Thursday, August 30, 2007

It's a holiday weekend!

I'm now off until next Tuesday! I have nothing planned other than knitting and helping Michael paint a room downstairs. Hopefully, more of the former. I have the body of Michael's sweater done and I plan to start the sleeves in the morning. I'm beginning to worry that I may not have enough yarn in every color. I won't know until I start the second sleeve.

I've been looking at spinning wheels on the internet and I think I'm leaning towards either a Kromski Minstrel of Mazurka. I'll have to start saving some of my yarn money to buy one though. I figure I'll get a chance to ask lots of questions and compare wheels at SAFF. I think I've staved off the spinning bug for as long as I can. Poor Michael, just what he doesn't need, another hobby to steal more of my time. Maybe I can get him hooked on it too and then he can spin and I'll knit. Only after I get a wheel and he watches me will I know if it's something he wants to try. I never seem to know exactly what is going to trigger his interest. Well, hobbywise that is. ;)
Looking forward to an evening of knittin' with my buddies tomorrow at the Friday Night Knitch Knit (or FNKK for short, sounds kinda rude dudn't it?)

Monday, August 27, 2007

I'm over the newsletter hump..

This past weekend was a busy one. I was struggling with the newsletter for the guild and having computer issues. Every time I tried to export the newsletter to a PDF, it would crash the program. After fiddling around with it and even getting Michael to take a look, I finally discovered late last night that there was some unknown item on one of the pages that was hidden behind the other text boxes that was causing the problem. After I removed the 'offending' item, it worked just as it's supposed to. Whew! I was worried I wouldn't have the PDF to upload to our website. I certainly slept better last night not having anxiety dreams about it. Okay, enough about the drama... on to the fun stuff.

I finally got a chance to block the shawl on Thursday evening. I'm really happy with the way it finished. I love the color shift around the outside border. I had originally bought a pattern from JoJoLand to make and had issues with the pattern about 40 rows in and subsequently it sat for about 6 months in a bag in a yarn stash box. I just didn't have much of a desire to pick it up again. So I decided I'd look for another pattern because I wanted to make something with this beautiful yarn.
If you are wondering about the pink carpet, I took these pictures downstairs in David's living room. Dusty rose would probably be my very last choice for a carpet color.

I took the shawl with me to Knitch yesterday and had several offers to wear it home if I just couldn't decide who this needs to go to. Thanks y'all for all the compliments. :) It's so gratifying to finish a project and then to get kudos from your knitting buddies too sure is nice.

I bought some Alpaca Twist at Knitch yesterday. It's 70% baby alpaca and 30% silk and dreamy soft. They got it in a few weeks ago and every time I've been there since, I've gone over and fondled the gray. I just decided I'd better buy it now because if I wait and then decide to buy it later it would be gone. I got the last 4 skeins of the gray. I'm thinking some kind of 'manly' shawl for me to wear in my knitting chair in the winter.

A few of us went over to Surin of Thailand for dinner after the knit-in at Knitch on Friday. We had a great time, even though one of us thought the food was too spicy and I had to trade dishes with him. ;) It was kind of a good thing anyway, I got to try two different dishes in one visit. It's the first time I've been to Surin. The basil rolls were really good too.

What's not to like when you have good food, friends, wine and yarn all in one place! Claudia must be needing more fiber in her diet!?

I really enjoyed our dinner together and we even all had goodbye hugs at the door. You'd think we weren't going to see each other for months instead of 2 days later.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

We are getting a new AC!

Thank you to anyone who was sending their good vibes toward our ancient AC unit telling it to just let go and retire to the inefficient appliance graveyard in the sky. It died a slow, very warm and humid death on Monday night. We woke up Tuesday morning, after tossing and turning all night, sticking to the sheets, to a lovely temperature of 88 degrees inside. It was cooler outside than in. When I got home yesterday evening, it was up to 97 degrees, INSIDE. Luckily since the floor in the 'library' room downstairs had already been cleared for me to block my shawl, we put down sleeping bags and camped out downstairs on the floor in the cooler air. I don't know which is worse, a comfortable bed with hot air, or the hard floor with cool air. Neither makes for any kind of quality sleep time. My butt was dragging today and I've had a headache just lingering in the background waiting to wrestle me to the ground.

I started on a pair of fingerless gloves yesterday with the wonderful hand spun yarn that was given to me by our favorite knitter, known by anyone who knits, Claudia. (It's the darker brown yarn on the left) I won the yarn by answering her quiz questions on her blog correctly. The cuff that is shown is with leftover Misty Alpaca that I had from hats I made for a couple of friends last Christmas. The main part of the glove will be made with the handspun. I was hoping to be able to make them entirely with the handspun, but I don't think there would be quite enough and I wanted to make something I could get a lot of use out of since it was such special yarn. :) I have a Celtic knot cable design I'm trying to decide on for the top part of the glove. I pulled out my copy of Viking Patterns for Knitting and I think I've found one that will work.

