Saturday, December 31, 2011

My Mom is the Best!!!!!!

Christmas 2011 didn't bring lots of presents, but the best one clearly as to be my new yarn swift. I have been wanting one for ages and now that I'm spinning it's a must have. I couldn't wait to set it up with the ball winder I got many years ago. It's maiden use was to wind up some nice fingering weight merino that I got from Rhinebeck '11.

Sock Innovation Project - Devon

The latest project from Cookie A's Sock Innovation, Devon was made with Bearfoot from Mountain Colors that I have had this in my stash for quite a while.

I like the "tonal" effect rather than using a variegated. It really made the pattern pop.  

I had started out with my Addi Turbo's, but changed over to my bamboo double pointed because the yarn was a little slick and I kept dropping stitches. The bamboo needles helped keep the stitches on the needle. 

As with all of Cookie A's patterns, I highly recommend the use of lifelines. I used a size two needle and am still second guessing whether or not I should have used a size one instead. It is my hope that the socks will draw up a little. 

They fit well and look great. I really love the way Cookie A designs the ribbing to flow with the pattern, without seeing any break. I have learned from this project, however, that you should use a larger size needle for the ribbing as it tends to be a little bit tighter than the pattern of the sock.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Sock Innovation Project - Sunshine

The third edition of my Cookie A Sock Innovation project was a very quick sock to knit up. 

 I wanted to stay with the color that was shown in the book, so I used some Plymouth Italian Sockotta that was in my stash. 

The pattern was very easy to follow and the superwash yarn is tried and true for durability. This is the third time I have used this yarn for a project and the color stays bright after lots of trips through the laundry. An added plus is that it is only around $9.00 per ball which makes one pair of socks.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Sock Innovation Project - Eunice

The second sock in Cookie A's "Sock Innovation" has been completed. 

"Eunice" was made with "Miss Babs" yarn that I had received from a previous sock and yarn swap. It was so luxurious to knit up and the color is great.

This was a challenging project for my skills. Cable patterns with two cable needles and the use of lifelines, and moving stitches about on your needles was the norm. I finally got it done, but really had to pay attention to detail.  Cookie A's patterns really have you step out of your comfort zone.

I got lots of compliments on the socks and can't wait for the warmer weather to wear them. I might even buy a pair of Mary Jane loafers to show them off. I would also like to thank my "photographer" Eric (my son)  for his help with the blogging.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Fingerless Mitt Envy

In my previous post, I spun up some nice blue merino wool from Ashland Bay Fiber which I had purchased at a Sheep & Wool Festival. This is the finished product is the result of one of the first fibers spun on my new Heavenly Handspinning wheel.

Because I had around 200 yards, it called for a small project and I chose "Mitt Envy," a free pattern from Ravelry.  I used a Size 1 needle although the yarn was a little thicker.  It produced a very tight fabric, making those twists a little hard at times.

I will have to alter the pattern if I ever have to make them for larger hands that mine. Either that or use a Size 2 or Size 3 needle. The pattern was easy to follow and the newly spun up yarn gave off some nice blue and purple hues that will look great this winter with my violet pea coat.

If you would like to see more of my spinning projects, please visit my spinning blog ""

Show Me the Money - Glynis

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This is the first project of my Cookie A - Sock Innovation goal.  The first pattern, "Glynis" was knit up in some Opal that was given to me as a prize. Normally I wouldn't have chosen this odd colorway, but began to love it as it worked up, 

While the photo doesn't do the colors justice, the scheme reminded me of the same colors of money; (ie, dollar bills). Every time a passerby saw me knitting on this project, they would agree with me that it reminded them of US currency. 

The socks knit up a little tighter than I wanted. I used a Size 1 circular needle with the magic loop method. Cookie A doesn't offer up different sizes in her book "Sock Innovation," but does give a nice tutorial on how to size up or down to your liking. I guess I should have read that before beginning, but I was lucky that my foot was the size of her template.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Oh Malabrigo

I was gifted this Malabrigo worsted weight yarn from a fellow friend on the Ravelry group "Random Acts of Kindness." 

I had heard about this yarn on the DoubleKnit Podcast and placed it on my monthly wishlist.  I was surprised that the donor didn't want this yarn.

This under-spun worsted weight yarn is luxurous and very nice to work with. I made this Saroyan Shawlette, available for free on Ravelry.  

The Saroyan is the opposite of the Cedar Leaf Shawl that you knit vertically instead of horizontally and the leaves are knitted on as you move up the pattern.  While the Cedar Leaf Shawlette has a fixed width, you can make the Saroyan Shawl as long and as wide as you want.

Cedar Leaf Shawlette

One of my favorite knitting podcasts is "Never Not Knitting." The host, Alana Dakos is a knitter and a designer. When she released the designed this shawlette, I had to make one for myself. 

The pattern called for Handmaiden Lady Godiva, a 50/50 silk and wool blend. It took two hanks to make up this beautiful garment. 

Although it looks complicated, it was quite easy. Like I said, "all you have to do is read and count." I would love to make another as a gift for someone very special. I can't wait for the weather to turn a little colder so that I have an excuse to wear it. The ice blue will look great against my purple coat.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Another Baby, Another Blanket

When Michelle, who is like a daughter to me, announced that she was having a baby in September, 2011 the search began again for the perfect baby blanket. When she asked me for a blanket, I was more than happy to do it. 

 I found this blanket on and thought it would be an easy project that I could just "whip up."  The pattern had 35 bares that make a nice patchwork design. 

