Let the past sleep, but let it sleep in the sweet embrace of Christ, and let us go on into the invincible future with Him. (Oswalt Chambers)

Monday, January 31, 2005

Knitting Log for January 31

Feedback From Previous Post
Imagine my surprise to find a comment from Lorna Miser on my previous post.

It's obvious that she's a gentle lady with a great sense of humor as well as being a talented yarn and knitting designer. If you didn't see her comment, be sure to check it out.

Lorna's sweater design in Cast On is classic and well done. It incorporates a basketweave stitch pattern that's one of my favorites. I might very well knit it next fall when I'm looking for something to knit in bulky weight yarn to keep me warm in the winter time.

It will be knit in wool or wool blend, maybe even Lorna's Laces Shepherd Bulky.

Even though Lorna doesn't own Lorna's Laces anymore, it still carries her name and some of my favorite sock yarns have been her creations.

Here are links to two pair of socks knit in 2004 with Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock:
New Six Sox Pattern Due Tomorrow
Susan, list mom for the Six Sock Knitalong, has been teasing us with hints about what it's going to be. We know it requires three to six different colors of yarn. I saw a hint indicating it's going to be something new for me technically.

The Six Sock Knitalong list has over 1,100 members, yet only 78 have posted a finished picture for their December/January beaded sock. Two months is plenty of time to knit a pair of socks, even for a slow knitter, so there must be other reasons for the non-participation.

I'm guessing the reasons are varied. Some members did not want to do the beads. Some members were afraid the beads were beyond their skill level. Some members don't have a way to post digital pictures. Some members are only there to get the free patterns and never planned to do the knitalong. Still, I never would have guessed less than 10% of the group finishing their socks.

It's a very common occurrence for a knitter to have way more projects in the queue than they have time to knit. I know I constantly struggle with keeping my knitting plans reasonable.

On The Needles Now
The Lavold Sweater scheduled for February knitting has been given a head start. Both the front and the back have been cast on and the ribbing completed. The front has twelve rows of basketweave/lace completed.

The Elements Lace Socks are both at the start of the heel. There won't be another picture until they're done, hopefully by the end of the week.

There are at least four different pairs of original pattern socks I want to do next, plus Mom wants some pink Old Shale Two Yarn Socks, plus John needs a pair of birthday socks for March, plus there's the Six Sox for February/March.

A perfect example of the struggle to keep knitting plans reasonable, relaxing, and fun. Like all good things, it's so easy to over do it.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Shocking Content in Cast On Magazine

Spring 2005 Cast On MagazineLast week the Spring 2005 Cast On arrived. Many of the sweaters are belly-showing short and boob-outlining tight. Not for the sagging over-sixty crowd to which I belong now.

There are a few designs shown on older people. They are also short, but do cover the skin - at least until the wearer raises her arms.

The most shocking thing in the entire magazine is a conservative man's sweater designed by Lorna Miser and knit in Lion Brand HOMESPUN.

For those who don't know, HOMESPUN is 100% cheap synthetic crap yarn that has the reputation for looking awful after one washing. And Lorna Miser formerly owned Lorna's Laces, a yarn company known for luscious hand dyed natural yarns.

How did this happen? Do you suppose Lorna actually knit up that design in HOMESPUN herself? Without barfing?

Maybe this a different Lorna? Please somebody tell me it's a different Lorna.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Pie, Socks, and UNI-Solids

Piece of Mom's apple pie and cup of coffeeBirthday Pie
Yesterday the sun came out. It was only for show, not to warm things up.

It did mean that it wasn't snowing or freezing drizzling and I could drive to Mom's without sliding off the road.

She baked the birthday apple pie and made coffee. I picked up two Spicy Chicken Sandwiches from Wendy's for the main course, and we had a wonderful lunch together.

Then, because it was my birthday pie, I got to bring the rest of it home to share with Bob. It didn't last the day. Yum. Thanks Mom.

I'm glad we didn't have the pie until I was done pouting about my birthday. It deserved to be eaten with a happy spirit.

