Saturday, October 31, 2009

#18 Spiraling Squares is complete!

Yipee! Another square done. This one will just have to straighten itself out a little bit more when it is attached to other squares! This square was a lot of fun to do; however, there were some tricky parts. The center where you start with only eight stitches divided among four double pointed needles was ridiculously clumbsy. I was wishing I had an octopus friend over to lend me a hand... or two... of three... or four. I started over on this square countless times. I also got a little tricked up on the final border rows. The pattern called for marking the four corners. I already had the end of each of the four rows marked and I neglected to move the markers (to mark the corners) because I really did not understand how or where I was supposed to mark the corners. That being said, each of the four sides might not have the exact same number of stitches (I think I was supposed to end up with 55 stitches on each of the four sides). I am settling for close enough.

When I first was looking at this square in the pattern book, I was thinking it might be nice to have an entire afghan made out of just this one square (maybe three blocks by four blocks). I would have to come up with a better way to start each square if I were to attempt this square over and over and over. The class instructor, Marilyn, said she was working with some other pupils on starting this square on two circular needles. Maybe that would be a bit less clumbsy?

Right now I am working on my second and third trees for the square with the three trees (square #13). I also need to finish the easy background for that square. I plan to finish that square before starting in on the next two squares (squares #3 and #6). I think I will make #6 in lavendar with pale green accents. I think #6 will be made with the dark brown color I have purchased.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

It's snowing but it's not even Halloween yet

It's been a snowy week here in Colorado. We had snow on Sunday/Monday and now snow again on Wednesday/Thursday. Thankfully the tree limbs don't seem to be coming down and we still have power. It's worrisome to get so much wet, heavy snow this time of year before the leaves have fallen off the trees.

Chestnut sweater

I am still pleased with this project, although I have to admit I am learning a lot from my mistakes with this sweater. Unfortunately, the instructions were not specific enough for me which left me to my own devices. I know just enough to be dangerous! The instructions called for decreases at both markers before and after the marker. The markers on on the right and left sides of the sweater. I decided to s1k1psso before the marker and k2tog after the marker. Instead of being invisible, it made my decreases more prominent or noticeable. When I switched to the ribbing along the bottom, it actually made a hole. I plan to tack the hole together with a short length of yarn and I am glad these flaws are on the sides of the sweaters. I suppose I could ripped the rows back, but (A) I don't think it looks TOO bad and (B) I am far to lazy for that! I have been in a hurry to work on my Spiraling Squares block for the GAA so I can have my size 9 dpn's back so I can start in on my sleeves just as soon as I finish the ribbing along the bottom of the sweater. I did try this sweater on in progress and was excited to find that it fits quite well! Love the knit-from-the-top-down sweater patterns!

#18 Spiraling Squares on the needles

It's very fun to see this square take shape. I finally switched to a circular needles which is a bit easier since my KnitPicks needle points are much sharper than my bamboo double pointed needles. The sharper points make the M1 increases a bit easier. I am still struggling with the pesky M1 increases, but for this square I am staying consistent with my method and I think it's turning out just fine. It's hard to believe this will be a square soon. Boy, this square will be a lot of stitches to bind off!

#20 'Lil Buds is complete!

One complete square is finally complete. I am working on three squares and a sweater right now, otherwise I might be completing squares a bit more quickly. The Spiraling Squares block is also nearing completion. I am pretty pleased with how square #20 turned out. I wish the "leaves" were a bit more prominent, but over all I think it's a nice square with great texture which will be a nice addition to the big completed afhan. One square down, 23 to go!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Square #18 Spiraling Squares

To me this is one of the most appealing squares in the Great American Afghan. That being said, it's a doozie! I lost track how many times I started this over. To say that it's clumbsy is a huge understatement. The square starts in the center with eight stitches divided over four needles. I had a pretty good start after several attempts, only to learn in class I was doing the M1 increases totally wrong. I think I am on the right track now. Eventually I'll need to switch to a circular needle, but for now I am enjoying this method. Problem... pattern calls for size 8 needles, but I have none. I am knitting incredibly tightly on my size 9 needles. Hope the square turns out close to size.

Square # 13 Trees

I feel as if I should have so much more to show for all my hard work knitting this weekend, but the fact that I have started over two or three times on every thing I have tried should account for what appears to be a lack of productivity! I stayed up until past midnight last night to finish this lavendar tree for Square #13, just so I could lay my head on my pillow knowing I had finished at least one thing! In this element (I have to make a total of three trees... piece of cake!) I learned about cable cast ons and SSK's. You can see my chocolate brown plain block for this square in the top left hand corner of the photos.

Square #20 'Lil Buds GAA has begun!

We had our first class for the Great American Afghan on Friday, October 23, 2009. The two hour class zipped by and I think all of us left there quite overwhelmed... even the instructor, Marilyn. One lady in the class even said she wasn't sure if she'd be able to find her way home since her head was just spinning with so much new information.

It seemed the first 1 1/2 hours of Friday's class went by so quickly and we were all still wanting just a little more practice making leaves on square #20, which was the first square we covered. We were supposed to cover the highlights of squares #3, 6, 13, 18, and 20, in this class. Eariler in the week, I had tried to start a number of the squares, only to find myself stuck! I was glad I tried to read through some of the patterns before the class began; that way I could ask questions about the parts that tripped me up.

