Friday, December 31, 2010

Travel Knitting

I was recently given a purse by my mother.  It's a lovely Donna Karan number with many internal dividers.  There is one section that is just perfect to place a small knitting project.  my first one...

I have finally found the pleasure of travel knitting on a small scale.  I've been knitting on my lunch hour.  I've had to take a separate knitting bag with me.  It was very annoying to have to carry that plus my lunch bag and a purse.  For the last few weeks I've been working on the leg warmers.  I was even in a ridiculously long drive through line and pulled it out to work a round.

The yarn is Cascade Fixation.  I'm pretty sure the colorway is 5104.  I'm still trying to handle the yarn itself.  The hardest thing is to get the right tension on the stitches between the needles.  Because of the elastic it tends to stretch rather than pull tight.  So, I'm getting a ladder on each side. I'll figure it out in time.

The needles are bamboo circular by Kinki Amibari size 4 (3.5 mm) 36 " long.  Probably a little too long.  One thing I'm still trying to figure out.  Things I like? I like that the kinks can be worked out with a hair dryer or a dip in warm water.  I like how it catches the knitting just a enough that the stitches don't slip off easily.  It does happen on occasion.  Things I don't like?  Actually the only thing I don't like is the blunt tip.  It becomes very difficult to pick up dropped stitches.  Especially on this particular yarn.  There is a soft kink worked into the cotton on the elastic. The loops when dropped are not as defined as in other yarns.  A small crochet hook is necessary in this case.

So, that is my travel project.

Now for my at home project.



Here is a lovely view of the seam.   Like I said, I still haven't quite figured how to not get ladders.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Socks for Em

The socks are now complete. They aren't perfect but they will keep her feet warm.


This is still the first sock. She wouldn't take the thing off for two days. I completed the second sock and got the heel to work out properly. This one...not so much. I couldn't get a pic of both socks because now that it has cooled off and the air is drying out her skin she won't wear them. "They're itchy Mama!". I really can't win on this one.

As I was contemplating the next project I was hit with a little bit of inspiration.

Leg warmers!

The yarn is Cascade Fixation.  It's a wonderfully soft cotton with a bit of a kink and some elastic. It was given to me by my good friend margaretw. This is the first time working with this yarn and I really want to get this "in the round" thing going

I picked the "Magic Loop Method," heretofore known as magic loop, because when I  first started on Em's socks I used dpn's. They're cheap and I can get them at a discount. When I  started using  them I found that I couldn't keep track of them all.  I am a knitter is frequently interrupted.  Usually every 2 to 5 minutes in the evening when someone (seen above) is demanding attention. Getting the needles co-ordinated in my hands took to long. Or the yarn would just slip off.   And so I went to circular needles and found the magic loop.

There were two places that really made the technique click for me the first is at The Knit Picks tutorial part of their site.  Their Magic Loop photos are very clear and easy to understand.

The next place I went to is you tube and found a video by The Knit Witch.  She sells yarn and these lovely pottery yarn bowls that I covet.  She also has tutorials and this one was really helpful.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sock Update

Last night I completed my first pair of socks. Ever.  Yay for me!  I give them to my child to put on so that I could see them.  She puts them on and runs off into her room to play.  She comes back five minutes later with socks in hand and says, "Mama, you need finish these."  Jack and I look at her, confusion on our faces. "Em, what do I need to do to finish these?"  She lifts one of he legs Harpo style and says, "You need to make it go up here."  She points to the very top of her thigh and then runs back to her room.  My child wants me to make tights. I'm never gonna win in the end, am I?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Rachel's First Epistle to Her Second Sock

November 9, 2010

Dear Sock,

I know we reached a milestone last night.  Your heel was successfully completed and it looks just like the picture.  The thing is... I have to go to work now.  As a matter of fact would you please stop calling for me at every stop light to pull you out.  I realize that I could get a good 7 or 8 stitches at the 5 lights between  daycare and work.  It's just not safe. I really don't want to explain to the police officer that will pull me over for distracted driving that I "just had to finish my sock."  I don't think he will understand.

I promise that when you are done that you will be loved just as much as your sister.  Just take a look at this picture.

I promise that she will love you just as much if not more because you will fit better.  I solemnly swear that as soon as I get home you'll have some work done and will be done in a day or so.


