February 26, 2015

It's Snowing!

We have had a very mild Winter here in SLC. In fact, it has been so warm, that I rarely wear a coat to work. I go from a warm car in the garage straight to work, and often don't even notice the weather until I am driving down the road. Today was one of those days. It is now well into the morning, and it has started to snow. I guess I'll be a little cold and wet, as I run to my car for lunch. Oh well . . . since we live in the high desert, we really need the water. I would be really sad if I was forced to let my lawn die in the Summer. So, I say "Let it Snow".

I took me 4 weeks, but I've finished my "Charlie's Cardigan" by: Amy Herzog.  I loved knitting the chevron patterned lace down the fronts, but because I chose a marled yarn, the pattern doesn't really show through.  I think this design is meant for a solid colored yarn.

However, I am really happy with the finished sweater. It is knit of our very own "Salt Grass Alpaca Yarn", in Waffles/Spud Twist. The yarn was a dream to knit with, and the sweater is so soft and warm to wear. There doesn't seem to be a color in my closet that doesn't look good with this sweater, so I know I'll be wearing it a lot. I should have worn it today!

My endeavors in using "Custom Fit" patterns, has really increased the number of sweaters, knit for myself, that have found their way into regular rotation in my wardrobe. It is a welcome change from those that have taken up shelf space in the past, but were never worn. It is seriously, so exciting to knit sweaters I LOVE! However . . . I don't think I'll ever feel comfortable posting pictures of ME, wearing these sweaters. They always look much better, to me, when they are photographed on my dress-dummy. She never gains an ounce!

I still have a stack of yarn and patterns waiting to get onto my needles. A new grandson and grand-daughter (twins) are expected in April. I've got to get busy. I'm guessing these items will make great travel knits, since they are small, and the yarn won't take much room in my luggage.

I've moved on to the next project. It is "Botanica Medallion Cardigan" by Shiri Mor.  At a recent, SLC Knitting Guild Meeting, I saw a Botanica Cardigan worn by one of our local knitters.  I immediately remembered seeing this pattern on the cover of "Vogue Knitting", several years prior.  I ran home and dug through all of my old magazines.  There it was and couldn't wait to get started.

I ordered the cotton yarn suggested by the pattern, Blue Sky Alpacas-Skinny Cotton, in a pure white.  I'm planning a cruise through the Panama Canal this Summer, and thought it would be perfect, worn with a white t-shirt and patterned pants.  The medallion is finished, and knit up in less than a day.  I'm now plugging along on the outer circle.  It has a very unusual stitch pattern for outside edge, and I just love how it looks. 

We returned our exchange projects to the yarns original owner at the SLC Guild Meeting in February.  I received a beautiful shawlette knit from my KnitPicks Cashmere Blend yarn.  It was knit by the secretary of the guild, and I must say, it is beautiful.  I couldn't get it around my shoulders fast enough.  Many thanks to Sarah for all of her hard work.  It was such a fun thing to participate in.  There were some really beautiful things exchanged that night.  I really don't think anyone was disappointed, except those who chose not to participate.  I'm sure they will jump right in the next time.  It is such a joy when "knitters" gather together.  I am always so inspired by the FOs I see there.

Thanks for stopping by.  Happy Knitting!

February 08, 2015

Knit Nights . . . back in business

After taking a little break for the Holidays, we held our first "Knit Night" of the year. Like always, it was loads of fun. We continued with our "Lady Kina" KAL.

Kathy, Jeri and Sharalee continue to work on their "Lady Kina" sweaters.  They are all coming along nicely!  Joan was knitting a braid banded hat, and Carolyn was stuffing the arms and legs of a cute little doll.
Kayti was a new member to join our group.  She is quite an accomplished knitter and was working on "Velvet Morning" by Knitted Bliss.  She is self-taught, with a little help from her Stepmom.  She has chosen such beautiful colors.  I can't wait to see the finished product.  It is going to be beautiful!

