Thursday, September 28, 2006

Is this some kind of a joke?

Dear Cynthia,

More sitting time this morning at my moms' group, which means more knitting time, and as I was progressing on the Hardangervidda sleeve, I was reminded of this hat which I started when we were at Stitches several years ago.
Do you know what the Hardangervidda and this hat have in common (well, aside from the fact that they are both patterns by Dale of Norway.....) ? (And by the way, whoa! Not sure what is going on with the colors of the hat, but it is really more of a maroon color, and there is no purple in it, really!) In any case, here is a hint:How many colors of stitches are showing on the needle holding the stitches?

I wonder if the folks at Dale of Norway are so sinister that they sit around saying to each other, in big shot staff meetings and design releases, something like this:
Big Shot 1: Beautiful sweater!
Big Shot 2: Thank you. It has at least three colors in it.
Big Shot 1: Yes, I noticed...and were you able to throw in at least a row or two which calls for all three colors in the same row? You don't need many rows like that, of course, but please make certain that there are at least one or two of them. I love how it can stop knitters dead in their tracks. In case the huge color charts aren't scary enough, this "three colors in a row" thing will emphasize that our designs can be a bit complicated...

Not sure how many times I tried to knit that one row. I was carrying two colors in my left hand (with middle finger separating the strands, and both strands going over my index finger) and one color in my right hand. On the first attempt, I forgot to put in the increases called for at both ends of the row. On the second attempt, I had only a few more stitches to go when my four year old called from the bathroom, "Mommy, would you help me with my poop?" When I returned to my knitting, I realized that my row was totally messed up and had to be taken out again. Anyway, at some point I got the row done correctly and am now ready to move on. There is only one row which has three colors in each sleeve, and only two for the body of the sweater. What is up with that? Really, is this some kind of a joke? Or, perhaps I should just be thankful that over 99% of the rows have no more than two colors...

Well, the mail is here and the kitchen is a mess, so it's time to get back to work.

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Mission Impossible

Dear Cynthia,

My four year old and I had a morning of sitting and waiting. He brings books and crayons; I bring.....well, I don't think I have to tell you what I bring.....

Anyway, I now have three work-in-progress sweaters which I've started within the past two weeks, and I am making an executive decision that I can't begin any new projects now until I have at least two of these sweaters completed. Ideally I'll have these all done by Christmas. More realistically, maybe two of them???? We'll see. It's really amazing what a person can get done waiting at the dentist, then waiting to get bloodwork, etc. Here is the start of Hardangervidda, my true "Mission Impossible".

It is the beginning of the first sleeve. There is a hem already done and waiting to be sewn down on the inside (you might be able to see the "turning ridge" in the photo). And, I've just completed the first couple of rows of a "block rib" pattern, which adds a little texture, one of the things I found appealing about this design. I also think the little "X" on the sleeve center is fun; that little "X" will also mark the center of the front and the back. I wanted to begin with the sleeve, and then if there are any real gauge issues (which I don't anticipate, having used the Heilo yarn when I made the Fana Cardigan, and being exactly on gauge at that time, though knitting gods don't smile kindly on such confident statements), I can figure something else out when I get to the body of the thing, in which circumference really *does* matter a *lot*.

That's all the news for now. Dirty towels all over the house are now calling out to me to get some laundry done.....

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Hand-Painted Yarn -- Friend or Foe?

Dear Cynthia,

I spent a couple of hours today working on my bag pattern. So many little details, so little experience with laying things out, but I did make some progress. I think I'll be pretty close to printing it once I spend another couple of hours on it. As we discussed, I'm still trying to work out a "logo" (or "loco"??) identity for us and our blog, and as soon as I get in touch with the people who were recommended to me, I'll let you know what I find out, so that I'll eventually have something I can put on the printed pattern which will "match" our blog... Always good to have an identity..... Usually I'm just known as my son's mother.

As a mother of two little boys who attend various things around town such as piano lessons and library story time, I am finding many opportunities to knit these days. And so, anxiously, I started knitting myself a sweater using my recently acquired Briar Rose Fibers "Legend" yarn, 1500 yards in one hank of merino wonderfulness, dk weight.

