Saturday, December 31, 2011

Dreamz Needles

I decided to buy myself a Christmas present.  I got two sets of Knitter's Pride Dreamz needles:  the 10" straights and the double-pointed set. 

I love these needles.  To me they are that link between metal needles and the bamboo wooden needles.  They are hard, made of birch, and highly lacquered so that they are slippery, but not too slippery.

My preferred method of knitting is to use straight needles.  It's what I learned on and grew up with.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm not adverse to circulars.  I do like them for circular knitting and for extra long projects. 

The set of straight needles ranges in size from US 2.5 (3.0 mm) to 11 (8.0 mm).   I found that there were some gaps in the range of sizes in the set, however.  There was no US 10.5 (7.0 mm), for example.  This doesn't bother me as I rarely use that size anyway.  If I need it in the future, I'll order it then. 

Another size that's missing is one that I do use often:  US 3 (3.25 mm).  There were two extra loops in the case, on either side of the needles on the right.  I shifted the needles around so that the empty loops were now on the left side, right where the size 3 (3.25 mm) needles would go, and then I ordered that size and will add them to the case.

To my mind the double-pointed needles are as close to perfection as I've seen so far.  They are 6" long, which I like, and the sharpness of the points is just right.  This set ranges in size from US 0 (2.0 mm) to 3 (3.25 mm) and includes those pesky sizes that don't always translate from mm to US:  US 1.5 (2.5 mm) and US 2.5 (3.0 mm).  I make most of my socks on US 0 (2.0 mm) needles, so I ordered 2 extra sets of that size.  They are already in use.  I also added one more set of dps:  US 4 (3.5 mm).  Those are pictured in the middle, the loose needles.

I really like the fact that every size is a different color.  It makes it very easy to sort your needles and to choose the ones you need without the need to pull out the needle sizer.  The writing on the needles is tiny and hard to see.  Also, the colors are consistent.  The straight size 3 mm needles are yellow (they call it "yellow topaz"), for example, in both the straight sets and the dps.  I'm sure that's true with the Dreamz circulars as well.  I haven't tried the circs but I hear good things about them.

Now, I would like to find the perfect needle case to hold dps.  I've looked but nothing has caught my eye and I tend to be a bit particular.  I wish there was a lovely soft leather case that would hold everything.  Wouldn't that be nice? 

I was so good to me this year!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

HBC - Finished

It's so hard to coral an almost-2-year-old and get him to (1) stand still, (2) show off a sweater so that you can see all the angles and (3) smile all at the same time!  This completes my list of Christmas projects for 2011. 


Pattern:  I used a shawl collar sweater pattern from Sirdar as the template and added the signature stripes of the Hudson Bay Company, a Canadian institution.  The entire body of the sweater was done in stocking stitch instead of with the double moss stitch on the top part.  I added 6 little wooden buttons.


Needles: 3.0 & 3.75 mm / US #2.5 & 5

Yarn:  Plymouth Encore D.K.
75% acrylic, 25% wool
Main Color:  Cream #256
Contrasting Colors:  Black #217
Red #1386
Yellow #1382
Green #54

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Project

Since I've been good about finishing projects lately I feel that I can cast on for a new one with a clear conscience.  I'm starting a new pattern from a new book just about to be released.  Here's a hint:


You'll want to come back here on Saturday, January 7th as the author/designer will be visiting.  There will be giveaways of her book, too.

I have one more finished Christmas project to blog about, probably tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Bread Basket Liner #2

I finished up another bread basket liner.  This second one was a Christmas gift for my son-in-law's parents.  The details are the same as the first one, click here.

I didn't have any bread handy for the picture so project is doubling as a pine cone basket liner.  So versatile!

The bread basket is really nice.  It has a clay tree of life warmer that you can heat up in the oven and place in the basket to keep the bread or buns warm.  I think I should order one for myself when they are back in stock.

I think I have enough yarn left on the cone for one more liner. I'm adding it to my queue.  My very long queue.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Effortless Is Finished

My daughter loves her new Christmas sweater, the Effortless Cardigan.  I am quite sure that it's going to drape more casually as it's worn and washed.  It's only had a brief blocking so far due to lack of time.  The sleeves are longer than what the pattern suggested.  This was at Jessica's request.

