Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Twinkle Toes Socks

Oh, I can hardly wait to cast on the next socks. I've already decided that what ever pattern catches my fancy, the socks shall be named Twinkle Toes. A recent order has arrived and I am the very proud owner of five - yes five - balls of Berroco Sox Metallic. It is newly available for Spring and comes in quite luscious colors.

Want to see? All five balls are "Acai" - aka color 1361. Now don't go wondering why five of the exact same colorway. They are all the same because every color, shade and sparkly metallic bit is "my" color! It is like Berroco was reading my soul when this one was put together.

Given that Sox comes in 100g balls, it is easy to wonder what I will ever do with five pair of socks all the same. Well, I could gift a friend. Or put one ball in a yarn auction (charity fundraiser) or make matching mother/daughter socks. I could even make one pair now - and keep the rest for future pairs!

Perhaps breaking out and crocheting a turtle. The colors would be good for a turtle, don't you agree? Perhaps a coffee cup cozy would be festive. I suppose, that given the metallic sparkles, a tie would be inappropriate for a conservative professor. But maybe HE needs socks!!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Weekend Quickie Knit

Three cheers for Peggy Pignato's free pattern called Weaver's Wool Mini Shawl. Just put the name in your fave search engine or look on Ravlery. Such a quickie to knit! Absolutely perfect for this transitional weather when you still need a little something extra but don't want to bother with anything fussy.

The shawl pattern increases on the front edges twice as often as down the back. This simple difference in the wedges makes it so that the front hugs the shoulders and falls softy with - get this - no fiddling required. That's right. You don't have to fiddle with this wedge based shawl to get it to stay on the shoulders. The simple shaping takes care of all that.

Can you tell that this was a stash busting project? I wish there had been another 50 yards of the Skacel Sensuale, but alas, 'twas discontinued in 2005. That's a big downfall to stash busting. Even though it came up a few rows short the shawl is still fantastic. The solid is Louisa Harding Grace - which is quite easily available.

Started this project on Friday afternoon and worked on it a bit that night. Most of Saturday was spent with family in non-knitting activities; the bind off occurred on Sunday afternoon. Now that is a quickie knit for sure!

This pattern would be a fantastic first project for anyone. Or, an ideal traveling companion as once the markers are placed, no counting is needed. Check out the pattern and you will see for yourself how simply simple it is.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Watching Wool Dry

What did you do yesterday?

I watched wool dry.

ALL day?

No, first I figured out where to put the wool so it could dry.

Did you find a nice flat place for the drying wool?



Well, I pinned the edges of all the pieces in place but ran out of flat spots.

Then what did you do?

Had to let one piece hang down a tad. Don't worry, I did go back and pin the curly edges. But at least it all fits.

I only see one front and one sleeve. Where is the rest?

I'll never tell!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Count Down

No photos of the almost completed sleeves yet. But counting of rows did occur. Only thirty-four more rows on each sleeve and the cabled cardigan madness will end. Check out the pattern on Ravelry. (or go all the way back to this post and learn that the Cabled Cardigan is from Classic Elite Knits - wedded to Lily Chin Gramercy from the stash)

The tape measure played a trick on me and for a moment it appeared that there were only twenty-two more rows per sleeve. Have you ever felt that moment when, during a knitting jag, you just feel that somehow it is coming up short?

That's how I felt today. Even though I am drooling with anticipation that the never ending cable work will actually end, it just felt too good to be true. As in way too good. So I did what any self respecting yarn-a-holic would do and held a sleeve along my actual living breathing arm. And mercy be - it was going to be too short! A quick check of gauge (gasp! & cough*%) revealed that in deed one more repeat of the twelve row cable pattern would be perfect to reach the "me" sleeve length and signal the exact moment and row to begin the bind off/decreases to create the sleeve cap.

I just love it when a published pattern actually works. When there has been sample making with forethought and brilliance I get all giddy and thank the genius behind the art that is instruction on the printed page.

I am impressed. . . with the pattern. . . and with the. . . execution. . .

. . . she humbly stated for all to read.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Short Row, Wrong Side

Having never attempted the Masters Program from TKGA, I am quite often uncomfortable letting others examine the wrong side of certain projects. Wrong side of a felted anything - no problem. Look all you want. Wrong side of a scarf - no worries here. Flip that beauty over and have look. Inside of a purse. Look all you want - that lining covers all!

Wrong side of a sweater/cardi/top of any kind. It is sort of OK to peek. Mostly things will be good to go. The occasional poorly woven in end - but that is often speed and not lack of knowledge.

Right now I am working on a sample baby afghan that might not be good to go on the wrong side. I just don't know.

What is the wrong side of short row shaping supposed to look like when color changes are involved? This is what is happening.

It looks either like a crochet chain (and I am knitting!) or it looks similiar to the edge where knitting in the row below occurs. The problem is that one side is made of a solid color. In the photo, it is the right side. the left side of this funky chain like wrong side is composed of two colors of yarn.

