Just knitting on...

A record of my knitting projects and events of my life

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Stranded: The Colorwork Challenge

I've been challenged and I've accepted! I've joined Stranded: The Colorwork Challenge.

What are your projects for this knitalong?

I've chosen "Super Skunk" from Alice Starmore's book, Pacific Coast Highway. It's a children's vest with a railroad theme, inspired by the steam locomotive in the Pacific Northwest called "Super Skunk". (I just googled "Super Skunk pattern" to see if I could find a picture of the finished sweater. I didn't find one, but I did learn the "Super Skunk" is a variety of cannabis. Huh. Who knew?) Two years ago I bought a kit for this pattern on eBay, from a woman in the Hebrides who was a test knitter for Alice Starmore. The yarn isn't Scottish Campion, but substituted Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift. I was also lucky enough to purchase Pacific Coast Highway about the same time. The yarn has been in the stash ever since.

Is this your first colorwork project? If it isn't, what was your first, and has it survived the test of time?

The first color work project I knit was a Dale of Norway pattern. I believe it is called Ladybug. I

I knit it twice, as matching sweaters for Katy and Jack when they were 1 and 3 years old. I wish I had a picture of them wearing them, but I don't. I never even saw them wear the sweaters. That's the trouble with living 6 hours drive from your grandchildren, you don't see them much. I don't know what happened to the sweaters after they out grew them. I think Christine kept them and put them away.

The knitalong starts December 1st!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

By Golly the Sun is Out

I have done 8+ repeats of the zig-zag cable on the Forbes Forest Scarf and 14 repeats of the center cable (I forget what that one is called). I think of scarfs as a quick project, but this one is a lot of knitting. I think I have done as much knitting as would have for, say, the back of a sweater. I'm a bit more than 1/3 through--it's 21 zig-zag cable repeats long when finished. I also finshed a hat, namely, the Republic Hat. You can see Gibknits version here. What you will not see here is my version, because, as our Canadian friends would say, it looks like "arse" on me. I do not have the requisite hollow cheeks! So, I don't know what I will do with it. And the camera batteries are kaput for today anyway. Maybe I can figure out a way to take a picture without me modeling it tomorrow. The yarn I used is worth looking at anyway.
Not much else to say. Still haven't blocked the front of the Train Track Vest.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Thanksgiving 2006

We had a very nice Thanksgiving at our house. The turkey and trimmings were successfully cooked and eaten and I think all the extended family in attendance enjoyed talking and exchanging news. I took only one picture, and that was of the table.

It's good to have one day of the year to count your blessings. Here are mine, in no particular order.

A family who loves me
My dog Missy
I have a job (well, that's a mixed blessing, but I have to have one!)
My home
My country
My church
My health
A tech savy son to set up and install my new computer
A daughter to compare recipes and cooking notes with
Beautiful, loving grandchildren
Good books and time to read them
The joy of knitting
Good friends and good times with them
Happy memories

Little knitting was done over the weekend. I haven't even blocked the front of the Train Track vest, which I really intended to do. The Forbes Forest scarf is a bit longer, but that's all. Perhaps the next post will have something to show!

Monday, November 20, 2006

The dreaded jello mold

Knitting news first. I have finished the front of the Train Track vest. I have to wash and block it to match the back before I sew it together, but it is done. I'm working on the Forbes Forest scarf, as I'd like to finish that next. Then, who knows? The batteries to the camera need charging so no pictures today.

I'm hostessing the Family Thanksgivng Dinner this year and Mom and I have been menu planning and shopping. You know how you always have to have the "traditional" dishes that are family favorites? Well, we're skipping the dreaded jello mold this time. It's a 50's recipe and is made in two layers in a fancy mold. The first layer (which is on top when unmolded) is lime jello with cream cheese beaten into it and canned, pitted black cherries are then added. The second layer (on the bottom when unmolded) is black cherry jello with mixed fruit added. The fruit comes frozen and is of the deluxe variety. It is always tricky deciding when the jello is set "enough" but not too much to add the fruit so that it is suspended in the jello, but Mom has become proficient at that with practice all these years. The "dreaded" part is unmolding the thing. Over the years we have tried varying both the temperature of the water and the number of seconds you dip the mold into the water to loosen the jello for unmolding. We have tried more variations than you would think possible. If you get it just right, the jello holds it shape and graces the buffet beautifully. Unfortunately, more often than not it does not, and breaks, melts or falls apart. Usually AFTER it has been unmolded and the platter containing it placed on the buffet. This quite messy, but it does have the benefit of entertaining the troops, so to speak. We have tried making and serving the jello in a flat glass pan (hey, we're not totally stupid) and cutting it into squares, but this solution meets with disapproval from the purists in the crowd. Anyway, there are no jello-loving children coming this year, and daughter Chris, our staunchest traditionalist, will be in Washington cooking for the in-laws this year. So, Mom and I are crossing the dreaded jello mold off the dinner menu this year. Heh, heh. Of course, the family dinner on Christmas Eve is coming ...

