Friday, February 25, 2011

Marilyn's Mobius Wrap

Meet Marilyn
I made this Echo Reversible Drop Stitch Mobius Wrap in a week's time. I used the remainder of my Berroco Comfort Chunky yarn (almost two skeins) and some big size 13 needles to make the wrap so it was a pretty quick knit. I saw the pattern in my copy of Interweave Knits Spring 2011 Magazine which came in the mail... such a treat. I dropped dead in my tracks when I got to page 19, where this pattern appeared.  I stopped flipping pages in the magazine and starting rooting around in my bags for this yarn and the needles I needed and then promptly cast on.  I found the pattern that intriguing with those long dropped stitches stretching between tidy, wide cables.

I did not stuggle much with the pattern except I found it awkward when you start some rows with the very first four stitches going on to a cable right away and then knitting stitches five through eight before returning to the stitches on the cable needle.  Those first four stitches would dangle sort of precariously... flailing about before I could wrangle them back in.  I worried that I would breeze through the pattern but I would not be able to figure out the final cast off row where all of the magic happens.  You see, just a few rows into the pattern, when my project looked like nothing like the photos in the magazine and I thought maybe I was making an all together different pattern, I read ahead to the final row where I found a very brief description of how to cast off where you "fasten off" two stitches, leave some stitches (so they can be dropped), and bind of some stitches.  Oh no... I knew I was going to struggle with this row.

Enter Marilyn... my knitting Guru. Marilyn is my knitting gal pal.  She is a lady I met at Anne's Knits and Such (my old yarn store which sadly closed down).  Marilyn appeared at the shop one day and became a permanent fixture. She taught private lessons and an assortment of classes, including my Great American Afghan class.  Marilyn is from England and speaks with a lovely accent and I love hearing her voice in the shop.  She's very talented and artistic.  I knew she'd be my "go to gal" for this challenging cast off row. I madly worked on my wrap to get to the cast off point during our Thursday knitting group last week.  A few of the gals in the group hung out with us as as we figured out the cast off row... the knitters ordinarily leave at 3:00 pm but some stayed late as they were excited to see the magic of the dropping stitches. Ahhh, the pressure.   We got to this point... it was pretty exciting stuff.
Before dropping
After dropping

I finished the wrap when I got home.  I almost had a disaster when I realized I had made mistake in the cast off row... I almost dropped the second dropped stitch in the incorrect spot.  I undid the last half of the cast off row, corrected the mistake, and then dropped the correct  stitch. Phew... crisis diverted. I added the buttons and blocked it to make the dropped stitches lay nicely.

Sue took this photo of me in the shop
 While I enjoyed making this project, I decided it was not a garment I would enjoy wearing.  I gave it to Marilyn at our Thursday Knitting Group (yesterday) and she was tickled pink.  I am so appreciative of how much I have learned from her over the past 2+ years.  During our group yesterday, she wore the wrap in this asymmetrical way which you can see in the photos above... she's so fashionable and clever... I am sure she'll come up with a dozen different ways to wear this versatile wrap.  I was tickled pink to see how happy this gift made her.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Waves of Chocolate Beaded Scarf is Complete!

Waves of Chocolate Beaded Scarf

On the blocking mats...

Ready for a "close up"...

Please forgive me for my "Kodak Fever"... again...

This was a challenging, but fun project.  I loved working with the Cascade Ultra Pima Cotton;
very smooth and silky to work with.  The beads are a bit of work
(you are always having to slide them down the ball of  yarn to get them out of your way).  
There are 18 rows in the pattern repeat and you have to place beads on all rows but two in the pattern repeat.  The beads are added in conjunction with yarnovers.  When you knit over the yarnover stitch where a bead(s) was placed on the previous row, you have to ensure the beads are either to the front or the back, but it's always changing.  I considered unraveling the project before I even got through the first 18 row pattern repeat, but I hung in there and it turned out I really enjoyed making this.

