Saturday, December 8, 2012

Finished Objects Friday

What's Off My Needles?
FO Friday
The eight Finished Objects that you see below have been cast off in the past three or four weeks. I have made many cowls for gifts, and I am looking for the next pattern to replace the Gap-Tastic Cowl. I think I have made seven or eight of that pattern over the last two years and everyone loves the style, but honestly, even though I love seed stitch, knitting this pattern is trance inducing. So, I am looking for the next popular style.

As I search my Ravelry Favorites for ideas, I found really nice projects that I had forgotten I had queued. I enjoyed making the Birthday Cake Cowl, the Turbines Cowl and the Mid-December Easy Knit Infinity Cowl. I am currently working on the Infinitude Scarf, a new WIP for this week that I find interesting. Do you have a favorite cowl pattern that is a fairly quick knit for gift giving? Please share in the comments below.

Noro Seyfert
Noro Seyfert Cowl
Pattern by Norah Gaughan, free at the Berroco website.
This cowl project was made with one skein of Noro Taiyo on size 11 needles.
This is a speedy, "nice gift" kinda pattern that I found at Windsor Button. I think using self-striping or gradient yarn is the best  showcase of the stitch design, but I'll bet it will look good in solids too. It was two evenings of knitting while listening to podcasts.

Intersections Break
Intersections Break Hat
Pattern by Mel, Mskiknits, of Single Handed Knits podcast.
I made this hat project using yarn from deep in the stash, Lion Brand Wool-Ease on size 9 needles.
This is a pattern designed by the host of Single Handed Knits podcast. It is an easy to follow pattern and not a bad idea for a "first time" cable project. It is a pattern I expect to use often, for gifts and for the "hat" basket at my house.

Ribbed Cowl. That smile belongs to my mum.
Ribbed Cowl
Pattern name is Mid-December Easy Knit Infinity Scarf by A Crafty House.
My project was made with two skeins of Lion Brand Hometown on size 19 needles.
I have to share that I made this cowl on the ride to Maine on Thanksgiving day. I think it may have been an extra hour of knitting at my mum's before I cast off, but it was quick and easy, and the stitch pattern is so sculptural and beautiful. I made it for my sister Jackie.

Birthday Cake Cowl
Birthday Cake Cowl
Pattern by Christina Wall.
This project was made with one skein of Red Heart Strata on size 8 needles.
I can't say I love this; the fiber, if it can be called "fiber" is not very cozy. I have plans to cast on another using some of the Icelandic hand-dyed wool I bought from Forest Greener. Watch for it next week.

Turbines Cowl
Turbines (a cowl)
Pattern by Sandra D. Carter.
This project was made with less than one skein of Vanna's Choice, (340 yards/200 grams) on size 8 needles.
One of the great things about this design is how the stitch patterns switches up. I knit garter for a bit, and then did the slanted stitch for a bit, and then back to garter.... so it was engaging but not taxing. The end result is so pretty and my girls have suggested making the next one wider, as in the GapTastic.

Keyhole Scarflette
Midnight Blues Keyhole Scarflette
Pattern by Melanie Tindale.
This short scarf project was made with yarn from deep stash, Lion Brand Wool-Ease on size 11 needles.
I made a number of these for last year's school craft fair. They were a hit and so I did another. I would love to play with the original design, but bulk it up Gaptastic style, wider, and longer and more snuggly. I'll share notes when I get a result I like.

My First Cowl Pattern
First Pattern Cowl
Pattern by me, not yet up on Ravelry.
This bulky cowl project was made with two skeins of Lion Brand Wool-Ease Chunky on size 15 needles.
This idea came to me as I bemoaned the challenge of guessing the length of my infinity cowls when they are on my 24" cable needles. I admit I could have used a lifeline and taken the project off the needles to see how big it was, but in the name of expediency, that rarely happens. This cowl is knit flat and then either seamed or buttoned. (I will post the FO pix as soon as it finishes drying.)

Gaptastic Cowl
Melissa's Gaptastic Cowl
Pattern by Jen Geigley.
This commissioned cowl project was made using four skeins of Lion Brand Hometown on size 15 needles.
This is the pattern that my girls and their friends keep pleading for. I don't mind it all that much, because if you use bulky yarn and big needles, it does go relatively quickly, but I sometimes feel like I will never get to the point of bind off. BTW, I suggest, strongly, that you do a long tail cast on and a loose bind off for best results.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Seyfert Cowl, one skein, one afternoon.

