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Archive for September, 2007

DIY Anniversary

Our 30th anniversary was Sunday Sept. 16th and I wanted a new dress to wear to church. I could live with the fact that we didn’t get to take that trip to Montana for this milestone. I could live with the fact that there would be no special get-together with family and friends to celebrate 30 years of love and commitment. Truth be told, I’ve always considered wedding anniversaries kind of private, just the two of us; our special day. But I really wanted a new dress because, even after 30 years, I wanted to look extra pretty for my fella’, so I went shopping and found…. nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zippo. There was nothing in the stores that interested me one bit. So, being the resourceful person I am and having enough fabric hoarded away to open my own fabric store (don’t ask), I decided to make myself a dress. Nothing too fancy, just a nice simple pull-over dress out of a lovely print. I happened to have a pretty floral with just the right amount of yardage to make this:

30th anniversary dress

A few hours of cutting and sewing and I had the makings of a new outfit. As you can see, it’s sleeveless and there’s no way I’m taking my saggy bare arms out in public, so it’s another trip to the store to find some kind of jacket to go over the dress. What I had in mind was a cute little short sleeve sweater in this pretty caramel brown, as I thought it would be a really nice complement to the navy background of the dress fabric. I just love khaki and blue together.

Floral print in anniversary dress

Being in a crunch, I did not have time to do much shopping. On Saturday evening, I went to a couple of stores to see what I could come up with. No cute little caramel colored short sleeve sweaters to be found. However, I did come across something that I thought would work with the dress. It’s not what I had originally pictured and wasn’t my first choice, but beggars can’t be choosers and I really wanted to wear the new dress to church, so I settled. The winter white is a perfect match to the white in the floral print and it has navy blue trim to boot. It was on the clearance rack at 70% off and was missing a button, but that wasn’t a problem as I have a pretty substantial button collection. After a little deliberation, I decided to go ahead and buy it and wound up paying a whopping $4.14 after tax! Now that’s something I can live with. I sewed on a rhinestone button to match the rhinestones next to the blue trim and took myself off to church Sunday morning with a smart new outfit that did in fact please my sweetheart, and me too. Turns out necessity is the mother of invention just like my Mama said.

30th anniversary outfit

   Navy trim on jacket

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pink Monkeys

Here is a picture of the Coronet hat finished and blocking. It turned out pretty well and is going to my daughter-in-law Kim for Christmas. This hat was an easy and fun knit. The only problem I had is that the 9” length specified in the pattern for the 22” head circumference was too long, so I had to frog back and remove 4 rows; once I’d done that, it was just right. I have 1 3/4 skeins of the yarn left, so she will probably be getting a pair of matching mittens. It shouldn’t be too hard to make a pair of cuffs to match the cable band, then pick up and knit the hands using a generic mitten pattern.

'Coronet' in Bernat Cashmere Natural Blends

I also started a pair of socks for my BFF Mel for Christmas using that luscious hand-dyed merino I blogged about a few weeks ago (scroll down to bottom of post for info). I LOVE THIS YARN! It is so soft and springy, knits up like a dream, and looks great in the Monkey pattern. This pattern is really making the blog rounds, and to be honest, after looking at the finished socks on some blogs, I didn’t find the pattern that interesting. I didn’t even remember it was published in Knitty, even though I read (yes, actually read) each issue. When I decided it was time to cast on for Mel’s socks, I immediately went to the Knitty archive and browsed the sock patterns. Low and behold, there’s the Monkey pattern that’s so popular. I took one look at the designer’s prototype sock and knew that it would look gorgeous in the variegated pink yarn, so I cast on and am already to the foot on the first Pink Monkey!

