Witch Hat Redo and a Flat Cat

Several years ago I knit a witch hat.  Actually, I knit two witch hats. The first I knit one for myself and one for my son in-law, Matt. Matt’s hat is more Gandolf and mine is more Elphaba. 

This is Matt’s hat drying-my knitted things picture taking at least has improved over the years

This year I decided mine needed some sprucing up. Over the years it had become….well…limp. It was always more floppy than I had wanted and I never really liked that that brim was unstructured. 

To address the unstructured brim I spent the better part of two days sewing bias tape to the underside by hand. I inserted a 12 gauge black florist wire as I went. Sewing black bias tape onto black fabric with black thread while inserting black wire is not for the faint of heart.  

It was worth it though. Having been felted again it has shrunk a bit, becoming more comfortable to wear and now that the brim is wired I can shape it to suit my preference. Which I really like. 

I added a spider pin for a little glamorous panache. To go along with my revamped hat I also knit a flat cat. Yes, A Flat Cat, or Professor Meow-Gona-Cowl pattern by Tiny Owl Knits. I am pretty happy with the results on both the hat and the cat.

I’ve upgraded the hat and made the cat for my “Witch Costume.” I’ll wear these with all black, don my wand and Sheath at my waist and set up a Witch’s Apothecary Storefront at tonight’s neighborhood Trunk-or-Treat. I’m looking forward to this and have made goody packs for the kids. 

I made about 100 of these, give or take a few, and they took about 30-35 hours to put together 

The packs have a 4-5 pieces of candy each and are ‘simply” wrapped in brown paper and raffia. I collecting feathers mostly from our neighbors chickens (as they were molting and mine were not) and washed them. I used a wax seal and then silver Sharpie on the raised bits. The labels have our address incase people want to know which Apothecary they came from. I suppose my vision for these are that if you purchased some things from my apothecary it would arrive via Owl Mail, well at the very least, Chicken Mail. 

To round out my outfit I’ll wear my black and green striped socks and yarn danskos. I also have a Chatelaine necklace of sorts, made out of assorted things. I will carry the Book of Spells I made a few years ago. I did upgrade of few things in this book this week. too. 

Are you dressing up for Halloween? I think I only dress up as a Witch. I’m going to print some social media icons and those along with butterfly wings will be either Tim or Chuck’s costume. Although it suits Chuck the best, you know he is the social butterfly in this marriage after all. 

Happy Knitting, Happy haunting. 

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Craftiness

Our house is basically set up in two parts. The main house has three bedrooms, two full bathrooms, dinning room, family room, living room, and kitchen. The other side of the house originally was a two car garage. At some point to was incorporated into part of the house with two bedrooms, a half bath, laundry room and what I use as a mudroom. Giving  us a 5 bedroom and two and a half baths house. I use one of the five bedrooms as my craft room and it is one of the two bedrooms at the far end of the house. The other bedroom is Hanna’s/guest room.  All of these spaces have builtins that make them feel like they have alway been a part of the house. That is something I love about this area of there house. Following are a few pictures of how the room looked when we bought the house.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This room will have many different functions, but the main one is storing and will allow space for my knitting and other many craft desires to have a proper home. This is greatly reflected with how this room is decorated. I like to decorate with functional pieces as well as some of the fluff added in a room that makes it feel finished.  I used Chuck’s warping board (for weaving) and the sock blockers my brother made me for Christmas one year and paired it with a natural dye grouping that had been framed, this was a Mother’s Day gift from my younger kids. Decor that is useful.

With the builtins and a closet that is all shelves I have pretty great storage. I put all of my yarn into plastic bags to protect it from moths, there seem to be a abundance of those tiny white moths that want all my yarn. I put one of our sofa tables in here, it works great for winding yarn and using it as a counter height work space. The table previously had a life as a coffee bar in the Casita in our New Mexico home.  I’ve  purposely left the center of the room free of furniture. This gives me the perfect place to lay out my blocking boards for blocking large knitted items such as shawls. The blocked item can then stay pinned out for plenty of time, undisturbed by people or dogs while it dries. I’ve very quickly realized the quick drying time afforded me by the desert air in New Mexico has been replaced by lllllllloooooonnnnnnngggggg drying times in the humid air of Virginia.

