Friday, April 4, 2014

New Yarns and New Knitting

I got some new yarns from Elann, in their own line of A-series. First up is A-Series F03, Superwash Blue Faced Leicester wool (80%), and nylon (20%) It is indescribably soft. Fingering weight, with 407 yards in 4 oz. Next, A-Series S03, Silk and Linen (65/35%) Not as soft, but just as beautiful. It's got 756 yards to 4 oz. Both of them knit 26-29 sts/4 in. on 2s. And both are in Natural, although the Blue Faced Leicester seems to have a slightly yellow look. Anyway, they're both beautiful yarns, but as yet, I have no idea what to make with them.

I also got 2 skeins of Douceur et Soie, 70/30% baby mohair and silk, about 450 yards in something not-quite-cotton candy pink; 8 skeins Australian Merino in light purple, just over 1220 yards at 22sts/4in. on 4s. Again, no designated design;  8 skeins Plymouth's Royal Llama Silk, 60/40 fine Llama/silk, in natural, knitting at 18sts/4 in. on 8s. 

Oddly, for me, I just ordered 3 crochet patterns on Elann. I do know how to crochet, but I just haven't been interested in doing so for years and years. (I have 3 crocheted afghans from my early years). But these patterns appealed to me. They're from Sans Limites, and one is Flowing Vest (okay, I just tried to upload a picture of that, but Blogger won't let me.), another is a bag, and the last one is a "poncho", but it has sleeves and is open in front, which truly doesn't say "poncho" to me. I'll just have to wait and see if I like crocheting enough to complete these. I'm a bit impressed with the whole Sans Limites line ~ very fashion concious, and no granny squares!

In new knitting, I've begun work on a SweaterBabe pattern called Bohemian Scarf. It's knit in Blue Sky Alpaca's Alpaca Silk, in a gorgeous deep plum color. I've only knit the first pattern repeat, 12 rows, and now I have only 32 more repeats to go. But it does go rather quickly.

Maybe when I can figure out Blogger's picture problem, I will upload pictures of the yarns and patterns, and maybe even a picture of my progress on the scarf (although it doesn't look like much yet, since it's a kind of lace, and lace never looks good until it's blocked.)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

A Bit of This and That

I guess the biggest news around here is that I've retired. As of Friday I am no longer teaching. I just decided I'd had it, with all the days out of class for yet another inservice on some new method or curriculum, with all the behavior problems (one student came back to our school after being strongly encouraged to leave last year, but got thrown out of his "new" school. His goal for this year? To make his teacher cry. Heh.) And our new principal, a woman, doesn't believe in suspending students for any reason, doesn't believe in removing them from the classroom for any reason, and on top of that, is a micromanager. Enough. Teaching used to be both fun and worthwhile. Not any more.

So, I'm now got lots of time to knit and read. And I'm going a bit crazy trying to figure out what I want to knit. I have so bloody many choices, and I can't make up my mind.

I was set to make the Metropolitan Knits sweater I mentioned in my last post, but decided I didn't like the Inka yarn I was planning on using for it. I ordered the yarn specified, Valley Yarns Amherst in Soft Grape, instead. But when it arrived, despite looking a touch darker than lavender on their website, the yarn was brown. A medium brown. I contacted Webs, and they shipped me a replacement order. Only it's the same medium brown as the first order. I'm just going to ship them both back and order a different color. The labels clearly state "Soft Grape" on them, but it's brown. I even had my sister-in-law look at it, and she says it's brown, too.

I've run into a hitch, however. Webs sent me an email with the shipping label when I first contacted them, but I don't have a working printer, so I have to take it somewhere and print it out. Then I have to take the package to a UPS store to send it. And, unfortunately, my knee decided I needed to stay still and avoid walking at all. I did make it to my doctor, and he sent me to my orthopedic guy, who just injected cortisone into it. (That really, really hurts!), which made it feel good for about a day, but it's back to being swollen and painful, again. Next week, I'm supposed to go back to my orthopedist, and I'm having my brother take me there, since I can't drive like this. Guess we'll see then.

So, I'm basically stuck sitting with one leg propped up, which would mean knitting would be perfect, only I can't decide what I want to knit.

Maybe I need to just start a list of all the things I want to knit, then put it in order from "most wanted" to "least wanted", and start knitting from the list.   Or is that just another way to procrastinate?

Hope this finds all of you safe and warm, dreaming of Spring.

