New Project -- New Needles

Wow. No entries in a while. There's a reason for that -- no knitting for a while.

I stopped at Knit-n-Hook, my LYS, the other day and picked up a skein of Cherry Tree Hill yarn -- Ariel. It's a cotton blend with a lot of texture. The skein has over 400 yards -- lots of yarn to play with.

She was well stocked with various colors, but the first one which caught my eye was Champlain Sunset -- fushia, blue, gold, lots of nice color combinations.

With the high texture value of this yarn, and the many bright colors, I decided to do a very simple garter stitch scarf. I cast on 375 stiches -- I'm knitting it the "long way." I used US size 9 turbo circular needles, but came to the conclusion that the points weren't sharp enough. I pulled out my Knit Picks needles, put a 30 inch cord on each one with an end cap on the free floating end, and then knitted the work to the sharper needle. I thought I would show you a comparison of the needle tips. I'm enjoying the knit picks needles.

Knit Picks needle on the right -- Addi Turbo on the left.

Watercolor Hat

I finished the pink baby hat -- same pattern and needles as the purple one. I never did make it to the store for bamboo needles, so I suffered through the aluminum ones. I've started calling it the watercolors hat.

These hats are is my first try at colorwork. It was really kind of fiddly (if that is a word). I do like this pattern, and I love the little swirl of leaves on the top.

I didn't mention that when the purple hat (which I gave the mom with some other lavender clothes) was opened at the shower and passed around, someone turned it inside out to check out the stranding on the colorwork. Never give a knitting gift at a shower where other knitters are invited. (just kidding).

How about a purple flower for purple month?

Knitpicks Options needles

Temptation began as a catalog. I received the KnitPicks catalog in the mail -- you know the one -- the one announcing that KnitPicks is now carrying their own brand of needles (see them here).

"Hmm. Those look interesting, I thought."

Then I read the review last Thursday from Clara at Knitter's Review. I should label Clara an an enabler, because I pulled out my credit card and ordered a set. Not that I wouldn't have done it anyway, but I might not have done it at right that moment in time.

Why do I think this would be a handy set to have?
  1. The cords look flexible. That's one of my favorite characteristics of Addi Turbos -- no steaming of the cords.
  2. The points look sharp. I don't like dull points.
  3. I like the idea of having every size available to me. I have tons of needles, but I always seem to NOT have the size I need.
  4. I like that I can add to the set as desired (note I did not say as needed).

So my only problem now is the backorder state of the needles. Here's hoping they come soon.

Pink baby hat

July is purple month. Purple can be a great color, although I don't knit with it very often. When we were at Disney in March, I saw bunches of purple, so here is a sample.

Some purple flowers (pansies?) and a purple castle.

On the knitting front, I have been a BAD knit blogger. I haven't posted since the end of May. But since this is "knitting journal," so to speak, and because I can do what I want, I added posts to June, back-dating them. Today's post, though, is "live."

I'm not working on anything purple, though. I'm making another baby hat, this one for a member of a small group I belong to at church. This hat is for Rachael.

It is also made with the Dreambaby DK yarn, this time in a multicolor yarn with pink/green/blue (202) and a soft pink (119) for the stems and leaves.

Just so you'll know, I hate these needles. I need to pick up some bamboo ones. These keep slipping out of the stitches. This yarn is so SOFT, that it has almost no body and lots of drape. It drapes right off these aluminum needles. And who needs that aggravation? Not me.

Blue Dock

End of the Blue month. Look at the little blue building way out there. Love the blue sky! This is a dock at Calabash, North Carolina, right outside where we went to eat that night.

Plum Hat

I finished the plum hat. It is as cute as any hat I have ever made. Actually, I've never made a baby hat before, but this one sure is cute. Look at the top -- don't you love those leaves?

The pictures aren't that great. I finished it late at night, and needed to wrap it, so the color is off and the photos are kind of blurry. But take my word for it -- it's cute.

The yarn photo is a better representation of color, since it was taken outside

Yarn -- Plymouth Yarn Dreambaby DK in purple (112) and green (111). I used more than half of the purple skein, and not much of the green skein.

