Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Kayla's Shrug

A few months ago in the middle of Summer, I watched as Kayla tried to pull on a shrug I had made for her. It was obviously too small but she wanted to wear it anyway. My arms get cold, she told me as she walked away with it on. I knew then I needed to make her another one. There's nothing that compares to a grandchild that actually likes what you knit for them. Until now, I hadn't found a suitable yarn for Kayla's Shrug. She likes pink, period. No other color will do but I didn't want the usual pinks we see all the time. I wanted it to be special. While browsing in my LYS, I found Lanaloft. It is so nice and soft. The colorway is Cherry Cherry. Perfect for Kayla. I had taken her measurements last time she was here. I neglected to get a couple of pertinent measurements if I wanted to knit a shrug in the round (no seams). Kim has sent those measurements and I started it this morning. I have been wanting to start this having swatched right away. It is a lucious yarn. It probably won't take very long to knit this and I am going to enjoy every minute spent knitting this for Kayla Marie. I am making it up as I go; probably will get tinked now and then until I have it just right.
What a sweet little face
A favorite photo of my two granddaughters taken about 4 yrs ago. In the knitting room of the Knit N Needle, Alexis is showing Kayla how to knit even though Kayla is a bit too young yet. Kayla still talks about "her knit". Whatever you are knitting, it is "your knit" to Kayla.
Kayla playing in a large Lantern Moon knitting basket.
Grandchildren are one of the true joys in life.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Circle Vest

I admit it. I have a Noro addiction. It's the colors; how can a knitter resist the colors and the way they flow one into the other? It was the Noro sock yarn that started it all. A couple of weeks ago, Barbara and I both bought Noro Taiyo to knit the Circle Vest from Silk Knits. I think this would look great when Fall weather finally arrives (I am still waiting) with jeans and knitted socks, of course. I started the vest Sunday after Ike wanting to knit something really fun and enjoyable that would hold my interest/attention while we were without electricity. Not to mention, brighten my mood a bit.
Gorgeous, yes?
I had to take a picture of one of my favorite orchids in bloom in my bathroom. Thankfully, this is an easy orchid to grow and amazingly stays in continuous bloom. It loves my bathroom and I love its flowers. As the flower ages; it begins to turn a bit yellow which only increases it's beauty.
(I love those old Florida souvenir plates) Below, is a violet that resides on the side of the bathtub. She loves the bathroom too! I have always been a plant lover. For the first time in my life, I have a house with a bathroom that has the perfect window light for orchids. Life is good.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Drop Dead Gorgeous Shawl

Twisted Yarns has this shawl on display with the Blue Heron Beaded Rayon. Knitted Eye Candy to be sure. You can't help wanting to knit it! Not only is the yarn beautiful to the eye; it is wonderful in the hands. I innocently decided this would be THE perfect project to take on our whirlwind road trip to South Carolina. I could easily talk to Joe, watch the scenery go by and knit at the same time!
Happily knitting away as we made our way home, near the end of the hank of yarn; I noticed that both edges were rolling in a lot! I decided at that point to set it aside knowing I would probably wind up frogging it for a reknit. After frogging Version 1, I added a 5 stitch seed stitch border to each edge. Looks great, everything is fine. As I near the end of the yarn cake, I realize it is not going to be very big?! Oh no............ that 5 stitch seed stitch border on each side made a noticeable difference in the size. I set it aside to think about it. It didn't take long for a second hank of Blue Heron Beaded Rayon in Kelp to come in. I was most grateful to get one! Knowing that the second hank would be a different dye lot; I was hoping that maybe it wouldn't be a BIG difference. Of course, it was a BIG difference. The only thing to do with yarn from two different dye lots is to knit a couple of rows from one hank and then knit a couple of rows from the other hank. So, I frogged Version 2. Joe is in awe at this point. As you can see below, it has been worth it. At least, I think it has been worth it. Joe would probably disagree with me.
The second hank of yarn added the deep chocolate brown shades while the first hank had the more brilliant purple, turquoise and greens. It truly is a perfect blend of yarns.
I knit the shawl until I thought I had enough for ample fringe. I did run a bit short but always meant to add other yarns to the fringe for a more lux look along with some beading. The two yarns pictured below are Fiesta LaBoheme and an ONline yarn that is yummy. Both yarns are from my stash and make great matches for fringe, I think. (isn't it amazing how we gravitate to the same colors we love)
This colorway has absolutely gorgeous colors.
This last photo shows the colors almost exactly. I am very fond of this shawl already. After all, we have spent a lot of quality time together.

