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December 19, 2008

A Year on the Needles

I am a very lazy knitter. I hate to fuss too much with complex patterns, and my idea of heaven is a start-to-finish project I can whip up over a weekend. I have slogged on through some larger pieces this year, going back to the fast-and-dirty projects as needed to give myself something new to work on when I get bored with the sweater piece that just doesn't seem to be getting finished.

Here's what I've finished during 2008.

A shawl/scarf in the old feather-and-fan pattern, in a pretty lavender cashmere blend. I also made one in blue, and gave it to a friend. I wear this with my black coat.
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A ribbon yarn cropped top for the daughter of a friend. I love knitting for kids, everything is so small it goes fast!
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March 14, 2009

Help Amy Spend Money!

I'm getting paid for a large special project, so of course I'm spending it on my children's education.

Right.

No, I'm frittering it away (Ok, only some of it) on yarn for some new projects. Help me choose some patterns! I'm looking to make two sweaters for (gasp!) myself. I'm very short, round, and look terrible in yellow.

Pattern possibilities:

1. Cute empire-waist lacy tank. I'd do this in a cotton-silk blend, with a bit of sheen that would show the lacy stitches well. The lace stitch is one I use often for scarves and baby blankets, so it'll go fast. I think I'd add an inch or two to the length, and maybe do a teeny bit of lacework in the cleavage or neckline.
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May 11, 2009

New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival

So, when Larry asked on sunday morning what I'd like to do for Mother's Day, I had a ready answer. The New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival!

He's such a good sport.

Dan was at work and Evan had a paper to work on, so just the two of us headed up to the fairgrounds, about 15 minutes from Concord, New Hampshire. Imagine hundreds of sheep farmers, wool producers, spinners, weavers, knitters, and their assorted companions milling around. Then add pens of sheep, goats, llamas, displays of freshly shorn wool, spun yarns, and the usual fried dough and hot dog stands. Oh, and sheepherding dogs.

I fell in love with an angora rabbit named Joe. Larry would not let me buy him.

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We watched the dogs compete in sheepherding. Those dogs were amazing, how they work as a team, and carefully could separate out particular sheep from the herd; or convince a pack of sheep to go up a ramp.

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I fingered a lot of wool, and talked to a lot of yarn producers. I was looking for some dark green merino yarn for a sweater for Dan, but didn't find what I was looking for. I bought some yarn for another sweater that came from a merino sheep named Linda. I am not kidding, I was told its common practice for small producers to mark a particular sheep's wool if its of excellent quality.

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May 19, 2009

What's On the Needles

Here's what I've been up to during the various play-off games this month.

Blue simple square-necked cardigan, out of a really soft merino-alpaca wool. The construction is different, as its worked side-to-side. The body is just about done, and then I need to do the sleeves. It's deadly dull knitting because its all garter stitch, but it's my tv-watching knitting where I don't need to look at what I'm doing. I found some beautiful handmade enamel buttons for this.

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Purple cotton triangle shawl. I just finished this, and need to block it. Blocking involves briefly soaking the garment, then stretching and pinning into place to dry. It will even out the lace stitches, make the edges lie flat, and make the eyelets really stand out.

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June 2, 2009

Still Alive

Yes, I'm still here. Just busy, busy. The end of the school year is always a whirlwind, both as a parent and as a teacher and student. Evan is heading into finals, and Dan has prom and graduation next week. I'm so looking forward to some downtime, although the class I'm taking over the summer looks like a real bear of a workload.

I have been making sure I get a bit of knitting in as a way to relax for a bit in the afternoons. Here I am while Larry was getting a shot of this year's irises.
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And here's the tank top I just finished. Still need to crochet around the armholes and block it into shape. It fits perfectly! I'm planning on making another of these in a dark red. I'm almost done with the blue cardigan, that'll hopefully get finished during the car ride to a Bar Mitzvah in Long Island next weekend. Next up is a sweater for Dan, in a dark green heather.
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June 25, 2009

What's on the Needles, 6/25

A few things I'm working on and finishing up this week as I travel around. The car's a great place for knitting.

Dan's Sweater. It's a top-down in-the-round raglan construction, and I'm about two inches past the underarms. After I finish down to the bottom hem, I pick up stitches around the sleeves and knit down to the cuff. No seaming! Downside is that the wool is a thin worsted on no. 6 needles. I estimated that this thing is going to be over 17,000 stitches. Scary. He'd better not put it into the dryer in the dorm. In any case, I don't need to look at this or count while I'm knitting, so its my talking or tv-watching knitting.

