Thursday, June 4, 2015

Bring May Flowers... And Bees Cause June is Busting out all Over!!

Life got in the way and I completely missed posting for May. Now its June and I'm still working on it.... What kept me busy the weekend I would have been writing this post I was........

I got my bees on May 2nd!! I went to a beginner's beekeeping class the Sunday before and had my hands on class May 3rd. I picked up the bees and got them in the hive with no problems. I had requested a 5 frame medium nuc or nucleus colony. My queen is marked and I had no problems seeing her. I took the time to look at each frame and it looks great. I wasn't nervous at all handling the bees. Now to settle in and wait for the nectar flow! 

But... this is a fiber blog, so on to the fiber!
Finished Objects

I finished my Maize Mitts by Tin Can Knits. This was done with the left over yarn from the Bankhead hat. This is Twist Fiber Studio Madison Worsted in the Amethyst colorway. I had just enough and I love the size of these mitts. 

I also finished the Citron Shawl by Hilary Smith Callis. I love it! It is so soft and the ruching is awesome. I used all but a very small piece of the yarn. This is Malabrigo Lace in the Lettuce colorway. 
And I finished 3 sets of Knitted Knockers, one in size C and one in size B and one in size D. The C has gone to the recipient and the B's and D's will be delivered. These are quick and a wonderful project. I used Cascade Ultra Pima 100% Cotton in the Buff colorway.
Meter Update
Knitmeter is up to 3229 yards! The graphic is in the sidebar. And I only update as I finish objects.
In Progress
I'm still working on the Hitofude by Hiroko Fukatsu out of Twist Fiber Studio Montford Fingering. This is the MCN blend in the Tradewinds colorway. I LOVE this yarn and LOVE this pattern. But I've gotten sidetracked. I'm still on the sleeves/upper back. Oh well, I'll get there. 

I'm also working on Jaden's blanket. I'm using Little Yellow Uke's Ripple Afghan pattern. Its really easy to memorize. I  chose an acrylic yarn for easy care and its Sincerely by Purl Essence in 4 solid colors and a multi color. Its really cute and I think she will love it. 

I did a few more squares on my Scrappy Happy Blanket. I am using the mini skeins from my recent swap. I've also joined a Scrap Yarn group on Facebook and am signed up for 3 swaps that are doing 20 5 gram mini skeins so I should get great variety from that. 
OMG! Weave in those ends!
I cast on the Bonny sweater by Tin Can Knits in the Handmade in the UK book. I'm using Malabrigo Lace which is the same yarn I used for the Citron. Its a very soft Merino single ply yarn. Its in the Charrua colorway. Ashley, CarolinaSpinner, had this yarn and didn't like the color. I love it and love knitting with it. I am doing this for the 2 Knit Lit Chicks CardiTankTeeKAL. I'm really looking forward to wearing this.
I also have socks on the needles. I am knitting the Swirl E. Socks using Plymouth yarn Neon Now in the descriptive color name 5. As you can see its Highlighter colors. I'm using size 0 needles and have 56 stitches cast on which is the small size. I started off wanting to use the No Purl Toe up Crazy Monkey socks but the pattern repeats requires 64 stitches and as you can see in the last picture that was going to be too big so I ripped back to 56 stitches and switched patterns. 
Another new thing is some weaving. I'm using a black 10/2 cotton for warp and two different warps, both cotton slub Dragon Tails yarns from Earth Guild. I am doing a point twill and alternating the solid blue with the varigated blue. Its the first time I've really tried anything other than tabby. 

