Sunday, February 27, 2011

Where Did Winter Go?

Todtay I finished what is probably the last winter project that I will work on this season. Even though I have several other winter projects languishing in the unfinished state, I find it hard to think about working on them when the temps are in the 60's to low 80's. My mind keeps turning to summer tops like Buttercup. I even went so far Thursday as to get out the yarn and frog the little bit that had been knit into a sleeve for something else. Something else that I will never wear since I'm at least four sizes larger and wouldn't have enough yarn to finish it in a larger size because it was purchased several years ago.


Pattern: Molly
Yarn: Plymouth Mushishi in a color I call Rose
Needles: 7 US Colonial Rosewoods
Knitted: February 9-27, 2011

This was a take along project that I worked on when I needed something completely mindless or needed a brake from other projects. There are only 4 rows to the pattern. Row 2 is a repeat of row and row 4 is a repeat of row 3 so it was a complete no brainer. This was a stash project and since I didn't want any yarn leftover I used all 491 yards. I will make this again for me.

I finished the first foot of the Drip Candle socks and started the second only to realize that I was using needles that are a 1/2 size smaller than those used for the first. Definitely a brain fart moment. Since I don't have any yarn to waste I'll frog what I have done so far and start over.

I seriously considered making these socks fraternal but I'm all about the matchy-matchy thing when possible.

I've been reading a lot of new to me blogs lately and I'm amazed at how many knitters are knitting down their stashes. My stash is insanely large and keeps growing exponentially so it was time for me to rein myself in but obviously there are a lot of others who feel the need to do the same or something close to it.

The last time I purchased yarn was in December and that was to make a hat, fingerless gloves and scarf for one of my nephews. The hat is made but was a tad too small and the scarf has been started. He's only five so I'm not worried about him outgrowing it too soon but with the current weather situation he won't need.

I'm not saying I haven't looked at, touched or wanted to purchase yarn I'm just saying I haven't made any purchases. I do feel great each time I finish a project and know that I didn't have to go out and buy the yarn for it. My goal is to go the entire year and I'm on my way to month 3.

I have been spending more time beading and that means spending money on beads. It's not as much as I would spend on yarn since I try to buy on a project by project basis. I really enjoy it and each time we do a different technique which keeps it interesting. My goal is to get to a place where I can conceive and execute my own designs plus it relieves some of the stress on my body from knitting too much. This year is about stretching out and learning new things and this puts me well on my way.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Take a Chill Pill or Time Out Anyone?

After a two month break we had a beading session today. We always have lunch before getting started and today Millie's mom made some great chili, Nancy prepared a wonderful salad and Gail made delicious homemade salsa and cornbread. For dessert I made Molten Chocolate Cakes and Calvin brought coffee and french vanilla ice cream. I haven't made this dessert in a very long time and it was every bit as good as I remember.

Our planned project was the spiral peyote bracelet. This project did not come easy to me and I experienced some serious frustration trying to get it started. My way to deal with project frustation whether it be knitting, sewing, beading or programming is to take a time out and step away for a while to clear my head and let my frustation level subside.

Millie took a look at what I was doing and realized that I was working clockwise instead of counterclockwise. This solved the problem and once I got restarted things went smoothly.

Looking at what I originally thought would be just a bracelet, I'm now considering making a bracelet and matching necklace with coordinating earrings. I don't typically wear a lot of gold or goldtoned jewelry anymore but I do wear a lot of red and I love the look of the bracelet. I don't want to get in the habit of making a lot of random pieces and would love to have some sets.

I made it to the heel of the Drip Candle socks Thursday and was not at all pleased with the results. Colinette Jitterbug is closer to sportweight and I chose to use it for the heel. This resulted in a bulky and not to attractive heel when compared with the rest of the sock. I sought mom's opinion and she agreed so I ripped the entire heel out last night. I will use the green supersock instead. In the photo you can still see some of the blue but that has also been frogged.

This has been a great weekend and tomorrow promises to be another beautiful day. I plan to get back to work on the almost finished test knitting and sit out on the deck for a change and enjoy the sun. I hope that you are having a beautiful weekend as well.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

A Serious Case of Startitis

As if I don't have enough wip's already I've developed a serious case of "startitis". I see a project that I like and I just have to cast on. One of the Knit-Inn participants was wearing the most gorgeous ruffled scarf. Of course I had to investigate to see what pattern was used. It was the Molly scarf from Classic Elite Yarns Liberty Wool leaflet.

I made a quick call to The Needler yesterday, one of the lys' in the area, to put the pattern on hold and as soon as I got off work I drove over to Lexington to pick it up. I cast on this morning while taking a break at work with Plymouth Mushishi from the stash.

