Archive for March, 2010

WIP Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

It’s the last day of March. I have one more March Madness project to show you tonight or tomorrow which is the second pair of Mrs. Beeton’s. They weren’t dry last night so I left them on the blocking board another day.

1. Yellow Cloud Ishbel – this one had to have a name other than simply “Ishbel” as I think there will be at least one more of these in my future. I started this as a March Madness project and while it’s really close to being done it certainly won’t be blocked (do you block mohair? I don’t even know) by the end of the day. It may be off the needles though since there are only 4 pattern rows left.

Ishbel

So what’s up next? I have a couple lingering skeins of yarn that I wanted to knit up in March, but I’m also thinking it’s time to start Rosalind (the last Shakespeare in Lace kit for 2009).

March Madness: Two New Cowls

Friday, March 26th, 2010

Here are two more March Madness projects: the Crofter’s Cowl and Brennan Cowl. Both are wonderful free patterns that use a single skein of yarn.

Crofter's Cowl

Crofter's Cowl

Pattern: Crofter’s Cowl (Rav link) by Gudrun Johnston
Yarn: Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Worsted Solid in Blackberry
Needles: US 8 Circulars
Notes: I knit this cowl once before with some leftover Lorna’s Laces. This time I did it the same as my first one, knit 5 pattern repeats, cast off. Honestly, I am not trying to avoid the grafting that the pattern calls for – both times I’ve knit this I didn’t have enough yarn to do the full 6 repeats and I thought it would be odd to do the graft off center (like 3 repeats joined to 2 repeats).

Brennan Cowl

Brennan Cowl

Pattern: Brennan Cowl (Rav link) by Sara Peterson
Yarn: Elann Peruvian Highland Silk in purple
Needles: US 5 Circulars
Notes: I made a silly mistake when I started this cowl. In the instructions it says to cast on, purl back, and then start the cable pattern. Note that when you start the cable pattern you should start with row 2 of the chart. The cable rows are knit on the RIGHT side. Luckily I only lost about 6 inches of knitting.

Also, be careful about the yarn amount. I used every bit of my yarn and I wasn’t able to do the button loops per pattern. Possibly I had taken some yarn out of this skein a couple years ago, but I don’t think so. Luckily I was able to stretch the cowl out a couple of inches during blocking.

March Madness: Celtic Cable Neckwarmers

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

On the first day of our vacation I finished up the bordeaux colored neckwarmer and started the teal version. These little neckwarmers only take 2 or 3 evenings of knitting time. I think they’ll make wonderful gifts.

Tuesday of this week I went to my LYS, Linda’s Knit ‘N Stitch, for buttons. I was so glad I remembered to go to Linda’s because her buttons are wonderful! That said, I must put in the disclaimer that the teal buttons are from my sewing stash. The awesome bordeaux buttons are from Linda’s and so are the purple buttons that I’ll show you tomorrow.

Celtic Cable

Celtic Cable

Celtic Cable

Celtic Cable

Celtic Cable

Pattern: Celtic Cable Neckwarmer by Lindsay Henricks
Yarn: Knit Picks Swish in bordeaux and Valley Yarns Williamstown in teal
Needles: US 8 Circulars
Notes: This is a great free pattern! I highly recommend it for using up a leftover skein of yarn. I did some plain ribbing before starting the cable pattern and I think I knit mine a couple inches longer, but those changes are so simple they’re hardly worth mentioning. There are a LOT of cables. The good thing is they’re only 3 stitch cables which I find easy enough to do without a cable needle.

And, yes, I do realize I put the buttons on opposite sides. I couldn’t decide which way was better so I did one each way.

WIP Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Today’s work-in-progress update is all about March Madness. No silly, not basketball, the knitting March Madness group. These small projects are so quick to knit that I have all new projects on the needles this week anyway.

If you recall, this is what I started with on March 7th:

March Madness

  • DONE Crofter’s Cowl, Lorna’s Laces in Blackberry (top right)
  • DONE Mrs Beeton’s, Jojoland Melody in Purple w/ Jaeger Mohair Art (bottom right)
  • MODIFIED Mrs Beeton’s, Elann Highland Silk in Purple w/ Jaeger Mohair Art (bottom right)
  • DONE Celtic Cable Neckwarmer, Valley Yarns Williamstown in Teal (top left)
  • DONE Celtic Cable Neckwarmer, Knit Picks Swish in Bordeaux (middle left)

The only one that changed from what I had planned was the second pair of Mrs Beeton’s. I thought these were going to be red/purple, but I think I’m going to make them red/black instead. This is what I have on the needles now.

Here is the extended batch of March Madness projects which does overlap the first photo a bit. This is also all the yarn I took with me on vacation (which turned out to be more than I was able to finish):

March Madness

The yarn that has not yet been used in this photo consists of the half skein of Lorna’s Laces at the bottom left, the black/red that’s on the needles right now, and the yellow mohair. My plan right now is to finish the pair of Mrs Beeton’s that are on the needles. Then I think I’ll jump into an Ishbel with the yellow mohair. I’m still not sure what my plan is for the beige Lorna’s Laces.

Tomorrow I’ll show you the finished Celtic Cable Neckwarmers and Friday I’ll show you the two new cowls. Crofter’s is already washed and blocked, but Brennan is still wet since it just came out of the sink this morning.

Road Trip – Day 4 and 5

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

On Tuesday night we headed to Napa.

