Saturday, January 31, 2015

Socks and Needles

I wish I could report that both of my Watermelon Socks had been completed, but they are not.  That is why at the beginning of the year, I told myself 6-12 socks would be nice this year.  Only one is done at this posting, isn't too darn cute?!

I am continuing to work on the second one when I am not knitting on another project or two.  I have had a strong talk with myself that I cannot switch to another project until at least one of the three projects that I have currently surrounding me is done.  So far so good.  High five to myself!

I have this cool gadget that keeps my double points together while the socks are at rest in my bag.  But, somehow tonight, it got tangled up with the cast on yarn and the working yarn.  I could have saved myself a bit of grief by just weaving that cast on yarn in.  But did I , noooo.

I am knitting the Watermelon Socks on my Karbonz, size 1.5/2.50mm.  I am such a loose knitter that I have to go that far down to get the stitch that I want for my socks.  I picked these up in Janesville several years ago when we were on our yearly knitting trip.  I really quite like them.

Last Summer, I had Deb pick me up some Signature double points (the red Size 2 needle below) when she was at Stitches Midwest.  I knit a bit with them and discovered that they made my gauge a bit too loose for my socks through the arch.

So, I ordered a size 2.25mm/1 (the green needles) and originally started the Watermelon Socks with them.  I discovered they made my gauge a bit too tight.  I guess you could say I was having a bit of a Goldilocks moment with my needles.

You can see this one coming can't you?!  I went online last weekend and ordered the 2.50 mm needle.  I am loving these needles and the stiletto point on them.  And the service!  I had them in my hands by Wednesday.

Now, before you all go out and order Signature needles, be forewarned, they are very pricey!  Very!  I am thinking that is why they put them in this container with a very difficult stopper to get off.  You do not want to lose one, really you don't!

I now have all the Signature Needles I need desire.  

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Wednesday Website

I am motoring along on my watermelon socks and am hoping tonight to finish the first one.  I've had a few inquires on the yarn and where to get it.  I am going to confess that I didn't find it all by myself, but a post through Susan B. Anderson.  She is a sock making machine and has introduced me into all kinds of cool sock yarns.  If she features a sock yarn on her blog, you can bet the dyer is shot into stardom.

To see Susan B. Anderson's blog -- Susan

To buy the Watermelon Yarn - visit  Artistic Yarn by Abi

The yarn is a custom order and you will have to send the dyer a message through her etsy site to order.  She will respond with a custom order pic and you have to pre-pay through it before she dyes it.  It takes about a month to get your order, but it well worth it!

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, January 26, 2015

This Week On the Needles

And what I am concentrating on knitting, this week.  Kind of like when you open a fortune cookie and you read your fortune, and you add in bed to the end of it.  I'm adding this week to my knitting.

My watermelon sock.  The first sock got some major work done on it for Sunday knitting, finally got it past the heel.  I am still loving this.  

For a moment yesterday, I gave thought to ripping it back and doing an afterthought heel.  But, now, I am glad I didn't and left it alone.

It's a belt in rib.  I've been wearing my Gibson quite a bit this winter, and every time I put it on, I just feel like it needs a bit of a belt to keep it closed.  I'm not 100% sure the whole belt is going to be rib, I'm giving thought to knitting the main body and then finishing the rest out of rib too…to be decided.

Unexpectedly we got more snow today.  I guess that would be a sign that Spring is a bit.  The Kinetic Cowl has been in my knitting bag all winter long and doesn't get much knitting time.  But, last night for some reason I just felt like knitting on it.  It will have some matching mittens if and when.  I just like picking it up for some no nonsense knitting.  It even went to work with me today, which was a waste of carrying it in.  There just isn't any knitting time at lunch like there used to be.

Still ongoing is my Wool Peddler's Prayer Shawl.  I had high hopes of having it off the needles by now and sitting on the blocking table, but it just hasn't happened yet.  There are about 24 rows left which may sound like not much, but in reality, it's a few stitches in each row of lace to knit.

And finally, the Churchmouse Bias Scarf.  This is the purse project that is always ready to be knit on.  The yarn is very fine, so it has quite a bit of way to go on it.  I think I'll just use it as my work project too, you know just in case I get some time to knit when I actually take a lunch!

Thats the line up for this week of whats on the needles.  How about you, what are you knitting?

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Leaving It Is

Probably about four years ago, I ran across Leaving in the Miss Babs booth at Stitches Midwest.  I loved it, but at the time, I just could not come up with a color way that I loved for it.  A couple of years later, I went back and still couldn't come up with anything.  So, it has been percolating on the back burner since then.

