Monday, November 30, 2015

Love lace knitting, just not in a waiting room!

One of the things I love to knit most is anything with a lace pattern. I am enjoying the Advent Calendar Scarf very much and almost, I say almost, took it with me to the doctor's office today. Then I came to my senses and grabbed a sock that needs the ribbing finished, and stuck the project bag in my purse instead. A waiting room is really not the place for me to try and concentrate on a chart pattern for lace! Especially when working on a 3 mm, size 2 needle and lace weight yarn...

That got me to thinking about different projects and switching between them. I like socks knitted on a 2mm, size 0 needle, and fingering yarn. Switching back and forth from the Advent Calendar Scarf and socks is a nice change. Lots of plain knit 2, purl 2 ribbing. Doesn't require a lot of brain cells for that.

Something else plain, or at least an easy pattern of some sort, to swap off from the lace knitting, is the High Tides scarf knitted on a 4 mm, size 6 needle with fingering yarn. Then there is my current Ludlow Shawl on a 4.5 mm, size 7 needle with fingering yarn. Great project. Lots of lovely garter stitch with enough color changes to be interesting.

There was a time I didn't dare have more than one project going at a time...I would never get anything finished! But, somewhere along the line, something changed. I have drawers full of finished scarves, cowls, shawls, and socks all knitted in the last several years and a yarn stash that is embarrassingly HUGE to work from. And then there is my fiber stash for spinning....sigh.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Advent is Here!

It hardly seems possible, but today is the first day of Advent! Since hubby and I are still recovering from bronchitis we will remain home from church today....some things you just don't want to share with others, hacking and coughing being one of them!

I will spend my knitting time today working on the Advent scarf I began this time last year. Hopefully, I can have it finished before Christmas is here and still get some work done on socks and other things currently under construction.

I like the 2011 version of the scarf but there are other versions as well. Any of you who are familiar with Ravelry, and interested in knitting the 2011 Advent Calendar Scarf, can find the link here:

(Scroll down to find the listing for 2011 or choose a different year if you prefer.)

You can view a finished version of this scarf on Jo Dee Fish's Ravelry page here: Year Long Advent Calendar Scarf.

Going to give the Fleegle Beader a test run. Bought it at DFW Fiber Fest in March.

(edited to eliminate a duplicate link.....edited again when I found my Fleegle Beader...)

Saturday, November 28, 2015

What's In Your Queue?

After taking a peek at my Ravelry queue I decided to pare it down to an even ten items. It can change and I really need to add a couple more pair of socks, but this will do for now. I have been looking at TARDIS sock patterns but most are cuff-down and I prefer toe-up. I may have to design my own!

1. Amy's Scarf

2. Tilting Tardis Cowl

3. Socks For Ten

4. Bigger on the inside

5. Trillixagon Shawl: Tardis Variation

6. Lost at Sea

7. Dragon's Rest Shawl

8. Grand Tour Wrap

9. Casapinka Cowl

10. Two Row Zaggy

Friday, November 27, 2015

Double Thick Knitted Potholder Pattern

Sugar N Cream coned cotton
24" & 47” circular needle, size 5/3.75 mm, or size needed for gauge
Gauge: 5 stitches per inch in stocking stitch

This potholder is cast on using Judy’s Magic Loop. There are no increases as in a toe-up sock, it is simply a knitted pocket that will be folded back in a diagonal and the open end grafted to close it. It is a knitted version of a crocheted potholder.

Cast on a total of 100 sts, 50 stitches on each side using Judy’s Magic Loop. I got 5 stitches per inch with a size 5 needle in a firm, not tight, gauge. Knitting too tightly with heavier cotton yarn is hard on hands and wrists. Make sure to use whatever needle you need to get gauge and be able to knit in a relaxed manner.

I prefer a 47” long circular needle for Magic Loop. You might prefer a shorter needle, just make sure that you are not putting too much stress at the point where the cable connects to the tip of the needle. Do not let the loose beginning fool you. The gauge firms up after you get past the first round of knitting.  I opted for  a 10" diagonal measurement to allow for it to shrink a bit when it's been washed. My potholders tend to need washing on occasion.  Be sure to make the first stitch on each side snug to avoid a gap. You will be working on the diagonal. The sides of the finished potholder will be shorter. I let the tail end from the cast on mark the beginning of the round.

Continue in stockinette stitch for approximately 3".

Knit the first 25 stitches of a round and switch to the 24" needle, making this the new beginning of your round, placing a marker when you finish the round with the 24" needle.

Since my diagonal measurement is 10" I will knit until the pocket measures 5" and then graft the opening shut.

Now for a soak in warm water and blocking. Then I will sew in the ends and attach a plastic ring to one corner.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

I pray you are all having a Happy Thanksgiving, surrounded by family and lots of good food!


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Toe-up socks

After years of knitting socks from the cuff down on double-pointed needles I now prefer knitting from the toe up on a 2mm/size 0, 47" long, circular needle. My favorite needles are Addi Turbo Sock Rockets. I buy them in pairs so I can work on two socks at a time, each on it's own needle.

