February 28, 2011

Dying for a shawl!

February has come and gone, and many of my knitting projects on the resolution to-do list have been wrapped up.  My mom and I got a late start on our KAL, but it's crawling along.  We are doing Liz Abinante's Traveling Woman shawl, with the goal of having it done for our adventures at the Stitches South convention in April.  For this venture, I dyed two skeins of Australian merino, one for me and one for her.  Mom will have to send me a picture of the skein/shawl in progress to post; but for now, here's how mine is looking with my Mermaid merino:

And once I got started on the Traveling Woman, well, that made me think that I should have a no-brainer shawl to work on at soccer games and in the car; so I dyed up some bulky superwash merino in a new colorway,--soon to be appearing in my Etsy shop--printed out Kate Flagg's Multnomah pattern, ramped up the needle size from US 3 circular to US 9 circular to fit the yarn change (she uses a fingering 4-ply, like the type of yarn one would use for a sock, and I am using a bulky 2-ply, like the kind one would use for an autumn sweater), and away I went.  I wanted this to be something a little warmer than a thin lace shawl because spring is lovely and warm in North Georgia; but it's also an excuse for stores, restaurants, and the school system to turn off the heat and pump in the air conditioning.  Ask anyone, especially Honey, and each person will tell you that I am very cold-natured.  I do not like to feel cold and covered in goose bumps!  But I wanted something sunny and fun for these early spring months, so I went WAY out of my normal wardrobe color scheme and used colors that you almost never ever see me wearing.  I am, surprisingly, in love with this colorway, though, and expect to wear it often.

I had to tear out about half of what I started at last Thursday's soccer game since I was so engrossed in watching the Scout 1 on the soccer field that I worked about 20 rows, one stitch off.  It's been an easy recovery though, and here's where I stand on this one:

February 24, 2011

Knitting around in Mobius

I watched Cat Bordhi's video about how to cast on for mobius knitting and was both amused and intrigued.  I thought, "that looks particularly easy!"  And it was--to knit.  You know me, I seldom follow a pattern … Well, I probably should have for this project.  It began with a fingering weight wool in a gorgeous blackberry color with little tan and cream specks of color, and I stayed up WAY past my bedtime to finish it, and it turned out to be this piddly little cowl that barely looked like anything and barely fit over my head.  Okay, scrap that one!  So then I picked a different, thicker wool with larger circular needles and cast on twice as many stitches, thinking I would just wind this cowl around my neck twice if it was too big.  Well, it's finished, and it's pretty big.  So big, in fact, that it actually turned out to be a shawl, or as is commonly known among Etsy knitters, a "capelet".

I must say that I am pleasantly surprised and pleased.  I can actually wind this twice about my neck for a very chunky, warm cowl; but I think that I am going to wear it to work today as the shawl.  Lesson #1:  gauge, gauge, gauge!  Lesson #2:  that first row of knitting stitches needs to be tight, tight, tight!  You can see where the pearling meets the knitting … some of the stitches appear a little loose and will have to be adjusted by hand to make them more even.

I can't say that I am as addicted to mobius knitting as Cat said that I would be, but it was pretty fun and I recommend that you try it out and check out her video to learn how. 

As a side note, I used a commercial light worsted weight 70% acrylic/30% alpaca for this project with a total CO of 130 stitches.  The needles were US 11 circular--47 inch cable.  I can't remember the name of the yarn at present--it was something from the stash.  The only downside seems to be that, as a consequence of its being commercially spun, alpaca fibers abound on my clothes as I wear it today.

February 19, 2011

The Sportsman--finished at last!

Well, here's another Hooray! for FOs.  The Sportsman is finished, photographed, submitted, and mailed for Knit Picks IDP publication.  Can't wait, can't wait to see it up on the site!  Honey was kind enough to be my model for the photos.  It took us three days to get photos, between his work schedule and this screwy morning fog that we've been having; but I think the pictures came out very nicely and I hope that Knit Picks uses at least one picture of him.

I'm also posting this pattern on my Etsy page and on the Ravelry site if you are interested.  The total yarn cost, if you use Knit Picks Palette, which is what I used for all four pair of gloves that I knit, is $2.19.  Even the XL only takes one skein. The pattern is written for small through XL--small fits my 11 year old boy.  The pattern cost is $3.  

February 18, 2011

Friday FO Report: Groovin' in my Groovy Socks!

