Sunday, February 18, 2007

speaking of supportive parents....

I went to see my folks (Mom and Step-dad) today and my Mom pulls me aside and puts $100 dollars in my hand and tells me, "I don't want money to be ever be the reason you do not develop your knitting talent." To which I respond by bursting into tears... Mom then tells me, "I didn't get you a card for just this reason! I didn't mean to make you cry!" Then my favorite BIL responds "You know, you have been emotional for weeks now, that happened to my brother when we were kids and he had parasites." Now I am convinced I have worms...

Secret Knitting

my post may be few and far between for the next couple of weeks. After much encouragement from my family I am trying my hand at submitting a pattern to Knitty. I would love to show y'all what I am working on as I am very excited about it, but will have to wait until it is either accepted or denied. It may lead to nowhere, but you never know-and I refuse to put myself in a situation where I can look back and regret not trying. I feel it is the next step in my knitting journey.
My step-dad is perhaps the most supportive of my knitting than anyone. He always gives me such wonderful complements on my knits, and brags to everyone that is in earshot "You know my daughter knit that herself! She is so talented!" and after seeing my Sunshine sweater he put his arm around me and looked me in the eye and said "If you keep this up, we are going to have a famous designer in the family." I don't know if he knows how motivating his comments are or how much they really mean to me. I am so fortunate to have someone in my life that is so supportive and motivating. So if only for myself and my step-dad I am going to give this a shot.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Yarny goodness, and a prize.

Sometime last week, the lovely and talented Lara was kindly liberating some of her stash for the cost of shipping! I was so happy to see this on her list because it is just georgous! The yarn is Himalayan Yarn Co. 60% wool and 40% silk. Two full hanks with 175 yds per hank and one is wound in a ball. Go check out the rest of her stash up for grabs.
I am planning to use this lovely yarn to knit the pattern I won in the Craftster knitting challenge. Jen over at offered the pick of her patterns and I happily accepted Aileen as my prize. I hope to have enough yarn to knit it, as Aileen calls for about 400yds, but I am planning to buy a handle for it instead of knitting we shall see!

Monday, February 05, 2007


Sunshine won the first knitting challenge over on Craftster. Yes, I am very excited! Thanks to all y'all that voted! So in the spirit of sharing that is craftster here is the pattern for my entry. Although it is only written for one size, it is basically a top down raglan, with a lace panel on the sleeve, and picked up neckline and collar. With a few changes it can be knit to fit your measurements. There are notes in the pattern as to when to alter measurements. Both the body and the sleeves are knit in the round so there is only one seam to sew. Please leave me a comment if you are having trouble. Just send me an email and I will be glad to help you figure out how to make it based on your measurements (amandawynkoop at hotmail dot com). If you decide to knit this please let me know! I would love to see different versions of it!
Pictures are here.

small (34" bust)
approximate finished body length:
5 stitches and 7 rows per inch - stockinette stitch on size 6 needle

  • 3 skeins Caron Simply Soft, 100% Acrylic worsted weight yarn; 330 yards per 6 oz skein.
  • US size 5 29-inch circular needle
  • US size 5 double point needles-(I had to go down a needle size to get gauge on sleeves-sz 6 may work for you!)
  • US size 6 29-inch circular needle
  • US size 10.5 circular needle (this is for picking up stitches along either side of the neck, so straight needles can be used if you like-I just prefer circs.)
  • Tapestry Needle
  • 4 stitch markers of one color(A), 4 stitch markers of another color(B)
  • 4 buttons (7/8" size)
  • needle and thread

Garter Stitch Lace Pattern:
(when working flat)
Row 1-6: Knit across
Row 7 & 9: *YO, K2tog*
Row 8 & 10: *YO, P2tog*
Repeat these 10 rows for pattern.

(when working in the round)
Row 1 & 3 & 5: Knit across
Row 2 & 4 & 6: Purl across
Row 7 & 9: *YO, K2tog*
Row 8 & 10: *K2tog, YO*
Repeat these 10 rows for pattern.

Using the long tail method, and size 6 needles, cast on 48 stitches. (Cast on more stitches if you are making a larger size.)
Purl first row placing markers (SM = sleeve markers, LM = lace inset markers) as follows:
p2, SM, p1, LM, p6, LM, p1, SM, p28, SM, p1, LM, p6, LM, p1, SM, p2.

(Make sure to read ahead so you catch all the "at the same time" instructions.)

Working back and forth in stockinette stitch (k the RS rows, p the WS rows) on each RS row, increase (kfb) in the first and last stitch on the needle, 2 times.
At the same time, on each RS row, increase (kfb) before and after each SM until raglan increase seam (measured on diagonal from shoulder to underarm) measures 10 inches.
At the same time, work the Garter Stitch Lace pattern over the 6 stitches between the LM. Make sure to work the "when working flat" portion of the lace pattern.

