Friday, July 31, 2009

Travel Knitting

Last week I started Something Red, a top down cardigan, by Wendy Bernard. I love the instant gratification of buying patterns online and downloading them immediately! It is similar to a free pattern called Mr. Greenjeans so I waffled about buying one vs using the freebie. Then I noticed the waist shaping on Wendy's pattern and decided that was worth the price. I was right. It looks as if it is going to fit me great. I tried it on my body double and "she" approved. Knitting from the top down seems faster to me but it might be that I am accustomed to knitting for larger people. I'm still on that ME ME ME kick.

So on Saturday I'm off to my business convention, The Bee, in Columbus OH. My traveling companion offered to drive her Honda Pilot so guess what that means....oh yeah, knitting time for ME! I will take the Something Red but just in case it gets unwieldy, I started a fun little Grid Pattern Kitchen Towel by Luni. I usually lay a towel on the granite countertop when I'm handwashing dishes. I thought this would look nice and offer a little extra cushioning for the wet dishes. After just a few rows I am liking the colors and the pattern is easy and fun. Thank you, Luni!

More notes are on my Ravelry Projects pages.

Friday, July 24, 2009

A Celebration of Knitters

Last week the ladies in our prayer shawl group, Knit One Pray Too, met at a local coffee house, The Blend. Three of our friends have consecutive birthdays so it is a fun time to celebrate their milestones and give them cards. One of them turned 91 this week! I feel so blessed to know each one of them. We are growing in our prayer life together. One friend is going through cancer treatments so she is continually in our prayers. After our coffee and conversation yesterday we formed a prayer circle to bless shawls. These shawls will be given to people who are going through life transitions. Many of the situations are difficult ones, although we can celebrate as well in the midst of trouble.

I finished another Prayer Shawl but am not sure who will be the recipient. It is the same as one I made last summer: lots of garter stitch with lace borders at both ends. I think I'm done with that for a while!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Glory of The Diminishing Rib Cardigan

I had such a great time knitting the Diminishing Rib Cardigan by Andrea Pomerantz as seen on the cover of Interweave Knits Spring 2009. The designer implemented fantastic detail on this cardigan. It is extremely unusual for me to knit without modifications but I couldn't think of a way to improve this one. I especially like the tubular cast on. Eunny Jang's video was most helpful in getting this technique under my belt. I'm fairly certain I learned it before but did not use it and it subsequently flew out of the ol' noggin.

Mountain Mom's tubular bind off tutorial was a lifesaver. The written instructions in Interweave Knits were simply not enough for me. I still had take the bottom edge out at least twice before getting it right. (Tip: bind off the arms first as practice...easier to remove if you don't get it right the first time.) The best way I can describe the tubular bind off is that you set up the last two rows on parallel needles as if you are going to weave Kitchener Stitch. (In the photo I am moving stitches from the left needle to two dpn's in my right hand for the set up. Then you work Kitchener Stitch with a blunt sewing needle to achieve the neat and tidy bottom edge for the ribbing. It is a bit labor intensive but well worth the effort. That is a pithy explanation for sure so be sure you watch the video.

Details are on my Ravelry Projects page. I know I will wear this cotton sweater a lot and plan to make another one in wool for winter.

This is as close as I can get to a pensive pose in my new sweater. ;) And by the way, hummingbirds just love that salvia plant!


Monday, July 20, 2009

Teeny Tiny Shoes

Tiny Shoes by Ysolda Teague were knit on July 4th. It took me a whole day and a lot of knitting to complete a pair. The first bootie turned out way too small and on top of that I seemed to have trouble figuring right from left. Fortunately, I had the excellent company of fellow knitter, Carol, and a lovely view of the lake as the needles clicked away.

I was a little disappointed with the Knit Picks Essential Kettle Dyed Fingering Weight wool (superwash). There were only a few places where subtle variations of color were visible. Only the most discerning eye can detect them. The booties appear to be solid navy.

I found two of these buttons in my button box. If I make another pair of these I might just sew the button to the end of the eye cord and fasten a snap below. I'm not sure how well the button and its big fat loop will hold, although I felt a button with a shank stood more of a chance.

Tiny shoes are very high on the cuteness scale.

Friday, July 17, 2009

It's a Blue Liesl

I finally finished off my second Liesl (designed by Ysolda) this time in a color called "Lake". It looks teal to me in real life, but the photos certainly look more blue. I made it one size larger. After taking these photos I decided that the sweater falling off my shoulders was a bit of a nuisance so I added a few rows of garter stitch at the neckline to pull it up. It fits a lot better now. At the beginning of each garter stitch row I knit two together (the second and third stitches to keep the edge tidy) so the corner would taper off. Instead of putting buttonholes in as the pattern called for, I added them later with a 2 stitch I-cord border on both left and right fronts. I searched my button box for old buttons...could they be a closer match in color?

While knitting my first Liesl I had a little trouble picking up the cast on stitches under the arm. This time I ran a contrasting thread through these stitches right after casting them on. What a difference that made! It made the task easy peasy.

So this is what the sleeve looked liked before picking up to knit downward. I think the sleeves are a little long.
There are notes on yarn and yardage on my Ravelry projects page.
Usually I knit a pattern and am done with it. There are very few that I want to make again. This is an exception. I can't wait to knit another Liesl! I want a red one!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Whisper Cardigan Unveiled

Since we had a little photo shoot on Sunday I am going to be posting about some of the sweaters I've recently made for myself. I've been on hiatus in that department for about 10 years (but still knitting sweaters for my menfolk) and I had forgotten how relatively quickly they knit up for me. Well, I'm considerably smaller than all of them. Since joining Ravelry I've found designers who relate to knitters like me; that is, knitters who don't like to sew seams and have a few curves on the body.