Rachel the Novice Knitter

Monday, November 1, 2010

It's Looking like a sock!

So far so good.  It's starting to look like an actual garment that might be worn by my child.  She's very excited about getting them. And I'm having a blast making them.  They are the perfect lunch time entertainment.   The needles are Knit Picks Options Circulars that are nickel plated, size 3mm. They are a very smooth knit if a little too slippery for me.  I also, have a wood needle. I will try that one for the next pair.

The video below is the one that flipped the lightbulb on for the Magic Loop method.
 The Knit Witch is a lovely site where she sells hand dyed yarn.  She also sells these great pottery yarn bowls that her  husband makes. As soon as I find a safe place to knit I'm getting one.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Getting past the cast on

I finally have cast on enough to make a toe and it's actually looking something like a sock. I decided for this first one I'm going to use a basic pattern while I'm trying to figure this out.

 I'm not all fond of patterns.  I have a hard time remembering where I left off. I do have some help with that though.  I'm fond of Knit Minder Lite.  It lets me have multiple stitch counters per project. Yay!  I just have to remember to hit the button at the same time to finish the round/row.  I have a few short term memory issues.

So... the pattern I'm using... Simple Toe Up Socks  by Melanie Fraser aka Shoediva.  It's a good basic sock with easy to follow instructions.

Here's where I am so far...

The yarn is Patons Kroy Sock yarn in the Denim Jacquard color way.  I purchased it at Michael's Arts and Crafts (your welcome for the plug dh).

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Show Me

Now that my finger has healed to the point where I can knit with a band-aid.  With the book I began figure out the cast on.  While the pictures were good and helpful I'm a person who needs to be shown how to do something. Which is a little rough when all the groups in town tend to meet at a time when I'm usually at work. And it really doesn't help that my schedule is not regular at best.

 My next stop was YouTube.  My search term was "Toe Up Socks."   Here is where I discovered Very Pink Knits .  She has a 4 video tutorial on toe up socks as well as many other techniques I look forward to trying.   She starts with the provisional cast on.

I wasn't very fond of that technique.  It has it's uses but it stressed me out trying to get the scrap yarn out.

I've heard such good things about Judy's Magic Cast On. I found this video from Knit Purl Hunter.

I did watch Cat Bordhi's tutorial as well but that left me with questions that this one answered.  I think this is it. Time to cast on.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Learning to Knit Socks

My goal this week was to really delve into learning to knit socks in a quest to never hear the phrase "Mama it has bit hiiiilllsss!"  This is my daughter every time I try to put shoes... and socks on her feet.  Lately, it has graduated to "Mountains Mama!" lately. Em has decided that she doesn't like the seams on the top of commercially made socks.

 I was more than a little derailed early in the week as I decided to wash my hands in the dish water and forgot that I put the chef's knife in there.  Yep, there is a big ol' gash in my middle finger.  It has such perfect placement that I could easily stick a 2.5mm needle in there and scream in agony as I try to keep the blood off the yarn. And nope band aids don't really help.

I decided to make good use of my time to do the research to figure out how to do this.  Quite a while ago I heard on the Knit Picks podcast and interview with a designer, the name completely escapes me at the moment, and she extolled the virtues of toe-up sock knitting. I am someone who likes doing the hard part of a project first.  This sounded perfect way to start for me. 

The first stop was the library.  Tulsa library has a fairly good selection of knitting books. This is where I discovered Wendy Johnson and "Socks From the Toe Up".  She breaks down with nice illustrations how to do each step of the process.  Ok, now I'm inspired!  

 A month ago I had bought some needles (dpns and circular). I bought some sock yarn from the hubby's store in preparation for this.  I now have to hurry up and wait for the finger to heal. *sigh*

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tips and Tails

My first work with more than one color. It's the small left overs of other projects I've done. It's all Caron Simply Soft. All I did was one back and forth in each color but man-o-man keeping track of the balls was not fun. No matter my attempts to arrange the balls they continued to tangle me. I don't think I could do fair aisle work. That's a lot of little balls to keep track of.
The next project (s).... The challenging project will be learning to do socks. The comforting project is a variation on the diagonal lace project.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Finished Object!!

Ok, here it is... My first lace project.

Up close...

