Posted in knitting, weaving

December Holiday in Review

First of all, I want to say that the Christmas To-Do list posted on the wall was a big hit with family members who visited us this year.

Of the twenty items on the list, all but four were completed – with great enthusiasm, for the most part. We made a few changes: no one was interested in making wreaths, but the fly fishermen among us wanted to tie some flies. So there was that substitution. And since the cars took up the whole driveway, we played sports in the backyard. Many times. The weather was remarkably warm and sunny, hence No Fire in the Fireplace.

I received two fibery gifts. The first was a pair of sock yarns, originating in Wisconsin.

I have worked with Ewetopia sock yarn once before and found it very pleasant – it is round, tightly twisted and produces a sturdy fabric. The swatch of the dark plum gave a deep tonal, slightly shaded fabric. The yellow green color, named Caterpillar, gave a stripey fabric characterized by short repeats.

My second gift was a handful of woven linen swatches, made decades ago by my son in law’s grandmother.

After studying them for a while, I was able to work out which direction were warps and which were wefts. Some of these brocades must have been devilishly difficult to construct. I want to preserve them, but I also want to use them in some way. At the moment, I am considering working the swatches into a stretched canvas piece.

It was a busy and tiring week at chez LauraKate. While I intend to write about my body of work made in 2020, that discourse must wait for tomorrow. Today will be dedicated to tidying the craft room, folding the laundry and roasting a chicken.

Posted in knitting

Wednesday WIP

Here before you is the glove I cast on a little over a week ago. I had expected to make faster progress. It was my travel project for a recent car trip to Ohio. My biggest roadblock was light. When I had time to knit, I found myself in locations with poor lighting. I had underestimated how the lack of contrast in value between the solid yarn and the variegated yarn would slow me down. So that’s my big excuse.

Another problem arose because I wasn’t working from a pattern or chart. This proved troublesome on the thumb gussett increases. Fortunately, here the lack of value contrast turned out to be my friend. Inconsistencies in the stitchwork are not obvious to the casual viewer.

I love the texture created by working purl bumps on alternate rows.

Now that the palm section is done, I will drop the blue yarn and complete the fingers using the variegated. That means one less element to deal with. Perhaps my knitting will go more swiftly.

Posted in knitting

Cast on Monday

It’s a particularly cold and dark Monday morning. There is a light rain falling. I guess the rain is just enough to make roads slick. In the distance I hear the sirens of emergency vehicles racing to the scene of an accident.

No matter. There is coffee brewing and wool to keep me warm and occupied for the day. This yarn is a Berroco sock yarn called, appropriately, Berroco Sox, color number 14100. I am casting on this pair to gift to someone who loves me. The stitch pattern is the same 3 by 1 rib that I used for my husband’s cashmere socks. Which, by the way, he finally wore for the first time yesterday.

I hope your Monday sees you warm and content, making something you enjoy.

Posted in knitting

It’s Friday, it’s a Finished Object

It’s the season for sock making, and here is my entry. Just your basic sock, nothing fancy.

The only thing worth commenting is this: I have been knitting for twelve years, and this pair is the first I have knit with a self-striping yarn. This particular yarn is KnitPicks Stroll. The colorway – Test Pattern – was on sale earlier in the year. I’m pleased that I was able to get the wide stripes to line up the same way on each sock.

Posted in knitting

Finished Object Friday

I am remiss in not sharing photographs of the completed cashmere socks that I knit for hubby. They have been off the needles for about a week. I was hoping to take a photo of them on his feet, but alas, he hasn’t worn them yet.

They are slightly loose on my feet, but look okay in the photograph.

The cuff is a 3 by 1 rib which is carried on over the foot. I used Elizabeth Zimmerman’s method for heel flap and gusset.

The yarn is from Knit Picks. I enjoyed knitting it so much that I plan to buy more in other colors. Just think how nice a cashmere-blend cowl or scarf will feel around your neck on a cold, blustery day.

Posted in knitting, painting

Vacation in the Rear View Mirror

Another view of travel knitting, this time on the way home. While on vacation I was too busy to finish this sock. However I do have a few things fibery and artsy to share.

When visiting one of my favorite yarn/book stores, I snagged this pretty ball of Berroco Sox yarn and 1000 yards of Plymonth Encore in a heathery mahogany color.

My grandson agreed to accept a pair of socks from me, and approved of this yarn. I plan to use the Plymouth yarn to knit myself a loose cardigan for lounging around the house on cool winter nights.

I got the sketch book out during the vacation just once. Here is a view of Shell Lake.

It was so fun introducing my 2-year-old granddaughter to water color paint. First I made an assortment of paint puddles, taped down a piece of drawing paper and handed her a cotton swab. Following my example, she dabbled with lines and dots.

