Free Patterns & a Finished Object

This is the Bison Shawlette from 101 Luxury One Skein Wonders.  I really like the patterns in the book, but you should be aware that A LOT of the patterns have errata on the website.  Just follow the link and click on corrections. 

The shawl is knit in some mystery alpaca that my Brother-in-Law brought back from a trip to Peru.  It is beautiful beautiful yarn, soft and easy to knit with.  It’s somewhere in the fingering weight range.  I wasn’t sure of the yardage since the label was partially torn, so I just started kniting and hoping that there would be enough.  I ran out of yarn just as I was at the 2nd to last pattern row.  I knew I wouldn’t like it if I finished the last 3 rows (1 purl row, 1 pattern row and bind off row) in a different color, so I bound off early.  Thanks to Barb from Fabric Works, I bound off with a needle 3 sizes bigger so I’d be able to block out the points a little better. 

I need to re-block this as I could have been a lot more aggressive in my blocking.  Lesson learned, block the he-double hockey sticks out of lace!  It should be blocked and ready for me to wear to my Brother-in-Law’s wedding next weekend. 

I love free patterns.  I really love free patterns, especially when they’re fun patterns that I’ve been coveting for some time.  STC Craft is giving away some free patterns, just in time for your Christmas knitting!  Just follow the link below. 

STC Craft

So what will you be crafting for Christmas?

Technical Difficulties

For some crazy reason, I’m having some trouble with a link from the News Tribune website to my blog headline.  I’m not sure what it’s about, so I’m going to try to post again to see if it was just a fluke.  Maybe they’re trying to tell me something?! 

I finished the small bolero last night.  All that’s left is to weave in the ends and block the heck out of it.  I’m still debating how I want to handle the larger of the two sweaters.  I think I’m going to just redo the sleeves from the top down.  It doesn’t look horrible, it just doesn’t look the same as the smaller sweater.  I think I just need to get a grip and not obsess over this one.  I’ve made so many changes to the original pattern at this point that I can pretty much say that it is "Inspired" by the Sirdir pattern. 

In other knitting news, I’ve been obsessing over this book.  It’s "The Best of Interweave Knits."  It’s by no means new, it’s been out for some time, but I finally broke down and bought it.  At the first look through the book, I saw at least 5 patterns that I would like to make.  I’m not a regular subscriber to Interweave Knits, although I love the magazine.  I think this is going to become my go-to book for patterns.  The Icarus shawl on the cover is gorgeous and worth the purchase price alone. 

Cinxia

I believe I promised more pictures of the completed Cinxia sweater.  We seem to have been blessed with an Indian Summer this year, so we went out into the backyard to take some pictures.  I’m really not sure that we can call it an Indian Summer since we really didn’t have much of a summer to start with.  But despite the cool temperatures, my garden seems to have turned into a jungle.  It survives very nicely by benign neglect.  You can see the pumpkins and corn in the background.  What you can’t see is the world’s largest cherry tomato plant.  Honestly, this tomato plant is larger than the zucchini plant!  The tomato escaped it’s cage and is currently sprawled all over the garden.  The cherry tomatoes are coming fast and furious; the girls have really enjoyed eating tomatoes every night after we get home. 

I’m spending lots of time trying to figure out what to do with the plethora of produce the garden is producing.  Between the garden and my CSA box, I’ve got lots and lots of fresh veggies this summer.  I’ve been freezing most of it.  I’m not much of a canner, but I do enjoy cooking.  I’ve put stuffed peppers and stuffed zucchini in the freezer and have made a couple of batches of spaghetti sauce.  I’m thinking about making some enchilada sauce as well to freeze.  If anyone has recipes they would like to share, I’d love to see them.  Mostly I have tomatoes to use up at this point.  Although I have a little cabbage, some cauliflower and summer squash. 

Back to the sweater, I haven’t found a clasp I really like yet, so I’m using an old pin.  I think I like the way it looks.  The photos were taken before blocking, so the edges are now crisper and the sweater has stretched a bit lengthwise.

 Edited to try to fix the Title link. 

Ohhh Shiny!

Hello Shiny Red Yarn!  I’m a bit of a sucker for anything pretty and shiny, so when I walked into a dimly lit yarn shop (normally the kiss of death for a yarn shop, but when you wander into a store in the middle of nowhere that used to be someone’s garage, beggars can’t be choosers) I saw this yarn right away.  This yarn shop/craft store/framing gallery happens to be located in Ridgeland, WI, directly in the middle of nowhere.  As I was driving home from my parents house this weekend, one child asleep in the backseat, I saw an Open sign along with a YARN sign.  Yep, they can stop a sucker shopper in her tracks.  The yarn is Berroco Lustra and is a blend of merino (super soft wool) and tencel (makes it shiny).  It’s soft, shiny and the perfect worsted weight yarn for my February Lady Sweater.  The price was absolutely right – for $36 I got enough yarn for the size small sweater. 

Because I just couldn’t resist the shine and the eyepopping blue, I got this colorway as well.  The owner only had 2 skeins, not enough for a sweater, but enough for a nice hat and scarf – or mittens and hat. 