I decided I'd make the Elizabeth Zimmerman "Brooks" sweater, cardigan version, which I have a pattern for in one of my favorite knitting books, The Opinionated Knitter. The pattern is really for more of a worsted weight, so I'm adjusting the number of stitches accordingly..... In any case, after an inch or two of knitting in the round, I was getting some pooling which was forming a dizzying spiral. So, savvy to the tricks I've read about on other blogs, I thought I'd alternate strands to make the pooling spiral go away, though alas, it did not. And so, as a last ditch effort, I decided to try knitting back and forth instead of in the round, which is considerably slower because of the purl rows, but YAY, no pooling spirals. This also means I won't have to "cut" the front of the sweater when I am done in order to make it into a cardigan -- trade-offs, you know..... Now, hopefully none of our blog readers will comment about seeing St. Francis or the Virgin Mary amid the "random" colorings in the sweater.....

The sleeve has its own issues. One side looks okay:
The other side has a large blotch:
I think I'll rip back to where the pooling starts, and try using a second strand starting there, swapping strands every row or two. I don't think it has to be very scientific....and since there are increases every five rows, the pooling will disappear once the number of stitches changes a little bit so that the colors will land differently on each other from row to row.....

Already I'm having the usual "I hope I don't run out of yarn" thoughts..... It has a hem and a front band treatment which are both knitted on after the fact, so I could always do them with a matching solid color of yarn if it looks like I won't have enough of this.....but 1500 yards, right?? That should be plenty, right??

Oh, one more thing. Something happened at the yarn store:

This is for Hardangervidda (but a different colorway, having main color black, with mostly heather patterning and some wine colored accents). I really don't believe I'll ever finish this for my dh for Christmas..... It will be 48 inches around, so not sure what I'm thinking.....except that I might not be living in reality. I blame my kids.

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Monday, September 25, 2006

Knitting like crazy...

Dear Laura:

That's what I was up to this weekend! I decided that I could stay up late on Friday night, since I would be able to sleep in on Saturday. So I knitted until the second Fuzzy Foot was done. Ta-da!

I'll try to felt them this week, when my SIL is available to be the foot mold. I've made these out of leftover "Lambs Pride" from the afghan project. Since I'm two-years late with this graduation gift, I decided that the least I could do is to provide matching slippers! My niece and her mom where the same size shoe, so I can have her mom help make the 'extra' a surpise.

I also worked on my striped socks - I finished a couple of inches of the cuff, and then turned the heel. I still have a few more decreases around the gusset, and then I'll be heading for the toe.

I picked up some Cascade 220 tweed that was laying around ;) and started a hat for my God-daughter Maggie. I made purple mittens for her last year, and her mom made her a scarf with Blackberry Ridge Tropical Fish in worsted weight. I had some of the same color-way in a sport weight. I'm making my pattern for a reversible contrasting hat, although I'm having to convert it to the heavier weight yarn. I'm going to double the sport weight for the variagated half - I hope that will "equal" the worsted weight of the Cascade.

I started with the Cascade portion, and got to within a couple of inches of finishing. However, because I spent so much time worrying that it would be too small, and therefore threw in a "few extra increases," I've discovered that I've gone too far with it. The hat is supposed to be 18-19" around, and it's a good 22-23." When will I learn? I do this ALL the time. A hat on a 16" circular always "looks small" and so I second-guess myself and end up with a hat that is too big! Rather than frog this, I'm going to finish it off as an adult hat, and start over on the one for Mags. Good thing I had 2 skeins of the Cascade in the stash...

As you may have discerned, I spent most of the weekend in my chair, knitting. I did get laundry done, and I did my big cooking for the up-coming week, so I was not a COMPLETE slug. But I do love a quiet weekend....

Keep knitting!

Cynthia (aka DesignatedKnitter)


^Rip-it^ ^Rip-it^

Before making a final decision on the hat, I put in a lifeline and tried the hat on. It's too big for me. Which means the only person it could possibly fit is a guy, preferably one with a large head. However, I do not know any guy who would wear a lavendar hat. I'm not saying there are no guys who would wear it, just that I don't know them.

So I frogged back to where the increases would give me 96 stitches.

Moving on....

