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Preview: Yes! Suna Knits!

Yes! Suna Knits!



Suna shares thoughts about knitting and teaching knitting. She shows lots of pictures of her finished objects and works in progress. She shares patterns. She talks about the fun people she meets. She loves your feedback.



Updated: 2017-12-10T21:12:13.950-06:00

 



Hello friends

2016-02-15T09:19:49.787-06:00

I know no one reads this blog anymore, especially since most of the photos disappeared (hint, don't post Facebook links, because they might change the naming conventions on you).

I did not knit much at all after March 2014, because I got a puppy that attacked my yarn. I was waiting for her to grow up, but then alas, the beautiful Stella suffered an accident, and I had to start all over with a NEW puppy. So, I've been needlepointing since then. Puppies can't destroy that as easily.

But I still love knitting and you.

Note, my email address that goes to the mitered square blanket doesn't get read much anymore. You really don't need a PDF of that pattern, anyway. All the instructions are in the text of the blog post.

Take care. I'll come back later.



Two Lessons about Your Own Patterns

2012-10-14T20:18:08.868-05:00

Lesson One: Test That PatternYou know what? You really should test-knit or test-crochet your pattern BEFORE putting it on the dang Internet. Luckily as far as I can tell, no one made the snood pattern I wrote a couple of weeks ago, so no harm was done...but I wrote the instructions by "reading" the first snood I made, and I mis-read a round. Following the original instructions would get you a snood, but the increases would not lie flat. I fixed it, so what is currently on the Snood-Tastic page is right. I know this, because today I fixed the pattern and followed it, and the finished item came out just fine, thanks.Back of Gray SnoodSide view of gray snoodI made this one out of Patons Grace 100% mercerized cotton thread, which has the same gauge as the yarn on the brown bamboo snood. It also took just over one skein of yarn. I'd make the snoods smaller, but the drape would not be as nice.I found really nice thin headbands at the grocery store, and used one of them for the elastic. It worked just great. This snood is VERY comfortable (I am still wearing it) and will be perfect for doing outdoor activities on windy days. And it goes just fine with my graying hair.Lesson Two: Look at Your Own PatternI made another snood earlier this week, out of Classic Elite Cotton Bam Boo left over from another project. I was very confident, and just started crocheting away assuming I had memorized the pattern. By about round 4 I knew something was off. it was very wavy, as if it were ruffled. That is because I had been increasing too quickly and did way too many rows of doubling the number of spaces. I kept going anyway, hoping the snood would even out. Sure enough, I ran out of yarn on the last row, again. The finished product, though, was not quite right.Not my best pictureIn addition to making my ear look really weird, you can see how lumpy it ended up being. And it is not long enough, so the bottom doesn't drape nicely. Well, if I ever need a hair net...or I may frog it and re-use that nice, white hairband that's in there. This is pretty ugly.I really need to read the instructions, even for my own things. Duh.Good thing I have the instructions all fixed up, since I ordered some nice bamboo-blend yarn to make another one for one of the people who asked for one. I need to figure out who else wanted one...and maybe someone else will make one! But, no, kids, I am not making them and putting them on Etsy. Not cost effective.I also have an exciting commission for some hand warmers for a neighbor. Maybe after that I can get back to my nice, gray cardigan. With my spouse gone to his dad's for much of next week, I should be able to get a lot done this week.[...]



Cashmere Love

2012-10-08T20:04:06.487-05:00

This weekend I finished the red cashmere scarf I had been working on. As I mentioned before, it's a Jade Sapphire pattern that has 7 different patterns to knit with their lovely worsted weight cashmere. I chose one with a pattern of multiple wraps.Same Picture as Last EntryI reposted this so you can see the pattern. Here's what it looks like with me wearing it:Finished scarf with fringe on it.I decided to add fringe. I am going to separate each strand into the plies the yarn comes in, since each of those three plies is two-ply, if that makes sense. I also used fabric glue to tack down the ends I wove in, since the yarn frays into the three plies so easily.The project ended up 80" long, which is longer than the instructions said to make it but will allow me to loosely wrap it and drape it nicely. Now my only issue is that it is a blue red and my trench coat is more of a cherry red. I will pretend it's on purpose.Clash between coat and scarfBack to SnoodsI started a white snood yesterday, and did not read my own instructions. Because of that, it looks different, rather ruffly due to extra increases. So, I may keep this one for myself and make another one for my friend Ann in North Carolina. I wanted hers to be a light tan anyway, to match blonde hair. I just have to find the right yarn. The white I found in my own stash is nice but perhaps too white. I did find, at the grocery store, some of the thin hairbands I wanted to try to use for the elastic bit of the snoods. Of course, they came in a set with some weird thicker ones, but at least I have a couple I can use for the next snoods. I am enjoying the experimentation.There is a new yarn store in the town where I live. I sure hope they do well. I will not be volunteering to help out, though. I couldn't even bring myself to do the yarn crawl this year. I sure got burned last time, sigh. But, the two people I taught to knit at work are really enjoying their projects, and I have local folks to help. That's just enough for me. It will be nice to visit a shop, but I think I will wait a while before formally teaching or anything. I don't need to be made fun of or talked about behind my back anymore. Things are good now! They will stay that way!Back to making my fringe. Enjoy your own knitting, crocheting, and whatever.[...]



Other knitting fun

2012-09-30T15:52:22.869-05:00

The reason I didn't blog anything all month until yesterday was that I spent most of the month on a work trip to Toronto, Canada. September is a great time of year to go there! Of course my luggage contained a lot of yarn!I got to the halfway point on my Unleaving scarf, but then I set it aside, because carrying the pattern around and marking every row made it not as portable as I'd like. I'll finish it off soon, though--it's pretty.Unleaving, halfway finishedNaturally, on a trip to a new place one visits yarn shops. Not having a car meant I couldn't go as many places as I normally would, but it turned out my hotel (the venerable Delta Chelsea) was not too far from Kensington Market, where Lettuce Knit, made "famous" by the Yarn Harlot, is located. So, I took a taxi there and spent my first Saturday afternoon in Toronto happily ensconced at their table, knitting away. Here's a shot of one of the new owners and the shop interior, which is brimming with Canadian yarn.Lettuce Knit--very scenic! (and that is my cool Canadian cardigan on the chair)One of the things I'd vowed to do during my time in Canada was try to buy things made there. That was no problem in this yarn shop, since the new owners are trying really hard to have mostly Canadian products there. Other than a few "standards," the store was brimming with Canadian fiber products, including some really cool stuff.My Canadian yarn stashHere's what I ended up with. The sock yarn, which is mostly brown, is Indigo Dragonfly (where artistry and attitude collide, according to the label), and a cashmere wool blend. The colorway is "Captain Tightpants" because all the colors in the collection have a Serenity/Firefly theme. Mmmm. Captain Mal. Oops, that gets me all daydreamy about romance on his current show...oh never mind.As for that orange yarn, it is less intense than the photo indicates. And it is totally SPECIAL. It is InfiKnit One of a Kind 100% silk laceweight. It's all thick and thin and really amazing in texture. The label says "yarn softens dramatically with handling." I can't figure out what to make from it. The young woman (my kids' age!) working at the shop was making a very lightweight cardigan out of it, but that takes two skeins. Maybe a shrug? I still like those even if they are not in fashion. I will think on it.When I decided to change projects, I tried to start my Latvian mittens. However, the 00 needles I brought still didn't give me the gauge I wanted. So, I put that away and will try again on 000s now that I am home. I next broke out the cashmere. The Jade Sapphire 7 Gorgeous Scarf Patterns kit I recently bought. I am making the Anya option in the most beautiful shade of red, which is not as bright as the photo below.The scarf went everywhere with me. Here it's on the GO train to Pickering.I got well into the second skein of the scarf on the trip, and today I just finished the third skein. It's 60" now, but the instructions said to make it 74" so I will. This photo shows the color more accurately:Current state of Anya scarf.I am enjoying that it's an easy to remember pattern but looks interesting. The yarn is fascinating in its construction. It is made from three strands of two-ply that are twisted around each other. It unravels into the three strands very easily, which makes me think a fringe would be really pretty. It looks like I will have a skein left over. I doubt it, but it would be cool if that was enough for a small, warm hat. I saw this pattern on Ravelry, the Almond Hat, that I would love to try. It has a short version. I had a great time in Canada. My only regret is not getting to see all my friends there--I only ended up seeing one of my friends (we went to Niagara Falls and saw a LOT of vineyards and grapes). I did have a beautiful view out my hotel window.Non-knitting content. I could also see the CN tower, to the right of the giant Charlie Sheen and buildings.I guess that sums up my September knitting. I am sitting here wearing the snood I made y[...]



