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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Are you a words person or a numbers person?

Cornelia finished the knitting of her Customfit sweater and we sent it off to the finisher.  

She finished her granddaughter's poncho and feels it's one of her best knits yet.  Personally I think that's because of how cute her granddaughter looks in it.  She wants to knit them for her daughters, its down to the color choices. 

After her daughter tried it on the Houston Top, Cornelia decided it needed some modification.

 Specifically, she decided to hem it and make the front higher than the back.

Mary forgot to work the half of the cables across the last cable row of her building block, so we ripped it back. 

Much better.

Jane finished the cabled band of her Madison Weekender Jacket and was ready to pickup the stitches for the upper body. 

To her credit, she did the math and figured out a plan for spacing out the picked up stitches based on the fact that she had knit 192 rows and had to pick up 145 stitches. Jane is clearly a math person.

The navy is really giving her a tough time. It's hard to see her stitches in the dark color. Placing the band on top of white paper made it easier to see where to pick up the stitches.  At home she is going to use a white pillow case or sheet.

Rosie finished the back on her customfit sweater knit with Ultra Alpaca (Worsted: 50% Wool, 50% Alpaca, 215 yards). We are all enamored with the heathered purple color. Rosie is a self proclaimed words person and wouldn't have done the math that Jane did.

Eleanor finished the body of her Madison poncho.  There are things she would rather have known at the onset, like working the seed stitch side border at the beginning and end of the poncho versus picking up the stitches after the fact. That is a vote for reading the Ravelry comments for a project before beginning.

Before beginning the cuffs, I checked the Ravelry comments and found these modifications:
Final cuff adjustments: 

  • Cast on for the medium size (54 stitches) using size 7 needles and knit in the ribbing for 1". This is what worked to make the very top part of the cuff large enough so it didn't bind the arm. Good advice and we followed it. 
  • Books we are reading:
    Dead Weight
    The Little Paris Book Shop
    The Desert Queen
    Go Set a Watchman
  • When knitting a pattern, are you drawn to the words or math?  Talk amongst yourselves.
  • Friday, October 2, 2015


    Trammi came in excited about a poncho she saw on a woman walking much further ahead of her. She sketched it for me and we are either going to collaborate on a design or find a pattern that is close enough.  She only saw it from a distance.  Next time she will (hopefully) approach the person.  I've been known to do this on more than one occasion.  People generally don't mind and take it as a compliment. Sometimes they feel as if I'm stalking them.  Which in a sense I am but only in the name of fashion/design.

    She worked on her Essence pullover.  Which reminds me that I have to start my daughter's for the holidays. Aly if you're reading this, you didn't see that.

    As an aside, yesterday I was much colder than I dressed for and put on the Essence pullover I knit for the shop. I was surprised that I liked the tan color on me.  I never buy/wear this color. Look at that, I took a foot out of the purple box.

    There's a pattern, Outline, that has inspired her 


    and she wanted to discuss colors. It's a very versatile pattern. She happened to see me in town one day and we had a preliminary conversation. It all started with the variegated yarn above.  Then she picked up the light green.

    We threw a few others into the proverbial ring during class.  You can see the beginnings of the wrap in the middle.  She ended up getting the four on the right.  We have ulterior motives for the leftovers of those yarns.  They will be the poncho.

    Cornelia is knitting at warp speed with the super bulky Rasta (Super Bulky: 100% Merino, 90 yards).

    The fringes for her granddaughter's poncho took the better part of two hours during Jeopardy.

    She's halfway done with the second front of her Rasta Customfit vest.  Next week it will be off to the finisher.

    Allison has set the goal of finishing her Customfit cardigan within two weeks.  She cast on for Burrow and learned the garter tab cast on. It was the first time she had been faced with directions for the Garter Tab. It sounds harder than it is. Here's a link if you're interested.

    Tuesday, September 29, 2015

    I highly recommend it.

    Recently I had the occasion to "unplug" from technology for a day.  Or, as Thing #2 calls it, "going radio silent".  She actually put a note on her bedroom door to that affect once.  But I digress...

