Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Duffer Cuff


Duffer Cuff
Originally uploaded by BlueDragon2

Saturday Update

Good morning, everyone!


Yesterday I got two projects finished - my Orion socks using two Socks That Rock yarns and a Duffer Cuff. The sock pattern is the official Sock Summit 2009 pattern, which I bought at Black Sheep Gathering in 2009, along with the ST-1 colorway. I stashed the yarn and pattern and moved on to other projects. Last summer at Black Sheep Gathering I bought a Mill Ends skein of STR in a beautiful gold color, planning to use it with the ST-1. 


On New Year's weekend, I sat down with a bunch of patterns I had been wanting to make for a while, small projects like socks, mittens, and hats, and matched up yarns and patterns. I put them in plastic bags I had stashed from prescription refills (great ziplock bags the right size for a skein of yarn and a pattern!) and put them in a large reusable shopping bag. The bag is in the closet in the den, on the floor, so it's easy to just reach in and grab a bag without looking to see what it is, making this my own personal mystery KAL in a way. 


This past week I realized that Sock Summit 2011 was coming up (one of those lightbulb moments, you know, lol) and I needed to have my socks knit up and ready to wear. So Tuesday evening I pulled that bag out of the sack, got the needles out of my knitting kit, sat down and cast on. This pattern knits up really fast, because even using the STR Lightweight yarn, it is heavier than my usual sock yarn, so it takes fewer rounds to get the inches done. I followed the pattern for the leg, although I knit the socks from the top down instead of toe up, and ended up with about 6 inch legs. I did my usual heel, as it fits my feet best and can endure my hard wearing work life. Then I worked the stripes down the foot and did a round toe, again because it works best for my feet. I've been knitting hand knit socks with wool yarns for over fifteen years now and have tried many different patterns, so I have pretty much learned what works for my feet and what doesn't. I've done my experimenting with different toes, heels, and yarns and have accumulated enough knowledge to make informed decisions on which patterns and yarns work for me now. 


Anyway, I finished the first sock Wednesday night, just about 24 hours, ran the ends in Thursday morning and cast on the second sock, then finished it yesterday. I used 72 stitches throughout the socks, my usual on size 1 needles, and the socks fit very well. I had to exert some really strong self control to stop myself from casting on another pair of socks using some of my STR stashed yarns, lol.


Thursday at Knit Night at Tangled Purls Yarn Shop I cast on for the shop sample for the Duffer Cuff, an argyle wrist warmer pattern. I finished it yesterday, washed it last night in warm water and shampoo, then pressed the excess water out and set it to dry on the plastic rack with a rolled up paper towel inside to help it dry faster. When I leave the house today I will drop it by the shop to be put on display. So that gives me two finished projects this week!


Today is the third class for the Arans From The Top class at Teaselwick Wools at Mission Mill Museum and I'm looking forward to seeing the progress my students have made over the holidays. I've finished my right sleeve and will pick up the stitches for my left sleeve today, then hopefully make some good progress on it.


Yesterday DH and I were at Kaiser Permanente to pick up a prescription and ran into a friend I hadn't seen in several years. We ended up going to Izzy's afterward for our lunch and catching up on what's been going on in our lives. I'm hoping she will be able to make it to the Ike Box to meet up with the group and meet some of the members. She and I knit Mara together several years ago - mine I knit as a cardigan and she knit a wonderful vest for hers. She happened to be wearing hers yesterday, which is what helped DH to recognize her as she was walking towards him. I'm going to be taking my Twelve Months of Christmas vest to knitting with me, in case she comes so I can show it to her. And I'm also planning to get some more progress done on it. I'm past the armhole decreases and about halfway through the v-neck decreases, so each three round set between decreases means fewer stitches and faster rounds, getting me closer to the shoulders and finishing the vest. Yea!


Okay, that about covers the update for now, I've finished breakfast, except for a Honey Crisp apple to eat while I read my emails. Then it's on to Ravelry for a quick read, the shower, dress, and out the door to start my errands - have a great day!


