Knit Meter

Sunday, December 31, 2017

On The Last Day of the Year

I enjoy this round up of the year because it makes me realize I have knitted more than I thought and reminds me of the lovely yarn in my stash. This year I am even more excited because I do not have any unfinished projects that were on my needles at the beginning of the year. My oldest project was started on 1 August and has languished because the whole KAL experience was annoying. I have decided to continue with the project because I do like it and it will not become another never-ending project.

What haven’t I done this year? Socks. I haven’t knitted any socks this year. Although I did cast on a sock at the beginning of the year but decided the yarn and pattern did not go together. And it has been frogged. Although I have enjoyed knitting socks it was nice to take a break from the knit-alongs which were certainly beginning to feel like a chore and not pleasure, making the theme fit even if I’d rather be knitting something else. This does not mean I will not knit more socks.

Not knitting socks has made me much more mindful of the sock yarn in my stash. Single-skein shawls can turn out too small. Although the first one shown in this post is a lovely shawl and nice size, I didn’t want to make one-skein projects just for the sake of it. Yarns were paired to make this shawl an extra skein of yarn was purchased to make this shawl and extra skeins were purchased on the yarn crawl to go with yarns in my stash.

In the fall of 2016 I said I was going to take a break from charity knitting. I did not take a complete break and made 6 ½ hats. I am happier that I am not stressing myself to complete something every month. I am going to use up all the “hat” yarn I have in stash and then decide where I would like to put my efforts. I am also abandoning KnitMeter. I liked it as a way to record amount knitted and comparing it with amount bought but it stopped working for me earlier this year. i.e I could not log in and contacts to the owners were not successful. I have the information in a spreadsheet, I just have to decide how I want to show all the information.

I am very excited to report that by the end of the year, the number of skeins/balls of yarn started in new projects was more than the number of new skeins added to my stash and the total length knitted was more than the total in. I’m not sure when I was last able to say that my stash was going down.

Interestingly, looking back at 2016’s post, the number of projects in that year was low, but 2017 was about the same number. I had 30 projects started this year and I frogged 6 of them. And of those frogged projects there is only one where the yarn has not been used in another project. This may not be a year for a high number of projects but it was a year for finishing things. I started the year with eight projects on the go all of which I finished and even the frogged project was restarted and finished. It feels so nice to have new projects that I want to work on.

I am starting the new year with five projects on the go including the project mentioned at the beginning. Two of these I started in December and the other two are crochet projects for charity. I am enjoying working on all of them and I am looking forward to another year of stash reduction.

And another wonderful year with my husband.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

On The Fifth Day of Christmas

Why yes it is another shawl. But it is the last one of the year. I had this lovely skein of sock yarn that I could have knitted into socks but I just really didn’t feel like doing but I did want to use the yarn. I put out an ISO on Ravelry and was offered a skein at a good price.

Next, find a pattern. I considered Waiting for Rain - but was not sure about all the garter stitch, and then a friend suggested Wake and gave me the pattern. I love it. And it was my favourite until the blue and white one came along.

I worked extra rows to use up all the yarn and then there was a two month gap before I worked the bind off. Yes – two months. It’s because I thought the bind off in the pattern was new to me and I wanted to set aside a good chunk of time to do it. When I finally had that time and looked at the bind off in detail I realized it was my standard YO bind off so I hadn’t needed to wait after all.

Friday, December 29, 2017

On The Fourth Day of Christmas

Another shawl – and not the last. This one has appeared in previous posts as it was a Pi Day cast on and it was one of the many projects featured in August.

Let’s talk about the yarn first. I purchased it at the Vista Fiber Fiesta in October 2016. Apple Tree Knits was the featured yarn on the Yarnover Truck and they had some lovely gradients. As lovely as they were they were normal size skeins so I couldn’t see what I would make with them but they did have a lace weight yarn in 756 yard skeins – definitely enough to make a shawl. The difference with the lace weight was that it was a silk/linen/flax mix so the colours were muted. I chose my skein based on the colours of the wool skeins (which were very vibrant in the darker colours) instead of asking to see all of their lace weight skeins. Oh well.

Of course a gradient yarn needed the right pattern. And when I saw this pattern - Quadratische Decke Shawl I immediately wanted to make it and I wasn’t disappointed. The pattern also had the advantage that rows could be added in two places so I could make sure I used up all the yarn. Although I was conservative as there was no way I wanted to undo rows if I ran out of yarn. The pattern had an option to include beads but as I had just finished Shipwreck I was shying away from beads but I did add beads on the last rows.

Although I was unsure about the colour I love the finished item. The pattern is show cased really well.

