Your greatness is not what you have, it's what you give.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

WHAT? I use my exercise bike!

This beautiful gradient yarn was hand dyed by my friend Karin of Periwinkle Sheep fame. It came as a blank on which she painted the dye colors for a long and gradual color change. Since the undyed blank is actually a length of knitted fabric, it is kinky curly when unraveled to use as yarn to be knitted. This kinky-ness can alter the gauge of a finished knitted item so I soaked the unraveled yarn in a cool bath and now it is hanging to dry on my recumbent bike. When I have finished knitting my project I'll show you the gorgeous colors as they change in my shawl I have planned in my head.
 I have a second skein taking its bath as we speak. This one has a family of pinks and blush colors. I think I will make a Wolkig with it.
 Last week I finished my Lady Lindan cowl using the softest baby alpaca yarn from Cascade called Eco Alpaca. When I tell you it's soft, believe me! It's soooooft!
 I saw Maureen over the weekend and she had time between her tax season duties to finish the Yarmouth Fair Isle Watch Cap. If you remember, I started this hat in November 2015 and slogged through the charts only to put it in hibernation for many months. Then at the end of last year I read a post from a yarn store owner and knitter who said she reviews her UFO's at the end of the year and frogs the projects which no longer interest her. So I frogged my hat and Maureen decided she would like to try it. She has more stamina than I! Now we have a beautiful Fair Isle hat to donate to the women veterans, our next recipents.
I hope those skeins of yarn dry soon. I'm itching to get at them with my patterns. Maybe I'll point a fan at them. Maybe I should finish one of the other 9 projects I currently have in progress. LOL!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Knitting til the Cowls come home

Remember those buttons that took me 8 hours to felt? Well, here they are in place on the cowl. I'm happy that they turned out the way I pictured them. I would hate for all that time to be wasted, not to mention the amount of yarn it took to make them.
 And Margaret shared the pattern for the hat she deconstructed and wrote up so we could all make it. It took two days from start to finish for me to knit and I do love the stitch definition I got with this Debbie Bliss Rialto yarn. It's a superwashed merino and about as soft as a cloud.
 Barbara finished her Spiral Hat using Berroco Vintage, a great washable blend with some wool in it.
 Carole found an interesting slow color changing yarn in the stash and started the Totally Biased Cowl. It starts with a provisional cast on and is grafted together at the finish so you won't even see a seam. The pastels colors are really pretty too.
 She also started a project for herself using some Periwinkle Sheep Watercolors II sock yarn in the color Elderberry. It's the Hitchhiker scarf which for some reason I want to call Windbreaker. 
 Margaret and I started a cowl called The Cooler Side of Warm. She was making the Birthday Cowl but her yarn wasn't cooperating so she switched to this pattern and it's much happier.
I had a bit of a head start so I'm further along. I'm using more of the Debbie Bliss Rialto. I like the warm chocolate color.
                            
Barbara started the Present Cowl with a pretty teal yarn. And you can see part of her cowl which was inspired by Copenhagen Calling Cowl. She did a lovely job with her constrasting colors.
We're expecting anywhere from 6 to 12 inches of snow tomorrow so I'll have lots of time to knit. And heaven knows, I have plenty of projects to work on!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

A quiet evening of knitting by the fire

Margaret finished a hat this week. She said she saw this hat knitted up but didn't have a pattern so she figured it out on her own and made it. It's lovely and she did a terrific job!
Now she is trying her hand at the Birthday Cowl which Carole and I just finished. She is using a cheerful green yarn from Cascade 220 which will give nice stitch definition.
Margaret needed some more yarn for a chemo hat project for a friend so she wanted to hurry up and wind it. Oops! Never hurry when trying to wind a ball of yarn. But with teamwork, we managed to untangle the mess and finish winding it.
Remember the cowl I showed you last week? The one that reminded me of a loaf of challah bread? Well, this weekend I spent a total of 8 hours (not consecutively but my hand looked more like a claw than fingers when I finished) needle felting buttons for it. I stuck my finger once and learned pretty quickly how not to hold the yarn while felting! Boy! Those barbed needles hurt!!! I'm almost finished knitting the cowl so maybe by next week you'll be able to see the finished cowl.
Carole finished binding off the last row of stitches to her Birthday Cowl tonight. She is going to give it a steam blocking to even out the edges and then it goes into the inventory next week.
I must get back to my knitting. Have a good week and keep those needles clicking!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Hats, hats, hats!

