Sunday, October 19, 2014

Produce Bags

What a way to wake up.  It is impossible for me to NOT grab my camera and try to capture the dawn.

I have been working my way through the N. M. P. B. (No More Plastic Bags) E-Book by Kate Vanover.  You might remember that I test knitted one of the bag patterns for her earlier this Fall.

While knitting with cotton is not always a comfortable thing, it is not that bad for my hands, and I am fairly used to working with non-stretchy yarns. (see just about every afghan I have made as well as all of the washcloths I made last year!)

I like the colors and look for the first bag, Kate gave me the yarn to use, but I didn't want to buy more yarn (STASH DOWN!) so I decided to see if I had anything that would work in all of the crochet thread in my stash.  Last year a friend of a friend's mom stopped crocheting, and she was a huge doily maker.  The friend dropped off a plastic blanket bag full of cotton crochet thread in mostly white, but some off white.  I used some of it to make Christmas snowflakes this summer.  But the giant bulk of it sits down in the cave.  So I dug through the bag and found some size 3 Aunt Lydia Fashion Crochet Mercerized Cotton Thread in "Bridal White" which is a nice creamy color.

This crochet thread works perfectly for the bags.  I've finished a second bag

The first bag I made used the Knit Knot Mesh body pattern and the Bunny Ears Tie handle.  The second bag used the Buttonhole Handles ... handle and Diagonal Madeira Lace for the body.  I made the first bag using the smaller opening instructions because it was a test knit and I needed to get it done quickly.  For the rest of the bags I am using the larger opening instructions just to make bigger bags.  I also made this bag longer so it would hold celery comfortably.  And, you can see that it does.

I am on the third bag now.  For this one I am trying the Easy Drawstring Brim, option 1, and Fisherman's Net for the body.  This body pattern is super easy to memorize so this is a good project for me to bring to school to knit on my breaks.
I have one more brim to try out, and one more mesh pattern.  Then, I will use them all at the grocery and try to see if I prefer one over the other.  I have to admit that I enjoyed knitting all of the brims so far, and while some of the patterns are more mindless (therefore more portable), I like the way all of the patterns look.  I might just have to keep rotating through them to keep myself from getting bored with any one pattern.  I mean there are lots of variations possible here.  I have been knitting the "In Pattern" bottoms, and haven't even tried the stockinette bottoms.  So that is yet another possible way to make these.

Obviously, there will be more on this project in future posts.

shaping the planet with mercerized cotton.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Dont' Tell Me It's Too Short

I've finished the body of The Daily Sweater from Mason-Dixon Knitting Knitting Outside the Lines by Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne that I am knitting for my daughter, Moogie.  First of all, Moogie is only 5'2" and pretty short wasted.  Secondly, although the sweater is more tunic length in the book, she specifically told me that she wants it to just hit her on the hip bone.  We measured the length from under her arm to her hip, and the sweater. unblocked, is that length.  Since it is top-down, if it IS too short, it should be easy to fix.

Now, I need to pick up the live stitches for the sleeves, and get those knitted.  The stockinette is boring, and although I like the color, the solid color is boring, too.  When I was knitting the body, I set myself a specific goal for each day, and wasn't "allowed" to knit or crochet anything else until I had reached the goal.  I will have to do this for the sleeves, too, or they won't get knit.  I am also going to try to knit them 2-at-a time.  It might be a bit awkward at first but I'm pretty sure I can do this.  If I don't, I'm sure they won't end up the same length.

Moogie is studying in London this fall, and because she doesn't have any Friday classes, she has  been able to do a bit of traveling.  I wanted to share some of her photos from Paris.

See what I mean about being short? Moogie is the blond on the right.

shaping the planet with a lavender sweater.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Regular Wednesday Night for Eastside Stitchers

We had a nice size group at Crossroads for the regular Wednesday Night meet up of Eastside Stitchers.

I was a bit late because I stopped at Dough Zone, which is behind Crossroads, for dumplings which I brought for my dinner.  There were other people at our regular table, and the group was a bit crowded at a rectangular table nearby.  But there was a chair for me and we just sat close together until the group at our table left. and we could move over.

Addie tried out some knitwear, but she was more interested in her duck toy.

JulieMustKnit started another pair of mittens for the Detroit Achievement Academy.  I think we are down to 4 more pair needed. and tonight. Julie, Wajio and I were all knitting mittens.  We will have the amount we need by the deadline (next Sunday), for sure.