'tis the season

Dear Cynthia,

Temperatures are dropping, and I love the bit of chill in the air. It is the time of year in which we once again try to hold off as long as possible from turning on the heat. Our threshold seems to be about 63 degrees F. (This morning was 67F.) On the day when we wake up and everybody is complaining because "Mommy, it's soo-o-o- cold" and its 63 degrees in the house, I'll wimp out and we'll be into our "heating season". Before that happens, I still must change the air filter and the humidifier water "pad" -- one of my goals for today. The hardest part is remembering how the air cleaner thingy comes apart, but once I figure that out, things go quickly. Anyway, last winter we kept the thermostat set at about 66 degrees F, though I know there are people setting it much lower than that, so this year we're going to try for 65 degrees F. That should be manageable for a family having lots of hand knit sweaters, right? And, the kids are older now, so this is one *small* step toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions (and saving a little money :-) Who knows, maybe next year 62.....

Speaking of temperatures dropping, I've been washing some of out knitted goods, because I didn't get it done at the beginning of the summer like everybody else did. These mittens were made using my utimate favorite mitten knitting pattern, from Felted Knits by Bev Galeskas. The body of the mittens are knitted first, and then some waste cotton yarn is knit along the cast-on edge to keep the mitten shape during felting. Once felted, stitches are picked up where the waste cotton is, and the cuffs are knit. I *love* having both textures (felted and un-felted) in the finished mittens. Anyway, not sure how we did it, but we made it through the winter last year only losing one of the yellow mittens, but fortunately I had plenty-o-extra yarn (Dale Heilo) and was able to quickly replace the missing mitten. Note that everybody now has mitten clips on the ends of their sleeves to reduce the chances of future mitten losses...but in the meantime, I should check my stash and start thinking about making more.....

Well, it's Monday, so that means putting my weekly menu together, then some stuff to take to the post office, then the grocery store, etc..... Mondays are always really busy, but then I'm set up for the week and don't have to work so hard on Tuesdays.

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Circle Square Triangle

Dear Cynthia,

Knitting has been completed on the "I(circle) LOVE(square) YOU(triangle)" sweater for my four year old for weeks, though I finally wove in the ends today so that I could wash and block it. Here are the pieces blocking. Hmmm...just to note, I didn't weave in the ends which would end up being next to a seam.....I'll use those ends for parts of the seams, or I'll weave them into the seam.....

It's pretty clear that my kids will likely NOT share my interest in knitting...

four year old: Mommy, what are you working on.
me: A sweater
four year old: Look at how I can make my sandwich look like a ship.....

That's fine with me.....more stash for me... In any case, since this is intended to be a Christmas gift, and since my kids would recognize the design on the front immediately, it's good that my four year old didn't inquire any more about it, so I was able to keep the design on the front concealed from him and still work on it in his presence.

I finished the knitting on the secret project (note pink yarn in photo, leftovers from the secret project). It is such a relief to have that done, as it was causing me some stress, because I really wanted to get it done on time.

I've also been working on another I LOVE YOU sweater -- this one for my six year old -- very handy project, because it is so mindless that I may take it anywhere and work with all sorts of interruptions. (I was working on this when I watched Pirates of the Caribbean. Somebody told me I'd really like the movie. Truth be told, I thought the movie was okay, and was thankful to have knitting in my hands, or I think I would have turned the movie off and gone to sleep--though I know the movie is very popular among many others. I'm glad you did the "talk like a pirate" post, however, because watching a movie about pirates is about as close as I'd get to trying to talk like one.) The markers are inserted every ten rows, so that I may tell at a glance how many rows I have so far. I'm anticipating I'll have to be at around 95 rows when the back is done. And so, I'll knit the front the same number of rows..... My dh thinks it is odd that I count everything....and our six year old son does the same thing -- especially with stairs. Anyway, this one is a different color, and only slightly larger...

One more thing. The temperature is dropping, hovering in the low 50's today. I'm wearing a hand-knit bulky sweater, both kids are wearing hand-knit sweaters as jackets when they go outside, and for the first time this season, I have on a pair of hand-knit socks. Can life get any better than that?

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Ahoy, me hearties!

Dear Laura:

Me laptop went to be repaired, and shiver me timbers, be given a new modem part. It be ready to sail the high seas again - Yarr! Weigh anchor! Hoist the mizzen!

Whilst me trusty friend war gone, thar be some knittin' to be bendin' yer ear aboot, so I'll be catching ye up...

