Monday, March 31, 2008

Knitted Wool Soakers

A friend from church is expecting a baby this summer and is planning to use cloth diapers, so I finally have an excuse to knit soakers. Aren't they cute?

Carissa was kind enough to give me a few tips on knitting soakers and recommended I start with this pattern:

Yarn: Nature Spun Worsted Weight
Color: Eucalyptus
Needles: US 3, 5 & 7 16" Circulars, US 3 DPNs
Size: Newborn

What I like about this soaker is the way a series of ribbing extends well into the body. This should insure a snug fit that won't shift around and will look neat under clothing. And if the the rise is too high, just fold down the top like you would the ribbed brim of a hat. This soaker may end up being my favorite, especially if it functions as well as I think it will, but I wanted to try out some other patterns too.

Yarn: Nature Spun Worsted Weight
Color: Eucalyptus and Silver Sage
Needles: US 3 & 6 16" Circulars and US 6 DPNs
Size: Newborn

I think this design is better suited for wearing outside of clothing, like a pair of shorts. What attracted me to this pattern is the garter stitch seat. The idea is to provide a thicker fabric in the area where it is needed most. I think it's super cute! It's wider than the previous soaker and the one below, but the leg openings are more to the front, so I think the extra width will end up being in the back. This is probably a good thing since cloth diapers tend to be bulky there.

Yarn: Lion Wool
Color: Midnight Blue
Needles: US 5 & 7 16" Circulars and Size G Crochet Hook
Size: Newborn

I love the unique design features of this one: the ribbed crotch and the leg gussets. However, I might lengthen the rise next time and add a few more short rows. A big plus with this pattern is that it is written for two weights of yarn: worsted and dk. So just about any yarn you have in your stash will work. The crochet hook is needed to single crochet an edge around the leg opening. I'm not a crocheter, but I didn't find this hard to do.

I'll be knitting more soakers in the future but for today, this is the end.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Beautiful Bluebonnet

If you're experiencing a terrible case of spring fever, I'm not sure if this post will cheer you or depress you. I know some parts of the country are still thawing out, but spring has sprung here and I have pictures.

Last Sunday afternoon we drove to the Brenham area in search of wildflowers and we were not disappointed.

The fields are just beginning to show their colors. We saw bluebonnets, Indian paintbrush and other wildflowers at Old Baylor Park in Independence.

The most beautiful of the wildflowers is the Texas bluebonnet. It's our state flower and source of pride for Texans.

There is nothing that can compare to sitting in a field of bluebonnets on a warm spring day. I recommend everyone experience this at least once in their life.

In Brenham we had a field of bluebonnets all to ourselves, so we set up the tripod for pictures. John was the cameraman for this shoot. He did all the running back and forth.

I should have known he was up to something when I saw a twinkle in his eye right before this shot.

This weekend should be even better for bluebonnets in Brenham. Other parts of Texas may have to wait a bit longer.

Texas Wildflower Sightings Report

Wherever you live, no matter the weather, I hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

F is for Fisherman

A fisherman lives here with the catch of his they say.

Here's what else they say:

There is certainly something in angling that tends to produce a gentleness of spirit, a pure serenity of the mind. ~Washington Irving

The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual of occasions for hope. ~ John Buchan

To him, all good things, trout as well as eternal salvation, come by grace and grace comes by art and art does not come easy. ~Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It

The fishing was good; it was the catching that was bad. ~A.K. Best

For the rich there is therapy, for the rest of us there is FISHING! ~Unknown

Fishermen don't yield to the weather. ~Jack MacKinnon

Often I have been exhausted on trout streams, uncomfortable, wet, cold, briar scarred, sunburned, mosquito bitten, but never, with a fly rod in my hand have I been less than in a place that was less than beautiful. ~Charles Kuralt

My husband is a fisherman and I wouldn't change a thing about that. ~Tracy

Monday, March 24, 2008


I began SpinKnit last month by spinning some Columbia/Dorset roving into a two-ply bulky yarn.


This month I finished up SpinKnit by knitting the cream colored yarn I spun and some black brown handspun from my stash.

