Friday, December 31, 2010

End of the year

Judging from Ravelry, I only finished 18 projects this year. This is considerably less than the usual ca. 30-40+ projects I normally do, and I've noticed me knitting far less than I'm used to (0-5 hours a week, compared to ca. 10 hours previously). This year I didn't even make any Christmas presents, even if I started one in July and got the yarn for another one! Ehemm...

I did finish a hat for my husband in November (only just photographed it today). I guess it could have been a part of his Christmas present, but I'm glad I gave it to him right there and then because it turns out my daughters could wear it too and it came in handy in the freezing temperatures we've been having in December.

The hat is actually a balaclava and is made in Cascade220, so it's warm and soft and the pattern is easy to do. This might be one of the few patterns I knit again and I recommend it.

I've been knitting a tomten for my daughter out of plotulopi (unspun Icelandic wool). It's been a great fun making it, as all of EZ patterns are. The problem was that the dog loved the yarn as much as I, or even more, since she tried to eat it every chance she got. I guess it's the sheep smell. She ate through two cords of the needles and quite a bit of yarn. I had to get new cords and more yarn from Iceland. The knitting is all done and when it came to sewing the sleeves up I ran into a little bit of a problem. The unspun wool does not (at all) lend itself to sewing. I ended up using einband, the lace weight Icelandic yarn for the sewing. It went much better, although the einband was weaker than I anticipated. I used a black yarn for the sewing and it doesn't show at all, even with the lightest color. Now I need a zipper and sew it in and then it's all ready to go :)

There are more tomten pictures on Ravelry.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

"I wish you would have said something in June"

Check out the video in this blog post .

Never mind that the blog is in Norwegian. The video is in English. If you look at some older blog posts as well, you'll see some awesome knitting.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Yummie yarn

The Icelandic yarn is yummie. I know. I love knitting with it, it's very 'organic' somehow - or I should rather say 'alive'. Especially the plötulopi, or the unspun variety of lopi. On top of all this, the yarn smells like sheep. How much more down to earth can yarn get?

As it turns out, I'm not the only one in this household who loves this yarn. The dog loves it too. But she is sneaky, and pretends she doesn´t care when someone is around, but when no-one is looking she goes and tears it up!

As I mentioned in the last blog post I started knitting Tomten by the great Elisabeth Zimmermann out of plötulopi. I started with the dark brown and Ruby (the dog) got into the cake twice! She did ruin a bunch of yarn, but I still have some left, and I think it will be enough.

Then yesterday morning on a Saturday morning I went back to bed to sleep early in the morning and when I woke up at 10 AM the dog had gotten into the tomten, took it out of the knitting bag and ruined the cable of the knitting needle and torn some of the knitted fabric. Thankfully the knitted fabric is mostly intact and very salvageable. The rest of the cake of plötulopi was ruined however. Thankfully, I have more then enough of this color.

As you can see from the picture above, the fabric is mostly intact. I did unravel few rows to get past a stitched that had been snagged and torn out. There is another snagged stitch in the second part (one dark, one light color) but I´ll have to fix it, it's too far down to unravel.

However, the remainder of the cake of yarn is in pieces. This is how it should look. I can´t use this yarn at all. It is possible to some extent to piece it back together, even if it is in small pieces (8 inches or so), the dog had torn it up so the ends were just shredded, so it´s very discouraging to even try.

As you can see in the photo of the shredded yarn, the dog is so interested in it, I couldn´t even take a picture of it on the floor without the dog coming after it. You can see her paw as she is coming toward it while I try to take a picture.

I´ll have to outsmart her and put the project somewhere she can´t reach it and not forget and leave it out while I'm not looking.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Brown Theme

I uploaded pictures for few of my projects, both finished and in progress on Ravelry. I noticed a trend. They are all brown!

When I was in San Francisco last July, I went to a yarn shop in the Mission (or Castro? I´m not sure where one neighborhood ends and the other begins) called Imagiknit. They had this exotic yarn (Japanese) made out of rice paper. How could I resist? I originally planned to make a basket out of it, but found the fabric too flimsy, so I made these coasters instead. I've made 3.5 so far. They are wonderfully variegated brown color and the texture is very special, almost leathery. The pattern starts with 6 sc in a circle and then increases 6 sc every round.

