Boy Yowza!

Hello Everyone!

Happy Sunday, I am sorry I have been absent for a bit.  While I do try to post on a weekly basis, honestly, sometimes I don’t have much to write about that week and would rather wait for a week to give you guys something good.

Gnarled Oak Cardigan

Boy do I have something good today.  I finished my Rhinebeck Sweater!  It is done.  It fits perfectly and I can’t wait to wear it a Rhinebeck.  The yoke was the last part I had to knit and it was a little interesting to knit. One Friday night I was really on a roll working on it and about halfway done.  I took a look at it before I went to bed and realized I purled where I should have knit and vice versa.  Of course, it was late and night and I was tired so I thought…Well, it looks OK, no one is really going to know. Knowing full well, I end up tearing the yoke out but I REALLY didn’t want to.  I went to bed vowing to sleep on it.  The next morning, coffee in my hand (on the coffee table) cooking shows on TV to work taking out the yoke.  Then, the weirdest knitting phenomenon happened. This seems to happen every time I takeout a piece of knitting and start again.  The yoke flew off my needles.  It had taken me a week to get to the point I was on the yoke when I had to take it out and I was to that point by Sunday night. It wasn’t long until I was finished with the yoke, collar, button band, and by the end of the week, I was grafting under the sleeves and finished with the sweater. I blocked the next Saturday.

MissBabs Yowza Whatt Skein

That was about 2 weeks ago.  Since then, I have also finished another special project I will tell you about next week.  I am now working on the Yowza Weight it Shawl by Susan B. Anderson.  It is the easiest shawl ever, I would highly recommend to anyone, beginners, travelers or those that just want some mindless knitting.  I just happened to have a skein of MissBabs Yowza Whatta Skein in the colorway Faded that I purchased a few years ago at Maryland Sheep and Wool.

Yowza whatta yarn ball!I LOVE this yarn, while I was winding it into its giant ball I love the way it is spun, It is spun very smooth and doesn’t knot or tangle very easily and when it does, it is easy to take out.  I hate it when my yarn tangles and I have to end up either knitting the knots into my work or cutting the knots out or just simply wasting time taking knots out. Anyway, this shawl, Susan describes it in her blog Susanbanderson.com, but I’m going to tell you anyway.  Instead of counting, all you have to do is weigh it with a kitchen scale.  You start with 8 oz of worsted weight yarn,  cast on 9 stitches and knit per a VERY easy pattern until you have 3 oz of yarn until you come to the next set of instructions. I am working on it and have about 6 oz of yarn left.  Its great for sitting on the couch and zoning out in front of the TV.

Ok, well, that was a long post, I even have more to write about.  Maybe I should try to post once a week.  Ok, I will see you guys next week. Until then, enjoy the rest of the summer and I will talk to you soon.

Happy Knitting,

Alexis

Voila!

Hello Everyone!

My goodness it is HOT outside.  Now I grew up in Las Vegas and pride myself on being used to 110+ heat in the summer.  But it is barely 100 degrees here in Oklahoma City and I am dying.  Its the humidity.  I just feel like everything is sticking to me and I am dripping sweat just thinking about going outside.  If you haven’t experienced dry heat, yes, it is MUCH better than humidity. I would much rather be in an oven than a sauna any day.

Now for knitting.  I have cranked up the AC and am cranking away at my Rhinebeck Sweater.  The Gnarled Oak Cardigan.  I finished the second sleeve last night and connected the sleeves to the body and am just about to start on the yoke.  The sleeves were very easy to attach.  You know how sometimes in sweater patterns when you attach sleeves it can be really confusing?  Maybe thats just me.  Well, since this sweater is worked from the bottom up, you just pick up the body that has been set aside, knit the body to the where the sleeves go, take the  sleeve stitches that are on the stitch holder and knit them on to to the the body with the needles that are holding the body.  Voila! the sleeves are on.  There are still 16 stitches on the underarms of the sleeves and the underarms of the body that are being held with waist yarn that I will graft together later.  I will let you know how that works out. Grafting and Kitchener stitch are not my strong suits.

Ok, that is all I have for today.  I will leave you all to your Sunday afternoon.  I will be back next week.

Happy Knitting!

-Alexis

That Extra Skein of Yarn

Hello Everyone!

Just a short post today as it has been a quite week in my knitting world.  The hubs competed in a triathlon on Saturday in Dallas so we drove down on Friday, I was able to get 5 hexi-puffs done and Bob did great in his triathlon!