She also grabbed a small sponge, stroked it over the red paint then applied it to the paper. When she ran out of space on the paper, she wiped the sponge vigorously over her belly.

FYI: Red watercolor paint on a baby’s body looks very much like a bruise. Gramps had a moment of concern upon viewing her body art, which he quickly overcame after I wiped her clean.

Today marks the last day of WorldWatercolorMonth. Despite being gone for twelve days this month, I was able to complete fifteen of the 31 challenges. Here is my final one. The prompt is Pose. I chose this little cedar waxwing, who was posing for the camera by cocking his head to one side.

It’s nice to be back in my studio. I look forward to digging in to my stash of UFOs and dreaming up some interesting new projects.

Posted in knitting

Finished Object Friday

Fresh socks off my needles and blocked

This is a stash-buster project, made from Cascade Heritage sock yarn.

The pattern is called Firefly. It features a two by two right twist cable that is inserted in a staggered fashion. I love how it looks and how much stretch it provides to the sock cuff.

Wearing them feels like walking on air.

I highly recommend the pattern, in fact I recommend the book where the pattern appears. It is by Clara Parkes.

The Knitter’s Book of Socks: The Yarn Lover’s Ultimate Guide to Creating Socks That Fit Well, Feel Great, and Last a Lifetime

I borrowed it from the library, but it is available on Amazon.

Posted in knitting

Summer Stashbusting + Pass-along

This time of year I frequently find myself diving into my yarn stash. The goal is to USE it, and to use it in projects that are comfortable for the knitter to make on hot summer days and nights. Today I have three items that fit in this category.

First up is this quirky little hat.

Earlier this year my daughter gave me the small, beat-up hat you see on the right side of this photo. She had inherited it from another mom. Our baby really liked wearing it, but now it was too small and full of holes. I dove into my stash and found plenty of yarns that almost matched, color-for-color, the hues of the original hat. De-coding the pattern was quite simple, since it was a classic shape and used only stockinette with a few purl rounds. The only challenge was working the decreases at the top, to reproduce the “stem.”

During my stash dive I discovered several sock yarn skeins, some of which have enough yardage for a pair of socks. This deep blue yarn was left over from a sweater I made for myself a few years ago.

Love this Color.

The sock pattern comes from a book by one of my favorite knitting writers, Clara Parkes. The Knitter’s Book of Socks is quite good. It includes twenty sock patterns, each by a different designer. She also writes about the characteristics of different yarn fibers, and how these might match up with the qualities required by socks: elasticity, strength and absorption. I highly recommend this book for knitters who like making socks.

This pattern is Firefly, by Jennifer Hagan. The two by two cables are all right-leaning. She has them spaced out along the leg of the sock in such a way that they are easy to make.

My last stash buster started out as a pass-along yarn. Knitting friend Kathy gave me several skeins of Peruvian sock weight yarn in a so-so shade of blue. The blend includes alpaca and wool, but also 50% acrylic. In my stash I found a pale blue tweedy sock yarn bought on sale that had not inspired me. But by knitting them held together, these two yarns worked harmoniously. There was just enough for the skirt of a toddler dress.

When the pale blue ran out, I continued on up the bodice with the alpaca blend held double. The yoke includes a small pattern using strands of Cascade 220.

The dress design is mine, but the stranded design comes from a traditional Faroese Kettunøsin pattern. They are little dog heads.

While I sit here indoors, out my window it is raining heavily. This downpour is quite welcome, since it is the first rain since May. Gardening is out for the day, but knitting, quilting, writing and painting will keep me busy until dark.

Posted in knitting

Finally using the Black Yarn

A few months ago, I blogged about working with black yarn. https://dailyfiberfun.wordpress.com/2019/03/09/black-yarn/

After months of fiddling around with the luxury blend, coal colored yarn my daughter gave me, I finally settled into a shawl design. Fellow blogger Deb Gemmell has unvented an improvement to the basic triangle shawl which she calls Wedges Shawl. Her goal is to increase the length of the shawl ends without making the body section excessively long. You can read about it on her blog: https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/135503248/posts/1913

I thought I would give this concept a try. I started out normally, with a garter tab cast on. After increasing four stitches every other row for awhile, I began to insert wedge-shaped sections. These are created with short rows. To make a nice contrast with the black yarn, I chose a beige singles yarn and used the classic eyelet pattern of k2tog, yo. I also tossed in a couple sections of garter lace pattern with the black yarn.

After I worked up about 290 stitches, I switched back to the black yarn for one more eyelet row and bound off. Here is a blocked shawl.

I couldn’t quite fit the whole shawl into one photograph.
So I folded it up and took another picture.

It came out rather well. With such neutral colors, it should be a versatile addition to my winter wardrobe. Thank you, Deb, for your improvement!

Her patterns can be found on Ravelry: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/wedges-shawl