Fast forward to my new yarn from Chris over at Briar Rose Fibers.  Joyful  !

I've had it for more than a week.

I've swatched, perused Ravelry for days, spent nights thumbing through patterns, looked at patterns in books I have and asked for some opinions from my knitting friends.

We thought we had it narrowed down or at least they thought we had one finally picked, but I decided to give the contenders another look see.

The contenders were:
EPS Pullover
Gnarled Oak

I went back to Ravelry this afternoon and looked at some of my favorite designers to see if I had missed anything, Amy Herzog Custom Fit, Bonne Marie Burns  Chic Knits and Anne Hanson Knit Spot when I eyeballed Leaving again.  I think it's the one.

Now, the big decision is Cardigan or Pullover.  Would you care to weigh in?  I'm starting with the back so I've got time to decide.  Whatcha think?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Thanks EZ

Ok, so many years ago, I watched EZ and Meg Swansen's Knitting Glossary Videos, you know back when there was VHS tapes.  Elizabeth corrected a mistake in a cable that had gone the wrong direction.  I thought, neat, but I don't get it.  So for many years now, I've always ripped all of the rows back on an entire project when I found a mistake OR asked for the kindness of other knitters to fix my mistake for me.  Obviously, after many years I just didn't get it.

But, the other night when I sat down to knit some more on my Wool Peddler's Shawl, I saw an hole where it should not have been.  DANG!  I did not want to rip all the rows back on the entire shawl to fix that stupid hole, but I knew that I could not just leave it there, it would just plain bother me!

I thought what the heck, what is the worst thing that could happen?  I could foul it up and have to rip the all the rows back, so why not give it a try and just rip back the rows of the 10 stitch repeat that was affected.

At first, I was just going to do one stitch at a time, but that was a big fail.  Then, I started channeling EZ, and could just see her taking one strand at a time and re-knitting the row and then picking up the next strand and knitting the next row, just as the chart showed.

The first attempt had me picking the wrong strand, but then I laid them across the back in order and pretty soon, I had it and was knitting away.  Now, I am a thrower and not a picker, so it got a bit dicey as I got down to almost no yarn in my hand, but I managed.  I did say to myself, this would have been a bit easier if I learned how to pick really well.

But, I had success and I am pretty pleased with my first attempt of fixing just the part of the pattern that was out of sync.

Now, I wouldn't say I was an expert on this, nor would I want to do it all of the time, but I am pretty okay with the end result.  And it is all thanks to EZ.  I am becoming a knitter!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

All In!

You know I don't ever just go half way right?!  In for a penny, in for a pound. Thats why I a.) have so many projects on needles, b.) such a big stash c.) what I would call a super good library of knitting related books, d.) an even bigger assortment of patterns that I had to buy a file cabinet for e.) a vast amount of knitting needles and so many things I want to cast on that it would take a couple of life times to do them all!

And so it will not come to anyone's surprise that I currently have 4/5 prayer shawls on the needles.  I came to the realization though, last night, that if I don't commit to just one of them (or maybe two) that I will never complete one.  So, the Wool Peddler's Shawl it is.  This one, for some reason, this time around has really been giving me fits, but FINALLY,  I whipped it into shape last night, and I am well on my way with the lace section.  So much so, that I think I can do it in public now.

Of course, the color is a light version of my fave color.  I chose it for that reason and I know a lot of people who like this color too.  In my mind, I deducted if a lot of people like it then someone who may be in hospice may like it too and it might bring them some comfort to be wrapped in their fave color.
I particularly like the way the lace shows up in this color too.   The whole thing is soothing and pretty, if I do say so myself.

 Normally, I would use a bit lighter weight yarn then the Pacific yarn for this shawl for a better drape, but Pacific is washable and to me feels so nice next to the skin.  And if they don't want it wrapped around them, it has a nice feel just to have it your hands to touch.

Question for you readers - do you have a Hospice Home near you?  You may want to inquire about starting a prayer shawl program for them if they don't already have one or joining in if they already have one.  Just putting it out there.

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Best of Days

Nope, I did not languish in bed all morning.  I was up at the regular time.  I drank a lot of coffee, had the t.v. completely off and watched some knitting video casts for a couple of hours.  When I finally got around to opening the windows, this is the view down the street.  The sun was shining and the snow is really starting to melt.

These birdies kept me company almost until the mid afternoon.  I am not sure what they like so much about this spot, but they tend to spend some time coming and going.  There is no place to make a nest there, so I know it is not that.  There was a small incident when a bird flew into the window, but when I got up to look all was well.

