Plain Jane Knits Up A Storm

A few musings about my needlecraft hobbies - knitting, crocheting, quilting, & cross-stitch along with my other love, genealogy. While growing up, I used to HATE the term "Plain Jane", but when it comes to knitting & crocheting, I've realized that I really *am* a Plain Jane in that I don't use fancy yarns.

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Location: Northern Detroit Metro area, Michigan, United States

Monday, May 29, 2006

Two Shawls & A Rag-Tag

I finished these two garter stitch shawls for the K4 project this last week. The yarns are two new variegated shades from Bernat that come in 6 oz skeins. I was a little disappointed in the way that the navy pooled in the blue/green one, but other than that I love the colors. The red/orange/wine one turned out nicer.

And yet another rag-tag.. This one is a little smaller so it could be used by someone in a wheelchair.

We sent both shawls and lap robes off to nursing homes in the area this last week in order to make room for a new donation of yarn - three BIG boxes from New York state. There was almost a full box of Lion Brand Homespun and I'm using those skeins (there was one of each color) to make scarves on size 17 needles. I have two done and a good start on a third.

I finally finished chart one on the Adamas - 20 rows and it took forever.. I'm hoping that when I get more used to the pattern that it will go faster even though every other row increases by 4 stitches. I'm going to put in another life line (that will make 5 of them in 20 rows) and start in on the first repeat of the body chart. Photos to come. Suffice it to say that the heathered colors in the Lost Lake are beautiful. I just wish that KnitPicks would make the same colors available in fingering, sport & worsted weight yarns!!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Pitiful, Isn't It??

Here is my opening salvo for the Amazing Lace Challenge for Summer 2006. I've been to this point, six rows into the pattern & ready to start chart 1, twice before. Each time, I faltered and wound the yarn back onto the ball.

My team mates here are 1) the Adamas Shawl pattern from KnitPicks which has been translated from the charts into the type of pattern I can deal with - K2TOGs, SSKs, & YOs. That's the sheet on the right. The other page is a check list where I can mark off each row as I compete it. 2) Two 440 yard skeins of KnitPick's Shadow in Lost Lake. It's beautiful yarn, but why the heck didn't someone warn me that lace weight yarn is thinner than #10 crochet cotton?? Sallee!!! I tend to multi-task while I'm knitting and while I realized that reading while working the actual odd numbered lace rows would be next to impossible, I (wrongly) assumed that I could cruise on the even numbered rows which are all purl except for two knit stitches at the beginning and end. Wow, was I optimistic! This yarn is so thin that I can't feel it on the needles, so I have to watch every stitch on every row. 3) My trusty size 5 circulars - a 16" one for now, a 29" one for later. I may move to the 29" one earlier rather than later because I'm discovering that the 16" needle wants to fight to straighten out against this fine yarn in a way that it doesn't against worsted or even sport weight yarn. 4) The odd man out of the team is a ball of Knit-Cro-Sheen that will be used for lifelines - lots of *LIFELINES*. I've dropped a stitch twice now on separate attempts to make it through the first chart and the stitch has rapidly headed for the hills (aka the cast-on row). The next time you see the project, there may be numerous lifelines in place - it's either that or you might be greeted with a photo of me with my hair all pulled out. I haven't passed row 13 of the 1st chart yet, so I can imagine my reaction if somewhere around the 4th repeat a stitch ran-away and made it back to the beginning. Not pictured is team mate #5 - a 5 liter box of Sunset Blush wine for those evenings when knitting lace exceeds my patience and skill.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Summer Reading Challenge

I just signed up for the Summer Reading Challenge at Amanda's site. I love to read. We usually visit the local library every two weeks or so to stock up on books and come home with this huge Tupperware canvas bag (a garage sale find) filled with books. But I've been very neglectful about logging the books I've finished recently into the sidebar section I created for them. So far, I only have 17 books listed and I know I've read more than that. I know that sometimes I start a book only to find that I'm not enjoying it, so I put it down and pick up another. Library books allow me to do that without guilt because I'm not out of pocket. (There are times that I think I save more than my entire property tax bill in books I don't buy because I get them from the library!) I've tried to fill in the missing books from the check out lists, but I don't know the dates beyond the month. Hopefully the challenge will remind me to keep better track.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Rainbow Dreams

Today is the first day in over a week that we've had sunshine instead of rain. Maybe it's because of the seemingly unending gloom & damp that my K4 efforts during the storms tended toward rainbows?

Friday, May 12, 2006

Rainy Days & Fridays

It's raining again.. This area received close to 2" Wednesday night and it alternated between sprinkles and downpours most of yesterday. It's raining off & on again today and the WeatherBug forecast has raindrop in it for most of next week. It's only 42° out there and I'm sitting at the computer with a cup of hot tea, my fingerless mitts and my Highland Triangle Shawl keeping my shoulders warm.

Rain, however, does not dampen my DH's love of garage sales so yesterday between showers, we headed out and found some bargains.

The cross-stitch kit is a rather off-beat sampler with a lot of the elements of the antique reproduction ones I enjoy doing, though it is not a reproduction itself. The fabric is 36 count linen, 18.5x19", and it's complete with floss and a collection of small charms (the hangers aren't included). The store tag reads $28.50, but I got it for $1..!!! The spool of yarn is royal blue wool - approximately sport weight - I'm not sure how much there is, but it was 50¢ and I'm sure that there's enough to make a scarf if not a shawl.

On the shawl / lace front, I've joined the Amazing Lace Challenge in an effort to find the motivation to do something about those two skeins of Shadow in Lost Lake and the Adamas shawl pattern that I ordered from KnitPicks last winter. I must admit that I'm a bit daunted by yarn that resembles quilting thread - this stuff is THIN.. This morning, I created a check list in Excel that will let me mark off every row of every repeat so I can work a row or two and still keep track of where I am. I still struggle with working from charts - I'm trying, but I may break down and translate the chart into the written directions that I'm more familiar with. I had to do that with the center section of the Highland Triangle though I was able to follow the charts for the inner border and the lace edging. It will be interesting to see what the challenges will be and if I'll be able to keep up with my limited lace knowledge.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Flying Fingers

Ok, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.. I've been busy working on projects for the K4 group and on transcribing and coding data for my genealogy web page. If you're into genealogy and have ancestors in the New England states, New York or Michigan, you might want to check out my site.

On the knitting front, I finished another garter stitch shawl last week. No sense showing a picture of it as it looks like every other garter stitch shawl I've made except for the color - this one is deep burgundy.

More colorful and individual projects are the Rag-tag afghans. I had enough reds to finish a second one in that color scheme. I added a bit of orange to this one for spark.

And I have yet another one started - this time in pastels & mediums in a roughly rainbow array. I think I'll add a white / cream center section to this one also and then reverse the color progression on the other end.

And for a little cat blogging as I haven't done that recently - this is one of the rare times that I've been able to get all three of them into the same photo even if Moki Monster wouldn't turn around so I could show his face.

Acrylics Anon/a