Monday, December 31, 2007

Tanglery--When Skeins Go Bad

It started out innocently; wind a cake from a skein of Schaefer Anne yarn into a perfect cake for knitting the perfect scarf to go with my new red jacket. But what was that? A nasty click-clack from my ball winder and an abrupt halt. No matter, this can be fixed. (It might have made as much sense to knit directly from the skein.)
For sure, hanging it on the bedpost didn't make a lot of sense, either. There was some (okay, a lot) exasperation going on here. 560 freakin' yards of fingering weight yarn, for goodness sake!
Several hours and an Excedrin PM later I'm rewinding the skein.
Note to self: Buy only small skeins from now on.

Happy New Year, and may all your tangles be small.

Friday, December 28, 2007

And Under My Hat...

Under my hat my hair is flat. I look (and feel) completely ridiculous in most of them. But it's probably the best feeling hat I've worn in a long time. Not too tight, not too loose, but just right!

Yarn: Mountain Colors Twizzle, colorway, Steelhead
Pattern: Toboggan Noggin, by Amy E. Anderson.
Needles: #6 Addi Turbos

Comments: I really like this pattern. I got it with a purchase of yarn at Lakeside Fibers in Madison, WI. The yarn is pleasant to work with and the colors are purely luscious.

The top of the hat can be closed or partly open or completely open to slide down the neck like a cowl.

With another skein in the wings, should I make gloves? Fingerless? Mittens?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

She's Gonna Be a Hokie!

My granddaughter will be going to Virginia Tech next year to study architecture! She was one of a few who received early acceptance to the school and she is very excited, as it was her first choice (Iowa State, her dad's school, had also accepted her application). Can ya tell I'm too terribly proud?

So, a grandma has to make something in her school colors, right? But this is still in the works, so don't breath a word of it, okay?
The maroon and burnt orange are good, but I haven't trimmed any loose ends yet in case I change my mind about the stripes.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Season's Greetings!

Have a Wonderful Christmas!
I feel so blessed to be able to connect with each of you as we knit our way through life. Thank you all for being there to encourage me. And a Happy New Year, too!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Two FO - La-La-La-La-La!

Here's the second of these scarves I've made (the first one I gave to my sister):
Pattern: Morehouse Farms Knit/Purl Scarf
Yarn: Morehouse Farm Merino Morehouse Merino 2-Ply in Oatmeal colorway
Needles: #5 Addi Turbos
Comments: Instead of the two skeins as came in the original kit, I used three skeins. This made the scarf very long and rather luxurious looking. Morehouse Farm has the loveliest Merino. It's a joy to knit, has a beautiful "hand," and has to be the best smelling wool available! I think this photo captures the essence of the stitch pattern, which is the same on both sides.

The second finished object is this reversible cable scarf:

Pattern: Onduleux Cables by Angela Johnson at Yarn Garage
Yarn: Shi Bui Sock in Rapids colorway
Needles: Susan Bates #5 Straights
Comments: I altered the pattern, which was written for thin worsted weight yarn, to fit the fingering weight yarn. Really like this pattern, too, as it is also reversible.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Reversible Cable Scarf in Progress

I know some of you have seen this in my Ravelry projects (my name there is keredding), but for those of you who are pure blog readers, here is the latest on this scarf progress. Not much, to be sure, but it's moving right along.

The cables look the very same on the back as on the front, which I find really attractive.

Here's something I originally read in the New York Times about the aging brain. It mentions, among other things, knitting to help keep your brain agile, even in the face of certain brain diseases. Here is the same article in the International Herald Tribune. We knitters suspected all along that knitting was good for you, didn't we?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Morning Frost

This was the view of my back yard from the living room window this morning. My little old camera just doesn't quite capture the beauty of the hoar frost on the trees. It was magnificent! And the sun is shining! Tender mercies.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Ruched Scarf - Finished!

Yarn: Colinette Jitterbug, 116 velvet plum (main color) and Koigu KPM, 2239 (contrasting color)
Pattern: Gathered Scarf by Maryse
Needles: #4 and #7 straights

Comments: I loved making this scarf. It was a totally fun pattern to do and it went pretty fast. One has to be watchful switching needle sizes, but that quickly becomes second nature as you change sizes on the decrease and increase rows.

I made a couple alterations to the pattern as written. Instead of a rolled stockinette stitch at the edges, I substituted the garter stitch and those rows were done in an analogous color, darker than the main one. This lovely detail that I thought was so important to the finished product is not revealed in the photo. But it is apparent in real life.

