Posts filed under 'Knitting'

Hard to Let Go of the Lounge Lizard

loungelizardsmfingering.JPG

These longer nights and cooler days that have been shadowing me have finally tiptoed close enough behind me to tap me on the shoulder, expecting acknowledgment. As I turn around and look, I realize, it’s true. It’s Fall.
No matter how hot the day gets, the nights are gaining on us. No matter how brilliant and clear the green of a newly hatched grasshopper, most of the grasshoppers now are a rough, dirty, green gold now. Everywhere I look, the colors have dirtied and deepened. I’ll adjust (after all, I LOVE dirty colors; it’s change I don’t like.) But before I march forward, I want to present my memories of an early summer day swimming in a pool, surrounded by a garden full of blooming flowers under a clear blue sky. Enjoy that day with me and the Lounge Lizard.

Add comment September 22nd, 2008

ESotD: Three Waters Farm

Miss Violet and Miss Lime of the famous Lime&Violet saluted our Etsy Web shop September 15th in the Daily Chum. We are blushing with pride here in our little corner of the Universe. Thank you Lime&Violet!

Add comment September 17th, 2008

Back on the Planet

I am back on the planet. It was slightly sobering to discover that I am a computer addict. I suspected that it might be so, but cheerfully ignored both the possibility and it’s ramifications until my computer got zonked. I don’t have to think about it anymore, however, because my computer is fixed.

I did get a lot of things done when I wasn’t computering. The yarn that is destined for Maryland Sheep and Wool should be here this week and my production schedule is all worked out. I’ve got a couple of colorways that are almost ready for unveiling and one that I shall unveil now: BEHOLD!, Wild Berry!

wildberry-mohair-silk-boucle.jpg

Earthbound II is nearing completion; it is starting to look like I will have to reknit the sleeves. The first Earthbound was lacking a true shoulder band. Earthbound II has it’s proper shoulder band, and the seven extra rows or so a shoulder band requires. The already knit sleeves are smaller by seven stitches, that is, 2 inches. We will see how much magic we can conjure up to solve this problem that doesn’t involve re-knitting. I have run out of time to re-knit before Maryland and so this sweater may end up in summer storage. Here is a picture of the completed back panel:

new-earthbound-back.jpg

A really exciting opportunity has come my way: Olds College in Alberta, Canada, is running a satellite session of their famous Master Spinner program in nearby Louisburg, NC. They are offering Master Spinner Level I, April 23 to 27. What could be more fun than this — a whole week with a variety of fleeces, cards, natural dyeing, rabid fiber enthusiasts, and fantastic instructors?

1 comment March 13th, 2007

Binge Knitting

The Great Spring Discontent is upon us. Every grocery store magazine shouts that we have eaten too many cookies and indulged in too little exercise; the Twin Spring Imperatives, Dieting and Exercising, must begin; No More Bingeing. I am full of remorse. Thumbing through magazines looking for any advice I can immediately put into action, I see, “Reduce your appetite with small, controlled snacks.”

It sounds oh so sensible and easy to implement, but I binge AND snack. On knitting. All winter I have been bingeing on sweater knitting and snacking on sockknitting. (Is sockknitting one word yet?) At one point, my husband gently suggested that perhaps I was knitting too much? (He has scars to prove it.) Over knitting, Indeed!

Clearly, it is time to straighten up. Spring is almost here.

Before my Spring Knitting Diet took hold, progress had been made on Earthbound; I am more than halfway done if the old sleeves will suffice for the new sweater. If new sleeves are called for, well, I’m afraid that Earthbound is in for a spring and summer hibernation.

earthbound-ii-unfinished-back.jpg

The top-down knit has made it twenty-one inches, almost to the bottom. (By the way, that is MORE inches than there are between Australia and New Zealand on my map.)
top-down-21-inches.jpg

There is one more sweater that is done except for the finishing. What could possibly be so hard about setting in the sleeves and knitting the neck? Any ideas?

thick-n-thin-sweater-frontback.jpg

The good news is that my Spring Knitting Diet has produced a new colorway. Behold, “Lilac” on Mohair Boucle.

lilac-bigger.jpg

Maybe this diet won’t be so bad after all. Anyone ready for a snack?

