Thursday, August 30, 2012

Knitting Pattern Problems

Before I started the Pan-Am Jacket, I read through the directions. There seemed to be something off or just plain missing near the end, but I thought that this must be one of the few times when I just need trust the pattern and do it to understand.  Now that I am near the end, I realize that there is indeed a piece of the pattern missing! I have tried to find errata on the Interweave website and even gone to the KAL boards to find information. I've even checked for posts on Ravelry.  I finally looked at the notes on the projects of people who have already finished their sweater.  One post in particular was very helpful.  She is very specific about the changes that she made and goes into fine detail about how she knit the border. Now that I've read it, I just hope that it isn't too late.  I may not have picked up enough stitches at the beginning of the border. I will finish any way, though, hopeful that blocking will remove any issues. I am so near finishing and really hope that I can accomplish it before Saturday morning. It would be so nice to show off the finished project to my little knitting group!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Two Finished Projects in Two Days!

While waiting for my KAL buddy, K, to finish knitting her hood on Saturday, I finished binding off my Helen's Grace shawlette. I started to bind off on Friday, but ran out of yarn halfway through. That was frustrating, but I ripped back one row and re-started the bind off. Finishing was a relief. I soaked it and then pinned it out on the floor that same evening. By Sunday morning it was dry and ready to wear. The colors are beautiful and the pattern simply enough that the variegated yarn and pattern go well together.

During the Cassidy KAL on Saturday, I finished the hood, including seaming, and picked up the stitches needed to knit the button and buttonhole bands. I finished all but the last few rows while at Starbucks with the group.  On Sunday morning, I took it outside to sit in the sun and finished the bands, wove in all the ends and sewed buttons onto the button band. The sleeves are a little long, but otherwise, it fits wonderfully. I still want to steam block the hood and bands a little to help everything lay correctly.

When finished with Cassidy, I picked up the Pan-Am Jacket again.  Here I finished the sleeve and started picking up the stitches for the continuous band. Since then, I have knit several rows on it, but as they contain so many stitches, each row is taking around an hour to complete. This is going to take much time to finish, still. When I finished the sleeve, I thought I might be able to get three projects finished in three days, but I once I started, I realized that is unrealistic. I do plan to have it done before next weekend, though.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

KAL Continues and Other Updates

Last Saturday, K and I had a wonderful time knitting on our KAL sweaters, the Cassidy cardigan. We had finished all three bodice pieces and both sleeves.  During this past week, both of us blocked our pieces in preparation for Saturday morning.  Upon meeting, we began to sew the shoulder seams, using mattress stitch. The both look great! Next, we picked up many stitches to begin the hood. I managed a few inches on the hood before we broke for the afternoon.  We agreed to finish knitting the hood by next Saturday so that we can pick up stitches for the front bands.  Maybe we'll even finish the knitting next week!

The sweater is rather bulky to carry with me, so I have continued to work on the shawl that I started last week.  I have it about two-thirds finished at this point and am really liking the way the yarn and pattern combine. I may be able to finish it before Saturday, too.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Hot weather = More knitting!

Here in the Seattle area, we're finally receiving some hot (for us) weather.  As a result, I have not felt like doing much. Instead of the many other projects that have kept me busy in the past, I am now feeling the "bite of the knitting bug." However, the heat also makes me feel like I have a license to start new projects as my works in progress are all heavy wool sweaters. Sitting in the heat with over a pound of wool in my lap sounds like torture rather than enjoyment!

5% of the pattern knitted by early 8/16

After finishing the socks, earlier this week, I started a shawl with some beautiful Ella Rae yarn that I purchased at Serial Knitters during the Local Yarn Store Tour 2012. The yarn is wonderfully squishy and working a shawl that only takes one ball means I don't have too much of it sitting in my lap at once. The colors are stunning and I have knit 30% of the pattern in just a little over one day. I like it so well, I almost wish that I weren't working today so that I could just sit and knit.  However, there is air conditioning at work, so I am also enjoying the temperatures inside today when it is supposed to be around 90 degrees outside today.

30% of the pattern knitted by the time of this post

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Knitting Updates

I've had good progress on my current sock project this week.  On Saturday, I finished the first sock and the toe of the second. By Monday afternoon, I had finished the heel turn on the second sock.  All is going well and I expect to have a finished pair by Saturday. 

