Wednesday, December 30, 2009

build me a sailboat, something made of wood

It's only a little melodramatic to say that I've been broken by knitting today but I am definitely still too fragile to blog about it. (Here I used to say that it was just yarn...) Instead, I'll give you details on some successful Christmas gifts, many of which have appeared in other forms on the blog. First up: mittens that match those of KZ's niece, the flannel sheet mittens. You've seen these before here and here. For my grandma, these are Grove mittens by Brooklyn Tweed, knit out of Plucky Knitter Cashmere Fingering Weight in Elegant Flannel. I loved knitting this pattern and knitting with this yarn. I'm planning a pair for myself in the new year, although not in the same yarn. The pattern calls for DK weight knit on 6s, but I originally planned to knit these mittens with worsted weight yarn since I had a skein that I thought my grandma would love. However, even on 4s, I couldn't get gauge with worsted yarn and it was incredibly painful to knit worsted on needles so small. Miraculously, I managed to get gauge with 4s and this fingering weight yarn. (EW has already demanded an explanation for how this worked. I don't have one. I'm sorry.)

Second on line: the cleft hat for my grandpa.

Seen here before, I definitely prefer the finished product over the process of knitting this one. But I think that's more a fault of my own impatience with cabling, rather than a fault of the pattern or the yarn. For the record, it's a Brooklyn Tweed koolhaas in Plucky Knitter MCN Fingering in Rock of Ages (Fascination Series #1).

Third up: the bioenergy hat for my father.
It's an improvised pattern in Plucky Knitter MCN Fingering (held doubled) in Moody Broody Blue. I couldn't bring myself to knit another koolhaas so soon, but wanted a similar look for this hat. I used a trellis stitch from a new-to-me stitch dictionary, Super Stitches Knitting and knit for about 7 inches before starting decreases. I think it turned out well, although I would do the decreases more gently if I knit a similar hat again. At the recent Bon House reunion, Daria captured some of my work process on this hat. Since I was holding the yarn doubled, it was getting tangled in my pocket as I pulled it. As she often does with tangled yarn, Meg jumped to the rescue to keep my yarn in line.

Last but not least: the day before the fall hat for the Iowan.
I never got a good picture of this one, despite forcing EW to model it for me. (It's not that she wasn't plenty photogenic, as usual. The lighting was off, though.) However, I pretty much loved it and can't wait to knit one of these for me. It's a Quincy hat from Plucky Knitter MCN Worsted in Rock of Ages (Fascination Series #2). The picture here is probably more true to color.

Here's to only successful knitting in 2010!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

My knitting skills have become quite advanced.

Okay, not really. But check out this cool stuff my mom made. (this is my niece, not me... in case you're wondering). I believe both patterns come from Brooklyn Tweed. I also got a pair of the mittens, but they're not quite finished yet, hence no photo.

Friday, December 25, 2009

handknits in action (Christmas day edition)

Child's Placket Neck Pullover from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, in Plucky MCN Fingering, held doubled. Only mods were to add the stripe and to leave off the buttons. Since I wasn't doing the buttons, I sewed about an inch and a half of the placket closed. And, yes, that is the 4-to-6 year-old size on my 3-and-a-half-year-old nephew.
Umbilical Cord hat from S'n'B, in Rowan Cotton Glace. No mods, except that I was working from memory so I ended up making the newborn size a little long.
Group Shot

Happy Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

trying hard to learn

Just organized my Plucky stash today to figure out if there were any that I was willing to destash. The list is small, but you can see it here if you're interested.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

thinking about leaving town

I had thought that I had packed all the knitting I could possibly need over Thanksgiving, but I found myself longing for something super simple and gratifying. Thank goodness for the lovely Lakeside Fibers and KZ's help picking colors for a quick baby hat.

I sewed in the ends as we drove to the airport for my flight back to the East Coast, so I could leave this cutie there just in case it's needed before I return.

For those of you who are traveling soon, what are your knitting plans?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Knitted Goods, in Use

I'll get my notes and pictures together for a real knitting post soon, but in the meantime I had to share this picture with you all.   Check out the multitude of knit wear in use!  (Also in use, though less visible are the mittens KZ made me.  It was really cold.  I needed two layers.)  Yay, warm woolen goodness!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Day After Thankgiving

Jellyroll is helping me knit.

An elderly friend asked me to help her with a hat she was knitting (La Parisienne beret) and she had gone so far astray I decided I had to knit the hat first myself to see what the pattern was supposed to be doing. It will serve for my Secret Santa gift to take to my office holiday party.

And here's the beret, after I steam blocked it over a dinner plate.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Good things come to those who wait

I do actually knit, but certainly not often enough to be any kind of respectable kal friend (sorry, HEB).

As you may recall, I embarked on knitting the Droplet Hat from Norah Gaughan's Knitting Nature quite some time ago. I finally finished the hat and would prefer to not think about how long it took me to finish. I suppose that finishing it (ever) is what matters most.

