Tuesday, September 30, 2008

quick update and beginner knitter progress!

I finally finished the leg of the first Tofutsies sock, knit the heel flap and turned the heel last night. I ended up knitting about a 6" leg because it seemed long enough and although I love the stretchy fabric that Tofutsies is knitting up as, it is like knitting with dental floss on tiny US 0 needles! It is a very thin yarn. But, I think these will be socks that I like wearing so I am persevering!

In other knitting news, I wanted to share my friend's progress after taking the beginner's knitting class at KDO just over a week ago. She has definitely caught the knitting bug and is happily knitting every chance she gets! Hooray! After doing several practice swatches, she decided to try her first pattern, a scarf from a book she had on hand. She sent me her progress photos and I was quite impressed:
and a close-up of her excellent stitchwork:
What do you think? Has she been secretly knitting for years and just not told me?? :-)

I don't think I tried changing colors in my knitting until I'd been knitting for months and she learned how to do it in her first class session! (That's what I get for being a self-taught knitter)

Needless to say, I am very impressed and so happy that she is enjoying knitting as much as I do. It took me quite awhile to convince her to pick up the knitting needles, but now that she has I don't think she'll be putting them down anytime soon. Can't wait for next year's Knitters' Day Out!!

And on the fair isle front... I did swatch in the round for my sweater vest, but it still came out to a tighter gauge than the pattern calls for. I guess it's the yarn. So, I need to swatch on larger needles and see if that gets me closer to the pattern gauge. Otherwise I fear I will knit the entire sweater vest and not be able to get it on! So, perhaps I will swatch tonight if I don't decide to pick up stitches on the Tofutsies sock. Or maybe I'll do both!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Fair Isle swatch and Tofutsies progress

I started knitting a swatch for my fair isle project yesterday. But, I should probably swatch in the round instead of back and forth or it may throw my gauge off. So, I may rip this out and cast on a round swatch using magic loop. As long as I "get gauge", I should be able to use circular needles that I have on hand and not have to buy any. In this small swatch, I was getting 25 stitches over 4 inches and the pattern gauge calls for 23. But, I think I can just adjust the number of stitches I cast on to get the right size because the fair isle pattern repeats are very short.

I do like how this yarn knits up so I think I will be able with the final product. Oh, and I was using red for the swatch because red will only be an accent color in the final sweater, so I didn't have to worry about using up yarn. But, the main color of my sweater will be navy blue.

And in case you're wondering, I am still knitting the Tofutsies sock, but the progress photo is not that exciting:
It's just a bit longer than the last time I posted a photo! I seem to have plenty of yarn in this Tofutsies skein so I may make the legs 8 inches long. Usually my sock legs are about 6 inches because I'm always afraid of running out of yarn before I get to the toe. That's why I am looking forward to the toe-up sock knitting class!!

I will probably swatch the fair isle again, but I won't cast on for the actual sweater until October 1st. This is going to be my first Carefree Holiday or not KAL project!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Hat photos and new project!

Here are the photos of my finished fair isle hat. I'm so happy with how it turned out!
And here's a photo of the inside to show that I learned how to weave in my carried yarn and my ends. It was such an informative class!
This fair isle project was so much fun that I can't wait to start another project. So I am finally diving in and trying the fair isle vest that I've been wanting to make from the fall 2007 issue of Knit Simple magazine. I have been talking about making this sweater vest since I first saw it, but now that I have the fair isle skills to go with my dreams, I think it is a good time to take on this project!

I took a pic of the magazine photo showing the sweater so you can see what I'm talking about:
That's what I want to make, but not in those colors. I went to yarn-love this morning to sign up for a toe-up sock knitting class and also to browse for yarn to make this vest. I looked around for a long time picking up and putting down lots of different yarn possibilities. I am very picky about the feel of yarn, but I am starting to tolerate the feel of some wools, even ones that I didn't like before. There was a nylon/acrylic yarn that was a good price and had good color choices, but then I didn't know if I'd want to wear a synthetic fiber sweater even if I would like knitting with the yarn.

