Vaill Island Vest Version 2

I’ve had this vest in my WIP pile (actually a pile of project bags full of future projects and projects half-done) forEVER! I love the first version of this vest so much that I’ve encouraged a couple of my knitting students to give it a try AND I cast another one for myself on back in mid-January. Yes, it’s been that long!

Every once-in-a-while I’ve pulled it out and finished a few rows and then away it goes in favor of another more current and seemingly imperative knit. Well, yesterday I took it to my knitting class with me with the thought that I didn’t even remember how much I had left to knit. I got the back finished and one of the front sides nearly finished at class and then continued late into the night … when I started to notice mistakes. (Hey! I’m usually in bed by 9 or 9:30 and last night it was after 11.) This morning I will frog back a couple of rows on the last front side and re-knit so that I can get it finished this weekend and I will be able to wear it this fall.

Vaill Island Vest designed by Gwynn Ericsson for Halcyon Yarn in 2008. This is a free pattern on Ravelry.

I really like this pattern. The repeat is simple, it’s knit bottom up in one piece (at least mostly in one piece) and I can wear it over my self-imposed work “uniform” which is almost always a pair of slacks and an oversized tunic/blouse. A wool vest will be great … as is the cotton vest (first iteration). I used Ella Rae worsted wool in a deep red colorway (it’s on my Ravelry project page). The color is really closer to the first picture. The second is to show a close-up of the stitch pattern. So close!

Vaill Island Vest … nearing completion

Stitch Pattern … this yarn has great stitch definition!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I found a mistake in the pattern, though, last night. The directions for the left front say that when I slip the stitches from the holder that I should have 45 stitches. Well, I had 50. That’s the number of stitches that I was told to slip onto the holder and they’ve just been sitting out there for all this time. So, having adjusted the stitch numbers, I had 50 to slip onto the needles, I bound off 8 right away (42 sts). Then I begin decreases, one every other round six times, to 36 stitches. Neck decreases total to 5+4+11=20 and now I have 16 stitches which is the correct number in the pattern. Thankfully, I am still able to count and could figure this out as I knit so it’s all good in the end. I will write to the designer and see why this hasn’t been corrected since the pattern’s been out for several years!

Happy Saturday to anyone who reads this!

Gone knitting!

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Yes, I’m knitting!

I haven’t been posting a lot. Life is busier than it “should” be for me! We spent a wonderful extended Easter weekend in Marblehead, Massachusetts with my family there. Although most of the Marblehead family was in Hawaii for Spring Break but we helped my sister-in-law dog and house sit! And my boss has been in Florida on vacation so my hours at the Yardgoods Center have been a little bit more than usual. And before Easter both my husband and I were sick with the flu – fortunately, the upper respiratory flu!

I have been knitting and would like to share a couple of projects with you ….

IMG_8228I am teaching a two-at-a-time toe-up socks class for the RSU 18/Messalonskee High School Adult Education program. My class filled really quickly this time … and we offered and filled a second class. So, I’m teaching two evenings a week this month. The pattern we are using is a free pattern on Ravelry called “Lesser Evil” socks. I like this pattern because it’s well-written and it provides some good links for helpful support. My students did a great job! The most difficult part is the cast on and getting used to knitting with magic loop. Tonight is my second Monday class (of three) and I’m hoping they’ll be able to do the gusset increases by next week’s class. I think they will be fine. Because I am who I am, I’m knitting socks, too … partly to remember the pattern which I haven’t used in a few years, and partly because I had a skein of Christmas-y sock yarn that I wanted to knit up!

IMG_8236I’ve pulled out my red wool Vaill Island Vest (also a free pattern on Ravelry) that I started months ago! I love my cotton version of this vest and I am hoping I’ll feel the same about this one. I’m knitting it in Ella Rae Classic worsted wool in a deep red colorway. This is a simple vest, no seaming necessary, and I like the slipped stitches that make the vest visually elongated.

img_8237.jpgBecause I can’t stop starting new projects, I’m also knitting a sweater for my husband in the Ella Rae Classic worsted wool in a beautiful “bright” blue. I chose to knit him “Flax” by Tin Can Knits. I am loving this pattern! It’s a top down (again, no seaming) pullover in sizes baby through adult. I am eager to knit another one in baby sizes. This may be the next class that I teach for the Adult Ed Continuing Education program!

IMG_8238I’ve been working on a cowl, too! I bought some special yarn from a new Maine yarn company called Apogee Yarns out of Saco, Maine. The yarn is wool and on the website it says it’s a fingering weight. On the yarn tag, it says it’s sport weight. I would guess that it’s somewhere in between the two weights … heavier than fingering and not as heavy as sport. The labeling should be consistent, however. They have four colorways – a grey, a rusty-orange, a bee-utiful blue and a creamy white. I love the colors, especially the grey and the blue. I had started a different pattern with this yarn and I didn’t love the way it was knitting up and then one of my Friday students made a cowl that I loved. It’s called “Ma Belle Ami” and it uses all four colors of the Apogee yarn. This pattern is free on Ravelry.