Cuffs of Rainbow Ripple socks in Opal Elements 1070Socks
My current pair of on-the-needle socks is an interesting horizontal lace pattern knit with Opal Elements 1070.

The lace pattern is a variation on Old Shale/Feather and Fan. Very pretty with the stripped yarn.

I'm still a little apprehensive about the fit, so I'm trying them on often. They're snug so I'm planning to knit the cuff about six inches instead of my usual seven or eight. It does appear they are going to stay up.

Where to Buy Opal UNI-Solid
Numerous knitters mentioned they haven't been able to find the Opal UNI-Solid yarn.

My favorite on-line Opal yarn store is Fiber Nooks and Crannys . I highly recommend a visit if you want some UNI-Solid .

They are always quick to get the new Opal collections up online. On a few occasions I've even found the new stuff on their website before it was announced to the Opal Chatters List.

They're also quick to ship. Even though they're in Oregon and I'm in Michigan, I get my yarn in three days.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

No Pie for A Knitter of Ugly Socks

Modern Romance socks knit with Crocodile IIUgly Socks
Joanne asked to see the ugly socks so you all have to look. Here they are.

They're on some cardboard sock blockers I made before I got the nice sock blockers I use for pictures now. That doesn't help them look any better.

Neither does the lily.

I do want to repeat that I am completely responsible for these socks being ugly. The Modern Romance pattern is very nice and the red Crocodile II yarn is colorful and pretty. It was my mistake in combining the two that caused this mess.

No Apple Pie
I'm supposed to be eating wonderful home baked apple pie at Mom's right now.

The apple pie is a birthday present that only Mom can give. She makes fantastic, old fashioned, labor intensive apple pies with a crust to die for.

My morning plan was to drive to Kalamazoo (about 20 miles), get a haircut, pick up some fast food sandwiches to take to Mom's for lunch.

Mom was going to stick the apple pie in the oven about 11:30 and we were going to eat it freshly baked.

The weather man had been predicting freezing drizzle for the past several days. We were about ready to write it off as a bad forecast when it started at 9 am this morning, putting a nice coat of ice on everything including the roads and the existing snow.

One of the advantages of old lady hood is that I now feel no compunction to be out driving around on icy roads. I rescheduled my haircut for next week and sat down to knit on my latest pair of socks for a while.

The drizzle turned to snow and the temperature started plunging. It's supposed to be around zero F by this evening.

Great weather to stay home and knit. But I have plans to go to a lecture on fens with a friend, so I need to start chipping that ice off my car now. I don't think the sun is going to melt it.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Sweet Valentine Socks Completed

Opal UNI-Solid Sweet Valentine socks completedThey were knit from Opal UNI-Solid #11 using the February pattern in the Sock Journal.

The pattern is well designed to be beautiful and fit well. It's one of the few times I've followed a pattern without making any changes.

I've learned that there needs to be some type of ribbing integrated with a lace pattern for lace socks to stay up and be pretty.

When there is ribbing, the ribbing absorbs the difference in leg circumference and the lace looks even. I've made lace socks without integrated ribbing where the stretched upper cuff lace looks completely different than the ankle area lace.

I've also learned the yarn needs to be monotone or very close to monotone to show off a lace pattern.

A few years ago I knit Modern Romance, the February lace sock in the Sock Calendar, out of red Opal Crocodile II. The lace doesn't show because of the Crocodile and the Crocodile doesn't look pretty because of the lace.

After a lot of work - I even carried the lace pattern down the instep - I ended up with one of the ugliest pair of socks I own. Even though they are knit from a lovely lace pattern with lovely yarn, lovely plus lovely resulted in yuck.

If anyone wants to see them, I can dig out a picture. Let me know.

Sunny sitting in the rocking chair waiting to see what we're going to knit nextHere's Sunny sitting in my kitchen knitting chair.

"What are we going to knit next, Mom?"

If she could read this post, she would be surprised to learn that we're going to be using a patterned yarn to knit a pair of lace socks with no integrated ribbing.

