Sunday, August 29, 2010

Summer Catch Up

So I've taken a little blogging break here.  Maybe it's a summer thing, maybe I need a better direction here.  Really, a lot of the reason is that all my projects have been knitting ones so they get documented, photographed, noted, cataloged, linked, and oohed and aahed over on Ravelry.  Much of my purpose for the blog was just to have a great record of what I've made in one place.  For knitting Ravelry handles that perfectly.  For sewing, there's just nothing like it. 

So now it's time for a big catch up!  First here are my shawls & shrugs.  From top to bottom: Summer Flies in Handmaiden's Lady Godiva, Hibiscus in Kelpie Fiber's superwash sock, a Saroyan shrug in Sanguine Gryphon's Codex, and my second Daybreak in Sanguine Gryphon's Bugga.  The Saroyan shrug is a project I copied with a leaf lace edging from the Saroyan shawl.  All details are on my Ravelry project pages
I think I need a break from shawls.  I feel like making sweaters to my great surprise!

A few weeks ago I finished my last Loved Crown for the year.  Eight crowns for eight 4th birthdays!!  What a fun pattern.  I had so much fun coming up with different color combinations for all the kids.  All eight were made with Knitpick's Comfy Bulky

This last one was a birthday present for my niece who was turning 6. It's a combination of three patterns by Susan B. Anderson.  In her "Itty Bitty Toys" book she has a section of reversible toys.  I took the frog, sister, and the free Ribbit pattern frog and combined elements of each to make a Princess & the Frog reversible, like the Disney movie.  I think it came out pretty good!  I love the little details.
Made with Knitpick's Comfy Worsted.  My go-to yarn for toys, I have a ton of colors on hand.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

A Little Summer Prep

So what do I have planned for summer knitting? Um, more scarves and shawls of course!
If you're wondering when I'll have "enough" that won't come until I run out of patterns I want to make.... so basically never. I'm sure at some point I'll tire of lace and move on, but for now I really enjoy it so I'm running with it!

I'm constantly pairing yarns with patterns and thinking about what to knit next. Inevitably, I change my mind a few times before any actual knitting occurs, and there are always new patterns that often distract me too. But I'm hoping to knit up these yarns this summer -- such a pretty rainbow!

From left to right:
Handmaiden Swiss Mountain Mulberry/Tussah (worsted weight, Topaz color)
Malabrigo Sock (fingering weight, Indiecita color)
Sanguine Gryphon Bugga! (sport weight, Orchid Mantis color)
more Bugga! (Sharpshooter Leafhopper color -- yes they love the crazy names!)
Kelpie Fibers Superwash Sock (fingering weight, Name of the Rose color)

I love seeing the hanks all uncoiled

With some help from my ball winder and Tinker Toy swift they are all tidy and ready to go!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Finishing time - Silk and Sequins Scarf #2

It was my birthday recently and a few weeks beforehand my husband asked my 4-year old son what they should get for me. He replied, "I think mommy would like some yarn." So true :)
So one day they stopped at my favorite yarn shop, Loop, to buy some. Of course my son wanted to buy yarn in his favorite color -- pink! I think it would have been very funny to have witnessed those two shopping for yarn. But they did a wonderful job and picked out quite a winner.

The yarn is Tili Tomas' Disco Lights in the Hope colorway, a true splurge of pure silk with a thread of sequins running through it.

I immediately thought to make the Raha Scarf from the "Knitted Lace of Estonia" book (amazing book!) I've been itching to make some of the fabulous patterns in the book and while Raha is by far the simplest, I thought it could work here. It knitted up incredibly quickly (one of my favorite qualities!) but then I realized.... I hated it. Too dull, too much garter stitch on the edging, didn't show off the yarn at all, but mostly it just looked like a beginner's project. A simple pattern in a heavier yarn can often be a great thing, but not here. I think this pattern needed it's original sock weight, not worsted like I was using. Ripped out the stitches and sought out a new pattern.

I have used the Disco Lights yarn once before to make my Ariel scarf. Love that scarf -- I've worn it several times and I think the pattern was a wonderful match for it. I didn't want to simply repeat it, so I set out searching for something similar. I realized that it was the changing directions the stitches appear to have that worked so well in the silk. I said "appear" because it's just increases and decreases in the right spots that make it look like the stitches are flowing in different paths. I found just the right thing in another book, "Knitting Lace". This book takes a very old lace sampler scarf and charted and wrote out all 101 lace patterns used. I chose pattern #54. Raveled here

Aaaah much better! Thank you boys for such a lovely gift!

