Thursday, December 27, 2012

Startitis again?

Now with the hat and cowl done I am at a crossroads. I do have to make the second hat for Joel. Do I pick up my poncho and keep knitting on that or do I give in to the desire to start new projects? I was looking at my queue in Ravelry.com and I have a few projects I want to start. I can't show all of them because some are gifts but here are some I can show:


I want to make these for the family for next Christmas. These stockings call for bulky yarn and I have 2 skeins of bulky Packer yarn I had no idea what to use it for. Now I do! It will be a stocking for Sam. I will have the girls and Joel pick out what colors they would like. I want gray. I will have to figure something out for Daisy to. I love the colors in this picture.



I want to make one of these for Hannah for her birthday. April might be warm around here but I couldn't do it for Christmas with the hats I made.


I have mentioned this before. I can't explain how I feel when I look at this. It's like looking at the warmest softest hug you can imagine. I even want to make it in the colors shown. It's really big though. I would like to make it smaller but not sure how.


I saw this sweater made up in the yarn store in Delafield. Fell in love! It would cost around $80 to knit this in the largest size. The skeins are $20 each but have 475 yards in them. I love the rustic simple look to them. I even toyed with making a thermal shirt to wear underneath for an extra layer of warmth. I was freezing at my mother-in-laws house. Problem is with so much to knit this year it doesn't make sence to start this.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Two Finishes!



 The big finish is the cowl. I had a skein of alpaca in my stash and I decided to use it on this. It's a big cowl! I really wanted to use all the yarn so the 7 inches it was supposed to be ended up being 8 inches. I didn't use all the yarn. I still have yards and yards left. Not sure what I will do with it. I found the guy I bought this from online and he has an online store and sells the yarn. I may buy another skein of the gray and make something else. Can't bear to waste it or use it as waste yarn.

 
The other finish is a scarf I made for my mom for Christmas. It is a bit small since it was only one skein of 120 yards. I hope she can use it somehow.
 
 
Now I have to decide what do work on next. I have 3 projects in my baskets. The poncho, a shawl for Grace which will never get done because the yarn is to grabby on the needles. I need to consider different needles for this or it will take me 3 years to finish it. My goal is to be done by next winter. I also have a shawlette I'm working on. Plus the other UFO (un finished objects) I have upstairs. Of course the urge to cast on something new is strong. Plus I have to decide what to take to WI for the trip.
 
 
So what did I do? I cast on this! I have a specific reason for which I am not comfortable revealing at the moment. Needless to say it covers the neck area high and low well which is the only thing I will say. This looks like it will fit the bill. I have 114 yards of light blue bulky yarn. The pattern says it uses 100 yards of bulky. It will be interesting to see because I got a yardage counter last Christmas and used it to measure what I had left in the blue yarn. I hope it is accurate. I am enjoying using straight needles in the harmony from Knit Picks. Have I ever shown you a picture of these needles? Here's one:
 
Aren't they pretty? These are my needles of choice. I would love a full set of these in straights and interchangables. I am very slowly working on it. I plan to buy some when I am in WI for vacation. I use circular needles much more than straights. I think I only have 2 pairs of straights of these. I have a bunch of metal needles someone gave to me who can't knit anymore.

That's it for now. Sorry I couldn't post this earlier but I had to wait for the scarf to be opened!
 


Sunday, December 9, 2012

One is done!




I really apologize for the bad picture. I just couldn't get a good one. At least you won't be able to see my bad knitting.

I finally finished one hat. It took longer than expected because life got in the way and I also wasted a day knitting extra ribbing when I didn't need to. I'm not happy with my knitting on this second half hat. I didn't realize the second half hat is the outside hat. It looks decent till about 3/4 of the way up and then it looks bad. I washed it and blocked it. I just laid it out and let it dry. I will start Joel's hat tomorrow and it will be done either in January or February. I haven't decided if I am taking it to WI or not. The way the weather is here Sam may not wear it this winter.


Here is the hat with 2 rows left to do. You stick your hand in the open side and grab the other end and pull it toward the opening. Then you do the last 2 rows and bind off. You turn the cuff and waala a hat!

Here is a note I wrote to put in with the hat. Hopefully Sam will not laugh at it and take it seriously. I think this is the first thing I've gift knitted made of 100% wool. My mittens are 100% wool and are looking good. But then I baby them a bit. My alpaca mittens are on their second winter and look good. Maybe these natural fibers hold up better than I thought. But then I hear stories of sweaters pilling when you look at them sideways. Maybe my tight knitting is a good thing.


"Your hat was knit with love and careful but not perfect craftsmanship. I thought it would be good for you to read about the wool your hat was knit with. Please wear your hat with pride and warmth and do not EVER put it in the wash machine or dryer since it will felt and shrink so much you will not be able to wear it again. Many, many, many hours were put into the making of this hat. Please take good care of it and keep track of it. Your hat may feel a bit scratchy. An attempt was made to soften it. It may soften further with wear. Having it slightly scratchy is not a bad thing. It reminds you your hat was handmade with special wool that is rustic and tough. If you need to wash or dry your hat, please tell the knitter who made it and she will wash it or dry it so it will not shrink or felt. Please feel free to brag about your hat to others if you wish. How many people do you know that have a handmade garment to wear!"

Wool — the most versatile of fibers.

It is the little black dress of the knitting yarn world. Whatever the occasion, be it formal or completely casual, there is always a type of wool to complement your look. Wool is a protein fiber (meaning it comes from animals) and can withstand a great deal of use. Like other natural fibers (and many small children) one must pay attention to the personality of the wool in order to make it behave in its most attractive fashion.

Wool is strong. This is always a plus. No matter what the garment or item is that you are knitting; you know that the fibers are resistant to breakage.

Wool is elastic and resilient. When a sweater has been stretched, it will retain its shape. If you grow, the sweater will grow with you (to a certain point, wool doesn’t do miracles). It is also very pleasant to knit with wool yarn due to the fact that it has some give to it. This is a result of the natural crimp in the fibers that puts a little spring in their step.

Wool is absorbent. Whether you are sweating due to exertion or you are soaked from trudging through the snow, wool will help to keep you dry by drawing moisture away from your skin and retaining it in the fibers.

Wool is flame retardant! This is not only a positive safety bonus, but it is also ideal when knitting and felting up some potholders, oven mitts or trivets. It probably gives you added peace of mind if you wrap your kid up in it, too!

What your hat is made from:

PERUVIAN WOOL
This wool is special because it is harvested from Peruvian sheep – specifically a cross between the finest Corriedale and Merino breeds. Both of these breeds are forerunners in the wool apparel industry. The Corriedale breed is very sturdy and able to survive in relatively harsh mountainous climates. Paired with the Merino, which produces the finest of all sheep wools, the result is a strong fiber with an excellent softness quotient and a wide variety of uses. The micron count of Peruvian wool fiber rests at about 25-27 and the average fiber length is 3.5-5 inches. Micron count is a scientific method of measuring the fineness of various fleeces based on the diameter of their individual fibers. The lower the micron count, the finer the fiber. Peruvian wool is a great value that is soft enough to wear next to the skin, it felts remarkably well, has a nice finish to it.