Some rules are made to be broken. Picture soon.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Barbara's Old Shale Two Yarn Socks

Barbara's Old Shale Two Yarn SocksThis pretty pair of Old Shale Two Yarn Socks was knit by Barbara. She learned of the pattern on the Socknitter's List and said she found it a joy to knit.

Barbara describes herself as a fairly new knitter, but that's hard to believe looking at Tostetoes, her photo album. She crochets, too. Check out her other projects.

I love seeing what other sock knitters have done with my pattern. If you've knit a pair of Old Shale Two Yarn Socks, please share a picture with me. I won't post it on Stitches of Violet unless you give permission.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Snowy Saturday

The start of the Lavold sweater named Garnet

How many knitters read yesterday's post and knew that I was never going to wait until February to start the Lavold sweater?

Well, you were right. Last night I cast on the front, finished the ribbing, and worked twelve rows of the pattern.

The Lavold Silky Tweed splits easily. It's like knitting with very loosely joined strands of sewing thread. I have to be careful to catch each thread with the needle, which means constantly looking at my knitting.

It's not too awful to deal with, but I don't think I'll ever use Lavold Silky Tweed again once this sweater is complete.

Since I'm not following the pattern instructions to knit the lower six inches of the sweater (the hips) six inches narrower than the bust, I'm going to need more yarn.

My car under lots of snow

This is the reason I didn't go back to the yarn store today. Obviously some shoveling is going to be required before my car leaves the driveway.

The worst part isn't in the picture. The snowplow went by and piled up a heavy bank of snow at the end of the driveway.

The two snow pictures were taken this morning. It snowed and blew all day making it much too nasty to be outdoors working, so we weren't. A lovely benefit of being retired. No hurry to get out the driveway.

Pappy cutting a path through the snowIt was fun to take the dogs outside today. Pappy and Glory love to romp in the snow.

I didn't need to be a kill joy and call them in before they were ready. After ten minutes of running through the snow, they beat me to the door.

While they were sleeping off their snowy exercise, I was knitting on the Sweet Valentine Socks. They should be done sometime tomorrow.

If I get offline and go knit, they might be done yet tonight.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Knitting Log for January 21

Box of vests, socks, and toys for CICCIC Vests are done, washed, and mailed.

Inspired by the threat of a foot of snow headed our way, I got them to the post office this afternoon while most of the roads were clear and I could still get out of the driveway.

The box is big because it also contains six handknit vests and 11 small toys from my friend Sherry.

Sweet Valentine Socks are very close to done. I'm past the gusset decreases and headed for the toe on both socks. I'll post a picture when they're finished.

Lavold Sweater had a false start this evening.

Without thinking, I decided to start knitting in the round instead of having side seams. I cast on, joined, knit three rounds and only then did I bother to think about what I was doing.

The basketweave pattern was going to look mismatched at the start of the round. I quickly pulled the needle out, rewound the yarn, and pretended it never happened.

The sweater is a February project. Would I cast it on before finishing my January projects? Certainly not!

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

CIC Vest Challenge Update - Week 3

For this week's January 2005 CIC Vest Challenge update there were 67 mailed vests to report to the CIC_Knit List.

That doesn't sound like many if you think of the thousands of orphans in Eastern Europe. I prefer to think of it as 67 kids that are going to be warmer. Looking at it from that point of view makes every single vest important.

Most knitters are throwing their vests in a pile to be mailed at the end of the challenge, so I'm expecting many more vests to be sent in during the next two weeks. We're not a very chatty list, so I can't guess how many vests there are going to be.

There are ten vests in my house to mail in on Friday. My friend Sherry knit six and I knit four.
Two CIC vests knit from Lopi

This picture is the last two of my four. Number one is here. Number two is here.

These two are also Lopi.

The vest on the left is knit all in one color with cables and moss stitch on the front and back. Or is that seed stitch? I can never keep them straight. I think this is a classy looking little vest. If I knit up another one like this I'll record the pattern.

The vest on the right is an obvious attempt to use up leftover yarn. It was also an armhole experiment that turned out OK. I think the ribbed armband looks nicer than the garter edge when there are stripes in the upper half. And it's a good opportunity to use up short yarn lengths.

