Sunday, April 13, 2014

Colonnade Jacket

This sweater is going to drive me to drink!  Let me start from the beginning...
 
I love this sweater, the Colonnade Jacket from the Interweave Knits Summer 2013 issue:


I bought yarn for it at the end of November of 2013 and did a gauge swatch and have not did a thing with it until the end of March.
 
The yarn I bought is Berroco Vintage (50% Acrylic, 40% Wool, 10% Nylon) in a blue color called Cerulean, at my LYS Brandon Yarn Boutique.  It is so soft and has a heathered look to it, not completely solid in color.


Love It!!
 
Anyway, as you can see in the picture of the jacket, there is a lace on the entire front edge.  This pattern is written so that you knit side to side, so at the beginning and end of each row, you are knitting the lace pattern, with knit or purl sts in between.
 
This is where the drinking comes into play.
 
I wanted to challenge myself and read the pattern from the chart and not do words or a written out pattern.  Seems like an easy chart:


I mean, I have seen some pretty involved charts, and this one is easy.  WELL, it turns out my brain has not been wired to read charts.  I tried, really tried to get the hang of this.  I just could not successfully complete a pattern repeat through to the 10th row to save my life.  I would goof-up on something at some point.
 
I attempted this pattern on a gauge swatch, of course.  I'm crazy, but not that crazy to jump in on the project before getting the sts down pat on a practice swatch.


I grabbed leftover acrylic from my stash to practice.  The orange string is my lifeline.  Yes, a chart and a lifeline.  Two new techniques to me in this one project.  The object of the lifeline is that you have the string in your project at a point where you know that it is error free.  Like you are good up to that point and you mark where this point is.  You continue to knit and if you do make an error that you cannot fix, you can rip out your work down to the lifeline.  The lifeline has secured your row and you slip your needle in the stitches that the lifeline is holding.  Viola!  You do not have to rip the whole thing out and you just resume knitting from where you marked.
 
The use of the lifeline is critical in lace knitting.  There are yarn-overs (yo) and slip, slip knit (ssp) all over the place, where you would never be able to recreate that if you dropped a yo somewhere or whatever the error may be.
 
Once you get to a point, you insert a new lifeline and continue knitting.  I use two, so that when I am ready to place the 3rd one, I remove the bottom-most lifeline and use that same string again.  You remove it by simply pulling it out.
 
In the above picture with my practice swatch, just above the bottom repeat, there is an error.  A big boo-boo.  I had ripped out the whole thing multiple times and since I had not put the lifeline in at the start, I had to cast-on again and again and again.  Like I said, I was chart reading and really trying.
 
When I made that boo-boo, I just started back at row 1 and continued with my first lifeline.  It worked!  I had to rip back a few times to the lifeline in my practice swatch.  Well, at least that is what it is there for.
 
I continued with my practice swatch for a few more repeats and then bound off.  I wanted to graduate to my actual yarn that I will be knitting with and with the size needle I determined I would use.  Not bad, I have removed the lifelines, which I was gaining confidence on:


I can do this!!  Ok, so I cast-on for the project, ahem, 180 sts.  Jeepers, I hope we are good-to-go!!
 
I place my lifeline at Row 1, my first knitted row.  Good thing, because I messed up and ripped out... a few times at various rows.  I was getting a bit fed up with this.  So, I reverted back to the way I like to knit: with flashcards.
 
I write out each row on an index card in words or abbreviations.  I have one card where I mark what row I am on and where I have placed the lifeline.  This way, I am only looking at the very row I am knitting, not distracted by symbols or viewing the entire chart and losing my place and translating in my head what to do next.


Let me tell you, this has worked out SO much better!  I no longer feel the need to get drunk after knitting or requiring blood pressure medication.  I am using the lifeline as I go and I feel much better about the project now.


I'm not that very far along, but at least I actually want to keep working on it, rather than ditching it and looking for another project to knit with my boutique yarn.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Cookie Swap 2014

At the end of February, I hosted the Annual Cookie Swap.  This year marks the 11th year of me hosting or attending the Cookie Swap.  Wow!

This year's theme was a Valentine's Day one, where we had the baking challenge of incorporating a candy into our creations.  As always, all the cookies & bars were delish!

Here are some of the gals that were in attendance:


I like to refer to us as the "usual suspects", but in a good way!  There were Chris and her daughter Danielle, Myself in the purple, Sheri, Cathy & Crissta.  Other gals that were there were Vince's mom and his daughter Cris and Gen, a bowling buddy Kelly, Sheri's mom Shirley.  My friends brought their baby & toddler daughters to top it off: Ines, Keira & Vivien.

