Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Mission Accomplished… Sort of

Well, I finished my first round of Knitted Christmas presents. I managed to finish my dad’s scarf by the end of Christmas Day. I did show it to him before it was finished though. I used the left over yarn and just managed to make it long enough.

As for LA’s scarf, I finished it Sunday night. I had been working on it on Thursday while she was at work. I’m not sure what happened but all of a sudden I had a huge gapping hole in the scarf but I had the right numbers of stitches. After confirming that even my dad could see the hole, I ripped the thing out. In the end, I think it turned out really well. I like the little spots of color inside the purple and it was a good length. More importantly, LA seemed to like it.

Now it’s time to work on all my other Christmas gifts. I still want to make the Airy Scarf for family and friends. Those are my next projects. And then there’s Krista’s scarf. Basically, I still have plenty to work on.

Adina and I are getting together Thursday night for some knitting. We’re going to Mabel’s Café on SE Division. For me it’ll be my one year knitting anniversary. Well, techniquely Friday night will but who’s counting? I think going to a knitting café is a great way to celebrate! And going with a knitting friend is even better.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Weekend Knitting

Things never go according to plan. Where to start? First… I didn’t get enough blue and yellow yarn for my dad’s scarf. On top of that, I’m not sure that the two additional balls I got will be enough. I’ll just have to use the leftover yarn from the first two balls and make some shorter stripes. I was going to use the extra to make my dad a mini sweater ornament.

Then my mom told me that she thought my Grandma would want to give her scarves on Christmas. So much for putting those off until after the holidays. A little background here is probably in order. My Grandma knit four scarves for two of my aunts and two of my cousins and then gave them to me to put the fringe on. When I got them I discovered none of them were longer then about 2 ft. That length was barely long enough for the scarf for my youngest cousin.

With my mom’s help (she did the fringe), I got the first two finished in time for Thanksgiving when my aunt and cousin were in town. Then I put the other two on the back burner for later. Anyway, I did manage to finish the knitting on the two scarves this weekend. My mom is coming over tomorrow night and I’ll ask her to do the fringe. Then I’ll work on my dad’s scarf.

I was hoping to have both my dad and LA’s scarf done by today. I haven’ even started LA’s. I also worked on the Airy Scarf this weekend. That was another battle. First, the pattern is wrong. If you follow it as written, you’ll end up with a long triangle. The eyelet row has a decrease in it. The pattern leaves off the all important first yarn over. It took me a little while to figure out what was wrong. Once I got that straightened out, I started the pattern. When I finished the center portion, my scarf was supposed to be 32.5 inches long. It was 17. I obviously did something wrong there. Sigh.

The moral is, at least I finished my Grandma’s scarves. I’m going to tell her about the Warm Up America project (www.warmupamerica.org). Basically you knit squares, sew them together into afghans and then give them to local charities. All she’d have to do is knit 7x9 squares. Then there wouldn’t be the battle to get her to knit the scarves longer. My mom said she’d help with sewing the squares together. That would be great since I don’t really care for the sewing part. And then mom and I would have a project to work on together.

Friday, December 17, 2004

The Gifts Begin

I had my last class last night. No one was ready to do the zipper so I didn’t even get a demo. Sandy, the instructor said she’d email us about getting together in January to see all of our finished projects. She also told us that one of our classmates ripped out her entire sweater because it was too small. Not only that, she’s not going to remake the sweater, she going to make something else out of the yarn. I think it wasn’t so much the size of the sweater but the project itself. I think the sweater broke her.

I did manage to start a sleeve last night. It is almost completely sewn in. The sewing process is one of those things that I hate to start but once I get going, I’m usually fine. Of course, this is only me second sweater.

Before class I bought a bunch of yarn to make Christmas presents out of. I bought two balls of Zara Plus Extra Fine Merino in blue (#8) and yellow (#15). I’m going to make the Boyfriend Scarf from LMKG for my dad. Blue and gold are Cal’s colors and I think the yellow is pretty close. My dad doesn’t really get cold but I figure he can’t say no to a yellow and blue scarf knit by me!

I also got two balls of Phoenix from Classic Elite Yarns in Bright Plum (#6647). The main color is a purple eyelash and then there are also pink, blue and teal loops in it. It is really soft and is a blend of mohair, wool, nylon and acrylic. I’m going to use it to make a scarf for LA.

Then I got two balls of in Sirdar Fizz a pink/red. I got these to make a soft, fuzzy scarf for Krista. Fortunately she’s not expecting it until after Christmas so there’s no rush. I couldn’t decide on what color or yarn to use for her. I like this one because it is fuzzy and little bits coming out. It looks almost like more then one type of yarn used together.

Finally I got three balls of Anny Blatt Laines in three different colors. Supposedly I’ll be able to make six Airy Scarves from these. The pattern calls for Rowan Kidsilk Haze but it’s so expensive. I thought I should practice a few times before I used the real expensive stuff. I’m going to practice the pattern on less expensive yarn first so I can get the hang of it. I’ve never done lace before.

Last night after class I started the scarf for my dad. I had to restart a couple of times to get the gauge correct for the pattern. I started out with the size needles suggested by the pattern, US# 11. Now I’m using #9. I may switch to size 8 but I want to do a few more rows first.

