Tuesday, July 27, 2010

All You Knit is Love

Saturday I got my Yahoo Groups, clicked on the Mystery Shawl 18 Group, and downloaded the first clue for the shawl by Renee Leverington. She had sent out the first clue, and though I had company this weekend, I was able to begin just a few rows. This morning I finished the clue. Let me say this: I love the yarn.
I love the beads.

I love the pattern.
Love, love, love. All you knit is love!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Good Knitting Week

Checking in to say that this week has been a good knitting week. I worked some on the socks I'm knitting, and also on "Victoria". It has been rainy and stormy. I love sitting out on the patio, knitting and listening to the thunder and rain.
I have had a lot of company in town, last weekend my Mom, her hubby and my brother. This week my best friend is here with her hubby. Lots of going and not alot of knitting, (Lisa doesn't knit!) but I fit just enough knitting in to keep me from withdrawl symptoms. Meanwhile, the shopping is fun!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Lazy Day

You know, some days it is just nice to lay around. Obviously Lila was in the mood for a lazy afternoon, and so was I. This is what I did:

The beginnings of another new project, The Victoria Shawl from Victorian Lace Today. I have had this book a long time. My copy is the first edition, which is riddled with errata, unfortunately, but I figure I can find the corrections online, so I haven't replaced my copy with an updated one. Too much money, right? For the price of replacing my book, I could easily knit one or two of the projects! This pattern is written for garter stitch, but I like the look of stocking stitch better here, so I am purling the even rows instead of knitting. Some knitters would call me crazy, I guess. I really don't mind purling however. Maybe it is because I am a thrower, not a picker. I don't know. Got this yarn at A Good Yarn, remember? It is Knit Picks Shadow in Foxtrot and so far I am in love with it. It has such a pretty stitch definition, soft and heathery. The cast on row is just some alpaca yarn in my left over bits. I did a crochet chain and picked up the stitches so I could use them later when I get to doing the edging. The edging of this shawl will be done with the Kid Merino I got the same day.
We had a "winding session" the other night...this is Danny, my hubby and Lila winding up the yarn for my upcoming participation in the Mystery Shawl 18 group.
The smug look on my face is because I knew how his arm was gonna feel after winding 1300 yards of laceweight! My darling hubby is a good sport, isn't he?

Happy Knitting!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Finally Finished

The Mystery Stole 4 (see July 8th post for links), otherwise known as Serendipity designed by Georgina Bow. Only took 2 years, but here it is! Ha! Photos taken by Corinne. Reluctant model? Moi.

I am very happy with it, and enjoyed it after all. The two halves were grafted together "sock-style", which was quite an ordeal, dragging 4 yards of wool through each stitch, but I felt quite clever once it was done. Kinda like the feeling I had after giving birth. Worn out, but proud!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Clapoti At Last

The Clapoti. ( I would post a photo here, but am having trouble with the image upload feature of Blogger for some reason)

This is a pattern I have meant to knit for a very long time. It is from an old Knitty (Fall 2004), so it came out right about the time I was learning to knit. I was still probably shopping for yarn in Michaels and JoAnns, and feeling guilty about spending what I thought of as the "big bucks" on Lion Brand yarn. I still remember the first time I bought Cascade 220, and thinking:

"Wow!! $8 for a skein of yarn! Should I or shouldn't I? It is Peruvian Wool....that makes it special and worth it, right?"

Then that little guilt voice inside said, " But you really can't buy yarn that costs so much. After all, you will need 2 of these! That is a whopping $16 dollars!!! And this isn't even in any sort of skein or ball! How will you knit with it all loose like that?"

I was taking the train from Tacoma to Portland the next day and wanted to knit while riding along. I had a scarf pattern I wanted to try to knit and I was determined to knit it with that "fancy" Cascade 220. So, I ignored the practical voice, the one that said,

"There is a sale on Lion Brand Wool Ease at Michaels! It's a more reasonable $2.49 a skein!"

After all...I had crocheted for years on afghans made with Red Heart yarn, simply because I didn't know that other type yarn existed! At that time the idea of paying more than $1.49 for yarn was scandelous to me.

Well, when my little argument with myself was over, I did buy that Cascade wool in a "respectable" off white, and took it the next day on the train. What I didn't know is that it would have been perfectly wonderful had I actually rolled it into a ball instead of laying the hank out on the seat beside me in a big loop and trying to knit the scarf from it that way! No one had told me anything about hanks of yarn, I guess. My beautiful yarn got all tangled up, and after having to untangle it, I finally realized that I needed to roll it into a ball.

