Sunday, May 2, 2010

2010 is 1/3 behind us!

We had a false spring start here in the Pacific Northwest - it was just beautiful in February and reminded me why I love living here. It looked like March or April, and even the plants thought so. And now here we are with temperatures in the 50's in May... we won't have the same berry crops as last year!

A great trip to Tacoma for Madrona filled me with joy and optimism! I was one of the lucky students in Jean Wong's Tailored Knitting class, and learned quite a lot while there. It was a perfect in-depth update to learn how to design a sweater for my specific size - my high school and college training was in tailoring and clothing design due to my sewing background, so to gain this knowledge specifically for knitting was wonderful. Melinda and Naomi talk about not needing a pattern to make any sweater they want to make, and I had a rush of that joy. There was a time when that was true for me with sewing, and I'm inspired again about both skills.

After two intense days in class, I was on a relaxation retreat. After a tough January at work, the enjoyment of fiber enthusiasts, and knitting were perfect therapy. It was a great strategy, and I enjoyed every minute, including spending more $$ than I intended on so many beautiful yarns. My friend, Pam, even came down to just to shop!

Melinda and Naomi have been nudging me toward spinning and I've been resistant because I can't imagine taking the time away from knitting; I said if I win some roving, I'll try spinning, knowing that I never win anything. So wouldn't you know I would win some beautiful Blue Faced Leister?

In March, we celebrated some 1st quarter birthdays with an intimate brunch and a lot of laughter! Melinda, Joni B and Joni O gave us a reason (as if we need one) to get together with fiber and food! Joni B and I had first tries at spinning on Naomi's e-spinner and then I tried with one of Melinda's spindles... for me, it's going to be a slow process. That didn't stop me from going and completely enjoying the spin-in at Oak Harbor on April 10 with Melinda, Naomi, and Amy - when I wasn't socializing with Andrea, Rebecca and Peggy (just to name a few) I just knit and limited myself to the purchase of one skein of Blue Faced Leister sock yarn. What fun we have!

PROJECTS

Stepson Nick's wife is due to have their third son, Joshua, in July. I decided to knit a simple baby blanket for him using Berrocco's Comfort in the denim blue color - it really does look like jeans. While I'm usually committed to natural fibers, our daughter-in-law has three boys under 6 and constantly uses the washer and dryer. The hand of the blanket's fabric is just great - it actually feels like jeans! The pattern is a customized version of a paneled blanket from a book, and this is my thought process:

The first row is a heart because from the first moment, he is there. The second row is evergreen trees because although they live in California, his parents are from the Pacific NW. The third row is his initials JJB with sailboats on either end because he will grow up with water sports. The fourth row is lightning bolts because he will be brought up with superheroes. And the fifth row is stars because he will be taught to reach for them.

The socks from yarn my friend, Pam, gave me last August are just what I was hoping for: sort of bulky and relaxed. The pattern is adapted from the Cascade Yarns B & B sock. After experimentation, I found myself using size 0 needles for the ribbed cuff, size 1 needles for the basket weave; cable stitch pattern, and size .5 needles for the sole of the sock. I'm paying more attention to the texture of the knit fabric I create. And when I was afraid of running out of yarn, Naomi gave me a wonderful coordinated yarn to use for the toes, and I think it looks planned instead of emergency fixed.

Currently, I'm in the midst of the Chevron socks from Sensational Knitted Socks using Aussie Socks Spanish Fiesta. Once again, the fabric was too dense so larger needles were in order. The result now is very comfortable and I'm ready to blaze through the 2nd sock.

My other current project is Cocoknits Marta knit from Lana Grossa's Eco. This was my lesson in finding the gauge while paying no attention to the needle size indicated. I finally am using US 9's instead of the US 5's my usual tension would call for, and the fabric is heavenly soft. Her pattern-writing is clear and simple and includes some new techniques for me. I'm going to love this cardigan! The body is done and I'm working on sleeve #1 when I'm not knitting on my socks.

Next up, I'm planning to restart the lace panel shawl because the lace edging was much too tight. I'm not an experienced lace knitter, so I had no idea I was having a problem until my lace turned out to be half as long as it should have been by the end. Yes, I should have swatched, even in lace! Painful lesson with 890 cast on stitches! I've been calling it my stupid shawl, but this is clearly not the shawl's fault.

And, speaking of swatching, I'll be doing more of that for Mitch's Irish Moss. My previously always-loose knitting seems to be getting tighter, so I can't count on having to go down two needle sizes any more. Perhaps it's just nervousness at beginning my first Alice Starmore pattern. In any case, it's worth the price of extra yarn to have enough to knit a large swatch without worrying about running out of yarn.

1 comment:

Bothtwins said...

Great entry! You managed to touch on every topic since last you blogged. I am in awe of your blogging prowess ~ you inspire me! Rebecca