Another brown thing I'm making is a Tomten. Yes, I'm finally making my Tomten :) Oh, the wonderful, wonderful garter stitch. I can just knit and knit and knit back and forth. I can even read articles on the internet and knit at the same time (hint, it helps to use this: Readability (just click on the badge on the right and drag it up to your bookmark toolbar - top of your browser, below the URL).

I'm making the Tomten for K. (age 7) out of unspun Icelandic wool (plötulopi), double stranded. At the bottom there are 6 dark brown garters, followed by 12 garters with one strand dark brown and one strand light brown yarn and the rest will be 2 strands light brown. By the way, these are natural, undyed colors. Yep, actual sheep colors.

The third brown object coming of my needles is a ball band dishcloth.

It's made with a dark brown (Espresso) Lion Cotton background and a light brown (camel?) Peaches n Creme foreground. (Actually, Lion Cotton is Peaches'n'creme! It´s the same yarn. )

I continued to use the dark brown yarn and made a grocery bag dispenser. It's very quick and satisfying project and in the end you have a very utilitarian object. Anyone that has done grocery shopping in the US will come out with multitude of small little grocery bags and no good place to put them ;)

I wonder what other brown objects are in my future? (if any!)

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Floppy Fish

It's been a while since I bought the book Amigurumi Two! , which I got at my LYS. I remember that last summer (2009) I got yarn meant for a project from this book. I loved the little amigurumi toys in there and wanted to make bunch of them. Well, I finally made one.

The yarn is Berroco Comfort with 4.00 mm hook, which is totally fake (i.e. made out of Nylon and Acrylic), but it´s soft, so I wanted to try it for toys. It is indeed soft, and maybe even too soft. The fins are a little floppy for my taste, and hence the title of the post 'Floppy Fish'. But I stuffed him very tightly so the body of the fish is not fluffy.

Now I want to make the little fish out of Cascade 220 and see what difference that will make. Then I can decide for future toy projects (whether or not from this book) what to use.

Here are some picture of the kids and the dog playing with the floppy fish. They like him and at the end of the day, that's what matters most.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Weekend blanket

There you have my weekend project. On Friday evening I bought the yarn on Final Fridays, which takes place the last Friday of the month in Nelsonville, where the shops and the galleries (majority art and craft related) stay open until 10 PM and often have something to eat or drink or special happenings. This time it was the 'dog days of summer' theme and people brought their dogs and they had competitions and such (King and Queen, dress-up, etc.).

The weekend project is a baby blanket for a office mate of mine. She is due in a month and I wanted to make something for her. The yarn is Plymouth Yarn Encore, worsted weight. I've never before used this yarn, although it is the most popular at the local yarn shop (Spinning Turtle in Nelsonville). I can't say I enjoyed working with it a lot, although I loved the colors. The yarn is 70% acrylic and 30% wool and is washable. I didn't want to make the mother-to-be's life too complicated by giving her a wool blanket, so I went with the washable yarn.

The pattern is 'Easy ripple afghan' and is a plain ripple pattern. I love the pattern. It was hard to stop and you just wanted to keep on going, especially with the frequent color changes. But other than that, it is a very easy to learn pattern and consists of only double crochet stitches (dc, stuðull), which makes it very quick.

I used 6mm (J) hook and started with 66 chain stitches. I started out with much more but ended in 66. It ended up as 23"x28" (60x70 cm) or 5 repeats of 4 colors (plus an extra stripe of blue) and used quite a bit less than a skein each of the 4 colors (each skein is 100 gr and 200 yards).

I still have to weave in the ends, and as you can see, there are plenty of them.

Here is another photo with our new dog, Ruby, included. This one has not been altered to fix the colors (unlike the first one).

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

A thought

I need a portable project.

