Thursday, June 30, 2011

Uh oh



3-day weekend coming up. I may need some Evelyn.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Happy (hot) Day

A picture is worth a thousand words - in this case all of them good (even though it is 90+ degrees still).

Luckily M&Ms are famous for melting in your mouth; not in your hand! If you are at all worried, just pour directly into your mouth from the bag.

Inside this "Piecework".

Sunday, June 26, 2011


It is a bit unusual to see this much color in one project here. It hasn't been that long ago that I was talking about my problems with using lots of color.

However, I became quite intrigued by a new Grumperina pattern, Volna. So intrigued, that finding the Noro yarn, Kirameki, was a Top Priority at Stitches South this past April.

Talented-but-blogless Pat sent along the pattern but it turned out to be a bit much for my summertime brain. I quickly realized that, with all the short rows, it would be one of those patterns that required me to sit alone in my quiet room mumbling to myself, and while often that is actually how I like to spend time, it just wasn't going to work out with my schedule over this summer.

This yarn is a Heinz 57 of fiber blending (60% rayon, 25% nylon, 10% wool & 5% cashmere) and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed working with it even when I have it on slippery KnitPicks needles. So I searched about for a simpler pattern, one that might work with all the color busyness of this yarn, and finally landed on the free Knitty pattern, Wisp.

I still wasn't sure so the other evening I sprayed the end with water and pinned it out for a test block. I liked it enough to continue. Since I don't have to carry along or refer to a pattern, this makes a good portable summer project.

I did the buttonhole eyelets at the bottom but did not work any up the side. So far at least, I am enjoying the colorplay and I am even embracing the whole thick-and-thin aspect of this yarn. When a big fuzzy blob of unspun fiber appears I just think 'hum!' and knit along. I think it gives the piece character.

In a bit of synchronicity, I heard the podcast Fiber Beat mentioned twice this week. I had never listened to this podcast so I headed over to iTunes to give a try and just picked an older episode at random. Well I couldn't have picked a better episode to sample. I landed on Episode 15 - Chromaphilia which was a double-long episode with individual interviews with Brandon Mably and Kaffe Fassett, two big names in the fiber world and two designers who LOVE color. Great interviews. Such a treat to hear people so enthusiastic about their work. Enough to give even a BEIGE person like me the push to get more color into life.

I knit along on Wisp as I listened and enjoyed it so much that later I listened to another, this one an interview with Kathy Hattori of Earthues, a Seattle, WA company specializing in natural dyes for fiber and textiles. Great interviews and interesting topics. I can tell I am going to be knitting along to more. In fact, I can hardly wait to hear the one with Anna Zilboorg!

Friday, June 24, 2011

When will I ever learn?

The Brea Bag is finally finished. I wouldn't call it a success. This is not Norah's fault. Two things might help it a bit. A lining would certainly give it a bit more structure, but at this point I just cannot be bothered. Knitting it a bit tighter gauge might have helped, too.

To recap, I reused Red Heart Eco-Cotton Blend and size 6 bamboo needles, making this really a recycled bag since the yarn, made from remnants from t-shirt manufacturing, had already been knit and frogged from an earlier bag fail.

This took less than 2 balls. Since I originally bought 3 balls, I now still have a ball in search of a project. Not sure what it will become eventually but I do know that it will not have moss stitch! I flubbed and unknit and reknit that moss stitch gusset too many times. I never did figure out how to tell where I was even when I marked one side with a marker! Perhaps I should knit a dunce cap with that 3rd skein!

The shape and cable work is pure genius. Well naturally, it's Norah Gaughan!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

One-Skein-Project Bag

A couple of days ago, Dianne sent me a link to a really nice bag. (Wasn't that kind of her! A+ for enabling, Dianne!)

Naturally I kept thinking about that little bag. Dianne wished the blogger had given dimensions.

Knitting has not been very satisfying around the cul-de-sac lately. I'm blaming - can you guess? - the HEAT. Last night, instead of knitting, I pulled out some fabric scraps and cut some 2" squares. I didn't do it long and I didn't plan my fabric scrap choices very deliberately.

I had some scraps of Osnaburg and sort of had the idea of making another of these little baskets, but as I was piecing the squares together my thoughts kept returning to the bag Dianne liked. Who can't use another one-skein-project bag?

I couldn't be bothered to take step-by-step pictures, but I did make notes of the measurements and I took a couple of photos to show the handle placement since I did the handles a bit differently than Sandra did.

The patchwork top border is done exactly as Ayumi did for the basket and each one finishes out at 9-1/2" wide. I stitched my borders to two 9" x 9-1/2" blocks of Osnaburg. Stitch sides together and form the box corners the same way.

Cut two 12" x 9-1/2" rectangles of lining fabric (Osnaburg again for mine) and stitch the same except leave a 3" or so opening on one side for turning later.

I stitched the handle strips just as Ayumi shows using two Osnaburg strips and two lining fabric strips; 2"x 12" for the over-the-wrist handle and 2" x 7" for the closing loop.

I centered the longer wrist loop on one side; centered over the seam between two squares. On the other side, the curved loop fits exactly over the two center squares.