A micron (micrometer) is the measurement used to express the diameter of a wool fiber. The lower microns are the finer fibers.  Fiber diameter is the most important characteristic of wool in determining its greasy value.
Every fleece comprises a very wide range of fiber diameters—for example a typical Merino fleece will contain fibers of as low as 10 microns in diameter, and there could be fibers with diameters exceeding 25 microns, depending on the age and health (or nutrition) of the sheep. What is usually referred to as wool's "micron" is the mean of the fiber diameters or average diameter. This may be measured in a number of different ways.

MERINO WOOL
One word you see frequently when reading about protein (aka animal) fibers is crimp. This may call to mind the hairstyle that was popular in the 1980s which involved using a hot iron to press the hair into z-shaped waves. The crimp in sheep fleece is a similar concept, but is all natural on sheep. All sheep breeds have different levels of crimp. Merino have one of the most consistent and frequent crimps of all. This gives the fibers, and the yarn, a good amount of elasticity and flexibility. Merino wool is known for its superior softness and is therefore often used for baby knits or for fine garments.  Merino wool has been prized from as far back as the 12th century. It has even paid the ransom for a king’s head!

An update on my cowl. I am on the 4th repeat (of 16 rows) of this pattern with yarn left over. I do not know if I will have enough yarn for a full repeat or not. I am anxious to finish this. My hope is to have it done by Christmas (or in the car on the way to WI) so I can wear it in cold WI. I will post a picture when I am done. 

 


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

New in the Queue


This is the end of November and in the knitting world that means it's Wovember. What is Wovember you ask?

" The idea is to show our collective appreciation of WOOL by wearing as much of this fabulous fibre as possible, and celebrating WOOL and its unique qualities in stories and pictures throughout the month of November. We hope that through our enthusiasm and creativity we can raise awareness of WHAT MAKES WOOL DIFFERENT, and jointly create a force for WOOL APPRECIATION strong enough to effect changes in how garments and textiles are described and marketed."

Here is the website if you are interested in checking it out: http://wovember.com/




The reason I mention this is because today I got a email from them and in the artical was this: The picture is so striking because of the sweater. Who wouldn't want to wear this? Then there is the dog who looks as good as the sweater. The two make a great pair. But here is a story that goes with this picture and I wanted to share it with you.

Susan Gibbs in a 20-year old sweater!
I hope Susie won't mind our recounting the story again here for WOVEMBER readers; it's really a wonderful 'Wearing Wool' story;
I bought this sweater 20 years ago at a farmers market in Washington D.C. and I wear it nearly every day in the winter. I wear it to feed the sheep and work around the farm, or when I’m running errands. It’s almost like a coat for me.
When I first bought it, it wasn’t particularly soft but it has softened up a bit over the years. Most remarkably, it hasn’t pilled the way sweaters knit from softer yarns are apt to.
Last year, I brought that sweater with me when I did my yarn shop book tour, and, in nearly every yarn shop I wore it into, a customer would come up to me and say, “I want to make a sweater like that! Where can I find that yarn?” I would explain that most shops don’t carrying hard-wearing Aran weights and why, and all the knitters within earshot would protest loudly that they would absolutely buy that kind of yarn if shops sold it. Then the shop owner would point out that they had carried that kind of yarn and it never sold.
It was like being in Groundhog Day. It happened in every store I wore that sweater to.
The fact is, most knitters judge a yarn by it’s softness, not by it’s hard-wearingness. I admit I am guilty of this too. Don’t believe me? Hang out in a yarn shop for a couple of hours. Everyone who walks in will pick up a yarn they are considering and rub it on their neck to see if it’s scratchy.
The problem with this is that every garment isn’t suited to a buttery soft yarn. There are some yarns that will pill if you stare at them too hard, let alone lean against the back of a chair. The key is to select the right yarn for your project, and for a sweater like the one I’m wearing above, you need a sturdy, aran yarn. And if you live in the United States, good luck finding one.
- Susan Gibbs of Juniper Moon Farm
A few thoughts I had on this. First off from personal expeerience, if you make a shop sample of something it will get a lot of looks. If you pair the shop sample like the sweather with the yarn it was made from, I think the yarn and the sweater sells itself or each other. I'm sure shops do this but maybe not as hard as they should. Two examples: I went into my local yarn store in Hartland and fell in love with a sweater they had on display. The yarn was nearby but at $14 a ball I couldn't afford it. But the sweater sold me on the yarn and I now have 1 skein of it waiting to be knit. Another example was in the same store. They had a shawl on display. Fell in love and did buy the yarn for it as well as the pattern. It is on my needles. The last example is in another store. I walked in to buy a completly different yarn and I had 2 patterns in my hand. I looked up and there was a shop sample of one of the patterns I was considering. The yarn was right there. I bought the yarn because the shop sample was so nice. It to is on my needles.
The other thought I had was the last paragragh made me think of the mittens I made myself last winter. I bought "rustic" wool because I was going to use them shoveling snow. I figure if the sheep can handle it then their wool must be good. I bought some of my favorite brand but a new line that I had recently heard about. I love my mittens, just hate my knitting.

Back to the title of new in the queue. I thought I would share some patterns that I would like to knit someday. This pattern is called Thermal. It is made with fingering weight yarn and I can see this as being worn like it is or under a sweatshirt or other big top. Made from soft wool it would be very warm. Think about this under that sweater above... :-)

 

The next pattern is thermal also: socks! This really interests me. Pair them together. Love the color to!
 
This one I like because of the design. It's so different! Would go good with a lot of things but I might knit it in a thinner yarn. It's knit with bulky weight.

 
Finally since it is the season: I have a beautiful tree skirt already that I love but the thought of knitting my own is intriquing. It will probably be a year before I would get to this since this next year I am making the stockings.
 
Speaking of stotckings. I took the girls to get the yarn for their stocking. Grace picked a peach and Hannah picked a turquoise. Both will have a fuzzy white top. Hopefully they will like them.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Brim is done!



An update on the hats: So far the first one is going so very well. It really is the best knitting I've ever done. I really think it might be the lifelines. When I put lifelines in I seem to make fewer mistakes. You can see 2 of them in the picture. The blue at the bottom is the provisional cast on. That is what I will pull out to reveal live stitches that I will start the second hat from. I'm really happy with it. I finished the brim. All 12-1/2 inches of it. It took me 11 days to do it. I was really concerned last weekend that I would never catch up. Technically I am 3 days behind but I am not worried because I can catch up in a day or two. That's what I like about the body of the hat. No matter how many days you are behind, it's easy to catch up because now I am only scheduled to do a row a day. To catch up I do 3 rows a day till at the day I am supposed to be at. Easy!



I got an email from a cousin of Joel's who recieved the hat I made and had sent her. If you remember, that hat was supposed to be for Joel. Obviously woukld not fit him. It looks good and it looks like it will fit him and his soon to be baby brother for a long time. I am so happy when I knit for people and they really like it and wear it and appreciate the time and effort it took to make it. Other people will be recipients of my knitting eventually. It just takes time and I have to stop being a selfish knitter so I can knit for others. It's just I can count on 1 hand the finished items I have for myself after almost 2 years of knitting. And 2 of them don't match each other!

