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Oddments

It was about this time last year that I saw a pattern I wanted to knit on a knitter’s blog and discovered it was part of The Great Oddments Knitdown, a series of patterns released throughout the year by Romi Hill to knit down your stash.  I remember thinking it was a wonderful idea but having my hands full with something or  other decided to forego the challenge but made a mental note of it.

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There is something about this last quarter of the year that makes me want to knit down my stash and get all projects in progress off my needles.  It would be absolutely amazing if I could enter 2015 with a clean empty project slate with nothing hanging over my head to be finished.  This notion rolls around in my head every October but I haven’t been able to pull it off … YET.

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The Great Oddments Knitdown seems like a feasible plan to at least get some small items knit with the odd skeins of yarn I have sitting in yarn bins.  I’m willing to give it a go starting with the Fairy Snowcap, the first pattern released in the series.

I will be knitting the Fairy Snowcap  with some discontinued Debbie Bliss yarn called Alpaca Silkroad Aran.  This may be some of my very oldest stash yarn bought ten or so years ago with birthday cash at my LYS.  Not really knowing at the time that it is best to by several skeins of sale yarn and not really realizing it only had 71 yards in each skein I only bought two, hardly enough to make anything with.  But that is the great thing about this ODDMENT KNITDOWN because it is designed to use up just those kind of skeins!

This is a very cute hat but it seems smallish on everyone I have seen it photographed on.  Since I have a biggish head I think it may go to my granddaughter.  The yarn is super yummy and she will like the ‘non-scratchy’ aspect of it.

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My ‘oddment’ project is tucked aside in my new Tom Bihn Travel Tray.  I love this thing!  The sides fold down to make a sturdy little yarn bowl and will be great on the plane this week as I travel to visit my daughter and her little family.

Snow on the Peak, melting snow on the ground, golden aspen leaves scattered – a perfect day to be mesmerized by the brilliant colors of the Kaffe Fassett Mystery Knitalong.    

 

 

 

When participants started posting pictures of their blocks on Ravelry I suddenly wished I had picked the red color way instead of turquoise.  Having three of the required colors for the first red block I went ahead and knit a red quake along with my seven turquoise squares and now I am even more conflicted in which color to go with.  This indecisive nature of mine is something I don’t like about myself!  I probably won’t decide which color will be the afghan and which will end up the oblong cushion until Clue 3 when we get a little hint about how this will all come together.

 

 

 

 

Friday Fiber Group

The first Friday of every month I look forward to getting together with some amazing and talented women.  This Friday Fiber Group has been meeting for over a decade in various homes, most living on the west side of Pikes Peak out in my neck of the woods.  Almost all of them come with a spinning wheel which is what peaked my interest initially.

They spin, weave, knit, dye yarn and some raise their own animals as fiber sources.  Some teach in shops or at wool festivals, some sell their wares and some I just hope will rub off on me magically.  I truly admire these ladies and feel minuscule in their presence but they are all kind and eager to help me along my own fiber journey.

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This morning it was hard to crawl out of bed having just gotten my flu shot and feeling rather achey.   The fact that It was only twenty-seven degrees outside didn’t help much but then, when I remembered it was Friday Fiber Group, I suddenly had more eagerness to hop on out of my warm bed and not linger any longer.  Having a little red sweater that is under a deadline I almost decided to bring it instead of my travel wheel but then I decided it was, after all, fun to spin with others.

The whirl of the wheels and the chattering of fiber friends can be quite relaxing and enjoyable,  One can spin somewhat mindlessly and not have to concentrate as you do when whilst knitting.  So off I went with my Kromski to rendezvous with knitting buddy Carol so we could carpool together.

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Wanting to take photos of the changing aspen along the way I was disappointed that fog had settled in.  Nonetheless, I still took photos and it was a still beautiful ride despite the fog.  I can only imagine it is stunning when the skies are their normal brilliant blue.  We traveled down into a beautiful valley on a road that disappeared into the horizon.  Can you see in the photo how far we drove?  I had not been in this part of my county before nor had my friend so we felt like we were on an adventure exploring .  It is interesting to me how the aspen change colors faster in some spots of the county than other spots, here it seemed there was still some green on the trees.

