Friday, December 31, 2010

Looking back



I don't do New Year's Resolutions as such. Maybe just one and then a habit a month. Years ago the habit started with making my bed each day, then I added making sure the dishes were all done before I went to bed...and so on and so forth, with several dips into "watching" my language when little people would repeat the things that I said at the most inopportune moments.

Last year my knitting resolution was the same as the year before, Knit it or Frog it, and with the things you cannot see on my blog and the things that you can by following the FO2010 tag, this year I have completed 97 items.

Why yes, I did count each sock and mitt individually but only when they actually made a pair! But on the flip side, several of those items were large. Large like adult sized sweaters and giant shawls.

At 1760 yards to the mile, I have knit miles and miles of yarn and used thousands of beads. I have learned new techniques, like working nupps in the round, discovered new yarns to love and made more virtual friends around the world. I have won a knitting contest and donated prizes to the fall version. I organized my stash this year and did some major home improvements. But most importantly, when things went wrong, I didn't give up.

All in all, you would think that I hit most of my personal goals for 2010, there is just one thing that didn't quite work....

Dear Son Number Two's sweater is STILL on the needles!

In my defense, he didn't commit to colors until Christmas Day.

Happy New Year everyone, I have some knitting to get done.

~M

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas



The last of the presents were finished last night and placed with care on the table.*
Par 5 Socks
Cascade Sassy Stripes in Blues
size 2 needles, and knit in 3 days!!


Merry Christmas!!

~M

*Not a lot of room left under the tree by late last night.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Secret Santa

Sometime after Thanksgiving, but before this week, the crew and I at work drew names for our Secret Santa Exchange.

The person I drew had been saying that she needed to make herself a scarf as her coat doesn't quite fit (or at all right now). That might have something to do with being well along in her pregnancy!! I pointed her in the direction of a simple wrap that will do more to keep her warm than the scarf would and took it upon myself to keep her neck and head warm for the next couple of months!!

I know, I said no scarves...but...she needed one!

Presenting :

Variations on a 28 row scarf this one actually being 32 rows.
Yarns : Lion Brand Moonlight Mohair, Baby Bee Peach Fuzz and Bernat Alpaca Naturals Blend.
In some places the yarn is doubled up, in others all alone to give the piece just a little more depth and warm fuzziness.
When worn the ruffled edge likes to twist back across itself, making sure that the scarf wraps nicely around the neck. :)
And what is a scarf without a complimentary hat, I ask you?
My take on an Unoriginal Hat. You can just see the sparkle of the metallic in the mohair here.

She got them today at our gift exchange/pot luck where I pigged out on meatballs, two kinds of soup, cookies, greens, chicken drumsticks that melted.

I don't know about you, but I am still full!

Pictures of the latest finished object will be up tomorrow or later, I am supposedly watching 9 with the kids and can't take pics right now....but I have hours to spare before Christmas and nothing of note on my needles.

I wonder if I can squeak out one more project before heading to bed?

~M

Thursday, December 23, 2010

What she said

One of the customers that I occasionally wait on at the bank and I were talking about Christmas, and more specifically Christmas shopping the other day. I was bemoaning my lot of having made so many presents and still feeling like I needed to buy a ton of stuff to keep my children, friends and family happy when she made a statement that has haunted me for the days since.

"We only get three presents at my house" or words to that effect. "It was good enough for the baby Jesus, it is good enough for us."

Think about it for a minute.

Three presents.

Now admittedly, gold, frankincense and myrrh are not on my shopping list but if we think about the meanings of those gifts we today could have our own versions.

Gold* : something of worth, be it your time or a monetary value. A few years ago my kids would have classified the latest video game system as their gold.

Frankincense** : (I am taking BIG liberties here) something to make today sweeter. Be that a good book, favorite music or that warm cuddly sweater I have been knitting on.

Myrrh*** : (Even bigger liberties) something for tomorrow. That present that a year or ten years from now will still be in use or remembered.

Sometimes I feel that I get the same message over and over again, today not only was I thinking about what my customer said but I was reading something very similar on another knitting blog.

Hence the title : What she said.

Unlike the Yarn Harlot I will be back before Christmas with more FO posts!!

~M

*Gold is a precious metal and has monetary value. It represented Jesus' Kingship.
**Frankincense is another resin, an aromatic one, from the milky sap of the Boswellia Tree. it is used as perfume, incense and in aromatherapy today, and was used in religious rites in Jesus' time. This represented homage to God.
***Myrrh is a resin (dried sap) from the Myrrh tree. It is used in perfumes and incense. It was commonly used as an embalming ointment in Jesus' day. This was a startling gift for a young boy--it represented His death.




