Tuesday, December 16, 2008

HolidailiesPost #11: Speedy

I'm a pretty fast knitter. It helps that for basic knitting, things like straight knitting or a simple rib, I can do without looking at my fingers. I can knit while walking, watching tv, or talking to people - lets me be more efficient for sure. I also carry my knitting all over, so I can sneak in stitches here and there.

Yesterday I decided I needed a cowl, so I started one on the bus this morning. I'm 3/4 of the way done, and suspect I'll finish it on the bus ride into work tomorrow. Talk about instant gratification knitting! I'm not used to the huge needles (8mm) or the thicker yarn (2 strands of worsted held together) but it's a nice change. I usually knit with dk to worsted weight, on about 4mm needles. This goes SO much faster. I think I'll be looking for more heavy-gauge knitting projects in the future. Photos tomorrow, hopefully.....

Monday, December 15, 2008

Holidailies Post #10 : Brrrr!

I think I need to knit myself a cowl. It's cold out there, and apparently the cold weather and snow will be sticking around for a couple of weeks! We're just not used to weather like this around here. Thee are so many lovely cowl and neckwarmer patterns, but I just didn't see that I would need one, but now I do! I'm eyeing the Janie Cowl pattern, if I can find a bulky yarn in my stash, or make it work in worsted. I need something that I can pull up over my face and ears, that will stay there - maybe a ribbed top would work better? I could whip one up in a couple days......if my knitting to-do list weren't already a mile long.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Holidailies Post #9: Snow!

It's snowing outside! Really and truly snowing. They've been forcasting it for days, but I never believe it until I see it. Living in Canada, it seems strange that snow is such a big deal to me, but here on the west coast we rarely see the white stuff. A white Christmas is rare, so snow near christmas gets folks excited.

I am not a huge fan of snow. I don't like people driving in it, I hate feeling stuck at home, worrying about how to get places, and what we'll have to cancel. Since we rarely see snow here, no one knows how to deal with it, and driving can be dangerous. I'm worried about my neice's birthday tomorrow, up island over the mountain, grocery shopping in the morning, work on Monday.

But it sure is pretty, the white blanket over everything, christmas lights glittering through the blowing flakes still falling. For now, I'm just going to bundle up on the couch with my husband and my knitting, and deal with the worries tomorrow.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Holidailies Post #8: I want to Dye!

I just can't take it anymore - I want to DYE! hehe.

I bought up a whole bunch of easter egg dye tablets on sale after easter, and stored them away until I had the time and inclination to try them out. I've only ever tried Koolaid Dying in the past. I really like koolaid dying. It's fast and cheap, though the colour choices are a bit limited. It's hard to get nice rich shades of a lot of colours, especially blues and greens. Easter egg dye, from what I see, gives you nice vibrant colours. It requires the additional step of adding vinegar, but I think I can handle that.

I want to make Bike Helmet Earwarmers for my supervisor, and I think it would be fun to dye up some yarn for them. Magnus is out this evening, so I'm on my own anyways, the perfect time to dye. Watch for photos tomorrow!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Holidailies Post #7 : Finishing Work

I really don't enjoy finishing work in my knitting. I try to use seamless/one-piece knits so that all I have to do to "finish" a piece, is weave in a couple ends. (and I hate having to even do that much sometimes!) The bulk of my UFO stack at any given time is a number of items that are done, except for seaming up, weaving in ends, or adding buttons. Sometimes all three. I enjoy the knitting, I love watching a project take shape and move from rows of stitches into a pattern or shape, but the end details don't thrill me.

I think part of the problem is I'm not great at seaming, I've never taken the time to learn the proper techiques or practice. This means it's always a struggle, trying to figure out what will work best, look ok, and be strong and sturdy. I also worry that poor seaming will muck up a perfectly good knit.

I currently have 4 toddler mittens, all knit up and ready to seam. I sense a LONG evening ahead of me.....

