Friday, February 27, 2009

Spring is Coming!

This happy sight greeted me when I arrived home from work on Wednesday night. Then, I woke to about an inch of snow on the ground on Thursday morning. I wish that I had thought to take a picture of the same crocuses with the snow on the ground!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Here a Sweater, There a Sweater...

Everywhere a Sweater!

Yes, I have started another sweater. Here is the story:

Last Friday, I started a new sweater. I cast on for Interweave Knits Tangled Yoke Cardigan. Last summer, my SIL asked me if I would knit a sweater for her. She offered to buy the yarn, and I pulled up Ravelry on the computer at my sister’s house, where we were. I just love the way that Ravelry allows me to search the patterns that I already own to find a new project. Said SIL started to describe the type of style she wanted, and I was able to input the specifics into the search, as well. She wanted a cardigan, preferably long sleeved and crew neck in a lighter weight fabric.

Tangled Yoke came up in one of these searches. I had wanted to make this sweater from the very first time that I looked through the magazine. My sister didn’t like the fact that it was a yoked sweater and so I found a different pattern to make for her that Christmas. So, when it came up in my search, I was excited when my SIL liked it! Then, we started to look for an affordable wool yarn source on line that would have a color that she wanted. We looked primarily at Elann and Knit Picks. She found that the colors were preferable in the Peruvian Highland Sport from Elann and said that a pale blue color would be lovely. At that point, I knew to plan on knitting it for her. I don’t usually take on projects like this, but she is very easy to please and as a beginning knitter, appreciates the work that goes into a larger project like a sweater.

Not long after agreeing to knit a sweater for her, she told me, sadly, that she may not have the $35 for the yarn for quite some time. I still had store credit with Elann, and purchased the yarn for her last fall. She doesn’t know that I have already begun, and I plan to finish this in time to be her birthday present in May of this year.

I have already finished the body of the sweater, up to the armholes and really want to leave work, though I can’t, to cast on for a sleeve. What I really want to start is the cabling on the yoke, but I need to wade through quite a bit more garter rib and stockingnet stitch, first. The knitting, though on US size 4 needles, is still moving along more quickly than I had expected. If I can keep going at my current pace, I will finish this in a couple more weeks.

The resulting fabric from the Highland Sport is a little stiff and rough, but I was good and spent the time to make swatches, wash and dry them. The swatch was a little big on the size 5 needles that the pattern called for, so I went down to 4’s and made gauge. Since I washed the swatch, I know that it softens considerably and drapes much better with only a cold water bath and I know that if I add a little fabric softener or conditioner that it will be even softer and drapeier.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Kauni Shawl

A couple of weeks ago, I signed up for the Kauni Shawl KAL on Ravelry. I had heard about the pattern, Revontuli, from a fellow knitter on the Seattle to Portland Yarn Train. When I checked the pattern out later on, I found that it was very pretty, yet simple. I also saw where someone else had made all of the increases as yarnovers, instead of doing most of them as make ones. This simple change makes the pattern much lacier and far simpler to knit. If I remember correctly, the point of the knit along is to finish by March 8th and I was a little tired of my current sweater project, so I cast on last Saturday evening. By Sunday night, I had just about 20 rows left to go and finished on Monday afternoon. The picture above is from while it was drying. I’m not sure if is the cold that I had, or the lanolin in the yarn, but I found it difficult to breathe at times while working on the shawl. The yarn is rough to knit with, as well. When I was almost done, I wasn’t sure if I would ever wear the shawl, or just give it away. I finished any way and set out to soak it for blocking.

Because of my difficulties with the yarn while knitting the shawl, I took a few extra steps when blocking. Usually, I just soak it in a wool wash, spin and pin it out to dry. Instead I spent extra time to do the following: I partially filled up my top loading washing machine with “hot” (really just very warm) water and added some regular, scent and dye free clothes washing soap. I allowed the mixture to agitate for a minute or so and then added my shawl, pushing it under the water. I left this in the machine, which I had turned off, for about 30 minutes and then restarted the machine on the spin cycle. Once the excess water was removed, I pulled the shawl out and repeated the above process with cold water and fabric softener. After the rinse, I pinned the shawl out on the floor of my sewing/craft/computer room.

After spending the extra time to soak this shawl twice, the project smells and feels so much better, that I will probably wear it and not just give it away! Whoohooo!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Just a few days after the retreat, I finished my Brilliance pullover. The fabric has such beautiful drape and is soft. I've never felt a wool like this. The sleeves are a little long, but I'm going to wear it before I decide on shortening them.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Silver Falls Retreat Part 5

There was a blue sky and filtered sun for the trip home. Leaving the park was a little sad, but I wanted to get home, too. So, I drove much closer to the speed limit, this time. I made good time and with only one stop it took around three and a half hours to make it to Olympia. However, there was a bad, bad accident in Fife that was blocking two lanes. It took me about an hour and forty minutes to go around 5 miles. It was only that quick because I followed many other cars off the freeway and onto Highway 99 and then back onto I-5 after the accident. This went well enough and I arrived home almost 6 hours after I left the park, safe and sound. My husband called me just before I hit the traffic, and told me that he was going to evening service at church with his dad. Since he was not home, yet, I took some time to unpack, finishing much more quickly than I expected! After that, I set to work updating my stash and project on Ravelry, until he arrived.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Silver Falls Retreat Part 4

