Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Heads Up

I have another hat drive to tell you about. It's in progress at The Scottish Lamb. Jean is collecting hats for the homeless of New York City. Details are here. Be sure to contact her if you have a hat to donate and she'll send you the mailing address.

Jean and I connected through our blogs when I first began mine and we've been friends ever since. A scheduled meeting in person fell through this summer, but one day when she moves back to Texas we will get together. I'm looking forward to that! Through the years, I've been on the receiving end of her generous spirit and I'm thrilled to be able to support her in this worthy effort.

I have two hats to donate.

Seaman's Cap and Turn a Square

Seaman's Cap

Free Pattern
Yarn: Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool
Color: Nature's Brown
Needles: US 6 & 7 - 16" circulars and US 7 dpns

This is a great basic hat. It is knit in the round and features a wide ribbed brim with a turning row of knit stitches to insure a neat fold. The pattern is written in three sizes. I made the medium size and it fits John well. The small would be better for me.

Turn a Square

Free Pattern

Yarn: Cascade 220 in Charcoal Grey and Mountain Colors (unmarked)
Needles: US 6 & 7, 16" circulars and US 7 dpns

Another great hat. Raglan decreases transform circular stripes into interesting squares. A self-striping yarn is recommended for the contrasting color, but I used what I had on hand: an unmarked variegated wool from Mountain Colors that I bought as a mill end. This pattern is written in one size, which is a good fit for an adult man. I'd have to go down a needle size or reduce the number of stitches if I made one for me.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

W is for Weekender

We are now officially Matagorda weekenders!

A new section opened up at Pelican Point RV Park and we decided to rent a space and keep our travel trailer down there full time. We moved it in on Monday.

This is the view of the Colorado River from our spot.

A few weeks ago we saw a bald eagle perched in one of the trees on the opposite bank. It was far away, but we confirmed it with a pair of binoculars. We are told there is an eagle's nest up the river.

After setting up the trailer, there was just enough daylight left to test out the waters. John caught the first fish--a nice sized sand trout.

Not to be outdone, I caught two at once.

We fished until sunset, catching several more sandies while being serenaded by the sounds of nature: cows mooing across the river, an owl hooting from his hidden spot in a tree, coyotes howling in the distance.

We said a prayer that night, thanking God for giving us this peaceful place to spend our weekends.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. ~James 1:17

Monday, November 17, 2008

Knit a Warm Hat for Charity

Kathy at Irisheyes Knitting Blog is asking knitters to make warm hats for adults and children. She requests that they also be beautiful. I interpret this to mean something nicer than just a plain hat. These hats will be donated to shelters in her area and should be mailed in by January 5, 2009. As a thank-you for helping, Kathy is offering several gorgeous skeins of yarn as prizes, courtesy of Anne at Wooly Wonka Fibers. Please read this post for all the details.

I really enjoy knitting hats, so I'm happy to help. I'm going to send her the Fiber Trends Swirls Hat I made a few weeks ago that ended up too small for me. It should fit a child nicely. Also, I've worked up a couple of adult hats to donate and will be knitting more as I find the time. Perhaps you'll join me.

Honeycomb Hat
Source: The Knitter's Book of Yarn by Clara Parkes
Yarn: Reynolds Lopi (100% Wool)
Needles: US 10, 16" Circular and DPNs

This hat is very warm with its double thick folded brim in a pretty honeycomb stitch pattern. I'd like one for myself, though I found out from knitting this one, that I'd have to go down a needle size or make some other adjustment, because it's just a tad too big for my head.

by Emilee Mooney
Yarn: Brown Sheep Nature Spun (100% Wool)
Color: Salmon
Needles: US 7, 16" circular and DPNs; US 5, 16" circular

The pattern instructions for this top-down hat are written for two weights of yarn, either chunky or worsted. This worsted weight version fits me well and I really like the pretty lace leaf stitch. I don't know if a lace hat qualifies as warm, but I couldn't resist trying this pattern.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Plain & Fancy Raglan

Did you guess my latest project was a sweater? A cardigan to be exact.

It probably took me more time to decide on a pattern to show off this yarn properly than it actually took to knit the sweater. Such is the challenge of variegated yarn. In the end, I'm happy with the results.

Pattern: Chic Knits Eyelet Cardi
Yarn: Plain & Fancy Sheep & Wool
Color: Variegated Coral
Needles: US 4 and 6
Knitting Time: Less Than 3 Weeks

Stockinette stitch compliments this "busy" yarn, while a simple eyelet detail on the yoke keeps it from being too plain.

This raglan cardigan is knitted in one piece from the top down, which helps relieve some anxiety as to whether the fit will be right, because you can try it on as you knit. I made this sweater one size larger than I normally would, so it can be easily worn over long sleeves and heavier clothing this winter. It was nice to know early on that it wasn't going to be too big.

As is often the case with hand-dyed yarn, color intensity varied slightly from skein to skein and even some within the same skein. I decided to let the yarn knit up as is, though I could have tried to even out the variation by alternating skeins every few rows. For the most part, differences in color intensity are not glaring except for one place on the right sleeve.

I modified the original pattern slightly by adding an inch or two to the body length and changing the sleeves from 3/4 to full length. I also decided to use garter stitch on the bottom border of the sweater and sleeves instead of ribbing. The front bands and neckband remained in garter stitch, though I increased the number of rows for a wider border.

It is noted in the pattern that the front of this cardi may roll if very soft yarn is used. That was true with my sweater before it was washed. After it was washed, the rolling was very slight. I could have left it like that, but I decided it might be worth the effort to sew a grosgrain ribbon to the inside front border as suggested. I wasn't sure it would make that much difference, but it did! The front bands now lay completely flat, which improves the look of the whole sweater.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

V is for Variegated

Variegated yarn is fun to knit with. I guess that's why I fall for it so often, even though I find it challenging to match the yarn to a pattern. Here's a sneak peek of my latest variegated project.

Variegated Yarn by **Plain & Fancy Sheep & Wool

This yarn is especially beautiful and wonderful to knit with! The ever-shifting colors kept my needles flying and before I knew it, this project was finished. Yes, finished before I even had a chance to mention I was working on it. You can probably guess what it is from the picture, but I'm going to save the details until after the photo shoot this weekend.

**Plain and Fancy will be one of the vendors this weekend at Kid 'N Ewe fiber festival in Boerne, Texas.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Fishing Hat

A cool, damp breeze blew across the bay Friday night as we fished under the lights on the First Street Pier in Palacios. I was glad I had brought along my new hat I knitted especially for this occasion. It didn't help me catch fish, but it kept my ears from aching.

Free Pattern: Ardelle
Yarn: El Coyote Ranch (62% Wool, 24% Mohair, 14% Llama)
Color: Natural Gray
Needles: US 8

This hat is similar in style to the one I made John. It begins with a cabled band, knitted flat on two needles. Stitches are then picked up around the edge of the band and the rest of the hat is knitted in stockinette stitch in the round.

The yarn is bulky and knitted at a tight gauge for extra warmth.

The result is a heavy duty head warmer that I've deemed the perfect fishing hat.