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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

What motivates you?

Cornelia is nearly done with her Houston top in Silkystones (Worsted: 52% Silk, 48% Linen, 109 yards). She's working on the neck shaping. Because both sides are worked at once, she has to use two skeins of yarn at the same time. We reviewed the pattern together. She's motivated to finish this so she can move onto the next project.

This is a gorgeous cashmere vest Cornelia knit last year in Lobster Pot Cashmere (Aran: 100% Cashmere, 100 yards). Unfortunately it came out too large.  She's going to work with the finisher to see what can be done.

Eleanor and Allison are working on their customfit sweaters knit with Kid Paillettes (Lace: 42% Mohair, 40% Polyester, 18% Silk, 136 yards). Eleanor has almost finished the back. For selfish reasons I'm looking forward to seeing their finished sweaters.  I can't decide which color I want to knit for my own sweater!

Allison is highly motivated to finish hers before Eleanor since she started hers first. Motivation comes in many forms. She has almost finished the second front and then onto the sleeves.

She finished her Yowza Weigh It Shawl in Yowza - Whatta Skein! (Worsted: 100% Merino, 560 yards).

Allison also swatched for the Burrow shawl in North Star (Bulky: 92% Camelid - Alpaca, 8% Nylon, 109 yards).
Blue Sky Alpacas
Eleanor was enticed by the Twin Harbors Poncho in Blue Sky Alpacas Extra (Aran: 50% Baby Alpaca, 50% Merino, 218 yards).  She's thinking of black for the turtleneck and light green for the body.  She is making a deal with herself to finish the Madison poncho she began a couple of years ago, before she starts this poncho.  Sometimes we have to make these kind of deals with ourselves to motivate us.  By the by, I'm going to knit this poncho with a black turtleneck and red body. 

She just got the yarn to knit Leftie with 1 skein of Cascade Heritage Silk (Fingering: 85% Merino, 15% Silk, 437 yards) and a Cheshire Cat Mini-Skeins kit from Wonderland Yarns (Fingering: 100% Merino 640 yards).

We are all motivated by different things.  Sometimes we need to finish up old projects to give ourselves "permission" to start a new project.  Sometimes a new project can be just what we need to get us excited when we've lost interest in an old project.  Perverse, I know, and it happens all the time.  What motivates you?

Monday, August 24, 2015

Aha Moments in Knitting Class

Lately in my classes, I've been asking students (at the end of the class) what their big Aha! moment was.  It's been very interesting for me as a teacher and for the students as a group.

In this weekend's Building Blocks Afghan class several of the students were on the block that introduces lace knitting: yarnovers and leaning decreases. Here's what they had to say:

Janice: "Not to get nervous about two yarnovers near each other leaving holes." She thought she did something wrong until she understood the purpose of the yarnover/decrease in a pattern.

Mary Ellen: She joined us for the first time today and hadn't knit in a while.  I loved her Aha! moment. "You can get back into knitting. I rediscovered the zen of knitting."

Annie's Catalog
 Louise: She was knitting into the back of her stitches. "I was knitting the wrong way.  I learned how to knit the stitches properly and they look better.  It does make a difference."

Mary Y.: Hers was more a "Tada" than and "Aha".  She was on block six and it was giving her a tough time.  She had finished one row. Tada. ;)

 Robbie: Her aha moment came from the realization that "I learned a lot in the Exploration Station shawl I knit prior to this class and it really prepared me for the yarnovers in this square."
Mary S.: That the different ways you can decrease a stitch: k2tog, ssk, skp, k2togtbl, affect how they learn.  Specifically in this block: k2tog leans to the right and k2togtbl (through back loop) leans to the left.

I'd love to hear your Aha moments.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

And it shall be named, Tucker Hat

I have completed my Mission: Super Bulky Hat. Thank you to all who contributed names for the contest.  Susan O. was the winner with "Tucker". Congratulations, Susan.

It seemed only right to have Tucker's mom to model the hat.

One of the best attributes of this hat is that 

  • Great pattern for beginner knitters. Instant gratification.
  • It’s important to swatch no matter how much you hate swatching, you want the hat to fit.
  • Knit with super bulky yarn, this hat is a super quick knit.
  • Sizes based on 21” (23”) head circumference with 1” negative ease for a snug fit.
  • If you want the hat to be more slouchy, add more yardage.
Clearly Tucker can't handle all the fame and glory.

The pattern is available on Ravelry here. Cast on today and be done in no time.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Tuesday Stitch and Chat

Eleanor made serious progress with her customfit knit with Kid Paillettes (Lace: 42% Mohair, 40% Polyester, 18% Silk, 136 yards). However, she was under one stitch. 

 While looking for it, I found a few random purl stitches on the right side.  

I used fix-a-stitch to ladder down change the stitches and ladder back up.

Rosie was inspired the customfit garments last week and chose Berroco Ultra Alpaca (Worsted: 50% Wool, 50% Alpaca, 215 yards) in a lavender shade and will join my customfit class next month.

She finished her first hat last week with yarn her mother-in-law bought her.  Today she swatched with Anzula For Better or Worsted (Worsted: Worsted: 80% Merino, 10% Cashmere, 10% Nylon, 200 yards) for two more hats. This yarn is simply gorgeous.

Apres Vest did not work in the Brushed Fleece, the yarn broke when she worked the ruched stitch pattern. ;(

Trammi and Eleanor both wanted smaller projects to fill the gaps between larger projects.  Eleanor chose a skein of Yak yarn and a lace cowl.  