Snood-Tastic

2012-10-14T19:59:01.924-05:00

Don't I look snood-tastic?I whipped up a snood today--my coworker has very curly hair and wanted me to make her a "hair net" to scrunch it all up so it will dry even curlier. We went out and got some bamboo crochet thread on Thursday, and since I did not see a snood pattern I really liked anywhere else, I made this one up. This is a draft, so let me know if you see any problems with it.Snood-Tasticby Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall, ©2012This snood was made to act as a hair net to hold curly hair in a scrunched-up position while drying, but also works as a traditional snood to contain long hair when it’s driving you nuts.Materials:2 skeins Aunt Lydia’s Iced Bamboo crochet thread in Chocolate Ice.Hook: Size E 3.5mmElastic: 19-22” of black elastic cord (or a thin elastic hairband)InstructionsIncrease sectionBack ViewChain 6 and form into a loop.Round 1: ch7, (tr1, ch3) 7 times, join with a slip stitch into the 4thchain of ch7.Round 2: ch7, (tr1 into next space, ch3, tr1 into tr from previous round, ch3) to end of round. Join last ch3 to 4th chain of ch7.Round 3: Repeat round 2.Round 4: ch7, (tr1 into tr from previous round, ch3) to end of round, Join last ch3 to 4th chain of ch7.Round 5: ch7, (tr1 into tr from previous round, ch3, tr1 into next space, ch3, tr1 into tr from previous round) to end of round. Join last ch3 to 4th chain of ch7. (The idea of this round is to tr into each tr from the previous round and every other space.)This completes the increases.Body Round 6: From now on, repeat round 4 until the snood is the diameter you want. Mine was 10 inches, to hold a lot of hair. (Note: in the original I did a couple of rows with dc instead of tr, for variety—that’s optional.)Edge: dc in each tr and chain across, except in every other chain space, just do 2 dc. That snugs it up a bit. Make elastic band:Cut a piece of elastic cord that’s about the same size as your head. Overlap for an inch or so and use sturdy thread to sew the elastic into a circle. You want it to fit like a headband—not too lose and not too snug—enough to stay on.Add elastic to snood:sc into each sc of the previous row, over the elastic band, which will encase it and make it fairly invisible. You will have to squish the snood up a bit, by sliding the stitches along the elastic, to get all the way around. When you are finished, distribute the stitches evenly across the elastic. It will stick where the doubled part is, but the rest should move freely. End off and enjoy your snood! If you don’t like how tight the elastic is, it’s easy to get to the seam and make it a bit more loose or tight.Looks sorta sad with no hair in itAbbreviationsCh=chainTr=treble crochetDc=double crochetSc=single crochetIf you want a PDF of the instructions, post your email address in a comment, and I will send it to you and NOT publish your email address.Updated October 14, 2012[...]



Inexpensive Projects in Cheap Yarn

2012-08-13T15:56:43.559-05:00

I really, really am enjoying the two big, substantial projects I am working on (or one big project and fairly large scarf). However, other concerns have drawn me away from them this week.First, one of the kids who used to ride on the band bus with me and is now a college student posted on one of my Facebook links that he really wished he had some of those handle covers for cast iron skillets, since no one in his family knew how to make them anymore. I figured that would be an easy project, so I found what looked to be a sturdy pattern on Ravelry, and off I went.Handle cover, and bonus picture of my place matI made the small above one first, then a larger one, using Sugar-n-Cream in the requested colors. The first one fit my smaller aluminum skilled handle well, but the big one below would need to be longer to fit one of my larger skillets. I’d need an even bigger one for my hugest skillet, but its handle never gets hot. I’d need to find a more genuine old-fashioned cast-iron skillet to test them out, and of course the kid has not been on Facebook that I can tell since he asked the question (most young folks block us old folks, though, so who knows). In any case, now that I have the basic principles down for making these, I can easily customize them.Both handle covers. Classy.The idea is to make 4 layers, then attach all four on three sizes, then attach two around the opening. Then you make a border that’s just one layer thick, not where your hand would touch. Four layers of worsted weight cotton are plenty thick to protect your hands!The funny thing is that my photos of these very, very simple objects got tons of comments on Facebook, and all sorts of people wanting me to make them for them or for family members. On the other hand, if I post a photo of a large and complicated garment, and like three people look. Obviously, utility wins! I guess I will make a few for folks, even though crocheting still hurts my hands a lot more than knitting.I also got another request. Lee’s dad wants leg warmers for the fall and winter. Long-time readers will recall that I made him some house socks a couple of years ago. I am sure those did not hold up well to the amount of wear he gives them and the amount of machine washing they get. So, normal socks plus leg warmers might be a better idea. Common sense will dictate the choice of yarn: 100% acrylic, naturally! I chose what Vanna White would choose, in charcoal gray. Hello, Vanna.I went looking for a pattern and found a very sweetly written one on a blog called Civic Stitchings. It is her first pattern. She bravely uses her own abbreviations and spelling rules (kn 2, pearl 2!) but it was sufficient to give me ideas.I have more than half the first one done, but it’s not very exciting, so no photo. I ended up modifying the pattern so much that all that remains of it are a k2 p2 beginning and end and casting on 60 stitches. The decreases in the original were only 6 rows apart, and evenly spaced. I did paired decreases every 8 rows to make it slowly get smaller down a skinny old man calf. They look fine to me. Lee tried it on and it appears to be a fine leg warmer width to go over a man’s pants. We will see. Hee hee, that’s what Lee’s dad says all the time.I will make his golden years or months warm and cozy, anyhow, and certainly the request of an 89-year-old fellow dealing with terminal cancer trumps my need for a fussy sweater with fancy yarn.Oh, and I did finish something else—five more place mats just like the previous ones came off my loom last week. But, since they look just like the other ones, only with better selvedges, I will spare you photos--you can see one of them in the picture with the two skillet handle covers. Now, by gosh, we can have a meal and everyone gets a mat! I am trying to decide what to make next on the loom. It’s a toss-up between something plaid and something sparkly.By the way, I've been getting lots [...]



Oh Yes, about That Sawtooth Edging Pattern

2012-08-01T21:45:40.227-05:00

Well. I am a silly goose. I said I'd put the sawtooth edging at the end of yesterday's post, but I didn't. I am glad Kelli reminded me. It's really easy to memorize and works up fast, making nice right triangles. OK here goes:


Sawtooth Border Edging

Set Up: Start with all your last row of stitches on one needle, then CO 8

Row 1: PB, P1 (that's the stitch with the bead on it), K6, K2togW
Row 2 and every even row except 14: Sl1, K to end
Row 3: Sl1, K2tog, K4, K2togW
Row 5: Sl1, K2tog, K3, K2togW
Row 7: Sl1, K2tog, K2, K2togW
Row 9: Sl1, K2tog, K1, K2togW
Row 11: Sl1, K2tog, K2togW
Row 13: Sl1, K3togW
Row 14: Sl1, K1, CO6


Abbreviations:

  • CO: Cast on, preferably using knitted cast on. Alternative: backward loop cast on
  • PB: Place Bead (insert bead on crochet hook, catch next stitch on hook, slide bead over stitch, place stitch back on needle)
  • K2tog: Knit 2 together
  • k2togW: Knit last stitch of border together with next stitch on the body of the project (I admit I made that up)
  • K3togW: Knit last two stitches of border together with next stitch on the body of the project
  • Sl1: Slip 1
  • P: Purl
  • K: Knit

Please let me know if you try this and something doesn't work. Mainly I hope the set-up row is right.



A Second Hitchhiker, with Beads!

