UFOs Finished!

Like any “good” knitter, I tend to put off finishing projects that I don’t really want to do “right now”. I have a complete sweater sitting in time out waiting for me to seam it. A full sweater. One that I would like to wear but I really don’t love finishing sweaters. This one will take maybe 2 hours to finish … after many more hours than that of knitting it. Regardless, while the sweater sits in time out, I have begun and finished several projects.

Pussy Cat Hats in Pink and Gray … my pattern

Two Pussy Cat hats or Kit Kat hats. One is bright pink for those days when I feel like taking a stand and the other is grey for those days when I want to stand firm but not bring attention to myself. I like they way these worked out. I used Plymouth Yarns Encore Chunky yarn for both hats. Normally, I’d rather knit with natural fibers but these hats are soft and chunky and they knit up super quickly. I also can wash and dry them in my machine. I sent my original hat that I knit in Malabrigo Rios worsted yarn to my future son-in-law. He wanted a hat and I was happy to send mine and knit another for myself.

The pattern is mine.

Queen Bee Knits Pussy Hat

 

With bulky yarn and US 10 16″ circular needle, cast on 72 stitches. K2, P2 ribbing for 12 rounds. Knit around until hat is 9″ from cast on edge. Use a 3-needle bind off to cast off all stitches. Weave in ends. 

 

Feel free to use the pattern for personal use. If you want to give away hats, that’s fine. Please don’t sell these hats. Thank you.

A cowl for a customer. I have a customer who loves my knitted accessories. I’ve knitted her three or four tams in different weights and now a cabled cowl. The latest is a Bandana Cowl from Purl Soho which is a free pattern on Revelry or the Purl Soho website. She didn’t understand that the picture of the cabled cowl wasn’t really how a cowl worked. She was wanting a “dickey” that will sit down on her chest and around her neck rather than a cowl that solely goes around the neck. I’ve finished this one is Cascade 128 Superwash in a lovely teal colorway. It will match the hat that I just made her. She still wants another pair of hats. One in a yellow Cascade 128 and another in a Noro yarn.

I also finished the first block of my Cascade Knitterati Afghan MKAL. I love doing things that are a little bit different. I am not knitting with the same colors that the KAL is recommending (why would I do that?) but have picked one colorway so far that is a dark Granny Smith apple green. I’ve loved the color from afar for a long time and it’s high time to use it somewhere. Squares two and three have been released. I’ll likely knit square three before two because it’s a single color square and I have a single color yarn.

I have been knitting dish cloths for the daughters. It all started with sending three to my children at Christmas time. Daughter #1 asked for more so that they aren’t using paper towels any longer. They’ve been sent. In the meantime, I’ve knitted a few more for Daughter #2. And then I’ve knitted three tiny ones for the little California nieces. I’ve got to mail them away soon. The pattern is Grandma’s Favorite Dish Cloth and it’s a free Rarely pattern. These are all Lily Sugar and Cream yarns one is a pink camouflage colorway and the other simply made me think “Valentines Day”!

Fornicating Deer Hat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking of Valentine’s Day, I made my handsome and bald hubby a hat for Valentine’s Day this year. I used a navy and a gray worsted wool by Lamb’s Pride. A long time ago, I saw a chart on Pinterest and I saved it. It made me laugh and it is totally my husband’s sense of humor. It’s called the Fornicating Deer chart by Ann Rutten. It’s on Ravelry. Needless to say, I didn’t have a pattern to go with the chart but I looked at my expected gauge and decided to knit three repeats of the chart. I also decided that once the deer were finished that I would do my decreases and not finish the entire chart. He likes caps that fit tightly but cover his ears. When he came home after work the first day he wore it, he said, “hey hon, now I really have sex on the brain!” Yup. I think he loves his hat.

Oh, I need a better camera. The color is way off!

I do love to finish projects! Today I hope to finish a pair of bright orange work socks (the picture doesn’t come close to the bright “hunting orange” color) for my husband. He loves to wear the thick, warm Raggi yarn socks to work. He works outside in Maine in the winter. Enough said?

Gone knitting!

Hot off the Needles

Well, I’ve gone and done it! I’ve actually got some finished projects!

First, I started and finished an adorable layette for a customer. At the suggestion of a co-worker, I chose a sweet garter stitch cardigan and bonnet and then found an adorable pair of baby booties that match perfectly! I hope that our customer loves the outfit as much as I do. I used Universal Yarns “Adore” DK weight yarn (two skeins with a lot of left-overs!) I love the peachy-pink color which is not quite a baby pink and not quite a peach. I think the lacy leaves pattern is wonderful around the neckline and it’s also on the back of the little bonnet. I found the perfect buttons for the cardigan before I knew I would need any for the shoes. Lucky for me, I’d already bought the package which contained 5 buttons. The perfect number with none left over!

