Sockdown: September!

The Sock Knitter's Anonymous Challenge for September 2008 is to knit a pair of socks using any pattern of your choice and yarn that is at least 75% ORANGE OR any pattern designed by Cookie A OR a Mystery sock designed by Jeanie Fanihi and knit in yarn that is at least 75% orange.

Since we are at the start of football season, I am going to knit some Denver Bronco socks using stashed Opal Magic yarn. These will be knit using my standard plain vanilla sock pattern.

But the real fun will begin when I pull out my new Cookie A. pattern and scrumptious yarn that Eva gifted to me during Monkey Sock Swap FOUR. I'll be knitting Marilinda, a very lovely sock featuring cables and lace twisting all the way down the heel. I can't wait to get engrossed in this pattern.

So what do you think? Is this yarn orange enough to qualify for the September Sockdown Challenge? A new year of challenges is starting in September so if you missed out on the fun last year then come join us on Ravelry!

Kate Models Her Baby Dale

My niece sent me a picture of Kate modeling the Baby Dale sweater I knit her. Remember it?
I came close to not mailing this sweater because I didn't finish it until well past Kate's birthday. I was concerned the sweater was too small but I think she might actually get to wear it for a couple seasons Isn't she a cutie-pie?


Stash Knit Down 2008

Last January I made myself a promise. The promise was that whatever WIP left on my needles come December 31, 2008 would be frogged. This promise was made in hopes that I would:

1. Finish all projects started
2. Knit down my stash

With the completion of my Nordic Mittens I looked through my projects to find another 'old-but-loved' WIP.....something I really did not want to frog come December 31st. I found ALCEA sitting in a basket under my coffee table lovingly neglected. Not only did I find stashed yarn, I also found stashed sunflower kernels that some little night creature had stored under the yarn. Thankfully, that is ALL I found!

I'm resuming the knitting of my Alcea sweater because I am going to be faithful to my promise come December 31st. Like the Nordic Mittens, my stranded technique has come a long way since I started Alcea but this time I am not going to frog and start over!


Nordic Mittens Cross Finish Line!

My second Nordic Mitten crossed the finish line last night as I watched the closing 2008 Olympic Ceremonies resulting in a finished pair of woolen mittens.

They fit my hand which pleases me. They will be nice and warm as I weather the Colorado snows. As I mentioned in my last post, the only thing that displeases me is the background color behind the large star motif. Incidentally, this star motif is known in Norway as an "eight blade rose".

I enjoyed knitting these.....everything except the thumb decreases. Keeping the yarn in pattern was tedious to say the least. I'm not sure but there may be a bit of an error on the patterned thumb chart.

I ripped one row four times and it still did not turn out right. Of course it is probably me and not the chart.

The sad news is that I did not actually get awarded with a metal in the 2008 Ravelympics. I thought I would wait until this morning to take finished photos and then post them on the Ravelympic finish lines but the WIP Wrestling Event closed last night. I guess I will just have to pat myself on the back and know that I can knit mittens for this is my first pair. And, now I know I can push through an old project if I put my mind to it. Crossing these mittens off my WIP list has definitely inspired me to dig through my baskets and find some more old projects that should be finished.


Nordic Mitten Contenders

I finished the first Nordic Mitten reknit yesterday as I watched the 2008 Olympics. Since the mitten I knit several years ago was too large, I went down a needle size to knit this one in hopes that the fit would be better. The new mitten fits perfectly, and surprisingly, is knit at pattern gauge.
Here are the Mitten Contenders with the mitten knit four years ago on the right. It is obvious to me which mitten is the winner but what say the judges ?

Although I was consistent in carrying the background color in the dominant hand, the Nordic Star still does not stand out and 'pop' like I had hoped it would. I'm disappointed but will live with it for I believe the choice of colors had much to do with this. I used the exact colors the pattern called for. That being said, I still think there is a 'crispness' about the new mitten that the old one is missing and I contribute this solely to carrying the thread consistently.

One lone mitten awaits a mate. I have one more week to get the left mitten knit before the Olympics are finished. Since the Nordic Star is not popping as much as I had hoped it would I have decided to go for the Silver or Bronze metal............