A couple of Ike Photos

I only took a couple of photos during Ike. I couldn't believe that Joe and I were experiencing another major Hurricane in just 3 years. I don't like looking at the photos I took after Rita. By the way, we were without electricity for almost 2 months after Rita. This is the first cloud band that came over our house from Ike. It is early evening and it was quite beautiful!
The picture below is two brave little hummingbirds trying to eat after the winds of Ike had died down a bit! Joe and I were absolutely amazed! Before Ike, we had about 25 hummingbirds at the back porch keeping us busy filling feeders. We (I) had gotten quite attached to them and worried that they would get blown away. These two little guys were flying into the wind to get to the porch. We had brought all the feeders in so the birds would seek shelter. These two were looking for a feeder; so we put one out for them. Here they are, sitting on the feeder as it swayed in the wind and rain. Unbelievable!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Hurricane Ike

One week ago today, Hurricane Ike roared ashore in Galveston, Texas and continued pretty much right up (north) I45. Joe and I spent much of the early morning (beginning about 4am) and the day experiencing the winds of the left eye wall. It was pretty scary. We were without electricity for 5 days having power restored at 10pm Thursday evening. Thank God for the mild temperatures in the days after the storm. Joe and I have fared very well. We had no damage to our house. The big issue for us along with millions of other people was not having electricity. Our generator developed a carburetor problem from the start and refused to work. Joe was really frustrated about that. Once we gave up and emptied out our fridge; he was fine. Once I got over not having tv; I was fine. I am so glad to have the BlackBerry as I could check email, text and get online. Unbelievably, the newspaper delivery resumed immediately; so Joe read the paper in the mornings and I knit. In fact, I knit thru the day most days. Passing time in the evenings was a bit more difficult as there isn't a lot you can do by candle light or lantern. I missed the little book light that I had given to Alexis back during the early Summer. I plan to get another to put on the hurricane shelf with the other supplies. We had to learn how to occupy our time without all our electronic stuff. I found that we could: 1- charge my BlackBerry in the car without having to drive around 2 - boil water with the propane tank for coffee in the mornings (this was a biggie) 3 - read more - Joe had two fairly new books that I had gotten him 4 - listen to the battery powered radio I had gotten at Walgreens for $5 before Ike 5 - sit on the back porch and listen to the hummingbirds who stayed during the storm 6 - take warmish baths mid-day after the sun heated the pipes in the attic After watching Katrina and then personally experiencing Rita, I never thought I would ever again see hurricane devastation that would exceed either of those storms. I was wrong. It has been absolutely horrific and mind-numbing. I am one of the many Houston area residents suffering from PSS - Post Storm Stress. Our 5 days without electricity are trivial compared to what others are now experiencing. I know the loss many people are trying to cope with and it is heartbreaking. They are in my prayers. I did hear something on the radio that made me proud. A lady said that Hurricane Ike was a bad thing but we are in the best place to be when something bad happens - TEXAS. She was so right!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Hurricane Gustav

Joe and I had 13 evacuees with 3 dogs (Dash, Lucy and Meha) in our home! (smiling) We built this house planning ahead for these times that we have to run from hurricanes. We want our children and grandchildren to be here with us instead of on the road. Our guests were: My Mom with Meha (a tiny Chihuahua) Pam, Ryan, Alexis and Jayden Kim, Todd, Matthew and Kayla with Dash (Dachshund) Heather, Qui, Crosby and Sophie with Lucy(Golden Retriever) We filled our guest bedrooms and then put mattresses on the floor. Joe made breakfast in the mornings filling everyone with waffles, bacon, sausage and eggs. During the day we all took off for various things to do since the weather was nice; hot but nice. In the evenings, we cooked. I did have time to cook some before everyone arrived. I made a large pot of White Chili and a very large chicken salad. Everyone brought their "hurricane food" so they had the snacks and drinks that their children prefer. The first full day together, Kim, Todd, and Joe went to the movies and Mom, Pam, Alexis and I with Matthew and Kayla went shopping. We all had a great time. Kayla was due a promised trip to Build a Bear Workshop for her birthday. We all came home tired and hungry. The second day, we all took off in a caravan to the Premium Outlet for a day of shopping. Arriving at lunch, we all ate together then split up agreeing to meet at the entrance at 3pm to go home. My Mom was shopping shoes while others were looking for the Croc store and so on. We kept in touch by cell phone. You would not believe that we ran into a friend from Lake Charles, La! Hi Debbie W. Poppa Joe grilled hamburgers and hot dogs while the kids went to the community pool to swim. We all fell into bed completely exhausted. Pam and Ryan along with Todd and Mother left early the next morning hoping to beat the heavy traffic and get home at a descent time. Heather and Qui left a bit later with everyone else that had evacuated and spent the WHOLE day getting home; a trip that should have taken 4 hrs at the most. Kim, Matthew and Kayla spent another two nights with Joe and I. I meant to take photos while everyone was here. I stayed so busy that I took only a few the first night.

