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Peace Pals

Peace Pals by kpetra
Peace Pals, a photo by kpetra on Flickr.

In general, I am not a big fan of knitting toys. But they are fun to play with.
A month ago my LYS sent out a plea to help with making Peace Pals. I found out more about the organization  (women4women-knitting4peace) that sponsors these projects and really liked them. So, I knitted the boy. My older one decided he was cold and could use a scarf and immediately put her fingerknitting skills in good use. So, the boy was warm but he was still lonely. He needed a girl. I thought another 2 hours and we’ll call it a success. I was wrong. I did not realize how big the girl’s skirt was! But now she is done, they got married (that’s what my girls said) and were sent on a long journey. Along with many others, they will travel to an orphanage in Tanzania.
Happy travels, guys!!!

The original pattern is knit flat. I don’t like seeming and knitted the girl in the round. It worked really well.

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Posted by on November 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Wrinkles be gone!

More then a year ago, after patiently waiting in a long line and after fighting the crowds at The Sanguine Gryphon booth at Rhinebeck, I scored 4 skeins of hand-dyed Bugga. Shortly after my trip The Sanguine Gryphon ceased to exit, and split into Verdant Gryphon and Cephalopod Yarns.

I went to Rhinebeck with a mission and knew exactly what and how much I wanted and what project I was going to make.

And the saga of Bugga yarn has began. BTW, Bugga is still being produced by both of the companies. For those of you who were able to avoid the Bugga craze, it’s a beautiful blend of 70% SW Merino, 20% Cashmere, 10% Nylon in sport weight.

I started working on the designated cardigan, knit most of the back and ripped it out. Was not happy. Started knitting again, this time in one piece, got all the way to the underarms and ripped out. Was not happy. At this point, my yarn was not happy with me either and curled all up. So, half of each skein I haven’t abused so far was perfectly straight, whereas the other half of the same skein was cutely curly.

Bugga before bath

At this point, I finally figured out my original project was not working for me and found a different pattern. Yet, the yarn did not applaud my efforts and stayed curly. I considered several options. But since my frogged piece has never been washed, or steamed, I went with the least painful treatment. I skeined the yarns and gave them nice, long warm bath. I decided to trust wool’s natural tendency to return to its original state and hoped the bath will wash away all the curls without killing the yarn. To dry, I did not use any weights, did not stretch it. Just let it hang. And it worked! I effectively reclaimed my precious yarn and it’s being currently knit into a pullover.

Bugga after the bath

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2012 in Knitting

 

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In a rut!

P1140850 by kpetra
P1140850, a photo by kpetra on Flickr.

About two years ago, I got ambitious (there is a very fine line between being ambitious and crazy/insane) and started the Mitered Square blanket. Anything small doesn’t usually appeal to me, therefore I am aiming for a full size blanket. Have I mentioned I knit this on US1 needles?

Each square is outlined with 4 rows of black before I switch to a color. That means every tiny square has 4 ends to weave in. Have I mentioned how I dislike weaving the ends in? Doing a rough math, the goal is to end up with around 750 squares. That is 3,000 ends to weave in. Lovely!

But for once I dicided to see a project through. The pressure is on, since my friends keep showering me with their sock yarn scraps and leftovers, which I am forever thankful for. So there is a plan. If I knit a square a day, by the end of the next year – that is the year of 2013 – I will be finished. So far this year, I’ve been able to stick to the plan and the blanket is growing every day. But it sucks all the energy and knitting mojo out of me. Oh, well. When the time is right, I will be cranking those knitting pojects out like a mad woman again. For now, I’ll stick to a square a day.

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Moxie

moxie by kpetra
moxie, a photo by kpetra on Flickr.

When I saw this colorway for the first time I was sure to skip it. Then my girls got involved and begged for it. Since I don’t need much persuasion to get more fiber I gave in.

My original plan was to spin it into fingering weight and knit two pairs of socks, or alternatively make some kind of leg warmers (imitate knee high socks without the foot part since my girl’s feet keep growing like crazy. )

Well, planning is good, but doesn’t always work. Over (very short) time, my spinning got so thin I was afraid my yarn would not be thick enough for socks. Yeah, wishful thinking in this case. I paid so much attention to spinning decently thick singles that I ended up with about worsted weight yarn.

Time to redo my plans. Legwarmers would still work, but might be too warm to wear in school all day long. Soooooo, since winter made its comeback today (it’s snowing and snowing on April 23), I am in mood for some mittens. I am thinking flip tops. That should make the girls excited enough to forget my failed promise of socks.

 
 

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Spring is here, I am still thinking winter

I see signs of spring everywhere. On Monday I saw a robin, today red-winged blackbirds. Cardinals are happily singing away. Sun is shining. Thermometer touched 50F and is still climbing.

Having lived in Buffalo for a while, I don’t get fooled that easily, though. Every year, robins come ahead of spring and then jump around dumbfounded as they try to find food under snow few days later. I am still thinking winter, snow, cold. Not having much of a winter this year only proves my case.

My husband is an avid photographer. Unlike me, he doesn’t mind getting out in the wee hours, standing in cold and waiting for the perfect light and perfect everything to take a perfect picture. I decided he really deserved decent mittens to keep him warm. I found pattern for flip-top gloves in Folk Mittens by Marcia Lewandowski.

It’s a basic pattern for gloves with a flip-top. The pattern recommends US2 needles and worsted weight yarn. With US2 needles there’s no way to get the gauge I needed. The body of the mitten is twined knit, without actually crossing the yarn in the back. In fact, it’s basic colorwork, using both ends of the yarn ball.

I had worsted weight handspun targhee in Flannel colorway. To stretch is further, I decided to use it along with black Patons Classic Wool.

I had to make several adjustments for the mittens to fit. First of all, I omitted the fingers. They were way too bulky and uncomfortable. I knit the ribbing on US2 using only the handspun. For the body of the mitten I switched to US4 and used both the handspun and the black, with the handspun being carried below the black (when doing color work, the lower floats yarn becomes visually dominant compared to the one that is carried above).

For the flip top I tried to follow the pattern directions. But it asked for the same number of stitches as were in the mitten. There is some bulk to the mittens, due to the worsted weight yarn and twining. Flip top of the same size as the mitten squeezes the fingers and makes the whole mitten very uncomfortable. Instead of fiddling with different number of stitches I decided to go up in needle size. The flip top was cast on US2 needles, then I knitted 2 rows in rib and stockinette, increased 2 stitches and switched to US6 needles.

After several false starts and much of frustration, the mittens of doom are finished. They have been field tested  and approved of. Our friend (another avid photographer) admiringly hinted that he might like a pair like that as well.

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Is there anybody out there?!

After much deliberation, I decided to embrace the new century (late, as usual) and start my own blog. What gives me the right? Nothing, really. Maybe my stubbornness. To be perfectly honest, I did not even update my Ravelry in the past year. Only time should show if this blog will thrive.

A word of caution for you non-crafters. This blog should follow my explorations of craftiness, creativity and making, most of which include fiber (think wool, not food) in each and every form. If that’s not your cup of tea, run. Run as fast as you can.

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

 
 
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The Art of Knitting

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