My Dyed Harvest Yarn Shawlette

– This is one of the most satisfying knitting projects I have done. This is the vanilla yarn which I dye and have named Harvest Yarn. We blogged about our dying project in our very first post on March 27, “It’s All About the Dyeing!“.

I chose the “Maia” pattern from 7 Small Shawls, by Rosemary Hill. I thought the pattern looked like falling leaves which is perfect for my Harvest Yarn. I used my own, hand-made, heart stitch markers to keep track of the pattern and Q’s handmade cake covers to hold the yarn. Her pattern for the cake cover is featured in our April 7 post, “Cover that Cake with Colorful Berries“.

When I started working “Chart F,” it wasn’t working out, there was a problem. The pattern called for a 3sltog (slip 3, knit two together, pass three stitch over knit.) This makes a four stitch decrease. The stitch count kept coming out wrong, there were not enough stitches. After a bit of frogging, I did a 2sltog, a three stitch decrease, it worked out great.

The shawlette was soaked for 20 minutes. It was then blocked on my large blocking board. If you missed the instructions for making a large blocking board, check our May 6 Large Blocking Project part 1 post. I explain how it’s done.

What start out as plain, vanilla yarn was dyed and then knitted into a shawlette. It feels good making something no one else has. That is what is so great about knitting. You choose a project and make it your own. 🙂

LARGE BLOCKING PROJECT PART II

– The circular jacket is finally ready to block. As I said before, I did the body of the sweater on the knitting machine and the lace by hand. I used Sirdar’s yarn Crofter Dk, shade # 47 Skye. I have to thank my good friend Claudia for getting me interested in machine knitting. We have lots of fun figuring out new techniques.  The pattern is called Circular Jacket. Claudia says, “It is from a very old Machine Knitters News, the English magazine that is no longer in print.”  We are very luck to have two class on machine knitting in the San Diego Area. They are held at the Foothills Adult Ed. Building. The teacher has been teaching machine knitting for years.

This is the first major project I have completed on the machine.

            

After hand washing, I placed the piece between two towels, rolled it up, and gently pressed to get most of the water out.

             

I am so glad that I made a 4 x 8 foot blocking board. See Large Blocking Project Part I on instructions for making a large blocking board. I used “T” pins to hold the shape of the circle until it dried. I lightly steamed the lace. The blocking board worked frantastic.

     

Well this project was worth waiting for. I have decided not to put sleeves on it so technically it is a circular vest. Well what do you think? Cute? Notice, I’m wearing my hand-dyed t-shirt too!

Well I am off to start another major project.

Tams Are Me

  I have loved wearing a tam, since I was young. I like to pull my tam to one side of my head. Our grandfather loved wearing a tam. He was a tall, striking man of Norwegian heritage and wore a tam all of  the time. I loved seeing them on him. I am sure this is why my tam love-affair started.  In fact, Q made sure grandpa was wearing his favorite tam when he was buried.

I have always worn the felted tams that everyone is familiar with. (Q – she is adorable in tams!) A few years ago, I decided it was time that I try to knit one.  I bought the book Knitted Tams by Mary Rowe, picked out one of the patterns, and attempted to  knit it. It was a total disaster and I’m not quite sure why. Something just went horribly wrong.  I did not try to knit another one until I saw THE HAT on the front cover of “Vogue Knitting” Fall 2009. The article was called “Head Trips”.  The name of THE HAT is Vine and Leaf Beret on page 75. I love THE HAT so much that I have made 3 of them! This is a picture of Q wearing THE HAT on our Northwest Trip, she didn’t bring a hat so I took pity on her and let her wear it.  I made it as a gift for mom.  (Q – being the wonderful sister that she is, she ended up knitting a tam for me on the trip.)

When Q dyed the gradient, green yarn (see our post in March “It’s All About the Dyeing“) I was ready to try a Fair Isle tam. I looked through all my books and online to find just the right tam that would work well using gradient yarn colors. I found the Three Tams by Angela Sixian Wu on Ravelry and choose Tam C to knit.

It has been a blast to knit this tam. I start out using the darker colored green yarn at the bottom and the lighter color at the top this way it follows shadows and light.  The yarn is Stitch Nation’s “full o’ sheep” and it is a little heavier than I usually use for a tam. I used a size 5 to cast on for the standard rib (k1,p1,) then I changed to a size 7 to do the body.

I used the twined method of knitting, so I wouldn’t have a lot of strings on the inside to get caught on something.  See the inside, notice strings are not carried across as in a regular Fair Isle. This is going to be my Spring hat so colorful to wear.  Look how wonderful the gradient looks!

Blocking the tam is very easy.  First, hand wash in a mild soap. I use Eucalan No Rinse Delicate Wash.  Shampoo works great, too.  After gently washing, sandwich the tam between two towels and press out most of the moisture. Remember Do Not Wring!

  

Now get a dinner plate about 10 to 10 1/2″ and gently stretch the damp tam over it. Check the bottom to make sure the tam is centered and equal on all sides of the plate.

