Wednesday, December 16, 2009

For your viewing pleasure

I have been so inconsistent about publishing anything, especially photographs, on this blog. Yes, I have been very busy knitting my fingers to the bone -- Christmas knitting, you know. I do have some project pictures, but I have yet to post them.

So .... Here are a few of my favorite Christmas photos (lifted from Google images).

Monday, November 23, 2009

Much knitting but still no pictures

I have completed a lot of knitting projects, but I seem to be unable to get pictures of my completed projects. Some projects have been photographed, but I haven't downloaded the photos from the camera. I don't know why I am so slow about posting photos.

I have completed all the knitting for the Debbie Bliss animal scarves (bear, monkey and zebra). Now, I need to assemble the scarves. Also, I have completed one of the fingerless mits and started the second for my niece. They are black and white fingering weight yarn with music symbols on them. I have swatched for the flower cardigan for my mom's Christmas present. The swatch looks great. I think the sweater will be beautiful. The yarn is KnitPicks Swish DK in amethyst heather. It's a wonderful, rich purple, but when I look at it under the light in my living room, I could swear there is an orange "fuzz" on the surface. Odd, the tricks our eyes play on us!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Still knitting after all these years!

I continue to work on the Elektra and enjoy watching it grow. The Katrina Ballerina, on the other hand, is quite another matter. The knitting is not complicated, but it does not progress as rapidly as I would like. The yarn is not a pleasure to work with and is a contributing factor to the slow progress.

Today is just a daily day, not spectacular in any way. Why is it that when we are in a period of "ordinary time," we long for celebration, for a change of venue, for excitement, for brass band days? Then, when we finally are on vacation, enjoying holidays, the celebratory seasons, we long for ordinary time, for routine, for predictability, for daily days? The human race is a curious species.

My husband and I are looking forward to a week of vacation in the Portland, Oregon area in the latter part of October. I think it will be the perfect time of year to be in Oregon. Planning a trip that is not primarily to visit family is a foreign concept for us. We have rarely done that in our lives.

Enjoy the ordinary time for the frantic, frenetic, frenzied days will come when rapidly approaching deadlines loom, and there seems never to be enough hours in the day.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today is my birthday, the 60th anniversary of my birth. I was born in Dallas, Texas at St. Paul Hospital, a Catholic hospital. Since I was born on a Friday morning in a Catholic hospital, my mother was served an entree of fish for dinner, which she refused to eat based on her grandmother's admonition that one should not eat fish right after giving birth. When the nurse in attendance assured her that the fish would not cause harm, my mother stuck with the "old wives tale" and continued to refuse to eat the fish. This is one of the family tales that has be told and retold throughout my life with very little embellishment, which is not always the case in my family.

Most of the family stories I have heard in my lifetime have been embroidered with various embellishments depending on the story teller. My Aunt Norma (married to my father's eldest brother) once queried, "Why is it that your side of the family keeps telling tales about family members whether the subject of the tale is alive or dead?" My response was, "We see no need to let a good story die just because the main characters are dead. A good story is a good story."

My current knitting projects are going well. The knitting has been uncomplicated, and, as the garments grow, I enjoy watching them develop into exactly what I had in mind when I started them. I suspect the Electra is telling me that it wants to live in my sister's closet; however, I am still trying to convince it that I would enjoy it more. The fact that my sister saw it last weekend and commented on how the colors in it are "her colors" does not help my case for keeping it for myself. I keep telling myself that if I do decide to give it to her, I can always make another one for myself. Decisions, decisions!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Knitting miles of stitches

I am currently working on two different cardigans, one for me and one for my daughter. The cardigan I am making for my daughter is the Katrina Ballerina Lace Layering Cardigan from No Two Snowflakes Alike ( It is a lovely top-down raglan with the top portion in stockinette with garter stitch borders and the lower portion or skirt in a simple lace pattern which resolves into a garter stitch edge. It is a lovely design which I think my daughter will enjoy wearing. I am making it from some DK weight mercerized cotton yarn that I purchased as a kit and decided to make something different with the yarn. My hands are "crying" from working with this yarn. I am hoping to finish the sweater in time to enter it into the South Plains Fair in September.

