More From My Nutsy February!

I earned more medals than you’ve seen! 😀

See? Given enough time, perhaps I’ll actually catch up on everything! So, anyone been wondering just what it was I did for my main project in the Designer Biathlon in the Ravelympics? The criteria for the event was to knit a project and create and publish the pattern on Ravelry during the 17 days of the Vancouver Olympics. Anyone who knows me at all, surely knows I didn’t settle for something intelligently simple like a hat or mittens. No, I plunged boldly right into the deep end of the pool! My project used nearly 2000 yards of worsted weight yarn, multiple charts, and for good measure, I created a girl’s and a boy’s version both! (Hence the two medals.) The only “easy” thing I did is that although I published the boy’s version, I didn’t knit it. Instead, Sara Greer did that as my test knitter while I did the girl’s version. I have a test knitter still working the girl’s version, too, but it’s not a small project, and she works full time…

So anyway, De-De, would you please just spill??? 😉

My two newest patterns are Sweetheart Lovey and Diamond Lovey! What’s a Lovey, you ask? Well, it’s a snuggly wrap designed especially for children, perfect for quiet time activities like reading and watching TV. Having seen my blanket cocooned daughters trip over the corners and wreck other small disasters when they were sure they could move around the house without crawling out of the warmth, I decided there had to be a safer way to stay warm. Enter the Loveys. 😀 Funny thing is, though they were designed for children, I found that the one I made fits me, too, so now I want to make myself one! I used a machine washable cotton/acrylic blend for the Sweetheart Lovey I knit, but I’ll probably use wool for the one I make myself.

The design is created entirely by knits and purls, gansey style.

The girls’ Sweetheart Lovey has more than 75 hearts hidden within the design, and the boys’ version is packed with diamonds, hinting that you’ll “love him forever” without embarrassing him with girly stuff. 😉 Both versions include a personalization band that has room for up to 41 letters, numbers, and spaces – loads of room to write a Bible verse or message to the recipient.

This is the Diamond Lovey, knit by Sara Greer, photo used by permission.

Both patterns are available as downloads through my Ravelry store via this link. There will be a print copy available in my Etsy store sometime in the next month or so, if that’s your preference. If you are looking for a very special gift for a youngster in your life, this would definitely be a gift that will last a lifetime!

And although Sara and I proved it can be knit in two weeks, I’d suggest allowing just a bit more time, myself… 😉

Goals Post – Belated for February

Oops! This is what an insane life accomplishes! I was SO sure I could keep up with a monthly update on my goals at the very least, beings as one of my goals is a weekly blog post. Yeh, right! 😉

The good thing is that despite everything, February was a positive month for my goals, though there were a few times I was worried about some of my weekly goals! I kept up with my weekly music, but really wish it were happening more often than weekly.

With the introduction of F and C in my flute music, my ability to master new notes slowed dramatically. I’m having some challenges with the flute wanting to squirm out of position. I’m also not developing breath control as quickly as I would like, and long practice sessions just aren’t in my near future, as there is definitely muscle fatigue after about 15 minutes. Maybe things will calm down by the end of March for a bit, and I can practice more often.

I lost a few pounds during February – probably from speed knitting. 😉 Seriously, I’ve made a couple of small dietary changes that I think may be bearing fruit. I also saw a nice balance decrease on my charge card – another type of weight I’ve been carrying and don’t need. Baby steps on both of these, but they will add up over time, I know!

Due to what I’ll share last, I’ve managed to catch up some on my reading, and I think I’m currently back on track to get my 100 books read again this year. My Bible verse was more of a challenge this month, though, as my brain was terribly full of a number of other things. I did manage to conquer it: The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by Him, and the Lord shall cover him all the day long. Deut 33:12. And I continued practicing January, so I have them both solidly now.

So, knitting I’ve saved for the last item, and that’s because it was my biggest accomplishment of the month. 🙂 I managed to publish not one, but TWO patterns during February! The first was Concerto, which I’d written and used as a KAL last autumn. It was supposed to be published in November, but when the computer went on the fritz, my plans flew right out the window. I was more worried about whether I still even had a pattern than when I’d get it published. Finally, when a friend offered to take the finished patterns to a trade show for me, I decided it was time to actually get it in print. It was a much grander project than I’d expected. I assumed since I’d done tutorials and the pattern had been used by dozens of people, it would take me a long evening to have it ready for the printer. Instead, it took me over 33 hours of work and the help of two proofreaders to mold it into something worthy of publication. I published Concerto in two versions – just the pattern alone, and a 43-page tutorial version that is actually a complete class for beginning lace knitters.

