Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Projects 14, 15 and 16 for 2014

I finished the hat for Little Whose It.  The sweaters and hat were set out to block yesterday under the watchful eye of Leo.
I think he wanted to make sure they didn't harm the wool blanket at the foot of the bed. The plaid wool blanket at the foot of the bed was in the cleaners nearly all last week.  Both Leo and Lizzie were traumatized by its absence.  Leo crawls underneath it to take his afternoon naps.  And Lizzie invariably curls up on it at night.  The animals obviously share my love for soft breathable wool.   The blanket itself is over 60 years old as it was one of my parents wedding presents.
The hat and sweater look great together and I think will be perfect for a December baby.  Here is a pre-blocking photo.
They do look lighter and more purple than in real life.  The actual sweaters are a deep wine and are perfect "old man" looking sweaters for the two babies.
I hope the mothers like them.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

List: My Favorite Knitting Books

I have shared a lot here about how much I love (and need) knitting.  Some of the books that have helped me to grow in my knitting adventure are classics and others are newer.  I thought I would share some of them with whoever happens to actually read this drivel I write.

  • Knitting Rules, by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee.  I mentioned this one yesterday in my post.  I like this because while it doesn't have actually patterns it has recipes for different items:  hats, scarves, shawls and a great sock recipe. She follows the idea that there are not knitting police, and you are master of what you knit.
  • Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmermann.  Actually anything by this great lady...Knitting Workshop, Knitting Around, and Knitter's Almanac.  But this book was the first that I read when I returned to knitting after many years.   EZ (as she is known by her fans) is another person who knit by formulas and not hard core patterns.  While her pithy directions may leave you wondering, they also give you lots of leeway for creativity.
  • Victorian Lace Today byJane Sowerby.  This has actual patterns, but mostly I use this book for inspiration.  I did some commissioned knitting out of this book though and loved it. The patterns are beautiful.  And all the lace is charted.  I can't knit lace without a chart. 
  • The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns and The Knitter's Handy Book of Top-Down Sweater Patterns by Ann Budd.  I have made several sweaters using these books.  Again they are recipe or formula type books.   I also have her The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns.  Just have to make me a swatch and I can knit anything.
  • A Treasury of Knitting Patterns and A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns by Barbara Walker.  What list is complete without these?  Not a regular knitting pattern but many many stitch patterns: lace, cables, knit/purl.  Any simple pattern can be stepped up with the addition of these stitch patterns.  Any new project from Ann Budds book also involves a stroll through these books.
  •  Cast On Bind Off by Leslie Ann Bestor. Ironically two books came out at nearly the same time with this name.  This is the version with 54 methods, although I have both books.  I find the one with over 100 methods too overwhelming, and not that much difference between some of them.  This smaller book has come in very handy, when I was looking for provisional cast ons and stretchy ones.  There were several choice to go over and I could pick the one I liked best. 
While there are many other books that I have and love, these are some I wouldn't want to do without.  And I think any knitter could go far with just these.
What are some of your favorites?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Loving the Cool

Temperatures that is.  Yesterday I actually was able to wear something other than shorts and sleeveless top.  A cool wave went through and I am digging this weather.  I even got the house cooled down.  I actually shut the window to keep it from getting too cool.  By Hubby's standards, I could have stood it cooler.
On the way home from Knit Night last night I beat the pop up showers, although it looked like some would be soon on the way.
My knitting has been mostly on either the Boysenberry Pi, or on the Baby Hat since finishing the pair of sweaters.  I have enough ribbing on the hat done that I will shortly begin the decreases.
I am guessimating the size, using Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's excellent book "Knitting Rules" for hats.  I added to the length, figuring on turning the brim.  This is for a December baby after all.  I know it looks narrow, but it IS ribbing after all, two by two over 56 stitches on size 8 needles.  
Then once this is done, I am thinking its time for that Wallaby hoodie for my newest grandnephew, Little Laban to hit the needles.  (And yes, I know that is probably not going to be the real name)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Garden Goodies on the Way

Now Hubby and I may not be the best gardeners, but what we grow, we grow with gusto.  We also have a good crop of weeds.  But along with the weeds, we do have some produce to eat.
I mentioned how I managed to save the blue potato plants while Hubby was in the hospital.  We have a dozen or so of both the blue potatoes and Yukon Gold potatoes.  (Although I think they need spraying again.
We also have quite a few sweet potatoes plants.  They hadn't been rototilled in some time. The weeds were definitely taking over.  I helped out by trying to keep the vines out of way while Hubby ran the rototiller between the rows.
If you look close you can see the bright orange marker by each sweet potato plant in the row that was done.  Hubby takes a metal rod style fence post and cuts off the rods in half and paints them orange to use as markers.  Then when the potato plants die back, we still know where to dig. 
Here is one of the plants up close. 
They sure do throw out the vines. 
We also have on early and one late row of green beans,  as well as sweet corn.  One row planted about 3 weeks ahead of another two.  Of course we have tomatoes,  3 Heinz variety, 3 yellow (I think), 3 Bonnie Best and 3 cherry.  We had 2 but thought one died.  After I purchased another plant, the dead one revived.   But that is ok.  We love to eat tomatoes.  There is nothing better than a toasted whole wheat tomato and mayo sandwich.  But only with home grown tomatoes.  I don't eat tomatoes from the store..too tasteless.
Hubby has a few squash plants, and I also purchased a couple bush cucumber plants.
Yesterday I picked and ate the first cucumber of the season.  Yummy!  
I'd show you a picture of it, but I scarfed it down too quick.   I love summer produce.  

Monday, July 14, 2014

A Purple Haze? No, It's Deep Red

I managed to finish both of the Baby Sophisticate sweaters for Little Whose It, and Little Laban this past week.  The buttons are gray with a bit of texture.  I had purchased them for my black cotton cardigan and then chose others.  But they look fine here.
The yarn is really more of a wine color and not as purple as the flash makes it look.  I love the little old man look that they have.  Since I had a fairly sizable ball of yarn left after finishing the smaller sweater, I cast on a wee little watch cap for Whose It.  
That makes finished projects 14 and 15 for the year.  The hat will be 16.
And then,  I returned to the Plain Old Boysenberry Pi.
Gosh, do you think I am in a color rut?   This may be the last time I will be able to get much of a picture of this.  As it grows, it will be harder and harder to spread out enough to show the pattern.  I hopefully have made the last needle jump, now that it is on a 32 inch needle.  It is at least much cooler to knit than large heavy sweaters.  I love knitting lace weight for summer. 
Other news on the family front.  Little Whose It will be Little Farm Boy.  Although only 18 weeks along, he managed to show he was all boy on the last sonogram.  That means I will soon turn to knitting in blue.  After all the previously purchased yarn is used up that is.
There already is yarn for Little Laban's Wallaby (a pocket hoodie sweater), the one for Little Farm Boy, as well as the yarn kit I bought last summer.  I think I am ready to make that one soon too. Those are all easy knits,  and with my Pi as a more intense project, I may never get to my Plumcake sweater. I really had planned on that this summer.
But babies are the best reasons for knitting plans to be upset.