Sunday, December 19, 2010

Quickies





School is out for Winter Break, and just in time for some really cold temperatures and some snow. Rumor has it that if we have measurable snowfall before the big holiday that the rest of the winter will not be so bad. I hope that rumor is true, I am tired of shoveling snow off my driveway already!

Before the final day of this year at school, TDQ and her friends were hanging out in study hall and TDQ being the enabler she is collected requests for fingerless mitts from all her friends. Not for pay or anything, just requests for if I had time.

Last evening I needed something quick to keep me occupied waiting for a late arriving flight and I knocked out one of those puppies, this morning while children chattered and oohed and ahhed over monster man's fancy (freaking huge) laptop, I knocked out the other.

The reason I was looking for something to fill time was I also finished this :


For once I actually followed the pattern. (I'm practicing for the next round of test knits) and made NO modifications!!

Shrug with Swing
Patons Silk and Bamboo
Size 9 (US) needles
Pretty quick knit on those giant needles!

Wanna see the back?

I like the back the best on this one. :)

There has been other knitting, but it is the stealthy kind.

I am however, getting seriously behind on the Christmas knits! Monster Man might get socks for New Years.

~M

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hot off the presses..or internet or...oh just read it!

When my boys were little they loved a tv show called Blues Clues. I think they were two or three when Blues Clues had a movie that included a song Today's the Day. (really bad quality video start at 2.56 to get the song) I have been singing that under my breath since I looked at Bad Cat Designs blog today.

Today is the day that Andrea (BadCatDesigns) announced her winter project. The Metamorphosis Project.

Go take a look!

I'm in, how about you?

~M

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

When last we saw




When last we saw our neighborhood knitter, she was up to her elbows in Advent knitting, but alas in the time that has passed that knitting suffered from something of a demise.



The knitting was fine, gently laid on her desk when our knitter left it.

If only she had heeded advice she had been given so many years before about not stopping in the middle of a row!

The boy says it was the cats, the cats are inscrutable.

But never the less the needles were missing from the stitches when our knitter returned from her search for another cup of coffee.

Now the poor thing sits in a ziploc bag, awaiting it's final fate...to frog or attempt to pick up those pesky running stitches? Either way, this far into the holiday knitting season it will have to languish in that bag just a little longer. Maybe sometime after December 25th it will emerge!

In the meantime :

Mom's 2010 Christmas Cardigan

Pattern : Mr Greenjeans well sort of!
Mods : Made it longer, make one increases instead of yarn overs, pockets, five buttons.....does that really still count as the same pattern?
Yarn : Lion Brand Wool Ease in Oxford Grey
Size 8 (US) needles

Here is a closeup of the make one increases



And some pocket detail
But wait! That's not all.
TDQ's Featherweight cardigan
Jade Sapphire 2 ply Cashmere in Amethyst Haze
Size 6(US) needles
Mods : added false side seams..wanna see?
And changed up the edges a little so they didn't curl
And again, generally made it longer.

But wait! That's not all

Now doesn't that look nice and professional?

I found a business card template that I played around with for a while, then with the help of one of my employee's and her husband ended up with these cute little care tags.

The employee sells creative memories items on the side and had this great punch to make gift tags which was perfect! If you want one for your very own let me know and I will get you in touch with her!

One last look at the perfect tag and I am away to knit some more!

I thought I had one large project left to knit for the big day, obviously I can't count!

~M

Edited to add a link that will automatically take you to my employees punch page!

Friday, December 3, 2010

3rd day of Advent


Stitch Pattern 3 is up on this site.

Back to my regularly scheduled mad-house knitting!

~M

Thursday, December 2, 2010

On the second day of Advent


On the second day of advent unkatissima gave to me....another lace stitch. Now if only I had also got some better lighting and a steadier hand to hold the camera.

24 quick rows of lace.

Tune in tomorrow for another 30 rows.

~M


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The first day of Advent




In response to some of the comments lately :

Why yes, Amanda, Holiday Knitting could be when you take your needles with you on vacation and show them the beach, or a snowy hill. Sounds like fun to me.

And no, Sue, the herringbone mittens were not very complicated at all. Once you are a few rows into the pattern it all makes sense and apart from remembering when to stop increasing for the thumb gusset or start the mitten top decreases it was smooth sailing, I mean knitting.