Sparkly Dream in Color Starry. I didn't get any but have been thinking of what it could become...
One enticing fiber I saw Saturday was some Dream in Color Starry. I overheard a customer mentioning how hard it is to find, and that she uses it as a go-to fiber in the winter. I was most interested in the red colorway. That skein that did not follow me home.... yet.

I mozied into Windsor Button Saturday, on the pretense of shopping for size 17 circular needles for a friend. I was pleasantly surprised to find a number of projects that called my name. Susan Baker, one of the owners of the shop, was sporting a colorful cowl with an interesting stitch pattern. I snapped a photo of her cowl but my phone hiccuped and the file was lost. Tomorrow I hope to add a photo that Susan is sending me, but here is a snapshot of the basket of yarn options.

Rowan Color Scapes by Kaffe Fassett
More Rowan Kaffe Fassett
Susan's colorful and textural cowl inspired me Saturday. When I asked about it, she shared the free Berroco pattern that she used. Seyfert is a Norah Gaughan design and is a free download on the Berroco website. I need to go back to get the olive, purple and navy skein and make it for keeps!

So, don't you know I did some stash diving and made one up on Sunday? With a few episodes of Downton Abbey and no interruptions, voila.... a cool cowl to add to my gift pile. My Seyfert was knit up in some Noro Taiyo I got last summer, I used my new Addi circular needles in size 11. I modified the pattern slightly by doing a long tail cast on of 139 stitches, (the pattern called for 115).  The written directions are a simple and intuitive eight row repeat. The weight of this cowl is soft and drapey, but I expect it will be a warm and colorful neck cozy.

Noro Seyfert, re-thinking the super stretchy bind off seen at the bottom edge.
And finally, the pattern that took my breath away is this....

Jojoland Melody Superwash fiber, Swirl Shape pattern is knit in hexagons and grows by picking up stitches.

The colors are mesmerizing.

This shawl is being sold as a kit at Windsor Button. For under $50.00 you get the pattern and five skeins of yarn to make a modular creation that starts as a hexagon and continues into a larger piece by picking up edge stitches as you go. I think I will seek anyone interested in doing a KAL after the holidays are passed. Leave me a note or PM me on Ravelry at 19vesperstreet if you have any interest in making this shawl.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Shopping Saturday

Downtown Crossing, Washington Street, Boston, MA
Shopping Saturday
I took myself out for a breakfast of Townie Toast at the Grasshopper, our local breakfast place, and then headed downtown for a bit of sightseeing and shopping. The weather was chilly and flakes flurried about throughout the day. I found so many great photos, here are a few I snapped as I walked. Gotta love the resolution of my phone's camera, eh?

Bunker Hill Street, Charlestown
Long view of the two clocks.
Christmas Tree at Quincy Market with the Custom House Tower in the background.
Rowan Colorscape yarn, Windsor Button
Last of the Zauberball sock collection in this color family.
I promise to elaborate more on some of the ideas I gleaned from my visit to Susan at Windsor Button. I saw an amazing shawl knit in hexagons from Jojoland fingering weight, a cowl made with the Rowan Color-scape and I was sorely tempted to but a skein of Dream in Color Starry for a gift. More later today, I have an FO to share, I just need to get some good photos.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Check out this cardigan!

It's the end of my lunch break and I can't stay and chat for long but check this out! The image is not cooperating to cut and paste but here is the project page. It is called Isis Tailcoat by Kari-Helene Rane. She used Purl Alpaca Designs DK in a grey color. The shape isshawl collared with one button and sweeping lower panels that look so flattering.

It is now the top design on Ravelry. I think it may be the nicest thing I have seen in a long time.... Alpaca in a DK weight knit on size 8 and 10 needles. Leave a comment if you like it too.

Monday, November 12, 2012

And now back to our regularly scheduled program....

Fall leaves, Newbury Street
I have been away from my blog for too long and I have missed writing here, but life has interrupted things. Work, family, less time spent on projects and knitting. I have been watching podcasts but not much knitting going on. Here's a preview of topics I will cover this week.

Woolly Wormhead Mystery Hat KAL. I am on the second installment of this KAL. I have enjoyed the pattern and yarn I am working with..... Photos to come.

