Saturday, September 25, 2010

Dark and Stormy - A Shawl Collar Sweater

Pattern:  Dark and Stormy
Yarn:  Berroco Ultra Alpaca (Periwinkle Blue) - 8 skeins
Needles:  Size 7 circular

The picture shows the center back of this shawl-collared sweater.  Knitted from the neck down, the pattern has several options for fittingPeeking under the sweater is a completed pair of socks that have not yet been worn....probably waiting for this sweater. 

I love blue lapis jewelry so I will have to look for a pendant to wear with this sweater.  After spending a fair amount of $$$ for the yarn, it deserves a beautiful piece of jewelry.

Next week is the "Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival".  I am going with Norma who is always such a hoot.  Last year we needed to rent Noah's Ark but Norma brought a leaky umbrella instead.  We were walking in ankle-deep mud, avoiding patches of poison ivy but we had a blast!  I can't wait to see other Vermont Bloggers such as Gayle and Amy.

So, if you are from Vermont and traveling south to attend, Norma and I hope to have knitters meet for dinner at Arvads in Waterbury for wonderful food, conversation and a "show and tell".

As you know, I teach knitting classes and had to swallow my pride and creep over to my LYS for help with the chart on this pattern.  I felt totally frustrated and when I showed it to the clerk, her comment was "Who The Hell Wrote This Pattern?"  Thea Colman designs beautiful sweaters but even I found this chart difficult to comprehend as it does not list all the stitches or pattern repeat like I've seen with other patterns.  Once I understood the designer's approach I found it quite easy.

Earlier this summer I purchased this plastic filled utensil bag at the Christmas Tree Shop.  I really got my money's worth because I am using the bag as a "yarn bra".   

When winding yarn into a "cake" so as to have a center-pull skein, if the fiber is slippery (i.e. silk content) or a very large cake, it eventually falls onto itself and you have a mess of tangles and knots.  The yarn bra prevents that as it contracts as the center of the cake becomes hollow.
You can also buy yarn bras at a number of web stores for very little $$$.

My next round of classes start this Tuesday and I'm very excited about this class.  When other classes at the Rec. Dept. are being canceled due to poor enrollment, I'm fortunate that my class is full with several repeat knitters.

When I hear someone say they are bored, I just cannot relate.  There are so many hobbies to enjoy, books to read, the awe of nature, etc.  Knitting is my relaxation.

I'm having dinner with friends this evening.  For the last 30 years from 15-30 of us have gotten together.  Years ago we met monthly and then would go dancing or to a movie.  As we have aged, we meet 3-4 times per year, have dinner, chat for awhile and then go home.  It's not always easy to find a nice restaurant that will cater to a large group so we are usually limited to a selection of perhaps five restaurants in a city known for its many, many fine restaurants.

Happy Knitting!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Cedar Leaf Shawlette

Pattern:  Cedar Leaf Shawlette
Yarn:  Madeline Tosh Hand Dyed Yarn - Pashmina merino/silk/cashmere

Click on the pattern link to see how beautiful this shawlette can be especially if you are young and beautiful.  My choice of yarn was expensive and disappointing.  However, I still love the shawlette. 

The photography and patterns at this site are superb, absolutely superb and "NeverNotKnitting" currently has a give-away of her 12 new patterns
I had my staff appreciation day.  Lots of pics so I will let the pics speak for themselves.  Lousy time of the day to hold a plate of food in one hand and try to keep the camera steady with the other hand.  Go to the end to see why everyone is "clapping".

One of the many signs informing us of the food selection at the table ahead of us.  Just couldn't get away from the "shadows".

Crowd just beginning to gather.  There was a 3-piece jazz band for entertainment.

The university president was there to greet each and everyone of us and express his appreciation for a job well done.

The best Waldorf salad I've ever eaten.

Great sandwiches!

Grilled hot dogs with a condiment bar nearby! (a little out of focus!)

Just some of the many hundreds of people in attendance.

The sky was so gorgeous!
And everyone is clapping because again this year, the university president announced that we were being given the week between Christmas and New Year's as paid vacation in addition to all our other wonderful benefits.  Because we also get two paid holidays off before Christmas and two days at New Year's, this equals to two full weeks off.

I'm pretty fortunate to have a job with all these perks!  I wish the same to all of you reading this that have jobs outside the home.

Happy Knitting!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Susie's Reading Mitts - Finished

Pattern: "Susie's Reading Mitts" (click for free Pattern from designer)

Yarn: Debbie Bliss Donnagal Luxury Tweed 85% Wool/15% Angora
Needles: Size 5 dps

I'm not sure how I feel about these mitts......

They are quite "earthy".......aren't they???

Originally, the first mitt had the pink candy ribbon.  I felt it was very juvenile-looking and decided to change it.
I was at Jo'Ann's buying the suede ribbon when an 8-year old girl started asking me about the mitt and told me how pretty she thought it was.  That confirmed my thoughts.  This little girl was so sweet that if they had been a smaller size, I would have given the mitts to her.  She told me she was taking ice skating lessons.

She was extremely patient while her grandma and I had this long conversation about crafts. 

I'm a little taken lately with trying out new cheeses in moderation.  Bonne Bouche won the 2010 best aged goat cheese in America award.  I'm proud that it is made here in Vermont.  The grey that you see is actually mold that happens in the aging process.

I was at the health food store and looking for a good cracker to go with the cheese.  The name on these caught my eye.  Seaweed!!!!  Right up my alley with my blog name and my roots that go back to the Coast of Maine.  

