Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009: My Knitting Year in Review

So, another year is almost over. Wow, how the time flies by! In looking at what I've accomplished in 2009, knitting-wise, I find that I've actually accomplished quite a bit!

What I am most proud of, though, is finishing Level I of the Master Knitter program. I have already started on the Level II journey, and I'll do my best to blog as I go through that. I am also quite pleased that I am now a knitting instructor! I have a way to support (or at the very least, supplement!) my hobby, and that feels wonderful.

My goals for 2010 are these:
1. Finish Master Knitter Level II and start on Level III. (tough, but do-able)
2. Knit from the stash only (except for any yarn needed for the MK program, of course!). This will be a serious challenge, I think. :-)

May you all have a wonderful 2010!

Happy Knitting!

Friday, November 20, 2009


Well, I've finished a couple sweaters over the last month, and I've delayed posting them because I haven't taken great photos of them yet. Well, I decided to post them anyway, since if I wait till I have decent photos then they may never get posted! So... here goes:

Pattern: Wicked
Yarn: Miss Babs Yummy in Obsidian
Needles: US7

Started October 7th.
Finished October 29th.

This is a lovely pattern. A top down raglan sweater design. I'm happy with how this turned out. I ended up frogging my first attempt (which was past the sleeves no less!) because I was unhappy with where the neckline was hitting me. I really can't stand a sweater that hits my neck above my collar-bone. I was quite upset about the frogging, but I'd rather have a sweater that I will wear than one that stays in a dresser drawer. I essentially went up a size (or two, I can't remember) to get the neckline a bit wider.

Modifications: I made a couple pretty major modifications. I used short rows to bring the front neckline down farther than the back neck. Maybe you can tell from the photo that it scoops down in front a little bit. The other major modification I made was to add bust darts. They go a long way to making the sweater have a more shapely fit. Overall, I'm very happy with it! I need a few more long sleeved boat neck t-shirts to wear under it, though!

Pattern: Inspired by Tomato
Yarn: Knit Picks City Tweed DK (in Tahitian Pearl, Enchanted, Splash and Poseidon)
Needles: US7

Started: October 30th
Finished: November 14th.

I say this in inspired by the Tomato sweater, because I really just worked off the basic shape and design of the sweater. I used DK weight yarn instead of worsted, so the stitch counts in the pattern were no good for me. I figured out my gauge and my desired neckline dimensions and worked from there. I didn't take many detailed notes of this, since I was kind of figuring it out as I went. I used a stripe sequence of 8 rows of the blue-green color and 2 rows of the Pearl. I also transitioned from the lighter blue-green to the darker blue-green. I added bust darts for shaping (since they turned out so well in my Wicked!) and I'm pleased with the result. I decreased for the waist as well, and added in a few increases for the hips. I used the Jogless Jog at the side of the sweater, but didn't bother with it under the sleeves.

(Jogless Jog)

(Bust Dart)

I also used a 2x2 tubular bind off on the cuffs.

(2x2 tubular bind off)

Overall, I'm very happy with it as well! The yarn is so soft and snuggly, too, so it makes a wonderful winter sweater, but with a bit less bulk than a worsted weight sweater would have.

Two sweaters in about a month and a week. That's not too shabby!

Happy Knitting everyone! And Happy Thanksgiving next week!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Red Wine

Here's my "Wine and Crystal" Aeolian - finally finished!!

I love this pattern so much, I knit it twice! I'm even thinking of doing it a third time, that's how much I love it!

Here's the details:

Pattern: Aeolian Shawl from Knitty
Yarn: Knit Picks Gloss Lace in color Port (I used 2.5 skeins - 1100 yards)
Beads: size 8 transparent clear rainbow beads by Dyna-Mites (I used a little over two boxes)
Started: May 10, 2009
Finished: September 25, 2009
Size after Blocking: 45 inches wide, 36 inches tall, 65 inch wingspan

Modifications: None. I made the large shawl size following the pattern as written. I did 9 stitch nupps. It turned out a very generous size that will be perfect for wrapping around myself and looking glamorous in red. ;-)

(Close up detail of the beads. They sparkle nicely in the light.)

