Monday, August 12, 2013

Pretty in Pink

Yes, I finished the luscious pink mohair sweater that has been in my mind for so long.  Happy with the results, Sue looks great in it!  I used the new book I got for my birthday from "my knitting girls"and followed many of Deborah Newton's tips.  This made a big difference in the finishing of the sweater.  Here she is!
Now, the next sweater I have to focus on is for Karen!



For Sue's sweater, I rummaged through a box of old buttons.  I have a collection that I have somehow gathered from all over, some were Aunt Marion's, some Nana's, I am sure some were Aunt Kate's and of course, mommy's.  I was able to put together 8 tiny pink pearlized dome buttons which looked perfect on this sweater.  So!  A little old, a little new.  

I also had to add in a few panels on the sides of my raspberry sweater, it makes it a little bit more "swingy" as my friend Martha put it  I agreed and now I am pondering buttons, although it did not call for buttons originally. 


Elsewhere, I am still struggling with the linen cardigan that was inspired by our knitting field trip to Downtown Yarns in Manhattan.  I bought the yarn and the highly improvised upon pattern, I have knitted this sweater three times, now the fourth, I am not getting the fit right, but the linen yarn is so wonderful that I keep trying.  This time, I will get it, I am determined and hopeful because I have been sticking to one project at a time.  No more many projects at once.  As enticing as it may be to start a new project, it is like reading a book, once you get into it, you can't put it down, and if there are any distractions you lose the thread!

And finally, I did finish this afghan.  Some of these squares came from a dear friend who passed away. I do not usually work on this type of project but I wanted to finish it in memory of Nadine.



Thursday, July 11, 2013

Tools of the Trade

What is the one huge roadblock that stands in the way of my knitting?  (Besides having to go to work) Disorganized materials!!  Fed up with having to sort through bags of yarn, boxes of needles, and not being able to put my hands on what I needed I set my mind to organizing!
I visited the Container Store on a whim and in it I found this!



It is really a jewelry organizer but look how perfect it works for circulars?  By the way I am using circulars almost exclusively right now, they are such an ingenious design, even two socks on two circulars is GREAT!
Each tab holds a different size needle

Now, on to the yarn!!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Like Pink Cotton Candy

    Having the summer off is such a gift!  This is the first time I have had a summer off since I was 14 years old.  My goal is to become a master knitter starting this summer.  My wonderful, "knitting ladies" gave me a book entitled "Finishing School" by Deborah Newton which has been a true inspiration.



      Two pink sweaters are shaping up beautifully with the tips and tricks I have already learned from this book!  This is the raspberry sweater that I am blocking out right now.


This sweater is based on a vintage pattern, published by Bernat. I am thinking it was from the 70's, but I loved the shape.  I did make a few minor changes, for example I incorporated a 3/4 sleeve and di not make the mutton sleeve so wide.  I also deleted the pockets. so I am hoping it meets all of my expectations!  

Here is the pattern and the beginning of the sweater:



    The other pink sweater I am working on is the mohair sweater I am making for my sister, Sue.  It does look like pink cotton candy!



      She has wanted it since she moved to Massachusetts and we saw one in the window of a pretty  yarn shop in Salem, Mass.  I purchased this mohair yarn at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival 3 years ago from Mohair in Motion.  It is harder to find pink mohair than you would think!  When I saw it I grabbed it and bought it right on the spot.  We were in a tent and it was about 95 degrees, absolutely one of the hottest days I can remember.  These lovely people were so sweet and offered us some iced tea, which was incredibly delicious at the time we were so parched!  

      The book has pointed out ways to seam edges, which I always just thought were straight sewing, but the edges on my raspberry sweater are the best I have ever done ...

Look at that SEAM!!
    
 I have also found out that EVERY row must be counted.  No more relying on mere measuring tape measurements.  

     Finished product!



Saturday, June 22, 2013

Novelty

                                   
Novelty yarn bought years ago at target turned into this gorgeous summer shawl!  I love the final product and am lucky enough to have bought enough of this yarn to make another one.  I used a very simple bias shawl pattern, the texture of the yarn makes it very special!

The Final Three...

...days of this school year!   Yes, it has finally come to an end.  I see the light at the end of this tunnel.  Just on a personal note this has been a very trying year in which I feel that I spread myself too thin and am definitely feeling the effects.  I am looking forward to this summer time to regenerate and work on my knitting mastery!  Not to mention my long awaited trip to Scotland and Iceland on the Vogue Knitting Tour!  I can't wait to see Lopi yarn like this being sold at grocery stores!!

