Monday, February 27, 2012

More Stitches

Greetings and Dear Laura;

Every year, when we plan our trip to Stitches, our little group discusses what of our knitting we can wear. We always enjoy seeing what the other knitters are wearing, but it's August in Chicago, so we always feel too hot to think of it. Since I was planning to attend Stitches West in February in northern California, it seemed that something knitted might be nice. The night before I left, I had to admit that the Burnished Leaves cowl was not going to be ready.

Enter Sue, who had brought a shawl that she had just finished to show us. She kindly offered to let me borrow it! It was the perfect thing to wear. I was a little chilly but a sweater would have been too much and my cowl not quite enough. I received several compliments and several requests for a link to the pattern.

(One person asked if I knitted my shawl and I truthfully told her that one of my friends knitted it. However, when people just said they liked it, I felt that 'thank-you' was appropriate.) The pattern is by Karen Frederickson as part of her Knit Happy Club offerings. I hope she'll make it available outside of the club soon!

That's all for today!

Keep knitting!

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter)

 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Stitches!

Stitches West

Yes, I'm checking in from sunny California, where I have enjoyed two days of rest, relaxation, knitting and shopping.

I arrived very late on Friday but since my body is still programmed for EST, I was awake quite early. I had to wait two hours to find someplace open for breakfast! I spent my downtime for the day working on a little cowl using ArtYarns Bohemian Rhapsody. This yarn was a special birthday present from Lauren when I turned 50. I really wanted to be able to wear it instead of just admiring the skein! I chose a pattern called Burnished Leaves for a small cowl. It's a lovely pattern and the silk is luscious to knit with. I started it on Valentine's day and finished it Saturday evening. It's beautiful and fits nicely - I'd like to block it to see if the lace opens up a bit.

Stitches is marvelous! It's larger here than Midwest. It was fun to see shops from the west and some familiar faces as well. Miss Babs of course, and Webs and Yarn Barn. No Signature Needle Arts, didn't see any Kauni, and of course I missed Knitting Today. Atenti and Namaste bags were here directly with some specials (yes there was damage) and also Blue Moon Fiber Arts. A new favorite is Becoming Art. I had a pair of socks on the needles already, now I have a pair in DK weight working as well. Wonderful colors! The one on the left is DK Sunlit Amber and on the right is fingering Olive Oil. Scrumptious!

Well, I have more to report but the train to take me to my next destination arrives soon. More later!

Keep knitting!

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter)

 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Oh my!

My iPad ate my post.

Greetings and Dear Laura:

Guess I'll have to start over, since the post I was working on was frogged by my technology.  First, I should admit that Knitting at Lunch has been encouraging me to post, so she should get the credit here (or blame, as the case may be!)

I finished my February Lady!  I cast off and blocked it in January, so I avoided having the project turn 2 years old without completion. 

 Here it is modeled by my lovely niece. It looks much better on her than it does on me!  I don't like the neckline or the raglan shoulders on me. Lea-Ann at Knitting Today thinks that I may like it better if it is shorter, so I may try ripping back a few inches.  Else I'm not sure what to do. I don't know if my niece likes it enough that I should give it to her or maybe I'll rip it out and try a new pattern. I don't want to have a sweater that I just don't like well enough to wear, but I love the yarn.  Oh well, we'll see!

I also just finished a pair of handwarmers to wear at work.  I wanted fingers with open tips for typing. I tried a pattern that I found on Ravelry and I really enjoyed it.  It is knit from the fingers to the cuffs. You knit the fingers and then join them as you knit the hand.  I find it much easier than gloves that start at the cuffs. This pattern also has a flap for when you are out of doors, but I didn't want that for this pair.  I think I'll do another pair with flaps sometime.

Ok, there's a quick update - the post that I lost was better - sorry about that! Talk to you again soon.

Keep knitting!

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter)

 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Time flies!

Greetings, and Dear Laura

It seems like just yesterday that we were in Chicago for Stitches. That was so much fun! Our trip back in rental cars went so well that we've decided to skip the train next year and drive both ways. No more delays and cancellations for us!

Your hubby's Christmas sweater has grown since I saw you. I always love how you calculate needed progress to make goal. It's much more precise than my 'just keep knitting and it will get done' approach.

