Thursday, March 13, 2014

Queue Up

Spring will just not arrive for us!  We are waiting patiently.  Well, we have been waiting patiently, but our patience is waning.  It seems that our nastiest of weather occurs on the weekends, which leaves us housebound and dreaming of greener and warmer days.  

Right now on my needles I have Owls.  I finished the lower part of the body and was ready to begin the first sleeve, but could not find cables to go with my knit picks needles.  Now, I could put the body on waste yarn and dig through the bin to find other needles of the size needed, but I was perplexed as to why I did not have those extra cables.  I am really not one to leave a project on needles, especially a project that would not come to mind.  I tend to finish what I start in knitting.  So, I went on a search and found Sitcom Chic by Bonne Marie Burns languishing for years.  There were two cables on the second sleeve (I knit sleeves in the round with two circulars).  Half of that second sleeve was complete.  I figured I could put those stitches on holders, grab those needles and run back to Owls.  But. . . perhaps I should just finish Sitcom Chic, have the cables AND needles back into circulation (pun intended) and have another finished project off the needles.  So that is what I am doing.  Pictures of Owls will have to wait, but soon there will be pictures of a spring sweater to reveal.  A spring sweater in the works since 2007.  Yes, 2007.

I have spent a bit of time organizing stash yarn and performing advanced searches on Ravelry to use up that stash yarn.  If you are like me, you search Ravelry in your spare time and find projects to fill up your queue.  These projects are in my queue and I have the yarn in my stash to make them.  Bonus!  (Don't tell my husband, but even knitting these up will not dent the stash yarn.  Well, maybe a dent or at least a little mark). 

Hey, Teach! by Helene Rush.  The stash contains three suitable choices:  Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in two different colors (gray and smoky green) and Knit Picks Mainline in turquoise.  Haven't decided on the color yet.  I've been on a blue kick lately so that's what I'm leaning toward, but breaking the lean might be good for me.
 Waiting for Spring Sweater by Susan Dempster.   Recommended yarn is Lion Brand Wool Ease Solids and Heathers.  I have a beautiful blue green stash I picked up at a sale years ago.  There is also in the stash a rusty red choice.  I'm thinking the blue green (see my bent right now?).
 Twiggy Cardigan by Jane Richmond.  I have an absurd amount of Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick and Quick.  Many colors to choose from.  Thick and Quick tends to go on sale at Michaels periodically and when that happens I make a purchase (or two).  Time to thin out the thick (and quick) stash!
 Oatmeal Pullover, again by Jane Richmond.  I like her designs.  They are simple, yet feminine and classic.  I have a pretty tweedy Patons Chunky Shetland Tweed in light blue and gray.  I also have Knit Picks Shamrock which might work as well.  

Of course, my queue and available yarn is greater than the above selections, but let's start small, eh?  What's in your queue?

Stay tuned for upcoming Sitcom Chic.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Up To My Neck in Knitting

The first few months of 2014 was all about keeping necks warm.  We have had crazy cold weather in Northern Illinois this year.  Record breaking cold weather.  School-has-been-cancelled-due-to-the-cold-weather weather.  On one school cancellation day, I dug out some stash yarn and did an advanced Ravelry search (I LOVE that feature, do you?) to find this gem:  Incognito by Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark.  The first one was for me.  While my husband rebuilt a carburetor in the (heated) garage, I made myself a mustache in the well-heated house.  

 Dad's birthday was coming up (seems like all of us have January birthdays), so I fashioned one for him.  He is outside daily despite the weather.  He has to feed his birds and roam his property.  A little something to keep him a bit warmer.  He is always a willing recipient of knitted goods as his mother kept him in them from childhood.  Of course, when I first saw him in it via facetime, he was wearing it upside down.  A bow-tie maybe?  I explained the mustache to him and he righted it promptly.
 Then the young man was in need of a little knit attention (he gets very little of that), so the stash revealed some hunter-type colors and soon Incognito was adorning his neck.
My co-worker has two young girls who are deep into the mustache craze, so I made plans to fashion a few for them as well.
One in stash Vanna's Choice blue, which knits up reminiscent of denim.  The other in double stranded Caron Simply Soft (went down a needle size for a nice, tight fabric).  They were thrilled and the immediate envy of their classmates.
My lovely and hard-working classroom assistant was facing bus duty every afternoon in these arctic temps, so I knit her up a Marshmallow Fluff (fun and amazingly quick knit) in Lion Brand Thick and Quick (again, stash).  I did cast on 20 stitches and followed the pattern from there.  I believe I did not knit entire length (Provisional cast-on and it is knit long and seamed with a 3 needle bind off).  She loved it so much that she requested one for her mother who navigates a school bus and must sit next to the door which opens and closes for each batch of kids.  Made an identical one for her, but no picture to show. 
Isn't she beautiful?
 So, those around me have warm necks and I have a warm heart knowing I have a part in that.  All of the above neck-warmers/cowls were knit before the Olympic Bare Trees Jacket, but deserved a post of their own on this little blog.