But, onto actual knitting type things!

If you are at home with your needles, or happen to have taken some extra with you on holiday check out this blog !

Unikatissima is giving away a free advent lace pattern, and although I am technically not knitting scarves to knit about 28 rows of lace in addition to my regularly scheduled holiday knitting is an extra nice little break. That would also make it Holiday Knitting, don't you think?

Terribly dark picture, but it is terribly dark and cold in Mid-Western America at 9:00pm. Mine is being knit in some gorgeous lace weight wool from Land O Lace in Forada, which is some seriously beautiful greens!

I also got one other thing finished up.


Finally got the mole stuffed and sewn up. Don't you just love the little toes and beady eyes?

Ok, off to take a vacation with my needles now. :)

~M

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I think I'll take a Fifth







Yet another Christmas hat worked its way off my needles yesterday! And, if I am counting correctly, this is the last of the "I need to hurry up and finish these, they have to travel a long way for Christmas" knits. :)

Turn a Square by Jared Flood
US 7 Needles
Lion Cashmere Blend for the base and
Noro Silk Garden Sock held double for the stripe.
The pattern promises a quick knit for gifting and it certainly was that...got this done in an evening with time to spare to finish up the knitting portion of :
Kind of funny looking? It is I am a Mole (and I live in a Hole) tea cozy, minus the flowers and the mole! Hard to finish up the mole when you forget about getting fiber fill stuffing!

Can you see it's little toes?
Those were a pain in the you know what to knit, but look oh so adorable on the finished mole! Hopefully soon you can see them the way they should be.

Next up?

Another biggie, so no finished objects for an Ohio minute!*

~M


it does not mean 60 seconds when used in slang terms. Usually means a long time, from a week to a few months, maybe even a year.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I must spend too much time on You Tube

As usual, there are apologies going out .....this time to The Ramones.

Well the yarn was wound to cakes and ready to go It was ready to knit now! She got her pattern It’s from the net ,she was going to knit another cabled Durrow But she just couldn't stay, from the pattern she had to stray


A top down raglan really has is all oh yeah, oh yeah


Durrow is a Top Down Raglan And she turned it into a Cardigan

Durrow is a Top Down Raglan now


Ok, enough fooling around!

Loosely based on Durrow, at least the cable is mostly accurate!
Worked from the top down, with pockets on both fronts we have my Dad's Christmas Cardigan!
Wanna see the cables?
Not really that much difference worked bottom up or top down. :)
Yarn was from a company that appears to have long since gone out of business...Colorado Yarns, Durango in what I am calling Dryer Lint black. Whoever came up with the idea of just laying slubs of lint next to the yarn in the winding process to create tweed was out of their mind and I have a little pile of bits that I picked out as I was knitting. But, complaints aside it is a pretty soft wool and will keep the cold man warm.

Just to keep this a really picture heavy post, another finished object to show!
Herringbone Mittens (ravelry link)
size Large, needles 5's and 7's (US)
Lion Brand Lion Cashmere Blend in the palest of pinks and black.

If I wasn't scared of jinxing myself I would say that I am making some headway on the holiday knitting....

~M

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Count them down


In this past of the world (North America, specifically the United States) this past Thursday was one of great anticipation. Anticipating lots of good food and time spent with family or friends. Anticipating diets left on the road side while turkeys roasted (or deep fried) across the country. There is thankfulness across the land, being thankful for what we have or had throughout the year, thankful for food on the table, roofs overhead.

Knitters have much to be thankful for too. Consider that in many parts of the world the struggle just to get enough to eat, and here I am with food overflowing my table and a yarn stash over flowing its bounds in my craft room. Just the fact that I can afford the time to knit is amazing when there are people who toil from sunrise to sunset to feed their families is more than enough to be thankful for and that my stash includes some really nice fibers is certainly icing on the cake!

But...

As a knitter there is another type of anticipation that comes with Thanksgiving in America. Or maybe it should be called terror!

How many days left to knit before the BIG DAY ?

How many presents are left to knit??

Well knock a couple more off my list.

Presenting more Christmas Hats.





Here we have Hat 3.
Just a simple watch cap style ribbed hat with wide turn up brim. Two by Two ribbing from start to crown decreases and I fudged the ribbing from there.
Lion Brand Lion Cashmere Blend (I am pretty sure this is discontinued which would make sense as my sister picked me up a large selection for a song ages ago!) in a rich navy blue and a buttery cream, held double from start to finish.
Size 10.5 (US) needles and it was cast on, cast off in a matter of hours.