As for my Rhinebeck sweater, The Gnarled Oak Cardigan I am almost done with one sleeve.  The pattern requires 17.5 inches but I am going for 19.5. I have long arms and I like long sleeves.  Sleeves that I can move in.  When I make changes like this to sweaters, like make things longer or bigger, it always makes me glad I bought that extra skein of yarn, I might actually need it.

Tonight for dinner we are grilling hamburgers, I am also grilling some chicken for lunches this week. I went outside a few minutes ago to turn the grill on we were out of propane.  So of course, my husband, the wonderful man that he is just got back from getting a fresh tank and just hooked it up and turned the grill on so it would be hot by the time I finished this post.  So I must go now and grill some chicken and burgers and veggies.

I will talk to you all soon.

Happy Knitting.

-Alexis

Reviews, Links and a Confession

Hello Everyone!

Happy Sunday! I have had such a busy week which unfortunately has left me with precious little knitting time.   I am still chugging along on my Rhinebeck Sweater, the Gnarled Oak Cardigan.  It is coming along nicely and the ease of the stockinette on the body of the cardigan has been just what my brain and body have needed at the end of the day when I finally do get time to knit. I also love Malabrigo.  No matter the weight you get it is a soft yarn smooth yarn. No splitting, no halo, knots come out easy.  It really is a very low maintenance knitting yarn, but the vibrancy of the color variations in the hand dyed yarn  make it seem so much more.  The way when you are knitting you can see bright reds and greens and blues and it comes across in your work as if you had designed your project to have those colors in that exactly that spot.  It makes for very satisfied knitting and beautiful projects every time.

A few months ago, Clara Parks wonderful Knitters Review turned me onto a Kickstarter project I knew I just had to support. It is the Skeinminder. It is for  independent yarn dyers and “is a device that minds your motorized skein winder, freeing you to mind your business…… Your winder will stop automatically.”  While I am not a yarn dyer, I thought this was an amazing product that will help many dyers.  And as a lover of the product that independent dyers produce, why would’t I support it. Also, because I am not a yarn dyer, I’m not sure if I really explained the capabilities of this product well enough, so if you would like more information on this product simply click here for their webpage and more information.

Also, as a thank you for supporting them in their campaign, the lovely folks at Skeinminder sent me a present.  I received a lovely skein of hand dyed sock yarn from the Knitted Wit  (Her Etsy page is amazing!).  Wound with the help of the Skeinminder no doubt.   I also receieved Adorable handmade square beaded stitch markers from Spark.  I am not sure what I am going to make with Knitted Wit yarn yet but I amThank you Skeinminder! seeing it wanting to be come a shawl of some kind.  It is a really neat colorway, the yarn has a black base with streaks of bright red, blue, purple and green throughout and is a Super Wash Merino and Nylon blend.  I am very excited to get it on the needles.

 

Yesterday, we had some friends and neighbors over for a barbecue and housewarming party so I really didn’t feel like cooking today.  So dinner tonight is frozen chicken fingers and frozen sweet potato fries which just now came out of the oven.  And honestly, I must confess, as Sunday nights go. The sooner I finish dinner, the sooner I can clean and the sooner I can spend the rest of the evening knitting.  So I must say goodbye so I can go knit and have more content for next week.

I will talk to you all soon.  Happy knitting!

-Alexis

Road Trip Knitting

Hello Everyone!

I hope you all had a fun and safe 4th of July.  I did.  On Friday, the Hubs and I drove to Dodge City, Kansas.  We had never been and thought it would be fun.  I was a great drive up there but honestly, other than the museum and Dairy Queen, there was not much else to see.  Oh well, we love to road trip and have these little adventures.  Also on the way, somewhere outside Seiling, OK there was this huge sunflower farm. It was so pretty, on the way home I made hub pull over so I could take pictures. Nice huh.

Sunflower Farm, OK

I also got some great road trip knitting done. As I usually always do for road trips, I grabbed some scrap balls and knit hexi-puffs for my Beekeepers Quilt by Tiny Owl Knits.  I want to make this blanket about throw size. Something warm snuggly for the couch. My goal is 500 hexi-puffs.  I have around 200 right now and have been working on it for a few years.  They are fun and fast to knit and it will be neat to see all the colors and patterns that come together from all my scrap yarn. I can still remember for most of these scrap balls what I originally made with them. Mostly socks, but several shawls, sweaters and baby things for friends.  Below are the hexi-puffs I was able to knit this weekend.

