"Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber." Proverbs 31:19 NLT

Monday, November 30, 2015

Yarn Give Away, Fun Links and Knitting the Wiggle Wrap

First off, a reminder of the yarn give-away planned for December 20, 2015. Anyone leaving a comment on my last post or any other post until December 20 will have their name put into a hat. You will get one entry per comment. I will mail the yarn to anywhere as soon as the winner and I have made contact. Maybe it will arrive at your home by the new year. It is Cascade 220 Paint. There are 2 unopened skeins and the equivalent of another entire skein.

Secondly, I have been seeing several fun links on Facebook and other places that relate to knitting. So I thought I'd share them in a post.

This first one is actually about crocheting. But it is a great inspirational story out of Scotland. I hope we are all still knitting or crocheting when we are 104 years old.
found here.

This next link has 10 super interesting facts about knitting - many about the history of the craft. For instance, did you know that knitting was once a male only occupation? Thank you for the great blog post, Angie.

And this last one is really helpful, with hand stretch exercises for knitters. I have been trying to remember to do these from time to time. I think the younger a person is when they start these exercises, the better for your hands. It is a Craftsy.com blog.

And lastly, I have been knitting on several projects, some finished, and  I will try to post on those FO soon. But what I am the most excited by right now is the Wiggle Wrap. It's kind of a silly name for such a cool project, but I will love using it when it is finished. I first saw it on a friend and she told me what kind of yarn and where to get it. So here's what I've done so far.

Actually, the wrap photograph was taken about 5 nights ago so I have a bit more done. I have about 20 inches knitted - only 56 more inches left to go! ugh! But it goes fairly quickly because the color changes and combinations are exciting to watch appear. I really didn't expect to have 20" accomplished by now but have had a nasty head cold this last week. Sooooo, what else do ya do when you feel lousy with no energy for normal tasks? We all know the answer to that - we KNIT!!

So as we come into the busy, exciting, magical month of December, I hope you have time to knit, and that you have time to remember why we celebrate Christmas in the first place. 

And take time to enter my yarn give-away by leaving a comment.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Yarn Give Away - and My New Knitted Hoodie

Well, first of all let me say, I am late for the promised yarn give-away. I could mention that I have been really busy. I could say that I've been having lots of fun and taking day trips with a few ladies with whom I love to knit. And we have been doing just that: exploring new (to us) thrift shops, junk stores, antique malls, coffee shops and knitting patterns. I've traveled out-of-town to join another knitting friend to see the musical "Wicked," demonstrated spinning to 2 4 year old kindergarten classes, had guests (including my sister for 2 nights) a few times, for which I must put down the needles and clean up a bit. And all these things have been fun and under the category of "must do again."

But really, the reason I am late on my yarn give-away has nothing to do with all the fun. I have been shy to do the give-away because I continually get comments on Facebook or in person that this person and that person have tried and tried to leave comments on my blog posts but they don't show up. So I'm feeling a bit like I might be having a party and no one will show up. I mean, that has got to be humiliating. But I've decide to give it a go. ~gulp~

But before I show the latest sweater I've knitted and explain the yarn to be given away, I want to post a great sale on some lovely yarn at Yarn.com. The sale is on the wonderful yarn with which I knitted this Bandstand sweater, which is Valley Yarns Northampton and if you follow this link, you will find a great price. It is normally a good price. But the sale is for a great price.

Well, my latest finished knitted adult sweater is Yaquina Bay Cardigan again. (That link will take you to Ravelry, where you will see that the Knit Picks pattern is no longer available. So let me know if you need the pattern - we'll see what we can do.) This hoodie is the same sweater I knit from handspun for my son back in 2013. This time I used Cascade 220 Paints, in the colorway of Denim. I would include a link to the yarn, but it appears that the 220 Paints are a discontinued line so the leftover yarn I am giving away appears to be no longer available, except maybe from someone's Ravelry stash or on eBay. But here is the yarn that I will give away to someone who leaves a comment on this or any other post of mine until the deadline of December 20.  There are 2 unopened skeins and the equivalent (by weight) of another skein that has been wound. If you are the winner and would like all the yarn wound, I will do it. The yarn is 100% Peruvian Highland Wool and each skein is 220 yards.