Monday, August 18, 2008

A Picot Edge

My girlfriend, Debbie W., loves a picot edge on her knitted socks. Her version of The Galvez Sock sports a picot edge and looks so nice (see debyknits on Ravelry)! So, I decided I would try the picot too! The yarn pictured is ONLine Supersocke 100 in an orange stripe colorway. (I can't find the darn label) The picot is definitely fun to do and makes a really nice top edge. I have cute little orange picots peeking up over my green stripe in stockinette. I am really hoping I can duplicate this for the second sock. I did pay attention to where in the colors I started my cast on. At least, I think I did.....
What great Fall socks this is going to make! I have been daydreaming about Fall and fireplace weather. It has been so hot; can't even begin to describe it!
Joe and I had a busy weekend. We really hadn't anticipated it as we have tried to stay pretty low key on weekends since our marathon of company a few weeks ago. Saturday we had tickets to THE Kenny Chesney Poets and Pirates Concert at Reliant Stadium. There were several people with him - Keith Urban, Leann Rimes, Gary Allen and Luke Bryan - so we knew it was gonna be several hours of music. We left home at 2pm and returned at 1am. It was a GREAT concert, to say the very least! As one of Barbara's little grandsons' would say, "we got a great day" and I got a Kenny Chesney Tour t-shirt! Joe held up pretty well although he did realize that he doesn't have nearly enough "padding" on his backside for sitting that long. We saw George Michael a couple of weeks ago at Toyota Center and we saw Tim McGraw at Cynthia Woods. Having said that these are all favorites of mine; George Michael has been the best performance; really incredible. Tim McGraw is realllllly nice to look at... Sunday turned out to be a family day as all of Joe's kids AND grandkids were in for the day. Willies was the lucky restaurant that got all 18 of us (9 children; including 2 - 2yr olds and 1- 3 yr old) for lunch! Everyone was fairly well-behaved most of the time! We got home in time to watch Monday night baseball; my favorite program to knit by.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Crystal Palace Yarn's New Panda Soy

Finding a box of yarn in your mail box is one of those fabulous joys in a knitter's life! (the walk back from the mail box always includes shrieking and the happy dance with lots of twirls) The box I received was from Susan at Crystal Palace Yarns. It was full of full of Panda Silk, Panda Silk DK, AND.....the brand new, not yet available, Panda Soy sock yarn! Susan has requested a sock pattern in the yarn pictured below. It is called Cocoa Mint #2001. It looks just like chocolate mint ice cream according to my friend Barbara! Experiencing Panda Soy will be an absolute MUST for every sock knitter. Panda Soy is so soft; it glides along my needles like a dream. Even though it is loosely plied as other Crystal Palace Panda yarns; I don't find that to be a negative aspect at all. It seems to make this yarn even softer! The colors in the pics below are not exactly true to the yarn. There is more mint green and less blue in this colorway. I will take more pics as this design project progresses. I have begun to swatch with Panda Soy. Below is a mini sampler of stockinette and garter to see how the colors fall in the knitting. I really like how they look in reverse stockinette but forgot to snap that picture!
One more snapshot for good measure! If you are a MarketStreet DayKnitter; you will be seeing this yarn on Thursdays!

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Galvez Sock Pattern

Finally! I have completed the Galvez Sock. I love this sock! Here are a couple of pictures. You can go to Ravelry and get the details OR you can -

Joe and I are leaving this afternoon ( in about 2 hrs) for Hilton Head Island. I am excited about doing a "road trip". Joe's a little excited..... I told him I would help drive. I have lots of fun knitting packed. No design projects anywhere in the car.

A closer look at the stitch detail. It is Seafoam Stitch.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Adding to My Stash

I have been spending my knitting time working on a sock designed especially for the 12" circ. You can use stitch patterns that are easier to keep track of on a circ as opposed to dps. It is pretty much worked out as I am knitting a sock from the pattern and I am very pleased with the way it looks! it is called Galvez. I really want to knit something else now. You know, something really easy :O). There won't be any pictures of the sock posted here until the pattern is posted on Ravelry.

