So far this year, I've knitted

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Summertime Fingers and Toes.

I am such a girl.

One of the few things I like about summer is pedicures. Remember, I am the one who hates summers -- heat, bugs, sweat, allergies, and of course, the heat (maybe I already mentioned that, but it needs to be repeated).  I love my hand-knitted socks but I rarely wear them in the summer.

I have this wonderful sundress full of sunflowers, so I had to have toes to match. These are my toes against the print and you can see they turned out great. I almost feel like I am dancing through a sunflower field with such abandonment that you can hear the flutes playing in the background, see little bunnies waving at me beside the path, and birdies scoop down to drape a delicate shawl around my shoulders. The image falls apart when I starting sneezing, sweating, and wheezing with a fog of pollen surrounding me. I rush back into the house to down a glass of wine. Alas.

And while getting my toes done, I get my nails done. This is my tribute to my little black kitty Neko, also known as Hannibal Lector. And this little kitty doesn't even want to scratch or bite me. I did show them to Neko; he just hissed at them.  Well, maybe he was hissing at acetone-scented nails pushed in his face.

Painted fingers and toes are a passing fancy for just a few weeks until a whim changes them again.

Well, I have a day with no plans, so back to the needles.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Making Peace with Cables

I don't know what it is, but I am not crazy about doing cables. I will do them if I really like the pattern but if I see a sweater with cables, I just glaze over it and go onto the next pattern. Don't get me wrong. When I make cables, they are beautiful. But then ...

Maybe it is because cables are very time-consuming. I am a fast knitter and this pattern is not fast. Normally, I can knock a couple of hats in a weekend but a pattern with cables take much, much longer.

So then why would I do a pattern that requires me to do an entire row of cables every four stitches, every other row?  Because I just love this hat. I did more cables in the week I did this hat than I have probably done my entire knitting life (of over 55 years!). But it is very repetitive which makes it a great pattern for putting in my purse and taking it with me. The only problem is I kept losing my cable needle! It has a wonderful fit and just a great slouch. The pattern is in the Interweave Knits, Summer 2014, and it is called the Nautilus Hat. The cable looks more like a rib and makes the hat very study.

I liked how this hat turned out so much that I will probably do it again in another color. So I am making my peace with cables and giving those cabled patterns a more lingering look in the future.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

My Passion -- Lace Knitting

I get most of my knitting books at the library. Our local library carries just about every new knitting book and even though I might have to wait a few weeks to get my turn at it, I get three luscious weeks to explore the patterns in the book. So when I saw a new book entitled "New Vintage Lace," I put a hold on it, and checked my email every day to see if it was my turn.

So when I got the book, I looked at it for one day and then took it back to the library. That's because I went to my local yarn store and purchased it. There were just too many patterns in the book that I have  to make that three weeks just wanted enough time. It is a very worthwhile purchase.

My first project was a shawlette called the Blue Dahlia. I made it without the beads in a wonderful alpaca lace yarn. It is one of those patterns you have to follow every row practically stitch by stitch, and mark the row when you finish (I use a sticky note).

So I spend an entire week in my easy chair, enjoying the air-conditioning, and worked on my bright blue shawl. I didn't even want to stop to eat or sleep, it was so much fun.

So come, on cold weather! I want to wear my scarf to work and be the height of fashion!

Until then, back to the needles.

Friday, July 18, 2014

What I Have Been Doing on Summer Vacation

First of all, I work full time at a new job, so I don't get a summer vacation. Kids are so lucky.

I have been knitting this summer, but not writing. Summers are not my favorite time of year, so I consider myself successful that I am doing anything. So over the next few days, I will post what I have been doing on summer vacation. And just a teaser, I am going to post another free pattern for a scarf I am working on.

I knitted this cute little hat which is just for looks. It will not keep you warm but it is adorable to put over your head on bad hair days. However, if your bad hair day is when the temperature is over 90 degrees, it will probably not be comfortable anyway. Just live with the bad hair day.

This pattern is the Ravine Hat from Classic Woolly Toppers by one of the most creative hat designers around - Woolly Wormhead. I am sure she/he has a real name, but I wasn't able to find it. But if you like to knit hats, this is must! Of the ten hats in this book, I want to make at least seven of them, including the one on the cover. I have been wanting to make a newsboy hat for awhile, but the patterns have all been crocheted. This is on my to-do Although I do crochet, I just prefer to knit.

