Saturday, December 29, 2007

Scarf knitting procrastination

I bought the yarn (4 balls of JoAnn's Stellina) in November, 2005. I cast on for the scarf in October, 2006. Since then, several other unfinished scarves have joined it in the knitting bag.

That's my ugly secret. Rather than an albatross, I have unfinished scarves hanging around my neck. At least now the count is reduced by one. How? you ask? I consulted the scarf knitting group at Ravelry for theraputic suggestions. I was shocked to find there are those who enjoy knitting scarves, who revel in their sameness. I was willing to follow their path, if only it would lighten the burden around my neck. They spoke, I listened. Here, blocking, is the result.

They had several suggestions, but the one that seemed the most sure to work at the time was to simply resolve to finish just one scarf.

I had half the scarf knitted. The pattern is from the Interweave scarf booklet that came tucked into one of their IK issues last year. You're supposed to knit the two halves separately and graft them together so the ends match. The second half was partially knitted but much shorter than the first. I guessed it would take hours and hours to finish the picky little lace pattern. Did I rise to the challenge? No, I put it aside. Christmas knitting was my excuse. This time.

But then, the Christmas knitting was done, and I had no excuse. Two days before Christmas, I tossed the unfinished scarf half in the car and knit on it while we drove around visiting. I was surprised when I found I had only a few yards of yarn left on Christmas eve--right about the time I saw the moon and Mars. I had forgotten that I planned for the second half to be smaller than the first, so that the grafted seam would be off-center and less obvious. Sorta.

Since the pattern is running in opposite directions, it won't match no matter what. Of course, I managed to misalign the stitches while grafting it. At that point, after two years of fiddling around, I let it go. I've got a mistake in the first half where I misplaced half a repeat.


It looks good, regardless. The yarn is wool, plied with a tiny nylon thread that gives it shimmer.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Mars for Christmas

Here's what else happened--the moon and mars. I took these photos Dec. 23rd, as we drove back from a holiday visit and gifting. The moon was huge and full when it rose, and I dropped my knitting and took this photo:
Then, after it got dark, we could see a star near it. I've since checked and found out it was Mars, and that it was visible in some parts of the globe on the 23rd and 24th. Here's how it looked about an hour and a half after it rose Sunday, and we could see the first glimmering of Mars below it:

It got brighter--the photo below was taken a little less than an hour later. Do you see how Mars has moved a little to the right?

When I last checked a couple of hours later, it was almost directly to the right of the moon.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Mini Sweater Magnets

Before I wrap them, here is the set of refrigerator magnets I made for my friend and her daughter. I ended up with two sweaters, two hats, and two scarves.

When I first told you about this project, I had a blue hat that was less than satisfactory. Just now, when I was hot-gluing it to the magnet, I glued it on backwards with the seam exposed. I guess it was an impulse to trash it that made me mess it up. I salvaged the white pom pom and quickly knit the pink hat for it.

I've still got to make the faces to go with this set--I need good photos of the recipients for that. In the meantime, to give you an idea of the "dress me up" option, I used faces cut from a magazine:

Since I finished this project, I found these mini-sweater patterns. There's some here too. I wish I'd had these links earlier. I thought I could make a cardigan without a pattern, but it didn't work out. Wrong yarn, wrong gauge, you know how it goes. Then I started purling when I should knit. It just got worse, and I put the entire project aside as a result. I finally realized it was ridiculous to let one bad mini sweater hold things up, and worked on the scarves. Heartened by finishing them, I finished the other sweater. I could have had everything done weeks ago if I hadn't given it up.

As a lesson to myself, I've kept the bad mini sweater and made it into a magnet for my own fridge.

