On the Needles

I finished my taxes so I treated myself to a new  project!

The Atchafalaya Swamp

The Atchafalaya Swamp

When I was in Louisiana for Spring Break, I taught a couple of classes at the Yarn Nook. It’s a really wonderful shop in Lafayette, LA and it just so happens that my sister-in-love works there. When she knew I was coming for a visit she told the owners and they invited me to teach a class. It is humbling to have them ask me back and I was thrilled to accept.

Teaching aside, Wednesday was a work day for my sister-in-law, Kathy. And of course I went along! Who wouldn’t want to spend the day in a yarn shop?

While I was there, I wandered the shop to check out the yarn, bags, and all the good stuff. I happened to notice a Churchmouse Yarns pattern for a mohair striped wrap. I loved the colors, the feel of the yarn and, the fact is, I’m moving to Maine from Florida and I’m going to need warm clothes. So, all my teaching money (and then some) went to new yarn and pattern rather than gas! I purchased four balls of Rowan Kidsilk Haze Stripe in four different colorways. I’m knitting it with my Knitters Pride Dreams circular needle (US 7) because the yarn is very slippery and it would slip right off my Signature needles!

"Graffiti" Sock #1

“Graffiti” Sock #1

I have a pair of socks that I’m knitting from Susan B. Anderson’s “How I Make my Socks” pattern. The yarn is one that I saw on Susan’s Instagram feed and went immediately to buy from Gale’s Art on Etsy in the Graffiti colorway. I am loving the way the yarn is knitting up and I love the sock pattern. The first sock fits like a glove. (Well, not really, it fits like a sock. And it fits perfectly!) The pattern is super easy to follow and the socks are knitting up in a jiffy!

Frontenac

Frontenac

My Frontenac vest is knitting up bee-utifully and very quickly due to the bulkier weight yarn that I bought. The yarn is Berroco’s Inca Tweed in two colorways: 8901 Playa and 8934 Noche. One is a beige or camel color and the other is a slate gray. The front and over the shoulders will be beige and the back, gray with a turtle neck. It’s a quick and simple knit thus far and I am looking forward to wearing it over a turtleneck shirt with long sleeves when we get up to Maine! Inca Tweed is a yummy soft yarn with just enough tweedy flecks in it to make it interesting. It’s got a little bit of thick and thin going on and it’s not split-y or annoying to knit with. I’m loving this project!

Still in time out is the Lobster Hat that I started up in Maine last summer. It’s a testament to the fact that I don’t like color work and, particularly, I don’t care for carrying the yarns behind the work. I find it tedious. Maybe because I’ve not done enough of it and my tension is sometimes inconsistent but I will finish it one of these days (or years).

I frogged the Olivia Cowl that I started. I was knitting it with some bee-utiful light blue worsted-weight yarn from Swans Island Yarn Company. The yarn is too pretty to be knit into something that I don’t love. Olivia is frogged. The yarn is waiting for my calling.

On my queue are a few other projects … worsted-weight “hiking” socks for my sweetie, a sock-weight hat for him, too. I have a dress that I want to knit, too. And a “boxy” sweater, probably a cardigan, to knit for me. Of course, when I finish my second graffiti sock, I’ll have to start another pair!

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!

Boot Candy Boot Cuffs

Boot Candy

I bought this pattern ages ago. My daughter asked for them. I’ve been so busy with knitting projects for customers that I am only now getting around to knitting them!

She asked for a neutral color. I’ve chosen to use some of my stashed yarn (bulky) is what the pattern asks for! I’m knitting with Rowan Scottish Tweed Chunky in a black tweedy yarn (color 023). It has flecks of bright red, blue and yellow in it. What I’ve learned about knitting with black yarn is that it’s really difficult to see the stitches and I have to keep close attention on what row I’m on. Even with the chunky wool, it’s difficult to see the stitches to count the rows!

Bee-utiful Cables! – Yarn is really black, not gray. I’m such a great photographer! 🙂

The pattern is Boot Candy Boot Cuffs by Sara Gresbach of Addiesma Designs. Simple to follow with a cable that is very attractive. I’m a bit concerned, despite the fact that I am on gauge, that these are going to be too big for my daughter but they fit my legs so only time (and postage) will tell! It’s just about the perfect time to send to her in Chicago where it’s getting a bit chilly at this time of year.

I, frankly, am a bit jealous about the cooler weather. It’s still hot and humid here in Orlando! I love my girl (well, all my kids) and I hope they fit and she loves them!

Gone knitting.

 

Design – 2012 Trends

I’m already laughing because the original title to this post was written “Design – 2010 Trends” … and it’s true that I am not a fashion plate, what the heck gives me the chops to design? And my response to myself is, “it’s for dogs!”

I do believe that fashion trends are created by the industry solely to give designers and fabricators job security. Those of you who are fashion-driven (I do not belong to this group) will be drooling over the new colors and styles paraded across magazines and runways and city streets. I just happen to be missing that gene. But, dressing my dogs … that’s a whole other situation!

Bright colors seem to be the trend and lots of pattern. The Señorita Lolita is still in vogue (no, not the magazine) and I still believe that neutrals and traditional cables like the MacTire are timeless. This little coat is really cute – celery green and with the fabulous seed stitch texture. I have to find the right buttons to go along with it … perhaps one that is feminine and one that is masculine (for obvious reasons.)

I knit this coat with a super bulky merino wool by Rowan called “rowan big wool”. It’s 100 gram ball (at approximately 87 yards) was just enough to make a coat for a or 11 pound dog … with a little bit of wiggle room depending on button placement. The shade that I used (29) is a light celery green … one of my favorites! I love knitting with this wool. It’s soft and not at all splitty and knit up it’s light weight but really warm. Care for this wool by washing in cold water by hand and dry flat. Never wring hand knits – simply roll them up in a big towel and press the water out of the garment, unroll and dry flat.

Rowan has a bunch of beautiful patterns FREE on their website! You’ll need to register but, trust me, it’s worth it! Their patterns are beautiful and plentiful!

I think the second draft will have to be in a tangerine orange color as the Pantone color of the year is “tangerine tango” a vivid red-orange that would look so wonderful on my boy, Boogie! I never liked “orange” but find myself wearing it today! Go figure! I’m so stylin’!

So, off to the yarn store in the world wide web I go.

Photos to follow soon of all my finished projects!

Gone knitting!