I'm totally in love with crochet hexagons. I'm up to 38 hexagons on the blanket now (the picture shows the blanket at 22 hexagons). The endless possibilities of color combination and the fact that you never do the same hexagon twice in a row and that the blanket basically makes itself (finish ends and combining hexagons as you go). However, it's not very portable. I'd have to log around all these skeins of yarn, and they would be all over the place.

The other project I'm working on is a sweater I started on March 1st. It's pattern nr. 18 on this Danish site. Yes, it's been that long and I finally just finished the sleeves 10 days ago (while at a knitting retreat with some great (knitting) friends - where the hexagon blanket got a lot of attention) and started the main body of the sweater shortly thereafter, but after I made the whole ribbing (this was during the last episode of LOST) I realized I'd made a mistake. I can't go on and ignore it and the mistake only came along because I didn't read through the sentence describing how do do it :o In my defense, it was hard to concentrate with LOST on, especially the very last episode!

This is not a very portable project either, not until I've finished the very bottom piece with all the color changes. Once I'm up far enough that it's just knitting around and around, it will be a portable project.

I guess I know now what to focus on now. All I have to do is restart the body of the sweater and I'll end up with a portable project.

Problem solved

Of course I could always start a new project.............

Monday, May 17, 2010

Crochet goodness

Do you want to see some crochet goodness. Feast your eyes on these flickr groups:

Sunday, May 16, 2010

'New' fad

It's not exactly new (to me) but I've been bitten by the crochet bug. I mostly knit lately, but crochet once in a while. For an Icelander crocheting is not a craft on it's own, as much as another side of the coin for knitting. No one only crochets there, or at least no one I've every heard off. So I found it interesting that there were people in America that only crocheted and knitters that said they could only knit, not crochet. That's beside the point.

I'm crocheting now.

It started with crochet mittens.

My grandmother gave me a whole lot of Einband, in bright and beautiful colors for Christmas, and I've been wanting to make something out of it. Normally you would make shawls out of this yarn, but it has the potential for much more. It´s gained more and more popularity as a sweater yarn, and I've started a sweater (hoodie even) from this yarn (the never-ending-sleeves I've been working on since March 1st). This idea wasn't mine, I saw a similar project on Ravely, but I made a pattern of crochet mittens from Prjóniprjón, an Icelandic knitting book I bought (from one of the the author) the last time I was in Iceland.

I combined two threads of Einband, pink (1768) and magenta (9142), and used a 4.5 mm hook. I started off with 32 chains for the base and the only changes I did was to do a SC decrease but the pattern suggested to skip a SC for a decrease.

It's a quick and easy project and I basically just 'molded' the mittens to my hand (i.e. kept trying them on to see if the size was correct). They do have a potential for some cool embroidery too, but for now I'm not going to go that way.

Before I had even sewn in the ends for the mittens, I had my next crochet project started. One that I'm obsessed over. I'm making another blanket (what is it about blankets and me????) and it's made out of hexagons. I can't even describe how much joy I'm getting out of this project. I'm following directions from Attic24, which are just brilliant (Attic24 is brilliant too, especially at color - take a look at her blog and see for yourself). What is so genius about this pattern is that there is minimal finishing (I'm not too big on finishing). Each hexagon only ends up with one end to weave in, even if I use 4 colors for it! And that's not all. I don't even have to sew the hexagons together, but crochet them together as I go. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.

The yarn I'm making the blanket with is Kambgarn. It's a sport weight yarn, dyed and distributed by Istex (Icelandic yarn maker). I was collecting this yarn, most of it I got gifted to me, but some I purchased last time I was in Iceland. I had intended it for multicolor mittens and hats, but never seemed to actually make these things. The yarn is perfect for the purpose of making a blanket, I have 22 50 gr skeins in 10 colors, thereof 8 in one color (moss green), which I can use for the main color of the blanket. The challenge is that the colors are a bit haphazard (three different shades of red and green), I would not have chosen exactly these colors if I had chosen them from scratch for the blanket, but they are not too dissimilar, so they will work.

I'm going to make the blanket as big as it will get with the yarn I have (or at least that is the plan to start of with). Each hexagon is quick (I haven't timed it yet), so it is a nice project to grab when I sit down and take a break on the weekend (I've only really worked on it over the weekend!) or any other time I'm not sitting down for extended period of time.

