Monday, 30 January 2017

On the Road Again

Skip and I left home yesterday morning for our odyssey southward to our winter home in south Texas. We got away by 9:30am and made it to our first lodgings in Marshall MI just as it was starting to snow quite heavily.

The roads were pretty clear this morning so we travelled via MI, IN, IL, and are spending the night in Sikeston MO. This is our route so far. We normally drive about 700km per day but today we had an extra hour of sunlight as we crossed into Central time.

I started this little mitten for my tree next Christmas. It's mitten #12 from Kat Lewinski's 'Mitten Garland Advent Calendar'.
Instead of the number 12, I inserted the year.
The mittens are really little. Here's one from the same series that I knit in December as compared to my hand
I've started another biscornu and have plans for yet another.

I'm looking forward to visiting Judy's Stitchery Nook in Harlingen once we get to the Rio Grande Valley (RGV). She has a wonderful selection of stitching materials, fabrics, threads, patterns, and kits. I'm hoping she's offering an interesting class that I can take.

Thursday, 26 January 2017


I tried making a biscornu a while back and really screwed up sewing it together so I put it aside. I don't even know where the UFO is at this point.

I tried again and was successful this time.
I really like stitching the Rhodes hearts.
Except for the button, the bottom is the same as the top. The pattern is 'Four Little Hearts' by Indigo Rose.
 Stitching it together went rather well.
I'm now obsessed with finding other patterns to make a larger one. The design on this one measured 36 x 36 stitches. I used 32 count linen and stitched over two threads.

If I'm going to be stitching on the trip south I'll need to use a larger stitch count.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Finally Framed

Today, with 55% off coupon in hand, I went to the big box craft store to buy two more frames for stitched pieces that I've unearthed.

I spent the rest of the afternoon framing them and two other pieces I completed last fall.

This one was stitched in 1995. I remember buying the chart on one of the first dates I went on with my husband. On that day, he took me to a tractor show so I took him to a needlework shop.
This one was stitched in 1995. It's one of Joanne Gatenby's designs from X's and Oh's.  I had a couple of choices for framing it. This was without the mat.
This was with a double mat and no glass. I couldn't use the glass with the thickness of the mats, foam core, fabric, and backing.
I liked the look with a mat so I cut out the inner one out and was able to use the glass and the mat.
I finally got this Pastorale from Drawn Thread framed. I never did sign it so will need to write my name and date on the back of the frame.
And another from this series has been hanging in my kitchen since the summer. This is a matching frame to the one in my kitchen and the one above.
I'm trying to pick projects to take south with me.

I have this much done on the Jeannette Douglas 'Take Time to Knit" that had been buried in my office for several years.
There are some fancy stitches that I'll really need to pay attention to.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Lacklustre and Shiny

I watched quite a bit of the inauguration today and really didn't sense any excitement or hope for the future. I found the inaugural speech to be confrontational. I found it to be insulting to President Obama and marveled at how he kept a deadpan face throughout Trump's tirade. Inaugural speeches should promote unity, optimism, and hope for the future. The only good thing I can say is it was short.

Feeling like I needed to do something orderly and relaxing, I hauled out an easy hardanger project from the November 2007 issue of Cross Stitch & Needlework magazine. It was the Coral Island piece pictured on the cover.
I happened to have a couple of shades of nice, shiny, #5 Perle cotton in my stash in 4020 and 4025 colourways and the 22 count hardanger canvas.
I would have preferred using DMC floss for some of the elements but I just followed the pattern. There were kloster blocks, satin stitches for the half stars, the buttonhole stitching all around, diamond eyes some cross-stitching, French knots, and some cutting and woven bars. It will be backed by a slightly smaller piece of the hardanger fabric then either cut out around the buttonhole stitching or framed. It measures 4 5/8" across.

I continue to search for a practical hardanger project. That is, something other than doilies. Hopefully with quite a few kloster blocks, a few dove's eyes, wrapped bars, and possibly some other fancy stitches.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Stitch Along

This year my stitching guild is doing a stitch along project - an armchair stitchery caddy that will hold tools, needles, and other sundries. I'm doing the counted project (cross stitch)

and others are doing a non-counted project.

Each meeting we get another assignment. In spite of the fact I missed the November meeting, I have kept up.

