Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Fan lace tutorial

Here we go. Now, I'm going to warn you ahead of time that my camera work is lacking. It was the best that I could muster at 4am all by myself.
Fan lace part 1: A better look and a short explanation

Fan lace part 2: Casting on

Fan lace part 3: Getting started

Fan lace part 4: Making lace!

Fan lace part 5: More explanation

Fan lace photo diagram (click the photo for a larger view of my shaky mouse hand tracing of the path of construction)
I hope that this helps to explain things. I would have written out instructions but I just couldn't figure out a good way of wording it.

I have been knitting, a lot. I swear I have

Not only have I been knitting by hand but I have been knitting by machine and crocheting. I have been a busy little beaver, just not a blogging beaver. I just learned how to make hairpin lace. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be. Thank you Stitch Diva for the inspiring pattern. Check me out:
I just acquired yet another knitting machine. I love eBay. This one has a ribber and I can't wait to figure out how to use it. I'm in the process right now of making some youtube videos to show how I created a fan lace pattern I saw on ravelry. My next post will have the videos.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I have finally mastered the kitchener stitch!

I can't tell you how many of my hand knitting projects have gone oh so wrong because I had never taken the time to learn how to properly execute the kitchener stitch.
These socks make my brain so happy. I love flip flops but I live in Chicago and flip flop weather is brief indeed. My mother is going to shake her head at me and say "child go put on some shoes".
I'm 35 years old and my mom is still trying to dress me. Gotta love her though.
I think I will be making a pair in white as soon as I get to the craft store to pick up some more yarn. I like it when a project comes together.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

End of Summer

As the little bit of warm weather we get here in Chicago is going to wind down pretty fast thoughts of what I want to knit to keep me warm this winter are swirling around in my head. I have missed my daily knitting over the summer. I still knit but not as feverishly as I do when it's cold. I haven't touched my knitting machines at all in the past few months and I look forward to continuing to learn how to use them. I think leg warmers will be my first order of business, I am a child of the eighties after all.
I have a lot of quilt work on my plate right now as well that I can't wait to finish so I can relax and make something for myself. I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed as of late because I have had so much to do. In addition to just taking care of the homestead I have remodeled my sewing room, done a lot of work to get ready for my website re-launch, written content for the re-launch of my quilting podcasts, and started writing a guide for people whom are organizing group quilt projects. It has been difficult organizing my thoughts and taking my business more seriously as I get more work. I have never been good at the business end of things but have discovered that I have to get good at it and it has been a long road full of resistance to specifics and planning. I'm an artist and I just like to "do" but if I want to continue on and be successful I have to make plans and carry them out.
I don't even know why I just rattled all that stuff out, I guess it's been heavy on my mind.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I'm still alive

I have been knitting but I have just been to swamped with work and remodeling to share. I'll get back in the swing of things soon.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Knitty goodness

The summer Knitty is up! I will be casting on the Seascape stole tonight.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

My obsession with knitting is good for my soul

Just in general I try not to be too new age-y when it comes to spirituality but sometimes it just works. When I am knitting I find myself feeling very calm and at ease. There is only the stitch.
The type of work I do is always detail work. I need good light. I have to wear glasses. I have to pay attention. When I knit things like hats or scarves I can make a mistake and fudge a little to make things work but when I am knitting lace every stitch has to be correct for the pattern to emerge. As I knit I mentally say each repeat of the stitch pattern to myself like a mantra. When I am done the lace is a testament to my patience care while I was knitting. I have blended my daily meditation into my craft. The knitting has helped me to be more present and take more care in my quilting projects and in my everyday chores. Being still and doing something very repetitive give me a chance to think about my concerns, my fears, and my goals.
In this world full of distractions I have found a way to be quiet. I am thankful for my knitting. I am thankful for the meditation. And it doesn't hurt that I have something useful when I am done.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Friday, May 23, 2008

Yes, another shawl

I had to do it. I had to make another swallowtail shawl. I made it larger than the pattern called for by adding a few repeats. I think it turned out just gorgeous.

Ooh shiny!

I'm adding beading to my knitting for the first time. Having the right tools for the job really helps in this instance. I have a tambour beading hook that makes sliding the beads onto the stitches go like a dream. I can't wait to finish and block it.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

How addictive is knitting?