Loose threads, misplaced stitches, bad gauge and all, it's an abandoned UFO magnet. :D

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Knitted Gifties

Now, for those who say the more pictures the better, here they are, the photos I took of some of my knitted gifts before I wrapped them. First, the Clapotis, knitted on size 5 needles from Blue Heron Beaded Rayon:

I wonder, if you knit something from yarn that was a gift to you, and give the finished object to someone else, does it count as 'regifting'? :) I hope not, because I did have the pleasure of knitting the yarn, which I assume was the point of the gift. I just don't think I would wear a rayon scarf; I don't dress up that much since I quit working at an office.
Knitting with the rayon yarn was an education. I had no idea it was as heavy as it is. (Hence my concern that the Ultra Silk, with its silk and rayon content, will produce a heavy sweater.) This yarn is a bit difficult, in that it consists of very fine threads which catch on the needles. Also, it is a type of boucle, so there is no real stitch definition. I was a bit relieved about that, because I made a lot of mistakes knitting this. It was my "business trip" knit for the past several weeks, so it did not have my full attention. In spite of this, it made a nice scarf (I didn't knit the full width, so it is only 11" x 55"). Here's a better idea of the colors:

Then there's the ball band dishtowel. Great pattern, useful object. I knit this one on 8s instead of 7s, using the "& cream" yarns. The result drew up a lot when I washed and dried it, so that it is almost square, an odd shape for a towel. I just hope it looks 'masculine' enough for its recipient. :)

Here's several photos of the hat and scarf I knitted as a result of the Entrelac knitting class I took this summer. I just love these, but I can not abide the itchiness of the Silk Garden and Cascade 220 I used. They've got to go, and I hope my neighbor likes them. I had not posted any photos of them after I blocked the hat, so here's several:

The hat pattern is from the book, Hip Knit Hats. Great book, by the way. I had to double strand the yarn to get gauge, so I took advantage of that to mix the colors up a bit, trying to achieve an effect similar to the color changes in the scarf.
You can see below the way I striped the center of the scarf with some mill ends I got from The Fibre Co.'s booth at the Maryland Sheep and Wool show. I used a feather and fan stitch to match the ins and outs of the entrelac.

I find it surprising how many people visit this blog looking for entrelac knitting. I suppose they are looking for instructions? I can understand, because entrelac looks very complicated, and doesn't puzzle out easily. That's why I took the class. However, once I understood that it is simply modular knitting, and each little square is knitted separately and joined to the next one by decreases at the end of the rows, I realized it is simple--a bit tedious, but simple.
Lastly, I have a couple of photos of Christmas decorations from one of our business trips earlier this month. You see below a modern depiction of the three wise men:

What I see is the last little wise man. I'm sure it is meant that he is holding a vessel of frankincense, or myhr, or gold, but to me it looks like he is raising his glass in a toast.
Really, doesn't he look a bit tipsy, dawdling along behind the others?
It's almost as though his little camel is looking back at him with a smile.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Sienna Cardigan Critique

This post will serve as my 'critique' of the Sienna Cardigan I just finished. However, I can say at the outset that there's no criticism intended. Nothing wrong with this pattern at all. In fact, I considered using the word "praise" instead of critique. I didn't, I just assumed that a critique can include praise. Sienna is a well-designed, well-written pattern.

I followed the pattern, and it looks like the pattern picture. What more could a knitter ask? Clear directions? In there. Details. In there. Simplicity. There.

What was different was the yarn. I fell in love with the Alpaca with a Twist Highlander when I saw a knitted sample in my lys. It was the softest yarn I'd ever touched, but had enough body to look nice in cables. Where I went wrong was believing the gauge on the label. At a reported 18 st/4", I thought I'd need plenty. I bought all the hanks they had (7) in this color, but didn't think there would be enough. Then I swatched it, and washed the swatch. I think I started with 16 or 17 st/4", but ended with 15 st after washing. That's a pretty big difference from the 18 I expected.
Thank goodness I washed it, so I knew to pick a pattern for a bulky weight yarn. I'd been wanting to knit Sienna since I first saw it. However, now that it is done, I can see that a bulky weight sweater is definitely not slimming. Warm maybe, but not that flattering to the figure. I knitted the smallest size, expecting that a bulky sweater with no ease might look better? Probably a poor assumption, I realize now.
So. That's it. Pattern, yarn, hmmm. Oh, I used size 9 needles, and only 6 of the 7 hanks of yarn I had. It was a very quick knit, but since it was my Grey's Anatomy KAL project, I didn't work on it much each week. It probably took me maybe less than 30 hours, all told.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Buttons and Sienna Cardigan

Button shopping is over.
Here's what I found for my Sienna Cardigan. I'm very pleased with these. I had the pattern image frozen in my brain; round shank buttons with a contrasting center were stuck in my mind. I also hoped to find a pale gray-blue, but that's such an unusual color, I was not optomistic about it. I had settled on silver buttons when I saw a separate rack for JBL buttons. JoAnn, why do you have to be so tricky?

