Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Finished Quadrille Knitted Lace Doily




Project Details:
  • Purchased the Quadrille Knitted Lace Doily for this project.
  • Knit using Magic Loop: US Size 5, 40 inch circulars (KnitPicks Options).  I don't do DPNs.  If you've never knit using Magic Loop where the end stitch of each half round is a YO - check out this video.  It was helpful in making sure my YOs stayed put! 
  • Knit with KnitPicks' Palette in Cream.
  • My project ended up being 7" on all sides after blocking.  The designer's project was 8" on all sides.  I went up 2 needle sizes to get the size I did.  But the designer did say she is a very loose knitter and I am a very tight knitter.  At any rate, the doily is meant to be a small doily and it works perfectly under my tea cup and saucer which is what I wanted it for.
  • The project used about 50 yds. of fingering wt. yarn.  So I could see how this would be TERRIFIC for left over sock or fingering weight yarn.  A great way to use up yarn that you don't have enough of for other projects.
  • The project knit up SO fast and is perfect for lace beginners.  This would be a terrific last minute gift.  Knit up a Quadrille doily and package it with a vintage tea cup and saucer and some tea for Mother's Day or any gift giving occasion. 
  • I blocked mine a little differently than the designer blocker hers.  But since I did not allow for extra sc(s) in the corners, this shape worked well!  So even mistakes can be worked out to produce a beautiful product.


Monday, August 30, 2010

Blocking Impaired


I started knitting the Quadrille Knitted Lace Doily today and finished nearly after I started.  It's a fun, fast knit that looks great as a tea cup/saucer doily.  It would be a terrific knit for a last minute gift.  I will likely knit this again.  But next time I knit it, I will knit it in a smoother, tighter plied yarn.  Also, I need A LOT of practice blocking lace.  I am HORRIBLE!  (As seen in above picture)  This was the first lace project I've ever blocked.  I should take a blocking class or something.  I surely seem blocking impaired.  My friend, Celeste, assured me that I can re-block it.  And I am certain I will.. just NOT tonight!  I should've only blocked the points - which I didn't do.  (Was blocking from memory)  It looks like a different doily.  Also, I did BO in the crochet edging, but I forgot to accommodate the corners as written in the pattern.  Was this project a total failure?  Absolutely not.  Once re-blocked, it will sit under a pretty tea cup and saucer for display.  But I am bound and determined to knit many more of these and perfect my blocking as well as following the pattern. ;p

We all learn to crawl before we walk.  So take your not-so-perfect projects in stride - they are teaching you with every stitch and every mis-blocked point.  :)


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Book Review: Magnificent Mittens & Socks

Title: Magnificent Mittens & Socks: The Beauty of Warm Hands & Feet
Author: Anna Zilboorg
Publisher: XRX
Approximate Retail Price: $24.95
ISBN-13: 978-193306416-1

Have you always wanted to knit mittens?  Well, this book is the book for you.  Anna Zilboorg has crafted a book that leaves no mitten question unanswered.  As Zilboorg opens her book, she explains that mittens are oftentimes overlooked, but are not only functional pieces, but also pieces of art that she likens to quilts.  Zilboorg touts her love of Turkish sock design and carries that same toe down design over to mittens, creating fingertips down mitten designs (though she explains that each pattern could be converted to cuff up).  She also prefers large cuffs for the aesthetics and for keeping snow out of one's mittens.  ;p

Zilboorg creates an interesting thumb design in several of her mitten patterns: what she calls "invisible" thumb.  As she explains, this is an older shaping from the Baltic region that creates a seamless thumb without gusset shaping.  But not to worry if you prefer gussets.  Zilboorg has created some of her patterns with thumb gussets and some with the sore thumb construction that EZ preferred.

Talking in depth about mitten design, construction, sizing, patterns and design, casting them on, shaping the mittens, and finishing, Zilboorg leaves nothing to chance.  The book utilizes wonderful illustration as well as in-depth instruction.  Though the pictures of the patterns in her book are brightly colored, unconventional looking and really take advantage of highly contrasting colors, Zilboorg explains that these are mere suggestions and that every knitter should make the mittens to suit his/her own taste. She even includes a Design Your Own page complete with charts that can be photocopied for notes on creating one's own patterns.  A big believer in letting creativity be your guide, Zilboorg includes heaps of info on embellishing and personalizing your mitten knitting experience.

So now is the part where you are asking where the socks come in.  Every pattern in this book can be turned into socks!  Zilboorg explains that since we are all quadrupeds, the number of stitches for socks and mittens is roughly the same and one only needs to replace the thumb with the heel to create a sock!  So Chapter 7: Socks is all about how to do just that!