It's a good question. I feel like I should be going to meetings to deal with my addiction. I have been knitting lace shawls non-stop. Why does no one tell you that when you start knitting lace that you will never stop?
Now for the loveliness:

And don't even get me started on my renewed love of crochet...
I am still learning how to use my new knitting machines but I have only made samples. It's getting easier. Ok, off to knit some more.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Ooh, the spring Knitty is up!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Oh so many projects

It has been very cold and I have been feeling under the weather but I have still been knitting like a mad woman. I haven't been playing with my machines much because of the under-the-weather-ness but it it easy to knit in bed. I'd go into more detail but I am tired, so click the pictures to get to the patterns.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Don't knit while sick

Yesterday I was sick but I wanted to still be productive so I knit a match to a sock I had mad a few weeks ago. Unfortunately I used the wrong keyplate in my USM and now I have a momma bear and a baby bear sock. So heed my advice and do not knit while sick. I have been trying to learn how to translate hand knitting patterns into machine knitting patterns. It has been an adventure to say the least but I am having a lot of fun. Learning to machine knit has been very exciting. I haven't been this passionate about any craft since I first learned how to sew. So now instead of always being covered in thread I am covered in yarn. I'm having fun and I am feeling better.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

I love socks

Hello, my name is Cheryl and I am a sock-aholic. I finally got around to trying to make some Alltogether socks on my USM. It took four tries for me to make a perfect pair, but I really do love them. Thank you Heidi for writing up such a cool tutorial. There is nothing better than not having any seams to sew up once you are done knitting them. I was so happy that I didn't have to sew anything that I embroidered all over them! I got my inspiration from some embroideries I saw on a pairs of Knucks on knitty.com. I''m still cleaning and learning how to use my new knitting machines and so far they seem to be in good working order. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Renewed faith in humanity

Yesterday I wrote an e-mail to Susan who is the YouTube machine knitting video goddess to try and pick her brain about my Knitmaster 321. I reached out for help with my new machine and Susan graciously pointed me in the right direction. After the past few weeks of dealing with the frustrations with the post office, WalMart, PayPal, the bank, and the lost or stolen credit card folks I didn't feel like I had much to hold on to. My faith in humanity is officially restored. Thank you Susan, you are awesome.
Oh, and DHL rocks as a delivery service. I recieved my new computer today (I'm using it right now) without having to track it down like I'm Dog the bounty hunter or something. Thumbs up DHL.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Freakin' finally

My knitting machines finally came yesterday, but only after having to shift into "angry black woman" mode. I am a really mellow chick but when people do not do their jobs properly they only get two chances to interact with me in "reasonable, understanding black woman" mode. Okay, I'm over it now.
Hooray! My machines are here! They are so much cooler than my Bond machine. Now I just have to learn to use them properly. Wheee!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Bitten by the Clapotis bug

I love the Clapotis pattern from Knitty. I'm starting mine tonight. I worked up a few swatches so I could "get" the pattern and now I will stumble onward with a little bit of confidence. There are some really awesome explanations/tutorials here of how to get your Clapotis to look it's best. You gotta love the internet.
I am going to be using Debbie Mumm's Traditions in the midnight color way. I know a lot of people don't like it but I am a pretty loose knitter and I try not to put too much drag on the yarn so I think I will be ok. I am completely in love with the color so I and going to risk it.
I am not knitting on my machine right now because it just reminds me of how mad I am at the post office for losing my eBay find, so my hand knitting is keeping me sane.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

My cleaves of doom

I just finished the cleaves pattern from the Knitty site. I made a big boo boo but it all worked out. It wasn't supposed to have that nifty scarf-like knot in the front but in a moment of tiredness I cast on too many stitches. Instead of casting on 38 stitches I cast on 124, which is the total number of stitches I should have had for the entire cowl porting. Oh well. I still like it and I think that is all that matters. I want to start another one right away in black. Wow, I look tired in this picture. Can you tell it's almost 3am? And yes, I did wake my husband up just to take this picture.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Torture by mail continued

I have tried to be patient. I have tried not to think about it. The fact still remains that I won a knitting machine off of eBay in December and it is still not here. I actually won two, but one isn't coming because she can't find the accessories. The guy that sold me this one didn't mail it right away because of some unusually bad weather but now I am starting to think that it isn't coming either. I must have some bad knitting machine karma or something because about 4 years ago I won a knitting machine off of eBay that never came either and it was a complete nightmare getting my money back so I am hoping against hope that I am wrong. I just am so excited to try out my new purchase that it is really starting to get under my skin that they aren't here yet. I need to start a new project to get my mind off of stalking the mailman. Blah.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Homemade stitch markers

I made my own stitch markers this afternoon. Now that I know how to make socks on one circular needle I figured that my reward would be to make a pretty set of markers. They were really easy to make as well. I used bracelet hardware for the rings and with some easy wire wrapping techniques with my beads on I-pins and now I have an end product to be proud of. Wormspit.com has an awesome tutorial if you would like to make some of your own.