2012-07-31T20:34:57.462-05:00

This weekend I flew to North Carolina to pick up my older son and his car, then drive back home together. The son formerly known as Tuba Boy in this blog (who should now be known as Mandolin Boy) did a 10-week internship in the Chapel Hill area at the place where his stepmom works. It was a great experience for him, and I am so happy he had the opportunity!It also gave ME the opportunity to visit my own stepmom, who I had not visited since Dad's funeral trip. I was rather anxious about going back to where Dad used to live, but the memories were mostly good (she did get me a bit weepy when she kept trying to force memorabilia on me. But it was good to see my family and many of Dad's old friends.Most important to THIS blog, however, is that I took along my Beaded Hitchhiker, since it was small and would fit in my small luggage. I enjoyed the conversations that the project started on the plane and in the airport. A couple of nice elderly women described complicated projects they used to make, and one assured me that arthritis had not stopped her, though she now crochets mostly. That's good, too!I got to the end of the first skein while on the plane, and continued on while chatting with relatives until I had 42 points on the shawl. That's how many the original instructions called for, and sure enough, it was a good size with 42 points.I then decided to add a sawtooth border to the cast-off edge. I didn't have any knitting books with me, so I made one up. I'm sure it's very similar to a lot of patterns in books--I am not THAT creative, but I did make it to where each edge had a bead on it. I will write down the pattern at the end of this post. Anyway, here is how the two edges compare. They aren't the same, but they work well together.The two edgings on the shawlette. Left is part of the original pattern, right is what I added. Each has a bead at the tip. Of course, even with figuring out the pattern, it didn't take too long to finish the edging, so on Sunday I realized the WORST had happened! I finished the ONLY knitting I brought with me! I was glad I brought my Kindle. But I sure could have gotten a lot of knitting done on my 12-hour car ride yesterday (Mandolin Boy drove yesterday, and I drove today, only 8 hours or so).Finished product, folded in halfSo, here is the finished item. The colors came out oddly when I took the picture at my stepmom's, but I tried to correct it. At the end there were some pools of orange, but I like them, so i kept them. I didn't straighten out the points, oops. Let's see, how about another picture?Here is is outdoors and more spread out.I like the way it looks with more points on it, at least from a distance. You can't tell the size difference so much. I am very impressed with how this particular sock yarn worked out in the Hitchhiker. It really made a nice even blend of the greens and oranges. And the two colors of beads I used also were perfect. They were the same muted green and orange. Really love this item and can't wait to wear it. What does it look like on, you ask? Well, I think I will be wearing it a LOT this fall. I happened to have on a coral outfit Sunday, so I put it on.Suna looking haggard, but with a nice shawlette and a shiny shirt.Wow, those wrinkles, that giant nose, those droopy eyes (another thing I inherited from my Dad is sagging eyelids), those bunny teeth--I was obviously pretty darned stressed out and not at my shiny, perky best, even with the shiny shirt on. But, isn't the Hitchhiker nice? I love the way the edges curve, and I love having the points on two sides. The smooth edge makes a great side to aim at the neck, too. I really look forward to wearing this often!What's Next?Well, I need a big project, since I finished the Shadow vest, and I need a small project, since I finished this one. I have things all lined up, or mostly.My big project will the the beautiful Re[...]



A Silken Shadow

2012-07-22T21:52:20.946-05:00

It was a good knitting weekend, since my friend Pouri (mom of our house guest Elmira) was here cooking amazingly delicious Persian food, and she also knitted a bit with me. She was trying to make a simple-looking cable scarf, but the "free" instructions from Michael's were all in prose, plus she wasn't familiar with American knitting abbreviations and terms. It was slow going. I KNOW if I'd had a graph, it would have been easier for both of us!Because I had knitting friends, I got a lot done--so much, in fact that I actually managed to finish something! It only took me a month to make the Shadow vest out of Shibui Heichi (raw silk). Here's a nice photo of the yarn.You can see all the extra colors in the yarn. And dog hairs. Thanks, Scrunchy.The yarn looks great in seed stitch, and it has a really nice rustic texture. However, it is a bit hard to knit with. You really have to tug to get the yarn to go all the way through the stitches, as I think I mentioned before. I think I managed to make adjustments so there aren't any big ugly holes. The small amount of yarn in each skein meant a LOT of ends to weave in, too. I may actually end up dabbing Fray Check or something on the ends to make sure they stay put.After I finished the vest, I took a picture of it, which was spectacularly unsuccessful. It's a rather large three-layered rectangle, and you can't see the nice row of cables going up the side, either. Here it is, against one of my now-traditional loud-patterned tablecloths.Shadow on the table. Hey, there is my foot!Well, that's just not a great looking item. It does show you just how much seed stitch this thing entails! I sure am glad I knit continental! So, I guessed that, even though it was 100F outside and it is the blazing middle of summer with incredible humidity, I was gonna have to put it on and get photos.My dear spouse did try to take some pictures inside the house. While I look smashing, other than my giant humidity hair, you can't really see the garment.That's me in skinny jeans in a blurry vest.So, we reluctantly went outside and stood in front of the neighbor's garage door to get better photos. Now you can see the vest. I wanted side views, too, so maybe the cables would show up.Side view. Can't see the danged cables because of my arm. Why do I have arms? Oh I need them to knit.I look so festive. I like how the vest hangs, so it does not look so square.Why yes, this IS the front view. Ah, do I feel a little nip of fall in the air? Why no, I don't.The back. Wow, my hair is long, and wow, it looks like I have chicken legs, just like my son does in his skinny jeans. Only his legs are a lot longer.Well, I hope you enjoyed this tour of the Rusty Shadow vest. I was about to pass out from the heat, so I also hope you appreciate the sacrifice I made.With that project over, I am actually STILL plugging away on the second Hitchhiker shawlette. I usually work on it in the car or at meetings. Next weekend I am going to North Carolina to pick up the older boy, who's been there all summer doing an internship. I will also be visiting my dad's dear widow, Flo, so I predict lots of knitting time. Since I'm flying, I will just take that small project with me. I probably mentioned already that I am going to give her one of my place mats.I did finish weaving the two jewel-toned place mats in my second batch of mats, and am starting one of the yellowish sock yarn. As I do these next three mats (repeats of the first bunch), I am trying to figure out what size I want the matching napkins to be. I could make little 10" x 10" napkins (I have some that size that I bought in Mexico), or I could make bigger ones. I have to practice actually making a square!The weaving is improving. My edges look a lot better on this batch.So...what's next in knitting? LATVIAN MITTENS. That yarn is sitting over on my dresser LOOKING at me[...]



I Made Place Mats!

2012-07-19T12:50:13.579-05:00

I finished my lovely sock yarn place mats on June 25, but never shared photos. What a slacker blogger! They came out pretty good for someone who's still learning. And we have been using them on the table ever since! In fact, we like them so much that I have warped the loom with more red yarn and am making additional matching mats.I did a particularly bad job taking pictures--why I felt compelled to put the busy place mats against an even busier table cloth for photography is beyond me. So, your eyes have been warned!A place mat!This is a special edition Opal sock yarn. It really went well with the red, I think. The next one is more subtle, but I happen to still like it, with its consistent red dots:Little red dotsThis was my first one, and I thought I'd like it best, but instead liked it least.More stripesEveryone liked this last one the best, but it's too short--I ran out of warp. So, I am going to give this one as a gift, and have already woven two more using this Regia Kaffe Fassett sock yarn to be the place mats.Jewel Tone StripesI think the hemstitch edging looks nice, so I am doing it on the next batch, too. I'll end up with 8 place mats, so we can have company. After that, I plan to make matching napkins. I will have plenty of sock yarn for that, since they will be a bit smaller. By that time, I think I will be tired of the red warp yarn and ready to move on to another fun thing, whatever that may be.Also...KNITTINGI have not forgotten my knitting, and in fact have made good progress on the Shadow vest in Heichi. It just does NOT photograph well, so imagine acres and acres of rust-colored raw silk seed stitch, and you will have a good idea of what it's like. I'm on the right front, and when that's done, all that is left is to knit the substantial collar, which is what turns it into a garment rather than an awkward mass of fabric.The Heichi yarn is sure expensive. Each $14 skein knitted about 3 inches of body! So, I'll have to be careful with the vest--it's an in"vest"ment. The only problem I am having is that the yarn is so textured that sometimes my purl stitches don't pull all the way down, so they end up loose. And every little uneven bit is very obvious in the field of K1 P1. I think it will get better in blocking.And TeachingI am proud to say that my latest two knitting students are doing well. My coworker Stacie is still powering through a brown garter stitch scarf, and the summer resident Elmira has even learned to purl--she made a rectangle!Her first finished objectIn addition, she is making a really pretty garter stitch scarf out of some wool/cashmere multi-colored stuff I could not figure out anything to knit from. The colors are pooling in a really interesting way. I'll have to get a photo. She has the yarn to make a K1 P1 ribbing scarf next. She likes knitting, which make both me and her mom happy. It's nice to all sit around and knit! I'll miss knitting with her when she moves into her own apartment in September.I hope two posts in a day make up for a month with nothing! Keep knitting, crocheting or weaving, friends![...]



