Knitting Over Lunch at Work

The government entity I work for is having a “Knitting Over Lunch” group once a week.  A lady from another department runs and teaches it.  I’ve gone twice now.

It’s awesome to see different people from different departments and how diverse our knitting group is, and not just in skill level.  Beginners are certainly welcome to the group, as well as the most season pros.  Rhonda, who runs the group,  patiently works with those who are learning.  A few others, myself included, volunteer to help beginners, too.

I helped a lady named Aiesha who had started knitting a while ago, but stopped.  Same for her daughter.  She explained that she takes the train to work and would like to knit on her commute.  Aiesha had brought her previous work in to show that she had done this before, and wanted to continue with it.  I reviewed the knit stitch with her, and taught her how to purl.  Now she can go back and show her daughter, too.

It’s nice way to spend a lunch hour, and I’m meeting a few new people in the process outside my own small department.  It’s so neat to see that so many people in our local government organization knit!

Snowflake Turtleneck: Take 2

Stitch Mountain: 30 Warm Knits for Conquering the Cold by by Laura Zander is a cool book.  I got it in one of the fun bookstores in the Outer Banks, NC, USA a few years ago.  I saw the Snowflake Turtleneck pattern in there and knit it, and TOTALLY messed it up.  I think I botched the shoulder shaping.  I dissected the completed faulty sweater the other day, and that’s what I think. I never did write a post about its completion because I was too ashamed and frustrated from having a messed up sweater.

After analyzing that sweater, I decided to give it another go. I cast on with a creamy white worsted yarn that I had left over from another project, and there’s plenty of it for a nice sweater.  It took three tries to get there right gauge, but I did, so I know at least that correct!

So, here’s to giving it another go, and hopefully I can show off a completed sweater before the weather gets warm again.  I’m being cautiously optimistic that I will have a correct fitting sweater this time, too!

Darn Good Yarn: A Review

I had a Visa gift card for $50.00 that I received as a Christmas gift.  I was poking around on Amazon, and it’s unusual that I can’t find anything on there that that I want, so I decided to look around my bookmarks on my web browser to check out other merchants.  I saw one for Darn Good Yarn.  Hmmmm, I haven’t bought cool yarn in a while, I said to myself.  I opened the page.

I am one for a bargain, so I clicked on their Sale tab and was taken to Best of DGY Packs.  It was $45.00 for four skeins of recycled silk sari yarn.  Why not?  I bought the Holi pack, which includes one skein of each of the following in a pretty silk bag:

  • At the Bahamas, a fairly traded silk sari ribbon yarn
  • Nepalese *Hand-Spun* Recycled 100% Pure Silk yarn
  • The Blender, a fairly traded recycled silk yarn
  • Tibet Jewels, another fairly traded recycled silk sari ribbon yarn

With $4 for the economy shipping, I received my package in a few days, and set off winding the three that were in hanks, and got to work.

Fair Trade

I’m going to change gears slightly now and tell you a little bit about Darn Good Yarn.  They employ women from India and Nepal to make their yarns, giving these women a good living wage and selling their products at a reasonable rate.  This is basically what fair trade is.  In addition to this, a lot of the yarn is recycled, mostly from saris, which are those brightly wrapped dresses that a lot of people in Nepal and India wear.  You can read more about this idea on the Our Story page.

I adore fair trade.  There’s an awesome fair trade store called Ten Thousand Villages in my area that I sometimes go to.  I also have a dress and a skirt made from recycled saris, too.  DYG’s product and philosophy sucked me right in.

The Yarns

Yes!  Let’s get to the yarns!

At the Bahamas

Scarf knit from At the Bahamas sari yarn from Darn Good Yarn

At the Bahamas was the first skein I sunk into.  I got a pattern for a one skein sari scarf that I found on DGY’s site, and started to work.  I had the needles it called for, and now I had the yarn, so I went ahead and started knitting.

The yarn sections are knotted and sewn together, so they are really fastened well.  Don’t worry about the knots, as I think it gives a nice texture.  The colors are fun, too!  I have finished this scarf, and am wearing when I go outside now.  It’s a great length to wrap around with!

Only drawback:  it does have a slight odor to it.  It’s not bad, but it’s strange.  I’ll have to have the scarf dry cleaned to remove the smell.  No biggie, though.

Nepalese *Hand-Spun* Recycled 100% Pure Silk

Nepalese Hand spun recycled silk yarn from Darn Good yarn

This is a worsted weight yarn that comes in a ball.  It’s got slubs, thick and thin parts, and lots of fun texture.  I really like it.  It takes the fun fur concept and makes it sophisticated.

I knit a scarf out of it on small-ish gauge needles ( I think US 4), and cast on 15 stitches.  I used seed stitch until I had only enough yarn to bind off.  All I have to do is weave it the ends!

This yarn is a little frustrating work with at times.  I did have a spun join break once, and only once.  I just reattached the yarn and kept on going.  It also has a tendency to curl back into itself like it’s overspun, which is part of the charm of the yarn, really.  Just an FYI.

The Blender

The Blender yarn from Darn Good Yarn

The Blender is probably the least favorite, but I still like it. The skein makes one short scarf on big needles.  I intend to sew the two ends together and make a really cool cowl.

I think this yarn would be fantastic for arm knitters!

Oooh, and maybe a few skeins together would make a really funky shopping bag, too.

Tibet Jewels

Tibet Jewels yarn from darn Good yarn

Ah, the last gem in the pack.  Pun intended, of course.