I was not disappointed!  Delicious!!!

Oops!  forgot that this is really a knitting blog.  I started a new hat today.  Pictures coming mid-week.  It's a quick knit using alpaca yarn and I am loving it.

BTW...the mitts means I have another UFO finished.  The cooler weather was the incentive I needed.

Happy Knitting!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Vermont Hat - A Fair Isle Adventure

Pattern: Vermont Hat In Fair Isle (free pattern on Ravelry)
Yarn: Cascade 220 (lavender and white)
Needles: Size 7 & 9 circular  size 9 dp's for crown

This pattern is as easy as easy can get when it comes to Fair Isle knitting.  See my previous post for links to videos on YouTube regarding the knitting method I used.

I was able to quickly knit these hats for several reasons.  I used "Knit Picks Harmony Interchangeable Needles"  which I love because it allows me to have the correct size needle on the right and a smaller needle on the left which makes for the stitches to glide along more quickly.  Of course, it's the right needle (in the pic it is the top one) that determines the gauge.  Obviously, this only works when knitting in the round.

The designer states that you are able to knit two hats from the two skeins if you reverse the main color.  I think it may be possible to even get three when using Cascade 220 but don't hold me to that one.  I don't want you to come looking for me unless you are bringing food.
I modified this pattern including an additional two rows to the ribbing and one more row to one of the stripes so that they would each be two rows.  I found the hat to be a little tight for my fat head (not to be confused with egotistical...thank you very much!) so I knitted this next one using 10 1/2 needles. 
Several people asked me about the red scarf that was featured in this post.  The pattern name is "Flared Ribbed Scarf".

My good friend, Deb, also knitted this hat.  Check out her hat and blog.

I will be teaching a class on this hat starting the end of the month.  The next class will be this one which I darn well better be prepared.  It will be a test of my knitting skills and I suspect this class will be filled quickly.

Friday was a pretty stressful day.  The fire alarm was activated and a message stated we were to evacuate the building.  There was an emergency and I was prepared....

I grabbed my handbag and car keys and what else!!!!...................
and left the rest behind.  
Evacuating for me means 4 flights of stairs with my bad leg.  Because we are in a medical research building, it is not unusual for something to happen in one of the labs that sets off the alarm and is quickly resolved. 

Yesterday was a different story.  We were suddenly told to walk across campus as a suspicious package had been found in the basement and the bomb squad was on its way. 
I was able to get to my car and drive home and watch the development in the news.  There was talk of possibly evacuating the adjoining hospital.  In all, over 1,000 employees were evacuated. 

The packaged was removed which means I am thankful I have a job on Monday.

Happy Knitting!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Water Bottle Jacket Carrier

While my daughter and her family were visiting last July, I noticed they all had the following water bottle in various colors.  I was impressed that there were still ice cubes in the water 8+ hrs. later on what was a very, very hot day.

Needless to say, I wanted one in the hopes that it might help in my battle with kicking the "Diet Pepsi" addiction that I have.  To my credit, I drink much less of it than I did several years ago.

I was not able to find a Thermos water bottle in Vermont but they are available at Target.  They are more expensive but well worth it!!!

Yea, yea, I know, we don't have a Target.  Can you believe that?  We were the last state to get a WalMart.  Shopping is very subdued in this state.

This Thermos water bottle is unbreakable and because it is double insulated, it does not sweat.  It goes everywhere with me.  I even keep it by my bedside at night should I wake up feeling thirsty.

So, yesterday, while I was at the Vermont Agricultural Fair and others were buying lukewarm water bottles for $3, I had my icy cold water with me.  I didn't feel so bad when I had to pay $6 for a sausage sandwich and $3 for a real maple ice cream dish.

It is leak-proof while the lid is closed and the silver clip in the upright position assures that it will not accidentally open.

I'm intrigued by the fact that the lid stays in the open position while drinking and there is no chance that it will "boink" you in the nose and you will suddenly look like Jimmy Durante. 

I knitted the jacket "blindly" with only a few dimensions as I had not yet received my own bottle.  Though it was a quick knit, I'm sure a crocheted version would be even faster.  I attached a canvas strap as I wanted the sturdiness it would provide and the strap would not cut into my daughter's shoulder.  I secured it on the bottom as well as the top sides. 

The buckle is not shown but I am a little concerned about the quality.  The next one (my own) will have "D" rings (purchased at JoAnn's) instead.

Happy Knitting!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Vermont Hat

Yarn:  Cascade 220 (lavender and white)
Needles:  Size 7 & 9 circular & size 9 dp's for crown

Fair Isle knitting never has more than two different color yarns in the same row.  Fair Isle is usually knitted in the round.  It is just easier.  If knitting a cardigan, steeking is utilized. 

This site (<--click) has a wealth of information for a Fair Isle beginner.

I will be teaching a Fair Isle, sometimes known as "Stranded Color Work", at the end of September.  This pattern is perfect for a beginner.  It's an easy pattern to knit and there are no long floats in the back.  Floats should not be any longer than 5 stitches.

I held one color in my right hand and one color in my left hand.  Here is a good video to demonstrate this approach.....    "Stranded Color Work"                         
      Here's another great reference.... "How To Catch Back Yarn In Two Color Knitting"

Using the method above gives the inside a very "neat" look.

I'm off to finish knitting my hat.  I've had a busy day.....much more later.  I also need to catch up on my blog reading.

Happy Knitting!