Hooray!  Hooray!  I have finally finished the Groovy Socks!  (And I finished them while sitting in the sun this afternoon, so now I have a bit of a tan for my pale, wintry white legs, too!)

Wouldn't you know it … I finally finish these wool socks, and the weather turns warm?  It's 73 degrees F on my front porch.  A month ago, we were snowed in for literally 6 days.  Now I have jonquils, hiacinths, and tulips coming up. Go figure.  Well, anyway, I'm gonna wear these socks--which are all my doing from the dye on the blank yarn to the last kitchener stitch--even if we're havin' a heat wave!  So glad to be finished!

February 16, 2011

Penelope Syndrome

Okay.  I've been working on this darned last glove for my Sportman glove pattern submission to knit picks for what seems like an eternity!  I'm three weeks past my deadline, and I think I must have Penelope Syndrome. What is Penelope Syndrome?  Remember Penelope, the wife of that pompous "adventurer" Odysseus?  (Think back to your 9th grade literature class.)  Well, for 10 years or something crazy like that, she wove that darned shroud. Every night she unwove it, and every day she started over.  It took 10 years for her suitors to figure out that it doesn't take 10 years to weave a piece of cloth.  (This story doesn't say much about the intelligence of men, does it?  Maybe that's why it's such a classic, ladies?)

Long story, short … I feel like someone is unwinding my glove every night while I sleep and I am re-knitting what I had knit the day before.  (See irritated Penelope above.) My goodness!  It has never taken me this long to get through one glove!

Of course, life does get in the way, I guess.  This is the week that the Girl Scout Cookies come into the warehouse; so I am a little busy with that.  Girl Scout leader AND cookie chairperson, that's me.  Want to buy some cookies?  Turns out, I hit the motherload on orders.  Firemen, ladies, LOVE Girl Scout Cookies!  If you are married to one, he's probably bought 27 boxes and is hiding them from you at the fire station.  Hee, hee!  Guess where we are going tomorrow to sell cookies?  I think there's a fire station about every 2 miles around here.

So that darned glove must be done today or else!

Happy knitting!

February 14, 2011

What's Doin

After a fairly productive weekend of fibery things, I have my Atlanta Thrashers Cowl (hockey) to show off.  I knit this up on the premise that I would test the hypothesis that a scarf keeps you warmer … and what do you know?  For the first time ever in my adult life, I was not cold!  I only wore one shirt and one sweatshirt and this cowl, and I was not cold!  I am ALWAYS cold.

And then I knit up my first ever drop stitch scarf.  I highly recommend that you try this and use Patons silk/bamboo (65 g/102 yds).  That's what I used, and it turned out very nicely.  I also used US 13 straight needles, which made it extra lacey.  The finished product is a little stretchy with this yarn, so it could actually get a little longer, all on its own.

I dyed up some pretty stunning Romney roving, too.  These beauties will be making their appearance in the Etsy shop this week.

I died some Australian merino is a series of dark coral colors for my mother for the Traveling Woman Shawl KAL that we are doing together. After much trial and error, and several sacrificed practice skeins to get the color to match her swatches, I think I've come up with a winner.  If she hates it, she should do the motherly thing, I think, and just lie to me and tell me she loves it.  Wouldn't you know, I forgot to take a picture of it before I sent it.  I also dyed a skein for myself, much like the Mermaid skein in the Etsy shop, only more yardage and no white.  Can't wait to see how it knits up! (See below.)

And I'm down to a few rows and then the fingers on the last Sportsman glove for pattern submission.  Dang, I have to get that done already!

February 09, 2011

Cowl Envy

On Monday I posted about the cowl that I made to fill an order.  Secretly I had hoped that Heather wouldn't like it and I could keep it all for myself; but that absolutely didn't happen. I had cowl envy pretty badly when I said good-bye to Heather's cowl and delivered it.   So, needles in hand, I knit one for myself last night and wore it to work today.  You read that correctly, knit it last night.  If you are a cowl lover, I absolutely recommend the Lion Brand Cobbs Mill Cowl pattern (free).  Look how lovely my pastel rainbow scarf turned out! (Who knew that I could actually love something heavy on the coral color on my body?)

As one final note, this morning, at 6:50 am, when the air conditioning kicked on full blast in my classroom to complement the 27 degree F. weather we were having, the only warm part of my body was underneath this cowl.  Actually, the only part of my body that was warm ALL day was under the cowl.  I'm so glad my envy got the best of me!

February 08, 2011

See it, Scheme it, Do it!