WIP Wrestling Event - Nordic Mittens

In the spirit of the 2008 Olympics, I have been contemplating whether it is 'really' a challenge to finish a WIP that was on the needles one month before the Olympics started. When watching the Olympians and listening to their stories I have heard stories of how they have overcome obstacles to become the champions they are. That set me to thinking about my own Olympic challenge to finish the several projects I have on my needles as I watched the 2008 Summer Olympics.

If I truly give myself a challenge it would not be to finish something I was most likely going to finish the next month. The true challenge would be to finish something you were so frustrated with that you actually pulled the needles out of and walked away from, right? I have such an item and it has languised in a basket for four years, the Nordic Mittens featured in the 2004 Winter Interweave Knits.

This issue was the first Interweave Knits magazine I bought shortly after resuming knitting after a forty year sabbatical. I was smitten with Beth Brown-Reinsel's pattern immediately and let Santa know that I wanted the eight skeins of requisite Brown Sheep Nature Spun yarn for Christmas so I could knit my own pair. Nothing like jumping in feet-first into knitting!

The results were not as I had hoped. I knew nothing then about carrying the dominant color consistantly in one hand. I did not know how to knit two-handed with my left hand knitting Continental style and my right hand knitting English style.

But the results before I knew this method were less than satisfactory. This was a Nordic Star pattern and the 'star' seemed to blend in with everything else. The mitten was also too large for my smallish hands. Guage? What is that? So, just short of finishing the tip of the thumb on the first mitten, I put the mitten in a basket with intentions of finishing the other mitten after I finished a pair of socks.

Needless to say, my sock obsession began and the poor Nordic Mitten never had a chance. I've looked at her periodically, picked her up and tryed her on, frowned and put her away again. I even deleted her from my Ravelry Projects, a sure sign that I was done with her.

Now I'm ready for the Olympic challenge with the more correct goal of competing against myself. Bring on the challenge! Can I push myself to love this project again? Can I get back the fire and spirit needed to push through the challenge? I think I can. I've learned some things through other fair isle projects and think I can make that star "pop" now. Can I get the gold metal? I started the corrugated ribbing last night watching Michael Phelps earn his eleventh gold metal. A good omen for me, don't you think?

Corrugated Ribbing is the name often given to the two-color rib stitch used on many Fair Isle garments, particularly the ribbing at the bottom of a sweater. In this instance it will be used for my Nordic Mitten cuff. The stitch is generally a K2, P2 with the knit stitches knit in one color and the purl stitches in another. It is particulary pretty when the purl rows are in varigated colors while the knit row remains one solid shade. I am going to be more clever this time around and use a hair clip to keep all those loose strands out of the way.

As with stranded knitting, no more than two colors are used in the same round and the yarn not in use is stranded across the wrong side of the work or 'floating' across the knitting. There will be many ends to weave in but this time I will stop and weave those in every ten rows instead of waiting until the end!

This ribbing is worked on 2.25mm needles, two sizes down from what the body of the mitten will be worked on. It is not very elastic when compared with ordinary ribbing but it will be hard wearing when it comes to pulling these mittens on and off through the winter snows.

Corrugated ribbing is much easier to work if the knit stitches are knit Continental and the purl stitches are knit English style.

The Two Contenders

At this point they seem to be neck and neck in the competition but when that Nordic Star motif appears we will know who the REAL champion will be!


Ravelympics 2008

Are any of you participating in the Ravelympics 2008 over on Ravelry?

I have entered the WIP Wrestling event. My goal is to finish my plain PI SHAWL. I'm knitting the sideways border right now and casting off a stitch with each ridge knit. 576 sts! My goal is 100 sts a day so I should have this plain PI SHAWL finished in the next few days. This shawl is plain, very plain but it has been a relaxing project and will keep me warm through the long winterup here in the mountains.

Hopefully, I will wrestle with my next WIP soon and get it finished, finally - The Must Have Cardigan. So, which event have YOU entered? And, what Olympic event to you most enjoy watching? I like the gymnastics!


Fruit Hats on Display

I was able to rendezvous with my niece and her munchkins just before I flew back to Colorado. She brought the Fruit Hat Trio I blogged about recently so I could see them modeled on her adorable children. Now when my girls were this age I could not get them to keep hats on for anything. But these little Tennessee tots were wearing them in soaring summer temperatures at about 97% humidity. Amazing!