This pattern has such a beautiful, unusual texture and is so light to wear, since it's made with fingering weight yarn, that I am considering raiding my stocking yarn stash to make another. And maybe some matching wristlets!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Ruching Around

Starting another scarf before finishing two that are already on the needles is probably not prudent. But this scarf spoke to me, with its ruching between rows of garter. Even the back side of the scarf has an interesting texture.

Using fingering weight yarn and with a few minor changes to the pattern, the scarf is taking shape rather nicely. I am totally enjoying the knit. If it turns out the way I hope it will, I've got lots of sock yarn backed up in the stash to make another. And another. And another.

Seems like a good way to use some of that sock yarn that is way too beautiful to tread on.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Noro Striped Scarf #3 – Variation on a Theme

The Winterscape

Winterscape, is my third—maybe not last—Noro Striped Scarf. Reminds me of the countryside blanketed with snow and lined with bare-barked trees in shades of brown and gray and soft white with a dash of golden grasses. The next time you drive through the country in winter, take a good look at the landscape’s natural colors. In their subtlety, they are calming and refined and most beautiful to behold.

Yarn: Noro Silk Garden #267 and #269, two skeins each.

Needles: Susan Bates #7 Quicksilver straights.

Pattern: The Noro Striped Scarf, as seen on Brooklyn Tweed’s blog.

Comments: Is Noro refining and softening their Silk Garden yarn? These two colors were much squishier/softer in the skein than others and remained so on the needles. I decided to change the striping a bit on this scarf and rather than doing just the two row striping, added a variation on each end, with a ¾” stripe at the very center of the scarf (this stripe was done simply because there was a bit more brown yarn at the end of knitting the first two skeins and because I wanted a point for measuring where to start the next controlled striping). Also, I like the unexpected effect it gives. I carried the opposite color up the side, rather than cutting the yarn and weaving it in. The effect is not that noticeable and it reduced finishing time.

Here is the chart for the striping:

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Beautiful Wool

There's a new yarn shop in Minneapolis called Bella Lana (Italian for Beautiful Wool). Everything is white--except the yarn--and the shop is illuminated by round white lanterns completely filling the ceiling, corner to corner. It's one of the prettiest shops I've seen and the selection of yarn is very nice, some of which I hadn't seen before. I purchased some Bryspun needles, not always easy to find in the city, and they also have my favorite double points, Susan Bates Quicksilver.

Here's something else I found there this afternoon:It's a small velvet bag with beaded handle and a beaded scroll design on both sides--perfect for one sock in progress at the symphony, your lipstick and comb!One of the customers sure looked like Annie Modesitt. I was too shy to ask. Was that you, Annie?

Friday, November 30, 2007

Movie at the Oak Street

Just wanted to tell you about the movie we saw this evening at the Oak Street Cinema in Minneapolis. It's called Let's Get Lost, a documentary made in 1988 and recently re-released, about the life of Chet Baker, jazz trumpeter and singer. It includes interviews with Baker's friends, wives, mother and children as well as with the man in his last year along with a sound track of his music. It's a fascinating, riveting glimpse into the life of a gifted musician with a drug addiction.

If you are jazz fans, particularly Chet Baker fans, you won't want to miss it.

It's showing nightly through December 6, with weekend matinées.

Monday, November 26, 2007

More Scarves and some Wooden Tools

Here's the little Christmas tree in my office. Look carefully underneath and you will see--what! Not another Noro Striped Scarf! Egad, woman!
Also there's a narrow cabled scarf in the works:Notice the Brittany cable holder, which is really cool. The stitches don't fall off because of the nature of the wood and also the center section is slightly narrower than the ends. Real nice tool.

This must be my year for wooden tools. I also got a niddy-noddy. It came with minimal instruction and is unfinished. Should I finish it and if so, how? A wax finish? Oil finish? Varnish? I went to a woodworking shop and the myriad finishes simply confused me. Confusion ensued as I tried to explain a niddy noddy, too. Guess I will have to bring the tool in to the store with a ball of yarn wrapped around it.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Noro Ribbed Scarf #2 (The Mallard)

Everyone who makes this cannot seem to get enough photos of it, and this is no exception. The Judge loved the scarf. He wears it so well, don't you think?

