Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Secret Santa- A Day Early!

Tonight, when I checked the mail, I had only a package in my mail box. There were no bills or junk mail, either! It was a gift from my Secret Pal. She sent a collection of stitch makers and the Pattern-A-Day desk calendar, all wrapped prettily. I love them. Thanks Secret Pal! :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

New Project

I thought that I had the hat pattern chosen for my MIL's Christmas gift, but when I started on it, the gauge was off. I shouldn't be surprised as I did have to go down 2-3 needles sizes when I knitted with the same yarn to make Yosemite. (The yarn doesn't feel all that slippery, but it does act like it!) It was coming out HUGE, so I ripped and left it for another day. Then, yesterday, I was reading Kimberly's blog, she was looking for a test knitter for a hat pattern. I volunteered and cast on last night. I am using needles that are 3 sizes smaller than called for in the pattern, and it looks perfect! I chose the needles that I did as the set it a 16" circular needle like the pattern suggests. The size 4 was the only one that i had in that short of a needle. I have the hat about a third of the way done and its going smoothly.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Left Handed Knitting

One of my SIL has been wanting me to teach her a little more about knitting. She really wants to make some mittens for her 10 month old son. We've been trying to come up with a day that would work, and then we both happened to be at my parents house last Sunday. I had some dpns and yarn (left over from the vest that I knitted for her son) in the car, already, so we started. First I showed her the crochet cast on. I like the edge on it and, if done just right, can be stretchy. There were 3 things that made this teaching session complicated for me. 1) She has never knit in the round. I knew this and was expecting to have to show her how to use the dpns. So, that really wasn't a surprise. 2) She has never made a purl stitch before. I didn't know this, but its really not that much more difficult and I was showing my other SIL (who doesn't really knit) how that works, when she asked on that same day. 3) She is left handed and was having difficulties understanding my teaching. She had "just figured it out" before as I've seen her knitting and know that the book that she is using is designed only for righties. (I gave it to her as a birthday gift, not realizing she was a lefty.) So, I figured out how to knit left handed! It was fun, though a little tricky at first. I was pretty pleased with myself and managed to surprise her. She figured it out, once she could see me knit it left-handed. I had such a great time. I usually knit by the "throwing" method. However, I found that it worked easiest for me if, when knitting left handed, I "pick" the yarn. I've used this method a little bit when knitting right-handed, but only use it when knitting with 2 colors. I still prefer "throwing" when knitting with just one as I find it quicker.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Its Done!

I finished Yosemite, this past weekend! It looks good, but I think I will give it just a hint of blocking with a little steam, before I wrap it up. I was working on this, yesterday, while I was with my mom. She says that it just looks like my SIL and that it should be perfect for her. I saw her the same day, and she was shivering she was so cold, so I'm sure this will be good for her as the yarn is worsted weight knit with size 5 needles and then cabled and ribbed, too, so the fabric feels nice and thick.
While I was with my SIL, I needed something else to knit (and the sleeve only needed to be bound off, so not much knitting left there.) I picked up Cambridge Jacket, again. I finished the first front and then started the second. Right now, I have this piece about half way to the arm hole bind offs. That's 10% of the sweater knitted in just over 1 day! I am now sure that this one will be done in time for Christmas. :)
I was also surprised by something yesterday. I was getting ready to leave my parents house and put on my Selbu gloves. The patterns on them are so beautiful and my mom was commenting on how nice they look. I smiled at her and said, "I might have made you a pair, but they come out best when knitted with wool." She is "allergic" to wool and so I figured that I'd hear, "Oh, well that's okay." Instead, she said, "Well, on my hands that might be alright. Can I try one on?" After trying it on, she said that she could wear them! I now have a smaller project that I should be able to make for her for Christmas. I love making those mittens, have yarn in my stash already and they don't take more than a couple days, if I concentrate solely on them.
Upon finishing Yosemite, I have an entire skein plus just a little more left over. This should be plenty to make my MIL a new hat. She is still dealing with being very cold all the time and has very little hair as a result of chemotherapy. The hat that she has been wearing is an old, yucky looking acrylic that bugs her. She won't wear it when she leaves the house, either. She needs something warm, so I'm thinking of knitting a cabled stocking cap that is rather plain around the edges. (ETA: I have been searching Ravelry for just the right pattern and think that I will probably knit this.) I knit a somewhat lacy hat out of a fuzzy yarn a couple years ago. It stretched out and then started to look matted. Since this yarn has a little wool in it, it should keep its shape, and since it is a smooth yarn, there should be no problems with matting. I plan to start it right after I finish Cambridge, however, I may take a short brake to make a mini sweater from Berroco's Minutia-08 pattern to take as my white elephant gift to my work Christmas party which is next week.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Another KAL

A couple of days ago, I was catching up on my blog reading and came across NaKniSweMoDo. I followed the suggestion over to Ravelry. Once I had read about it, I joined! The challenge is to knit 12 sweaters during 2009 and WIPs count! I have 2 sweaters already started for myself and have plans to knit several more during the year. I made a long list on the message boards, but I have not lack of patterns to knit. I have over 50 sweaters in my Ravelry queue just waiting for the right yarn and time to start! In addition, I have enough yarn to knit about 7 sweaters more than those that I have already begun. I have already had so much fun reading the message boards and adding any projects that others are planning on, that I also want to make, to my queue. Here's what I wrote on Ravelry about my plans:

