Christmas Gift Scarf

Malabrigo Scarf for Mom
While we were in Asheville, I picked up three skeins of Malabrigo Twist yarn.  I've never knit with this yarn before.  Very soft, very cooshy.  I liked it.

The colors reminded me of my mom, but the yarn store didn't have three hanks in all the same color -- I bought three different colors and worked out a way to use them all in the scarf.

Yarn:  Malabrigo Twist yarn, one hank each in Cookie, Velvet Grape and Liquid Amber.  I used all of the Cookie, and almost all of the other two.

Needles:  Knitpicks Options (metal) in US size 9 with a 60 inch cable.

Pattern:  No pattern, I just made something up.  I cast on 300 stitches with color A (Liquid Amber).  I knit the scarf in moss stitch (knit purl knit purl, etc, and then on the next row, I knit the purls and purled the knits).  At the end of each row, I broke the yarn, leaving enough of a tail for fringe.  The patten of colors I used was 2 of color A (Cookie), 1 row of color B (Velvet Grape), 2 rows of color C (Liquid Amber), 1 row of B, 2 rows of A, 1 row of B, 2 rows of C, etc.  I hope that makes sense.

Size:  I cast on 300 stitches, thinking that would give me a 5 foot long scarf, knit lengthwise.  I ended up with a giant 7 foot, six inch scarf (not counting the fringe).  Giant, I tell you!  I should have cast on fewer stitches.  It is six inches wide. 

Red Scarf Project

Red Scarf 2010
I've always been interested in the Red Scarf Project of the Orphan Foundation of America, but I've never remembered about it in time to actually knit a scarf.

This year I did.  I bought the yarn at Yarn Paradise in Asheville, and knit the scarf.

Yarn:  I used two skeins of Cascase 220 yarn -- one in red, and one in a red/black combination. I alternated them in 2 row stripes. The red in both yarns was the same.

Needles:  KnitPicks metal Options, US size 8, on a 24 inch cord.

Pattern:  No pattern, really.  I cast on 38 stitches and knit a 2 x 2 ribbing.

Size:  I didn't measure it, but it was my normal "at least five feet long" scarf, with no fringe.

I sent it to the Foundation on December 14; I hope they'll accept it a day late (the deadline was December 15).  Before I mailed it, I said a prayer with it.

Knotty Gloves

Another Finished Object!

Knotty Glove
Last night, I picked up my Knotty gloves and finished them.  The last of the pair (and the first started -- see this post) had been waiting patiently other higher priority projects to be finished.  I just had to add two fingers and a thumb, plus weave in all the ends.

Yarn:  Socks that Rock, Lightweight, in Spinel.  I ordered one hank, and have some left, so it took less than one hank.  Love the yarn; love the color.  Might need to find some scarf yarn that echoes the teal color.

Needles:   2.5mm double pointed harmony needles from Knitpicks.  These were sock needles.  I know they sell shorter needles that might be more appropriate for fingers of a glove, but short needles hurt my hands.  The longer ones are fine, and I like double pointed needles.

Pattern:  Knotty Gloves by Julie Mueller.  This is a free downloadable pattern.  It is easy to follow; nice pattern.  I really like the cabling work on the back of the hand.  The only change I made is that I knit the cuff about half the length the pattern calls for.  If you are knitting them, keep that in mind when you consider yarn usage.  I imagine one hank would still have done it, but I'm not sure.

Skills that are helpful to know for this pattern:  Cabling, and if you can do it without a needle, the knitting will go faster.  Here's a link that helped me when I first learned to do this -- excellent skill to master.

I wonder if I should have gone down a needle size; I seem to be learning that I knit at a looser gauge that what yarn and patterns normally call for, and of course, I didn't knit a swatch.  They are OK in fit, but might have been better a little smaller.

Knitting gloves is great.  You just try them on and knit the fingers to a custom length.  That's really cool.

My only bummer about these gloves was that as I was finishing the weaving of ends, I noticed what looked like a moth hole in the cuff.  Now I"m worried I have moths!

I would also like to know if there is a way to knot gloves without getting holes between the fingers.  I go back when I'm finished and sew them together, but why are they there in the first place?