I got home and the new AC is in and working!! It's actually a more powerful unit and we have cool air in all the rooms! Whoopieeeeee..

Now off to a restful and COOL night of sleep. :)

Monday, August 20, 2007

lace, lace, lace....

It was lace fever at Knitch yesterday. A regular buying frenzy all around me. I was tempted by the new Alpaca lace yarn they had, but I didn't give in. I'm saving my yarn budget for SAFF. Instead, I went home and started digging through the stash and found four bags of lace weight yarn that is waiting for stardom. I then went through Victorian Lace Today and chose another shawl to start. I'm supposed to be picking up Michael's sweater and the desire/excitement of a new project is almost overwhelming. I don't think this is unfamiliar to most knitters.

My sweet hubby cleared out the 'library' room downstairs this morning so I would have a space big enough to block the shawl, which I finished last night! WOOHOO! After having to tink three times while trying to finish the knitting at Knitch yesterday. I was getting excited about finishing and my mind was already wandering on what I want to knit next and how I'm going to block this one and where will I find the space to block.... I managed to just let my hands take over and knit what they wanted and of course they weren't at all concerned about the pattern!? I decided to wait and do the grafting when I got home. (Where I could get lots of help from the kitties.. What's that? Can I help you with this loose end? I just love this cushy board you get out for us to lay on!) They of course think the blocking board is one big cat bed. I like to pin things on the blocking board before I start to graft so the stitches don't run. Bob has a real thing for my blocking pins too. I have to constantly check on a piece I've blocked making sure he hasn't pulled out the pins. It's only the colored glass head pins that he likes.

I went to the eye doctor this morning for a checkup and was having a real fun time trying to knit with my eyes dilated. Luckily, I'm extremely near sighted and can still see a little without my glasses. That said, I haven't seen what my knitting looks like from this morning yet, it could be a nightmare. Next time I will take something on larger needles to work on. Socks on size 2, with dark yarn wasn't the best scenario.

It's off to newsletter land again when I get home tonight. I've gotten a little behind schedule so it's crunch time.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

My sweater for Michael

Here is the sweater that I've been working on for Michael for over 2 years. This is the third incarnation. The first one was a pattern that Michael chose and it had so many problems in the pattern that I got very frustrated and thought I can find something that will be better written and I won't grow to hate as I work on it. The second was going to be too heavy and he probably wouldn't be able to wear it very often. Rip again. The third (this one) is actually a sweater design I saw in a National Geographic catalog and I've just been using measurements from one of his favorite sweaters and winging it. He had originally only chosen three colors. I think it now has 15 or 16.. I haven't counted.
This is the body, worked in the round and I will steek the armholes. I've been using the book Fair Isle Sweaters Simplified from Philosophers Wool. Great book for learning fair isle if you're wanting to try it. They also do a lot of steeking in their sweater designs.

This is what the inside looks like. A rat's nest of ends to be woven in later. My own fault for wanting to use so many colors. The weaving in part usually doesn't bother me, but then I usually don't have this many to do on one project.

I'm working on the AKG newsletter today and trying to stay indoors and out of the heat and smog. I want to go back upstairs and work on the shawl. I'm getting close to the end and I don't want to put it down.

This was taken with the flash so you can see the color better. The one below is without the flash and the pattern stands out better.

Back to the grindstone. :)

Friday, August 17, 2007


I made several hats a few years ago for a local yarn shop to donate to kids with cancer. I had just gotten the book by Anna Zilborg 45 Fine & Fanciful Hats to Knit and several colors of Patons acrylic and spent the Thanksgiving holiday making several hats. We were in New Orleans visiting friends and I had a terrible cold at the time and spent most of my time at home knitting. Here are some of the hats I made during that week.

These were a lot of fun to make and not very difficult at all. I learned how to knit fair isle patterns with these hats. It was an easy way to learn and do some charity knitting at the same time. I've always wondered what the kids thought of them. Were they fun or just to uncool to wear. I'd like to think they liked them because they were different than anything you would get in a store.

This has been a hard week for me. The smog has been so bad lately that I've had a headache all week and feeling dizzy and tired all the time. Thanks to having had pneumonia 3 times in the late 90's, my lungs just can't handle the bad air. I left work early twice this week to come home and crash. On the good side, I've had a lot of knitting time this week and I'm almost finished with the shawl. I have about a third more to go on the border and then on to blocking.