I'm sure I will be doing more versions of this pattern - it is very addicting. It's not too difficult (it looks more complicated than it really is, trust me!) and it is so easy to read your knitting as the lace sections transition. It's so customizable too: simply knit an even number of yucca sections and however many agave sections as you'd like to make whatever size shawl you're looking for. The pattern designer has even posted a shortened lace edging for it as well, if you end up worried about yardage!

Happy Knitting everyone!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

I Passed Level I!!!

I got my Master Knitter binder back a few day ago - and I passed!! (I needed to re-submit the pattern for swatch 15, but I was able to do that via email.) I'm just floored that I didn't need to re-do any of my swatches. I was convinced that a few of them were not worthy. We're always so much harder on ourselves, aren't we?? My acceptance letter has so many wonderful compliments on my work, and several helpful hints for improvement. I can't help smiling! :-)

The Level II instructions are already ordered! Onward and upward!!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Making progress...

So, it's been a little while since I blogged last! I haven't gotten my Master Knitter package back in the mail yet, but I am waiting very patiently to find out my results. :-)

I haven't finished much lately - a pair of socks, a charity washcloth, and something else that I'll blog about later. (shhh, it's a surprise!) ;-) But I'm chugging away on lots of things.

Here's one of my FOs: a pair of socks that I started last year, and had hoped to have done by Inauguration Day - oh well, better late than never! My Audacity Socks:

Pattern: BFF socks by Cookie A.
Yarn: Black Bunny Fibers Merino in the color 'Audacity' (check out this blog post about the yarn)
Needles: US 2
Modifications: Just one - I made them a shorter length.
Since the yarn had a special significance, and I wanted to use a pattern that incorporated cables to signify our interconnections. I thought the pattern name was fitting as well.

And the charity washrag:

Pattern: Garterlac Dishcloth
Yarn: Lily Sugar 'n Creme in 'Naturals'
Needles: US 7
No modifications. I initially tried to do the variation with no cast on edge, but got frustrated and gave up. (I got the hang of the technique, but it was late at night and I kept making mistakes! I'll give the technique a try sometime again later.)

The Charlotte Knitting Guild is collecting washrags to donate to Florence Crittenton Services in Charlotte.

Oh, and I did end up re-doing the zipper on my CPH:

(Ignore the cat hair!)

I'm much happier with it now. I just couldn't live with it all wavy and such - I had to do it over. Now if only the cool weather would get here so I can wear it!!

So, the LSG group on Ravelry had prizes for WiPs Wrestlemania a couple months ago, and I won a prize! A custom made project bag by Maddox! And here it is:

I absolutely love it! It's beautifully sewn - I immediately put some socks in progress in it! (And isn't the skunk card cute?? It says "I stink you're sweet!") It made my day when it arrived yesterday in the mail.

I'm still working on a few WiPs, but the number is dwindling, and I'm resisting casting on too many new projects! I did recently cast on a new pair of illusion knit socks that are way cool, but I'll blog about those when they're done!

Happy Knitting everyone!

Monday, August 10, 2009

It's in the mail!!!

Well, WIPs Wrestlemania got me motivated to finally finish my Master Knitter Level I notebook! I mailed it out this last week. Now it's simply anxiously waiting for 4 to 8 weeks for the results!

(All 16 Swatches)

(Project: Striped Hat)

(That's one thick notebook!)

I'm so very happy that I finally finished it. I learned an enormous amount in the 1.5 years that I've been working on it. I can't wait to pass so that I can start on Level II!!