I mentioned Knitted Knockers earlier. These are knitted (or crocheted) breast prosthesis for women with partial or full mastectomies. You can find their information at I was asked to make some Knitted Knockers for a friend's relative. In the same conversation I found out one of my other friends is scheduled for a double mastectomy the day after Mother's Day. The first pair I am making is for her. I've made some for my other friend's relative. I'll probably make these periodically and donate them. If you haven't see these check them out. The patterns are free and its a good thing. If you don't have anyone to give them to you can send them to the Knitted Knockers organization and they will donate them for you. You don't have to stuff them when you send to Knitted Knockers, they will do that for you. I purchased the Pima Cotton yarn from Craftsy and its an excellent price.  
New To Me
I received a sock kit from Infinite Twist called Nishikigoi House Socks by Cate Carter-Evans. This was total impulse but I fell in love with the cute Koi faces. I have no idea when I may cast this on. What really amazed me is all the stuff that came in the kit. Not only the yarn and patterns for both the socks and the full Fish Lips Kiss pattern but also sets of DPN's in 2mm, 2.5mm and 2.75mm, a notions pouch with tapestry needle and locking stitch markers, colored pencil, and a KnitGirllls measuring tape! Plus I used the Knitmore Girls coupon code and got money off. Amazing!
The other splurge was 2 skeins of Be So Sporty Bamboo yarn in dark Teal from Kristin Omdahl to knit the Sweet Clara crochet top. I asked Ashley to get it when she was at stitches and said that Kristin was very sweet and awesome! Hopefully I will get to meet her one day.
New In My Queue
I added 2 patterns to my queue recently. The first is Soleto Vest . I watched Denise on The Knitting Den knit this and she was wearing it recently and I love it. I have a merino/linen blend I think may work well for this. The second is Looking Back . I love this sweater with the lace panel in the front and buttons down the back.
Coming Up
I am working on a list of patterns and yarn requirements that I can give to Ashley so that she can plan out my shop credit payment in a way that gets me  yarn to knit what I want to knit but doesn't completely drain her inventory. I'll keep you posted!
Great Ideas
I realized that I should be knitting during our commute to work. Hubby and I car pool. My boss is kind enough to allow me to work the same schedule as my husband. He works 4 10 hour days per week. My work week is 37.5 hours so I work 4 days per week. I drop hubby off at his shop, go to City Hall and then pick him up in the evening. Its a great schedule. But because we get home a little later I was finding that I wasn't always knitting in the evening like I used to do. But I have 30 minutes each way every day so I have been knitting in the car. I'm not the knitter who ALWAYS knits while waiting for things. But this is a good option and increases my productivity. That was how I finished the Knitted Knockers so quickly and now I have switched to my Bonny top. However, I think I will trade out projects each week to keep interest up.
That's it for now! If I missed anything I will catch it up next month!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

April Showers... (or better late than never)

Let's start off with a review of my 2015 goals and my progress in the first quarter:

1. Blog at least monthly - So far so good!
2. Stash Down - Even though I can't remember to use the #noshitnonewyarn I have only purchased yarn for a crochet blanket that my granddaughter requested. How do you say no to a 6 year old???
3. Update stash, projects etc and organize Ravelry - big fat fail so far but it is on my list for the 2nd quarter. Honestly I thought I would get to it during my break at the holidays but I was working on #sweatshopprogress! Now that I have done all the bags I'm going to do for now I will set aside some time to work on the stash, match projects to yarn and set up a de-stash page.
4. Garment sewing - None yet but I'm planning some shorts for summer and I have fabric for two summer tops.
5. Weaving - I did some sampling, wove 3 rag rugs. I'm working on a warp for a twill sample scarf but need more warp, note to self - buy warp, and I want to plan something to enter in the fair this fall in the weaving category. I'm thinking about some kitchen towels.

Personal goals were:
1. Fitness - I am still wearing the Fitbit, but I have been very inconsistent with any exercise regimen.
2. Diet - We are being more mindful and have been continuing to look for ways to cut back or substitute more healthy options.
3. Weight - I've lost a little bit, exercise would help.

Overall, not too bad for the first quarter. Lets see what warm weather does for some of this.