Then the shop owner pointed out the Kraemer Yarns Tatamy Tweed which is a cotton/acrylic blend. I really liked the feel of the yarn and I saw some colors I really liked. So, I decided to go for it, and bought the Tatamy Tweed in Navy, Sea Blue, and Cherry (red). I wanted a cream color for contrast and had to choose this from Kraemer Yarns Little Lehigh Pebbles line which is basically the same yarn, but in colorways geared more towards baby clothes. Thus, the colorway name of my white yarn... "First Tooth". :-)

So, this is the yarn chosen for my first knit sweater project:
I hope that the tweed is not a distraction for the fair isle. But, I really like this yarn and can't wait to start swatching! Wish me luck!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

quick update

The fair isle hat is done! I just need to take a picture. I'm so happy with how it turned out and it fits me, so I just may wear it this winter! Now, I want to try knitting a pair of fair isle gloves to match. I can't find a pattern so I may attempt a bit of designing. Only time will tell if it is a success or a disaster. It will be a learning experience anyway!

I am also making slow progress on the Tofutsies socks. I seem to only knit a few rounds each evening. It's been a busy couple of weeks since I started them. Maybe I'll make some good progress this weekend.

The Carefree Holiday (or not) KAL starts in 6 days and I have no idea what I'm planning to knit for that. The Tofutsies socks won't count since I've already started them. I need to make a list of ideas...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

KDO wrap-up

Well, my friend and I attended Knitters' Day Out yesterday and it was great! First off, I went to pick up my door prize and I won a $50 gift card to one of the vendors at the Knitters' Market! I walked into the Market area and it was the first vendor there and they carried Crystal Palace Yarns! Hooray! So, I immediately spent the gift card and then some at The Colonial Yarn Shop booth and stocked up on more Panda Soy yarn and also picked up some beautiful Merino 5:

So, I was very happy to start the day. Many thanks to The Colonial Yarn shop for their generous door prize! We grabbed a quick breakfast and then my friend headed off to her Beginner's Knitting class and I headed over to my Fair Isle hat class.

The Fair Isle class was great and the instructor was super nice and helpful. She made everything seem so easy and her instructions were clear and before I knew it, I was knitting Continental style and working across my two-colored fair isle rows with both hands! It was great! We had a nice group of people in the class and everyone's hats were turning out really nice. It was interesting to see all the different yarn and color combinations even though we were following the same basic pattern. I made a lot of progress during class and then finished the fair isle section of the hat last night because I was so excited to see how it was going to turn out:
I'm really happy with it! Now I just need to knit the decrease rounds to finish the top of the hat. I can't wait to start another fair isle project. This was so much fun! The yarn is Knit Picks Shine Worsted. It's very soft and nice to work with, although it was fuzzing a lot all over my hands and jeans during class. But, I think that just seems to be from working the yarn through my hands. The hat itself seems to be fine once knit. Here's a close-up of the fair isle:
Yay! First class was a great success. I walked back over to meet up with my friend for lunch and found that she had learned to cast on, knit and change colors! Woo-hoo! We were both making good progress. We went through the buffet line and the lunch was very good; it was a beautiful day so we ate outside. Unfortunately there weren't enough tables, so we sat on a bench but it was fine. Nice to be outside. Then we walked around the market some more, but I didn't end up buying anything else. I sure saw some beautiful yarns though. Some 100% silk that was expensive but amazing!

Soon, it was time for me to head to my afternoon class which was Knitting with Beads. My instructor for this class was great too and very friendly. Unfortunately the KDO class list that was provided to us left off some essential items, like knitting needles and the tiny crochet hooks to put the beads on the yarn! Luckily some of us had brought extras so we shared, but it made it a little tricky to make a lot of progress in this class. Although I learned a lot and got the hang of the two methods of introducing beads to my knitting, I was getting tired at this point because it had been a long day of concentrating on knitting! Once we had the technique down, one by one we started leaving the class early and the teacher was fine with that. I think she understood, because 6 hours is a lot of knitting for one day! (Each class session was 3 hours). So, I packed up and headed back to the main building after about 2 hours in the 2nd class. I was too tired to knit anymore! Here's what I accomplished in bead knitting:
And a close-up:
The beads sitting in the fabric vertically in the clusters of 4 (like a diamond shape) were strung on ahead of time and then slid down one by one and placed over a slipped stitch. The beads sitting in the fabric horizontally and stacked in vertical columns were placed onto a stitch prior to knitting that stitch with a tiny crochet hook. Obviously, it helped being in a class to have an instructor show you these techniques! I had printed out some beaded knitted patterns in the past but have never tried knitting with beads until now. It's a cool technique that I look forward to experimenting with. I'm thinking of beaded sock possibilities... :-)

My friend stuck it out for the full 3 hours of her afternoon class session of beginning knitting and learned how to purl, do some ribbing and cast off! I'm so proud!! I'm hoping that next year we can take a class at KDO together! All in all it was a fun, but tiring day. I definitely look forward to attending next year! It was a very well-organized event.

