Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Gift for You!


Happy Holidays All!


I am so excited to give you a little gift--our first Mirth photo tutorial pattern. It's the Learn to Crochet Cowl!
We don't even have the pattern on the Mirth site yet, but if you are on Ravelry, the link above will send you to the pattern page. If you're not on Ravelry, you should join!

That's the lovely Sophie modeling one of the cowls made with MacKintosh Iona in Submerged. Another yarn that makes a comfy LTC Cowl is Malabrigo Merino Worsted. So soft!
Even if you already know how to crochet, you'll love this project. It works up fast! I am going to accompany the pattern with blog posts of the process, so stay tuned.
In the meantime, have a wonderful holiday and hug all your lovies!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Orville

Dexter Orville Alford was my mom's father. He was one of the most interesting characters I have ever been privileged to know--and I got to spend quite a lot of time with him when I was growing up, thank goodness. It's hard to believe that he's been gone for 17 years.
Here is my mom's assessment of him in her blog post from this past summer. He was an offhand occasional singer, as mom says, and the one song I remember the most was "Take Me out to the Ballgame" (especially the peanuts and Cracker Jacks part--I love peanuts and Cracker Jacks, because that's a double dose of peanuts, right?) That's why when this knitted ball cap came together, I knew it had to bear Granddaddy's name. Since one of my grandsons, Malcolm Dexter, has been gifted with Granddaddy's first name as his middle name (and so there will be a Dexter design at some point, because there already is a Malcolm), I decided to use his middle name. Whew--convoluted, I know, but I thought I'd let you into the maze that is my brain...just a little. Not too much, or I'd scare you away!




The first part of the hat that popped in my head was the front panel. I knew I wanted to do this horizontally corrugated panel flanked by 4-stitch cables. The rest of the hat just naturally followed as a vertical match to that. The widened "garter" front panel has a purl stitch every four rounds and the sides and back of the cap have a twisted knit stitch every four stitches--like a backward mirror effect.




Okay, come on back (light facial slap)! Here we go with the more interesting part. At first I just whipped up the hat, not knowing it would eventually have a bill. When it came out like this, however...
...I knew that front section needed something. It had a little lift just waiting for another part. A bill!! Yea! So I went in search of how to add the bill. I have several books with knitted ball caps, as it happens, so after perusing them all I decided to make it easy. Well, what I really did was just look at pictures and then I set about to wing it. Luckily, the first method I tried actually worked.

The bill is worked as an attached flat piece around a moon-shaped plastic canvas section for which I have included a template in the pattern. (This orange hat is made with Quince & Co Puffin in Nasturtium on size 11 needles. Fun yarn to knit!)


At first my rib on the bill wasn't coming out very symmetrical so I had to tweak that...a bunch. I ended up making about half a dozen of these caps to get it right--that and the decreases and such. Grandsons Preston and Declan each have one because last time I saw them we were taking family pictures and I asked them to try them on. They didn't want to take them off, so I let them keep them. That was great! Approval from rough and ready little boys is a boost!


Here's Emily modeling one I made a little differently by accident because I ran out of yarn. This Fuchsia Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Bulky Orville only has the first half of the brim and with no canvas. That's where the yarn ran out. I think it's okay and provides another option--in case you run out of yarn, too! Just bind off when the bill decreases down to 14 stitches.


After that I decided to try one more option and cast on for the extra large size with worsted weight yarn instead of bulky to see if it would make a baby cap. The first one I made was for Lucy with Quince & Co Lark in Dogwood on size 7 needles, but the yarn is more of a DK so it came out a little small. Then I tried one for Malcolm in Claudia Hand Painted Yarns Worsted in Navy Olive on size 8 needles. Here he is wearing it. It fits perfectly! Lucy and Malcolm are just over six months old in this picture to give you an idea of fit.

(Yes, they are gorgeous, aren't they? And yes, Malcolm is wearing a Sean.)
Here is Lucy in her more well-fitted Orville made with Claudia Hand Painted Yarns Worsted in Peony. I think it should be named Strawberry Cake, but I'll allow Peony, Claudia.
(Yes, Lucy is super jaunty in her pink onesie and pink heart leg warmers and pink Orville Cap!)
Last but not least I give you a sample of the Orville made with BS Lamb's Pride Bulky in Persian Peacock on a wonderful statue that we found for a model in Wright Park here in Tacoma. The sculpture is "The Leaf" by Larry Andersen. This guy looks a little like my grandaddy, as a matter of fact.