I pronounce my CIC knitting done for January.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

This Cold is Too Cold

Ice on the storm door This morning I woke up about 7 am, fixed a cup of coffee, and took it back to bed to sip it while snuggling between the cozy flannel sheets.

It was four degrees below zero (-20 C) outdoors, and I was in no hurry to take the dogs out for their morning walk.

The dogs still had unpleasant memories of their last trip outside the previous night. They were in no hurry to go outside again, either.

Sunny on the flannel sheets Sunny is pad trained. She prefers to go outdoors unless it's raining hard or the snow is too deep or the temperature is too cold. Like this morning.

When I threw back the comforter to get up for our morning walk, she jumped into my warm spot and informed me that she was staying in.

Normally when she does this I bring her leash into the bedroom, hook it on her, and tell her she's going out with the rest of the dogs.

This morning I let her stay in. She used the pad.

It was good that Sunny wasn't with us. We only got a short way across the creek and down the path when Pappy decided his feet were frozen and he couldn't walk.

Fortunately his business was complete so I scooped him up and carried him back to the house. One of the few times he's ever appreciated being picked up when outdoors.

Glory next to the radiatorGlory, our big old lab mix, ran ahead and beat us to the door.

Let me in! Let me in! I want to go lie next to the radiator and warm up.

Ah. That's better.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Time Flies

Cardinal nest full of snow in JanuaryWalking out of the house with the dogs this morning we passed the abandoned Cardinal nest. It was full of the fresh snow we received last night.

Nests are easy to see now with the leaves off the trees and bushes. There were so many of them so close to where we walked everyday, but we didn't know they were there. Next year I'm going to look a little closer.

I turn another year older this week. Actually, I turn another decade older this week.

Getting old has it's problems, but so did all the other decades. What concerns me more than getting older is the speed at which life is zooming by.

Cardinal nest with two young in JulyWasn't it just a few days ago the leaves were green and this nest was full of baby cardinals?

How can the months go by so fast?

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Even the Dogs Are Bored

Sunny and Pappy taking a nap on the old sofaI've been knitting this weekend, but nothing you want to see or hear about.

WARNING! Boring post alert!

Knitting Swatches
Yesterday I couldn't resist knitting a swatch for my Lavold Sweater. So I did. A very nice swatch with #6 needles. It looked and measured way to loose, so I knit a second swatch with #4 needles, washed both of them, and laid them out to dry.

This morning I did the final measuring. Boy did the swatches ever change after washing. The #6 was closest but still big. The #4 was too small. So I sat down and knit a third swatch. Hopefully #5s are the answer.

Three days after I bought the yarn, the Knitpicks catalog arrived with Lavold Silky Tweed on sale for $4.79 a skein. I paid $7.95.

After moaning and groaning about my poor timing, I looked more carefully and saw that the color I bought, 06 Rust, was not listed in Knitpicks. I love the color and wouldn't trade it, so all is well.

Knitting Heels
Both Sweet Valentine cuffs are done and the heels have been started. The rest of the sock is standard with nothing more interesting than some k2p2 ribbing down the instep.

Instead of working on them, I cast on . . .

CIC Vest Number 4
Knitting it in a simple pattern just to get it done. It's the last one I plan on doing this month. I'm ready to have them done and in the mail.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Second CIC Vest for 2005

Second CIC Vest for 2005 knit in Lopi with gray, green, and pink stripes
My second vest for the January 2005 CIC Vest Challenge was a fun knit.

Once again the yarn is Lopi and I'm playing with a different stitch pattern to keep from getting bored.

The stitch pattern is Welting Fantastic from Barbara Walker's A Treasury of Knitting Patterns.

According to the Barbara, "Welting Fantastic is very effective when the welts are knitted in a contrasting color." So that's what I did. The result is a colorful, pretty little feminine vest with a scallop on the bottom.

Welting Fantastic has an 11 stitch repeat so I cast on 77 stitches to make the vest a toddler size 4.

