Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Heralding Spring: The Glimmer of Green

The air is feeling a bit warmer, the trees are starting show a hint of budding leaves, the birds are everywhere, the squirrels are leaping and chasing each other, and the daylight is getting longer. All the things that tell me that Spring is on its way.

I am rummaging about changing out my heavy winter wear for lighter and brighter clothing. I unpacked my flip flops last night and tried on my first, finished flip flop sock aka pedicure sock and it is knit out of shades of green, how appopriate for spring.

The pattern is from Patons Kroy Stretch Sock yarn. I made these out of Knit One Crochet Too Soxx Appeal yarn in Oceania that I only had one ball of, so I knit it with a short cuff to try to get a pair out of this ball. So far, so good, I have started the second sock today.

These are fast to knit because I am using size 3 US needles over 56 stitches. I think I will try the smaller size next time because of the stretchy yarn these seem a little loose using the larger size. These will be fine for what they are intended - Spring Fling.

I hope everyone is enjoying the first hints of the reawakening of Spring~!

Note: March left here like a blustery lamb.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Mixed Spring Weekend with Many Projects

The weather has been typical March Madness in Colorado, blizzard Friday night into Saturday, with beautiful spring afternoon on Sunday. It is never a dull moment here.

Pedro enjoyed his squirrel watching activities. We have two that come to our window to get the nuts I leave out. One is obviously a mama squirrel and she is hungry. She flirts with Pedro as she eats, knowing she is completely safe from him. He twitches his ears and whiskers at her and really wants to get closer.

While he was entertained I was working on the Harlot cardi, the pedicure socks, the Sockhead Hat and a newly commissioned hat and handwarmers. I hope to have all accomplished in the next two weeks. It is keeping me busy.

I hope everyone is enjoying their first new days of Spring~!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

What I Knit To

This week it was all about getting shop samples completed and ready to deliver, and getting the April issue of my newsletter, Knitting Tidbits ready for distribution.

I got all those things done while watching and listening to the following: first up I got to watch Amelia and Up In the Air - both movies are about flying. One about flying to prove it can be done, one to escape needing roots while disrupting those who believed they had roots. Both are great movies.

I also got to watch Accidental Husband, Grey Gardens and The Fourth Kind. All were interesting and fun in their own right. I have also managed to read a chapter or two while knitting, just have to weight down the book and stop knitting to turn the pages.

In the car I finished The Time Travellers Wife (WOW) as my lunchtime reading and started The Daily Coyote.

The Colonnade Shawl is finished, blocked and ready to go to the shop. I made progress on the Sea Lettuce Scarf sample that I knit with and without beads.

This scarf is a fun knit and will make a wonderful travel project. Word to the wise, knit it on size 2 US 16" circular because it will be easier to keep it on the needles, especially if you want to make it a portable project.

It is a very easy pattern to memorize once you get past the wedge section. It gives you plenty of practice making picots. This sample is knit on the Deborah Norville Serenity Garden yarn.

I hope everyone is finding fun ways to pursue their passions~!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Early Spring - Not Fit for Squirrels

I don't think our neighborhood squirrel(s) will be visiting us today. This is where they come looking for the nuts that I put out for them each morning as a form of entertainment for Pedro. He is watching for them now but no luck.

And, on the Robin Watch front: I saw the first pair on March 23rd.

Progress Report - Harlot Cardi

I am into the last six inches to knit on the body of the sweater. At this point I have measured the circumference of the sweater to make sure it is going to fit me when it is done. So far, so good. Then I have sleeves to knit. Those will go so much faster since I will do them in the round and they are over a lot less stitches.

So far I really like the way the yarn feels for this sweater. I hope it turns out as nice as it looks at this point. It is a really easy pattern to follow, thus making it a great TV watching project.

I hope everyone is making good progress on their favorite projects~!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Progress Report - Colonnade Shawl

Finished and blocking is the progress report on the Colonnade Shawl.

I am pleased with how it looks. There are a couple mistakes in it however that will be good for demonstration purposes.

This was a really fun knit and I may add this to my list of gift possible patterns for the future. I want to try the Little Colonnade later when I have some time.

I hope everyone is seeing progress and successful completions of their favorite pursuits~!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Found! A New Yarn: Review

Red Heart Full O' Sheep for Stitch Nation by Debbie Stoller. I found this on sale at JoAnn's a couple of weeks ago. It has a similar feel to Lamb's Pride by Brown Sheep. It is 155 yards single ply of Peruvian wool, imported for distribution by Coats and Clark. It comes in some really nice colors that they refer to as "fashionforward" and is worth a try.

