Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Katharine Hepburn Cardigan - DONE!

Kathrine Hepburn Cardigan from the book "Lace Style".
34 C and harsh light. I could hardly breath with the humidity.

Isn't red hard to photograph?

There's not really shaping going on, it just came out that way. This pic was taken outside with the evening sun, it's a soft red color which I quite like.

Please excuse the picture heavy post!

This picture was taken indoors with poor light without flash, and was auto enhanced afterwards. I included it here, because I like the orangy color, which is not at all accurate, but you can see that yourself.

Did you hear it rumble? That was a load of stones tumbling off my back. It took me a month to knit this cardigan, from start to finish. And the best part, I was on time for Hannah's Birthday! Since she's not here, I'll take a picture of her and the cardi when she eventually gets home and agrees to a photo shoot. Anyway, I'm so so so glad it's finally over, I can't describe it. I will NEVER knit this particular order of knit, purl, YO's etc ever again. It makes me feel sick somehow, and please don't mention the "cable" word to me throughout the next few month, thanks!
Don't get me wrong. This pattern is written very well, until you get to the button hole band. For some reason you've got to figure out yourself where to put them, everything else is written down, so any donkey can follow the instructions. Since I'm not a donkey I made a major mistake. I managed to knit the back alright, but as I was starting the second sleeve I realized, that the cable on both front pieces should point in the opposite directions, but mine where pointing in the same direction. There was no way that I would rip out an entire front piece, not even if my life depended on it, no way. I did it right on the sleeves.

I knit the same size as the long version model from the book, as it turns out, with the Louet Gems yarn they used for it, and still, it said I would need 7 skeins of the yarn, and I needed 5 skeins, with 10g left over! I've got 2 skeins left over = 450yds! How can they be so off??? I measured and my cardi is the correct size and length. There's a mystery right there!

(left over yarn and the buttons I didn't use for the cardi, there are two with a moose on them)

I spent Monday knitting the button band, button hole band and neck band. It took me quite some time to sew it all together, but as the pattern was so well written, the cables and the lace parts came together nicely, which makes me kind of proud, that it worked out that well. I was sure I would screw up the sewing part. The most pleasure was button shopping. In the book they used some red plastic buttons, they are so boring, you don't remember them at all. I quite like the ones I found. Even if the cardigan is not so much retro now, as more like a folk sweater, I don't care. I hope Hannah likes them too, since she's the one wearing it. But I asked her, if she would like plastic or metal or wooden buttons before I went to search for the right ones. At the store I never can decide which ones to take, so I always narrow it down to at least two kinds and take them with me. Of course the ones with the dogs on them appealed to me, but would not especially appeal to Hannah I'm sure. So they will be for another project way in the future. There was only one change I made to this cardigan and that is, I've made only nine button holes instead of eleven, but I think nine is enough.

As I write this the cardigan is blocking and drying. It had a good soak in "Soak" and smells heavenly. The yarn did bleed just a tiny bit. The blocking is more like pulling into shape, nothing more, but it really needed a bath. It's a pleasure to see how the yarn relaxes.

People, what can I say, one sigh escapes after another, I'm so terrible glad this is over. I have no clue why this is so hard for me. I'm proud, and ashamed at the same time, that I was such a whiny baby throughout. I knew I would do it eventually. I was tempted to start other things in between, just so it would make me feel better, but I think knitting the socks for my mom gave me the needed ease to go on with it. And all this for a cardigan! Ridiculous, no?

Anyway, as a gift to myself, I've signed up for Sockamania Club Knitalong hosted by Annie. As of July 1st I'm lifting the unofficial sock knitting ban I put upon myself. It's time to have some fun! ;o) It will be hard for me to follow instructions for a sock written by somebody else, but I'm determined to do so. Annie promised to send an invitation some time this week. I can hardly wait!

