28 December 2008

Sand Stitch Mania

Dear Mandella,

I think I may have choked the Blogger on my photos. At any rate, I am at last posting photos of some of my knitting (none of it completed), and even this isn't everything.

In no particular order . . .
A pair of socks started from a skein of Louet Gems superwash sport weight. This is splatter dyed (by me) in a number of my favorite colors. I'm knitting these (on US 1.0) in a variation on my favorite waffle stitch over 64 sts:

Rnds 1 - 3: Knit all sts
Rnds 4 - 6: *K2, P2* all around
Rnds 7 - 9: Knit all sts
Rnds 10 - 12: *P2, K2" all around

It offsets the waffle so that you get a kind of honeycomb effect. At least, that's what it looks like until it's worn. After that, who knows? Anyway, this is just the start of a pair of socks.
Didn't I once mention that my friend Lorna had given me one of the KnitPicks sock blanks? Well, here it is, all dyed, and I've started knitting my first ever toe-up socks, 2 at a time. The pattern is a zig-zag lace from one of Charlotte Schurch's sock books. I'm getting 9 sts to the inch on US 1.0 needles, so I cast on 72.

The linen/garter scarf has made some progress. This is a 2-color scarf knit back and forth on US 9 (I'm using a short circular to accomplish this) with Manos del Uruguay wool/silk blend yarn on the following pattern (multiple of 2 sts):

Row 1 (solid color): *K1, sl 1 with yarn in front* repeat to the end. Turn work.
Row 2 (solid color): Purl all sts. Turn work.
Row 3 (coordinating variegated color): repeat row 1, turn work
Row 4 (coordinating variegated color): Knit all sts. Turn work.

Each side has a unique look, so I don't consider it to have a right or a wrong side. And the yarn not in use is carried on one side (it's just 2 rows).

And here we come to one of the larger projects. This short-sleeved pullover has been started and frogged several times. I started it around the time I attended the Melissa Leapman workshops this past October. As you can see, I'm utilizing one of her simpler cable patterns (but I'm still varying it to my tastes). This is being knit back and forth on US 4.0 needles (I'm using a long circular) with Louet Gems washable merino in sport weight. I dyed the yarn a deep red color. Here's a better photo of my progress on the back:

I'm getting about 6 sts to the inch. For the back I've cast on 145 sts. The first and last 18 sts are worked in plain stockinette stitch (I worked a 2 x 2 rib to start). Then, working toward the center, is this simple cable motif offset by some columns of knits and purls. At last we have the center 49 sts which on the front will be worked in an elaborate cable motif (also from one of Leapman's books). On the back I am working it in sand stitch, which is my latest passion.

Here is the sand stitch pattern (multiple of 4 sts):
Rows 1 and 3 (RS): Knit
Row 2 (WS): *K1, P1* to the end
Row 4: *P1, K1* to the end

Of course, you can vary that as follows:
Row 1 (RS): *K1, P1* to the end
Rows 2 and 4 (WS): Purl all sts
Row 3: *P1, K1* to the end

Either way, you get a nice texture. In fact, either side is acceptable. I happen to like the side that's mainly knit stitches. Anyway, I discovered this stitch in an old book that catalogs various craft stitches (knitting, crocheting, needlepoint, embroidery -- you get the idea). I think it's also called a double moss stitch, but I've also seen double moss stitch worked as something else.

At any rate, I've incorporated that stitch into a few other things:

The bright fuschia (sp?) section of this pullover-in-progress (I'm using up lots of odd balls of Cascade 220) is in sand stitch. (The dark blue section is in the linen/garter stitch, but that's another story -- I'm using a different stitch pattern with each band of color).

And here it is worked onto the back of a glove (the first of a pair) I knit for my husband, Ed, also in Cascade 220, but the washable version, on US 3.0 dpns. Yes, I have pattern notes; no I'm not printing it yet. I have to get the second one done. And then I have to do it again because I've got gargantuan fingers on this thing (all except for the little finger, which seems to be just right).

Not pictured is a coordinating scarf (also from Cascade 220 superwash) that utilizes both the sand stitch and the seed or moss stitch. I call it the Moss and Sand scarf. I'll post that pattern as soon as I have a photo of the scarf. And that scarf is actually finished (hooray!).

Also finished but not pictured is a hat that coordinates with the the aforementioned scarf and the above glove, also from Cascade 220 superwash, and worked on a US 3.0 circular. I really like the density of the fabric that I get in working Cascade worsted on US 3.0 or 4.0 needles.

Added to the above is a hat in progress with more Louet Gems sportweight (in a space-dye that I'm not crazy about but c'est la guerre). I'm knitting that on a US 2 circular and using the heel stitch pattern for 2 reasons: it's thicker, and it goes faster with slipping those stitches!

Oh, and I have another hat in progress that is with 2 strands of a sock yarn held together. It's a very nice yarn, Jojoland or something like that. Anyway, 2 strands of it knits up quite nicely on a US 3.0 needle. That hat is about halfway done but it's at my LYS as a demonstration of what can be done with that yarn.

None of the above includes, of course, a number of other works in progress. Seriously. Just wait until you see my To-Finish list for 2009!

Hugs and happy crafting!


27 December 2008

Very Square

Dear Mandella,

I was going to post this with the photos in the previous post, but I was having a few problems with Blogger. Ed gave me this as a small, fun gift. It's plastic (unlike the really expensive ones you can get that are gold plated). It was a sweet thought. He knows how crazy busy I am.

Today I went over to my mom's. I sorted out a bunch of fabric over there (most of it for quilts). I had scraps kind of all over, so everything got grouped together. Then I sewed together 13 little churn dash squares (the final measures about 5.25" square) that I had started some time ago. I also finished up 12 large squares from a Thimbleberries pattern (last ones illustrated below). Sorry, but I didn't have my camera with me or else I'd be posting photos of them.

The churn dash squares (left) will make a small quilt, probably baby size. The larger squares are for a larger blanket (obviously). Oh, and I have my "Jane Austen" quilt back from the quilter. I have to put a binding on that.

In addition to those just mentioned, I have the puzzle quilt that I've posted images of already (I don't know if that pattern has a name, but that's what I call it.) that needs sashing between the squares. The sashing is a deep, deep red. I'll use gold squares in between as shown.

And then I have 12 large (16.5") squares from another Thimbleberries pattern called My Stars. That will make at least a full-size quilt.

This is how I imagine I will finish it, with little stars in between the blocks. At least, that's what the pattern calls for. I've already started the stars on the sashing. I don't remember which colors went with what, though. Oh, well....

And then there is this one, also from my Thimbleberries book. I don't remember what it's called. If you look at it you can see that it's a variation on a 9-patch.

And this is a vague vision I have of how it all will fit together. The center squares are actually a print that utilizes the gold, brown, blue, and teal. I don't know. Somehow it all will work out.

26 December 2008

Time Turner Needed

Dear Mandella,

A whole month got past me and I was only marginally aware of it. First it was Chance being ill and needing attention, then it was being burned out each day by The League of Helpless Women I encounter (especially during the holiday retail season), and at last it was my own frenzy to get things done.

As it turned out, I did get a shirt sewed for my brother-in-law Ron, but only after one completely failed attempt and a second attempt, which had only been cut out, went completely missing. I spent the entire Saturday prior to Christmas with my arse in a chair at the sewing machine. That was 9 solid hours of sewing. And Ron loved the shirt. He hasn't tried it on yet, but he loved it.

Now that it is the day after Christmas, I feel very much at loose ends. I have three days before I'm due at the office and I have more to do than (1) I have energy to accomplish and (2) I even have hours in the day.

Here are some photos:

My brother-in-law Ron opening one of the gifts in the
free-for-all gift game.

Marcy (black shirt, in front), Jodie (green shirt), Carla (white shirt),
Colin (red shirt), and Mason (clutching yellow envelope).

From left: Colin, Mason, Joan and Bud

Colin put in a set of small painted plates he'd brought back from Spain.

Our Christmas Tree.

A crocheted star done by my Aunt Helen.

Santa on a mountain bike, a Hallmark ornament I'd gotten for Ed early on
in recognition of his enthusiasm for bicycling.