1. Yon scurvy second-sock I war knittin' on fer 5 inches war cast-on 72 stitches instead of 64....arrrgh. Skuttle me skippers, it all be ripped and I be up to 3 inches again. Now both me socks'll be the same size.

2. I be done with the scurvy Instarsia blanket fer sure. It be blocked and folded and shown at Ye Olde Guilde meetin' last night. I needed me a fine keg o' bumboo after crawling around on me deck, pinnin' down the damp blanket! Me backside still be sore... (Note to the
Yarn Harlot that I was able to blog that without saying "arse." Just sayin'.)

3. Ahoy! I cast on
Fuzzy Feet usin' the yarn leftovers from the scurvy Instarsia blanket. Blimey, I be turning the first heel!

4. Me dirty son-of-a-seabiscuit digital camera still be on the fritz, so there be no pictures to show.

5. This be
International Talk Like A Pirate Day.

Keep knittin' ye landlubbers!

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter)

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Loose Ends

Dear Cynthia,

Do you think that the term "loose ends" might have originated with a knitter?

I've had so many projects in the "almost done" state, and it's game time, so I must now get a few things completed.

Here is the Foulard in its little pouch, made by sewing two smallish pieces of polar fleece (one of them square, and the other the same size square but having a trapezoidal extension) together for the bag part, and leaving the trapezoid part to tuck into the pouch, securing the Foulard inside. This will be taken to the post office the first thing tomorrow morning, so that there is a chance it might arrive at its destination no later than Wednesday, the birthday of my mom-in-law.

I was so thankful for all of the VERY helpful suggestions regarding the needle felting on the black bag. I decided that I'm going to put needle felting on both sides of the bag. Here is the first side, with everything firmly in place so that now it won't be easy to remove. On the other side, I'm going to go with one really big flower, no stems (why didn't I think of that?), and the same colors as those on the first side.

Here is the other bag, which still needs a purchased handle. I just got done felting it in the washer, and hopefully by Tuesday it will be dry so that I may put some needle felting on this one, as well......possibly a butterfly (which I also hadn't thought of -- what we don't get in "quantity" of comments I think we make up for in "quality", and I really appreciated everybody's thoughts regarding this project), and possibly some mittens (your idea, which I also loved). It's hard for me to tell what is going to really work until I try something. That's why I like to just lightly tack things down as I'm working on a new design, so that it is easy to peel off.

Then there is my secret project, too, which must be completed by the end of this month. I'm getting close, and the deadline is within reach, but this hobby is starting to put **pressure** on me, and I'll be glad for time to knit something more mindless when these few projects are out of the way. It's all good, though -- it's still knitting, right?!!

Have a great week! I LOVE Autumn!!!!

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Dear Cynthia,

First, and while I'm thinking about it, I want to thank Marie for her kind and regular comments!

Having a little more "free time" now that my test is over, this morning I played around with some needle felting designs for my new bag.

I don't think either one of these is going to be the "winner"; however, I'm interested in what comments you and anybody else out in blogland might have regarding these iterations.

Too detailed? The groupings look funny together?? Needs more flowers or less flowers or flowers moved more to the left or right? Design okay but colors wonky?

Whatever anybody might be thinking, I'm interested in hearing it, because, I am no artist.....

"Drawing" something onto a big blank canvas of a felted bag is a bit of a stretch for me, though I think it is good for me to get out of my comfort zone a little bit...

I'm also contemplating sources of inspiration other than flowers. Folksy hearts? Fish?

Note: These might look a little bit fuzzy, because I've only lightly tacked the designs in place just to get an idea of the design. (Don't worry - your eyes are fine!) That way, I may remove the fiber easily if necessary.

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Foulard Finished

Dear Cynthia,

I've had this completed for a couple of days, and finally got around to blocking it this morning. (It must be in the mail for a birthday gift in the next few days.) It is from the Morehouse Farm Merino Knits book, and a nice, mindless project. Finished dimensions after blocking are 57" x 57".

It is made with KnitPicks Shimmer (two hanks), which is an alpaca/silk blend. I enjoyed knitting with this yarn, though I had to be very careful that the rings on my fingers didn't get caught on it. It is a very loose fabric, and the stitches were easily pulled. I am hoping that blocking it allowed the fibers to "grab" a little bit so that the pulling isn't as much of an issue. (If I was going to make it again, I'd probably use some merino from Morehouse Farms, because I think that would "stick" in place better.) I'm going to sew a quick little "pouch" to keep it in so that the recipient will be able to just throw it in her purse and pull out as needed when cool, such as in a movie theatre, on a porch, or during a walk.