I am going to knit a pair of mittens out of it to give it a try and will probably add them to my embellish this! pile for decorating.

I hope everyone is finding new and fun materials to work with~!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Welcome: First Day of Spring

The snow has gone and the birds are chirping and flitting about, which is great entertainment for Pedro.

I am looking for some projects that scream SPRING and I found at least two to get started on. One is a visor beanie and hand warmers for Mom out of Cascade 220 Handpaints in Jelly Bean (9860). The love pirates like the idea just like Loopy does. They will be making their debut on my Etsy soon.

The other is the pedicure socks from Patons made out of Kroy Stretch Socks. These will be great to wear with my flip flops at Fling. I am certain the weather in St. Louis is going to be warmish by April.

I hope everyone is finding bright, fun-colored ways to accessorize their Spring~!

Friday, March 19, 2010

March: Diagnosed

March in Colorado has been diagnosed and the verdict is: schizoprenia. The last three days have been so balmy and spring-like that I was on robin-watch wherever I went.

Today, if the robins are here they are wishing for hot chocolate and handknit sweaters.

It is 28-degrees and snowing, has been all morning. It is very wet snow, so difficult to measure, but I think I have at least 4 inches in the yard. It is the last day of winter and is not going out without a fight.

I am enjoying it and taking advantage of the nasty roads by sitting home and working on my knitting. It is the best part of wintry weather.

I hope that everyone is enjoying their last day of (calendar) winter~!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

What I Knit To and Worked On

This week I worked on my new top down wrap cardi from Knitting Pure and Simple. It is a fabulous knit. This first one is being done on Lion's Brand Wool Ease.

I have divided for the sleeves and am about 12 inches into it. The finished length is somewhere around 23-27 inches depends on how it looks when I get to that point.

I really liked the increases used in the raglan section. They are the kf&b and make a lovely braided effect in the fabric, so no gappy holes. The next one I make will probably be in Berrocco Vintage Wool in Sloe Berry, pictured here. After that the ultimate goal is Dream in Color Classy in Dusky Aurora, but that is for a more flush pocketbook time.

I also knit on the beaded scarf, a hooked bead scarf beginning for a child and the Colonnade Shawl.

While I was knitting I listened to audiobooks for lunchtime knitting: Bitteroot by James Lee Burke and started The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. I understand from several folks that you had to read that book before you see the movie, sort of like Angels and Demons. I am about halfway done and keep thinking how in the world did they manage to make a movie. It will be interesting to see it when I am done with the book, which is excellent, by the way.

In the evening I knit to several movies, lots of movies, some from Netflix and the rest from the library: Cutting Edge, Good Luck Chuck, Girl with the Pearl Earring, Perfume, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Enchanted, and Season 4 of Bones.

Have I ever told you how much I love my Netflix prescription, er, I meant, membership? It is the best thing I do for myself every month. I get to see such a variety of film that keeps me engaged, wondering, in awe of the creative ideas of others.

I hope that everyone is finding wonderful ways to be entertained~!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wearing O' the Green

Wishing you all the luck o' the Irish and lots of green yarn~!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Harlot-Inspired: A New Wearable for Me

More than once in my blog reading I come across ideas from other people's knits. This is no exception to that rule. The Yarn Harlot shared her favorite sweater pattern, the Top Down Wrap Cardi from by Knitting Pure and Simple, in her March 4, 2010 post, and I had to have it.

First step was to lay my hands on the pattern. Since it is not offered as a PDF download anywhere I had to go to the shop locator and hope that one of my LYS' carried it. Luck! Green Valley Weavers and Knitters had a copy.

I found that I had yarn to knit a test one and I cast it on this weekend. After one false start caused by how I was reading the pattern, I am now about 20 rows from dividing out for the sleeves.

I am excited about having a general use sweater that can be used year round where I live. I am knitting this first one out of Lion's Brand Wool Ease in Blue Mist, a lovely color for blue jean wear.

My ultimate goal is to knit one in Dream in Color Classy in a purple combo, the one pictured is Pansy Golightly. The yarn is handpainted and the variegation is muted so the colors just flow into each other. A wonderful look when it is knit up.

I hope everyone is finding new things to be excited about~!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Let There Be Light

Daylight Savings Time begins and information from the news is:

Daylight Savings Time 2010, the setting forward of clocks occurs at 2 a.m. on
Sunday, March 14. By Federal law, daylight savings time changes are scheduled
for the second Sunday in March and the first Sunday in November.

George Vernon Hudson, a New Zealand entomologist, first proposed daylight saving time in 1895 as an effort to reduce the use of incandescent lighting.

