Category Archives: Knitting

As knitter for over 45 years of simple things like afghans, mittens and scarves I am slowly, slowly, ever so slowly evolving to socks, lace and much more challenging projects.

WIP Wednesday – To Swatch or Not Swatch, That is the Question

I honestly don’t know of any knitter that says they love to do a swatch to check his or her gauge. Personally, I prefer to jump right in, but know I cannot if I am making a garment or accessory that must fit properly. Scarves, afghans, dishcloths and anything else that you make that can be an inch or more bigger or smaller than the pattern reads most of the time end up being ok. But try and put on a sweater after weeks (or months) of knitting and realize it is too big or small due to gauge..this doesn’t end well.

First of all, check the pattern for the correct weight/type of yarn. It stands to reason worsted weight will knit up larger than fingering or sock yarn. Next, use the size needle the pattern calls for – unless you are an experienced knitter than knows you knit tighter/looser, But if you are, you already know all of this anyway!

Your pattern will tell you how many stitches and rows per inch you need to get the proper gauge so your finished garment will fit. The mystery KAL I am making now has a gauge of “8 sts and 13 rows = 2” in stockinette stitch. So the swatch I knit has to be at least a few, if not more, stitches and rows than 8 stitches, 13 rows. Personally, I like to make a nice little square of stockinette so that I can measure smack dab in the middle to make sure the stitches aren’t pulled or rolling along the sides as stockinette will do.

swatch

So I cast on 20 stitches with size 9 needles and worsted wt yarn that the pattern called for. I knit until I had a perfect square. Sometimes I don’t but this time I figured I’d make 2 of the little purple squares, sew them together and stuff them for a perfect doll sized pillow for my cousin’s little girl. She loves purple. 🙂

Using a contrasting yarn, I make a running stitch up 13 rows (gauge from the pattern), then use 3 more bits of contrasting yarn to run along 8 stitches at the top and bottom of the 13 row mark, then another along the end of the 8 stitches to make a box in the middle that should measure 2 inches. If it does, all is well. If not – back to the swatching board. Lucky for me this one was right on target

If the gauge is too small, I need to use a larger needle, too big I need to use a smaller needle because I don’t want to use a different weight yarn. There are tons of websites that explain gauge much better than I do, just google “knitting gauge” and you’ll get instructions, video and one of them will help you learn how to swatch like a pro. I like this one: http://sheepandstitch.com/what-is-knitting-gauge/

Now that I’ve preached the importance of swatching, I’ll catch you up on works in progress. Donita’s next baby blanket is barely begun, but it won’t take long to complete.

Donita blanket #3

I will be starting the Mystery KAL from Melody’s Makings on Ravelry since my swatch is done. 🙂 And since I am leaving for a few days of vacation I am either going to make the second black sock, which is boring but will be used this winter more than the fancier socks in crazy colors that I would rather knit. Practicality may or may not win out, I’ll let you know when I get back.

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Filed under baby blanket, blanket, Crafts, Crocheting, Knitting, Knitting Techniques, WIP Wednesday, yarn

WIP Wednesday – Pluggin’ Along

This has been a busy week in my world. I started the baby blanket I’m making for a friend at work and have made great progress on the scarf I’ve been working on. Check ’em out

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I love the orchid baby blanket, it has been a long time since I’ve used this color and it is a nice change from blue or pink.

And my find of the week is a local yarn shop with in *GASP* walking distance of our house! I picked up a beautiful hank of tonal red yarn that I am going use to make a pair of socks. I got a really cute pattern that they were giving out at the LYS for the Yarn Crawl. If I can figure out a plan, I hope to visit more shops on Saturday since the Yarn Crawl will still be going on . I know I don’t need any more yarn. But I do have a VISA gift card that I’ve been saving since Christmas that is meant to be used on some kind of fabulous fiber.

That is my story and I’m sticking to it. 🙂

This week I hope to finish the scarf and get the blanket 1/2 done. A NICU hat needs to be completed before next Thursday as that is the next meeting of our knitting group. If it accomplish those 3 goals, I am going to cast on the socks.

Nothing like having lots of WIP to keep me busy. 🙂

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Filed under Crocheting, Knitting, LYS, NICU, scarf, WIP Wednesday, yarn

WIP Wednesday: Christmas in July

This week has been hotter than hot with a smattering of thunderstorms to keep us on our toes. I am so thankful to have air conditioning in the house, car and work. So I really don’t have any excuses not to knit. Especially when working on a small project.

