Saturday, June 30, 2007

One Cupcake!

I decided to try doubling the yarn for my frosting. It worked! Now I just have to figure out how to use my leftover frosting that was too small. I think there will be math involved. Wish me luck! This may take awhile. In the meantime you can look at my first effort.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Learn from My mistakes!

2. Exact gauge is critical! I was enthralled by the cupcakes in One Skein by Leigh Radford. "Exact gauge is not critical for this project" she says. I am easily sucked in by a cute pattern. It was at a knitting group that I spied coconut frosting yarn in a friend 's knitting bag. Sweetheart that she is, she gave it to me. I began to "bake" my cupcake when I got home. I did the frosting first. It looked delicious! Next I did the bottom part of my cupcake. Guess what happened next. They do not fit together! Now I have to make more Frosting in a larger size to fit my cupcake paper. Perhaps we should have a pool on how many coconut cupcakes in different sizes I will end up with. I am hoping for just two. Leigh says "Be forewarned- they tend to multiply." I don't think this is what she had in mind. Gotta go now I have to knit bigger frosting.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Pinwheel Purse

When I saw the Pinwheel Purse in Iris Schrier's Modular Knitting, I knew I had to make it. I chose to use some hand - spun silk yarn which is made from saris. With the heavier yarn, I used larger needles and my bag came out larger. This pattern is fabulous for using singles with an over twist. You don't have any biasing problems. I'm not one to go out with my wallet and keys unzipped, so I added a lining with a zipper. It consists of 3 layers: one for the back, one for the front and one with a zipper. I also added some crochet rows to the front flap to give more overlap. I carry this bag all the time and get many comments on it. If you purchase this book, you should find Art yarns address and get the list of book updates. It might save you some grief. Sorry Iris, but the old Math teacher in me has to say it. This bag is a pentagon, not an octagon, and an equilateral triangle has to have all three sides equal. That being said I LOVE this bag!!!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

More Bliss

The Stitchin' Post is a small shop on Philadelphia Street. If you know Saratoga it is on one of the narrow, steep streets off the main shopping street. This shop has been around for awhile, certainly before knitting was "IN". I first visited this shop in the late eighties. I don't know how much longer it has been there. A lovely stained glass sign welcomes you. Inside you will find an incredible amount of yarn. Draped across the shop, hangs a row of the perfectly made, hand knit socks in many colors that the owner, Norma Gessner, has for sale. Her double points are constantly busy creating these beauties. I've always admired sock knitters. What a selection of light weight and sock yarns she has, I've never seen so many! But there is much more. There are wools and synthetics, cross stitch and needlepoint supplies, needles, patterns, buttons . . . I know I didn't see it all. Where to begin? Time to dig out my list of impossible to find yarn. The rascal is hidden in the back of my wallet reluctant to emerge. I wondered if Norma had a beige ragg wool I need to repair an old, but much loved sweater. As you can see from the photo, she did and now it's mine. I looked at the scarf yarn which she had on sale and chose two balls of Berroco Zen. I can see a little drawstring evening bag for this yarn. The Ironstone, copper, extremely fine, metallic was my impulse purchase. I love the look of it, so wispy and shiny. This was definitely a stash purchase.

I bought my yarn and was about to leave when a crashing thunderstorm started. You can't believe how much rain fell in a short time. Looking out the window of the shop you could see water like a river, running down the street, lapping up over the curb onto the sidewalk. Here I was trapped in a YARN store. Can you believe my luck?

It was then that we began to talk socks. Norma was working on a gorgeous pair. The yarn in the goblet is the yarn she was using. It is called Tofutsies. She has every color they make of this yarn. One skein will make a pair of socks with enough left over for a pair of baby socks. She showed me how much was left. It was neatly wrapped in the original label. This is a habit I must cultivate. The label is the key to finding more yarn and those important care instructions. The amazing thing about this yarn is the fiber content. It is wool, soy and Chitin. How organic is that? You know wool comes from sheep and soy comes from beans, but Chitin (?) Well, Chitin comes from shrimp and crab shells. It's only 2.5%, but still. I was intrigued. The yarn has a great feel to it. It is supposed to be naturally antibacterial. The skein in the goblet is my shrimp cocktail. Norma asked if I made socks and I had to admit that I have not done any lately. I asked her for her favorite sock pattern. It is Classic Socks for the Family by Yankee Knitter Designs. It has all sizes and yarn weights. She tells me if you just do exactly what the pattern says, and don't question it, your success is assured. If I can make socks like hers using this pattern, I will be thrilled. The rain finally let up so I left to continue exploring.

Not long after I found myself seeking shelter from the rain again, this time in Borders. I plopped myself down in the knitting book section and had a wonderful time. I'm proud to say I purchased just one book, One Skein, by Leigh Radford. All in all for a knitter, it was a fabulous vacation!!!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Vacation Bliss

My daughter treated me to a couple of days at the Roosevelt Baths and Spa at The Gideon Putnam in Saratoga Springs NY. I can't thank her enough! As soon as I get to a hotel I always start my vacation in the yellow pages. Imagine my delight that there were TWO yarn shops in Saratoga Springs. There are lots of wonderful little shops in Saratoga. You can pick up a resort map somewhere and have a ball. But I digress. Saratoga Needle Arts is a gorgeous place. It's a beautiful space with huge walls of scrumptious yarns, displays of wonderful finished items, books . . . everything. The colors are dazzling! Knitters sit around a table, with tea and cookies, work, knit and talk knitting. It is the yarn shop we all dream of owning! (Come on admit it!) I limited myself to 2 scoops of Joy and a Multifizz for a felted bag I want to try soon. It was not easy to stop there, since scarf yarn was on sale. If you can't go there at least click on the link and get a glimpse.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

We Go Modular

Iris Schrier's Zig zag Scarf is an interesting project. The pattern can be found in her book, Modular Knits. Modular knitting is a bit of a challenge. If you work on this one in the Doctor's waiting room, people might stare or even comment. Working back and forth on the zigzag makes your knitting look totally out of kilter sometimes. While you are knitting, it looks slanted and terribly wrong. (If you don't pay attention, sometimes it is terribly wrong!) After making this scarf several times with variegated yarn, I decided to try one in a solid color. This one is done with two strands knitted together. One strand is Le Fibre Nobili Merino Superfine. The other strand is Plymouth Eros in white. Done in one color, the scarf is very different because it places the emphasis on the stitch work. I find the results to be elegant and rather stunning.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Pink on Pink

I’ve always wanted a cuff bracelet. I had this wonderful cotton yarn (provenance unknown) and my bead order included these wonderful pink beads which matched so well that they just shouted to be strung and knitted. No pattern but I must admit I did do some counting so the beads would line up. The purpose of this exercise was to see if I could get the beads to stand up. They did and I was most delighted. Of course, no pattern means I don’t know if I could make the same thing again but then, why would I? Although, I do have a similar yarn in a robin’s egg blue . . . time to hit the bead stash.