After going to Spring Beads in Old Town Spring (which is a GREAT bead shop, BTW, Barbara (barbiegirl) and I casually stopped in at Twisted Yarns. You can't just drive by your LYS without stopping; every knitter knows that. I didn't need yarn but I have been casually stashing some Manos that I
LOVE; not sure what I wanted to knit with it. Anyway, we are looking at sock yarns and there is a cute little shawl hanging there knit out of sock yarn. Barbara comments on how great it would look with jeans. Sooooo, she bought the book, Folk Shawls by Cheryl Oberle, and sent it home with me.

We needed 3 skeins of Silk Garden sock yarn to make the Litla Dimun Shawl
. The Silk Garden sock yarn came in and we went to pick up ours. My choice of Silk Garden sock yarn is pictured below. It is softer than the Noro sock yarn that we have all been knitting with.

While at Twisted Yarns, we cruised on over to the Noro area. Shelly had knitted the Circle Vest in Silk Knits (I have that book and have been wanting to knit the Circle Vest). It looks gorgeous! I shouldn't have tried it on; it is so cute on! She had knit it in Noro Taiyo - a cotton blend Noro yarn pictured below. So, naturally, I left with some of that too, along with a Manos pattern booklet.

This is Blue Heron's beaded rayon. I am taking this on our trip to knit while riding. It's a shawl, can't remember the name of the pattern (I am going to borrow Barbara's book), and I am hoping to bead some fringe. I am wondering if these beads are too big for fringe?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Knitting to Classic Favorites

When home alone, I have classical music on. I especially like to knit to classical music. As I sat and knit this morning, I had this image, in vivid color, of Bugs Bunny being chased by Elmer Fudd going full speed in my head. I have known for some time that most of the older cartoons, the ones I loved to watch, were set to classical music. It played in the background going unnoticed for the most part except in the subconscious mind. The cartoon creators of those days, to their credit and genius, gave children their/our first taste of classical music. I am truly forever grateful to them!

When slightly or greatly distressed, I always go to classical music. It creates a tranquility and clarity of mind that I can't find anywhere else. Along with that clarity, are images of Bugs and Daffy which make me smile.

My "talk and knit" completed projects are pictured below. IGK - instant gratification knitting in sock yarn, from top clockwise - Online Savanne, Online Lime Green, and Socks That Rock which photos a lot prettier than it actually is IMHO (from last year). I use leftover sock yarns to knit ornament covers.

I am working on a sock design in 3 different yarns. I want to see which yarn displays the design at its best. It is a design with lots of yarn overs which is perfect for the 12" Addi. I dropped a stitch this morning and had to tink back 3 rows before I could get the stitches back to what they were supposed to be. I am also knitting garter in the round making them extremely tedious if not damned near impossible to pick up. No pics of the design tho!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

What HAVE I been doing?

After being asked “what have you been doing” by several friends, I stopped to think about that! I must say, we have had guests for 6 weekends in a row including a week-long visit from Alexis; which Joe and I thoroughly enjoyed. Whew! It has been fast and furious with some serious rest days in between. I finish this by saying Kim and Pam with husband and children in tow are coming
for a long 4th of July weekend of fun for everyone!

Knitting? I have been knitting absolutely enjoyable, yet mindless Christmas ornament covers, my Sideways Cardigan from Vogue, the sock I always have OTN or working on a sock design in progress. I must say, the ornament covers have dominated the serious days of rest! On the end table next to me, I placed a large glass jar to put the ornaments in because I LOVE looking at them even when I am not knitting. There are now 11 of them with # 12 joining them in the jar waiting for her cover.

Viewed from the top looking down into the jar -

Side view from my vantage point – ahh - IGK
(instant gratification knitting)

More IGK - my current sock OTN or more precise - OTC (on the circ)

The sock design is completed and I am test knitting the pattern. I went to Twisted Yarns yesterday looking for THE perfect yarn for this design. I wanted it to be the colors of the ocean; blues, greens and a sandy brown AND a very light weight yarn. I chose a beautiful sock yarn, Anne, from Schaeffer Yarn.

Close up of ribbing only to tantalize

The 12” Addi Sock Pattern is completed and will be uploaded to Ravelry ASAP along with the baby sock in sock yarn pattern. Those did take me awhile…….

Last, but certainly the most interesting, I give you the view of the very early morning guests/herd in my back yard when I opened the blinds -

There were 15 wild hogs grazing on Joe's grass! I knew they were around but had never seen them in MY yard. Joe said they needed to get out of the yard. Maybe so, but who's going to make them? Not me! What next? I am watching for the coyotes - I know they are out here too! Luckily, they don't eat grass.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

How To Knit a Sock on a 12" Addi Turbo Circular

Below is ONline Supersocke 100 Savanne. Glorious colors! This is what makes sock knitting so much fun for me - great colors and stripes - lots of stripes!

