Sunday, September 28, 2008

Holidays and Lace Reading

Have you started your Holiday Knitting yet? Some may think that if you haven’t started yet, it might be too late. Perhaps…..soo….I have some to catch up. The problem with holiday knitting is the idea of starting new projects and putting aside the ones you’re in love with. It takes a lot of self control to tear oneself away from those project to focus on other people, but nevertheless, necessary to your sanity, especially if your set on knitting gifts.

So, what am I going to do for the holidays? Who am I going to knit for this year? I tend to be a realist and KNOW that I cannot knit for every member of my family. The most immediately circle of family who gathers together for most family events amounts to 15 people plus a new baby.
My fingers are still itching to spin more. I just spun up about 500 yards of superwash roving in a sock weight yarn. I still need to decide how to dye these skeins to make a nice pair of socks for someone.
I had spun up some mohair not too long ago. It came out so soft and I wondered what I could make out of it. Since I was thinking about the holidays, I ran across last years Holiday Issue of Interweave Knits and rediscovered a beautiful pattern for Sugarplum shrug. This would be perfect with the mohair. I tried to start this pattern before and failed. At that time, I had barely tried lace patterns and this one did not have a chart. So through much frustration and several restarts, I quit and ripped it out.

Now, having had some lacework behind my belt experiencewise, I decided to do it right and swatch first. I used a smooth sport wt yarn to learn the patterns and was eventually successful after some experimenting with my style of knitting. If I could not get this to work with smooth yarn, I knew not to attempt it with the mohair, especially because ripping it out would be disasterous. All the fine fuzzy hairs would tangle and felt to no end. What I need was some confidence with the lace pattern! I learned to read my knitting. Read Knitting? What’s that, you might be asking? It is being so familiar with the directions of the decreases and knowing and predicting where a yarn overs should go, to get the outcome or pattern you want. This is a predictable diamond pattern, which makes it much easier than I expected. Of course, a chart would have been very helpful, but I think I have it in my head now. The swatch came out great. However, I think the lace border may still need some work. Luckily, it is made separately and sewn on afterwards. I decided to start the body with the lace pattern and it is coming out beautifully.
On the family front, we celebrated by Mom's 80th birthday this weekend. We had a lovely dinner. My brother gave her a beautiful rose corsage. It was a wonderful day with just a minor shadow hanging over it. More about that later........

Does she look 80?????Never!!!! Always young at heart too.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

No Idle Hands

I’ve been sick with a cold all week. Felt it coming on slowly since Monday. I was out from work Wed and Thurs. Back to work on Friday, although not 100%. Today, it’s now it my chest. It’s the pits! Thursday was my 32nd wedding anniversary and I was sick! How the Lord tests me! Hopefully, we’ll celebrate this weekend.

Being home gave me a chance to knit and spin, I’ve spun a lot of skeins of mohair trying to make a dent in the fleece I have. It came out soft and lovely but it seems I’m spinning the never-ending fleece. I still have lots to spin.

I finally got tired of mohair and switched to some left over Romney wool. After spinning Mohair, I felt the Romney was too scratchy, so I plied it with some gold tencel roving. It softened it up a bit.

I’ve been working on a variety of knit projects: the fuzzy feet slippers, the Hey Teach! Sweater, dug out my pink striped socks and tried to fix them-still a work in progress. I’ve been knitting the 2nd sleeve for the Babies and Bears sweater. And when I grew bored or tired, I gazed lovingly at my Gerber daisies which are blooming wonderfully and lift my spirits.

I’ve been reading the “No Idle Hands:the Social History of American Knitting” by Anne L. Macdonald. It is so great to hear the hidden history of the Revolutionary War and the courage of the women who used their cunning and skills to gather women together to knit and sew clothing and wool socks for George Washingtons troups at Valley Forge . They passe through blockades in the middle of war, in the cold of winter, to get these desperately needed items to them. They found the troops, by following the bloody footprints in the snow of soldiers who had no socks and shoes to wear. Women worked to spin and knit 24 hours a day to meet the needs of the soldiers and those of their families, which in that time was quite large. Talk about labor intensive!!!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Happy Color!

My babies, my Gerber daisies, are doing great! I am relieved that they have made it through the hottest part of the summer. The reds and pinks are blooming like crazy. The yellows have made a slow start but I am seeing some small buds starting to spring up and I’m sure they will bloom in a few days. It seems my “brown thumb” is fading. The plants look very healthy. I am wondering how long their season is? It would be nice if I can keep they blooming all year. They are so beautiful.

I haven’t been blogging much because I’ve been too busy working, knitting and spinning. I have two new projects on my needles. I’ve started to make some Christmas presents, again knitting some fuzzy feet for special people. This time, however, I tried adapting the pattern to do “toe-up”, which means I won’t have to finish the toe. Kitchener stitch is not a favorite, and toe-up means no kitchener. Yea! So far they are coming out OK, I tried to make them a little bigger as to fit a large male foot. It’s not easy to know for sure if they will shrink enough in the felting process, but I am keeping my fingers crossed.

I started organizing my paper patterns in binders……yes, bindersssssss! I had no idea how many I had. I created a database to inventory all my patterns and search where they are located. What a chore! I had no idea I had so many. Too many to actually make them. Still they inspire me.

The other project I started was a sweater I found on called Hey Teach! It looks like it would look great on any body shape. I found some stash cotton I had and cast on. This time I started with the sleeve to determine if it was doable before I knitted several skeins worth of stockinette. It ended up very easy and I can’t wait to get to the pattern again.