Sweater Weather!

IMG_2703It’s April 15 today and it’s winter again. Today was not blue skies and sunny. We had snow flurries, a little sleet, a mixed bag of yuck! It’s truly sweater weather!

IMG_2706I’ve been drooling over some sock yarn by On the Round. On the Round is a Maine yarn and is hand-dyed in Owls Head, Maine. Rachel has been knitting since she was seven and she home schools her children … and dyes yarn in her “spare” time! Busy lady! Anyway, I finally decided to buy a hank of Silver Lining Tweed in Signature Sock and I am so glad I did. I haven’t knit socks in a little while and it felt like I was sitting with an old friend as I cast on and worked down the cuff of my sock. I always (almost always) use the Yankee Knitter pattern, Classic Socks for the Family and I am using it this time. I nearly know it by heart (always need help when I am turning the heel). I’m a happy camper …

IMG_2710I’m also working on my Malabrigo Rios sweater using the Knitting Pure and Simple Neck Down Cardigan for Women pattern. I didn’t get the right gauge of 16 stitches over four inches with this yarn. Probably because the Rios is more a light worsted. So, with my gauge of 17.5 stitches over four inches (4.375 stitches per inch), I’ve decided to make a size larger so that I have some positive ease. I love the colorway that I chose. It’s a blue and a grey at the same time. It’s tonal and I love it! I haven’t had an easy start with this sweater, though. I noticed, just as I was about to separate the sleeves, that I was a couple of stitches short on one side of the front. And I SAW that the reason why I was a couple of stitches short was because I hadn’t increased on one side of the marker. It was the one side that was front and center of course. I decided relatively quickly that I was not going to be happy with it and had to rip it back and fix it. It set me back a bit, but it was totally worth it. I am so excited to wear this sweater!

IMG_2709I have also cast on a shawl using my yarn from the sheep at Bedlam Farm. Mine is a sport weight from Susie and another sheep. It’s a lovely grayish brown. I had a customer at the shop who needed help with her shawl and it was pretty and simple. I like pretty and simple because it lets the yarn shine. So, I cast on the Age of Brass and Steam Kerchief and I pick it up now and then when I want to knit something simple. It’s going to be pretty! I think this shawl will be used to do some good. Stay tuned.

IMG_2688At home, we have begun the process of rebuilding our boat house. The original boat house was re-built around 1950 and then a “garage” with a dirt floor was added after that. The foundation of the building is in remarkably good shape so we are simply rebuilding the same building so that my husband can move his workshop into the garage part and we can turn the existing workshop (the white building at right), we hope, into a two-car garage in the future. This week we are hoping to see the roof joists and roof go up. It’s very exciting.

IMG_2601Our family thrives! All five kids are working hard and make us very proud. Youngest, Amy, made my blueberry muffins this weekend and they looked wonderful. A great first attempt.

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photo by Jenny Anderson

Oldest, Kate, opened in Mean Girls on Broadway last weekend. This is a big deal for her and she has worked so hard to get here. She’s a star and it seems that she’s stealing the show! We look forward to seeing the show in a few weeks and hope to see all the kids and their significant others here this summer.

Life is good!

Gone knitting.

(Find more information about my knitting projects on my Ravelry project page. My Ravelry name is lindar.)

Non-Felted Slippers by Yuko Nakamura

I got to Maine this summer by air. Typically we drive together but since I had to work, I had to fly. SO … I could only bring a suitcase and a carry-on bag and I needed to bring my yarn which meant that I didn’t have any slippers to wear when I got here.

What the yarn was going to be ...

What the yarn was going to be …

Luckily, I had the cowl (partly knitted picture above) that I had finished and found a (glaring) mistake as I was blocking it. The yarn was bulky and just what I needed for this pattern. And since I’ll never WEAR a bulky cowl in Florida, and I WILL wear slippers in Maine, what better use to put the yarn to?

Starting Non-Felted Slippers by Yuko Nakamura

Starting Non-Felted Slippers by Yuko Nakamura

This pattern, Non-Felted Slippers by Yuko Nakamura, caught my eye somewhere (perhaps on Ravelry). I thought the slippers looked comfy and I liked the idea that they didn’t need to be felted. When I found out it was with bulky yarn, so much the better because they’ll also be a quick knit!

My gauge was 8 sts = 2 inches and what the pattern said was 13 sts = 10cm. So, I had a few more stitches than the pattern called for. But I thought that would be OK since I have bigger than “medium” size feet. Unfortunately, I was “off” again … I would not make a good banker … and the first pair of slippers would stretch to fit me but they were stretched too far. So that pair will go to my little mentee who has a birthday coming up quickly. And on the second pair, I decided to add a few more stitches (a little more than an inch worth) to make the second pair fit me a bit better.

Sole: I cast on 56 stitches (using a US 9 16″ circular needle as called for in the pattern.) I knit the first row and the the second row I split up as follows: K35, P11, K35. I followed the directions and simply added a couple of stitches to each of the designer’s number. At the end of for 12, I had 81 stitches. Since I was using a single color of yarn, I didn’t cut my yarn and kept on knitting.

Instep: Starting on my 81 stitches, I knit the first row and then start my toe decreases. So, row 2 will be: P35, PM, P11, PM, P35. The decreasing begins with row 3 (you’ll be decreasing 8 stitches every other row and purling all of the even rows). Row 3: K28, SSK twice, K3tog, K11, sl1, K2tog, psso, K2tog twice, K28. Again, I followed the designer’s steps with a couple of stitches added in each section and when I got to row 28: P27, P2tog, P15, I was ready to be on Easy Street (and I was!) with the two rows of knitting all stitches and a bind off knit wise.

