Too Beautiful Outside

I really wanted to stay home and knit all day. It has been a while since I just relaxed and knit. Problem was it was so beautiful out, that I would be a fool to stay indoors. So, my daughter and I went hiking. I live in the Hudson Valley in NY and there are some great hiking trails. The mountain we went up today is called Anthony’s Nose. The view from the top is breathtaking

 

The view from Anthony's Nose

The view from Anthony's Nose

and there are some great rocks to sit on and knit ūüėČ

 

Knitting on Anthony's Nose

Knitting on Anthony's Nose

My Knit Picks magnetic chart holder was indispensable on the windy mountaintop! I love this tool

 

Knit Picks magnetic board 4 thumbs up!

Knit Picks magnetic board 4 thumbs up!

 

 

And here is what my daughter did when we got to the top

 

Rachael texting

Rachael texting

 

 

It was a great day all around, but I am very tired now. I took some great shots of my Luskentyre in the sunlight and some of the Alice Starmore yarns I carried up in my back pack also looked so beautiful in the sunlight I just have to share them here.

 

Luskentyre

Luskentyre

 

Pebble Beach

Pebble Beach

Pebble Beach just glowed!

 

Clover

Clover

Clover is definitely a favorite. Just gorgeous!

 

Spindrift

Spindrift

Spindrift has an understated elegance to it. A perfect backdrop.

 

Limpet

Limpet

The Limpet showed the most dramatic change in the sunlight. This color would be great for any of Alice’s solid color sweaters.

Here is my daughter and I. I told her I wanted to take one of those facebook pictures that I see on her page all the time. Instead I got this “Mom you are so weird” look. Sigh…..

 

Mom, you are so weird. Can't we just keep hiking???

Mom, you are so weird. Can't we just keep hiking???

New Stuff on the Needles

I managed to get some knitting in this weekend. Not as much as I had thought, but a nice amount. I started off by winding all my hanks of yarn from my Luskentyre kit from Virtual Yarns. I was totally loving all the beautiful colors. I thought I would be able to get all the winding done and the swatch, but that was not happening. Took me all night to wind the yarn.

 

Luskentyre Kit

Luskentyre Kit

I am sure everyone that has knit with her yarns will say that pictures don’t do her colors justice. They have a¬†luminescence¬†to them. My favorite colors from this kit are Golden Plover and Machair, but they are all stunning. So here is the picture of the swatch done on US2. Only had to go down one size.

 

Luskentyre Swatch

Luskentyre Swatch

¬†I also managed to get a start on Rachael’s Autumn Rose finally. It is now officially on the needles.¬†

 

Just the beginning

Just the beginning

Not much to look at yet. Just had time to get some of the ribbing done, but at least it is started. Once I get this a good way along, I will start something else.

Ready for the weekend!

 

I finished the gauge swatch for the Duxbury Point Pullover. This sweater is for Marc and will take a long time to make but I think I will really enjoy the pattern. I had originally started the swatch knitting continental and found I was knitting very tight so I switched back to English and it ended up much better. I guess I will have to knit the sweater by throwing. I will cast on for it this weekend. This project is very special. It will be the first sweater I make for my husband and it must be perfect!

Duxbury Swatch

Duxbury Swatch

Duxbury

Duxbury

I also need to cast on Rachael’s Autumn Rose sweater this weekend. I really want to get it moving. This one should be the priority as her birthday comes before Marc’s. I will knit it with the US5’s This is way larger needle size than suggested, but I am using Knit Picks Palette, so it may be due to the different yarn. BTW I love the Palette yarn. Can’t wait to show you some progress on this one.

Alba sweater is still on hold. I am rather forlorn about it. I was really believing I would love the colors. When I get some of my other projects going I will play around with it some more in order to get the right mix of colors. I did get a scan of the original colors that the Rowan pattern used from a friend on Ravelry and that will help when choosing replacement colors if necessary. I may keep the Prussian Blue and just change the Cinnamon and Sandelwood. Hopefully that will do the trick.

I have saved the best for last. I received my package from Virtual Yarns yesterday!!!

 

Luskentyre

Luskentyre

 

Luskentyre

Luskentyre

 

 

 

What gorgeous colors. I can’t wait to knit this sweater up. It will be so much fun. The yarn was very nicely packaged. When I opened it I was so impressed. I can’t wait to swatch it up tonight. This is the first thing I will do when I get home from work! Well maybe I should clean up the house a bit first‚Ķ. Nah!

