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?