And now on to my "test knit".  Standardized tests are underway, and I have begun to knit another queue item:  Owls by Kate Davies.  I downloaded the patterns years ago when it was a free pattern.  This is not stash yarn.  Last year, my LYS closed, and I was heartbroken.  That yarn store was in my "shopping town" which is about 10 miles away.  I was recently informed that my "working town" which is 5 miles away was now host to a quilting/yarn store.  Oooo!  An immediate cold weekend trip was in order, and I found this beautiful blue Cascade 128 Superwash.  As I knit up, I find dye transfer on my hands and uneven dying throughout the fabric, but we'll see how it turns out after washing.  I've heard review that this yarn pills horribly, but Cascade says to wash and dry in the dryer and pilling should not be bad. I'll follow their advice and keep you posted.  Right now I'm loving the yarn.  Soft through the fingers; a delight to knit up with.  

 Tonight I finished up to the armpit and am ready to begin short rows.  

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Olympic Knitting

For Ravelry's 2014 Revellenic Games, I entered several projects to be completed in the 16 days of the Olympics.  The Valentine Hat was one of them, as were a pair of Incognito Cowls for a co-worker's daughters.  But the big challenge for me was to complete a sweater, not only in 16 days, but less given that the aforementioned projects would be completed first.  My sweater challenge was Tree Jacket by Sarah Moore.  This one has been in queue for quite some time.  

We have had a long, cold, snowy winter that seems to be coldest and snowiest on the weekends.  Thus, it seems we have been confined indoors on our days off.  One such day I set about organizing my massive stash of yarn.  Don't get excited, it is not fully organized, though I'll admit it's better.  I found 6 skeins of Lion Brand Cotton-Ease that I'm sure I purchased when I lived in Arizona (read years ago), and I paired it with this pattern.  

Watching the Olympics and knitting was no hardship for me at all!  In dedication to my sweater event, I had to forgo cleaning.  I know, but a girl has been persevere to achieve, am I right?  My little buddy and I began my Bare Trees Jacket (in honor of the long, drawn-out winter here).

 I truly enjoy watching the Olympics.  It's like watching someone's dreams come true.  I, of course, cheer on Team USA, but no matter who wins, I share their enthusiasm and applaud them.  Years of hard work and persistence and sacrifice and dedication paying off.  To be medal-ed as the best in the world. . .  Of course, there was great disappointment in watching Team USA lose in hockey, but again, watching the medalists brought a smile to my face and warmth in my heart for them.  How can you boo at someone whose dreams are coming true?  Not possible for me.

 I began knitting with 11 days to go and accomplished 7 inches of the cowl.  Not bad!  On Day two I grabbed my project again for the 7:00p.m. start of the Games and discovered that in row 2, I had made a mistake and had to rip the entire cowl out.  Yes, there was garage language involved.  ;)  So, day two consisted of frogging, garage language and re-knitting the entire 7 inches I had just lost to get me back to where I had begun that day.  

  • cast on for size small, but added 10 stitches evenly throughout on set up row.
  • Picked up 4 stitches on the arm, then took them back out in the next two rounds (ssk, end of round k2tog)
  • knit sleeves in stockinette
After finishing with crooked, aching fingers on Sunday, in time for the finish line (deadline), I did a little dance.  It was iffy there for awhile.  In fact, Saturday evening I had decided I wouldn't finish and wouldn't even attempt to finish on Sunday.  Upon awakening Sunday I thought "what the heck is that?  I have put a marathon of knitting in and I'M NOT STOPPING NOW!"  I waited until the following day after work to post to Ravelry's finish lines only to find them closed.  I had read that we had 24 hours after closing ceremonies to get into the finish line threads.  I assumed (mistakenly) that it was 24 hours after the showing of the closing ceremonies.  Nope.  24 hours after the actual closing ceremonies.  So, no ravelry avatar (ravatar) for me.  But, I have the accomplishment under my belt, in my heart and on my body:
 After a day of wear, the collar droops and falls down as you can see in the pictures.  It stays up the first few hours of wear, but it's downhill from there.  Must be the cotton-ease.  Not sure what I can do to strengthen it?  If you have ideas, please leave me a comment.
 I was not aware that my photographer was snapping away.  I look very stern in these pictures, but was just patiently waiting for the husband to take some pictures, not realizing he was.  I have a very stern look and did not realize that about myself.  Those who know me will tell you, I am not a stern person.  
 And then he said "Why don't you smile for any of these pictures?"  So I did.
I already have a new knit on the needles (duh, don't all knitters immediately cast on the next project?).  It's my "Test Knit Sweater".  Next week is the standardized testing week and I am always working on a sweater during that time.  This year will be no exception.  I will be back to blog about that.

Boots is getting better about being snuggly with Heimo (yippee!)