January 20, 2011

Save the Children

I'm foregoing the WIP report to bring you this very important announcement.

You know that I have talked about making preemie hats for Gulf Coast Medical Center in Panama City, right?  And there are free patterns of my own design on this blog for you to use, especially for charity and non-profit purposes.  And one of my Ravelry groups is Beenies for Preemies, which you are welcomed to join.  Well, discovery of discoveries, Save the Children and Warm Up America have teemed up--apparently in November so I'm a little behind in making this plea/announcement--to collect handknit and hand crocheted preemie hats for the Save the Children's Newborn and Child Survival campaigns and charities.  I think this is a really good thing and you should go straight to your stash and start knitting some preemie hats immediately.  (I already have one done.)  Here is the link to additional free preemie hat patterns and the submission information:  Caps for Good.  Here is the link to Warm Up America.  So click, knit or crochet, and submit.  And the free hat patterns are so cute!!!!! The deadline is February 28th, 2011.  If you participate, I'd love for you to email me pictures or send me a note.

If you would just like to make a $10 donation instead of sending in caps, please go to this link for Save the Children.

It's not too late to save a child!  Knit on!

January 17, 2011

New Year Progress Report

It was a pretty productive vacation that just FLEW by, even with an extra week of vacation due to the snow storm!  Where did four weeks of vacation go?!

As a last-ditch effort to get something done before the back-to-school craziness, I whipped up this little top-down number over the weekend.  That's right, I said over the weekend. This was a Saturday & Sunday project.  I swear!  There's no new pattern, really.  I just took my Autumn Shrug pattern, changed the ribbing, deleted the ties, and added a button with an I-cord.  The button is coconut shell, which I found at Joanne Fabrics, of all places, on the fly on Saturday afternoon.  I used my Christmas present yarn from Honey--the gorgeously soft elsebeth lavold.  I used 6 skeins of 82 yds each and had enough left over for finishing.  I think it turned out rather lovely for a sweater done on a whim.  And if it looks to you like the stitches are uneven … well this is a two-ply, thick-and-thin yarn.  It gives the sweater a very unique look to the fabric.

These are my New Year's Knitting Resolutions, and I've crossed off what has been done before I go back to the salt mines.

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 pair of gloves for Scout 2
that gorgeous blackberry cabled cowl sweater for me
Swing for my mom
buttercup beret
socks, socks, socks! (Groovy in progress; waterfall; monkey socks)
Reconstruction Sweater (sleeves not yet done)
cowl for a friend 
another pair of Elegy gloves for me (in progress)
80s Shrug (in progress)
cabled cardigan (hibernating)
yellow Swing (in progress)
Macrame Vest (in progress)
cowl for Honey
black cherry wool/silk cowl

And the semester begins tomorrow with today's catastrophe, and I'm trying to stay busy to avoid the imminent panic attack and stroke that is sure to follow, the meltdown of the one jump drive that has all of the files of my entire 14-year teaching career on it, including all of the Advanced Placement data for my school which is, shall we say, NOT SAVED ANYWHERE ELSE!!!!!  I keep trying to breathe.  My Honey is trying to recover my files using his big computer genius brain; but it's a wait-and-see kind of thing with his rescue software.    This could be the greatest disaster in my personal history.  At this rate, due to panic, the last 4 inches of the Groovy socks could be finished by this evening.

January 14, 2011

My Cute Soap Sock Pattern

In a pinch, people come up with the darndest things, don't they? Well, needing something for my January swap (and if my swap partner is reading this, guess what you're getting!), the theme of which is "A Visit to the Spa", and given that I have to knit something, I thought I'd make up a soap sock. So, I cruised the patterns available online and wasn't intrigued by lacey soap socks (Who would used a soap sock of knitted lace in the tub? I'd be afraid of ruining all that hard work!) or multi-piece, sew-up-the-seams patterns (raise your hand if you hate sewing seams like me); so I thought "There must be a better way than this!"  Guess what!  There is!  Seamless, anyone?

