Monday, November 28, 2011

Rob's Sweater

It's finished!!!!!  The yarn is Riverstone worsted by Louet. I used about 6.25 skeins, which is about 1275 yards and size 6 and 7 needles. I designed this sweater myself, with input from the recipient.  ; )
It took only a few months (rather than years) to finish! I hope to have a modeled photo soon. 

This is the plied Polwarth in purple pansy colors from Desigknit . That's right - I have a spinning FO, too, this weekend. ; ))  I loved spinning this fiber, both for the softness and loft it has and for the colors, which kept me endlessly entranced. I would love to spin the other pansy Polwarth fiber I have right away  ...... but I have to finish up another WIP first. The grafton batt is being spun into beautiful blue lace weight yarn and I am more than halfway there.

This will go into a bath today.  I had thought about a 3 ply but I wanted enough yardage to make mitts or a hat or something and a 3 ply would have made the yardage too short, I think. That's OK. I love it.

; ))

The Honka scarf (double knit, on the needles for 3 years) is moving along nicely considering that I have to knit on it only when I can concentrate. This is not one of those knit while chatting types of projects. I have to count every stitch and double check the pattern each time I knit a row. I love it, but it takes time and attention. I am using black cascade 220 and silk garden. You can see both right and wrong sides in the photo below.

This is the baby sweater I am knitting for Sharon. Her doctor had better be correct about the gender. It would be hard to put this on a boy.  I have another 2 inches to knit on the skirt and then the ruffle on the bottom. I haven't decided whether I will leave the sleeves short as in the pattern or make them long.

Brian's Binary Cable hat is finished, but I had a lot of yarn left. Since this is handspun, I didn't want to waste the remaining yarn. I decided to try a scarf. Brian had wanted a scarf to begin with but I was concerned about the itch factor (it really did feel itchy in a skein around the neck) so I convinced him to go with a hat. After knitting and washing, though, the yarn felt better so I decided to go for a coordinating (not matching) scarf.

 I used the same rib pattern as in the hat, and used similar cables, but not in the sequence specified in the hat pattern. I love the way the colors shift in the scarf.

You can see the cables more in real life, though they are not really very noticeable. It's the thought that counts. ; )

I had no intentions of starting a new project right now (finishing mode here) but I needed a boating project and at least this is a small one. It won't be unfinished for long. We went on the boat on Saturday and had a wonderful time. The weather was great for this time of year, we had no traffic and, thank goodness, no mechanical mishaps similar to this one. We drove down to Southern Maryland,  put the boat in the water and went striped bass (Rockfish in this area) hunting.  I knitted while Bob fished. I had better luck with my knitting than he did fishing, but we had a good day on the boat together.

Yesterday we got the front yard cleaned up again (it's amazing how many leaves there were on those trees!) and put the Christmas lights in the tree and on the bushes. The two wooden reindeer came out to play this year, too, with a spot light on each. It looks awesome at night!

Most of my holiday shopping is finished. I have a few more things to get, mostly things I can (and will) order on line.  Maybe we can get a tree today.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Vest is finished

The vest is finished. I am very please with both the look and the fit. Considering that this was a first - knitted sideways, designed by me garment, I am very pleased.  The yarn is Domy heather in three shades of gray in a fibonacci stripe sequence. Here it is, pinned out for blocking.

Closer up view of the top and neckline:

Closer up view of the bottom edge, which I made wider than the other edges despite the torture of what seemed like endless tiny rows of garter stitch. ; )

Here is Brian's Binary Cable hat. It's a bit big for me but his head is bigger so I think it will be fine for him. this is handspun yarn, 2 different colorways plied together with a third, solid black. I like it a lot. I am going to try to design a scarf to go with it.  

We are off now to go boating. I hope we have luck with the fishing and have a good weather day. Have a good day.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving to all

I do try to be thankful every day for the good things in my life, and I succeed most of the time. Thanksgiving day, tomorrow, was established especially to concentrate on those good things, though, and so I am going to be extra thankful tomorrow for:
1. My absolutely wonderful and loving husband. He has always taken care of and loved me and he continues to do so even though the taking care of part has become harder with his disappearing vision and hearing.
2. My sons.
3. My mother, who continues to be a great support system for me, listening when I need to vent, advising when I ask for it and just being there for me.
4. A job
5. A house to live in
6. Good friends
7. A country that, while it needs some (a lot) of change and compromise right now, is still a great place to live.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

More FO's!!

Whew! My needles are over heating! LOL. I finished the vest. I hope to block it over the holiday weekend. Brian's Binary Cable hat is also finished and will get blocked soon. I was nervous about the fit of the hat - with just the cast on and first few rows of ribbing I thought it would be huge. Then, once I started to cable, I thought it might be too snug. I'm not sure yet about the snug because Brian was not available for a try on, but it's not huge and I think it will be OK. Now I need to choose a pattern for some fingerless mitts to go with the hat.

