July 30, 2014

Summer Fun & Giveaway

With the beginning of August, we are moving into the end of Summer - that is, time out of school when there is plenty of time to play.
We have been enjoying some warm Summer rains the last few days.  This is our Grandson and some neighbor boys out kayaking in the flooded park near our house.  They had such a fun afternoon paddling around, and we didn't even have to drive to a mountain lake.  It rained again during the night, so I am sure they will be back out there again today.  Good times! 
Last night, our Daughter and her Husband's team took 1st Place in a Slow Pitch Softball Tournament.  It was a nail-biter!  In the last inning, they came from behind to win with an 8 point lead.  It's amazing how fast I can knit, when watching a tense game.  They played this final game at the field behind Sandy Elementary, where I went for K-6 Grade.  It was nostalgic for me to be there again, after all these years.  Good times!

 
 
 
                         

It is amazing what a difference 2 months has made in our garden. I am making lots of baked zuchinni chips right now, and eating lots of cucumbers. We are expecting our tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and green beans to come on soon. I'll be doing lots of blanching and freezing, along with making roasted tomato sauce.

As always, I've been knitting too. My second Lady Kina sweater for Emery is nearing completion. This time I took careful, NEW measurements and chose a two-tone orange in Rowan Cork (a discontinued yarn that I was able to score on eBay).
She really liked the color and the feel of the yarn, and it seems this sweater will fit her better.  I just need to finish the bottom border, sew up the underarms, weave in all of the ends and sew on the button, and she'll be ready to wear it when school starts at the end of the month.  I made another sweater for her when she was 3, out of this same yarn (even the same color).  She wore it a bit, but her little brother took it on as his favorite go to, and it is now just a pile of holes, dirt and darker colored yarn.  I hope to wash and unravel it soon, and re-knit it into something for his future child.  It is the best, when something you have knit becomes a family heirloom.
I have also swatched for my "Lady Kina" sweater.  I'm planning to fill-in the solid stockinette stitching with an evolving leaf lace pattern. 
I've found the pattern does not call for enough yarn.  I've used nearly 3 extra skiens on the orange sweater, so I'm going to need to order more of this milk chocolate yarn for mine, before they run out of the dye lot I need.  However, I've always found that KnitPicks always finds a way to send me the dye lot I need.  I've run out of yarn many times before.  I'm going to knit this evolving leaf lace pattern in a downward direction.  I hope it won't draw the eye to my ample hips. I've asked a few people what they think, and everyone thinks the open front will direct the eye upward.  I sure hope so!  I should be casting on for my Lady Kina tonight, that is if I don't get too involved in making zuchinni chips. 
My "Knit Night" groups will start meeting again in September.  We are going to be start a KAL, with the "Lady Kina" by Muriela.  Everyone is in the process of selecting their yarn and knitting their swatch.  We can't wait to get started.  I hope to have lots of pictures to post during the process, along with the finished sweaters.

Don't forget . . . The "Poor Baby" Sweater giveaway is still in process. On Labor Day, I will be drawing a random member of my "Followers", to win a bright pink sweater for a baby girl in their life. I will also be drawing a random person from the comments section of my blog to win a free copy of the "Poor Baby" sweater pattern. Just drop me a line about who you plan to knit the sweater for. So far . . . there is still a good chance of winning, so get signed up and/or comment today.
I hope you are having a fun summer too! Happy Knitting!

July 25, 2014

Summer Giveaway

What would Summer be without a backyard campout?
We chose the most humid weekend of the season, to have our Annual Grandpa Sleepover with all of our grandkids.  There are six of them now, and we had the most hot, fun, sleepless, wet, amazing time.
We had a super fun water fight, where Grandma and Grandpa through water balloons at the kids, all standing in a line.  If they were able to catch the balloon without it breaking, they got a free through at the Grandparent of their choice.  Many balloons were caught, and guess who they always chose as their target.  You guessed it, ME!  I was completely drenched by the time we all went in to put on our pajamas.  They all got a squirt gun too, and even little Alivia was able to take aim at everyone's faces. 