Front View

Back View

You know I've never actually gotten past the toe of a toe-up sock on circular needles (one of the many resolutions for 2011), but I did learn how to make a seamless toe-up toe.  What does this have to do with the soap sock, you ask?  Well, that's my sidebar inspiration to the following pattern (which took me less than an hour, multiple interruptions to see Rocket's impromptu ballet performances in her bedroom included):

My Cute Soap Sock Pattern:

I used a US 9 pair of circular needles on a 16" cable--you can use a 24" cable too.  Any size smaller than a US9 needle will require a lighter-weight yarn.

Yarn:  Sugar 'n Cream 100% cotton 4-ply.   This pattern is for the thicker cotton yarn, not the Sugar 'n Cream Twists.) I think I used much less than 50 yards--I probably have enough for one more and an entire washcloth left in the 70.9 gram skein.

Gauge:  5 stitches x 6 rows = 1 inch

Final measurements:  3 inches wide x 5 inches long


Using Judy Becker's "Magic Cast-On For Toe-Up Socks"--thank you Persistent Illusion for the directions--, (you will have to click if you don't already know how to do this (there's a cast-on video below, too, but it's just for the confusing cast-on part, not for the knitting/increasing part), CO 10 pairs of stitches.

Round 1: Drop the tail and turn the needles so that needle 1 is on top and needle 2 is on the bottom.  Pull the cable through the needle 2 stitches.  Knit the stitches on needle one (just leave the tail dangle--you can tighten the end stitches after you've knit the entire circle of stitches), then turn the work and knit the stitches on needle 2. This takes a little practice if you haven't done it before, and my best recommendation is that you pull the yarn tight every time you turn the needles to go around the "end" of the circle--really tight.  The stitches will even out later--you'll see.  You want to avoid that ladder look on the edges of the circle.

Round 2: * K1, Kftb, K to last two stitches of the row, Kftb, K1.  Turn the work. Repeat from * down second needle.

Round 3: K all stitches.

Round 4:  Repeat Round 2.

Round 5:  Repeat Round 3.

Rounds 6 to 35:  Knit all stitches.

Round 36: BO if knitted stitch.

Finishing:  I tied off the top so that there was no opening between the beginning BO and the ending BO.  Then, I wove the remaining tail into the KNITTED SIDE OF THE FABRIC.  I did the same for the original tail.  THE KNITTED SIDE IS THE WRONG SIDE FOR THIS PATTERN.

* Flip the sock inside-out so that the purled rows show.  I wanted a rougher surface for this item so that it was a little scrubby, a little exfoliating.

*  Braid three strands of the same yarn used for the sock and weave them into the fabric of the sock about 1 to 1 1/4 inches from the BO row.  Pull tight and tie in a bow.  This way, you can remove the soap to wash your sock in the washing machine AND, when the soap gets down to a chip, you can replace it.  So many sock patterns want you to sew the soap into the sock.  I like things to be re-usable, you know?

And, with that, happy knitting Friday everyone!

January 12, 2011

WIP and a few FOs

I would like to begin with a great big THANK YOU! to Mother Nature, without whom I would not STILL be enjoying Christmas vacation!!!!!!  We are officially 2 days shy of being out of school for an entire month!!  Oh yeah, love that ice and snow in Georgia!!!

With that said, the big WIP is my Groovy socks. These are knit up so far as the beginning of the heel, which I am going to start as soon as I finish posting for today.  I've also been fiddling with my Elegy gloves thumb design--I have knit up and torn out enough to decide to just leave well enough alone.

Have I mentioned that Knit Picks has approved another pattern of mine?  Yep.  This one is The Sportsman--a men's glove for a decidedly limited world of men's glove patterns.  I have knit through the large and the small.  I'm waiting on that awesome thing known as Knit Picks "Yarn Support" to show up in the mail to knit the medium and an extra-large.  The absence of the mailman over the past few days has been the only draw-back to extra Christmas vacation.  So, here's a picture of the small--modeled by Scout 2:

And a picture of the large, modeled by Scout 1:

Rocket now wants me to make her a pair in turquoise--a very odd color choice for the princess of pink and purple--but, alas, I have no turquoise.  Darn, I'm going to have to order more yarn.  (wink, wink)

And if this isn't enough great news, I have also been approved as a designer for The Knitting Vault, and a few of my patterns are now available there.

