Friday, August 26, 2011

Milestone: This blog is two years old!

It occurred to me that this blog celebrated it's 2nd anniversary (blog-a-versary) on August 23rd.  I started this blog when I was about to embark on my Great American Afghan Adventure and I had been knitting for about nine months.  I took a little walk down memory lane and found some interesting statistics.

  • This post #284.
  • There have been a total of 7,974 page views.
  • Visitors have come from the U.S., but also Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, Russia, France, India, Ireland, The Netherlands, Malaysia, The Philippines, Turkey, Spain, and New Zealand.
  • Most frequently viewed post: Marilyn's Mobius Wrap (129 page views).
  • Second most frequently viewed post: Foaming Waves Chemo Cap (105 page views).
  • Since I started my blog, I've made one dozen pairs of socks, one adult-sized sweater, one baby-sized sweater, 17 dish cloths, and a dozen shawls/wraps/scarves, and I've also made about 60 hats (that includes a lot of chemo caps and also 18 caps for newborns).  I also finished my Great American Afghan.
  • And I've made one mitten... not a pair of mittens... one solitary mitten.
  • And NO, I am not yet growing tired of knitting... if anything, my obsession grows.
I have a few works in progress right now (who am I kidding... I have a ton of works in progress right now, but I am actively working on a few).  My goal is to finish two projects (or more this weekend) so I'll have SOMETHING to share soon.  I finally broke down and purchased a pattern on Ravelry. It's a wrap/scawl/scarf called Hitchhiker and I am using some of the yarn from the Sock Summit in Portland, Oregon, in July. Here's a little peek. I am in love with both yarn and pattern:

Coffee in hand, it's still dark outside (not quite 6:00 am yet), the house is quiet... time to knit! 

Thanks for sharing in my knitting adventures over the past two years! I appreciate your comments when you stop by.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

198 Yards of Heaven: A Shawlette

Isn't she lovely?  This is a rather small shawl (or shawlette) intended to be worn like a neckerchief.

The pattern called "198 Yards of Heaven" can be found HERE and is designed to use 198 yards of worsted or aran weight yarn.  For my project, I used one ball of Crystal Palace's Mini Mochi yarn (contains 195 yards).  I love the colors in this yarn (called "Rainbow Trout").  I've used Mini Mochi before in a number of scarves... I love this fingering weight yarn.  It's quite splity, so it's difficult to knit with fine, sharp pointed needles, but in this project I used US 7 needles and the splity-ness was not too much of a problem.  I have two more skeins of Mini Mochi yarn in a colorway called "Crayon Box".  I am considering making this pattern again so it will be closer to "400 yards of Heaven".  This project was so fun to make.  Some lace patterns are so troublesome, but this pattern was just plain fun. 

I was surprised when I got to the lace border of the shawl.  The body of the shawl is more like stockinette but the border is primarily garter stitch.  If I make this pattern again, I might try to modify the lace border.  From looking at other projects on Ravelry completed with this pattern, it looks as if others may have modified the lace border in this manner.  Whatever the case may be, I am loving knitting shawls.   Not exactly sure what I'll do with this shawl... maybe a gift, maybe for me.  Decisions, decisions...

Pink Camouflage Socks: Take 2

Not much to say about these socks.  Used Bernat Sox yarn in "pink camouflage" for this pair.  I cast them on a few months back after I completed another pair of socks using the same ball of yarn.... yes, two pairs of socks from one skein.  I modified my friend's (Marilyn) "Simple Sock" pattern.  I cast on 50 stitches so I could use a k3,p2 ribbing for the cuff and then I added 2 stitches and completed the rest of the sock. I am forever on a quest for a perfect fitting sock.  Ordinarily, I find socks are too slouchy for my liking. I worry this pair is too tight. I wanted to give these socks to a friend as a gift but am now worried to give them away because (1) I am worried they might be too snug and (2) when the socks were all done, it totally looked as if one sock was slightly larger than the other.  How did that happen?  I might have miscounted the number of rounds in the cuff, but I also wonder if I knit more tightly on one sock as compared to the other.  Dang it.  The socks are just sort of hang out at my house until I decide what to do with them.  They are too small for me to keep for myself.  I made them a smaller size for the friend I had in mind...  *** sigh! ***

Friday, August 12, 2011

Special Delivery... a new addition to my knitting corner...