I thought I would include something new. I love listening to knitting podcasts. You can listen to them on the computer or on an ipod or MP3 player. Aside from knitting, I love to listen to Wis conservative talk shows. That's pretty much what's on my MP3 player on any given day. I would say my top 5 knitting podcasts would be:

5. Yarns from the Plain-It's a British woman and I enjoy listening to her and the British view of life and knitting. Here is her blog: http://yarnsfromtheplain.podbean.com/

4. Cast On-It's by an American lesbian who is living in England. She has no british accent. Here is her blog: http://www.google.com/reader/view/#stream/feed%2Fhttp%3A%2F%2Ffeeds.feedburner.com%2FKnittingMatters

3. Ready Set Knit-It's a podcast by the owners of America's largest yarn store called Webs in Mass. I do want to go there someday. They always do an interview of a book author or knitting teacher. The husband always does a segment on closeout and sale yarns. It's interesting to see what yarns are being discontinued by the manufacture or what yarns the store is choosing to get rid of to make room for different ones.

2. Robinznest-A podcast by a woman in Idaho who is married to a pastor and they have a animal hobby farm. I like her voice-she just sounds like she would be a pastor's wife. I like her take on knitting and her challenges to get yarn and learn all about the knitting world. http://robin-robinznest.blogspot.com/

1. Electric Sheep-This is my favorite podcast. Another British woman in the London area who talks about things knitterly and culturaly that relates to knitting. She also talks about London and things that are interesting and sometimes have to do with knitting. She is quite funny. I think she is young like in her 30's but sounds mature like in her 40's. Her blog:  http://www.hoxtonhandmade.com/

A special mention podcast: Eat.Spin.Cake-This is another British podcast but this woman has the most intertesting accent I have ever heard. She lives in Northern England and her accent sounds like a mix of British and Scottish.

Three words they say that tickle me. Pattern is patton-as in Gen. Patton. Book--one podcaster says
be-uu-k. Inovative was said as-in-o-vit-ive.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Quick update on hats

I was going along well till I noticed I had twisted the joining of the work together on the circular needles. Can't do that unless you want a mobius cowl. So on Monday I ripped it all out and started over. I put in a lifeline after I knitted the working yarn into the provisional cast on. Worked like a charm! It tightened things up so I could make sure it was straight. Started again. I also decided to add the extra 4 inches into the brim and not divide it up between brim and body of the hat. So now instead of 8-1/2 inches of brim I have 12-1/2 inches of brim to do before I get to the body. Ugh! But I'm almost at 3 inches. Need to be at 4-1/2 by end of day to catch up. I am on a tight deadline to get this
2 in1 hat done by the end of November.

I also wanted to go down a needle size to tighten things up but I didn't have 2 circs of size 6. So I stayed with the 7's. I also realized that I lose a few days in December to get the second hat done because we open gifts on the 24th. If I can't quite finish, they can both try on the finished hat anyway. So far no major mistakes that I can see except a small hole which is fixable. I am also determined to finish my alpaca cowl by the end of Nov. I have to do 1 round a day and that includes the current repeat I am doing and 1 more. Very easy to do.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Excited, proud and hopeful

Today I finished the first of the hats. I tried it on and I wasn't thrilled. It fit, but it was thin. I fit me ok but I decided I needed Sam and Joel to try it on. I determined that it needed to be longer, and thicker. Making it longer was easy, just make the brim 2 inches longer and the body 2 inches longer. The body of the hat has decrease rounds mixed in with regular rounds. I decided that every regular round I would knit that twice. So I will be knitting a total of 5 extra rows in the body of the hat. I hope that is enough. I may have to rethink that and add in more rows. 5 extra rows do not equal 2 extra inches. Hmmm....

Anyway, I thought about how to make it thicker. I could hold 2 stands together throughout. I could buy thicker yarn, or I could make the hat double thick. I decided to make it double thick. How do you do it? Well, you start with a provisional cast on. You use a needle and a crochet hook to make a chain of stiches on your needle. Here is a good video showing how to do it from a very good teacher I might add: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3J-sUx_whE 

I was proud of myself that I could do it. I had a little trouble figuring out how to pull the yarn through the loop but soon figured it out. I know how to make a chain of crochet stitches!! So after you make your chain of stitches the same amount as your number of cast on stitches, you use your working yarn and knit every stitch. Then you start the pattern. In my case it is a 2x2 ribbing. I am going to use many lifelines and make sure I fix any mistakes.

Then when I finish the hat, I will go back to the provisional cast on and take it off to reveal live cast on stitches. Then I put those stiches on the needle and start that hat pattern all over again. The result is basically 2 hats connected but then after the second hat is done you shove it inside the first hat for 1 thicker hat! Pretty smart huh?? That should thicken up the hat's body and double or triple the thickness of the brim. The only problem I see is running out of yarn. It took a full skein to make the brim of the first hat and now I am making it even longer. I may need to buy another skein online. Good thing is that if the dye lots are noticably different it won't matter because it will be the on the inside part of the hat. Plus it's black, how much differnt can black dye lots be?

I really hope it works and I don't screw it up because I don't have time. As it is I will be making a total of 5 hats. The one I just finished and will frog, the 2 I am making into 1 and another 2 into 1 to replace the first one I just made. I have till Dec 23rd to finsh them. Wish me luck! I will feel very proud of myself if I can pull this off, they fit, they are thicker and most important that Joel and Sam like them.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Progress

Here is the cowl made from 100% Alpaca. I bought this skein 2 years ago and spent more than I should have. The seller of this yarn was in Delafield selling it at a farmers market. I wanted some but didn't have any money with me. He was selling it for $17/skein. I don't remember if I didn't make it back or, he sold out that week but I never bought from him directly. In 2010 I went on my Yarn shop trip and ended at a shop in Milwaukee that sold his yarn. I really wanted some so I swollled hard and paid $26 for it. This spring I went looking for the seller at the farmers market and never saw him. I was hoping to buy another skein of this color. I know he is still selling because I called the knitting shop I bought it from this week to ask what weight the yarn was. He had just been in the shop recently. It's coming along nicely. I have made some mistakes but I don't think I could find them. I am more than half way throught the first repeat. I was hoping that one repeat would be enough but I think I may do 2 repeats. The yarn is sport weight. It does feel delicate yet strong. It feels like knitting a kitten. It does shed. I was bothered that the yarn was broken in 3-4 places as I was winding it up. Thankfully it's a natural fiber that lends itself to spit-splicing. All you do is wet each end well like you would do with sewing thread and rub the ends together well and the ends will felt together and stay together. I am really enjoying this. Click on the picture for a closer look.


Here is the hat. It's a bad picture. it should be done by the end of the month. I am making a lot of mistakes but I am choosing to leave them. Am anxious to see if this hat will fit.

 
 
I started the shawl for Grace. it is going well and I am hoping it will be big enough. I will tgake a picture when I am, farther along. On a completly different knitting note, I wanted to share with you a knitting festival I would love to go to someday. I mapquested it out and it is a 7-1/2 hour drive to NY. Here is a review of the festival and this persons take on :
 
 


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Knitting and frogging

I started the hats for Sam and Joel. I have the brim done on the first hat and am working on the head part. If all goes right I should have it done in a couple of weeks. I could have it done sooner but I want to start a cowl for me and I figured I can squeeze it in. Then I will start the second hat.