Here are some photos of square #20. I can see already how I am going to learn so many new skills from this project. In this square, you dip down three rows to draw up a long loop to make the leaf portions of the flowers. This has to be done very loosely!

Friday, October 16, 2009

A dish cloth frenzy

I am enjoying knitting my chestnut colored sweater (of course!) but I am at a rather boring place where I just knit around and around and around the sweater body... no increases, no decreases, no yarn overs and no purling! I should not complain since I really don't like the purl stitch as much as the knit stitch. That being said... I am taking a break every little while and have whipped up two cute cloths (face or dish cloths) this week. The cloth of the left is the Spa Cloth from the Fall 2009 edition of the Creative Knitting Magazine. The cloth on the right is another face cloth; the pattern is also from Creative Knitting Magazine (online... November 2009). This pattern is from a set of three items called Festive Bath Set. In person, the cloth of the left is a camel color and the cloth on the right is lavendar. Thanks for letting me raid your yarn stash, Mom! By the way, everything I am knitting this week is made with yarn from my Mom! These cloths are going to my good friend, Tracy, to say thank you for allowing me to borrow her mother's precious knitting needle collection while I work on my Great American Afghan. Thank you, Tracy!

Chestnut knit-from-the-top-down sweater

I am making good progress on my chestnut colored knit-from-the-top-down sweater. I had a little difficulty understanding the M1 increases described in the pattern for the sleeves (is that what you'd call a raglan sleeve?) I looked online for videos and also looked online for instructions on the Creative Knitting Magazine site, but still did not get it. I just winged it and I am pretty happy with the result, although I think if I would have done it correctly, the increases would have been more invisible. Oh well.

Friday, October 9, 2009

What's Next!

This is the project I have been dreaming about making. I found this pattern in Creative Knitting Magazine and I realized I have just enough Lion Brand Wool Ease yarn in this pretty heathered chestnut color to make this sweater to fit me! The yarn is incredibly soft and I am so thankful to have it after raiding my Mom's yarn stash... good thing I brought an extra suit case last time I went for a visit! This pattern is knit from the top-down, which is my kind of pattern since it means I'll have minimal sewing and finishing at the end. Will be digging into this project tonight...

Shirley's Lap Afghan is done!

Shirley's lap afghan is finally done! While I enjoyed this project, I am pleased to be done so I can move on to other things I have been dreaming about making. This afghan was made with two cable patterns from The center cable is from a project called "Cable Scarf" and the other broader cables are from the pattern called "Sutter's Mill". On the right and left outermost panels, I included 15 stitches of garter stitch so that the project would lay flatter. I was dreading sewing the panels together but it actually came together really easily. Each panel is bordered by garter stitch so it was easy to sew the "bumps" together. The Sutter's Mill pattern is an 18 stitch repeat (and I repeated it 12 times) and the Cable Scarf pattern is a 12 stitch repeat (and I repeated it 18 times) so it ended up that that I had the correct number of rows for the panels to stitch together perfectly. Pretty good for someone as mathmatically challenged as me! I did crochet (single crochet) around the entire project (with two strands of yarn held together) in an effort to make the edges look a bit more finished. The entire project was knit holding two strands of yarn together. All said and done, I think I used 13 skeins of worsted weight yarn. This is one WARM afghan and I hope Shirley will enjoy it!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Meringues... no, they are not made of yarn!

Okay, okay... I know this is a knitting blog, but this photo of the chocolate chip meringues I made today turned out so pretty, I just had to show it off. The finished meringues sank quite a bit, but they are very tasty and they just melt in your mouth. I have drastically altered my diet over the past few months and am not eating much white sugar, but I was REALLY missing baking cookies. These are made of only egg whites, cream of tartar, vanilla (from the bottle I brought back from Mexico), sugar, and semi-sweet chocolate chips. (I ground up the granulated sugar and the chocolate chips in the food processor to make them finer). My husband even likes the meringues... so they must be really good!

Yarn for a baby sweater for a baby boy

This is the yarn I bought to make a sweater for a baby boy. My neighbor's granddaughter, Sara, is expecting a baby boy. I plan to make the sweater pictured below, but in the blue version I plan to add cables down the fronts and down the sleeves. I will also add buttons and button holes. This is the same pattern a few posts back made in a pretty soft pink. Sarah baby sat for us years ago!

Yarn for a baby sweater for a baby girl

My mother-in-law's friend's daughter is expecting in December... this lime green looks like a great color for a girl. I plan to make the sweater pictured below with the lime yarn... I love this pattern! It's another knit-from-the-top-down pattern.

Yarn for my Great American Afghan

I finally selected yarn for my Great American Afghan! These are all heathered yarns from Cascade Yarns. I am using the Super Wash yarn so my final product can be more easily laundered.

My favorite two colors are the lavendar and the pale, grassy green. The first class is October 23rd and I am trying to finish up as many UFO's (unfinished objects) which are currenly on needles, so I can get started on this afghan! I can't wait.