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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sounds like Swatch

Last week I caught up with Michelle, Elizabeth, and Mary. 

 Michelle is back and sharing her winter projects.  She discovered a lovely baby blanket pattern, Gacoco.  Her yarn of choice, Cascade 220 Superwash Sport (DK/Sport: 100% Superwash Merino, 136 yards); 7 skeins.  The picture above is of the blanket blocked.

This is a picture of the blanket in progress.  It blocks out beautifully!

She's been knitting Boxy with Rowan Panama (Fingering: 55% Rayon, 33% Cotton, 12% Linen, 148 yards).  Funny thing about Boxy, the designer gives the option for knitting it flat or in the round.  Michelle opted for in the round.  Now her gauge differs dramatically (on the same needle) from flat to circular.

Unfortunately for Michelle, she did a serious amount of knitting before she realized she was on the wrong needle which made her (already oversized) garment, ginormous.  That was not a happy knitting day.  She ripped it out and reknit it.

Check out the upper part of this piece of knitting. See how it slants to the right and has more defined ridges?  Michelle didn't insert a new stitch, the yarn randomly started doing that.  She's knitting Suit  with Cascade Ultra Pima (DK: 100% Cotton, 220 yards).  She ripped the same section out several times and it kept happening.  While at Stitch and Chat she tried the section with a new skein.  Voila!  Problem solved.  It was very random.  Ultra Pima is one of my favorite yarns and this has never happened before.

Elizabeth is swatching for this awesome sweater, Rosalia.  The bottom half of the swatch was a #4 needle, above the straight line she tried a #5 needle.  Her gauge was still really tight.  She's going to tried a #7 next. 

Mary swatched for the Blue Sky Alpacas Bulky Baby Hat.  She swatched with Purl Soho Supersoft Merino.

One week later....

Mary finished the hat and it is adorable!  She just has to make a pom-pom for the top.  The hat reminds me of the Who's in Dr. Suess' Whoville.

She swatched in the wrong direction for a Baby Basket Hat in Berroco Comfort Worsted (50% Nylon (Polyamide) 50% Acrylic, 210 yards).  The pattern calls for a gauge of 5 sts to the inch.  She was getting 4.5 sts to the inch.  Instead of going down needle sizes, she went up.  It always seems counter-intuitive, 5 is a larger number - so go up a needle size.  When really its going down a needle size, to fit a larger number of sts into an inch.

This is the beginning of the Kersti Baby Cardigan.  This yarn knits up beautifully, Koigu Kersti Merino Crepe (DK: 100% Merino, 114 yards).  She started the cardigan as her swatch, it's so small, why not?  Phyllis, a newcomer to Stitch and Chat (Welcome!), suggested Mary knit a 9 month size, that knitting smaller just didn't make sense.  Wise words.  Mary is going to go down a needle size and up a pattern size.   

Mary is knitting the Purl Bee Super Easy Baby Blanket. It really doesn't get much easier than a garter stitch blanket.  Combine that with ombre colors of Purl Soho Supersoft Merino (Bulky: 100% Merino, 87 yards), and you have a very special gift. 

Phyllis came to Stitch and Chat for the first time today.  She's knitting the Autumn in Taos Coat.   The coat is made up of mitered squares.  She's using yarns from her stash that are working together beautifully.  That's the benefit of being consistent with the colors you like.

She wanted to learn a different method of weaving in your ends as you knit.  It's different than carrying the yarn over like you do in Intarsia.  I found a youtube video for it and we tried it out.

Our conclusion was that it was neater than other methods we had tried but not any more secure than sewing them in one direction and then snaking backwards. Check out the video and make your draw your own conclusions.  What's your favorite way to weave in ends?

Linda was nearing the end of her Rectangular Poncho knit with Berroco Folio (DK: 65% Alpaca, 35% Rayon, 219 yards).  This yarn is got a great feel to it and her stitches looked perfect.  That is except for a mistake she discovered near the end the poncho. 

She pulled up her "big girl pants" and ripped it back, then she was going to put the stitches back on herself.  I'm proud of her for giving it a go.  I think she would have succeeded to if it weren't for a couple of hindrances, namely her dogs.  One on her lap and one over her shoulder - they may have been trying to cheer her on.  That combined with an easy chair did not add up to a successful fix.  She had the aha! moment at Westport Yarns the next day when Julie sat at a table to fix it.  What is it they say?  Location, location, location.

I look forward to seeing Linda in her poncho soon, she's only a couple of inches from finishing.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Exercise in futility

First the back story.  There is a special little girl in my life who is turning 5.  Last year I knit her a Roo Design Sweater with a cup cake on it.  I like to knit for her birthday.  When I asked her mom about knitting another pullover, she suggested a capelet because she gets warm easily. That nixes pullovers.

