Thursday, December 30, 2004

Ribbing and Baby Cables

So we have had a house full of sick people over the last couple of days--fever and stuffiness. Who knows? We've been up to doing some fun things, but mostly just hanging around the house. That means I have been doing some knitting. Here's a finished project that I didn't even let you know that I was working on.

This is the Rowan Capelet from the Ribbon Twist Collection--Their catchy name is Ebony. I used 4 balls of the Rowan Ribbon Twist in Rabble for the Small size.

Here's the back:

I wore this over my black velvet dress to Christmas Eve service. it was toasty warm and I felt so very hip! I liked the challenge of this pattern very much. It was certainly the most difficult pattern (with the lace piece) that I have completed, and the British pattern was a bit tricky to translate. There was much frogging, but it was a great knit. The ribbon twist held up ok, but I think, over time, it will not wear well--it will probably fray a bit.

My other project on needles is great! I am working on that same old Weekend Knitting Union Square Poncho--but I really, really like it! Here's the pattern:

The Via Mala is just wonderful to work with (unlike the frizzy Ribbon Twist) and the pattern is fun. I am about 3 balls in to the project, which should take about 12 balls.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Abbreviated Blog--Much Knitting!

Since we will be having company (Grandma Janet's turn to visit) until after the New Year, I won't be updating the blog as regularly as usual. But I will be knitting away!

We had a lovely Christmas. The presents abounded, Santa didn't get stuck in the chimney, and we had a tasty dinner:

Anna loved her gifts--lots of books, a doll and clothes, some wooden animals, and the big santa gift:

Her feet just barely make those pedals, so she has a bit more growing to do, but she is very, very happy.

Of course, the best gift was the box converted to a house that could be decorated:

By the evening, and her Grandma Janet's arrival, she was a little frazzled:

I have made some progress knitting. More to come on that. Let's just say that it has been nice sitting around the Christmas tree, drinking hot chocolate, and knitting. My mother-in-law is helping me use up some left over pieces in the stash too!

That fuzzy novelty yarn is a boa scarf for cousin Emily. Anna will get the bright blue left overs turned into a similar yarn.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Merry Christmas!

Have a great Christmas day! We are actually supposed to have some snow here in Texas (very strange). My poor mother in law--flying in from New York to our frigid temperatures. Enjoy the day!

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Last Weekend--Yarn Store!

While my Mother was in town last week, we had a girls' weekend to Houston. I actually really like Houston. It is a huge sprawling city with severe traffic problems, but it has everything you could possible want.

We drove down on Friday and made it in town for lunch. A friend had recommended a new Japanese sushi place, Todai. Todai is apparently an LA chain restaurant, but it was great. It was all you can eat (sure to be a hit in Texas) with iced green tea, raw oysters, a noodle bar, salads, hot Japanese foods, desert, and 30 some types of sushi. My daughter was free (their mistake!) and mowed a swath through the sushi bar, become particularly enamored of their shrimp sushi.

We headed to our B&B-Robin's Nest, in Montrose, the funky, museum district in Houston. Robin's Nest was a nice creaky old place and our room was very nice. Breakfast was even better!

Houston was all about Anna, with a trip on Friday to the Houston Zoo, for their lovely winter wild program, and to the Children's museum, for more kid time. This was all about Anna having fun with her Grammy E. And she did. Loves Grammy E (could it be the chocolate, carmel popcorn, and chips Grandma was dispensing?)! Anna enjoyed brushing the goats, riding the lovely old carousel in the zoo, and munching on the huge bag of caramel popcorn while being pulled in a wagon amidst the lights and animals. What a deal for a kid! The Children's Museum was amazing. There was a village in Mexico to visit, a huge Snoopy visit, and, Anna's favorite, a cow (big, lifesize plastic) to milk (or to give water....).

But what would a trip to a city with yarn be without a little yarn store diversion? We went to Yarns 2 Ewe for the yarn fix. I really liked this store. It was big, yet cozy. There was a lot of people knitting, many in lessons. The people working at the store were incredibly helpful, yet not snotty. And the yarns! If I wasn't stash reducing, I could have gone crazy. But I behaved. I only bought the yarn for 2 projects, one a gift!

Due to the success of the Mom Poncho, I let Mom pick out a pattern for her birthday in June (same day as my daughter--isn't that strange!). She picked out the nice vest that I wanted to make for her Christmas present, before she asked for a poncho. The vest is the Asymmetrical Vest from Sally Melville's The Knit Stitch:

The helpful clerk convinced me to knit this holding two strands of Lamb's Pride worsted, Mom found a lovely light green:

And, since we were in the yarn store, I had to pick up some yarn for a project, right? I am generally not impressed with patterns from Knitter's, but the Fall 2004 pattern, Coquette, has caught me.