Both are available through Ravelry as downloads, and I have print copies for sale in my Etsy shop, too. It was quite a learning experience for me, but I’m seriously proud of the finished product!

Now, having finished that, I’d have thought it more than enough of a project, but the Ravelympics were starting in just days… and a friend had prodded me into entering the Designer Biathlon… I’ll just say in this post that by the end of the month, I had two more patterns published on Ravelry, though I’m counting them as one for my Goals list, due to the fact that they go hand in hand. 😀 I’ll save details for another post, though. However, this means that I have 2 of my 4 patterns I wanted to publish this year done – though one of them was totally unexpected!

Coming off of a month where I’d spent about 75% of the days knitting 10 hours or more each day, I sure had high hopes for March having a bit of variety! Just wait until you hear what has happened… but not quite yet… 😉

Blog Candy Winner!!!

Sorry I’ve been SO quiet about this lately! Life hasn’t been conducive to thinking about things that aren’t critical at the moment I’m living, and since the ceiling is still up, it’s definitely not been critical. 😉

So, the way this all turned out… Hubby finally decided maybe I was right – that he hadn’t fixed the leak after all. I think it had something to do with the bulge growing and the water continuing to drip through every time he took a shower. 😀 He went back and studied the situation  much more carefully and found a gap where the bottom of the shower and the wall overlap – with the bottom of the shower in FRONT of the wall instead of the other way around. He caulked it, and the leak finally stopped. I said I’d wait a month to see if it came down after the fact, and since it is still up now in mid-March, I think there is one comment that is most accurate:

On January 22, 2010 at 4:57 pm Doreen Said:

I voted for not this time as I am like the ostrich who buries his head in sand. I hope it does not collapse and that it will get repaired before anything happens. It is wonderful that you can be so good natured about all this. By the way I like your kitchen wallpaper.

So, I think Doreen is the winner – though when she wrote the comment, I actually laughed and said, “Don’t I wish!” Way to go, Doreen! I’m SO glad you were right! I’d say your optimism really paid off. 😀 Only bad thing is that I now have a VERY ugly ceiling to live with! 😉 Maybe I’ll have to have another contest to guess what month and year it’s repaired…

Doreen, I’ll drop you a note privately, but if somehow we get lost in cyberspace, contact me for your prize!

Thanks again to you all for playing along with me! I can’t remember every having this much fun with something that should have been so unpleasant! 🙂

Bingo!

Just landed another skein of the Purple Iris Shepherd’s Worsted in the same dye lot from Jimmy Bean’s. Tonight I’m casting on my own pair of Rushing Rivulets!

Picture me now dancing away from the computer with eager anticipation of knitting time…

Published in: on March 11, 2010 at 6:42 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Totally Infatuated

I just finished the second pair of socks for my daughter, and I’m so totally in love with them that I couldn’t give them to anyone else in the world but her, I don’t think. I have to get another skein of this yarn. I want to make a slightly smaller pair for myself very badly! Although I’ve not made that many pairs of socks, this is undoubtedly my very favorite of what I’ve done. I have to keep reminding myself that it would be tacky to wear them before I had them over to her. 😉

Like the first pair, these are knit from Lorna’s Laces Shepherd’s Wool, which is a worsted weight yarn. (Ravelry calls it aran.) This gorgeous colorway is darker and richer in person, but I’ve still not gained control over my new camera to the point of getting true colors in most of my pix, especially when it’s gray and spring drizzly outdoors. I used the Purple Iris colorway, and it’s gorgeous! It took about 1.35 skeins to make these, but she has 10.25″ feet with a 9.5″ midfoot, so not small socks. The pattern is again from Cat Bordhi’s New Pathways for Sock Knitters. I was going to just use  the Riverbed Master pattern, then succumbed to Rushing Rivulets – a slight variation to Riverbed, in that Cat provides a very simple lace pattern to work on the instep. This is not a pattern for someone who can’t read their knitting! To begin, the lace is worked on the original half of the stitches that form the instep, but the increases on this pattern are on the sole, and as they are worked, the original sole stitches begin to become instep stitches, though they remain on the sole needle. It’s important to keep track of how many stitches belong on the sole and to expand the lace on each side, wrapping it around as it’s knit – all this while also keeping track of which rows receive increases. It’s not impossible, but not good first pattern, either. I found it well worth the effort in the end, though!

