Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sock Sunday

I love alliteration don't you? Sock Sunday sounded like such a good title even if I don't have a pair of socks to show you every Sunday (man, don't I wish!)  Today's socks are a simple stockinette stitch for the foot and a 2 x 2 rib for the leg.  I felt the self striping yarn would detract from any other pattern.  The yarn I used was Patons Kroy Sock Yarn in Mulberry Stripes colorway.  This is a very inexpensive sock yarn made up of 75% wool and 25% nylon that I purchased from my local Micheal's Store.  Normally I abide by the saying "Life is too short to knit with cheap yarn", but I just loved the colorway too much.  I used Wendy D. Johnson's book Socks From the Toe Up pattern called Van Dyke Socks as a starting point and just omitted the lace pattern work replacing it with stockinette and 2 x 2 rib.  I choose this pattern as it was one of the ones knit on size 2 needles and frankly speaking I'm scared of size 1 and 0 needles as they are so delicate.  Lastly, I used Jeny's "Surprising Stretchy Bind Off" to (you guessed it didn't you?) bind off, and it's very true to it's name. 

 Here's how they came out - pretty huh?

My only problem with them is the little hole I get at the top of the gusset.  Can you see it in the brown stripe?  Is anyone else plagued by this?  Has anyone come up with a solution?  If so, I would love to know.
What sock patterns are you dying to try out?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Gratitude Friday and Gift Giving - Hat and Mitts

It's easy to get caught up in our problems and worries as life rushes past us.  To balance this out I like to "count my blessings" as my mother used to say to me as a child.  I now call it my gratitude list, but call it what you want.  So, I'd like to share with you the things I am grateful for this week:

1. My son finding joy and awe in a thunderstorm even when it woke us up at 5:45 a.m.

2. My knitting as it gives me a focus while calming me.

3. My mother (who lives with us) for helping out more on a week when I didn't feel so well.

One of the items that is always on my list is my friends and how they stand by me with my erratic communication skills and tendency towards holing up in my house (with knitting of course.)  They pull me out of my shell and keep me connected to the world which I so need.  To let them know how much I care I like to give gifts.  I don't usually plan it, but for instance I'll have some yarn left over from a project and think "this would make a great coffee cup holder, or fingerless mitts etc." and the color usually directs me to who it should go to.  

This week I gave a Christmas in July gift to my friend Kelly who is also my son's Daycare Provider.  I had almost a full skein of Malabrigo yarn left after making my Elizabeth Zimmermann's Mobius Vest.  The color is called Sunset and I knew right away it was perfect for Kelly.  The hat pattern I chose was Lotus and what a fun quick knit it was to make, but afterwards I still had a fair amount of yarn left.  Hmm...what to do?  Pull out my 75 Yards Malabrigo Fingerless Mitts pattern that's what.  I just made it with less then 12 inches left of yarn upon completion!  Oh how I LOVE using up every little bit of yarn!  Both knitting patterns are free by the way.  Here's how they came out:

My mother modeled that hat with the restriction of not showing her face.  Oh well, she is a sport to stop what she was doing so I could take a photo before I gave them to Kelly.  The hat just covers the tops of the ears.  I did 4 repeats of the pattern, but maybe could have done five.  I made a mistake that corrected itself over a few rows, but it's hard even for me to pick out so I think it's o.k.  The mitts came out just fine as predicted.  When I gave them to Kelly the first words out of her mouth was "I love the color!" which made me smile all the more.  What fun it is to give gifts for no particular reason!  I highly recommend it.  

What is it you are grateful for this week?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

WIP Wednesday - A Vest

Well, I ran out of yarn for my Hobo Bag strap so it has to be put on hold until I get more in the mail from Knit Picks.  Oh well.  After digging through my WIPs I decided it's back to work on the Wall Street Cables Vest I'm knitting for my husband.  It actually was supposed to be a wedding anniversary gift last year, but my fear of cables and making a man's garment in DK weight yarn stopped me.  

 Please excuse the quality of this picture as it's a photo of a Xerox copy from a book.

Meanwhile, Dan's wearing his only vest everyday, (yes, even in the summer as the A/C at his work makes it quite chilly for my tropical blooded hubbie) and he's getting a little bored of it, not to mention it could use a wash.  So, I jumped in and guess what?  The pattern is pretty simple actually, and the cables not a problem.  Yes, the DK weight yarn still means this will take me a while, but I have about 2 months to finish before this year's wedding anniversary.

Above is my progress so far and I am pleased with the definition this merino yarn is giving to the cables.  Why was I so afraid of them?  Seems rather silly now. What projects are you working on this WIP Wednesday?

Monday, July 23, 2012

From The Yarn Stash

I am a knitter who tends to always be thinking ahead to the next project.  Do you find yourself doing this?  I'll be in the middle stages of a project, where it lags the most for me, and will start dreaming of what I want to do next.  Then I'll compound the process by looking at yarn at my favorite online yarn stores (love shopping from the comfort of my own chair) Eat.Sleep.Knit., KnitPicks and Etsy.  That will send me over to Ravelry to find patterns to fit the yarn I chose.  Then looking will become buying and hence the "stash" is born.  So, I thought I would share a few of my purchases with you so you too can visualize what's ahead.

