Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas 2009 Wrap-Up

Well I have returned from my very "Oh So Short" Christmas trip to Charlotte. I flew in on Christmas Eve morning to spend the holiday with my parents. Unfortunately, no one else in the family could make it, so it was just the three of us and Flash, the cat. It was very nice and even though I only went for 3 days, I am glad I got to go.

So now that the gifts have all been given, I can finally share all that I have completed that has been withheld from the blog.

I knitted mom the Seraphim Shawl. I chose Dream In Color Smooshy yarn. The colorway is Romeo Blue.

I knitted Dad another hat. I say another because after looking in their hall closet I realized this is the 4th hat I have made him for Christmas. I promised no more hats and something different would come next year. Dad got a Thorpe Hat. I used Paton's Wool in Black as the main color and the contrasting stripe is Shelridge Farms Worsted in Blueberry.

I realized after the fact that my parents received coordinating colored items.

I knitted Mary Beth a Porom Hat and a Wicker Cafe Cowl. I used Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool in Vintage Denim colorway. Ever since I made my own Porom, MB had been wanting to knit one up for herself. On the second day of Rhinebeck we were looking at the Shelridge Farm yarn (what I used to make mine) and she asked me "How many skeins did the Porom take?". I looked deeply into her eyes and asked, "Do you really want to make that?". She looked so cute when she comprehended what I was saying.

With sis living in Myrtle Beach, the Silky Wool was a nice "light" yarn to use. Airy but yet will be warm in mild winter temperatures. I chose the Wicker Cafe Cowl because most cowls tend to be large on her neck. This one had a nice little 2 button closure at the top which I thought might hold it in for her.

Unfortunately I didn't get to give it to her because she arrived at my parents the day I flew back to NYC.

Finally, I finished the Lacy Accent Scarf for my niece. The yarn is Jagger Spun and it's like knitting with thread. Definitely thinner than any lace yarn I've used. My darling niece wanted a lacy black scarf and so she got it. I hung it up from my mom's kitchen window to let the light through in hopes of getting a good picture.

I am very happy to report that DB loved the Hemlock Ring Blanket, even without it being blocked to it's full size! It proudly lays across his bed. I just need to get it back from his grips in order to block it for him. I promise I will post pictures once I do.

Hope everyone has a beautiful and safe New Year!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Before I Jet

Well Santa comes a "Ho, Ho, Ho'ing" in just two days. We definitely got that winter storm this past weekend to make it feel more like Christmas. DB and I were out walking in the storm on Saturday night around 11pm. We were leaving a friends house and only had 1 block to walk home. Even though the snow was blowing in our eyes, turning our cheeks bright red and sinking our feet in the snow up to our calves, it was truly beautiful. Being the first ones to walk on the untouched snow was awesome. This is what it looked like outside my door Sunday morning.

There are steps under there somewhere!

While we are thawing out from the snow, my needles have been flying. I have spent the past two days furiously trying to finish up my Hemlock Ring. For those of you counting, that is definitely only one finished by Christmas. There is a good reason though, I decided to do some of the extended chart to make it a bigger blanket. Thus I used the other two hanks of yarn I had set aside for the 2nd blanket.

I call this blanket my sea creature. In it's folded up state it looks like an something you'd see frolicking around in the deep water somewhere.

Can you see how heavy this blanket is on the needles? That's over 800 stitches.

Finally, here it is in an unblocked state. I finished it up last night. I tried to take it to the Dry Cleaner this morning to get it steamed blocked, but the substitute cleaner guy looked at my like I had three heads. I decided that I will attempt to block it myself. However it will have to wait until I return from my holiday in NC. As promised to Marsha, I will get a picture of someone under it after it's all blocked to give you a perspective of the size.

I hope everyone has a beautiful Christmas holiday! Safe travels to all who will be braving the skies or roads. I'm off to NC to be with my parents tomorrow morning.

P.S. If you ask me if I would knit this blanket again my response would be, "Not any time soon!". I am VERY happy to be done with it.

Friday, December 18, 2009

"Oh Christmas Tree"

This is how I spent my afternoon. I almost didn't put the tree up this year, but today I changed my mind. I figured there are still a good three weeks of the holiday season to enjoy it and it did make it feel a bit more like Christmas for me.

