Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Beaded Stitch Markers

When I started knitting my first Clapotis the other day, I rounded up all my stitch markers 'cause I needed at least eighteen according to the pattern specifications. I didn't end up using the markers for the knitting project, but I did decide to try and get some good photos of the beaded markers.

I'm posting the stitch marker pictures today because I don't have a knitting update to share. I have been knitting on my Clapotis, but my progress has been purposefully slowed down.

My husband is a college basketball nut and borders on the superstitious side of things with regards to his favorite team. I happened to be knitting Clapotis last week when his team ended a losing streak and had a much needed victory. (If you are wondering, his team is Duke)

So the project has been determined to be "magic" and so he has asked me to knit Clapotis during the last two regular season games. One of those final games is tonight and the other is this coming Sunday. I have to make the knitting last though Sunday.

I'm hoping to have a finished Clapotis to share next week. I'll have to find another magic project for NCAA tournament time. The tournament stars soon too. I'm supposed to start his first hand knit socks after my Clapotis is finished. I'm hoping that they are lucky too. I'd like to get those started and finished quickly!

But back to the stitch markers for a second. They are really easy to make. I made the ones pictured here. There are tutorials all over the place if you want to make some of your own. my favorite beaded markers were sent to me as part of a swap. You can see them in the last picture of a Sept. 12, 06 post. Instead of a wire loop at the top, the whole thing is threaded on flexible beading cable. It really is a nice light weight marker that doesn't get in the way or mess with gauge at all. If I make any more stitch markers I'll make them that way.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Reading Rainbow

Reading is just one more of the many things that i like to do. I actually read quite a bit. I read at least a little bit everyday. I usually read at least a chapter just before I fall asleep each night. It started when I was a young girl and has continued through adulthood. Those few times I have been without a reading material at night, it takes me much longer to settle in and get ready for sleep.

I'll read anything too! I usually read mysteries and grisly serial killer novels. I think the titles and covers still spook my husband sometimes. I've made him fear things that go bump in the night. And I think he sometimes wonders if I'm one of those. I also like reading cookbooks, gardening books, and of course knitting books. There is also a small selection of magazines I read on a regular basis too.

The odd thing is that I always have trouble finding something new to read. I look at best seller lists, the new release lists on Amazon, and lists for various award winners for possible reading material. Now that I am participating in Project Spectrum I'm using the color assignments as another method for searching out possibilities as well.

February and March have been assigned blue, grey, and white. So I've used those as keywords in hunting down new reading material. I'm already half way through Blue Latitudes by Tony Horwitz. It is about Captain Cook's sailing exploration of Pacific Ocean. The book is well written and the tone is more conversational than text book. The book mixes Cook's explorations with the author's own journey to retrace Cook's voyages. So far so good.

The second book I chose was White Teeth by Zadie Smith. I've almost picked this book up at the local shop several times. So, when it came up in my keyword search of white, I figured it was time to read the book.

The third book in this assortment is the Grey Fairy Book by Andrew Lang. this book is a collection of fairy tales from Eastern Europe, Africa, and Islamic countries. There is actually a different collection named for every color. I like the fact that the stories are short and will probably be tales I didn't hear as a child.

So tell me what your favorite book is, what you are reading now, or how you find your next read.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Fiber Friday - Clapotis Begins

Okay, that I admit that the title seems a little over dramatic, but it's what I came up with. So, I went with it. Clapotis is such a simple pattern and the result is such a versatile piece, how could I resist giving it a try. I think mine will end more of a large scarf than a shawl.

The yarn I'm using is Lady Godiva by Hand Maiden. It is a beautiful hand painted color called Paris. The yarn is 50% wool 50% silk. Each skein is 100 grams and about 281 yards.

I love the silky feel this yarn has during knitting. I think it will work well for this project. It seems like it will drape very well. The colors are great too. There are shades of browns and green/blue turquoise, pinks, and a hint of purple.

I wish it was going a little faster - but maybe i can get a lot done over the weekend. I'm trying to make sure I knit at least one repeat a night. I want to thank Jackie for giving me a the idea to purl the stitches that are going to be dropped instead of knitting. Then the stitch can be easily seen against the stockinette without a marker. That is a great idea!

Bezzie asked about my recent use of white backgrounds and I will share my secret. White poster board. I got three sheets for a dollar at the local Dollar Tree. I prop one up against a box and lay one flat. I've made kind of stage for my yarn. I also have a cardboard box that I covered with white paper that I can set on the stage to act as a pedestal. The white background seems to help the camera focus in on the subject. The white background and lights has also helped me get better color representation too.

