Going for the Gold

I’ve heard that there are people out there that just watch the Olympics.  They sit in front of the TV with their hands empty and just watch.  I find this hard to understand.  For me, the Olympics is a time to pick out a new project and knit like, well like I’m knitting for a gold medal.

My project for this Olympics was a LeftieTo up the ante a bit, I invited my friends Maryanne and Troy to knit a Leftie with me.  We each cast on at roughly the start of the Opening Ceremonies.  Maryanne and Troy are both in Washington state, so we had a time zone difference, but that only came into play when I texted at 6 am our time.

Maryanne and I both finished our shawls within hours of each other, and Troy was close behind.  I had an unfair advantage as not only do I have Fridays off, but I also had some unexpected knitting time crop up.  Addie and I were sick one day, and I spent most of that day parked on the sofa.  Then, I made a trip to Winnipeg, Canada for an Optimist Club convention.  I know I’ve talked about the Optimist’s before, my local club knits hats for babies and now several clubs in our area are knitting for children.  It’s a great club, check out the link or google Optimist International to see if there’s a club near you.  The seven hours in the car and the hours that I spent in meetings were put to use knitting.

The Details:

Pattern:  Leftie

Needles:  2.5mm circular needles.  I started with a 16″, switched to a 24″ and would have liked a 40″ by the time I was done.

Modifications:  None.  The pattern is very well done and slightly addicting.  I love switching colors!  I weaved in about half of the ends at one point so I didn’t have as many to do at the end.  My intention was to weave them all in as I went, but the motivation just wasn’t there.  Since a lot of people at the convention wanted to see the completely project, I was really anxious to weave in the ends and block it Saturday night.

Yarn:

The brown (Chocolate Frosting) is handspun from Knitting My Way Home.  Sharon does amazing work.  The spinning was incredibly even and beautiful.  If you haven’t knitted with handspun, you should really give it a whirl.

The pink (Chocolate Covered Cherries) is a locally dyed yarn that I’ve had in my stash for a long time.  Probably longer than I care to admit.  The brand is Knit Me Now Yarn and is available locally or at etsy.

Aren’t the leaves adorable?  I blocked this in my hotel room but the blocking shots turned out terrible.  Hotel rooms do not make for good iPhone photos.

I liked this pattern so much that I started another Leftie on the way home from Winnipeg.  Both of these yarns are from Lisa Souza Knitwear.  I’m thinking of donating one of the two shawls to a Dinner Auction that we do every year for the school.  Which one would you like to win at an auction?

Beekeepers Quilt

Since you asked, the Beekeepers Quilt is moving along nicely.  I have been slowly working on it again since mid-February.
Beekeepers Quilt Version 2.0

Someone (who shall remain nameless) has gotten me into the habit of trolling the mini skein swaps on Ravelry and looking on Etsy for good selections of mini skeins.  Somehow this is much more appealing than breaking into my perfectly good skeins of yarn that are sitting in drawers at home.  I haven’t joined any swaps per se, but I have participated in a few destashes.  I’m just not willing to commit to skeining up a zillion tiny skeins of yarn and sending them off to a zillion people.  I’d rather pay $4 a pop to have someone else do it for me.   Does that make me a snob?

I think it might.  It certainly makes me a sad person who doesn’t own a swift to make it easier on myself.  (sniff, sniff, poor me!)

I haven’t figured out how I want to lay out the hexipuffs yet.  A lot of people do the random layout, which is cool.  I had originally thought to do this in a Grandmother’s Garden style layout, but now that the recipient has turned out to be a boy, I’m not sure I want a flowery quilt.  The other option would be to do a random layout with a tan border.  My husband is a fan of this layout as he likes things clearly defined.  If this is the case, then I’m definitely going to have to buy some tans and browns to make it work!

Beekeepers Quilt Version 2.5

Any thoughts?