This was really easy to do! It's a basic 6 row repeat. It didn't take me long to learn the pattern so that I didn't have to read it all the time and keep track with my counter. I love the hand of it with the Simply Soft. I'm pondering expanding this to shawl size.

But for now onto the next learning project. Knitting with 2 colors...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

What's new

I finished the knitting on the diagonal lace scarf. I still need to block it. I'm excited to see how it will turn out. It wasn't anywhere near as difficult as I expected. I'm now looking for the next knitting challenge. In the meantime I am bound and determined to finish the diagonal market bag. I've simplified the pattern and it is going faster. It would be flying by if I could follow the pattern. I'm still having to rip back fairly often as I am a dork and can't seem to pay attention enough to get the proper number of double crochet in the proper order. Sigh. Must press onward. Pictures coming soon when the pattern on the bag is more visible.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Diagonal Lace and the Market Bag

My current lunchtime project is My first foray into lace. It's a lovely and simple diagonal lace scarf by Helena Frank @ Midnight Purls. I was smart and did a swatch as I've never really done this kind of knitting before. Here are the results--

It is Caron's Simply Soft. It seems to be an odd choice as most knitters go for the natural fibers or at least blends, only using man made fibers sparingly so as to enhance the natural fibers. The two things I really like about the yarn are the hand and the feel after it's blocked. It lives up to the "soft" moniker. The drape of the swatch is so smooth. I used size 8 needles and blocked it with the iron instead of the steamer. Most of stuff I've blocked with the steamer still curl a bit. So, far not a curl with this swatch.

And then there is the market bag I've started. Check here to see my travails with this thing. Well, I've decided to frog the whole thing and start over. I've gone back to the bottom base and started the pattern over again simplifying the non-diagonal parts and the sides. Pics of that progress are coming soon. I don't have anything to show yet.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Awhile ago I knit up a scarf in some nice fuzzy yarn that I had left over. It was ever so boring so I decided to add some embellishment to it. I plan to give it to a friend of mine as she had complimented the other project that I had worked on. I even asked her if she wanted a scarf with the extra. She's a scarf lady. She was excited by the prospect.
I had decided that flowers would be perfect. One or two little posies would be perfect. I have some cashmere blend worsted weight in the perfect colors to go with the scarf. The first place I went was Ravelry. On their pattern page I searched for crochet flowers. All the flowers I found were quite lovely. The problem I had was that the designs were either too complicated or I just couldn't wrap my head around the instructions. While I am more experienced in crochet than knitting I'm still quite a novice and need relatively clear instruction.

My next search was through Yahoo. After clicking on a site, then to another and another I finally came upon Craft Matters. The "Tiny Flower" pattern is a perfect little posy. The instructions were clear and it introduced me to a new process for starting a circle.
The Magic Ring is a way to create a nice tight circle to start circular crochet. The instructions that Craft Matters linked to is at Planet June. Again the clear and concise instructions were most helpful.

And here is the result...
The instructions use a dk weight yarn so hers were a bit smaller. I used a worsted weight cashmere blend. Unfortunately, it is now discontinued but it is very snuggly.

Finished pics coming soon.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Frogging yet again

I knew there was something off with the pattern. I just couldn't figure it out for the longest time. I'd finally decided to let it go so I could get the bag done. But oh, no, I finally figure out where the mistake was and it was driving me nuts. So, here we go again. I'd gone into the second ball and that all had to come out. A small chunk of the first ball came out as well. But all is well and I'm reasonably happy.
I think it will need to be blocked when done but I can't wait to use it. I love the diagonal pattern.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Creepy Cute

Creepy Cute by Christen Haden is a dream come true. They are cute little amigurumi but with a fun edge. Who wants to crochet Cthulu? Me! There are lots of monster toys(Vampire and Aliens and Skeletons... Oh my!) Both my husband and step-son have requests out. I actually went to Michael's (Arts and Crafts) to buy the yarn in the book, Lion Brand Cotton Ease. Unfortunately they had 2 out of the 3 colors I needed. I don't why it is that every spring they go for a month or more with out any replenishment of their yarn. I know it's a new season but some yarns and colors are staples and should be continuously replenished. I'm just sayin'.

I'll check the 2 other Michael's and see if they have the charcoal color I need. I have doubts. Fortunately.,I can order directly from Lion.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Out of My System

Now that I have the previous post out of my system I am going to post about something positive and mildly successful. My scarf!!