My knitting gal pal Marilyn helped me work through the first few rows to get me started... she typed up some tips about the pattern which helped a ton and at the top of her notes she commented, "this scarf is very complex but well worth the effort!"  I couldn't agree more.  

I can see knitting with more beads in my future.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Beaded Bag OFFICIALLY Done!

I've actually had this done since the end of January but needed to sew in a liner.  I accomplished that today and am pretty happy with my little bag. No idea what I will do with it, but the bag is pretty cool and was fun to make.  It was a lot more work than I expected.  You may recall this yarn and bead combination was going to be a beaded scarf, but the yarn got re-purposed to make this pattern called "Exploring Spirals" by the Alarming Female.  The Ravelry pattern link can be found HERE.  

Ah, such pretty fabric.  I love this fabric with it's purple, green, tan, blue, aqua... both sides of the fabric are pretty in my opinion.  I was leaning toward using the wrong side of the fabric but my friend Harriet convinced me to use the right side of the fabric with the veins of gold. The beads have an iridescent quality to so the gold in the fabric liner really works! Thanks Harriet!

In case you are wondering, I used a lid from a Cool Whip container in the base of the bag.  I put two layers of quilt batting in the lid and then sandwiched the lid between two larger circles of fabric with the right side of the fabric facing out.  Then I stitched the circle together with the zipper foot on my machine to get close to the lid. Then I stitched a rectangle of fabric around the circle and then sewed the side seam to close the circle. Next I folded the top edge down to the desired height and then stitched it into the bag by hand.  Phew, it was a lot of work. It took me a few hours, but well worth it. The bag has a very nice finished look now and the fabric is sturdy enough to give the bag some more structure or body. 
Photo of the BOTTOM of the bag.

I am now madly working on my chocolate colored beaded scarf.  I am hoping to have it finished soon.  Will need some serious blocking but it's turning out nicely.  Can't wait to share when it's all done...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Whoops... nope, I meant to drop all those stitches...

Yikes! Looks like a knitting catastrophe, doesn't it? Nope, it's not a big mistake... it was supposed to go like this.

This is what the wrap looked like before any dropped stitches.
This is a reversible cable (looks indentical on both sides... another first for me).

This is my Echo Reversible Drop-Stitch Mobius.  It's made with my left-over Berroco Comfort Chunky.  I used about 1 3/4 skeins for this project.  This is my first drop stitch project.  Turns out, in this pattern, there is no stitch dropping until the very end.  More about this project and some better photos tomorrow hopefully...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What Type of Knitter are You?

I joined Ravelry several months back and enjoy it immensely!  When describing Ravelry to folks, I say, "It's my version of Facebook... Facebook for people who like to knit and crochet like me!"  I tried Facebook a few years back; it was not my cup of tea.  But Ravelry... that's my place.  One of the things I like about Ravelry is how I pick up on some of the "lingo" others use when discussing their hobbies.  Works in Progress are "WIPs".  Your local yarn shop is "LYS".  Undoing a project is called "frogging"... I guess when you rip out row after row, you "rip it, rip it" (ribbet, ribbet).  On Ravelry, I've been looking at more and more discussions on group forums.  You can join all kinds of groups.  My favorite group is a collection of folks whose goal is make two chemo caps a month for a total of 24 hats by the end of the year.  There's another group I joined and all these folks are trying "knit down" their stashes of yarn in 2011.  I was so silly when I was making my New Year's Knitting Resolutions this year... to think I was the only person setting a goal to NOT buy new yarn this year and to JUST knit with the beautiful yarn I already have on hand.  Apparently this is a popular resolution.