Even though it took a little longer, it was worth it to get buttons I am really happy with. That was especially important for this sweater. I'm so happy with it, I wanted the perfect buttons.

This was my Grey's Anatomy Knit-a-Long project, so I have to post it there and on Ravelry. I really don't have any bad photos of it, but I'd like to take a few more this afternoon before I decide which one to expose to the public scrutiny of GA KAL and Ravelry.
 I did not realize how wide the neckline is on this cardigan when I was knitting it. It won't be very warm without a sweater with a higher neck under it, but the neckline is pretty. (The yarn is Alpaca with a Twist's Highlander, one of my most favorite yarns. I'll be posting project details soon.)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Mr. Greenjeans Revisited

Redone=ripped+reknitted band>R E L I E F.

It fits much better now. (This post is REpeated, with all new pics and words, as I have eaten the old ones.) ETA:  I have deleted the photos from this post.  I widened the button bands in an effort to make it wearable, but I still don't like the sweater.  Below is a long explanation of my problem.  In summary, the front is too small.   

If you remember, I was confused about size selection for Mr. Greenjeans from the beginning. I knew the schematic indicated the size small, at 36.5 inches, should be a pretty good fit. However, the designer responded to a question posed about sizing. She said if you wanted to wear the sweater buttoned, you should knit a size larger than you normally would.

I thought that was odd, so I ignored it and knitted the small. The dimensions seemed correct. Then I couldn't get the front to block out to the same dimensions as the back. After measuring, blocking, measuring, studying the pattern, checking my math, etc., I have concluded that the the sweater I've knitted in size small, blocked to size in the back, but not the front, is just too skimpy. The combination of that many cables in this yarn pulls the waist in too much to fit me properly. Reblocking didn't help.

Knitting a larger size will give you a better fitting waist, but the top will be loose. I've seen this effect in the knit-a-long entries, and I don't want it. My altered button bands make the sweater nearly 2 inches wider in the waist and the sleeve caps. Knitting the larger size would have made it 4 inches larger, with proportionate changes in the other dimensions. Maybe it would have been perfect for me, but it probably would have been too large. As it is, a simple fix was successful enough.

Originally, there was much to like. I like the twisty little cables. I'm truly pleased with the look, the way the cables pull the bottom away, the yarn overs on the yoke, and the fit of the sleeves. I added about 8 inches to the the length of the sleeves, and an inch to the length of the sweater. I was rewarded with cuffs that fit neatly around my wrists and a bottom hem that covers my shirt.
I just had no idea how small a sweater this is when I first saw the pattern. It's actually more of a bolero, or cropped cardigan. That's why it doesn't take much yarn. I should have realized that what attracted me ("Look, a cardigan from less than 1,000 yards!") was actually useful information about the type of sweater, not some magic performed by the designer. I know designers aren't magicians, just thoughtful hard-working knitters who are brave enough to publish their patterns.
If I were to completely knit my Mr. Greenjeans over, I'd cast on more stitches, either using the number of stitches for the size medium front with the size small back, or calculating the number needed to produce a size 38, in between the small and the medium.
Rather than ripping out the entire sweater and knitting it again in the proper size, I decided to reknit the button band. Wider button band, different button. Not a good match, but ok for now. Button shopping is on my list of things to do after the holiday.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Success Looms, Knitting wise

One successfully completed scarf, knitted on a loom.
I credit most of the success in this project to the Malabrigo yarn. The color mix is so appealing, that one of my friends almost ripped it off the loom in her eagerness to see it.

