Friday, January 26, 2007

freeform time

I took the tablecloth off, put it in the washer, then couldn't resist spreading out all the freeform yarns out. I don't knit at the table much at home because it's too far away from the TV, but I didn't have anything to watch today. It was nice to have room for all the yarns, my crochet hook/dpn holder (handmade by the marvelous Jen at Cozy), my 2nd edition Prudence Mapstone freeform book (ordered from Australia by my sister as a Christmas present), and all the doodles, of course. Everything is still where I left it because Henry hasn't jumped up there and found it yet.

more fun sweaters

Some good photos, some not so good. All of them are of my collection of favorites.
The first is a pattern from an old Colinette leaflet, but I used a variety of yarns, many of them Noro. This vest was started at a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game .

More modular stuff--the cardigan is the sweater that almost killed my left hand. I really enjoyed it, and I knitted hard. After the sweater was finished, I got to enjoy a few weeks of carpal and cubital tunnel syndromes. Not good for a violinist. Since then, I've tried to keep it under control and have done a pretty good job.

Blues and purples are clearly the team colors here. The tank top uses 13 different yarns randomly.

Debbie New's book, "Unexpected Knitting," is one of my favorite inspiration books. This log cabin design came from a pullover pattern found in the section of the book called "swatchless knitting." As long as you measure frequently so that you can fit the pieces into your sweater design, you can just knit with anything for as long as you like. It's all garter stitch and the knitting starts in the center of the square. Just keep going until it's the size you want. I used a crochet hook to slip stitch the squares together so that there's a little ridge where they are joined. The edging is reverse stockinette stitch, an idea from Sally Melville's books. The edging curls, but it curls to the inside. Very neat and tidy.


There's nothing like leading with your best. I'd like to post some pitcures of sweaters I've finished over the years, and this one is probably the most interesting one I've ever done. It's Koigu (hurray Koigu!), and I used the Horst Schultz books for adults and kids as inspiration for the design. Schultz's books are now translated into English, but when I first saw them, they were the original German. My friend Irene had received the books from her mother in Germany, and I could not believe my eyes. I had already discovered modular knitting, but these books went beyond anything I had ever seen or imagined. Irene asked her mom to send another set of books for me, and it was so exciting!
Since there are no actual patterns in the books, it was OK that I couldn't read them. Irene was there to translate the German for me if there was something I just had to decipher.
Mostly, I used the photos, diagrams and graphs. The inspiration sweater for my own project was in the kids' book, but the "T" shapes seemed like fun. I got out my graph paper and started drawing. For modular projects, I draw the outline of the garment on graph paper, fill in with the shapes to be knitted, and I color them in as I complete each module. I decided to use a garter slip stitch pattern, using one color for the foreground, and another color for the background. I love the way the background yarn shows up as little dots.
This sweater took about 3 months to knit, and I was knitting steadily. Size 2 needles! it's too wide, but I don't care. It took a long time, but it was worth it. It's still my favorite.

one more home decorating project

Somehow, I deleted this picture from the previous post. Gotta learn how to manipulate the photos!
It's the remains of yet another modular pinwheel sweater that never quite made it. It hangs in the keyboard room (computer and piano), but it hangs the long way. It's a combination of Swedish Yarns "Lanett," the solid colors, and more Koigu, everything else.

knits around the house

One of the reasons I started a blog was to have a place to keep pictures of things I've knitted. Having friends read it is an added bonus! Now, friends, indulge me. This is a barrage of photos, but today's a day off, so I had time to play.

Yes, the little washcloth basket is sitting on the toilet. It seemed like a good place. It's my first functional freeform object.

I love the Himalayan yarn made from Indian saris, and this pillow is just 2 squares knitted from the center to the outside edges, kind of like a shawl. The colors did not come out as true as I'd hoped.

More Koigu! I planned to make a sweater of modular pinwheel shapes. Didn't finish, though, and decided that the pinwheels would look good in my kitchen. And that they needed a picot finger border. I like picot fingers.

The Christmas Cactus is wearing a Koigu swatch. I briefly considered making a fair isle Koigu sweater. I like the swatch, but never took that next step.

The mitered square pillow was knitted as a sample for a workshop I teach at Cozy. It's living at home right now because that workshop is not on our current class schedule. Also pictured is a corner of the huge afghan I made a while back as part of a stash reduction effort. There's one yarn that's held all the way through this multi-strand project, and the other yarns were used until they were used up. Somehow, when it was all finished, I still had gobs of stash. Sigh.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

last posting about mitts for a while, maybe

We have the charming Emily W. modeling the almost completed String of Pearl mitts. These mitts will be paired with a crochet evening bag that I teach in the crochet workshop, but I forgot to take a picture of it.
Today I'll take the pattern for the mitts into the store. After 45 minutes or so in Kinko's last night (ugh), they're ready. Many thanks to Margaret for her encouragement and advice on pattern logistics!
Here's my favorite little corner of Cozy in Durham, the yarn nook. You can see some of the samples we have hanging up, while others are displayed with the yarn they're knitted with.

The Bling Bling mitts came out great, and they coordinate with Margaret's Bling Bling purse. Don't they make a lovely set for an evening out? We think so, too.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

socks for kids

This will be Baylee W's sock when I'm finished. Her dad, Alan, is my good friend from the orchestra pit. I've never knitted socks for kids before, but Alan requested socks for Baylee, who is 4, and Ben who is 8. I'm following the chart for sizing in Charlene Schurch's "Sensational Knitted Socks" book, and my fingers are crossed that the socks will fit. The yarn is Magic Stripes from Lion Brand.

