KAL Readiness

I’m not a Knit-a-long (KAL) person in general. For so many decades, I knit without a knitting group; I engaged in what I call “monastic knitting”: I was the only knitter I knew, so it made little difference what I knit in terms of hanging with knitting peeps. I’m used to knitting to my own muse, without reference to jumping on the knitting bandwagon. Admittedly with the advent of the internet, etc. I have a whole lot of inspiration, but still, most of the time, I’m knitting to my own drummer most of the time.

There’s also the issue of what pattern. For sweaters, I’m pretty picky about the pattern that I’ll use. Just one example: I’m not a fan (for me) of the February Lady Sweater, because I don’t think it would flatter me, even though it looks terrific on the gal who adapted this pattern.

There’s also the (addiction) issue of my unselfish knitting: I knit a lot for others, and so I don’t knit things that will not fit or flatter me. When I knit for myself, I really just go whole-hog into something I really want to knit.

Imagine my surprise that I’m actually about to start a KAL – the Tradisi Scarf for Shawl (check my post for info) on February 1st.  The Tradisi KAL group on Ravelry is lovely, with new and experienced knitters getting inspiration and tips.  I’m happy to say that one of the test knitters for this project took intro to lace knitting with me long ago, and is now totally an expert – I got her started, and she learned to fly with lace! For Tradisi, I had the yarn already in the stash (Bugga! – my first time with this yarn), and since I’d like to add some beads at each end of the shawl, I went shopping for the needed beads today. I got a couple of colors so I’d have options, see?

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I’m looking forward to being a part of this, which is quite a change!
But fortunately I also have a wonderful project to knit at the same time. My Kingscot is coming along. The swatch (post blocking) came out great:

Kingsco1a.JPG

I’m doing the body of the sweater in one piece, and I may even knit the sleeves top-down in the round to avoid any seaming except at the shoulders. I’m adding a bit in length, so I repeated the first few rows of the charts on the front so the pattern will balance top to bottom.

Kingscot1b.JPG
And yes, I realize that both of these items are in aqua!

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FOs: Socks and a Scarf

Over the weekend I was kinda overwhelmed with life as it was.  Knitting was my refuge as it often is.  Some of the unselfish knitting projects got done.

Socks for Soldiers socks – a friend’s husband is headed to Iraq, and I’m hoping that these socks will be a reminder that folks at home are thinking of him:

SFS 3d

The SFS socks ended up being a pain in the knit, because after finishing the 2nd sock, I realized that the 1st sock had a leg that was 2 inches too short (apparently I can’t measure up to 12 inches). Argh. I attempted “sock surgery – I took out a round at the leg, put the stitches back on the needles, knit the extra two inches. But then I could not graft the 2×2 ribbing together – it’s way harder than stockinette, and the place I was doing it was with Regia stretch on size 0 needles. Was. Not. Happening.

So, I gave up and reknitted the entire foot again on the first sock. Ugh. But they are done, and they are done on time. For that I am truly thankful!
Then, on the opposite end of the scale, I finished a pair of socks for Afghans for Afghans – a basic pair of toe-up socks with some bright colors to cheer:
a4a Vanilla Striped sock1b

But probably the loveliest thing is the Here and There Scarf, knit in Berroco’s lovely Inca Gold yarn in the lovely Verde Azulado colorway:
HereandThereScarf1f

I made the scarf narrower than the pattern provides (see my project details here on Ravelry), and it is still plenty wide for any normal human being, and plenty long (which will be important for the intended recipient).  It looks and feels like a luxury item, which is the whole point.  (Just ignore the cat dish in the photo to keep up the illusion that I live in a lovely spacious apartment, ok?)

With all of these projects coming to an end, I’ve swatched for Kingscot, and cast-on with the Ultra Alpaca Light.  Am really, really happy to knit for me now!

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Of course

My Mom and I went to the hospital yesterday for her cataract surgery, which seems to have gone well.  We went to the small waiting/changing/getting ready for the surgery room.  In walks a nurse, Laura, who glances at me, and says without a beat, “Did you knit your sweater?”

