Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Hey, Knitting!

So, I wasn't just neglecting this blog over the past months--I didn't do much knitting at all until around September of this year, and even then it was only a little baby hat for a coworker that I gave away before gathering pictorial evidence.  

Finally though, the cool weather set down in the East Bay, and found my knitting mojo again.  

First up was a hugely belated mother's day gift that became a Christmas present.
Ishbel for Mom
I forgot to take pictures of the finished product in action, but this little Ishbel in The Plucky Knitter Silk Merino (Nora Charles colorway) made me pretty happy.  It blocked BEAUTIFULLY, all pointy-edged, and without blocking wires (as I'd waited till the day before Christmas Eve to finally finish this up.)

Next on the knitting list aren't really a project I can claim for myself, but I do want to show them off. HEB and I bought this yarn at a random store in this fake Scandinavian town in southern CA a couple of years back (it matched our nail polish!) and I finally convinced her to at least send me my pair.  She made me promise to block them, which I did, and then proceeded to wear them around.  SO CUTE.

Socks from HEB

 Also on the list of projects started long ago that I finally finished? These awesome awesome fingerless gloves.

Awesome Transition Gloves
I really love them. I managed to mess up and add too many or too few repeats to one, but I can't even deal with the thought of living without them for long enough to fix it.  It only really bothers me when I'm sitting on the train staring at them, and that happens so rarely, it's hardly worth taking them apart. 

Quite honestly, I think part of my constant frustration with the lack of cold in the Bay Area this winter is because I want to wear these all of the time, and really, it has to be pretty cold, because these babies are WARM.  I have been appreciating the beauty of the quarter length sleeve, as demonstrated above, and how the combination is comfy and chic. (Ha, probably not, but I so don't care!  Love!)

There is one more little thing that's helped to bring back the love of knitting most recently. 
Pretty SHELTER yarn.
I suppose if any designer was going to create a new yarn, Brooklyn Tweed would be the one to do a wooly, tweedy yarn that makes me want to knit with it all day long.  I knit myself a Turn a Square Hat with "Nest" and "Long John" colorways, and then knit my brother a semi-matching one. 

Tire swings are never not fun.
This picture shows his off a little better. 

Baby the goat in the background.
Instead of alternating 2 rows of the red with 3 rows of the grey, I did 3 rows grey, 2 rows red, 3 rows grey, 4 rows red (I know, WILD).  I really really like how his came out, even more than mine.  I also steam-blocked for the first time (I was a little worried about the yarn growing too much) and it worked wonders.  The wool seriously relaxed in front of my eyes, and became a little softer and far more flexible.  And that, in turn, let me wax poetic to my family about the wonders of wool.  Aren't they lucky?

 But two hats was not enough.

Actually a dark, dark brown (Pumpernickel!). Photographing this may be challenging.
This is the first (and not yet complete) of at least two more hats I'm making with this yarn.  More updates as they happen. One of many NYE resolutions is going to be posting to this blog.  Maybe one of those posts will include some lingering holiday gifts as well, but no promises. 


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Winter Knitting

I knit this quicky "gathered pullover" in just about a month, starting on a car ride to Philadelphia on 9/11. The Berocco "Jasper" wool is really soft and warm and the pattern is totally simple stockinette except for a complex cable that brings it in under the bust and gives it a nice fit. I bought the yarn because I fell in love with it, and found the pattern on Ravelry.