For Trammi, I found a pattern from a filtered search on Ravelry. She is going to cast on for the Hourglass Cowl with two skeins of Meadowcroft Dyeworks Paleo-Indian Woolens (Worsted: 100% Merino, 218 yards).

I love the dyeing of the Meadowcroft yarns.  I'm knitting a one skein scarf with the Paleo-Indian Woolens Worsted.

She decided to cast on for ZickZack scarf to learn how to carry colors every other two rows.

Allison was truly motivated to finish knitting her Kid Paillettes customfit sweater after seeing the progress that Eleanor made.

She also was swatching with North Star (Bulky: 92% Camelid - Alpaca, 8% Nylon, 109 yards) for the Burrow shawl.

The knitting needles are flying around here.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Just call me the 11th hour knitter

Thing #2  stopped by to see me at the shop and wanted to make a date. Otherwise known as "take me, bring me, buy me".  I know I'm being a little harsh. In her defense, she's worked hard all summer and wants to spend time together before going back to school. At an age when kids often want no part of their parents, I'm happy she likes me. Today.

We decided to get pedicures together. While catching up, we had the following conversation:

Me: "Do you want a knitted something for Hanukkah or are you knitted out? (Foolishly thinking I'd be ahead of the holiday game.)  Oh, wait! You wanted a sock monkey. You can pick the yarn."
Her: Eyes wide, "I want that for school."
Me: Eyes wider, "ok (thinking, great, I'll make that for Hanukkah)."
Her: "I want that for starting school, I told you that"
Me: Eyes wider still with a sinking feeling in my stomach. Silence.

 She leaves for school in 10 days.

So there you have it, with design projects and sample knitting lining up like planes at a busy airport, I will be making a sock monkey in week's time.

All those expressions come to mind:
"The 11th hour"
"Best laid plans of mice and men often go awry."
"We Plan, God Laughs."

I'm sure I could find more, but you get my drift.  Also, who has time to surf the web for quotes when there is a sock monkey to make?

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Tuesday Stitch and Chat

Cornelia finished her CustomFit sweater and loves it.  She quipped that it's like it was "made for her". You can read her testimonial here. She knit it with Malabrigo Worsted (Worsted: 100% Merino, 210 yards).

After she finishes the Houston Top for her daughter, she plans on knitting a poncho for her granddaughter.  She would prefer that it is bulky so it goes quickly. The Houston Top is being knit with Rowan Silky Stones (Worsted: 52% Silk, 48% Linen, 109 yards).

She fell in love with Rasta (Super Bulky: 100% Merino, 90 yards). Since this is what I call a seasonal yarn for us, I suggested she get it now.  She found a great pinky-purple, Boreal colorway, for the poncho.  Her granddaughter loves purple, girl after my own heart.

AND, Rasta in the colorway, Indecita, for a vest for herself. Most likely she'll use a CustomFit pattern. She would like it to be low hip, with one button as a closure.

Rosie was grateful that her cat jumped on her knitting because in doing so she realized that she wasn't doing her ZickZack scarf correctly.

We revisited carrying the yarns. The yarn is  Mille Colori Baby (Fingering: 100% Merino, 208 yards). Once she felt good with ZickZack, she began knitting her first hat with yarn her mother-in-law bought her.  (Before she visits again.)

Eleanor is beginning her CustomFit sweater in Kid-Paillettes (Lace: 42% Mohair, 40% Polyester, 18% Silk, 136 yards). This is her second CustomFit sweater. 

Trammi reached the scalloped section of her Scalloped (Malabrigo) shawl in Findley DK (DK: 50% Silk, 50% Merino, 131 yards).  She needed a little help interpreting the pattern, understanding when a pattern says increase while maintaining pattern stitch. Thankfully the pattern pictures helped shed a little light on the pattern.

She knit the hem closed on her Apres Vest knit with Rowan Brushed Fleece (Bulky: 65% Merino, 30% Alpaca, 5% Nylon, 115 yards).  There is a lot going on at once in this pattern. While working the ruching pattern there are shaping changes take place. She  will need a row counter to keep track of pattern stitch.

We revisited her Perla coat in Milano (Aran: 40% wool, 28% nylon, 18% silk, 14% other, 105 yards). When she first took on this project we made some modifications, it was time to measure and reconfirm the plan. It's going to be a knockout.

This group was in serious form today. No grass growing under their knitting.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Misssion: Super Bulky Hat

I've been tasked with designing a super bulky hat for the shop in one of the new yarns we got in for the fall. The yarn is Lang Virginia (Super Bulky: 100% Wool, 54 yards).

I set myself up outside on this perfect Sunday morning with all the necessities: tea, stitch dictionaries,  and Tucker to keep me company.  He can be my muse.

Would you believe the damn dog fooled me into giving up my seat?! He got off the table, whined by the door.  When I got up to let him into the house, he jumped into my seat.


Having identified several stitch patterns that fit my vision for the hat, I set about swatching to see which pattern I liked best. The yarn calls fro #13-#15.  I used #15 for the first three stitches from bottom to top.

I found the stitch I liked the best, second from the top of the swatch and 

worked it up on a smaller needle, #13.
Now I'm ready to begin testing the pattern.

I need a name for the hat.  Please leave a comment with a suggestion for a name. I'll assign a random number generator to choose a winner. Whoever wins will get a free copy of the pattern and a skein of yarn to knit the hat.

Let the games begin....