Friday, December 21, 2007

My Inner Martha

Not much knitting progress around these parts in the last few weeks. I'm going to take liberties with the blog and show craftiness of another sort:

There might be more knitting progress to show if I didn't spend my time obsessively hand painting teensy gingerbread stars for teacher gifts. (And yes, that is another crocheted bookmark. Who wants to know?)

Happy Solstice to all!!

Our view, taken earlier this week. There isn't much to see today as the clouds are hanging low and even in the middle of our 6 hours and 21 minutes of daylight, there was almost no light.

2:27 P.M December 21, 2007
Taken in the interest of full-disclosure

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I Know The Rule: Don't Hang Sweaters!

But sometimes a rule just needs to be broken..

I saw Jared's sweater ornaments a few days ago, and could not resist casting on for my own. And then I made another for a gift.

So here I am making Christmas ornaments, even though I have a sort of love/hate relationship with Christmas trees. I grew up NOT celebrating Christmas, but since my husband did, it has become part of our family tradition. And a big part of that tradition is: The Tree. I enjoy other people's trees, and I like ours when everyone else has gone to bed on Christmas Eve and I am alone with it as I stuff stockings and perform other elfish duties. But by the light of day on the 26th I'm ready to shove it out the door. This has worked well for us in past years as we've hosted the holiday at our home away from home. We've arrived right before the holiday and left shortly after. Not a lot of tree-time. This year, for the first time since moving back to Alaska 2.5 years ago, we'll be staying put for the holidays .. specifically Christmas.

My meager ornament collection is thousands of miles from here, but I'm thinking simple white lights and a hand knit sweater. This just might be my kinda tree.

Sweater Ornaments

Pattern: I followed Jared's instructions, more or less.
Needles: US size 5 dpns
Red Yarn: Tahki, Chelsea Silk. I've had this yarn FOREVER (20 plus years, anyway.). Much of it is in a never to be finished vest, long out of style. The yarn is a little musty, and I've been reluctant to reuse it. But my washed ornament seems fine. This little sweater has provided the added bonus of uncovering some lovely yarn for a new project.
Brown-multi Yarn: Noro Silk Garden, of course.
My Favorite part: I love everything about these, but I'm especially smitten with the tiny hangers I fashioned.

Monday, December 10, 2007

FOs from Head to Toe

First up, the second hat from my Hats I knit for my children even though they didn't ask for them, but they better like them series. This one is for the 11 year old and is a fraternal twin of the hat in the previous post. Some DNA in common, but not identical. I'm growing quite fond of these hats, so if all else fails, I'll wear them!

Toby's Hat
Pattern: A loose interpretation of Ryan's Hat by Pam Allen
Needles: US size 7 dpns and 2 circulars
Yarn:Noro Cash Iroha
Modifications/Notes: Just like the hat in the previous post, I worked my increases more quickly so that I would get a more rounded top. I also worked stockinette earflaps instead of garter stitch. I'm feeling happier about this yarn choice. It IS deliciously soft, and while it may not be the perfect hat for our coldest days, it should be just right for many of them.

Next up, felted clogs that I gifted to my sister for Hanukkah. I've been keeping them off the blog even though I finished them weeks ago. (You never know who might be reading your blog.) I was all set to post a cheery Happy Hanukkah post on Tuesday, when I got the word that she'd be waiting to open her presents until Sunday night when she could get together for latkes and Hanukkah revelry with my brother and his family. So I've been waiting, and waiting...

Beth's Clogs
Pattern: Fiber Trends Felt Clogs by Bev Galeskas
Needles:US size 13
Yarn: Cascade 220, used double. 1 skein for the tops, ~1.5 skeins for the soles
Size: Women's Medium
Notes: This is the new, updated pattern (AC-33) which creates a narrower slipper. I've made one pair from the original pattern and they are quite wide. The revised pattern includes instructions for the wider clog.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Risky Business

Risky is knitting an unsolicited hat for the teenager living under your roof. Will he like it? Will he wear it? Will he appreciate it's handmade-ness?? Will it even fit?

I'm thinking, even though our next gift-giving holiday begins at sundown tomorrow, that I'll save this for Christmas. That should give me plenty of time to make another for the preteen in the house.

Max's Hat
Pattern: Inspiration taken from Ryan's Hat
Needles: US size 7 dpns and 2 circulars
Yarn: Noro Cash Iroha
Modifications/Notes: Different yarn and gauge for starters. Different colorwork pattern. I worked my increases more quickly so that I would get a less pointy, and more rounded top. I found guidance for this here. This yarn is lovely, but may not have been the best pick for this hat. I chose it mostly for it's softness and colors. It yields a luscious, drapey fabric, but that might not be the best fabric for this hat.

