Thursday, December 17, 2009

Back from Tacoma

I went to Tacoma to visit my daughters and son-in-law last week. It was wonderful. We had a bit of fun celebrating an early Christmas and I went to each of their Starbucks stores and had wonderful coffee. I got a bit of knitting done, too.

The swatch for Mom's sweater is done. Don't have a picture...didn't take one (how interesting can a swatch be?) But here is a sock that I spent some time on.

I was a bit worried about maybe being a clutz and dropping the needles on the plane, but it was all good. While Corinne, Lizzie and Nicole (Corinne's roommate) and I were in the theater watching "New Moon" during my trip (yes, they conned me into it), Corinne pulled out a scarf she is knitting and in a quiet part of the movie her acrylic knitting needle dropped to the floor! A bit of panic, wondering if it would roll up under the folks in front of us, but no. It was safe at her feet. Just a little distraction, that's all. Next time Corinne...the word is...........Circulars!! Ok? LOL

In keeping with the Christmas spirit, this is an interesting shot of all My Favorite Things. Hard to see my new Samsung Rogue and my iPOD against the black desk, but they are there. My wonderful Kindle is there too. Danny gave it to me for Mother's Day and I love it!! The photo on my monitor is one of Lizzie and myself in Seattle when we went to the Burke Museum and then to downtown Seattle last summer.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Hello? This is me, is that you?

Well, I was wondering if I would ever get back to blogging at all. With my last blog back in February, I really did think I might just give it up. My job had gotten to be "all consuming", crazy hours and high stress. When I was home the last thing I wanted to do is get on the computer. But finally we decided that I should just quit the job and move down here to Arizona. It was a tough year being apart from my hubby and I was glad to be here because we are able to be together again! We visited each other and texted and called every day, but of course that isn't the same! :)

Anyway, I came down here at the first of November and have been getting used to being in the Southwest part of the US again. I miss the rain and the Canada Geese, the coffee stands on every block, and Teriyaki in every strip mall. But I am growning accustomed to it here and have found it to be pleasing in many ways. (no traffic!!!)

Ok, gonna talk knitting now. Above is a swatch of the sweater I am going to knit for my Mom. She bought a book by Leisure Arts called Deborah Newton's Cable Collection . It has a beautiful car length hooded sweater in it called Cabled Confection. It is stunning all in Classic Elite "La Gran" yarn, a beautiful mohair. BUT too expensive for our budget. I am swatching (of all yarns) Caron Simply Soft in Lt. Country Blue. Normally, you know that I am a big yarn snob and would be buying something with natural fiber. But really, I think Mom will like this yarn, and it has a lovely drape that will feel somewhat light and soft as the original yarn, which has this angelic halo. Of course, I am swatching now, so Mom can get together with me and approve the yarn/color. I only bought one skein to swatch with. Figure I will have to buy about 7-8 of them for the sweater since it takes 22 skeins of "La Gran" (that would be a $200 sweater). That is 1980 yds. I am getting gauge with size 10 Denise needles, and hope that continues when I begin swatching the cables. So far only having done some stocking stitch.

Let's get reaquainted, shall we? Forgive me for letting the blog drop. I am thankful that I once again will have the time to devote to it! Also to knitting.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

All thumbs!

The first mitten I did, as I said, was way too small. I also had followed EZ's instructions for making an afterthought thumb by snipping a stitch at the thumb joint and exposing 13 stitches to place on needles. Then, picking up two more stitches on each side, knitted round and round on the 15 stitches to make a thumb. I didn't like the way it turned out. It pulled to the side and was uncomfortable. Some of that was probably the fact that the whole mitten was too small, but after doing a Ravelry search of the pattern, found that a lot of people were using a gusset created by Kathryn Ivy to place the thumb in the seam on the side of the mitten. I am using that technique now and am pleased with how it looks so far.
Began a shawl last night, also. I saw the book in Yorkshire Yarns, one of my favorite LYS's. It is Wrapped in Comfort: Knitted Lace Shawls by Alison Jeppson Hyde. The shawls caught my eye because they are very different from what you usually see in shawl patterns. They are shaped to drape in a lovely way around your shoulders in a similar fashion of EZ's Pi R Squared shawl. But these are rounded. Each shawl is absolutely beautiful. I finally bought the book for myself and enough yarn to make a shawl. I began it last night. It is the "Michelle's Shawl". Every shawl in the book has a story behind it of who Alison designed for. There is even a beautiful shawl that was inspired by 9/11.
I am using Pagewood Farm fingering weight hand-dyed sock yarn for this shawl. It is truly a beautiful color and lovely to knit. More on that next time.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I Want a New Glove

A new mitten, actually. This is the start of a new one. My computer makes this yarn look very "red-violet" (remember that Crayola color?) but it is actually a very beautiful chocolate brown color. Cascade 220 #2403. Do you wish Cascade would begin naming their colors instead of numbering them? I kinda do. #2403 doesn't sound as delicious as "Chocolate Kiss" or "Chocolate in the Morning", or something like that. Regardless, Cascade 220 is one of the best go to yarns there is. Guess that makes it reasonable to forgive them for their lack of creativity when it comes to names for the wonderful fibers that are 220 yarn.