Stay tuned. Most projects to come!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

That Darn Cat! Blocking with a cat in the house

I guess it's my own fault, but I am so mad at my cat!

I rumbled around in my craft room to look for some needles that I really, really wanted to use and found this sweater nearly done. So in my scattered brain, I decided it was time to finish this sweater instead of starting the next one.  The good news is that these were the needles I was looking for, so I would be killing two birds with one needles -- or rather two needles with one sweater.

It only took one evening to finish the knitting on the sweater.  I usually print out the pattern that I am using to include with the knitting as well as note in my knitting journal all the details (i.e., needle size, yarn, pattern). Therefore it was easy to pick where I left off. It is not unusual for me to work on several projects at once. I guess I am easily distracted by pretty yarns and colors.

So last night, I laid the sweater out with the plans prior to blocking. I spent a good hour on my knees (not easy at my age) soaking, pinning, and shaping, and I am very pleased with the outcome. Why didn't I finish this sweater last fall when I did most of the knitting?  I left it laid out and went to bed.

So this morning, I got up to get ready for work. I should have known better than to leave the sweater laid out so nicely. In the night, my psychotic little black cat decided it needed the usual amount of cat hair deposited on it.  Now, I can live with that. Most of my clothes (my bedding, my carpet, my towels, my dishes) have cat hair on it. But I guess this sweater needed some Neko's extra attention. He had thrown up on it.  Now in the middle of the sweater is a large brown pile of half-digested cat food. (No, I did not take a picture of that so you can stop looking for it.)

He actually seemed rather proud of himself too.
Bet you didn't know a cat
could laugh.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Broken Rib Socks

I still have to do a pair of socks every now and then. Besides, socks are the best travelling project. Ken and I just took a long weekend to Albuquerque, and I knitted all the way down and all the way back. I finished the blue pair and started the red pair. I am making these socks for a friend of mine who says she is addicted to socks. She doesn't knit, so I am going to send these to her. Just don't tell her, okay?

The pattern is basically the same as the Skylah Lace Panel Socks (April 4, 2014) with just the lace replaced with the rib pattern.  One of the nice things about this rib pattern is that you can continue it to the top of the leg without having to do a cuff.  The rib also gives the socks a nice snug fit without bagging or being too tight. 

This is also a good pattern for men's socks because it is not 'too fancy' -- as my son says -- especially it is done in a solid color.    

Peggy's Broken Rib Socks 

  • 100 Grams of Sock Yarn.  I used Plymouth Yarn Diversity
    US #2/2.75mm circular needles or double-pointed needles (I do the double-pointed thing only because I have been knitting socks forever and am pretty fast on my DPNs. However use any method that you are comfortable with.)
  • Stitch marker
  • Yarn needle
Knitting Gauge: 7 - 8 sts = 1"
SIZE: One size will fit an average adult foot. 

Cast on 28 stitches, using your favorite cast on method for socks. I use the magic cast-on because the tip of the toe looks so flawless.  You can watch this method on YouTube. There are several demonstrations, such as:

Round 1: Knit.
Round 2: On needle 1, knit 1, knit in the front and back of the next stitch. Knit to the last two stitches on the needle. Knit in the front and back of the next stitch, knit 1. Repeat on needle 2. 
Round 3: Knit. If using DPNs, knit the stitches on Needle 1.  Knit 8 stitches on Needle 2. Add a third needle and knit the remaining 8 stitches.
Round 4: If using DPNs, on Needle 1, knit 2, m1R, knit across to last 2 stitches. M1L, K2. On needle 2, knit 2, m1R, knit across. On needle 3, knit across to last 2 stitches. M1L, K2.
If using circular needles, k2, m1R, k across needle, until 2 stitches remain, m1L, k2. Repeat on second needle.

Repeat rounds 3 and 4 until you have a total of 24 stitches on Needle 1.

Next Round: Knit 2, place marker. Knit to last two stitches, place marker, K2. Knit the rest of the round.

Continue these two rounds, increasing 1 stitch on each side until you have a total of 60 stitches total.

Yes, I will finish the second sock,
but I have to start a sweater first.