Thanks for inspiring the Orville Cap, Grandaddy! It's fun to make. I'd make one for you if you were still here to wear it. Then we could wear our Orvilles to see a baseball game and have some Cracker Jacks. What good times that would be!
Thanks so much to Natalie and Kelli for doing such superb tests on this pattern to help me get out the kinks!

Monday, December 13, 2010

N-26

I love Annie Modesitt's book 1000 Hats. It's so inspiring! I took one statement from her book and ran with it. She said, "Gansey technique isn't seen as often in hats as it should be." I love Ganseys (also called Guernseys) because they are more simple than cabled sweaters but just as intriguing in their own way. The combinations of knit and purl stitches can be surprisingly beautiful, given that they start with such a simple concept.
I first learned about Ganseys from Beth Brown-Reinsel's book Knitting Ganseys. After reading Beth's book I put together the Raibeart for my first grandson Preston (Robert is his first name and Raibeart is the Gaelic translation).
For my youngest daughter Natalie's birthday hat this year I designed a Guernsey hat that features the Tree of Life motif because Nat has a thing for trees. After searching for just the right version of this stitch motif, I settled on the one in Karen Hemingway's Super Stitches Knitting. I only had to tweak it a little to make it work with the Stockinette Stitch Flags panel in the same book and a third little knit/purl panel that I've had my eye on for a while from the book by Gisella Klopper called Beautiful Knitting Patterns (one of my absolute favorites).
I decided to add in a couple more characteristics of Gansey construction--a knitted hem (this one patterned) and the owner's initials.
Here's Natalie modeling the first medium-size sample that I made from the resulting pattern.

And here I am trying to model the large-size one I made for myself.
Both of these samples were knit on size 5 needles with Hazel Knits DK Lively--Nat's with the Evergreen colorway and mine with the Equinox. I love this yarn so much. It's a dream to knit with and produces a gorgeous fabric. Go Wendee!


Here is a closeup of the initials on my hat, situated just inside the knitted brim. The surprise of this hat was that when the brim is hemmed it gives the hat a bit of a cloche quality. The brim section flares out just a bit. It's also a deep hat, just the way I wanted it.

These last two photos are examples of Natalie's photographic skills. It's very nice to have another artist in the family (Jess is an oil painter and Emily is an actress, singer and dancer)--especially when she can take such fabulous pictures of finished knits! You can see lots of her work around the Figheadh and Mirth sites and on the patterns. Obviously I am proud of all three of my very talented daughters!

The N-26 Guernsey Hat is completely charted and written out for both sizes (medium and large) and includes an alphabet chart for adding the initials.

We hope you like it!
Next time I'll be back to talk about my Grandaddy Dexter. Yep, more family lore. Have a great day and stay warm in your wintery neck of the woods!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

J-28

You don't have to look for very long on the Figheadh site to know how much I love cables. The problem is, that's like saying "I love candy." What kind of candy? So many kinds! It's the same with cables. So many kinds!


One kind of cables I'm obsessed with is cables emerging from 2/2 rib. There are so many ways to make cables from 2/2 rib that it would honestly keep me busy for years. The Chattahoochee Scarf is made using this technique, as are the Red Rover Socks and the Cable Crest Set, for instance(s).


When I set about to design my daughter Jessica's birthday hat this year, of course I wanted to do it in 2/2 cables. I wanted the cables to have a long repeat row-wise and result in "bubbles," and I wanted two sets of them that would alternate. Simple enough. What wasn't simple was figuring out the crown decrease. This was the first crown I came up with.


Also simple. The problem was that I got all caught up in thinking it was too simple, that I had to make it one of those wham-pow things. Not all things should be wham-pow. Some things should be left alone.


One variation I tried was to let the cables decrease on up into smaller cables around the crown. You can see a little peek of that in this sample I made for Jess in Quince & Co Osprey in Clay...

...and in this other sample I made for Jess with Lamb's Pride Worsted in Sable.