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Our hostess lives in the oldest log cabin in the county.  In fact, it was on the Pony Express route and was the last place to stay to freshen up or change out your horses before heading over Wilkerson Pass.  How cool is that?  A picturesque setting carved out amidst beautiful rock formations, this place was truly beautiful.

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There being twelve ladies, we spread out between the kitchen and den and got busy with our wheels right away.  The conversation is always interesting and stimulating varying from current events to things we do with our fiber.  We gather around the table at lunchtime and eat whatever our gracious hostess has made.

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This time Evelyn had made lentil soup on her stove from the 1920’s which she says is always an adventure in and of itself.  We had fresh baked bread, coleslaw and cheesecake for desert.  I’m enjoying getting to know these ladies and hear their life stories.

When mid-afternoon arrived we slowly gathered our fiber and fiber tools and reluctantly left.  It seems like every time I go to Friday Fiber Day it is over before it has just begun! Before we left we had to venture through the 150 year old barn to see the burros out back.  They each  came to greet us and get a good forehead rub.

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Kaffe Fassett is a designer well known in both the quilting and knitting worlds as a master of color.  His quilts are typically bright and cheery and I have long admired them.  The following quilt is just a one of many beautiful quilts that array the pages of his quilting book called Stripes and Shots. kattefassettshots_p27 When Rowan Yarns announced that Mr. Fassett had designed an afghan for a featured knit-a-long I knew without hesitation that I would be one of the participants.  How could I resist the combination of well placed color and my love of wool?  People from all around the world will be participating and I pinned my name alongside theirs on the Rowan Kaffe Fassett MKAL map.  I knew that this afghan would pop and sizzle with beautiful color in my home and most likely become a conversation piece when friends visit. FullSizeRender Knitting kicked off in the UK on Wednesday, October 1,  when the first square was released on the Rowan site.   Hearing about this project only a week before the kickoff I only had the much sought after Electric in my knitting basket and had the other yarn scheduled to deliver that very day. IMG_0076As I waited anxiously for the arrival of my yarn packages I spent some time on the British Museum site looking at blue pottery and dreaming about what my afghan would become.  Can’t wait!IMG_0340 Participants could either knit an afghan, a square cushion or an oblong cushion.  Knowing me, no doubt I will be ogling over the other color options as participants start posting photos and I will end up knitting a cushion or two in other colors.  The pattern also gave two versions to choose from, one was an Increase Version utilizing a knit into the front and back of a stitch (kfb) as the increase.  The other version was a Make One Version using the left and right leaning make one increases.  I will try both techniques and decide which one is more comfortable for me.  By the way, did I mention there are lots of videos included in the KAL demonstrating the various techniques used in the afghan? IMG_0094 As I write this post all of my yarn has arrived and sits in my wash basket where it is admired every time I pass. IMG_0093 I have finished knitting the first square which measured larger than the specified size of 7.5″.  I used the Increase Method option to knit this square. IMG_0099 This afternoon I have been working on the second square using the Make One Option and a one needle size smaller.  I have seven squares to knit before the next clue is released on October 10th.  If you think you might want to participate it is never too late to join.  There is a group on Ravelry with all the details or, better yet, go straight to the Rowan site. IMG_0329

It has been a while since I have posted on this blog but I find myself wanting to write and share with you on this early day in autumn.  I’m curious to see what Ginny and her reading peeps are reading and knitting so I will join them on a Yarn Along today!

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I have a book I bought my granddaughter a while back that I will share with you today called Phoebe’s Sweater.  It is an adorable book, especially if you have a special little someone in your life that you knit for.  The book tells the sweet story of a beloved mouse called Phoebe who becomes a big sister for the very first time.  As her mother waits for the new baby to arrive she knits a beautiful red sweater for Phoebe. The book includes a lovely set of photographs and knitting patterns from the illustrated story, including Phoebe’s sweater, a mouse doll in a sweet handknit dress, and a doll-sized sweater to match Phoebe’s.