I'm thinking I might actually set up a cheap light box; but so far, this other set-up is working. My husband and I have also been trying to think of fun photo shoots to try. If we end up with anything good; I'll post some photos.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Calorimetry II

Calorimetry the second is now complete. It is also in the mail on the way to cover my mom's cold head. This one turned out great just like the red one. Although you can see that it is getting harder for me to find willing models. But the husband and Sherman turned their back on me when picture time came. The only thing I could find was this stuffed fish.

Project Info
Yarn: Manos del Uruguay ; color 101; 100 grams
Needles: addi TURBO -US# 7
Pattern Modifications: Cast on 100 stitches
Date Started: February 15, 2007
Date Finished: February 16, 2007

I do think I need to make at least one more of these. I find that the Manos is a bit itchy. So I'll have to see if I have anything else in my stash that might work. Hopefully, I'll find a good substitute because I love this little head wrap. It really works well with my hair in a pony tail.

I really do like this green color - and the good think is I've got about half of the skein left. I also have a good bit of the red left too. I need to come up with something clever to knit with the leftovers. I'm thinking that maybe a small felted bowl or box might be a good item out of the leftovers.

You can see that this Calorimetry got the same button detail that the red version had. I bought two of these and it just so happens that they were the perfect size for this project.

I'm still working on the Clapotis I started. I am through the sections of increases and have started working the main section of the scarf. I was hoping it would go a little quicker than it is currently going. The needles I was waiting for arrived yesterday so I am anxious to start some socks and see if I like knitting with those size zero needles!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Decorated Knitting

I started knitting this while waiting on needles to knit my my husband's socks. The pattern calls for eighteen stitch markers. I tried some plain little rubber ring type markers first. They were grabbing my needles too much. It really slowed me down when I tried to move the work around the needles.

So I thought it would be fun to use all the pretty beaded stitch markers I've made and been given. While it makes for an interesting picture - it is a pain to knit with! The weight and bulk of these little things add up when you get eighteen of them on needles. In the end, I had to pull these off too. I'm using little strands of bright colored sock yarn as stitch markers. It isn't as pretty, but it is certainly easier to knit.

I use the beaded markers more when a project only calls for a few markers or one to mark the beginning of a round. I did go gathering up all the beaded stitch markers I have and realized that I have way to many stitch markers. And even if I lost half of them tomorrow, I'd still have more than I can use.

So Monika and Jessica, if you would like small mixed assortment of stitch markers send me an e-mail. I picked your names from the comments in the previous post because you both left a comment about the start of this new project.

This yarn had just been sitting all wrapped up on the kitchen table. So I needed to either go put it away or use it for a project. I decided to try the Clapotis pattern from Knitty. I've got three skeins of Lady Godiva that I will be using.

Jessica guessed that I was knitting Fetching. Although I want to knit those soon and it would have been a better choice for a quick project. I know the needles I'm waiting for will come this week and I should get started on those socks. Now I'll be in the middle of this new project and I have to finish it before I start those promised socks.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Fiber Friday - 3 Step Program




Another skein of Manos del Uruguay! This skein is color 101. It reminds me of the dense woods around our house in summer time when various green colors cover everything in sight. I'm using this skein for another Calorimetry. This one will be sent to my mom if she wants it. She has such pretty red hair - I though a green version might look better than the red one I made.

In other news, my husband has asked that I knit him a pair of socks! So I let him have his pick of sock yarn I have stashed away. He choose some Lorna's Laces I had in the Pioneer color, which is basically dark blue and brown. I decided I wanted to knit them on US #0 needles. None of the local shops had the needles in stock, so I had to order those and put the project on the back burner. I haven't picked a pattern yet either. But I figure I'll keep it to a basic stitch pattern in a toe up variety.

I did promise him the next pair of socks I knit, so last night I was ready to cast on a new project and needed something other than socks. I did a little digging and came up with a pattern and some yarn to get started. Hopefully it will be a relatively quick item to knit. I'll reveal at least the yarn for the project next week. I will give one hint - I think everyone, but me, has already knit this pattern at least one time.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentines Day

Seems like everyone is making this hot little item - so here is my version of Calorimetry, and it is all dressed up for Valentines Day. I've been wearing it everyday since I finished it to! It is a nice alternative to hat when you wear a pony tail in your hair most of the time. It is very warm, but I do find it slightly itchy on my forehead.

