Sunday, January 26, 2014

I May Be Crazy, But....

I've decided to make a Denver Broncos scarf and I'm hoping to have it finished before the Super Bowl game in one week.  At the very least, I'd like to have it finished before the game ends.  We'll see how that goes.

Originally I was going to use my Broncos logo in the scarf, but the graph is 59 stitches in width, and with the yarn I have, it would make a scarf that's approximately 12 inches wide - too wide for my liking.  I'll save that idea for another time, and thinner yarn.

Instead, I've decided to make a striped scarf in the Broncos colors.  For the stripe pattern I went to a Random Stripe Generator, found here, and chose the two colors, blue and orange.  I tried options with 3 colors but there was too much white in the result.  I entered that I wanted 400 rows, which are probably more than I'll need, but I'll decide on the length once I'm knitting.  Why not try out the Generator for yourself.  It's fun to see what you come up with!

I chose a pattern that I liked (refreshing the page gives you different sequences), saved it and then put it into Photoshop.  In Photoshop I added in a total of 20 white rounds, none of them too wide.
I'm stalled in this project already.  I have the orange and white yarn and will go and get the blue on Monday, so I've only been able to knit one stripe. The yarn feels very good, nice and soft.  It's Sandnesgarn Alpakka, 100% alpaca in a DK weight.

The pattern I've decided on is a tube, knit in the round on double-pointed needles on 69 stitches.  I'm thinking that I'll add a 3-color fringe on the ends, but I don't have to decide on that yet. I've got almost a week!

I've been exploring techniques for avoiding the jog when you change colors.  I've found some ideas that I'll try out and if one works well, I'll blog about it later.

Do you think this scarf might bring them luck?  I'd make a Colorado Avalanche scarf, too, if it would get them into the Stanley Cup playoffs!   GO BRONCOS!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

US Olympic Sweaters

There is a saying that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  The same goes for ugly.  I've just read an article about the knitted Ralph Lauren sweaters that the US Olympic athletes will be wearing during the opening ceremonies in Sochi in which there is this comment:  "However ugly the uniforms are, there will be no doubt about where the athletes come from." You can read the article for yourself by clicking here, and there are other write-ups if you do a search.

Personally, I rather like the sweaters.  The women's sweaters are the same.  I find them to be fun, relaxed and cheerful.  I do have a few things that I would change, however.  First, I don't think the sweater should be worn with a pair of sweatpants, especially white sweatpants.  A pair of nice, crisp cotton trousers or slacks would have looked better, in my opinion.  The sleeves are too long.  I have an aversion to sweaters that fit well, except for the length of the sleeves.  It makes the sweater look sloppy to me.  And last, I know that these were designed by Ralph Lauren, but for heaven's sake, leave the advertising off of the sweater.  I don't like the word "POLO" right up front and center.  It's about the Olympics, not Ralph Lauren.  There will be enough hype in the media that he'll get all the free advertising he can use.  If he had to leave his mark on the sweater, it could have been more subtle. 

From a personal standpoint, being a big hockey fan, I like that the model is an NHL player:  Minnesota Wild left winger, Zach Parise.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Anatolia, And Lovin' It

I'm really enjoying knitting Anatolia.  It's been a while since I worked on a challenging project like this one and I feel like I'm back where I belong - in the land of a multiple colors, lots of ends, tiny boxes on a chart with little Xs and Os and working with wonderful yarn.

So far there have been quite a few three-color rows and I know that there will be some four-color rows coming up before long.  Bring it on!  In order to add length to the sweater I started by working a couple of the patterned panels from the yoke (pictured below).  Now that that's done I'm following the body pattern as written.

If you look at the yarn in the ball, Rowan Felted Tweed DK, you might assume that it's scratchy, but it's not.  It's 50% wool, 25% alpaca and 25% viscose, and very kind to the hands.  I like the way it feels very much.  Rowan is known for discontinuing yarns with regularity but I hope that this one stays around for a while.  I can see myself knitting with it again and again.  As a matter of fact, the Jubilee Throw is knit with this yarn, too.

