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!

“Flax” by Tin Can Knits

It’s finished and my husband wore it on Friday!

I loved knitting Flax by Tin Can Knits!

Flax is a free pattern for a simple top down sweater with an interesting and different sleeve treatment called a grater sleeve. Basically, the sleeve has a garter stitch “stripe” from the top of the shoulder to the cuff. It looks great and adds a bit of interest to an otherwise simple sweater.

That said, I’ve been knitting for over 30 years and I do not like seaming. I can do it and I can do it well but I still don’t like it. Any time I can avoid it, I will! And I did on this sweater – I win! 🙂

I knitted Flax in Ella Rae Classic Wool in a beautiful medium-blue. This yarn came to my LYS (and the wonderful place that I work) as a clearance yarn. It is 100% wool and has a good hand. I wanted to give it a try so I can recommend it (or not) to our customers. It was reasonably priced and made for making an affordable sweater for an adult at just around the $50.00 mark. I liked the yarn although when I blocked the sweater there was a lot of color bleed. I’m glad I didn’t stripe it!

This was a good knitting project and would be a great first garment. The sizing in the pattern is from baby to man or teeny to really big. Knitted in worsted-weight yarn it is a quick project, too. Not that knitting should ever be a race! It’s all about the process.

Hubby is happy and I am happy, too. Check out the beautiful patterns by Tin Can Knits on Ravelry.

Gone Knitting!

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!

“Yarn From Hell” Cardigan

Blocking .... needs the buttons and it's done!

Blocking …. needs the buttons and it’s done!

Many (MANY) moons ago in a land far away … OK, I bought the yarn at the Maine Fiber Frolic several years ago and have made two sweaters with it that have been frogged.

One was the free cardigan pattern that came with the yarn. I got all of the pieces knitted and blocked and when I went to assemble the cardigan, the sleeves didn’t fit into the sweater. Neither I nor a couple of others that I consulted knew how to fix the problem. Sweater number 1 was frogged. The yarn went into my naughty yarn closet for a long time out.

I still liked the yarn. I selected three colors of Seacolors Yarn (dyed in Washington, Maine) a coral, a green and coral mix and a blue.This summer I decided it was time for the yarn to be given another chance and settled on a sweater that was a free pattern found on Revelry. When nearly finished, I realized was going  be big enough for my whole family to wear at the same time. Huge. And I’m not a petite woman! Frogged again.

A month or so ago I bought a pattern at my LYS. (You get what you pay for, right?) The pattern, by Diane Soucy of Knitting Pure and Simple is Pattern #9725, Neck Down Cardigan for Women. A simple pattern knit in one piece. I thought this was the third time’s a charm … and, fortunately, today I finished the cards and it fits.

I had tried it on several times while I was working on it to keep checking on the fit. This is one reason that I love the top down construction of this cardigan. I did make a few adjustments (basically because I wasn’t paying attention all the time) … I used the larger needles to knit the bottom of the sleeves. I also knit the plackets before realizing that I hadn’t knit the collar. So the collar went on at the end. It looks fine and I will knit this pattern again.

I will wear it next week to work.

Gone knitting!

My intrepid assistant approves! It's a good place for a nap.

My intrepid assistant approves! It’s a good place for a nap.

Button, Button. Who’s Got the Button

Basic Baby Raglan Cardigan Sweater

Basic Baby Raglan Cardigan Sweater

The adorable baby sweater is finished except for the buttons.

The pattern used a yarn over (YO) to make a small button hole and it’s a bit odd … thus, it’s going to be a challenge to find an adorable girly-not-too-girly button (times seven). I’ve tried several that I thought would work and they don’t.

Again. The pattern calls for a 3/4 inch button … they seem a little bit to big. And anything other than a smooth circular or near-circular button gets caught in the button hole. Grrrrr!

I am sure that I’ll win at this battle. I can always make my own buttons but I’d like to find something sweet for my niece-to-be.

I chose to use a Knit Picks yarn, Comfy Sport, which was wonderful to work with. I love the way it feels and the colors are great. Price point is very reasonable at and it’s washable. I think that knitted gifts for babies have got to be washable. You can check out the colors that I used on my Ravelry projects page.

This pattern was free on Ravelry and it’s a very simple knit. A beginner could certainly make it … especially if one made it in a single color. Stripes are not difficult but carry the yarn as you go because there would be a ton of ends to weave in if you don’t. With my three colors there were enough ends and I carried the yarn as much as I possibly could. I made the 3 – 6 month size. It required one ball of each color and there isn’t much yarn left. Once it’s blocked and buttons are sewn on, I’ll post another picture. I just need those buttons.

Anybody got any ideas?

Gone knitting.