Road trip Hexi-Puffs

When I started on the Beekeepers Quilt, I knew it would be a continual work in progress as I collected leftover sock yarn from projects and knit the hexi-puffs in between projects and whenever else I could.  It really has been quite fun. I have my hexi-puff project bag that I keep all my scrap balls in and tool kit with size 3 needles, stitch markers and scissors.  Whenever we go on road trips I always randomly grab 3 scarab balls my tool kit and a small project bag.  Then I have something to work on the car that isn’t too big and doesn’t require me to read a pattern.  Reading in a car doesn’t always agree with me.  I also try to knit a few in between projects and when I am teaching, although when I teach I am usually to busy helping my student so do any knitting of my own.  But like I said before, this project is a continual work in progress and it is neat to see all the colors and patterns that are coming out of all of the scrap yarn I have so far knit up into the hexi-puffs.

Well, that is all for today. I hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend and any road trips and/or road trip knitting that comes your way this summer.

-Alexis

Totally Going to Match Fall

Hello Everyone!

How is everyone on this beautiful June day?  I believe it is the first day of summer if I am not mistaken.

I have finished the Bavarian Cable Socks, they came out very nice if I do say so myself.

Bavarian Cable Socks
Bavarian Cable Socks

One thing I will tell you about them, that you can’t really tell unless you look very closely at them is that there are mistakes.  There are the “bumps” I told you about earlier that happened when I was working on them on an airplane and oops, turbulence over Kansas.  But there are others, where I knit where I should have purled and purled where I should have knit. And cabled where I didn’t need to cable and vice versa.  Oh well.  That folks is knitting. We as knitters all encounter that and it is at those times where we must decide if it is worth it to us to stop and fix the mistake or to just keep going and live with it.  Anything ever done my hand is never going to turn out 100 percent perfect, and that is OK.  I knit for me.  I don’t knit for anybody else so for me, its ok if not every project I do is perfect.

That is also what I tell my students, especially the beginners.  Knitting is hard at the beginning and I can see in their eyes that they immediately want to turn out a perfect piece and I tell them that its ok if they don’t.  I always teach them how to identify mistakes, (they usually see them right away anyway) and how to fix them and tell that I myself after knitting for 14 years still make those same mistakes.  It happens, but not to get down on themselves when it does.

Of course, after 14 years, I have learned to identify and fix mistakes and most of the time, I do go back and fix them so I am pretty proud of myself for my mostly flawless work but you must always remember, it is ok to have one or two flubs in your work.  That is what make us human.

So, what I am working on next now that my Bavarian Cable socks are done?  Last night I wound the yarn for and cast on my Rhinebeck Sweater!!!  I am knitting the Gnarled Oak Cardigan by Alana Dakos and as featured in her collaborative book with Hannah Fettig Coastal Knits.  This is a beautifully simple cardigan with a lovely lace and cable detail around the yoke.  I even bought oak branch buttons.  I love this cardigan for Rhinebeck because it is so simple, yet has that lovely detail around the yoke.  I know I can get this done in time for Rhinebeck and not stress about it being perfect, because it is Rhinebeck after all, it must be perfect.  The yarn I chose for this is perfect as well, I think the colors are perfect for fall as they beautifully mimic autumnal colors and trees.  I am using Malabrigo Arroyo in the Piedras Colorway.  It is so many colors of blues and greens and oranges and reds. I think I will totally match fall in is sweater.

The sweater is knit from the bottom up and I am about 3 rows in.  I have 4 months to go so I think I am on track, but I better get back to knitting anyway just in case.

I will talk to you all soon.

-Alexis

Knitting Superstitions

Hello Everyone!

We are back to another wonderful Sunday afternoon.  I have chicken in the slow cooker for tacos tonight and with it a yummy Mango Avocado salsa I made sitting in the fridge.  I can’t wait for dinner.  But its only 3:45 so I have to.

On the knitting front, I am in the middle of the gusset of the second Bavarian Cable sock. I have been knitting it while I finish binge watching Gilmore Girls, I have been steadily watching the whole series for several months and I want to finish before I watch Orange is the New Black.  As you know, Season 3 came out on Friday and it has taken all the restraint I have not to watch it.  But I am almost through Season 6 of Gilmore Girls, so not much left.  Maybe OITNB next weekend.

