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Combination Knitting

TKGA in awesome new kniting bag

I’ve become a little neurotic with my knitting lately. Just ask my knit night girls, they will confirm. I keep doing the same swatches over and over again…

It really all started when I decided that it would be fun to get really technical with my knitting and take the Knitting Guild Masters correspondence course. Around the same time, I decided to learn continental knitting. Anyone who has tried to cross over to continental knows that purling can be a challenge. Which brings me back to TKGA and why I have become a little obsessed. TKGA has made me analyze each of my stitches and I found that my purl stitches are slightly looser than my knit stitches. What was once a perfectly fine stockinette swatch is now stripped with rows of slightly loose stitches that pop out ever so slightly. Um, seriously, did I mention the neurosis? That’s all I can see now! I’ve tried modifying my hold to get a better tension on my purl stitches, but I finally gave up and went back to throwing my yarn (English style) for flat knits that require a lot of purling simply because I am obsessed with perfect purls now. Thanks a lot TKGA!

I have one more thing to try that just might save continental knitting for me, combination knitting. Have you heard of this? The purl stitch is done as an exact opposite of a knit stitch, and it results in the stitch switching orientation (instead of the right leg in front, the right leg is in back). I can totally live with that if it makes purling as easy as it looks in the videos. And it will make the tension much more even because it so much like the knit stitch. Just what the doctor ordered! I will let you know how it goes.

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Doctors and Kids

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My little man has been getting sick a lot this year.  This is his first year going to pre-school and before that he was watched at home.  It seems like everytime he goes to school he picks up something new.  Thank goodness we have a lovely doctor.  She is so good with him.  These two puppets are made from the toungue depressor that she didn’t need to use since my boy has become proficient at opening his mouth wide enough for her to check his throat.  We’re going to give them to her as a present today when I take my little girl in to get checked up.  If she doesn’t have anything contageous, then I get to go to knit night tonight!

Crochet!

Crochet!

First of all, check out this cute bag that my best friend gave me!  What better to put in it than a big afghan project??  But, did you notice what is sticking out the top??  Is that a hook????

I actually started my yarn addiction by crocheting.   I made a baby blanket for a friend with the bubble stitch while pregnant with my son, nothing for my own baby!  Then I moved on to knitting and don’t often think about crochet… that is, until I think about doing a blanket.  I have a hard time doing the same thing over and over again.  That’s why I prefer socks, or sweaters to scarves and blankets.  But, lately I’ve been craving crochet.  I think it’s being a mom to two kids – there’s something comforting about being able to pick up a project and just not think too hard about it.  And being able to put it down at any moment is a big plus. 

So, I picked up this project that I had put down two years ago and find that I’m loving to crochet 🙂

Finished Sophie!

Sophie with both ears done

Sophie Bunny’s ears are done.  I may do a few more embelishments with the brown yarn, but I don’t want to over do it.  I also want to add a puffy tail at some point.  I need to go out and get a pompom maker.  Here’s a link to the original pattern by Ysolda Teage.

The whole inspiration for the brown stripes came from this little matching mommy/baby nursing outfit that I got from Old Navy.  Having a girl is really bringing out the girly-ness in me 🙂 

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I found this Sophie Bunny that another knitter did and it is gorgeous, check it out!  She sewed a really cute flowered pattern in the ears and a patch on the bum.  I was going to try to sew cloth in the ears too, but I didn’t have enough and the colors were a little off, but I love how it turned out in her Sophie Bunny. I may do a heart on the front similar to hers.

In other news I fisnished knitting the Owlet sweater by Kate Davies.  Can you see the owls in the yoke?

I have to block it and find the perfect buttons for eyes.  But here’s a preview before the final product is finished.  As I was binding off the neckline, I realized that I forgot to bind off in the ribbed pattern, oops, oh well it doesn’t bother me.  It was such a fun and quick knit.  I can’t wait to see how it blocks up and how the buttons finish it off.
I made it in fall colors for little Sophia.  It’s another neat pattern especially for her since owls are a symbol of wisdom and Sophia’s name means wisdom.  I hope she likes it and I hope she get big enough to wear it before the weather warms up!!