Got to love the floor to ceiling storage and my grandma’s sewing chair works perfectly here

 

I repurposed Hanna’s bulletin board and hung my antique sock blockers

Another really great use of this open space is for me to do yoga.  Not to mention it has a life as an extra guest room. This floor space allows us to set up a blow up bed in the event we have extra guests beyond our guest room capacity. This came in very handy with when my mom and her friend, Judy, came to visit and again when we had the Hretz reunion here.

You might think this is where I do my knitting. In reality most of my knitting is done in the evening when we have time to watch tv or in waiting rooms at dr appointments. Lately it’s been more of the latter rather than the former.

I found a cute vintage dresser that is a sweet, little,  green painted thing. It fits perfectly under the window which, gives me another place for a lamp and I used it display a shawl Chuck wove. This house doesn’t have many overhead lights, so lamps it is. When I found the llama lamp at World Market I knew it had to live in this space.

The little dresser fits perfectly under the window

A polka dot Lamp shade- it just doesn’t get cuter

Paint is one of the cheapest ways to change the feeling of the place. I’ve always loved turquoise and it is perfect for a craft space, don’t you agree? This is a Sherwin Williams 6765 Spa.  I don’t know if it is spa but it for sure is Crafty. I love this space and need to spend more time here.  Knitting or not.

The knitting. If your here for the knitting, and many are, there isn’t much. But here is what there is.

I’m on the second sock, still of Hermione’s Socks. I’m about the start the pattern on the leg. This means I’m barley into the second sock (hangs head in shame) and so far my spiral striping in not spiraling. I’m not sure why. I’m not sure I really care. I’m not sure I don’t really care. But I am going to keep moving ever so slowly along.  I’m sure if I hadn’t started the other pair of socks, The NO Purl Monkey socks by Cookie A I would’ve finished the other ones.  In all fairness I did start the new pair as a gift that is on a time crunch.

the stripes are vertical! I wonder if this will continue

check out my new Baggu zipper bag, it has chickens on it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve also made a little progress on my Magic Stripes scarf. I’m not quite halfway done. It’s really a fun project and I wouldn’t mind just knitting away on this until it’s done. I do have an itch to start a shawl. I’m thinking about Chevron Shenanigans by Stephen West. Chevrons are some of my favorite knit stitch combinations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

There you go. Now let’s go knit!

Happy Knitting or what ever craftiness your feeling today.

Spring has Sprung

We moved into this neighborhood, Queen’s Lake, the first week of February.  It was a beautiful neighborhood with two pools, playgrounds, and even a lake. I fell in love with it. Back in December when we looked at this house had in no way prepared me for the true beauty of the place. Shamefully, I don’t have any pictures, but I will try to do justice to it.

First off, you drive to the neighbor via the Historic Colonial Parkway. This is a peaceful drive which is tree lined and very much like a step pack in time. This is not a typical road, there are no lines denoting lanes, there are no street lights, and the exits are discreet with the only signs being brown and white street signs set lower than usual of to the side. There are beautiful brick bridges were other streets cross the parkway, they add beauty while discretely hiding the moderns roads. As you travel down this scenic drive you will find many historic plaques telling you of the historic importance of this area, from John Smith and Pocahontas to the Siege of Yorktown where General Washington beat Cornwallis. (If you have ten minutes watch the videos on the history channel in the link.) Not to mention all the exciting this that happened and are still happening in Colonial Williamsburg, also a stop on the parkway. But I digress.

Once you exit the parkway and drive a couple hundred feet on Hubbard Lane you’ll turn onto Lakeshead Dr. This is a mile long street that leads into the east side of the Queen’s Lake neighborhood and also to the Quarterpath Park. Lakeshead is bordered to the right and left by a natural wooded area creating a lovely canopy of green foliage and completely blocking off your view to the Colonial Parkway and smattered into   the left you will see an occasional beautiful home, one of my favorites is the first house which is a charming colonial style, two story, green house. You immediately feel like you have ventured off into the country.  Turning onto East Queens you can’t help but notice how this spring has proved to be incredibly majestic, most of the houses on this street have huge Dogwood trees, both white and pink, and there are hundreds of Azaleas in an array of colors. Red, white, pink, coral, fuchsia and so on. The Daffodils were also glorious this spring, There is so much beauty in this neighborhood. You really should plan to come see us at the end of April beginning of May. It is breathtaking.

