Sunday, July 29, 2012

Knitting Olympics Number One

Several years ago Stephanie Pearl McPhee started the knitting Olympics. The idea was to choose a knitting project which was a challenge, but one that could be completed from the Olympic Opening Ceremony and Closing Ceremony. When Ravelry came along, the Olympics became a big thing, having the Ravelympics with teams and events. This year the American Olympic Committee told Ravelry that we were infringing on the copyrighted name and downplaying the training and work the athletes had to go through to get to and compete in the Olympics. They eventually did apologize, but Ravelry changed the name to Ravelenics. To me they will always be the Ravelmpics, but I will break down and call it the Knitting Olympics.

One of the women in my Culver's KnitWits suggested we have an Olympic team and knit mittens for charity. I had so many things on my plate already but since I am the leader of the group and I have been slack with my charity knitting I set a goal to knit as many mittens as I can during the Olympics. After watching the opening ceremony with knitting needles flying I decided this was a good project as I can just about make mittens blindfolded so I can really watch the events.

First pair completed-the ends are even sewn in.

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New Shoes

Could't resist these new shoes!


Monday, July 23, 2012

Felted Dryer Balls

Some friends of mine introduced me to felted dryer balls and showed me how they had made some. The dryer balls are used in the dryer instead of fabric softener sheets. Supposedly they can save your drying time by up to 25% by placing 3 or 4 of them in the dryer with your load of wet clothes. They will separate the clothes, wick moisture from the clothes and reduce static. Since I had some Lopi yarn I started my adventure. I just wound the yarn into tight balls and stuck them into nylon stockings. The balls weighed between 2.5 and 3 oz. Here you can see the upper left orange ball before putting into the stockings. The upper right ball is in a single anklet hose. The bottom 2 are both in the same stocking tied in a knot in between.

Then I found some fleece in the basement which I will never use. It has never been carded, so I finally found my hand carders and my carder. The carder has not been used for over 10 years, so the band working around the wheels was broken. Forget that and go to the hand carders. I honestly don't know which method I used to make this ball. One of them was just a ball of the roving I made with the hand carders which I fastened by winding acrylic yarn around to secure. That one I just threw in the washer without putting into a stocking. A second one was a small ball of the orange yarn at the center with roving wrapped around it and put into a stocking.

Into the washing machine with hot water and a few towels and agitated with heavy agitation for about 40 minutes. When I removed them I learned a couple lessons. 1: Don't put more than one in the same sock. 2: Even with the ball wrapped in acrylic yarn, put it in a sock. 3: Maybe I should hand felt the roving balls instead of felting in the washer.

This is the mess. All tangled around the 2 balls in the same stocking. (Actually my friend had warned me that this method didn't work, but I thought just 2 shouldn't make a difference.)

The balls that were the yarn turned out nicely. I would keep the weight closer to 2.5 oz than 3. Now to try them with the wash. Because they are dark colors I will be careful which clothes I use them with until I'm sure they won't bleed onto light colors. And I'll play some more with that huge bag of fleece I'll never use for anything else.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

I'm Still Buying Yarn and Knitting

There is not much to show for finished projects, but these booties are done.
The pattern is Churchmouse Stay On Booties and I hated it. Who would knit booties back and forth and put seams across the bottom and up the back. Plus, the bottom is so narrow, when a baby puts them on, the pretty garter ridge will now show as the foot will fill it in.
The yarn is Claudia Hand Painted fingering and is wonderful to knit with.
Needles: Size 1 1/2 or 2.5 mm

It looks like I didn't post finished pictures of Through The Loops Mystery Shawl. I was not real excited about the pattern, but loved the yarn.
The pattern was a mystery shawl so a clue was given each week for 5 weeks and is still unnamed. The reason I wasn't happy with the pattern as it was a pretty plain pattern and the increases along the center of each wedge is not real neat.
The yarn is All for Love of Yarn, another local yarn dyer. I can now say that as she moved closer to us and has attended the NW Burbs Knitting Group. The yarn content is baby camel and silk. I'm still thinking of frogging the shawl and using the yarn for something else.

Another shawl is now blocking and is just beautiful, but pictures have to wait for the 2nd test knit I've done this summer for  Aino Haikala from Finland. The patterns will probably be published this fall so you have to wait.