I'm getting myself psyched up to get back to Michael's fair isle sweater after the shawl. We were talking about steeking again this evening at the Friday night knit group at Knitch and it got me thinking about it again. I was going to take pics this evening and post them, but the camera batteries died and are now in the charger for the night. I'll take some tomorrow. Luckily, they lasted long enough for me to take some pictures for Steve this evening of his Lord Elsenor scarf (his manly version of the lady Eleanor scarf from Scarf Style). He wanted some to post on his blog. So go here Famous Steve Knits to see them.

More soon. :)~

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Sweaters I've made in the last few years

I've been transferring pictures into my Flickr account and will post them as I go. These are all sweaters that I've made in the last few years. I'm currently working on a fair isle sweater for my partner Michael and I'll take some pictures of the progress I've made and post them soon. I realized when I started this post that I hardly ever wear any of my store bought sweaters anymore. I've been spoiled now by the luxurious yarns and fit of the ones I've hand knit.

This is a Lopi pattern that I fell in love with and I'd always wanted to make this kind of sweater. It is very comfortable, but it's made with Bershire Bulky wool and it has to be pretty cold to wear it. I wore it last year at SAFF and it was great since it was cold, windy and rainy when we were there. It was just perfect for the weather!

This is a sweater I made for the store Knitch last year. The pattern is from Men In Knits and knit with Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky. It's such a yummy sweater to wear. I have had some pilling with this yarn, but it's not too bad and the pills are easy to remove. I've had a couple of people say to me they just didn't like it because it pilled too much for their taste. I think I can handle a few pills when it's such an incredibly lush yarn. A special thank you to Kim at Knitch for letting me keep the sweater as payment for doing the sample for her store. It is one of my favorites to wear.

This is a sweater from a few years ago. This is also the first one I made with yarn from Knitpicks. This is the andean silk in lettuce green. This was a "test of will" sweater since I had to rip out the entire front after I completed it the first time (it was about 6 inches too long). I learned the hard way to always check your progress and gauge. I also reworked the collar 2 times to get it to fit better. The first one was too loose and would stretch almost to the shoulder. I ended up going down 3 needle sizes to get the result I wanted. I got the pattern from a knitting magazine, but I don't remember which one. I think it was Cast On, but I'm not sure.

I so enjoyed using the andean silk yarn that I bought more in the tide pool blue and made this blue cable sweater. This pattern is also from Men in Knits. I love this book. It has several really great sweater designs and I'm sure I'll be making more from this book. If you need a good book of men's patterns, this one is definitely at the top of my list.

This is the infamous Lady Eleanor shawl from Scarf Style that went through the Atlanta Knitting Guild like wildfire. Karen Roman is responsible for getting Steve, Lou and I hooked. She came to a guild meeting with the one she was working on in Noro in earth tones. This one is made with Noro Silk Garden. It was a great pattern to learn entrelac with and the Noro is perfectly suited to entrelac. The instructions are very clear and easy to follow. The big question going around was "Do you turn every round or knit back backwards?" I found it easier for me to just turn every round. Maybe I was just resistant to learning to knit back backwards, but I tried and my tension looked awful and uneven. This was 12 skeins of yarns.
This was a gift for my Mom in Texas. She belongs to a Red Hat Ladies group and I thought this would compliment her outfit if she needed a wrap to wear in the winter.

Last night was our first in the last week that the temperature in our apartment wasn't almost 90 degrees. Since it was overcast most of the day, it was in the 80's. We live in a converted attic apartment with minimal insulation and an ancient AC unit that runs all day long. Luckily, we don't pay for our own utilities, it is included in our rent, but when it gets this hot it doesn't cool down 'til almost midnight! We are hoping the AC will just break soon so the landlord will have to replace it. Is it tacky to ask for people to wish us luck to have it break?!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Sock Binge

I was on a sock binge for the last few months or so after learning how to do a toe up sock using short rows at the AKG Mountain retreat last year. I have just gotten around to taking pictures. No more kitchenering the toes.. yeah!! Just wanted to share a few of what's been finished and what's still in progress.

These were made with Interlacements Tiny Toes superwash merino. I'm sorry, I don't remember what the color name was.. I bought the yarn at SAFF last year. They are by far the most comfortable socks I've ever made for myself. The yarn is very soft and I'll definitely be buying more this year!

This pair is made with Trekking (don't remember the color) I know, bad knitter. I'll just ask Famous Steve, yeah, let's ask Steve, he knows all the colors by heart. ;) It is uncanny how he can remember yarn names and numbers.

This is the sock I started a couple of weeks ago and then I got sidetracked by the shawl. This is Trekking too and I know the color number on this one!!. Duh, the band is in the picture. It's color 90.

