Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Harvest, Trellis and The Oscars

Last week, we went to Switzerland, and before leaving on any trip it can be a little crazy just trying to get out of town.  Like trying to finish a sweater so that I could wear it!  So, I worked extra hard to finish my Harvest Moon cardigan.  The pockets, I thought, were a little tricky – but they weren’t at all!  You just have to trust what Heidi Kirrmaier’s instructions say and put that to the needles and voila! You have pockets!


The other thing that I was excited about the outcome of this cardigan was that back in November I blogged about pinning a swatch it to a bulletin board and placing clothes pins on the bottom to add weight to the swatch.  By doing this, the swatch will mimic the way the garment will hang when it is completed.  It total worked and it was exactly as predicted!


I have to admit that even though I really do enjoy living in Europe there are a few things from home that I miss – baseball and The Oscars.  My favorite baseball team is the San Francisco Giants.  I love sitting in the stadium, having a hot dog and a cold beer, and watching the boys of summer play.  I did see “Moneyball” recently (starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill) which I really enjoyed.  And I didn’t mind it being about the other team across the Bay Bridge, the Oakland A’s  - which I will admit I have been to a few A’s games.

And then the Oscars … Vermouth (my 15 year old daughter) and I love to watch Oscars.  I use to watch the Oscars with my mom while growing up and I happy that at least one of my daughters likes to watch them as well.  While watching this year’s 84th Academy Awards, I finished knitting my Trellis Hat (from Weekend Hats) that I started on Christmas afternoon.  Vermouth chose the colors for my hat, so it was fitting to find us both watching the Oscars and me knitting the hat that she gave me for Christmas. 



Cheers!
The Martini Knitter

Monday, February 13, 2012

DIY Ruler-Line-Marker-Thingy

One of my favorite stores to shop at here is Dille & Kamille.  It’s just one of those fun-funky kind of stores. I think of it as a kitchen store but with so much more; like gardening, spices and teas, bath and toys.  So when The Shaker and I were out shopping on Saturday afternoon we made a “detour” into this store.  I know that I can loose a lot of time while looking online at Ravelry, but Dille & Kamille is one of those shops that I can just loose hours looking at everything in there. 

I bought a magnetic chart keeper a few months ago and I have been using it for my Advent Scarf*.  I needed that “larger-ruler-marker-thing” that I could use to keep track of my place while looking back and forth from my knitting to the chart. The magnets that came with it work, but they are just ok for me.  I wanted something a little bigger.  At one shop here, I found a magnifying see-through ruler but no magnetic tape strips that I could glue-gun on the ends.  I bought the ruler anyway.  Then we walked by Dille & Kamille.  They didn’t have the roll of magnetic tape, but they did have flat flower magnets.  So I bought 4 of those, and a cat ruler.  I came home, plugged in the glue-gun and voilĂ ! an instant (larger) line for me to use on my chart keeper.  I hope this works!




*I am thinking about renaming my "Advent Scarf"  - “The Lent Scarf” as I am only on Day 7!

Cheers!
The Martini Knitter

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Why?


Sometimes I just like to know why I like something.  I know, crazy, right? For instance, what makes that certain wool so special? What is in it that makes me so happy? Another reason for having to know why is because I live 6 to 9 hours ahead of my knitting friends! So when I have a question regarding yarn or a pattern, I have to wait until they get up and have had their coffee before I “bombard” them with my questions.




For over 10 days now, it has not been above about -3C here.  This has been the coldest winter to date … for me.  There is some good news in all of this cold weather:  this may be the year for the “Elfstedentocht” – the 11-city tour.  It takes place, about 2-1/2 hours from where I live, in the North of part of the Netherlands. 

And … I have been living in my new sweater, Flurry.  Since I have washed it (I used Eucalan), the fibers have softened up and it has a bit of a drape to it.  The yarn, Rowan Scottish Tweed lost a bit of its crunchiness from when I was knitting with it until I blocked it.  So I wanted to know why does some wool yarn have crunch and why does some wools don’t. 




Enter The Knitter’s Book of Wool by Clara Parkes (Amazon.com).  I have been reading about, “scales” that are found on a wool fiber; “Down-type breeds” of sheep; crimp, loft and elasticity; and microns – the universal measurement for fiber fineness.  Will this help me in my selection of yarn for my next project?  Maybe, but I have no idea.  I just reading why the fiber that I have chosen to work with is acting the way that it is.




Cheers!
The Martini Knitter

Monday, February 6, 2012

Tiny Storage

 

I am all about organization!  At times it drives my family mad because I like everything in its place. This is the same for my knitting box.  Here’s my knitting box and it’s filled with things that I may need at any immediate time while knitting:


My new obsession along with knitting needles and yarn are nice small storage containers.  Everything has its place, is well organized and neatly kept.  It started with one or two tins/boxes and now it has grown.  While Olive was visiting we found more useful boxes to buy.  I think I have enough for a while. 

The Shaker liked the idea in the beginning and 
bought this one while in Normandy 
this past summer





 I got him this one for Valentine’s Day.
The soap is the added bonus and is really nice!

My hand made stitch markers

Cheers!
The Martini Knitter

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Felted Hand Bags

Here’s some more background on me:  My grandmother taught me to crochet one summer when I was about 10 years old.  It was completely foreign to me as my mother never knitted/crocheted (she was more of seamstress).  As a result, I was completely frustrated by it.  I remember going into my grandmother’s guest room, slamming the door and did not come out until I mastered my task.  I did come out after some time, and of course, my face was blotchy from the crying but I was triumphant!

Fast-forward 25 years and one weekend while Olive and I were in Williamsburg, Virginia for a quilt faire, we went looking for a wine shop and next door was a “local yarn shop.”  (Odd how yarn shops are near wine shops …)  Olive said she could teach me.  Of course I was thinking about my experience of crocheting with my grandmother and I never did tell Olive until this blog! I bought some yarn to make a scarf and Sally Melville’s book The Knitting Experience Book 1: The Knit Stitch.  Because my grandmother taught me to crochet all those years ago, I felt comfortable carrying the working yarn through my left hand; and as a result, I am continental knitter. 

Again, fast-forward through several knitted scarves and advice from Olive and Christina (who teaches classes at Nine Rubies) to work on my tension and finally I am ready for my first non-scarf project.  Christina suggested, “felted knitting.”

In enters Bev Beattie’s book, Knit ‘N Felt Bags.  Not knowing about Ravelry at this time, I did an Amazon book search and up popped this book.  Christina said felting was a good project to start with because of all knitting projects, it was the most forgiving towards mistakes.  Bev’s directions and advice are perfect!  She explains everything from what yarn to use, the needle size, mistakes in knitting – it’s all covered.


This blue bag (above) was my first introduction to circular needles and circular knitting.  I put down my knitting for the night and came back to it the next day.  I accidently reverse the spiral effect of circular knitting; it went in the opposite direction. Of course, it was towards the beginning.  Again, Bev’s advice was “don’t panic.” So I put it in the washing machine.  After it came out, you couldn’t see the mistake. 

Bev Beattie’s book explains simply the do’s and don’ts of felting.  I have followed her advice and I haven’t had a problem.  It has photos for every project.  She also has her own website for you to purchase felting yarn and at the back of the book she has suggestions for substitute yarns.  I have used her yarn, Brown Sheep and Cascade 220 worsted weights for felting – every time coming out beautifully. 
I dropped a stitch and didn’t notice it until it
after the bind off was completed.
The Bag was originally 30%-40% larger than
the finished size in the photo

Bev's website even sells hand bag handles
Cheers!
The Martini Knitter