Monday, December 24, 2007

The Stockings Are Hung By the Chimney with Care


The last bit of knitting is done and wrapped…

Zelda has had a Christmas bath….

Ahh, the adventures of Zelda! As curious cats will do, Zelda crawled into the kitchen cabinet where we keep our cleaning supplies unbeknownst to my DH who was working on something in the kitchen. He closed the door and went to sit down, then started hearing suspicious noises coming from the kitchen. He opened the cabinet and Zelda emerged covered in I-don’t-know-what, but being as the cleaning stuff is kept in that cabinet, I wasn’t taking a chance at letting her lick something toxic off her fur… so into the tub she went … Zelda is no fan of water … but it was the right thing to do.

I’ll be taking a break from updating the blog the rest of the week as I take time to enjoy family and friends for Christmas and a few extra days.

I hope that you all get to spend your Christmas the same way.

I wish you all the best and urge you to take a few moments to reflect on the goodness of God and the best and greatest gift man has ever received. Happy Birthday to Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord!






Have a very Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

It’s Beginning to Feel a lot like Christmas!

The gifts are wrapped!







Christmas knitting is done except for the toe of a sock.












Here’s a quick peek at the felted purses:

These were both fun. I hope the recipients enjoy them as much as I did making them. There was also a hat for the boy-friend of one of my niece’s, who is hoping his team does well in the Rose Bowl, can you guess which one?

I EVEN managed to squeeze in one more hat for PADs (making the total 21!) Sorry, but I forgot to take a picture of the finished hat before I took it to church this morning. It came out real nice though….

Thursday, December 20, 2007

They’re Agitating!

The purses are in the wash machine being felted as I type! Here’s the before:
Stasi’s Jeff Gordon Special:

Debbie’s Fair-Isle Booga:
Close-up of Fair Isle pattern:



The worst part was knitting the miles of I-cord for the handles (not pictured for booga bag). But it feels good to be at this point today.
Obviously I’ll have to wait to post the "after" pictures another day or so, ( once they are completely done) but I’m happy with the so-far results.
Thankfully getting these into the machine today puts me right where I want to be with my gift-knitting schedule. One more small item; ½ of one sock and room to spare for any last minute things! Whew~! I can breathe again.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Peace of Mind and Multi-Tasking

This is how far I was on the felted purse this morning:

This is where I am now:

Just 3 more rounds, the flap and the straps left to do and then the felting!

I probably would be knitting on the straps already, but today was another day with an altered schedule. I had to go out for an appointment this AM and that siphoned off some knitting time. But again, it was important. Had to get the annual mammogram done. Don’t like it much, but it’s worth the few minutes of discomfort once a year to know that there’s nothing wrong. I worked on DH’s gift while I was waiting instead of dragging along the felted purse. A little multi-tasking again. Not much to show yet on that project.

After reading the Yarn Harlot's latest post, I don’t feel quite so bad about my knitting schedule. And I don’t intend to waste any knitting time learning to curl. This was just a quick “break” from knitting to do this post. I have to go start dinner and get a few other things done, but hopefully this bag will be done tonight and the next one ready to cast on.

Wish me luck!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Hats and Other Stuff

I reached my goal of 20 hats! Here are some pictures….

The three I mentioned in the last post:


All 20:

I cast on for the next project on my gift knitting list: a felted bag for my NASCAR-loving niece. I call it the Jeff Gordon Special – it’s the “Felted Blue Bag” pattern from Moda Dea. I’m using Patons Classic Wool in red, yellow and blue to create a sort of striped pattern and you can see the lining fabric peeking out from under the WIP. I had wanted to do flames, but I think the time constraint will make that too tricky an undertaking.
After this one is done, I have another niece to knit a bag for and then the socks for my DH. I figure if I get both bags done by the weekend, I can sneak the socks in here and there and finish them in time … otherwise he’s getting the one sock that’s already finished with an IOU for the second (tee, hee).
Most of the knitting I did was over the weekend. I didn't get too much of the knitting I had hoped to do done today. Two of our "Senior Saints" from church and I went to the nursing home to deliver some lap robes they have been stitching and I had several errands and things that kept me out of the house most of the day. It was nice to see the people who are benefitting from our efforts and the one "Senior Saint" who is almost 90 herself really enjoyed presenting the lap robes. So even though my schedule was adjusted, the day wasn't really lost.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Detour

