Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The last summer vacation

We are in New Hampshire and the weather is fantastic. Sunny hot summer days, perfect for the beach & lake. Cool nights and early mornings, perfect for sleeping and wearing my favorite socks. I felt luxurious wearing my bamboo handmade socks. And you can see I am still working on the basket weave pair. Got some done this week, but not in any hurry to finish them so I will enjoy every stitch. Soon it will be back to school.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Knit Markers?

I have always used either scrap yarn or hair elastics for knit markers. Well, I have had a couple of days to myself and have spent them mostly knitting. It really has been relaxing and wonderful, and yet a bit frustrating. That stems from spending hours knitting and not really finishing anything....Although I did finish a pair of little girl socks for Catherine. She is not here to model them, so I'll just have to wait for a photo. Anyway, today I needed to do something else. I knitted some this morning and have spent the rest of the day running errands and making knit markers. I adore them! Check these out. It was FUN.
Now I need to go and get the oil changed in the car, and I look forward to using my new knit markers. Oh yes, the top set will be a gift for my Mother, who is from Sweden. The Swedish colors are Blue and Yellow, and these markers are a lovely set of blue stones with yellow glass beads on either end, except for one which usually needs to be different to act as a begin marker. I hope she likes them!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Thanks to my friend Pat

This is hard, I have so many things I want to say, but I am not good with words. Pat is a lovely lady, kind and generous, clever, creative and great fun to chat with. We met while the kids were in Karate class. I enjoyed watching her knit these really cool socks, and I admired her lovely hand knit sweaters. Pat always said "it's easy!" and "you can learn on the Web, check out". She was right, for the most part. Knitting basically is easy. There are only 2 stitches to learn and a couple of extras such as casting on, increases and decreases. But what isn't so easy is all the intricacies of knitting, that only a seasoned knitter would know.

I enjoy sharing our projects with each other and I learn something new from her all the time. The last time we got together, was grand! I really loved seeing and touching her fabulous knits and quilts, including a big box of socks! I learned something quite valuable about knitting at this last visit.

Simply put I was knitting TOO tight. That doesn't sound like much, but when I looked at her knits, you can really see the loft of the yarn. I was knitting so tightly that I was stretching out my yarn. Now, when they say to check gauge (which I always do) they tell you to adjust needle size to obtain correct guage. When I would change needle size I would end up with "open" stitches, yuck and would always opt for the smaller needle and just do the math to make the adjustments in the pattern for my smaller gauge. What no one tells you is that the loft of the yarn is so important in the quality of the knitted stitch.

So, changing needle size does not always solve the problem, sometimes we need to pay attention to tension. As soon as I stopping stretching the yarn as I knit with it, I noticed an immediate change in my swatches. I can now make a swatch that has the correct gauge using the right size needle, I no longer need to go down needle size. And the stitches look wonderful. Wow, wool really has a lovely effect when knit with it's intended loft in tact.

I am now making some socks and really enjoying the yarn at the same time. Completely different yarn behaviour than I was used to. And, the best part, if I drop a stitch off the needle it doesn't automatically unzip 5 or 6 rows. It just sits there and waits for me to pick it up again. Another bonus is the cramping in my hands and arms is no longer there.

Thank you so very much, Pat, for this valuable lesson. You are an inspiration and without you I would never have gotten this far in my enjoyment of Fiber Arts. I can't wait till we can get together again! Coffee? Tea? Lunch? Can't wait to show you my new socks....... :-)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Sarah's Cardi is done

I finished the sleeves last night. It looks quite nice, I am pleased.
Pattern: Girls Raglan Cardigan from Knit It! Magazine, Spring 2007
Yarn: Reynolds Saucy
Modifications: knitted top-down in the round, steeked front center.
Comment: knitting from the top-down changes the shapes of the flowers along the bottom, because the v's run in the other direction.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Need some help

I have started a new pair of socks. I love this yarn, the muted colors are absolutely lovely, and it is creating a very nice color pattern. I started doing a BasketWeave knit on the top of the foot, but I'm not sure if this is a waste of my time. Is it getting lost in the colorway? Am I loosing the overall effects of the colors by adding a texture? Or does it look fine, keep going. Hubby likes the BasketWeave and says keep going, but I also wanted your opinions. Thanks.

Sock on the right has the BasketWeave, and sock on the left is flipped over to the sole, showing no knitted texture.

