Friday, January 30, 2009

Go Fly A Kite

Ok, so I lied the other day when I said I was going to do the Lacey Stole from Louet...I'm really doing this one instead...for real this time!!

It's called "Go Fly A Kite" (I found it on Ravelry!!)'s really pretty and although I'm not really the lace wearing type...more of a plain Jane...I'm excited to be knitting lace for real. This is the same lace yarn that I was planning to use for the Lacey Stole, but since the Lacey stole called for sport weight yarn I thought that my yarn might be better used on a project that actually calls for lace weight yarn.

True confession: I hate lace knitting!! Or should I say that we have a Love/Hate relationship, maybe?!

I wish I could say that lace knitting is a treat and that as you go you start to see all your hard work unfolding that it brings joy to your heart and is beautiful, which would make you want to knit more and more and more. But I can't say that! In fact, I would probably tell any beginner not to even start lace. Here's why: As I knit this pattern I have to make sure that I keep my spot on the pattern chart, but inevitably I will move the wrong way, have to get the phone, or change the channel, or whatever (I think you get the idea) and all my spot is now I have to back track and figure out where I am, for the 500th time. Oh, and of course you have to make sure that you're knitting the correct stitches across the pattern or else you completely mess it up, and this is not the type of pattern where you can have an in depth conversation and remember how many repeats of the pattern you have already finished, or how many stitches are left to knit. Trust me, I've had to undue so many rows already for not getting that row right that I can't even count the times on BOTH hands.

Ok, end of rant!! :)

But ultimately this is a Love/Hate relationship...each time I put it down and see what has been knit so far I am amazed and say to myself, "Could this possibly be the thing causing such terrible torture for me all these hours? It's so lovely and light and airy!! How pretty and elegant this will look over a cute black dress...I should keep going and knit some more, maybe I'm just lace-challenged, it can't be that bad after all!!"

Now I know this is not the case for many, many knitters in this world, so to you lovers of knitted lace out there, please accept my apologies for my bluntness, but I must speak truth!! In lieu of my feelings, I am NOT quitting this project, this lace shawl challenge may drive me crazy, but I must finish it!!! And maybe, I'll grow to love lace knitting by the time I am finished......maybe?

Saga To be continued.....

Monday, January 26, 2009

Fingerless Wonders

Not that what I have created gives a great representation of these two patterns, but at least they are cozy!!! [That's all that really matters, right?!?!?!]Sorry for these pics, a bit fuzzy, I know I should stop taking my own pictures and let someone else do it, scheduling issues. Oh well! :)

The slightly modified fingerless mitts are made from two different colors of Plymouth Brushed Suri Alpaca (100% Suri Alpaca) from my stash that were left over from a couple of other projects. I had two colors left and wanted to make opposite mitts, I knit them on US 7 dpn needles and modified the original pattern by picking up stitches at the thumbs and extending the knitting there in 1x1 ribbing, and also made them a little longer at the fingers to make mine a little more suitable for our Connecticut winters.....sooo warm and cozy!!! [Perfect to keep warm while knitting.] The free and simple pattern is from knit and tonic, I'm sure I'll use it again and again. [Both were knit in one evening.]

The huge fingerless gloves are for my Bro-in-law who works outside a lot. He requested something to keep his hands warm and dry while he's working, but still have the these fingerless gloves, from Marnie MacLean were a perfect solution. I modified the pattern to the size of my BIL's hands and the yarn gauge I was working with (Cascade 220, charcoal black, 1 skein, on the same US 7 dpn's as for the fingerless mitts). The first one took me forever, trying to tweek the pattern so that it worked with my yarn, et al...but the second one took me no more than a couple of evenings tv time.

I absolutely love knitting patterns like this, because they are functional of course, but also because they are quick knits and there's great satisfaction in having something finished within a night or two!!
I hope you enjoy the links to these two great designers and there equally great, yet simple, patterns.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Huh? Back to English Class You Go!!

So many things strike me as funny, but I think this one tops the list!! It is wrong on so many levels that I must say (and forgive me for not being PC at all) this brings redneck to an entirely different level. Can you say, "Here's your sign!" or maybe "You might be a redneck if..."!! We might have to send this one to Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall, or Larry the Cable Guy to see what they can come up with, there is definitely something Blue Collar Comedy worthy in this photo!!

