Tuesday, December 31, 2002

My First Sweater

Doesn't everyone have a "First Sweater" story? Well this is mine.

Overall, it's amazing how far I've come since that first attempt at knitting myself a sweater, and it's truly amazing that I ended up with a sweater that fits reasonably well, and that I can still wear to this day.

A friend/co-worker of mine had a great cardigan that she kept at work. It was a beautiful charcoal gray and when I tried it on, I liked the way it looked and I wanted to have one of my own to keep at work. I had knit some small items (like underwear), but I didn't understand yarn weights, or sweater design, or needle sizes, etc., etc.

The Search
I started out by searching through the few pamphlets I had, but I found nothing that was even close. I went to a now-defunct yarn store about 20 minutes from me and looked for patterns and found a pattern for a sweater that I thought would look good on my sister, but nothing for me. Then by chance, I was in my grocery store and found a knitting magazine (Woman's Day, wouldn't you know) and it had a pattern for a Shaker Rib Cardigan that I thought would be perfect.

Now for the yarn
I definitely wanted a gray yarn, so I trekked into Princeton, NJ to a very good yarn store (that is also now defunct). Suffice it to say that the woman "helping" me was not very helpful. I told her what I wanted to do, I showed her the pattern and she said she didn't carry the yarn called for in the pattern. She seemed exasperated when I asked if there was any other yarn I could use. I'm sure I showed my ignorance by picking out a random gray yarn that appealed to me that was the wrong weight. She told me I couldn't use that yarn, although she didn't explain why.

Finally, she pulled out a skein of Brown Sheep Cotton and Wool in a charcoal gray and said that I could use it. GOD it would have been useful to have a knitting mentor to help explain what a surly bitch this woman was, but I thought it was just my ignorance.

I bought the yarn and brought it home to immediately cast on my new sweater.

The knitting
Now, most eagle-eye knitters would notice that my gauge at the start of the sweater was a tad tighter than the majority of the sweater. My excitement of starting a big project resulted in a tight (white-knuckle tight) gauge, but eventually it evened out. The pattern stitch was relatively simple and could be followed with simple reading of instructions. KTB (knit to back of stitch) was about the most complex instruction I had to interpret. Also, since the sweater is a standard drop-shoulder cardigan, there was very little shaping and the knitting of the back, two front sections and sleeves was relatively uneventful.

I do recall hating the yarn, the color, the project...well, everything about the stupid sweater once I got up to the second sleeve, but I persevered.

I found the concept of knitting pockets very cool, but I stalled a little on the button band, since I didn't know how hard/easy it was to test the length as I went along, but I followed the directions and got it all done.

The Finishing
Now, I have to admit, I've never disliked the finishing process for sweaters...not even for the first sweater. I sewed up all the pieces as best I could. I used completely inappropriate stitches for seams, for shoulders and for the button band, but fortunately the unevenness of the yarn hides those newbie mistakes pretty well. I also learned quickly how to fudge matching pieces that weren't quite the same length.

That sweater got sewn up in a decent amount of time.

Now I needed buttons. Did I go to my local fabric store? Did I go back to my yarn store? Did I search through knitting magazines for button sellers? No, no, no. I had an old rugby shirt that didn't fit anymore that I was going to throw out, and I thought..."I'll just recycle these buttons." Now, of course the buttons are rubber (as most rugby shirts are), and they didn't exactly fit the buttonholes...but they were free, so I sewed them on.

The Result
The sweater was designed for Red Heart yarn which is MUCH lighter than Cotton and Wool. I also didn't realize that I was wrapping my purl stitches the wrong way resulted in a twisted stitch which creates a very dense fabric. The overall result is what my lover calls "The Arctic Sweater" since it's heavy enough to keep you warm in the coldest arctic climate. But as I said at the beginning, it's amazing that such ignorance could produce a sweater that I still like today.

Monday, December 30, 2002

One other thing...

I forgot to mention that a baby gift for a co-worker/pal of mine still continues to be RAVED about. I made a multi-color, block baby blanket in a very nice Cotton/Acrylic (the only way I like knitting with cotton at all) blend by GGH (I think)...it might have been Samoa, but I don't trust my memory at all.

