Pink lady knits


A little project

I have a little project on the needles that I started when my Mom was in the hospital in December. I've always wanted to knit my Mom big things, not little things. But the thing is, no matter what I offer to make my Mom, she only ever wants socks. Here's a standard conversation:

Me: I found this beautiful pattern that I'd love to make you, it's called The Shetland Triangle.
Mom: What is it?

Me: Oh, of course. It's a lace shawl.

Mom: Hmmm
Me: Well, you could wear it as a scarf too. You need scarves, right?

Mom: I suppose so. I'm sure it's lovely. Do you have a picture?

----Interlude: imagine me sending Mom a link to the picture---

Me: Well?

Mom: I guess it's nice. I just don't think I'd ever wear it.

Me: Oh. OK, I understand.

Mom: You know what I would love though?
Me: More socks?
Mom: More socks.

So, this time I decided on a compromise. I'd knit her the socks...more socks...but on my terms. Lace socks. Lovely little complicated lace socks! The perfect pattern was selected (Lady's Silk Stockings by the famous Nancy Bush) and she seemed pleased with it, only requesting that I not make them "that long". I can live with that.

I found the perfect yarn in my stash, it's the most beautiful shade of Wedgewood blue Louet Gems, and I adore working with it. It's beyond soft for wool, now I understand why it's so popular. This yarn is special too, I bought it at MDSW last year at the Cloverhill booth, and I think I knew even then that it was destined for greatness!

I brought the yarn and pattern with me when I got the call that my Mom was sick. I knew that if I was going to be in the hospital, I'd find it difficult to work on VJ's sweater, and determined that something small and portable would be better. Once she was finally checked in, the night before her surgery, I started these socks. I worked on them in fits and spurts while she was there, though I didn't really accomplish much - all things considered. I blame that on the Doctors, Nurses, and hordes of loved on
es coming in and out of the room so often. Also, I was knitting the in dark (I'm shocked that there are no mistakes in the lace!)

I made some modifications to the cuff after a faulty first try. I didn't read the instructions well enough the first time, so I missed the part about slipping the first stich over....but I liked the way it looked. It kind of angles, and it's really pretty. Mom agreed, so I kept that part, but I only did about 4 repeats in the cuff. I separated the cuff and leg with 2 rounds of purl stitches instead of knit stitches, and also, as requested, I'm knitting them shorter. I think I'm done with the leg at this point, and now need only to begin the heel.

I've had these on the back burner for a while, but I'd like to finish them up for her soon. I know she's patiently waiting for her socks...and I don't want to let my Momma down!

(P.S. You can see the awesome DPN stitch holders my Hubby stuffed my stocking with this Christmas in the photo. Whattaguy!)


A "Superior" Shetland

Several months ago my friend Jen and I sat down and looked at some patterns together. She is a crocheter, and I (obviously) am a knitter. There was a pattern that I'd always wanted from Scarf Style called Blizzard. It's a gorgeous and simple wrap done in a chunky yarn on a large hook. Sadly, I have never learned to crochet. Sure, I can chain, but just enough for me to do a provisional cast on. There were also dozens of beautiful patterns out there for lace shawls that were knit, and Jen was smitten. We thumbed through the books and magazines together and she found several that she liked.
It took a while, but it finally hit me that we should do a swap...I'd knit her something, and in turn, she'd crochet me Blizzard. I got her the yarn (Cascade Eco Wool in a beautiful off-white) and she got me the yarn (Filatura de Crossa Superior in a deep berry - truly amazing yarn!) and we went to work. I soon realized that I wasn't digging the pattern that she'd selected. It was a little above my comfort level as a knitter, quite complicated. I ripped out and began again, this time, it stuck. I'm making her the Shetland Triangle from Wrap Style, and it's zooming along beautifully.
I do need to speed up though because she's almost done with my Blizzard and I'm nowhere near done!


