Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Bella Belleza!

I figure if I keep posting every day someone will eventually comment (though I did get a comment on Ravelry, so I guess that counts). Since I took it off the blocking pins and did the three-needle bind-off on the shoulders, it's time to share. So glad to finish something for me this month.

Anyway, I am really happy with how this project came out. It looks as nice as the sample at Kid-n-Ewe! This picture shows that even with my recently added poundage, it's pretty flattering.
Here's the front, which will look a lot better once I put a button on it (I am using a pin on it right now). The vest is very, very light and airy now that it is stretched out, so I need to probably put a lighter button on than I thought yesterday, like something hollow or from light-weight wood. And definitely a backing button will be needed!

On the above photo, I hope you can see the scalloped border. It's subtle, but nice. The rest of the vest has a traveling 3x3 rib pattern. It's just enough to be interesting but not so much that it detracts from the thick-and-thin yarn.

You can really see how airy Belleza blocked out in the back photo. The light parts are where the yarn is really thin. It's pretty. I also like the length of the vest, which is lucky--I was not at all convinced that would work out! And the yarn was very, very enjoyable to knit with. I think it would make a lovely simple triangular shawl or a scarf in a simple pattern.


This close-up gives you a bit of a better idea of the color, now that it is dry, and how pretty the stitches are. It is such a hard to describe color. It is definitely "green" but an interesting bronze-ish tinge makes it interesting. I have a feeling that this particular item will get worn a lot, in all four seasons.


I guess I had better zip along on the socks so I will have something else to blog about soon. I do have a video to share, so maybe that will show up soon!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Belleza Blocking (Wow 2 Posts in a Day)

I guess I should have waited to blog. First, things are better and I will have some work to do the rest of the week. I am now waiting for the twitching muscle in my shoulder to realize that I am not a-wallow in worry now--it has been making knitting a challenge.

But it did not prevent me from finishing the Belleza vest to the point where I needed to block it. The instructions said to block before attaching the shoulders, so Beccano and I collaborated to wet it and stretch it out to the correct dimensions. I am grateful that it stretched, because it sure looked short and lumpy before I blocked it.

You can tell Beccano helped, because as he was pinning, he suddenly ran to pick up a paper and scissors and said, "It's a monster, Mom!" And sure enough, when he added the face and claws, there it was!


By the way, I later stretched the back and fronts out a bit more so they'd be the right size.

Beccano also took a nice close-up of how the thick-and-thin yarn looks in its pattern. I like this because it is sparkly from the water. The photos don't show how pretty the color of the yarn looks, because it is wet. I can't wait to finish the shoulders with a three-needle bind-off and get a button for the vest. I hope I can find something bronze and celtic.


Right now I am going to work on putting a crochet edging on that purple long vest I made a while back and see if I can do something with its shoulders. Then I'll work on my two pairs of socks, though I think gloves out of my two-color alpaca yarn may get started!

Trudging...

If you are a celebrator, I hope you had a good Christmas weekend. If not, I hope you have been happily knitting away at something!

I had a freelance indexing thing last week that made me not want to look at the screen much, hence no blogging. Besides, who wants to read about how worried I am that my work hasn't picked up again yet. No clue how the bills will get paid, but something always works out.

I am actually almost finished knitting the Belleza vest, and I have to block it before putting it together. Should have a finished photo of that soon! I hope it stretches out when blocked. Otherwise, it's beautiful.

The navy Angee socks are going slowly, since I can only work on them when I can concentrate. But they are pretty. I started a pair for my sister, who wanted black and white socks. I found some Knitivity sock yarn that is mostly black and white--I think it was a "mistake" version of his Doberman colorway with much less brown, but I am not sure because for some reason it's not in my Ravelry listing. I am doing a simple toe up ribbed sock, though I may make one rib travel, for fun, when I get to the leg. I got a lot of that done last week waiting at the driver's license place to get my son's permit.

I got no yarn for Christmas, so nothing to show after the bounty of my last post. That was plenty, though! Maybe things will perk up and I will have something to show you next post, or more interesting commentary. I am not at my creative peak right now.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Got Me Some Yarn

It is amusing that the day after I ordered a bunch of yarn I got told there was no more work for me for a while. I don't believe in such things, really, but if I did, I would think I jinxed myself for thinking, "Well, we are both employed this holiday season, so for once I can treat myself." but, I could not undo the Loopy Ewe order, so I will just enjoy it. And besides, some of this yarn is from other sources!

This first one certainly cheered me up when it arrived. It's Dream in Color Starry in my favorite of their colorways, Pansy Golightly. I also have a skein of their laceweight "Baby." I'd sure like to use one of those to make the Bitterroot shawl I talked about in the last blog entry. Since I did get two skeins of the Starry, though, I could make a larger Shetland-style shawl that glistened from that. Mmm. I do know I love the colorway so much that I want to make something large from it.