I had a few things surrounding my chair today as I enjoyed a knitting day just for me.  All of them were in reach of my chair.

I spent the morning swatching my new yarn from Chris at Briar Rose Fibers.  I started doing a circular gauge swatch because initially I thought it was going to be a pullover EZ style and using Kate Davies' Finitry pattern for the top.

I decided that maybe it just wants to be the Finitry pattern which is a cardigan.  I continued the swatch by breaking it up to go back and forth, first in the Moss Stitch pattern and then in stockinette.

I used the putting the swatch next to the heat vent with the deflector aimed down for a fast dry.

A few hours later, I have a dry swatch.  I think I have something here!  Eagle eyes will wonder about what the real color is of the yarn.  These winter days are so hard to get a good picture in good daylight.
All I can say is that it isn't this bright of a green nor is a super camp as it is showing above.  It is kind of a cross between the two.

I hurried over to Chris' website this afternoon and picked up the other skein of this color way before someone else snatched it up.  With using some for a swatch, I want to make sure that I have sufficient quantities of my dye lot to complete it without causing too much stress on both Chris and I. 
And in typical Chris fashion, I already got my confirmation and the shipping information from her.  What customer service!

It has been a great day off, I've enjoyed it so much, and having the sun shining, the birds singing and the snow melting doesn't hurt a bit.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

I've Got Nothin

After three weeks, this shawl is not even back to where it was then.  As you may recall, I tore it way back because of a join problem and a blip in an edge that was annoying me.  Tonight, after an afternoon of working on the lace bit and ripping it back, I think I am finally on point with it now.  But sheesh, I'm a fairly decent knitter and this isn't the first time I've knit this pattern. It may be that I have a couple of other knits that are calling me, but I have not succumbed to them yet.  I promised myself that I would concentrate on this one first.

But, I've given it as much time as it is going to get tonight.  I need a diversion.  First, I'm going to get the border stitches done to my Kimono Shawl.  If I get at least that much done, then I can play with the pattern and see if it is something that can be done in public with conversation going on around me.

Lastly, I can knit on my swatch.  I've pretty much narrowed this one down as to what it wants to be.

I'm going to use EPS and knit a pullover and when I get to the top, I think I'm going to convert it over to Kate Davies' Fintry from her latest book Yokes.  I might decide on the cardigan, I'll give that some thought while knitting my swatch.

My watermelon sox need a bit of love (I am finally at the heel), but if I want to have these done by the end of the month, I'd better get a move on.

Since I am off tomorrow (Martin Luther King Day) and I can sleep in tomorrow,  I think I'll pull up something to watch and do a bit of non-pattern, non-lace, non-have to stay focused on anything knitting!

I love Sunday nights when I don't have to work on Monday!

Friday, January 16, 2015

And On The 16th Day

Pjknits got yarn in the mail…so much for Stash and WIPS!

Can you blame me?  Friend Chris, from Briar Rose Fibers just dyed some new yarn,  Joyful, in the last week or so and posted it. I could not resist a new yarn to me.  And I don't have a green in my Stash, well, you know the rest of the story.

Unfortunately, my monitor is showing this to be a bit brighter than it really is, it is a tad darker than the picture comes out.  You know I'll be trying to decide what to knit out of it as soon as I finish this blog post don't you?!  The yarn is 100% polwarth wool, with a gauge of 24 stitches to four inches, so around a DKish.  There are about 640 yards to each skein and I have 3 skeins so I can knit almost anything I want to out of it.  Problem is what?

Also, in the mail today, was some super cool yarn from a vendor that Becky turned me onto.  The only thing is, I had planned on buying two yarns from the vendor, and when I opened the box, I realized I had only order one of them.

 I just love it when a vendor does something funky with their packaging, this is how the box came.  A heart in yarn!

And not in today's mail but earlier this week, my Peanuts nightgown and robe showed up from The Vermont Country Store.  These are so cool and I can't wait to wear them.  Dear Jane from Knitting Camp sent me the link because she knows how much I like Snoopy and well they were mine!

I love it when the Postman Cometh, don't you?  I can hardly wait for tomorrow's mail!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Casting On

Today is the cast on day for the Kimono Shawl by Cheryl Oberle over at the the Knitaway Group on Ravelry .  I've got mine cast on and will be working on it more later this weekend.  This knit is a prayer shawl for the hospice home.

I swatched mine last night out of another color of  Rylie yarn and did the cheater way of getting it dried.  I sat the swatch in front of the heating vent and turned the plastic cover around to force the heat down on it so it would dry by this morning.

