knitting, that's it. and "Hi Mom"

knit and art. knit and art. knit and art.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

December 28, 2005

I'm in Manhattan Kansas right now visiting my oldest daughter and my first grand daughter. Pictures will have to wait until I get home (all the software to upload photos from my camera is at home).
There's a wonderful yarn store here called Wildflowers that I've been visiting. Its owned by a knitting designer (will have to look her name up later). I had quite fun when I went in there on Saturday. I picked up yarn for a sweater project to do up here: Adriane Vittadini's Nadia in gray; a heavy worsted very plushy alpaca in a soft pinky/coral; Noro's blossom in a pink/lt brown/teal; and montera (soft llama: my favorite yarn of all time) in a deep charcoal (combining these with some that I brought from home). The sweater is nearly finished (yeah....i'm a fast knitter, either that or i'm obsessed). I have knit the front and back and am half way up both sleeves. When I'm finished with those, I'll seam the sleeves onto the sweater body and then pick up stitches for the neckline. Pictures to follow. There's lots of visual texture in this sweater both from the color changes of the yarns (I love combining different yarns, especially when they are this luxurious)and the ebb and flow of the stitch pattern. I'm doing a variation of a pattern 497 in Gedifra's pattern book no. 32.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Free Patterns: Charity's scarf, + 2 scarves

(I found my camera yesterday while was hiding under a bag of yarn).

The first scarf is for Angela. It was done lengthwise, in a seed stitch (not for looks, but to keep it flat). Around what I perceived the middle (lengthwise), on one end - about 6 stitches in, I made a keyhole (large buttonhole) opening by binding off nine stitches, then completing the row, next row, work in seed up to bound off area; turn work; provisionally cast on 9 stitches; turn work, and complete previous row; turn, resume seed stitch working cast on stitches into pattern. Make sure that your initial cast on row and your final bound off row are done on larger needles so that they do not pull on the work.

The second scarf is for Beverly. It is done in Moda Dea's Eden (very soft yarn). Its a simple open lace stitch (k1, yo, ssk, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, complete row in pattern)(next row: ssk, k2 tog, yo, k1, yo, complete row in pattern). The first 3 inches and the last 3 inches of the scarf are done in garter stitch with a keyhole opening on one side: (when desired length in pattern is complete, change to garter stitch, work one knit row. next row: knit 1/2 the stitches, placing second half on stitch holder. work approximately 2 inches in garter on one side. break yarn. transfer to stitch holder. place held stitches on needle, reattaching yarn, work same number of rows as first side. transfer held stitches back onto needle and work 3 more knit rows. bind off.
for fringe: make 5-6 inch long pieces by wrapping around an index card crosswise (the short side). cut on one side. you'll need a good size pile of pieces. take two pieces and attach to scarf on the lengthwise side using a crochet hook. Attach 2 pieces every 1/2 inch down the length of the scarf. Using a straight edge, cut attached pieces to approximately 2 1/4 inch (to neaten edge).

The third scarf is for my special friend Charity, who is teaching me to turn to God in the insanity of my life right now, and has given me through her counsel, a strong sense of direction so that i can navigate through all of the turns in life without getting off her scarf had to be special.

Charity's Scarf
materials: size 7 needles, size 7 short dpn's (for icord and cabling); one skein Nature Wool (Aracunia - or however its spelled) in the cream color.

Make 8 3-stitch I cords, 20 inches long each, using a waste-yarn cast on. At end, break yarn, but do not bind off - just hold on stitch holder.

Thread 4 of the I-cords onto size 7 needles in the following manner: Thread 3 stitches at top of first I cord onto needle, grab the other end of the eye cord - carefully pull out waste yarn and transfer the 3 stitches onto the needle behind the first 3. Put 3 more I cords onto the needle in same manner. 24 stitches total.
Attach yarn.
(Set up for cable pattern)
Row 1: In front of first stitch, provisionally cast on 1 stitch. Knit across all stitches to the end. Turn.
Row 2: Provisonally cast on 1 stitch. K1, {P5, pf/b} 3 times; p6, k1. 29 stitches total.
Row 3: Kf/b of first stitch, yo; {k5,kf/b,pf/b} 3 times; k6,yo, kf/b. 39 stitches total.
Row 4: {k3, p6} 4 times; end k3.

