I love when I find a pattern that is truly amazing! While I have worked on both the Traditional Gansey Socks and the Lintilla this week, I knew it was time to start something new too. The more variety I give myself with my knitting the better I seem to do with it. Odd, I know. I’ve been wanting to do another shawl with some lace elements since I finished the Multnomah, so I looked in my Ravelry queue and picked a pattern to start. I chose the Shaelyn shawl by Leila Raabe. I cast on for it Sunday evening. Two evenings later I’m almost through the whole first skein of yarn. It is the kind of knitting I love most  – Addicting!! I have a hard time setting it aside and moving onto anything else. I keep wanting to knit another row to see the lace pattern emerging. I am using yarn by Quince and Company. It is excellent yarn! I’m very impressed with it.

I still want to start one more thing…I’m not sure what yet. I found a new pattern that I’m interested in for my Malabrigo yarn…(Commuter Fingerless Mitts)

Or maybe some socks so I can use some of my Sunshine Yarns sock yarn! Or maybe a pattern that incorporates beads…

Here is an updated picture of the Eloping wedding garter with the elastic sewn in. It is cinched up a bit more, but not too much.

The dress for Minnie’s new American Girl Doll was a hit! (And the dress I knit for it.) I think knitting more doll clothes will be in my future.

Clearly I have more ambition for knitting projects than I have time to accomplish them all. We are going out of town for Memorial Weekend and I’m thrilled to have many hours of car time in which to knit!

The last thing I want to mention is that the Ravelry design contest has ended. The design that I liked best (outside my own) Won!! I’m excited and plan to buy a project bag! Thank you Ravelry administrators for such a fun contest! And congrats to ALL who entered, it is amazing how many talented people there are on Ravelry!

Until next time…may you enjoy your favorite hobby!


Amazing Lace!

There are knitting projects that include elements of lace (like the Multnomah Shawl), which I have done before, and then there are lace projects in which the entire project is a piece of lace, which I hadn’t done before…until now.

I will be the first to admit that this didn’t turn out perfectly, but overall I’m happy with it. I’m talking about the lace garter I knit for my sister-in-law-to-be to wear for her and my brother’s wedding this summer. The pattern I used is called Eloping by Abigail van Roode and Kristi Geraci. I have listened to a fair number of knitting pod casters talk about how amazing their first experience with lace was and now I understand and know how true their accounts are.

As you knit lace it looks like a sloppy clump of dental floss that might kind of have a bit of a pattern going on. I kept looking at what I had and thinking, “It will be a miracle if this looks anything like the pictures in the pattern when it is done.”  It took me three tries to get this going. I found it is much harder to keep track of yarn overs in knitting that is a piece of lace and kept losing them on the second row. As I neared the end of knitting this I realized that I was probably a bit above gauge, but was too far in to want to start over again.  Here is how the garter looked when the knitting was finished but no blocking had been done.

Blocking, for anyone reading this who doesn’t knit, is when you pin out your work after washing to shape the piece exactly how you want it to dry. In the case of the garter I pinned down each point of the lace along the edges. I stretched the garter as I pinned it down to open up the lace more. I maybe blocked it a bit too aggressively as it now measures a bit longer than it needs to. Here is a picture of it pinned.

Tonight when I was sure that it was totally dry I unpinned and wove the ribbon in. I forgot that I also needed elastic…whoops. But, this way I can get the elastic for this weekend, when I’ll see my family, and can fit it exactly to her leg. The lace is going to have to gather up a bit to fit her leg, but I still think it is going to look great.

Of course I still took photos of it around a jar that was the right size.

My first experience with a real piece of lace knitting was kind of amazing to me and I’m excited to try another!

My Source of Patience

Almost every time someone notices me knitting and comments on it they say the same thing, “I would never have the patience to do that.”

I find it very ironic because knitting is my biggest source of patience. By nature I am a worrier. If there is nothing to worry about I will find something. I’m quite certain I inherited that tendency from my Grandma, she is one of the best worriers I know. If I have a knitting project on-hand (which I usually do) I can be much more content with worrying or waiting or whatever. I have come to LOVE car trips…just think of the hours worth of uninterrupted knitting time! Waiting rooms are far more entertaining when I’m happily knitting on something. I have even knit on my commute home while literally sitting in traffic. (No, I would NEVER knit in a moving car while I’m driving.)

I’m sure that when people tell me that they wouldn’t have the patience to knit they are looking at how many individual stitches it takes to make something substantial and I can kind of understand. In a world of instant gratification why would you spend hours upon hours making something you can buy at the store? For me it is the process that goes into it and the satisfaction of creating something and of course, the patience it brings me.

