Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Noticeable Progress at Last!

First up is E of York, the left front is almost half done now, and hopefully will get close to done this week so I can stay on track to get it done for Christmas. Now that I've spent some consistent time with the pattern, it's easier to work on and not have to rip so often.

This is the first of my Bayerische socks, it's finished and I've started a pair of oddball socks on both sets of size 1 needles. I need more socks and have enough left overs to make probably two pairs of socks. The oddballs will get worked on while I'm walking at the mall in the mornings so will probably take a couple of weeks to get each pair done, but that's okay.

I'm almost done with the first sleeve on St. Brigid. Here I've run out of yarn and had to wind another skein last night while watching tv. Later this week I'll finish the sleeve, just about 10 rounds to go to finish it. Again, I spent most of a day with it over the weekend so made good progress as I fell into the rhythm of the pattern. I'm still pondering how to end the sleeve. AS has the sleeve cast on and right into the pattern, which kind of jars me as I'm not used to a sleeve without a cuff of some kind. But the bottom doesn't have a cuff or hem and it looks alright so I'll probably just bite the bullet and cast off when I'm done.

I have one more pic to post but Blogger won't let me this morning. I'll try again tonight if I get a chance. Have a great week!

Happy knitting!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sunday sailing

I haven't taken new pics yet, but I finished the first of the Bayerische socks last night and ran in the yarn ends. Now both sets of size 1 needles are free to knit a pair of oddball socks. I'm wearing out my older socks and need to make some new ones. But first I'm going to use up some left over yarns in a pair of oddball socks. I use two sets of needles and work on both socks at the same time, so I don't run out of yarn on one sock and not have enough to use on the second one. It works really well and over the last couple of years I think I've made about 5 pairs this way.

I went to the monthly Knit In at my lys Have You Any Wool here in Salem and used an online coupon I had gotten to buy two skeins of sock yarn and one skein of green J & S fingering weight yarn. I'm going to have a year long project on my Mara_class group to make a Twelve Months of Christmas Fair Isle vest so needed the green. After the corrugated ribbing at the bottom of the vest I'm going to put in a row of Christmas trees, of course.

I've decided that 2008 will be my personal Year of Knitting From My Stash so I can finish up some projects and use up some of the yarn hiding in my closet in the den. I really don't have that much of a stash, it's mostly fingering weight yarns with 8 skeins of Cascade 220 left over from a sweater for DH (4) and one for me (4). I have already used up the Spruce Green left over from my FLAK for a vest for DH. I'm planning to use the Cascade 220 leftovers for a sweater for my sister next year, but will have to buy some more yarn as 8 skeins is not enough. She hasn't lost the baby weight from her last kid, who is now 9 years old. I will probably have some yarn left over from my St. Brigid, made in Cascade 220, and will also have some left over from my St. Enda, which isn't started yet. DH loves his and wears it when we go out to dinner when it's cold enough and I ask him to. He doesn't carry his cell phone in a holster and the Peterbilt coat I gave him has a chest pocket that zips vertically that works great for carrying his cell phone in a position where he can hear it ring. He has tinnitis from years of working in logging and lumber with a hearing loss.

So, something I've been putting off doing for a while I will now do and post for the world to see - a list of projects I have on the needles and want to finish.

St. Brigid - body done, first sleeve half done, will be worked on today and hopefully the sleeve will be finished.

Erin - on hold until DH's daughter's Elizabeth of York is finished and gifted, currently on the second repeat of the animal chart and approaching the armhole steek point.

Elizabeth of York - back done, left front about 1/3 done, hope to get to halfway point this weekend and finish the left front in another week or so, God willing.

Amphora - second repeat of main chart pattern started, will work some more on her this coming week, she is the current project of Mara_class group, being knitted out of AS' Hebridean 2-ply yarns and is a real pleasure to work on.

Fulmar - being knit FLAK style, back is done down to armholes and stitches on a piece of yarn, right front has two repeats of the chart finished, need to do one more repeat and a few more rows before stitches will be put on a piece of yarn and left front picked up, I am not rushing this project as it is gansey weight yarn on size 2 needles knit very tightly, but it is a real pleasure to work on so I have to focus on dividing my time between my other projects and Fulmar.

Holiday Knits Christmas Stocking - I'm making a small stocking from the charts for the Christmas tree from the USPS Holiday Knits stamps, I want to get this done in time to display it on Dec. 4th at the Knit In we're having at the Salem Main Post Office, I need to put more time in on this to get it done in time.

Kilt Hose - a pair based on the John Anderson Kilt Hose pattern from the web I'm making for a friend who served in the Marines, I will duplicate stitch USMC in yellow yarn down the sides of the hose when they are done, I need to buy more yarn to finish these, I'm about halfway down the leg on the first hose.

Bayerische socks - first sock finished last night, second one will not be cast on until I make a pair of oddball socks for myself, which won't be cast on for a week or so, but as I'm making these to enter in the State Fair next year, it's no problem.

