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Category: Finished Knits (page 2 of 9)

Way North Winter…

As I mentioned earlier, work has me on the road once again. And once again it means winter in northern Wisconsin (on the border with the UP). And with a “way north” winter comes new winter gear.

Before the project I bought a new winter coat – it was touted as designed to withstand watching the game at Lambaeu Field. Since this project has me north of Green Bay I figured that was a good choice. The spice brown color made quite a canvas for winter knit accessories.

The December Blizzard: Right after clearing off my rental (aka big honkin’ SUV) we heard we had to work from the hotel because of a power outage at the plant.

After an early taste of winter up here in December with a blizzard & then bitter cold and wind I had in mind a warm, squishy scarf. This Cocoa Nouvaeu from Huckleberry Knits was a perfect choice – it is a bulky worsted weight that I knew would be quite cozy. After a few attempts at more involved patterns, I went to a trusted basic – the Scrunchable Scarf – cast on for 23 stitches on a 10 1/2 needle. In no time at all, 2 skeins had been turned into 6 feet of winter warmth.

Next up, a coordinating hat. For this, I dipped into my miles of Peruvian alpaca that Rebecca brought home for me. I went with the Simple Pleasures Hat pattern – although I cast on more stitches than the pattern called for. Turns out, the hat came out a bit bigger than planned. So, a hot water bath helped to tighten it up. It’s a bit of a slouchy watch cap now – very warm and cozy.

Given my project location and the winter weather, it makes more sense for me to be driving (trekking) north each week instead of messing with flights to Green Bay & then a drive after that. So, every week I am picking up a rental car. In my own car, I have a winter survival bag in the trunk in case I get stranded on the road. Just because I’m in a rental, I still need to be prepared. So, in addition to my luggage each week I’m loading my “car bag” into the back seat with the hope that I never have to use it. What’s in the bag? Just a few things to help in case of unexpected weather, delays, etc. while driving. If you live in a cold climate or will be driving through one, I highly recommend having your own winter bag. Here’s a peak inside my bag (a freebie from a sunscreen purchase – the irony seemed apropos):

A coffee can with a few large tealights and matches; A flashlight with batteries; A couple of the handwarmer packets; A spare pair of socks, a pair of the mini-knit gloves & a pair of hardy gloves; A bag of snacks: granola bars, nuts & dried fruit, gum, throat drops; A pack of kleenex & some extra napkins; A bottle of water; A fleece blanket; And what truly makes this an Amy Artisan kit: emergency knitting – this project bag holds needles & dishcloth cotton. Of course, my goal is to never have to dip into this bag while doing my winter commuting.

As I’m way north this week, we are on the fringe edge of the latest snow storm & so only have a few inches. When I was “posted” to this assignment I figured that I would be in for a snow-filled winter – in actuality, the snow is rather minimal so far this year. In fact, this is the view from my office window this afternoon.

What about you? How are you staying warm this winter? What is in your winter emergency kit?

Keepin’ Kozy

A new year, a new water bottle for my desk, a renewed commitment to drinking lots of water throughout the day…and so a new kozy was in order. In using my other metal water bottles, I have found that having a simple cotton wrapper on them helps keep the water cool longer and minimizes the condensation.

Grabbing a ball of dishcloth cotton, in no time at all I had the Kanteen wrapped in a new kozy. Mom, here’s the pattern for you to make knit up a few for your new water bottles.

Kanteen Kozy Pattern

– Size 8 needles (DPNs or 2 circs)
– Worsted cotton (here: Sugar ‘n Cream Blue Bronze)
– Cast on 27 stitches & join in the round
– Knit in pattern (K2, p1) until desired length
– Bind off loosely

Holiday Hats & Hands

(…before January turns to February, it’s high time to blog about the holiday knits…)

As fall turning to winter and the holidays of 2009, my knitting needles picked up some speed so that I could have plenty of hand-knits under the Christmas tree.

A Hat for Uncle Don

For my uncle in California, I decided that a watch cap was in order. A quick search for a pattern yielded the Modern Rib Hat pattern. The simplicity of the knit 2, purl 1 pattern and the subtle change of the color stripe (Caron Simply Soft Shadows in Merino) quickly knit into a cozy hat for his neighborhood night watch work.

Miss Butterfly Miss Doodlebug

For my favorite little girls in Texas, simple hats with fun buttons. These hats were based on the Republic Hat (Toddler edition). I cast on more stitches for each one. I found the buttons on Etsy – a fun grab bag of “repurposed” buttons with lots of fun paintings on them – in fact, it was hard to pick which one to put on each hat.

Family Hands

For the Artisan family…wrist warmers. In March, when I was in California for Grandma’s funeral we found time to visit a local yarn shop along the Pacific Coast Highway. As is my “norm” when visiting a yarn shop, I asked what was a local or unique yarn that the shop carried. The answer was Capistrano Fiber Arts – beautiful hand dyed yarns from the area. I picked up four skeins of yarn and an accompanying pattern for simple wrist warmers. These were fast knits and are very cozy for all of us.

Amy Rebecca Dad Mom

My blogiversary came & went on New Years 2010 – this is the start of the 5th year that I’ve hung out my shingle at AmyArtisan. As I seem to be saying more & more, I hope to be blogging more actively in the coming weeks and months. Going forward, I plan to make this more of a priority than it has been in recent months. Work has me on the road again so I’m figuring out my “new normal” of work and life. So far, the time on the road has yielded quite a bit of knitting in 2010 – stay tuned for those knit tales.