Common Cod Guild had Gale Zucker spoke to the group Friday; she shared ten secrets of better photos. Amazing! I plan to share the notes I took, and hopefully the photos on this blog will reflect what I have learned.

Ravelry forum the East Coast Knitter's Group, Julie aka Inky077 and I started it about a month ago. I want to share our plans and dreams of KALs and giveaways.

So, please know I have missed posting, and sharing new ideas, and especially, reading your comments.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Blogtoberfest12, Day Eight, a few days late

Braided Swirl Tam, by Lijuan Jing

Braided Swirl Tam, fiber Jojoland Fantasia
In keeping with the theme to begin with a recent FO, I want to share this hat with you. It is knit with Fantasia, a slow color change yarn from Jojoland. When I first saw it, I was puzzled by the construction. It is knit in wedges and is the closest thing I have come to Lay's potato chip knitting. I just couldn't stop! The skills involved include provisional cast on, cables, picking up stitches and kitchener stitch. I know, I know.... if you don't know how to do those skills it could be intimidating. But.... it could also be a nice project to practice and learn those skills. Just sayin... I loved this pattern so much I got a second skein of the Fantasia in a different colorway. (Soon to be on the needles).

Blogtoberfest 2012, hoop in and read something new.
Day Eight
Try a magpie! 
This is a snippet of Kat's prompt for day eight:

Earlier this year, I participated in a read-along of the book Inner Excavation by Liz Lamoreux. One of the wonderful exercises she recommended in her book is a word toolbox.

I had assumed this exercise would be time consuming and a little tedious, but once I got started I had a lot of fun with it. It struck me as a great way of getting started if you’re not sure to write. It was also a really intriguing (and slightly spooky!) way of receiving a message from the Universe.

Did you ever hear the one about Andrea Scher playing “magpie” by opening a dictionary and alighting on the word “sark”? The artist and author Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy aka SARK soon became her employer, creative mentor and dear friend.

One time, prompted by another excellent book, I opened up every book on my bedside table to page 56, to see the secrets each author wanted to impart.

How about spending half an hour today making and filling a toolbox for those days when you need a little bloggy inspiration? Or why not give magpie a try?

So my version of magpie will be to open a book to page 38 and plant my finger on the page, with eyes closed, and see what kind of list is generated.
Here's the word toolbox list with the book I found it in:
verbs first                 praying        (Fire and Roses)
                                 wins             (Word Geek)
                                 slept             (The Cape Ann)
                                 wanting        (Cloud Nine)
                                 notice           (The Third Angel)
                                 hoping          (Probable Future)
                                 permit           (Under the Tuscan Sun)
                                 pigeonholed (The Glass Castle)
nouns                        garlands       (Knit the Season)
                                 Boston          (Evening)
                                 basement       (Cat's Cradle)
                                 window         (Total Money Makeover)
                                 rings              (Stop Time)
                                 world             (Siddhartha)
adjectives, interestingly, only one of these...
                                 lovingly        (Yarn Harlot)

So now that I have a list, I need to think on it. I am not a poet and really don't like poetry, so that form of written expression is not an option. I do think that many of the words resonate with me in ways that are descriptive and fitting. Try doing this and see what your word list reveals. I'm hoping you still have actual books at your house. I guess you could just swipe and point if you don't, but there is something of the senses that you'll be missing.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Blogtoberfest12- Day Seven, Sunday Snippets

Visit one of the many bloggers who are participating...
The theme today is a photo filled/text limited post, as Kat of the blog I Saw You Dancing tells us below.

Each Sunday, I participate in Sunday Snippets, hosted by {tinniegirl}.  The beauty of this challenge is that it’s all images, no words. And, as with yesterday’s gratitude practice, is a wonderful way to ensure that you keep your eyes peeled during the week for the tiny moments that make memories.

Here is my Snippet Sunday..... seven images for the week.

In keeping with the Blogotberfest theme of a photo of a project knitted recently,
there is this...