Designed by Hannah Fettig

Size:   Small
(Second size listed)
Needles: US #7/4.5 mm

Yarn: Tosh DK - 5 skeins
Color - gossamer
Note:  Originally Jessica wanted the color which was on the sample sweater in the picture.  The name of the color is gossamer and to both of us it appeared to be blue/gray.  However, on receiving the yarn we could see that it was definitely beige with a hint of pink.  Fortunately Jessica liked the new color, too.  The pattern is well-written and it an easy knit.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas 2011

Whether you are celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or it's just a Sunday... I hope that you have a very happy and healthy holiday season. 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Another Mini Stocking

I managed to complete one more little project before Christmas.  I was hoping to have the time to do it but wasn't confident that I would.  The details for this mini-stocking is the same as one I did earlier for my Mom, click here.  This one was hung on my daughter and son-in-law's tree and there is a (hopefully winning) lottery ticket in it.


I just realized, after posting about this stocking, that I forgot to sew the decorative little button at the base of the hanger.  I'll add it later on.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Knitting

Two days until Christmas and my knitting projects are finished, well, almost.   I'll post pictures and details after the presents have been opened. 

I like the way those percentage bars look with those 100s and a 99. Now, I can get back on track with my Rule of Four, except that I'm going to revise it for 2012. From now on it's the Rule of Four Plus Socks. I always have a sock on the needles. It's my carry-along project so I'm not going to count it and give it a slot in the lineup.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

Click here if you want to join Ten on Tuesday, a blog ring created by Carole Knits

Monday, December 19, 2011

Music Monday - Christmas Edition

Love the song.  Love the group.  Enjoy!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

That Pesky Deadline

On Thursday I had the back of the HBC sweater for Braydon done but I was contemplating ripping back and re-knitting the top part in stocking stitch.  I decided to do this.  Thank goodness this sweater is only a size 2-3 and that the yarn is DK weight as it makes for quick knitting.  All the pieces are now knitted and today I'll be blocking and sewing them together.  That will just leave the bands and collar to knit and the buttons to attach. 

However, that's not the end of my Christmas knitting.  I still have to block the Effortless cardigan for my daughter.  I have one more bread basket liner to knit and Jessica "hinted" that she'd like one of those small Christmas stockings for her tree.

I should have pictures to show you soon but, for now, I need to knit.  It's also a good chance for me to get caught up on episodes of EastEnders.  I want to get up to date as things always go crazy on Albert Square at Christmas!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Hudson's Bay Company Cardigan

First up:  my daughter is banned from my blog until after Christmas, so Jessica, if  you're reading this, close your browser!

With just over a week left until Christmas I've got some serious knitting to do.  I'm a little further behind than I'd like to be right now.  I thought I'd knit more when I was in Kingston but time has a way of slipping by.  Maybe now that I'm home I can pick up speed. 

I'm working on a stealth/Christmas sweater for my Grandson.  I posted the colors in my last blog entry.  If you're familiar with the Hudson's Bay Company then you'll be familiar with the colors.  You can see them behind their logo.  The company is a Canadian institution and has been around since 1670. 

The stripes are instantly recognizable on blankets and heavy sweaters.  I decided to make Braydon a cardigan with a shawl collar in the HBC style, size 2-3.

I found this Sirdar pattern on Patternfish to use as a template.  This little sweater is cute and very masculine, in my opinion.  I've knitted the back of the sweater using the striped design.  I have the rest of the sweater to finish, so I'm off to knit.  Time is short and I still have another gift to make after this one.
Since writing this post I've been having serious doubts about whether or not to do the upper body in double moss stitch as it is in the pattern.  It's cute on the sweater pattern but I think it would be more traditional in an HBC sweater to stick to stocking stitch.  I'll think about it a bit more (but not too long) and make a decision.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Hi from Kingston, Ontario

I'm here visiting my Mom.  I'll also be doing some Christmas knitting.

