Friday, December 24, 2010

A tale of two cowls!

Merry Christmas Eve! It's a quiet one around here - the husband and I are sticking around here since air fare is redonkulous. A couple of weeks ago I made a few kinds of Christmas cookies. We ate all of those. So I whipped up a second batch of cookies yesterday morning - snickerdoodles and meringue surprises. This is the first time my meringue cookies approximated success!

And the surprise? Chocolate chips.

The subject of this post is not COOKIES! It's a tale of two cowls. For that is what I have knit lately. I needed something quick to knit up and I found the Birthday Cowl. Exactly the thing I needed. And the yarn? Some of my much hoarded Jade Sapphire Cashmere. The thing is like butter.
Cashmere cowl

I increased a bit at one end to create a flare. It's soft and warm to wear, but isn't very fashion forward.
Cashmere cowl
Cashmere cowl

Cowl #2 has been in the works for a while. But it's been a slow knit. Churchmouse's Bias Loop Cowl. It's knit in lace weight yarn and is a simple simple pattern. But beautiful. I knit it a few needle sizes down (Size 9!) with Malabrigo lace. My neck is sensitive and can't take mohair, or even alpaca, but Malabrigo lace gives that sort of halo with amazing softness.

Instead of a kitchener graft, I did a three needle bind off. It's not invisible, but it saved me a lot of grief. And I have been and will be wearing this cowl all the time. I might be making these for gifts one year.

And those are the cowls. Both soft and warm, but one will be worn a lot more than the other.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A sad hat

There's been no Christmas knitting this year. No one is getting a knitted gift from me. Instead I've been huddled under my blanket, too cold to knit most nights. There has been a bit of knitting, here and there.

Like the sad hat. I call it sad because it was a failed experiment. I thought, I'll use this ball of Cascade 220 to make a cabled hat. And I won't follow a pattern! I'll just make it up as I go along! What can go wrong?

A lot.

Sad Hat

I'm not sure the picture conveys the full sorrow of the hat. First off, it pulls in on an especially cable heavy row. Second, the lack of planning contributes to an unfortunately organic look. If the thing were dyed pink it would look like my brain was sitting out.

Sad Hat

It fit, I give it that much. But that's all it gets. Except for frogged.

Sad hat

I frogged it this evening. No more sad hat.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

FO: Haruni Shawl

Phew. Been awhile? I'm an on-again/off-again blogger. I've got no excuses. Okay, I've got a ton of excuses, but I'll not go into them.

During my hiatus there has been knitting. I have always loved the Haruni Shawl, so I finally knit one. I finished the main leaf portion during my August vacation, but stalled out a bit on the edging motif, mostly because I found my initial read through of the instructions confusing and put it aside to do something more straightforward. But it is done now.

I knit it from Naturally Dawn, a wool/silk blend which I quite like. In fact, I have enough of it in white for another project yet. Needles were Addi Turbo Lace, size 5. I followed the pattern except for the crocheted loops/bind off where I just did what I knew and not precisely what the pattern said.

Unblocked with hank of Lorna's Laces sock for scale:
Haruni Shawl

Blocking with same scale (and cat):
Haruni Shawl

And finished:

Details - I love the leafy edging:


And now I'm feeling a bit mad, so I thought maybe I would commit myself to a large scale lace piece with all the bits that drive me batty - patterned on both sides, knit on edging, needles below a size 5...
Sampler shawl to be

I haven't cast on. But I will.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

No Money Miracle

That's the latest Knittyboard swap I'm a part of. And yesterday, I got a package in the mail! A shoebox full of goodness.
Summer Miracle swap

Oh, what can it be? The anticipation...
Summer Miracle swap

So much wonderful goodness!
Summer Miracle swap

From left to right: A hank of lovely Thirteen Mile yarn in one of my favorite colors, a tape measure, a pair of wrist warmers in a deliciously soft and squishy fabric, a ball of Jojoland Harmony in the perfect summery beach colorway, a cute little book, sock patterns, and a super project bag. And to whom do I owe my thanks? The fabulous Verablue. Thank you, Jeanne! I love it.