I did not do a super big swatch, because I really only wanted to get a feel for the width of the shawl.  My swatches use Cheryl's 30 stitch swatch magic.  You can find the link  here  .  I use it for almost all of my swatches.  I always surround my swatches with garter at the beginning and ending of each row and the top and bottom of the swatch to keep it from rolling up while be blocked and measured.

If you are looking for a fairly easy lace project, I recommend the Kimono Shawl.  You can easily pay attention to the chart while knitting it (and of course I will be marking each of my repeats so I stay the coarse) and if charts aren't your thing, Cheryl in her book Folk Shawls, gives you the written instructions too.  I am finding though, that after several years of insisting of ONLY knitting from the written instructions, I really am liking charts.

My laptop sometimes doubles as a chart holder for my pattern.

Guess I really should invest in one of those larger chart holders.  We've come such a long way since the stand up easels and magnetic boards!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Wednesday Website

You have to watch this video!  I want to take a road trip here this Spring!!

StevenBe Sizzle

Monday, January 12, 2015

Look Very Close

Do you see the difference?  This is what happens when you do not pay attention to what has been left in the washing machine before you throw a load of towels in with bleach.

What comes outs is a heathery sock (left).  So, I threw the other one in tonight with another set of white towels, I figured what the heck, it can't get any worse.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sunday Mornings

I love my weekends, who wouldn't?!  Saturdays are for knitting at the shop with friends and then laundry.  Sunday afternoons bring all those things you gotta get done before heading back to work and frankly Sunday nights, I am in front of the t.v. knitting, and watching HGTV and as of last week Downton Abbey.  

But,` Sunday mornings are no rush to do anything around here.  I stay in my jammies until I absolutely have to.  I refuse to exercise on the weekends so I don't even jump on the treadmill, even though I know I should.  After showering, I jump on the scale to see where I am at for the start of my week…what?  How can I have gained?  Oh, yep, it must have been that ice cream and Hershey's sauce I had yesterday or the lack of exercise all last week.

After that rude awakening, I start planning my week.  Time to start walking again, thoughts about what to take to work for lunch, what do I need to make ahead of time to be ready to go.  

Sunday mornings include a look at knitting of course, what do I have to show for the last week of knitting, what do I want to be knitting on this next week, what will I take to knit on during lunch at work, what do I want to be focusing on in my knitting right now.

First up, my first of hopefully 12 pairs of socks for 2015.  This is my go to project when I just want to do a bit of knitting or also when I just can't figure out what I want to be knitting on.  Does anyone else ever have that dilemma?

#2 on the list, it's a WIP, Eadon.  If I finish Eadon this year, I'll not only have a WIP completed, but a yarn cubby will be empty.  This yarn takes up a whole bin.

And of course, Wool Peddler Shawl for the Hospice Home.  I did have to rip this back a bit, but I am certainly glad I did, I like it much better that way!

I really tried to cast on something new this morning, but didn't, since we have a KAL starting later this week on the Knitaway group.  I'll save the casting on for it then.  

At this writing, it is snowing really big flakes outside again and we are getting another dusting of snow.     We are hearing there will be a bit of ice also to follow, but well, we'll deal with that if/when it comes.

How quickly Sunday mornings go by!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Stash and WIPS 2015 Goals and Expectations

Over the last few days, I thought of somethings that I really want to be knitting on this year so I started making a bit of a list.  I figured I might just as well put them on the blog so they would be a reminder to me and not easily forgotten.  And if it is in print, it may hold me a tad bit more accountable in 2015.

Knit Camp - Only 6 months to go and this is my year of Caribe Blue yarns that I want to knit my show and tell from - Faroese Shawls, yes I said shawls.  Stonington Shawl.

I am constantly opening my Folk Shawls book by Cheryl Oberle.  We are gearing up for a new KAL over on the  Knitaway group and I am excited to cast on the Kimono Shawl around the 15th.  I acquired some yarn for it and at this posting, I believe it is going to be a future hospice shawl.

BriarRose Fibers - I have some lovely yarns from Chris that I want to knit up this year.  My Eadon has been a WIP for what 2-3 years, I really want to finish it.  I have Wistful in a great denim color that I want to knit Anne Hansen's Caissa out of.  A sweater quantity of Sea Pearl that I want to knit Hitofude out of.  Everyone says Hitofude looks good on everyone and so I want to test the theory out.  I, also have Sea Pearl that is a WIP for about as long as Eadon has been.  It is Vitamin D and the reason that one has not been finished as I know I need to add stitches and length to it, but I am just not sure about it, so it sits waiting.  I probably should not even put that on the 2015 list because I just do not think it is going to make the grade.