Kayti's Mom, Rachelle and my dear friend Karen, also joined the group.  They are both beginners, but picked it up like pro's.  Rachelle was the WINNER of the Salt Grass Alpaca Yarn and the"Miss Marple Scarf" pattern.

Emery was there, crocheting a hat, along with Jennifer and Tiffany, who was crocheting around a darling baby blanket. Jennifer just had a darling baby girl, and this was the first time she had left her, so she scooted out early, to make sure Grandpa was doing a good job.
Marlene was knitting a Walaby Sweater, with a little Kangaroon Pocket.  Joan and Sharalee brought some yummy Valentine's treats, which we all gobbled up.  There we lots of Valentine's Day inspired patterns available for the taking.  Just another fun Knitting Night.  I am still plugging away on the sleeves of my "Charlies Cardigan".

I'm looking forward to attending some classes, taught by Sally Melville this weekend.  The Salt Lake Knitting Guild has brought her to SLC to teach us all.  It is always fun to learn some new knitting techniques from a Master.  Thanks for dropping by . . . and Happy Knitting!!

February 02, 2015

Goodbye January . . . Hello February

Cold, dreary January has left us behind. It has been unusually warm here in SLC, and February has brought my tulips to the surface. I hope they are able to grow and bloom, but I expect there will be some snow to come. Today is "Groundhog Day", and it's the first time I've not been wishing for an early Spring. I guess that is because I fear "snow in June". I just want to get the cold season overwith, and move on to a long, beautiful Spring.

Running out of yarn for my Bloomsbury, may have been a blessing in disguise. Even though I was able to secure another precious skein of the yarn I needed to finish, the break has allowed me to finish up a few other projects that have been weighing on me. One of these, set aside, projects was the shawl KAL I was participating in with The Salt Lake City Knitting Guild. I had chosen to knit "Flowering Weeds" by Karalee Harding, knit of a fine, lace weight, alpaca yarn in black.

It was a fun pattern to knit, and when spread out to block, the design really jumped out.  It is an extra fine shawl, and will not provide much warmth, but I'm fine with that, as it is planned to be more decorative than functional.

These are not the best pictures, and I would never wear the shawl with these clothes, but my plan is to wear the shawl over a black coat, and the camera really can't catch the flowering design, when it is worn over black.
I'll be returning my knitting project from someone else's yarn in a few weeks.  I knit these Cable-Heart Mittens, but Margaret Radcliffe.  In addition, I incorporated the cable-heart design into a warm headband.  It was difficult to decide how to use these two colors together in one design.  I hope the recipient will be happy with them.
I'm progressing on my "Charlies Cardigan" by Amy Herzog.  Using a Custom Fit pattern, I've got the back and fronts completed, and I'm moving on to the sleeves.  I purchased buttons over the weekend, and I can't wait to be wearing this.  Perhaps I'll have it ready for my next post.

My "Knit Nights" will resume this week.  I've missed seeing everyone, since our Christmas Party in early December.  Our "Lady Kina" KAL will continue.  Here is what we have so far.  I'm looking forward to posting more pictures of finished "Lady Kina" sweaters from our knitting group.

Thanks for stopping by . . . . Happy Knitting!

January 16, 2015

A New Year and a Basketful of New Projects

The Holidays came and went this year, without any Christmas Knitting. This is very unusual for me, but as you all know, I had committed to spending all of 2014 knitting exclusively for myself. It was a great year, and I learned so much! I learned many new knitting skills, but the most important of all, was learning how to knit to fit my own body. As you saw in my last post, I knit 7.75 sweaters for myself last year, and with the exception of 1, they all fit beautifully.