Latvian Fun

2012-07-19T12:25:18.182-05:00

My friend and colleague, Mike, went to Latvia on vacation, to visit his former exchange student. I knew there was a strong fiber arts tradition there, so I was very excited to find out what kinds of things he'd discover (also he discovered beautiful scenery, castles, museums, churches and monuments...but the fiber stuff was what I was mostly interested in).I got a taste when he posted this picture to Facebook:Learning to weave in LatviaSomeone's learning to use an inkle loom! Later, when he came back, he showed me some amazing photos of exquisite weaving, many pieces with gorgeous crocheted borders. There were also some really cool crocheted lace outfits, and wonderful traditional knitting. I sure appreciated those photos! And to prove how much they value knitting, check out the plane ticket he's holding here:Air Baltic, they love knittingYes, that's a two-color knitting schematic on the border! You have to love a country that values its crafts so much!My surprise when he got back to work was this:A box!What an intriguing box! That shape is familiar! What's on the back?Seeing that made me happyHooray! It's a genuine Latvian mitten kit! How cool is that?Inside with translations of motifsInside the box was a lovely card that translates all the traditional motifs and what they mean (the swastika was a GOOD thing in the olden days). On the right is the instruction booklet, which tells you exactly where the original mitten came from that the pattern's modeled on.Yarn! And of course, there is lovely, rustic two-ply wool to knit the mittens from! Won't that be fun? I am looking forward to stylish new mittens in the fall. Mike also got a kit for our boss, who is also quite the knitter. What great gifts.And on Another Continent!Mike is not the only friend to go on a cool vacation. Sylvia went to Ecuador and spotted this:Loom action!This guy is weaving so quickly that his hand is a blue. I have a similar piece of fabric from Mexico. If you look carefully you will see he is also wearing a hand woven belt.It's so nice to have friends who remember your interests and share what they see with you!Now to write another post about my knitting and weaving. I've been so busy DOING stuff that I haven't had time to write about it![...]



Finished Products!

2012-06-18T21:30:26.374-05:00

This weekend was a productive one--I lucked out and had four days off in a row, and the fun activities I'd planned (a trip to the beach, etc.) got canceled due to unforeseen circumstances (a sick spouse and a very old dog with severe issues). This meant I could work on my crafting a lot.First, on Friday I finished the chenille washcloths I was weaving. That poor project was really, really a learning experience.Washcloths taken off the loom on the railing in front of YarnoramaWhen I was "finished" I discovered that, in addition to the mistakes I already knew I'd made, I had use the cotton that was supposed to be the warp as the hem and the yarn for the hem as the warp. Oops. And I had totally forgotten to put a row of a contrasting color between cloths to make for easy application of Fray Check and subsequent hemming. And to top THAT off, I had mis-remembered the instructions and not woven enough picks of the hem.SaturdayI took the loom and cloths off to Yarnorama (which is looking great after remodeling) to make sure I finished it right. I am sure Susan laughed at me internally when she saw how much I had been oblivious to her carefully written-out instructions. Then I went ahead and cut the cloth you see above into separate washcloths. However, since I didn't have the convenient contrasting color to mark the part with Fray Check on it, I missed, causing much of the fabric to unravel. Sigh.So I stuck the poor li'l washcloths (one of which is a hand towel, because I made it longer on purpose) in my bag, and decided to move on to the next thing. Perhaps I'd be more successful warping the loom if I had help. There were a couple of other people at the yarn shop with their Cricket looms, so I knew there was back-up (though one other woman was only on her second project, too). I found some nice red sport-weight wool that I thought would make a great warp for placemats for our kitchen. I wanted to warp it to use with sock yarn, so I got the 10 heddle out.First, I brilliantly WATCHED Susan warp her loom. That helped me do mine. I did it right this time, and Susan helped me with the tension.Correctly warped loom, or "dressed" as they sayThe other thing I did at Yarnorama was to get more yarn to finish my little silky cardigan. I needed nearly all of an additional skein to finish it, even though I was making the smallest size! I worked on the last arm a bit while I was at the yarn shop, then came home and did more.And Then Came SundayOn Sunday, Lee and I went to see his dad for Father's Day. Since there was a lot going on there that I wasn't supposed to be involved in, I had a lot of time to knit, both in the car and in Yorktown. In rhe car, I patiently and with great difficulty finished off the washcloths. They do not have the hem they are supposed to, but they won't be unraveling. Since I took this photo I washed them and trimmed the ends where I changed the yarn, and they look fine. They will certainly make nice soft things to dry off with or clean up with. And I learned a lot from the project!Washcloths and the little towel (the one on the left).  When I got to Lee's dad's house and was chatting with the old fellow (just turned 89 and doing much better after his bladder cancer bout), I finished the cardigan. Adding the neck edging really made it look better.Before the neck edging was added.After adding the finishing edgings. And smiling because people told me the previous photo was a bit scary.There is also a slip-stitch crochet edging around the sides and bottom of the cardigan. It's quite small--I might have needed yet another skein of Heichi if I had made the medium size.After finishing up with the Heichi/Silk Cloud cardigan, I went back and worked on the beaded Hitchhiker and got a few more points done on it. I a[...]



Challenging Weaving, Happy Knitting

2012-06-05T13:13:44.642-05:00

Announcement: I have a huge sense of empathy for all the people I have taught to knit or crochet who have been frustrated at how often they wrap the wrong way, drop stitches, accidentally increase, or whatever. It had been so long since I learned the basics of these crafts that I forgot how challenging it can be to start out.Starting out with weaving has taught me a lot! I do think now I will have to work hard to find a new wrong way to warp a project, but it won't surprise me in the least if I do something weird again next time!In the good news department, I did finish weaving a starter scarf. I did go out to Yarnorama in Paige again, where the ever-patient Susan did NOT laugh at how I had the warp winding the wrong way, which explained why the ratchet dogs weren't ratcheting. She got me wound the right way, and even gave me some cut-up plastic mini-blind blades to make the tension good. Hooray for her! Here's the project in progress. By the way, this worsted weight wool comes with the Cricket loom. I didn't want you to think I chose the colors.My first weaving project. Extreme close-upI did not do too swell of a job on the selvedges, but I got better as I went along. I also missed a couple of warp threads, even though I tried to fix them when I saw them. I guess it's a learning process. One good thing is that weaving goes pretty quickly, so I got this out of the way in just a few days. It's also fascinating to cattle, which I discovered while weaving in the pasture at the ranch.After I finished off and washed the project  I realized a couple of rows (picks) had gotten pulled in tightly somehow. I'm not sure how that happened, but it does not enhance the final product. It's also very long, because I mis-measured the warp. Oh well, it will serve as a scarf. Some people even say it looks pretty good.Finished scarf. I think this is before washing and ironing it.Of course, I wanted to start a second project right away, but I dawdled a bit and waited until last weekend.  I wanted to make the project I'd gotten the yarn and instructions for when I bought the loom. It's a collection of chenille washcloths, and both Susan and Deana said they were great beginner projects, because the chenille is forgiving. A couple of other customers at the shop (really GOOD weavers) said they had enjoyed doing the project--they came back for more!This is when the comedy of errors commenced. My biggest issue is that I refuse to put a set of large photos of how to warp a loom next to me while warping. Well, make that a past refusal. I will from now on. The PDF of the Cricket manual was on my computer, so I kept walking back and forth to and from that, being too lazy to go find the nice book I had gotten, The Weaver's Idea Book (go buy it if you want to get a Cricket loom and make stuff!), which has nice, big photos and clear instructions.First mistake: I got a nice cheap vinyl mini-blind and measured it against the heddle (the thing that you use to move warps up and down so weaving is easy, and that you also use to "beat" or press down your weft). I cut about half of them before realizing that the part of the heddle (see below, thanks to the blog of Spinninglizzy for the image)...Rigid heddles...that is 15 inches is the white part, not the wooden part. So I got to cut most of them twice. Lots of little pieces of plastic all around. Why the mini blinds? Susan says they work better than stiff paper or anything else she has found to insert in the wound-up warp and keep the threads nice and tight. Anyway, eventually those were all good.Second mistake: I wound the warp around the large back beam, not just the little bitty apron rod. I discovered this after winding a whole bunch of it, and sticking a whole bunch of [...]