This is the first time since 2006 I have put the tree up. It's a special tree to me. A really good friend of mine ventured out with me on a chilly December afternoon back in 2006 to purchase this tree. At the time, both she and I were feeling a bit blue and declared that getting this tree and decorating it would cure what ailed us and yes, it worked. She and I had so much fun that afternoon three years ago. Lots of laughs were shared. Memories were captured within my heart. Nothing like a true friendship to treasure forever.

While I didn't have any help decorating the tree this year, I still had fun. At least once I got past figuring out why some of the lights weren't working. I don't know why I don't put up the tree every year because I love being able to go through the multitude of ornaments that I have. All of them being gifted to me over the years. When you look at my tree you'll notice three things I love. Tigger's, Angels and Barbies. There are many strewn through the branches of this little fella...

The most special Tigger on the tree - It's a Radko.

I love this little guy too. It's a Radko Paddington Bear my parents gave me several years ago.

A precious little Angel. One of at least five or six I think.

One of a few puppies with another Tigger hanging out in the back.

I even have a few of the handmade ornaments my mom made years ago.

Another of mom's ornaments.

This little guy is a new addition to being on the tree this year.

Another pair of the precious Angels.

Tigger snowshoeing on the back of the tree.

This is one of three mini glitter heart ornaments I have on the tree.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

9 Days 'Til Christmas

I know I have probably said this a lot but, where has the time gone? Really, I'd like to know. Santa will be coming in ONLY 9, count them 9, days!!!!!

I think I'm gonna be ok on finishing up the gift knitting I wanted to do this year. I have one smallish item needing a little bit done. Then there is a medium-ish item that's about 90% done. Lastly, there is a large-ish item that I could of had done but, put to the side 'cause I couldn't decide how I wanted to proceed.

I recently finished three items. I can only share one with you right now. The rest will be after Christmas 'cause there are sneaky peeky eyes that read my blog. So for now here's the completed Thorpe Hat.

You may, or may not, remember a couple of posts ago that I needed to re-knit this hat in the large size because the medium was going to be too small for my nephews head. Well I am very happy to say that I think the large will definitely fit. It's amazing how just a few more stitches increased will make that much of a difference.

I met up with Miss Shameka for lunch today and she gave me a 5 minute crash course on doing the Half Double Crochet edging. To my amazement, something that sounds so complicated was super duper easy. Once I got home, I quickly finished the edging and attached the multi-colored earflap braiding.

I love this hat and now I only hope my nephew will too!

Pattern: Thorpe Hat from Knitty
Yarn: Shelridge Farm Worsted (Pumpkin and Natural)
Needles: Knit Picks Option size 9
Started: December 15, 2009
Finished: December 16, 2009

Sunday, December 6, 2009

All In The Details

My DB Sweater is finally done! I spent yesterday afternoon determined to seam up the last remaining side and work in the few remaining ends. I also felt like I was in dire need of completing a knitting project. My time has been split between several projects so nothing was on the FO list, and gosh darn it, I was determined to get something on it quick.

I truly enjoyed knitting this sweater. It gave me the opportunity to really use the knitting skills I have accumulated over the years and put them to the test. Several parts of this sweater had been started, frogged and restarted several times while trying to get the sizing I wanted and needed. It just shows the even with a gauge swatch things still don't turn out like they are suppose to.

The sleeves gave me a bit of a hard time. Thank goodness I had the knowledge to try and figure out the number of stitches I needed when and where to put the decreases to get a sleeve that would make me happy. In the end, they are still baggier than I would have liked.

Incorporating all the elements that DB liked in his favorite sweater made this really fun for me. I gave him the hemmed edges along the bottom of the sweater and sleeve cuffs. The collar was a simple rib and he got the set-in sleeves that he preferred over the raglan. There's even a little extra detail inside the back neck edge. When DB saw it, he said, "It definitely was.".

Pattern: My Own with help from "The Knitters Handy Book of Sweater Patterns"
Yarn: Shelridge Farm Soft Touch W4; Colorway: Blueberry (7 skeins)
Needles: Knit Picks Option Size 6 and 7
Started: October 22, 2009
Finished: December 5, 2009

The flash on the modeled photos makes the sweater look stretched and holey, but it definitely isn't. The fit was pretty close to perfect. The most important thing to me is that DB is happy with it and will wear it over and over again.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

31 Days

I find it absolutely amazing that tomorrow is Thanksgiving and that Christmas is only 31 days away! I have been unemployed for nine months, but yet I feel this year has flown. Maybe it's because I have a particular special someone in my life that took me all over the place this past summer and continues to brighten my life each and every day - even when we're not together.

