Thursday, December 30, 2010

Poking Through Holes

Bait.  Hook.  Line.  Sinker.

 I've taken it all and am thoroughly hooked.   

Someone, who should remain nameless, gifted me with a gift during the festive merriment that is a family Christmas.  Yeah and verily, beads,  supplies, findings and printed words are now in the stash.

Of course, there is no room in the stash for a new stash.  Something has got to give.  The stash hiding space(s) just might have to expand somehow.   One would think that such tiny objects - beads and all - would not, could not, shall not require very much space.

 Really.  Beads are so small.  Little hooks and bits and rings are so small.  But somehow, it expands so quickly and uses up shelf space and squeezes out the yarn stash.  

OH WAIT.  This is a blog about learning to knit beaded bracelets.  It is not about stash building and stash hiding and stash space and stash organizing.

I learned to knit  a beaded bracelet.  With supplies from my gift.  A new addiction of poking needle and string through beads is born.    

Before the stash digression got me off track, I indicated that someone should remain nameless.    Should.   Not will.

This is Sarah - aka daughter #1.  If you see her, back away and run in an opposite direction.  She might look like an innocent and sweet intelligent adult who has love for her mother.

But she is a sneaky gift giver who blows up your yarn stash with a new addiction.  Oops, I mean obsession.  

I just might demand that she return to the homestead and reorganize the whole stash system to make room for beads, beads, findings, beads, instructions, beads, &tc!

PS - thank you Sarah.  Love, Mama

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Under The Wire

It is not a big deal.  But every year I try to complete an afghan.  Last year, daughter #1 benefited from the warmth of my efforts.  Some years, the extended family provides a baby that creates urgency toward completion.  This year - nothing special was on the horizon and no one was planning to redecorate a bedroom to spur me on toward the goal.

I was left to my own sense of plodding along to get 'er done.  Yes, just under the wire the wool is ready to pull over my sleeping eyes.

 Actually - three whole days early! 

But, I may have fudged just a tad.  That's right, I deleted a whole bunch of knitting.  What was planned to be suitable for sofa movie snoozing whilst fully stretched out was not going to happen in 2010.  No way.

You guessed it.  I made a smaller size.  Oh, come on.  Haven't we all done that at one time or another?  

Who needs calf length socks when anklets will suffice?  Three-quarter sleeves are just fine, thank you very much.  And what was the origination of the shawlette?  Exactly, someone who got freaking tired of knitting!  Surely, that is the derivation of the little swath of lace  that barely keeps the neck warm, much less the shoulders and upper back.

The joy of the Modern Log Cabin from Mason Dixon Knitting is that is lends itself so simply to any size.  I wanted to be done.  And by golly I was done.

Bind OFF. 

And it is not even 2011.  Way under the wire in my book.  Yeah me.

PS - I did not cheat.  I did not cheat.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Bottoms Up

 The wonderful thing about a skirt is that so many folks don't really believe that "I made it!" is truth in action.    But it is true.  This is my second skirt and compliments come my way each time I wear a hand knit wonder.

Admittedly, with this color combination, I do look somewhat like an upside down Christmas tree.   And so I wore this ensemble for this most festive of Christmas days. 

Already the skirt is destined to become a favorite.  And the  pattern is one that can be repeated should the need arise or the winds of a  whim waft over.  

My first foray into Berrocco Vintage is successful.  I was concerned about the 50% acrylic and how it would feel for so many rounds.  But the working was quite comfortable and truly the wool (40%)  feels dominate.  My hands did not dry out nor did the yarn feel yucky.   Hopefully that final percentage of nylon in the blend will help with longevity and strength of wearing.

The pattern is Bell Curve which can be had on Knitty if the link is not working.  The increases hidden within the vertical columns of star stitches is brilliant.  Absolutely brilliant.  Because the resulting panels are exactly the same, it is easy to give a quarter turn on each wearing and counteract skirt sag.  And we all know where that can happen!

The way the pattern is written, it was an almost too simple adjustment to shorten for us height challenged women.  

All in all, I am pleased, proud and planning every possible wearing opportunity. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Oh, Holey Night

Much knitting has occurred.  Some of it on the stealthy side of the yarn, but knitting none the less.  Already one manly man scarf has been delivered - with genuine surprise and delight.   

A few practical home type items are pre-stuffed into stockings.  There is always room for practical - even during the season of impractical indulgences.  

And so it goes.  Hidden (as in not written about here in e-public space) work taking place during both long stretches of time and stolen moments; it all gets accomplished.

 Photos of my gift to myself are yet to come, but in the mean while perhaps you will enjoy this soon to be raglan sweater.  Knitting a top down seems to go so fast - especially at the beginning when there are relatively few stitches per row.  In no time at all the sleeves are divided away to waste yarn and the body zips along just as quickly.