The stitch pattern looks complicated, but is really easy to memorize and  interesting enough to keep my attention. And I was right about the yarn looking gorgeous in Cookie A’s pattern! I made one slight customization to the sock: I worked the heel in Eye of Partridge stitch instead of plain stockinette. I only did that because this yarn is 100% wool (no reinforcing nylon) and I wanted the added cushioning and strength that the slipped stitches would provide. I should be through with the first sock and started on the second by tomorrow. My goal is to have them finished before the new Six Sox Knitalong pattern comes out on Oct. 1st. I will be very proud to give these to Mel for Christmas because I know she’s going to love them!

  Pink Monkeys

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Let the Games Begin

Although it’s only the middle of September, the pressure of Christmas knitting has hit me hard for the last couple of days. I have been trying to ignore it and be faithful to my Dressy Jacket, but yesterday afternoon it reached fever pitch and I cast on for Coronet using the Bernat Natural Blends Cashmere I bought a few weeks ago. I’m a little over halfway through with the cable band and the yarn is working up nicely. I’ve been wanting to knit this pattern since it first came out and am just now getting around to it.

CoronetLast year, I made hats for my sons and scarves for my daughter-in-laws; this year I’m making hats for the girls, and I haven’t decided yet what I’ll do for the guys. I picked up the Patons Men pattern booklet yesterday and it has some really great sweaters that my boys would love, but there’s no way I can complete 4 sweaters by Christmas, so they may wind up with gloves or socks.

I also picked up two other Patons pattern booklets: Next Steps Two – Create Your Own Pullover and Next Steps Three – Create Your Own Cardigan. These booklets are a good size to fit into a knitting bag (approx. 5.5” x 8.5”), have multiple style options, and the patterns are sized up to 5X! But the best news is that I used 40% off coupons at Jo-Ann’s so they only cost me $2.99 each. There are a few more of the Patons booklets I’d like to buy, but Jo-Ann’s did not have them in stock. I guess I’ll have to check back the next time they have a sale.

Peru DK Luxury yarnHere is what else I picked up while out yesterday: 5 balls of Peru DK Luxury yarn in a lovely shade of purple. This yarn is a blend of 70% merino, 20% alpaka, 10% silk and it’s very soft. Each ball has 124 yards for a total of 620 yards and it was only $2.99 a ball. Purple is a favorite of one of my daughter-in-laws, so this is destined to become a hat and gloves set for her.

On a side note: my husband and I will be celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary this Sunday. He was planning on surprising me with a trip to Montana, something I have desired for quite a while, but things did not work out as planned. I told him that it was OK; it meant the world to me that he even thought about it. He does have a special surprise planned for me tomorrow and I’m really looking forward to that. For me, it doesn’t matter what we do or where we go; it’s enough that we’ll be together. When we were first married, 30 years seemed like an eternity and I couldn’t even begin to imagine what our lives would be like when we reached this milestone. Now, here we are and I can’t help but see how blessed we’ve been to arrive at this point, still together and still in love. To my darling husband, here’s to the next 30!!!

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Dyed Ganseys

As promised, here are a few pictures of my Gansey Socks post-dyeing. The color in the pictures is pretty true to the real color: a rich dark reddish-brown… Barn Red! I was going for a more brown color, but I can live with this. I dyed these socks using food coloring. A lot of red, a good bit of green to take it to the brown side, and a few drops of both blue and yellow till I got a color that was close to what I was looking for. The dye in the pot looked more brown than this, but then again, the yarn started out that harvest gold color, so I can only surmise that the original color of the yarn is what tipped it more towards the red.

Dyed Ganseys                        Wearing Ganseys

As you can see, the dye did not saturate every stitch, particularly around the cables and at the double thickness heel, so I’ve got some vertical striping going on. I’m still trying to decide if that bothers me enough to send them back to the dyepot. Right now, I’m leaning toward leaving it; it kind of adds to the wonkiness that’s already going on with these socks (read previous post). As you can also see, I wasn’t kidding about the Flintstone feet! On a final note, the washing and blocking did wonders for the sloppy stitches; they tightened up beautifully. I think we can call these socks done and get onto something new. I have three weeks until the Oct/Nov Six Sox pattern comes out. I’m going back to my Dressy Jacket and see how much I can get done between now and then.

