Socks and Shawls

Hello There!

Well, here we are in the middle of Spring and you wouldn’t even know it. It is cloudy and in the 60’s here in OKC, and I was speaking to my MIL this afternoon and it is SNOWING at here house in Michigan. SNOWING in MAY!!!!  Lets hope we get some sunshine soon.

In knitting news, a little over a week ago I finished the Pogona shawl by Steven West.  I love his designs, not only does he have a great eye for color and design, his designs, especially his shawls have amazing and interesting geometric design yet still have beautiful drape.  I must say however, I am a little disappointed in this shawl.  I should have known I wouldn’t like as it only needed 380 yards of fingering.  I like my shawls big and long, so I can wrap them around my neck like a scarf. While this shawl is big deep wise, judging from the wingspan and a quick try-on before I blocked it really will not wrap around my neck very well.  Its blocking now so maybe it will be better blocking.  I am a bit disappointed. I loved the design and the yarn color. The yarn I used was Sun Valley Fibers in Ring of Fire, a bright fiery red colorway.  Red is my favorite color and I would love to wear it.  I also love Sun Valley Fibers, the yarn is always so soft and the colors are rich and beautiful.  When this shawl is done blocking I will try it on and see, maybe I can wear it someway.  I love the color.

Last Monday I came home from a long Mother’s Day weekend in Las Vegas to visit my Mom.  We had such a fun time shopping, eating and just hanging out and enjoying each others company.  It is hard being away from my Mom and love going to visit her.  It was also nice to be home for a few days. Its so funny about going to visit you hometown, you see so much has changed, but if you really look, it really hasn’t changed much at all and it still your town.

For my trip I cast on a sock at the airport while waiting to board my plane.  I cast on the Rosebud Socks by Wendy B. Johnson from her book Toe-Up Socks for Every Body.  I am now knitting my way through this book.  The pattern on these socks are cute little rose buds and I honestly think I chose the perfect yarn for these socks. I am knitting these with Done Roving Yarns Frolicking Feet Handprinted in the colorway Christmas Cactus, deep reds and greens, like a rose bush with the transition from the colors is a dark purple.  The yarn is not self striping or pooling so it is a very colorful sock.  I am almost done with the first sock.  It might be a good thing this sock is coming along so quick, I might still need them this season. I love knitting socks, they are perfect for traveling because they are so small you can fit them in your purse and just set it on you lap the minute you sit down on the plane.  Yes, I have been known to cable during take-off.  And if you are at home, it is great couch knitting, even the socks with patterns, the patten is usually small and easily memorized so you can still watch your favorite shows and knit without looking down from the tv.

That is all I have for today.  I hope you are all enjoying whatever weather you are having and that we get some great spring weather soon.

Happy Knitting!

-Alexis

Lots Done

Hello Everyone!

What a busy Sunday!  It was supposed to rain all day so I had some organization and cleaning projects planned for today and they are all done!  I am very proud of myself.  In addition to these projects, I had the usual laundry and making lunches for the week. I am trying to eat healthy so I make healthy lunches on Sunday for the week.  That is the busy part, I was in the kitchen for an hour and half making lunches.  I found some mason jar lunches on Pinterest that look yummy so I spent my relaxing Sunday afternoon roasting sweet potatoes, making quinoa, chicken and a cilantro dressing.  At least I am done now, 4 lunches are sitting in the fridge ready for the week (I treat myself on Fridays and go out to lunch).  Now in the morning I can just grab and go.  I think I like cooking almost as much as I like knitting.

Last week I put buttons on my Summer Dawn cardigan and it looks amazing.  I think I knit it just a little big, but I like larger sized sweaters, I just feel more comfortable and able to move, but I am really happy with how it turned out.  I will defiantly be wearing this a lot this summer, the sleeves are perfect length for cool summer nights or lots of A/C.

Summer Dawn cardigan front
Summer Dawn cardigan front
Summer Dawn cardigan back
Summer Dawn cardigan back

I also finished the Ripple Hat by Melissa Wehrle in Weekend Knits by Cecily Glowik MacDonald and Melissa LaBarre.  It looks very cute.  The ripples on the hat are put on after the hat is finished and blocked, you just go back and sew the two ridges together.  That little step took me about an hour yesterday morning over a cup of coffee and was well worth it. I just randomly sewed the ridges together.

