Thursday, May 28, 2009

New Fleeces!!

I always enjoy trying out a new breed of sheep wool and when a breeder was advertising a "close-out" sale of 2008 fleeces I just couldn't help myself. I browsed the pictures and descriptions of all the 2008 fleeces before choosing 3.....which arrived today. Yea!! Upper left hand corner is a lovely fleece from an older icelandic ewe. I can't wait to play with this!! The fiber is soft to the touch. Lots of lovely crimp.....and there is even a soft sheen. Plus the color is lovely. This fleece weighs over 5 pounds.

Upper right hand corner is a picture of the Border Leister fleece I purchased. It's from an ewe and looks like it will be a sheer joy to wash up and play with. The fleece is over 6 pounds. I plan on dyeing some of it.

The picture on the bottom left is of another icelandic fleece from a younger ewe. Love the various colors in this fleece. This one weighs about 2 1/2 pounds. Wonder how it will spin. Will I get a lovely variegated natural colored yarn? Or will all those lovely colors blend together? This one also feels very nice, although it doesn't have the sheen the other fleece does. It is lighter in color though. I've never worked with icelandic or border leister. I'm really looking forward to playing with all 3 fleeces and discovering the characteristics of each.

Going from fiber to is a picture of my latest quilt. It is a table topper that was made from half square triangles that were left over from a swap I did eons ago. I had thought all the hst's had been used in a quilt (with matching pillow) project that I did. Guess not. Found these while I was looking for something else. While I wasn't pleased with the batting (the batting was real stiff, but did soften up with washing) I used, the finished quilt did turn out rather nice.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sheer frustration...... when you have nearly finished a project only to find out that it doesn't fit. This is what happened to me last night. I have been working on a pair of socks for quite some time now. I noticed that I didn't have much yarn left so I decided to try the sock on to see if the foot of the sock was long enough so I could start on the toe. The sock went on fine over my foot. Didn't have problems until I tried to pull it up. It was too small!! I ended up having to frog the entire sock....and I was rows away from finishing it. :.(

The sock didn't look small as I was knitting it. Yes, I did get gauge. And, yes, I did have to go up a needle size in order to get gauge. The foot of the sock fits beautifully. It was the leg of the sock that was too small. I was using the Jaywalker pattern by Grumperina (found on Ravelry) and Panda Superwash (a bamboo blend yarn) so I really don't understand what happened. I know I could simply re-knit the sock in a larger size so the leg would be bigger (which would work), but then I would end up with a baggy foot. Or I could re-knit the leg in a larger size and then try to decrease down to the size I need for the foot.....but I'm not experienced enough for that.....and am not sure I really want to mess with the pattern that much. Right now I have absolutely no intention of re-knitting the sock using the Jaywalker pattern. I may eventually find another pattern that has more stretch and use the yarn with it. There is an upside to all of this though. I learned how to knit a chevron pattern.....and learned that the chevron pattern has no give whatsoever......and learned that I really need to stay with sock patterns that have some give to them. At least for now anyway.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Fund Raising Quilts

I don't know how many of you have experienced this, but I'm starting to think that this is just normal "teenage" behavior. My youngest is an active member in FCCLA (Family, Career, Community Leaders of America.....formerly known as FHA...Future Homemakers of America). Anyway, a small number of them will be competing at FCCLA nationals in July and have started fund-raising for it. One of the fund-raisers was a silent auction for which my youngest volunteered to donate a quilt. "Wonderful!" I said. "And you will be making this, right?" "Yes, mom. I'm going to make it." "Great!" So I gladly provided the pattern and the fabric. Even went out and bought thread to match for the machine quilting. Five days before the silent auction is to happen.....the quilt is sitting on her sewing machine in pieces. "When do you need the quilt?" "In a few days." "Will you have time to finish it?" "No. I was hoping you would do it.....and a second quilt to go with." I was beyond words. Once again, my teenager needed to have something done and waited until the very last possible moment to do it.....and then expected mom to come to the rescue. How many times have I had these last minute requests? Way too many times. I knew I should have simply let her deal with it, but I just couldn't. Thankfully, I had already had another top made (we were making the same pattern together) that could be donated. The question was.....could I quilt and finish two quilts in five days? The answer: Yes!!! But it would mean spending lots of time in front of the sewing machine to do so.

Pictured above are the two quilts that were made and donated to the silent auction. Both are done using the same pattern.....and both are done using fabric from my stash (including the backing). They ended up measuring approximately 57" x 73". The one on the left was made using all Winnie-the-Pooh fabric I had collected over the years....even the backing. It was quilted using an all-over clamshell pattern. The quilt on the right was quilted using a 2" diagonal grid. I had played with a zig-zag stitch so that it was wide and a bit squashed looking. Helped soften up all those sharp lines rather nicely. It took me four hours per quilt to stitch the binding on. And many, many hours at the machine doing the machine quilting. But they both came out really nice and ended up being the top items at the silent auction. Would I do it again? Only if I absolutely had to. I'm not real fond of these last minute fund raisers....and will be happy when my yougest goes off to college. It will mean an end to these last minute things. It will also mean that I will miss her and our quilting afternoons very, very much.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Lime-ade Socks

Happy Mother's Day!! Since I finished a pair of socks for my youngest the night before last, I thought it would be fun to share the pattern with anyone who is interested. It's a fairly simple pattern and knit up rather quickly. I believe the sock yarn is from Red Heart (Heart and Sole). It was a really great yarn to work with. Knit up easily and there was no splitting. Plus the color changes were just so lovely to watch. It was absolutely perfect for using on a nice simple pattern repeat.

