Friday, March 25, 2016

Easter musings

  What's on my needles (week 106)

Happy Easter, Happy Spring!

I hope everyone is enjoying the warmer weather and pretty Spring flowers which are coming up everywhere.

I was so happy to see a patch of daffodils under my kitchen window already. It made my heart "sing".

I had another experience during the past week which made me very happy. I realized (not for the first time) how lucky I am to be part of a community of knitters.

In my experience (for the most part) knitters look beyond themselves and simply help each other to get the project done. It does not seem to matter where they are from.  I have sought help through ravelry from knitters from many other countries, countries I may never travel to in person but to whose citizens I share a common bond by our shared love for a craft and desire to create something beautiful in an otherwise unstable world. Especially looking at recent World events, it is important to know that within this world lies another in which people do look beyond nationality, race and religion. Small side-note:  Duesseldorf where I grew up is only 120 miles from me events literally hit close to home...

Even on a smaller scale (as I experienced in several jobs) competition which in itself is not bad, is often used in greed and misuse of control.  But that is not my experience with other knitters.

As Spring is full of promise of new beginnings, I feel that I want to try and be better at sharing and helping. Perhaps we can make this world a better place one baby-step at a time.

But enough of my philosophical musings and on to my actual experiences.
Remember the cardigan "Tullamore" I am working on? I was stuck when I got to the front-panels' arm and neck decreases. I was supposed to be left with 18 sts for the shoulders, but the math did not work out. Luckily I did the math before knitting and ended up writing to the designer Emily Ringelman. She was incredibly gracious about it and corrected the pattern. Here is some of the correspondence:
  • Ok, I figured it out. You are totally right- there will be 18 sts left when all shaping is complete. Somehow, I uploaded the incorrectly tech-edited version of the pattern to Ravelry. I have no idea how no one has pointed this out to me before. I’ve corrected the pattern and am about to upload the proper version now. You’ll get an email from Ravelry that the pattern has been updated and is available for download.
    So sorry… I try very hard to make sure my patterns are error-free, but as humans, that’s not always what happens.
    I hope you love your cardigan when it’s finished!
    The pattern is beautiful. Check it out for yourself here: Tullamore Cardigan I am hoping to finish this over the weekend; so looking forward to be wearing it! 

    The other pattern I had found some minor errors in is the "Ethereal Wrap" by Evelyn A. Clark. This is a free pattern by Skacel and I had knitted the wrap in Cascade Heritage Wave. I never even contacted the designer, but received this lovely text: 
    • Hello! I wanted to thank you for the notes that you made on your pattern. We are currently fixing the mistakes and will a new version will be attached to the link next week. So sorry for any confusion that the pattern has caused but again, thank you.
    Happy Knitting.
    -Brooke @ Skacel
     The pattern can be found here: Ethereal Wrap 
  • Let us work together to make this world a better place one step (stitch) at a time.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Socks in progress

What's on my needles (week 105)

Progress Report

Everybody who is participating in my Sock knitting class managed to finish their toes.  This week we were busy measuring and re-measuring both the width and length of everyone's feet to make sure the socks will fit just right.  Here are pictures of the beginnings:

Annie's socks knit in "Frolicking Feet" by Done Roving

Betty is using "Madeline Tosh Light" and is planning to knit the cable pattern
Dale is using the "Amiente" by Schoppel

Elise is using " Das Paar" by Schoppel

Gerrie is knitting her socks in the beautiful "Hedgehog Sock Yarn" color Sour cherry

Kyra's socks using "Single Disk Cat Print" by Schoppel

And the two pairs of socks I am working on:

Cabled socks in the "Wildfoote" by Brown Sheep

Self-striping socks in "Heritage Prints" by Cascade
Some statistics:  I have knitted 15 pairs of socks in the last 5 years; these are pair #16 and #17.  
Five of the fifteen pairs I knitted with the FLK heel construction which we are using in this class.

So, dear students and fellow knitters, this is important to remember when you get discouraged :)
Keep going; it will get easier <3

Friday, March 11, 2016

How to knit 2-at-a-time

What's on my needles (week 104)

The Sock Knitting Class which started this week is off to a good start.

Everybody got their socks cast on and is working on the toe increases.
Working both socks at the same time seems daunting (hopefully just at first), but is so worth it:  
  • Your two socks are guaranteed to be the same length.
  • You won't have that second sock syndrome trying to count rows and making sure to knit up a replica of the first sock.  
  • Also, working toe-up two at the time, you know how much yarn you have for the cuff.  You won't be running out of yarn while knitting the foot and could make the cuff a little shorter or finish it with a different yarn. 
If you missed signing up for this class:  I offer this class as private lessons or in a class when I have a group of at least two and no more than three. Please e-mail if you are interested.

I don't want to give away too many secrets, but here is a look at how to knit two socks at a time on two circular needles without getting your yarn tangled up:

Set-up:  Keep your yarn for sock #1 next to you on your right and keep your yarn for sock #2 next to you on your left.

Step 1:  Knit across the first half of the first sock.
Step 2:  Using your second ball of yarn knit across the first half of your second sock.

TURN YOUR WORK ANTI- CLOCKWISE  (your yarn will be criss-crossed for the second half of your round).



Step 3:  Knit across the second half of the second sock. 

Step 4:  Using your first ball of yarn knit across the second half of your first sock.