The little cables in the crown just made it too fussy and too deep. I decided to give these to Jess, even though they are not how the pattern eventually got written. I knew these two colors would look great on Jessica. Besides, now she has a truly original design, as far as I know. There's no pattern written for it, so she has the only two made!

Here's a picture of my lovely Natalie (youngest daughter) and I modeling J-28's with the simpler crown. Nat's is in Malabrigo Twist in Tuareg and mine is in Quince & Co Lark in Glacier, but I recommend Osprey for the J-28. The pattern calls for Aran weight, or heavy worsted.


If you like the simplicity of the J-28 Cable Cap, give it a try. It's easy enough--even if you've never knit cables before. The pattern explains all the techniques.

I leave you with this beautiful image of Emily in her E-30, Jess in one of the J-28's and Malcolm in a (not baby size, obviously) version of the Orville, which I'll tell you about time after next.
Yes, Malcolm's manly enough to wear pink.
(Man, I love these people!)

Monday, December 06, 2010

E-30 Cap

Fred and I used to wake up at 4:45 every morning to grab some coffee before suiting up for a walk along the waterfront. The walkway along Commencement Bay is a 4 mile round trip from one end to the other and back. Although flat, it is a good workout, not to mention the nice views. Every morning we would smile and say "Good Morning" to all the other early birds doing the same thing. One particularly friendly lady often wore an entire outfit of lemon yellow, which included a fine-knit lattice stitch cap with a 1/1 rib fold-up brim. I loved that hat and vowed to one day adapt it for a Figheadh pattern.
This year I decided to work up hat designs for each of my daughters' birthdays and I knew this lattice cap would be perfect for Emily--mostly because the red mohair yarn I'd saved for it was just the thing for her. You see, my Emily is a girly girl and a real child of the 80's. She was born smack dab in the middle of 1980 and spent her formative years listening to Abba and NKOTB and wearing too much fluorescent pink and side ponytails with scrunchies.
The first iteration of the cap was with a lattice stitch with an extra twist at the junctures (seen below left). That was a little too fussy (and increased the hat depth), so I changed to a more simple twist (seen below right). I also made two hats of different depths so Emily could wear one as a slouch hat and one as a beanie.
I sent the hats off to Emily and then began trying samples of it in other yarns. First was Cloud 9 from Cascade. Loved the yarn, but the transition from the rib to the lattice pattern bugged me. The k2 just awkwardly ceased every other time. Not pretty.

The entire rest of the hat made sense. I loved how the crown decrease naturally began from the last C2B (1/1 right cross) and continued up to make a big flower shape on the top.

After I worked in a little twist of the offending alternating k2's of the rib to correspond to the ones at the beginnings of the lattice diamonds, the whole hat made a lot of sense, from cast on to closing the hole at the top. This last sample is made with Aslan Trends Invernal #3752, which is really a DK weight, but I used size 8 needles to make gauge. I wanted a pretty angora blend and this yarn is just that. So soft and pretty.

Emily likes her hats--even the slouch! I hope you like it too. The E-30 Twist Stitch Cap pattern is available as a PDF download and is stocked in a very few shops at the moment. I hope you like it enough to try it!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

I Love Blocking

Yes, you've heard this before. Remember this post? That was a little over a year ago and now I can tell you that I was working on a chapter for a book. DRG/House of White Birches actually let me write an entire chapter about blocking. Crazy, right? Take a look at any of your finishing books on the shelf and see how much space each one of them devotes to this subject. I dare you to find anything over a page and a half.

Friends, there is now a finishing book with an entire chapter--six pages--with photographs galore, all about the glory of blocking. And I got to write it. Man, this is the best thing to happen to me in a while, especially in a year with some trip-ups, let me tell you. When Kara Gott Warner put out the call for submissions to this book, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. I give you The Perfect Finish, edited by the fabulous Kara herself.
I highly recommend this book to you knitters, and not only for my blocking chapter. So much fantastic information! Five cute projects! Lots of pictures! (end cheesy promo)

Seriously, I had a blast working on this project. I got to knit up two baby sweaters with Mission Falls 136 Superwash Merino (so soft!), one assembled and one in pieces, to show blocking both ways. I also made some swatches--lace and cables--to show the effect of blocking on these kinds of stitch patterns. Even the research was fun as I perused every book and Web site I could get my hands on to get a wide spread of knowledge on this subject. Over and over again it appalled me how little space and time has been spent on this very valuable subject.

