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August 2005
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October 2005

To Stockinette or Not to Stockinette

ThebookfromcarlawithyarnandsheepyCarla Hibbard sent me a copy of  Nancy’s new book so that I could pass it on to you!  How cool is that?  So, we’re going to have a contest.  Not a comment contest, (although you do need to leave a comment) but a 'real' contest. A random number generator will pick the winner. To sweeten the deal,  Nancy will autograph the book (at the signing next Saturday) and I'll throw in a skein of Mountain Colors Bearfoot, Raspberry colorway, and a little sheepy tape measure. How sweet is that?

Here's what you need to do to be entered in the drawing. Tell me why you love OR hate to knit Stockinette.  In my opinion, Stockinette is highly underrated.  It is the purest process of knitting.  It creates a beautiful fabric that shows off the yarn and if purl stitches are added it creates the perfect backdrop for a pattern. Stockinette can create a classic sweater and it can be easily shaped into many different styles.  It allows a knitter to multitask while knitting without the worries of tracking a pattern. Stockinette allows a special yarn to show it's 'stuff'. It is the ultimate in meditative knitting.  Stockinette is the process at its most basic, at its finest. I remain a Stockinette Avenger.

Now, don't just say Stockinette is boring. What is it about the process you DON'T like if you are not a Stockinette fan.  Tell me what it is about the process if you DO like it and you are an Avenger, too.

Tell me what you think by Thursday October 6th at 5:00 MDT.  I'll let the winner know on Friday and will get details as to how you would like your book personalized.

Discuss....


Lace Again, Still, Forever

You've been fooled, not intentionally, not by me, but because you are under the mistaken impression that I know lace.  You think I have been knitting lace for a long, long time and that I am some sort of an expert.  I hate to burst your bubble, but my first real lace project (besides a YO in a sock or scarf) was Charlotte, second was the Flower Basket Shawl.  If you check my FOs, or you have been reading here for sometime, you know I have knit several more lace items in that last year.  Lace has become the essence of the process for me….now.

A few years ago our local knit guild decided to study lace. Many knitters were using steel pins with yarn that was more like thread.  It was beautiful, but it didn’t look like fun.  The guild also brought in a teacher,  Sandy Terp, who taught a class on how to read lace.  She also taught a class on Cableless Cables, so I signed up for both.  The lace was way over my head, as there was no context for me to visualize what to do. I had no lace knitting to my credit.  The class went something like this.  "If you decrease with an SSK before a YO you will get a hole that…blah, blah, blah." My head was swimming. (The cable class was fantastic and I haven't used a cable needle since.)

Shortly after I started to blog  Sandy (our Sandy) started a Charlotte Along.  The colors of Koigu enticed me to dive in despite my fear of lace.  Koigu, size 6 needles (with sock weight yarn), I had to try.  It was a struggle in the beginning just to get the hang of the chart, but soon I had it down pat and did just fine.  As Sandy Terp had predicted during the class, once I saw the lace work and could read how it all went together, there was no need for markers. In fact I learned quickly that markers obscure the lace and make it hard to see the pattern.

When the beautiful silk yarn (Fyberspates) arrived from my Better Pal, I just had to start something with it, as I had just finished the ultimate lace project of my knitting life. The book  Three-Cornered & Long Shawls arrived at the same time and my first thought was to knit something from this book. I looked at the gorgeous pictures and read the translation for the shawls that were attractive to me (most of them are fabulous!). They were a bit intimidating.  Most of patterns say to cast on hundreds of stitches, either with a long tail cast on or by using a provisional method, as you pick up stitches for the edging.  Now I know how to cast on tons of stitches with the long tail method, but I'm not fond of picking up provisional stitches.  What if you drop one! (See, I am a novice at this.)

The easier pattern seemed to be the Diamond Fantasy that other bloggers have finished, so I cast on for it. Remember, I have only knit a few shawls and every single one had a 'purl back' row.  That means you only need to follow the chart on the front of the shawl and can 'rest' by purling back. With DFS every row is different AND, what I didn't pay attention to in the beginning,  you need to read the chart from both sides.  Front side chart is read from right to left and back side chart is read from left to right.  I could see that, but remembering it and doing it took a little practice and three tries to get it right. It looks like it was worth it.