The store actually had the lovely Extra Stampato, so I bought the necessary yarn in a pretty black with grey flecks. They didn't have the lighter weight Stampato for the lace, but the Rowan yarn in light grey should work. Whoppee!

A fine time was had by all!

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Some things work, some don't, but it's almost here!

We are almost there! The 25th is looming. My daughter's advent calendars are changing. The one on the right (chocolate) is almost empty, the one on the left (Playmobile Christmas scene) is filling up:

The tree is up and some of the presents are under it:

My daughter has created her yearly ornament and it's hung on the tree:

Love the melted snowman! One problem--we are to have the coldest Christmas in 25 years and might actually have snow. In Texas. Where no buildings are insulated. People dash around securing the three P's--Pets, Pipes, and Plants. Panic ensues. People run to the store to buy Beer, Milk, and White bread. I kid you not.

My daughter and I put together our gingerbread house. You can see the results:

She pushed a little too hard on the gum drop roof, and an earthquake occurred.

I finished up the grocery shopping and filled up the booze cabinet:

I was suckered into buying the pre-made eggnog at our local liquor store. It's called "Pennsylvania Dutch" Egg Nog. Now, my family are Pennsylvania Dutch. And anything with liquor is considered pretty much out of bounds. It got so bad that my grandmother wouldn't make her frozen creme de menthe cake that had drizzled creme de menthe (less than a cup) throughout the entire cake. My mother had to sign a temperance pledge as a kid. I somehow think Pennsylvania Dutch Egg Nog with booze just wouldn't make it. I digress.

The knitting? Here's my flounce Colinette Jacket!

It is lovely warm!

I picked up about 200 stitches for the flounce, which runs on the sleeves, bottom and up the sides.

I made the size 36 and used 9 skeins of Colinette Point 5 in Toscana. I just love the bright colors, but I have to admit this came out a little bit longer than I had wanted it to be. But it's warm and fun and perfect for the holidays!

Monday, December 20, 2004

I'm Back!

Contrary to what you might believe, I did not give up in disgust. I have been busy, busy with my Mom visiting and my husband away. Things always get a bit hectic this time of the year. My husband left last weekend, my Mom flew in from New Hampshire on Tuesday. We dashed from the airport to my daughter's school for our first official Christmas program. This one was official--even had the little program with the kids' names in it! So begins the trips to school programs--probably for the next 18 or so years.

I posted the question about the Union Station Shawl/Poncho on the Knitter's Review and heard from another woman who made the same pattern with the Via Mala. She suggested that I keep going, as the ribbing tended to tighten. I have now finished about 5 inches and it does seem to be getting tighter. I guess my swatch just wasn't big enough to tell me the true gauge of the pattern. Argh. This pattern is going to take a while, but the ribbing/baby cables are enjoyable.

When my Mom visited we had a pre-Christmas gift celebration. She was finally able to open her secret knitted gift--the requested poncho! Mom was a trooper and modeled the poncho:

Here's her Sears Catalog pose:

The pattern is from Vogue Quick Knits and used Lion Brand Homespun. It took 8 skeins. I'm pleased with how it came out and it seems to be a hit with Mom. Anna wanted to model the poncho as well:

Mom, of course, spoiled Anna. They had a Christmas present opening frenzy:

Since Mom won't be here for Christmas, we had an early Christmas, opening the many packages. Anna has now decided that every present under the tree is for her!

Grandma and Anna also had a little crafting time on the toenails:

And, just to show that I'm not the only creative one in the family, Mom made Anna a gorgeous polar fleece quilted blanket. Anna loves the new fuzzy blanket, and she spends a good bit of time making sure that Mi mi (the cat) doesn't perch on her present.

When Bruce came home from his trip, Anna discovered a new use for Daddy's laundry and her blanket:

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Do you feel the disgust radiating through the computer?

Yes, that is right. Disgust.

