Marsha Knits

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Name: Marsha Brofka-Berends
Location: US

Marsha knits . . . and reads and cooks and edits and gardens and hikes and thinks and eats and photographs and sings and writes and travels and plans and hopes and . . .

22 April 2007

A knitalong for two

Ever since SP9 ended, my spoiler, Lynnette, and I have kept in touch. One thing we discovered is that we're both new to lace knitting--"new" as in "haven't done it before but would really like to." We also discovered that we both have a fondness for dragons. "Hey," we thought, "wouldn't it be fun to do a lace project together?" After a few e-mails back and forth to discuss several possible patterns (the "Heere Be Dragone" shawl was mentioned but quickly determined to be not-a-good-idea-for-a-first-lace-project), we finally settled on the Dragon-Scale Scarf from Heritage Yarns. By coincidence, we both started our scarves at the same time (around Easter weekend), but house-related concerns (and not having the scarf and my camera anywhere near each other whenever I thought to take a picture of the thing) have kept me from posting about it until now. As you can see, I'm nearly two feet into it (I started a new skein at about eighteen inches). I've opted for a heavier yarn than the pattern calls for: I'm using the fabulous Patons SWS that Lynnette gave me, and I love how the scarf is turning out. The pattern's twelve-row repeat isn't difficult but is interesting enough to keep me from getting bored! I doubt that I'll be ready for Heere Be Dragone after this, but maybe one day, after I get a lot more lace knitting under my belt!

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08 April 2007

A birthday Moebius

Last November, I learned how to knit a Moebius using Cat Bordhi's cast-on. The result was a lot longer and thinner than what I expected--not really my style as far as scarves go, but Sylvia loves it, so it's hers now. I knit another Moebius in December as a Christmas gift for my mother-in-law. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of it before I gave it to her, so all I can do here is describe it. I used three balls of KnitPicks Suri Dream (in Atlantic), cast on 80 stitches (160 if you could the top and bottom stitches separately), and knit until I ran out of yarn. The result was a scarf that hung down to my waist, could be worn as a double loop, and was wide enough that one loop could be pulled over the top of the head as an impromptu hood. I was working on that scarf when I had my annual checkup at the satellite office (in my town) for the Birth Center. (The birth center itself is about forty-five minutes from my house.) The midwife who saw me on that day, Nancy, was the same one who'd been with Jan and me when Sylvia was born at the Birth Center in May 2005. She's not a knitter but is new to crocheting, and she was pretty interested in the scarf I was working on. I like her tremendously, and I decided then that I was going to make one for her as a surprise. I ordered the yarn for it now long after, but various other projects have kept me from starting it until this weekend, when Jan, Sylvia, and I visited his mom (who lives three hours away) for a couple of days. I started with 50 (100) stitches and knit for about two inches, but it was turning out much longer than I wanted. I was aiming for a short, fits-around-the-neck thing, so I started over with 35 (70) stitches, which turned out to be perfect. I cast on with #9 needles, knit one row and purled one row, then switched the right needle only to a #11 (keeping a smaller needle on the left, so the yarn would pass over it easier--this is a tip I just learned from my friend Beth, who read it in Bordhi's book). I used one entire skein of KnitPicks Suri Dream Hand-Dyed (in the Falling Leaves color), and the whole thing took only about three or four hours. The large stitches give the scarf an airiness, but the alpaca and wool--along with the width of the scarf--make it warm indeed. I love how this turned out, and I hope Nancy likes it, too! I'm going to put it in the mail to her this week. It will get to her too late for this winter...but just in time for Sylvia's second birthday!

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06 April 2007

A week of knitting

Last night my local knitting ground met at a coffee shop for our first-Tuesday-of-the-month not-at-the-community-center get-together. (On the third Thursday of the month, we are at the community center.) I had finished the heel flaps on both of my toe-up socks, so I was all ready for Pat to help me through the next step: picked up stitches on the sides of the heel flap and making the ninety-degree turn that makes sock knitting so freaky and mysterious. It went quite well...or so I thought. When I came home, I finished up one sock and discovered that I'd picked up about ten more stitches than I should have. Oops. I sent Pat a "oh crap, what do I do now?" e-mail about it this morning, and fortunately she was able to tell me how to fix it by decreasing before I start knitting the round top part. I'll have to be extra-careful when I do the heel on my second sock, now that I know that my subconscious wants to pick up way more stitches than are good for me. These socks aren't going to be a perfectly matched pair...but hey, they are my first real socks, and besides, all of these "idiosyncracies" are what make handknits so charming, right? Right? Yesterday I also finished up the front of the pullover vest I'm knitting for a baby that's due in mid-June. The top part looks kind of weird to me...like a halter top gone bad or something. I'm supposed to block it before seaming, and I'm wondering if blocking will smooth out the profile a bit. But I'm also wondering if I should rip it down to the base of the v and try again, this time modifying the pattern a bit to get wider "straps" up the sides. (I followed the pattern exactly as written this time.) What do you think? Any suggestions?

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01 April 2007

A zig and a zag

Via Craft I found this fun project: Tricia at Bits and Bobbins has posted a "pattern" for a fun and funky zigzag scarf. I say "pattern" because her instructions have a lot of "however you want to do it" flavor to them--which isn't a bad thing, 'cause this project could have a gazillion variations. This looks like a great project for using up odds and ends of stash yarn (which is what Tricia is doing). And if you don't have enough yarn in your stash to get the variety of color and texture that you'd like...well, there's a good reason (as if one is needed!) to do some yarn shopping.

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