No More Monkey Business

I am putting the Mr Foster Monkey on hold for a bit. Not to say I won’t work on him at all, but not as fervently. I want to focus on getting my MIL’s cardigan done. It is coming along. I am holding a nice pace on the body now. Because I am worried about running out of yarn, I switched the colors around a little from how they are in the sleeves. I don’t think it will be badly¬†noticeable. As a matter of fact they suggest it in the book as a way to change things up and make it more interesting. I think being it is a fair isle design it will come out nice. ¬†Now that the body of the sweater is going strong I am enjoying this project much more.

I have finished the knitting up of the Baby Kimono sweater and started with the seaming yesterday. The sides came out beautifully, but the underarm seam looked awful! I took it all out and started a thread on Ravelry asking for suggestions for a nicer stitch for seaming these arms. Here is a picture of how it came out the first time.

 

Baby Kimono

Baby Kimono

I have gotten a couple of suggestions. One is a crocheted slip stitch which I may try. Or I will just try the grafting stitch again, but looser. You can see that my tension was not consistent and that may have been the problem. Here is another picture of it after. I will add that this Reynolds Rapture is soooo soft after blocking. Wow. Nice stuff.

 

Baby Kimono

Baby Kimono

And now for some depressing news. It has been nearly a month since I ordered my Jamiesons DK for the Alba Jacket I have been planning and it has not arrived. I spoke to Nina at Camilla Valley Farms where I had ordered it and she is putting a tracer on it. Hopefully it is just stuck in customs and it will arrive. I am hoping and praying it is not lost. If it is I will not be able to afford to replace it and the Alba Jacket will have to wait until next year. I am so disappointed. I should have had her insure it but did not think of it.

On a more happier note, I have sold a collectable book I owned for enough money to buy a sweater kit from Virtual Yarns! I ordered the Luskentyre. It was such a hard choice. I really love the Marina and Rona as well. Maybe someday I will be able to order these. The exchange rate has gone down enough that it is much more affordable to get these kits for VY and I did not want to miss my opportunity. This will not be on the project list for this year, but I will start it as soon as I can!

I have one more thing to share. I purchased a ‘pattern’ yesterday from Big Sky Knitting¬†and I am very impressed. It calls itself a pattern, but it is more like a booklette for top down knitting. It comes in 8 parts and in these parts each step of the construction is¬†meticulously¬†spelled out. These instructions can be used for many patterns if you want to knit them top down. I am going to try using it for Marc’s Duxbury Point Sweater that I will be making for him. I plan on starting this very shortly. The ‘pattern’ is by Janet Szabo and is called The Follow the Leader Aran Knit Along or FLAK. Great stuff and only $8! Worth every penny! You will be hearing more from me about how this works out!

Dreaming about colors

You know you have gotten too obsessed about Fair Isle when you start dreaming about colors. I have been really involved with planning a new project. I saw the Alba Jacket by Alice Starmore in her book The Celtic Collection and fell in love.  Since this time, I have made a lot of choices and have changed my mind just as much!

I tried to take my time and plan it well, but I may have jumped the gun a wee bit. Money is tight, so I was going to wait until after the tax return before starting it, but I really needed to see the yarn colors in person. I had also planned on making it with Spindrift. I had checked other people that had made this sweater and many of them used Spindrift.  Another knitter from Ravelry generously went through her stash and mailed me samples of many of the colors I was interested in, plus quite a few other colors. She also sent me 2 hanks of Jamieson DK. I ordered the rest of the colors from SheEweKnits and planned on just making a swatch for Gauge and to see how the colors turned out in the pattern. 

It wasn’t until after I got the yarn from Marina and knit up this hat for Victoria with it that I decided to use DK to make the sweater. Since I already had most of the colors now in Spindrift I went ahead and ordered 2 more that I need to make a color swatch in Spindrift as well. I have spent about $40 already on yarn I won’t use for the sweater. Not so good, but lesson learned.

 

Victoria hat made with Jamieson DK

Victoria hat made with Jamieson DK

So not only have I changed my mind on the yarn to use, but also the colors. Since getting the Spindrift and looking at it (see previous post) I have changed my mind. Here is an idea of what it may look like. Keep in mind I won’t know really until I get the 2 missing colors and knit up a swatch.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/26691858@N06/3239801977/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/26691858@N06/3240637822/in/photostream/

edited to add: I really did dream about colors last night!

Making plans for 2009

I was listening to the Knit Picks Podcast yesterday and the topic was New Year’s resolutions. I wish I could be as resolute as Kelly Pektun, but I have long since given up on setting resolutions. However, I don’t see why I can’t make some knitting plans. Sounds like a good idea. This way when I finish my next pair of socks and the Fair isle for my MIL, I won’t start scratching my head wondering what to do.