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This is going to be a long lacy tunic top. The true color is a much darker red, almost a burgundy. I can see wearing it over a black tank and pants. The pattern makes short sleeves, although I may do 3/4 length sleeves to make it more of a three-season piece. The pattern is easy to memorize, but I do need to pay a bit of attention or I'm likely to curse a lot as I rip back to before a missed yarn-over. The yarn is a thick cotton with a bit of microfiber to give it shape.

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Lace scarf, in a silk/merino boucle. When its blocked, it's wider and with nice stitch definition.
Here its in progress:

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Blocking. See the wonders of blocking knitted lace? Done!

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This turned out well, so I started another in a thin silk:

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Another lace scarf, for future Hanukkah gifting. This pattern's a bitch. Don't talk to me, I'm counting! Not having fun with this, and the mohair is an added pain. I may throw in the towel on this, we'll see.
In progress:

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A simpler feather-and-fan scarf, also for Hanukkah gifts. Done!

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July 10, 2009

Almost Done!

Two sweaters, in the last stages:

Dan's sweater. Just need to do the hem, and then pick up the sleeve stitches and knit down to the cuffs. Stop rolling your eyes, boy, they'll stick that way.

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My lacy tunic. (Excuse the bathroom mirror photo) I decided to make long sleeves. Just need to knit the second sleeve, and then knit everything together from the yoke to the neckline. I love these in-the-round sweaters with no seaming!

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November 28, 2009

If I'm Knitting, I'm Not Eating

Some knitting updates:

I finished the raspberry lacy cardigan. This fits me well, although the neckline is too wide and floppy. I'll pick up stitches around the neck and decrease to bring it in a bit so I won't feel like its slipping off. Love the lace at the waist.

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The dark red lacy tunic. Finally finished this, after combating some technical issues in the short-row shaping of the shoulders. It fit me well, but I made one of my sisters try it for chuckles, and it was absolutely smashing on her. So she got a nice Hanukkah present, and I'll make another for myself that's shorter. (the true color is more of a cranberry)

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Started a silky triangle shawl using a strand of mohair and one of silk.

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Also started on a pullover sweater for me, in a lovely shiny teal. Size small!

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December 2, 2010

What's On the Needles

Yeah, I've been a Bad Blogger. I guess I've been too busy, what with finding the cure for cancer, dating celebrity football players, writing the Great American Novel, and my latest political scandal..

In any case, I've been doing a lot of knitting this Fall. Here are some finished pieces and some WIP's.

Some scarves in an easy eyelet lace pattern. One in a blue variegated wool doubled with a thin mohair; the other in a soft thick red wool.

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A big reversible cabled blanket for my parents. Hope to finish by the end of the month. It's so huge I can work on it while I'm lying under it. It was either this or submit to the request for a doggy sweater. I don't do dog sweaters.

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This sweater I started last year, and then put down out of sheer boredom. It has a neat stitch pattern at the neckline, hips and cuffs, but is otherwise miles of mind-numbing stockinette stitch. I just need to finish the sleeves on this puppy, need a Netflix marathon and a rainy weekend.The true color is more of a dark teal.

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A cardigan in a striped Noro yarn. I have the back and one front side done. This photo had a harsh flash; the true colors are much more muted.

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This pattern was for a circular shrug I started just before Thanksgiving. I did it in a thick self-striped yarn, and fiddled with it a bit to get the stripes to align on all sides. It worked well, and fits great. I'm using a big Roman Glass and silver pin as a button. I think it'll be even better with sleeves to be a cropped jacket, so that's what I'm working on now, you see the needles dangling from the left sleeve.

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I still have 22 projects in my queue. Want to finish two of the sweaters and the blanket before I start anything new.

December 19, 2010

What's On the Needles, Updates

A few finished projects, a few new ones.

A ruffled scarf in a gorgeous silk/merino blend I got on sale last year. I only used half of the yarn, so may make a hat, or maybe a pair of mitts.The pattern is called Just Enough Ruffles, from Laura Chau.

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Finished the Big Fat Cabled Blanket.It turned out to be about 5x6. The yarn softened up beautifully, and fortunately, the "wet sheep" smell faded within a couple of days of washing and blocking.

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The shawl collar shrug/cardigan thing is done. This is called Circular Shrug by Julia Allen, it's a free pattern on Ravelry.