Wholehearted Shawl, by Erika Flory
My good friend Evelyn of Project StashEL invited me to join her Wholehearted KAL (KAL stands for Knit A Long). The pattern was gifted to me by Evelyn and the proceeds from the pattern sales went to help a family that had endured a house fire. (Read more on the Wholehearted KAL link). This was my first attempt at a shawl and it was my first KAL.
I loved knitting this pattern. The idea of making something with a group and being able to view their progress or ask for help was appealing. I so enjoyed watching the colors shift in hue and intensity. The yarn is Yarns on Stage Sweet Pea. Since completing this shawl, I have tried a number of KALs this summer and urge you to check it out. Many times the moderator will break the work into do-able bites...

Friday, October 5, 2012

BlogtoberFest12, Day Six- Savor Your Saturday

Horizontal Cable Hat, by Dawn Catanzaro
This pattern was purchased from the designer, Dawn, when I visited KnitWit in Portland about two years ago. My sister Jackie was with me and wanted a few hats, so we bought the pattern and some Quince & Co. yarn in the Osprey weight.

Jackie's hat was one of my first attempts at knitting cables. The photo looks good only because I ripped it out so many times. The problem was reading my knitting and knowing what row of the pattern I am on. Despite the frustrations involved, I loved making this hat. One modification I did was to pick up the central top section a few rows in from the edge. It gives the hat a pie crust edge.

Day Six- Savor Your Saturday 
This from Kat of the blog I Saw You Dancing:

Each Saturday, I play along with 52 weeks of grateful. I consider this my weekly gratitude practice and I love the way it entices me to keep my eyes open all week for clues as to what really makes me come alive. All Blogtoberfest12 participants are warmly to join in and link up!

This is a practice I used to do but haven't in a while. Here goes....
Thank you for....
my health, my girls, my family.
My job, my energy, the help of random friends.
Weather, especially here in New England where it changes all the time.
Kettle Cove pumpkin pie ice cream, Higgins, body surfing, toes in the sand.Returning to the city and taking in the view of the Zakim framing the sunset, city living, sky line vistas, history in my hood...
LYS, Windsor Button, Stitch House, Purl Diva, Knit Wit.
Podcasts, Ravelry, fiber families.... Malabrigo, Madelinetosh, Space Cadet Creations.

Blogtoberfest, Day Five

Ellison Bay by Paula Emons- Fuessle
Paula Emons-Fuessle is a designer of knitwear, a podcaster/blogger and a piper. Ellison Bay is primarily garter stitch with an interesting yarn over at the seams. The border is a twisted stitch that I found addictive. If you are worried that it will be difficult, please reconsider. I found the pattern is easy to follow and I made the shawl in a week. It was such fun to knit. I had been languishing in the limbo of having lost my knitting mojo. Lucky for me I have friends who throw me a life preserver. Thanks Julie!

Blogtoberfest, Day Five
You don't need a lot of words.
(This is from Kat's blog, I Saw You Dancing).

You don't need to write a lot, on your blog or in your life. But there is a lot of power in writing often. And this doesn't have to be a formal exercise, or a chore.

Here is my attempt at brevity. (Those that know me are probably rolling on the floor right now).

The stitches were cast on, she sipped her latte as the pattern pages fluttered in the soft September breeze.
The peaceful rhythm of the needles and the flow of the woolen fiber brought comfort.
While reflecting on the events of the day, the stress sloughed off, the awareness that each day starts anew brought with it a sense of gratitude, relief, and optimism. Each day is a gift.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Blogtoberfest Day Four, a painting prompt

Braided Band Coronet, by Alexandra Virgiel

I am going to share my theme for the month with you. Each post will start with a photo of something I have made recently.

This hat was a fun knit. Coronet starts with knitting the braid band, and then stitches are picked up from that edge and knit upwards. I used Lamb's Pride worsted weight and it took less than a skein. The model is my eldest daughter, Michaela.

Blogtoberfest, Day 4
Paula of the HappySnappy blog put together the prompt for today's post.

Do you have a favourite painting at home?
Did you buy it? Then blog when, where, with whom. What called you to it?
Did you paint it yourself? Tell us about your inspiration and techniques.
Was it a gift? Describe the moment and the relationship with the person who gifted it.

I am not much for hanging things at my house. I have a few prints of paintings but I can't get very good images of them due to glare from the glass.

