Tuesday, October 26, 2010

FO: Idlewood

I finished this pullover about a week and a half ago, but couldn't get someone to take photos until today. (Thank you Susan) The pattern is called Idlewood by Cecily Glowik MacDonald. It is knit from the top down raglan style. There are some waist decreases and hip increases to make it fit nicely. I had only to adjust the length to the hip increases (decreased by one inch) to make it fit perfectly. I think this is the first sweater I have made that I am entirely pleased with.
The yarn is Noro Vintage, which I think is being discontinued. If so, it's a pity, since it softened and bloomed upon washing into a gorgeous, soft, very wearable yarn. The angora sheds a bit, but gives it a lovely halo.
You can even wear the cowl as a hood when Oregon weather opens up with buckets of water on your head and you dressed for the weather an hour ago when it was sunny.
Great project, I have worn it three times already in about 1.5 weeks! Make one for yourself!

Monday, October 18, 2010

I have been knitting and spinning both

Although the number of blog entries would seem to contradict that premise. I bought some smaller amounts of more costly fiber at BSG this year. This is one of those, a roving from Dicentra Designs. Made of a beautifully dyed blend of 60%Merino 20%Cashmere and 20% Angora, it is very soft to the touch, and was a bit challenging to spin. I had the same issue with this one that I had with the merino and yak blend I tried to spin a while back. They tended to have long easy to spin bits, the merino, and then bits of short fuzzy fibers, the angora I assume. I am not sure which section the cashemere was..I'll have to look up staple length. This blend seemed to be a bit less problematic, possibly due to better blending of fibers, or maybe this is just an easier composition. I was able to spin it into a reasonable yarn, a bit more thick and thin than I intended, but still fairly nice. I got about 188 yds of 12-24 wpi yarn from 2 oz. I think it's effectively laceweight.
This blue one is from a lovely multi-hued roving I bought at OFFF in 2009. I don't know what it is for sure, but am pretty sure it is a good quality wool, since it is soft and smells wooly. I bought it from a lady who was selling her mother's stash after her death, and this wasn't labeled. I tried to make a very lightly spun single ply yarn, and am quite pleased with this result. It's about 6-10 wpi, and divided into two skeins. 175 yds:4 5/8oz and 128 yds:2 7/8oz or a total of 303 yards and 7.5 oz. According to the yarn approximation chart in my Spin to Knit book, that is in the bulky category and we can expect it to knit at 3-4 st/in on a size 10-11 needle.
Sorry for all the gory details for those of you who don't much care, but I am preparing to put some things in my etsy shop, and want to have accurate details recorded somewhere I can find later!
These are a pair of simple fingerless gloves made from a single skein of Elizabeth Lavold Silky Flamme. Michelle started carrying it in the shop a while ago, and it was so pretty and shiny I kept stopping to look, and when I picked up a skein of my current favorite color, and it was called Brandywine (or something like,) it had to come home with me. It is kind of thick and thin and there are only 82yds in a skein. I wanted to use all of it, so these were a good choice.

I also knitted a Kookhaas hat, but I have lost it somewhere, so until I locate it, there won't be photos.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Mini Mochi Hat

Apparently this pattern is actually called the Mini Mochi Rainbow Rings Hat, and it is a free pattern which uses one ball of Mini Mochi. There was a sample in Fiber Nooks and Crannys, and it fit my large head perfectly, so the pattern author is correct and helpful in the pattern notes where she mentions that you may need to alter it a bit if your head is not large. I really loved knitting this, the changing colors, the very soft single ply yarn and the variety of stitch patterns combined to hold my interest the whole way through, and I may knit a few more before Christmas!
I don't know how this yarn holds up for socks, which it seems to be intended for, as it has 20% nylon in it, but it is perfect for a hat, and the ball band says it is washable. Anyone have experience with it?

Monday, September 20, 2010

The slouch hat

I found an awesome hat pattern and just couldn't seem to stop. Due to the backwards way blogger uploads photos, I am showing you first the second hat I knit. This is from some hand spun yarn of mine from a batt I bought from WearMoa's Fiber shop I am very pleased with the blend of colors and the lovely, soft texture of the resulting yarn.
The first hat I made from this pattern turned out so well that I had to make another, and I had just the right amount of this yarn, and it knit up to exactly the right gauge, so it was meant to be.
The pattern is called Slouch Hat, and I like the way it is exactly what is says it is, a slouchy hat. the decreases are more rapid than in a beret and this creates a gathered top rather than a flat one, and helps it be more evenly puffed around the head.
The Eco Duo yarn by Cascade is wonderful, it is one of the softest things I have ever felt, and believe me, I spend a lot of time feeling yarn! This brown one is made exactly to pattern, with a little i-cord on top, and a little band with two buttons on the side. I omitted these two details in my other two.
This third on is made with Lion Brand Amazing, a lovely looking yarn, but almost half acrylic, and I can tell while knitting with it. It is lovely to wear, and looks quite nice, but it has none of wool's elasticity.
I have a lot of pictures of this hat in an effort to accurately portray the color, but I am not sure I was successful in the end.
Alexa has recently started a love affair with hats, and she wanted to wear one on Saturday, though it was far too warm in the house to be wearing an alpaca hat, she wore it for over two hours before pulling it off.
She likes to be a part of any photo session, and I should definitely let her, she is far more photogenic than I am!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Drums of Autumn Sporran