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The shoes may be my favorite part! They were a simple knit and they’re so stinking cute!

IMG_7867I have also finished a cowl that I wanted to try. This was a free pattern at our shop that used a Galway worsted wool and a Gina, both by Plymouth Yarns. I had a charcoal gray Cascade 220 Worsted in my stash and a skein of Gina left over from my favorite mittens ever. I hadn’t ever “really” knitted anything in Brioche stitch so this was a learning experience which was more enjoyable than I thought it would be. If you know how to knit and purl, try Brioche! Another of my co-workers knitted the same pattern for a store sample and hers came out similar but stretched a LOT more than mine did when blocked. She used a different main color yarn that had some silk in it – and hers is significantly less scratchy than my wool one. But I learned something. By the way, I didn’t make mine like the pattern directed. I used less than one skein of Cascade 220 and one skein only of the Gina … I am not sure I’m going to love it and wear it.

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I also finished another commission for a returning customer. She wanted a bulky/chunky lacy slouch hat/tam exactly like I have made for her before and a cowl to match. The hat pattern is a free pattern from Revelry called Quick Lacy Slouch Hat. The cowl pattern that she found is in a little Leisure Arts book and it’s called Berry Twist Cowl. Each used one skein of Cascade 128 Superwash yarn. Knitting with large needles and with chunky yarn, these were a relatively quick knit and I got them done in a weekend. I hope our customer is happy with these as she was with the other things that I’ve knitted for her. IMG_7883

I will be looking for “sparkly” buttons for the cowl at work tomorrow and then the set will be ready to go to their new owner!

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With all the finished objects, that leaves a few projects still on the needles …

I still haven’t seamed my Aran Cardigan. (It’s easy to keep putting it off!)

I haven’t finished my wool Vail Island Vest because it’s boring!

I am working on a store sample for Yardgoods Center in a bee-utiful Manos Silky Blend.

I still have that linen top in the project bag – when I frog it, it will truly be “dead” to me.

I started a new felted bag yesterday. I’m using all of the stashed Paton’s wool … well, I’ll use some of it, anyway.

I have one sock of a pair done. Second sock will get cast on this week – I like to take my socks in my purse just in case I find some knitting time.

My KAL shawl is in process … middle of clue 3, if memory serves!

So, there you have it. I think. Three projects finished and seven on the needles. I wish I didn’t need to sleep! You can find more information on any of these projects by visiting “lindar” on Ravelry.

Gone knitting!

All my Yarn is Packed?

Cascade 220 and Colinette Jitterbug

Cascade 220 and Colinette Jitterbug

When we head north to Maine for vacation in the summer, we’ve always driven. And I’ve been able to take a bunch of yarn (often more yarn than clothes) so that I can pick and choose my knitting projects.

This year, however, I’ve been working and wasn’t able to leave when N. decided it was time for him to go. So, I kissed him and our big brown dog goodbye and off they drove. What I didn’t realize is that I would have to be really choosy about what yarn I bring because I haven’t got a big plastic box to fill … I have one suitcase (which will fly free, thank you Jet Blue!) to fill with clothes, N’s birthday gifts and yarn, needles, patterns and all the notions that I need to do what I do! Yikes!

So, here’s what I am planning …

1) I have four skeins of Cascade 220 in a multi-colored colorway that will be knitted into slippers for N. Part of his Happy Birthday. The pattern will be Fiber Trends Felt Clogs (design by Bev Galeskas).They may get leather soles so that they last longer. To be added when we get home and they’re felted.

2) I have four skeins of Cascade 220 in a turquoise colorway that will be knitted into slippers for me. I’ve been waiting to use the pattern by French Press Knits, French Press Felted Slippers (by Melynda Bernardi). I’ve been coveting this pattern for ages and it’s time to give it a try!

3) The beautiful blue Colinette merino is going to be made into a vest from the book, Swing Swagger and Drape (by Jane Slicer-Smith). A vest because I live in Florida. I can always add sleeves if needed later on. I saw the pattern, Boxes Drape, at the Maine Fiber Frolic and it was love at first sight.

4) I’m taking the Purl Bee cowl to fix and finish.

5) I’m taking my brothers 50th birthday socks to finish.

