Sunday, May 25, 2008

Project 2 Take 3

I can view the finish line on this great project. Tina & kids came for a visit, and Tina really loved this project, while Alex really took to the first project, dragging it around. I bought more yarn to use in the project--some funky ones that lend a whimsical look to the throw. My teacher for this project used eyelet lace, but the Tahiki Poppy yarn gives this look without being heavy handed.

My son's wedding is this Friday, so I will be flying to Connecticut on Wednesday. Pretty exciting times! I plan to take my new project--socks--along with me. Wish me well!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Socks, socks, socks . . .

Well--I've spent a lot of time this weekend learning about socks and then starting my first "test" sock, using 5 DPNs. What a pain! It is extremely awkward with all the poking sticks! And I have done a number of rows. The good thing is that I didn't fall apart starting one . . . Good news. I've also done a lot of reading--both online and in books that I have. Which, in turn, pointed me to YouTube to watch some videos by Cat Bordhi. It was great watching them after knitting with the DPNs--because she shows how to use 2 circular needles. What a better way of knitting socks!!! I've used circular needles for both afghans/throws--but using them for the socks will be a new thing. So, I will get two sets of circular needles in the needed size this week--and then jump into this fun project. I'm stoked!!

I also checked out Camp Stitches--one that is in New York--and another in California. It sounds like a wonderful thing to do. I could do a three-day workshop with experts, such as Cat Bordhi. Most of the workshops are for intermediate or advanced knitters, so I am going to work on my skills this year so that I might be able to attend next year. I find this really exciting!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Cottage Throw--Take 2

I've been having a great working on my cottage throw. I've completed the increasing pattern stitch section and am now halfway done with the diagonal stitch section. I then have the decreasing stitch section. After completing, I will be adding a picot crochet edging.

What I find the most fun and fascinating is working with colors and changing out the yarns. Since this is a three-strand project, I am always cutting and tieing different colors--and work to make special effects with yarns that provide texture and invoke the feel of my favorite beach near Cambria, California.

I have also made progress with the lifted m1 stitch. I started out with just making a m1, which left holes that were not wanted. I'm not going to rip it out since the edging should cover these holes. Now--with the lifted m1--there are no holes since it twists the yarn.

I need to take pics (of both this project and the stash throw) and put them online.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Cottage Throw--Take 1

Well, this week at my new knitting class, I started the Cottage Throw. The pattern is simple--but, of course, as a rookie I am having some difficulties. Most of the issues I am having is in regards to the fact that I am using three strands at once and am having issues with seeing exactly where to "make 1."

I am using size 17 circular needles (36") (Crystal Palace). Starting with a cast on of four stitches, I knit one row and then start the increasing pattern which consists of four rows: Row 1 (RS): Slip 1, yarn back, make 1, knit to last stitch, make 1, k1. Row 2 (WS): Slip 1, purl to end. Row 3 (RS): Same as Row 1. Row 4 (WS): Slip 1, yarn back, knit to end.

In addition to having problems finding the spot to "make 1"--I am also having trouble with the slip stitches being so loose. I know there will be a crocheted trim when I finish, but I don't like how it looks.

And now I have another problem--I have dropped a stitch back at least five rows. I don't know why I didn't see it at the time, but I will now rip out my work to that row and fix it. I know how to pick up a stitch one row back--but unfortunately, I didn't see it then.

I was hoping to use my stash yarns, but since they were oranges, yellows, and greens, this wasn't possible. The throw needs to reflect the beach--sand and water. I am throwing in some color to indicate the ice plant flowers that grow on the beaches of Cambria--but very limited.

Now to ripping out my work--ugh!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Diving into the Knitting World

I have rediscovered my love of fibers and the creations that can result. Although I have crocheted numerous afghans and sweaters (baby), I have always been afraid of knitting. I don't know why exactly. My grandmother was always knitting socks, mittens, and afghans, but I didn't think I could do it. In February, I took a weekend trip with some of my colleagues to Mineral Point, Wisconsin where I discovered a great yarn/fiber shop, la bella vita fibre gallery. It was like coming home to a place inside that had been forgotten. I remembered the fiber shops in Dinkeytown near the U of Minnesota campus where I would get lost in time while perusing the wide variety of textures and colors. Of course, I bought yarn that I found appealing--without having any project in mind. When I returned back home, I found two yarn shops: Wool & Co. in Geneva and Knitche in Downers Grove. While I was at Wool & Co. I noticed a small "stash" afghan (baby size) in the back corner and became intrigued. Winter was relentlessly holding us captive--but the yellow, orange, and greens of the small afghan promised me that spring was just around the corner. I found yarns that would serve as the base solid colors and some other for interest. I purchased size 11 circular bamboo needles (Crystal Palace), which I now love and went home to start my project around Easter.

It has truly been a learning project. I started out tentatively and progressed with more and more confidence. This afghan has no stitch pattern--just knit when you want and purl when you want. The pattern occurs with the yarn chosen for the upcoming rows. When I started the different yarns, I had been told to just go from heavy to lighter yarns (both in weight and color)--but learned by the end of the project that some yarns were too light--but looked better when doubled.

I finished the project last week and feel sad that it is done, but I now look at it with love and joy.

Tomorrow I start my first knitting class at Knitche--one on a different type of "stash" afghan--the cottage throw. It employs cotton yarn, so I bought some over the weekend to get the hang of knitting with it--and boy, what a challenge. It is slippery, makes it hard to keep consistent tension, and shows no mercy when it comes to showing your shortcomings! My thought is that at least I will provide some comic relief to others in the class! Wish me luck . . .