I like Tibet Jewels!  The colors and the fuzzy textures make nice contrasts.  Again, this is a recycled sari yarn complete with knots that are reinforced with machine sewing. You will be fine.

When I knit the scarf, the skein again rendered a scarf that is really short, so I’m going to sew the ends together to make a cowl.  Think how those colors would look against a black shirt!

That’s my review of DGY’s Holi pack.  It’s a great bargain and you get some fun yarn to play with.  You really do!  There’s tons of cool stuff on their site besides yarn.  There’s ready made jewelry and clothing, as well as beads to make your own projects, too. It’s really worth your time to check them out.  You’ll be helping women, helping the earth, and helping augment your yarn stash.  It’s a win-win-win!

Cone-free Doggie

My husband and I took off Sputnik’s cone, ZenTube, and bandages off yesterday.  He was nekked for  little bit, but we did put his regular collar back on him, of course.  Cone-free doggie, at last!  Since the cone has come off, he’s once again curious about yarn, but there’s improvement.

I inadvertently used natural fibers around him, a soft merino superwash .  It was from a Zauberball actually.  He had no problem with it.  Then I took out an alpaca blend that I am knitting a simple shawl with, and we were a little curious about that.  After a firm correction and praise, I was able to knit.

I know there are still going to be times when he thinks yarn is a toy.  He’s young, and will be seven months old tomorrow.  Still, knitting around Sputnik is getting better.

 

Dog v. Yarn and Something Cool

The battle of Dog v. Yarn is getting better.  Sputnik is still curious about what I’m doing with string, but has learned, with the back up with a spray bottle, that yarn is a not a toy.  I’ve also been sticking to synthetic fibers as not to entice his nose with natural ones.  That’s another battle for another time.

I got a few quick projects off, like this cool hat I crocheted (yes, crocheted).  I also managed to knit a scarf for the Wrap Up! Project, too.

Me in my newly crocheted hat.

I apologize for the glare of the fluorescent lights on the hat.  Ugh, office lighting.

Now, for the cool thing.  Familiar with the Craftys Awards?  I nominated myself in the craft blogger category, and they featured me on social mediaHow cool IS that?!

I hope that you had a fantastic New Year!

 

Sputnik, Destroyer of Yarn

I would like to introduce everyone to a our new dog, Sputnik!  He’s a Great Pyrenees/Labrador mix, hence a “pyrador,” and is six months old.  Sputnik is going to be a BIG boy.

My husband and I got him from LaMancha Animal Rescue in Unionville, Pennsylvania, USA, not far from Coatesville.

LaMancha is a beautiful rescue facility!  They are a working farm with chickens, cows, horses, and, of course, dogs in clean kennels and cats in a special house to adopt.

Sputnik’s story is that he came from Alabama, USA, where he was a stray.  LaMancha transported him here, called him Zeus, and he was barely there a week until Sam and I snatched him up.

We were going to LaMancha to see two other dogs and didnt’ know about Sputnik until we got there.  When we arrived, we were told that the one had been adopted, and the other one we walked for a little bit, and he seemed frightened.  Not a match.  We asked about the other dogs there, and were told about Zeus.  We walked him on a trail on the farm (all the dogs get walks there), and were treated to kissed, hugs, and was known as the Pyr Lean.  Great Pyrenees will lean into you really hard you pet them.

We had our dog.

Sputnik was put into the back seat of my car, and I was treated to hugs and kisses on the way home as I was sitting back there with him.  Here’s a video of me introducing him.

Sputnik is going to pose a challenge when it comes to knitting.  I’ve knit in the room with him just fine, but one time he got a good grip on luckily some cheap yarn, and ripped it one space.  Granted, he’s a puppy.  Everything is a toy right now.  We will work on this.

How to do your dogs react to your knitting?  Any advice for a knitter with a large puppy who’s very interested in stuff in general?

My First Sweater: A Look Back

See that person up there?  Yup, that’s me, modeling the first sweater that I ever knit.  I wore it yesterday, actually, on the recommendation of someone said that I should. So, here’s a look back at my first sweater.  It’s Pattern 13 in the Noro: Catwalk 2 book by Jenny Watson.

I am often afraid to wear my sweaters because I’m worried I’ll damage or ruin them.  On the other hand, I should wear them because I’m proud of the work I do!

I knit this sweater during a class at Kitnit Fine Yarns, which is now The Speckled Sheep, in Lancaster, PA, USA.  I didn’t want to tackle shaping and picking up stitches alone, so I enrolled in this class which, in the description, said it would be a good project for the first time sweater knitter.  I took the plunge.

I’m proud of my work!  It’s a little big for me, but I don’t care.  It’s warm, it has pockets, it’s mine.  Here are some of the statistics for the sweater.

  • Knit from 11 skeins of Noro Kuryeon wool yarn
  • It took me well over a month.
  • The pattern had the dreaded p2tog through the back loop decrease.  It was horrible.  I looked on the Internet for advice on how to accomplish this, and found that if you p2tog stitches together, pull the stitch of the left needle and turn it counterclockwise once, you get the same result.  Here’s a video of how to do this technique properly, without cheating.

Back in the Ludicraft days, I did a week by week saga of how the sweater progressed.  You can wander down memory lane in the list below.

So, that’s basically the story of my first sweater.  As a note, it’s also featured in the pattern page on Ravelry.

What was the first sweater you every knit?  I’d love to see your project.  If you haven’t knit your first sweater yet, don’t be discouraged!  Take the plunge.  Find a teacher or research stuff on the Internet.  Knitting your first sweater is a very rewarding experience.  It was for me!