Pure and Simple Start to April!

IMG_2638I’ve made it through the winter without any illnesses and as soon as spring pops onto the calendar, BOOM! For the last couple of days I’ve been pumping EmergenC and AirBorne and vitamins with my Wellness Formula. My sweet husband has taken good care of me, I drank a lot of tea, and I am feeling better today.

I’ve also been knitting.

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I started a little pullover, #214 Baby Pullover by Knitting Pure and Simple, for a new mom’s little baby girl. (I hope she doesn’t read my blog. I don’t think she does. I don’t want to give the surprise away.) I found the yarn on the shelf at the store when I was making room for some new yarns. (if you didn’t know that I work in a yarn shop, now you do … come visit at Yardgoods Center in Waterville, Maine!)

Sirdar has a chunky yarn called Imagination and it reminded me of a Monet Water Lilies painting. You all know what the Water Lilies paintings look like, right? If you don’t, Google it! They’re magnificent. This yarn is machine washable so easy for a new mom. I never machine dry my hand-knits. Some yarns are dry-able but I’d rather be certain and consistent so I hang/lay flat all my hand-knits. Sweaters I lay flat. Socks I hang over a hanger. This extends their lives and I never shrink any special hand-knits. (NOTE! Some yarn is not washable. If it isn’t super wash or acrylic or mostly acrylic, hand wash! You’ll never be sorry if you take that extra care!)

img_2640.jpgI immediately fell in love with the colors. I have whipped through the body of the sweater in a couple of days. It’s chunky so it knits up quickly. I’m making the 24 months size so that little Julianna can grow into it! Today I’ll get to the sleeves and maybe the collar, too. It’s soft, it’s washable, it’s so pretty! Did I mention that there are no seams?!

I’m also working on a Knitting Pure and Simple cardigan for myself.

IMG_2622I’ve had this beautiful blue/gray colorway of Malabrigo Rios forever. It’s been sitting on a shelf in my atelier for at least a year and maybe more like two. When I opened the bag of this yarn at the shop, I immediately put it aside for myself because I loved it so much. I’m making the 50″ size and my gauge is slightly off (the pattern calls for 4 stitches per inch and I am knitting at 4.375 stitches per inch). This will make my sweater just a bit smaller than the last sweater I made with this pattern. Which will be OK. I may decide to add a few additional increases to be sure it’s not too small. I’ll know when I have the sleeve stitches on a holder and I can try it on! I’ll have all the details on my Ravelry project page. I love, love, love the color and this yarn feels so amazing in your hands as you work with it. This will take me a couple more than a couple days to knit but it’ll knit up pretty quickly and it’s so pretty!!!

IMG_2614I finished the Ma Belle Amie cowl for my aunt and it’s wrapped and on it’s way to Lake Tahoe just in time for spring! I doubt that she’ll get to wear it too many times between now and next fall but what can one do?! I had to knit it and it had to be for her! I love the colors that I chose … they remind me of my aunt and her beautiful red hair (well, it was red when she was younger, it’s “bleached out” as she’s gone around the sun a few times! (Where’s the laughing until you cry emoji when you need it?!) This pattern is very versatile and can be knitted up in any yarn, really. I have one in solid colored wool that I love and this one has a variegated which I love, too. Choose a smaller needle for a tighter fabric or a finer yarn (or heavier yarn). The sky’s the limit!

I also knitted up a little rabbit on Tuesday when I was home sick. Baby Bunnies by Frankie Brown popped up in my Facebook feed one day and when I wasn’t feeling well, I grabbed a few scraps of yarn and knit up a baby bunny. He’s awfully cute! I think there will be an addition of some embroidery (eventually) but for now, I’m enjoying my sweaters so my bunny awaits!

I hope you had a happy Easter and Passover. I wish you peace.

Gone knitting!

Another (Dead) Fish Hat and Other Things – Finished Objects

I threw out my back a week and a half ago and was “stuck” in bed … I really didn’t want to move because it hurt so much … for three days and am still not functioning at 100% – mostly because I’m afraid to reinjure myself! Anyway, I got a lot of knitting done in three days and I’m happy to say, some of those WIPs are now finished, labeled and waiting for their intended recipients!

One such item is the second Fish Hat – Dead or Alive. These hats are super fun and very cheerful (for dead fish!) I loved knitting them and I am super pleased with them! (I blogged about the first one here.)

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Fish Hat (Dead or Alive)

The pattern is on Ravelry and I’ve been looking at it for a long time. When the opportunity came to make two hats for two very special little boys, I immediately thought of the fish hats! This one is heading to Florida to one of my former students who has a spinal injury and who is just a special kid who I miss dearly. I love the way this hat turned out and I hope my little buddy loves it, too. Every stitch has a bunch of love in it and good “mojo”!