I plan to finish up my Bountiful Bohus and then continue on Morrigan. Next up is a sweater for my SIL’s birthday, Tangled Yoke. Then, I want to knit Mediterraneo for my mom’s birthday . That’s 4 sweaters in 5 months. Morrigan may not get finished at this point and if it isn’t, I’d like to go back to it. Next, I’d like to knit Celtci Icon followed by Mr Greenjeans, Charisma and Cardignan in Camelia all for me. By this time, I should be starting Christmas presents and will start a sweater for my husband and maybe another for my mom and one of my siblings. That brings my planned count to 10, but I’m sure I’ll find 2 others over the course of the year to work on. :)

All that, and I forgot one sweater that I've already started and not finished, my Cables and Os summer cardigan.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Yosemite- 82.7% Done!

This isn't a great picture, but the body is done! Shortly after taking the picture, I picked up the stitches for the collar. I have it about a third of the way finished! Woohoo!! I have a few other gifts that I would like to make and finish, so I am very, very happy to see this one taking shape so quickly.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Back to Yosemite

This one, of course! I made the division for the back and fronts, last night and then finished the left front! I hope to finish the right front and begin the back, tonight. Maybe, then it will be picture worthy. Right now, it is a little strange looking as I never move the stitches to a piece of waste yarn as the pattern says. Then, I didn't bind off the left front as I plan to graft the shoulder, or maybe use a 3 needle bind off. It is looking good and I am excited to get it finished!

Christmas Meme

Saw this on the Knit for Joy and decided to join in on the fun. I'd love to see your answers, so if you decide to answer, leave me a comment so I can go read it!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
I like the look of wrapping paper better, but have some bags if I’m under a time crunch.

2. Real tree or Artificial?
Definitely a “real” freshly cut tree. One of our favorite traditions is to drive to the U-Cut lot and choose our own tree.

3. When do you put up the tree?
I like to put it up as soon as possible. Usually this is the Saturday after Thanksgiving or the next weekend.

4. When do you take the tree down?
Usually some time around the 1st of January.

5. Do you like eggnog?
Yes, but I like it “watered” down with whole milk.

6. Favorite gift received as a child?
I have 2 that stick out in my mind, a 10-speed bicycle and a flute. I had been taking lessons on a fife and had finally grown enough so that my fingers could reach the keys on the real thing.

7. Hardest person to buy for?
The guys in my family. I have 3 brothers and a brother-in-law, along with my dad, father-in-law, and husband.

8. Easiest person to buy for?
My mom, sister and sisters-in-law.

9. Do you have a nativity scene?
Yes, I collect them. I have one that my mom made for me taking the ceramic from green ware to finished product and several others that I have purchased over the years. I like to decorate my tree with various mini-nativities.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards?
My husband usually takes care of this and always mails them or hands them to people in person.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
I had an aunt who never seemed to realize what age I really was. She would often give age inappropriate gifts, but was always so well meaning.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie?
I’m not sure. I like them, but some of the Santa Claus type movies get on my nerves after awhile.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
I am always on the look out for ideas. However, I do like to make my gifts, so I've been known to start knitting for Christmas gifts in January.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
I have only re-gifted an item when going to the parties at my work and church. There, we play a “White Elephant” game with the gifts and the whole point is to bring something nutty. However, my husband ended up with a used, but cleaned up, cat litter box one year!

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Turkey. I like most of the “special” foods that are served for dinners like Thanksgiving and Christmas. I would have them more often, but they take so long to cook!

16. Lights on the tree?
Yes, of course! I like to use 600-800 white lights on our 6-7 foot tree.

17. Favorite Christmas song?
Any Christ-mas song. When the Christian radio stations start playing songs like Rudolph and Frosty, I switch the station. I don’t have anything against these songs, but enjoy others so much more and find that those “Winter Festival” songs just inappropriate for the Christian stations.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
Home, for sure. Nearly all of my family lives within a hundred miles of my house!

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer?

20. Angel on the tree top or a star?
Either. It just depends on what I decide to put there when finishing the decorating.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?
We open gifts with my family on Christmas Eve as that is when we’re all together. Then, we open our gifts to each other on Christmas morning, following up with gifts at my in-laws in the afternoon.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year?
The commercialism. People should not need to fear for their lives if they work in retail or if they are standing in line to get into a store. This worry about getting the best stuff for cheap drives me nuts and most people don’t even really need the junk they buy any way!

23. Favorite ornament theme or color?
I collect blue and purple glass ball ornaments for the tree. I have one set that has the names of God on them in Hebrew and in English. The gold calligraphy on the balls is so beautiful.

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner?
Turkey! ;)

25. What do you want for Christmas this year?
I haven’t given it much thought. I know my husband and a couple others will want to know, though.

26. Lights, blinking or always on?Always on, always straight, and always white. I can appreciate the fancy stuff that others do with their decorating, but for my house, I like it very simple and elegant.

Feel free to copy this meme and make it your own!