Saturday, August 7, 2010

I've moved!

My blog has now moved to my dedicated website:!

Be sure to update your RSS feeds (I'm going to attempt to redirect the feed, but I'm not sure if I will be successful or not!)

See you over there!

Happy Knitting!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Zora Sweater

It's been a busy summer! I have several finished objects to show you, but for this post I'm going to focus on the major one, my mom's sweater!

Pattern: Zora from Knitty : Winter 2009
Yarn: Newton's Yarn Country 100% NZ Merino (double stranded)
Needles: US 3
Size made: Medium (42.75)
Started: March 11, 2010
Finished: June 17, 2010

The yarn was bought at Stitches South - last year! Mom picked it out for me to make a sweater for her - and she had picked out a pattern at Stitches as well, but that pattern did not work out at all. (It was badly written, and badly designed.) So that attempt was frogged, and the yarn sat for a few months while I decided what would be best - and then I saw the Zora pattern - perfect!

The yarn is really closer to a lace weight, so I double stranded it to get gauge (and an added bonus is that it really helped the colors to not pool or flash!)


1. I didn't start the lace until after the turned hem - the pattern has you start the lace right after the turning row, but I didn't like the look of that.

2. I knit the bottom portion with no seams and then split for the two fronts and the back at the start of the armhole decreases. I really hate seaming sweater sides. I also knit the sleeves in the round - I hate seaming sleeves, too. :-)

That was it for modifications! It's a very well written pattern, and it turned out beautifully.

It's designed to be an oversized, comfy sweater, with lots of positive ease. It'll be nice and cozy when the weather turns colder (which is very hard to imagine right now in this summer heat!) Hopefully my mom will like it! I'm sure she will, but I almost wish she'll hate it just so I can keep it for myself!! :-)

Happy Knitting!!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Mickey Mouse!

(Me and the family at the Magic Kingdom)

We took a vacation to Walt Disney World last week. It was the boys' first time. I don't have much knitting to show you in this post, but I did get quite a bit of knitting done on my mom's sweater during the 9.5 hour drive each way:

(Mickey nails!)

We all had a blast. We woke the boys up early Thursday morning, hit the road by 7am, and drove straight down, with really very few stops along the way. We got to Orlando by 4:30pm. We had to wait for our room to be ready (they dropped the ball on that one!) but we had plenty of time to explore around the hotel, giftshops and pools. Friday was spent driving over to near Tampa to visit with my grandmother (she's 88 and still hanging in there!) and take her out to lunch. Then we headed back to Disney to meet my in-laws for dinner at Downtown Disney.

(My grandma!)

Saturday morning started with a wake up call from Stitch, and we did the Cafe Mickey Character breakfast where the boys got to meet Mickey, Minnie and the gang up close and personal. Then pretty much the entire day was spent at the Magic Kingdom, including the 10pm fireworks at Cinderella's castle. I'll tell you what, I got quite teary eyed holding up my youngest and watching those fireworks with my boys, seeing how captivated they were with it all. sniff

(Alice, wondering if the boys are Tweedledee and Tweedledum)

Sunday was split between Hollywood Studios and Epcot. The Toy Story ride in Hollywood Studios is AWESOME! We got the boys passports in Epcot, and they loved getting them stamped and signed at each country. We also saw some of the Chubby Checker concert there - boy can he still rock it!

(Chubby Checker)

Then we hit the road for home on Monday. Overall it was a fantastic trip, but over way too soon! Although, my feet took a few days to recover from all the walking we did! The only downside to the whole trip was getting home and realizing we left my youngest's blankie in the hotel room. :-( Lost and Found doesn't have it yet, but we keep checking. We're hoping it turns up in a few days once all the laundry has been sorted through, but I hate to get my hopes up. We'll see.

Now I'm just trying to get back in the swing of things. I'm hoping to have some good stuff to show you in a week or two. In the meantime - Happy Knitting!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Stitches South

I spent this last weekend in Atlanta for Stitches South 2010. I stayed with my parents (who live south of Atlanta) - which is better than a hotel, since not only do I save on lodging, but I get to hang out with them and watch Dr. Who! :-)

First off, I won the "What will you be Wearing?" contest that Kimberly, aka Somebunnyslove, was running leading up to Stitches. I posted my two Aeolian shawls, and my blue one won! So I got two tickets to the Friday night Fashion Show and Dinner. There were some lovely and unique sweaters that I saw at the Fashion show - many of them upcoming in the summer edition of Knitters Magazine. And a couple of them from 'Swing Swagger Style', among some others. The dinner was nice - the food was quite tasty (steak! and the dessert was to die for!) and the wait staff provided some humor (if you were at my table then you know what I'm talking about!). It was a very nice evening - I was very happy to have won the tickets and to meet Kimberly!