I've been frogging a lot lately. I was working on these socks when I saw you. They were my July project that ran into August. And September. October is looking likely. I was finishing the first foot in August when I noticed a glaring error and had to frog back to the ankle. I did finish that first sock and promptly cast on the second. I was almost to the heel when I discovered that I had switched from 3x2 rib to 2x2 rib. FROG! So I still have most of the second sock yet to go.

Early in September I decided to make a 'quick' pair of socks for my sil Chris. She's been sick for several months now. They've diagnosed a problem with her gallbladder (which took 6 weeks to determine) and now she needs to find a surgeon who will agree with the specialist that it should be removed. In addition, they are installing a new furnace this fall and we have had rather chilly weather here, especially at night. I thought that a pair of worsted weight socks would be quick to knit and help her feel warm and cared for.

I used a Malabrigo worsted with a contrast yarn. At first it went really well. I cast on just before a road trip to a reunion and since I didn't do any driving, I completed the first sock in one day!! I cast on the second sock immediately, but the following weekend we hosted another reunion and knitting time was hard to come by. I got serious about it again the day after the reunion - and that's when I noticed that the almost-completed cuff was in 2x2 rib instead of 2x2 garter rib!!! I evidently have rib issues.

The socks are now complete (and matching!) and warming her feet. Back to the July-August-September-October socks!!

I also want to show off this beautiful iPad2 case that knitting@lunch made for me!! The color is a darker purplier color than it appears and I love it very much. Stylish and cushy at the same time!!

Keep knitting!

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter )

Monday, September 12, 2011

Knitting for Christmas

Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,

I have some time today to post to the blog. The washer repairman is scheduled to be here sometime between 8am and 5pm, so I am tethered to the house right now waiting for him to arrive.

This is a blessing and a curse. I am forced to catch up on some things here that really need it (paperwork), though I really can't run out even for a moment to take care of any errands until after the repair.
I've been working on a DK weight (size 4 needles) sweater since last February. It follows the basic framework given in Beth Brown-Reinsel's book "Knitting Ganseys." It is very difficult to photograph well.

I am trying to finish it before Christmas as my gift to DH.

Instead of knitting in his initials into the left front lower corner, I knitted our "family logo," which is "circle square triangle," which means "I love you." (Circle is made with one line, just like "I" is spelled with one letter. Square is made with four lines, just like "love" is spelled with four letters. Triangle is made with three lines, just like "you" is spelled with three letters.):
The front bands are rather flimsy, so I'm definitely going to be sewing some grosgrain ribbon along the backside of the bands to make them more robust. I calculated that I will meet my Christmas deadline if I am able to average 8 rows per day on the sleeves.

One other thing - I might run short of yarn. I'll know for sure after this first sleeve is finished. I could order more yarn, but the dye lot would be different, which may or may not be an issue. Crossing that bridge when I get to it, though I'm taking your advice to "knit really fast" when you think you might run out of yarn.

Okay, so back to my other chores! I hope this note finds you all well!

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Water Bottle Holder/Carrier Sewing Pattern

A pattern by YarnThrower
My family and I enjoy hiking together, and as the mother, I typically end up being the "pack mule" for our little group. One day I thought to myself, "Why am *I* carrying all of the water bottles?" Probably because I was carrying the only backpack in the group...so I started thinking that I should figure out how to get each of my kids to at least carry his own water bottle. After searching online for a pattern to make some water bottle holders/carriers for my kids to use, I eventually developed my own hybrid pattern based on some of the ideas I found.
Inspired mostly by this pattern which utilizes old jeans, and also the idea of reinforcing the strap found in this pattern, my version results in a carrier which is a little bit larger, has a more robust strap, utilizes an actual pocket from a pair of jeans, and is constructed in a way which allows all of the raw edges to be concealed. I made these for birthday gifts for my nieces and nephew, and they were a huge hit! And, the pocket is the perfect place to put a trail map when hiking!

(This pattern is the property of YarnThrower and may not be reproduced except for one copy for individual use. If you print or distribute this pattern without YarnThrower's written permission, you are stealing .)

Materials needed:
  • 4 feet of strapping/belting (shown in the photo as off-white in color, but use whatever color you'd like :-)
  • 4 feet of grosgrain ribbon which is a slightly smaller width than the strapping/belting material
  • 9.5 x 11.5 inch piece of scrap fabric, cut along the grain line
  • 9.5 x 11.5 inch piece of denim (can be cut from old jeans), cut parallel to the grain line, to form the "shell" of the water bottle holder/carrier. (I generally make a cut which goes from top to bottom in one of the legs of the pair of jeans, and then open it up/flatten it out to use as my fabric to cut the 9.5 x 11.5 inch piece)
  • Optional: Pocket carefully removed from pair of old jeans by snipping the threads which are holding it to the jeans
  • Basic sewing supplies, such as coordinating thread (I used white), sewing machine, scissors, needle, pins, etc.
First, center the grosgrain ribbon on the strapping material and zig-zag stitch along both side edges of the ribbon to secure it. I also zig-zagged along the short edges to keep them from raveling:
Here are the shell and lining fabrics already cut to be 9.5 x 11.5 inches:
If you are going to put a pocket on your carrier, stitch the pocket to the shell fabric so that the top of the pocket is parallel to one of the longer edges of the shell fabric, and so that it is centered between the left and right sides of the shell fabric. Allow a space of about an inch between the top of the pocket and the upper edge of the shell fabric:
Next, fold the shell fabric in half, right sides together, so that the shorter sides of the shell fabric match. Stitch along the longer side of the rectangle formed after folding, creating a tube of fabric. Repeat with the lining fabric, EXCEPT leave an opening of 3" in the middle of the seam:
In this next photo, the area between the points of the scissors is the place where the seam of the lining has been left open for 3":Next, adjust the tube of fabric so that when flattened, the seam which was sewn in the previous step runs down along the center, as shown in the photo below. Stitch along one of the ends of the tube. If you have sewn a pocket to the shell, make sure that you stitch along the edge of the fabric tube which is *closest* to the *bottom* of the pocket. Otherwise, the pocket will be upside-down on the finished product. (Ahem, don't ask me how I know this.) Again, I always zig-zag stitch over the raw edges to keep them from raveling:
Now, to add some depth to the bag, fold it/pin it as shown in this photo. You will be stitching a straight line located about one inch away from each of the tips of the little triangles formed by the folding. Confusing? Maybe these pictures will help:
Here's what it looks like after it's sewn:
Trim off the excess little triangles and zig-zag stitch over the edges to secure them (so they don't unravel):
The "shell" of the carrier is done. It has a rectangular bottom and can almost stand up by itself :-) Leave it wrong side out and set it aside for now:
Make a rectangular bottom for the lining using the same method of stitching little triangles, trimming them, and securing the raw edges by stitching over the edges with a zig-zag stitch.Turn the lining "right side out" when done. Here is the finished lining. You can see where the opening is that will be used for turning later on:
Next, take the strap and pin the *right side* of the strap (which is the side the ribbon was sewn onto) to the *right* side of the shell, with raw edges even, and placing the strap *inside* the tube, as shown in the photo:
Now, put the lining into the shell, right sides together, and matching raw edges. Stitch through all thicknesses using 1/4" seam allowance. Here I also zig zag stitched along the raw edges to secure them better. This photo shows it all pinned together (before I stitched it):
After stitching, pull lining fabric out of shell; notice the opening for turning in this photo:
Turn bag right side out by pulling the strap and the denim shell through the hole in the lining:
Whip stitch the opening of the lining closed:
Tuck the lining inside, making a crisp flat edge around the top of the bag as shown and pinning the top edges in place to hold them in position for the next step:
Stitch around top of bag close to upper edge, and again 1/4" in from the edge:
And voila' - your water bottle holder/carrier is finished:
I hope you have fun with this pattern! As always, I'm interested in your thoughts, suggestions, and especially any corrections you may have to the directions I've given.

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Christmas in August

Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,

Just a quick note...

A friend commissioned me to knit a Christmas stocking for each member of her family:
Pattern is from Blackberry Ridge, but I designed the colorwork in the holly and snowflake sections and also used different lettering in the name band.

Bulky yarn, so they were relatively quick knits at roughly 7.5 hours each.

Gotta run! Lots more to share, including a pattern I devised for making a water bottle carrier out of old jeans... Stay tuned...

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)