I have not done too much knitting these past few months, mostly because as soon as I sit down I just fall asleep. Also, when I am able to stay awake, the sitting positions I find most comfortable for knitting now make my arms and hands fall asleep. The only thing I can figure is that baby must be resting on my "knitting nerve"! So I have to take frequent breaks to let the feeling return so I can knit. This makes progress very slow, and I am a fairly slow knitter to begin with. The main thing I have been working on is a shawl for my boyfriend's mother. The yarn I am using came from his grandmother, who passed away earlier this year. She was a crocheter, and in recent years had to stop due to health reasons and poor vision. When we visited at Christmas, she gave me a couple of boxes of old yarn. And when I say old, I mean old. Some of the labels show the yarn to be from Murphy's Mart. Anyone remember that place? If not, then you are younger than me! This place was on the way out when I was fairly young, but I do remember going there. All of the yarn is acrylic, and I believe most was actually purchased at yard sales and the like. She made afghans using the yarn, some of which I now have. They are very lovely and surprisingly soft, even though the yarn is old and, frankly, nothing I would ever buy. Anywho, it was hinted by boyfriend's mom that one of the yarns in particular would make a nice shawl. So I have pulled out a few of my stitch pattern books and gone through each of them a few times, trying to decide on something I like. I am looking for something quick and easy, but with a little more oomph than just plain old knit or stocking stitch. I think I may settle on the feather and fan pattern - it looks a little fancy but isn't too complicated. I hope to have it finished by fall.
I've also been playing around with Wilton and McCormick food coloring as a way to dye yarn. I have not really had much success though. I have tried with and without vinegar; I've tried microwaving the yarn, steaming the yarn, and boiling the yarn in mason jars of color. None of these methods are really giving me what I want. McCormick comes with a color mixing chart on the box, and there is one on the Wilton site for their colors, which you can see HERE. I got pretty good results as far as getting the color to apply to the yarn, my issues are arising from the fact that I can't get the color to get into the yarn and stay there as vividly as I would like. While the vinegar does seem to make the color get into the yarn better, it tends to be streaky. Say, if I use blue, after the yarn has dried I can see streaks of reddish/purple throughout. The yarn I've been using is Lion Brand Fishermen's Wool. I'm not sure if it is the yarn, or what. But I intend to keep experimenting until I get the results I am looking for! I have decided though that I would love to have a nice cabled blanket knit from this yarn, it is very nice and would be great to cozy up with on a winter evening.
With the baby on the way, I need to gather up all of my knitting paraphernalia that is scattered about. I have been wanting to go through and take stock of all of my yarns and needles, etc. and try to get some kind of organized system set up for some time. To help with all of that, I plan to use these great sheets from Kathryn Ivy. You can visit the site HERE and download your own needle inventory sheets, graph paper and more. I have a few 3 ring binders and the clear plastic sleeves I will use to store all of my patterns and stuff, and these organizing sheets will help keep track of what I have, and what projects I plan to work on, etc. I may have mentioned this before, but I am all for Space Bags for yarn storage. Not only do they reduce the amount of space all that fluffy yarn takes up, but also keep out moths, moisture and anything else that may damage yarn. Especially curious cats!! I have some of the regular space bags as well as one of the nicer portable stackable kind. The stackable type does take up more space than the regular bags, but they look nicer if you want to leave your yarn out for easy access. You can order directly from their site or get a list of retailers. I of course got mine from Wal-Mart, and I have seen them at the flea market. It's a fairly small investment to make to keep your yarn protected from wool loving bugs.
And finally, the Mystery Knitting Project!!! Yay!! Like the first project, this is a small, simple item. The only stitches you need to know are knit and purl. There will be some seaming involved at the end, but that is not difficult either. So, without further ado, here is the first part of the pattern!
Mystery Knitting Project #2
You will need: US size 8 needles and Caron Simply soft or any similar weight yarn.
Pattern Note: The first stitch of each row will be slipped purlwise throughout the pattern, and the last stitch of each row will be knit. This will give you a nice, clean edge that will come in handy later.
Cast on 52 stitches using whatever method you prefer.
Row 1: Slip 1 purlwise, K1, *K1P1* to last two stitches, K2
Row 2: Slip 1 purlwise, K1, *P1, K1* to last two stitches, K2
Repeat Rows 1 and 2 twice more for Rows 3-6.
Begin stitch pattern, remembering to always slip the first stitch of the row as if you were going to purl it, and knit the last stitch of each row.
Row 7: Sl 1, K1, *P3, K3* to last two stitches, K2
Row 8 and every even numbered Row: Sl 1, K1, work each stitch as it presents itself to last two stitches, K2
Row 9: Sl1, K1, *K1, P3, K2* to last two stitches, K2
Row 11: Sl1, K1, *K2, P3, K1* to last two stitches, K2
Row 13: Sl1, K1, * K3, P3* to last two stitches, K2
Row 15: Sl1, K1, *P1, K3, P2* to last two stitches, K2
Row 17: Sl1, K1, *P2, K3, P1* to last two stitches, K2
(Don't forget to knit the last row - Row 18 is the same as Row 8.)
Repeat Row 7-18 once more.
Row 31: Sl1, K1, *K3, P3* to last two stitches, K2
Row 33: Sl1, K1, *K2, P3, K1* to last two stitches, K2
Row 35: Sl1, K1, *K1, P3, K2* to last two stitches, K2
Row 37: Sl1, K1, *P3, K3* to last two stitches, K2
Row 39: Sl1, K1, *P2, K3, P1* to last two stitches, K2
Row 41: Sl1, K1, *P1, K3, P2* to last two stitches, K2
(Don't forget to knit the last row - Row 42 is the same as Row 8 - knit each stitch as it appears)
Repeat Row 31-42 once more.
I will have the next part for you next time. Until then, Happy Knitting!