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Friday, April 17, 2015

I'm over it.

Michelle, finished knitting the sampler blanket.  She has three more strips to block, and finishing details.

This blanket was knit with Cobasi (Light Fingering: 55% Cotton, 21% Nylon, 16% Bamboo, 8% Silk, 220 yards). One of the stockinette squares gets a rocking horse worked in duplicate stitch.  She found brown wool in her stash, looked like Koigu.  To make sure it wouldn't run when washed, we put a small bit of yarn in a cup of cold water and let it sit there a while.  All is good.

She is in finishing mode and has three more blocks of Paintbox afghan. I think Michelle has been knitting these two afghans for the better part of six months.  She is over it. Once these are well and truly finished she will begin the Houston KAL.

When she got to Stitch and Chat, Lois was more than halfway through her Marshmallow Fluff Cowl, it measured 17.5" and should knit up to 24". I left them alone for a minute and when I came back, Lois and Linda decided she was done.  She got to 20.5" and wants it to fit more snugly.  She'll block it and be done. She's over it. Her plan was to finish this in a day, not over four months.  Another thing to cross of to do list.

She's ready to shift to my Fallen Halo that she is knitting with with green Cashmere 5 and Cashmere Glitter yarn. A truly luxurious experience.

Linda has been rocking along on her Etched Rio Wrap and is down to the last ball. Initially she was fine with row 13 of the lace section. At some point she made the "major" lace row into a albatross and gets anxious every time she comes to it. Call it knitter's block. When she gets to that row she holds her breath across those 16 pattern sts wondering if it will come out right. She was hoping to get a chance to wear this during the spring.  It's still kind of chilly - it could happen.  At any rate, she's over it and ready for her next project.

Michelle and Linda caught up. Michelle told her that she took up needlepoint while in Florida.  Going forward she will needlepoint in Florida and knit in Connecticut.  Linda made an interesting observation: working her hobbies this way Michelle is cross training her brain.

Linda analyzed where she was when she made a mistake. Where was she sitting? What was the lighting situation? Was the TV on? How was she feeling?  The conclusion:, sitting in poor light, watching Dr. OZ while tired. Nothing really to add to that.  Kind of says it all. 

Thank goodness for Linda's musings.  They are the stuff blogs are made of. ;)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Inquiring minds want to know

Eleanor was back from Morroco where she visited Berber villages in the desert part of Morocco. She said that the color Lapis was everywhere.  That's one of her favorite colors.  It must've been a beautiful site.

She's working on her L'Enveloppe in Noro Silk Garden Solo (Aran: 45% Mohair, 45% Silk, 10% Wool, 110 yards). There is a certain synergy with this color considering her recent trip.

Corneila was working on one of the sleeves for the Confidence Pullover knit with Cascade 128 Superwash (Bulky: 100% Superwash Merino, 128 yards).

She was stumped because the pattern changed the number of stitches used in the raglan shaping rows on the sleeve versus the body.  She had written a cheat sheet for the body and was caught up short when the row didn't work.  Once again that whole "reading the pattern thing" rears it's ugly head. In this case, she hadn't read it wrong, she just didn't understand why the stitch count changed.  Who can really say, that's the designer's prerogative. She re-wrote the cheat sheet to reflect the change.

Then we reviewed ssk: slip one as if to knit, slip the next stitch as if to knit, then insert the left needle tip into the front loops of the slipped stitches, then knit them together from that vantage point.  Cornelia was slipping them, but not knitting them together.

It's really easy to get "pattern amnesia" when going from one row to the next or one section to the next.  It can help to read a confusing row/section out loud.  I'm often guilty of selectively reading and either skipping words or inserting words.  Sometimes I even make up what I think the pattern means. If you read it out loud, you're forced to read what is actually written.

Patti, who is relatively new to knitting, knit up several lovely summer infinity scarves.  She was using the Michael Kors (Inspired) Infinity Scarf. She's going to wet block them to be wider.

She put border of half double crochet stitches worked through the back loops. It added stability to the scarf. The yarn used in the scarf above is Claudia Hand painted (Discontinued) Linen (Sport: 100% Linen, 270 yards).

She was surprised how much we all admired them.  A knitted piece doesn't have to be complicated to be worthy of admiration.  Her choice of color and pattern were perfect. The yarn used here is Seedling (from the shop) (Aran: 100% Cotton, 110 yards).

In her own words, Patti is on a learning curve journey.  She has a booklet with stitch patterns and we reviewed how to read knitting pattern shorthand and abbreviations.

We reviewed seed stitch (bottom rows) added a garter border row, then moss stitch.  We talked about the importance of punctuation as a clue to the sequence of directions. 

Twice during class someone had to rip back rows.  Once it was Cornelia for not working the ssk properly.

Another time it was Elaine. She notice this errant stitch in her knitting. You see the twist and the little hole? At some point she must have put down her knitting and when she picked it up, she went back in the wrong direction.

