Bling Bling – Finished Object

Photo Finish

Just a quick picture of my Art Yarns Scarf.  Originally it was going to be a gift – but I love it so will be keeping it.  Not only is it beautiful, the yarn is super soft.  This was purchased as a kit at Vogue Knitting Live Seattle in 2013.  And VKL will be in Pasadena in April – can’t wait to attend.

Some Bling for Me - Memories of Vogue Knitting Live Seattle

Some Bling for Me – Memories of Vogue Knitting Live Seattle

 

Bling Bling - I can use a bit of sparkle.

Bling Bling – I can use a bit of sparkle.

 

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Happiness at Noon

“If one thinks that one is happy, that is enough to be happy.”

– Madame de la Fayette

Lunchtime Knitting:  A Hap for Kathi

Lunchtime Knitting: A Hap for Kathi

Last night I had a few friends over to knit and I worked on my A Hap for Kathi.  I’m using Knitted Wit Skinny Cashy which is a wonderful hand dyed yarn.  It is a lace weight Merino, Cashmere, and Nylon blend.  The strands are lightly plied and I can tell that once I block my Hap, the lace will open up and the yarn will have a bit of a halo.  I wish you could touch the yarn through the computer screen – super soft.  The color is difficult to capture in a photo – a golden yellow/brown with speckles of red/orange.  The speckles remind me of little freckles and I find I am delighted when one appears in a stitch I am knitting.  Abuelita’s has a couple of skeins of Skinny Cashy left, and they just ordered another shipment. (There are several other types of Knitted Wit that I want to try).

The pattern is A Hap for Harriet by Kate Daives.  I follow Kate Davies blog which is full of interesting stories and knits.  From her blog:  “My name is Kate Davies. I live in a small steading on the edge of the Scottish Highlands where I love writing, designing, and walking in the wonderful landscapes that surround me. I find that all of these activities have a creative and a critical dimension and the best of possible worlds is one in which I productively combine them all.

The pattern can be knit in any yarn.  You weigh the yarn at the beginning, work the increase section until 30% of the yarn is knit, work the middle section until 70% of the yarn is knit, then finish with a decrease section.  Lacy Batkus (which I have knit twice) also uses this method – a great way to use up stash or a luxury yarn like Skinny Cashy.

After knitting a bit at lunch I ate my salad (left over from yesterday’s lunch), drank my Diet Pepsi, and nibbled on a few grapes.  Then even though it was beastly hot (but not as hot as last weekend), I went for a walk and watered the garden at my office.  There are a few things growing, but this time of year the garden looks pretty dead.  The plants are in pots and the heat of August fried many of them.  Soon, once it turns cooler, I will plant a winter garden of greens for salads.  In the meantime, the pomegranate bush has several fruits this year: I am watching and trying to determine when to pick them.

Pomegranate - How do I tell when it is ripe?

Pomegranate – How do I tell when it is ripe?

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Marking My Place

“You only live knit once (unless you make a mistake and have to do it over and over…) , but if you do it right, once is enough .”

Mae West (adjusted by Kathi)

Removable Stitch Markers - I love the packaging!!

Removable Stitch Markers – I love the packaging!!

Recently I wrote an article about Stitch Markers for the Helpful Hints section of Abuelita’s Newsletter.  I thought of the idea when my sister and I were talking about knitting lace – I love knitting lace.  She was making the Churchmouse English Mesh Lace Scarf out of a Kid Silk and when she made a mistake it was difficult to rip it out.  This is a great beginning lace pattern with short repeats, but lace can be tricky.  In a previous entry, I blogged about ripping out my lace scarf to fix the mistakes. My errors that time were due to my lack of attention to the knitting and my talking with friends, and no I didn’t use stitch markers….

Stitch markers can help identify the of start of a round in circular knitting, indicate a garter stitch border of a shawl, mark the pattern repeats in lace, show when to increase and decrease, etc.

Frequently a pattern may indicate what to do with the marker.  Two common terms used in patterns are pm (place marker) and sm (slip marker).  Even if the pattern doesn’t indicate that a marker is needed, the markers can be used to show that something needs to be done. Shawls and scarves often have a garter edge of one or two stitches. A stitch marker placed at the edge of the border will help you remember to change to garter.

Lace patterns often repeat over an even number of stitches, for example, 12 stitches. Placing markers every 12 stitches will help you identify mistakes and allow you to determine where you are in a pattern.  If you have looked at my Springtime Loop pattern, I marked in the chart where to put the markers.