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Thank you Green Planet Yarn!

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First of all you have to listen to this knitting song from NeverNotKnitting, this great blog/podcast I just discovered, with wonderful pictures and lovely patterns. I made the show & tell group at Green Planet Yarn in Campbell listen to it and we were rolling with laughter as one of the knitter’s husbands was completely identifying with the song 🙂  The event was very fun, it is inspiring to see what everyone is making!  To top it off you get a raffle ticket for each item that was made from yarn from their shop and there are door prizes!  I won the yarn pictured above!! It’s a scarf kit from ravelry with their little boston terrier mascot on it.

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I won’t be making the scarf, although it is very cute.  I’ll probably end up making a little baby girl cardi out of it with all those variations of pinks and greens and white.  If you are local to Campbell, CA you should definitely go to the next one, it’s planned for May 8th at 3:30pm.

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I completed the back, and started the left sleeve on the vine yoke cardigan!  I’m trying to get done in time for stitches west this Sunday 🙂  I’m still very worried about how it will turn out because it looks so so tiny, but blocking is magical, so we’ll see!  I’m getting a lot of practice with wraps and turns (w&t).  The pattern says that you don’t need to pick up the wrapped yarn and work it along with the stitch, but I found that it looks a lot better if you do pick up the wraps in the raglan shaping for the sleeves.

Here’s what the raglan shaping looks like without picking up the wraps (see the stretched stitches in the armpit?):
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Here’s a what the raglan shaping looks like with picking up the wraps (no streched stitches):
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I’m not picking up the wraps in the yoke shaping though.  I felt that it could use a bit of stretch in the yoke because the curve is so sharp already.  Here’s how that is turning out, without picking up the wrap:
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This pattern also calls for the provisional cast on which was a first for me… hope I’m doing it right.  It leaves a row of live stiches on the bottom with scrap yarn to holding them in place, to be picked up later:
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Fun stuff!  I’m looking foward to Stiches West in Santa Clara, CA on Sunday.  My knit nighters (or crochet soiree’ers as has been renamed recently) are going to meet up.  I’ll have to bring a fixed amount of cash so as not to get too crazy 🙂

Hemlock is Finished!

Hemlock blocking 2 for web

This knit scored high on the satisfaction scale.  It was easy, quick and looks increadibly more complicated than it actually was.  And it was a blast to see it transform from a blobby mess into the delicate fan and feather pattern you see above.  I need to take some more photos of what it looks like in the “wild”.  The picture above was taken during the actual blocking process.  It was pinned to my ottoman and, thanks to my ceiling fan, it dried in one night!  To my amazement it held it’s shape after taking the pins out 🙂

Here’s what it looked like before blocking
Hemlock preblock web

Here’s a close up of the little details on the edge
hemlock edge web

Next time I will add the extra length.  I just ran out of time on this one.  But, I think my mother-in-law likes it, so that’s all that matters.  It turned out much more like a doily than a lap blanket though.  I think that is how she intends to use it.  See my previous post for the yarn and pattern details.

Christmas was good to me.  I got a bunch of new yarn and a slew of new knitting books to drool over and inspire.  I’ll be posting more about those goodies soon!   

The Hemlock Ring Throw

hemlock

Hello knitting blog.  How are you?  I’ve missed you so.  I went on a business trip the week before Thanksgiving and haven’t been in my regular knit & blog routine.  But, I have not been idley sitting by…  I’ve been dutifully chugging away on my Christmas knits.  And, I HAD to start the Hemlock blanket.  It’s a vintage doily pattern that Jared Flood, knitting designer / photographer, modified to turn into an eloquent lap blanket.  The Rainey Sisters took Jared’s modification and the original pattern and put it into a handy PDF file.  From what I’ve seen on ravelry, the blanket looks like a blobby mess until blocked… I’m hoping I’m doing everything right!  It’s been a very satisfying and quick knit so far.  The Casscade Eco +, 100% Peruvian Highland wool, has been great to work with as well and I’m thoroughly enjoying this burnt umber color.

Fall is here!

