Saturday, May 28, 2011

Yarn review- Knit Picks Dishie

I am a self proclaimed yarn snob, so I wish I could explain my love of knitting dishcloths.

You know what I'm talking about - the ones your grandma knit and you can buy at the church bazaar.. Honestly, it gets even stranger, because I am not in charge of the kitchen at our house, and you can rarely find a dish cloth in my hand. (nice, huh?)

When I saw that Knit Picks had a new yarn called "Dishie", I had to buy it right away. They have a great selection of solid colors, so I chose a blue that will go with our kitchen/living room decor.

I have tried all kinds of dish cloth patterns, but TanMan likes to use the traditional pattern, knit on the diagonal, the best. With Dishie, I used a size 8 needle, and knit until 45 sts are on the needle, then began the decrease.

I liked knitting with the yarn. It seems to be spun a little tighter, and has a crisp feel to it. It washed up nice, and best of all- it works great as a dish cloth. It is soft, absorbent, and holds up on the dishes and for wiping off the counters. I like it and best of all, TanMan likes it too.

I made three dishcloths from one skein, with a little left over, so it is a good value too.

All in all, I would recommend Dishie for those of you addicted to dishcloth knitting.  I hope they expand their colorways to include multi-colored yarns, like the other brands, in the future!

Have a great holiday weekend. 

I will be praying for peace - but also saying  a prayer of thanks to all of those brave soldiers who are fighting for our country.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Shawl Blocking 101

I finished the Juneberry Triangle by Jared Flood.  

It was a fun project that I really enjoyed knitting.
     Needles: US 5
     Yarn:  Louis Harding Aimee - 90% cotton, 10% cashmere

Now comes the final step - and a very important one - blocking it to show it's true beauty. 

If you have knit the item with the yarn and needles specified in the pattern, use the final measurements given in the pattern for a blocking guideline. 

For my shawl, I changed yarn and needles, so I will block it without following measurements.

Ready?? Lets get started...
First I start with warm water and Soak.  I love this product - it is mild, smells nice, and really seems to relax the fibers.  I let the shawl soak in the sink for about 20 minutes.

No rinsing is required with Soak, so let the water out and lightly squeeze the shawl to remove water. 
Do not twist it or wring it out like a dish rag! 
Spread it out over a dry towel, and fold it up into the towel.
Squeeze the towel to remove all of the excess water. 
This way you dry it out without hurting the wet fibers.

Assemble your blocking tools and you are ready to start. 

I use kids play squares for blocking, although I also have the blocking squares from Knit Picks.  I'm not using the Knit Picks blocking squares because I only bought one set, and it doesn't cover enough area for a normal size shawl.  It is much cheaper to buy these inexpensive kids floor squares from Sam's Club.  

Before I had the squares, I laid a sheet down on the carpet and just pinned it to the floor.  (Can't say that TanMan appreciated that much).

I use T-pins to shape the garment.

As part of my need for all things knitting - I have blocking wires too.  You don't need these, but it does make the process go a bit faster.  I think I bought these from Knit Picks.  They come with some t-pins (but not nearly enough) and a yardstick.  They are flexible and won't rust.

Okay, let's get started.   I am going to use the blocking wire for the top of the shawl. 

You thread the wire along the edge you want blocked.  Work the wire in and out of the edge.  If the edge is longer than the wire, and then you use a second wire and overlap the two to secure the top border.

Spread out the shawl along the wire and begin to secure it with the t-pins every 4 inches or so.  Leave enough room on the blocking board above the top of the shawl, in case you want to stretch the entire thing from the top, by moving the wire another inch or so, when you fine tune the blocking.

Okay, take a deep breath.  This is a great foundation for the rest of the blocking.

Now you will begin to pull the shawl out at the bottom and along each side.  Place a few pins at the bottom and sides, to see how far out it will stretch.  

Remember, this is lace and it needs to be carefully pulled out, to show the detail of the lace.  All of those yarn overs need to expand and show their openwork!

If you go back and look at the pattern, you will see that the side edges come to points.  You can block these points with a pin at each point (yes, this takes time...but remember ... it took hours and hours to knit the shawl..  the final step deserves your patience too!)

Or you can thread a wire through each point and work it that way. 

I will work one side each way. - this side is pinned at each point. 
Can you see how it makes the bobbles pop up and opens up the lace?

To use the wire, you must carefully run the wire through each point.
Spread out the edge along the wire and gently spread it out.  Pin the wire in a few places, and work with the wire and the shawl to block this final edge to it full width.