About the same time, I also made a scarf of Malabrigo worsted - Emerald Blue. I really like the pattern RIVULET (from Interweave - because it is totally reversable and is an interesting ribbed cable. Very thick and warm. I love Malabrigo yarns. I was looking for another pattern and yarn for a sweater when I found the worsted the the Jasper in my local knitting shop. Later I found the pattern and yarn I really wanted on line and am working on that sweater now.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

hello, blackbird

I somehow managed to not get very good photos of this scarf, despite it being one of the more photogenic things I have knit and having the most photogenic model come visit Hartford to help me out.
Regardless, I'm quite pleased with it (and, more importantly, my mother seems pleased with it as a birthday gift). It's the Dipped Infinity circle scarf, a pattern by CosmicPluto. I now want to knit lots of patterns by CosmicPluto, since this one came along at a time when I was feeling very disengaged from knitting and it was fun and exciting and completely turned me back into a knitter. (Plus, she went to David Berkeley's Boston show the night after my DB house concert. I'm not quite sure why that makes me want to knit her patterns, but it sort-of does.)

The yarn is the Plucky Knitter superwash merino fingering, sold as a kit for the dipped infinity pattern, in Retro Infinity.
I've started putting skeins of sock yarn aside in the hopes of knitting one of these for me someday!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Some quilts and other things

Well, for a break today from statistics and all things boring, I'm posting some delayed quilting.

First up, a butterfly quilt for a friend having her first baby girl. Samir and I made this jointly in a crazy sewing session that lasted about four hours, the morning of my friend's baby shower (this is likely why the pictures are not ideal-- I seem to remember being quite late and needing to run to take a shower, and saying "come on! take it! got to go!"). There's nothing like a deadline to get you going! I liked it particularly because it wasn't too "baby". The back is just the butterfly fabric and it comes through nicely in the second picture. I would have like to angle it, but unfortunately this was just some scrap fabric my mom had lying around so I had to make do with less than I would need to do so.

This quilt I probably made two years ago now (yikes!) and although I distinctly recall taking pictures of it myself, I have never been able to find the pictures. So, we'll have to settle with glimpses available in pictures my friends have taken of their kids where the quilt makes an appearance. It's a lovely little ladybug fabric with red, white, and black, originally made for friends' first baby, but happily used extensively for friends' second baby. I loved this quilt because the cottons I used ended up being super soft. It was considerably larger than the quilt above ("toddler bed" or "crib size" in quilting terms), so took awhile. I was sad to part with it because it was my biggest quilt made to date, but my sadness quickly turned to sheer delight when I saw my friends actually used it. (As I'm sure you knitters can share in, the most heartbreaking part of gifting handmade items is if the recipient does not use the gift. Samir also sews quite a lot but refuses to sew any gifts because of this problem.)

In other happy, artsy things, my sister painted this mailbox for my parents. I love it!

Finally, I thought some of you (not HEB) would appreciate this. Awhile ago we foster parented some adorable, adorable kittens that were abandoned by their stray mother after being powerwashed. My mom found them while out canvassing for some election, and we took care of them for a few weeks until they could eat on their own. They were so sweet! (Like I said, sorry, HEB). They generally cozied up to any and all yarn available. Here, two of them decided to snuggle with a baby blanket I was in the middle of knitting. Unfortunately the intended recipient had a bad cat allergy, so I ended up knitting a new gift for that friend and giving this to someone else.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

knitting and other happy-making things

I've sent off a few handknits in the last week or so, so I figured I should also post them to the blog. The first package included this hat: Foliage, in Plucky Knitter cashmere fingering weight in Rustica.
I worked the hat with two strands of the yarn on US 6s. Hat mods here. The matching wristwarmers were knit with one strand on US 4s. (Details here on adapting the hat pattern to wristwarmers.)
As with many lovely yarns, I struggled to capture its color but think that the first shot of the wristwarmers probably gets it the best. As far as cashmere yarns go, I think this one is a great value, since this whole set used less than 1.5 skeins (hat: less than 1 skein; wristwarmers: less than 0.5 skeins).

