Thursday, November 26, 2015

Socks Two at a Time From the Toe Up

Two at a Time Socks from the Toe Up 

(I actually wrote this last week but I never posted it). 

I took a class on Saturday to learn sock knitting, two at a time, from the toe up.  We primarily focused on learning Judy's Magic Cast On, which is tricky to learn. 

As you can see, I got a little fancy with some cables on the top of the foot of the socks.  These are mock cables that I learned in my Building Blocks afghan project. 

The dogs are snoozing on my lap as I knit. We went for a great hike at sunrise so now they are recharging their batteries.  Below you can see one of my photos from this morning. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Adele's Jacket

Sandy did not like her jacket. But no worries. A friend of mine just rescued Adele, a Doberman Pincher mix.  Looks like the jacket fits Adele at least for a little while. She's still a puppy. I'll have to make another that is bigger and adjustable. 

Ribbons of Hope Hat Pattern

I just received the most heart warming note from a fellow knitter on Ravelry.  She wrote to me about my hat pattern called "Ribbons of Hope".  Tara wrote:  

My name is Tara and I wanted to write to tell yo that your pattern for this hat has been such a joy to work with. It was very easy to follow and I had a lot of fun coming up with different colours and patterns with it. I cannot seem to be able to attach my photos here. I have knitted a dozen of them in a holiday theme for our children’s hospital here in Ottawa, Canada and I’m very excited to deliver them shortly. Thank you so much for posting this pattern, I have a feeling that I will be using this quite often."


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Top This Elephant Lovey

Meet Jared

I made a little lovey for a friend. My friend Jennifer and her husband Jared had a little boy a few months back.  The lovey is basically a knit square and the elephant is fastened to the center of the square.  I used a DMC brand "Top This" hat kit but made the lovey instead of a hat.  For the knit square, I basically knit a dish cloth where you start at one corner, complete increases so the square grows wider, and then I started the decreases when I had used half of the yarn.

From the looks of it little Jared sure likes his lovey.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Building Blocks Project: Halfway There

I am halfway done with my Building Blocks Afghan. The afghan I am making now is a shop sample (for my local yarn shop) and I wanted to have more of this done to show folks at the shop what the completed project looks like. That way I could get folks interested in signing up for the class.  I decided to stitch together my first six blocks. The instructions for vertical and horizontal seams were great. Sewing the blocks together was a breeze!  

I have another block done (Block #6... I got out of order.... I finished #7 before #6). I need to block it so I can take some more photos. I am currently working on Block #8, but I keep getting distracted by other projects. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Top This Unicorn Hat

Awhile back, I bought a number of DMC brand "Top This" hat kits. Zach liked the unicorn so I made it for him and sent it in his college care package a week or so ago. 

Anytime Sandy sees the Top This stuffed animals, she thinks it's a dog toy for her. She always wants to bite them. 

I texted Zach at school and asked if the hat fit. He said it did and I requested a selfie.  This is what I got. 

Baby boy will be home for Turkey Day very soon. 

Building Blocks: Block #7

Whoops. I knit Block #7 before Block #6. 

The photos of this block are not so great. Sorry about that.  This block uses a Mock Cable design.  No cable needle is needed to make this cool looking pattern.  The pattern is created by a four row repeat and the twisted stitch is created by a 'slip 1, knit 2, pass the slipped stitch over the two knit stitches (psso=pass the slipped stitch over)'. Since you lose a stitch in the process of the psso, on the next row you add a yarn over to get back on track with the correct number of stitches. The yarn over also creates an eyelet hole which is a great looking design element.

I like the Mock Cable pattern so much that I decided to incorporate the Mock Cable design in a pair of socks I started knitting yesterday.  More about that another day.

I LOVED knitting this block and I love how it turned out. This is going to be a very fun class to teach. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

A Surprise for my College Student

For my birthday in September, I was sent a great looking hoodie sweatshirt from my son's college. It was a gift from Pam, my mother-in-law. It was too small and returning it was a bit of a pain since the college is about four hours away. 

I couldn't let perfectly good fabric go to waste. I cut a pillow panel to include all of the embroidery from the sweatshirt's front.  It occurred to me I could also use the pocket from the sweatshirt's front so one side of the pillow has a great big pocket!  

I think Zach will like it!  Now what should I put I the pocket?  Cash, a restaurant gift card, or some candy?

Saturday, November 14, 2015

A Sweater for Sandy

I noticed, after Sandy's recent haircut, that she's been a bit cold and shivery.  I saw a dog jacket/blanket advertised on Facebook, so I took the idea and ran with it.  I thought this red fleece fabric with black paw prints on it was fitting.  I put hours into this project.  Sandy was snoozy when I was working on this; I woke her up several times to check the fit.  In the end, the fit is pretty good. There are Velcro straps in the tummy area to keep the blanket secure. Turns out, Sandy wants nothing to do with wearing this.  Can you tell by the look on her face?  Nope, not liking this one bit!

I decided to try it on Brutus just for giggles but he does not need a blanket. He's a hot blooded little boy.  It was snugger on him since he's nearly 10 pounds bigger than Sandy.  Brutus liked the jacket even less.  This boy loves to chase a ball.  I threw the ball.  NOTHIN'!  He wouldn't budge.  It was actually pretty funny.