I have now used all three of the skeins I bought at Vista in 2016.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

On The Third Day of Christmas

Today is my favourite shawl of those I’ve finished recently. And there are a lot of them as that is mostly what I am making at the moment.

The shawl started off as this.

And the blog post about it is here. I loved the yarns but did not really like the finished object for two reasons. The top of the shawl had a big hump. This can be a problem in varying degrees in many shawl patterns but was particularly pronounced in this pattern. The other reason is that I had quite a bit of yarn left over which I wanted to use and also meant that the finished shawl wasn’t quite big enough.

I did not want to rip out this project until I had found another pattern as I did not want the yarn to sit in stash; at least as a shawl I had something I could wear. The first pattern I tried did not work with the yarn as there were areas of two stripes of each colour and they blended rather than contrasted. I then chose Tokerau Shawl by Francoise Danoy which happens to be a free pattern on Ravelry.

The blocks of colour with different patterns were ideal for my yarn. I used the left over yarn first and then just knit straight off the previous finished object. Sure it was crinkly but I knew blocking would help. I still had blue yarn left over so I worked another pattern repeat with it and used the other colour for the garter stitch edge and bind off. Instead of picot bind off as the pattern, I worked a row of YO, K2tog before the last knit row and Icelandic bind off with a strand of each colour. The final result is what I wanted: a pattern that shows off both yarns, an item I can wear and no leftovers in stash.

Here is a photo of the shawl pre-blocking as there is quite a difference between off the needles and the finished object.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

On The Second Day of Christmas

After yesterday’s obvious choice, should I know show the Christmas presents or other projects?

Today is for my oldest WIP. Which is no longer the oldest as it is finished. Three cheers for me. This is a project I started at the end of 2010 with yarn I purchased in the summer of 2009. The yarn buying itself has a little story. For my birthday, my mother-in-law asked her son (my husband) to purchase a gift card from a yarn shop. He never managed to do this so when we visited in the summer she gave me cash. I said to her you really wanted me to have yarn, is there a store we can go to? Once there, there was too much choice – I actually put back a sweater’s quantity of yarn and opted for a yarn that I would be unlikely to buy for myself. And this is how I ended up with 1000 yards of 100% silk lace-weight yarn.

I’m guessing I didn’t cast on straight away because I didn’t have a pattern but I don’t know if the cast on happened because I found a pattern or because I was ready to cast on the yarn. The yarn is Andrea by Schaefer Yarn Company, who are no longer in business, and the pattern is Dogwood Blossom Wrap from 101 Designer One-Skein Wonders. At this point I am going to say that I am disappointed that even after adding extra rows I did not use the full skein.

I don’t know why I stopped working on this. But looking at my projects for 2011, I was still knitting twice-monthly dishcloths, monthly socks and rows on charity blankets. So I’m guessing it kept being set aside until it was almost forgotten. I do remember that once I found the right needles the knitting was more pleasurable. Metal needles were too slippy and wood needles too grabby. Karbonz just right.

Anyway, here it is in all its glory. Started on 28 December 2010 and completely finished on December 19 2017.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

On The First Day of Christmas

During this Christmas Tide I am going to take the opportunity to catch up on all of my finished items. Some of which I couldn’t show until after Christmas, some I didn’t have pictures and the one which was the advent knit-along.

It seems appropriate to start with the latter as I did finish it yesterday. I have many photos -not 25. I started taking photos every day but then changed to every other day after I had completed a colour. I worried that I wouldn’t finish on time as I got behind at one point but caught up when the rows got short again, so towards the end when I had some free time I worked ahead.

The pattern is ADVENTurous Wrap by Ambah O’Brien. There are two version, a fade and a striped. My friend bought an advent yarn kit to work a fade and I used stash and left overs to work a stripe version. I was able to completely use a ball of unused yarn in my stash and I used up a couple of left overs as well. I needed 12 different skeins of yarn. First time through my yarn I ignored those that I knew would bleed; I then paired colours so the colours on each triangle were the same but different; next I placed them in a pleasing order making sure those with lower yardage were at the start. Finally, I cast on both triangles with a black yarn.

As I finished the first triangle I was worried that the final project would not be very big but it is big enough to wrap around and wear as a shawl. I am pleased that I kept up with the knit-along and I like the finished item.

Monday, December 18, 2017

No Photos; No Blog Posts

I knew it had been a while since I posted but I didn’t realize how long. There have been finished projects but I have wanted decent photos before posting and then time just slips away.

Since the last post I have finished two shawls, a pair of gloves, and three hats. I won’t be showing the gloves and two of the hats just yet as they were Christmas presents.

I have also finished the knitting on the never-ending-project and it is now at blocking stage.

Since my last post I have started and re-started two projects and started a hat for charity. On 1 December I cast on an advent knit-along, and have managed to keep up with it, and cast on another project to work on when I have completed the day’s knitting for the advent.