So as we go into celebrating our thanks tomorrow with family and friends, I want to share some knitting updates.

I have finished another Christmas gift. This one is the Vanilla Toe-Up socks for one of my nephew's. Even though his foot is bigger than mine, it didn't stop me from modeling them for you.

Pattern: My own plain vanilla toe-up
Yarn: Colinette Jitterbug - Colorway: Toscana
Needles: Knit Picks Size 1.5
Started: November 7, 2009
Finished: November 17, 2009

It's been a long time since I've done a toe-up sock. Knitting this pair up reminded me why I love toe-up's so much. They knit up SO fast!

Great progress has been made on DB's sweater. Everything has been knitted, blocked and seaming has begun. As of right now, I have one sleeve attached. I have some gripes about the yarn, which I will share in a post of all it's own, but am thrilled to almost have the sweater done. DB is really looking forward to wearing it too!

I started, and almost finished, another Christmas present yesterday. One of my nephew's wanted an earflap hat so I thought I would knit up a Thorpe for him. The pattern calls for a chunky yarn, but I substituted a worsted weight.

Before MB left NY, we decided I would knit the medium on size 9 needles. After finishing the knitting yesterday I tried it on. It fits me really well and I fear it will be too snug for his head. I even had DB try it on last night and it was snug on him. Sooooooooo, since I have plenty of yarn, I am going to cast-on for another and this time knit the large for my nephew.

This one will become mine. I just need to tackle the crochet edging to call it an FO.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Some Say A Star

I say it's a Flower! That is in the middle of my Hemlock Ring Blanket. I've been working on this blanket for just over a week now and some real good progress has been made.

I just attached my second hank of yarn last night and have completed up to Row 51 of the Feather and Fan chart. The blanket is getting kind of heavy on the needles now and tires my right arm out a bit. I am generally getting anywhere from 5-15 rows done a day. I split my knitting time up between this and other projects because of the weight. Right now there are 440 stitches to be worked and that number increases every 5 fifth row.

I was asked how quickly this was really knitting up. I quote, "And please, when you answer this question, try to put your answer in terms of Normal Person Knitting Speed--not Speed-Demon Deborah's Knitting Speed.". Do I know how to answer that? Hmmm. I think what I have completed in a week could be done by a slower knitter in about 2 to 2.5 weeks. The yarn is bulky and on size 10.5 needles. That contributes to a quicker knit. Plus, once you get to the Feather and Fan chart there is 1 row of lace pattern and then 4 rows of straight knitting. Pretty easy since 4 out of 5 rows are knit.

I was also asked if I really could knit two for Christmas. To quote again, "Two before christmas? Really?". Ummm. Somewhere in my mind I imagine myself being able to complete two of these blankets before Christmas. I don't think that is just a fantasy rolling around in there. lol All my other projects are on the smallish side so I am hoping that if I work on the blanket alongside these other ones I could get both done. We shall see though.

Monday, November 9, 2009


Can't. Stop. Knitting.

Yes I know my fingers are flying all over the place with all the knitting that is going on in my little ol' apartment these days. I guess this is better than pigging out on chocolate all day long, right? I really only have 5 weeks to get all of my Christmas gift knitting done. That leaves me with 1 week and 3 days to allow for shipping for said gifts to arrive in their appropriate destinations.

Right now the only thing I am knitting that isn't a Christmas gift is my Darling Boyfriend Sweater. Great progress has been made on that. I have one completed sleeve and the other is about half done. I could of had the second sleeve done over the weekend, but I got completely frustrated with the new hank of yarn I was using for it. Seems like this one was a dud. Every few inches I go there is a HUGE slub of yarn that has to be cut out before I can continue. Never fear though I will prevail and kick some yarn slub bootie!

That is a 27.5" long sleeve! DB has some looooong arms.

