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Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Greetings from Denver!  We had a Fall-tastic time last weekend, some photos:
To celebrate the season, I picked up bottle of Apothic Dark, a red blend.  Like it's famous cousin, Apothic Red, the dark variety is on the sweet side but I love it despite my normal distaste for sweet wines.  The Hubby and I sipped this and snacked on fresh popcorn while we watched Rosemary's Baby.

The next day we drove out to a pumpkin patch in search of both pie pumpkins and good carving pumpkins.
The poodles just love pumpkins by the way!  Always trying to eat them!

Pumpkin Patch Poodles

Later that evening I made my first pumpkin pie of the season - complete with cats and bats!

And, of course, we did some carving while finishing off the red wine.  Hubby's pumpkin.

My pumpkin :)

Monday, October 7, 2013

What's been casting on?

I've been having a blast blogging about my crochet adventures over on CrochetMe, but I've also been knitting up a storm and wanted to share some of my other projects.

First of all, I finished up the Palm Island Cockle Shawl!  You might remember me prepping for the shawl and gushing about lace here. I then started the project on a trip to Florida, and continued to knit away during our road trip to Colorado.  After finally completing the piece, I can safely say that it is my favorite project that I have ever done... both in process and in the finished look.
After a bath in wool wash, I used lace blocking wires to pin into place.
I have worked lace patterns before but the shawl was definitely the most challenging.  Some tips I learned along the way:
  • Don't be stingy with stitch markers! I marked every single lace repeat... those rows get looonnggg and I would much rather keep track of 12 stitches versus 500.
  • It's worth your time to back track in order to fix mistakes.  The point of lace is to create an intricate and aesthetic piece.  If you fudge your way through a few rows, it will show.
  • It's NOT worth your time to take out 1000's of stitches to fix a mistake!  Learn to perform "surgery" on your projects, taking out only a small section, row by row, until you reach the mistake.  You will end up with several "loops" of yarn and you can knit back as normal, you are just working with a loop instead of an end of the yarn.  Keep track by working from the bottom loop up.
  • Although I keep saying it, I still have never used a life-line when lace knitting.  Life lines are like insurance against the inevitable mistake.  The line is weaved in, usually during a resting row and you can easily rip back to that spot if needed.  In my opinion, "surgery" fixes are easier and quicker.
  • Beads are pretty but time consuming!  Also, I made the rookie mistake of getting cheap beads that were too small.  For future beading projects, I will use the hook method instead of stringing as I feel that it damaged my yarn and was also a huge annoyance. As a side note, I had the "brilliant" idea of hammering an extra bead out of the shawl... in my mind, the bead would break in two and that would be that.  Well... the bead did break but so did my yarn!! Ughh.
I made size medium and it turned out delightfully gigantic!!  With each size increase, there is another row of beautiful shells added so the size large is very dramatic. Using roughly 2.25 skeins of lace weight yarn, this project provided hours and HOURS of entertainment for under $20. The light weight yarn also made it ideal for traveling (though I had to lug around the chart).

In other knitting news, I've been mostly working on holiday presents but I did just start a sweater that will hopefully be done before the Winter weather hits.  The Henrietta Maria Cardigan is just adorable! I love the tight and short fit, perfect to pair with high waisted pants or skirts.  The embroidery is optional and you don't have to decide until the end.  I'm using Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light which is nice but seems to shed a lot.  I have already finished the back and right front panel, the King Charles brocade pattern keeps the knitting interesting while not too complicated so you can chat away or catch up on your Netflix queue.

The Henrietta Maria Cardigan by Elizabeth Wolden.  Pattern can be found on Ravelry.

Next on my sweater list are these beauties, both by Susan Crawford:
The Perfect Christmas Jumper from Vintage Gifts to Knit.  I already have the fabulous book and this particular project has been on my list for years now!  I really want to get started on it.
Trimmed with Roses Jumper from A Stitch in Time Volume 2.  Volume 1 is already on my bookshelf and it is just so gorgeous and well done.  Now I just need to get my hands on the latest addition!  Did I mention this jumper is part of a twin set and has the sweetest matching cardigan??

More knitting updates! I was pleased to see that my sample mittens are now up on KnitPicks!
The Woodland Winter Mitts are available in several different colorways.  You can buy kits or just the pattern.  For those of you who know me, you might recall a 6-week period in time where I was constantly knitting away... these mitts are what I was up to!  They turned out lovely but it was hard to ship them away... like giving away my babies.  Something to note about these amazing patterns is that each scene is different but each pair matches up to make a scene from right to left, left to right, and the back designs too!  Another neat thing is that the 6 pairs show the progression of Winter, starting with falling leaves and ending with the beginning of Spring shown by budding plants (not shown in order in photo above).

My best advice on these is to use the magic loop method.  DPN's always left a jog in the middle of the beautiful scene. Also, using a chart keeper to hold my place was essential. They may look intimidating but you are only working with 2 colors at a time. There is a transitional row between colors which means you will have 3 active colors, but that's not so bad! I have also seen many versions of these mittens done in only two colors and it looks great.  Check out Ravelry for some ideas.