Asheville Stash Building

Yarn Paradise, Asheville, NC
I've been posting about our trip to Asheville in relationship to the Traveling Scarf, so I thought I would post about the yarn portion of that trip.

We were very leisurely about our visit to Asheville, sleeping as late as we wanted and not keeping any kind of set schedule.  It was great! 

Before we went into Biltmore Estate, we stopped at a great yarn store called Yarn Paradise.  I enjoyed the store.  It is located in Biltmore Village.  Next time I'm there, I would love to spend some time in just that shopping area.  It looked great!

 While at the store, I bought lots of yarn.  You can match the list with the pictures in the collage.  Count the squares starting from the top left corner and counting across.  Pictures 1 and 2 are the top row and so on:

  • I picked up two skeins of Cascade 220 -- 100% wool yarn in red and a red/black combination.  I have since used this yarn to knit a Red Scarf for the Red Scarf project.  (pictures #7 and #8)
  • Yarns from Yarn Paradise
  • I bought three skeins of Malabrigo Twist -- one each of Cookie (#2), Velvet Grapes (#1) and Liquid Amber (#3).  I've since used these three skeins for a Christmas present scarf (post coming).
  • I bought two skeins of Koigu -- one in a mainly blue combination (Koigu 470 - #5) and one in a combination of teals (Koigu 581 - #6). 
  • I also picked up a Claudia Handpaints in Plumicious (#4).

Traveling Scarf

In November, Steve and I took a trip to Asheville, North Carolina to spend the weekend, visiting Biltmore Estate. We didn't leave until after a board meeting I had in the evening, so we drove in the dark the entire trip south. I knew I would need knitting that I could do in the dark -- a simple scarf was the ticket.

I took Wednesday off from work after we got back and went to see two movies, and then one with the my guys on Friday, and again on Saturday -- the scarf made a great movie knitting project, especially for Harry Potter.

So, meet another finished object -- my traveling scarf. It is knit from yarn purchased in Alaska, knit on a trip to North Carolina (through a total of six states) and then knit on a trip to Harry Potter land.

Yarn: As I said, I purchased the yarn in Scagway, Alaska. It is Raven Frog Fiber Arts Marvelous Merino (superwash yarn). The color is Princess Matsoutoff's Gown -- a nice combination of blue, green and purple. I like how the colors zig zag through the scarf. It was a skein of 550 yards -- I have a nice amount left.

Needles: The final choice was US size 7 needles. I started it with US size 8, and knit about four inches. On the way back from Asheville, I finally gave into the idea that the fabric was too holy and drapey -- I ripped and started again with the US 7 - much better. I also liked the flow of color using the US 7.

Pattern: Once again, it its the Yarn Harlot's One Row Handspun Scarf (Ravelry link) . I cast on 38 stitches and knit about 5 feet.

What I have learned

I was listening to Cast On (a podcast) on the way home this evening. The conversation the Brenda was having with someone (I can't remember who, now) was about knitting mistakes and how to correct them.

I started listing (in my head) the most useful things I have learned about knitting since I started in 2005. Here is some of my list, in no particular order:

  • I know how to differentiate between a knit stitch and a purl stitch by the way they lay on the needle. This is immeasurable helpful! (A knit stitch looks like a scarf around a neck; a purl stitch looks like the scarf is on backwards -- isn't that a funny way to remember it?)
  • I have learned how to drop a stitch and correct a mistake that is a few rows back. I can make cables twist in the opposite direction (changing the direction from the wrong way to the right way). I can pick up a dropped stitch and knit it up the line. I can correct a missing decrease and add in an increase. Corrections such as this, made in a vertical manner, have saved me endless amounts of tinking and ripping.
  • I have learned to count. Count. Count. Count the rows and make sure the counts are correct. Use markers. Use whatever it takes to make sure the number of stitches on the needles is correct.
  • I've learned how to read a chart. I love charts.
  • I've learned if there is a mistake that is bothering me, it will always bother me. It is best to fix it, even if it means starting over, or unknitting many rows.
  • I've learned if there is something I don't know how to do, that someone on the Internet already knows how to do it, and has posted the information, probably with a video. I just need to look for it.
  • I've learned how to knit continental style. This awakened my sleeping crochet skills of yarn tensioning -- I knit better continental style, and I knit faster.
  • I've learned how to knit cables without a cable needed. Tremendously helpful.
  • There are only two stitches, and very little is too hard. It's all just those two stitches and following directions.
  • I've learned to remember that knitting is supposed to be fun. If it's not fun, why do it?

