Wednesday, May 2, 2007

My Yarns and What I Did with Them

Since I have so much to catch up on, with a lot of pictures, I split today's post. I left out some of the most special yarns I've recently bought, my gorgeous new goodies from See Jayne Knit. Jayne just opened an Etsy store, but you can email her directly via her blog. There's Apricot in merino DK, Lilypad in merino worsted, Lilacs in superwash wool (the softest superwash I've ever felt!) and Meadow, a 50% alpaca/50% wool sportweight, in that order. I have 2 100g skeins of each color except Meadow, which are 150g skeins; I think Meadow will become a shawl. And Apricot, of which I have nearly 500yds, may become Elann's Sun Ray shawl.

After the long, frustrating and unsuccessful search for the right yarn for Wren, I wasn't in a knitting mood, so it's only the last week or so that I've actually done much knitting. I've finished a couple of things and made good progress on several others. Most of the projects are for charity, but I've also joined two KALs, the Six Sox Knitalong and the Elann Shawl-a-long.

The finished item - seamed, with trim and ends woven in, is a baby jacket from a while back. This spent a while in time-out. The tweed yarn is Red Heart Fiesta and the solid is Encore. The pattern is a free one at the Lion Brand website. When I first started sewing the seams, the tweed yarn hung up badly, and in trying to take out the seam, I *cut the blue yarn* - at the edge of the front panel. This led to bad language, flying objects and general grumpiness. After a cooling-off period, I was finally serene enough to finish the painful frogging and re-knitting. I knitted the cuffs by picking up stitches, and the trim around the edges is crocheted. The little hat and pompom used nearly all that remained of the tweed yarn - I think there are less than 4 yards left. This project will go to a local Burbank charity, providing clothing for people who need a bit of help.

This little green jacket was inspirated by Patty, a member of the Monday SnB group I've recently joined. Patty is an amazing knitter and knitting teacher, and she popped a totally adorable little red hoodie out of her bag last week. The pattern is a freebie from Knitting Pure & Simple, a top-down raglan. The yarn is Nashua's Creative Focus Worsted 75% wool/25% alpaca in Juniper, and I'm really enjoying knitting with it. I started on this after dinner on Sunday and all that's left is the sleeves, which are picked up and then knit in the round. I did all this with just one 220yd skein, so it won't take much from the 2nd skein for the sleeves. The only seam is the top of the hood, and as Patty suggested, I did a provisional cast-on and will use a 3-needle bind-off. This will go to Afghans 4 Afghans, their Mother's Day project.

The little red socks continue to grow. These are the demonstration items in the one-woman knitting class I'm teaching. Knitdevil Madge is learning to knit socks, and we started her out with worsted weight yarn and size 4 needles. The only thing remaining is to do the toes, and we'll do that next week. I'm hoping to squeeze the rest out of the 220yd Paton's Classic Wool skein. Cross your fingers! Madge is a terrific student, and her pretty blue socks will be great for whomever gets to wear them. These red ones will probably go to Dulaan or A4A.

The Six Sox Knitalong is working on the Horcrux pattern, and my first sock is finally moving along well. The yarn is KnitPicks Essentials merino. Yes, the zigzag pattern on the leg makes it flare out like that! With this color yarn, it doesn't show up very well. If you don't want to join the KAL, the worsted weight version of the pattern is free.

I finished the gusset last night, but I'm concerned about the loose fabric I'm getting in the sole portion. These are being knitted on US0s, and this gauge is about at the limit of my ability to see the stitches. So I don't know what I'll do if I can't figure out how to tighten up my tension. I have an idea that the sole portion may tighten up if I switch the stitches to one needle rather than dividing them, but I'll try that on sock #2 before I frog the gusset in this one.

And I found a KAL to replace the Wren-a-long. The Elann Chat group has set up an open Shawl Knit-A-Long for anyone who wants to knit a shawl from one of the many free patterns at Elann. It doesn't have to be done with an Elann yarn. Here's the link to the KAL site. My shawl is the Luna Moth, designed by Shui Kuen Kosinski. Elann has published 3 versions of this shawl, in their Pure Alpaca, in Super Kydd, and in their brand-new Callista rayon/cotton/linen yarn. I had the fun of meeting SK (as she is called) last year when she came to the LA area to visit her mother. The two of them are incredible knitters and produce an amazing variety of lovely knitted objects. I'm doing this with a yarn I bought at Elann last year, Filati Fantasia Cezanne, a viscose/cotton/silk blend in Straw. The yarn is lovely and drapey, but it does tend to split a little. I've reached the 2nd repeat of the main pattern. The design isn't difficult, but I don't find that it lends itself to knitting it from memory, though once you've started a row, it's easy to work the repeats.

And, as a bit of furry comfort, here's Midnight, wondering what I'm doing with that noisy thing instead of petting her. What *is* that thing, mom?

She went to the vet's a week or so ago, and all is well. Balancing her meds, between treating her digestive and kidney problems, is tricky, so I've been trying to get her checked up every 3 months or so.

Middy eats the $$ oh-so-special, only-from-the-vet, Royal Canin LP foods, chunks in gravy and Hill's 'prescription' dry food. But I've been watching the Royal Canin site carefully, as well as the Hills prescription dry foods information. So her food is OK, for now. Every now and again she gets an extra-special treat of a bit of Purina's Fancy Feast. Somehow Purina products seem to have been unaffected by the contamination problem. But too much protein is bad for Midnight's kidneys, so she only gets a spoonful or so once or twice a month. And always after a visit to the vet. Guilt food!


Joan said...

Well, I have been wondering the heck where you have been! I see tha answer is that you have been BUSY. Glad all is well.

jillian said...

Wow - you have been busy!! Way to kick off the summer. Thanks for the link to the cutie hoodie pattern!

Madge said...

You've been a busy bee. Way to go on your FOs and nearly FOs. Love your stripey red and white socks, and the two baby sweaters are adorable.

Two new KALs will continue keeping you busy over the summer, too.

LOL Middy needs a starring role on Prison Break. Glad she didn't wander off and is back inside...probably napping, right? Such a pretty girl.