Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Post Olympics

I've accomplished my goals for the Knitting Olympics. By the end of the closing ceremonies, I had a total of 18 hats...2 over my goal of 16. It wasn't easy because I'm just not a one-project-at-a-time gal. It was really difficult to resist all temptations of new projects. I did give in once and finished a pair of socks...I only had the ribbing to knit!

I thought I might post pics of the individual hats but I'm a really bad photographer. You have no idea how long and how many pictures I had to take before I got anything decent enough to post here. For me to take 18 GOOD pictures is nearly impossible so I won't bother...

If you've been over at Twisted By Choice, you've already seen this pic...my apologies.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Random cuteness

I came across this site today...Pencils and Papers. I thought the cards were too cute. It turns out she's a local artist and I know her mom! Talk about a small world. I ordered a dozen cards. I would have ordered even if I didn't know her mom. How can you resist Stuffed Bear, passed out from eating too much chocolate cake?

I'm going to suggest that she make some sheep cards.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Basic Hat Pattern

So far, all the hats are made from top down.

Using the Emily Ocker method, cast on 8 stitches. I didn't bother with a crochet hook and knit them directly on my circulars.

Round 1: Knit
Round 2: *K1, M1* repeat to end of round.
Round 3: Knit
Repeat the two rows but instead of K1 on the next round, you K2, etc. until hat is the right circumferenc. Knit plain until hat is long enough. Rib 2X2 for about 2" (or however long you want your ribbing).

Bind off prep row: K2, YO, P2, YO, etc to end.
Bind off: K2, pass 1st stitch over, slip YO, pass 2nd stitch over, etc. I like this bind-off because it gives me a nice stretchy bind-off without changing to larger needles.

Edited to add: The bind-off is done like a regular bind-off except for the yarn overs. They are not knitted but slipped and the previous stitch is passed over. This is a great bind-off for toe up socks.

That's basically the HAT. You can change colours anytime, do different colour patterns, stitch patterns, etc.

I like to cast on 8 because the subsequent increases will give me just the right number for 2x2 ribbing. I don't have to count and keep track of my increases this way.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

A bit of wool

This followed me home today. I went through my stash and decided I needed more wool for the hats. At the LYS, I found Patons 100% wool. I've never used Patons product before. I was really surprised by the softness of the wool! And it was really quite affordable! I know a lot of people say they're on a limited yarn budget and can't afford good yarn but there are good quality affordable yarns out there. This didn't cost any more than the craft acrylic stuff one finds at Michael's.

This one is going back to the LYS. I think some of the Phentax was mixed up with the Patons balls. They were the same size and I just picked colours. 100% acrylic! It's going back! It hurts my hands just thinking about it!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Day of Rest

Today is truly Day Ate. I've been eating all day. It's someone's 65th birthday so there was cake. A big monster size CHOCOLATE cake! And then the lunch. And then the afternoon meeting and someone brought delicious homemade CHOCOLATE muffins! And my boss is back and gave out big Purdy's CHOCOLATE hearts! I'm a chocoholic. I can eat styrofoam if it's covered with chocolate...especially DARK chocolate.

9 hats finished. Tonight I will treat myself to a break and work on some other fibre project. Just a little one...I promise! I'm going to finish the ribbing of my Forever socks (aka Chevron socks). Even ribbing was exciting to do after a week of hat knitting.

I'm eagerly waiting the arrival of my new rosewood needles. I've never tried these before but have heard good things about them. I'm intrigued by the black cord. The claim is that the cord doesn't coil up like other circulars. I'm game to try anything at least once.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Day Six

Day Six and 7 finished hats. There was a false start and some frogging was needed. Hat 8 is back on track and on the homestretch with just the ribbing to finish up. I'm hoping to gain back my lead this weekend with some power knitting.

Unfortunately, a box came today with the rest of my Kidsilk Haze yarn order. There is nothing on this earth like this stuff! I'm having a difficult time not casting on a new project.

I guess you can tell I found a Candy Heart maker. These things are lots of fun!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Olympic Knitting - Day Three

It's coming to the end of Day Three here in BC. It's been an exciting 3 days here, with watching the Canadian Women's Hockey games and speed skating.

I've outdid myself and accomplished 6 (count them!) hats!! I know once the work week starts, I may not have enough time to knit so this weekend was devoted to hat knitting.

While I'm off to a pretty decent start, I hope I haven't peeked too soon. That's still another 10 hats in 13 days to go. As in any long distance sport, I must remember to pace myself.

