Monday, December 31, 2007

Mourning my Knitting

It has been over a month since I posted here, but knitting has been slow at best since my hand surgery in early November. Christmas has come and gone, and we are on the Eve of a New Year. I thought my hand would be so much better by now, but unfortunately I've had some complications with swelling and pain, and haven't made a whole lot of progress in the activity department. That being the case, I am mourning my knitting, as it has become my therapy I think. It's amazing how much "think time" knitting allows, and what do you do in front of the TV if not knit? I didn't even watch TV until I took up knitting! I mean they went hand in hand for me, so I have been rather lost. I had a brief addiction to my daughter's Nintendo DS Brain Age game last week, but think holding it was aggravating my hand, so had to relinquish that as well. hehehe I gave her the game and the charger yesterday and told her to take it to her room. She had taken it one day last week to use it herself, and I was so desperate I had gone down to her room and searched for it, but now that I've realized it may be bothering my hand, I will leave it alone and see if things improve again. What a sorry story that is huh?? (grin)

I was able to finish a fun fur scarf for a new black coat I bought this year. I think these scarves are fun and add a touch of color around the face, and my thinking is I will eventually have a whole scarf wardrobe. It isn't finished in the photo, but it is done now and I just haven't taken another photo. It is funny, we did Secret Santas at work and I had noted purple as my favorite color and I got gloves that are a perfect match for the purple in this scarf. As a side note, I can't wear the lovely coat because the elastic in the sleeve is too tight to go over the brace on my hand. Grrrr.

I also started a Feather and Fan scarf out of Patons Soy Wool Silk I got for Christmas last year. This yarn is beautiful color-wise, but I'm not sure how it will feel against the neck. We'll see when it is finished and washed. It is knitting up OK, but is probably not something I would purchase again myself, unless the drape and feel of it changes when washed. This pattern is taken from Scarf Style although it is just a basic Feather & Fan pattern which can be found on the internet.

Finally, I am working on another pair of felted clogs using the Fiber Trends pattern. These are a bit trickier to work on because of the manuevering required with needles. I did make a little more progress on them last night, up to putting the color on the cuff. I'm a bit afraid of trying the next step, getting two needles involved and meshing all that together - I just don't have the dexterity and it hurts, so these may have to wait for a bit for more healing to take place.

So, some knitting is better than none, and I'm sure the next few weeks will bring much improvement. I'll post again soon. I got some fun knitting goodies for Christmas and want to tell all about it!

1-12-08 ETA: The Feather & Fan Scarf has been frogged

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Berroco Sweater Done

My great nephew's first birthday was today, and the sweater was gifted as planned. It fit him nicely, and I am happy with how it turned out. I put the cord stopper and the button on this morning before heading out to the party, and forgot to take photos, so these were done at my niece's house in a hurry, but there they are. I don't know if you can see the button up close (click the pictures to make them bigger) but it is a cute little dalmation dog.
I finished the sweater about two weeks ago, the night before I went in for surgery on my left thumb. I have arthritis in the base of both thumbs, but the left had gotten so painful on a daily basis and hurt to do things as simple as washing the dishes and even washing my hands, so it was time to take care of it. The surgery involved removing some bone and putting ligaments in its place, and I will be splinted for about ten weeks. The doc tells me I will be able to knit "as tolerated" before then, and I look forward to that. I feel lost without my knitting now - not sure what to do with myself. I can't really clean house (like that's appealing anyway), too much computer time is hard on my neck, and I have never been one to spend much time in front of the TV, except of course, with my knitting. In trying to solve this dilemma last week I found myself in Barnes and Noble buying buying one of Oprah's latest book selections, "Pillars of the Earth" by Ken Follett. I used to read all the time, but have gotten away from it as my handcrafts took over more and more of my time. I am enjoying this book very much, and every time I DO read a good book I vow to spend more time reading. Maybe I will have to put it on my list of resolutions for the new year. I know there is a stand alone "sequel" to this book and I am certain I'll want to pick it up.
Even though I am not actively knitting right now, I am surfing blogs and Ravelry and impatiently waiting for healing to progress so I can get back into action. I bought the book Scarf Style a few months ago and have fallen in love with Lady Eleanor's stole. I was THIS CLOSE to ordering the Noro Silk Garden last night. I had the number of skeins punched in and the credit card poised on my keyboard. Why did I stop?? I am not sure. I think it would make a fabulous Santa gift for me under the tree though, don't ya think?? Maybe later this week I'll follow-through and place the order.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Ready or Not, I'm Blogging

