30 January 2013

it's been a pleasure ~ guest blogger lori

finally 'all done'  photos! in one way it's my favorite part, deciding how to photograph knits after making them. in the second photo you may notice my is leaves draped over a barbed wire fence. when i showed this on my blog this morning i received emails and comments, 'how could you?!' not to worry, no leaves of grass were harmed in this photo shoot. i loved knitting this the first time last summer and maybe even more this time, i couldn't seem to put it down. brooklyn tweeds loft was one of the reasons, it's incredibly lovely, delicate and light, woolly and heathery and after a soak, so very soft. thank you for all the kind comments and making this first kal a true pleasure. i'm looking forward to seeing all the beautiful leaves of grass coming off your needles. if you have an interest to see more photos and or the cute critters that came out for these photos,
go here lori times five. ravelry notes here.

happy kal'ing everyone!    :)

29 January 2013

Edgerific.... Post by Guest Blogger Jeff

I'm finally feeling much better which means I can knit again! Woohoo!!!

I finished chart D on Sunday. Woohoo!!!

And I'm 7 repeats in on the edging. Woohoo!!!

Only, what, 64 more repeats to go? Woohoo!!!

Chart C and a Chaotic Toddler- guest blogger Leanne

My gut told me that this project was appearing at the wrong time in my life.

I have a toddler. Need I say more?

Not just any toddler. Oh no. Not like my first two that were calm, sat and talked politely.
No. This one climbs, jumps, eats things, screams, climbs on tables, takes my knitting
and throws it across the room. All while smiling adorably and melting our hearts.
Yes, this boy is crazy and we love him.

My knitting is suffering though!!!!!

It's slow going. Just got to Chart C. I do love it when I GET to knit it and I'm still happy that I am a part of this group. I just feel like I'm lagging behind so much.

Well, that was until I read about Andi's tragic ending to her Leaves.
I'm sorry Andi. So so sad. Damn flu.

Ok, so here's my leaves so far....

Cheers folks :)

 The color looks different in these pictures. It's more like the bottom one.

 And here is the toddler that is causing the chaos around here.

Guest Blogging- Andi

Pondering the appropriate title... Warning: If you have a weak stomache. If you faint at the sight of tragic accidents. Or if you are just overall a wimp, do not read any further! Back to the titles: Man overboard, Why not to knit when you are sick, Houston...we have a problem, Don't cry for me Argentina, Nightime cold medicine should be recalled, Will the real Slim Shady please stand up? (haha-just because). Okay.....so my Leaves is done. Stick a fork in her. But let me take you back to Sunday night. I have been trying to fight of a reoccurance of this nasty flu that has been going around. I resigned and decided to take some Nightime flu/cold medicine. I was knitting away on Leaves. At some point I must have zonked out. I awoke around 3 a.m. to get a glass off water. Something was holding me back, preventing me from moving further. What is this wrapped around my ankle? What is this pink string? Then in my haze I looked down and there seemed to be some knitting dragging behind me. Oh yes, it was my Leaves. I was hoping I was having a nightmare, but alas I was not. Queue dramatic music here.
The horror!
Will I knit this pattern again? Absolutely! Can I do it right now? No, I am in mourning. I will continue to cheer you all on and check out your lovelies. XO Andi

28 January 2013

please weigh in...posted by Melissa

So, without this sounding like a complete cop out, I'm at a crossroads...I've just finished my first chart D and I have a big decision to make.   My gut tells me that I am not going to wear this knit.  As much as I love it, I'm fairly certain that it is going to languish in my closet for eternity.  It won't be large enough for a blanket in the light fingering yarn I chose, and it will be too large for a table covering if I complete the pattern as written.  But right now, without doing chart D for the second time, I can still do the border and have a beautiful heirloom linen that I will use.  Alot.  If I weren't knitting with all of you, the decision would be easy and I would start my edging.  I kind of feel like I'm cheating if I quit now, though, after encouraging the rest of you to knit along with us this year.  Sigh.  What to do what to do?  I would love some input ~ have you all made circular shawls that you've worn before?  Do you love them?  I will gladly continue on if I hear great things.  Any thoughts are welcome.  For now, I'm going to set this aside and ponder.  Ponder, ponder.  And Tanna, if you read this, I'm so glad you stopped pondering ~ I would feel awful not making the full size if I had been able to convince you that you would love the circular shape.

26 January 2013

A Dusting of Snow ~posted by guest blogger Andee

Isn't it amazing how a dusting of snow can make everything so pretty?  This was the view from my back door this morning.  We got just enough snow to make everything look pretty, but not enough to made the roads bad for driving.  I spent the  morning at my parents alpaca farm cleaning pens.