My little granddaughter is two and this year I am starting a new tradition with her.  I want to knit a RED sweater for her every year and give it to her when fall arrives in her state.  Each year I will take a black and white photograph of her and then use photo editing tools to make the red sweater show red.  It will be a lovely collage on my wall and a fun way to document the stages of her life and the way her taste in sweaters change over the years.  No doubt I will be knitting some funky red sweaters at some point because I plan to let her pick the pattern every summer when she is older.

I’m waiting another year or so to give her Phoebe’s Sweater.  I think she will appreciate a little more when she is four or five.

This year’s RED sweater for two year old Zoë is the Tiny Tea Leaves.  I’m knitting size 4 and using Cascade 220 Superwash which came highly recommended but isn’t quite as soft as I had hoped.  Some say it will soften up.  Anyone have any experience with this yarn?

Mother’s Tree

A few weeks ago I went back to my optometrist because my right eye felt filmy all the time.  When she told me my cataract had grown and I needed to play the ‘waiting’ game before having it taken care of a bee got in my bonnet and I decided there were a few things in my cupboard that needed finishing.  After all, vision will only get blurrier and the decline could take from six months to six years (sigh) before corrected surgically.

There are just some crafts more taxing to the eyes than others, right?  I am on the young side for cataracts but apparently all the rounds of steroids I took for pneumonia earlier this year has accelerated their growth.

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This Mother’s Tree crosstitch sampler will soon have seven generations of mothers listed below the tree with the year in which they were born.  This is stitched on 32 count linen over two stitches so I have pulled out a magnifying lamp to help me see the linen.  One thing I learned about cataracts is that you need bright light to illuminate whatever you are working on so now I have an excuse for keeping all those lights on in my house.

If you are familiar with genealogy you will know that tracing the mother’s line is most difficult.  Women were not property owners in older generations and their names rarely appeared in anything other than census records.  I can go much further back in all my other lines but this one only goes to the early nineteenth century but now I can add my granddaughter’s name to the very bottom because my daughter is her mother!

I have notebooks and notebooks of genealogical records and the computer I once stored them on is no longer serviceable.  With the fires in our recent future I really need to take time to recorded this history digitally.  Never once did I think to grab those boxes when we packed for evacuation however, I did grab some pictures I had stitched.  If it ever happens again then this Mother’s Tree will go in the car with us.  (provided.there.are.seven.generations.on.it.smile)

 

With the recent revision of the Master Knitting Program Level 2,  I have decided to start afresh.  It seems like a primary focus in this level is seaming. With nineteen swatches to knit the first nine swatches all have to do with seams.  Although I cringe right now when it comes to finishing a project involving seaming I know that the purpose of this part of the program is designed to give me the confidence to tackle properly any project I take on.

 

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Right now the quality of my knitting most definitely does not match the quality of my finishing techniques.  I look forward to the day that, instead of dreading the finishing, I will instead enjoy it.  So without further ado, I will get going on the program and share my progress in mind.  Please keep in mind that all the swatches I share in the next months may very well need to be resubmitted to the Review Committee because they may have been done incorrectly.

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Whenever you seam a knitted garment you encounter three different type edges that must be sewn together.  Side seams, shoulder seams and the way the arm is sewn to the garment may all employ different techniques depending on the type of pattern knit in the garment.  Knowing these techniques and knowing when to use what kind of seam can greatly alter the appearance of the finished garment.  Case in point – for years I have been slipping the selvedge stitches thinking that gave a smooth edge to aid the seaming not knowing, bad idea. Instead, you need a nice sturdy edge so instead just work the stitch just as the pattern indicates.

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Stockinette Seam

Reverse Stockinette Seam

Reverse Stockinette Seam

Seed Stitch Seam

Seed Stitch Seam

I have critiqued these three swatches to death and have decided, for my sanity, that it is time to move on.  I am really bogged down in this section.  These three seams have been worked and re-worked.  I have changed the color of the yarn from lavender, to beige, back to lavender and then on to soft sage.  They need to be DONE!

I know this isn’t the most exciting of posts but I wish I had known more about seams in my early knitting years.  If I had I might actually be wearing those sloppy looking garments.  If you are currently about to seam any project using the above stitch patterns just take a few moments to research and that time will be a great investment for you.

Next up……seaming ribs!

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