Okay, well in case this is the last day of vacation, there is knitting to be done!  So, I'm off.  Here's to hoping that this WIP post will not be visited by the 7 Indian escort services that left me unwanted comments last week and that the spam blocker is working today.

January 06, 2011

Speed Knitting--And I thought I was fast!

There are probably just about as many knitting techniques as there are countries in which there are knitters.  I find that most of the people who have told me that they tried knitting but didn't like it say they didn't like it because it is a slower process than crocheting.  Well, I have to argue, since I knit pretty fast compared to most knitters whom I know.  And, I do it like the lady in the video you really need to watch (borrowed from Knit Picks on Youtube), especially if, like me, you think you are pretty good at this knitting thing.  Although we knit alike, there's no connection between this chick and my own knitting experience.  But, dang!

And what's even better than that video?  Watching this same chick try to teach men to speed knit!  If you are a man who knits and is following my blog, please don't be offended.  

Now, everyone get to practicing!

January 05, 2011

WIP: A few things coming along

It's Wednesday already?  My Christmas vacation is almost over and I am scrambling to get these last few projects on the list finished.  Of course, I had to throw in a new one that was absolutely not on the list, a little handspun cowl for myself.

So Scout 2's gloves are coming along nicely--hope to be done with this first one tonight.

And then the cowl needs about 20 more yards, I think, so it's back to the spinning wheel.  I was surprised to find that, over the summer, I had spun over 200 yards of tussah silk on my little drop spindle, and it turns out that it gives just the right amount of pizazz to the black cherry (hand dyed by me, of course) Romney wool that I spun super thick and thin.

Yesterday, I had a dying day.  I thought that I would get a leg up on my dying for the Etsy shop for January and just do it mostly all in one day.  It took me all day, but I have a bunch of very unique and lovely skeins to add to the shop through the next few weeks.  Two went in today:  Autumn Spice (2 skeins of 150 yds of Australian superwash merino) and Sea Turtle (220 yards of silk/merino).  You should check them out.  I'm also, tomorrow, going to be adding some small skeins of Australian superwash merino in red raspberry, cobalt, kelly, pumpkin, licorice, and strawberry.  Australian superwash merino is actually a heavy 2-ply lace weight, suitable for intarsia, fair isle, or little color projects.  You'll have to visit often to see what is new at Zibeline Knits.

January 02, 2011

New Yarns for a New Year

I've tried my hand at hand painting some sport weight superwash merino.  These two are now in my shop, and I am so pleased with how lovely they are that there is sure to be more to come.  The first is Fuschia Flamingo.  The photo doesn't do this yarn justice--the darkest color is REALLY fuschia!  Rocket loves this skein, so it must be something special.  Usually she just tells me "aaah, whatever" when I tell her to take a look at the yarn.  This one she wants for herself.  I probably should have named it something like "Barbie" because there's probably an entire Barbie wardrobe that would match up well with this skein.

The second new addition to my hand painted collection is a sportweight superwash merino with a dominant sunny yellow.  I painted this skein using the confetti technique.  I think that it will knit up beautifully for an infant sweater or mittens or a lightweight scarf.  A child's hat would be really cute in this yarn, too.  The colors are very primary--right out of the crayon box.  This one is called Sunfetti.

Here are the specs for these two skeins.  Each skein is:

Skein information:
• Approximately 6 stitches per inch on US #3-5 needles
• 274 yards to this skein (100 grams)
• Machine washable or hand washable (tumble dry low or dry flat for best results)
• Hand painted with color-fast dyes (no fading or bleeding)

Well, off to finish the fuschia cowl (I'm in the home stretch!).  Knit well, my friends.


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