The alpacas love the snow too. The colder it is the happier they seem to be.  Above is little Aponi. She was born this past September. Don't you just want to pick her up and cuddle with her?!

My parents are in Las Vegas at the Priority Alpaca Auction.  I love alpaca auctions. I actually won my alpaca at an auction in Virginia you can read about that here.  Anyway I will be spending the afternoon knitting my Leaves and watching the auction online.  It starts at 2:00 in Vegas so that means 5:00 here in New Jersey.  I am through Chart D once and on my second time through.  Fingers crossed I'll get it done during the auction.

Have a great weekend

24 January 2013

done! by guest blogger ~ lori

blocking tonight, photos to come, i miss you already leaves!

23 January 2013

On My Way - guest blogger Leanne

Well, after the fifth time casting on, I got it going.
I have no idea why it was so hard for me to get this started!!!!
I don't think I was breathing while I did it either.
I ended up having to put it down, drive to the yarn store for more stitch markers, calm down
and then start again. Finally it worked.

I'm on to Chart B. Woo Hoo!

Thank you to my sister, Andee for her support over the phone.
Thought I was losing my mind yesterday.

Happy Knitting! -Leanne

LESSONS LEARNED ~ guest blogger Eileen

hi, i'm eileen.i joined the kal several weeks ago and have had an up and down start. 
i thought i knew how to read a knitting chart but quickly found out i did not.
so with some help from lori at lorix5 i was up and running....
until my counts were off by chart B. so i took it back one stitch at a time . when i had the count correct i started again-
only to be off within 4 rows.
now i had been putting in hours and hours of time on this pi shawl, [ a total of 7 starts ] time that other things like dinner, cleaning and talking to my husband was not happening.
last friday i was ready to throw the entire thing in the garbage, [ saving the needles of course ],
when i decided one more try at it.
it worked, has been working
and i'm totally smitten with leaves of grass.
what i learned:
- how to read a chart 
[ did buy a book on this subject as well ]
- use markers.. lots of them
- use a life line
- ask a friend for help
thanks lori
- casting on using a disappearing loop

i am half way through chart C

i think life lines are just a good idea in LIFE.

22 January 2013

let them eat cake! ~ posted by Melissa

It's a celebration week!  Dozer is 6 (wasn't he cute?!), my husband's grandpa is 99 (!!) and little Neoma is 4 months old...here she is with some gifts from us (the toys made her giggle and coo...the awesome Vans shoes have her perplexed :) ...)
Happy Birthday Mr Dozie, Pappa Ed and Neoma Jane!

Filler Projects and the Return of the Mojo ~ guest blogger Heather

After whipping through the first two charts and half of C, I thought I was progressing quite well on my Leaves of Grass. Then I noticed that my skein was not getting much smaller. In fact, I still had half a skein - not to mention the other three in my bag. I was on Chart C and still had more than 75% of my yarn left. I became worried and discouraged. I did the only thing I could think of; I set the shawl aside.

I knew I needed a few quick knits to help me along and get back my shawl/blanket knitting mojo. So, I cast on for a pair of socks and finished them. I then decided we needed slippers for our upcoming trip to cold country. I quickly made my youngest a pair and cast on another for my daughter. With his finished and hers halfway complete, I found another project to satisfy my need for speed. I started a set of leg warmers.

I now have one legwarmer and a slipper on the needles as well as the Leaves of Grass. I plan to finish the slipper after this post. The legwarmer will be my travel project as it is an easy moss stitch pattern. With these two projects near completion, I think I am about ready to return to my blanket. My need for quick projects has been satisfied. I am hoping to finish Chart C this week and begin D. Rumor has it that the final charts require a lot of yarn. I sure hope so, or I will have the biggest worsted weight doily around town. Not too mention a whole lot of yarn left over!

An unintended break.... Posted by Guest Blogger Jeff

So shortly after my last post on Saturday, I noticed a tickle in the back of my throat, which at the time, I just figured was because of the forced air heat at the place we were staying in Rehoboth (as opposed to the radiator heat we have at home). Though as the day progressed, I increasingly got more and more paranoid that I might be getting sick - and with the flu going around in the northeast like crazy this year, I was super paranoid. By the end of the day, I was pretty certain I was sick, and though I was able to knit on Saturday, Sunday was off and on knitting since I felt like pooh. I had hoped to get through Chart D over the weekend, but still have about 1/2 a repeat to go.  :(
I'm finally starting to feel a bit better (at least the chills are gone), so hopefully I'll get back to knitting soon. For the time being, it's just some laying in bed and zoning out on DVDs.

