Sunday, October 25, 2009

About Last Night...

I pulled an all-nighter last night. No, it wasn't for the shrug I just posted about - I was working on another project. I knew it was late. I was thinking it was around 2:00 but NO.

I looked up and saw 5:00.


As in the morning. Around the time I usually get up.

I haven't pulled an all-nighter in many years. I just got so into my knitting that I lost track of time. So my dear readers, (actually, READER - thanks, Sharon!), while I don't recommend staying up all night on a regular basis, losing track of all time being totally absorbed by knitting was kind of cool. Very Zen.

Knit on.

Progression of the Shrug

I had a dream. It was to complete a beautiful shrug for my 19-year-old daughter, something young and vibrant. Here's the project from start to finish.

This pattern was a top-down shrug using a super-bulky yarn. My friend Laura told me that the top will look like a square from the neck side, and she was right. The picture is not the best, but it shows how the top is squared out and the rest of the garment is worked down from that start:

The increases were in front and back of the sleeves, which I thought was very clever. These were the EASIEST SLEEVES EVER!!!!!!! I may have had problems with sleeves in the past (they usually kick my hind end), but I have ABSOLUTELY no problems here. I'm in love!

The finished product as modeled by my youngest son (the poor kid deserves a metal for being so patient with his crazy Mom):

And I found the cutest button at Babetta's! With this button I tell my daughter that I love her every time she buttons up. (Sappy, isn't it? A mother's prerogative. She can deal.)

I loved doing this project. It was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO fast & easy. If you haven't made a sweater before it would be a wonderful first sweater project. I've washed the shrug and will send it off to my daughter this week. I hope she likes it!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Outbreak Monkey!

I caught it. I've been sick since last Tuesday. The doctor's office doesn't even want me to come in - how's that for helping the sick? :) Not sure exactly if it was the dreaded H1N1 bug - and the doctor's office is not testing - but as the advise nurse I called said, "If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck..."

Usually, it's one of the kids that brings the illness into the house. This time it was me. I'm the "Outbreak Monkey". I HATE being sick. I'm starting to feel better - I have energy for the first time since Monday - but Hubby & the oldest boy are down with it now. This means a weekend of caring for cranky men, because they get to be such babies when they're sick. Ah, what's a wife and mother to do?

Raglan update: I finished the raglan Tuesday night, but I'm looking at it now and I need to redo the neck (there's some unauthorized holes there), and now that I'm back in my right state of mind again I can fix it. Also need to get a button. I was thinking a big silvery/pewtery with lots of detail on the design. I'll go looking later, when I need a break from the cranky men.

Monday, October 19, 2009

I Love Raglans

Working on a top-down raglan shrug. I love, LOVE this pattern! It's a Bulky Shrug by Knitting Pure and Simple. It's very well written and very easy - I normally don't like easy ("Easy-Schmeasy!"), but in this case I'm having a great time with it.

The pattern calls for super bulky weight yarn, which knits up like magic. It's SOOOOOOO fast! I think if I had the whole day to devote to this I could have finished it in one day. How often can you complete a sweater in a single day??!!! So cool!

I've used this brand of patterns before and I've loved each one. (web site: These guys are fantastic!

If you contact them, be sure to mention my name. They won't have a clue who you're talking about, but I've always wanted to say that! :)

Knit on!

Friday, October 16, 2009

It Didn't Happen

I had the day off today and had planned to get some knitting done. It didn't happen - too many other tasks needed to get done.

I need to get going on Christmas gifts. At least I've planned it out this year - making nice toasty warm socks for the kids and some assorted scarves & hats for the various other recipients. I do not knit for very many people - only my family and those close friends who appreciate my knitting. It's a very small group.

I love this weather. We had a storm last Tuesday that made a big mess - lots of trees down around town - but that's the kind of Wintery weather that makes me want to sit by a cozy fire with a cup of tea or hot chocolate and knit, knit, knit!

Living in California means I don't wear a lot of knitwear, so I try to make things that will be wearable, like socks or something usable like dishcloths. I don't want my knitting to get put in a drawer somewhere and not get used. My knitting gifts are an expression of love and I like to know they are being used and (hopefully) appreciated.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Saturday Morning

Ahhh...Saturday morning. I've fed the animals, started the laundry and am now sitting here relaxing with a cup of tea.

I have major housework planned for today, but right now the boys are off at a Scouting expedition and Hubby is still snoozing, so I have the house to myself. There's no place I need to be or thing I need to be doing right now. It's a rare thing to have this luxury.

Don't get me wrong - there are a hundred tasks for me to do. The carpets are a mess (I will be shampooing them today) and the yard has that scary Halloween neglected look. I have fun things I need to do, too - knitting calls to me and I've been seriously neglecting my books and TV shows. But those can wait. It's quiet here. I can hear the ticking of the wall clock it's so quiet. The windows are open so I can hear the outside world. It's very soothing.

