Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Pure, unadulterated hubris. I had 30 rows of 2x2 ribbing for the cuff of the Gaffer's Gansey, when I thought 'wow, that looks like too many stitches'. I didn't count the stitches on the second sleeve figuring I had to have picked up a pretty close number to the first sleeve - there had to be about 12 stitches too many which is over two inches. The sleeve was amputated tonight. Reknitting to commence after I take the time to make sure I really understand what happened.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Rorschach Sweater, blogging, and the deep freeze

Rorschach Sweater
I finally finished the Rorschach sweater. It was almost finished last year without buttons or a belt. I wore it a few times and the neck drooped down a bit in the back and it didn’t seem to want to stay remotely closed in the front. So, I added a garter stitch belt and belt loops. I did NOT like where the belt sat and this made me look too large around the middle. So, I took that off and added 5 tab buttonholes and buttons like are shown in Knitters Workshop, but that was somehow worse than the belt. So, my husband suggested one button at the top and I decided to take off all but the top tab buttonholes and buttons and this might be the best so far. He probably knows more about knitting than he ever thought he needed to. This sweater isn't the most flattering, but I do like the pattern.

Rorschach Sweater


The back turned out fine - the bottom is just a little rumpled I think.

Yarn: Nature Spun Worsted Weight in aran and black
Needles: size 8
Pattern: Rorschach from Knitters Almanac.

Has anyone else made this and run into these problems? The look of the sweater is kinda retro and overall very nice, but it has been awhile coming together.

2008 Knitting Goals:

* Now that I have a little traffic, I want to improve the content of my blog. I'd like it to be more interesting.

* I'd like to improve my technical skills with blogging. There are some things I see on other websites that I'd like to know about. For example, I want to figure out how to have slide shows of groups of photos.

* One of my knitting goals is about to be realized - successful sleeve steeks on a drop shoulder sweater.

* Making more gifts.

* I don't have too many unfinished projects, but I'd like to wrap up a few things. (But wrapping up the 2007 projects in 2008 already makes me look super productive this year!)

* I'd like to make the an aran sweater from Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitter's Almanac, but alter it to have raglan sleeves. I need to decide on the right yarn. I am kinda over Nature Spun - a little too bouncy, and Cascade 220 sometimes seems a little lightweight, Knit Picks Wool of the Andes does seem pretty nice - but they don't have the color I have in mind. I might check out schoolhouse press - anyone recommend the rangley or Quebequoise?

To answer a question from one of the previous comments - yes, the hats that my grandma and I are wearing are the Fiber Trends swirls hat pattern. My grandma seems to be a big hit - the bulk of the first comments I have one my blog were about grandma. Putting grandmas on your blog feels like cheating a bit - the cute factor is so high - it is like putting kittens on your blog! But thanks for the nice comments - it was fun to make and fun to give.

Deep freeze
It was -16 below zero in Minneapolis today. Sometimes, it can be fun to be stay gather supplies and hunker down to stay inside all weekend and have a good excuse for doing not a whole lot of anything. There's no walking for exercise going on, no easy running around to get a few things done, and the sun is so damn bright - it is deceptive - it looks like it should be great weather, but no. So, it is a weekend of staying inside. On the upside, I have a great TV series from the library 'Monarch of the Glen' and it is a very fun show and a good show to knit by. Highly recommended. For anyone who watches this show, isn't Kilwillie one of the best characters on TV?

We also like making some great dishes during the cold and wintery weather. The mister made an Alsatian pork and kraut dish from the Joy of Cooking.

He used a pork tenderloin roast so it was very lean and the sauerkraut included fresh cabbage, beer, carrots, and caraway. It is very yummy - and dishes look so nice in the giant cast iron. Good diet food.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

More projects finished up and another one well in hand

I had the good fortune this week of being able to give away two gifts. The first was to my grandma which I blogged below. The second was a gift to Alicia, a work colleague. She has been so helpful to me during a difficult year in a new job and I wanted to do something to thank her, so I made a scarf. I hadn’t made a scarf since probably two years because they’d become a little boring. I decided to try my hand at an easy lace pattern. The yarn was very nice and soft – I generally work with Cascade 220 and Nature Spun and this was a pleasant change of pace. The blocking did wonders for the lace pattern too.

Lace Leaf Scarf

Yarn: Knit Picks Andean Silk
Needles: size 9 Clover bamboos
Pattern: A winter edition of Family Circle Easy knitting – probably Fall/Winter 2006

Alicia seemed to really love the scarf and she told me the next day that the scarf was the first thing her husband noticed when he was her at the end of the day.

