Friday, September 30, 2011

On the Needles -- A Trio of Scarves

Scarf #1 is my own design.  Earlier this year, I designed a simple scarf to use the combination of two yarns by Filatura di Crosa that I read about in Clara Parkes' Knitter's Review.  She raved about the results of knitting with one strand each of Superior (70% cashmere, 30% silk) and Nirvana (100% merino).  I bought the two lace weight yarns in black, and after a bit of trial and error, I created a scarf that looks almost as nice as it feels.

I thought that I would like to make another in a completely different yarn.  I am using Malabrigo Sock Yarn (100% merino) in the "Indiecita" colorway.  I love how all of the colors play out over the basket-weave pattern.

Scarf #2 is a charity knit.  I am using my contest winning Love & Prayers Scarf pattern to create a scarf to donate to my local Womenheart group.  I am blessed to have a supportive group of knitters at Gosh Yarn It! participating in a KAL with me.  Our local Womenheart coordinator has told me how much these scarves mean to the women who receive them.  The yarn we are using is Brown Sheep Lanaloft Sport in "Cherrry Splash".

 Scarf #3 is actually a cowl.  It is a very long loop, which to me is scarf-like.  The pattern is Thundercloud Cowl by Snowden Becker.  I am using Schulana Kid-Seta Melange in "Pale Pink/Grey".  I bought the yarn to make a Wisp for my daughter, but I started it and did not like it.  I am liking the Thundercloud more.  The beads are a subtle "gold lined grey/brown".  

Scarf #1 is slow, but the pattern is rather easy.  Scarf #2 is fast (I totally have the pattern memorized) and fun, but I am working on it at a pace to stay just a bit ahead of my charity knitting friends.  Scarf #3 is not very far along, and will not get too much of my time for now.  It is challenging.  I do not have the pattern memorized and must check every row.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Midweek Meditation -- On Chopsticks

I came accross this when I did a search for quotes with the word "knitting".

"And I find chopsticks frankly distressing.  Am I alone in thinking it odd that a people ingenious enough to invent paper, gunpowder, kites and any number of other useful objects, and who have a noble history extending back 3,000 years haven't yet worked out that a pair of knitting needles is no way to capture food?"     
                                                                                 ~  Bill Bryson

Saturday, September 24, 2011

On the Needles -- A Tale of Two Sweaters

I have been wondering this it possible, just maybe...I have too many projects "on the needles"?  What makes it a bit worse, is that none are close to being finished.  So many of my projects are just at the halfway point, including these two sweaters.

I have spent many enjoyable hours this week working on a sweater that I named "Timeless".  The pattern is Grace Melville's Agatha.  I am using Schulana Kid Seta (70% mohair, 30% silk) in dark teal.  It is lace weight yarn, and knit at a fine gauge.  I very much love both the design and yarn.  Notice the sheerness of the back against the white background.  It is sheer and lofty at the same time.
I have knit further than the photo.  The front is now done, and I have even started the first sleeve. I will put it aside soon so that I can get back to my currently sleeveless Cerisara.


I named my Cerisara "Evergreen"I am making it in Handwerks So-Soft DK    (80% superwash merino, 10% cashmere, 10% nylon). I had been working on it rather steadily, until I finished the body as shown.  I then decided to hand-wash it, so I could make certain that I would like the fit and the length.  (Superwash wool does often grow when washed.)  It took a couple days to dry, which is why I picked up "Timeless".

I always have to have a few (or more) projects going so that I can switch off for various reasons.  The air drying of "Evergreen" was a bit unusual.  A more common reason is the need for an easier project to be able to switch to when I am knitting in a place, or at a time, that I cannot work on something more demanding.  Another is that when I go to a sit 'n knit at a yarn shop, I typically like to work on a project with yarn that was purchased at the shop.

I like to work on a project until I feel a sense of accomplishment with it, and then move on to the next project to make similar progress.  I enjoy all the small milestones.  I rarely get bored.  I do knit a lot.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Midweek Meditation -- So Early in the Fall

   "Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all."
                                                                           ~  Stanley Horowitz

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Midweek Meditation -- What's in a Name? -- What's in a Number?

"Reality leaves a lot to the imagination."   ~ John Lennon 

Sometimes it can be challenging to come up with a unique name for a knitting pattern.  There are so many named patterns already out there.

Not so very long ago, I was wondering about the name of John Lennon's song "#9 Dream".  These days, whenever I have a question on my mind, I Google it.  Sure enough the song has its very own Wikipedia article.  I now quote "Number 9 Dream", Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, September 13, 2011:  "'#9 Dream' continues Lennon's fascination with the number nine — he was born on 9 October, The Beatles appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show on 9 February, 'Revolution 9', etc. Coincidentally, the track peaked at #9 in the States."

I would say simply that John Lennon liked the number 9.  Much like I like the number 7.  Seven is in my birthday more than once, and it always keeps popping up in my life.  You might very well ask does it really pop up more than say 2 or 8, or do I just notice it more when it does appear.  Can't tell you.  But it is my number.

