Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Tweedy New Year

I've had this Aran wool from Kerry Woollen Mills that I got at Dublin Bay Knitting Co. in Portland, OR awhile back. I have been saving it up to do an Irish tweedy vest of some sort. Here is my first try at doing one. The pattern: Bramblewood. I found the yarn to be very scritchy and stiff. I tried spraying with water and blocking out a bit to see if it would change and "bloom" a bit, and I think it would. Then as I went along, it just didn't seem the cables were "popping" out as they should so I am not sure I want to continue this vest,as the cables are on both back and front sides.
Though I do love this pattern...

They show up a bit more on the top section, as that is what I sprayed and tried to block, poke and prod the cables to come out a bit. I have set this one aside for now.

Instead I found an easy Green Day vest pattern that I am trying since I have plenty of the yarn to begin again. And maybe it will be easier to work with this new pattern.

It has a twisted knit row every third row on the hemline. It calls for other cables to run from underarm to hem on the sides, however I am omitting those cables.

I'm liking it so far...It's very cold out here and nice to be working with tweedy wool.
Happy Knit Year!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas Knitting and hello, yellow bird artwork!

Merry Christmas to all! I was blessed by handmade cards by my "artist" daughter. She will be very likely to sell her artwork on etsy, and also has her portfolio and contact information up online. She is a graphic designer/illustrator/sudio artist. You can find her work here:! And her blog here:

...and sheep stitch markers given to me by my son in law and other daughter. Shown here working on my next project, with "happy" sheep adorning my needles!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Push the Reset Button

Shortbread #4 is the same version as below, except using only 6 Tbl. corn starch and about 1/2 c. (?) or more ground almond meal, adding 1/2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. vanilla. I pulled out of oven when it started to get golden. Cut while warm. Then dusted with powdered sugar while warm. This tastes very much like our family favorite, Almond Crescents, but easier to make in a 9 x13 pan!
Shortbread Try #3: This time I used the whole cup of cornstarch. Not even a "scant". Felt weird putting that much cornstarch in. I also added 1/2 tsp. salt since I used unsalted butter and we decided shortbread has to have salt to taste right.

It came out like this, but I put back in the oven to see if I could get it to cook a bit more after I cut it.

The edge pieces looked like this. The center ones were poofier.

I would have to say the flavor was good. I dusted with granulated sugar prior to baking. Recipe calls for powdered sugar dusting after it comes out of the oven, which tastes great too, we found upon our last test trial.

The cornstarch seems to make it taste a bit lighter and a bit crispier on the edge pieces, but seems to add a puffiness to the center pieces that is also nice.

Knitting along on the 1 x 1 rib scarf in between batches of Scottish Shortbread. Using O-Wool...easy knit, easy going...vacation pace!

Trying Scottish Shortbread Recipe #2: This one called for scant 1 c. cornstarch. I only had but a few tablespoons, so I threw that in, then added about a few shakes-maybe 1/2 c.- of ground almond meal for good measure. I also added in 1/2 tsp. salt this time, since I used unsalted butter. Kind of like a combination of our family favorite recipe for "almond crescents" mixed with the shortbread recipe below-minus, as I mentioned, most the corn starch!:

Baked as directed and here are the results, after shaking on the powdered sugar:

Mighty good, mighty good. Yes, indeed. I gained a pound just looking at them! I might try this one again after purchasing more corn starch and see how that turns out doing them again with the 1 c. cornstarch. The ground almonds are a great addition, by the way!

Pushing the reset button on life and going into Christmas baking mode around here....Recipe attempt #1 yielded a thin cookie. I used unsalted butter and therefore, it was not quite as salty as it probably should've been. I sprinkled granulated sugar over the top before baking. Here is how they appeared after being cut. Not too poofy. Might need to use an 8x8 pan to make double the poofiness.

The recipe I used was from here:

My husband was happy to test them out. We decided it needed the salt and maybe I would try another recipe until I hit it right.

And a bit of mindless easy knitting on a scarf using alternating colors of O-Wool. In a knit 1, purl 1 rib. I am slipping the first and last stitch of every 2nd row purlwise to have the edges look cleaner.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Fast Fingerless Gloves

These lovely gloves "winged" their way all the way to my knitter friend in the UK, where I hope they will keep her toasty warm while they are experiencing quite a snow storm over the holidays.
This link here:
How to Knit Fingerless Gloves
is a video I found with a super easy "recipe" for fast fingerless gloves. I know you thought I'd never make any more after last year when I made like 10 pairs of Fetching. I have made alot of these easy pairs in the past few days. Easy because no cabling is required. And they don't have thumbs. But you could add them.Use bulky worsted weight yarn. Size 9 needles. Or 10. Cast on 24. K2 P2 in rib for 15 rows for cuff, then knit in stockinette for 12 rows (or more for longer gloves), K2 P2 rib for 4 more rows and cast off in rib. Sew the side seams leaving room for your thumb. Voila! A bit of leftover stash used up.

Two -toned gloves using a smaller gauge yarn, casting on 34 instead, and using a lighter grey on the trim.