The other cardigan I am making is Elektra by Twisted Sisters (from their book Double Trouble). It's a rather simple design to knit especially since I made a pullover from that same book and that pullover uses a similar process. The yarns I am using are all fingering weight sock yarns in cool colors with a strand of blue-black lace-weight yarn carried along with the sock yarn. The blue-black lace weight yarn has the affect of blending together the sock yarn colors. I am alternating bands of multi-colored sock yarn with bands of navy sock yarn. This yarn is a pleasure to knit, and the finished garment will be light weight and warm.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Tee Leaves Photos

I have been enjoying wearing my new top, the Tee Leaves top. It is comfortable and the fit is loose enough to be comfortable without being too baggy. If I were making this design again, and I probably will use the basic design again, I would make the armscye more shallow and that would make the sleeves not so wide at the underarm. This is the first garment that I have made that I put in bust darts, and I really like the fit. The top does not stand out or ride up at the lower front. I made the neck trim as a straight band that is basically a 2 by 2 ribbing except the middle rib is twisted and then attached the band when it was long enough to fit the neckline. One other thing that I did on this garment that I have never done before, I made the leaf edging to my hip and forearm measurements, made each piece into a ring, and picked up stitches for the garment from the straight edge of the border. I think it worked out well.

Tee Leaves top

Detail of the leaf edging

Detail of neckline trim

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tee Leaves -- a quick knit

Well, my Tee Leaves top is working up very well indeed. I lack just a little bit at the shoulders/neckline, the neckline trim and the sleeves. I really think I will enjoy wearing this garment. My plans are to complete it this week and start over with my bamboo yarn. It will be another tee with the same measurements as the current project. The only difference I am planning at this time is to change the edging on the bottom and sleeves. I want to use the tilting ladders lace on it. Photos will be posted later.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Decision made!

I have definitely decided to rip out the Ogee Tunic. I will photograph it first to show why it must be frogged. It is a case of a design and a yarn that are not compatible. The cables and the lace are invitations to split the yarn. Believe me when I tell you that 100% bamboo yarn does not need any excuse to split. When manipulating stitches with this yarn, the stitches become distorted because of the slipperiness of the yarn. I will definitely reuse the yarn. It was too expensive to abandon, although, I really would rather abandon it. I have a project in mind for it. Another reason not to like the yarn is that it has absolutely no body. It is so drapey that it hangs like a lifeless old dishrag.

To assuage my guilt and to bolster my confidence, I have begun a simple tee using Elann Callista (50% viscose, 25% cotton, 25% linen). Now, this is a yarn that is more to my liking. It shows stitch definition wonderfully, has a bit of crispness to its texture, but is, at the same time, soft. It is a cohesive yarn, showing no tendency to split. For the most part, the knitting can be on "auto pilot," but there are a few details that will make it a pretty garment.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Ogee Tunic Blues

I've ripped and frogged
And stitched lots of knitting.
This doggone yarn has me
Fuming and spitting.

How can I deal with this yarn
That keeps splitting?
This ogee front
Will I ever finish knitting?

I'm just not feeling the love for this yarn or design at this time. If I can just get finished with the front, I think the rest of the sweater will work out okay.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Happily knitting along!

I have been knitting Norah Gaughan's design, the Ogee Tunic, from Knitting Nature. Although the front of the sweater looks very complex with its meandering cables, it really is quite easy to follow the charts if one remembers to take one line at a time and carefully read the symbols. I am enjoying knitting the garment; however, I am not thrilled with my choice of yarn. The yarn is 100% bamboo, a heavy yarn with absolutely no body. My least favorite feature of the yarn is its structure. It has 14 strands (yes, I said 14 strands) with no twist, that is to say that the strands lie mostly parallel to each other much like embroidery floss. It is so difficult to avoid splitting the yarn.

I will give a progress report soon.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Promised photos

At last, I have some knitting project photos to post.

Geese Gone Goofy Ruana

First socks -- Off the Cuff (Knit Socks! by Betsy McCarthy pg. 80ff)

Classy Slip-up Socks (Knit Socks! by Betsy McCarthy pg. 104ff)

Best Foot Forward Socks (Knit Socks! by Betsy McCarthy pg. 56ff)

Waving Lace Socks (Favorite Socks from Interweave Press pg. 104ff)

Spring Thaw Socks designed by Cat Bordhi

Arch Shaped Socks

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Projects -- Spring is coming!