Ripple Hat
Ripple Hat

I also just last night finished the Adirondack shawl by Sarah Punderson.  I started it about 2 weeks ago. The yarn is called Kona Superwash, and that is all that is on the label other than the yardage and fiber content.  I is 100% super wash Merino and I purchased it at Woven Art in East Lansing, Michigan.  Hubs is a Michigan State Alum, so every year we visit his family and go to the campus, he wanders around campus and I go to Woven Art.  A good time is had by all.  The scarf is blocking now and while I was laying out to block I noticed something I need to fix so I will have pictures for you next time.  I really liked this pattern, its almost all garter stitch with stockinette stitch wedges.  It has some short rows so the shawl naturally curves.  Its like the shawl fans out.  The yarn is super soft and light and so is the pattern so I think this may also get some wear this summer on cool summer nights or lots of A/C.

Do you have any summer knitting projects that you can’t wait to wear this season?

Well that is all I have for tonight, now its time to cook again. Skillet nachos! YUM!

I will talk to you all soon and happy knitting!

-Alexis

My Own Private LYS & A Finished Cardigan

Hello Everyone!

I am finally finished with the Summer Dawn Cardigan, it is now blocking on the floor in my office and waiting for buttons.  I promise to have pictures up as soon as the buttons are on.  I am so happy with how it turned  out.  That lace pattern while seemingly simple is still just a little bit complicated.  More in the way that you really have to make sure you are not going to drop any stitches, as it is a very visible lace pattern.  Any mistakes are flubs cannot be covered up or made to look intentional, so there was some pressure there.

When I began knitting this cardigan, I had the intention of making it long sleeves and I had enough yarn but when it came time to put sleeves on I had this much yarn left.   So I made them elbow length,  I even made them shorter than the pattern intended.  That was my design, the pattern called for 35 rows of rib stitch at the end of the sleeves, I only knit 10 rows.  The sleeves go to just my elbows, if I had knit all 35 rows, it would be mid elbow when I bent my arm and I really don’t like how that feels.  I’m weird, but I like my elbows all covered up or bare.  Well, I still have yarn left, but I didn’t want to push it and play yarn chicken so I didn’t and I’m happy with the sweater and the length of the sleeves.

When I started the Summer Dawn Cardigan, I decided to de-stash and clean out my yarn drawers to make room for the bags of yarn sitting in the corner of my closet.  Yarn I had purchased MDSW and Rhinebeck and other places between and since.  I just have no room for it.  So I decided, I got the yarn for the Summer Dawn from the bottom drawer of one of my yarn drawers.  I have a filing cabinet and one of those plastic 3 drawer things and a basket for my yarn.  Since I got this yarn on the bottom drawer of the filing cabinet, I would get the yarn for my next project from the top drawer and so on.  So, yesterday, I went stash diving in the top drawer of the filing cabinet and came out with 3 skeins of Classic Elite Inca Alpaca in this pretty orange.  The 3 skeins equaled 327 yards, I decided to make the Ripple Hat by Melissa Wehrle as featured in Weekend Hats by Cecily Glowik MacDonald and Melissa LaBarre.  This hat went so quick, I am actually almost done. I may even finish tonight!  So I just went stash diving in the bottom drawer of the plastic drawers. I’m not sure what I am going to make but this de-stashing is fun.  I am finding yarn I do not remember buying and forgot I had.  Its like my own private LYS in my house.

Well, that is about it for me.  I am enjoying this beautiful spring day, I went for a run this morning and it is supposed to be nice all week.  But it is April in Oklahoma so as much as I want to start my spring planting, I think we still have a few freezes and tornados before its safe to do so.

I will talk to you all soon and happy knitting!

-Alexis

First Day of Spring

Hello Everyone,

Today is the first day of Spring, although it really does not feel like it, there is a brisk cool breeze.  After almost 3 weeks of 70 and 80 degree weather the high for the last 3 days has been in the 50’s.  Good thing I am knitting a sweater, I might actually even get to wear it this year.  Although I kind of hope not.  As much as I love that sweater, I am really starting to look forward to warm weather, light flawy clothes and gardening.

Speaking of sweater, I am still working on the Summer Dawn cardigan.  That little blurp that I had that I mentioned last time, turned into a full scale surgery.  I took a second then third look at the lace pattern and saw that the pattern itself was completely off horribly wonky.  I ended up taking the sweater out past the blurp and now its fabulous.  I am working my way to the hem of the cardigan and I must say, I do love the way it is turning out.  From the fiery orange look of the yarn while it was still a skein, I was actually afraid the color would be much to bright, but really, it is not.  The color of the fabric is this beautiful sunset orange, yellow, pink and red.  It really does remind me more of a sunset than a dawn.