Yarn: Noro Kureyon, Colors #172 and 195, two skeins each.
Purchased Here: Stitcher's Crossing, Madison, WI
Pattern: The wildly popular and much talked about Noro Striped Scarf, as seen on Brooklyntweed's blog.
Needles: Susan Bates Quicksilver #7 straights
Here is the Judge's scarf with low light (and it's pretty much how it looks to me).
And here it is with more flash lighting, which skews the colors a bit by brightening them.
Either way, the colors are fab for a guy. Or for a gal. Since both colors have blocks of color that are quite close, there are a couple blocks of really dark, nearly imperceptible striping followed by a revelation of softly changing Mallard-like hues. I like this scarf as much as the first one I made. That one I glommed onto and claimed as my own. The plan was to make another one in Silk Garden with two dark and two highly multicolored colorways. But the Judge indicated he would like one, so I chose these for him.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Fingerless Mitts - Finished

Pattern: Kim's Sockotta Fingerless Gloves

Yarn: Mae 100% Alpaca, from Rum River Alpaca Ranch in Oak Grove, MN

Needles: #1 Pony Pearl dpns

Comments: The pattern was for fingerless gloves, not mitts, and it is written for 2 circs. My version is fingerless, with ribbing at thumb and fingers and the addition of embroidered daisies with a small bead at the center. The yarn is soft and feels wonderful on the hand, but it is not very forgiving of any knitting irregularities. And there are a few.

The pattern is straightforward, simple and fine. But because I decided to do this on dpns, rather than 2 circs, the translation from one to the other was done in my head (not a good choice) and adding to my befuddlement was my substituting the fingerless ribbing. My recommendation? Next time just follow the pattern!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Hypnotic Color

I am in a color trance. I'll admit it. There are man socks to be knitted and fingerless mitts to be finished. But I saw this Noro yarn....

And most of you know the rest of the story. The Judge liked my first Noro striped scarf and indicated he would actually wear one, so he's getting one!This one is dark in color, reminding me of Mallards as the colors transform from black to grey to dark green, blue and brown. When I finish you will get a better representation of these new smoky colors from Noro.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Noro Ribbed Scarf - Finished!

Yarn: Noro Silk Garden Colors 217, 234 and 84. 4 skeins total.
Pattern: brooklyntweed's Noro Striped Scarf
Needles: #7 Addi Turbos
Comments: Noro, thy name is Color! I was reminded of Elizabeth Zimmerman's saying about ribbing, "continue in ribbing until you are sick of it," or something to that effect--pardon my paraphrasing. Oh yes, you will be sick of the 1 x 1 ribbing by the time you reach the end of your yarn. But is it worth it? I think so. Noro can be difficult to knit; it's a bit rough, with vegetable matter and knots here and there--and it's quite expensive! The redeeming feature about this yarn is the ever-unfolding melding of colors that will mesmerize you and keep you knitting to the end.
Even before blocking, the scarf takes on a magical aura of its own.
Virtually every Noro Striped scarf I have seen is beautiful, so I really don't think you can choose the wrong colors. I am particularly fond of Kathy's lovely Noro scarf.

While striving for subdued color in this scarf, I would definitely go more colorful in the next one. Choose two dark colors and two multi-colored yarns and you will have a rainbow of beauty.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Moving Right Along...

I'm looking a lot like this woman as I plod along with my Noro Ribbed Scarf:

The Last Knit

With apologies to all who have seen this a million times!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Noro Scarf - In Progress

Who has frogged this basic scarf?
I have some reservations about the yarn (more on this later), colors I chose, and especially my own capability to complete a simple project these days. Frogging a 1x1 ribbed scarf a couple of times seems preposterous, doesn't it? Maybe a little fresh air is in order here.

Taking a break...

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Man Socks in Progress

They really don't look so beige and peachy; it's just my camera behaving badly! They are more brown and gray.

These are socks for the Judge, and he likes them plain. There's still lots of knitting to go because he has some really big feet. And they are on size 0 needles.

Now I have been distracted by other projects I have ripped and re-knitted until I'm starting to feel sorry for the yarn, not to mention my own frazzling.

Have you ever started what should have been a really simple project that turned into a seemingly unattainable finished product?

Guess I need to return to these socks!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Fingerless Mitts - In Progress

This is my first attempt at Fingerless Mitts. The ribbing looks crooked, but I think I yanked the glove on in a hurry. Seems like taking photos is not one of my favorite things.

Anyhow, the pattern is for fingerless gloves, but I didn't want little part-fingers on this one. And I didn't want mittens, either. in Minnesota this time of the year you need a little something to keep your hands warm, but it's nearly impossible to drive while wearing mittens or gloves. Maybe even illegal. Don't quote me on that.