I know we are full into our spring, in addition to all the plants and trees awaking the birds are busily making homes and starting new families.  We have not one, but two, bird nests in our hanging plants on the front porch. I have tried to discretely snoop and take a few pictures. We have a Robin’s nest in the one. Did you know Robin’s eggs hatch after only 12-14 days?  The other nest is a Sparrow’s. While the momma Robin tends to her nest solo the Sparrow’s are a two bird production! I’m not really sure exactly which Sparrow it is, the eggs are white with very faint brown speckles.

two days ago the first baby has hatched

note the sparrow has used some of the cotton I placed out in asset feeder in the back yard

I was quite surprised how tidy and perfectly round the Robin’s nest is.  Several years ago my brother, Andy, made a Robin’s perch and Bat house for me as a Christmas gift. I just assumed the Robin would make a sloppy nest. Apparently they do like a platform to build there nest on rather than a house but the are very good architects.

Two Saturday’s ago we attended Art on the Square in Williamsburg were there were hundreds of artists selling their creations. We found these super cute birdhouses made by a very charming couple from a farm in the Shenandoah Valley in Virgina. They are the Fly Home Birdhouses, and for all my Michigan peeps they attend the Ann Arbor Art Show.  We scored two of them.  I placed them in the flower bed directly behind our house. Within days we had a Wren setting up home! As luck would have it, it is in the house we placed directly behind the living room window. We have a front row seat to all the action.

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you look very closely you can see the little bird peeking out on the left

here she is with a bit of something to add to the nest

I think this is a Winter Wren. It’s a tiny little thing and seems to be working in tandem with a male to build the nest. It has been great fun watching as they try to fit sticks ad all sorts of seeds and tree fluff into the box.

Since I seem to be all about the birds, let me continue onto the most important birds around here. The chickens! I haven’t updated my blog nearly as much as I would like to, and we have done lots of work around here in the yard. My main goal was to finish updating the chicken coop so we could move them from inside the house to the coop. This weekend that happened!

The previous owners had chickens here before we bought the house and they converted one of the side sheds to a chicken coop. I assume, like the other side it was originally just storage.  The first thing we added another set of nesting boxes as you can see in the picture below. Ours are the unpainted ones and the painted ones were already here.

for reference, the right side of the shed is the Chicken coop

This is how the coop looked before we changed anything. These chickens belong to the previous owners.

The previous owners cut holes in the walls and covered them with wire cloth and plastic sheeting. I assume to create windows but as it was winter they covered the open windows with the plastic. The ground is cement and over all I’d say the coop is  pretty secure from potential predators. The first thing we did was put actual windows in, allowing us to open or close them depending on the weather. We covered the exterior of the windows with wire cloth to prevent access via the screens from predators. I spent a lot of time reading books and various internet things about what is best for chickens. I found the Chicken Chick to be a favorite resource. I love her book and her blog.  I’ve implemented several of her ideas and am so far pleased with them.

We also finished the walls with bead board so that they are completely covered. I believe the leftover bead board from a previous master bathroom renovation had been used to cover part of the walls in the coop. We picked up two sheets at Lowe’s and finished the job. We also used two panels of white plastic trellis to cover the ceilings to prevent the chickens from possibly hitting their heads on roofing nails. We then moved the nesting boxes to the righthand side and lowered them. A tip from the Chicken Chick, she said chickens will sleep on the highest point and you don’t want the nesting boxes to be where they sleep in order to keep them cleaner and therefore have less chance of poop on your eggs. Also, on the Chicken Chick recommendations, we added two roosts and a poop deck. (A poop deck is under the roosts and all the poop lands on this and you can easily scrape it into a bucket to dump into a the compost.) It works like a charm! I painted everything with outdoor paint, mainly so it would be durable and painted wood is less likely to absorb moister than unpainted wood.  We added a couple inches of sand to the bottom, which will dry quickly in the event it gets wet, I can scoop poop out with a cat litter scoop and it won’t decompose and mold.

I’m very pleased with how it turned out. Since I’m a total nerd, I decorated it a bit. We  built some frames that we covered in wire cloth to go under the poop deck. This is for two reasons. One, to prevent chickens from congregating under the deck where I will store their food and stuff in a large tub. Two, in the event of a sick chicken needing separation do to pecking or whatever. This is where we will put any new chicken we introduce to the flock. We still need to build a door but right now the tub seems to be blocking the opening just fine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The chickens have made themselves at home and are very happy. I snapped this picture last night at about 9pm. They are all tucked up in bed, nice and tight.  On the highest spot in the coop. Super glad I rearranged things.