I am trying to get another project done and am making it my bed knitting. I think if I get 2 rounds a night in I should have it done sometime in December. Problem is I haven't been working on it much. It's either too late or I'm to tired.

I have this shawl that I started last year for Grace. I never liked it. It was a basic rectangle but it didn't seem wide enough. Today in church both girls were freezing. I decided to look up shawls and see what I could find. I found this:


It looks very cozy because it's made of bulky mohair. I don't own mohair but I own chunky
wool/acrylic. I will try this pattern and see how I like it. It really does make me want to try mohair. I hear mohair is impossible to frog which is what keeps me from trying it.

I think this is also a basic rectangle but it has a ribbon run through it that alters the shape which I like. I don't know if it would look good or act well with my yarn or not. I would like to make both girls a shawl for church. I think this pattern will go fast because it's only a 2 row repeat- Row 1: Knit  Row 2: *K2tog, YO*; rep from * to * to last stitch, knit 

Pretty easy huh? Knit 2 together and yarn over is all you have to remember. I'm not sure when I will get to this but hopefully it will be soon. I'm thinking after I finish my cowl.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A finish and a new start

I finished the hat! Finally. It fits me but it's a bit snug. It will not fit Joel who has a head size of 22 inches! I decided to gift the hat to one of Joel's cousins who has a small boy and one on the way. She is a crafter, a quilter and someone who will appreciate hand made work. it's not to bad! I'm kind of proud of it.

My new start hit me last night in bed. I decided to use my 5 skeins of Wool of the Andes to make Joel and Sam hats for Christmas. I found this pattern that is complete ribbing from top to bottom with decreases at the top. It's vey stretchy the pattern says. I calculated that if I do an inch of ribbing a day I will have the hat done in a month or less. That gives me another month to make the second hat. This will be the promised hat for Joel (a year late) and since Sam is working and will be outside sometimes gathering carts from the parking lot, he will need a hat. Here is a picture of the hat:

 
 
 
As the hat progresses I will post pictures. My poncho will probably be hibernating for a awhile now. One more thing I thought of. I have 2 skeins of yarn called sugarbunny that is 80% wool and 20% Angora. I started it as a scarf but decided to make it into a cowl. Here is a picture of the cowl. Not sure when I will get to that. I think I will have another case of startitis in the new year!
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Progress and a new obsession



I started the poncho. I am almost 2 skeins into it. It's going well. It's easy but each row takes longer because I am increasing 6 stiches in the increase row and then having to knit the extra stitches in the knit rows. My only regret? Using bulky yarn. I don't think it will drape well. It's very thick which I want for warmth. I'm not going to quit since I have already invested in 3 skeins of this. 1 whole skein goes to the fringe. I think I need around 14 skeins for this project. It's going relatively fast but it is kind of boring. I plan to have it done by spring.

The hat is coming along well to. It is also taking forever but I am slowly seeing the yarn ball get smaller. I really hope this fits a baby. I hope by the end the hat part is longer than the brim.



Now to my new obsession....




I saw this yesterday on Ravelry and I just melted. Isn't this the most delicious cuddly thing you just want to crawl into? It's a cowl. The yarn used in this is bulky and it has 68% Alpaca 22% Silk 10% Wool. I'm not so sure I want that much bulk. I had two thoughts on modifing this. I could use worsted. Since there are two colors, you knit them together to get that bi-color look and it will give me bulky yarn in thickness and it will be half as thick as using only bulky. Another option is to use worsted for the outside color and bulky for the inside color. That way I get some bulk but just in the upper neck area not everywhere. It also does something I have never tried. It uses darts. I have heard of bust darts. Here is an explanation:

What exactly are Darts?Darts are ways of adding (or subtracting) fabric in a small area in order to create more (or less) room in a very small, very specific area. The darts are placed so that they give more room for your curves--belly, bust, and booty all can be helped with the judicious addition of dartage.

In knitting, as in sewing, if you work a decreasing dart, you are taking away fabric: decreasing the number of stitches takes away fabric. To illustrate this with ordinary fabric: take a fold of your shirt between your fingers and pinch it closed. This makes the area around the dart smaller.

In knitting, again as in sewing, if you work an increasing dart, you are adding fabric: increasing the number of stitches adds more fabric. To illustrate this with ordinary fabric: Imagine if you were to cut up along the seam line of your pants legs, and then sew in fabric triangles between the seams of each leg. You'd end up with roomier pants legs (bell-bottoms, actually).

How do you work a dart?
There are as many different ways to work darts in knitting as there are clever knitters to invent them. But basically, more or less, you can break them up into Short-Row Darts and Vertical Darts. (Now that I have said that, you folks will come up with sixteen other kinds of darts that I don't know about.)


I think the darts in this cowl are decreasing but I'm not sure. Anyway, I'm trying to decide what yarn to use this for. I do have that 1 skein of green Lima alpaca yarn. But if I change from bulky to worsted, I don't know how my yardage will change. I have that question up on one of the ravelry forum boards. Hopefully someone will answer and I will understand. Here are some more pictures of this interesting design:

 


It looks like there are equal amounts of both colors. I am wondering if using worsted all the way is my best bet. I am frustrated that I just can't run over to my local yarn store like I did in Hartland and ask questions. I have to drive a bit to get to one. Besides it takes time to learn to trust the women so you know who knows the most. Just because they work at a yarn store doesn't mean they are experts in knitting. In any case I can't even start thinking of casting on till after Christmas when I will have some money to make this. One person who used this yarn says it grows like crazy. But that is the nature of alpaca.  People who make sweaters out of mostly alpaca complain bitterly about it. Not sure I want that for this project. I am looking into alternative, holds it's shape but just as yummy soft yarns as well.

 
 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Gauge Lessons

I am coming up on my 2nd knitting anniversary in December and I am now just starting to learn about gauge. Last night I was going to start a shawl with my Knit Picks Wool of the Andes yarn I have been agonizing over how to use it. Yesterday in church during bible class I was freezing. I looked at my outfit and realized it has black in it and a shawl would match. Last night I found a pattern and decided to try and do a guage swatch. I probaby did it wrong. I did 6-8 rows and then measured. I was looking for lenght. Was it 4 inches long? I did 4-5 swatches on different size needles and realized after I tried a size 8 that larger needles gives more lenght. Smaller needles gives less. I had it mixed up, I figured if you went smaller you could get more stitches per inch which would make it longer. So the size 8 seems to work. I will try a longer swatch later to make sure. I may go up to a 9 to give a bit more lenght.


I was laying in bed and thinking about gauge and the hat I am knitting. It is no longer for Joel. It is for a baby boy some day. I looked at my knitting and saw that it is pretty good! I don't want to rip it out but I want my needles back! It is good car knitting or TV knitting. I think I will add it back to the basket and squeeze it it somehow.


I started the poncho! I have 4 of the 9 inches of ribbing done. It has a flaw. I knit where I should have purled or vise versa. But since it is a turtleneck and the ribbing will be folded over. It won't show. Plus I can put that part in the back to hide it further. For bulky weight yarn it is going slow.I started Saturday. But I am a slow knitter anyway. I am looking forward to finishing the ribbing and it is easy, but I'm itching to get on with the body. I had a frustrating start to it. On Friday I drove to Michaels and Joanns to get the needles and yarn since I didn't have the size I needed to start. Got both and came to home cast on. I cast on and realized I wasn't going to be able to join in the round. Why? Because I didn't read the directions carefully and it lists 3 diferent cord lenghts for the needles. I needed a 16", 29" and 23" of a size 10. I bought a 29 inch. So Saturday I went back to the store and bought a 16" size 10. Everything is good now. I always wondered why 16" was a needed size? What did you do with them? Now I know.


