Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Square Log Cabin

I made this blanket with Mission Falls 1824 Cotton using the log cabin technique described in Mason-Dixon Knitting. I started out using stash yarn but had to purchase more yarn for the last three rounds which made this an expensive baby blanket. It has a wonderful drape though and I think it is sturdy enough to last through all of a child's imaginative play.

Pattern: Joseph's Blankie of Many Colors from Mason-Dixon Knitting, revised to be knit square.
Yarn: Mission Falls 1824 Cotton in 6 Sea #402, 4 Maize #209, 2 Chicory #401, 5 Jade #303, and 2 Indigo #404.
Needles: Denise Interchangeables in US 7, 4.5 mm.
Size: 38"by 38" after machine washing and drying.
Begun: 9/28/07
Completed: 9/28/08
Notes: I added an i-cord knitted on border. I love this pattern but it is extremely difficult to calculate ahead of time how much yarn you'll need of each color. I ended up with two extra balls of the last three colors (jade, maize & sea) because I overbought. The two rounds of maize are the same color but a different dye lot. The color difference is exaggerated in the photo.

The number of balls of each color might be edited in the future after I sit down with everything to determine what I bought and what is left.

The blanket is quite heavy and certainly not for travel. I doubt I will make another worsted weight baby blanket, especially a cotton one. I think sport or dk weight yarn is best for blankets.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

A Kerry Blue Saturated With Memories

The Kerry Blue Shawl is one of my oldest WIPs. I began it as part of a KAL on the About.com knitting forum. That forum is where I joined the online knitting community when I first got back into serious knitting in late 2004. I send my thanks to the many wonderful and helpful knitters I met via that forum, especially the one who posts as MousePotato who was so generous with her advice. She agreed to lead the KAL, introduced me to Emily Ocher's circular cast-on and was extremely informative in too many ways for me to describe here.

This shawl traveled with me through one of the most painful experiences of my life--my father's illness from metastasized melanoma and subsequent death. I carried it with me during the summer of 2005 while my father was in the last stages of his illness and I was flying home to Texas every few weeks. Because the lace patterns line up and are easy to memorize it was the perfect travel knitting.

I also knitted on it at while staying in Texas, sitting with my father in the den while we watched television together and talked and later, by my father's bedside, after he could no longer walk and a hospital bed replaced his easy chair. I especially recall one night toward the end of his life when I stayed up all night until my brother relieved me at almost dawn. Working on the shawl kept me awake and helped to relieve the heartbreak I was experiencing. My father died a few days later, by which time I had returned to California.

I know this story is sorrowful but this shawl does not represent sorrow to me. It is a tangible reminder of a time when our family gathered together to care for and say goodbye to a man we deeply loved and admired and to support our mother who lost her best friend and husband of 54 years. I knitted on an ocean wave lace edging because my favorite family holidays as a child and as an adult were spent at the beach.

Here are the blocking shots. The process was hard on my back but it was a joy to see the lace reveal itself as I stretched out the blocking wires. Neither shot captures the color. I'll try for accurate color when I do the project post.

(The dark horizontal ridge visible in the bottom photo is the hem of one of the towels I placed under the shawl.)


Friday, September 26, 2008

My First Noro

This is another project that sat in a WIP bag for a long time. Now it is finished well before our "cold" weather arrives. I made this for myself.

The photo below shows the entire scarf but the color is washed out. The grass is actually green.

This inside shot shows the colors more accurately:

Pattern: Noro Scarf designed by Jared Flood.
Yarn: Noro Silk Garden in color 225, 4 skeins.
Needles: Addi Turbo 16"circulars in US size 7, 4.5 mm.
Size: 6.5" by 75"
June 4, 2007
Completed: September 23, 2008
Notes: This took so long to finish because I had to do the end of the scarf three times and once I hit a snag on a project it rests semi-permanently in the "fix it" pile. Unlike Jared, I used the same yarn throughout and at the end two of the colors coincided, thereby destroying the striped effect. I tried reversing the order of one but that merely created coinciding colors in another location. I finally removed some of the offending yarn. The scarf is plenty long nonetheless.

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Marching Fingerless Mitts

My niece plays in a marching band and her hands get cold at those night time football games. I made her some fingerless mitts in one of her school colors. I hope they keep her hands warm but are flexible enough to enable her to play her instrument with ease while wearing them.

The color is more accurate in the photo below:


Pattern: Hand/Wrist Warmers from Last Minute Knitted Gifts.
Yarn: Karabella Aurora 8 in color 23, 53 g.
Needles: Brittany Birch size 7 (4.5 mm.) dpns.
Begun: September 10, 2008
Completed: September 23, 2008
Size: Woman's medium, 6.5" in circumference and 9" long relaxed.
Notes: Using the same pattern, I made these for my son in the ribbed style and, although we liked them, we agreed they needed a thumb gusset so I added one this time.