I use Judy's Magic Loop cast on and Jo Torr's Vanilla Sock pattern. It is easy enough to turn a vanilla sock into a patterned sock, which is what I did with the Yarn Over Cable Sock I am working on now. I needed a pattern with a 5 st repeat and this is perfect. I am working on 35 sts on each half of the sock, top and bottom.

The lace pattern is as follows:
Rows 1 & 2: Purl 1, * Knit 3, Purl 2 *, ending with Purl 1.
Row 3: Purl 1, * Slip one st, Knit 2 sts, PSSO the 2 Knit sts, Purl 2 *, ending with Purl 1.
Row 4: Purl 1, * Knit 1, YO, Knit 1, Purl 2 *, ending with Purl 1.
Repeat these 4 rows for pattern. 

Note! Row 3 is a decrease row. Row 4 is an increase row. Be sure NOT to knit 2 sts together on Row 3. Knit 2 and then pass the slipped stitch over both knitted stiches.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Pot Holders

In scrolling thru some photos on my computer I came across a pot holder I made back in the summer. And, as I so often do, forgot to write down the details. So...I will knit another one and make notes to share. Basically, it's a knitted version of the double thick crocheted cotton pot holder.

I began the cast on as if it was a toe up sock using magic loop. When it was time to finish I grafted the edges together. More details in a later post...

Monday, November 23, 2015

Advent Scarf Resurrected

Last year I started work on an Advent Scarf project as a KAL with a couple of Fishknit's friends on Ravelry. It got set aside when I realized I wasn't going to get it finished in time and I think it's time to resurrect the project. Every so often, as I finish a section, I pin it out on the ironing board and give it a steam.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Lovely, Lovely Fiber!

When I began spinning back in the mid '80's there were no websites. There were no nice, locally owned spinning and weaving shops with roving, sliver, and raw wool. The first fleece I bought was a joint purchase with someone in a guild an hour and a half drive from me who placed the order and shipped me my fleece. I won a Jacob fleece at a spinning and weaving retreat in 1994 and I eventually had both those fleeces processed at a local mill which is now closed. I still have a pound of the Merino sliver to spin.

And about twelve ounces of the Jacob sliver lurking somewhere in one of these boxes...

Fortunately, there is a great place where I can find a lot of wonderful fiber, Apple Leef Farm, in Van Alstyne, Texas, a forty-five minute drive from me.

Before that there was a shop in McKinney, Texas, Woolenworks, where most of my fiber was purchased. I miss that shop. I have many fond memories of time spent and purchases made in that shop.

And I recently found another shop in Lewisville, Texas, Fiberlady. They had a booth at Stitches Texas and are conveniently located five minutes from our Naturopath at Whole Body Healing Center. I bought some bamboo fiber from them at Stitches. (eta: photo of bamboo, bright red fiber on the right below, from Fiber Lady)

This is 80/20 Merino/Bombyx silk from Red Fish Dye Works,
ordered at Stitches (edited because I got my photos and sources confuzzled)

I have also ordered from, and bought directly from, Two if by Hand. They had a booth at Stiches Texas.

There was some gorgeous fiber at a booth at DFW Fiber Fest, Alisha Goes Around that caught my eye because I. Love. GREEN.

I have also purchased fiber online from The Loop. This was my first order...

This is the fiber I just ordered from The Loop.

 Also awaiting shipment are myTARDIS rolags from Classy Squid.

I am truly grateful for all the wonderful indie dyers and fiber processors out there with online shops and booths at fiber fairs. God bless you all and THANK YOU for feeding my fiber habit.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Practical Knitting

I am always on the lookout for projects that are practical and useful, but attractive at the same time. While checking out some things on Pinterest I discovered this site, Berlin's Whimsy, and a knitted scrubby for the kitchen that uses tulle netting and cotton yarn together.

There is plenty of coned cotton to choose from in my studio and I just happened to have some green tulle. It is working out quite nicely and I am nearly done with my first scrubby. Just a few more rows and then I will bind off. My hands are small so I don't need it to be very large and I decided that a square would work nicely and fit on the stainless steel soap dish I keep beside the kitchen sink.

I chose a 10.5 needle and I am managing, most of the time, to fold the netting over the yarn as I knit. The ends of the strips are tied together and I wound a center pull ball on my Strauch winder. I had one yard of netting but it is plenty when cut 1 1/2" wide.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Knitting Project Boxes

Most of the knitters that I know these days keep their projects in decorative cloth bags. I have purchased several and made more than a few myself. Knitters, spinners, and weavers also tend to be fond of baskets and decorative boxes, both of which are quite affordable if you know where to look. The three boxes sitting stacked atop one another on the file cabinet all have yarn and or projects stored in them. They are pretty and keep stuff handy but out of site. I found them at Tuesday Morning for less than half regular price.

I found some smaller boxes at Tuesday Morning that are perfect to hold socks or a scarf. They are small enough to sit on the table next to my recliner and be in easy reach. I set the box on the foot rest of my chair while knitting and when I need to head off to the kitchen, or wherever, I just pop the top closed and set it on the table.

Then there is the basket under the table that has several project bags crammed into it..

...and another basket on the bottom shelf below the television with more project bags in it, two  more decorative boxes and three faux -books that hold spindles and fiber....