Hear me now and believe me later (nod to Hanz and Franz). Block your knits! So many great knitting projects never get to the finish because this one step is ignored. In one of my many fantasies of being not a nice girl, I wield a big Block It! stamp to brand many, many images of mangled up, wrinkly so-called FO's...because it's not finished until it's blocked.

Yes, there are a very few exceptions, but I can safely say that about 99% of the time, you should block. Yes, even socks.

If you want to know exactly why and how, buy the book.
Thank you.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

November Recap

Hey! Who swiped November? Me and the blog had kissed and made up and I had all these great posts in my head and then *poof* it's December tomorrow? I don't understand the lightening ninja concept of the passage of time--even after all these years. Before you know it, I'll be 98 and barely able to move and still I'll be saying, "Where'd the time go?"


Waaaaay back at the end of October/first of November, I taught a couple of classes. I haven't taught much in the past year so I could take time for other things, but when I do teach I remember how good it is to mingle with knitters. I had a great time doing just that with Barbara, Jerrilee, Briana, and Pat (seen below) at The Yarn Stash in Burien, WA. Bonnie and Beth let me come to their cozy shop and begin Hyacinth Neck Cozies with these ladies. Unfortunately, we had to start with the gauge swatch, which took most of our time, but I hope all four of them go on to knit up Hyacinths. You can do it!
Then Audrey, Pam (in picture below), Mary and I got together to do something really crazy--knit gloves from both directions and join them in the middle. Yep. We started with a cuff, made some fingers top down, went back to the cuff and knit the thumb gusset, joined the fingers into one piece and knit it down to where we could graft the whole thing together. Audrey and Pam got all the way to the grafting part in class! Bravo, Ladies!! Thanks to Yorkshire Yarns for giving us a quiet room to perform these knitting gymnastical techniques.
The best part of the whole month, by far, was our trip down south to see the grandkids. We had a precious couple of days to see the new twins (now seven months old), Malcolm and Lucy, and we even got to pal around with Preston and Declan. Boy was it hard to get all six of us to look at the camera at once. This was about the best we could do.

I was even able to get Mal and Lulu to model some Figheadh hats for me. This is just a peek at what's coming. This picture pretty much perfectly illustrates the babies' personalities. Malcolm is all business and his every step of learning is intensely focused and serious, especially when eating. He is a sweet boy! Lucy is the most laid-back and low-key baby I have ever spent time with. She just looks at all the rest of us as if to say, "Hey, what're you worried about? It's allllll good."

I'll be back next time with details about four new Figheadh hat patterns that are finally ready. But I know you're not reading anymore anyway. You're looking at those beautiful babies and those handsome boys up there (and that includes Fred.) I don't blame you!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Kiss and make up?

Oh, blog, I'm so sorry. I must have done that thing I do when I put something in a very good place and then very quickly forget where the very good place was. I left you in a corner of a drawer somewhere and forgot about you for a little while. Please forgive me. How bout a hug?


Okay, now that we've gotten past our apologies, me and the blog can get back to telling you what's been going on around here!

First of all, we had a little KAL with the Mirth pattern Off Kilter Mitts. On October 2 we held the Grand Prize Drawing at The Yarn Stash with the help of Shilah, Hannah, and Indjah, three very sweet little ladies who delved into a "cauldron" of candy and chose Tracey, whose name was written on a green box of Appleheads. Tracey just happens to be the first person who knit a pair of the mitts. Thanks to all of you who knit up the OK, and some of you made more than one pair! It was big fun to see all the iterations. You can go here to see them all.

After that, I was asked to join the Yorkshire Yarns retreaters at Gwinwood Conference Center on beautiful, peaceful Hicks Lake to talk to them about top-down fingers. We worked on two different ways to do glove fingers from the top down. They were a very nice bunch of 15 ladies! We will have a full day of glove knitting at Yorkshire Yarns on November 6. We're going to knit gloves from the fingertips down and from the cuff up and meet in the middle. I know it's crazy. Just trust me. Call the shop at 253-589-9276 if you'd like to join us. They have all the details.