While I sill may be knitting the Summer Dawn cardigan, I just finished reading Clara Parkes new book Knitlandia.  I LOVED this book.  I have been a fan of Clara Parkes KnittersReview.com since I began reading it in 2009 and I own all of her other books.  Her attention to deal and illustrative descriptions of yarn and wool are nothing short of compelling.  Knitlandia is her tales of traveling the world with the rest of the knitting community to Knitting conventions and retreats as well as wool festivals.  Some of these festivals I already have been to myself, the others I felt like I was there just from her descriptions.   So if you haven’t read this book yet, you must! Immediately!

Ok, It almost time for dinner so I am leaving you now. I will talk to you all soon.

Happy first day of Spring.

-Alexis

 

70 Degrees in February

Hello Everyone!

It is 70 degrees in February!  I can’t believe it.   I’m a little scared.  Where is the snow? The frost?  I was at Home Depot today and people were buying flowers, I’m thinking this is Oklahoma, we have at least 3 more freezes and 5 tornadoes before I will feel like it is safe to plant anything.  It is beautiful though and I will take advantage of it.

The nights are still cool though, and its nice to cuddle up in a blanket and knit.  I am now working on the Summer Dawn cardigan by Andrea Black and knitting it with Dragonfly Fibers Djinni Sock in the colorway Peach Melba. I don’t know why this color is called Peach Melba.  It is more like fire orange.  It really does remind me more of a campfire than peaches.  It has orange, light orange, bright red, dark red.  A beautiful medley, I really should rename my version of Summer Dawn, Summer Sunset since that is what the colors remind me of, campfires and sunsets.

The pattern itself is not bad, its a bit of a challenge. There are a lot of “at the same times” so you really have watch what you are doing.  The cardigan is knit from the top down and I am almost to the Body Shaping and still growing my sleeves before I separate them.  While it is a bit challenging that you have to really pay attention with all the “at the same times,” the pattern also is a bit potato chippy.  I don’t want to put it down.  I also dropped a like 10 stitches on the back lace section last night so now I am watching it to make sure it’s back on track.  There is a bit of a flub but I think its getting back on track.  I hope……

As promised, I have my Perfect Retreat Shawl blocked and pictures taken, so here it is.

Perfect Retreat Shawl
Perfect Retreat Shawl

Well, that is about it for today. I will talk to you all soon.

Happy Knitting!

-Alexis

Lets Get Caught Up

Hello There!  I have missed you guys!

First of all, Happy Valentines Day everyone!  Second, I am sorry I have been away for so long.  I was still working on Christmas knitting and didn’t want write about it until I had shipped it off.  I also had to take a break from my Christmas knitting to knit baby gifts.

First on to the last Christmas gift, I knit Bouquet Socks by Wendy D. Johnson from her book Toe Up Socks for Everybody, I knit these from Lisa Souza Bouncy fingering weight yarn that I purchased at Rhinebeck and they were lovingly knit for my Aunt Mary.  She texted me to last week after she received them in the nicest thank you I could have received.  She lives in South Dakota so I know she will put them to good use.

Bouquet Socks
Bouquet Socks for Aunt Mary

I also knit another Big Bad Baby Blanket and Baby Tea Leaves Cardigan for my friend who just had a lovely baby girl the other day.  I know the cardigan will look so cute on her and the soft lovely yellow of the blanket is very chic for a Chicago baby.  The blanket was knit with Knit Picks Swish Worsted in Cornmeal and the sweater was knit with Knit Picks Hawthrone sport multi in the colorway Sellwood. Whenever I am knitting baby gifts for friends I do really like to use Knitpicks as it affordable, very high quality, durable and most important, machine washable.  I have not yet met a new mother that has time to hand wash.

Big Bad Baby Blanket
Big Bad Baby Blanket
Baby Tea Leaves Cardigan
Baby Tea Leaves Cardigan

In the meantime, I also managed to finish a shawl for myself. The Perfect Retreat Shawl by Susan B. Anderson. I started this shawl before I went to Rhinebeck and worked on a bit there but as soon as I got back it was full speed ahead on the gift knitting.  I finally finished it on Friday!  I is block now and I should have pictures for you next week. I knit it out of Knit Picks Hawthrone fingering in the colorway The Pearl.  It really is an easy shawl, just like Susan B. Anderson says. The first part is mindless garter stitch with increases, you can watch tv or talk to your friends at a retreat. The second part is a little more involved lace, but not too much. I managed to work on this while binging on Downton Abbey.