This sweater was my favorite, and I have to restrain myself from wearing it more than once a week. I've never had this problem before, as I was rarely happy with final fit of the sweaters I knit for myself. Thus I didn't knit for myself much. I must thank Amy Herzog and Custom Fit for the fitting knowledge I have gained over the past year.
This was Sweater #8 "Bloomsbury".  Knit of a beautiful silk yarn, "KnitPicks Diadem in Amethyst".  I decided to knit this sweater on US2 needles, so it has taken some time (nearly 3 months) to finish just the body portion of the sweater.  As I started the first sleeve, it quickly became apparent that I would be running out of yarn.  I quickly contacted Knitpicks, only to find that Diadem DK Tonal had been discontinued.  "Yikes"!  What would I do now?  I went on a mad search of stashes on Ravelry, and luckily was able to find a skien, in my exact dye lot, in the stash of "Mythwrangler".  She was so gracious, and offered to send me the much-needed skien, if I would simply make a donation to my favorite charity.  THANK YOU MYTHWRANGLER!  The donation has been made, the skein has been delivered, and I am back to knitting on my Bloomsbury.  Phew . . . what a relief.

This is the best purchase I made as a gift this year.  Meet Hayden and Madame Giggles.  It is always grand when your gifts are accepted with laughter and kisses.  Hayden drags her along, everywhere she goes.

Along with expecting two new grandbabies in the Spring, the new year has brought a basketful of new knitting projects.  I'll be knitting "Charlie's Cardigan" by Amy Herzog, out of my very own "Salt Grass Alpaca" yarn in the colorway, Waffles Twist.

This swatch will give you an idea of what the yarn looks like.  This is the first sweater I have knit out of my very own yarn.  Waffles passed on last year, so this will be the only batch of yarn that looks exactly like this.  It is so soft, and twisted with fleece from Spud, it has great color variation.
These mittens and headband are the product of our Knitting Guild Yarn Exchange.  We selected yarn in a brown paper bag, from another Knitting Guild Member.  We had several months to knit it into the creation of our choice.  In February, we will be returning the finished product to the yarn's original owner.  We do not know who brought what yarn, so it should be a fun surprise to get our own yarn back, all knit into something beautiful.  I blindly chose 2 skiens of the same type yarn, but in 2 different colors.  It was challenging to decide how to best blend the 2.  I hope the recipient is happy with my choices.
This the sample I'll be presenting to my "Knit Night" Group in February.  It is a fun hat, knit up of bulky yarn.  It was quick to knit and I love the way it fits.  I think I'll get a lot of wear out of this!
I've also purchased yarn to knit up two of these darling little rompers.  The pattern is "Small Things Romper".  I'll be knitting one in pink and one in blue.  I've never been able to knit for twins before, and I am so excited!
Our "Knit Night" Group continues their "Lady Kina" KAL.  This is the latest finished project to add to our collection.  Jill knit this shortened version of "Lady Kina" for her daughter.  What a great adaptation, making it the perfect sweater for a young girl.  Everyone else continues to work on their's, and I can't wait to see their progress.

Well, I had best quit typing and get back to knitting.  Happy New Year Knitting!

December 12, 2014

2014 - The Year of Knitting for Me - Wrap Up

It is December, and I'm wrapping up my "Year of Knitting for Me". I haven't quite finished my final sweater (Bloomsbury), so I'll have to post completion pictures of it in a future post. It is slow going, with lace weight yarn and US2 needles, but it is turning out beautifully.

I have devoted the year to learning how to knit perfect fitting sweaters, just for me. It has nearly been a complete success, with only 1 sweater that doesn't fit perfectly. I have used a Custom Fit pattern, and thank you Amy Herzog, for producing the perfect software for generating a custom fit pattern everytime.  You can find all of the particulars about these sweaters on my Ravelty Projects Page.  My Ravelry name is "lutley".