When raglan increase seam measures 10 inches (add 1/4 inch for each size up), divide the body from the sleeve stitches as follows: (RS row) knit across left front to first sleeve marker. Slip SM. Place sleeve stitches on scrap yarn slip the LMs as you come to them. Make a note of where you are in the Garter Lace Pattern. Remove second SM. Knit across back to next sleeve marker. Slip SM. Place sleeve stitches on scrap yarn and slip the LMs as you come to them. Remove last SM. Continue knitting to end. The SM now seperate the back from the front of the body of the sweater and will be used for waist shaping later.

Continue working body back and forth in stockinette stitch until neck to back measures 11.5 inches (this is the depth of the neckline- ideally you want this to fall below your bustline).

At the end of the next RS row, cast on 20 stitches. (If you are making a larger size cast on enough stitches so you have the same number of stitches for the front of your sweater as you do for the back.) Join to work the rest of the body in the round until work measures 19.5 inches.
At the same time, begin waist shaping when body from neck to back measures 12 inches (if you are making a different size add 1/4 inch for each larger size before beginning waist shaping) .

Waist Shaping:
Decrease: *Work to 3 stitches before next marker, SSK, k1, slip marker, k1, K2tog.* Repeat from * to * for other side. Work 1 inch.

Repeat waist shaping decrease with 1 inch of stockinette stitch in between three times.

Increase: *Work to 2 stitches before next marker, Kfb, k1, slip marker, k1, Kfb.* Repeat from * to * for other side. Work 1 inch.

Repeat waist shaping increase with 1 inch of stockinette stitch in between two times.

When work measures 19.5 inches (2.5 inches below your natural waist if you are making your own- waist shaping should be completed- switch to size 5 circs and work 2x2 ribbing for 4 inches. You may have to increase or decrease to adjust stitch count to be divisible by 4.

BO loosely. I used Elizabeth Zimmermann's sewn bind off. (This involves the use of a tapestry needle with an extremely long tail of the yarn. It produces an extremely stretchy edge and is excellent for the top of socks. Using this long tail, pull the needle through two front loops as if to purl, then back through the first stitch as if to knit. Drop the first stitch off. Repeat to the end.) If you need a visual Knitty has a great tutorial, scroll down to the bottom of the page to see it.

Place sleeve stitches on size US 5 DPN's ( I used sz. 5 to make up for the difference in my gauge- you may find that you need to stitck with size 6 dpn.- Feel free to use your favorite method of knitting in the round). In the underarm gap, pick up and knit 2 stitches, PM, pick up and knit 2 stitches. (Pick up enough stitches to close gap in underarm and make it lay smooth). Knit sleeves in the round, continue working Garter Lace Pattern from where you left off. Remember to use the 'in the round' directions for working the Garter Lace Pattern.
At the same time, shape sleeves as follows:

Sleeve shaping:
Work sleeve decreases on the same round as Row 1 of the Garter Lace Pattern. (I began sleeve shaping 1.5 inches after joining sleeves to work in the round. You will want to work through the remaining rows of the Garter Stitch Lace pattern repeat that you left incomplete before switching to working in the round. Remember you want to decrease every time you come to row 1 of the Garter stitch lace.) Work to 3 stitches before marker, SSK, k1, slip marker, k1, K2tog. (Repeat sleeve decrease 8 times.)

Work sleeves until Garter Lace Insert is 22.5" inches from cast on edge. (If you are making a larger size or if you have long arms, work until sleeve -measured from underarm- is three inches shorter than your arm measurement.) Make sure you complete through row 10 of Garter Stitch Lace before beginning sleeve ribbing. You may need to adjust stitch count to be divisible by four to work 2x2 ribbing. Work 2x2 ribbing for4 inches. BO all stitches loosley. (Again I used Elizabeth Zimmermann's sewn bind off.) Repeat for other sleeve.

Neckline Shaping:
Try on sweater. On the right side of the neck opening, mark the row that crosses your collarbone. This will be the top of the asymetrical neck. Mark the same row on the left side of the neck opening. (Mine happened to be 9 rows down.)

(With right side of sweater facing you, drape sweater across lap with neck opening to your left, BO edge to your right.) Starting at the first row on the right side of the neck with size US 10.5 needles pick up 1 stitch on every other row until you reach your collarbone marker. Make sure the number of stitches you pick up is divisible by two. Write down this number. Knit one row. Working back and forth complete two repeats of the Garter Stitch Lace pattern. Knit three rows. BO. (If you are making a larger size you may need to work more rows of the garter stitch lace. Just make sure your panels will overlap to button.)