Traveling Scarf

We drove to Asheville last weekend, leaving Ashland after my Emmaus Board meeting. I knew that meant that we would be driving in the dark, so I wanted a simple knitting project that I could knit without seeing it.

I took the Raven Frog yarn I bought in Alaska and started a One Row Yarn Harlot scarf (38 stitches wide).

I knit on the way down and while we were in Asheville using a US size 8 needle. I just didn't like it. I kept trying to talk myself into liking it, but no luck.

On the way back home, I frogged the six inches I had knit, and started over, using a US size 7 needle. Much better.

Currently, the scarf is about 4 feet long. Picture soon -- I really like how the color is dancing through the scarf.

Knotty Gloves

As I finished the Seasons Shawl, I had a yen to knit gloves. I found a pattern of Ravelry called Knotty Gloves by Julia Mueller -- free pattern for some very attractive gloves. She knit the pair in the pattern using Socks that Rock yarn in a color called Grawk.

I like Socks that Rock yarn, so I opened up the computer and went searching on their website for yarn colors that appealed to me. Have you ever done that? Do you know how long you can look at pictures of yarn on the Socks that Rock website?

Hours later, I placed an order for one hank of Spinel and one of Corbie. Spinel is a shaded solid color -- one color, dark into light and back again. Corbie is part of the Raven clan group of yarn -- black yarn overdyed with other colors (Grawk is also one of those). I used the Spinel to work on the gloves.

I started them on the way to Kansas City as a traveling project. One the flight to the city and then while in town, I finished the hand and one finger of one glove. Knowing that knitting gloves requires snipping the yarn and starting another finger, I put the first glove aside and started on the second one for the flight back -- no scissors required.

So far, the second glove is finished and I have two fingers and a thumb to finish for the first glove. A very strange way to knit gloves!

Image: Glove on the base of the John Wesley statue at WV Wesleyan College (although you can't tell).

Season Shawl Finished!

I'm behind! I have much to post and haven't been keeping up with it. I have some time this morning (before I keep my date with Mr. Potter), so hopefully, I can write some posts and catch up!

First of all, a Finished Object. A Big Finished Object. Meet my completed and blocked Fall/Winter Seasons Shawl. (That's a Ravelry link.) I purchased the kit to make the shawl from Knitpicks, but once it sold out, that haven't re-offered it (hence, no Knitpicks link). Click this link, and see my blog posts relating to the shawl.

I have knit lace before, but never something this large, so it was a New Experience for me. I liked it!

The shawl is designed to move from the beginning of fall (the green section) through several autumn colors in a leaf lace knitting pattern. The fall season fades to winter as burgundy transitions to blue. The blue section is "snow" followed by midnight blue "snow drifts" and then the final granite "icicles." I liked the concept, and I like the finished project.

I had a few challenges with is. First, I must knit at a gauge that is larger than that of the test knitters at KnitPick. I read many posts on Ravelry about the shawl, and some people were running out of yarn. I ordered extra -- great idea, since as I ran out, I had what I needed.

There are a few errors in the pattern, as noted on the Knitpicks site. Anyone knitting it should go and get the errata page! I also found a difficulty in the row that knits into the triple yarn overs -- it's very near the end of the pattern. There is an extra stitch that is not accounted for in the pattern. I just knit it, but I'm not sure that is the best result -- the point of each icicle is a little off to the side because of the extra stitch. No big deal, but I would rather it be symmetrical.