Here's another color that I fell for. These are very saturated colors--it's all blue with purple and green overdyed in it somehow. It's from Fiberphile Alchemy and appears to be on the same base as Smooshy--it's called Squooshy, which is a hint, huh. I think these colors (called Pacifica) are subtle enough that you might be able to knit socks in a complicated stitch pattern out of it and the colors not detract from the patterning. This is all good, since I have a LOT of such socks on my To Knit list! There's that whole Cookie A book, for example!


I got this skein specifically to knit one of Cookie's patterns. The colorway is called Passion Flower and is exactly the purple of the flowers on that vine. A bluish purple but not quite violet, nor grape exactly. It's a perfect semi-solid for one of the Sock Innovation patterns, or one of the other highly textures ones I've been wanting to make! this completes my Loopy Ewe order, so you can see I didn't go totally bonkers over it.


Next is a skein I got at the LYS, which had been sitting there a while looking at me. I do have some red semi-solid socks (plain ones that I am actually wearing right now!), but this Pagewood Farm Chugiak is a orangey red, and my others are on the blue-red side. I wanted something fiery. I guess in the back of my mind, I knew I was going to run into the perfect pattern for that yarn. Because, lo and behold, while browsing Ravelry this morning (which I can do, since I am not working!) I saw this pattern, Flaming Desire by good ole Anne Hansen, who I believe wrote the first sock pattern I ever knitted. Go look at it and then come back and agree with me that it is a really fun-looking pattern. Nice big motif, multiple sizes--yep!

And by the way, the yarn above is more orange-ish than it appears in the photo. I made it a bit orange, but could not quite get it to appear accurate on my computer screen. Just take my word for it that the Fruit Freeze colorway really does look like fire. If it weren't for having to make black-and-white socks for my sister, these would start soon!

Now, to take a break from skeins of yarn, I did finally take a picture of the Angee sock in progress. It is blurry on one side because I took the picture of it on my arm. But, I think you can see how nice the color looks and how intriguing the pattern repeat is. It just squiggles and wiggles around, going here and there. These will be some fine socks, and I guess if I don't have a lot of work and spend my days at the Division of Motor Vehicles trying to get Beccano's driving permit taken care of, they will be done soon.

But wait, I have one more skein of yarn. Last night was the holiday gathering at the LYS, and while a lot of the regulars weren't there (late notice on the festivities), we had a nice crowd, and enough folks to make a sock yarn exchange fun. I started out with some Plymouth Sockatta that I already own a skein of, so was thrilled to have someone "steal" it so I could get this. I am amused because last year I ended up with pink and gray yarn, too. But, this is from a vendor I'd never tried before (but did see on someone else's blog today), Scout's Swag. It's the regular twisty base yarn a lot of dyers use, and 100% superwash merino. It is called Rowing Home and says it is inspired by Winslow Homer. OK, I believe that, though not sure what painting of his it goes with!


The Belleza vest is cranking along. I am almost finished with the first skein of yarn, but I noted that the armholes are only 9" and use fewer stitches than the body of the vest, so I think I will end up with a bit of yarn to spare. I find that I lose count, even though all I am doing is counting to 3 over and over. This makes me laugh, but I am using the excuse that the textured yarn makes telling whether you are looking at a knit or a purl on the previous row rather difficult. I also really ought to stop trying to knit and read music at the same time. The choir director will appreciate it, too.

More from me soon--it is nice to have a bit more time to blog these days! Thanks for reading!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Purple Passion

Good for me. I finished the sparkly purple gloves for college student Tuba Boy (who got his report card and has an A average!). He certainly is secure in his masculinity. He plans to take them on his ski or snow trip to Colorado this week. I also got him some waterproof gloves, don't worry. I know how snow is!

As you can see, he is fond of the gloves. The photo is a little scary, but you can see that the gloves came out quite stripey and happy!



One thing about my kids is that they like to pose for the camera. So glad I gave them good self esteem, or that they just came out that way! I do think the Berroco Sox Metallic is a good glove choice. You can see its sparkles better!


I finished these on Saturday at the LYS, where I bought another skein of Pagewood Farms Chugiak in an orangey-red color. I'll show you a photo next time. I think it will look good on a Cookie A sock, which I am still determined to make more of.

Speaking of which, you know that period when I had no socks on the needles couldn't last long, and sure enough, once the gloves were done I felt like I could start more socks. I am using the Navy color of Chugiak to do the Angee (Ravelry link) socks from Sock Innovation. Ah, good thing I went and looked for that link, because I saw that there was errata for the pattern, and I fixed it on my pattern! See, blogging is useful for the blogger, too. I HAVE to remember to check for errata before I blithely start knitting things!

I just started the socks and have done the ribbing and set-up rows, but am enjoying the yarn a lot. Well, except for the fact that dark blue yarn is sure hard to see what you are doing on. It shows up fine once I have done it, but definitely is more of a challenge than lighter yarn would be. The yarn looks just like nice, dark denim, very snappy.

