March 30, 2011

FO: Multnomah Shawl

The frustration of working a pattern without pattern support and an incomplete set of directions has finally come to an end. What I thought would be a quick little knit with my stellar hand painted bulky merino turned out to be an exercise in patience.  I don't know if you know this about me, but I am not particularly partial to anything associated with numbers.  In fact, I am seriously mathematically deficient.  Translation:  don't ask me to to figure out the math associated with someone else's pattern if you expect the outcome to be positive.

I give you Multnomah.

On the surface, it's a simple garter stitch pattern with several feather-and-fan repeats.  When you get to those feather-and-fan repeats, though, it's math, math, math with every dang row because after the first pattern repeat, the directions fail to take into account the ever-increasing number of garter stitch stitches on either side of the center panel.  I only had to tear this baby out about 5 times before I realized that I had to do math to get through every row!  I think I must have torn out the repeats after the first two at least 8 times before I finally nailed the stitch count to keep the fans in lineI emailed the designer with questions, but received no response.  I suppose that it is bad form to complain about the quality of a free pattern, but I am obviously going to do it anyway.  We had a discussion about this situation at knitting club last Saturday, and the unanimous opinion was that if you are going to post a pattern, then you should either post directions for every line OR actually provide the pattern support that is offered at the close of the pattern.

Well, I made it through.  (You are seeing it in its original, unblocked condition in these pictures.)  In the end, I didn't like the way the front didn't come together--sort or fell away from the girls, you know, and there didn't seem to be enough "front" to warrant a shawl pin; so I sewed the two corner edges, one on top of the other, and added the three faux buttons.  I guess it isn't really my style; but I'll wear it to work and around the house anyway.  It does seem to be warm and sunny, if not exactly what I had in mind when I started this project.  I hope that you have better luck with it if you take on this project.

Happy knitting!

March 29, 2011

Too Nifty Not to Share

My blog posts seem to be fewer and fewer these days, don't they?  Between the insanity of trying to herd 10 graders toward having an educated mind (the closer to spring break we get, the more insane things become--and I mean on the level of "are you serious? You should just quit!  I'd never put up with that" insane), the insanity of being the Girl Scout troup leader AND cookie mom (a hallelujah went up nationwide when the cookie sales deadline arrived last week!), the re-landscaping of our backyard to make it more "green and garden-y", the baby chickens living in our garage because of this sudden and seemingly eternal cold snap, the craziness of the kiddos, and a string of knitting patterns and projects that have just made me down right mad, there hasn't been a lot of posting time.  It's been so crazy around here that I finally, after not having had time to drive the 15 miles and sit for 2 hours with friends and knitting since before Thanksgiving, was able to go to my Saturday morning knitting club.  Fortunately, they hadn't relocated and left me behind after such a long absence.

B-U-T … every morning the lovely Etsy team leader for my Etsyknitters team sends out these glorious email with links to rather awesome knitting and crochet blogs, patterns, and videos.  In 30 years of knitting, I had never come across the anemone bobbly stitch; but this week has brought via Mette and her morning email the most nifty stitch and how-to video that I've seen in a long time.  So, I thought I would share it with the world.  You know, as soon as I saw it, the wheels began turning.  There's a new pattern developing in my brain around this stitch.  I'm not sure what it is; but spring break is next week, and I am very sure that it is going to begin to surface.  Watch, learn, and have a glorious knitting kind of day!

March 23, 2011

Spinning success!

You know how, when you have multiple projects going--an unconscious TV-watching project, a little cable something, some lace, and maybe a moderately difficult something or other--and you get to that point where all of a sudden ALL of your projects turn on you?  I found that point last Thursday.  ALL of my projects apparently decided to rebel on the same day. Didn't matter what I turned to, row after row had to be ripped out--in some cases, the entire chart!  Although knitting is supposed to be a stress-reliever, there are those times when it is more stressful to knit than to quietly shut the door to the knitting room and walk away.  So, what does one do when one hits that frogging rut?  Why, spin of course!

I had been impatiently awaiting the arrival of 25 oz of South American wool--so dang soft that you wouldn't believe it with super duper long staple length and a no fuss attitude.  Finally, it arrived on Friday, just in time to quell my knitting crisis blues.  So, I spun up three awesome skeins of various yardage.  And then I thought, "now what?"  Well, it took some convincing of my self, but I took the plunge and, for the first time ever, dyed my own handspun.  I am pleased as punch about how they turned out!  See for yourself:

Tulip Garden

Blue Skies


These turned out so well (Hydrangea is my favorite!) that it makes me think that I might actually be able to convince myself NOT to spend all of my spare pennies in the market at Stitches South in April.  Well, maybe just not spend SOME of my spare pennies … I am sure I am going to need some kind of "souvenir".  I was thinking some of that milk-based or corn-based yarn.  Anyone knit with that before?

March 13, 2011

Please vote for me!!!!

Please go to Knitting Daily's Colorplay Readers' Challenge and vote for my Harmony Scarf!  It was designed specifically for this contest using four colors (orchid, spring green, canteloupe, and blueberry) of Tahki Stacey Charles' Cotton Classic.  A quick knit, knit length-wise on circular needles, this pattern will be available some time after the contest ends on April 1st if I win this contest.

The winning creation receives 40 skeins of Cotton Classic or Cotton Classic Lite, and I would REALLY LOVE to be that winner.  So, please, vote from every computer you can find!  Every person who enters automatically employs Tahki Stacey Charles in donating to the Susan G. Komen foundation on behalf of that entry, which is absolutely fantastic, as well.

P.S.  Although I hadn't intended it to be that way, the pattern is apparently available for download when you vote for my scarf; so if you want it, please vote for me!

March 07, 2011

Happy Bunny!

Ta-dah!  Here he is, the first toy I have ever knitted to completion!  Meet my happy bunny.  He's a gift for one of my administrators who is going to have a baby any day now.  He knit up more quickly than I expected, but trying to find the right sized safety eyes was a bit difficult.

I used Fuzzy Mitten's Easter Bunny pattern, which was very easy to follow (she has the most adorable patterns ever!).  Somehow, though, my happy bunny's arms were too short for the jacket--thus, the rolled sleeves.  I think he came out very nicely, don't you?


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