It's all about the color scheme.  Colors you would think would just not go together at all, work like a charm!  Case in point:  This "Art of the Cowl" cowl from Lion Brand (free pattern, by the way, if you have an account).  My friend Heather brought me a Martha Stewart "Living" magazine on Friday morning and said "I want this and this."  She was referring to two pictures of large and weighty cowls created by Lion Brand upper echelon designers.  The first one I said "probably".  The second one I said "materials for that one would run at least $40"--she changed her mind about that one.  Here's what she settled on:

Of course the cool one had no instructions, or even a list of materials; but I think that I winged it pretty well, myself. I counted the number of stitches in the picture, got a general idea, found an almost identical pattern on the Lion Brand website (which doesn't give instructions for this color combination, unfortunately), and knit 'er up during the Super Bowl.

I used Lion Brand Homespun in "Deepest Gray", and then lavender, dark purple, and dutch blue Vanna's Choice (also Lion Brand).  It took most of a skein of the Homespun--about 100 yards--, but not much of each of the other colors; so, ultimately, I will have yarn left over to use for other cowls. It cost me about $20 for materials from Joanne's.  And I love this pattern!  It ends up very thick and cozy, for acrylic.  I was surprised. And the look changes, depending on which end is up:

So I started one for myself today, in pastels.  Hee Hee!  Now if only I could find a reason (and the time) to sit and knit for three hours straight again this week.  Not bloody likely, but one can dream.

February 06, 2011

North Wind (free cowl pattern)

It's been a few weeks since my last post. Sad but true.  I was absolutely unprepared for the level of chaos to follow that extra week of Christmas vacation we had--not that I am complaining about the vacation.  January and May are my most hectic months because I am the coordinator for all things AP (Advanced Placement) at my school.  Thanks to the extra vacation, registration for next year's AP classes and registration for this year's AP exams in May fell right on top of one another.  And what a whirlwind of teenage indecision it has been!  Throw in a new semester and me being the lone creator of a new set of Unit Plans and lesson plans for the "method of instruction" project, and there's no time for the fun stuff.  (Basically, I teach it the way that earns me the highest test scores in the county--my way--and everyone else teaching 10th grade lit. does it the way that the principal wants them to do it, and then I prove that I'm right, per usual, when the state test scores come back.  It's a silly game we play in high school education.)

So, amid the dying, knitting (Sportsman is one glove away from being published in Knit Picks!  Exciting, if I weren't two weeks behind schedule!), freezing my tail off in a classroom that only has had heat until 9 am (then the air conditioning comes on!!!), the chaos of teaching 10th graders to think for themselves, and my "twin" (as the students refer to her) teacher placing orders for a string of cowls yet-to-be-knitted from my hand-dyed yarns, I have accidentally come up with the following pattern (for personal use only, please!  No commercial sales of this pattern without my express consent, please!).  This is a little stash buster project--no new yarns were purchased for this project; which is, incidentally, an odd turn of events if you know me, since pretty much everything in my stash is loosely assigned to one unbegun project or another.  The Kertzer came from a lovely yarn swap that I participate in at Ravelry (Knittin' Good Yarn Swap).  You should stop by, join, and sign up for the March swap … we could be swap buddies!

North Wind

Needles:  US 11 (I used bamboo)
Gauge: (in stockinette) 4 stitches x 3 rows = 1 inch
Yarns:  1 skein Kertzer Tiara in Sapphire (90 yds = 50g); 90 yards of Naturally Caron Spa Bamboo in Misty Taupe

Note:  This pattern is knit with double strands --knit both the sapphire and the taupe together at the same time for the entire pattern.  You should also note that this yarn combo is S-T-R-E-T-C-H-Y!  What seems to be a really narrow tube in the end is going to stretch out plenty; so don't fret!

CO 27 stitches.
1. Slip 1, Knit in garter stitch across. Repeat for 6 rows (3 pearl rows must appear on right side!). End with a WS row completed.

2. (RS) Slip 1, Knit across.  (WS) Slip 1, Pearl across.  Repeat these two rows for 9 rows (row 9 should be a right-side row).

Repeat 1 & 2 to desired length or until you run out of yarn.  You should end with the 9 rows of stockinette.  BO 

On the wrong side of the fabric, using the mattress stitch, sew the two sides of the cowl together.  Be careful to turn the BO seam to the wrong side of the fabric before sewing.  Done carefully, you will not be able to visually determine the beginning/end of the cowl.

Knit to be warm!  Happy Monday!


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