January 30, 2012

KAL update

The project begins and makes its way to the half-way point.

I was so enamored of the cute petal-like cable pattern of the beret pattern that it somehow escaped my attention that the first twelve rows were going to be obnoxiously tedious 1x1 rib.  I don't like tedious patterns, even if they turn out nicely in the end. But, as luck would have it, the second row after the ribbing begins the end of tediousness and the beginning of counting EVERY stitch. Be careful what you wish for, right?

So I've knit to the end of the first of two charts: the "body" of the hat, and Leslie reports that she has the ribbing accomplished and that I have successfully taught her to cable as she makes her way through the first chart.  We both got permission from our honeys to go to knitting club on Saturday--haven't been in a month, it seems.  Leslie, our good friend Meredith, and I hung out at Leslie's house on Saturday morning to get serious about this KAL project.  Although knitting got done, as is usually the case, I discovered later that I had missed one line of instructions before beginning the body and that I had to rip out everything that I had done for the first 1/3 of the body chart.  I made up for it on Sunday since Sunday was the big 4-0 for me and the birthday girl deserved some knitting time, and am now on my way to the home stretch.  This little number could be finished by the weekend at this rate.

I did discover, just in case anyone else wants to knit this pretty pattern, that the yardage, gauge, yarn type info. for the size large is incorrect.  It seems that the small size was copied and pasted as the info. for the large size.  If you are going to knit the large size, I would recommend that you allow for at least 268 yards.  I also discovered that one of the lines in the pattern suggests that the chart for the body of the hat will be knit through 8 times--not so!  You would have a nightcap instead of a beret if you did that!  I'm going to guess that I am only supposed to knit through that part of the pattern once from the pictures of the finished product and see how that goes.

January 24, 2012

Knit-Along: Brambles Beret

Although Mother Nature has lost her mind this winter, and my Jonquils began blooming last weekend and the hyacinths are budding, and the forsythia is about to burst with tiny spring flowers, I've been thinking that I am in need of a new hat.  The Autumn Vines beret that I made last fall is nice, but I'm ready to add to my collection of knitted accessories.  With that said, my pal Leslie and I have decided to do our own knit-along of the Brambles Beret by Amanda Muscha, which was featured in the Knitty.com "Deep Fall 2010" pattern line-up.  It's cute, comes in multiple sizes, doesn't require a ton of yarn, AND has cute cables.  Not to mention that it's the perfect opportunity for me to show off my newest yarn line:  Shades O' Sheep.  I'm going to be using a skein of my Hemlock for this endeavor.  Looks like this:
Hemlock is 100% all-natural Spanish Merino from the verdant Castillian valleys kettle-dyed in rusty and woodsy browns and pale olive.  (Want a skein?  Visit my shop!) This squishy skein of yarn goodness is going to be put to the test and, hopefully, I will end up with something that looks like the intended pattern.  Updates with pictures are forthcoming.  If you would like to knit along with Leslie and I, feel free!  Leave a note to let me know that you are in.  If you email me a picture of your progress, I'll put in up with the pictures of our progress. Until then, happy knitting to you!

January 23, 2012

Monday Masterpiece: Sportsman Revisited

Guess what happens to 100% wool Sportsman gloves when the 12 year-old does laundry.  Yep.  They shrink right up to toddler size!

Although I couldn't get them done for the January Boy Scout camping/hiking trip in the mountains, I did manage to get them done before the end of January and that is, considering how INSANE the last two weeks have been for me, pretty darn awesome!  Here's pair #2 for Scout #2:

And now that I have shown them off as my Monday Masterpiece, I would like to take this opportunity to have a little conversation about this glove pattern.  I have been very fortunate to sell a few hundred copies of this pattern in the last few months, and the one complaint that I seem to be getting periodically is that some of the women who are buying the pattern are upset that the finished product doesn't fit their hands.  Ladies ... this is a men's glove pattern.  Even the smallest size is going to be a little baggy and disproportionate due to the fact that men's hands are wider across the palm than most women's hands.  These gloves were not designed for women, I'm afraid.  But, that's not to say that women can't wear them with a few modifications; I suggest you try on as you go and alter as necessary if you want to wear these gloves for yourselves, ladies. There's a reason why the title of the pattern is "Sportsman".