Finished Objects

I finished my Bankhead Hat by Susie Gourlay! Its a free Ravelry pattern. It was a great knit. Because I wasn't paying attention I had to rip a couple of inches back when you get past the ribbing because I left out the knit every other round part. I knit this on size 8 circulars and DPNs using Twist Fiber Studio Madison Worsted in the Amethyst color. This is a variegated purple yarn with lots of depth. Very nice to work with.  Its more purple than the photo but its in the bathroom, green, with artificial light. And please excuse the sheep pajamas.... :)

I finished another 21 wedge bags for Ashley for her Kickstarter Surprise Perfect Pairs sets. This time I'm really done. I want to make some for myself as well as having other projects in mind.

Knitmeter Progress
I have knit 2399 yards so far, and woven 5 yards. I am only updating this as I finish stuff so the next couple of FO's will make it jump. 

In Progress

After I finished the Bankhead Hat I weighed the leftovers and decided I had enough to eek out some Maize Mitts by Tin Can Knits from the Simple Collection. I am making them fingerless as I think I just barely have enough. I have finished both and just have to do the thumbs. 

I've started a new crochet project. When one of my granddaughter's visited me a couple of weekends ago she wanted to see someone knit. Then she viewed my yarn stash and determined that I had enough yarn for a blanket and asked me for one. :) Well, I couldn't really say no so I showed her a pattern that I had been wanting to make for a while and got a color list. Now I should have put a caveat on my New Year goals regarding requested items as I didn't have enough washable  yarn in the stash in the colors she wanted. So off to the store I went, coupons in hand. I'm using the basic pattern by Little Yellow Uke for her Ripple Blanket. I have 4 solid colors broken up by a multi color. I'm doing 6 rows of the solids, probably repeating them twice and 3 rows of the multi between. I promised it by her birthday in June. Hope that works out.

I'm making pretty good progress on the Hitofude Cardigan by Hiroko Fukatsu. This is a gorgeous pattern and very easy. Because I'm trying to spend time on 4 separate projects I only knit on it 1 or 2 days a week. I'm on the 7th repeat of 13 for the sleeves. I'm using Twist Fiber Studio Montford  Fingering which is an MCN base. It is luscious!! This is in the Tradewinds Colorway.

I'm close to the finish on the Citron Shawl by Hilary Smith Callis. I am almost finished with the ruffle section. I have 540 stitches on the needles and it takes almost 40 minutes on the knit side and nearly an hour for a purl side. Its also hard to photograph because I have it on a 24" circular needle. I promise its not shaped like it looks in the pic. This is with Malabrigo Lace Baby Merino in the Lettuce colorway. It says it's a 2 ply but it's not, it is a single ply yarn and is soft and luscious. Good thing cause it takes a long time to knit the rows. There are 12,186 projects on Ravelry for this pattern!!! Wow!

I have new progress on my Happy Scrappy Sock Yarn Blanket a free pattern by Shelley Kang! Ashley (CarolinaSpinner) started a thread in her Twisted Stitcher Podcast Group asking if anyone wanted to trade mini skeins with me. 3 people joined me and a 4th just wanted to send someone some leftovers. So I now have lots of new yarns to play with. Its hard to photograph it since its so wide. I'm going to start next month showing the new squares I've done. I'm also including pics of the yarns sent to me. 

Knitting Technology
Knit Companion - Do you use it??? I have found that I no longer use paper patterns. Since I have Knit Companion on both my iPhone and iPad mini I use that exclusively. I know some people use other PDF readers but the difference with KC is that they have built in software for setting up charts, adding annotation to serve as reminders, smart counters to help with row instructions, such as increases or decreases etc. There is a lot that I haven't even used yet. I recently learned to use smart counters when doing my Custom fit Featherweight Cardigan. I set up each row with increases or decreases and when you get to that row  you can't advance to the next row on the chart until you acknowledge you have completed the task for that row. You can get the free version to try and can do quite a lot with it. The full version is $14.99 and worth every penny!

