Sunday, August 24, 2008

Knitting in Circles
by Vickie

Lately I feel as though I have been knitting in circles. I realized once I started looking at my current UFOs that I have a lot of circular needles occupied. I have signed up for a sweater class and need to get these things done before then but frankly, I feel like I am running out of time.

Here is official documentation of my current UFOs. I guess if I see them and you see them, I can't lie about them.

I truly believed that I had a grip on not starting too many projects at one time but all of a sudden I feel time breathing down my neck. Some of the UFOs are going to be Christmas presents if I ever get them finished. So if I list them here maybe I can whack them out one at a time. Since Labor Day weekend is fast approaching I might have some more time to get them done. A four hour car ride to and from our destination will help providing I don't have to help drive.
This is my second Clapotis. I ran out of yarn and had to find more. I had someone mail me some but her yarn had metallic in it and mine didn't so the search was on again. I went back to the original place I bought the first two skeins and found a third one by accident. So now all I have to do is finish the last little bit of the decrease section on the end and I am done. I have plans for the first Clapotis as soon as I finish this one.
This is a Lily Chin shawl that I work on when I have to time to constantly pick out my mistakes. There are so many stitches on it now that I rarely touch it, but I want to get it done soon. I need the space!
This pair of socks started out as a group knit between a group of friends. Sadly the friendship have fallen by the way side and so has finishing this pair of socks. I have to do the gusset and after that it will go quickly, but like so many other things I hit a snag and set them aside. Usually when I go that, it means ripping out something that I don't have the patience to do at the moment. So to keep a cool head, the project gets set aside and then basically forgotten until I go digging for something else. Yesterday was a digging day evidently.

This might be a UFO at the rate I am going. This is another Mary scarf for my friends. Hopefully here will be four knit.
Okay, so I included one finished project. This is bag #3 for the Mary scarves. It is a small redemption for all the other UFOs listed here. I have one more UFO but it is a Christmas present. The person who will be receiving it reads this blog, so no photos and no mentions until later what it is.

So you can see why nothing completely finished has been posted lately. I really am just knitting in circles.

Friday, August 15, 2008

It's In The Bag

I have confession to make. I love bags, boxes and containers in general. If I like the container I buy it whether or not I have any purpose for it or not. I like the idea of things being put away in a proper order, but I fall short of actually doing it. When I started knitting, the obsession with bags and storage container for my yarn, needles, book and such got worse.

I started with plastic bins, then to those colorful woven baskets from Ghana that they sell at MS&W. I have two of those woven baskets and decided this year I would abstain from buying one. I held steadfast to that. I saw oval shaped baskets this year and it took all my will power not to snatch one up. I don't need anymore baskets.

Then the next progression was felting my own huge bag. I took my birthday money one year and made a huge green monster of a bag. I love it but it's folded in a hasty manner and stored on top of a basket.

I have a great metal cigar case that holds 30 #1 dpns. I went into a cigar store with a friend and we looked a few cigars in their cases until I found one that would hold the length of the metal needles. I gave some lucky patron of the store a nice $10 cigar just to get the metal case. How crazy is that? If I ever need another case I would do that again in a skinny minute. I love the sound the needles make when they get jigged around in tube. I love the sound so much that sometimes, I just shake them up and down to hear that metal clinking sound.

Of course all of the other knitting do dads need their own containers too. They come in different shapes and sizes. I spared no expense. Newman's Own...


and Hershey's...
are all collected because they have potential uses for do-dad storage.

Not only do I have an eye for small containers but then there are those more upscale bags that will cost you an arm and a leg. I am missing one of each lately. One arm went for the Bitty Bag ...
and the leg went for the Namaste bag.
Now the big question is, WHY? Who knows why. The same question could be applied to those who hord yarn. Can you really knit it all before you die? Do you really need 50 baskets and 30 purses for store your UFOs. I don't know what the right answer is, but my gut tells me NO and heaven help me, I can't stop.