For some reason I wanted to wait to post until I had finished Chevron socks to show, but it seems that may be awhile yet, so ready or not, I figured it's time to blog. The socks were to be done for the SAM4KAL, and I had aimed for September, and then October, and they are still not done! They are like the never-ending socks, I tell you what. I am finished to the point of grafting the toe on the second sock, but there is a glitch in the system. The heel just isn't fitting properly. I knew it wasn't when I finished the first sock and was able to try it on, but I wasn't sure what to do about it, and tried fooling myself into thinking "they'll be fine". (Maybe it was the fact that I broke one of my first short wooden sock needles trying the sock on before it would fit over my foot that caused this foolish attitude?) This is my first sock with an afterthought heel, and really, I love the way they look, especially when a contrasting color is used for the heel, but this just wasn't working for me. So, once I got the second sock done past the heel and got that on my foot, I realized they won't be fine. Luckily, Random Knits is one of the blogs I read regularly, and Donna recently had the same issue with an afterthought heel from another pattern. (You can see the contrasting heels that I mentioned on her Slinky socks.) I e-mailed Donna yesterday, and she was kind enough to give me some pointers about how to go back and re-knit the heel and shorten it up some. If you click the photo below to enlarge it, you will see how the heel is rather long and "pointy". It seems there is just too much 'fabric' there. Armed with Donna's hints, I will undo the kitchener (yikes!) and tink back (rip?) and see if I can shorten the heels so that they are appropriately round and cup the heel like they're supposed to. I am not sure what caused this issue, as the rest of the sock seems to be on gauge and fitting good. My pattern is from Sensational Knitted Socks, but I know Donna's was not. I love this book and don't mean to say anything negative about it at all - I'm just sayin' this pattern did not work out for me this time.

I've also been working on the baby sweater for my nephew. I've got one sleeve completed, and I'm about half done with the second, then on to the hood. I was surprised to see this pattern calls for a drawstring. I thought they were no-no's for kids this age - I am making the biggest size, for a 2 year old. I asked a few people and they thought it was OK, and I have decided I will go ahead and knit the casing and put in the drawstring, and mom can take it out if she doesn't want him to have it. I may do some research on that issue. Certainly I don't want him to hurt himself.

Next socks on the list are for my older sister, Deb. All of my socks so far have been for myself, except for one pair I made for my teenage daughter. My daughter hasn't worn hers yet - she is stuck on white athletic socks, and I keep telling her she needs to expand her horizons, especially with her black "dress" boots. She only has athletic shoes and this one pair of boots, so obviously her horizons need more expanding than just my socks, but that is another issue entirely. (Don't tell her I said that.) Anyway, when my sister was over the other night I brought out my ever-expanding tub of sock yarn (I need a bigger tub already) and had her choose her yarn. She chose this Mountain Colors in the Steelhead colorway. It is certainly lovely yarn, and I think it will make beautiful socks. Deb has always appreciated good socks, and I hope she won't be disappointed with what I knit up for her.

Finally, I got another picture of the baby sweater from a few posts back being worn by my adorable nephew showing his true disposition, along with my puppy, Zeppelin. (I was so tickled the other day to find another train button for the top button hole! I haven't gotten the sweater back yet to put it on, but was pleased to have solved that dilemma. ) Anyway, I can't help but sharing this, as they bring me great joy and this picture is a keeper!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Finished Objects

I have finished objects! They have actually been done for some time, just not blogged about until now. I felted the clogs a week or two ago. The Nature Spun yarn felted fast and wonderfully I thought - just one trip through the washer on a short cycle. This pattern was so much fun to knit, and everytime I felt something I want to immediately do it again. It is just so magical. I have yarn for another pair for my other niece, and a pair for my daugher in her college colors. For my daughter's I bought some fun, under-stated novelty yarn (yes, there is such a thing) that I will add to the cuff.

