Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Inside of heel flaps

Inside of heel flaps by BlueDragon2
Inside of heel flaps, a photo by BlueDragon2 on Flickr.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Progress picture of Ingvold Aran

Halfway down DH's back.

Monday, November 14, 2011

War and Peace sock heels

War and Peace sock heels by BlueDragon2
War and Peace sock heels, a photo by BlueDragon2 on Flickr.

Showing inside of first row with skipped stitches on inside. Both socks are being worked right side out.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Good morning, everyone!

Time to bring some of the last few pictures I've posted together and tie up some loose ends in the process.

The latest picture is my Winterland mittens, which I finished the embroidery on Wednesday night at knitting group. I've drooled over that pattern for quite a while, but kept putting them on the back burner to do other stuff. I finally decided it was time to knit them so I could wear them this winter and enjoy them. When it came to colors, I pulled out my stash of Shetland yarns and started poring over them. I really wanted to use the Royal Blue Scottish Campion, but part of me wanted to keep hoarding it. Suddenly the thought came to me - who am I hoarding this yarn for - me or the moths? At that point it was an easy decision to choose the blue to go with natural for these mittens. As I started knitting on them, I knew I had made the right decision, because the blue just glows against the natural. I wore them to breakfast this morning with my red and white Sirdal sweater (Veteran's Day colors) and loved them. I still have almost one full skein left of the blue, so I can use it in a tam or another pair of mittens later.

I finished DH's STR Earth Rare Gems socks while we were at the coast on vacation. He's worn them and really likes how thick and cushy the Lightweight version of the yarn is. Lol, he wouldn't mind a bunch of socks using that yarn, but, since there are only 360 yards per skein and he has size 10-1/2 feet, not going to happen. I have to use part of a second skein to make a pair of socks for him.

Before that, I finished my Kilt by Association hose. I took a kilt hose class from Mary Scott Huff at Sock Summit 2011 and this is her pattern she gave out in class. Apparently I'm the first to post a finished project on Ravelry! Now just to find an occasion to wear them, lol. 

I'm also working on my DH's Ingvold Aran cardigan, which I'm designing as I knit. It's a top down sweater, using Cascade 220 in Hunter Green, and the color comes off on my  hands as I knit with it because the color is so saturated. I'm teaching a class for it as I work also and the student has chosen a pretty yellow color of Cascade 220 Superwash for hers. At this point I've done the shoulder straps, both sleeves, both fronts and back down to the armholes, and am now working my way down the body. I'm doing the buttonhole and button bands at the same time and it's looking very good. DH is looking forward to wearing it when I get it done, hopefully sometime this month. 

I'm also working on a Faery Ring cardigan, using Black Water Abbey yarn in Old Purple, but it's on the back burner until I get Ingvold done now. I had started using the yarn in my first version of Ingvold, but just didn't like how it was turning out. After fighting with it for several months, trying to force myself to work on it and failing miserably, I admitted to myself that I just didn't like the yarn in the Ingvold pattern and ripped it out. I found the Faery Ring pattern and discovered that the designer is also Mary Scott Huff, and there is a group on Ravelry that had a KAL for this pattern two years ago. I've joined the group, read through the back posts, and discovered that there have been three versions of the pattern, none have dates or version numbers on them. So I'm working my way through this sweater, making decisions as I go whether to follow the pattern or do it my way. I'm trying to post good notes on changes I make, so anyone else who makes it later will have access to options. 

And last, but definitely not least, I'm doing the Soctober challenge on the 3 Fates Yarn group on Ravelry. One of the options was the War and Peace socks, where you knit one sock inside its mate. Being up for a good challenge, that was the option I picked and I'm approaching the heels now. The instructions from Knitty call for short row heels, but that style doesn't fit me so I'm doing heel flaps. I've been giving some thought to how to do it and will actually have to just work my way through the process one step at a time when I get there. There are probably instructions someplace online, but I prefer to work out what works for me myself. I'm using 64 sts with a skein of Mediumweight STR Rare Gem that I got at Black Sheep Gathering in 2010. Here are some pics for you.

First, the skein I'm using is the one on the right in this photo. I've used the Dicentra yarn on the left in a pair of socks earlier this year. The Rare Gem knit into socks at the bottom is a version of Cattywampus and I love the bright colors.