My Knitting:

I finished the Multnomah Shawl over the weekend. It is gorgeous and I love it and I’m not sure it is destined to be mine. I knit it thinking that it was mine. Now that it is finished I’m not sure it will match any of my wardrobe. I think it is actually begging to belong to my Mom.

I have made good progress on the Traditional Gansey Socks. They are turning out a normal size, which is what failed in my previous attempt. I love the yarn I chose, but the color is pooling, which is frustrating me.

This lovely yarn is for a mystery project. I have no idea if the person who this project is for reads my blog so I’m going to refrain from doing more than showing you this pretty yellow Malabrigo Yarn. Let your imaginations run wild!

I have been thinking that I would knit my daughter a shrug for Easter. Last year I made her an ivory shrug, which she liked and wore, but wondered why it was just “white.” I have had this yarn set aside for this year’s Easter shrug, but I’m not sure I think it matches her dress well enough. What do you think?

Happy Valentine’s Day to all! Here is hoping it was a wonderful day for everyone. My husband and I won’t see each other today, but he did leave me a nice gift to come home from work to. Actually it was the perfect gift ~ coffee, chocolate and a gift card for yarn!!

What’s In a Name?

I thought I would start this entry out by explaining why I chose to name my blog Night Owl Knitter. Those of you reading this who are family or close friends are probably thinking…”well, duh.” I have always been a night owl. I love to stay up late and get things accomplished, usually while watching sitcom reruns, crime television or the Food Network. I have never been, nor will I ever be a morning person. However, as I start work, Monday through Friday, 35 miles from home, at 7:45 am; I would probably really benefit from getting the night owl thing under control. If I’m being honest though, it is not something I ever really intend to change. Right now I work days and my husband works nights. My time at night after my kids are asleep in bed is the ONLY me time I get and I thrive on me time. I tried for a while to go to bed at a respectable time and forgo the time that is mine and the end result was a more crabby and much less satisfied version of me.

Usually during this night owl time knitting plays a role. Some nights it is my main objective and other nights it fills in the spaces between Words with friends online and reading…or whatever. This week my knitting has been somewhat interrupted by Stephanie Plum and her bounty hunter escapades. For those who might not know, Stephanie Plum is the heroine of a series of mystery books by Janet Evanovich. The first book, One for the Money, was published all the way back in 1994, so I’m a little late to this party, but enjoying myself completely anyway. I’m almost done with the second in the series and intend to cruise through all 18 books (and 4 special holiday books) until I’m caught up.

My Knitting:

I am pretty sure that I said in my last blog post that I would be done with my Multnomah Shawl by Monday, February 6th…well, I lied. I had every intention of whipping through the rest of it, but a stomach bug had other ideas for me on Sunday. I am on the eighth repeat of ten in the lace section. I have less than twelve rows left to finish knitting, unless I decide to do a few more of the lace repeats to use up more of the yarn and make the shawl longer. While twelve rows doesn’t sound like much, the rows have gotten awfully long.

The only other knitting I have worked on since my last post was the second attempt at knitting socks toe-up that I cast on last night. I was waiting for my smaller needles to arrive before I started. Just to give myself a fresh start I also switched yarn for something less slippery and I’m using a pattern from Wendy D. Johnson’s book Socks From the Toes Up! While I probably would have succeeded with the first pattern I tried just by changing the needles and the yarn I thought it might be beneficial to use a pattern that was written for someone who is new to toe up sock knitting. This pattern and the book it comes from are excellent. Lots of instructions and lots of options for the different components of sock knitting. (I think there are 5 different toe up cast ons!) The pattern I chose is Traditional Gansey Socks. I’m knitting them in some gorgeous yarn I bought on Etsy from Indieway Yarns.

Until next time happy knitting…or whatever it is that fills your you time.

P.S.  Sorry the picture quality is a little lacking this time, I took these pictures on my phone.

A Lesson in Each Failure

I love to knit socks. To me they are kind of perfect in so many ways. My top three reasons for enjoying sock knitting are:
1.) Socks take lots of knitting with a relatively small amount of yardage (more bang for your buck.)
2.) Portability! I almost always have a sock project going because of how easy it is for me to grab my project bag and take it along anywhere!
3.) Socks are a fantastic canvas for colors and textures that I would NEVER make a sweater with. I love the wildly bright and variegated sock yarns that are out there, but wouldn’t commit to wearing them except on my feet.

So far all the socks I have knit (6.5 pairs) have been from the cuff down. I decided last week that I really needed to learn to knit socks from the toe up. I wasn’t unhappy with the technique I’d been using. It had more to do with running across several sock patterns I really liked that used toe-up. Rather than trying to convert the pattern to be knit cuff down I thought I’d give some toe-up socks a try.