Another detour today; I was out the majority of the day finishing up with the car repairs and mailing packages and meeting DH for lunch and some shopping and stuff; got a little knitting done, but no pictures taken. The gold hat is done, blue/gray mushroom is in progress, and one more hat is cast on. Pictures soon!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Where I am… (or where am I?)

Whew, I got hat number 17 (earflap hat) done and thought I was done with number 18 (another "mushroom cap"), too. Well, that is I finished it last night except for the weaving in of ends. I had grand plans of doing that this morning and then casting on number 19. I knitted away blissfully all day yesterday thinking that this hat was going to be just about perfect. Silly girl! I noticed it seemed a tad on the big side when I bound off, but put it down and went to bed thinking maybe it was just because I was tired and I’d double check the size in the morning. Good thing I didn’t weave in any ends! It wasn’t just a tad on the big side… it was sasquatch size! Gargantuan! Huge with a capital XL. So, I did what I knew I had to do… Yep! Ribbit, to the frog pond I went. No pics of the offensive thing. But here’s a start on the redo and the second hat I had planned on casting for (76 st hat), yep, I’m taking up multi-tasking to make up for lost time due to hoodie tragedy and hat overestimation. So, this being Thursday, I should have had plenty of time for knitting and other things that needed to be finished up, WRONG! The car’s engine was making a loud sound whenever we drove it, so it had to go to the shop for a look-see; the shop is right across the street from the Mall so I figured I could get a little last minute shopping done while I waited and I did bring one of the hats with in case it took longer than the shopping. Good thing. The car’s still in the shop and could be another day. (Won’t even mention the too big repair bill too close to Christmas). Let’s just say I did get a good section of the hat knit, got a little shopping done. (Why are they always out of the size you need?) At least the gifts that need to be mailed are ready … just need to get them wrapped and into mailing boxes... this afternoon. I can do it! Oh, yeah, and I still have to fix the tree that Zelda has been trying to dismantle one ornament at a time.

Wait; did I mention the mouse? It seems we might have a mouse living in our storage area. Fortunately it’s closed off from the rest of the house (at least we hope the mouse can’t open the door). So my husband not being much with animals has put me in charge of (buying and) setting the traps. Ewww.

Well, I better get busy; I’ll try to do a hat update tomorrow after things settle down.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

No Sun Today

Yes, it was another grey, icy, rainy day. Just the kind of day that it is good to stay in and knit; so I did. I worked on the hoodie and yes, it is finished. Here’s a look at it.
Awww, so cute. Now, I need to get busy with some hats.
I think Saucey is starting to sense a looming deadline. Do you think she’s been trying to learn to knit?

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Decorating is done…

Right down to the cat. (hee, hee)… actually, she didn’t like it much, so I took it off, but doesn’t she look pretty?
The thing that slowed me down with putting up the decorations is that after moving so many times, I find myself with boxes of many decorations, but no clue how they will go up in the current space. It takes a while to sort thru things and figure out exactly how to arrange it all so it doesn’t look like a total eclectic mess. I finally got things put up in a way I like. I ended up not putting up any lights due to the abundance of snow outside and we opted out of a big tree, so I just have one table top and one mini up this year (in different areas). I got a little sad for a few minutes when I opened my box of ornaments because there are so many memories of Christmas past there, but then I remembered that they were just that; only memories and the spirit of Christmas wasn’t in the ornaments, but in why we celebrate the season. Sometimes I need to remember that.