Pattern: mSKS Six Stitch Basket Weave (page 90)

Yarn:"marks & kattens" clown 1854

Needle: one circular 2.25mm Hiya Hiya

Started: August 16th

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Yummy! Crosshatch Lace

I love these socks! After all my troubles they are wonderful. Here is a recap of what I did:
Pattern : Crosshatch Lace from mSKS
Yarn : Regia Bamboo, Jamaica #1066
Needles : started with 2.25mm moved down to 2.0mm, up to 2.5mm and finished with 2.25mm
Construction: Toe up Magic Cast On, Reversed Heel shaping, Hemmed cuff.
At 9.5sts/1" and foot measure 9.5" it looked as thought I should have 96 around. But this appeared too big, so I used 84. This was still too big, so when I got to the ankle I went down to 72sts. Although this is still quite loose, the hemmed cuff holds it in place. Next time I will go smaller than the book indicates.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Runway Knits, Roman Candle

I love this pattern. When I was buying yarn, I told Berta that I was concerned with a tight fitting top to be wearing wool. Although her opinion was that the wool would be fine, she did recommend the vintage cotton as a replacement. I just spent today knitting a swatch in the round. And I am not sure how to measure the gauge when the stiches are cabled.....It looks to me though like it is almost right, I have 60 stitches in the round (30 each side) and it is almost 4 inches wide. So it appears that it is right on for 32sts/4". But it looks to me to be too loose....probably a result of the non-fuzzy yarn? So I might consider using this yarn for another pattern. I'll need more time to think on this, but in the mean time I welcome any and all suggestions.
Vintage Cotton Yarn : 6sts/1" on US3 needle stockingnet stitch.
Boise Yarn (indicated in Pattern) : 5.5sts/1" on US5 needle stockingnet stitch
Pattern : 8sts/1" on US 8 needle in Pattern stitch.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

A nice little gift

It is always such a sense of accomplishment to finish a knitting project. Knitting is very relaxing and calming, most of the time. Except when I get near the end of a project I tend to want to rush it into completeness. This top has taught me a few things. I was rushing the sleeves to get them done, and therefore had to rip them out and start over a few times to get it right. If I had tackled them with a relaxed, "I have all the time in the world" attitude, they probably would have gotten done faster. And this is the first pieced top I have done, and I still MUCH prefer knitting in the round. I think I will continue to convert patterns to round knitting, I find the finished product to be so neat and clean looking.

This summer when we went to visit my Brother in MS, my Nieces expressed an interest in knitting. Well, I didn't have much time to teach them, although I tried. To hopefully encourage their desires, I have made this sweater for Madison and will ship it with the pattern, a childrens knitting book and the left over yarn. I hope she will enjoy it.
Pattern: Sausalito size 8
Yarn: Schachenmayr Crazy Cotton #87
Needles: size 5
Buttons: Walmart, believe it or not, they are really cute!
Modifications: Did a scalloped edge in front & back, added 1 1/2" bands on sides under arms, and short row sleeve shaping.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

A Comedy of Errors

You would think this was my very first pair of socks, with all the problems I have encountered. First, following the gauge chart in the book (More Sensational Knitted Socks) the socks ended up too wide, I first compensated by changing to a smaller needle, that was taking forever and you could not even see the gusset increases :-) So I then went to a larger needle and continued working even stitching until I was ready for the heel. Well, it appears I started the heel too soon and the socks are now too short. As you can see in the photo, there is enough ease due to the width to make up for the shortness and they just about make it onto my foot. I love this yarn as well as the crosshatch pattern, so I will love these socks when they are done, but right now they are making me laugh and laugh! Next I plan to do some decreases to find a comfortable width for the leg, and then I can have fun just finishing them up. hee hee hee I'm still laughing!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007


Ok, so I think this is the ugliest thing I have ever made. Took my chances, and I know for sure I never want to work with boucle again. I officially do not like boucle!
The pattern was quite fun to knit and it was easy to assemble. I think if this sweater ever gets worn it will be to keep warm on a very cold winter day (in the house only!)

The back is cute; however, the front is not in the least flattering. And the way in which you make the curve with the front pieces makes a little "bubble" effect. I think that is why in the book, all the pictures are taken with the 2 "bubble" spots hidden. I think I did a very good job of easing the knit so as to avoid that, but I think it is unavoidable. Maybe some short-rows would have worked better there!

The yarn is lovely, in the fact that it is very soft and not itchy. I enjoyed the feel of it while working with it. Karabella yarns seem to be soft and luxurious, although expensive. Maybe I can turn the shrug into a pillow case and snuggle up with it on cold days is front of the fire (lol).
I must say, while I was making this it make me think of a cozy bath mat. I need a new one in the guest bath, too bad it is the wrong color.