Next up: returning to the Cassidy cardigan.  The two of us doing our mini KAL agreed to have the back and fronts blocked by Saturday so that we can start the hood together.  All that is left on mine is the hood and front bands, so I am excited to get started on the next section.  I intended to get started on the blocking before now, but supposed to be very warm this week, so I am unworried about it drying in time for Saturday's meeting. I plan to wash each piece in the sink and then lay it out to dry.

As for the Pan-Am Jacket, I may need to wait a week or two before continuing on it as having nearly two pounds of wool in my lap when the temperatures are reaching 90 degrees and no air conditioning really isn't very comfortable.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012


toe of sock, second try
Rather than finishing a project, like I told myself that I would, I have been working on a new pair of socks.  My husband wanted to go to the movies last Saturday night. When I go to a movie, I like a small, mostly stockinette project to work.  I didn't have anything matching this description on my needles already, so I pulled out the only yarn that was already wound into a ball and cast on in the car while he drove us to the theater.  A few days later, I had a half-finished sock! When I tried it on, though, I found that I had underestimated the length required and ripped it out.  I started over with a slightly different pattern and have been working on the same project since. It is fun and I love the way the colors are working together.  In the first sock the was too much pooling.  The second one has far less, which I like very much.

I also took my design knitting out to our patio last weekend.  As I started to seam the little doll sweater, I realized that I didn't bind off the right number of stitches before starting the sleeve caps and needed to re-knit them.  Since I had already cut the steeks, I had to throw away the little bit of yarn and start with fresh.  I only have a couple of rows to go, but am having difficulties returning to that project.  I know that ripping and re-knitting is just part of designing and I have had little trouble maintaining interest, until now. I feel like I've lost my "mojo." Hopefully, I will make the time for the last push to finish this sweater this weekend. I want to get the pattern written up and listed on Ravelry.  Then, I can start working on any extra class-related hand outs.

Thursday, August 02, 2012


I haven't been cross stitching much this past week as I have been reorganizing my scrapbook supplies.  I recently purchased a Scraprack and have been making alterations to my organization so that I can incorporate this new way of storing everything. Yesterday afternoon, I was making some slight changes to the themes that I have used to sort and store my stickers and die-cuts. I have created a few more themes and put all sizes of the same theme together rather than storing everything by size, then theme within major categories. I was using huge categories like: nature, kids and holidays. Now I have about a dozen that cover nature and kids.  Holidays and seasons will remain in their own section. Watch the first video in the "Get Organized Challenge" on the Scraprack website if you're interested in the specific organization technique. I still have a ways to go, but am really excited that this should cause me to use much less space for storing my supplies and make them easier to find an use.
Next step: sort and store my paper. Hopefully, I'll finish this step tonight.  I have an appointment, which will limit the time available.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Many, many projects

I have not been accomplishing much lately on any one project: knitting, cross stitching, sewing, cooking, etc.  Instead, I have been dabbling in everything.  I have been spending some time in the garden and working on about four different knitting projects in addition to reorganizing closets and cabinets in our house to eliminate clutter and make things easiser to find.

On the knitting front, I have been working on sleeves for two different sweaters: the Pan-Am Jacket and Cassidy. On the jacket, I need to sew the bind off in place and then start the second sleeve.  On Cassidy, I am nearly finished with the second sleeve.  Next up: blocking and the hood. Cassidy is a KAL with a friend that I knit with on Saturdays.  I have been intentionally working slowly on it so that I don't get too far ahead of her. We have both been flirting with many other projects during the knitting of this one, so I am not at all surprised that it is taking sooo long to finish!

One of the said "other projects" is another KAL with the same friend.  I found Danger Craft's Basil the Boogie-Woogie Brontosaurus pattern via Facebook and realized that I really wanted to knit him.  When I showed the pattern to K, she wanted to drop everything and work on it, too! We set a date for the KAL kick-off and then it took me a couple of weeks to really start knitting on him.  It was a really quick and emjoyable knit.  So much so, that I may buy another of her patterns and get to work knitting more toys.  These would make great Christmas gifts to my nephews and possibly a niece, too!

The fourth project I have been trying to finish is a design project that will work into a class that I have volunteered to teach at a knitting retreat next February: steeking. I have been designing a fairisle sweater for a 16" tall doll.  Much of it I have been designing while knitting.  This means that I stop to rip quite often and then continue.  I would never use this method for an adult sweater, but knitting until the body is long enough to reach the bottom of her arms, just seemed reasonable at the time! For the sleeves, I worked out a pattern first as I wanted to make sure the clover motiff was centered on the arm. It is going well, and I hope to have it finished by the end of the weekend.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pan-Am Jacket Progress

Since I have returned to cross stitching, I am not knitting quite so often.  My shoulder hurts a little less, though, so I think this returning desire to stitch may be healthy for me!

