Monday, 14 January 2019

First Sleeve Done

This sweater is knitting up very quickly. I might even have most of it knit before Skip and I head south. I finished the first sleeve last night and have about 10cm done on the second one.
The sleeves and body are knit up to the underarms. Underarm stitches are put on holders on both the sleeves and the body. They will be grafted together later. The rest of the stitches around the sleeves and body form the yoke are put on one long needle for the knitting of the yoke. The Lettlopi that I'm using is Aran weight and with the 4.5mm needles I'm using, it knits up like a dream with great stitch definition.

This morning I stitched with a Monday morning group at Alda's. I got some more work done on my Stars sampler.
I've started the leafy vine above the verse and will stitch the alphabet above that when I'm done.

I have been listening to lots of Flosstube videos on YouTube. I like Vonna Pfeifer (The Twisted Stitcher)'s finishing tutorials. She explains the steps very clearly. I have also enjoyed Chelsea and Priscilla "The Real Housewives of Cross Stitch" and Teresa Kogut's Flosstube.

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Getting Gauge

I have ripped the sleeve back to the colourwork a couple of times - experimenting with a couple of needle sizes. I finally decided on 3.5mm for the cuff and 4.5mm for the stocking stitch/rest of the sweater.

The sleeve increases are every 6 rounds so I place a marker on round 1 to remind myself that I need to increase a stitch after the first and before the last stitch of this round. The ones that you can't see are actually inside the sleeve. I'm leaving them in so it will be easy to count stitches (2 more for every marker) until I reach the maximum needed then will knit straight until I get to the correct sleeve length.
I did use the rolled and ribbed cuff. The stocking stitch goes pretty quickly after that.

Friday, 11 January 2019

Another Lopi Sweater

Skip has been wearing his Riddari ('knight' in Icelandic) sweater non-stop since the weather got cold.
I'm very pleased he likes it but I thought he should have a second Lopi sweater to wear. After much deliberation, I decided on the Lopi 20th Anniversary sweater - Afmaeli (which means 'anniversary' in Icelandic) - free from their website.

I selected colours for the contrast.

It should look something like this when I'm done.
I am modifying the cuffs and collar by using the rolled one that I used previously in his Riddari sweater: Cast on cuff stitches with smaller needle, knit 5 rounds. Then work k2, p2 rib for 5 rounds. Change to larger needle and begin colourwork from first chart. Like so:
The rest I'm doing as written.

With the gauge I got on Riddari, I decided to knit the Large size as the body had the number of stitches that would get me gauge. 43" circumference x 4.5 st/inch = 193.5 stitches. Size L calls for 192 sts and size XL calls for 208 sts.

People often ask me if it is important to determine gauge. My response is "Only if you plan to wear the garment". Why do all that knitting if it won't work out to be the right size?  I also always start by knitting a sleeve rather than cast on hundreds of stitches for the body with the possibility of having to frog it to adjust for the proper gauge. End of lecture.

I'm starting to make a list of UFOs and kitted projects to take south. The closest yarn shop (other than big box craft stores) is over 3 hours away so I need to be stocked or order online. Stitching-wise I have LOTS that I can take and am only 45 min from an excellent stitchery shop.

I also need to plan projects for the drive down. We share the driving so I'll have over 16 hours to knit over the 5 days while Skip is doing his shifts. I have a couple of sock projects planned.

Speaking of south Texas, I'm really bummed out that the southern border wall is about to be built through the beautiful National Butterfly Center near Mission TX. If you're interested in the subject, the impact of the border wall is outlined here ( and image of the .pdf on the topic from their website):
We will definitely be visiting there early in our time in TX as time is running out for those trying to stop the destruction of this national wildlife treasure.

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Fun Stitching Day

Yesterday we had a stitching day at my place. It's like a one-day stitching retreat. I'm not sure how much progress we made on our projects but it was lots of fun talking about stitching and other crafty pursuits.
I got a bit of work done on my 'Stars' project and got more done last night. I'd say I'm about a third finished.
I also added a few more mitered squares to my sock yarn blanket. It measures about 90cm x 120 cm (3' x 4'). My goal is to use up all of the sock yarn ends. This is going to be a BIG blanket.
It was a lovely day.