I do have to say, though, that Will has been fantastic at taking care of me in my infirmity. Love you, sweetie!

Better Late Than Never?- Guest Blogger Leanne

If someone told my then 16 year old self that in almost 20 years
my dreams of boys, school dances, driving, friends and fun would be
replaced with dreams of yarn, knitting, patterns and knit alongs, I would have laughed.

Yes, I had a dream about this knit along and that is why I am here.

With some arm twisting, nudges (yes, Lori, I'm talking to you) and convincing,
I am getting ready to cast on today.

My name is Leanne. I am the older sister to Andee.

I have never been a part of a yarn along but I am excited to do so now.

I live next to my parent's alpaca farm along with my husband, three boys and dog and a cat.
The farm is home to 20 alpacas and is growing by leaps and bounds.
We have a small farm store on the property where we sell our hand made knits, yarn and 
merchandise we bring in from USA alpaca products and Peru products.
It has been a wonderful addition to our lives.

I will be knitting this shawl with 100% baby alpaca yarn in a light fawn color.
Heaven on earth.
 I noticed that a lot of you do a quick introduction of yourself.
So here's mine....

34 years old, wife and mom of three boys ages 11, 8 and 18 months.
I work from home as a freelance graphic designer, specializing in print.
Books, original logos, brochures, advertising, you name it.

Fun facts: 
My cover art for the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival won 2nd place in 2010
 and appeared in the catalog.

My Ravelry bag design was a finalist in the project bag contest. I made it to the top 11.

I knit every day. It keeps me sane.

And I am super excited to be a part of this. Maybe I should stop typing and get knitting.
I have a lot of ground to make up!!!!

Cheers, Leanne

21 January 2013

Guest blogging- Andi

Ahoy....I'm still knitting a long! Feels like a little bit since I posted a progress post. My Leaves is coming along wonderfully. Please don't judge my fat lump of a shawl, she really is quite beautiful under all those rolls. Then again aren't we all?
Fellow KAL'er Heather had commented on my blog that she found it easier to have a simple sock to knit on while she worked on her Leaves. I am with her. I may be further along if there wasn't the occasional sock break.
Sometimes when I find that I don't want to deal with another long row, I knit a few rounds on my socks. At times simple socks can be therapeautic. Happy Knitting to you all! Andi

on the edge ~ guest blogger lori

like a good book that i don't want to end, i'm slowing down on the edge. but at the same time so excited to finish and soak and block (the magic!) and wear! i wanted to share something that's helpful to me when  knitting on a border. it's a bit difficult to manouver a shawl this size with the back and forth motion of chart e, so i've taken off the right needle and put a connector in it's place to keep the stitches safe. then putting the right (working) needle on a short cable and began working the edge this way. if you were using a fixed needle it would be the same to simply put a point protector on the right needle and use a dpn as the new working needle. since chart e is unmemorizable (this probably is not a word!) for me i think i will be here for awhile!

thank you melissa for hosting this kal, i'm enjoying so much, and welcome new kal'ers, leanne and tracey!

p.s. forgot to say i have used up four balls of loft at 275yds, 50g each with just a bit left, that tiny ball above. i switched from postcard to fossil for the edge and hope one skein will be enough.

20 January 2013

when spitting is proper etiquette ~ posted by Melissa

What do you think about when you have 580 stitches on the needles and the rows seem to take forever?  I'm all over the place ~ for instance:

'Doctor Dolittle' (1967)
If you spit-splice two llama hind ends together, could you really get a push-me pull-you?

'Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets'
My dream job would be to knit costumes for movies.  I think about it.  Alot.  We're doing a Harry Potter movie marathon this weekend ~ have you seen Mrs. Weasley's fantastical over the top outfits?  These crocheted sleeves are amazing!  (And yes, my husband humors me and lets me pause movies so I can take pictures of things like this.  One of the many reasons why I love him!)

I thought about how off the yardage requirements are for this pattern when I was able to knit almost the entire first 3 charts of Leaves with my first ball of yarn ~ do I really need the other 4 skeins?  And as I watch how quickly ball #2 is disappearing into chart D, which I've barely made a dent in, I remembered that Jared never steers us wrong.
I try to think of a way to encourage a kal'er who seems to be abandoning the knitalong not to obsess quite so much about the size of her yarn overs and give this just one more try.  She does beautiful lacework (I've seen it in person) and I guess I would tell her that blocking is her friend and you can even out any inconsistencies you think you might see when blocking.  Please don't give up! (If anyone has any tips for yarn overs, please share them!).
 I also want to say a big hooray to Eileen who I saw commenting on a few blogs that we both read about how she was really struggling with the cast on in this knitalong and had many starts and restarts and was sounding really frustrated and now I see that she is starting chart C....way to keep trying!  You won the battle!  We can't wait for you to share a picture of your progress and your yarn! 
 And I've thought about Tracey and her inspired poncho (it's lovely!!) being finished and how now she should be ready to cast on Leaves and join us!
Hope everyone is enjoying the weekend!  Better get ~ I've got a date with my husband, Ray Lewis, Harry Potter and Jared Flood today :)    ~ Melissa

19 January 2013

Another milestone.... Posted by Guest Blogger Jeff

First time through Chart D. DONE.