P.S. Here’s a final picture showing a closeup of what were once sloppy stitches standing straight and at attention.

Gansey Cables

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I Love Gansey Socks Finished

Hooray! I was beginning to think this day would never come, but I finally finished the I Love Gansey socks from the Yahoo! Six Sox Knitalong group. Here they are in all of their ugly grandeur:
Completed I Love Gansey socks

You can’t tell from this picture, but the second sock is not identical to the first as I made some minor changes to accommodate my particular knitting style/technique/ability. The first change I made was to rework the Celtic knot so it intertwined correctly; this particular mod was well discussed among the group and was easy enough to do. Here is a closeup of the cables on both socks showing the changes:

ILG Cables

The pink arrows on the left show the first sock knit according to the pattern; notice how the cable crosses over, then over again? The arrows on the right show the correct intertwining of the Celtic knot on the second sock; over, then under/under, then over. It’s a small but noticeable difference. BTW, ignore the wonky stitches: I haven’t washed and blocked these socks yet (yeah, like that’s really gonna make a difference).

The second change I made was to eliminate the final seed stitch heart on the heel. Since the yarn I used is very fine and I didn’t have something appropriate to use as reinforcement, I decided to double the yarn while working the heel. That worked out very well, except for the look of that final heart, so I opted to eliminate it on the second sock. It’s gonna be in my shoe; who will miss it but me?

Seed stitch heart on heel

Speaking of the heel, here is another change I made: see the very noticeable line on the first sock on the left? (and I’m not talking about the bright pink one). When I began the heel turn, I knit across the first row which caused that dividing line. When I came to the heel turn on the second sock, I worked across the first row in pattern, eliminating that divide which contributed a lot to the overall appearance of the sock, IMHO. Don’t you think the heel on the right looks better? Oh, and please forgive the really, REALLY bad photography. I can knit, but I can’t take a decent photo to save my life!

ILG Heel

No pink lines needed tell the difference in this photo. On the first sock (the one on the left), although I worked one more seed stitch heart than the pattern called for, I still wound up with a lot of empty stockinette stitch down the center of the foot. It’s not the designer’s fault; my stitch gauge was different than the one specified, not to mention that these were knit to fit my huge Flintstone feet so they were longer that the prototype for the pattern. On the second sock, I continued to work as many hearts as would fit into the length of the sock, which turned out to be one more. I like to think I just took that last heart that was supposed to be on the heel and moved it to the foot. Does that mean I wear my heart on my foot?

ILG Foot

The final mod I made was to correct a questionable decision I made on the first sock. When I got to the toe shaping on the first sock, I arbitrarily decided to carry the pattern down the toe for a few more rows. Don’t ask me why, it just seemed like a good idea at the time. When I knit the second sock, I ended the pattern in line with the beginning of the toe shaping. You can see it on the photo above, but here’s another photo that’s been marked to show the difference:

ILG Toe

The arrow pointing down shows where the toe shaping begins on the first sock, while the horizontal arrow shows where I ended the pattern stitches. The second sock on the right is per pattern instructions. The one addition I made was to cross the cables on the first row of toe shaping because it just happened to fall on the row that was supposed to cross. I think that one little detail really added to the look of the sock.

If you’re reading this final paragraph, that means you’ve stuck with me through this entire post, which means you really, really love to knit socks, or you really, REALLY need to get a life. In either case, just let me say thanks for ‘listening’ to my ramblings and I’m glad you’ve stopped by. Just so you’ll know, I’m not really through with these socks yet. Yes, I’ve finished knitting them, but did I fail to mention that they’re truly ugly? 1970s Harvest Gold is not my favorite color, so these socks will be going into the dyepot this afternoon. Hopefully, I will be able to post this evening with pictures of how they turned out, so please feel free to stop back by. Until then, happy knitting!

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