Let's show the cookies (I mean, isn't that what this was all about anyway?!):

Crissta baked Flourless Triple Chocolate Cookies with a Werther's Twist:

Werther's Originals
 

Cathy baked Heart My Heart Healthy Oatmeal Raisinets Cookies:
 
Raisinets

Chris baked Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies:

Butterscotch Chips
Cris baked Turtle Cookies:

Caramel Cubes

Gen made Candy Sushi:

Fruit Roll-Up, Swedish Fish, Gummy Sour Worms & Nerds

I made two things, first was Chocolate Cloud Cookies:

Junior Mints

Second was GF Minty Brownies:

Junior Mints
Sheri baked Starbursts Cookies:

Starbursts

Shirley baked Rootbeer Barrel Cookies:

Rootbeer Barrels
Lastly, Kelly baked Conversation Heart Brownie Cookies:

Conversation Hearts

My favorite was Crissta's Triple Chocolate Cookies.  The most creative were Gen's Candy Sushi.  She spent hours working on them, making rolls out of Rice Krispie mix. 


The girls played so well together.  They were a bit hopped up on all the sugar, but, hopefully they fell asleep in the car.  I know I was ready for a nap after the party.

If anyone is interested in the recipe's to these cookies, let me know, I will email them to you.

Any ideas for next year's theme??

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Knitting for Charity

It is that time of year where I am sewing and knitting for charity.  The company that I work for participates in the American Cancer Society, Relay For Life event each year.  We start fundraising in October, leading up to the event in April.

The way I have chosen to raise money is to do clothing mending, sewing challenges and knitting coffee cup cozies (or bottle cozies), however you want to use them.

I wrote previously about the coffee cup cozies in these posts:
I have knitted up about 20 or more of them and sold about 15 of them!  I started out knitting them sort of plain, with the self-striping yarns, to keep it simple.  Well, if you know me at all, then you know I can never keep something simple.  I started making cables and making them in sport team colors with horizontal stripes.

If you would like you very own, custom knitted cozy, please email me at moxiebrown25@yahoo.com.  The price of the cozies are $5, but if you are out-of-town, then $6 (to cover the cost of shipping).  You choose your color(s), style & size!

If you would like to donate to a great cause, please go to my Relay Homepage

Tampa Bay Rays
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Seattle Seahawks & Denver Broncos
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Pink & White Stripes
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Zebra for Carcinoid Cancer
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Ministripes for Small Cups
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Mini Cables in a Solid Color
 
I'm having a great time knitting these up.  They are great on your coffee cup, water bottle or glass bottle!  Let me know what you like!!  Help support a great cause!
 
Thank you to those that have supported me and bought a cozy already! :-)


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Arm-Knitting

Yup, Arm-Knitting!

I made an arm-knitted infinity scarf for my friend for her birthday.  Vince's daughter showed me a YouTube video of arm-knitting and I was like, "Huh?  I need to try that!"
 
The tutorial I like is this one:  Vicki Howell
 
You need at least 2 skeins of bulky or super bulky yarn.  You can also use multiple strands (about 4) of worsted weight yarn.
 
In my project I used 2 skeins of Vicki Howell's Sheepish Stripes in Punk(ish) and 1 skein of Red Heart Boutique Sashay in Boogie.

Sheepish

Sashay
 
As you can see, I have a purple theme going on here.  I bought the Sheepish yarn but I had the Sashay in my stash.  The Sashay you are supposed to make this ruffle scarf with, but I never got around to it.  This project is perfect for it.
 
Basically, with arm-knitting you are using your arms as the knitting needles.  This creates a very large gauge knitted item.  The concept is the same as knitting, really!  I had to watch the video a few times and practice the cast-on and did a few rows, then I took it out and started "for-real."


I am in the midst of doing it above.  See how large the gauge is?!  It's huge! 


Above is the knit side.  Below is the purl side.



The green you see in there is the Sheepish self-striping yarn.  It has the purple and green in there.  Love it!

Here it is finished.


You can also double it.


And, of course, me wearing it (got to try it out before you give it away!


Very Cozy!!

I'm also knitting these for Relay for Life (in addition to the Coffee Cup Cozies).  I will post more about it in my next post.  Clearly, everyone will want one! :-)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Ruby Shoulders

Our work holiday party was this month, January.  My friend gifted me a cute maroon velvet skirt and black sequins tank top.  I want to wear this to the holiday party.  I know that the air conditioning will be on or the night air may be cool.  I wanted to knit up the Sidhe Shrug from Vampire Knits pattern book.  I wrote about my challenge in this post as #2:
My challenge is to knit my way through that book.  I love that book!  Anyway, I went to the yarn shop to get yarn for this project, but giving the fact that I was only just starting the week of Christmas, it was unlikely that I would knit a lacy long-sleeved shrug in a few weeks.

Instead, I bought a unique hank of yarn that is a combo of several different novelty yarns tied end-to end to make this one hank.


This is Alp Dazzle (Mixed Content), hand tied yarn by Feza yarns.  This yarn is made in Turkey.  This is not cheap yarn, but since one skein will make one decent sized shawl, I bought it.  I figured, the outfit was free, my shoes were free (had credit at the store, so no money spent), so, to spend money on this yarn, I felt okay with it.

Vince was a good sport and held the yarn while I balled it up.  The shop owner told me that the ball winder does not do a good job winding this yarn.  I will take her word for it and just ball it.  Even though Vince was not convinced that it could not be wound on the winder. 