I finally got around to finishing the Moccasin Socks from Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Knitter’s Alamanac. The yarn would have been prettier had I worked this with a traditional sock pattern. Because the sock is worked back and forth in rib rather than in the round, the pattern ended up looking more like urban camo than some nice. I love grafting/kitchener stitch, but there aren’t often opportunities to do this for more than 10 or so stitches. The bottom of the sock is grafted together along the entire length of the sock and you can see in the picture that I grafted too tightly. These turned out a little large too, so they are good bed socks or warm socks for walking in the winter. The yarn is nice though – I usually use Trekking XXL for my socks and this too was a nice change.

Moccasin Socks

Yarn: Lang Jawoll Sport
Needles: size 4 Addi Turbo circulars
Pattern: Moccasin Socks

The Gaffer’s Gansey has been coming along really well. I love the pattern on the chest. I have completed seven repeats of the ‘v’s’ and my best guestimate is that I will complete 10 of them. I completed what you see in the pictures in about 10 days and I have slowed down for two reasons. First, I am kinda nervous that I am developing tendonitis in my right wrist. I blame my laptop keyboard and not knitting (because, come on, seriously, knitting wouldn’t hurt me, right?), but still….And my second reason is that I am also a little nervous about steeking sleeves. I have successfully completed crocheted steeks before in an EZ fair isle cardigan that worked well, but I did have a sleeve disaster two years ago. I am still emotional about it! But I feel pretty confident about the pattern. I also wish I had started this with a metal circular rather than bamboo– I’d be able to knit a little more easily with that given the yarn. I wanted to get started and this was all I had in the house. I hope to show some picked up stitches on a successfully steeked armhole on one of my next posts.

Gaffer’s Gansey:

Gaffer’s gussets:

Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Sapphire Heather
Needles: size 7 Clover bamboo circulars
Pattern: Gaffer’s Gansey from Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Knitting Workshop

None of the pictures reflect the color very well. I am not the best photographer, but that's my best for now. I took a pic of a good yoga book that I just picked up from the library. I have never really done yoga before and it seems like a good starter book. I have made a resolution to get up earlier so I can do a few more things in the morning, like a little yoga.

I finally posted on Zimmermania and the result has been many hits from around the world – so cool. Now my mom isn’t the only one reading my blog and having so many more visitors makes me feel like I need to spruce up my blog, hence a few more photos of FO’s and a WIP. Thanks too for the comments.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

When your grandma asks...

As those of you who read this know, my grandma has been under the weather since about Thanksgiving. She 97 years old and we thought this was 'it' - she thought this was 'it'. Well, she pulled through and is excited about going home to her own place. Once she got out of the hospital, she's been in a care center. We visited her on Christmas Day and she liked my hat - in fact, she said she wanted one exactly like it to wear home from the care center back to her apartment. Well, I had quite the knitting project to do in the course of the next week. And the photo below gives evidence of my progress:

Neither of us thought we looked too great in the photo, but the care attendant was good enough to take the picture. I thought I might be pushing our luck with a full scale photo shoot. After all, grandma had to spend one more night there. Actually, grandma really liked all the people there. She's a trooper!

In terms of knitting, I am wearing my first color project and my first hat. Grandma's hat is much better than mine - my stranded knitting has improved since I made that hat. I used cascade 220 for grandma's hat and used nature spun for mine and the cascade seems to be better.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Winter sets in

I am still in the midst of two full weeks off of work and it is everything I knew it would be! I had a great time with family and friends and am now planning on enjoying the next four days at home.

I will have a few more photos of finished projects in the next post. I managed to finish one project, start and finish another, and start a third. I started the Gaffer's Gansey for my dad-in-law. Everyone approved of the color and I've made great progress in the past 7 days.

Sue, my MIL, gave me a great Lang engagement calendar of American folk cats. You can see that in the photo above. We trekked out on Saturday to Delafield, WI to the Knitsch - a very cute knitting store with friendly staff where I bought some Cascade 220 in fuschia for a yet to be determined project. Our shopping was delayed by a day because of 8 inches of snow that fell on Friday. It was so beautiful - here's the aftermath:

There was amazing bird watching over the weekend - we saw 17 cardinals at one time!

Ok....the big event of this year's holiday season was my husband's 40th birthday. He got wonderful gifts to commemorate the big day. His folks gave him a telescope - something he's wanted for as long as he can remember. Can you believe the size of this thing:

And my folks gave him enormous binoculars. Do you think the neighbors will be nervous?

Sue and I got in hours and hours of productive knitting while being kept company by the kitties, Tobey and Wiley. And isnt' Tobey the cutest? He's doing a little birdwatching.

Since the photo of the Gaffer's Gansey was taken, I have finished a few more inches of the body and I will be making my second attempt at doing steeks sleeves. My first attempt was unsuccessful - the arm holes were too deep, the sleeves were too long and I tried several attempts to salvage this to at least be able to wear the thing aroung the house, but to no avail. Let's hope this is more successful. I have a few more tricks up my sleeve since I tried this last. More project updates next time.