Saturday, February 27, 2010

Snowed in With The Snow Queen: Fixing Nupps.

Here in New York we had another snow day...and it snowed. Although I had hoped for nonstop knitting, I was faced with some nonstop shoveling.
In fairness, I only helped dig out my car. My dear husband did the bulk of it, plus his car, plus the walk...yes, that is my car...
Where is that hot tub when you need it???
I want to discuss nupp repair. I am talking about those wayward loops that you notice 20 rows past. You know what I mean. As careful as you are, a loop or two somehow always gets missed. You will look down and that loop, just sticking out, will declare its self. Here is what I do. DO NOT PULL ON IT! Take a contrasting piece of yarn on a blunt needle, run it through the loop, bring it to the back of your work at the top of the nupp missing the loop and make a little bow. Your nupp from the front should look normal if you brought the loop to the back through the top of the nupp. Ignore it until you are finished.
Once you cast-off, but before you block, fix nupps. You need a snippers or scissors, a blunt needle and some of your project yarn.
My project yarn is a 2-ply. I untwisted about 9 inches of my yarn, so I had 1-ply. Do this patiently using the blunt needle to help the 2-ply untwist. Depending on your yarn this either will work well or be too frustrating. If it is the later, just use the yarn as it is.
Using the needle, remove that contrasting yarn and replace it with the 1-ply project yarn. Take at look at your work from the front. Can you see a problem with the nupp from the front? I bet not. Return to the back and weave the 1-ply ends in with care, following the stitch pattern. Weave 1 end in one directions and cross the 2nd end over the 1st, weaving in the other direction. If you do it with care you will never find the spot you just fixed from either side. Fix any wayward loops that you find. While you are at it, weave all your ends in. You can split the yarn as I did above, which will make it very hard to find your ends, but be careful not to break the yarn and end up with nothing to weave in, eh?

I will be back next week with an updated picture or two of Snow Queen! Until then, knit on...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

My Tagine Runneth Over

I thought I would share my good fortune and at the same time offer a huge thank-you to everyone who shared my birthday and made me feel so very special. Your generosity is overwhelming and I am so happy to have you all as my family and friends.
To my darling Badkitten and her father, I just love you guys! BK whipped up this cake for me, and she says you can have some for yourself if you follow this link.
My brother and his family gave me this elegant Tagine, in which I made this for dinner last night. He also gave me a rice cooker. We love to cook chez BadCat, so these will get good use.
My sister and her family gave me these, so I can keep that Tagine full on a regular basis!
Harry made me this, and I was told the stickers were hand selected with me in mind. I love them.
This is just a few of the cards I got, that I though were most appropriate to share. The peas in the pod are yarn...
I snuck this little swatch in, for lack of a better place! 2/80 merino cashmere on 4-0 needles. More later!
My friend Sandra gave me a selection of these amazing stitch markers. These fit on US 2 and smaller needles, are totally handmade (even the headpins) and the nicest I have ever had. They are from Spindle Cat Studios. I love them.