Anyway, I never got a picture of the blanket before I gifted it, so the best I have is the portion showing at the bottom of this picture:

Christmas Knitting Complete!

Despite the influx of mulitple new projects, I completed the last Christmas gift.

As a last minute gift, I thought I could make a four hour scarf for my sister's friend, psychic guide and massage therapist on my drive up to Massachusetts. Well, I was wrong. I got about 2/5th's done with the scarf (using Manos on US13's with the Linen stitch), and I realized I would have to present the gift still on the needles and complete it after the fact. I also realized I didn't like how tight the fabric was, so I undid the two feet of knitting and reknit it on US17's.

Here's the result:

I'm also working on the "prize" scarf and it's coming out VERY bright. I'm debating on making three of them and offering Wendy her choice. We'll see how it works out. I've decided to make some knitted items for a craft show that my friend participates in to see if she can sell them for me for a decent price. I'll just include the two non-Wendy scarfs in the items for the show.

I plan on making a few Head Hugger hats for the show as well, although the first one I made came out too large. I'm considering felting it, and if it comes out well, I'll make them all that way.

Sunday, December 29, 2002

Post Holiday Manic Knitting

It's amazing how quickly I come up with new projects now that most obligations are complete or nearing completion.

I have the gift scarf for my sister's massage therapist that is almost done. Overall, I'm happy with the outcome so far. I also started a "prize" scarf for the blog winner of guessing the misfit color in my triangle vest...I love working with the Koigu, so that's a pleasure and it's looking good (can't post pics of that one).

But what should arrive in the mail on Friday? A box of patterns for Danny Ouellette's "Head Hugger Hat". I had purchased a dozen for my local yarn store to sell, but of course I needed to make a demo model first. I love the pattern, although I should have checked gauge before starting this one. The hat came out a little big...but it still looks great.

Well, back to finishing the two scarves...plus I HAVE to get some work done on the Bedspread/Coffin Cover.

Friday, December 27, 2002

Vacation Knitting

It's amazing how much knitting I can get done when work doesn't get in the way.

Now that I'm off work until January 6th, I've decided to catch up on all my non-Christmas knitting obligations. The first order of business is the scarf for my sister's massage therapist, Tracy. I only got done about half the scarf on my drive up to Massachusetts, and I realized I didn't like the resulting fabric.

I'm using Manos yarn (leftovers from my mom's birthday/housewarming afghan) and I decided to use the linen stitch on size US13 needles, figuring going up from the recommended US9's it would give a nice, loose drape. But even with the13's, the Manos was tight, and no where near as soft as my mom's afghan. So, I've decided reknit the scarf on US17's. Here's a comparative photo:

The US17 (on the right) is a little less uniform, but I think blocking will help that a lot. The drape is a little looser and MUCH softer. I will definitely go with the US17's (I tried on even larger needles, but it was too loose).

My cat (Gage, not gauge), said the US17's are just right.

Thursday, December 26, 2002

Purple Thing on the Niece

Well, it turned out a little big (as you can plainly see)...but she likes her clothes long. She says she'll reserve its wearing for school and church. I wanted a picture of her/it with the hood on, but that didn't happen...oh well, she'll be fitting in it for another couple of years.

Christmas Giving

Christmas time is always an enjoyable time for me.

This year on the knitting front, I only had two handmade (or partially made in one case) gifts to give. I've decided that handmade gifts are often more about me than the recipient, so when I knit for others, I give it on non-holidays/birthdays so as not to shift the focus away from the recipient/celebrant.

The first gift was a scarf for an unexpected visitor at my sisters. Her massage therapist/spiritual counselor/lesbian/mother, was invited to Christmas dinner, and I thought I'd try making her a quick scarf using the leftover Manos yarns from my mother's afghan. I decided I'd try doing this on the 4.5 hour drive to Massachussets on Christmas Eve day. Well, I got through half of it (I'll get a picture of it up when I get back home today). I gave it to her "on-the-needles" and told her I'd finish it an send it later.

