursday, June 18, 2009


I have received a new digital camera for my birthday!

I did not previously have a digital camera, so I am quite excited. I foresee much more regular blog updates now that I will be able to show my progress on a more regular basis!

My most recent finished object is my first charity knitting project. My church recently started a once-a-month knitting/crochet group, to make things for the local Family Resource Center. At about the same time one of the great church ladies gifted me some yarn and needles. Someone had given them to her, but she hasn't learned to knit yet, and was in a cleaning-out mode. So my first projects for the resource center will be from this yarn. The yarn is Lion Brand Wool-Ease Chunky, and the first pattern I've done is the Shepard Bulky Rainbow Hat from One Skein Wonders.

The whole thing is knit flat - the cable band in one direction, then the top picked up along one edge, and seamed together at the end. I love the way the decreases on the top spiral around.

Coming up next is an ear warmer, also cabled. This will be my first project with a provisional cast on. Luckily I took a little Crochet 101 class at the LYS last year and know enough of the basics.

I'm also working on my third of the adorable little cotton candy dresses. Good thing I have so many nieces to wear them! And I've started the blanket for this spring's first new niece. Posts about those items soon!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Clapotis revisited

In my post-blanket spring knitting, along with the baby dresses, I've also returned to working on my clapotis. I'm making this out of recycled silk yarn - the kind that is made from the ends left over from weaving saris. My college roommate gave me several balls of this yarn awhile back and I thought a clapotis would be a good use of it. The project had to go on hold when I ran out of the gift yarn. I had enough projects on the go that I hadn't been looking very hard for more of it for several years. Right after I finished Niece S's blanket, I saw some recycled silk on sale at the Rain Forest Site, so I snagged three skiens right away. I enjoy the random changes in this yarn -- thickness as well as color. Sometimes it twists back on itself and gets difficult, and I really have to work at the stitches to get them to drop all the way down. But generally this yarn keeps me amused.

The clapotis is going to be very large. It's already very large, and I've only dropped six stitches so far. I'm going to need far more than the three additional skiens I just bought. I'm already feeling that at some point I'll need to make another clapotis out of a lighter-weight yarn. Anyhow. It's nice to come back to this. Here's one more picture that the husband thought I should include because it's "artistic and sh*t."

I figure that on the occasions when he pays enough attention to the knitting and/or blogging to make a suggestion, I should encourage him.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Blankets over, time for dresses

Whew! That was a long time without an update. A combination of (1) having to borrow a digital camera (2) long time of no nice days for pictures and (3) work taking all my mental energy.

The Rylee and Sofia blankets were both done on time, given at the birthday parties, and greatly appreciated by the moms. They were not, however, done far enough ahead of time to get finished pictures taken of them. I've asked the moms to send me pictures but they, oh you know, have small children. So no holding of breath on that one. I'll get pictures of them up here eventually.

After making two big baby blankets between Christmas and Easter, it was then time to make little outfits for this spring's two new nieces. I decided on the Cotton Candy Dress designed by Celeste Pinheiro, which is in the book Knitting for Babies and Kids, edited by Jeanne Stauffer. This is the cutest book I ever did see. Since these two nieces are also cousins to each other, I'm going to make two matching dresses in different colors. Monday, April 13, I bought the yarn for one of them, started it on Thursday the 16th, and by Friday the 24th I had this:

Baby clothes in worsted weight yarn may be my new favorite thing. I'm making the twelve-month size because it's a little hard to crawl in a dress and this one would look so cute on a baby starting to toddle.

My first mini-foray into lace went well. Well, the pattern calls this "triangle lace" but it's more material than holes, so I don't know about that. Either way, it's an adorable little border.

This picture of the bodice and armhole might actually capture the color the best. I usually don't make things quite this pink, but that seems to be the direction my sisters are going with the baby things, so I'm happy to contribute. I think the next one will be an equally intense purple. I still have the neckline stitching and the sewing up to do, but this will use less than 4 skeins of Nashua Handknits Creative Focus Cotton (100% mercerized cotton) at 93 yards a skein.

I've also been working on some charity knitting and my clapotis again, those updates coming soon.