I don't know how long the honeymoon will last but at the moment I'm quite enamored by the little hexagons and want to continue with hexagon nr. 9, which I had just started before I started writing this post.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Latest FOs and soul searching

My latest FOs (finished objects) are all from March. That's how little I've been knitting lately. Not only have I knitted less, but I've also had less desire to knit. This is a new feeling for me, and partly it's because I've been busy and sometimes too tired at knit to knit, but also because knitting is no longer a way to save my sanity. In a way I am relieved because I'm more free (not as obsessed) and the creativity has more ways to flow, including work.

So back to the regular program. Here is a t-shirt I made for my younger daughter. She is sensitive to wool, but was drawn to this yarn from my stash. She'd obviously studied the stash quite well, since she was able to dive right in and get it. It's a mix of cotton, wool and nylon and is meant as sock yarn, which got for my birthday just over a year ago.

The pattern is Country Kiddie by Pixie Purls, which I adopted for a larger size. In reality it is very simple top-down raglan design, but I bought it originally to have the sizing for babies. That was before I decided to use this yarn to make a shirt for my 4 yo. daughter. I started this project a long time ago, in August 2009, but it was largely ignored until couple of months ago, when I started to knit it again. After the New Year I was very interested in knitting out of the stash and finishing projects I've already begun.

The size of the shirt can be decided as you go, because you can just keep knitting the raglan increases until it is big enough, and I wanted it to be on the bigger size, so my daughter could use it for a while. However, the larger size meant I needed more yarn, the 100 gr. skein of sock yarn wasn't enough, but I was visiting a yarn shop in Parekersburg, WV, when I saw yarn that looked identical! It was completely different brand of yarn, but it looked similar enough that you could never tell that the shirt is actually made out of two different yarns.

The original one was Plymouth Yarn - Sockotta (nr. 6065) and the other (the second one) was Marks & Kattens - Clown (color nr. 1907)

As excited the younger daughter was about the shirt I was making just for her, she wasn't as enthusiastic about wearing it, claiming it was too scratchy (what else is new), but here you can see a photo of her sister wearing it.

See, you can't see the difference in yarns, can you :)

Other than that, I've been knitting these tiny little socks for few unborn/newborn children, which are plentiful these days. A coworker, my brother and my sister-in-law have all been having babies lately. Here are two of the pairs (two out of three)

You have that matchbook in one of the picture to appreciate the small size of these socks. They are made out of leftover sock yarn (what a great way to use up small amount of yarn, which is leftover when you make adult socks (women size)) and take couple of evening to do. The pattern is called Spring Daffodil baby socks which I found on Ravelry (where else). The pattern really shows off the variegated socks nicely.

The only thing I've been knitting in April is more on sleeves I've been working on since beginning of March (still not done) and a cowl.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A package

Yesterday we got a package in the mail from Iceland. It turned out to be from my mom (Amma Rósa as she is better known in our household). In it was clothes from the girls, including these handmade, knitted by Amma Rósa, shirts for the girls. Just in time for the warmer weather we are having more and more.

I just had to share these. They are too beautiful not to. The pattern is interesting and the color combination great.

It wasn't just the girls that got handmade clothes from Amma Rósa, the doll got an crochet outfit. Ása loved the outfit, but was quick to point out that Amma had forgotten about the hat :o She knows her way around clothes already. I tried to start a hat yesterday. I had some fine cotton yarn, but was having problems with it and was too tired to figure it out.

The doll outfit had a sweater, pants, a purse and socks. Of course the first thing Kamilla did was to put the socks on the cat!

Takk fyrir okkur amma Rósa :)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Christmas knitting

March is almost over, so I think it is time to show you some of the Christmas knitting I did for last Christmas.

This is the biggest project I made for Christmas. Mittens knit with 2.5 mm needles, with Knitpicks' Palette yarn. I had seen this pattern last summer and it is perfect for my stepmom. She has these Polish coffee cups that are the inspiration for the mittens. (Ravelry link).