The second gift was the Purple Thing. The Outlaws were all impressed, including the niece/recipient. They all liked the color and how soft the sweater was. I'm going to try to force her to try it on so I can get a picture of her in it before we leave, but I make no promises at this point.

I will include a picture of my previously knit items, since I have no current pictures to post today. This lace pattern is about 3 feet in diameter and was done from a cone of cotton I had picked up over the years in my quest to gather Knitting Machine gauge yarn. I forget what pattern I used, and it's not blocked, but you'll get the idea.

Saturday, December 21, 2002

Knit Accomplis!!

Unless there's punishment or reward, I have no incentive to finish anything.

I promised I wouldn't post to my blog until I had finished the knitting portion of the Purple Thing. Yesterday morning, I finally completed the second sleeve and both sides of the hood (remember, it's hooded). Technically, I really still have to knit the zipper/hood band, but I consider that more finishing than knitting.

I realized I might not have enough yarn, so I ran down to my local yarn store to pick up another skein...just in case.

Well, I'm glad I did hit the yarn store, because I was about 5 yards short of the yarn, and it came in handy this morning as I finished knitting all pieces:

Then I put in some gros grain ribbon to make sure the neckline had some structure:

Then I put in the zipper (with advice from my sister, the master seamstress).

I can't tell you how happy I am with the result. I just have to sew up the side seams and fix a seaming error on one sleeve and then wash this thing, and I'm DONE!!!

Little Gage is happy with the result too

Thursday, December 19, 2002

Knitted Sex Aids

WARNING, WARNING - Crude content of an adult nature follows. Do not proceed if you thought Queer As Folk was too graphic.

First we had the infamous Willie Warmer which gained popularity with the women and gay boys of the Knitlist who needed clever, "masculine" knitted items. For the uninformed, you can check it out here:


But now, hold on to your kilts gay boys...a British designer who wishes to remain anonymous has created...the Knitted Cum Rag. If you happen to be one of those knitters who loves knitting dishcloths, and you're handy with a glue gun, this pattern is for you.

Cum Rag Pattern

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept (despite the rather descriptive title), many gay guys keep a washcloth or small hand towel on their bedside tables to help clean up the aftermath of passion. Having a handknit, personalized one might allow for some post-coital conversation during those awkward moments when the direction of the remainder of the evening might be in question.

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

My Knitting Life Today

I've been a little disturbed at the tide of anti-Alice Starmore sentiment on the Knitlist lately.

For those of you who aren't following, she's had lawyers remove eBay auctions of items with her name on it, and there's a group of folks who are organizing their own legal team to fight her lawyers.

I didn't want to publish anything to the Knitlist, because god knows what kind of ad nauseum comments of the issue might ensue. But I did want to say one thing about it. I think that no one knows the full story of why Alice is doing this, and there are are always at least three sides to every story. Having known the people that helped establish Alice in the U.S., and having read her web site a while ago which included a relatively incoherent rant about her relationship with her American counterparts, I think that Alice is just trying to do her best to re-establish her name as one of the pre-eminent handknit designers.

I don't know that I agree with how she's trying to accomplish that, but I'm also not in her shoes. I guess what I'm trying to say, is that I think that people who make decisions about whether to buy Alice's goods based on one small piece of this very large controversy, are being very unfair to both Alice and themselves. I say if you like Alice's designs/kits, buy them, but don't let this legal issue stand between you and a wonderful designer's work. I guess that's all I wanted to say.

As far as personal knitting goes, I've made some progress with the last sleeve of the Purple Thing, and I should be done knitting about Friday (including the hood). I was able to get purple gros grain ribbon and a purple zipper to go with it all. Now I just have to figure out how to sew it in. Unfortunately my sewing machine doesn't have a zipper foot, so I guess I'll be hand stitching this sucker.

