Saturday, October 31, 2009

Slippers!



We had a great time this morning getting together to knit and slippers were the focus. Margaret is showing off her first finished slipper. Way to go!! This is a great project for beginners or anyone looking for a quick project to knit as they are knit all in garter stitch with a little shaping around the heel, then straight knitting until you reach the toe, a few more rows of shaping, sew up two seams and you have a slipper! I added a row of crochet along the top edge of the slipper to add a little more height and to give it a nice finished edge. You can add any other embellishments that you like. Right now I am loving knitting these flowers so of course they are going to be added to the slippers. When knitting slippers, you will find yourself having the same problem as you do when knitting socks or mitts. You have to knit two of them. They are small and knit up quickly so it really isn't a big problem. (I have the second green one half knit)

I was lucky to get a sneak peak at a couple of the felted bags that have been knit this week. They have turned out great. I can't wait to see all of them Monday night!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Felted Bag #2


Here is the start of my second felted bag. I decided to change the colours for this bag from black, forest green and orange to forest green, lime green and olive. So far I am liking how it is turning out. I am following the same pattern that was written for a worsted weight wool but substituting a chunky wool instead so of course it is turning out larger. I think I will just knit it a few inches longer to balance it out. Most of what has been knit so far has been done in the continental style where you hold the working yarn in the left hand. So far I wouldn't say I am knitting any faster (which is supposed to be true for this type of knitting) but I am certainly much more comfortable knitting this way even though I still have to look at the stitches as I am knitting them. This has meant that a couple of times I had to switch back to holding the yarn in my right hand so I could multitask and keep knitting. Hopefully the speed will come soon to help me meet my Christmas knitting deadlines! I can feel a repeat of the last few Christmas happening again. Why I leave everything to the last possible moment is beyond me. One of these years I really will start my Christmas knitting in the summer.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Felted Bags and a Mitten



That is what we were knitting tonight in our knitting class. It was second class for the felted bags and everyone is doing a great job. Once again, there are wonderful colour and pattern choices with no two bags the same. One bag is even being knit in a Fair Isle pattern and looks amazing! A knitter we have not seen for a while, joined us to finish the thumbs on her mittens. Seeing someone knit mitts was just the inspiration I needed to get me ready to start my own mitts.

Some of you were wondering about the fate of the purple sweater. I finished knitting it a while ago and then slowly worked at sewing in the ends. The sweater is still at Carrie's shop waiting to be picked up by it's lucky new owner and Becky was a good sport to model it even though it was way too big on her. It was a good job we pulled it out to look at it as I had missed sewing in two ends. (This sweater just won't go away!)

I started another bag today and have the bottom knit and I am just working on picking up the stitches to begin knitting in the round. I guess the bag beat out the mitts as the next project. Knitting this second bag will give me some more time to decide on the mitten patterns to start in a few days...cables, fair isle, worsted weight, sock weight....there is lots to choose from.

Happy knitting!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Finished Projects!



Yeah! I love it when I finish something. It means I can start something else. I just have to decide what should be next. Another bag, my sister-in-laws birthday socks, my Mother-in-laws birthday scarf, a hat for me using the Kool-aid dyed wool, or mitts. I think I am leaning towards the mitts. Not that it will matter that much because they all need to be started soon. We have a lot of birthdays coming up plus, for anyone who didn't realize it, Christmas is exactly 2 months today. Yikes!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

More Yarn Shopping


Here is the rest of the yarn purchases from last weekend. After a great day last Saturday at the Woodstock Fleece Festival we spent Sunday in Toronto at the CreativFestival. Overall the show seemed smaller than it had been in previous years but there were more than enough knitting booths to keep us busy for the day. As you can see, it was another successful shopping trip with the purchase of 2 balls of Noro sock yarn, a skein of Merino for mitts, and lots of a chunky weight wool for more felted bags and possibly a sweater. Now I just have to start knitting!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Success!!



Well, here it is!! This bag is knit from Patons Classic Wool. To knit the bag it took one full ball of green and about half a ball of the orange. The unfelted measurements were 13" wide and 14" long.