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Some new works in progress:

A log-cabin patchwork blanket, with each square a different colorway of the Noro self-striping kureyon yarn. The squares get bordered in black, which ties everything together and makes the colors really pop. It's called the Paintbox Log Cabin, and is another free pattern on Ravelry. This is what it'll hopefully look like:

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Here's my first square:

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Here's the four I made so far:

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I've had a lace cardi in my queue forever, and realized I have the perfect yarn in my stash for it. It's Wrenna, from the book French Girl Knits. I made a gauge swatch of the lace, ripped out several attempts before I finally got smart and enlarged the chart and color coded the stitches with highlighter. This will be a challenging knit for me, we'll see how it goes.

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Let's not talk about that blue sweater, OK? Maybe over vacation.


January 8, 2011

Make it Red

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The lace triangle shawl has been kind of my Holy Grail of knitting. I've always loved the lace triangles I've seen accomplished knitters produce. They're traditional in many parts of Europe, with amazing patterns becoming more available, and more knitters and designers using traditional and contemporary takes on the established patterns in their work. The projects always seemed to be beyond my skill level, and I've loved them from a distance. I've been steadily plowing through some more adventurous knitting this year, and taught myself to read a simple lace chart with my Louisa tunic and Wrenna Cardigan from French Girl Knits. Larry claims he never knew I knew so many filthy curse words until I started knitting lace.

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I cast on for the "198 Yards of Heaven" shawl pattern, figuring that it looked like a good beginners pattern since it was relatively simple, and in worsted weight yarn, so a faster knit. I remembered the old graphic design phrase--"If you can't make it good make it big, if you can't make it big make it red" as I found a few balls of a soft red merino in my stash. I color coded the chart, collected stitch markers, and was in business. I went slowly at first, then picked up speed as the pattern slowly began to make sense.

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I plowed through the last pattern repeat and the edging Friday afternoon and evening during a "House" marathon on tv, barely stopping for dinner. Soaked it, blocked it out, and let dry overnight.

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Makes up for this week's knitting disaster, the cabled cardigan that felted when I blocked it. More on that later.


March 2, 2011

What's Off the Needles

About the only good thing I can say about Winter is that it's good for getting in some time with the needles.

Here's a simple yoked cardigan (the Tea Leaves Cardi) in the lovely Malabrigo Rios. It's a Superwash yarn, which gave me a fright because it loosened up so much in its bath after being finished that it would have fit an elephant. I did a little fast research, and upon some advice threw it into the dryer, where it tightened up back into shape.

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I also made another "198 yards of Heaven" shawl, this time in Silk Garden.

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The blue cabled cardigan (out of some Misti Alpaca that I'd had sitting around for a few years) where the cables felted slightly was salvaged by some gentle tugging. I decided to not add buttons, and instead use a filigree pin for a clasp.

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Last month I did another shawl, using the Forest Canopy pattern with Malabrigo Silky Merino. This is beautiful yarn, as you can see in the detail photo.

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Finally on the last square of the Paintbox Log Cabin blanket. Next up is the miles of black garter stitch to bind them all together.

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Now, shall we take bets on if I can be a monogamous knitter and not begin another project until I finish the blanket? Nah, didn't think so. I have my eyes on a short sleeved diamond-lace on the yoke cardi for Spring, using some red silk/cotton in my stash...


March 29, 2011

Paintbox Log Cabin Blanket

Four months, 3,000yards of yarn, and 70,000 stitches.

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Continue reading "Paintbox Log Cabin Blanket" »

May 14, 2011

New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival

I have the best husband ever. When I told him the NH Sheep and Wool Festival was coming up, he said "Oh, I love the sheepdog demonstrations." If he rolled his eyes about driving an hour and a half to look at sheep, alpaca llamas and angora bunnies, plus standing around while I paw through skeins of yarn; he kept it to himself.

Lots of smiling people, mostly women on a fiber high, plus many sheep, wool, and llama folk having serious conversations about whatever people in that business talk about.

There were sheep. All the sheep were looking at each other, as if they were also deep in conversation.

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While he was waiting for me as I debated the merits of 14 shades of purple for a vest, Larry went to a talk on ruminant digestion. Seriously. He said four stomachs is quite an elaborate system.


There were sheepdogs being more obedient than my children ever were. Actually, so were those goats.

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There were alpaca llamas. They make an odd whining/humming sound, and look like big stuffed animals. Bizarre creatures, but their wool is softer than a baby's cheek.