IMG_5681I love the eyes on this one … and the other one, too. But this one really makes me laugh.

So, as soon as his mom texts me their address, I’ll be bagging and tagging this one! Woo Hoo!

Another FO is my poncho for my first California niece. I still have to knit a “twin” poncho for her little sister. This pattern I fell upon at my LYS while I was working there this summer. I saw the poncho and hat in a book of patterns and I knew I had to make them for the girls. The first one still has to be fringed, but I am going to wait and fringe them both at the same time. I really enjoyed making this poncho (even with the silly “not paying attention” mistakes that I made.

Cabled Poncho

Cabled Poncho

The color is waaaay off in this picture. The blue is much brighter. Sometimes photos don’t come out perfectly. I’ll try to take some more accurate photos later. (Note the word “try”!)

Reversible Cable Cowl

Reversible Cable Cowl

This cowl has been on my needles for a long (LONG!) time. I noted in my Ravelry project description that it was in June. Well, now it’s of the needles! There’s a lot of seed stitch on this bugger! I loved the yarn and I love the cables which are reversible and thus when the cowl is twisted twice around a head, it’ll look the same. I think it’s really pretty and I’m making a cabled headband to go with it. I loved knitting with the Berroco Ultra Alpaca. It’s soft and not at all splitty. I think it’s going to be very warm on those blustery New York City streets this winter! The pattern is On the Side and it’s in Ravelry.

IMG_5690Last, but certainly not least, I finished my Arne and Carlos socks. Just in time to wear them yesterday. Our laundry pile was out of control and I only brought a few pairs of socks with me when we moved from our house in Florida. It was April in Florida and I wasn’t thinking of being into the fall in Maine and needing socks – the rest of them are in storage with all of our belongings. Anyway, they’re beautiful and they fit perfectly! I followed Susan B. Anderson’s “How I Knit My Socks” from her blog. I wear a size 9 shoe or a 39 European size for Birkenstocks or 40 for my closed-heeled Dansko clogs. My foot is nine and a half inches or so long. I knit the foot to seven and three quarters and then knitted the toe. This is my third pair and the more I knit, the more I tweak the sizing to make them fit perfectly. I can’t wait to cast on the next pair of socks … the yarn is so yummy and I’m going to do toes, cuff and heel in a contrasting color.

Don’t you just love the endless possibilities!?

I also finished a hat that I was using for demonstration purposes for a class that I was teaching and a cowl (same reason, same class). And my gorgeous Girasol afghan. I blogged about that here. They’re all listed on my projects page … I’m Lindar on Ravelry. Let’s be friends!

Gone knitting!

 

Remembering Why I Love Cables

Sirdar Snuggly Double Knitting Patten #1516

Sirdar Snuggly Double Knitting Patten #1516

Perhaps it’s partly my Irish heritage (the part of my heritage that I feel most connected to) or maybe it has no relation at all but I love, love, love cables!

I have two projects on the needles right now that I am enjoying. One is a little cable-knit poncho for my niece in California (I’ll be knitting a matching one for her little sister, too) the other is an infinity scarf/cowl for my daughter. The poncho has a great cable pattern that I am loving. It’s a Sirdar pattern (#1516), using Sirdar Snuggly Double Knitting (DK) yarn and a size US3 and US6 knitting needle. I’m using my Knitter’s Pride interchangeable needles which have great points for this yarn. You can buy them here or here. I love mine!!!

I’m going to spend this post talking about why cables are so simple and look so difficult and show a few pictures so that, if you’re a newbie to knitting and are a little bit afraid of cables, you’ll jump right in … because they’re really so much easier than they appear to be! Be brave! Go for it! Give it a try! (Rah! Rah!)

What my cable pattern looks like~ complicated, right? Wrong!

What my cable pattern looks like~ complicated, right?  …Wrong!

It really does look complicated, doesn’t it? I promise you that it’s really not complicated at all. All you need to do is lift a couple of stitches off the left needle and then knit a couple of stitches and then knit the lifted/slipped stitches. Follow along with me, I’m going to show you what I mean in a step-by-step tutorial.

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Left needle is holding stitches to be worked next … and we’re ready to make a cable!

I’ve knitted (or in this case, purled) over to where the stitches are that will be my cable (they are the knitted stitches, 8 of them between purl bumps).

If you examine the photo carefully, it’s just like it was sitting in your lap. The right hand needle is the one holding stitches that have already been worked. The left hand needle is the stitches that will be worked next. You can see the stitches several rows below where I am now working that have been cabled already. That’s a helpful hint. In  this pattern, the cables are neatly stacked up on top of each other.

