Works in Progress

Great time at the Carolina Fiber Fest and at Stitches South!

WORKS IN PROGRESS:
* Pi Shawl *Cobblestone Cardigan *Kathleen Socks *Beginner's Lace Shawl *Halloween Self-Striping Socks
FINISHED OBJECTS:
*Rainbow Anklets *Mother Bear *Carolyn's Summer Top * Red and Blue Stars *Striped Red Socks *Locke St. Cardigan

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Knitting Doldrums


Do you ever get to the point where you dislike all the projects on your needles?  That’s where I am. 

I have one sock finished, but I broke the needles and threw them away. Now I can’t remember what size I was knitting on. I have tried two different sizes and haven’t found the right size yet. I forgot to record the size on Ravelry. What was I thinking?! Second sock is going to take forever at this rate.

I have a hat for Halos of Hope on the needles. The blue yarn is great, but I keep messing up on the textured part of the pattern. I would have to rip it all out and start again to make it look good enough to donate. If I rip it out, I will knit another hat pattern. Nothing wrong with this one except that I keep getting distracted and messing it up and not noticing until I have knitted several rows. Good grief!

I have an Elizabeth Zimmermann pi shawl on the needles. I am working the plain version. This works great when I need something mindless to knit. Each round is 288 stitches in lace weight alpaca. Boring! but necessary when I am in a group or easily distracted. Wonder what year it will be finished?

I have a “Beginner Lace Shawl” on the needles in cotton yarn from Yarn Hollow. Beautiful fall colored yarn, pretty pattern, but not what I would call beginner lace. Every right side row has a different pattern which ends in a different number of plain stitches at the end. The designer didn’t address these stitches well. Also, for a beginner pattern the charts are not explained well. I work on it when I am in a situation where I won’t be distracted. Mistakes have been made as one side is shorter than the other.  I am going to finish it anyway as I have completed five repeats of the seven called for in the pattern and I am too indifferent of this project to investigate where the mistakes occurred. It will just be asymmetrical.

I have my plain alpaca Cobblestone cardigan on the needles. All it needs is for me to finish the sleeves (one is half done) and knit the garter stitch neck band. The sweater is knit top down with set in sleeves in stockinette with garter stitch trim using Ann Budd’s pattern from her Knitter's Handy Book of Top Down Sweaters. It also fits well. It is hard to get in the mood to knit a sweater when it is so hot and humid!

I want to knit something fun and quick and small!  Any suggestions?

Until next time . . . . 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Summer Days


Grandkids, Car Repairs, and Meetings, Oh! My! Where is my knitting?

Summer days are upon us.  Fortunately, the weather is unseasonably cool. In the upper 80s with low humidity. Usually, the temperatures are in the 100s with high humidity. Most days, there is even a slight breeze.  This is making being outside delightful.

We have survived one week with the grandkids here. Lots of camp type activities have ensued. We have decorated T-shirts, built bird houses, painted bird houses, learned knife safety, swam, camped in a tent, roasted marshmallows and hotdogs, played out door games, and written letters home to Mom and Dad. It is great having them here, but boy are we tired.

Our main car started leaking fuel this weekend. It is now in the repair shop waiting for a part (new fuel pump assembly) to be shipped from Missouri. Should take two days to get here, then another day to get the part installed. This is not going to be cheap! We are now trying to decide if we need to rent a car for a few day or just limp along with our old 1995 Geo Prizm. 

This week has also been filled with meetings. Yesterday they began at 10 am and lasted until 3 pm. Today they will begin at 3:30 pm and last until 9 pm.  Doesn’t seem like there will be much rest today. Hope I can keep my eyes open during the meetings, especially since I am facilitating two of them!

Only a little knitting has occurred. Granddaughter’s anklet socks are finished. They fit well. This was a concern as she lives 500 miles away and I guessed at the length. 




Have started an Elizabeth Zimmerman pi shawl out of natural alpaca lace yarn on size US 5 (3.5 mm) needles. I am making the plain version. I need mindless right now!

Off to do laundry.

Until next time . . . . 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Overdyeing Katia


August 30, 2011, I began knitting a LaLa’s Simple Shawl using Katia Samba (100% cotton) in the green ombre colorway. I finished the 84 inches by 46 inches shawl on September 9, 2011. Wow! Eleven days! and the shawl is huge and cotton and lovely. . . . . . 
except that I hate the color of it.  I wear fall colors and usually green works with my coloring and with my wardrobe.  This green, however, made me look sick. I know this because multiple people asked me if I felt poorly when I wore it. Too much blue and pink.

