Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday Night Football and Knitting

My plan for today was to watch football all day and knit. Unfortunately, I did have to sneak some other things in there as well (laundry, cooking, etc.) so most of my football watching and knitting didn't happen until the evening. I did manage to cast off on my second toe up sock so I have a pair finished and ready to wear!

I did manage to fit in a lot of time on Ravelry today and found a hat and two scarf patterns that I really want to start. Hopefully soon I will have pictures to show you of new and exciting projects. Plus, I found the pattern for the Knitting Goddeses scarf challenge project but it has to remain a secret until our December meeting. I can't wait to look through my stash to find the wool for these projects. The only thing standing in my way is the purple sweater. I have the back and both fronts knit it just needs the sleeves and the edging. With any luck it will be finished for Friday morning. I am heading off to do the shoulder seams now and watch the last half of the game. Good night!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Knitters are wonderful people!

Thanks to all of the knitters who stopped by the Itch To Stitch Knitting booth at the Western Fair last week. This is the start of the log cabin afghan blocks that you guys help to knit. We will continue to knit away at the blocks and hopefully finish it during our Knitting Open House on Sept. 22/09 at Sherwood Forest Mall where it will be donated to Keeping Kids Warm who support the homeless teens in London. It is nice to know that all of our time and efforts will go to help those in our own community.

I had such a great time having a knitting booth at the fair. Not only did I have a chance to demonstrate knitting to new, would be knitters and to let them give it a try for themselves but I was also available to knitters who were having trouble with a certain technique. I could pull out a pair of needles, cast on some stitches and help them work through whatever they were having difficulty with. In between knitting demos, I had some great chats with many, many knitters. I talked with two knitters who are from Portugal. The first woman talked about knitting with the long afghan hooks and not regular straight knitting needles. The second woman showed me how she held the yarn to knit. She had the most unique method that I have ever seen. The working yarn was around her neck, with the working yarn wrapped around her right hand between her thumb and her baby finger and she used her left thumb to wrap the yarn around the needle. It was a very interesting method and I found the purling much easier to do than the knitting. Other knitters talked about spinning plastic bags to make them easier to knit with, making their own drop spindles and knitting needles, spinning camel hair and even knitting with video tape to knit a car cover.

It was such a great time and I am looking forward to doing it again next year. We had some knitters that we had met at the fair join us at our knitting group on Thursday and that is what it is all about. Spending the afternoon meeting new friends, receiving encouragement to try something new and sharing our knitting knowledge with new knitters. Have a great weekend and happy knitting!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Turning the Short Row Heel

Once you have working the first half of your heel you will have the 9 wrapped stitches on both sides and your heel stitches in the middle. Now you are going to work in stocking stitch and increase the number of stitches worked by one on each row until you are purling all 32 sts. To prevent gaps between the wrapped stitches you need to pick up the wrap and the stitch together then knit or purl them together. Then you will be wrapping and turning the next stitch. This stitch will now have 2 wraps. When working a stitch with 2 wraps, you will be knitting or purling 3 together. The 2 wraps plus the stitch. It will seem tricky to get all 3 sts pulled through together but they will go! I work my purled stitches in the back of the stitch for an added twist to prevent a gap.

Once you have your heel turned (pictures 1 & 2), you are going to start knitting in the round again using both needles. Take a look at the gap between the needles (picture 3). I have to say that this is the largest gap I have ever had while knitting socks. I got distracted while knitting today in a waiting room and at some point turned my work without wrapping the next stitch so my count ended up being off which I am assuming is the cause for the size of the gap. It fits ok so I am just going to carry on. If there is a gap (picture 4 shows the gap when the first stitch is knit on the new needle (long) without picking up additional sts), to prevent a hole, pick up one (or in my case 2)stitches between the needles to close the gap (picture 5). Slip the new stitches onto the right needle. You will need to do this on the other side of the heel at the needle join as well. On the next round, knit 2 stitches together to return to the original stitch count. Now you are home free. Knit around until the sock is the length you like with the ribbing. Next class we will practice the cast off.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Help For Short Row Heel Knitters

Knitting the short row heel really isn't that complicated. Knitting the first half of the heel is done over 18 rows if you have 32 heel sts. It is just a matter of knitting or purling one less stitch on every row until you have wrapped and turned 9 stitches on each end and have 14 sts left in the middle for your heel. Here are pictures to show step by step how to wrap and turn a knit stitch.

Picture #1 shows the yarn in back, with the slipped stitched from the left needle on the right hand needle.