Monday, November 26, 2007

California Dreamin'

Just back from a whirlwind week in sunny California. Mostly it was a family visit, though we crammed in as many meet-ups and catch-ups as we could.

One of those meet-ups was with our newest family member and first great-nephew, Lincoln. I couldn't bear to meet him empty handed so I dropped everything and began a pair of socks for him with plenty of time to spare. But then I had that little crochet upset and put the socks aside. That's how I found myself on a southbound flight with my first sock on the needles and a knitting deadline, albeit a very small one, looming. Turns out, when you stop getting distracted, these are a very quick knit. I kitchnered the first one during our layover at SeaTac and knit the next one with plenty of time to spare.

Lincoln's Socks
Pattern: Baby to Toddler Sized Socks by Miriam L. Felton
Yarn: Colinette Jitterbug leftovers (less than an ounce)
Needles: US size 1 dpns
Size: These were supposed to be "infant" sized. Lincoln, at three months, still has some growing to do before they'll fit him.

Baby socks basking in the sun on the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve
Cambria, CA

After completing these I was motivated once again by my Minimalist Cardigan. Refreshed and energized, I finished up the second front side and began the first sleeve while still down south. But I also made my way into a yarn store and found my next distraction...

Noro Cash Iroha. Hats anyone?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A Change in the Weather

I found this nifty pattern while cruising around Ravelry and suddenly it was all about the crocheting around here. I just could not resist. I started it one afternoon and finished while watching The Wizard of Oz that evening.

And then I turned around and made another little bit smaller one. I may have gotten the crocheting out of my system for awhile, but you never can tell...

Pattern: Fan Bookmark, by Crocheteroo
Yarn: DMC 5
Hook: 2.1 mm (US3)
Modifications: Besides using a heavier cotton and bigger hook than suggested, I made the tassels longer - long enough to hang outside of a book so that I could add beads.

Pattern: Fan Bookmark, by Crocheteroo
Yarn: DMC 8
Hook: 1.65mm
Modifications: I made the tassels longer - long enough to hang outside of a book so that I could add beads. And I only did 7 pattern repeats. I like things in odd numbers.

I ironed both with spray starch as the pattern suggested, and was pleased with the level of starchiness I achieved. They're not too crisp, not too floppy, just right.

In other changing weather news, just over a week ago, we got our first snow in Juneau. This photo was taken the next morning when the skies cleared and the sun shown on our freshly whitened peaks. But since then it's been mostly rainy and warmish*, and nearly all of the snow at sea level has melted away. I'm sure it will be back.

*warmish being a relative term, of course. It's been in the mid to high 30's (Fahrenheit) most days. Today it got above 40!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

That's My Boy!

The Daughter I'll never have:

Pattern: Hallowig by Megan Reardon
Yarn: Red Heart Kids
Needles: US #7 Circulars
Modifications: I gave it a flip, like Bonnie did, by working 1 1/2" of stockinette before starting the ribbing
My Favorite part: Easiest Halloween costume ever!
My Least favorite Part: Knitting with fiberglass 100% acrylic yarn


Monday, October 15, 2007

Twice The Fun

It was many years ago, during my first life in Juneau, that my interest in all things fiber-y took off. Though I learned to crochet shortly before moving here, it was in Juneau that I learned to knit and also dabbled in weaving, spinning and natural dyeing.

Back in the day, I took a class at the University in beginning weaving with Carol Thilenius. Carol is an amazingly gifted weaver, knitter and spinner.

Lo and behold, this past Saturday Carol was leading a class in a technique she calls "Reverse Knitting." I know other people work this technique in similar and possibly different ways, but Carol's reversible llama sweater (I'm pretty sure she hand spun the yarn as well) was the first time I had seen it (circa 1982) and I've never forgotten it.

This technique produces a double sided fabric, stockinette on both sides with reversible patterns in two or more colors. Sounds simple, no? It was very humbling.

This was the product of over two hours of knitting. To be fair, much of that time was also spent oohing and aahing over the many gorgeous samples Carol brought for show and tell. Worked in a fine gauge yarn, this technique can produce a beautiful and elegant fabric. I wish I had photos of Carol's exquisite sweaters, jackets, hats and mittens to show you.