I don’t know why but the always separate themselves into two teams of 6

I not nearly enough to report on the knitting front.  I did FINALLY finish my Find your Fade for the KAL at Flying Needles. Which I haven’t even managed to get there to show the completed project, ugh. I still have not blocked it, although, I’m thinking I might not. I like that it is extra squishy. I love how it turned out.

 

Sometimes I feel like I’ll never have the free time to produce any mentionable knitting here. I’m still knitting the same pair of Hermione’s socks, I am now on the second sock. I did start a pair NO Purl Monkey socks, this is a fun project. I haven’t even created a project file for them on Ravelry yet.  This weekend we are traveling to Cincinnati, OH. for our niece, Katherine’s, graduation. She is now a Nurse! I’m looking forward to sharing in this special occasion with her. As a  bonus- I have car knitting time! WhhooooooHooooooooo!

Happy Knitting and Bird watching!

Two is Better than One

I decided [since I had started my Find your Fade with a different color than I had planned] I may as well knit another shawl. The color order I had chosen can be found here. The  other shawl will be the same colors just in a different order.  This will be interesting.  I will have an excellent example of how colors can blend as well as a second shawl that can be a gift.

  1. Tosh Merino Light, Plaid Blanket
  2. Black Elephant, Acheron
  3. Malabrigo Mechita, 5 Aniversario
  4. Black Elephant, Sunflowers
  5. Dragonfly Fibers Pixie, Middle Earth
  6. Tosh Merino Light, Coquette Deux 341
  7. Malabrigo Mechita, 866 Arco Iris

 

 

I think I need to purchase only two, maybe three, additional skeins to do this. Which means I will use most of my yarn up. Always a win. I’m pretty sure I will need a second skein of Dragonfly’s Middle Earth and Madeline Tosh merino light in Coquette Deux. Everything else should be ok.  Maybe.  I’m going to concentrate on completing one and then I will weigh the leftovers and math to see where I’m at.

 

I’ve decided to put my traveling socks on hold. I’m using Wolmeise. I am making Hermione’s Everyday Socks by Erica Lueder. The heel is Susan B Anderson’s Smooth Operator Heel, so that my swirl will be maintained throughout the socks. I want to make the heels and toes with a blackish Wollmeise skein I have. Unfortunately that skein is in storage. Hence the on hold. I really like the way the yarn is knitting up and I totally can picture the black heels and toes as icing on the cake.

We have the moving truck delivering all of our stuff in less than a week. I doubt I’ll have much time to knit but I will be able to find that black skein of yarn!

Happy Knitting.

Knit on

I am super excited to be partaking in the Find Your Fade KAL with the Flying Needles Yarn shop. Unfortunately the weather was bad the night of the cast on party so it was canceled. I cast on at home as did others or they cast on at the shop on other days, posting to social media via Instagram, #flying needles2018KAL or Facebook.

I tried to find a moment or two each day to add a few rows. I started knitting on my color 2 four days into the project. As I was knitting along on Color 2, Madelinetosh’s Tosh Merino Light in the color Plaid Blanket, it hit me. I’m using Color 1 as color 2. [Insert image of me hanging my head head in shame here] I mislabeled them when I put the yarn labels together in order 1-7.

You can see I did it almost from the beginning, before I even took my official photos for my Ravelry project page. I guess I had a brain fart. I new what the swatch order was so I cannot explain it. Today I will be starting over, in the correct order.

Just for the official record the color order is as follows;

  1. Black Elephant, Acheron
  2. Tosh Merino Light, Plaid Blanket
  3. Malabrigo Mechita, 866 Arco Iris
  4. Tosh Merino Light, Coquette Deux 341
  5. Malabrigo Mechita, 5 Aniversario
  6. Dragonfly Fibers Pixie, Middle Earth
  7. Black Elephant, Sunflowers

At least this way I get fun extra knitting on this project. Really get my money’s worth out of the yarn by knitting it twice. Get the chance to start the KAL again! Just trying to get enthusiastic about restarting…..

Happy Knitting.