After dinner on Saturday night, they held the planning meeting for next year. Everyone goes and works together, giving their time, to make this happen. That is why, I found out, that the retreat is so affordable. They talked of classes and door prizes and other administrative things. By the end almost half the room had a task to complete for next year. After hearing what they have planned, I wanted even more badly to go next year. I used some of the money that I earned at the auction to pay my deposit. I figure, having 10 months, or so, to save the extra that I need will be easy and plan to stay for 3 nights next time! I also plan on trying to get my friend K on the waiting list to be able to go with me.
Also during this meeting I was loaned the needles that I needed to make working the sleeve on my pullover easiest. Knitters are such generous people and I think that is one of the many reasons that this retreat was so much fun and went so well.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Silver Falls Retreat Part 3

After a great lunch on Saturday afternoon, we all headed over to the conference room for the “silent” auction. Having over 50 people in the room with sooo many yarns available for sale certainly wasn’t very silent! I sold several of my yarns and a bought a one pack of 10 skeins of Brown Sheep Cotton Top (for only $20!) during the first round. Then, I marked down many of my yarns and sold several more bags full, while buying a skein of Socks that Rock (mill ends) for only $4. I started with $28 in my pocket and ended up with $68! I was quite pleased with myself. After the auction ended, my roommate, Kathi, purchased one more bag of cotton leftovers from me for $1. I’m glad that the yarns are going to wonderful new homes and that I have a little money for them all!
At the end of all the buying and selling we were all a bit weary, but many of us came back to the conference room in comfy, yoga clothes to be guided through a peaceful one hour practice.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Silver Falls Retreat Part 2

Saturday morning presented itself with a little snowfall on the ground. The snow made the silence of the park more pronounced and glorious. Walking from my lodge to the dining hall was quiet. There were the sounds of a couple of women talking, the trickle of the stream and the continued silence of the snow falling. It took between 1-3 minutes, depending on walking speed, to go from the lodge to the dining hall or conference room. I walked the path often. Many times, I left something that I knew I would need in my room to give me an excuse to walk up the hill to get it. Even in the cold, the walk was welcome.
After breakfast on Saturday, I had Lace Basics taught by JC. During the class, the snow continued to fall. We were in one the rooms of the dining hall where there were windows on three sides all looking into the woods. It was so lovely and the picture really doesn’t do it justice. She did a wonderful job talking us through the subject and then starting us on a swatch. There were several patterns from which to choose.
While she was talking and after I finished my swatch, I continued to work on my Brilliance Pullover, making much progress. The yarn is so lovely to work with and I am enjoying it immensely. By the end of the day’s activities I had the upper left body completed to the point where it needed to be sewn onto the lower body. When I finished sewing it on, I had a little pyramid shaped piece poking straight out from the underarm into my arm! I was not happy. I talked it over with a couple of the other knitters in my lodge and we came to the conclusion that the pattern had an error. A couple of us thought we had it figured out, but it just didn’t seem quite right. I decided that I could keep working on the upper body and that I would contact the designer when I arrived home. However, a little later, another knitter looked at the pattern and declared that there were two sections that had been repeated, from later in the pattern. Once those two were removed, the pattern made sense! I was overjoyed to know that I had not knitted a ton of stitches that would need to be ripped. I only had to put the lower body stitches back on my needles and knit a few more rows before binding off! Whew…

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Silver Falls Retreat Part 1

This past weekend was wonderful! Driving down to the retreat was relaxed an uneventful. I stopped at several of the rest areas, taking the time to walk a little so that I would arrive not too sore and tired. I stopped at Molehill Farm and purchased a little scarf project. This included a Fiber Trends pattern and two balls of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino. Then, I made one more yarn stop, where I was unimpressed and did not buy anything. Then, I wound my way through the many Christmas tree farms up to the Silver Falls Oregon State Park. I took it slowly, enjoying the scenery. The road was very quiet, so I only needed to let one car pass. Arriving at the conference center, I checked in and did a little unpacking. Afterwards, I went down to the common area in my lodge to meet new friends and knit. It was lovely. At one point, a couple of the women were complimenting my Lace Cardigan sweater that I was wearing. One of them said, “Hold your arms up,” in a joyfully, commanding voice. I did it immediately and the room broke into laughter! Only in a group of knitters could a circumstance like this one be good. You see, they all wanted to see the decreases and seams on the inside of the arms. I knew that was probably what was being asked and had no problem with it, either. :) After several hours of socializing and knitting, during which I finished the lower body of my Brilliance Pullover, we headed off to dinner. The food was very good all weekend long and so was the mealtime conversation.
After dinner, I followed the others into the conference room, with knitting in hand. We went around the room showing our items, talking and laughing, all while knitting or spinning. I wore my pale blue Lace Cardigan and took my black and white gloves from the book “Selbuvotter.” They all loved both projects, many thanks to those who helped me choose which projects to take!

