Saturday, December 3, 2011

Knit Socks

This simple pattern for knit socks really becomes special when knit with this deep plum hand dyed yarn.

I bought the yarn at the Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival back in September and finally finished knitting them.  One more Christmas gift completed!

What is on your knit list for the holidays?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Felted Wool Christmas Ornaments

These lovely ornaments have just finished drying from the felting process and will be boxed up for my co-worker and friend, Amy.

They are crocheted with lovely red wool with a strand of gold shimmery thread, stuffed with polyfil and felted for a solid closure. They hang with a white satin ribbon.

Amy asked me to make these for her as her very active toddler is getting ready for his first 'I'm mobile now!" Christmas.  With no shattering glass globes or metal hooks to cause him any harm, these ornaments are just the ticket for a safe and happy holiday!

Thanks for asking me to make these for you, Amy!  I had a 'ball'....

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Knitted Socks

I just finished this lovely lacy pair of socks in gorgeous teal.  The yarn is hand dyed from The Periwinkle Sheep and is a dream to knit with!  You can check out her other hand dyed yarn here  

Now, off to knit another pair! 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Knit Afghan - "Stroll Through an Irish Wood"

I have finished my lastest project that I've named "Stroll Through an Irish Wood". 

The design is orginal and I've combined cables and lace work for the first time.  The edges are knit with cables that give the image of tree trunks and branches complete with dangling leaves.  Through the center is a Celtic Knot pattern, which is the path for your stroll. 

I used over 2,400 yards of worsted weight yarn and it got pretty heavy while working it near the end, but I kept snuggly and warm!  I knit with 2 strands of slightly different shades of yarn that give just a hint of highlights through out the afghan.

One of my luck children will get this for Christmas this year... now which one has been really, really good?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Weekend at Rhinebeck Fiber Festival

My friend and I spent the weekend at a 2 day fiber festival snuggled in the Catskill Mountains with all the fall foliage surrounding us.  But better yet, we were also surrounded by sheep, alpaca, llamas, bunnies and other animals that provide us with amazing fiber.

Barns and barns of fiber artists, spinners, weavers, dyers, knitters were the main attraction and can I say that it can be overwhelming at times. 

The highlight of my weekend was meeting Anna Dabri and getting a signed copy of her newest book,  Shaping Shawls.

I immediately needed to cast on with some of Periwinkle Sheeps gorgeous wink yarn when I got home.  So far, the one I chose is coming out lovely:

Here is the stash I bought for spinning and knitting:

Now, I am anxiously awaiting the weekend to really get going on some of this stuff! 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sunday Morning Knit Wit ~ Ella is now available as a pattern

The testing process is complete and I'm excited to have Ella available as a PDF knitting pattern.

You can purchase your copy through etsy or Ravelry for $5.00.

This is a great beginner lace design as the pattern is worked only on the front (every back row is just purl) and has only 12 repeating rows.  To complete this project you will need 250 - 270 yards of fingering weight yarn, size 8 US knitting needles and a tapestry needle to weave in the ends.

It is knit flat and each row has the same number of stitches so it is easy to keep track of while working the pattern. The finished product using fingering yarn is 11 inches wide and 65 inches long.  However, you can modify this by using heavier yarn and larger needles to create a warmer, thicker shawl. 

The PDF pattern includes both written instructions as well as a chart that includes the symbols meanings. 

And as with most of my patterns, I have included a check off grid so you will always know where you left off when you set it down for awhile.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Introducing Ella

I'm excited to introduce my latest scarf design that I've name Ella. Ella is soft, stylish and comforting and she will certainly make you feel like a million bucks when you have her on your shoulders.

 The the pattern will soon be available for purchase in both my etsy shop and on Ravelry.  I just need to get the ok back from my tester and we will be good to go, and just in time for holiday knitting projects.