It's not bad enough that I have a collection of bags, but now I have decided that others must know the pleasure of bags (containers). Since I hate the thought of the bag and the wrapping a gift comes in being discarded to only enjoy the present inside. So this I got this bright idea that I didn't want the gift receiver to throw away the box or the wrapping. So the box would have to be worth keeping. Hence my latest project.

The double duty gift idea is from the Last-Minute Knitted Gifts book. Since I have already made one project from the book, another was in order. The perfect idea was in the book. I knew this bag would be one that would delight my friends as well as feed my need to knit I knit this with Misti Alpaca Worsted weight in Ecru or #100. It was knit on Addis #6 (16") needles. This is a beginner pattern that can be used for some many things.
Each bag will contain a Mary scarf designed by Linda Johnson of Wallis Knits. I have already knit eight of these but will do four more before Christmas for a group of women that I have gone out to dinner with once a month for the last six years. I hope that they will be pleased with their gifts come December. One bag is done and number two is about 1/3 on its way. I will have to buy two more skeins of yarn to finish the other two bags but they will get done.
I love the rolled top and the little I-cord tie. It's just understated simplicity.
If you have the need for smart packaging of a quickie gift, this little bag will sure to be a hit.

Friday, August 08, 2008

What to knit on a plane
I am lucky enough to be able to take off about five days a year to gather with other Personal Chefs around the country. It's all food all the time, but there are times you have to decompress from calorie talk. The plane was my decompression chamber.

Going to Tucson was easy but as most travellers know there must be arrangements made in advance concerning our knitting paraphernalia. I was going to start a project that I found in a recent addition to my fledgling book collection. I was excited to try a new pattern with some newly acquired yarn. I bought new wooden needles to keep from losing my Addi Turbos, but happily nothing was taken away from me and that made me a very happy camper.

I had a goal that I have published here in the past of knitting 100 baby hats this year. I did get 25 or so done already but truly have gotten side tracked with that whole project. So to help myself get motivated to get back on track, I picked this pattern to embark on during my plane ride to Tucson. Oh yeah, and the three and half hour lay over in Dallas-twice. Don't ask....

This photo is from book, Knitted Gifts.

So I cast on right before going on the trip and could barely stop myself for going full guns on the hats. I wanted to just keep going but knowing how long my lay overs were stopped myself. I have to say, that this pattern in incredibly easy and it turns out just the way the picture from the book shows. I couldn't be more pleased. What pleased me even more is that I got two hats done and with no help from anyone. I must be improving! Okay, it was a beginner pattern, but still...

Here are my efforts. They just are so cute. I have no idea who will get them and really it doesn't matter to me. I just had fun making them and I loved the cotton yarn. This is the second project as of late that I have done in cotton. They were both pretty simple but it gave me a feel for it. DH said he likes the cotton washcloths so that's a victory. You have to take them when you get them.

Here is my effort at the baby hat. This is my second venture into knitting with cotton and I have to say that I liked it a lot, but there are two observations I wanted to mention. One, there doesn't seem to be a lot of "give" when knitting with cotton. It's pretty committed to just being what it is. Wool seems to be a little more flexible. Two, it's harder for me to weave in my end and keep them hidden. Cotton unlike wool, doesn't tangle on it self so again hiding the ends in hopes they will blend in is more of a challenge.
I have never done an I cord before and I think it turned out pretty well. Each cord was over 24" so it was pretty boring but thankfully it went quickly!
It's twins! I took two skeins of the 1824 cotton with me and I ended up with two hats one with a cast on of 60 and the other (medium size) with 70 stitches. There isn't a huge difference in the size and I have a small ball of yarn left over. I think that I will cast one the largest one and see how far my little ball and one more skein will go. It's a very quick knit. I did have to purchase size 7 16" circs which will only make my collection more wonderful. I highly recommend this pattern for a quickie baby gift for a larger sized baby. This is not a Preemie hat project but I am going to try the pattern with wool and see how it fares! Happy Cotton Knitting everyone!