The scarf I am making for Christmas is coming along really well. It is a simple feather & fan pattern, so I don’t have to think about what I am doing except on the lace row. That makes it perfect for knitting on break at work as well as in the evenings while watching the Cubs on TV.

scarf progress 7.29.15

Until the blocking is done, it is hard to see the lace, so I pulled it out on the needles to help a bit. The rows of yarn that look white are the UV color change fiber that will turn purple in the sunlight. So it will be a fun scarf to wear, sometimes pink, purple and white, sometimes pink and purple. The variegated yarn also has a bit of glitter so there is a lot going on. That is why I wanted a simple pattern.

Other than the scarf, I haven’t started or finished anything this week. I got the yarn for a baby blanket for a friend of mine as well as some Bernat Pipsqueak to make more NICU hats. The nurse that takes them in said right now they have 25 babies in the unit. I need to knit faster!!

Until next week, keep cool and knit on. 🙂

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Filed under Bernat, Christmas, Knitting, Pipsqueak, scarf, WIP Wednesday, yarn

WIP Wednesday – Knitting Group

Happiest Wednesday!

Last night I was fortunate enough to be invited to a knitting group by a dear friend. We don’t see much of each other in person, but keep in touch with FB and Words With Friends. We’ve been chatting about forming an informal knitting night, and Judy graciously invited us to her home.

We chatted, catching up with old friends and met new friends. Our common bond of fiber gave us plenty to chat and laugh about. New knitters and seasoned knitters worked on on blankets, washcloths, scarves and shawls. I started the scarf for my cousin’s Christmas gift earlier this week, so that is what I took along to work on.

Judy has some great ideas for our new group. She collected email addresses and is compiling a resource list of yarn shops, websites and tips. I am very excited to hear she has the info to visit local farms that raise Alpacas . Who doesn’t love baby alpaca??

Judy shared a tip I can’t wait to use. When working a pattern where you repeat several rows for a pattern, she writes each row on a separate index card. No more counting, making marks, etc to see where you are in a pattern, you just flip the card to the back of the stack and go to the next card. When you stop for the evening, clip them together and you’ll know exactly where to start the next time you pick up your work. I love this useful tip!

To top off the night, Judy’s husband made each of us a beautiful hand turned Nostepinne. If you (like me) have never seen or used one, here is the description from The Woolery (http://www.woolery.com/Store/pc/Using-a-Nostepinne-d38.htm):

“Nostepinne” or “nostepinde” is a Scandinavian word that means “nest-stick.”; the original Ball Winder. It is a tool used to wind a center-pull yarn ball. A nostepinne is portable, easy to use, and creates a center-pull ball that can be used without changing the twist in the yarn.

I tried using mine tonight. It is going to take a bit of practice, but I am getting the hang of it 🙂

Nostepinne

When we meet again I am going to bring the pattern and yarn for the NICU unit baby bear hats. Meantime I’ve finished my sweater, but it needs the buttons and to be washed/blocked. I’ll have pictures next week.

I hope you all have a friend or a wonderful group to hang out with and knit. Or crochet. Or Quilt…you get the idea 🙂

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Filed under Crocheting, Knitting, WIP Wednesday, yarn

WIP Wednesday 2 Weeks Late

Helloooo! I’m back after a 10 day vacation and a week of recovery of said vacation 🙂 The first few days were spent in North Carolina and Virginia, then we spent 4 wonderful days with our youngest son and daughter-in-law. I’ll do a post later highlighting all of the fun places we went and things we did, with the exception of the first little town we stayed in, Black Mountain, NC since it is linked to a future WIP.

We stayed at the Red Rocker Inn, and yes there are red rockers in all sizes on the fabulous front porch of the B & B. In the evenings, hubby and I sat out on the porch, chatting while I crocheted on the purple sweater I’ve been working on. I only have a few inches left, then the trim. I am pleased with the way it is turning out.

purple sweater pattern 7.15.15

This is a closeup of the pattern.

Black Mountain is a great little town with shop after shop of artisan crafts to admire and purchase. I was ecstatic to find a local yarn shop nestled between a Dulcimer shop and a great restaurant – The Trailhead check it out here: thetrailheadrestaurant.com ,

I know what you are saying, since I shared my stash closet pictures, what is this crazy woman thinking?? I’m thinking I need some local yarn. Hubby is the best, I was touching all of the yarn, looking for something local and he didn’t even sigh. Nope, not once. Yarn is the best souvenir in my opinion. I get to remember the trip the whole time I use it to make something.