Chart

Springtime Loop Chart. Dark lines indicate where the stitch markers are placed. Notice the markers shift on row 11.

Be careful to read the pattern thoroughly and understand the repeats.  Sometime the marker must be removed and slipped a stitch or two at one of the rows. Designers don’t always indicate this and if something seems off, read the pattern and chart, and if you need more help stop by your local yarn shop for quick help or take a lesson.  On the above chart the marker shifts on row 11.

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In this post I have a few versions of markers but, no matter what they look like there are two basic types.  One is a closed circle which is placed in between two stitches on a knitting needle.  It is slipped as the knitting comes to it and the row is complete.  These closed markers will not work for crocheting.

The second type of marker is a split ring or open marker.  These may look like a circle with a small opening or a small safety pin.  These can be used like a closed marker or can be used to mark a stitch, for example, to mark an increase or to mark the right side of the piece. Because they can be removed, these markers are also perfect for crochet when you need to mark a stitch.

Make sure your knitting or crocheting kit of notions has a few of each type of marker so you are well prepared.  I love making stitch markers and below are some I have made with beading supplies (Ok, the picture is not great).  I have to admit I really like the square ones as they stand out more from the knitting.  Why did I start making stitch markers?  Well, I really like them to be fun with sparkly beads….. and they disappear on me….. like the single sock that the washing machine eats, my house eats my stitch markers.

Beaded Stitch Markers I Made

Beaded Stitch Markers I Made

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Junction Creek Spa Resort – $22 a night

Girls’ Campout and Knitting Sessions

After dropping my son off for his backpacking trip I had 4 days to vacation in the Durango before Parent Orientation at Fort Lewis College – (my husband was in NY for business and flew to Durango for Parent Orientation). Since an expensive spa isn’t really in the budget this year (3 kids in college) – I created my own spa experience at Junction Creek Campground. With all the camping I did as a child and an adult, I have never camped on my own.

Junction Creek Spa - Bring Your Own Accommodations - Fresh Air and Views Provided

Junction Creek Spa Campground – Bring Your Own Accommodations – Fresh Air and Views Provided.

To make a comfy place to sleep, I brought the 4-man tent for the girls and I to share. I slept in my outrageously big and comfy sleeping bag and pad that took up a good third of the tent.  (I love my backpacking sleeping bag and pad, but while these are comfortable enough, they don’t meet my “spa” requirements). The girls also had their beds from home which I should have vacuumed (lots of dog hair floated around the car and then the tent).

In addition to the sleeping quarters (tent) I brought a living/dining room (screened room) complete with 6 sided views. Here I set up my knitting/design station with books, yarn, supplies, and my computer. Cell reception was basically non-existent, but I was working on a couple of new patterns so I didn’t need the internet. The spa accommodations came with electricity (to charge my gadgets) for an extra $4 – total price per night $22 and the views were priceless.

View from My Accommodations.  No one in sight.

View from my accommodations. No one in sight; knitting with my feet up.

After setting up the Spa Accommodations, I completed a couple of WIPS:

2014_VKL_Scarf_Web

Weaving in the Ends of My Vogue Knitting Live Scarf – lots of ends.

First on my list – weave in all the ends from the Vogue Knitting Live Scarf that I had just finished knitting. Stripes are great but leave lots of ends. Luckily I don’t mind finishing work, and so I wove in the ends while sitting at my picnic table in my screened room.  Blocking will come later.

Next up – finish a few crocheted fingerless mitten samples and photograph them for the Abuelita’s newsletter.

Make-One-In-An-Evening-with-a-Great-Movie-Mitts

Make-One-In-An-Evening-with-a-Great-Movie-Mitts

These mitts are perfect for beginning crocheters and the free pattern (I love the name) can be found on Ravelry. The designer has more crochet patterns on her blog:  Tina a Pari.  Ulli knit the solid color mitts out of Baah Shasta and I knit the two color ones out of Cascade 220 Superwash. Both yarns are machine washable (on delicate) so are easy to care for if you decide to make gifts. Do check your gauge if you crochet these; the pattern calls for a size F hook which Ulli used and the mitts turned out small. Because of her experience, I used an H hook and the finished size is larger. A skein of yarn will make several pair.

My view looking up

Another View from the Spa.

By 8pm each night the sky was darkening and while I brought yarn into the tent, I didn’t do much knitting after dark.  The girls and I walked/hiked a lot in-between knitting so once it turned dark we were ready to sleep. We drifted off listening to “Divergent” – a good knitting and camping Audible book.