 

Hexi-puffing

Little Red Bicycle Hexipuffs

Since I was able to knock out the February sweaters (yes, there were 2!) before the end of the month, I spent some time working on my Beekeepers Quilt.  I also spent some time shopping for my Beekeepers Quilt.  One of my favorites has been the Little Red Bicycle mini club.  I had seen Little Red Bicycle yarn at Sock Summit, but I really didn’t find anything super amazing about it (which tells you how completely overwhelming the yarn and yarn fumes can be at something like that).  Now that I’ve knit it with, I am completely in love with this yarn.  The last package I got contained a little sample of handspun yarn (green puffs above).  It really is fun to knit with handspun, you just don’t know what’s going to come out next.  She also has a base with cashmere (blue grey puffs above) in it that is yummy to knit with.  All in all, I have converted to be a LRB fan.

I’ve also been stalking something called the Mini Mall on Ravelry.  It’s a place where people put up mini skein swaps or destash their skeins of minis.  I’ve bought a few different types of minis there, including 2 lots of Sanguine Gryphon yarn.  Since this isn’t being dyed anymore I was really happy to get my fingers on more of it.

As for my March sweater, I’m knitting the Goodale pattern out of some hand dyed yarn that I’ve had for several years.  I originally dyed this thinking it would make a great school cardigan for Addie.  However I never really found a good pattern I liked for the yardage.  Plus it has more varigation than the school would probably like.  I’m hoping that I’ll have enough yardage to squeek out slightly longer sleeves.

The January sweater has gone to live with my mother in law as it fits her better than I.  It ended up being a better fit for a tall person.  When am I going to realize that I am NOT 5’9″ tall?  She did comment that it was a bit low cut for her, but since she’s going to wear another shirt under it anyway, I don’t think it really matters.  I’m hoping to get a photo of her in it for the blog.

The Little Things

It’s the little things in life that really make a difference.

  1. A snow day even if it did come with less snow than I had hoped and 50 mph gusts.  They closed one of the highways near my house so I decided to stay home with my hubby and kids.
  2. Having electricity back after 5 hours without it.  The kids enjoyed “pioneer day” at our house!  Lunch was a little interesting, but we survived.  We ate some cold leftovers or sandwiches and were happy that we didn’t have to go out in the blizzard.
  3. Having some time to work on Hexipuffs for the Beekeepers Quilt.  I’ve become slightly addicted to finding mini skeins of yarn on Etsy.  It’s so fun to use a mini skein rather than great big huge skeins of yarn.
  4. Finishing my 3rd sweater in the month of February!  With two sweaters, a pair of booties and a hat, we know my new nephew won’t be lacking in clothing.
Modular Cardigan

This is the Modular Cardigan from Grammy’s Favorite Knits for Baby.  I used Frog Tree Alpaca’s Mariboo yarn.  I have just enough left over out of the 3 skeins to squeak out a matching hat.  I did it in the smallest size since I wanted to have something that Baby X can wear almost right away.  It’s a cute sweater and a very quick knit.  So quick in fact, that I didn’t realize that the sleeves were supposed to be in stockinette stitch rather than garter.  Oh well, I think it’s kind of cute.

 

All the News That’s Fit to Print

There’s nothing like a new baby coming to kick your knitting into high gear.  I became a proud Auntie once again last week.  Our new nephew was born on Friday afternoon, healthy and happy with a full head of hair All the babies in our family are born with more hair than most adult men.

In the past week, I have finished

Professor X Sweater

A 6 month size sweater for Professor X (what we’ve nicknamed the baby).  Made from Sanguine Gryphon yarn in Abu Dhabi colorway.  Sorry for the crummy iPhone picture, it was the only one I took last night that was remotely OK to use.  This would be my official February Sweater for the 12 in 12 challenge.

A pair of baby booties, also for Professor X.

My January Sweater.  Yes, it’s actually done.  I do need to sew on buttons still.  I think I’m going to do the ribbon button band from the Knitmore Girls to give the button band more stability.  I’ll show pictures and talk about it more when it’s all done.

And I started a new baby sweater, just to see if I can get it done in the remaining days.  Have I mentioned I’m crazy?