I named my new hat pattern "#77 Dream Hat".  When I did a search for "#7 Dream Hat" at Ravelry, the result was 5 pages of patterns -- any hat with the word "dream" in the title, or in the name of the yarn, came up and dozens more besides.  When I did a search for "#77 Dream Hat" there were none.  It is a unique name.  And, guess what else?  The directions begin, "CO 77."

BTW:  My hat was the winner of a little knitting design contest held by Manos del Uruguay.  (Thanks so much if you voted for me!)  I will write more about the pattern when it is ready for (free) downloading.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

An Up-Date on My Top-Downs

I was thinking this would be a good time to give an update on "My Top-Down Immersion".  I was surprised when I checked back on that post to see how long ago I wrote it -- July 22.

My New Neckdown Pullover by Diane Soucy has been finished for some time now.  I finished it in August and took it to Gosh Yarn It!, where I will be teaching classes on it beginning October 1.  Ann, the shop manager, promptly put it on Maude, the mannequin, who has been wearing it ever since.  I had started a project page for this sweater on Ravelry and forgot all about adding a finished photo until last week.  So when I was last at the shop, I took this photo.

Maude wearing my "New Neckdown Pullover"
Class sign ups have been good; the class minimum has been met.  This means that I will be making one more of these sweaters as I teach the class.

My Cerisara by Bonne Marie Burns is about half done.  I have also updated its project page with a new photo this week.

My "Cerisara in Fir" (color is not accurate)
I am still not convinced that top-down seamless sweaters are better than bottom-up and seamed ones.  All of these inches in reverse stockinette over 200+ stitches are rather boring.  It is hard to remember the cleverness of the vertically knit back neckbands, which were knit quite a while ago.  And at the 50% finished point, as in all top-down seamless sweaters, the project becomes quite a lapful. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Midweek Meditation

“There is one thing one has to have: either a soul that is cheerful by nature, or a soul made cheerful by work, love, art, and knowledge.”   ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Monday, September 5, 2011

Wool Clasica Design Contest

Not very long ago, in a thread somewhere on Ravelry, I learned of a knitting design contest being held by the yarn company Manos del Uruguay.  Their Wool Clasica Design Contest sounded simple and create a project using 1-2 skeins of Wool Clasica, and create a project page on Ravelry with a tag "clasica-design-contest."  The winners in each category, Hats, Neckware, Handwear, Men's, Kids' and People's Choice, will have their pattern published and win 5 skeins of Wool Clasica.  One grand prize winner will receive 10 skeins.

An LYS where I teach, Gosh Yarn IT!, carried a limited number hand-dyed colors.  I selected a skein of color #119, which was hand-dyed, the tag says, by Rosa from Fraile.  I learned that Manos is a non-profit organization working in Uruguay to bring economic and social opportunities to rural women.  I love that!  And it really is great yarn, too!

I designed a hat.  Hats are quick and fun to knit.  My hat is named #77 Dream Hat.  It is fun to knit because it is mostly all charts, including the decrease rows!  It is fun to wear because of the pom-pom, earflaps and tassels!  These two college girls had fun, on this cloudy day, taking photos of each other wearing it!


Also on this cloudy day, I created my project page for the contest.  This is, in fact, the last day to enter.

If you read this and you like the hat, please consider voting for me (with a click on "love") in the  "Peoples Choice Voting Thread."  Voting will end at 5PM EST on September 9.  Winners will be announced on September 12.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

What's New? Fingering Weight TATU!

What's new?

I released my first pattern for sale at my Ravelry store.

My Fingering Weight TATU (Try A Toe Up) Sock pattern is available for $5.50.  This pattern was months (actually years) in the making.

I wrote my original TATU sock pattern in 2009 for teaching a class on toe-up socks.  When I opened my Ravelry store, February 5th of this year, it was one of two patterns that I offered for free.  It was downloaded more that 400 times by the end of March.  After that I stopped tallying.  (You see, Ravelry does not provide totals on free patterns...something about the fact that there is no way to know how many times a single person downloaded a particular pattern.  To get a total, you have to add the numbers per each date.  On almost every day since February 5, Ravelers have downloaded one or both of my free patterns.  People like free.)

The original pattern has only a women's size and was written for sport weight sock yarn.  A knitting student of mine, named Sally, very much liked the original pattern and encouraged me to write one for fingering weight yarn.  Sally said, "I have lots of sock yarn and most of it is fingering weight."  I thought, "There are many knitters who could say the same thing."  Sally also said, "I have made many toe-up socks, but I like yours the best." (See what I mean about encouraging.)

I decided early on that if I was going to calculate some new numbers, I should offer the pattern in more than one size.  The Fingering Weight TATU Sock pattern includes Child's Medium, Child's Large, Women's and Men's sizes.  I created one additional cuff choice.  This pattern has been knit in all sizes, and with various cuffs, by six test knitters and myself.  I knit all four of the socks in the photo.

I have put a lot of time in on this pattern going back as far as 2009.  It is a good pattern.  But it is not free.