To make sure I had this new skill cemented in my rather porous brain, I worked another sample when I got home:

It's fun and clever .. and now I have to get back to my sweater ..

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Flap Happy

No sooner do I crow to you all about how I'm over the hump on my Mini Cardi and it's going to start flying off the needles, then I drop it like a hot potato and cast on for something new! It might have been the need for near-instant gratification, or maybe to redeem myself after my fair isle failure. OR it could be the view outside my window

reminding me that cold weather gear will soon be the order of the day.

Whatever the motivation, I decided Nick needed a really warm hat for those bitter days when, like it or not, the dog still needs a walk.

A Hat For Nick
Pattern: Ryan's Hat by Pam Allen
Yarn: Morehouse Merino 2-ply used double throughout
Needles: US#8 dpns and two circulars
Modifications: I had to adjust a bit for an extra large head and a yarn substitution. I increased to 102 stitches rather than 90. Because I messed with the numbers, I also had to mess with the charted pattern, so I used a combination of my own charted design and the one in the pattern.


I keep forgetting that I want to send a SHOUT-OUT to Alma and Ruth, who were in Juneau on a cruise ship a few weeks back and met me for a quick cuppa tea. This is the first time I've had a face-to-face meeting with knitters I met on line. What fun!!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Minimalist Progress

After becoming completely besotted with Ravelry a few weeks back, knitting productivity slowed to a crawl around here. Hopes of finishing my Minimalist Cardigan in record time were dashed as I happily uploaded projects, found friends and joined groups.

But even I can only scroll through fellow knitters' projects for so long before my fingers begin to twitch and I find myself reaching for my own knitting basket.

I finished up the back and started the right front; it is almost to the armhole shaping. It's a pleasure to have that little stretch of stockinette to break up the miles of moss stitch.

Saturday, September 15, 2007


So I got my Ravelry invitation. After months and weeks of waiting, it arrived mere moments before I was to head off with my son's 5th grade class for their big overnight trip to Echo Ranch. Aaacckk! I signed in, just for the thrill, and then grabbed my gear and headed out the door.

I was a little bit late to join the party, even though I started hearing the Ravelry buzz way back last spring. I must admit that at first I just didn't get it. I have a blog, why do I need Ravelry? Also, more true confessions, I fretted that maybe I wasn't cool enough. Luckily with a little peer pressure, I got on the list right before this post set off a stampede. For those of you still waiting, I know it's hard, but it's totally worth it!!

I think Ravelry is brilliant. I wish I'd thought of it. And I am definitely cool enough. The only draw back is, it is seriously putting a dent in my actual knitting time, not to mention laundry, cleaning and family time.

Between camping and Ravelling, I don't have a lot of knitting to show for myself, but I can't bear a photo-less post, so I'll leave you with these:

Evening at Echo Ranch

If you want to find me over at Ravelry, I'm kathyinjuneau.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Fresh Start

The Fall '07 issue of Interweave Knits finally landed in my mailbox this week. Just in time to help fend off a serious case of Knitting Ennui. I needed something to replace the frogged Fair Isle.

I'm very taken with Ruthie Nussbaum's Minimalist Cardigan. It's not exactly the fall sweater I've had in mind, but it is calling my name. I think I have enough "Olive" Morehouse Farm Merino 2-Ply. This yarn is a lighter gauge than the one the pattern suggests, but I swatched and worked the numbers, and I think if I knit to the size larger than I want (43 1/2"), I'll end up with something which should work for me - 37"-38." I can't quite figure out how much ease I want for this, since it doesn't have closures, so I hope I'm on the right track.

I was a little bit hesitant to embark on a sweater that is almost entirely Moss Stitch, but so far so good. I'm enjoying the yarn and the pattern.

While the sun was shining this afternoon, I also snapped a progress shot of my Melon Stitch Scarf in Malabrigo Lace. It's about 15" long now (pre-blocked). I should probably have finished it before starting something new, but sometimes a girl has to do what a girl has to do. Hopefully both of these projects will be finished in time to fend off this winter's chill.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Catching Up

No sooner had we unpacked from our trip East, we were packing up again for our road trip North. This year's State Cup Tournament was held on the the Kenai Peninsula, a part of the state none of us had yet visited.

We had a week of glorious weather, great soccer, and magnificent environs.

Our favorite keeper

Toby on the beach in Kenai

It was a frustrating week, knit-wise, however. After obsessively swatching, plotting, and planning, I cast on for a sweater. And after knitting 3-4 inches I have decided I'm not happy with it after all. I think I'm going to cut my losses and continue looking for another sweater pattern. It's bad enough to finish a project for which you had high hopes, only to be disappointed. I'm not willing to go into it disappointed. I am a sucker for corrugated ribbing, however. I'm going to have to incorporate that into a sweater soon.