I bound off Rob's sleeves last night despite a frogging session due to a too wide sleeve. Just a collar to go!

The baby gift sweater has grown just a little. I really concentrated on the other projects this weekend, and on spinning my purple pansy polwarth. There's just a little bit more of that soft, fluffy fiber to be spun.

I plan to try to work on a finishing period for spinning projects, too. I feel scattered. The polwarth will be finished first, then the Grafton Batts I was working on before I started to polwarth. When I finish plying the grafton batt turned lace weight (I HATE to ply, so I am going to have to bribe myself) I will finish spinning the California Red that I had started over the summer. I want to try to clear off my bobbins and spindles by the new year and somehow get more organised with my spinning projects.  I want to plan more what I will spend my time on and what I will do with it when it's spun, even if that's to give it away or store for a future project.
Is this need to finish and organise a late mid life crisis? Am I turning over a new leaf? Or is this a temporary thing and I'll go back to my old ways in a month or so? I don't know but I am going with it for now because it makes me feel better about my life. Similar things are happening at home with the rest of my life, too, not just with knitting and spinning.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dreaming ....

The winter Twist Collective is up. I like so many of the projects in this issue! The one I like the best, though is Zosia . I like the fact that it looks comfy but fitted.  I love the cables and the simplicity of the ribbing that sets off the cables. I like the color, too, though that is very subjective. I think it will look great with the buttons at least partway open, which is how I would wear it very often, but having that high collar there to fend off nasty winds is a wonderful option.

My favorite non-sweater pattern is Caliope, the short version. I can see those socks knitted in several different color combinations. You could easily choose shades of the same color or contrasting colors (as shown). Neutrals (black and white, shades of grey, brown and tan) would also work well. There are more that I like a lot, but those two stand out for me.

My vest now has a front edging. I hope to pick up stitches for the bottom edging soon - maybe over the weekend. I knitted a bit on Brian's binary cable hat, too. It's just about time to start decreasing for the crown. Tonight at knit night I plan to knit on the baby sweater. It's a good knitting and chatting project. After knit night I will be watching the football game on TV and that knitting will be Rob's sweater sleeves. I include what to knit with/around just about everything I do. ; )

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Project Resurrection

I am on a roll finishing up WIPs. This is very unusual for me - I do seem to finish 2 or 3 things close together but they are usually current projects that just end close together. This time I am actually enjoying pulling out these long term proejcts and getting them off the needles. I pulled out the sideways vest in fibonacci stripes over the weekend and added the edging around the arms. Last night I picked up some of the many stitches that will be needed to do the front edging. It will probably take several days, but that's OK. After all this time (3 years, I think) just having it out in the light of day making any progress is great! I think this vest will be finished by the end of the month (along with Rob's sweater. I haven't forgotten that and the sleeves grow a bit every day)

I was planning to take out a lace shawl next and work on finishing it, but I think I'll hold off on that. I just don't feel like knitting lace right now. After the vest I will work on the double knit Honka scarf that's been on the needles for at least 2 years.

I started the baby gift sweater and I like it. The color is good and the construction is easy. The sleeve stitches are on holders and I am working on the "skirt" part of it. I think the ruffles will take a while but the rest will be fast.

Today I leave work early to go get my root canal tooth filled. Finally! I had to take antibiotics last week for some pain in the tooth but it seems fine now.  I plan to get in an exercise walk right after that, before dinner. After dinner I get to help DH put some cement patch/leveler on the downstairs bathroom floor so that the floor tile can be put down.

We shopped for a refrigerator over the weekend. (Still shopping, haven't bought yet) Does anyone have any input into brand for reliability?  We are looking at Maytag, GE and Frigidaire. After reading reviews on line last night we eliminated Samsung from the mix and I've heard not great things  about parts for LG, so we eliminated that brand, too.  I am looking forward to a nice new French door fridge that will hopefully last at least half as long as our current fridge, which has been working well for over 30 years!!!!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The five (or 6) year afghan is complete!

 Rob's afghan had had many starts and stops. Lack of interest, heat, being angry at him for something, etc. The last 3 years it was my boat knitting. The pattern was easily memorized and it utilized worsted weight yarn. On a boat underway, that's important. I made it in stripes, not squares to cut down on the seaming. (very good decision on my part)

Last night I finished the last seam and wove in the last of the ends. Today it gets a soak (being dragged around on the boat, to and from the boat made some parts of it a bit soiled) and will be stretched out to dry. Whew! I feel so good about this .....

ETA photo above.

