Saturday, October 27, 2007
Last year I was gifted with two skeins of hand spun alpaca from England. I love the earthy, oily feel of handspun yarn; and the slight unevenness and the occasional straw bits.
Playing around with the yarn told me that garter stitch was its friend. Naturally, I made a scarf. This is the first incarnation of what I later modified as the Huckleberry Ascot.
As you can see, this one has grand eyelets forming daisies across the length of the fabric. I like the daisy motif but ultimately I think the scarf is better without them. It's more refined.
The sunset hour is my favorite time of day.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
We Call Them Pirates
One thing I've learned about knitting is that if you haven't quite mastered a certain technique or stitch pattern, you will eventually; and for me it happens after many hours of practice.
I let all my mistakes and sloppy tension remain in the hat because if I had ripped and re knit something as small as a hat my patience would wear out and the joy of process would drain. If that happens I’ll not keep trying to get better at stranded knitting.
I have to enjoy the process to practice and in the learning phase it’s more in my nature to just keep going rather than re do.
Coincidentally, this topic came up last weekend when a beginning knitter asked me how to get an even tension on her garter stitch. I told her to keep knitting eventually it will happen. So, I listened to my own advice while making the pirates.
I goofed a few times with the sequence of light and dark, my tension isn't very even and my hem stinks. But it's done and I’m pleased anyway.
Good news bad news: while soaking the hat in a tub of water (at midnight) Johnny got up for a glass of water. When he came back into the room he said, “Did you knit that hat with skulls?”
“Uh, no, why?” awkward lying moment
“Oh, cause it’s pretty cool”.
So, it won’t be too much of a surprise but I know he’ll like it.
Monday, October 22, 2007
I'm not spring cleaning, or fall cleaning rather I'm procrastinating and finding all sorts of personal knitting projects that need finishing or beginning...
this one's from Rowan #38 (2005)
Yarn: Elann.com Peruvian Collection Highland wool color #2519
held together with
Louet Sales Kid Mohair, color Fuchsia
For some reason I can't seem to stick with it, after a few days I have to walk away. So far the walking away period has stretched to two and a half years.
I thought I had finished the back, two fronts and one sleeve, alas no sleeves yet! Started one a few days ago but put it down when I got distracted by the allure of the pirates.
free pattern from hello yarn
yarn: Jamieson & Smith
2-ply jumper weight
MC #36, CC #203
Boyfriend's birthday is coming soon and this is definitely Johnny's style.
I'm still daydreaming about the December Lights Tam but when I went into my stash for the yarn I found all the colors I had were somber blues and grays. I'm tempted by the assortment of bright colorshere. When I look at the design on the tam I'm reminded of pomegranates. Seems to be a theme for me this month.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Source: Greetings from Knit Cafe
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas Sport Weight 100% Alpaca color #30, 10 skeins
US size 7(4.5 mm) needle
I modified this one by omitting the hood and adding a collar. I didn't exactly plan to do this, though I had it in mind that I might not wear a hood and then decided not to change the pattern since I liked it a lot as is. Wishy washy moment.
Then during the knitting I made an error with my math as I had to rework the numbers to fit my gauge, and ended with front pieces too narrow to wear. Hmmm, the subconscious once again steps in for me and makes up my mind.
A collar had to be made now so that the sweater would stay on. I picked up stitches and worked a stockinet, reverse stockinet collar with short row shaping and kind of just winged it. The general rule for picking up stitches is approx 3 sts for every 4 rows or some ratio there about. The buttonholes are worked on a diagonal to accommodate my bust and I put in four buttonholes but after trying it on two seemed sufficient. I had already ripped and knit the collar a few times to get the shaping and bind off right so the unused button holes are there for good and don't show up too badly.
After binding off the collar twice and hating how the chain bind off looked I worked a sewn bind off. That's the first time I've felt the need to use a sewn bind off and it did take quite a while to complete but it's the perfect edge for this particular yarn and collar because it doesn't draw attention to itself and folds quietly not competing with the stitch texture.
Since my gauge was off from the pattern gauge and I didn't feel like thinking too hard I decided to work set in sleeves in the round, top down with short row shaping. Also, I wasn't exactly sure how long to make the sleeves and this way it would be very easy to adjust the length. I'm trying to remember where I learned how to do this...(quick trip to the bookshelf) Sweater Design in Plain English by Maggie Righetti.
I found these buttons in a little shop where they were inside a box hidden in a drawer and they've been sitting in my stash for a few years. They're quite heavy but I love the warmth of all that shell, luckily they're not too heavy for the alpaca.
Blue Sky Alpacas Sport Weight alpaca is a DREAM to work with. Before blocking the stockinet stitch had a kind of crunchy look, after blocking the stitches even out and the drape is wonderful. The color is most like the top photo but I think this shade might be discontinued. Anyway, all their colors are gorgeous.
On a side note, yarn ends were joined by splicing as needed. I recommend doing this when possible, especially with this kind of knit where weaving ends mid row shows through to the public side.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Tuesday night after a feverish knitting spree I grafted the 28 toe stitches and studied my work. Hmmm, the foot looked very small. I'm making these for a friend with small feet (US size 6 1/2 shoe), but the length from heel to toe was around 7 3/4". For myself, socks fit well at about 9 1/2" in length, I wear a US size 8 1/2 shoe.