For those that maybe aren't familiar with it, the Master Knitter program is through The Knitting Guild Association, and there are three levels. Each level requires knitting swatches demonstrating different techniques, knitting one or more projects (Level I is a hat, Level II is a sweater-vest and an argyle sock, Level III is a self-designed hat and sweater), answering several questions, and writing one or more multi-page reports. All items need to be researched, and provided with full references. Once you pass all three levels, you're a certified Master Knitter!

Keep your fingers crossed for me! I'll let you know as soon as I get my results!! (I'm biting my nails over here!)

Monday, July 20, 2009

FO: Central Park Hoodie!

I finally finished my Central Park Hoodie!

Pattern: Central Park Hoodie (from Knitscene, Fall 2006)
Yarn: Plymouth Yarn Royal Silk Merino in Black (12 skeins)
Needles: size US 6 and 8
Size made: 36

I started this way back in February, and got side-tracked on other things before I could finish it. Now with WIPs Wrestlemania I've gotten motivated to finish it!

I wasn't really planning on doing it in black, but I got the yarn on sale. It was fate - I love the black! (Even though it shows my white kitty cat's fur awfully!) It was a tad difficult to see what I was doing at times - but the extra trouble was worth it in the end, I think!

I made several modifications. I worked the body about 1/2 inch longer than the pattern called for. Also, I knit the arms about 1 inch longer than the pattern called for.

My hood is modified quite a bit from the pattern. I really hate the pointy top you get in hoods when they're constructed straight up and seamed at the top. I was inspired by TurtleGirl's CPH, and wanted to incorporate short rows and a bit more room in the hood. I didn't want mine to be quite as blousy and cape-like as hers, though. I was going for a more fitted look, since the body of my cardigan is quite fitted.

Here's a detailed description of what I did for the hood:

  • I worked the hood straight for 4 inches, then used stitch markers to mark the center 18 stitches.

  • I then worked paired increases on each side of these 18 stitches about every inch. I worked the hood in this way for 11 total inches. (I ended up with 88 stitches on the needle.)

  • Then I knit to 5 sts before the center, and started working short rows. (w&t and purl back). Then I did 7 more evenly spaced short rows on the right side.

  • Once those were done, I knit all the way back to the left side (knitting the wraps together with the wrapped stitches as I went) and worked the same number of short rows for the left side - purling till 5 sts from the center and w&t. etc, etc. Working 8 total short rows on the left. I purled all the way back to the right (purling the wraps together with the wrapped stitches as I went) and then knit 1 row in pattern before grafting (in pattern) the top of the hood together.

I picked up my buttonband stitches along the entire front, instead of picking them up on each side, as indicated in the directions. I knit my buttonband for 2 inches, and then sewed in an 18 inch separating zipper instead of using buttons. (I didn't want to get the buttonband 'gap' that fitted knit sweaters can get - which ruins the look!!)

Overall, I am very happy with it, and I can't wait to wear it when the weather turns cooler! The yarn is a yummy 50/50 Merino/Silk blend, which feels just scrumptious against the skin. I'm a tad bit upset with my zipper job, since it's a bit wavy, but I can live with it. (Well, and if I can't then I'll rip it out and do it over again! Now that I'm thinking about it, I may do that tomorrow. ;-) )

My Purl friend (and former New Yorker) Donna says it's a very 'New York' sweater, especially in the black! I've yet to visit New York (hopefully I will someday!), but it certainly seems that way to me too.

One more WIP down by the Ivory Ninja! 10 more to go, and only 12 more days to do it in! Yikes!

FO: Moody Blues Shawl

My Moody Blues Shawl is done!

Pattern: Inspired by the Charlotte's Web shawl. My own design, with a borrowed lace pattern.
Yarn: Claudia Handpainted Yarn Fingering in Natural and Ocean Depths (1 skein each)
and Koigu KPPPM in 404 (2 skeins), 405 (2 skeins) and 818 (1 skein)

Needles: started with size US 2.5, then moved up in steps to US 3 and US 4
Finished Size: 64 inches (wingspan) and 34 inches top to point.
I used the Yucca lace pattern from the Aeolian Shawl throughout the entire shawl (except for the lace edging).
Because I knew I wanted to do a reverse transition on the edging, I wound up small balls (about 50 yards worth) of 4 of my colors to set aside for working the edging.
To transition the colors in the body of the shawl I worked the following:
I worked color A till ready to transition. I then worked 2 rows color B, 2 rows color A. And I repeated this 3 more times. (4 rounds of alternating.)
Then I continued in color B until ready to transition again, and repeated the same process.

