Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Wristwarmer Pattern Generator

I'm really excited because I just had the owner of A Knitted Peace in Littleton, CO contact me about using my Wristwarmer Pattern Generator in a class they will be offering!

The pattern is for a basic wristwarmer knit in K2P2. You just enter your wrist measurment, gauge, and needle size. Then a custom wristwarmer pattern is generated.

I plan on using it myself again this year. I really need some more wristwarmers (I'm not sure where the ones I knitted last year went!!) and I want to make some for presents. I just bought Malabrigo yarn that is so soft and warm. It will be perfect!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Reclaimed Ball Bands

Andi has posted a PDF for yarn ball bands for reclaimed yarn.

It includes a place to write:
Weight in oz and grams
Fiber Content
Care Instructions
Trade Value

This is great because there is only one fiber content care label on sweaters that when unraveled/ripped produce a lot of balls of yarn. Now each ball can have its own ball band.

Makes me want to go out to the thrift store and get some more sweaters for recycling. I haven't frogged the ones I've gotten so far, so I better not. But the temptation is really there!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

I've Fallen Into The Malabrigo Black Hole

Today Amy and I took the ferry over to Bainbridge Island and went to Churchmouse Yarns & Teas. They have Noro Kureyon and Silk Garden on sale for 20% off. So I thought I'd buy some.

Well, some how I ended up getting two skeins of Malabrigo instead. A couple of people in my Wednesday night Knitting group just love the yarn. I hadn't even heard of it before I moved here to Seattle, go figure.

This yarn is so soft and the colors are so vibrant. I'm afraid that I've fallen into a Malabrigo black hole that I'll never be able to get back out of! :)

But first I want to try it out on a couple of small projects before deciding if I want to spend $12 a skein for a sweater or garment that will use at least 5 or 6 skeins. I'm going to make a set of wrist warmers each for both us.

We also went to Poulsbo. I just love the main street there with all it Norwegian influenced businesses and restaurants. We browsed in both Wild & Wooly and Amanda's Yarns & Spinning. Both had a lot of yarn to look at but I didn't end up buying any. I think the Malabrigo will keep me busy along with my two other knitting projects.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Knitting Group

Last night I went to the West Seattle Stitch and Bitch knitting group. There was five of us there including Jill who made this incredible Flower Market Bag.

The bag is designed by Marta McCall who has a bunch of other great designs including several other felted bags and a great looking sweater/wrap called Urban Wrapper. I may just have to add that one to my queue on Ravelry.

I made a little progress on my second Monkey sock. I finished the top ribbing and got through one pattern repeat. Now that I've knitted one sock already, it is easier to knit the pattern while in a group of knitters. I don't think I made many mistakes. Yeah!

Mom is coming over tonight before we take my brother out for dinner for his 40th birthday. Happy Birthday Brian!

I want her to try on the Wickedly Foolish cardigan I'm making her. I think I'm at the point where I can stop making the increases but I want to be sure. If so, then I should be able to finish it rather quickly.

Which is good, because I have Xmas gifts to make and i want to work on my Silver Bell Cardigan.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Finally! The Belle Cast On

200 down, 280 to go!

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Swatching For Belle

I'm so ready to start knitting Silver Belle. I'm on my third gauge swatch. I started off with the recommended needle size, 8. Which really was a mistake as I know that I'm a very loose knitter. I usually have to go down at least 2 needles sizes.

But instead I went down to a size 5 because my size 6 needle is being used for mom's Wickedly Foolish cardigan. And still my gauge was too big. Agh!

The Denise set only goes down to a size 5 so I had to go to the Yarn Stash yesterday to buy a size 4 needle. I bought a pair of Addi Turbo needles and when I got home, I cast on.

It looks like that this might be the right size. I haven't bound off yet, so I'm not for sure. I'm even thinking of washing and blocking the swatch, a first for me.

I really want this cardigan to be perfect or as close to perfect as possible. It is such a beautiful design. I want to wear it knowing I did my best. This time I want it to be about quality and not necessarily how soon I can wear it.

Unlike in Texas, I have more then a few weeks of cold to get to wear sweaters and such. And I want to wear this for years to come.

Hmm... Am I putting to much pressure on myself?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Yarn Galore!

Not only did my box of yarn for my Silver Bell come from Knit Picks yesterday, I also got some swatching samples from Sarah's Yarn.

Plus, Charity was having a stash reduction and I bought some great Lane Cervinia sock yarn. I just love the color! And it feels soooooooft.

Along with the 6 skeins I got yesterday from Knit Picks, I now have enough yarn to make 4 pairs of socks. I still have to finish my Monkey first.

