Monday, March 29, 2010

Garden of Alla Shawl

On one of my mom's trips out to Philadelphia she became enamored of my Koigu Feather & Fan scarf and was determined to make one just like it. She even bought 4 skeins to make two scarves. Well... I think she'll finish one of them someday but in the meantime I thought I'd make her something she could wear now. :)

I chose the yarn first. I was looking for purple but didn't want either a solid or a handpainted look. I found this Mini Mochi yarn with long color changes. Kind of like Noro but it's actually soft!
After knitting with it I'm undecided on whether I like the yarn. It's very soft, but a bit fuzzy and very splitty. The colors were gorgeous though each skeins had the color changes a bit different.

Next I needed a pattern that wouldn't conflict too much with the color changes, a basic repeating geometric pattern I thought would be best, but I also wanted something interesting to knit! I chose a free pattern called Garden of Alla. It turned out to be pretty challenging, I wasn't able to memorize it until the final repeat. But I do like how it looks!
Raveled here

Pre Blocking. One thing I love about these slow color-changing yarns is watching the color emerge as you knit. It keeps you motivated to just do a few more rows each day!

I finished this way back in January, gave it to my mom in late February and finally am sorting the pictures out now. Here is my mum modeling her new shawl -- doesn't she look lovely!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Itty Bitty Knitting

Have you seen the Itty Bitty Toys book by Susan B. Anderson? It's one of those so very rare books where you actually want to make every.single.pattern. Really -- the classic toys, the quick toys, the sock yarn toys and then the irresistible reversibles -- I wish I had time for them all! But those reversibles really drew me in.

So for my first project from the book I chose the small and simple Egg to Bird. This was an easy intro as the egg side is quick and the bird only has a few details. The pattern also includes a nest which I haven't gotten around to quite yet. Raveled here
Yes he really does turn inside out into an egg, but that was too boring a picture to post. Instead, look at his silly face!

Next up I tried out one of the bigger reversibles and decided to mix and match from the pattern collection. So I took the Elephant and paired him with the Mouse. They just were my 2 favorites but I think they work together just fine!

For the yarn, I had bought some cotton boucle (KnitPick's Crayon) and decided to try it here. I started knitting it single but thought it was too flimsy. So I doubled the boucle, went up to a size 7 needle and it felt perfect. So I didn't end up with a giant toy I scaled everything down roughly 25%. So I cast on fewer stitches and skipped rows here and there. They end up a bit bigger than Susan's originals but a nice size.
Of course holding the yarn doubled meant I burnt through it quickly! For the Mouse side I used up all but 2 yards maybe and on the blue side I have not one bit left. In fact I had to skip poor elephant's feet and make his ears a bit differently. The pattern gave 2 ways to make them but I knew I needed to conserve yarn so I just did some garter stitch. They could definitely have been bigger but again, no yarn left! Raveled here

I love the details of the mouse. Of course they definitely slow you down but in the end they really make the toy. His ears are made from a grey ear, a pink ear, stitch them together then stitch to the head. And then repeat for the other ear. Not quick, but look how cute! My son only likes the Mouse side showing since it has pink. :)

Last Thursday my favorite yarn shop Loop was having yet another guest come in and they turned it into a really fun event. It was the Itty Bitty author, Susan, and instead of just a book signing they sold kits with an unreleased mini reversible Susan designed! The whole night was just chatting with Susan and knitting along. Susan is so friendly and easy to talk to and everyone was squishing the toys and having fun. She wrote a long blog post about the night with tons of pictures (I look kind of crazy in them) and even linked to my Mouse & Elephant project!

A few nights later I finished the kit project and it's adorable! It's a mini bunny and duck - how perfect for Easter and spring right around the corner. I'm debating making more of these as gifts I think it came out so cute. I love the little bunny face!
If you're interested in the pattern, I'd call Loop ASAP and see if they have any kits left (they will ship).

Of course I'm already working on another pattern from the book, The Mama and Baby Ducks. They are the classic duck pull toy and couldn't be sweeter. Wish me luck making the axles and wheels!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Cabled hats and Cuties

I'm definitely pretty late posting these, but winter isn't over yet. :)
I made these hats in December and January and thought they came out great. The lighter blue one was actually my first cabled project ever! Raveled here and here.
Gotta love a hat with ear flaps and pom pom!

The pattern is called Master Charles and is a $1.99 download available through This may be the cutest hat pattern ever! One of the best features of the pattern is that it includes sizes from infant through adult. I actually used a mix of sizes for my boys. Disturbingly, the almost-4-year old and the 18-month old have the same size head!
I made both with Malabrigo worsted in the Blue Surf and Stone Blue colorways. Yummy yarn.

A high school friend of my husband is a wedding photographer now and we did a portrait session with her for the kids. Her name is Lorraine Daley. I thought the hats would be a cute prop and raced to finish the 2nd one for the shoot. I think they look good! (the hats and the kids of course)

A few more cute kid pics!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Ravelympics 2010

Did you have fun watching the Winter Olympics? I had fun knitting along too.
Over on they held another Ravelympics event. The idea is to challenge yourself and finish your project(s) during the Olympics - opening ceremony to closing - 17 days.
Here are my medals I "won" :)

For my project, I knew I wanted to knit a shawl in a new shape so I chose a pattern that is knit side to side. The pattern is called Argante. It has some interesting features - a lace edging knit as you go, short row shaping, and the cast on and off are just a few stitches. But I have to admit, I didn't entirely love knitting it. There is a lot of garter stitch and I found myself trying to race through it. I guess I missed the long purl rows of a stockinette shawl!
Raveled here

The yarn is a lovely hank from my favorite Etsy dyer, Kelpie Fibers. I have one more delicious hank from there to knit up sometime soon.

I also had a vacation during this 17-day-stretch and I wasn't sure how much knitting I'd get to do during it (turned out to be plenty) so I brought along yarn and a pattern for a second shawl, just in case.
And to my surprise, I finished it too!

The pattern is the popular Traveling Woman and I can't recommend it enough. I'm definitely planning to make another (and another and another?) It was so fast to knit, simple, enjoyable and looks great too. Instead of a traditional triangle shape it increases faster on the sides which gives a softer crescent shape. Perfect.
Raveled here

For this shawl I chose 2 lovely skeins of Koigu KPPPM (yes I've used this a lot and yes I have plenty more!) I only had 350 yards which is pretty skimpy for a shawl, but I probably only used about 320 yards on it. It blocked out plenty wide.

AND to top off an already fabulous experience, the "team" I joined for Ravelympics pulled my name to win a skein of hand-painted yarn! Woohoo!