Oh, and it's very, very plain, as you can see. I like that. But then I might be overdosed on wildly beautiful patterned knitted items, having been immersed in Ravelry way too much.

I plan to make a scarf to go with the mitts, but haven't decided on the pattern yet.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Big Lucy - Finished!

Yarn: Main color: Cascade Ecological Wool, color #8049 Stripes: Noro Big Kureyon Color #19.

The Lucy Bag by Two Old Bags

This pattern is really a beautiful style, and I like knitting it. Because I added the Kureyon, the bag didn't felt as much in that area. Now the debate is whether to refelt it, because it is a little bigger than the pattern said, so I have the room to do so.

Here's the Lucy BF (before felting).And here it is AF. Should I refelt it?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Quoth the Raven

Warning: Socks That Rock Spoiler Ahead!!!

Here is a photo of the bag I purchased in Door County at Turtle Ridge.The leather work is very nice, and the theme is a bit unusual.

And here's a closeup of the bag. I don't know if these are crows or ravens nor do I know if there is a even difference between these winged wonders who get no respect.
In this vein, here's the--no peeking if you hate spoilers--(spoiler) .
It's the October shipment from the Rockin' Sock Club.

While it may be difficult to see the nuance of color in the photo, trust me, the yarn is an amazing melding of burgundy and charcoal. I love the colors and think the pattern is going to be very interesting, too!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

October Sunset Socks

These socks are like an October sunset. Soft and gently colorful.
Yarn: Trekking XXL, Colour #160
Pattern: My own, with Gerdine Strong's heel applied
Comments: The Strong heel requires no picking up stitches for the gusset, but it does require a bit of attention to the corners of the gusset when you move down the foot. At least that has been my experience. The sock fits nicely, and I experimented with the number of stitches to Kitchener at the toe. For my feet, 8 seems like not enough, so I went with 12 stitches at the toe this time and like the fit much better.
Here's a closeup of the Strong Heel gusset:
If any reader has experience with this type of heel, please leave a comment!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Mother of Purl, er, Pearl

Just one more photo of the diminutive Lucy Bag.

I could not resist adding an oversized button and some pearls to this bag. Maybe I should have saved it for the bigger bag I'll make one of these days. Nah.

Here's a closeup of the cluster of pearls on mother-of-pearl.

Embellishment is part of the fun of felting bags, and I'll probably dude up the next one I make.

What, Me Worry?

On the needles now, another pair of plain socks. Really, making those intricately patterned socks is something I have done a little bit, but they just don't fit in my shoes as well. So I assume they wouldn't fit in other people's shoes, either. Why don't sock knitters speak of this? Or do they, and I have just missed it? I run around the house in my stocking feet. But having high standards, I draw the line at going out for the mail in them and then I stuff my feet into the nearest pair of shoes and dash.

In the "what, me worry?" department, I ran across a post about this yarn stash--totally amazing, seriously overwhelming . It only makes most of us feel a little bit better about hoarding yarn. And maybe a whole lot jealous, too.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

An Unwatched Pot or The Lucy Bag - Finished!

Yarn: Cascade 220, Color #9403
Pattern: The Lucy Bag by Two Old Bags
Needles: 10.5 Addi Turbo 24"--I did the magic loop at the beginning of the pattern, and did not use dpns.

They say a watched pot never boils. Here is an example of an unwatched pot. I knew better; you must watch your felting. It was not just felting, it was melting. The nearly disappearing Lucy Bag.

You see, I tried to do two things at a time, the other being to reformat the hard drive on my laptop. I might as well have attempted brain surgery. My Lucy Bag dwindled from a large to a small bag in no time at all in my washing machine. It looks okay, just not the size I was hoping for. You will see another (hopefully larger) Lucy Bag here in the future.

And maybe a smarter felter. Ha.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Three Little Bags

Pattern: Jewelry Bag from the book Felted Knits by Beverly Galeskas.

Yarn: Noro Aurora Color #2

Needles: Size 10 Addi Turbo circs

Comments: These bags are for the gals in my book club. Three of us made three bags each so that all nine club members would have a bag after our Fall Retreat. I thought mine were such a boring color that I added the little button at the top and the ribbon fit perfectly through the button slots. We also added the individual's initials at the end of the ribbon ties.

Here's a pretty good closeup of the button, although you can't see the initials on the ribbon too well.

This is my first felting project since the doomed BIG BAG. Even though the yarn didn't felt as much as we had hoped, I still am satisfied with the finished product and may do some more felting one of these days.

I sure hope they like them.