Sam is dozing in the morning sun, which was very strong today. No worries, we are not out in the blazing sun, we rather hide in the A/C cooled house. Several short trips into the back yard and pool to cool down, of course that's just for us and Biko. Sam still doesn't go near it. The SHE dog never gets enough of the water .... ;o) By the way, we were cut off of running water from 2Pm to 6 PM without warning! Boy that sucks! (construction work down the road)

Oh, I almost forgot! My puppies have been bad puppies! Yeah, they look innocent but they are thieves I tell you! A few days ago, we got home from grocery shopping, tired and hot and we dumped the bags on the kitchen floor to, how shall I put it delicately, go use the bathroom. When I came back, Biko was chewing on something rather intently, I grabbed it out of her mouth, while she hurried to get as much of it as possible. I was stunned. She's got a liverwurst out of one of the bags. You know the kind, which is wrapped in plastic and closed with metal clips on both ends? Maybe you don't know, anyway, I was mad (they were meant for my son's lunches). Suddenly I thought that it was funny that Sam's not there with her, sharing her loot. Of course I found him in the next room with the second, albeit with a different kind of liverwurst (with herbs), chewing away (he had more time than her). I yelled at him, which made him let it fall out of his mouth in surprise, and looking at me with guilt written all over his face (by then I almost laughed). Well, the funny part was soon over, as I realized the ends with the metal pieces where missing. To make a long story short, I was worried how and what way this would come out. Biko barfed it up the next morning, but Sam's part I never saw again. I hope he's alright, but since it's been a few days, I think he is. Now, who of the two came up with the idea of stealing? And who was the follower. How did they decide who gets what? And why the liverwurst, since there was a big Salami there as well! ;o)

Back to knitting: For a moment I thought, I'm free, free to do whatever I want! I took out Theresa's La Dentelle Belle lace scarf pattern and was on my way to my stash, when it hit me. I don't think I'll cast on for something big right now, or small. Have you seen all the ripple crochet blankets making the rounds? I can't believe it myself, but my fingers are itching to start one, yes me! I wont, however. I'd like to finish Hannah's magic mosaic squares first before I start another blanket, but I have at least four in my head. ;o) I might get it done in time for her, to taking it with her when University starts, or at the latest for Christmas. Don't laugh. I might only have 8 squares to knit, but there's ends to be woven in and I'm knitting a border as well.

I think I need a vacation from the Internet to calm myself. There's so much going on and I'm never satisfied with what I do at the moment, just because I see so many beautiful things and want to do them as well, or similar things. I'm sure you know what I mean. And there's lots of roving waiting to be spun, that's just the icing of the cake, pure pleasure. I use it as a treat for myself, to finish tasks and projects and other things in my life and when I've been good I treat myself to a round of spinning. ;o)

Not that I actually can stay away from the Internet - impossible!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Wet and dry dyed roving!

As I said in my previous post, wet roving looks pitiful. The first time I saw it, I thought I've ruined it. Here are my latest and final two, hung out to dry.

On the right you can see the green and blue roving, with the truest color I could get. My camera didn't see what I saw, but this came close.

I love the green one. It's soft colors, nothing like the picture on the left. I'm looking forward to spin it.
Both colors combined are 8oz of Corriedale roving.

The blue is lovely too. The phrase "first come first serve" came to mind. I pushed the white roving into the pot, but not quite all the way. I wanted to see how the rest would be soaked slowly into the colored water. At first you could see the progress, but after a while nothing happened, so I pushed the rest under, but by that time, the water was almost clear. That's why the color is so uneven, but that's O.K. I could have added some more color, but I like experimenting.

I stopped dyeing, even though the weather is just perfect for it. Dry in a jiffy. I didn't get to spin this weekend at all. And I've got so many colorful roving to work with, I'm burning to sit down and spin. But, I've got some BFL in natural color in the works, and until this is done, I can't start something else.
Anyway, the KH Cardigan got my full attention and I've knit all five pieces! Yeah! Now for the finishing act! I've got to get some buttons as well. I can't wait to put this cardigan behind me.

We had a nest of wild bunnies in one of our flower beds. This morning, I found a drowned baby bunny in our pool. I still feel so bad about this. I think there were only two bunnies in the nest, at least I only saw two. I hope the other one will be alright.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

I've got a lot to show you!

Summer is here! Lets celebrate!