Chapters in this book: Notes and Comments, Beginner's Mittens, General Directions, Small-Patterned Mittens, Large-Patterned Mittens, Sore-Thumb Mittens, Socks, Finishing Edges, Lining, Techniques and Abbreviations, Dyes, and Design Your Own

Disclosure: XRX, Inc. sent KnitPurlGurl Magnificent Mittens & Socks: The Beauty of Warm Hands & Feet free for review.  This is an unpaid post.  The opinions in this post are those of the blog author's and do not necessarily reflect those of XRX, inc.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Magically Delicious



Look at the fab yarn that came to my door via UPS today!

Suri Lace Semi Solids (Rosewood colorway)
Hand Wash
Lace Weight, 2-ply
100% Suri Alpaca
50g/466 yds per skein
Purchased: 6 skeins
Purchased from: DBNY

I'm not entirely sure what I am doing with all of this lace yet - but it was a GREAT deal!  Not sure what a Suri Alpaca is?  I wasn't either.  Learn more about Suri Alpaca fiber!


Monday, August 23, 2010

eMag Review: Sockupied

The Premier Issue of Interweave's new eMag, Sockupied, will be available August 30th!  It will rock your socks!!  This is hands down, the coolest way to present a magazine.  Sockupied contains multi-paged articles, some with PDF pattern, slide show, and/or video tutorial inserts.  In every issue, you'll find Editor's Corner, Feet on the Street, Try These, Great Yarns, and Idea Marketplace columns as well as the featured articles.

I LOVED this eMag!  Just to give you an example of how cool this interactive eMag is: in the Tech article,  Cast On for Comfy Cuffs, there is a wonderful 5-page written article, but the article also contains numerous video demonstrations from Eunny Jang that are playable while the article is still open on your screen.  And this eMag is chalk full of interactive goodies just like this throughout.  I have seen the future of knitting mags, and it is Sockupied

Disclosure: KnitPurlGurl received a free advance copy of Sockupied for review.  This is an unpaid review.  All opinions expressed in this post are of the blog author and do not necessarily reflect those of Interweave Press. 


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Clickin' Away on my Featherweight Cardi


I finally got to a point where I finished the shoulder increases and separated the sleeves (each put onto stitch holders to be worked later).  Now only 10" more of the body, then knitting each sleeve, and then picking up stitches to knit the collar.  ;p


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Featured on Tip Junkie Today!!

Today, I am featured on Tip Junkie for my Quickie Knitting Stitch Marker Tutorial!  SQUEE!!!  Pop on over to Tip Junkie and see all of the featured fab craft tutorials!  If you missed my blog post tutorial on stitch markers, check it out here!  Thanks for featuring me, Laurie!!


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Every Knitter Needs a Mindless Project


I have A LOT of WIPs, but I needed a good, mindless knit: something that is functional and stylish, but has a pattern that is easy to memorize and doesn't require huge amounts of concentration.  In between knitting my lace and projects I need to concentrate on, I needed a project to fiddle with when I want to knit but either don't have the necessary concentration or want to be able to juggle 2 things at once.  I have found that pattern and I cast it on tonight: Featherweight Cardigan by Hannah Fettig.  I am knitting it with yarn from stash: Knit Picks Stroll Tonal Sock Yarn in Canopy colorway.  It fulfills all of my mindless knitting requirements.  It's a great project for knitting while watching tv or knitting at knit group.  And I think I will like knitting it in between my more advanced projects.


Monday, August 9, 2010

Happy Birthday, Elizabeth Zimmermann!

Today would've been Elizabeth Zimmermann's 100th birthday.  So as yarn shops around the UK and US are celebrating the anniversary of her birth, I too, wanted to honor this amazing knitting pioneer!

So here are some fun facts about Ms. Zimmermann:
  • She reintroduced Continental Knitting to the UK and US
  • Advocated knitting in the round using flexible needles instead of knitting back and forth on straight needles, as was the fashion
  • She attended art schools in both Switzerland and Germany
  • She first learned to knit English style and then was taught Continental style by her Swiss governess
  • EZ migrated to the US with her husband, a German Brewery Master, Arnold Zimmermann, and eventually settled in Wisconsin
  • She converted a schoolhouse to a knitting mail order company, known as Schoolhouse Press - which is now run by her daughter, Meg Swansen
  • Credited with knitting the first example of an Aran sweater seen in an American Magazine, Vogue Knitting
  • Had a US knitting show, still available on DVD, called Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitting Workshop
  • Her EPS (Elizabeth's Percentage System) is still used by designers today
  • She's also well known for her Pi Shawl, Baby Surprise Jacket, and I-Cord
  • Books written: Knitting Without Tears, Knitter's Almanac, Knitting Workshop, Knitting Around, and The Opinionated Knitter (posthumously - released by Meg Swansen)
Happy Birthday to a TRUE knitting pioneer whose work stands the test of time!