The peaked edging lace was then worked as follows:
Row 1: Work selvedge stitches (I did a 2 stitch garter edge with the first stitch of each row slipped), then yo, K1, yo, s2kp, K5, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, (skp, k5, k2tog, yo, k1, yo) repeat to last leaf repeat (11 sts) on first side - skp, k5, k3tog, yo, k1, yo. Knit center stitch and then repeat on other side.
Rows 2 and all even rows: knit selvedge sts and purl all other sts.
Row 3: work selvedge, then (yo, k3, yo, skp, k3, k2tog) repeat to last 3 sts on side, yo, k3, yo and knit center stitch. Then repeat on second side of triangle.
Row 5: work selvedge, then (yo, k5, yo, skp, k1, k2tog) repeat to last 5 sts on side, yo, k5, yo and knit center stitch. Then repeat on second side of triangle.
Row 7: worl selvedge, then (yo, k7, yo, sk2p) repeat to last 7 sts on side, yo, k7, yo and knit center stitch. Then repeat on second side.
Rows 9, 11, 13: work selvedge, then (yo, k3, sk2p, k3, yo, k1) repeat to last 9 sts on side, yo, k3, sk2p, k3, yo, then knit center stitch. Then repeat on second side.
Row 14 - knit selvedge sts and purl all other stitches.
Bind off.

During the lace edging, I transitioned the colors as follows:
Beginning the lace edging, with the body of the shawl in color E, work one row color C (I ran out of color D!), one row color E, one row color C, one row color E, two rows color C, one row color B, one row color C, two rows color B, one row color A, one row color B, last two rows color A and bind off with A.

I'm very happy with this shawl! It's a nice weight, since I used sock-weight yarn, and it turned out a very nice size. It'll come in quite handy in keeping the chill off in the fall and winter. And it's some of my favorite colors!

One WIP knocked down by the Ivory Ninja!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Let's Get Ready to Rumble!

It's almost here! WIPs WrestleMania!! Tomorrow, July 1st, it begins!!!

This is a Ravelry based event - for the whole month of July we're going to tackle those wips (works in progress) and get them done once and for all!! We've formed teams, picked wrestling names (mine is The Ivory Ninja!) and classified our wips by weight, division, and events. I have, get this, 12 wips to tackle! I hope I'm up to the challenge!! Here they are in all their glory:

They are in varying degrees of completion, so some will be more difficult to finish in time than others. I told my teammates, though, that I absolutely have to finish the Master Knitter Level 1 assignment (a couple of the MK swatches are pictured in the middle). I'm hoping this gives me the motivation to finish it!!

I'm in two teams: Team Charlotte Purls (I'm team captain!) and Team LSG. Go Teams!!

It'll be nice to have just one or two wips left by the end of July! And in August I pledge to be a more monogamous knitter (well, to try to be anyway!)

The Smackdown begins tomorrow!!!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Chili Peppers anyone?

I got my prize package in the mail today. Woo Hoo!
A wonderful Chili Pepper theme:

The wonderful box bag (a Bella Bag) is from StarLitStella - isn't it just adorable? (Um, I checked out her store while I was getting the web address, and maybe, just maybe, I bought another one in a cute kitty print. I'll admit, I'm weak in the face of cute kitty cat fabrics. :-) )

This yarn is fabulous! Just check out these colors:

100% Superwash Sock yarn from Crazy4Dyeing in the color 'Ring of Fire'.

