Wednesday, September 30, 2009

This Won't Continue...

...but I have another FO for today. I finished up the scarf I was making using 2 skeins of LB Wool Ease and size 15 needles.
I had yarn left, but I decided that 40" was long enough. The scarf is really thick, so it isn't comfortable to wrap around the neck several times. At 40", it covers the chest, so it will keep someone warm. This will be donated eventually, I'm just not sure where right now.

I actually finished it before dinner yesterday. So that left me free to mess with another old project last night. Unfortunately, it didn't go as well as the teddy bear. I pulled out some squares I had made back in the 1990s for 2 baby afghans. (I think the babies these afghans were originally intended for are almost teenagers by now!) After messing around with the squares for a while, I came to a difficult conclusion. I don't have enough yarn to finish the project properly. I was using Red Heart Sport, which I don't think is available any more. And it is some nasty, hard yarn. I just don't have the heart to try to find a way to finish this project, so I am going to trash it. It's not easy for me to say that, but I know that I have other projects from the same era that I will finish, so I don't feel too bad.

And the good news is that I am now starting October with 26 projects instead of 30. That makes me feel much better!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Coming Clean, and a Teddy Bear

I might have been a tad disingenuous over the last couple of weeks when I was listing my WIPs. I've been rethinking what I need to finish thanks to a new challenge over on the Stash Knitdown group on Ravelry. During October, November, and December, our challenge is to finish our WIPs, in order to start 2010 with a clean slate. As it turns out, that is going to be quite a challenge for me. I sat down on Saturday and wrote yet another brutally honest list of WIPs/UFOs to be finished. I came up with a list of 30 items. I really don't know how this keeps happening. However, I am game to try to meet the challenge.

So, even though it is not yet October, I have started in on the list. Here's what I accomplished last night.
I have been thinking back, and I'm pretty sure I knitted this little guy in 2003. And he has sat around, waiting to be sewn and stuffed, ever since because I couldn't figure out how to embroider the face. After looking at the pattern again (the Bear Pair Teddy Bear), at the finished bears on Ravelry, and at this Morehouse Farm pattern, I decided to not embroider the face at all. That freed me to finally finish this project. He is 9.5" tall, and I used Caron Simply Soft for the body, and some leftover Simply Soft Tweed for the scarf. The scarf is just 20" of I-cord. I probably could have stuffed his bottom half a bit more, but I wasn't sure how it would go sewing the final seam. All in all, though, I am quite pleased with him, and I got to cross one item off my list already. Only 29 more to go!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I'm Still Trying... get my thoughts together about Elizabeth Zimmermann and the green sweater. Reading the story of the sweater and the designer's efforts to recreate it make me want to get much more serious about my knitting. That's a nice, if vague, long term goal, so I have been trying to decide how I want to go about pursuing it.

And it occurred to me that getting better acquainted with EZ and her patterns might be a good way to start. I was looking through her book Knitting Around, and I became quite taken with the Moebius Vest. So I cast on on Sunday.
This is the back of the vest, and it is going to be a large garter stitch square until I get to the point where I separate the front and back panels. It is hard to explain the exact construction, but I will try to take pictures when I get to the point of seaming the sweater to show how it goes together. I am using 4 skeins of Berroco Ultra Alpaca, an alpaca/wool blend, that I had originally bought to make a shawl. I think a vest will be a more practical garment, however.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Elizabeth Zimmermann

I don't have time to write the post I wanted to this morning, but I am going to post a couple of links anyway. I will finish my thoughts next week when I have time. I have been thinking about Elizabeth Zimmermann a lot lately, in part because of a post on Brooklyn Tweed about photographing an original EZ sweater. The story of how this sweater came to light is here. It's an inspiring story that has me thinking a lot about how to become the knitter I want to be. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Endless Hit Parade of Scarves...

...isn't as endless I had originally thought! I just looked at my Ravelry project page, and I was surprised to find that I "only" have 14 WIPs on there. (Ok, it's still too many, but not as bad as I would have thought.) 3 haven't really been started yet. I just had matched yarn and pattern, so I listed them so that I wouldn't forget. And I am working on 2 scarves that I haven't listed there yet. So I only have 4 scarves to blog about today.

I started 2 of the scarves in August. The first pattern is called Gabriel's Wings. I'm calling it "Getting Ready for Autumn".
I'm using 2 skeins of Louet Gems, handpainted by Cherry Tree Hill. I bought 8 skeins of this yarn, in various colorways, on a great sale at the Knit and Crochet Show. It's fingering weight, so the scarf is growing slowly, but I love the colors and this pattern. It's hard to see in the picture, but the pattern is alternating sections of garter and stockinette stitch, with eyelet rows in between the sections.

The second scarf I started in August is crocheted. I've had this Cotton Fine yarn, a cotton/wool blend, in my stash for years, and I've never known what to do with it. I want to get it out of the stash, and the last time I looked at it I thought, why not crochet a scarf with it?
I decided to use the bushy stitch, which is 2 dc, 2 ch and 1 sc in the ch2 space of the previous row. I love how it is working up. It is creating its own border around the edge of the scarf. The original chain edge will be the middle of the scarf, so that both ends of the scarf match. It's just taking time to work up over 400 yards of fingering weight yarn.