Picture #2 shows the yarn has been wrapped around to the front of the stitch.

Picture #3 shows the left needle slipping the wrapped stitch back to the left needle.

Picture #4 shows the stitch back on the left needle with the wrapped yarn still in front.

Picture #5 shows the work turned to the purl side and the yarn has been brought to the front of the work again ready to purl the next row.

You have now completed the wrap and turn and are ready to purl across the row. You will be purling one less stitch so you will be stopping at the first unwrapped stitch from the end of the needle. If in doubt if the stitch has already been wrapped, look at it from the knit side. You can see the wrap on both sides of your work but you may find it easier to see the wrap on the knit side.

Hope this helps!!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Socks and Sweaters

I updated my "To Knit List" for this week and for once I think I am on track. The September dishcloth pattern of the month was finished and handed out on Wed. night. Eventually, I will figure out how to put a link to the patterns of the month so they are available to everyone. This is a computer/tech thingy which will take me way longer to figure out than it did to write up the pattern!

My sock has actually been sitting for a day waiting for me to knit it's heel. Here is the finished foot of the sock in the midway at the fair. The purple sweater was my knitting project for yesterday. I cast on for the left front (the right front is done, yahoo!) while at Carries during our Friday morning knitting group and worked on the ribbing pattern. We had a new knitter join us who was working on a beautiful afghan. It always makes my day when I meet a new knitter:) I spent all day Friday at our knitting booth at the Western Fair and I met many, many knitters while knitting away on the purple sweater. If all goes according to my plan, I will have the front finished by late this afternoon and will work on the heel this evening while being at the fair chatting to more knitters. It is going to be a great day. I hope everyone else is able to find some knitting time to day as well!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Knitting Goddesses of Elgin County

That is our new official name. I always consider September to the the start of our knitting year so during our meeting last night we started off by taking care of some business items. Carrie, the wonderful shop owner who lets us use her shop for our meetings had two great ideas. We are going to have a sign made up to hang in the store and we will have membership cards printed for the guild members. We discussed going on two knitting trips. The first is to the Fleece Festival in Woodstock on Saturday, October 17 and the second is the Creative Festival in Toronto on Sunday October 18. For anyone interested, leave your name with Carrie. The challenge project for the guild is a scarf. Choose any pattern or make up your own. Anything goes, be creative with the yarn, colours, texture, edgings, width, and length. We will show off the finished scarves at the December meeting.

We all tried our hand at the mobeius cast on. It is something you either get right off the bat or you don't and most of us didn't! Thankfully Chris had it figured out within minutes of reading the instructions and was able to give us all a lesson. It was an interesting technique to try but in the end everyone continued on their current knitting project which happened to be mostly socks (and a mitten). A lot of these socks had just been started on Monday night and look at how far everyone is! Great looking socks everyone!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Toe Up Tips

Good morning sock knitters! How is everyone making out with their first sock? Did you make is through the increases without any trouble? Here are some points to remember as you are knitting with two circular needles.

*You always want the right side of your knitting facing you.

*Always knit with the end of the same needle that your stitches are on while the other needle hangs holding the other half of your stitches.

*When starting a new needle, your working yarn will always be attached to the bottom needle on the right side

*Just like with dpn's, remember to pull your yarn tight on the first couple of stitches of a new needle to prevent those ladders from appearing.

*Remember to keep your working yarn behind the resting needle when you are knitting the first stitch on the new needle so you don't get an extra wrap or yarn over the resting needle.

* Double check your gauge. We were trying for 8 stitches per inch but the best way to know if your socks are going to fit is to try them on. If you need to do a few more or less increase rows to make the toe wider or narrower feel free to do so. Just keep an even number of stitches. We will adjust the heel stitches when we get there.

*Continue knitting until you are 2 1/2" short of the total length of your foot. This is where we will start the short row heel.

Tonight is the Knitting Goddesses knitting guild meeting. We have lots going on tonight. Our topic tonight will be Moebius knitting, we will have a new challenge project to start, a pattern of the month, discuss some possible day trips and of course we will have the yarn draw at the end of the night. See you all tonight!

Monday, September 14, 2009

It Is Fair Time!

Between feeling pretty horrible myself, spending part of a day with my son in the ER and trying to retype everything that I lost when my computer crashed, we have managed to get our booth set up at the Western Fair.