I haven’t picked up the no-longer-a-mystery project for a long time as I can’t bear to take out what I have knitted but I don’t think I am going to like the finished item. Oh well.

There has been some stash enhancement. I bought some yarn at the Vista Fiber Fiesta

and I bought some yarn recently at a pre-black Friday sale to go with yarn already in my stash.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Two Items Finished and One Still on The Needles

Let’s deal with the latter first. Last time I mentioned how close I was to finishing the never-ending-project. And I did finish it – almost. I got as far as the bind off and decided as I had quite a bit of yarn left I should knit at least one more repeat of pattern so I pulled out the 12 rows of garter stitch and continued the pattern. A good thing that I didn’t put it away until December.

The first finished item to show is this shawl which was my vacation knitting. I started it on a trip in June, continued in July and finally finished in October.

The pattern is Spring into Summer Shawl, by Knitting Expat. It was perfect for the three 50 gram skeins of different coloured sock yarn that came as a set but I did not want to make into socks and the grey sock yarn in stash. Thta's five skeins of yarn out of my stash. I am very happy with this shawl.

Which I can repeat for this shawl. I bought the yarn way back in April last year specifically to make a shawl but I didn’t have a pattern in mind. I knew I didn’t want to stripe the yarn, one skein would be the body and the other the edging. This pattern, Longbourn, was released in July with a knit along started in August and was just what I envisioned for the yarn. I knit with the black until I could work no more complete pattern repeats and then started the edging. To a certain extent I was running a risk as the edging is knit sideways so I did put in a lifeline before starting although I didn’t really think I would run out of yarn as the pattern used just a skein for the main part and a skein for the edging; albeit a different weight.

I have started a new project; a crochet item for working on in the car on our latest trip, so I still have many works on the go but two items are at bind off stage and another is just a few rows away from finishing. I really want to cast on some of the yarn I bought recently but I am holding off until projects are fully completed.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Autumn Equinox

happened at 1.02 p.m. yesterday and I made a decision. I am going to work on the never-ending-shawl. At the beginning of the summer I was hopeful that I would finish it during the summer concert season and then I went and broke my foot so no more concerts. (They are held in various locations and involve park-and-ride and walking which would have been very hard on crutches plus husband would have had to carry everything and most of the fun of these concerts is the outdoor picnic.)

I was so close to finishing; there was always next year. But I was really beginning to believe that this was the never-ending-project. Husband suggested that I work on it on Friday nights but I decided that it would become fall knitting. I was very busy yesterday and I considered picking this up on the winter solstice - winter being the opposite of summer - but I didn't want to be scrambling to finish before the end of the year. This really being my aim - not when I knit on it - to have it finished by the end of the year.

I finally managed to pick it late last night. I didn't sit down to knit until after 9.00 p.m. and I wanted to cast off something first. It was only 32 stitches of a sideways knit border but I did it three times before I was happy and then I sewed in the ends. At last I could work on the shawl. I looked at the row counter; I counted the repeats; I shook my head in disbelief. I am so close. 21 rows of pattern, 12 rows of garter stitch border, bind off and block. This thing is going to be finished before I know it. (And yes I was really tempted to put it away until mid-December.)

Sunday, September 17, 2017

2017 San Diego Yarn Crawl

This weekend (Thursday to Sunday) was the fifth San Diego yarn crawl. I went to the first two but missed the last two years as we had been away.

My plan this year was to get yarn to go with variegated yarn already in my stash and any other yarn I bought had to be project ready – no single skeins. We did our main crawling on Friday but on Thursday we went to the two closest yarn stores and the Yarnover Truck.

My first purchase was two skeins of ArtFil yarn. Three of us bought the same yarn (different colours) so we joked about a knit along.

At Yarning for You I found the tonal yarn to go with my variegateds. I am really excited to start the first combination but I will finish some projects first. Although I had said I wasn’t bothered by the number of projects I had on the needles I do not want to increase the number.

From the Yarnover Truck. I purchased a skein of yarn to go with yarn I had bought earlier in the year. I have a pattern lined up for it – just need the time.

On Friday we went all the way to Yarns at Border Leather. This is a great shop and we wish it was our LYS. A great selection of yarn and very friendly people. I purchased yarn to crochet a cardigan for one of my great nieces. From there we went to South Park Dry Goods. This used to be The Grove but has split into two stores with one concentrating on books and papers and the other having yarn and fabric and clothes. I didn’t buy any fabric although if I ever need any for a quilt I should certainly buy from there. I ended up buying a stitch marker and a skein of sock yarn. Yes I know I said I wasn’t going to buy any single skeins but they had Candy Skein’s colour of the month. I have been really good at resisting Candy Skein’s monthly selections. I joked that at next year’s yarn crawl I would have the skein with me to try to match yarn.

