The sun is shining today and the promise of spring is back in the air after an ice storm Sunday night. I took the knitting projects outside to get some progress pictures for you so here goes. Yes, plural. You have seen the start of my Holbrook last week and I am on the 14th of 20 repeats of the body stitch chart, so well into it now.
It is a very memorable stitch pattern that I barely need the chart for at this point. This is the one that I am knitting. The three that follow are being knit by three of my daughters.
Now they are not “knitters” but they know how to knit and I am paying them for their help, so that explains my title, LOL! I was not sure how well this would go since none of them have ever knit lace, worked from a pattern or charts. We had a little lace knitting 101 on Saturday and I got them all started and have been helping when they make mistakes but I have to say I am very impressed with their efforts. Now I don’t want to hear any more from you ladies in my booth about how you can’t possibly knit lace or use charts. You really have no excuse if my 14, 19, and 22 year old daughters who only have basic knitting skills can do it. :-) Oh and I also must say here that Dee’s patterns are absolutely top notch! Very thorough and well written!
Okay so this is Catoctin which is being knit by Cassie, my 22 year old. (By the way I have these in my Ravelry projects because they don’t have accounts.) We are using my Classic Merino Superwash Sock yarn in the color Brilliant Blue. It has a lace pattern that is pretty straight forward on each side and a textured stitch in a field of stockinette for the center. It is probably the more complicated compared to Holbrook but she is doing well with it.
This one is Nadira which my 14 year old daughter is knitting. I think she got this one mainly because it is purple and she is the one who doesn’t hate purple, LOL! We are using my Classic Merino Lace in the color Amethyst for it. The top section has plainer squares and then they get lacier as the shawl grows. I really like that since it adds lots of interest in the knitting and the finished design. Dee also adds extensive guidance in the pattern for customizing this whole section of the shawl as far as laying out which stitch patterns you use. We are knitting it as written and shown in the sample.
I am very pleased with how neat and even her stitches are in the stockinette. Pretty good for an inexperienced knitter, huh?
Here we have Tristano in Classic Merino Superwash Sport yarn in the color Azalea. My 19 year old daughter is making this one. As you can see this one starts at the bottom with a long cast on of 333 stitches. It is slow going at first but she is almost done with the edge chart already. This is probably the “busiest” lace in the design as it gets progressively simpler towards the top. I think it looks great so far!
We have yarn picked out for two more deigns too, so whoever gets done with the above shawls first will get first pick from them. :-)
I promised a post to fill you in on the details of our new base yarn in my last post and that will be the topic of today’s entry. I have lots of lace knitting to show you next time but for now let’s look at the new Classic Merino Superwash DK. It is up on the website now. :-)
I really like this base very much. If you have knit with our Classic Merino Superwash Sport, and liked it then you will be happy with this yarn as well. It is basically a slightly thicker version of that yarn.
It has a 4ply construction with a balanced twist that is soft and springy. Of course it is 100% super soft superwash Merino wool, which is my favorite for dyeing and for wearing too. It takes the color so beautifully and feels great next to the skin. I found that it works up best for sweater gauge at 5-5.5 stitches per inch on size 6 US (4 mm) needles. For shawls and drapey items this is flexible because they won’t get the same kind of wear. I hesitate to recommend knitting merino wool yarns for use in sweaters that are knit in a looser gauge than the yarn is designed to be knit due to the fact that some pilling will result in friction areas. For some yarns it works alright to do that, like mercerized cottons for example, but soft wools and cashmere will pill if not knit to gauge. There may be some anyway, but not as much.
So I started a couple small projects in the new yarn to try and have some quick samples for the March shows. First I ran across Polartorte and it looked like a great one to start with. I can not wear hats but I am hopeful that I can have this one finished for the trip to Pittsburgh next week since this one may actually work on me and I am likely going to need a hat. :-)
I used the recommended 4 US needles for the brim and 7 US for the rest. I am making the M (17”) to fit a 22” head. Mine measures 21” but I decided to go up rather than down since I was between sizes. I am using the color Azalea.
I also cast on for pattern I am writing up for that cowl I did back in January. Remember it?