So . . . here they are:

#1 -- A 3/4 sleeve, open front cardigan, with lacework from "Peabody, by Leila Raabe.  This was my first "Custom Fit" sweater, and I love it and wear it all of the time. 
#2 -- Afterlight, by Amy Herzog.  This one was knit of my favorite yarn this year, Lorna's Laces - Soulmate.  I did have to alternate skeins to prevent the colors from pooling, and that was a bit of a pain, but I am very happy with finished look.  Expecially since I cut off the bottom ribbing, and added a few inches to the length.  This was a learning experience too, and one that was well worth the effort.
#3 -- "Little Wave" by Gudrun Johnston.  I selected a "close fit" for my Custom Fit pattern on this sweater, which was a big mistake.  The buttons gap on me, and the yarn is a bit itchy, so I don't like to wear it.  I think I'll gift it to my daughter, but only if she promises to take extra care with it.  I loved the pattern, and all of the special techniques I had never knit before, like the saddle shoulders, and the i-chord bind-off on the pockets.  The pattern was beautifully written and it was fun to knit. 
#4 -- "Surface" by Norah Gaughan.  It was so fun to knit the "blister" pattern on this sweater.  I love the fit, but I wish I had chosen a finer gauge yarn for this one, and perhaps a darker color.  Oh well . . . knit & learn.  I'll just have to knit this one again some time.

#5 -- "The Laura Leaves Tank" by Lori Utley.  I had knit this many times before, as it is my own design, but I had never knit it for me.  I incorporated Custom Fit shaping this time, for the perfect fit.  I blocked it out a little longer, after these pictures were taken, and I like it much better now.
#6 -- "Lady Kina", by Muriela.  I veered a little off track on this one.  It was our Fall KAL for my Knit Night Group.  When I knit the sample (the blue one) I misread the sizing on the pattern, and made too small a size.  So I knit another sample (the orange one), which was a perfect fit.  I know . . . that is not me wearing these samples, but at least I perfected my technique for the sample I actually knit for me (the brown one).  I was an expert with the pattern by this point, and was able to incorporate a lacy leaf pattern.  I love this sweater, and I wear it all of the time.  If I had stayed on-track, these would have counted as sweaters #6, #7 & #8, but technically, they weren't all for me, so I'm not counting them that way.

#7 -- "Leaving" by Anne Hanson.  This one is my favorite!  The pattern was beautifully written, and the yarn (Lisa Souza Baby Alpaca Silk) was so nice to knit with and is so comfortable to wear.  This was the sweater where I felt I reached perfection.  I hope all the sweaters in my future will make me as happy as this one does.
#8 -- "Bloomsbury" by Sventlana Volkova.  I am knitting this one at a much smaller gauge than the pattern calls for, and I am trying to incorporate Cutom Fit shaping into a top-down, raglan sleeve design.  Custom Fit patterns are alway written for bottom-up sweaters, with set-in sleeves, and sideseams.  I hope it all works out, as I had to do all of my own calculations for changing the gauge and incorporating the raglan sleeves.  It has been taking some time, as I have been working on it since the week before Halloween.  It is slow going, but the yarn is producing such a soft fabric.  I hope to have it finished before the end of 2014.
These were my distractions this year.  Two Summer sweaters, that weren't completed before the season changed to Fall and I moved on to a Fall Festival Sweater KAL.  Some fun little give-aways for my Knit Night Group, and a sample "Poor Baby Sweater", by Lori Utley,  which I knit for a Knit Night KAL, and later gave-away to a reader of this Blog.

It has been a great year of knitting, although there were a few moments when others asked me to knit for them, and I had to say "NO".  I have learned a great deal in knitting from other's patterns.  I thinks this experience will help me immensely in my future of knitwear designing and pattern writing.  I hope to finish up those Summer Sweaters, when the warm weather arrives again. 
I'll be starting out 2015, knitting frantically for the twins, my daughter is expecting in April/May, and perhaps a few little sweaters for their older sisters, pictured here.  A boy and a girl, which will allow for doubles of everything, in feminine and masculine colors.  It is amazing how I track time in my life, to what I am knitting.  I hope your life is floating along and that your knitting is moving along as smoothly as mine.  Merry Christmas and a Happy Knitting New Year!