After a bite to eat we decided to check out a couple of yarn stores that weren’t on the crawl. One is very small and unfortunately was closed for lunch so we didn’t get to see inside. The other is a store that has been opened just a couple of months. It was not a part of the crawl as, apparently, a store has to be in business for a year before it can participate. I have to say it was probably a good thing that it wasn’t part of the crawl as stock seemed very limited. I hope this shop is successful but they do really need to get more stock. At the moment it is not a store that I would go to because I specifically wanted to buy yarn.

After that we went to Yarn and Thread Expressions. This is another store that had a variety of yarn and a large number of store samples. I was able to try on a Hitofude. I really liked the back view but despite my friend saying she really liked it on me, it confirmed what I thought from seeing it on Ravelry, the front is designed to hang at the sides and not provide any coverage.

Neither of us bought any yarn at this store; I think we were a bit burned out and tired at this point. We did not go to the two yarn shops we had visited on our recent yarn buying expedition. Additionally we did not go to the yarn stores in Ramona and Julian and three alpaca farms.

This is a picture of everything I purchased.

I love all this yarn and I have plans but I am not going to start anything new until at least two of my existing projects are completely finished. I have updated yarn in but how much has been knitted/crocheted is not correct as I have been having problems with KnitMeter.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

A Tale of Two Yarns and Three Patterns

Oh my gosh I started a post about yarn and then I looked at an older post to see what I had written about a pattern and that post started off almost exactly the same as the post I was writing. So I am just going to refer you to that post for information about the yarn and the first two patterns I tried and now bring you up to date about what happened to the yarns eventually.

In that post I mentioned the yarn was going to become a Clapotis. As soon as I frogged the hairpin lace project I knew I had to start something new with the yarn otherwise it would sit in my stash forever. I had looked on Ravelry at other projects made with this yarn and decided that I could make a Clapotis with both, rather than finding one-skein projects. I also decided to alternate the balls of yarn I had made even though one of the balls was bigger than the others. And decided to make it slightly narrower so that there was enough length in the final project; a wide but short scarf is useless. Also as I was working on it, I knew I was very unlikely to wear this myself so I will save it for a present for my mother.

And then half-way through, I came across a two-colour shawl pattern that I thought would look lovely in this yarn. But I stopped myself. I didn’t know if I had enough yarn for a decent size and I didn’t want another unfinished project with this yarn. I resisted, carried on with Clapotis and finished the knitting at the beginning of August; finally blocking and sewing in ends at the end of August.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Forgotten Bags

In my last post I said that I had made a bag which I had not posted about, well, actually, there are two bags which I have not shown.

The first one I made way back in February last year. I took a number of photos as my intention was to show the process from pattern drafting to finished bag but that never happened and I didn’t post the finished bag either. Here it is.

I was given the cat fabric and the lining was fabric I had purchased to back a quilt – and then changed my mind. I used this tutorial. I like the bag but I would have used an interfacing as well as iron on fleece. In my patchwork bag I showed you last time, I used iron on interfacing on the main fabric and iron on fleece on the lining. This combination gives a nice body to the bag.

The other forgotten bag was this one.

It’s not that old as I made it in July this year. I was asked to make a bag for my grandson to carry his cars. He was using one of the bags I had made ages ago that his mother had chosen and they wanted something that was just his. I went to Jo-Ann to purchase fabric with cars on it; they didn’t have any but they did have Shopkins fabric and it was massively on sale so I purchased some to make a bag for his sister. Yes, I used the pattern I always use for drawstring bags. I didn’t use a contrast fabric for the top for two reasons – 1) so I wouldn’t have to worry about what to use and potentially purchase more fabric; 2) so I could use as much of the Shopkins fabric as possible. The lining is a light blue that was in my stash. Jo-Ann also had Shopkins on sale so some were purchased so that it could all be a birthday present.

This didn’t actually solve the request of a bag for cars. On another trip to Jo-Ann I found some fabric with the cars from the movie Cars. Perfect. Just needed the time to sew it. I cannot sew and look after children at the same time. My injured foot actually helped. I had seen a private video which showed drawstrings being added to the top of a bag so I decided to do that for a change. Again, I used as much of the Cars fabric as possible and used left over fabric for the lining and casing. It is the backing fabric I used in this quilt.. Remember in my last post I said I wished I had remembered to top stitch after sewing the side seams? That is because for this bag which I made first I did top stitch after sewing the side seams.

Having made a bag a new way I had to make another, of course. I used the small amount of fabric I had left over from the first bag I showed today. (I love the fabric but couldn’t decide what it should become.)

