Monday, July 30, 2007

Everything's coming up....

Sunflowers! They've been growing wild in my yard this year. It's the weirdest thing and it's never happened before. And they're in three different areas of the yard. The wind must have blew in some seeds....They're a happy surprise!

Wow, this has to be the most boring blog out there right now. Even I'm yawning. Not much knitting has been happening. I guess the needles are feeling they're due a summer vacation too. I gave in, but I'm about to cut their summer short. It's really almost over anyway. I can feel fall just around the corner!

This was in the last package I received from my secret pal during Secret Pal 10. Did I get lucky or what?! Three skeins of Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool in color 24 (deep red), a Chick Knits pattern book, a book on The Language of Happiness, New Yorker Cats note cards, a mini spa kit, a hand care kit and a cute little magnet. Who was behine all the wonderful gifts the past few months? Alissa at Lis knits, too. Thanks Alissa!

And finally... even though the knitting content here has been bleak, there has been a little going on. A couple of months ago my coworker discovered she has breast cancer. I wanted to make her something that was both useful and comforting. I chose a hat in her favorite color pink.

Pattern: Dude, where's my hat? from The Yarn Girls' Guide to Beyond the Basics
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk, color 25009 (a pink-mauvey color)
Needles: Size US 7 dpns - not recommended for a hat unless you have longer needles. My stitches came off the ends several times.
Knitting time: I started on a Saturday and finished the following Friday in three sittings.

I don't love it. My biggest gripe is that hem line across the top of the brim. The pattern calls for doubling the brim length and then folding it under and stitching it to the inside of the hat. It's not as noticeable in the book since they used Tahki, Donnegal Tweed which makes a sturdier fabric than the alpaca silk I used. But I was going for soft.

Another gripe is that the picture in the book is not knit up 'in pattern'. The pattern calls for purl rows creating a garter edge. The picture is all stockinette. I noticed this before I started, but decided to follow the pattern...until I got to the crown. It also called for purl rows (not in the picture!) and I decided to leave them out.

The picture in the book is very cute. It's just not what the pattern makes. It would be disappointing for someone who is more of a beginner and doesn't know how to make the adjustments so that it looks like the picture.

I need to reblock the brim. Do you see where it flairs out on the sides? Thats because I laid it flat while blocking. How do you block a hat? On a cantalope?

I wouldn't knit this particular pattern again. I liked working with the yarn, but it was the wrong choice for the pattern in order to get the look I was going for. The right choice for softness though, which is more important. I'm going to give it to my friend nonetheless. And then I'm going to knit her a better one! :)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Cookie, Canning & a Contest

So my toe-up sock with Cookie A. Thursday night was a lot of fun. The perfect way to end a workday. We made a small sample sock so that we would have time to knit all the hard parts, i.e., the toe, the heel, the gusset, the bind-off, etc. For some, this sample sock made perfect baby socks. They could go home and practice further by making a matching sock and have an instant baby gift on their hands. For me....

It would have to be a baby with mighty fat feet. I put the pen in for scale. The sock doesn't look as big in the picture as it really is. I think these would even be too big for a 3 year old. We used worsted weight yarn, size 7 needles. Oh yeah, and I'm a loose knitter (get your mind out of the gutter!). So no matching sock for this lonely sole. (heh) I bound off to pratice the sewn cast off rather than continuing up the leg.

The class accomplished exactly what I wanted.

  • It was a refresher on making socks. I had taken a top-down sock class a few years ago at Stitches, but never actually made a pair other than the class sample.

  • It renewed my interest in making socks. I've been thinking about them ever since! Maybe I'll actually make a pair this time.

  • I met Cookie! She's very down-to-earth, approachable and patient. Things you would want in an instructor. Her designs are amazing. I bought several patterns.

The Thelonious Sock,


and Rhiannon

But first I'll try something a little more simple! I'm glad I took the class. I don't have a preference to top-down vs. toe-up. I think I have to actually make a few pair before having an opinion. I find it interesting that a lot of people prefer toe-up because they don't like doing the kitchener stitch over a few stitches at the end, yet they'll do a sewn cast-off over 64 stitches. They seem very similar to me. Maybe they do a different bind-off. I know there are other benefits to toe-up. You get past the fussier parts at the beginning and you can knit until you run out of yarn. I wonder what my prefernce will be.

My knitting hiatus seems to be ending. What did I do in my free time if I wasn't knitting, you ask?

I've been playing in the kitchen. We have an apricot and plum tree. We've been told the apricot tree is dying, but it put out a good crop this year. I didn't want the fruit to go to waste like it has in the past, so I made preserves. It's been fun! And tasty! I'll definitely do it again.

On a final note, Ali at Skeins Her Way is having another contest. Let her know I sent you. Good luck!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Enough said.

Sundara Yarn - Petals Collection

I've been eagerly waiting my first installment of Sundara's Petal Collection. It did not disappoint. The color is Blue Grape Hyacinth and it came with a sock pattern that has little clusters that look like hyacinth blooms.

I couldn't capture the subtle varigation of color very well on camera, but there is quite a lot of purple hues throughout the yarn. I've read such great things about Sundara's yarn on various blogs. Now that I have some for myself, I highly recommend it. It has great skwoosh factor and I love, love, love subtle color varigated yarn. I'm not sure if I'll save this for socks or a baby sweater. It will be awhile before I get to it.

I'm taking a class with Cookie A. this Thursday. Hoping the sock bug will bite!