Thursday, May 3, 2012

Knitting? Not So Much

Over the last week or so , there hasn't been very much crafting going on.  I did finish a simple ruffled scarf for a gift, made out of a cotton/linen blend, but that's about it.  My dairy goat came home in milk over the weekend, and my hands are so sore trying to get in the milking groove that I can barely hold a needle. 

I'm currently working on and it's a great knit once you get it off DPNs and on to a circular needle.  It's even simple enough that I can take it on the road with me.

I did start a new blog to catalog my "farming" adventures.  It's called Goats and Garden and there you can see what I'm doing with my critters, garden, and kitchen.  Right now, the feature player is Sno, the LaManche goat.

Friday, March 30, 2012

FO: Knitting Like Crazy Mystery Shawl 2012

This was a Knitting Like Crazy Mystery Shawl, and can be found on Ravelry as the Belle Haven Shawl by Jen Lucas.

I knitted this in Alpaca Sox, which is a bit fuzzy for lace, perhaps, but still lets you see the stitch detail well enough.

As usual, Jen treated us all to a great knitting experience.  When it comes to mystery KALs, you are taking a leap of faith,  but Jen always makes it worth it.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Happy Handpainting

As I'm sure you noticed, my design week project is temporarily on hold, primarily because I'm busy knitting the Knitting Like Crazy Mystery Shawl (I'm on row 4 of clue 4), a shawl for my aunt's rapidly approaching birthday, and a pair of socks. There's just not enough time right now.

All of this knitting didn't mean there wasn't enough time to dye more yarn. My sister is here for the day doing laundry, so we decided to try handpainting some yarn. I got out two skeins of Knit Picks Stroll Bare and mixed up some dye stock using Jacquard acid dyes. After applying the color, we set it in a microwave that I've set aside for this purpose (my sister found it Freecycle). We wrapped it in heavy plastic wrap, stuck it in a plastic sack, and ran it through 2 minutes at a time, with a 2 minute rest in between. The rainbow sock took 2 cycles,  and the Fuscia and blue took 3. After letting it cool, we rinsed them and hung them to dry.

Rest assured,  there is definitely more dyeing in our future. Next time I want to try graded coloring on a blank made up on my knitting machine. I can hardly wait!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Design Week Day 3

Today we reveal what yarn we have chosen for our design. I'm going to go a little farther with this post since I'm hijacking StitchinSandy's internet connection and I'm going to have to rely on posting from my phone for the rest of the week.

  I myself have gone with one that is a standby for me, Knit Picks Shadow Lace although any lace yarn will do for this project.  Knit Picks is reliable and comparatively inexpensive, and I purchase their yarn on a regular basis. The color I am using is Snorkel, and it's something that I purchased some time ago. I bought several skeins when they discontinued this color, and am still using it up.  Feel free to use whatever color you choose.

I have already swatched the lace pattern I want to use earlier, and so I have cast on. Still, I'm skeptical of that I've cast on enough stitches.  I'm going to do a 2x2 ribbed brim, and then go into the lace.

I'm knitting the brim with US 1.5 needles, then going into the body of the hat with US 4.

I guess we'll see how this works out.  There are certainly no guarantees that what I am envisioning will actually work out, and the thing I'm most concerned about is my stitch count. I think the design itself will work out, but I wouldn't be surprised if I have to rip out and add some more stitches.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Design Week - Days 1 and 2

Due to some technical difficulties of the computer variety, I was unable to post yesterday about the design I have in the works, so today you get a two-for-one deal. The idea I have in mind is for something I can use to keep my long hair under control, and am envisioning some type of cross between a snood and a slouchy hat. For those who don't know, a snood is something that has been used for hundreds of years to cover a woman's hair. You can see them at Renaissance Festivals and other historical reenactments, primarily, and they are also used by women who want to cover their hair for modesty purposes. I am planning on making something that is light and lacy, with shaping sort of like a slouchy hat that won't be too warm for spring weather, but has enough substance in it that I can tuck my hair up in it and keep it off my neck and from flying around in my face. The snoody hat will be designed in the round, with some ribbing around the brim to help hold it, although I may want to stitch some hair clips in to hold it in place more securely. I'm thinking about lace weight yarn, and already have a stitch pattern in mind. It is a pretty, flowery open lace that should let air flow through, and maybe let the hair peek out a bit. It isn't difficult, and anybody who can handle a knitting in the round should be able to handle this project. The next thing I need to do is choose my yarn, probably a lace weight, and do some swatching. Hopefully I'll be able to give you some pictures tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Knit and Crochet Design Week March 12-17

