Monday, March 30, 2009

I Love My "Sisters"!

Ok, you might know that I don't have any sisters at all and just two pesky little brothers to my name. But Friday night was Ladies Night at Two Sisters and Ewe, my favorite yarn shop. It was a fabulously fun time with wool, beautiful pastries, and some beautiful works in progress.

I won a skein of fan-tabulous cotton in the raffle. It is heavenly soft; I am thinking of working it into a summery top ... I'll keep you posted! And best of all, the thing for which the spectacular ladies at Sisters win LYS of the Year ... they helped me wind the hemp into beautiful, (somewhat) workable balls:

Unfortunately, they told me AFTER we wound it that I could have soaked the hanks in water and conditioner to soften them up and remove the starch. Live and learn ... it's the little things that we share that make knitters so special!

Back to work ...

A Sweater's Progress ...

It's starting to resemble a sweater ... the sleeves have been attached and I'm about to pick up the seed stitch pattern for the yoke.

For all of the novelty and buss this has created in MY life, it really doesn't look much different from a standard sweater. The only exception is that 10 stitch-wide gap that is in straight stockinette stitch across the bottom ... I will end up cutting right up the middle of that swath when it's steeking time. You'll be able to see more when I pick up the pattern stitch again.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Handmade Treasure

I refer a lot of people to and have spent a lot of time ogling the handmade goods on their site. I have taken The Handmade Pledge and done absolutely nothing about it (except knitting, which I was doing anyway.)

Until now. I just purchased the most beautiful buttons in all of the land:

Jealous? Just head to and find your own treasure! Trust me, WalMart doesn't need any more of your money!

Steeking: So Far So Good

That last sweater went so well that I'm even more excited about my next Lesson in Knitting Sweaters, "The Steeked Sweater."

Creativity is my delight in knitting. I'd rather make something and really, really mess it up than to plug along following a pattern, miss some little "and at the SAME TIME" do " THIS VITAL BIT" ... really, really messing up the designer's lovely pattern.

Just me, but I'm OK with the fact that I don't follow directions all that well. : )

So here' the idea with this sweater: I am making a standard, Knit by the Numbers sweater in this fabulous deep coral Shetland wool:
I'll knit the tube with 10 extra stitches right up the front, sew those down (possibly a few times - OCD can't be wrong, eh?) Then I will take a chug of stiff drink (highly recommended in all of the tutorials) and - EEK! - cut that piece of work from stem to stern.

So far, it's not all that exciting and/ or pretty:
And for those of you who think I might be utterly mad - or at least criminally careless, making plans to cut this simple and defenseless piece of wool, let this allay your fears...

I worked up a small swatch of 40 stitches in the round (about 1/2 of what EZ would have done - and she would have ended up with a swatch hat to boot.) I plugged in the sewing machine , used that green thread you see to sew a few crooked lines of very small stitches down the midline of this thing, then ZIP cut it right in half. See - I'm not working entirely without a net!

This worked fine and I just this minute tried picking up stitches from behind the Green Line of Safety and look how well it worked! (The line of stitches still on the needle up there ... that would be the edge of my cardigan button band if this were a real thing instead of a mangled piece of hurried experiment.

Therefore, based on this small experiment of less than 1000 stitches, I continue working on that rather dull tube you see above.

Remarkable, isn' it? You'll laugh with me if it stinks in the end, won't you?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Bless My Stars - I Made This!

I knit because I love it - like breathing and walking in the sunshine. It feels good, it gives me something to do while I'm doing something else (no book is so good that it can't be improved with knitting!)

But every once in a while I am astonished by what knitting can bring forth. Witness today's miracle, the February Ladies Sweater.

It's humble beginnings as a rather awkward creature with wing-like shoulders. (The 80's were good for music - not so much for the shoulder thing!) And these are terribly uneven wings that don't really like to do anything pleasant.

But I'll admit I'm a bit intrigued by the lace pattern:
You might notice that it resembles a sweater enough that one can actually try it on and see if one likes it. Do not get me wrong. I do not like it. I like the yarn and the color. I like the lace pattern. I dislike greatly the garter stitch pattern up top and the overall fit.

Notice how there aren't any fitting pictures? I really don't' like it.

So I finished it up quickly with little regard to, well, much of anything. It's not a favorite but MIGHT live up to being a precursor to something I like. I cast off the final sleeve stitches, wove in the ends, and tossed my newborn sweater into a sink of bubbles so that I could wash and block (it's a knitting thing - the first ever "re-shape and lay flat to dry" instructions.)

Wash. Rinse. Squish gently. (I might not like this sweater but I refuse to abuse good wool.)

I rolled this bad boy up in a towel to get the excess water out. Unrolled and ...

Bless. My. Stars.

It's light. It's airy. You can see the lace pattern. It's softer and lighter. It smells good.

This might be love! A little more fiddling and shaping and I have a real piece of work ...