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

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

We knit so we won't eat...sometimes

First my apologies to Cinzia for not getting a photo of the lovely cowl she is making. We got to talking so much and then my husband served eggnog cheesecake and all thoughts flew out the window! We all tried to resist but CHEESECAKE! EGGNOG! Need I say more?
 I'll be sure to get a picture of Cinzia's lovely cowl when we resume knitting after the holidays.
Barbara's Country Rows shawl is getting cozy. She picked two skeins of Malabrigo variegated yarn but the dye lots were just a hair different so she is knitting two rows with one skein and two rows with the other. This way there is a gentle blending of the colors and no one will notice. It looks really nice.
 Kathleen felt like knitting something different and this little sweater just jumped right off her needles! We will save it for a future donation when we need baby clothes.
 For this current inventory she added these four pairs of mittens. Those variegated ones on the upper right were made with just enough yarn from a previous project.
 Kathleen also made a pretty lace scarf with some Periwinkle Sheep sock yarn. This lace pattern is four rows long and easy to memorize since all wrong side rows are purl across.
 Now Kathleen is working on a 2X2 ribbed hat. There are many patterns out there. Check out Ravelry and choose your favorite.
 I wanted to wear a new shawl for the holiday gatherings and chose to use a yarn in my stash that I rescued from a shawl I knitted years ago and found myself not wearing. I chose Celeste Young's "Outlaw". Well, as you can see by this photo, this isn't the Christmas season I'll be wearing it!
Let me take this opportunity to wish you all peace and love of the season for now and always.
I'll catch up with you after the new year.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Meeting that Christmas knitting deadline

This week due to inclement weather my nighttime ladies (oh, that doesn't sound very good! LOL!) were forced to stay home where it was warm and dry. We've had a crazy mix of snow, then rain, then sleet, then back to snow. Mother Nature just can't make up her mind! Even now, as I look out the window, it has gone from teeny tiny flakes mixed with drizzle to a steady stream of big flakes, right out of a big Hollywood production! It's so pretty, even if it is a big pain.

So yesterday Cinzia, Elaine, and I worked by the glow of the fire. We all worked on some personal knitting since some of us have a Christmas deadline to meet. Elaine did, however, leave me a sweet pair of slippers for our donation inventory...
And this lovely rosy cowl.
 Then she set straight to work on a hat for her nephew. She made him one a few years ago which accidentally went through the wash and shrunk right up to Barbie doll size! He's a hunter so she found a wool color called "Camo" but as she knitted, the colors lined up perfectly into stripes. We all agreed that we kind of liked that effect!
 Cinzia is working on designing a pattern for a cowl which she made in the past. When she saw this yarn, which is heavenly soft by the way, she decided to make that cowl. However, just a few inches into it the tweedyness of the yarn seemed to overtake the pretty laciness of the pattern. So guess what's getting frogged today? We talked about the importance of choosing a color and texture of yarn that is appropriate for the details of the pattern. Sometimes you just have to use a solid or at the very least a soft tonal that won't interfere with the pattern.
 Cinzia worked on a lovely shell for her sister using a Marianne Isager pattern that actually starts with that little garter stitch block on the top of each shoulder. The whole garment grows in zig zags from that one little square. She's using a cotton/wool blend yarn and it's going to be gorgeous!
 In between all my other knitting projects I try to knit at least a block every few days to my son's sock blanket. He asked that I make it to fit his double bed so I made it a few blocks wider, just for good measure. I love how colorful it is!
 Well, back to holiday knitting. There aren't too many days left until Christmas so I hope you all aren't under a lot of stress. I'd love to hear all about your holiday knitting. Leave a comment and tell me what you're knitting this season.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Needles were clicking tonight

My afternoon Chicks took a day off today so just the evening ladies worked with me tonight.
Another Christmas gift finished! I made these for my Dad who lives in assisted living now. He's 89 years old and his circulation isn't as good as it used to be, so his hands and feet are always cold. I used Classic Elite Liberty Wool which is a superwash wool so they can go through the commercial laundry. And if they wear out quickly or shrink I know where he can get a new pair! Last week I showed you these after I turned the heel. I checked my notes and these took 7 days to knit. I like using worsted weight and knitting both at the same time!
I started another cowl called Chickadee Cowl but there isn't enough knitted to show yet.

