Sunday, January 28, 2007

Knitting with a KitchenAid stand mixer:

Faced with winding 30 some skeins of Jamieson & Smith 2 ply jumper weight into center pull skeins, I decided to search the web for an easier method than a swift and a hand cranked ball winder. Not wanting to pay for an electric winder, DH and I figured out there had to be a way to attach a small motor to the ball winder. NOT! So what other small motors were in the house that allowed a circular wind motion? Why an electric mixer of course!!! Having had surgery for carpal tunnel once, I prefer to save the hand motions for knitting rather than winding.

Google search brought up these sites from knitters who already had the idea: using a hand held mixer using a stand mixer

So out came the Kitchen Aid mixer with the dough hook. I found that cutting a 4" square of lightweight cardboard, taping it into a tube and slipping it over the dough hook worked perfectly. There were no empty cardboard cylinders in the house at the moment but I will save some paper towel cardboard. I think they would be even better than thinner cardboard tubes.
The first couple of skeins were a bit comical as they looked more like children's tops than balled yarn but what the heck. It saved a lot of hand winding. Kitchen Aid stand mixer run on motor speed 6 balled a skein of yarn in about 45 seconds.

Lesson learned - Google is your friend.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The colors being considered for "Erin" out of "The Celtic Collection" are shown in the photos. Double click on each photo to see the color tag beside each yarn. The original Rowan colors and types are long gone and rarely available even on Ebay. I'm trying to substitute like colors from my stash of Jamieson and Smith 2 ply jumper weight, trying to recreate the feel of the original, not duplicate it. I'll use J&S 28 for both J and O and a Jamieson 524 for the G chenille. Since this sweater is about third in line, these might change but look pretty good right now.

A Juniper J&S FC41
B Madder Red J&S 9113
C Rust J&S FC72
D Terra cotta J&S FC8
E Sienna J&S 32
F Roseberry J&S FC55
G Flamenco Chenille Jamieson Poppy 524
H Cinnamon J&S FC60
I Red Violet J&S 72
J Old Gold J&S 28
K Lacquer Chenille J&S 129
L Jade J&S 71
M Light. Jade J&S 48
N Blue Mist J&S 75
O Ochre Chenille J&S 28
Time will tell if this looks good knit up. I'm sure I'll do a bit of swatching for color.

Finally!!! It's cold enough to wear some of the heavier sweaters. This one is "Russian Prime" from Meg Swansen's "Knitting". Knit in one piece with steeks to the shoulders, sleeves picked up in pattern and knit to the cuff. I cord is placed around the neck and along the top of the shoulders. Knit it in Elann's Peruvian Highland wool and yes it does pill down the sleeves. A second one in red/white was given to my sister Christmas a year ago. Wonder if it ever gets cold enough in VA for her to wear it?

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Started Hemsdale sweater from Dale of Norway this morning but didn't get beyond 16 rows of the inside cuff. Errands called us out into the 14 degree F very windy day but the snow was beautiful and felt kind of nice to be cold again rather than Maine at 60 degrees in the winter!
A stop at Water Street Yarns in Hallowell Maine just seemed to happen. Hard to get up into that area and not stop at this small but exceptional shop. I've been looking for the Dale book #79 which has a sweater with a moose on it I like. She didn't have that book but did have #85B which just screamed at me to take it home. I absolutely love the sweater pictured here. It has tiny cables up to the yoke and then over the yoke. What to do? What to do? Want to bet I switch from Hemsdale to this one? I've knit so many dropped shoulder sweaters lately that a yoke might be just what I need to do.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Beadwork is a sweater designed by Jade Starmore. I am using the chart patterns but winging it on a pullover with standard ribs. Photo is of the saddle shoulders just added by 3 needle bind off and the neck stitches picked up and ready to knit. This was knit with armhole steeks, those sewn and cut open and then the saddle added. I will pick up the stitches around the armhole and knit down to the cuff with the small cable running along the top and bottom of the sleeve. Not sure what I'm going to do for pattern on the sleeve but probably the diamond.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Yarns arrived today from Kirtland's Yarn Barn. I didn't expect them until at least next Tuesday. Pat certainly does give quick service and the grey/blue she suggested for the star pattern works much better than what I originally thought I wanted. Pretty sure I'm going to use the line up of colors to the left but have a brighter red and brighter gold if I need to switch. Fun to shop in your own stash and only need a few fill in colors. Miss Boots, the cat, helped with the selection. She has become a much more companionable cat since Patter isn't here anymore. It is very difficult to type or knit when she wants her lap space.

