Sunday, June 27, 2010

Crochet-Magnon Man

I picked up a new yarn craft today! Well, at least I  made a start at it, anyway. I took Staci’s two-hour Crochet for Knitters class today. Totally worth every penny and then some.

The great thing about this class was that, as knitters, we all had a grasp of what a stitch was and how to make a slip-stitch – you know, all those little things that can be hard for beginning crafters to grasp, but once you’ve got it, you can’t ever remember not knowing them. So we moved along pretty rapidly from chain stitching, to slip stitches, to single and double crochet. Within an hour, we were starting our very first granny squares.

I clearly have some tension issues to work through, but I think I got the basics down.

I know I just got started on the Vaila Slipover, but I so totally want to just drop everything I’m doing and learn more about crocheting. And make a big, huge granny square afghan. Thanks, Staci. And Stephanie – I’ll never make fun of crocheting again. However, I will reserve the right to gasp at some  crocheted things

Friday, June 25, 2010


I spent a few evenings this week working up a swatch with the yarn I chose  for a Vaila Slipover. Reviews are mixed.

I like the overall pattern and don’t think it will be hard to follow. I’m a little concerned about the green sections. A darker green that I had originally wanted was on backorder until September(!), so I shifted the whole green family one shade lighter. I’m just not sure what I think of the main green color through the middle of that section – it’s called Celadon Heather, and is just a bit lighter than I’d like.

I’m afraid that the large X pattern that runs between all the crossed diamonds will fade out too much through the green sections. Could it be that when there are more brown and green striped sections that they eye will be able to follow the Xs better?

I’m also a little worried about gauge. Before washing, I’m getting about 32.5 stitches over 4 inches. The gauge calls for 30. I don’t want to go down to size 2 needles (I’m currently on 3s), and I don’t want to go down  size – that would be too drastic, I think. I could knit tighter. My gauge with the background colors, which I’m throwing with my right hand, is terribly inconsistent.

I’m going to take this to some experts this weekend and see what they have to say. I’m hopeful that it will all work out. I still can’t believe that stack of balls of yarn from my last post could turn into this.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


I’ve been thinking of doing a stranded knitting project, and I’ve settled on a pattern, yarn and colors. I think I’m pretty much committed at this point. And the yarn showed up in the mail today. Yay, yarn mail!

The yarn is Palette from KnitPicks. I’d gotten some of this a while back for a hat. I swear back then that they had only a handful of colors. Now they have over 80 – quite a choice! These are the 12 colors that I settled on. Clicking on the picture will take you over to my Flickr site where I have notes with all the colors names. Let’s just say the word “Heather” features in most of them. Oh – and to get free shipping I had them throw in a couple of balls of Felici sock yarn in the colorway Green Veggies. Yum!

All this Palette going to become, if all goes according to plan, a Vaila Slipover from Ann Feitelson’s The Art of Fair Isle Knitting. The original one calls for very muted browns and tans – and those will be in mine, but I wanted to feature green, too. Which is kind of predictable, I know.  The original pattern’s blue horizontal line will be replaced with a deep red. And don’t worry about all those deep pinks and bright oranges. They’re little accent colors that probably won’t register all that much. That’s what I’ll keep telling myself, anyway.

I can’t wait to see how all this comes together. Let the swatching begin!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Lace on the Edge

I didn’t do a lot of knitting today, but I certainly knit in public, thought about knitting, learned about knitting and hung out with some fabulous knitters.

This morning, I went to a cafe for breakfast with some knitterly friends. An elderly woman came by our table to find out what we were doing. I loved her direct way of asking each of us what craft we were practicing (three different ones), what we were specifically working on, and what we called ourselves. She, in turn, had strong opinions on how long orange juice could be left out at room temperature. It was quite the WWKIP day experience.

Then, I headed over to the knitting nest to do a little more public knitting while waiting for my afternoon class on knitting lace edgings with Franklin Habit. The Knitting Nest had some new Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in that was dyed specifically for the store’s grand re-opening, and since some it was dark green, i had to get my hands on some. Stephanie and I grabbed some lunch for Franklin and we wolfed it down before class began.

The Stupid Little Snowflake We learned three main schools of thought for knitted on edges, and I definitely had my favorite by the end of the afternoon. We did samples of all three. Pictured here is what Franklin dubbed  The Stupid Little Snowflake – which Franklin designed specifically for the class. He says its the smallest possible sampler of Orenburg lace knitting that can be made!

The class was, of course, awesome. I love Franklin’s approach of mixing history, hands-on activity, detailed explanation and finely made examples. He’s so patient, supportive, and informative. For instance – I learned something about sipping stitches along selvedge edges that I’d never known before. Apparently, if the second stitch in the row is to be knitted, the slipped edged stitch should be slipped with the yarn in front. Conversely, if the second stitch in thee row is to be purled, the slipped edge stitch should be slipped with the yarn in back. When I did this, I could immediately see the clean, smooth chain along the selvedge edge. Before, I’d always had strange bumps. Why didn’t I ever know this before? Have I just not been paying attention? That was worth the price of admission right there.

On top of it all, I got to meet some Ravelry friends that I’d never met in person before, which is always a good thing. All in all – a very nice way to spend World Wide Knit in Public Day.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


I’m going to be taking a class from Franklin Habit at The Knitting Nest on Saturday -- Lace Edgings: Before, During and After. I may have mentioned this a few times! Today, I got an email with my pre-class homework assignment, which I took care of tonight.