Wireknitter brought her Exit 0 Shawl.  She is using Madelinetosh tosh light.
JulieMustKnit brought a gift for Wajio.  Julie is the official librarian of our group, and after listening to Wajio's description of the class she took at the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival on knitting mittens from the top down, Julie found the book by Beverly Royce that describes the special double knitting technique.
I hope to get a look at this book, too.  What was Wajio knitting tonight? 
Mittens, of course!

CathieC brought her Exit 0 Shawl.  She is making real progress.
I like to tease Cathie because I have seen her 3 times in a week, and when you see someone's knitting that often, it can be hard to see progress.  But tonight, I could really see how far she has gotten.

GwenS had been knitting that shawl, too.
It will be so much fun to compare the shawls when they are all finished.

nightorchid joined us again.  It is nice when we meet new people, and even nicer when they come back a second time.  She brought the cabled hat she was knitting last week for show and tell,
and the matching mittens:
Tara1682 brought her beaded shawl. Ratz, I forget the name of the pattern.  The photos is not the best, but if you look closely you can see the gazillion beads.
BlueBerryMary brought 2 different projects.  One is a Hitchhiker shawl that she is knitting in Halloween colors.
The other project Mary brought is a lovely lace and textured cowl in a hemp/cotton blend yarn.
The yarn shows off the stitch patterns perfectly.

I brought mittens, too, and hope to finish them tomorrow.  If I do, I'll post a photo.  I have really enjoyed making the hats and mittens for this school, and hope to keep it up next year, too.

shaping the planet one mitten at a time

Friday, October 10, 2014

Quick Post for a Photo

I just wanted to post this photo of my sister in law and 3 of the "little cousins" wearing their Animal hats.

O! My! Bob! I like having Fridays Off!



It is still Spider Season in the Pacific Northwest.  This one is the size of a quarter, I am not kidding.  It's in the front yard, though, and not near where I walk.

I did not have school today.  We had a faculty work day, and since I am classified personnel, not certified, I did not have to go.  Instead, I KNIT!  what a great day.

I got up early because I wanted to finish another animal hat.  The Doc is down in Tucson, AZ visiting Himes this weekend, and I sent down 4 animal hats for the little cousins who live there.  I started the last of these 4 hats on Wednesday, and although I stayed up late last night trying to finish it, I just got too tired.  So, I finished it early this morning.  Here are the 4 hats:
A gray cat, a gray bunny, a panda and a dog.  These amazingly cute hats are from the book, Animal Hats, 15 Patterns to Knit and Show Off by Vanessa Mooncie. I showed you the cat and bunny last month when I first made them.
I made another cat hat, a Ginger Cat, for Addie's First Birthday (the party was last Saturday).
She has a real ginger cat at her house, and I thought she might want to play cats some days.
Then, on Sunday, I got a great idea to knit 2 more hats for the little cousins in Tucson.  Because I was using worsted weight yarn and size 9 (5.5m) needles, I was able to finish the 2 extra hats in time for the Doc to bring all 4 with him on the plane today.

First I made the panda.
One of the things I don't like about the book is that all the hats are knit flat.  This makes sense for the cat hat as the white face is intarsia, but the rest of the hats are just hats with animal parts attached.  So I knit the panda hat in the round, made the black parts and attached them.  The eyes are supposed to be safety eyes, but I made them by crocheting circles with a magic loop beginning.  Way cheaper since I have so much yarn, and even more safe than the "safety eyes" for young children.

Then, on Wednesday, I started the Dog hat.  I finished the hat part on Thursday afternoon, and started knitting the Dog parts that evening:  2 ears and an eye patch.  The ears took a bit of time.  I knit them double knit rather than making 2 pieces and sewing them together.  Honestly, It would probably be faster to just knit the 4 pieces of inner and outer ear, then sew them. but I really like making ears with double knitting instead.  I also knit the eye patch, but made it bigger than the pattern called for, because I thought that patch was too small.  I crocheted these eyes, too, then went to bed.

In the morning I sewed everything on, then knit the nose.  I knit 4 noses before I liked the way it looked.  I ended up knitting a double knit nose as well, just to make it more 3-dimensional.
Ok, the eyes look a bit off, actually the ears are a bit off, too, but it's finished.

Then, I got to go to Crossroads for Fiber Friday!  I was joined at the round table under the skylight in the center by CathieC and JulieMustKnit.

CathieC brought her Exit 0 Shawl, by Laura Aylor.
Julie brought a new cowl, the Carmella Cowl by Elizabeth Smith.
Julie tried to blame me for this project... she spun some tale about driving to Tolt in Carnation for more navy yarn for The Detroit Achievement Academy mittens, and seeing some Misti Alpaca Yarn, and knowing that she needed to get in a project for the HPKCHC by the 10th to win a pixel badge, she had to buy the yarn and pattern.... and this was all my fault.  Well, I can't tell you how soft that yarn is.  I thought CathieC was going to run off with the cowl, that is, if I didn't.