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Holidailies Post #6: Winter 08 Knitty!

The new knitty magazine is up, an exciting time for any knitter. This magazine consistantly offers a large variety of patterns, in a variety of skill levels and styles - all for FREE! The photos are great, the instructions complete, and the magazine is popular so you can always find someone else knitting the same pattern you are interested in. The server is still pretty slow, what with 8-trillion knitters accessing the site, but I managed to get on to see the patterns.

I LOVE Amused, which is a top-down seamless pullover, with a deep neck and cabled detailing for the collar. It is a 3/4 length sleeve, I might want full length, and the long ribbed panel at the waist worries me a little. It could either be slimming, or cling too much. Some speedy knitters will no doubt finish it before I have a chance to start, and hopefully I can get a better idea of how this looks knit up in a size L.

I had pretty much decided to knit the Cable-Down Raglan, and even purchased enough Cascade Superwash to knit it up. But I'm seriously considering using that yarn to knit up Amused. I feel like it might be a better choice for my personal style and body shape. The cables in the raglan appealed to me, but I'm not sure they'd look good on my not-so-tiny self.

I like the Fish Hat and may knit that for my son at some point. Amelia is really pretty, though I'm not sure I'd knit that one. There will be a pair of Fargyles socks in my future. How can I not knit such a fun pattern, written for DK weight yarn - speedy socks!

Both Poinsettia and Maja caught my eye as beautiful things I'd love to knit, but I just wouldn't wear them myself. Perhaps one or the other would be a good item to donate to the tea festival fundraiser this winter? What do you think - would folks bid on either of these?

I can't wait to get my knitting "to-do list" cleared off so I can tackle some of these new patterns!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Holidailies Post #5: Wishlists

Online chatter turns to holiday wishlists this time of year. Message boards post "What do you want Santa to bring you?" topics, websites set up wishlist options, and we're all expected to have a list of our desired gifts. I'm struggling to make one up. The truth is, there really isn't much I need. I don't covet fancy expensive items I can only rationalize as christmas gifts, I don't want for the latest and greatest gadgets, and I do almost all of my reading thanks to our great library system. Not that I am totally non-materialistic, I do like "stuff" and buy myself "things" from time to time. I am already so busy making use of what I do have, and living my life, I can't imagine where I'd fit more things.

That said, I love surprises, and little gifties, so I hope my family can come up with an idea or two for me ;)

Monday, December 08, 2008

Holidailies Post #4: Never Enough Time

Most people complain that there isn't enough time in a day. If there were a way to find more time, make more time, or just cut down on those pesky time-sucks like sleeping, showering, and working our day jobs, we'd have more time for the important things in life. Things like knitting.

I already make pretty good knitting use of my time, carrying a project with me nearly everywhere. It's rare I miss an opportunity to crank out a few stitches, if I find myself with spare time. I knit to and from work on the bus, whenever I'm a passenger in a car, in front of the tv, and even in casual meetings. (I just came home from our field hockey AGM where I happily stitched away on a hat. Last year they made fun of me, this year I just got a few smiles) I actually even bring my knitting to movies and concerts - what else am I going to do while sitting in my seat waiting for the show? Knitting is still thought of as a kind of geeky, old fashioned activity by some, I figure doing it at a NIN concert is doing my part to dispel that image! HAH!

If only I could learn how to type and knit, I'd be laughing. Hmmmm....I have heard mention of voice recognition software

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Holidailies Post #3:

Well, yet another of my commissioned hats didn't turn out quite right. My "18-24 month hat fits my GIANT melon-head 2.5yr old son, and not snugly. Yeah, I probably should have measured it sooner, it's too late to fix without ripping the whole thing out now. so I'm going to finish it up big, and hope they don't mind having a bigger hat on hand. They were clear they didn't want more of the smaller (birth-18month) range of sizes. The colours are pretty, and it's a nice enough hat, just big.

