Thursday, December 30, 2010

Easiest ever sweater requires ripping

Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,

I'm a bit behind in lots of things, but thought I'd share some photos of the Halloween costumes I made for the boys about two months ago - at some point I promised photos, and I try to be a woman of my word... Here is a dolphin:
Here is a triceratops:
People had to ask what the triceratops was -- apparently it was not *evident* just by looking at him... I guess that can happen when you are starting with a penguin pattern and making it up as you go...

I bound off my "Asymmetric Cardi" more than a month ago, and I hated it. It was supposed to look sorta like this...
...except in a lovely Red Wine colorway.

Here is what it actually looked like. Please ignore the fact that I am wearing house pants in these photos:
It's difficult to discern from these photos, but the fit through the shoulders was really poor, I didn't like the neckband/collar area AT ALL, I would never be able to wear it unbuttoned because it hung sorta funny all asymmetric and all, and I did not like the way the buttonholes were done because they and the entire front edges were really quite sloppy looking...
I tried a re-design on the fly, and I'll spare you the details, but it was becoming a sweater that I was NOT GOING TO LOVE, and so I ended up completely ripping it out...and now I am much happier... The yarn is still nice even though I am knitting it into a sweater FOR THE THIRD TIME...but I now bring you Twist from Chic Knits:
LOVE IT SO FAR! I was going to knit the pattern verbatim, but apparently I have some sort of defect and can't do that -- OVERALL I'm not changing it. I'm knitting the back and fronts all at the same time (to avoid side seams, to make sure all of the decreases/increases for the waist shaping occur symmetrically, etc.). I love the cables!

I hope you have a Happy New Year! Any knitting goals for the new year? I am resolving to attend Stitches Midwest next August ;-)

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Knitting - The exciting conclusion

Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,

In my previous post, I showed a photo of the Christmas stocking which I made for my advisor. [We all know that knitted gifts are generally either really loved or really hated, so when I give a knitted gift to a person, it is generally with some anxiety about how it will be received.] I saw her at the gym two days after leaving the stocking in a gift bag outside of her office door at school. So, when I spoke with her at the gym, I was relieved to learn that she loved it, matches her great room amazingly well, and would I agree to knitting one for each of the other three members of her family in time for next Christmas if she paid me. Big PHEW! And also, lots O' lead time! Sweet.

In my prior post, I also mentioned trying to knit a Christmas sweater for both of my kids. I finished the second sweater approximately 1.5 hours before we had to dress for church yesterday (Christmas Eve)... Here is the green one:
I generally don't like to come in just under the wire like that, and I'm thankful for a weekend train trip (YAY Amtrak!) to Fargo ND a couple of weekends ago which afforded me *gobs* of knitting time, which helped immensely... and here is the blue one:
I used Beth Brown-Reinsel's book "Knitting Ganseys" to design these. Both of them have underarm gussets and shaped necklines; the green one utilizes garter stitch bands at the bottoms edges, whereas the blue one a mistake rib pattern. My kids love them, and they fit them very well, in fact, that they may be too small for next year. I guess I'll cross that bridge when I come to it...

I hope that everybody has been having a wonderful Christmas season! I'm really enjoying my time off, especially after all of the pressure I put on myself for my Christmas knitting. I *do* have a cough which has been with me for over three weeks now which is beginning to annoy all people unfortunate enough to be within a 25 foot radius of me, and the general consensus at today's family get-together was that I should take myself to a doctor...which I hate...because he/she is *probably* going to tell me that it is a virus blah blah blah...but since I'm about to cough up a lung tonight, perhaps it is time.

My next post will return to regularly scheduled knitting, and I have to say that it is *not* pretty and involves a large amount of ripping... Stay tuned :-)

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Thursday, December 09, 2010

We interrupt your regularly scheduled knitting... bring you Christmas gift knitting...

Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,

It may not surprise you that I have unrealistic goals for what I shall accomplish in terms of knitting projects to be completed in time to "gift" them.