Also, I realized why Wendy of http://www.wendyknits.com includes pictures of old sweaters in her blog. It's easier to keep pace with a daily blog with pictures if you use old completed garments interspersed with the new. At least that's why I do it. Here's an older sweater done last year in an Adrienne Vittadini yarn called Sara:

The picture doesn't come close to doing this sweater justice. The Sara yarn makes a loose, slightly fuzzy, soft-as-silk fabric that is cozy and warm. And the color is a very dark olive green...truly gorgeous. I screwed up the button band on it, but it's still my most comfortable sweater (by far) that I've every made. I made it using the Custom Top-Down Raglan pattern and I just included a steek for the front opening. I also ended up buying gros grain ribbon for this sweater so I could fix my little error with the button band.

Tuesday, December 17, 2002


Ahh...the blush of a first love...

That's what I recall when I first starting seeing Kaffe's designs. I was so enamored with his colors and his choice of yarns that I fell hard. I had never done any colorwork when I first saw his work, so I didn't even know the difference between intarsia and Fair Isle. As a young, untrained knitter, I wasn't daunted by much, so I bought my first Kaffe pattern. I bought a vest kit with multi-colored triangles...actually, it wasn't a kit, and the yarn store didn't have one of the colors I needed, so it required me to substitute one of the Rowan Lightweight DK colors for a less than adequate alternative (see if you can guess which color doesn't belong).

I also never checked gauge back then (I still don't...but I can rip out and reknit a lot faster now), so my sweater vest ended up being a little too small. I blocked the hell out of it and ended up with a wearable sweater. Thought you might want to see one of my first attempts at colorwork.

After I realized that intarsia wasn't that difficult, I did one of my favorite sweaters ever. It was a $325 kit for Antique Jacket by Kaffe. I got it on sale for $290 and worked like a fiend to get it done for a friend for Christmas. It was such fun to make, it makes me want to do it again.

Alas, I'm no longer friendly with the recipient, and I never got a picture of that sweater. But the best lesson from those early Kaffe experiences was that no project, no matter how difficult it looks, could ever stop me from trying it.

Finally, for today's post, I've had some requests for a standard "beanie" type hat, and fortunately Mark Thraikill has done all the design work on a hat he says is all the rage in London right now. Below is the link to the pattern (with picture).

London Beanie Pattern

Sunday, December 15, 2002

Weekend Knitting

It's so difficult when you're born without an ounce of self control.

Even though I wanted to try and finish the Purple Thing this weekend, I couldn't resist casting on an experimental hat in Koigu. A while ago, I designed a great scarf in Koigu that uses a somewhat difficult-to-understand stitch pattern (Barbara Walker's Indian Cross Stitch from the first Treasury, I think).

Since they sell kits for this scarf at Simply Knit, I get e-mails every once in a while asking for assistance with this stitch. Well, one of the women who had e-mailed me for assistance has since successfully made two of the scarfs, and now she wanted to know if I had ever designed a hat using this stitch?

I hadn't, but I thought, "what the heck...how hard could it be?", "how long could it take?" Well after two failed attempts, I'm giving up. I've decided that this particular stitch just doesn't lend itself to a hat...so, I've decided to include a picture of one of my failed attempts:

It's a little blurry and dark, and of course I've ripped the needles out in frustration. But I have to say, even in a tangled mess, aren't Koigu colors amazing?

As far as the Purple Thing goes, I did finish the first sleeve and I'm one third done with the second. I'll work to finish this sleeve and the hood this week while at work down in Baltimore. I also have to go find a zipper for this thing.

Friday, December 13, 2002

You Asked For It!!!

Well you asked for progress pics...but before I post them, my readership helped me out in a way I wouldn't have imagined.

I had knit a bottom-up, raglan in the round using Jo Sharp Silk Road Tweed (wonderful yarn...especially for men's sweaters). After it was done, I didn't like the neck, but I didn't feel like fixing it. Since I viewed this project as a failed attempt, I didn't mention it here...well, before the photo shoot, I decided to bite the bullet and finish this sucker...so here it is:

While I was at it, I thought I'd give you a peek at the Purple Thing. The picture doesn't show it quite as purple as it is...but trust me, this think SCREAMS purple.