We have lots of knitters stop by for a chat and to do some knitting on our charity projects for Keeping Kids Warm. There have also been many people who would like to learn to knit who have stopped for a short demo on how to knit who have added a few stitches to the garter stitch scarf that is in the works. It is great to see how many kids are interested in learning. Only two men have done any knitting and that was only with a lot of encouragement. Even after only being there for three days we have some regulars who are volunteering at the fair who stop by everyday to knit and chat, a very nice lady showed me a new way to purl continental, and I received a thank you card from another lady for teaching her how to knit. It has been great so far!

Tonight is the start of our sock knitting class, Wednesday is the Knitting Goddesses Meeting from 7-9pm and Friday morning is our Friday morning knitting group from 9-12. Woohoo, another fun filled knitting week! All of these are held at Carrie's Quilting and Knitting Shop in Aylmer. The Itch To Stitch knitting booth is at the Western Fair in the Canada building until next Sunday night. If you are at the fair, stop by to do some knitting and say hello. It is always great to meet more knitters!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

My Kind of Grocery Shopping - Cottage Trip Day Three

This really and truly was a day of relaxing. The weather was sunny and warm just perfect for spending the day outside. I continued on knitting my sock and reading my book until it was time to take a walk to the grocery store to pick up a few items. Everyone who knows me knows that grocery shopping is one of my least favourite things to do. I could see that changing pretty quickly if all grocery stores were like this small Foodland that has a gift shop upstairs that has, you guessed it, a knitting section. Again, I think I showed remarkable self control and only came home with Whitecap and Summer Moss Jacquard. Three days of vacations, three days of yarn shopping. Can't beat that!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Cottage Trip Day Two

This was our first full day of vacation. I was sooo looking forward to relaxing and spending my day knitting and reading. It didn't start out that way. We spent the morning at the next closest town doing some unforeseen errands. Sigh, there are somethings that still have to be done even when on holidays and I couldn't wait to get back to the cottage for an afternoon of relaxing. We had some time to fill while we waited to pick up the items that we need so we did a little shopping. One of our stops was a store that I had been in last year and I new I would find something in there to cheer me up. Any guesses? I'm sure you all guess right. A whole wall of yarn! Once again, I couldn't pass up the Kroy sock yarn. On this shopping trip I picked up Rouge Jacquard, Turquoise Jacquard, Mulberry Stripes, and Bronzed Berry Stripes. It was soon after this stop that we had everything we needed and were headed back to the cottage. The Rouge Jacquard sock yarn was calling my name so I started a sock from the toe up on two circular needles. What a fun way to knit socks. The speed at which you can knit your sock is determined by how much will power you have to not try it on every other round just for fun! The rest of the day was uneventful and I took turns reading and knitting and for a while was doing both. In the end it turned out to be another great day.

Cottage Trip Day One

The kids and I are back from our yearly vacation at the cottage. We started our cottage trip by making some extra stops along the way. We stopped at an antique store that we pass every year that I have always wanted to go into. They had lots of nice things but I walked out without anything. (I like to remind myself about this stop because is proves that I do have some self control!) A few years ago, we came across a great restaurant in Listowel and we stopped there to have lunch. We spent some time looking around the town and much to my children's disappointment, they couldn't talk me out of making my traditional shopping trip at the Spinrite outlet. I thought I did quite well at limiting my yarn buying and left with only one bag containing one ball of cotton and some Kroy sock yarn. The Mexicala Stripes is a bright, fun self striping yarn. Copper Colours is shades of copper and rusts, Camo Colours is shades of brown with a hint of blue, Cadet Colours is shades of blue, black and grey and Cascade Colours is shades of blue, green, black and brown.

The next stop was at a used book store that also sells pottery (the pottery was an added bonus that I wasn't aware of when I stopped). When I asked where the craft section was I was told it was in the back room. What I wasn't told was that I would literally have to climb over a motorcycle that was in storage to be able to look at the books that seemed to have been left there as an after thought. But it was worth it because I found this knitting book. The title "Modern Knitting" does make me laugh as the book is quite old. Unfortunately, there is no copyright date in it. This is a picture of a coloured snood. The caption under the picture reads "Practical and gay, the coloured snood will always find favour, especially with the woman who is growing her hair! It is so quickly and easily made you can have one to match every frock." As for the pottery, what can I say. I had a weak moment!

From here on I had to promise there would be no more stops until we arrived at the cottage. The rest of the drive was uneventful with just a quick stop at the grocery store. We spent the evening relaxing and going for a walk at sunset to the lighthouse. It was a good day.