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Leading a Knitalong

How is leading a knitalong different from teaching a class.  It’s more fun for me!  I get to just knit for long periods.  I answer questions, I clarify the instructions, I will help with the blocking—if any of us ever finish, and I enjoy the people.  And they pay me a bit for doing this.  Life don’t get no better.  Don’t tell anyone; I don’t want to share this gig.

We meet about every 10 days or so.  At the shop.  Bringing dinner or drinks if we wish.

We like to share how far along we are—or explain why we just haven’t had time to complete that much.

Actually these pics are of our meeting several weeks ago, but it doesn’t matter.  We are all wallowing in a sea of garter stitch that we know will be worth it once we have this gorgeous Zephyr creation designed by Jane Sowerby.  We have Natalie’s shawl to inspire us.  (can’t find pic)

We seem to have different attitudes about the process.  Some are happy . . .and are pleasantly progressing with the purple.

Others are pensive . . .or intent and determined.One has lost her mind.

It’s all good.  We are planning to add a few sessions in order to avoid the shame of no one finishing.  Only one of use has passed the halfway mark of part 1 (and there are 3 parts) and begun the decreasing.  Shamefully, it isn’t the instructor.

Must go knit burgundy Zephyr.

More later–


On the Needles

I got the laptop back when Steve came home last week, but haven’t gotten my writing mojo in gear until tonight.  Here’s an on the needle update:

Leaf and Nupp Shawl from Nancy Bush’s Lace Knitting in Estonia.  I’ve done enough for you to get the idea.  It really may be more large scarf size when finished, but I’m fine with that.  I love any leaf pattern I have ever seen, especially this one.  I’m so proud of those Nupps.  Yes, a few will need some secret repair, but most are whole and perfect.  That’s a big step forward for me.  Dorothy who is in the Daybreak Gold Knitalong has recently been to Estonia–covet, covet– and said yarn was very lovely and inexpensive.  That’s reason enough to go.  This won’t get much work in the near future, but more on that later.

Nope, that’s not a black and white photo.  It’s in full color–only there isn’t much.  I finally finished–don’t you love that word?–my Puffy Squares from the Zauberball black and white fingering yarn.  Yes, I fiddled with the colors a bit at the end to prevent a solid black piece.  Now to decide what to do with them.  I envision a scarf with four of these on each end.  Maybe all eight on one end and a plain finish at the other.  The problem is finding a yarn with a similar luster to the Zauberball.  This too goes to the back burner.

The knitting is finished.  The yarn was from Kate and I’ve lost the band.  But it is thick and thin and even the thin is pretty thick.  I knit seed stitch on a size 13 needle–just a 17″ square.Then I embellished with a smooth cotton DK yarn.  The “bow” or “flower” is a rectangle woven on a 4×6 Weavette.  Then there is backstitch.  I have an old remnant of upholstery material which will compliment the neutral embroidery.  I have an old pillow that needs a new cover.  No excuse for not finishing this and adding it to my den immediately.  Don’t hold your breath.  But I love it.

Here’s my Daybreak Gold shawl variation.  I stuck to the pattern for at least three inches and then remembered that I hate unshaped triangles.  So I decided to add short rows and shape it.  Just made up a plan and did it.  I don’t love what I did, but what I wrote down was what I should have done and I will test that on the other end.  The Knitalong started at the shop last Sunday.  We had a blast, all 13 of us.  It’s not to late to join us;  check the Charlotte Yarn website.  Next time I’ll take the camera.

Could not resist starting a sev[en] circle after seeing BJ’s last week.  This is a pleasure to knit.  No brains are really needed.  Love that about it

Zachary’s gansey is graphed and I’ve knit one inch of the back.  I’ve been doodling on a sweater for Steve.  The green linen skirt still just lies there.  And the Seduce jacket has taken an interesting turn.

Still other projects which I cannot show yet.  Obviously I have a problem.

Today I shook myself by the throat and yelled, “Get a grip!”  I need to FOCUS before I self destruct.  So–I have packed away some of the projects.  I will continue to work on the Knitalong–that’s my job and the group is great.  I will keep the Seduce jacket available.  I will finish the new socks on the needles.  Then I will look at the others.  Ah-h-h.  That feels better.