Yesterday was the perfect day for me. Home alone, dogs by my feet, no cleaning or other stuff to do, but a visit to the library (the post office as well, I was late sending off the books). Anyway, the temperatures were exactly as I like them, with a little stir in the air. Heaven! The doggies tired at my feet, as I was sitting on the balcony, knitting and now and again, looking at the wet ugly roving hanging off the laundry stand. I had some fresh brewed tea and the phone within reach, with knitting in my hands. Does that sound like a vacation day to you? Well it is for me. And ... Let me tell you that wet roving looks nothing like dry roving! At first I thought I've ruined it, but after a day in the sun, plus a steady breeze the roving buffed up and surprised the hell out of me! Both are Corriedale, 4 oz each. The one on top was actually the second one I dyed. I put black and fire red with a dash of yellow in the pot and stirred. In came the (not pre-soaked) roving, gently pushed under. I don't know if you can see that there are some really dark, black places and some lighter ones. I ADORE almost solid colors. This will be a joy to spin. The color is nothing I would choose if I'm on the lookout to buy painted roving, but since I'm dabbling, it's O.K. I'm thinking this might be a pair of socks, with black heels and toes some day.

Below was my first try, but I put the roving in first and sprinkled some color on. Let's say the outcome is exactly as I wanted (but I'm lying). ;o) This will be interesting to spin. Can't wait to see how this turns out. Since my fear, that I had screwed this up, was not confirmed, I will continue to cook up some other colors. I've still got some white roving, possible Corriedale as well in my box. It's also the perfect weather for dyeing.

Isn't my "Golden Rod" BFL single lovely? I'm loving it of course, such nice colors. It's waiting for it's mate, so they can entangle tightly to become gorgeous yarn. It's a full bobbin with over 3oz. I've got big plans for it! ;o)

# 31-40


# 32-40
I like both of these squares. And the best part? Only 8 more to go! Yeah!

And now, I do apologize for being such a baby and getting all whiny about this cardigan. After finishing up the squares for this week, I decided to suck it up and be a grown up. The left front was already at the armhole, so I finished that too. Now there are 2 sleeves left. They are 3/4 sleeves, that's good news. I will finish this as soon as possible, so I can enjoy knitting again. The stitch pattern is already imprinted on my brain. I can do it in my sleep, but I hope not. Although that would be kind of nice, waking up one morning to find it done. ;o) The third skein of the Louet yarn was flawless, no knots or weird parts whatsoever.

edited: I've updated the Readers Gallery. New Sakura shawl to be seen!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Random act of kindness!

Many people who travel around blogland, keeping up blogs on their own or maybe just reading them, repeat again and again how wonderful the knitting community in blogland is, and I agree. I've read the question, why do you believe it is so, as well and read the answers to it as well. There are many stories, and today I'll add one.
I've been reading Sophia's blog Yarn over Manhattan for quite some time now. Sophia is not shy about leaving a comment here either. Imagine my surprise as she told me she would like to send me some roving, just out of the blue, for no reason at all!
I'm a fibre addict and of course I could not say no, but thank you from my heart. Even though she's got bitten by the spinning bug herself, she could part with it. ;o) Thank you, Sophia!

Yesterday, I was feeling kind of crappy, and I'm sure it's the cardigans fault. I've not been knitting, but spinning this week. I got started on the squares, but did not touch the cardi. I know, once I'm done with it I feel free again, and ready to do anything. It's so depressing, because I don't want to work on it, but I must. I know I said no more fun projects until it's done, but it's my rule and I can break it anytime, if I want to. That's reassuring, but I know me very well, and I will not be happy until it's done. Big sigh!

I've spun up a little over 3 oz of the Golden Rod colored roving, it's a full bobbin. Now I'm working on the second bobbin so I can ply it. That makes me happy!
I dyed some roving today. I think I should leave that to professionals. I used the pot on the stove method for the first time. I'm not sure it worked. The first one came out totally as a surprise, sorry no pictures, it's so ugly. The second one was a little better, but the color is not what I expected. I know, without pictures it's no fun. I'll take pics once the whole mess is dry. I hope I didn't felt it.
More soon, and hopefully some knitting to show as well. Bye for now!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

I'm feeling a lot better now!

Lacy Zig Zag socks with mini sock.

Close up - can you see how this yarn shines? I don't know if it's the bamboo or the nylon in the yarn. (you can click on the pic to see it better)

I knit the lace pattern only on the front needles. Because it's so stretchy I decided to do ribbing in the back to hold it up better.