It is a very simple and interesting pattern to knit and I love to the cushy fabric it makes. You could alter the size to customize it. I like the larger circumferences too but this is a nice size for being close to the neck to give warmth without being too clingy. I don’t like turtlenecks for that reason. Mine measures about 24” in circumference and is about 8” deep.
I decided to cast one in in the new yarn in Saffron. I will knit it the same size I made the original and write up the pattern. I will probably be offering this one as a free pattern with the purchase of a skein of the yarn in my booth.
Okay I will close for today but I will be posting again very soon with a lace knitting update you won’t want to miss. ;-)
We have been super busy here getting all that dyeing done that I mentioned in my last post. Last week we had a window of warm weather right before a cold front came through on Thursday. So we had just 3 days to get almost 1200 skeins dyed and we just made it. Whew!
It got chilly after that but we managed to get it all dry, labeled and loaded in the trailer by Tuesday night, right before a second cold front came through. It is still pretty chilly today but warming back up slowly. I am so ready for spring this year, aren’t you?
A good deal of the yarn which we just finished is a new base which you have seen me talk about and knit with. Do you remember this shawl?
I spent some time yesterday taking and editing pictures of our new Classic Merino DK and will have it live on the website in a day or two. I will let you know when it’s ready and give you some more details then.
For now I want to share another new thing I am very excited about. I spent some time talking with a wonderful designer named Dee O’Keefe of Designs by Dee, last September at the Shenandoah Fiber Festival and we have been in touch over the winter working out an on going working relationship. She is a fabulous designer and I really admire her work. I am going to be selling her patterns both in my online shop and at shows beginning this spring.
I cast on a beautiful crescent shaped shawl, Holbrook and oh my is it good to be back to some lace knitting. I took a long hiatus from lace knitting because I needed a break but I am ready to get back to it now. This shawl is very fun so far. It starts with a technique that was new to me but not difficult to work, called a garter tab. I love the perfect finish it created for the edging. It is those center stiches you see at the top edge. Love it!
She recommends my Classic Merino Superwash Sock yarn which I agree is wonderful for the stitch definition and dramatic color, but I chose to try it in my Classic Merino Bamboo in Peaches and Cream. After I started I did wonder if I would stick with my choice, but I think the softer drape of the Merino Bamboo will be nice for spring so I am going for it. I found a Raveler who has done this shawl in my Sock yarn here. I think that I am going to barrel through because I can’t wait to see the finished project and may need another in Sock yarn for contrast. :-)
It is a very fun project so far and my favorite part is that there is neither a long cast on nor a long bind off at the end since it has a knitted on border. Oh and the stockinette on the sides makes for nice relaxing parts while the lace panel is easy to follow but not boring or tedious. :-)
Before I close this post I will show you what I finished between my last post and this one. My new around the house socks for cold mornings. I have not made many socks in thicker wool but I like these. They are too thick for wearing in shoes but they are dense and warm like slippers for wearing on cold wood floors. Perfect!
Okay I am having serious commitment issues with you blog. I think my problem is that I really tend turn into a hermit in winter anyway and now that has seeped over into my online life as well. It’s not you. it’s me. I have hardly posted on my Facebook, Twitter, anything. I have lots of stuff I need to add to my website and haven’t done that either. Gah! I need to just get my butt in gear.
Spring’s coming soon though, right? It has been one heck of a winter hasn’t it? We haven’t had all the snow most of the country has, thankfully, but it sure has been unusually gray and cold this year. Next week’s temperatures are expected to be warmer, in the sixties, but wet. That’s not much better but I will take it. I need to get yarn dyed for the spring shows and the weather is just not co-operating. We have an indoor space for some of the work, like mixing dyes, but the cooking and drying happens outside.
Here’s how we soak yarn before it goes in the pots.
This is the color mixing step which comes after I measure out all the dye powder for the primaries and mix that stock up. These are the indoor parts.
This is all the outdoor parts. Boy, look at that green grass. Sigh.
This is the rinsing and color check stage before we spin the skeins to rid them of as much water as we can to cut down on drying time. Ahhh, look at those gorgeous trees. I feel warmer already just looking at these.
Now this is the perfect cure for the winter blahs isn’t it? Look at all that sunshine and color!