Hoodie II is progressing and I hope to finish tonight or tomorrow. Hopefully there will be no more detours from the knitting schedule once it’s done. I have 3 or 4 hats to get done before Sunday.

If tomorrow isn’t as gray as today was (and blogger cooperates) maybe I can get a few pictures of the Christmas decorations. I plan on taking them anyway so that next year I can remember what goes where and get it done faster.

Friday, December 7, 2007

The Week that Wasn’t…

What it should have been. All I wanted to do this week was crawl under a comfy blanket and hibernate.

I wish I could say I was productive, but I really haven’t kept up my standard. Tuesday, I finished up the Hoodie (but there’s more to that story).



On Wednesday, I was in a knitting funk; I stopped and started a lot of little things. There was also dithering about a possible trip to MI this weekend which thankfully fell through. Thursday, I made a mess of the house trying to decorate for Christmas. (It’s a little better, but still needs work). Today was work and shopping (since I didn’t on Weds). So I’ve only been home a little while.

Oh, yeah, the “rest of the story”; I finished the Hoodie for Eli but it befell disaster. Let me just tell you, I still have some long ago knitters’ admonition ringing in my ears on this one. “Never Knit a Knot!” In this case, include manufacturer’s yarn joins. Ugh, I should have known better, when I did the second swatch, I noticed a couple of these joins or slubs in the yarn. The yarn came in center pull balls already, but I re-wound the first skein for the sweater just to be safe and started knitting away happily. It was fine, so I grabbed another one. I figured maybe just the skein I swatched with was bad and foolishly started that skein without re-winding it to check for bad places. Mistake! I knit halfway up the back and one of those little critters appeared. It seemed tiny and harmless at the time so I just left it there. No problem, right! What could go wrong? Well see for yourself…

Yep, when I washed it, the darn thing came apart. The stitch just disintegrated. So now there is a big hole in the back of the really cute Hoodie I just knit for my Grandson. Waaah! The good people at Knit Picks have refunded me for the bad skeins I used. I’m still deciding whether to send the 11 other skeins that were left over back. (Yeah, I made sure I had plenty – this is a gift we’re talking about, I wasn’t taking any chances when I ordered). Okay, so you’re thinking maybe it’s fixable. Well maybe it is, but my solution was to start the whole sweater over with a different yarn. (It’s about to the halfway point)

So the tally this week is one sweater finished but not “present-able”; another sweater started; One hat started, but neglected; A gift exchange gift (for party tonight) needing wrapped; Christmas decorating only partially done. Oh yeah, and I need to bake 4 dozen cookies between now and tomorrow afternoon. But at least I have ingredients.

So, just to end this on a good note: here’s a little video of Zelda helping with the garland

video
And, she also helped unload the dishwasher:

I’m going to go decorate or bake…. Have a nice weekend!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Under the Weather

I finished the hoodie, but haven't had a chance to take pics yet. I had a check up yesterday and got a couple immunizations. I wasn't really up to much today. I promise there will be pics when I feel better. Oh, and we're getting more snow tonight.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Safe and Warm

We survived the weekend. On Saturday we got this: Which wasn’t quite as bad as it could have been; snow, but not as much ice as was forecast; it rained on Sunday, it wasn’t warm enough to melt the snow, but it didn’t get quite cold enough to freeze everything, either – now we just have crunchy snow.

Zelda tested it out for us and reported it to be uninviting

Saucey stayed in.

Oh, and I got this:
my swap package from the Harvest Sock Swap. My partner Sharon made the “I Love Gansey Sock” in a nice sage green color. She also tucked in several other nice goodies. Some yummy sock yarn from the "a swell yarn shp" site and another pattern called Falling Leaves; some leaf shaped chocolate and a cool little tote bag that comes all folded up inside a little mini-tote. Perfect for keeping in my purse so when I go to the store for just a couple items I can use it instead of taking home another plastic bag.