There are several other projects that I am working on but I am going to stop here and go knit for a bit before class. I’ll write more in the future about some of the other projects. You’ve got to be crazy after reading this long post!

Gone knitting!

Road Trip! Fun & Maybe Some Whiskey?

It could have been such an awkward experience and I probably wouldn’t have considered going on a day-long road trip with new friends (or mostly strangers) in my younger days. But I took a chance yesterday and went road tripping with eight of the women in my new Friday knitting group. All were knitters and some are bi-stitchual and they quilt, too. So, what better than heading out on the road to see what we can see?!

First stop was Rockland, Maine and Over the Rainbow Yarns.

First Stop Rockland

First Stop Rockland

A little bit of heaven in this little shop on School Street. Chock-a-block full of wonderful yarn from well-known national and international companies and a nice selection of Maine yarns, too. When I travel, it’s the  small local yarn companies that I look for as a souvenir of my travels. There were multiple yarns to choose from here … Darn Good Yarn, Swans Island Yarn, are the ones I can remember that they carried. I’m in love with the Swans Island Yarns. The next time we go there as a group, they said they’d bake us a cake if we let them know we’re coming! I could easily see going there to knit and visit with the DGY knitters! DGY has been open just over a year and I’d suggest you add it as a great stop on your Maine yarn tour!

Another fun stop in Rockland was Quilt Divas.

Stop Two!

Stop Two!

Quilt Divas has both yarn and fabrics (maybe mostly fabrics) but I found some Noro yarn on sale there which made me happy. And they have an amazing machine for quilting quilts that I enjoyed watching. I’m very tempted to take Helen’s (N’s mother’s) old Singer machine to be serviced and start learning how to sew so I can quilt – these girls make it sound so fun! I’d best be careful or I may have a new creative outlet that will want to share my time with knitting … uh oh!

Lunch!

Lunch!

Stop three was our picnic lunch along the way to the third shop in Camden. Route 1 from Rockland to Camden is a straight shot but we were told about a picnic area road-side (we missed it on the first pass) where the picnic table accommodated all nine of us and we shared a meal of sandwiches and laughter. And the sweet smell of wild roses in bloom. There was a beautiful bush of white wild roses that smelled so fragrant. Amazing Mother Nature! The rest area had a beautiful view of the ocean, too … you just had to find the spot to stand where you could look over the plants and bushes.

Back on the road again, to Camden we went. Isabel said several times that she loves Camden and I can understand why. It’s a bustling, thriving town and becomes quite touristy in the summer months. Lots of shops and restaurants and B&Bs to visit. And there’s an exquisite yarn shop called the Cashmere Goat on Bayview Street.

Stop Four!

Stop Four!

What I think I liked best about this shop was that it was such a cozy shop. It’s large, don’t get me wrong, and open and the wood floors were beautiful. They had a lovely selection of yarns and quite a few yarns that we’d not seen in the previous shops. Another amazing selection of the Swans Island yarns and even a couple of their amazing blankets on display. Swans Island is a little island off the coast of Maine that you get to by boat. The yarn company is all organic … a visit there is on my bucket list. But you can’t really get there and back in a day. Bummer. Anyway, back to the Cashmere Goat … it was very nice to visit and I could easily have spent my last penny buying some yarn there. I liked their samples in the shop and the two ladies working there were very friendly.

I have some history in Camden, too. My aunt and uncle had a summer home there. My cousin was married there. I went out there with my sweetie when we were teenagers and we were dating (the first time.) I probably could spend a day there wandering but I have to admit to liking it better during the “off-season” when it’s a bit more sparsely populated.

Needing a little sustenance (yes, we did have lunch), we stopped at Fresh, a bakery and restaurant just below the yarn shop for a bit of sugar. I had a pretty good carrot cake whoopie pie. We all had a bit of something sweet which we enjoyed outside before heading to our last shop. By now, one of the cars in our caravan was suspected of imbibing a bit of whiskey … surely they were having too much fun to be without alcohol? LOL. Maybe it was simply a sugar high. None-the-less, we did have fun!

Stop Five!

Stop Five!

Another of my favorite shops, Halcyon Yarn in Bath. I’ve posted about Halcyon before in my blog and I’d just been here less than a month ago (and when I spent a bit of money on some new yarns!) I love wandering in shops and touching yarns and this is a great place to do just that. While the ladies shopped, I wandered. I’d love to have a loom for weaving one day. I understand that setting up the loom is a bit challenging (or maybe boring), I think the process of weaving is probably very meditative as is knitting. They have a great selection of looms and wheels and the most wonderful wooden stools. Some more “tools” to think about and dream about … in my future atelier!

A last stop at Dairy Queen because ice cream was promised, after all and then we were on our way back home. Dropping off first Laura and then Linda at their respective homes and then back to my lake and my loves both two- and four-legged!