Since our afternoon ladies have conflicts for the next few weeks, Barbara joined the evening group of knitters for the rest of the winter. She started a spiral hat tonight with a pretty teal yarn.
 Maureen added a few inches to her Yarmouth Fair Isle Hat brim. After tonight she'll be working long hours for tax season so we won't be seeing her until after April 15.
 Carole worked some more inches on her Birthday Cowl and is almost finished.
 Margaret's hat is showing progress. It has really nice stitch definition to show off the pattern too.
 Last week I showed you this Birthday Cowl I had started (just like Carole's) but after I saw how nice the stitches looked on Carole's cowl I realized that this yarn was just a little too lightweight for the project. So I frogged it to make something else and...
 found this lovely forest green Berroco Vintage to make the same pattern. The yarn is just a little heftier and made much better stitch definition for the cowl. Now I'm happy!
 I also finished the Reversible Rivulets scarf. I'm going to keep this one in my repertoire. I really like the way it turned out.
 Can you tell I had startitis? I just had to cast on for different projects! This cute headband earwarmer has a button in back so you don't have to mess your hair to wear it. It was a suggested video tutorial on Youtube and I knitted it in a day.
 Then I saw another suggested Youtube video which was in German so I had to pay close attention to the tutorial since I had no idea what the knitter was saying. I did finally figure out the numbers she was reciting as she counted. Anyway, this was the Rapunzel Schal and after some hunting through Ravelry...
 I found the written pattern in English! The ladders are knitted and then intertwined to become the braids.
I think it looks sort of like a loaf of challah bread. No? It's a fun project to knit and when it's long enough I will sew the cast on edge to the bind off edge to make a cowl. Maybe I'll have it finished in time to show you next week. In the meantime, keep those needles clicking!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Wrapping up our donations

The afternoon ladies and I worked on labeling our current items to donate to Community Maternity Services in Albany, New York. Actually, Cinzia knitted on a communal project started by our night time Chick Maureen. Her friend's daughter recently received a cancer diagnosis so we are all knitting some inches on a lovely, warm, cuddly prayer shawl to send to her so she knows we're all praying for her recovery.
Our inventory contained toys, sweaters, booties, vests, a bib, and some mittens....
blankets, hats, scarves, and cowls for a grand total of 80 items. We decided to include some gifts for the moms too to let them know we think about them too.
Our evening meeting started with Carole knitting her share on the shawl while Maureen thought about the Yarmouth Fair Isle Watch Cap which she started.
Her knitted ribbing for the beginning of her hat is so nice and uniform.
Margaret started a beanie hat with a provisional cast on which she will rip out later to reveal live stitches for knitting the edge. I like the colors together.
Carole started a Birthday Cowl not knowing that...
I did too! I like the way her stitches are nice and firm and uniform. My stitches are kind of wonky. I think it's because she used Cascade 220 which is a heavier worsted weight than what I'm using. I think I'll frog it and start over with a smaller needle.
I'm still working on my Reversible Rivulets scarf too. I have knitted more than half of the second ball of yarn so I can't be too far from finishing. Maybe by next week I'll be able to show you a finished scarf.
Cinzia's daughter, Sofia, finished her sweet Cabin Fever jacket and asked Cinzia to bring it to include in our inventory. She did such a beautiful job for the first sweater she ever made that I convinced Cinzia to keep it because it is so special. I still have the first sweater I ever made and it's not nearly as professional looking as this! I think she should keep it as a remembrance of our lessons together.
She can always knit another to donate later.


