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!