Thursday, November 26, 2009

My New Cardigan

Well, that shrug I started for myself is done. It turned into more of a cardigan than a shrug, but I like to have a longer garment than what the pattern called for. Here's a picture:

The pattern is from Knitting Pure and Simple, "Summer Open Cardigan, #294. The yarn I used is Encore Colorspun (by Plymouth Yarns). I really like the yarn - it's very soft with subtle color changes and it feels like you're wearing a warm hug.
The pattern is pretty much the same as the other shrug I did - a top-down raglan - and again, well written. Since it called for a worsted-weight yarn rather than a super-bulky, it took a little bit longer to make up than the last shrug, but it still didn't take too long.

I shortened the sleeves to a short-sleeve and lengthened the cardigan to my hip rather than the waist. I did not do any decreasing in the body in order to have more coverage in the front (I like to be able to close a cardigan). The yarn had a very nice subtle striping, which made the garment more interesting to me (I LOVE color and changes in color and/or texture), and the yarn is soooo soft. I used just under 4 skeins of yarn with size 10.5 needles.

The problems I ran into on this is pattern is the front where I picked up stitches for the ribbing - it pulls up on the ends. I do not think blocking will fix this since the yarn is a wool/acrylic blend. Maybe the lack of shaping effected this? I could have also not picked up enough stitches along the bottom edges. Any suggestions from my reader(s) on this?

Happy Thanksgiving!

We're done with dinner and the pumpkin pie has been eaten, and I am reflecting on all the things I am thankful for this year.

I am thankful for the friends and family at the table. Some are not here from last year - either they have passed on or are simply away from home for the first time - and I miss them. I am glad that I got to spend time with them while I could.

I am thankful for a (mostly) clean kitchen. There are plenty of left-overs that we will be able to enjoy over the next few days. Some are not so fortunate. I am thankful for a husband who, after a long search this afternoon, was able to find a place open that served the tacos he so greatly desired for lunch. I am so thankful that he bought lunch for a homeless man there as well.

I am thankful for my family's health and well-being. We may have a little cold occasionally, but there were no sudden trips to an emergency room (as it was 2 weeks ago), either local or 120 miles away. The most exciting part of the day was watching the Macy's parade and commenting on how menacing the Sponge Bob Square Pants float looked (it did - it looked like it was out to get you with it's outstretched arms and maniacal face). We then had the Mythbusters marathon on for the rest of the day.

I am thankful for my friends. Friends who called, emailed or text messaged me to wish me a happy Thanksgiving. I am lucky to have such good friends - thank you!

It was a nice, quiet Thanksgiving. I am thankful for all that I have - I am truely blessed. I hope all of you have had a good Thanksgiving as well!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Yarn Discussions with Hubby

My husband, who knows little to nothing about knitting (and really doesn't care - he only makes an effort because I like it), commented to me today about my newest project. He likes the way the yard changed colors - he thought it "looked right".

Me: "It looks right?"

Him: "Yeah - the stripes are all straight 'n stuff."

Me: "Honey, it's self-striping yarn. It kinda does that on its own, like a 'smart yarn' or something."

Him: "A 'smart yarn'? Oh. Well, it still looks good, anyway. You got the stitches all straight."

Me: "All of them?" (Trying not to laugh.)

Him: "Yup. Ya done good, hon!"

Bless that man. I'm sure that I sound the same when talking to him about his video game:

Me: "Wow! You're doing really well there."

Him: "I just got killed."

Me: "Well, you did really well before you got killed..."

Him: (Trying not to laugh) "Really...?"

Gotta love that! Knit (or video game) on!

Afghan Sampler Knit-a-Long

We were discussing doing a sampler afghan at our knitting group today. I've been thinking about getting int o a knit-a-long for a bit now, and a sampler afghan sounds perfect. Do a whole bunch of techniques we've all been wanting to learn and put all the squares together at the end and have a nice throw to show for your efforts.

Sounds pretty simple, doesn't it? Except one of the ladies there mentioned that the squares should all be the same size and then started to figure out how many squares per throw ("We could either do a 4 foot square or a bigger rectangle..." Then she started doing some math and totally lost me after that...)

I like the idea though. I'd like to brush up on fair isle and entrelac, and others want to do cables, mosaics, knit-one-below, etc. This will be an intermediate to advanced level project (no garter or stockinette squares). Great idea! Except...who's going to organize it? How do we choose the patterns? Oh, dear....anyone have any ideas? More to come later...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Saturday Night

What a weekend! I'm still not thinking quite straight.

Both boys were off on a Scout camping trip at Half-Moon Bay this weekend, but I got a call from one of the Scoutmasters last night right around bed time saying that my youngest was being taken off to the hospital by ambulance. He's fine now, but that call took off a few years of my life.

I got to the hospital in South San Fransisco in record time. The nurse at the ER looked at me kind of funny when she realized how fast I made it there. (Hey, my kid was in the hospital 120 miles from home and I didn't know how bad it was. How fast would you get there?) I did take time to grab my knitting bag on the way out the door. My hubby grabbed his slippers instead of shoes but I remember my knitting - what kind of Mom am I?