On EW's orders, I am posting two non-knitting, but happy-making things to the blog. First up: flannel pajama pants that my mom made me. The fabric is Amy Butler flannel from Stitchers Crossing. She was working off a pattern, but, apparently, they were turning out odd so she basically winged it. I am so happy for cool nights when I can wear these. (They have shrunk a little in the wash since this photo, but that's all for the best.)
And my new fall bag, which is what came of having too many lovely birthday gifts.
I hope you all have time for knitting and other happy-making things!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Black and White

I finished the white linen lace sweater I started in January, just in time for summer. I coudn't work on it during the blizzards. The yarn was totally unforgving - no stretch - and I'm not totally happy with it. The judges at the county fair gave it a second place - calling it equisite but "a shame there are mistakes". There was some short row shaping in the shoulders I'm not sure I got right, but also a few places whre I picked up dropped stiches tha they may have been referring too - with the stiff yarn you couldn't really even out the stitches after picking up stitches up the ladder.

I'm happier with the black short sleeved cardigan, though it's a little too small in the sleeves. I used the 60/40 cashmere/merino yarn I bought the Atlantic Expo I attended in Baltimore two years ago with a vintage pattern from Interweave magazine.

My current project is a wool pullover of Jasper by Berroco - body finished and working on the sleeves. I'm also looking for some Malabrigo yarn and pattern I saw in Interweave. I ordeed the pattern on-line but it was backordered. I bought some Noro silk/wool Garden Party yarn for it, but I don't think it's quite right. I may return it if I can get the Malabrigo on line after the pattern comes.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Ishbel and an Injection of Color

Ishbel in Plucky SMF, Nora Charles (rav link)

A little neck warmer/shawlette for my Mom's birthday. (Shh, don't tell.) 

Also, spy that bit of orange in the upper left?  Yep, I sewed myself some new curtains!  I remember why I quit sewing back in college (oh my god, the inexplicable behavior of thread!  STOP GETTING TANGLED, THANKS.), but I love these curtains so much!!    They have brightened up my living room amazingly.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Another Quicky Baby Sweater

This was for a baby shower for a young colleague. I posted it earlier, but she sent me the picture recently of baby Will wearing the sweater, which should still fit next winter. It was knit with two skeins of knitpick sock yarn. I like the way the zigzags (or lightening bolts) appeared.
My main project now is to finish the white linen summer sweater while it's still summer -I'm on the sleeves and will post soon, I hope.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Stranded knitting, how I love thee

Progress on my transition gloves!   Rav link.  

I keep being amazed at how quickly these knit up, but I guess knitting on 3s instead of 1s really does make a difference.  (The stranding definitely helps too.)  I've loosened my gauge up a bit for this second glove, which is good.  They'll both still benefit from a blocking, but the first seemed a little overly stretched in places and I think this one is just more even over all. 

I'm a little worried about running out of the brown, since the directions called to finish the hand 1 inch BELOW where your knuckles start.  This is clearly crazy, and I knit up several inches past my knuckles.  It may just mean I have to do the thumbs in teal, and that might be pretty awesome, so I'm not too worried. 

Genmaicha Rav link.

I realized I never showed off these quick mitts.   They're one of the very first patterns heb and I got as a companion to our yarn membership, and I've been wanting to make a pair for a couple of years.  When heb wanted to get rid of this lovely shade of pink (I know, I'm horrified too you guys), I knew just who would appreciate it.  These were fun, a quick waffle rib on the wrist and pretty easy cables along the hands.  I had to decrease the total number of stitches to account for my loose knitting, which worked out totally fine.  However, I forgot to do the same for the thumb, so they ended up being all huge.  I did some k2togs to take them in a bit, but that turned out a little weird as well.  They're recipient claims she likes 'em though, so I think it worked out ok.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Never Ending Knitting

I thought I'd share the project that's been taking up most of my knitting time these days.  Eventually it's going to be a lovely, amazing scarf/stole thing, but in the meantime, it's tons and tons of fiddly lace knitting.  Not that I mind, but I'm halfway through the central pattern and then there are two more large pattern pieces for both sides of the shawl that I'll have to do.  Hence, the never ending. 