(With right side of sweater facing you, drape sweater across lap with neck opening to your right, BO edge to your left.) Starting at the collarbone marker, pick up the same number of stitches as on the right side. Knit 6 rows. BO.

Carefully sew edges of collar pieces to neckline as follows: Overlap the last garter stitch row and BO row of each side of collar with the garter stitch lace panel on top. Pin together. Evenly pin the edge of the collar to the bottom of the neckline. Sew the edge of the collar to the bottom of the neckline making sure to sew the garter stitch lace panel on top of the garter stitch band.

Evenly space the buttons down the middle of the garter stitch band using the holes left by the YO's in the garter stitch lace as button holes. Sew on buttons.

Ribbed collar:
With size 5 needles, starting on the 6th row of the edge of the garter stitch lace panel, to the edge of the button band, evenly pick up 78 stitches (if you are knitting a larger size pick up more stitches divisible by 4 +2 ).
row 1:*P2, K2*
row 2:*K2, P2*
repeat these two rows for 4.5 inches. BO all stitches.

Weave in all loose ends. Toss in the washer and dryer. (Please make sure your fiber is washable if you used a different one than I did.) Wear and feel fabulous!

Saturday, February 03, 2007


Calorimetry was the perfect project to use the very first yarn I ever spun (grey) combined with a small skein of handspun (yellow) that The Girl Wonder bought for me on a trip to Charleston, SC with her Dad. As many have before me, I cast on fewer stitches- between 70 and 80 ( I cannot recall, as this was a little something to take my mind off this). I ended up stitching mine closed, so I would not have to sew on a button. I would rather seam a extra large man's sweater than sew on buttons.
I finally broke down and did the math to convert Twinkletoes into a wearable slipper for The Girl Wonder. I used the Universal sock pattern as a starting point, and used the original pattern as a guide. I should have them finished by the time The Girl Wonder returns from her Dad's house on Monday. I would model the first complete one, but my little 10 yo girl has bigger feet than I do...
I will blog in more depth about Sunshine (my entry in the 'One stitch to Rule them All' Craftster Challenge) in the days to come.

Friday, February 02, 2007

the power of knitbloggers

I have seen the great things y'all can do when you band together...and I need a little of that love right now. I am not asking for yarn, knitted things or money- right now my family and I just need your thoughts and prayers. My paternal Grandfather has had health problems for years. (Out of respect for his privacy I am not going to go into his medical history.) During the past few weeks he has gotten much worse and I am afraid he is losing his will to fight. He has requested a DNR order. He feels as if he is nothing but a burden to my Grandmother - his wife of more than 50 years. My heart is breaking for my Grandmother. She told me today that she really thinks this will be his last year with us. I really need to go see him, but cannot even think about him without bursting into tears. I do not know how I am going to face him without upsetting him because I know I will be a wreck. While I realize the death is a normal part of life I am having a hard time letting go- for my own selfish reasons. I want his suffering to end but cannot imagine this world without him. He was always such a strong man. It hurts so deeply to see this shell of a man he has been reduced to... to see the shame in his eyes for what he has become. He was and is a good man- full of love and kindness for his family and neighbors. Although he never was one to gush about his family or feelings, anyone could interpret his feelings simply by looking into his eyes. Some of my earliest childhood memories are following him in his vegetable garden picking beans, tomatoes, melons and cukes. I remember sitting on his knee while he cracked pecans from the trees that shaded his house each hot summer. I know I will never see a tomato on the vine or a freshly tilled garden without thinking of him.

Y'all I need strength. I feel like my Grandma and my Daddy and Brother are going to need someone to lean on through this. I feel this is my responsibility as the oldest granddaughter. So I am gonna need to lean on y'all a bit. I need some inner peace if I hope to calm the waves of emotion I am sure to encounter in the coming weeks. I know I am not the first person to have to go through this-but it is a first for me...and I am hurting.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

I've been tagged...

By Lara of Yarn It to tell 5 secrets about myself. The rules are
  • Get tagged
  • List five things that have not been revealed on my blog
  • Tag five other people

Ok...since the 100 things about me meme, five secrets are really hard... I think my real secrets may be a bit more than ya'll really want to know (also a bit more than I want on the web) but here ya go, some not too secret, secrets...

1. I have always wanted a tattoo but could not think of anything I would want forever. Currently I want this on my side.

2. I support this.

3. I am considering breast augmentation.

4. I am deathly afraid of the dentist.

5. I want to win this. So kindly go vote for my Sunshine!

That is all, and tag to anyone that has not already been tagged, just leave me a comment so I can read your secrets, too!