Prior to 2007, the dates were the first Sunday in April and the and the last Sunday in October. The change to March and November, lengthening daylight saving by about a month, was part of an energy bill passed in 2005 to reduce energy consumption. States are not required to follow the daylight saving law, Arizona and Hawaii stay with standard time year round, as does Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa and Guam.

If you cannot remember whether to set your clocks ahead or back, remember "spring forward, fall back"!

This was news I thought we all could use. Happy later daylight in the evenings to all~!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Let It "Bead" Fabulous

Progress report: I have about a third done (9 1/2 inches knit so far) with the first half of the scarf, and am prepping one for demo.

The second one is being done with beads I found at JoAnn's and a skein of Serenity Sock Yarn in "Thyme".

It should tun out looking like a spring extravaganza of colors.

Because the beads came in a 100g bag, I used my scale to measure out the gram weight of beads and calculate how many beads per 10 grams so I can use bagged beads in the future. The count I got was 160 beads to 10 grams. Then I multiplied that to get the first half count of beads for the scarf and weighed it out. My goal was not to have to count them and to have enough beads on the first half of yarn.

Next I will knit the first half to the desired length, 24 inches, and whatever beads are leftover can go back to the bead pot for recalculating for the next half. I have found it is better to have more beads that not enough.

There will be more pictures next week of the It's Spring "Thyme" scarf once I get it started for the demo.

I hope everyone is finding fun ways to kick start their Spring~!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Progress Report: Colonnade Shawl

Each time I try a lace pattern I learn something new. This time I am learning that it is very important to have the correct number of stitches in the right places before you start the lace sections.

I ripped out the Colonnade shawl again last night and started over. I think that I had forgotten one yarnover in the solid color section, so when I cheated, and just did a M1 I got off track because I did not move the stitch markers to signify the new set up of stitches.

Another note: the outside sections have one stitch more in them than do the inner sections between stitch markers. That number keeps growing but it is always one extra in the outer sections. That helps when you are looking for a mistake.

The other tool I think I will incorporate into this project is the use of a lifeline. I think I will run it through the last solid color row before the lace section begins so if I goof it up again I will not have to start from the beginning again. And I will count stitches on each row as I complete it so I know that it is correct. These little things do not take that much time and save time later.

Knitting is like having your own guru on the top of a mountain~!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What I Knit To Last Week

So far this month I have knit to audiobook lunchtimes of The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown and Storm Front by Jim Butcher (this is the first book of the Dresden File series with well-known wizard Harry Dresden). Both were good in their own way.

And, at home, I watched Firefly, the only season produced and its final chapter, the movie, Serenity, The Dresden Files and 2012.

When I was not watching or listening, I was cruising Ravelry for new ideas, checking messages from friends and updating my projects. I find knitting goes with everything~!

Note: don't you love this graphic I found at the Ravelry blog, click on it and it takes you to Ravelry. If you are not already a member, please join us. It's a HOOT!

Monday, March 8, 2010

"Bead" Alert - More News on the Pretty

This is the progress I made last night on the beaded scarf while watching the Oscars.

This is an easy knit once you get past the cast on and first two or three rows. I found myself fiddling with the beads a lot because you have to keep moving them down the yarn so you can keep knitting. And you have to do it in sections and very gently so you do not break the yarn.

Once you get into the single bead placement, four per row, it knits very fast over the 25 stitches. This is really fun and is going to look fabulous when it is done. I hope everyone found award winning ways to spend their time this weekend~!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Back on the Needles Again

This attempt at the beaded scarf got started a little differently than last time. Since the scarf is knit in two halves and grafted in the middle and you have to put half the beads on the yarn for each section, it made sense to me to try my new scale to split the yarn in half.

I got the scale to split skeins of sock yarn for when I do toe up socks and want to have them turn out using all the available yarn. I set it first for ounces and discovered for yarn purposes it is better to have it set for grams.

First step: weigh the skein of yarn in total. Second step: divide the total by two. Third step: leave the skein on the scale and start winding off the yarn, watch the number until you get to the halfway point, stop, cut and start winding the second ball.

This is a food scale that I found at Bed Bath and Beyond and got to use a coupon. It was an inexpensive purchase that will offer me some wider options. I think that is a great buy.

I strung the first half of the beads onto the first ball and will be casting on this afternoon to get the scarf started. I love the color combo on this one.

One of the things I am discovering about this scarf is: If you do not buy it in kit form, you probably want to buy the beads first and then take them to match to some yarn. There are many many more choices of fingering weight yarn in variegated colors than there are bead colors to match.

