Friday, February 27, 2009

It's True! UFOs Do Exist!

I have been to Area 51, and it's true! We are inundated with UFOs. At least at my house! Such as:
This is the the sleeveless Fair Isle cardigan from Ann Feitelson's The Art of Fair Isle Knitting. I'm using Jamieson & Smith's Shetland 2-ply jumper wool. It's for my DH, and probably next on my list to finish. I was waiting for a demo on steeks, which we have now had in our knitting group. You can see the extra sts for the steek to the right. The UFO KAL has caused me to focus again on these projects. That's good, because I really want to finish them. Here's another:
This is a "Cable Net" sock from (free download), only I changed the heel. (I didn't think it was too practical having the cables go down the heel.) I'm using a smaller needle on the sole for better wear. The yarn is KP's Gloss in Parsley.
Above is the afghan I started in 1999! It's the Noesgay Aran Afghan from Brunswick Yarns' Country Afghans. I'm using some wool I bought in New Zealand. It's 100% merino, and it's called Suprino 12-ply in Alpine Moss, which is very close to the Gloss Parsley. I really like that color, although it doesn't show up in the non-flash version of the photo. I chose this photo because the stitch definition showed up, even though the color looks washed out. Someday I'll learn how to fix those things.
I hope everyone reading this considers joining us in the UFO KAL. We're having fun, and some participants are finishing things. I hope to join them soon!
As for WIPs, here's my progress on the Sipalu Bag. I'm up to row 23. Soon I'll have to switch to two circs, because I'll have too few sts for one. (That sounds strange, now that I read it, but if you know how to do socks with two circs, you'll understand.) I'm looking forward to classifying it as a WMD (work mostly done).
I plan on getting back to work on the cardi as soon as I've finished my Sipalu Bag, EZ Leggings and my Yei Figures Bag. The Stonington Shawl can wait. I will be working on my entrelac scarf, though. And oh, no, I'm spinning! Ho-hum. Nothing to do...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

And the Winner Is...a Thrift-store Cardigan!

You may have seen me in my Fair-Isle cardigan on my blog and during the Speed-knitting KAL. People have asked me if I knitted it myself. No, it was a thrift-store find for $5.
I was looking for a stranded knit to felt and make a bag out of, when I was attracted by the colors in this cardigan. When I took it off the rack, I realized that it would probably fit me (it did). Then I saw the sheep! And the dog! Well, the little shepherd was kind of cute, too, and the apple trees and the horses. The only thing I didn't like was: no pocket! Where I do keep my MP3 player or my iPod? Where do all the used Kleenex accumulate? I own (lucky me) the DVD of EZ's Knitting Workshop. I had watched her reach for the scissors and cut one st (she was wearing it at the time!) to make an afterthought pocket, so I decided to have a go. I bought some yarn that went with the yarns in the sweater. Here's how I made the pocket:
First Cut
Above you can see how I cut one st about the middle of the intended pocket and pulled out the yarn on each side. Below you can see that the yarn has been pulled out, leaving live sts above and below the opening of the pocket.
Ready to Pick Up
Next, I picked up the live sts with two circs. I had to be sure the sts were all headed in the right direction, so they wouldn't be twisted. Here you can see the sts on the needles.
Picked Up
Next, I knitted a 1X1 rib for about 11 rows and then bound off. Here you can see it right after binding off.
Pocket Ribbing
Then I made a pocket lining out of the same yarn. Below you can see the ribbing for the front of the pocket and the lining, knit in stockinette st, sticking out in front. It needs to be tucked through the opening and sewn down.
From the outside
I sewed the ribbing down to the front, and the lining to the back, below the ribbing. Here's what it looks like now:
Finished Pocket2
The finished cardigan looks like this:
Finished Pocket
If you're thinking of making an afterthought pocket, but are afraid of "cutting" your knitting, get a thrift shop sweater and practice--a really nice one, if you're brave, like me--or you can do the sampler in The Sweater Workshop by Jacqueline Fee. If you can't bring yourself to cut because you think the edges will ravel, you can always run a piece of waste yarn through all the sts above and below the sts to be removed before you cut (sissy!). Happy knitting! --Peggy

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

First Spinning Group Meets Friday the 13th!