When I think of all this now, I laugh a bit, but I just know that some new knitter out in Knitterland is thinking the same way as I did back then and wondering where this new hobby will take them. Let me tell them gently, softly and oh so sweetly that

THERE IS NO TURNING BACK NOW...YOU HAVE ENTERED THE KNIT ZONE AND CANNOT GET OUT. Nor will you ever want to...also you should know...Cascade 220 is only the beginning!!!!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The One About Socks, Tails and Big Feet

This morning I finished the first sock of a pair that I am knitting from the wonderful Fleece Artist yarn. I bought it at Hilltop Yarns (East) in Bellevue, WA. It was stashed for quite a time, while waiting for it's turn to be knit. I love this yarn so much, but I am nervous about having enough to finish the 2nd sock, since I wear a size 12 shoe. That's right. 12. Twelve. So you would wonder if I would think twice about starting socks for myself with only 349 yards of sock yarn, right?

For this sock, I cast on 64 stitches using US size 2 dp needles, knit 10 rounds in k2p2, then began knitting each round in k3p1 all the way down the leg. When the sock was 7 inches long, I did a standard heel flap (slip one, knit one, purl back) then turned the heel using size 1 needles to make it a bit sturdier. Switched back to size 2's and picked up the stitches for the gussets, and was off to the races. Down the foot, keeping my k3p1 pattern on the top of the foot and stocking stitch on the bottom. This morning I did the toe decreases and kitchenered the toe. I always do my toes the same, decreasing every other row until there are 32 stitches total, then every row until there are 16 stitches total. With 8 stitches on each of the two needles, I weave the toe. This gives me just the right shape toe for me.

I am really impressed with toe up socks, and also with socks that use different ways of making the toe, such as a star or a rose, etc. But I haven't really done any of those. Seems like my ways of challenging myself haven't included the variations of sock construction methods. At least I have to say, thus far! Maybe one of these days I will explore more sock strategies and develop myself that way. For now, I am content to keep things pretty much the same unless my pattern calls for something different. For instance, I always use the same cast on for my socks. I can say that I use it nearly exclusively for all my knitting as well. The Long Tailed Cast On was one of the first cool things I taught myself when I decided to be a knitter and I love it so much that I use it most all the time. Unless a pattern calls specifically for something different, I resort to the Long Tail. Once in a while I learn a different one for one reason or another, but then I'm right back to using the Long Tail Cast On. I have to say that this morning, the LTCO worked out perfectly.

Just the right amount of tail left over! Doesn't always happen, let me tell you! Especially the first time! I just had to do a little dance after that happened today. So did the Pink Sheep! Gotta think of a nickname for her...not Pinky, though. Maybe Rosie. She reminds me of those little animated computer "pets" you can get for the sidebar of your blog. Lot's of knitting blogs have them.

Well, anyway, at least I am started off on sock number two. Let's hope there will be enough yarn to finish it with! Remember--size 12's? And yes, just so you know, big feet run in my family. I think my brother is a size 17 or 18. And no, I have never knit him a pair of socks. I think he understands. Get it? UnderSTANDS?

Sorry..couldn't resist. Until next time, keep knitting!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

This Weeks Yarn Haul...er...Binge!

First was the delivery of my yarn for the Mystery Shawl A Long 18. This is a Yahoo Group that I signed up for that begins on July 24th. There is still time to get signed up if you are interested. Hope that link works. Anyway, Renee from Goddess Knits has designed the shawl for it and I am so excited to start a new project. Shawls seem to be the thing for me this summer, so why fight it? I ordered the yarn from her shop, where you can also look at all her previous patterns and purchase them if you are so inclined. Beautiful work, so I am sure that this new one will be worth it! My yarn is beautiful, although I had to adjust my plan a bit. I ordered the Garnet colorway and thought it would be a red color, but it is this beautiful Chocolate Brown. She offered to exchange it for me, but I decided to keep it. Corinne suggested I use a turquoise color beads with it, and I think that will be beautiful.

I was in Flagstaff two times this week, and bought yarn at Purl in the Pines yarn shop there. Some beautiful Cascade Alpaca Laceweight Color #1410, a dusty rose, and also a hank of Cascade Heritage Handpainted Sock yarn in a wonderful grey colorway #9922.