Longing for Lady Eleanor

Ever since I checked Scarf Style out of my local library two years ago, I've been fascinated with Lady Eleanor. I knew that one day I would learn enterlac, because something about it seemed so simple and elegant to me. Those words perfectly describe this stole, simple in it's construction and shape, and elegant in the yarn used to create it and the delicate fringing along both edges. Instead of Noro Silk Garden, I'm using Noro Silver Thaw. It's a lovely blend of the classic Noro wool and soft fuzzy Angora, and also has a touch of Nylon. This is my first time knitting with Angora and I must say that I am not disappointed. It's added a beautiful halo around the work, the drape is slightly better, and the hand is amazing. I can't get over how soft this yarn is, and it's Noro, before washing!

The colors are coming out a little more...."modern" than I'd expected. But I'm alright with that as I'm a modern gal! All in all, I can tell that this is going to be one of my favorite pieces. And, I foresee several Lady Eleanor's in my future! :)


A new photo of Glee

I promised I would post one when I had it, and here it is. Katie was kind enough to model Glee for me when she was at my house for New Year's Eve. The fit was perfect, and ultimately, the modifications I made to the design really worked well for her body type.
Just like the rest of us, Katie has certain things that she wishes were different about her body. She would kill for a fuller butt (I know, I know, try not to hate her, she really is a lovely person) and a more defined waist. Also, she is rather busty for such a small person which makes her feel disproportioned when she wears things that are too "flashy" on her top half. Because of these things, I made some mods to the design.
First, I decreased the depth of the plunging neckline because I didn't want it to pull against her chest and look like she was "busting out of it". This was a good choice because it fits better and it isn't revealing, so it can be worn to a number of places - including work. Because it wasn't as plunging, I left off the eye hooks, which I think works fine because the second modification drew more attention to the waist she so desperately wanted to highlight. I did some waist shaping to give the illusion of a more defined waist (just evenly decreased three stitches on both sides, and then evenly increased the same number on both sides) and then knit her a matching belt that was sort of "obi" style belt.
To knit the belt I cast on three stitches and knit an i-cord for about 20 inches. I then decreased into the front and back of the first and last stitch and then turned the work and did the increases again, which gave me seven stitches. I knit in garter stitch for about 1/4 inch and then I did a small eyelet hole in the center. I knit in garter for about the length of Katie's waist (which is hovering between 20 and 21 inches) and then mirrored the other end, and continued in i-cord. When both ends of the i-cord are inserted into the holes, the "belt" closes up and can be tied with the i-cords.
She loved this addition of the belt because it gave her the shape she was looking for. I may end up attaching "belt loops" to the sweater at some point, I wanted to see if she needed them, and I think she probably does.
Ultimately, I am really pleased with how the sweater came out. I think it's a perfect fit, and she loves it!


2007 Roundup

2007 was a productive year for me with 32 projects! That's an average of 2.67 projects a month, which isn't bad. I've learned a lot of new skills this year, as well as perfecting old ones. Overall, it was a good year of knitting. I'm looking forward to 2008!



I've always admired color work, but hadn't been drawn to it until just recently. Late last year, I looked at my knitting skills and decided that though I was pleased with them, there was room for improvement. I've never been one to be pleased with "good enough" I went in search of "better", and found it in several new techniques. The first (and arguably now my favorite) was enterlac. After that I tackled seaming, which has proven very helpful. Then I moved on to lace, and more lace, which was exciting and fun. Now, I present to you, Color Work.

Something about this pattern enticed me. The tiny "diamonds" look like fleur de lis to me, and I've always had a soft spot in my heart for that ever-present French icon. I liked that it was a relatively simple stranded pattern for me to cut my teeth on, and I knew that I had some yarn in my stash that would do the job justice (Dale of Norway, Baby Ull, leftover from this charming sweater for Grace).

The only thing I changed was the cast on. I know, I was supposed to be trying new things! But, one new thing at a time is best for me, so that I can master them before moving on (see the "good enough" comment above.) I did a standard long tail cast on and then a twisted 1x1 rib. Once I changed to the color work, I did several repeats with the colors reversed...which was very frustrating. My stitches were also inconsistent, and so, I ripped back to the ribbing and started over.