I found these little markers when I was on the Yarn Along the Rockies yarn crawl last September.  They remind me of shower curtain rings.  They are excellent as markers or as pins.  Here I'm using one on the needle to mark the end of the round, but I've also used it to pin on my knitted fabric to remind me which is the right side.  I've got lots of markers in my gadget bag but so far, these are my favorites.  They are tiny, sharp when opened and practical.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Game Day

I admit that I don't know the game of football, but I've been watching the Denver Broncos games lately and I'm learning a little.  The most important thing that I know is that if a Broncos player is running toward the line at the end of the field, and if he crosses that line, and if the Broncos fans go nuts, it's a good thing!

There's been a lot of excitement this year, starting with the acquisition of  Peyton Manning and now, with a chance of playing in the SuperBowl on the horizon.  I'll be watching today's game and knitting my Anatolia sweater.

Back in November, 2000 I made a Broncos knitting graph for friends in Denver to use on a sweater, scarf, whatever they wanted.  It was a free graph as long as it wasn't used for any commercial projects.  I wouldn't want to get into trouble with the Bronco organization!  So, I dug it out and here it is again.  If you make anything with this graph, why not email me a picture?  I'd love to see what you make. 
~~  Click to enlarge  ~~

Go Denver Broncos!

 4:00 pm Mtn. time - Edited to add... !!!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Fly Like An Eagle - To Denver

My summer holiday is planned:  heading back to Denver and going to see a concert.  Vacation doesn't get much better than that.  I got my ticket to see The Steve Miller Band, Journey and Tower of Power.  Now that I know that I'm going I have the phrase, "Some people call me Maurice (cool guitar bit), 'Cause I speak of the pompetous of love" firmly stuck in my head!

I bought my first Steve Miller album (yes, album) back in the mid-70s and probably wore it out. I particularly like this version of "Fly Like An Eagle"

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

B is for Braydon - Finished

I have one more project to add to the list of finished items for 2013.  I made a varsity-style sweater for my Grandson, Braydon, as well as one for my Granddaughter, Makayla.  I didn't quite finish in time for Christmas, as planned, but they got their sweaters to wear in the new year.


Pattern:  Original, a basic pullover, worked in stocking stitch, set-in sleeves
The "B" was done in intarsia.

Size:  4 years - Braydon will be 4 at the end of this month.

Yarn:  Main Color -Schachenmayr Regia Trendpoint (Ravelry link)
#6615 - Electric Blue - 1 ball plus about 1/4 of second ball
Contrasting Colors, both Dale of Norway Baby Ull
#2317 Yellow and #0900 Black

The sweater has been washed and dried in the dryer - no shrinkage.

  Needles: US #2-1/2 / 2.75 mm for ribbing and US #3 / 3.00 mm

Note:  The sweaters fit!  Braydon was bribed with a Timbit so that he'd sit still.  You got to love the energy of little kids.  Sometimes it's like trying to herd cats!!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Anatolia - The Beginning

I've rarely been known to knit only one project at a time.  After only 11 days (and it hasn't been non-stop knitting), Ramona is almost finished.  A fairly plain sweater with heavy yarn and large needles goes quickly. I'm anxious to get back to lots of colorwork and to start my Anatolia sweater from Rowan 54.  From the moment I saw it in the magazine I knew that I was going to make it and immediately ordered the yarn.  That was about 6 months ago.  

(c) Rowan Yarns
The sweater is very pretty, but there are some things that I'm going to change.  First of all, the pattern has you knit the body flat, then the yoke is knit circularly.  I'm comfortable with doing fairisle flat as well as in the round, but I think it'll work up quicker if I do the body circularly.  I'll work the sleeves flat, however, as I don't like doing fairisle on double pointed needles and I find 12" circulars to be a pain to work with.  Also, I've never taken to the magic loop method.  It's the "can't teach an old dog new tricks" syndrome.  I can be a bit stuck in my way.  Moi? 