On the knitting front, the hoodie is almost: That is it’s a complete sweater minus the hood and pocket. With gauge issues behind me, this turned out to be a very quick knit. The only part of the pattern I changed was that I knitted it mostly in the round instead of flat as the pattern calls for. I switched to working back and forth for the raglan shaping only because of using two colors. I worked the color sections like intarsia. Otherwise in one color I would have just worked in the round right up to the neck shaping. Hopefully I’ll have a finished picture to post in the next day or so.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

D’oh!

I suppose it would be less stressful to read the directions completely before starting!

(Sweater progressing uneventfully... now)

Ooopsie! Hee, hee…

Friday, November 30, 2007

The 11’s have it

So, it looks like the size 11 needles will be okay for the Hoodie project. The after-washing gauge came out to 3 st = 1 inch on the nose. Good enough for me. As I said; growing boy and all. He may grow another inch by the time he gets to wear this hoodie.

On the hat front; the “Warm and Ready” Knitter's Winter 2007 pattern was such a quick knit that I actually made two!

I finished the first last night and then worked the second up to the shaping. It was a quick-to-finish project this afternoon. Yeah! I have a hunch I’ll do a couple more of these before all is said and done.

We have a winter storm warning for some nasty weather this coming weekend. Hopefully that will give me some time to get going on the Hoodie for Eli and at least one more hat done.

If you’re in the path of the storm, I hope you get to stay in and knit like I plan to do!

Have a happy, safe and warm weekend.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Day at the Spa….

I wish. Well, the swatches had their “spa” visit today. That is, they had a soak in the sink:

And they are now resting after a mini-massage:







The top swatch is knit on size 11’s and may do the trick (and save me from the dastardly 14 inch long straight 13’s); I was getting 3.25 stitches = 1 inch with the size 11. If it measures that close once it's dry, I'll probably go with those needles (since he's gonna grow). The bottom swatch is the first one I knit on the 10.5’s. I'm giving these swatches the full treatment; since this is cotton yarn, so the next step once they are dry is the hang test. I still want to see what the yarn "does" after the swatch hangs up for a day or so. (For those unfamiliar with cotton's properties - it can have a tendancy to grow lengthwise - sort of like little boys).

Other than that and some house cleaning; I worked on another hat. There was a minor tragedy when the cable on the circular needles broke. (That’s what I get for buying “cheap” needles – I found these no-name bamboos on clearance at a discount store). Ugh… no need to panic, though. The stitches are pretty firm and I picked them up with a set of dpns and kept going round. I did foray into my cache of aluminum needles, I do have a set of 16" number 8’s (but no size 13 circulars at all) if I really want to go back to working in the round, but so far the dpns are fine and the hat is near the decreasing point where I’d have to switch to dpns anyway. Onward I say!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

It’s Gonna Take Some Math…

I started swatching for my grandson Eli’s Christmas gift (Santa Cruz Hoodie from Knit 2 Together). I think I might have to spend a little time in remedial math on this one. The pattern guage is 12 st = 4 inches if I did the division right that’s 3 stitches to the inch. So far on size 10.5 needles (recommended size in pattern); I’m getting 4.5 stitches to the inch (and I knit big). I’m think that I will just go ahead and knit the full 5” square swatch and give it the spa treatment just to be sure before I panic. But, that said, I will also cast on with a size 13 needle (groan) just to see what happens. The problem is as some of you sock knitters might appreciate, using size 13’s after working many socks and hats on smaller needles is like knitting with tree trunks. Plus, I’m reasonably sure without checking that I don’t have any circulars in 13. (Grrr). So, the next rational thing to do…. is THE MATH. I may have to actually drag out a calculator and figure out how the swatch numbers can be used to come up with number of stitches to get the correct measurements for the pattern. I’m pretty sure this is do-able because the pattern is mostly stockinette stitch and seed stitch borders. No fancy lace or other stuff to have to take into consideration if I have to fudge a little to make it work. Wish me luck.