The casing is a small piece of left over fabric and you will recognize the draw strings (and lining). I did not add any interfacing to this bag. The person who had made the private video said she did not add any interfacing to her bags so I thought I would see what it was like. As it is a small bag I don’t think it matters but I would want something in a bigger bag to help it keep its shape. This is a small bag, maybe I should put the mittens in here and the bag the mittens are in can be used for the shawl.

So that’s it for bags – for now.

The problem is that there are many different styles/patterns out there and I enjoy making them but I don’t need so many bags. I need to start making them with other people or gifts in mind so that they are easier to give away.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Sew Many Bags

I mentioned that I had been laid up with an injured foot and had been doing quite a bit of sewing as well as knitting. Today I am going to show you all the bags as well as one I had made a little while ago but forgot to show.

On Ravelry there is a thread titled show me your homemade project bags, please! which was started way back in 2014 and now has over 6500 posts, although many of those are love that and variations. I am slowly working my way through this thread and making note of/bookmarking any patterns that I think I would like to make.

Which brought me to this tutorial. One of the things I liked about it was I could use many leftovers. I liked the end result so much that I am going to keep it for myself. I also liked the style so much that I made two more that will be gifts. All three bags were made with leftover fabric; the only purchase was the cord for the drawstring as I did not want to use fabric.

This is the first one. I used ribbon yarn for the drawstrings to see how that would work but did not like it. The black fabric was left over from the binding for this quilt; the rim was in the pack of strips I used to make this quilt; the handles were from this quilt and the cover was left over from the backing from this quilt. The lining, which you cannot see, was fabric I had originally purchased as the backing for that quilt.

Having made one, I had to make another.

The black fabric and the yellow fabric are the same as for my bag; one of the orange for the handles was left over from my Jelly Roll Quilt and the other orange was from the same quilt as the handles for my bag; the cover and lining which you cannot see were from a fat quarter which I had in my stash for some other bag which didn't get made!

And having made two, I had to make another. This one out of canvas fabric I had left over.

The main blue flowery fabric and the lining, which you cannot see, are left overs from this bag; the rim, handles and cover are remnants from this bag.

The changes I made to this tutorial: add interfacing before sewing bottom seams; add interfacing to both sides of the rim (I did this by mistake to the first one); do not stitch any of the top edges/rim edge before joining rim, outer, lining. Also, as suggested, I cut the cover fabric wider to make enclosed seams and top stitched to enclose all raw edges.

Having made three of these bags, and I'm sure there will be more, I went on to another design. A bag made with a metal ruler at the top to make a snap bag. I had made one a while ago to make a glasses bag for my husband. I remember it being really fiddly and I searched for different tutorials but ended up with the one I had originally adapted as it had no enclosed seams. This time I decided to follow the instructions as written. i.e. use the same size fabric pieces.

First, of course, was to make one for myself. The one on the left in this photo. (The photo I took of it on its own is blurry, I could take another one but by the time I take one I am relatively happy with and upload it, months will have passed.)

As you can see the outer colours match my bag. The one on the right was made from bag scraps. I made another two out of bag scraps. These bags are quick to make until it comes to sewing down the casing for the ruler. On the last one I made I sewed the casing by hand and added the ruler after I had sewed about two-thirds around.

And there's still more. I have already mentioned my Jelly Roll Race quilt. I have some of the diagonal parts left over and I decided one was big enough for one side of a bag.

As this side was patchwork I decided to make the other side patchwork with left over fabric.

I sewed scraps together and then cut out the same size as the piece I already had. I did not want to lose the patchwork effect on the bottom of the bag so I added the plain beige from a fat quarter purchased and never used for its original intent. (See above.) I also decided to add a small piece at the top. I also added the strip on the lining so that the zipper is joined to the same fabric inside and out. I am pleased that as well as a handle, I sewed a little tab at the other end. I also like the fabric pieces I sewed at each end of the zipper but wish I had remembered to top stitch after sewing the side seams. This is a nice size bag maybe I should use it for the mystery shawl.

And I am going to take a break there as this post is already long. Next time I will post photos of two other bags I made. As well as the one I forgot to post,

Saturday, August 19, 2017

All The Projects

(Except One.)

I just may have mentioned that I have been casting on new projects even though there have been others on the needles. And it really hasn't bothered me which, considering older posts, is quite a surprise.

Here is a photo of all my project bags containing WIPs.

To save you counting there are seven and I forgot the never ending shawl.

The blue bag at the back contains this shawl.

This is a pattern that requires concentration so I do not get to work on it every day. There are now over 500 stitches but I am only 6 rows from the bind off. I am playing yarn chicken as I want to use all the yarn as it is a gradient but I certainly do not want to have to undo any rows.