Cable pattern:
Row 1: ssk, yo, p1; {place 3 stitches on cable needle or short dpn, hold in front, knit 3 stitches on right hand needle, then knit 3 stitches on dpn; P3}3 times; end place 3 stitches on cable needle or short dpn, hold in front, knit 3 stitches on right hand needle, then knit 3 stitches on dpn; p1, yo, k2tog.
Row 2: {k3, p6} 4 times; end k3
Row 3: ssk, yo, p1; {k6, p3) 3 times; end p1, yo, k2tog
Row 4: {k3, p6} 4 times; end k3
Row 5: same as row 3
Row 6: same as row 4
Row 7: same as row 3
Row 8: same as row 4

(repeat rows 1 to 8 Eight more times);
then do row 1 through 4
Knit one row.
Place all stitches on holder.

Repeat entire set up section and cable section with 4 remaining i cords.

Join two scarf sections in middle using Kitchener stitch.
to block: steam gently.
Sew in all loose ends. Knot eye cords at each end of scarf to form 4 overhand knots across.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Recipe: Cranberry Hazelnut Biscotti camera is still missing!!!! Its hiding somewhere around here.....and do you want to know why?????? Because last week, instead of knitting, I actually DID housework. I remember....I think....picking up the camera and putting it somewhere. Thus, strong reason for the title of this blog: knitting instead of housework. If I had been knitting, I wouldn't have lost my camera.

(my house is picked up, though; and the laundry is done; and I made cranberry and roasted hazelnut biscotti yesterday.....and cleaned the kitchen afterwards.)

Cranberry and Hazelnut Biscotti
(adaption from recipe originally found at Epicurious).

3 cups sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp.
4 large eggs
4 tsps FRESH grated orange peel (not the dried stuff)
2 tsps baking soda
1 tsp salt
6 cups bread flour or all-purpose
2 1/2 cups hazelnuts, toasted, husked, coarsely chopped
1 3/4 cups dried cranberries (about one and a half bags of Craisins brand)
2 bars Godiva bittersweet (60% cocoa) chocolate (the large bars used for baking) or any bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

Oven preheat to 325.
Using handheld electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in a large bowl until well blended. Beat in eggs 1 at a time just until blended. Mix in orange peel, baking soda and salt. Add 3 cups flour, hazelnuts and cranberries; stir until well blended (may need to do by hand depending on power of electric mixer). Add 2 to 3 cups flour (one cup at a time) stirring until well blended.
Transfer dough to floured work surface. Dough should be crumbly and difficult, but not so dry that it is impossible. Divide dought into 4 equal parts. Knead each piece until dough holds together. Form each piece into 9inch by 2 1/2 to 3 inch wide logs. Pound logs as you form them to make sure there are no internal cracks inside the logs. Form them as smoothly as possible - this step does take some physical exertion.
Place 2 logs on each of 2 large ungreased baking sheets, spacing about 3 inches apart (logs will spread during baking). Bake 55-60 minutes. Logs should not be doughy. Poke center of log with knife to see if it comes out clean. Remove logs from oven (leave oven ON) to cool for exactly 15 minutes.
Carefully remove logs from baking sheets, supporting their undersides with a long spatula (so they don't crack in center) and transfer to cutting surface. With electric bread knife (or serrated knife, slice the logs crosswise (across their width) every 1/2 inch. Place slices cut side down back on cookie sheets. Bake for 10-15 minutes and then flip to other side and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes. Slices should be LIGHTLY browned and not appear doughy at all. Remove from oven and transfer slices to cooling racks.
After biscotti has cooled: place back on cookie sheets, cut side down, as closely together as possible.
place broken chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Melt on MEDIUM power for 30-45 seconds. Stir well. Melt again on medium power for 15-30 seconds more. Stir well (continue in small increments until chocolate is melted....should not take long. do not overmelt). Spoon chocolate into a squirt bottle or paper cone (used for cake decorating) and in quick-long diagonal strokes over the entire cookie sheet, drizzle the chocoate to form diagonal lines over the facing side of the biscotti. Repeat drizzling in opposite diagonal as well.
Store in air tight container. May be frozen. Serve with beverage for dunking.

Back to my knitting now...

