Saturday, July 31, 2010

Double Delight

I finished the Foolproof Baby Hat and then went right on to an invented pattern of simple garter stitch alternated in stripes with stockinette. I am delighted with both hats! The first is so softly stretchy it will fit a variety of heads and as a friend pointed out be wearable for quite a while as the baby grows. The second has nice stretch, although not as much as the first. I feel so accomplished! I knit not one, but two hats.

I'm finding that knit is so different in movement and rhythm from crochet that they will be nice counterpoints to each other. Need a break from that crochet project, knit...and vice versa. So much fun.

In fact I am going to make a shawl/scarf that I loved from the moment I saw it. I attempted a crochet version, but with my new found/renewed skill it is now a MUST! (Um, I may have started it as soon as I finished the second hat. Of course I had to look up how to do a yarn over and knit through the back loop first...)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Proximal Zone

I've been thinking of knitting baby hats in order to use up the yarn left over from various projects. I've been thinking about it for a while now. What had me thinking?
  • I haven't really knit for at least 25 years. My Nana taught me when I was little, but I was never very good at the whole tension thing. So, I gave it up. After crocheting for so long I figured that I should try again. I now know that I can bury a world of errors in textured fabric, and anyway the baby won't care.
  • Knit often uses less yarn so the smaller left overs would go further.
  • Knit has more stretch than the crochet baby hats I've made. I think it is better suited for those delicate little heads.

I've been ruminating on it for a while. I figured I could manage to work a flat piece with ribbing followed by stockinette and then just sew it up. Seemed it would be simple enough to be doable.

Well, I've stopped thinking and started stitching. Why now? My professor indirectly challenging me to work within the Proximal Zone. i.e. the state of learning where you are just a bit uncomfortable, but with support/guidance your goal is attainable. I found the challenge an attractive one. The more I thought about it I realized that this pretty much describes the link between myself and knitting. So, I got going. What have I learned?

  • Wooden knitting needles make a world of difference! They grab the acrylic just enough that I don't have to worry about them sliding out of the work.
  • Surprise! I can actually tell the difference between knit and purl stitches. I guess hanging around with so many knitters has rubbed off. =-)
  • Ditto when it comes to tinking. I have no idea if I put the stitches back on correctly or twisted them, but it looks decent. Woot!
  • I now really appreciate just how much faster crochet is than knitting. I've always known this for fact, but now have the experience to back it up. For this reason I'll likely stick to These small hats and maybe an occassional dish cloth. Oh, and the stuffed bears my Nana used to make. I want to learn to make those.
  • Width is hard to determine when your fabric is on the needle.
  • Knitting has a nice rhythm to it.
  • I can count to two over and over and over and over...
  • Getting to the end of a row with the right stitch count is a rush.

"Foolproof Baby Hat" from The Knitter's Book of Yarn

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Little Bit of This and That


Two beautiful hanks of hand spun yarn by my friend Mary are quickly transforming into a Seraphina Shawl. I love how well this pattern is showing off the various shades of blues and greens. I wish I'd been able to show just how brilliant the colors are. It is such an adventure to do a large project from hand spun. Before this the largest was a hat! I hope Mary likes it!

YSpinning - Tour de FleeceY

First mission accomplished...the four ounces of Shetland wool have been spun and are patiently awaiting plying. What they will become ultimately depends on how much yardage/weight I end up with. I'm thinking of making this into a three ply...

Then I went searching in my project bags for another UFO and came up with this. I haven't spun on this style spindle in some time and found it a pleasant change of pace from the Turkish I was using. Lesson learned. Have more than one spinning project going and have them on different style spindles. Fun! Oh...the fiber is Colonial wool and the spindle is from Zebisis.

YShopping - Chain Link ConferenceY

The CGOA Conference was held in Manchester, NH this past weekend. I wasn't tempted by any of the classes this year, but decided it was worth the trip to poke around in the marketplace. This was especially true when I heard that MissBabs was going to be there! Yes, those two lovely braids of fiber on the right are from her booth (left = BFL in Lake Michigan right = 50 Merino/30 Bamboo/20 Tussah Silk in Falling Leaves). Goal achieved!

I spent a few hours taking in the fibery fumes and enjoying all the lovely temptations. I managed to escape with just one more purchase. The beautiful purple and blue skein of sock yarn, much more vivid and deeper in color in real life, that jumped into my basket in the Ellen's 1/2 Pint Farm booth along with a cloissonne stitch marker which is on the Seraphina at the moment. I left well satisfied that the trip had been worth the effort. Storing away ideas for the future!

YBaking - Celebrating Independence DayY

I hope everyone in the USA enjoyed their Independence Day celebrations! Mine was spent in the traditional manner of a BBQ surrounded by friends. My contribution was the dessert above. Several people had recommended these cookies made from a lemon cake mix. It was the first time I've ever rolled cookies in powdered sugar before baking. I love how they look all crackled and powdery. Were they good? Yes, but a bit sweet for me. I think next time I might try a tart lemon glaze made from the powdered sugar. My mouth waters just thinking about it!

Happy stitching, spinning, shopping, and celebrating one and all!

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Spinning...Not just for cyclists

Yes, you've guessed it. I am a first time participant in the Tour de Fleece! What's it all about? Set a goal and try to reach it by spinning fiber into yarn on every day that the cyclists of the Tour de France are spinning their wheels across the countryside.

So, what is my goal?

Am I going to spin X ounces of fiber? Nope
Am I going to make X yards of yarn? Nope
Am I going to spin enough for X project? Nope

These all seem just too daunting. So, I'm making it simple. I want to spin more often, but seem to get side tracked by other things. Therefore, my simple goal is to spin for a minimum of 15 minutes daily on any WIP in my pile. Um, don't ask me how many there are...I'm not going to count. I really don't want to know. ;-)

Today, I reached my 15 minute goal. A few more days like this and the entire 4 ounces of undyed Shetland wool will be finished!
Good luck to all participants. May you reach your goals!

Thursday, July 01, 2010


Do you find there are some patterns you've worked with that just require an encore performance? Perhaps it is akin the "potato chip knitting" where you cannot make just one. It is a rare thing for me to want to make something more than once, but there it is. Three shawl patterns that just would not let go! Of course the first is the Mock Faroese by Lily Chin. The evidence:

Then there is My Blue Jean's Shawl using Elisa's variation which not only caught my fancy, but also that of my friends and family. Of course, I loved the pattern so much that I was happy to make some for them:
#1 I thought was for me, but turned out to be for Gina

#2 This was meant for me, and I actually got to keep it!
#3 Went to my friend Gail

#4 Was a surprise for my Mom after she hinted rather heavily...

#5 A lighter blue for the spring and summer...for me

#6 Is a repeat of #2 for a swap partner. It went off to the midwest.
#7 Went to my sister after she wondered aloud when she would get one of these shawls. I later learned she had been hinting at the same time our Mom was, but I had missed it! LOL

The last one was the result of a search for a summer shawl for my mother (first picutre). It is the Crocheted Cobweb Capelets and Shawls (AC-31) by Evelyn A. Clark which comes in four shapes. All of these were made with fingering weight Frog Tree Alpaca. It is a simple pattern which turns out airy, drapey, and warm. When a friend asked for shawls fitting this description for some relatives, how could I say no?

The red triangular one has inspired me to make one of these for myself some day. I love rounded ones, but they just don't look well on me. If figure I deserve one...
So, what patterns have you stitched that deserved an encore?