Friday, December 31, 2010

End Notes

 Since Iowa has been ending the year with serial dreary gray (and sometimes precipitation filled) days, I don’t have much in the way of pictures to share.  I assure you there has been a knitting challenge and I’m almost at the conclusion.  I guess you’ll have to wait for the first sunny day of 2011 to find out the details and see the results.  In the meantime, I can show you how Saucey plans on celebrating.  The exact same way she celebrated this Christmas…by taking a little post-nip nap.  
"hoppy halidays...hic"

I hope you have many good things come your way in 2011.

Happy New Year and Much Knitting Next Year!


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Little Things

I try not to set too many knitting goals for December.  The season is already stress-filled (even if you opt out of most of the consumerism like I try to do) and I find no joy in knitting against a deadline.  I know my limits for knitting Christmas gifts during November and December so most of my gift knitting has been fun little things.  Since it’s already been mailed/ received and modeled, I can show you the hat I knit for my Granddaughter.  I call it the Li’l Penny.  It’s a scaled down version of my Santa Bang-y hat (pattern now in PDF assuming the linky works).  (To your right =>).  Here’s what it looks like next to the original:

and here is my sweet Sylvia modeling it.
A hat from Nana!
 she's already experimenting with her sense of style

Pattern: Santa Bang-y
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino 100 White / 700 Red
Size 4 needles

And I knit her a Teddy Bear complete with removable skirt:
This is a pattern that I have used for years, I used to knit these for fun years and years ago and the pattern has evolved as my knitting skills have improved. I only use the written pattern as a guide these days. It's great for using up leftover odds and ends.

Then, I used some of the leftover white and some blue (Marine) Trendsetter Merino VI to whip up these for my nephews.

 Pattern: Improvised
 Size 3 dpn
I also whipped up a hat and fingerless mitts for my Niece

Pattern: Zig Zag Beanie by Dawn Leeseman / Mitts improvised
Yarn: Rowan Kid Classic / Lavender
Size 8 needles

I also knit a couple of fun ornaments that doubled as gift tags: 
Yarn: Assorted scraps of fingering
Needles:  Size 2.5 mm (I think)

Then I finished another pair of socks:
Fall Stripeys
Pattern: Basic Sock pattern; Eye of partridge heel / 2 row alternating color stripes
Yarn: Mini Mochi in Neptune and Mocha
Needles: 2.25 mm dpn

I showed you the cowl in a previous post and since I fell in love with the yarn I used for my cowl, I decided I HAD to have a pair of matching mittens …

Pattern: Improvised (I’m writing it up, but my notes are partially illegible so it will be a bit)
Yarn: Misti Alpaca Chunky Hand Paint in CP21/Winter Queen
Size 9 dpn

For the easily impressed, I want to note that most of the projects above (excluding socks) are one or two evening projects and easily accomplished while watching TV.  And I knit fast.

 I also started another pair of socks… the last of my 2010 Personal / Self-imposed Sock Club:
Scarborough Fair Socks

I’ll provide the full details when these are finished. These are a bit fiddly so they are slower going, but I hope to finish them in December.  (HOPE)

And to round out the year, I started one more shawl.  I cast on for Annis with some of this, (color 158) but I’m only 9 rows in so there’s not much to show yet. 

So that's what I've been up to lately since the last two projects I posted.  I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and as I do, look forward to what 2011 brings. 
Happy Knitting


Friday, December 10, 2010

Also finished

Narrangansett Bay Socks
Originally uploaded by nanaknits21

Narrangansett Bay Socks

Pattern: Narragansett Bay Socks from a Fine Fleece
Yarn: Knit Picks Essential
Size 2.25 mm needles

40 thousand stitches are worth a picture

Finished Pi
Originally uploaded by nanaknits21

Finished the Pi Shawl!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Who Moved My Calendar?

December has arrived and I am nearly caught up on some of my knitting goals.  The end is in sight for the Pi Shawl.  It is still a hopeless looking blob, but I hope to free it from the needles soon and hopefully it will be much more photogenic when it can be spread out and properly blocked. 