I must have swatched about 10 (no exageration) times, on lots of different needles, looking for gauge on the blasted Weekend Knitting Union Station Shawl/Poncho. I can't find anyone else who made this in the Via Mala on the web, so I suspect that either I am a totally loose knitter (not buying it) or there is a problem with the pattern gauge as reported in the pattern. The Via Mala recommends 10 stitches/ 10 cm (about 10 stitches to 4 inches) on a 5/6 mm (8-10 US) needle. The pattern says gauge is 19 stitches to 4" on a US 9 needle. Ok. I don't think that is possible. My gauge is 12 stitches to 4 inches on US 9. I tried to go smaller, but I can only get gauge down at US 2. Not only do I refuse to knit this on small fiddly needles, but the baby cable stitch pattern won't look nice on smaller needles. So, I need to convert the recommended 90 stitches=19 inches across. Thankfully there are no increases/decreases at all--just a huge, long block of knitting. I think I can do 62 inches and, with the 1 extra yarn ball I have, make this work. Am I calculating right? I have never done anything like this before, so help from you folks who know what you are doing (can add) would be great!

My Flounce Jacket is still damp, but maybe I will be able to stitch it up by tomorrow.

And, I have to admit that I ordered yarn for another sweater. Yes, I decided to make Eloise from Jane Ellison's Noro Knits:

Here's the pretty Noro Blossom I bought:

I love finding a deal on ebay!

Why did I break my No Buy policy? Well, I am weak. And, here's what my stash looks like:

Notice that you now can see the Nancy Drew books and punk rock vinyl. There's only the Blossom yarn, the Colinette summer jacket, and the two leftover skeins of Colinette Point 5 from my Flounce Jacket in the overflow chest! Here's the regular stash repository:

I'm doing great! I have a big bag of leftover and spare yarn to give to my mother in law when she visits. She does a lot of charity knitting, so it is good to give her the yarn that isn't going to get used. Look at me knit!

Monday, December 13, 2004

The Flounce is Blocking!

The Flounce is finally blocking! I had to pick up a gazillion stiches and knit the flounce edges on this jacket. Well, not a gazillion. It was about 90 around each jacket front and then about 28 on the sleeves and a bunch more on the back edge. Then the stitches were each increased once. I love how quickly the Point 5 knits on the broom stick size 17 needles, but it is really tough on the hands. My hands were sore by the time the increases were added and the yarn had scratched open a spot on my pinky, where I hold the tension. Definately time to finish the knitting on this jacket. I ended up using 10 skeins, which leaves 2 for some other project--maybe a felted something?

I gave the flounce jacket a little bath--the complete soak is a must for the Point 5. The wool feels prettty scratchy when you are working with it (hence the wound), but with a nice cold Euclan bath, it softens a lot. If my other Colinette Shimmer sweater is an example, with wear and additional washes, the yarn will soften to a comfortable wearing condition and stretch out due to the weight of the yarn. I chose to make the size 38 bust (41 with ease), assuming that the perfect fit will loosen up and become a little bigger. I'm not the tight sweater kind of girl, so a little more ease will feel nice.

Here's the flounce:

Notice that the jacket is blocking on the floor? My husband is away at a conference, so I took over the office where I never seem to work. Since Bruce is away, I can shut the door to keep the cat from attacking the sheepy smelling wet wool. Blocking the sweater, however, was an ordeal as my daughter decided that the nice wet wool was the perfect field to run over with her toy tractor and horses. Argh. Try arguing with a two year old about why she should run her tractor on the perfectly nice floor...

As soon as this dries, I will stitch it up and have a great winter jacket! I am hoping it dries and is finished before we go to Houston for our Grandma, daughter, granddaughter weekend. Since my husband is away at a conference, my Mom is coming to visit and help with Anna! How very fun! We are going to go to Houston on Friday and Saturday for a Christmas Zoo visit, the children's museum, yummy sushi and, of course, a yarn store visit. More to come....

Of course, now that the flounce is close to finished, I need to start another project, right? Otherwise it is just that hat and mittens (boring...) sitting in my basket. I took a look at the list on my sidebar and decided to start the large Weekend Knitting poncho. I don't care that the book is called Weekend Knitting--no way will a patterned 54" long block take two days. Nope. In case you don't remember what the pattern looks like, here's a refresher picture:

I had to special order the yarn, so I pushed the project back into the pile. I chose to use the yarn specified in the pattern--GGH Via Mala in #16 gray. It is so pretty and soft. It is a 100% Merino wool and after the thick/think colinette will be a dream to work with. The only twist is that it is a 4 separate strand yarn:

The separate strands might be a little tricky??? We'll see. I am still struggling with the gauge. The recommended US 9 made a swatch about 3 inches too long, so I will reswatch tonight to see if I can adjust. I usually knit with bamboo needles, but I think this will do better with metal needles. More tomorrow!

Friday, December 10, 2004

Almost Flouncing!

