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Friday, July 1, 2016

See what's on our hooks and needles

Jackie and Daizy joined us for the first time at Tuesday's Stitch and Chat.

Jackie is knitting the Folded Mini Dress in Rowan Felted Tweed (Worsted: 50% Wool, 25% Alpaca, 25% Viscose, 191 yards). The dress is a gift for her daughter.


She brought in her finished Magic Loop socks. 

Daizy taught herself how to knit a few years ago and wants to improve her skills.  She is knitting a cowl, in the round, in seed stitch.  So far she has not had many random acts of ribbing.  Every now and then she adds a stitch by knitting into the space between stitches.

Eleanor finished the Easy Peazy Shawl in Anzula For Better or Worsted (Worsted:  80% Merino, 10% Cashmere, 10% Nylon, 200 yards). I don't know if you can tell by the picture, it blocked out beautifully.

She's working on Braidsmaid in Miss Babs, Raspberry Yowza (Worsted: 100% Merino, 560 yards). The pattern has reversible cables.

Eleanor's Goddaughter is having twins and they are due in January. She might knit the same Baby Hooded Wrap Cardigan that Cindy made.

Cornelia finished one sleeve and is onto the second. The cap came out slightly smaller than schematic. Her row gauge was smaller. It should block out to the measurements.

Michelle has made progress on Gacoco Baby Blanket in Plymouth Select Superwash (Worsted: 100% Merino 218 yards).

Friday, June 24, 2016

Summer Reading (and Knitting)

Tuesday's Stitch and Chat

Check out Eleanor's Easy Peazy Shawl in Anzula For Better or Worsted (Worsted:  80% Merino, 10% Cashmere, 10% Nylon, 200 yards).

Jane B. finished picking up the stitches for the bottom border of Two Harbor's Poncho.

Cornelia finished front of her customfit sweater and is onto sleeve. The yarn is Plymouth Mushishi (Worsted: 95% Wool, 5% Silk, 491 yards).

Cindy changed colors on her  Merino Cloud Gradient Cowl with Artyarns Merino Cloud Gradients (Fingering: 80% Merino, 20% Cashmere, 540 yards).

Jane T. continues to make progress on her  Essence Pullover in Tahoe (Aran: 32% Nylon, 27% Wool, 25% Alpaca, 16% Yak, 179 yards).

Allison as working on two projects: 1. Odele T-Shirt in Berroco Mykonos (DK: 66% Linen, 26% Nylon, 8% Cotton, 142 yards) and 2.  Easy Folded Poncho in Anzula Cricket (DK: 80% Merino, 10% Nylon, 10% Cashmere, 250 yards).

We discussed quite a few books, so get out your pen/paper or Goodreads app.:
Jane B. - (Anything by) Dan Silva
Cornelia - The Long Weekend:  Life in the English Country House by Adrian Tinniswood
The First Family Detail: Secret Service Agents Reveal the Hidden Lives of the Presidents  by Ronald Kessler
Cindy - Elizabeth I
Before the Fall by Noah Hawley
Color of Water by James McBride
Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan
Elizabeth: The Forgotten Years by John Guy
The Girl in the Spider's Web (Millennium, #4) by

Me - (Anything by) Frederik Backman

On Wednesday...

I met with Lois, who I haven't seen in weeks.  She is knitting Beech Hill with stash.

She also shared a shocking story of a time when she was knitting a Wallaby for her nephew until her sister-in-law commented that she would rather have a store bought gift.  Are you positively yelling now?  I felt like the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland but instead of saying off with her head, I want to say, "No knits for you!".

Eileen finished her #409 Cool Hemp Ponchette in Softknit Cotton (Worsted: 92% Cotton, 8% Nylon, 115 yards).  She is going to get so much use out of it!

She also knit a cute hat for one of her granddaughters in Tahki Poppy (Super Bulky: 53% Acrylic, 45% Wool, 2% Mohair, 43 yards.

Check out this funky pom-pom maker tool.

Mary finished the second to last square in her Building Blocks Afghan.

The last square is the most challenging and she was off a stitch.  I suggested she count her stitches after every row.

She finished the right front of her Customfit tunic sweater.

Mary also finished the last wedding garter.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Get on the stick, as in sticks and string

Michelle came in with a snag on the tip of her bamboo needles. It was catching constantly while she knitted up a hat from my Welcome Home Baby Gift in Cobasi (Fingering: 55% Cotton, 21% Nylon, 16% Bamboo, 8% Silk, 220 yards). 


I've read about a remedy using a nail file to smooth the snag and then nail polish to "shellac" the needle. I happened to have both with me.  Go figure.  It worked like a charm.