 Dorah brought her finished Petite Honeycomb cowl tonight. It blocked out very nicely, showing her stitch definition and the pattern beautifully.
 Beth made wine bottle puppets for a gift. Aren't they cute?!!!
 Now she's making mittens for her niece. The cuffs are double thickness and beaded. I know an 8 year old who is going to feel like a princess!
Carole is working on A Cowl For Every Season.
 She just cast on the stitches tonight. It's a free pattern with a pretty lace.
 Thanks to Beth's daughter, Gretchen, for donating a warm hat for our inventory.
 Maureen finished those lovely cabled mittens. They are really warm too!
 She's casting on for a cowl now.
 Dorah set up her stitches so she could graft the live ends together using the Kitchener Stitch.
 Last up is an ear warmer hot off Carole's needles. She thought this would use up the last of the Berroco Jasper yarn but no, there is still more!
I wonder what she'll make next.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Remember my project that had me stumped at counting to 3? Well, I finally finished it! My Barber Pole Cowl is ready for inventory. It was a very entertaining knit, once I figured out the 3's thing. The cowl is knitted as a tube, in the round, and then the last row is bound off and sewn to the cast on row, matching up the stripes and giving it a seamless look. Because the stripes line up perfectly, all you can see is a crease of sorts. It almost looks completely seamless. I really enjoyed making this cowl and suggest if you try it that you also pick highly contrasting colors to make it easy on yourself.
 Another VERY quick knit is the Reversible Boot Cuffs. I made these with leftover stash of Malabrigo Worsted using size 8 needles and the Magic Loop method of knitting both at the same time. I managed to whip these up yesterday afternoon and I'm not at all a fast knitter. It's a great stashbuster project and gives you two uses for one garment.
 I started a pair of bed socks on November 21 for my Dad for Christmas. Using the Yankee Knitter Designs pattern for their Classic Socks (a great pattern which gives details to knit socks from baby to adult in three different weights yarn) I mashed up with Very Pink Knits video tutorial for knitting two at a time, toe up, on magic loop. I swear knitting socks this way goes much faster than one at a time, which doesn't really make sense. You would think knitting one sock after the other would take the same amount of time as knitting them simultaneously, but it seems otherwise! I'm using Classic Elite Yarns Liberty Wool, a superwash worsted weight yarn. As of this writing, I have about four more inches of cuff to knit and they can be wrapped.
 Boredom and inspiration struck me at the same time last week so I squeezed in another cowl. The original pattern, Leaving Cowl, called for sport weight yarn but I had a skein of bulky calling my name and wishing it were wrapped around someone's neck soooo....Voila! A few adjustments to needle size and stitch count and there it is. It knitted up quickly because of the larger gauge needle and yarn too.
 Now, if you've ever waited in line to ride Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom in Disneyworld, Orlando, you might have noticed some crazy socks hanging inside out in the base camp as decorations. My son was there in October and photographed them to show me and asked if I could knit him a pair. I said I would try but that they were obviously Fair Isle socks that were hanging inside out. He didn't care. He liked them with the strings hanging and intends to wear them that way. After knitting these I'm thinking it might be a good idea since it could be dangerous to catch a toe in one of those threads! Well, I know that with all that Cascade 220 yarn they will definitely keep his feet warm when he goes hiking.
 I really shouldn't surf the net when I should be knitting but that's when I get the best inspiration! I had these 3 skeins of Malabrigo Silky Merino sitting on a shelf acting like they were their own BFF's and didn't have the heart to separate them. So the knitting fairies must have heard me fawning over them and sent a pattern my way that is just perfect for the combo. The original pattern is for a heavier yarn but with some fiddling around, I made it accommodate the yarn I have. I can't wait to see it finished. 
 The Chicks are all at home preparing their Thanksgiving dinners while I watch my contractor tear my kitchen apart. Timing! So my family is going out to dinner tomorrow. I don't mind! No 5AM cooking and 2PM dish washing for me this year! I am very thankful for that!
It is snowing here and the weather report has predicted 6 to 9 inches before it finishes, so let me wish you all a safe and blessed Thanksgiving. Catch you next week when the Chicks return to knitting.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Knitting til the Cowls come home!

I finally wrote up the pattern to the "V" Formation Neck Gaitor. It took me 3 tries to get it right, but thanks to my superior computer skills, I was able to post the pattern to Ravelry where you can purchase it. It's a quick and easy knit which can be made in a few hours. If you have some last minute Christmas gifts to make this would be a good one for a man or woman.
The Chicks have been knitting it too. Kathleen made this one and
this one.
This yellow one was hot off Cinzia's knitting needles.
 Kathleen made this cute hat using a Malabrigo Merino yarn that is soft as a cloud.
 Kathleen contributed the Boomerang Scarf too. It's a great pattern for hand painted yarns of any weight. You just have to adjust the size of your knitting needle to a bit larger than you would normally use for the weight yarn you're using so the finished fabric will have a nice drape.
 A good basic hat pattern that Kathleen likes to make is the 2X2 ribbed watch cap. This is just one of many free ones offered on Ravelry.
 Cinzia bought some beautiful hand dyed yarn while on a trip in Maryland and made her own pattern for this lovely cowl. It's wide enough to pull up over the head should a sudden cold snap hit.
The multi-talented Carole made a knitting tote from fabric she purchased while vacationing in Paris. It's the perfect size for a small project like socks or mittens.
 And that's just what she had in it tonight. Here are her mittens sans thumbs.
 By evening's end, she had finished them.
 Beth finished a Christmas stocking for a family member. It just needs the loop for hanging. She found the pattern for all kinds of Christmas motifs for only $1.00!
 Beth and Maureen are both knitting the Basic Cabled Mitten. Beth's is on the left and Maureen's on the right. It's a pretty pattern that is much easier to knit than it looks. I love those kinds of patterns.
 Beth worked on her second one....
 as did Maureen.
 Maureen squeezed in a little Christmas knitting as well.
 And Dorah showed us a gift she knitted which required her to learn how to make a provisional cast on. I'm very proud to say she did an excellent job!
 And Dorah added 2 hats to our inventory tonight.
 Nice soft yarn!
 Her Honeycomb Cowl is coming along nicely. One more motif row and she'll be done.
 My Barber Pole Cowl was stalled a bit while I made 2 Christmas gifts last week. But I made a bit more progress tonight. I'm happy to say that I haven't made any mistakes lately in counting to 3 so I'm sure I'll be able to finish it without any blips in the stripes. 
I'm coming to the ends of the skeins of yarn so it will be done soon, whether or not it reaches the length stated in the directions. That's the nice thing about knitting cowls, as long as it fits over the head, it can be finished whenever you decide. As soon as I knit the last stitch on this I get to reward myself with knitting a new project! YAY! I can't wait!!!