Tonight at our knitting class, for fun we started hand felting this bag. That is a lot of work! The felting process had started but we were not even close to the end result. This is how it looked after being in a hot wash in the washing machine for 8 mins. I took it out and was happy with the size so I hand rinsed it and put it back into the washer to spin out the excess water. The felted size is 9"x9". Now it just needs the i-cord handles and the embellishments and it will be ready to use.

For those knitters who are working on this project, here are some helpful hints to know.
-when you change colours don't worry about the stair step/jog in your stripe because you won't see it.
-don't get too fancy with your pattern. It did blend more than I had thought it might.
-remember to put something that will not felt into the holes for the handles (I didn't and I know we just talked about it...short memory) but I was able to open the holes back up with a little bit of work.

I am happy with how my bag turned out. Good luck with your projects!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Day Filled With Yarn Shopping!







This was the first year for this show and it was great! Everything a knitter could want was there, beautiful hand dyed and hand spun wool, silk, cashmere and alpaca yarns, patterns, needles and accessories, spinning wheels and supplies and books on every topic related to fiber.

I wasn't planning on buying any wool today but our first find of the day were these skeins of wool for a really great price. It was such a great price that between two of us we bought almost all of it. I am so excited about this wool that I am winding one of the skeins into a ball now to knit a swatch to see how it felts.

What I was looking to buy was patterns. I found a shrug pattern that looks great and should be a fast knit and these two mitten patterns that I couldn't resist as well as an Elizabeth Zimmermann book. One pattern is for twined mittens and the other is for Lovikka (Swedish) mittens.

The next two purchases ended up being yarn again. The blue and grey varigated is 100% cashmere and is sooo soft. The green is a Merino wool and silk blend. Both of these will be scarves and will most likely be gifts.

As a final bonus, I was lucky enough to win a door prize. These socks where knit on an antique sock knitting machine.

Tomorrow is the trip to the Creativfestival in Toronto. Another fun day with knitting friends. I can't wait!

Monday, October 12, 2009

New Hat Yarn


I was in the mood to dye some wool today with Kool Aid. I had been looking through some patterns on Ravelry and came across the foliage hat pattern. Since the hat pattern only requires one ball of wool this made for a quick and easy dyeing session.

The wool is Patons Classic Wool (merino) in winter white. The colours I was hoping to end up with was a dark brown and a burnt orange. For the brown I mixed one package of strawberry, one package of grape and added a small bit of lime green. For the orange I mixed 2 packages of orange with a bit of purple. It only took 4 two minute cycles of cooking and cooling in the microwave to absorb all of the dye. Then it had a quick rinse by hand and a spin in the washer to get rid of the excess water and it is hanging to dry. The end result was close but not quite. The dark brown has a purple tinge and the orange is brighter than I had planned but I still like it and still plan on turning it into the foliage hat some time soon.

The knitting is finished on the purple sweater. Just two seams and the ends to weave in and it will be finished!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Slow Knitting Week


Yay, it is a long weekend! I am so ready to have some time to relax. This week has been filled with more hours in the emergency room than knitting time. I did manage to finish the second sleeve on the purple sweater during the first visit to the ER and I have the edge stitches picked up ready to knit the boarder. So much for my goal of having it finished on Tuesday.

The only finished project this week is a tiny pair of slippers (knit during our second trip to the ER) for my niece who requested some Christmas slippers last weekend. I promised her I would have them ready when I saw her for Thanksgiving. Here they are (thank goodness she has tiny feet!)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Weekend Progress


Well, here it is. It is Sunday night and I am heading off to bed to dream about a finished sweater. I didn't get as much knit on the second sleeve as I had hoped for but I am still happy with what I did manage to get finished. I am aiming to have it finished Tuesday evening. As for the fronts, they look like they are the same size to me. I still have not measured them but I did find two measuring tapes so if or when I decide to double check their size I am ready.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Purple Sweater Countdown


Just for fun I thought I would try to figure out roughly how many hours I have ahead of me to finish both sleeves and the boarder on the purple sweater. For the sleeves, I am working in stocking stitch and decreasing on both ends of every 4th row for 20 times. I am estimating the cuff will take about 14 rows of this broken ribbing stitch (k1, p1 across the row then knit the next row). I timed myself knitting the repeat of 4 rows for the decreasing and it took me 20 mins. So, if my math is correct, this is what I figured out.