Friday, November 17, 2006

I wish I could knit lace

I wish I could knit lace. I think it must take more concentration than I have. I'm saying this because I was over visiting Grumperina's blog and drooling over the pictures in Victorian Lace. I may have to get out the Icarus shawl pattern and take another stab at it. The Suri Elegance Alpaca Laceweight is still sulking in the project basket where I threw it after my last attempt. Maybe this weekend...

Meanwhile I continue with the Train Track vest for Jack. I've started the front and have completeed 37 rows. I fell asleep on the couch last night while watching a very dull movie. Luckily I woke up in time for ER! Anyway.
Here is a picture of Jack, for whom the vest is intended.

Jack loves all sports, but golf is his passion. Yes, at the age of 4. Tiger Woods is his hero. Recently his Dad took him to the practice range at the Country Club. The pro said to him, "Jack, I haven't seen you for a couple weeks, how's your game?" Jack's reply was "My game would be a LOT better if I had spikes like my Dad." I asked my daughter if Jack was going to get spikes, and she said, "No way is he getting spikes! . I have to take him to Nordstroms every three months to replace the shoes he out grows as it is!" He cracks me up.

See ya.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Train tracks and jaywalking in Forbes Forest

Auugh! Blogger is not letting me upload photos this morning. I'll try to add them to post later. If you see them, I was successful.

Since it's Jack's turn for a grammy-knit sweater, I've started the Train Track Slipover (vest to those of us who live in the USA) from Louisa Harding's book Miss Bea's Rainy Day. I love the "Miss Bea" series of pattern books and I'm sorry that Katy has outgrown them, and now Jack is the largest size. It won't be long before I won't be able to use them for him either. I'll have to wait for son Stephen to marry and have children to use them again. I'm not holding my breath here, his current girlfriend is very nice, but I get the feeling that relationship isn't going anywhere. But I digress.
You can see a finished version of this vest on Siow Chin's blog. She knit one for her little nephew and it turned out beautifully. Jack has a large head, so I'll be sure to follow her lead and use the EZ sewn cast off at the neck. I have finished the back and here is a picture of it blocking.

The color is actually more of a dark teal blue-green. I'm a little unsure of what is going on with my gauge here. I was able to block it to the measurements in the schematic, but I had to stretch the width and sort of smoosh down the length. Yes, I did too knit a gauge swatch. But gauge swatchs lie, Stephanie says it's so! Swatchs with cables pull in, so you wash and block them and you have what you think is gauge. But maybe not. Huh.

Now, about those Jaywalker socks. I was knitting the toe of the first sock over the week end and realized I really didn't want to knit a second sock at all. Since I have two feet, there didn't seem to be much point in finishing number one either. So here's what it looks like now. I think this was just the wrong yarn for the Jaywalker pattern. Everyone else loves that pattern, you see finished Jaywalkers all over the knitblogsphere. So I am blaming the yarn. Some day I'll try the pattern with another yarn. Goodness knows I have enough sock yarn in the stash!

Remember when I received five balls of Knitpicks Merino Style in Cornflower Blue when I had ordered (or thought I'd ordered. Whatever.) five balls of Knitpicks Elegance in Cornflower Blue for the Midwest Moonlight scarf? I didn't send them back, they only cost about $12 and I didn't want to pay to ship them back to KnitPicks. I decided to use them for another pattern in Scarf Style. It's the Forbes Forest scarf by Kathy Zimmerman. A quick check of the required yardage for the pattern and the yardage on the Merino Style ball band suggested that I might not have enough yarn for all 20 pattern repeats in the scarf. So I deceided to knit one ball and see if I could get four full repeats. Well, it was just a few row short of four repeats. Here's a picture after I joined the second ball and finished the fourth repeat.

So I guess I'll knit until I run out of yarn and see how it looks. If its too short, I guess I'll order another skein from KnitPicks. Of course, it is bound to be a different dye lot, so that might be a problem.

Still no luck uploading photos. I'll keep trying today.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Finally finished!

Here is the finished scarf for my ISC exchange partner. They are not great pictures. I had to take them at work (because I left the camera there over the weekend) I am a week late already and really wanted to get it in the mail. Thus, these are truly uninspired poses as my office is very blah in its decor. Ah well. The pattern is from Scarf Style and is called Midwest Moonlight.
The yarn is Knit Picks Elegance (70% baby alpaca and 30% silk) in Cornflower Blue. I used an Inox circular needle in size 4 mm. I'm glad I knit this scarf and I'm glad I finished it. I'm afraid I am not a natural lace knitter. I'm just too scatterbrained or something. I kept miscounting and ending up with the wrong number of stitches at the end of the row. Truly, I believe I knit this scarf at least twice if you count the number of rows I had to unpick! Using stitch markers to separate the pattern repeat didn't work because the pattern shifted one stitch when you turned the work to the opposite side, causing the markers to be in the wrong place. But it is finished and I can now bask in the glow of
accomplishment! It is pretty, and I hope my ISE pal likes it as much as I do. I have some other knitting projects I started over the week end. Maybe pictures tomorrow if I remember to take the camera home with me. There are days I think I need a Keeper.

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