Oh, I did finish the Koolhaas hat today. Much fun and pretty, too. Look:
(sorry the picture doesn't do it justice - very grey outside today)
So on that note, I think I’ll get back to my knitting. Who knows, maybe I’ll even check my needle stash to see if I have a neglected size 13 circular

Monday, November 26, 2007

Happy Monday

I hope everyone had a not-too-stressful weekend. We had a quiet thanksgiving. It’s hard now since the kids are so far apart and none of them are in a position to travel much. DH had to work on Friday which took us out of the position of traveling anywhere as well. We would have liked to go see either of our parents, but that didn’t work out. So we had a quite day, just us and the football games. We also took time to go see a movie. This is a treat for both of us, but a rare occurrence since neither of us likes the environment at movie theaters. (There are just too many people who don’t have a clue how to behave in public). Anyway, we saw the movie August Rush. I don’t usually go around publicly endorsing movies, because there is already plenty of advertising, but if you like a movie that has you leaving the theater saying “wow” … this is the one to see. We will definitely be adding the soundtrack to our CD collection. The story was really good and the actors did a great job of conveying the emotional content. Like I said, if you like a feel good movie, go see it, you won’t regret it.
I got some knitting done, but not so much that I didn’t treat it like a holiday. I finished 2 out of 3 hats that I’d hoped to get done and started the third, not so bad. These two purple ones are basic hats using a 91 / 90 stitch pattern and improvising on the details. One is a two-color snowflake pattern the other is a basket-weave stitch.
The 3rd hat which is in progress is Jared’s Koolhaas hat from IK holiday knits. The twisted cables took a little effort to get the hang of, but once I did it started to get faster. So far I like the look of it. I took a good look at my wool-ease stash, and the goal is to make hats using up these 7 skeins of yarn. That will put me at 21 out of my goal of 20. If I get all these knit and still have time left before we give them to the shelter, I’ll do some more with the partial skeins.

I decided the other two gifts on my Christmas knitting list could take a back seat to hats because I still have a full week after the target date for hats and that should be enough time to knit those two. It’s a plan. I’ll let you know if it works out that way (tee, hee).

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Prayer of Thanks

God has created a new day, Silver and green and gold. Live that the evening may find us Worthy his gifts to hold. Lord bless not only meat and drink, But what we do and what we think. So that in all our work and play, We may grow better every day. (From Table Graces; Prayers of Thanks, Peter Pauper Press) 5 things I am thankful for: 1. A loving merciful God who gives me a fresh start every day. 2. My family; my parents who still have their health and vitality, my siblings and their families; my Husband; my daughters and step-daughters; my grandsons and my crazy cats. The love they provide gives me strength and encouragement. 3. A clear mind and able hands. 4. A home to live in and enough to eat. (Also, yarn to knit with). 5. The friends and acquaintances that lend their encouragement and help me along the way. Have a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Pattern