And some super-cool chili pepper stitch markers from PennyWenny:

Plus some cute sandal stitch markers from Crazy4Dyeing as well:

Isn't it a great prize package??! I LOVE it! Not bad for an hour or two of Photoshop fun. :-)

Now I just need to find the perfect pattern for the sock yarn. I'm thinking it needs to be chili pepper related, don't you?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

I can't believe I won!

This year, again, Zarzuela is hosting the Summer of Socks! For those that aren't familiar with it, you cast on and knit socks throughout the summer, and get entered in random drawings when you finish socks. The big prize is the Vacation Photo prize at the end - you take a vacation photo with a sock in progress, and the participants vote on the winning photo. This year it is all taking place within Ravelry - visit the link to the Ravelry group over on the side-bar to sign up. I can't wait till tomorrow to cast on my socks!! I have several patterns and yarn already lined up. :-)

So, anyway, she had a blog button/banner contest, and I said "what the hey" and designed a little button and banner - never thinking I had a chance at winning!! And guess what? I won!! Woo-hoo! So here are my winning button and banner:

And I won a lovely package with sock yarn (of course!) and a bunch of other goodies! I'll post a picture when I get it in the mail. I can't wait!!
If you're in the Summer of Socks group - feel free to copy the banner and button and use them on your blog!
Happy Knitting everyone! Get your needles ready for tomorrow!!

Monday, June 15, 2009

WWKiP Day!

Saturday June 13th was World Wide Knit in Public Day! And what a fun day it was!

The Charlotte Knitting Guild hosted an event from 11-3 at a Charlotte area Books-a-Million, with prizes drawn every half-hour. The Joe Muggs cafe stepped up and had samples of iced coffee and treats for us too!

(Charlotte Purls! Stacey, me, Wendy, Rose, Donna and Angela (seated).)

(Stacey with my SKA WWKiP sock, and her own socks. Aren't they great?!)

After the WWKiP event, I headed home and got a few photos for the Ravelry SKA WWKiP Scavenger Hunt. (Quick explanation: you take photos of a sock in progress with different things, and get points. The people with the highest points win a prize, as well as winners in different categories. All in good fun!)

(Sock with children under 12, in front of (just part of!) my stash. One is knitting! 4pts)

(Sock with a person in uniform. 3pts. heehee!)

Then we headed to the mall, to get a bite to eat before seeing UP with the boys.

(Sock in front of a Landmark. Lowe's Motor Speedway. 5pts.)

(Sock dining out. 1pt.)

Then I did a little KiP before we headed over to the movie theatre.

(Sock being KiP in front of 3+ non-knitters. 6pts.)

I ended up tallying 35 points with my 9 photos (Not all of them are pictured here. You can check the rest out on my Flickr WWKiP set.) We'll see if I win anything. It doesn't really matter if I do - the point was to have fun, and I sure did!

The boys really enjoyed UP!, and we had fun watching for fireflies on the car ride home. Overall, it was a very good day!

Don't be afraid to KiP all year long! Happy Knitting everyone!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Leaf Purse

The Charlotte Purls are having a Bag KCAL, so here is my project:

Pattern: My own design
Yarn: Patons Classic Wool, and Knit Picks Wool of the Andes
Needle size: US9

I started it by hand at the bottom, and then worked in the round towards the top. A few days after I started it, I got a Bond Sweater Machine, so I finished it up using the machine. It only took me 20 minutes to finish it! I then felted it, and needle-felted swirls and leaves on it. The handle is a leather handle from Homestead Heirlooms, and so is the leather leaves and acorn.

I ran out of tan yarn and had to finish up using grey, but you can't really notice it in person. Overall, I'm very happy with it. My Pouchee (I love this thing!) fits inside, with enough extra room for a small knitting project as well.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Here's a new FO. And in crochet no less - which I don't do too often lately!