IMG_1619IMG_1621I seamed these babies up and they are ready to wear (for the first time) tomorrow morning. I can hardly wait.

Now, back to my brother’s birthday socks – his birthday was only five or six weeks ago! 😉

Gone knitting.

Writing Your own Pattern – A Scarf

This Princess Scarf article (that I cannot read) has a photograph of a lovely scarf on the Princess of Norway’s neck. It’s a variegated pink yarn that is quite lovely with the background being her black and white outfit. (I tried, I really did, to get the photo inserted here. No luck! That’s why you have to click and go to see the scarf. It’s worth it, I promise, it’s very pretty!)

So, the big question here is, how do you knit a scarf like this?

IMG_0310The first challenge, obviously, is to find a similar yarn. I’d suggest printing the picture and heading out to your local yarn shop. It doesn’t matter what “weight” of yarn you choose because I’m going to tell you how to write your own pattern. But what you do need to know is how to find yarn that will mimic the scarf so that you won’t have a scarf that looks NOTHING like the Princess’!

The “Princess” scarf has a short color change. The pink and pink or pink and cream colors are fairly consistent across the knitted cloth in short lengths and nearly looks like it is “tweedy” or “mottled”. So you’re going to look for yarn that has short color changes. This yarn looks like it’s a lighter weight than a “chunky” or “bulky” yarn and is likely worsted or sport or even sock weight. It’s also a smooth yarn rather than a “thick and thin” or “slubby” or “fun fur” or even of a fiber that has a “haze” like angora or mohair. If you like another color, this is the time to choose color wisely – make sure you love it!

I went online to Jimmy Bean’s Wool and found a couple of different yarns that might work: Madelinetosh Prairie Short Skeins Yarn in Fragrant or Universal Yarns Bamboo Pop Yarn in Pink Joy. The first is a fingering weight and the second is a DK weight. Neither color is exactly like the Princess’, but both would work. Obviously, one will be lighter than the other. Take into consideration how cold it gets where you live! (I live in Florida and it’s not very cold here. Ever!)

needlesOnce you’ve found your beautiful yarn, you need to match it with an appropriate sized needles. The Princess’ scarf is not lacy or open, the stitches are close together. The yarn band or tag will tell you the needle size recommended for your yarn. Sometimes there is a choice (it may say on a size 1-3 or 3-5). Next you need to mix up your yarn and needles by making a swatch. You can read my post about swatching here! And there is a great article on Knitty here. Now you’ll be able to see how your yarn is knitting up and see how many stitches you need to cast on!

Now, it’s time to decide how wide you want your scarf to be. I’m guessing that the Princess’ scarf is about eight inches wide. But you can make yours as wide or narrow as you like (and you can even start, frog and start again if you don’t like it. I give you permission!)

The Universal Pop yarn says to use needles size 5-7 and I’ll get 5-6 stitches per inch. Measuring my gauge, let’s say I get 5 stitches per inch on my US 5 needles. And I want my scarf to be 8 inches wide. I need to cast on 40 stitches. (5×8=40).

For this scarf, I’m going to use a stockinette stitch (knit on the right side, purl on the wrong side) and I’m going to continue in this pattern throughout. It looks like the original scarf is pretty long – and I’m going to knit my scarf until it’s about the same length (or the length I like) and then cast off on the right side.

Ta Da! You have just designed your very own scarf!

A couple of tips …

1. Your edge will be much prettier if you slip the first stitch in every row. Slip it purlwise or knitwise but be consistent!

2. Block your scarf! (See my post about blocking here!) It will hold its shape and the sides of stockinette stitch fabric are famous for rolling. Blocking will help it to unroll … but if you look at the Princess’ scarf, you’ll see it does roll a little bit! 🙂

Gone knitting!

 

New on the Needles

I bought some yummy cotton yarn to make myself a Drops knitted tunic that I saw somewhere online when I was wandering. The pattern is a free Ravelry download. The yarn was on sale (serious sale! I think it was $3.99 a skein!) at WEBS. It’s Berroco’s Pure Pima (color #2243 “Barely Blue”). I love that Jimmy Bean’s sent me a bag and matched the dye lots of the extra few skeins. It’s a pretty sky blue color with a bit of a gray undertone and I really like it. The pattern is found here!


Classic and simple patterning … I loved the yellow but my mother always said that when I wore yellow I looked green. I don’t want to look green!

Will be winding a skein and doing a swatch … because I know that if I don’t swatch, I will make the sweater in the wrong size! I guess I had best measure my chest, too … just in case! (Note to self – gauge is not for wussies!)

Also trying a pair of baby socks by Cat Bordhi – you can find out all about Cat at her website CatBordhi dot com. All of a sudden, I have an interest in knitting baby things … could be that there’s a new little niece or nephew in the oven!? Anyway, it’s the Baby Life Rings socks and they’re cuter than cute. Found some Cascade Yarns Fixation (also at WEBS) in a couple of colors … color #9030 (“denim”, if my memory serves) and color #9936 (“pacific”in really great ocean colors.) It looks like they’ll stay on the baby feet with three rings around the ankles. Always an issue for new parents, keeping feet on those wiggle pigs … I aim to please!

Already on the needles, my son’s socks. I’ll report on the yarn … because it’s not making this knitter happy. I’ve never had a ball of sock yarn “fight” with me quite so much! Promised by his graduation in June … who can believe that my baby will be graduating from college? And the baby blanket – reversible cables in a white acrylic yarn (to make it easier to wash over and over!)

Finished – a pair of lobster mittens (cooked, of course!) and two pairs of slipper socks. Also finished is a dishcloth … ours are getting pretty yucky! Photos will come soon … maybe tomorrow!

Grateful for fingers that work.

Gone knitting!