If you want to buy the yarn and beads separate from a kit you must know that you need: Yarn - at least 200 yards of fingering weight and, Beads: 2100-2400 seed beads (or E beads) in size 6/0. The pattern can be purchased from Interlacements.

This is a really fun knit and makes beautiful gifts for friends and family. It is worth the time to figure it out and find the supplies. I hope everyone has fabulous discoveries in their passion-view~!

Note: in the top picture only one-third of the beads are pictured. I got 12 tubes of beads with approx 200 beads per. Mom and I found them at BeaZu in Old Colorado.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

"Bead"gin Again

One of my Ravelypic events was the Bead-alon. The plan was to get the first half of the Shell Fringe Beaded Scarf knit so I could use it as a demonstration. I have had the supplies for this scarf for over two years now and it kept getting put to the bottom of the list.

I did not get it done during the Olympics, however started it on March 1st and had done the first section through the "when you run out of beads, put that section on a holder and start the other" part and discovered that I did not have enough beads to do this scarf correctly.

I went back and read the pattern for the umpteenth time to see if I could find where I had gone wrong. The pattern calls for "one hank of 6/0 seed beads" and one half goes on each side. Nowhere in the pattern does is say how many beads of that size are in a hank.

After some research I discovered that a hank of beads in that size usually is 2100-2400 beads. I think that I had about 1000 total. Oops~!

So, I left the eight inches of pretty on the needle and took it to the shop for now. And I got some more beads for the yarn that mom had picked out for hers and have strung the first half with the correct number of beads and will be starting that one this weekend. More about that to follow.

I hope everyone is finding easy answers to their mystery questions~!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Tinkering with a Pattern

I am notorious for tinkering with recipes and am finding that I do the same with knitting patterns. To clarify, with knitting patterns it is not about changing the design of the knit, it is about rewriting sections of a pattern to make it easier to read.

As an example, I am currently working on a fabulous pattern by Stephen West, the Colonnade Shawl, and found that reading the lace stitch section in paragraph format was causing me problems.

So, I copy, pasted, enlarged the text and unkinked it from the paragraph to read one line at a time for each section across the row of the lace technique. Now I am using my highlighter tape and a row counter to keep me on track.

The other adjustment I made to the pattern was in the beginning stockinette section. Once you have done the set up row, the next two rows are repeated for a certain number of even rows to create the shoulder section of the shawl. It ends with a knit right side row. The lace section begins with a knit right side row. Does anyone else see a problem here? So I just added one more of the wrong side row and, voila! it worked like a charm. It's the little things that make knitting fun.

I hope that everyone is finding fun and creative ways to spend their days~!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Back to Our Previously Scheduled Knits

Now that control of my TV has gone back to regular programming, my knitting can go back to the list I had pre-Olympics.

Remember this: the Colonnade Shawl? Loopy remembered it when he took off his Olympic scarf and quit chanting Ravelry, Ravelry.

I had added 4 rows of the variegated color shown in the picture and discovered that I had gotten distracted and was so off count that I frogged the whole thing and put it back on the needles last night while I watched 2012 (excellent movie, by the way).

I am using a couple extra markers on it this time and have rewritten the section for the lace to make it easier to keep up with. I hope it works. This is another item that needs to be finished and delivered to the shop for a sample. I think this shawl will be the perfect Colorado-weight. There is the option to make it short for a chunky scarf or longer for a nice shoulder wrap for a cool summer evening.

I hope everyone is finding fun things to do during this early Spring~!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

He was one of my favorite authors growing up. My mom's "favorite" book was Green Eggs and Ham. She read it so many times that I think she crinches now when she hears the reference.

One year, not so long ago, my siblings and I thought it would be a hoot to give her a fresh copy of the book for Mother's Day. I am glad she has such a good sense of humor. I think that we even made her breakfast utilizing some key food colors.

This year I am going to knit a pair of striped gauntlets from the Cat in the Hat color scheme. I will call them peppermints but we will all know what they really mean. :-0
I hope everyone has reason to celebrate today~!

Monday, March 1, 2010

In Like A Lazy Lion

Yesterday dawned with snow fog around the edges but no evidence of actual snow. I think it wanted to but did not have enough in it to succeed. So, I am not sure what that means for the end of March.

As the weather man said: We are getting excited about "average." This whole winter has been either above or below, with little or no actual snow here on the Front Range.

Here's to some good, wet, measurable inches of spring snow. That will help keep the fire danger down for later. If you need a fun calendar for March, click here.
I hope everyone is having a good start to their March~!