Misti Alpaca Hand Paint Lace Yarn 100g. 800m. / 874 yards 2 ply made in Peru

This beautiful yarn from Misti Alpaca was on sale at Eat.Sleep.Knit., and doesn't that just explain it all to you?  The colorway is called Pink Flamingo which I found a bit off putting, but the hand painted colors of pinks and corals are ones that look great on me.  It's 100% baby alpaca lace weight yarn that is slightly fuzzy.  Alpaca can be SUPER warm, so I think having a light weight yarn will make it not too hot (my 1st sweater was a bulky alpaca pullover and man did I sweat!)  The pattern I have purchased for it is called Chamomile Tunic, which I will alter by adding long sleeves (this is Minnesota after all.)  The knitting looks pretty straight forward, but I foresee needing some help on the crochet band.  Luckily my favorite local yarn shops, Needlework Unlimited, Linden Hills Yarn and Skeins,  all have nights where you pay for help on whatever project you are working on. What are your favorite places to purchase yarn?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Missing Piece Hobo Bag

I mentioned in my last post that we are going to the Philippines over Christmas, which for me means warm weather knitting projects. (Yes, everything translates into some kind of knitting project for me.)  The purses I currently have are both thick felted wool; not exactly suitable for hanging around the equator. So, I started my search for the perfect bag on Ravelry, as many knitters do, and came across this pattern from Nora Gaughan.  She aptly calls it the Missing Piece Hobo Bag as it is a pentagon with one wedge missing.  The pattern was published in the book KnitKnit - Profiles & Projects From Knitting New Wave.  Luckily I found it at my local library saving me from purchasing yet another knitting book.

Here's Nora's version from the book KnitKnit

I wanted to do it in Linen, but linen yarn is rather expensive if you get 100 % linen yarn.  So, I looked into getting a blended yarn of cotton and linen and KnitPicks had a very nice and reasonably priced yarn called Cotlin that fit the bill.  I needed 8 skeins for this project making the purse cost about $24.  Not bad for getting a purse exactly like you want huh?  I choose two colors as the pattern calls for knitting with two strands  throughout.  My basic wear everyday colors are navy blue and brown as I tend to look really washed out and wan when I wear black. 

The skein called "coffee" is a dark rich brown and the other skein is called "planetarium" and is a deep night sky blue.

You can better appreciate the colors in this next photo of the front and back pieces of the purse.  I took the photo in shaded daylight (if that makes sense), but it still came out a bit washed out.  This pattern was difficult for me not being an experienced pattern reader so it took me four attempts to complete the front piece.  Yikes, casting on 199 stitches four times!  I wasn't aware that you read the pattern one direction for the "right side" and the other direction for the "wrong side", but once I figured it out it was quite easy. 

When the front piece was finished I noticed I made one more mistake.  Agh! went the perfectionist in me.  Apparently I started with row 1 being the "right side" instead of the "wrong side" which made a difference in the center of each stripe's lace pattern.  It still looks good, but I did correct the problem in the second piece which will be the front.  And since you can't really see both sides at once I doubt anyone but me will know. 

Here's the correct version of the lace detail.

Nora Gaughan did her version on size 10 needles, and even though I knit tight (I got gauge on size 10 1/2 needles) I still decided to go down a size needle so the lace holes would be smaller.  Some people on Ravelry lined their purse to escape that problem, but I didn't want to do an extra step you know?

Strap in progress.  Need to get size 9 straight needles as it is a bit award knitting on my circs.

Now, all I have left is the bottom strap section to knit.  It is only 24 stitches wide now, but needs to be 75 inches long.  That's right 6 feet 3 inches long - yaooza!  I'm hoping to finish this week and get back to my Hubbie's cabled vest as he's feeling neglected.  I'll post an update when I finish.  
But for now, Happy knitting everyone!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Time Out

I am taking a break from my Etsy shop Simply Playing for the foreseeable future.  My inspiration is down to nil and it feels more like drudgery than fun.  Which means it's time for a vacation of sorts.  Yay!!! Since I'm not content unless I'm making something I will be posting and discussing my MANY knitting projects.  Yes, knitting projects.  Oh how I love to start and finish them, but sometimes the middle part can lag a bit you know?  Anyway, July is the time I start to think about socks for my mother's Fall birthday, sweaters for my growing son for the Winter, Christmas gifts for everybody,and yes, even a few Summer items as we are going to the Philippines this Christmas.  So, I'm hoping that by posting about my progress I'll stay on task a little better.  Let's see if it works shall we?  What's on your knitting list?

Monday, July 2, 2012


Hello all.  I just wanted to let you know about a big giveaway going on at  It's a garden theme with handmade items from North American and European Artisans.  

My orange Butterfly Wand is included with some other fabulous items in which the winner takes all.  That's right the winner will take home 16 prizes worth over $675!  Stop over and see how you can enter to win and good luck!