Saturday, March 31, 2007

Photo Shoot

From itty-bitty hats by Susan B Anderson, I enjoyed the wide variety in this little spring concoction using Tahki mercerized Cotton Classic colors.

This little blue pouch was easy and lots of fun. I used the pattern from the cover of Last-Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson. I learned how to make an I-cord and how to do the 3-needle bind off. The fabulous yarn was Plymouth's Baby Alpaca Brush. I gave it to a friend.

The Lenten Rose is quietly lovely in our yard.

This scarf is a simple K2,P2 ribbing I made for a friend last fall. I used the lusciously soft Malabrigo worsted for this. (Don't make a man's scarf from this - his whiskers will ruin it in no time!)

I put white pearl buttons on the Heartbreakingly Cute Kimono.

I like spring for small projects I can drop easily into my tote, and knit anywhere. This is also a nice time for planning larger projects for the fall and winter. Planning, for me, begins with weeks of mulling something over in my mind. Eventually, when I have the idea fairly firmly implanted in my brain, I begin to look at yarns. Mostly, these are from my stash, because I have way too much! Then, I draw and count rows, and pull yarn. I place everything including needles into a plastic zipper bag. This project then, is ready for me to get ready for it!

First to the laundry, then a walkabout in the yard, then maybe a little knitting! I hope spring is bringing you as much joy as it is me!


Saturday, March 24, 2007

Dilemma: Yarn...or Yard?

Fresh air breezing, birdsong calling me and my cats! What a delicious feeling!

The little log cabin is growing; can you see that it is really a nicely proportioned rectangle? I wanted something shaped for a crib or Moses basket. So I selectively changed the numbers to accomodate my wishes. The stripes at top and bottom are composed of nine and more than nine garter ridges, and those stripes at the sides are narrower, made of fewer than nine in some cases.

OK - I didn't get the idea before I began, so some of the stripes are the 9 garter ridges in width called for in the M*D original pattern. But then I decided to try the changes; it really looks fine, doesn't it? I have put on another stripe or two since this picture; it measures 22 inches by 28 inches right now. I have been pondering the border design for days, and have yet to come up with something I am enthusiastic about.

But the problem stays with me until I solve it. I am trying to figure out how to knit a striped border, attaching it as I go; did I say I want the stripes to be horizontal to the edge? Now I believe that somewhere in the entrelac knitting I will find my answer; surely I can knit a row, attaching to the blanket at the end of the row, turning and knitting back on the wrong side. Well, if I come up with it, I will let you know!

Lancelot has a roll and stretch in the warmth of the sunshine pouring through the window. Soon, we will all go downstairs; I will stroll the yard, and see what's newly poking through, and they (there are three) will watch from the screen door. This delicious weather beckons and I must go; after all, we will close up later on, and live in AC; it will be easier to knit then.

We really must keep learning from our cats! Enjoy!


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A Seaming Discovery

Spring is here! Hooray! That's what has inspired this little cotton log cabin blanket. It is made with soft colors of Classic Elite Yarns' Premiere which is 50% pima cotton and 50% Tencel. While in the process of knitting this, I discovered a way to make the seams in the back lay flat.

If you are not wedded to that little last stitch on your needle after a bindoff, you may wish to try this method. If you will look at your edge after binding off on the right side, you will see a row of little "V"s facing you. Then after you pick up stitches along that edge, you will have a resulting ridge on the wrong side where that seam is (picture just below). In my method, you bind off on the wrong side, and the row of "V"s will be on that (WS) side of the work. When you later pick up stitches (I will show you how) through this bindoff, you will have a flat seam on the wrong side of your work (second picture below). In items for baby, this is particularly nice.

So, let us say you have bound off on the wrong side, giving you 8.5 (or 9.5) garter ridges rather than the 9 garter ridges called for in the original pattern. Now it is time to pick up stitches. With the right side facing you, insert your needle into the nearest stitch of the "V" or the one at the very top of your piece.

Then wrap your yarn as if to knit, and pull it through onto your needle. Continue until you have picked up all the stitches.

The last picture is of the back of your work, as the stitches are being picked up. The seam is very nice and flat. Now just knit as always, remembering to bind off on the wrong side, whenever you wish.

I hope that with spring here, you will want to spring into action and have some fun with cottons, with pretty, fresh colors, and with knitting!


