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.