 I settled on yarn and a pattern to knit for the baby gift I want to make. I love knitting with Mirasol Nuna, it's about the right weight and I found a color that I think the Mom will like. I plan to knit the Ruffles and Ridges baby sweater  in Nuna yarn in Aqua.  I'll search for buttons later. The color is actually a bit lighter than in this photo.
 Finished Marsan watchcap. I love the swirl decreases.

 This is the finished Canaletto Cowl. I love it.
 It's long enough to wear doubled around my neck or even doubled around the neck with a third loop over the head.

 This is my Polwarth spinning in progress. More spinning tonight, I hope.
 This is my Black Welsh Mountain sample skein. You can see the fuzziness, and it's prickly rather than soft fuzzy. It will become an outdoor garment.

I've knitted about 4 inches of sleeve on each side of Rob's sweater and I completed the cabled rows on Brian's Binary cable hat. Next up - either a lace shawl or the sideways vest that needs an edging will be resurrected. Woohoo! On a finishing roll!

I am off to start the weekly laundry battle, shower and shop for flooring for the downstairs bathroom. Have a good day.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

No pictures again

Sorry - I have knitting and spinning progress but no pictures to show you. It's always dark when I get home these days.

I finished the Marsan cap! Well, OK, I do still have to weave in a few ends. It was getting late and I needed to get to sleep, but the knitting is done and some of the ends are woven in. I am going to have a big wooly soak session over the weekend and try to get everything (Marsan cap, Canaletto cowl, BWM skein) blocked in the sunshine.

I spent about 20 minutes last night spinning my Polwarth. The colors fascinate me as they slip though my fingers. I love the deep, saturated purples, with a bit of blue thrown in. Sigh of pleasure ....  I am not sure what I will make with this yarn when it's spun but it will be something special.

I knitted further on the first sleeve of Rob's sweater and picked up the stitches for the other sleeve. I want to knit them pretty much together since I am not following a written pattern. Knitting them at the same time will increase the chances that they will be the same.

Tonight is knit night at my LYS so no seaming will happen. I'll probably knit on the sweater sleeves tonight and plan to sew that last seam on the afghan on Friday night. If that fails, I'll get it done Saturday. One way or another I will have another FO by the end of the weekend! I'd love to finish spinning the first braid of Polwarth over the weekend, too. I want to decide between 2 and 3 plies and get it plied. I am just a teeny bit anxious to knit with that yarn (to be).  ; )

I am at a place right now where many of my projects are close to completion. I have a severe case of finishitits. Two nights in a row I have stayed up late to finish projects. I love it when this happens. I plan to resurrect a few WIPs next, in addition to starting on Bob's sweater. (He has to choose between the two swatches I made for him to decide on a stitch pattern.) Other than that I hope to pull out one of my lace shawl WIPs next, and the double knit scarf I've been working on for a few years and get them both finished. I'll really feel good once I finish those. I have a sideways knit vest that is mostly complete, that needs an edge treatment of some sort added to it. That will also come back out to play. Bob's sweater and possibly a baby gift are the only new projects I plan to start on for a while. Hopefully that resolution will hold until after the holidays, at least. We all know how suddenly a case of castonitis can attack, but I feel good about finishing these things, so my motivation is high. I want to clear out WIPs just like I want to clear other clutter from my house and my life. I am also looking forward to choosing a shawl pattern and some other patterns to knit with my handspun. Plans, hopes, goals and it's not even the new year yet! LOL.

The fog was amazing this morning on my drive to Baltimore! Thick fog on the water (and near by) makes sense but this fog was really thick 10 miles from the water. It stayed dense enough to slow everybody down almost all the way in to Baltimore (about a 35 mile drive for me). There is an elevated section of the highway just before I exit, and when I drove along that section I felt like nothing existed off the highway - nothing could be seen from there. Very weird.

Have a great day, all. Spend at least part of it doing something you enjoy doing.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Canaletto cowl is finished!

I bound off late (for me) last night. I still have (4) ends to weave in and it needs a soak to settle things, but the knitting is complete. Yippee!

I started the Binary Cable hat for younger son. I thought it appropriate because he took computer classes a while ago and I thought he would have a computer based career. Not. But I hope he likes the hat anyway. Now if only I understood the whole binary thing so that I "got" what I was knitting .....

The Marsan cap is at the point of decreasing but I haven't had the time to settle into that yet. Soon, I hope.

I finished spinning and plying the sample skein of Black Welsh Mountain. Tonight it gets a bath. I will even knit a small swatch with it. I am pretty sure that I will be able to wear an outside garment made with this yarn despite being a coarse fiber. The garment is still to be decided since I have no idea at all how much yarn I will be able to spin from this fleece. I plan to comb it - that makes it the most spinable, and I can do that in bits and pieces or a lot at a time. Either way, I am relieved to find that I can spin this fiber into something that will be useful. I would have hated to waste it or just make do with a rug. If I knit a rug I want it to be my choice, not because I can't think of anything else to do with the yarn. ; )

Monday, November 07, 2011

What a weekend!