First, for my clinical instructor, who was joking with one of the other fine gentlemen at the clinic where I am currently working about how I should knit him a sweater, "or at least a hat"... Tomorrow is my last day at this clinic, so I'll give him this tree ornament (pattern/kit can be found at Blackberry Ridge Woolen Mill):
Are you able to guess his name?
And the flip side:
Second, for my advisor, whom I called upon for advice for one of my patients and has been there coaching me since the day I stepped foot back on campus almost three years ago, and because she told me that I "owe" her cookies but that she has stopped eating them in order to shed a few pounds, a full-sized Christmas stocking (pattern/kit can be found at Blackberry Ridge Woolen Mill):
I love the braid detail it uses to separate sections...
And the flip side of that, which includes a snowflake pattern which I improvised, in case my advisor already has a stocking which says "Jill" on it and just wants to hang up an un-named sock:
Finally, a gansey sweater for each one of my kids, which I will post pictures of the next time I write. I am roughly 1/3 done with each of the sweaters and may finish, er, maybe, one of them this coming week?? Stay tuned for progress on those.

In the meantime, I made a batch of cookies to share with all of my current coworkers so that they have sweet thoughts about me as I depart tomorrow:
I want a job there, and have a plan, but there are currently no openings... I don't graduate until next May, but no harm in planting a few seeds right now...

How is everybody else's Christmas knitting going right now.

It's snowing right now -- beautiful!
Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Monday, October 25, 2010

On the way home

Greetings and Dear Laura:

Finishing up a fun weekend in Wisconsin - now I'm on the first train home. I'm working on a baby sweater for one of Amber's expected babies. We're fervently praying they can wait another 4 weeks at least to be born!

Got some tech advice this weekend so you may see short posting activity!

Here's a pic of the sleeve I'm working on.

Keep knitting!

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Trying new technology

Greetings and Dear Laura:

Hi! Just a quick little up-date here! I'm trying to find a way to write my posts that doesn't make me want to gnaw my arm off - I'm a finicky techno person. So, just for trying this out, I'm going to post a picture of my two nieces and the the ribbons that the animals I made for them won at the County Fair! More to follow!

Keep Knitting!

Cynthia (aka DesignatedKnitter!)

Kauni in "time out"

Greetings and Dear Cynthia,

My new sweater:
My 8-year old helped out with the photo, and my directions to him were to "capture the sweater and my face in the photo"; that appears to be exactly what he did :-) The sleeve tops are a little bit on the funky side, but kind friend Catherine told me that she wouldn't have noticed it unless I pointed it out to her, so I'll stop doing that. They are just a little bit "roomy," though I think it adds to the comfort of the sweater. I've never liked things that are very tight, and this sweater is just really comfortable with the extra space in the upper body/sleeves.

So, the Kauni Cardigan is in a *time out*. I started the neckline but now must rip it out again...and I've already ripped out larged chunks of the sweater about three times already, so I'm taking a break from all of the ripping and working on a more mindless sweater, the "Asymmetric Cardi" from Knit Simple Magazine:
This is perfect for 9:00pm when I am watching my show Castle, or on football Saturdays to keep me from falling asleep on the couch during the Badger games (who beat Ohio State last weekend, did you hear??). This is the progress after one week:
I was going to follow the pattern verbatim, but decided instead to knit it in once piece. The thought of knitting the fronts separate from the back and actually sewing raglan sleeves into a raglan sweater when it is so easy to knit it altogether at the same time didn't make sense to me. Watch -- I'm probably going to get messed up with that and have to rip, but right now the idea seems *sound* to me... The front bands are knit in as you go, too. Bonus! I'm using Cascade 220 yarn, "Red Wine" colorway... It's a very simple, basic design... I want to have it done in five weeks because DH has an adventure planned for our family and a nice, red sweater is going to be called for. More on that later...

Other than that, I have the small matter of sewing two Halloween costumes this week, basically without much of a pattern to go on.
I am making a dolphin costume starting out with a penguin pattern as a base design for it, and also a triceritops costume which is going to require some soft sculpture skills to make the head piece... My kids have more confidence in my abilities than I do. Thankfully the internet is loaded with photos for me to consult as I go. Hopefully I'll have photos of my own to post within the week, assuming I get these done...