Diamondfantasypicturebest


The Process of Chamomile

A year ago I knit Chamomile for the first time.  I intentionally made her a little big as I didn't want the little roll around my waste to show.  Many of you know, the first of this year was rough for me. Back pain had me in its grip and I was able to do little except knit (and groan in agony).  I had no appetite and lost 20 lbs over 3 months. The weight has continued to drop and my body reshape because of weight training.  The determination to workout comes from the desire to never be so out of shape that I suffer with back pain again. The biggest problem with dropping weight is that all your favorite clothes no longer fit (and hopefully never will). Many of my beautiful sweaters are now too large and I'm unsure what to do with them.

ChamomilesleevesontehewaytofinishChamomile is one sweater I didn't want to give up, so I decided to frog and reknit her in a smaller size. The yarn, Rowan Summer Tweed, held up well to the process of ripping.  The yarn was skeined, tied together, carefully washed and air dried.  There was a bit of loss around the armscyes, as I cut into the knitted fabric and had to discard the small pieces of yarn that resulted. To ensure there would be enough yarn, new skeins were purchased,  and as luck would have it, the dye lots were the same! 
The process of reknitting has been up and down.  Other projects have been more enjoyable, the yarn easier to use, the desire to knit on them greater.  But Chamomile did get a little attention from time to time and finally, the body is complete.  The fit is much better than the first time and it excited me enough to give her more knitting time. This past weekend while in a knitting spurt, I knit one sleeve. It worked up quickly because the old frogged and washed yarn is soft and easier to knit. The new yarn is hard and causes pain in my arm if I knit too long.  I am gentle with myself and will be very careful not to cause damage while I continue the second sleeve.  My hope is to have her ready to photograph this weekend, with the backdrop of golden aspen trees, since Chamomile is the perfect fall color.  A week and a half ago, while we hiked through an aspen forest, the leaves had not started to change.  This past weekend the same aspens were in their full golden glory.  It happened so quickly!  I hope the rain doesn't knock the leaves down so that only bare branches are left for my backdrop.


It's the Little Things

It was a little difficult last week to settle down and knit on any one project.  Do you ever feel that way after a you finish up a piece of knitting that you enjoyed so much?  Nothing felt right. Nothing I picked up had the rhythm of the beautiful lace, or the feel of the exquisite yarn, that Hanging Vines brought to my knitting. I even tried a little lace to see if that would help bring back my knitting mojo, but it didn't work. My world felt like a dear friend had gone away and I missed her. 

GauntletsreadytogiveawayforgalThen on Friday the need to knit, the desire for the process, returned.  There were several small projects on the needles and I decided to finish them up before jumping into another large project. (It's cold around here and time to knit a nice warm woolen sweater.)  One of the Gauntlet's for Give A Little was complete, so I knit all evening on the second and finished it, save for the thumb, that night. It only took a few minute the next morning to finish up and the pair is now ready to gift. They could be yours.

Next is the sock for Smith's cousin Emilie.  The first sock was finished and the second had a couple of false starts do to gauge problems.   Emilie is anxiously awaiting the arrival of these socks so she can have something bright and happy on her feet.  After finishing the Gauntlet, I picked up and started the second sock and watched, finally, as the stitches flew.  It is now well past the heel (and not where the picture shows.) 

Socksafterfixofgaugeproblems

Gauge problems have plagued me with all three of these projects. Might that be the reason why I let them be for a few days?  You would think a little expertise would pay off, but in a silly decision I went up a size needle and had to frog and reknit.  I have been using 1.5 needles to knit socks for a long, long time and most fingering yarns work up perfectly with this size needle. 

The very same error was made on my beautiful blue Opal sock (the yarn is from my Better Pal.) As the heel was turned and the gusset decreases  started, I tried it on and found it to be very large, gigantic, in fact. Instead of taking it all the way back to the beginning, I frogged back to the heel and will continue the foot on smaller needles.  The ankle area will be loose but it should be fine.  The challenge will be to make the second sock fit and look the same. What was I thinking by changing to a size 2 for this sock?   It must have been a moment of insanity for me to think my gauge, the gauge I always knit, was too tight. I never swatch for socks as you can frog a sock as well as a swatch, but check the gauge early on! 

