Tuesday, February 13, 2007

I Heart Fair Isle

Determined to get this fair isle thing right, I have practiced a lot over the last few weeks. I had started a vinter lue hat for my son a year ago and stopped when I realized I did not get the whole carrying yarn thing. After having taking the Fair Isle class I picked it up again, and the hat came out beautifully except it did not fit my son. Sooooo, before trying Vinterlue two, I practiced by making up some hokey fair isle hats.

A running hat for me with fair isle runners.

And a hat & mitten set for my niece's 6th birthday celebrated Sunday, a few days before valentine's day. The o's on the xoxoxo border came out a little square, but I think Emma still loved it.

And here is Vinterlue Two. I added a few more rows between the fair isle rows and it fits him perfectly.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Unkind Acts Against Knits

Cara has struck again. Her latest victim is a fuzzy foot. I'm not sure when this rein of vengeance will end. I've been traveling for biz a lot this past month and amazed that it has been nearly 4 weeks since my last blog entry. During this time it has turned cold enough to wear wool and Cara has felt quite ignored (as you can see).

I have executed my own unkind act against a knit. I finished this sweater for my son just before Thanksgiving. This was the most basic of sweaters knit for a picky teenager using Tahiki Donegal Tweed. While it sat in his closet for a month I read Ann's December 5th blog entry about felting a knitted sweater. Hmmmmm...I could shrink it to fit me. The sweater sat another month and I asked my son if he intended on wearing it. No.

So into a hot wash it went. I really like the result and have worn it a lot. The felting gave it double thickness that has kept me very warm during hockey games.

Speaking of handmade items and my son...he made this bracelet for me in his silver smith class. They are both treasures.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Mitten Mysteries

It's very hard to believe that this faithful friend...

...could be responsible for this level of treachery. But since she is the member of our household most likely to rip out the thumb of a mitten and leave the chewed up bits of yarn on the living room rug, it must of been Cara. She has never touched my yarn or knitted objects before, but has slipped into a vindictive mood since we have returned work/school after a long holiday break. This WAS a little blue mitten knitted for our nephew AJ who had his first birthday party on Sunday. I had the first mitten completed with the match on the needles Wednesday night and woke up to this ugly scene on Thursday morning.

Luckily there was enough time for me to knit up another pair and a matching ear flap hat in time for the party. At the suggestion of a member of our Thursday night knit group, a wonderful story about The Missing Mitten Mystery completed our gift to AJ. I actually could not find the story we both remembered fondly where the children in a neighborhood keep losing their red mittens and as each mitten is found they are hung on a clothes line. This Missing Mitten Mystery is about a little boy who loses his red mitten and finds it later displayed like a heart on his snowman. Anyway...happy 1st birthday AJ!

The mystery behind these running mitts is why is it not cold enough in January in New Hampshire to wear them??? We have had crazy unseasonably warm temperatures so far this winter. I am not complaining as my favorite woodsy trails are open for running way past expected. All these mittens were made from stashbuster yarn. I have a feeling I'll get a chance to wear these soon.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Only Fair Fair Isle Sweater

I really enjoyed learning the fair isle technique but still have a lot to learn about keeping the yarn loose so the sweater does not pucker up. Before blocking it looked like a peasant blouse. It looks much better now but there is still room for improvement.

This morning a long time co-worker of mine lost her 6-year old daughter, princess taylor. The lot handed to this family just weeks ago is unimaginable. The courage and grace they have shown throughout this "journey" is truly amazing. Keep the Gauthiers in your thoughts and prayers as they say goodbye to and strive to go on without their precious little girl.

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Perfect Weekend in Nashville

I have not made as much progress on my fair isle sweater as hoped. I should have the body & sleeves complete by class this Thursday, but will not get there. Since my last post I started a wrap to wear at my nephew's wedding which was this past Saturday in Nashville TN. Since the wedding date was an immovable (I doubt the groom and bride would move their blessed day if I was late in finishing the wrap), I choose to go full steam ahead on the wrap. The pattern was an easy fir cone repeat and really fun to knit. It is probably too easy to be categorized as lace knitting, but my first attempt down the lace road.

The wedding was perfect. I believe the definition of a perfect wedding is one that fits the bride & groom...well perfectly and this one truly was that. My nephew and his bride treasure each other and it was such a pleasure to be part of their special weekend. The groom's cake is pictured here, so you know my nephew is one that will love in the best and worst of circumstances.

We spent a lot of time exploring Nashville - particularly Vanderbilt University and the historic district. The knitting highlight for me was being able to join the Double Yarn knitting group that meets every 2nd Monday of the month from noon-2 at the Nashville library. This was knitting nirvana. The most notorious knitter of the group is none other than Ann Shayne co-author of Mason Dixon Knitting blog and the book by the same name. She is as sweet & warm as I could have ever imagined. After many weeks of research and polling knitters, she has just unveiled the perfect sweater pattern (sample on her lap in this picture) which I plan to get started on right after I finish the fair isle.