When Michelle set out to swatch for the Poncho Air Lux she discovered that the (color) Dreamz needle she needed was black. That just wasn't going to fly with this dark brown yarn. 

She changed to a metal needle and began her swatch and seems to be getting gauge on a #7, since she knits tighter than gauge.

She knit up a swatch for the  Gacoco Baby Blanket in Plymouth Select Superwash (Worsted: 100% Merino 218 yards).

Trammi is close to finishing Outline, a gift for teacher who has had one of her sons for two grades. She has maybe six inches to knit before binding off.

After looking at Jane's Two Harbor's Poncho, I realized that I had it oriented incorrectly last week.  The ribbing should be on the sides, not the bottom. Luckily it was a quick fix after taking out the three needle bind-offs and Jane had time to re-knit them.

 She began picking up for the bottom ribbing.

Eleanor found the Emerald Isle Child's Pullover to knit for her grandson. We couldn't believe how far along she knit since last week.  That is definitely one of the benefits of knitting baby/small kid things.

She bought Anzula For Better or Worsted in Navy to knit the Easy Peazy Shawl.

Calann dropped a stitch in her Poncho Air Lux knit with Air Lux (Fingering: 70% Rayon, 30% Wool, 328 yards). I recommended she use lifelines after every 10 rows (one pattern repeat). We put in markers for the beginning of each pattern repeat and within the repeat to mark a section that is hard to see when working the wrong side row.

Allison is working the front of her Odele T-Shirt in Berroco Mykonos (DK: 66% Linen, 26% Nylon, 8% Cotton, 142 yards). She could be ready to block it and begin the finishing next week.

Cornelia began the neck shaping on her customfit.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Crafter, Know Thyself

Do you read the Ravelry Home Page?  You can pick up all kinds of information. Last Thursdays Tip was "Crafter, Know Thyself"  posted by oharethey on June 2, 2016. 

It was all about what you can learn about yourself as a crafter by doing an advanced search of your project page in your notebook. When I think about it, it reminds me of one of those quizzes on Facebook or in Magazines.

Here is what I learned about myself:

Not surprisingly, I've knit the most projects in purple.  No shocker there.  What was interesting was that it wasn't by a landslide. What I mean is that after that, blue and gray are the runners up for most projects knit.

These numbers reflect how many projects I've worked on since joining Ravelry in 2007. That's approximately 28 projects a year - give or take.

Clearly, I do like my accessories, don't I? 74 sweaters is not to shabby either.   To be clear, I don't own 74 sweaters.  There were gift-knits in there.

It appears my "go to" yarn weights lean towards Aran and Fingering, followed closely by Worsted and DK.  Interesting that Lace and Super Bulky weights are on practically on even footing.

Judging by how many projects I have knit with #5 needles, I now understand why I have about a dozen fixed #5 circular needles. I'm guessing that every time I went to find a #5 needle it was otherwise occupied in a project.

No surprise here.  I'm a very happy knitter. I'm sure your curious about the project I was very unhappy about.  It was a Jacket knit with super bulky yarn. Don't remember why I was so very unhappy with it.  I do remember frogging it.  Thing #2 got the yarn.

Project status speaks for itself.

This refers to color work. For now, I am a mostly single-color knitter.  However, the "1" color used doesn't take into account if the yarn is variegated.

You can go deeper into some of these categories. It was a fun exercise.  As I write this, I began to wonder if you could search your favorites as well.  There is.  I'll save that for another day.  

If you do an advanced search, I'd love to know what you learn about yourself as a crafter.  Was it what you expected?  

Friday, June 10, 2016

Swatch Much?

Photo Credit: © Katia
I mentioned in my last post that I plan on knitting the Poncho Air Lux at the same time as Calann and Michelle. I'm actually using the yarn the pattern calls for: Lace Lux (Lace: 67% Rayon, 33% Merino, 339 yards). It's not even purple.  It's kind of a rose, charcoal gray-ish metallic color, #40.

Once Calann started her swatch and Michelle finished her priority baby blanket, I knew it was time to start the swatching process...and a process it was.

The pattern calls for a #6. Par my usual routine, I began my swatch on a #4 metal needle (either a lace Addi or Chiagoo). Knitting continental style, I cast on 32 stitches and knit 38 rows.

It came out way, way, way too big.

Next, I went down to a #3 (wood) Dreamz needle hoping that would help me get gauge. Again, knitting continental style, I cast on 32 stitches and knit 38 rows.

This time it came out way, way too big.

This went on over a couple of days. I won't bore you with pictures of my first few swatches.  In frustration, I put them in time out in the freezer. (Seriously though, the cold helps make hairy/sticky yarn rip out easier.)

Next I went down to a #2 (wood) Dreamz needle still hoping that I would get gauge. Again, knitting continental style, I cast on 32 stitches and only this time I measured after about 16 rows.

