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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Tuesday Stitch and Chat

Eleanor caught the beginning of the Ellyn Cooper Trunk Show and is knitting the Michael Kors Infinity Scarf in Jenny yarn, a fine gauge cotton/bamboo blend.  

The colorway she's knitting with is white pine.

Cornelia is knitting second sleeve then it's off to the finisher for blocking. 

Allison was finishing up a Hitchhiker scarf. Her customfit sweater has been on the sidelines.  Now that she is facing a spring of kid sports, she's looking forward to working on it.  

Monday, April 20, 2015

Place your votes

When I'm in the midst of designing, especially when there is a deadline involved, everything goes on the back burner.

While it's blocking I can now pick up where I left off and turn to some recreational knitting (I think I've just coined a new term).

First I have to reconstruct what I was working on and where I put it.  No matter how organized I like to think I am, I'm not.  I fill bags with things that need to go to different rooms - and then don't empty them for weeks or months. Add to that the dogs recent interest as yarn as a toy and I am facing quite a treasure hunt.

I uncovered Gamine, this was to be my transition into spring garment.  The yarn I'm using is Swans Island Washable Wool (Aran: 100% organic merino, 100 yards).

It could still happen, I have to finish the bottom border, neck border and whatever happens to the armholes. Well, I may be sweating in it if spring comes before I'm done.  I. am. wearing. this. - at least once before packing it away for the fall.

So now, what to knit next?

 © Louise Zass-Bangham

Song of the Sea Infinity Scarf to be knit with  

Island Yarn Pagoda (Fingering: 65% Merino, 25% Bamboo, 500 yards). A pattern with the word "sea" in it has to be knit in a color with blues (in my opinion).

Mirasol Nuna (Sport: 40% Silk, 40% Wool, 20% Bamboo, 191 yards). 

Book FAM Fatto A Mano #218, #52 Pullover to be knit with  

Lang Yarns, Filo (Sport: 75% cotton, 25% nylon, 219 yards).

Big Damn Heroes to be knit with 


Dragonfly Pixie (Fingering: 100% superwash merino, 475 yards).

As I look over my choices, I noticed the following:
  • They are all fine weight yarns (fingering or sport) which means tiny needles for me.
  • With the exception of Song of the Sea, all the colors are outside of my (color) box.
  • They are all lace projects.
  • Two of them are projects my sister knit and I have to copy her. She found them first and they looked cool. Which two you're wondering? Song of the Sea and Big Damn Heroes.
So I'd like your help in deciding. While I'm winding yarn and locating the right needles, place your vote for my next project. Until the votes are in I will be waiting and swatching.

The dogs are sleeping on it.

Friday, April 17, 2015

I'm over it.

Michelle, finished knitting the sampler blanket.  She has three more strips to block, and finishing details.

This blanket was knit with Cobasi (Light Fingering: 55% Cotton, 21% Nylon, 16% Bamboo, 8% Silk, 220 yards). One of the stockinette squares gets a rocking horse worked in duplicate stitch.  She found brown wool in her stash, looked like Koigu.  To make sure it wouldn't run when washed, we put a small bit of yarn in a cup of cold water and let it sit there a while.  All is good.

She is in finishing mode and has three more blocks of Paintbox afghan. I think Michelle has been knitting these two afghans for the better part of six months.  She is over it. Once these are well and truly finished she will begin the Houston KAL.

When she got to Stitch and Chat, Lois was more than halfway through her Marshmallow Fluff Cowl, it measured 17.5" and should knit up to 24". I left them alone for a minute and when I came back, Lois and Linda decided she was done.  She got to 20.5" and wants it to fit more snugly.  She'll block it and be done. She's over it. Her plan was to finish this in a day, not over four months.  Another thing to cross of to do list.

She's ready to shift to my Fallen Halo that she is knitting with with green Cashmere 5 and Cashmere Glitter yarn. A truly luxurious experience.

Linda has been rocking along on her Etched Rio Wrap and is down to the last ball. Initially she was fine with row 13 of the lace section. At some point she made the "major" lace row into a albatross and gets anxious every time she comes to it. Call it knitter's block. When she gets to that row she holds her breath across those 16 pattern sts wondering if it will come out right. She was hoping to get a chance to wear this during the spring.  It's still kind of chilly - it could happen.  At any rate, she's over it and ready for her next project.

Michelle and Linda caught up. Michelle told her that she took up needlepoint while in Florida.  Going forward she will needlepoint in Florida and knit in Connecticut.  Linda made an interesting observation: working her hobbies this way Michelle is cross training her brain.