One of my favorite prints shows a photo of beach cottages that has been Photoshopped so it looks like watercolor. It is actually a set of note cards created by a photographer at Higgins Beach, Scarborough, Maine. I bought the cards while on vacation a few years ago and picked up the frames the same weekend. These cottages represent fond memories of growing up as a two or three week "resident" of this little beach community in Southern Maine. We began renting cottages there when I was 16; I have continued the tradition with my girls. It is a place of serenity, peacefulness, salty air and warm sunshine. The beach is long and the vistas are so soothing. I should attempt a watercolor of the Judith myself the next time we vacation there, but I am not so confident it will capture the essence of the beach as well as these prints do.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Blogtoberfest, the first three days...

Snappy Hat, by Corrina Ferguson
Each post will start with an image of a knitting project. This one was a very quick knit and I made it for Christmas gifts.

I participated in this blogging event last year and found it invigorating and informative. This year the list of participants is up to 279. Imagine the new blogs you might discover?

I have not entered a post for the first three days, (head hanging a bit for shame...).

Here are the topics for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday...

1. Set an Intention.
I plan to write a brief post daily, using the prompt or topic suggested by our host Kat, of the blog I Saw You Dancing. I will also vist at least three different blogs each day and create a list the I will suggest on my blog, complete with a tempting quote or topic or idea that I discovered there.

2. Consider adopting a theme to unify your posts for this month, suggested by Cherie of the blog, Waste Do Not Want. Go check out the photo of Cherie's favorite things here. This might take me a bit of pondering, revisit to see how I do with a unifying theme.

3. Worthiness Wednesday. The topic is music, what plays in your inner auditorium? Do you have a go to song that cheers you or one that causes memories to flood back in with all of the sensations of that time?
Here's my choice for you to enjoy. Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Ellison Bay

This pattern was sent to me last week from my friend Julie.
Have you heard of the pattern Ellison Bay? It is a shawl, a sister to Piper's Journey and Hyla Brook, all designed by Knitting Pipeline podcaster Paula Emons-Fuessle. All three shawls in the links were made using Quince and Company Yarn. I use every opportunity I have to spread the word on this line of yarn, it's made in the US using wool from local sheep. Please go and have a gander at their web page and their Look Book

The pattern has yarn over stitches creates an airy seam between the front and back panels.
I finished my Ellison Bay shawl last night. This pattern was sent to me by a friend in the hopes of kickstarting my knitting again. Julie knew that I had been struggling with changes here at home; my third daughter has left the nest as she goes off to college and I feel like I have lost my sense of purpose.

Ellison Bay shawl
Twisted stitch looks like a cable...
Yarn overs create eyelet seams
This pattern is a fun knit, easy to make and the final product is beautiful.
Ellison Bay to the rescue! This easy to memorize pattern was a great diversion and I can attest that it successfully brought back my knit energy; I have been happily knitting away all week. I can also tell you that this pattern is definitely one to consider.

Are you thinking it will be too complicated? I found it so easy and it was quick to make. Maybe you have never made a shawl? Not to worry, I just got started knitting shawls this summer and I believe I've made at least ten since June. The skills required are not complex.

Here are my tips to you if you decide to knit this shawl:
  1. Snug fitting stitch markers- this pattern depends on the Yarn Overs staying in line. If you use a larger stitch marker, the yarn sometimes moves and the straight rib becomes messy.
  2. Tink (knit) backwards to correct mistakes. I have no luck pulling the needles out and ripping back if I have to correct a mistake involving a yarn over. 
  3. Count the stitches between markers to be sure you have the same number for each front section and double that number for the back.
  4. When you are nearing the end of the garter section, be certain that the sections still have the same number in the front sections and double for the back.
  5. When doing the set up rows, make sure it lines up because the Eyelet mock cable stitches depend on there being proper alignment.
  6. When doing Row 3, be sure to check that you consistently PSSO, (pass slip stitch over). By this I mean, look at your progress, read your stitches and be sure you have a twist. If not, tink back earlier rather than later.
  7. Be prepared to seek out yarn for Ellison Bay, version two. :)
The other exciting thing happening here, besides regaining the knitting mojo and having an FO, Julie kind of dared me to join her in creating a Ravelry forum group. She suggested we call the group The East Coast Knitters.  We plan to do some Knit A Longs (KALs), swaps, Field Reports and who knows what all else we can cook up. It is fun to see our numbers grow and to read the introductions from new friends.

Consider joining us in the Ellison Bay KAL that we are starting. And please join our forum group on Ravelry.