Mind you, I’m sitting down, wearing a light quilted jacket OVER the cardigan, so maybe 3 inches shows.  I exclaim quickly, “Yes, I did, do you knit too?” even though I knew that she must be an experienced knitter to see a hand-knit garment that quickly.  We engaged in a lovely knit-talk, about which stores are our favorites (Bluebird Yarn & Fiber), and she even got out her “love scarf” made of silk that she keeps in the nurses office so that whoever needs to wear it that day can.  I thought this was a fabulous idea for an office.

She even taught me a new way to wear a scarf/shawlette.

Later, my mom, who despite her nervousness about the surgery had noticed our conversation, said to me later, “No matter where we are, you always seem to find someone who knits and you talk about it.”

Of course.

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Will You Tradisi With Us?

Remember that cute, funny and touching movie a few years ago called Millions?  Here’s the trailer for it – rent it if you get the chance!

The last scene of the movie, where the village gets water finally from a new well and celebrates at the simple gift of water chokes me up every dang time.  But that’s what we can do right now in real life, as well as get a lovely scarf out of the effort.

I mentioned a couple of times that I will be joining in a Knit-a-long (KAL) soon; the pattern that we will be using is Tradisi by Christina Nixon (ravelry link).  We’re starting February 1st, so you still have time to join us!

The background is that Chris was part of a lovely knitting group in Mill Valley until she and her husband moved to Indonesia for some research work that they are doing. Christina has a great blog about her adventures at Nomadic Nixons.

One project that Christina added to her busy schedule is Operation Dig, which is to  build a clean water well for a local orphanage in Waitabula, Sumba. The proceeds of the Tradisi pattern will be used to help dig this well. The Mill Valley knitting group is KAL central for the knit-a-long, but you can live anywhere and still be a part of it. Judy (Braizyn on Ravelry) has set up a Ravelry group/thread for the KAL – it’s called “Tradisi – KAL”.

So hop over to Ravelry to buy the Tradisi pattern, go into your stash, or your LYS, or online, to find the yarn for either the scarf or shawl version. Make sure you’ve got your appropriate needles and stitch markers.  You also may want to check out options for beads as well, both Christina’s pattern, and an option by Gale, her test knitter, look great!

Join us as we Tradisi in style!

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Really Bad at This

As some who read the blog might remember, I whined might have mentioned a lot a little about the fact that I had knit other people things for quite a while, including a couple of lovely sweaters, and I was going to be more selfish in my knitting because I was a teensy-weensy tired of knitting for other people.  Now I did work on some lovely Diagonal Lace socks, that I am in fact wearing at this very moment, which is good.  But, what’s on my needles and in my just-finished project pile?  Let’s see:

First, a pair of socks knit out of some donated and stashed Lamb’s Pride, with some sock yarn added to heels and toes:

a4a youth socks8a

Second, a pair of socks through Socks for Soldiers for a family friend headed to Iraq.  This is the second foot for the second sock, because my attempt at sock surgery completely failed.
SFS 3d.JPG

Third, a scarf for a friend – and it’s very cushy and yummy.  I’m about 45 inches, with 20 more inches to go.

HereandThereScarf1c

It’s going to be amazing after it gets blocked!

Fourth, a little preemie baby hat out of a fun self-striped sock yarn from Meileinweit – it’s great for leftovers!
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And fifth, another pair of socks from stash yarn for Afghans for Afghans:
a4a Vanilla Striped sock1a
This uses some creative striping to use up some leftovers well!

You might have noticed that none of these projects are for me. Yep, I have nothing on my needles for me.  Now, in the queue there is the lovely Kingscot cardigan (I’m waiting for my yarn from WEBS, they had a great sale on Ultra Alpaca Light), and I will be starting a KAL on February 1st on something for me – I’ll be blogging about it in a couple of days, because I’d love for folks to join us and help bring water to village across the world by participating.

But still, I must confess: I am really bad at selfish knitting.

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FOs: Diagonal Lace Socks, a Basic Pair of Mittens

Because I didn’t want to face some inevitable and partially completed sock surgery after managing to fall yet again while teaching my water aerobics class (grrr!), I took a little time out to weave in ends – it’s so satisfying to take about a 1/2 hour to get a couple of small things completely done.

The socks:

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Diagonal Lace Socks (rav link) from Socks from the Toe Up by Wendy D. Johnson.

The mittens:

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A bit of stranding and striping jazzes up the Basic Mitten pattern (rav link) by Ann Budd.