    It was a self imposed disconnect.  I sleep with my phone and iPad by my bedside.  My phone serves as my alarm clock and I read from my iPad.  When I woke up, I left them on my nightstand. 

    I was surprised by the little ways in which technology has woven its way into my daily routine.  (Did you like the fiber reference?  Not intentional, though it works!)

    The observations were almost immediate. My morning routine consists of making my tea and reading email, checking Facebook, and Ravelry.

    1.  There's an hour back in my day.

    I decided to take my tea outside.  What was the temperature out?  I couldn't check on my phone and we don't have a thermometer outside.

     2.  Check weather the "old fashioned way". Literally step outside and see for myself.  Growing up my mother would always say, "stick a hand outside" when we asked what it was like outside. 

    Believe it or not, (and I'm almost ashamed to share this), I actually had the thought, "what if I see something pretty"? I can't take a picture.

    3.  Enjoy being outside without considering whether it's a photo op.  Simply be outside on a lovely morning. What a concept.

    While outside I had no way of checking the time.  I no longer own a watch.  Then I remembered I had bought a couple of bracelet watches years ago.  Guess what? Batteries dead and they were intended as "disposable", no way to change battery.  

    4.  Not marking time continuously was rather freeing.

     While outside the dogs were playing tag.  They were racing around the yard at top speed.  Harry ran under the slide from our play gym. This was clearly "base" as Tucker is too big to go there.  That didn't keep them from doing puppy spins and prances to taunt each other. It was delightful to watch.  Use your imagination, there is no video documentation. You can't "youtube-it". It happened though. Really.

    5. Life was not a photo opportunity.  Moments were there to be enjoyed, remembered, and retold without visual aids.

    I had to spend the day alone with my thoughts.  Scary thought, I know.  There were some cobwebs to clean out. Without my phone I couldn't listen to my book tape or music.

    6. Without continual "outside" input, my day was meditative.  I kept paper and pen by my side and wrote down thoughts and ideas as they wandered in and out of my mind. That being said, I really need to write neat notes in full sentences versus cryptic scribbles of one-two word hints. It's pretty said when you don't get your own hints. 

    Did I miss my phone? Of course. At the same time, it was a good exercise to re-learn how to do things old school.  Think for myself instead of googling it.  Enjoy the moment fully and not through a phone camera lens. 

    I highly recommend it.  

    Note to self for future, consider getting a watch and radio. ;)


    Thursday, September 24, 2015

    Tuesday Stitch and Chat

    Eleanor wore her Summer Poncho in to class today. This was her US Open and travel knitting.

    She continues to persevere with her Madison Poncho knit with Creative Focus Worsted (Worsted: 75% Wool, 25% Alpaca, 220 yards). After feeling like she is slogging through such a time consuming knit, she is rethinking the Two Harbors Poncho. How many ponchos does she really need/will wear?

    I on the other hand am about ready to swatch.  

    I've picked black for the turtleneck and red for the body Blue Sky Alpacas Extra (Aran: 55% Alpaca, 45% Merino, 218 yards).

    Rosie started over the her CustomFit sweater, she wasn't satisfied with how the knitting looked. She's back on track now and working the shaping.  Rosie shared a funny story about the compromise she struck with her cat.  Now that it's getting cooler, her cat has come looking for the lap she sat on during the winter only to find it occupied with knitting.  The compromise: the cat is snuggling inside her dressing gown while the knitting gets the lap.  I think they will be nice and cozy this winter.

    Jane's cat is content to watch the knitting.  Probably waiting for an opportunity to strike (in my opinion). Jane's knitting issue today was loose stitches in her cable panel.  I ripped it back and she redid it. She finds her mind wanders (even when she's alone) and between that and the dark navy, it's easy to get off track.

    Calann is in the midst of knitting her fifth Fallen Halo in Artyarns Cashmere 5 and Artyarns Cashmere Glitter and 

    is ready to wind the yarn for the sixth.  She loves this pattern for gifts.  I'm totally flattered.