Honestly, I admit that a simple scarf knitted from a knock-out skein of yummy hand-dyed yarn (so yummy, the friend exclaimed after grabbing the mostly-finished scarf, "oooO-Ooh, this is soft!) is always a success, whether knitted on needles or a loom. The one thing that impressed me is that I managed (second) a 40" scarf, with fringe (making it 48" in length, 5" in width) after making this, first:

From ONE skein of Malabrigo. TWO scarfs, smidges, whatever. From 216 yards of yarn, plus a about 50 yards of cheap novelty white stuff. The brown one is the zig-zag stockinette, double knit, so hard to reproduce on needles, the white one is K1,P1 ribbing. Had I tried to do this on needles, it would have taken me much longer, (cuz I'm slow with ribbing); it would have curled (cuz I would have just knit the brown one in stockinette to save yarn) and I wouldn't have had enough yarn.

At least, that's my take on it. There's no doubt I could have double-knit the brown scarf on needles. And, certainly, I could have knitted the 1x1 ribbed 'smidge' on needles. I think they would have taken longer--not good for scarves, which I find tedious to knit. I also think they would have taken more yarn in the stitches, resulting in bulkier, shorter scarves. My first smidge was a knitted tube--it is much bulkier than this double-knit version.

So. I like the loom. I'll probably use it again for simple scarves or ribbing. I tried a placemat on it last night, but I'm ripping that out today. Wrong yarn, wrong gauge, not the loom's fault. I still like the loom. It's well-made, easy to use, and the instruction book is great.

Ya, so maybe you're not running over to Marla's site to buy a knitting loom? I got nuttin for yout, then. Except a rather large mushroom. (It's bigger than my outstretched hand.)

Life is strange, but wonderful.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Mr. Greenjeans Sweater

I know you thought I've been a slacker knitter, just playing around with my knitting loom, or knitting tiny little sweaters or some such. In self-defense, I have an "eff oh" to show--my finished Mr. Greenjeans.

That is, it might be finished. I'm not totally sure. I would characterize this project with one word: Impulse. From beginning to end, my knitting of this sweater was completely driven by spur-of-the-moment, no thought involved, get-it-and-go impulsiveness.

I saw the pattern and decided to knit it. I realized the yarn I thought would work was the wrong gauge, and on finding no yarn I liked in the right gauge, I bought some I didn't like in the wrong gauge. (Somehow, it made sense at the time.) I impulsively asked for a knit-a-long and someone started one. At that point, there was no going back. I knit a long. I even joined the Ravelry group for Mr. Greenjeans.

I did read and comment a bit about the sleeves being too short for my liking, the body needing to be longer, and finding no real disagreement on those points, I impulsively lengthened the body by and inch or so and the sleeves by about 8 inches. Other than this discussion of lengths, my participation in the groups has been minimal.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Knitting Looms Ahead

I've been intrigued by looms since I found out about the loom-knitted scarfs that are selling for big bucks. When I had the chance, I bought a loom and instruction book with full-color, easy to follow illustrations. You can find Marla's products at

She knits most of her samples in dishcloth cotton. I thought that would be hard to work, but Marla explained that the opposing pegs on the board make it easy to keep your stitches loose. She let me try it, with some alpaca yarn she had on her board. It was easy, and I was sold. I was amused to see that she recommends, and sells, a nutpick for moving the yarn over the pegs.

After a little practice, I started on a 1 x 1 ribbed scarf. One by one ribbing, my nemesis. The moving the yarn back and forth between each stitch slows me down, my tension is affected by switching between knit and purl stitches, and I keep forgetting to slip a stitch for my selvedge. None of that is a problem with the loom--I can produce 1 x 1 ribbing with the same speed and ease as stockinette on needles. The edge is neat, the stitches even.
Not that I knit faster on the loom, I just mean that I knit ribbing faster. And more evenly. However, I do think that double-knitting is quicker on the loom, since there is no slipping of stitches. Since the gauge is fairly large (3 rows per inch), the double knitting goes quick!

I finished the first neckscarf, and immediately started a double-knit twisted stitch version using just Malabrigo. For the neckscarf, I mixed the Malabrigo with a white wool and nylon blend, trying to replicate the yarn combo in the Purl scarf from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. It is ok, but a bit thick, so I thought I'd try a lighter weight version with just the Malabrigo.
I think I like my loom. Next up, dishcloths and placemats, maybe?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Knitted Hand Towels

I've decided it is time to rave about my idiosyncratic passion for hand-knitted hand towels. I'd like to convert the world, or at least U.S., over to the use of these towels. Just imagine if there were a real appreciation of handknits for the kitchen. Paper towel sales would decline, trees would be saved, landfills would lighten, and, most importantly, kitchens would be prettier.