Well, I just finished up my second week at my new clinical assignment, and I am wiped out. Due to issue with time not being blocked out on my schedule, I ended up with 13 initial evaluations this past week, most of them scheduled during times in which my clinical instructor (CI) had his own though he was able to pop in once in a while to make sure I was on the right track, I did most of the work on my own. I feel pretty good about that, because at the beginning of the week I didn't think I'd be capable of that. It was a real confidence boost to me, and also a lesson in not letting my fear of being uncomfortable paralyze me from trying to do things on my own....something I've always tried to stress with my kids, and which I've found a lot harder to do myself than I thought... Anyway, it's still a lot like "work," and I'll be glad after I graduate and will be able to do it on a part time basis... Right now I barely have time to put even the simplest of suppers on the meal quality has taken a nose dive...

Well, beautiful fall day here today. I went to the grocery store to shop for the week, went running, and have a pot of chili going for supper, so I'm going to just relax with my knitting in front of the Badger game right now. (Did I mention they beat Ohio State last week?)

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Riddle: What has two sleeves and is blocking?

Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,

Not sure what struck me today, but I sewed the second sleeve into my Two Hearts sweater :-)
I also took out several rows of the rolled edging at the neckline, because I thought it looked too bulky. I still have to weave in the ends, but I had some concerns about how the sleeves were sewn in and wanted to see if blocking took care of that first. Actually, things now look okay to me, so all systems are *go* to finish all of the loose ends (heh heh) as soon as it is dry.
I really want to wear it tomorrow, so I might put it on mesh and let it hover over an air vent overnight...but for now, it is lying in the play room...right next to a parking lot...
I started the sweater last January. I changed the sleeves from "dropped" to "set in," and added some subtle waist shaping. Other than that, I think I followed the pattern... I'll take a photo of me wearing it and post that soon. I'm pretty happy with the way it fits! The cables really are more visible when I'm not using flash photography, too, so I'll try to get a decent picture that shows off the cables...

Things were fine at Grandpa's funeral yesterday. He is buried with a pack of M&M's in his coat pocket.

I hit it hard with my exercise this week. I'm running a 5 mile race on Saturday, so wanted to get some good training in this week. Nothing like signing up for a race to give a person some motivation!

I hope this finds you all well!
Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

The end of an era...

Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,

I'd like to introduce you to my "Handsome Grandpa Booth."
He was born in 1918, and was just shy of 92 years old when he passed away last weekend. The funeral is tomorrow...

He was one of the most childlike goofy people I know (in a *good* way), and appreciated the great things in life, such as Schlitz Beer (he worked at the brewery for many years) and frozen M&M's (which I've been enjoying myself the past few days, as a rare treat in celebration of his life):
He was a pilot and a flying instructor / examiner. When he was young, one of his teachers asked him what he wanted to be, and when he told her he wanted to be a pilot, she told him that he would never make it. I guess he showed her!! :-)

When DH and I got married, the gift my Grandpa Booth gave to us was a rather large *case* of toilet paper. It's probably the only gift we used every single day right after our wedding...

His jokes were *bad* jokes, lots of groaners, so we always laughed a lot when he was around. Most of all, his faith in God was strong, and he was ready to depart from this earth and move on to better things.

Godspeed, Grandpa! I love you!

There has been some knitting, though I continue to take out sections which aren't contrasty enough (and have done that three times I think?). I was affirmed by everybody's comments on my last post that it is acceptable to be fussy about how the colors of the Kauni are combining and I *can* force them to be more to my thank you all for your thoughts on it! This has meant that I end up knitting three inches, then taking out one inch, repeat...
The latest reason to take out a chunk of knitting, however, is that I've gone past the part where I had to start decreasing for the will be ripping back an inch and then working the neckline. AAUGH!
I decided I will be using "modified drop" sleeves. The directions specify that you leave 12 underarm stitches on stitch holders as you work up the rest of the front, then put the reserved stitches on a needle and pick up around the arm hole and immediately begin to work in the round. That didn't seem right to me, and is probably the reason that lots of people who have made this sweater (ref Ravelry) are complaining about all of the excess fabric in the underarms... Instead, I bound off 24 stitches on the body of the sweater where each armhole is going to be, and I am going to pick up stitches for the sleeves along the front and back parts of the armhole and work each sleeve back and forth for two inches, then join to knit the rest of the sleeve in the round. I'll then go back and sew the top two inches of the sleeves to the bound off edges of the body. Not sure I'm explaining this well, but I'll show you as I go...