Mr Greenjeans by Amy Swenson has a fun twist on the plain v-neck raglan.  I am really looking forward to getting down to the interesting part.  

Unfortunately, late night knitting during a state of holiday induced exhaustion is sometimes not the wisest course of action.  Witness:

The dreaded dropped stitch.  

Several rows back.   

Discovered over the morning mega mug of coffee.

That's right - you understand.

Oh, Holey Night!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Waist Not

 Once again, a bit of knitting has pleased me greatly.  This is the inside casing of a waist band.  Just look at those beautiful stitches where the inside is knit with the public side.  One stitch at a time it works so perfectly.

There was a time that I feared such fiddly work.  It just seemed so tricky and complicated.    Over time, and with faith in my own ability, making a hem  or casing look neat and tidy from both sides is actually quite easy.

First, I start with good light.  Whilst sunshine is my preference, a bright and non-glaring lamp also works well.  

This is one of those tasks that I avoid doing in the evening.  Body rhythm being what it is, history tells me to join stitches in the morning or early afternoon.   Late afternoon and evening are lacking in patience and make for much frustration with the process.

For me, the folded casing or hem is a "one fell swoop" task.  Unless there is and ample uninterrupted  space of time, I don't even put the first stitch in place.  Oh sure, I'll pop a marker in stitch number one and smooth things out to see how everything is aligning.  But no stitchy stitchy unless there is time, time and more time.

If you've never turned a casing the basics are actually quite simple.  
  1. Knit stitches as called for - often 4 - 6 rounds or 1/2 to 1 inch or some other specified measurement.
  2. Purl a round - or do picot stitches if it will show in the wearing.
  3. Knit the same number of rounds as at first
  4. Fold along purl row and line up stitches nice and smooth and straight.
  5. Pick up (with left needle tip) a stitch from the cast on edge and knit it with the first stitch on the needle, making sure that the stitches are lined up and no skipping occurs.
  6. Do that around until the last 10 - 12 stitches and work those with out picking up.  This leaves a hole in the casing so that elastic can be inserted later.
  7. After the elastic is inserted, sew the casing closed.

From the public side, it looks this smooth.  The purl round (#2 in above description) makes a nice straight turning ridge.

Pattern:  Bell Curve Skirt by Kira Dulaney  which can be had on Knitty here.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Serpentine Beauty

Cashmere swath

A study in indigo

Twisting and turning

Winding into air

Wispy breath

From pointy ends

So full of holes

So full of warmth

Thou art mine, alone.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

So Soft, So Warm, So Fun

 The kit followed me home.  All I was doing was chatting with the good folks at a LYS and this was on the shelf near by and then it jumped to the counter and then next thing I knew it was on the front seat of my car following me home.  

Yarn is a sneaky and mystical thing.  It has a mind of its own and goes where it wants to go.  

Any who - - one week after this kit from The Alpaca Yarn Company  followed me home the work was done and the joy was abundant!  It is a very simple knit to create a mesh pattern.  That would be warm enough - given the alpaca.  But no no no.  More to come.  Paca Cinta, a bulky woven yarn provided in the kit, is woven through the mesh, tied off, and fringed.  

Do please click on the photo and view in a larger size.  Owing to the color dyes on the Paca Cinta and the simple weaving, color undulates across and through the brown scarf.  The impact is very pleasing, even when viewed from the "wrong" side.  I consider this one to be reversible.  And I do so love reversible scarf patterns.  

While I was rushing to finish this gift, Bert was reduced to spending time in his too small travel cage.

Bert does not enjoy his too small travel cage.

What's a mother to do?

Bert received the dregs of the Paca Cinta and he used it to make his very own scarf!  Way to go, you crafty creature.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Back To Basics

 The extended holiday weekend brought me back to the basics.  The basics of home decor and practical string work.

Bert needed a new lovey/play cloth.  He is rather protective of this new bright blue cotton.   If you look close, you'll see that his seed supply is covered up for safe keeping.  Sometimes it even becomes necessary to sit on top of the cloth so as to protect the food supply from some unseen seed thief.  

Although it does not show up here, and try as I might Bert would not pose appropriately, the bright blue does bring out the tips of his tail feathers.    He does so enjoy being a color coordinated flight of fashion.
The same simple crochet for Bert became new dish cloths for me.   Clicking on the photo might embiggen it and then you'll notice the texture.  These are just single crochet (sc).  The texture comes from working one sc in the back loop of the row below, the next sc in the front loop of the next stitch and repeat across.  A little bit more textural scrubby than plain single crochet.

All this new practical basic string work took just a few football games.  And - here is the joy of it all - no blocking required!