New Year, New everything

Well, We’ve made a major life change. I never thought I’d make a big move again. We had been in Las Cruces, NM for the last eight years for my husband’s work, and again work as brought us across the country. NOW we are Virginians!

we spent New Year’s Eve in D.C. celebrating Stevie’s birthday

July 1st brought major contract changes at Chuck’s work and it was quickly clear working for the new company had lots of negatives. Chuck started looking for work in June/July and had a few job offers but nothing was quite right. We had specific criteria that needed to be met to make us to move. 1- closer to family; 2- services for present and longterm for Tim; 3- comparable cost of living/ salary ratio to Las Cruces; 4- benefits and retirement options closer to what Boeing had.  That was it. When Virginia started looking like the win, it was a good fit. Stevie would be just a few hours away in D.C sooooooooo……………The actual decision to move happened really fast. The official job offer in Williamsburg, VA. was given on November 7th, 2017 and we were all in yes.

November 8th [Hanna’s 21st birthday BTW] we all flew to Washington D.C. on a previously planned family vacation. Our oldest child, Stevie, and her husband relocated there the year before. All 6 kids were there and the spouses/boyfriends came too.  This was not connected to the accepted job in VA we have had it in the works pretty much since they moved. It takes time to organize everyone’s schedules. We spent a week there exploring the city and enjoying each others company. It was the first time we went on vacation with all our children as adults. It was a whirlwind of busy days filled with museums, shopping, eating good food and a lot of.

I love how the girls gather in the quiet spaces, finding camaraderie, blurting their thoughts, opinions and quips at the boys in unexpected moments. The boys usually ended their days with each other, beers (or harder stuff) and ridiculousness. There seems to be an ongoing battle of whit, each very funny in their own right, arguing over whose terrible jokes cost a quarter. Charlie thinks he’s the best person to pass the final judgment. I think we all agree Matt wins the game.  I

t was nice that we started our day gathered at Stevie’s and Matt’s then could split off into smaller groups for individual preferences and again join up to end the days together. My favorite part was everyone together over dinner as a family sharing ourselves.  Stevie served us a delicious Thanksgiving dinner in her home on Saturday.  With room for all of us and she and Matt graciously extended the invite to a few invaluable friends, Resa, Alvin and Elizabeth. I’m very thankful for this trip and everyone making the time to be there.

this is our last meal together
Matt had to work so Charlie helped him join us in spirit

When we returned home there was a mad rush of packing and getting our home ready to be on the market. I stalked Zillow and Realtor.com trying to see what housing would be like and researching Williamsburg, VA. Chuck made a zillion calls and arranged a place for us to stay and planned out all the travel arrangements. We had everything packed up and shipped across country by Dec1st. It was an overwhelming time of goodbyes and tears. Max and Hanna drove to Tulsa, Ok. and we headed to Virginia on Dec 2nd.  I still can’t comprehend all that happened in November, I’m not sure there really was a November in 2017. I miss many aspects of NM, especially my friends.

Now we are starting out in 2018 with an accepted offer on a new house in Williamsburg, we close January 31st. Hopefully moving in on February 1st. Then all the fun will begin for real. First order of business will be to become official Virginians with new Drivers licenses and State Id’s so we can start getting Tim on track with services and therapies. Hanna has been here with us, having flown here the second week of December from OK. She has her friend Hannah visiting for a few weeks before they both head out to their schools in Oklahoma and New Mexico. Max was expected yesterday but there was the crazy snow explosion that shut everything down for a couple days. He will be here tomorrow and we plan to enjoy a delicious meal at Sal’s by Victor, probably our favorite restaurant in Williamsburg. We have a few more weeks before Hanna leaves so it’ll be real cozy in the two bedroom apartment we are staying in, 6 adults all cramped in. I’m sure it will be fine. It’s just a few weeks………….

I hope to keep track here of all the house plans and decorating. In general, all that is the making of a house into a home. I’m overexcited about this new house. I have so many plans swirling around in my head. I need to start making them real.

This is the new house!

Just looking at this picture I can see removing all the shrubs and replacing them with roses or hydrangeas, something flowering and inviting. I need to add some color. I’m sure my little metal bistros table with be super cute up on the porch, perhaps with a colorful oil cloth  tablecloth, maybe a rocking chair or two, red ones.  Maybe I’ll paint the chairs to the bistro table bright green or yellow……..Hurry up already January 31st!

My knitting mojo has been all screwy. I knit hats for my nephew and niece that both turned out too big so I had to reknit them. I sent the larger ones to my son and daughter in-law. In the end it was great mistake!  I will detail the hats better in another post.

 

Charlie and Leah seem pretty ok with my mistake
they’re pretty sweet themselves

I also, just last night, finished my Shusui Shrug so information coming soon on that too.

