July 30, 2012

Enough About Me

Last weekend at knitting class, there were a bunch of firsts.  First, there were three new "students":

Meet Abigail:  she used to crochet, but wanted to lean how to knit.  After 10 minutes she was knitting on her own and she's proudly displaying her knitting progress after about an hour of knitting.  Mind you, she now knows how to cast on with her left and right hands.  Congratulations on learning the knit stitch Abigail.

Meet Deanna (left) and her sister Tiana (right): They are new knitters.  They learned how to cast on and knit.  Tiana is left handed and in spite of the fact that I was teaching everyone how to knit with their right hand dominant, Tiana picked it up so fast, she was off and running with the knitting before the right handers got out the gate!  Both girls were tickled pink with their progress.

Now meet Mia, who after a 'long absence' (she's only 4 years old!) from knitting, decided that this weekend to start again.  I'd brag about it, but I didn't give her a refresher class, Renee did.  She, like Deanna and Tiana, was tickled pink with her progress.

And then there is Brianne who is Mia's sister.  She has lots of years of experience under her new belt which she is showing off for us here.  Go fashion diva!

And in the experienced category, here's Joanne a class regular sporting her first crochet blanket!  Woo hoo!  Not bad for someone who shunned the hook for years.

Now if you live in the Bronx area and would like to come knit or learn to knit with us, please do!  We knit on Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. at the Soundview Branch of the New York Public Library.  Lessons are free - just bring your own needles.

Now I'm going to spend the evening knitting, but I want to give a special thank you to the blog Revelations of a Delusional Knitter who helped me find a needle beader that is going to cut my beading time in half.  I never would never have thought up on my own to go down the dental floss aisle and Walgreens.  Thank you.

July 29, 2012

Summer Blooms

I'm sure I mentioned that I'm participating in the Ravellenic games.  I've had my eye on the Summer Blooms shawl ever since I saw it on the cover of Interweave Knits.  Now, I've got 17 days to make the shawl so I can have bragging rights on the Team Bob page.  (Of course if I don't finish in 17 days, then I have the rest of my life to finish the shawl.)

In preparation for the event, I read the instructions which are clear as a bell.  I strung 275 beads on the yarn even though the pattern says to use a bead hook to pull loops through.  Being aware of any deviations from the instructions is half the battle.

So, on Friday at precisely 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time, I prepared for take off.

Day 1: Cast on 417 stitches.

Attempt #1 resulted in not having pulled out enough yarn to cast on that many stitches.  I ran out at 200 stitches.  Rip it out, start again.

Attempt #2: same instructions, but this time I lost count.  I seem to be perpetually stuck at 58 or 59, never sure if I said fifty eight or sixty eight.  Started to count the stitches from the beginning and in the process dropped a bunch of stitches.  Rip it out, start again.

Attempt #3: same instructions, only I still didn't have enough yarn to cast on 417 stitches.  Rip it out, start again.

Attempt #4: again, same instructions.  I got the right number of stitches, I worked the pattern.  Woo hoo, I thought, I'm on my way.  Except that the strung beads did not center on the stitch like they would if they'd been added like the instructions said.  No problem.  I strung the beads on with dental floss.  Time consuming, but the beads sit right and we're OK.

Until I got to the end of the row and had a bunch of stitches left over.  What the ... ?  OK.  I'll just double up the decreases and fudge my way through it.  Row 1 done, I make it to row 3 and guess what? The beads don't line up.  Okaaaaaay ...

Now I'm angry.  I rip it all out and go to bed.

Day 2: clock is ticking.

Attempt #1, 2, 3 and 4 exactly as above, including the getting mad thing and ripping it all out.  Only this time, I took a nap, woke up and worked on this instead, Church Mouse baby wrap sweater:

I'm up to the ruffled collar, but I felt guilty about not casting on - and day 2 slipped by.  