Needles -- Size six double pointed aluminum.

This hat is for a little baby girl due in July (?) to Niccole and Mark. May the Lord bless her and keep her.

Baby hats and Boat bag

While at the beach, we went to Pawley's Island, and I went into Island Knits. I really like this store.

While there, I picked up, of course, some yarn. I received a shower invitation, and thought baby hats might be fun to knit.

I bought Dreambaby DK from Plymouth Yarn -- so soft, I can't describe it, and washable. I bought a purple and kelly green (112 and 111) for a plum hat, and a pink/green/blue (202) plus a pink (119). The pattern is by Ann Norling -- fruit cap pattern.

While at the beach, I bought a new bag -- for knitting, of course.

Kind of fits with Blue month, doesn't it?

Blue moon

Blue moon, anyone? Actually, it wasn't technically a blue moon, but it was a moon at dusk, and my camera kind of turned the whole thing blue.

Can you tell we are at the beach?

Thought it fit in well with this month.

DNA scarf started

Why do I do this? Why do I start another project when I already have so many on the needles? I've started the DNA scarf -- free pattern here.

The pattern calls for a yarn I've never heard of, and neither had The Stitche Niche, so I went with Plymouth Yarn Encore D.K. in color 256. It's kind of a creamy color. It is also washable, which is probably a good idea in this instance.

I'm making it as a Holiday gift for my boss -- washable will work best, trust me.

The pattern calls for size 4 needles, but since my yarn is probably a little thicker than the one specified, so I'm going with US size 5. Notice that they are Lantern Moon needles -- love them.

Maybe I'll finish it by the Neutral month -- hopefully I'll finish it by December.

Blue bag

Blue is my favorite color. I don't know what it is about blue that appeals to me, but I love it. Happy to be in the month of Blue.

I have a blue project going -- it's a purse based on the Fibertrends pattern called Fabulous felt totes. I've shown you the yarn before -- here. The color of the yarn is probably best seen in the picture in this post, not the one in the basket.

Both the yarn and the pattern came from The Stitch Niche in Lexington.

End of Green

End of the Green month -- on to Blue.

Anne Socks

As one last project for the month of Green, I have a start on a pair of socks. The yarn for these socks is a Schaeffer yarn called Anne -- 60% merino superwash wool, 25% mohair, 15% nylon in a green colorway (maybe like the "greens" on this page? #21?). One skien is 560 yards -- plenty for a pair of socks. I'm using the Yarn Harlot's sock "recipe" in her book Knitting Rules.

In the spirit of trying something new, I thought I would do these socks with two circular needles. To get an acceptable look to the fabric, I had to go to a size 1 for the needles. They are addi turbos -- one is only a 16" needle -- I really find these too short -- they hurt my hand, and make my knitting slow down. I loose my pivot point on the needles.

Anyway, what you see is what you get -- that's all I've done so far.

Mary's Shawl

Wonder of wonders, another project finished. Two in one month? Unbelievable. This one, however, practically knit itself. A friend of mine lost her mother the week before last. The day I heard the news, I was thinking about her and decided to knit this project -- a prayer shawl -- for her.


Yarn: Praire Silk. I've never used this yarn before, but our LYS had it on hand. It's similar to Lamb's Pride, which I have used before, except this yarn has an added 10% silk, which gives it a very slight sheen. I loved this yarn as I knit with it. It was easy to wind from skein to ball. My husband, who is my swift, especially liked it, as it made his job super easy. It did have some odd, undyed white slubs, which I started to pick out, but then just left in.

I used five colors (since my LYS didn't have enough of any one color to do a solid shawl):

  • Franc Framboise
  • Baht Blue
  • Ruble Red
  • Guilder Green
  • Real Royal
Who thinks up these color names? I used two skeins of each, except for Baht Blue (1 skein).

Stitch Pattern: Trinity stitch from the Prayer Shawl site with a slip stitch edge. This is a very simple pattern, but I enjoyed its simplicity as I knit it. I cast on (57 stitches) and bound off with size 15 needles to have a looser edge than the size 11 would provide. It is narrower and longer than I anticipated. I didn't count rows -- I just knit until each skein was gone, which was so VERY simple.