Instead of going out and joining the consumer fray last Friday, I cast on and knit this quick little cowl.  This was one of the projects for the Friday Night Knitting Club at my LYS.  We got a shipment of the Misti Alpaca Chunky in a couple days before that and I fell hard for this yarn in this colorway.  When I saw the cowl pattern, I asked about doing a substitution and it worked out quite nicely in my opinion.  A second skein may have come home with me Friday night to work up some matching mittens.  (I’ll keep you posted!)

Pattern: Chunky Eyelet Cowl by Nancy Wyatt
Yarn: Misti Alpaca Chunky in Winter Queen
Size 10 needles
(About 3 hours of knitting time, including 10 frogged rows)
Pattern Mods: Knit 8 rounds between eyelet sets.

I also finished my Watershed.

This pattern was a lovely knit and I’m only sorry I let it sit as often as I did instead of getting it done more quickly because I can’t wait for it to be done blocking and wear it. This picture is sort of bleah, so I'll have to get a better modeled shot and post it later.

Pattern: Watershed by Amy Swenson
Yarn: Dream in Color Classy in Midnight Derby
Needles: Size 8
Cast on: Nov 1st Finished Nov 27. 

I also finished one each of the two pairs of socks I’ve been working:

And cast on for each of their mates…

I also finished one of the Christmas gift knitting projects I was working on and will be starting the next one shortly. 

Saucey is not impressed:

Happy Knitting!


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Arranging and Organizing

I started my new job last week, working a couple days a week part-time at the LYS nearby.  I think it will be a good change of pace.  Whether or not I will get to teach remains to be seen, but right now I can take things one at a time.  I have also been busy doing other non-knitting things that aren’t all that interesting. As for knitting; I finished the Peacock socks and in true Nana fashion started another pair of socks almost immediately as well as my “November” Personal Sock club selection.  I’m still slogging away on the Pi Shawl, I have one more section before the final increase and I believe there are only 4 rounds or so after that.  (I erred in the last post thinking I only had 16 rounds to go as I hadn't read thoroughly or far enough ahead in the pattern to realize there was another 30 round section coming up) It’s still not very photogenic.  The Watershed vest is coming along, but I set it aside this weekend to work on the socks and the shawl. I may have a few other stealth projects started as well.  Since I'm not planning on ruining any secrets, here’s a quick look at what’s happening in Nana-socka-palooza:


Peacock Socks by Janel Laidman
Yarn: Mini Mochi in Neptune (color 108)
Magic Loop / size 2.25 mm needles

I liked this pattern.  I’m so-so on the yarn, I love all the colorways, but this is a soft single ply and doesn’t always play nice in the thick/thin department.  Also as all soft yarns are prone to being splitty and easy to break I can get a little frustrated if I have to rip or tink, which who am I kidding, happens more than I care to divulge when I knit. But overall, my only disappointment was in not being able to control the colors to get the really nice effect of peacock feathers that Janel did with her hand-dyed yarn.  Hmmm I do have a set of sock blanks that I got for my birthday.


(November PSC) Narragansett Bay Socks
Yarn: Knit Picks Essential in African Violet
Size 2.25 mm needles
Modified pattern from 64 to 60 stitches

Fall Stripey socks
Pattern: my standard 60 stitch sock / 2 row alternated stripes
Yarn Mini-mochi in color 304 and 108 (leftover from peacock)

Beyond that, I spent the better part of last weekend arranging my pattern binders, computer files/folders and Ravelry queue to get my sock patterns in order because sometime soon I plan to set up my Personal Sock Club bags for next year.  I can tell you I surprised myself with how well I’ve been doing in actually queuing patterns that I have on hand, but I still have a bunch that aren’t queued.  Oh well, the PSC helps weed them out and if I do bonus pairs each month that cuts it down even more.

Later on, I’ll have to do the same with the rest of the patterns, etc which I have collected for other things.  Everything is stashed somewhat neatly in binders, but needs to be matched with my queue at some point.  I did at least set up the other binders so that the tabs match the categories in my Rav queue and made sure that all of the binders are set up in the same order (about 2 hours worth of effort).  It’s nice to take a little time out to get more organized once in a while.

