Wahoo-wah!

Okay, so I *AM* a closet UVA fan, especially for basketball, and if you aren’t a college basketball fan, you might not know we’re having a banner year.   One lucky, expectant UVA friend will receive this FO (finished object) this week.

Oh — and UVA fans are Wahoos.  I’m really not sure why, but evidently, I’m not the only person in podunk who makes up words and then inserts them into her vocabulary.

UntitledProject: UVA Kickbag.  This is the second time I’ve done this pattern, and the third kickbag I’ve done.  One friend has already asked for a second bag for …B3 (her second child, and I won’t explain why I’m calling it B3 for privacy’s sake), so evidently, these sacks are functional, so they’re my new go-to-knit for my fertile friends.

Pattern: Kicking Bag for Babies is a very straight-forward, simple pattern.  I love the baby cables in the ribbed top, and after that, it’s mindless knitting in the round with a three-needle bind-off.  I’ve only done this pattern with self-striping/patterned yarns, so it wasn’t mind-numbing.

Yarn:  Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in Team Spirit, from The Loopy Ewe.  Yummy goodness, and machine washable too.

Needles:  Knitpicks #3 Rainbow (wood) fixed circular in 16″ length.  (Anyone have the Caspian version?  I need more needles like a hole in the head, but this nature-lover is also a blue-green lover!)

Verdict:  I’m wondering how quickly I could do some for the TWO friends expecting TWINS in the next 45 days or so…  which is to say I really like this pattern.  It’s going to keep a little Wahoo snug as a bug this chilly spring at her first baseball games!  (I’m pretty sure her mom doesn’t read my blog and doesn’t have time right now even if she normally does…)

Now, if  you’ll excuse me I do have TWO baby blankets to finish/start, so back to the knitting.

FO #1 of 2014

UntitledDon’t look now, but for the first time since May, I’ve finished knitting something other than a cotton dish cloth.  At least, that’s what Ravelry says.  It’s not as lush as my cashmere scarf for my now far-away friend, but it’s pretty, it’s for me, and it’s complete.

UntitledI’m not at all sure the two yarn companies in question would be thrilled with my cross-pollination, but I am.  Meet the Kudo Cascade Cowl.

Pattern:  Cascade’s Tangier Cowl is a very basic, happy pattern.  It’s beginner-friendly, but it has enough of a pattern to stave off boredom.  Six simple rows make a repeat, eight repeats make a cowl.  I’m not a fan of “baby cables” and these are especially lame up close, but from the distance, it’s just great.

Yarn: Plymouth’s Kudo is a fabulous mix of cotton and rayon with a splash of silk to make it feel luxurious, but at 198 yards, I cut it too close to recommend anyone else trying it, unless she’s willing to play chicken and risk tinking back almost 150 stitches to bind off.  It doesn’t have much “sproing” so once I stretched the cowl to slide over my shoulders, it wasn’t excited about slimming back down, but I’m sure a little mist and a scrunch would restore it.Untitled

Needles:  Bryspun (acrylic) #7 circs.

Verdict:  I have more Kudo and could easily go wind and cast on for another one, but I have babies to knit for.  One is due in April, so time is wasting!

Have you finished anything exciting lately?

What’s your favorite baby knit to make, give or receive?

Finally a Handspun FO

DSC01391Oh, I have knitted with my own handspun, but it’s been a while, and it’s been ridiculously infrequent.   While I don’t have a photo of the fiber or the yarn in a hank, it appears I spun it in the fall of 2009 on my first wheel, the Heavenly Handspinning Bellus

It seems I never reported on the fiber to yarn process, so let me capture some of that now too.

Fiber:  Gypsyknits BFL, c/o Gypsyknits  Pure heaven.  If you haven’t spun with BFL, do.  It is a GREAT novice spinner fiber.  Its staple length (the length of each single hair from the sheepy-sheep) is long enough to not be too hard to spin, soft enough to be worn next to the face or neck, and even in a novice’s hands, it has sproing and a touch of loft.

Yarn:  Over-spun, under-spun, but roughly DK at 15 wraps per inch.    In reality, it ranges from laceweight to worsted.