Now the socks are moving along quickly, easily, and should be finished in the next couple of days.  What a relief to be knitting again, enjoying the process again.  I might just be ready for more lace, too.

We have finally convinced our Stitch 'n Bitch beauty, Teri to start a blog!  She's a Harry Potter freak and a very good knitter.  She might even show us some knitting soon.  Welcome to Blogland, Teri!


A Drive to Capture Fall

Mountainsofwasatchwithcoloratest

Marcia told me of a place that we should try for breakfast. It is very hard to give up our routine, but in the interest of staying out of a rut, we ventured out to some place new. Marcia has been to Utah many times, as her son lives in Park City, and we didn't think she would steer us wrong. So, we headed up I-80 to Summit Park, which is between Park City and the Salt Lake Valley, and right off the exit found the No Worries Café.  It is a very tiny place, but they know how to get you in, serve you quickly, and turn the tables over fast. It was a very different menu than our usual place and we enjoyed the change of taste. Thanks Marcia, you picked a winner!

Colorsonthemountainsabovelittledell_1After our enjoyable repast we headed back down Parley's Canyon to East Canyon and back into the North Eastern mountains of the Wasatch. We heard the colors were changing and the fall show was just beginning.  Isn't the picture above breath taking? The mountains of Utah rarely have a crown of clouds, but both days this weekend the peaks were dappled with small white bits of fluff. Saturday we had mostly cloudy skies in the valley, but on Sunday it was sunny and the back country skies were clear blue. The mountains foliage is full of varied shades of green, red and orange, with yellows and golds just beginning to peek through.  It was a spectacular day for a drive.  There was a decided chill in the air and we stayed in the warm car instead of taking a hike as there was just too much to do at home.  In the next two weeks the colors should be at their peak and we'll make sure to do some hiking and driving into the mountain glory.
Morepixofwastachatestres

GiftsfromelizabethandlaThis week two lovely treats arrived in my mailbox.  Elizabeth spent untold hours, actually months and months, working on the Knit Bloggers Cookbook.  She did this all as a labor of love to share with everyone who sent recipes for the book. What a wonderful gift!  We have already picked a couple of dishes we want to try this week.  The other treat was from La. Not only did she send a years supply of chocolate (which is hoarded hidden away) and some lovely knitting note cards, but this pink grrly, grrl mug.  My morning coffee never tasted so good! 


Blue Skies Smiling On Me...

Your comments on yesterday’s post were humbling. Thank you for the outpouring of support and acceptance of what I do here. Your time is always appreciated and I thank you for bringing such validation to this effort. Donna is a new blogger to me and I love how she ends each post, 'Encourage each other.' Perfectly said. Go forth and keep up the good work.

Again for Sandy. 

Forsandymoreutahpictures


Comment...Come on! Just Do It

There must be as many reasons to blog as there are bloggers.  The attraction of community was the first thing that drew me into blogging.  How cool to interact with other knitters, to show off your knitting to others who knit, and to learn and grow as a knitter through this Internet connection.  Blogging has been that and so much more.  It is wonderful to have people comment, to praise, encourage, and sometimes chastise the posts on my blog.  A comment left on someones blog is more than a mere sentence posted in cyberspace.  A comment on a blog can be the beginning of a conversation, the beginning of a connection, the beginning of a friendship.  It is that deeper connection that keeps me enthralled in Blogland.

A contest can be fun, but it isn't always easy to come up with an interesting way to give a prize.  By asking for comments I have met many people who just lurk, read and run. It is by commenting on other blogs, and having the person come and leave a return comment on mine, that forms friendships.  In many cases they are relationships that will likely outlive this blog. There is so much more to this than a desire to rack up comments. Conversations take place daily and so much more goes on behind the scenes than what is seen on a one dimensional blog. We are 3D people and it is exciting, fun and pure joy to make a connection that is lasting and rich.