So . . . I put the shawl away in my stash of finished object to be gifts to someone or someones someday. 

Now, enter into May 2014. I am going to a conference in Phoenix next month. Beautiful, hot Phoenix in the desert. But I am going to a conference which means being stuck in a hotel/conference center with the air conditioning on about 55 degree F. That’s 13 degrees C for inquiring minds that want to know. 

At that temperature, I will need my fingerless mitts, socks, shawls and maybe a hat!  I am very cold natured. It will allow me to work on my alpaca sweater, so some good may come of it.

I would love to knit a shawl to take with me, but with grandkids, husband, mother, church, Habitat and other volunteer activities, plus 4 WIPS on the needles, I don’t need another.

Then, I remembered the Katia Samba Simple Shawl. Could something be done to make it more wearable? 

Enter RIT dye. Works great on cotton.  Hmmmm. What color to use?

Looking in my closet, I quickly determined that a chocolate brown would be a good choice. But would it make the shawl too dark?

Well, I gathered up all my supplies. (5 gallon bucket, bottle of dye, rubber gloves, old clothes, stirring stick, salt.) I changed into the old clothes. I washed the shawl in the washer but didn’t let it spin. It was very wet. I heated the water and salt until boiling in a large dutch oven on the stove top. I half filled the 5 gallon bucket with hot tap water. I place the boiling salt water into the bucket. I poured in the dye and stirred with the stick. I placed the shawl into the dye bath and stirred it around for about 20 seconds. It came out dark, dark chocolate.

Then I began the laborious task of rinsing until the rinse water was clear. The shawl began to lighten in color. I dried the shawl in the dryer. 

Lo, and behold, none of the shawl is brown.  The spring green is olive. The fushia is salmon. The baby pink is mauve, the orchid is orchid (go figure!), the yellow is caramel, the bright blue is a steely blue gray. The red is coral and something else is a pale wine color (haven't a clue what color it was to begin with) and the white is tan. 


I will wear it for a while and see how many things in my closet it goes with. If I need to, I can dye it again for a longer time to make the colors richer.

Right now I am doing a happy dance. And I didn’t have to knit another shawl under a deadline. Yippeee!

Until next time . . . . .

Friday, April 18, 2014

Success at Last!


The journey down Locke Street began one cold March day in 2012. Cables and twists abounded in this lovely sweater pattern by Glenna C. I was a little apprehensive to start such a project, being an adventurous novice at cables. But, how hard could it be? 
Also, this would be only the fourth sweater I had ever knit. All the rest were stockinette. Some knit bottom up, some top down -  most seamless. Locke St. Cardigan is a set-in sleeve pieced cardigan. What was I thinking!

I ordered and received 13 skeins of a beautiful Plymouth Yarns dk weight 100% alpaca yarn from JimmyBeans Wool in a dark forest green. Oooh, so squishy and soft. I cast on and knitted a good size swatch, being an obedient knitter. Besides, I wanted this sweater to fit. It would be perfect for future St. Patrick Day events. 

With the swatch knit, blocked and measured. I cast on stitches for a sleeve. The designer is thoughtful in that she has you knit a sleeve to learn two of the cables patterns, so that by the time you work the sweater you know them. This is a good thing as they occur 7 times in the body of the sweater.  I started the sleeves two at a time.

I hated working them two at a time and put the sweater in hibernations.

Fast forward to March 2013. I took the sweater out of hibernation. It would be so nice to have a dark green beautiful sweater. I decided to work the sleeves one at a time and quickly finished the first one.   I finished the second sleeve, and cast on the body of the sweater (not in pieces - front right, back and front left - all at the same time - no seams) but it was not much fun. Oh! but now it is getting warm and the alpaca is getting sticky in my hands and each row took 20 minutes! Sending this project back to hibernation.

Fast forward again to March 2014. Do I denote a pattern? 

I decided that this would be my Lenten project. I would get this project of shame completed. When I took the project out there was about 6 inches above the ribbing completed. I can do this! 

Well, it has been a long Lent. . . but . . . SUCCESS!

I present the Locke Street Cardigan.  


YEAH!!!!

Until next time . . . 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Spring Begins


Spring is coming slowly this year.  The ice storms are gone, 
Picture is in color. Dreary!

and the forsythia is blooming.  
Aah! That's more like it.

Bees are starting to buzz. Birds are flying through headed for more northern climes. 