1 comment February 26th, 2007

Failure’s Motto, Again

I was determined to do it all just right. I made my gauges — three or four gauges — and did a careful counting of stitches. Two gauges made it to the blocking stage. (Yes, blocking stage. I did block them. It does seem retentive to do such a thing, but have you noticed that with gauge I have “relational problems?”) So when the gauges had settled, there was more measuring and counting. And, unbelievably (believably?) the wooden size 8 needle and the Turbo size 7 needle were knitting at exactly the same gauge! So of course I chose the Turbos for speed and, because they don’t throw sparks. (Forgive the levity. Gauge is a ponderous topic.)

So feeling virtuous (and a tiny bit smug,) I cast on and began knitting. Past experience has shown that when I get into the knitting groove, everything loosens. Determined to be attentive enough to prevent this from occurring, I knit vigilantly. Then that *feeling* started to set in, that feeling of Authority Looking Over My Shoulder, Frowning. It got creepy enough that I picked up a ruler and checked my gauge. I’m sure you already know. There were MORE stitches to the inch than there were supposed to be. One half stitch too many to be exact.

So with Hannah’s help (Hannah is a Jewel and handles hysteria with a capable hand) I did some (re)thinking, some more measuring, and some counting, and decided that ripping back to the armholes and adding a few extra stitches at the same gauge would equal the correct size if I followed instructions for knitting the next size up. It would seem that I cannot knit the most humdrum of garments without drama.

top-down-cardigan.jpg

In the meantime, I have decided that sharpening my knitting acuity is in order. For instance, I have a new theory that knitting to gauge means that the stitches will feel a certain way on the needle, that is, not slide too easily, nor slide not easily enough. So far, this has proven to be accurate. Also, it is self-evident that I should NOT ignore the Authority Looking Over My Shoulder — she is trying to tell me something. And I have decided to reflexively (and to cheerfully) check my gauge. Every inch or so.

And so I recite (again) with (mustered) zeal, Failure’s motto. “Success is a terrible teacher.”

Add comment February 20th, 2007

Tracks of My Tears

See this?

earthbound-front.jpg

earthbound-back.jpg

It is now this:

earthbound-dismantled.jpg

I have heard a lot of exclamations (mostly sharp hissing intakes of breath indicating pain) from sympathetic knitters. It wasn’t easy deciding that the only course of action was to start over. It took a couple of weeks. I entertained many an idea on ways to salvage at least some of the knitting, but in the end decided that re-knitting would give the best outcome. I have for the moment decided that the sleeves may be redeemable. I have plenty of time to decide if this is true.

So What Happened? Gauge Happened. I was so clever in teaching myself to knit backwards (so I didn’t have to follow the pattern while stranding AND purling,) but not clever enough to practice my new skill on a few throw away hats and scarves before embarking on this beauty. I became so comfortable knitting backwards that I couldn’t tell which way I was knitting. And that moment happened right in the middle of the sweater. For me, the knitting zone produces looser knitting. Therefore the second half of the sweater is larger than the first half. The sweater was knit in one piece from right front to left front and so there you have it, an irredeemable, (beautiful) disaster.

I have been very mature through this whole thing; I have bravely parried all the looks of pity with careless laughter and I have not cried in public. But it’s not as easy as it looks.

Add comment February 16th, 2007

The Map

I am pretty good with a map. I can follow a lane to a road to a highway; I can work my way around a city; I can drive from state to state.

What I am LACKING is a sense of proportion. You know, it just doesn’t seem all that far from central NC to say, Prince Edward Island, oh let’s do it! Sailing? Well, there aren’t so many inches from Australia to New Zealand; c’mon, let’s go!

Knitting a top down cardigan in one color stockinette; what are we waiting for?

top-down-stockinetter-cardigan.jpg

Can somebody rescue me?

Add comment January 28th, 2007

Gauge or “Gain a hundred pounds, it’ll fit ya”

Gauges are always informative. In the past, gauges have mostly informed me of what I wanted to hear. “4 stitches to the inch? Well, yes, of course, we are only a wee bit over, just a stitch, give or take a little bit.” Do you know what can happen when you are only ‘a wee’ bit over gauge when you knit a whole sweater? Gain a hundred pounds and it’ll fit ya.