I mailed the mitts away and was resting on my laurels, relieved that I had no more "obligation" knitting to do for a while. I was looking forward for a week or so of blissfully working on the Belleza vest and the Angee socks, when I got a message from my sister, hinting that she wanted socks for Christmas. Um, it is December 14. But, I haven't made her any in a while, so I asked what color, yet pointing out that any socks would show up AFTER Christmas. She has requested black and white. Um, whee. But, I perked up when I realized I just bought that ball of very interesting German sock yarn with the slow color changes, the Zauberball. That could be fun. So, I'm up for some sisterly knitting after all. I'll make sure to pick a simple pattern so it can be my "portable" sock work.

By the way, the Belleza vest is coming along well. I am into the second pattern and thinking I will have enough yarn, so it's quite stress-free at this point. Just lovely yarn making lovely textures. I can't complain about it at all!

One more thing--love the new Knitty. At the slow rate I am going, I doubt I will knit anything from it any time soon, but the sweaters all look fun. If I made anything, though, it would be Zora. That is one fine cardigan in some fine (literally) yarn. I was also impressed by the Bitterroot shawl from Romi. I would love to make that one. Yeah, we'll see. I am working so much that my production is way down. But, then, knitting is fun, not a race. And I am still enjoying it!

Friday, December 11, 2009

More Mitts!

While not the most exciting knitting on earth, I must say these mitts knit up fast and nice! I wore these for quite a while last night and really like how they warm my hands but don't interfere with anything I am doing. Even the little bit of thumb on my spiral mitts bugs me after a while, so I think I will work on more variants of this and even make me and Lee some.



This is the last of the set for my friend's grandchildren, and will go off to south Texas in the mail tomorrow. I used yarn that I made another pair of mitts -- Dashing from Knitty -- from a few years ago. I gave those away and can't even remember to whom. I hope they liked them. Guess I should make some to KEEP.

And since I have very little knitting content to share, here's another random photo, of a cool caterpiller we found on the front porch:


Well, I think it is cool.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Toys

As much as I like to knit and crochet, I never got to like making toys much. Mine never look as cute as the ones in the pictures. I envy people who make cute "things" out of their craft, like Jennifer, who makes food and stuff.

If my mom were still alive, I'd see if she would crochet me this toy turtle. It is so cute. I love its face and its little turtle outfit. I wonder when you get too old to receive toys as holiday gifts? Sometimes I really miss my mom, though my step-mother has always been great with little treats (I hope she gets me nothing this year--she's had a broken arm and hurt leg).

I don't think anyone's getting a toy this year at my house. Beccano got a bass, which he plays on, but not with. Tuba Boy's getting an iPod, which he will play, but not play with. And I am afraid the couch Lee and I were going to get has morphed into a hot water heater.

I'll get my spirit back as I work on gifts for others. And I did send off a knitted gift to a Yule exchange partner today. I hope it makes the recipient happy!

Back to dreaming about toy turtles!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

More Gift Knitting

As much as I wanted to make Belleza bigger this week (and I did work on it some, as you can see in this photo by Cindy, taken at the LYS on Wednesday), I knew I had to get my knitting for others done, so I managed to concentrate on that this weekend.


You can see that I am wearing that fun "Shag" triangles scarf I made year before last, too. And keeping the yarn in the nice bag Jennifer knitted for me. Awww, knitting friends.

So, here are the latest, another pair of the Textured Thumbless Mitts, first of two pairs I am making for a friend's grandchildren (a teen and pre-teen). I love the yarn I found, which was hanging around in my stash from an old sock of the month club I was in. The yarn is either black or extremely dark purple, with little bits of lighter purples in it that may just be lighter bits of the same color. I think the yarn will work for either a boy or a girl.



The ones I am working on now are blue, purple and white worsted, ones I already made some mitts for someone else from a year or two ago. I figure this will also be unisex, but different enough that one will appeal to one grandchild and the other will appeal to the other grandchild. I'll let them or their grandmother pick!

Heh, knitting the same pattern three times is one way to make it look like my pattern is popular on Ravelry! Ha ha! I also think I will crochet around the edges of the thumb opening on this pair. I think it will thicken it a bit and give it a more finished appearance. I added that to the pattern instructions.

And since I have been decidedly less than inspired with my blog content lately, I figure a photo of my good ole pug, Scrunchy, would liven the blog up a bit. Beccano loves to take pictures of him, though, to me, he looks pretty much the same in every picture. But he's a lovable feller. Just sheds a lot. At least it's short, not like the other two dogs!


I'll go knit some more now. I got Tuba Boy his last couple of little h0liday gifts today, and since Lee and I are mostly buying each other a new couch this year, I don't have to shop a lot. I feel quite festive, though. For the first time in a long time, I am not panicked over paying for things. So, whatever you're celebrating this season: enjoy your family and friends and don't stress over decorating, buying and doing (unless that is what you LIKE).

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Errata for Belleza Vest Pattern

I've corresponded with the author of the Belleza Vest pattern, Diane Martini, and she agreed with me that there is an issue with the chart for the Welting Fantastic pattern.

However, the written-out version is fine, so if you make the vest, just use the written-out version and all will be well. It's a short repeat, so it's not a pain or anything!