Fiber Frolic 2012 Yarn ... frogged Boxy Cardigan

Fiber Frolic 2012 Yarn … frogged Boxy Cardigan

6) I’m taking my yarn from the Maine Fiber Frolic … the frogged Boxy Cardigan … hoping to find some inspiration and get it knit up into a wearable piece of Maine to bring back to Florida in the fall.

7) The cotton tank tunic is also going along unless it’s finished before I can leave.

8) Lasts but not least, N took his “boyfriend” sweater up in the truck. It has been closeted away (literally) for at least a year because I can’t bear to look at it. All the work and expensive yarn … and it doesn’t fit. Not even close. Another do-over opportunity.

9) I have to add to this list that I will be teaching myself to crochet this summer too, in addition to the knitting projects that I have on my list. I’ve wanted to learn and am making this promise to myself. I will be able to crochet (at least be a beginner)!

I’m so grateful for the opportunity to spend some time in Maine again this summer. I am also grateful for the opportunity to work for the school that I’ve worked for for the last 50 days. I have loved the experience, the students, the teachers, the administration … it’s been great to be part of the Woodlands family.

Gone knitting!

 

Casting On!

I’m casting on another new project. I probably shouldn’t be doing it, but I am. So there! 🙂

I saw a wonderful cowl pattern on the internet and just HAD to know what it was. Wouldn’t you know it was a Purl Soho/Purl Bee pattern (I’ve never seen a project that I didn’t like from that site!) called the Fluted Cowl (FREE pattern! Click here.)

It calls for 300 yards of a bulky weight wool. So, into my (beautifully organized) stash I went to see if I had what I needed and, sure enough, there it was. Sitting there looking back at me. Begging me to take it out of the bin and knit with it after all these years. Well, not really, but it sounds good doesn’t it?

Years and years ago I bought Some Jo Sharp Silkroad Ultra in a colorway called “Seafoam”. Five skeins of it. Why five? Because there were only five left and I really liked the color and the hand of the yarn. It was also at least 50% off because the shop was closing.

I’ve made an executive decision to use a US #13 needle because I don’t have the size that the pattern asks for. And since it’s a cowl not a sweater, the gauge isn’t as much a strict rule as a guideline. The cowl will be a bit smaller than the one in the pattern but that’s ok.

First cast on effort (yes, first means that I have had more than one!) was using a long tail cast on. I usually use this method and generally it works if I plan for approximately an inch of yarn per stitch. So, since the pattern asks for 196 stitches, I gave it three generous “wing spans” and then some figuring that my wing span is about 5.5 feet (I counted 60 stitches). Wrong. I got 169 stitches on my needles.

So, on round two, I decided to do a more “sure thing” cast on and used the knitted cast on. If you’ve never done it, it’s really simple.

Start with a slip knot on your left hand needle. Knit into the stitch (just like normal knitting) on the left-hand needle knit-wise.

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Insert the right-hand needle knit-wise

Now you can go ahead and wrap the yarn around the back needle and pull it through the “old” stitch. (Good grief, my hands and fingernails look awful! That’s what I get for trying a gel manicure with no intentions to continue to have them done!)

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Wrap the yarn around the needle and pull through to create the new stitch

Pull the stitch through the old stitch and you have one new stitch on your right-hand needle.

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Here’s your new stitch! You’re almost there!

Now, slip the new stitch from the right- to the left-hand needle and tighten the stitch down. Important note: when you’re slipping the stitch to the left-hand needle, twist your right-hand needle a quarter turn clockwise … make sure your two needle points are facing the same direction and then you’ll be passing the stitch the right way. Don’t just pass the stitch from right to left with the needles pointing opposite ways. I know it’s a bit confusing, but if you try it, you’ll see what I mean!

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Now just slip the new stitch back onto the left-hand needle and tighten it up.

Knitted Cast On

Voila! You’ve added one stitch. Now insert your right-hand needle into the new stitch on the left-hand needle knit-wise … and off you go!

You’ve cast on one new stitch. Now just start over again from the first step and repeat for as many stitches as you need for your project.

This way, you’re adding stitches with your working yarn rather than using the tail for your new stitches. This way you won’t get to 169 stitches and have three inches of yarn left for a tail (and nearly 30 stitches short of what is required!)

A new cast on method for you. I now need to go cast on another 190 stitches!

Gone knitting!

Knitting on the Bias

Three Shades Cowl … knitted on the bias and wrapped twice around

I’ve knitted two mohair cowls in the last month. I pondered (ever so briefly) just knitting straight but figured I’d be bored after the first few dozen rows. So, I decided to knit it on the bias which, in the knitting world, simply means you increase a stitch at one side and then decrease a stitch on the other side.