In the meantime there's been another snow storm...what a winter wonderland!! Perfect weather for whipping up some cozy knits...this hat is from some left-over Brushed Suri Alpaca that a friend gave to me. I made her a herringbone cowl and since there was extra I made myself a beret. There was extra after that too, woohoo!! So now I'm working on some fingerless mitts, using a simple pattern from Wendy Bernard's blog. I'll share pics of the cowl, hat and fingerless mitts once I'm finished.

P.S. I'm going to post the Striped beret as a free pattern once it's been edited.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Lacey Stole

I was watching Knitting Daily a few weeks ago on PBS and saw Eunny Jang showcasing a Knit Along of the beautiful and simple Lacey Stole with Louet Linen yarn. It seems like something that would keep me interested and yet still knit while carrying on a conversation or watching tv. I purchased some lovely 100% baby alpaca lace weight yarn from my LYS, pictured above is Baby Alpaca Lace from Plymouth Yarn in color #2020.

This is my first official lace pattern, i.e. the yarn is lace weight, et al., so I'm a little nervous that it will take millions of hours to finish. My hope is that I won't get bored with it and them change my mind, which seams to be my MO. You can find my progress and the free pattern on Ravelry, and once I have a sufficient amount of it finished (and figure out how on earth to post my pictures) I will post some pics. I'm modifying the original pattern just a little, since the original pattern is in sport weight yarn, and mine is in lace weight, I will add a few extra rows of garter stitch all around the entire border for some more stability.

Friday, January 9, 2009

I Shall Conquer: Lace Knitting

Being someone who doesn't have all the money in the world to buy all the yarn I could ever possibly want, I am trying to stretch the yarn I have. So I have decided that knitting lace is the way to go. You can buy lighter weight yarns (i.e. more yardage) and use larger needles to show off the eyelets in the lace...the end result?....more for you money, yay!!

The purple yarn is Malabrigo Worsted hand dyed yarn. This is some of the softest stuff you will find around. It is very lofty and knits up really quickly, always a plus after knitting a project with fingering weight yarn. Malabrigo is hands down my favorite yarn, they have yet to go wrong. The merino they use is super resilient, even though it's a single-ply. Oh, and did I mention it's REALLY soft?

The fingering weight yarn pictured here is from Pagewood Farm, another excellent yarn company, the name of the yarn is Yukon ... a blend of merino/bamboo/nylon ... so soft. I used Yukon for my first pair of knitted socks and was really pleased with the results. The pattern for both these scarves is pretty simple for lace, and will knit up pretty quickly especially if you use larger needles, so if anyone is interested I'll post the scarf patterns, just leave me a note in the comments section.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Ever Enough?

After trying to knit, rip, re-knit, rip, re-knit, rip (I think you get the idea)...can I ever just be satisfied with something and finish it? Well, this pile is what's left of a couple of scarves, the blue one is fingering weight bamboo/merino/nylon blend from Pagewood Farms, so soft, maybe those would be better as fingerless mittens? The purple is some lovely angora/merino which will become something fuzzy and warm. In the meantime, between tearing apart the painstaking work of many days, I found a new LYS near my house. This is no trivial matter, it's something I've been hoping for all year. I have my favorites, which are at least 30 minutes away, not that I mind driving over 25 minutes to an LYS where I can find my favorite Malabrigo yarn or where I can talk to someone who is excited about knitting like me, but it is sooo much better when local!!

My husband is always asking me when the yarn I buy is ever enough, I guess the answer is, "NEVER!!!" What is it about the sight of colorful varieties of yarn in merino, silk, bamboo, even...dare I say...nylon (for the sensitive-skin-type) that sparks every knitter's heart a-fluttering and their mind going into 500 project directions at once? (Maybe it has something to do with the icy, grey New England weather we've been having?!)

So many projects in the works, and yet I buy more yarn...why is that? Why must we knitters always buy more yarn and add to an already growing stash? With so many other projects I shouldn't move onto anything new, but I just couldn't help myself. Maybe I'll finish something one of these days (novel idea)!

Looking to start a 'Newsies' cap, you know the old style paper-boy cap, a classic look. I found some Sirdar Eco-wool dk that knits up pretty softly, yet will hold the shape of the cap nicely.
I also found some absolutely decadent Baby Alpaca Lace from Plymouth Yarn, that will probably become a lace hat for myself.

Monday, January 5, 2009


Welcome to ClaireBearKnits!! Since starting knitting seriously over a year ago I've wanted to create a blog, so after much I am! As a novice in the world of blogging I have lots to learn and look forward to lots of suggestions, comments and even critique (the only way to learn, right?).

I have been working on some new knitting projects, I'll post some pics along with a free pattern very soon.