May Knitting but No Weaving

2012-05-25T15:52:29.957-05:00

So...what have I been doing? I have been knitting a good amount!I actually did finish the drape-neck sweater. Where are the finished photos, you wonder? Well, while I finished KNITTING it, that doesn't mean it's put together. I still can't find my blankety-blank blocking squares. I am thinking the only way to find them is to buy some more. Then they will turn up and I can knit an immense item and block it. I am going to look in ONE more place, then order more. I have two shawls to block still and one was for a gift for someone else. Ugh.In a happier vein, I did indeed start a second Hitchhiker shawl, this one with beads, which I keep trying to spell "beeds."Extreme close-up of Hitchhiker #2 on a good book.I got the beads at local bead shop Nomadic Notions, if you want to get some for yourself. I am alternating an orange-ish bead with a green-ish bead on every other point. This picture has more accurate colors:Little shawl in progress. Book is called Healing Spices, and it's wonderful!The yarn is the Araucania Huasco, fingering weight that I got two skeins of when I went to Old Oaks Ranch. I feel proud for using yarn soon after I bought it. I figure with two skeins, I can make the shawlette a little bigger, and still have enough to also make hand warmers or a hat.I do have another project (in addition to that fall shawl that gets a few rows a month knitted on it). You see, my lovely summer house guest, Eli, and I took a road trip last Saturday.The GraduateShe's the older boy's college friend, and she graduated a year early. She's doing a couple of summer classes and an internship, so we offered her the guest room, like we did last year.Anyway, she agreed to drive all the way to Paige to check out Yarnorama, since my other knitting shop checker-outer friend keeps having to do things with her KIDS, sheesh. She had never been to a yarn shop. Shocking, and she made it to age 21!I'd gone out there because I had a sudden urge to buy a Cricket loom. I want to weave placemats and napkins and such, and I want to use up some of my incredibly large stash of sock yarn. I have seen some really nice scarves (Yarnorama has some nice samples Susan the owner made) from sock yarn.Of course, while I was there, I looked at yarn. They'd recently had a Shibui yarn trunk show, so had some really  nice patterns and yarns. I got yarn to make two items. One is a really interesting vest from their Heichi booklet, called Shadow. It's made in Heichi, which is a raw silk tweedy kind of yarn. I got rust colored yarn for that one.I also got more Heichi and also some Silk Cloud to make a very light-weight cardigan from one of their booklets, No. 5, from the Spring Summer 2012 leaflet collection from Shibui. Here's what it looks like so far:Good Ole #5Up close you can see the halo from the mohair in the Silk Cloud. It is a very loose knit. The pattern says use a size 11 needle, but I am using a 10.5 needle and getting gauge. It's knit in one piece bottom up, then you sew the shoulders and knit the arms down from the armholes. What gives it some definition is a simple crocheted edge. I get chilly a lot at work, and my Wrap Me Up shawl helps, but is bulky. I hope this will be a perfect work cover-up. Note that the sweater has fake side seams. They sure would be easier if the slipped stitches were done from the front, but NOOOO, they are done from the back, which means it's harder to see when to do it. That's why I put markers in.Yarn to teach Eli to knit was also purchased. She volunteered, honest. I think her favorite part of the store was the angora bunnies, however. Still, Yarnorama was looking great, considering they'd been hit by lightning not too long ago, and all their electrical components w[...]



A Shawlette to Hitchhike In

2012-05-02T21:49:57.914-05:00

I really have had a hard time knitting lately, since we have remodeling going on in my bedroom and bath. It will be nice, though, and my hand knits will have storage space! We got two under-the-bed storage boxes, plus there is a lot more space I can USE in the closet, or will be when they are done. I got rid of about a third of my clothing, and packed things I won't be wearing anymore into neat boxes labeled "long-term storage." So, some of my ancient knitted items are now there, stored for posterity.This, however, is a finished shawlette!Hitchhiker!I got 40 little points on the end of my Hitchhiker shawlette, using the Zauberball Crazy sock yarn. I love the stripes. All lovely shades of blue that will go with denim nicely. I used size 3 needles, so it's loosely knit (remember, I use 0s for socks). I truly enjoyed the pattern (it's on Ravelry so you can buy the pattern and make one, too). And it is quite easy. The only trick I had to do was learn to count four garter stitch ridges so I'd know when to bind off to make the points. I can count to 4!And here's what it will look like when I wear it:Me ready to HitchhikeThere are so many options--but it looks fine with a white t-shirt! Wow, my hair has gotten long.I wanted to start another one and put beads in it, but now I think I'll just make another plain one. I have two balls of the yarn I am thinking of using, so I will make a bigger version to throw dramatically across my shoulders, and perhaps end up with yarn left over for mitts or something.What? Did you ask why there are no finished gray alpaca wrap sweater photos? I am still almost done with it. I have knitted some more, I think up to 34 inches of the endless 38 inches of stockinette for the front. I do hope this weekend will be the weekend of finishing. Blocking is another issue. I can't find my blocking mats. Nor is there any flat space in the house right now, because we are sleeping on the guest bed, and the college kid's bed has all my clothing on it. I have two shawls to block for my friend Diane. I even have some new pins. But nowhere to block. I really hate it when I let people down (and wow, do I do it sometimes!). She really needed a shawl blocked last weekend, and I couldn't do it. Sigh. It will look good eventually, and so will my alpaca sweater. No need to be hard on myself.I've been telling a bunch of people to not blame themselves for other people's issues. Well, I need to admit my shortcomings and just do my best, anyway. We are all fine folks who slip up occasionally, right?[...]



Enthralled with Hitchhiker

2012-04-19T21:53:56.403-05:00

I am supposed to be finishing the lovely gray alpaca sweater with the big twist in the front. May I just say, in way of excuses, that 38" of plain stockinette can get tedious? There I did say it. I have over 30" of it, though. I was hoping to buckle down and finish it while traveling this weekend, but we may not get to do that. It's hard, though...

...And the reason it's so hard is I am enjoying knitting the Hitchhiker shawlette or scarf I could not resist casting on for. WAY too much. Once I started it, I could not stop. Here it is started.



 It is amazing how many different shades of blue are in this one ball of Zauberball Crazy sock yarn. I have done 30 points on the Hitchhiker, and nothing's repeated yet. Such fun yarn. I don't have a great photo of it, but here is is, posing next to Scrunchy, making it clear that he has exactly one eye now, thank you very much.

(image)
Scrunchy complements the white stripe in the Hitchhiker very well.
It's getting pretty long--and it looks to me like there's enough of the yarn left to get twelve more points out of it. In any case, I think it will end up plenty long enough to drape jauntily around my neck.

I want to make about five of these. Beginning knitter? Don't let that stop you--it's pretty darned easy! And everyone who looks at it get a glazed and jealous expression on their faces. Men and women. What a great gift this would be!

However, I'm keeping this. Since I have LOST a bunch of my shawls in the Great Wildfire Scare of 2011, I need some warmth. (I know my shawls are in this house somewhere--just can't find where I put the shopping back full of hand knit and hand spun goodness.)

I must get back to the knitting. I would vow to not work on this blue beauty until the Drape Front sweater is done, but I can't. I do vow to try my best to finish it this weekend.