Cookies 'n Cream Pillow

Two-tone Interpretation

Pattern: Wovenflame's Free Cushion Pattern
Yarn: My Handspun, Two-Ply Bulky Weight
Fiber: Columbia/Dorset and Mystery Wool
Color: Cream and Black Brown
Needles: US 10.5 (6.5 mm)
Size: Fits a 14" Square Pillow Form

Garter Stitch Button Band

Changes Made to Accommodate a Bulky Weight Yarn:

~Larger needles - US10.5 (6.5 mm)

~Cast on 40 stitches

~Pattern Stitch (changes in red):
Row 1: K1, *K6, P2. Repeat from * across to last 7 sts. K7
Row 2: Purl across

~Single yarn-over buttonhole instead of double yarn-over buttonhole

Back View

Knitted pillows are a great way to enjoy wool year round, especially if you live in a warm climate like I do. And, I think they are good projects for showing off hand spun yarn.

Front View

Spin, knit...enjoy!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Happy Spring

Cinnamongirl who blogs at Happy Handwork is celebrating the start of spring with a contest. The prize is Malabrigo worsted weight yarn in a beautiful variegated color called velvet grapes. Everyone is invited to enter. You'll find all the contest details (like entry deadline) here.

The basic rules copied directly from Happy Handwork:

You can only enter one time. If you mention my contest on your blog with a link you will receive an extra 3 entries! If one of your friends enters because of your input you will get one extra entry. And lastly, just for fun, make sure to mention in your post one of your favorite flowers.

So, what is my favorite flower? Wildflowers are at the top of the list. They are beginning to bloom around here--a sure sign of spring. We saw some Indian Paintbrush last weekend, so I know the Texas Bluebonnets can't be far behind.

However, this week my favorite flower is the orchid John gave me for no special reason, except he knew it would make me happy.

And it does.

Wishing happiness to everyone!

Happy Weekend.
Happy Easter.
Happy Spring.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I Need a Bigger Sock Drawer

This is lifetime pair number 24.

My Version of Baby Cable Rib Socks
Sensational Knitted Socks
With Short-Row Heels and Toes the PG-R Way
Worked on 48 Stitches
Yarn: Reynolds Soft Sea Wool (100% Wool)
Color: 754 Yellow
Needles: US 2 (2.75 mm) DPNs

The whole time I was knitting these socks, I went back and forth on whether I liked the yarn or not. It's much different than any other sock yarn I've used before: two ply and with a springy twist. On one hand, its stretchy quality produces great stitch definition, which I love. On the other hand, I found the elasticity a challenge to work with. I never really got used to it.

The end result however, is a pretty pair of socks with a cushy, comfortable feel and I believe that overrides any negative feeling I had in the way the yarn handled for me. Plus, this yarn is a great bargain! I paid only $5.95 per hank (162 yds), using just two hanks for these socks with some yarn left over.

If you've used Soft Sea Wool before, I'd be interested to hear what you think about it. Do you love it? Hate it? Indifferent?

Overall I like it, though it's not my favorite. And, I'd use it again, especially when I want the stitches in a pattern to really make a statement.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Applause for Clapotis

Worn as a scarf, Clapotis is thick and warm.


Worn as a wrap, Clapotis is light and airy.


Love the yarn and the drop stitches.


Dresses up a t-shirt, fishing pants and purple Crocs nicely, don't you think?


Protected me from the mosquitoes when the sun went down.


From start to finish, Clapotis is a good knit. I give it a standing ovation!

Yarn: Brooks Farm Yarn Duet (1+ skeins)
Fiber Content: 55% Kid Mohair, 45% Fine Wool
Color: Cinnamon Spice
Needles: US 8 (5 mm)
Notes: I purled the drop stitch instead of using stitch markers, but otherwise, followed the pattern as written.

Friday, March 14, 2008

E is for Egg

My love of brown eggs goes way back to when I was a little girl and lived next door to a man who raised chickens in his backyard. My sister and I would often feed the chickens. Mom would give us each a handful of dry dog food and we would drop it one piece at a time through the fence. The chickens loved it and the man didn't mind.

Occasionally he would come to our house with a carton or two of fresh eggs--always brown. The eggs we bought at the store were white, so in my young mind, fresh eggs were brown and store-bought were white.

Still to this day I prefer brown eggs. They are more special than white ones to me, so that's what I buy. Even though nutritionally and taste-wise there is no difference, I'll pay extra for them just because of a happy childhood memory.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Nearing the Finish

I'm making good progress on Clapotis this week.

