Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Resolution Check In

As of today, 2010 is one quarter over. I thought I should check in with my knitting new year's resolutions.

Resolution #1: Knit more for myself
Well, I spent most of January and February knitting myself a sweater. I'd like to knit another top for the spring/summer for myself, and maybe a sweater for the fall/winter too. I'm also working on a lace shawl for myself.

Resolution #2: Knit 4 baby sweaters for Fourth Trimester
I've finished one sweater, and have a second one on the needles.

Resolution #3: Knit More Lace
Well, I'm working on Gail. It's slow going, but I'm working on it.

Resolution #4: Knit 3 Squares for the Great American Afghan
I've cast on for the first square. I plan on using them as wall decorations. I think they'll be pretty!

Resolution #5: Assemble Lovefest Squares
No progress on this one.

I'm also behind (as usual) on my Christmas knitting. The good news is, my January and February projects were no big deal. The March project though, is a hat I actually need to make. Hopefully, I'll catch up in April.

How are your resolutions going?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Eyelet Trimmed Tank Top

Little Girl asked me for a purple tank top. I had some purple yarn, so I set out to make this.

But, as I was working my way up from the bottom, my mind started working, and it turned into this:

I can't tell you how proud I am of this top. It's the first time I've attempted to design anything (even if it's only the top of a shirt), and it looks perfect on Little Girl.

Here's the details:
Gauge: 5 stitches/inch (I used size 6 needles).
Approximately 330 yards of DK weight yarn (I used Debbie Bliss Cotton Cashmere).
Size 4/5 tank top
Cast on 172 stitches and join, being careful not to twist the stitches.
Row 1:Knit
Row 2: Purl
Row 3: YO, K2tog* Repeat around
Row 4: Purl
Knit in stockinette stitch until piece measures 9". Decrease 30 stitches evenly. (I used this calculator). Repeat rows 2-4. Decrease another 30 stitches evenly. Knit in moss stitch, until piece measures 11". BO 6 stitches in pattern, work 50 stitches in pattern, BO 12 stitches, work 44 stitches in pattern. Turn work. BO 6 stitches. Finish row in pattern.
Turn work. Work back and forth in moss stitch until back measures 11.5" ending on a right side row.
Row 1 (RS): SSK, work in moss stitch to last two stitches, K2tog.
Row 2 (WS): Work in moss stitch
Repeat these two rows until 30 stitches remain. Work first 5 stitches and leave on holder, BO 20 stitches, work last 5 stitches and leave on a holder.
Reattach yarn to front on WS. Work across in pattern.
Next row (RS): SSK, work to last two stitches, K2tog
Next row (WS): Work across in pattern
Repeat these two rows until 32 stitches remain. Work decrease row one more time (30 stitches). Next row (WS) Work 5 stitches, place on holder, BO 20 stitches in pattern, work last 5 stitches.
Work strap on these 5 stitches.
Row 1 & 2: Knit
Row 3: K2tog, YO, K1, YO, K2tog
Row 4: Knit
Repeat until strap measures 5", graft to corresponding 5 stitches on the back.
Reattach yarn to other strap. Repeat. Weave in ends, block, and make some little girl happy!

Monday, March 15, 2010

North Shore Yarn Crawl - Part II

Saturday I hit two more stores on the North Shore Yarn Crawl - the Sit 'n Knit in Melrose and Butterfly Yarns in Wakefield. These are the two stores closest to my house, and I've been to them both a number of times.

The Sit 'n Knit is manned by two very nice and helpful ladies. I'm always a little disappointed that every time I'm in there, no one seems to realize I've been there before, especially since I always have at least one beautiful child in tow who is wearing something I've knit. It's an art - remembering your customers - but I particularly appreciate salespeople who do this. The store itself is great for "workhorse yarns" - Rowan, Cascade, Encore, etc. I never feel like there is anything different or amazing, and unlike most stores, there aren't a lot of samples hanging around to give you ideas. Since I use a lot of workhorse yarns, I'm glad that this store is close to me!

I've had mixed experiences at Butterfly Yarns. Actually, most of them have been really good except once. I went in with a friend right when they opened, and the person working was far more interested in doing whatever she was doing than helping us. I almost never went back. The kicker is, two of the salespeople are twins. I have no idea which twin was so unhelpful. The other times I've been there though, the sales staff has been attentive without being overbearing, and have been more than helpful. I bought some fingering weight cotton/silk yarn to make a dress for Baby Girl. I'm super excited because I found something that I'm sure will work perfectly and was much less expensive than the options I had seen at other stores.

Overall, I enjoyed the North Shore Yarn Crawl. It was a great excuse to see some yarn shops that are only a little out of my way. I was a little disappointed in the lack of in-store specials related to the crawl. I did receive some free patterns from Abbott Yarns, and Seed Stitch had an advertised special of buy six skeins get one free, but I didn't see any of the other promotions mentioned on the yarn crawl website. And really, I just expect stores to have sales, especially during such an event. I know this is the first year that the stores have done this. I hope they do it again and that they have some more promotions.