This finished version of Ella is knit with my very own handspun yarn which is a merino wool / mohair blend that gives this scarf a nice feel and a great drape.  It is light, airy and a perfect accessory that can be worn as a scarf or a shoulder wrap and would look great at the office or with a pair of jeans on the weekend.

I plan to have more versions of Ella in my shop soon in various colors and fiber content.  So stop by valeriesgallery on etsy often to see what's new. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Sunday Morning Knit Wit Leaf Shawls

Ok, so technically it is Monday and Labor Day has come.  Summer is winding down and it's time to get down to business. Whether you are headed back to school, getting ready for winter or just need to get started on some knitting projects, the season has come.  Get your knitting needles out and cuddle up with some yarn.

Today I am featuring 2 more lacy shawls.  Both are the same falling leaf pattern, but each one came out quite differently.

Early Fall Leaves is knit with soft shades of oranges, blues, greens, and lavenders.  I love the way the colors worked out and it is perfect for those sunny but cool autumn days.

Using the exact same pattern, I knit Adirondack Fall Leaves in deep, rich rust and added tiny glass beads to each leaf with a 3 bead cluster at each scallop point.  This shawl is for the serious leaf peeper! 

 Today is a dark rainy day, so I've started knitting an afgahn with cables and leaves.  With each row I get more excited to start the next row just to see the design come to life. 

I hope you are all getting your knitting projects planned and started. 

Keep you needles clicking!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunday Morning Knit Wit ~ Chunky Knits by Biscuit Scout

While searching through etsy this week, I came across a truly remarkable shop and just needed to share with you today. 

Cables and Bobbles make a statement in beautiful knit sweaters, mitts and hats.  But when you find these gorgeous designs on ottomons, chairs and lampshades the designs pop and I, for one, am in awe! 

I'm hoping you will visit BiscuitScout's etsy shop and see her fabulous work.  Here is some information from her profile:
"I am a graphic designer who left the big city in search of my fortune. (Actually I just really wanted to live in the countryside.)

I have recently settled in Napier in the Overberg (near the bottom, most Southern tip of Africa) and apart from discovering the joys of no traffic and growing your own vegetables, I have had time to indulge my passion for knitting.

"It all started a long time ago when I decided to knit a cover for my ageing washing machine. I loved the result so much, that I experimented with various patterns and wools and shapes and sizes; using knitting as a functional art form. It opened up a whole world of possibilities, but back then I still had a day job and knitting took a back seat.

So when I found myself sitting on my porch staring at the cows in the valley, I decided it was time to knit in earnest. I now knit in a thoroughly contemporary way using a chunky Aran style and do winter “jerseys” for ottomans and armchairs, funky cross-shaped scatter cushions and pretty much anything that takes my fancy".

I am truley amazed at her fabulous work.  I would love to cozy up in a chair covered with cables wrapped in one of her blankets, with my feet up on an ottomon while reading a good book using lighting from her  light cover on a cold winters day.  My idea of true bliss! 

Lynn ~ Thank you so much for sharing your creative work with us today!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunday Morning Knit Wit ~ Knitting with Beads

Good Morning!  When we last left off, I was working on a pair of Two at at Time Toe Up socks.  After working on them for 2 weeks, I finally decided to rip them out and move on to another project.  Maybe if I try again from scratch I will have better luck with them.

So for now, I have redirected my efforts on learning how to knit with beads. I have several shawl patterns lined up in which I want to add beads, so I thought I would practice on a scarf before I tried the shawls. 

I'm using a method that my close friend, April has described during our knitting group and I think it is much easier than stringing the beads on the yarn.  You will need a very small crochet hook (I'm using size 2.  I can't tell what alpha size it is, but you will get the idea from the photos... it is very, very small).

After charting out the pattern and determining where bead placement, have a small bowl filled with the beads and the crochet hook handy.