I'm almost flouncing! Look at all of the pieces:

All of the pieces are knitted, so it is time to add the flounciness. To add the flounces you pick up stitches on all bottom edges and knit about 3 inches. That's a lot of stiches to pick up. I think I need a refresher on picking up the stitches so it is fortuitous that the Winter Knitty has a great article on picking up stitches in their Techniques with Theresa. With this great resource I hope to make it through some of the flounce edging this weekend.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Knitting Sort of. Lots of Life.

I have been knitting away on my Colinette Flounce Jacket, but don't have any pictures since there are just pieces. I finished the back and both fronts, and the two sleeves are side by side on the needles right now. I first saw the jacket on Froggy's blog and loved it so much I opened a new browser and found the yarn and pattern on ebay! The yarn is Point 5 and I chose Florentina as the colourway. And, like my Colinette Shimmer, this has the distinct odor of sheep. I mentioned in another post that I grew up on a 40 acre farm in Westminster, Maryland. We had sheep, cattles, chickens, cats, and dogs galore. I helped my Dad put up hay, feed and water the animals, and liked to watch when our sheep were sheared. That smell of sheep shearing is what comes through when I work with Colinette--lanolin.

Thinking about my farm makes me remember that I wanted to remind you to check out The Farmette Report. Janis has pictures of her cute mini donkeys, talks about her holiday decorations and has just started to knit! This is a fun blog to read!

This is such a busy social season for us. We will be out every night this week! There are days that I just want to sit at home and be lumpy, but that's not for us in December. Where were we last night? Sesame Street Live. Our two year old thought getting to see the Sesame Street characters was the greatest! I have fond memories of Sesame Street from when I was a kid, especially of learning to count and learning my abcs, so Sesame street is one of the few shows that Anna is allowed to watch. The show was actually not as painful to sit through for an adult as one might expect. Watching Anna's excitement, however, made it all worth it!

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

The End is in Sight

Yes, it is almost the end of the semester. Yesterday was the last day of classes. Now the final push begins. The problem with the end of the semester is that it brings out the absolute worst in students and faculty. People who look normal the rest of the semester turn into lunatics in the final weeks. You have to take the storm shelter mentality--keep you head down and wait until it passes. Ahem.

Speaking of December-ness, my birthday is almost here! On the 12th I will officially hit that age where I will be classified as an "increased risk" pregnancy if we have another baby. Just got to love that... My Mom gave me the yarn for the gorgeous Sursa shaw that I finished this weekend. And, yesterday, I received a fun giftie from my MIL,Janet. She sent this gorgeous necklace (it looks lovely with Klara):

In the same package was this wonderful silver Baa Baa Black sheep pin:

A nice birthday gift that made my crummy day yesterday much better!

I feel much better about my knitting as well. I frogged and frogged two projects--the stupid hat that was incorrectly gauged and the stupid knitter mistake colinette jacket. Both are restarted, but the Colinette goes faster, so here's a picture:

Monday, December 06, 2004

Weekend of Success; Weekend of Failure

Ah. The weekend. The time to make great progress on that stash reduction. Or to realize that you are a complete dolt. Take your pick.

The great news is that I finished the last of my Christmas knitting--my Mom's secret present. After she visits and gets her present, I will post pictures.

Sursa is also completed and is currently on my shoulders. Blocking her prior to finishing the ruffle edge was a good idea. Here is a close up:

The green ruffled edge has brought out the lighter colors in the shawl.

Here's the finished product:

and the back:

A big check for that part of the weekend. Plus, I have two new knitting books. From my husband's last trip:

The Yarn Girls' Guide to Kid KnitsThere are great easy patterns in this book, and they will look so stinkin' cute on my little one! Go hubby! Got to love those knitting gifts.

And, the buy of the week--

Brand new Vogue Knitting Quick Reference for a whopping 5.97 at our local Half Price books. This is a great little reference. I was looking for something to toss into my bag to lug with me when I am KIP. This has great instructions for various increases and decreases, as well as the all importance finishing techniques.

Ok. I have braced myself. Now for the dumb stuff I did this weekend. The not so dumb first....

Here's my colinette flounce jacket:

I was doing really well with the flounce jacket until I hit the armhole shaping. You have 36 stitches and the directions read:

"Dec 1 st at each end of next 4 rows. 28 sts."

I looked at that and thought--minus 4. Nope. Minus 8. Argh. So, I have to rip and correct my problem to get this to work correctly. I plopped the jacket in the knitting basket to think about the problem and turned to my almost completed hat.

