April 08, 2014

Easter Knit Night

We just held our April KNIT NIGHT. It was such a lot of fun!
 These springy banners were hung over the bar in the kitchen for the occasion.  They were made by my friend (Pam).  You can purchase your own at her website:  http://nowyours.com/ for less than $15 each.  But you must hurry . . . they are going fast!
Hats were knit for these little eggs, as a giveaway, along with the pattern: tete d'oeuf by Kristen Rettig (Knitionary).  Erica, Carolyn and Jeri were the lucky winners, and took a sixpack home with them.

Joan and Kathy were the winners of the child-sized egg hats. Kathy and Jennifer brought lots of yummy Easter treats, and we all enjoyed them, as we worked on our knitting projects and had a few laughs.

We finished up our "Poor Baby Sweater" KAL.  Many, darling, little, backzip baby sweaters were finished.

. . . and everyone's knitting skills bumped up a few notches.

We've spent the past 4 months working on these little sweaters. It was such fun!

They are all not finished yet, and some need pictures, but we've had such a fun time working on them together.

There were some other fun projects there too.

Carolyn made this Leaf and Lace Cardigan by Patons.  It is such a darling little sweater for a 3 month old baby.

Sharalee was crocheting a fluffy little border on a burp cloth.

Leslie was working on the back of The Snuggly Duffle Coat by Sirdar Baby Bamboo Knits.  And Tiffany was crocheting a beautiful little yellow Easter dress.  I didn't get any pictures of it yet, but I hope to have some soon.  All in all, it was a fun evening.  Next month we plan to visit the The Crooked Fence Alpaca Farm and Mill, in Mona, Utah. 

I just finished F2F #3!  Watch for my next post, where I'll have pictures and all the particulars.  Happy Knitting!

April 01, 2014

Sweater #2 - Afterlight Custom Fit

Introducing . . . . Sweater #2, of my 2014 "Knitting only for Me" series.

The pattern is:   "Afterlight" by Amy Herzog.  The yarn is "Soulmate" by Lorna's Laces, in the color:  Harrison.  The needles size is US2.

It was supposed to be finished by February 28, but size US 2 needles and hand-dyed yarn make for some challenges. I had to alternate the yarn skeins every 2 rows, to prevent color pooling (there is nothing worse than two solid colored circles on your chest). And such small needles make a beautifully, lightweight fabric, but it takes some TIME . . .

I used Amy's Custom Fit Sweater Generator to get the perfect fitting version of her pattern, that is "perfect for me".  A knitting option that I would recommend for all knitters.  You plug in the yarn of your choice and your measurements, and wala out comes the perfect pattern for you (no math required).

No need for a perfect body, to get a perfect fit. This sweater fits every lump, curve and bump of my body, even if they aren't in exactly the correct spots. I lengthened the sleeves from the original pattern, and I wish I had lengthened the body a bit too, but overall, I am quite happy with the finished product. Amy has taught me that the most important body feature to fit, is your shoulders. Most patterns are sized for the bust measurement, which even if it fits perfectly through the bust, will look terrible if the shoulders are too tight, or too droopy. You can see that my sweater fits perfectly in the shoulders.

Those of you who have been following me, know that I have a devoted an entire year (2014) to knitting just to fit my body. I'm hoping to have 12 perfectly fitting sweaters by the end of the year. I'm going to have to knit a few in chunky yarn and larger needles to get back on schedule, and there may need to be a few accessories in there too. I found a pattern for a beautiful shawl, and a scarf, that have my name written all over them. These items won't need a custom fit, so I'll just have to knit a little FASTER!!

Now on to Sweater #3, which is knit in a chunky yarn (KnitPicks City Tweed HW) in the colorway: Kitten. Knit in US8 needles, it was cast on on March 10, and literally flying off the needles.

The pattern is: "Little Wave" by Gundrun Johnston from Brooklyn Tweed's Wool People Series.  I'm having a lot of fun knitting it, as the construction is different than I have ever done before.  It is knit from the bottom-up in one piece to the underarms.  The arms are then knit separately on dpn's, and the upper body then incorporates the sleeves into a saddle shoulder.  The pattern is so well written that I've had no questions or confusion on what to do next. I'm currently finishing up the shoulders and just have the collar, buttonbands and pockets to finish. I know it is April, but I just might have a chance to get caught up to my goal (1 sweater per month).

This is my swatch for #3. You can see the "little wave" pattern. I did have a Custom Fit Pattern generated, which helped me to know that perfect number of stitches to cast on for the body and sleeves, but I found it difficult to do the body shaping and still maintain the "little wave" pattern. There was some garter stitching at the sides, so I placed all of the body shaping there. It looks really good at this point, and I hope to be wearing it soon. I'm hoping for at least a few wearings before the warmer weather sets in.

My knitting group will be meeting this week, and I've knit a bunch of these little Easter egg hats as prizes. I used: "tet d'oeuf" by Kristen Rettig.  Kristen's blog:  "Knitionary" is my favorite knitting blog.  I pretty much stalk her posts.  She loves to entertain, and cook, and garden, and knit, and she is so willing to share it all on her blog.  Be sure to check it out.  The picture above, is her's and I hope to post one of my own next week.