St. Enda for me - I have the yarn, but have not started knitting mine yet, this won't be cast on until some of the other projects are off the needles, I made good notes about DH's sweater, so knitting mine should be fairly easy, this will give us matching sweaters in DH's favorite color - red.

Pacific Northwest Shawl - yes, I do lace, just not often, I had started this shawl before my first DH died and have not touched it since, which has now been 6-1/2 years so it's time to finish it, I'm on the edging with the body already done, this will probably be worked on when the weather heats up as it's knit with delicate lace weight Merino wool, one skein of about 1200 yards for the whole shawl, but it won't be knit on where the dogs can touch it, I don't want any knots in this shawl.

Twelve Months of Christmas Vest - this is a Knit A Long project for my Mara_class group, I'll be posting a pattern each month to make a vest with a Christmas theme to meet two goals I've set myself, first, to have a Christmas vest to wear during the season, and second, to use up some of my Fair Isle yarns I stashed when J & S discontinued most of the good colors.

Dazzling Knits cover sweater - I've been spinning the yarns for this sweater for the past three years using Dicentra roving (which is really luscious stuff to spin), I've got quite a bit spun so think it's time to start knitting this, I may need to buy another hank of top to spin to finish it but I've got enough done so I can start, again, this won't go on the needles until I finish some projects already started, oh, and instead of three large buttons I've got two wizard and two dragon buttons I'm going to use on this, I found them at a fabric store in Portland and put them in my stash until the right project came along.

Norah Gaughan's cable coat from Vogue Knitting - this looks like a perfect pattern to use up the yarn DH is spinning for me, I'll use the yarn from one fleece for the skirt of the coat and another fleece for the top part including the sleeves, one member on my Mara_class list is knitting this and has found several errata so far, which she has posted to the list so everyone can make note of them, it has some really beautiful cables in the pattern, go to the website and check it out, it's really cool.

AS' Quartz vest - this is one I'm pondering, it's looking like the next project for my Mara_class group will be AS' Oregon Autumn cardigan starting February 1st, I've made Oregon as a vest in the spring colorway and if I were to make the Autumn colorway I would want to use Hebridean 2-ply to get the depth of color, so if I can't get the right yarns in time, I'll make Quartz while the group works on Oregon, I need to get the rest of the yarns but I have some of the most important ones already stashed.

Other Fair Isle designs - I have some yarns stashed for three other FI patterns, not complete kits for any of them but I went through what I had on hand and put the yarns in bags for the projects, these projects are not high priority right now but given the colors being discontinued I wanted to make sure I had these colors when I am ready to knit them.

Unchosen shawl/scarf - I have 10 skeins of Rowan 4-ply in a soft lavender that I bought just as it was being discontinued last year (got all 10 skeins for $17.00 including shipping from England!), I have the Shawls and Scarves book and will look through it later in the year to pick a pattern to use with this yarn, I like Faroese shawls that stay on my shoulders without tying or pinning so am leaning towards a pattern like that.

Then I have some small amounts of spun yarns to use up, probably in hats or scarves that may end up as gifts for next Christmas but these are a ways down the road. I am spinning up (very slowly) a Shetland fleece I bought in March at an open barn in Buell, about 26 miles west of here on the way to the coast. I got to pick it out still on the sheep and be pleasantly surprised when it was sheared to discover it was different shades of grey and black. This is earmarked for the Vest of Many Cables, a sampler of different cables all over a v-neck cardigan vest that I have drooled over for several years. Again, this project may not get started until 2009, depending on how I progress on the above listed projects. I'm keeping the different colors separated as much as possible, planning to use the lightest at the top of the vest and going to black at the bottom. I have to spin all of the wool up and measure each color to see how many yards I end up with for each shade.

So this is pretty much my plans for next year, barring last minute gift needs and projects on my group. If I manage to get all of this done, I can look for new projects and yarns with a clear conscience. Oh, there are two clauses in my resolution against purchasing yarns - sock yarns don't count as I need new socks to replace the ones that are wearing out, and I am allowed to fall off the wagon twice in the first 9 months of the year (got to leave a loophole in case something fabulous comes up, lol!).

Happy knitting!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Hooray for Holidays!

You just gotta love holidays, when you can spend more time knitting and snoozing. I enjoyed a short nap yesterday before our Salem Area Ravelers meetup and again this morning between projects. So now I have some good progress to report on several projects, really cool.

First up is Amphora, which I finished the first repeat of the main chart on and have now started on the second repeat of the chart. I'm really looking forward to wearing this later this winter or early spring. My Mara-class group has decided to start our next project on February 1st, so I have a little over two months to finish up some projects, get my yarns together, and get my knitting basket set up for whatever project is chosen. At the moment, AS' Oregon vest in the Autumn colorway in the Vogue Knitting Holiday issue is leading the poll, so we'll see what the finished vote comes to. I've already made one Oregon vest, in the original spring colorway, and have several other FI projects I'd like to make before I do another Oregon, which I would probably do with AS' Hebridean two-ply to get the depth of color. It will be a while before I can afford to buy the yarn needed, as it will run a little over $200.00. But I have four other FI projects in various stages of being stashed, and I'm thinking at this point that my next project will be AS' Quartz vest, as I don't have anything in those colors in my wardrobe.

