Monday, December 30, 2013

Twisted Rib Pullover - One Sleeve Done

I was happily knitting away on the body of my pullover when I started worrying about yarn usage.  I was working with the third ball of yarn, out of six total and it seemed to me that I had a lot of knitting left.  I hadn't even gotten to the armholes yet and I had two sleeves yet to go, so I decided to take a break from the body and work the sleeves hoping that each sleeve would take less than a ball of yarn.  Yesterday I finished up the first sleeve, and it did take a bit less than one ball.  Now I'll work the second sleeve so I can finish working the body without worrying too much.
I went up a needle size on the sleeve because I always knit a little tighter when I'm knitting on small circular needles.  I switched back to size 3 needles when I got to the armhole shaping.

Pattern:  Design 1835 from Moments No. 005
Yarn:  SMC Select Extra Soft Merino Fino
Needles:  US 3 (3.25 mm), US 4 (3.5 mm)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Crimson Lake - One Sleeve Done

There is one disadvantage in knitting sleeves in the round - blocking them.  Usually I block them flat, but I decided to try an experiment with this sleeve and block it around two rolls of paper towels, safely encased in plastic bags.  It certainly opens up the lace, hopefully not too much.  Of course, if this doesn't work out I can always re-block the sleeve flat.

I don't know why the first sleeve always takes me so long to complete.  I finished the body on November 29.  The same thing happened on Goldenrod, although I think it only took me two weeks to finish the first sleeve, instead of nearer a month.  I finally got to the upper sleeve shaping last night.  I took most of yesterday off from working on projects around the house, resuming today with cataloging my stash in Ravelry.  I had it all cataloged, but somehow it keeps growing and had started spreading around the house in clusters of yarny goodness.  Almost all of it is boxed up now in plastic boxes, safe from evil bugs, there are just a few stragglers that I will probably take care of tomorrow.

Pattern:  Ladies Sweater - 1838 from Moments No. 005
Yarn:  SMC Select Extra Soft Merino Fino
Needles:  US 2.5 (3.0 mm) and US 3 (3.25 mm)

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

You might have thought that staying home with the cats while my husband and his daughter went south to visit his Mom I would be spending every waking moment knitting and watching Turner Classic Movies.  But you would be wrong.  Oh, there has been knitting, and watching of movies on TCM, but mostly I have been doing projects around the house.  I started this past Sunday.

After getting Bruce and Amy off, and then having to run down the road to a gas station to bring him his brief case which had his Kindle and his puzzle magazine in it, I stopped by work to send off a couple of emails that I didn't get to on Friday, and still forgot to set my out of office.  I realized that as I was driving away and just didn't feel like turning around.  I wanted to get home and start on the projects that I had been planning.  First up - rearranging the living room.  It was cluttery and had become hard to clean.

The first project was creating this shelf for books and DVDs.
Previously it had been on the opposite wall and was just made up of the book boxes that form the vertical supporting structure.  Many years ago my Dad and I had converted almost all of my book shelves into book boxes, and then made a bunch more.  The ones in this photo are made from 1 x 10 boards in two sizes, 12 inch cubes and 18 by 12 inch boxes.  They are backed with half inch plywood so they form their own book crates when I move, which I did a lot of in my younger days.  I have lightweight tops that I tacked on.  When I first built them I stacked them like bricks in towers two boxes wide and six boxes high.  These sat on deeper boxes made from 1 x 12 boards, two boxes high.  I had expanded them so that they rested on the edges of the box, instead of closed up, which gave me more book shelf space, but for this project I decided to really open them up.

The daybed that I use for a couch used to sit on this wall.  The blanket draped over the chair is for Jasmine.  She likes to curl up in that chair and when she does I pull the blanket down to close in the front making a tent for her.  The small chaise in the background I picked up at an antiques store in Philadelphia when I was living there.  Bruce's cat Pouncer used to sleep there, but since Pouncer has passed I sit there while beading, using a small folding table for my work space.

I spent all Sunday shifting furniture and on Monday I headed into town early, and picked up the boards.  I splurged and bought some nice clear pine boards - five 6' boards and four 4' boards (actually two 8' boards that I had cut in half) and picked up some natural stain.  By Monday afternoon the boards were stained - I worked in the garage, which had plenty of room with one car gone - and Monday evening I put everything together.  I only did a single coat of stain.  I didn't bother with any varnish or polyurethane finish.  I used to, but book shelves see such light use I have found that they don't really need it, and it is a lot of work.

