Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The importance of GOOD notes!

First an update on my goals for this year. I finished the sweater for my coworker's daughter. She loved it and it prompted her sister to ask for one, too!

Emerald Lilies-of-the-Valley of May shawl has been frogged and restarted. I am making a half-pi shawl utilizing the charted patterns from Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn Clark as the lace sections of this half-pi. So far so good.

Not the best photo and before blocking!
I have also completed two projects from my bag of stash. A couple from my church has been very helpful to me over the last couple of years. I recently realized that I had never made anything for them. Soooo ... I made a pair of socks from Patons Kroy Sock in the Gentry Grey colorway for the husband and made a cowl and mitts set for the wife out of Knit Picks Palette in the Whirlpool colorway. Both turned out well.

Now for what I learned in the last week. Make good notes! It makes it so much easier to pick up a project that has been hiding for awhile if you do. This example is actually a positive example this week.

Following my goals for this year, I picked up the Fire and Ice cardigan out of my WIP's (Works In Progress) pile and started to work on it. Because I had kept good notes, I was able to just pick it up, see where I was and start to knit. Really good feeling!

Since picking it back up, I have finished the yoke and divided for the sleeves. I will be steeking this sweater to make a cardigan. I love the colors I chose at the beginning of the project. I have always loved bold color choices with neutrals or contrasts. My dad used to tease me that my clothes were battery operated.

The knitting on this sweater should go easily now that I have most of the colorwork out of the way. We will see!

In the mean time, keep on knitting and learning!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

I'm Back!

It has been a long time since I updated this blog. One of my goals this year is to update it at least once a month. We will see how this goes.

This year I thought I would share some of my goals for knitting and use this space as a way to keep myself accountable. Along the way, I would also include what I have been learning as I knit my way through the year.

First, 2016 goals!
  • Blog once a month
  • Knit from stash as much as possible
  • Complete several projects that have been languishing on the needles *The ones with links have photos
  • Knit a Christmas present for each member of my sister's family
  • Birthday presents for my coworker's children
  • I also filled a big bag with yarn for future projects (all from stash)
Because I want to go to a fiber related event later this summer I am trying to only buy what I need to complete Christmas and Birthday presents.

Now on to something I learned

I am making the Parcel pullover by Carol Feller as a birthday present for one of my coworker's children. I have made it before in a smaller size yarn as a cardigan for myself. This time I am using a yarn I have worked with before from Lanas Stop, Extra Merino. It is a wool and acrylic blend that allows for machine washing. What I learned this time was that even machine made yarns do have dye lots. This is something I know from working with hand dyed yarns and sort of knew was true of some pure wool yarns. However, I learned this lesson, always buy enough to finish your project in the same dye lot and you can´t always use your leftovers from a former project even if they are the same yarn and same color. I have it all straightened out now. I am just happy that they had extra skeins in the same color. Next time ...!

That is all for this time but I will try to keep you up to date on the projects in my bag and on my WIP list. Until next time, keep knitting and learning!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Cables? Again?

As much as I hate knitting cables due to the pain they cause my hands, I seem drawn to patterns that envolve them. Witness my latest project, theBlackberry Cabled Cardigan.The yarn I chose for this sweater doesn't help either. It is a cotton blend from Lanas Stop. Cotton hurts my hands when I knit it (not so much when I crochet with it, oddly enough.) Add in cables and I am just asking for a knitting injury.

In spite of the drawbacks, this has been an enjoyable knit. The cables look great and the sweater fits well. On top of that, it is machine washable! This sweater was modified from its original design. I removed the Blackberry stitch from the front and back of the cardigan. I did this to make it easier to add in the shaping I wanted. Using principles from Amy Herzog’s Craftsy class, Knit toFlatter, I added waist shaping toward the center of the garment instead of on the side as the pattern is written. I used vertical bust darts instead of horizontal bust darts. Having used both types of bust darts, I much prefer the vertical kind. They can be added into almost any design and look better on the wearer. Other than making sure that the cables on the sleeves were straight out of the ribbing, I knit it as written. Setting up the sweater involved a lot of math, but once I got to knitting, all the setup paid off.

I learned a new technique from the most unlikely place, the KnitPrincess cartoon. The technique is knitting cables without a cable needle. This technique from the outside looks daunting, but is actually fairly easy once you get the hang of it. The technique requires the dropping of some stitches and then picking them back up in a different order. For example, crossing a cable with four stitches would look like this:

Insert needle into back of stitches 3 & 4 on the left needle. Slide stitches 1-4 off the left needle. Stitches 3&4 should be on the right needle and 1&2 should be hanging from work. Use left needle to pick up 1&2 and then slide 3&4 back onto left needle from the right. Sounds complicated, right? It is much easier when you have pictures in front of you. So here is a video showing you how. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6DB6WhAKvY
Next time on Knit and Learn, I will be talking about my other project, Elijah. Stay tuned and keep on knitting and learning.

Edited to include link for the Knit Princess cartoon.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Where have you been?!?