 

2 Minute Update

Velynda Cardi in Progress

I sure wish I had a finished sweater to show you.  It’s almost the end of the first week in February and I don’t have a finished January sweater.  However, I am close.  Thanks to two classes I took last week I am very close.  I’m finishing the ribbing on the second sleeve and just have the button band and collar left to do.  Not too bad considering that I started on January 5.

The great thing about the 12 Sweaters in 12 Months challenge that I laid out for myself is that it is MY challenge.  If I don’t get a sweater done every month the world will not end.  I will not get fired and my children will not care either way.  My husband will only notice because I’ll shove it in his face to admire and then take up most of the hallway with blocking the sweater.  It’s ok.  I make my own rules when it comes to knitting and the number one rule is that there are no rules.  Knitting. Is. Fun.

I’m debating what I’ll do for February, but considering that I’m not done with this one and that I’ll have a new little nephew any day now, I think he deserves some new knits.  Probably something in the newborn size so that I can get back on a semblance of a schedule.

Does anyone have suggestions on a cute newborn sweater for a boy?

Resolutions 2012

I’ve never been very good at picking resolutions for the year.  About the only one that ever worked for me was giving up french fries for an entire year.  But I think that was because it finally hit me that I feel a lot A LOT better if I don’t eat fried food.  It’s a gall bladder thing that I like to ignore and pretend doesn’t exist.  And really, if I don’t eat fried food, it really doesn’t exist.

I’ve tried to pretend that I resolve to Knit Only Out of My Stash. I’ve tried to pretend that I resolve to Buy Less Yarn.  I’ve even tried to pretend that I will Knit Only Patterns and Yarn That I’ve Pre-Packaged Into Cute Little Bags and Made Into My Own Kits.  Yeah, that didn’t work so well.

So why would I think that participating in my own version of a 12 in 12 would work?  The challenge is to knit 12 sweaters in 12 months.  The idea intrigues me.  The problem?  The yarn store in question is 2 1/2 hours away and I need more yarn like I need a hole in my head.  (Really, I do not need a hole in my head).  So I probably would not participate in buying the yarn at their store (although it’s a perfectly lovely store and if my in-laws wanted to buy me a gift certificate to the store since that’s where they live I certainly wouldn’t turn it down.)  However, I don’t think I have enough sweater quantity yarn in my stash.  I’m sort of the queen of one skein purchases.  I do have enough (I think) for the

Sullivan - February

and the

Featherweight -April

and the

White Russian - June

and I’d probably find yarn to make the

Zephyr - September

and maybe this one.  Although I might try to modify it to have long sleeves.  I’m not a huge fan of short sleeved sweaters.

Rusted Root - July

So that’s 5 out of the 12 months.  What if I threw in child and baby size sweaters to round out the months?  Could I even do it?  The baby sweaters would help me “catch up” on months that I would be behind.  Is it possible for me to finish an adult sweater in a month with my limited knitting time?  Could I keep focused for that long?  After all, I am the poster child for “Ohhh… shiny!”

Is anyone interested in knitting these along with me?  Pick your own sweaters from the 12 in 12 list or start your own list.  I’ll start January with a sweater I’ve already picked out for myself.  Velynda by Bon Marie Burns.  I have some navy blue Malabrigo that I bought with a gift certificate my hubby’s Aunt gave me.  Leave me a message in the comments and let me know what you’ll be knitting.

All That I’ve Been Doing

It may be hard to believe that I’m still a knitter, seeing as how I haven’t been blogging much. I have been knitting, and I’ve been somewhat diligently taking photos of my knitting. I just haven’t seemed to get much computer time lately. It seems that not only do my girls keep me really busy (not to mention the new job), but the girls also seem to be drawn to the computer like moths to a flame. Now that Lily is starting to read, she is enjoying going onto www.pbskids.org and playing games. I now have to fend off two kids when I want to use the computer. Yes, we have limits on when and how long they can play, but it does get tricky sometimes.

Here’s a rundown of what I’ve been knitting.