This hat is definitely the most difficult project I have tackled to date, which is probably more of a reflection of the relatively basic patterns I've knit previously than a suggestion that this is an inherently difficult pattern. The most obvious benefit of this challenging pattern is the end product: a hat that I absolutely adore! The other great benefit is that it forced me to learn a lot as I took my first crack at many maneuvers like sewing a seam, making bobbles, and all kinds of stitches (K1-f/b, K1-tbl, p2sso, ssk). If there is a downside to all of that learning, it is that all of the mistakes and tearing out that followed definitely slowed me down. Fortunately, I was determined to get past the mistakes and have a droplet hat of my own!

I actually finished knitting the hat about a month ago, but since the hat is knit flat, it was still useless minus the seam (unless, of course, wearing a hat held together by safety pins is your idea of comfort and style). I definitely drug my feet on the seam. I'd never sewn a seam and I feared a novice seam would ruin an otherwise cute hat (that was painful enough to finish knitting in the first place). HEB pointed me in the direction of some great and easy directions on seaming in Stitch 'N Bitch, and she pointed out that a seam would be easy enough to tear out and re-do if I didn't like it. Surely, then, I tackled the seam right away, right? Not quite.

I drug my feet some more. The hat sat flat on my coffee table for a few more weeks, as the weather here was relatively mild and certainly didn't necessitate a hat, but with the words blustery and snow finally creeping into the forecast, I decided I really had to finish the hat. I put the entire seam in tonight. This is the seam in progress. The process was definitely not as bad as I thought it would be, and while I don't think the final seam is perfect, I think it is good enough to call it done. That said, allow me to show off my new favorite winter accessory:

The FINISHED droplet hat!!!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

used to be much harder

Recently, the project that has been the most compelling is also the project that has been the most frustrating. I'm designing the pattern and it's still in the swatching stage. Unfortunately, for the life of me, I can't figure out how to translate what's in my mind into yarn. Below, you can see the backside of one of many attempts to do so.
I didn't want to recreate the wheel, so I've trolled Ravelry and scoured pattern books to find a stitch that works, but no luck yet. I took a break from being absurdly frustrated to work on an absurdly simple one.
Suddenly, I have a new most compelling knit.

What have I been doing?

I have had the sense this fall that I haven't been doing much knitting.  But maybe it's because I've been knitting things that were not on my knitting to do lists. 

These mitts are a perfect example.  When ysolda's pattern came out, I knew I had to make them, and I even knew that I wanted to use my plucky KAL yarn.  It turns out this was a decision made in knitting heaven, because this yarn turned out even more marvelously than anticipated.  It's hard to capture in photos, but it's totally glowy! 

The wrist band is knit straight, and then you pick up stitches along the edge and knit the hand.  This design (like so many of Ysolda's, really) has a fantastic combination of simplicity and sweet little details. 

I especially loved how the buttons along the wrist section curve a bit, so they aren't in a straight line.  

The other little knit that I can share is a iPod cover I improvised for my iPod.  I promised that I would make it a new cover if it started working again, and as it did, I kept my word.

The button is a glowy green that matches this super special yarn (what's it called, Old Books or something?) perfectly. Yay super special, happy yarn!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

third time's the...

So far, I've knit three Brooklyn Tweed designs for Christmas gifts. Two of them were delightful, inspiring knits. The kind of knits that you don't want to put down and that you're a little sad to finish. For both of those, I picked out the yarn that I plan to use the second time that I knit the pattern before I finished the first version. (I've even started in on one of those repeaters.)

And then there was this one.I think that the best thing that I can say is that, now that it's done, I no longer hate it. And I think that the recipient will really enjoy it. (Or at least will wear it. The recipient might not be the type to rhapsodize over handknits.) But it felt like punishment to have to knit it. Maybe if I can talk myself into knitting another, I'll take a page from Wamps's book and cut down the repeats. That might help. Or maybe I'll just resign myself to not being a fangirl for this pattern.

For both this post and the prior post, I am pretty darn sure that the recipients do not read the blog. From here on out, I'll need to be more obscure for the remaining gift knitting season.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

the problem with not procrastinating

Is that when you *really* love Christmas gifts that you've already finished, you have trouble not believing that you couldn't keep them for yourself and still have time to make the recipients new gifts.Unfortunately, for me, knitting is one of the few things that takes just as long whether I leave it until the last minute or not. But I think I'm going to hide these, just so I forget how much I like them. Or maybe I will gift them early.

(For the record, this particular gift is only about 90% done. But I feel the same way about another gift that is all ready to go.) (Also for the record, that is Plucky's new 4-ply cashmere in Elegant Flannel. It might be the softest thing in the world.)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

change in the seasons

When this is the view from my window
(bedroom window)
(kitchen window)

is it any wonder that my knitting has also turned to fall colors?

(still on the needles)(off the needles but not gifted yet)(waiting to be wound)(next on the needles)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Happy October!

Hey crafters! Anyone planning on celebrating Socktoberfest this year?

There's a mystery sock KAL (and how can any of us resist a mystery?!) as well as choose your own sock knitting.

I'm still on the fence a bit, given that I did the gift sock knitting I had planned with my Hello Althea's.

I also have to admit, while my knitting to do list is nowhere near as frightening as heb's, I am making slow progress on the items that are there.