If you have a copy of the pattern and want to fix the chart, just switch where there are 2 K stitches for 3 K stitches and vice versa EXCEPT in the first repeat, which is on the right of the pattern. That part is correct and matches the written-out version.

I am assuming Diane will let Brooks Farm know about the mistake and get future printings fixed.

PS: I am still really, really enjoying the pattern and the Brooks Farm Ellie yarn!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Hello! I Am Back!

Have you been pining for exciting posts from me? Or are you like me and a bit overwhelmed and not realizing which blogs are AWOL and which are not.

My Excuses

I have been knitting, quite a bit, since you heard from me last, but a lot has gone on in ye olde real life that has made it hard to take the time to blog. Work got even more intense than usual, there were a bunch of meetings, and then, sadly, my sister-in-law, whom I had never met, passed away the week before Thanksgiving. I spent most of that week consoling my husband and figuring out what to do. Then we rented the RV we'd planned to rent anyway over Thanksgiving a few days early and set off for Alamogordo, NM, where his sister had lived. Being in an RV meant I could do a lot of knitting, but of course, spending lots of time with the family (and managing to cram in a whole week of work while driving and in early mornings) meant no blogging time!

I will say that knitting helps with the stress of being an introvert and meeting a large number of new people. It also passes time well when you have no one to talk to because no one knows you! And some of my projects got folks talking!

What I Worked On

Happy news: I managed to knit that entire Harry Potter scarf in just two weeks (other than the fringe, which I dawdled on until last night). Between the long ride at Kid 'n Ewe and the long trip to New Mexico, I conquered that boring knitting without going crazy. As you can see, it's a BIG and wide one. I hope its recipient enjoys it. I know I brought some holiday stress relief to the friend who had planned to try to knit it!


Once that was done, I got on a finishing kick and finished up those socks in the Inspiration yarn. I immediately started wearing them, so I never got around to taking a glamor shot of them. Suffice to say, they are soft, comfortable and practical. They go with most of my clothing, so I predict that they will get a lot of wear (unlike, say, those shiny silver ones).

OK, I hope you are sitting down. When I finished those, I did NOT start a new pair of socks. Yes, shocked readers, that is right. For the first time in years and years I have zero socks on the needles. Now, there is yarn and needles waiting to start my next socks, so there will be some soon, but nope, I didn't start them!

Instead, I started on a project for my dear college student son. Last spring he had asked for shiny purple gloves, and I'd ordered the yarn for them at that time. I had sort of hoped he would forget, but a few weeks ago, he asked about them again...so, I figured since I'd be seeing him over Thanksgiving and could measure his fingers, now would be the time to work on them. As you can see, I finished one glove. I ended up knitting the glove pattern from Not Just Socks, which I had made before. However, it came out huge when I went up to a size 1 needle. In fact, using size 0 the gloves are definitely sized for a man's hand.



I guess that the previous pair I made (which aren't on Ravelry, so I can't check) I must have used 000s, because they fit perfectly. (Hey, I have a photo taken on my New Mexico trip of me wearing those, so here they are.)


The shiny purple glove brought great amusement to teens we visited, but Tuba Boy proved to them that real men DO wear purple sparkles! So...I am finished with one glove, and they fit his fingers perfectly. I coped very well with having to knit half of it twice, since it gave me stuff to do on the trip. Now, on the second glove, I am ready to start the pinkie, but I am totally distracted by the next project!

I couldn't help it...I had to start the Belleza vest pattern I got with the Ellie yarn from Brooks Farm at Kid 'n Ewe. It is so beautiful...not copper, but bronze. And it feels wonderful. Silk and wool is one of my favorite combinations. It is endlessly fascinating to me how the thick and thin parts create different textures. Where it is all thin, the yarn is see-through, but where it is thick, it's very puffy. It's fun. I was surprised that no one had put the pattern in Ravelry but went ahead and added it. I seem to be on a run of knitting the only version anyone ever makes of things. I'm the only one who made those patterned gauntlets from Knitter's, and have only just become one of two people to make the Bridget cardigan. Huh.

Anyway, I don't have a photo of the Belleza project yet, since I haven't done enough repeats to make it look like anything (it's knit in one piece from the bottom up, so I am knitting long rows), but that will give you something to look forward to next time. Which will be soon, honest.

PS

To my friends on whose blogs I usually comment: I will be back reading soon! I will read every word!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Annual Kid 'n Ewe Report

It's November again, and that means the Kid 'n Ewe festival is going on at the Kendall County Fairgrounds in Boerne, Texas. I would hate to miss the chance to buy yarn from local alpaca ranchers and other Texas vendors, so I was quite relieved to realize my tarot workshop was last weekend, not this weekend! Whew, no conflict.

The original plan this year was to go with friends Tina and Deana, but Tina had to stay home and watch her gall bladder surgery incision heal. So, Deana and I met up at the LYS, tossed a coin to decide who drove, and set off on our trip.