Once our pajamas were all on, everyone was given a bag to hold their prizes from a fishing game.  They were all told not to put the bags over their heads, but as you can see, some could not resist.  They were all good fishermen, and caught many prizes.  Then it was time to go into the tent and find our sleeping places.  We ate treats and watched the "Lego Movie".  There was a lot of giggling going on.  Almost everyone fell asleep at around 10 pm, that is except Hayden.  She continued to dance and jabber in the dark until nearly 1 am.  This is when Grandpa always says, "Never again".  But he quickly forgets, once the tent is taken down and everything is put away, which is when he starts talking about what we should do next year.  I always suggest a hotel, with a big swimming pool.  Perhaps I'll get my way . . . one of these years!
It is time for another GIVE-AWAY!  Since I've noticed that many readers come to this blog as a result of my "Poor Baby" Sweater Pattern, I've decided it is the perfect give-away. 
On Labor Day, I'll be drawing a Winner from the list of Blog "Followers", for this little, bright pink, backzipping baby sweater.  If you are not a Follower already, get signed up for a chance to WIN!!  If you are Follower already, just cross your fingers and hope to win. 
If you are a knitter, as I'm guessing most of my readers are, you can Comment on this blog for a chance to win a free copy of the "Poor Baby" Sweater Pattern.  It is a really fast, easy little sweater to knit, and with the easy zipper in the back, it is really useful too.  I have knit, a least a hundred of these sweaters as gifts for newborn babies.  The pattern is written for sizes 3 months to 18 months.  All you have to do to win, is tell me how you feel about my blog in the Comments section. If you are the winner in this category, and you already own the "Poor Baby Sweater" pattern, you can choose a free copy of any one of my other patterns for sale.

I have been knitting away, although on a different project, everytime I have a little knitting time.  As you saw from my last post, I am a bit scattered in focusing on 1 project at a time.  My "Laura Leaves Tank", knit with a Custom Fit recipe, is nearly finished, as it just needs a little seaming at the shoulders and the ends weaved in.  Then it will be time for picture taking.  I should have pictures for my next post.

I also finished my Fall Knitting KAL sample, "The Lady Kina Sweater", which I was knitting for my Granddaughter.  Well . . . in the knitting world, there aren't always perfect endings.  I always think I can take a short-cut.  This never works out well for me (you would think I would learn)!  I hadn't seen Emery for a few weeks, and thought I could start the sweater, working from measurements from 6 months ago.  Emery is 12 . . . (WHAT WAS I THINKING?)  Had I forgotten that 12 year old girl's bodies change daily?  Needless to say, the finished sweater does not fit . . . ugghh.



Emery is a beautiful girl, and she was able to put it on, but the fit was over-all too tight, and she'll have outgrown it next week! I loved the pattern, written by Murial. And thank heavens . . . I will enjoy knitting her another one. We've chosen Rowan Cork for the next one, in a bright, two-tone orange. I think she'll be just as pretty in this new color, and in a sweater with a looser fit, which she'll be able to wear for at least a few years. In the meantime . . . I'm in negotiations with a younger girl, who's Mother is a fantastic knitter herself, to see if she would like to acquire my first attempt at this sweater. Hopefully, I'll have some additional pictures of my "Lady Kina Sweater" for a future post.

Even experienced knitters "drop the ball" occassionally. This little fiasco has delayed any progress on my "Eva" and "Stella Pullover". However, the Rowan Cork is a stiffer yarn, and my hands quickly tire of knitting with it. This will open up some windows for knitting on my "Eva" and "Stella Pullover", as they are both knit in a fine gauge yarn with large needles.

Our garden is thriving, and we are eating lots of zucchinis, spaghetti squash and cucumbers, with tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplant and green beans coming on soon. I'll hope to have some pictures of the garden's progress in my next post.

Be sure to get signed up for the two give-aways. Happy Knitting!Knit-Zilla Ravelry Downloads

July 16, 2014

Sticking to ONE?

For some reason, I have the hardest time focusing on just one knitting project at a time. I've had to purchase many sets of knitting needles in the same sizes, because the ones I need are alway lurking around in another unfinished object (UFO).

Currently, I have quite a few UFO's in varying stages, which are riding around in my knitting basket, sitting on the corner of the couch, or are tucked into the ottoman where I store upcoming projects. Here are a few of them:
This is another "Laura Leaves Tank", which I am knitting from a Custom Fit recipe for the "Custom Fit Summer Sweater KAL".  I'm knitting it of "Fyberspates Scrumptious 4ply.  This is my all-time favorite yarn to knit with.  It is coming along nicely, with just the neck and arm bands left to knit.  I hope to have this finished before the KAL deadline on August 15.  This will be my F2F #5 for 2014.
 