    Cornelia finished the back of her CustomFit vest.  It's remarkable how fast the Rasta knits up.  Not that it should come as such a big surprise on #17 needles (Super Bulky: 100% Merino, 90 yards). I was looking through my stash a/k/a collection and discovered a I have a few skeins of Rasta.  A CustomFit sweater is something to think about.

    There was a very rewarding moment in class (for me) when Cornelia explained (perfectly) to another student in the class how to estimate your long tail for the long-tail cast on.  I was very proud of her.  You know you are learning and retaining when you are able to explain it to someone else.

    Trammi is nearly at the point in the Essence pullover where she puts the sleeves on holders and knits even till the ribbing. Tahoe yarn (Aran: 32% Nylon, 27% Wool, 25% Alpaca, 16% Yak, 179 yards).

    Book discussed: Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey.

    Tuesday, September 22, 2015

    It's a family affair

    Over the past few years of family parties, my cousins have taken up knitting and crochet.  I can't tell you (well, actually I can) the particular joy I get from my family bringing their projects to our family parties.

    It started in the summer. The summer party is at my house. I knit and my sister, Nancy knits. Last year Leslie learned to knit and was working on a shell top. Who knows what Nancy and I were working on.

    This summer Leslie was knitting a baby sweater for her granddaughter. Rinda brought crochet swatches she was playing with. Again, I don't know what Nancy and I were working on. At the time, I wasn't planning this post/

    We planned a cousins sleepover which we called a yarnover. It was, in a word, AWESOME.

    I taught Leslie how to work a 3-needle bind off for the shoulders of the baby sweater for her granddaughter.

    Rinda asked me to find a project for her, we settled on a crocheted baby hat for her niece.

    Nancy was working on Shine in Dragonfly Fibers Pixie. Want to laugh? As I'm posting this and linking the pattern, I'm thinking - I like that pattern.  I may have to make that! 

    While my sister and cousins were visiting, they came to the shop for Sit'n Knit at Westport Yarns. Everyone came away with a project. 

    Leslie is combining Tempo (Worsted: 51% Cotton, 37% Acrylic, 12% Nylon, 114 yards) and Fuji (Worsted: 38% Silk, 25% Cotton, 15% Nylon, 15% Rayon, 125 yards) in a bulky cowl pattern.

    Rinda began the crocheted baby hat.

    Nancy picked up a skein of Meadowcroft Paleo-Indian Woolens (Worsted: 100% Merino, 218 yards).
    Then this weekend, when we were celebrating my Uncle's 92nd birthday, we convened to knit/crochet.  I love that they save problems/things for me to do with them.

    Leslie learned how to set in the sleeve and work the mattress stitch.

    Rinda is knitting the same bulky cowl as Leslie.  Sorry, I don't remember the pattern name.

    Rinda had finished crocheting the baby hat so we tried it on Lexi to check the size.

    Then I affixed the pom-pom. Baby and hat are adorable, in that order.  

    What's nice is that my other cousins, are aware and interested as well.  My cousin, Michael, admired the top I was wearing. We had a whole discussion on the differences between knitting and crochet. He thought the top was crocheted, since it was lacy.  To his experience, crochet was open and knitting was solid.

    I'd show you what I knit, however, I was drinking a little bit and the knitting came out wicked wonky.  This is also probably why I don't remember what Nancy and I were knitting this summer.  At any rate, I ripped out all I knit the next day.  C'est la vie.

    Sunday, September 20, 2015

    Don't leave home without it.

    Your notions kit, that is.


    Why does travel, even short jaunts bring epiphanies? We were headed to a family party, a day trip.  I decided to bring a bigger knitting bag. We get in the car and leave on time.  When we settle in to the first leg of the journey I go looking for stitch markers. Then it hits me, I don't have notions kit in this bag. I always have a notions kit. How is it possible that there is no notions kit in this bag? I feel like I'm traveling without a compass. 

     Joe offered to turn around but I think he was just kidding. He still gets points for offering. I took deep relaxing breaths.  Do I panic or approach this with the problem solving attitude of my friend, Alba. For goodness sake, she didn't let not having knitting needles get in the way, how could I complain about my lack of notions.