I'm never bitching about yardage again. You can totally knit a pair of socks with two balls 170yds each and have some leftovers as well, even in bigger sizes. These socks are women size 10 and I had 8g leftover (each ball). The legs including cuffs are 7" long. I could have used it all up, but I didn't want to. I made them toe-up to be on the safe side. I was prepared to make ankle socks, even though I don't especially like them. It was so much fun to knit socks again!

I found the stitch pattern (Lace Zig Zag) in my 365 Knitting Stitch calendar (it's November 1st). I've wanted to try it out for ages. A very easy and fast pattern, easy to remember. Since Panda Wool is 46% Bamboo, 43% Wool, and 11% Nylon, it's quite lovely to wear, I think you can even wear it now, if you have cold feet (for whatever reason). I cast on 60 sts and increased on the leg towards the cuff to 64 sts, on 2.25mm 5 DP needles. These socks are a gift for someone very dear to me.

And because I've seen them on so many blogs from Germany ( they seem to be very popular over there), I had to make one myself. I'm talking about the tiny sock of course. I think it's very cute and will be making myself one or two. I've tried on the socks before I washed them. They are VERY stretchy and squooshy. I should have used 2mm needles, don't know why I didn't. Maybe because I've only got metal DP in 2mm size.

This is a Canadian Quarter, by the way. I've used the Jojo-heel here as well. I quite enjoyed knitting this tiny one.

Just finished the heel here. Cute little pump.

Ready to go to it's new owner.

Biko is watching out the front window, and nothings going on, otherwise she would tell me all about it.
After finishing the socks, I even had time to spin for an hour. After two days of NOT having time to spin, my fingers were itching to hold some roving.

I did glance at the left front of the cardigan, and decided - not today. Tomorrow..... No further distractions. No more fun projects until it's done. That should get me motivated!

Oh, by the way, I've been tagged by Michele. So sorry, but I'm really stubborn about certain things, so I will not play. You can go and read her meme. She's got a lovely blog with a lot of wonderful knits to look at, and she's got free sock patterns as well!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

"Flower Basket Shawl"

This is a 457yds hand spun lace weight 100% corriedale wool center pull ball. (just in case you've forgotten since the last post ;o)

Finished Flower Basket "shawl", kerchief more like it, in full afternoon sunshine.

It's tiny. I could have made it bigger, but for some reason I couldn't estimate how much another repeat or two would take. I'd rather be on the safe side, I thought. It's another easy, fast, and wonderful pattern by Evelyn A. Clark.

Once more, in the shade.

Can you see the flower baskets?

specifics: Flower Basket Shawl by Evelyn A. Clark, Interweave Knits magazine Fall 2004
yarn: my own handspun, used 312yds

color: peacock, the roving was hand painted by Amy, Spunky Eclectic

needle: addi turbo lace circs 4mm

blocked size: 38" wide, 23" deep

I may never want to knit with commercial yarn again. But I'll have to. Seriously, it's a totally different feeling, knowing you spun it yourself. Even with all its imperfections you love it. I can't stop looking at it.

The cardy is still in time out. I've cast on a pair of socks! Now I know that this is a serious addiction, because my hands were shaking slightly when I did the magic cast on. But - this is kind of an emergency knit with a deadline. They will be a gift and have to be on their way the coming Monday. I'm using Panda Wool sock yarn, and because I'm so bad in estimating, I'm doing them toe up. It's been a while, but it's like riding a bike, once you know how, you don't forget.

I didn't get to spin today, which makes me a little sad. Would you like to see what I have on my wheel right now? O.K. if you twist my arm, I'll show you:

This is BFL hand painted by Amy. I love her stuff, there's more on the way. You know how I love orange. Now you understand why I'm sad I didn't spin today? Tomorrow morning then...

And the winners are .....



If you would like to have your copy of the book please send me an e-mail with your address. If not, please let me know, so that I can pull out another name. Thanks!

I did not get the magazine, but I did get the information I needed. So, all is good!

Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

What to do on hot, sunny days?