Linda analyzed where she was when she made a mistake. Where was she sitting? What was the lighting situation? Was the TV on? How was she feeling?  The conclusion:, sitting in poor light, watching Dr. OZ while tired. Nothing really to add to that.  Kind of says it all. 

Thank goodness for Linda's musings.  They are the stuff blogs are made of. ;)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Inquiring minds want to know

Eleanor was back from Morroco where she visited Berber villages in the desert part of Morocco. She said that the color Lapis was everywhere.  That's one of her favorite colors.  It must've been a beautiful site.

She's working on her L'Enveloppe in Noro Silk Garden Solo (Aran: 45% Mohair, 45% Silk, 10% Wool, 110 yards). There is a certain synergy with this color considering her recent trip.

Corneila was working on one of the sleeves for the Confidence Pullover knit with Cascade 128 Superwash (Bulky: 100% Superwash Merino, 128 yards).

She was stumped because the pattern changed the number of stitches used in the raglan shaping rows on the sleeve versus the body.  She had written a cheat sheet for the body and was caught up short when the row didn't work.  Once again that whole "reading the pattern thing" rears it's ugly head. In this case, she hadn't read it wrong, she just didn't understand why the stitch count changed.  Who can really say, that's the designer's prerogative. She re-wrote the cheat sheet to reflect the change.

Then we reviewed ssk: slip one as if to knit, slip the next stitch as if to knit, then insert the left needle tip into the front loops of the slipped stitches, then knit them together from that vantage point.  Cornelia was slipping them, but not knitting them together.

It's really easy to get "pattern amnesia" when going from one row to the next or one section to the next.  It can help to read a confusing row/section out loud.  I'm often guilty of selectively reading and either skipping words or inserting words.  Sometimes I even make up what I think the pattern means. If you read it out loud, you're forced to read what is actually written.

Patti, who is relatively new to knitting, knit up several lovely summer infinity scarves.  She was using the Michael Kors (Inspired) Infinity Scarf. She's going to wet block them to be wider.

She put border of half double crochet stitches worked through the back loops. It added stability to the scarf. The yarn used in the scarf above is Claudia Hand painted (Discontinued) Linen (Sport: 100% Linen, 270 yards).

She was surprised how much we all admired them.  A knitted piece doesn't have to be complicated to be worthy of admiration.  Her choice of color and pattern were perfect. The yarn used here is Seedling (from the shop) (Aran: 100% Cotton, 110 yards).

In her own words, Patti is on a learning curve journey.  She has a booklet with stitch patterns and we reviewed how to read knitting pattern shorthand and abbreviations.

We reviewed seed stitch (bottom rows) added a garter border row, then moss stitch.  We talked about the importance of punctuation as a clue to the sequence of directions. 

Twice during class someone had to rip back rows.  Once it was Cornelia for not working the ssk properly.

Another time it was Elaine. She notice this errant stitch in her knitting. You see the twist and the little hole? At some point she must have put down her knitting and when she picked it up, she went back in the wrong direction.

It was comforting to Patti that other people made mistakes and had to rip out their knitting too.  We told her that you are not a real knitter unless you repeatedly have to rip out your knitting and re do it. It's funny that no matter where we are in life, we take comfort in knowing that others are experiencing the same things we are. Not that we take comfort in someone's discomfort (although I'm sure that happens too), just that we are not alone.

We also talked about keeping track of rows: row counters, apps for row counting, and the old school way of pen/paper. Like I said, inquiring minds want to know...

How do you keep track of rows and handle confusing directions? Post a comment and share with the class.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Mary has lost her sheep.

Mary literally brought a (rolling) suitcase full of yarn to pick for the Building Blocks afghan class I'm teaching in May.

After a careful review, the contenders are Cascade Cotton Club or Plymouth Jeannee.

Once we solved that project, she handed me her lost sheep a/k/a Sheep Roll Neck Roo sweater. Last week she noticed that she had forgot to begin the face, so she was going to take it back. It got all kinds of tangled up. 


I just cut the tangle free.  Mary wound them back into balls and she's going to pick up some yarn bobbins to add some order to the chaos.  It was a case of tough love and cutting our (well, really her) losses. Then she began swatching for a customfit in Seedling (Aran: 100% Cotton, 110 yards).

Sunaina sent her Miley Tee to be fixed, now all she has to do redo the ribbing.

Krazy Kurti, the sweater that made Sunaina a knitter (in her opinion - I thought she was a knitter all along). This was a really cool sweater to knit.

All the sections are done.


It's been hibernating because she doesn't like how the red looks on sides. She's going to redo it with orange. We also realized that she picked up the stitches on the wrong side for one of the sleeves, so she'll have to reknit that. That's the plan.

 She finished knitting the hem closed for the Houston Top knit-a-long.  I love the color of Monet that she chose (Aran: 52% Cotton, 40% Acrylic, 8% Nylon (Polyamide), 60 yards).

Lois told me that her husband is thrilled that I fixed the ribbing on his Basic Vest for Men. He said "that's great, Lois, when will it be done?" Lois gave herself some leeway and told him, "a couple of years. She was knitting her Marshmallow Fluff Cowl. What she thought would take "a day" gas taken months.  First world problems.

We had a philosophical moment: Sunaina said that knitting fully absorbs her attention.  Lois has  knitting ADD and gets distracted. Since she stops to mark each row she completes, that is often. Or at least every row. For me, my knitting ADD takes a different direction. I think about other knitting projects I could be doing. Then there are all the distractions in knitting: reading a pattern, pattern math, counting stitches, and the list goes on.

Michelle is back.  HIP HIP HOORAY! She was swatched and ready to join the Houston Top knit-a-long. The yarn is Berroco Origamri (Worsted: 58% Acrylic, 16% Linen, 15% Nylon, 11% Cotton, 98 yards).

She is knitting the Westport Yarns sampler afghan in Cobasi (Light Fingering: 55% Cotton, 21% Nylon, 16% Bamboo, 8% Silk, 220 yards). The afghan is usually 5 strips. Because she is knitting with fingering weight she's adding an extra strip.  We had a meeting of the minds to pick out 6 of the stitches to repeat. 

When Elizabeth went to pick up the Cascade Eco plus at Westport Yarns, she saw the Blue Sky Alpacas Extra yarn (Aran: 55% Alpaca, 45% Merino, 150 yards). She is totally smitten with the yarn and one particular color, a raspberry/reddish color.  It's back to the color drawing board for Rosalia now that she's seen this raspberry color.

I'm adding yesterdays Stitch and Chat...

Cornelia finished the body of her Confidence Sweater in Cascade 128. I measured the sweater and it's about 1.75" narrower than schematic.  She's good with that as she wouldn't mind it a little smaller. We will pin it together when she's done to see how much blocking will need to be done. She cast on for the sleeves.

Her grandson loved the hat that she knit for him.

Allison brought her customfit sweater to work on. She's knitting the fronts of the cardigan at the same time.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Lost Island of Socks - Found

I think I've mentioned my dogs' penchant for socks.  Forget shoes, they love socks. But not any socks, Thing #1's socks.
In the smaller pictures above (on the right and left), they are wrestling. Over a sock. With just their mouths. No other body part involved. In the center picture, Tucker has his security sock and a log from the wood pile. All winter long they have been stealing socks. The yard was quite a site when the snow all melted.

While we were away for the day, Thing #1 asked her friend to come by to check in on the dogs.

 This was the text she sent.  

And happily I was able to sit outside for this first time this spring.  I wore appropriate footwear and color coordinated in pinks and greens in honor of the momentous occasion.

Monday, April 6, 2015

What to knit during the holidays this weekend?

Why I always leave these decisions to the last minute, I'll never know.  Well, that's not true, I do know.  I just don't like to admit (to myself) that I'm eleventh hour person.

Initially I wanted to bring my next Secret Squirrelly project with me.  There's a lot of potentially good solid knitting time to be had.  Unfortunately, although I've swatched, I haven't written the pattern out. 

Of course I sat at the kitchen table and began to write it which is like playing beat the clock (till we leave). After an hour or so of this I realized that this was not the best plan.  I wasn't doing the new project justice.

So now, what do I knit? It has to be mindless and easy so I can carry on conversations.  I settled on my spring design, Broadway Pullover. The yarns are held double: S. Charles Collezione Nina (Aran: 77% Linen, 23% Cotton, 136 yards) and S. Charles Collezione Flora (Lace: 95% Cotton, 5% Metallic, 114 yards.

 I picked out a lovely smoky deep lavender to knit it in. Ok, so that's one project to knit there.  

For the car ride, I'm going to bring a project that has a lot of ends to be woven in.

That was plan.  Our 2 hour drive took 3 hours. I was quite content and didn't even realize it was taking longer.  I was plugged into my book tape (Game of Thrones so needless to say I not only finished weaving in all the ends on one project,

I cast on and began the Broadway Pullover.