I'm having some muscle issues that give me a lot of leg pain lately. My running has been curtailed by this, obviously. I'm missing the runs (did I honestly just type that?!?) but I don't want to get badly hurt. The massage therapist says it's "congestion" and I need rest and elevation. Thankfully I can knit with my feet up on the couch!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Holidailies Post #2 : Avoidance

I'm a little overwhelmed with Christmas stuff right now. There are a lot of things left to do, things to finish, and things to get started. The worst part is probably that I don't really know how much I have on my plate. In order to decrease my stress, I've been trying to worry less. This is a good thing, and I am feeling less worries. However, there is a subtle feeling of impending doom, when everything catches up with me. I'm not writing a list of everything I need to do, because the idea of that list freaks me out a bit. Somehow, by not writing up the list (literally, or just in my head) I can pretend it's all manageable, and going to work out. I have a good imagination.

My knitting alone is a little out of hand.
- I'm behind on my comissioned hats, due to some various issues (mis-sized hats, running out of yarn, creative blocks, etc)
- I have about 4 of 10 washcloths knit for the daycare staff christmas gifts, and no idea what type of soap item to package them with
- Magnus' knit item is not nearly finished (though with his January birthday I may just pretend I intended it for then - hah!)
- I need to pick out a christmas knitting gift for our knit group's gift exchange - and plan a potluck item to bring for that night.
- the booties for my young neice are looking less and less likely
- my other 2 neices may not get matching knit hats as I'd hoped
- I was hoping to knit something for each of my kids for christmas - haven't even decided on a pattern yet.
....and somehow I keep getting distracted by patterns for even MORE things I want to knit.

I'm going to get off the computer and back to the yarn now.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Holidailies Day 1

I've gotten a pretty neat knitting opportunities lately, that I mentioned breifly in another post. Through a connection in my knitting group I've been asked to knit baby and children's hats for a local shop! I feel really good that my work is thought that highly of, and that I have been given total creative freedom in designing the hats, as well as some mittens. Total creative freedom is stressing me out a bit, as I want to make sure they are GOOD, so I'm working extra hard to make really nice items. They're providing the yarn, and paying me up front for each item, which is really nice.

I mentioned this endeavor at work and my supervisor immediately requested I knit a hat for a friend of hers who was becomming a grandparent. I had some leftover Cascade Sierra, a lovely cotton/wool blend, so I knit something up. She was pleased, and paid me $20 for it happily! I have a second savings account I wasn't using, so knitting-earned monies are going directly in there to fund guilt-free knitting shopping! I'm pretty pleased with how the hat turned out:

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

I'm considering joining the Holidailies Project where you attempt to post daily from December 5th through January 6th. I will be knitting pretty much every day up until Christmas, to get everything done, so there will be material, and maybe even photos to post. Though, how many washcloth and baby hat photos do you want to see?

I'd really like to post more, and maybe this will get me going again....

Friday, November 21, 2008

Noro Taiyo

Noro Taiyo
Originally uploaded by wendymc
This is some LOVELY yarn I picked up in Hawaii last month. Yes, I was on a trip to Hawaii and was seeking out yarn shops - such is the drive of a knitter! They didn't have much in either shop I checked out, no surprise that knitting isn't as big in a warm-weather place like that - but I did come accross this gorgeous skein, and a hiyahiya 9inch circular. I haven't tried the 9inch circ yet, but I'm eager to see how it is.

I've been knitting plenty. I'm working on a fair isle had for my husband for christmas (or his birthday 2 weeks later if I'm slow) that is taking a long time. My floats are a little tight so I hope the hat fits! I also just got a gig knitting hats for a shop, and I am REALLY excited about that. My boss at Camosun heard about that and comissioned me to make a hat for a coworker who just got a grandson. It's exciting to knit for pay, very validating of my skills!

I'm also trying to crank out dishcloths. I want to knit one for each of the staff at the daycare, about 12, and maybe a couple for my brother and sister as housewarming gifts, both are moving in December.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Another dry spell of posts, that does NOT indicate a knitting dry spell. In fact, I have a number of FO's to share.