So for me, having a blog IS about the comment and about the connections, new and old, that are made.  It is about grrlfriends; being there when someone needs you or you need someone. It's about sharing the celebrations of life and celebrating the achievements of other.  It can be a daily party (pity parties are not fun but it's OK to throw one once in awhile).  The relationships can be superficial or as deep as you desire.  This exercise in writing is, for the most part, about connecting with others and that doesn't happen unless you join the conversation.

Looks like rain is in the forcast this weekend. Utah rain that is, the on and off kind of rain, where it can be nice one minute and rainy the next. We'll see how it works out as we'd like to celebrate fall with another hike. Enjoy your weekend!


Sockapal2za for ME!!!

This is just too funny. There are 350+ people in the Sockapal2za sock exchange and how could it be that someone I know (when I don't know that many participants) is my pal?  I remember when Beth got the name of her pal and said it was someone she knew. It never entered my head that it would/could be me.  I watch knit her Sockapal2za socks and she had quite a saga of patterns and yarn. She finished the socks on Wednesday night!  That's cutting it close, grrlfriend. I even made a comment the day she showed the box she was sending out to her pal.  So, when I saw THIS on my door step, I knew immediately who my pal was and that the socks were red...a perfect, perfect shade of RED.

Mysockapalstufffrombeth Inside the box was a treasure trove of goodies. There were treats for my boyz, postcards from Cincinnati, a lovely letter (you are too kind, Beth), and the left over Twinkletoes from her gorgeous Charlotte’s Web. I see more socks in my future with this lovely yarn as its in my favorite colors.  Thank you, thank you Beth for a lovely pair of gorgeous red socks.  They will make my winter bright and happy!

Lovemysockapalooza2sockspalsocks

LOVE the lace cuff.
Lookatheprettylacecuff

My pal received her Socks and she loves them! Erika is ill at this time and if she blogs about them I'll let you know.

Thank you, thank you Beth!  I'm dancing in red socks...woohoo!
It has been fun, fun. I'll play a third time if you decide to do it again,  Alison! Thank you! 


From the Process to the Pit

ChamomilewithoutsleevesWhat do you do when you finish knitting something you loved so much, where every stitch was a pleasure and a joy? I wouldn't recommend jumping into a pit but that's just what I did.  If knitting is a garden then Hanging Vines was the rose...Chamomile is the weed. This project is not about the process, it is project driven and only because she WILL be a nice sweater when finished.  Since this WAS finished once upon a time, I know it will be...otherwise I could not continue.  After knitting with the silk/merino of Judy's beautiful yarn, the Summer Tweed cotton/silk feels like rope.  The needles are large (8's again) and the stitches are hard to form. This is causing pain in my hands and arm. Sitting with perfect posture is the only way to keep the pain at bay (this is a good thing).  The body is finished and only the sleeves remain...it will be a sweater by months end (it must be!). After seaming up the sides I tried it on and found it fits perfectly. This has helped me to go on.

SeaweedhangingaroudnThe Seaweed Wrap has been hanging around here too long and her pattern is enough like Hanging Vines that she will be the right piece to knit. ('The process' returns.)  I bought the kit from Virtual Yarns some time ago and knit only 12" over the last year.  It's time to invest in this beautiful project again. The wool is such a rich color of rust (Tormentil) with tweedy flecks of deep gray, gold and bright red. Now that the temperatures are cooler this will be a lovely knit to have in the lap (if it ever grows long enough).

YummyyummyarnfrombetterpalBut what should appear in my mailbox on Monday!? When you have a fabulous Better Pal, who seems to understand the lace addiction you enjoy, and knows just what will feed your spirit...gorgeous, gorgeous silk, lace weight...how can you not dive in?  The colors are my favorites!  Since several   other people have knit the Diamond Fantasy Shawl,  I was aided and abated into buying the pattern. It arrived late last week and with the yarn and pattern nearby (who puts away knitting patterns the minute they arrive?!) I had to cast on just to see if it would work.  But, again nearby, I saw the 'must have' new shawl book, which also arrived last week, and looked through it for inspiration. Inside is a simple shawl pattern with a beautiful edge and I'm considering it instead.

Donations have slowed down a bit for Give A Little. We continue to give away thank you gifts and there are dozens to give. Please check to see if you have won a prize.