Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Lizzie's project

My daughter, Lizzie, is a knitter also. She has made scarves, hats, and fingerless gloves, a clutch, which she designed herself, and other various and sundry things. Right now she is working on a new project and I wanted to share it with you. It is fromRebecca magazine No.33.

Here are some pictures of her work so far:

A close-up:
Here is a picture of the hoodie in the magazine. It is Lizzie's first lace project. Pretty good, yes?

She is using the Lion Brand Cotton Ease, which seems to be really nice yarn. I am anxious to see how it washes. She bought four skeins to make the medium size hoodie in Taupe. Great summer project for her. Of course, that is, when she is not working on her gloves, her afghan, etc, etc, etc......(like mother like daughter...)

Monday, June 25, 2007


Maybe I am giving up. Maybe not. Maybe this is just a diversion. Haven't really decided yet. Chances are, I will someday complete the Icy Blue Shell. Meanwhile, I am using the Sierra yarn for something else. I found a plain vanilla pattern on the Cascade website for free, and am stocking stitching my way into contentment. Later, when I have my wits about me, and help (again) from Milly, since I loused up her instructions for adjusting the pattern for a 5 st. per in. yarn in a 4 st. per in. pattern, which I seem to not be able to get my mind around, I will try again for the Icy Blue Nightmare. I mean Shell.

Meanwhile, take a look at the sock I started yesterday.

Socks always have a calming effect, don't they? This is from the Favorite Sock book that has so many wonderful patterns in it.

I will eventually make them all, I am sure, but for now I have begun the Retro Rib Socks as a starter. The pattern designer, Evelyn A Clark lives here in the Seattle area and I've knitted other patterns that she designed.
One day I will tell you the story of the quilt in the background there. It is my Great-Grandmother's quilt. I have to have better pictures of it first, though. Another day.

Have you noticed something about me that needs to change? I knit too many blue things. WAY too much blue yarn. Posting pictures of my knitting on this blog has really emphasized that to me. I plan to make some changes in that as I purchase new yarn from now on. Thing is, I knit many things as gifts. And blue is sort of a safe "gift color". But I am really growing tired on the blues, if you know what I mean. What I need is some red. Some green. Some gray. Some purple. Maybe...dare I say it? Some yellow or even orange. Well, calm down. I haven't done anything yet.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Baby Sister

I've been "babysitting" my younger sister this week. She is cute and blonde and well here is a picture...see for yourself:

That's Lizzie walking Misha at the park. She is a full size Pomeranian who is my sister by way of belonging to my Dad and Stepmom. Misha is staying with us while they are in Las Vegas. She isn't thrilled with that, since she is a dog that is terribly tied to her regular routines, but she is being polite about it and is putting up with us. She will just be happy when her servants return. Personally, I think she is simply hoping that I don't shear her and spin her fur into yarn. (I do think it would make a lovely sweater!)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Icy Blue...

Picture this: Yes. I am brave, aren't I? Beginning the Icy Blue Snake...I mean Shell.

A g a i n.

This has been my only knitting today besides a bunch of swatches. Last night I went to Milly's knit class at Ben Franklin. She helped me with my gauge. Evidently, I knit way too loosely. My needles are always a size or two or three smaller than the pattern or yarn band call for and it is keeping me from being an effective knitter. It was definitely making this particular pattern difficult. So, there I sat for 3 solid hours, knitting in a very unusual (for me) way. It was 3 hand cramping hours, but I felt that I could do better afterwards. I went back to my own style of holding the yarn today, but have modified it to better achieve the fabric I need. I really appreciated the helpful hints. For one thing, I was casting on loosely. Too loosely. Didn't know that. I learned to knit from reading books. Some great books, some good books, and unfortunately, some not so good books. But it was helpful to have a real live person working with me a bit. And here is a real plus: Milly is so fun and patient. Really makes learning from her easier.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Successful knitting

Contrary to the title of this post, I haven't had much in the way of knitting success lately. No, in fact, I have been quite unsuccessful. Well, that is overstating it a bit. I consider any knitting to be successful, really. That is one thing that keeps me loving it as a matter of fact. Even a project like the incredibly frustrating Icy Blue Shell teaches me something I didn't know before, and is therefore useful to me. This particular sweater is teaching me that I will have to knit for many more miles before I'll be the knitter that I imagine I want to be someday.