Helen



Kitty Selbu mittens


Kitty Selbu mittens
Originally uploaded by BlueDragon2
Kitty Selbu mittens started, using Scottish Campion yarns Dog Rose pink and Peppermint green.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Orion socks pair


Orion socks pair
Originally uploaded by BlueDragon2
Both Orion socks showing STR colorways - beautiful!

Orion socks done!


Orion socks done!
Originally uploaded by BlueDragon2
Second sock fits great!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

First Orion sock done


First Orion sock done
Originally uploaded by BlueDragon2
First Orion sock done except for running in ends - only two days!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Peppermint & Rose Green Scottish Campion yarns

Yarns from my Scottish Campion stash ready to knit Kitty Selbu mittens - special yarns for a special pattern!

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Right cuff done


Right cuff done
Originally uploaded by BlueDragon2
Right cuff done and cast off on St. Enda.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

I sat down and counted how many knitted items I finished last year - 41! Small, medium, and large projects, quick ones I whipped out in just a few hours and large ones I worked on for years. Items I made for myself, for my DH, for my family, for friends, for strangers, and for class samples for classes I teach. Items I made from published patterns following the pattern, from published patterns modifying the pattern to suit myself or the person I was making the item for, items I created the pattern for and published, and items I just knit and created as I worked, not writing down the details. I don't think I've knit this many items in a year before, unless it was small holiday ornaments that I gave away many years ago in college. I know I haven't knit this many in one year since then. Kind of gives new meaning to the phrase, 'never not knitting,' doesn't it?


I sat down a couple days ago and took stock of how many projects I finished from my 2010 Projects list - only 4 items not including the project I crossed off the list when I decided not to do it. The Pacific Northwest Shawl that I finished wasn't on the list, but I had started it when my first DH was alive and hadn't been able to pick it up for many years after he was killed. When I did finish it and entered it in the local county fair, the judge discovered that holes were beginning to appear in it and called to let me know. It looks like the project had not been stored away from heat in the storage unit and had started to rot. I retrieved it from the fair, put it in a ziplock bag, and in my Grandmother Svea's cedar chest. The judge, who is a friend of mine and knew what emotions were tied up in that shawl, offered to mend it for me, since I had lots of the yarn left over - a lace weight Merino wool. But I just knew that it was heat rot and that holes would continue to appear, so I thanked her and put the shawl away. Also, handling the shawl as it decayed was something I just couldn't face, with all the emotions that are tied up in it. So it is resting in Grandma's cedar chest comfortably and will stay there now. 


I have now made a new list for 2011, and it has twelve items on it, not all knitting as some are cross stitch and one is a quilt for our queen size bed. I had started buying fabric for the quilt last year and putting it in a box until I had enough to start the quilt. It will be a sampler quilt, made of different blocks with a center panel, probably showing some kind of country scene. It will be interesting to see how many I finish this year and how many will be carried forward into 2012. One of the cross stitch projects is fairly close to being finished and I may pull it out while I'm on vacation and see how far I can get on it. 


I've already finished my first project of 2011 - the Caller Herrin tam from a KAL on the Stranded Group on Ravelry.com. The KAL is supposed to last for a couple of months, but I was enjoying the pattern so much and had (apparently!) a lot of built-up Fair Isle knitting energy, that I finished it in just about 10 hours of knitting. I did have a couple of issues - first, what I thought was a size 3 needle in its case was actually a size 2 so the hat came out smaller than it should have, then, I did the top decreases incorrectly because I didn't slow down and read the directions carefully. The hat is now washed and drying on a dinner plate. I could get the hat on when I finished it, quite snug but it fit me. I'm hoping after blocking it on the dinner plate that it will puff out a bit when I wear it. I used left over yarns from a project I had ripped out a while back - J & S yarns in 6 different colors, a light and dark purple, a light and dark green, and a light and dark blue. I really love the way the colors worked together and DH even said he could see fish scales in the knitting, which is what the pattern is designed to represent! So overall I consider it a good success and look forward to wearing it to knitting tomorrow night.