Plying:  Navajo plied… the only way I ply unless I’m using an accent thread or something.   In plainer language, it is a 3-ply yarn.

Verdict:  For my first “real” effort with “good” fiber, it’s pretty impressive.  I’ve come a long way as a spinner, but this is nothing to be ashamed of.

Now, for the finished object report.

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Paws to observe…

Project:  Handspun Tea Cozy Hat

Pattern:  Wooly Wormhead’s Tea Cozy Hat.   A great, simple pattern, designed to “vent” a high ponytail out of the top of the hat.

Yarn:  See above, but note that this photo is the most accurate on my monitor for the hues…

Needles:  Body of hat, US #8 16″ bamboo circular.  At least a size too large for most of the yarn, but I like a hat that breathes, so it suits me just fine.  #6 metal dpns used for crown decreases and i-cord. 

photo.JPGVerdict:  This hat will work for the ponytail-less too, but unless you have a long enough mane for a HIGH ponytail, this probably isn’t the design for you.  I’ll get plenty of use though because when my hair isn’t a in ponytail (generally a lower one) for dog walks, it’s in a clip of some sort, and those  don’t sit well under most hats either.

Yarn verdict?  I’ve dragged out more of my handspun still in my stash and I’m going to knit with it more often!  I do regret that I didn’t use but about half of the ball for this project, but luckily, I have a friend with two little boys who is willing to care for an extra-finicky handspun handknit hat.  If I knit it this year for the eldest boy, the two of them should get lots of wear out of it, right?

Now, to find the right projects for more of my handspun…

Wave Infinity

DSC03235Oh look!  Chan does still knit.  Isn’t that special?!  Actually, I have at least three other FOs I haven’t shared for a variety of reasons, but I really love everything about this one.

Project:  Wave Infinity 

Pattern:  Wave Cowl by Plymouth, available at Dog House Yarns & More.   It’s rare that I buy a pattern, much less use the yarn called for in the pattern, but there you go.  Who knew?!  They work perfectly together.  This was my first dropped stitch pattern in a very long time, and it sure was fun.  I obviously did the infinity version.

Yarn:  Plymouth Kudo.  Can’t tell you which colorway, because I took one for the team and purchased the skein without a tag.  It’s a beauty though, with a wine base and then lots of browns, greens and a shot of turquoise even.  I *LOVE* this yarn.  If like Noro, give it a try!

Needles:  US #8 circs.  I used the Susan Bates 26″ or whatever, in part because the tips were the same color as the blue in the yarn and that made me happy.

DSC03233

My attempt at a “full length” photo for you. Clearly, it gets the DIVA stamp of approval.

Verdict:  Beautiful, quick, easy, and super-nice to wear.  I wore it all day last Thursday, a long day that had me dressed up for something like 14 hours.  I would love to make a skirt with this colorway too…

How was your weekend?  Do anything exciting?

First ’11 FO

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Being virtual show dogs is STILL exhausting!

Before I share the first finished object of the year, I have been remiss in telling you that the fur-girls’ Mango Minster entries are up.   As seasoned bloggers and readers, you know that Sissy’s was done first – that’s important to her, so I’m just sayin’…  I’ll announce voting here, but it is time-sensitive and has a rather narrow window, so if you’d like a personal email notification at the appropriate time, let me know.

January 2011 016Also, DIVA aka: Queen, Sissy, etc. reports that her recovery is complete.   Her staff is holding off on such a proclamation until the esteemed surgeon says so, but at any rate, she’s galloping, leaping and stealing things off counters again, so all is right in the Woods. 

She has also requested that we only call her DIVA or Queen, but the staff isn’t cooperating.  We have ceased with “Queenie” after learning that despite its use as by an esteemed matriarch related to me by marriage, it does have rather mean connotations in literature.  Since Sis, while rambunctious and curious, is no troublemaker, we wanted no parts of that!