Let's say that the pink section on the right was worked in short rows down to one stitch at the lower corner in the edge pattern. Then the lilac color is reintroduced and begins increasing whilst picking up the pink short row wraps. That's how there are two colors, both pink and lilac, on the left side of the funky chain like wrong side.

Am I thrilled that this does not look like a total mess? Am I enchanted that the wrong side of the afghan actually has visual interest? Do I hate the way it is turning out? Am I expecting too much?

What should the wrong side of short row shaping with color changes look like?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Weekend Wonders

The rain is on the way - again. Here in the Inland Empire, one can see the clouds moving from the horizon to overhead. And the wind is kicking up. Of course, we always have wind out here. This is just a little wind high in the palm trees. Not a blow over the patio umbrella and cast iron base breaking a rib on the 9 foot umbrella. No. Not that bad. Yet.

So, the creatures and I are off to the desert for a bit. It is a holiday weekend you know. The dogs and cat are coming with me today. Bert can't come just yet. The dogs get the back seat - with their favorite towel. The towel only comes out for trips to the desert and I think they have learn what is happening when they see the towel.

Snowy's lovely purple cat carrier fits securely on the floor in the front. It is a nice quite spot and he is not bothered by a dog flinging drool into the front of the car. I'm bothered by flinging drool. But at least it is happy drool - I can almost hear Comet and Covey singing "We're goin' to the dessert!"

Bert has to wait and come out later. Probably tomorrow, after a business dinner. Not that Bert has a business dinner. My Dave has a business dinner. And Bert's travel cage fists very well in the back of Dave's large car.

Prediction is for the rain to make it all the way to the desert. That's OK. Being home in the rain seem confining. Being in the desert in the rain is an adventure. Totally different. And lots of time to knit.

post edited 30 minutes later to let you know that there is a huge patch of blue sky sitting over the house. What happened to the rain clouds? Mother nature is such a tease! Wonder how long it will take her to change her mind back to rain clouds??

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I Cord - Therefore I Am

Guess what I did yesterday? I made I-Cord. Lots of the stuff. Lengths of the stuff. This was the beginning pile.

A teaching moment has come my way and this will all become samples. Next week I will be teaching a short workshop on corded closures.

Corded closures, also know as ‘frogs’, are a fun way to add interest, decoration or embellishment to fabricated items. They are not just for garments, but can also be added to the front of a purse, opening of a pillow or a pocket. These decorative and functional closures can also be used to add interest to a shawl, bottom of a sleeve or used more traditionally on a mandarin collar.

Weaving the knot, sometimes called a Chinese knot, will be a fun practice for everyone. The actual weaving is not very difficult. It boils down to loop, loop, under, weave through. The picky part comes when pulling, tugging, fudging, straightening and all the manipulations needed to get the knot smooth and pretty with two equal tails.

Now don't go thinking that my hand is hiding unequal tails. Very pleased to say this sample came out great - - much better than the blurry photo might lead you to believe.

I think the workshop will be fun. Mostly it is just a refresher/reminder of the possibilities that corded closures can bring to a project. I was having so much fun with the samples, that the entire three page handout is is written, formatted and copied. Days before needed!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Where's The Yarn?

Where's the yarn?

When I cast on for the sleeves of the cabled cardigan, I started two brand new balls of yarn. Exactly the same. Even the dye lot numbers match! That's how exactly the same the balls were. Now, nearing the end of one ball, the two are not so much exactly the same any more. One ball is clearly more endowed with yardage. So what happened?

The knitting is flying along. Short rows, decreases, increases - you know cabled sleeve shaping. Suddenly the two balls are no longer equal. In fact they are no longer equal by quite a bit. So upset by this situation was I that the measuring tape actually made an appearance. Result - two sleeves the same length. HMM. Most unusual. Could it be that the short rows, the decreases and the increases were not the same from sleeve to sleeve. No way! The whole point of working both sleeves at the same time is to insure uniformity. I have it down to a science. Actual notes and row counting occurs.

Both fronts were worked at the same time in the same manner as the current sleeve knitting. Started each front side with a brand new ball just as I did for the sleeves. But when the fronts worked up - exactly the same - all the yarn was equal from ball to ball.

Where's the sleeve yarn? Is it some accident of ball winding? Is my tension that off from the first sleeve to the second sleeve? Or, is it just a puzzling idiosyncrasy of yarn that keeps us slaves to its mysteries? Yeah. That must be it.

PS - Having a bouquet of roses arrive at the front door sure does make for a happy knitter. And these are not even Valentine Roses.

Friday, February 6, 2009

End of the Week Gift

Enjoy this lovely end of the week gift from Mother Nature. There is something spell binding about a rainbow.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Short Row Day

This afternoon had a blank spot. An actual chunk of time not committed to anything. Seemed like the perfect time to cast on and work through the lower sleeve shaping for the cardigan. The pattern specifices a nice gently rounded edge created by short rows.

Managed to get one sleeve all shaped and at a good stopping point.

The other sleeve is cast on and ready for the first of the short rows.

Bert is not impressed by short row shaping.