As if that weren't enough, we went to downtown Prescott today, enjoying some rainy weather.

While we were down there I "had" to stop in to A Good Yarn, because I knew they had a sale on Laceweight and sock yarn. Just to make sure that I don't run out of lace projects (grin)....I bought some. OH MY Gosh! This is kind of scary when it is all put here for the world to see. Did I really buy More Yarn? Well, here is the last of it:

The purple color is Knit Picks Shadow in Foxtrot and the Crystal Palace Yarn Kid Merino in color #4680, a lovely lavender. The pink alpaca/ llama/sheep (can't figure out which it is) I bought to display on my yarn shelf at a pet store downtown called The Pet Depot. It is actually a dog toy complete with a "squeaky" inside! The Envirosax bag I found in a little boutique called Hop Sing. I have wanted one of these bags for a long time. They fold up to a teeny tiny thing that fits inside your purse. Love it! I would love to order one of their sets that come with a pouch that holds 5 bags. One of these days...although after buying so much yarn recently, I am definitely on a smaller budget for a good while.

I will be good.
I will be good.
I will be good.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Serendipity (Mystery Stole 4)

Way BackWhen, I began a stole with the Mystery Stole 4 group on Yahoo. I made the mistake of buying Malabrio laceweight to knit it with, and wasn't really happy with it. The yarn is soft as butter, and will probably feel great once it is knit up and around my neck, but in the meanwhile, it catches on my dry hands, and is simply too light to feel comfortable to knit with. This is MHO only, mind you. I am sure that lots of knitters love it.

Anyhow, after catching up and finishing all the UFO's in my knitting baskets, closets, bins and bags, there was the poor little wadded up thing, half knit and patiently waiting for me to pick it up again. I think I heard a slight wimper from the plastic bag it was in. (maybe it was simply gasping for air)

Long story short, it is a tribute to my talent at laying guilt trips on myself to say that I am nearly finished with the thing now.
I had nearly just thrown it out a few times, especially when I was cleaning out my craft closet in order to pack and move from Washington. But every time I came close to letting it go, something stopped me.

Now that it is nearly done (I have only chart #5 to go and then the big weaving session),I am glad to be finishing it. Of course, you will have to check back with me AFTER the weaving to see if I stick with that opinion. The stole, which is now available as a pattern by Georgina Bow Creations on the Pink Lemon Twist Blog, is knit inward from each end, meeting close to the middle and then the two sections are woven together. Georgina is sweet and the pattern is really well written. She was very helpful to the group, and I am pretty certain that she would give support for her patterns. It was the first lace shawl pattern I ever used beads with and her instructions for that were impeccable. The pattern, called Serendipity, is now sold together with a matching sock pattern.

According to Georginas' Websters New World Dictionary, Serendipity is an apparent aptitude for making accidental fortunate discoveries. Evidently my discovery is that finishing this Mystery stole is not only a "Mystery", it's a Miracle!! And in the end, one that I am glad of!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Four for the Fourth!

This was on the door at the first Knit Shop I ever went to in Phoenix yesterday. Not exactly a successful shopping experience! Danny planned a trip to Scottsdale for us, mapping out 4 yarn shops for me to browse in. Four Knit shops is a perfect way to celebrate the Fourth of July! Isn't he a sweetheart?

The second shop was open, but closing! It is called Knitting In Scottsdale, and they are going out of business! So I snagged (sorry for using the "s" word) some great deals there, including this pretty yarn for Corinne to make a scarf from:

They had a "free stuff" pile in a back room, so I added to my bouquet of needles that I have on my knitting book bookshelf!

Next on the list of Four Shops was Knit Happens, a shop I know I will return to. Here's Danny holding the door for me.
The look on his face looks very relaxed, considering I he was entering:

Which usually means he needs to cover his ears once I get to the "checkout"! The folks there at the store made him feel welcome and set him down on the sofa they have in the book room and let him watch tv while I was busy shopping! Much as I liked everything there and will probably go back and spend significantly in the future, I didn't buy anything yesterday.

On to the last stop on our trip, Arizona Knitting and Needlepoint. This one was a bit harder for us to find, but is an adorable little shop just crammed to the rafters with yarn.
That ended the whole tour for the day...and in the famous words of Aaaahnold, "Aaaahl be back!"