The Stash-ghan

An afghan for my office.  This was done completely from stash yarn.  I started with a stitch pattern and a size 10 needle.  I pulled out a variety of blues and greens and put them into a color wheel of sorts.  I’d do one repeat of the pattern with each color.  It’s very simple, but it looks really sweet in my office.  Since my office tends to echo, having something soft to absorb noise really helps.

Gynormous Stocking

A stocking that is large enough for my 3 year old neice to crawl into.  I have made a stocking for both neices and my nephew.  Since the stocking I made for my nephew was abnormally large, I felt I couldn’t go any smaller for his younger sister.  Plus, it drives my sister a little crazy trying to make the stocking look “full.”

 

Pretty Thing

 

 

 

A Photograph by My Pint Sized Photographer

 

Vogue Knitting: A Review

Classic Knitting, Vogue Style

I’ve been sent a couple of knitting books to review.  I know, having a blog is tough work.  I get sent random books, I ooh and ahh over them, they get put into a pile for blogging about at some later date.  The really sad part is that this particular book is well worth raving about and I haven’t had much free time in which to rave.

Vogue Knitting:  Classic Patterns from the World’s Most Celebrated Knitting Magazine is well worth putting on your Christmas List.  It’s that good.  Classic Patterns is a celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the magazine.  The book showcases some of the most sought after patterns in the last 30 years.  It also talks about the resurgance of knitting and some of the trends that were going on during those decades.

 

Remember the 80's?

 

I’m going to be brutally honest here.  There are some patterns that I would not knit.  However, those items are still beautifully shot and have a fashion forward (for that time period) flare.  Do I like dropped shoulders?  No.  But there was a time in my life (granted I was barely old enough to pick my own clothing) when I wore a lot of those type of sweaters.  My point is that this was a sign of the times and the patterns are well worth saving if for no other reason than pure historical value.

Historically Large?

It’s not all bad fashion flashbacks, there are a lot of patterns in this book that I would love to knit.  (Could someone find me 50 more hours in the week in which I could knit them all?)

Comfy & Snuggly, Pair with a Belt on a Casual Office Day.

Vogue Knitting is known for having well known designers grace it’s pages, and this book is a veritable who’s who of knitting and fashion.

So kick back, pour yourself a glass of wine and enjoy three decades of fashion.  If you’ve been a very nice Knitter this year, maybe Santa will put this book under the tree for you.

 

My Work Wardrobe

Good Help Is Hard to Find

7 Year Olds Take Interesting Photos

One of the women I knit with is fond of saying, “Good help is hard to find.”  Generally she says this while working at the yarn store when she can’t get the cash register to work the way she wants.  Mostly, I think she says this because she’s a naturally humble person with a great sense of humor.  She’s one of the best knitters I know and I’d like to be just like her some day. 

This same knitter has made two of the Sideways Shawlettes in the time it’s taken me to do one.  It’s not because it was hard, but because the fringe was boring me to tears.  I finally finished this at a scrapbooking retreat I was at this past weekend.  Yes, it was a scrapbooking retreat.  Yes, I mostly knit.  It’s what I do. 

Modelling is Hard Work

But back to the shawlette.  I had decided this particular shawl needed a bit of bling.  So I bought some beads to put along the fringe.  The shawl travelled with me to Sock Summit, to Chicago, to my parent’s house, and finally to the retreat.  To be honest, I only worked on the shawl fringe at Sock Summit and at the retreat.  The fringe was just that boring. 

As for the crazy pictures, well that’s where the good help comes in.  My model is my 7 year old daughter who was less than enthused about helping out unless she was able to use my shawl to be an “old west bad guy.” 

Bad Bart Robs the Bank

(check out the very determined walk that Lily is doing in the background!)

 
Pattern Details:
Yarn:  Claudia Handpainted Silk, held double. 
Needles:  Probably a 7… I really don’t remember since it’s been partially half done since about May.  Yes, I’m hanging my head in shame over that one! 
Mods:  None, except I think I made an unintentional one in that my points of the shawl didn’t quite come out evenly.  The good news is that I don’t believe anyone will ever notice while it’s being worn.  I’m choosing to call it a “design element” and move on.