I have a big exam tonight, but after that should have more knitting/blogging time.

Speaking of "time", here is the clock I just picked up today. DH and I ordered it as our 10-year anniversary gift to each other. It has real clock-works in it, and real chimes, which play every 15 minutes, plus the striking on the hour. I really love it. It was difficult to find a mantel clock having real (non-electronic) clock works with a depth which would fit on the bricks which jut out of our fireplace wall to form mini-mantels. It is a Hermle, and did I mention I love it! Now the trick will be remembering to wind it once a week....

There is so much I want to "talk" about, and here is a short list of things to come:
  • Finishing my bag pattern, including the needle felting design on the front of it
  • Adding a lining to the felted bags I've been making
  • The first "I love you" sweater (which has knitting completed, just waiting for me to "finish" it)
  • The second "I love you" sweater (which hasn't been started yet)
  • A top-down pullover with short row shaping on the upper back so that the neck is higher in back than in front, which I'll make by following a pattern in a book I have
  • The Leaf Lace Shawl
  • A "Brooks Sweater" ala Elizabeth Zimmerman, except I'll be revising the pattern so that I may use my new dk weight 1500 yards of yummy hand-painted MERINO!@!!!
Anyway, for now, back to studying..... More soon!
Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Monday, September 11, 2006

My technology level drops further....

Dear Laura:

Well, the weekend before last, my digital camera died and so I've been unable to take pictures to post. This past weekend, the modem in my laptop died, further limiting my posting! I'm down to posting text during my lunchhour.

The good news is that the repair is covered under the extended warrenty that I've purchased. The bad news is that I have to send it away for repair. They have a good reputation for returning it quickly, but not having my computer at all, even for a few days, is very unsettling.

Seems my brother may have a point. He says that "they" are just trying to get us dependent on our electronics, and then one day, "they'll just pull the plug and we'll all be helpless!" I obviously have dependency issues!

Somehow, I still haven't found much knitting time. I have just about finished the first of three rounds of crochet border around the blanket. I finished the first sock of a pair that I've been working on, and gotten about 1/2 of the cuff on the second sock done. It's been my "lunch-time" project, so it is progressing. The weather has been getting cooler, so it's great to get a new pair of warm socks!

I really wish I could have gone to the WI Sheep and Wool festival with you! That sounds like such a wonderful time. And I LOVE the yarn you chose! Great colors!

I'm so glad you had someone offer to help with your tire. I also had a flat tire a couple of weeks ago, of course in the pouring rain. I called my brother to see if he was by chance still in town and could come to change it. He had already gotten home, but offered to come back to change it if I wanted him to. I started to say that I could do it, and then realized that, bottom line, I wanted him to! I was dressed up for work, and he works outdoor-construction, so there wasn't any sense in my laying in the parking lot trying to set the jack. I paid him with a case of beer and we were both happy!

Keep knitting - and may all your tires be "round!"


