Thursday, July 27, 2006

Jedi Knitting

Dear Cathy, Naomi, and Sharon - This is what I've been up to recently! The socks are Austermann Step yarn, superwash wool and nylon treated with aloe and jojoba oil. I used the magic toe cast-on and short-row heels, and the cuffs are all ribbing. The yarn is heavenly to knit; I have another skein waiting for me.
The purple tank top is Silky Wool by Elsebeth Lavold, and the pattern if from her book Sophisticated Lady 1, I think. I knit most of it during April, but ended up doing the top part (lace around the armholes and the straps) at least 3 times. There was a little problem with the pattern, and lots of big problems with my ability to count and read.

The other tank top is a remake of something I did last year. It is Giotto by Colinette, and the first time I made it it was just too big, and it didn't feel right. I pulled it all out and knit it again one size smaller and on size 6 instead of size seven needles. Now it is the snug little top I had in mind, and I only need to weave in the ends and make a button loop. If you look carefully at one of the pictures you will see why I felt like a Jedi knitter on the flight to Norway. My lovely daughter sent me LED knitting needles for mothers day! I have 2 pairs: sizes 6 and 8. The plastic is not too slippery and was fine for Giotto, a cotton-rayon ribbon, and I think it will be good for wool, too. I have visions of knitting baby blankets in movie theaters, or letting my DH watch TV with the lights turned down.

The unfelted cat bed features the most popular house paint colors of Norway (if you ignore white since it doesn't felt.) I plan to send it to grandcat Larry, but for him it need to be a big bed and I may have to block it agressively.

The scarf is approaching completion! The pattern is Trellis scarf, and it's turning out to be a stash-buster, using turquoise Zephyr left from another project and blue Zephyr for which I had no particular plan. I've done 16 of 20 repeats and, barring any major backtracking, should have it ready to block by the end of the weekend.

All of this finishing up is in anticipation of starting the Hanne Falkenberg sweater. I get nervous if there are too many projects going on at one time, and I want to start with a Zen-like concentration, at least for the cast-on and first few rows.

Cathy, I bought the Mason-Dixon Knitting book and have gotten lots of ideas for baby blankets. It is almost too tempting; probably I should have waited.


Thursday, July 20, 2006

Dear Pointy Sisters - Here are a few of the pictures of Norwegian yarn shops. All of the interiors are shops in Bergen; on the cruise we were not usually in town when the stores were open. (11 to 5 if you are lucky!) There was one exception-- a shop in Stamsund that was open at 8 p.m. I bought yarn there just to show my appreciation of keeping longer hours. The second picture from the top and the bottom picture are taken in my favorite Bergen knitting store. It's called Pinnsvin Design and it has lots of Hanna Falkenberg kits. They are on top of the shelf in the second photo. The web site has an English translation; check it out.

One of my favorite discoveries was that at least one department store sells yarn in Bergen. There was not a lot of variety, but they sold worsted-weight wool (not superwash) for 9 kr. which is about $1.50, and for most of my visit it was 20% off. The other yarns were not such a bargain, but a lot were less expensive than in any LYS in the U.S. There were good selections of wools (no surprise there) but also other fibers and some novelty yarns.

There is a picture of my purchases on my last post. They include worsted-weight and bulky wool for felting, pale yellow cotton/acrylic blend tape yarn, chartreuse mohair blend, and the Hanne Falkenberg kit for DaCapo. I plan to make cat beds with the bulky wool, and a sleeveless pullover with the cotton tape yarn.

The only disappointment with yarn shopping in Norway was the poor selection of sock yarns. I saw no hand painted sock yarns, and little variety. Most stores had a few skeins of Regia, and solid superwash wool in fingering weight, but nothing that rocked. One can buy great wool socks in Norway, however, at the store without spending a fortune.

Next time I'll share the adventures of the sock. Keep knitting and reading and don't get oppresed by the heat.


Knitting, reading and ramblins

Well, it's hotter than a well diggers' oven (how's that for an expression - ok, I tried) - and the weather has been a tease - 3 miles away, the land got soaked, but all we got was residual thunder. Just ain't right.