We stayed at Avia which (I believe) is the newest hotel downtown. It’s a lovely, modern hotel with awesome beds and bathrooms. Our room was very quiet, but that could be simply because the hotel wasn’t very busy. They still have some issues to work out, but none of them impacted our stay – like the wood floor in the lobby was being torn up to fix some buckled boards, the fireplace in the dining room was being dismantled to be repaired, and then a couple silly things like them automatically charging us for a tin of swedish fish from the mini-bar when neither of us so much as touched them. They also kept locking our fridge which was annoying since they leave one shelf open for guest use.

I will say that mid-week rates were very competitive. If a person were to pay peak season rates I would fully expect all of the above issues to be cleared up.

We only made a few winery stops. The first was Castello di Amorosa
. It was okay. The workmanship was impressive, the design is at least relatively true to castles I’ve seen in Europe. Therein lies the rub – if you’ve been to Europe and toured a bunch of castles this is only mildly interesting. The wine was okay, it didn’t wow us. The price for entry seemed steep even after we saved $16 with a coupon from Napa Visitors Center. To see 2 levels of the castle and taste 5 wines was $16 per person. A reserve wine tasting of 6 total wines (only 3 were reserves) was $26. They also offer a guided tour that takes almost 2 hours. My comment to R was, “if this was Neuschwanstein it would be worth it.” In fact I’ve toured Neuschwanstein twice.

Napa

Napa

Napa

Napa

We made a quick stop at Duckhorn because we were buying their wine a lot at business dinners in Montana.

Our last stop was Quixote. It was recommended to us by the folks at the visitors center with mention that the winery was designed by Austrian architect Hundertwasser. I’ve seen the exterior of a couple of his buildings in Europe and was really shocked to find out he had a building in the United States. I really enjoyed seeing the building AND their wines were really good.

Napa

Napa

Napa

Napa

Neither of us had been to Napa for over 10 years. A few tips if you haven’t been to Napa recently either:
– most of the wineries charge for tasting now, stated price range is $10-$40
– many of the wineries either recommend or require reservations
– do stop in at the visitor’s center. We found the staff to be very helpful and they may even offer you coupons for places you express interest in.
– do check the prices at Avia Napa. We would stay there again.
– if you like Asian food do try Annalien (no website) in downtown Napa for contemporary Vietnamese cuisine. The restaurant is owned by friends of ours and I wished I had taken photos so I could show you the food. 🙂 It was delish.

Road Trip – Day 3+

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Day 2 we made it to Hollister where some family friends of R’s live. We spent 2 nights here relaxing. While the guys golfed, J and I went to San Juan Bautista. It was Monday and town was quiet. I understand weekends are crazy busy. Even though many of the shops are closed on Monday, I prefer the quiet to fighting crowds.

CA Trip

CA Trip

CA Trip

CA Trip

CA Trip

On Tuesday, we stopped in Cupertino to visit R’s godmother and then we headed on towards Napa. More on that tomorrow!

Road Trip! Days 1-2

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

About a week ago we headed to California to visit friends and have a little vacation. On the way down we took the coast road part way. It wasn’t always conducive to knitting. The signs sure make me laugh though.

CA Trip

CA Trip

We drove through the redwoods…

CA Trip

and stopped in Leggett, CA to see the Drive Thru Tree:

CA Trip

CA Trip

CA Trip

CA Trip

This flock of wild turkeys were also in Leggett.

CA Trip

As pretty as the coast road is, it can also feel very long as it twists and winds around so much more than I-5. The first night we stayed in Eureka at the Best Western (the more southern one, on the edge of town). Easily the nicest Best Western with the best buffet breakfast of any I’ve stayed at.

March Madness: Mrs. Beeton

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

My first project for March Madness is a pair of Mrs. Beeton wristwarmers.

Mrs. Beeton

Mrs. Beeton

Mrs. Beeton

Pattern: Mrs. Beeton by Brenda Dayne
Yarn: Jaeger Mohair Art and Jojoland Melody
Needles: US 4 and 6 Circulars
Notes: I didn’t take any notes on these. They’re small enough you can wing it without having much to risk if you had to rip back. This pair is mohair on the bottom ruffle, Jojoland sockweight on the top layer, and then both knit together for as long as I could make the wristwarmer part.

WIP Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

All of my projects now are for March Madness. We’re actually on the road this week in California so small projects are a good fit for knitting while riding in the car.

1. Celtic Cable Neckwarmer 1 – Off the needles and ready to be blocked. This project used up my remaining Knit Picks Swish in Bordeaux.

(see photo below)

2. Celtic Cable Neckwarmer 2 – Also off the needles and ready to be blocked. I thought it would use up my remaining teal Williamstown, but no luck. I still have an almost full skein leftover.

Celtic Cable Neckwarmer

3. Crofter’s Cowl – just barely started. At 80 stitches around on size 8 needles I expect it will go quickly.

Crofter's Cowl

10 Shawls in 2010: Ene’s Scarf

Saturday, March 13th, 2010

This is my fourth shawl for the 10 Shawls in 2010 Challenge. I have wanted to make this for so long, since I first started knitting. The yarn was in my stash for at least a year and finally I have a finished Ene!

Ene's Scarf

Ene's Scarf

Ene's Scarf

Pattern: Ene’s Scarf by Nancy Bush
Yarn: Blackberry Ridge Silk Blend Laceweight
Needles: US 6 Circulars
Notes: Knit exactly per pattern down to the yarn it called for and only 2 skeins of it. Looking at what’s left of the 2nd skein I’d say there isn’t much there, but my scale says there are 70 yards left over. That means I only used 630 yards. Finished measurements are 62 inches wide by 33 inches deep.

I’m really thrilled with it. The yarn is quite rustic even with 25% silk content. It’ll be a great shawl to wear with jeans.