Finally, I ended up going to Simply Knit yesterday and got the PERFECT yarn for my sister's patterned pullover. It will show off my design well, and she'll look good in it.

So, are you happy now?

Thursday, December 12, 2002

Progress Pictures

Okay, Okay, you all have convinced me. I will start putting up pictures of my current projects as they progress.

Since I got a specific request, I'll include a picture of the Oriental Jacket. I can also justify posting this one, since if I wait till this one's done, you'll be waiting for years.

I took the lover to his eye surgery appointment this morning and all seemed to go well. Got the majority of the first sleeve on the purple thing done...only 2 more inches, I should finish that tonight. I also did a few rows on the alpaca bedspread.

When we got home, he went to sleep off the trauma, and I went to Simply Knit. I ended up getting a free copy of the infamous Knitter's magazine. I haven't looked at it yet, but I'm kind of looking forward to it...like looking at a bloody car wreck. I also bought 12 balls of Jo Sharp DK for my sister's patterned pullover. The color is a heathered denim blue...kind of faded denim...very nice. It will look good in the sweater pattern and my sister will love it.

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Short Work Week

It's great only working till Wednesday...I'll have a lot of time to knit over the next four days. I'm just hoping the roads from Baltimore to Pennsylvania are clear enough to get my ass home this evening.

I didn't get to post yesterday, but I have been making progess on the Purple thing. I'm halfway done the first sleeve. I'm fully intending on having this sweater done by the end of my four day weekend as well as making an inch or two of progress on the alpaca bedspread.

I've decided that I won't post any pictures of partial garments on my blog, only the finished ones. I do this mainly to give me incentive to get things done, but also because unblocked fabric often doesn't look anywhere near as good as blocked. But that doesn't stop me from posting pictures of yarn. Here's my stash of Rowan Lightweight DK yarn that I've had for years.

I love this yarn, but everytime I go to pick out colors for a project, I end up putting it all back and not starting. I think I love this yarn more than any finished garment I could imagine, so it may end up staying in hanks just making me happy whenever I dump out this great bag 'o yarn.

I plan on heading over to my LYS (Simply Knit) and picking up some DK weight yarn for my sisters all-over patterned pullover that I will start after the Purple thing. I also have to experiment with a pattern stitch I made a cool Koigu scarf in, to see if I can make a hat pattern out of it. I'll try to fit that in this weekend as well.

Monday, December 09, 2002

Monday Doldrums

Today starts a short work week for me...Monday to Thursday. I thought I'd start off by including a little non-knit material in my blog, because I need something to brighten my morning. Here are a couple of pictures of my beloved cat, Gage. He's a flame-point Siamese that we were lucky enough to find at the local pound. Honestly, I'm not a true "cat person", but this little guy has won over my heart.

To give a valid reason for including his pictures, I will say he LOVES to eat yarn, so I have to keep all projects carefully hidden from him. Yarn (and other things like tinsel ) can be deadly to pets. It can bunch up their intestines...a good holiday warning for pet-lovers.

I also thought I'd include a request for advice. I have this lovely orange Rowan Kid Classic, that I have no clue what to make with it. Any suggestions?

Sunday, December 08, 2002

Mission Accomplished

So glad to say I forced myself to complete the front of this sweater for the niece. I started a sleeve and I'll work on that through the week.

I have to bring the lover in for his third eye surgery this Thursday, so I'll hopefully be able to finish all the knitting for this sweater by this time next week.

For television knitting tonight, I'm rewarding myself with the kid alpaca bedspread. Cheer me on here, cause I won't put a picture of this up until I've got at least 12 inches.

I'd also be interested to hear if anyone decides to do the men's underpants pattern.

Saturday, December 07, 2002

Phase 3 - Struggle

I've decided there are about four phases in many of my knitting projects:

Phase 1 - Excitement/Inspiration at casting on a new project
Phase 2 - Settling into the pattern, enjoyable knitting time
Phase 3 - Struggling to push myself past where two thirds of the garment is done
Phase 4 - Happiness at being on the home stretch and finishing the knitting

Right now, I'm at Phase 3 in the niece's sweater. I made a deal that I wouldn't attend to blog duties this morning until I finished another repeat of the cable pattern (24 rows on 108 stitches...a fair deal). Well, I finished my obligation, but it continues to be a struggle. I'm bound and determined to get the front done this weekend, so I have a lot of work to do.