Needles: I used US size 11. I thought these might be a little big, but I liked the lacy look they produced. I finally settle on my Lantern Moon needles -- they were a pleasure with this yarn.

Finishing: The label specifies no blocking with yarn, so I did no blocking. Prior to adding fringe, I gave it a quick cold water (ick -- cold water) bath with shampoo and conditioner and some equally cold rinses. The yarn wrapper specifies adding vinegar to the final rinse, but I was washing it to remove the odd smell our LYS adds to yarn. Adding vinegar seemed counter productive. Since there was no color bleeding, I skipped the vinegar.

Fringe: Berroco suede yarn was used as fringe in the color Calamity Jane. Again, I can't help but ask, but who thinks up these colors names? Why would Calamity Jane be considered purple? What does the name Calamity Jane tell you about the color itself?

Resources: The Prayer Shawl site has many shawl patterns from which to choose, color symbolism explanations, and prayers.

May God's grace be upon this shawl...warming, comforting, enfolding and embracing. May this mantle be a safe haven... a sacred place of security and well-being...sustaining and embracing in good times as well as difficult ones. May the one who receives this shawl be cradled in hope, kept in joy, graced with peace, and wrapped in love.
(from the Prayer Shawl site)

Intertwined Cable Scarf

I finished the Intertwined Cable scarf from the Pattern a Day calendar, March 14-15. It was a gift for my husband. The first scarf I made for him didn't work out so well -- rolling edges -- I hate them. Anyway, this one was an unhidden surprise. I knit it right in front of him -- he even helped me wind the yarn for it, but he didn't know it was for him until I handed it to him, with one of my little Sandpiper Tags.


Yarn: Cascade 220 in a forest green shade. I used more than one skein, but not all of two
Needle size: US 7
Modifications to pattern: None, except that I did find an error in the symbol key. I emailed the publisher about this, and they quickly sent me confirmaiton of my suspisions and a file with the correct key. These corrections can now be found on their error page for the calendar.

I enjoyed this pattern. It was great fun watching the cables emerge! This is a seaman's scarf, which means that it has a neck "section" that is narrower than the rest of the scarf. The neck was done in a ribbing pattern.

Green Month Kickoff

It's green month for Project Spectrum. How about a couple of green photos? The first is a little odd, but it was so GREEN, I had to take its picture. While we were at Epcot in March, we ate in a Japanese restaurant. This is the avocado that they use in the sushi. So beautifully sliced; so GREEN. I don't even like avocado.

Have you noticed how green it gets as summer arrives. During a walk in our city park this past week, I couldn't help but notice how surrounded by green I was.

Happy Green Month!

Goodbye to Yellow and Orange

One last picture to finish off the yellow/orange Project Spectrum month. This is the flower of a Poplar tree. On to Green.

April project -- Stitch Markers

I was really not interested in knitting with yellow or orange yarn, I as I mentioned before, but thought making some stitch markers with these colors sounded interesting. So here is my Yellow/Orange Project Spectrum project. The metal is these markers is gold-tone, except one copper colored bead (still in the yellow / orange theme.

While at the bead store, I also found some really pretty beads in shades of blue, which also became stitch markers. For both of these sets, I used rings that will fit (hopefully) sock needles, a few for regular needles, and one that will go up to a US size 17 -- not sure if I'll ever need that, but there it is.

Scarf progress and new needles

I'm still working on the cabled seaman's scarf from the 2006 Pattern a Day calendar. Pardon the blurriness of the photo, but the flash just didn't highlight the cables, which is the most interesting part of the scarf. I'm enjoying this scarf, and I am learning the "workings" of cables -- which way they twist, etc. Fun!

We're in Lexington, and I bought a pair of Lantern Moon rosewood needles, size US7. These are the smallest rosewood needles I have. I am constantly worried about snapping them in half. Not very relaxing to knit and worry about your needles. Anyway, I switched the scarf from my US7 addis to these rosewoods. In her new book (Knitting Rules!) the Yarn Harlot mentions that she likes to knit with staight needles because it links her to all the knitters who have come before. Using these wood needles and wool yarn, I can see what she means.

