Friday, May 15, 2009

Mittens. We have mittens!

Fast forward to the summer when the girls were young. Maybe 2 and 5? I took a mitten knitting class. It was taught again by Betty Crocker (Rosemary) and it was AWESOME. I love everything about knitting mittens except... that when you finish you have to knit the 2nd. :-)

Here's a montage of mittens I've knit that I can find... Most of them have partners, except the really fancy one. The grey one is from the first pair I knit. You can see the thumb needs mending. If I can find the yarn, I can always re-knit the thumb.

Then I knit the striped ones. It's actually two pair, I made opposite stripes for the girls. I think Margaret had the green cuffs, and Amelia the pink.

The red ones were from some yarn I found at the outlet store. I've had to mend them a few times.

The green/orange ones are with large gauge needles and yarn. I think it took one hour to knit one.

Compare to the fancy one. I still need to start the 2nd one of that. It is a Latvian "Cathedral Window" design. It took many hours, but I will do the partner. The cast on and cuff are very cool.. I guess you can't see very well since I haven't blocked it yet.

I'm a bit worried about wearing them out of the house, though. I tend to lose mittens...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Knitting in COLOR!!!

So the class that transformed my knitting was a class on color knitting. The teacher was named Rosemary and in addition to teaching knitting, she worked at General Mills as a Home Economist on the help lines. I like to think I was taught by Betty Crocker!

Above are pictures of swatches we made during the class. We did Fair Isle style knitting and Intarsia (solid color blocks). What transformed my knitting? Well, in doing the "Fair Isle" style, the teacher recommended that we knit "continental" style, where you reach through the stitch with your needle, grab the yarn, and pull it back through. When using two colors at once, you can hold both colors in that hand and "pick" the one you want. I didn't use color knitting in any projects until years later.

But I did totally switch to the continental style of knitting. Knitting is so much faster.

Rosemary also gave great color knitting points (like when changing color in rib stitch, knit the first round so the color change is more smooth). After taking that class with Rosemary, I though I could knit anything! Then I had kids. I think that was the timing. I didn't make time to knit for several years... And I didn't knit a thing until I took my Mitten Class (also from Rosemary). That will be the next story.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Sweater #2... and the beginning of new things...

After finishing sweater #1, I decided it was time to do another sweater. Here it is... in its state as of last week.

Yep. Never finished it. I suspect I started it in '95 or '96. I finished the front and back way back then. Then it got tucked away in a box. I found it last year when I started making socks. So I started the sleeves last year. Got as far as you see and realized that I did not have enough yarn to finish the sleeves. So it sat for a year as I pondered what to do. I couldn't bear to throw it out, because I love the color and it is a nice cotton yarn and I have done a pretty nice job on it.

Last week I tore the sleeves totally out and redesigned them to be a short sleeve variety. I am almost half done with them. With any luck, I'll have a finished sweater in about 3 weeks time. Amazing how quickly you can finish things when you make them high priority.

One of my odd quirks (is that redundant? Are all quirks odd?) is that I don't like to buy yarn for projects until I am ready to start them. Which is odd because I don't do that in other areas of my crafty life. Anyway, I want to make some felted items, but am not going to buy any new projects until I finish this sweater. I am going to finish this sweater. I am. Because I really want to start felting.

So the beginning of new things was when I bought the pattern for this sweater. I went to my local shop (Needlework Unlimited) and bought the pattern and all the yarn for it. (I swear I bought enough yarn. I think I lost one skein... it's not like me to not buy an extra amount of yarn for a project. )

And while I was there I signed up for a "Color Knitting" class. That class started the transformation of my knitting skills.... which is a story for another day.