Thursday, August 25, 2016

Flax Light #1 (and the Kindergarten send-off)

It's a happy and sad time at our household. My baby boys have finally gone off to Kindergarten. I am so conflicted--I have been waiting for the day when I get uninterrupted free time to catch up on work, piano practice, cleaning, knitting, etc...but I have always been around my boys, and it will be hard to let them grow up in school and not around me now. Between me teaching 3 evenings a week, and their after school taekwondo activity, our time is much more limited than ever. They are going to grow up so fast now!

I have decided to knit the boys the Flax Light sweater to wrap them in warmth from my love and stitches this fall. One will be knit with Paton's Kroy Socks in the "flax" colorway, and the other with Lion Brand's Sock-Ease yarn in the "Snow Cone" colorway. I'm already in love with the interesting garter sleeve panel texture. Such a simple element, yet sleek.
The boys did not cry or whine or plead me to keep them home. They happily went off on that yellow school bus that they've been waiting to ride for years. I had half a mind to follow the school bus all the way to school, but decided against it.
My boys are growing up so fast, but still have baby faces in my eyes. How can they be old enough for a 6 hour school? Between that and the bus rides, that's 7 hours a day.
I wish them all the happiness school can offer. I wish that they will enjoy it as much as I did as a girl, and that they are granted every opportunity in life that they set their hearts and mind to. Mommy loves ya, babes!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

FO: Skimmer No-Show Socks

I am really excited to blog about these no show socks with this brick backdrop before the end of my trip at the Wilstem Ranch. You can read a little about my trip this week at the historic ranch here. The camera caught the light and dust particles in such a magical way. It almost reminds me of a Cinderella-esque scene.
Yarn: under 1 skein Patons Stretch Socks in the colorway "Sugar"
Needles: Size US 1.5 (2.5mm) circular needles; magic loop method\
Start Date: 6/5/16  Completed: 8/12/16 
 I plan on knitting more of these in the future. They are quick and satisfying little socks for Peds, or shoes that you don't want to show your socks. Next time, I would knit the ribbing on smaller needles though, to tighten up the grip a bit more.

I am continuing working on knitting my other Carnival Sock WIP before we head back home tomorrow. We went to the Marengo Caves in Indiana today, so keep your eye out for another post soon!

Friday, August 12, 2016

FO: Candy Corn Djevellue #3

I am currently out in southern Indiana near French Lick and Paoli at the historic Wilstem Ranch for a family reunion. We were welcoming two new cousins this year, one of which I have not knit for yet. During our 6 hour drive, I raced against time to knit a Candy Corn version of Baby Djevellue that I knit for my twin boys in 2010. It is adorable knit in stripes, but extra adorable knit to look like a candy corn!
My kids in their Candy Cane hats (my modified Djevellue): Jake and Sam, Fall 2010

I completed the hat 1 hour from arriving at the ranch, so I decided to go for the gold and knit a matching pair of mittens. 
I cast on 26 sts on size US 6 needles using yellow yarn, then knit a 1x1 ribbing and switched to orange for the stockinette stitch main body. When I was ready to decrease, I decreased once in orange, then switched to white until I had 6 sts left. I made two sets of double decreases, which reduced my stitch count to 2 sts. I just drew the strand through those and made a knot.

I was running low on time, so I just braided the strands of yarn together instead of making an I-cord for the mitts. 
Baby Max is only a few months old, but when Halloween rolls around, I think his head will fill the hat better.
Mitt Pattern: my own
Yarn: Caron Simply Soft in yellow, orange and white
Needles: size US 6
Hat Cast on: 79 sts    Mitt cast on: 26 sts
Mods: extending the brim, 3 colored striping to look like candy corn, extended tip
Started: 8/7/16   Completed: 8/7/16

I had a fun time taking photos of my completed projects from this trip on the brick floor, desks or chests for these items in the den of the Wilstem Annex house. If you click on that link, you can read more about the ranch, and how president Roosevelt and famous music artists lodged at this historic 1910 house (that was later extended to fit larger groups). The whole house is filled with antiques and such to fit the early 1900's theme. It's expensive (and we have not done this), but there is ziplining, horseback riding and elephants on the ranch property.

Wilstem Ranch pt. 1

I'm blogging live from a historic 1910 ranch house where I am spending this week at during my husband's annual family reunion. If you read about the Wistem Ranch, you will find that Theodore Roosevelt and many music artists have spent some time here as well, hunting or lodging.

This home (the visible right side of the ranch is a 2-story extension on the 1910 building to fit 6 additional rooms) has many charms---antique furniture, original bathrooms (one in particular that looks like a torture chamber), double-sided fireplace/hearth and hardwood and stone flooring.

This barn sits behind the building.  
This is the dining room to the original part of the ranch. 

This living room (or what I image would be almost like a brandy & cigar room) is behind the dining room. And yes, the red leather couches are very comfortable. There's a bookshelf of antique novels not visible in the photo. 
Off the living room is this den, which I've been using liberally for a backdrop to my current completed projects.

There's a cute little shack 20 feet away. I'm not sure if they actually use it for anything.
And a nice little wood shed near the house.