Monday, January 27, 2014

A New Year and new projects

I've been rather lazy lately. Finished my own design, but haven't taken a pic of it yet. I'm just starting a new sweater, one from Metropolitan Knits, called the Skyline Tunic. I've got the yarn, the pattern, and somewhere around here, I've got the needles, too. I'm using a pink yarn (with purple undertones) called Inka, by Steinbach Wolle. It gets gauge, although it isn't as "hairy" as the yarn used in the original. I don't mind that. Many hairy sweaters seem to shed, and I don't need that.

I've been going through all my knitting books and magazines lately, trying to see if anything new strikes my fancy. And in the magazines, trying to see if there was anything I wanted to save from them before tossing them out. I just don't have room to keep all the knitting magazines I buy, so I've set up a notebook, and just tear out the patterns or stories I want, slip them into plastic page protectors, and file them. (Actually, I'm starting on my second notebook. The first filled up pretty fast.)

I know I will never knit all the patterns I've saved, or from the books I have, but I never know what I'll be in the mood to knit. I like having a wide variety to choose from.

Anyway, that's it for now. I'll try to be more regular at blogging, but I can't make any promises.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

New Yarns!

So, I haven't finished any of the sweaters I started in July. It just got too hot, and I went back to work early in August. I found that I hadn't recovered from my hospitilization as I thought. The first day back, I had to move all the student desks (2-person desks) to get them set for the start of school, and I was breathless after moving 18 of them around.

At any rate, working in my classroom sort of wore me out, and the heat didn't inspire me to knit at all.

I ordered some new yarn from Elann (I love that site!) and it got here Friday. It's all gorgeous! I got a sweater's worth of Steinbach Wolle Inka in Orchid Pink for a Ballyvaughan Pullover, 3 colors of Plymouth Yarn's Nazca Wind, 5 of Plum Tart (deep plum), and 2 each of Shale and Night Sky. I'm thinking cowls for those last two. I got 1 each of 3 colors of Elann's Silken Kydd: Forest Mist, Clove, and Raisin. I'm going to do a Pretty Thing cowl (YarnHarlot pattern)for my sister-in-law, and I'm either going to do it in the Silken Kydd Clove, or in the Baby Cashmere in Tapestry Blue, that I also got. Along with 2 other colors of it: Mulled Grape and Deepest Black. I'm sort of leaning toward the cashmere, because it is so incredibly soft, but I also love the Silken Kydd. Maybe I'll do two for her (and some for me, too!) Neither of us wear scarves, but cowls, even though they're really just scarves sewn together, seem to work for us.

It's still incredibly hot here. Right now, at 7:45, it's still 79 degrees outside, which means it's closer to 85 in here. Makes it hard to grab a bunch of yarn and sit with it in your lap or next to you. But, then, her birthday isn't until Dec. 10th, and then there's Christmas after that, so I've got time. I also need to buy some circular needles, since I don't have the size needed for the pattern.

So, that's what's up with me. Hope everyone is doing well, and knitting up a storm for those of you in the parts of the US that are welcoming Fall weather right now.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Just Another Update on my Projects

I finally frogged the ribbed tank, and the yarn is slowly working the kinks out. In the meantime, I did cast on for the fronts of my Gulls and Garter vest, and I'm up to the 2nd buttonhole, about 5 inches. I tried a new buttonhole process, doing it in one row, which is kind of neat, but the hole needs to be worked at after knitting it to make it neater and really look like a buttonhole. For this procedure, you bind off the number of stitches you need for your buttonhole, but then you cast on that number plus one on the left needle, K2tog the stitch left after binding off with the first stitch you cast on, and then continue to the end.  It's quick and easy, but I think the cast on stitches, which form the top of the buttonhole, are a little loose and sloppy looking. It said to use the backward loop method, but I may try using another cast on method to see if that makes a difference.

I've also restarted the ribbed tank, but I'm using the yarn the pattern calls for while I wait for my Kroy to straighten out. It's Microspun, a sportweight yarn made of microfiber acrylic (I have no idea what that really means), in a color called "Lily White". And yes, it really is that white. I'm about 4 1/2 inches along on that, as well.

I really need to alternate between the two. The 2/2 ribbing gets boring after a while, and the Gulls and Garter, which is a simple 4 row pattern, gets fiddly after a while. So, I switch back and forth just to break the rhythm. Is that normal? Do you keep more than one project on the needles, and active, at one time? I know one knitter who is very single-minded about her knitting, and has never had more than one project on her needles, but to me, it seems that she just has to force herself to finish each project. Not every project, but some. I don't want to force myself to knit. That would blow the whole purpose of knitting for me. It's to relax, to calm my nerves, to allow the right side of my brain to exercise a bit, and to shut down the analytical, left brain. If I'm forcing myself to knit, that means the left brain is in charge. And God knows, it's in charge too much of the time for me.