And to top of my day of knitting and winning prizes, I arrived home to find that my OlympicSox prize had arrived in the mail:
More Panda Soy! Hooray! I officially have quite the sock yarn stash now, but I look forward to knitting all of it. It's funny because this exact color of Panda Soy is the first color I picked up when browsing at the yarn shop booth but then I switched to the darker shade of red yarn. How funny that the first color I was drawn to ended up being my sock yarn prize!

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Here's the needle book I knit:
I used this pattern (Needle Book by Frankie Brown) that I found on Ravelry, but only knit the cover and not the "pages". I think it will work well! Much better than the sticky note I had been using for years!!

And here's a picture of my Tofutsies sock I discussed yesterday:
I love how this yarn is knitting up! Pretty, pretty...

We head to Knitters' Day Out tomorrow! Hooray!

2 days to KDO!

I'm really looking forward to Knitters' Day Out on Saturday! Can't wait! I am back in knitting mode again. I knit a little "book" to store my tapestry needles in and then I started a pair of socks using my tan Tofutsies yarn! It's nice to be knitting a pair of socks again. I missed it. Now, I don't have to decide what project to start every other day (the disadvantage of knitting quick projects). ;-) This Tofutsies yarn was the first sock yarn I bought myself when I decided to start knitting socks (not counting the acrylic yarn of my first practice sock... we don't want to think about that...) Around the same time, my mom had bought my the faded jeans Panda Cotton with which I knit my first real pair of socks and then I just started buying other sock yarn and never knit the Tofutsies until now.

I don't have pictures yet, but I'll try to post some tomorrow. I am knitting the socks using the Magic Loop method on my new US 0 Hiya Hiya circular needles that I bought from The Loopy Ewe. So far they are very nice to work with and I am enjoying using the Magic Loop technique again. I am knitting a 4 stitch ribbing pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks; I believe the pattern is called elongated corded rib. It's mostly K2, P2 rounds with a couple rounds that have yarn-overs and decreases to make a bit of a lace effect. The yarn is knitting up very pretty. I love all the subtle shading this skein has. For now, you'll just have to imagine!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Care Free Holiday - or not - KAL

Today, I signed up for the Care Free Holiday - or not - KAL sponsored by Crystal Palace Yarns. As anyone who reads my blog knows, CPY makes some of my favorite sock yarns, such as Maizy, Panda Cotton and Panda Wool. They also make a lot of other cool yarns that I look forward to trying someday! CPY also sponsored the OlympicSox KAL that I recently participated in and it was a lot of fun. It's cool to see all the other great projects that everyone is working on.

This sounds like a fun, no-pressure knit-along and CPY is giving away prizes, so why not sign up?

For more information on the KAL contest rules and how to sign up, just click here.

If you do sign up, please mention that I sent you because I'll get an extra chance at the welcome prize drawing. If you sign up by midnight, October 1st, you can be entered for the welcome prize as well! Hurry because this KAL is limited to 100 people. Good luck and have fun!

Oh, there is also a CPY group on Ravelry now, so be sure to join that as well!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

I'm a Loopy Groupie!

Hard to believe, but I received my 6th order from The Loopy Ewe this week, and am now officially a Loopy Groupie. I knew I was to receive a tote bag and some other little gifts, but I was so impressed with my Loopy gift package!
As you can see, my tote pack is already packed with stuff to take to Knitters' Day Out (KDO) next weekend. In addition to the tote bag, I received a cute Loopy keychain, a cool sock pattern and an amazingly beautiful skein of Cherry Tree Hill Supersock yarn in the colorway Gypsy Rose.
I know I say I'm not a wool fan, but this yarn is gorgeous and it is merino wool so it is pretty soft. I may still learn to love wool yet! The Loopy Ewe is, by far, the best store I've ever come across and they sure know how to treat their customers well!