I sat down to write today planning to show you a few things I knit and had no plans to start talking about dyeing. But as I started writing about it and digging up pictures I realize that it was the perfect thing to see on such a dreary day as it is. Funny how that happened. :-)
Oh, and I guess I will show you that knitting too, LOL!
First I made my fourth pair of Knucks recently in Rowan Felted Tweed DK. I love these and they are so fun to make.
That takes care of the need for warm hands now how about the other appendages?
On a whim last night, since I haven’t made socks in forever but wanted a quick project, I cast on for some “house socks” in leftover Cascade Eco wool left over from the baby sweaters last fall. I am using just basic sock recipe in Ann Budd’s Handy Book of Patterns on size 6 needles.
I am using the light oatmeal for the body of the socks and the gray for the heels and toes.
Okay that’s it for now and I am going to try and stay out of my shell now. :-)
I have been wearing quite a lot. I took this picture (sorry for the off color. Bad lighting) in the truck on one of the coldest days we have had in years. We were in need of groceries during the worst cold following the Polar Vortex last week. It was 2 degrees F that morning. Glad that is over.
It is a much warmer 50 this morning which is an immense improvement despite the gray drizzle. I once again have to make the trek out for victuals. Sigh. I really wish I didn’t dislike that chore so much since I have to do it so often it seems. I guess I can look on the bright side. It is a fine opportunity for listening to my current audio book. :-) I am towards the beginning of Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens which is quite good.
I have been on an extensive Stephen King binge lately which has been fun but it is good to get back to some classics for a change. What are you reading lately?
I know it’s been awhile since my last post and we have a lot of catching up to do. Hmm should I do it all in one post or a series?
Well let’s start with what’s new, shall we? First of all my grandson Gabriel was born at the beginning of November. He and his mother are temporarily living with us so we are watching him grow by leaps and bounds. He is now 2 months old. This one was taken when he was first born
and this one a week or so ago.
My second daughter came to Nashville and brought my granddaughters to see Gabriel and then again between Christmas and New Years Day. This is my fourth daughter Cassie holding Gabriel when he was a couple weeks old.
This is my mother-in-law holding my youngest granddaughter Sorrel.
This is Heather, the mother of the granddaughters, holding Gabriel.
This is my eldest granddaughter Willow playing with Elijah. They het on pretty well about half the time, LOL!
Sorrel again, just because this one was so cute.
More Willow and Elijah (before his haircut) :-)
Now on to Christmas and knitting? Here’s our tree..
And what I got from the children..
See the earrings? Those are my awesome Sassafras Creations from Heather. Love these!
A new coffee mug from Cassie and Joanie. I have been using it everyday. :-)
And how amazing is my new leather bowl with my most favorite band logo (Rush 2112) that Meredith made for me?!!!
Which brings me nicely around to new knitting. I have a few things going and one new thing finished to share. I got an idea to make myself a cowl yesterday and that is what you see here.
I grabbed a skein of Cascade 220 from my stash, picked out a stitch pattern that was cushy and fun and cast on about 24” worth of stitches. That is my progress from last night.
Well I had finished the first half and has begun the other. I had stored the completed half in my ottoman and a mouse got in the house and chewed up a few places on it. I was too discouraged for awhile to even continue with the knitting but around Christmas I took up my courage and took it out to see if I could salvage it. I neglected to get before and after pictures but suffice it to say I was able to make it work and decided to press on with the second half.
You may have noticed in my picture above of the earrings that I am wearing a green sweater. That is my completed Antler Cardigan. This has become my new go-to sweater. I really love it!
This was taken before I wet blocked it. The color is a bit off but notice the frumpy cables here…
compared to after blocking here? Ladies and gentlemen, always block your knitting. It makes all the difference. :-)
Okay that is all the catching up I have time for this morning since I have to take Alicia to the bus stop for work. I will be back soon with more news!
Just in time for the first really chilly weather of this season. Here are all three of them. The one on the left is the 3-6 month size for Sorrel, the middle one without the hood is the 3T-4T size for Willow, and the lightest color one on the far right is the 0-3 months size for my unborn grandson due in November.