Then Saturday was the Marketplace - I overdosed on yarn fumes! It was fantastic. I ran into several of my Charlotte Knitting Guild friends on Saturday, too. I ended up only going a little bit over my budget:

(The Haul)

My first purchase (made within my first 10 minutes of being at the Marketplace!) was a sweater's quantity of The Sanguine Gryphon's Bugga! in the color 'Polyphemus Moth'. It was my only pre-planned purchase - I wanted to see the colors in person before I bought a sweater's quantity, and I fell in love with the pale, peachy browns in these:

(Bugga!!! The photo really doesn't do it justice.)

I then swung by The Knit Witch's booth and walked away with one skein of Boo! in 'Misty Moor' (the green one) and one skein of Celestial Cloud in 'The Crab' (the brownish one), plus some just scrumptious fluffy and soft Merino/Bamboo roving in the color 'Babylon' - I can't wait to spin it up!

(My purchases from the Knit Witch.)

I also swung by Dragonfly Fiber's booth, and got one skein of Djinni sock in 'Spring in Washington' (the pink one) and one skein of Naiad sock in 'Bad Moon Rising' (the awesome copper/bronze/blue one)-

On top of all that, I picked up a couple of heavily discounted bags of SWTC yarn, a shawl stick, some highlighter tape, some nail polish pens, and my mom got me the honey jade Purdy Thangz shawl pin as an early birthday present. I bought the girl scout cookies to distract my husband from all the other stuff I bought. hee hee!

Lots of great memories. I knitted a bit on The Big Sock, and got to meet Jess!

(Jess, aka frecklegirl, founder of Ravelry - and her husband, Casey, is behind me)

After an awesome lunch at The Real Chow Baby restaurant, my mom and I swung by my brother's place to visit with my nephew. He's gotten so big!

(Look at those feetsies!)

Overall, a fantastic weekend vacation! I had a lovely time with my mom, and looking at all the fantastic yarn and fiber. Now to just save up some more money before SAFF! :-D

Happy Knitting everyone!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

It's too hot to wear these, but... are some mittens I finished a bit ago. They only took me a little over a year to finish. o.O

Pattern: A Bird in the Hand Mittens by Jorid Linvik
Yarn: Noro Silk Garden Sock in a variegated blue and a variegated beige.
Needles: US 2.5
Started: January 16, 2009
Finished: March 9, 2010

I really enjoyed working on these. The only reason they took so long is because I kept setting them aside to work on other things. They were the red-headed stepchildren of my project basket, poor things. But now they are done, just in time for...summer! Doh! Oh well. At least I'm prepared for this next winter!

I have yet to duplicate stitch the bird on the palm (hence the 'bird in the hand') or the red heart, but that's because I haven't found the yarn I want to use to do that yet. They are nice and toasty - the silk garden sock yarn is very silky and scrumptious - the perfect yarn for mittens!

Happy Knitting!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Ravelympics/ Knitting Olympics Gold!

I finished my sweater in time to cross the finish line! Yay! It was finished at 4:35pm EST Sunday.

So, here it is - my finished Ravelympics Sweater!

Pattern: Autumn Rose by Eunny Jang
Yarn: Knit Picks Palette in 11 colors
Needles: US 3 for most of it (and US 2,1 and 0 for neck ribbing)
Size knitted: size 37 (with alterations - see below)
Started: Feb 12, 2010 at 9pm EST
Finished: Feb 28. 2010 at 4:35pm EST
Total Time: 90 hours

  • Changed the color palette (I'll list the exact colors I used below)
  • Added length to the body - extended the pattern down to the bottom of the chart (12 rows), and kept the decrease rate the same (12 extra stitches for cast on).
  • Raised and narrowed the neckline. I raised the neckline to the same row as the sleeve division, and narrowed it by 4 stitches each side.
  • Lowered the yoke to the smallest size's height. A lot of previous knitters noted that the yoke was too deep when worked as written.
  • Lengthened sleeves and worked sleeves one size up, per the 39 size chart. Started sleeves on same row of chart as the body started. Charted out evenly spaced increases to decrease down to 35 stitches on chart (69 stitches total including the seam stitch). Mirrored bottom corrugated ribbing on the sleeve cuffs. Worked the rib over 64 stitches and then increased to 69 stitches before starting chart.
  • Adjusted the raglan decreases (since I altered the neckline and the yoke height along with the sleeve width). Worked 5 sets of decreases every third row, then 10 sets of decreases every other row, then 14 sets of decreases every row. I did this on both the body and the sleeves. The sleeves ended up with a stitch count of 19 at the neckline.
  • Kept color change in neck ribbing to mimic the bottom and cuff ribbing.

