Monday, May 26, 2008

Update on Vest Pattern

I've decided to offer my Argyle Vest Pattern as a Free Ravelry Download. My user name is Knitjaneknit. Look for it there! Thanks for all of the interest!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Wrap it up

Neckdown Wrap Cardi is completed...and a bit fitted. This yarn droops a lot, so I made it a bit snug to compensate. Hope I like it in the long run. I still have 8 oz of this Cotton Fleece, maybe for a baby sweater?
I also completed my Northern Lights shawl (Revontuli-huivi from ulla) in Kauni (US 9, 170g). It turned out great. It is not merino wool, but it was very lanolin-y while knitting it. I love the colors (EL): black, blue, purple. Now I need a shawl pin; shawls are tricky to wear without one I think.

I also cranked out a pair of Cascade 220 felted mittens (Fiber Trends Snow Country pttn). Love the pattern and the mittens are really wearable and keep my hands warm while shoveling, playing, etc.

I finished up the Skippyjon Jones socks in Socks that Rock Lightweight. Skippyjon is a Siamese cat who thinks he is a Chihuahua dog. My nearly 4 year old loves the books, so we celebrated the sock finishing with the purchase of the toy/book set from Borders....where I am going to see the Yarn Harlot tonight!!!! Yippee!!!

I went to get my wrist band for the book signing this morning and got there at 10:05 am. I am a goof. Anyway, I didn't want to have to wait around so long after. I spotted other knitters in the parking lot, in the kids' section (sporting Birks and handknit socks), etc. I bought the new book too, but am going to read that after. Trying to spread the fun out a bit.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Slacker and Stash Reducer

Things have finally settled down here and I realized I haven't written anything in quite a few weeks. Bad blogger! Lots of family stuff, holidays, traveling, furnishing/decorating a guest room, etc are the culprit. Plus, we've had a few warm days so I have gotten into my garden which is exciting. Crocuses are blooming and lots of other bulbs are on the way.

In the knitting category, I've been slogging along. I made great progress on my wrap cardigan in Cotton Fleece. The body is done, but I'm not looking forward to miles of i-cord for the ties, so I'm going to do something else for a while. I was about to do the sleeves when I realized that my wrists were hurting a lot from the cotton, so I need to take a break to heal up.

These modified Hedgerow Socks from Knitters Review, are my in between project. Nearly done (one toe to go). First time using Kroy. It is a color I wanted, but not too springy so I'm not loving it. I'm sure they will wear well. I have black also which I'd like to make Monkeys with.

I whipped out a knitted basket which was lots of felted fun. I realize that I need a good dose of felting every now and again to give me that instant gratification I crave when working on a long term project like a sweater. The yarn is recycled from a vest I made in 2000 using some rainbow colored Lang Polar bulky yarn. It was out of date to say the least, so this is a good re-purposing. My boys use it to store toys in. Less plastic boxes for storage seems like a good idea-especially being so close to Earth Day.

I also have realized that I need to do more knitting from my stash. I don't have a huge one to say the least, but all of the small amounts and single skeins are annoying. So I'm going to knit it up until it is gone/reduced. How long can I last before adding more? Not sure. I just bought some great Kauni Effects in a blue/black combo. That will be it for a while. I'm hoping to make it to June 1st. That would be a good break from purchasing. I think that if I have too many projects in my stash, then if I buy more yarn, it will be forever before I can knit what I want. Then, once I can knit the cool "new" stuff, I will see more "even cooler newer" stuff and never be on top of things. Plus, I'd like to go to Stitches this August and yarn shop this fall when I visit my sister...with a clear conscience. No mountain of stash at home to make me feel guilty. Hopefully that is a good plan and I can stick to it.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Jane Austen quiz

Fun quiz

Tells you which Austen heroine you are with a few funny questions. I own the BBC miniseries of Pride & Prejudice and have seen it an uncountable number of times. I can't stand the Kira version-bleeck!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Crawling out and growing up

We have survived the first week of March. It is always so busy with family birthdays and all of the prep that goes with that. Spring has sprung and the grass is finally about 50% visible. The baby tried out his new boots and enjoyed walking around outside. No flowers yet, but I'm hoping for a few bulbs to emerge in a week or so.