Flowers from a Hike through the Campground

Flowers from a Hike through the Campground.

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Durango Here We Come… did I pack enough knitting?…

Off to the Wild Wild West

Mama is sending her baby out of the nest… This weekend my son headed east to Fort Lewis College in Durango Colorado. Since he is my youngest child I am filled with both sadness and excitement. Sad because no longer will I be involved with the daily life of my children; excited because my husband and I anticipate wonderful times together. The two of us married young and had 8 great years together before the kids came along (ok, we had great times after they came as well). Now we are looking forward to time alone again.  And we have our other babies: Abby and Ginger.

Oh, and no children means more time for KathiS Designs.

Abby Camping in Durango CO

Abby Camping in Durango CO

Here is my checklist from last week:

  • Determine what knitting and designing supplies I want to take. While camping alone (my husband is in NY on business) I plan is to knit and design. I will try to not take too much but I accept that this is impossible – note there is Yarn Durango…. if I need more yarn….
  • Shop with my son at Bed Bath and Beyond for linen and towels as well as the all important water boiler that both girls said was essential for the late night ramen, mac & cheese, noodle soup, etc.  Check out BB&B’s college service.
  • Encourage my son to pack his clothing.  (My hope was he would be packed early – alas no, he was complete about 2:30am).
  • Pack the camping gear – tent, sleeping bag and pad, screened room (to sit and knit without bugs), chair (to sit and knit), lantern, headlamp (for knitting at night), mats for outside the tent, rain gear, and my camp shower bag (hang in the sun all day and there is hot water for a shower at night).
  • Make new dog tags for the girls as the old ones reference our home phone number and I want ones with my cell number for the trip.
  • Complete paperwork for the Durango Pet Resort where the girls will stay while my husband and I do parent orientation “stuff”.
  • Pick up AAA for guidebooks and maps for Colorado and update the auto registration tags for my daughter.
  • Pack clothing for camping, hiking, and parent orientation.  (Don’t take too much as room is needed for knitting supplies…)
  • Check the Pilot’s oil, belts, etc. for the trip.
  • Load the car.
  • Recheck knitting supplies and add a few more projects and books….
  • Misc. other things – too many to list – can you tell I am a list maker.
Ginger in Durango

Ginger in Durango

My goal was to leave by about 3am. It was midnight when I finished what I needed to do (including double and triple checking the knitting supplies) and headed to bed with the alarm set for 2:30am.  My son was still doing laundry.  Surprisingly I was wide awake at 2:30 and my son was face down on the bed…. packed but he still needed to shower. I loaded the car to the top of the roof and made sure my knitting was there (One banker box and three bags…), and we headed out about 4:30am. Overall not bad.

First stop Flagstaff and my daughter (I had her knit blanket ready – photos to come shortly).

Brunch in Flagstaff with 2 of the 3 college students in our family.

Brunch in Flagstaff with 2 of the 3 college students in our family.

The drive to Flagstaff was uneventful and we arrived just in time to meet my daughter for brunch before she had to go to work at P.J. Chilcottage. The store is in a cute complex restaurants and stores – stop by if you are in Flagstaff. Then we were back on the road for the last 5 – 6 hours of driving.

We made it to Cortez, CO by about 7pm and headed into Wendy’s. Because of the girls, we ate in the car with my phone plugged in and the key turned part way. Big mistake – somehow in about 20 minutes we ran the car battery down. AAA came to the rescue. Fortunately it was the battery so my panic served no good purpose – here is a sample of my crazy mind’s conversation was during the hour wait for AAA:

We are an hour from Durango and have to be to Fort Lewis by 9am tomorrow…. Towing 50 some odd miles will cost a fortune…. Where do we tow to…. How will we get to Ft. Lewis if we tow to a dealer…. what will we do tonight…. will we have to sleep in the car… will I have to keep all the boxes in my car for the 4 days of camping if we can’t move into the dorm… what if we don’t make the backpacking deadline…. what if the car can’t be fixed…. what if my son never forgives me for missing the backpacking trip …. what if he never makes friends because he didn’t do the Peak Experience…  what if he drops out of college, gets into drugs, and dies an early death all because of car trouble that surely I could have prevented if I had been better at planning…. and so on….  

Over all it was pretty ridiculous and fairly egotistical to think I can solve all the world’s problems by planning better. A good waste of time that could have been spent knitting.

By 9pm we were back on the road. My original plan was to camp the first night, but after the ordeal we needed a soft bed and indoor plumbing.  A quick call booked reservations and we headed for a hotel that would take dogs. I was asleep by 11pm.