Friday, January 12, 2007

The "yarn diet" for 2007 lasted all of 10 days. I've joined the Dale of America Knit Along to start the 20th. I had this pattern, along with a lot of Dale Heilo yarn but not all the colors needed. Pat at Kirtland's Yarn Barn in Dillwyn, VA ( put the Heilo colors I needed in the mail and hopefully they will arrive before cast on day. Big snowstorm supposedly to hit over the weekend which will be our first real snow of the year.

The sweater is in the "Best of Tuir #170" book but I had it in an older Dale book also. Still working on the one color Beadwork sweater and am almost up to the neck steek. It's always fun to have both colorwork and solid going at the same time to give the hands a break.

The inventory of the yarn is done, the sweater books and magazines almost done. Of course I found many sweaters I had marked as "have to dos" including a truly great Aran out of Cast On Magazine of Winter 2002. Nothing to purchase for that one since I have enough aran weight yarn in this house to insulate the eaves.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Stash reduction is probably the only New Year Resolutions that will be kept. Finally finished opening every bag, box, tub and canvas bag and inventorying the yarn. Found a few old goodies I had totally forgotten, some of which made it to the "to do" list. Gathered most of the old acrylic yarns and called a friend who knits hats and mittens for the western Indian reservations. She was glad to get such a large stash and I was glad to know it would go to a good cause.

Still way too warm in Maine with no snow and mud season starting. No way can I wear my heavy Aran knit sweaters this winter. Want to bet it will snow in March and April? At least the big cactus in the sunroom is enjoying the extra daylight.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Beadwork continues - 12" done in the round. This is a hard sweater to photo and have the stitches show up. The yarn is a soft grey Patons Classic Wool and the gauge is averaging 6 sts = 1" on US #4. Gauge varies per chart pattern from 5 in the diamonds to 6 in the hourglass to 7 in the small cable. Overall I've got 6 so the sweater will come out to the size I planned. THIS time I'm going to be very careful of the length from rib to underarm and get it long enough. It's at 12" now and I'm aiming for 14" and then put it on two circulars and try it on. The sweater book and pattern library is fairly extensive in this house and I've leafed through most of them in the past few days looking at dropped vs set in sleeve designs. Finally decided to ???? - well will see when I get there. I like Jade Starmore's original dropped sleeve design with the small cable run up the sleeve and over the shoulder. Just not sure I need one more dropped shoulder sweater. Since I've already made her design into a pullover instead of a cardigan, what's one more change?

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The fair isle sweater "Marina" is done!! I had time yesterday afternoon to rip out the button band bind off and bind off again with size 3 instead of size 2 needles. Worked great this time and the button band laid flat. The buttons are on and we had bright sun this morning for a picture.

I've learned so very much from this sweater, ideas that will be transferred on to other knitting. Spit splicing is a true marvel, two handed color knitting, rewriting charts to "see" the colors and patterns how I like, and the real joy of watching those Shetland colors come to life in a Fair Isle.

We keep our house around 64-65 degrees and I'm used to wearing fleece or Aran sweater tops. I will say that Marina is not as warm as I thought it would be. The sweater is basically two layers of yarn since you always carry one color behind the other. It is very light in total ounces when you pick it up. I just thought it would be warmer to wear. It still needs to be washed and blocked and perhaps that will fill up some of the air holes.

I need to put making more Fair Isles aside for a bit until I finish up Beadwork, Shirt Tail Hemmed (well that is a fair isle but is already way under way) and an Aran. Course I did knit "Oregon"'s bottom rib over Christmas and ....... sigh.....