Depending on how soon into the weekend I can get the front of the hooded, zippered, purple pullover done, will determine if I can get the weekly inch done on the bedspread/coffin cover. That's kind of like my dessert.

Friday, December 06, 2002

Men's Underpants Pattern

With all the interest in this pattern, I decided to post a scanned image and the pattern from Patons.

Just a couple of items. The pattern calls for Needle Sizes 13 and 11 which equate to US0 and US1 needles respectively. The pattern is written for full-length legs with a modification to make Half Length. Both of them are pictured below. When worn, the Half Length pants look like what they'd call boxer briefs today.

Heres' the picture:

And here's the link to the pattern:

Man's Underpants Pattern

Thursday, December 05, 2002

Go Back!!, Go Back!!

Oh, the pain.

Remember that row I re-knit three times on Monday night? Well it turns out it still wasn't right. I had dropped a stitch in one of the cable transfers and with this stupid boucle yarn, I couldn't see it. I undid about 4 inches (back to the ribbing) and started again. Oh well, maybe I'll get this stupid sweater done by Christmas.

I know I said I would probably start on the hemp project next, but I might change my mind and do a pair of men's underwear. I found this great fingering weigh, washable merino at Stitches in an antique white sort of color. I just need to find the pattern for the underwear again. Since it's such an old pattern, I think I can post it here without violating copyright laws. I'll try to find it this weekend and type it up for anyone interested.

Here's the yarn I intend on using.

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Felted Slippers

I consider myself a mediocre designer.

The sweaters and other knit items you see on my blog that I've designed are only the ones that have worked out well...my failures don't get the same attention.

That being said, I think the Fiber Trends felted slippers (that Myrna mentions in her comment...thanks Myrna...love your posts to the Knitlist) are one of the greatest designs.

Because of ladies like the one on the Staples commercial, I only give my knitted items as gifts when I KNOW they look great. If there's any doubt about how a knitted item will be accepted, I won't even consider it.

I have made the felted slipper patter for about 12 people now (including myself, of course) and without any hesitation, they are ALWAYS highly praised by the recipient.

I have no affiliation with Fiber Trends or the designer of these heavenly creations. I just love making these slippers. I only have pictures of two pairs I made, but I thought you might want to see them anyway. I've used the same picture on the Simply Knit website (they sell them in kits), so you may have seen this picture already. These clogs were made with two strands of Cascade 220 yarn (an INCREDIBLY nice worsted weight yarn in TONS of colors...it's also pretty inexpensive).

Long Work Day, Late Dinner Out...No Knitting

That just about sums it up. The niece's sweater sits in my hotel bed table drawer on row 7 of a 24 row repeat. Hopefully, I'll get to do some work on it tonight.

I forgot to mention yesterday, that the hemp in the picture is a very deep maroon color...almost to the point of brown...does that make sense? When I bought the hemp at Stitches East, I had the choice of buying hemp that had already been washed and had bloomed a little, or to buy the cone of yarn you see where the yarn is more compact. The woman from LanaKnits said that the cone would be a little bit less enjoyable to work with.

I decided joining in new hanks of Hemp every 180 yards was worse than a little rough yarns moving through my fingers, so I bought the coned version. The sweater pattern is a loose chain-mail-like sweater. I saw it in person and the drape of the fabric is incredible. I can't wait to start on this project.

Finally, for those of you that follow the Jamieson Shetland pattern books that have been published lately (there ar two so far), there's a third one coming out in January featuring the designs of my local yarn store. I just saw a promo for the book with small pictures of what will be in it, and it looks incredible. The photography looks to be artistic quality, and the sweaters will be beyond belief. Seeing the promo did the job it was supposed to...it got me very excited about the new book.