Overall I am extremely pleased with how this turned out! It fits like a dream now that it's blocked. I was concerned about some bunching that I was getting (pre-blocking) in the sleeve cap area, but it all blocked out and the raglan sleeves fit wonderfully! The Palette yarn is very soft, especially after blocking - yet it has the sticky quality that you want in fair isle. I did not reinforce my steek at all prior to cutting and it's holding together just fine.

Sleeve seam detail

My Color Palette:
Old Gold = Ash
Bracken = Marble
Pistachio = Fog
Yellow Ochre = Mist
Scotch Broom = White
Shetland Black = Asphalt
Pine Forest = Ivy
Admiral Navy = Clover
Peat = Spearmint
Sunrise = Celedon
Madder = Edamame

Here is what I came away with this time around with the Ravelympics:

I was crazy to pick such an ambitious project. Next time around I will not be so crazy - in order to save my sanity and the sanity of my entire household. I was determined to not 'fail', so housework and homeschooling and anything other than knitting was put on the back burner. Not a bad thing in and of itself , but I think next time around I'll take things a bit easier, and hence have a cleaner house and less rambunctious children during the games. (Really, who cares that my house was a mess for two weeks? And the kids were really great the whole time - they just watched a bit more tv than normal.) As proof of how much knitting I was doing each day - I even dreamed about knitting on this sweater several nights there!

I am very proud of myself - I proved to myself that I could, in fact, knit an entire fair isle sweater in 17 days. Because, I guess, I needed to prove that to myself for some strange reason. Now that that is done, I am going to take things a bit easy on the knitting front - well, for just a day or two anyway!

Happy Knitting everyone!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Ravelympics Progress

We're into Day 6 of the Knitting Olympics. I've made a good bit of progress on my sweater. It seems like it is slow going as I'm knitting, but it really is growing by leaps and bounds!

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

My main concern right now is whether it's going to fit or not. I put it on waste yarn on Monday to try it on, and it fit fine at that point. Now that I'm past the hip decreases and started the increases I think I'm going to pause and try it on again just to be sure the waist fits. We'll see. I know it'll block a little larger in the end, so there's a bit of wiggle room if it's a tiny bit too small. (I hope!)

I absolutely love the Winter Olympics - especially the figure skating, so I've been enjoying watching the last few nights. I don't know how much longer I can keep up the past-midnight bedtimes, though!

Keep it up, all of my fellow Knitting Olympians! 12 more days to go!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Gearing up for Ravelympics

So, for those of you who are not knitters (are there any non-knitters that even read this blog??) the Ravelympics is an event which takes place on the knitting community of Ravelry during the Olympic Games. The idea is that you pick a project (or projects) that is/are a challenge to complete within the two week time frame of the Olympic Games. You don't cast on until the Opening Ceremonies and you have to finish before the end of the Closing Ceremonies. Teams form for the purpose of cheering each other on.

I participated two years ago, and didn't do too bad. I focused on getting gift knits done, and I had a total of 4 projects cross the finish line.

This year I have gone bonkers. I am going to attempt to knit the Autumn Rose pullover by Eunny Jang. Fair Isle. Sweater. In two weeks. Yep - bonkers.

There's a bit of prep involved with a project like this.

First, I do not like the colors that the original is knit in. Oh, don't get me wrong - I think the sweater is gorgeous - it's just not in colors that I prefer to wear. So, I'm switching colors. And I want to use Knit Picks Palette yarn instead of the yarn called for. I've used Palette a lot and I like it - plus it's very inexpensive. So the quest for the perfect colors must begin prior to the Opening Ceremonies.

Secondly, I've heard that there are some issues with the fit of this sweater. I'm going to make adjustments to the pattern so that it fits my body better. I don't like plunging necklines, so I'm going to raise the neckline - which is easily enough accomplished. And I want to make the sweater a bit longer - it's a little bit short for my taste - again, that's easily done. The more difficult changes are to make the shoulder to armhole depth a bit shallower while adding in a bit more room in the upper arm of the sleeve. I'm going to have to plan those changes out ahead of time, and re-chart the pattern.

So, I've already done all my swatching - to pinpoint my colors and to check gauge (very important!!)

I'm going with a green color scheme. Here's swatch #1:

I don't like the yellow-green in the bottom check section. And the bottom of the medallion does not have enough contrast. Plus my gauge was a bit too tight. So on to try #2:

I tried out two different color combos for the check section. I've decided that while the yellows are pretty, I think they're too bright for the overall sweater - the greens in the medallion are muted and the yellows seem to scream at me a bit too much. So I'm going with the colors up top for the check section. And notice how the bottom (and top) of the medallion has more contrast now? I'm happy with these colors. I also went up a needle size and my gauge is much better.