The gifty Melody continues apace, but it grows slowly. I'm hoping this yarn (a single ply merino) will grow quite a bit once soaking and blocking time comes, but the single ply makes me more nervous about breakages as well, so I don't want to plan on pulling it too much.

I have a couple of other projects, half on and half off the needles...

But my sister has made some demands that I very much want to fulfill....

(A note:  No one demands knitting from me, except for my demanding sister!  I partly blame this on the fact that most of my close family are in places where knitting is really more of a quaint hobby, and less something needed to actually stay warm, but still.  I wouldn't mind a couple of demands every now and then.) 

And then there are some of my selfish projects that have been languising all summer, including my someday Honeybee Stole and my former Henley Perfected that I've determined should become a Coraline.

Basically, I am full of indecisiveness!  It is a happy kind though, I openly admit.  What to knit next is a pretty awesome question to ask oneself.  (And the answer might be: the iPod cover I promised my iPod if it started working again!)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

so much for doing well on deadlines

As my blog-silence may have suggested, I haven't really had a lot of time to knit this summer. Between the move-that-lasted-forever, the job-that-did-not-slow-down-during-the-summer, and many lovely trips and visitors, I had a hard time fitting knitting in. So when I take stock of my progress on summer knit goals, the picture isn't pretty. In fact, it's downright pathetic. I can't think of a time when I made less progress on a set of self-imposed goals. Here's the (limited) progress that I made:

I'm 11 rows away from finishing my end-of-August goal:I wish I could say that I'm as devoted to this project as Wamps was to her version, which clocked in at 150 rows. But I've decided that mine will be lovely at just around 100.

My save-my-sanity cowl grew, almost without me thinking about it:
It's still a-ways from being finished, but maybe that's for the best.

During the last weekend in August, an unusually long (since moving to the Beat, that is) spell on public transit produced this baby hat:
This wasn't one of my knitting goals, but since it's the closest I came to a FO this summer (only have two ends to sew in!) I'm including it anyway. It's the Umbilical Cord hat in Sheep Feet, Royalty colorway. Having rushed out the door without writing down the pattern, I counted on CH's memory to get me the right number of stitches. Luckily, that was a safe bet. What was not as lucky was how I felt about this yarn once it was knit up. In the skein, I thought it was beautiful, but I think the brown is much too dominant in the final knit. (EW, enter your massive protest here. I don't care. You can't see it in person, so you don't know how overwhelming the brown is.) However, the yarn was the product of my first-ever trip to Webs (which was also EW's first-ever trip to Webs). It is a miraculous place.

Also, I took Labor Day weekend off from everything, and that helped me to jump start some fall knitting.

This lovely is all finished except for the finishing: The yarn knit up just like I imagined, and I learned why so many people love one particular classic knit. You'll have to wait for details until it's gifted, though.

And I'm about halfway through another knit using these colors:This knit reminds me why Blue Sky Dyed Cotton is still high on my list of favorite yarns. All but the green were purchased during my second-ever trip to Webs.

Finally, today was the Coventry Farmer's Market's Fiber Fest. I actually went back to get the most amazing cod in the world, but I couldn't resist a little local yarn:It's the Painted Sheep's Shimmer Yarn in Merlot. It's a superwash merino/tencel blend and I think that I know just the knit for it.

What are you all working on this fall?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Met a Swift, Fell in Love

I was wandering through an estate sale the other day and had decided I really had no room to store anything, and then I found this:

A swift! For less than $60 (quite a bit less)!! An opportunity not to be missed. I had planned to like, polish it, or something, but then I set it up and used it pretty immediately. I did need to add some ~fishing line, but it works like a beauty. Of course, without a ball winder, it doesn't really make winding yarn any faster, BUT, I can set it down and go off and live my life in between bouts of winding, so there's that.

In other news, working on a little something with my TPK Foliage yarn that I won in my first KAL, way back in January. (Good times!) Sometimes, plucky yarn has this marvelous glowy quality, and this is one of those times. Yay, knitting fun!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A little time to breathe

Hello my lovely knitting and sewing and crocheting friends! I finally got to give this shawl to it's owner, so I can brag with some photos!

Super simple pattern, called Melody's Shawl, that creates an incredibly diverse set of end products depending on the yarn and needle sized used. This shawl was made with Posh yarn, a lace weight blend of silk and merino wool, which was super fine and super lovely to knit with!

However, the super fine-ness of it did mean I had to knit forever and ever. I can't even remember how much television watching and bus riding accompanied the making of this shawl, but it was not insignificant. Thankfully, the simplicity of the pattern was made for these kinds of activities, and were perfect during a summer in which I dearly needed distractions.

I took this picture at a point when I thought I was nearly done and then realized I had only knit about half of what I had planned!

And this shows my first serious blocking job! I used all of my block mats, and then had to pull them apart to stretch the shawl out to be as wide and long as I wanted. I might have tried to make it a bit larger, actually, but this table was the largest cat and baby-free flat surface that I had available to me, so that was the size I ended up with.

I'm going to try and post a bit more often than I did in the last two months, but how's about an update in crafty news from others? Someone should definitely find a ribbon hanging and refurbish it to hang in glory in their new condo.