A couple of weeks after that, I had the pleasure of hosting Julie Turjoman for part of her Pacific Northwest Brave New Knits booksigning tour. We had a blast! Fred and I took her to one of our favorite spots for seafood omelets, a look at the rose and dahlia garden in Point Defiance Park, then to Sanford and Son for the Ms. Tattoo contest, a part of the new Tacoma Harvest Fair , and then on to the Glass Museum--a good little Tacoma tour. The next day Julie and I went over to Port Orchard to see the very nice folks at A Good Yarn Shop before regrouping to go to Yorkshire Yarns for the book signing. Everyone at YY was so very nice and entertaining and even modeled some of the samples.

Shirley in Krookus

Kelli in Kookla

Julie, Pat and Kelli (in Origami) looking glam!


I'd better put a cap on this post and get back to work. I'll probably show you more pictures from this crazy month in the next post, which won't be so long in coming this time. I'm keeping this blog in a really good place this time--right by my side.

Stay dry and warm--I hear that the cold rains are hitting on both coasts!




Tuesday, September 28, 2010

OFFF

This past weekend my good friend Kelli and I took off to Canby, Oregon, for the annual Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival. This was my first time, so I had no idea how big it is. It was huge! In addition to the Angora rabbits like the one above, we saw all kinds of goats, sheep, llamas, and alpacas. I could have spent the whole day just in the barns!
So many beautiful animals!

New twins!


Bright-eyed furries!


Sweet eyes.
And I have lots more pictures here.
The market was all over the place--some outside and more inside buildings. I was honestly blown away by it all--yarn, fiber, tools, knick-knacks. You name it! I got to visit briefly with my friend Joan in her booth and even saw Chrissy and Yvonne in theirs. We had some yummy food from Mehri's booth and I nabbed a good bit of great yarn. I'll have to show you that tomorrow. That's a whole other post.
More to come!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Brave New Knits, Take 2

In the little window of time every day between rolling out of bed to make coffee and then heading out the door for our daily walks, I usually sit with the requisite coffee and either check e-mails, blogs, Facebook, etc., on my iPhone or catch up on reading (real, tangible books, magazines, etc.). This week I read Brave New Knits from cover to cover. Julie Turjoman, the author, so kindly referred to my first post about the book as a review, but that would be like calling a PBJ a gourmet meal. Now I'm ready to give you a true assessment.

Here are just a few reasons why you should buy BNK:

1. It's beautiful. Thanks to Rodale, Jared Flood, all the contributing designers and yarn companies, and Julie Turjoman for assembling them all, this book is filled with gorgeous pictures of projects you will want make. I wish I could cast on the Lenina Cap and the Orchid Thief Shawlette right now--for many reasons, not the least of which is that I have the very yarn used right upstairs in my stash. (No, must focus on my own projects. Whew. Had to talk myself down.)

2. It's a great read. I probably shouldn't tell you this, but I am a snobby reader. I had this annoying quality even before I became an English teacher. I just don't usually have the patience for reading bad writing. Sometimes I'll push myself if the subject matter is overwhelmingly enjoyable for me, but not often. Fortunately I did not have to push myself to read Julie's book. Julie's writing style is right up my alley--brimming with information given thoughfully and smoothly. As I used to teach my students, good writing has no obstacles that get in the way of your consummation of the information. It just flows. Julie also has a gift for turning an interview into a wonderful, generous piece of writing that's not only infused with the subject's personality, but that obviously treats the person with the utmost respect. Not once did I wince when I read her treatment of the results of our phone interview of last year. Of course, any interview becomes dated as soon as it's done, but Julie even made sure to go back and add updated information from each of us. I really appreciate that attention to detail.

3. In reading this book, not only do you get to benefit from the unique style and viewpoint of each designer, you get to know each one of them a little better. Before reading BNK, I only really knew two of the designers, but thanks to Julie, I feel like I know each of them a little better and that makes me appreciate more what they bring to their work. And what a range of personalities! I always find it amazing how this craft of hand knitting brings people of so many different backgrounds together. Well, it's just that worthy and just that intriguing and challenging. BNK certainly showcases that phenomenon.