Wow, it has been some time since my last post. In that time, I have been to the States and back. My trip went well and I am now settling back into my routine here in Portugal. Since my return, I have been thinking about how I want to structure my blog. I have decided to change a few things in my format. Instead of telling you about all the projects I have on my needles, I have decided to choose one or two to follow. This way I can go into more detail about the projects and hopefully be more regular about posting. We will see.

For now, I have chosen two projects with which to start. First is my yearly birthday project. Three years ago, I finished a project in time for my birthday and it sparked an idea for a birthday project every year. Last year's was the Argonath stole by Susan Pandorf. Remember when I walked into my LYS and saw that gorgeous yarn that screamed at me until I bought it? The stole turned out beautifully. 

This year I chose to knit the Blackberry Cabled Cardigan for my birthday. I also entered it into the kal for the Must Stash Podcast May/June Sweater Kal. I chose a Jade green yarn from Lanas Stop. It is a cotton/acrylic blend. When I first picked the yarn up, I thought it would be murder to knit with. Especially since the sweater I chose has cables. (I am sensing a birthday theme here, cables last year and cables this year. Hmmm!) My experience with cotton has never been good. However, the acrylic keeps the yarn from killing my hands. I am happy with the results. Because the yarn is a cable plied yarn, the stitch definition on the cables is amazing. 

The second project I chose to follow is actually a Christmas present for my youngest niece. I am making the Elijah Elephant by Ysolda Teague. The yarn I will be using is one I have worked with a lot I the past, Baby from BGM affinitas, ltd. Every time I knit something for a baby I usually use this yarn. It is a sport weight acrylic that is machine washable and soft to the touch. The color is a light gray, of course. I have not started it yet but it is next up for casting on. 

As we follow these two projects, I hope you can learn along with me. Until next time, keep knitting and learning. 

Friday, August 31, 2012

Disappearing Act

Starlight Shawl
No, I have not disappeared. I am still knitting but have been extra busy and not in a position to blog for a few weeks. However, I have finished the Starlight shawl and it blocked out great. It is a little over 5 feet in diameter. The design is so beautiful. I would consider making this shawl again, even with the beaded edge. The yarn was so beautiful to work with and is so soft. The color was perfect for this project. I used Rebel Yarn’s Laceweight Merino and Silk in the Selene colorway. It looked like moonbeams and is as smooth as butter, especially after being washed and blocked. 

The ever popular edging from Evenstar
In the last month, I have finished one project for Christmas. This is for my sister and because she promised not to read my blog until after Christmas, I will talk about what I am making. I have been wanting to do a special project for my sister, my mom and myself. I had been on the lookout for something special that I could knit for us. This is especially difficult because my mom lives in Africa only 18° off the equator, I live in Portugal where there is no central heating in the houses and in the winter it rains a lot! My sister lives in the States where she may get snow but is more likely to get ice storms. At the beginning of the year, I found Goddess Knits’ Birthstone Yarn Club. On offer was laceweight and sock yarns dyed to match the birthstone of each month of the year. Socks would not be a good choice because my mom would probably not wear them. (My sister and her husband are always asking for more socks though.) So, I choose the laceweight yarn and started looking for patterns. Since it was laceweight yarn my first thought was shawls. However, there are so many shapes to choose from and I only bought one skein of yarn. I finally settled on stoles in a design that would relate to the birthday theme. 

Aquamarine Tulip of March
My sister, born in March, is getting a Spring Tulips Lace Stole made in the Aquamarine yarn with a few minor changes. I did not like the edging, so, not having had enoughto tax my sanity, I used the edging from the Evenstar shawl. It looks great. I started in the middle with a provisional cast-on and worked down to either edge,then knitted on the edging. Using this stole as a general template, I have planned a stole for my mother, born in June, using the Rose Trelis Shawl Vest. I will again be using a different edging, Betsy’s Rose Leaf lace. The yarn is in the Alexandrite colorway. For myself, I will be using the Swallowtail shawl pattern to make myself a stole in the Emerald colorway. I was born in May. Hopefully,I will get these done in time for Christmas so we can wear our matching stoles. 

Sleeves for Rhapsody in Blue Sweater
Also on my needles this month, has been the Rhapsody in Blue sweater. I have reached the sleeves. I worked through the bust darts, not sure if they would look good. They turned out better than I thought they would. You can tell where they are but they do not stand out like a sore thumb in the striping. I am hoping to get thisfinished so I can wear this on the plane home. We will see.

I have been plugging away at the Green Feet socks. One is completed and I am now on the second sock. I also finished the sock cards and they work great. I was even able to complete a set for sweaters. Now I just need measurements or shoe sizeand I can make a sweater or a pair of socks.
I have finished most of a sweater for my new niece/nephew. I worked on this while at camp and am now working on the sleeves. I used the Garter Yoke Baby Cardi and changed the edging. Seems I am changing a lot of edgings lately!

In the last month, I have learned that redesigning a project is not as hard as I thought it would be. That you can find knitting time anywhere if you only look (and have a project always on hand). That children’s socks are faster than adult’s socks. And I don’t knit as fast as I think I do.