Stacey from Fresh Stitches is hosting a design week on her blog. It will take you right from the sketching phase up to putting your design on paper, giving you a great opportunity to fast track that great pattern that's been floating around in your head. I already have some thoughts on what I'm going to present. Run, don't walk, to Stacey's blog and sign up for the fun and exciting week she has planned for us!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

FO: Litha

I really needed a quick knitting win, so when I looked around for a project I could put to use, I decided to go for a hat. I needed one, and I was looking for something cute and slouchy. I decided to go with Litha by Allison Haas. It was in the same issue of KnitCircus as the spiral baby blanket,  so I didn't even have to buy another pattern.

This was a very nice, fast knit, with just enough action to keep you from getting bored.  I knit it up in Debbie Stoller Stitch Nation Bamboo Ewe, in Periwinkle. I picked up two skeins just in case, but ended up only using one with about four yards to spare. That leaves a skein for some mitts.

This hat actually took longer to dry when I blocked it than it did to knit. I also spent a ridiculous amount of time straightening it out and repinning it because the cats kept tearing across it and wrinkling it up.

If you are looking for a beautiful hat that will span the seasons, Litha is the one for you.

Next project up: Knitting Like Crazy Mystery Shawl in Alpaca Sox. I am also working on writing and finishing up knitting an original sock pattern.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

FO: Spiral Star Baby Blanket

Months ago, I knit my friend a Spiral Star Baby Blanket from last summer's KnitCircus. It was a simple pattern,  easy to work on in front of the TV, and I finished with plenty of time to spare. I got my ends woven in, put it in the washer on the gentle cycle ( it is a baby blanket, so it must withstand the washing machine) , pulled it out to block it, and almost stroked out on the spot.

One of the ends close to the yarnovers had pulled out, and left a big gap. I tried to tighten it up and weave it back in, but it looked awful.  I asked around, but nobody had any good suggestions. So it just sat there.

Meanwhile,  my friend has a beautiful baby boy, and insists she wants this blanket regardless of the ugly spot. I fixed it as well as I could, but it does still look a bit nasty.  So, I still needed to block this thing, so I handwash it this time,  just spin the thing out in the washer, and as I'm pinning it out, discover that ALL my ends are loosening up. I'm totally disgusted.

This problem made it glaringly obvious that I need to work on my finishing techniques.  I've gotten lax by knitting things that will never see the inside of a washer. The thing that really kills me is that I knew it would go in a washer and put extra effort into my weaving in, and it still fell apart.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

FO: Diantha

My most recent completed knitting project is Diantha, which was offered by SusannaIC as a KAL.

This shawl is crescent shaped,  knit from the bottom edge up, and incorporates beads, Nupps, and short rows. As a bonus, it has directions for three different sizes, ans covers lace through worsted weight yarn.

The knitting experience doesn't disappoint, providing you with enough of a challenge to engage but not overwhelm.

I knitted mine in At Knits End Sparkle Ewe lace, which produced a lovely,  slightly drapey fabric with an elegant shimmer. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

It's a Sock and Shawl Knitting World

Thanks to my usual slacker tendencies when it comes to posting,  I have failed to keep you updated on my knitting life. Mostly it's been socks and shawls ( yes, my usual).

Over the last few weeks, I'd say the most interesting socks I've finished are the Achilles Heal socks from Knitty. The heel on this one was unique and a lot of fun to knit once you got your stitches organized.  FYI, I worked over 4 DPNs and had the needles meet where markers were called for, and used a marker to show the start of the round and the end of the heel. Right off the needles, I didn't like the way the instep and heel sat, but after washing and blocking,  it was fine. This is a great project for handpainted yarn. And as a bonus, they knitted up fast.

On my needles now, I am finishing up the SusannaIC January Mystery Shawl, which is looking fabulous.  I am planning on finishing that up today. For socks, I am working on a pair of my own design that is a combination of ribbing and lace.

On a more personal note, I haven't been getting as much knitting done as I'd like due to chronic migraines over the last month. I've started seeing a chiropractor and am getting some real relief,  so I will hopefully be more productive.