So, its specifications:

Pattern: KnitPicks Fall/Winter Seasons Shawl (not available at this point from KnitPicks)

Yarn: KnitPicks Shadow lace yarn (held double) as follows (number following color name is the number of hanks of yarn I used):
Forest Heather -- 1
Persimmon Heather - 1
Sunset - 2 (one more than kit)
Vineyard - 1
Nocturne Heather - 3 (one more than kit)
Midnight - 2 (one more than kit)
Basalt - 2 (one more than kit) -- I only needed the second hank for two rows!
Needles: I used KnitPicks Harmony needles, US size 5, and I just kept changing the cord as I needed it to be longer. I bound off with double pointed, US size 9. It didn't need to be double pointed, but it worked just great.

Size: Oh, bigger than the pattern says it will be (which explains the extra yarn). It measures 104 inches across the top. I can't remember the back to point measurement. I like the size. It's large, but great to wrap up in.

Images: I took the shawl with me for a college visit with my son. I knew we would be in places that would make great backgrounds for a photo shoot. The first one -- the official "finished object" photo, is on the campus of West Virginia Wesleyan College. The next one is in our room, and it shows the transitions and stitches to best advantage. The last one is at Stonewall Resort, outside at sunrise. I picked it because it shows the holes (isn't that a strange reason to pick an image?).

One Row Scarf

Finally! Another finished object. I wanted to knit a scarf that would match my red and black coat. The Knitpicks yarn, Kavanagh, jumped out at me.

Pattern: This is knit using the Yarn Harlot's one row Handspun scarf pattern. It's easily memorized -- it's only one row that is repeated over and over. This is not the first scarf I have knit using this pattern. I always like the outcome. it's reversible and results in a soft, wafflely scarf that has lots of loft, and keeps you warm.

Yarn: I used Shamock, a heavy worsted weight yarn from Knitspicks. The color is called Kavanagh. I used 5 skiens. I still have a couple of more in case I want to add fringe.

Needles: I used size US 9 needles.

Seasons update

How about an update on the Seasons shawl? I like the colors -- each one more than the last. I could leave behind the green beginning color and the orange one that follows. The two of them together look like peas and carrots.

I've run out oaf yarn a coupe of times --at the end of the sunset section and the noctune section.

I'm enjoying the knitting, but will be grateful to be finished.

Next up -- gloves.

Kilkenny Cable Shawl

I finally got the Kilkenny cable shawl outside for it's photography session. It has been so hot that I didn't want to touch wool while in the heat.

Pattern: The pattern is from Folk Shawls by Cheryl Oberly. It's a great pattern -- the name is Kilkenny Cable Shawl. It is, as you can see in the image, a rectangular shawl, and it is knit across its length -- from one long edge to the other. In other words, there are many stitches on the long circular needle at once. There are published errors.

Yarn: The shawl is knit in Knitpicks Wool of the Andes, in colorway Blue Ink (which they don't carry anymore). I used 15 skeins of the yarn. I disappointed that Knitpicks no longer carries Blue Ink. It's a great, deep navy, and I'll miss it. The images in this post don't show how dark the blue is -- the sun was too bright to get a good color rendering of the blue. This picture is probably closer to it's deep blue color.

Needles: I knit this using Knitpicks Harmony circular needles, US size 7.

Finished project: After I blocked the shawl, the size was 31 inches by 74 inches. I started the project at the beginning of February and finished it at the end of July, but that's probably not indicative of the amount of time it takes to knit it -- I didn't knit on the shawl continuously; there were periods of non-knitting.

Knitting Update

The Seasons Shawl is moving along. I have finished the 7th row of the sunset/vineyard section, and I ran out of sunset. Luckily, I had ordered extra, so I'm still moving along. It looks a little crunched right now, but I imagine after blocking, the leaves will pop right out.

I haven't had a chance to take pictures of the cable shawl, but once it gets cool enough so that I'm not sweating with the wool shawl, I capture its bit and bytes.

I'm almost done with the movie scarf -- Kavanagh scarf. I almost finished the fifth skein, and am contemplating fringe with skein six. It has been great movie knitting because I can do it in the dark. Last Friday, just as the movie started, my knitpicks option needle fell apart, dropping all my stitches. I was able to hold it together for a while and knit, but I finally gave up. After an email to Knitpicks, the needles have been replaced. Great customer service.