I also played around with the pattern for the Airy scarf. I found some wool that I bought awhile back that I thought would look good in the pattern.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Biker Jacket

My current “main” project is the Biker Jacket from the Tweed Collection by Debbie Bliss. As per usual, I’m not using the recommended yarn. In fact, it’s not even tweed. I’m using Araucania Nature Wool in Lime Green (23 or 27). The Nature Wool is my new favorite yarn. It is hand dyed and has a slight variegation in it. I also love their Nature Cotton.

I didn’t really pick this project. A local yarn shop was offering a class on it and it has a zipper. I wanted to learn how to do a zipper and it said it was a beginner class. I signed up. I think the class is unanimous in voting this sweater an advanced beginner to intermediate project. Of course, it would have helped if the instructor had actually made the sweater herself, but I digress.

I am pretty much done with the knitting part. I still have the trim for the sleeves and the bottom to do. I have sewn the collar on and will begin the sleeves tonight. This sweater project has been a lot more frustrating then I thought. I have since given up hope on completing it before the last class (tomorrow) when we’ll learn the do the zipper. And I’ve felt better ever since. The instructor has been nice enough to say that I can come by sometime after the class for more help.

In the meantime, to help alleviate my frustration and keep me from giving up knitting completely, I’m working on a poncho. I started the Herringbone Poncho from the Last Minute Knitted Gifts (LMKG) book. I really love the look of it! It’s almost double sided. I’ve actually been thinking of doing it again but with the wrong side out. I am not using the recommended yarn. The pattern calls for Blue Sky Alpaca but the one website I looked at (I know, great research on my part) said it was $19 a skein. Since I haven’t actually held the yarn, it could be worth it.

Instead I decided to be good and use yarn that I actually already have. I had bought 7 skeins of Lamb’s Pride Worsted in Prairie Fire Red awhile back. I had originally planned to make the Union Square Poncho out of it but thought it would be too heavy. I’m quite proud of myself for having the willpower to not buy new yarn.

Knitting the pattern is hard on the hands so I thought I should have a back up, back up project. I was going to start the One Baaad Poncho that I found at helloyarn.com but then realized that Christmas is just around the corner. Instead I’m going to make several of the Airy Scarf from LMKG. Right now I need to make four of them. Lucky for me they only take 2 to 4 hours each.

I also found a pattern for yet another poncho that I like. It’s in Knitter’s (Winter 2004) magazine and called Peppermint Swirl. It’s a think yarn and big needles. I could probably do it really quick. Once I finish my presents, that is. There’s also another lacy scarf that I could probably do quickly, once I learn the yarn over.

Monday, December 13, 2004

My First Entry

Completed Projects:
- "Spray" sweater from the Rowan Plaid Collection knit in Cascade Tweed Bulky.
- Princess Snowball Kitty Bed from Stitch n’ Bitch. Although I prefer to call it the Princess Sheba Bed.

- The Big Bad Baby Blanket (also from Stitch n’ Bitch) knit in Debbie Bliss Cashmerino.

- Lap Blanket from 50 Weekend Projects (it look me more then a weekend).

- Union Square Poncho/Shawl, also from the 50 Weekend Projects book and it also took me way longer then a weekend. I also used a different yarn. I used Araucania Nature Cotton instead. That project was a good lesson in using a different gauge yarn then the pattern calls for.

In-process Projects:
- Tweedy Biker Jacket from the Debbie Bliss Tweed Collection. Of course, mine isn’t in a Debbie Bliss yarn, nor is it tweedy. I’m using Araucania Nature Wool.
- Herringbone Poncho from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. I’m using Lamb’s Pride Worsted Weight in a beautiful color called Prairie Fire. The suggested yarn costs $19 a skein. I haven’t actually seen the yarn so it might just be worth it.
- Rosehip from the Rowan Summer Tweed Collection. It just needs to be sewn up.
- Hunter, also from the Rowan Summer Tweed Collection. It has a long way to go.
- Zipo from the Rowan All Seasons Cotton Collection. This one too, has a long way to go.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Knitting & I

I am a relatively new knitter. It’ll be one year on New Year’s Eve. I’m some what self taught. My Grandma taught me to knit a couple of times when I was a kid but I didn’t stick with it.

I sat down on the couch with some Red Heart acrylic yarn, a pair of #10 needles, Knitting for Dummies and a glass of champagne. Oh yes, and my cat on my lap. Armed with these simple tools I taught myself to cast on. My technique wasn’t pretty but it got the stitches on and they stayed on. It turns out I remembered how to do the knit stitch. Within no time, I was knitting away. My first “project” was a blue variegated scarf in the garter stitch.

I then made another garter stitch scarf out of Lion Brand Homespun. We had some unusual snow so I was shut up in the house for a couple of days. It was the perfect opportunity to knit.

After finishing my second scarf I decided it was time to conquer the purl stitch! This one wasn’t so easy. I thought I remembered how to do it but none of my stitches looked like the examples in the book. After a bit of trial and error I was purling almost like a pro.

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