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


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.