Thursday, July 28, 2011

All but the buttons

I finished the baby sweater for TanMan's niece - I think it is adorable. It needs the perfect buttons, and I forgot to look for some when I was at Joanne's this week.

Isn't that little lace detail on the sleeve so sweet?

This was a quick project, that just needed a few tweaks in the construction. I am making good notes, because I think I will want to make this sweater again!

Also completed is a new coffee cosy for the car. I used some left over Koigu, used it double strand, using my favorite cosy pattern. For some reason, I love making these....maybe because I love Starbucks non-fat Grande Latte with two raw sugars??

TanMan and I took a little road trip today, going along the country roads. I love to see the small towns, big farms and picture perfect rural America, so I am glad he doesn't mind leaving the interstate and taking a cross-country jaunt.
Along the way, we encountered this historical building that had been in the same family for over 100 years. My grandparents had a stone farm house, so I guess that is what I liked about this little building. Wouldn't it make a great studio?

I could almost hear the voices from the past as I got closer. Further up the lawn, there was a teeny tiny cemetery with about 4 tombstones. How wonderful that someone cares enough to keep this little gem.

I am still working on the Bistro Lace Scarf. I have changed the way I connect the flowers a couple of times, but I think I have finally found a method that is easy for me. That makes it go much quicker.

My hands have been aching quite a bit, I am wondering if arthritis might be starting. It is kind of scary, so I can't wait to talk with my doctor about it at my next physical. In the meantime, I am trying to work on different projects each day, using different types and sizes of needles, to give them some relief. And of course, there is my good friend, Ibuprofen 600mg.!

More on the Hiya Hiya interchangeable needles - the needle tips are not as pointy as Knit Picks, but a little more pointed than Addi Turbos.

I've added the Coaster pattern as a free download. If you haven't knit a mitered square before, try this little pattern.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Sunday, Sunday

I am hiding in my condo for the rest of the day! It is another humid and warm summer late afternoon, and I just need my space.

We live in a community of 44 condo on Lake Michigan, and many of our co-owners choose to rent their condos by the week during prime season. This means that each Saturday, a new crowd of eager families arrive, excited for their summer vacation. They start out a little crazy, moving from the pool and the beach with an intensity that wears me out. By mid-week, they have worn themselves out, and the screaming and running abates. But for now, I am taking a time-out from the crowds, and seeking peace and quiet behind closed doors.

I have been meaning to tell you about the Hiya Hiya interchangeable needles that I bought at TNNA. I needed an extra set of size 4 needles for the baby sweater I am working on, and I decided to give them a try.

They are available in metal or bamboo, and with small or large sized needles. I have the small size metal set with sizes 2 - 8. The set includes four cables, 16", 24", 32" and 40". The fixed needle is a little shorter than my trusty Knit Picks needles, and they feel lighter in weight. The cables are super thin and very flexible. I love the way the entire set is contained in a cute case.

The unique features of the needles are:
- includes smaller sized US 2 and 3, not usually available in interchangeable sets

- includes. 16" cable, not usually available

- all contained in a very classy, small case.

I am surprised to say that I love these needles. The join between the needle and cable is smooth and they work like a dream. I wish I had bought the larger size set at TNNA!

If you are in the market for an extra set of needles, I would highly recommend these!

Coming up next - another free pattern!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

My new project

I am excited to start a new project today. My husband's niece is expecting her first baby, and we just found out that it is a girl. They have struggled to get pregnant, so I think a pretty baby sweater is in order.

I have chosen this for the baby.

Pattern: Maile sweater

Yarn: Lorna's Laces Solemate

Color: 811 Lincoln Park Zoo

It feels good to be knitting a project that doesn't require a lot of thinking, so I am happy!

And what about this heat? We spent the day on our friend's boat to escape the heat. Here we are cruising down the Black River heading for open water on Lake Michigan.

We pass this house that my grandson always calls "my house" because of the flamingos on the house.

Right before we hit open water, we pass the South Haven lighthouse. I love this lighthouse, it has always meant fun and relaxation to me.

So what are you knitting? Have you found a way to beat the heat with a cool knitting project? I know many of you have started knitting my summer scarf pattern, because over 120 patterns have been downloaded!

Send me photos of your completed scarf projects , okay! I would like to show them off in a future blog post.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Finally, new design is completed

I am so excited - I finished my new design, and I "think" it turned out as planned. To be clear, the knitting part is done, but I have to sew in the ends and maybe do some wet blocking. All in all, I think it will be a success. I don't plan to release it until later, so it will remain a secret for a while longer. I need time for test knitting, photos, etc,

The Bistro Lace shawl continues. Last Wednesday, Susan and I went over the steps for connecting the flowers, which are a bit vague in the pattern, and I liked her connections better than mine. Since then, I made a few more changes to the way I work the flower points and connections, so it is easier to knit and mine look a little bit neater.

The yarn I am using makes a smaller flower, so I am increasing the length to 11 flowers wide. Here is the top layer of flowers.

I have also knit a quick project for the living room. I needed a few "pops" of accent color, so I made coasters for our end tables. The room is mostly blues and creams, with red being the accent color. So take a look at my coasters. What do you think? I need to write up the pattern and I will share it with you. It is a fun and easy way to use knitting as part of your decor! Stay tuned for the free pattern.