Oh well. Some projects are just like that I guess.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Building Blocks: Block #5

Building Blocks project update:  I am in LOVE with Block #5.   I think this yarn really shows off this great looking block.  This block focuses on learning how to knit cables. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Building Blocks: Block #4

Building Blocks project update:  Block #4

This block focuses on a lace design. I am not super excited about the look of this block (I think my knitting looks a little sloppy!) but the design is a great addition to the Building Blocks afghan pattern. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Building Blocks: Block #3

An update on my progress on my Building Blocks afghan.  I whipped through Block #3 in no time at all. I am finding that if I just focus on my blocks (an not knit on other projects), I can finish a block in just a few evenings.

As I am sure you can tell from the photos, this block features eyelet and bobbles.  I think this square goes quickly since there is a lot of plain stockinette stitching between the rows of eyelet and bobbles.  I love what great variety there is the Building Blocks patterns.  This is a VERY fun project!

When I hold the class where we work on Block #3, the skills we will focus on will include:
  • making eyelet / how to complete "yarnovers"
  • making bobbles
As I knit through these blocks, I am getting more and more excited about teaching my Building Blocks classes starting in January!  I am not, however, looking forward to sewing my blocks together.  Argh!  I should be a bit easier since I am just using one color, right?

Christmas Stockings

I bought this kit to make four little Christmas stockings at the Interweave Yarnfest in Loveland, Colorado, earlier this year.  I got them all knit up and made a little wall hanging for my craft room. Please don't notice my messy craft table!

At the Yarnfest, the yarn seller suggested these stockings be used for place settings.  There were photos showing a cloth napkin stuffed into each stocking with a fork, knife, and spoon. What a cute idea for table decoration.  I am happy with my wall hanging, too!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Building Blocks: Block #2

In a recent post, I mentioned that I am currently working on a project called "Building Blocks" and, starting in January, I will be teaching a class using this pattern. We will focus on one block a month for a year. 

Today, I am showing off Block #2.

The designer of this pattern is Michelle Hunter and she really arranged this project and her book in a fantastic manner.  Each block focuses on a new skill, so it makes sense to start with Block #1 and proceed through the blocks in order. 

When I teach the class on Block #2, I plan to work on the following skills:

  • how to read a chart
  • how to block your work
  • how to read your knitting

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The start of something new... Building Blocks: Block #1

Whoa!  Life has been BUSY.  I started to write this post two months ago and am just now getting the chance to finish up what I started.  Over Labor Day Weekend, I decided to put in my paperwork to retire from my job of 25 years.  I was going back and forth between leaving October 31, 2015, or December 31, 2015.  I decided on October 31, 2015.  Life has been pretty busy since Labor Day. I've been retired for a little over a week now and it's going great. I am getting so much done. Now maybe I can catch up on some blogging, too!

Here is the post I started two months ago.  I have been knitting like mad on this project.  I'll post more about this project in the next few weeks. I am now working on block 8 of 12.

The owner of my local knit shop, Ann, and I have been talking. She asked me if I'd be interested in teaching an afghan class at the knit shop (The Yarn Shop at Words of Life in Canon City, CO).  Ann was hoping I'd have more time to teach more classes at the shop now that I am getting so very close to retirement. As my retirement date approaches, we've been ironing out the details.  Ann found the "Building Blocks" pattern by Michelle Hunter and would like for me to teach one block a month for a year.  So far, a few ladies have already expressed an interest in the class.  If you'd like to see the pattern book we'll be using, you can check it out by clicking HERE.  I am glad Ann picked this pattern, as I am already a huge fan of Michelle Hunter and her patterns!

Marilyn at the knit shop (I affectionately refer to Marilyn as my Knitting Guru) has been teaching afghan classes at the shop for years now.  I was a student in her very first afghan class a number of years ago and we primarily focused on the Great American Afghan pattern, although some folks also used patterns from the Great North American Afghan pattern booklet and also the Great American Aran Afghan pattern booklet.  Teaching the afghan classes is a big commitment and I think Marilyn is looking forward to having a bit more time to travel (she's quite the globe trotter!), and I am tickled to be afforded the opportunity to teach a series of classes.

For now, I am trying to madly knit up a shop sample so folks can see a completed Building Blocks afghan in person. For my afghan, I am using just one color but many folks complete this pattern using two, three, or four different colors.  It's fun to look on Ravelry to see the completed Building Blocks afghans.

Since I am knitting up a shop sample, I got to take yarn from the shop for FREE to make the sample. I selected Cascade Pacific yarn in a nice taupe color.  I like that the yarn has a bit of a sheen to it. Some folks complain the Cascade Pacific yarn splits easily, but I've not experienced that problem.  This yarn is 40 percent merino wool (superwash) and 60 percent acrylic.  I picked a lighter color so the knitting designs show up nicely.  I know some of the details would get lost if I were using a darker colored yarn.  Cascade Pacific yarn comes in a nice variety of colors.  When I teach the class, I plan to knit up a second Building Blocks afghan along with the class.  This will be an afghan I will keep for myself and I plan to use Cascade 220 Superwash in a gray or silver color or maybe a few different shades of gray?  I need to look into that, but for now... I am madly making squares.

When I teach Block #1, the skills we will focus on are:

  • learning the long tail cast on
  • seed stitch
  • the importance of casting on and binding off loosely
  • learning how to read your knitting
  • using markers to help you keep track of your place in the pattern
Here is a close up of Block #1