In the end the socks were a massive failure. But, I won’t say that it was a mistake to start them. I accomplished my actual goal…learning how to knit socks toe-up. The problem wasn’t that I didn’t understand the technique or that for some reason it didn’t work, it was a gauge issue. My needles were too large (I think) and my yarn too slippery and the socks would fit someone who’s feet were roughly as wide as they were long (I personally don’t know anyone with feet fitting that description.) I could tell early on that they were turning out oddly wide but persisted until I turned the heel and had made it about a half-inch up the leg before calling it quits so I’d at least get the full benefit of my experiment’s goal. I did try to just stop knitting the foot early and move onto the heel in hopes that they would stretch longer and use up some of that width to fit my feet…but they were just weirdly wrong.

I have ordered some smaller circular needles and will try toe up again, perhaps with some stickier yarn when they arrive.

The pattern I used was Aradena. The pattern assumed that you had experience knitting toe-up before, but did include excellent links to help if you hadn’t. I used Silver’s Sock Class online to help me. It was not a link that was mentioned in the pattern, but I remembered looking at before. It was excellent!

What I am knitting:

The Multnomah Shawl is going well. I made it to the lace portion and it is totally addicting. I keep wanting to knit another row to watch the lace pattern as it appears. I’m on the third lace repeat out of ten. I imagine I will finish this up before next Monday.

The Beekeeper’s Quilt is not something I will report on every time I post a new blog entry as it will be such a long-term project. I am up to 10 hexipuffs! I did go through all of my yarn stash and pull out odds and ends of left over sock/fingering weight yarn to use for this and I’ll slowly work through all of it. It feels oddly liberating to finally have a use for this yarn since I don’t seem capable of just throwing it away. (Gasp!!)

The Lintilla for my Mom is still hibernating but I have resolved to finish it. I am trying to work out some sort of promise/bribe with myself to motivate me into finishing this up. Like, no starting any new projects until this has been finished or no buying any new yarn until this is finished…we’ll see.

My husband wore his new socks all day yesterday and he seemed to enjoy them. They looked like they fit well too! I was dying to ask him about them, but resisted.

Happy Knitting!

Must be the weather

I think I do typically spend quite a bit of time knitting, but lately it seems like there is never a spare moment when my hands aren’t busy knitting on something. I’m blaming the weather. It seems like winter has finally arrived in MN. I’m not a fan of winter. Snow is pretty, but it along with ice, tends to mess up my commute to and from work and I hate to be cold. So when the cold, snow and ice arrive I tend to snuggle under a blanket on the couch and knit and knit and knit…

I am working on learning to knit continental style. For any non-knitting people, that means not wrapping or throwing the yarn, but picking or scooping the yarn with the right hand needle. I can do it but right now feel like I am much slower at it then my regular method of knitting. I just need to make myself do an entire project from start to finish doing only continental knitting and I will probably be converted. Thanks to a patient cousin for showing me more than once now how she does this!

I have also been thinking a lot about my knitting needle organization. Right now I have needles in too many different spots and I can’t keep track of what sizes and styles of needles I do and don’t have and where I have them…I have a few ideas of how I’m going to remedy this situation. Let me know if you are knitter and have a fantastic method of organizing your needles.

My projects:

I finished the Skyp Socks that I was working on for my husband. I love how they turned out! They are bit roomy for him but not too bad. There are few mistake on the first sock that irk me but a knitting cousin told me that without mistakes they aren’t truly homemade. (I suppose they do have a bit more charm with some mistakes.) By the way, this is the fastest I have ever knit a pair of socks!

I also finished the Owl Puffs. They were quick to knit and a good use of stash yarn. I’m not sure what to do with them. Although, my kids did both claim one apiece as their own. They agreed that the third should go their baby cousin.

I started a few new things too. One will be a very long-term project designed to help me use up the excess sock yarn when I finish a pair of socks and there is ALWAYS left over. The pattern is called The Beekeeper’s Quilt. You knit up these little hexagons in the round and stuff them with fiberfill. Someday when I have like 400 of them I can stitch them together and make a really unique blanket with them. So far I have two…

I also started the Multnomah Shawl. I’m knitting it with Malabrigo Sock yarn!! I’ve never used Malabrigo before and it totally lives up to the hype.

I’m trying to resist casting on a new pair of socks…but a pair of socks is my go to project when I need to have a small project to take along with me without bringing my whole knitting bag. We’ll see…

Oh…and here is the Lintilla shawl I’ve been working on for my Mom which I’m kind of bored with. I thought I should at least share it with someone before I decide to frog it.

Thank you to everyone who read my first post and commented in some way it made me so happy! And thanks to anyone who is reading this entry too! It is very much appreciated!