I would have been glad to drive, but was relieved that Deana had to, mainly because I am knitting an immense and not-too-exciting project. I agreed to help out my church friend Alyssa out with her Christmas knitting. I feel for her, because she has a toddler and is pregnant, and I remember being in that spot. She is knitting all sorts of dishcloths and such for gifts, and wanted to give one relative a Harry Potter scarf. Then she realized how much knitting that would be. So, I said I'd do it. Using Vanna's Choice 100% acrylic yarn (verdict: less awful than Red Heart). 6 skeins of it. I have to knit 11 stripes of 22 rows each, 70 stitches per round. All circular stockinette. At least changing colors keeps me awake. The 5 hours in the car yesterday helped a lot, and I am almost halfway through (the photo shows what it looked like Friday night, before the long car ride). I will be eternally grateful to Deana for driving!



We had a nice chat and enjoyed what passes for lovely fall scenery in Texas. It was nice that recent rains has actually put water in the lakes, rivers and streams, too. And of course we enjoyed the festival itself!

We enjoyed meeting lots of vendors. I told the Plain & Fancy Wool Co. people thank you personally for finding that additional yarn for finishing my Bridget sweater, and I also bought some more of their stuff, a variegated blue. I keep thinking I would like to make a cardigan like the rainbow one, only smaller and short-sleeved. And maybe in linen stitch instead of garter. MMM, I love linen stitch. We'll see. In any case I got FOUR skeins, so I'd have enough yarn!




I got some neat alpaca, just one skein, but I loved the colorway so I had to get it. It's from Windmill Crest Farms in Seguin, and they spun brown and gray alpaca together. The gray looks quite bluish next to the brown. I want to make a pair of warm gloves from it--there is a pattern in the new Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts magazine that I would like to use, if I can get gauge. (And may I interrupt to say I was shocked to find the magazine was $14.99!)



Another random thing I bought was two skeins of brushed suri alpaca that looks a lot like Kidsilk Haze. I just got an urge to make a white thing. A lacy white thing. We will see when that comes up. Must stop knitting for other people, first, and I have not mentioned that I got asked to make two more pairs of mitts for someone's grandkids. And of course I will, because the grandmother is a sweet old friend.



And a visit to Kid 'n Ewe would NOT be complete without drooling at the Brooks Farm booth. Goodness gracious, I love their yarn. I came very close to buying 6 skeins of Acero sock-weight yarn to make a mitered diamond jacket. But, i just got this one skein of sock yarn, which happens to coordinate with one that I already have...could make a shawl...well, it IS very pretty.



I also got four skeins of a yarn called Ellie, which is 50/50 silk and wool. It's labeled a DK weight, but is thick and thin. They had a vest sample that I really loved. So, I got the pattern and enough yarn to make it. And the yarn. You cannot tell how pretty this color is from the photo. It is green, but with brownish tinges. It looks like copper that has a nice patina on it. I just can't WAIT to work with this stuff. I am really excited by the prospect of making the nice vest. Drool.



Yow, I do get a lot of ideas every year at Kid 'n Ewe! I also saw friends, and that is good.

Oh yeah, while Deana was buying the prettiest batt of wool/silk/etc. I ever saw, I got a necklace. I have misplaced the card from the girl who made it, but she also had drop spindles painted with dragons and other celtic stuff. I really like how the clasp is part of the design on the necklace. And it will go with LOTS of stuff.

ADDED: I found the card for Sally Ball, who made the necklace. Her stuff can be found at www.yorkieslave.etsy.com and she has fiber, spindles, etc.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Textured Thumbless Mitts Pattern

As promised, here is the pattern for the mitts I made. I hope you enjoy them. If you make them, please link to the pattern on Ravelry, so it will look like someone knits my patterns.

Textured Thumbless Mitts

©2009 by Sue Ann Kendall
Soft and warm unisex mitts using a variety of interesting textures. A good beginning pattern for knit and purl patterns and knitting in the round.
Materials:
One skein worsted weight yarn (4 oz. skein will make two pairs). I used Malabrigo worsted in the colorway "Hummingbird," which has smaller skeins, and I still didn't use all the skein.

US size 6 circular needles, or size to get 6 stitches per inch. This is most easily done using magic loop or two circular technique.



Abbreviations:
k = knit
p = purl
st/sts = stitch/stitches
* repeat material between asterisks

Seed stitch (even number of stitches, worked in the round):
Row 1: *k1,p1*
Row 2: *p1,k1*

Stockinette stitch (worked in the round):
Row 1: knit across

Moss stitch (even number of stitches, worked in the round):
Row1-2: *k1,p1*
Row3-4: *p1,k1*

Linen Stitch (even number of stitches, worked back and forth):
Row 1 Slip 1, p across.
Row 2: Slip 1 (as if to purl), *Slip 1 with yarn in front, k1* until last two sts; k2.
Row 3: Slip 1, p across.
Row 4: Slip 1, *k1, slip 1 with yarn in front,* until last st, k1.


Mitts (make two!):
Cuff

Cast on 34 sts.(40 for larger size). join for knitting in the round, being careful to not twist stitches. (You can divide the yarn among 3 or 4 double points or use Magic Loop, which is how I do it.)
Work in Seed st for 7 rows.
Work in Stockinette st for 14 rows .
Start with Moss stitch, and repeat the pattern rows 4 times (16 rows), ending with row 4.
Purl one row.