So, my 8-year old really wants to be an engineer, and found directions to make this little car in a library book:
DH helped him with the project, and it's really kind of fun! The little motor drives the soda can via a "belt" (rubber band). Now, if only I could give the little guy a better sense of timing... He missed the bus today because he wasn't getting ready on time, in spite of my *incessant* I told him I wasn't going to nag him any more and it was up to *him* to get finished, that he's old enough to understand that I want him ready in time for the bus... So, anyway, after the bus came and went, I went back inside the house and found him still in his pajamas. He asked me what time it was, I told him he missed the bus. He got ready for school at a speed I've never seen before, and then wanted me to *drive* him to school. I told him that he had a ride, but he missed it, so I made him walk to school with me, and when we arrived late, he had to tell the lady in the office and his teachers why he was late ("because I wasn't getting ready on time"). Will be interesting to see if this affects his behavior tomorrow morning when he is getting dressed... Fortunately, it happened on a day in which I actually have a little bit of time to follow through on the natural consequences...

I'm on a one week break from my clinicals, and am *enjoying* getting caught up a little bit around the house. I cleaned the refrigerator and freezer yesterday! I might not have to go grocery shopping at all next week, given the treasures we already have stowed in there...which I didn't even know we had... Sweet!
Okay, so I'm off to get more stuff done today... For one thing, I have to finish "back to school" shopping for my 8-year old, whose pant legs end somewhere between his ankles and his knees. He doesn't care, really, but now that it's getting colder and pants are appropriate, I really need to get him into some clothes that actually fit.

More soon! I'll be *cutting* my steeks soon on my Kauni Cardigan... What would you do next after that? Sleeves, or button/neck bands?

I hope the weather where you are is as glorious as it is here today! Perfect day to exercise outside, just sayin' :-)

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

I am going to cheat...

Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,

You probably remember Stitches Midwest, where I purchased two skeins each of two different Kauni colorways (and where you *ALSO* purchased Kauni yarn, but in a different colorway, to make the same sweater :-)

The night I got home from Stitches, I re-wound all of my Kauni skeins into "cakes," so that I could clearly see what colors lurked inside:Fun! Just a note...the two skeins I bought in the purply colorway were wound in opposite directions -- the one shown in the photo goes from gray to black to purple working from the inside out, whereas the second skein goes from purple to black to gray. That isn't going to matter, because the whole idea of the Kauni is that the yarn is sort of random and the colors present themselves how they will.

So, I started knitting the infamous Kauni Cardigan (which is totally THE CURE for anybody who might have lost the *knitting mojo*) , and was rather pleased with how things were going regarding the color pattern that was happening *UNTIL* I got to a point in which there wasn't really enough contrast to see the fancy shmancy colorwork -- In this photo, you can see that the stripe on the top looks like a messy blur instead of a row of squares:
In this next photo, you can sort of see the squares in the top row, maybe if you squint:
So, I decided to take out the last stripe and cut the yarn from the blue skein, skip a bunch of the darker blue yarn as it is coming out of the skein, and re-join it once it starts to get a little bit lighter to allow for more contrast with the black/dark gray. Did that make sense? I did some checking on Ravelry, and some of the sweaters there have areas with low contrast which I don't really care for, yet others have nice contrast throughout. I don't know if people are cheating by cutting out sections of color from the skeins in order to achieve a nice contrast throughout, but I AM GOING TO. So there.

A couple of other notes about this sweater/yarn/pattern:
1.) When I was casting on, I must have tugged the yarn too much, and it tore, so I had to re-start. Fortunately, I was only a few stitches into the cast on when that happened, but beware to not yank the yarn, it might be fragile.
2.) Cast on using the color which is going to be *purled* in your corrugated ribbing. I cast on with blue, and my ribbing is *K1 purple, P1 blue*. That way, you won't have an odd colored purl "bump" all along your first row of ribbing...
3.) THE SLEEVES! Yikes. Not sure how I am going to handle those, but I am definitely going to stray from the pattern. Several of the entries on Ravelry speak to the fact that there seems to be a lot of excess fabric in the underarm, so I read ahead in the pattern and it is quite clear why people are complaining about the sleeves... I think I know what I'm going to do to revise the pattern, and it is going to involve purling in colorwork, but only for a couple of inches. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger, right?! I'll talk more about the sleeves in my next post.
4.) There is also some discussion on Ravelry regarding the neck area being a bit generous, so I have to figure out if I'm going to stray from the pattern on that or not... Stay tuned :-) (What did we ever do before Ravelry?)