Knitting Seasons

First, the Kilkenny Cable Shawl is finished! Once I block it, I'll post pictures and all of its finished stats.

I've started a new project -- Knitpicks Fall/Winter Seasons Shawl (that's a Ravelry Link). The picture is of half of the beginning of the shawl. It begins with green and then switches to a green/persimmon combination for one pattern repeat. After that, I'll drop the green and pick up more persimmon. It's knit with two stands of Shadow lace yarn held together.

I'm enjoying watching the leaves appear in the pattern. I haven't knit a lace yarn shawl before, so this is new. I have knit from charts (love charts!) and with the stitches necessary for a lace shawl, so this is kind of a next step.

The Kavanagh one row scarf is still on the needles, as well.

Stash and Shawl Update

I recently placed an order with Knitpicks. What did I pick up?

  • A skein of Stroll Tonal in DeepWater. I love the color. It is HOT and BRIGHT outside today, and I think my pictures of rather overexposed -- the colors look lighter than they really are. The Deep Waters is darker than the picture seems. It's a lovely combination of blues and purples.
  • I have been thinking of a scarf that would match my red and black jacket. Most overdyed yarns I find are not those two color combinations. I found Shamrock at the Knitpicks site. The Kavanagh colorway has a red main color (3 ply) with a fourth ply of black/gray/white. I was going to a couple of movies Friday, and wanted to be able to knit while I watched. The cable shawl is too complicated to knit in the dark, so I took a skein of the Shamrock yarn and needles with me. I cast on (30 stitches) at lunch and knit in the dark -- the whole skein. It wasn't until after the movie that I was able to look at what I had knit. Kind of a cool experiment. It's the Yarn Harlot's One Row Scarf pattern (not really a pattern, but a fun and easy knit that results in a fabric I like a lot. Details of the pattern are at my Missouri River Scarf page. In that one, the colors in the overdyed yarn kind of zigzagged. They are doing that in this scarf, too, which I love.
  • Knitpicks put out a new pattern called the Seasons Shawl (Ravelry link). I bought it in Fall/Winter. I think it will be my next project after the Kilkenny shawl is finished. The yarn that came with the kit is all Knitpicks Shadow. Below (lighter than they really are), are, from left to right: Basalt, Nocturne Heather, Vineyard, Forest Heather, Sunset, Persimmon Heather and Midnight.
Speaking of the Kilkenny Cable Shawl, it's moving along. I have between 24 and 25 inches finished. It goes to 28 inches. I'm very ready to be finished and to block that baby!

Beach Stash Enhancement

While at the beach this past week, we went to Island Knits in Murrells Inlet.

There was stash enhancement:

  1. Two skeins of Mille Colori by Lang. The shop owner had a scarf knit on large needles with this yarn; I liked it.
  2. One skein of Plymouth Yarn Happy Feet.

Hot Shawl!

I'm still working on the Kilkenny cable shawl. I really like the pattern. I like the knitting. I thought when I first started that it would be something that would be difficult because I would need to continually refer to the chart, but not so. It is a four row pattern repeat, and very easy to memorize. Even so, it is still interesting enough to knit without getting bored.

I need to look at the pattern to see how wide it is supposed to be. The rows are very long, because it is knit horizontally -- across the shawl. Right now, it's between 12.5 to 13 inches wide. The cables run across the shawl (rather than long-ways) with narrow panels of "lace" in between -- simple yarn overs with decreases.

My only issue with it is that is is worsted wool, and it is July. We're at the beach. I don't know about holding this on my lap!

I also brought a fingering weight yarn and the pattern for the Yarn Harlot's Pretty Little Thing, in case the shawl gets too hot for me.

Alaska Stash

We have spent the last week on a cruise to Alaska. It was a wonderful trip! We had three ports of call -- Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway. In Juneau, I stopped at a bead store (Peer Amid Beads -- close to the cruise ship dock). I don't have a picture of the beads I purchased. I'll post those later, but it was a fun store with a friendly shop owner. I asked her about nearby yarn stores, and it just happened that there was one just around the corner, called Skeins. Unfortunately, it was closed. :-(

On to Skagway. I stopped and asked the same question. Yes, there is a yarn store in the downtown area called -- well -- it seems to have three names. The Rushin Tailor (isn't that cute?), QuiltAlaska and Changing Threads. All three are in the same building, and I'm not really sure if they are different stores or not. I went back and took some pictures. Look in the background. Wouldn't that be a wonderful view from the doorway of your shop?