I also finished up a baby sweater I had started last year. I really only had a few ends left to weave in and the buttons to sew on. I set the sweater aside while the baby grew a bit, and suddenly was rushing to finish before he grew too much! It is made with Plymouth Encore, an Acrylic/wool blend, so it is machine washable and dryable and is a Knitting Pure & Simple pattern. It was knit from the top down, all in one piece, and then you go back and add the hood. This is my second "real" garment. I started this so long ago I seem to have misplaced one of the buttons in progress. I am sure I had bought enough, but when I finally got around to sewing them on, I was one short. I guess my thinking at that point was you probably wouldn't ever button that very top button anyway, so he got it without the top one. Once my nephew is done with it I may get some plain buttons to sew on, but these little trains were too cute not to use, even if I was one short. Lesson learned here about letting projects languish too long I guess. I should note that I used the "auto adjust" feature in my photo program, and while I like what it did for the colors and the crispness of the image, it seemed to make the sweater look very "acryl-icky". It doesn't look that way in person, and it doesn't really have much of an acrylic feel to it either. It is soft and cozy.

And this is not knitting related, but I also have a room full of rubber stamping supplies. I have hardly touched a rubber stamp since I found knitting, but I had a baby shower this afternoon, and decided to make a card to go with my gift. I did knit an umbilical cord hat out of Cottontots yarn that I attached to a very full bow on the outside of the gift, but the gift itself was a bouncer, not a handknit item. This photo doesn't enlarge very well - I took it in a hurry before I rushed out the door for the shower. It's a bit blurry, but you get the idea.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Rip It! Rip It!

I have been knitting, just not posting. My SAM4 KAL socks are the socks that won't end it seems. I love the chevron pattern, the first sock is done, and I have a good start on the second, but they are taking forever! I missed the deadline for September, so I guess they'll be October socks. I won't post pictures until they're done.

I sort-of finished a tank top that I had been working on. I'm not fond of it really, and need to rip the finishing edge on one of the sleeves - I didn't do a good job picking up the stitches and I guess I didn't really notice it until I was done with the second one. I'll photo that and post over the weekend so you can see what I mean. I also have a problem down at the cast on edge where I have a goofy loopy thing that I can't seem to get rid of. I will take it into the yarn store on open knit afternoon and see if they can help me correct that. I am tempted to frog the whole thing - I'm just not happy with it. Anyway, I'll get a picture and post it before I correct the messed up armhole so you can see what I did.

I had promised myself I would finish that tank top before I cast on for a baby sweater I had been wanting to do and/or a sweater for myself I have yarn for. When I finished the tank, even though it wasn't quite right, I justified the casting on of the baby sweater. I was happily knitting along on this pattern (#211) and had company on the way. I turned the page to see what I was going to be doing next, and read ahead a bit, and then went back to knitting and waited for my company. Company came, and I didn't get back to the sweater until much later that evening. I continued to knit the following night, and then last night as I was knitting on it, realized I had made a critical error.

I had skipped two lines on the one page of the pattern when I was reading ahead, and they contained the buttonhole for the placket at the neckline. Unfortunately this little item will be ripped out tonight and I'll be starting over from the beginning this evening. It is such a minor thing, but so crucial to the design, and I just don't see any way around it. Live and learn!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Cat Massage

Is this cute or what? I have nothing else today but works in progress.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Puppy Love

Zeppelin became a member of our family this afternoon, and I'm thrilled to have him. He was born in late May, and came to us through a friend of my daughter's, who really wanted him very much, but found that apartment life, and being a busy, working college student wasn't conducive to raising a puppy. I had been checking around periodically for dogs similar to this in size and breed for some time, so when my daughter mentioned it late last night I was excited. Today when her friend brought the puppy over and he sat on my lap it was puppy love for sure, and we are now committed.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Sock A Month4 KAL socks