I actually made 3 mittens, because the first one was too small. I learned a lot on stranded knitting from this project and in the end had more even knitted mittens compared to the first ones. I love making these stranded mittens with fingering weight yarn and have a lot in my queue on Ravelry to choose from.

When my husband saw these mittens, he wanted me to knit a pair for his mom. I finished them last month (these take a while) and were blogged here. They ended up being a Christmas/birthday present for my MIL.

For my dad, I made the Cigar gloves from Knitty. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of them before I sent them off, but they were knit with 4.5 mm (US7) needles with Knitpicks' Wool of the Andes in Mocha Twist . (Picture from the Knitpicks website)

I didn't make these for him because he likes to smoke cigars. He is a very talented photographer, and I made them for him to take photos in the cold without his hands getting too cold. I have made another pair of these gloves. Two years ago, I made a pair for me, and I have used them a lot. For my gloves, I closed all the fingers, so it's complete gloves.

My dad's mittens came out nicely in this yarn. The color was good, but my knitting was a bit off, since there is a noticeable size difference between them. I decided not to worry about it too much because it would have been stressful to knit them to perfection and at the same time send them to Iceland in time for Christmas.

Other than this I made the Elephant and the Bunny (blogged previously here) for my daughters. The elephant was ready just in time for Christmas and went into K's stocking.

But the bunny wasn't even started until after Christmas and was delivered at Christmas as a pattern and yarn.

Last, but definitely not least, are slippers. This is not the first pair I make. I think it was the 11th pair I've made. The pattern comes from a booklet from Sandnes (Norwegian yarn company). Of the 11, these are the second pair made out of plötulopi (the Icelandic unspun pensil roving). I knit them with double strand of the wool, started with the light color on top and then mixed the yarn, one light and one dark strand and ended with two strands of the dark yarn. The slippers went to my mom, but it took forever in the mail and she didn't get them until few weeks after Christmas.

In the photo you can see one slipper which have been shaved and one unshaved slippper. They got very hairy after they felted. I had to run them twice through the washing machine before they had felted enough and then give them a good 'haircut'.

It's so good to get this out on the blog, finally. Soon I can show you what I've been doing in March ;)

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Finished items - February

I've been knitting and finishing some big knitting items lately, including my February Fitted Sweater :) So this is going to be a post with photos of finished items.

The first item is not finished in the strictest sense of the word. It still has no buttons. I did get buttons for it but then decided to have a double row of buttons so it could be more wearable (or maybe that's a silly idea???). At any rate, the jacket still doesn't have buttons. I'm thinking to give it as a Christmas present, so I still have some time to put the buttons in.

Pattern: Baby Surprise Jacket, by Elizabeth Zimmermann (Ravelry link)
Yarn: Ella Rae Classic and Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Superwash.
Needles: 4.5 mm (US7)

For some reason I figured that 100 grams of wool would be enough for the sweater. Well, I was wrong. I needed twice that amount! Last time I made this sweater, it was kind of small and now it's kind of big. Maybe I'll have to do it at least once more and then I'll find some good middle ground. Good thing about babies is that they grow and chances are that he (my unborn nephew) will be able to wear it at some point.

The extra yarn I got came out nicely with the first yarn. Then I had to wash it while it was still on the skein because I managed to spill Kung Pao sauce on it. Out of all the different items in my knitting bag (including the BSJ itself) only the skein of yarn got the sauce on it. The yarn bloomed when I washed it and when I washed the entire jacket it grew a lot, but thankfully it came all back together once it's dried. The two different yarn have completely different qualities. The red one didn't bloom or grow as much when wet and its not a superwash, so I really hope this sweater will never accidentally felt, because only half of it would shrink.

The next item I finished this month were mittens for my MIL. They were originally meant as a Christmas present. My husband saw other mittens I'd made and really wanted me to make a pair for his mom. His mom is a really nice and kind person and so I obliged. It wasn't easy to give these away (I just packed them up and they are ready to be sent out as we 'speak'), but I got used to it. Maybe one day I will make nice stranded mittens for me.

