Sunday, January 30, 2011

OFF the needles.

I think it may be a residual result of getting so many things actually done and given to relatives, friends and charity but I have been finishing items and hesitating to start new ones even though I have purchased a pattern or two, some Madelinetosh yarn, and have several pattern designs running around in my head.

So what is OFF the needles and done?

1-  The tam I promised in exchange for some discontinued Filatura di Crossa kid mohair / acrylic (yes- acrylic - don't faint.  We'll keep this just between us.) yarn.

2- The tam I promised myself once the de Nile items were done and the exchange hat was completed and shipped off to Ontario.

3- The vest I made to use up 4 skeins of the angora/merino yarn.  (BTW all but 3 skeins in natural remain.)
 Taken with my iPod.  Gosh I love that little gizmo.

4 - The sweater I started way back last year.  I actually meant it to be a short sleeved cardi but once it was all knit decided to leave it as a sweater.

I was going to put buttons down the steeked column and let it look cardi-ish but when the sweater was blocked decided to actually turn it into a v-neck short sleeved sweater.  

This meant changing the steek line. I tried on the sweater to see where to end the V and decided the best place was above the horizontal band near the bust line.
 Steeking is scary under regular circumstances but I took a chance, marked a v line with pins and then used my trusty sewing machine to make a nice unseeable hold off the unraveling line of stitches.  Then I breathed a lot, went away, came back, went away, picked up the scissors and had a chat with myself.

"So what's the worst that can happen?
Well I could ruin this sweater.
Yes, and......???? 
Well it took forever to knit.
Are you in love with it?
No, I thought I would be but am not.
OK then, so it won't be too traumatic if you ruin this will it?

Then I held my breath and snipped and looked around.  Amazingly nothing catastrophic had occurred.  The room looked the same, the ceiling was in place, the snow was still outside and the cat was still sleeping on the bed with Basel on the floor on his pillow.  Let out breath.

Next I picked up stitches all around using a 24" circ.  So far so good.
Then the collar edging was knit to match the other edgings and bound off.  When I went to block this part I saw the edging was a bit loose so tacked the bottom into a more pronounced V.
Disaster averted and it actually fits.

5 - Knit Picks has posted my latest design for them.  Circle of Hearts Beret.

So now I am allowed to begin a new design.  My Very Own Cowl for mvosister who says she wears the Pretty Thing almost every day in this cold cold winter.
There's a fantastic vest in the works too.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Bunny Bulky

I love yarn with angora in it. Actually I love almost anything with angora.  I always think others will love it too but it is becoming my experience that way more folks like other combos than angora or way more folks are just not will to pay the extra to get angora or maybe way more folks don't want to be as warm as angora yarn will be (5-6 times warmer than wool).

Chinese workers get bupkas in pay.  They work long hours under horrible conditions, live in dorms where they need to buy their own toilet paper and are told to be grateful.  One of the many reasons our economy is in the toilet is because so many of our manufacturers find it cheaper to build factories in China and employ Chinese workers than pay Americans what we are worth.

I try to avoid purchasing goods made in China.  To this end I commissioned another bunny lover to make me some bulky yarn.  It is hand 3 plied and naturally dyed.  It is also all American.  Bunny, alpaca and merino all from the USA. Dyed and plied in the USA.  Candy Cane   Well when stuff is hand done in the USA we do need to cough up more than what we have grown accustomed to paying for hand done stuff out of China.  $50-$150 for a hand made 'imported' quilt is ridiculous yet you see them in many catalogs.

I paid for 150 yard skeins of this so soft bulky weight yarn in 3 colorways and 1 natural color.  So far, in 4 months ONE skein has sold - that includes 2 vendings and on the internet. I have been drooling over these skeins since they came in but kept telling myself they would sell and be loved by someone else.  Finally, last week I succombed and took all 4 skeins of Huckleberry Ice for myself.

Then I went on Ravelry and used their incredible pattern search engine -- Vest, knitting, photos, no more than 600 yards and bulky.   This sorted into 31 patterns for me to choose from.  Such fun.  I finally went with Gwendolyn by Carolin Schwarberg from Burda Verena.