Saturday, August 7, 2010

A Day Out


Today was a GOOD day!  I got to go shopping, have brunch, and go to the yarn shop.  It was FABULOUS!  First up, we ate brunch at a little shop called Coca Cafe right outside of Pittsburgh.  I had the Pecan Chicken Salad.  OMG - it was SO nummy!!  It's grilled chicken breast, toasted pecans, dried cranberries, golden raisins, goat cheese, and maple balsamic vinaigrette served with sesame seed crackers.  It was such a treat to eat lunch, in a restaurant, with adult people.  Plus the food was pretty terrific!

 Here are my little finds from Natural Stitches in Pittsburgh today:


Pearl (20% Yak / 80% Bamboo) in Silver colorway
245 yds, 100g
Lace Wt (2 Ply)
Purchased: 2 Skeins


Bamboo Silk (70% Bamboo Viscose / 30% Silk) in Chino colorway
99 yds, 50g
Worsted Wt (10 Ply)
Purchased: 3 Skeins

I didn't buy A LOT from the yarn store, but I did buy those little gems.  I also REALLY, REALLY wanted some MadelineTosh sock yarn, but I resisted and tried to show some measure of restraint.



Meanwhile.. my awesomely talented friend, Celeste, knit this gorgeous doily for me as a house-warming present!!  It's Peacock's Tail (PĂ…FUGLEHAL) knit out of DMC Cebelia Crochet Thread No. 30 in Coffee Cream colorway.  She purposely knit it in the same crochet thread and color I am knitting Frosted Ferns in so that my doilies will match!!  It's just stunning!  I'm not shocked it turned out so well - She's extremely talented.  But I am TICKLED to display it in my home.  I tried placing it on my coffee table (bottom pic), but I think my wooden bowl (Do you see my Frosted Ferns in the bowl?!) covers it up too much.  So I am going to place it around the house and find the best place to show it off!  Also, Celeste suggests I use some starch or sizing to stiffen it up a bit so the ends don't curl.  So once I figure out the best way to do it without hurting the lace, I will do that as well!

I cannot tell you how rejuvenating it was to just get out of the house for a couple of hours and do something "normal."  Oh, it was heaven!!


Friday, August 6, 2010

Lotus Blossom Mitts



I wasn't real crazy about how my Jasmine Mitts were turning out.  And although I liked the pattern - I wasn't particularly in love with the yarn with that pattern.  PLUS, let me just say that k3togtbl is annoying after SEVERAL rounds!!  So I decided to FROG them and save the Regia 4-Ply Color for another project.  I CO these cutie-patooties last night.  The pattern is actually Cupcake Mittlets, but I am calling mine Lotus Blossom Mitts because I am knitting them in Argosy Luxury Yarns Lotus Blossom in Summer Romance colorway.  These are a quick little knit and are SUPER easy that even beginners to lace AND to knitting in the round could tackle these with little problem.  There a couple of things I don't like about this pattern.  One is that you need to CO an additional 5 st in the middle of the pattern when knitting the thumb gusset.  Initially, I CO using the backward loop method, but the st were way too tight.  So taking a cue from another knitter who knit these mitts, I used the cable CO instead.  Once I got that all squared away, it continued to knit up very quickly.  Another thing I don't care for is the order of the pattern.  You kinda have to jump around.  But it's really not unmanageable.


So, I have one of these uber cute mitts done, and one more to go.  I am knitting these up for my mom for her birthday (Sept. 1).  I knit this little puppy in no time at all.  Like I said, I started last night and then finished this afternoon in my spare time.  So if you're looking for a quick knit that takes adv. beginner level skills and makes a spiffy gift, this pattern is for you!


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Down Time

So for the past 9 wks, I have been MOVING.  Since hubby & I moved to another state it's been just the two of us packing and moving boxes in the mom-mobile.  This past weekend was the last weekend for moving.  We really hustled to finish.  Then, Mon & yesterday I was washing laundry & dishes, and unpacking like a fiend.  This morning I woke up and my joints, muscles, and feet are getting their revenge.  Everything hurts!  (I think this means I'm getting old.)  BUT - for every negative, there is a positive.  And the positive is that I curled up in a blanket and started reading Eat Pray Love and knitting the Jasmine Lace Fingerless Mitts.  A little down time is just what the doctor ordered.

Let me just say, that I'm only in Book 1 of Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and already am smitten with this book!   I adore her writing style and sense of humor as well as her candor. My goal is to finish the book so I can go see the movie with the goils!