 Begin Rib Panel
Working on the 30 stitches on top of the sock, work the rib pattern, continuing stockinette stitch on the sole of the sock.

Rib Panel


Round 1 (over 5 stitches) – P1, k3, p1
Round 2 – P1, k1, p1, k1, p1.

Continue the rib pattern until the sock measures from the toe is 2½” less than the total length of your foot.


While continuing the rib pattern, knit across instep stitches, and then increase one stitch on each side on the sole stitches. Increase stitches every other row until you have increased 10 stitches on each side of the sole.

Turn the Heel:

You will now work only on the sole part of the sock, leaving the instep stitches with the rib panel along for now. Begin on a knit side.
Row 1: Slip the first stitch, k 8. *K1, sl1 purlwise* five times, SSK, k1, turn.
Row 2: Slip the first stitch, p10, p2tog, p1, turn.
Row 3: Slip 1, k1, *k1, sl1 purlwise* 5 times , SSK, k1, turn.
Row 4: Slip 1, p12, p2tog, p1, turn.
Row 5: Slip 1, k1, *k1, sl1 purlwise*, 6 times, SSK, k1, turn.
Row 6: Slip 1, p14, p2tog, p1, turn
Row 7: Slip 1, k1, *k1, sl1 purlwise* 7 times, SSK, k1, turn
Row 8: Slip 1, p 16, p2tog, p1, turn
Row 9: Slip 1, k1, *k1, s1 purlwise* 8 times, SSK, k1, turn
Row 10: Slip 1, p18, p2tog, p1, turn
Continue in this manner, working back and forth until all of the extra stitches from the gusset increases are worked and the original number of stitches is on your needle again.

Leg and Cuff:

You should be back to 60 stitches. Extend the rib pattern to the entire sock, working the sock to the total desired length. 

Bind off loosely.  Weave in the ends, and then block the socks as you normally would (I just put the socks on my feet and enjoy them! My feet are the best blocking equipment I have.)

Monday, June 2, 2014

Justin Sock Yarn Hat

I opened my sock drawer the other day and noticed that I have knitted so many socks over the last 20 years that I could never wear them out.  Then I looked at my sock yarn stash and realized that I could make at least three times as many socks as I have now. Lovely colors, soft feel, gentle textures, but I could never knit all them up.

So I decided to use the yarn to do something other than socks. I love hats – which I have more of than even socks --  but I have a little side business of selling hats, so it made sense. I have seen pictures of these slouchy hats and have even seen some patterns for them.  I worked on the design to be as close to what I want and finally think I got it right.  I used my sons as models. One thing they wanted was the hat to fit closer around the ears. So I extended the use of the smaller needles into the body of the hat which is why you don’t switch needles after the cuff.

I always name my hats after people in my life. I named this hat after my friend Justin from work. He looks good in hats.  I also needed a name that could also be unused for a woman’s hat.  

Size:                       Men’s  (women’s) size. Hat has a lot of stretch so one size fits most
Yarn:                      Any kind of sock yarn
Needles:              Circular needle size 2 (2.75mm) 16”
                                Circular needle size 6 (4mm) 16”
                                DPN Size 6 (4mm) set of 4
                                Yarn needle
Gauge:                 5 stitches/inch in stockinette, size 6 needles. (Gauge is not critical but should be close.  I have used this pattern with size 5, 6, and 7 needles, with success.) I always start with size 2 needles for the brim.

With size 2 circular needles, CO on 132 (120) stitches.  Join, being careful not to twist the stitches.
Work a 2x2 rib (Knit 2, Purl 2) for one inch. 
Work in stockinette (knit every row) for one more inch. 

Switch to size 6 needles and continue in stockinette stitch until the entire hat measures 9” or desired length. If you stop at 7”, you will have a skull cap; if you extend beyond 10”, your hat will have more slouch.

Crown: (switch to DPNs when necessary)
Row 1:  *K2tog, K 18 (16), SSK*. Repeat 5 more times.
Row 2 and all even numbered rows: Knit.
Row 3:  *K2tog, K 16 (14), SSK*. Repeat 5 more times.

Continue in this pattern, reducing the number of knit stitches between the decreases by 2 until 6 stitches remain.   Cut yarn, leaving an 8” tail. Cut yarn, thread through the remaining stitches and secure tightly.  Weave in ends.