So, blame away.

I drove the Doc to the airport, then spent the late afternoon and evening with my cats, knitting and listening to podcasts.  Other than missing the Doc (he will have a GREAT time with Himes at the U of A vs USC football game tomorrow), all is right with the world.  And I still have the weekend ahead of me.

shaping the world with animal hats

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

New Eastside Stitcher


Tonight, on the way home from the regular meet up of Eastside Stitchers at Crossroads in Bellevue, Tara1682 and I were talking about how much we look forward to these meet ups.  Even though we are both busy with work, and tired at the end of the day, it is so relaxing to sit at the round tables and knit with friends. 

We had a fun group tonight.  First, it was the adorable Addie's first birthday (and a special Happy Birthday to Redbird1 who shares this date).
Emma joined us at the round table, too and she and I had a lot of fun playing Peek-a-boo.
Emma's mom, VanesaPolo was starting a new design.
Not a lot to show right now, just the very beginning.

Wajio is working on another set of mittens for The Detroit Achievement Academy.
I tried to check out her project pages to see how many she has finished so far, but she is horrible at updating, and has only 1 mitten project posted.  Well, I can say that she has made a ton.

CathieC has changed her yarn choice for her Exit 0 Shawl.  She originally thought she would use these three colors of Malabrigo
But she decided that the coral was too much and now her shawl looks like this:
JulieMustKnit is working on the same shawl.She has gotten a bit farther, but then she had some airplane knitting time last week.
Jennifer is working on her very first knitting project, but I didn't get a photo tonight.  I thought I'd let her finish her row... then forgot to go back for the picture.

JitteryKnitter was knitting a Boob.
The Seattle Knitters Guild has taken this up as a charity.  They will be used as prosthetic breasts by mastectomy survivors.  The charity is called Knitted Knockers.  I kid you not.

Puzan started a pair of knitters, and was trying the magic loop method, but she wasn't sure how much she liked it.  She also brought her latest cowl to work on.

GwenS brought an Antler Hat in ... Malabrigo.  (It is Stockpile month, after all.)

Tara1682 is knitting Green Linen Stitch Scarf #2.  I'm not sure which number Linen Stitch Scarf this is.  All of them have been beautiful.
And finally, meet our newest member, nightorchid.  She is a "new" knitter, and yet she brought this beautiful cabled hat.
The pattern is 3AM Cable Hat by SmarieK.  I hope she had fun.  She fit right in and joined in our conversation. 

That's all for tonight.
shaping the planet with a new knitting neighbor.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Fresh Fair Isle with Mary Jane Mucklestone


Today, I attended the Nordic Knitting Conference 2014 at the Nordic Heritage Museum in Ballard (a neighborhood in Seattle).

In an earlier post, I showed the yarn that I bought for the class I was taking with Mary Jane Mucklestone called Fresh Fair Isle.
Liven up your Fair Isle knitting by exploring fresh new colorways. Color is the big fun – yet a big fear for many. This course will introduce the basics of color theory and how you can use its principals to guide your color choices. We will learn about the use of color over the years in traditional Fair Isle Knitting, and move beyond, developing our own new color schemes. Knitting a simple stranded wristlet will quickly illustrate these concepts. A classroom situation is the best possible learning experience; we will learn as much studying the color choices of our classmates as from our own selections. An exciting day of color experiments await you!

 The class was only 3 hours, so it was very quick.  As Mary Jane said, color theory is usually taught as a year long class in art/design school, so this covered just the basics.  Her main mantra was to experiment, experiment, experiment.  Also, she said to never rip out your work.  Save what you don't like or what doesn't work so you have a reminder of what you did wrong.  Also, sometimes a color combination that you think doesn't work, will become more appealing to you after a few years wait.

The class was sold out, and every chair was taken.

She gave a great explanation of what makes Fair Isle different from other stranded colorwork, the "Rules" of Fair Isle.  She talked about and demonstrated how to hold your yarn, but also stressed that there is no "Correct" way. 

We brought a 48 stitch bit of ribbing, and then worked on a chevron motif to put some of what we were learning into practice.

First we divided our colors into darks and lights.
We chose two darks and two lights, paired them up and got to knitting.

At the end of the class we looked at each others' work and discussed what worked and what didn't.

In the end, I was not happy with my choices, or my pairing, I will bind off and save the sample.
But I really felt like I learned a lot, and can't wait to start another stranded project.

shaping the planet with X's and O's