I am using size 13 circ needles.  The pattern is simply, cast-on 20 stitches (if you want a triangle point, only cast-on 3 sts.  Knit each row (garter).  At the beginning of each row, increase by 1 (Make 1).  The shawl will grow and grow.  Knit until you run out of yarn.  Simple!


I started it as a rounded edge and I did not like it.  I unraveled it and made it a triangle.  It is very eclectic.  I did this much watching movies with Vince one evening.  I needed an easy project that would work up fast.  


This is the completed shawl.  It self-stripes, you just knit and it does all the work!


 A few samples of how different, but alike each yarn type is.  Comes out very elegant.


Here is me at the holiday party, trying to be a model...I really should not quit my day job...


~~~
 
 
~~~
 
 
 
The shawl was a big hit and it came in handy under the chilly weather we have been having.  Thank you, Crystal, for a super-cute outfit.  That was a big hit, too! 


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Cabled Cardi KAL - Finished!

Happy New Year!
 
I am so relieved to be posting this project as a Finished Project!!  This is my Cabled Cardi Knit-Along with my sister.  We started this project back in March of 2013.  Which isn't a terribly long time when you talk unfinished projects, but I am still feeling a sense of accomplishment.
 
Here are my past posts related to this so that you can catch-up:
I visited my sister in Massachusetts in December for my "Holiday Break" and brought this sweater.  What I still had to do on this was finish the cabling on the body and pick-up and knit along the edge for the ribbing and button holes and knit the sleeves.  Yeah, still a lot!


Here is where I left off.  I really need to knit more than a foot of cables.  The original pattern called for knit stitches every other, so a cable, knit, cable, knit...I did not properly read the pattern and so cabled each one.  Good grief!  I wanted to rip it out, but my sister said that it should be fine.  So, I continued.
 
I then picked up stitches to do ribbing and buttonholes along the inner body edge.  I had a too-short circ needle, but used it anyway.  This really was a challenge because my knitter's elbow was bothering me because of the cumbersome nature of squeezing it all on and holding it.


I know, like what is that picture??  Exactly, but I was able to pick-up the exact number of stitches required to do a k2, p2 ribbing evenly along the edge.  Whoa, go Me!
 
The ribbing is about 12 or so rows, so at row 6 you need to do a button hole.  From trying on my sister's completed sweater, we both agreed that more buttons would be better.  I knit in 4 buttonholes.  I also reduced the hole from a 3 st to a 2 st hole.  The holes will stretch, I know this from past experience.


Once the ribbing was completed, I have 4 buttonholes.  They are not exactly evenly spaced, but good enough.  The top and the second are a bit off, I think, but no one will notice. Shhh!


Next was the sleeves.  The sleeves were left as live stitches so that they just simply go back on the needle and you knit.  I did have to pick-up a few stitches in the armpit.  The pattern instructions were confusing to me, so I did my own thing.  I have picked-up stitches before, ahem, I just did it for the ribbing, so no problem.  I looked at how many stitches I was going to need for my cable repeat in the round.  Once I figured that out, that was the number I needed on my needle.


I decided to make this a short-sleeved cardi, so that it is Florida friendly.  We are talking 100% wool this sweater is made out of.  No joke, it will keep you toasty through cold times, but I don't need that kind of warmth, typically, around here.  Layering is popular in Florida, so short-sleeves is just right.


My sister gave me 4 green buttons (no pun intended - the original pattern name was Mr. Greenjeans). 
 
I don't see us doing many more KALs (Knit-Alongs) because she will knit me in circles, like she did with this one.  But, maybe there will be times where we knit or crochet the same sweater or accessory.  That will be when I showcase our projects together.
 
I was toying with the idea of dying this cardi.  The natural color is really not in my color pallete and maybe something in blue or pink would be nice.  I heard that you can dye in  Kool-Aid.  Hmmm....

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Ice Cream Cozies

For the ladies at work, I wanted to knit them all an ice cream cozy.  I had previously knitted one and gave to my friend and she loved it!  Here is that post:
I have 6 ladies at work and I assume they all love ice cream.  Perfect!  I started out by buying a bunch a different, vibrant colors of yarn at Joann's:

 
I chose Deborah Norville's Everyday Soft Worsted (100% Acrylic).  The colors I went with were, clock-wise from top:
  • Electric Green
  • Aubergine (Purple)
  • Baby Yellow
  • Wild Blue
  • Neon Pink
  • Snow White
Here are the finished cozies:

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Once I was done knitting those, I decided to make 2 more, one each for Vince's daughters:
 
 
 
When I gave my work friends their cozy, I also had a cooler full of pints of Ben & Jerry's ice cream.  They each got to pick out their flavor.  I will do the same for Vince's daughters.
 
I do still owe the friend I originally knitted one up for at least one more.  She has two daughters, so, I will probably knit up two more.  These make the best gifts!
 
What is your favorite Ben & Jerry's ice cream??  Share your thoughts in the comments!
 
Mine is Chunky Monkey (Phish Food is a close second) :-)