Last night at our meeting, we got to see what each had accomplished thus far. I even got a bit more stitching done on mine.
The yellow flowers don't look like much yet but once I do the outlining, they'll look nicer. I may do dark brown French knots for the centres of them. I'm also trying to decide what to do for the accents as there are dots on the pattern where one might normally place beads. However, the lines on the fabric are the cutting lines which would make the stitching lines too close to the beads when making up the finished item. I'll probably do French knots there as well.
I rather like how my 'G' initial turned out.

Some of the other letters weren't as nice like the 'S' and 'T'
so some stitchers were doing a search on other 20 x 20 letters to use instead.

I have almost all the green leaves done and will continue with the stems and the butterfly that goes on the top right of my 'G'.

We were given our next chart for the scissor pocket do I can continue with that. Hopefully I can keep up while Skip and I are away for the winter as any additional charts can be emailed to me at our southern destination.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

A Wee Hardanger Project

While packing for the cruise last November, I threw in this hardanger kit.
I worked on it until I ran out of the red #5 perle cotton and finished as much as I could of the other elements.  Today, while searching for my misplaced iPad mini, I found the kit. I checked my stash of perle cotton and discovered I had some of the same colourway of the red perle cotton to finish the project.

I finished stitching the red Kloster blocks and the remaining 3 Algerian eyelets. Then I stitched on the gold bead and the reindeer and voilà! I finished.
Of course, it will go on the pile of items I finished stitching but haven't 'finished' for hanging. I'll save that for another day.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Slow Going

I've been working away on these mittens - Moggies 2.0 - all weekend.

This time, to anchor the long floats, I did the ladderback jacquard technique which is very much like double knitting, except the purled 'inside' stitch is done every other stitch in the other colour from the previous knit stitch. From a Ravelry suggestion, I drew a vertical line every two columns on the pattern and inserted the 'inside' stitch at every line.
random paw prints
The resulting mitten is thicker as it is somewhat of a 'mitten within a mitten'. It takes a   l o n g  time to knit each one.

This is what the inside looks like. The patterns is somewhat visible as it is the negative of the right side. There is not as much detail as it is only every other stitch. No pesky strands on which to catch fingers or rings.
Where do the extra stitches come from? Simply make purl stitches in the first round using the contrasting yarn every other stitch. So you really are knitting a mitten within a mitten.
When it comes to the thumb, I had 18 outside sts and 14 inside sts. It more closely resembled double knitting on the inside and yielded quite a thick fabric.
Overall, the mitten turned out quite large but due to the double thickness, is very warm. We'll see what it is like after blocking.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Two of My Favourite Things...

...are knitting and teaching.

Today I got to teach a knitting technique - Latvian braid - to members of my spinning and weaving guild, the Shuttlebugs.

The class went very well and I even got a few knitting in the round using 'Magic Loop' for the first time.

Everyone had an acceptable degree of success. I only got a couple of pics. Judy F. is very proud of her wristband.
Overachieving Dini cranked out two of them during our short time together.
I do believe that some of the ladies will be incorporating Latvian braid into some of their knitting projects now that they've seen how easy it is to do.

One Moggy Mitten

I finished up this mitten and attempted to tack down the strands inside. Normally, I'd anchor the strands every 5 stitches or so but didn't want any puckering so I let them go loose.
 Since then I have discovered a way to anchor them by a technique called 'ladderback jacquard' or LBJ.
Basically you cast on stitches in the contrasting yarn every 2 or three stitches then purl them as you would double knitting between the knit stitches. You are achieving two things: anchoring the strands on the inside so fingers don't get caught, and providing a nice, doubled lining for the mitten. When I knit the second mitten, I will practice using this technique.

I have about an inch to go on the second sleeve of Skip's Riddari sweater and will start the body tonight.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Yummy Yarn

Donna, Jen1, and I spent a lovely hour or so up at Myrtle Station Wool on Friday. Stephanie carries an impressive selection of Lopi Alafoss, Lett-Lopi, and Einband yarns as well as several pattern books. Back in October, at the Woodstock Fleece Festival, I bought the book, "Knitting with Icelandic Wool".
On our trip to Iceland, we saw the sweater pictured on the bottom right at a shop. I like the dogs, snow, snow-capped mountains, whale tails, clouds, and sky on the yoke.

But I digress..