This vest had many ends to be woven in once it was off the needles. When I'm working with Lopi, I split each tail into two thinner pieces of yarn and weave them in different directions.

Weaving in ends is not my favorite part of the project, but it needs to be done right in order to have a rugged garment for many years of kid wear.

I'm happy with this vest. I'll use this stitch pattern again when using up small balls of leftover Lopi.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Knit Wit Plans to Knit Lavold

Parking sign at yarn shop that says Knit Wit ParkingJust a few weeks ago I learned about a hidden treasure only ten miles from my house - a new yarn store, Handweaver's Inspiring Yarn Shop.

Strange name, but nice store. I'll be stopping by there often.

The first time I was there, I admired a store sample of a Lavold sweater done in basketweave stitch with a lace panel up the front. I bought Lopi for a CIC vest and left the store, but I didn't forget.

Monday I went back, parked in the Knit Wit parking place, and bought the pattern book and yarn. I'm going to knit it. Or at least I'm going to knit something that resembles it.

An Elsebeth Lavold designed sweater named GarnetThis is Garnet from the Lavold Sentimental Journey Collection.

The store sample was in ecru. I didn't want ecru, so I started looking at the other colors. None of them spoke to me.

Not only were the colors not speaking to me, the pattern is written for Cotton Patine, a 100% cotton yarn. I don't like to knit with cotton.

I had assumed the sweater was knit with Silky Wool, and I decided I was going to knit it with Silky Wool. Then I spotted the most gorgeous rust yarn in Silky Tweed. The perfect compromise. It's 40% silk, 30% cotton, 20% merino, and 10% viscose.

The rust has little flecks of gold and pink in it. Much nicer than 100% cotton..

A closeup of Silky Tweed yarn in rustThe pattern book doesn't have a schematic showing the measurements. That's a disappointment. I like to use the garment layouts to plan the changes I need for a good fit.

While reading the pattern through in order to calculate the finished measurements, I found some mystifying instructions to gradually increase the garment width by four inches half way between the hem and the underarm.

Are they saying this sweater is designed to fit someone with a hip measurement four inches smaller than their bust measurement? I don't qualify.

That would explain the garter stitch band around the hip. Only someone with super slim hips wants to accent them with a horizontal garter stitch band.

I'm leaning toward casting on the number of stitches in the bust and putting a nice vertical ribbing on the bottom.

Since it's winter in Michigan, I'm also thinking I might go back to Handweavers and get enough yarn to make long sleeves.

It occurs to me that when I'm done changing the pattern, I'm not going to be able to say I knit a Lavold design. I'll have to try again. Maybe something with cables in it. And something designed for a woman with hips.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Sweet Valentine Sock in Progress

One partially done cuff of a Sweet Valentine sock in pink OpalI love lace socks, but only if they're going to stay up. Just taking a lace stitch pattern and using it for the cuff doesn't work for me unless I can incorporate some mechanism to keep the sock snug to my leg.

The Sweet Valentine pattern from the Sock Journal has ribbing down the front and back to support the pretty lace hearts running down each side.

The way the pattern is written, one ribbing panel and one lace panel go on each needle. The stitches are redistributed on the needles when the lace pattern is completed and it's time to start the heel.

The blue plastic pin is my method of keeping track of what row of the pattern I'm on. The lace hearts are a fourteen row repeat. Each time I knit row 1, I slip the pin into a stitch over in the ribbing where the rows are easy to count. Usually I just know what row I'm on, but if needed, the pin makes it easy to figure out.

I'm terrible with mechanical row counters, never being able to remember if I've clicked them or not. This method of keeping track of rows is fool proof.

The pattern is written for sport weight yarn on 62 stitches. For the dainty feet in my family, 62 stitches works in sock weight yarn on US #1 needles.

The sock in the picture is being knit with Opal UNI-Solid 11, the lighter of the two UNI-Solid pinks.

The intended recipient is Granddaughter Kimmy, who asked that her next pair of hand knit socks be pink. The lacy heart pattern is going to be a surprise. Hope she likes it.