My black scarf is on the back burner. I did a round (4 row round) last night and looked at the amount that's left. I'm getting close! It will be a full lenght scarf when it's done. I do not know what I will do with it. I may gift it to someone for Christmas. It should be done by then. When that is done I am dragging my white wool angora scarf  out and do that one. I have 2 skeins of that so not sure what I will do. I may rip it out and make something else or keep it a scarf. I started it when I only had 1 skein.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Knitting update

I'm back! It's been quite a while since I posted. Much has happened as you already know. I moved and got a dog which really eats into knitting time. I think I said last post I thought I would go into a fit of startitis. Well...not like I thought. I am not knitting the bathmats because some were given to us. Curtains, I have some that were left here from the 70's, need new ones and am still thinking about knitting them. Actually, now that I do think about it, I need new ones in 2 bathrooms and our bedroom. I don't think I have yarn for it. My bedroom has yellow walls. Wait...I could make green curtians and have a bit of Packer color in the room! Sam needs curtains to. His walls are light brown. Here are a couple of patterns I put in my favorites. Think they would look good in a bathroom or bedroom?


I had made good progress on the Sayoran scarf but then made a mistake and had to start over. Lifelines lifelines lifelines! I picked up a shawl out of hibernation I am making for Grace for church. She is always cold and never dresses warm. I hope I have it done by Christmas. I dragged out a scarf I started last year and want to finish it because it's only 1 skein. I still don't know if it will be long enough to wear but so what. I think I spent $1.50 for a very good skein of yarn at Gooswill. I also dragged out the hat I am trying to make for Joel and realized it probably would fit a baby's head. I'm very frustrated. It looks good though. Maybe I'll gift it to a family member who has a baby. I'm not done with it though and not sure how much to knit of the body of the hat since the circumference of the brim is so small.

I bought 2 skeins of yarn with most of the last of my knitting money. One is called Madelinetosh tosh sock yarn and it is beloved in the knitting world. I want to make a shawl out of it.12,335 patterns have been knit with this yarn. Needless to say it is very popular. Sock yarn is not just for socks! Here is the pattern I plan to use for this yarn. Check out all the pictures they give of this shawl! I can't give a picture of the color of ther yarm because it is one of a kind says the lable but it's tan and veregated.

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/oaklet-shawl

The other is one of my favorite brands called Rowan. The yarn I grabbed is called Lima. It is 85% alpaca, 8% merino and 8% nylon. I saw this yarn knit up into a sweater and I about melted. I've wanted this yarn ever since. I managed to get 1 skein on 30% discount. I plan to make it into a cowl but I don't have the needles for it right now. If I have the size they may be in a project right now. I plan to wait till Christmas and ask for the needles I need. Here is a picture of the cowl and the yarn knit into the cowl pattern I will use.



This next picture is my newest obcession. I have this blue jacket that I wear to church in fall and spring that doesn't look that good and I'm to fat to feel comfortable in it. I saw this and thought it would be a good replacement. This appeals to me because it is out of bulky yarn and size 10 needles. I really like the turtleneck collar but it may be a bit too much. I'm sure it's easy to remedy. Plus if it's cold in church I can wear it during the service or out and about like to the store. I am partial to wool and I don't have money for 1250 yards of good wool. I can get 80/20 acrylic/wool at Micheals or Joanns for a good price with a   coupon. The yarn I have in mind is a 50/50 acrylic wool blend. Problem is it's only got 90 yards per skein. At that rate it will take 14 skeins to make it!!!!!!!!



I also have 5 skeins of worsted weight black wool that I do not know what to do with! I was making a lap blanket with it but compared to the bulky yarn I am using to make Grace's shawl it didn't compare. I ripped it out. There, I think that is it. Oh, I do have 1 finished project to mention. I made one of these:

Of course I just realized that I put the hanger part on the wrong side. It broke yesterday so I need to fix it anyway.

Till next time!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Ideas for new house

I am going to have a bad case of start-itis when I get to PA. I want to make bath mats for the bathrooms, I may want to try making drapes-short one for decoration over the kitchen window, and I had the thought of making myself a lap blanket for when I knit. Plus a few others. I considered knitting place mats for the table but I decided I wanted to buy stain resistant ones since my family are very messy eaters and I don't want all my hard work ruined after one meal.. Plus they will have to be washed after each meal. Click on the links to see pictures. http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/the-stylish-square -lap blanket

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/soft-linen-cafe-curtain -curtains

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/cicadastudio/knitted-bathmat -bathmat

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/the-quickie-plastic-bag-holder -plastic bag holder

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/cabled-napkin-rings -napkin rings

I am currently working on a scarf/shawlette. Here is a picture of what I am working on currently with my new camera:


As you can see it looks pretty good-the camera I mean. the color is right. I uploaded the picture with Hannah's computer and it doesn't appear you can click on the picture for a better look but try and see if you can. I can't. The pattern has leaves on the edge. They will look better I hope when it's blocked. The two strange lines are lifelines and I will pull them out later. It's so if I make a mistake I only have to rip back to the line and not all the way to the beginning.

I am knitting this with yarn called Blue Sky Alpaca Silk. It's 50% silk and 50% alpaca. I love it! It's so soft. It takes 3 skeins. I walked into the yarn shop with the intention of buying different yarn but walked out with this when I saw the shop sample of this pattern!. Funny thing was I had this pattern in my hand when I walked in. I had 3 patterns and I choose this one because of the sample.

The section I am doing is called the increase section. As you can see it's getting larger as I go. There are 14 rows in each repeat. I am doing the repeat twice. I will have 12 leaves when the section is finished. It will use 1 skein of yarn. Then the next section is the straight section that has another 14 row repeat but I knit that 10 times. I will also knit that repeat twice and use 1 skein of yarn. The last section is the decrease section. It is the same as the increase section. 14 row repeat and I will knit that twice.

I really like this pattern. It is so easy! See ya when i get to PA!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Here is my first picture from my new camera! The colors look good, meaning they look like the colors they are. It's a bookmark for Hannah's piano teacher. I am almost finished with the dishcloth. 3 more rows and then bind off. I will take a picture of the sachet to. I really like having my own camera. It's so small which is hard to get used to. I don't think the kids will ask to use it since they have cameras on their phones that they use a lot. Joel likes the 'broken" camera we have. He dropped it when we were up north and it messed up the zoom and I can't take pictures without them being fuzzy.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

First Packer sock done!

I finally finished the first sock! I would say on a scale of 1-10 I give it a 7. My heel got messed up and there were a couple of holes but overall it was better than my first effort. I have already cast on for the second sock. I have till Sept 1 to finish in time for Packer season. Can't wait to wear them for the games.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Pictures to see

Here is the start of the bookmark. It's taking longer than I expected. but I am using size 2 needles.


Here is the dishcloth. It's almost finished.