Sunday, 6 January 2019

First Start of the New Year

I went to Kim's on Friday to pick my threads for our upcoming canvaswork class. We're going to be stitching this with our preferred colours.
I believe it's one of Kim's designs. We will be using 7 different threads - velvets, perle cotton, sparkly thread, etc. I'm really looking forward to the class.

While there, I bought the fabric and most of the threads for this project, Stars by Drawn Thread.
It's a grey 35ct evenweave of some kind. Linen? Lugana?

All the threads are substitutes for the Dinky Dyes, and Thread Gatherer Silk 'N Colors called for.

I was able to find appropriate Gentle Art Sampler Thread (GAST) substitutes except for the Needlepoint Silk threads so will use DMC floss for that.
Several things drew me to this chart: the colours, the alphabet and lettering,variegated blue letters, the cute houses.

I started it last night and got this far.
I always start in the centre and usually work to the right and down. I'm really looking forward to starting some houses beneath the leaves.

In this chart there is an alternative verse to using the alphabet, if desired. It is the first part of the excerpt from 'Morituri Salutamus' by H W Longfellow:

          "Age is opportunity no less than youth itself, though in another dress..."

Instead, I'm going to do the alphabet and only the last part of the quote:

          " As the evening twilight fades away the sky is filled with stars, invisible by day."

The stars are added afterwards. There are small ones and extra big ones. There are a couple of Octagonal Leviathans in red. I also need to find some teeny weeny 4mm white or cream buttons.

The addition of some interesting stitches really 'draws' me to The Drawn Thread patterns. The first one I did was Pastoral.
I took most of the Christmas stuff down today. It always makes me a bit sad to put away my lovely ornaments for another year. I'll find random items I missed for the next couple of days and still need to get Skip to help me take the tree downstairs. The tree is an old one that requires assembly. However, the last few years we've just taken it downstairs whole rather than take it apart. I'm in the market for a new tree so I'm hoping to find one at the end of this season (I'd better get cracking) or early next Christmas season.

Friday, 4 January 2019

New Year Stitching

I haven't done a lot of stitching this week. Last Saturday we spent the day stitching at Jeanette's and I started the third side of my Quaker pear - the big, green medallion.
I have puttered away on it since then. Not too much left to go on this one.

I have the other two sides done. I was too optimistic about the completion date so will change it to '2019'
It should look quite spiffy when I get it sewn together.
I've also done some work on my Block Party Bee Hive pincushion. The sides are done.
I'm working on the honeycomb top.
I've been outlining the pieces with floss that matches the fabric so it's going to be a real challenge sewing the thing together. Magnification and LOTS of light should help.

Today is my last day of medication from the illness that flattened me over Christmas. I have all my energy back but still a bit of crud in my lungs. That seems to be fairly normal for me for a couple of weeks after a cold or bronchitis.

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Happy New Year 2019!!

Last night Skip and I went for buffet dinner at our local Mandarin Restaurant with friends, David and Susan.
We then went home and got into our jammies to toast in the New Year.
I always enjoy seeing the ball drop at Times Square and heartily sing "New York, New York". We have such wonderful memories of that song dating from the time we happened upon the third race of the Triple Crown back in 2003 (I can't believe it was that long ago). We were in Sackets Harbor NY on a little getaway weekend and found hundreds of people out in the streets. They were getting ready to watch the Belmont Stakes and local racehorse, Funny Cide. The air was electric. Everyone was drinking and smiling. We all were so excited. Could this be the new Triple Crown winner?? We all sang "New York, New York" gustily before post time. 

Unfortunately, Funny Cide did not win, and didn't become a Triple Crown winner but man, what a party! But I digress.
Our cactus (Christmas? Easter?) bloomed on New Year's Eve. I think it is confused and definitely thrives on neglect.
Nope, we haven't had any snow to speak of (thank goodness) and hope it stays that way until we depart for the sunny south.

Whilst watching the Tournament of Roses Parade this morning, I worked on the third and last side of my Quaker pear. I started the big green motif at our stitching day at Jeannette's and have progressed significantly since this photo was taken. Better pics to follow...
I'm still taking the meds for my respiratory crud (bronchitis? asthma?) and feel so much better. Hopefully, things will be all cleared up by the end of my medication regime.