Jan's Old Shale Two Yarn Socks

Jan's Old Shale Two Yarn sock

Jan lives in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, where it's summertime.

She wrote on her knitting blog, Pass the Slipped Stitch Over:
"My tension is on the loose side,so I've done them on 2.75mm needles. For the rib under the turnback, I went down to 56 stitches for a snug fit and then back to 60 for the foot. Rib across foot is 4 plain, 1 purl. When it came to toe, I was going to do a star toe but didn't have directions with me, so have done standard decreases every second row.

I'm pleased with them but wish I had more sock wool choices available to me here. This is Patonyle which I would not choose if Heirloom Argyle or St Ives had a bigger range of colours."

Nice socks Jan. And I'm so jealous of that greenery and sunshine.

Heron on the frozen pondFor contrast, this is what I see out of my SW Michigan window.

Today and tomorrow it is drizzling and thawing. 37 F/3 C. The forecast for Friday is snow and very cold, 2 F/-17 C. Definitely not summertime.

The sun is not shining and only the evergreens are green.

The heron is standing on our partially frozen pond getting ready to ice fish through the hole. Since the pond is spring fed, it thaws from the bottom up. There are always places in the ice where the ice is very thin.

Behind the pond is a fast flowing creek. It never freezes. Usually the heron is fishing there and not so out in the open as he is here on the pond.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Doggy Diet

Sunny at 19 pounds. The BEFORE diet picture.We got the "fat dog" lecture at Sunny's vet appointment last Thursday.

Our vets don't just say, "Your dog needs to lose some weight." They have an entire sermon on the topic complete with dire warnings about what will happen to the beloved dog if the weight isn't taken off now. Then they quiz the dog owner on what the dog is eating and give multiple suggestions on how that might be changed.

I was shocked when the vet informed me the dogfood Sunny is eating is like feeding her Ben and Jerry's ice cream everyday. That explains why they don't put the nutritional information on the package.

Sunny weighed in at 19.5 pounds. She should weigh 14 pounds tops. 12 would be even better.

She's three years old now. I knew she was looking a little "mature", but I had no idea she was carrying over five extra pounds on her delicate little frame.

This is Sunny's "before" picture. The doggy diet has begun!

Since all of the vet's suggestions involved feeding the dogs things I know they don't like to eat (diet dog food), I'm making food for all three dogs now.

Instead of a quiet hour knitting this afternoon I was stirring up corn meal mush, frying up three pounds of lean ground beef, chopping up vegetables, and stirring fourteen cups of homemade dog food in a large pot.

Why? Because our dogs are spoiled. Any other questions?

Friday, January 07, 2005

Knitting Log for January 7

John's Birthday Socks
I'm looking for the perfect sock yarn to knit socks for son John. He has yet to experience a pair of Mom's handknits. After seeing the other socks I've knit, he requested a pair and I'm happy to oblige.

I want to have them done by his 35th birthday in March. No yarn I have or no yarn I see strikes me as the perfect one, and time is getting short.

Next Socks?
I was going to start a pair of socks in Opal Elements 1070 for myself, but the Sweet Valentine pattern in The Sock Journal is calling to me. I happen to have a skein of pink Opal Uni-Solid 15, and Granddaughter Kimmy has requested a pair of pink socks.

Pink socks with hearts really should be done by Valentine's Day, don't you think?

Hélène's Old Shale Two Yarn Socks.
Helene's Old Shale Two Yarn Socks

When she sent me the picture, she wrote:
Hello Marguerite.
Here is a picture of my socks. They are still hot off the needles. The cuff part is done in Regia that I had left over from a previous pair of socks. I had just a little over 16 inches left of the Regia.

The body is from stash yarn name unknown.

Tomorrow I will cast on for the Old Shale again. I have some leftover that is calling to me. This time I will try Carol's moss stitch short row heel and moss toe.

The Papillon is lovely.

Lady in Knitting

Had to laugh about the "The Papillon is lovely." comment, since the picture shows him on his back sleeping with his feet in the air and his tongue hanging out.

The observation is accurate, though. He is lovely.