Since I doubt I’ll get a chance to blog tomorrow, I wish you all a Happy and healthy Thanksgiving.  I hope you have enough blessings in your life to feel as fortunate as I do.

Happy Knitting!


Friday, November 19, 2010

Nothing but sunbeam

Nothing but sunbeam
Originally uploaded by nanaknits21

Gotta make the most of every moment the sun comes out these days...
Zelda, you are doing it right!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Miles and Miles

One nice thing about taking short trips is that when we drive someplace, Hubby prefers to do most of the driving… that means lots of knitting time for me.  You might have figured that out from the previous post.  We’re back home now and I am happy to tell you that although I was practically holding my breath on the last repeat before the start of the toe, the main color yarn held out.  I only had approximately 9 yards left over. Whew!  The socks came out nicely.  The pictures not so much, but you can tell that they turned out pretty nice even if you can’t see a great amount of detail.

The remainder
 Pattern: Guitar Man Socks by Rebecca Mercier
Yarn: Creatively Dyed Steele in Kinofuji and Art Yarns Ultramerino in color 124
Size 0 needles magic loop

The socks are unblocked in these photos because these socks are too big for my blockers. I’m not sure how I’ll get them blocked nicely (since they are a gift).  I’ll figure something out.  I really like this pattern and plan to tinker with an adaptation for a smaller foot at some point.  I’ll let you know if/when I figure it out.

In other knitting I am coming along nicely on the Watershed Vest 
 Watershed in the sun

with a little help from my 'assistant'

and the shawl is progressing… 
only 16 more rounds (or 9216 stitches) to go until the next increase row and bind off. 
It kinda feels like I’ve been knitting for miles on that thing.  

And speaking of miles…. a friend recently posted on Facebook that she was trying to knit from stash due to the size of hers.  She went so far as to figure out how much yarn she had in yards, miles etc.  I was intrigued.  So much so, that I (of course) had to go figure out what I have on hand.  I too have been making an effort to knit mainly from stash.  Especially so since we moved and I realized how much yarn I really have.  I now know that I have 85,288.7 yards of yarn including 37,074.1 yards of fingering.  That adds up to about 48 miles (21 miles of sock yarn) give or take a few yards; or roughly 86 pairs of socks and many other projects with the other weights. 

I could knit for miles and miles….

Happy Knitting!


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Will I make it?

Will I make it?
Originally uploaded by nanaknits21

This is a picture I took with my cell phone. I was knitting while riding in the car. As you can see, the foot is only about halfway done and the yarn remaining is above it....

The question is will the yarn hold out until I get all of the repeats for the foot done?

Only the shadows know for sure (hee, hee)

I'll let you know the outcome in my next regular post.

Suspenseful Knitting!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Winds of Change

October is done, the election is down in the books, the corn has all been picked, and the winds have blown into our little community and swept most of the leaves off the trees.  Here at casa Nana change is happening.  I got a new job!  Shortly after arriving here in IA, the LYS newsletter announced that the shop was looking for a few people to hire (both for teaching and retail). I knew I was qualified but hesitated to put in an application due to hubby’s impending surgery and the unknown path that would take us down.  Since thankfully that ended up with a good outcome, I felt a little better about the possibility of applying for a job.  I checked in with the owner about the status of the hiring search and ended up with an application to fill out.  I did, had an interview and was hired yesterday.  It should be a good change for us here.  Next it will be hubby’s turn to find something to do :)

I think my knitting woes have finally left as well.  I finished one peacock sock and one of the (giant) Guitarman socks and am still straggling along on the shawl. 

In addition to those projects, I saw this KAL and decided to join in.  It looked like an interesting (and so far) quick project and I had the perfect amount of yarn in my stash.  
So far I’ve got the bottom band done…

Oh, and we did get the TV connection fixed.  I still wouldn't recommend this company to anyone with a choice and am planning to switch as soon as we get one.  Initially we were told we would have to wait until Tuesday (the 2nd) for a repair person, but they did get someone out on Friday, just in time to watch games 2-5 of the World Series.  It was tough picking a team to root for this year since both my DD’s had a team in contention.  So, we went with the underdogs…

Now no more sports talk until April breezes bring baseball back (ha, ha… right!)