After all my hat knitting, would you believe I haven't knit anything at all this week?!?! I've been busy and have also been trying to get some cleaning done, but I can't believe I haven't cast on a project. No worries... I'm sure I'll be back in the knitting mode as soon as I attend KDO.

I did take a final picture of the hats I knit for KDO's Caps for Kids donation:
Notice the Shelby paws peeking into the picture above... he just had to inspect the hats:

And finally, Little Loopy just wanted to say that he is so proud of my being Loopified:
and he'd like to claim the yarn and keychain for himself... Oh, Loopy...

Monday, September 8, 2008

Another hat!

I finished the Raspberry colored baby hat using the Stitches from the Heart pattern. That's 6 hats for Caps for Kids now. I'll probably move on to other projects now, but you never know. I may just knit another hat or two before KDO.

I also still have to cast on my hat for the fair isle class at KDO. But, that shouldn't take long.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Oh yes, another hat!

I finished the ribbed baby hat today! This was knit in Knit Picks Comfy yarn in the color Blackberry. Very pretty and soft yarn! I realized I was measuring my gauge wrong, so I didn't have to frog the hat I had started. I finished it on the US 7 needles and it turned out just fine.

I just cast on another of the Stitches from the Hearts baby hats (see my previous blog post) using Caron Simply Soft yarn in Raspberry. (I must be in a berry mode for yarn colors!)

Friday, September 5, 2008

OlympicSox medal ceremonies... and more hats!

The OlympicSox medals were awarded this week and my Ballad Blues Maizy socks won a medal in each category they were entered in! I received a bronze medal in Water Sports (this was a category for blue socks). You can see the post by clicking here. I won a gold medal in a special medal group awarded for socks knit in Crystal Palace yarn. That post is here.

To see all the socks knit and medals awarded, check out the OlympicSox blog and scroll down through all the fantastic photos in each medal category. So many beautiful knit socks!

I seem to have gone from the Summer of Socks into the September of Hats. I have been knitting one hat after another! Of course, this is just my own un-official event. :-) Hats are such fun, quick projects and you only have to knit one (as opposed to having to knit two matching socks). I will be donating these hats to Caps for Kids when I attend Knitters' Day Out in a couple weeks. This is my first charity knitting and it's been a lot of fun! I'm also using up stash yarn and trying out some of the Knit Picks worsted yarn that I bought for my fair isle hat class.

I knit this hat from some stash yarn that no longer had a label. I think it is a yarn called Denim-Style. I like how the hat turned out:
Last night, I knit a baby hat using a pattern from "Stitches from the Heart". This was from a charity knitting episode of Knitty Gritty. I used Knit Picks Shine Worsted yarn in the color "Grass" - I hope the green is not too strange for a baby, but I like how it turned out. It has some little lace details in the pattern. Also, I knit this in the round even though the pattern is written to knit it back and forth and then seam it up. Here's a pic:
The green is much brighter than it looks in the picture (at least as it appears on my computer). It's a wee, little hat for a newborn; only 5 inches tall!

I cast on another baby hat last night, but I may have to frog and start again with smaller needles. It seems very loose and not the right gauge. I'm knitting this pattern that I saw on Lime & Violet's Daily Chum. I'm using Knit Picks Comfy yarn in Blackberry (a dark purple).

More hat pics to follow, I'm sure!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


I finished my knit sunshine!
I'm really happy with how it turned out. It was more challenging than I thought it would be, but the pattern was very well written and I love that there were no seams to sew up at the end! I used Lion Brand Microspun yarn that I had on hand. I plan on hanging this by my desk at work.

I forgot to stitch the smile onto it before I knit the back, so I ended up with a small black knot on the bag where I had to secure the yarn:
If I had followed the pattern as written, I should have stitched the sunglasses AND the smile on the front BEFORE knitting the back and the knot would have been hidden inside. Oh well!

Here's a close-up of the sun-rays:
All those increases and decreases were a pain to knit with this yarn on the tiny needles, but I LOVE how it turned out in the end!! And it was only 7 rounds (3 of which where all knit stitch) so it wasn't too bad.

All in all, it was a fun little weekend project! Now, I just need to decide what to knit next. I still have that 2nd "monkey" sock to knit... I think I'll do a few more easy, quick projects before I tackle that!