So first thing I must do is sort through my available stash. I am not a big stash hoarder. I simply don’t have the room in my tiny little row house. I do have some yarns leftover from old projects and I have a bunch of Lopi lite that I can’t decide what to do with. I also have a nice selection of sock yarn that can keep me busy making socks for the rest of the year for sure.

Step 2 is to decide what I want to do with all my stashed yarn. I could make hats and I want to try some moebius knitting. I could also make that adorable Alan Dart Gnome that I bought the pattern for. I will make a Zimmermann sweater with my Lopi yarn. My Zimmermann books should be here in the mail any day now. I purchased them with the Knit Picks gift certificate I got from my sis for Christmas.

I also have some cotton yarn I won from the Mason Dixon blog. With this I will make the dress from their book, Mason Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines for Marc’s Goddaughter, Victoria. It will look really cute with some leggings. I think I will make that next. Or maybe even start it right away so she can wear it this year. Looks like a quick knit and ¬†I could give it to her for her birthday.

Step 3 – decide very¬†carefully¬†what big projects I want to work on and invest in. I know one is the sweater that my DD Rachael wants. It is the Autumn Rose pullover and it can be made very economically using Knit Picks Yarn. Trouble is they won’t have the pattern book available until June of this year. That means I would have to knit it over the summer for her Bday in September. Should be doable. I could order the pattern book from CVF but that means big shipping costs.

I also know that I want to make an Alice Starmore design this year. I think my skills are now worthy of her beautiful designs. There is also a beautiful design by her daughter Jade called Firebirds that I would love to knit some day. It will be very difficult to pick the design to make. They are all so beautiful, but at $200 a kit, I must be choosy. This is not something I can afford to do often. This will be a tax return treat.

Lastly, I will allow myself to splurge a little when I go to Rhinebeck this year. Maybe a Philosophers kit? ūüėÄ I love their wool even if it is a little pricey. It is not all dried out. It is soft and I just love it. They will be there and this will also save me shipping so, yes, perhaps a new Philosophers sweater to make in 2010!

So that should do it for 2009. So, over the next couple of days I will make a set plan of exactly what I want to make and in what order. I will post it here once I have made the decisions! This should be fun and I really don’t have to hold myself to anything if I don’t want to.

Colorwork socks

I have been working diligently on my second pair of socks and they are coming along nicely. I find I enjoy knitting socks for a few reasons:

  • They are quick
  • Not a lot of finishing work
  • Stay interesting by changing often

I don’t get bored knitting socks because the heel and gusset break it up and keep it interesting. The only finishing work is grafting the toe, which I think is easy. ¬†I also love to knit with lots of colors.¬†

This pair is a learning experience as far as knitting with 2 colors at a time. I knit the leg part of the sock the way I do my fair isle sweaters which is weaving through every other stitch. The problem doing this on the sock is it makes it very tight and not enough stretch to get the sock on easily. For the foot part I have started knitting inside out and now I am carrying the yarn instead of weaving it. This should enable a little more give when I try to get the sock on. I sure hope when this is done I will be able to get this sock on my foot!

Here it is inside out:

 

The sock inside out

The sock inside out

and turned right side out:

 

Right side out

Right side out

 

I picked up the Barbara Walker book from the library. It is the 2nd of her knitting pattern series called A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns. Wow, there are a lot of patterns in this book! I don’t think I would ever purchase any of her books. I don’t need this many patterns. This book is for the designers out there who love to design their own patterns. Maybe I will design my own sweater some day, but if that day comes I would just borrow it again from the library. I think I will cancel the holds on the other books. My curiosity is satisfied.

In the Barbara Walker book there are other helpful articles including one on changing a pattern to knit in the round which I found interesting and helpful. Her introduction was nice reading too, but I will save my $30 for other things. Like the designer I just discovered, Alice Starmore!

What beautiful designs! I am in love with them and I can’t wait to get my hands on some of her books. I have ordered some via the library and I put the ones that are still available for purchase in my Amazon wish list. Maybe when I get my tax return I will allow myself this little treat. A lot of her work is out of print, but you can still get them if you order yarn from her store. It is a little pricy and then the exchange rate makes it even more expensive. One day I am going to order one of her kits. I must have one, but I will have to take my time choosing. This will be a tough decision!

Not only are her patterns works of art, but the colors she has created for her yarns are just breathtaking. She has 4 colorways named after different aspects of nature. I love all the colors and the way they go together. Amazing. The stories that are behind the colors are so interesting. You must go read about them on her site! The colorways are named Moor and Mountain, Sea and Shoreline, Birds, and Summer Isle. The colors she has are all taken from her natural surroundings in¬†Hebridean island where she was born and still lives. She takes you there with her stories. It makes me want to make a sweater with her yarns so I can wear a piece of that beautiful island’s beauty. Go see for yourself!