Happy Knitting!

 

Louise Cardigan

I have finished my sweater, Hanna finished her sweater and Peggy finished hers! We all used the Louise Cardigan pattern. We all used Cascade Eco + yarns but Peggy’s purple yarn was one she picked up in Germany.

My finished sweater

 

I used buttons recycled from dishes

 

Hanna’s sweater, she used antique buttons
from my grandmas button box

 

Peggy’s sweater, she used wood buttons

 

Peggy added a touch of fairisle to hers. I made my sleeves too long so I think I may go back and shorten them. There’s always room to make a pattern your own.
SO…. I want to talk about the pattern itself. I purchased the pattern on Ravelry and was excited about it. I loved the look, it was my first bottom up adult sweater so I was looking forward to working on the new-to-me style. It went really quickly, I knit the body and the sleeves, all going well. At the joining part for the yoke it all seemed chaotic… unaddressed things, omitted things, confusing things, I know I talked about this before. I worked my way through it, I made notes, helped Hanna sort the pattern out and she finished hers. Talked extensively with Peggy about the pattern as she worked through her sweater. Now, Peggy is an extremely experienced sweater knitter, she agreed the pattern had some issues. She went through all the notes on Ravelry, as I had, finding no significant complaints either. SO bizarre.
I contacted Madder, they responded to my email. Madder said they would review my notes and see if they felt the pattern needed an errata or updating. As of today I haven’t seen any changes to the pattern on Ravelry.  That’s okay. I’m happy with my final sweater, Hanna Is happy and Peggy is happy. Bring on the sweater weather!
Happy Knitting xo

Shusui Shrug

The Shusui Shrug by Susanne Sommer, I am seriously obsessed with this pattern! I have done Brioche just enough to understand the concept. I by no means am an expert.  This shawl/shrug is changing that rapidly.

I first heard of this pattern on the Wool Work Shop youtube podcast.  The construction is very unique,  it has a combination of brioche and garter stitch.  Susanne has also provided a youtube video for the set up. That was a huge benefit for me. I started this shrug several times. Not because it was so hard but rather I had color combo issues.  I strongly advise totally different color choices for your light and dark. Really, like colors that you don’t even think match.

Wollmeise PinBall Wizard and PotzBlitz

This was my first choice. I ordered this yarn specifically for this project. I was thinking summer trees turning into fall trees. The tone of the colors is much too similar. also having the color variations it’s too jumbled to see the design of the pattern.

Knit Picks Hawthorn Speckle
Cosmic and Italian Ice

This was the second combo.
The colors are again too similar once knit up in the pattern, too much the same tone. You couldn’t really see the pattern.

Knitpicks Hawthorne Kettle Dyed and Speckle
BLackBird and Cosmic
This is the winning combo. I decided to knit this for my daughter, Hanna. It reminds me a bit of a skeleton in this color combo. A win for this girl, I’m quite sure. Find my project on Ravelry to follow up dates.
Loving this combo!!!!I

I’m working away, ticking off all the repeats in the first section. I am using the Knit Companion app, I like to for any pattern that has multiple charts or instructions. I have the paid version and it is well worth it. I like that I can create new pages with my chosen parts of the pattern, really letting me focus on the immediate instructions.  As an example I pulled the repeat of rows R3-6 out of the section on Page 2 to of the pattern, originally this section has rows R1-6. Then I added in colored highlights to make it very clear which were light colored rows and which were dark.

A snippet of the pattern, in the app, so you can see what I mean.

The app enables so many other things. A row counter, a highlighter with many color choices, a pop-up legend and notes section, row bars you can move along as you go, so many I couldn’t possibly cover them all. Check out the Knit Companion app. It’s so good.

Until next time, Happy Knitting, Happy Life.

Catching Up with a touch of Starter-itis

I’m working my way through a serious case of starter-itis with my knitting.  There are so many great patterns. I’m spending far too much time scouring the inter-webs for new ones, not to mention all the ones I already had in my queue. Every time I finish a really big knitted thing I start this panicked need   interest to have another big project on the needles. and a searching I will go. The starter-iris is not calmed by having new yarns to admire, and pet, and sniff, and cuddle, and KNIT! I added knew skeins last week and this week I’ve placed another order as well as a preorder. I really need to reign it in, I’m a bit out of control.