Pattern: Vespergyle Mittens by Elinor Brown (Ravelry link)
Yarn: Knitpicks Palette in Navy and Green Tea Heather.
Needles: 2 mm (US 0)

Both of these items (mittens and the jacket) I finished on February 12th. So now it's time to reveal the latest finished item. My February Fitted Sweater. I'm so thrilled about it. It took me 2 months (along the other knits as well) and I just barely was able to finish it in February (although I didn't even realize it until I added the date in Ravelry). I love to have a nice looking sweater for myself. This is my first real sweater (i.e. not Icelandic sweater, they don't count, ha ha) and my first set-in sleeves. I tell you, set-in sleeves in a lace pattern is NOT a walk in the park. But I made it through. Today I even got a white shirt so I would be able to dress it up.

Pattern: February Fitted Pullover by Amy Herzog (a take on February Baby Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmermann) (Ravelry link)
Yarn: Cascade220 in Sapphire (5 skeins)
Needles: 4 mm (US 6)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Of bunnies and elephants

I see that I owe the blog adorable pictures of a knitted bunny and elephant.

And together

And a proud owner

Although tonight she threw Sophie (the bunny) into the corner rather than sleeping with her. However, Ellie (the elephant) is a permanent fixture in her sister's bed.

I made them scarfs from the leftover yarn, CO 100, knit 4 garters, BO. It was a quick knit, but sort of a waste of time since they tore the scarfs right off them and used them as anything but scarfs (such as a robe, pulling a basket with the dolls around the house).

Over all I'm really happy with Sophie and Ellie. The pattern was well written, the yarn was soft and I've wanted to knit toys for a long time.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Finishing the third skein (100 gr. Cascade220) for the sweater, and so-far I've knitted the sleeves and about 11 inches of the body. This yarn sure goes a long way.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Yarn Cupboard

Yarn Cupboard
Originally uploaded by rajnos.

I had the first week of January off from work. One of the things I did was to organize my yarn cupboard a little bit better. Since it looked half-descent, I took a picture of it and put in on You can put your mouse over the picture to learn more about what is there.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

On knitting a sweater

After I started the body I realized that this will take longer than I anticipated.

Number of projects

I was going over my projects on Ravelry. Last year (2009) I completed 30 projects. The year before that (2008) I completed 44 projects!!! Quite a difference. I did knit less in 2009, but I was also working on bigger projects, such as the yellow blanket.

In 2007 it was 44, with a lot of small projects. In 2006 it was 39 (including about 10 ballband dishcloths). In 2005, it was 15 projects. In 2004 it was one. In 2003, it was 2. The list is pretty extensive. I can't help setting this up in a table (just be glad I don't make a graph ;)

2009 30
2008 44
2007 44
2006 39
2005 15
2004 1
2003 2
Undated in Ravelry/not listed in Ravelry 7

In 2010 I will not be setting any records in number of projects. Instead, I'll be knitting bigger, slower projects. This is my prediction anyways, we'll see what happens. Maybe I'll get into dishcloth mania again :o For 2010, I'm very excited about sweaters and shawls and also about using the yarn I already have. Can't wait :)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sweater progress

Both the sleeves are done. Made good progress on the second one while on a road trip to Parkersburg, WV with my knitting buddies, Nancy and Stephanie. The first stop was the fabulous yarn shop, Market Street Yarn, then lunch and Old Navy. All excellent and the company no less so.

I started the main body yesterday and finished the garter stitch (in-the-round) section at the bottom. So tonight I can start the lace pattern.

My older daughter reminds me not to forget about Sophie, who now has head, body and one leg.

I've been on vacation for the last week and today I'm going back to work again. Oddly enough I didn't knit as much as I thought I would. Maybe it has something to do with the kids only going to school last Monday, the rest of the weekdays were snowdays, so no school. The timing was good though, I could spend more time with the kids. Plus the house is half-decent. Some organizing got done ;) but more is still left.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

February Sweater Update

I've finished one sleeve of the February Fitted Pullover. I've knit two sleeves worth but only have one to show for it. In last post I talked about how I was using the sleeve as a gauge swatch and started over on smaller needles. The smaller needles gave me 19 sts/4inches, so that the piece is smaller than it's supposed to be (17 sts). Smaller is better in this case. I can block the sleeve (and the rest of the sweater out more) and I'm hoping to be smaller myself. I lost 40 pounds in 2009, which explains why I have not been knitting much for myself lately. I never wanted to knit for the bigger me because it was harder (bigger sweaters, few (and unflattering) designs) and I didn't want to put the effort in it and then end up with a too large garment in the long run.