I knit this Kimono Top in Bernat Soy yarn. The pattern is intended to come out smaller, and I just knit with larger needles and yarn and it came out around 18month-24month size. It is a super easy pattern, and I'm pretty sure I'll knit more. I gifted it to a friend for her small 2 year old's birthday and it was a hit with the girl and her mom.

This Bainbridge Scarf was a neat project. Basically you knit a short tube, then knit little ties to go at each side. When you wear it, the ties meet up and give you a little tail hanging down, and a lovely, sharp looking scarf! I knit this in Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy. I think it would be nice in something cozier, too, so I may knit this one again.

Just in time, I finished this Totally Autumn Afghan for a friend's wedding. I actually unpinned it from it's blocking space, wrapped it, and headed for the wedding, it was that close. It came out a little smaller than I'd hoped, even adding 2 pattern repeats. I blocked it BIG TIME, and it grew by more than a foot both ways, so I was satisfied. I used Cascade Eco for this, for the price and fibre, since I wanted wool. I have overlooked that yarn before, it feels scratchy on the skein. Once I started knitting it, it softened right up. It's a great choice for afghans and the like, and so affordable.

I'm working on a coupling things right now. Nearly finished a Telemark Sweater, for no baby in particular, halfway through a Broad Street Mitten for my coach (I do plan to knit her a pair!) and considering a slew of washcloths for travel knitting as my family heads to Vancouver this weekend. I'm hoping to get to 3 Bags Full while I'm over there for some shopping. Not that I need more yarn......maybe I'll just look?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Knitting Olympics - day 4

Originally uploaded by wendymc
I never think to update this blog, even though I'm knitting all the time! Right now I'm dedicated to my knitting olympics project Totally Autumn from knitty. It's a cozy, chunky-weight lace throw. I'm knitting it up in Cascade Eco+, one of the few affordable, but still NICE options available. I'm done 50 rows now (the photo was from last night) and am falling a bit behind. I need to be done something like 64 rows this evening to be on track, and that's just not going to happen. If I'm lucky I'll manage 2 or 3 rows on the bus ride home, and that will be it for the day. But I'm going to keep at it! This is a gift for a wedding that isn't until the END of August, so I have a few extra days even if I miss the olympic finish.

My Aleita tank is on hold while I knit this, and there are countless other things adding to my queue each week. I need more knitting time!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Apple Cozies

Apple Cozies
Originally uploaded by wendymc
My most recent finished objects were a set of 10 Apple Cozies (only 9 pictured, one was gifted early) for the staff at my children's daycare. I like to gift them with something special and unique, since they do such a good job taking care of our kids. These are a great stashbuster, I think they use around 30yards of DK weight yarn each! I knit them in cotton, soy, acrylic, corn and wool, and all came out pretty nicely. I thought I was sick of them, but I think I'm going to make one more for a friend - she shares my birthday on the 16th of this month, so I'm pressed for time.

I'm getting less knitting time in now that it's summer. I'm off twice a week with the kids, and trying to bike more, and my prime knitting time is on the bus to and from work. Still, I'm getting some things done. I'm working on a top for my brand new neice, nearing the end of my Aleita tank, and have my eye on some larger projects for myself. I just need more time!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I'm gaining some confidence in my knitting. Strange pattern directions don't scare me as much anymore, and I'm willing to play with what needles I have on hand a little more, adjusting mentally for gauge on simple projects. But the other day I impressed myself. I'm working on the Aleita Tank from Interweave Spring 2008 and noticed a split stitch. It would have bothered me, and probably been a physical weak point in the garment, so it had to be fixed. So I dropped a stitch down *33* rows to knit it back up properly. It looked fantastic when I was done, you couldn't even see where I'd done it. And this was on the bus in poor light - go me!