I am pleased with how the hoodless one came out. I was concerned about the lack of neck shaping but went ahead with the pattern as written and I was happy to realize that the button band took care of bringing the front neck lower without the need for the short rows.
I recommend this pattern as being well written and as far as I can tell it is error free. It was fun to make and quick enough that it was not a chore to make three of the same thing in succession. :-) I think I am done now though. If Elijah needs a new sweater this year I may make him something different. Maybe one of these.
I think I am ready to start one for myself this weekend if I get any time to knit while we are at SAFF. I dyed the yarn for it in February of this year. I think it is well marinated by now and since it is getting chilly around here I have the “new sweater” bug.
Yes, it is green. Not surprised are you? LOL!
I am finished with the second Latte Baby Coat and have started the third one in the largest size. I am making this one without the hood since my daughter said that my granddaughter won’t wear a hood anyway. It is cute with the hood but I am hoping I will like the hoodless version too.
I debated with myself, yes I do that, about modifying the neck to do front neck shaping, using short rows to build up the back neck, but I ended up not doing that after all. I figure that maybe having the neck higher in the front will be a benefit to blocking drafts since it is an outer garment.
I like the way this Cascade Eco Wool washes up after it is knit. These sweaters are cushy and soft. I like the natural colors too. It’s a nice change.
I have been catching up on stuff around here since returning from Virginia last week, which is why I haven’t written an post in so long. I am feeling accomplished just by the fact that I finished the second sweater. I missed my goal to have these finished while I was in Virginia so I could give them to the girls and my new goal is to finish them before SAFF next week. Meredith will be driving from Asheville, at the close of the show, up to Maryland to help out with Heather’s move to Jacksonville the first of November. The plan is that she can take these along and deliver them. I know I can mail them but it is good to have deadlines to keep me in line with my goals, :-)
The Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival was great! It just gets better every year.
We have had a nice four days relaxing and working a little too. I have had orders to ship, emails to answer and patterns to print/restock. Today is our last “free” day. We are back to work tomorrow morning. We will pack and drive to Orange, VA in the morning. Then it’s over to Montpelier to set up the booth for the Fall Fiber Festival.
The weather forecast has changed about a half dozen times since I packed for this trip. It was calling for low to mid 70’s and mainly dry so I planned accordingly. Then after we got here it looked like this coming weekend would be chilly and wet. NOT GOOD at Montpelier, but we were prepared with boots just in case. What has actually come to pass though is low to mid 80’s here and it is going to be low 90’s at Montpelier. Yikes! But it’s better than wet in that big field so I guess we will take it. I am saving my lighter clothes for the weekend. Thankfully I did pack a few summer things. No sweaters will be needed though, that’s for sure.
Anyway we haven’t done too much while we have been in Winchester this time. We did drive over to Maryland on Tuesday to see my daughter, son-in-law, granddaughters, and my brother (Greg) who I haven’t seen in 3 years.
Heather was working on this adorable hat when we arrived and finished in time to give it to Elijah. I don’t think the expression is a reflection of his feelings about the hat. He liked it. :-) It was just too funny that this is the look Meredith captured though isn’t it?
Willow couldn’t find hers so she is wearing Sorrel’s.
A rare shot of me since I am notoriously un-photogenic, LOL
We went to Heather’s house first and while we were there it was a perfect opportunity to get some modeled shots of my design Sorrel on Willow (the older) and the dress’s namesake, baby Sorrel.
After hanging out there awhile we went to the Barnes & Noble in Ellicott City to meet up with my brother. Sorry I didn’t think to get a better picture of us but Meredith happened to catch us in the background of this cute one of Heather and Sorrel, LOL!
More shots from Barnes & Noble to follow:
A really cute one of Sorrel and Heather.
Playing with trains of course. :-)
and to finish up a sweet one of Joanie and Sorrel.
We had an uneventful drive yesterday. We went over to the fairgrounds and got the booth all set up this morning.
After a quick lunch we headed out to the grocery store to get food for the week. I am now sitting around doing a load of laundry so it seemed like as good a time as any to write a quick blog post on my phone while waiting for the machine.
I took some pictures with my phone before we left. So here goes.