The housework can wait a bit longer - my cup of tea is calling.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Gonna Go Get Some Class

I am an idiot.

Well, maybe not a COMPLETE idiot, but I do a pretty good impersonation of one on a regular basis.

I was in a Guild class last night (for more information on the Sacramento Knitting Guild, please look at the link under 'Favorite Links' for the Sacramento Stockinettes), and I had the most awfullest time. Guild classes are usually a lot of fun and I had been looking forward to this particular class for a while since it was taught by a friend of mine, Dorris.

(I love Dorris. Dorris, for those of you who don't know her, is a wonderful woman who has been knitting all her life. She is retired - I decline to mention her exact age - but is always on the go and trying out new things. She looks like she is in her mid-40's and has the energy of several teenagers. I envy her since I am in my mid-40's and have the energy of a slug.)

My misery was not Dorris' fault. No. The project was a copy of her Grandmother's coin purse, circa 1890. This was a clever design of what looks like the toe of a sock and the cuff. It had a closed loop with a ring to hold the purse closed.

It seemed like a simple design - I mean, if you've ever done a sock you should be able to take care of this EASILY since all the hard parts of a sock are missing. To make things even easier for us, Dorris even wrote several versions of the pattern - bottom up as well as TWO different methods for top down! She provided rings for the top closures. The only thing that would've made things easier for us was if she knitted the purse up for us herself.

My idiot impersonation - and a very fine performance, if I might add - was with the cast-on.

I, like so many knitters, really only use one cast-on for all of my projects. I've occasionally strayed from my beloved cable cast-on but have always returned, feeling guilty about seeing the "other cast-on". I got into a groove with the status quo and stubbornly refuse to try other methods. Who knew that this would turn around to bite me in the butt? Isn't faithfulness supposed to be a good thing?

Alas, my favored cable cast-on failed me for this project. I sat there for most of the class, feeling like the class dunce, just trying to figure out how to start the project. A simple project. My face is still red...

I now have a new resolution to TRY DIFFERENT CAST-ON'S. One size does not fit all. I've added links to knitting help sites - ya gotta love You Tube - and hopefully you can benefit from my lesson in stupidity.

Dorris, thank you for all your patience!!!!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Lambtown 2009

Pictures from Lambtown in Dixon, CA.

My Daughter's Sweater

My daughter did not want to go to college after she finished high school. She said that after 12 long years of school she was sick of it and wanted to travel to exotic locations, so no more school for her. Instead she joined the military, saying that this way she can get some job training and go travel the world on Uncle Sam's dime. She enlisted last December and has been in training ever since. Her exotic locale? Idaho. I find this funny like nobody's business.

Funny or not, it's snowed twice there already, the first time on September 30 and the second time yesterday. My poor California girl! She's SO not used to the cold weather she will be having this winter, so I made her a sweater - hopefully the first of many.

This patter is from "Weekend Knits" and I used Encore yarn (a wool-acrylic blend) for ease of care. The project took me about 6 months, mainly because I knit multiple projects at the same time, and also because I usually rip out projects about 3 or 4 times before I am satisfied with the results.

The sleeves took 5 tries:

  • The first to learn the pattern,
  • The second due to mistake in increasing,
  • The third time I got all the way up lengthwise before realizing I had forgotten the increases altogether,
  • The fourth time I increased too much (I had followed the instructions but they looked like bat wings),
  • The fifth try finally did it.

I hate sleeves.

Other than the sleeves, the pattern worked like a charm. This was my first cable pattern, and I wanted an interesting cable that wasn't too complex for me as a beginner cabler. There's no real shaping, so I could concentrate on the cable pattern and that was easily memorized. My favorite design element are the pockets - the pockets are inside the sweater and not just tacked on as an afterthought.

How It Started

A friend of mine showed me how to knit 3 years ago, shortly after my Mom had a stroke. There were many hours spent in the hospital next to Mom's bed, waiting for a doctor to come in, a test to be done or just for Mom to wake up (stroke victims sleep a lot after the event). It was an extremely stressful time.

I couldn't concentrate on reading, TV, cross-word puzzles or anything, just too worried about Mom to focus on anything. Knitting gave my hands something to do while chatting with Mom or waiting for something - and there was always something I needed to wait for. Knitting helped me to stay sane. It was something I could DO while I felt so incredibly helpless.

After Mom recovered, I enjoyed knitting for letting me feel like an artist. I can create things of beauty and substance. It's fun and I've met some great friends through my hobby. This blog is devoted primarily to knitting (although I reserve the right to post subjects other than knitting), mainly so I don't bore my non-knitting friends to death. It's a knitting thing - non-knitters just wouldn't understand.