# 29 of 40

# 30 of 40

So, it's the middle of the week already! Can't believe it! Monday and Tuesday, like a good girl, I knit my two squares a week. It was hard, believe me. After that I must tell you, I feel quite naughty right now. It's like having some homework (cardigan) to do, but playing instead. Oh, yeah! I HAD to cast on for my hand spun shawl. It will be the Flower Basket Shawl by Evelyn Clark when it's all grown up. Lace in progress is not very pretty. The yarn? Ahem, VERY uneven. It didn't look like it but there are thick and thin parts all over. Sigh, got a lot to practice to get that more even. But tell you what, I still LOVE knitting with my own yarn. It's the "only mothers can love it" thing. As it's getting bigger I can see more of the color and I like it so far. I didn't get as much done as I would have liked, but today I will knit only on the shawl.

I started spinning another 4 oz of BFL this time. It's from Amy Spunky Eclectic as well, still from my first purchase. The color is golden rod, but I forgot to take a picture. Next time. The BFL is a little more slippery (if you can describe wool as slippery) as the corriedale. Never spun anything else but wool so far, so I notice the difference between wool roving. Can't imagine how silk will spin up. I'm not going there yet. I don't think I have a project in mind yet, but first comes the yarn, than the project. I'm taking it slow, spinning every day a little and enjoying every second of it.

I won a contest over at the Walker Treasury Project (best picture taken of a swatch), don't laugh! I've got 5 balls of Rowan wool cotton, which is very soft. Have never used it, but I think this might be a scarf someday. With it came those lovely Brittany Birch knitting needles, boy they are long but beautiful. Karen put also this "Loopy's Red Sock Kit" in the box, to knit tiny socks meant for holiday ornaments, or as "gift bag" for presenting gift cards or money (says so on the instruction). It's a neat idea. And there were yarn samples, two of which are silk, and the third one's merino I think (forgot and am too lazy to get up and go check). Anyway, thank you Karen, that was very generous of you!

edited: Here's my picture of the Waves & Shield swatch from Barbara Walkers Knitting Treasure ( I think it's in the blue one, please don't make me get up and look it up)

And here's a friendly face. Sam's shadow hopping again. Normally he would carry the ball in his mouth, but for a nice picture (and he thought I would throw it for him) he put it in front of me.

Sam's not the only one throwing balls in front of me. Biko's fixing her stare on a tennis ball. It was over 30 Celsius yesterday, she gets to go to swim in the pool, but Sam's keeping his cool in all the shadowy places he can find.

I didn't get to do the book contest. I will announce the winners this week though!

Keep cool!

Monday, June 11, 2007

We've got - yarn!

Corriedale: Ram (left) and Ewe with Lambs (right) photos by Graham Meadows Photography

I wanted to thank the Corriedale family for their contribution (made in fiber) to my finished hand spun yarn. You have the best fiber for beginning spinner like I am! Keep up growing those fine locks!

4 oz of hand painted roving by Amy Spunky Eclectic

two bobbins full with single spun yarn

So, what happened here is the following: I thought I had separated the roving into equal halves, but that was not so. As you can see in the above picture, one singles bobbin has more on it than the other. As I was plying, I crammed it on the bobbin until I ran out of singles on one of the bobbins. The other one still had some left (quite a bit). I made a center pull ball, weight that (19g) and made another center pull ball from that until I had about two equal balls (wrong again). With all the winding the single yarn lost a lot of twist. I then plied it on the (right above) bobbin, and once again had some single yarn left. On the right bobbin we have ~ 73 yds and on the left bobbin are ~ 457yds. Generously speaking, since I recorded the lower numbers, we've got ~ 530yds!!!! My all time best so far. Isn't that something?
WPI: 20 - that's lace weight, just had a look at a chart ;o), (wouldn't believe it otherwise)

Altogether now: yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah .....

One things for sure. Making yarn is NOT something you can do fast. I've spun the singles in about 2 weeks. Getting better every day, and I can sit longer now, without getting cramps in various places. Plying took forever! But there was no tangled mess. It went smooth. I think I've got "balanced yarn" here! Wow!

At first I wanted to make Teresa's wonderful La Dentelle belle scarf (still on top of my to do list), but when I saw how much yardage I've got, I was thinking maybe a small shawl after all? The obvious choice would be the Shetland Triangle shawl or the Swallowtail shawl, but I'm still looking for something else. I made those already, and even though I love them, repeats are not as much fun as something new.
I might throw my principals over board and put the cardigan in a corner for some time out, and start knitting a shawl (if I could decide which one).