 There's a lovely new addition to my knitting corner...

It's a handmade cradle. It was made by my grandfather (my dad's dad) in the mid-1920's. He made it for his children.  Heart cut-outs, hand painted flowers, no screws or nails.  Fashioned out of modest pine wood with carved square pegs holding it all together.

My grandfather and grandmother came to the United States from Switzerland in the mid-1920's (corrected 09-07-2011... thanks, Dad!  I was off initially by over a decade... Eeek!).  They lived in New York... first in Brooklyn, and later on Long Island.  I am not the best family historian so I don't have a lot of details.  Sadly, I never got to meet my grandpa, but did get to know my grandma better after she moved to Oregon when she could no longer live independently on Long Island.  Over the years, I've heard stories about my grandfather, but there are several things represented in this special cradle which make it such a special heirloom to have in my home.

My grandfather worked with his hands.  His hands were strong, but he crafted delicate beautiful things. He enjoyed gardening and painting.  I grew up with a few of my grandfather's oil paintings on the walls in our family home.  One painting of The Matterhorn in Switzerland is etched in my mind.  I heard stories of how his home garden on Long Island was quite spectacular and even included fish ponds.

The four cradle-legs have since fallen off, but I still think this piece is precious. When my dad offered to mail it to me, I told him I had a special spot and a special purpose in mind.  The cradle now sits by feet in my knitting corner between my comfy chair and the window with a nice view of my back yard.  It holds my collection of needles and knitting work(s) in progress.  My grandfather worked in textiles. He created the designs for garments (such as neck ties) so that the designs could be woven into fabric.  I hope that he would have approved of how I am now using the cradle he crafted so many years ago... 

"Socks a la Carte": A new book...

I was excited to find this book 1/2 price at the Sock Summit a few weeks back.

I've been on a mission for the past several months to figure out
how to knit a good looking short row heel (with no holes or big gaps). 

After countless hours of scouring the Internet for tutorials
and several failed attempts at short row heels
... at last, a great looking
thanks to the instructions in my new book!

The end of the book is quite fun.  The last several pages are split into thirds so you can mix and match the cuffs, legs, heels & toes.  Fun!

This is the sock I want to make...
k1p1 rib, 
Surfin' Leg, 
short row heel, 
round toe.

The tricky thing about this method of heel is that there are some "k3togethers" as well as some "purl3together through the back loop", with the latter being even tricker than the former.  Most of the patterns in the book call for casting on 64 stitches, which I find to be a rather large sock, even on really small needles.  The patterns in the book are designed to a sock yarn called Tofutsies, which is rather light weight it seems. I think I'll have to alter the patterns a bit to use the yarn I have on hand, but I am excited to have added this book to my collection.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Two-Toed Socks are Complete!

Well, this must be a record... three posts in one day! 


Today I madly worked on my Two-Toed Socks (link for pattern is HERE). 

I was on a mission.  I told myself I could not start any new projects until I finished up these funky socks.  I am wearing them now and they are super comfy.  For these socks, I used US Size 4 double pointed needles.  I cast on the number of stitches recommended in the pattern and knit in a k2 p2 rib. I maintained the rib pattern in the instep but the bottom of the sock is in stockinette.  I knit 50 rounds for the cuff (fewer rounds than recommended in the pattern) and I knit 50 rounds for the foot (more rounds than recommended  in the pattern since I have pretty big feet).  For the toe, I did fewer decrease rounds than recommended.  That was a mistake but I am happy with how the toe turned out. 

On my needles now... another pair of socks which were started a few months back. Using Bernat brand pink and green camouflage yarn (used the other half of the skein for a pair of socks awhile back).  Almost done with sock #1.  Will continue to work on the socks while I ponder what is next! 

Decisions, decisions... I just can't decide...

Two-Toed Socks with Cascade Fixation Yarn

I am making some super funky Two-Toed Socks with Cascade Fixation.  The yarn contains some elastic so I went to Cascade's website to find patterns to make sure I was knitting the yarn in the correct fashion. The gals at my knit shop had me a bit boggled about using this yarn... "you have to be relaxed," they said... or else you mess up the yarn's elastic quality. Something like that. 