I'm planning on working on my swatch for Silver Belle soon. I'm still working on mom's Wickedly Foolish Cardigan. I got more knitted on it last night at knitting group. And this time I remembered to knit the mock cables so I don't have to rip out again.

Pictures to come (I broke my camera last week and have to use my cell phone camera which only takes adequate pictures during the day in natural light, argh!)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Ripping Back Your Own Knitting

Hmm... Is it karma or just bad luck that I had to rip back 16 rounds of my Wickedly Foolish cardigan? I've had so much fun finding sweaters to recycle for yarn lately. But that is other peoples knitting, not my own.

I realized last night when I picked the cardigan back up that I had stopped working the mock cable in the ribbing section next to the button hole and button band. No wonder it had become a REALLY mindless knit!

Oh well, I've got it ripped back to the last of the mock cables, back on the needles and knit a couple of rounds remembering to do the mock cable. It is coming along nicely but I don't think I'll be have far enough along to have my mom try it on for fit this weekend. I still have a lot of knitting to do before I get to the end of the raglan decreases.

And Amy gets here on Saturday, so a lot of the time I had spent knitting will now be spent getting her settled in. Then the movers come next week with our stuff. So then I'll have a lot of unpacking to do.

I'm going to work on it tonight at knitting group. Hopefully, I won't get too distracted that I forget the mock cable again.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Hoodie Appeal Mystery Solved

I have often wondered what the appeal of a garment with a hoodie was. Especially as an extension to a sweater. I'm not big into collars so the idea of a hoodie seemed extreme. Plus don't they mess up your hair?!?

Of course, that was coming from the mentality of someone living in a hot climate with very mild and dry winters.

Now that I'm in Seattle, I can see where a really good hoodie could come in handy. So I've been eyeing several sweater patterns:
Mariah - a zippered cardigan hoodie
Very Cropped Hoodie - which would be great for layering
Central Park Hoodie - this one isn't free and I don't think I have the Knitscene issue anymore

I'm also considering a Hoodie Scarf

Know of any other good hoodie patterns?

But while I decide, I think I'll make a headband so I can tame my hair some in the wind and keep my ears warm in the process. I think I'm going to use the Louet Gem yarn I bought the other day. I was going to use it to make some more wrist warmers but I think I need something for my head NOW. My hands can go in my pockets!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

First Monkey Sock

Got the first of the pair of Monkey socks done this morning. I'm worried that I won't have enough for the second sock though.

I may knit it with one less repeat on the top of the sock. Then I'll have to take out the extra one on this sock and reknit the ribbing.

Means snipping a stitch and unraveling. But I've done it before on a sweater when I didn't like the bottom and wanted to reknit it to make it longer.

It is a bit disconcerting (wasn't I just saying it is fun to rip out other people's knitting but not your own?!?) but if you just put in a life line it works out okay and you only lose a little bit of yarn.

Two More Sweaters To Recycle

Okay, this is getting addicting. I hit 2 thrifts store yesterday after I went to the Renaissance Yarn Fall Fashion Show in Kent. I was on the look out for sweaters to recycle.

I didn't find anything at the Children's Hospital Thrift store in Kent. But there was a great little bookstore, New Earth Books, next door that I checked out. The ladies in the store working there were really nice (maybe a little too nice, I felt a little overwhelmed by all their attention) and I ended up getting a reading from Ginger.

I wanted to know why I'm here in Seattle and what to expect. She gave me some good insights to the real reasons I left Texas, which I hadn't fully articulate for myself.

I've wanted a new beginning and just couldn't seem to get one going. I mean, a lesbian, non-Christian, democrat living in deeply Christian rural Texas Bush loving country?!? What was I thinking? Don't get me wrong. I love Marble Falls and my friends there. But honestly now that I'm finally ready to settle down somewhere, it really needs to be in a BLUE state.

She also told me that I need to make sure I got out in nature everyday. She suggested that I find a tree to hug (maybe literally but I think also as just a place to get to) and to get a little bit of sun each day (how I'm going to do the later, I don't know since it isn't necessarily sunny in Seattle that much right now). She also said I needed to add another time of prayer/meditation to my day in the evening. So I'm considering taking yoga since I already journal/pray/meditate in the mornings.

I know that lots of people don't believe in psychic readers, but having learned and read the tarot a little bit myself, I know that HP can talk to us through lots of ways. I've had friends in the past who were gifted readers. I take what I like and leave the rest.

Anyway, back to the sweater hunt. I did find two at Value Village in Burien. They were both men's sweaters in wool. One has a strand of purple and a strand of red yarn plyed together. I'm thinking I'll make Amy a cardigan that doesn't have a high neck since she hates having anything touch her neck and this yarn is a little scratchy.