The book boxes used to be on this wall.  That's the kitchen in the background - how I would love to redo it...
The boxes on the shelves to the right hold most of my extensive CD collection.  Those shelves used to be rotated 90 degrees to the right, sticking out from the wall, and my "table" loom used to live between them.  But that was cramped, and I couldn't watch TV while I wove, and I sure as heck couldn't get a vacuum cleaner in there to get up all the cat fur from Jasmine.  I was growing a whole 'nother cat under there.  So now the loom lives where the book shelf on the left used to live.
The light in the corner is to give me enough light for warping, and I have a piano stool coming to sit on while warping.  That is Firefly playing on the TV.  I've been running a Firefly marathon, which doesn't take long, given that there were only 14 episodes.  Such a great show.  Joss really has a way with characters and dialog.  The room isn't quite finished, I'm waiting for a smaller coffee table to put in front of my daybed.  Once I get that I can finalize the room arrangement.  Poor Fred was horribly confused by all the commotion of rearranging furniture and I don't think he has fully adjusted yet.  I also took away his step (a cardboard shoe box) for getting up on the daybed and replaced it with a small wooden box, but he hasn't figured that out yet.  On the plus side, he has taken to jumping up on to the daybed, which is a first for him, so maybe he is finally getting his strength back.

The next project was putting together a jewelry cabinet.  I purchased a Best Craft Organizer cabinet when they were on sale and it arrived last week.  I have purchased several of these for my bead stash.
I had already bought the earring organizers.  I lined the drawers with craft felt.  The JoAnn web site called the color gold, but in person it more closely resembles hazard yellow.
I may have to get a second cabinet for the other corner.  I waited until last night to put it all together because I wanted to vacuum the spot I was going to put it with my new Dyson vacuum cleaner.  I've been wanting one ever since I first saw them and seeing as how we recently gave our old vacuum to Amy I needed a new one.  Last week I picked up a factory refurbished one on Amazon for half the price of a new one.  It came yesterday, although the tracking web site indicated that it was delivered today.  I must be caught in some kind of time warp.

While I was writing this a squirrel came up on our deck to snag a piece of celery.  We had some that was going bad so I threw it out on the deck for any interested parties.  Sunday night a possum came up on the deck and right up to the sliding glass door and looked in before snuffling up some cranberries that I had tossed out there because they too had started to go bad.

Merry Christmas.  I know that it is not politically correct to say that anymore, because it might offend someone, seeing as how it has the word Christ in it, but seriously folks, get over it.  The holiday existed long before Christianity did under a variety of names.  It is a natural celebration of longer days after the long dark night of the Solstice.  It is a celebration of the coming spring and the rebirth that spring represents, just as winter represents death.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Mayan Garden Cape - Chart 1 Done

You may recall that I had Kelly of The Unique Sheep dye up this custom colorway for me so that I could knit Kitman Figueroa's Mayan Garden semi-circular shawl as a cape.  Yesterday I cast on and today I finished the first of 15 charts.
I started out with a long garter stitch tab, knitting a long enough strip so that I could pick up 62 stitches along its length.  This gave me 68 stitches total with the 3 stitches on each end so that I could start with row 8 of the pattern.  When I got to row 25 I counted my stitches and realized that I was 4 short of the 135 stitches that I needed to do 16 repeats of the first chart.  On row 25 I did yarn overs after and before the 3 edge stitches, and on row 26 I knit into the front and purled into the back of the yarn over.  I was then ready to start with Chart 1.  The pattern is definitely for advanced knitters, with lace patterning on both right and wrong side rows.  The charts are beautiful, with wrong side rows shaded.  There is one complication with them - plain squares are purl stitches on the right side and knit stitches on the wrong side, while knit stitches are denoted by a vertical line in the box, so I had to retrain my brain a bit when I first got started.  Once again I am using my Knit Companion app on my iPad, which I find just invaluable when using charts.  There are optional bead placements indicated in the pattern and I happened to have some dark green silver lined beads in my stash that remind me of Emeralds.  You can see them glinting in the photo.  As I don't usually use stitch markers, I found them very useful for helping me keep track of where I was in the pattern.

Pattern:  Mayan Garden by Kitman Figueroa, modified to be a cape
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Luxe in custom colorway Mayan Garden
Needles:  US 4 (3.5 mm), US 5 (3.75 mm), US 6 (4 mm)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tea Rose Shawlette - Finished!