Friday, February 13, 2009


I’m off to Silver Falls! I’ll be back Tuesday to give you all the details. :0

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Blocking and Finding an Error

While blocking my Versatility on Monday night, I realized that I forgot to knit the top border! So, after it is dry, I will add that and then re-block. I am hoping to make it to the store tonight for several yards of 3 inch wide ribbon and 32 buttons. Then, I’ll have everything that I need to finish! :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Saturday’s marriage seminar was so much fun. It was a video of a marriage conference held in Arizona a couple years ago. We had a session in the morning called, “Two Brains.” The speaker talked rather humorously about the differences in the ways that men and women think. There were some things that I had heard before that were a great reminder, and there were a couple of things that I hadn’t heard before. After the morning sessions, we walked to lunch with some friends. There is a Safeway and a Subway in the same parking lot several blocks up from the church. We had a nice time talking and enjoying each other’s company. After lunch, we walked back to the church for another session with the same speaker. He continued to speak on how to make your spouse happy.

Afterward, we went to some friends’ house for dinner and a movie. They played Fireproof, which if you haven’t seen it, you should. Its an excellent movie and really makes me think about the little things in how I treat people, but most of all my husband.

Monday, February 09, 2009

New Project and FO

On Friday night, I finally finished a project which is test knitting that I cannot show pictures, yet. Having finished said project, after having to rip some to fix a pattern error, I decided that it was high time to cast on for another project. Casting on for something new is always a great reward. :) I started Versatility from Knitty. I knit for about an hour before bed and finished half or more of the first chart. When I awoke too early Saturday morning, I picked it up again. The first chart was finished in no time! My husband and I were attending an all day marriage seminar, so I took it with me to work on while listening to the speaker on the video. I finished the first half of it by 3 PM! After the conference, we were invited to the house of one of the couples from the day’s meetings for dinner and a movie. While there, I finished another quarter or so of the stole. By Sunday afternoon, the knitting was complete! I didn’t take the time to block it yesterday, and plan to post a picture once it is really finished, but I am just so happy about the way that it looks! I used Malabrigo Chunky in color Brisa. This was the January shipment for Eat.Sleep.Knit's Malabrigo club. I purchased 2 more balls when I went the through the checkout process for February's shipment as there were only 2 balls, originally. It took 4 balls to make the shawl with 7 chart B repeats rather than 8. I didn't have enough yarn for the extra panel, but would love to make it, so I may buy one more ball in March. I did have just a little yarn left, but I really doubt that I could have made more than 4-6 more rows with the leftovers and the entire repeat is more like 24 rows. The resulting fabric is thick, soft, and lovely! I can hardly wait to block it and see how the lace patterns open up. I need to take it and buy buttons and ribbon for it tonight and then I’ll have the motivation to go home and block it out.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Progress Update

I have been working away, diligently on my Honeycomb vest and putting in some time on my Civil War Shawl. At the rate I’m going I will not have either finished by the retreat, but I am enjoying the projects. The shawl is time consuming and I make errors when trying to multi-task. It is so lovely that I want the border to be just right. On the vest, I am having some difficulties with the wrong side rows. They are K2P2, but the pattern is not ribbing, so it is difficult to tell when I am off, until I look at the front. Then, of course it is obvious! I have spent a ton of knitting time tinking back to fix errors like these. The combination of stitch pattern and yarn really shows the errors.
While “wasting” time on Ravelry the other day, I came across the “village hopelessly overcommitted” group. I read through a few of the posts and really had to laugh (in a good way) over one of their Village Alongs: Cast on Mania. The challenge is to cast on a new project for every day during the month of February! While I love starting projects, I think I would feel completely overwhelmed with over 30 projects started. Scary!! :}

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Thanks Secret Pal!

Here is my latest package from my secret pal. There is some luscious Tilli Tomas Silk/Seacell blend and a pretty skein of sock yarn. The Tilli Tomas came with a lace shawl pattern, too!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Steeked Shawls Class

Last Saturday, I went to Village Yarn and Tea for Ruth Sorenson’s class: Steeked Shawls. Talking with her was wonderful. I enjoyed hearing about her homeland, Denmark, as well as all the knitting techniques that she uses. I finished a partial swatch during the class, which still needs to be blocked and have the edge worked. (The edge is part of the swatch process, too!) I haven’t yet photographed it, but plan on it. I am concerned that the colors I used are not enough of a contrast to get a good picture, but I will try.
While there, Ruth pulled out bag after bag of project samples. Seeing all her different items knit up increased my desire to knit all of them at once. She even showed samples for some new patterns that will be released soon. :) Finally, she pulled out her collection of handmade shawl pins and buttons. She said that they are made from the horn of an animal that lives in Africa. She and “her man” (as she referred to him) brought the horn home with them to Denmark where they craft it into the most beautiful items. I bought one the shawl pins from her and wore it proudly on Sunday.