Should these items become really popular, knitters could simplify their gift lists, stores would stock them, we could make real money selling them, the price of dishcloth cotton would rise, ...wait a minute. I think I'm happy with the way things are.

I'll just brighten my home and the homes of my friends with a hand-knitted hand towel or two:

I think slip stitch is my perferred pattern for these. I use Peaches & Creme and Sugar 'n Cream yarn interchangeably for them.

I like the ombre colorways well enough, but prefer mixing the colors to produce striped patterns. I knit them on size 7 needles, (I recommend plastic or wood needles to ease the strain of knitting cotton) to an finished size of approximately 15" x 22", which requires a cast on of about 64-72 stitches. I've used various patterns, including the famous ball-band dishcloth pattern, slipstitch patterns I've found on line, and have even bought knitting books just for one pattern to use for a dishcloth.

I don't mind going to extremes, because I think it is worth it for something that is used so much and lasts so long.

We use the towel I keep hanging in the kitchen everytime we wash our hands. That means many, many times during the day. I like to have at least two, so I can put one in the wash and pull out a fresh one whenever I like.

I know my fondness for these towels is catching on, because my friends have seen them and are telling me they would make good presents. Recently, one of our houseguests came out of our kitchen waving a ball band version and told his wife, who used to knit dishcloths, "You need to make these. They are wonderful!"

I've just knit the baby burp version, and it may become my new favorite. (the yellow one)

I know some rely on knitting dishcloths for their quick cotton projects, but I have never enjoyed using those. I find they take days to dry once saturated, usually turning 'sour' and developing an unfortunate smell. I have to wash them several times to dissipate the sour smell, so they fade terribly. Hand towels, on the other hand (or whichever hand you want to dry, haha), are never fully saturated and don't take the rough wear of a dishcloth. I like to see something I've taken hours to knit looking good as long as possible. The light blue towel in the photo above was the first one I knit. It's almost two years old and still looks good. And, boy, is it soft!

I've tried the nicer cottons, such as Mission Falls, with good results. This one is a placemat, but it would be a good towel as well. I've got a couple of hanks of Plymouth Fantasy Naturalle and some linen blend yarn that are destined to become handtowels or placemats.
There's a lot of cotton yarn out there, and Christmas is coming. Knit a cotton hand towel, and impress your guests.

ETA: Since I wrote this, it has become the most read post on my blog. I know what everyone is looking for--a pattern. I've finally written one, just click here to see my pattern for a Gridded Dish Towel. It can be easily altered to make towels like the ones in this post.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Hunter's neckwarmer, hand-knit

This may be the last fo I'll post in a while, so pay attention!

I've finished up the little neck-warmer for Hunter. I used Bollicine Lampedusa by Cascade Yarns. I think the colorway I used (#7) closely resembles camoflauge, specifically Mossy Oak.
I've included this photo of it blocking, mostly because it is the most color accurate. However, it does illustrate the construction fairly well.

I decided that a square shape was more masculine than the otagonal one I used originally. I also changed from 1x1 to 2x2 ribbing, since it is most elastic. The turtleneck is long enough to fold down, but short enough to be worn up.
I tried to get a modeled shot, but we humans have chins and hair and other clothing on, all of which got in the way. The desk lamp turned out to be the right shape. Size-wise, it is about 11" by 12" on the flaps and fits an 18" neck. I was going to lengthen the front a bit, but I've decided that it can be worn with the point over the chest if he wants it longer. I've got about half a skein of yarn in reserve if he wants adjustments.

I will be interested to see Hunter's reaction and hear his assessment of this project. I think I have seen the store-bought one he has in a photo he sent, and I am surprised that it is knitted. I'd include the photo, but the main feature in it is a rather gory deceased caribou. At least the hunt was successful, but...really, yuck.
I'll change the subject.
I have included a photo of the first half of the back of my Mitered Jacket, knit with Wooly Stripes Tweed. I'll try to match the pattern on the second half (which will continue to the left of this piece after I remove the provisional cast on and pick up the stitches.)