From left to right the projects are as follows.

A hat for charity that I started on the way home from vacation. The pattern is Better Late Than Never Beanies and will be the second one I have made. The project is in a plastic bag as I just grabbed the bag of yarn and crochet hook before going away and have not put the project in a different bag.

Next in the bag shown here is this project which I started on vacation and seems to be only-on-vacation project. Although when I finish some of the other projects then I'm sure I'll pick it up again. I'm not quite half-way through.

This is nearly finished; 6 rows before bind off. This is the other project where I am playing yarn chicken although I will not mind too much if I have to undo any rows if I run out of yarn too soon as I have already undone over 50 rows when I found a mistake.

The butterfly bag has this project.

They are some mittens for a Christmas present. I started them so that I can slowly work on gift knitting this year plus I needed something simple to work on and the rib fit the bill. I am loving how this yarn is knitting up and feel a little sad that it is a gift and not for me.

The bag that says fiber space contains, funnily enough, the yarn I bought at that store. I had purchased two skeins of a DK weight to make a two-coloured shawl but I did not have a pattern in mind. On 4 August a new shawl pattern was released and I decided the yarn would work and as the designer was holding a KAL, I cast on.

The brown paper bag contains the yarn and project for the mystery shawl. Originally they were going to go into the butterfly bag but I took that when I needed a bag to take the mitten out of the house. Just have to make a decision which bag I want to use.

Apart from the never ending shawl, there is one other project missing from this line up; a sock I cast on at the beginning of the year. I decided fairly early on that the yarn and pattern were not a good mix but as I do not have any plans for the yarn and have plenty of other knitting, I have not rushed to frog them.

In the past I would have felt a bit antsy that I had so many projects on the go but I am actually quite happy with this number. Three seemed to have been set aside for working on at a specific time/location and one is a mystery so cannot be worked on all the time and two are very close to being finished.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

So many things to show and no time to show them.

I have been doing quite a bit of knitting and sewing just lately as I hurt my foot and was ordered to keep all weight off it. Hubby very nicely set up half of the dining room table for me as my computer/knitting/reading/sewing spot. I have a lot of sewing to show you but in this post I will show two hats that I made for charity. One for Operation Gratitude and the other for Click for Babies.

This is the hat I made for Operation Gratitude. It is crocheted that I started on the drive to vacation and was completed at the end of another vacation. Although it is a fun design it isn’t a mindless project but I thought it would be good for using up scraps of yarn.

The pattern is Brain Waves Beanie – a free pattern on Ravelry.

A friend was encouraging us to make hats for Click for Babies, a charity that raises awareness to new parents that babies do cry – some cry a lot. Surprisingly I did not have any purple yarn in stash so I bought some when I was out on my recent yarn buying trip so that a friend and I could both make hats. I considered this pattern Little Knight Purple Hat as it was specially designed for awareness but as I have made it twice already I decided to find another pattern. Although it is so much quicker to knit a pattern I have made before as there is not all the searching through patterns and trying to make a decision. Anyway I came up with this. Hello Baby Hat and was able to knit it in one evening.

(That's fluff from some other yarn that is showing up very nicely in that close up.)

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Another Mystery.

I rather enjoy mystery knit alongs (MKAL) for shawls. A knit along is where a group of people all knit the same pattern at the same time and blog/post on Ravelry/Instagram about their experiences; enjoyment or frustration and ask questions. I have had friendly knit alongs with IRL knitting friends. The Shipwreck shawl started that way and Arlequin ended up being that way as three of us made it.

Some KALs on Ravelry can get very big. For example the recent mystery by designer Joji Locatelli produced nearly 5000 projects, with just under 1500 being finished. And any MKAL by Stephen West garners great attention.

And, of course, there are groups on Ravelry devoted to listing all make alongs, mystery or otherwise. This was how I found the last mystery I made – Notre Dame shawl. That was in spring 2016 so I was really in the mood for another mystery. Although why this was the case I do not know as I really did not need another project on the needles especially as all my projects except the charity project are shawls. Anyway, I checked out the designer and not only had she had a number of mystery knit alongs but her designs were beautiful. I was in! Problem number one: no lace yarn in stash. Problem number two: broken foot limits my ability to get around and thus purchase yarn. These problems were solved by a dear friend who offered to take me yarn shopping. I think it was a chance for her to enable me for a change.

We went last Monday so I had yarn ready for the start on Tuesday. The down side about this was that few yarn stores in our area are open on Monday; although this meant there were just two stores to visit. I did purchase yarn which I am very happy with and both shops were friendly and helpful but they both made the same assumption when we walked (hobbled) in. I was on crutches and the assumption was that I wanted something to do while I was incapacitated and my friend was just there as the driver. We have been in these stores before and usually they are much more interested in our projects. As I said the people in both places were very welcoming and friendly but their lack of interest in what either of us wanted to make was surprising and my friend was not considered as a potential yarn buyer at all.