So, the beautiful Kroy is still in timeout while it unkinks, the Lily White Ribbed Tank is moving along, and Gulls and Garter vest is coming along nicely.

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Tank Tanked, but Gulls & Garter is Surging Ahead

So, I made a mistake casting on for the tank, and didn't realize it until I was about 4 inches into the armhole. I need to frog it and start over, so it's in timeout until I finish my Gulls and Garter vest.

I cast on both fronts today. 46 sts each, with 5 stitches in seed st, the rest in rib and later in the pattern. I generally don't have to use stitch markers to remember when a pattern changes, but I did today. 1/1 ribbing and seed st don't mix well, and rather than counting each stitch, I just put in markers after the seed stitches. Much easier. Ribbing is rather mindless knitting for me, and the stitch markers help that along. I really don't want to focus so intently on each stitch. I've done about one and a quarter inches of the ribbing so far, and I'm only using 2 inches, so I'll be starting the actual pattern knitting later today.

I had plans to have both tops done at least a week ago, if not 2 weeks ago. So much for plans. I got sucked up in Ravelry, loading my library there with all the patterns I have (and I'm not done yet), and looking for patterns for other yarns I have. Boy, can you waste a lot of time on Ravelry.

I also got busy in real life, reading, visiting my brother and his family, grocery shopping, cleaning the house, etc. Life happens. It's only been a month since I came home from the hospital, although it seems much longer. I couldn't visit my family until now, though, because their daughter had a bad cold, and I wasn't going to risk that. Now she's healthy, and I got to hear all about her trip to Australia, which she started the day I went into the hospital. It sounds like she had a great time, even during the service learning portion of the trip. I would have loved going on her trip instead of mine!

Anyway, that's all the news for now. Hopefully I'll finish my vest this week, and I'll try to get my sister-in-law to take pictures of me in it so I can post them here and on Ravelry. If not, I'll at least take pics of the finished item and post those.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Project Update

Okay, so I've bound off the back of my Gulls and Garter vest, and I'm at just over 10 inches on my Ribbed Shell in Kroy SocksFX. I haven't yet cast on the two fronts on the Gulls and Garter, because I'm still working out how many stitches to cast on for each. I have to account for the button bands, which will be in seed stitch, but I'm wondering if I should decrease the pattern stitches, and if so, by how much. I do want the vest to close, and the button bands will overlap, so I may not decrease the pattern stitches. The pattern does have a "multiple of .." requirement, so decreasing the stitches would cause a problem. Anyway, I'm going back-and-forth about it.

I just got a bunch of knitting books from Amazon, 4 for my Kindle, and 3 in real book format. I have to say, I think I prefer having the real book in my hands, but the Kindle ~ and I do the Kindle-on-my-PC much more often than not ~ does show the pages well. I just need a printed pattern, so I can mark it up, and I haven't figured out how to do that from my Kindle. Or even if I can.

Anyway, I wanted to talk about one of the books I got.  Knitting the Perfect Fit, by Melissa Leapman I love this book! She's got pages and pages of instructions on how to make decorative increases and decreases, how to position cables to accentuate the parts of you you want people to notice, etc. And she has 19 patterns in the book, as well. I like a majority of them, around 14 of them in facr. That seldom happens when I buy a knitting book. She's very straightforward in her instructions, and in the patterns, and she includes lots of other tips and tricks to make your knits look great. I highly recommend this book! (And no, I didn't get asked or paid to write this endoresement. I just love this book!)

I also picked up the original Stich 'n Bitch, Weekend Knitting by Melanie Falick (different cover than the one I got) , Kim Hargreaves' Vintage Designs to Knit, also a different cover than mine,
 November Knits by Kate Gagnon Osbourne and Courtney Kelley, Knitting Classic Styles by Veronik Avery, and The Best of Knitscene by Lisa Shroyer. Good things in all of them, although I wasn't aware of how basic the Stitch 'n Bitch book was. Oh, well. Maybe I can use that one with my students next school year. I do a class after the regular day to teach kids how to knit, almost every year. (I didn't last year, because it was a very difficult class, and I had a lot of health issues that I was struggling to ger under control. I am definitely doing the class this next year, though.

So, no pictures of my knitting, yet, but at least you get to look at the covers of all the new books I got! I know it's not the same, really. And I do plan to take pictures of my finished objects, but that won't be for at least a week or more. Be patient!