Hand

Begin working back and forth. This creates the opening for the thumb.
Work 16 rows in linen stitch, ending on Row 3.
Rejoin for circular knitting and KNIT Row 4 from the front of the mitts.
Purl one row.
Work 4 rows in Stockinette st and then 4 more rows in Seed st.
Bind off loosely in Seed st. If you knit tightly, consider using a larger needle to bind off.

Finishing:
Weave in the ends, and you are done! Optionally, you could single crochet around the thumb hole. I've done that on some of the later ones I made.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Mitts and More Mitts

Another week of not a lot of knitting due to that darn work. But, that pays for yarn, so no real complaints!

I did manage to finish those fingerless mitts I was working on last week. Here they are.


It is hard to believe they are made from the same two skeins of yarn, isn't it? At least on the second one you can see the fair isle pattern a lot better. I still haven't managed to block them, so they are a bit wrinkly.


There was a good bit of yarn left. Enough for at least one more using the same main and secondary color, probably enough for two if I switched. I may well try a third one and see if it blended with either lefty or righty, then decide to make it a left or right based on that. Or, I can give these to some eccentric friend or family member who likes to wear fraternal knitted items! These are quite pleasant to make, and would be nice in any bulky yarn combination, I'm sure.

I was surprised to see that I am the only person who has made this pattern on Ravelry! I guess I am a pioneer.

The next photo you see is what I worked on yesterday at the yarn shop and finished today. It's fingerless mitts with no thumb, just a slit. You could make these flat and sew them up (and I did make one pair like that a while back), but I did them in the round. I based these on a pattern I saw online, but I have changed the length, the stitch patterns and how it is constructed, so I think it would be safe to share the pattern when I am done with the second one.


The yarn is some yummy Malabrigo in the colorway "Hummingbird" that I got at Yarnorama in Paige a while back. I bought 4 skeins of it and 4 skeins of a dark color that I was thinking of making a two-color cardigan with, but I think I can spare this skein for a favorite teen who loved this color. The lovely hand model is Lee.

I just used a variety of my favorite knit and purl patterns, plus my favorite linen stitch on the hand portion. This would be a good project to familiarize a newish knitter with knitting in the round and doing simple patterning. It would also be a great stash buster for quick gifts!

After this project, I have some gifts to get moving on, which should be fun. I may have a lot more mitts in my future, too. Kids like them!

And finally, since I keep changing how I look, here's yet another photo of my head. I got most of my hair cut off, because it had been dyed so much that it was not happy, and the length was just not good for my fine hair. It's much happier now. We did our best to put a streak in the front, which will continue to grow out with my new gray streak in the front of my head. It's my hope that I can stop dyeing my hair and just enjoy how I actually look from now on. we will see how long that lasts, of course.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Starting and Finishing

Finally I had a bit more time to knit this week, even with 12-hour work days. I was thrilled to finish the Vilai socks. It was pretty nerve-wracking there for a while, because I could see holes in my skin of yarn toward the end. I had no idea if there would be enough yarn to finish them. But, as you can see, there was. I had I guess two yards left (I originally estimated three, but two is more like it).

You can see that these are really nice socks. They came out a bit large--I would suggest anyone using the Glam Grrl yarn consider a sock designed for sport weight, not fingering weight. I am happy with the shiny aspect, though!


I think these are worth another photo! If you can't see all the patterning, click to see the enlarged photo. You can see the silver shining on my legs. Oooh, ahhh. With these socks, I honestly don't care if I get a lot of wear out of them. They were just so much fun to knit. I really loved the pattern and the chart. It was just hard enough to be engaging but easy enough to enjoy working on while watching RV and stuff. I recommend this pattern highly! And you can bet that my next complex socks will be from the Sock Innovation Book. I actually think I am making the next pattern in the book, Angee. It's going to be in navy blue Pagewood Farms sock yarn--not so thick!


I also finished another sock, the first in the pair of plain socks that I work on when I am unable to concentrate. These just FEEL great. It's just merino sock yarn, but it sure feels good, and is incredibly easy to knit with. It's from Intention Yarns (made by Lime & Violet) and is called Simplicity. I like simple socks with a plain foot and a 2x2 rib top, so they fit with the name and intention of the yarn! I am having a dickens of a time with the second sock. First, I started the gusset (they are toe-up) and realized I had switched from doing the increases on one side to the other. So, I ribbed all that off and did it right. Then I started the heel and managed to get it quite off center. So, I get to re-do that, too. Good thing I am liking that yarn, huh.


And finally, I decided I wanted to so something fun. I think I already mentioned that I found this pattern in the Fall 2009 Knitter's Magazine that used yarn I already had. I decided to go ahead and make those, just for fun. The pattern is called Wave Gauntlets, and is quite simple. Kits up fast in the bulky yarn. When I only went down two sizes of needles, they still seemed pretty big, so I went down four sized. This way the end of the gauntlet is still fairly wide, but the part on my hand fits well.