With the left overs from that we have :
Four of Hats.

Same yarn, same needles, this time as a Garter Ribbed beanie and I cut it very, very close on having enough yarn for this adult size hat...inches of yarn left over at the end.

Two hats in one day isn't bad, but if I am going to actually get all of my knitting done I need to pick up the pace just a little. It truly isn't fair that in my family part of our "counting down to Christmas" involves counting birthday parties between now and the big day.

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and that your own holiday knitting is going well!!

~M

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Would you like a better look?








Here is a better look at Annis, the mini shawl that I made last week. (See how sneaky I am, I said I was all scarfed out so calling this little bit of lace and nupps a mini-shawl made me knit it up lickety split!)
At least a few things have been flying off the needles. Unfortunately others have lingered for far too long before making their debut as finished objects!

Pattern : Nemesis
Yarn : My personal sock yarn favorite Land O Lace Steffi in Little Falls
Mods : None, just followed the pattern as written
Thoughts : I might have to make the larger size for the monster man for Christmas. He suggested socks would make him happy and we all know that keeping the monsters happy leads to a peaceful life!

Want a better look ?

Nothing makes me smile as easily as a freshly knit pair of socks. :)

Where are you at on your Holiday knitting? For those who care to know, 33 days left!!

~M

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Time, Time, Time



Sung to you by Land O Lace Krissy (with apologies to Simon and Garfunkel)



Time, time, time, see what's become of me
While I was wound
Look for my possibilities
I wasn't hard to knit
But look around, leaves are brown*
And the sky is a hazy shade of winter


Hear the salvation army band
Down by the riverside, it's bound to be a better ride
Than what you've got planned
Carry your knitting in your hand
And look around, leaves are brown now
And the sky is a hazy shade of winter

Hang on to your hopes, my friend
That's an easy thing to say, but if your hope should pass away
It's simply pretend
That you can knit them again
Look around, the grass is high
The fields are ripe, it's the Prom Time of my life


Ahhh, seasons change with the knittery
Weaving time in a shawl for me
Won't you stop and remember me
At any convenient time
Funny how my memory slips while looking over charts and scripts
Of unpublished rhyme
Waiting for my Prom Time.



Do you remember the teaser yarn pic? Let me introduce you to Liisi

One of the nicest things about knit alongs is that sometimes you meet someone that you just connect with and a beautiful friendship is started. Last year during Summer Squares one of the people that I (virtually) met was Bev of Land O Lace. Andrea used one of the Land O Lace yarns for her Dark Star Stole and I fell in love with the subtle color variations and had to order some for myself. I mentioned in the comments section of my order that I had found Land O Lace through the group and a virtual friendship was born.

Earlier this year Bev asked me if I would like to test knit a shawl pattern that she was working on and the rest is history.

Liisi is the first in a series of shawls that Bev is designing for her nieces, and very lucky girls they are too!

From the pattern page of the web-store :

Based on contemporary books on the market on Estonian Lace knitting, we have tried to stay true to that style of knitting, utilizing a double yarn cast on, traditional border and stitch patterns, while giving it a unique feel with the play of patterns along the wrap. The shawl is made in two pieces and grafted together.

I need to add my own comments here, call it a pattern review if you will!

The lace patterning is easy enough that you can memorize the play of nupps, yarn overs and decreases without ever becoming boring. There is tons of room to adjust the sizing by adding or subtracting repeats of the main motifs, no worrying that if you add to the middle the edges won't line up, Bev ensured that the pattern repeats sync up perfectly. As I got to keep the finished sample once it was photo'd for the pattern I made mine a little shorter than her white one and loved every minute of it.

The yarn is springy enough to handle seven stitch nupps and crisp enough to hold the yarn overs in the lace patterning.

Time ran away from me, it is many years too late for this to be my Prom Shawl, but TDQ is already thinking of dress plans to make sure it works for her!

If you like knitting lace, do yourself a favor and get the kit!

~M

*Leaves are certainly brown now..can you tell by the pictures this was finished in September?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Another one?

A couple of weeks ago I got one of those dangerous emails from Richard at Colourmart...one of those emails that talks about a new yarn or blend that has just been stocked at their online shop. This time the yarn is a cotton blend. 45% Cotton, 15% Merino,15% Angora and 5% Cashmere....

I might have fallen off the Yarn Diet and accidentally thrown a couple of cones in my cart!