About 10 minutes away, there is a tiny, tiny 1 block town called French Lick. If you blink, you might actually miss the town.
We stopped for ice-cream.
 I had a caramel macchiatto coffee and a maple and bacon ice-cream scoop. It was actually (oddly) good.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Fo: Reyna #2

My Reyna #2 has been laying finished, blocked to my new foam mats for several days. At first, it was left alone to dry before heading out to the Wisconsin Dells for the weekend, but then I just got busy. You know how it goes, I bet.
I used my own personal KUAS Yarns fingering weight skein of "Fairy Cove" for this project, and have a like-dislike impression of this colorway used for mesh lace. It's "nice," but I think these colors work best blended together into stockinette stitch.

I extended the pattern a little bit, so I played a horrible match of "yarn chicken" (the race to finish a project before the yarn runs out) for this one. It was a match so horrible that I lost to 29 sts in the bind-off. I had to pull an emergency "slide remaining sts onto a spare needle, then psso all the way across starting from the very end and back to where I ran out of yarn" because I didn't have yarn close enough to be a proxy yarn. It was a tight faux-bind-off, but it did the trick. I had about 435 yds for this project, and could have used about 437, possibly.
Yarn: 1 skein KUAS Yarns fingering weight yarn in the colorway "Fairy Cove"; 435 yds
Needles: size US 5 circulars
Start date: 4/18/16     Completed: 6/10/16
Mods:  Lengthening the last mesh portion, as well as the last garter section, adding visable eyelets running down the middle of the shawl. 
I decided to make the eyelets in the middle of the shawl visible for two reasons: to help open up the shawl while blocking, and for visual appeal. To do this, instead of knitting/purling the increases through the back of the loop, just knit/purl them as normal.
I think that this is a great shawl for any beginner. Just be sure to either knit the pattern in sport/worsted yarn if following the pattern exactly, or to extend the bottom of the shawl for 10-15 rows if working fingering weight yarn, because the shawl most likely will not be as long you wish for. At least that is my opinion and the common census for this pattern from users. 

Next up: finishing my "Skimmer Socks" that are short, no-show socks. Have a happy weekend!

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Toe-Up Socks ("Skimmer Socks," aka "no-show socks")

I am really excited because I forced myself to learn a new skill: Toe-Up Socks. Well, actually, this involved two new skills because I first had to learn "Judy's Magic Cast-on" in order to do this.

I've knit plenty of socks, but I've been really stuck in my ways knitting them all cuff-down. Seriously, I would always say "Ok, self: the next one I'll try toe-up," but I never got around to actually doing that. Well, not until the Skimmer Socks (no-show socks) pattern. I bought myself a new pair of white Peds shoes, and this free pattern would be perfect for non-slip no-show socks!

So, in the car, on the way to the zoo, I decided to learn this new cast-on technique (word of the wise, it is best to NOT learn new techniques while in the car!) with the cellphone in my lap and needles at the ready. I used this video below to help me:
 And...voila! Several increase rows in, it's starting to look like the tip of the sock. Success!
Yarn: Paton's Stretch Socks (colorway: Sugar)
Needles: size US 1.5 (2.5mm) Addi Turbo circular needles
Skimmer Socks (by Sheila Toy Stromberg)--Source from Ravelry Pattern Database
I'm doing the sole right now. It's working up mighty quick. I can't wait to have a finished pair.
I decided to go with an elastic blend cotton/wool so that it can do a little bit of stretching; the blend should make for a sock that isn't too warm. My only concern is that the yarn is on the thin side, so I hope the sock won't be too small, overall.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Live Video Streaming--Tomorrow at 8pm CT!

Join me for some knit 'n chat on my Facebook group page while I do my first LIVE video streaming session.

What's live video streaming? I make a video, and you can write to me (chat, ask questions, etc) while I am video-taping. I can see your comments, likes, etc, and can talk to you in "real time." Cool!

Upcoming Live Video Stream: 8pm CT!
The Knitting Up A Storm FB Group

Monday, April 25, 2016

WIP: Reyna #2

I just couldn't help myself. I had to cast on for another Reyna Shawl.

I was originally planning on knitting my second one using sport or worsted weight yarn, but I couldn't help but wonder what my handpainted sock yarn might look like in this shawl.

So I decided to go with my "Fairy Cove" sock yarn that I dyed back in 2007. It's been waiting patiently for 9 years to become something wonderful. 9 years. Wow. I really should open that sock drawer more often.

Spring is finally here, and it's wonderful to see plants come back to life. This photo was taken on my back stone patio by my lavander plant.
 Pattern: Reyna by Noora Laivola
Needles: Size US 4 circlar needles (Knitpicks' Caspian interchangeable tips)
Yarn: KUAS superwash blend fingering weight yarn, colorway "Fairy Cove" (lilac, periwinkle, silver, white and brown)
Start date: 4/18/16
The colors really look better in real life. I took this photo during twilight time, so the silver is not even showing up.

I hope you are enjoying the warming of the weather. Bring your project outside, sip on some tea or coffee and enjoy life to its fullest.

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