How to Use Bobbles to Stand Out

How to use bobbles to stand out in a crowd? Put them on the back of a baby sweater! Yesterday Michelle Hunter revealed an absolutely adorable ewe on the back of the mystery baby sweater I have been knitting.

Finished are the two sleeves, such tiny little arms … only 6-1/2 inches.

Adorable Ewe Sleeves

And out come the bobbles with the second mystery clue, lots and lots of bobbles to round out a great big ewe on the back of the sweater.  I’m about half way through the back and thought it time to take a bobble break to encourage you to jump right in to this fun mystery knit-a-long.  We are not only learning how to knit bobbles but we are also tackling.

Adorable Ewe Back

My tip for knitting bobbles:  The nature of a bobble produces a hole right under the bobble.  It will usually be diminished by blocking but I like to put a little bit of insurance in my knitting in case it doesn’t.  Whilst knitting the backside, tighten up the stitch on either side of the bobble.

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The April KAL Adorable Ewe Baby Sweater is free and Michelle, as always, does an excellent job teaching.

 

Swirling on a Labor Day

Where has the summer gone to?  This has been one crazy summer for me with forest fires and mountain passes closing because of flash floods.  That can cause all kinds of inconveniences for those of us who frequently need that highway.  I’ve taught a couple knitting classes and have just started another.  It has been busy but the last five weeks have been filled with medical problems and concerns.  I am still in the midst of that but I have found some perfect mindless knitting that has just the right amount of required concentration – not too much but not so little that it brings on boredom.

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Knit Swirl is an incredible book written by an amazing designer,  Sandra McIver.  In the introduction Cat Bordhi says, ” “.  I must confess that I initially bought the book simply because some of my friends have it and they often bring it to our knitting groups sharing it have knit one of the patterns but when I read Cat’s introduction I found myself entranced.  So entranced that I have cast on two separate ‘Swirls’ in the past week just to see how the yarn would be shown off in a couple of the patterns.

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The first is knit with some Noro Silk Garden yarn that I purchased a while back  for a pattern I long ago lost interest in.  This pattern is Strata Sphere and I think I just might love it.  These colors keep me going on the miles and miles of easy-peasy knitting and purling.

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The second pattern is called Sheer Beauty.  The main yarn is Malabrigo Rastita, a dk weight yarn.  The color is JupThe mesh part will be knit with Malabrigo Alpaca lace yarn called Belgian Chocolate.

These two patterns will take me through many hours of movies and television shows this fall….but hopefully not TOO many hours.

Time to Swatch

We are anticipating a blizzard today in the mountains so I think it might be the perfect day to swatch for a couple of sweaters.

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After determining my body type in the Fit to Flatter course, I have decided to knit the Stoker Pullover first. This beautiful cowl neck sweater with 3/4 sleeves designed by the amazing photographer Caro Sheridan seems like a great place to start trying out some of the things I have learned from the class on getting a great fitting sweater. Stoker is one of the many great patterns in the Knit to Flatter book.

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The Stoker in the book uses Valley Yarns Stockbridge of which I had none on hand. What I did have I believe is nicer, Berrocco Ultra Alpaca. The color is Mahogany and it looks stunning when the sunlight hits it, a rich golden copper color.

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It looks darker when there is no sunlight upon it and is still quite lovely. I have knit two swatches and am getting gauge on a larger needle size than suggested in the pattern.

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Next up will be knitting a couple swatches for Amy Herzog’s Wintry Mix sweater. I have long wanted to knit this sweater and had the Berrocco Blackstone Tweed in my shopping cart that I suddenly remembered some Queensland Kathmandu Aran in my stash in a deep purple color. It has a luscious blend of 85% Merino, 10% Silk, 5% Cashmere wool and knits at the same gauge as the Blackstone Tweed.

I am looking forward to knitting Wintry Mix. It looks comfortable and cozy and, best of all, is constructed almost seamlessly. I am quite certain it will be finished before Stoker since it is knit in the round and will not need to be seamed.

The Wearing of the Green

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

And, I finished my Portulaca Cardigan hours before the clock struck midnight so I will always think of it as my St. Patty Cardy.

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There are many things that I like about this design the top being its color. This bright green makes me so happy every time I look at it. It is a happy green. I thoroughly enjoyed knitting with the Studio Donegal yarn and hope to locate some when I visit Ireland this spring. I also like the fitted style of this sweater which is a big plus because I don’t wear most of my Aran sweaters because they are boxy and unflattering. I willwear this one because it is very comfortable.