Instruction Reading & Checking Out the Alpacas

2012-04-07T18:13:13.919-05:00

I learned a lesson, or was reminded of a lesson, yesterday. I was all happy to be finished knitting the drape front sweater, and thinking about blocking it. But I laid it out, and twisted the front, and thought to myself, my, how awkward this is. Then I looked at the pattern again. Well, would you look at that? The body width of the back is 19", while the body width of the FRONT is 28". No wonder I'd ended up with almost two full skeins of the yarn left over! What a doofus I am! The pattern is so simple; I just knit the front to match the back and didn't actually read the instructions. Yes, those very instructions would have made it clear that I needed to keep a-going on that endless stockinette section until it was much longer!I have undone the second sleeve and am back to knitting plain ole stockinette for another long bit.Lesson learned: READ THE INSTRUCTIONS.And Now for FunI enjoyed some of that stockinette knitting in the car today, as my knitting friend and I, along with her two young daughters, made the trek out to Old Oaks Ranch to see how the alpacas are doing, and what kind of stuff they have in stock. If you've been reading this blog a really long time, you might recall that I went there with Lee in 2009. Three years later they still have most of the same alpacas. There have been changes there, but everyone is still very friendly, and we had some good conversations.  We took the paid tour, just the four of us. We got to watch two of the boys get shorn. Here is one in progress.Sorry about the fence, but you can see all the people holding down an alpaca while a very strong woman shears him.And here is one fellow just after being shorn and spitting in a guy's face. He seems quite pleased with himself.Look at me! I spit in the face of the guy on the far right!The girls had a complete blast. They got to pet and feed the females, who had all been shorn earlier in the morning. The alpacas were nervous, but settled down pretty well. So nice to see some of the same ladies as last time!Getting ready to feed the Big Mama, Mariposa. The little boy is the grandson of the owners, and he was really "helpful" in the tour. The lady is the daughter-in-law of the owners. The is demonstrating proper alpaca handling technique.I do love looking at and petting alpacas. However, the folks at Old Oaks did remind me that they would prefer to be by themselves, and are only happy in groups of three or more. That can run one up into big bucks!Luckily, llamas are a different story. Their llama had also just been shorn, and I found him especially fetching, since he was spotted in the same way as my donkey, Oscar, America's Cutest Donkey. They also had a fine donkey, and the girls got to feed her carrots, vaguely successfully.I admit these are also cute animals.The donkey and llama serve as guard animals and keep coyotes away from the alpacas and chickens. They also have a big guard dog, who was very friendly (unlike the previous guard dog they had). He is also a Great Pyrenees, so huge and fluffy! The girls want a pet dog, so they began to lobby for one of those, but it will not be happening.The last stop was at the hen house. I wish I had taken photos of it. They really did a cute job on it, and it was quite the palace, for a chicken abode. Each child got one egg, so that is good (the little boy family member broke his--he was quite enthusiastic).After the tour, the folks in the family patiently went through a fiber demo with the girls, who really seemed to enjoy it. That gave me time to look at the yarn and other merchandise. I ended up getting this Auracania Huasco yarn, a fingering weight meri[...]



Crocheted Bike Bag

2012-03-28T11:23:16.807-05:00

This weekend I got a new bicycle. It's the kind for just riding on the local streets and trails, but I am very happy with Bluebell.My new bike and non-matching water bottleIt weighs a LOT more than my road bike did, though it claims to be aluminum.The first thing I noticed about it was that I have no way to carry my cell phone when I am riding it, thanks to giving away all my fancy cycling shirts a while back. I usually ride in exercise pants rather than jeans, so I have no pockets.But I know how to crochet! So, on Sunday when my devoted spouse was planting things in the front yard, I sat down with good ole Lily Sugar and Cream yarn and crocheted myself this little bag to hold my cell phone and maybe a chap stick. I need to take the phone because I track my progress with one of those free GPS exercise apps.Bicycle Bag with Cute ButtonsI could have just made a big rectangle, but I like the way single crochet looks in the round better than back and forth. So, I did a little trick and ended up with a no-seam crochet bag. I made the button holes vertical rather than horizontal, so that the buttons would stay better when the bag is on the bike. I think it looks fun and practical. I could have used hemp cord, but it hurts my hands. And the same bag could be made weatherproof by using strips cut from plastic shopping bags. If I shopped at Wal-Mart I could get blue ones to match the bike.(I also knitted a good amount on the alpaca sweater. I am on the home stretch.)How to Make a Bike BagIf, for some reason, you are dying to make one of these, here's how:Body of BagUse sturdy cotton yarn and a crochet hook that will crochet the yarn tightly. I used an F.Chain enough to be a little longer than your phone, no more than an inch longer.Single crochet into the second stitch from your hook and sc across. Count how many stitches you have.Sc into the side of the last stitch.Sc into the BOTTOM of the row you just did. Make sure you crochet the same number of stitches (it's easy to skip a few, which I did the first time).Sc into the side of your previous turning chain, then sc across your first row.Continue to sc in every stitch around and around that first row. After a few rows you will see a pouch shape developing.Keep going until your bag is about an inch longer than whatever you want to put in it.StrapsMy straps are 4 stitches in from each side, and 6 stitches wide. Each row will be ch2, sc5, turn. When the strap is a good length in your estimation (long enough to go over your handlebars with some slack), make the button holes.Do 4 rows of just three stitches. Break yarn. Start where you left off and do 4 rows of 3 stitches. Go across and connect the two thin sections to return to 6-stitch rows, and crochet a few more rows. Repeat on the other side of the bag.ButtonsGet nice big buttons and sew them on securely. I took my bag to the fabric store to be sure I got the right size buttons. You don't want to have your phone fall to the ground and get ridden over by your bike.[...]



Yarning Around

2012-03-19T19:17:52.195-05:00

Oh hello, it's me, your sometime blogger, back again after just a little break this time. I have been thinking about knitting a lot, and even doing some!I was hoping to totally finish that twist front alpaca sweater this weekend, and was knitting along in the RV when I looked into the knitting bag.  Guess what I didn't see? Another ball of yarn, that's what. Yep, I had brought most of my life essentials other than that final skein of yarn I'll need to finish (actually, I may well go into the fourth skein...who knows. So, I had to stop when I was at this attractive stage of the front of the sweater:A partial front of a sweater.I think this is one of those project that will be very pretty once blocked and sewed together, and not a moment sooner.So, I will continue to enjoy how lovely the alpaca fiber feels and not worry about it. I have fetched the next skein of yarn and will get moving after I blog! Ooh, note that I switched to some Lantern Moon wood needles. They are very pleasant to work with, as they should be at $30 (yow).So, since I ran out of alpaca, I picked up my poor neglected fall colors shawl and got quite a bit of it done. This is one of those projects that it's hard to gauge progress on. I know I put at least 3 or 4 inches on it, but it still looks small. Of course, the fact that the stitch pattern is that interesting double garter stitch that sort of bunches up doesn't help much. That will make it a warm one, though. So, here's how it looks now:Two-ball fall shawl progress.It's blending very nicely. No one who looks at it believes I am knitting with two colorways, thanks to how each has the same brown in it. I am thinking of making a brown border on the bottom, since I have a skein of brown from the same dyer.Now that I look at it harder, yeah, I can see I made some progress. I will quit whining.I Went to a Store or Two or ThreeI alluded last time to some fun knitting thing I was going to do soon. Well, that fun thing was that a friend and I took a day off work last week and indulgently went to visit every yarn store in Austin (other than Yarnbow, since I am not sure it's still there). We were comparing and contrasting.I think it surprised my friend (a new friend, not one of my usual knitting friends or my old knitting friends who would know better) that everywhere I went someone knew me. I really enjoyed getting to talk to Stacy at the Knitting Nest, whom I hadn't seen in quite some time (since I quit going to yarn shops to browse!). We enjoyed the way the decor is all thematic, and were impressed by the larger space they have now. It must be very pleasant to take a class there. And it's always fun to trek down to way south Austin for something other than Volvo repair (son bought a Volvo way down south, which he has already blown the engine on, but it's OK because I made friends that way). I  bought a tape measure and a book there. Turns out I already have the book, too, so it may go to the shopping friend.I digressed again. Next we headed up to Hill Country Weavers, where I actually HAVE been lately or I would not be working on that gray sweater! Suzanne was helpful and chatty but not too chatty (so we could shop) and was glad I am enjoying that naturally dyed alpaca so much. I saw the other colors, too--dyed with beets, onion and cochineal, which made two different colors, I guess with different mordants.I bought two books, one is the book about Judy's Magic Cast On, which has some fun projects in it. It has to be cool to know you invented a new knitting technique, so my circular hat is off to Judy Becker! The ot[...]



