Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Another quickie update

I spent this past weekend at a knitting retreat in Gettysburg, PA. The retreat was organized by a group of knitting and stiching retail stores in Washington DC, Maryland and Northern Virginia. It was a quiet, relaxing weekend. There were more cross-stitchers and needlepointers than knitters but we had a good time anyway. I took some classes and learned some new techniques in Norwegian knitting with Continental knitting holding both colors in your left hand. It was a little awkward at first but thanks to my crocheting knowledge I was able to pull through. The instructor said holding both yarns in one hand will give you more even tension. That has been my problem in holding yarns in both hands with Fair Isle -- uneven tension. I need to practice some more with the both-yarn-in-left-hand method to see if I really get better, more even tension before I attempt the Alice Starmore kit I bought last year.

In the meantime I finished the first entrelac sock.

I am very happy with it. No holes! The Trekking XXL is wonderful. I will cast on the mate later today. I want to finish the first pair so I can cast on a second pair! This is a little too big for me so it will go into the gift chest. The next pair will have 5-stich rectangles instead of six so it will fit me.

I also knitted a swatch of Cotton-ease.

Very nice. I really like how the fabric looks and feels. This swatch was done on #seven needles at 17 stiches for four inches. I am going to give the Central Park Hoodie another try. I really want it in cotton. I will eventually knit it in wool. Probably in the fall, but will use this Viking version that I found on Ravelry. It is really neat! I even have Dream in Color Classy yarn in Night Watch blue for it.

This weekend is the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. I am looking forward to it. I got back to spinning again and am hoping to get some merino and cormo roving or even some fleece. Last year the Fold had kits of the Socks that Rock roving that you could spin into your own sock yarn. I hope they will have them again this year. You never have enough sock yarns. And sock yarns do not count as stash.

Back to work. See you later.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Entrelac sock woes

Rip and learn

The entrelac sock was moving right along. Note the operative verb was. I turned the heel and was happily continuing with the foot.

I proudly showed my work in progress to Velva who, after admiring it , kindly pointed out that the transition from the closing triangles to the heel flap was not very neat and the stitches were very loose, thus creating holes. This picture is a little out of focus but you can see the holes from the loose stitches.

Thank you very much Velva.

She was having the same problem with hers and was agonizing over the ways to fix it. Well I was not fixing mine. I was already on the foot! Who cares aboout a few loose stitches? They're okay.

The Velva figured out that if you pick up the stictch right below it and knit the two stitches together that will tighten it up and solve the problem. Presto. No more holes. Nice and neat.

Rip and learn.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Not your daughter's socks

Entrelac is fun.

Check this out.

An entrelac sock in progress. Trekking XXL color 108. Is this pretty or what? On top of that I convinced Velva to try the Magic Loop tecnique so she doesn't have to transfer the stitches from the last rectangle every row. It works like a charm. This is so much fun.

I am also swatching for this pattern from a Lana Grossa Filati magazine.

I am doing it in (gasp!) Lion Brand Cotton Ease. I really like the feel of the yarn and the fabric it knits up and I heard so many good things about it that I am willing to give it a try. I had a bad experience with Knit Picks' Main Line. (I won't even link to it. No more Knit Picks products for me.) I knitted a Central Park Hoodie with it and it pills terribly, so much that I would not wear it. I will knit another CPH some day with another yarn but now want a cable cardigan knockabout so will give this Filati one and Cotton Ease a try. We shall see.

But first, back to the sock. It's fun!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Family and friends

Essential ingredients for life

April 7 was my birthday.

It was the first birthday without Bill in 20 years and I wasn't looking forward to it. Then several weeks prior my stepdaughter Erica called. "We're sending you plane tickets. The bluebonnets will be blooming here in Austin and we want you to be with us." So I went to Austin to see Erica and the grandchildren.

It was one of the best birthdays I ever had.