Thanks so much for stopping by . . . . . and Happy Knitting!!

March 27, 2014

Spring Inspiration

It looks like Spring is finally coming to SLC. The snow has melted in the valley and my tulips are starting to poke through. It has been a hard winter for us. Pneumonia struck our alpaca herd, and within a few short weeks, we lost 4 of them (Spud, Waffles, Oreo and Pepper). It was a big loss for us, since we only have 11. Having a small herd makes for some strong attachments, so we feel like we lost some loved pets.

Thankfully . . . Spring renews! We are expecting 2 new babies at any minute.  Both Cocoa and Cupcake were due to deliver on March 22.  If all goes well, our herd will be increasing again.
A dear friend of mine has just started a great website: "Now Yours", where you can purchase fun and trendy jewelry, clothes, and home decorating items.  Check it out!  The items are all darling, the photography is great, and the prices are reasonable.  The site also runs daily specials and giveaways!
I recently purchased these darling, spring banners to hang over the bar in my kitchen. My friend makes these herself, and she does such a good job on them. Although my kitchen is decorated in warm colors, I love adding a bit of spring color for the season. She was also making fun burlap table runners for Easter.
Lucky for me! She had a small square piece remaining. She remembered that I have a small round table in my breakfast area, so she finished the edges and gifted it to me.
Thanks again Pam . . . I love it!! It is just perfect to overlay a longer round tablecloth, and is perfectly centered with my pewter pumkin pie dish. It really gets me in the mood for the season. I'm quickly knitting some fun Easter prizes for my upcoming "Knit Night". Check back next week to see the prizes and to hear about the winners.

I've completely finished Sweater #2, but I can't seem to find the time to take pictures of it. It turned out nicely, although a bit short for my liking. I've re-blocked it, in hopes of getting a few additional inches of length out of it. Hopefully, I'll find the time for a little photoshoot this upcoming weekend. Sweater #3 is nearly three-quarters complete, and since it is a warm, cozy boyfriend cardigan, I'm hoping to finish it in time to wear a bit on cool evenings. I'm loving it, so far, and I'm sure it will be loved for years to come. As I work towards starting Sweater #4, which is already in the bag and ready for cast-on, I'm always on the look-out for the next project. I'm always getting ahead of myself.

While browsing through Pinterest I was so inspired by these knitting designs. However, lucky for me (I guess), the links to the patterns were broken, and I was never able to find them. Otherwise, I would probably be plotting a way to work them into my knitting schedule. There are so many beautiful knitwear items available for knitting, and I just cannot get my fingers to go fast enough! I suppose I'll just have to dream on them for a bit. If they stay in my memory . . . I'll probably be searching a little harder to find the patterns, or I'll be changing them up and writing my own patterns for them.

I love to hear what inspires you . . . so drop me a line in the "comments". Thanks for stopping by and Happy Knitting!!

March 18, 2014

My Alltime Favorite Yarn

Way back in 2008, I knit a little "Robin Hood Jacket" by Zoe Mellor for my six year old grand-daughter.  It was knit from what quickly became my favorite yarn:  ROWAN CORK.  The yarn was soft and washable, it was durable and held such beautiful color.  When I discovered this yarn, it had already been discontinued, so I had to battle-it-out with other knitters on eBay, to get the needed skeins.  Luckily, I won the yarn in a beautiful orange and I quickly started my knitting.
This is how that sweater looks today. My daughter recently returned it to me, as each of her children have grown out of it. It was so well loved, and abused. Buttons are missing, buttonholes are torn through, the tassel from the hood is missing, seaming has come unsewn and various holes have been torn in it from many hours of outdoor play. But . . . it is still soft, and cuddly, and although it is plenty dirty, it would probably still hold up a good machine washing. I know of no other yarn that could have withstood this type of torture! To me, it is a keepsake, which will be wrapped in tissue paper, dirt and all, and carefully placed in my cedar chest.
This little sweater has quite a history. My grand-daughter wore it for a few years, during which time it remained in perfect condition. Then it was loned to a cousin who was visiting from out of state. The cousin loved it too and quickly tucked it into her suitcase to take home. Several years later, the cousin's Mother discovered it and returned it to my daughter. That was when my grandson discovered it. Oh how he loved that sweater. He wore it non-stop, rolling in a cow pasture near their home, catching it on various fences, while still riding his bike, and even over his suit at my Son's outdoor wedding, where it poured rain for hours. Luckily, orange was one of my daughter-in-law's chosen wedding colors!
My daughter's second child abused the sweater so much, that her third child was never able to wear it. New "Robin Hood Jackets" were knit for both children a few years later, but they just weren't the same, and didn't get the wearing and love that the first ones did. The small ball of leftover yarn was recently discovered in my stash, and I quickly knit it into a "Lil Pumpkin Hat" for my newest grand-daughter.  It is still the best yarn I've ever knit with!