I'm really happy with the way it turned out even though you can't see in these photos that two squares of the same fabric wound up next to each other at one side seam. [I'm blaming the HEAT.]

I didn't use any interfacing but you could if you wanted it a bit sturdier. Mine stands about 9-1/2" tall, so a good bit taller than Sandra's. You could shave an inch or so off the measurements if you prefer a shorter bag. And, of course, you don't have to piece a top border. You could use plain fabric pieces. You know....if it is HOT and you can't be bothered.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Det er varmt.

According to Norwegian Lesson #5 - Phrases about the weather - this means "It is warm (hot)."

Well, det er varmt for sure still around here!

My just-started sock is coming along nicely, but in keeping with my can't-seem-to-stick-to-anything-very-long phase, I've returned for a bit to the Brea Bag. I was hoping that I was almost done with the Moss Stitch gusset, but you can see I've still got a bit to go.

I decided to start attaching it to one side in order to better judge how much more to do. I sure don't want to knit too much and have to frog back.

Friday, June 10, 2011

When it is this hot...

...pretend you are in Norway!

That's what I do.

Knitting seems to be in a mess around here just now. The green stole is further along, but parked for the time being. I did finish knitting the first hank. I do like it. Honest. I just don't particularly enjoying knitting on it. I'm afraid Dorothy Reade was WAY more fond of knitting through the back loop than I am.

The Brea Bag? The knitting is almost finished on that one. The fun front and back is all done, but I'm having a devil of a time keeping track on that Moss Stitch on the gusset. Should be simple, I know, but I can't tell you how many times I've flubbed up and had to tink back. Why hurry when being done with the knitting means I'll need to sew a lining and shop for a handle? Shop! I'm not a good shopper. Especially in this heat.

Sorry. Did I already mention it is HOT?

I decided what I needed was a sock. Small, portable, with enough of a pattern to keep me interested and motivated, but not so much that my poor, tired, HOT brain would explode.

So I pulled out some Norwegian yarn - Silja - that I've had for years. I actually bought this before I could knit socks but knew I wanted to knit them. Saturday, February 21, 2004 at 10:37 am. No my memory isn't that good, but I did keep the receipt. : )

I remember buying this yarn after repeatedly looking at and reading the pattern for a pair of anklets in "Homespun Handknit". Since that long ago Saturday, Interweave has released the "All New Homespun Handknit". Until writing this post, I thought the new book was just a re-release of the old one, but I see now that the new one has completely different patterns. Browsing through them on Ravelry, I think I like the old one better. But then I am a bit grumpy because it is so HOT.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Summer Mystery Shawlette

It is after 9 pm and over 80 degrees still. I hardly need a wool shawlette. When I took this grainy photo, the thermometer there behind me was reading about 94. Whew. Hopefully this fall and winter I'll get a chance to wear this. I love how it turned out.

I had such a FUN time with this project. Wendy's pattern - Summer Mystery Shawlette - besides being a JOY to knit, is a lovely design and reminds me of tulips. I expect I'll knit another sometime and I think I'll cast on the extra stitches next time and go for the larger size now that I know how lovely it is.

I used less than two skeins of Louet Gems Fingering in the discontinued color, Caribbean Blue and my size 6 KnitPicks Options needles.

Wendy, in the meantime, has already designed and finished a large circular Pi shawl. Goodness, she's fast! Her latest book, "Wendy Knits Lace" comes out in August and has 20 patterns.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Quick and Easy?

Hello. Is it HOT where you are? Sure is here. So ironic that my handwork of choice these days mostly involves working with wool.

I am caught up with knitting the clues of the Summer Mystery Shawlette and look forward to finishing it up when Wendy posts that final clue today. This has been a FUN and enjoyable project.

Tuesday I arrived home from work to see a little treat hanging on my doorknob. This signals that Kay has made a surprise visit. It seems in one of her rounds she ran upon some fabric that screamed my name.

When I first pulled it out, I only saw the skeleton. Since I don't generally sport skeleton themes, I was initially puzzled. But then I unfolded it, had a closer look, and burst into laughter. [Kay has a way of initiating this response. smile]

This is from a now-discontinued Michael Miller line. At this size, you can't read the title of the book dropped from the poor knitter's hand, but it is Quick and Easy Knitting Projects. I think we've all had a couple of those projects that make us wonder if we'll outlast them! There is also a dog chewing up knitting, a cat making free with a skein of yarn, and a sullen child dressed head to toe in handknits. Too, too funny.

Well of course I needed to make it into a bag and the sooner the better. I ended up using this free pattern which turned out to be super fast and requires only a tiny bit of handwork to sew up a few inches of the lining.

This pattern works best with non-directional prints and this was certainly not that so I cut and pieced my rectangle before beginning so that the designs would be correct on both sides. Because of this I also made mine just a tad smaller (15" x 38", I think) and it came out just fine. In fact, I'm not sure I'd like it much bigger.

As soon as I hit publish on this post, I'm plugging the fan in and pointing it right at the sewing machine and starting another.

Hope you have an engaging project you can do inside in the cool.

[oh, and if you do decide to make this yourself, you might watch the video demo which I found very helpful.]