Thanks for sending the sock picture, Hélène. I'm looking forward to seeing your second pair.

You have to see Dorothy's Viking Turid!

She wrote
"I just can't say enough about how much fun Elsbeth Lavold's patterns are! They are a challenge and you have to read very, very carefully, but once again I feel as if I have created magic."
That just sounds like too much fun. I love challenges where I have to read carefully and the results are something magical.

January is CIC Vest Challenge month, but I could fit in a swatch or two in preparation for a sweater in February. Not the Turid, but a Lavold is toward the top of the selection list.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

CIC Vest Challenge Update - Week 1

The January 2005 CIC Vest Challenge is off to a great start with 37 vests and 2 sweaters mailed to Kathy.

Red CIC vest with cable front and backMy first vest for the challenge is done, washed and blocked. It's the basic What's In My Pocket Vest with no pocket. Instead it has a cable panel up the center of the front and back.

The vest was knit with Lopi on size 10.5 needles.

My second vest was finished and washed this morning. Picture coming as soon as it's dry enough to take one.

My goal for the challenge is four vests. Two down and two to go.

I was saving this red Lopi for a vest with hearts. I tried several heart stitch patterns and they all looked awful, so I frogged them.

According to Barbara Walker in A Second Treasury of Knitted Patterns
"The heart motif is not often seen in knitting patterns, for the good reason that knitting, by its very nature, makes it difficult to form a rounded top to a design. The upper curves of any heart-shaped pattern, therefore, are usually made in some rather awkward way, by working 4 or 5 stitches together, for instance."

I've seen pictures of garments with heart motifs that looked OK to me. Maybe they had been power blocked for the photo.

Anyone have a pretty cable or twist stitch heart motif that doesn't look awkward?

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Salvation Army Tsunami Relief

Salvation Army tsunami relief stationMost of the country is focused on the urgent needs of the tsunami relief efforts, and rightly so. The many needs of the survivors are critical and urgent.

One of my favorite organizations is the Salvation Army. Based on decades of reading reports from disaster victims, I believe the Salvation Army is often among the first on the scene of a tragedy with practical, physical help for those in need.

The Salvation Army USA website posts detailed and frequent country-by-country status reports on what they are doing to help tsunami survivors.

This is on their homepage:
"The Salvation Army is providing 24 - hour aid to thousands of people affected by the horrific tsunami in South Asia that killed at least 150,000 people and devastated 11 countries. Three of the most affected countries are home to indigenous, grass-roots Salvation Army organizations year round. Those workers were some of the first to respond to this tragedy that affected so many of their fellow citizens. The international community of The Salvation Army was quick to respond as well and will continue to provide support in the community for the long-term."

There's a button to donate there, too. If you've been wanting to give - or give more - I urge you to click now and help the Salvation Army. They do a fantastic job and will use your money wisely.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Introducing Pappy the Papillon

Cassie at Too Much Wool asked some interesting questions in her December 30 blog post.

You really need to read what she wrote in order to appreciate the beauty of her queries. To summarize:
Do we knit and/or blog because we think?
Or think and/or blog because we knit?
Or knit and/or think because we blog?

Today is the first day since starting Stitches of Violet that I don't have any knitting content to blog about. It's been on my mind (think! think!) all day. I almost sat down to knit something just so I would have a blog topic.

Pappy sleeping on his back with his tongue hanging outThis evening, I thought about other knitting bloggers. Surely they don't knit something blog worthy every day. So what do they blog about when that happens? (I'm going to have to pay more attention to this.)

Some of them blog pictures of their animals.

It just happens that I have three wonderful dogs. On December 27 you saw Sunny sitting in a chair. Tonight you get to see Pappy asleep next to me on the loveseat.

I sit on the loveseat to go online. My laptop sits on a writing board. There's room for my mouse and a few other little things. It's not uncommon for Pappy to snuggle up on one side of me and Sunny on the other.

I love it when that happens, because Bob will fetch things for me so the dogs don't have to be disturbed. Also because the little dogs are snuggly and wonderful, like stuffed animals come to life. Except you don't have to take stuffed animals out for walks to get them tired out before they will snuggle with you.