One of the nice things about moving to Calgary is getting a chance to spend time with my grandson.  That includes being able to see him, in person, wear sweaters that I've made for him.  Here he is in his blue cabled sweater.  I blogged about it earlier, here and here.  I was living in Denver when I mailed it to him.

Now that I'm on vacation for a few days I'll be working on a stealth project:  a new sweater for Braydon, a Christmas present.

The colors are off a bit.  The one in the middle is red and that's black yarn at the top.  It's Plymouth Encore DK, a practical yarn for an active little boy.  Now, can I knit the sweater in time for Christmas?  I hope so.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Re-finished Object #2

I wasn't happy with the look of my shamrock coaster. To my eye it looked unfinished and needed to be squared up some. I decided to add an attached I-cord border and reblock and I think it looks better (photographed while still wet):

For more information about working an attached I-cord, click here.

Here's an explanation on how to turn a corner with an attached I-cord, click here.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Eye Candy Friday - Santa Edition

My grandson, Braydon, (22 months old) visited Santa yesterday. Obviously he wasn't impressed. This picture cracks me up!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Jigsaw Afghan - Halfway

Until my Christmas knitting is finished I'm knitting only one block a day on my Jigsaw afghan.  I've just passed the halfway point, not counting the border.  The turquoise block at the top is the middle square.  I love seeing the puzzle pieces forming.

Just a reminder that the pattern and a knitalong group for the afghan can be found on Ravelry.

Speaking of Christmas, I finished another one of the projects.  I'm going to block it today and will be posting the details and pictures in the next day or two.  Maybe I'll finish my Christmas knitting in time.  There's hope!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Re-Finished Object

I'm the first to admit that my skill with the mattress stitch could use some work, at least when seaming fairisle. 

I posted that my tiny Christmas stocking ornament was finished but, in truth, I wasn't all that pleased with it.  The mattress stitch was not tidy enough for my liking so I took it out and tried again, using the back stitch.  I was even more unhappy with the results.  Since I really wanted to give this stocking as a gift I was particularly determined to be proud of it.  So, I rethought and reknit.

This time I knit in the round = no seam except for the back of the heel.  I used the mattress stitch there and it looks fine.  The snowflake design is now centered on each side of the mini stocking.  When I seamed with the back stitch it was not. 

I hadn't added a button to the first stocking as I hadn't found buttons to my liking.  On a visit to Fabricland I found little silver-y/pewter-y buttons that, in my opinion, are perfect. 

I tossed the first incarnation of the stocking in the garbage.  Now that I've got the stocking that I'm happy with I've had a request for another.  I like making these stockings very much and I have a feeling that I'll be knitting more than just one more in time, maybe even for myself!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Watching the flashmob at Denver International Airport makes me feel a bit "homesick". Enjoy, no matter where you are.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Itty Bitty Christmas Stocking

Over the years my parents put up two Christmas trees.  One was the normal tree with the usual type of ornaments.  The other was my Mom's "Funny Tree".  It was a small tree that sat on a table top.  She called it her Funny Tree because she put small, unusual ornaments on it...anything that caught her eye.  I tried to come up with one new ornament each Christmas.  In Germany I found a tiny wooden nativity scene that was only about 2" tall.  She had a beautiful silver angel from Mexico.  There was also a little plastic Snoopy with his tongue stuck out.  For me, this was the tree that I liked best.  This year I decided to knit a small Christmas stocking.


Pattern:  Mini Christmas Stocking
a free pattern from Little Cotton Rabbits

   4" from top to toe, not including the loop for hanging

Needles: US #1.5 / 2.5 mm

Yarn:  Sandnesgarn Lanett
#4128 cardinal
#1001 white
(a few yards of each)

  A quick and fun pattern, well-written and easy to follow.

RANT:  If you notice that the line spacing is weird on any blog posts I have Blogger to thank.  Lately it's been a battle to make the lines stay put.  Sometimes an extra line shows up, sometimes line breaks disappear.  There seems to be no rhyme or reason to when or why this happens and it's certainly taking the fun out of blogging.  If anyone has a solution, (this problem is sooooo frustrating) I'd love to hear from you.  Thanks.   joanne @ jconklin . com