Feeling bold, I'm now considering a speed knitting project for Mother's Day. There is a lovely DK weight sock pattern called "Rainy Day Socks" I'm thinking about knitting. I have some Berocco Comfort in my stash - 100% acrylic but really soft and nice knit up. I'd started a mini vestee in it, but it's not really working out, so I'm considering ripping and starting again anyways.....11 days, can I do it?

Friday, April 11, 2008

I have been knitting!

Aleita Tank
Originally uploaded by wendymc
Have I EVER been knitting! I hae got a bunch of projects on the needles, plus I whipped up a few quick things as well. My sister got a cotton water bottle holder (which she liked, very much), 2 newborn hats were sent off with my knitting group's charity bundle for the hospital, and a knit dishcloth was completed to give my coworker as a housewarming gift. I love small projects for the quick satisfaction!

On the needles now is a nearly finished baby cardigan in Cascade Sierra. I realy like this yarn, it feels like really nice soft cotton, but is less stiff due to the wool content. I'm interested to see how it handles wear and laundering. The pattern is nice, I might make another as this one only took one skein of the main colour, and a little bit of two accent colours - I have more than enough to make a second one.

I'm also making progress on the Aleita Tank from Interweave Knits. This project is for me and is knit in Knitpicks Cotlin. Another great cotton blend, it feels like it will be great for summer. I'm a little concerned about the flaring of the ribbed hem, but I'm going to trust it will be ok.

I've got a cabled baby hat with earflaps (Zoe Mellor design) knit up but needing the edge knit on, and lots of projects in mind. I've been swapping on a Karma board on Ravelry, so I've got some lovely new yarns to play with. (cotton cabled worsted weight, some cotton blends, Bernat Soy, and a 100% soy in veregated that looks interesting)

I have more than enough yarn in my stash, but I'm also planning a shopping trip in Seattle next weekend. The trip is actually an early anniversary weekend with my husband (10 years this summer!!) but we've factored in a little retail time. He'll be checking out a couple gaming stores, and I'm meeting a friend in The Fibre Gallery for yarn :)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I'm totally overwhelmed, but in the best possible way. I have SO much new yarn, and SO many project on the needles and in mind, I just don't know what to work on! It's like an all you can knit buffet in my house right now! I got my knitpicks Cotlin for the Aleita Shell, plus some green Swish Superwash for a baby sweater. I purchased a bit of Cascade Sierra from a friend to make up a CUTE baby sweater I'm dying to work on as well. My trip up island on the weekend meant a couple yarn purchases, of course, and those are itching to be knit. Babies are due all over the place this spring and summer so I need to keep knitting gift stuff, and I have a few "nearly done" projects on the needles as well!

Thankfully I have about an hour of knitting time each day on the bus, and then some time in the evenings to knit in front of the TV. Still, there just aren't enough hours in the day, it seems.....

Friday, March 14, 2008

I've been knitting a LOT lately. Good thing, because I keep buying more yarn. I have to at least pretend I'm going to be able to knit it all up in to something!

I am nearly finished Argen's Gansey sweater, and I'm really happy with how it's turning out. It's exactly what I wanted to make for him, and the colour is fantastic for him. Photos when it's completed. (I only have the collar to knit on, so it shouldn't be long) I'm working on some baby knits, I know of lots of babies on the way soon. I've got a seamless baby kimino needing buttons, a baby hat I just finished, and a mini vestee I'm planning on starting today.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

My knitting hasn't been going well lately. I'm working on the sleeves for Argen's Gansey right now.....first attempt at the sleeves had me following the pattern but determining that made them WAY too narrow for his hands and arms, once I was 2/3 done. *RIP* Second attempt had me knit to about the 2/3 mark again before I determined a serious needle size error. How Serious you ask? The pattern calls for a 4mm for the cuff, and a 5mm for the main part of the sleeve. I used a 3.75 ALL THE WAY UP!. *RIP* I'm about half way up the sleeves this time, hopefully for the last time. In a funny twist, I am knitting both sleeves together, to ensure they are the same size and gauge, and I don't get too bored to do #2, so my errors were doubled each time - hah!