I have finished my first socks for a Knit A Long! I found this group on Ravelry, and I had to join, and I am so happy to be a part of it. Just as I expected, it has spurred me on to finish up this pair of socks before the end of the month, and I have a good start on my pair for September. (The rules are that you have to finish the pair during the month you post, so I won't be cheating by starting September's pair in August.) The August socks are knit in Sockotta yarn, in color 5618 on a #1 Addi Turbo needle, Magic Loop method. The pattern is Garter Rib from Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch. I liked the yarn better than I thought I might, but I do think I like working with a higher wool content for socks.
The pictures of the socks could be better. I can't figure out how to turn off the flash on my camera, and I cut the top off one of the socks. Oops. They ARE the same length, and I was very pleased to have them match right down to the toe. One of the unique features about the socks in the Sensational Knitted Socks Book (at least it was new to me) is that many of the patterns have a garter selvage edge on the heel flap. This makes for very neat picking up of stitches for the gusset. If you enlarge the second picture with the side angle I think you can see better what I mean.
I haven't finished the felted clogs yet! I got sidetracked by the August socks, and then by the September socks. Once August was done I was drawn in by the possibilities of September's socks, and I had a picked up a beautiful plum-colored skein of Trekking XXL that had been just calling out to me. I HAD to answer the call!! I am working it in a chevron pattern from the same book. I have never used Trekking, never done a chevron pattern, AND I am using 5" wood Brittany needles. The shortness of them took a bit to get used to, and after making several pairs of socks with the Magic Loop method, it was an adjustment going back to the double points, but I do think I like the dp's just as well, and for a more patterned sock, I think they are definitely a necessity for me.
I will have more finished objects this weekend, I'm sure of it.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Oh Blogger Where Art Thou?

I definitely need to learn to knit faster. There's so much to knit and so little time and, of course, that darned day job gets in the way! I have been knitting, but seems I have little to show for it. I do have pictures of some felted clogs I have started. I should finish them this weekend and have them felted by Monday I hope.

I am still a "rookie" blogger, and so don't know how to get my photos to so they can be enlarged. I have asked Tina how to get this accomplished, so hopefully I will make some progress in that department and I will have better quality photos in the future.

I am also finishing up on my first pair of socks for the SAM4, I'm about down to the toe decreases on the second pair. I hope to finish those up tonight, and may cast on for September's pair yet this weekend. I haven't decided yet what I'm going to make. I have accumulated quite a stash of sock yarn, and how does one make the decision???

My cousin's daughter Allison (does that make her my 2nd cousin then?) was over last weekend and we had a knitting lesson. She will be a sixth grader this year. I must be a creepy teacher, as we weren't quite successful in getting her knitting, but we are going to keep trying. In the meantime, I bought a knitting loom, and she is going to make herself a scarf, and I am going to knit her a hat and some mittens as a belated birthday gift. She got a new winter coat that just happens to be in her (new) school colors, and we are pretty excited to be teaming up on this project. I will probably get with Allie later this weekend too and see if we can get her started on the loom. Photos to follow for sure!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Works in Progress

I stopped at the yarn store on Friday after work and picked up some Rowan Cashsoft 4 ply in a pretty plum color to make this . Here is the beginning, along with the cat, who wanted to see what all the fuss was about on the table.

I first used Rowan Cashsoft for Grumperina's Odessa Hat and fell in love with it. I would like to do more knitting incorporating beads someday too, if I find a pattern that I like. That was just plain fun!

Back in the spring I had decided to try some socks with cotton in them, and bought myself a skein of Sockotta. I am still working on the second sock in that pair. I am using the Garter Rib pattern from the Sensational Knitted Socks book by Charlene Schurch. I haven't knit many socks from this book yet, but I love how it is set up, and there are many socks in here on my "to do" list.

I am no longer crazy about self-striping yarn like this, but these are fun socks. There is a pattern in this book I would like to try that does a pretty chevron with the self-striping yarn similar to a chevron scarf I have seen floating around knitting blogs everywhere. I'm have a beautiful skein of Trekking XXL that I bought last week and I think I may try that next. I have never done a chevron sock, so it will be an adventure for me.

In other news - I got my invite to Ravelry last week!! WOW!! I can only repeat what I've heard from others - it IS amazing, and it IS a time-sucker. While poking around the site I found the Sock A Month KAL 4 and joined that. I have buying sock yarn at an alarming rate.

I've been wishing for an Adult Ed class in Blogging 101. I am figuring things out slow but sure, and started a Flickr account for my photos thinking maybe that would allow readers to enlarge my photos; however, I can't figure out how to get the photos from Flickr onto my blog. I have also not been able to figure out how to get buttons (for instance a Ravelry button) on my blog. Anyone able to help??