To make matters worse, I might have been trolling through Ravelry, just looking at finished objects and found that the designer of Annis had made a "mini" version that would be the perfect quick knit (yet impressive looking) gift.
In the original pattern the nupps make a deep v, in her mini version Susanna IC put beads in a diamond...I split the difference and worked 4 nine-stitch nupps on mine.

Proper pictures will have to wait until later this week, that is a still wet scarf/shawl/wrap that you are looking at!

I can't wait to see this one on our favorite model!

~M

Monday, November 15, 2010

Startitis, Finishupus

Sounds like something from a Harry Potter Book or Movie, doesn't it? I suppose if you look at the knitting needles as wands it is a little magical the way it works.

Yesterday morning I got out a single skein of Great Northern Yarns Mink/Cashmere DK in Marigold and set it on the table while I went to grab my swift.

Upon my return I untangled the cat from the yarn and then wound it into a nice little center pull cake to begin knitting.

After digging through my knitting supplies I finally found the right needles, unwound the yarn from the cat (again!) and actually cast on for 198 yards of Heaven. A couple of rows in and I frogged the whole affair, grabbed different needles, changed the cast on, unwound the yarn from the cat and started all over again.

A few hours of raking leaves, cleaning house and cooking made this quick knit take all day, but by the time I was thinking of bed it was soaking and ready to hit the pins.

Late this evening The Drama Queen agreed to model, not the best action shots of a shawlette but they do show a couple of different ways of taking that triangle of lace and making a quick, soft, cuddly fashion statement! (above point in front, end tied over it)


A jaunty little to the side loop.


We would be wrong not to include standard triangle shawl style!

And The Drama Queen's favorite.....

Doesn't she look just like a bandit?

Once it was washed the cat left it alone, so I assume he liked the smell of mink!

Mods : Turkish Cast On, Additional Border Stitches
Ultimately I used 210 of my 230 yards of yarn
48 inch wingspan with a 23.5 inch drop.

Not bad for a days knitting.

~M

Saturday, November 13, 2010

No Kidding!







A couple of days ago, Amanda posted this.

When she says Blogging Buddies are the best, she really means it, and I have the proof!

Direct from Eat, Sleep, Knit to me, from Amanda! Scrumptious!! TDQ and I were having a heated discussion about who the Madelinetosh yarn was ultimately going to be for when Amanda gave the following words of advice :

"A wise woman once said, She who knits gets the socks!"

Words to live by in my book.

The only other thing to say is THANK YOU! You made my day.

On the, is she trying to give herself repetitive motion disease front we have.....

and by the way if you are related to me STOP HERE, SPOILERS AHEAD....



Supposedly this is my own design, but there are only so many ways you can knit a Raglan Cardigan so it looks an awful lot like this one in Knitty.

Stats : Top Down Raglan Cardigan with Happiness or St. John's Cross cables on the sleeves and something special on the back. The body is predominantly reverse stocking or stockinette stitch (depends where you are from!) which switches to 4 stitch cables, alternating right and left crossing, for the cuffs and bottom. There are five buttonholes awaiting buttons to go through them. (I made the buttonholes the wrong size for the buttons I wanted!)
Yarn : Aracania Nature Wool, Color 54, Just under 4 skeins
Needles : US 8
Size : Too big for me, so it should fit who it is meant for!

Oh, you want to know about the something special on the back?


I had a heck of a time trying to get that to show up in a picture!

The other two Christmas knits I have on the needles are steadily progressing, but both are in heavy worsted weight yarn and I am starting to feel it in my wrists and of all places my thumbs. I have been mulling over some solutions today, most of which involve starting the next project!

Sorry, I have to give you a little bit of back story to get to the question I have for you!

Last year, my ex-sil and her family sent me some yarn for Christmas. It wasn't something that I would have bought for myself and it wasn't in TDQ's fav color, so I knit a bulky weight (ick!) scarf and sent it right back to her! Being the polite person she is I got a Thank you letter almost immediately with comments about how she and her version of TDQ argued about who got to wear it. Having knit all those scarves for TNNA this year, I am scarfed out and really do not like the idea of making another scarf to send to ex-sil for Christmas this year but really I should.

Now wasn't that a long winded way of getting to this question?

If it were you, would you pick a nice yarn and knit a scarf or pick a nicer yarn and knit a shawlette? And if you knit the shawlette would you include pictures so she would know how to wear it?

If it helps, I was thinking along the lines of 198 yards of Heaven (rav link) in Great Northern Yarns mink!

Either way, to take the strain off my wrist I am going to go wind some yarn now!

~M