We arrived back in Juneau on Sunday and the weather was glorious all week long. Warm sunny days the likes of which Juneau hadn't seen in a long, long time. We saw moose, sand hill cranes, and trumpeter swans while on the road, but never saw a bear until we got home.

This fellow was hanging out by the glacier, along with a 6-8 others who have been spotted regularly feeding on the salmon running in Steep Creek. Watching bears go about their bear business will never cease to thrill me. We went three evenings in a row and saw bears each time.

Needing to shake off the knitting malaise brought on by self-inflicted fair isle failure, I buckled down to finish up the Monkey Socks. Fortified by sunshine and iced tea, it didn't take long.

Monkey Socks
Pattern: Monkey Socks, by Cookie A.
Yarn: Koigu KPPPM in colorway P460
Needles: Susan Bates DPNs in US 1
Modifications: I made Cara's mini version with picot cuffs.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Harry Potter And The Knitting Progress Not Made

As is my wont, I optimistically packed more than enough knitting for our week-long stay at Virginia Beach. Compounding my natural inclination to over pack yarn was my complete denial about the Harry Potter Effect.

Although I wasn't in the first wave of readers, which comprised the dads and the youngest HP fans among us, I soon got my hands on a copy. It is hard to admit, as this is, after all, a knitting blog, but knitting paled by comparison while I was immersed in this final Harry Potter installment. It made for wonderful beach reading and I had just enough left to occupy me on the long flight home.

As a result, only a smidgen of my planned knitting got knitted, but with four established knitters and one nascent knitter in residence, there was no shortage of knitting conversations, knitting planning sessions, and knitting advice bestowed. Knitting vibes permeated the place. I did work on my second Monkey Sock, and I cast on for a Malabrigo scarf, but neither is yet photo worthy. My biggest knitting accomplishment was deciding on colors (I consulted at length with the other knitters who were more than happy to vicariously spend money on luscious yarn) for a fair isle sweater and placing a telephone order for some Morehouse Merino. It has not yet arrived, however, so photos of that will have to wait as well.

Some people stuck to their knitting despite the lure of Harry Potter (and the beach, poker games, and cocktail hours ...). Hilary finished off a beautiful pair of Monkey Socks and Auden took to her Knitting Mushroom like Harry once took to his broom.

My sister, blogless Beth, worked diligently on an exquisite baby blanket and I've her permission to show it off, in progress, here:

It was over all too quickly. I can only hope I soaked up enough sun-filled memories to get me through another Juneau winter.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I Am A Fickle, Fickle Knitter

I keep flitting from project to project without making much progress on anything. AND I keep lusting for new projects. I know there are other names for this disorder, but fickle sounds young and flirty and ADHD .. not so much.

So I have two finished socks to show, but not a pair:

That's one Monkey Sock*and one Thuja. The mates for each of these have been dutifully cast on and I'm hoping if I cart them along to Virginia Beach, peer pressure will translate into at least one finished pair.

I had a spurt of Leaf and Trellis shawl knitting which was cancelled out by some Leaf and Trellis shawl unknitting (ripping actually) when I found an error last night. I'm back on track now, but my net progress since last you heard about it is underwhelming.

I worked a little bitty swatch out of my Malabrigo Lace in the Melon Stitch pattern from VLT. I'm thinking that I'll make a scarf with just a simple garter edge rather than a shawl. I love the lace knitting, but clearly (see above) I shouldn't mix knitting that requires chart following and socializing. I'm optimistic (read: In the throes of a new crush) that this will fill all of my current needs, since it's lace but with a very simple, easily memorized pattern.

I'm also being led astray by thoughts of a fair isle-y cardigan. With oil prices and global warming fear going up, and a husband threatening to suggesting we turn the thermostat down, the only responsible thing I can do is order yarn for a beautiful cold-weather sweater that I'll never want to take off. Fair Isle Sweaters Simplified arrived in today's mail so maybe I can finally make a decision and place a Morehouse Farms order. I have yet to make anything that required steeking and I think I'm ready.

It looks like I'll have enough knitting on board to last the week in Virginia Beach - or at least until our first yarn store run. Now if I can just get the laundry done and the suitcases packed, we'll be on our way!

* Since you asked: I'm using Koigu KPPPM in colorway P460 for the Monkey Socks