Here are the mitts I started:

I'm knitting the Jasmine Lace Fingerless Mitts by Adrienne Fong in Regia Color 4-Ply (Classic Brasil Color) for my mom's birthday.  I'm also making her a batch of my hand lotion for her to go along with the mitts.

Now all that's missing is a foot massage and some chocolate!  ;p


Monday, August 2, 2010

Book Review: Think Outside the Sox

Title: Think Outside the Sox 60+ Winning Designs from the Knitter's Magazine Contest
Publisher: XRX Books
ISBN: 978-193306418-5
Approx. Retail Price: $24.95

If there was ever an American Idol for sock knitting, Think Outside the Sox would be it and Cat Bordhi, Lucy Neatby, and Sandi Rosner would be cast as the judges!  What began as a contest to find the best sock designs in each of 26 categories, resulted in a phenomenal collection of sock patterns for all knitters to enjoy!  What really amazed me about the designs were that with the exception of the Pros category, all knitters were amateurs!!  And these designs are so fun - so funky - so amazing!  It's inspiring to know that regular Jane knitters like ourselves created these mini masterpieces.

To give you a little insight into how the book came about, I'll talk a little more about the contest itself and the very cool categories.  There were several companies that sponsored the contest: SWTC, Regia, Colinette Yarns, Universal Yarn, Inc., Mountain Colors Yarn, Skacel Collection, Cherry Tree Hill Yarn, Knitter's Magazine, KnitU.com, STITCHES Knitting Expos, and XRX Books.  Each company had 1 or more categories.  Some of the interesting categories were: Adult Fair Isle (Colinette), Most Avant-Garde (Universal Yarns, Inc.) From Sheep to Sox (Knitter's Magazine), It's Good to Get Hosed! (Skacel Collection) Teddy Bear Footwear (Skacel Collection) and many, many more..  Entrants filled out an entry form and knit or crocheted their masterpieces.  Then they sent them away to be judged by the sponsoring company whose category or categories they entered (with the exception of the Pros category that was judged by Cat Bordhi, Lucy Neatby, and Sandi Rosner). Prizes were awarded at Stitches West with $20,000 in prize money up for grabs!

So now that you know the story, you're going to WANT to see the book.  These patterns are so interesting.  Some took my breathe away.  Some were so creative in their design, that I was scratching my head wondering how the knitter pulled it off until I read the information about the pattern!  Even if you are not yet a sock-a-holic, you will want to get your hands on this book.  There are socks for nearly every person you've ever met.  You'll find everything from classic, lace, cables, colorful, to unconventional socks in this book!  A newbie to socks you say?  Not to worry.  This books covers Anatomy & Construction of a Sock, 8 Steps to Sock Success, Adapting Patterns to Your Preference, and Techniques.  So anyone wishing to knit (or crochet) these fab footsies can tackle it!  I thoroughly enjoyed every page of this book - Especially the Gallery section in the back where you can see some of the submissions and winners.  (Some brave and patient knitter even knit WIRE Socks!)

Patterns included in this book: Forgettable Socks, Dreamin' of Tulips, Beyond the Ridge, Salt Water Taffy, Split Reed, Outside Sox, Classy Crochet, Hopscotch, Hester's Socks, Branched Fern, Button-Up Socks, Girl's Best Friend, In the Peaceful Forest, Lace Me Up Kilt Hose, Rough Weather, Apple of My Eyelet, High Country Sunrise, Wandering Vine, Interlochen Cabes, Luck O' the Irish, Ruby Slippers, Celtic Pride Kilt Hose, Shylo Socks, Bees & Blossoms, Sea Foam & Shells, Find Your Way Home, Twisted Mosaic, A Tad Bit O' Plaid, Lonely Socks Club, Drip Candles, Fair Isle Made Easy, Mirrored Fair Isle, Snow Under Cedars, Union Jack Argyle, Pattern Play, Jungle Socks, Raspberries & Green, Mosaic Miters, Fancy Gaiter, Aztec Pottery, Hexagons, Jewel Boxes, 'Round the Bend, A-Step Socks, Funny & Fancy, Doublefun, Spiral Stripes, Spiral Cables, Perpendicular, Convertible A Go-Go, Off the Cuff, Sanquhar Socks, Sakura No Tabi Slippers, Pedicure Polka, Flowers on Lattice, Mermaid's Tail, Socktopus, Caterpillar Lace, Silver Bells, and Leopard Socks

Disclosure: Think Outside the Sox was sent to KnitPurlGurl free to review.  The opinions expressed in this post are those of the blog author.  This is an unpaid review.

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