By the way both those knitting books (and many many more) are currently 40% off at!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Finishing Time - Sea Silk Scarf

Once I heard about a gorgeous yarn called Sea Silk that is part silk, part seacell, with incredible drape and shine that even smelled a bit like the sea, I had to try it. The fact that it's dyed by Handmaiden means that it comes in the most incredible colorways too. I now have several skeins but here is the first project I've finished with it.

The pattern is called Montego Bay and it really goes hand in hand with Sea Silk. It's just a simple lace mesh with fringe but it's just a perfect showcase for the yarn. One nice twist is that it's knit with straight ends but once finished it hangs as tapered points. The pattern calls for braided fringe and I did attempt it, but after the first braid I didn't want to do any more! I made my scarf a bit wider by casting on 47 stitches to start.
Raveled here

The colorway here is called Cosmic Dawn - quite an interesting combination!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Finishing time - Daybreak shawl

Daybreak shawl is done! I made it to match my raincoat above and of course it's finished just in time for it to be too warm to wear. Ah well, I'm sure I'll enjoy it in the fall. This is another of of the WIPs I've posted about previously. I started so many projects at once but now I'm finishing them all up in a hurry.

The pattern is Daybreak by Stephen West. The yarn is KnitPick's new Stroll Tonal in the Springtime and Kindling colors. I love tonals, I don't think I want to knit with solids ever again! Since I had a generous 462 yards of each, I was aiming for the medium size shawl but along the way I grew bored and cut out rows here and there and it ended up between a small and a medium. Since I really wanted to use it as a scarf with my raincoat I'm not sure what I was thinking aiming for it to be so big! Small would have been fine.
Raveled here

As usual, I couldn't help myself and I blocked the daylights out of it! I started out thinking I would just "lightly block" it to straighten out the edges, but then once I get out my blocking wires all that goes flying out the window.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Finishing time - Placemats

The last 2 weeks I've been all about finishing up my projects!
Here are the two place mats I pieced ages ago, quilted a while back and finally even the binding is done too. Once again, I left the hand sewing of the binding for my mom on her most recent visit. She's really much quicker and claims to even enjoy it. I need to remember to always have a hand sewing project ready for her!

My free-motion quilting on these is pretty awful. I just can't seem to get the speed/control down with that. Of course more practice could definitely help. I always seem to be going OK, OK, OK, big jaggedly motion, OK, OK, teeny tiny stitches, over compensate with overly large stitches, OK, OK... you get the picture.

I posted a few WIP pictures back here. This project is from a Connecting Threads kit and I don't think I fully realized just how involved they were. As I started cutting, the stacks of tiny triangles were piling up and I wondered if I was in over my head. In the end, I'm pretty happy with them even though they definitely aren't perfect.

I hope to make the coordinating table runner too. After that, I should have plenty of scraps to make a few (way simpler!) place mats to match. The kids are definitely not eating on these two!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Ochre Echo

A few weeks ago I posted about a ton of knitting projects I had in progress, all at once. I call that start-it-itis where you just feel like starting project after project, when the beginning is more fun than slogging through to the end. Well now I'm feeling a huge bout of finish-it-up-itis!

My latest finish is the Echo Flower Shawl (free pattern on Ravelry) that I made in Malabrigo Sock yarn in the Ochre colorway.
I LOVE this pattern. It has several traditional Estonian elements and I loved learning the new stitches for it. Raveled here

Some closeups...
Here is the flower repeat. It uses 2-into-9 and 3-into-9 stitches. Basically you turn 2 or 3 stitches into 9 by knitting into them extra times. It's different but not hard, and creates an interesting effect. It's the little circle holes with all the stitches radiating out from the center of the "flower".

Here is a closeup of the border. I do love a detailed border and this definitely qualifies! The little yarn blobs are called "nupps" and they add a neat textural element to the pattern. The nupps are made by turning 1 stitch into 9, then turning the 9 back into 1 on the next row. Voila - yarn blob!

I need to learn to weave the ends in before taking pictures so I don't have silly threads like in this one. But here is how I wear my shawls usually.

Here is how important blocking is for lace. This is exactly how it looks after coming off the needles. Not anything I would call lace quite yet!

I think at some points during May I've had 6 projects I was working on, or ignoring, but I really feel like getting them all out of the way before starting new ones.
Some recent progress:
- finished two knitted crowns (three more to make this summer!)
- I'm going to end my striped Daybreak shawl earlier than planned. I intend to use it as a scarf with my raincoat so no need to make it enormous. So suddenly it's almost done! :)
- almost done with one super secret project
- Two other knitted projects will be worked on once I clear out the two above, a scarf in SeaSilk and a second Calais shawl
- My ducks in a row pull toy really just needs the wheels and ties assembled
- and on the sewing front, my place mats were finally quilted and just need the hand stitching of the binding.