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Free Pattern: Butterfly Cocoon Capelet

I finished my little capelet for myself and love it! I think that I NEEDED to stop all the Christmas scarf knitting and do something self-gratifying. It gives me incentive to get the Christmas knitting done so I can do some more creative work.

This piece was a joy to make:

Butterfly Cocoon Capelet

6 to 8 different yarns. textures, multi-colors, solids
(I used sari recycled silk, softee, manos de uraguay (or whatever it was called). , etc.)
1 skein brown sheep worsted weight in color of choice
size 15 needles and size 8 circular (length appropriate to your body. I used 24")

Using both size 15 needles, and long tail method, cast on 33 stitches.

Stitch Pattern:
row 1: k1, [k1, yo, k1, yo, k1, ssk, k2tog] repeat 3 times, end K4
row 2: and all even rows, p
row 3: repeat row 1
row 5: repeat row 1
row 7: k2, [ssk, k2 tog, k1, yo, k1, yo, k1] repeat 3 times, end k3
row 9: repeat row 7
row 11: repeat row 7

repeat rows 1-11 until piece measures circumference around body/arms @ chest.

(notes on stitch pattern: don't fret the pattern. just knit. Make sure that you always have 33 stitches on your needle at the end of your rows. Its easy to get off pattern because sometimes its difficult to see your stitches, especially when working with double yarn. I wanted a loose fabric without a definitive pattern. The holes are there so the color of whatever is worn under the capelet will come through as an additional color to the pallette. Work the yarns randomly. Only change yarns on one side so that all the loose ends can be worked in at the top of the capelet and hidden then under the shoulder band. I changed yarns onlly on odd numbered rows. Seek balance and not perfection in this process. It all works beautifully together when you add the cable and shoulder band.

with brown sheep and size 8 needles: cast on 18 (long tail method with both needles held together in one hand).
Row 1: p2, k6, p2, k6, p2
Row 2: k2, p6, k2, p6, k2
Row 3: p2, cable left 3 sts, p2, cable Right 3 sts
Row 4: k2, p6, k2, p6, k2
Row 5: p2, k6, p2, k6, p2
Row 6: k2, p6, k2, p6, k2

Repeat rows 1-6 until 4 to 5 inches shorter than length of capelet body piece. Now divide cable: Turn
p2, k5, k2tog, ssk, k5, p2
p6, k2 Turn
place remainging sts on separate holder
continue in cable pattern until same length as body.

Finish other cable:
k6, p2; turn; k2, p6 etc)

Starting at top (where all the new yarn joins are) of capelet body piece, seam each body piece selvage to cable, making body piece now into a tube (instead of flat piece).

Sew in all loose tails.

Along top of capelet, using size 8 circular needles, pick up stitches for shoulder band: approximately 2 per every row on body piece. The amount of sts picked up will vary according to how big the diameter of your capelet is. You do not want the sts to either pull or gather the body fabric. Knit one row around capelet. Next: work in a 3 x 3 rib (k3, p3) around garment for 1 1/2 to 2 inches. BO IN RIB PATTERN (Very important for stretch).

Let me know if you have any feedback on this pattern. I am attempting to write out my pieces (as oppossed to just knitting until it looks right) so that I can share my ideas. I welcome any feedback or questions so that I can refine my pattern writing skills. Thank you!!!!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Dec 06.05

....and what am I doing instead of housework or knitting Christmas gifts????? I'm making me a wrap! Lots of luscious color and texture in this piece. It will be a round tube constructed stole with a strong rib on the shoulder side to grip the shoulders and a cable that runs bottom to top. I'll post its finished photo along with the pattern as soon as I'm finished......which should be today since I have zErO motivation for housework or knitting that I should be doing.

btw: my foot hurts. its in a cast so that's really what's zapping all my motivation. I haven't had one pain free day since the accident Oct. 3rd. And yesterday, my doctor told me that I need to see an orthopedic surgeon now (2 months into the healing process). This summer, I decided that I wanted to learn to ride a motorcycle - some vain attempt at proving to myself that I'm not getting old and decrepid.....also, the gas prices were preventing me from getting to my knitting group of friends way way on the other side of town. I wanted to learn to ride a motorcycle so I could afford to go to the knitting group. Do you see how dangerous knitting can be???? BE CAREFUL PEOPLE!

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