Last Friday we held the first meeting of our spinning group. This group grew out of our knitting group and will meet the second Friday afternoon in members homes. (The knitters meet the last Friday afternoon.)
The first one was at my house, because I had to bake bread for a silent auction held that evening and couldn't leave home. (If you look carefully at the photo, above, you can see the bread cooling in the kitchen.) I'm starting to get the idea with the drop spindle. Here I am, spinning my "homework" yarn for my spinning class. In the photo below, standing in front of the fireplace are Lynda (right), another class member, and Donna (left), a friend of Georgette's. Georgette belongs to the knitting group and is interested in spinning. She was busy taking the photos. Donna is a wonderful spinner and was visiting from California. We were lucky to have her here right at the time we had our meeting!
We had four collapsible spinning wheels, including my Kromski Sonata. The two ladies spinning at their wheels below are Linda (left) and Linda (right). We had almost as many Lindas as spinning wheels! (You can see my Sonata on the right.) Both of these women own their own alpacas.
After I finished my "homework" with the spindle, I went to my wheel to spin. Probably the highlight of the afternoon was hearing Georgette say, "Look at Peggy! She's smiling!" It was then that I realized that I'm really beginning to enjoy spinning. Happy knitting and spinning! --Peggy

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Starting a Knitting Group

My knitting group grew out of a quilting group that I started several years ago and a sock class we held about a year ago. We meet once a month in members' homes. (We haven't had an LYS here until recently.)
It's good to get together and share ideas and help each other. For example, one of our members did a steek demo. I demonstrated Kitchener st another time. We have no dues and no rules. (You can even quilt or do cross-stitch during our meetings!) I send out an e-mail to all the people who have said they want to be notified. I tell them the date, time and location. If they need directions, I paste them into the e-mail. The host or hostess provides light refreshments. We try to RSVP, but it
Several of our participants are complete beginners. Others started out as beginners and have made a lot of progress. Sometimes we trade yarn, loan equipment (needles and other stuff) or share patterns. Occasionally we do a KAL with two or three people from the group working on the same project. If one of us is placing an order at Knit Picks, we usually check with the others to see if anyone needs anything. This saves on shipping for us, and I'm sure simplifies the whole process for Knit Picks.
We have just started a spinning group, which met for the first time on Friday the 13th. A lucky day for those of us who were there.
I really enjoy our knitting group meetings. Happy knitting! --Peggy

Friday, February 6, 2009

What I Learned from the Speed-knitting Contest

It was a crazed three days and two nights! I had a great time, and was pleased to come in third. At 66, I was probably one of the oldest participants. On the other hand, I'm retired, with no small children living at home (unless you count my DH and two wonderful mini-poos.) I learned some things from the contest, some things from the Hemlock Ring project and some things from the experience as a whole. Here's my Hemlock Ring, enjoying time with the family--


Here's what I would do next time:
Get a motel room with Wi-Fi for as long as I think the contest will last
Hook up I.V. for feeding and liquids
Hook up catheter and place bedpan on chair, to eliminate (pun intended) need for bathroom breaks
Have everything ready, including blocking equipment (wasted 15 min. looking for pins!), extra knitting needles, basic knitting book, camera, yarn already pulled out of center of balls, basic notions, crochet hook for corrections, etc.
Have supply of VERY FAST music on my iPod.
Get supply of NoDoz or Red Bull or something else higher in caffeine than coffee
Hire a three-year-old to come for the start to print off the pattern and any charts needed.
Here's what I learned from the project:
Magic Loop! Yaaaaay! I had heard about it but neve tried it before. It was easy, after watching Kelley's video and then practicing as I watched again. I want some long cables for my Options, so I can do ML whenever I need to.
If you can't find the pattern online, or it won't print, be patient. Everyone is trying to get it at the same time!
If in doubt, place markers. You can always take them out if you don't need them.
Use a really long cable for circular projects. That way, even if you have to fiddle with the ML for more of the project, you can spread out the sts better when it gets bigger, which makes it easier to take photos and to admire your handiwork.
WotA is really cool yarn! Thanksgiving dinner jokes notwithstanding (cranberry, pumpkin, etc., but no gravy or stuffing).
My KP nickel-plated Options can really take a beating. With nearly 600 sts on the cable, I had to pull hard on the cable to get them to move around.
Here's what I learned from the experience:
Frequent checking in and posting is important. If you have to stay off the site to win, then winning isn't worth it. There is no price that can be put on the fun and the enlightenment that comes from constant communication with other participants. To say nothing of sharing that "virtual" bottle of wine the second night!
KP staff members really know (or figured out) how to put on a contest. They responded to suggestions, checked on our progress from time to time and, when the second-place participant missed first by only a few minutes, they came up with a prize for runner up! Thanks, KP!
Knitters tend to be great people anyway, but members of the KP Knitting Community are especially willing to share their knowledge and experience, and happy to cheer on someone who might come out ahead of them. When adversity comes their way--such as yarn lost in the mail, a circ broken or the contest starting on a Monday instead of Friday or Saturday--they're good sports. They may ask for advice, but they don't bitch. (Sorry, Sunny, girl dogs are nice.) :-} The KP Knitting Community members made the experience better for everyone. A big THANK YOU to KP for putting this on, and :-* from me!
Finally, this website really beats TV. Except that I don't get as much knitting done! Happy knitting! --Peggy

Tags: hemlock, kal, poodles, ring, speed-knitting