The next morning my son moved his boxes into the dorm at 9am and met the backpacking group at 10am. Wearily I headed to the campground to set up – all I wanted was to sleep and knitting.

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Picking Up and Knitting-On

Finishing My Silk Scarf

Picking Up Loops

Picking Up Loops

Beachy colors, sand and blue, keep popping in my head to remind me of this summer’s trips to San Onofre where I watched my middle daughter surf. My new design and the creamy yarn  remind me of the ripples of waves and of colors bleach from the sun.

I used two different strands of Ito Kinu silk (remember this scarf) for the center section.  The mixture of blue and cream is definitely what I wanted.

The lace for the center section is based on a late 1800’s shawl pattern.  Like most old patterns, the original knitting terms were not the same as those used in current day patterns.  Thus the first step of this project was to figure out and translate the old terms.  Once this was complete, I quickly knit the center section of the scarf.

To make the knitted-on edging easier to pick up, I designed each row of the center section to begin with a yarn-over which creates little loops (see the photo above).  Shetland lace patterns, like Gudrun’s Loren, often use YOs at the edge of a section.  I followed each YO with a k2tog to keep the stitch count even.  After knitting the scarf center panel, the loops and provisional cast-on could have been transferred to a long circular needle, but instead I use an 8 inch double point and only pick up a few stitches at a time.   The picture above shows 6 picked up stitches and 5 edge stitches ready to knit.  Each right side row knits together one edge stitch and one of the loops.  Slowly the edging is knitted-on.

Jared Flood designs knitted-on edgings for many of his shawls/blankets.  I knew I wanted to do a knitted-on edging for my scarf but didn’t want it fussy or frilly.  Finding exactly what I wanted proved to be difficult.  I researched antique edgings (which for the most part these were too wide), searched through Ravelry, and drafted several variations.  I knit samples of at least 4 – 5 different edgings, but didn’t like any of them.  Finally I realized all I wanted was a simple 6 stitch border.  Perfect!

As of today, I have finished 3 sides of the knitted-on edging and have started on the 4th side.  I should finish the scarf when I am on vacation and block it the first week in September.  The pattern and photos will follow shortly.

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Finish Up Spring Knitting…

Spring in Central Park

As I mentioned in a previous post, during August I will complete a few WIPs.  Obviously I was diverted by my Crocheting Adventure (Confession: I am still on the adventure and working on a 3rd Owl Hat).  Before the crochet rabbit hole appeared, I finished my Spring in Central Park shawl by Michelle Miller (Fickleknitter).

Spring in Central Park by Michelle Miller (Fickleknitter)

Spring in Central Park by Michelle Miller (Fickleknitter)

During a Baah Trunk Show at Abuelita’s, I saw the Spring in Central Park shawl knit in pink tones.  I really liked it and it looked fun.  Because I live in Southern California, fingering weight yarns work in our climate – heavier yarns not so much.  I chose a variegated skein named “Peacock” (Poetic Justice…) and then a navy and a blue green to complete the look.  The navy is a bit darker than the dark blue in the Peacock skein – the photo below shows the contrast with the navy.  But it still looks lovely.

3 different Lace Patterns

3 different Lace Patterns

I loved knitting with the Baah yarn; it is soft but holds the lace pattern well.  It blocks beautifully and I think I will enjoy wearing this shawl.  Many of the shawls I knit are fairly small – more like scarves.  This one is substantial but not too big.  Now what to wear with it?

Wrapped around for a different look

Wrapped around for a different look

Observations on the pattern and knitting:

  • The colors glow in this beautiful shawl.  Photos really don’t show how rich the Baah Yarns are.
  • The Baah yarn is fabulous to knit with and I will definitely knit with this again.  Baah is dyed in Southern California so I am not sure how available it is around the country.
  • Stitch markers don’t work with this pattern as the markers would need to shift frequently.  This did slow me down, and because stitch markers help me avoid mistakes, I made more mistakes than normal with this pattern.  La Jolla is very forgiving so I was able to drop stitches down to fix mistakes rather than rip out sections.
  • As is common with some crescent shawls, I definitely had a hump in the middle of the lace.  I aggressively blocked the shawl and for the most part the hump blended in.  In the photos below, you can see how blocking made a big difference.  I still need to fold a bit of the hump down to have the shawl fit around my shoulders, but I can live with it.
Unblocked Lace - notice the hump

Unblocked Lace – notice the hump

 

Shawl being blocked on wires

Shawl being blocked on wires

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