I have participated again in a swap with the Outlander group on Ravelry, and received my swap package last week. It is so awesome that someone I only know via Ravelry and shared interest in a series of books can put together such an awesome package for me! She wrapped it all up in individual packages. The pattern is called Lilas and is a very nice short-sleeved sweater. I got an awesome bag. Nice and big with long handles for wearing over the shoulder for my farmer's market forays.
A beautiful little shawlette that she made with a shawl stick/pin to hold it on. It is beautiful and soft and I love that someone else knit something for me!
The rest of the goodies include some lovely pink alpaca lace yarn, which I love. It is so soft and the heathered color is gorgeous. A book called "A Midwife's Tale" based on the diary of an 18th-early 19th century midwife! A lovely little wooden needle gauge with a cat on it. Some chocolate, which is mostly gone at this point, and some "simples from Jenny" (teas).
A huge thank you to my spoiler stickpixie aka Aislin Mac! I love everything, you have been so kind to put it together for me!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A wonderful package from the MacKenzies

I am participating in a Ravelry swap in the Outlander group for fans of Diana Gabaldon's excellent series of books. As part of the swap we do 'Highland Games" and I won the MacKenzie clans challenge by completing the game for the full points and then getting my name drawn from a hatful of other successful competitors. The MacKenzies sent me a package for this! I was really excited. This is what they sent: Beautiful purple Malabrigo yarn, and the pattern for Ishbel, some cute stitch markers,
Chocolate galore, a tin of Nivea creme (like body butter, lovely!), a scented candle,
a beautiful handmade pincushion,
And a Namaste needle case that is just gorgeous, and will go so well with my Namaste bag!
So a big huge THANK YOU to Clan MacKenzie, and particularly Stacie/Seonag, who sent me this awesome day brightening gift! You are awesome!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

FO: Aran Coat for Alexa

I have spent long months on this project, although part of the time it was put aside while I knit other things. This is my first Elizabeth Zimmerman project, and although I have all her books and love to read them, I knew I would have to think carefully about what I was doing if I wanted to do it well, so I kept putting that off. I wanted to knit this aran coat because I loved the ribbon cable design on it, but the original coat is knitted from bulky wool and would totally dwarf my daughter. And we live in a fairly temperate part of Oregon, so we don't need quite that much warmth. I got 5 skeins of this lovely color of Cascade 22o Superwash on sale at our local craft store, and I did a gauge swatch in the round of the ribbon cable, which after washing was 6.5 st/in so I thought I would do a sleeve first to further check gauge and to get in the swing of things. I cast on 50 stitches at the wrist and set up the cable pattern using a sc (small 2 stitch cable) at the underarm where the seam would be and a small cable at the top of the sleeve also (which would eventually go all the way to the neck on the saddle shoulder,) and a ribbon cable and a what I call a herringbone cable and EZ calls a fishbone on each side. So starting at the underarm, sc, P2, SF (what I call a ribbon and EZ calls a sheepfold), P2, HB, P2, sc, P2, HB, P2, SF, P2.

I wanted a steady increase up the arm so I increase 2 stitches every 14 rows into the purl section on either side of the underarm sc to 60 stitches total and the arm a total of 12 inches long to underarm. I did want a sweater to go down past her hips a bit and to give her space to move, so I cast on enough stitches to give her 6 inches of ease relative to her "bust" and then decreased down to 3 inches of ease at underarm.
The body has a few extra 2 stitch cables to fill up the extra space between the ribbons and herringbones. I had an extra 2 stitch cable on either side of the side cables and I always twisted those toward the side they were close to. These were decreased eventually to a single twisted stitch, and then out of existence toward the underarm. I merged the sleeves and body at the yoke and managed to place half a herringbone up the sleeve decreases as EZ does in hers, but after I got up to the place where she recommends reversing the direction of the decreases to make the shoulder more round, I got impatient and just started the saddle. I do wish I had followed her advice because the shoulder is too sharp and creates a bump at the junction of sleeve and shoulder top.
I decided to omit the hood because I didn't think Alexa would actually use it, so I did a little mandarin collar instead. (Should mandarin be capitalized here?) Then it was time to actually cut the front open. These were my first steeks, so I was a little nervous, and the yarn is pretty smooth so I definitely wanted to stabilize it. I found a YouTube video of crocheted steeks, and it seemed sensible and more stable than doing it on a sewing machine, so I did that method. Then I picked up along the front at 2 stitches for every three rows, did garter stitch for about an inch and did a regular bind off. I whip stitched the little steeked flap down on the inside.

I like the look of the button loops and toggle buttons, but making them the way EZ recommends seemed a little flimsy, at least with my much thinner yarn, so I crocheted some chain loops for the buttons, which worked well until Alexa started putting her finger in the loop and pulling on it.