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Knitting Pictures

Maple Seed Hat

I made this hat using Mission Falls 100% Merino Superwash Wool on size 8 Addis. This was my first time using the Mission Falls superwash, and I handwashed it and was very happy with the way it washed. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the model is my great nephew, and his mama is holding him. He swims in the hat, but the color suits him and he loves the camera. I'm happy to have a model - he's happy to be in front of the camera - everybody's happy. ; )

These are socks that I actually made pre-blog, but this year, so I thought I'd post them anyway. They were for my daughter's 18th birthday. They are from Austermann Step and I think size 1 Knitpicks. I made them using the Magic Loop Method. I love the Austermann Step yarn, and this is my second pair of socks using this yarn. I wash and dry mine in the washer and dryer regularly and they hold up very nicely. The pattern is Helen's Favorite Socks from Fiber Trends, the Mock Cable version. Unfortunately the pictures don't show off the cables as nicely as I would have liked. Next time I'll have to get a photographer or a model to assist me. I will definitely make these socks again in a plain sock yarn. The LYS had them displayed in a plain burgundy, and the cables just popped out at you. They were beautiful! I like these very much and (I think) the colorway is awesome, but think the pattern would have been better served with a less colorful yarn.

Life Path Number

Funny - I found this on another blog - I can't remember where - and it suits me pretty well. I don't mind being alone, and people who know me would probably see a lot of truth in it for me. What IS your Life Path Number? Does it fit you?

Your Life Path Number is 7

Your purpose in life is to find truth and meaning

You are very spiritual, and you are interested in the mysteries of life.

You are quite analytical and a great thinker. You have many theories and insights.

A life of solitude is perfect for you. You need time to think and do things your way.

In love, you are quite charming. You attract many with your confidence and wit.

While you enjoy being alone, sometimes you take it to an extreme.

You can become too isolated, shutting out loved ones and friends.

Express yourself a little bit more, and you'll be surprised where it takes you!

Friday, August 3, 2007

So Where are the Pictures?

So whare are the aforementioned pictures you ask? I got tied up with company so no photos were posted. I did get one hat on my great nephew and got a few photo ops, but they aren't on the computer yet, so the blog will have to wait. Nephew is a baby and the hat is way big on him, but he was a willing a victim and is cute as a bug, so we went with it. Later with the pics. . .

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Pictures of Knitting tomorrow

I will have pictures of a few socks and hats tomorrow. I've been mulling over how to get started here, and that seems to be the best way. I don't have a finished pair of socks, but two pair in the works, and I have a couple of hats that are finished, so I'll post them. I've been stalling I think, and perhaps it would be best to just jump in and get my feet wet.

On another note, it's a sad day in Minnesota today, with the I-35 bridge over the Mississippi River collapsing. At this point I'm not sure that I know of anyone personally involved in this tragedy, but it is close to home, and I do know people who live and work in Minneapolis/St. Paul. Amidst all the tragedy it was heartwarming to hear of people risking their own safety to try to help others further down on the bridge or the banks of the river. Warm thoughts and/or prayers for this community are in order. What an ordeal to experience!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Sunny Sunday

I have become somewhat addicted to reading knitting blogs, and so I knew it was time to start my own. I'm nervous. What will I post here? I have projects in the works, but they seem insignificant in comparison to what others are doing. I am a relatively new knitter, having started somewhere around the beginning of last year. I had knit just a bit as a teenager - I made a plain garter stitch scarf I suppose, and one pretty blue basketweave scarf that floated around for awhile and it finally went to the thrift store a few years ago. Last year my cousin and good friend Tina ventured into knitting and "tricked me" into going to a real yarn store with her. I was amazed with all the lovely fibers and could have spent hours touching the yarns. I don't remember if I bought anything that day, but we signed up for lessons and made a felted bag and it has been a wonderful journey since then. I remember she had said she wanted to make socks, and I was pretty adamant I didn't want to make socks, and after web surfing for a bit, and dabbling in my knitting, we took off on sock knitting like it was nobody's business. I love knitting, and it is a therapy of sorts for me. And I enjoy surfing other people's blogs to see what they are doing. I hope I can make my blog a place that is enjoyable to visit, with photos and content that is interesting to view.