In that book is also the Riddari pattern for Skip's sweater. I just checked a translation and 'Riddari' means 'knight' in Icelandic. It required 4 colours: a dark, a light, and two medium colours one of which was the main colour.

I selected a medium grey as the main colour, black for the dark, white for the light, and for a 'pop' of colour (not necessarily an Icelandic tradition), red. Almost the same colours as my lopapeysa minus the yellow and with a darker shade of grey.
The cuff is rolled followed by a few rows of ribbing then the first chart of colourwork.
Once past the colourwork, it's stocking stitch, increasing at regular intervals until almost the full length.
I'll put the stitches on a holder and start the second sleeve tonight.

These sweaters are so fun and easy to knit. The gauge is quite large (18 sts - 4"/10cm) and once beyond the cuffs, it's all stocking stitch. Magic loop helps things move along quite quickly.

I have almost finished the first Moggie mitten that I knit with the modifications. I'm using delicious Peer Gynt yarn - 100% wool, DK. Here's a sneak peak.  I'll publish a full photo when I finish the thumb.

I had to rip out one 'moggy's' worth as it was making the hand of the mitten too long. I'm not thrilled with the palm pattern I created
and probably will knit the next pair as per the pattern that has the moggies on both the back and palm of the mitten, with possibly a bit of a cuff and, of course, some Lativan braid.

While at Myrtle Station Wool, I also purchased enough off-white Smart (100% superwash wool) DK to knit the baby blanket. I think I'll be doing the Bee Stitch, which will be excellent for knitting on long car rides.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Second Mitt's Done!

For some reason, the thumbs took a long time to knit but I've finally finished. They were knit right side out so I really tried to keep the strands loose between needles. I elected to do the same colours on both thumbs. They still need to be blocked but I've been wearing them. It has gotten very wintery these past couple of days. No new snow and a lot of the old stuff has melted but it's been blustery and below freezing. Brrrr.
I also took care to continue the palm pattern onto the inside of the thumb. When knitting the main part of the mittens, I knit them inside out so the stranding would be at its widest, particularly when going from needle to needle.
I could have made the second mitt's chrysanthemum the same colour as the first but decided to pick another colour.

I'll try not to lose these.
Donna and Jen1 are going yarn shopping this afternoon. I'm shopping for yarn for an Icelandic sweater for Skip. Probably this pattern.
Whilst on Pinterest, I found these adorable mittens. They're based on a Twist Collective pattern, 'Moggies Mittens' by Barbara Gregory
But look at the palms!!! Squeeeeeee!!!
The other modifications are the corrugated rib cuffs with Latvian Braid.

So I'll be looking for the yarn for these as well.

Finally, I'll stock up on a bunch of washable baby yarn as friends are expecting a baby in early June. I'll have lots of time to knit that item.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

MItten Reknit

While running Christmas preparation errands, I lost my prize-winning Chrysanthemum mittens.

I guess I could have retraced my steps but I was so frazzled, I didn't even bother as in the back of my mind I knew I could just knit another pair.

I cast one on just after Christmas so I'd have a project for the car on the way to visit my family at the end of the last week.

Things were going swimmingly until I tried one on and it seemed quite snug. I was using the exact same yarn and needle size as the initial pair. I thought, "Oh heck, I'll just block the bejeepers out of them to make them fit" and kept on knitting. Then I tossed them aside in anticipation of frogging them.

I picked them up again and was almost finished the decreases for the top of the mitt when I realized I didn't have enough repeats of the palm pattern. What the,,,????? It took me a while to realize that when I put the thumb gusset stitches on waste yarn, I hadn't cast on more to replace them.

So I frogged back to the thumb gusset round and cast on the correct number of stitches in pattern.

I then happily continued to knit whilst sipping sparkling wine and toasting in the new year.

After spending most of the day in my jammies and knitting in front of the TV, I finished the first mitten except for the thumb.

The palm side.
I like the picot edge and how the alternating colours on the cuff draws it in a bit for around the wrist.
Instead of knitting right to a point at the top of the mitten, I stopped when I had 18 stitches - 9 on each side and grafted the top with the contrasting yarn.

This yarn is multicoloured so I picked a random colour for the cuff, then used greenish yarn for the leaves and stem and pink yarn for the flower. I won't try to knit the other mitten identically except I'll still do the leaves and stem in green.

Not to be plagued with second mitten syndrome, I'll be casting on the second one tonight.