Dyeing yarn with Kool aid

Okay, it's not Kool aid it's Wyler's but it's the same concept. I was intrigued when I saw the instructions for dyeing yarn with Kool aid on the knitpicks site so I decided to give it a whirl. It was fun, easy, and not too messy. I dye my own fabric for quilting so I know what a hassle chemical dyes can be. I used Sensations Kashmira 100% wool from JoAnn fabrics and it worked just great. As long and you use drink mixes with no sugar added you won't have any residue or extra scent when you are done. I however will never drink Kool aid/Wyler's again because anything that can permanently dye yarn this easily certainly shouldn't be going in my body!

Socks, marvelous socks

I get it. I finally get it. I made the sample sock from Sensational Knitted Socks and now I finally get the construction of socks. I only had one false start because I wasn't doing my ssk's correctly but now I understand. I am so excited! When my husband saw my practice sock he told me that I was going to have to cut off a few toes to fit it. Silly monkey. Anyway, I just wanted to share the excitement.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The eagle has landed

I finally got my goodies in the mail and just let me say that at this very moment I am prepared to get in my car and drive to wherever it is that they make these needles and kiss the creator right on the lips. Using these needles is like knitting with butter! That doesn't even make any sense but I don't care. I love them, I love them, I love them. I think I will call them George. The only other time that I have been this excited about a delivery I was waiting for news that my niece was born. (Hi Jazzy.)
In other news, my laptop died today. Of course, my warranty ran out a month ago. I'm just lucky I guess. Services will be held this Sunday. Let us have a moment of silence and remember the good times Lappy and I shared.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

100 Row Shrug

I just love it when a plan comes together. Yesterday I knit 4 shrugs on my Bond USM knitting machine. I fell in love with a shrug I saw on Ravelry and the construction was so simple I figured I could make a plain version fairly easily. It took three tries to get it just the way I liked it but they are all wearable. I'm going to call it the 100 row shrug.

The first one I made was this one:

It's a bit snug but very wearable. I used Wool Ease in avocado.

The second one isn't technically a 100 row shrug because it is actually 110 rows which caused the ribbing to roll and create a tiny shawl collar.

This one is also made up in Wool Ease, in paprika. I'm going to give it to a friend as a gift because I made her some fingerless mitts already in the same yarn.

The third one was the charm. I like the way it fits. It is just right, baby bear style. I added a few stitches in width in order to get the "sleeves" to cover my shoulders more.

Yet another Wool Ease creation but made in oxford grey. I made the matching gauntlets a few weeks ago. They are an elongated and adjusted version of these. I made one more shrug in black too but my photographer went to bed on me. Making these shrugs was a nice distraction from my frustration with the postal service and my excitement as I wait for my new toys to get here.

Remember Caboodles?

When I was a teenager all of my friends and I had a Caboodle. A Caboodle is a girl-y tote-like thing that you can put your makeup in. Well today while at Walgreen's filling a prescription I found a Caboodle tote that is perfect for carrying knitting supplies. It is crazily similar to this tote I saw on the knitpicks site. I might even go out on a limb here and say it is the same design except it cost half as much. So girls, if you are looking for a knitting bag that doesn't look too "crafty" run, don't walk, to Walgreen's and pick one up.

Slow torture by mail

My knitpicks needles haven't come yet. I am sad. I am never opting for "free" (ie. SLOW) shipping ever again. When I order products online I want them yesterday. Apparently they send the free shipping orders on the back of a blind, lame mule named Moe from Istanbul. My knitting machines aren't here either. One isn't coming at all because the seller can't find the accessories so I got a refund but I didn't want a refund I wanted a knitting machine. I passed up other machines I could have bid on because I knew I had two coming, grrrr. I did take a field trip to Chix with Stix today as retail therapy before my dentist appointment and I bought some sock yarn. It's so pretty that I don't want to use it just yet. Is that crazy? I do this with fabric as well. I buy really nice silk that I have no intention of ever sewing and I caress and love it and then put it away.
I also went to the eye doctor today and had an exam and ordered new glasses. With the addition of knitting as yet another close up activity for my eyes it's getting a little harder to see these days. My new frames are really cute, I can hardly wait until next week when I get to pick them up. With my run of luck lately they won't be ready in a week either! This whiny post has been brought to you by the letter I for impatience.