I was recently reading on Ravelry about the knitting habits of some folks.  And reading about the habits of others made me stop and think about how I approach knitting.  I stumbled across a profile of a knitter who described herself as a "monogamous knitter" (funny, huh?).  That is, she knits just ONE project at a time.  What self control!  This seems to be a rare sort of person because the trend I see is that most people tend to have a gob of projects (WIPs) all going at the same time.  I am the latter sort of person.  There's some thing tremendously exciting about starting a new project; selecting the pattern, picking out the yarn, gathering the necessary materials.  And just when I get to the point in the project where I realize I have the pattern figured out, it looks great in the yarn I've selected, and I am happy with how it's coming along...  I start to day dream about what's next.  So you see, the notion of being a "monogamous" knitter is UNBELIEVABLE to me!  I just can't wait to start whatever is next.  If a person likes to have lots of WIPs all going at the same time, does that make such a person a "promiscuous knitter"? (Just kidding!)

I was reading the profile of another knitter and she discussed the notion being a "product" knitter versus a "process" knitter.  I had never heard of this concept before but I understood what the lady meant when she described her approach to knitting.  I found this description of "process versus product" knitters via a Google search:

Many people are interested to know if a knitter falls into the 'process' or 'product' category. In simple terms, a process knitter is one who relishes the act of making a project, usually wanting to have their skills challenged and stretched, and yet is not as focused on the end product. A 'product' knitter is an individual who cannot wait to see their latest project finished, who measures their success by the number of completed garments and happy recipients around them.

So this week, I have learned that I am a "promiscuous knitter" (as opposed to a monogamous knitter) who approaches projects for the enjoyment of the process (as opposed to the final product).  How 'bout that!? 

I am ashamed to admit how many WIPs I have right now, but the scary thing is that I have even MORE projects lined up in my queue to make next.  I have to tell you that, between my WIPs, the partially completed projects "hibernating" in my closet, and the projects listed below, there are few with intended recipients... I just don't know what I am going to do with them when I am done.  But I can tell you this:  I am excited about the projects in progress and, as for the projects I have planned, I want to start them ALL right NOW!  Here's a "sneak peek":

A scarf/shawl/wrap called "Clapotis" in Noro (Sock) Silk Garden.

A cabled sweater called "Point Gammon Pullover"
from Interweave Knits Fall 2010 Issue
to be made in Berroco Weekend in this nice oat color.

A throw called "Hemlock Ring Throw"
(based on a doily pattern)
to be made in Cascade Ecological Wool
The wool is undyed but does
not look nearly as yellow in person
as it does in this photo.

An asymmetrical cardigan called "Pismo"
to be made in this pretty lavender
 Cascade 220 Superwash.

And finally...  a shawl called "Calais",
this time in Knit Picks Essential Sock Yarn.
What kind of knitter are you?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Something rosy...

"Simple Yet Effective Scawl" in a rose-colored cotton....

Something chocolate...

"Undulating Waves Scarf" with beads.

I hope your Valetine's Day is sweet!

Friday, February 11, 2011


My first shawl...
this project is rather photogenic...
 forgive me for my Kodak Fever...

Knit for "Wrapped in Care" (a group I found on Ravelry). 
When I read the following about this group, I knew I wanted to participate;
it was just a matter of finding the right yarn and the perfect pattern:

"Knit a shawl for someone who must leave the birth center with empty arms.
This program will allow mothers who have suffered the death of an infant to be wrapped in the warmth of shawls during a very traumatic and painful time. In addition, if the mother is not discharged yet, they can also provide a far more beautiful background than a hospital gown for pictures that will be treasured for a lifetime.
We are knitting shawls for the Bereavement Program of Children’s Hospitals and Clinics --
St. Paul, Minnesota."

Several months ago, I purchased several skeins of Berroco Comfort Chunky yarn in a lovely oat color.
It was going to be a sweater for me, but the yarn got re-purposed for this project.

The pattern is called "Saroyan" by  Liz Abinante.  A link to her website is HERE
The pattern is so beautiful; the minute I finished the first leaf in the shawl,
I knew I'd be making this pattern again.

Lovingly knit in memory of my son Max
(January 13, 1996 - January 22, 1996)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Weekend Knitting

Undulating Waves Lace Knitted Scarf with Beads

Another project in the works... more on this another day.