It was actually really quick to knit. It only took a couple of hours to knit up . I used the Manos del Uruguay I posted last week for Fiber Friday. I ended up knitting mine a bit smaller than the pattern. I only cast on 100 stitches instead of the 120 the pattern called for and it still really covers my head well.

My mom left a comment threatening to steal it - so I'm going to cast on another so she has her own. I picked up the button at a the LYS and have another just like it that I will use on the second Calorimetry.

Project Info
Pattern: Calorimetry
Yarn: Manos del Uruguay ; color 115; 100grams (44 grams remaining);
Needles: addi TURBO -US# 7
Date Started: February 9, 2007
Date Finished: February 10, 2007

Monday, February 12, 2007

Look Mom, I Can Knit Cables

The Irish Hiking Scarf is finished. The cable pattern was nice, simple and went pretty quick. I was able to follow along after a repeat or two without the pattern at all. I finished it in just over a week. It was perfect knitting for sitting in front of the television at night after work. I really liked working with this yarn. It had a strong feel but a nice soft texture, almost buttery.

The cables sure do eat up a lot of yarn; I used up every bit of the skein. I had just a foot or two left over. I think next time I'd like to make a larger scarf. The wool I picked knit up thick and warm. I think it would wrap around a little easier if it was just a little longer. It is just a little heavy for me. My husband decided that the color suited him so he has laid claim to the scarf. I am glad it found an owner.

Project Info
Pattern: Irish Hiking Scarf from Hello Yarn
Yarn: 1 skein of Fleece Artist
Blue Face Leicester Aran;
color Flagstone Pathway;
250 grams/375 meters
Needles: addi TURBO -US# 8/5.0 mm
Finished Width: 5 inches
Finished Length: 57 inches
Date Started: February 3, 2007
Date Finished: February 9, 2007

This is only my second try at cables and now I'm thinking about starting a sweater I have been eyeing that has a cable border. I've been thinking of trying the Cardigan for Arwen pattern. I have a bunch of DB Alpaca Silk in my stash that could work. I'm not sure if the yarn will work well for the sweater though. I'm afraid the alpaca won't show the cables that well and may be too heavy. Maybe the silk will help out. Any thoughts or experience with an alpaca silk combo that you'd share?

Friday, February 09, 2007

Fiber Friday - Red

This yarn is red and it looks so red that I would think that this little beauty has the power to turn a whole load of laundry to pink in just seconds. But I love the color and won't be putting it in the wash.

This Manos del Uruguay is just waiting to be wound into a little yarn cake and knit up. It is 100 grams and 138 yards. The color is listed as 115 - but it would seem that just saying red would work too.

The intense red makes me think of Valentines Day too. Although it doesn't hurt that every store you go in has Valentines displays and candy everywhere.

Speaking of candy, Hershey's has a couple of great limited edition Kisses out too. I don't even usually like Hershey's Kisses, but they have a dark chocolate raspberry flavored one that is great. I keep setting them out on my desk at work and they keep disappearing. The other is one that is filled with a cherry cordial creme. My husband just loves them; his favorite candy is chocolate covered cherries.

I have set this skein aside to make Calorimetry. It will be my next quick project right after I finish knitting the Irish Hiking scarf you all talked me into making last week. When I got home from work last Friday and read all your comments and votes for the Irish Hiking Scarf, I cast on. I'm hoping to be able to finish it this weekend.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Dukie’s Blue & White Oatmeal Cookies

It is officially Project Spectrum time and the first color assignments are blue, white, and grey. I've decided to try and work the colors of Project Spectrum into things other than just knitting projects. I don't want to make this just another knititng assignment; I've got plenty of projects planned and knit alongs that I've joined that one more knitting project won't help.

So, I'm going to incorporate the color assignments into other projects and common everyday things like reading and cooking and of course I'll try and work in a little photography too.

I would guess from the title of the post and that first picture you would think that I started with the cooking part. That would be right. I've been baking cookies.

My husband's favorite cookies are oatmeal and he loves blueberries and white chocolate so I decide to combine all of these things and create the cookie recipe below. And if I get to count the tools I used, I even squeezed something grey into the project! I hope you like them as much as we do. They have quickly disappeared each time I've made them.

These cookies had an appearance last Sunday at our Superbowl gathering as Colts cookies too. They were successful there as well. I've had a couple friend's ask for the recipe, so I decided to go ahead and share it here too.

Dukie’s Blue & White Oatmeal Cookies

1 - cup unsalted butter, softened
1 - cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ - cup granulated sugar
2 - eggs
1 ½ - teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ - cups flour
1 - teaspoon baking soda
1 - teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
3 - cups quick cook oats
1 - 11 oz package Ghirardelli white chocolate baking chips
2 - 3 oz packages Mariani dried blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix butter and sugars until creamy.
Add eggs and vanilla, beat well
Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add dry ingredients slowly.
Stir in oats, chips, and blueberries.

Drop spoonfuls onto cookie sheet and bake 10 minutes. Makes 5-6 dozen.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Blue Monday Socks

Well I finally got these socks finished. I started them back in the beginning of January and they were going to be socks for the January snowflake theme for the Socktopia knit along. But the pattern just didn't work out for me. I had to frog almost a whole sock and start again. I didn't get these finished in January like I was supposed to do. I did get them finished on February first.

One of the other themes for January was Blue Monday - so these have been re categorized as that. They are blue and coincidentally I frogged the snowflake sock on a Monday. The reinforcing yarn made this a challenge to frog! it is the first time that I've knit socks and used any - I'll be waiting to see if it makes any difference.

This detail shot shows the garter ridge pattern and the point where the gusset meets the heel.

I knit the socks toe up starting with the magic cast on for toe up socks from Knitty. It made a very nice smooth toe. It was a little tricky to get right - I had to look at the instructions/pictures as I did it for each sock. It was my first time to try this and I will definitely use this technique again.

I also used a heel flap. Once I get the foot the length I want I begin making gusset increases on every other round until I'm ready to turn the heal. The heel gets turned at this point like you would on any standard cuff down sock. When that is done just start knitting in the round again until the leg is the desired length. This makes the socks so easy to do that I have no motivation to try some other type of heel option.

Project Info
Stitch Pattern: Garter Ridge Stitch over 64 stitches
as written in Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch
Yarn: 2 skeins of Froehlich Special Blauband; color 7436; 50gm/225 yards
comes with card of darning/reinforcing yarn; discontinued
Needles: addi TURBO -US# 1/ 2.5 mm
Date Started: January 22, 2007
Date Finished: February 1, 2007

Saturday, February 03, 2007

5 Secrets About Me

Well I've been tagged to do another meme, so you are going to learn just a little more about me today. Bobbi from Kelly-Green Rogue has tagged me with the 5 Secrets Meme. The idea is to post 5 things about yourself that have never been reveled on your blog. I'm not sure that these things are really secrets, but I don't think that I've mentioned them before. So, in no particular order:
  • I have degrees in Economics and East Asian Studies. I don't have a job that utilizes either of these though. I originally wanted to get a degree in philosophy and she was afraid I wouldn't use that!
  • My title at work is Web Publications Coordinator. I'm not sure what that really means though.
  • I know how to play violin. I decide I wanted to learn to play the violin after our grade school music teacher got Issac Stern to come to our school and play a concert in the school gym. It was very impressive.
  • I don't like getting shots at the doctor's office. In fact, I often faint when I do get one. I can't even watch it on TV or in a movie.
  • One winter while I was in high school, I dressed up in a big Frosty the Snowman costume and was on the Cowboy Bob show. The whole thing was filmed at the Indianapolis Zoo and I got to dance with Cowboy Bob on TV. The Cowboy Bob show was a local morning cartoon show. He had a dog named Tumbleweed.
This is only the second time I've been tagged for one of these posts. In the spirit of turn about is fair play, I'm only going to name someone that has tagged me before. So Angelarae, consider yourself tagged.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Fiber Friday

All right, you all were very nice and forgiving about the fiber diet and the clearance cotton I shared last Friday. Thank you, I appreciate it very much. But I felt guilty after reading all the comments meant to make me feel better and ease my guilt. Truth is, I don't have any guilt about breaking my promise of a yarn diet

So I've decided on a modified plan and that plan includes buying yarn. I haven't worked out any details other than there will be yarn and no guilt. Besides, I've only been knitting a couple years and I don't think that I should have to limit my knitting experience to things that are in my stash at this point. I mean part of that stash was purchased when I had just started knitting and I have to admit that I wasn't a very good yarn buyer in the beginning. So practice makes perfect and this is the last time you'll hear about a yarn diet from me.

Now, on to the details about this yarn. Today's fiber selection is Fleece Artist Blue Face Leicester. It is aran weight and the color is Flagstone Pathway. I love the muted colors. The yarn has a nice earthy smell too. I do only have one skein, but it is a big one weighing in at 250 grams/375 meters. I've been thinking of trying out Gumperina's Shifting Sands scarf. Although, I might be a little short on yardage to use this yarn. Maybe an Irish Hiking Scarf instead. I'll have to make a swatch and see.