 

Ok, well, now I have you caught up.  I will report next week on progress from my current project which just barely on the needles. As it is Valentines day, I must go get ready for my V-Day date with my Hubby.  He is my Valentine everyday!

See you next time and happy knitting.

-Alexis

Gift Knitting Part 1

Hello Everyone!

I hope you all had a Happy and Safe New Year!  May your 2016 be your best year yet!

The holidays may be over, but I am still gift knitting.  I may have bitten off more than I could chew this year.  I also had some surprise gift knitting I had to get done.  More on that in a later post.

I was however, successfully able to send 3 Christmas gifts off and they were all very well loved by the recipients.

The first was a pair of socks for my dear Mother-in-Law.  I knit her a pair of Heart to Heart Socks from Toe-Up Socks for Every Body, by Wendy D. Johnson.  I knit these socks out of Lisa Souza Bouncy Hardtwist Petite in the colorway Persephone, a beautiful vibrant royal blue.  My mother-in-law LOVED them!  She hasn’t even worn them yet, she has however shown them off to all her friends who also knit.  That makes me feel good, but I hope when she does wear them, she loves the way they feel.

Heart to Heart Socks for my Mother-in-Law
Heart to Heart Socks for my Mother-in-Law

I also knit a pair of socks for my mom.  I knit her the Crocus Socks, also from Toe-Up Socks for Every Body,   This is a second addition to Wendy’s book, Socks from the Toe-Up, that I have knit my way through.  Yes, I will be starting to knit my way through this one as well and will further review the book and patterns later.  I knit my mom’s socks in Lisa Souza Bouncy Hardtwist Petite in the colorway Fifi.  It is multi-colored, pink, blue, yellow and brown.  My mom is very creative and an artist and loves bright colors and she loves these socks.  It makes me feel good when the people I knit for truly appreciate what I knit for them.

Crocus Socks for my Mom
Crocus Socks for my Mom

The final projet I was able to ship before Christmas was a hat for my Aunt, I knit her the Pebbled Beanie by Elisabeth Parker as published in Weekend Hats, by Cecily Glowik MacDonald and Melissa LaBarre.  I also knit this out of another skein Lisa Souza Bouncy Hardtwist Petite in the colorway Persephone.  My Aunts favorite color is blue so I thought she would love this and luckily I was right.  She was also able to use her new hat on Christmas morning and the day after as she shoveled snow.  I know she wasn’t happy about having to shovel snow, but at least her head was warm.

Pebbled Beanie for my Aunt.
Pebbled Beanie for my Aunt.

A note on the yarn, I do love Lisa Souza and try to get her yarns whenever I see them.  They are so well spun and dyed.  The colors are so bright and fabric from the hard twist that I used is drapey yet sturdy. Just what I am looking for in hats and socks. Its a comfy fabric but nice and warm and durable. I also purchased this yarn at Rhinebeck 2015 when I was there with the recipients of these items in mind.  I stayed in the Lisa Souza booth because I wanted them all to have similar type yarn and there was so much variety of colors it was easy to pick for everyone.

Anyway, I must make dinner and continue knitting my last Christmas (Valentine’s Day) knitting project.  Also, Season 6 of Downton Abbey premiers tonight so I better be glued to the couch and TV by then to watch.

I will talk to you soon!

Happy Knitting everyone!

LYS and Christmas Cheer

Hello Everyone!

I hope you are all surviving the holiday’s.  I love Christmas, I love this time of year but every year, it just comes right at me in a huge expensive ball of stress and anxiety.  But I think I am done for the most part.  I have all my gifts knitted and shipped and my Christmas shopping as of this morning is DONE!!!!  Phew!

Yes, I knit 3 Christmas gifts this year and I will tell you all about them and show pictures after Christmas.