One of must knits this year from Stash is my Gulf of Mexico yarn from Three Irish Girls.  It is a MUST knit.  And while on the subject of Turquoise colorways on the list is the MadTosh in Button Jar Blue.  It is slated for the Custom Fit pattern that I got from Amy Herzog which is Featherweight by Hannah Fettig.

Also on the list for 2015, are three afghans…yep, I said three.  One is also from Chris' yarn and the Brick Road Afghan.  I want to knit it for our living room and started it last Summer after we moved in, but that was as far as it has gotten.  The second afghan is out of Simpliworsted in a lovely aqua color.  I want to throw it over the end of our bed for quick naps.  It originally was going to be the Building Block Afghan pattern, but I also have a bright green that I have decided to work on maybe a block a month this year.  I think that afghan would be a nice little blankie for Miss Mona Lisa when she is at Grandma's house.

I am also committing myself to knitting prayer shawls for the Hospice Home in Peoria in 2015.  Not only do I feel this is a great way of paying it forward, but how better to use my craft for good.  I have some great ideas for what patterns and yarns I can use for them, using up some stash and getting to do some nice uncomplicated knitting.

Every year, it would seem this one makes to my list - Fair Isle Knitting.  I'm also one of the moderators over on the Fearless Feral Knitters.  Janine goes to knit camp, and is a fair isle knitter/designer extraordinaire!  Not only does she have a knack for some of the coolest sweaters (I loved a vest she designed for Sweaters from Camp many many years ago and told her about it back before I really knew her), but she has an eye for color too.  Unfortunately, she lives in California, so the only time I get to soak her talent up is for a short time in July.  I've got one of her hat patterns that I would love to knit or a tam (that is not hers) from the book I got last year at camp.  With this cold weather we have been having, it sure would have been nice to have it to wear already.

 I know there are a couple of sweaters for Bella and Mona Lisa that are on the needles and several new yarns that are just begging to be something for them, and I'll work them in as we go.

And oh there are cowls, one for the red coat, one for the black coat, another for the black coat, mittens for the brown coat….I need more than 12 months to 2015.

It's a lot of knitting isn't it?!   I better get started.

Friday, January 09, 2015

Finally Finished Friday

Although they may be small, I am pleased with these three little hats for friend Chris, who will be taking them to Mexico.  All three are from Chris' Wistful yarn, my fave yarn.  And I am not just saying that because I know her!

The final one was completed last night and is the Cottage Cap.  It was a nice little knit that is easily done for 6" before having to decrease and end.

I'm ready for my next project!  Since it is going to bone chilling out tonight, so there is no Friday night grocery shopping, yea!  That means I can go into the WIP bags and bring something out and work on it.  I am thinking Eadon, but we will see what the wind blows in tonight.

Stay warm out there!

Thursday, January 08, 2015

A Cold Blustery Day with A Side of Warm and Cozy Feelings

What an amazing morning I had today!  I went to the prayer shawl group for the first time.  Lets just say I am so impressed with the home that I am considering volunteering besides knitting prayer shawls.

We got a tour of the entire home, saw a room, the family room, the dining room, the garden, the laundry for both patients and for out of town family that may be staying for an extended period, the shower room for family, the chapel, we saw everything.  

I just cannot explain how glad I am that I went today, so much that I am really going to do my best to be able to attend twice a month as much as possible.  

My knitting friend, Victoria is a volunteer at the home and chairing the prayer shawl group.  She is such a giving person and you just cannot help want to be a part of this group after hearing how much the patients and their families appreciate the shawls and lap blankets we are about to knit for them.  There were times where I had to hold back the tears.  It was a cold, blustery day, but such a warm cozy feeling coming out.

I am so excited on where this all will take me, in my knitting and beyond.  If you have a hospice home near you, investigate a prayer shawl ministry there.  You will feel it, I know you will!

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Wednesday Website

Fringe Association

Okay, I am just sayin, you are going to get lost on this website for hours.  It is as much fun as Purl Bee was when I first found it.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

One WIP Down

It feels good even if it is not blocked yet, that'll come probably in the weekend.

My Dinner in the Eiffel Tower is not going to be huge, but I am okay with it.  I had more yarn than this, but frankly I was ready to be done with it so I bound off with a bit to spare.

The second skein will be tucked away for next year's yarn over.  Onto the next WIP!