His big brother stayed with him the ENTIRE time - what a kid! I am SO proud of big brother for that. Kudos also to the Scoutmasters at the campsite as well as the EMT's.

The whole thing turned out to be a minor reaction from some medication my son's been taking, so we were able to leave fairly quickly. We got back home at 3:00 am and all was well. I'm ready to go back to work now...way too much excitement this weekend for me!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Hat in Reverse

Here's the result of the other Fair Isle hat (using the opposite colors):

I think the pattern showed up a bit better on this one. So, now each of my sons now have a new hat. That was fun!
Currently working on socks. Making up new bed socks for all of my kids. Have 1 pair done and another pair just about there. This last pair has been tempting me...I keep telling myself they are NOT for me, these are for Christmas gifts (and yes, the kids do all like hand made socks - it's the one thing that all of them like). I need to make myself something. (Maybe a new pair of socks?)
Tuesday's class was kind of a bust for me - I was not feeling well and left early. I really wanted to do that class, too. Now, I've just got a cold to show for myself instead of all that lovely knowledge. Sniff, sniff...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

More Hats!

I got a call from my friend Chris last night, saying she had read my last blog entry and could identify with the non-feeling in her hands as she had just finished a multi-color variation of the hat pattern we used in class. This was her third hat since the class. And I thought I was addicted...("Hello, my name is Jen and I'm a knit-a-holic")...I've only done two hats since the class. Those darn work and family commitments that get in the way of knitting!

Both Chris and I have decided we LOVE color work. I'll post pictures of my hats later and if anyone else who went to the class wants I can post theirs, too.

We've got the free Guild class tonight - the class is "Fit and Finish", taught by the all-talented Elizabeth R. This lady has an impressive collection of drop-dead beautiful sweaters she's made, and she seems to have a new one finished every month for the show-and-tell. I'm bringing in my unfinished sweater project to see if I can get some help with the shaping of - you guessed it - the dreaded sleeves. (I still hate sleeves - this may end up as a vest.) More to come. Knit on!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Fair Isle Hat

I've been knitting since 10:00 this morning (it's currently 11:30 pm here) and I don't think I can feel my hands anymore. I have to say, it's been worth it, though. I've had a wonderful time today - first my bi-monthly knitting group and then a class on Fair Isle technique.

What a fun class that was! It was taught by Pat Clark, who came all the way up from Sonora, which is about a 3.5 hour drive. You know she is dedicated to do that commute, but Pat also used to be a 4th grade teacher - I think it was 4th grade, maybe 3rd - so you know she is patient. If you can survive teaching kids in school then you can do anything. Needless to say, she was a fantastic teacher!

My hat is now done and sitting on the head of my youngest son (pictured below) and another is in the works for my older son, using the reverse colors. These colors also happen to be their school colors. Hmmm, wonder how that happened....

Pat was a great teacher and the pattern she wrote for the class was clear and easy to understand. The stranding technique she taught us absolutely made the class for me. I will definitely be using this again - no more twisted yarns! That is exactly why I took the class. I will also look for future classes from her.

My friend Chris was teasing me about being a bit obsessive sometimes when it comes to getting things done with my knitting. I think that as long as you still have movement left in your hands, even if you can't feel them, you should be fine. Right? :)

Friday, November 6, 2009


Last night was Guild meeting. I just love Guild! I got to show off my daughter's shrug (yes, the one that I was supposed to mail off today but did not get around to...hopefully tomorrow...) and see all my knitting friends. There were some fantastic projects at the "show-and-tell", including an AMAZING completed "Debbie Abrahams Mystery Blanket Club 2009" blanket.

I'm lucky to be associated with such talented knitters. There's always someone to show you a new technique, provide help with something you're having difficulty with, or be there to just inspire you with their work. Some of these ladies are real artists and it is a privilege to be around them.

Tomorrow is my knitting group meet up and I also have a Fair Isle class that afternoon. I also have a finishing techniques class that Guild puts on next Tuesday. Ah, it doesn't get any better than this...

Sorry to brag so much, but all these knitting events in such a short time span is simply Knitting Nirvana for me. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Hatty Halloween!

Happy Halloween! Or rather, Hatty Halloween. That's what I did while waiting for little trick-or-treaters this year.

I did my first-ever top-down hat, AND I used Judy's Magic Cast-on (killed 2 birds with 1 stone on this)! This is a free pattern from Lyon Yarns (# 70177, "Lace Beanie"). It specified a cotton-blend yarn, but I used some left-over Wool-ease with a size 7 needle. The hat starts with just 6 stitches and grows outwards like this:

Needless to say, I am now a convert for Judy's cast-on. It doesn't show the starting point and there are no "blow holes" left at the top. It's magical! (A "blow hole" is a ring at the top of the hat that is formed when you pull a string through the last remaining stitches. It's ugly, but it does provide ventilation.) You can see a demonstration of this magical cast by clicking on Cat Bordhi - Judy Becker's Magic Cast-On under my Knitting Help links.

I finished the rim of the hat with a little left-over fake fur to add some color interest (and because I had run out of the main color). I did one round of the fake fur before casting-off. I think it turned out OK.

We didn't get too many trick-or-treaters this year, but Mr. Pumpkin Head and I got along just fine. Many Hatty Returns!