When you are ready to place the bead follow the steps below:
1) Put the bead on the crochet hook

2) Pull the working stitch off the left hand needle with the crochet hook:

3) Slip the bead off the hook and onto the working stitch:

4) Place the working stitch back on to the left hand needle:

5) Knit the stitch and continue with pattern.

So far, I am really enjoying knitting with beads in this method.  For this project I am using a very delicate lace weight mohair yarn and size 3 knitting needles.  Because the mohair is so extremely light and almost weight-less, the beads are adding some weight which I think will make the scarf more practicle for daily use. 

I hope you will give this a try and let me know what you think!  April - thanks so much for sharing your technique with me!  Once this scarf is done, I'm going to cast on the "Dog Gone Lifeline Shawl" and add some beads to it!

I also finished spinning 4 oz of this wonderful mohair wool blend this week.  The colors are amazing when looked at closely with shades of blues and bits of lavenders and purples.  It is about a fingering weight yarn and I think will make a lovely wrap. ... another project on my to do list!

Enjoy your week and Happy Knitting! 

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sunday Morning Knit Wit ~ Summertime Knitting

I found a new favorite place to knit this summer.  I seem to have migrated to my back yard under our old apple tree.  It is so cool in the shade and I am enjoying the sounds of summer as I knit away!  The birds are chirping, the crickets are cricketing, bees are humming and sometimes, if I listen very very carefully, I can almost hear my garden grow.

Sitting in the shade with a cool breeze and a tall cold drink knitting a small project is my idea of summertime bliss.   I wouldn't suggest working on an afghan or blanket this time of year.  But working on a pair of socks, lacy scarf or pair of mittens are the perfect summertime project.  I'm usually don't use aluminum needles, but I tend to switch to aluminum when the temps go up.  I may be imagining it, but they seem to be alot cooler as well.

Here are a few of my current projects, all very good summertime projects :

Lavender lacy shawl:

Knit Vases for a baby shower:

And a pair of 2 at a time toe up socks:

And a side note on the socks - this is my very first pair of toe up and working 2 at a time.  I'm not sure if I really like this method yet or not.  I seem to be struggling with smooth edges, which I hope will be resolved after blocking.  But, I may just go back to the tried and true method working one at at time on double pointed needles cuff down.  We will see!

What is on your needles this week and what are your ways to keep cool during the summer while knitting?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunday Morning Knit Wit ~ A perfect match (Socks and Housework)

I knit socks the 'old fashioned' way - one at a time on double pointed needles.  And I have Second Sock Syndrome...  The first sock flies as I can't wait to see how it comes out.  But the second one goes much slower.  The excitement is gone.  Sometimes the second sock will can take 4 to 5 times as long to finish as the first one.

But yesterday, I challenged myself to finish the second sock for one of my daughters and get my house work done. So I broke it down by sock part and here is how it evolved:

I got up bright and early and set myself up in a comfortable chair in the shade under the apple tree.

Cast on and completed the ribbing -  then watered the garden (not a tough chore, but a chore nontheless)
Worked half the leg - came inside and started a load of laundry and cleaned 1 bathroom
Worked 2nd half of the leg - came inside and cleaned the refridgerator (oh boy, did that fridge need cleaning!)
Worked heel flap and decreased for heel - came inside and made mac salad (I had to put something in that nice clean fridge!) and did another load of laundry
Worked gusset - came inside and cleaned second bathroom
Worked half the foot - came inside and vacuumed and did another load of laundry
Worked 2nd half of the foot - finished up the laundry
By 4 PM I had finished the toe and my house work! 

It actually worked out very well and I think I actually finished the second sock faster than the first one!

Now, last week I took advantage of KnitPick's 40% off sale on their books and bought "Toe-Up 2-at a Time Socks " by Melissa Morgan Oakes.

I am hoping that this method will cure me of the Second Sock Syndrome.  Early this morning I cast on the toes for another pair of socks for another daughter.  It took some time to adjust to different methods as I am a creature of habit, but so far so good.  I have the toes completed and now I am off to weed the garden.  I am hoping to finish the foot ahd after that I will mow the lawn. 