(Hope the pic shows up... I'm posting from my phone.) :)

18 January 2013

On the Needles ~ guest blogger Andee

I am in Chart "C" on my Leaves of Grass.  I am loving this pattern. I work from home and it is so hard seeing it just sitting there next to my yarn bowl. I want to pick it up and knit all day, but I am doing good at controlling myself and getting my work done and settling down after dinner, putting on a fire in the fireplace and knitting.  I have maxed out my stitch marker stock at this point.  I used every last one I have :) It seems like every time I go to the yarn store I buy more stitch markers, where do they all go? Speaking of where do they go I can't find my US6 turbo needles. So that hunt will begin tonight. I keep all my needles in one place, but those must be in a bag somewhere with a frogged project.

I finished up my Cambridge Shawl so I am fully devoted onto my Leaves of Grass this weekend.  Have a great weekend.

~ Andee

17 January 2013

Alpacas in the Leaves (of Grass) Update... posted by Guest Blogger Jeff

I'm officially marking my Ravely project page as 50% complete. At least I've used up 50% of my yarn, so it better be 50% complete!

I made it almost through round 25 of Chart D with the first skein of 660 yards.

I am really loving this pattern - and the yarn I'm using. The alpaca is so soft to knit with and is knitting into a lovely soft fabric as I'm knitting at a less airy gauge to be more of a throw than a shawl.

This weekend Will and I are going away on a knitting retreat with one of our knit groups. We'll be heading down to Rehoboth Beach, DE tomorrow morning and spending the long weekend knitting, and drinking, and eating, and just enjoying being away from home with a group of 16 crazy knitters. :) We'll see how much I get done.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Taking a break - from guest blogger Kelly Lightbeam

Oh, Leaves of Grass, how I love you!  Unfortunately, I have been overindulgent in my love affair with this project, knitting up to four hours a day.  This has left me with some damage to the ulnar nerve in my right hand.  With numb fingers, and a sense of regret, I realize that I have to stop knitting lace and take a break.  I am, however, extremely happy with the progress I have made up to this point. I am a third of the way through the fourth chart, and being something of a slow knitter, I feel a huge sense of accomplishment, having gotten so far. 

During my hiatus from LoG, I will be doing some comfort knitting.  We are all still healing from the recent loss in our family, and I heartfully appreciate all the thoughtful comments that have been left for me.  That said, I am doing really well!  Everything has settled down now, and I want to knit something soothing for my husband's Aunt, who is having a very hard time adjusting to life without her daughter.  My thoughts lie along the lines of a prayer shawl, and I bought some "Be Sweet" Bamboo yarn today (so soft!).  It is a very beautiful green color, and if anyone has any pattern suggestions, I'd love to hear them!  At this point, I'm considering knitting the Ginkgo Shawl, but I haven't cast on yet, so it's certainly not set in stone.

I'll be back to knitting more Leaves of Grass by the end of next week, but until then, I'm sending all my love!  I will check in to see how the rest of you are faring on this wonderful pattern, and hope you are all doing well.

Kelly Lightbeam


16 January 2013

New Treasures~ a post from Kelli

Lace tatted leather boots, an antique swiff, and an a beautiful new lace shawl,hand dyed in a rich blackberry! What more could a girl want? ...ok maybe her Leaves Of Grass shawl done? Was out 'antiquing' with my friend Sherry, she walked into a section of the shop, I looked up to see what was sticking out way above and saw this sweet old little swiff. Had to have that. My husband gifted me these boots (by Steve Madden) that lace up just enough before driving me crazy. The best lace shawl, that was created and knitted by Melissa,thank you much~ Always anxious to see what another year will bring. Happy knitting everybody. Kelli

14 January 2013

it's too cold to do anything but knit! ~ guest blogger lori

"soon at 144 stitches and lisbon airport, it was on the 24" needle and it zigzagged about europe with me for two or three weeks before returning home, completed. on its circular needle it formed its own knitting bag to contain the ball of wool."
 elizabeth zimmermann's ~ knitter's almanac

i've only been to santa barbara and back, but my knitting has come with me everywhere, in it's own bag!  i am on a 32" needle now with 576 stitches, the total increase amount in this pattern. and almost through the 2nd d chart. because i am easily distracted, there are stitch markers between each 20 stitch repeat, and a lifeline in for good measure too. we are having record breaking cold here on the central coast of california, as low as 30 degrees! perfect knitting weather!