So… ’bout that FO…

It took me a week to knit Dae’s birthday hat

January 2011 001

Pattern:  Rib-a-roni is a great pattern.  This is actually my second time using it, so that should tell you something.  It’s rare that I go back to a pattern, but this makes the perfect man’s hat.  Don’t let my week confuse you; it’s a quick knit when the yarn is truly worsted weight (more on that in a bit) and when life isn’t unravelling at the seams. 

I knitted the largest size.

January 2011 010Yarn:  Cascade 220 Superwash, not quite a whole ball.  While I love the “touch” of this yarn, meaning that it’s soft and very easy to care for, I am not at all convinced it really is even a light worsted.  A little poking around Ravelry finds that plenty of people agree with me about 220 in general being VERY lean for a worsted.

Needles:  I used my favorite #6 bamboo circ, and then switched to the cramp-making 9″ #6 Hiya Hiya bamboo circ.   There’s just no way.   I know some people are switching to 9″ circs for socks, and the only way it would work for me is if I used two of ’em in the “two circs” style.  I already know that’s not my favorite method just because I tend to have stitches sliding off needles when I careless set a project down to let the dogs in and out or whatever, so if someone else wants to try this arthritis-maker, speak up and I’ll drop it in the mail to you.

Little sidenote here for the non-knitters.  THAT is the beauty of knitting.  If one method or type of needle doesn’t work for you, you have options, and lots of them. 

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The first RaR hat, shown on a flower pot

Verdict:  I doubt this will be my last Rib-a-Roni, and 220 Superwash is too soft to hold the gauge problem against it forever.  Dae likes his hat, so all is well.

Be sure to check in on Thursday.  DIVA has granted permission for me to share some photos of her in her mostly healed state.  I’ll also share a special Vera Bradley purchase on this blog, and yes, it does relate to Dogs on Thursday!

Lace ‘n Loot

Anitas Grace Shawl

Anita's Grace Shawl

Actually, we’ll start with the loot.  Grace, the  sweet, speedy, wonder lace knitter, has added one of her glorious shawlettes to the prize pool.  (NOT the shawl pictured above – that’s just so you can see her lovely lace!) Thank you, Grace for your continued generosity! 

Glass jewels by TG Designs

Glass jewels by TG Designs

But wait!  There’s more!  Christina donated another special prize.   T G Designs is another pair of talented sisters cranking out beautiful, functional art.  In fact, I have my earrings in at the moment…  The pendant will feature a gold bail, so add your own gold necklace, and you’ll have a snazzy fall look!

I think that covers all of the prizes now.  You’ll have to peruse a few posts to find everything, but wowza!   I really do have some talented, generous friends.  And in the spirit of full disclosure, the vendor/donors are also eligible to win prizes other than their own.    There’s plenty here for non-knitters, so rest assured, I’ll assign prizes according to your interests, with a lot of help from Excel and the random  number generator.

Now, how ’bout that finished object report?

This is the shawl I made for Hope and her parents.   No, it’s not pink, as I’m sure Hope will note, but the Knight lobbied hard for a not too light (for easier care) and not too girly (out of respect for the dad, who would hunker down under a baby pink wrap to make his daughter happy) wrap, so… 

Pattern:  Homespun Shawl is a VERY simple feather and fan stole/rectangle.  It’s just four simple rows, and while I don’t memorize patterns as quickly as some, truly, one look was all it took for this one.  It’s as straight-forward as they come, and I think it would be a great first lace project, as long as you have the will to slog through miles of the same four rows. 

My final measurements, without any real blocking, were 19″ x 53″, right in line with what’s listed on the pattern.

Yarn:  Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky.  My only complaint is that the yarn doesn’t have a colorway name on it.  (Don’t bother telling me if there’s a website that lists the numbers and gives an actual name; it’s one of my hang-ups.  I’d like my yarn to have a colorway name, not a number, right there on the band.)  It’s a shame it’s so pricey, because it’s a great machine wash, dry flat yarn.  Thank goodness for Little Knits and their sales, because that’s where all of my Debbie Bliss yarn has come from. 

I’m calling the colorway Mermaid, because Hope likes mermaids.  Take that DB and your nameless ball bands!  I used 8 balls, with just enough of the last one left over to save for repairs.