Because of the fabulous colors, I am going to knit a simple sock. I have knit socks on the 12" Addi Turbo for several years now. It makes the most sense to me. What could possibly be easier? No long cable to deal with as in Magic Loop, no confusion about which needles to knit with as with 2 Socks on 2 Circulars and very little double point use. This project is so easy to pop into my purse, a zip bag, my sock-knitting bag or even a coat pocket. Remember, you can double click on any picture for a close up look!

Casting On

From my personal experience, 60 sts is the least amount of stitches you can cast on and still join to knit in the round on the 12" circular. (I just used 60 sts for a cast on in a sock design I am working on. I did have to push the stitches around the cable knowing that once I got to the actual pattern which has lots of yos ; it would be very, very loose) A 64 stitch cast on is okay, but you have to make certain you don't cast on too tight or you will have to work the sts around the cable. A 68 stitch cast on or more is a breeze. For my sock, I am using a 72 st cast on. I used 64 sts for a couple of years but realized I didn't like the ribbing of my sock stretched too much while I had it on. So, I began to cast on more sts settling on 68 - 72 sts depending on the yarn.

Begin to cast on. Notice that the stitches are not too tight nor too loose. If your stitches are too tight; you won't be able to join. This could take a bit of practice; maybe one or two tries.

Now, you can see that I have cast on all my stitches. Markers have been placed where the needle breaks would be if I were using double points with 18 sts between markers. I have done a cross-over join. Notice that the stitches are NOT stretched taut around the circular.

One row of K2, P2 ribbing has been completed. You will have to move your stitches around the cable at this point. It isn't difficult; it's not "stretching" them around; it's moving them around. A little sheep marker has been added to note BOR (beginning of round).

I have knit approximately 1 inch of ribbing. (a cute picture of the little sheep) At this point, continue on with ribbing until you are ready to start the heel flap.

Starting the heel flap - Knit 1/2 of the sock stitches off the circular onto a double point. For my sock, that would be 36 sts. You are now going to knit back and forth on the heel flap with two double point needles. The circ acts as a stitch holder for the top of the foot stitches. There are two views below, so you can get a good look.

I knit my heel flap 2.5 inches in length. Below, I am ready to turn the heel. This isn't hard; so don't let it intimidate you. It's actually fun - it's just little short rows knit back and forth in the middle of your heel flap.

I know this looks a bit weird, but it's the side view of the heel flap. (Ohhh, now, I see.....)

A simple turned heel is pictured below. Pretty neat, huh?

A little different view of the turned heel -

Picking up gusset stitches - following the pattern, you should finish the heel turn ready to pick up gusset stitches as pictured below. With another double point, insert your needle catching both threads of the edge (slipped) stitch, wrap the yarn and pull it back through. (a pick up and knit completed) You can do this with a small crochet hook until you master the technique.

Gusset stitches have been picked up down one side of the heel flap.

The next step is to knit the stitches left on the circ onto another double point.

With a fourth double point, pick up the stitches across the other side of the heel flap in the same manner as before.

You now have picked up (and knit) the gusset stitches on both sides of the heel flap. You also have your sock on FOUR double point needles. Yikes!! Did you say you didn't like double points?

Looking at your sock from this point of view, with the needle to the right of the turned heel, knit 1/2 of the turned heel stitches onto that same needle (the same one you used to pick up the last set of gusset stitches.) So, I have taken the needle to the right and knit 10 of my turned heel stitches onto it. (it's a good thing I took a picture of this, right?) When you are comfortable with this technique, this step and the one above will be completed at the same time.

Take your Addi and knit the other 1/2 of the stitches(10 for my sock). You are now ready to knit one complete row "back in the round". As you knit the gusset stitches, knit into the back loop! This gives them a little twist making a great looking gusset! (do this only for the gusset stitches) Place a marker here. Continue knitting across the next double point (these are the top of the foot stitches and you can divide these stitches in 1/2 placing a marker between them). Place a marker here. You are back at the gusset stitches for the other side of the heel flap. Remember, knit in the back loop only, and only for these stitches. Knit the last 1/2 of the turned heel stitches. Place a BOR marker here.

You now have your sock back onto the 12" Addi. Knit your sock in the usual manner until you are ready for toe decreases. You will knit the stitches off onto double points to be able to decrease the toe.

I think most sock knitters will be able to do the toes without a tutorial. If you have questions, email me.

(the pattern for this sock on the 12" circular is available as a free download on Ravelry. My Ravelry ID is Dlhaymark.