My second issue was with the Aleita Shell from Interweave knits Spring 2008 that I'm making for myself. I picked up the magazine, happily picked out an alternate yarn of Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy and cast on. The reccomended needle gave me a huge, holey fabric. A needle several sizes down looked nice, but gave a way-too-small gauge. I am not willing to do the math and mess with the pattern, so I have to find something else.

In happier news, I have received some knitting gifts lately. A knitter at our weekly group is moving and brought a bag off cast off acrylic and cotton yarns she doesn't want to pack with her. I picked up a fantastically bright lime green cotton for dishcloths, plus 2 smaller amounts in more moderate colours, and a big skein of thick and thin fun yarn for my daughter to use on her loom. And today I got to work to find 2 pairs of knitting needles on my desk - my coworker was cleaning out her place and came accross them.

Tonight Teagan and I are heading over to visit our neighbour. She's on bedrest following an operation and is bored out of her mind. I'm going to try and teach her to knit, and Teagan's bringing her loom to "knit" with us. Should be fun!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

My Haul from the Yarn Shop

My Haul from the Yarn Shop
Originally uploaded by wendymc
Ever since the preview for the Spring 2008 Interweave Knits came out, I've been awaiting it's arrival on the news stands. It's full of cute spring cardigans, a lovely child's dress, and a fitted shell that would make a great tank on it's own. Finally it was in yesterday, and I was home sick from work.....so I bundled up and ventured out. An artist must suffer for her craft, after all!

I picked up the magazine, at the local yarn shop where I knew they'd have copies, and other things began calling to me from the shelves. I knew I would be knitting the Aleita Shell for myself, so I had better scope out yarn options. I found some Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy that came in a beautiful wine colour, and seemed close enough to the reccomended yarn to do the trick. Then I remembered I had a 20% off coupon in my purse, from filling a customer loyalty card. WELL, I couldn't leave with just that one yarn purchase.....into my basket lept the Cascade Sierra I'd been dying to try, and some soft Basics Stop in bright springy colours that should make a great striped baby sweater. I left before more yarn found it's way into my basket, and I'm pretty pleased with my purchases.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I'm finding plenty of time for my knitting. I bike to work some of the time, but at least 3 days a week I take the bus, which is a total of 40+ minutes of knitting time. Throw in the odd evening or lunch hour knitting session, weekly knitting group, and you can see I'm knitting a LOT! It's great!

I knit up a Toasty Topper for my son, but it's a little on the small side. I used Cascade 220 held doubled, and had to go up a needle size to make it knit easily. I think I could have gone up one more needle size, and gotten a nicer fabric and that little extra room I needed for my toddler's large head:

One of the gals in my knitting group is expecting a baby in a week or two, so a surprise shower was arranged for her. I couldn't attend, but I whipped up a little hat for her, using a Pointy Ribbed Baby Hat and some pretty yarn I got at the Xmas exchange. I forgot a button and was pressed for time, so I whipped up a bobble and it worked just fine. Added bonus, no button for the baby to try and eat! This photo is from before I got the strap on:

I finished up Stulpen Fingerless Mitts for my mom's birthday last week. I'm not sure she was that pleased with them, but I know she appreciates the effort. You can't see in this crummy, rushed photo, but there is a beautiful cable on the back of the hand, where the ribs all weave in and out of each other:

Next on the needles? I really want to knit the Bainbridge Scarf as it looks fast and easy, and is a nifty pattern idea. I'm hoping I have some pretty, slightly luxurious yarn in my stash to use. I think it would make a good gift for my mother in law, who has a birthday in a week. (she's out of town for a couple weeks, though, so I have some time)

I'm also working on a Norweigan Baby hat for some folks I hear just had another little boy. (I used to play lacrosse with the parents)