Not only that, but now I'm in a panic because the pattern calls for 875 yards and I only had 800 yards to being with.  I can't even tell you how many times I broke the yarn and threw it in a heap.  The only reason I didn't throw those scraps out is because the beads are still on it and I need them.  Sheesh!  This whole project is already a disaster!

Day 3: same instructions, new resolve.

I cast on 417 stitches.  I counted each stitch on the chart as I went along.  There were no left over stitches when I got to the end of the row.  Hoo-ray!  Beads were put on with dental floss (waxed floss, by the way), and the beads on row 3 lined up with the beads on row 1.  It's a miracle!

Can you believe I'm already up to row 9 (of 48).  I'm on my way!!

Here's a picture I took when I was up to row 5 (I think):

That's all I'm going to say because if I say anything more, my yarn will probably burst into flame.

Go Team Bob!

July 25, 2012

Go Team Bob!

As if the Tour de France/Tour de Fleece never happened, I signed up to do yet another challenge.  Oy!  I never learn, do I?  Ravellenic Games 2012 (formerly known as Ravelympics) starts soon and I'm so excited!

In the spirit of challenging myself, I've joined Team Bob and my project is Summer Blooms, a shawl by Susanna IC.  Woo hoo!  It's the first project I've ever made using beads and I'm dying to see how it turns out.

I was going to make it in pink and donate it to the cancer research auction, but I didn't have enough pink and I dare not buy another skein of it, so I'm going with blue.  The yarn is Athena, a lace weight yarn of 100% merino.

The Olympic games start on Friday and in preparation of tha, I bought some beads from Manifest Beads (Etsy).  She's in Connecticut so the beads came real fast:

According to the pattern, I'm supposed to add the beads to the shawl as I go instead of stringing them, and I know there's a good reason why, but all I could think about is not being able to get the beads on
at all or being slowed down trying to string 275 beads with dental floss.  As if I want to deal with 275 beads worth of delays.

The rule is that I can start knitting when the torch is lit on Friday, July 27th and I stop when the torch goes out 17 days later.  Can I do it?  Hopefully I can.

Are there really 275 beads on the yarn?  I have no idea because a) I'm really, really, really bad at math and b) I lost count while stringing the beads so I'm hedging my bets by leaving the needle on the yarn until I have a chance to count the beads.

After this challenge I can go right back to knitting my mother's sweater, Cora, which has been hibernating for the past two months.  I should have made that my Ravellenic challenge.  Oh well.

I wish good luck to all of my teammates!

July 23, 2012

Radio Silence

It's been a while since I last posted, pardon the silence.  I've been away from the blog because life happened and it totally took my attention away from here and turned it to my family.  There's one thing I know for sure, life goes on and you go with it.

Knitting has been happening though, so at least I have something to show for all the time I've been away.

First I made these socks because I loved them the minute I saw them:

Pattern: Mermaid Socks (Ravelry)
Yarn: Malabrigo Sock
Needles: US #2

Then I made this hat because I had some fiber generously donated by Sojourn Knitter which I spun up that had low yardage:

Capistrano Fiber Arts Limited Edition, wool and kid mohair, 2 ounces.  The only thing I could think to make was a hat, so I made this:

Pattern: Kozue (Ravelry)
Color: Sands of Utah, 106 yards
Needles: US #7

And what makes this knitter happier than when two and a half skeins of Bebe Lang in lemon lime:

And a little leftover yarn, the brown ball, Cascade Heritage (leftover after making the Hootenanny Socks):

Turns into this:

Pattern: Tweed Baby Blanket by Jared Flood
Yarn: Bebe Lang Superwash in lemon lime and Cascade Heritage Solids (brown)
Needle: US #4

Pinning this blanket was a pain in the wrist, but it was worth it.  I only wish my camera could show you the true colors.  Too bad it's been cloudy and raining for the past 3 days.

I also did some spinning for the Tour de Fleece, but not much.  Those pictures will follow on another day.  This post is way over my usual picture limit.

Enjoy your day!