Our instructions were to knit a 20-stitch wide, 20-row long swatch in Dalegarn Baby Ull (or equivalent) on size 4 needles. I still had some Baby Ull from the lace class I took from Mr. Habit last year. I can’t believe this will be the third time I’ve met him. I’m really looking forward to it. He’s informative, helpful, patient and funny. All good educative skills.

(I just had to use the word “educative.” I’m reading a book about the making of Gray’s Anatomy (yes, the medical reference book, not the television show – which I have only just realized spells the name Grey) and the author discusses the book’s publishers and their role in disseminating 19th century British “educative” literature. Trust me – it’s interesting.)

Ahem. I found the exact same yarn I’d used last time and made short work of my homework. I’m going out on a limb here, but I’m thinking that we might be adding some lace around the edge of this thing. We’re supposed to bring some size 4 dpns, and so far I’ve only located size 3 metal dpns – very slippery. I’m going to keep digging.

Can’t wait for the class. Saturday is also World Wide Knit in Public day. So I hope everyone grabs a project, gets out there and recruits for the cause. I’ll be doing so, working on a new version of the Oliver socks I had to abandon a while back. More on them later.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Click! Snap! Tote!

A little something I ordered came in the mail today.

I’d been wanting to get one of these for a while – a soft sided case for my Addi Click interchangeable needles. The original set came in something that looked like it should hold my grandmother’s silver service. It was a big hard box with slots for all the needles. It looked nice, but it wasn’t very practical. Mine lived on the shelf below a coffee table near the chair where I do most of my knitting.

This soft-sided case is great. It holds all the needle tips and cords that I have just fine. It snaps closed and folds up much smaller than I would have thought. I practiced wagging it around under my arm like my grandmother used to do with all of her handle-less and strap-less handbags. She did this even when she used a walker, which bothered me to no end. But I’ll probably just end up carrying it around in my knitting bag.

As purchasers of the original set may be aware, they didn’t come with size 5 tips. So I ordered a set while I was at it. The first two or three projects I made after getting the Clicks required size 5 needles. Now that I have some, I probably won’t need them. But it’s nice to know they’re there.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Larkin Baby Blanket

Last night I finished all but the 15-stitch garter stitch graft to join the two ends of the border, and this morning, I spent way too much time grafting and weaving in the ends. The whole thing is blocking on our spare bed and will be ready to hand off to the wee one soon.

About that grafting. I’d never done garter grafting before. It’s actually easier than stockinette grafting. Rather than having to switch which stitch you do for the dropped of stitch as you work back and forth, you always knit and drop, then purl and keep – for both sides. Easy, right? Unless you’re me. After looking at several explanations of whether you should see purl or knit stitches on the two needles before getting stared, I must have started the grafting four times. Turns out the instructions in the pattern were accurate! Imagine that? When in doubt – trust the designer. It wasn’t that I doubted you, Snowden – it was more like I second-guessed myself. This trait (among other things) is what would make me such a bad contestant on The Amazing Race.

I’m quite pleased with how this turned out. As I’d mentioned earlier, I didn’t have a lot of experience with lace knitting. It was great to see how what kind of looked lumpy and misshapen turned out so orderly and symmetrical after a good soaking. This is getting me excited about my upcoming Franklin Habit class.

Beautiful design, Snowden! When Jeff asked me to knit a baby blanket for his department’s administrative assistant’s new granddaughter, I though of this right away. It was inspiring to see the examples that both Snowden and Abbe knitted. I’m so fortunate to be surrounded  by such talented knitters and designers!

If and when I get a picture of the little one snuggled up in this, I’ll be sure to share.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Knitting Everywhere

Today was an awesomely knitterly day. I started the morning by getting the dogs walked and then riding my bike downtown. The men’s chorus I sing with was in charge of the national anthem at Austin’s first ever Pride Run 5K. It’s not often that I cover 5 miles of walking and running before 9:30am on a Saturday. And because it’s so humid these days, I probably did a little swimming as well – so let’s just say I did a mini-triathlon.
  Then I headed off to meet some fellow knitters for Saturday morning knitting. Which, as usual, was awesome. We celebrated the penultimate spring birthday in the group and did our usual knitting, chatting and chowing down. But today, we had basenjis !
We met at Staci’s house. Staci is the wonderful person who fostered our Pona during his convalescence before we adopted him. All three of his foster brothers were there – Ike, Abe and Tippy. Tippy was a little eager to partake of the donuts, so we all took turns keeping him occupied. I love how he’s perfectly happy to sit in laps – very different from our dogs. Stephanie took several cute pictures of the dogs, too.
Staci was also downsizing her knitting book collection and I got a couple of titles at bargain basement prices! I managed to snag Meg Swansen’s Knitting: 30 Designs for Hand Knitting. It has a lot of great Fair Isle patterns and a nice men’s cardigan I’d like to try. I also got  The Best of Interweave Knits: Our Favorite Designs From the First Ten Years. I have my eye on a nice fair isle sweater pattern in it, too.
After I was all caffeinated and full of carbs, I headed over to take a gander at  the new digs for my LYS, The Knitting Nest. They’ve moved only a short distance away, but it’s a larger space with better natural light. It’s also easier to get to traffic-wise, and it has a roomier parking lot. I’m looking forward to much shopping and knitting here. While I was there, I signed up for Franklin Habit’s class on knitted lace edgings which will be held on Saturday, June 19th. Just two weeks away!
And now, to see if I can finish up the knitting on that baby blanket today…