In the meantime, here is a sock fresh off the needles:
It is not just any sock -- it is Loretta's *first sock* :-)
I met Loretta in the library when she was bringing her grandson and I was bringing my son to story time there a few years ago. We started talking about knitting, and Loretta made a really nice hat. Fast forward to the summer of 2009, when I ran into her at the swimming pool and was able to convince her of the virtue of sock knitting. So, Loretta started her first sock more than a year ago, and then Autumn was upon us, and the sock went into hibernation. I saw Loretta again this past summer at the swimming pool, and she brought her sock back with her, and now it is finished! YAY! Way to go, Loretta! Excellent fortitude there, and the first one is the hardest! Loretta is definitely on the slippery slope toward being completely addicted to this whole knitting thing....heh heh...

Okay, so I have to do some ripping and make some color decisions on my Kauni Cardigan, so I'll ramble more later, probably again next weekend. By then I'll have my color contrast and sleeve dilemmas worked out, I hope.

Have a great week!
Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Friday, September 17, 2010

There is a reason...

Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,

I laughed at your most recent blog post, and totally agree that when somebody makes a special request for a knitted item, especially an adorable little girl, there is really no choice but to deliver...

Just a quick post today. I have the morning "off," which means I will be cramming a week's worth of errands/projects into four short hours...

ENE'S SCARF is finished! The obligatory photo of it blocking:
And the reason I am not a model and my son is not a photographer:
In the category of "fun times at my house," we had a few too many fruit flies, and I finally figured out the source was one particular onion in the onion drawer which was getting I promptly disposed of that, but still had several of the pesky flies swarming around a week later, so I checked online for some strategies to get rid of them and ended up making a couple of traps:
Both traps worked equally well I would say. The one on the left is cider vinegar in a little bit of water with dish soap covered with plastic wrap which has fork holes poked into it. The one on the right is a now-evaporated bowl of white wine with a little dish soap in it. An empty beer can sitting next to the traps on the counter also attracted quite a few of the little flies, but was not able to actually *capture* even one... I haven't seen a live fruit fly in a couple of days now, so that's nice!

I hope your weather in Indiana is as glorious as ours in south central Wisconsin right now! Have a great Friday!

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

All I can say is that I was unprepared......

Greetings and Dear Laura:

Oh your Ene scarf looks great! A beautiful thing indeed!

On Friday, I took the day off and went to Shipshewana Indiana with my sil and her four-year-old granddaughter Lydia. We had a great day! One of the stores we went to was a yarn store, where Chris wanted me to see several projects that she either liked or was ready to start on. I browsed around and found a back issue of a magazine I had been looking for, and some herbs to keep moths away. I was about to get away relatively unscathed when Lydia brought me a ball of yarn and said, "Aunt Cyn-tee-a, would you make me a wainbow cawf with this yawn?"


Yes Lydia, I will absolutely make you a rainbow scarf with that yarn.

Keep knitting!

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Home Stretch on Ene

Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,

WOW - Your hexagon socks look *fantastic* and I'm so glad the weaving in of the ends is behind you now! Perhaps you might share a photo of the handmade bag you got in that trade? I'd love to see it, too!

My kids are back in school now, so things are a little calmer around here. And, I have Friday mornings *off* from being in the clinic, so I may spend that time *however I wish*... Today, I am spending it picking up around the house to reduce the overall feeling of clutter... Also, putting this blog post together.

Living with boys, there are always little surprises around the house, and I never know what is going to turn up where. For example, just outside the master bathroom:
At least this is in the corner. My general rule of thumb around here is to "watch your step," because traipsing over a Lego, which might have been left in the middle of the main pathway of the house, in my bare feet can be painful, just sayin'.