The Bluebonnets are indeed blooming and Mr. Fancy Pants the peacock is prancing around when I arrived at Happy Forest Farm in Manor, Texas.

There are many new things on the farm. The latest addition is Flower, the baby goat, born just a week prior. Erica feeds her three times a day. She has begun to nibble at grain and greens now.

She follows us just about everywhere. Here are Ingrid and Flower.

The Children are growing up fast! Elsa, who is now 18 months, is walking and getting into everything.
She can't open doors yet, but it won't be long before she can join her siblings and the creatures on their 15-acre farm.

Ingrid, at four,is my shadow.

Our birthdays also fall on the same week, even though she didn't care much about the dress I knitted for her and took it off almost immediately, complaining that it was itchy against her skin.

Oh, well...

Faith is six. A middle child who is at time serious and hard to figure out, but can also be boisterous and mischevious at other times as well. Here she is with a ball against one cheek and a rattle from a freshly killed rattlesnake against the other!

Grace found the snake when she flipped over a board. She promptly got her father who shot the snake dead.

They threatened to eat it. "Taste just like chicken," they said. To which Mommy and Grandma promptly replied: then let's just eat chicken.

Grace, at eight, is already Erica's big help. She can milk the goat, muck the goat pen, feed the chicken and gather the eggs and well as do other chores around the house. Still she has time to be a kid.

Nate is ten. He is the "man of the house" while Dad is at work. Nate reminds me a lot of Bill, especially with his calm countenance and his matter-of-factness when talking. And that hair! That is definitely Bill's hair.

The children are so much fun. They are so alive. They give me love. They give me joy. They ask for nothing in return. They are such a pleasure. They are such gifts. They are a part of my life now and I am grateful for that.

They love me.

I left Happy Forest Farm knowing it is the place I can go back and will always be welcomed.

I stopped in at the Yarn Barn to check out the Prism trunk show and to show off the kids' pictures. I was in for a big surprise when I was given this.

My very own comfort blanket. Each friend knitted a square or two or three and Lee Ann put the squares together and crocheted the borders. Ellie said they started after Bill's death. In red, white, and blue. There are hearts and angels and butterflies and flowers. There are multi-diretionals and yarn-overs (my mortal enemy!) They were knitted with love and care and compassion. They tell me I have friends who care, who love me, who want to comfort me. The blanket represents all that. And more. My very own security blanket.

I have the love, security, comfort of family and friends. They are within reach. I can reach out and they are there for me.

I am not so lost after all.

Bill would approve.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Prism Trunk Show

The largest collection of Prism yarn in Northern VA is here.

At the Yarn Barn in Burke, VA.

Saturday April 12 - 19, 2008.

I am making this top in Stuff and Bon Bon.

This is the largest collection of Prism Stuff you will see at any one time. Also other Prism yarns such as Bon Bon, Triste, Manhattan, Decadence, Devon, Andee, and so on. The colors are dazzling.

Come early. They go pretty fast. Especially the Stuff. Penny has it all: Cool Stuff, Wild Stuff, Light Stuff and Neat Stuff. If you need directions or hours call the shop at 703-978-2220. The trunk show will be on until Saturday April 19.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Mystic Light

Just a quick update

I finally got off the ground on the Mystic Light mystery shawl knitalong. Here is the gauge swatch.

It took me a while and even though I was on needle size 7 I still did not get the four inch gauge swatch specified. I liked the way my swatch blocked out and feels, though, so I am sticking with it. The yarn is Dream in Color Smooshy and the color is Deep Seaflower. I love it. Here is what I got so far.

That's only about a third of the first clue. I won't be able to finish clue 1 before clue 2 comes out today! I have another project to finish.

A birthday dress for my granddaughter Ingrid. I'd better finish that today, because I am going to Texas to her birthday party tomorrow! I am almost done anyway, just to seam up and finish the neck and armhole picot edging.

Just a quickie update today. Time to get back to work. Why does work have to interfere with kniting?