I bought some purple yarn for a different friend and myself to make new born hats for charity - Click For Babies.

And I bought two skeins of lace weight – Gleem Lace by fyberspates in a lovely tonal grey. I purchased two skeins at Black Sheep and one of the great things about this store is that they wind the yarn for you. So I was ready to go on 1 August when the first clue was released.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Find Your Style

The other day I tried on a sweater that I had knitted but never worn. I had bought a white skirt to wear with the sweater but, also, had never worn because I was worried about wearing a white skirt. I tried on the skirt to see if I still liked it and then a few days later I tried on the sweater - but not with the white skirt - go figure.

The first thing that struck me was how well the sweater fit. Armholes, bust, waist. So the sweater is still not going to be worn until I take all the measurements because I do want to start knitting sweaters again.

The second thing that struck me was how the length defied what Sally Melville had taught in her class on knitting for fit. According to Ms. Melville the sweater should stop at the widest part; as I was wearing straight legged jeans, the widest part were my hips but the sweater was past my crotch. (According to Ms. Melville, the crotch showing is also a good point.) I folded the sweater so that it fell at the widest point and it did not look as good as the original length. I am thinking that this is because the sweater has a low square neckline and needs length for balance. Which goes to show that all clothing rules are arbitrary and you should try many styles to find what suits the best.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Summer Knitting

Summer is here and with that comes outdoor concerts and the never ending shawl. Will this be the year I finish it? I am hopeful but I also feel I could cut it close. I am at the start of the last pattern repeat then there is the garter stitch border and, of course, the bind off. I calculate that to be 6 concerts worth of knitting. There are nine concerts and I have already missed the first one and there is another one I will have to miss. That still leaves me with seven shows. I am motivated to finish this project so that should be enough hours.

Here it is back out in the open.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

1(000) More American(s)

Something amazing happened last week – I became an American Citizen.

It was a long journey; not because of the time it takes to become a Citizen but the time it took for me to make the decision. My (now departed) mother-in-law frequently mentioned that I should become a citizen and couldn’t or wouldn’t understand why I did not. But if you have never lived in another country you do not realize what it means to relinquish the Citizenship of your birth and take on a new one. Yes the United States of America is a great country but that doesn’t mean you are going to drop your birth country without a second thought.

I first became eligible to apply for US Citizenship in 2000. At some point I even filled out the forms but that was as far as I got – mostly completed forms. And then in December 2005 we moved – to Canada. A whole new set of paperwork and form filling. At least this time we were all foreigners. While we were there my son and I became Canadian Citizens. I remember not feeling much emotion about it as I was mainly doing it to give our son choices. He really hadn’t had any choice in moving to Canada so it seemed only right that he should have the opportunity to stay if he wanted.

It would have been so much easier if I had become a US Citizen when I had had the opportunity because when we decided to move back to the United States we had to go through the Green Card application all over again. Costing us time and money. It took about 4 ½ months to get the visa, which was quick, but there was the cost of the application plus the cost of travelling to Montreal for the interview as well as having to take time off work.

Having moved back to the United States I was eligible to apply for Citizenship in 2015 but even with the incentive of being able to vote in a Federal election, I still put it off. It took me most of 2016 to fill in the forms. What finally prompted me to complete the process was that fees were increasing at the end of the year and the forms had changed so I had to redo them. I decided that this was going to keep on happening and that there was really no reason not to become a Citizen.

And that’s the thing. There’s no reason not to become a Citizen and plenty of reasons to become a Citizen. But it was still a HUGE deal. I’m not going to go into a long story about by interview. Briefly, the notice said to allow two hours. A friend drove me as husband was away and she didn’t even have a chance to get her knitting out as I was gone for about 15 minutes. It did mean we had the rest of the morning for knitting at Starbucks.

Conversely the notice for the Oath ceremony gave no information. There was a lot of waiting in line and people taking the oath were separate from their friends and family. So you were sitting with complete strangers with one thing in common – today was the day you became US Citizens. The oath is a very serious affair and afterwards I cried, not because I was now an American but because I had renounced the country of my birth, the country I had grown up in, gone to school, established a career, met my husband; where my family still lived. I also felt a sense of relief that I have the right to remain in this country.

Here are some photos of the day. I was sitting in the last row of people, there was no choice where you could sit but this turned out very well as I was not lost in the crowd. Because of where I was sitting, I was one of the last to get my certificate, this meant that I could see and be seen when I exited the hall. As you can see I was very happy to show off my Certificate of Naturalization. (The long piece of paper in my hand is a voter registration form.)