Brooks Farm Yarn Duet
55% Kid Mohair, 45% Fine Wool
Cinnamon Spice

I just completed the straight section, which consists of thirteen repeats of twelve rows, 107 stitches per row. Each repeat took me about an hour to knit, plus another ten minutes to completely unravel the dropped stitch ladder.

I thought the dropped stitches would unzip easily, but that's not the case with the yarn I'm using. It is necessary to pick the stitches apart one at a time, due to the fuzzy nature of mohair. I'm glad I decided to unravel as I go. It's a built in break between repeats, which gives my hands a rest. And, I don't have hours of unraveling hanging over my head at the end.

Now that I'm moving on the the decrease section, things should speed up a bit. Shorter rows and shorter ladders means I might even be finished by the end of the week!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Down This Road Before

I'm talking about Hwy 45 N out of Houston. I didn't expect we'd be heading out of town again so soon, but an opportunity to visit our daughter and her husband arose and we ended up in Fort Worth this weekend.


Car knitting was preemie hats. I finished five on this trip. Add these to the others for a total of ten preemie hats for Hannah's Knitsters.


Preemie hats this size are quick to knit. There are only 48 stitches. Just knit in the round for four inches and then work the decreases. Knit an i-cord or add a pom-pom and you're done.

While we were in Fort Worth, Robyn and James treated us to dinner at Edelweiss.


It was an experience like none other. Good food and live accordion music in a welcoming family atmosphere.

How many restaurants do you know of where the chicken dance is the highlight of the evening?


And how many places provide cards like this one at every table?


It is an unique place and we certainly had fun.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Catch-up Day

I finally got to stay home yesterday. I put on my "comfy clothes" (one notch more presentable than pajamas) and tackled the mountain of laundry accumulated over the week. In between loads I answered questions from my FHBS students; replaced burned out light bulbs (not my favorite chore); and knit.

Three preemie hats were added to two I already had finished.


Rolled-Brim Preemie Hat

Yarn: Bernat Satin Sport (100% Acrylic)
Color: Seashore and Meadow
Needles: US 5 DPNs
Size: 1-3 lbs

I'm using Bernat Satin Sport for the first time and I love it. Satin is a good name for it. Another good name would be silk. It's extremely soft for an acrylic yarn, which makes it perfect for a baby's delicate skin.


When I use up both skeins, I'll send these hats to work with John to deliver to Hannah's Knitsters. Amy and Laurie have started a knit-at-lunch group for the employees of the company. Their focus is charity knitting in honor of Amy's daughter Hannah.


I'd love to join them for lunch and knitting one day. I'd even be willing to change out of my "comfy clothes" for that.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Checking In

We made it home safely on Monday evening. The drive was exactly 9 hours long. However, I didn't knit in the car like I thought I would. So, no progress to show on Clapotis.

The other project I have going is a pair of socks. The first sock is finished and the second is started. Here's a sneak peek of the stitch pattern.


I'm using Baby Cable Rib from Sensational Knitted Socks plugged into Priscilla Gibson-Roberts' formula for sock knitting. So, you know there are also short-row heels and toes. The yarn is Soft Sea Wool.

I could have these socks finished in a day or two, if I put some effort into them, but knitting this week will not come easy. There are too many things scheduled that take priority over yarn and needles. And, that's the way it should be...sometimes.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Weekend in Oklahoma

We left early Friday morning for Oklahoma Christian University to visit our son and attend Spring Sing. I brought along some knitting for the road.

Between Houston and Dallas

This is my first time to knit Clapotis. I'm using Brooks Farm Yarn Duet in Cinnamon Spice. Anyone thinking of knitting one of these might want to join us in the Fashionably Late in '08 Knit Along.

Several hours of knitting in the car yielded three repeats to the straight row section. This scarf/shawl is easy to knit, but I'm not breaking any speed records with it.

It's been a good visit with Matt and his girlfriend, Carly, though our time together has been brief and squeezed in between Spring Sing shows and clean-up. Matt was the stage manager this year and Carly was performing with her club. Carly's club theme was Shrek and Donkey, hence the green face makeup.

Shrek and Tech

For the uninitiated, Spring Sing is an entertainment event and competition between campus clubs. Each club chooses a theme and performs parodies of popular songs, accompanied by choreography and costumes. Student hosts also entertain the crowd with musical performances.

All too soon it is time to go home. The upside is I'll get a few more rows of Clapotis finished on the nine hour drive back. Though if I had a choice, I'd trade knitting those rows for staying a little longer.

Dropped Stitches