As someone who usually uses needles that are US 8 or less, knitting with 10.5 and 11's is such a treat.  This vest knit up in record time.  Well record time compared to the year it is taking me to finish a short sleeved sweater on US4's.
Gosh -  in this pic it looks like a little kid's dress.

I got halfway to the armpits in ONE DAY.
3 skeins took me to the end of the back but the 4th skein needed to be added on to sew up the shoulders.  

                              All that is left is the neck and sleeve edgings and I can start knowing there is plenty of yarn left to get it all done.  Sometimes a quick project that is not a hat is such a kick. Oh and the fact that I have shed a whole size is a definite plus.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Yes we did!

It's been a rough week what with the shootings in Tucson and the ensuing debates.    Gabrielle Giffords is miraculously free of her breathing tube and actually improving by leaps and bounds.  I believe that is from all the love sent to her from so many people who find this kind of violence abhorrent.  She is a fine fine human being.

However the darkness in this country in books, in songs, in movies and Tea Party/Republican rhetoric is difficult to avoid.  I belong to Knitters for Obama on Ravelry. We have been having quite the forum on violence in speeches as stepping stones to people who just need a nudge or two to act violently.  Just because your candidate did not get elected, is no reason to invoke the 2nd Amendment.  However when I was teaching I saw this trend in too many students and adults alike who did not take responsibility for their actions or consequences resulting from their actions.  Our democracy is at risk.

Somehow I will become involved in something to remedy this trend.  Charity knitting doesn't do it although it does foster good feelings. Don't quite know what yet, but it will appear.

Meanwhile watch this video to regain some of that hope and good feeling we had during the last presidential campaign and for a bit afterwards too.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

All's well that ends well.

So my fellow cruisers, you are probably wondering where I have gone, what I have done and whom with?

With Jim recuperating and me doing his chores I find I have less time and energy for other things and some stuff gets to take a back seat.  Blogging became one of those.

Recapping on the DeNile cruise stops.

#1- hot pads for my mother  √

#2- a specific something, maybe 2, for my sister but she reads this so I am not going to say. √√
A hot pad similar to the ones for my mother but in a plain dull sage coloring.  That is just my opinion.  Mvos likes tans, taupe, dull sage, grey and blacks.  OR as a member of my guild says - murk.
Then hand spun cashmere knit into the Yarn Harlot's Pretty Thing cowl.
I was kinda hoping to have a pic of her in one but she is extremely camera shy, that or she just made nice noises and will pack this away with other nice but not wanted stuff.

#3- Texting mitts for granddaughter Alicia - √

These and the new Kathy Reichs book, Virals were a big hit.  Her Great grandma wanted to know what she would do with gloves with no fingers, weren't they useless.  "Oh no, Gram they are for texting."

#4- A felted bag granddaughter Amelia - √
Amelia sings in a chorus and loves horses.  It was rather difficult to find good horse music that could be easily felted.  I settled on "A Horse with No Name".

#5- Socks for Jim - √

Started the day of his surgery 12/14 and completed on his birthday, 12/26  5 hours before midnight.

#6- Finish my shruggy shawl to wear Christmas eve - √ with conditions

I extended the deadline as something had to give with that tight cruise schedule.  I wore a store bought sweater to Christmas eve services instead of the shruggy and allowed myself a new deadline of 12/31. Done on time with a few hours to spare.   Now I get to wear it for Roc Day.

#7- A hat or a scarf for my DIL Liz
And my son says it looks very good on her.  Temps are in the 40's and 50's in their neck of CA so I am imagining her getting good use out of this one.

And I so fell in love with this yarn and this hat that I did a Ravelry search.  The yarn is, of course, discontinued so no amount of dogpiling turned up more than an orange shade at WEBs.  However on Ravelry I did find another Susan (but in Ontario) who had several in her stash. She generously sent me a skein.  In return I am knitting her the same hat but in a lighter shade of the same yarn.  She is blond so should look very good in it.

#8- A thank you scarf for Teri - √
 Jim spun the black merino.  I spun the multi colored merino. Then I held both together to get a worsted weight yarn.

#9- There is/are probably another one or two hiding some where in the yarn room - √
A donation for our Roc Day raffle.

All in all a very successful trip down that creek called DeNile but----  I got very tired of working under such pressure with so many deadlines one after the other.  Ruth says I say the same thing every year. sigh.

How did your trip conclude?