Stitch Markers

I've been thinking about Project Spectrum -- yellow and orange. I don't have a knitting project planned with these colors -- just not my favorite (I'm all ready for green, though!). Instead I was planning on stitch markers -- I have a weakness for stitch markers.

So I went digging through my bead stash. No yellow. No orange. Told you they weren't my favorites. I did find some dark blue beads, though, so I went with those. Maybe I'll stop at Dandelion Beads in Lexington this weekend and pick up some appropriately colored beads.

Speaking of stitch markers, I joined the Project Spectrum Sheep club -- a different colored sheep stitch marker each month. For more info, click on the button on my sidebar (That's a picture of the sheep -- aren't they cute?).

Knitting Rules!

I just finished the Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's new book, "Knitting Rules! The Yarn Harlot's Bag of Knitting Tricks."

Again, she does not ever disappoint. Such a great book! I enjoyed every minute of it. I thought about listing some of the great lines from the book, but I don't want to spoil it for you.

It's different from her other books -- this one is not knitting stories, but is instead a book of -- well -- hints. These include a generic sock recipe, a few basic hat patterns, information about supplies and gauge. It make it sound dry, but that's why the Yarn Harlot is selling books, and I am not. Read this one. You'll laugh yourself silly and learn some great hints.

And, look, it's kind of orange, so it came out in the right month. It's the only orange thing I've found so far.

I ordered Mason-Dixon's new book today and pre-ordered Wendy Knit's new book. Waiting for my mail to arrive!


Knitting progress is such that a new picture of the same scarf isn't going to be that entertaining. The cabled seaman scarf is progressing; I'm almost ready for the ribbing.

Spring is just starting to stick out its nose around here. I'm so desperate for color and for spring that I actually took a picture of a dandelion today. Doesn't it just scream YELLOW? Another one for Project Spectrum.

Fun from Iceland

We're heading back to red for a moment, because I have something cool to show you. I got a card from Carola of Sheep and No City today (my Project Spectrum Post card partner for March).

First, because I love to look at stamps, take at look at the RED envelope (now, why didn't I think of that?) Cool stamps. I wonder why Iceland has a mouse on a stamp. The roses are beautiful. I think I owe Carola some stamps -- when I took her card to the post office, the post office guy just printed off the postage and stuck it on the envelope -- very unattractive.

And here is a postcard from Hafnarfjörður. Carola told me that near her are several streets named for waves -- different kinds of waves. Isn't that interesting?

Also in the brilliantly red envelope was corrugateded folder -- red, of course, sealed shut with a --wait for it -- red safety pinIngeniousus. Inside the folder were pink pull tabs -- visible in the picture -- and a CD with what Carola calls red music. I'm listening to the CD now -- it's wonderful music, and they are singing in -- I guess -- Icelandic. I'm very much enjoying it.

So, to celebrate the reception of such a great mail surprise, here are some facts for you about Iceland (which I just looked up, because I feel extra uninformed):

  • Capital = Reykjavík -- I did know that.
  • Area = 103,000 km² / 39,758 sq mi. (Glaciers: 12,000 km², lava: 11,000 km², lakes: 3,000 km², arable land: 1,100 km²).
  • Name = Lýðveldið Ísland
  • Icelandic alphabet: a á b c d ð e é f g h i í j k l m n o ó p q r s t u ú v w x y ý z þ æ ö

Project Spectrum -- Yellow

With all the blue and green knitting going on around here, I probably won't be knitting with yellow. So to contribute to Project Spectrum Yellow/Orange, how about some flowers?

These are from Disney (my trip last month).

I have no idea what kind of tree this is, but I like it, and I am guessing that it might be part of my yellow Postcard. How about some yellow flowers? Beautiful. No orange yet, and no good photos of my daffodils, but those are coming.