This is "Eva" by Cheri Christian, which is my F2F #6 for 2014.  She is knit of Rowan Kidsilk Haze, in the color "Sweet".  She is just getting started, and you can see the front ruffle will have a tiny little row of sparkly beads. 
This project is just about finished. It is my "Lady Kina" sample, for my "Knit Night" KAL, coming up in the Fall.  I knit this sample for my darling, little grandaughter, so I should have pictures of her wearing it soon.  I hope it fits!   
It was coming along nicely, until someone stepped in my knitting basket and put this nice red dirt footprint on the inside of the back.  I'm hoping it will wash out, when soaking the finished sweater for blocking.  If not, I guess it won't be too upsetting, as it is on the inside of the garment.  This sweater is knit of KnitPicks - Gloss DK, in the color Sea Spray. 
I've finally decided on the yarn for my "Lady Kina" sweater.  I've ordered KnitPicks Comfy in the color "Doe", which is a soft brown.  Knitting two "Lady Kina" sweaters in simple stockinette stitch, is much too boring for me, so I've decided to incorporate the lace pattern from the "Growing Leaves Cowl" by Meghan Macko, into the body of my sweater.  Hopefully, this will all work out. 
In addition, I just received the yarn to knit a "Stella Pullover", by Kristen Hipsky.  It will be knit of Valley Yarns - Alpaca Silk, in the color Black.  This will be F2F #7 for 2014.  I'm hoping to caston for this sweater tonight.

I know . . . I'm totally A.D.D, when it comes to knitting!  I'm always in a state of finishing, starting, or ordering.  Do you really think having 5 WOP (works in progress) at one time, is too much?  I always mark my pattern and use a stitch counter, when I move from one project to another, so I don't waste time when I come back to it.  The only problem seems to be that I don't finish Summer sweaters until in the Fall and Winter sweaters until the Spring.  I guess I need to switch up my planning a bit. 

I hope you are enjoying the Summer and that there is a bit of knitting moving on your needles.  Happy Knitting!

July 09, 2014

Southeastern UTAH

I just returned from a whirlwind tour of southeastern Utah, where I saw some sights for the first time. It was HOT, dusty and especially BEAUTIFUL! After seeing a recent movie, which was filmed in Monument Valley, I just had to see it for myself. Here are some of the pictures we took.
  

 
 
 
 
 
 
In all, we visited Arches National Park, where we saw Delicate Arch; Mesa Verde; Four Corners, where we creatively stood in 4 states at the same time (Utah, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico); and Monument Valley. We packed our lunch each day, and drank a LOT of water. It was a great time! 
On our return, we stopped at this location to take a few pictures, and found the tread had come off a tire on our 5th Wheel, which completely beat up the wheel well and side of the trailer. Funny, we didn't even realize it had happened until we stopped. Lucky this was our only problem on the trip. You can see in the picture, that 2 little boys thought they could hike up to the rock formation all by themselves. Luckily a baby was crying up there, so I was able to convince them they should stay and help Grandpa change the tire.

As we were traveling from place to place, I was madly knitting on my "Kina Sweater" sample. I ran out of yarn and even knit up the yarn from my swatch. In our jumping from car to car, someone stepped into my knitting basket and put a nice red dirt footprint on the inside of my sweater. I hope it will wash out, but if it does not, we'll have a nice momento from the trip. Luckily, the dirt footprint is on the inside, and won't be seen when worn. Anyway, I'm hoping to get some more yarn to complete my sample in the same dye lot, so I can finish it up. In the meantime, I'm back knitting on my Laura Leaves Tank.

I hope you are having a fun summer and you are taking time for a vacation or two. Happy Knitting!

June 26, 2014

Project Planning

Summer heat has arrived. At 8:00 pm each night, this is where you'll find me.
I'll be sitting in one of those white chairs, with a cold drink, my Kindle and of course, my knitting.  I'll be there until about 9:30, when it gets too dark to see my knitting, and the mosquitoes start to buzz around.
We have a few roadtrips planned, so I've been planning some new projects.  When I'm going to be knitting in the car for an extended period of time, I like to switch back and forth between projects, to keep my hands from getting tired on the same size needles and to keep from getting too bored.  The most important part of planning a project is "Swatching".  This is where you knit up a sample square in the desired  yarn to make sure you have "Gauge".  This is the most important step in project planning, as it will determine the fit of your final garment.

In the past, I was always a lazy swatcher.  I would cast on 20 stitches knit for 2 inches and then measure with the stitches still on the needles.  Then I would rip is out and start the cast on for my project. Sometimes this worked, but most of the time I was unhappy with the garments I produced.  Especially the ones for me!  Knitting with Custom Fit has taught me that if I want the perfect fit, I must produce the perfect swatch. If at the end of the project I am running out of yarn, then and only then, do I rip out my swatch. I've found this doesn't happen often.