I've been using up some of my hand-dyed handspun yarns. It's been fun taking the small skeins and matching them up in different colour combinations. The non-handspun hats are brighter but the handspun hats are definitely much softer. I still have to weave all the loose ends in and block. Maybe I'll do that tonight to give my hands a break.

Mr. Olympic Knitter has been very supportive. He offered to drive me up to the yarn shop yesterday. He wanted to make sure I had enough yarn! LOL!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Olympic Knitting - Day One!

On Friday when all the other Olympic Knitters were casting on, I was dealing with a crisis at work. A capital "M"-Major crisis. I snuck out to the bathroom and quickly casted on my first hat. Thank goodness I decided to start with something simple. Cast on 6 stitches and knit top down. Round & round, change colours once, and rib to the end. I knitted on the way on on the train. We ordered out for food and I kept knitting. Hat One is done!

Hat Two is well on its way to completion. Dare I hope to do two hats today?

Jennifer Heil won a gold medal in the Women's Mogul! A proud moment for the Other Team Canada!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Team Canada

After looking over the list of projects other knitters are doing, I want to change my mind - over and over again. It's easy to be tempted by this shawl or that sweater pattern. So many things that I want to knit. But I feel obligated to stick with my original plan. I always come back to the hats. I think it's because I believe in the Duulan project.

I just started a bag for the vessel project for the guild today. I have one more day to finish this so I can concentrate on the hats. I'm not sure I can do this. It's not going to be easy sticking with just one thing.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Knitting Olympics

I love the idea of Yarn Harlot's Knitting Olypmics. There are more participants signed up for this than the actual Olympics! I don't think she had any idea that it would become so huge. Almost every knitting (and a few non-kniiting) blog that I've visited this past couple of weeks has a mention of this Knitting Olympics.

On Friday, Feb 10th, during the opening ceremonies, over 2500 (and counting) knitters from all over the world will be casting on and knitting their Olympic challenge. Wow! Mindboggling and exciting!

I'm going to knit 16 hats...one a day...for the Duulan project. Knitting hats is not a challenge for me but knitting 16 hats and nothing but for that timeframe will probably kill me. I have the attention span of a gnat. It's going to hard not be distracted, considering that I have several projects on the go right now. I have the polworth that I'm currently spinning into laceweight. There's the freshly cleaned Gotland fleece just waiting to be carded and spun. And the biggest temptation of all arrived in the mail today - a box of Kidsilk Haze ready to be knitted into scarves and shawls. But I'm excited. I went through my yarn stash and pulled out stuff that would be appropriate. This Wed, I'm going to the LYS and MAKE SURE I have enough yarn to last me.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Gotland 2006

Despite the blue skies and sunshine today, it was still a bit damp and chilly out. I decided to be lazy and wash the fleece indoors. Just didn't want to spend the time cleaning winter debris accumlated in the outside laundry tub. That's a job for REAL springtime.

The Gotland was dumped out on the kitchen floor and sorted into little piles. Surprisingly, there was very little VM. Nothing like my first Gotland (thorns and dead beetles). But there was a lot of second cuts. And badly sheared bits. This little lambie didn't want a haircut!

I can see how Gotland will felt if you just look at it wrong. The lock formation is not as good as some of the other fleece I've processed. You can carefully separate them but the cut side is very very soft and loose.

The tub I used is not as big as my outside tub so the fleece was washed in two batches. Mesh lingerie bags are wonderful and only cost a $1.00 at the Dollar store.

A good hot soak with Sunlight dish soap. I know a lot of people like Dawn or Orvus paste. I don't care for the scent of Dawn and I'm not sure how I feel about Orvus paste yet. As a natural soapmaker, it's a tough habit to not be wary of anything mostly sodium laurel sulfate. Strangely, I've been told that suds are not what you want for washing fleece but SLS is used as a sudsing agent in detergents. Sunlight works for me and I'm happy with the results.

After the initial soak in the tub, I transferred the fleece to the washing machine - no aggitation! I didn't want to chance clogging up our drains with lanolin. Don't think that would be appreciated by the Hubby-person. Two rinses - the first rinse with vinegar and the second with plain water.

The fleece dried quickly. I cheated by placing the rack near the fireplace. It was checked often to make sure it didn't dry too quickly. The silver and grey came through beautifully! Some of the tips were still dirty so I'll separate them and wash again.

I'm really looking forward to working with this fleece.