This time I was looking for a yarn that would knit at 2 3/4 st. to the inch. Bulky, very bulky. A doubled worsted yarn, a bulky yarn with a fingering accompaniment. Size 9 needles, no, size 10, no size 10 1/2, no size 11. See how much I learned?

the three little gauges.jpg

Add comment January 25th, 2007

Earthbound Right Front

I started knitting on my new Diane Edwards sweater. Oh how much fun it is! I saw Diane’s book of sweaters at SAFF and snatched it up. I pored over that book — it is just full of ideas. I settled on the sweater I wanted; I gauged and I swatched. I decided that I did not want to follow a chart while stranding and purling, so I taught myself how to knit from left to right, while stranding with both hands. What a thrill that was! No more purling for me, baby! I don’t remember the last time I was this excited about my knitting! And so here are the results!

Earthbound.jpg

I just finished the first quadrant and am pondering how to eliminate 6 rows from the back and of course what colors to use!!!!! I could kick myself for using the same background color for the first band as for the second, but oh well. I am increasing speed in my left-handed knitting and I figured out how to carry the alternate color along the outside when purling. That was fun. I am absolutely thrilled!!! I just hope I don’t experience the * dreaded*gauge*shift as I get happier and happier!

Add comment December 15th, 2006

Life Between the Gauges

Yesterday in my knitting class I knit to gauge. Shocking, isn’t it?. First I had to prove that I was indeed knitting BETWEEN gauge. The pattern asks for a size ten needle, but I knowingly picked up a 9, absolutely sure that I would knit 4 1/4 stitches/inch instead of 4. After 15 minutes, I’d proven it. So I cheerfully picked up an 8, hoping irrationally that salvation was close at hand; an 8 would do it; everybody said so. Knowing that the cheer was misplaced (after all, I had already made these gauges at home, hoping to save myself some embarrassment,) I gamely knit on. And 15 minutes later the truth was out; the teacher pinned me over the tops of her bifocals and said (too loudly on purpose, I am sure,) “You ARE knitting between gauge.” A murmur of surprise rippled through the class; I was sure that I detected the faint odor of disapproval. The teacher hurriedly assured me that knitting between gauge was NOT moral failure, but I sensed that she was just being polite. In my despair, it occurred to me that a Turbo would loosen up my knitting just a squeak. I was knowingly informed that most people tighten up when knitting with Turbos. Not me; this is something I know. It causes me lots of problems. And so, finally, there I was, knitting to gauge just like the nice ladies.

three-crayon-box-gauges.jpg

Chris Bylsma (http://www.chrisbylsmadesigns.com/) is a wonderful, generous teacher. and she knows what she is talking about. On Saturday I took her Knitting Infirmary (What is Wrong with this Garment?) class. It is nice to see other people’s knitting ‘disasters.’ Everyone else’s disasters just don’t seem quite so disastrous to me; I can’t sense lurking character disfunction in their knitting problems. I guess people make mistakes for different reasons.

Sunday we had the above mentioned gauge class, otherwise known as the Crayon Box Jacket. You work with foundation yarns that will knit at the correct gauge and then throw in other, dicier yarns and learn how to use them all together so that you don’t throw your gauge off. So a Dk yarn is going to need just a little something to knit up at the 4 stitches/ size 10 needles (if you are one of the nice knitters. I can’t resist an aside in the middle of this parentheses, but have you noticed that everyone is so generous about the ‘fact’ that gauge is just a ‘guide,’ a place to begin, an indication of only how the designer knits — but everyone else was knitting on a 10, just like the patterns asks for. I didn’t really look but I am sure of it.) You can imagine that a project like this would be a useful study for me. It is. I even knit a square when I came home. It is a great project that requires that you buy orphan yarns from the sale basket. The gauge problem of that orphan yarn can be fixed. So I’ve got one sleeve finished, and only another sleeve, two gussets, two fronts, one back, trim, working in the ends, and blocking left to go!

Add comment December 14th, 2006

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