I'm going to put this away and probably bring it back out in the dead of winter. I have some fall projects I'd like to work on now.

I've been on a break from heavy knitting, due to some odd injury to the middle finger of my right hand (don't go there). I think it was from excessive knitting of ribbing (Emerald Seas and the Bubble did it in.) Also, the fact that I use it for the mouse wheel didn't help.

A brief rest (no rib knitting at all), wearing my braces, and five days of motrin (my doctor's recommended max for me, since I don't really need the stuff much), has done the trick. I'm glad, since I have a day-long knitting class this Saturday. Getting ready for the class (several swatches to knit) and the injury has delayed my knitting a bit. I have started Sienna, using the Alpaca with a Twist Highlander. (It is a bit scary how much I resemble that model when my hair is short. Maybe that's why I think the sweater will look good on me?)

I said I was going to do Mr. GreenJeans with the Highlander, but the gauge was wrong. I'm no good at forcing gauges. I still want to knit Mr. Greenjeans, but I just may have to buy some yarn for it. Oh, too bad, so sad. Actually, I'm excited that it will give me a chance to use that 20% off coupon I have at the lys this weekend.

Don't forget that Alpaca Farm/Ranch Day is this weekend. Get out there and pet an alpaca! I'll leave you with a couple of my latest photos. We drove up to Aspen Ridge (near Nathrop, Southeast of Buena Vista, Colorado) yesterday. The colors are not so good there, since there is a fungal growth on the aspen leaves this year, due to all the rain we got this summer. Nonetheless, they are nice.

I think there will be more color up on the Ridge in a few days. The photo above was taken at a lower elevation on the way up there. The aspen on the Ridge are still mostly green. The views are nice, though.

It is easy to get to Aspen Ridge from Highway 24, just turn off onto CR 185 at Trout Creek. We came up the other way, but I think the views are better driving south.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Bubble Pullover

Gee, what I won't do for you guys. I just hiked up a mountain, literally, along the Colorado Trail. At one point K asked, "How far does this trail go, a couple of miles?" I said, no, it goes almost all the way to Denver. We gasped for air for a while, and I heard the reply (from behind me, faintly) "Well, we won't go that far."

I wanted to go into NATURE, to take photos of my new FO:

the Bubble Pullover, from Knitting Nature by Norah Gaughan

Tahki Lima yarn, all of 11 balls, sizes 6 and 8 needles, about three weeks of non-exclusive knitting

The Lima yarn is an acrylic and alpaca blend. However, it is mostly alpaca and thus worked well for the pattern. The recommended yarn is alpaca. I got gauge, so the knitting was according to pattern and was easy. I loved knitting the pentagons in the round. Switching to the dpns as I got to the centers was tricky, but it only lasted a few rows and then I was down to 8 stitches and done.

The drape is excellent, the yarn is super soft and not at all itchy after hand washing and blocking. It is a very light yarn, but expands well -- no see-through and no shedding. Oh, that drape! So this is what it is like to knit a good pattern with nice yarn. I've been buying cheap yarn for so long, I haven't had the experience much. Not that Lima is expensive, especially on sale at Elann.

Just as I overcame my fear of water by learning to swim, I overcame my fear of picking up stitches by knitting this sweater. I picked up, and picked up and picked up. I do admit, learning to swim was harder, or at least more life-threatening. None of it would have been as easy if Sherry, my knitting teacher, hadn't explained that 'pick up and knit' means what I thought 'pick up' meant. It makes a big difference when you don't put in an extra row.

Yes, it is a "killer" sweater, as Virginia, my old blogging buddy, put it. (Thanks, Virginia!) Even if I had to knit for weeks, then take a 'killer' hike to show it off, it was well worth it.

Well, enough of this gloating. I've got to get on and finish the laundry. But I'll be walking on air, even if it is uphill all the way.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Hunting Knitting

Originally, the hunter asked me to make something to keep his neck warm when he was out hunting. *'Like a scarf?' I thought.* But no. The hunter wanted something that went around his neck and just the part of his chest left exposed by his open shirt collar. *'Like a short scarf?' thinks I.* The something should fit up neatly around his neck. "Oh," says I, "Like a gaiter?" Hunter looked at me blankly.