Since it's a two-color pattern, I need to block it to see it in its best light, but the photo at least shows the waves. In person, it just looks like colorful globs. I guess the yarns don't contrast enough. And I was not real happy that the thumb ended up such a different color. I guess we will just have to see what colors happen to pop up in the second one. They certainly won't be identical twins. Looking at the yarn, I may be able to get a second pair out of the yarn, and make another pair to give away.



We had a fun Halloween at the yarn shop. Cindy did a lot of face painting, and lots of us (even me) ended up either very lovely or very scary, whichever we desired. She is quite an artist. Oh, what the heck, here's a photo of me. It is intended to go with my fortune teller outfit.



Everyone looked beautiful in their ensembles!

One thing that I regret about becoming so valuable at work is that I have to work long hours some days, so I miss out on Wednesday knitting. And next week I have to go to a work dinner, so I'll miss it again. I miss the camaraderie and the relaxing conversations! I have a tarot workshop next Saturday, so I may not be able to hit the yarn shop next Saturday, and I do believe the wonderful Kid-n-Ewe is the next Saturday after that. I hope I can round up someone willing to go with me (most of the group events these day's don't include me--my fault for not being around much, I am sure!)

Hmm, leaving my post on a whiny note--sorry 'bout that!It looks like I have another set of mitts for a teen to knit, then I think I want to make a scarf with the handspun Jody gave me a few weeks ago. Who knows what else.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Andromeda Unveiled

Finally I have had time to process my photos and show you how the Andromeda shawl came out. I have had a busy few days, but I am sure you've had plenty of other blogs to read, huh? So, here is the artsy shot of Andromeda resting on some ginger plants. I am relieved that I can see the patterning here! It's really different to see a shawl with such clear geometric patterns. I am grateful for the suggestion to make this one!


You can see from this photo that it is nto huge, but at least it does work as a shawl. In fact, I wore it yesterday to the yarn shop and today to church, and it manages to stay on, even though it's small. It looks great with a black or navy shirt.


Here you can not only see how I am doing in my project of growing out my hair, but also how it just barely manages to wrap around my arms. It does, though, add a bit of warmth to my shoulders, which are perfect for late autumn days in Texas! The snowflake on the shirt is definitely wishful thinking!


My son was very patient and kept taking photos as I tried out different ways of wearing the shawl. It does a good job as a very cheerful head-scarf, doesn't it? I was having such a bad hair day today that I almost tried this look while out shopping, but didn't want the Muslim women thinking I was making fun of them. (Our outlet mall always has lots of women in hijab, saris, and other colorful ethnic attire! I especially like the Indian families where the older women are dressed very traditionally, the middle-aged women have a few nods to tradition and the younger girls look like everyone else at their high school. I guess I am a big fan of honoring your heritage, whatever it is!)


Anyway, I am pleased with the way this came out, and equally pleased that I have a LOT of the yarn left. I will be able to make another very large shawl out of what I have left, so I will think about what that might be for a future project. I think next is a solid colored Shetland or Faroese one.

But to be honest, I don't have anything I am just dying to make right now. I guess I will just hope I can finish those lovely silver socks (I am on the heel of the second one) without running out of yarn, then make the arm warmers from the Rowan bulky yarn. I certainly have plenty of projects lined up, so I will just pick one when the socks are done.

I have been so busy the past week or so with evening activities and such, that I haven't gotten much blog reading in, so hi to those of you I usually greet on your blogs--I will catch up soon! And thanks to those of you who commented last time or sent me email. I am glad you are here.

Monday, October 19, 2009

I am a Video Blogger

In an effort to cheer myself up (oh has it been a hard day, plus I am worried about my dad, who's had a death in the family AND has a wife with a badly broken arm), I think I will post my first video blog, courtesy of my fun iPod Nano that Lee got me.

It's the locally famous Pilar showing her latest piece of knitting (in the background, Susan and John Francis provide their usual "commentary"):


video

I hope to show you some other projects by the people I run into, and I hope you enjoy the little vignettes! And doesn't Pilar look great in those stockings? She has a perky hat to go with it, too.

And here's one more little preview. This is Andromeda, blocking! It was teeny, weeny, tiny when it came off the needles. Like the size of a bandanna. Tomorrow I hope to show you the finished product, which is at least the size of a large scarf!



I hope someone is here reading--not a lot of comments lately, but then, I haven't been a sterling conversationalist, myself. But, at least I have a knitting problem to stew on, and those are less horrible than family issues: I have a feeling I do not have enough silver yarn to finish the Vilai socks. Oops. I will see if I can find more on Ravelry or something!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Peace and Quiet

I haven't gotten too much done this week. Lots of activities and even when I was at the yarn shop, I was so busy helping folks and doing other stuff, that not much knitting got done. That's OK. I really get a lot out of helping other people, and well, the chatting and laughing part is quite nice, too.

I am almost done with one of the plain ribbed socks I am working on. That comes from a lot of riding in buses with high school band kids! Speaking of which, since I have no knitting content, indulge me and look at the kids in their marching contest yesterday. See how many hearts, bows, presents and such you can spot. My son is one of the ones making the cymbal crashes, and playing the marimba in the front.