Here is the sachet-it's not filled and doesn't have the ribbon yet.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

An answer to the never ending dish towel

I am lanquishing on this dishtowel. I don't think I will get it done in time. Then I had a revelation! Turn the dish towel into a dish cloth! I checked the size against one and I have the width right but the length is a bit short yet. I'm guessing maybe 10-20 more rows. I am very interested right now in my Packer sock. I also want to knit on other hibernating projects I have. I have to get something finished by winter. I am still planning on buying myself my own camera for my birthday. I will take a pic of this dishcloth when finished using Grace's ipod.

I have the sachet finished and I want to knit a bookmark as well to round out the handknit gift for Hannah's piano teacher. That sachet is so easy and quick. I think I had it done in 3 days. I just have to go to Walmart and get a $.50 roll of thin ribbon to tie the sachet up in. These will definatly be Christmas/bithday gifts for people! The bookmarks probably to.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Inspiration and not so much

I'll start with the not so much part. I am slogging my way through my dishtowel. I had these grand ideas that I could make 2 dishtowels and 2 dishrags for Hannah's piano teacher. Well, I'm 15 days behind in keeping up with having it done by the end of this month. I decided to just do 1 dishtowel and aim to have it done in May by the spring piano recital. I'm not sure I will do a dishrag.

Inspiration! I was on Ravelry and saw a pattern for a sachet bag that you put potpourri in. Brilliant! I have way to much acrylic and this is perfect for this.
I have started it and am at the main part which is 5 inches of stockinette. I had to learn how to pick up stitches from a slipped stitch edge. I found help on the internet and thanks to a video I managed to do it. It's not perfect but it's not horrible either. The bag gets cinched up with ribbon so maybe it won't be so visible when it's all done. It is knit straight so i will have to seam it up. Now I just have to find some potpourri. That was so 80's. Do they even make it anymore? Here is a link to the pattern: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/three-eyelets-sachet

I also found a pattern for a lace bookmark. I will have to use fingering weight yarn otherwise it will be to thick. Thankfully I have plenty. Here is the link to the pattern: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/lace-bug-bookmark

So I think with these 3 gifts it should be a good gift overall. The other inspiration I got was, I was in the bathroom thinking I wish I had a mesh bag to put plastic bags in for the bathroom garbage. I went on Ravelry and found a great pattern! Here it is: http://knitting-up-a-storm.blogspot.com/2007/10/quickie-plastic-bag-holder-pattern.html

I am excited to make these for my new house this summer. It is knit on size 17 and 10.5 needles. I don't have 17's but I think I have 15's. It should go fast. Plus I have a grand idea to knit a bathmat for the bathroom(s) that has a shower or tub in our new house. I'm tired of using bathtowels as a bathmat.

So much to do so little time to do it.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Pictures...finally!

Our camera doesn't work anymore so I had to use Grace's itouch. I am going to buy myself my own camera for my birthday. It WILL eat into my knitting money but I think it's worth it.


Here is the brim of Joel's hat. I hope to have it done by next winter.


This is a dishtowel I am trying to knit for Hannah's piano teacher as a thank you for years of piano lessons. Hannah will help me by knitting at least one dish cloth. I plan to knit 2 towels and 2 cloths. I need to be done sometime in May for the Spring recital when I plan on giving them to her.


This is my legwarmers. It's a bad picture but the yarn is black so that doesn't help.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Joy and...sigh....

I will start with the joy. Yesterday I went to Sheep in the City getaway. It was in Oak Creek near the airport. It was smaller than last year but still a decent amount of vendors including one all the way from Pennsylvania! I got there and walked around the room going to all the vendors probably 3-4 times before I decided on what I wanted. The first thing I saw when I got there was a vendor selling sock yarn for 40% off. Problem was I didn't see any colors I liked. But in the end I did buy some. As I was walking out, I saw someone had left a just started project on a chair. The yarn caught my eye. I saw the yarn she had and I knew she had bought it from the 40%off vendor. I went to see if I could find a skein. I found one left. The yarn is basically and gray and purple sock yarn. The yarn was $16.00 and I got it for $10 and change after the 40% off.

I bought 2 other sock yarns and a pair of needles. The first time I saw the vendor from Penn. I saw this tiny mini skein of yarn I fell in love with. I can't show you a picture because their website isn't very detailed. But It's called, get this...Northwoods cottage! How could I not buy it? It has different shades of browns, beiges and pinks. It will make great looking socks.

The last yarn I bought was from a vendor I bought from last year called Happy Hands yarns. Can't show you a picture of that either because I think it was a test yarn. They had 6-7 skeins of it. It's a black and red hand dyed yarn. I think it might look good as a shawl. Each skein has 225 yards in it and I bought 2. So I had 450 yards to make a shawl/shawlette if I want. Or socks.

The last thing I bought was pair of needles. I am using size 4 neeles to make my socks and I am looking to go down to a size 3 and try that. But the Knit Picks needles I get in my local Ben Franklin store don't carry size 3's. I would have to order them online. I bought them for $7 which I thought was agood deal. I got home and compared to the Knit Picks and I would have spend $.50 more, plus shipping. So I think I got a good deal. These needles are called Chiaogoo (chee-oww-goo). Many people love these needles so I thought I would give them a try. I got one with a 40 inch cable so I can do socks on magic loop. I will try an take pictures of the yarns I bought and show them top you that way.

The sigh I referred to in the title of this post has to do with my Packer sock. Earlier this week I was going well on it. I had made the opening for the leg and was knitting along when I looked at it and it was not stockinette but garter stitch. I think what happened was after I made the opening, I turned the sock inside out (or opposite of the way I had it) and started knitting. I couldn't fix it. I tried ripping it out only to make it worse and I ended up with big holes and gaps. In the end, Icouldn't live with it and I ripped the whole thing out and strted over. I struggled with the cast on (that is the hardest part for me with this pattern)but I am finally cruising along and I hope to have a virtually mistake free sock this time around. I have to=ill Sept. to get these socks done so I'm not in to big of a hurry. I just really wanted one sock done so I could try doing 2 at a time.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Socks socks socks...and shawls

This week I have been knitting exclusively on my Packer socks. I am knitting the heel and am at the half way point. Then I cut my knitting...yes I said cut. Actually it's only one stitch. It's to make a hole to make the leg. It's pretty cool that you can cut one stitch and spread it to make a hole and the knitting keeps it from going all the way to the edge. If things go well, I should have the sock done sometime this week. I'm too beat from work to work on it tonight, Sunday.

Next up I am going to try again to knit 2 socks at a time with two seperate yarns. One will be the packer yarn and one a different yarn. I haven't decided yet which yarn.

Then I decided I want to make socks for the family. The pattern I am using requires you to draw your foot on a piece of cardboard for your personal footprint. Plus the person has to be around for them to try it on so they can tell me if it's too tight or too loose. It's from the toe up not the cuff down. Once a sock is finished and the important info is recorded, then I can make that person upteen socks and they will always fit-assuming their feet don't grow!

Here is a video explaining the "pattern"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6d076POJ04

Here is a video showing how you cut the knitting to make the leg opening.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztbI4T373PU&feature=related

I hope these links are highlighted. If not just cut and paste the link to the top address bar (for lack of a better term). Make sure the current "address" is gone by deleting it before you put the new one in there.

