31 December 2012

Party Time!

Party Time, you ask? What? You mean a party to celebrate New Year's Eve? Ringing in 2013 with party hats, streamers, 2013 sparkly eyeglasses, and lots and lots of drink? No, none of that. Well, okay, the drink can stay. For me it's Knitting Party Time!

Ever ready for a party involving yarn, I've joined two groups this year. The first is very informal. In fact, there is no planning or shopping required. Mary, of America's Knitting, has made a suggestion/challenge to use 2013 to complete some of our many WIP's and UFO's. (Works In Progress and UnFinished Objects) She's calling it 12 in 12. (12 in 12 months, not 12 in '12. I guess that would then be 12 in '13!) At the end of each month we are to choose the WIP for the next month. From the first to the last day of the new month we are to try to complete the project, finally. One of the first questions asked of Mary was along the lines of, "But what if I see another project, or some yarn I'd like to buy during this time? I need stash!" No problemo, replied Mary. You may buy, cast on other projects, jump back and forth between projects. Just try to complete the chosen WIP.

So much to choose from. About six years ago I bought a sweater kit from Arnhild Hillesland of Arnhild's Knitting Studio. This year I've signed up to attend my first of her annual retreats in Ames, Iowa. The retreat scheduled for the first weekend in March. I'd love to have this sweater complete by then. Plus, I'm no dummy. There are 31 days in January which makes it a much better choice than February!

Here is 6 years' work:

The second group is almost as informal as the first. No signing up, no paying a fee. Kristen of Jimmy Beans Wool has designed a Mystery KAL (Knit A-Long) to use Lorna's Laces special color for December 2012, Christmas at Downton. I'm a huge fan of Downton Abbey, shown on PBS, as many others obviously are. Lorna's Laces has sold a record number of this colorway. In fact, this color in Sportmate, the yarn being used for the KAL, is now completely sold out. Any other sport-weight yarn (200-270 yards) may be substituted. And actually, I was ordering mine before they could process the second batch, so I ended up buying Shepherd Sport instead. 

To join this group simply go to the Jimmy Beans Wool page on Ravelry and follow the thread for the Downton Abbey Mystery KAL.

I hope to "see" you at one of these gala affairs!

Happy New Year!

-Lynn Anne

06 November 2012

"Thanks Mom! Many people are freezing right now as the temperatures fall. They're burning furniture in the streets in Rockway. Charities are saying donations in the form of money are most needed but knit hats will also keep everyone a bit warmer until they can receive some help and shelter."

Those are the words from my daughter, Allyson, (she's the model for Cottonwood at the subway entrance across the street from her apartment) as she replied to my Facebook post, calling my knitting friends to help make warm hats, mittens, scarves, etc. for the people who are still suffering in the aftermath of Sandy. I hadn't heard about burning the furniture, but last night while watching the news I thought that if I were there I'd probably start pulling out any wood to burn for fuel and warmth.

So, pull out your yarn and knitting needles. We want to get items to that region quickly, so I would think that simply knit warm accessories would be the best. I am adding links for free patterns, and just all-around great patterns.

Ann Budd's book, The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns the one that has mittens, sweaters, hats, and gloves pictured on the cover is a great source since she has many designs in many sizes and gauges.

Hats - Any color, any size. Machine washable is helpful, but 100% wool is warmest. Label whether or not it can be machine dried. Hats with cuffs around the ears would be useful as they can be pulled low around the ears. Rolled brim hats are cute, but may be uncomfortable to wear while sleeping.

The Nonsuch Knits pattern "Hat With Heart" is linked on the right-hand side of this blog under Free patterns. You will be directed to Ravelry where it may be downloaded for free.

Troll Toe Hat by Ant B Knits is a cute pattern for a child's hat (newborn and up) knit from the top down, so you will learn some of the basics for toe-up socks. Fun. http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/troll-toe-hat

Gentleman Hat by Marjorie Dussaud is a very sharp looking hat for men, women, and children. Three sizes are offered in DK weight yarn, with changes for different gauges. http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/gentleman-hat

Scarves/Cowls - These are always great for keeping your neck warm. A wide scarf that can be crossed over the chest will serve a dual purpose. Cowls, ditto. Close-fitting cowls or long ones that can be doubled would be fine. Again, label the fiber content.

Bark is a quick-knit free scarf pattern to the right under Free Patterns, again. It could easily be made into a cowl by joining the cast on and bind off edges.

Darkside Cowl by Sarah Fama. I just completed this cowl. It is very quick to knit and can be easily altered for any size. http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/darkside-cowl

Chunky Charity Scarf by Kathy Christensen will be a quick knit in many different yarn combinations. http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/chunky-charity-scarf

Mittens/Gloves - All sizes again. Mittens are faster to knit than gloves and they have the added benefit of keeping fingers together and warmer. If they have work to do, though, gloves will aid in dexterity. Once again, label the fiber content.

Basic Mittens by Molly Matters http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/basic-mittens-11

Glittens Revisited by Jillian Necky. This seems to be a great convertible/flip-top mitten pattern using worsted weight yarn. http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/glittens-revisited

Child's Simple Striped Mittens - a Sivia Harding pattern based on an Elizabeth Zimmerman classic. Sure to be a winner! http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/childs-simple-striped-mittens

So there are a few pattern links to get you started. All of these patterns were located on Ravelry and are offered free by the designers, (There were over 3200 free mitten patterns!) so go take a look for yourself for many, many more patterns.