Happy Knitting!


Thursday, October 28, 2010


Originally uploaded by nanaknits21

I could be watching the World Series or the Season Finale of Project Runway, but instead this is all that is on my TV Screen. If you're contemplating DirectTV... don't do it. Back away from the phone! You can't count on any type of speedy customer service if you experience a problem with your signal. They are not sympathetic either.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

October Knitting Difficulties

I'm suffering from a bout of OKD.  It seems like my knitting mojo could maybe use a poke with a sharp stick.  Yes, I’m getting things done, however (and a big one it is); some things are taking much longer and proving to be much more complicated than they need to be.  The Baby Sweater for example.   I found a really cute sweater pattern in a book and was going to make a minor modification to the stitch pattern and the button band, but otherwise tried to follow the directions, somehow I ended up with 5” armholes and 3” sleeves… hmmmm.  Ripped, reknit and turned into one Baby Surprise Jacket and one Baby hat.  My sock mojo seems to be especially off kilter lately.  Try as I might, I haven’t been able to start a pair of socks and just knit them; never mind recognizing/admitting that there is a problem before I get to the start of the heel.  Double hmmmmmm. In September, I tried a few quickie projects to get me out of the knitting thicket, but that doesn’t seem to be of much help in October.  After the Baby Sweater incident, I decided to focus on finishing one pair of socks. (I now had a second pair on the needles).  So I did.  I finished the pair that I started in late September (ripped once). 

Over all I really liked the pattern and will put it on my “go to” list for a nice unisex sock pattern.    Even though the second sock contains the exact same number of rounds, etc as the first one, it is ever so slightly longer than the first. I’m not sure exactly what happened. I suppose it is a row gauge thing.  But, since I noticed this after I bound off… there is now no turning back! 

Mini-Cable Sandal Socks by Dez Crawford
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock Multi Purple Club (701)
Size 2.25 mm needles dpn

I also discovered these socks were extremely difficult to photograph, the color in this picture is about two shades darker than the actual color. 

Then I worked a few rounds on my shawl to try to stay on track with my Knitting To-do LIST.  So far so good, then I decided to work on the other pair of socks.  I knit, I admired, I thought “hmm, this might be a little largish” I continued to knit.  I got to the point where the pattern says “Begin Heel” I cursed.  “Largish” is just another way of saying I knew my gauge was off, but ignored my inner Elizabeth and kept knitting.  She knew better, I knew better.  I put it away and reached my goal on the shawl.  I weighed the completed portion of the sock; I weighed the unused portion of the yarn ball; hmmm, the sock leg weighed 41 grams, the yarn weighed 77 grams… by my calculations, Houston isn’t the only one who has a problem… double hmmm.  You can guess what happened next.  Yup -- riiiiip! I started over with a smaller size needle.  (Size 0 to be exact) I’m still suspicious of the gauge, but they are coming out slightly smaller now.  I finished the 10 repeats for the leg and this thing looks huge… talked to my DD, she quelled my fears that I’m knitting a couch cozy in the guise of a sock. Whew, thought for a minute this thing was going to be flung across the room.  Good thing my SIL is a big guy; it should fit, but I might need more yarn… contemplating contrasting heels and toes.  Sock is in time out while I think about that.  Yesterday, I cast on for another pair and so far have knit a toe.

Between socks, I thought I’d do up another quickie project.  Righto!  I had purchased a kit for felted cup cozies when I went to the knit night at the yarn shop here in Des Moines.  I thought “here’s a real quick project that should be just the thing to get me back on track”.  The knitting went fine.  I even worked up my own version for the design on the second cup; but the felting? That was another story indeed. New house, new washer, and no clue as to how well it would felt.  The verdict is… not very well.  (I’m sure as soon as I turn my back on it and accidentally put something I don’t want to be felted into a load, that thing will come out fairy-size).  So after three cycles through the machine, I ended up hand felting the cozies… my, but they did turn out nicely. 