Meanwhile, I have other fish to fry. Icy is in the project bag, waiting for Milly to help me with my stupid gauge. The other fish? A lace scarf from Victorian Lace Today. This is a book published by XRX Books, the Knitting Universe people. You can do lots of fun things on their website, even "thumb" through some of their books.

This is the scarf, but I am afraid it is not working out. (More unsuccessfulness) Here is a picture of what I have so far. Unfortunately for me, the woman at the yarn store talked me into using Cascade 220 for this and it is too heavy.
How do you like that edge? Kind of nice, yes? It slips the stitches so you can pick them up later and knit the middle of the scarf at another angle. Very cool. Those Victorian women were way SMART!

"Hi" to Judy, my first known visitor who commented. Well, the first one that isn't related to me in any way. Except through the knitting "sisterhood", that is. Thanks for visiting, Judy!

Ok, one more little thing before I call it a post.

Yes. That is what you think it is. I found it at a yard sale last Friday and paid $20 for it. The pieces are in the plastic bag behind it. The answer to your other question is "No."

(I don't know how to spin. Heck, I don't even have a sheep.)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Froggy Went a Courting

No pictures. Why? Frogging (ripping out) is a frustrating and complicated process. Ok, cross out complicated. Somehow, with all my good intentions, the size 5's didn't work in Reality as they did in "Swatchland". Swatchland, after all, is a special place where things seem to work out. In Reality, the yarn seemed to tighten up as soon as it was off the needles. Do I knit differently when I swatch? I used the circular needle method of looping around and using only the knit stitch to swatch since I would be knitting in the round. I swatched for several different size needles. I swatched wider and longer than I even thought was necessary. But did that matter? In the end, no. I ended up with 202 stitches, 4 inches of tight stitches. Well, it's only a sweater you say. You say, "Renée, you are a process knitter, right? Honey, this is part of the process!" I want to know. How can you say things like that in light of my obvious dilema? Ok, I forgive you. After all, you are putting up with a post that has no pictures of my failure.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Show and Tell

Ice Blue Shell. I had gotten about 3-4 inches done on this and then re-measured my gauge. Uh-oh. I had done a gauge swatch (several) and gotten gauge somehow on the last one. How does that happen? You knit along and get gauge with size 7 needles on the swatch, then on the actual project you are suddenly knitting lucy-goosey. Ugh...anyhow, I frogged the whole thing, rewound the ball of yarn and began swatching again. Finally got gauge with my size 5's. That's right. Five's! I also switched to my Boye needles. I have the Boye needlemaster kit. It is wonderful and I use it as often as my Denise needles. I love both sets. I tried the Denise needles, but the plastic sort of makes the yarn drag with it having so much cotton and all. The metal needles just slide through the stitches like "but-ah". So, I have begun again and will show you progress when there is progress.

Meanwhile, here are pictures of my "twin" shawls. The pattern is from A Gathering of Lace by Meg Swansen. Called A Beginner's Triangle. Here is the first one I made from Jamison's Shetland Spindrift in Twilight. Love, love, love!! Here is Danielle modeling it for me:

This one took me longer, since I did so many projects at the same time. But I love this yarn. It is a shawl I would love to keep for myself, but I made it with someone in mind and I will stick with that. I really thought about her as I knit it and it would just seem to me as if I were keeping a shawl that didn't belong to me now. Tempting, but I think it is perfect for her. Can't wait to hear her reaction when she gets it!

A back shot and a close up of the stitch detail here:

After loving that shawl for each minute that I knit it, I decided to do another one as a gift for someone else. This time I chose a heavier yarn, since my recipient goes camping and I can envision her all cosy in her shawl during a cold evening. I made this one out of Berroco's Ultra Alpaca in color 6285. Why can't they all name the colors instead of just having numbers? This is a turquoise blue and has such depth. The pictures I take can't possibly do it justice. But here they are. It isn't blocked yet, but Corinne modeled it beautifully, don't you think?