Next week, the Carolina Fiber Fest begins followed by Stitches South

What a great time of year!

Until next time . . . . 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Progress


There has been a little progress lately.  
Last week, I found a crochet hook and made a few granny squares for an organization in Milwaukee that will use them to yarn bomb the town in support of donating life. It has been years since I have crochet anything. Good thing Ravelry is around so I could find a pattern and review instructions. The colors were determined by the organization. I will be donating the squares to Vicki of DragonflySoars podcast.

I also took everything out of the yarn closet upstairs. I sorted and boxed the yarn by type. I have way too much yarn.  I especially have way too much cotton.  I need to put a dent in the stash. I found a lot of Sublime organic cotton. Twenty-two skeins!  Three shades of beige! What was I thinking?  I took out a set of needles and knitted a nice simple square wash cloth.  I liked the fabric so much that I plan to use this square as a gauge swatch to knit a summer sweater or two. 

I also knit a mitered square burgundy cotton dishcloth 


and a multidirectional variegated blue and white dishcloth. 

Now on the needles is another blue and white one  - Grandmother’s Favorite pattern.  

The dishcloths are like potato chips - can’t just eat make one!

Lent began on Wednesday. I got ashes on my forehead and decided that this year I would work on finishing a WIP that has been lingering. Lingering because I don’t want to knit it. I want the finished sweater - I just don’t enjoy the all over cabling of the pattern. Every row has to be knit following a chart. There are no rest rows. It will be a beautiful sweater when it is finished. I just hope it doesn’t suck out my soul in the process. The sleeves are finished. I have about 10 inches of the body finished. Another eleven to go! Then the button band with shawl collar. One saving grace is that it is in a beautiful forest green alpaca. The yarn is luscious. 


Sunday, I spent the afternoon carding some green dyed locks of alpaca that I was having trouble spinning from the locks.

I used my new hand cards and made a gallon ziplock bag full of rolags. 

They look nice and smooth and shiny. I have about 3 more ounces to card and then I will try again to spin it. 

So as I said - a little progress. Hope your projects are progressing too.

Until next time . . . . . . . . .

Monday, March 3, 2014

Winter Storms


Winter has really hits us hard. The last week of January we had our once every 4 years snow. We got 2-1/2 inches. It was beautiful. The problem was that we got a half inch of freezing rain before the snow during 28 degree F temperatures. So we had black ice under the beautiful snow.  Tractor trailers jackknifed on the highways, multiple accidents occurred. Most people stocked up on bread and milk and hunkered down for the three days. The following week school and work were back in session and temperature were in the upper 40s F.

It appeared that we were getting an early spring, when two weeks ago we got another dose of freezing rain which caused an inch of ice to form on all outdoor surfaces. Roofs, sidewalks, streets, power lines. Our power company estimated that there was 300 to 500 pounds of ice on each line. Throughout the night, it continued to rain pellets of ice - no snow. When we woke up, the world was covered with 2 inches of ice pellets. Icicles hung on everything. No one could drive or even walk outside. 

We lost power about 6:30 am on Wednesday morning. With camp stoves, a gas grill and gas logs. We handled the cold pretty well as it stayed about 60 degrees F in the house. We cooked hot meals and drank hot beverages. Knitted items were a joy to own.

About 8 pm the power came back on. We took hot baths and showers and the house and water heated up.  Temperatures never rose above 25 degrees F outside. The world was a real winter wonderland.

Around midnight, the weather turned. Winds of 15 to 20 miles per hour with gust up to 35 miles per hour started blowing. With ice on power lines and trees, things became dangerous. It sounded like gun fire followed by thunder of explosions as power poles and trees began snapping in half. Our power went out again.

When we woke up, the neighborhood looked like a battle zone. Over 100,000 households in our county were without power. Cell towers were down. Ten of thousands of trees were broken in half. Limbs were everywhere. Streets were unpassable. Power lines lay across streets.  

Power crews were everywhere. Tree trimming companies were out in force trying to help remove trees from lines. The crews worked for days to bring power back to everyone. There were crews from many neighboring states helping. 

Our power came back on around 6 pm on Thursday. Many in the county were without power for 5 to 6 days. There was a hold up after five day as there were no transformers or wire to be found in the county. Trucks brought the need supplies from four states away. All had power in ten days. 

There is now still massive cleanup going on throughout our county. It is estimated that it will take another month to get all the trees branches disposed of. 

It is now raining and will be 33 degrees F tonight. Is spring really around the corner?