If you liked the mitten decoration; here's the pattern. This has not been test knit, so let me know if you find any issues. I needed put it here before I could link to it in ravelry! Supplies: Yarn: 1 skein Lion Brand Wool-Ease in Cream (or other worsted wt Yarn) Needles: 2 size US 6 circular needles and 1 (set of 4) US size 6 double point needles (Note: instructions are for two needle technique, but can be worked entirely on double- points if preferred) 1 cable needle; stitch markers, stitch holder GAUGE: 4.5 St = 1 inch of stockinette stitch Right Mitten: Cast on 42 stitches using two circular needles. Arrange stitches so you have 21 stitches on each needle. Join and knit in the round as follows: Round 1-4: (needle 1) K4, P2, K8, P2, K5 (needle 2); K21 Round 5: (needle 1) K4, P2 slip next 4 stitches to cable needle, hold in front of the work (LT); K4; K4 stitches from cable needle, P2, K5; (needle 2) K21 Repeat these 5 rounds 3 times (15 rounds) then begin thumb gusset shaping Thumb gusset shaping Increase Round 1: needle 1, K4, P2, K8, P2, K4, place marker, M1, K1; needle 2 K1, M1, place marker, K to end of needle Increase Round 2: needle 1, K4, P2, K8, P2, K6; needle 2 K22 While continuing established rounds for cable crossings, work increase rounds 1 and 2 until 12 increases have been made (14 stitches between markers) slip the 14 thumb stitches to waste yarn or a stitch holder Continue working Rounds 1-5 of pattern until hand reaches 2” less than desired length or 50 rounds. Begin finger shaping while continuing with cable pattern: Decrease Round 1: (needle 1) K1, SSK, K1, P2, K8, P2, K1, K2tog, K1 (needle 2) K1, SSK, K14, K2tog, K1 Decrease Round 2: Work even in established pattern Continue these two decrease rounds until one more cable twist has been made, then repeat decrease round 1 without making cables until 4 stitches remain on each needle (8 stitches total). Cut yarn and kitchner the top of the mitten. Thumb Pick up 14 thumb stitches on 3 dpn and work around until thumb measures 2” from hand. Thumb Decrease Round 1: K2 tog around Thumb Decrease Round 2: K all stitches Thumb Decrease Round 3: K2tog 3 times, K1 Break yarn and pull through remaining stitches. Weave in all ends. Left Mitten: Cast on 42 stitches using two circular needles. Arrange stitches so you have 21 stitches on each needle. Join and knit in the round as follows: Round 1-4: (needle 1) K21 (needle 2); K5, P2, K8, P2, K4 Round 5: (needle 1) K21 (needle 2) K5, P2 slip next 4 stitches to cable needle, hold in back of the work (RT); K4; K4 stitches from cable needle, P2, K4; Repeat these 5 rounds 3 times (15 rounds) then begin thumb gusset shaping Thumb gusset shaping Increase Round 1: (needle 1) K20, M1, place marker, K1; (needle 2) K1 place marker, M1, K4, P2, K8, P2, K4 Increase Round 2: (needle 1) K22; (needle 2) K6, P2, K8, P2, K4 While continuing established rounds for cable crossings, work increase rounds 1 and 2 until 12 increases have been made (14 stitches between markers) slip the 14 thumb stitches to waste yarn or a stitch holder Continue working Rounds 1-5 of pattern until hand reaches 2” less than desired length or 50 rounds. Begin finger shaping while continuing with cable pattern: Decrease Round 1: (needle 1) K1, SSK, K1, P2, K8, P2, K1, K2tog, K1 (needle 2) K1, SSK, K14, K2tog, K1 Decrease Round 2: Work even in established pattern Continue these two decrease rounds until one more cable twist has been made, then repeat decrease round 1 without making cables until 4 stitches remain on each needle (8 stitches total). Cut yarn and kitchner the top of the mitten. Thumb Pick up 14 thumb stitches on 3 dpn and work around until thumb measures 2” from hand. Thumb Decrease Round 1: K2 tog around Thumb Decrease Round 2: K all stitches Thumb Decrease Round 3: K2tog 3 times, K1 Break yarn and pull through remaining stitches. Weave in all ends. Attach ribbon to inside of each mitten, add greens or other decorations. Hang and enjoy! For a wearable version of this pattern, you may want to add a 1-1½ ribbed cuff before beginning cable pattern. Note: If you copy the pattern, leave me a comment, just so I know if anyone is making it!

A Couple of Things are Finished…

I finished the Mitten Decoration last night; I added a few of my own touches, and love the way it turned out.

At knitting group this morning, Lynette brought the finished Afghan in. We did squares over the summer and she has been busy putting it together. It came out mighty nice too. The recipient, Michael will be home on leave next month and we’re going to have a formal presentation then. Here’ a peek.




I did some of the grey and black squares. I don’t think I posted any pictures of them during the knitting, because by themselves they weren’t much, but with everyone else’s efforts, it is really nice!