Monday, June 26, 2017

From Vacation to Vacation

From Vacation to Vacation

In this post I showed the yarn for a project I had started on vacation. After vacation it became my easy handbag project It was very easy to work on when watching children.

In February 2016 I purchased Candy Skein’s colour of the month, just because with no particular plan. I saw on Ravelry that someone had knit a Pure Joy with it using a bright pink as contrast. I thought that was a great idea and one day at Yarning for You, I saw the perfect pink. Except I never did cast on Pure Joy. There was something about it that didn’t quite call to me. Then I was shown Arlequin, a free pattern on Ravelry. It had been knit in a gradient yarn and I decided it would be perfect for my two yarns.

I started it on the first day of vacation and worked on it exclusively although I had other yarn. By the last day I was becoming rather bored with it but I resisted starting anything new. My plan was to knit until I ran out of the Candy Skein and then continue with the new yarn. It didn’t quite work out that way. Although that was what I did at first, I (and my knitting friends) didn’t like the change of colour part way through a pattern repeat, so a few rows were pulled out and I started the new colour at the beginning of a pattern repeat.

The bright pink is sock yarn by Malabrigo in the colour Light of Love. I have to say I enjoyed this yarn from winding to knitting to finishing. It is a beautiful tonal yarn that made me smile. My plan for this yarn was to knit until either I liked the length or I ran out of yarn. I ended up using most of the yarn; again finishing with one full pattern repeat rather than just finishing when I ran out of yarn.

And why the title of this post? I started this project on the first day of vacation and finished it a few days before another. This was not the plan. In fact as this was an easy project I thought it would be in progress for a long time. It did mean that I could start a new project on vacation and not worry about not finishing the last project.

Let’s have a LOL. The number of projects on the go is creeping up. I have a complicated shawl that I started when I finished the previous Pi shawl, another shawl that has lace knitting on every row, some mittens with short-row shaping, the new vacation project, the never ending project and a Clapotis. Time to get knitting.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Here’s The Finished Item

Last time I said I was going to post a picture of a finished item but then the post was negative about an item I frogged (which has been restarted as a Clapotis) that I decided the finished item needed to be in a more positive post. So here it is.

I was given some baby yarn at the beginning of the year – two skeins of Bébé Luv – a yarn available in Canada that I hadn’t knitted with before. It is 100% acrylic but seemed ideal for baby clothes. I gave the ball of white yarn to a friend and kept the red to knit something for one of my great-nieces.

I decided to knit for the youngest as the ball was 120 grams which I knew would be enough for a small cardigan. Then of course there was the searching on Ravelry for a pattern. I considered the Easy Baby Cardigan, after all I had only made it three times. But I found a new to me pattern - Provence Leafy Cardigan – I liked the lacey pattern and garter stitch detail.

Oh and I have another finished item that will appear shortly.

Monday, May 29, 2017

A Sigh of Relief AND a Finished Item

Way back in 2011 I bought some yarn because what it was made from was interesting. The fiber content was sugar cane. I hadn’t come across that before and thought it would be interesting to try. It is very slippery and loosely plied doesn’t come anywhere near – there are plys but they are not plied.

I cast on within a week of purchase as I needed an easy pattern to work on while I waited for a friend at a Doctor’s appointment. But I didn’t really like it and it became a no-more project. Not deterred by this I bought another skein of the yarn (different colour) in a sale at the end of 2011 because I had found a pattern that used two different colours. The pattern was hairpin lace crochet which I had never tried nor seen in real life.

Oh my gosh, it was awful. The technique is not hard but I had to remind myself how to do it everytime I picked up the project so I couldn’t pick it up and work on it for a few minutes at a time because I needed that time to look up how to work it. (I did eventually put a link to a tutorial on my project page so that I wasn’t searching for one every time.) If I had worked more consistently/frequently then I wouldn’t have had to look up the method everytime but it was rather boring but fiddly. Also when I took the first piece off the frame it twisted so badly that I had to undo it all. The tutorial suggested a lifetime which I used after that and it was helpful.

I wanted to finish the two never-ending shawls this year. So as hubby was away for a week I set that time aside to finish the hairpin lace. He left, I got out the project bag and I felt dread. I had five completed strips that were joined but I still had to make one more and join it. I couldn't start straight away as I had to go out which turned out to be a good thing. While I was out I had an epiphany – frog the darn thing. So I did. It wasn’t quick or easy because there were lifelines and safety pins but it’s done and I am amazed at the relief I feel no longer having to think about this old project now set to become a Clapotis.

I was going to write about the baby cardigan I finished but after all this negativity I think it deserves its own post.