Needles:  Knitpicks Options, US #11, 24″ cord, metal tips.  No failure here, I’m happy to say.  I don’t want to jinx myself, but maybe I’ve finally gotten all of the early edition cords that come apart out of my kit.

Crab stitch border

Crab stitch border

Hook:  “What?!” you say?  Yep.  Lookie!  I successfully crab stitched on both short ends.  I might go back and do that on Fredfoot too, since the bottom edge rolls just the tiniest bit…

Anyway, if you don’t know by now, I use nothing but Boye hooks, and this was size J.

The crab stitch is also called reverse single crochet.   While I learned it at a Guild meeting this summer, I did find a nice You Tube video to refresh my memory.  I think that if you can single crochet, you can do this lovely, twistedropelooking edge.

Verdict:  Oh yeah.  I’ll be cranking out more of these, especially if I can find more of this Cashmerino Chunky on sale.   It’s a great prayer shawl, because I don’t think I swore once while I was knitting it, or even while I was crab stitchin’.  There’s nothing but love, hope and prayers in there, aside from the ever-present dog hair that is my signature touch to everything that comes from my hands, heart and home.

Ruff-Ruffles

Happy Monday!  We’re having a beautiful fall day here in my neck of the woods.  I spent the entire weekend at Haddon Woods, knitting a cowl fit for a princess.

That’s my Ruff-Ruffles cowl.  Somehow, Sis knew it was hers from the jump.  Even though it was a pleasant 70-something degrees outside yesterday, Sissy wore her new “necklace” with pride, and even got cranky when I removed it and put it on Gretchie.

I dont think I should be wearing this...

I don't think I should be wearing this...

Pattern:  Ruffles Cowl.   I followed the pattern to the letter, but clearly, I have more ruffles than the one shown with the pattern.   I had a grand total of 672 stitches to bind off, and since there were a lot of yarn overs (every other stitch!), I opted to practice my new knit backwards picot bind off, since a picot bind off was recommended. 

Off the needles, un-folded shot

Off the needles, un-folded shot

I did use Version 2, to give Sis a little more length in the ribbed section, as she won’t wear coats in the winter, but will wear a cowl.  Given the yardage range the designer gives and the VERY ruffled look of my cowl, I think the last K1, YO repeat will take you closer to 240-250 yards of yarn.

Most accurate color shot on *THIS* monitor...

Most accurate color shot on *THIS* monitor...

Yarn:  I can’t say enough about Sissy’s yarn.  Jessi really captured the colors perfectly, and it knitted up perfectly.   In case you haven’t read my blog in the past month, this is Springvalley Yarn’s Haddon Wood’s Princess of Joy colorway, in a DK weight.  A portion of the profits for the sale of this and the Gretchen colorway goes to the ASPCA.

Needles:  My Knitpick Options, metal tip, size #8, 24″ cord.  It was literally all I could do to fit those 600++ stitches on this cord, yet it was WAY too long for the stockinette section.  Why doesn’t KPO offer a shorter cord?  (And no, I don’t care to buy the fixed in a shorter length.  Come on Hiya Hiya interchangeables! )

See the wet hair on Gretchen's head? Sis wanted her cowl back!

Verdict:  Without the cowl in my hands, I can’t count rows and figure out whether I screwed up or whether version 2 just doesn’t have a photo on the pattern page.  Either way, I’m delighted with the final results.  Jessi and Sissy are happy too, so it’s a VERY successful knit, regardless!

***ETA! – I must note that the delightful, responsive designer has changed the pattern to note that 250 yards is recommended…  Since Sis adores her Ruff-Ruffle, I’m apt to make another for her.

Never fear, Gretchie fans.  Her dress is underway, and I’ll be buying “jewels” for the neckline today.  Look for her in her Springvalley-Haddon Woods designer frock later this week, along with a Colonnade FO report once that is blocked.  However, since several of you are knitting Colonnades, please see my project notes or Yarndemon’s for an error in the originally released version of the  pattern…  The designer is aware of it, so I’m sure a correction will show up soon.