I picked up a wonderful skein of wool hand dyed with lupine native to the area and some had made buttons for my sweater. Here is the yarn and I’ll share the buttons when I finish my sweater. Black Mountain yarn I think it will be enough to make a warm winter hat. I’ll probably save it until after the holidays as I am starting to think of all the things I want to make before them.

I have to confess I also ordered 2 skeins of yarn to make my cousin a scarf for Christmas. It is Abracadabra made by Hikoo yarn, and looks like a whitish cream color until you get it in the sun, then it turns purple. It was pricey and the skeins are only 50 grams of DK weight, so I am going to pair it this skein I picked up last year that is pink & purple with a bit of sparkle. I can’t wait to start it, but want to finish my sweater first.

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I feel pretty good about my progress this week. I just might finish my sweater before next Wednesday 🙂

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Filed under Abracadabra, Black Mountain, Crocheting, HiKoo yarn, Knitting, local yarn shop, stash, WIP Wednesday, yarn

WIP Wednesday – Lots of progress this week :)

bath poufThis week was very productive knit and crochet wise. I finished one bath pouf and am almost done with a second one. I am tired of those mesh ones from the store unraveling into a useless wad of nothing.  I used a pattern I found here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/puffy-bath-pouf  Check out  The Stitching Mommy’s website. She posts all kinds of nifty patterns, hints and tips.

The purple one is made out of Ripples – a yarn by Willow (which is really Herrschner’s)  and I am not really that pleased with the yarn . It seems to be too stretchy for this project. There were also 2 separate joins in one of the balls of yarn. This is a pet peeve of mine. If I pay for a new skein or ball of yarn, I don’t want to find knots in the middle of a project. But that is just me.

Since I love this pattern so much, and it works up wonderfully, I am making another one out of the suggested yarn (what a concept LOL) Lily Sugar ,n Cream. I’ll report back after  finish it and use a few times. As a rule, I love this yarn, so I am hoping for good things.

6.23.15 bath pouf

AND I finished and blocked the Possum Yarn Shawl. I love it. SO I’ve included tons of pictures. It isn’t nearly as intricate or fancy as the one Leslie is making for me out of the mink yarn – but I like this plan Jane shawl too.

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Last but not least, I started crocheting a cardigan for myself. It is the Cap Sleeve Open Cardigan by yarnspirations.com. I got the pattern from allfreecrochet.com. The only problem with the pattern is the is no yardage for any size except XS/S. Honestly, I love the pattern and hope that I have enough of the Serendipity Tweed I found in my stash to use. Oh yeah – shopping from my stash now that the closet is clean. Here is my progress – the bodice and sleeves are all worked in one piece. I have 2 rows left before starting the shaping for the sleeves so I am rolling right along.

Cap Sleeve Open Cardigan 6.24.15

No WIP next week – I’m off on an adventure. Keep your fingers crossed that the dogs will behave for my sons. 🙂

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Filed under Crafts, Crocheting, Knitting, New Zealand, possum yarn, Ravelry, stash, WIP Wednesday, yarn

WIP Wednesday – Family Always Trumps WIP

This week I made a small bit of progress on my shawl. I only have 10 rows to go then it will be ready to block. I honestly could have used it at the movies last Saturday, it was freezing in there!

Instead of knitting this week in the evenings, I spent lots of time with family and friends. One of my cousins flew in to Illinois from Arizona to visit for a week. It has been so many years since I last saw her I can’t quite remember when it was. I believe it had to be sometime in the late 60’s or early 70’s. She is about 15 years older than me, so I remember much more about her younger brother because we were the same age. Her mom and my grandma were sisters.

Anyway, after losing touch over the years, my aunt (another one of Gram’s sisters) found her again. The internet is a beautiful thing 🙂

So we enjoyed several dinners with my family whom I love to bits. Good food and good times.

Donna visit 6.14.15

As you can see, we were digging deep into a box of pictures that used to be my Gram’s. Thanks to modern technology, my cousin was able to scan and email copies of whichever ones she wanted to her email.

Last week I knit memories with laughter and love with my family. This week I’ll go back to yarn. 🙂

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Filed under Family fun, Knitting, memories, WIP Wednesday