Sleeve #1 - 11 repeats of the 4 rows remaining at 20 mins each = 3.5 hours
Cuff of sleeve #1 = 1 hour
Picking up stitches for sleeve #2 = 1 hour
Sleeve #2 - 20 repeats at 20 mins each = 7 hours
Cuff for sleeve #2 - 1 hour
Seaming body and sleeve - 2 hours (an hour for each side)
Boarder - 4 hours??? (totally guessing on this one)
Blocking

This works out to be a grand total of 19.5 hours. This sweater could almost be finished this weekend. I am babysitting for most of the weekend but I can multitask.

The yarn in the picture is for the next project (a felted bag) patiently waiting to be started.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Purple Sweater Saga


You know when you are knitting something that you would really rather not be knitting, it seems to go on and on and on, well that would be this sweater. To start with I had trouble getting the right gauge so I ended up knitting for the small size with the intent on ending up with the finished pieces measuring for the large size. This is not a problem, it just means you have to remember to cast on for the small size and knit for the length of the large and so on. The back knitted up without a problem. It knit up a tiny bit bigger than originally intended but not enough to worry about. The front knit up quickly since you only knit 5" and then you start the neck shaping. I worked on the right front first and it took me a few days then I moved on to the left front and worked on it for two days while working at the booth at the fair. They both seemed to knit up fine. So far so good. The next step was to join the fronts to the back using the 3 needle cast off. This is were things got a bit tricky. I have learned the hard way the importance of always double checking you have your pieces on the correct side with the right sides facing. So when I was figuring out which front piece was the left and right, I laid them on top of one another to find which edge was the shaped side and which side was straight. That was when I realized that the front I had knit last was a good inch narrower than the first piece. To say that I was shocked was an understatement. I counted the stitches thinking I had cast on the wrong number of stitches. No, they both had the same number. After a few more attempts of matching the fronts together and getting the same result, I did what I think any other knitter would do, silently had a melt down at the thought of reknitting one of the pieces and quickly folded it all up and put it away until the next day and worked on my sock. I pulled it out again the next night hoping that by some miracle things would work out fine this time. I matched the pieces up again but this time I pinned both sides together and they matched, with no stretching. Well except for the ribbing but it was much closer. Go figure. How is this possible? I have no idea. All I know is that they appeared to be the same size now and that was good enough for me. I unpinned the pieces and moved on to joining the seams. The bind off itself was no problem until I noticed that my stitch count was not even on both needles. Did that set off any warning bells? Nope. Continued on to the end of the row and then realized that I had dropped a stitch half way across the row. Sigh. Pulling out the 3 needle cast off isn't the end of the world, just a little awkward when you only have two hands to deal with three needles and two lives stitches each time you pull out a stitch. This actually went ok and I picked up the stitch with out dropping any other stitches or getting them twisted. Once that was fixed and the other shoulder seam completed all I had to do was pick up 130 stitches around what would become the arm hole and start knitting the sleeve. I lost count of how many times I picked up stitches only to have too many or too few. I know, I know, I should have taken the time to mark the half way point of the arm hole and then divided each half in half again and marked that and then divided the number of stitches to find out how many should be picked up within each section. That would have been the smart and faster way to do it and I will probably do it for the next sleeve but for this one I thought I could eye ball it and I would be fine and I was....eventually. So for now, all seems on track with the sleeve. I am hoping that by the end of the weekend the sleeves will be finished leaving only the boarder to knit.

While downloading the picture I gathered enough nerve to measure the fronts again. I went in search of a tape measure or a ruler and couldn't find any. Should I take that as a bad sign. Please, cross your fingers for me :)