We had a lovely family reunion of sorts where I was lucky enough to spend some wonderful time with my sisters, my mom and dad and my son, daughter-in-law and my amazing grandson!  It was a beautiful weekend and I had focused on finishing a few projects to give to Sue, Karen and Mom.
 Here are back and side views of the "shrug" I made for Mom.  It is made of washable sock yarn, and is very soft and stretchy.  I actually want to start right away to make more of these!!  Julia already put in her order.

 Karen and susie both got shawls/scarves made of a shimmery novelty yarn I had bought some time ago, I always think of Karen and Sue when I see the color aqua because it goes so beautifully with these lovely Floridian, naturally-blonde ladies!!

Karen wore hers at breakfast...
And Sue sent me a photo of her sporting hers at Stonehenge!
Lindsay and laura jean were not  able to come to this event, they were together up in Boston for a sister's weekend.  Lindsay did send me this photo of her wearing the gorgeous black shawl that i made for her from yarn that we picked out together in Boston.
 The yarn is Karabella and is scrumptious, shot through with tiny bits of silver, it is very pretty, like Lindsay!


Monday, May 13, 2013

My beautiful daughter

 This is Lindsay modeling the shawl I made for her with yarn we picked out in Boston.  I am thrilled that she likes it...and think that she looks awesome in it.  


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Callum
Well, the most exciting, huge event in my recent life has occurred and of course, has derailed any normal activity...my grandson was born!  Callum Michael Wagner was born on January 29, 2013.  He is the most precious adorable, amazing creature I have ever seen!
Of course, I could add THOUSANDS of adorable pictures of this child, he is cooed over, and coddled and kissed and is my first experiment in baby digital photography,  His every move and grunt is memorialized when I am with him.  So, you will conclude that I have been busily knitting sweaters and blankets for this little guy.

Here is the most recent picture of him in the sweater that I made for him, ready to go out for a walk!

And on Easter Sunday, sitting on the baby blanket I made for him before he was even born:

So, we had to miss much of our February break at school due to Hurricane Sandy in October which devastated the North East coast.  I actually was evacuated out of my house, spent some time with Michael and Nathalie (thank you) and with Michelle (thank you).   When Spring Break time came you can imagine we were all in sore need of a good vacation, and we had 11 days off from school  That is the way the calendar fell out.  I did not plan to go anywhere, I just wanted to stay near Callum and work in my house and on knitting.  I have made a vow to become a master knitter of sorts, I want to go to the next level, I feel like I have been goofing around too much and too long.  I want to learn how to finish off better and really make wonderful more professional items.  This takes time.  And effort, and organization!  I spent much of my break organizing my yarn and projects. 

Also, resurrecting projects that have been laid aside.  I was amazed at how many things I have finished 75% and then just abandoned. Here are some projects I have finished: 
Sort of cool, little shawl thing, I liked the way it draped around.
And this looks much better on a beautiful young lady, like Lindsay, who picked it out when I visited her in Boston. We were roaming around a yarn store on Newbury Street, called Newbury Yarns and they had this luscious shawl on display in brown.  The yarn is called Gossamer and it has tiny shots of silver running through it and tiny bits of thicker yarn so it is just enough to give it some body but it is still very silky.  I asked Lindsay if she would like it and she asked for it in black.  Voila!  I can't wait to give it to her!  It really turned out gorgeous, and I would think about making another one right away, it is easy knitting, but since I am on a yarn freeze right now, it will have to wait.

I spent a weekend at Steff's house, when she asked me what I wanted to do I told her "knit", but when she asked if I wanted to dye yarn that changed my mind.  I had never dyed yarn and she is the expert so we got right to it.  Quite a procedure, and extremely interesting, we set up in her special dying kitchen

Steff had a bunch of prepared, undyed yarn which had been scrubbed and mordant (?) if that is the term taking the animal oils out and preparing the yarn to accept the dye.
 We used only natural dye, I chose onion skins and Steff suggested cochineal, which is a red dye made from bugs that are harvested in Mexico.  The dye bath was cooking, we slowly heated up the yarn which had been soaking overnight and then dipped it into the dye baths.
Watch very carefully!  The yarn takes on the dye quickly and you have to know what shade you want! I was so thrilled with the red, I could have dyed tons of yarn, every batch was more beautiful than the last.  The yarn then gets hung out to dry.  Steff has a special little balcony for drying.  It was a gorgeous early spring day.
And here is the yarn drying.  I also absolutely love the onion skin dye.  It makes the richest golden color, yellow-golden.
We brought the yarn indoors for the night, it was still a bit damp.  and, the next day when, sadly, I had to leave, we packed it all up for the trip home, here is the final result
Now I have to choose projects to knit with this beautiful yarn!