Thursday, May 27, 2010

Mother in Law's blanket is good as new

Knitting needles to the rescue! Had some bumps along the way. This machine knit blanket had such small stitches, I couldn't use any of my circular needles. Ended up stitching this up with my size 3 dpn sock needles. I was able to save some of the ribbed edge. Blanket just lost about 2 inches in length. Mother-in-law is happy with her good-as-new blanket. She says she's had the blanket since about 1992.

Maryellen's favorite blanket rescue

Oh, no. Working on fixing this... it's going well. Almost done. I'll update you later on my progress.

Arrowhead Lace Scarf Update

I am working on several projects at once right now. This lace scarf, a bag which will be felted, and also a Hemlock Ring Throw. For now, here's an update on the scarf. I am also "mending" a
knit blanket for my mother-in-law, who is in town for a visit now. But yep, I am still knittin...

Friday, May 21, 2010

Itty Bitty Toy "Squishy Balls"

In her book "Itty Bitty Toys," (book pictured above) Susan B. Anderson has some great, fun projects. Again, using bits of left over Cascade 220 Superwash from my GAA... making "Squishy Balls". My son loves them and they are pretty safe indoor toys!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Maryellen's Yarn

My mother-in-law, Maryellen, is coming for a visit next week. She is one of those folks who has a her own "color palate"; she surrounds herself with beautiful, colorful things... and after knowing her for nearly 20 years, I see things and think... "Oh, Maryellen would LOVE this!" That was the case with this Mini Mochi yarn I found today at my Thursday Knitting Group at Anne's Knit Shop! Jewel tones... red, purple, burnt orange, fading into unexpected pale aqua blue... totally Maryellen! I plan to make this for Maryellen. I've spent hours knitting it tonight and my progress only amounts to about seven inches in length. It's really a good easy lace pattern but it's easy to miss a yarn over and that can really mess things up! I hope I can memorize this pattern eventually, but so far I am really having to watch the instructions line by line. This yarn is gorgeous and is machine washable. The lady at the yarn store said the Mochi and Mini Mochi yarn is just flying off the shelves... not difficult to see why; the colors are gorgeous! This is my first attempt at a lace project. The only part of the instructions which confused me was a reference to "slipping two stitches as if to knit"... am I to slip them together or separately? I decided to slip the two stitches together. I think it's working just fine.

Monday, May 17, 2010

GAAA project abandoned... for now

I've set aside my Great American Aran Afghan (GAAA) project... for now. I knit up a total of three squares and, from the moment I cast on the first square, I started to have regrets about my yarn choice. I picked the yarn I did (Plymouth Encore Worsted Weight yarn... acrylic/wool blend) because I loved the color. (I believe the GAAA pattern book recommends this yarn as well). I was searching for a yarn color which resembled oatmeal and this yarn fit the bill. At first I thought I was having a hard time adjusting to using straight needles (instead of circular) but as I kept knitting, I kept thinking to myself that I'd never finish the project if I was not happy with how the yarn knit up. I missed my Cascade 220 Superwash yarn. I have used the Encore Worsted Weight yarn in the past and will use it again in the future for sure (it's so soft and the color selection at my local shop is great!), but I think for the Aran designs with all the cables and bobbles, the Cascade yarn has a cleaner, crisper look. Above you will see my almost complete square... need to make some I-cord rays for the sun! I plan to use the two fancy GAAA squares I did complete for a pillow. (The third square I made was just a plain stockinette background for some trees... I did not take a photo... you are not missing much!)

Mitered Square

Awhile back my mom made the coolest baby blanket with mitered squares. Since that time, mitered squares have really been catching my eye. In my new book, I found a pattern for a mitered square scarf. I have lots of left over bits of yarn from my GAA, so I thought this pattern might be a good use for the yarn. The pattern calls for a few colors of variegated yarn; I just had the solid color yarn so I made a striped version. Wow, mitered squares are really fun. What I need to figure out is how how to carry the different yarns up the side without having then edge of the square look sloppy. My square above looks pretty good on the front side, but the backside... not so much. I don't plan to make a scarf with this yarn at this time but I had fun with this one little square, which is now a nice coaster for a hot or cold beverage. What I love about learning a new technique such as this, is how it gets the gears in my brain turning... how you can link these squares together (so I don't have to sew them all together), what could I make with mitered squares (a hand bag? a table runner?), what sorts of yarns would really show off the design (Noro yarn where the colors subtly change!). I did a Google search for "knitting mitered squares" and really got inspired... so many great ideas!

New book with fun patterns

I splurged and got this book for myself a few weeks back. It's all patterns designed for Cascade 220 yarn, which is the same yarn I used for my Great American Afghan. This past week, I made a hat; here are some photos. I don't think you can see the design that well since the yarn is so dark. It was fun to try this pattern out. When I brought this book to my Thursday knitting group, all the gals were oooohhhing and awwwwing. They wanted to know where I got this book and how they could get a copy. I bought my copy at Barnes and Noble, but I am sure you can get it on as well.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Yarn Harlot Knitting

Stephanie Pearl McPhee "The Yarn Harlot" writes some really good books about knitting. I stumbled across this video... you can see her knitting here... she is incredibly fast! One of those gals who uses straight needles and she tucks one needle in her armpit!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mother's Day Hike

This park is just a few minutes by car from my house. Believe it or not, when we first moved to Colorado... this was the dump... now the heaps of trash have been covered and reclaimed.