This cowl can be worn hanging long, wrapped twice around your neck, over your head like a hood or even around your shoulders. And despite it’s light weight, it’s quite warm. The fibers from mohair are really “fuzzy” and that creates a fiber that closes over the “holes” in the garment and make it super warm.

Three Shades Cowl in One Shade … once around the neck

This is a super easy pattern and I love making these cowls. God willing, I’ll post a pattern one of these days! For now, though, they’re even too warm to try on and photograph in Florida!

Gone knitting!

Transition – Ombre

I have a new garment, that I’m calling a Three Shades Cowl. I’m making it for a customer in New York State. She wanted a cowl similar to the silver one that I knitted up but we decided to knit it in three colors. You saw the three colors in the last post that I wrote (here.)

Thanks to Trebellaevents (dot) com for the photographic example of ombre!

All over the Internet, I’ve been seeing these ombre color transitions on garments and I wanted to try it on a knitted garment. Ombre, is a dip-dyed technique for garments, traditionally used with silks and other fine fabrics. It’s often called “ethereal” and today it’s also filtering into hair coloring and makeup. Google it … you’ll see what I’m talking about if you aren’t familiar with it. Suffice it to say, it’s a great color transition technique that I really like and could be awesome in knitting!

I started knitting the cowl a couple of days ago and got to the transition between the charcoal and denim colors and the transition is even more subtle than it appeared it would be. And I am loving it! The colors are very similar in shade, deep and gray in the case of the charcoal colored yarn. The denim is also a deep shade of blue but it has the tiniest bit of a silvery bit in the fiber. It’s a gorgeous color. And if I really think about the next transition to a silver, it’s going to be a really pretty cowl.

Subtle transitions are sometimes difficult to notice but the gradual changes are very interesting and I am looking forward to seeing how this cowl looks when it’s all “sewn” up! I love knitting and the little pleasures and surprises that I am given as garments develop. Sometimes the surprises are a bummer … and, like tonight, they are exciting.

Gone knitting!

Provisional Cast-On … Easy Method

Three Shades Mohair Cowl – Color Choices

Years ago, when I entered what we were allowed to call the Ravelympics, I had decided to  try to make my first lace scarf. I hit a road block when I read the patter for the first time and saw that there was a provisional cast on required. Since this was before the Internet really took off in my house, it was really difficult to find instructions that were clear and well-written (and illustrated) for this very visual knitter. Needless to say, I fell on my needles and was injured enough to totally back out of the challenge. (I also had kids at home and was working … not a lot of time to spend on doing something for myself back then!)

Fast forward a few years and I have learned how to do a couple of provisional cast ons. One with a crocheted chain that you then pick up stitches in the little bumps on the back (do not try this with black “waste” yarn) and another where you use an extra needle and let it hang at the bottom of your piece. Since I’m not an adept crocheter, my bumps are never consistent. The extra needle hanging at the bottom is a little bit cumbersome. So, I was looking for another option and this morning I found it!

Wendy Bernard over at Knit and Tonic has a great illustrative article on this long-tail provisional cast on where, in essence, you make a slip knot with your working yarn and your “waste” yarn (preferably something that is slippery) and then with your waste yarn over your thumb (toward you) and your working yarn over your index finger/pointer finger (away from you) you cast on just as you would normally. When you’ve gotten to your desired number of stitches (don’t count the slip knot/first stitch) cut your waste yarn and start your project.

The waste yarn is sitting nice and neatly down at the bottom of your work and can be easily unwound when you need to put your stitches back on your needles at the end of the project. Cool, yes?

I’ve just cast on 80 stitches in no time! Thanks, Wendy! I love it when you can learn something new and apply it to your day to cut off a few hours of tedious work!

My new project is another mohair cowl. It’s knitted a bit on the bias which makes it a little bit more interesting. This one is a custom order from a client in New York. After I made the first one, I thought about making one in three shades and she liked the idea, too. So we’re using a silver, a charcoal and a denim color – I think it’s going to be lovely! Kind of like the ombre garments and home furnishings that you’re seeing everywhere! The yarn that I’m using is called DK weight (but I’d say it’s more a fingering weight) and it’s Rowan’s kidsilk haze in charcoal #639, Debbie Bliss Angel in denim #15008 and kid seta Madil in a silver (#408) colorway. I will start with the charcoal, then head into denim and last, add the silver. I’m pretty excited to see what it looks like – I’m sure we’ll all be delighted at the results!

So, there you go! Learn something new today!

Gone knitting!