Next is my St. Brigid, with the first sleeve about half done now. I've stopped doing decreases, as the sleeve was getting too small,. The original pattern calls for Aran weight yarn on size 7-8 needles and I'm using Cascade 220 on size 5 needles, so my gauge is much smaller. I'm hoping to have this finished by the end of the year, so I can wear it on my vacation the first week in January. But it will depend on how I do on DH's daughter's E of York vest.

Speaking of which, I've finished the back and started the left front, about three inches done so far and I'll work some more on it tonight. I decided I'm not going to over stress on getting this done in time for Christmas, since we're planning to head south after vacation so I would be able to give it to my step-daughter in person. I'm almost done with the first skein of yarn for this, Blue Faced Leicester, and will probably have to wind the second skein next weekend. Each skein is about 1200 yards and I'll wind it into a wheel (large ball, lol). I'm finally getting into the rhythm of the pattern, it's very hard to get the flow of a pattern when you have several different projects going at the same time, each with complicated patterns, and different modifications.

This is the right front of my Fulmar. I finished the back down to the armholes, put those stitches on a piece of yarn, and picked up and have started working the right front. I'm increasing every other row for about 12 increases, then will cast on about 18 more all at once to make a v-neck cardigan. I've got about 16 rows done so far of the first repeat. I need to look at the pattern to see what filler stitch AS chose for this pattern and decide how much I need to add for the sides under the arms, but it's not a fast decision, as I need to get both sleeves done first.

I haven't really gotten much knitting done on Bayerische socks or Erin, which hasn't been touched in a few weeks now. DH really wants EYork done for his daughter for Christmas, so it's on the front burner but I do rotate a bit to give my hands and brain a break.

Last Thursday I was reading the new Postal Bulletin at work and printing out info we need when I discovered that the USPS is celebrating their Holiday Knits stamps with nation wide Knit-in-public events! Yea!!! So I immediately sent my acting Postmaster, or Officer In Charge (OIC), an email asking to hold one at the Salem Main Post Office on December 4th, from 2-4 pm. She came to me Friday morning to personally give me her approval and to discuss details. I also got approval from her to wear my handknits for the rest of the holiday season, whoo hoo! Over my uniform, of course, but it's a drag sometimes to make beautiful garments and only have the weekends to wear them. Then she came with me to the local knitting guild meeting on Saturday to invite the guild to participate and asked me to teach her to knit socks. She knit many years ago but lately has been focusing on crocheting and quilting. And I'm contacting some local knitting teachers to invite them to come and demo and hand out their cards or flyers. The OIC will send out formal letters on letterhead but I'm giving them an early heads up to see who is interested and who will be able to come. So I'm pumped about this and will be working hard to make it a really big success. Imagine, getting to knit with friends on the clock at work and getting paid for it!

Happy knitting!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Inching along

Elizabeth of York is almost to the shoulder and neck shaping, just about 3 more cms to get there. I was hoping to get the back done last week but didn't quite make it. Since Monday is a Federal holiday, I'm hoping to get a good start on one of the fronts, trying to stay on schedule to get this done to send it to DH's daughter for Christmas.

My Bayerische socks are creeping along, need to do a few more rounds to have the heel gusset decreases done, then cruise down the foot. I'm not going to make another pair of socks with all over Bavarian twisted stitches for a while, very tedious but very cool looking.

I need to do about 5 more rounds to finish the third repeat and then I can put the stitches on a piece of yarn. Then I can start the fronts and decide whether to make a v-neck or a round neck. I love the way Fulmar is turning out, so crisp and neat looking. It's going to be a lot of fun to wear when I get it done (some time next year but hopefully before summer hits!).

Amphora is cruising along, I need to do about 6 more rounds to finish the first repeat of the main chart. The armholes start about two thirds of the way through the third repeat. This Hebridean 2-ply is very nice to knit with, no splitting and no knots at this point. When I was winding the skeins into balls, only one skein had a knot in it so I cut it and wound two balls, so I have control over how the strands are joined. This is a very pleasant pattern to knit and would be good for someone new to Fair Isle knitting who isn't ready to deal with lots of colors.

This will be short as I need to get back to working on E of York. My friend Anne in Maine has finished her Erin so she will be working full speed ahead on her Fulmar and I don't want her to get too far ahead of me. That means I have to keep working fast on E of York so I can also work on Fulmar and keep up with her. At least she is also going to be working on her Shirt Tail Hemmed Fair Isle sweater at the same time, so she has to divide her knitting time as well.

Hope everyone is enjoying the fall weather, we've had lots of thick fog the last few days but they are forecasting rain by tomorrow night so the fog will be gone. Stay cozy and keep knitting.

Happy knitting!