It was comforting to Patti that other people made mistakes and had to rip out their knitting too.  We told her that you are not a real knitter unless you repeatedly have to rip out your knitting and re do it. It's funny that no matter where we are in life, we take comfort in knowing that others are experiencing the same things we are. Not that we take comfort in someone's discomfort (although I'm sure that happens too), just that we are not alone.

We also talked about keeping track of rows: row counters, apps for row counting, and the old school way of pen/paper. Like I said, inquiring minds want to know...

How do you keep track of rows and handle confusing directions? Post a comment and share with the class.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Mary has lost her sheep.

Mary literally brought a (rolling) suitcase full of yarn to pick for the Building Blocks afghan class I'm teaching in May.

After a careful review, the contenders are Cascade Cotton Club or Plymouth Jeannee.

Once we solved that project, she handed me her lost sheep a/k/a Sheep Roll Neck Roo sweater. Last week she noticed that she had forgot to begin the face, so she was going to take it back. It got all kinds of tangled up. 


I just cut the tangle free.  Mary wound them back into balls and she's going to pick up some yarn bobbins to add some order to the chaos.  It was a case of tough love and cutting our (well, really her) losses. Then she began swatching for a customfit in Seedling (Aran: 100% Cotton, 110 yards).

Sunaina sent her Miley Tee to be fixed, now all she has to do redo the ribbing.

Krazy Kurti, the sweater that made Sunaina a knitter (in her opinion - I thought she was a knitter all along). This was a really cool sweater to knit.

All the sections are done.


It's been hibernating because she doesn't like how the red looks on sides. She's going to redo it with orange. We also realized that she picked up the stitches on the wrong side for one of the sleeves, so she'll have to reknit that. That's the plan.

 She finished knitting the hem closed for the Houston Top knit-a-long.  I love the color of Monet that she chose (Aran: 52% Cotton, 40% Acrylic, 8% Nylon (Polyamide), 60 yards).

Lois told me that her husband is thrilled that I fixed the ribbing on his Basic Vest for Men. He said "that's great, Lois, when will it be done?" Lois gave herself some leeway and told him, "a couple of years. She was knitting her Marshmallow Fluff Cowl. What she thought would take "a day" gas taken months.  First world problems.

We had a philosophical moment: Sunaina said that knitting fully absorbs her attention.  Lois has  knitting ADD and gets distracted. Since she stops to mark each row she completes, that is often. Or at least every row. For me, my knitting ADD takes a different direction. I think about other knitting projects I could be doing. Then there are all the distractions in knitting: reading a pattern, pattern math, counting stitches, and the list goes on.

Michelle is back.  HIP HIP HOORAY! She was swatched and ready to join the Houston Top knit-a-long. The yarn is Berroco Origamri (Worsted: 58% Acrylic, 16% Linen, 15% Nylon, 11% Cotton, 98 yards).

She is knitting the Westport Yarns sampler afghan in Cobasi (Light Fingering: 55% Cotton, 21% Nylon, 16% Bamboo, 8% Silk, 220 yards). The afghan is usually 5 strips. Because she is knitting with fingering weight she's adding an extra strip.  We had a meeting of the minds to pick out 6 of the stitches to repeat. 

When Elizabeth went to pick up the Cascade Eco plus at Westport Yarns, she saw the Blue Sky Alpacas Extra yarn (Aran: 55% Alpaca, 45% Merino, 150 yards). She is totally smitten with the yarn and one particular color, a raspberry/reddish color.  It's back to the color drawing board for Rosalia now that she's seen this raspberry color.

I'm adding yesterdays Stitch and Chat...

Cornelia finished the body of her Confidence Sweater in Cascade 128. I measured the sweater and it's about 1.75" narrower than schematic.  She's good with that as she wouldn't mind it a little smaller. We will pin it together when she's done to see how much blocking will need to be done. She cast on for the sleeves.

Her grandson loved the hat that she knit for him.

Allison brought her customfit sweater to work on. She's knitting the fronts of the cardigan at the same time.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Lost Island of Socks - Found

I think I've mentioned my dogs' penchant for socks.  Forget shoes, they love socks. But not any socks, Thing #1's socks.
In the smaller pictures above (on the right and left), they are wrestling. Over a sock. With just their mouths. No other body part involved. In the center picture, Tucker has his security sock and a log from the wood pile. All winter long they have been stealing socks. The yard was quite a site when the snow all melted.

While we were away for the day, Thing #1 asked her friend to come by to check in on the dogs.

 This was the text she sent.  

And happily I was able to sit outside for this first time this spring.  I wore appropriate footwear and color coordinated in pinks and greens in honor of the momentous occasion.

Monday, April 6, 2015

What to knit during the holidays this weekend?

Why I always leave these decisions to the last minute, I'll never know.  Well, that's not true, I do know.  I just don't like to admit (to myself) that I'm eleventh hour person.

Initially I wanted to bring my next Secret Squirrelly project with me.  There's a lot of potentially good solid knitting time to be had.  Unfortunately, although I've swatched, I haven't written the pattern out. 

Of course I sat at the kitchen table and began to write it which is like playing beat the clock (till we leave). After an hour or so of this I realized that this was not the best plan.  I wasn't doing the new project justice.