Yesterday, I went to my LYS, Gourmet Yarn in Oklahoma City and bought yarn for my Rhinebeck Sweater.  I am so EXCITED!!!!  I am not going to tell you what yarn I got or what the pattern is until I have it cast on.  I don’t know, it’s a thing of mine. I don’t like to reveal what I am going to work on until I actually have it cast on.  Its like  knitting superstition or something, like I might jinx it.  But I am very excited about it. I think I will cast it on after I finish the socks because I am not sure how long it is going to take me and I do have a deadline.  I needs to be done my Rhinebeck.  Yes, I am aware that is months away but still…

It does seem weird to me that summer just started and I am about to knit a sweater, but it must get done. Then I guess after that I can do some actual “summer knitting”.

I also have so many other projects I want to knit up.  Need to knit up.  I need knit and make room in my stash before I go.   The thought kind of stresses me out, but it makes me more excited.  And really, can one have too much yarn?  I don’t think so.

And with that I will leave you. Its a short post I know but I’m kind of excited to get back to my sock knitting so I can start on the sweater.

I will talk to you all next week.  Happy knitting!

-Alexis

Welcome to Summer

Well Hello Everyone!

I hope everyone had a nice week and welcome to Summer!  The rain has moved out and the heat has moved in.  I am very much enjoying the sunshine, I get to run after work, it is getting hot and not sure how I will do as it get hotter and the distances on my training schedule get longer but I will tough it out I suppose. Stay hydrated and be careful.  I am not a morning person, so you probably will not see me out before the sun comes up.  It will be an evening thing for me.

When I am not running outside in the heat, I am very much enjoying the AC and ceiling fans and ice cold water while I knit. I am still working on my Bavarian Cable socks.  I turned the heel the other night and am about a chart repeat or two to the cuff ribbing of the first sock.  All depending on the length I want.

Now that it is June I have an exciting announcement.  This October, for the very first time, I am going to Rhinebeck!  I am SOOOOO Excited!  I have never been before and always wanted to go. I am saving up yarn money and have my Rhinebeck sweater all picked out. I just need to buy the yarn.  I was busy yesterday and my LYS is closed on Sunday’s so I will get the yarn next week and let you know what the sweater is when I cast on.  OHHH I am so excited!!!!!  Are any of you going?  Let me know, I would love to meet you.  Only 4 short months away.

That is all I have for you today.  I will talk to you all again next week and please do let me know if you are going to Rhinebeck.

Happy Knitting,

Alexis

Back from Vacation, Back to the Real World

Well Hello Everybody!

I am back from vacation, I went to Las Vegas for a loooong Memorial Day Weekend.  I actually used to live in Las Vegas for a long time, I moved there with my mom when I was a teenager, I even went to high school and college there. Go Rebels!  My mom still lives there, so for me, its really just going home.  I had a great time!  Along with my Mom, I had two Aunts and an Uncle visiting, as well as a cameo appearance by one of my cousins who happens to live in Las Vegas as well.  The weather was beautiful.  Warm and sunny.  A nice break from the rain we have been getting here in Oklahoma.

As for knitting, I finished the Marin Shawl by Ysolda Teague the other night. I can and cannot believe how fast I finished it.  Its like potato chip knitting.  I just couldn’t stop.  Well, its done and finished blocking and beautiful.  It might actually be perfect for a chilly summer evening.

Marin Shawl
Marin Shawl

Because I went on vacation, I needed some good vacation/travel knitting and in my mind that only means one thing.  Socks!  I chose the “Bavarian Cable Socks by Wendy D. Johnson in her Book Socks from the Toe Up. As you know, I am working my way through.  The Bavarian Cable Socks are the last socks in the cable series.  They are a beautiful cable pattern but I am afraid they weren’t the best for flying. We hit turbulence a few times and I was forced to put them down in favor of my book.  But they are great socks for working on when watching TV at night with the family and catching up.  Since I finished my Marin Shawl, I have started to work on them at home and I am almost to the gusset of the first sock.  The are turning out nicely, I even like the few “turbulence” parts, they add a nice story.  “Oh, that gap right there, thats a thunder storm over Kansas.” I am knitting them by the way out of Fiber Optic Yarns Foot Notes in the colorway Razzmatazz.  A beautiful sock yarn I picked up at Maryland Sheep and Wool and few years ago.