Sunday, March 8, 2009


LOTS of progress on Rylee's blanket this week. I finished weaving all the ends in late Tuesday night; I did nothing but ends at Knit Night, and then I took the blanket in to work and wove in ends during my lunch hour, and again while we watched TV Tuesday evening, staying up a little late because I was so close. I finished the upper and lower borders yesterday and attached them. Now I have just finished picking up 260 stitches for one side border and I intend to have all the knitting and sewing in of ends done today. Then I'll need to do some blocking of the edges, and the blanket will be ready about a week and a half early! So there hasn't been much progress on Sofia's blanket this week, but I think I'm still in a good place with it.

Major progress was made yesterday in the constant Struggle Against Laundry. It was a wonderful preview of spring -- 72F, sunny and windy -- and I was able to hang clothes on the line outside, allowing me to do three loads in a day for the first time probably since September.

Pat is away this week. He and a couple of friends are taking a Spring Break trip all the way to Arizona to visit another friend who moved there not long ago. So yesterday when it was so nice outside, I walked to three different libraries in town and borrowed a bunch of books to keep me entertained this week. I've been hanging out in the Sun Room reading, knitting, and listening to podcasts. Now if only I could take the week off of work, too, and do this all week long.

Also with Pat away, I'll probably be spending more time at my mom's and I intend to borrow her camera to get pictures of the blankets. I may need to help her figure out how to get the pictures off her camera, but I'll get some pictures for the blog soon.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Ends and Strips, Farms and Freedom

I continue to be bogged down in weaving the ends in on Rylee's blanket. I'm still less than half done. We are now in the same month as the little guy's birthday, and I still need to do all these ends and make and attach the boarders - and then do THOSE ends.

I'm about half done with the fifth strip on Sofia's blanket. Each of the four borders on that blanket will be at least as much work as one of the strips. The pattern calls for five strips, but once I've got them done, I'm going to lay them all out and see if I want to make one or two more. I'm starting to think I probably won't, though.

I made a lot of progress on the Sofia blanket yesterday; I attended an all-afternoon conference about the future of farming. It was organized by an alumnus from my college, and was a really good experience. I got to meet a young hay farmer who's attending K-State, which was cool because my parents used to be hay farmers and my uncle teaches at K-State (Go Wildcats). I think John did a really good job with the conference. Then in the evening I attended a staged reading of a new play being directed by one of the faculty in my department. It's about Freedom Summer, and if the reading (three days after it was cast) was that good, I can't wait to see the full play in October! So I knit through both of those events and got quite a lot done.

Today I have to create lots of time for end-weaving. My mom and step-dad are out of town for a few days and Pat has agreed to steam clean their carpet while they are away. So I'll go over there with him this afternoon, set myself up in their Sunroom and watch the Major League Baseball Channel with my tapestry needle and scissors. That should help!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Hats and Blankets

Today we have a picture post. The pictures are all very blurry, but I figure blurry pictures are better than no pictures. The easiest way for me to get pictures for the blog is via my friend Matt's cell phone camera. And it's still one month to go until the Equinox so there's not a lot of light after I get home from work. Having disparaged these photos already, I will now show them to you:

First, Pat models his new hat. Voila the husband:

It's slightly large, but that was mostly on purpose so he can fold the edge up nice and high for extra thickness, and completely cover the back of his neck.

Next, the Skull Beanie for my brother:

It'll be in the next College Care Package. He's already looked at it on the Polar Knit website and seems pretty jazzed about it.

Now for the big news. ALL the squares for Rylee's blanket have been attached to each other!

It takes up about half of the dining room table. I took the picture of the back because it's the side that will be getting all my attention for quite a while. I calculated that there are more than 500 ends to weave in. This will be my Knit Night task for awhile, so it won't seem so very boring. Here's another shot of allllll the ends.

I don't hate weaving in ends like I know some knitters do, but they are definitely not my favorite thing about this craft.

Finally, with Rylee's blanket entering the final stages, the strips of Sofia's blanket have become my lunch hour and bus knitting.

I think I'm entertaining the bus drivers as they watch my colors change day to day. I hope so.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Piecing, Piecing, Piecing...

I have been SICK since the end of Tuesday. A very yucky sore throat bug that Pat brought home from work. I'm not all the way better, but I've finally started feeling human again.