I got my copy of Romantic Knits today! There are some gorgeous patterns, although I'm not able to wear any myself, but then that hasn't stopped me from knitting something yet. Here is the sweater I knit for the book. She calls it "Two for the Road". All the patterns are named in homage of her (Annie's) favorite films.

Famous Steve posed the topic last night for our Friday night knitting group, "Fun fur. It's neither fun nor fur.... discuss." We have so much fun in our Friday Night group. ~(8{)>

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Shawl

I'm still plugging along on the shawl from Victorian Lace Today. I'm really liking the way the JoJoLand Melody is knitting up. The colors are wonderful and remind me of the colors in a soap bubble. I've been knitting on the Knitpicks Options circulars that I just got last week. I had bought an extra 40" cable thinking that would be long enough to finish the shawl on, but it was getting crowded already and I'm only about two thirds through. Lou gave me an extra 60" cable he had and I swapped it out last night. Much better. This is my first time using a long cable. The only thing different is having to deal with all those stitches and stopping and moving the knitting around the cable a little more often.

This project already has me looking for another shawl and digging through my stash of lace weight yarns to figure out which one I want to do next! I bought some Alpaca Cloud from Knitpicks a couple of years ago and I think it will be the lucky one to come out of the stash bins.

I'm also looking for a project to make and wear to SAFF this year. I don't have anything new to wear and I hope I'll possibly have Michael's sweater ready in time.

Yesterday was kind of a down day. It was 1 year ago that my ex Mike died in Omaha. I was there to visit for his birthday in June last year and was so glad I got a chance to spend some time with him. He was so frail and weak when I left, I knew it really would be the last time I would see him. I tried not to let myself dwell on it for too long, it still gets to me. On a happier note... I was also working on a sweater for Annie (the knitting heretic) when I was in Omaha last year and the book, Romantic Hand Knits , has just been released with the sweater in it. I pre-ordered my copy from Amazon and it was just shipped today! I can't wait!!

I was glad to get to Pasta Please last night and do some knitting on the 'World's Largest Sock' that the guild is now working on. We had a good time trying to think of some way to make our mark for the guild on the sock in some way. We are featuring Pasta Please in the next Atlanta Knitting Guild newsletter, so I took a couple of pictures and we 'interviewed' the owner Kajsa Carr.(pronounced Kai-sah) She is so sweet to us and always has some great stories to tell from her job as a stewardess. We also get to be the guinea pigs when she is trying a new recipe and taste test the samples for her. mmmm...

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

This was taken before the buttons were sewn on.

Monday, August 6, 2007

The start of...

This is my first attempt at a 'real' blog. I have a great friend Claudia who has graciously offered to help me get it going. Since I'm new to this, my posts will probably be a little thin in content until I get the hang of it. I've also started a Flickr account to manage my photos, but it will take me a while to sort through all the pics and decide which ones I want to transfer to Flickr. It is my intention to post at least once a week. It will probably be more once I get used to this.

I guess you can tell by my blog name that I like to knit things for men. So the title is descriptive of what I do (knit for bears) and what I make (Knits for bears). When I say "bears", I mean husky, burly, furry men... not teddy bears (although I do make outfits for teddy bears too).

Most of the knitting I have done has been for my family or me. I've done a little bit of sample knitting for local yarn shops and some consignment knitting. I'm working on a shawl from Victorian Lace Today right now with JoJoLand Melody that I bought last year at SAFF (Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair) in Asheville. This is my first large shawl and I've gotten about half way through. I've been putting in lifelines every 20 rows just to be on the safe side. It has a knit on edging as well, which I've never done before. Hopefully I'll be seeing my friend Shirley tomorrow night at the knit-in I go to on Tuesday evenings at Pasta Please. She is our knitting master we go to for the technical advice (when Claudia isn't available). ;) She is soo knowledgeable about knitting. I vaguely remember her talking about how she was joining the edging with the live stitches from the body of the shawl and I don't think it was k2tog. When I get some pictures taken, I'll post them. I just finished a baby cardigan a couple of weeks ago in Debbie Bliss Cashmerino. I also have a sweater going for my hubby that has been a slow process. I have started and ripped out 2 times and I'm on the third incarnation. It started with just 3 colors and is now up to about 20 colors in Cascade 220. It will be my first time steeking the sleeves. Wish me luck. I'll post pics of these too when I figure out how. :)

I'm anxiously waiting for my invite from Ravelry. Claudia got hers last week and told us she was up into the wee hours inputting all her stash and projects and stuff. I'm afraid of getting s*cked into it myself. Just what I need, another reason to spend more time in front of the computer and lose precious knitting time. I can rest for now knowing it will be a while anyway since there are still 12,000 people ahead of me.

My thanks to Claudia for inspiring me to get my blog started.