The other sweater has natural/white yarn. It has great cabeling done on it. I almost hate to take it apart but I'm never going to wear it in its current form. I want to practice dyeing with the recycled yarn. I hoping it isn't superwash, but it seems to scratchy to be that. Don't know what I'll make with the yarn, it will probably give me enough for several projects since it is a men's large sweater.

Oh, and you know, ripping out a sweater when it is not one you knitted yourself is very meditative and satisfying.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Renaissance Yarn Fall Fashion Show

I went to Renaissance Yarn in Kent this morning to see their Fall Fashion show featuring garments knit from Louet yarn.

Right after I walked in and started browsing, one of the owners, Nancy, welcomed me and spoke with me for a couple a minutes about the store. She was really sweet and made me feel right at home!

Renaissance Yarn was packed with lots of women (and a couple of men) for the fashion show. There is a great corner up at the front of the store filled with sitting chairs that are used for classes and drop-in knitting. Today the chairs were all facing toward the center of the store and there were other chairs set up around as well.

I sat in a chair near where the models came out with the garments on. I particularly like Tori. It was knit from Euroflax which is 100% Wet Spun Linen yarn. I'm not a big fan of how linen feels in the skein but knit up and washed it sure does soften up!

Another one I liked was Madisson. Although, I'd change the way the button are attached. And the cardigan looked a whole lot better on the model at the store today then it does in the picture for the pattern.

I was disappointed that two of the patterns in the guide, Fei and Shauna, weren't at the fashion show. They both look like wonderful patterns and I'd love to have seen them in person.

I really liked the Gem wool yarn that Louet has. It comes in 4 different weights and has a great selection of colors. I bought a skein of light/worsted weight in Teal. I'm planning on making a set of wrist warmers with it.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Yarn For Silver Belle

I've order Knit Picks Swish Superwash yarn in Jade today for the Silver Belle cardigan pattern. Hopefully, it will be here by next week. I really want to get started on it.

I also ordered some Essential yarn in several different colors. I want to make a pair of socks for my mom and for Amy. And, of course, for me! I figured since I was spending over $45, I'd order some sock yarn so that I'd get them without having to pay shipping. I did have to pay tax though. What's up with that? They must be in Washington.

So if they are, why is it going to take 5 - 14 days for my yarn to get here?!?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Monkey Socks and Sweater Progress

I've started on a new pair of socks. They are Monkey by Cookie A from the Winter 2006 issue of Knitty.

I'm using the Fly Dyed ShoeFly yarn I bought last month at the Payallup fair. This is a great yarn. If feels soft and I love how it is knitting up. It is 80% wool and 20% nylon which I prefer over 100% wool for my socks.

I've also been making good progress on the Wickedly Foolish Cardigan I'm making for my mom. I got a few more inches knitted on it at the Renton Knitting Group last night.

Sabbath is making a Wicked Cardigan too. I love the yarn she is using. It has a great color and feels yummy!

I'm thinking of knitting Silver Belle next for myself. I think it will be a wonderful challenge with all those cables and the construction of the cardigan. I've seen several finished on Ravelry that look awesome.

I'm on the lookout for just the right yarn. I want to use a quality yarn but not one that is too expensive. The pattern calls for between 1400 - 1700 yards of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran. And at $8 for a 100 yard ball that means the cardigan could cost between $112 to $136. Ouch!

Andean Silk by Knit Picks is about half the cost of Debbie Bliss at $4.29 for 96 yards. It is 55% Super Fine Alpaca, 23% Silk, 22% Merino Wool. I may choose that yarn or find another suitable substitute.

I'm also thinking about an 100% wool yarn like Knit Picks Wool of the Andes ($1.99 for 110 yards) or Cascade 220 ($7 for 220 yards). I'm just worried that those may be too scratchy.

I may go to Renaissance Yarn in Kent this weekend and check out their selection of yarns. They are having a Louet Fashion Show on Saturday that sounds like fun.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Recycled Yarn

I went to Goodwill last week on the prowl for sweaters to take apart for recycled yarn. I found three. The grey sleeveless one is acrylic but it is so light I'm thinking I can use it for something. The red one is 85% wool and 15% nylon. And the blue one looks like it is 100% and hand knit.
I started taking the red sweater apart last night. I got all the pieces, sleeves, front, back, and collar, all cut apart. And I've unraveled one sleeve and the front.

Not sure what I'll use the yarn for, if I do. The yarn isn't that great but I wanted to practice taking a couple of sweaters apart before I worked on one with really good yarn.

