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!