Loved this pattern so much that it is hard to think of not doing another one, but really between A Gathering of Lace and my new book Victorian Lace Today by Jane Sowerby, I have enough lace shawl and scarf projects to last me a lifetime.

Ok, enough for now...I have to give Danielle's hair a trim and actually do some knitting today.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Icy Blue Shell

Ok, new project begun last night. The Icy Blue Shell in the July 2007 issue of Creative Knitting Magazine.

I bought some beautiful Cascade Sierra in color #22.

The magazine calls for Italian Ice yarn and a size 10 1/2 needle, but I had to go down to a 7 for the Sierra. Pretty color, too. It will look beautiful on my Mom. You can't tell from the magazine pictures, but the dragon skin pattern used there on the front of the shell is also down each side. It is the detail that made the whole sweater worth a second look. I saw this sweater made by Milly up at Ben Franklin, and it was beautiful. She had added ribbing at the bottom to give it a finished look. I am doing the same. She gave me some other good tips for this project such as using index cards to keep my pattern straight. Great idea...write each row of the pattern on index cards, stack and flip as you go! Easy!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Steering Committee

Pictures! Here is the steering wheel cover I knit for Corinne's car.

The khaki color of the Cascade Fixation yarn made it look like a snake had shed it's skin in my yarn basket. Why didn't I get a picture of that? Anyway, it looks pretty cute in her little car.

I'm starting another project tonight that I will show you tomorrow.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Lazy Sunday afternoon

It feels like a lazy day today. Not that I haven't done anything at all, but I just feel sort of slow and quiet. It's not so bad, really. I did some knitting out front while it rained, then weeded those weeds you see there in the first picture.

I love the sound of the rain when I can have a quiet day. That's a nice thing about Western Washington.
My car sock is coming along as you can see...this is sock #2. Can you see the little project bag there? I got that free with the purchase of Simply Knitting Magazine . It is a British magazine I bought at Borders the other day. (Hi, Leslie!!) Love free things, don't you? A lot of craft mags from the UK do that. Love it! Good magazine, too.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Ode to My Knitting Needles

O Needles, long and pointy,
How can I help but love you.
On the first day we spent together,
struggling bravely with those first stitches
I knew we would be together forever.

From the smooth, warm bamboo
The cold and strong aluminum,
to the bending, colorful plastic.
From the 14" straights to the unassuming 16" circular
You have been there for me, lo, these past 2 years.

A friend you have been to me
Righting the wrongs in my life,
Giving me courage to face each new day
Standing with me in the fight for justice and goodness

Unbending, strong,
Bravely tackling each pattern as I give you direction
Unquestioning and humble
Size 4's waiting patiently as I finish the scarf on size 11's
Knowing that your turn will come

Thank you sweet Needles, thank you.
You are my calm in the storm of life,
My comfort.
You have been with me in good and bad times,

You have given me hope and courage.
To you I lift my yarn in a sweet salute
And say in the words of our mentor Elizabeth Zimmerman:
"Knit on with confidence and hope, through all crisis"

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Bird watching and Knit Picks

Today was a day to run around. Middle daughter's birthday tomorrow, so there was lots to do. I did manage a bit of ck (car-knitting) while she was in the library.

And a special surprise had come in the mail just before leaving home

I tried to get a picture of this little bird, but she ducked behind a leaf just as I snapped it. Shy little girl. Anyway, you can see some of her. She looks like a robin, but she isn't. Too small, and has some white on her. Guess I'd better stick to knitting and not photography or bird identification.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Yarn Closet

I have been organizing today. Last night Danny, Danielle and I went to Ikea. I found a Yarn Closet there. Well, actually it is a clothes closet for people who don't want or need to spend a fortune on an armoire. It was only $30 and thanks to Danielle, my "Genius Closet Constructor", who brilliantly figured out the picture instructions that came with the Yarn Closet (stop looking at me like that...I knit...I don't figure out how to put complicated closets together...), I now have a

Yarn Closet!!!!!

