Thursday, March 27, 2008

Sister-in-law's Short Row Scarf

Taking my cue from Laura, I took my WIP outdoors to photograph it. Here's about half of the commissioned cashmere scarf for my sister-in-law. I'm loving these short rows because I tend to work one triangle at a time and then feel a great sense of accomplishment. I can also count the progess very easily.

Given that the scarf is a solid color I think the alternating triangles give it visual interest--and keep me interested as well. I'm using the wrap-and-turn--or more accurately, wrap-as-you-turn--method recommended by Creative Knitting, the magazine where I found the pattern. They say it eliminates the holes which just turning on the short row can give you. Since this is my first attempt at short rows, I'm taking their word for it. Anyway, the idea is to wrap your yarn around the last stitch in the short row (which you slip). After you turn, you slip the next stitch also and then purl the third one so you get groups of three stitches at the end of each row.

When you finish all the short rows in one triangle, you knit back across, picking up the wrapping and the wrapped stitch and knitting them together. See what you think in the closeup below.

I tried another first on the this project: I felted my yarn join when I switched to the next skein. I was looking up the Russian Join recommended by one of our wonderful commenters here and found this other suggestion. It only works on wool, of course, but I was thrilled because this cashmere is so expensive that I didn't want to leave much in the way of ends when I was joining. The felting method eliminates ends all together. Here's the link to the felted join video: . Just scroll down the page until you see the "Joining Yarn" videos. It's really easy.

So that's the report from the field. I'm a little depressed because my Devils can't seem to win a game these days and have slipped from leading the entire Eastern Conference to second in the Atlantic Division. It's a bummer!

What's everyone else working on?

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Quickie Easter Projects (for those not dyeing eggs)

If you have some free time and some scrap yarn I found some cute quick Easter projects you could try. The patterns are posted on the internet at the addresses I've listed. As for myself, I'm working on my commissioned scarf so there will be no extracurricular knitting for me.

Knitted Easter eggs--pretty, unbreakable and no messy dye cleanup:

You put these cute little chicks over those deliciously gooey Cadbury eggs and have a fabulous Easter gift for any age at all.

This sweet little guy's not knitted but he's felted so I figured I could include him the blog.

If you'd rather knit your Easter chick, here's a possbility in a rainbow of colors.

Hope everyone at RTY has a very happy Easter, whether you're knitting or not!
Let us know if you've made any Easter projects yourselves--or if you tried any of these.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Top O' the Mornin' to All! We have a winner!

Erin Go Bragh!

The luck of the Irish was with "dobarah" at today. She is the fortunate winner of the pearl earrings. Dobarah, email me your snail mail address and I'll send you your prize jewelry.

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all the knitters here at RTY!

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Last call to enter the earring contest!

I realized I hadn't put a deadline on the earring contest so I thought I'd mention that I'll be drawing the lucky winner on Monday, March 17th (Blarney Day!). Maybe the luck of the Irish will be with you and you'll win these pretty pearl danglies. Make sure to email me at to enter!

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Sunday, March 09, 2008

New skills and a prize

Cindi asked what new skills we've been trying out. While on vacation, I learned ( and I use that term loosely) to make earrings. At our hotel in the Poconos, Catherine, the lovely lady from Cate's Jewelry (see her designs at taught my daughter and me to make our own earrings. We had the best time rummaging through the gorgeous gems she brought along for us to use, oohing and ahing and pulling out the ones we liked best as we decided which combinations to use.
Here's my first pair which have large mother-of-pearl dangles and pearl accents.

I probably bit off more than I should have with the double dangle on each one but Catherine saved me by suggesting that I insert a tiny bit of chain at the top to give the earrings movement. They're such fun to wear because I get a quiet music everywhere I go as the mother-of-pearl clicks together.
Catherine very graciously let us make a second pair since we had extra time. These are my second design:
Although the amber chunks at the bottom were drilled to support the wire, my daughter gave me the idea of wrapping the wire around the stone for decoration. I liked the chain so much in the first pair that I incorporated it into the design of these. These colors go with just about everything I own so I find myself wearing them a lot. There's something wonderful about having jewelry that suits you personally because you made it yourself.
Making jewelery is a lot harder than it looks. Catherine coached us in the basic techniques of bending, twisting and cutting wire and chain but she had to give us more direct aid with tasks such as attaching the hooks to the earring. I came away with a new appreciation for the jeweler's art.
Since I had so much fun, I decided to give away the earrings below to a lucky RTY visitor.
I'm afraid that these were not made during our session but they're pretty and I bought them in the hotel's gift shop. Send an email to with "earrings" in the subject line and I'll enter you in the contest for these pretty pearl danglies.
Has anyone else tried a new craft recently? Tell us about it!

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Friday, March 07, 2008

New Year's Resolution revisited

You may remember that one of my New Year's knitting resolutions was to learn Entrelac knitting. I originally thought I'd make a scarf as my practice piece, but the truth is, I have a lot of scarves. So I decided instead to make a case for my Alpha-Smart keyboard.

Teaching myself entrelac was a real challenge. First, I looked online for directions and patterns. I found plenty of them. I had a skein of Red Heart variagated yarn I bought at a church rummage sale for 25 cents. I sat down with the first set of directions and began.

And was hopelessly lost by the second step. Ripped it out and started over. Again, everything was soon a tangle.

I decided I needed different directions. Started over. Another mess.

And so it went. But I'm stubborn enough I refused to give up. After much trial and error I figured it out

So here are the lessons I learned in my adventure in Entrelac:

1. Learning a new skill with cheap yarn is less intimidating. I had no qualms about ripping out and starting over multiple times. (And the yarn I used is really quite lovely.)

2. If one set of directions doesn't work for you, try another. I had success with the third set of directions I printed out. Different people have different ways of explaining things and this is the one that clicked with me.

3. Remember to breathe! I tense up when learning a new skill and have to remind myself to relax and have fun with it.

Right now, I'm taking a class to learn to knit two socks on two circulars at my LYS (Yes -- we finally HAVE a LYS here in the hinterlands, a very nice one.) Another challenging technique, but I think I'm finally getting the hang of it.

So -- what new skills have you tackled lately?

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