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

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!!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Thank You on this Veterans' Day

I want to start today's entry thanking everyone who has served and currently serves in our Armed Forces. Words cannot express my gratitude for your sacrifices to protect us all.
 Today in honor of Veterans' Day, there was a ceremony at the assisted living facility where my father lives. He was asked to participate by reading a poem and then all the veterans present were named and thanked for their selfless service. The first photo was taken the day my Dad returned home from active duty. He is on the right with his buddy, Bill Piper. I mentioned before he participated in the Battle of the Bulge and I'm very proud of him and how honorably he's lived his life. I am so grateful to be able to thank him and his neighbors where he lives.
Barbara took a little time this week to work on a sweater for her granddaughter. She wanted to hurry up and finish it before Isabella outgrows it!
 This is what it will look like finished. The stripes will be a navy blue. Barb is using Plymouth Encore yarn so it will be machine washable and dryable.
 Sofia visited us on her day off from school. She wore the hat she made herself. So cute!
 Today she finished up her first pair of mittens. All that was needed was to weave in the loose ends and they are ready for inventory.
 Cinzia and Barb looked over the pattern for the cute top down cardigan.
 Cinzia made a lovely cowl to go with the mittens Kathleen knitted last week. She used Jelly Beans yarn, a cheerful colored project that can be worn two ways.
 If a change in weather hits suddenly, the cowl can be pulled up over the ears for warmth.
 Carole used up some more Berroco Jasper for a cozy pair of mittens. This is an Aran weight yarn and very warm, as Carole can attest to.
 Maureen made lots of progress on her cabled mittens. The yarn is perfect for highlighting stitchwork.
 And I finally learned how to count to 3! I've been sailing through this cowl nicely. I sure hope I didn't jinx it by saying so.
 This Barber Pole Cowl should be finished soon and then I can sew up the ends to make it an infinity scarf. Maybe it will be done by the next time we meet.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


Seriously, how hard is it to count to 3?!!! Apparently I have trouble with it. This is my second attempt at conquering this VERY easy cowl. It's just knit 3 stitches in white, knit 3 stitches in red. I tried it a couple of months ago using a dark shade of purple and a slightly lighter shade of purple. And I kept making the same mistake but I chalked it up to not having enough contrast between the colors. Well, you can't get any more contrast than this and I STILL made the mistake. 
 Thankfully, I wasn't too far past the blip when I noticed it. I was able to tink it back far enough to get back on track. Now if I could just chew gum and walk at the same time I might actually be able to get through this whole project without any more mistakes! 
 On the bright side, I'm having a wonderful time knitting a pair of socks for myself. In another inch or so I'll be approaching the challenge of knitting the heel. This is the first time I have attempted two socks at once on one needle. I better watch those Youtube videos vigilantly to make sure I can get through those steps on the first try.
 Kathleen brought her finished slipper socks today. She was having a bit of a problem too. She wanted to knit the flowers and wasn't getting anywhere so she opted for Plan B which was to crochet the blossoms. Looking good Kathleen!
 She added a bright pair of mittens to the inventory too. Cinzia will be knitting a cowl to match these so there will be a nice ensemble.
 Barbara didn't want me to show her project in progress because she didn't think she had knitted enough since last time so I wanted to show off her beautiful shawl she was wearing today. She made it with fingering weight yarn and it is lovely.
 Cinzia had a few more repeats to her pattern and then she'll be on to the blocking phase of her Nymphalidea. Her choice of yarns was perfect for this pattern. It looks more complicated than it really is and it takes only a few repeats of the motif to memorize it. Then you can fly through the pattern.
 Beth presented a lovely shawl she made for herself (I love when my Chicks get to knit something for themselves).
 Then she told us about the HORROR she experienced right at the end. She blocked the shawl and when it was dry she cut the dangling ends of yarn, not remembering that she had not yet woven the ends into the work. That's a BIG no-no for you non-knitters. Oh yes! The shawl quickly began to unravel! Beth took a big breath and immediately put the shawl down until she could regain her composure. Her daughter Gretchen came over to help with the repair and lend a little sympathy and confidence. Thankfully, with a little extra yarn and patience, all was repaired and now it can be worn confidently.
Today must have been a day for mistakes because Dorah was gleefully knitting along when she noticed her dark yarn was hanging in front of her work. It should have been tucked behind the peach colored yarn but instead was sticking out as though to taunt her. Neener-neener-na-na! A quick snip with the scissors and a sturdy knot in the yarn solved that nasty little problem! Now it looks great!
 And look what turned up in Beth's stash! Another ball of Berroco Jasper! I swear that stuff multiplies like bunnies when no one is looking! Well, it's a good thing Carole is working on mittens and accessories with the same yarn. She'll find a use for it.
 Carole finished her cowl from last week and into the inventory it goes.
 Maureen started the cabled mittens from a pattern Beth found online. This yarn is perfect for great stitch definition. I'll have to find out the name of it for next week.
 For now I'll have to practice counting to 3!