Felted Cup Cozy Kit from Knitted Together pattern by Nancy Wyatt
Yarn: Cascade 220
Size 8 needles

Oh, and my shawl?  It is (still) coming along slowly.  I don’t know how Wendy knocks a shawl out in 10 days or less (while working a full time Government job, knitting, blogging, designing and writing books).  I’ve arrived at the point in the shawl where I have 576 stitches on my needle.  No, it won’t hurt my feelings if you just gasped.  To put that into perspective; it takes approximately 8 rounds on a sock to get one round done on this shawl.  Or 16 rows of a heel flap. Oh and that’s a 72 stitch sock.  I usually knit mine on 60 stitches.   When I arrived at 288 stitches I put stitch markers in every 18 stitches (two repeats of pattern).  That worked nicely until I increased to 576… I ran out of stitch markers.  Now my markers were every 36 stitches (4 pattern repeats).  On the plain knit row; I count 1 to 36, over and over (Is this what OCD feels like?).  I was sort of losing it.  I pillaged my craft area looking for more plain markers and found none (they were already in the shawl).  Eureka! I found some plain jump rings in the right size. 
 Now I have things back to a manageable marker every 18 stitches.  (Something about counting to 18 just seems easier).  I only need to do about 36 more rounds before the final increase round and bind off.   Barring any knitting difficulties, I think maybe I’ll finish it up by February.  

I got a new knitting magazine in the mail the other day; maybe I’ll peruse it for an easy, fun and fabulous project to perk me up.  Or maybe, just maybe I’ll start the next round on the shawl.  I’ll let you know what happens.

Happy Knitting!


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Trivial Thursday

1.  My DH had surgery a week ago; we have had a lot of down-time with his recuperation.  Funny, I haven’t done as much knitting as I hoped.

2.  I knit the entire leg of a sock and then decided my gauge was off, am halfway done reknitting it.

3.  I actually like living in Iowa better than I thought I would

4.  There was a corn-box at the Covered Bridge festival… this amused me greatly.
5.  There were also Alpaca… always a good thing at any festival


6.  There was also yarn… I caved and bought this because of the name of the Alpaca it came from…  (It’s always a good thing to know who your fiber is from).
 (C&M Allison)
7.  My parents had a great trip to Ireland and are safely back home.  They are coming to visit next week, and hopefully will bring pictures.

8.  I have my craft area set up completely now and can find what I need.  I guess it’s time to make the kitchen curtains.

9.  John Wayne was born in Winterset Iowa (home of the Covered Bridge festival).

Happy Knitting,


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Project fail

Project fail
Originally uploaded by nanaknits21

This is the failed sweater. I'm sorry Tim, there's no way to make it work. Just like in the Project Runway episode where the challenge was to design a look for Heidi's collection, I went the route that Gretchen and Mondo took. It happens.

Finished BSJ

Finished BSJ
Originally uploaded by nanaknits21

I 'm not able to do a long post, so a couple of quick fly-bys will have to do. Last Sunday I whipped up this cute little baby sweater. It's the Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmermann. The yarn is some Louet Gems I had leftover from another project. I also did a matching hat. I think I mentioned I was working one up as a favor for my Mom in a previous post. The first pattern didn't work, this one replaced it.

A beautiful Fall day

A beautiful Fall day
Originally uploaded by nanaknits21

Last saturday was such a perfect fall day. Amongst other things, Hubby and I went to the Madison County Covered Bridges festival. We even saw a bridge!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Welcome Fall!

Well, it’s a new month and a new season and I have whole new pile of knitting and am pulling patterns and books out to select some new projects.  

But first, a few finished objects.

First of all, I took a brief hiatus from the socks I was knitting for my September PSC to knit some quick and happy instant gratification projects. 

We’ve been going to see our nephew play football on Saturday mornings.  Now that the weather is getting a little crisp (and occasionally soggy); I decided I could use a little something to wear for extra warmth without looking like a total wimp.  My last pair of fingerless gloves was pretty worn out, so I figured I could whip up a quick replacement pair.  Even though I can knit fingerless gloves/mitts without a pattern, I wanted to do something fun, so I dove into my vast stash of patterns and came up with Fetching.  Lots of people (about 16,000 on Ravelry) have knit this one so I figured I could handle it.  I ended up doing a few pattern mods*.  Now my hands can stay nice and warm at the ball games.  (Too bad I forgot them last Saturday, LOL!) 

