Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Year of Building Blocks

I am always one to put together a grandiose plan for Natalie and I to do some project.  Some may call it a scheme, okay Natalie calls it a scheme, but I like planning things.  For 2014 I came up with a perfect plan for us to improve our knitting skills and end the year with a fabulous project.

During the madness which the local yarn stores call a yarn crawl, I bought a booklet, Building Blocks by Michelle Hunter.  I thought the book was brilliant.  Hunter provides 12 patterns for knitted blanket blocks, each blocks builds on the other to improve pattern reading and knitting skills.  The blocks range from simple knits and purls, building up to cabling, bobbles, and lace. 

Much discussion went back and forth between us as to our abilities to do such an ambitious project.  I must admit I upped the bar a little by suggesting that we each make our blanket for the other.  Of course knitting for each other means our yarn choices have to be tailored to each others taste.  I chose Simpliworsted by HiKoo in green, blue, lavender, and purple for Natalie.  Natalie is working with Simpliworsted as well, but her colors seem to be a bit brighter. 

I finished block #1 this last weekend.  It was exciting to see the block done and imagine the lovely finished blanket.  I fantasize my blanket will keep Natalie warm on cold winter nights like tonight.  Of course, at this point anything could happen. My meticulous planning could easily be derailed or worse yet once done we still have to sew all the blocks together.  But from January everything is going along swimmingly.  Will keep you posted on our progress.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Hanging Out with Knitterati

Like any sub-culture knitting has a select group of Knitterati.  Super star knitters who have turned their passion for yarn into a full time profession.  They write books, teach classes, blog, and blog some more.  I must admit I have chased some of these individuals and been elated to be in the presence of knitting greatness (http://tempestinapot.blogspot.com/2008/10/knitting-with-rock-stars-or-mason-dixon.html), 

One of our own Knitterati, Brooke Nico at Kirkwood Knittery (http://www.kirkwoodknittery.com/) had one of her friends and fellow super stars, Franklin Habit, join us tonight at her shop.  Franklin is known for his quick wit and clever cartoons.  When I first started knitting I was given a copy of his book, It Itches by two wonderful friends.  The book made me smile and gave me hope that one day I would be a better knitter.  To meet someone so talented and congenial made for an awesome evening.

Franklin spent his time with us talking about those crazy Victorian crafters.  His section on macramé was especially hysterical.  Made me want to make a jute, owl wall-hanging, NOT!  He also brought his knitted wool swimming drawers for our inspection.  Those made me glad I live in a post spandex world.  I smiled all the way home having spent the evening with my tribe enjoying the company of a very clever knitter.  If you don't believe me, check out Franklin's blog (http://the-panopticon.blogspot.com/).  His advice to "Love! Laugh! Knit!" will be followed.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Half Moon Mittens or Kooky Knitted Calzones

Last Friday I came home at lunch and saw 3 AT&T trucks on my block.  The technicians were on the poles working on the lines.  When I got home Friday night we had no cable service and the wifi was out.  Doesn't take a detective to figure out one of those techs might have made a mistake.  Today after much turning on and off of "equipment" they discovered that someone on Friday had "forgotten" to re-connect our cable.  Not the end of the world, but thankful to be back on the grid today.  I missed my wifi.

What I did do over my internet disabled weekend was finally finished Daniel Yuhas' Half Moon Mittens.  Thanks to Robyn at Kirkwood Knittery I was able to finish the pattern and knit up these kooky mittens.  Despite looking like lobster claws, as soon as I saw this pattern, I wanted to knit these mittens.  The mittens are knitted in the round with just two ends to weave in, one at the tip of the thumb and one on the cuff.  Very clever construction Daniel.  I am so happy with the finished mitten. 

I am one of those fingerless mitts people, but with the recent cold snap my finger tips were freezing off.  I can now wear my fingerless mitts and pull mittens on when the temperature drops.  I also have the added bonus of looking like I have multi-colored calzones on my hands.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Knitting Fail in 2014 Or Saved by a Scarflet

Listen to my tail of woe.  I am in the throes of epic knitting fail.  I finished knitting 2 Fabulous Felted Hat in 2013 and all I need to do is felt them.  Actually, I have been trying to felt one down to wearable size and it is refusing to do down that last couple of inches.  I have tried everything short of dipping the damn thing in hot lava and it just won't go down.  Big GRRRR and felting advice accepted.

I also worked on Jacob Yuhas' Half-Moon Mittens.  Apparently, the pattern is slightly smarter than me I keep getting stuck.  I have had more interventions on this pattern than Lindsey Lohan.  I think I am finally back on the right track, but we will see.  Also want to add the left-hand lift to increase 1 in this pattern is very brilliant.  Thanks Jacob.

I even tried to cast on a Pembroke Shawl.  Another fail moment.  I completely misread the pattern and had to rip the whole thing out.  So much knitting win in 2014.  Insert sad trombone music here.

To make myself feel better I thought I would do something simple.  Using some leftover cascade tweed yarn I knit the Scarflet.  Garter stitch and buttonholes, very easy.  The hardest thing about this pattern was picking out buttons and finding 4 that matched.  Also, I got it done in 2 nights.  I know it is lame, but I will take a knitting win wherever I can find it right now.