I think this might me my favorite photo of the day!


We celebrated Mother's Day today since I have to work tomorrow. Talked my son into going for a hike with me, as a friend (Tracy) had shown me some flowering cacti the other day and I really wished I would have had my camera then. Snapped photos along the way today. Just before we found the cacti I had seen with my friend, Ginger noticed a vulture in a tree. He was eating a snake. Ginger remarked it was sort of like the Mexican flag. We snapped photos of the bird and then he flew off.

You can see town in the distance. Pikes Peak is just out of view.

The pale shale rocks are a nice backdrop for this yellow bouquet of wild flowers.

These cacti are resilient... growing out of a crevice in a steep wall of rock.

In the 18 years we've lived here, I have never seen flowering cacti like this! I feel fortunate to live in such a beautiful area.

GAAA - Suzanne Atkinson's block in progress

I am really enjoying this block. It looks complicated but it's fast and simple. Again, with this pattern, I am exclusively following the pattern from the chart. The interesting texture is made from alternating purl and knit through the back loop stitches on the right side and then knitting all stitches on the back side. On the left hand side, you can see the outline of a little house emerging... yep, that's a door knob on the door! Very cute! On the right, you can see the trunk of the tree of life emerging. In there sky, there will be a cute sun and birds. I am thinking up a way to add a chimney and a puff of smoke to the house's roof top! I like this pattern because it reminds me of a happy scene I used to draw when I was a kid. I recall my sister and I both drawing the same sort of scene actually... she's older so I must have copied her! It was a simple house, a sun with a happy face in the sky, a tree with red apples in the green foliage. Sometimes the house was on a hill and sometimes there was a stream flowing away from the house toward the bottom of the page.

GAAA - Jay Campbell's block is complete!

I finished my first official block from the Great American Aran Afghan book for my GAAA. I enjoyed this block but it was quite a lot of work. It was easier and easier to memorize this pattern as I went and I exclusively used the great chart, as opposed to using the written out instructions. I am finding I enjoy the charts more and more... it's getting easier to read them. I made a few boo-boos along the way but was able to correct them with some duplicate stitch! There were two instances where I accidentally did the wrong cable stitch. This pattern has quite a few different cable stitches as you can tell. I fixed one boo-boo so well I have a hard time finding it! Such a relief. I discovered the error several rows late and I just did not have the heart to go back and fix it... so as I kept getting father and farther toward the center (the end) of the block, my eye kept gravitating toward the mistake! Dang it! But... like I said... I can hardly find the mistake now. Here's a photo of the boo-boo... my finger is pointing to the messed up cable...
disguised pretty well, don't ya think?! Wishing I would have taken a "before shot" of the boo-boo!

Friday, May 7, 2010

GAAA - Jay Campbell's block in progress

This block is shaping up. This is my second block for my Great American Aran Afghan. The other block I completed is just a stockinette background for three trees, and you know what stockinette looks like so I did not bore you with that. This is Jay Campbell's block (he's from Colorado like me!) It's knit from the outside border to the middle... which you can see here.
I like this method of making a block.

Mimi's Bed Socks complete!

I finally have the Kitchner stitch memorized thanks to a great. Click here to see it.
I thought I would be destined to watch the video each and every time I finished a sock, but this time I really watched and LISTENED. What she says as she goes MAKES SENSE and makes this process easy to memorize. "Knit off Purl... Purl off Knit!" Piece of cake!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Mimi's Bed Socks... almost complete!

I really need to memorize the Kitchner stitch.... I also need to learn how to spell it correctly. Another preview of my socks... almost done. Son was busy typing a school project so I could not gain access to my favorite YouTube Video where Susan B. Anderson demonstrates how to finish the toe of a sock using the Kitchner stitch. Notice how the cables on the left and right socks are mirror images instead of identical? I like that detail. I made these socks using one ball of Cascade 220 Superwash (worsted weight) yarn in a medium heathery purple (220 yards). I barely had any yarn left! Thank goodness I did not follow the pattern to the letter (I shortened the socks) otherwise I definitely would have run out of yarn! This is all I had left!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Let the Great American Aran Afghan begin!

I am ready to start my next BIG project... the Great American ARAN Afghan! I selected this yarn because I wanted something that reminded me of OATMEAL. The off white colored "oatmeal" yarn will the background for each block I plan to complete. I selected some sagey green, a heathery blue, and a medium brown for just a little contrast. Before I start... I must finish the Kitchener stitch to close the toes on Mimi's Bed Socks... but after that, I am ready to dig into this project.