Sunday, July 27, 2014

Talavera Dreams

Every now and then a knitting pattern comes along that is just too pretty to ignore.  Okay, so it happens quite  often, but this particular pattern was a "must make" from the moment I spotted it.  It's an afghan called "Persian Dreams" by Jenise Reid (Ravelry link).

It's just the kind of knitting that I love to do.... lots of color, flexibility of choice and each section makes up in a reasonable amount of time = fairly instant gratification, fingering weight yarn and small needles.

I looked through all the projects on Ravelry and the color choices and was drawn to two in particular.  The dark rendition by joan8904 and one that reminds me of the colors of Delft pottery in the Netherlands by CeruleanSarah.

I've decided to go with the dark background and take my color inspiration from the colors of the Southwest U.S. and from Talavera pottery.  I love the bold, deep, vibrant colors and the designs.  I've decided to rename my afghan to "Talavera Dreams".

There are 6 charts and I've just finished the first one. I plan to make every chart in a different colorway.  For the colors, it's a great stash buster.  However, I had to buy the black background color as I didn't have enough of any one color in my stash.  This pattern uses a lot of yardage.  In this hexagon I used, from the center out:  Trekking XXL sock yarn, color 516; Space Cadet Oriana 8-ply, color Burnt Clay A; Wonderland Yarns Cheshire Cat, color Barley Sugar and Vice Yarn, color Calypso for the last 2 outer rounds.  The background is Cascade Yarns Heritage Sock Yarn, black #5601. My plan is to do the last two rounds of every block in the same vivid cobalt blue.  Hopefully I'll be able to stick to my plan of doing a block a month, but if the first one is any indication, I might pick up that pace a bit.

I haven't forgotten my Rowan afghan.  Today I finished the last of the 48 squares and it's now being blocked.  I'll be assembling them any day now.  This was another great stash-busting project.

Here's a Talavera dish that I have and is one of the things I look to for inspiration:

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Joker

For Music Monday, I bring you the Steve Miller Band.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Some People Call Me Maurice

I saw the Steve Miller Band at the Pepsi Center in Denver last night and it was even better than I'd hoped.  Unless I'm forgetting one, they played every song that I've liked since first hearing them in the 70s.  The show opened with the sharp musical spears of "Jungle Love" darting all over the venue, along with a light show.  The version of "Fly Like An Eagle" sent chills through me, it was so beautiful.

I wish I could have taken better pictures with my phone - it could be the operator and not the phone.  Below, they are performing "Jet Airliner".  Today I've got the music of the Steve Miller Band in my head and that's a good thing.

Click to enlarge the picture.  Why does a tall guy with the big head  manage to get into photo?!
The show opened with the band Tower of Power.  Also on the bill was Journey.  Great show, too, but I was there mainly to hear the Steve Miller Band and I hope that I hear them again one day.  Soon, I hope.

I must fly like an eagle because time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin' into the future ...

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Another Beautiful Day in Another Neighborhood....

Today the neighborhood is Rocky Mountain National Park.  I drove to the top of Trail Ridge Road.  The altitude is in the proximity of 12,000 feet, give or take.

Trail Ridge Road is a stretch of Highway 34 and is the highest continuous paved road in the U.S.  The road is closed during the winter and often remains closed until late spring or early summer depending on the amount of snow.

The weather was good at first but slowly the skies clouded over, thunder rumbled and there were a couple of bolts of lightning. Time to go back to the car.  On the way down the mountain it started to hail. There are parts of the road that are a bit scary to drive with multiple sharp turns, no shoulder and a long drop off the side of the road. I'm sure that keeping a tight grip on the steering wheel helped my driving!

I wish I'd taken pictures along the Big Thompson Canyon. Words cannot describe the road weaving through high mountain walls of craggy rock. It made me feel so small. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

It's A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood...

When you're in the Pike's Peak / Garden of the Gods / Colorado Springs / Manitou Springs area.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Okay, okay, I swatched...

There's no good reason that I should be starting another sweater, but I found a pattern that I couldn't resist.  It's called A Hint of Summer by Isabell Kraemer (Ravelry link).  I bought the pattern and planned to put it near the top of the queue.  However, I had a credit to use soon at a local store and there, sitting on the shelf, calling my name, was this yarn:

Click to enlarge
It was the coral shade that spoke to me.  For this design I needed a second color and the cream is a perfect companion shade.

It's not a secret that I like knitting with fine yarn and small needles, but this time I may have gone too far.  The sweater calls for laceweight yarn and this Debbie Bliss Rialto Lace should work perfectly.  The coral is shade #26 and the cream is #01.

I set the unfinished afghan squares and the Mosaic pullover aside and jumped in to the new project.

According to the pattern you're to cast on with US #6/4.00 mm needles and you should choose a size that gives you up to 10 inches of positive ease.  I thought, with this shape, it wouldn't matter if the sweater was a bit bigger or smaller, it would all be good.  I could adjust the needles, if needed, for the sleeves...but the body would be fine.  So, I didn't swatch. I have always swatched for sweaters, but noooo, not this time.