You'll be happy to know that the Ugly Socks are finished, and I don't think they are really that ugly. I'll definitely wear these -- I mean, they'll match just about anything, right? Thank you Kaffe Fassett:
So, I started another pair of socks for my "take anywhere" mindless knitting:Ene's scarf is moving right along. For those of you who are math geeks like myself, only 125 stitches on the needles right now (down from 375 initially), and I'm on row 126 (out of 170 total). I really like this construction, and the fact that the rows are getting shorter instead of longer. It's a rather easy pattern -- especially after getting through the initial border rows. Can you tell by the coloring where I changed from the first to the second ball of yarn in the photo?:
I'm using "Jezebel" yarn, by SouthWest Trading Company, and it says on the yarn wrapper that it is 'Hand Dyed Merino Wool for Lace, Socks, & Beautiful Things." Okay then...

We've been riding bikes with our kids, and a patient told me about one of the "rails to trails" converted railroad bike paths having a tunnel in it that is so dark and long that you need a flashlight to go through it:
That was really fun, but my 10 year old was concerned that it was going to cave in on us once we got in the middle of it. I told him that it's been there for over 100 years, so not to worry. He said that since it's so old, there's even more of a chance of it caving in. Yes, my son has MY exact same hang-ups, only exaggerated...poor guy...

I'm still working up to running a 5 mile race in October, though my training schedule has fallen apart a little bit. Some days I have to get notes for the clinic done in the morning, so I decided that it was okay to be, er, *flexible* with my running schedule, as long as I'm trying to get some longer distance runs in. This morning's weather is glorious -- sunny and cool -- so as soon as the kids get on the bus, I'm gonna be out there.

A couple of exercise tips:
1.) If you miss a day, don't sweat it. However, also DON'T let it give you "permission" to give up on your program entirely. Just do what you can when you can. An imperfect exercise routine is still better than not exercising at all :-)
2.) Sign up for a 5K walk or run, even better if it supports a cause you believe in. This will give you a clear, timely goal for your training, and you will find it motivating. Plus, free tee-shirt with your entry fee :-)

My 10 year old and I ran a 5K a couple of weeks ago -- it was his first 5K race, and he finished a minute and 40 seconds before I did... However, just signing up for the race got him out there training with me prior to it. It was very fun.

I hope you (all) have a great weekend!

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

I still don't like chunky yarn....

Greetings and Dear Laura:

I hope you had a great Labor Day weekend! I had a QUIET weekend, and that was just what I was hoping for. I watched some baseball, did some housework, laundry, napping, and finished two knitting projects! Can't beat that....

First of all, I finished the Hexagon Socks! YAY!! Overall, I enjoyed knitting them. The heels just about killed me tho. I thought after I finally got it figured out on the first heel that the second one would be a breeze, but I was mistaken. That diagram was just plain difficult. On one hand, I liked the modular part - making a hexagon didn't take long! On the other hand, by the end I was tired of picking up stitches and almost immediately sewing in ends. Now that they're done, I'm glad I did them - but I won't be doing them again anytime soon!
I think when we were together at Stitches I showed you the hat that I was working on. It's from the "Dream Club" that I'm doing. Dream In Color Yarns puts out a kit each month - it's one skein of a specially-dyed yarn and a pattern that can be made from that skein. We get together at Knitting Today and cast on together, and that's really fun. When I cast on the hat, I was madly trying to hit a couple of deadlines, so at first I put it aside. However, it turned out to be perfect 'train and hotel' knitting for my trip to Stitches, so I was able to finish it in August.
Last Thursday, we met to cast on for September's project, which was slipper socks in a chunky weight yarn. It was a project that I had a use for - my mom needs slippers (long story, but I 'over-felted' the ones she had!) We were told that we could get a pair of slippers from the one skein, but only just. I decided that, since the yarn supply was tight, I would make mine from the toe-up instead of as the pattern was written. I got them done in just 4 days (YAY!) and I did have some yarn left over. I think that since I did a short-row heel instead of a flap-heel, I used less yarn. They could probably have used a few more rows before I started the ribbing, but mom has tried them on and likes them, so I'm happy. FOUR DAYS!! Still, I prefer finer yarns, even if it takes longer......
I'm working on my February Lady Sweater this week, and then this weekend I'll start working on my list for the rest of this year. I need a sweater for a one-year old, 3 more toys, 2 kids hats and gifts for the twins due in December. That will finish out this year - the year of Toys For Birthday Gifts.

As we discussed, 2011 is going to be the year of Store-Bought Birthday Gifts! And the year of Socks for Me! It's going to be fun!!

Keep knitting!

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Catching up!