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There were angora bunnies. (I want one)

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June 8, 2011

What's On (and off) the Needles

Finished a few things, and began some new projects to work on during the flights to/from California next week.

A little baby sweater for my colleague Kat's baby shower this weekend. In a mulitcolored washable wool (Malabrigo Rios, colorway Arco Iris) sized to hopefully fit the baby her first Fall and Winter. I kind of made up the pattern as I went along, starting with a standard raglan top then using the Easy One Row Lace pattern for the skirt.

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The Mr. Greenjeans cardigan pattern, in a variegated yarn I've had forever. Did most of this during our College Roadtrip in April.

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A lacy pale pink cotton sweater. The pattern is Liesl, in a slightly smaller gauge than usual. So not my usual color, but I think I like it.

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Started a pullover in a charcoal grey-blue. I like the lace at the neckline, which I'll repeat at the cuffs and hem. The yarn is Silky Wool. a very thin silk-merino blend.

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Really easy lacy wrap (my favorite One-Row Lace stitch again) in a shimmery celadon green silk-merino-bamboo blend I picked up at the NH Sheep and Wool Festival. I'll keep knitting until I either run out of yarn or die of boredom.

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The February Lady sweater that ate the internet a few years ago. In a wine-colored variegated wool-silk blend. (Malabrigo Silky Merino, colorway Campasitra)

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Should keep me busy for a while!


August 5, 2011

What's On (and off) the Needles

You'd think I'd be doing more knitting when it's blowing snow outside, when I can curl up in my chair with some soft merino in my hands, right? Sadly, when I have more time to knit is during the Summer months, when angora sticks to sweaty hands and even silk feels too heavy and hot. A chair in the shade or near some air conditioning, some podcasts, and a pitcher of ice tea help. So do roadtrips.

Here's a silly ruffled scarf in Malabrigo Silky Merino, colorway Nocturnal.

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This is my current favorite pattern, Grapevine by Heidi Kirrmaier . I added the lace pattern to the hem and cuffs in addition to the neckline. This designer does great shaping, and the Silky Wool worked up beautifully with nice drape after washing and blocking.

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My favorite I-can-do-it-in-my-sleep easy lace in variegated Malabrigo Sock, colorway Indicieta. Thin yarn, big needles for an open fabric. I like how the colors shift from blue/violet to green/lavender.

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Another silly pattern, the Lions Neck Cardigan by Wendy Bernard. I did this in some crimson Cascade Venezia Bulky I got on sale a few years ago. It's a silk/wool blend with a slight sheen. Very cozy and warm, although I feel like a giant ruffly tomato.

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Still in the works:

The February Lady Cardigan ate the internet a few years ago. I’ve been eyeing this pattern for a long time, but have not liked how it fits many women. I made some modifications to get a closer fit in the torso and arms than the original, which is swingier than would suit me. I'm also using a simpler more vertical lace pattern on the lower portion and the lower sleeves because the original fought with this yarn too much. Love the yarn, Silky Merino colorway Cumparsita.

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Another bulky sweater, Iced by Carol Feller is a doublebreasted jacket. I'm doing it in a bright yarn, Beatrice colorway which is pinks, orange, blue and lavender.

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I just got some lovely soft merino/alpaca yarn in a dark teal, and am thinking about a pullover with lace on the sleeves, with a detachable lace cowl. The Derry Pullover and Cowl by Cecily MacDonald Humn...this one may need to wait for cooler weather.

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February 2, 2013

What's On and Off the needles

Haven't done a knitting update in a while.

I just completed my first intarsia piece, a cowl in two different colorways of Noro Kureyon. It's clown-barf loud, but will be fun to wear with jeans or with my jacket.Pattern is Inspira, and it was fairly easy, and fun to knit.

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Finally finished Dan's blanket and sent it off to him. It's a standard Log Cabin, using Cascade Ecological Wool.

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Here's another cowl, in a rustic red wool from Fruitcake Farms.The pattern is A Grey Loop.

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And a matching beret, the pattern is Persikkavaahtot.

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Made my sister a simple scarf in Lisa Souza yarn, one of my favorite of the indie dyers.

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This sweater needs, well, everything. It'll have lace down the arms and a matching lace cowl.

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Here's the start of a large shawl in Manhattan Midnight, it'll have silvery-blue lace at the other edge. Cameo is the pattern, the yarn is Madelinetosh.

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A beret for my mother, in Madelinetosh Vintage.

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