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

Blog Boob
Blog Boob...that would be me...here I was...all proud of myself for FTP'ing (is that a verb) pictures, and including them on my site. Well, of course as soon as anyone with non-IE browsers looked at my blog, they couldn't see the pictures!!! Well, it turns out I was using a back slash instead of a foreward slash...AAARGH!!! One of these days I'll be as good at HTML and web design as I am at knitting...right now, I feel woefully inadequate.

As for knitting, I can't say my knitting last night was any better than my picture publishing. I knit the same row three times (and unknit it twice). Once it was done (and done right), I put away my knitting for the evening and just bored myself with network t.v.. I am still working on the niece's purple hooded sweater...I'm hoping to finish the front this week.

I have one more promised piece of knitting that I have to work on after the niece's sweater. I promised I would knit my sister one of the all-over patterned pullover's (as seen in the burnt umber below). I think I'll do hers in something other than Shetland wool...and I'll also pick vibrant color that will still show the patternwork. Of course I don't have anything that's perfect in my stash .

After that I get to work on one of the many projects I bought at stitches. I think I'll be working on the side-to-side hemp pullover I bought from LanaKnits:

Monday, December 02, 2002

Weekend Accomplishments

What a difference a long weekend makes. I've completed the back of the purple niece sweater (the sweater is purple...not the niece), and started the front (finished the ribbing so far).

I also did my required inches on the neverending bedspread in Kid Alpaca. The partner hates the color, hates the pattern design and thinks it will make a lousy bedspread. Time and again he's been right about stuff like this, but I am not dissuaded. I persevere...mostly because I like working with the yarn and at $1.00 a skein, who could blame me?

Thursday, November 28, 2002

One more time for Thanksgiving

I thought you might want to see my favorite looking sweater. It's done in Noro Silk Garden (no more really needs to be said...but of course I will).

I designed the sweater after a designer at Simply Knit did a similar woman's sweater in the same mitered squares fashion. The sweater is light and warm and everyone who sees it loves it. Thought I should share it with you too.

Hi, Me Again

Just got back from my second Thanksgiving dinner and I was killing time on-line. I thought to myself..."Joe, now that you've got the picture thing going, you might as well show the lovely audience the color of the Peruvian Kid Alpaca that you're making a bed spread out of.

Well, here it is:

Not the most beautiful color in the world, and remember, this is fine baby-weight yarn that I'm knitting on US1 needles...ugh!

Thanksgiving Week

Given that this was a short work week, and there weren't a lot of client "boss-like" people around, my work days were short and my knitting evenings were long...yay!

I had my niece's purple, zippered, cabled, hooded pullover with me and got about 10" done on the back section. I'm realizing I will need at least one more hank of the Cascade Leisure to be able to finish this thing. I'll have to stop at my local yarn store to get two just in case.

You'll note that I was finally able to figure out how to post a decent picture. One of these days I'll be able to let users click on a "thumbnail" photo and see a larger version, but for now, the smaller pics will have to do. Here's a picture of a sweater of my own design. It uses three different pattern stitches separated by a few ridges of garter stitch. It also uses a shallow v-neck design which is much more flattering on me than the standard v-necks.

Monday, November 25, 2002

What am I Thinking?

What am I thinking?

I can't believe I started another project, but I couldn't wait to use some exquisite Kid Alpaca I ordered based on a Knitlisters recommendation.

Robin and Russ Yarns

They have fingering weight, Kid Alpaca in 175 yard skeins for US$1.00 per skein. At that price I bought enough to make a bedspread, and still only paid $60...what a deal!!!

The color is natural brown (can you picture an alpaca?) which isn't my first choice. I may try overdyeing the finished bedspread (if every finished...see below). The brown looks like it would take a deep red dye very well (or so I've been told by my dyer friends).

I cast on 412 stitches and I'm knitting a simple diagonal lace pattern on US1 needles. I've done two inches so far, so I have a lot of work between now and its completion, but I'm looking forward to each and every stitch.