I've also found an app called PatternGenius. This appears to be awesome! I haven't used it yet, and I haven't really thought about designing patterns but I love the idea that I can chart something, colorwork perhaps, or cables and save it as PDF to use in KC. The free version will let you design basic charts. I haven't played with it enough to see what all the free version will allow but it could be useful. There are options for purchasing a 1 year subscription for $3.99 for a specific Genius Bundle or all the bundles for 1 year for $15.99.

New to Me
Knitting On Paper I found this on Facebook. Yes, I do occasionally find something useful on Facebook. :) This is a graph paper you can use for designing colorwork. I'm sure other things but that is why I have saved it. Instead of just using knitting graph paper where the squares are actually rectangles that mimic the taller than wide stitches in knitting, this has stockinette shaped boxes. There are tons of other design/planning things on this site. Its a good one to bookmark.

Ooh Girl! Yarn - I know you all have seen something that just has to come home with you. No matter what your particular "thing" is. This happened to me when Ashley and I went to Knoxville a few weeks ago. We met up with Dana of Unwind Yarn Company and her husband. We went to the spinning guild meeting and then to lunch. The next day was Dana's birthday and Ashley had a gift for her. Then she offered her a skein of yarn from a basket..... *sigh* That was my downfall..... I saw this skein that I just had to have. This is in Ashley's Lexington Fingering base. Fortunately one of the caveats of my #noshitnonewyarn knit from stash goal was that I have shop credit.... THANK GOODNESS!............... ummmm......... On second thought, the shop credit may be my downfall...... lol.

New in MY Queue
Rhonwen by Jennifer Wood. This is in the top 20 on Ravelry today. It is an open front cardigan with cables and lace that can be overlapped at the neck or left open. It is a beautiful design knit in DK weight. The suggested yarn is Anzula Cricket which is an 80% Merino, 10% Nylon and 10% Cashmere yarn. I think I may just know where to get something like that..... Be sure to check out this designer, she has many lovely patterns in her Rav store.

Coming Up
Tippary Tweed - I got this yarn in a destash several years ago. I have washed it to see if it softens up some as it is a very rustic yarn. I'm going to swatch with it aiming for the Calligraphy Cardigan by Hannah Fettig. I want this to be a large, comfy cardigan for winter use. Something I can wear over layers when its cold. It won't be next to skin so it can be rustic. I adore the color.

That's it for this month. It took me a while to get my pictures done and I need to make it a priority to get the blog together more quickly. I have a fun new fiber tool to show off next blog. See you then! 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

In Like A Lion

Finished Objects

I finished my Custom fit Featherweight Cardigan. I started it back in November. I followed the directions for measurements on the Custom Fit website and entered all my details including the gauge swatch. I'm very happy with the fit, and since I used a mohair/acrylic blend its easy to take care of but very warm. Its also fuzzy!

Katie's Infinity Cowl in Michael's Country Loom, Rich Graphite color and the Creme color. I put a twist in the Rich Graphite one to make it a mobius just to see if she likes it. You have seen these before. These are made with size 15 needles, cast on 12 stitches and knit until almost out of yarn and then graft the ends together. I used the Kitchener Stitch.

Isabella's Hat - My daughter said that my granddaughter didn't have a hat that fit her yet so I used the left overs from making my boss's daughters Barley Hats and made her a quick one.

In Progress

Citron Shawl using Malabrigo Lace in the Lettuce colorway. I'm loving this single spun yarn and the lush squishy softness. It has really, really long rows now so I'm not getting as much done as fast, but I expect to finish it early in March.

Camping Cross Stitch -   I have worked on it. I have the logs for the fire done. I know its not much but oh well..... I have two new obsessions.....