I regularly do a search for ROWAN CORK on the internet, but I'm generally not too successful.  However, I recently scored on eBay.
6 skeins in Beige, and . . . . .
10 skeins in 50 Sour. I am so excited! I just need to figure out if I have enough to make my grandson a new "Robin Hood Jacket". It will have to wait until next year, but even though he is eight now, I'm sure he would love it. My husband wasn't too happy when the yarn arrived, as he thinks I have enough yarn for 10 knitters for the next 10 years. But then most knitters know you can never have too much yarn stashed away!

My Knit Group is finishing up a 3 month "The Poor Baby Sweater" KAL.  These are the 5 sweaters left with me for sewing in zippers.  They have all turned out so cute!  There are more, and I hope to get pictures of the rest at our next Knit Night.
The 3 little gray sweaters were knit by Erica. She has become such a great knitter. She said that everytime she was stumped by the pattern, and she couldn't reach me, she just started another one. Consequently, she now has 3 finished sweaters ready for the giving. They make such great baby shower gifts, since everyone needs a backzip, little sweater for their newborn.
Sweater #2, "Afterlight" by Amy Herzog is finished, but it needed a final blocking.  So, it is currently drying on the blocking table.  It should be ready for some photoshots for my next post.  I know . . . this one has really taken some time.

Sweater #3, "Little Wave" by Gudrun Johnson is well underway.  I have the main body knit and the right sleeve.  I'll be casting on the left sleeve (to be knit in-the-round) tonight.  It is knit from a bulky weight yarn, so it is flying off the needles.  The wave pattern is really fun to knit, once you get it established.  I'll have some pictures of my progress in my next post.

In the meantime, Spring has arrived in SLC, and we are making plans for our Summer garden, both flowers and vegies.  It is so nice to have some warmer weather and longer days.  I've been going to the park to eat my lunch each day.  I'm so impressed by the number of people who are already out running.  Cabin fever must affect us all.  Thank heavens I have knitting to keep me occupied on evenings when it is just to cold to go out for anything.  Of course, I always drag my knitting along on Summer vacations too, so the weather probably doesn't make much difference.  I should just put down my needles at lunchtime and get out of my car and do some walking myself.  I guess that will be my goal this week.  Happy Knitting!

March 07, 2014

Slow Going . . .

I've been working on Sweater #2 for nearly 6 weeks now. Who would have thought knitting with sock weight yarn and US2 needles would be such a drawn-out process.

It is Amy Herzog's "Afterlight".  Knit from a "Custom Fit Recipe".  It is coming along, and I love the way it looks.  I'm alternating the skeins, so there won't be any color pooling in this variegated yarn.

The body is finished, the neck has been added, the sleeves are on the blocking table.

Knit of Lorna's Laces - Soulmate, the fabric has a light, drapey feeling, and I'm sure it will be amazing to wear. Although we are having a big family birthday celebration this weekend, and we will have a house full of guests, I am hoping to get it finished up. I'm hoping my next post will have the finished product.

Now on to Sweater #3, "Little Wave" by Gudrun Johnson.  I've purchased a Custom Fit pattern and it is on the needles, and well on it's way.  Since it is knit on US8 needles, it is flying along.

I'm knitting mine of a Bulky KnitPicks yarn of an Alpaca/Wool blend. It is a special colorway, "Kitten", that was only available on the KnitPicks website for a few days. It is so soft and warm. I can't wait to be wearing it. Hopefully, I will be able to recover a few weeks and finish it by the end of March.

At my February "Knit Night", Becky shared a little book of knitting patterns for dishsoap bottle dresses. They were all so cute, knit in dishy yarn. I couldn't resist knitting up several of the patterns. Thank you Becky . . . I think they would make darling shower gifts.

I purchased matching dishsoap bottles for the dresses I made, and we had a drawing at our March "Knit Night". Becky, Erika, Judy and Sharalee all took the little dresses home. The rest were given a copy of the patterns. Becky challenged me to write-up a pattern for a little boy, so they could be hung from a bottle of bubble bath and used as the baby's washcloth. Great idea Becky! I'll get right on that.

We were finishing up our "Poor Baby" sweater KAL, so everyone was talking about sewing in zippers and making tassels. My sis was already finished, and you can see the darling little baby sweater she has started on.
Up close, you can see the lace leaf pattern yoke. And the sweater is green, rather than yellow. I guess I should have turned the flash on my camera on. So cute . . . I have got to knit one of these!

Becky was crocheting this beautiful baby blanket. So much work and time . . . but so worth it. Lucky Baby!

Check out the beautiful colors, and the texture. I hope this one is for Kristen, but then I guess Becky's other grandchildren deserve a beautiful blanket too.
Sharalee was crocheting around little burp pads, with the softest, fuzzy yarn. They looked darling and so easy. It looks like the perfect method for fast, with a great outcome.

Joan was just casting on a Joan Vass Dress pattern. It will be summery, stretchy and the perfect swimsuit cover. She has a Custom Fit pattern to make sure it fits her perfectly, and it is knit of a tape yarn. I didn't have a picture, but we can take our own, when the dress is completed.

"Knit Nights" are always such fun, and so inspirational. I want to knit everything I see there. I have a whole pile of "Poor Baby" sweaters, waiting for me to sew in the zippers. Some decided to sew their own. I hope to see them all on Ravelry. Happy Knitting.