In the beginning of the post I said I knitted the sleeve twice. First I ripped out half the sleeve due to gauge issues. Then I knit through the decreases on top only to find that my stitch count was off. What I was doing wrong was to continue in the lace pattern without taking care to pair every increase with a decrease. The second time around I kept a tally of the decreases on paper (see photo) as well as what the stitch count was supposed to be and counted the stitches regularly, at least after every decrease row.

It was well worth the extra effort. It made things simpler and more 'Zen'. I really enjoyed the process. Much more than when I was just knitting and hoping it would all add up in the end.

Monday, January 04, 2010

A New Year - New Beginnings

I never actually finished my Christmas knitting.

While my older daughter got a little knitted elephant (Elijah by Ysolde Teague) in her stocking, the younger daughter only got a skein of yarn and a pattern (Sophie by Ysolde Teague). The patterns are a joy to make. Well written and clear and you fill them up as you go so there is not a lot of finishing to do in the end.

They are both knitted out of Louet Gems Sport wt. yarn. This yarn is a pure pleasure to knit. Elijah (renamed Ellie) is knit out of a colorway called 'Cloud Grey', while Sophie is being knit out of a hideously pink color aptly named 'Pink Panther'. I love my daughter so much, I'm willing to handle this horribly pink yarn long enought to knit the thing :)

The gray yarn I purchased from a fellow Raveller (from It was marked 'For sale or trade' and I recommend you to look at Ravelry stashes for yarn. The yarn is both economical (compared to buying on-line, or even at a LYS) and since I don't have a lot of yarn shops near by and the ones that are here are not very big. Therefore this is especially nice for me to get yarn I would have to order anyways. Of course you are not guarantied exactly what you want and in the quantities you want, but this is a good place to look. I didn't find a skein of a pink yarn, but instead my LYS owner got the pink yarn from another yarn store for me. They sell yarn for each other if a customer is looking for something they don't stock, sort of a co-op.

The other Christmas present I'm not done with it a pair of mittens. They are knit on 2mm (US0) needles and somehow I managed to lose the needles, all 5 of them! I have no idea how I did it.

Sophie is also on hold right now because I also managed to lose my little red purse with knitting knit-knacks, including my tapestry needles. I need a needle to finish off the body of Sophie so I can start the legs.

Beside UFOs, I have one other project on the go. I had a big report to finish before the end of the year and I was working long hours, especially in the end. I ended up finishing it and sending it out on Dec.31st. As a reward for a job well done (or at least for a job finished in time ;) I cast on that evening a sweater for me.

I heard about this sweater from Jessica, a knitting friend of mine. She mentioned it on her blog, provided a link and I was enchanted. It is called February Fitted Pullover and is a version of the famous February Lady Sweater, which in return is a grown-up version of an Elizabeth Zimmermann pattern for babies.

I got the yarn for the February Lady Sweater last spring, with the best intentions to knit it. It never even came close to my needles but when I saw the new version, I was smitten.

Taking a cue from another fellow Wednesday Library knitter, Stephanie. I started knitting a sleeve as a huge swatch. The gauge is measured in a blocked piece, so I wet-blocked the sleeve (still on the needles, a circular) and measured it. It had 15 sts per 4 inches instead of 17. I decided to rip it back and start over on smaller needles (4mm instead of 4.5mm - US6 and 7 or 7 and 8, not sure). The picture is off the sleeve as it is now, started over on the smaller needle.

I've been wanting to knit more wearable items for me. I think that's the big knitting emphasis I'm bringing into the new year. Hopefully, a year from now I will boast a few sweaters, cardigans and such that I can wear.