Sunday, March 11, 2007

Spring Ahead!

I am so very ready for spring! I want to roam the booths at our little local tailgate market. I am ready for fresh, juicy vegetables and sunshine! These tomatoes were a gift last year from a good friend who was going out of town and didn't want them to go to waste.

Oh, my! They put me in heaven: a little avocado, some herbs from my garden, a drizzle of balsamic and some olive oil...with her lucious tomatoes I had a feast! Now, my memory teases me, taunts me. I have grown weary of my dried apple snacks, cranberry sauce from the freezer, soups and stews, and roasted potatoes. I am ready for lamb and new baby peas and the thinnest asparagus imaginable. Tiny red-skinned potatoes sprinkled with dill. I want fresh berries in my breakfast yogurt and a fresh breeze across my face.

My garden has begun to awaken, and a walk through rewards me with surprises. Bits of green here and there confirm the mild winter; the first yellow blossoms have opened on the forsythia; pulmonaria's pinky-purple blooms are a bright spot amidst the ivy and brown fern fronds. The birds' songs seem happier to me now and yesterday morning I awakened to Mother Nature's symphony...simply intoxicating!

This all brings me back to knitting, and the understanding that there is a time for wool blanket knitting, and a time to knit baby things. Spring is just ahead and Martha revealed the news that she is to become a grandmother, again! So I am going to pack up the wool; put away the colorful stashbuster that is so very heavy; pack up the blue-green Cascade 220 blanket. I am ready to look for fresh little patterns for fresh little people. Some fresh little cottons are calling me! If you have not made the Heartbreakingly Cute Baby Kimono from MD Knitting, check it out (link right); and consider a baby blanket from Oat Couture...they have marvelous patterns.

Mom did spring cleaning each year, and we rearranged the furniture to take advantage of open windows. She packed up all the woolens, after hand washing, in tins with moth balls sprinkled between. She taped the lids to seal them. So, in honor of my sweet mother, I will pack the woolens away, and celebrate the open windows. I will let the fresh air in and allow the birdsong to fill my heart. I will rearrange my priorities and think of babies! What a delicious change!

Happy almost spring to you! Go ahead - become intoxicated!


Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Moths Beware!

This Log Cabin Blanket will be a gift for my son; but I wonder if the fiber moths are going to eat it up in Hawaii.

I have searched for ways to protect it because this yarn is not mothproofed. Two discouraging facts emerged. First, moth balls are bad for people, pets and moths. Second, most moth damage occurs when items are stored in dark places. The best way to protect your woolens is to keep them clean, keep them moving, and in lighted areas. Maybe I need to toss the moth balls first, open the closet, turn on a fan, and switch on the light! I have been doing everything wrong with my sweaters and suits! Spring and summer are nearly here, so I must act quickly. (Meanwhile, my stash is untouched, in bins I rummage through routinely, and with cedar blocks to discourage the pests. I wrap all FOs in Crabtree and Evelyn Lavender drawer liner paper - until I give them away, that is.)

So tonight I am blessed with another of those delicious interludes in which to contemplate the next project. Thinking over the UFOs, I avoid repeating things already underway. Still working on the stashbuster; have a blue-green blanket underway that serves as a sampler of sorts, and a good place for me to practice new stitches. I have a baby sweater barely begun, and a hat in the same condition.

Maybe I should look at yarns instead; they usually serve to inspire me. Maybe with the change of seasons, I will move from wool to cotton. A baby blanket in Tahki Cotton Classic - maybe a little log cabin? Of course, Four Seasons Classic Elite is softer, goes a bit quicker.... Speaking of soft, have you used the Touche by Berroco? Oh, my, it's nice! Then there are those a bit more interesting, such as Mission Falls 1824 Cotton with all that texture, and the subtle coloring. Brown Sheep Company makes Kaleidoscope - a cotton/wool blend; and Noro gives us Lily Yarn that is a luxurious 30% silk, 70% cotton. If you want good basics, you can count on Debbie Bliss cotton dk and Rowan handknit cotton.

Gosh, I have all these skeins in my lap and each a different color...that would work for a log cabin, wouldn't it? But I just finished a log cabin....

There is something addictive, isn't there, about those Mason*Dixon Log Cabins? You bet there is!

Just time enough to watch "House" and then pull some more yarn before bed. What a nice evening! I hope you have one, too.