4. This book is an affirmative statement that the internet is an effective way to bring folks together. No, there is still nothing like sitting with people in real time, getting acquainted the "old-fashioned way," but what a boon for us in this craft community to have blogs, Ravelry, Facebook, etc., to be able to expand that community in a way never before possible. BNK inspired me to pay more attention to my own blog and to keep investing my time in accessing all the incredible information out there at our fingertips. We are indeed fortunate.

Hey, Julie. You're really good at this type of journalistic endeavor. I'd love to read the results of your interviews with, let's say, Barbara G. Walker or Alice Starmore. Whatever Julie's plans for the future, I'm a follower. I can't wait to read more! Of course we can all read more on her blog until the next book or article comes out. Keep it up, Julie! And to the other 25 designers in BNK, I'm glad to know more about you! I hope we get a chance meet the "old-fashioned way" sometime.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Fig Time

I love figs!
I've been seeing them around for a few weeks, but couldn't buy some. This weekend Fred bought me these lovelies.
So since I love figs, I was very happy when I found out that Gaelic for knitting is figheadh. Yes, even when I learned that it's pronounced fee-yug (saying the last sound way back down in your throat). I knew people would say Fig Head when they saw it. Well, non-Gaelic-speakers would. And that's most people, unfortunately, because Gaelic is just not spoken by enough of us! Ciamar a tha thu? Tha gu math, tapadh leat!

And then pig-headed as I am, I went and named my pattern line Figheadh. So now you know.

Back to figs...the fruit. I first came to be a fig head back when I was a little chick because my Nana had fig trees in her back yard and they were so yummy. Also, everyone I knew made fig preserves and they were soooo delicious with biscuits and butter.

Many long years passed before I got more fig preserves and they came to me from California, of all places. Sweet Julie has figs and makes delicious jams and preserves and marmalades (yes, there's a difference between each of those) and she shared! Sure, I could buy some at the store, but they are never as good as homemade.

Isn't it just about that way with everything?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Book Must!


Folks, you MUST go right now and buy this book. It's Brave New Knits by Julie Turjoman. I direct you to Julie's site so you can pick where you want to buy. Just buy! I guarantee you will want to knit almost everything in it. You'll also get to learn a whole lot more about a bunch of knitting/blogging rock stars.


Which leads me to pointing out my utter amazement (sustained amazement now for over a year) that I got to be in this book! I can only thank Julie for contacting me last year to see if I wanted to join the party. Thank you Julie!
Also, Julie is doing blog post updates on all the designers in the book. Hop over and read more!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Waddimiknitting?

Glad you asked! One thing taking my time lately is the study of gloves. I love gloves--maybe even more than socks. There. I said it. Glad that's off my chest.
My thinking is that if you have a gorgeous yarn of luxurious fiber, why not put it on your hands where you can ooh and ahh over it more successfully? I know, I know. It's fun sometimes to know you're hiding cashmere in your shoes, like a delicious little secret (like knowing there is brie and crusty bread and a good Chardonnay waiting at home for dinner), but I'm more inclined to want to show off that yarn on my hands. Ya know, in a way you can wave it in people's faces in a more socially-acceptable manner.
I thought I was pretty good at knitting gloves. I have a lot to learn. Sure, fingerless gloves and mitts are pretty conquerable, but I want to get really good at the fingers part. I'll show you, and while I'm showing you that, I'll show you some yummy yarns I'm doing it with.

On your left you see a beautiful brown/teal/cream hand dyed yarn that comes to us from Lollipop Cabin Yarns right nearby in Snohomish, WA. Ialiuxh gave me a skein of this rare 9-ply superwash merino to try way back at Madrona in February and I finally figured out a rightful project for it. There's a lot more joy going on with this glove than just the Stockinette and rib you see, but I can't show you. The same goes for the middle glove knit with MacKintosh Iona Fingering that Liz gave me in April at Stitches. Boy, that glove was fun to knit. The yarn is fabulous! On your right is a brand new yarn from Quince & Co, a company that is using all American wool. This is Chickadee in Peacock. I really, really like it! Again, I wish I could show you what's going on on the front of the glove. It involves some really pretty cables with twisted stitches. Soon, my pretty. Soon.
I'm sure I'll be posting about gloves more very soon.