Pattern: Fetching  
Yarn: Mountain Colors 4/8’s Wool in Huckleberry
Size 6 needles
*Mods: Added extra rows of cable pattern at top of hand for additional length; added thumb gusset for better fit.

Since these only used up a fraction of the yarn, I decided they needed an accompanying headband or ear-warmer.  Again, I could have winged it, but decided that I could also modify an existing pattern just as easily.  I think this took me about 3 hours to knit. 

Yarn: Mountain Colors 4/8’s Wool in Huckleberry
Size 6 Needles
Mods:  Added mini-cables to mimic fetching pattern; adjusted number of stitches / rows (down) to obtain correct size

I also finished Kasey’s Neon socks. 

Pattern: Ampersand by Kirsten Kapur (Free on Ravelry)
Yarn: Shi Bui Knits socks in color 4703
Size 2.75mm needles; magic loop, 2 at a time

Then decided I needed to knit her a hat as well. (She loves hats).  So I found some similarly colored sportweight yarn lurking in my stash (I won it at Stitches).  The yarn is heavier than I like for socks and the colors are pretty not-me. It was a really good candidate for some other project, but I hadn’t figured out what yet. Luckily it was close enough to the colorway of the yarn I used for her socks.  Then, I perused my zillion or so books and patterns and found a nice pattern that would be complementary to the socks and voila, a hat was knit.  I give you Kasey’s Neon Beanie.

Pattern: Beach Beanies by Maggie DeCuir; from Hats: A Knitter’s Dozen
Yarn: Interlacements Toasty Toes color 204
Size 6 needles

In all, I think I spent about two evenings and a morning working on these projects before I forced myself to face the socks. But, once I got the quick projects done, I was actually able to focus on my September socks better.  I’m doing a pretty simple pattern (mini-cables), so that may be the reason that I initially couldn’t get into them.  I was also having some issues with the way the yarn was pooling.  The yarn I’m using for them is Lorna’s Laces and I was hoping to fall in love with it the way some of my friends (and others I read online) have.  I like the feel of the yarn, but this particular colorway is a little tricky.  It is several shades of purple and for some reason the very nice spiral I was getting initially decided to up and reverse direction about mid leg.  Ewww.  It was actually the same effect in the socks I did for Kasey, but I didn’t mind it with the pinks and oranges, for some reason, the shades of purple just didn’t play as well.  I ended up ripping the first sock after I had nearly reached the heel.  I am now using both skeins of yarn and alternating every other row.  I’m getting a little bit nicer effect. Still, I think I might have been better off doing just a plain stockinette sock with this yarn which would have needed less stitches in the pattern.  

Oh well!  Since I’ve already finished one sock and am about to the point where I ripped back the very first attempt on the second on, I think I’ll just go ahead and finish them.
 (you can see the section where the maroon-ish purple and the dark blue-ish purple overlap, now imagine that doing a boomerang thing mid leg... yuck)
My parents are celebrating their 55th Wedding Anniversary in Ireland as I type this.  My Mom has a baby shower to go to when she returns home, and was worried about being able to get a present in time.  Normally she whips up little quilted blankets for all of the shower gifts and new baby presents she needs, but the new Mom let her know that she has already received mountains of blankets, so Mom asked me if I thought I could knit a baby sweater in week or so.  Seeing how I have a lot of empty needles sitting around and nothing really urgent to start knitting, I figured I could do that.  So I started a baby sweater Sunday night.  I’m using a pattern, but only as a guide since I’m modifying several parts of it.  I’m about through with the body and should have the finished sweater in the mail in time for it to be waiting on Mom’s arrival home. 

Meanwhile, the only other project on my needles is the shawl which is progressing, but slowly.  Not particularly photogenic at this point.

With the fall weather officially here, I’m ready to settle in with a nice hot cup of apple cider and some serious knitting.  I’ve got a few ideas and am working on my list of planned projects this week.  In the meantime, I’m ready to cast on for my October PSC socks.  I’m looking forward to those because I really LOVE the yarn.   I’ll keep you posted.

Welcome Fall and Happy Knitting!