The other thing is all that ribbing around the hips and on the sleeves.  It way too much for my taste.  Instead, I did a provisional cast on and, since I'll be working about half as much ribbing, I need to add something to maintain the length.  I'm going to repeat one of the fairisle bands used in the sweater.  There are two to choose from that are about the right length.  The first is around the model's waist area and the other is in the yoke, just above the armholes.  I think I'll use the upper band as I don't want two bands that are the same to be so close together.  I'll probably have to do a bit of math to be sure that the additional band will fit comfortably into the number of stitches I have to work with.

When the sweater is finished, I'll think about the ribbing and what  I want to do about it.  That won't be for a while yet.  I've only just cast on!  The turquoise yarn is my provisional cast on.  I've done a whopping one row of the pattern, a plain knit row in the Ginger color.

Let the colorwork begin! 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Colorado Avalanche - Prague

All I can say is WOW... and THANK YOU to my friends Ann and David.  They have spoiled me and I couldn't be happier with my gift.

Ann told me to expect a parcel in the mail but I had no idea what it was going to be, so I was curious.  The box arrived yesterday and I was thrilled with the contents:  a set of wooden nesting dolls of the Colorado Avalanche, my favorite hockey team. Not only do I love the dolls, but also the fact that they are from Prague, a city that I like a lot.  Who would ever guess that you'd find Colorado hockey items in Prague?  Ann tells me that she also found Broncos football figurines in Prague!

Click on photos to enlarge - check out the detail
On the back of the players' shirts are their names and numbers:  Parenteau #15, McGinn #11, Stastny #26, Duchene #9 and Mitchell #7.

 I like the smile on Stastny's face.  I wonderf if he's thinking ahead to holding up the Stanley Cup?  

Thanks again Ann and David! 

Friday, January 10, 2014

EastEnders Scarf

I admit to a guilty pleasure:  the British soap, "EastEnders".  I've been watching it on and off for decades.  Recently I spotted an interesting scarf on the character of Terry Spraggen, Jr., aka Terry Jr, aka TJ - the son of Bianca's currently-off-again boyfriend. 

I wonder about its origins.  Is it machine or hand-knit?  Was it purchased in a store or did someone knit it for him, or maybe he's a knitter?  Why not?  Maybe it's a fair isle sweater that's been cut down into a scarf.

The colors are rich and lovely together.  I think I've seen some of these patterns before.  I don't think I've ever seen the design that's medium blue on a navy blue background.  I'll be watching for the scarf to make an appearance again sometime.

I can't be the only one who watches the knitwear in TV shows, can I?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Rowan 55

Twice a year I absolutely love picking up the mail when my Rowan magazine arrives.  Today was one of those days.  This is what the back of the protective covering looked like:

I wasn't expecting Rowan 55 (Spring/Summer) to arrive for a few more weeks so this was a very pleasant surprise.  Along with the magazine came the newsletter. 

Click to enlarge
So far, I've only had time to look at the pictures and I've found two sweaters that I particularly like.  One is Madonna.  I like the simple styling and the choice of the soft natural shades.  It would make a nice sweater to wear with a skirt or with jeans - very versatile and practical.  I love lots and lots of colors, but there are times when I like to wear a more subtle design.  

(c) Rowan Yarns
The other sweater is shown on a man, but it looks very unisex to me, a basic pullover called Guido.  What I like are the blending of the colors.  This picture doesn't really do the sweater justice.

(c) Rowan Yarns
There are a number of lacy, very feminine designs that are pretty to look at but I'm not sure I'll make any of them.  I've made a number of shawls and scarves and don't need anymore at the moment.  As well, there are some other sweaters that I'm sure will be calling to me before long.  For now, however, I'm going to savor the magazine, pour over each and every design and read the articles, and will start counting the time until the Rowan #56 arrives.