A set of two knit stitches formed the base of the gusset and I used a lifted increase to add one stitch on each side every other row. I worked the thumb in stockinette stitch and at the same time I continued the spiral rib on the rest of the hand. I increased the thumb up to 10 stitches, worked the next round plain and on the next round put those 10 stitches on a holder while casting on two stitches over the gap. When the hand was complete I bound off in purl to encourage the last row to roll inward and not flare out. I then picked up the ten thumb stitches and picked up 4 new stitches in the gap. In the next round I decreased the four picked up gap stitches down to two by working the outer two together with the first and 10th previously held thumb stitches. The thumb is 8 rounds tall after the pick up point. I bound the thumb off in purl also.

Fortunately I had two balls of this yarn but barely used more than one ball. I think I'll make another pair using fewer rows.

Marching Band Mitts pair cropped 9.25.08
I foolishly forgot to reverse the spiral on the second mitt so they are exact matches.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Completion Tuesday

Today of finished four languishing projects--a striped scarf in Noro Silk Garden, a scarf using an Icelandic lace pattern made with Cascade Cloud 9, fingerless mitts in Karabella Aurora 8, and a black washcloth. I still have far too many WIPs but I'm making some progress. Details to follow.

Edited on 9/26/08 to add: The Icelandic Scarf has an error I did not see until I was about to block it. Back to the frog pond.

Edited on 9/17/09 to add: Now the Icelandic Scarf is complete.

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Sunday, September 07, 2008

Twenty -Eight Inches of Ribbing

My Socks for Soldiers socks are finally complete. Not only did they have a total of 28 inches of ribbing, I misread the pattern and had to frog 2" from the foot of each sock. All for a worthy cause. I plan to make the next pair more quickly and more efficiently.

Pattern: Socks for Soldiers (see sidebar)
Yarn: Schachenmayr nomotta Regia Stretch Uni/Solid) in 0099 Black, 134.5 g.
Needles: US 3 (3.25 mm.) for cast-on and 1st 3 rounds, US 0 (2.00 mm.) for the heels and US 1 (2.25 mm.) for the rest of the sock. The new pattern uses the 0 needles for the bottom of the leg and the toes as well, so those planning to make these should be sure they're using the most up to date pattern.
Size: 11.25" long at the foot, after machine washing and drying, for a man's size 12 shoe
Begun: June, 2007
Completed: August 30, 2008

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Saturday, September 06, 2008

Black Mittens

NAS black mittens cropped 9.5.08I'm finally posting about another pair of mittens I made for the Native American Support Mitten Challenge. These were knit from some wonderfully soft lambswool recycled from a Gap sweater.

Yarn: 100% lambswool recycled from GAP sweater, two strands held together. The original yarn was fingering weight. Using two strands created worsted weight. Total for both mittens 52 g.
Needles: Inox 3.5 mm. (US 4) dpns
Gauge: 5 stitches per inch
Pattern: Ann Budd's marvelous The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns, yet again
Size: fourth largest size: child's large/woman's small
Begun: 9/14/07
Completed: late 2007
The pattern called for a c/o of 34 stitches but I increased it to 36 for K2 P2 ribbing. I picked up 3 stitches over the thumb gap rather than one and decreased these extra 2 stitches on the next round.

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Friday, September 05, 2008

Seemingly Never Ending Mittens

Two pairs for the NAS Mitten challenge in Rowan Chunky Print. I enjoyed knitting with this yarn and think it made very pretty mittens. The yarn is soft, thick and sheepy scented and the colors are a delight. The actual color is midway between the light of the lower photo and the dark color in the upper photo. Unfortunately it has been discontinued. It seems to be my fate to fall in love with discontinued yarns/colors.

The suggested needle size of US 11 was too loose for a mitten so I felted the first pair a bit to tighten up the stitches. The second pair was knit using 4.5 mm. (US 7) and the fabric is just right.
girley mittens without cuffs 8.5.08 cropped
Cuffless Pair
Yarn: Rowan Chunky Print in Girly Pink (no. 077) 52.7 g. total
Needles: U.S. 11
Pattern: Super Bulky Mittens for Women from Knitting Pure and Simple, felted down to a child's medium
Begun: 9/11/07
Completed: 10/10/07
Notes: I won't use this pattern again. Although it was quick (as promised by the designer), I didn't like the way the thumb gusset decreases were designed and the thumbs tend to twist. Also, I think cuffs are necessary in cold weather. I might have liked it better if I'd used a more bulky yarn, as called for in the pattern.

NAS Girly Mittens 9.5.08

Cuffed Pair
Yarn: Rowan Chunky Print in Girly Pink (no. 077) 92.0 g. of yarn for both.
Needles: U.S. 7
Pattern: The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns by Ann Budd.
Size: women's medium, 7" around & 8.75" long
Begun and Completed: during 2007
Notes: I liked this pattern much better than the other one and have already made several other pairs of mittens using it.

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