Aren’t you glad you aren’t ADHD?

More later–

Catching Up; Free class

I’ve been busy enjoying my friends.  I’ve also been indulging myself in mindless knitting–well, sort of.

Recently a very good friend has been bringing me flowers from her yard–her husband is a master gardener.  Over the past month I’ve had lilies, daisies, gerber daisies and now gladiola and the best ever, Stargazer Lily.

I’d never heard of a Stargazer Lily before but I want one.  It has the sweetest, most delicate aroma.  (If you have an old dog, “aroma” is an important issue in your life.)  It’s beautiful in a million ways; it looks modern, vintage, unearthly, Art Deco.  The buds have been opening on the branch for over a week, so the cutting lasts.  Must call Andrew about adding one to my yard.

The Seduce yarn has entered is 5th transformation.  The top down yoke sweater proved to be a bad ideas for such a squirrelly yarn.  This time it actually seems to be working.  It’s simply a top down, half-raglan shaped cardigan.  It’s all stockinette and will have some kind of border–a slightly flaired ruffle, I think.  The yarn seems to like this project, at least it is knitting effortlessly.  Well–there was the part where I twisted the left shoulder when joining everything under the arm.

I know to be meticulous when joining to knit in the round, but don’t think it even occurred to me I could twist parts of a sweater.  Fortunately I caught it when I had only knit an inch—thanks to my habit of trying things on a million times while in process.  Quick frog and a start again.  Added short rows and the rest is just straight knitting—I think.

My July socks are going great.  I love the Plymouth Sockotta and the long repeats.  I’m using an easy twisted st rib for the cuff and have developed a slightly different way (for me) of doing the Left Twist.  I’m also working on simplifying the directions for the arched foot that I have grown to love.  The arch clasps the foot nicely and it is fun to knit; makes the foot knitting more interesting so it seems to go faster.  I’ll share when it is worked out to my liking.

Speaking of sharing—I’m teaching a free class this coming Sunday at Charlotte Yarn.  It is part of Remi’s Customer Appreciation Weekend.  I’m sharing some pattern reading tips and tricks and will, of course, be available to answer questions and play with yarn.  Call the shop and reserve a place–Think of it as a play date.  It will be way too hot to do anything else that day.

More later–

How many times can you knit the same yarn?

This is Seduce from Berroco.  I love the way it looks and the bumpiness of its texture.  I want to wear it near my face.  I want to combine it with a solid color to bring out the purple in it.  I’m having trouble figuring out how to do all that.

It was going to be a vest

then a jacket

now a round yoke sweater.  Maybe.  I’ve never knit one before, so designing with one is iffy.

I read that bodies with narrow shoulder and big bottoms looked good in yoked sweaters with some color interest. The yoke draws the eye up and balances the bottom so the theory goes.  Okay, I’m in.

I got out my construction bibles and began to read.  Worked some of the formulas and began to plan. Started knitting without really doing a swatch.  Hey–I’ve knit this yarn twice already–three times including the swatch I did knit before the vest thing.  Surely I know it’s gauge.  (Words to eventually eat.)

The row gauge is a bit off, but I’ll just add some extra.  I’ll keep you posted.  Some of my students have commented that it is very motivating to know that more experienced knitters make mistakes.  I’m happy to oblige.

I want to make the body of the sweater in a solid color contrasting yarn.  I took some pictures to help me decide which to use.  or

I think I’ll go with the purple.  I already have a swatch.

More later–

Square Project

I’ve always enjoyed modular knitting.  Lots of small projects equal lots of finishing lines.  These fluffy squares are adorable and fun to knit.  And the pattern is free.

Don’t stop with just this pattern though.  Look at all the ingenious things Frankie Brown has created and is sharing with us.  Much of it is kind of mindless and easy, but still very clever.

So what are these squares going to be?  Well, I don’t exactly know.  Maybe a pillow top.  Maybe the ends of a scarf or shawl.  I’ll decide when I finish knitting them.  I have one ball of Zauberball in the black, white, grey colorway.  I’m trying to get at least 3 shades in each square.  (After knitting a solid black one)  I have 5 knitted and lots of yarn left.  If I do a shawl or scarf, I’ll probably use a natural sock yarn as the body.