After the Holidays I dedicated more time to completing these, and I must say I'm very pleased with how the first one has turned out, and I'm looking forward to having the second one complete.


VJ's Sweater

Yarn: Bemidji Woolen Mills, Original Homespun
Needles: #6 Addi Turbos

This post has been a long time coming! A month after I learned to knit, I went to a sale at my yarn shop and picked out the yarn for a sweater for my amazing husband, VJ. It was the softest wool I'd
ever felt*, and it was in the most perfect shade of grey, which I knew he would love. A month or so later, I cast on for a raglan sweater, but didn't properly calculate the it was a tad too big. A few months after that, I found this pattern, and he approved whole-heartedly. After all, he'd requested a grey v-neck, and wanted it to be simple and timeless, and this fit the bill. I knit the back, and then set it aside in frustration because I realized that my inability to seam would mean that this sweater would never be perfect. My husband values perfection, in the tailoring of his clothes, his car, even our I just knew I was doomed. In a fit of frustration I cast on for another raglan, and was again irritated when it was ill-fitted. At this point the struggle began. I could challenge myself as a knitter and knit a garment that would require me to learn new things, practice patience, and purl (a semi-dirty word in my knitting vocabulary.) Or, I could just try to do the same old thing, with the same old results. It wasn't a difficult decision.

Seaming was a skill that I was never taught, which crippled me a bit as a knitter. So, I bucked up and sat down at my computer prepared for hours of frustration as I viewed photos of demonstrations looked easy. Nay, it was easy. What had I been afraid of all of these years? All of those patterns I'd passed up because there was seaming involved! What a waste. (Needless to say, my Ravelry queue grew once this discovery was made!)

I also used this sweater as an opportunity to practice purling. See my rows were always uneven, as I'm a very loose purler. The practice paid off, though you can see (or at least I can) where I lapsed here and there. I won't say that I love purling now, because that would be a lie. I still get that little pang of disappointment when I realize that I have to purl an entire row...but I've come to terms with it, and that is growth, in and of itself.

The knitted pieces came out well, and the initial seaming did too. I was happy with how easy it was, but was diligent in ripping back and
starting again when it wasn't perfect (remember the hope of perfection?) but when I came to attaching the sleeves, I was perplexed and frustrated. The sleeves themselves were larger than the holes into which I was supposed to put them. I hear that this is a common problem, which is really upsetting. You'd think that after years of making sweaters (hundreds, thousands of years even) that we would have perfected the math just a tad bit more. Oh well. I did some swift thinking, and solved the problem with some careful un seaming and re seaming of the sleeves to make them smaller. It worked, thankfully, and it fits him beautifully. (You'll have to take my word for that, since he doesn't like having his photo taken.)

All in all, this project is a roaring success...he loves it, and I'm pleased with the result as well as proud of my accomplishment and perseverance. Who could ask for anything more?

*until I touched Malabrigo. :)


But wait, there's more!

In addition to all of the beautiful yarn that I received as gifts, I also was blessed with knitting related books and a gift certificate to Webs. I asked for, and was given two of Elizabeth Zimmerman's knitting books; Knitting Without Tears and Knitters Almanac. I'm so excited to finally have my hands on these books, as I've wanted them since I was a fledgling knitter. After all, EZ is the queen of practical knitting (in my opinion, anyway) and I pretty much worship anyone who suggests knitting in the round whenever possible, as opposed to knitting flat and seaming. Additionally, she is a fascinating person, which makes the reading all the more enjoyable.
I saw a sweater on Ravelry last night that I adored, and it was EZ's "pattern"...which excites me to no end...because I can now knit it!
I was also given a $50 gift certificate to Webs, and I plan to use it to buy Noro Silver Thaw in order to make Lady Eleanor. I'm so excited at the prospect of more enterlac!