I hope to have this pair done by next week and will let you know how they come out.

Do you have Second Sock Syndrome?  If so, tell me about how you challenge yourself to 'get them done'.

Until next week  - Happy Knitting!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sunday Morning Knit Wit ~ Vacation Knitting

Summer is here and keeping us especially busy!  Lawn care, gardening, going for ice cream and vacations can keep us on the go, leaving little time to knit.

But summer is one of my favorite times to knit and I try to find every opportunity to get my sticks out when ever I can.  Nothing beats sitting on the porch with a tall cool drink in the evening working on a project.

This past week, Daryl and I were on vacation and we drove up the coast of Maine, stopping at flea markets and beaches along the way.  The trip to Acadia National Park was amazing and I recommend making the trip if you can.  It is a good thing that D does all the driving because I knit up this pair of socks while in the car. One of my daughters will get these for Christmas (but I can't tell you which one right now... just incase they actually do read my blog!)

This shawl was done partly on the porch and partly in the car driving to Vermont to pick up our grandson. 
Go to my etsy shop to see more pictures of this handknit shawl.

And I was able to finish my spinning project -  1,658 yards of heavenly merino/silk blend. My friend, April and I are each going to make a shawl with this fabulous fiber that we are calling Fairy Dust.  I'm still looking for a pattern, so if you have any suggestions, please let me know.  I was thinking of incorporating some type of bead work with this project as well.

So, don't let summer shove your knitting and spinning projects aside... it's not just for winter.  What's on your needles?  I would love to hear from you. I have another shawl with some surprising color work on mine and hope to have it ready by next week.

Enjoy your summer!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sunday Morning Knit Wit ~ Lace Shawl in Handspun Merino

Today I am featuring another hand knit lace shawl.

After gaining some experience and confidence in knitting these lacey wonders, I used my handspun fingering weight merino wool.  And I must say, that I am extremely pleased with the result.

I found this pattern in The Knitter's Book of Wool.  The pattern is called Prairie Rose Lace Shaw by Evelyn A. Clark. It is light and breezy and just way too much fun to make.  If you are going to give it a try, I would suggest you get some graph paper and write the chart out larger as the one in the book is printed very small.

I love the way this delicate lace drapes. 

Now that I have completed a couple lace projects I am pretty much stuck on them.  I already started another one in a beautiful rich burgandy. 

Next week I will be a the first Annual Central NY Fiber Festival on Route 20 near Bouchville, NY.  If you are local, please stop by and say hello.  I can't wait to see all the great fiber artists there and stock up on some more roving for spinning.  Keep your fingers crossed that the weather cooperates. 

Until next time ~  Keep your needles clicking!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sunday Morning Knit Wit ~ Fairy Dust Lace Weight Yarn

With summer approaching, my weekends have been busy with spring cleaning and yard work, so there has been little time left over for knitting.  I have been knitting some summer projects (mainly lace weight shawls and wraps), but as I mentioned last week, it seems that I have been spending more time ripping them out than knitting them together! 

One stitch forward, Three back ... 

So, I have been focusing on spinning project.  There is nothing more relaxing than spinning ~  especially when you are working with some dream merino and silk blend.  This stuff just seems to spin itself! 

My friend, April purchased an entire pound of the is lucious fiber. Yes, that is 16 oz of pure softness.  My job is to spin it into a lace weight two ply yarn.  We are then going to split it and each knit a shawl.  I think it will be so interesting to see how different each of our knit projects will turn out using the exact same yarn.

So far, I have 317 yards ready for the needles, which is just under 3 oz.  So if my math doesn't fail me, we should get about 1,600 yards of this dreamy fairy dust yarn! 

Hoping to have my green shawl completed for next week.. 
Until then, keep your needles clicking and HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY!