December 28, 2011

WIP Wednesday: Entrelac Experiment

It's been a very long time I think since I posted for WIP Wednesday, but since I have a few projects on the needles I thought I'd go ahead and share the new Entrelac project and update Honey's sweater project. procamera So here's where I am with the Entrelac. Looks pretty good, huh? There was that New Year's resolution knitting list for 2011 ... And I accomplished much, but not all. :( So in these last few days of 2011, I am attempting to do one last item on the list by learning Entrelac and making this scarf--which will probably end up getting sewn together at the ends to make a cowl of some kind. As I may have mentioned before, I think this is a tedious process of knitting. I get bored after about one right side and wrong side round and have to set it down in favor of other things--sometimes I don't make it through an entire side--, like the iPad I got for Christmas that is taking me forever to set up to fit my needs. Be that as it may, I think that I am about 50% finished with this project. Optimistically speaking, it could be done by New Year's Eve. I would like to say that this silk/merino is of my own label, but it's really some Cherry Tree Hill that hasn't seen the light of day since I bought it--something from the Vampire collection, which should tell you that it's been waiting in the drawer for eons. I like it but don't like it--the strands separate too easily when I'm picking up stitches, but it's soft and snuggly with a nice pattern repeat and a little sheen. Now about Honey's shawl collar sweater ... I'm still working on that project and it seems like I am getting nowhere even though it's sucking up the yarn like crazy. (Being an English teacher, you'd think I'd have a less colloquial analogy, right?) I've been working my yardage expectations according to that Drops pattern at I had originally begun this project with. Now I'm thinking that the numerical errors in the stitch count weren't the only problem with the pattern. I think that the yardage required for the pattern was sans sleeves and collar! I ordered another blank skein to dye up upon the expectation that I wouldn't have enough yarn todo sleeves, but now I'm thinking, as this sweater continues to burn through the yarn, that I am going to need at least two more skeins. I'm doing this bottom up, and I have the ribbing and about 4.5 inches of the body done. This is total automatic knitting, and it's becoming a car knitting staple. I think it's also going to be a faculty meeting staple. (I know the picture is upside down, but I'm still getting the hang of this Incredibly convoluted iPad thing.) Uploaded by ProCamera And the other new project on the needles is a new pair of Sportsman gloves for Scout #2 who washed and dried the first 100% wool pair that I made him. He needs these for the big January Pine Mountain camping trip. Maybe I should spend more time on the gloves and less time on the Entrelac scarf now that I think about how close the date of this trip is. Well, off to knit something. In case I don't get back to posting before the first of the new year, Happy New Year everyone!

December 26, 2011

Monday Masterpiece Trio

Between the wrist brace and a December that was truly out to get me, I didn't think that I would be able to get all of may Christmas knitting done in time, but I managed to pull it off with two days to spare. Not only did Rocket get her hat and mittens set (and has thankfully decided on a flower decoration on the side instead of that a crazy i-cord decoration on top of the hat which would totally cover the perfect circles on top of color) ...

but Scout #1's chullo was finished on Friday ...

and I manages to whip up a second fair isle hat for Scout #2 last Thursday--yes, that last hat was done in an afternoon! And I finished with two days to spare.

Then, on Friday, I also taught myself to do the one thing that I have said I was going to learn and haven't for the last two years: Entrelac. I think after 11 completed rounds and 10 inches of knitting I finally have the knack of it without having to revert back to the basic instructions. I have to say that entrelac may be even more tedious than knit-one-below, which I also learned how to do and then never did again.   Entrelac isn't fun to knit, but it's not any worse than knitting bobbles or cables, I guess. I will not, however, have that entrelac item that was on this year's knitting to-do list done before New Year's Day.  C'est la vie.

There's a new shrug pattern brewing in my brain now that I've learned entrelac, and I think it might be my submission to The Twist Collective for next fall's collection, so that means no details for my readers' inquiring minds, I'm afraid. We'll just see how it goes.

December 12, 2011

Monday Masterpiece & Giveaway Winner!

First, the winner of my $20 electronic gift certificate giveaway is:  Lorraine!  Yeah!  Congrats Lorraine!  I'll be in touch, so check your email later today.

For a change, the weekend was productive on the knitting front.  I managed to finish the hat for Rocket's hat & mitten set for Christmas.  I'm debating about whether or not to knit up a flower to embellish it after she said something to me this morning about how she would like "a hat with a flower on top".  I don't think I would necessarily put a knitted flower on the very top of the hat, but maybe I could do an I-cord and make the shape of one.  That one will take a little thought.

The big masterpiece for today is this little number: my very own, no-pattern used to make this scarf, braided scarf in emerald hand spun bulky wool. 

I think that for a woman working without a net, it turned out pretty swell (even if my camera doesn't want to cooperate with color indoors today). All that I did was to figure out how wide I wanted my scarf to be and then improvised the braided parts.  I think I will wear it to work today, since the weather is threatening to be cold, windy, and raining. Brrrrr!

December 08, 2011

Giveaway Ending! (And a free ribbed cowl pattern to boot!)

So the gift certificate giveaway is still going on.  There are only a few comments, so chances to win are pretty good.  Click on this link to go to the $20 gift certificate giveaway for my Etsy shop:  Gift Certificate Giveaway!  Giveaway ends at midnight this Saturday, 12/10/11.

And while I was NOT resting my injured hand/wrist like I was supposed to do, I whipped up this little number.

I was right, and the cowl did get finished before any of the Christmas presents that I have been working on lately.  The end result was a very thick and warm cowl.  This yarn is a little scratchy, so if you are not scratchy wool tolerant, you might want to go with something in a bulky cotton.  I like this cowl very much and am sure that my friends at work will covet it.  Mother Nature has thrown us a curve ball (70 degrees yesterday afternoon, 44 degrees this afternoon!) and given me the perfect reason to wear it to work today.  I like this simple pattern so much so that I am giving you the pattern for it right here:

I used all of 2 skeins of Valley Yarns "North Hampton", which is 218 yards of a bulky weight yarn.  Be sure to leave enough at the end of the project to sew on the button!

Using US 11 straight needles, CO 33 stitches.
Row 1:  Knit 6, Purl 3, Knit 6, Purl 3, Knit 6, Purl 3, Knit 6.
Row 2:  Purl 6, Knit 3, Purl 6, Knit 3, Purl 6, Knit 3, Purl 6.

2 inches from the end of your scarf (this was at 41 inches for my scarf), Knit 6, Purl 3, Knit 6, Bind off 3, Knit 6, purl 3, Knit 6.
On the wrong side, Purl 6, Knit 3, Purl 6, do a backward CO for three stitches, Purl 6, Knit 3, Purl 6.

Continue repeating rows 1 & 2 for two more inches.

Repeat rows 1 & 2 to desired length.  I knit my scarf to 43 inches.

To finish, sew on button and weave in any loose ends from joining skeins.

I wrapped the scarf around my neck twice and secured it with the button.

December 04, 2011

Christmas is coming ...There should be a giveaway !

It's December and the craziness of the season has begun. It began with my knitting injury.  Yes, I said knitting injury.  I'm pretty sure that the brace from my elbow to my fingers on my left hand is a consequence of trying to knit too much with too many small needles in too short of a time.  Although there was some kitchen and dining room remodeling, and it could have been a consequence of having to scrub linoleum glue off of the concrete floor with a wire brush for several hours for several days running in order to put down the Travertine tile in the kitchen and laundry room, I prefer to think that my left hand is toast because of the hat and mittens for Rocket, the cowl custom order (knitting and spinning involved in that one) for a friend--who incidentally after a week is still trying to decide if she likes it, the sweater for Honey, the chulla for Scout #1 (Scout #2 has decided he also needs one by Christmas, please), and the new cowl for myself. I'm thinking that the new cowl for me may be about the only thing that is actually finished by Christmas at this point.  The more I knit, the worse my hand becomes, even in this high-dollar brace and without actually doing anything but holding the needle and the working yarn in my left hand.  I think I should probably go to the doctor about this tomorrow, since it is starting to seriously affect the important things in life (my knitting projects).  Too bad that this injury isn't to my right hand, and it was grading papers that I couldn't do anymore.  I think I have multiple stress fractures in my forearm and wrist.  But, hey, since my cowl is, by comparison to the other projects that use US3, US5, and US6 needles, being knit on tree branches (US11), that's coming along fairly well, even if it's at a very slow pace.

But you know what I CAN do with this injured appendage ... Elf hats.  I can make elf hats for my Brownies.  No one else noticed the correlation between the Brownie Elf that is the foundation of the Brownies in Girl Scouts and the fact that my Brownies were all dressed like Elves in the Loganville parade last night, not even the other Brownie leaders, which is sadly kind of par for the course.  I spent all day yesterday making sparkly red and green elf hats for the Christmas parade last night.  Who knew that glitter spray paint could look so good on felt?

My girls were cute.  The parade was a whole lot of drama I didn't need.  I think we walked about 1.5 miles from the line-up place to the actual parade route in the dark, and then, the actual parade route was about 1/2 mile and it moved so quickly that start to finish we had to practically run and it took about 10 whole minutes.  It was the dumbest thing!  And there was so much leader drama created by the leader of one troop who showed up with her own FLOAT to set her troop apart from the other troops that were walking together to represent all of the Girl Scounts in the county that I was ready to go home before we even lined up.  We even lost a girl from our troop at the end of the parade.  Yep, you heard me.  LOST a 3rd grader!  Talk about a moment of panic.  Turned out that, when we said "get in the van" to our girls so as to ride back to our cars at the line-up site instead of walk, she saw people she knew on a float and, in the mass confusion at the ending point, got on the float.  FORTUNATELY, the float turned out to have her mother on it and after we searched high and low for about 40 minutes, we found mother and child.  You know what I wish?  I wish the holidays were like this:

Don't you?

I guess it can't be an Irving Berlin Christmas in reality, but wouldn't it be nice if the drama was over whether or not it would snow in time for the Christmas production instead of the craziness of our personal calendars?

With that said, I think that it is about time that I did a giveaway.  I haven't done one in quite some time.

So here's the deal:  I'll give one lucky winner a $20 gift certificate to my shop, and y'all follow these rules:

1.  One entry for responding to this post with a comment about what you would like to buy with a $20 gift certificate from my shop by 12/10/11.  Here's the link:  Zibeline Knits @ Etsy

2. Another opportunity to win by liking Zibeline Knits on Facebook--even though I will know you've done this, you have to comment here to let me know that you have done this so that you can get your extra entry.
3.  Another opportunity to win by subscribing to my newsletter--even though I will know you've done this, you have to comment here to let me know that you have done this so that you can get your extra entry.

All entries will be submitted to an automatic, computerized selection tool and I will announce the winner on 12/11/11.  Please be sure that in your comments you make it possible to contact you via your web page or your email address, at least through your avatar.

November 23, 2011

Holiday Yarn Sale!

So I've decided to have a sale just in time for the holidays.  If you visit my Etsy shop, today through midnight Saturday, enter the coupon code KNITMAS during checkout and save 20% off of your entire order--including off of already on sale Rocket Sock! With Christmas just around the corner, it's time to get knitting!

Here are just a few of the fantastic skeins in the shop:

There are gorgeous handspun skeins, too! Here are just a few:

November 21, 2011

Masterpiece Monday: Mittens Accomplished!

Ta-dah!  Rocket's Christmas mittens are complete!  They were less difficult than I expected and I think that they turned out pretty well; the thumb on one seems a little shorter than the other one, the stitch count is the same.

I think there is enough left for a hat, so I cast on yesterday in secret and will just see how things play out.

I don't think there will be enough left for a scarf, but if Rocket actually wears them more than once, at least I'll have some backup in case mending needs to be done.  That's probably wishful thinking, that they'll be worn until they are worn through--likely one will be lost in the under-the-bed abyss and the other one will accidentally go through the dryer and be fit for Barbie.  That's about how we roll around here.

I also cast on for a chullo for Scout #1 who, after I had already purchased a pattern that turned out to be a bit loopy in the realistic directions department and spent $25 bucks on yarn that he picked out himself and had re-knit the darned ear flaps into a loop for the hat portion about 4 times, tells me that he really liked that one at REI and we should just go there.  Ahhhhh, memories!

Well, I spent pretty much 4 hours on Sunday night trying to put the fair isle pattern that he wants into the hat.  For normal people who can multiply and divide, this is not a 4-hour endeavor; for me, it's a 4-hour endeavor.  But, I finally got it and am about to start the 4th row of the snowflake (looks like a poinsettia to me, which means he's going to have red flowers on his manly hat, but let's just keep that joke between us girls).

Honey's sweater hit a little snag.  I got all the way to the row (22 inches of fabric knitted expertly and evenly after having to frog it completely three times) where you begin binding off for the shawl collar and the arm pits and realized that I have been knitting the darned thing one size smaller than I originally thought.  NOT to worry, though!  This I can fix with a little side-panel magic and it will look just like it was supposed to be that way.  That's really not the snag I'm talking about, though I about collapsed when I realized that I had knit the darned front three inches smaller in width than I thought.  The snag is that, apparently, the Scandinavians who do the technical math for Drops and who came up with the published pattern for this sweater can't actually do math any better than I can.  In reality, I can apparently add and subtract better than they can--and this makes me feel a little less stupid about some pattern corrections that I've had to make lately for my own published patterns.  Apparently, someone miscounted and not by a few stitches at the Drops offices.  Using the Drops math, I had about 26 extra stitches just laying around at the end of my row when I went to cast off for the collar.  That's a lot of stitches.  I believe that I have corrected the math, and the pattern is pretty simple otherwise; I'm hoping that I don't get the whole thing done and then I can't make the shawl collar fit but we'll cross that bridge later.  Meanwhile, this manly sweater is currently beginning to take on a tank-top appearance, which I think is kind of amusing. 

November 13, 2011

WIP: New Sweater on the Needles

There's never a free moment when I am not A) working for the Zibeline Knits Etsy Shop, B) doing household chores, C) being the activities director/Girl Scout leader, or D) KNITTING!  Of course, I prefer the latter, and most evenings and all car trips you will find me knitting.  That means that I usually have about 27 projects going at the same time.  In the midst of Christmas knitting and my needing to fill custom orders for cowls, gloves, and mittens right now, Honey asked me to knit a shawl-collared sweater for him.  Hmmm.  I was a little daunted by the task and had to frog the front piece three times; but after I realized that European men are significantly smaller than my 6'2" Honey, and that I was just going to have to adapt the Drops pattern that I wanted to use to fit an American man, the knitting has progressed very nicely.  Right now, I'm just two inches from the underarms and the bottom of the collar.  I'm not too keen on having to knit 5 separate pieces and sew them together, as I hate seaming (really HATE seaming!) and go to great lengths to avoid patterns that call for it; however, there are not too many shawl collar patterns out there to choose from folks.  Here's how it's looking:

The yarn is a worsted weight merino that I hand painted in olive, spruce, and rust.  It's knitting up in a nice jewel tone.  Very manly colors.  The purpose of this sweater is not to hide my Honey in the woods while he shoots unsuspecting animals; rather, it's for cold-weather camping and hiking across mountain tops with Boy Scouts.  Those annual December and January camp-outs in below-freezing temps are fast approaching; so I hope to have this done by Honey's birthday in mid-December.  Here's what the finished product should look like:

November 11, 2011

Introducing My Newsletter!

I've finally stumbled upon a way to create a newsletter for my Etsy shop that visitors and customers can subscribe to.  It's pretty nifty, and I'm pretty pleased with how swell it looks and works.  So, beginning this month, I will be able to send out a bi-monthly newsletter to update subscribers about new yarns in the shop and to offer special discounts and coupons.  Interested in subscribing?  Just click on the link below and sign up on the super short and non-intrusive subscription form. You will also be able to subscribe from my Facebook page and from my Etsy shop.  And, thanks again for stopping by to visit me via my blog!

November 04, 2011

A Wonderful Week of Knitting!

      Although I have been bitten by the flu bug this week, and have felt down-right pitiful and unmotivated to do anything but knit and lay around, all that time to be an invalid gave me the opportunity to make some really good progress on the project list.  I also want to remind everyone that, if you are in the market for a little sock yarn, I'm having a 20% off sale on all of my Rocket Sock collection at my Etsy shop.  So here's the run-down.

Honey has a new motorcycle cowl:

I have a new candle flame cowl for me done in my handspun Corriedale in Butternut (yarn is also available for purchase in the Etsy shop):

Judy got shoes:

And the first of two mittens for Rocket for Christmas has been completed in a two-ply hand painted & hand spun squishy superwash merino that I spun up this past summer for her.  It's been long enough that she has forgotten about the yarn, so I am hoping that the mittens and their accompanying hat--maybe there's enough for a scarf, too--will be a nice Christmas surprise.  I couldn't be more pleased about how this two-ply is knitting up!

So here's how the list for 2011 is looking:

sweater for me (elsebeth lavold Christmas present skeins)
medium Sportsman test gloves
large Sportsman test gloves
extra-large Sportsman test gloves
2 sweaters for Rocket (1 done)
1 pair of gloves for Scout 2
that gorgeous blackberry cabled cowl sweater for me
Swing for my mom
Autumn Leaves beret
Buttercup beret
socks, socks, socks! (Groovy; waterfall; monkey socks)
Reconstruction Sweater (sleeves not yet done)
cowl for a friend 
another pair of Elegy gloves for me (in progress)
80s Shrug (hibernating)
cabled cardigan (hibernating)
yellow Swing
Macrame Vest (hibernating)
cowl for Honey (times 2!)
black cherry wool/silk cowl
Miscellaneous cowls for me (2 done so far, but there's still that Possum yarn to knit!)
Mittens & Hat for Rocket
Rocket's Birthday Doll (Judy)
Fair Isle Hat for Scout #1
Christmas Slouch for gift
Christmas Candle Flame Scarf for gift
Candle Flame Scarf for my mom

There's how many weeks until the new year?!

November 01, 2011

Sock-tastic Yarn Sale!

'Tis the season to be knitting socks!  To celebrate the onset of sock season and to help clear way for winter colorways, all Rocket Sock skeins are 20% off through November 7th!  If you have previously purchased from me and have a 15% off coupon, go ahead and use that too!  The prices have already been reduced for the sale, so all you have to do is hit the "add to cart" button.  Here are a few of the skeins that are waiting for you to snatch them up and make them into some cozy winter socks:

Thanks for stopping by!

October 30, 2011

A few crafty things of the season

Autumn is my favorite time of year.  Certainly, when the leaves are bright and crisply colorful, everyone loves autumn.  I love autumn for the once-a-year things that autumn brings:  apples, apple sauce, apple butter, pumpkin butter, cozy evening fires in the fire place, crisply cold evenings (cold mornings are NOT among my favorite autumn things, however), piles of leaves, and cowls.  There are other things, of course, but you do those things to and the point is that I have a new cowl and a bunch of new cinnamon applesauce to show off.

First, last weekend's trip to Fletcher, NC for the annual SAFF (Southern Animal & Fiber Fair) convention brought some great new fibers to spin (I've been so busy they haven't even made their way out of the shopping bag yet!) and a bushel of Jonagold apples.  I don't care what anyone says, Jonagold makes THE BEST apple butter!  And, though I was flying solo and without an actual recipe at the time, as it turns out, it also makes the best cinnamon apple sauce in the history of the world!  1/2 bushel yielded 7 quarts, one pint, and the bowl that Rocket ate of apple sauce.

Then, although I finished the knitting part last week, I put the finishing touches on my new cowl for the season. This is my own hand painted and handspun superwash merino.  Although accidental, when knit with my bamboo stitch scarf pattern, I ended up with very cool coppery angled stripes in an even pattern all the way through the piece.  I used about 200 yards for this cowl.  The buttons are a copper color and they go with the stripes.

Oh, and I finished spinning up a sinfully soft skein of 50% camel & 50% caramel-colored alpaca yesterday, too.  177 yards.  It's so soft that all I can think of is that this skein would make some heavenly soft gloves.  It's about to be listed in the Etsy shop; but I might have to spin one up for myself later. :)

And that's some good work for the weekend, I think.  Apple butter will be next on the list for today, right after I knit up a sweater for Pickles.  Apparently, the chihuahua has gained a few pounds and the puppy with the fat belly needs a new sweater.


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