Are you enjoying the heat? I don't mind it, of course having A/C helps, doesn't it? Not to mention living on Lake Michigan, where it is a bit cooler, and I can always jump in the lake or pool to cool off. Best thing about air conditioning??? no reason for the heat to interfere with your knitting!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I think the word is "Lazy"

I haven't posted in a few days, because I have been so lazy and there isn't much to say!

Michigan weather is notorious for being fickle, it can change dramatically in a few hours. But when it is good, it is perfect. That would describe the weather over the past week. We had a picture perfect summer weekend, so on Friday we spent time on our friends boat out on Lake Michigan. TanMan is looking happy isn't he?

The rest of the weekend we were on the beach, enjoying the company of our friends and neighbors. I knit while on the beach on Sunday, but dropped some stitches and couldn't pick them up neatly, so had to rip back and start it again. I am on a boring part of my new design, so I am having trouble staying the course.

Finally blocked Bermuda. Isn't is pretty?

Have also worked some more on the Bistro Lace Shawl. I am using my Chica pattern holder. It takes a standard size paper and then it folds around into thirds. I like using it, and when I'm done, it unsnaps and folds flat.

I am working on my eighth flower for the shawl. I need a total of 30, so I have a way to go. I am enjoying the project, so that is good.

TanMan and I have started watching the TV show " Brothers and Sisters" on Netflix and that is when I knit the flowers. I will probably think of that tv show every time I wear the shawl. Do you find yourself connecting your finished project with what you were doing when knitting it or what was going on with your life at the time?

Years ago I when I did counted cross stitch, I did a project that had a design for every month of the year. Then I displayed each month's motif framed and on a little easel. I will never forget working on the design for March, it was a lion and a lamb, and I completed that design in the hospital at TanMan's bedside while he recovered from having angioplasty. They will be linked forever in my memory.

Wow- I am overwhelmed by how many readers have downloaded the Summer Scarf pattern. I hope you are enjoying the pattern! I would love to post your pictures of the scarf. You can send them to me at, then I will share them on the blog.

If you don't love what you are knitting, it is time to put it down and start a new project. Life is short and you should love what you knit!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A new project

I have been busily working on my new design, but decided that the old adage "all work, no play..." can apply to monogamous knitting.

My friend Susan (who is a fabulous knitter and my KalamazooKnits test knitter) has suggested that we do a Knit Along (KAL) and I think it will be the solution to my current "one project status".

So take a look at our two-person KAL.

Project: Bistro Lace Stole, Interweave Knits, Summer 2011
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Lion & Lamb
Needles: US 8

As a youngster, I think I learned to crochet first.  Back in the 60's I did a lot of granny square projects, and this project reminds me of that.  The flowers in the Bistro lace stole are more sophisticated and are done by knitting - and I love the look.  Maybe this will be the start of a new direction for future designs??

Susan is using the yarn shown in the model- it is a lovely yarn with drape and a sheen. I dug into my stash, and am using some yarn that I bought at Stitches Midwest several years ago.

When I showed Susan the yarn I am using - she immediately remembered that purchase AND the project it was originally intended for. Not sure what that means, but I was impressed with her fiber/project memory.

The project calls for a three color combination, and my stash yarn had four colors. As I looked at it, I wasn't sure what I was thinking when I thought these four color ways would work together. I took it to knitting group this morning, and the group confirmed my fourth color didn't fit. Lucky I just need three colors, right?

So here is the yarn I am using.

Brooks Farm Yarn, Solo Silk, Dk weight yarn. It doesn't have the sheen that Lion & Lamb has, so I hope it stills works. The pattern calls for aran weight, so my first gauge swatch was using a size 7 needle. It looked good, but was a bit smaller than the pattern called for. Second swatch used a size 8 needle and it measures correctly.

I connected the two swatches as the pattern directed. TanMan and I were watching the third season of Californication on DVD, so I made a third flower motif while the show finished. A quick dunk in water, and the trio of flowers dried on the counter overnight.

Anyone want to join our fun?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Post-Holiday crash

I hope you had a great holiday weekend.   Mine was filled with kids, grandkids and friends - what more could a girl ask for?  I spent this morning doing several loads of laundry - beach towels, swim suits, etc, and quite honestly, I'm pooped.

I sat down to do some knitting, and was excited to watch "live" the verdict come in for the Casey Anthony trial.  I'll admit it - I have been hooked on that trial for the past few weeks.  I'm not surprised at the "not guilty" verdict, but I find the whole situation such a tragedy.  I can't help but think of my precious grandbabies when I think of Cayle Anthony.

Right now I am working on a new design - it is a bigger project than I usually design, so it is going on and on and on.  I like it so far and I think it will be a success, but... I can't show you it right now!

So instead, let me show a couple of more pics of my free summer scarf pattern.

Here it is in Kauni Effectgarn

Here it is done in A Good Yarn's Purl Diver yarns, Gill's Night Out in Adorn sock, a custom colorway done by Three Irish Girls.  Isn't that a great combination of colors?  I have some yarn left on that skein and am debating what to make with it!

Are you still knitting this summer?   If not, try a simple knit in sock yarn!