Now take a look at the entire shawl.  Are your edges straight and even?  Is the center line straight?  Are your points evenly blocked.  Run your hand over the body of the shawl.  Is it taught? 

If it is still loose, then you need to stretch it even more, by moving out your pins and wires further. 
Then you have the final product - here is Juneberry Triangle fully blocked. 

Here are few closer looks at the detail of the shawl.  Jared Flood designed this using small charts for each area, which makes it easy to follow.

The beginning body of the shawl

The next part of the body - waving lace with trios of bobbles. 

The lacy edging...

The end edge with more bobbles and the points

Okay, step away from the shawl and let it dry.  I keep it away from the sun and let it set for a few days.

When dry, unpin, wrap it around your shoulders and ENJOY!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

This and that

I have been out of touch for a while again, but all good reasons!

My son has been home for two weeks before he starts his new job and we have spent time finding an apartment, shopping, moving, shopping, and buying clothes for his new job (more shopping, right?).  We are taking him to his new digs on Sunday, so that should help life calm down a bit.  But to be truthful, I am a little sad to see him move to the east side of the state.  I will miss seeing him!

I have also been working my part-time job, so this is what a slow moment in the pharmacy looks like.  They are quite rare, but I try to have some easy knitting for that occasional quiet moment.  I am making some new dishcloths, trying out Knit Picks new yarn, Dishie.  I will let you know how I like it once I have washed it, and used it.

I finished my Juneberry Triangle shawl, by Jared Flood.  Still need to block it, then I will show a picture. It is a beautiful item, but not as large as I had hoped.

So in the interim, what am I doing??   Yeah, you guessed it, back to that darn Spring Fling.  This time with Koigu.  I need a shop model for Ruhama's in Milwaukee - and I might use it as a model at TNNA.

It is finally spring in Michigan.  I am working today until 3pm, but asked TanMan to go to the farmer's market to buy some rhubarb.  I have been craving rhubarb crisp. 

I guess it is back to filling prescriptions - then hope to have spend some fun time with my son and grandson!

Hope you are having a great weekend.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Knitting Magazines

Part of my addiction to all thing knitting, includes a love of knitting magazines. There are a few current mags that I am reading right now.

I love Interweave Knits. There is a project in this issue that intrigues me. The Bistro Lace Stole looks like crochet, but is actually knit. I have a huge stash of Summer Tweed (from a misguided plan to knit a Kaffe Fassett sweater), and I'm contemplating giving it a try.

There is a new magazine out, called Knit and Spin. Doesn't that make you think about that kids toy called Sit and Spin?? My spinning wheel sits in my bedroom unused, so maybe this magazine will give me the push I need to get back spinning.

I even knit an item from the current Vogue Knitting, Spring/Summer 2011 issue. Isn't this scarf sweet?

Pattern: Bias Lace Scarf, Vogue Knitting, Spring/summer 2011
Yarn: a lace weight yarn given to me as a gift

Okay everyone, have a great weekend. I hope you find some quiet time to pick up a magazine and get some inspiration.

Happy Mother's Day

Hope you had a great Mother's Day.

My son's graduation was wonderful yesterday, so it was the perfect gift. As a mother, nothing is better than seeing your child succeed at something that is important to them!

Take a look at my happy family!

Since I spent so much time in the car, I was able to resume my addiction to Spring Fling. Yup, here is yet another pair, knit in Noro Taiyo Sock.

Is you haven't knit these yet, you must give it a try.
Easy Peasy and so cute.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Letting go

I'm back in Michigan and running 100 mph.  

Started working my part-time job as a pharmacist for a few days this week - and after three 9 and 10 hours days on my feet, there isn't anything left in me to write - or knit - or do much of anything. 

However - I'm off for a week now - to help my oldest son transition to his adult life. 

On Saturday he graduates from college - and two weeks later - will start his first full-time professional job.  Hooray!     We are headed up to Ferris State University - my Alma mater - later today, to spend the night - and then celebrate his graduation on Saturday morning.   Oldest son has come a long way - through many dark and scary times - and we are so proud of him. 

If you happen to be at Charley's Crab in Grand Rapids, MI, this Saturday night, and see a woman surrounded by four wonderful men (okay, one is only 4 years old) - it is ME.  What a great way to celebrate my role as a mother.

This means in the next two weeks we need to help him find an apartment near Detroit and get him moved.   Monday we will be apartment hunting, and we will see what happens from there. 

He is so ready to enter this next stage of his life - and we are happy to be a part of it.  Pictures to follow next week, okay?

I can't have a blog post without a photo - here is my grandson's favorite sweatshirt!  Cute logo, huh?