    I decided I could live without the stitch markers.  It was just to aid in counting a large number of stitches I was casting on.  The next "obstacle", I needed scissors to cut the extra yarn from long tail cast on. Luckily I have a Swiss Army type knife with a scissor on my key chain. Crisis averted.

    Thankfully, from then on the Knitting G-ds were kind to me.

    Moral of the story: when I load a bag with a project, I will make sure at a minimum, I put a small crisis pack of notions in the bag.

    What would go in this crisis bag you might ask?
    • Stitch Markers
    • Scissor (puppysnips, collapsible scissor, or yarn cutter).
    • Tapestry needle a/k/a chibi
    • Tape measure
    • Crochet hook (fix-a-stitch)
    There are several ways to carry this out.

    Nancy's Knit Knacks, perfect notions case.

    The Knit Kit 

    Or the tried and true small zippered case. 

    Obviously, I have several of each.  I'm going to track them down and create a shelf of ready to go mini notions kit.  Don't leave home without it.

    What's in your notions kit?

    As a complete aside, yesterday I was looking for the turnkey tool for the battery case on my fitbit.  I knew I had seen it somewhere.  It wasn't in any of my usual places for an item like this.  While writing this post, I found the tool in a ceramic bowl, with my stitch markers.  Of course, why wouldn't it be in there?

    Thursday, September 17, 2015

    That's the way to make an entrance

    Cornelia entered the shop saying, "I've come light years since last week."

    The Houston Top she knit for her daughter is blocked and ready to gift.  It looks lovely.

    The finisher was able to take in her cashmere vest approximately 4" by making the seam deeper on each side.  No cutting.  

    I'm so glad for Cornelia.  Not only was the vest a lot of work, it's knit in Lobsterpot Worsted Cashmere.  Now she will be able to enjoy wearing it.

    She is swatched and ready to start a CustomFit long vest with one button. Rasta (Super Bulky: 100% Merino, 90 yards). 

    Finally, she cut a compost heap of fringe for her granddaughter's poncho in Rasta.

    Allison reported that she had finished her 5th Hitchhiker scarf. Presently she was finishing the first sleeve of her CustomFit sweater. We wrote out math for shaping by decoding it like a math word problem.  Remember those?  Never liked them.

    Eleanor knitted up to the point where she rejoined for neck of her Madison Poncho knit with Creative Focus (Worsted: 75% Wool, 25% Alpaca, 220 yards) .  She asked me if there is any reason not to sew the ends from the neck tight at join now versus when the poncho is done.  My only reason is because you don't know what can happen.  The knitting g-ds may get you.  Better to leave it to the final finishing, Those over zealous finishing moments can come back and bite you.

    Calann reknit the thumb again. It just wasn't coming out well staying in pattern on the thumb gusset. It made it look all jumbly. Instead she worked the gusset in stockinette stitch.

    Mary is ready to cast on for her CustomFit sweater. She is knitting a tunic in Seedling (Aran: 100% Cotton, 110 yards).  The variegated yarn will be used on the borders and trims.

    Garter #3 is finished with a week to spare before the wedding.  All that's left is to sew in the elastic and run the ribbon through. Compared to the knitting, that is the easy part.

    Someone suggested making them for a craft fair.  We all agreed that the price would be too high based on the pain and suffering it takes to knit it.

    Trammi was at the point in her Essence pullover at the part where you join in the round. 

    I asked everyone what was on their knit list, here were the replies:

    Cowls for holidays and to start The Burrow scarf/shawl in North Star (Bulky: 92% Camelid - Alpaca, 8% Nylon, 109 yards).

    Two Harbors poncho  in Extra (Aran: 50% Merino, 50% Alpaca, 218 yards).

    Customfit vest, fringe granddaughters poncho.

    Fallen Halo cowls as gifts in Artyarns Artyarns Cashmere 5 and Artyarns Cashmere Glitter it's quick, easy and makes for a beautiful gift. As it's my design, I thank you for the compliment.

    Palmyre, among other things. Once she can can settle into her kids schedule.

    Customfit tunic and Building Blocks afghan.

    As for myself, I have two more deadline pieces to complete before I see my way clear to determine my knit list.