This is Polwarth, from Erica at Desigknit. I started spinning this on Saturday (finally! I have been wanting to spin it for a while, but couldn't get to it). The main goal was to sample and decide what I wanted to do with it. This is a sample of the singles I tried, thinking that it would make a nice, fluffy soft singles for fulling and knitting a cowl, maybe.

It would be fluffy and make a nice cowl, I think, but I was afraid that the deep colors wouldn't show this way. I don't really have enough to spin, full and knit a sample and still have enough for a project (if the sample didn't work) so I went with the gut and tried thinner, planning to ply. This is a two ply sample, and I decided that I like that, and would try to add a bit more fiber and twist so I would end up with a nice worsted weight yarn.

Then I tried a 3 ply and I like that a lot, too. so, I am spinning (trying, at any rate) thicker than my default and planning on either a 2 or 3 ply.

I may decide to spin the other braid as a single (I think the colors are better for that) or I may decide to spin them the same and ply them together. I have time and I want to be happy with the look of this yarn, since I am so pleased with the hand.

I had a very productive day at home on Saturday: laundry, vacuuming, neatening up, spinning and knitting. I finally picked up the stitches for the first sleeve on Rob's sweater. Yippee!

Sunday was a boating day. I was not thrilled to be up at 6 AM on a day off, but the forecast was good .... and I am so glad I got up early. We had an awesome day on the water.  The sun was shining (after the first couple of hours) and the winds were calm. We found birds (they frequently show you where the fish are) and the fish were biting. The fact that they were all little babies and had to be thrown back didn't bother us at all. We only caught one bird. I am becoming an expert as disentangling them from the line without getting bit. (I think they should be more thankful, but they don't agree. LOL) I knitted on Rob's sleeve, swatched for Bob's sweater and worked on a hat (that I think is too big and has to be frogged. Again.)

We returned to the dock a bit before 5:30 PM, in plenty of time to get home to watch the Ravens game. I backed the trailer to the ramp without too much back and forth, and got out so Bob could get his waders on to retrieve the boat. When Bob got in the Expediton to back the trailer further into the water  it would. not. move. at. all.
The engine was running but no movement. No amount of troubleshooting regarding brakes, emergency brake, 4WD etc. was helping. I climbed under the vehicle and saw that something major and metal was rusted and twisted, obviously broken beyond a simple repair. It was connected to the rear axle which had moved to a position it was not supposed to be in. Gulp!

We contacted Boat US because we have a trailer tow package with them. Thank goodness! We had to wait for 3 hours but a tow truck came and put the Expediton on the flatbed. We then disconnected the trailer from our vehicle, put the trailer on the tow truck and backed it down to the water, because the boat was still in the water. We had prepped for travel while waiting, so we slipped the boat onto the trailer (thank goodness it went smoothly) and out it came. We went home in the tow truck, with the Expedition on the flatbed and the boat being trailered behind. The Expediton is sitting at Pep Boys waiting for parts (two control arms, a U joint and a yoke, for anyone who knows about such things) and repair. We hope they find nothing else broken when they go to repair the bleeping thing. Grrr.

We made it home just in time to watch the last 8 minutes or so of the Ravens' game. GO RAVENS!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Seaming, not knitting

I sewed a whole stripe of afghan to the rest of it last night. This (scroll down to the red, white and black on the floor)  is the afghan in question. That means I have one stripe to go and that makes me anxious to get it done. I'm like that when I near the finish of a project. Once I get close, all else falls by the wayside. It's almost like castonitis in it's urgency.  I might just have to go home tonight and finish that 4 year (or more) project up.

I did do a little bit of knitting last night. Once I finished sewing the one stripe I had started previously, I realized that I wouldn't have time to get far on the next one and so I knitted on the Canaletto cowl for about 20 minutes before sleep. I love that project and might just be planning another, maybe using some handspun.  I was stuck in some bad traffic this morning during my commute, so I knitted while stopped on the highway, too. It all adds up. ; )

The Spinners Study group on Ravelry is studying Polwarth this month. That means that I have an excuse  a reason to play with my new fiber (scroll down to the purple braids of fiber) from Erica at Desigknit . Check out her Etsy store - she sells beautiful handpainted yarns and fibers. I haven't decided what to do with my purple fiber yet - spin singles and full them, spin each colorway and ply together or spin each and chain ply. I will be sampling some, hopefully this weekend, trying to figure out what pleases me the most and what might be the most useful for knitting.  I haven't spun Polwarth yet and I'm anxious to see what it feels like.

I still haven't decided what to do about my Shaelyn shawl and the yarn amount. I think I'll try a bit of a steam blocking just to see how big it will be, then go from there. I'm tending towards ripping back to the last lace section rather than adding on.