Sunday, January 20, 2008

Christmas Projects

I made several Christmas scarves inspired by the yarn I bought at "Faulous Fibers" in St. Michaels, MD, and the "Feather and Fan" pattern Hannah found for me.

First I made two scarves, one skein each, with Filatura Di Crosa "Fancy" - multicolor yarn of 60% mohair and 40% acrylic. Each only took about one week - knitting on the metro during my commute and a few hours of television. I used two repetitions of the motif, with two edge stitches on each side, as the pattern suggested. The scarves are pretty short, but they fit around the neck with just enough to hang down on each side and fold across, but not enough to tie a knot. The color changes in the yarn were fun to observe, but I had no control over them. The two skeins weren't exactly alike. The lace pattern automatically makes the ends curvy.

I had bought two hanks of Blue Heron yarn - hand dyed in Easton, Maryland - 89% cotton/11% Nylon,/367Yards each, but hadn't decided what to make with it. After the success of the Fan and Feather pattern, I decided it might work for this expensive cottony yarn and decided to make a shawl for Emily, thinking the colors were kind of African, and it might work for cool nights there, or she could use it as a throw on her couch. When I was partway into it I decided it would be too short, so I added a band made with leftover cotton yarn I had (Marks & Kattens, Camomille/ 100% mercericzed cotton). I tried knitting it double to match the weight of the Blue Heron yarn, but it didn't look right. Then I bought some hairy (feathery?) yarn called Fizz/ 100% polyester, from Crystal Palace Yarns, in a marigold orange and knit it together with one strand of the Camomille. It was perfect. I knit one band on each side and a wider band at the center with the contrasting yarns. For the width, I knit four repetitions of the Feather and Fan pattern and doubled the number of edge stitches. I was really pleased with the result.

Imade one quicky scarf for a friend that only took about 3 hours. I forgot to take a picture before I wrapped it. But it was made of one skien of "Mystery" by Artful Yarns - 40% wool/25% cotton/20% acrylic/15% nylon. 98 yards. (Much thicker than the mohair I used for the other scarves) The pattern was on the label - size 9 needles - cast on 16 stitches and knit one row. Then the pattern is a three row repeat:
Row 1: K wrapping yarn twice. Row 2: K, dropping extra loop. Row 3: K. Repeat, ending with row 3 with about 18" remaining to bind off.
The dropped loops result in very long open stitches. The scarf was plenty long enough, but pretty narrow.

Finally I was inspired by all that lace work to make a hat for Emily's African roommate Glory, who is a seamstress, and is always asking Emily about her mother. Emily says she likes hats. This is the first thing I ever designed entirely by myself! I based it on a pattern for a simple round hat in stockinette stitch with a rolled edge. It called for casting on 99 stitiches. Since I was using finer yarn and smaller needles, I figured I could start with more stitches. I found a motif in a knitting design book called "fern" with a 29 stitch repeat, so I decided to use 4 repeats and cast on 116 stitches. I used more of the leftover Camomille cotton yarn. When I did the decreases for the top of the hat, I followed the natural divisions in the patterns to make it symmetrical. I should have realized that the lace motif would make the rolled edge curvy instead of straight, but it didn't occur to me. I do like the effect, though. The hat is a little small for me, but I have a big head and Emily says Glory doesn't, so I hope it will fit and she will like it. I want to make one for myself later. It only took me one week from start to finish - and it was after I went back to work after the holidays so I was only knitting on the Metro and in the evening.

I have finished my first sock with self striping yarn I received for Christmas and am working on the second, hoping to make it the same size! I discovered the second ball of yarn was wound in the opposite direction, so the colors are in reverse order.
At the same time I'm working on a sweater made of a luxurious yarn "Starlights" by Ironstone Yarns (hand dyed in New Mexico) (Mohair/wool/rayon/nylon) I'm hoping to finish while it's still cold enough to wear it this year. I've finished the back and started on the front.

I don't think I've ever knit so many items in so short a time. This blog is inspiring.
I even got up my nerve to take my knitting (Emily's shawl, and the mystery scarf) to an off-site work retreat. When my boss saw me knitting she got out hers! One of the younger male managers pondered whether he'd have to take up knitting to get ahead in our agency! He said it used to be enough to play golf with the guys, but now he might have to learn to knit.
Knitters Unite!

1 comment:

HEB said...

Such lovely Christmas presents! I'm especially fond of Emily's shawl and may have to try to create a similar one at some point.... And there's nothing like the knitting circle taking down the old boys club!