Ellen, you will have to tell us more about your yarn shopping Northern European visit. Are you still playing with the yarn? I know you have pictures in that camera just waiting to jump out!

A move has occurred, a blanket ( Knit Along with Debbie Macomber - The Shop on Blossom Street) is finished(headed to South Carolina), and I have been dabbling in the Mason Dixon Knitting book and have submitted to the Mason Dixon KAL blog. Baby bibs have been multiplying - now I have a couple of more baby blankets to work on for some more babies that will be on its way. I feel sure the babies will arrive before blankets are finished, but one never knows. I may resort to jumbo yarn on size 15 needles to resolve that problem (don't count on that). Oh - specifics on the blanket - Brown Sheep's Cotton Fleece in Pink-a-Boo - used size 7 needles. By the way - though the directions on the skein of Cotton Fleece states to hand wash and air dry - I find that it washes and dries in the washer dryer nicely. Just put it on gentle and dry low!

I must say the summer has moved more quickly than I anticipated and before we know it, school will be in session again. Until then, I have two books to finish - Isaac's Storm and The World Is Flat [Updated and Expanded]: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century - both for book club.
Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History (Vintage) is an interesting account of meteorological history, more specifically the hurricane that hit Galveston in 1900. Oh what a long way we have travelled in 100 years in terms of weather predictions!

Enough of the mundaneness of this sultry summer - let's hear more of the yarn trip - ahem - trip to Norway.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Too hot to knit

Hello all. I decided it was time to post a brief blog so all will know I am still alive.

Ellen, your stash is great. I see no reason why you might not acquire more yarn if it is on sale or if it is too beautiful to pass up or if it is just what you are looking for or or any other reason you might have.

Now to my knitting. I have finally finished the black cotton shawl except for a little bit of fringe.
My sock knitting is progressing slow. I have cast on stitches several times and am on my third attempt to do the first k1 p1 row, it is easy for me to lose count. But I will persevere as soon as I locate my sock pattern which I misplaced. I was sure it was in my knitting folder. Cathy's mom, Joe Ann, and I made an excursion to Thomasville to the yarn shop and bought more than one skein plus the circulaer Addis. Some of the yarn is gorgeous solid color silk blend, and some are multicolor wool/nylon blend. It is very hard to get excited about knitting when the weather is 100+ before adding the heat index.

Happy knitting all. Keep cool.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

New Stash

Dear Cathy and all - I have run out of excuses for being away so long, and have to show you what I have bought on my yarn-foraging trips. On the bottom you see yarn I bought in Alexandria, VA at Springwater Fibers and Knit Happens , which is Wendy's LYS. I was in Washington, D.C. for a meeting and managed to schedule a few hours before my flight home to visit with my cousin Roberta and shop for yarn. If was so much fun! In the center of the bottom row is a huge spool of 2-ply linen that could make a very unusual shawl.

On top is all the yarn I brought back from my trip to Norway, which is truly the land of yarn shops. Isn't it good Norwegian wool? I will post pictures of the sights of Norway later, but for now I had to show you the stash. Yarn seems to be the only commodity that is less expensive in Norway than in America, and it is sold everywhere. The multiple colored skeins are wool that I bought for felting; it would be too rough for any garment that touched the skin. The clear plastic bag holds a Hanne Falkenberg sweater kit. The store where I bought it had samples made up of almost every Hanne Falkenberg style, and it was hard to buy just one.

The turquoise blob on needles is a scarf in progress that I'm working on ebony needles bought in Norway. They are the best ever lace needles; I had started on metal needles with sharp points, but the wool (Zephyr by Jaeger, a wool-silk blend) kept sliding off and I was just about ready to give up when I decided to try the ebony. They grip to wool (I wouldn't use them for cotton) and really sped up the process.

Needless to say, I won't be in the market for yarn for quite a while (except sock yarn, of course). I even bought a Norwegian pattern for a sleeveless pullover, in case I run out of challenges.

Cathy, I have presents and would love to see your new house (even if just from the outside if that is the appropriate exposure level for now) so let me know when I can trek up across the state line.

I'll have more pictures soon, and maybe a finished product or two.