The other thing that is controlling my knitting brain is I want to make myself a double knit shawl. By double knit I mean that one side is say black and the other side is gray. It looks pretty easy. I have some church clothes that I would like to have a double knit shawl for so I can change the color based on what I am wearing. I realized pretty quick based on squeezing my sock that I will need to use fingering weight or sock weight yarn. Otherwise it will be as thick as bulky weight yarn and not look good or have any drape.

Here's a link to a picture of the shawl:
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/intertwined-shawl

Here is a video showing what double knitting looks like:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0SJ8qd713_g&feature=related

Joel still hasn't uploaded the camera softwear to the new computer yet so I can't show you any pics. Our old computer died and we were able to get an identical computer (not the screen) for free. It is in pristine condition and looks hardly used. Plus it's 10x faster.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What's up?

What have I been up to lately? Well, I've been knitting on Joel's hat. The ribbing looks great! I'm doing it on straight needles and trying to decide if I should just knit the whole thing on straights or switch to circular needles. If it ain't broke don't fix it keeps coming to mind. The other thing I'm working on is the legwarmers. I had to buy a larger size needle to accomodate my fat calfs. So far I've worked probably 2 inches on a size 5 and bought a size 6. I'm hoping it will be big enough but if not, I'll go up to a 7 when I need to. I'm enjoying it a lot although I had one problem where I lost some stitches but I think I fixed it.

For valentines Day Joel bought me a huglight. Here's a link: http://www.mylight.com/huglight-4-led-p-219.html

As of this writing I haven't used it yet. I'm hoping it will give enough extra light to knit in the car and work on my black legwarmers easier.

I decided based on a podcast that I listen to I would pick a pattern from my favorites or my queue on Ravelry to show. This one is one I tagged as something I'd like to knit sometime. I hope the lik works for you and you can see the pattern. Here's the link: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/pipers-journey

I finally got to use my mittens that I knit! They are nice! They are warm and wool has the property that if it gets wet it insulates so you still stay warm. The idea behind those gansey fisherman sweaters. I may attempt to make another pair down the road. We will see how these hold up. I do think my tight knitting helps keep the cold out and keeps them from getting holes and stuff.

Tomorrow I have a day off so I will knit amd use my new huglight. Can't wait to try and knit in the car sometime!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Legwarmers update

On Tuesday I went to Knitch for help in doing 2 at a time. The ladies there didn't know how and had to refer to the internet! It made me feel better. Even the knit shop ladies don't know everything. But I was surprised since magic loop and 2 at a time seem popular. But we got both legwarmers cast on but I was confused about in what order do I knit them? Do I knit one half of each sock turn and do the other halves or do I knit both rows of one sock and then both rows of the other? The lady helping me didn't really know either. After much thought, I decided to abandon the 2 at a time and just work on one at a time. I feel much better about it. I can learn 2at a time later with 2 different yarns.

I am now on row 5 of 25 of the ribbing. It is hard to work ribbing on black yarn...but not impossible. I can see the purls so I start at the end of the row and I go knit purl knit purl etc and I can tell what stitch I need to start with. It appears I am doing it right. The ribbing is starting to develop. I'm cautiously optimistic that this will turn out right. But I do need to concentrate on each row and mark down when I finish a row.

Doing this also reminds me again how much I love these Knit Picks needles and the cables. So flexible and easy to use for magic loop. I may post a picture later but black yarn does not photogragh well.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Magic loop issues

Yesterday I cast on for my legwarmers. I couldn't figure out how to get it so that there were 20 stitches on one half of the needle and 20 on the other half. You have to fold the cord in half and slide the stitches to do magic loop. So off to Knitch I go to ask for help after work today. I'm sure I'm doing something wrong, I just don't know what it is. I am doing 2 at a time not just one. If it was one I could do it.

I have been working on my Packer sock the last few days. It's amazing how learning to knit on 2 circulars makes knitting with magic loop easy. All magic loop is is knitting with one less needle. The cord acts like second needle. I had not knit on the sock for a long time and had forgotten how to knit with it. I stopped and realized it's like knitting with 2 needles. So once that was straight in my head. I was able to knit corectly. I was turing the work instead of pulling out needles and I was making garter stitch when I wanted stockinette. I am now racing along and it's looking good. I'm past the toe (it's toe up) and working toward the ankle bone. This is my favorite part of the sock. It's just endless knitting in the round for awhile.

I think when I finish the sock, I will try doing 2 at a time but it will be with 2 different sock yarns. I will knit the other Packer sock and then start on another sock with different yarn. It's the same pattern, just differnt yarn. Should be interesting. I've also decided I like magic loop for socks, especially using sock weight yarn. Using 2 circulars seems to give me ladders at the joins or start of the rows. I wasn't sure I liked magic loop because I didn't understand it. But working with 2 circs makes magic loop easier. But I think that was the whole point of inventing it.

Here is a video on how to do magic loop:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdSpc0EZpnk

Watching that video, I think I am doing it wrong. I am pulling out the bottom needle all the time and not the top one. It looks ok.... sigh.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Ribbing...I finally figured it out--this time for real!

Yes, I said I could do ribbing but I think I got lucky on my mittens. I was watching a video and it said you K2, P2 and then turn your work. When you do the next row you knit the knits and purl the purls. I was just doing K2, P2 every row. I figured that's that what you do! I feel like such a dork! I have been knitting for a year and hadn't figured this out. Maybe now I can do ribbing on a circular needle! I am so excited to try this "new" method!

Last night I ripped out the 4-5 rows of non-ribbing I had done and cast on 78 sttiches again. After work I will sit down and conquer this ribbing. Hopefully I can put one more knitting feather in my hat. I had said in an earlier post that I was doing the ssk wrong. So I fixed that technique I was doing wrong. Now if I could just make mittens without seams.

Here is a video that explains K2, P2 ribbing:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcJ8rODUlVA

Final mitten pictures

Our desktop computer died so I couldn't take pictures of mitten #1. The thumb looks bad. Anyway, here are pictures of Mitten #2.

This is mitten #2. I really like how this side looks. Make sure you click on the pictures to get a closer look. I'm proud of this side of the mitten!



This is the palm side of mitten #2. See what I mean by the seams? Yuck!





This is the palm side of Mitten #1. As you can see the finishing on the top of the mitten is different. It's flat and not gathered like mitten #2. I think. Oh well. I followed the pattern.

Mitten distress

I am done with my mittens. Yeah!...??? I looked into felting and learned you need hot water and agitation to felt. So I can't felt my mittens just using them in snow. I realized that if I really wanted to felt them I would have to make them 2-3 times larger than they are. I saw an example in the yarn store and I was shocked. The unfelted mitten really was 2-3 times larger and the felted one was normal size. These are work mittens. I'm afraid to felt them for fear they would be to small to wear. I thought about ripping them out and making something else. My knitting is so bad, I have these awful seams (for lack of a better word) running all over the place. I have holes and gaps around the thumbs. The ribbing on both mittens look different. I am glad that I figured out I can do ribbing-if only on straight needles.