Allyson also mentioned that monetary donations are always needed. When asked, she said that The American Red Cross or New York Cares would be terrific donation sites.

I can collect any items in the Omaha area. If you live elsewhere, I have contact names that I can forward to you. Just let me know.

Thanks to all-
Lynn Anne

07 October 2012

Hat Season

After two mornings of Omaha's first hard freezes of the season, my thoughts have turned to keeping warm. I'm not a fan of being hot (ask Dave who can mimic me so well. "I don't like to sweat!") so I have a little extra bounce to my step. There is a cowl around my neck as I write, and I've been locating all my mittens and gloves. I also come across two lovely hat patterns.

The first is Autumn Tam designed by Sandy Blue for Simply Shetland:

This is a gorgeous, traditional tam, knit in a fingering weight Shetland sheep yarn, creating a warm yet light hat. The pattern, as written, calls for 10 colors of Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift. Multiple tams can be knit from all that yarn. I'm planning on sharing with some friends.

The second hat is the Sluggy Bonnet by Tanis Gray for Juniper Moon Farm:

We may have had a horridly hot and dry summer, but sure as the sun will rise tomorrow (it's not yet December 21, 2012) the winds will be howling down the road in a few weeks. Just as I was thinking that I needed to protect my ears I located this cute worsted-weight earflap hat. Not only does the Sluggy Bonnet look warm and not too difficult to knit, but it's a FREE pattern.

Happy Fall knitting!

27 August 2012

Pattern Up!

Just this afternoon I added a new FREE pattern to Ravelry. Vivienne is a shawlette, 50" wide with a 15" drop. It is triangular and knit from the top down in in mostly stockinette stitch with channeled eyelet rows. The increases happen every row along the side edges and every other row down the center. This creates a shawl with a much bigger wingspan than drop. Great for wrapping around your neck on a cool evening. I used a little less than a full skein of Cascade Yarns Heritage Hand Paints, a very nice yarn that has a nice drape when knit with slightly larger than usual needles.

The name, Vivienne, is borrowed from the heroine to the book The Soldier's Wife, by Margaret Laroy, a novel set in the Channel Islands during the German occupation of World War II. Vivienne learns that she can adjust to difficult situations while still dealing with love and compassion for her friends and family.

Follow the link to the right to download this pattern through Ravelry.

15 August 2012


What I Did on My Summer Vacation

by, Lynn Anne Banks

Most of our family traveled to France to celebrate the 80th birthdays of my parents this year. My lovely, kind, and generous sister (along with her husband) found this lovely villa in Rousillon, located in the Luberon region in Provence. Socializing into the wee hours of the night on the terrace and little excursions into the countryside were the order of our days.

Dave was a sweetie and drove me further out to a small farm in Sainte-Croix-a-Lauze...a lavender and mohair type of farm! The mohair is sold to a co-op, shipped to Italy to be processed, and then returned to small farm shops in Provence. I picked up some mohair and silk in the owner's lovely little shop:


Ooh, la-la!

And then there were the curly-haired Angora goats who give us the lovely fiber. The girl on the left was especially friendly, enjoying chin scratches as only goats can!

Dave and I then took the fast TGV train up to Paris for a few days sight-seeing.

A limited amount of knitting took place, mostly on the plane somewhere over the northern Atlantic, but wine, cheese, and bread were consumed in large amounts. Ahhh, Paris!

And that is what I did on my summer vacation.

29 November 2011

Day 1: Tools of the Trade

The Day 1 part of Adventkalendarschal 2010 is complete. This was easy and enjoyable, with a 8-stitch repeat. Easy-peasy. The one thing that came to mind was how important the "tools of the trade" are. After testing out a few needles, it became apparent that I needed to use US 3 to get gauge, or more important to me with a scarf/stole, a "fabric" that looks nice. I borrowed a #3 from a 3-year old WIP, but it was 32" long. This ended up being much too long for this project, making the knitting feel cumbersome and awkward. I must have a 24" #3 somewhere in the house on a different WIP, but I broke down and bought a new needle. What a difference! The knitting just seemed to flow along.

I was so pleased, I moved on to Day 2 - a motif pattern without repeats. I lost count on Row 3, ending up with too few stitches. As I was tinking it seems that I've dropped one or two stitches. Rats. I think I'll wait until tomorrow with natural light coming through the windows to figure out where I am in the pattern. I was really hoping to get a big jump forward today.

The yarn is gorgeous for this pattern. It isn't noticeable in the photos but there is a gentle shift from cherry red to orange/red and back again. I can only describe it as "alive".

28 November 2011

24 Days in December (and November)

My yarn is wound and my needles are at the ready! I've always loved knit-alongs and the crazy pre-Christmas season is no exception. I've wound a skein of Lorna's Lace's Helen's Lace in color Ysolda Red...

(oh, gosh, isn't it beautiful?) to make Adventkalendarschal 2010, a free pattern on Ravelry for a lovely lace stole designed by some (obviously) lovely German women. The general premiss is one lace pattern each day in December until the 24th. And voila, presto you have a Christmas stole.

You who know me, know that LAKNITS (my Ravatar) stands for Looney-Arse Knitter Nears Irrationality This Season - or some such sentiment.

So, here we go. I'm casting on this evening. I know it's not December, yet, but seriously, only 24 days?