Sunday, November 24, 2002

First Attempt at Posting Pictures

First Attempt at Posting Pictures

Here we go with my first attempts at trying to publish pictures to my blog. I just finished sewing up the sister-out-of-law sweater. It came out very well, but I'm concerned that the fabric may be too stiff and thick. I'm glad she lives in Massachusetts, otherwise she might never get to wear it.

Friday, November 22, 2002

Second Lame Post

Second Lame Post

I should have known that my blog would be really lame. I have so little time that I want to give up to be able to keep this thing up to date...but I must. It also took me 11 days do decide whether I wanted to pay to have pictures...hopefully I'll figure out how to add pictures now that I've paid the premium.

I ended up finishing the knitting part of my sister-out-of-law's sweater from Scotland. The design was fabulous, the yarn, scratchy. It is a beautiful color. Once I figure out how to use my new upgraded status, I'll post a picture.

I started on my partner's niece's sweater for one of her Christmas gifts. The first (and only) sweater I made here years ago was a beautiful child's cardigan that I did in leftover yarns from a Kaffe Fassett kit that I made. I used mostly purples (her favorite color still), and did multi-color stripes, interspersed with black stripes. It truly was beautiful in those Rowan yarns. I wish I had a picture...I wish I knew how to post a picture.

Anyway, when I gave her the first sweater (she was around 4 years old), I gave it as a Christmas gift. My partner and I kept telling her how much she was going to like this gift because we were so excited about it. But as any of the readers who are parents will already know, she could have cared less about a "stupid sweater". She actually cried from the disappointment. She didn't wear it for over a year after I gave it to her. When she did finally start wearing it, she liked it a lot. So much so, that she has asked me to make her a sweater for this Christmas (she's 11 now).

The sweater is a purple cabled pullover with a zipper and a hood. I got the pattern from White Birches (as part of a monthly installment of patterns to add to a binder collection). The yarn I'm using is Cascade Leisure, a Alpaca/Cotton blend boucle. The manufacturer calls for US10.5 needles, but that has got to be a mistake. I'm using US8's and I could easily go down one more size. The boucle doesn't show the cabling very well, but it is incredibly soft. I think she'll like it.

My burnt umber, patterned pullover (my own design) got rave reviews at dinner with my sisters and mother last week. My sister Kathy asked me to make her one (just not in burnt umber). That will be my next project, but I will also probably start on the bedspread using the kid alpaca I just purchased. So Kathy won't get her sweater for Christmas, but I told her not to expect that anyway.

Monday, November 11, 2002

Welcome to the first entry in my personal knitting blog!

Welcome to the first entry in my personal knitting blog!

First, a little about me. I’m a 43 year old gay man, and I’ve been in a relationship with my partner for 19 years (as of Friday of this week).

I’ve been knitting for about 18 years, and it is my primary passion in life. I learned to knit by reading a basic pattern book from the early 1900’s from Paton’s. As such, I taught myself to make men’s underwear as one of my first projects. They were made in fine baby-weight merino wool, and looked a lot like the boxer-briefs that you can buy today. Going back to my roots, I just purchased some off-white baby-weight merino to make myself underwear again.

I’ve knit sweaters, socks, blankets, felted purses and slippers, toys, afghans, hats and gloves. I make a lot of gifts, and I also knit a lot for my partner and myself. I always have multiple projects being worked on. Right now, I’m actively working on a sweater kit from Scotland for my partner’s sister (I call her my sister-out-of-law). She bought the kit expecting to knit it herself, but never got to it. I finally convinced her to bring it to me so she could at least have the sweater as a remembrance of her trip to Scotland (instead of a bag of wool).

I’ve also got a Koigu kit for an Oriental Jacket that’s ¼ finished, an afghan experiment to replicate something my partner’s grandmother made for him, and a few other projects that I wouldn’t exactly say were being actively worked on.

I do some designing for a local yarn store near my home, so you can see additional pictures of me modeling some of my work if you go to http://www.simplyknit.com/.

I’ll eventually be putting pictures of my handiwork out here as I work on it so you can get a sense about how much I actually knit.