This is the famous EZ pattern that you seem to see all the time. I was part of the Elizabeth's Year yahoo group that Kelley Petkun at KnitPicks put together. It was based on the book by Elizabeth Zimmermann "Knitter's Almanac". I made it through a couple of the projects-a Pi Shawl, and the Leggings. But I never got to the mittens in the May chapter.

Well, having worn fingerless gloves through the majority of our Northwest winter, I have decided a pair of honest to goodness mittens would be smart. Enter this pattern. Mitered mittens. I like the way it looks, although I have to admit that I have been knitting and ripping for quite some time. I knitted a whole mitten that I frogged. It was way too small and since I wanted these for me, that wouldn't work. Frogged. The whole thing. Rip.

Wound the yarn back up. Started again. Added 4 stitches. Went up one needle size to a US 6. Now I got off track a little. Instead of beginning with the k1p1 rib that EZ talks about, I did a garter stitch for 5 rounds. Very pretty, I thought approvingly. Knitted on for about 30 rounds. Well, the garter stitch did what? Some of you already know. It flared out like a bell around my wrist. I could have filled in for the church bells next Sunday, but instead.....frogged. The whole thing. Rip.

So this is the 3rd time. A charm, as is said. At this point, I figured I'd go for broke and use a k1b, p1 for 5 rounds. Looked good, but as I found out with the garter stitch, you have to get well into the mitering before you can tell if it will "hold in" enough to be a comfortable mitten shape. I am at the thumb shaping now, and I think it is going to work fine. So, now that I have found the perfect ribbing for the mittens, I am nearly sick to death of them! Figures.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Don't tell my husband!

Just wanted to share this photo with you.
Well, I can dream, can't I? Ok, everyone back to your knitting!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Coffee Icon

Yes, that's me...with the silly look on my face, standing next to Howard Schultz, Starbucks genius. Nothing to do with knitting, excepting that Starbucks is a fantastic place to knit. I got invited to this special event that took place last night at the Starbucks in Lakewood, WA. About 50 people were invited...guess that explains where all my "extra" money goes....between Starbucks and yarn, my savings account doesn't have a chance! Love me my latté.

Anyway two of my daughters, both Starbucks Partners, as employees of The Mermaid are called, are jealous beyond belief. Their Mom got to meet Mr. Schultz in person before they did. Love it when we can make our kids realize that we really might be cool after all. Maybe I should have the picture framed or something.

This, of course, is the lovely and famous Noro Striped Scarf. Brooklyn Tweed, the Yarn Harlot and millions of other knitters, all knitting it and finding it irresistable. I am using both Noro Silk Garden and Noro Kureon. I like the way it is turning out. And they are right. It is addictive. I do have other projects, but can't seem to put this one down long enough to do anything with them. Mine is 33 stitches on size 7 needles, slip the first stitch of every row. Alternate the Garden and the Kureon every two rows. Simple.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

How many pairs does this make?

I have a favorite pattern for fingerless gloves. The Cableback Gloves by Karen Alfke. I bought it from the Churchmouse Yarn and Tea shop over on Bainbridge Island, WA about 2 winters ago. It is a simple pattern and I have made so very many pairs of these as gifts. Two different sizes are offered, three different cable designs. They are plain stocking stitch on the palm, and just a thumbhole. Ribbing on the top of the hand and a lovely cable down the center. Then attached I-cord on the top and bottom edges. My copy of the pattern had gotten so beaten up from carrying it in my knitting bag for two years, so I purchased a PDF pattern online this week. Offered on Patternfish (Linked above), it is a really nice way to buy patterns. Not only do you receive wonderful patterns, but they will email you with any errata from the pattern if it comes up. A very nice feature.
Oh! And to answer the title question? About 11 pairs so far that I can remember. Maybe more.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Call of the Siren

This is the French Press cozy I gave to Corinne for Christmas. I found the pattern in Knitalong. I have a thermal french press, or I would make one for myself. It is knit from yarn I bought at Ben Franklin that is called Katyil. 20sts=4 in. and in a colorway called Pansy Leaves. 70% wool and 30% soy. Very nice to work with, although a bit "splitty". There is attached I-cord all around the rectangle that is the "cozy" part, and then you lace a separate I-cord through the eyelets like shoelaces and tie it at the top. Easy! I think the pattern would look cute with some pretty cables, too. Or in a chunky yarn.

In the background of this next photo, you can get a glimpse of the wonderful Christmas present that everyone got me this year.

See that? I can be my own barista now.

That is Sirena. Just the most wonderful espresso machine. And believe me, the most appreciated. See, two of my daughters work for Starbucks. I am therefore the grateful recipient of many wonderous pounds of rich, dark coffee beans. Until now, I have been happy and content brewing them in my french press every morning. A glorious way to experience coffee and begin the day. I highly recommend it. However, for the past two years I have had my eye on Sirena. She is obviously named after the Starbucks Siren (mermaid) and has been living up to her name, calling out to me everytime she goes on sale at the store. Finally this Christmas the deal was too good to resist. With the added free coffee and they actually threw in a great burr coffee grinder, and my daughters Christmas discount and lovely Christmas money from my Mom-in-law, the daughters, my tips from work, etc...yes, it finally happened. She is mine, all mine. We can make wonderful lattés, mochas, americanos, and on and on. Pulling shots from my own machine.
Ok, enough bragging. Hope your holidays were happy.