In regards to Christmas knitting, I started the socks I want to gift to one of my nephews. He has asked his mom why she hasn't knitted him socks yet. I told her I would take care of it. I am using my Vanilla Toe-Up Sock pattern. One sock is done and the other has some good progress on it.

I started a Hemlock Ring Blanket yesterday. I am planning on making two of these as Christmas gifts. I got the yarn I needed at $24 a blanket. Really an inexpensive gift that will hopefully be treasured for a very long time. I'm currently up to Round 41. Can you see the flower in the center?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Proof of Life

I have been dutifully knitting away these days. Can't believe we are in November already and Christmas will be here in 7 weeks. Those of you who know me are aware that I generally knit my Christmas gifts. This year is no exception. While juggling Christmas projects, I have also been working on a sweater for my DB. I'd like to say right here that if anyone mentions the "Sweater Curse" I will send them a cyber smack. ;-) So onward with my current projects.

I found the perfect yarn at Rhinebeck for my Darling Boyfriend Sweater. I couldn't wait to get started. After discussing with DB his likes and dislikes on his favorite sweater, I decided the best route to take on the sweater was to create one of my own design, with guidance from "The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns" by Ann Budd. After 4 attempts of getting the right number of stitches for cast-on on the back, things have progressed rather nicely.

The Back.

The Front.

The 1st Sleeve Attempt. The needle in the middle shows that I was getting ready to rip back 24 rows because I wasn't happy with the width.

The sleeve as it stands now.

I am truly enjoying knitting this sweater. It has required me to think, focus and come up with a way to get the desired outcome I am looking for. I am looking forward to having it complete and show pictures of DB modeling it.

There have also been some FO's in my house. Well 1 completed FO and 1 Half FO.

The Half FO is my Froot Loop Sock. I grafted the toe closed on Sock #1 yesterday. I started this sock back in June and procrastinated on getting it done. I had a couple of motivating factors recently to get this sock off the needles. 1) I purchased Cookie A's sock book last month and have drooled over several of the patterns I want to knit up right now (but won't until Froot Loop is done) and 2) I need the needles to knit up some socks that will be a Christmas gift. Until the gifts socks are done, we will just be looking at Froot Loop Single Sock.

The completed FO is, of course, a Christmas Gift. One of my nephews has wanted a scarf for a good bit now so I decided that I would oblige and give him one this Christmas.

Pattern: Men's "Merino Silk" Scarf (Last Minute Knitted Gifts)
Yarn: Manos Silk Blend (2 skeins; Colorway 3104)
Needles: Knit Picks Options Size 6
Started: October 20, 2009
Finished: November 4, 2009
Mods: The original pattern called for a worsted yarn. Since I used a DK yarn I casted on 31 stitches instead of 21. I also knitted until I ran out of yarn. The finished dimensions are 5" wide and 63" long.

Something else on the needles is this little black lacy number. My niece requested a thin black scarf for Christmas. My sis passed this info on to me along with the pattern to be used. I am knitting the "Lacy Accent Scarf" from Glam Knits using Zephyr yarn. I currently have only 5" of the required 72". I move a bit slower on this knit because of the delicate lace yarn (it's really like thread). However, I know that somehow I'll get it done.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Golden Orb Spider Silk Tapestry

There are times like this when I feel so lucky to be living in New York City! It's one place that has so much culture to experience.

Back in September Becky created a short blog post about the Golden Orb Spider Silk Tapestry. I was completely fascinated by what I read on the link she provided. I was even more thrilled to find out that this tapestry was on display at the American Museum of Natural History here in NYC.

This past Monday Mary Beth and I made sure we got over to the museum to see it with our own eyes. So here are the pictures that Becky requested I take if I went to see it.

Interesting Facts:
  • 11-by-4-foot tapestry made completely of spider silk
  • Weavers in Madagascar took four years to make it
  • The color is a radiant gold — the natural color of the golden orb-weaving spider
  • The silk is extremely strong — but can stretch
  • When the silk is woven it sounds like pinging of metallic guitar strings
  • The main threads consist of 96 twisted silk lines. The brocaded patterns in the tapestry — stylized birds and flowers — are woven with threads made up of 960 spider silk lines
  • Peers says they never broke a single strand, yet the tapestry is as soft as cashmere
Mary Beth and I has wished so badly that we could have touched it!