Tomorrow night I'll have some knit content to blog about. I think.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Making Waves Vest and Socks for CIC

Making Waves Stitch pattern used in a CIC vest and socksLaura asked me to dig out an old post on a CIC vest I made last summer using the Making Waves stitch pattern from the Six Sock Knitalong.

This is not a pattern, but a description of how I knit the vest and socks in the picture. An experienced knitter should have no trouble duplicating my results and even adding their own touch to improve upon them.

The vest is based on the What's In My Pocket Vest Pattern, size 2, 72 stitches around. It was knit with a bulky blue Lopi wool on size 10.5 needles.

The lower edge of the vest is two inches of k1p1 ribbing instead of the garter stitch border used in the What's In My Pocket Vest Pattern.

The Making Waves stitch pattern is in the center 24 stitches of the front and back.

Making Waves Pattern for knitting in the round
Multiple of 8 stitches and 8 rows
Row 1: knit
Row 2: knit
Row 3: cable 4 back, k4
Row 4: knit
Row 5: knit
Row 6: knit
Row 7: k4, cable 4 front
Row 8: knit
cable 4 back: Slip the first two stitches onto a cable needle and hold in back as the next two stitches are knit. Then knit the two stitches on the cable needle.

cable 4 front: Slip the first two stitches onto a cable needle and hold in front as the next two stitches are knit. Then knit the two stitches on the cable needle.

Plan the underarm castoff so the even rows of the Making Waves stitch pattern are on the wrong side.

When knitting back and forth, the wrong side rows are purled.

I have a tendency to bind off too tight, so I always make sure a finished vest will fit over my head before weaving in the ends.

For the socks, I cast on 28 stitches for the ribbing and increased to 32 for the waves pattern because the cables pull in. The socks in the picture are knit from a turquoise Cascade 220 wool on size 5 needles.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Socks, Socks, and Socks

Dorothy's Old Shale Two Yarn SocksDorothy over at Missouri Star is knitting this pair of Old Shale Two Yarn Socks. Aren't they pretty?

On her blog post for December 29 she humorously explains how she learned about the Eye of Partridge (EOP) heel. She didn't use the EOP on these socks, but I wouldn't be surprised if she gives it a try in the future.

Dorothy is a very accomplished knitter. Be sure to take a look at Dorothy's December 20 post to admire the beautiful Aran she knit for her husband and the Tilt she knit for her sister.

Blue Beads socks completedThe December/January Pink (actually blue) Beads socks for the Six Sock Knitalong are done.

The vivid blue yarn is Opal Uni-Solid 26. The socks were knit on US #1 Addi Turbo 24" circulars.

I have a strong personal preference toward some variation of ribbing in all my socks to help them hold their shape on the foot. These socks have a k5, p1 ribbing. The purl row goes between the two beads that are side by side on the pattern sheet.

If I were to knit this pattern again, I would put an extra knit row between the bead rows. The pattern didn't call for the extra row, however many of the Six Sock Knitalong members used one and their bead pattern looks cleaner than mine.

The slip stitch bead application is another reason my bead pattern looks muddled. Slip stitching is OK for a sparkly beaded effect, but when the beads are supposedly making a geometric pattern, the crochet hook method is more precise. (I say this based on the pictures I'm seeing in the knitalong album. I have no first hand knowledge of using a crochet hook to attach beads.)

Mom, the recipient, thinks the socks are perfect. Moms are like that. She'll be wearing them to senior exercise dance class. Her feet will be moving so fast that noone will notice the beads aren't attached with perfect precision.

CIC socks using the blue beads pattern in purl stitchesDuring the holiday hussle and bussle I needed something easy to knit, so I cast on a pair of CIC socks.

The little diamond pattern on the cuff is the pattern you're supposed to be able to see in the beads on the sock above.

These socks were knit with Cascade 220 on US #5 needles and 30 stitches around. They turned out a small child size and will be counted as my first CIC socks for 2005.