I'm surprised how satisfying and relaxing it was to unravel the yarn. It was a little messy. The yarn that was used to sew up the seams had to be snipped all the way around so I had little pieces of yarn everywhere.

The blue sweater is knit in the round but I may not unravel it. I may make a recycled sweater tote instead.

Here are the tutorials I'm using to learn how to unravel sweaters for yarn
Sweater Unraveling / Yarn Recycling Tutorial
Recycling Yarn

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Seattle Area Yarn Stores

View Larger Map

There are nearly 52 yarn stores in the Seattle area. If I visit just one a week, it will take me all year to see them. That's a lot of yarn! But what better way to learn my way around the Seattle area and get to meet a lot of knitters along the way!

This list is taken from the Ravelry Sheepless in Seattle Group's Puget Sound LYS List post. (Sorry, if your not a member yet, you'll have to sign up and get on the waiting list. Maybe soon they will be out of Beta and everyone can get in!)

Saturday, October 06, 2007

On Your Toes Socks Done!

I really liked knitting toe-up on these socks. It was a lot easier getting the socks the same length going bottom up.

However, I got holes on the heel part and had to sew them up. Not sure if I like this heel better then the flap heel. I may have to try a sock with an after thought heel to see if I like that better.

And I could have made the foot about a half an inch to an inch shorter. I think the heel will eventually ride up on these.

But I love the color and the yarn is a wool/cotton/nylon blend I think. I no longer have the ball band, so I'm not sure. I think I saw the same yarn at the Yarn Stash in Burien so I may go over there this week to get the name and to look at some yarn for other projects in my queue at Ravelry.

I've been making progress on mom's cardigan too. It is turning out pretty cute. I really like the mock cable ribbing on either side of the button ban. It is a continuation of the ribbing from the collar. I should be to the armholes later this week so I'll need to check the sizing on her before I do the rest of it. I'm thinking I need to make one of these for me! (Pictures later as I dropped my camera today and broke it. Damn! It isn't even 2 months old yet!)

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Wickedly Foolish Cardigan

I'm adding a Wicked twist to the Knitting Fool's Top Down Raglan.

I love the look of the Wicked top by Sarah and Rachel of Zephry, especially the mock cable ribbing. But I wanted to make a cardigan and I like the way Pamela adapted the Wicked pattern to a cardigan into one.

So, I knitted up a swatch, entered the numbers and had the Knitting Fool calculate the stitch counts (74). I added 12 stitches for the K1P1 button bands for a total of 86 stitches.

This one is for Mom for X-mas. She reads my blog so it won't be a big surprise. Plus I'm going to make her try it on as I knit it so that it is the right size.

Is it okay to give your mother something wickedly foolish!?!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Renton Knitting Group

Just got back from the Renton Knitting Group at Starbucks. I had a blast. There was about 12 -15 people there.

Two people brought spinning wheels and one person was spinning with a drop-spindle (almost makes me wish I hadn't gotten rid of mine....almost).

I'm almost finished with my second On Your Toes sock. I just have an inch or so to go.

I think I'll save it for knitting group tomorrow night in West Seattle. I don't have anything else on my needles. It is time to start another project!

Seattle Hail Storm

There was freak hail storm today. So, of course, I had to shoot some pictures.

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Sock Progress

I got through the heel on my second pair of On Your Toes sock from the Interweave Summer 2007 issue. I wanted to get past there before going to a knitting group in Renton tonight.

The leg part is just K2P2 so I'll be able to do that and chat at the same time.

From the posts on the Yahoo! group page, the women seem great! And I've added some of them already to my Ravelry friends list so I've gotten to see some of their projects and blog posts already.

I have even added some projects to my queue after seeing some of theirs. My queue is getting loooooong! I have 38 patterns in it right now. Not all of the are actual projects I'm going to do though.

Several of them are cardigan patterns that are either raglan or raglan with cables. I'm wanting to design a top-down raglan cable sweater for my mom for Xmas. I have a basic idea of what I want. I've sketched it out but I also want to print out some knitting graph paper so I can have it all worked out.

I also want to start another pair of socks so I have a small project to take when I goto knitting groups. I'm thinking about doing Monkey (it is one of the most cast-on projects on Ravelry right now) or some other textured sock pattern. I'm getting tired of just K2P2 and now that I understand better the construction of a sock, I think I'm ready to tackle something a little bit more complicated.

I don't have many sock patterns in my queue so I guess I'll start looking for a pattern or two. I plan on using the Fly Dyed yarn I bought at the Puyallup fair a couple of weeks ago. I just need to wind it into a ball which I'm going to have to do by hand because my ball winder and swift are still in a box back in Texas!