Another reason why I love this time of year and I know this will make me sound like a spoiled 6 year old but I don’t care, is my birthday is on the 11th.  Exactly 2 weeks before Christmas.  This year, my WONDERFUL Husband surprised me with a weekend trip of one of my favorite cities, Chicago.  We had an amazing time. We saw friends, shopped on Michigan Ave and saw all the Christmas lights and decorations and on Saturday, we went Yarnify (click on the name for their website) on Polk St.  It is a fabulous LYS in a funky neighborhood.  I love this store and will for sure visit every time I am back in Chicago.  All the yarn is divided by weight in rooms. DK in one room, fingering in another, etc., and all the ladies working there are more than happy to show you around or just chat about yarn or anything else with you. There are even comfy chairs for tired and patient husbands.  I had limited room in my suitcase to buy too much yarn but I did walk away with a skein of MadelineTosh Tosh Sock in Hasta Blue and Jilly Lace Dream in Poppy.  I think this may be like my 2nd skein of lace yarn and have no idea what I am going to do with it but I couldn’t resist the color.  Yarnfiy also has a downstairs with classrooms, roving and books.  My feet were killing me from walking all morning so I did go down, sit and look at their amazing selection of books.  Like I said before, next time I am in Chicago I will definitely go again and I think you should all go as well, you will be in for a treat in the middle of an already fabulous city.

Well, I am home now and we are a week from Christmas, I am trying to take it easy as all my decorating, shopping and knitting is done.  Now I can do some selfish knitting for a bit and put my feet up and enjoy this holiday season.  I hope you are all doing the same.  Remember what Bing Crosby said, it is the most wonderful time of the year.

Have a very safe and Happy Holiday and I will talk to you soon.

-Alexis

Travel Knitting

Hello Everyone!  I hope all who celebrated are still nicely stuffed from Thanksgiving and still enjoying the leftovers.  I also hope you all survived Black Friday if you dared and braved the malls.

Since Thanksgiving weekend is traditionally the biggest travel weekend of the year.  I thought I would take this time to write about travel knitting and really how wonderful it is.

I love to travel and I love travel knitting.  I always feel like I get so much knitting done when I am travel knitting.  When it comes to road trips, my wonderful husband drives and I just sit and knit hexi-puffs. I have the pattern memorized and they are small so I can fit them in my purse or overnight bag.  Usually before we leave for our trip, I grab 3 balls of yarn from my hexi-puff kit as well as my needles and other supplies that I keep in a small bag in my kit, and go.  Depending on how long the car ride is is how many Hexi-puffs I can get done. It take me about 45 minutes to knit one puff.  Also, depending on how much downtime and energy I have at our destination I try to knit a few more.  Usually while sitting on the bed watching TV at the hotel at night.

As for flying or more extended trips, I usually pack a sock in my travel purse to work on.  Just like Hexi-puffs, a sock is a small project that can be easily thrown in a big purse or carry-on and will fit in your lap or the tray table on the airplane.  The day before, I will get my sock pattern ready, wind my yarn and get my needles and stitch markers, measuring tape and row counter into a baggie and throw it all in my travel purse.  I will also usually take my whole tool kit with scissors and pack it my luggage.  I have never had a problem getting my knitting through TSA, but I always pack wooden needles just incase.  Once at the airport I will then cast on my sock. I love sitting there in the airport, everyone is on their phone or other electronic devices and I am knitting.  I’ve even done it at the airport bar with a beer in front of me.  I will continue to knit as soon as I board the plane and just recently have accomplished cables while taking off.  I love to fly, but turbulence does make me a little nervous, knitting gives me something else to think about.  I do usually get a good amount knit on the plane ride and again depending on my downtime and energy at my destination I will knit some more.  On our recent trip to see family in Michigan I was able to knit every night, even more than usual so I got a lot done. Which I really liked since it was Christmas knitting.  I even brought the yarn for my next Christmas knitting project just in case.

I love how travel knitting makes the time go by quickly especially if you are excited to get to your destination or if you are stuck or delayed.  I don’t even mind the looks I get when I am knitting in the airport or on the plane. I also love it when I see other travelers knitting or crocheting as well.

What do you like to knit when you travel?  Do you bring an existing project or start something new?  I would love to hear about it and any other travel knitting stories.

Talk to you soon.

-Alexis

Relaxed, Rested and Ready for the Holidays

Hello Everyone!

The hubs and I just returned from a vacation up in Michigan to visit family and friends.  We had a great time and both really needed this time off.  We are now relaxed and rested and ready for the holiday season!

While on vacation, I was able to get some quality gift knitting in. I have four people I am gift knitting for this year and just finished one gift today.  I am proud to say it is now blocking.  Three more gifts to go. Ekk?!?!  Really what is stressing me out is that all four of these gifts need to be shipped So its to like I can I still be working on these on Christmas Eve.

So what am I knitting for gifts you might ask?  I will tell you after Christmas.  Some of the recipients know what they are getting but they don’t know all the details, color, pattern, etc. so no.  I am not telling you until after Christmas.

Well.  I better get knitting on gift number two. I will talk to you all soon and everyone have a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving.

-Alexis