Meet Stitch, the puppy dog:

Pattern: Pomeranian by Brigitte Read

Yarn: Knit Picks Suri Dream (plus some worsted merino on his belly area for contrast)

Hook: F (3.75mm)

This technique is called brushed crochet. You crochet your item, and then literally brush the fur out. The pattern calls for a slicker brush (which you can find at pet stores.) Instead, I used my new handcarders as my brush - and they worked great. Surprisingly, pretty much any yarn will work for this. The suri alpaca worked extremely well to give a nice long coat to the doggie, but the merino yarn I used on his belly brushed out quite nicely as well, although not as long. I ended up with some holey spots (I really needed to crochet this much more tightly than I did), but they were easily covered over with some creative darning and vigorous brushing. :-)

Overall, a very fun and quick project! And now I have a cute doggie of my own, who doesn't need walked and fed! Win, win situation for me!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Wherefore art thou, Romeo?

....Here is my finished Juliet cardigan!

Pattern: Juliet from Zephyr Style
Yarn: Plymouth Royal Silk Merino in White (held double) - 10 skeins
Needles: US 10.5 (6.5mm)
Pattern Size made: XS (fyi, this pattern runs really big)

Modifications: I made several modifications to get the exact fit that I wanted in this sweater. I knew I didn't want to do the cropped version, or have the lace start right at the middle of the bust line (can you say maternity sweater??). And I don't particularly care for really short cap sleeves. are the mods I made:

1. I did two extra increase rows (4 extra rows total) prior to starting the sleeve division. I ended up here with 110 sts. I wanted a bit more room in the armhole area.

2. I then worked the garter section until just at the bottom bust line. This was about 3 inches past the sleeve division.

3. I then increased a smaller number than called for in the pattern prior to starting the lace- I didn't want the baby-doll flare that I thought would look maternity-ish. I wanted a more trim look. So I increased as follows: K3, (K4, Kf&b&f) repeat 10x, K2, M1, K2, (kf&b&f, K4) repeat 10x, K3 = 151 sts.

4. I ended up doing 6 repeats of the lace section, which ended up about at my hip bone.

5. I did 6 extra rows on the sleeves to make them slightly longer.

6. I fastened it at the lower bust line with two buttons, instead of staggering the buttons up the front.

Things I would do different if I had it to do over:

I don't particularly care for how the underarm section of the sleeves bunches up. I would try to increase the length of the cap sleeves without adding to the bulk in the underarm area - probably with short rows. I may actually rip them out and re-do them at some point. Other than that I'm really happy with it.

"Good night, Good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night till it be morrow!"

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Lace Bug...

....I now officially have it!

Here is my finished Aeolian Shawl:

Pattern: Aeolian Shawl from Knitty
Yarn: Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud in Stream Heather colorway (2 skeins)
Needles: US 2.5 (3.0mm)
Beads: size 8 Matsumi green iris beads (from Fire Mountain Gems)
Started: March 19th
Finished: April 4th

I wanted something slightly bigger than the small size shown in the pattern, but not as big as the big shawl size. So, I did a size in between! The pattern is designed so well, that you can customize it to your heart's content! As long as you do an even number of yucca repeats, all of the other charts will work. I ended up doing 8 yucca repeats and one agave chart repeat. I used a total of 660 yards. I probably could have squeezed another couple of yucca repeats or another agave repeat in there, but it ended up large enough for my taste as it is!

I am in love with the flower edging on this shawl! It absolutely eats yarn, though! I used about 317 yards on the body of the shawl, and the edging alone used 343 yards. I ended up with 753 stitches on the needles!

Blocking was a challenge, since it's not a triangle, it's more of a crescent shape. And all the flowers had to be pinned out. BUT, the trouble is worth it in the end! Here it is blocking:

There are a lot of beads in this! But, I think the beads are a must in this pattern - they really make it pop!

I'm planning on entering it in our Knitting Guild Awards (lace is one of the categories), so it'll be out of my clutches for a whole month while it's being judged. I'm not sure I can let it go! ;-)