I was tempted to buy the Liberty Wool used in the pattern but I resisted. I'm not sure that I would have been able to hold out if they had more colors available but I'm pleased with the way the Mushishi is knitting up.

I restarted the Drip Candle socks over 72 stitches and the fit is perfect. I'm back to my original ending place with the first sock and have decided to use 8 colors instead of trying to use all of the colors in the bag. I'm saving those for the next pair and will need to knit some socks with more contrasting colors before I use them.

My mom has a friend who suffered some nerve damage to one of his hands and now has a problem with it being cold and hurting. I'm making a pair of fingerless mitts for him from Knits Men Want. I was almost finished with the first one when I realized that it was going to be to big in the Ultra Alpaca I was using. His hand is the same size as mine so at least I have a good guide to go by.

I finished the foot of my test knitting while I was in Greenville so now I need to buckle down and get the rest of the sock done. This is the first time I've test knitted for someone and it has been a pleasing and interesting experience. It has given me a great appreciation of pattern writing. I only wish more people were conscientious about getting their patterns properly tested before releasing them to the public.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Leftovers Are Good For You

For several years I've been saving the little balls of yarn left from socks and more recently (as in last year) fingerless gloves. I've used some of it to make baby socks but was at a loss as to what to do with the rest. I knew I wouldn't knit a sock yarn blanket because blankets aren't my thing. My original plan was to save it for sock repairs which have proven to be few and far between so that the amount on hand has continued to grow.

I bought Think Outside the Sox at Stitches South last year and one of the patterns that caught my eye was the Drip Candle Socks. They were knitted using one of my favorite yarns Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Merino. This past week I pulled out all of the balls that used yarn with a content and twist similar to the Cherry Tree Hill Supersock. Below is the result of that search.

I have enough leftovers to make at least 2 or 3 pairs. I started the first pair today and so far I've used eight of the colors I pulled for this pattern.

This first sock may not be keeper since it is quite snug on the foot. I'm going to put this foot in time out and cast on another with more stitches using the same color scheme. So far I've found the pattern to be quite meditative to work. It is a very simple 2-stitch, 2-row pattern that works up very quickly.

The Palmetto Purlers, my knitting guild, is doing a KAL for Miriam Felton's aka Mimknits Adamas Shawl. I'm using Karabella Yarns Merino Lace which is slightly heavier than laceweight but not quite fingering weight. My initial plan was to knit at least a row a day but as you can see I've already been derailed from that plan. There isn't any rush to get this done so I'm doing a row here and there until it's finished. This is another stash buster project as I try to work through some of the laceweight yarns that I have.

I've been successful in that I haven't purchased any yarn. I did add two skeins of Red Heart Heart & Sole that was in our Knit-Inn baskets. I have mom's skein and mine and will use them to make either socks or fingerless gloves. I'm having success going "Cold Sheep" and it's a pleasure to walk in the room and pick out yarn for whatever project I want to make.

Last year by this time I would have hit all of the sales and added a significant amount of yarn to the already burgeoning stash along with the associated guilt of buying yarn that I don't need. This year it's about making do with what I have and being happy and guilt-free without all the excesses.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Knit-Inn 2011

This weekend I went to my most favorite event of the year, the SC Knitting Guild's 2011 Knit-Inn. The Knit-Inn occurs on the first weekend in February and entails classes, fun activities and of course lots of knitting. I look forward to catching up with friends from past Knit-Inns and making new ones. This year there were over 179 participants registered by Friday.

Lou's sock yarn Granny Square afghan

An original Bohous sweater at Show & Share

Kim and other guild members knitting in the lobby

Deborah teaching a cast on class

The variety and number of classes increases each year and this years offerings weren't disappointing. I took 3 classes and I'm always amazed when someone says that I don't need to take classes. There are lots of things that I still have to learn where knitting is concerned and at $5.00-$10.00 per class you can't go wrong.

I got some impromptu spinning lessons from Linda of the Rock Hill area knitting guild. She owns a shop in the area and I'll be traveling that way later in the spring for some hands on spinning lessons. She tested my wheel, a Majacraft Little Gem, and said that it is in excellent shape. I've had this wheel since 2004 and I am so looking forward to finally learning how to use it again. I was just starting to spin when I had my neck problems and eventual surgery and this is the first time I've had someone available to help me get started again.

I had a great time and of course mom was right there hanging out and having a good time herself. I think everyone would be shocked if I journeyed up there without her especially Fort Mill knitting buds Lou and Lori. I returned home exhausted and I'm already looking forward to next year.