The sock incorporates an "afterthought" heel. You knit the cuff from the top down. Then you stitch in a scrap of yarn over half of the stitches (the pink stripe is the scrap of yarn).  You resume knitting "the tube" and then knit the toe.  After grafting the toe, you go back to the scrap of yarn, remove it, and catch the live stitches.  Then you knit another toe to create the heel.  Pretty clever, huh? 

I really like this method although I had a hard time figuring out how long I wanted to make both the cuff and the foot with no heel in place for reference.  I have some pretty big feet (size 8 1/2 to 9 depending on brand of shoe... and I often buy wide shoes).  For the cuff, I knit 50 rounds, then I inserted the scrap of yarn, and then I knit another 50 rounds for the foot before beginning the toe.  I could have made the cuff longer but I am happy with the one sock which is complete.  

The sock is super comfortable and thick.  I think it will make a great slipper sock for wearing around the house but I am not sure if I would wear these socks in shoes as they are so think. 

One sock down; one to go!
Do you like the color combination?
I am thinking Zebra Meets Lipstick Pink! 
Definitely "one of a kind" socks!
I found this FREE pattern for two-toed socks on the Cascade Yarns website. The pattern link can be found HERE. 

Sock Summit 2011 in Portland, Oregon

I have been so busy for the past few weeks, that I can hardly catch my breath.  I went to visit my parents, who live near Portland, Oregon, the last week of July.  It was great to see them.  We visited some of my favorite places:

Had to take a photo of my Dad and Mom posing under the sign at Bob's Red Mill in Milwaukee, Oregon.  My Dad enjoys the fact that he looks like Bob!  The store is a beautiful red barn looking building with a water mill, gardens, fountains and ponds.  You can buy lots of wonderful whole grain food goods in the store, but we enjoyed lunch at the restaurant.

I put the finishing touches on one of my caps and donated 23 caps to a chemo treatment center near
St. Vincent's Hospital in Southwest Portland near Beaverton, Oregon.  My Mom retired from St. Vincent's Hospital a number of years ago and I worked there as a Junior Volunteer for many summers while in school.

On another day, my Mom and I rode the Max light rail train to Portland's Oregon Convention Center...

FOR THE SOCK SUMMIT!!!!!  The Market Place was our destination, although several classes were offered.  It was great to take in all the sights. I enjoyed watching the people too.  Of course, lots of folks were wearing hand knit items... socks and shawls.

In the center of the Market Place, there was a Sock Museum.  There were itty bitty socks...

There were really BIG socks...

There all kinds of socks...

And of course, in the Market Place... there was lots of gorgeous yarn. 
Not just sock yarn.... all kinds of yarn. 
You could also buy the un-spun fiber for those who want to spin their own yarn.

After spending hours browsing and shopping in the Market Place, we rested our feet and knit for a spell on the World's Largest Sock. Apparently, the sock was cast on in England and then shipped to American. It's been travelling around the United States for various fiber events and at each stop, more rows are added.  If I recall, there are 20 pairs of circular needles around the perimeter of the sock. We were told the sock is so heavy now, it can't be shipped back to England.

Ladies working on the sock...

More socks from the Sock Museum
Snap shots of the Market Place just so you can get an idea of how BIG this event was...

I really liked the hand-dyed yarns at Hazel Knits.  The vendors gave away these kits with yarn and pattern to make a Tiny Leaves Sock.  I intended to make the sock as directed but when I attempted the knit3together on size 0 needles (eeeekkk!), I opted for a plain sock.  The yarn is gorgeous!
At a booth, I won this kit to make Sophie's Toes Sock Yarn Mini-Cardigan.  Too cute!  The kit included the yarn, a tiny hanger, the pattern, and some contrasting pale pink yarn to make French Knot buttons on the sweater front. I think I may add some beads for buttons.

With the leftover yarn from the kit and with the what I learned from making the cardigan, I set out to make a pullover (using some scraps of yarn I had at home). 
The sweater is knit from the top-down (no sewing!)... my favorite!

After spending time with my folks, I spent a day and a half with an old friend, Kerri
(I am on the left and Kerri is on the right).    
We've known each other since 4th grade and
had not seen one another in probably 20 years. 
It was great to see her and it was great to knit with her! 
Yep, she's a knitter, too!  How about that!

Some funky socks in the Sock Museum..