Sunday, September 10, 2006

WI Sheep & Wool Adventure

Dear Cynthia,

I went to the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival, in Jefferson WI, yesterday, but more impressive -- I made it back home again. I submit this:Though it maybe doesn't look so bad lying here in the back of the pick-up truck, when it was actually on the left front of the vehicle, the rubber part of the tire was pretty much not centered on the metal rim of the "wheel", and the metal rim of the "wheel" actually had contact with the ground. This was only discovered as my friend, whom I'll call "Karen", and I were in the truck, and I was backing the truck out of our parking spot. And actually, it was discovered by a family parked nearby, telling us we had a major flat. Hmmm.... No wonder it was so difficult to back out of the parking spot. (Incidently, just prior to parking there we had waited for a car to vacate this same parking spot, and actually watched THAT car totally ram into the bike rack on the RV parked right behind it, messing up the car's bumper and tail-light. Woe to the unluckly person who happened to park in our spot after us...) Though it seemed unfortunate initially, Karen and I realized how fortunate we were, because:
  1. This did not happen while we were driving 55 mph down the highway.
  2. The same people who actually noticed the flat tire offered to help us change it, but actually ended up changing it for us. (I've changed flat tires before, but with this truck, it is a little bit different, and as I watched these nice people change the tire, I knew I never would have been able to change it on my own -- I'm too weak! -- First, the bolts holding the spare under the truck bed were rusted in place (one of the had to be broken off in order to free the tire). Second, the jack was very difficult to place properly, requiring two men to lift the front end while a nice lady put the jack in position (parked on a slight incline, grass lot, etc.). Third, it took a bit of might in order to turn the crank to raise the jack. Fourth, the bolts holding the flat tire were extremely tight. Definitely a job for superman, but superfamily was there instead to save our day. I am so grateful to them!)
  3. The spare had air in it. Not enough, mind you, but enough so that we could get to a gas station and put some more air into it.
45 minutes later, we were gingerly driving back to the Madison area. This week, new tires!
Anyway, the Briar Rose Fiber booth totally caught my eye, and you're not going to believe this, but I splurged. The pink/brown/gold yarn is light DK weight, hand painted, merino, and 1500 yards! I was very excited to see such nice yardage in hand-painted and thicker than lace-weight or fingering. I'm going to make myself a nice cardigan out of that. And, I had to get the blue/green yarn, as well, because it was just "meant to be"... For some time I've been looking for something to use to make the Leaf Lace Shawl in a light worsted weight, which requires 850 yards, and, well, guess how much is in the hank shown? Again, nice yardage for being hand-painted and worsted, and up close and in person I just love the colors!

Well, not exactly "Thelma and Louise", but an adventure, none-the-less. One of these years, you and I should attend this event together.....though perhaps it's best if we take your vehicle.

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Dear Cynthia,

I'm glad to hear of your nice trip. And, that blanket looks awesome!! However, very sorry for the demise of your camera....though relieved that you'll fully recover.

I've been telling myself all summer that once school starts for my first-grader, things will slow down a little bit. Ahem. That has not been the case...though I have hope that next week after my exam on Tuesday night, I'll be able to actually focus on something long enough to have real results....knitting, housework, or whatever..... I'm so glad to report that my cough is almost gone, and we all have clean underwear, so perhaps the planets are properly aligning for me to actually dig out of the clutter and vacuum a floor....maybe. There's also all of these knitting projects I'm trying to finish this month.

I finished the knitting on the felted bag which has a strap, and felted it today. Not exactly "knitting progress", because it did not involve picking up any needles today, but it is progress toward a finished product, none-the-less... Baby steps, I guess...

The other day you probably noticed that I posted the pattern for the cabled Christmas stocking. I received an e-mail request for it from somebody who was looking at the pattern for the red stocking w/ satin ribbon and who really wanted to make the cabled version, too, which happens to be in the same photo. I'm just really glad to hear once in a while that others might be finding the free patterns useful. Makes it feel more personal, and a little less like just throwing it out there into some vast bottomless cyberspace.

Anyway, more soon, including *real* knitting progress!

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

It was an...interesting...trip!

Dear Laura:

Actually, I'm just kidding. The trip went very well! Let's see, this was a numbered list last time, wasn't it?

1. & 2. The final plan and all the vehicles. We have a final plan, now that it is in the past. And actually, the Thursday night at 9:00 pm version was pretty darn close. The oldest of my brothers and his wife left in a semi - about 3 hours later than planned, but that's not bad. The youngest brother and his wife and 3 kids left in their van about an hour later than planned. Again, not bad. And the middle brother and his wife and I left in my SUV about 1/2 an hour later, and we had room for almost everything mom & dad wanted us to bring. So, nothing too interesting here.

3. My three sil's and my mom and I worked just fine in the kitchen. Managed to feed everyone all weekend and always had the dishes done and floor swept, so it worked out. Mom & I did the early breakfast shift, since the wives stayed at the hotel until late in the morning. We had quite a few giggles trying to make the big "biscuits and gravy breakfast" on Saturday - we don't do it very often anymore. Back when we did it EVERY Saturday, we could do it with our eyes closed. (And often did!) Mom remarked that we had enough grease going to put everyone into cardiac arrest. I said, "Yeah, but you know it's how we all want to go!"