About the Zauberball.  I have every reason not to like it.  It’s a single ply, but is strong.  The wool in it must be a long wool because it is much stronger than I expected.  It has luster, like mohair, but isn’t fuzzy.  If I had to guess, I’d say Wensleydale, but I don’t know.  The color repeats are very long.  Much longer than Noro.  I may buy another to knit a shawl and just let the colors play.

It’s a size 4 needle—actually it’s 5 size 4 needles.  You can knit this square on magic loop, but it just seems more natural on dpns.  I haven’t knit on dpns in a long time and I am enjoying that also.

I’ll let you know what I do with the squares and how I decide to join them.  Those 10 st circular pieces she designed also look like fun.

More later–

Sad sock story; otn

I am trying to have my own Sock of the Month club this year as suggested by Yarn Harlot.  I cheated and bought yarn—six balls of Sockotta from Discontinued Brand Name Yarns for only about $5 each, but one just makes a new resolution and moves on.  My grandmother always said God would get me for my sins, so check out above.  Steve’s new sock doesn’t fit.

Remember that I knit both on different needles at the same time.  The second one doesn’t fit either.

By now you would expect I could fit him.  I’ve only knitted him a bezillion socks.  The third one I cast on didn’t work either, so I decided to rethink.

I love the Sockotta yarn.  It’s the only Plymouth yarn besides their Galway that I have ever liked.   It’s 45% cotton, 40% wool, and 15% nylon.  The cotton is cooler for summer; the wool is long wearing; and the nylon is strong and softens things.  It comes in 100 gram balls (414 yds) and Webs has it for only $10.99.  It washes in the machine and wears very well.  I knit my first pair of lace socks out of it 100 years ago.

I finally decided that the problem was using my Like Jazz pattern with the cotton blend needed more stitches so the twisted stitch pattern could be accommodated.  Cotton doesn’t stretch the same way all wool yarn does.  I added stitches and cast on again.  Still too small.   I can hear Cristi saying, but didn’t you swatch it to check the size?  No, I thought I was so perfect that I didn’t need to.

Tore out the third one and he is getting a k2,p2 cuff with the occasional twist st.  I may burn this yarn before May is out.  And it’s all my own stubborn fault.  I still like the yarn.

One other error—same socks— dealt with the needle size.  In the US, we fudge a bit on needle sizes.  A size one needle may be a 2.25 mm needle or a 2.5 mm.  I like that Knitpicks sells both in my favorite needle.  I am a loose knitter, so I always buy the 2.25.  But—-the first sock I cast on for Steve was on my lovely Addi lace needle, size 1.  The initial try-on fit Steve quite well.  Just the first few inches of the cuff.  The second sock was knit on the Knitpicks needle.  Yeah!  The Addi is a 2.5.  Another opportunity to screw up was taken.  It’s like these socks aren’t meant to be.  Or maybe it’s the “Keep the Knit Queen humble” work of God.  Anyway, watch out for needle size US1.

I am still knitting on my green skirt.  But only a bit and only when I remember.  It is on track for an August finish when I plan to teach a class is designing and knitting a custom fit A-line skirt.

More later–

What did you do over the weekend?

First we got new sidewalks and a driveway–and they discovered a leak in the water line.  Replacement is Weds. and $$$$.

Then Steve slipped off his bike in the driveway and broke his arm–and we had a nice visit at Presbyterian ER.  Really, it went very well.

Then I dropped my phone into a cup of coffee–

and it began to vibrate and make strange noises.

I hope things come in threes and that we are finished.

Steve is fine.  He even walked to CVS to get his own pain killers.  He saw an orthopedic surgeon this morning and they will do the “screw it back together” surgery tomorrow. Mostly he is just annoyed.  He’ll be off the bike and the weights for at least 6 weeks.  I will probably spend a lot of time upstairs out of the way.

Got a new phone this morning.  Lost all my numbers.  Email me your number so I can program you in and then will answer if you call.  First the email contacts, now the phone numbers–Am I being told something?

Fortunately I had time to work on Summit for Meghan.  She loves it.  Needs about 12 more inches.I think I’ll offer a class on this.  It’s so much fun to knit, especially if you can knit backward, which I teach.

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