TURN YOUR WORK CLOCKWISE (your yarn is no longer tangled and you are ready for the next round).

I will post some pictures of everybody's progress next week.

A new store sample

After having knit the Ethereal Shawl in the Cascade Heritage Wave, I am now knitting up a shawl for the store in the same yarn.  This shawl is crescent shaped and shows off the subtle color changes really well. 
The pattern I am using for this comes in three sizes and just one skein will make the smallest size (55"x 15").

The pattern is available on ravelry for about $5 and here is the link to the pattern:  Pebble Beach Shawl

about 15% finished


Friday, March 4, 2016

Cashmere Love

What's on my needles (week 103)

Miya Shawl by Mari Chiba


One of the gifts I received over the holidays was this pattern and yarn. <3
The yarn is 100% Cashmere in a lace weight.  The finished shawl feels incredibly light, airy and soft.
I named my shawl "Cashmere Love", because part of the lace looks like a string of hearts.

The pattern takes a little more concentration than the last pattern I worked up (the Ethereal Shawl), but is fairly easy to work up with a little focus.
Here are some yarns I would suggest if you wanted to knit this shawl in a lace weight:  The Reywa Bloom which is a Yak Down and Silk blend or the Isager which is 100% Alpaca.  Both yarns come in skeins which give you enough yardage to complete your shawl.
I want to add that I think the shawl would also look gorgeous in a slightly heavier yarn.  A friend of mine is planning on knitting the shawl in a Madeline Tosh Light.  I even go as far as saying that it would be pretty neat in a Sport or worsted weight yarn. 

The pattern is available on line for $5.50.
Here is a link to the pattern:
And here are my notes I posted on ravelry:

"The yarn is a joy to work with and the pattern is fairly easy. I am looking forward to the finished shawl; it will feel scrumptious to wear around my neck.
2.23. Less than a week of knitting and I am half done! Yeah!!
2.27. Finished! The lace sections took a little more concentration, but that’s worth it with this pretty lace edge. BTW Did anyone else notice that looking at the lace upside down some of it definitely looks heart shaped <3 <3
One thing which helped me to keep track of my rows and sections was to count the middle stitches where the increases and decreases happen.
Section 1 1st pattern increase (7), 2nd (13), 3rd (19), 4th (25) total 28+25+3=56
Section 2: 1st (28), 2nd (31), 3rd (34), 4th (37), 5th (40), 6th (43), 7th (46), 8th (49), 9th (52) total 83
Section 3 four pattern repeats with no increases
Section 4 :1st (49), 2nd (46), 3rd (43), 4th (40), 5th (37), 6th (34), 7th (31), 8th (28), 9th (25) total 56
Section 5: 1st(19), 2nd (13), 3rd (7), 4th (1) take out second marker on row 9 total 32

I also marked rows 3, 7 and 11 in the chart to work YO, k2tog (rows circled blue) and rows 1,5 and 9 to work YO, k2tog, k2tog (rows circled pink) in the appropriate sections.
It helped to remember which rows to do the increases and decreases in.

 About the yarn: I was happy to see that I had enough yarn to finish the shawl and I even had some left over."

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Come join me for a Sock- knitting Class

Elementary Watson Socks

This is a two-at-the-time toe up sock knitting class

Materials needed

  • You will need two circular needles of the same size; either US # 1.5 (2.5 mm) or US # 2 (2.75 mm or even 3mm) depending on your gauge.
Gauge should be 8 sts per inch.  It is best if the two needles have different cable lengths.  
I suggest one 16" cable and one 24" cable.
  • You will need two equal amounts of yarn.  I suggest a solid color if you want to knit the cable pattern.  If you are purchasing one skein and want to give it to me prior to the first class, I can divide the skein into two balls for you.  The total yardage should be 300-375 yards depending on foot size.
Please note:  If you prefer to knit your socks one at the time you may do so.  You will still learn many new techniques in this class.

First Lesson:  Wednesday March 9th from 2:30-4:30pm
Judy's Magic Cast-on and how to knit in the round with two circular needles

Second Lesson:Wednesday March 16th from 1:30-3:30pm
Making a Cut-out of your foot. How to knit cables without a cable needle (those who don't knit up the cable pattern on the sock, can practice this on a separate piece of knitting you may want to bring in such as a dishcloth etc).

Third Lesson:Wednesday March 30th from 1:30-3:30pm (we may need a little extra time this day)
Turning the heel.  This is a Fleegle heel construction.

Fourth Lesson:Wednesday April 13h from 1:30-3:30pm
Stretchy bind-off

All times are approximate and depend on how quickly everybody learns the new material.
The cost of the class is $120 and includes the pattern and four two-hour lessons as well as any additional time and help needed to finish your project. 
This is a small class with a maximum of three students and as of today I have one space left for the Wednesday classes. The Saturday class is still available.

I am offering the same class Saturdays, too:
Saturday March 12th from 11am-1pm
Saturday March 19th from 11am-1pm
Saturday April 2nd from 11am-1pm
Saturday April 16th from 11am-1pm  

UPDATE:  The Wednesday class is full and I added a second week-day class on the following dates:

There is still one spot available for the Thursday class and the Saturday class is wide open :)

1)Thursday 3.10. from 12:30-2:30pm
2)Thursday 3.17. from 12:30-2:30pm
3)Thursday 3.31. from 12:30-2:30pm
4) Thursday 4. 14. from 12:30-2:30pm