Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Illusion Scarf, my way

Someone thought this scarf said dor-v.... :O) It actually reads the name of the motorcycle hubby used to own, by Harley, called the V-Rod. We still have the scarf, though.
Well, I watched Knitty Gritty's show on Illusion Knitting (another word for Shadow Knitting) a long while back and decided to give it a try.
I downloaded some knitter's graph paper with a grid of 70x120. After charting my design, I realized I only needed the grid to be 40 wide. The design seemed simple enough...once I got the understanding down. The smaller letters took up 56 rows each with the letter 'V' taking 109 rows.
What helped was having the book Shadow Knitting by Vivian Hoxbro.
With Cascade 220 in black and one in a dark orange, I started my project. I used size US 6 24" circulars and cast on 40 stitches, in black, over both needle tips held together using the long-tail method (my all-time favorite cast-on). With very little time into it, I found myself ripping back because I lost my concentration. This is soooo much like lace knitting! There should be 'No interruptions!'
Needless to say, I have lots of time into this and had to make very good notes. It turned out great at 8.5" wide by 49" long.
Even with all the 'frogging' throughout the whole process, I enjoyed seeing the letters 'pop!' When you look at the scarf straight on, you only see stripes. Then when you look at it at an angle, like in the picture, you see the magic!!
After I finish the ever increasing project list, I want to make another (designed by me) scarf.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Glint of silver in these socks

A person would wonder if any metallic yarn/thread in a sock yarn would be comfortable. I tried it and found no difference in wear with these socks vs. my non-metallic socks.
I made a pair of socks for my SIL from a 100-gram ball not caring to match anything up...but they did...and perfectly at that!! No matter how hard I tried to match these up (two 50-gram balls to boot!!), it was only accomplished from the cuff to the ankle. Must be because they were for me.
I used Schoeller + Stahl, Fortissima Colori #9051 and size US 00 dpn's to get my gauge of 9 sts to 1" (always a smaller needle with me ~ the loose knitter). They knit up real nice and I absolutely LOVE the hint of silver colored yarn/thread throughout! I need to knit more of these up. I get more compliments with this pair of socks than any of my others.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Dog Hair - what can you do with it?

Not just any kind of dog hair but the undercoat of a black German Shepherd.
Here is the story: Just after I learned to spin, my mother asked if I would spin her shepherd's undercoat. I thought it would be a way to spin something I didn't have to buy! Yipee!
Through the shedding months, mom religiously combed him and saved every bit. Now came the time I received a pretty good sized package in the mail. I was so excited! After getting home, I opened it and immediately took it to the bath tub for a wash. I used Dawn Dish washing Liquid (mind you, I was very new to processing fiber, too) and pushed the soft down into the soapy, warm water as I leaned over the tub. It was at that moment, I got a whiff and wondered how in the world a wet dog got in the house! Oh, boy!! Okay, after I controlled the dry heaves, I rinsed it with Downy. Alright, I can handle the very clean smell now!
I drained the water out of the tub squeezing the water out of the ready-to-dry down. It was a chore to get all the damp dog hair off me but I succeeded and laid it out on a towel.
Days later, with dry fiber in hand, I was ready to card it. Hummm, it didn't card very well, so I skipped that part. Here comes some spinning time! At the time I tried to spin it -- is when I finally paid attention to the length of the fiber -- a little over 1". After several attempts to get a good enough twist, it worked!! Not only did I spin it, I had enough to fill two bobbins and then plied it! I even went ahead and set the twist, rolled it into a huge ball and sent it back to my mother.
She sent me the sample I scanned and told me she was able to knit a scarf, headband, and two wrist warmers. The color turned out to be a rich chocolate and, unbelievably, does NOT shed!! It is also so very soft and warm.
Anytime I show the knitted sample, people try to guess its origin. When they ask me, I tell them it is called "Quanah."
Where did my mother get a name like that for fiber? It was the name of her gorgeous male Shepherd!
I would certainly work with dog undercoating long as 'mom' washes it!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Eagle's Flight sock

I knit this very fun, cuff-to-toe, pattern called Eagle's Flight with sock yarn called Monarch and using US size 1 bamboo dpn's. The picture shows what it looks like in Pat's fabulous hand-painted yarn! Can you tell I am absolutely crazy about Pat's yarn?
The pattern isn't hard to memorize with it's 4 pattern repeat, and knits up quickly. I love the wavy edging on the cuff and it fits like a glove!
I prefer the leg about 6 inches tall but it can easily be knitted taller per your preference.
Here's to another wonderful sock pattern!!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