So now, what do I knit? It has to be mindless and easy so I can carry on conversations.  I settled on my spring design, Broadway Pullover. The yarns are held double: S. Charles Collezione Nina (Aran: 77% Linen, 23% Cotton, 136 yards) and S. Charles Collezione Flora (Lace: 95% Cotton, 5% Metallic, 114 yards.

 I picked out a lovely smoky deep lavender to knit it in. Ok, so that's one project to knit there.  

For the car ride, I'm going to bring a project that has a lot of ends to be woven in.

That was plan.  Our 2 hour drive took 3 hours. I was quite content and didn't even realize it was taking longer.  I was plugged into my book tape (Game of Thrones so needless to say I not only finished weaving in all the ends on one project,

I cast on and began the Broadway Pullover.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Stitch and Chat

Sunaina finished her All about the Yarn Artyarns Jacket.  She has extra yarn leftover so she's going to pick up stitches and knit down. The yarn is one of my favorites, Ensemble Light (DK: 50% Silk, 50% Cashmere, 400 yards).

 She was having so much fun sharing her finished knits, that she kept putting them on.  The rose colored triangle shawl was knit in a bulky yarn. The scarf is the Koigu Linen Stitch Scarf knit with Koigu (Fingering, 100% merino, 175 yards).

Sunaina is so happy with her blanket.   

It was the topic of a Facebook post that garnered 28 comments! She posted the following: "Knitters ... to frog one row of kitchner (gazillion stitches) or to embrace imperfection ???" In the end, she re-did that section that was not aligned. The  funny thing about it, is that she didnt realize how many of her friends knit.

Here's a baby blanket she's knitting.  It's a great beginner project.  I forgot to get the pattern name, when I get it, I'll post that.

Last time we were together, Sunaina mentioned how she organized her knitting needles.  We were all intrigued so she brought them in.  She stores them in small binders with velcro pockets.  Inside each pocket is the size of the needle and length of the cord.  Well done!

I saw Tahki Monet (Aran: 52% Cotton, 40% Acrylic, 8% Nylon, 60 yards) in her bag, and wondered, "what is she knitting"?  Yay - she's knitting my Houston Top. She saw Beth knitting it at Westport Yarns and liked the sleeve length, neckline, and the hem is uncomplicated looking.

Elizabeth doesn't have enough of the Silk Garden Chunky (discontinued) for her Mitered Square Afghan. She's gotten creative with how she's using what she has.  I love it! She can't knit any more of it because she ran out of the the Cascade Eco.

While she waits, she made significant progress with Rosalia. This sweater has been three years in the making because couldn't get gauge right.  It didn't help that she kept picking it up and putting it down. 

Once she got started (for real) the skeins were getting tangled up with the way holding her yarn for Fair Isle.  She experimented with holding one strand in each hand. It was much more fluid so she started over employing new technique. Third times a charm.

Elizabeth was experimenting with contrast colors for the back (see photo above) and part of the collar.  Not surprising, I liked the two tones of purple. ;)

Mary is knitting Audrey's Sundress with variegated DK weight yarn.

She was off pattern in the Baby Basket Hat (for her son to match his daughter's hat) and her Roo Sheep Roll Neck.

She's a little distracted - what with two sons getting married this year, another son in a serious relationship, and one christening. Mary forgot to begin on the sheep's face two rows back. On the hat, she changed the pattern rows. It's no wonder she's distracted!

Here's a great picture of her granddaughter wearing the the Kersti Baby Cardigan; knit with Koigu Kersti Merino Crepe (DK: 100% Merino, 114 yards and on the right the Baby Basket hat.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Homeward Bound

What do you do when you've knit two out of the three projects you brought? Knit very slowly! Joe took a "sad" picture of us (because we are going back up north).  I'm thinking, 'do I have enough to knit for the whole trip back'. 

I've finished the secret squirrelly projects ~ or at least what I could with what I brought.

 I'm ready to turn the heel on my magic loop sock. The last time I traveled home from a warm place I finished a pair of socks and boy did they come in handy (foot-wise that is) when we landed.  I have a feeling I'll be putting on these socks too.

There is swatching to do for one more secret squirrelly project.  I won't be able to start it though until I can block the swatches and write the pattern.

While in Florida, I visited my home away from home (yes, my parents) but also Knit or Knot in Jupiter, FL.  They have a great selection of of yarns, patterns, and needles.  Sandy and her staff are always a pleasure to work with.

I picked up Lang Yarns, Filo (Sport: 75% cotton, 25% nylon, 200 meters). 

I bought it for a pullover from the FAM Fatto A Mano #218. It call for #6 US needles, which means I'll begin swatching on a #4.    

When we were checking our bags, my bag was over by 3 pounds (no it wasn't all yarn). I bought some fun, comfy shoes.  Nothing glamorous.  Anyway, my reason for bringing this up was that I was stressing about running out of knitting.  While off loading (those shoes) to another bag, I snagged a skein of the Filo yarn. Call it knitting insurance.

 I felt the love when we got home.  I like how their tails are blurred because they were wagging them so fast!