I did have to take a small rest from gloves, however, to get some Aran knitting going. Can't stay away from that for long. I am being guided by EZ and her "Pithy Instructions For The Aran Pullover" in her Knitter's Almanac with a design I've had swatched for over a year now. I just couldn't wait any longer, and one reason is because I've had this Schaefer Miss Priss in Almond earmarked for the project. I love Miss Priss. It is the softest, sweetest twist on a merino Aran weight I know. Not only that, but it's so soft you can wear it right next to your skin with no itchy.



I am also dabbling with a summer top that has Stockinette, a tinch of cable and a little lace. I'm working it up in Cascade Ultra Pima. Lovely 100% cotton. I do have to take care not to work on it for too long, though. Cotton makes my hands and wrists tired. How bout you?

Monday, August 09, 2010

HB EZ & KAL News!

Cryptic enough for ya?

Well, I just found out from Kathy at Yarn Harbor that today is Elizabeth Zimmerman's 100th birthday. Yes, she would have been 100 today if she weren't knitting somewhere else by now. I should knit a Very Warm Hat today in her memory!

On to the next (somewhat) acronym. We are presently hosting a knitalong with my Mirth pattern the Off Kilter Mitts. I've been promising for a while now that we would have a Grand Prize Drawing at the end of the thing. My words are not fluff, people. Here is the prize awaiting the lucky KALer whose name will be drawn from the hat on Saturday, October 2, at noon at The Yarn Stash in Burien, WA.
A beautiful bag full of goodies to try! One lucky knitter will receive my sister's big handmade Sweet Shrub Designs knitting tote full to the brim with 11 various skeins of yarn, a set of Kollage Square dpn's, a little beaded stitch marker from WoolGirl, a Clover knitting tool kit, and a copy of The Yarn Harlot's Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off.
Here's a shot from when I packed the tote full of SIX of my little sock, hat, neck cozy WIP's lately and had room to spare. The tote has one big zipper pocket, one medium-sized pocket, and one pocket just right for calculator or cell phone, etc. There is even a great little skinny pocket down one interior side for some straight needles. The tote closes at the top with a sturdy magnet. There is no velcro anywhere. Sweet.

Now, let's get knitting some Off Kilter Mitts, people! See all info at Mirth.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Grandkid Projects

I thought I'd better come up for air from my latest knitting project and protect my cred as a knitting blog. I have actually completed a whole lot of projects in the past few months. Some of them were even for family--my grandchildren! Look at these big boys.

Last Christmas my youngest daughter Natalie and I tag-teamed on a sweater each for Preston and Declan, my middle daughter's sons. Preston got an updated green heather version of the sweater named for him, the Raibeart (he is Robert Preston), and Declan got a brown Declan. Both are knitted with the always beautiful Cascade 220 Superwash--the perfect yarn for boys' sweaters!
While I was in GA helping out with the newest grandkids, Malcolm and Lucy, I finished up a crocheted blanket for Lucy in Schaefer Lola (color Snooks) and started and finished one for Malcolm in the same yarn in the Peter colorway. Emily (the twins' mom) even got to pick out the crochet block motif for Malcolm's blanket. Working on those blankets might have been the thing that almost kept me sane those three weeks. :-)

The most recent FO's for the wee tots were little cardigans for the twins. Here's Lucy in hers made with the long discontinued Cascade Pima Melange in cream and lavendar.


And here's Mr. Malcolm in his very manly card made with Cascade Cotton Rich DK. That's a little monkey patch I added for giggles.
Yes, I am unabashedly proud of all four of them and I'm sure there'll be lots more kid projects to show soon. I have a knitted blanket and some leg warmers in the works for Lucy, a hat or two for Malcolm, and am figuring out what to make next for Preston and Declan. If I could knit Preston a Darth Vader suit he would love me forever. For Declan, perhaps a full-body crash suit out of some of that stainless steel yarn. He's a rounder!

Back to my glove knitting. Happy Weekend Everyone!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Enough of this

Yeah, enough of this quiet thing. I just needed some thinking time and some returning to my life is all.
Well, what else have you been doing for the past three months, Jen? Well, since you asked, here's some of it.
Joining forces with my mighty Mom and Sis to sell some wares.
Enjoying some long-overdue kid and grandkid visiting.


Gobbling up my mom's cornbread.
And getting to hold some brand new baby goats!
That's just some of it. I'll tell you more next time, which won't be three months away this time, I'm sure of it.