And, I blame think having used 7 skeins of my hoarded Wollmeise for the Find Your Fade shawl by Andrea Mowry that everyone (including myself and several of my friends) seems to making right now, created a definite shortage that had to be rectified! So….I’ve picked up several skeins of Wollmeise from The Loopy Ewe and a few more not pictured. DON’T TELL!

Lace-Orient, Die Autser, Pure- Allegria, Pithaya, & NO whales in CO

I started making the Shusui Shrug bySusanne Sommer. I like the challenge of the pattern. It’s far from
my usual style. But this yarn was completely wrong!! This stayed in thought process for less than 24 hours.  I knew I hated the combo. So, I frogged it, and restarted another project with the yarn and ordered different yarn from Knitpicks to try this pattern again.

Shusui Shrug worked through set up and first repeat section 

For the new project I started the Match & Move by Martina Behm. I made a slight adjustment using a yarn over for the increase instead of Knit into the Front and Back. I debated about adding a lace section similar to the Free your Fade by Andrea Mowry. In the end I decided to just stick with the garter stitch. It will be good Game of Thrones knitting!!!

Match & Move in Wollmeise Pure-Pinball Wizard & Potzblitz
I like so many of Martina’s patterns. The Nevum is one of the most worn shawls that I’ve knit. I knit it with a teal color Wollmeise Lace quite awhile ago and plan to knit it again with the Orient I just purchased.  I love the way the Nuvem sits on the shoulders, the unusual shape is like a rectangle with corners tucked into the short ends.  The ruffled edge is charming and feminine while not being fussy.
Nuvem Schematic from Martina Behm’s Pattern pictures on Ravelry

I have several other projects going now, too. I have two pairs of socks, and a scarf that I’m working on in conjunction with my classes.  Usually I like to have 3 projects. Socks for on the go, a complex pattern to challenge my mind and a interesting but simple TV watching project. 

The run down on my other current projects; 
I volunteer at the local Senior Circle. It is organized and ran by the hospital, Mountainview Regional,  here in Las Cruces. I have a class twice a week, it is an independent study style class. Everyone is welcome to work on any project and if they run into trouble or simply don’t know how to find and fix their mistakes, I help.  I try to teach not only how to locate the mistake but how to fix it as well, not to just fix it for them. 
I have seen much growth from this style class and think it is really special. In addition to working on whatever they like we have a sampler scarf going.  I have written out different stitch patterns with a mind to learning new techniques and stitches.  Each section is bordered with garter stitch, this enables the adjustment of stitch counts for the patterns to be made without showing.  The garter stitches also act as a frame, giving a nice cohesive look.

My Sampler Circle Scarf using a Quillin Fiber Arts bamboo-wool blend
I can’t remember the actual yarn, the label is long gone.
For my current On the Go Sock I’m using my Basic Sock Pattern. I added a few things for some flare. I will add more info on a future post about that flare! Here’s a sneak peek.
Knitpicks Hawthorne Fingering Multi in Happy Valley
The Last project on my needles is also a sock. This one is Kym’s Birthday Socks.  I used one of my favorite stitch patterns, rewrote it so it worked in the round and created the sock pattern from there. I really like the results. I find I did have to go up a needle size from my usual #1 to a #1.5.
FIberstory Fave in Lagoon
I couldn’t quite capture the color correctly

Whew, that was a lot! I have so many more things swirling around in my head though…..another day.

My Basic Sock Pattern

I’ve finally decided to post the sock pattern I use for teaching. I use this pattern all the time to teach anyone I come across that would like to knit socks. I’ve tried to be very clear about each instruction, adding to it little by little to clarify as my students have asked questions.  I myself generally use this pattern for all my socks. I sometimes change it up by adding a pattern of some kind to the leg portion.


I’m going to include it here in my blog so others can easily access it. I’ve also added it to my Ravelry Designs if you would like to print from a PDF. I’ve included the Kitchener Grafting instructions for easy reference.