This morning I have to write the final version of my Ruffled Teatime Cozy pattern, print it out, and take it to the shop so they can assemble the kits for the January Monthly Mystery Project. The class will be this coming Saturday, January 8th, from 11-1. I'm hoping to get some future monthly projects started while I'm on vacation, at least get some ideas of things I'd like to make so I can start working on them more ahead of time.


There is a KAL on Ravelry for a sock design that I had signed up for, using some yarn I had in my stash. The pattern is a Mystery KAL, meaning that the designer publishes parts of the pattern about every week or so. I finished the first clue and waited for the second one, then when I went to knit the second clue discovered that I had misread the pattern and had to rip back to the cuff! Ack! But instead of ripping back and reknitting the first clue and continuing on with the second, I stopped and thought for a bit. I realized that my heart wasn't really into knitting these socks, that I wanted to make something else with that beautiful yellow yarn my friend Stephania had custom dyed for me last summer, something like a shawlette to brighten up my days. So I'm not going to do the KAL and the yarn is now resting in my stash, waiting for the perfect shawlette pattern to come to life and give me pleasure in the knitting and the wearing of the shawlette.


But don't despair! I still have plenty of other projects to knit, including starting a FLAK KAL. DH and I had talked about knitting a sweater using his handspun yarns and the upcoming FLAK KAL seemed like the perfect project. But when we started looking through his handspun stash for yarn to use, none of the yarn groups had enough yarn and I don't want to mix fleeces in this project. DH had commented a while back about me knitting his Mother a sweater using his handspun yarn and she wears a size small - voila! One of the fleeces has enough yarn in the lot to knit a size small FLAK! So I will knit her a cardigan using DH's handspun yarn with the group. I had been toying with the thought of changing the cable patterns to use some more complicated ones, but now won't do that because the ones I had been considering would increase the yarn requirements and I want to make sure I stay within the amount available. Now to have DH's sister measure their Mom so I can get started on the sweater. One side comment - his Mom's birthday is February 1st and I had planned to knit her something else for it. I may let the other project go and just send her a card letting her know that I am knitting her gift but it won't be ready in time. She has other items I've knit for her and loves my projects I make for her and waiting a while won't bother her. She is also moving from her home to live with her daughter and son-in-law, so is involved in going through her furnishings and letting go of lots of them right now. Having a gift to look forward to that is being personally made by her daughter-in-law may be a good thing to have in the back of her mind as she makes this transition in her life.


Last night I sat down to work on my St. Enda cardigan and discovered I had mis-crossed a cable about 20 rounds back on the first sleeve - ah, rats! This was the third mistake in my knitting in 4 days and really bothered me a lot. I don't normally have issues like this so have been thinking about what might have caused it. I'm thinking part of it is just plain mental exhaustion from the holiday season at work. It was a lot busier than last Christmas and we had several sick calls on really busy days. Fortunately, I had been working on strengthening my immune system since early summer, by taking 6,000 units of Vitamin D3 each day, 50 units of Zinc, 1,000 units of Vitamin C, and B-100 complex. While the amount of Vitamin D3 looks huge, my PA tested my blood and the results showed I'm almost smack in the middle of the normal range. The large amount of stress at work, coupled with living in the cloudy Willamette Valley, means that I personally need a lot of Vitamin D3 to stay strong and healthy. The price for taking this many vitamins each month is actually less (a lot less!) than the deductible for just one day in the hospital for pneumonia, so I consider it a good health practice. The knitting mistakes do show that I need to focus on some mental healing while I'm off on vacation this week and next, so I'll think about what I feel would be best to help me. I need to take some time out and slow down and be present in my life, reconnect with myself and set some fresh priorities. 


Hope everyone has a wonderful New Year, with health, happiness, family and friends!


Helen

Monday, January 03, 2011

Caller Herrin done!


Caller Herrin done!
Originally uploaded by BlueDragon2
Well, except for washing and blocking it. It's much smaller than the pictures, due to using smaller needles by accident. But I'll try to block it a bit bigger and see what happens.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Ruffled Teatime Cozy


Ruffled Teatime Cozy
Originally uploaded by BlueDragon2