Full Circle

When I was younger, the Artisan family lived in North Dakota. There were many cold winter nights where Mom & Dad would wrap us in Grandma-made afghans & take us outside to see the phenomenom that are Aurora Borealis – northern lights. Those afghans provided warmth from the cold as we took in all the beautiful colors that danced across the winter night sky.

A couple of years ago I came across a skein of yarn that was named Aurora Borealis – while the yarn was very bright, I knew that someday I would knit something from it. As I was deciding on a project for my holiday travels & time at home I decided that it was time to knit up the yarn. I selected a cowl pattern, held my yarn double & began to knit round & round the circle.

Earlier this year, Mom mentioned that she would like to learn how to knit – we just never got around to it when I was home in Sept. or at Thanksgiving. On Christmas Eve, I went up to the hospital to sit with Mom & brought along a skien of Sugar’n Cream yarn and some needles – in no time at all, Mom was working through the “Grandma’s Favorite” dishcloth pattern. As I knit round and round in the linen stitch, Mom was following the classic “knit 2, yarn over, knit to the end” rhythm of the dishcloth pattern. Before long, it was time to show her how to decrease in the dishcloth pattern. And then at home, as she sat in Grandma’s chair in the living room she bound off her first dishcloth. She immediately started on her second dishcloth and kept trucking along.

On Christmas Day, Mom & I knit by Grandma’s bed as she napped. When Grandma was awake, she was suprised to see Mom knitting. As Mom said to her, “Remember, you taught Amy to knit & now she is teaching me…” The day after Christmas, I knit round and round as we waited for the transfer from the hospital to the nursing home & then kept on knitting as Grandma was being settled into her new room. Between all of the bedside knitting and knitting at home as the family watched movies I was quickly done with the cowl.

This cowl project was a perfect example of the right yarn & pattern at the right time. When I mentioned the name of the yarn, Artisan family memories of northern lights were retold. And the bright yarn provided a bit of extra cheer that we all needed.

 

Northern Lights Cowl details
Chickadee Cowl by Kristen Kapur
Aurora Borealis Sock Yarn by Perchance to Knit held double on size 8 needle

Since I’ve come back, Mom continues to knit on her dishcloths. When it was time to finish cloth #2, she couldn’t remember the bind off so she googled & found a video of it.

For some time, it was evident that Grandma’s knitting needles were slowing down & coming to a stop. One of the last time I saw Grandma with her needles, I had to show her what to do. With Grandma’s move into nursing care, it is obvious that her needles have come to rest. But I’m so thankful that she taught me how to knit & I’m so glad that I was able to get Mom knitting as well.

The last time I asked Mom about her knitting, she said she was still knitting away – I think that my dishcloth cotton stash at home may be in jeopardy. She mentioned how relaxing the knitting is & how glad she is that she can now knit. Ah, the allure of the simple dishcloth knit! Even as I undertake more complex knitting projects, I find that the simple knit of the dishcloth can always calm. In between other knitting on the needles these days, I’m also making another batch of Comfort Cloths for washing Grandma’s face.

Got Gauge?

At some point in your knitting life, you learn the importance of “getting gauge” in a knitting pattern. Too loose, the object will come out too big – too tight, too small.

My first introduction to the importance of gauge was in a knitting class in 2003 or 2004. The LYS offered a pillow class that looked like a real skill builder: using a Jo Sharp Home pattern book we would knit 2 pillow tops (from different patterns) and end up with one complete pillow. The skills to learn: side 1 was a simple intarsia; side 2 was cables and button holes.

When I registered for the class, I was given the pattern book and guided to pick out the yarn and needles. I selected 2 beautiful shades of the Jo Sharp Silk Road & the needles that were listed in the book.

In the first class session, we immediately cast on for side 1 and by the end of the evening I was juggling both colors of yarn. I think it was the 3rd session when we started on side 2. Right away, everyone noticed that their own sets did not match up. The shop owner was less than helpful in explaining what gauge was & that we should have each done a gauge swatch before getting started. In the 4th session, we were supposed to assemble the pillows by seaming the 2 sides.

My side 1 was very loose and it was easy to see that my side 2 was very tight – there was no way that they would match up to form a pillow. Once I came to the realization that I would not end up with one pillow I came up with a new plan: 2 pillows. Side 1 would form a large floor pillow. For Side 2, I decided to only knit half the pattern and make a sofa pillow. Artisan Mom found some fun upholstery fabric for the backings.

Since then, many of my projects didn’t rely on guage – I think part of that might be because I had such a bad first experience with gauge. Before I embarked on my first sweater, I did knit a gauge swatch & at the end of all the knitting the sweater pretty much blocked to the measurements.

With the start of a new year, it was time for a new gauge swatch…yep, it’s time to cast on for another sweater! What’s on the needles this time? I’m following the crowd to the February Lady Sweater. This past weekend of winter hibernation was a great time to get going on this project. So far, it’s going well and I’m enjoying the project. As I’m working the yoke section, it’s a great chance to use several of the fun stitch markers that I’ve acquired. While I’m not setting a deadline for completion, it would indeed be fun to have this off the needles at some point in February.

The bitter cold winter weather continues – in fact, the reflection of all the snow outside made for a “natural” lightbox this afternoon as I was taking pictures. With all of the cold and snow, I envision lots of knitting time for this project in the coming weeks.

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