Scarf and Such

2012-03-13T22:03:15.712-05:00

Mostly I have been knitting along on the drape front sweater, and I have actually finished the front of it. Lovely? Not really lovely at all before blocking!
(image)
Some stockinette knitting
People say that photo looks like a uterus, or a thong. Well, it's a sweater back. I am moving along on the front.

I just finished the simple 1x1 ribbed scarf I have been working on. I sure enjoyed watching the colors change on it. I ended up using almost all of the yarn, but thought it would be too long if I did the last two colors of the self striping yarn, so I stopped. Here is is sitting in my office next to my Wrap Me Up wrap, which lives there for any chills in the air (more likely during summer than winter in climate controlled offices).
(image)
Hanging around in my office
I think the colors came out really nice. It's just nice, simple fun to knit along with one semi-solid and one self-striping strand. For your records, this is Knitwhits/Freia Handpaints - Freia Semi Solid Sport in Red Oxide and Knitwhits/Freia Handpaints - Freia Ombré Worsted in Metal Earth and Purpleheart. The yarn is single ply and really soft wool. I am sure it would felt just great, so I will be careful with it.

I just got a new coat, and it won't go with the scarf at all (it is very red and would clash with the orange). But, I will wear this anyway--it will look great with my Levi's jacket.

Let's see...I think I will get back to working on the shawl I had been working on earlier, and finish that lovely alpaca sweater. I need to finish something. I am just glad I lost some weight so all my knitted stuff fits again.

I'm doing a fun fiber activity later in the week, so perhaps I will report on that. In the meantime, it's back to my lovely life, where my kids are both off for spring break, and my spouse and I are traveling around to agricultural sites in the newly repaired RV (ranch in Cameron last weekend, farm in Yorktown next weekend--how did I get so rural?).



Oooh Boy, These Are Some Nice Mitts

2012-01-30T18:25:39.899-06:00

I’m sad to see the end of project to make the Susie’s Reading Mitts out of the lovely wool/cashmere yarn. It sure feels good to have that beauty running through your fingers. Lucky me, though, I now get to enjoy the beauty on my hands and arms!Yay for outdoor photography and the good camera. This is realistic.In the non-cropped version of this photo, which I am NOT sharing, the sun makes a nice pattern out of my cheek wrinkles that looks like those wavy patterns sand dunes have. That’s Suna living up to her name, I think. This is a really nice intermediate project where you can learn how to make a picot edging and a thumb gusset. I did see on Ravelry where one knitter posted the technique she uses to make a thumb gusset with no holes around the join, if you are interested. The lace part is a very, very, easy way to start with lace—it looks much more complex than it is. It’s ideal for any luxury yarn you may have, since it doesn’t take much yardage and shows off the beauty of your yarn in the big stretch of stockinette.I have another whole skein plus some leftover of from the first skein. Maybe I have enough to do the gloves I originally set out to do!Well, so, I finished that, and I did work a bit on the striped scarf. I got to a section where the semi-solid and the stripe were rather similar, but even that is a nice, mottled effect. Ha, I was thinking how much I wished I had a photo of this when I realized I actually had brought the project with me. So, see what I mean?See on the right how it is rather blendy?You can also see that I am about finished with the first skeins of yarn. And as I figured, it really isn’t long enough, so I’m glad I got the additional skeins. This is another lovely yarn to work with, so I am happy to make the scarf long. Turning to less lovely yarn, I was asked by my coworker, Mike, to make him some slippers like his dear departed (rather grumpy) grandmother used to make for him every year. He even showed me a photo of them. So, off I went to Ravelry, and sure enough I found some that look a lot like the grandmotherly ones. These are made using two strands held together, so they go very quickly. I made a sample using some yarn I had bought at Michael’s for no real reason. At least it’s wool (Paton’s Wool Ease I think) but it’s more sturdy and long-wearing than soft and lovely. Here’s what I made (and these DO look better on a foot):A bootieI went down to a size 9 needle and the gauge turned out a bit tight. Plus I made the small size, so I got one that would be excellent for a ten-year-old child, I think. But the exercise told me that I need to do the decreases differently from the instructions—they don’t look really pretty to me.And it reminded me how little I actually enjoy knitting with two strands on large needles. One of my size 9 Knitpicks wooden needle is loose where the wood joins the metal, so I need to glue it back in (and one of my clear plastic 9s is missing!). But, for the next one I try, I am using size 10 needles and making the medium adult size. I think that will fit me. On this one I am making the stockinette portion solid, and using the variegated yarn just in the sole and cuff. Those will be for me. Mike’s going to go out and get Red Heart in his favorite colors, then I will make him a pair of large adult ones. I think that will work. I’ll have him try mine to see if they fit, though. These work up so fast that at least the torture of using acrylic on large needles won’t last long.I am amusing myself a bi[...]



Groovy Knitting Groove

2012-01-23T18:01:01.956-06:00

I guess I am back in my knitting groove at last. I now would rather be working on one of my projects than reading or playing a relaxing game. Whew. And because of that, I actually made something in a reasonable amount of time!I finished the Paintbrush Lace Cowl on Thursday or Friday, and blocked it Saturday. I rinsed it in human hair conditioner, which had the double advantage of softening the Silken Straw yarn and making the whole thing smell good. The cowl feels marvelous, which is good since it goes right against my extra sensitive neck. Here’s a picture of it before blocking: Pre-blocked cowlAnd here it is afterward. Isn’t that a nice pattern? I can imagine it in a mohair lace yarn being a very fine rectangular wrap. The pattern is so pleasant to knit that it would be a nice relaxing project. The colors look funky, but at least you can see the pattern.When I wear it it’s quite attractive, but you sure can’t see the pattern! I have no idea how I am supposed to arrange it on me. Oh well, it’s a fashion statement. Now I have to go find brown clothing to wear with it. I sure did enjoy that project, though. I am glad Jody suggested it.Dressed rather warmly for the weather. And no, I did not knit the sweater. I get asked that a lot.Now I am working with the multi-colored yarn I’d intended to use to make gloves. Instead I am making a nicer, more sophisticated set of fingerless mitts than the previous ones. The pattern is called Susie’s Reading Mitts, so it must be for me. It’s going quite well. I love doing a picot edging, and I like the simple lace enhancements. Mostly, though, I sure to like the yarn and the tweedy effect it makes. The little bit o’ cashmere in the yarn makes me purr (internally) with pleasure. And the tweediness is so subtle. Susie's Reading Mitts. Colors are more warm in real life.I also like having a thumb gusset and a bit of a thumb. That will keep me a lot warmer, I predict. I do like mitts, so that I can use my phone at a moment’s notice.That reminds me, I am going over to a woman I know from the UU church to help her make a mitten with thumbs that come off so her child can text in the frigid north of Illinois. When I lived there (1980-1996 if you are keeping track), I didn’t want to take off my Thinsulate gloves for anything. I knitted a lot of sweaters at that time, but wore store-bought gloves mostly. I have been promised wine, so I am not sure how well I will do with figuring out patterns, but we’ll see…Oh yes, to complete my report on my current projects, I should report on the scarf I am working on during choral rehearsals and such. I think it’s really pretty. When I got halfway through the colors on the self-striping yarn, I realized that I’d end up with a sort of short scarf. So, off I went with my very patient younger son to the yarn shop, intending to get another skein of each color of Knitshit’sFreia. But, sadly, they were out of the Metal Earth colorway. One of the other ones looks pretty good with the reddish main color as well, so I just got another color. I am not sure if I will use all of the additional skeins—I might end up with a much-too-long scarf! Here’s it’s progress: Easy scarf that looks good.While I happened to be at Hill Country Weavers, I decided to pick up enough worsted weight yarn to (gasp) make a garment. I was really taken with a pattern in the latest Vogue Knitting, #12 Drape Front Sweater. It’s very simple and mostly stockinette rectangles, but the front has a ha[...]



Why Yes, I Have Been Knitting! And Planning!