As a bonus I got to meet Francie Owens who makes the precious mitered stitch markers and pins blogged about by Ann & Kay.

And I met Pam of Angel Hair Yarn who's website has the no rules bag pattern I have knit many times. The whole group of knitters made me feel very welcome.

While I was knitting with the group my husband & son were watching the Predators practice and visiting the Wildhorse Saloon. All said, I think this could have been the perfect weekend - a wedding for two special people, time with family, exploring the music city and spending time with knitters.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Forgive me Blog

It has been nearly 3 months since my last post.

Summer always throws off our routines. Now my husband (teacher) and son (student) are back to school, so we have returned to something that resembles normal routines. I hope to visit here more often.

What I did last summer
I discovered the easy breezy process of knitting a sleeveless shell (a.k.a tank). Also discovered cheap cotton yarn (i.e. Reynolds Saucy) with which I could make a tank for less than $15.
The first tank I made was from Interweave knits. Great pattern, but I made a bad choice of improvising with a shorter body and no shaping. I'll never wear it. Improvisation gone wrong. Plus the yarn was too heavy and it's 2 sizes too big. Bad bad bad.
Then I made another tank (not pictured) sort of following the Knitting Pure and Simple pattern but improvised with cables in the front & back and a v-neck in pink saucy cotton. Improvisation that worked. But...I can't find it. If it does not turn up I'll make another because I really like the simple twist of the cable on the tank.
The third tank was Bonnie Marie's chickami in red saucy cotton. Great pattern followed to the letter from cast on to bind off. I can see me knitting a wardrobe of chickamis next summer.
The final tank was another improvisation of the Knitting Pure and Simple pattern with seed stitch finishing and a v-neck. I really like this tank as well.

Non-tank activity consisted of finishing a pair of trekking socks, then starting the besotted scarf.

I also finished the burlap sweater that I think will be quite functional as a fall sweater jacket. I'm told the yarn will soften with a wash...we shall see.

Just finished this week is a guernsey made with Noro Kochoran (50% wool, 30% angora, 20% silk). It is so soft that I can't stop hugging the sweater. I've been reading on the yarn harlot's blog about gansey knitting which I find fascinating. These were the type of sweaters probably knitted by my Irish ancestors. "Aran" sweaters came later when the knitters needed a more touristy name to sell their knits. A guernsey or gansey always starts with a ribbing at the bottom, then plain stockinette stitch for the lower body, then a garter stitch variation (this one is the welt pattern) to separate the plain stitch from the yoke which has a stitch pattern (cables or seed stitch) that will make the sweater thicker at the top, placing warmth wear you need it most. And the sides have a mock seam which kills me. I go crazy when seaming sweaters so that you can't see the seam, and this design makes it visible. But there is a functional reason for that as well - the seam makes the sweater easier to fold. I was not sure about using such a luscious yarn for what is suppose to be a purely functional garment, but I really like the result of the self-striping yarn in the various stitch patterns.

Last night I started a fair isle sweater class where I will learn to knit continental and with 2 different colors. This is another traditional technique that I am really looking forward to learning more about.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Bring on the Purple

Although I did not accomplish as much as I would have liked to in the blue month of June, I certainly accomplished more than I did in the green month of May. I casted on for this sweater on June 1 and even with my kool-aid break and some other blue activity, finished and gifted it on June 29 (a day before my Mom's b-day). Happy Birthday Mom! The color matches your eyes that I bet are as brilliant a blue as they were on the day you were born (I will not say how many years ago).

At knitting group on Thursday, I spied this hat that a knitting groupie was making and had to make it for a co-worker's new baby girl. It's so darn cute it makes me melt. But don't be fooled by it's sweetness...the pattern calls for a knit 4 together THROUGH THE BACK LOOP repeated 13 times. I needed a nap after that row. But I love the result.

Purple July could not come at a better time. My son will start school in the fall at an academy that has purple & white for their colors. I definitely need some purple knitted items in my wardrobe. First on the needles is a sleeveless tank on page 46 of the latest Interweave Knits that I started to knit yesterday (July 1). The detailed part is done so it should sail from here on. I just noticed the name of the pattern is Thorn & Thistle and by coincidence I am using Blue Sky Alpaca Cotton yarn in the color named Thistle. Do do do do-do do do do.

June recap:
Started & Finished Moriah's Wildflower Cardigan in Lamb's Pride Blue Magic
Started Socks (and almost finished) in Trekking XXL Color 132
Finished French Market Bag in Lamb's Pride Winter Blue and Blue Magic
Plus non-blue objects: kool-aid socks and miss dashwood hat

July plans:
Thorn & Thistle Tank in Blue Sky Alpaca Cotton Thistle
Finish Socks in Trekking XXL Color 132
Besotted Scarf & Mittens in Lamb's Pride Supreme Purple