Knitting has taken a back seat with all of the celebration activities in the forefront. I did finish the shawl, a pair of wool socks for the Mr.'s b-day and have made more progress on the STR socks. Here are the wool socks made from some local yarn (Wisconsin Highland). They are very warm and sheepy.
The shawl is made from left overs of my Norski Baby Sweaters (Cottage Creations). About 8 oz on size 7 needles. An 8 would have been better, in hindsight. This shawl makes me nostalgic. I used the yarn to make 6 sweaters total, 3 for my boys and 3 for some special family friends. They take a lot of work and really are not your normal gift sweaters. Making the shawl from these yarns was sort of an "end of an era" project. No more babies for me, so no need to save the half skeins for color work on another one. Maybe for my grandchildren, but that's a long way off. So, I'll be able to remember my boys being tiny enough to fit into the sweaters each and every time I wrap up in the shawl.
Here's the baby's version I made. He wore it for his first b-day photos a few months ago.His my second son's version:
And that's the oldest's version. He's six now. Time flies so quickly...

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Maybe finished

Well, I may have finished my green sweater (ripped from the Tunic, 2000). Top down custom fit raglan, with shaping on the body using Galway Color Nep wool (size 7 needles). I had the whole body done and then tried it on...I looked like I had wooly love handles! So, my shaping is not really what most shaping directions suggest to do. Lesson learned. I ripped back to the waist and reknit straight and only did one set of increases, in dart fashion 1 inch before the ribbing. I also learned that by doing a massive increase on the row before the ribbing, I was able to have my ribbing not pull in too much or pucker in the back. Second lesson learned. Very cool to see how that worked out. I may be done, except that the sleeves could be 1 inch shorter. I can live with it, but after this much work, I may just want it as good as I can make it. Here's the Green Redo Sweater:Close up of the shaping (or lack of it):

I also have been stash busting my Nature Spun Sport Wt yarns left over from 6 Cottage Creations Norski Toddler Sweaters. The pattern is Feather & Fan Comfort Shawl. Lots of fun on size 7 needles. I only have about 8 oz of 8 colors, so I'm trying to create narrow-medium width stripes, and keep it look orderly, yet slightly random.
I don't know if I am a shawl person, but this was a fun, easy pattern and sort of free yarn (stash scraps count as free, right?). Now, to find a place to block it in a house filled with boys...that will be the challenge!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Diamond Back Argyle Vest Pattern

Last fall, I mentioned I was working on designing a project for my boys. I had some left over Wool of the Andes from Knit Picks and tried my hand at argyle and intarsia for the first time. This vest for my baby was the result.
Too Cute! To size it up for the big boys required a reworking of the original design. So I tweaked it a bit and now have a pattern for sale (hopefully soon) on Ravelry. Their version is called Diamond Back Argyle Vest ($US 4.00).
If someone would like to test knit this for me, I'll send you a free pdf. Drop me an email at knitjaneknit at gmail dot com

Edited to add: this pattern is now FREE as a Ravelry download. Enjoy!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Pretty flowers and a nearly FO

After complaining about too much snow, we got a change in pace and had freezing rain and sleet (topped with more snow) this weekend. So much fun! Nothing like being housebound with three energetic boys! I think we are up to 84" of snow this year (last was 28", average is around 40"). Spring is just around the corner, I hope. I cut some forsythia twigs to force indoors, hoping for a little color to get me through. Lovely V-day flowers (by way of also helped. Love ya babe!
I have been making progress on my Galway sweater made from frogged yarn (Tunic). I am nearly done with the bottom ribbing and both sleeves are completed. Just the neck rib and weaving in a lot of ends left to do. I'm fairly pleased with the results. A good wash and some blocking will be the final proof if this was a good experiment. Photo here of the status sometime this weekend:
I am working on the Count Cluckula socks, and am hoping they won't be too tight. Still loving the colors.Still no more movement on the Bird in Hand Mittens. My sights are looking toward making a shawl of some sort. I have no idea by. Not too lacey or fussy, more Brooklyntweed-y. Most likely I'll be trying some sort of Feather and Fan comfort shawl variation. Others are on my radar, but would require yarn purchase, so I'd like to see if I like the one from stashy leftovers first.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

More snow=more knitting

Yet another storm has hit us hard this week. Sigh. I really love the snow, but enough already! Knitting progress is being made on several fronts. I am working on these socks:
which I love. Socks That Rock Count Cluckula, Feather & Fan pattern. I love them so much that I'm not knitting them too fast, just to make it last longer. I love the dark gray and black in these stripes. LOVE them.

I also frogged the second Tunic sweater and now have 7 skeins worth of Cotton Fleece yarn to make my top down wrap cardi. Woo hoo! Free yarn, sort of.
I have also made serious progress on my Incredible Custom-fit Raglan with the frogged Galway green wool. I'm past the divide for the body and have started the waist shaping. This is the first time I've tried this, so I hope it looks nice. I'm making a sweater with minimal ease, because I think the baggy fit doesn't do me any good. Somehow the picture didn't work on the camera. Progress picture to come.