 Here I am, wearing one of the gloves for my son, which I just did in size small.  My son is 12.  My hands are thinner and the palm of the glove is about an inch too wide for my hand, but the fingers fit me pretty well.  I just thought I should share this information with the general public here so that there's less confusion about the outcome of the pattern. 

January 03, 2012

A little time at the wheel

It's official.  Back to a new semester tomorrow.  That sucks.  I didn't get time to do the gazillion things on my to-do list during the Christmas break, and I'm a little grouchy about it.  So I thought that, like a true English teacher, I would stay up one more time until after midnight and do something else on the list:  spin!

Look at these adorable sheep!

Weeks and weeks ago, I purchased some chocolate brown baby doll sheep roving from someone on Etsy (My Little Sheep) because the sheep were just so adorable and I had never heard of baby doll sheep before. When I got it, I was a little turned off because it was a little tacky from the lanolin and that lanolin smell is just plain unpleasant.  It has been sitting on top of a cabinet in the knitting room, begging to be spun.  It finally got a chance on the wheel last night.  I didn't get much accomplished between my cold and the time of night, but here's how it looks:

I figured that, since the individual fibers were totally kinky and the lanolin was so tacky that the end result would be stiff, sticky, and course.  Not so!  It feels soft and squishy even while still on the spindle.  I bought a bunch (over 4 ozs. I think), so I am hoping that there will be enough for me to make something really swell, like mittens or socks.

Last weekend I was able to get this gorgeous fiber spun that I had bought at SAFF in October.  It's original name was "Blueberry Pie" and it came from Rivers Edge Fiber Arts. I always have trouble photographing navy blue and purple with my camera--not sure why--so this has some dark purple in it, but you just can't tell from the picture.

Milk, banana, superwash merino, and tencel combine to make this possible the softest non-camel fiber I have ever spun.  I love, love, love it!  The fact that it is mostly a dark navy is also really pleasing because that's a color that I love but almost never buy or dye.  Not sure what this skein is going to be because it came out less than 200 yards of two-ply, but it's definitely not going in the shop.

I've also gotten the yarn dyed and the swatches knit and photographed for my Twist Collective submission.  Another week and I should be ready to go with all of the required documents and drawings.  And that entrelac scarf thingy that I started a week ago is at 24 inches and growing.  I don't know why I thought it would be a good plan to use a skein of nearly 400 yards to knit the darned thing.  It has become quite apparent that this project is not going to be a cowl. So, I will continue to knit on, if for no other reason than to see how far this skein will get me.

And I guess that's all that's going to get done before it's back to that 5 am wake-up call.  How many days until summer vacation?

January 02, 2012

A future masterpiece

It's a new year, and I spent my New Year's Eve and part of my first evening of the new year recycling a sweater.  Or maybe "reclaiming" a sweater is a better term?  I went by the thrift store and picked up a few choice sweaters for the purpose of accomplishing the first thing on the list of "never done"s for the new year:  yarn recycling.  A few friends have said that they do this all of the time; but not having ever torn down an entire sweater and then knit it into something new, I thought I might try this for myself.

I spent $4.95 on a woman's medium v-neck sweater in a basic stockinette stitch that was a little felted, but not too badly.  I tore it down and ended up with 585 yards of bulky weight 80% wool/20% nylon tweed yarn.  That's plenty to remake into something a little trendier than what it was when I found it, don't you think?  I'm thinking about a 3/4 sleeve pull-over or a lengthy vest with a little cabling.  All it needs now is a bath.

 Along the way of deconstruction, I learned something nifty from the commercial sweater industry about raglan seaming.  I learned that the makers of this sweater reinforced the raglan stitches at the seams by sewing double-strength thread, just like you would see in any machine-stitched garment, through each of the loops and securing it tightly.  It was totally invisible from the outside of the sweater, and I didn't even see it until I had begun to unravel the stitches.  Pretty sneaky.  However, what a great idea!  The one thing I hate about raglan seaming is that it always seems to over-stretch along those M1s.  Next time I will have to try out this trick.

Happy New Year to you!


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