I did a Ravelry search for capelets for little girls and didn't find anything I loved.  What's a girl to do?  I designed one just for her. Here mom gave me measurements to work around.

Needless to say I didn't start this until a week before her birthday; well, actually it was Monday and her birthday was yesterday.  That part is ok, I don't see her till this weekend.

Being 5, it's all about purple and pink.  Obviously I went with purple.  The yarn is Bergereine by Bergère de France (DK: 50% Cotton, 50% Wool, 104 yards).  I designed it with a picot border at the top and bottom.  With a picot edge like this, I had to fold it in half at the picot row and sew it to the inside.

Merrily I knit along, taking notes as I went. I used two skeins down to the inch.  I ran out with 6" of the bottom picot border to sew.  Not worth going into another skein.  I knew I must have some purple yarn to finish sewing.  Unfortunately, the shades were off and if someone caught sight of the inside, it would look bad.  Then I thought, 'hey, I could use clear nylon thread'.  I was pretty pleased with myself.  This is where the fun begins.

You have to have a sense of humor when sewing with clear nylon thread. It may not look clear, but just try threading the needle. It's like an episode if candid camera. I realize that I am dating myself.

I took off my glasses better, sometimes that helps. There is nylon thread in this picture.  YOU try to find it. While trying to get a grip on the yarn, I thought maybe this is how Marcel Marceau got started in mime. Wait a minute, envision it:  Someone trying to thread a needle with thread, but there's no thread to be seen. It seemed like an exercise in futility threading that needle. Finally I kind of looped it in on itself.

Unblocked it was 14.5" wide across the top, 8.5" deep, and 30" wide at the bottom.

I soaked it in cool water for a while and then stretched it out to pop the eyelets and make it a little bigger.  I didn't need pins, it laid flat nicely. Blocked it was 16" wide across the top, 9" deep, and 36" wide at the bottom.

I'm going to run a narrow ribbon through the eyelets at the top as closure.  After the pattern is tested, I'll post it with a picture of the birthday girl.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Wednesday's Stitch and Chat

Lois is working on Argentate Glovelettes in Rowan Lima (Worsted: 84% Alpaca, 8% Merino, 8% Nylon, 109 yards).  The pattern was easy and she's really happy with the results so far.

Maria is knitting the Moses blanket with yarn from her stash. I couldn't find the pattern on Ravelry, there are several Moses blankets/baskets, but none of them were a match.  She knit on a wrong side row and needed to back track a few stitches.

She's also knitting a stockinette cowl.  While traveling on an airplane (and watching a movie) she got turned around the wrong way which left a hole in her knitting.  She had to rip back a few rows.

Elaine reached the point in her pattern of picking up stitches for the border.  She is left handed and we had an interesting moment where picking up stitches as directed was too awkward.  Elaine figured out a way to use her left hand needle to pick up the stitch and the right hand needle to knit it on.   The Mini Water’s Edge Cardigan is for her granddaughter. The yarn is Cascade 220 Superwash (Worsted: 100% superwash merino, 220 yards).

Linda finished sewing her All about the yarn jacket knit with Queensland Uluru (Fingering:  55% Cotton, 26% Acrylic, 19% Polyester, 410 yards) held with Filatura Di Crosa Nirvana (Cobweb:  100% Merino, 372 yards).

I received a text from Michelle, she's been working on the Boxy Sweater.  The yarn is Rowan Panama (Fingering: 55% Rayon, 33% Cotton, 12% Linen, 148 yards).

Saturday, February 15, 2014

That's my girl

I'm so happy I could cry!  This is a hallmark moment.  There should be a card for this.  At a minimum one of the ecards!  Thing #2 brought home more yarn than clothes in her bag AND she has a project in her purse.  That's my girl!

About a month ago, she got back into knitting/crochet.  The trigger was a friend of hers admiring a hat she saw somewhere and Thing #2 wanted to make it for her.  Much to her chagrin, it was a seed stitch hat.  Thing #2 is a crocheter.  She knows how to knit and prefers crochet.  Still, she wanted to make this hat for her friend and I got her to swatch and wrote her a pattern. Hat accomplished.

She went back to school with a couple of skeins of yarn which she made quick work of so she went to a local big box store and bought enough yarn to crochet a blanket.  I will forgive her for this as she is a poor college student and I was excited to see the revival of her interest in crochet. There are exceptions to my yarn snobbery, not many mind you, but this is one.

I received this happy picture of her finished blanket.  This does her mother proud, I tell you.