Other pattern notes… I used the standard toe, but put the increases two stitches in from the edge instead of just one. The heel is Eye of Partridge. I finished with about an inch of 2 x 2 ribbing and Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-off. I did one thing slightly different this time, and it made things substantially easier – thankfully! On the other pair, when I reached the ribbing, I was ready to tear my hair out in frustration. I can generally managed two socks on two circs without much problem from tangling, but no matter what I did on these, I seemed to have a bird’s nest of cables and yarn on every single round in the ribbing. The only thing I could figure is that it had something to do with the last stitch one one side being a purl and the first on the other being a knit. This time, when I reached the ribbing, I started with K1, then went to P2, K2, ending each side with K1 – in other words, just shifting the start of the ribbing by one stitch. It worked perfectly smoothly – not a single tangle – so it was a good move on my part. 🙂

Oh, and here’s the Ravelry link if you need it.

Socks R Me

I can’t believe I’ve not finished the half written post I’ve had all week! I still need to do it soon, but since I’ve promised to blog at least once each week this year, and I’m not possessing a lot of time at the moment, I’m just going to share my current, unexpected knitting frenzy – socks! What’s unexpected is that although I have 3 pairs of socks on my goal list for this year, those are socks for me, and these are socks for someone else. The irony here is that I adore my hand knit socks, but I’m not fast at knitting them, nor have I managed to become addicted to the process yet, so I have exactly two pairs to my name. I wash one while wearing the other – not always easy to manage, but my feet are spoiled rotten, and they don’t like me when I put those Walmart things on them any more. 😦 Under these circumstances, the LAST thing I ever expected was to be making socks to give away. However… well… when my daughter was home on furlough, she sort of gave me this look… then picked out some yarn… and now I need to make socks for her, which I’m calling her birthday gift, and I need to get them done quickly! Thankfully, she wants thick, warm, smooshy, colorful socks, so she chose worsted weight yarn in fun colors. Silly me, though… I thought I could whip up a pair on Sundays during the Ravelympics! Did I mention I’m a VERY slow sock knitter? And I’m still not quite ready to think about what happened during the Ravelympics yet!

This past week, I realized these socks really need to be done quickly, beings as I’ve already missed her birthday and will be seeing her fairly soon, so during the week, the first pair went from being toes to socks, and the second is following quickly in their footsteps, while I do little else but knit and catch up a bit from February.

These are knit from Lorna’s Laces Shepherd’s Worsted Multi in the Watercolor colorway. We have large feet in our family, so I ended up using a little more than a full ball of yarn, making me glad I bought two. With an average sized foot, I suspect one would have been plenty, but when you are knitting for a 10.25″ foot with a 9.5″ midfoot circumference, it really eats up the yarn!

I used Cat Bordhi’s Upstream Master Pattern with a standard toe, except I did my increases two stitches in from the edge instead of just one, in order to produce a somewhat deeper toe box. When I started the arch expansion increases, I used purls for the second companion row between the increases rather than knits. The heel is Eye of Partridge, which I think looks really nice in this yarn, the ribbing is 3×1, since she wants these primarily as bed socks and I didn’t want them to be overly tight. I used Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-off for the first time on a pair of socks, and I’m quite pleased with the results. With this heavier yarn, it gave a sweet ruffled look to the top edge, and I like it a lot.

I’m hoping in a few days to have a second completed pair of socks to share, but for now, I’ll just show you the toe picture I took a couple days ago.You will also note that I’m doing two socks on two circs. Although I don’t enjoy this nearly as much as I enjoy working with DPN’s, I’m realistic enough to know this is likely the only way I’ll actually get them both done before my deadline, and at least I don’t have to think the pattern through twice this way. The increased speed from that probably counters the frustration I have from spending so much time trying to keep my needles and two ends of yarn from the same ball from tangling… I hope! Anyway, I mentioned this because I wanted to point out that Cat’s book does not share info on knitting socks two at a time. If you want to use one of her fantastic patterns two at a time, you can make it work, but you should expect to learn the technique somewhere else. Her book is written for both circs and DPN’s, just not details on two at a time.

While working on these for her, I’m daydreaming about making my own two pairs, too, though that isn’t going to happen right now, nor so quickly, no matter how much I wish it. I’m not quite so high of a priority in this arena, so will have to wait patiently in line. 😉

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