Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Knitting a Sweater from Hand Spun Yarn

With swatches done and the size for my sweater chosen, it was time to start knitting. Using the size 6 US needle, I cast on and knit a row.  THEN, I remembered that it had been recommended to me years ago, to cast on with a smaller needle for the top down sweater and then change to your chosen needle. 

The weight of the sweater will put a lot of stress on the neckline of a top down sweater, so a tighter cast on is beneficial. In theory the neck line shouldn't stretch out of shape, as much. SO, I ripped out the row that I had knitted and my cast on stitches. I went and found the size 5 US needle, cast on my stitches and then used it for the first row.  After that row I changed to my chosen needle size, the 6 US.

I have my fronts, sleeves and the back marked by stitch markers. My "fancy" stitch markers are actually made from a thin cotton yarn. I fold the cotton yarn with an end long enough for making a knot and the fold/loop part large enough to go over the needle and slide nicely. Then I tie an overhand knot as tight as I can get it. 

On the right hand side of the photo, you will see coil-less safety pins along the neck edge. I am making a v-neck, so the center front edges are increased more frequently than the shoulder shaping is done. I am using the "make 1" technique for the center front increases and since they are almost an invisible increase, I decided to put a pin on each increase when it is made. It is much easier to count the pins, than the stitches and I usually don't forget to add the pin. There are others there to bump my hand to remind me. 😃

For the increases at the shoulders, I am using the "knit in the front and the back of the next stitch" increase. I like the look of that for that part of the sweater. 

So far I am loving this sweater and the yarn! I do enjoy knitting with my hand spun yarn!

Monday, June 25, 2018

Join me on a journey, knitting a sweater with hand spun yarn.

In my last post, I showed the finished hand spun yarn that I had just finished. I decided, after a great suggestion from Debbie, that I would make a v-neck cardigan with the yarn. 

I looked at several patterns on Ravelry and then remembered to look at my books! I had remembered that I had Top Down Sweaters, by Ann Budd. In this book are directions for many types of sweaters using many different sized yarns and gauges. She also has sizing from children through adults! 

I think this is a great plus when using hand spun yarns. Sometimes I will find a pattern and knit the gauge swatch and then not meet the gauge, so then I start rewriting the pattern. With this book, I don't have to do that. All the math is worked out for me. :)

Below is the picture of the book and the copies I made for my sweater choice. I have decided to make a v-neck cardigan and write about my journey on here. That way I will be held accountable to finish! Maybe.......

I am not sure if you can see it, but I have highlighted the numbers in the column for the gauge and size that I want to make. I make the copies, so that I can write all over them.

Here are two of my swatches.  I did three swatches, but ripped out the third one, to be ready to start the sweater. Using a size 6 US needle, I cast on 20 stitches and knit 4 inches.  My gauge is about 18 - 19 stitches to 4 inches. Since my yarn is hand spun, it is not perfect like mill spun yarn. I decided to use three separate balls of yarn for my gauge swatches. I fell in love with this yarn and just wanted to keep knitting my swatches.

If the sweater isn't enough to keep me busy, I am in the middle of writing a new shawl pattern. I spent a good portion of yesterday making a chart for the first 12 rows and another chart for the bottom lace portion of the shawl. So far, I have put the pattern through 3 edits and there will probably be three more, before it is released. 

Here is the shawl(and my Yeti cup), so far. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Finished Projects

The date for the beginning of summer is almost upon us, but I feel like we started summer here in Texas, during May. We have all been saying summer anyway. 

This shawl is knitted using mainly hemp yarn and the lace portion on the bottom(which looks darker and really is darker) is Louet Linen yarn. The hemp yarn was purchased from Fiberlady here in Lewisville. David actually runs the machines that spin the hemp yarns, as well as, the bamboo yarns.

I used my pattern: Springtime Fling, which can be found on Ravelry.

I joined a Knit A Long with the My Sisters Knitter group on Ravelry and we had to knit something from Nature. Well, the name of this cowl is Wolkig, which is German for "cloudy" and the yarn color is named Oil Slick. The name Wolkig/cloudy helped me be eligible for the KAL.

The Wolkig is long enough to pull up over your face in blustery weather and light enough to squish down around your neck. Yes, 🌝, it gets cold here in the winter. 

On Wednesdays, there is a group of us who try to get together to spin, knit, crochet or whatever crafty thing you have going at the moment. For a VERY long time I have been spinning on the red yarn below. The red is more of a cranberry than red, as you can see. It is a 2 ply and 1642 yards wool yarn.

Several years ago we were talking about marking our skeins, with a waterproof tie, so we can count our wraps around the knitty knoddy and mark the skein before washing. Liz suggested surveyors type tape. It isn't a sticky tape, but somekind of nylon or plastic tape and you can use a Sharpie marker to write your info on it. The tape is the little orangey thing hanging down there.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Color Play, Mandala Vest and Springtime Fling in Hemp Yarn

Every once in a while, I like to play with color! This time, I decided to make another Potholder for my kitchen. I decided to use pink, because it is supposed to be spring. I am not complaining, about cooler weather, no siree. :D I love that it hasn't warmed up here for a long time yet. In north Texas we have plenty of heat and it will be here before we know it. 

Another project that I have been busy on, is this Mandala vest. I made it pretty much from cotton yarns in my stash. There are a few round in an acrylic, in a silk and in a linen, but probably 85% is cotton. The pattern is actually a long sleeve sweater and the sleeves are bell sleeves. I decided that being in TX, I didn't need long sleeves for a spring/summer garment. So, I left the sleeves off.  The pattern has you start in the center of the back and work in rounds.

 When I finished the rounds that formed the armholes, I decided to work back and forth in rows. I didn't work across the bottom anymore, because I decided it was long enough for my 5 ft, 1 inch height. I also, wanted it to come around the front a little more than the designer had it do.

With those projects done, I am ready to start a new Springtime Fling! This is actually my pattern design, and I have made it several times, but I wanted to make one out of dark blue hemp for my self. Hemp is a great fiber to use and wear in Texas for the summer. It actually starts out softer than linen and I enjoy working with it. I am participating in  KAL with My Sister's Knitter group on Ravelry.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Pairfect Sock Yarn, Crock Pot Applesauce, Corelle and a New Pattern

I know this isn't a big surprise, but when I was in Minnesota, with Debbie, we went yarn shopping. LOL. We had lots of fun and I did purchase yarn, even though I have been saying that I am using stash only for a while.  I lied....... Hahahaha! I needed to get a souvenir, right? What better than yarn??

I purchased Regia's Pairfect sock yarn designed by Arne and Carlos. Let me tell you, I love Regia sock yarn. It is a durable sock yarn, meaning my socks don't wear out quickly. Sure, it isn't as soft as merino, but merino, IMHO, is too soft to be durable socks. 

Back to this wonderful sock yarn.  It has absolutely NO KNOTS. Wow! They designed it to have no knots, the patterning won't work out if it does.  I watched Arne and Carlos's video on You-tube for successfully using this yarn. I wanted to make sure that the Pairfect Yarn came out Pairfect.  :)

I did change up their directions a bit. They like using the short-row heel for their socks and I prefer making the heel flap when knitting socks top down. I found the yarn easy to use and it was so much fun not having to measure the leg. You cast on, knitting one sock at a time, and just knit until you finish the red striping down near the heel. When the blue yarn started I made the heel. After the heel, I kept knitting across the instep, working those decreases and then knit the foot. I started measuring the foot after the blue yarn started again. They were a totally fun project.

What do you do with apples that have been sitting in the refrigerator and are starting to look old? I had some of those and some newer apples and some granny smith apples, too. I decided to make crock pot applesauce. I love homemade applesauce and have made it on top of the stove more times than I can count, but, I had read that if you make it in the crock pot, you don't have to "babysit" it. Confession: I babysat it anyway, I couldn't believe it wasn't going to stick. But, it didn't!

 I cut up, peeled and cored all the different apple varieties. Sorry, but I am not one of those talented apple peelers, who can peel the apple in one long strip...... I gave up on that years ago. After cutting up ALL of my apples, young and old, I had my crock pot almost full. (Picture above) I poured 1/2 cup of water over the apples, covered the crock pot and turned the temp to low. Then I walked away..... and was back in 5 minutes to check and in a half hour to check and 15 minutes to check.... you get the idea......

I even removed the lid and stirred the apples several times, not believing it wasn't going to stick. It really didn't stick!

It did take about 6 hours on low to get my applesauce all cooked, and it did cook down quite a bit, but applesauce does that anyway. This was definitely worth the wait. I didn't add sugar or cinnamon. I usually add cinnamon in my bowl, because my fabulous husband doesn't care much for cinnamon in his applesauce. :) All that to say, that I didn't even add it to mine. The flavors of the several different apple types blended together was wonderful.

Last Sunday I broke a piece of my Corelle...... Have you ever done that, broken Corelle?  It is vicious when it breaks, I like to say that it explodes.  Flies everywhere and in little tiny sharp pieces too. See those cups, well there is one less in that pile than what was there last Saturday. The cup fell off the bottom of the stack, yes I didn't have my hand on it, my mistake. 

The miracle of this is that the cup actually fell into that jar in the foreground! The handle, however, fell onto the counter and flew all over and of course I was in bare feet...... The second miracle was that I didn't get cut. My hubby was home and like I said, he is fabulous and brought my my shoes.

Even though the cup fell into the jar, it still broke. The clean jar, however, didn't break. It was fine! After dumping the broken cup pieces from the jar, I placed it on the stove top to deal with later. I had a floor to mop and sweep and a counter to clean off. 

When I returned to the jar, it looked like this. All those tiny white pieces are sharp Corelle pieces.... Some pieces are small enough to look like dust. I decided my cookie jar, wasn't worth me getting cut up and so it went off to the trash. I loved my Anchor Hocking jar, and thankfully Walmart still sells them and a new one lives on my counter where the other one used to be.

But, wait! There's more!!! I have launched a new pattern on Ravelry. This is the link to it. The name is Checkers Hand Towel. You do get the pattern for the white towel, the gray dish/wash cloth and the hanging towel.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Where did November go???? and then December?

November started with a TRIP! I had a wonderful time traveling to Minneapolis to visit my good friend, Debbie! She and her husband Jim saw to it that I had a wonderful time. They are great hosts!!! Debbie and I are knitting buddies and we have known each other since about 1996(?), well forever.

Even though it was 20 degrees outside(wind-chill of 5) we went to see the outdoor exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art. I was so excited to be able to enjoy cold weather and wear my hand knits, I piled them all on at one time. At one point you could hardly see me!!!

After de-icing the plane, in Minneapolis, I arrived home safely to temperatures near to 80! Too funny!!
I came schlepping out of the airport with suitcase, coat, hats, scarves and mittens in my arms. :)

Christmas decorations started going up after Thanksgiving and I was SO HAPPY to see my neighbor put these Peanuts characters up again! I see them everyday when I leave the alley behind my house. They just make me smile.


My friend Renee has blessed me this year, with 2 gifts. First is my little snowman ornament. She and I both exercise and try to stay in shape and good health. 

Love the humor!! Wish it was true though.......

 Then she made the snowman which is on top of the bale of cotton and cotton carders, that sits on my hearth.

I set up the Christmas tree before Thanksgiving. I knew I would be working at our store for the Christmas rush and decided I would get it up before I started.  So, I did get the tree up and the house decorated, by Thanksgiving. But, I didn't get the ornaments on the tree. On Thanksgiving Day our daughter Rebekah and her family came over and Claire decorated it with some help from her sister, Nicole and her mom. This picture is the center of the very front.
When we were first married, my mom and Mark, the little boy she cared for, made this nativity ornament for me. I always put it at the center front of my tree. Because, that is what Christmas is all about, the birth of Christ. Without realizing it, I did start a tradition. :) Both of my girls do the same on their trees, an ornament picturing the stable is in the center of the front of the tree.

 Christmas presents are all done now and wrapped. Didn't get pictures of some, will try to do that tomorrow(when they are unwrapped).

However, while working I received an order for 2 scarves from a customer. She wanted them to be similar colors. I decided to make this Pioneer Braid Scarf, with some self striping yarn from Red Heart yarns.

Monday, October 2, 2017

It's October?

As I was opening up blogger and getting the pictures ready to post, I realized that it is October. Well, I knew it was October, so don't think I have lost it..... :) It just hadn't sunk in and it is only October 2 and it is 89 degrees outside. 

But, that realization meant that I needed to find a picture for the top of the blog, so I could take the summery one off. Ack! There wasn't a picture ready in my folder. I thought I could take a new photo of an autumn decoration, but that wouldn't work. My holiday decorations are hiding behind some of the Mr's building materials(read heavy) and they need to be moved. Of course, if I leave them there, I guess I could skip Thanksgiving and Christmas too. LOL! No, I don't think so, well maybe. No.

So, I did what all folks do with pictures in file folders, I found one that I could put into my Gimp program, crop and then posted it. Hence the basket of pumpkins. That is my own pattern, written years ago.

This has been a sad day, as the realization of the shooting in Las Vegas has sunk in. I have been praying for the victims and their families, as well as, the first responders and health care professionals who are working tirelessly to take care of those needing care. 

However, I do want to show you some of my current projects. 

This first picture is a Be Simple, it uses sock yarn about 400 yards. I was looking for something to knit with this fabulous Malabrigo sock yarn and Be Simple was it. It is like the Kwoosh, only  with eyelets! I am loving working on this project.

Next is a vest, I think..... I started it about 18 months ago and packed it up to move about a year ago. Unpacked it and left it alone in its basket until about 3 weeks ago. Since I had finished the projects I wanted to finish for the Clear The Needles KAL, I decided to try to finish this. I had only knitted it to just past the first armhole. I have done a lot on it, but the deadline for finishing this was October 1. But, you know, I want to finish it anyway. I not only want to free my needles, but my basket! If I have enough yarn, I think that I may try to add sleeves to it, even if they are short sleeves. All of the yarns, except a solid navy, are handspun yarns from my handspun stash and they are all wool.