A yarn shopping trip turned out to be a rude awakening for my husband. Usually when I go to a yarn shop he'll just stay outside and walk around, but yesterday was just too hot, so he was present when the yarn was rung up and I paid. Since I used a Groupon, when we got outside he asked if what I paid was before the Groupon was applied. When I replied, "No" he said he hadn't realized how expensive yarn was. I could just see the dollar signs adding up as he thought about my yarn cave which is overflowing into the library. But here is the results of the visit to Stephen Be's.

This is the reason my spree cost so much, but it is so wonderful. It is All For Love of Yarn, Sumptuously Lace, 70 Baby Alpaca, 20 Silk, 10 Cashmere. Wish you could fondle it.

One of the podcasts I listen to mentioned this yarn, but I don't remember which one. Knit Circus? The label doesn't give any information as to where it comes from except it does mention La Jolla. This      is 100% superwash merino in a beautiful Kelly green.

  And of course I had to get some MadelineTosh sock.

My grand daughter saw my yarn cave yesterday and gave me quite a scolding. "Grandma, you have enough yarn. You don't need to buy any more." "Yes, but I have been using some of it." "Not as fast as you are buying it." She learned to knit yesterday and did go home with some yarn from the stash. She also brought up the end of life decision I should make about where the yarn goes when I die. I don't think I told her that I'm going to Stitches Market in August and I'm sure I won't come home empty handed.

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Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Why Do I Knit What I Do

Knitters say they are either a process knitter or a product knitter. Process knitter knit for the joy of making what they are making. Product knitters knit for the finished product. I don't think a person is one or the other, but a combination of the two. I am much more of a process knitter, because once I see how the knitting looks, I'm ready to move on to something else.

As you've seen on this blog, I love to knit lace shawls. My theory behind this is that I am my great grandmother reincarnated. In my cedar chest I have a set of sheets and towels with knit lace which I discovered Great Grandma Kate made. Now this was in the late 1800's, early 1900's, she lived on a farm and had 11 living children. But she still made a set of these sheets for each one of her children.

As a process knitter, I love to see how the next row will change the appearance of my project. Lace knitting often is the most exiting because it changes so often. I often say that if I wouldn't stop to admire what I'm doing so often I would get so much more done, but that is not the object of my knitting. Plain garter stitch or stockinette stitch bore me, although they both have a time and place. Knitting in public requires a project that doesn't take a lot of concentration. So, why do I have a sweater in the closet that is waiting for me to cast on the sleeves?

Mystery knits are perfect for a process knitter. Each clue as it arrives changes the appearance of the project. Here is a good example: Clue 1.

Clue 2. Unfortunately, this has to be put aside because other things have now come up which have deadlines.

I teach at a knitting shop and the employees knit samples for the shop and I knit samples for my classes. Yesterday I got a call wondering if I would make the lace poncho on the front of Vogue Knitting as a shop sample and also do a class on it. Sure, why not? After deciding to do it, I see that I'll be increasing to nearly 1000 sts!
I love to test knit patterns, especially lace patterns. Through the Free Pattern Tester Group on ravelry I have met 2 talented shawl designers and now they request me to test their patterns. This year, I have test knit 3 shawls for Kimberly Gintar in Germany and today got the pattern for the 3rd one for Aino Haikala in Finland. The last 2 I can't publish pictures yet as the patterns have not been released.

Evening in the Garden by Aino. I love the uniqueness of her designs and shaping.

Blue Ivy by Kimberly. Her shawls are wonderful to cuddle up with.

Judy B by Kimberly.

Ribbons and Lace for the Cure by Kimberly. This pattern is still being tested and has not been released yet. Proceeds from the sale of the pattern will go for breast cancer research. My shawl is orange for leukemia.

This is a sneak preview of Aino's pattern.

I try real hard to do charity knitting, but it is so easy to let that slide. Maybe related to that is that I like to knit things that proceeds of the pattern or kit go for a cause.

Mathilda Monster went to Beyond the Yellow Ribbon for families of military personnel.

A portion of the price of the yarn and pattern for Cardioid went to Susan Koman Foundation.

My least favorite knitting is the request from family category. I really like to knit for them especially when they specifically ask for something, but it might not always be what I want to knit. On the list right now is a pair of socks for my daughter in law. She bought the yarn for me and I'd like to get them done for her birthday in August. My schedule is that this will be a good project when we drive to Illinois for Stitches in August.

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