My friend Dawn gave me a pair of US 2 needles. Not just any needles. THESE needles. She selected the shortest length and the stiletto tip. She knows what I like. I love them.
The swatch is from a cone of 2/18 Cotton and linen that my friend Pat gave me. Purple. I love it.
My friend Jeri made this name tag for me. She is an amazing art quilter, beader and knitter. I still can't believe that she made this just for me. And in purple too...I love it.
This is a terrible photo, so please forgive me, but my friend Mary Rose made me this a little while ago and I wanted to share it. She secretly grabbed my Ravelry avatars and made me a shirt with them. How cool is that??? I love it!
This is just a "little something" my friend Lara sent me. A real knitter's kit, I have no idea how she stuffed so many goodies into one bag! You can see just a few of them, but I believe she thought of everything a hardcore knitter might need in a pinch, including some cool things I had never seen (note the crochet hook with a knitting needle end, the handmade stitch markers and a perfect clip light for knitting in bed while your honey is trying to sleep.) Amazing! I love it.
One of the most stunning surprises I got was a package from my friend Malle. She sent me all sorts of goodies, but I will share two with you! This mitten book was just published and is in both Estonian AND English. It is full of wonderful history and MANY charted patterns for traditional Estonian mittens. It is another gorgeous, hard cover book from Estonia. I love it!
She also sent me Valentine's Day yarn. I understand it is a typical Estonian yarn, and it has very long color repeats. It is a 2/8 yarn. I have not decided what it will be yet, but I love it.
And not to be outdone, I selected a few things for myself, and we can say they are from my little family even though I ordered them, right? These are two cobweb weight yarns from Bev, at Land O Lace. One is a 2/56 and one is a 2/60. Both are in colors that are new, in my favorite color family. I am note sure what they will become yet, but they are gorgeous.
I got this Folca box, from The Gossamer Web. You can see that I filled it with some of my little necessities. It is really cool.
I also got another skein of Love Potion #3, which was such a pleasure to work with. I am not sure what it will become yet!
Finally, I got this little Kuchulu spindle from Jenkins Woodworking. The penny (it happens to be Canadian as a little homage to the Olympics) shows you just how tiny this baby is. Lilac wood and pink ivory. Perfect.
Finally, a little Snow Queen update, so you don't think I am all goodies and no action! This is a closeup of a beaded section in Chart F.
And this shows everything through Chart E. Our group just moved to Chart F last week and we have some serious knitting to go.

Again, I thank everyone from the bottom of my heart. I love you all. I will be back next week with a picture tutorial on fixing nupps. You know how those nupps seem to give up a loop every once in a while? I will show you what I do to repair them. Until then, knit on!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

In honor of the day, I present my newest design. This is The Persian Princess.
60 grams (about 1000 yards) of Love Potion #3 yarn from The Gossamer Web in colorway Cranberry
14 grams of Japanese 8/0 Rusty Orange Gold-Luster seed beads (Toho)
7 grams of Japanese 3mm magatama beads in African Sunset Gold-Luster (Toho)
US 1 circular needles (32 inches will be best) or size for gauge
US 14 crochet hook or size to fit beads
A few stitch markers
Yarn needle to weave in ends
Waste yarn for saving stitches and provisional cast-on (smooth cotton)
Stainless steel t-pins and/or wires for blocking
The combination of the gold luster beads and the wonderful color of this hand-dyed gossamer yarn is very elegant and feminine. The detail shot, above, shows the bead work.
The center panel has many beads and elaborate scroll work.

The border has delicate scallops and megatama beads at each point, which are incorporated into the cast-off.
The top edge also includes beads. The entire project is cast-on provisionally with three stitches and the yarn is not broken until the final cast-off. The finished size is 60 inches across and 27 inches deep. This project is available starting today and is for the experienced knitter who loves charts and skinny needles! The pattern is 14 pages, with detailed charts and directions. You must be willing to use charts to knit this project. You can buy the pattern at my Ravelry pattern store or get a copy for free with a purchase of the specified yarn at The Gossamer Web.

I'll be back next week with some photos of my fibery birthday goodies (yes, yesterday was my b'day!) I will also be back with a Snow Queen update, including photos through chart E. Until then, knit on!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Snow Queen Progress...

Just in time for a record breaking snow storm on the east coast of the United States, I bring you progress! Our Snow Queen Pi group is proceeding quickly. The group is full of kind and generous knitters enjoying the process and supporting each other. I am having a wonderful time!

We just finished Chart D and things are looking good! I though I would show you a tiny sample of our progress. Thanks to those who offered photos!This is Cara's piece, in 2/28 yarn from Colourmart. She is working all the nupps.
This is Jodi's piece, and she is also working all the nupps.
This is Karen's piece, and she choose to replace the nupps with beads. She is also sharing a close-up, so you can really see things.
We are starting our next chart today, which is where the rows become longer and the progress a little slower! You can see more on the Ravelry project page. Stay tuned....

Until then, as EZ (mother of the Pi) said, Knit on!