Friday, July 30, 2010

FO: Felted flower bowl

The final edition of a four day FO dump. Now I have only unfinished things to show you.

I'm currently involved in a swap, one in which you spend no money (except for postage) to spoil your partner. I dived into my stash and pulled out some yarn for gifting, but wanted to include something I made. As my sewing skillz are crap, I went to my strength. Knitting. I wanted to make something useful, but not a washcloth (especially as I have no cotton yarn), so I started searching Ravelry for a felted bowl that I liked.

And I found the felted flower bowl. It's cute, it's useful, it's great for odds and ends. And, I think, it makes a nice gift. This example is knit from bits of Lamb's Pride Bulky.
Felted bowl

I seem to be in a bit of a felting phase. I love how quickly it uses up the odds and ends that had reached critical mass, combined with how quickly these things knit up. And the fact that stuff tends to look pretty awesome when it comes out of the washer - what's not to love?
Felted bowl

Thursday, July 29, 2010

FO: Ishbel.2

I finished my first Ishbel scarf at the end of March. Then I finished up spinning some merino/silk I had been working on. I ended up with about 350 yards of more or less lace-fingering weight yarn, with some areas so thin as to be threadlike and a couple of noticeably thicker slubs. It was enough for a project. And, while I usually don't like to knit the same pattern twice, Ishbel seemed just right. So I started knitting it. Then I stopped for a long time. But now it is finished.
Ishbel 2.0

The fiber spun up into a lovely mostly-blue-but-with-shades-of-greens-and-purples that I feel is quite nice. Because of the thinness of certain areas, I did not block as aggressively as I am wont to for fear of breakage. It seems to have come out intact.
Ishbel 2.0

I feel especially proud of this because I did take it from fiber to finished. It's my first project from my own handspun. Yay!
Ishbel 2.0

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

FO: Clapotis for me

Clapotis, possibly the most popular project evar. And also one of the best for variegated yarn. So I splurged, bought some variegated Malabrigo (in Plena) and made one.

I knit it with one less increase section, and used very nearly all my yarn. The thing turned out huge. The blocking pick a few posts down is the best for scale. It's probably a skosh over 6 feet long. There are no modeled photos of this because it was 100 degrees out when I took it and we do not have AC. Not gonna wrap myself in merino under those circumstances. The chair, however, I have no pity on.

I was a little surprised how dominant the golds are. But its really the outlier color, so I suppose it makes sense.

I am not normally a big fan of variegation at this scale, but there are a handful of techniques that I believe it's appropriate for. Mostly this and certain types of modular knitting. Also, it's going to be sooo soft and luxurious and warm. This winter. Not now. Too hot hot hot.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

FO: Kitty Pi

I've been finishing projects like wild lately. I've wrapped up four projects in the last week or so. Here's the felted cat bed!
Felted kitty pi

Sans cat:
Felted kitty pi

The cat bed turned out a little on the small size. But the cat still fits, more or less.
Felted kitty pi

Most exciting to me is the fact that the cat is actually using the cat bed! She got into it without prompting and hung out there till I noticed. But, sometimes, she doesn't look so thrilled...
Felted kitty pi

A great stashbuster/odds and ends user upper. I think I'll be making a second.

Monday, July 26, 2010

New books!

Look what I got in the mail today!
New books

Three books from Amazon - Knitting 24/7, New England Knits, and Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. And, as a special bonus, Miriam Felton's Twist and Knit.

Knitting 24/7 and New England Knits feature the sort of patterns I adore. Clean, simple, but interesting. From New England Knits, I absolutely must make the Augusta Cardigan.
Augusta Cardigan

From Knitting 24/7, I quite like the Grandfather Vest. I love a good sweater vest.
Grandfather Vest

Twist and Knit was a must have. I've been a fan of Miriam's designs since I fell swooning in love with her Icarus Shawl. So of course I'm going to buy her book! First on my list are the Porifera socks, which are lovely.

And the Artisan Bread... well, I'm enamored of the idea of baking fresh bread. But my husband is skeptical. No trials this week though. It's going to be hovering around 100 for the next few days. Yeech.

Oh! And, on Saturday, I scored a copy of Sweater Design in Plain English for three bucks! I sure do love a deal.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Block(ing) Party

Woo hoo! Blocking party going on in the Spare Oom at my house!
Clapotis blocking

Ishbel.2 and Clapotis blocking at the same time. Clapotis is being blocked rather firmly, and unevenly (yes, I know), while I took care to be firm but quite gentle with Ishbel.2. Ishbel.2 is made out of my own handspun, which is generally a laceweight, but there are a few places where is decreases down to fine thread. So I tried to be a little more gentle with it.

I started my felted cat bed. Turns out I have a lot of partial and odd balls in red and brown. But mostly red. And I've probably got enough more to do a second on in mostly blue... In fact I think I might just do that.
felted cat bed, in progress

I think I'll finish the knitting of the cat bed today, most likely. And I've got the itch to cast on something new, but I have two brand spanking new books that ought to arrive in the mail tomorrow, so I think I'll definitely be waiting for those before beginning a new project.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Blue noise

I finished up a pair of movie theater socks a couple of weeks ago, but only got around to taking photos yesterday. (Movie theater socks are plain stockinette that I can knit in the dark of a theater.) I knit them out of Zwerger Garn Opal in a colorway that I thought might make thin stripes. Not even close.


It's frenetic and nonsensical. So I call these my blue noise socks. Like white noise, but bluer. I was surprised to find that most of the people I showed them to really like how the color way knit up, because I would not buy a yarn I knew to knit up in this way. But hey, socks are socks. I'll wear 'em.

I've been pretty busy this summer. Lots of getting out, and a fair amount of staying in. I've finished a clapotis and Ishbel.2, but neither are blocked yet. I have a bunch of projects on the needles that I don't have the mojo for, so I cast on for a Kitty Pi felted cat bed with scraps and unloved oddballs of wool from the stash. The cat loves kneading wooly blankets, so I hope she at least gets in this once or twice.

The real question is: Fringe yarn or no fringe yarn at the edge?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Road trip!

It's summertime! Well, it's supposed to be. June has been chilly and July has not yet heat up. But that didn't stop Mr. Husband and I from heading south to Oregon on the first roadtrip of summer. We drove down to Klamath Falls, OR which served as base camp. From there we spent one day at the Lava Beds National Monument which is fantastically awesome if you have any interest in caves. And we spent one day at Crater Lake National Park which is phenomenally beautiful.
Crater Lake

Unfortunately, we went to Crater Lake a little early in the season, so most trails were blocked by snow. The only open trail is the Cleetwood trail, which takes you down the the water. So off we went! It was steep and swarming with more mosquitoes than I have ever seen before, but it was worth it. We hung out on some rocks and enjoyed the view. I waded a bit (just a little - the water is 38 degrees F), and then I pulled out my knitting.
Crater Lake

Because, yes, I am the type to carry my knitting more than a mile down hill just for a photo op so I can post it on my blog.

The project in question is the ever popular Clapotis in deliciously soft Malabrigo.


Sad news: My local yarn shop is closing at the end of the month. The Dancing Ewe has been a beautiful shop and meant a lot to me personally. A contest there pushed me into trying lace design, the weekly knit night was always lovely, and Cathy, the owner, gave me the opportunity to discover that I really enjoy teaching others how to knit or to learn new techniques. So thanks for everything. The Dancing Ewe will be missed.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Organizing! Earrings!

I make piles by nature. Nesting? Laziness? I won't look too closely at it. But it's true. And, for some time now, I've had a pile of earrings and necklaces all jumbled up on a bookshelf in the bedroom. It was time for a change. Somewhere I remembered seeing an earring stand that was a bit of knit fabric in a picture frame. Now, it just so happened that I had the back of a sweater that I never knit the rest of, and the dollar store had cheap picture frames! A bit of magic later, and voila!
Earring board

Works great for earrings with hooks, less for post earrings, but since I mostly wear hook earrings, it's all good. Now, the reverse is sloppy, since I didn't cut down the fabric, but I'm fine with that for now. I could see cutting it down, sewing up the edges, and then stapling it to the board. The cheap plastic frame is straining under the bulk of the fabric, and might break. But I hope not.
Earring board

The non hook earrings I put into this little bowl. I adore little bowls, especially pretty ones. It's sitting in front of my proper jewelry box.
Little bowl

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Summer of starting

I seem to be in cast on mode. I started a Raspberry Dream Stole in some blue alpaca laceweight, a Wood Hollow Vest in some green Cascade 220, and a sock yarn scrap-ghan with my sock yarn bits and bobs. Oh, and I've knit a toe in my green Zauberball yarn that I don't know what to do with yet.