Monday, July 30, 2012

On the Edge

Beading on the edge of the Evenstar Shawl!
 I don't know if the edge I am refering to in the title is the edge of insanity or the edge of the shawl I am working on. They seem to be very similar at the moment. I am almost done with the Evenstar shawl. I just have the border edging to finish. The beads I chose look great with the yarn. They are dark beads against the light of the yarn and pop off it nicely. I enjoyed knitting this shawl but I underestimated the amount of time it would take. I was not sure I would get it done in time. I will probably need a few days in August to complete it, but with one week of camp in the middle of July, I think that is acceptable. Especially as there is no one standing over me telling me I must finish it on time. I am looking forward to blocking it and seeing it in all its glory, so to speak. I will need to purchase some bigger blocking boards, however. The ones I have are not large enough for this shawl! It is supposed to be 5 feet in diameter, mine might be a bit larger. I used a size 4US needle instead of the 3 called for in the pattern. We will have to see how big it is when I block it!

POV Socks
I have finished two pairs of socks in the mean time, the POV socks and the Gentlemen’s socks. The POV socks look great and feel better. I have noticed, however, that they need to be reserved for winter as they are very warm. That does not bother me though, I love wool socks in the winter and am looking forward to using them.The Gentlemen’s socks are very soft and look great. I have not seen the gentleman they were knitted for so I still have them. I am sure I will see him before I leave for the States though and they are a weight off my mind. I had taken them to camp to try to finish and they were the only thing I knit on. It was very hot at camp with temperatures over 100°F. With limited time to knit, I am proud of myself for finishing them with everything else that was going on. 

Gentlemen's Socks
I am working on a set of laminated cards for myself. These cards will be used for sock knitting. They contain various styles of heels, cuffs, and toes as well as charts for the number of stitches used for which shoe size and how long I need to knit them to fit a certain size foot. Basically, I condensed a lot of my sock books into a set of cards for knitting socks. The only thing they will not have is the pattern for the instep and leg. There are too many options to choose from to do that and if I did, I would have a stack of cards that would reach the ceiling. They will allow me to choose a leg and instep pattern and make a pair of socks without having to lug around a lot of books or charts. I am thinking of making a set for various sweaters as well, for the sleeves, at the very least. I like the set in sleeves from Knitting Workshop by Elizabeth Zimmerman and the set in sleeves from Knitting from the Top by Barbara Walker. They are both easy alterations to make to any pattern and fit me very well. Set in sleeves are the best type of sleeves for my body type, but I don’t like carrying around the books. As I am trying to keep my luggage to a minimum on furlough, the card system will be better and easier for travel. Best of all, I will have to means to make either a sweater or a pair of socks at my fingertips without having to carry heavy books with me. 

Work sheet for Socks Cards
I am still working on Green Feet and will test-drive my new sock card system with these socks. I also am planning next month’s projects. I have a tiny sweater planned for my new niece/nephew, a present for Christmas and the Green feet birthday gift. The next couple of months may be a bit sparse in regards to blogging. I am getting to the part of the year where I cannot talk very much about my projects, but I will try to at least blog about what I am learning with each one. Some of the recipients read my blog and I don't want to spoil any surprises.

This month, I learned that a slow consistent knitting pace will accomplish more than hurried knitting. That some socks are not meant to be blocked (they turn out too big to wear if you do). And that books on tape make great knitting companions. So, until next time, keep on knitting and learning.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Done At Last!

I have finally finished the Argonath stole! It only took me three week longer than I thought it would. However, I will have to say that all the work was worth it. It turned out beautifully. The cables look spectacular. I have left the fringe at the edges uncut. I like the look of the loops rather than a cut fringe. The second border at the top gave me a bit of trouble. I started out and it seemed to pucker, not laying flat like the bottom edge. After frogging it three times, I finally figured out how to make it lay flat. The last little bit seemed to take forever but with persistence I was able to finish.

I started on the next project, the Evenstar shawl. I have called it the Starlight shawl in my projects because the yarn looks like spun moonbeams. I have knit to the start of the first chart and hope the work on it goes fast. I have one week marked out for camp this month and am not planning to take this with me. Since lace seems to knit up faster for me I expect that I will be able to get it done by the end of the month using what I have learned this month. Use every little bit of time you have wisely. 

As far as camp knitting, I will be taking a birthday project with me. I also hope to finish the two pairs of socks I have left. I am on the second sock for both pairs. One is at the heel turn and the other is almost to the ribbing on the cuff. They should not take a great deal of time to complete but you know how it is with the best laid plans of Mice and Men. 
Green Feet
I found out that although I did not win first prize in the Mithril KAL, I was eligible for another prize. The person who won deserved it. Her vest was made with a gradient yarn from the Unique Sheep. She started with one color at the bottom and worked her way up to another at the top. All who participated did a great job and every project inspired my creativity in some way. That is what I love about being in touch with other knitters. They inspire you in so many ways. 
I love the cabling in this shawl!

This month I learned to make the most of small moments of time, always have something handy to knit and don’t sweat the small stuff. Until next time, keep on knitting and learning.