Last Friday, I finished my reversible vest (Knit One Below), although it is not really reversible. I could not figure out how to hide the yarn tails that resulted from casting on, joining yarn to knit the back and right front above the underarm, and the ends at the shoulders. There just did not seem to be any way to hide them so that the vest could truly be reversible. I did "spit splice" the yarn joins in the middle of the project, and, I must say, the joins are really invisible. It's a technique I will use in the future with any "feltable" yarn.

I have knitted my swatch for my first warm weather garment, a cardigan in garter stitch with lace lapels. It's a very simple, but practical and elegant garment. The yarn I am using is Queensland Soft Wave, an unmercerized, sport-weight cotton yarn that has a crinkled appearance somewhat like Mission Falls 1824 Cotton, although it is much more pleasant to knit. I'm a bit concerned with the strength of this yarn because it takes no effort at all to break it. The color of the yarn is a very light sage green -- very spring-like.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Reversible Vest

I am currently working on the Reversible Vest from the book Knit One Below. It is a simple project that seems to be taking an inordinately long time to complete. The stitches are wide but short, with a gauge of 4 stitches per inch and 8 rows per inch. Of course, that means that fewer stitches need to be cast on, but it takes forever to make any progress vertically. Since it is a reversible vest, I am "spit" splicing the yarn. I've never used that technique before, and I must say that I will probably employ it whenever I am knitting with feltable yarns in the future. It certainly makes the inside of the garment neater to eliminate working in yarn tails.

Another comment about the knit one below (k1b) technique: the stitches are not as even, at least in the unblocked garment, as stitches produced with stockinette stitch. I am hoping that the stitches take on a more uniform appearance when the garment is blocked.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Blogging the blahs!

I really have the knitting equivalent of a bad case of the mullygrubs. Currently, I am plodding along on a couple of winter knitting projects like a grasshopper dragging itself along at the end of summer. I'm trying to finish my Arwen hoodie and also the reversible vest in Knit One Below. They are both lovely projects, but spring has sprung in west Texas, and winter knitting is just plain dull. My fingers are itching to begin working on my spring knitting -- cotton and bamboo yarns in lovely spring colors, lacey, flouncy, fancy knitting, lovely and enticing projects. Oh, to be finished with these winter woolies! What I need is a good, west Texas norther to put me in the mood to complete these wintry projects.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Some photos added to posts

At last, I've downloaded some project photos from my camera. They are posted with the applicable articles.

Reversible hat -- "Out of hibernation" posted 1/16/09
Little boy sweaters -- "Well, I did it!" posted 12/30/08
Fall Leafy Cardigan -- "Cardigan completed" posted 9/15/08

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Looping the loop

I have been knitting right along on the Arwen. I have completed the left front and sleeve, but not the left side of the hood. Progress on the right front is steady and fast. The pattern calls for knitting each side of the hood with the front side and corresponding sleeve; however, I think I will experiment with making the hood after attaching the fronts to the back using the live stitches that I left on the back neck instead of binding them off as the pattern instructed. I'll let you know how that goes and hopefully post some pictures of the work in progress. As you may have noticed, I am not very good at providing photos of the work or the completed projects.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Out of hibernation

This morning, bright and early, I took out my Cardigan for Arwen to resume working on it. It was a real pain to figure out where I am on the cable braid on the cuff and front edge. I think I will leave myself more copious notes next time I place a project in hibernation to work on other more urgent projects (like socks and little boy sweaters that needed to be completed before Christmas). The Elann Sierra Aran wool and alpaca blend that I am using for the Arwen is really a pleasure to work with. It just flows through my fingers in a most satisfying way.

The first week of January, I made a nice wool hat for my husband, because he is constantly complaining that his hats do not keep his head and ears warm. His new hat is quite plain, reversible, and made of merino/nylon sock yarn left over from the Christmas gift socks. He likes it. I like it. It's one of those knitting projects I will have to repeat at some time in the future.