I was lulled into thinking--"This is an easy knit, says Sally Melville. I can whip this up." No. No. No. I am a dope. Did I bother to carefully check the gauge? Nope. So, I ripped out the entire hat, which was being knit on 4mm and swatched away. I ended up with knitting on these tiny 2 mm to get gauge. Argh.

Friday, December 03, 2004

My Stash, My Stash!

I am slowly but surely reducing the stash. Lest you forget, it has been growing steadily--see this post. My goal is to knit up the stash that is now residing in the chest in the front hallway. I'm doing well--the noro booga bag is finished, the Sura shawl is close. Take a look:*-

She looks much nicer now that she had a bath and is stretched. I think the picture distorts the one edge a bit--it really is nice and straight. Elizabeth asked about the number of skeins that Sursa used. It actually ended up taking about 5.5, more or less. I was glad that I bought one extra skein, because some of the yarn didn't match up perfectly when I was holding double. I had to remove sections and rewind the balls a number of times to get the match right. So, having some extra to play with was definately helpful.

Notice too the new Clover blocking pins?

I bought these at These worked so well that I will probably get another pack of them. I used all of the ones that I had for this blocking, so another pack would be right for a sweater.

While Sursa is drying I thought about my two other projects (crochet finishing... a hat that isn't very exciting....). Not feeling inspired, I dug around in the stash and decided to work on my flouncey jacket:

I just love this cute jacket, and it is now cold enough that I would like to have it ready for wear. Here's the very beginnings of the jacket:

I should be able to make good progress on this when I sit through my daugher's gymnastic class this afternoon (or her jumping class, as she has named it--no girly girl gymnastics for this kid--she would rather hang on the rings and jump over the horse than be dainty on the balance beam--good thing the class emphasizes the more active aspects of gymnastics!).

I was reading Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's yarn harlot blog the other day and was particularly taken with her discussion of Screech in Eggnog. One of my fondest trips was a mother-daughter camping trip that I took with my Mom before I met my husband. We packed up the truck and drove from New Hampshire to the ferry that takes you to Nova Scotia. From there we worked our way up through Newfoundland and Labrador. I love Canada very much (Bruce and I took a lovely 3 day horse pack trip in Alberta before my daughter was born), and my trip to Eastern Canada was amazing. Newfoundland and Labrador are culturally very interesting and the landscape is barren and wild, yet old and contained. We ate lots of the wonderful local foods--cods tongue, salted cod, bakeapple preservers, and various recipes made with Screech. In case you have no idea what Screen is (I had no idea), it is a locally made rum. Check this out for additional info: Screech. The screech parfait (ice cream sundae with screech) that we had in a little tiny restaurant in Corner Brook, Newfoundland was amazing.

This is actually leading up to some knitting content! As I was thinking about the trip (and the Yarn Harlot's ongoing mitten fascination), it dawned on me that I had bought some handknit mittens in a small shop in Newfoundland. Here they are:

They are an interesting design that I haven't seen elsewhere--the thumb and pointer finger are gusseted, the rest in a mitten. The wool makes a very pretty traditional design. Nifty, huh?

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Look at me go!

Sursa is such a super fast knit. I can't get over it. I finished up the entire main body last night:

It wasn't difficult to make and knit on size 15 needles, it goes quickly. The next step is to put the ruffle onto the shaped edge, but I think I will block it first. That way I get the ruffle positioned just like I want it to be positioned. Since I have to pick up stitches in the center of each YO, I would like to start with the stitches flat. A nice little bath and some pinning, this is going to be nice!

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Sursa is a Quick Knit!

Wow. I am loving working on the Sursa shawl. It is a super fast knit. I sat down last night and made it half way through the body of the shawl:

The colors are not as bright as the original picture in the Hamilton book, but they are very pretty. As I mentioned, I am using the same colorway as in the original image. You start with just a few stitches and increase the stitches through yarnovers. Very simple, but very nice. The only trick to the pattern is that you hold the yarn double as you knit. This is a bit tricky with the Noro Silk Garden. The first two skeins matched very well, though I had to remove about 12 inches of one ball to make them match. The second two are a bit more difficult. I did buy an extra skein of yarn because I suspected that the matching of yarns might be tricky--good thing too!

I love working on this so much that I actually brought it along to work! It seems to liven up the hovel:

Gallery of Finished Objects

Gallery 2007
Gallery 2006
Gallery 2005
Gallery 2004

On the Needles

Cable Cardigan

Faroe Island Sweater

Rowan Denim Seahorse


Future Knits

Lisette from Rowan

Lorna's Laces Socks

Backyard Leaves Scarf

Eloise from Jane Ellison


The WeatherPixie


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