So far today I've been piecing together the squares of Nephew Rylee's blanket, and starting to feel that the piecing will never end. I've just started the last of six strips of seven squares each. Then the strips will go together and I'll be ready to weave in more than 500 ends. I'm looking forward to knitting the boarders, so those will have to be my reward after all the ends are in.

I've also had PBS on non-stop today. Starting Tuesday we'll no longer have TV. We got one of those digital converter boxes, but because we're in between two markets, and digital signals are weaker than analog, we aren't able to get any TV to speak of. I am strongly anti-cable and am pretty upset by this whole switch. I guess I'm trying to overdose today in hopes that it won't be so bad.

But back to knitting news, I started the skull beanie Polar Knit hat for my brother on Tuesday and finished it last night. That was the only bit of knitting I was able to do while sick this week. So that hat and Pat's Polar Knit hat have been washed and are likely dry by now.

At Knit Night on Monday I picked up a job and I'm pretty excited about it. I'll be putting names on some Christmas stockings using duplicate stitch. Christmas stockings are what I've made the most, and I've never seen any with quite this design. I'm waiting until I'm completely better to work on that, though (I suppose the logic there is that the blanket will get washed and stockings don't really).

And back to sewing up.... starting to think that I really won't take up quilting.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Bulimic cats?

The snow day was great fun. Several of our friends live within walking distance and so were able to come over to our house in the afternoon. I finished Pat's Polar Fleece Hat (although it hasn't been washed yet), and we built a snow fort in the front yard. Complete with ice crenelations and everything. Picture is forthcoming. The fort received reinforcements later in the week, but is now in full retreat. It currently consists of an oval of snow in the middle of our otherwise brown and muddy yard. I'm glad we've had some real winter, but I'm also enjoying this weekend's spring-like temperatures. I even have some towels drying on the clothesline.

But on to the knitting news: Pretty pleased with Pat's Polar Fleece Hat, and I think I'll be making one for my brother, too. If I buy the yarn at Knit Night tomorrow, it's even possible I could get it to him before Spring Break.

I've finished putting the side edges on all but a few of the squares for Rylee's blanket, but I have been slowed down considerably by the cats. My two cats are generally very good and don't take too much interest in my knitting. However, they both seem to have mild eating disorders. The younger one just seems to love her food a little too much, but the older one seems to be bulimic. No matter what kind of "digestive care" cat food we try, she's always leaving little piles of throw-up around the house. Disgusting, but bearable. This time, however, the little dear threw up into my knitting basket. It wasn't a lot, but it was right onto the Rylee blanket squres. It won't be too hard to wash them, but I had to walk away from the project for a while. As soon as I clean off two or three more squares, I'll be ready to put them together and start edging the blanket.

While taking a break from Rylee's blanket, I started Sofia's. This blanket is knit in strips of garter stitch, changing colors to make squares. The pattern calls for five strips of six color blocks, each 5 inches square. My squares are more like 5 1/2 inches on a side, and I may end up knitting more strips. I'm trying to maker her blanket comprable in size to those I've made (am making) for her brother and cousin. The border that will go around the strips once they are sewn together has a twelve-stitch pattern repeat and I figure it won't be too hard to adjust it to fit a slightly different size of blanket. Mostly, though, I just didn't want to stress about matching gauge for a blanket. I think reading the Yarn Harlot's blog is making me braver about modifying patterns.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


My husband and I work at a state university with a primarily residential campus. Inclement weather is not usually a reason to cancel classes or close the campus. But today the University is closed, and we have a Snow Day. This was going to be a very busy day for me and I am quite relieved to have lots of extra time.

Had a great time at Knit Night at the LYS Monday night, lots of people there working on their technique afghans. I finished the final square for Rylee's blanket and started putting the side boarders on each of them. I'm going to go spend some of this wintry, wintry morning working on Pat's Polar Knit Hat.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Yesterday I went shopping with my mom and brought home a sweet little set of drawers to be the new home to part of my yarn stash. This was a belated Christmas present.