And a few gifts are made!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Yarn and coffee in Mt. Vernon, WA

A sneak preview of my upcoming project: Mythos. It's a sweater using fingering weight yarn on size 7 needles. Slow going with the stockinette stitch, but I am alternating between two colorways of yarn that keeps me "paying attention." If you want to see a fabulous version of Mythos, you should check out my side bar and go to Busy Bea Knits. Hers is fantastic!
I got to visit the Wild Fibers yarn shop in Mt. Vernon, WA on our way up north today. They had a fantastic selection. I really loved all they carried. All the great "names" in yarn: Cascade, Noro, and Debbie Bliss, Spud and Chloe, Berroco, Rowan, Manos del Uruguay, etc... and some pretty hand painted sock yarns. They also had some really cute buttons. Plus, they were open on a Sunday. Cute sign in the bathroom that reads: This bathroom is very old- it used to be the jail! The toilet will not flush properly unless it has stopped running from the previous flush....

Ristretto coffee had a nice latte made for me, not too hot... and festive straws for the season. Ahhh...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Shalom Revisited, Peace Again!

Shalom Two or: "Peace" Again! Here it is with a long-sleeved shirt underneath. It's like a sweater vest coat, really. The coat of many colors. It does attract the attention of those holiday shoppers who are aware enough to notice it is a handmade and distinctive garment. I found this out the other day at Target, when a random lady stopped me to comment about it.It took a few fancy "seams" in the back of the yoke to get it to fit better. In hindsight, I cast on too many for the yoke...
The Shalom Two sweater keeps developing! I decided to add on a hem and a little bit of a sleeve. So I picked up and knit several garter stitch rows for the hem. Picked up too many stitches the first try which made it flare out and ruffle. Second try, picked up every other stitch which was a bit snug. Trying to block it out a bit here:For the sleeve: I picked up about 7 stitches in quadrants around the sleeve and 14 under the arm, (about 42 total) knitting in the round for 5 rows in stockinette, then 3 rows: purl, knit, purl to finish off before casting off on the wrong side row.

This particular project has been in hibernation for a year now. What better time to get the wool out than when we are having a nice cold snap here in Seattle. Lows of 15 degrees at night, snow on the ground and it's 25 degrees out now. School's closed and I can hunker down in my snow jammies all day with my coffee and my yarn. I made the pattern, Shalom awhile back and loved it so. You may find the pattern on Involving the Senses blog. I used a combination of that pattern for the yoke, as well as the Poppy sweater pattern idea for the lower portion of the sweater. You can see my original Shalom and Poppy sweaters on the sidebar to the right, as well as the blogsite mentioned above (I hyperlinked it). This was a creative endeavor combining two pattern concepts into one. I first made the yoke according to Shalom's instructions on size 10 needles with the Noro yarn, casting on 109. In hindsight this was probably too many stitches...Then I added on the body using sideways knitting of stripes of alternating yarns adding in purl rows for interest, until it made a long enough strip to attach to the yoke. I added on a button band to the body, however only added buttonholes to the yoke. I used some Cascade 220 Heathers and some Berroco Palace and more Noro for my striping on the body.
It ends up being very roomy in the yoke in the back, however I am not brave enough to try steeking on such a complicated yoke. So I tried to tumble it a bit in the dryer to see if I could snug the sweater up a bit. I don't recommend doing this on your wool, but I did this on this particular sweater knowing I had a lot of "give" in it and checked it every several minutes. I did this after soaking, spinning it and blocking it almost dry. After this, I sewed on buttons. Voila! My husband says it looks somewhat like a poncho! Thanks, honey! I had thought of adding on sleeves...then again, may not. I might just wear a long sleeved shirt under it.
It kind of does look like Joseph's technicolor dreamcoat or a coat of many colors.
It was a fun and artsy way of using up Noro yarns and my first attempt at doing something of the sort!

Friday, November 19, 2010

An Ending and a Beginning

A sadness is over the knitting community due to the closing of our local yarn shop.
Knitting there one last time was sad, but...

I had the joy of teaching one special Grandma and her granddaughter to knit today. And that helped make up for one sad ending. And made it a day of new beginnings.

And they caught on very quickly. I hope it brings them great joy! I know it did for me!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Trying On Slinky Ribs and Blocking!

Voila! My new "favorite" sweater: Slinky Ribs, by Wendy Bernard from her book, "Custom Knits".
Used 5 skeins of Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, on size 6 needles, 6 dpns, and size 4 needles. LOVE! It is so comfortable and I will really wear this one alot!Modifications: I raised the neckline by an inch and made the sleeves 3/4 length, added in a purl row before casting off the sleeves as well as the hem to help it avoid curling. I also made buttonholes for the six buttons.
I learned about: provisional cast-on, short-row shaping on a sleeve cap, did alot of ribbing and made a few mistakes along the way!
Here's what it looked like all dried and blocked in the morning. I soaked it in Eucalan and then rolled in a towel, put both the towel with the sweater (still inside it), in the "spin" cycle of my washer just to get excess water out, and then layed it flat to dry overnight. Can't wait to get a photo shoot outside in this one!

A sleeve:

Blocking makes ALL the difference:

Found that extra button! I took out and redid the hem to include a purl row to match the ends of the sleeves. Finished picking up the neckline stitches and knit an extra row there than called for. The neckline curls a bit -it is meant to do that. Trying it on before blocking, I am pleased. Before blocking:

During blocking:

I can get a bit of extra length out of it through blocking and get the hem to lie flatter, especially with the purl row added in. This sweater feels super soft and comfy. I can see getting use out of this one! I knit most of the ribbing while down in Bend, OR and will always have the memory that I had started it on a hot September afternoon, poolside at the hotel, just as was pictured in the pattern book! Well...almost! I will remember this was knit just before attending a lovely couple's wedding on our trip there, and alot of time spent knitting it on the LONG car ride home.