4. Turned out to be more fun than interesting!

5. Well, I worked on the foot of a sock during the few daylight hours on the trip down (between episodes of falling asleep!) Once I got there, I buckled down and finished sewing the blanket together.
I had a couple of hours of quiet while the sils and the kids went shopping. The rest of my very limited knitting time was spent dinking around with the border. I finally decided on a crochet shell border - it will take about 3 rounds, I think. However, that heavy blanket and worsted weight yarn have been giving my wrists fits, so I haven't done much in the last few days.

The other wrist issue involves trying to climb a dirt pile on top of a hill, and falling up! (It was not nearly as dignified as it sounds!) No serious injury to me, just an extra ache in my wrist and thumb joint. But my digital camera suffered a fatal blow. I have the pictures that I had taken until then, but it has snapped its last.

Guess that's the recap of the weekend!

Keep knitting!

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter)

Monday, September 04, 2006

Cabled Christmas Stocking

A pattern by YarnThrower

(These directions are for the cabled off-white stocking shown on the right in the photo. To make the red stocking shown in the photo, go here.)

Make a Christmas Stocking in an evening, using large needles and super bulky yarn! The stocking shown here was made with Plymouth Brand Yukon (35% Mohair, 35% Wool, 30% Acrylic).

(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.)

Finished Dimensions:
  • Off-white stocking shown is 6 inches wide by 19 inches long
Materials required:
  • One skein Plymouth Brand Yukon, or Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick, or any super-bulky weight yarn (category 6) which knits up at about 8 or 9 stitches per four inches in stockinette.
  • Set of four size 13 double pointed needles
  • Size 13 circular needle, 16 inch (optional -- may use double pointed needles throughout, or may cast stitches onto circular needle and knit most of the sock on the circular needle, though double pointed needles will still be needed at the heel and toe)
  • Cable needle
  • Darning needle
  • Scissors
Cast On:
  1. Holding two double pointed needles together, cast on 36 stitches tightly over both needles. Carefully pull out one of the needles. This will yield a loose, uniform cast on edge.
  2. Divide stitches evenly onto three needles. You will have 12 stitches per needle.
  1. Place marker and join to work in the round, knitting one row. (Note that the first 12 stitches knit are on neelde #1, the next 12 stitches knit are on needle #2, and the last 12 stitches knit are on needle #3.)
  2. Work in K1 P1 ribbing for five rows.
Work 12 rows of Leg Cable Pattern as follows:
  • Rows 1-4: Knit.
  • Row 5: *K2, place two stitches on cable needle and hold in back of work, K2, then K2 from cable needle*, repeat section between * * five times until end of round.
  • Rows 6-10: Knit.
  • Row 11: *Place two stitches on cable needle and hold in front of work, K2, then K2 from cable needle, K2*, repeat section between * * five times until end of round.
  • Row 12: Knit.
Work 12 rows of cable pattern two more times. Stocking will measure approximately 11 inches after this step is completed.