          

Note: The picture below is the finished tam off the plate. Next time I do my tam I shall put the top of the tam on the top of the plate. I did it this way per instruction, but, as you can see,  it left the shape of the bottom of the plate on the tam.  The bottom of the plate should come out of the bottom of the hat.

Let the tam totally dry, it might take up to 2 days. If it doesn’t look as if it has a sharp enough edge shape for you, lightly steam it. Do Not Iron.  Since ironing will flatten the tam and the yarn will loose all of its bouncy look. Notice the nice sharp edge.  Perfection! 😎

  

Large Blocking Project part 1

– The hardest part of a large knitted project is figuring out how to block it. I had been on the look out for a blocking board that would handle large projects, such as my green sweater. My eureka moment finally happened while I visiting my mother last winter.  She was watching one of her quilting shows on TV. They were show how to make an ironing board out of insulation board when boom it hit me! What a great blocking board this would make. Most of the ones I had been looking at were made out of plywood and entirely too heavy for me to carry. I used RMAX solid insulation board which can be cut to the desired size. It is ideal since it withstands the heat of  ironing or steaming and the foil makes it water-proof. I made mine with a full sheet, 4 feet x 8 feet.

Next, I covered it with quilted ironing board fabric that I bought at JoAnn Fabric and Craft Store. At first I wasn’t going to use the whole sheet of insulation, but once I looked at it I decided why not. Before you by your fabric decide what size will work for you, so you don’t have to piece the fabric together. You can see that quilted fabric is in two pieces because I decided on the size after I cut it. I pinned the fabric to the back of the board until I find a suitable adhesive. This was the perfect for blocking board for my wonderful green sweater. I seamed the shoulders together, dampened the sweater, then laid it out on the board, and pinned it to dry. Perfection!

Part 2 will be blocking the circular sweater I am currently knitting now. So look for more blocking tips in the future.

WIP’s: A Knitter’s Best Kept Secret

~Raise you hand if you’re too embarrassed to truthfully tell people how many wip’s you have on needles.  Thought so, both of my hands are raised.  I know sister Barb has some, but I really can’t tell her how many I have – my dirty, little secret.  So, sister Barb has given herself a mission and that is: she can’t start any other BIG project until she finishes a big project.  I mentioned this a few days ago. Big projects are like sweaters, shawls, vests, etc.  Little projects fall into the hats, gloves, and scarves categories.  My problem is, except for shawls, I tend to stick to little projects.  Every time I walk into a yarn shop or look at knitting blogs online I become enamored by the patterns, yarn, colors, etc and just have to try something new.  I think I should officially call my syndrome “Knitters Attention Deficit Disorder”  or KADD.  If there were medals for oldest wip, I probably win the gold.  I started this afghan when I was sick with pneumonia my senior year of high school.  I fell in love with the pattern in Good Housekeeping magazine. It think it was the “holes” that did it. My sweet mom bought the yarn and needles for me. When was that you ask?  Back in 1966! And, yes mom I still have 4 more balls of yarn to knit. This wip has followed me thorough 9 moves!  Unfortunately, the pattern was lost long ago.  There were two rows, I just remember it was something like K3, *K12, (yo, k)3x* repeat * across row end k3.  The next row was k3, *k6, (yo, k)3x* repeat * across row end k3.  Knit until you get tired then quit!  I have added to it off and on for years.  Maybe, just maybe, one day I’ll finish it and put and end to the saga.

There actually is another knitter’s syndrome called “Finisher’s Attention Disorder Deficit” or FADD.  It apples to all of us who don’t like to weave in ends, block, sew parts together, etc.  Sad to say I have that disorder too!  Count my mother-in-law in the ranks with that disorder.  After her death, my sister-in-law Les gave my m-i-l’s two unfinished knitting projects to me.  Geri had taken the projects off of the needles, she just hadn’t done the finishing touches.  Les said since I knit and she doesn’t I could have them.  I’m glad!  One project was slippers. Luckily, there was still enough yarn left so I was able to sew the parts together.  I gave them to my granddaughter, Maddie. They fit so beautifully and she was excited to get them.

The second project was an afghan.  There were a bazillion ends to weave in.  It was a knit-across-the-row, cut-the-yarn, add-a-new-yarn-the-next-row type of pattern.  I have been weaving in all of the ends, I just have a small portion left.  I’m giving the afghan to my son Michael because those two had special parts in their hearts for each other.  I’m going to surprise him with the afghan.  It is the most boring job EVER but I’m doing it as a labor of love.  It really is quite a striking pattern.  She began it in the 1970’s, but I don’t know when the actual project was taken off of the needles. And yes, I have been weaving in the ends off-and-on for over a year.

I can’t blame these syndromes on my mom (dang it) because she never left projects on the needles and she always finished her projects so nicely.  What both Barb and I inherited from mom, who in turn got the gene from grandma, is our collection gene.  We both have fairly hefty collections of yarn and fabric!  Ala mom!  But that is a different story.

I have made a promise to use sister Barb as a role model and try to finish some projects.  Please, where is Knitter’s Anonymous (KA) when you need it?  I did finish the Maja Shawl last week.  I’m on a roll!