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 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:

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.

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.