Saturday, April 21, 2007

Fair Isle Frenzy

Well, since procrastination is my middle name, it seems oddly fitting that I would do it again... wait too long to get going on a project, over-estimate my knitting speed, and under-estimate the number of distractions and periods of non-kitting down time that inevitably creep in between project beginnings and the lurking, looming, deadline.

The fair isle hat took me a measily 3 days, so I was not worried about having 3 weeks to crank out some mittens. Well, I'm down to 8 knitting days left, and I'm roughly 80% done with mitten #1. Talk about tedious... salt & pepper palms with patterned top-of-hands to match the hat... so much stranding... so much tangling... There is an art to stranding with minimal tangling, and I'm getting better at it, but like any art, excellence takes a serious amount of practice!

Here's a peek at yesterday's progress-

My poor Pea Pod has been sitting neglected, one sleeve set-in, the other waiting... and I still need to go on a button hunt (I can feel the need for a growing button stash intensifying...)
My seriously striped socks have gained a few more stripes and are patiently awaiting a larger share of my knitting time...
And the brightly striped baby hoodie is temporarily on hold, it can wait a couple of weeks as I'm making the 12 month size.
I'm off to start shaping the tip of the hand on mitten #1, I'll feel better about it all if I can get mitten #2 cast-on by night's end.
It's a rainy weekend here (at least it's not still snowing!) and that usually means some old cowboy or war movies, maybe a documentary or two- just mellow time around here (you do realize that's all relative, my mellow- with 6 kids- is another mom's circus!) which should mean a few knitting blocks of time- I'd better get scooting, and off the computer, our power just surged... I guess this rain could get to be more than rain... (thunder rumbling in background...)
Happy knitting,

Friday, April 13, 2007

Hat Sneak Peak

I just have to start by saying that it's times like this that I'm so thankful for the day I sat watching my sister-in-law knit that baby sweater while chatting over a cup of coffee (well, at least I was drinking coffee, I don't remember if she was...) I just knew I had to learn how to do that! And here we are 4 or 5 years later...

I just finished the hat for the hat and mittens set I'm working on for the Blue Sky Alpacas' fall line up... oh, the fun of fair isle! The process definitely had me designing many a little fair isle sweater in my head, and some hats, and some more mittens... if only there were about 24 more knitting hours in every day...

Well, now I've got to get cracking on the matching mittens and get the pattern all worked out- I've got just over 2 weeks to crank them out... then I can get back to some of my other designs and a lot more personal knitting!

Still working on a row or 2 here and there on the Pea Pod, I'm ready to divide for the armholes...

And, my seriously striped sock is inching along, very slowly, but very surely...

That's all for now-

Happy knitting,


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Baby Sweater Sneak Peaks

My sister that rocks was kind enough to snap a couple of pics and send them my way so I could post a sneak peak of the new baby sweater.

It's done in their new Handspun Organic Cotton-
"Blue Sky Alpacas Handspun Organic Cotton, the perfect addition to our expanding line of feel good yarn. Grown from 100% organic cotton, there are no pesticides, herbicides, agro-chemicals or dyes used in the growing, harvesting or production of the fiber. The yarn is hand spun on drop spindles by a women’s cooperative in Arequipa, Peru. Knitters will love the rich feel of the yarn. They’ll also feel good, knowing that the yarn production is helping preserve a centuries-old tradition of eco-friendly cotton cultivation in Peru and improve the lives of the poverty-stricken women who live there. Working with a local charity, Blue Sky Alpacas employs women to spin Hand Spun Organic Cotton, providing them with a living wage that helps them care for their families and send their children to school." (taken from their website, underlining mine)

The yarn has this great, ever so slightly uneven texture which makes the knitted fabric just feel so 'natural'. I think it feels better knit up than in the skein- in the skein it felt a little stiff (but I am seriously spoiled by their regular cotton- the softest cotton out there!) but it really feels nice all knit up. And yes, it does feel good thinking of the women who spun that yarn by hand on drop spindles a world away...

And those vintage buttons add just the right touch to this little cutie, in my opinion :-)

Back to my hat and mittens-
Happy knitting,

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Kindergarten Cast-on...

Oh boy, oh boy... the traditional double cast-on is the one in my book that "is frequently recommended for beginners" with no such "beginners" notation next to my old favorite thumb method. So there ya go... I know there are a variety of cast-on methods and some have very specific purposes (some are firmer, others are stretchier...) but I also know that I have seldom had a need for a special cast-on method and I have gotten by just fine using my trusty favorite on an ever-widening variety of knitted items.
That being said, I did sit down and master the traditional double cast-on. And yes, I can also do the knitting-on method and the cable cast-on method, I just seldom have a need to use them... but I am branching out and experimenting with so many different things these days- gauges (trying out a fine yarn on a big needle for a very loose gauge), colorwork, stitch variations, bind offs, and yes, even cast-on methods... it's all good. Getting to know the needles and the fibers on a deeper level (knitting philosophy?) is an amazing journey- at least it is for me!
I neglected to get a sneak peak picture of the baby sweater I just finished- but yay! Another finished object! I had a small victory in project completion and got those sleeves set in and all the loose ends woven in, and got it handed off to Blue Sky- the photo shoot is in less than 3 weeks!
That gives me less than 3 weeks to finish the other design I'm working on- a hat and mittens set that rolled around in my head a little too long waiting to actually get on the needles. Where does the time go? Life is speeding up... or is it just me?
(subtle subject change...)
Like where did the last 10 years go? That's right, I said TEN years... that's how long I've been married... today is the last day of the 10th year... tomorrow marks the 1st day of the next 10 years... Wow! How did that happen?
Well, my anniversary is tomorrow and I think we'll be heading down to the beautiful Conservatory that we were married in and take some "10 years later" pictures- provided this silly winter storm we're having (in SPRING) will leave us alone...
Thank You, Lord, for 10 wonderful years. I'm looking forward to see what You have for us in the next 10... and the next 10... and the next... ali

Happy knitting,

Saturday, April 07, 2007

First Fridays Knit-Night

There has been a wee bit of progress on several knitting fronts (and backs, he, he, he...)

I had some girls out for a Friday Knit Night last night, and though there were a couple of last minute cancellations, there was still fun to be had with a few good gals.

We had one newbie knitter, Renee, who was not quite comfortable with my usual double cast-on--thumb method, so she got a lesson from my sister, Sylvia, in the basic double cast-on, which for some inexplicable reason I have never taken the time to master... I've gotten by just fine with my thumb method, why change what isn't broken? Why? Because I have a strange inner need to know how to do just about anything... so I will be practicing the basic, standard double cast-on when I get going on my next project- soon and very soon.
(Both methods can be found on page 4 of Vogue Knitting Quick Reference, my favorite handy-sized, keep-in-the-knitting-bag book)

Suffering a momentary freaky-flashback, my old friend Traci wonders what it would be like to have a head full of Camouflage Blue Sky Bulky dreadlocks... personally, I think she would look much better with Peace Pink dreadlocks, now there I go with the funky flashbacks...

She did come back to 2007 and get to some knitting after some stash oggling and petting, and some design ideas discussing... she's a pretty new knitter and has already caught design fever- you go girl! Get swatching!

Here's another shot of my Mommy Multi-tasking...
not nursing this time, but bouncing a baby on the knee while trying to work through a charted lace panel is not for the faint at heart...
My sister (below) looks uncertain as to wether knitting while baby bouncing is something she wants to master someday...
See the family resemblance?
I had more pictures ready, but I can't seem to make this template thing do what I want it to...
In other news:
-I've completed the back for my very brightly striped Baby Hoodie and am onto the front.
-My Pea Pod body is half-way done...
-I spent a bit of time this morning designing some sock-like booties to go with the Pea Pod set- I'll post my directions for
those when I get them done!
Now I've got some little sleeves to set as I work on conquering my aversion to actual project completion...
Happy knitting,

Monday, April 02, 2007

Pea Pod Coming Along

Well, my Pea Pod is coming along... I'm actually surprised by the bit of progress I've made, seeing as I've been very, very, busy and very, very, distracted... with things like this...
and the socks I can't show you yet (pattern will be released in June...) and lots of tech editing, oh and the raising of my six children, we homeschool, have I mentioned that yet? There really aren't enough hours in a day... most days my mind is moving a mile-a-minute as are my hands, feet, often my mouth... he, he, he...
Anyway, I'm excited to see this sweet little sweater take shape. I'm looking forward to seeing it on my little sweet pea! And I'm looking forward to the great photo op that will be... no bias here, no, that's not true, I am definitely biased, but have you seen how well this baby photographs?!
I probably would've finished by now if it wasn't for the current bout of sock mania I seem to be stricken with... like most fevers, I'm sure it will pass (for short bursts of time anyway) and like most fevers it worsens in the evening hours... like around now... I think I need to go knit another couple of rounds on my current sock, tidy the living room, and call it a night.
Happy knitting,


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