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Rounding up the baby clothes

This week's projects are showing lots of progress.
Dorah's baby sweater has a body and she started one of the sleeves tonight.
 Margaret designed a baby bib pattern. The loop for around the neck is on the left.
 Maureen started a shawl/wrap for a friend's daughter who is going through chemo. We are each going to knit a bunch of rows to contribute our prayers and support for her recovery.
 Last week I looked up a new technique, well new to me anyway. The Purl Soho pattern for the Reversible Rivulets scarf recommends the tubular cast on which I had never done before. So off to good ole" Youtube to find a video tutorial. Sure enough Roxanne Richardson had a great one to follow. I'm pretty pleased with myself and the results. ;)
 And in a week's time I've knitted almost all of the first 220 yard ball of yarn.
Since I have two balls of this lovely pink yarn, I'm going to knit until there is enough to bind off and that will have to be long enough. Now I have to hunt for a video tutorial to learn the tubular bind off.
That will be next week's lesson. In the meantime, keep those needles clicking!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Happy New Year!

Sunday morning, New Year's Eve morning, I read an article written by a knitter/yarn store owner who said she ends the old year by frogging (rip it, rip it) old knitting projects for which she has lost interest or those with which she has become bored, or she just doesn't like so she can start the new year off with a fresh outlook on her knitting horizon. It made me think back to this Yarmouth Fair Isle Watch Cap which I started over 2 years ago and have struggled ever since to enjoy my journey through the pattern. It's a lovely pattern but I don't like knitting from charts and you can't avoid it with Fair Isle knitting. Now I don't know if I ever told you that one of my favorite mottos is,
"If it's not fun, don't do it." After reading about this knitter's tradition, I felt I could give myself permission to rip out the hat, even though I was only about 8 rows away from finishing the Fair Isle portion. It wasn't worth it to me to take the joy out of the project and infuse it with so much negativity. I ripped it back to the ribbed section so I wouldn't have to reknit the cuff and....
now it's this cozy warm cap! I zipped through the top portion in a day and felt so much happier about it. This hat now has lots of loving stitches and positive emotions knitted into it. Moral of the story is don't knit what isn't fun! This isn't school like when you were a kid and HAD to do your homework. Knit what makes you happy. And rip out the stuff that doesn't!
 I'm on a bender with this Throwback Pixie Hood. This marks the 10th one I've knitted so far and today I started the 11th. You'll see it later on.
 Debbie made a sweet little Teddy, just the right size for little hands. He'll make some little munchkin very happy.
 Cinzia's daughter, Elena, finished her lovely crocheted scarf to add to our inventory. The yarn is a lovely soft fiber, sure to keep someone fashionably warm.
 We should celebrate that Maureen finished her baby blanket. It took her quite a while but then her only free time to knit is the 2 hours every Tuesday evening when we meet. It finished beautifully and doesn't even need blocking.
 Margaret added a sweet little striped baby hat...
 and so did Carole. It was just the right size to use up the end of a ball of yarn.
 Cinzia worked on the sleeves of a sweater, both at the same time on one needle. She's like me, if she doesn't do them together, it might sit around with a body and one sleeve for a very long time. ;)
 Dorah made a lot of progress since we last met and you can really see the chevron pattern now on her cute little pullover.
  Carole worked on her Sunnyside cardigan. She has a few more inches to go on the body and then the sleeves can be picked up and knitted.
 She was inspired by the Pixie hoods I knitted and started one during a long car trip.
 Margaret started another little hat with this lively chartreuse cotton yarn. I can't wait to see it finished. I love the color!
 And finally, here is number 11 of my series of Throwback Pixie Hood. When I think back to all the trouble I got myself into by misinterpreting the instructions, I shake my head and scold myself for thinking too much. Now that I have the hang of it, I could practically knit these in my sleep!
Wishing you all a new year filled with good health, happiness, and prosperity.
And keep those needles clicking!