I haven't made all my design changes yet. I'm going to try to get those done this week. I foresee lots of pen and pencil marks on lots of charts.

I am so anxious to cast this sweater on! The swatch sure whet my appetite for knitting this sweater!! I don't know how I'm going to make it a whole two weeks (almost) before the Opening Ceremonies. Oh well - I'll continue knitting on my WIPs until then. But it'll be pure agony, I tell you.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Cheshire Cat

Here's another recent FO! My Illusion knit socks that I've been working on for what seems like forever!

Pattern: Wonderland Socks (or Alice's Illusion Socks) by Alice Bell
Yarn: Knit Picks Gloss Sock in Cocoa and Bare
Needles: US 1 (2.25mm)
Started: August 10, 2009
Finished: January 11, 2010

I made several modifications to this pattern:

1. The pattern has you begin the illusion knitting right after the toe increases. But if you do that then the kitty cat will be hidden in your shoes!! Instead, I worked the foot in plain 2x2 stockinette stripes and didn't start the illusion knitting until after the heel. Because of this, I shortened the kitty cat chart by a few rows (I eliminated rows 16-19 and 22-25 of chart) to keep the socks to a reasonable height on my leg. If I had kept the chart as-is, then I would have probably ended up with knee-highs - which honestly would have been OK. They ended up hitting me about mid-calf.

2. I worked a toe-up Riverbed architecture heel flap.

3. I worked calf increases, since I knew the sock was going to hit quite high on my calf. I worked two stitches each increase row (one on each side of chart) on rows 15, 26, 29, 32, 35, 38, 41 of chart.

4. I worked a 1x1 rib cuff for 14 rows and bound off in tubular bind-off.

5. I reversed the chart for the second sock. (I think the pattern tells you to do this, anyway.)

I am very happy with them!! I have yet to wear them, though (aside from pictures, anyway) because I am giving a presentation on Illusion Knitting at the Charlotte Knitting Guild meeting tomorrow night, and I want to pass them around as a sample. They probably wouldn't appreciate stinky-feet smelling socks getting passed around!! :-)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Fuzzy Wuzzy was a Sweater

Here's my second FO of 2010 - a very fuzzy sweater!

Pattern: Viola from 'French Girl Knits'
Yarn: Knit Picks Suri Dream in Blackberry
Needles: US 7 and US 10.5
Started: Nov 21, 2009
Finished: Jan 6, 2010

Modifications: I made several modifications to this.
1. I substituted the Suri Dream for the mohair blend yarn called for in the pattern. I am allegic to mohair, but I really liked the fuzzy look of this sweater. So far, the alpaca is not making me itch - which is good!
2. If you've seen the original pattern, then you know that this is supposed to be a puffy short sleeved sweater with ruffles on the neckline and the sleeve cuff. Well, I knit the first sleeve per the pattern and then decided that the puffy short sleeves (which hit me at the elbow!) were not very flattering for me. I ripped the sleeve out (quite a chore with the fuzzy alpaca yarn!) and re-styled the sleeves to be long sleeves, and not poufy. I simply eliminated the increases at the start of the sleeve, and did gradual decreases throughout the length to taper the sleeve.
3. I also worked a picot fold-over hem at the bottom hem instead of the plain stockinette - I wanted to eliminate the roll that you get with plain stockinette, and the picot hem looks very nice with the pattern's picot buttonhole band.
4. I eliminated the ruffles. I was going to add them, but once it was done I decided that I really liked how it looked without them.

Overall, I am very pleased with this! It's a bit on the dressy side - so I don't suppose I'll wear it very often, but it is nice and soft and warm. Which, right now with all the cold weather we're having, is quite welcome!

First FO of 2010

Here's my first finished object of 2010 - finished on New Year's Day, no less.
Meet Crabby, the Hermit Crab:

Pattern: Hermit Crab by Hansi Singh (In Amigurumi Knits book)
Yarn: Knit Picks Swish Worsted - various colors
Needles: US 5
Started: Dec 28, 2009
Finished: Jan 1, 2010

Modifications: none. Well, except for knitting the last row of the legs and chelipeds (it says to purl, but that seemed wrong to me).

He was a quick knit, although very fiddly. I am pleased with the result - it's an ingenious pattern. One of the boys may get him once I've made another toy from the book. Sometimes they have trouble sharing. Sometimes I have trouble sharing, so neither one may get him when all is said and done! :-) Right now he's guarding the bobbins on my lazy susan.

Happy Knitting everyone! I hope your 2010 is going well so far!!