One small problem with the YC. It gathers my stash into one very visible place. No more yarn under the bed, behind the desk, in the bookshelf, hidden in project totes, in the shoeboxes, behind that old coat, in the drawers, beside the bed, underneath the chair...I could see the look on Danny's face revealing his thoughts..."why do we go to so many yarn shops if she has all this yarn already?" Well, that's simple. You know perfectly well that most of it was bought on sale at a spectacular price and for a very good reason with specific patterns in mind, for a really really really good cause and the rest of it was leftover from other projects. *taking a breath...*


*changing the subject...quickly*

Having the YC inspired me to wind up all the yarn that I had in my leftover pile and organize it. I went from this:
To this:
Now it is all safely stashed in the YC, waiting to know it's purpose in life. And as we all know, the possiblilities are endless.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Steering Wheels and Wings

Corinne came in yesterday just as I was finishing the dishrag.

She was complaining about her steering wheel being too hot (her car doesn't have air conditioning) and burning her hands. We found a pattern here. Knitty is so wonderful for out-of-the-ordinary patterns. I remember seeing this one a long time ago. So far, it has been fun although I must say that I am used to using charts now and the written instructions seem weird to me. We went out after finding the pattern and bought the Cascade Fixation yarn in Color #9939. I have never knit using it before and I'll tell you it is a strange feeling. This yarn is made of 98.3% cotton and 1.7% elastic. So it stretches as you knit!

Ok, change of subject to something serious that happened today. I had a visit. Someone with wings was trying to fly through my back door and it wasn't Tinkerbell, ok? This was a moth. Not just a moth, in fact. It was the Queen Mother of all moths, a huge gi-normous moth with destruction on her mind. I could see plainly that she was in a "seeking wool" mode and was set on finding and destroying my stash. She was practically drooling, in fact, having the fresh scent of my Shetland wool shawl wafting out the door. Goading her on. Yes. I said goading.

Anyway, Corinne saw her and shut the screen door. Just in time, too. She landed with her landing gear on the door, looking in at us and trying to flap her fuzzy wings innocently (I think she was hoping to convince us that she was a butterfly). We froze, knowing that moths are creeped out by this (not exactly a scientific method, granted) and in a minute she flew away. But she will no doubt be back, hoping to catch us off guard. Well. I'll be ready.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Friday Night Knit Group

Last night my daughter, Corinne and I went to a knit group at Ben Franklin. What fun it was.

Corinne and I got there a few minutes early so she could buy some yarn to make a scarf. When we got there, Milly was at the fabric counter with Lynzi. They are great girls who work there and I always get lots of knitting encouragement from Milly when I am there to buy yarn (or just touch and feel yarn and plan projects). They began to set up tables and chairs, and before we knew it, there were three other women there with their knitting bags!

Before long, we were comfortably sitting around the table, knitting away with these great girls as if we'd been part of their group since forever! What a nice welcome we had.

Jane, Leslie (Jane's daughter), and Nancy are a lot of fun. Leslie isn't a knitter, preferring her cross-stitch and other needlework, but she described herself as an "honorary member" of the group. Her projects are so beautiful. Jane makes lots and lots of wonderful felted bags and was happily I-cording away on one of them, and Nancy was knitting a very pretty sweater and already had most of it done by the looks of it. She is just getting back into knitting, she said.

All in all, it was a great time and Milly was a perfect hostess. Another nice customer took our picture.

Here is a look at the dishrag....

Haven't really done a lot on it today. Mostly did car-knitting today. Gotta remember to put the camera in the car so I can show you the socks I'm working on there.

Friday, June 1, 2007

New weekend project

I started this little project today, it is a dishrag (my best friend, Lisa, would call it a "cup-towel"). I'm making it due to the inspiration I found in Mason-Dixon Knitting.

It is a pattern found on the ball band of the Peaches and Creme yarn. I am using Sugar and Cream which I find more readily at the stores I buy my yarn. Sure is a cute pattern, though. You can print the pattern at the Peaches and Creamwebsite.

Did some c-k today. That is to say: car-knitting. No...I wasn't driving at the same time. I was simply waiting outside the library while my daughter was checking out some books. Fully parked. Now that is real "parking" if you ask me. Just a shady spot and a half an hour of knitting heaven.