The baby's was by far the cutest. There is just something about babies wearing hats that is adorable, right? Let me introduce Savannah to you in her sweet little fruit hat. Of course, as you can see, one photo was not enough for me with this cutie!

The middle tot is named Isaac and he probably is going to be the smart one with his big noggin. His hat is a bit small so I will need to knit a larger one for him. He was too busy to pose for this camera nonsense but didn't mind wearing a 100% wool hat in the summertime!

Last, but not least, is their big sister Sierra. She was busy chattering as little girls do but stopped every time I said, "Smile, Sierra" ------

We were only able to visit for a few minutes before Don and I had to scoot to the airport. During that time Katie told me about a LYS several times saying that the next time I came through Knoxville we would have to go there together. Her friend's mother owned the shop. I thought it cute that she kept on about it but kept reminding her that Knoxville was a long way from Colorado and is was unlikely I would be coming there very often. And then, as I was boarding the plane, it suddenly dawned on me that I have a MARRIED daughter living permanently in Tennessee and this would be the airport that I would always be flying in to when I visited her.
So....Katie.....if you read this post......I look forward to visiting that yarn shop with you on a future visit :-)


A New Family Begins

I'm home from the most beautiful wedding I have ever witnessed! I know, I know, I am the mother-of-the-bride so I might be a tad biased. But, with two engineers getting married and the detailed Excel sheets they made timing every minute detail, the wedding truly was flawless. The joy I experienced as I witnessed my daughter getting married was the same joy I felt on the day she was born. I was given a few candid shots today and I am going to share them with you for what woman does not enjoy a wedding story? For a little twist I have decided to tell you about the things that I felt were unique for their wedding....just a little personal touch.

For starters, with two engineers there must be a master plan, right? Teams were designated with heads assigned to each team - Team Bride, Team Groom, Team Usher etc. The maid of honor was my daughter, Allison. Her main responsibility was to help the bride. When I asked what that entailed she informed me that her biggest task was to , umm, help the bride go potty. The head of the bridesmaid team and the head of the groomsmen team had responsibilities to keep the bride and groom from seeing each other because the bride's attire was to be a complete surprise, especially since she wore red shoes on her feet. They were on their cell phones constantly to each other to ensure that a chance encounter would not happen.

As the bridesmaid's were having their hair styled the ones waiting to do so had fun playing Guitar Hero, including the bride. Rock it, Jen-Jen!

Jennifer attached my bridal veil underneath the bustle of her dress to honor me. She pinned her deceased grandmother's wedding band and a ring of her deceased aunt to her slip in their memory. She sewed tiny blue buttons from a shirt she wore on her first date with Bob onto her slip for her "something blue".

Time to put on the gloves and get the show on the road!The bridesmaids's piled into their limo (see my two pretty girls at the back?) and departed. The groom's limo showed up 15 minutes later for the groomsmen. Oh...and the parents left 15 minutes before the bride (Excel sheet, remember?)

The ceremony was absolutely beautiful. I can't wait to see all the professional pictures. My brother took these..............

The reception was lots of fun, the toasts were touching and the music was lovely. I think the toasting might have begun earlier when the wedding party rode in a limo together to the reception hall. There was a cocktail party while the wedding party took their post ceremony pictures. I enjoyed visiting with friends and family that I had not seen in a while and resting my tired feet before the dancing commenced.

I held up pretty well emotionally until my husband and our daughter danced together after she had danced with her groom. The tissues came out of the purse then! Jennifer kept laying her head on her Daddy's shoulder and he kept whispering in her ear. They have enjoyed a wonderful father-daughter relationship and he had been the only man in her life until Bob came in pursuit. Here they are dancing the father-bride dance.

And then, before we knew it, our little girl ran out with her groom as rose petals fell down all around them. They drove away with one final smile and wave of the hand. No one knows where they have gone on their honeymoon. We have decided the groom thought it would be a wonderful icebreaker amist the guests. If that is true then he was indeed correct in his thinking because it had tongues a-waggin!

And for all you mothers of little girls who might already be telling you what they want in their weddings, I once had a little girl who told me she would have M-n-M's at her wedding with her name printed on them along with her husband's name...............