I also bought some Malabrigo Worsted in black (which is sort of sad considering the lovely colors this yarn comes in). I decided I needed to make a plain black hat to go with the not completed Bird in Hand Mittens. I love the softness of the yarn; no pattern yet planned.
I have so many projects planned or in the planning stages right now. I think the current batch of start-itis and plan-itis is due to the weather. Feels like we are making no progress toward spring, so I need the diversion. Luckily the Garden Expo is this weekend. I am soooo looking forward to seeing green plants, even if it is in a large expo hall.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Light at the end of the tunnel

I am giddy due to the fact that January is over. What a loooong month it was this year! Lots of sick, snow, and cold. Although it is only in the 20's today, that is a vast improvement from the super sub zero temps from earlier this week. I have been finishing up more socks and contemplating what to make for larger projects, but without a lot of decisions. A quick update: I made two more sizes for my Rib-A-Roni hat, which I'll have to update to the pattern.
and baby.I also completed the green and blue Blackberry ridge sport wool socks in a garter rib and sock surgery on a pair of Mountain Colors Socks from 2000, which were knit at the wrong gauge (worsted spun confused with worsted weight, duh).
This worked very well and I may keep my my leftovers for doing this in the future. I hate to do ribbing on socks, so this was somewhat faster gratification to have that as a starting point.

I made some progress on the Bird in Hand mittens after I ripped back to the top of the cuff. It is easier going with the metal needles, so I'm determined to finish them. My reward knitting is now my "must finish before starting something else" knitting. Humph.

I started the Feather & Fan socks with Count Cluckula STR lightweight, which I completely love. Picture to come. I wanted to do their 2008 club, but the price was a bit much for me. The Dragon color for January (peeked on Ravelry) is very cool.

I also broke down and ordered some Kroy online (Jo-ann's) for socks. I haven't been able to find a gray I like or black for that matter and really needed those colors in my sock wardrobe. Now I need to find patterns for those that won't drive me batty with such dark colors.
I have an urgent desire to knit up a sweater from my stash, but can't decide what to make. I have too many ideas and not enough time to make big projects. So, I want to make something I'll really like. Ravelry is a help in that I get lots of ideas, but then I'm unable to pick one. Aaagh! Hopefully I'll decide on something once those mittens are done.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Stash Anxiety and Frogging Projects

I finished the second wool/silk Blackberry Ridge Sock. Love them lots. I wore them yesterday when it was sub-zero, and my feet were very happy.
I also started these Garter Rib Top-down (I'm a chicken with toe-up) socks. I estimate that I can get a pair of socks out of the 2.2 oz I have. Hope that works out (yikes).

I frogged another finished project from years ago and am contemplating doing that to a few more. The sweater in question was an ill-fitting Cottage Creations Tunic from 2000 in a Galway Colornep Light Green Wool. I've made many of these sweaters over the years in tot-adult XL sizes. However, this one was too short and wide, which made it flare out in the back. I had plans to try out Ann Budd's Set in sleeve sweater. I think that style or the raglan are going to flatter my small-ish shoulders better than the massive drop sleeves of my early knitting days. Now you see it....

Now you don't....
I'm all so thinking about frogging another tunic in Cotton Fleece (again too big) and a Noro vest. With all of this yarn liberated from projects, my stash has increased slightly. After listening to Stash n' Burns podcast, I realize I'm not a big stash kind of person. It gives me anxiety. I think of all of those projects and I get a bit twitchy. That seems to make me enjoy each project less because I feel like I'm trying to work my way out from under a huge burden of yarn guilt. So, I think I need to keep the yarn to a moderate amount. I even feel bad about all of the leftovers from other projects, and need to get those used up as well. So, to get a few more yards and ounces out of the bins, I made these yesterday during the football games. A blanket for Lamby and a sweater for Baby Jason doll, as requested by my older boys.

I'm really wishing I could start one of these Northern Lights Shawls. Be still my beating heart. No yarn for it on hand, so must work on some current projects before I can even consider buying the yarn.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Surprised and shrimp

I'll admit it, I'm an animal fiber yarn snob. I love wool, cashmere, alpaca, and quivit yarns dearly. Cotton and silk, not so much. I think it has a lot to do with the feel of cotton and silk (sort of dry?) and how badly my hands and wrists feel after working with them for any length of time. So, much to my surprise last night when I tried on the first sock made from the Blackberry Ridge Wool Silk sport wt blend I had in the stash (purchased as part of this kit) and I loved how it felt on my foot. Stunned. I was forcing myself to knit up the yarn from these well aged Blackberry kits (from my B.K.=before kids days) before I dove head first into my new Socks that Rock yarns. Now, I may just have to give silk a second chance. Who knew I'd like it so much? Here's a picture of the sock:I started off thinking that lots of cables would look nice, but ended up just with them at the top cuff. Reminds me a bit of my Fetching mitts. I kept the rib through the foot because the yarn isn't very elastic and needed the structural assistance.