The mittens are for Afghans for Afghans – and the current campaign goes ’til Valentine’s Day, February 14th. Hoping to at least get another pair of mittens and socks done in time.

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Even Norah Gaughan Is Not Immune

There are many wonderful knitwear designers, past and present.  One that immediately comes to mind Elizabeth Zimmermann, who I’d wish I’d found way before she died to take some classes from, whose books line my knitting book shelf.   There are so many, in fact, that I won’t put their names here for fear of leaving them out of the equation.

Right now, I’m apparently finally expressing my knitterly love for Norah Gaughan, another brilliant designer.  One thing that I love about her is that she is short, and actually designs sweaters that work for short people, and people who have curves!  I’ve started a Here and There Cables Scarf (rav link)  out of some extra skeins of Inca Gold from the Radience Cabled Cardigan I knit a couple of years ago.  About a year ago a friend admired the sweater and confessed that she loved the color, so she will get the scarf that matches.

Hereandtherescarf1a

A very clever and not very hard reversible cable pattern makes it a match! Yarn and pattern (from Scarf Style) are quite the pair I’d say:

Hereandtherescarf1b

But let me confess that I cast on for this project (which in the pattern has 74 stitch cast-on) at least four times. I tried 74 stitches, but realized that I don’t have enough yarn (and the scarf would end up pretty wide).  So,  I figured out the repeat was a multiple of six, since there is a knit 3, purl 3 ribbing, plus 2 edge stitches.  Except that when I cast on 62 stitches, it didn’t work out – I ran out of stitches before the repeat was done.  OK, it must be a multiple of 12 stitches, right?  I cast on 50 stitches, and that didn’t work either.  Finally, in looking at the actual stitch pattern (which is between the asterisks * *), I realized that it is an 18-stitch repeat, so my choices were 38 stitches (too narrow) or 56 stitches (just right).  This has given me a new appreciation for the patterns that tell you the repeat plus selvedge count in the pattern for those of us who cannot take the trouble to count.

Meanwhile I’m impatiently waiting for some lovely sale Ultra Alpaca Light from WEBS in the lovely aqua turquoise heather mix so that I can finally knit Kingscot, a cabled cardigan that has been on my favorited list for at least a couple of years, and I finally got some yarn for it.  After what seems like knitting everyone else sweaters through the summer and fall (Ok, I did knit myself a Mythos, in laceweight to boot), I am selfishly awaiting the yarn to arrive so that I can knit all for me.  I think that I knit others sweaters that were really lovely, and am coping with the fact that they were not for me.  Appreciated mightily by the recipients, fortunately, but still not my size, and not in my closet.

Kingscot is such a lovely sweater – a style that balances out a woman’s figure, has a very attractive back (especially if you take the trouble to match the ribbing at the bottom to the body pattern).  I’m not completely sure that I’ll keep the swingy shape, I may add some waist-shaping to it, and I know that I’ll do a full button band and buttons down the front.  Maybe I’ll add a collar.  Ok, maybe not, I’m not sure.

Oh, geez, what am I saying?  Even when I’m using lovely  Norah Gaughan patterns, I cannot leave it alone, can I?  But Elizabeth Zimmermann is whispering in my ear, “You are the boss of your own knitting.”  Whew.

Which leads me to the question, what knitterly folk whisper over your shoulder? Or is it just me?

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A Little Seduction for the New Year

I’m done with the old year.  Done, done, done!  Did I mention how I’m done with it all?

New things beckon, new possibilities to unfold, and I’m so, so glad that there is yarn to play with.  See what lovelies I have?
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The lovely rose-colored one on the left?  Courtesy of Scout of Scout’s Swag, the latest club shipment.  I hope she sells this in her store eventually, because it is really nice.  I really, really like it, and I’m pondering the possibilities of a lovely scarf or shawl, possibly out of Sock-Yarn One Skein Wonders.

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The other one is from Iv Brambles Sockscene – a gift from Nhien, who is a long-time friend in southern California – the colors couldn’t be more perfect for me.  See the lovely colors?

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I’m thinking a textured pair of socks would be nice!

In other knitting progress, a pair of mittens is close to done:

a4a stripey mittens.JPG

and a pair of socks for someone headed to Iraq will be done by the time he’s headed out:

SFS 3a .JPG

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