My Three Socks

Yes, you are seeing three different sized socks!!
The pink ones are the Dancing socks (fitting my feet that fit into a size 8 1/2" shoe). I wanted to show the heel off since I didn't do that with the original post. Very fun to do with no feel of ridges.
The next little sock (approx. 4" tall) is actually a Christmas Stocking Ornament by Mary Spanos from the booklet entitled 'Socks - A Spin-Off special publication for knitters and spinners' edited by Rita Buchanan & Deborah Robson. I used US 0 size needles and baby yarn. I really wanted to see if I could knit them up. Well, I could and they ended up being a stocking for our little pet to be put up alongside ours at Christmas time.
The last of the socks is the teensy pair (approx. 1 1/8" short). I knit these using fingering wool and 4" US 0000 needles from a pattern by Carol Breitner of Carol's Sockery. They are going to be earrings for my SIL to match the socks I made her.
The first teensy pair I knit, I used 8" US 0000. Don't attempt to do that or you may poke your eye out trying to see what you are doing!!! I was thinking about cutting back my long needles when I saw that Carol sold a shorter pair! My long needles sighed with relief (well, so did I) as I placed my order.
I hope you will be able to find these patterns either in your library or by purchasing them.
Well, I'm off to knit on another 'work-in-progress'!

NOTE: Before posting this, I called Knitter's Magazine (re: Strong-heelSocks) to ask permission to post the pattern and was declined (very politely, I might add). Their Issue K72 is still available for sale along with a very short correction on their website.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Dancing socks

These socks are one of my favorites! I knit them with KnitPicks Dancing and size US 0 needles (alas...downfall of a loose knitter).
Once again, I 'colored outside the lines' and used a method different than my own by knitting to the directions of Gerdine Crawford-Strong. Her pattern is found in Knitter's Magazine Fall 2003 on pg. 36 and is titled 'Strong-heelSocks'. (check out your local library for a copy of this informative magazine)
To quote her, 'The Strong-heel sock is different. It has no flap....A small triangle of short rows and decreases contours around to the underside of the foot.....'
They knit up real quick and kept my attention. They are very comfortable to boot! Hope you can give them a try!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Home-Spun Wool for my mother

Okay, if you look closely at the blue skein of was my first attempt at spinning. I don't remember how I dyed it as my friend was giving me instructions and I was doing but not remembering. If I tried to spin like that, on purpose, I wouldn't be able to do it. sigh....
The cream-colored wool was given to my mother for purchasing a Kromski spinning wheel...about 2 lbs. of ready-to-spin roving! Well, to make a long story short, mom is having a difficult time recalling how to spin. She sent this wool (from Colorado) to me so I could spin it for her.
[My wheel of choice was a Fricke after I got to try out almost a dozen different ones that my spinning teacher had available.] I must say, this time it turned out pretty good!! The spun wool will go out tomorrow so mom can knit herself more socks. My next lesson will to twist the skeins better. Can anyone tell me?

Best-Friend Jacket for me

Here it is, just in time for the cold spell!
Out of the book 'The Knitting Experience' by Sally Melville and with some luscious Lamb's Pride Bulky (85% wool/15% mohair) in the color Blue Blood Red.
This pattern is over sized so I made it in size small. I used 9 skeins plus a little of the 10th with US 9 & 10.5 24" circular needles.
I followed the instructions to the limit and that entailed using a crochet cast-on. The jacket is Asymmetrical (something I don't normally do as I like to 'color inside the lines') and is made by knitting cuff to cuff. No purling in sight!! It made up quickly and I had a great deal of fun.
I topped it off with four 1 1/4" wooden buttons that I sewed on with woolly nylon. The holes in the buttons were too small for wool.
If you haven't 'colored outside the lines', you've just got to try it! It only took me 14 days to complete!!!!

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Wimples - The Old/New way to wear a scarf

Isn't this a lovely piece of work? What is a wimple? It's a fantastic scarf that doesn't fall off from around your neck while you work and/or play!
Here's how to make your own:
The yarn used is Pat's Monarch from her Fly Design and the pattern is Wavy Feathers. Caryll is the pattern designer and a joy to know.
The yarn is a sport weight and hand-dyed. I used US 9 and cast on only 88 stitches. Mind you, I am a loose knitter so you may have to use US 8 instead. When I look at a pattern, I know I will have to go a needle size down from their suggested needle.
I cast on with the long-tail method (my favorite - thanks to my mother's way of teaching), knit 3 repeats of the design and used EZ's sewn cast off to mimic the cast on.
I soaked it in wool wash and, without rinsing it, spun it in the washer for a minute. I was looking around the house wondering what I could block it on and found the right sized bag of rolled-up batting for a quilt I will make one day. The wimple slid right onto the bag and dried overnight with the help of a fan.
Today, the light and soft wimple left my house and is on its way to a special and well deserving friend clear across the US.
So now I can say I knit a wimple! I found another pattern that I plan on knitting and will share that in the very near future. :)

Friday, February 2, 2007

Branched Fern Sock Finished!

I finished these around my other 'Works In Progress' (WIP) on Sunday. They were sent on Monday to their new owner who received them Thursday. I'm happy to announce they fit her perfectly!! This pattern was very fun to knit up. The lace around the leg hugs without choking. I can't say enough times how wonderful it is to find a toe-up pattern with my favorite of all times heel flap! Rochelle is amazing! If you haven't done so already, please join the KAL for a great pair of socks!

Okay now, one WIP down and how many to go?