Here is how I explained "Swatching" to my Knit Night friends, so they could prepare for our upcoming KAL (Lady Kina):

Once you have selected your yarn, it is time to "SWATCH" (a picture of my swatch is attached).  Cast of 30-40 stitches on US7 needles and knit in stockinette stitch (knit on RS, purl on WS) for about 4 inches.  You can add a garter stitch (K on both RS and WS) border if you prefer.  Bind off.  Soak in cool water and roll in a towel to dry.  Carefully pat swatch out to shape (do not stretch) and place a few pins around the edges to hold in place as it dries.  Now the most important part -- Count the number of stitches in a 4" row (be extremely careful in your measuring and counting, as this makes the difference in getting a perfect fit, or not.  Even count 1/2 or 1/4 stitches).  Your final stitch count over 4 inches should be 20 stitches.  If you have more than 20 stitches, swatch again with US9 needles.  If you have less than 20 stitches, swatch again with US6 needles.  Continue this process until you reach the perfect 20 stitches per 4 inches.  If you have selected Worsted Weight Yarn, the only differences will be in how tight or loose your personal knitting style is. 

The purple swatch is planned for "Bloomsbury".  The aqua swatch is planned for "Lady Kina".  The coral swatch is planned for "Eva". The dark red swatch is for 'Laura Leaves Tank".  "Lady Kina" and "Laura Leaves Tank" are already on the needles and ready for travel.  I have a Custom Fit pattern in hand for "Eva" and she is ready to be cast on at any moment.  The amazing thing about a Custom Fit pattern, is you can select the design and the yarn completely independent of each other.  You aren't tied to knitting the design at the exact gauge indicated.  Once you have "swatched" in your chosen yarn, you simply plug the stitch counts into the Custom Fit software, and it produces the perfect pattern for you.  There is no math or calculations involved.  "Bloomsbury" has been placed on the back burner, for now, as she may be too warm to wear right now, but she'll be perfect for September/October weather, so she won't be waiting for long.

I expect to be back next week, with pictures of our travels and pictures of my knitting progress.

In the meantime, I wanted to share a success from one of our best crocheters in the Knit Night Group. She made this cute, little bolero for her daughter to wear at her brother's wedding. She has done such a beautiful job! Lily is also quite the little model. You've see her before in her Mother's creations, and we hope to see her or her sibblings again on this blog.

I hope you are all having a fabulous summer. Thanks for stopping by . . . . .and Happy Knitting!

June 20, 2014

Crazy Weather -- ?Summer?

Utah is known for its crazy weather . . . but snow in June? That has got to be the craziest of all! We were having beautiful weather, in the 90's, but last Monday the temps dropped to the low 40's and it snowed on the mountain benches. We actually even turned our furnace back on, and sandals went back into the closet, and the sweaters came back out (Yeh, I love wearing sweaters).
Just a few weeks ago, the downtown area looked like this

Regardless, I love living in SLC. We have beautiful mountains and a lake that provides the most beautiful sunsets. Even if those mountains hold in all of the inversion air in the winter, and the lake is so salty, that not much can survive in it. It's high dessert living for me! We are supposed to have weather back in the 90's by the weekend. C-R-A-Z-Y!

I take a break from hosting a monthly knitting group in the Summer, to give everyone time for gardening, camping and other vacations. It is only June, and I already miss seeing all of these ladies! I've started planning for the Fall, when we'll all be together again, and knitting away. I've decided on the perfect KAL for 2015. The "Lady Kina" sweater, designed by Muriel Agator. It is the perfect design to flatter any age and body type. It will knit up quickly, and have a forgiving fit, which is perfect if it is your first sweater project. Bodies can be so difficult, as compared to scarves, hats, blankets or slippers. Thank heavens for stretch . . . which is exactly what knitted garments provide.
I sent out a notification about the KAL and everyone is so excited to get started, that the KAL will begin in September, instead of in January, like last year.  Perhaps this will give us time to work together on two projects in 2015.  We'll see how it goes.  Everyone is busy choosing their yarn.  We have some expectant Moms in the group, and this should be a sweater that can be worn before, during and after. 
My "Laura Leaves Tank", F2F #5, is coming along.  I decided to knit it in-the-round, because the pattern was written that way and I didn't want to figure out the leaves pattern working it flat.  It is recommended that all Custom Fit patterns be worked flat, in pieces, so I hope this works out as I had planned.  To prevent the leaves from being "wonky", I've had to move the front shaping to the side seams.  I'm a little concerned that this may make the ribbing ride up on my hips.  I guess we'll see . . . . . .

Despite the crazy weather, our garden is flourishing.  The marigolds are just on the verge of bursting into bloom.  Planting them from seeds this year, has provided for really full pots, but a little later blooming.



The hanging flower basket has really made some changes. Compare the following.
I've decided to knit my sample "Lady Kina" for my sweat, little granddaughter, who along with her friend has newly cut bangs for the summer.

. . . so, I'll be digging through my yarn stash this weekend, trying to choose the perfect yarn to compliment a 12 year old with bangs! Happy Knitting!