-Update on the Flower Girl Shrugs-

I’m still plugging away on the Flower Girl Shrugs.  I am halfway down the second arm of the second sweater.  I talked it out with some girlfriends last night (non-knitters) and I think I can get them both done.  If I finish the arm today, and finish the ribbing around the body by the end of the week, then I can have 2 weeks to rip out and re-knit the first sweater.  I’ll have 8 hours in the car on the way to Chicago if I’m really desperate.  If time gets that tight, I may have to spray block the sweaters… We’ll have to see I guess.  If it looks like I can’t make the deadline, I may just rip out the sleeves of the first sweater and re-knit them from the top down so they fit better.  But that’s worst case senario. 

 

Pushing Through

Sorry for the poor color on the photo… I took it in a dark house last night… should have waited for natural light.

You know when you’re working out and you hit the wall and you know that if you can just keep pushing through that you’ll be just fine, you’ll finish the workout?  Well, sometimes knitting it like that too.  I am making 2 little shrugs – girls sizes 2 and 5 – for a wedding that my girls are flowers girls at in early October.  I’ve hit a wall.  A wall of frustration and boredom – normally the kiss of death for any knitting project I take on. 

I started working on the larger shrug (I’ve learned that if I’m to make 2 of anything I should make the larger or more boring of the 2 first) in June.  I got all the pieces knitted and started sewing them together.  But the sleeves didn’t fit quite right.  I figured it was just my poor sewing skills and decided that when I made the second sweater, I would do the sleeves from the top down with a circular needle instead of sewing them in after the fact.  When I started the second sweater I checked gauge (i.e. tension, i.e.stitches per inch) I realized that I was way way off.  Way off.  Wowza, was I off.  So I went down 3 needle sizes, got gauge and called it good.  Now, I’m working on the first sleeve.  I’m sort of winging the decreases and making notes so I can replicate them on the second sleeve.  I’m also trying it on my daughter as I go so I know it’s going to fit (I’ve had to add 4 inches to the sleeve since she’s long and skinny). 

Here’s the problem.  I have 3 weeks until the wedding.  3 weeks to finish one sweater and do the ribbing on the 2nd is not bad.  However, should I go back and reknit the first sweater???  I’m thinking yes.  But what if I run out of time!?  Plus, what I really want to do is knit… something else…

This,

and This,

and This,

oh yes, and This.  (but I’m still searching for the perfect yarn for that)

And that doesn’t even account for Christmas presents that I need to start working on.  Somebody help me!

Tree Sap and Roman Goddesses

Cinxia from Knitty.com

We have a friend visiting from Memphis this week so our house is a little crazy.  I’m feeling very scattered and disorganized as I try to get everything done.  The visitor is a high school friend of my husband’s; they’ve been having a wonderful time catching up and telling stories.  Today, they’re out on the Big Lake, hopefully catching some fish for our dinner.  I’m hoping to throw it on the grill with lots of dill and lemon.  Mmmm…

Last night the visitor got some tree sap on his t-shirt while unloading the truck.  The problem is that I have no idea how to get tree sap out of cotton.  My suggestion was to pour boiling water over it to see if that would wash it out.  Does anyone have any suggestions? 

As for knitting, I finished my Cinxia sweater.  I’ll probably have more photos to show from that, but the photos are on my hubby’s camera and I didn’t get a chance to download them last night. 

Pattern – Cinxia (the Roman Goddess of Marriage) from Knitty

Yarn – Cascade Rustica – a linen wool combination.  I absolutely love this yarn.  It has wonderful drape and was very nice to work with.  It also blocks like an absolute dream. 

Needles – Size 7 (US) circular needle.  I think I used a 40" needle except for when I was doing the sleeves. 

Modifications – I made this several inches longer than the pattern called for since I thought it looked a little short in the photos.  I cast on for a small, but knit to the measurements for a medium for the body.  The arms were simply unfooled around with.  I’m debating about what kind of closure I would like.  Right now I’m using a decorative pin to close it.  Although I might look for a Scandinavian hook and clasp closure.  I didn’t add a button hole so if I added a large button I think I would make an I-cord loop to go around the button. 

I am crazy happy about the way this sweater turned out. 

Let Me ‘Splain…

"No, there is no time.  Let me  sum up."

Hi, my name is Jess and I am a Knitter. 

I’m also a wife, a mom, a full time employee, a spinner and… well, probably a lot of other descriptives.  Most of what you’ll see on this blog will be knitting, although I may throw in bits and pieces of the other parts of my life as well.  You should know that although I work for the Duluth News Tribune, I am not a writer.  Therefore, I may make some errors in my writing. 

I also have some pretty strong biases when it comes to knitting.  First of all, I believe in buying from my Local Yarn Stores (LYS for short).  I think we have some phenomenal stores in our area.  They are incredibly helpful and I’ve never gotten bad service at any of them.  Although I will occasionally buy online, I try to keep these purchases to things that the LYS just don’t carry.  My second bias is that I’m a bit of a yarn snob.  OK, maybe a big yarn snob.  I prefer natural fibers, mostly wool.  Life is too short to knit with crummy acrylic yarn. 

If you’ve got stories about interesting crafts, links to fun sites or fabulous knitting patterns, send them my way.  I’ll be happy to feature them in this blog.  In the meantime, check out some of my favorite blogs.