While I was in Las Vegas, along with catching up with family and visiting a few old haunts I discovered a new LYS!  Yes!, while I have been gone, a new yarn store opened in Las Vegas.  I just had to check it out. Its called Sin City Knit Shop (SinCityKnitShop.com) and they are almost hidden in a strip mall about 3 miles from the strip.  (Hint: they are across from the Long John Silvers)  When I entered, I was immediately greeted by the owner Debbi, she was so nice and welcoming and happy to have me in my shop.  I was just running around town before I picked my mom up from work so I didn’t have my knitting on me but if I did, I would have stayed awhile with the other nice ladies who were there spending a lovely afternoon knitting and chatting in the shop.  This store had a fabulous selection of yarn.  All sorts of brands, some I had never even heard off.  Click here for a sneak peak of the store. On this particular day, I was specifically looking for sport weight yarn for sport weight socks. (the next chapter in Socks from the Toe Up).  Natalie who also worked there helped me find all sorts of wonderful things.   She was very helpful and I found out, a designer. She has some wonderful patterns that I have been eyeing on Ravelry. Click here for her Ravelry page.  She is very talented.

Anyway, Whenever you are in Las Vegas, forget the strip. Head straight to Sin City Knit Shop.  Debbie and Natalie are wonderful, and wouldn’t you rather spend your vacation knitting anyway. I know I would.

My haul from Sin City Knit Shop.
My haul from Sin City Knit Shop.

 

Well, that is all I have for today.  I know this was a long post, but I had so much to talk about from my vacation.

Talk you next time.

-Alexis

 

Special Project and Almost Summer

Hello Everyone!

I hope everyone had a good last week and stayed safe in the weather.  It is typical spring here in Oklahoma which makes for some exciting weather watching.

I know you have all waited long enough. My special project is ready to be unveiled. ::Drumroll:: I taught a summer scarf workshop at one of the libraries I teach at.  It was just a simple summer scarf that I had learned long ago and I taught it to my students.  It is so easy. You cast on an odd number of stitches. K1, *YO, K2TOG* and there you go.  A scarf.  and some knitting lingo for all my non-knitting readers.  The yarn I used in the picture below is Ella Rae, Lace Merino Worsted in the color 10.  But I just recommend my student use any worsted they liked and size 9 to 10.5 needles.   Of course any weight yarn and size needles would work just as well.

Summer Scarf on Chair

My Feathernest Raglan is also finished blocking and it Fits! I am so happy that it fits! It now resting comfortably in my sweater trunk.

I am still working on my Marin Shawl by Ysolda Teague.  It’s almost like popcorn knitting.  I keep on wanting to get a bit further, I am right in the center now working on the short rows and it is coming along nicely.

I am also blocking my Willington Simple Raglan shawl.  I will take a picture when it dries. I am excited to get to wear it.  However, with summer fast approaching, I am not so sure when that will be.

As summer is almost here, and when the rain and tornadoes stay away, I have been running.  And what do I listen to while I run you may ask?  Well, I listen to knitting podcasts of course.  Listening to music just throws me off my pace and knitting podcasts are the perfect distraction from the cramps in my feet and legs and the heat and that fact that sometimes running, although I like it, it just hard. Right now I am listening to The Commuter Knitter Podcast.  I just started listening to her and I love it.  I am very behind though, the episodes I downloaded started in January of this year.  I will need to catch up, which is what is so great about listening to podcasts while running, it is great podcast catchup time.  Other podcasts I listen to are Knitmore Girls, Stash and Burn, CogKNITive, Down Cellar Studios, and Yarnings.  I love all these podcasts as I like the personalities of each individual podcaster, its like I’m with running with a friend while we talk about knitting.  Anyone else have any other good podcast recommendations?

Oh, and one more thing before I go, last week I was alerted to this fact by one of my wonderful Twitter followers that I had a typo in my blog link when I shared it.  I am very sorry to all of you who were not able to access my post last week because of it.  But, you can always subscribe to my blog and have it conveniently delivered to your inbox whenever I post. That way you won’t have to worry about my pesky typos, of which I am known for.

Thank you again for stopping by and reading and on that note, I will be on vacation next week so I won’t be posting but stay tuned for the week after when I talk about my vacation knitting and all the other fun stuff I did.

Talk to you all soon and happy knitting!

-Alexis