Previously this part of the living room held an end table with an overflowing basket under it, and surrounded by various plastic bags full of yarn and oddments. The rest of my stash lives in an old trunk that's in our sunroom. The basket-drawers of the new cabinet are a little rough on the inside and could snag some of the finer yarns, so I will be lining them with fabric. But I couldn't wait for that project, so yesterday afternoon I hauled out my ENTIRE stash, spread it across the the living room floor, and organized it. I sorted all the yarn by type and whether I have any projects planned for it; I threw out all the extra bags and shnibbles of things that accummulate, and I wound all the tangles into nice center-pull balls. The yarn that doesn't have any immediately upcoming projects got put away neatly in the trunk in the sunroom (it's a three season room that we keep closed when the furnace is on... I miss the sunroom in the wintertime). The yarn for current and near future projects got sorted into the new drawers. All my needles, stitch holders, bobbins, point protectors, scissors, etc. are now stored in the basket you see on top. Also in that basket is the Polar Knit hat I'm working on - a small project that will not easily get tangled with all the needles. Also on top is my sewing basket and my Yarn Harlot page-a-day calendar. The basket next to the drawers holds the bit of yarn for a current project that wouldn't fit anywhere else, my tin of patterns and pictures, and some of my cross stitch stuff. The brown bag in the foreground is my current purse/knitting bag.

I'm SO excited to have everything organized now! It just makes me want to dive right in and get to work with all of it. Had I been thinking and/or had a smidge more time, I could have logged all my stash in my Ravelry account as I sorted yesterday. But I did need to finish it before the husband got home. He works on Saturdays, and I was keen to present a clean, newly-organized corner of the living room instead of a mound of yarn and mess. He's quite happy I knit, because (1) it makes me so happy, and (2) it means we don't have to buy as many Christmas and birthday presents. But there's no need to test the limits of this tolerance. New yarn-focused piece of furniture = happy wife AND cleaner living room. This is the association we want to form.

With all this organizing, not much knitting got done yesterday, but I only have 3-and-a-little-bit squares left to go for Rylee's blanket.

A big hooray for my friend Keith, for loaning me his digital camera. I took this during one of yesterday's brief spots of sunshine. Other pictures of my WIPs from yesterday are over on Ravelry.

Now, to dive in!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

O Glorious Day

Winter weather prevented us from driving to see my grandmother over the weekend, which meant I didn't get the car knitting time I was expecting. I did, however do some serious accomplishing around my house. Laundry, dishes, baking cookies, baking bread, making applesauce, balancing the checkbook, going shopping twice, putting away the final vestiges of Christmas, cleaning & organizing the TV/video area; I think all weekends should have three days.

The lack of car knitting was partially balanced by the seven hours of football knitting on Sunday. With so much uninterrupted knitting it was easy to calculate that it takes me about one hour and a half to knit a square of Rylee's blanket. I have nine squares left to go. Perhaps I could even finish this blanket by mid-February, giving me two whole months to knit the next one.

I have not been completely monogamous with the knitting this weekend though. Last night I went to a Polar Knits Hat class at the LYS. It was the first time I'd used Polar Knits, and I have to say I really like it. Very linty, but that reportedly goes away after the first wash. I think the main thing I love is how quickly it knits up; last night was also my first time using bulky-weight yarn - I may be converted. I knit one complete ball in the two hours of class, and it looks like that will be nearly half the hat. My husband bought a knit hat recently under the belief that if he asked me to knit one for him he might get it by the time it starts getting cold for next winter. We can't have purchasing of mass-produced knitwear going on! I think bulky yarn will be the answer. I might make one for my brother, too.

Off the topic of knitting, I have to say that today I am proud to be an American. I don't make such declarations lightly, and this is a new feeling for me. I've always felt very fortunate to be an American, but today I am also proud. I am also energized and ready to join in the hard work ahead of us.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Blanket Progress

I have finished the first half of the squares for the Nephew Rylee blanket, and am on the third square of the second pattern. My friend Keith has kindly loaned me his digital camera, so new pictures will be coming soon. But (1) I never seem to be home in daylight and (2) I don't yet have a way to get the pictures off the camera. So no pictures yet, but soon. Hopefully before the pile of squares takes over my end table. We'll be driving to see my grandma this weekend, so 10 hours of car knitting should grow the pile pretty rapidly.

With such good progress, I'm starting to plan for the socks I want to make myself this spring/summer. I am seriously coveting some Maui Yarn. Hand-dyed by someone who used to work at my LYS. I'm leaning toward a tidepool or black sand beach colorway.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sweater Pictures

For your viewing pleasure, a few pictures of the sweater I made for my mom for Christmas. This was my first grown-up sized sweater. Marjorie pattern from Knitty.