I thought about this request for a while. I was thinking dickey, maybe buttoned in back. Garter stitch flap, brioche stitch neck. Or a gaiter. I called Hunter, who was on his way to the wilds of Canada to hunt caribou. (Hunter is no slacker when it comes to hunting.) He nixed the button in back idea. He nixed the dickey. He wanted it to cover part of his back, too.

Now I need to find yarn to use. Most likely, acrylic. At least I could satisfy the latest suggestion Hunter has: "Get some string with different colors on it and maybe it would look like camoflauge." Yes.
I didn't tell him that they make camo yarn. Actually, I have some camo yarn. It is an alpaca/acrylic/wool blend. It might be ok for this gaiter/cowl/dickey thing. However, I'm afraid it is itchy.
Besides being given the vague instructions, I was informed that he bought just the thing, for the Canadian trip. I'm sure it is fleece. I'm sure if I can see it, I will get a better idea as to how to construct one like it. I'm also sure you are wondering why I am still pursuing this, since he HAS ONE. Why?
Hunter said, "You could make me a lighter weight one for hunting at home." Really, I'm having fun doing this.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Alpaca mom hums to baby

This alpaca gave birth to her baby the day before this was taken, so she is very protective. Her owner is holding her baby in his arms, and she is trying to make sure he is ok, and also trying to get him to put her baby down. Alpacas do make a noise, when alarmed or nervous. It sounds a bit like humming or perhaps whining. I thought you'd be interested in hearing it. I've not posted a video before, so if you have any problems with it, let me know in a comment or e-mail.

The photo is not that good--I was more concerned about picking up the sound, and just showing you how the mom was nuzzling her baby. I have posted good photos of the alpacas earlier, and will post more later.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Old knitting at the Gunnison Museum

**Flash** This post was edited a couple of hours later to reflect recent knitting activity!

The City of Gunnison has a Pioneer Museum. It is a large museum, with many old buildings moved into the site. There's a fascinating old school house that is designed to resemble a tugboat--it has a curved bay window in the library. It is amazing to see something like that built so long ago. There's also a train, complete with engine, cars, caboose and depot. It's a fun place. We hurried over to visit because they usually close on Labor Day. However, they're staying open until the end of September this year. Get on over there!

They had these, and I was surprised to see vintage knitting that I'd actually consider copying. The tag says the mittens and 'cuffs' were knit for a little boy by his grandmother in 1886. awwww.

I can't believe this is all I have for you. My only excuse is that I'm about to be hit with houseguests again. It's killing me, knitting-wise. So why am I blogging? I decided to post this, in case I don't get time this week, what with the guests. I think I can knit some while the guests are here. One of them is a knitter! Whee, knitting buddy. I can't wait to see her.

I spent some time yesterday afternoon (after more cleaning, ugh) listening to the Cast-on podcast and finishing the bottom ribbing. Brenda interviewed Norah Gaughan, the designer of the Bubble Pullover. I loved listening to the interview while knitting one of her designs. I also loved that she discussed the way it is being knitted.

She said a lot of the under-30 knitters are trying to size it down, to change the fit. It is supposed to fit loosely, but the younger set wants it to fit tightly. You see, this is a major beef of mine. People have confused "fit" with "tight". Clothing can fit without hugging every curve and bump. After this summer's knitting, which included several summer tops designed to be close-fitting, I was really looking forward to knitting something loose. I made the size small, which gives me 6" of ease. I won't know if it is right until it is done. I've bound off the bottom ribbing, but I still have the sleeves and 10" of collar--that's over 9,000 stitches of ribbing for the collar.

I don't like to knit ribbing. I dislike it so much, yesterday, on the urging of one of the bloggers I read, I tried combined knitting. It went ok, and totally solved my tension problem in the ribbing. I thought I might pursue this. Then I remembered the problem with combined--you can't knit combined in the round! Continental, English, Combined, now I've learned them all. I just wish I was adept enough at all of them to switch among them without adversely affecting my project.