And now, I'm off to knit and wait for a phone call that I've won one of the raffles!!

Happy Knitting!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

North Shore Yarn Crawl

The North Shore Yarn Crawl started today. I thought it was a good excuse to check out some shops within driving distance that I have never visited. So, I packed up the kids, promised them lunch and some time at the beach, and took off this morning.

Our first stop was Seed Stitch Fine Yarn in Salem. The shop is gorgeous, and the two women who worked there were very helpful. I had the kids bring coloring books and crayons, and they sat a nice big table and colored for a little while, and then played with some of the toys the shop has in the corner (I love shops that have decent toys for the kids to use.) There are a lot of things being raffled off for the crawl on display - I want them ALL! I wound up buying one skein of Blue Sky Organic Cotton. I had made a mistake in my notes, and thought I only needed 100 yards for a project I had in mind for Little Girl. I didn't think much about it at the time, but on the way home, I realized that just didn't make sense. So, now I have to decide to use the yarn for something else, or to buy another skein. I've decided not to worry about it this week.

Next stop of Yarns in the Farms in Beverly. Actually, that's not true. The next stop was Prides Crossing Confections, the cutest little candy store you can imagine. I just happened to notice it as we drove by and we stopped. The kids got some chocolate bunny pops, and I got some fudge. YUM! Then we went to Yarns in the Farms. I was a little disappointed in this store. It's really small, and there's hardly room to manuever an umbrella stroller. They have some nice yarns, but nothing that felt really special. However, I would be very interested in visiting again without the kids. They were hungry, and little boy was getting hyper, so I can't say I felt like I was at liberty to really browse. The proprietor was really nice, and tried to engage the kids a little bit, which I really appreciated. It's kind of a hike for me, but I'd make it once more without kids to see if I get a different feel.

The last yarn shop stop was Abott Yarn Shop, also in Beverly. This shop doesn't have a website, so I wasn't sure if it would be worth stopping. But, it happened to be two minutes away from Burger King, and I promised the kids I would be no more than 5 minutes. This shop was also small, and I didn't get to look at too much, but the proprietor can only be described as lovely. I only bought one skein of Happy Feet sock yarn (to make my brother a pair of ankle socks for Christmas), but I walked away with several free patterns, an idea for a sweater (the proprietor was wearing it) and directions to the beach. I would totally go back there!

Here's the yarn:

Here are some pictures of the kids at the beach. It was kind of chilly, but they had a good time! I promised them we would go back on a sunny day, when we could stay longer.

Baby girl was tickled with the sand (although I was not so tickled that she kept trying to eat it.) My mom made her hat.

I have lots and lots of knitting to do! Happy knitting to you!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Cabled Turtleneck Sweater

On Thursday, I finished my sweater. I bound off the turtleneck and wove in the ends. I neglected the laundry, the dishes, and the children (a little bit). I was starting to get nervous that I wouldn't get a chance to wear it before the weather got warmer.

My husband took these pictures, and I realize you can't see the cable all that well. I'm really pleased with the sweater though. It fits well, it's warm, and it has a striped turtleneck thing that I LOVE!!!

Here's the information:
The pattern is published by James C. Brett. (Don't you think that my sweater looks like the one on the cover of the pattern?)

I used the Marble Chunky yarn called for in the pattern. I think I used about 3 1/2 skeins, but it might have been a little more or a little less. The only modification I made was to knit the turtleneck part in the round, instead of knitting it flat and seaming it.
I'm hoping to enjoy this sweater for a few winters!
I should have immediately resumed work on the Fourth Trimester sweater or Gail. But, little girl requested a purple tank top, and I just happen to have a stash of some purple, yup, I cast on for a tank top. It's hard to turn Little Girl down.
Happy knitting!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Lovin' Wool

Originally uploaded by dorriejean
I know, I know - you've seen this picture before!

I wore these mittens sledding last week. I was a bit nervous - they're not waterproof, they're a little big, and they're just handknit mittens. At least, that's what I thought.

Through two hours of sledding, my hands stayed warm and dry. Warm is an understatment - my hands were SWEATING. Now, I walked to school all through high school, and more often than not, my fingers would be bright red with cold by the time I arrived in school. If only I had known how to knit then.....

I love my mittens. They're still soft, and they've felted everso slightly, which makes them fit even better. My hands have never been so happy to play in the snow.

I'm seriously considering knitting myself some wool longjohns for next winter.

Happy knitting!

Monday, March 1, 2010

I'm Not a Medal Contender...

So, I didn't finish my Knitting Olympics project. I also didn't finish my sweater (although it's all sewn together - thanks Mom!). I was doing alright the first week, but then I took the little kids to my parents' for the week, and the knitting time just wasn't there. I had fun competing, but I had way more fun watching the Olympic Athletes.

We had a great visit though (despite a little tummy bug the beginning of the week.) Western New York had a decent amount of snow, and that meant lots of outside time for the kids. We even went sledding a couple of times! (I can't seem to move the picture, so it's above.) I love telling myself that all that fun counts as exercise.
If all goes well, March will be a month of significant knitting.