And a close up of the cabled parts:

This sweater turned out so well. I managed to completely surprise my mom, which is very unusual. She and I started an exercise program last year that has you record your measurements, so that weight loss isn't the only only way to see progress. So I took her measurements from that and double-checked them against a sweater that fits her well, and is of a similar style.

I love the Frog Tree 100% alpaca yarn I used for this. A small yarn miracle occurred during this project. I bought the yarn back in about May when my LYS was having a big sale. There was a lot of math and probably a little too much estimation used to determine how many balls to buy. So in November I was about to run out with about 1/3 of a sleeve and the collar left to go. I was at a Knit Night at the LYS when it finally became clear that there was no way I had enough, and one of the employees found another ball not only of the same color, but from the same dye lot! A definite little yarn miracle for this sweater. I'll be more careful next time I buy yarn for a big project, that's for sure!

This sweater came out SO well and was a thoroughly encouraging project. I'm looking forward to getting through this spring's baby knitting so I can start on next Christmas' sweater.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


The Rylee Blanket is coming along at about the rate of one square a day. Which is about the rate I need to maintain. I figure that I have just under 100 days in which to complete both blankets, meaning I have to knit 2% of a blanket every day, which is about one square of the Tell Me A Story pattern. And with 14 squares already complete, I feel like I'm in pretty good shape.

So the camera possibility I had didn't pan out at all, but I managed to take a few pictures with my friend Matt's camera phone. Not the best picture, but I'll get better ones eventually. Also, a great big hurray for Matt helping me fix the html a bit!

Tonight spontaneously turned into an evening of dinner and cards with our good friends. Which is giving me another excuse to not take the Christmas decorations down yet. I know it's time, and they'll be coming down tomorrow, but that's just the least fun part of the season. More often than not my mom ends up painting a room in mid-January to counteract the bareness when the decorations come down.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Feasts of Ste. Genevieve

The Tell Me a Story blanket for Nephew Rylee is coming along nicely. I went on a shopping excursion today with Dad and Step-mom and had some quality knitting time in the car and waiting in the motorcycle shop. This blanket is constructed by knitting many squares - 42 of them - then stitching them together and edging the whole thing. I used this pattern once before for Nephew Shane in a different color.

Along with getting a way to take and post pictures, one of my next goals for the blog is to figure out how to put those percentage-done progress bars along the side.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Knitting Blog

Welcome to my new blog. I'm not a very techie person (e.g. I do not own and do not want to own a cell phone) but I'd like to be more involved in the wonderful and expansive online community of knitters, and I figured a blog is a good way to start. I have also just asked for a Ravelry invitation and am excited to start organizing my stash and projects with that reportedly great resource.

About me:
I've been knitting for almost five years now. I live in small town Ohio with my husband and cats. Through divorces and marriages I have 23 brothers and sisters, and they are starting to supply me with lots of nieces and nephews for whom to knit.

Recent projects:
**The 2008 Christmas knitting included my first grown-up sweater (I've done quite a few baby layette sweaters). This sweater was Marjorie from the Spring '08 issue of Knitty. It was done in a lovely blue shade of Frog Tree Alpaca and was for my mother. I was able to completely surprise her, which is quite an accomplishment when giving things to my mom. (I was able to get the measurements right by taking them from a sweater I knew fit her well)
**Also for this Christmas was Doddy, from the Winter '07 issue of Knitty, for Nephew Vinson. I made this rainbow colored and really enjoyed the seamless three-dimensional knitting.
**I also made several cotton washcloths, I think it was only nine this year. These were all Ballband or Nine Patch patterns from Mason-Dixon Knitting.

Upcoming Projects:
I try to make blankets for the nephews and nieces for their first birthdays and Nephew Rylee and Niece Sofia will have blankets due this spring. Then I'll have layette sets to do for the two forthcoming nieces. After that I hope to make myself some socks, maybe finish my clapotis, and do another grown-up sweater for next Christmas.

So that's a quick introduction to me and my knitting. I don't have a digital camera yet, but I'll do my best to get access to one soon so I can put pictures on the blog.
Happy New Year!