This pair I knit using Opal yarns

Basic Top Down Socks on Dpns
by Kym Hretz
Materials:
100 grams, 425 yards, fingering weight sock yarn of your choice
, Size 1 US (2.25mm) double pointed needles or size required for gauge
Gauge:
32 sts= 4 inches
Abbreviations:
CO= Cast On
K= Knit
P= Purl
S1= Slip 1 Stitch as if to purl
K2tog= Knit two stitches together
K2togTBL= Knit two stitches together through the back loop
SSK= Slip Slip Knit 2 together
Cast On
CO 64 (72) sts.using the Old Norwegian Cast On. (I always cast on over two needles for a bit more stretch.) Join and mark beginning of round.
Leg
Work in K2, P2 rib for 7 inches or desired leg length.
Heel Flap
Divide For Heel
, place one half of the stitches 32 (36), on a single needle. Leave the next two needles of 16 stitches each to work on later.  You will be working only on the 32 (36) heel flap stitches flat, back and forth. 

Round 1: *Sl1, K1 repeat from * to end.
Turn.
Round 2: Sl1, purl to end. Turn.
Repeat these 2 rounds till you have worked 32 (36) rounds (count the slipped stitches which should be 16 (18).
Work Round 1, one more time.
Turning the Heel
You are working in short rows to shape a little cup for the heel.
Starting on the wrong side.
Round 1: S1 then purl halfway across the heel flap plus 2=18 (20).P2tog, P1. Turn.
Round 2: Sl1, K5, K2tog TBL, K1. Turn.
Round 3: Sl1, P across towards the gap, stop at the first stitch before gap,  P2tog, P1. Turn.
Round 4: Sl1, K across to 1 stitch before the gap. K2togTBL  across the gap. K1. Turn.
Rounds 5-12: repeat rounds 3 & 4
Round 13: Sl1, P across towards the gap, stop at the first stitch before gap, P2tog. Turn.
Round 14: Sl1, K across to 1 stitch before the gap. K2togTBL across the gap.
You should have 18 (20) Stitches.
Picking up gusset Stitches
You will pick up the stitches on each side of the heel flap. By slipping the first stitch of each row on the heel flap, you have made a lovely chain edge which will be easy to pick up.
You should be able to get 18 (20) stitches on each side, but don’t worry if you get more or less than this, it’s more important to have no holes.
Knit across those instep stitches that have been on hold, or continue them in ribbing, then pick up and knit the same number of stitches on the other side of the heel flap. Knit one half of the heel flap stitches 9 (11) onto this needle. Mark the center as the beginning of the round. You should have approximately 84 stitches.
You are back to working in the round.
Gusset
Round 1: knit around
Round 2: Needle 1; Knit to 3 sts from the end , K2tog, K1. Needles 2 & 3; Knit across the instep sts. 
Needle 4, Knit 1st stitch, SSK, knit to end of needle.

Repeat Rounds 1 & 2 until you have 64 (72) sts again.
Knit all rounds until the foot measures 2½” less than your total foot length. Example; if your foot length measures (9.5” knit until sock measures 7” from heel.
Shape Toe:.
Round 1: K to 3 sts from end of first needle, K2tog, K1. K first st on instep needle SSK, knit to 3 sts from end of instep needle, K2tog, K1.
Last needle, K1, SSK, K to end.
Round 2: Knit around.
Repeat rows 1 & 2 until you have 24 (28) sts (6 (7) on each of 4 needles.
Kitchener Graft Stitches
Thread blunt needle with yarn 3x width of your work. Have two sets of stitches you want to join on two needles, with wrong sides of work facing.
To start: Thread yarn through the first stitch on the front needle as if to purl, pull yarn through. Leave stitch on needle. Thread yarn through the first stitch on the back needle as if to knit. Leave stitch on needle.
  • 1:  Thread yarn through first st on front needle as if to knit.
    Slip stitch off needle.
  • 2:  Thread yarn through next st on front needle as if to purl.
    Leave stitch on needle.
  • 3:  Thread yarn through first st on back needle as if to purl.
  •     Slip stitch off needle.
  • 4:  Thread yarn through next st on back needle as if to knit.
  •     Leave stitch on needle.
Repeat these 4 steps. Until 2 stitches left (one on each needle) then repeat only 1 & 3.
  • 1:  Thread yarn through first st on front needle as if to knit.
    Slip stitch off needle.
  • 3:  Thread yarn through first st on back needle as if to purl.
  •     Slip stitch off needle.
Chant (Optional): “Front-Knit-OFF, Front-Purl-ON, Back-Purl-OFF, Back-Knit-ON” OR “Knit, purl, purl, knit”. You will find your own groove.

Weave in all ends and make another sock to complete the pair!!

Feel Free to ask any questions you may have. Otherwise you’ll probably find me off knitting on a pair of socks somewhere.