And that's not all!

I really want to cast on for a Clapotis in the fabulous Malabrigo I just picked up at the Dancing Ewe's surprise sale. And I also want to start a Double V Cardigan in some Elsbeth Lavold Silky Wool I've had for a while now. So I've got a lot on my to do list!

But I have finished a couple of things. I finished the Monkey socks for my aunt and those were a great hit. Plus I finished a pair of Anastasia socks in Chameleon Colorworks' Footsie, color Indian Wedding. The color repeat on this yarn seemed sort of short, so I was worried about how it would pool, but it ended up having a lovely stripey effect. And the colors are very nearly Gryffindor's colors, but not quite.
2010.06.18 056

Sunday, May 9, 2010

New Yarn Extravaganza

I love a bargain. It must be genetic. My mom was bargain mad too, as is my brother. So, when the Dancing Ewe had a sale this weekend, I ended up with a few new bits of yarn. First this Louet Gems Fingering in a gorgeous vibrant teal:
New yarn

And four hanks, enough for a largish lace piece, of Cascade's Alpaca Lace:
New yarn

Then we stopped by Goodwill, where I checked out the crafts bins out of habit and, lo and behold, the greatest Goodwill haul I've had in several years. I won't bore you with photos of yarn in messy balls, but I got four balls of Filatura di Crossa Zara, three balls of Rowan Calmer, and a couple balls of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino for a comparative song. Wheee....

On Tuesday I embark on several weeks of travel - a week in New York state, a couple days home, then nearly a week in Los Angeles. And the big question is, what do I bring for a knitting project? I'm thinking socks. Single socks at a time. Maybe the monkey sock in a variegated yarn I've been unsure what to do with. Something easy, but not dull, and something portable. What to do, what to do?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Two, two, two socks at once!

Okay, I'm over that knitting hump I had. I've cast on for a pair of socks, in my favorite method, two socks at once on one long circular needle!
2010.05.02 Knitting

(Coincidentally, I'm teaching a class on that technique at the Dancing Ewe on Saturday.) I also cast on for a new sock to knit in movie theaters. I did much of this one while watching The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. It's a great film, although with a couple of scenes that are really brutal. At one point I jumped in my chair and stabbed my finger with my knitting needle. Knitpicks Classic Circs. They're really sharp. I still have a mark on my finger.
2010.05.02 Knitting

Anyway, that's the sock. I kind of hate how it's pooling. I also started a project out of my very own handspun. Another Ishbel shawlette!
2010.05.02 Knitting

It's thrilling to be making something out of yarn I made. But I also gave in and got a couple of hanks of Malabrigo Sock. I held out for over a week, but I gave into Bubblegum Pink and a color I call, in the most loving way possible, algae.
2010.05.02 Knitting
2010.05.02 Knitting

Mmmm... it's just so soft. I want to knit with it now! But the two-at-once socks are top priority, as they'll be a late present as it is...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Knitting Ennui

*heavy sigh*

I don't have a lot of knitting mojo right now. I finished this pair of socks.

There's a second one, but I can't be arsed to put the photo in this blog post. It's a basic toe up pattern with a short row heel. I knit the pair in conjunction with a class on sock knitting.

I have some really lovely Dream in Color Smooshy in Blue Lagoon which I have promised my aunt will become a pair of socks for her. I've started a couple of patterns, but no luck, no love. I need a pattern that will be fun to knit, will look stunning, and is not too finicky. Le sigh. Maybe a pair of Monkey socks? I am possibly the only person left who has not knit a pair.

I think I need to lighten up the stash. I have some lovely bits of yarn which so very much want to be knitted, but are not getting love from me.

In the meantime... le sigh. Maybe I should do a bit of spinning instead.