Monday, January 22, 2007

fingerless mitts pattern work

I've been working on a pattern for fingerless mitts in 3 gauges. The Chunky Malabrigo pair from a few days ago is the 3 stitch to the inch example. As soon as I can get it into an understandable pattern, it's going to be available at Cozy. I've done a 4 st pair in Bling Bling, and I'm working on a 5 st pair in String of Pearls. We thought it would be good to have some samples that were not wool for those who don't wear it.
I'm a little bit addicted to these mitts, so I may be making some more before the season is over. I need some for me!

Sunday, January 21, 2007


OK, a while ago I was tagged by filbert from muddyknees to tell 6 weird things about myself. Just 6.
1. When I eat a salad, or pizza, or anything that has lots of ingredients, I like to micro-manage each bite to have a little bit of everything in it. When it doesn't work out exactly, I will save my favorite ingredients for the last bite, so it's the best. Hey, my sister does it too, so don't pick on me.
2. I clean the shower while I'm in it, taking a shower. It's just easier that way.
3. I like to "organize" my yarn stash, going through it to see what I've forgotten about, and I especially like rewinding the balls that have fallen apart.
4. In junior high, I crocheted a science project and I got an A. It was a dissected frog, and it included the body parts that you'd see inside. The part of it I remember most is that I used bright yellow acrylic for the fat bodies. Looking back, I can't believe that I wasn't too embarrassed to turn in something like that for a grade. Laura D. and my mom will back me up on this one if anyone needs proof. Sadly, there are no pictures.
5. I read fiction too fast, so fast that I will forget the ending of most books, making it easy to read them again after a while because it's all new again. But, when I read knitting books I remember lots. If you ask me a question about what's in a knitting book that I own, I can probably give you an accurate answer.
6. My house doesn't have a dishwasher, so I do them by hand. It's not a lot because there's just the 2 of us, but there's one part of it I hate. The silverware. Whether it's washing it or putting it away, it's the part I'll save for last. Why should I dislike it so much?

So, there are many more things, and I'm sure some of the readers of this blog could contribute a few ideas. Please, be kind!

freeform experiment

This mitt doesn't fit well, but it was a fun experiment. One color freeform is more interesting than I had imagined, and I can see it working for another project. When I started this mitt, I should have worked the thumb and top parts first for a better fit. Then I could have filled in with the fun stuff.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Freeform doodles

This picture looks better if you click and enlarge it.
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more doodles!

Doodles are the most fun. They don't make my hands hurt because there's so much variety in needle and hook sizes. Plus, there's a lot of stopping and starting, so the repetition problem isn't as bad.
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socks on hold

This is one of my stalled projects, the Trekking socks. Between this and the Koigu knitting, it's too much knitting on small needles. My left hand protests, so I'm taking a break from anything smaller than number 7's. Agent Gray, I like your idea of knitting it to 9 sts per inch and using 72 sts. It felt great when I tried it on.
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new pattern

Here are my new Chunky Malabrigo mitts. We needed a sample of this new yarn for the shop, so I volunteered to do mitts. Now I have to make the pattern notes I took make sense. I based these on a pattern for the regular Malabrigo yarn, but I wanted them to fit a little closer, and I wanted to do decreases instead of increases for the thumb shaping, so I started them at the finger cuff instead of the wrist cuff. They're very easy!
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Monday, January 15, 2007

new project

Well, here are some of the yarns that will be in the freeform sweater. One overly dark picture, one overly light. These yarns have already been used in some small pieces, so they will definitely be included. Some others will be added, too.

I'm trying to be careful about making the fabric the right weight. It would be so easy to end up with something really dense and uncomfortable. At the same time, I don't want it to be too open. The yarns are mostly wools, so I don't want it to seem like a "summer" style sweater made in winter weight yarns.

No pics of the little pieces, yet. I need a good name for them other than "scrumbles," which is a decidedly unattractive word.
Still looking for ideas...................Agent Gray???

what should this be?

Here are 2 freeform pieces I've made and can't decide what to make of them. Sweater (probably not), pillow, bag? These things have been around for a while, and no decisions yet.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Meet Henrycat

It's Henry! He loves when I sit at home and knit, because that means I have a lap to sit in. Yes, that can make for some slightly awkward knitting, but that's OK.

Today I picked out yarns for a freeform sweater. There are 73 different yarns, mostly variegated colors, that could possibly go into this garment. Can't wait to get started!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

fingerless mitts

Here are some mitts made with Malabrigo yarn for Deb at Cozy. Emily has red ones, and Margaret has bluey-purple ones. I'm going to have purple ones, soon, too. So soft!
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Tuesday, January 9, 2007

toe up Sockotta's

Ugh, what a blurry picture, but the socks are still cute. They are Sockotta, and they are being mailed to my mom today. They're knitted from the toe up, starting with a garter stitch square, using a garter stitch short row heel, and bound off with little picot fingers to keep the cuff stretchy. Plus I like little picot fingers.
These are comfortable socks!

Monday, January 8, 2007

freeform knit and crochet

Since I don't have any pictures of newly completed knitting, here's a picture of some freeform purses I did last year to sell in the Artwalk in my neighborhood. Only one sold in the Artwalk (the one in front with flowers), but I've sold 11 more here and there in the past few months. Fun!

Thursday, January 4, 2007

denise made me do it

Step one: think about starting a blog
Step two: have a friend's "encouragement"
Step three: invite that friend over and make her help you do it
Step four: decide to learn how to do photos one day, but not today
Thanks Denise!