Florida -- scarf and color

First, the cascade 220 in the green found a new project. It's a cabled Seaman's scarf from the Knitting Pattern a Day calendar. I was thinking about what to do with it, liked the idea of cables, and actually thought of the Irish Hiking Scarf, but then this Seaman's scarf appeared in my calendar, and I jumped on it. I like it so far. Here is the project so far, sitting on my pool chair in the Florida sun. The coffee stirrer is not for decoration. I forgot my cable needle, and the coffee stirrer was the best that I can do. I still haven't mastered knitting without a cable needle.

The visit to Florida (Orlando) included a trip to Epcot and The Magical Kingdom. It is winter where I live, and I'm just starting to see color. In Disney World, color is everywhere! So here are some pictures of red and pink to finish off the month for Project Spectrum. I'm sure you'll see more color from Disney in the coming months -- yellow, green, and purple for sure.

First up, pink petunias.

Then geraniums:

We had lunch in a Japanese restaurant in Epcot, and the soup was so pretty in its red bowl.

The evening ended with fireworks -- here's some pink ones. (And click here for a red Disney castle).

Cascade and Quest

Two new projects are underway (and these are not being knit from stash yarn -- well, maybe a little, but not really).

First, I purchased a beautiful dark green (color 9447)
Cascase 220 to make the Knitting Pure and Simple Turtleneck Shell (having more confidence since the Olympics). I did some swatching, and really didn't like the yarn at the gauge specified in the pattern (actually using one needle size smaller -- US7). It just looked too loose for a shell. So I decided to hold off on that pattern and to go for something else.

I also bought some Cascade in color 9449, which is a very nice dark blue. With it, I bought a ball of Trendsetter Charm in color 617, which the Knitting Garden calls Blueberry Fields. I'm going to use these two yarns to make a felted bag, pattern by Fiber Trends. The pattern is called
Fabulous Felt Totes.

I'm going to Florida for the weekend of my birthday, and thought the bag, with large bamboo needles, would be a good airplane project.

In the spirit of Project Spectrum, I also bought some pink Berroco Quest and some beads to make a pink scarf. We'll see how that goes. The Quest seems very slippery.

Firenze scarf

In the spirit of frugality, I've been trying to use some stash yarn in March for some projects. The Jazz scarf was from stash, and so is this one. It was knit using teal softwist from Berroco and Plymouth Firenze in color 438 (details and links in this and this post). I held the two yarns together -- six stitches -- garter stitch using size 17 (US) needles. I still need to wind in the ends, and I'm thinking I'll add softwist fringe with some beads I have that match the yarn color.

I really like the color of this one, especially in person. It looks a little washed out in the picture.

Bitteroot Socks

How about some finished socks? I first mentioned there in this post. They are knitted with Mountain Colors Bearfoot sock yarn in colorway Bitteroot Rainbow. I thought that was a nice way to begin project spectrum. I really love the yarn. Very soft. These are knit using a Double Eyelet pattern from Mountain Colors and size US 2 double pointed needles.

The only changes I made in the pattern was to knit the cuff a little shorter (by about an inch).

Thoughts? I'm not sure that I like lacy socks. These aren't terribly lacy, but they do have holes made by the eyelet, and I think I would rather not have those. I love the yarn, but wonder how it will wear. All in all, I think I like these socks better, even though the yarn is scratchier.

Sock pair #1 for the 200socks KAL.

Project Spectrum -- Saturday Jazz

We went to my son's Jazz Festival this Saturday. To have something to do during all of the waiting time, I took a skein of Crystal Palace Squiggle yarn in red, a ball of Berroco Softwist in red and a pair of US size 15 needles. With these, I made the this scarf, which I'm calling Saturday Jazz. One scarf in one day. The "pattern," which isn't really a pattern, was a six stitch garter scarf.

The music was great, and the scarf is "jazzy."

Now let me ask you this -- what kind of knitter finished the second sock of a pair up to mattress stitching the toe closed and then stops? Me. I have the second sock of a pair finished up to the mattress stitch, and I can't seem to find the time to complete it. Argh.

GOLD and 4000 Hits

How about that gold medal? Isn't that great?

As of this moment, Sandpiper Knits has had 4000 hits from the time I began using StatCounter to count hits. Wow. Welcome.