It is a little scarf I made for my daughter and and a friends daughter that shares my birthday. It's one of the truly complete things I made. I will try to get a pic of it on as soon as my daughter slows down. Who knows when that will be.

Here is a pic of some of the detail as it was in progress
The green fuzzy yarn gives it a nice ripple. Although, it still wants to curl. I've blocked it twice. Maybe I'm not stretching it enough?

Both girls love it and that's enough for me.


Effing Bag!!!

Can I not go a day without a frog?


Friday, March 19, 2010

Frog It!!

After a couple of days of solid work. I'm not much further along on the bag. Just today I had to rip back 4 rows because I forgot a pattern repeat. Ugh! This is seriously making me re-think doing lace work.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Market bag

I'm trying to make this...

Out of this...

The gauge is not right. So, it will be a much larger bag. I'm just glad that I found something to do with this yarn. It's mostly double crochet in a diagonal diamond pattern. I think I have some white DMC cotton in the appropriate gauge. I may make it one more time in that to see if I can make the same exact thing. Although, I'm not sure I care. I did come up with an idea for another while doing this one. That I will definitely do.

Here's the progress so far...

This is the first run of the diamond pattern. I've had to rip back to this point so many times now that I've lost count. Just when I think I've got the pattern down I see a booboo six rows back. It's making me mad now to the point I'm determined to get this done. Soon.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Great Teaching Video

I was given a "how-to" knitting video by a friend for Xmas. It has just been wonderful. It breaks stitches and techniques down to simple clear instructions. It is "Knitting Fundamentals: A Reference Guide." I know this will be very helpful as I move to new projects and learn new things. Her company is Knitting at Noon Designs

Speaking of new projects...

I just finished a scarf where I was learning to do a simple stitch pattern worked on the pearl side,
It just needs to be blocked and I have some cute fuzz and pale green yarn to make a border. This is Bernat Cashmere blend. It is wonderfully soft.

But what do I do next? I have some Patons Grace in a lovely pink/taupe color that I want to use. I had originally to make a ballet wrap sweater for Em out of it but the color doesn't suit her very well. I saw in a book at Michael's, a long time ago, a pattern for towels and wash cloth. I'm also intrigued by lace knitting. This may be good stuff to start a scarf. hmmmm.......

I need to go look for some inspiration. As for now I'm doing some gauge swatches to see how I want it to knit up.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Scarf that Would Not Block

I have cold blocked it and I have steam blocked it twice. And yet it curls. It's my first scarf. It's cheap yarn. There are quite a few dropped stitches in the first 12 inches. I suppose it's ok that it's just not right. I think it's time to offer it strand by strand to the birds that live in my tree.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

It's a new year

Since my last post sometime in July life had gone to hell in a handbasket. What with being robbed and then my mother decided to send me my childhood, and then some I've been on a fiber hiatus. Which has had me a little stressed. Apparently, I'm addicted to fiber. One thing that has gotten me through the dry spell has been a wonderful podcast from Kelly Petkun at Knit Picks. It's a great special order yarn et al. website. She has a lot of wonderful interviews with authors and often has great tips and walk-throughs that are great for the novice (that would be me.) They also have a great community site. I'm on it but don't post much as I don't have any projects with their yarn. I have to do quite a bit of stash busting before I can start purchasing. But it all looks fabulous and seems to be at a decent price.

About 3 weeks ago I couldn't stand it anymore. I needed to do something. Anything. As it's been might chilly here in T-town I decided I needed some sort of tv watching blanket. Inspired by both my dad who has made one of these I went to my stash and saw that I had a bunch of Lion Brand Chenille yarn. I then remembered something I'd seen a book at the library. The name escapes me but it's by a lys owner somewhere in Hollywood who smartly combined fiber and coffee. I'll have to look it up. Anyway, she put in this kid's bathrobe made of chenille yarn.
And what she did was use smaller needles than recommended to get a really tight fiber so that it's like terry cloth.

So, here's what I started

Ok, it's a little washed out. I'm still trying to figure out how to use it. This was about a week ago. I decided to crochet instead of knit. I've been crocheting since I was a kid. This project is all about comfort and crochet is comfort to me. Now as of today...

I still need to finish the border and weave in some ends. It is nearly done and might warm.

More later