Most Saturdays, a group of friends meet at a Starbucks for knitting. There is a core group of three of us, but many times one of four other knitters join us. Most weekends, someone stops to talk to us about our craft and sometimes they, too, are knitters. A week ago, one such person asked if she could join our little group.  Of course, we said, "Yes." Fast-forwarding to Thursday afternoon...I already knew not to expect one of the core members, as she is out of town.  The second was offered some overtime at work, and would newly be unavailable, so I arrived on time and waited to see if anyone showed. It was a pleasant day to sit outside, sip coffee and knit. The new girl never showed, but I had a very nice time working away. About a half an hour before I was ready to leave, a lovely lady and fellow knitter sat down nearby and we talked until I needed to go. It was altogether a wonderful experience that I don't often enjoy.

As I was working on my Pan-Am Jacket, I finished the body, moved the stitches onto waste yarn for later, and began the first sleeve. (I don't have an extra needle in the correct size right now, or I would have used it instead.) Later on that day, we made a 40 minute drive to some relatives' house for a picnic and during that time I worked on cross stitching.  However, while we sat outside, enjoying the tree-filtered sunlight, I pulled out the jacket and knit almost half the sleeve in a relatively short time period.  I still love working the pattern and taking frequent breaks to cross stitch is helping me to stay interested in the rather simple stitch pattern that comprises the bulk of the sweater. I am looking forward to cooler days and the finished project!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Finished Project

A few days ago, I finished the counted cross stitch project that I  last showed with only one color finished. I am still not sure where to hang it or possibly who will receive it as a gift.  For now it will go into my stash of wall hangings. :)

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Paleo Diet

Looking to eat more whole foods and regulate my insulin and blood sugar levels, I am working on "going Paleo." I have a friend who has done this successfully who loves this way of eating. As always, incorporating lots of seasonal veggies is always heathier than processed foods, so I expect this to help my overall health. 

In the past I have enjoyed throwing a "dinner party" where friends come to my house and we put together freezer meals.  These are raw food meals that only need to be thawed and cooked.  Everything for the main dish is in the bag.  Side dishes like a vegetable or salad are made while the main dish cooks.

I just discovered a set of 40 Paleo freezer dinner recipes at and invited my friend K to join me for filling the freezer. We typically spend at least 6 hours on a Saturday morning chopping veggies and meats, adding spices and condiments and filling the bags. It is fun and takes a huge bite out of the preparation time for future dinners. The new recipes are created to make 20 meals at a time. I'm not sure that we'll do more than 8-10 recipes at a time, because it gets expensive and takes too much time. We both usually divide each meal (meant for 4-6 people) into 2 bags so that we have the right sized meals for our households.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Cross Stitch!

Last Sunday afternoon, my mom was giving away some needlework kits that she has been saving. One SIL was taking some of the stuff to sell.  There was one, small, counted cross stitch kit that I commented on how much I liked it, so Mom did not offer it up to sell.  Later that evening, I was tired of knitting on my jacket and asked if I could start the kit. She prefers crewel embroidery over cross stitch of any kind and gave me the kit. Just a few days later I have all of the white finished and am starting on the next most used color. (It is a small project, only 5" x 8" after framing.) White is the main color as the picture is of a sheepdog. It has been so much fun working on it, that I may finish and then go back to working on a large underwater scene that I started several years ago. I don't think I have worked on counted cross stitch since 2003.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

I'm Back.

The afghan has been finished for almost 2 years, now, and can be seen here. I've also finished many, many other projects in my hiatus from this blog. 

Currently I am in the Knitting Daily KAL, working on the Pan-Am Jacket. I am using Elann's Peruvian Highland Wool. Like so many others in the KAL, I found the start was difficult, at best.  I ended up just adding 2 extra stitches at the cast on and then 2 more extras when making the final cast on for the neck shaping.  This results in the 2 stitches on the front edges being in addition to the charts, which I find much easier to work.  My yarn choice and other details are here. I wanted it a little longer, but not wider, so I am working the center back increases every 6 rows instead of alternating every 4 then every 6.  I started to do this after the yoke was completed as I did not want to alter the fit through the shoulders.

I have finished the yoke and am working the body, having removed the sleeve stitches from the needles.  There are very few increases remaining, so I don't need to focus on the charts so much.  I have memorized the pattern and am enjoying being able to watch TV while knitting on this cardigan.