Monday, April 21, 2008

Stitching & Pitching

Stitch & Pitch came to Sacramento last Thursday, and, as VP of the local knitting guild, I was asked to throw out the first pitch.
I dug through my stash and found some nice burgundy bulky Cascade, and used size 35 needles to knit up a good-sized swatch. I wound the other end of the yarn around a regulation baseball. Our guild president, Sandi, held the needles and swatch while I threw the still-attached ball ... of yarn. Didn't quite get it to the catcher -- it bounced on home plate -- but I doubt if the catcher would have caught it anyway, since he was laughing so hard.
Hey! Who says knitters don't know how to have fun? :)

BTW -- Sandi and I both knitted up the baseball hat pattern that was attached to the official Stitch & Pitch email. I am sorry to say that both of us felt that this pattern was poorly conceived and written. As an example, the pattern instructs to knit the facing in the round, then knit the attached sections back and forth. We both followed this direction, thinking there must be a reason to knit back and forth when in the round seemed so much more logical. There was no reason for it, as it turns out -- it just made the pattern more fiddly. The brim instructions were also needlessly complicated-- lots of single crochet finishing called for, when simple sewing with yarn and needle worked much better. It's a cute hat, and lends itself well to embellishments and individual design, but if you decide to make one, use your common sense when it comes to following the instructions.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Arans and Ganseys and Bears — Oh, My!

Our guild was fortunate to have a weekend of classes with Beth Brown-Reinsel earlier this month. She is a delightful lady, and a wonderful teacher, and -- coming directly from all that snow and mud in Vermont -- was a little culture-shocked in our warm California spring weather. (But in a good way!) :)

We had one day of knitting Aran cardigans from the top down (the lavender sweater photographed with California poppies), and one day of Gansey pullovers from the bottom up (the (the gold sweater photographed in the lavender blossoms).

Our sampler-style bear-size mini sweaters featured shoulder straps, welts, gussets, and a wealth of traditional patterns and methods. Everyone was knitting at top speed while listening and talking — and mistakes were definitely made! We joked that if any of our bears drowned, we would certainly be able to claim them by identifying the mistakes in their little sweaters. Myths are so much fun!

Each day featured a lovely catered luncheon, and plenty of time to relax, chat, delight in the springtime weather— and even knit a little. :)

If you ever have an opportunity to take a class from Beth, jump at it! Even if you don't have any intention of ever knitting a full-size Aran or Gansey, you will learn many useful techniques and tips that can carry over well to other knitted items.

Thanks, Beth! It was a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Christmas. Is. Done.

Remember the one knitted gift I didn't finish in time for Christmas? Well, it's finished now, and the recipient is very happy with it and said it was well worth the wait.

This is the wonderfully triple-redundant-named "Forever Classic Heirloom Cables" from the Lion Brand site. My son picked out both the sweater and the yarn: Wool Ease for mindless tossing into the washer and the dryer.
He's so happy with it that he sat right down with a stack of knitting patterns looking for his NEXT Christmas present.

He's such an optimist. ;)

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Spring Tickle Socks

I really have been knitting socks this year -- I just haven't gotten around to taking pictures of them. :) I finished this pair in February, and they have been washed and blocked and ready for their close-up, Mr. DeMille.
So today was picture day. I thought these pretty yellow and white irises were the perfect photo companions for socks in a"Spring Tickle" colorway. The angle is a bit weird, though: they really are proportionate!
The yarn is "Smooshy" by Dream in Color. I got it from The Sweet Sheep, a delightful site to do business with. The yarn is soft and dreamy as advertised -- I hope it wears well!

Here's the built-in marker. It's agate, Swarovski crystal, and tiger eye.