I will take take all the multitude of names of those leaving a comment, put them in a bowl and draw out one. Plus, for every comment you leave on this or subsequent posts, you will get another entry into the bowl! The deadline for commenting is one month away - December 20. I will announce the winner on a post shortly after that date. Once I get an email with the winner's address (I will mail the yarn to anywhere), it will be sent out. You may have the yarn by the beginning of the new year to create a wintertime project.

Back to the sweater, here is how it knitted up. I think the color pattern is quite interesting. And I have already enjoyed wearing it as a jacket on these brisk autumn days. It will feel good under a coat this winter, as well.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Bandstand Sweater #2 and How NOT to Block a Wool Sweater

After I finished my summer Bandstand sweater I said I wasn't going to make another one. And then I saw Valley Yarn Northampton on sale at yarn.com. Man-o-man, I fell in love (so to speak) with it in the color of Stratosphere. AND it was on sale for just over $3.50 USD a skein. Ohhhh, such a great price - I succumbed. I know it is risky ordering yarn you've never felt of it, especially wool yarn. But I won on this purchase. Northampton is so great - very soft with a lot of spring for bouncing back into shape. (But that stretch did cause a bit of a problem - more on that.)

I got enough to make the Bandstand sweater again, and proceeded to knit it. I finished it fairly quickly but I did have a few hang-ups on the sleeves. So I decided not to do the mock cable all the way around the sleeves, but to extend a cable and 2 coordinating mock cables down the sleeve from either side of the bodice of the sweater.

And I did the sleeves flat, seaming them up after they were finished. That was much easier than continually swiveling the entire sweater every few stitches on the circulars. So here is the result:

But in the blocking of this sweater and from the experience of a friend who used my method for blocking, I have learned a valuable lesson: how NOT to block a wool sweater knitted from ready-made wool yarn.

I have often blocked handspun garments by wetting them, carefully picking them up with underneath support so as not to stretch the garment out and then spinning the item in the washing machine to get out the extra moisture. And have not had a problem. This Bandstand sweater fit well before the blocking but unknown to me that when the yarn got wet, it became very stretchy. I gently laid it out onto my big "blocking blanket" (because I don't have blocking mats) on the floor and pinned it down. I then covered it with another heavy blanket and left it. It went from this fit:

to this fit:

Fortunately, the sweater still fits me well all the way around and can now be worn with leggings and boots. So I made matching boot toppers and called it good. BUT it could have been a disaster. As a result, I am now recommending laying wool sweaters out on your blocking surface, pinning them down to size and spraying them like crazy to get them good and wet. Then laying your blanket over the top. That way you don't have to lift the wet garment at all.

One of my friends knitted a cute loose-fitting vest and blocked the way I recommended. Her vest is now slightly mis-shapen and too large. She is fixing the problem by crocheting all around it and skipping stitches that she picks up, so she can pull it back into shape and size. I feel responsible but don't really know what to do about it. I can't crochet. Hopefully it will be adorable when she is finally finished with it - AGAIN!

A bit about the boot toppers, I have made this pattern before and thought it would tie in well with the scalloped edge of the sweater. They are Feather Lace Boot Toppers. I, of course used the same yarn as the sweater, worsted weight with needle sizes US #7 and #8.

Sorry about the decapitation. I had just walked the dog, cooled down slightly and put on the wool sweater and boots for this photo. Not a pretty sight. I should have had someone take a picture on Saturday when I attended our local yarn shop's open house - new location - and I wore the outfit after showering and fixing up myself. :^)

Let me know your thoughts on the outcome of the blocking or on the sweater in general. And remember, I am going to have a yarn giveaway. Next week I will be doing a blog post on my newest completed sweater, knitted with Cascade 220 paints and I will be do a drawing for the leftover yarn - I had waaay too much. The winner will be selected from those leaving comments on that post. Keep your eyes peeled.