This is the very beginning of the socks, showing the instructions and the center pull ball I wound, as is my habit. Funny thing is, it turns out that doing this works really well for my socks. I'm using the strand from the outside of the ball for the outside sock, and the inside strand for the inside sock, so it's easy for me to keep the strands identified and separated. Most folks use two separate balls and that can contribute to crossing the strands and tieing the socks together. The only problem I'm having, and it's not really that big of a problem, is that the yarn is a little twisty so I stop every so often and unwind the ball to unwind the center strand. 

And this is where I'm at now, got a little knitting done this morning while waiting for breakfast, which I took my Marine DH out for today, since I'm off work. I've got the outside sock lifted up so you can see that there really is an inside sock being knit at the same time. I hold both strands in my left hand, the same way I do when knitting stranded work, and it's working very comfortably. I do have to stop and tighten up the outside strand from time to time (being a bit compulsive about tension so the outside sock isn't a lot larger than the inside one, which is normal for this technique). And can you see that I'm using my Tardis knitting bag? I heard about these at SS11 but they were sold out before I could get one. So after I got home I emailed the vendor and she sewed one up for me. I got it for two reasons, 1. so I could walk and knit easily outside without having to cram a ball in my pants pocket and fight to get the yarn out again to knit with, and 2. because it has the Tardis on the fabric!

Now I'm going to run to Office Depot and get some printing paper, then come home and start printing patterns out for my knitting projects for next year. I'm declaring next year will be 'many small projects and four sweaters' year. That's my goal, anyway, whether I achieve it or not will be seen as the year goes on, because no one knows what the future may bring in life. But I like having a plan set up ahead of time as a road map. I know where I want to go, how I want to get there, and I just deal with the roadblocks and detours as they come up. I don't have as many finished items so far this year as I did last year, because I've been working on more sweaters, teaching more classes, and of course, dealing with issues with my Mom and her Alzheimers disease. But it's still nice to look back at that list from this year and previous years and remember working on the various projects, who I might have gifted them to or what class I used them for, and dream about the projects to come. 

Oh, and the 'four sweaters'? A couple of them are already on the needles and simply need to be finished, so it's not four from absolute start to finish. Let's see, WIPs - Ingvold cardigan, Faery Ring cardigan, Erin cardigan, white Aran cardigan (yarn still to finish spinning for this so it's a long way out), Allover cardigan, Rosemarkie vest, Fulmar cardigan, MIL's Na Craga cardigan (oh, I haven't written about this one yet), and assorted small projects.

The MIL's Na Craga is a cardigan she asked me to kit for her to replace a commercial one she's been wearing that is wearing out. She has an artificial hip and it gets very painful if it gets cold. So when we were down south last month she took me aside and asked if I would knit her a wool cardigan to replace her store bought one. Of course, I agreed and had thought to knit a FLAK. But I've done three of those so far and the thought of a fourth just pained me. There is a thread on the Starmore Junkies group on Ravelry about Na Craga and I had wanted to make it, so, boom, I put the two goals together. I'll knit Na Craga for MIL, change it to a top down cardigan and custom fit it for her. One Starmore off my to-knit list and one happy warm MIL! 

And a last piece of good news to share with you all!

This is the letter in a folder and my 25 year service pin from the USPS. His last official act as Salem, OR Postmaster and a USPS employee for almost 39 years for Brad Bender was to present this to me on October 31, at his retirement party. Kind of scary to think of spending this much time with one company, but my Dad spent 45 years with Southern Pacific Railroad before retiring, so it's just a smaller achievement. But nowadays it's a large achievement, with the way companies come and go and folks move around. 

Happy knitting everyone!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Winterland mittens ready to wear!

Embroidery all done!

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Winterland mitten done!

Winterland mitten done! by BlueDragon2
Winterland mitten done!, a photo by BlueDragon2 on Flickr.

Well, except for washing, blocking, and a bit of embroidery!

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Winterland mitten palms

Winterland mitten palms by BlueDragon2
Winterland mitten palms, a photo by BlueDragon2 on Flickr.

Just need to knit thumbs and they will be done!

Winterland mitten bodies done