Sometimes things that work perfectly well in my imagination prove impractical in the face of Alexa's destructive ingenuity.
I may end up undoing the facing and replacing it with actual buttonholes and regular flat buttons of some sort. I am also kind of puzzled by the gaping open of the front. She should have about 3" positive ease, so why the gaping? Recommendations?
And this last one is just a shot of my adorable daughter who may be a difficult model for the sweater, but is so adorable I can't get mad at her for it!
I used a little under 4 skeins of yarn and size 6 needles. The pattern is called Aran Coat WG39 on ravelry. (Which I just now figured out stands fro Wool Gathering #39, which I believe is where it was first published.)

Friday, April 23, 2010

FO: Alexa's Unmentionable's Reprise

I started these last month when I needed a simple project to take to knit night. The Aran Coat was too complicated to work on while chatting in a low light situation. I have had the yarn for several years, since I bought it at a sale at FNC. Since then I have discovered that I don't really love elasticized yarn, or very textured yarn either, but I did love the color and I had about 5 skeins of it, which was perfect for this. Alexa's previous pair of Unmentionables have received so many compliments, and she wore them for two summers, so it seemed like a great thing to make a second time. The yarn is Classic Elite Star. I made them a little narrower than the original because Alexa is so skinny, I cast on 72 stitches for each leg.
I omitted the lace, since I thought it wouldn't look very impressive in this yarn, and it is a lot of work. I did an inch of seed stitch at the bottom of the ruffle. I love this pattern because it is seamless. You start with a provisional cast on and move up from the bottom of the legs, I grafted the stitches between the legs with Kitchener stitch. Then you pick up from the provisional cast on and do the ruffle.
I also added a drawstring to hold them up better, last time I used elastic, but it showed through the waistband, so this time I did an I-cord. I hope it works, it's very hard to keep pants on when you are this thin and have no behind!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

FO: Peak's Island Hood

Today the weather was beautiful and my husband home, so we managed to get some nicer photos of my Peak's Island Hood. Another pattern by Ysolda, that I chose to make in Dale of Norway Harlequin. The yarn is a lovely soft tweedy green that is perfect in every way except gauge, but it wasn't totally critical for this project, so I went with it. It seems truly hard for me to find a good yarn at 16st/4"! I love the look of seed stitch, even if I don't totally love knitting it, but since this wasn't a huge project, totally manageable. Some lovely wood buttons were found at my LYS to finish it off. I sewed them back to back with other buttons to stabilize them. I still need to tighten down the buttonholes a bit, they tend to come undone very easily.
I know it's a bit odd to model a woolly scarf in a t-shirt on a nice day!
The hood tends to fall down easily too..not sure how to fix that.
I have a bit leftover from the fourth skein of yarn, so the yardage estimation seems right. As another person mentioned I would recommend knitting a few more rows on the short end of the scarf, just before the buttonholes. I think this would make it drape and fit better. Altogether I would say I am 4 out of 5 stars pleased with the FO.

Friday, March 5, 2010

FO: Damson

I finally figured out how I wanted to edge Damson. I didn't like the plain bound off edge that I ended up with after I ran out of yarn. I did have a 450 yard skein, but I didn't have a size 6 needle, so I used a size 7. Yep, seems like I didn't think it out ahead of time as usual, but it is logical that a larger needle size is going to use more yarn. Dumb! Anyway, I tried a bunch of knitted lace edgings from my Nicky Epstein book yesterday, but none of them looked right, they were too lacy, and this shawl is more simple. I finally decided to pull out a book and work on a crocheted edge. One thing I appreciate about crochet edging is that you can easily try a little bit and see how it looks immediately. With a knitted border it seems like you have to knit the whole thing before you know whether you like it or not. So I wanted a border that was a little bitty scallop, sort of like the edging Ysolda put on it in the first place. I wanted at least one row of sc before the scallop, but I don't like the way sc looks at the pick-up row, so I ended up doing one row of reverse sc, which I liked better. Then I did the scallop by sc 1, ch 3, then sc 1 into the second stitch out (skipping one). Or (ch 3, sc1)into every other stitch of the row of reverse sc. I hope one of those descriptions makes sense! :) I'm not experienced at describing crochet.
I like the result. My daughter modeled for me, and she is getting to be a bit of a ham for the camera.

So, to sum up. This is Damson from Ysolda. I used Pagewood Farms Yukon Hand Dyed Sock Yarn in the Camo colorway, which I think is a horrible name for a beautiful yarn, one skein. Size 7 needles, edging in Opal sock yarn, brown.Isn't it pretty? I love it.
Next up is another Ysolda pattern project!
And guess who I ran into in the post office this week? JC Briar! Yes, I totally walked up and introduced myself, she was mailing a pair of mittens, and I was mailing yarn I sold in my Etsy shop! Another reason I am really happy this week. (This is only my 3rd Etsy sale so I still get pretty thrilled.) So it appears that JC Briar lives in my town, and I didn't even know this! I wonder if anyone else in my town did? (In my local knitting community.) I was able to mention that I saw her name on the list of teachers for KnitNation in London in July. I feel like a bit of a stalker..eek!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Finished Damson

This is not my official FO post, just a quick pic to show I finished for Ravelympics!