Greetings and Dear Laura:

Well, I always have good intentions. I think, "This is it - today I'll blog. For sure. Today." One day, I actually built the photo mosaic and got it added to blogger (the jury is still out on whether or not you can see it!) That day looked promising. But alas, the day gets away, and I'm falling asleep at the computer, and it isn't done.

I had a wonderful time at Stitches! It was so great to see you and catch up in person. We don't get that chance nearly often enough.

As you can see, I've worked on some small projects this summer - booties and bracelets, some socks and stuffed animals - even a hat! I still have a second sock to finish of the Norwegian Rose Socks, and I have seven more hexagons to finish that pair. That's my goal for this weekend - our County Fair is at the end of this month, and I'm gathering/finishing projects to take.

There is a picture of one of the Teddy Bear's with his stuffing hanging out.....I got that back for a second repair job. I had sewn up a hole in its bottom once before, and they assured me that the dog hadn't been around it since. This time they discovered the true problem. When I made the first few bears, I was unable to locate the poly pellets that it called for, so I substituted a little bag filled with uncooked rice. Turns out they had a mouse, and the mouse liked rice! Oh my. Anyway, it is now stuffed with poly pellets, and has a patch and some embroidery and is all set to go!

Also shown are some purchases from Stitches! I love my green Namaste bag, and as soon as I finish my February Lady sweater, I'm definitely starting Kauni. I'm also completely besotted with the Adventure bag pattern and handles - I picked up the yarn last night. I debated about the color; I love the harvest gold that I saw at Stitches, but I was worried about dirt. I plan to use it as an overnight bag, and I've had enough bags get grungy in the trunk or when someone tosses it on the ground that I was concerned. I found a lovely purply-brown called "Midnight Lake" by Shepherds Wool, and so now I'm very anxious to get started. It's bulky crochet, so it should go quickly!!

It's cooled down here, so the holiday weekend should be great! Hope you have a great weekend there - and I'll talk to you again soon!

Keep knitting!!

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Stitches Midwest 2010 edition

Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,

Can you name the two people in this photo, taken at Stitches Midwest in Schaumburg IL?
So, let's review some of the hotel room amenities. Can you identify the $4.00 bottle of water in this photo? (HINT: It is in a CLEAR GLASS BOTTLE, and it doesn't even hold as much as the metal water bottle I generally haul around with me...)
Find the TV hidden inside the bathroom mirror:
Weird to turn on the bathroom light and have the TV automatically turn on at the same time... I have never seen anything like it before...

Okay, so onward to the business at hand. My goal, to accomplish before next summer, is to complete the two shawls I have on my needles right now AND knit three of the projects I purchased materials for at the Stitches Marketplace.

First up, a necklace/bracelet wire/bead knitting kit. I've never knit with wire before, and the store samples were just sooo pretty. I selected a kit having silver wire and beads that are pearl and quartz:
Since it was way too hot to be wearing hand knit sweaters or socks today, perhaps next year at this time I will sport my new necklace, just so that I am wearing *something* handknit to the big show :-)

Next up is four skeins of Kauni yarn to knit the Kauni Cardigan which was so popular a couple of years ago. (As is typical, I'm a little bit behind the craze...) I selected colors which were a little more subdued than the rainbow version, and you can't see how the color changes within the skein by looking at this photo, but I'll wind them into "cakes" and then show you the grays, blacks, and lighter blues which phase in and out throughout the lengths of yarn. Also note my new shawl pin in this photo:
I also selected another triangle shawl pattern, which uses a construction I haven't tried before. I like this pattern because it starts at the tip of the triangle at the bottom of the shawl, and works up from there in horizontal rows. That way, I can use a skein of sock yarn (which I already have in my stash) and just stop knitting when I am about to run out of yarn at the top edge:
Finally, a copy of the Cassidy pattern. It is unlikely that I'll make this sweater during the coming year, but I prefer to have the pattern in this hard copy, card stock format (versus purchasing it online at the Chic Knits site and receiving a pdf file of it to print out on separate sheets...).

So, great companionship (and was fun to meet your knitting cronies), fun shopping, and a nice change of scenery for me yesterday and today! Now, back to reality and putting together a grocery list so that I can go shopping and get ready for the coming week... I hope that you have a great week!

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)