Heel Flap:
  1. Arrange stitches on needles so that the next 18 stitches are on needle #1, and needles # 2 and #3 have 9 stitches each. The heel will be worked back and forth on needle #1.
  2. Row 1: *Slip one stitch as if to purl, K1*, repeat section between * * until the end of needle #1, turn work.
  3. Row 2: S1, purl across, turn work.
  4. Rows 3-9: Repeat rows 1-2, ending with row 1.
Turn Heel:
(Note that when you turn work on rows 1-5 in this section, you will not be at the end of the row.)
  1. Row 1: P11, P2tog, P1, turn work.
  2. Row 2: S1, K5, K2tog, K1, turn work.
  3. Row 3: S1, P6, P2tog, P1, turn work.
  4. Row 4: S1, K7, K2tog, K1, turn work.
  5. Row 5: S1, P8, P2tog, P1, turn work.
  6. Row 6: S1, K9, K2tog, K1.
  1. Pick-up round (Row 1): Pick-up and knit 8 stitches along right edge of heel flap. Combine instep stitches (those stitches on needles #2 and #3) onto one needle by using a free double pointed needle and knitting across the 18 instep stitches. Using the needle which was just freed up, pick up and knit 8 stitches along left edge of heel flap. Continue knitting with this same needle and knit 6 stitches from the heel. You are now at the center back, the "new" end of round. Move next 6 stitches onto needle #1. Needle #1 should have 14 stitches on it, needle #2 should have 18 stitches on it, and needle #3 should have 14 stitches on it, with yarn end between needle #1 and needle #3.
  2. Row 2: Knit across needle #1. Work row 2 of Leg Cable Pattern across needle #2 (the 18 instep stitches). Knit across needle #3.
  3. Row 3: Decreasing round. Knit to last three stitches of needle #1, K2tog, K1. work row 3 of Leg Cable Pattern across needle #2. On needle #3, K1, SSK, knit to end of needle.
  4. Row 4: Knit across needle #1. Work the next row of Leg Cable Pattern across needle #2. Knit across needle #3.
  5. Row 5: Decreasing round. Knit to last three stitches of needle #1, K2tog, K1. Work the next row of Leg Cable Pattern across needle #2. On needle #3, K1, SSK, knit to end of needle.
  6. Then, repeat rows 4 and 5 until needles #1 and #3 both have 9 stitches each.
  7. Knit across needle #1. Work next row of Leg Cable Pattern across needle #2 (the 18 instep stitches). Knit across needle #3. Repeat this row until 18 rows have been completed since the start of the gusset. (When at this point, row 6 of Leg Cable pattern will have just been completed on instep stitches.)
  1. Row 1: On next round, knit to last three stitches of needle #1, K2tog, K1. On needle #2, K1, SSK, knit to last three stitches, K2tog, K1. On needle #3, K1, SSK, knit to end of round.
  2. Row 2: Knit around.
  3. Repeat rows 1 and 2 until there are a total of 16 stitches remaining, stopping at end of round.
  4. Continue knitting with needle #3, and knit 4 stitches from needle #1 onto needle #3. You should now have two needles, each with 8 stitches.
  5. Cut yarn leaving an 18 inch tail, and use kitchener stitch to close toe.
  1. Weave in all ends.
  2. Add a crochet chain or I-cord for hanging stocking.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Close, but no cigar......

Dear Laura:

It's been a busy week, and I haven't found as much time as I had hoped for working on the I have missed my "want to be finished" date of September 1st.

Which is not to say I that I have made no progress at all! I did manage to weave in all gazillion ends, so I am quite excited about that! And I've been researching ideas for the border.
The pattern calls for using several long circulars to pick up and knit the stitches along each side, and then along each end. This does not appeal to me. I've toyed with the idea of a crocheted border, and that is a possibility.

I'm also toying with a "knitted on border" type thing. I'm not saying that it would be faster or easier, but it seems kind of like a fun challenge to figure out. I'll keep you posted.

I haven't decided whether or not to take it along to work on this weekend. It's "the big weekend." My 3 brothers and their wives and 3 of the kids and I are all driving to Kentucky to mom & dad's place. Now, overall this is a fun thing. There are however, details.

1. We are Hall's. The only time a plan is "final" is when it's over. Past tense. Future plans are really more "possibilities." This is not always popular with those who have married into the family. 2 of my sil's announced that if there was not a final plan by 9:00 pm on Thursday, they were staying home. I'm interested to see if the 9:00 plan works out to be "final!"

2. There are several issues to juggle - all the things that my parents would like for us to bring along, how much space is available for that, how many and what vehicles are needed and wanted.....the logistics of 10 people, 1-2 semi-trucks and more than one van can be quite daunting. Once again, it will be interesting.....

3. The "main house" at my parents is a "mobile home." There is a "guest cottage" on the property, which is an RV trailer parked on the hill. (I'm sorry - I just find it amusing! You can't have a stereotype without there being a sense of "true" to it!) Jeff Foxworthy would have a field day! Anyway, they have gotten hotel rooms to supply enough beds, but I also think that it will be interesting to deal with feeding 12 people for three days out of that tiny kitchen.

4. It seems that I find many of the details about this trip "interesting."

5. Of course, the most important decision for me is what knitting to take. It's the first category on my list. Right now it says,
Irish Hiking Scarf
Cotton yarn and needles for Chris (who wants to learn to knit washcloths)
Now, I will obviously not run out of projects if I take any one of these things, but that doesn't mean that I still won't be inspired to take another project or two along...just in case.

So, that's the news from here. I hope that you have a wonderful Labor Day weekend, and....

Keep knitting!!

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter)