Oh Happy Day  

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Remember this? 25 skeins of Tahki cotton classic I acquired from Colorful Yarns in Centennial. (http://colorfulyarns.blogspot.com) It was on sale so I though this was the perfect time to get some yarn for my Log Cabin blanket from the Mason Dixon book. Great idea at the time but my current "swift" named Kevin was a bit overwhelmed by all this.

Then along came Nachaele (knit-eat-sleep.blogspot.com), who so graciously let me borrow her swift. My swift was one happy dude.

In no time I had this.
I never thought I needed a swift before. I had a ball winder and Kevin really didn't mind being my swift, but after using Nachaele's, I now know why I need a real swift. This took minutes (okay, under one hour, that is still minutes) to wind up. With my old "swift" it would have been hours even days. Not his fault, we just had to be so careful not to tangle up the yarn. My swift liked to "flick" his hands a lot and that caused yarn dropping and tangles, plus we could never really go that fast. I am SOLD. I ordered my own swift. Thanks Nachaele.

Now I have to find somewhere to a put my new project with all this wound yarn. mmmm....
It is my Tepper Jackson bag to the rescue. What other bag could be more fitting to hold all that colorful yarn a bag from Colorful Yarn, what else.
Wow, I even have a matching accessory bag.
Now, I just need more knitting time!

A moment from the Little Princess, Dina. I haven't told you much about her yet so here goes. I got her from a farm in Arkansas. She had gotten too big to show and too big to breed and she just needed a good home. She is the Amazon of Chinese Cresteds. Her parents were both a respectable 12" but she is over 14 1/2", So no one really wanted her after she became full grown. She came to me on her first birthday. She was pretty, but oh so aloof. She was friendly but not the cuddly little thing I wanted at the time. She seemed very independent. Having lived on a farm and all I wasn't sure we could make her happy. She had fleas and she was a mess. She had never traveled before, so she threw up, a lot, at first. We took her home cleaned her up and decided that even though she wasn't warm and cuddly we WOULD give this little girl a good home. I thought that I really needed a puppy to get a real connection and this one was already a year old so I did not think I could ever really connect with her. I was still thinking of getting my puppy also. I am glad I didn't because, I was so wrong. She has turned out to be the best "dog" (loosely used, she is more like one of us, she is a member of our family) we have ever had. She is so very smart and yes, she is warm and cuddly. She seems to love being around us and we love her very much. She is very special to Kevin and I. She is our Little Princess.

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Time to start a new Sock  

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I do not knit a ton of socks like some people. I do however enjoy knitting a good pair of socks once in a while. I have to prioritize and disperse them in with my many other knitting projects. There is so much out there that I want to knit, so many things I have in waiting and so many things I have already on the needles, so it is very difficult sometimes to decide what to knit with my limited knitting time. Nonetheless, I have not knit a pair of socks in while so no matter what else is going on, it's time for socks and socks are on the needles!

Saturday at Knit Knacks, I showed Nachaele, Leah, and Christie the Turkish toe cast on and gave them an insight as to how I go about making socks. When I took a toe up sock class from my friend Kathy, I discovered that I enjoy making socks from the toe up for many reasons. When you start a sock at the toe you can be very flexible about the number of total stitches you need for the yarn weight you choose, the pattern stitch you want to do and the needles you want to use. You can fit your sock, as you knit. You can make adjustments as needed, as you try on your sock. For example if you have a larger ankle measurement you can change a needle size at the ankle to accommodate or even add another stitch pattern repeat, you can make a longer heel flap; in other words you can fit your socks to your own feet as you knit. (be sure to write down what you do so you can make a second sock to match!) If you split the yarn into two even balls you will know that you will have enough yarn for each sock. This may be important if you have a bigger foot or want as long of sock as possible without having to buy more yarn.

Unless a really great top down pattern comes along (and it will have to be really spectacular) I will plan my socks like this......

1. Decide on yarn. I decided to only to pull out my Socks that Rock yarn stash, this not all of my sock yarn just my STR.

Tough choice but the winner is ....
Lightweight STR in the color "Lucy"

2. Review this book.....
In my opinion this book, Sensational Knitted Socks" by Charlene Schurch is the only book about socks you will ever need. I said need folks. You need this book no matter what other sock books you have or want, you need this book. You may also want to rely on a stitch pattern book or calendar so you can find different stitch patterns to use for your socks.

Here is my first pair toe up socks I made using the Turkish toe cast on. My friend Kathy gave me the yarn for my birthday last year so I took her class and made these awesome socks. I used a five stitch beaded rib pattern from the "book" The yarn is the medium weight STR in the color Hard Rock. I used a size 1 needle and 60 total stitches. I have a small foot and cannot make a lot of the other sock patterns out there, because they turn out too big. My feet are also not the same size as each other so I find a that a rib pattern gives me a good fit.
I love these socks, they are very special. The yarn was a present from a special friend, they are my first toe up pair and they fit like a glove, a foot glove that is. Store bought socks never fit me. My foot is small, my heel is small and I end up with the heel of the sock riding all over the place, it is most irritating. Well not when I make socks like this! These socks rock!

3. Wind yarn of choice. How beautiful, I almost hate to use it.
Okay, I said almost..... I cast on 16 sts on two 24" circular needles at the same time. I knit around even on each needle, for one round and then started increasing one stitch at the beginning and end of each needle every other row. This equates to an increase of 4 total stitches every other round. You will need to figure out your own formula for how many to cast on based on what you want in a sock, your gauge and your foot measurement. For example, if you have a gauge of 8 sts to the inch and are making a 66 sts pattern you will make a sock that is about 8.25" around. (Funny, but that is the measurement of my foot and it is my ankle measurement mmmm....) But it really doesn't matter, just figure out what number will get you to 1/2 your total number of sock stitches on each needle (using a 2 needle method or a 1 needle magic loop method.) It is a little bit of math but not bad. It is so worth it to get an absolutely fabulous, seamless toe, like this.
With the lightweight STR and Size 1 needles, I calculated that I could go up to 66 total stitches for my foot circumference, which then equates to a six stitch pattern. (there again, more math but worth it.) I started with 16 stitches on 2 needles and ended up with 33 stitches on each needle. When increasing I had to increase only once at the beginning of each needle one time, (instead of increasing at the beginning and the end) to get to my 33 stitches on each needle. After I increased to the total number of stitches I wanted, I knit a round even and then started the foot of my sock. I am using a six stitch, slip stitch (say that one fast 3 times) pattern that is based on a 3 x 3 rib. With the six stitch pattern I needed to be able to knit the first three stitches of the six stitch repeat at the end of my instep stitches so I can have a balanced pattern over the instep. That is why I needed 33 stitches on the instep needle (repeat of 6 +3.) Then of course, I needed the same number for the bottom of the foot which I knit in plain stockinette. This method works. (hard for me to explain so TRUST ME, it works) WOW - What a perfect fit. You gotta love this toe up method! Here is the toe from the back of the sock. Awesome, no seams.
The sock is started and is on its way UP. I did rip twice in the beginning and tried a couple of different stitch combinations before I chose this one with this yarn. So anal, but so easy when you start from the toe. I think I have the beginning of another great pair of socks! We shall see... More to come.

I leave you with a message from Dina aka "Little Princess"
Stop knitting and take me out to play now, please...

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Lunch Hour in the Mile High City  

Monday, April 23, 2007

Monday, time for lunch. It is a beautiful day; out of the office onto the 16th Mall.
Just missed a shuttle; wait patiently for the next one.
Of course the wait is not usually very long.

Make a quick stop at Starbucks for an iced tea.
On to Independence Plaza to meet the lunch hour knit gang and KNIT!
Kathy and Sharon are here. Denise shows up a bit later.
On the left is the Kathy (http://mountainpurl.blogspot.com) who taught me how to do a Turkish toe up cast on and knit toe up socks. She has been knitting since she was 5 and teaches at String in Highlands Ranch on her "off" time. I was knitting in the lobby of another building, minding my own business, when Kathy and Denise walked by and Kathy said "what you making?" They just kind of picked me up and we have been knitting together ever since. It is so much more fun to knit with people that share your passion for knitting. I have learned a lot from Kathy. she is always willing to share her vast knitting knowledge. If you get a chance to take a class from her, she is an awesome teacher.

I used to work with Sharon and she knew how to knit but had not been really knitting a lot at the time, but she was starting to getting herself into it again so I invited her to knit with us at lunch. She definitely caught the knitting fever and has been going strong ever since. Kathy and Sharon are both going on the Sea Socks Cruise next week. I expect to see lots of pictures!

Look at Sharon with her beautiful shawl. It is absolutely a work of art. She should be very proud.

Darn, lunch hour is just too short. Like I always say work just gets in the way of my knitting. At least we have the hour in the middle of the day, it really helps to break up the day and keep me going.

What am I working on, you ask???? Long story, I will tell you about it later.

It is late so I leave you with some shots of the "Little Princess" who has suddenly become camera shy.
I am trying to wake up to go to bed.

I made it to the couch, what more do you want! Good Night!

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There's a New Knit Shop in Town  

Sunday, April 22, 2007

There is a new knitting shop in Old Town Arvada.

Knit Knacks*Yarn Shop *Gathering Place*Coffee Bar
Owner: Gerri Bragdon
7505 A Grandview Ave Arvada, CO 80002

All I can say is Woo Hoo!

Saturday was field trip day. First a group from the Arvada Knits met at the Bliss Cafe in Old Town Arvada for a nice lunch.

Judy and Cheryl finished their Buttery Autumn sweaters and showed them off. Judy taught the sweater class at Cottage Yarn. Their sweaters were made out of Donnegal Tweed and they were absolutely beautiful.
Leah and her daughter Ashley showed off their Namaste bags. I think they hold just a little bit of knitting and supplies. I loved the Bliss Cafe. The food was great. I had an apple & brie sandwich that was to die for. It was my kind of place. The artwork was interesting.After lunch we went to Knit Knacks, just a couple of doors down from the Bliss Cafe. The store was fairly well stocked for being new. I hear there are new items arriving daily. If they don't have something you want, they will order it for you, no problem. I of course have a couple items on order. I will tell you about that later.

The inside view ....

The owner and her mother.... Very nice people!
There is a coffee bar behind the register so I am so sold on this place! I love coffee places as much as I like knitting stores and this is both. I could ask for no more. I am in heaven. My friend Kathy showed me how to knit a toe up sock using a Turkish toe cast on. I really like this cast on because you don't need a provisional cast on and you get a beautiful toe with no seams. I love knitting socks from the toe up for many reasons. I will tell you about that later!

I shared how to do a Turkish toe cast on for a toe up sock with Leah, Nachaele and Christie.
Kathy, Claudia and Christie and enjoying themselves.
Knit Knacks is a knitters haven. It has a friendly atmosphere. There are three tables and a couch set up to entice knitters to come in and knit. I need no more enticing, I will be there as much as I can. It was a fun place. We shopped, we sat, we knitted. We were practically kicked out. Well, only because it was time to close. We were only going to stay a short while but we loved being there so much we stayed as long as we could.

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Breaker Breaker 1-9  

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Breaking news on the Jawbreaker fronts. The left front and right front, that is.

This is the story of one sad little Jawbreaker Cardigan in the making. The back is very pink and still is. The right front was very blue, the left front was very purple. This just will not do.

One skein has light blue tones (with pink.) This one is just too blue......

One skein has purple tones (with pink.) This one is just too purple......

Neither sad little skein can stand on its own. Just maybe together, they can survive.

They will become blurple (with pink.) Okay, this can be the fun funky look we can deal with as long as both fronts will match. The Jawbreaker lives on.

What more can any sad little Jawbreaker ask for? It just wants to be finished and worn. Let's call it casual, fun and funky, we will finish and we will move on!

In case you are wondering, YES, all skeins for this project came from the same bag. Separate they are not good but together they will work for the good of one Jawbreaker Cardigan.

By the way.... did I mention I ordered this to make another one! I need to knit on something a little more SOLID after this.

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Busy Fun Knitting Tuesday  

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

First I would like to offer my prayers and condolences to the victims and their families of the terrible tragedy that happened in Virginia this week. It is heartbreaking.

Why was Tuesday so busy and yet so fun? First I met up with Kris and Denise to knit on my lunch hour. If you are ever in Downtown Denver between 11:30 and 12:30, on the 16th Street Mall, going by Rock Bottom and Paradise Bakery, go in the lobby and you just may find a group of us knitters by the fountain. Be sure to stop and say hi and join us if you wish. Sometimes there are 2 or 3 of us and sometimes all 5 of us are there. No matter what there are good times going on. Kris is working on a beautiful summer top and Denise, the new Grandma, has baby knitting to do.
After work, I met up with the Arvada Knit Group at Lollicup for an evening of good clean knitting fun. First, Cathy's hedgehog was enjoying his frozen drink waiting for all to show up. He is just so squeezable and adorable. I will have to knit some of these guys. Cathy used squiggle as the novelty yarn and I love the look. She did a great job, look at those little beady eyes!
Cathy with her socketta sock and Cheryl with her Buttery Autumn sweater in Donegal Tweed seemed to be having a good time.
Christie got a present all the way from Hawaii from her friend Wanda. This needle holder is so much nicer than the canvas one I have. Look it even has her name on it. Makes me wish I could sew or better yet, that I had a friend named Wanda in Hawaii.
Christie and her beautiful shawl. It is a Cheryl Oberle pattern. The yarn is so beautiful, soft and luscious. Christie said this is the best picture she has ever taken. I think not!Later Betsy shows up and not only is she sporting her newly completed Jawbreaker, she has a new bag from Durango and she didn't bring me one! I love the bag. I think lime green goes well with purple but she was just not giving up the bag.
Nachaele livened thing up by bringing in her stash yarn to de-stash.
It looks like we took over the entire coffee shop and all knitters had a good time. I am not sure about anyone else trying to enjoy their evening at the Lollicup!
On the personal knitting "fronts"; I sat there knitting on the left front of my Jawbreaker all night only to realize at the end of the evening that I had forgotten to increase. The front increases are an integral part of this pattern. I ripped out everything I had just knit. (10 1/2" to be exact) It is so much fun doing this and just think, I get to have more knitting fun with the same yarn.
Later at home, things got worse. I compared the colors of the finished right front with the yarn ripped from the left front and discovered that the colors are so very different. Even DH who is color blind popped up and asked not only why they didn't match but why they clashed. The right front knitted up to be mostly light blue with some light pink thrown in and the yarn for the left front is a light purple overall color with more pops of darker pink and a darker blue mmmm .... what to do .... what to do .... I did the only thing I could do. Knowing I cannot possibly live with this, (color blind DH saying they "clash"); I ripped the right front and started over. I will use both skeins of yarn alternately for each front piece so at least the fronts will match each other, even if they don't match the very pink back.
Knitting is interesting.

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Where's the Snow and this or that  

Sunday, April 15, 2007

I looked for the snow they said was coming but this is all I found. Nothing but beautiful blue skies and sunshine everywhere. This is Colorado for you. It could snow or not! I like the or not better so this works for me.

Even the "Lizard" was out basking in the sun.

Snow or no snow, it was the perfect day to stay home and knit. Did I forget to mention Friday was my EDO (earned day off) anyway and I did not stay home because of the snow. I actually work my 80 hours in 9 days and take every other Friday off. I love having that day to stay home to knit and do whatever I want.

I did some work on this .. I am making the Jawbreaker from the Winter 2006 issue of Interweave Knits. This one is out of the Patagonia cotton. It should be a fun little cover up to throw on with a pair of Jeans in the Spring/Summer. The colors are dark bright pink to a light purple/light blue. I picked the pinker skeins for the back and the bluer skeins for the front. I think it will be fun and funky when finished.

Saturday was another beautiful day in Colorado and I got to go to Colorful Yarns. It is a cute yarn store in Centennial Colorado. Who did I meet there? None other than Nachaele and Mary Kay. I also met Stacey from Sheep In the City. She was extremely helpful and nice. I will definitely go there again. I found some Tahki Cotton classic on sale at Colorful Yarn and here are the makings of a Log Cabin blanket from the Mason Dixon book. I can't wait to get started. I have 3 colors of 4 different colorways plus a middle color so 25 skeins altogether. It will be so very me and so very southwestern when completed.

I have a swift named "Kevin." This is the look I got from my swift when I showed him the 25 skeins that need winding. Also, the little Princess was not happy she might have to give up her "chair." Well, maybe later.

This weekend I also went to the home of my lifelong friend Julia, to teach her and her daughter Anna, who is 8, to knit. Here they are eager to get started. Two seemingly innocent non-knitting "muggles."

They are no longer so innocent. They may have caught the knitting bug but it is still to early to tell. It could turn into a knitting fever if we are careful! I will check back on them in two weeks.
It was really fun. Anna is a natural, at 8 years old she is so creative. I was so impressed with how well they both did on their first lesson. Anna is left handed and at first I wasn't sure how to teach her but she was more comfortable with knitting continental and after I showed her, she really picked it up very quickly.

I leave you with a look from little Princess!

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