I confess that I bought some yarn today in order to start my Jubilee Afghan.  Since it's going to take many months, maybe years, to complete, I was anxious to get this project off the ground a little so today's purchase will get it started.  I'll be posting updates.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Jubilee Throw Temptation

One of my goals for the New Year was to knit from my stash and finish projects that I have the yarn for.  That's still my goal and I'm off to a good start, but I'm giving myself permission to indulge in one project that's been on my mind for quite a while.  It's the Jubilee Throw by Kaffe Fassett and knit in Rowan yarns.  The picture and description is in Rowan 52, pages 26 and 27.  The pattern is available to Rowan members online.

(c) Rowan Yarns
The only reason I hadn't started the knitting is that I wanted to give some thought to my choice of colors.  As much as I like the afghan, I didn't want such a dark afghan.  Then, today, I saw this version, click here.  I love the colors and the brightness of the afghan.  To quote an often-used phrase, I was smitten.  Update:  I just learned that the afghan I liked used the same colors as in the Rowan pattern.  I'm guessing that photography and lighting have a lot to do with my perceived differences.  I'll go with the original colors as I do love this afghan.

Rowan is my favorite yarn company, has been since I discovered them in the late 1980s, and Kaffe Fassett is one of my favorite designers.  I'm lucky enough to have all of the Rowan magazines and plan to make more projects from them if I can...a least one from each issue.  For issue 52, this will be my choice.

It's going to be a long, slow knit, I'm sure.  First, I'll check my stash for any Rowan Felted Tweed DK.  I'm sure that there must be some.  Then, I'll gradually get the yarn I need to complete a square, one at a time.  I'm in no hurry.  It's going to be fun to knit some of Kaffe's designs without having to knit an entire sweater.  I can't wait to get started.  I intarsia.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

M is for Makayla - Finished

At the end of 2013 I blogged that I had finished 3 projects.  The first of the three, the Advent Calendar scarf is here.  Back on December 7th I finished a varsity style sweater for my granddaughter Makayla.


Pattern:  Original, a basic pullover, worked in stocking stitch, set-in sleeves
The "M" was done in intarsia.

Size:  2 years - Makayla is 14 months old so it should fit her for a while.

Yarn: Dale of Norway Baby Ull
Main color:  Turquoise #6714 - 3 balls
Small amounts of bright pink and medium-dark purple
The sweater has been washed and dried in the dryer - no shrinkage.

  Needles: US 1 / 2.25 mm for ribbing and US 2-1/2 / 2.75 mm

Notions:  3 small buttons
I crocheted a small closing with loops on the shoulder to make the sweater easier to put on.
Note:  It used to be, when I knit for little ones, I'd make a sweater with their name across the front.  Then, I realized that this could be dangerous.  How is a child supposed to know that someone might do them harm when they are being called by name?  Now, I'd rather make a sweater with just the letter - safer, and it's more sporty in appearance.  Kids, and parents, seem to like this style.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year = New Project


I hope that the new year brings you health and happiness and all the good things that you wish for yourself and your family.

I decided that I would start the new year with a new knitting project and it's FROM MY STASH.  My knitting goal for the year is to knit projects that I have on hand, so knitting from my stash should be a recurrent theme.

First up is the Ramona cardigan, designed by Elizabeth Smith. It's a basic cardigan, which means that it'll be practical for home and for work.  It's knit from the top down in one piece so there will be minimal assembling and sewing.

(c) Elizabeth Smith
(c) Quince & Co.
The pattern calls for an aran-weight yarn and "Osprey" from Quince & Co. is suggested.  I bought the yarn in October, choosing color #112 Pomegranate.

I swatched last night and got gauge on my first try.  I love it when that happens.  On knitting the swatch I found the yarn to be fairly dense and rigid, but when I washed it, the yarn softened  and relaxed and it felt very nice.

With this weight of yarn the sweater is progressing fairly quickly.  After only a few hours of knitting, while watching the Colorado Avalanche hockey game (winning 5 to 3!) I've finished the yoke section and I'm ready to knit the body.  I'm thinking that I might make the cardigan a bit longer and I bought an extra skein of yarn.  It won't be long and I'll be shopping for the perfect buttons.