I am concerned they won't be warm if they aren't felted. But the gansey sweaters-In Ireland, Scotland and England women would knit their men fancy intricate sweaters. The men would wear them as they fished and they would get wet but because of the wool and tight knitted construction it kept them warm. Here's a link to the history of gansey sweaters if you are interested: http://www.flamboroughmanor.co.uk/pdf/FMCataloguePDF.pdf

I really want to work on something else so I will keep these, use them and see how they are. Maybe I will be surprised. Come on snow, I'm ready for ya!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Decision made!

I thought and thought and researched and slept on it and just placed my order for the Knit Picks Yarn. I decided to buy it even though I said I didn't want to spend money on yarn. Why? Well, during my research I was reading about alpaca and socks and how lovely they are together. My alpaca is sport weight and would make great bed socks. That thought excited me far more than legwarmers did. Also I kept coming back to memory and stretch. Wool has plenty of both. I wanted the control and consistancy wool gives you. Alpaca...not so much. I have read horror stories of people who have knit an alpaca sweater, hand washed it, and it grew enormous. The knitter was distraught. You also have to knit with way smaller needles to compensate.

Needles...I have a pair of size 4 needle tips. These needles are interchangables. You have needles tips and cables/cords. You screw the needles into each end the cord and you have a circular needle! I want to knit these legwarmers 2 at a time either on 2 circulars or magic loop. The thought of making these 1 at a time does not give me a good feeling. I want to wear them asap! Using sport weight will take far long to knit than worsted weight. Depending on what size needle I will use, I will have to buy some tips. I will knit the cuffs flat and then transfer to circulars later. I will get the yarn next week sometime. My mittens will be done either today or tommorow.

Thank you for bearing with me as I agonized over this. It wasn't just about money, it was also the fiber that was a big decision. This is a crap shoot since I have never seen or touched or knit with this yarn before. I may hate it or I may love it. But if knitting with the Rowan Purelife is any indication (love love love it!) I will like it enough.

More yarn thoughts

I took a closer look at the alpaca yarn I have and it is not a worsted weight. I compared it to the sock yarn I have and it is twice the thickness of the sock yarn. So I am guessing it is a sport weight. I do not know how many ply it is as the tag does not have that info. So if it is a sport weight, then I think my needle size needs to really go down. Maybe a 2 or a 3. I have size 3. I've never knit anything smaller than a 4. I'm not sure if I will have enough yarn now. Tomorrow I will go to St. Vincent DePaul and look for size 1 and 2 needles. I have two pairs of size 3 straights . I am planning on choosing a size, knitting the ribbing on straight needles. I will see how it fits around my ankle/leg and then go from there. Most likely I will have to buy some circular needles to finish them in the round. I figure it works for the mittens, it can work for the legwarmers. I'm not completely sold on using the alpaca but I really don't want to spend money on yarn right now. Plus if I need to buy needles, I will need that money for the needles. The thing that depresses me is since the yarn is sport weight, it will take twice as long to knit them than if they were worsted weight. I also want to knit them 2 at a time on 2 circular needles. I might consider doing magic loop since I have the cords for them. I would just have to buy the needle tips. I would use metal because when you get down to sizes 1-4 the wood can't handle the stress and will break.

Decisions Decisions....

Ok, I'm getting confused. So I got home from work and read the pattern for the legwarmers. Here is what she said about the yarn choices:

"YARN: Use any worsted wool you want, but I am totally sold on Berroco Ultra Alpaca for these. (No association or connection with the company). My reasons -- it has such great bounce-back when knitted up. I also find this yarn to be warm but not hot when inside. I'm somewhat wool sensitive, and it's not one bit itchy, though I definitely thought it would be when I felt it in the skein and when I just had a couple of rows knitted. In fabric form it's sooo soft and squishy and yummy. It's a joy to work with, not at all splitty. It comes in 38 colors and Berroco uses very good quality fibers. Finally, dollarwise it's a great value in terms of quality and amount for the price. So those are all my reasons for such a plug on using this particular yarn for these. As a bonus, with 215 yards per skein and only approx. 120 yds. per color needed for the legwarmers, that leaves me enough yarn left over for a pair of Maine Morning Mitts (free pattern on Ravelry) in each color, or for another item. I bought mine at Yarn and Fiber Company in Derry, NH which has a ton of colors in stock, reasonable pricing and as far as I know, they often don't even charge shipping (but do check if you call them or order from their website). Though Cascade Lana d'Oro worsted has the same 50/50 alpaca/wool content and appears interchangeable, having knitted a pair of mitts out of it, it's no substitute IMHO for a ribbed project that needs bounce back. It's a looser ply, somewhat splitty to work with and it just does not knit up with anywhere near the same heft or memory."

Now, here is an Alpaca site that contradicts what the above says:

1.Alpaca fiber is harder to spin than sheep's wool. TRUE or FALSE?
2.Alpaca fiber has no "memory" so it has to be blended with sheep's wool to make a woolen yarn. TRUE or FALSE?
3.Alpaca fiber needs to be washed before it can be spun. TRUE or FALSE?
4.Alpaca fiber has no crimp. TRUE or FALSE?
5.Alpaca fiber and Llama fiber are very similar or the same. TRUE or FALSE?
6.Alpaca fiber is 3 to 5 times warmer by weight than sheep's wool. TRUE or FALSE?


BOUNCE OR NO BOUNCE
All of the above statements are false except for the last one. Number 6 is true. There are an awful lot of mis-conceptions out there about alpaca fiber. I often hear other hand spinners say in a knowing voice, "Alpaca fiber has no crimp. You HAVE to mix it with sheep's wool if you want the garment to have memory or bounce." Memory and bounce are two knitter's expressions that both mean that the knitted garment is able to retain its shape after it is worn and washed. If a fiber or wool has no crimp, or very little crimp, it also will not have good bounce or memory.
Let's first be clear on the fact that I am talking about Huacaya alpaca. Many spinners and most of the general public in this country are unaware of the rarer type of Suri alpaca and the specifics of Suri fiber, which I do not plan to discuss in this article. The Huacaya alpaca fiber is the more common variety. But why do so many spinners think that alpaca does not have crimp? Because they buy alpaca fiber from Peru where it is over-processed and often not top quality to begin with. How do I know this? I have bought alpaca fiber in roving form from a spinning store here in the US and spun up this roving. The owner of the store told me it was "1st quality" alpaca. The fiber in the roving was flat. It had no shine, no bounce, and was also coarse. I spun it up into a yarn, which, not surprisingly, turned out coarse with no bounce or shine.

You have taken the True or False quiz and, hopefully, read the article. Don't take my word for any of this! Try some USA-grown, 100% natural colored, chemically-free alpaca fiber from a farm near you. Spin it, knit it, and/or wear it and see if you don't give up your belief in the 5 alpaca myths.

I called the 3 yarn shops in my area and none had The Berroco Ultra Alpaca. One had the Cascade Lana D'Oro. But then I thought about the alpaca I have in my stash. It's not black like I want, it's gray. I do not think it's heavily processed either. I do not know how much bounce it has. But...it will save me a trip and I was thinking of buying the Cascade one that she said was inferior. But then, maybe I could try using my alpaca. I did pay $26.00 for it. The alpaca were born and sheared in Wisconsin the tag says. The pattern calls for 240 yards and I have 250 yards! I want to use it on something. What do you think I should do? Help! I'm turning into Hannah, I can't make a decision!