I did finally come to terms with this and cast on for a pair of fingerless gloves I've been craving for ages.  I'm using Plucky "Mallard" and ShibuKnits brown.  The Shibu yarn is a bit thinner than the Plucky MCN, but I think it'll be ok.  I also decided to actually use the needles suggested, given my discovery that I knit less loosely when doing colorwork than when working with one color alone.  It seems to be working (and also seems to be knitting up so quickly!) so I'm feeling good about it at the moment.

I am anticipating a lot of baby knits in the near future, so if anyone has a blanket or other item that's been a particular hit, I'd love to hear about it.  (or be reminded, if it's already on the blog.)  The umbilical cord hat is definitely on the list, as soon as I can find my SNB.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Best Mittens Ever? Yes.

I found this pattern more than a year ago and showed them to my sister one day to see if she'd like me to knit her a pair.  While I waited until she was back in a climate where she could appreciate them, I did finally manage to knit them up for her for Christmas.

I used knit picks glossy fingering, a combination of merino wool and silk, for extra warmth and a little extra shine.  The yarn was quite lovely to knit with, and I really like how these turned out.

The big surprise for me was learning that my normally extra-loose gauge totally tightens up when knitting with two colors.  It makes sense, given that I am not as adept at holding the yarn in my left hand and everything ends up getting tightened up a bit, but it made me a bit nervous.

My sister has small hands, but I'd already gone down a couple of needle sizes (as I have started to do as a matter of routine, these days) and they ended up a little bit small, especially in how the thumb fit to the rest of the hand.

Thankfully, some post-Christmas blocking seemed to help (so she claims) and now my sister is wearing her new mittens around the house.  She has so far avoided wearing them outside because she "loves them too much."  Well, I tried to argue that mittens should be used, but really, who I am to say she can't decide these are precious objects.

*This post is brought to you by borrowed internet.  Eight percent, whoo!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Blizzard 2010

I was working on a lightweight white lace linen cardigan for spring when the great Northeast Blizzard of 2010 struck Washington, DC, and somehow in all that white it just didn't feel right.
I had lots of time on my hands but needed to be working on something cozy. So I continued with the hats. I found some leftover yarn from the sweater I happened to be wearing and tried the sideways grande hat again with much better results (I deleted 9 stitches from the cast on strip).

Then I decided I had enough leftover yarn from the first sideways grande attempt to make a tam from the same pattern book.

Finally, I decided to try the two at a time method for knitting socks on two cable needles. So far, so good. If you try this, I recommend finding needles that are a different color. It makes it much easier to keep it straight which row you are on. Mine are green aluminum (from an ancient stache) and bamboo. A trick to remember if you use self striping yarn - not all balls are wound in the same direction. If you want your socks to match, you may need to rewind one skein. I didn't bother so my stripes will be upside down o one sock.

Happy winter. I'm not sure I'll ever want to go back to work after this unexpected knitting break.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

I miss blogging, the post

Hey dudes!  I miss blogging.  And You!  But here's something I knit mostly in September, blocked in late December, and finally sent to its recipient in January.  I know.

Happily, the recipient said this was her favorite color "in the world" and that it was the best thing she'd ever received from a student.   Success!  It was really pretty, and I did have a hard time giving it up at the end.  Does someone want to knit me one of these things?  They are super easy (just knitting!) but lord, there is a lot of knitting.  This one was probably half as wide as heb's, but it still took forever.  Seriously, I even have the yarn.  Anyone have too much time on their hands???

The blocking shot:

And to conclude this post, here's a little ruffle scarf action.  I knit this in November and gave it to CEM for her most important birthday ever. 

I have wanted one of these for myself for ever as well, and I actually bought this yarn in Boston but when I started making it, I wasn't as in love, but thought the colors would suit cem, so I gifted it.  Of course, by the time it was done, I kind of wanted this one too.  But, really, so it goes.  I would happily receive one of these as well, though I probably need another skein of this yarn for it to work (malabrigo).  Less knitting though!