Hannah Fettig's Whisper Cardigan is a great design and so much fun to knit. Although it uses a lace weight yarn (size 3 needles for me), the project went fairly quickly until I got to the last section which was a lot of stockinette. I was all but done with it but couldn't decide how long to make the section that hangs down from the midsection ribbing. If you plan to knit this sweater, the schematic on Hannah Fettig's website Knitbot is helpful. The design is not at all difficult to knit once you understand the construction. The only modifications I made were (1) bound off neck part of ribbing in I-cord. I tried 3 times to do it loosely enough with a larger needle and it didn't work for me. (2) lengthened sleeves to 3/4 and eliminated the bell of the sleeve. The sleeves still look rather bell-like. (3) lengthened the body section so it would hang down further on my torso.

I'm still getting used to the way it fits me. Let' s just say it tends to enhance the bust area. I would like for it to be just an inch or two larger but it still works. It only took two skeins of Knit Picks Gloss (alpaca/silk) and at $4 a skein (you do the math), that is a pretty inexpensive sweater and a whole lot of entertainment.

Note: I am not wearing white nylons. And yes, my ankles really are that pale.

Little Boys

These are the last of the Wonderful Wallaby Nostalgia photos...but I'm not making any promises. The boys are ages 8, 4, and 2. From the looks of the herb garden, the photo was taken in late spring 1985.
Is that not an impish grin?

This photo always brings a smile. Nils and Peter are standing in a low spot in the sidewalk, in melted snow, apparently unfazed by the cold. (Big brother was in school). Pete is wearing an Elizabeth Zimmermann Ganomy and Nils has on a stash buster woolen cap. Hardy little fellows!

Pete (age 1 year) is also wearing a raglan sweater, Elizabeth Zimmermann style with his ganomy. We were at a soccer game for his older brother. My mom and dad are feeding him a banana. I love the way the Ganomy Hat frames his chubby cheeks!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Independence Day Shenanigans

We spent the July 4th holiday in Wisconsin with friends. We had a wonderful time...

We biked along the lake to the golf course.

The guys got stuck on the lake when the boat died.

Then they played gondolier to bring the boat back to the dock.

Carol and Dave had early morning coffee on the lake.

And of course, we knitted by the lake. This little sweater is from one of my favorite patterns: Easy Garter Sweater, from Erika Knight's Simple Knits for Cherished Babies. The colors of this little sweater remind me of the lake: greens, blues, browns and a creamy off white.

I finished it off with assorted buttons from my Mason jar: alternating and unmatching blues and greens.
Details are on my Ravelry Projects page.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I Have a Kindle!

I am so happy that I finally ordered a Kindle. I've been thinking of getting one ever since I read about them on Amazon. Carol got one when the Kindle2 came out. Once I saw hers I
knew it was just a matter of time. At the encouragement of my husband, bless his heart, I finally took the plunge and boy-oh-boy am I glad!
It seems the folks at Amazon have thought of everything in making this device convenient, practical, and even addictive. The packaging wooed me from the onset with tumbling alphabet letters and a little message on the pull tab that read: "Once upon a time...". Call me crazy but I even get excited each time I turn off my Kindle and see a new screensaver. It seems there are about 25 beautiful designs that cycle. The images are very crisp, just like the font.
One reason I wanted a Kindle is that I read in bed and don't have good lighting. While the screen is not backlighted, you can easily changed the size of the font. So when reading in bed, I just enlarge the font. The "next page" button is on both sides of the Kindle, for easy page turning. Once in a while I forget I am reading an electronic book and I reach up to turn a paper book page. Silly me!
The first book I read was Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. In case there was a learning curve with this device, it seemed that a simple read was a good way to begin. As it turned out I readily transitioned to the electronic format. Last night I finished Twilight (which I enjoyed more than I thought I would) and downloaded the next book in the series. How easy is that? Maybe too easy. You don't even need a computer to browse the selections. The purchasing and browsing is done wirelessly through Sprint (no monthly charge.)Not sure if you want to buy it? Download a sample of the book first. Most titles are $9.99 or under. The Twilight books are about $6.00.
I also bought the leather Amazon cover for $39.99. It protects the Kindle and I can hold it like a book if I want.
Although I haven't needed it yet, there is a built in Oxford English Dictionary. Highlight the word and a definition appears at the bottom of the screen. Wow. I am going to be on the look-out for books with difficult vocabularies.
Conventional books will always have a place in our home. I would not want to buy my knitting books electronically or books that I intend to read again (that is rare). I will still visit the local library, although I won't be so disappointed at the offerings there since I have more OPTIONS.
When I first heard about e-books I predicted that this would be the future for college students. Books are so expensive and often too big to carry around. The new Kindle DX is designed with this in mind.
If you have a Kindle I would love to hear about books you have enjoyed reading.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Nostalgic Monday

A few months ago I wrote about the many Wonderful Wallabies I have knitted for my children, nephews, and other adorables. The first photo is Nils at age 6 in his Wallaby. (Can you blame me for sneaking in a bit of pink with 3 sons and two nephews?) He was home from school with strep throat. He (with a little help) assembled The Invisible Woman, which had been preserved in its original box since my own childhood. (We did the pregnant version.) He also learned to knit and is proudly holding his first project. Changing the colors
held his interest. I admit that I might have kept him home a bit longer than necessary since we were having so much fun.

Peter and Nils played in their sandbox, barefoot and wearing their wallabies.

Printer Friendly