While visiting home, she found a hat I knit as a sample years ago and never wear (not my color).  She asked to borrow it and loved it.  It's cashmere, what's not to love.  This was her first contact with cashmere and I hope I haven't skewed her fiber feelings too early.  I let her keep it - I was so happy that she wanted it.  I was rewarded with this picture of her wearing the hat and the Cinder scarf I knit her for Hanukkah. The kid knows how to play the game.

On another visit home I gave her a bag of odd ball skeins to play with.  My sister was visiting at the time and it was a pleasure to sit and knit/crochet together. "We playing game" (sorry, inside family joke).

She asked for more yarn (couldn't you just melt with the sheer joy of it all?).  I happened to have  some yarn I wasn't going to use (shush, no commentary). 

At school she needed a volunteer to help her wind her yarn.  One roommate donated her knees ;).

She finished an infinity scarf for me with the odd balls of yarn.  It's warm and colorful and made just for me. I love it.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Stitch and Chat

Lois is on a roll, she finished the Arctic Circle Cowl knit with Alpaca. It was interesting and just enough of a challenge to make it fun.  It's got a very subtle sparkle to it.


She also finished #11 Eyelet Cowl in Cascade Eco Duo (Aran: 70% Alpaca, 30% Merino, 197 yards). This is a pattern she's knit before.  It's a terrific pattern for solid or variegated yarns.

Lois decided to knit Susie Rogers' Reading Mitts in Rowan Lima (Worsted: 84% Alpaca, 8% Merino, 8% Nylon, 109 yards).  Elizabeth knit them last year and Lois liked them.  (I do too, don't know why I haven't knit them yet.) She's afraid of dpn's (double pointed needles) so she's attempting knitting on two circulars instead.  That being said, it is a little confusing to get started and had her questioning why she is knitting something Elizabeth knit in the first place.  By the time she went home, though, she had the hang of it.

Elizabeth was wearing a recently finished sweater.  She was prepared for my questions too.  The pattern is Harvest Moon and she knit it with Debbie Bliss Donegal Tweed (Aran: 85% Wool, 15% Angora, 93 yards).  

 She did a terrific job, the sweater fits great.  I love how the pockets look.  Elizabeth said that this is a sweater she would knit again.

Elizabeth is currently finishing a wedding gift afghan and has begun knitting the Swirl Shawl with JoJoLand Melody (Fingering: 100% Merino, 220 yards).

 Mary had lots of show and tell, mostly in the form of magazine tear sheets and pattern ideas.  She took a class with Deborah Jarchow on weaving with a Cricket Rigid Heddle Loom at VKLive in NYC.  She brought a small suitcase of yarn to the class and ended up sharing with other students (who were taken aback by her generosity). 

 It's so nice to come away with a finished project at the end of a class.  Well done. 

She's up to the shaping on the Lucy Hat knit with Tahki Cotton Classic (Worsted: 100% Cotton, 108 yards) and Claudia Handpainted Yarns Comfort (DK: 100% Cotton, 130 yards).  It might need wet blocking to finesse it when it's done.

Next time we are going to work on the duplicate stitch for her nephew's Christmas Stocking.

Marcy (who just started knitting about a month ago) was getting her bearing with her first scarf knit with Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted (Aran: 100% Wool, 225 yards).

Elaine had to rip back several rows of short rows, a new technique to master in her grandaughter's  Mini Water's Edge Cardigan knit with Cascade 220 Superwash (Worsted: 100% Superwash Merino, 220 yards).

Non-Knitting Notes:
Mary recommended the book Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Both Lois and Elaine took apart their knitting stashes and organized it.  I'm impressed.  Not motivated to do the same, but impressed nonetheless.

Elizabeth shared a dog related accident with her scissor. It was on the floor, fair game.

Versus Tucker where fair game is anything within reach (this time from my desk).  We never found the other end of the lip balm container -or the lip balm for that matter. Probably better that way.

 It's a good thing he's cute.  Here he is playing dress up with Thing #1's tank top.

Harry, however, is very zen while demonstrating downward dog.

Friday, January 24, 2014

VKLive NYC, what an inspiring way to start the year.

I attended VKLive in NYC and as always, it did not disappoint.  I really look forward to this weekend of complete immersion in classes and all things fiber related.  Which is different from my day to day in that I was the student and not the teacher.  It's a real pleasure to take classes, meet other students, and learn new things.  I came away enthusiastic and inspired.

First I must digress to share my trip into the city.  I am a country mouse.  If I could, I would take taxis everywhere because subways confuse and frighten me.  Cynthia encourages me to be brave - it's more economical and (generally) more efficient.  She spells it all out and I am getting better(ish).