I spent most of Saturday knitting the edging and finished up the last couple of repeats Sunday morning. I will confess that I did not understand the directions for the knit on edging. The chart indicates that you start on a right side row, but when I tried to follow the directions it looked like I would be starting on a wrong side row. In the end I knit an extra right side row with yarn overs as established, but no patterning. I then turned the work so the wrong side was facing and cast on my 13 stitches. I knit that first row and k2togtbl with the first live stitch from the body. I then turned the work so that the right side was facing and started with row 1 of chart F.

I was also unable to figure out the directions for working the edging at the central spine. Thanks to my extra row I had extra yarn over stitches before and after the central spine stitch. On the 18th repeat of the edging chart I joined the last stitches of rows 2, 8 and 16 to those three stitches, and did not join any of the other even rows to the body.

When I got to the end I again had one extra stitch after finishing the 35th repeat of the edging. I did row 1 of the chart and then bound off all stitches, doing a k2togtbl on the last stitch of the edge to the last stitch of the body.

Blocking was a little bit of a challenge because of the edging.  I didn't want points, I wanted round flowers.
I used pins on this one, no blocking wires and used two pins on each of the flowers on the edging to open it up without distorting it.  That is the body of my Crimson Lake under the shawl in the first picture, waiting for sleeves.  After finishing this shawlette I went back to work on the first sleeve and will probably try to finish up both sleeves and and get the pullover completed before I cast on another lace project.

Pattern:  Tea Rose Shawlette by Julia Temiseva
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Luxe in Tea Rose
Needle:  US 5 (3.75 mm)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Twisted Rib Pullover

I started this pullover on November 23, knowing that I would soon be finishing up the body of the Crimson Lake pullover and would be needing some more simple knitting.  I didn't get to the simple part until yesterday having been distracted by the Tea Rose Shawlette.  What can I say, Unique Sheep Yarns are to me as squirrels are to dogs.  I pulled this out yesterday because I was home from work with a migraine.  Now lest you think I was lying in a dark room in agony, my migraines have thankfully gotten a lot less severe and less frequent over the years.  This one manifested itself as some pain behind my right eye, a slightly upset tummy and a very fuzzy brain.  So fuzzy that I did not trust myself to operate heavy machinery (as in driving a car to work) or knit lace.

When I picked this up yesterday I had one more row of the twisted rib to work - the pattern calls for cabling, but I could not face the prospect of that so I just did a twisted stitch - knit two together, then knit into the first stitch again before dropping both stitches off the left needle.  When I got to the first knitted row I had to count stitches to place my side markers and had trouble doing even that simple task.  Fuzzy brain, remember?  But once the stitch markers were in place I was all set for some soothing mindless knitting.

The pattern is another one from SMC Select Moments No. 005, worked in SMC Select Extra Soft Merino Fino.  This pullover features the twisted/cabled rib around the body and the 3/4 length set-in sleeves and adeep collar that features lovely cables.  It is design number 1835.  I do wish they would come up with more imaginative names for their patterns.  I modified it to knit in the round, which is something I always try to do.  I love the endless rows of stockinette stitch going round and round and round.  No flipping the work around, no purl stitches, just continuous knitting.  Meditative bliss.

Pattern:  Design 1835 from Moments No. 005
Yarn:  SMC Select Extra Soft Merino Fino
Needles:  US 3 (3.25 mm)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tea Rose Shawlette - Chart E Done

And am I glad to be done with Chart E.  I was starting to get tired of Daisy Stitch, although it is a pretty stitch from a texture perspective.  Now on to the Never Ending Border, also known as Chart F.  I had to use the flash to get this picture, but the color isn't too off.  The ones that I snapped of the first two clues came out really pink.

On another topic, Fred did something really sweet this morning.  We were both in the kitchen and he walked up to me and gave me a head butt and body rub.  This is the first time he has made any demonstration of affection without prompting, and no, there was no food involved in the exchange.

Pattern:  Tea Rose Shawlette by Julia Temiseva
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Luxe in Tea Rose
Needle:  US 5 (3.75 mm)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Tea Rose Shawlette - Chart D Done

The infamous Chart D is complete!  It wasn't as hard as I feared it would be, although it did take a fair bit of concentration.  The lace pattern is repetitive, but with all of the yarn overs it was trickier reading the lace - you can see how squiggly it is.  On to Chart E, which is the same as Charts A and C, so easy peasy, and then the knit on border.  And finally a not so bad picture.  It is still light out, although it is overcast, so I did have to turn the overhead light on, but at least I did not have to use the flash.  The color in this photo is pretty close to true.