I took out the graft, undid the short rows and knit another 3/4", then worked the toe (heel and toe measure 1 3/4” each). The sock now measures 8 3/4" and is too small and narrow on me but I'm guessing it will work for the recipient. I think another reason why the sock seemed child sized is because it only has 56 sts at a gauge of 8.3 sts per inch. So, it's narrow too.
I guess my point is: how do you like your socks to fit? Snug or not?
I prefer a negative ease all around otherwise when I wear closed shoes the sock heel gets pulled up.
Also, for knee socks do you sew in elastic at the top?
Okay, other thoughts: about stripes in this yarn (Lorna Laces Shepherd Sock)...on this particular sock with leg shaping and a change in needle size for the foot you get a wide variety of stripes. The top of the leg has 64 sts US size 2 needle, stripes look good if a little narrow, after the shaping down to 56 sts I like the stripes less, until the foot part and then I think the stripes work really well, especially at the heel and toes. These are random observations on striping. You're never too sure what you're going to get.
Here’s a finished sock from last year knit from Koigu. I’ve only hand washed them, but have worn them a lot. They’re holding up pretty well. I used the bluebell rib stitch from Sensational Knitted Socks and worked a picot hem.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Pomegranate plucked from a friend's tree a couple of days ago. As soon as I cut it open and saw the garnet seeds my appetite awakened. I love the taste of sweet juice with a bitter core. And, the thought of people enjoying this food for centuries, just as it is off the tree, inspires. Is there any food more beautiful than a pomegranate?
more self portraits here
Monday, October 15, 2007
I got a new book, just because it is pretty but also because it has good information; though the sock I'm knitting isn't from the book, it's a reworking of the greenish knee socks. The yarn is Lorna Laces in Bee Stripe #202 colorway but don't you want to call it Absolutely Halloweeney?
Finally, finished the Pimlico Shrug and have barely taken it off since Saturday night. Wow, I really like this so much more than I thought I would. It's hard to tell what the heck it looks like with this self-portrait-with-arm-extended shot but for some reason I can't get my act together to figure out the self timer. I modified the pattern a bit by shortening the main body to 28" (from 34) and working 3/4" less of collar ribbing. These changes were made because I didn't have enough yarn, but I think it's fine not being any bigger. I substituted the yarn in the pattern for Rio de La Plata Yarn in the cigar colorway and used almost 7 full skeins. I only have a teeny little bit left. The yarn is super soft. It feels very cozy against the skin which makes up for the fact that I was getting cranky knitting with heavy wool. It's my wrists, they're very tempermental!
I thought the weather would NEVER get cool enough to wear all this wool but it did and I'm enjoying the sweater weather because it feels like knitting weather and that makes me Happy!
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
I have two scarf patterns in the Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts 2007 issue. Candy Stripes Kerchief is made up with luscious angora in fun stripes and the
Huckleberry Ascot is worked in Blue Sky Alpacas melange.
There are a lot of great designs in this issue. I'm going to try to find the time to knit the hat on the cover (December Lights Tam) by Mary Jane Mucklestone. Ages ago I bought yarn for a stranded tam but I still haven't done anything about it. Maybe now's the time.
And, thank you everyone for all the warm congratulations on my book!
Edited to add: Both patterns, The Huckleberry Ascot and the Candy Stripes Kerchief are available for purchase at the Knitting Daily online shop.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Last week my advance copy of Boho Baby Knits arrived at my doorstep in a beat up box. I was so nervous to look inside. But was thrilled to find what I did. A beautiful, real book.
Here are some peeks at the back cover and inside.
A good friend of mine said when she saw the Woodland Fairy Wings, "classic Coyle"; she's familiar with my love of lace and mohair.
These darling knee socks were designed by Julia Trice. There's also a baby footie version.
Mimi and Bobbi, my beatnik dolls enjoying a day at the cafe.
Of course, there's much more! The other designers that contributed designs are Edna Hart, Mary-Heather Cogar, Beth Abaravich, Marnie MacLean and Julia Trice.
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Pattern: Socks from Ivo from Andean Folk Knits.
After I finished the Fancy Silk Socks I thought for sure I was done with socks. I loved them but was tired of tiny stitches going around and around. So, I picked up an old project I had started before the summer heat made it difficult to have a heap of wool in my lap. And after a few days of feverish knitting I realized that I wasn't on deadline and I didn't need to finish a shrug for myself in less than a week. Suddenly, socks seemed like a relief.
I found that I was feeling angry and resentful towards the thick yarn (heavy work hurts my wrists) -so I went back to socks.
All these emotions about knitting and projects. It's funny. I find myself drawn to projects and I try to follow my whims since one thing leads to another and sometimes a brain storming session of new ideas will strike as I knit on something mindless.
The main yarn is Lang Jawoll and the contrast yarn is Paca-Peds. I love how the stranded knitting with a monochromatic variegate yarn looks. I really really like these socks! This pair is for a friend who has a birthday coming soon. But, I'm pretty sure I'll be making another pair in different colors soon.
Has anyone used the yarn Paca-Peds-from the Alpaca Yarn Company? I tried looking for finished socks but didn't see any out there (except for the ones on the yarn companys site).