Here is the pattern for it. It was written for my youngest who wears a size 5 1/2 (US) shoe. It also has a reinforced heel.


Lime-ade Socks

Shoe Size: Woman 5.5
Style: Cuff to Toe
Length: Standard
Gauge: 9.00 sts, 11.25 rws per inch
Needles: 4 dpn
Needle Description: 2.75mm US size 2
Yarn Description: Super Fine Heart & Sole

Estimated Yardage: 346

Finished Measurements:
Circumference: leg = 7", foot = 7"
Length: cuff = 2.0", leg = 4.5", heel = 2.1", foot = 8 3/4"

Pattern Repeat
Openwork Rib:
Row 1: *K2, P2. Repeat from * to end of round.
Row 2: *YO, slip 1 st, K1, pass slipped st over, P2. Repeat from * to end of round.
Row 3-6: *K2, P2. Repeat from * to end of round.

Sock Start:
Cast on 64 sts loosely.
Divide sts on 3 dpns as follows:
N1: 16 heel sts
N2: 32 instep sts
N3: 16 heel sts
Join. BOR (Beginning of Round)

Work cuff in (K2, P2) for 22 rnds. [2.0" from cast on edge] End at BOR.

Work in Openwork Rib pattern for 52 rnds. Complete sts on N2. Stop. [6.5" total from the cast on edge.]

Heel Flap with Heel Stitch:
Slip N3 sts onto N1. Add 2 sts from N2 for a total of 34 sts……leaving 30 instep sts. While this will give a bit more room in the heel for the arch, it also allows for the pattern to be worked evenly (or symmetrical) on the instep.
With RS facing,work back and forth as follows:
Rw 1: *Sl 1 purlwise, k1. Repeat from * to end.
Rw 2: * Sl 1 purlwise, p to end.
Repeat these 2 rows until 38 rows are complete. [2.1”]

Turn Heel:
Note: Sl 1 = slip 1 purlwise

**NOTE: One more knit and one more purl row may have to be worked
in order to end up with 18 sts remaining.

Round Heel
Rw 1: (RS) K 18, ssk, k1. Turn.
Rw 2: (WS) Sl 1, p 5, p2tog, p1. Turn.
Rw 3: (RS) Sl 1, k 6, ssk, k1. Turn.
Rw 4: (WS) Sl 1, p 7, p2tog, p1. Turn. Rw 5: (RS) Sl 1, k 8, ssk, k1. Turn.
Rw 6: (WS) Sl 1, p 9, p2tog, p1. Turn. Rw 7: (RS) Sl 1, k 10, ssk, k1. Turn.
Rw 8: (WS) Sl 1, p 11, p2tog, p1. Turn. Rw 9: (RS) Sl 1, k 12, ssk, k1. Turn.
Rw 10: (WS) Sl 1, p 13, p2tog, p1. Turn. Rw 11: (RS) Sl 1, k 14, ssk, k1. Turn.
Rw 12: (WS) Sl 1, p 15, p2tog, p1. Turn. Rw 13: (RS) Sl 1, k 16, ssk. Turn.
Rw 14: (WS) Sl 1, p 16, p2tog. Turn. 18 sts remain. Work 9 sts. BOR

Heel Gusset:
With a free needle, knit remaining 9 heel sts. [N1]
Continuing with the same needle, pick up 16 sts along the side of the heel.
Pick up and knit a st from row below the first instep st to prevent a hole. [N1: 26 sts total]
With a free needle, work across 32 instep sts. [N2]
With free needle, pick up and knit from row below the first heel st to prevent a hole.
With same needle, pick up 16 sts along side of the heel and work across remaining heel sts. [N3: 26 sts total] BOR

Shape Gusset:
Rnd 1: (Dec Rnd)
N1: Work to 3 sts from end. K2tog, k1.
N2: (Instep) Work even… in established pattern.
N3: K1, ssk, work to end.
Rnd 2: Work even.
Repeat Rnds 1 and 2 until there are 64 sts remaining. [20 rnds total]

Continue working in rnds until foot measures 7.25" from base of heel. [about 50 rnds]
Complete sts on N3. BOR

**Note: Instep stitches will be worked using Openwork Rib pattern.

Shape Toe - Classic Standard
Rnd 1:
N1: (Sole) Work to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1.
N2: (Instep) K1, ssk, work to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1.
N3: (Sole) K1, ssk, complete round.
Rnd 2: Work even.
Repeat Rnds 1 and 2 until 44 total sts remain. [10 rnds]
Work decrease rnd only until 20 sts remain. [10 instep sts, 10 sole sts] – [about 6 rnds]

Work sts on N1. Slip sts from N3 to opposite end of N1.
Holding two needles together, graft sts using Kitchener Stitch.
Weave in ends.

Work second sock.


I hope everyone enjoys the sock pattern. If an error is found, please feel free to e-mail me so I may correct it. I was knitting up the socks as the pattern was it may not be perfect.....and probably isn't. :.)

Happy Knitting!!!