Pattern:  Tea Rose Shawlette by Julia Temiseva
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Luxe in Tea Rose
Needle:  US 5 (3.75 mm)

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Tea Rose Shawlette - Chart C Done

Five repeats of Chart C and another not so great photo taken at night with the flash, but at least I pinned it out this time instead of taking a quick shot of it on my daybed.  I first completed Chart C on July 14, 2012 and the second time was on July 25, 2012.  Now on to Chart D.  I've already done 3 rows and this time I think I will make it through.  It is a bit tedious, with lots of yarn overs and p2tog tbls, but not insurmountable.

Pattern:  Tea Rose Shawlette by Julia Temiseva
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Luxe in Tea Rose
Needle:  US 5 (3.75 mm)

Mayan Garden

On October 14 I was cruising Ravelry when I spotted Kitman Figueroa's new pattern Mayan Garden.  I immediately thought that it would look great as a cape in a Unique Sheep Gradiance set.  I  contacted Laura at the Unique Sheep with my idea and also a link to this picture of Mayan ruins that I found at Wikipedia (have you made your donation yet?).
It turned out that a custom dye job of an existing colorway - Denali - would work, so Kelly (she dyes Denali) dyed me up a beta set (the small set in the top picture) and sent me a picture on November 12.  I thought it looked great and in my response I asked her if that beta set needed a good home and that I would be happy to provide it one.  My yarn arrived this past Thursday, December 5.  Once I finish Tea Rose I'll start working on this one.  The modifications to turn it into a cape should be straight forward.  I wonder if I should add beads...

Pattern:  Mayan Garden by Kitman Figueroa
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Luxe in Mayan Garden

Tea Rose Shawlette - Chart B Done

Another not so great photo taken with the flash last night.  I first knit Chart B on May 28, 2012 and then again on July 15, 2012.  The pattern at this point is not that hard, my issue the first time around was that the lace was not open enough.  On Charts B and D there are a number of instances where you have to do a yarn over between a knit stitch and a purl stitch or vice versa, and wrapping the yarn in those scenarios has always been a little problematic for me.  Add to that the fact that there is lace patterning on both right and wrong side rows and the situation becomes even trickier because those yarn overs don't always lay nicely and now you're trying to work something like a purl 2 together through the back loop through one and you just have a recipe for frustration.  But I'll worry about Chart D when I get to it, for now I have Chart C to work, which is just more rows of Chart A, and that is a very easy stitch pattern.  In fact it looks like a variation of the Daisy stitch, except instead of working a purl 3 together, yarn over, purl 3 together in the same 3 stitches, you knit 3 together, yarn over, knit 3 together in the same three stitches.

Pattern:  Tea Rose Shawlette by Julia Temiseva
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Luxe in Tea Rose
Needle:  US 5 (3.75 mm)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Tea Rose Shawlette - Chart A Done

Here's hoping that the third time is the charm for this shawlette.  I received the pattern and yarn on April 7, 2012 as the second shipment of the Unique Sheep Smell the Roses Club.  I knit Chart A for the first time on May 7, 2012 and for the second time on July 15, 2012.  I've never gotten past Chart C.  This time around I scanned the pattern to pdf and imported it into my Knit Companion iPad App.  More and more I find myself using the app when knitting lace.  It is just so easy to read the charts, you can make them bigger with just a flick of your fingers and you never lose your place.  This is not the best picture, taken with flash, but I want to be able to start Chart B and I won't be able to get a decent shot until the weekend.

Pattern:  Tea Rose Shawlette by Julia Temiseva
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Luxe in Tea Rose
Needle:  US 5 (3.75 mm)

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Bigger on the Inside - Finished!

This was a pretty easy knit, kind of boring, actually.  The lace bit stayed interesting because of the increases and decreases, even though the lace pattern was an easy one to memorize.  Picking up stitches along the curved edge was fairly straight forward.  I hit on an easy way to pick up the correct number of stitches evenly.  I use my Knit Evenly app on my iPad and just pretend that I'm decreasing stitches, but instead of doing a decrease I skip a stitch.  Once I got past the Tardis pattern I could read while knitting, which made the last bit go quickly.  I did a gentle blocking job, pinning out the shawl and spraying it down with my spray bottle (seen in the top of the picture).  The glints at the top of the Tardis are beads.  I replaced the nupps (I don't do nupps) with beads.

Pattern:  Bigger on the Inside by Kate Atherley, published in Knitty, Issue 39, Spring-Summer 2012
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Pashmi in Doctor Blue
Needle:  US 3 (3.25 mm)