The design is worked from the neck down and I cast on my stitches using the provisional cast on technique.  The method is to work part of the back, then pick up the live stitches from the cast on and work the front, giving the sweater a seamless shoulder.

The yarn is very fine and the needles rather large in comparison.  The result was a loose, open fabric....too loose and too open, and my gauge was off by quite a bit.  I wouldn't wear a sweater with the stitches as open as that.  Rip, rip, rip.  

Before starting again, I caved in and did a gauge swatch on size #4/3.5 mm.  The swatched piece was still very light and somewhat loose, but quite nice and airy.  It'll be nice lightweight sweater, perfect for summer evenings.  The feel of the yarn is wonderful.  It's extra fine merino superwash.

This evening, I cast on with the smaller needles and have worked 10 rows.  So, I'm off and knitting. It may take a while to make an oversized pullover with laceweight yarn.  I may have lost my marbles in taking on this project.  Time will tell.

Where are the rest of my marbles?
I seem to  have lost some!

Isabell Kraemer's designs are very popular, which you can see if you browse her creations on Ravelry.  At just about the same time that I started my Hint of Sweater pullover, I found that a friend had completed her Ravello.  Of course I had to add that beautiful design to my Ravelry queue but I'll resist starting it for a little while at least.  Really.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Sunday, June 29, 2014

It's NOVA, baby!

Recently I went to a baby shower for a new mom who is a co-worker.  Both she and her husband work at NOVA Chemicals so I decided to make a little cardigan for their new daughter based on the company's logo, left:

Perhaps she'll be a NOVA employee when she grows up.  I made a little change, turning the dot into a smiley face.  The cardigan is plain raglan and I made it more feminine by adding a pink trim around all of the ribbed sections.  I created a knitting graph for the back:

I did this in Excel for a specific reason.  I've got a very comfortable chair in front of my computer at home and it's one of my favorite places to knit.  I had the spreadsheet up on my monitor and when I finished a row I would then hide that row, working my way up from rows 1 to 54, like this:

When I was finished the intarsia design, I unhid the rows and the pattern was back in its entirety.

It was very gratifying that the sweater was so well-received by the mom and the other guests at the shower, many of whom are also employees, or married to employees.  This little cardigan actually had its own paparazzi as some of them took out their phones and snapped photos.  It was suggested that I make sweaters for their kids as well as adult sizes.  I declined!

The buttons are a very pale white, almost transparent, with white flower design:

A rather dark picture.  The sweater is actually a very nice, clean off-white shade.
The back with the logo design:

I don't know why the blue color is so neon as shown here.
In the photograph that I uploaded it is not.  

The blue is actually a medium baby blue as on the graph.


Pattern:  Basic stocking stitch cardigan, "Bow" by Kertzer.

Size:  12 months

Yarn:  Cascade 220 Superwash Sport
3.25 skeins of #817 - Aran
> .5 skein of #897 - Baby Denim
~ .1 skein of #894 - Strawberry Cream
A couple of feet of black from my stash.

Needles:  US #3/3.25 mm (ribbing) and US #5/3.75 mm

Notions:  5 buttons

Note:  The sweater was knitted, assembled, blocked and buttons added in five evenings.  I was very glad to have finished it in time for the shower.  I hope that I never have such a tight deadline again!

Monday, June 23, 2014


The days are long here in Calgary now that summer is officially here.  At 11:13 PM there is still light in the sky and I could hear a couple of birds chirping.

Click on photo to enlarge
I hope that your summer is off to a good start!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Rowan Afghan Knitalong Progress

Back on May 18th I started knitting an afghan as part of the Rowan Mystery Knitalong.  There would be one clue published each Monday (some came out early, one was late) which the knitter was to repeat for 6 blocks. After 8 weeks we would have enough blocks for a 48-square afghan. For week 9 we were given the instructions for the trim, a cabled border that is knitted separately and then attached.  The last clue, due on June 23rd, will give instructions for assembly.

Suggestions were given for the color scheme for a 17-color, 4-color, etc. afghans using Rowan's new Pure Wool Worsted yarn.  I decided to make a 48-color afghan using the yarn from my stash.  Some of my colors might be close, but they are all different, no repeats.  I'm a little behind, but catching up, because I stopped for a while to knit a baby sweater for a shower.  I've blocked each square as soon as it's completed.

Top row (left to right):  
Week 1 - Garter Stitch Waves; Week 2 - Nordic Star; 
Week 3 - Heirloom Lace; Week 4 - Lace Kisses

Bottom row (left to right):  
Week 5 - Dots and Dashes; Week 6 - Little Doughnuts;
Week 7 - French Plait; and Week 8 - Ripple Cable

I've finished up 31 blocks.  You can see 30 of them in the picture, above.  Number 31 (a week 8 square in pale gray) is on the blocking board and now number 32 (from week 6 - dark, almost navy blue) is on the needles.

31 Blocks completed, 17 Left to go
I'm now getting to the point where I'm anxious to see how this is going to look when finished.  I don't know, yet, what color I'll use for the border.  White or off-white perhaps?  Black?  A bright color or something more subdued.  When the 48 blocks are finished I'll lay them out and decide what to use, and see what's in my stash.