After more thought, I believe I have envisioned a solution to my ribbing woes--I'll get a knitting machine! :D

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Royal Gorge

In the face of the approaching Labor Day weekend, officially the last gasp of summer, I thought I would present yet one more fun thing to do. Just in case you don't have plans, there's always Royal Gorge.
Actually, I learned about Royal Gorge on tv several years ago. Bill Geist had a feature on it during one of my favorite shows, CBS Sunday Morning. I became fascinated with seeing the highest suspension bridge in the world and planned a side trip on one of our road trips in order to visit it.
At the time, I enjoyed visiting Canon City (that's pronounced "canyon" city--I don't know how to put the tilde over the n), and never knew I would one day be living nearby. Now traveling through the Gorge or visiting the bridge is one of the things we do when we have visitors. Recently, we rode the train through the Gorge. Besides the beautiful scenery, we were treated to up-close views of those rafters brave enough to tackle the Gorge by boat. This stretch of the Arkansas River has Class IV and V white water rapids.
It was the peak of the rafting season then, and there were a lot of rafters. We had views of them twice, as the train passed them going upstream, then turned around and caught up with them again.
They really seem to enjoy it.
One guide had a special effect for us.
I'll bet he does this for the train every trip. This rafting company has a video here and more info here, but there's lots of rafting companies here to choose from.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Knitting in Fairplay

Our Friday adventure began with a dental appointment. Although I don't enjoy going to the dentist, I do enjoy the fact that my dentist is in the same town as the nearest yarn shop. I suppose it is more than a coincidence, since I found out about this dentist when I met his wife at the yarn shop's knitting group. So a visit to dentist became a trip to the yarn shop, and the bead shop. Disappointed at the bead shop, I wanted to go to another one nearby, in Fairplay, Co. I vaguely remembered that there was something else interesting in Fairplay.

South Park City is a restored 1880s town. Actually, it is a most unusual museum. You pay, you walk out the back door of the visitor's center, and there you are--

In town. Virtually alone. The entire town, some of the buildings original to the site, some moved in, is restored and fully furnished.

There's a house or two, a railroad, a train, a blacksmith shop, a general store, the bank, the assay office, the stage coach stop, with lodging and the table set for a meal. There's stables, most of the mining equipment, even some gold nuggets (well, they look real), everything you would expect in a town, even the hearse:

The amazing thing is that it is all full of antique items and most of it is just there, no ropes, no bars, just there for you to pick up and look at. There's typewriters, tools, beds, washstands, tables, kitchens, I could go on and on. All there to touch, sit on, lie on (Well, who would want to do that? The beds looked like they were stuffed with cornhusks 100 years ago.) Some of it is roped off, but not much. It was all quite interesting. There was crochet and knitting, of course. The only thing I missed seeing was the saloon, with its painting of an appropriately 'clad' woman.
I took K's word on the painting. By then, I was more interested in the beads. The bead shop in Fairplay is a good one. There's lots of funky beads, besides the nice stuff, and the lady in charge was very nice.

I've been on a quest for certain size and shape beads. I'm making a knitting row counter bracelet. Of course, you can buy these on Etsy, and there are tutorials on their construction on line, but me, I had to figure it out on my own.

At first, I thought these were silly. I have row counters, and they work better and are easier to read than these bracelets. Even if the bracelets are prettier. But I was interested. Once I got bored enough (read: work has declined a bit, and we are bored). I looked and thought I'd figure it out. Scale is hard to judge with these, from what I've seen so far, so I thought I'd show you one in my fingers for scale.
It is quite nifty, actually. I find it easy to use for a short row count, even easier than the counters which must be dialed back to the beginning. Probably not as easy to read, but certainly prettier. Comfortable enough to wear for hours. Simple to make. Cheap to buy, whether you are buying from Etsy or buying the beads to make one yourself.

If you are unfamiliar with them, I'll explain: It's memory wire, with nine beads each of two different colors. One color bead represents ones, the other color represents tens, abacus style. There's a circlet (or in this case, a square) of beads on elastic cord that is large enough to let you pop a bead through. Knit a row, pop a bead. Knit ten rows, pop one of the darker beads, pop the others back. In the photo above, the count is 14 rows--one blue bead, four orange beads.