It is time to slip two stitches off the left-hand needle and hold them to the front of my work with my cable needle. I am using a cheap aluminum cable needle that I bought at JoAnn’s ages ago. I lose a lot of cable needles so cheap is good for me.

Slip two stitches from the left-hand needle to the cable needle without twisting or as if to purl.

To the left is a picture of the two stitches slipped onto the cable needle and being “held” in front of my work. If not careful, the cable needle will slip out of the stitches whether you hold it or not. But it’s not a crisis. The only time any damage comes to “dropped” stitches is when you pull. If you don’t pull your stitches, you can slip them right back onto the cable needle (or any other needle for that matter).

Now, I’m goinIMG_5450g to knit the next two stitches on the left-hand needle. And hopefully I will not drop the cable needle. And then I will knit the two stitches from the cable needle.

When that is done, I’m half way there.

I still have one more part of the bigger cable to do and that means slipping two stitches to the back of my work in the same manner that I slipped the stitches to the front. I will knit two stitches from the left hand needle and then knit the two stitches that are held on the cable needle in back of my work. Wait! I’m going to show you …

Just a note about cables – Cables are always either left-leaning or right-leaning. When you hold your cable stitches to the front the cable will be left-leaning (I remember that by thinking about left having the “f” in it which stands for front). And in the same vein, the right leaning cables will always be worked from stitches that are held to the back. (I haven’t got a mnemonic for that, but you have the one for the left-leaning so I hope you don’t need one for the right-leaning …. right?)

Knitted two from the working needle and two from the cable needle held in front. Now it's time to slip two more stitches and hold them to the back.

Knitted two from the working needle and two from the cable needle held in front. Now it’s time to slip two more stitches and hold them to the back.

Here is my work after having knitted the first four stitches (two from the needle and two from the cable needle held in front.)

Now it’s time to finish the cable.

We are going to slip two stitches from the left-hand needle to the cable needle and hold it to the back of our work. (This will be a right-leaning cable … can you see how the first part of this cable that we just finished is leaning to the left?)

 

 

 

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We have slipped two stitches onto the cable needle and they are being held to the back of our work …

Once the two stitches are on the cable needle and at the back of the work as in the photograph to the right, you can knit the next two stitches from left-hand needle … and then knit the two stitches from the cable needle.

Ta! Da!

You’ve just worked a cable! Woo! Hoo!

 

 

 

 

8-stitch cable with one side leaning right and one side leaning left

8-stitch cable with one side leaning right and one side leaning left

My two fingers are marking the eight stitches that we’ve just manipulated to make this “double” cable. The first side we knitted (on the right in this photo) leans to the left and the second side (on the left in this photo) leans to the right. Can you see this??? Under my fingers are two purl bumps … there are purl stitches on both sides of the cable. Purl stitches make the cable pop!

Simpler still, a 4-stitch cable

Simpler still, a 4-stitch cable that leans to the left and to the right

 

 

 

 

The other cable in this pattern is a simpler four-stitch cable.

The process is the same as far as the knitting goes. This cable leans to the left and then it leans to the right. Yup, you guessed it! When making up this cable, one time you’ll bring your cable needle with its two stitches to the front (left-leaning) and then the next time, you’ll bring it to the back (right-leaning).

Every cable pattern has a number of rows that it takes to make the cable happen consistently (and look just right!) This pattern just happens to have an eight-row repeat and the “difficult” rows are the first and fifth. These are the rows where I use the cable needle and cross or twist my stitches. The other six rows are super simple combinations of knit and purl stitches.

So now you’re ready to cast on some stitches and give cables a try, right? I hope this has helped to make you feel more comfortable with the idea of cables … cast on 22 stitches with any plain-colored light yarn and an appropriately-sized set of needles and give this a try! Here’s your “pattern”…

Cast on 22 stitches

Set up Row (wrong side of knitting): K2, P4, K3, P8, K3, P4, K2

Row 1 (right side of knitting): P2, C4B, P3, C4B, C4F, P3, C4B, P2

(remember: C4B means hold 2 slipped stitches to the back of work, knit 2 from working needle, knit 2 from cable needle and C4F means hold 2 slipped stitches to the front of work, knit 2 from working needle and then knit 2 from cable needle)

Row 2 (and all other even rows): K2, P4, K3, P8, K3, P4, K2

Row 3: P2, K4, P3, K8, P3, K4, K2

Row 5: K2, C4F, P3, C4F, C4B, P3, C4F, K2

Row 7: repeat row 3

Row 8: repeat row 2 (obviously)! This is the end of the 8-row repeat.

Give it a try and let me know how you do!

For now, I’ve gone knitting!