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)