2012-01-14T21:38:19.415-06:00

I am getting a bit more back into my old knitting rhythm, though I am also still playing word games online, too. I can't help it...I love word games. I find it interesting that I win most Words with Friends games and lose most Scrabble games online. I can't figure out why I am good at one and not the other, but I still enjoy the mental challenge...but I also have been knitting.When I am sitting in Unitarian meetings and various choir rehearsals (mark your calendars for February 19 if you are local! Texas Choral Consort will present Out of Israel, a fun presentation including lice, flies and other plagues), I have been working on the K1P1 scarf. It's looking really nice and the color changes are very lovely. I will give you a picture next time. Gotta save something for the future.When I am not doing something that requires a lot of other thought, I am working on the absolutely beautiful Paintbrush Lace Cowl pattern that I got the yarn for when I was shopping with Jody. Two different Alchemy yarns--Silken Straw and Haiku. I sure am enjoying the feel of that silk and mohair gliding through my fingers, and I am also really enjoying the pattern. It is easy to follow but makes a cool effect. It has lace and cables, but neither are overly difficult. Just a pleasant thing to knit. I am beginning to wish I had more yarn. I probably only have enough to do 4 pattern repeats (though the pattern calls for 5). Here's how it looks now, with Scrunchy the Pug inspecting it:Scrunchy sez, "This is intruding on my space."I have been thinking about how nice the mohair scarf I got for Yule feels. Maybe I will make a scarf or stole out of one of the skeins of alpaca lace yarn I have, using the Paintbrush lace pattern. That would feel soooo good. And it would also not be so hard I would get discouraged again.I think that will be a nice thing to work on while doing the other, simpler projects I have in mind (gloves, mittens, etc.).I realized I didn't post the earlier photo I took of the project, showing the two yarns involved.Paintbrush Lace Cowl, pattern, and a bit of a view of the yarns that are knit together in my versionI found out today that the most elderly student I ever had in my knitting classes had passed away. She was a lovely woman with so many stories, and a kind listening ear. She was also very, very funny. It was so hard for her to knit, since her hands shook, but she kept at it, and always had questions and wanted to learn more. One of the nicest things about teaching was meeting so many interesting people and hearing their stories.That ending brings me to a new beginning. I asked if it was OK, and sort of got permission to start a knitting group where I am working now. I hope to get to know some of the people there better, and satisfy my urge to teach people to knit or crochet. We'll see if it goes over well or not--I think about 8 people expressed interest, which is great! Of course, I didn't ask permission correctly, even though I tried to. Oh well, I made it over 4 months before getting into trouble over anything at the new job, which is considerably better than my record at the last "real" job I had. But wait, I am not looking backward anymore. I am living in the present! Right now! And right now I want to enjoy some more zen knitting...you all go knit or read or enjoy the moment in some way that has meaning for you now, OK?[...]



Knitting Inspirations

2012-01-08T14:42:00.051-06:00

Not only did I actually go to a genuine LYS the Friday before New Year's, but I also got some other new yarn in the past week, one as a gift. I have been trying to knit from my very copious stash this past year or so, since I have been in the throes of my "knitting identity crisis," but like the ones I mentioned yesterday, these "spoke" to me (or showed up!).I have been wondering if I'd ever get to write this blog post, though--ever had one of those days when technology hates you? Well, all of my various technologies for getting photos onto blog posts broke this morning, and I got a bit frustrated. Finally I found a cable, dealt with some issues on the phone and the computer, and was able to copy all my recent photos onto my computer. WHEW! Still not sure why I can't upload photos to Facebook today, but I will live. I can at least blog now!First I wanted to show you this very interesting yarn that I found when Jody and I were shopping. I know it looks like a bit of a mess, but I saw it knitted up and woven (that was lovely!) and I really liked the tweedy effect it made. The yarn is called Mericash Thousand Colors and it is from Punta Yarns in Uruguay. Of course, it is no longer being made, sigh. It's a merino cashmere blend with 3 strands that each change colors. My plans for this are to knit it tightly and make myself a pair of warm gloves. I LOVE my very old cashmere fingerless gloves, so I predict I will like these.Mericash Thousand ColorsAnd look, I found PhotoShop so I could crop pictures.Next is yarn I ordered from the blog's old friend Ray Whiting at Knitivity. I was really intrigued by both of these. The one on top I am totally in love with. The colors are so subtle and muted. I realize I am on a real tear with hand coverings, but I really, really want to make another pair of mitts in this. I have a simple pattern with cute edgings in mind. I may have enough left over to make a matching hat and/or headband, too. The bottom skein reminds me of blue and white china, even though it has pale orange or cream color in it. It will probably be socks, if I ever get back to those. I am suddenly getting holes in my socks, some newer ones. No moth signs, but it makes me hesitant to make more.Sock Yarn from KnitivityAnd next is yarn I received as a Yule gift from my friend Diana, who went to Ireland and thought of me when she saw this yarn there. As you can see, it's a boucle yarn, in a lovely reddish purple-y color. It feels oh so soft. I wish I knew what the yardage was, because there is a pattern in Vogue Knitting this month for a very simple sweater with a twisted front that would look cool in this knitted very loosely--it would be more of an overlay than a sweater. I may have to get one of those things that measures how much yarn you have! I think this is a goodly amount, since it is thin yarn and tightly wound. it's surely enough to make a very simple shawl that would showcase the yarn.Lovely Irish MohairDiana also sent me a really lovely mohair scarf or wrap that was hand knit in County Clare near the Burren, one of my favorite spots on earth. I love the very simple pattern used.On larger needles, this could be done in the boucle.Scarf I got as a gift.So, these are all the things that are inspiring my knitting these days. Now I need to write one more blog post and I can knit! It is SO nice to finally have a relaxing weekend.[...]



Mismatched Mitts

2012-01-07T23:45:12.088-06:00

My friend Mary in North Carolina works in a very cold office in a UU church. She asked if I could make her a pair of mitts after she saw the pair I made Leigh for Christmas. She said it could be wild colors, since UUs love her tie dye. So, I found the balls of Poems yarn I had been trying to make a vest out of (it was coming out way to small BEFORE I gained my recent pounds). Since this yarn changes colors, I figured I better not use cables, so I made the trusty pattern linked right here in this blog. The first one came out quite nice, as this blurry photo taken in the RV shows.First MittAs I made the second one, I realized it was going to bear very little resemblance to the first one, in color. I seriously considered making another mitt from a second ball of yarn, but then I asked people on Facebook, and they began to say not to worry--mismatched is cool now.I asked Mary, and her daughter seconded that opinion. So, here's the second one.Second MittThey came out quite warm, though I think they'd have been warmer if I put in a gusset. Maybe next time I make this pattern I will  do that.I sent the finished ones off to her a couple of days ago. I sure hope she likes the sophisticated mismatched effect!Both mitts, in focus, and a view of the wine fridgeI decided I liked the self striping stuff again, so I got two balls of yarn at Hill Country Weavers when my old knitting friend Jody came to visit, one a semi-solid and one really nice stripes in the colors of rocks. This yarn is from Knitwhits, called Freia sport. I love it--single ply, hand-dyed wool.I started one of those easy K1P1 scarves with this yarn, since I need something very easy to knit during 6 weeks of choral rehearsals coming up. So far it is red and gray, but the gray will be changing!Very simple scarf in very  nice yarnIt was really fun to go shopping with Jody again. She is quite the enabler. She was intent on getting Jared Flood yarn, while I wandered around trying to not buy stuff. However, when I saw this one ball of yarn, it just had to go home with me. It looks like it is liquid metal--a very cool roving surrounded by a mesh. I believe the shade I got is silver with red mesh, but it looks purple. This stuff is absolutely amazing. It weighs practically nothing. It's Sublime Yarns Lustrous Extra Fine Merino Wool DK and wow, it is most unique.I had just gotten the Vampire Knits book by Kathy Pendry on my Kindle and remembered there were cabled mitts in there. I wanted a pair after making Leigh's. In between the vampire trivia and famous vampire quizzes (quite the snooze for me), there are some rather nice patterns. My only complaint about these "pulse warmers" is not in the actual product, but that there are no charts for the cable pattern. It would have been easier to knit fast with a chart. Also, it was knitted flat. Ick.I did a fine job mattress stitching the first one together, but I sure would rather make them in the round.Here are a couple of photos of the yarn and the finished first mitt. Still working on the second one.Yarn and project. You can't see how slinky and shiny this stuff isThis is a little overly flashed, but you can see it looks a little metallic. The yarn looks somewhat between these two images.I have some yarn and another knitted item I did not make to show you, so I will try to blog again tomorrow. Oh sure, two posts in two days???[...]