After my third swatch, it was simply way too big. This beginning to remind me of Goldilocks and the three bears.

Big Sigh.  My hand really hurt after going down to the #2.  I decided to revisit the Portuguese Style of knitting. I went back to the #4 (a Chiagoo - I'm sure this time) cast on 32 stitches and knit 38 rows.

Unbelievable difference, both swatches have the same number of stitches/rows.  I would not have believed it if I hadn't knit both with my own hands. Crazysauce (it's in the urban dictionary).

And things being what they will, now my gauge was too tight. The swatch on the top was knit Portuguese style. The swatch on the bottom is Calann's, she went UP to a #7 to get gauge. Sheesh.

I decided to knit ONE MORE SWATCH on a #6 Chiagoo.  Alright, half a swatch, it was enough to get an indication of what it will block out to be.  I lined up the swatches by the knit stitch in the center of the pattern. Top picture is my (Portuguese) swatch on #4 (every so slightly smaller than it should be). Middle picture is Calann's swatch.  The bottom is my (Portuguese) swatch on a #6, larger than it should be.

Finally, after a long, drawn out swatch process I'm casting on a #5 and not looking back. A #5 needle will be just right.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Standing Room Only

Seriously, standing room only.  A packed class, where to begin? I'll work counter clockwise from Eileen on the far right.

Eileen is knitting a brioche scarf using up leftovers. Brioche! After her experience knitting the two-color brioche in Exploration Station, I think it came as quite a surprise to both of us. She's doing very well with knitting the single color brioche.  Taking it out was another story.  I taught her how to unknit brioche successfully.  I'm very pleased that she's (now) enjoying brioche.

She put down her the Artyarns Lazy Days of Summer KAL in Artyarns Beaded Silk & Sequins Light and Artyarns Merino Cloud and unfortunately lost track of where she was.  The pattern calls for sliding the stitches back and forth to work on different sections.  We took out a few rows and just didn't feel we were getting a handle on it.  She bravely decided to rip it out and begin again.

Michelle finished her Elephant on Parade Blanket in Rowan Softknit Cotton (Worsted: 92% Cotton, 8% Nylon, 115 yards). We are all smitten with this blanket.

Calann finished knitting her #409 Cool Hemp Ponchette in Blue Heron Rayon Metallic (DK: 88% Rayon, 12% Metallic, 550 yards). It fit her beautifully and will require a little blocking, just for the points.

Her Rowan Straight Top was back from the finisher. It looks lovely on her.  Knit with Rowan Cotton Lustre (Bulky: 55% Cotton, 35% Rayon, 10% Linen, 87 yards). (Shameless note, it's on sale at Westport Yarns right now.)

She finished her swatch for the Poncho Air Lux in Katia Air Lux (Fingering: 70% Rayon, 30% Wool, 328 yards). She went up one needle, to a US #7 and her gauge looked spot on.

As I wrote last week, Michelle and I are knitting the same poncho.  This rich brown is Michelle's color. We'll talk about mine on another day...

Mary, Mary... she was off one stitch in block #12 of her Building Block afghan.  Otherwise, the pattern was coming out perfectly. Block #11 had a mis-stitch near the beginning; we agreed to ignore it. ;)

Jane was ready to join the pieces of her Two Harbors Poncho together; it is knit with Blue Sky Fibers Extra (Aran: 55% Alpaca, 45% Merino, 218 yards).

Eleanor was going to work on two circular needles to knit her grandson's sweater, the Little Fisher Cabled Pullover. That didn't go over so well, so she gave double points a try. In the end, she decided to find a classic cable pullover, knit from the bottom up.

Jane T. is working on her top down Essence Pullover in Tahoe (Aran: 32% Nylon, 27% Wool, 25% Alpaca, 16% Yak, 179 yards).

Cindy is knitting her Merino Cloud Gradient Cowl with Artyarns Merino Cloud Gradients (Fingering: 80% Merino, 20% Cashmere, 540 yards).


Her her Baby Hooded Wrap Cardigan came back from the finisher.  Cindy was really pleased with how it came out.

Allison is making progress on her Odele T-Shirt in Berroco Mykonos (DK: 66% Linen, 26% Nylon, 8% Cotton, 142 yards).

And coming full circle, Cornelia is back from Scotland where she had a marvelous time.  She found this book while there.  She's definitely going to knit the flag as a commemorative gift for her daughter. The book is filled with fun toys.

As far as her knitting, she is onto the front of her customfit sweater in Plymouth Mushishi (Worsted: 95% Wool, 5% Silk, 491 yards). She's calling it her Scotland sweater, because the colors remind her of her time there.