O Tan-Faced Prairie Boy - by guestblogger WillyG

Other knits are getting in the way of my Leaves of Grass, but I did spend the first hour of this year knitting this little nugget. What a delightful way to begin!

Other than knitting and subsequent slumbering, my first official act of 2013 was a full song-and-dance rendition of "How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?" Dear Jeffry was very kind and did not protest the entire time, despite the fact that this is not an acceptable behavior in the morning.

I am currently - and perhaps perpetually - nearing the end of Chart B. 

Don't mock me; I'm just giving you all a fair chance to catch up to my awesomeness. cough, cough

of cold hands, warm hearts and a frequent visitor ~ posted by Melissa

I've set my Leaves of Grass aside for the last few days. Like Andi, playoff football and charted lace don't mix very well with me! It's been trying to snow all day (we've yet to have any this year so I'm secretly hoping for enough to make the ground white) so I'm cuddled up in a blanket catching up on a few things. I thought I'd share what I've been up to before I settle back in with our knitalong.

The postman was on our doorstep every day last week bringing all sorts of goodies from far and wide. Along with a few Christmas gifts I received, I want to share them with you!

Above: My favorite Christmas card this year from our kal'ers Jeff & Will...a hand knit mitten...perfect!, a wonderful card from Kelli (thanks Kel, your words meant alot), and one of my favorite Christmas gifts (also from Kelli) ~ a handmade maple scissor keeper made by the crafty husband of a gal in our knitting circle.  The felted acorn was a gift a few years ago from friend and fellow blogger, Karen at 'Pumpkin Sunrise' (thanks again, Karen!).

Off to the left, Meet Miss Christabel, my newest little friend from Melodie Stacey's etsy shop Maidolls .  I thought it was time Miss Emma had a friend.

And speaking of friends, the yarn Christabel is perched upon was a gift from fellow kal'er Annie, who sent me this gorgeous Malabrigo and a pattern to knit our new goddaughter Neoma Jane a sweater with.  Thanks sooo much Annie ~ the skein of gray Isager off to the right is on it's way to you tomorrow in return so you can knit yourself a Churchmouse scarf!  The other skein to the right was the rest of my order from Churchmouse Yarns and Teas, that will also be used to make the free scarf that's in their current newsletter (it's downloadable on their website).

Lastly, I'll show you what I have been knitting, even though it's not our knitalong ~

This is what Annie's gift became (above) ~ the pattern is 'in threes: a baby cardigan' by Kelly Herdrich, the yarn is Malabrigo Rios in 'Lotus' and my project notes can be found here .  Thanks again, Annie ~ this sweater will be perfect with Neoma Jane's baby blue eyes!  You're the best!
And hands down, this sweater (above) is my favorite, best-fitting sweater to date!  I'm really thrilled with how this turned out...the dozens of work-in-progress trying ons were worth it!  The pattern is free (another generous designer!) ~ it's 'Simple Summer Tweed Top Down V-Neck' by Heidi Kirrmaier, the yarn is Rowan Lima in 'Ecuador' (Jeff ~ I so wanted to put a 'Q' in there just to spite you but I couldn't bring myself to do it!), and my project notes can be found here .  I did modify it but only to fit my body shape and size ~ the pattern is perfectly written the way it is but perfectly adaptable to anyone's idea of the perfect sweater.  This one is now mine!
I'm really enjoying this larger knitalong group and all the camaraderie ~ it's been a joyful knit so far and I'm looking forward to seeing pictures of the newest cast on pieces as well as updates from the rest of you!  Happy knitting and have a great week, all ~ Melissa

11 January 2013

Guest blogger- Andi

Happy Friday all! Just checking in before the weekend gets me all crazy.
Have I told you guys how much I am loving this pattern? So much so, that it the only thing I have been working on. That is saying something because I am far from a monogamous knitter. I have just began Chart D. Whew....580 stitches in the needle! Holy smokes. That is okay, because there will be a lot of football watching this weekend. Hopefully that means there will be some more progress. Speaking of which, I have really enjoying seeing everyone's progress. Especially your's JEFF! Sorry, I had to add that in because I committed a faux pas and called him Will. Happy knitting everyone! XO Andi