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I learned many things as I knit this going through the Celtic Cables Craftsy class. I think the Craftsy platform is superb and I felt like Carol Feller was right there by my side with each step as this sweater was created. Although I have knit several Arans before, my knowledge was increased tenfold by my instructor’s expertise.

I especially enjoyed learning the alternate rib cast on and will use it henceforth. I also appreciated learning the one row buttonhole which results in a more finished technique than the one I had been using. And, I like how Ms. Feller denotes beforehand her increases and decreases on the charts, much less stressful than the way I had been trying to keep track of them!  I can highly recommend Celtic Cables to those who have never ventured into the twists and turns of cables and to those who meander in that land all the time.

Now what about you? Have you taken any Craftsy classes you would like to recommend? How are you celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in your neck of the woods?

RAVELYMPICS 2010

Time for RAVELYMPICS 2010 to begin!  In my imagination I will be gathering with knitting buddies in Vancouver, Canada during February 12-28 to watch the Olympic games unfold.  Of course, as I watch the games I will have my own challenge.  Black and and cream colored skeins of yarn will be sitting in my lap and both hands will be busy knitting my very first Selbuvotter Mittens. I think a Norwegian project is only fitting for these chilly events.  Let’s see what happens when I dedicate two weeks to focused, intense knitting to ONE project.

My mittens will be entered into two events:  Mitten Moguls and Nordic Colorwork Combined.

Must Have Cardigan Turned Pillows

On this fine UFO Thursday, instead of knitting, I took my UFO Must Have Cardigan and turned it into two lovely pillows.

This is the second time I’ve taken a project that I’ve lost interest in and turned them into pillows.  I love this concept!  Just like my St. Brigid-sweater-turned-pillow I think I will really enjoy looking at these two pillows in my guest bedroom.

I’ve noticed recently that Aran Pillows are showing up in various catalogs that I receive in the mail and they all have a startling price tag attached to them.  It gives me great satisfaction to know that my pillows are significantly cheaper (significantly) and have knitting love poured into them.

I’m done with making UFO pillows for the time-being.  I contemplated making ALCEA into a pillow but Anne encouraged me to give it a good steaming before making that decision.  She, being the wise woman that she is, knew that as I played with that fair isle fabric and those lovely colors I would fall in love with it all over again.  So, starting next week, my UFO Thursdays will be dedicated to ALCEA.

Knit A Norwegian

The KNIT A NORWEGIAN KAL on Ravelry began at midnight 2010 Norwegian time and I am finally going to knit my Dale of Norway Sirdal sweater!  I love this classic pattern and I will be knitting it in a classic color, navy blue.  The Sirdal buttons are discontinued but I was able to find some on-line.  Huzzah for Google!  Here is a picture from the pattern book.

The sweater is named after a very popular ski resort in Norway.  I wonder how the skiing in Norway compares to Colorado Rocky Mountain skiing?  How can Norwegian skiers not be incredible athletes as they zip down those peaks anticipating lounging around in the ski lodge in their beautiful Norwegian sweaters?

I would love to go to Norway someday.  My husband’s maternal grandmother was from Norway.  And, my daughter has married into a family that, not only descends from Norway, but is steeped in rich Norwegian traditions.  I think it is prudent for me to learn all I can about traditional Norwegian knitting just in case there will be some wee Norwegian grandchildren born some day who would love to wear Norwegian sweaters made by their non-Norwegian grandmother.

I’m off to a good start.  This sweater does not have ribbing.  It starts off by knitting nine rounds, purling a row for the fold line and then casting on steek stitches.  At that point you join and start knitting in the round.  A sweet little hem.  You also knit the first inches in a smaller needle changing to the larger one when you get to the Main Pattern.  Interesting.  I’m not sure why other than perhaps to draw the sweater in a bit at the hem since there is nor ribbing.  If any of you Dale of Norway experts know please fill me in!

I’m pretty pumped about focusing on the one-sweater-at-a-time resolution I made for New Year’s Eve.  Having to deal with those unfinished and uninspired sweater UFOs last month convicted me.  Fortunately, turning them into pillows helped me realize that I did love them at one point enough to start them.  I’m enjoying looking at them as pillows more than I did looking at them with guilt as they lay in knitting baskets!