28 November 2011

2 skull caps are better than 1

I think I've started and completed more projects in the last couple weeks than I've done in the whole last year.  A woman possessed....obsessed.  Call it what you will, but I'm getting things accomplished!
Skull Cap 1 on the left and Skull Cap 2 on the right I managed to eek out of 2 skeins of Peace Fleece (aran weight) yarn.  I'd forgotten how much I liked this yarn until I pulled what I had left from 2 felted messenger bags I made a few years ago out of my stash for these hats.  Skull Hat is a free pattern available on the Knit Two Together blog (thanks Gina for being so generous!).  One aspect of this hat that I LOVE is this folded up ear flap:
which not only provides another layer of warmth, but hides almost all the stranded colorwork floats!  If you know me at all, you know how happy that makes me ;).

The hat on the left is made with recommended needle sizes and will fit a larger than average head, so the one on the right was made with 1 size smaller needles and fits an average size head.  I love this pattern and I'm positive I'll be making it again, since neither of these is for my husband and he thinks it's keen!  ~ Melissa

25 November 2011

I'm thankful for....

A lesson learned ~ when things don't fit, maybe it's because they're meant for someone else:
He wore it all day and refused to take it off....if you ask him who made his hat, he'll tell you 'Lissa' - Sweet!

For an excuse to act like a kid again:

And for a father-in-law who is a great sport:

And, no, that's not Santa ~ he really is just my father-in-law!   ~ Melissa

Turkey Day Overdose~

Must have cooked something right~ my middle daughter M'lis and youngest Bella, after thanksgiving dinner. Napping away in the late afternoon.

Hope your day went just as well.

24 November 2011

Guest of Honor

I hope that everyone has as much to be thankful for today as I do.  Happy Thanksgiving ~ Melissa

22 November 2011

Pretty Pretty Peerie Flooers

So, I look like a major dork in knitted hats and it's dark and stormy outside and the lighting is horrible and I had to take a crummy self-portrait, but just look at this hat!!!!  Doesn't it make you smile?  It does me.  Thanks to Kate Davies for coming up with such an inspiring project ~ she's a genius.  This was a challenge from start (picking out 7 yarn colors and then having to decide what combinations worked) to finish (there has to be a trick to weaving in all those ends!).  My hat is so different from all the others that have been made that I'm a little leery that my colors don't completely work (my shades are so dark and rustic) but for a first multi-color stranded knit, I don't think it's too bad?  This is one of the few things that I've made where every time I look at it I think to myself....I can't believe I did that!!!

Details of my Peerie Flooers Hat can be found here, as well as some more dorky photos.  Hopefully my personal photographer (that would be my husband) and a sun break are both on hand this weekend so I can get some better pictures!     ~ Melissa

21 November 2011

The Fair(isle)est of them all....

I'm obsessed (again...) ~ between my new found love of stranded knitting, my 'finish-itis', the icy temps this weekend and hours and hours of me time, I have some new completed projects to share.

First, my crowning (ha!) achievement, Mary Scott Huff's 'Queen of Hearts' Selbuvotter mittens (details of my project including yarn and needle size can be found here on my Ravelry page.

I also started and completed a Christmas gift this weekend ~ I won't share who the recipient is since I don't want to spoil the surprise.  'Fingerless Gloves Musica' is a free pattern that can be found on Ravelry (and my project details can also be found here).

And, I'm just finishing up my Kate Davies 'Peerie Flooers' stranded hat.  I just have a few more rows of crown decreases and a few (or more) hours of weaving in all the loose ends and it will be done.  I'm so excited to share this hat ~ it's one of my favorite knits ever!  Hopefully, by this weekend I'll have some finished photos to post.  I can't wait to show you!

Have a great week, all!   ~ Melissa

09 November 2011

A Mitten and the Moon

Stranded colorwork.  It's been the thing I've struggled the most with since I picked up knitting needles 5 years ago.  I've done very little ~ mostly because of the frustration of knowing that I am not perfect at it.  I do realize this is a good thing.  The things we work the hardest to achieve are sometimes the most rewarding successes.  My troubles are the floats.  To leave yarn 'drooping' is displeasing to my eye, even on the back side of a piece, so my floats. don't. float.  Mine are 'stiff as a board' when they should be 'light as a feather' (I always stunk at that game).

So, this past weekend on a whim I signed up at the last minute for a class at The Nordic Heritage Museum in Ballard.
The class was 'Sassy Selbu', taught by a Pacific Northwest local gal, Mary Scott Huff.  I learned a little history of Norway's Selbuvotter knitting tradition and started Mary's 'Queen of Hearts' Selbu mittens.  I have one nearly done ~ it's missing a thumb and the ends all need to be tied in, but I'm going to get the second done first and finish them at the same time.  And I am thrilled to be able to say that my mitten is stretchy!  My floats are floating, or 'smiling' as Mary would say.  Colorwork is something that I'm going to have to keep working at to get better so I was excited to hear during the class that after the first of the year, Mary will be back at the museum teaching a 4-part stranded sweater class.  I will be in it.  She is encouraging, entertaining, inspiring and a great teacher.  I was sold when it came time to help with something I was stuck on, rather than doing the mirror image method of teaching (which, being a lefty, used to leave me in tears of frustration as a kid), Mary stood behind me and threw her arms over my shoulders and her hands became my hands and voila, I got it!  Take a class from her if you haven't ~ you'll laugh alot and learn a little something, too.

And before I forget ~ here's a photo of my almost-finished mitten. Aren't you proud of me?  It's not perfect ~ I do see a few things wrong and I'm sure others see more but I'm smitten.

 I only got the back side before the light faded since I spent so much time taking pictures of the gorgeous moonrise we had this evening!  What a beautiful night.  ~ Melissa

01 November 2011

Of Spindles and Roving and Wagtail Yarn

That's the tale I have to share today!  A recent care package full of homemade jams and stashed yarn sent to a Ravelry friend in Pennsylvania got me this in return :
I'm quite certain I got the better end of the deal but I'll take it!  A skein of Wagtail Yarns sport weight Fine Kid Mohair (enough for a small shawl) in a rich shade of brown from The Tangled Web in Philly, my first bunch (bag, bundle, ????, I don't have the words in my vocabulary yet) of Pencil Roving in a heathered Mountain Laurel shade (4 ounces ~ enough for?) that he got at the New York State Sheep & Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, a great card and this (also from Rhinebeck!):
It's made by Kundert Spindles in Wisconsin ~ the type of 'wood on whorl' is Butternut (so much to learn...my head is whorling!  what the heck is a 'whorl?' and what do those numbers '1.2' mean?).  Thanks Jeff for picking this out for me ~ I love it even more knowing that you went there with a mission to get this girl spinning!  It is gorgeous and after I've stared at it for a couple days and am not afraid of breaking it, I think we will become good friends!

My chaotic schedule and a freaking sore elbow have kept me from getting much knitting done (it's not a knitting related injury but I'm thinking I may have to lay down the needles for a bit or it won't get better ~ SHOOT!).  I've been working on my Cranberry Capelet ~ I'm just past the halfway mark (it's more like an oversized dickey right now ~ remember those from the 70's and 80's?....shudder).  I've had to modify it as I go since my gauge was spot on with swatching but tighter on the actual knit.  Not a big deal since it's top down and I can try it on as I go.  I'm loving the fit, and the yarn and color are perfect ~ the cables really pop!
Guess that's all I have to share for now.  Unless you want to hear more about my awesome spindle ;)
I'll spare you and just add one more picture of my new toy ~ I hear people name their wheels...I might have to find this thing a name!     ~ Melissa