It was a wonderful day with my new friends from Friday knitting. I can’t wait to see them all again in a couple of days! I’ve always said that I haven’t met a knitter that I didn’t like. Today, as I sit here writing about our road trip day, I am even more sure that’s true. I’m so grateful for the women who have embraced me because we share a love of knitting and fiber arts. You know who you are. I feel so blessed to be a fiber artist and look forward to meeting those of you who I’ve not yet met! I’m sure that I’ll enjoy your company, too!

Gone knitting!

A Wonderful Day in Maine

Yesterday we decided to take a drive. It’s an old-fashioned idea, I know. My dad used to take us on a drive on Sundays. We’d all climb into the back seat of his car (sometimes with the top down) and, though there was always some “Mom, he’s over the line” bickering, off we’d go. Once I recall my brother letting go of a cloth diaper when the convertible top was down. Not sure how he survived that one!

Anyway, I’ve wandered from my purpose here.

Yesterday we decided to take a drive. We had a slow, lazy start to the day with coffee on the front porch and then packed up the dogs and headed to Bath.

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My plan was to visit Halcyon Yarns. (N had his cameras and can always keep himself busy for a couple of hours while waiting for me to shop for yarn. And it was cool enough for the dogs to come with us rather than be crated in the house.)

Part of why I love to visit Halcyon Yarns is because it’s not just a knitting shop. I can while away hours imagining learning all the crafts that they carry the stuff for – needle felting, spinning, rug hooking, tatting, weaving, and crochet. I’ve probably missed a few. Aisles and aisles of fiber from warp (or is it weft?) to cotton, and wool and alpaca and silk threads and many different weights of each. Some are actually Halcyon yarns and some are from well-known companies like Noro and Cascade. And a room full of pattern books and mugs and yarn bowls and … well, you get my drift.

I carefully paced myself as it can be a dangerous thing, shopping for yarn. But this time I was “good”. I only bought a few things …

Noro Taiyo Sock - Color S17 Lot D Cotton, Wool, Polyamide & Silk 24-26 sts x 36-38 rows = 4 inches on US 2-3 needles

Noro Taiyo Sock – Color S17 Lot D
Cotton, Wool, Polyamide & Silk
24-26 sts x 36-38 rows = 4 inches on US 2-3 needles

Two skeins of  Noro Taiyo Sock yarn (in Color S17-D) for another (more colorful) Bermuda Shawl. And, yes, the two skeins are the same colorway! I can’t wait to start knitting with this yarn!

Noro Taiyo - Color 35 Lot A 100 grams, 200 meters Cotton, Silk, Wool & Nylon

Noro Taiyo – Color 35 Lot A
100 grams, 200 meters
Cotton, Silk, Wool & Nylon

One skein of Noro Taiyo (Color 35-A which was on sale) for a knitted lamb from the new Noro (Spring/Summer) Magazine. I also bought the magazine.

Hlacyon Gemstone Soft Twist Silk - Lot 15989 - 240 yards 100% silk, Sport weight 5-7 sts = 1 inch on US 3-5 needles

Hlacyon Gemstone Soft Twist Silk – Lot 15989 – 240 yards
100% silk, Sport weight
5-7 sts = 1 inch on US 3-5 needles

I bought a hank of Halcyon’s Gemstone Soft Twist Silk in a silver color (not sure what the gemstone is … diamond? I like diamonds!) This is to knit a necklace that I saw online … on Facebook, if my memory serves.

Indulgence Sock Yarn - Color 105 Lot 18411 426 yards, 21 sts x 27 rows = 4 inches on size US 3-6 needles Merino wool & Polyamide

Indulgence Sock Yarn – Color 105 Lot 18411
426 yards, 21 sts x 27 rows = 4 inches on size US 3-6 needles
Merino wool & Polyamide

And last, a ball of Indulgence 6-ply (also on sale) Sock Yarn with which I’ll make socks. I just loved the colors in the yarn (and it’s really soft, too.) The sample that was on the table was a tubular scarf knitted in all of the different colorways … I almost bought one of each. Almost.

Halcyon also has a bunch of wonderful-sounding classes available if you’re looking to take one! And the people who work there are very friendly and helpful … if you don’t mind wandering aimlessly, you can do it for hours at Halcyon Yarn! You’re going to enjoy the ever-changing samples at Halcyon, too! I saw no fewer than three sweaters that I would like to knit. Too bad I brought three projects with me from Florida!

And while you’re visiting Bath, it’s worth your while to visit the Bath Iron Works and the Maine Maritime Museum. For $27 (adults) you’ll get admission to both a 1-hour tour of the place where our US naval warships are being built. Some are so super secret that you’re not allowed to take photographs! Really fascinating! You can also visit Popham Beach (beware, the water in Maine is wicked cold!) and Reid State Park.

Parks, new things to learn and fiber. Just a few of the reasons that I return to the area every year!

Gone knitting.