Happy Scrappy Sock Yarn Blanket! I have renamed it and purloined Knittinwolf's name for her blanket. I  love the name and its making me very happy. My plan was to work one square a night and them move on to another project (ideally the cross stitch) which worked for a bit.... I had a false start and realized that for my mind to understand this I needed to make enough single squares to make up the width of the blanket I wanted and then connect them by picking up and knitting in the gap between two squares. So I ripped out what I had done, organized all my scraps into baskets for either the Barn Raising Squares or Happy Scrappy Squares. The ones that were too small for either I rolled into balls for Hexipuffs for the Bee Keeper's Quilt. I made a bunch of single mitered squares until they were wide enough to be as wide as I wanted the blanket to be. So now I'm back on track but I have been a bit single minded. Oh well.... no big deal right? There are no Knitting Police!

WEAVING!!!! That is my second new obsession! I purchased a homemade Frankenloom over a year ago and then had to wait for our addition to be built to be able to even bring it into the house. Then hubby and I had to figure out what we needed and he had to make some parts for it. I bought new tie up cords as well as new heddles. Then I got out the Craftsy class on Floor Loom Weaving, that I had for AGES, and went though it step by step. I worked on a sample piece that had some yarn issues but worked well enough for me to get the hang of it. Then I wound up some rug yarn and warped the loom and started weaving rag rugs. I'm using some quilting cotton strips left over from my quilting days. I am LOVING the results. I'm anxious to see how they wash up since I didn't do anything with the strips other than connect them and wind on a rag shuttle. There are raw edges so it may fray a bit but I wanted rustic.

I have also started the Hitofude Cardigan by Hiroko Fukatsu. This is a gorgeous lace cardigan designed to hang open in the front. It has very interesting construction and there is a Ravelry Group here for it that discusses techniques for choosing size as well as help in the transition areas. I highly recommend reading the group posts before starting this.

I did my swatches and determined that I needed a size 3 needle and I'm making the large size. It fits like a shrug so its very important you check your measurement around the neck, under the arms and behind the back in one long measurement. Use that and your gauge to figure out what size. Its all explained in the group.

This week I also cast on the Bankhead Hat by Susie Gourlay, using my Twist Fiber Studio Madison Worsted in the Amethyst color. This is the  yarn I won in the podcast giveaway. I needed some car knitting since I have finished the scarves. This is a free pattern on Ravelry.

I got my Twist Fiber Studio Kickstarter reward at spinning on the 15th and immediately started spinning. I chose 2 braids of fiber and a bag. I will spin up the fiber and use the bag for my knitting project. I got Polworth fiber as I haven't spun much of that.

New To Me

I went to a pattern design class on Friday held at Hancock Fabrics. It was only $10 for the class and was 3 hours. I wasn't expecting much but one of my goals for this year was to sew more garments. I thought I would need a dress form to fit things to me. However, this class was AMAZING! I did buy two special measuring tools, a cutting guide for my rotary cutter and a roll of velum for pattern making. I won't give away the secret sauce but we were given 7 patterns and a DVD that can be used for making a multitude of garments as well as instruction on altering commercial patterns. I feel much better about sewing garments for myself now. With knitting I can always rip it out if it doesn't fit. Once the fabric is cut it's too late. Especially if its too small! If you have a chance to take this class it is very worth it.

Coming Up

I am planning another scarf using the yarn from the sample I was weaving that didn't work well as warp but will be great weft. I'm going to use black cotton 8/2 for the warp and this rayon for the weft and practice twill patterns. I think it will be very pretty and good practice.

I do want to make the pillows in the Craftsy class, Floor Loom Weaving. I'm figuring out what colors I want to use. I'll have to have a look at some yarn to figure that out. I'll work with my personal dyer once I decide colors as I am not buying new yarn. But if you remember I said that my "payment" for making bags didn't count as that was income..... :)

I'm planning another pair of socks, deciding which pattern and yarn. I'm also thinking which sweater I'll do next. I have 3 planned that I need to spin for so those will take more time, but I have yarn in the stash for at least 4  more so after the Hitofude I'll cast one of those on.

That is it for now. I hope that March goes out like a lamb! See you next month, and Be Creative!!!