I have been really proud of these kids. A few weeks ago, this program totally stunk. You couldn't tell what they were doing, and they came in last at a competition. Last weekend they won a competition with the highest score of any school, and yesterday, what is in the video, they got a "1" (best you can) in the scholastic competition that is what they practice for all fall. People told the director it's the best band this school has had, which is amazing considering that some of the kids really could not figure out what they were doing not too many weeks ago.

Today I should have a lot of knitting time. I plan to FINISH that Andromeda shawl. By writing it down I am making it HAPPEN. I keep putting it off. So, look forward to seeing a small but pretty finished object in the next post!

The latest Vogue Knitting showed up today. I actually saw a couple of do-able projects, including one with lots of mitered squares that looked so fun. Who knows if it would look good on my petite round-ish frame, but it looks fun. There is also a cardigan that starts out with a cable in the back, then grows sideways on each side from that beginning. It looks like a me kind of project. I love unusual construction.

OK,off to really DO that knitting.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Stealth Project

I snuck a quick project in while taking a break between Vilai socks, the mitts for my son's friend. I really like how they came out:



I did it all mostly while talking or riding in buses to band events, so they aren't perfect. For example, I forgot to make a left and right mitt. All the cables are the same. But, they are very warm, and I should know, since I tested out the first one at a rather nippy band competition Saturday night.



Again, the yarn for this was GGH Magica, which is a 100% wool with two plys very loosely spun together. As you can see, it fits at least one teen's hand, so I hope the recipient isn't too much bigger!

Tonight I'll get back to the Silver Vilai and start the second sock!

It was a pretty good knitting weekend, cool and rainy. Plus, all the other things I had planned to do fell through, so I got in a lot of yarn shop time. It helped that Saturday's competition was quite late, so it wasn't an "all band all the time weekend." It is good to be back in the swing of things without so many other tasks interrupting my knitting friends. There was a yarn crawl going on this weekend, so the shop was open on a rare Sunday. A few of us regulars gathered and got quite tickled over some of our conversations. Most fun was trying to find balls of yarn that matched particular parts of human anatomy. You had to be there, I guess. I also enjoyed meeting some new folks who were yarn crawling--always a bonus!

Oh yeah, the other good thing about the cool weather is I get to wear all my fun knits. I trotted out the rainbow cardigan and Bridget!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Progress Report

How about me, I am posting a little more this week.I also did something I haven't done in a while--I bought yarn at the LYS! It's pretty impressive since I was only able to drop by for about 25 minutes due to an early evening meeting. The first thing I got was this, which had just come in on Wednesday. It is from a place called Handpainted Sock Yarns, and it's their Donegal Sock yarn. Look at the fun slubs and the very nice colors (I especially like the areas where one color blends into another. It's called Madama Butterfly. There's a lot of yarn on the skein, too. It would be neat to make socks and some little mitts out of it. Nice to have a new and different choice!



The other stuff is the Pagewood Farms Chugiak that the shop has suddenly started ordering in massive quantities, mainly because a couple of customers have gone nuts over it. I am happy to see new yarn, of course, and since I have decided I want to make a couple more things from the Cookie A book, I needed some semi-solid stuff. Theirs is very nice! This one is golden browns and is called Mississippi Mud. it has more colors in it than some, but I still think the complex patterns will show up OK on it. After looking at socks from the Cookie A book in multi-colored yarn, I grew pretty sure I didn't want to go that route, much as I love those yarns, so this is a good choice.

The other one is creatively named "Navy," and it is that color, too. I have NO dark blue hand-knit socks, so this will be perfect. I love the depth of this particular colorway.

But here's what you really blogged over to see. My first finished Silver Vilai sock. These two photos are done with my Blackberry, so it is NOT very representative or highly detailed. Even so, you can see that this s one spectacular piece of footware. This is the side, with the fan shapes.

And this is the front with the cool cables. This one is closer to the right color. Like the office carpet? Mmm, a classic. What you can't see are the silver sparkles. It looks kind of molten in person. The silver doesn't detract from the pattern at all; it's more of an enhancement. Anyhow, I am very pleased.

I got to the heel on my plain socks, too. I'll be working on them in school buses and such this weekend. I will also be starting the Dashing mitts, maybe today.

I did remember one other reason I was so happy with the Knitter's Magazine. It will enable me to do something with yet another two skeins of yarn that I bought on a whim. I got this Rowan Colourscape Chunky stuff at Fibers, too, and never did figure out what I wanted to do with it. But, there in that Knitter's is a pair of chunky mitts that calls for one skein each of two colorways of that yarn. Why I have two skeins of differing colorways! Woo! I can make those and either give them as a gift or use them myself! Boy, I feel virtuous shopping the yarn shop in my own house!

Well, I am tired of waiting on an email from the boss, so I am going to go home and enjoy a Texas High School Homecoming Football Game. It cooled off and I think the rain may be done, so it might be nice. And I get to see Tuba Boy!