However, when I printed up the pattern, I discovered that it was to be knitted all in one piece -- YIKES!!!!  Apparently the designer had the same love of sewing together squares as I did. She didn't, however have the same feeling for intarsia design. I pondered which was the worst of two dislikes, then decided to plunge in and just follow the pattern. 

 It called for Bernat Softee Chunky Yarn, letting the "mom to be" choose the colors.  There was some difficulty in keeping the yarn untangled. I then learned the "Continental for one color, English for the other" method and it got easier. I would definitely love to do this project again, but use natural fibers. The yarn, while nice did split and was a little "fluffy." The blanket for Jaidey, was a big hit at the baby shower. Can't wait to see a picture of him and his blanket.

Alexandria's Blanket

If you saw my earlier post, I had an inspiration from four sharpie markers; orange, green, blue and rosy pink. These were the closest colors I could come up with. When I found out that my niece, Morgan was having baby Alexandria, this inspiration turned into this project. 

This is my second Moderne Log Cabin Baby Blanket. I like to make the blankets extra large, so that it can be used well into to preschool. I loved the rich colors from Paton's Classic 100% Wool. I also loved using natural fibers. The yarn was so wonderful to work with and knitted up beautifully. The blanket was a big hit with Mom Morgan and MeMe Robin.

Cozy Klean Kanteen

I love my Klean Kanteen, but it can get slippery from the moisture formed when it's filled with cold drinks. I got the idea from someone in a yarn shop that had a cozy for her Klean Kanteen. I knitted up some nice merino and decided to make myself my own cozy. The design was my attempt at a Fibonacci Sequence. Not only does it keep my beverage colder longer. It keep the Kanteen from slipping out of my hand.

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Debbie Does Dyeing..........

Once upon a time, a young woman wanted to learn to spin. She bought lots of nice fiber, one of which was not dyed. It was her hope one day that she would learn to dye and create something beautiful.

Here is the story:
First I placed the beloved merino/mohair fiber into a vinegar and water soak for 30 minutes. The directions called for one cup of vinegar to one quart of water.

While the soak was processing, I then took these extremely expensive, hard to get ingredients, along with the same sophisticated equipment and mixed up these lovely dyes (aka grape, lime, and orange kool-aid). (one packet of kool-aid mixed with 2/3 cup of vinegar)

Once the soak was done, I drained as much water out of the pot until the water just covered the fiber and placed it on the stove until just under a boil, using a meat thermometer to get the water to about 135-140 degrees farenheit.

Using a serving spoon I carefully added the dye from the darkest to lightest in the pot; remember, a little goes a long way (about half the prepared dye mixture). Once the dye was added,I then put the heat down to medium, covered then simmered for 30 minutes.

After the 30 minutes was up, I used this sophisticated tool to drain some water out of the mixture. As you can see, the water is clear which means the fiber has completely soaked up the dye.

And here is the progress so far. It is now in the cooling stage. In about 2-3 hours, it will be rinsed out and laid flat to dry.


I would like to thank my friend, Mary, for giving me the inspiration to dye
and for for providing me with the videos for instruction.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

California Here It Comes

My cousin's daughter, Railey (or should I say my second cousin) has always wanted to be a mommy. I was thrilled to hear that she was pregnant with her first child. 

I had been admiring this baby blanket on and had been waiting for an excuse to make it. I made the blanket with knitpicks "comfy" pima cotton. It is a really soft yarn, and turned out nice and thick. I used a mattress stitch to sew it together. I even have yarn left over in order to make a few handtowels (hopefully). The pima cotton makes this a soft, machine-washable blanket. Since little Peyton lives in California (her daddy is a marine), the lightweight cotton is perfect for her.

I also love the quilted design of the piece. It made for easy knitting and was able to finish the blocks quickly. There was, however, one snag in the pattern. The "peony arrows" were not correct in the pattern. There was nothing in any notes about pattern errors, but when I made the arrow a complete 10 ridge rows, the block turned out way to big. I had to stop and play with it for awhile until I got it right. I ended up doing seven garter ridges so that the block wouldn't be too big and the rest of the pattern of the block didn't pull. With regard to the borders of each block, they want two garter ridges, but I did three. This way I was able to pick up stitches for the next round of color without too much pulling.

Now it is to be packaged up and sent off to Oceanside, California. Hopefully Railey will send a picture of Peyton and her new blanket for this blog entry.

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Sunday, January 9, 2011

Moderne Blanket for Moderne Baby

When I found out that my niece, Morgan was expecting her first baby, I couldn't wait to start brainstorming on a baby blanket for her. I loved the design and simplicity of the Modern Baby Blanket from Mason-Dixon Knitting and wanted to do it again. For some reason, the last three blankets I have done have been completely void of the pastel baby colors. I find that you have a much more creatively finished product when your not bound by pink, blue, yellow and green (just yellow and green when you don't know the sex of the baby).

It's funny what gives you inspiration when it comes to colors. I had been sitting at my desk looking at my sharpie markers and suddenly I had it. This is one of my favorite color combinations and Morgan liked it also. Trying to find these colors, however was a chore. I was always finding three colors, but lacking the last one, or the color scheme didn't suit my taste.

Last week, I found this Paton's wool yarn in the perfect color combination. I immediately sent a picture to Morgan and she gave me the thumbs up. I immediately filled my basket with three balls each of the colors. What was even better, the yarn was on sale!!!!! The day couldn't have been any better. Now time to cast on and make another Moderne Baby Blanket for little baby Alexandria Lea, born January 7 at 11:17 p.m.
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