I had a rolling suitcase with me, my purse, and a knitting bag.  I did not think to ask how one navigates the subway turnstile with all these encumbrances. There was no one traveling in front of me with a rolling suitcase to watch and emulate.  Let me just say, it was not pretty or graceful.

In a word, I got stuck in the turnstile, my suitcase wedged.  I couldn't go forward or back.  I was most definitely stuck.  I was inwardly panicked that there was a timer to how long your swipe of the card lasted for and that I'd have to use up my whole Metrocard just getting myself and the bag through.  This panic probably lasted less than a minute before a nice man came and rescued me.  When I saw him I just laughed and said, "yes, nothing says tourist more than this".  On the way out, I saw someone lift their suitcase over the turnstile - not easy - but I managed.

Now onto the show recap. This was my class line up:

Looking Good Coming and Going with Melissa Leapman

I learned a number of reversible fabrics that look good on both sides but are not necessarily identical.

Slip Sliding Away with Melissa Leapman.

Working with slip stitches.

I must share that there was homework for both classes.  I remembered that there was homework for one class (the Saturday class) and as a whim on Thursday, (VKLive began Friday) I checked the class description.
 Lo and Behold, there was homework.  

Due the next day.

It was 8pm and I had just gotten home from work.

I hadn't packed yet.

I had two homework assignments to complete.

I felt like I was in College again and not in a good way.


Tucker nearly ate my homework! Luckily we caught him in time.

 I thoroughly enjoyed my classes with Melissa and realized that I own all but two of her books.  Who would have thought it?  She's a terrific teacher, very easy going, and  funny. I found her perspective and approach to knitting and designing very interesting.

I had a class with Josh Bennett on Tips and Tricks to Make your Knits More Professional.  This was outstanding class/teacher recommended to me by my friend, Cynthia.  I learned so many interesting tricks some of which were game changing. I look forward to taking more classes with Josh in the future.

On Sunday I took a class on Computer Aided Design with Lily Chin.  Not surprisingly, there are so many things I can do with my computer (or Joe's because many things required a PC) that I didn't know.  For this I really have to sit down and play to get the feel of it.

I took two excellent lectures. The first was with Gale Zucker on Photographing your knits. I learned many things I didn't know before and enjoyed a great slide presentation of her photography.  Again, I have to play to really get the best of the information I learned.  I'm usually (wait, who am I kidding -  always) very quick and haphazard with my photographs as if they are an after thought.  Which, to be honest, they usually are.

The other lecture I took was with Sally Melville on Creativity.  This was more on the science of left brain/right brain and the process of creativity.  Fascinating stuff.

Of course the marketplace was wonderful and overwhelming.  I found some interesting things I hadn't seen before. 

From Neighborhood Fiber Co, I found this skein of Silk & Steel in an electric purple.

And a lovely skein of Silk & Mohair in shades of Burgundy.

Then there was this skein of Dream in Color Everlasting DK in a colorway called Galaxy.  It was all my favorites wrapped in one skein.  I bravely put it back the first night.  I always buy this color, blah, blah, blah.  The next day I was looking for a pattern that was exclusive to VKLive.  OF COURSE it was in the same booth as this yarn.  To make matters worse (or better depending on how you look at it) the skein was falling out of it's cubby as if to say, "take me too". 

Cynthia and I caught up with our friend Ann.

Outside the marketplace is an amazing display of different fiber arts.  To do that justice, I have to send you to this link, which I think you'll enjoy.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Begin Again

I have 2100 yards of Malabrigo Rios (Worsted: 100% Merino, 210 yards) in Purple Mystery.  I've been searching for a pattern to knit with it now that holiday knitting is completed.

I tried Chimney Fire and it just wasn't doing the yarn or the pattern any justice. I love the pattern, I'll just put it on hold for a more suitable yarn.

 The sweater is worked from the top down.  
I photographed it on a black surface

and a white surface.  
The cables totally get lost in the tonality of the yarn.

 by babyfishknits Flickr

I'm leaning toward Summer Solstice for the Rios. Better to use a simpler garment with some subtle design elements to show off the yarn.

I was feeling frustrated and stymied. After months of knitting for other people I desperately want to knit a sweater for myself.  Enough of this self-less knitting.

        © Plymouth Yarn Design Studio

 I turned to my stash and found yarn for a super-bulky jacket

knit in Plymouth Deaire (Super Bulky: 100% Merino, 109 yards). I worked the sleeves at the same time and have moved onto the body which is knit in one piece to the armholes.  Minimal finishing - works for me!

Someone thinks he's a lap dog.  He's watching the snow out the window.  If you look very closely, you can see Harry underneath him.

Busted!  A skein of yarn rolled onto the floor.