Skull Cap

It’s starting to get cold in the morning and nights – well, as cold as it gets for California 😉  My boys love to decorate for Halloween.  We go a little overboard during this holiday, by putting up lights and decorations every weekend night.  I saw the immediate need to knit up this skull cap pattern that I’ve been hanging on to since the spring so that I can keep them nice and warm while they toil with spooky decorations.

This was my first fair isle project and I actually really love it! I’ve had minimal continental knitting experience, but it just felt much more natural to hold on color in the left hand (continental style) and one color in the right hand (english style). The work really flew off the needles. Check the “Stranding Method” on the KnittingHelp.com sight for a nice video demonstration of two handed fair isle knitting.

I was too eager to knit it up so I didn’t do a proper swatch to check my gauge, but it looked like it was going to fit.  I tried it on my son before I sewed up the top – and surprise surprise, it didn’t fit.  It was way too small.  I ripped out to just above the skull pattern and I’m adding a few extra rows and will modify the pattern to add and extra row inbetween decrease rows as well.  On the next hat I’m going to try to double up the yarn and I thinkt hat will fix my gauge.  On a funny note, when I tried the hat on Chris and I was talking about it being too small he says to me, “No, mom, I looks good.  It looks good.  You don’t need to knit anymore.”  Ok, ok, message received loud and clear – no more knitting around the kid-o. 

And if you are wondering about the Harmonica in the picture – it used to be Paul’s when he was a kid.  Now Chris has been playing it everyday and just loves it!

Super Secret Project (Teaser)

I might have mentioned that this project for my sister-in-law is quite difficult, for me anyway largely because it’s my first attempt at a real lace pattern. The stitches aren’t complicated at all, but the pattern is a 2o row repeat with 58 sts across. Every other row is the same which is nice, but it’s those pesky even numbered rows that give me trouble. I inevitably lose track of where I’m at in the row, or forget a yarn over which results in the wrong number of stitches for the to work the next row. After trying to muscle through this, I finally decided to ask for help. I got a lot of great advice from the knitters at ravelry. Here is some of the recommendations I got for working with lace:

  1. Learn how to read a pattern chart. This makes it easier to see how the stitches you are working on actually fit into the overall pattern. This is fabulous! I converted my 20 line written instructions to chart form yesterday and it’s like a veil of darkness has been lifted! It’s so much easier to keep track of where I am, and what should come next. (Picture above)
  2. Use lots of ring markers (or contrasting yarn markers)! Ring markers help by making it easy to check to see if I did each stitch required for the repeating pattern, but they are sort of a hassle. They fall off all the time, and I feel like they make the loop bigger in the stitches they are in between. I’ve tried yarn markers in another project and that turned out ok, I’m going to try it with this too, but haven’t done so yet.
  3. Add life-lines at a regular interval in the project, so that if you realize a mistake was done several rows deep, you can frog to the closest life-line without worrying about dropping stitches.

The chart doesn’t do the pattern justice, it’s an exquisit looking project, I just love it. I wish it was easier, but I’m learning a lot. And, the fact that I put it down and worked on some new more difficult socks and then picked it back up has helped a lot. Can’t wait to finish it and block it though!!!

What’s next?

I went ahead and scrapped my toddler socks for now. I definitely need a longer circular needle than I have. So, rather than start a new project, I’m working on an old scarf that I started over a year ago. I’m so bummed though! I only bought 2 skeins of yarn because they were kind of expensive at $12.50 each, but this scarf takes 4 skeins. I received the two additional skeins needed, and the die lots are obviously way different since it’s been a year later. The bigger yarn ball in the back of this picture is the new one… and it is much darker and greener than the original bright orange (in the front). To attempt to hide this color difference, I switched the yarn balls, and will use the remains of the bright original color to finish the last 25% of the scarf. At least the ends will match… and, like the socks, this one is for me because I figured it would have lots of mistakes considering it is my first knitted scarf!

This weekend I’m working on a non-knitting mothers day project. It’s silhouette pendants of my son for the grandmas. I’m making myself a key chain too 🙂 Should be fun, I’m lucky to have a very crafty friend (check out her blog at Quilt Otaku) that comes up with cool ideas like this – or I should say the Grandmas are lucky because this looks like it will turn out very cool!!