They had beautiful, hand-dyed yarn from two companies (at least) -- Raven Frog Designs and Rabbit Run Designs. I brought three skeins from Rabbit Run: two worsted wool and a 75% wool/25% nylon. The two worsted wool yarns are from the Water colorway and the Wildberry colorway. They match beautifully, so I think I'll knit a scarf that alternates between the two.

I brought a skein of wool that was greens and lavender - called hyacinth. Socks, I think, although it will be a thicker sock yarn. I like that!

The fourth skein is from Raven Frog, and it is a superwash merino. The colorway is Princess Matsoutoff's Gown -- green, royal blue and purple. I bought it because I loved the colors. Another scarf? Maybe the Yarn Harlot's one skein scarf? Who knows? I may just look at it.

If you look at the picture, taken on our cruise ship balcony (what a joy in itself!), all four yarns are there. The one at 12:00 is Water, the one peaking out at 2:00 is Wildberry. The blue/purple/green on is from Raven Frog Designs, and the Hyacinth yarn is pointing to about 8:00.

As for my current project, I am still working on the cabled shawl from Folk Shawls. I like it. It's enjoyable to knit, and the pattern was easily memorized. Just four rows, repeating across the wide width of the yarn. It's dark blue. I can't knit it in dim light, but otherwise, it's pretty simple. Lots of cables. Not boring.

Learning about a camera

I normally take pictures for this blog (and my other blog) using my Nikon CoolPix, which I love. When Circuit City was going out of business, Steve bought a Canon Rebel XSi for us. It's a digital SLR camera with two lenses. I've used it some, and love it, too, but feel as if I don't know much about its operation. We're planning a trip in May (Alaska!), so I wanted to take some time to become more familiar with it. I bought a couple of books from Amazon, and am working my way through one of them now (The Canon Digial Rebel XSi Companion). The picture above was snapped as I finished a chapter this evening.

Mason Dixon link

Go take a look at this post on Mason Dixon knitting if you haven't already seen it. Great YouTube video!

Edited later (much later) to add the LINK. (Bleh!)


So, now that I'm moving on, what is on the needles?

I was planning to do the Kilkenny cable shawl from Cheryl Oberle's Folk Shawls, but I wanted to use Knits Picks Wool of the Andes in Blue Ink. The Blue Ink's delivery date kept moving farther and farther into the future. I had almost given up when it finally became available to order.

In the meantime, while I waited, I started a pair of socks with Mountain Colors yarn. I think the needles were too large for the yarn. The sock in progress didn't feel right. My KnitPicks yarn finally arrived, so I sat the socks aside. Between when I stopped knitting them until I moved them out of my knitting bag, three of the needles came out of the stitches. You know I don't like the project when I don't even care about the lose stitches and haven't put them back on the needle yet!

I finally started on the Kilkenny Cable shawl. It's going well. The pattern looks complicated, but it's not. I do it without a chart now -- it was that easy to learn.

Beach Scarf

Long time, no post. I have been knitting, but have also had some periods of not knitting, so progress has been slow.

I finished a scarf using yarn (and a free pattern) I bought at the beach last year. The scarf is really too short for my taste, and not really a color I like. I bought the yarn thinking I would use it to make a gift, but then changed my mind. I knit in anyway, but I kind of doubt I'll wear it, and the short length means I probably won't give it away.

BUT, it is a finished project.

Pattern: The pattern was free from Island Knits when I bought the yarn. I'm not sure I would actually call it a pattern. It's just a simple stitch repeat. Cast a multiple of 4 + 2 (I did 26). On each row, knit 2, knit one through back loop, pearl 1. Repeat to end of row.

Yarn: Ester Bitran Hand-Dyes Talinay -- it's a beige/pink/blue combination.

Needles: US size 9

The color of the yarn reminded me of sand and seashells, so on Ravelry I called it my beach scarf.