Also in the surprising category, the Tofutsies socks. I will not buy this yarn again, but the socks are very nice (currently wearing them as I type). Do you think people with shellfish allergies can work with this stuff or wear it? I really respect the ethics of used waste products from industries to make new yarns, but the feel of the yarn did not wow me as I worked with it.
After the second silky sock is made, I'm going to crank out a third BBR sock in the green and blue mix. Perhaps I'll try toe up, because I don't have a whole lot of yarn and want to make matching socks (lengthwise). I have white and various other BBR scraps that can be used to stripe the leg if need be. Thinking cap will be required for that project; I'm not a fan of toe up and will need to proceed with caution. After these socks are done, I'm going to take a hard look at that Bird in the Hand Mitten and see if it is going to the frog pond.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Broken record...I'm making socks

As new snow is falling gently outside, I am working diligently at keeping myself toasty today. A pair of socks were finished last week and the second (Tofutsies) is about 10 rows short of being done. The finished Broadripples, Blackberry Ridge 100% wool, sport wt in kool-aid colorsThey were fun, so I dug up some more of my Blackberry Ridge former sock kit yarn and made plans. I overdyed some white/lime green yarn with blue food coloring to make some more socks. Here's the before (a bit too electric for my tastes): and after (muted with a touch of light blue).I also have some of their taupe wool/silk blend sport wtwhich may be turned into a pair of cable socks. That is largely dependent on the napping situation today.

I reexamined my Socks that Rock haul and noticed that my Count Cluckula is light wt (as is the Lucy, Backstabber was medium). The are all so fun, but now I'm obsessed with trying to find the perfect pattern for each. I discovered I can search on Ravelry for projects by their colorway too, so I was able to see some of the socks already made up. Very cool. However, I didn't know that Lucy was named for Wendy Knits cat. I'm not much of a cat person, but I do like Siamese cats in general, so I guess it is ok.

I nearly ripped up my Bird in Hand mittens, because the size 2 wood needles with worsted wt yarn was making me excessively crabby. However, a quick trip to the yarn shop to pick up a set of metal 2s made all the difference. I've done 10 rows into the palm and they look nice. My tension with the left hand is kind of bad, due to the crazy gauge issue. No picture, they look strikingly similar to the last post about them.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Out of the fog

We are living in a cottony world today, again. A week ago we were surrounded by days worth of winter foggy weirdness and it has returned. I thought fog was pretty cool in the past. I used to teach meteorology and have found it beautiful. Now, I'm just tired of it. Plus, driving in it is very dangerous; case in point...a huge pile up on the interstate near us yesterday. Trying to shake the winter blahs, I cast on for these socks.
Blackberry Ridge 100% wool sport wt. hand dyed by me with some Kool-aid. The pattern is Broadripple and adjusted to sport wt gauge. I like this pattern a lot, as it seems to play nicely with the multi-colored yarns. Easy to remember too, which is nice.

So, where were the other projects I had going. Hmm, they must be around here somewhere....
Oh, the Tofutsies socks. Making progress, but the yarn is doing a number on my hands and wrists. I somehow was too distracted by the tofu and seafood fiber contents to notice that they are 25% cotton. Ugh. Cotton yarn will be the death of me, or at least my wrists. The socks feel nice, but I need to spread out the knitting a bit so I'm not cringing in pain.

The Bird in the Hand mittens were supposed to be my carrot for all of the gift knitting I did last month. Unfortunately, they are a pain in the hand to knit. No offense to the designer. They are lovely. However, knitting worsted wt on size 2 needles is a bit rough. I'd much rather do this with a nice sport wt in the future, but what is started is going to continue. Let's just say they are very, um, sturdy.

Perfect timing was experienced today when I pulled out a package from the Socks that Rock yarn from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. Lovely! I got Lucy in light wt: Backstabber in light wt and Count Cluckula in medium, but the camera seems to have eaten that picture. So pretty. I'm forcing myself to knit up the Broadripples first before I cast on one of those newbies. I think I'll just leave them around the house to enjoy.

From my recent fall down the felting hole, the SWS bowl and the BBR boxes.The SWS bowl is just wonderful. I especially like the pentagon in the center. It is now spending some quality time with my dining room table. The boxes were immediately put into use by my older boys for wearing as mini fez hats and ferrying toys around the house. I also gave them some felted pouches made from Galway scrapes from years ago to be used as sleeping bags for stuffed animals. One is striped, the other is dark green. Both being put to good use.