This month, I have cast on 2 more scarves. One is an easy, garter stitch scarf that is my current mindless knitting.
I am holding 2 strands of LB Wool Ease together and I am using size 15 needles. So it is growing quickly and will hopefully get 4 skeins of yarn out of the stash.

And finally, so small that it doesn't even lay flat yet, is a Feather and Fan Scarf. (Sorry, another Ravelry link.)
I am using 2 more skeins of the Louet Gems from the Knit and Crochet Show. The colors are even more saturated in real life. I really need to spend more time with this scarf. I have been wanting a Feather and Fan scarf for some time now, so I really want to see this one grow.

I think I have enough projects going to keep me busy for a while!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Socks Squared

Before I get to the endless parade of scarf WIPs I am working on, I have to talk about my new favorite project. During my yarn buying binge in August, I managed to buy 6 new skeins of sock yarn. So I told myself that if I was going to continue to stash sock yarn, then it was time to become a more dedicated sock knitter. And at the beginning of September, I found a perfect Ravelry KAL to help me out with that goal.

The group is called "Socks Squared". (I'm not sure why, but there you are.) We are going to be choosing 1 or 2 patterns a month to work on. The September patterns are Primavera socks and Pawprints socks (Ravelry link). It was a tough choice, but I settled on Primavera for my first pair. I pulled out 2 skeins of Regia Design Line Kaffe Fassett self-striping yarn that I had bought at Webs a few years ago and cast on before I left for vacation.
Unfortunately, I didn't have as much time as I had hoped while we were traveling to work on the sock, so I am still on the second pattern repeat. But the pattern is fairly easy, so if I settle down and actually work on the sock, it should be finished this month.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My Only Summer FO

Before I get to my one summer FO, though, I just want to thank Dee and Taph for their comments yesterday. It feels good to be back here, but I'm sorry to tell Dee that I'm not sure when I will get back to crochet guild events. The truth is that this year, my mom and my in-laws need my dh and me more and more. I'm glad to say that there hasn't been a medical crisis, but they are all getting older and they rely on us more than they used to. At this point, I am lucky if I get 1 entire weekend a month at home. (I always make sure that I get at least 1 day of each weekend at home to get the laundry done, but with 2 days on the weekend, I could get even more done.) So I'm just not as free as I used to be to attend fun events.

So, in my last July post, I mentioned starting 4 scarves as my traveling projects for the summer. Well, out of that group, I ended up frogging 2 of the scarves. One is still OTN, and one actually got finished.
I used 2 skeins of Blue Sky Alpaca Melange, a sport weight alpaca yarn, and the Yarn Harlot's One Row Handspun Scarf pattern. The yarn was just yummy to use, and the pattern is the perfect combination of easy yet interesting. So the scarf knitted up relatively quickly.

The scarf that is still OTN currently looks like this:
I am using 2 skeins of Blue Sky Alpaca Alpaca & Silk blend, a DK weight yarn that I bought up in New Hampshire several years ago. I had considered this to be precious yarn (I guess because of the silk), but I decided it was time to knit it up. I originally intended to make a triangular scarf with the yarn, but now I think that a more textured stitch pattern works better with the solid color. This one will get more love eventually, but right now I seem to have a bad case of startitis. More about that tomorrow!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Summer is Over...

...or at least waning fast, and it's time for me to get back to blogging. I've got lots going on to talk about, so hopefully I won't disappear again for an extended period of time.

But first, let me recap summer. It was busy, busy, busy! Work still hasn't calmed down completely, but it is slowly getting back to normal. I have taken 3 trips in 3 months, so I am ready to stay home for a long while. In July, we took a long weekend in central New York state to attend a family reunion with my dh's family. In August, I went to the Knit and Crochet Show with friends from my crochet guild. We had a blast, sightseeing at Niagara Falls, walking around Buffalo, and attending classes. Others have blogged extensively about the conference, so I won't go into great detail. (If you are interested, check out Nancy, Dee, Jen and Margaret's blogs for day by day accounts.) And last week, the dh and I spent 4 days in Newport, RI on our yearly vacation. That was a lot of fun, too, but it was incredibly windy, so we didn't get to spend as much time on the beach as we would have liked.

And there was some yarn acquisition. Actually, there was a lot of yarn acquisition in August. There was so much yarn acquisition that I don't have the heart to photograph it, even though it is mostly still in a large bag in the craft room. I managed to add just about 8 miles of yarn to my stash, wiping out about 3/4ths of my stash busting efforts of the last year and a half. So there is also now a serious yarn diet going on. For the first time, I have joined the "Going Cold Sheep" thread over on the Stash Knitdown group on Ravelry. Not only have I signed up for Cold Sheep, I have accepted a challenge to use up or give away 100 skeins of yarn before I buy yarn again. There is no time limit on the challenge (thank goodness), and my reward for completing this challenge is going to be enough Fleece Artist yarn to make a Tilted Duster. It was one of the few temptations I was able to say no to in August, so I am making it my long term goal.

Tomorrow, my one FO of the summer.