Monday, January 16, 2012

2011 in review - a few weeks late

This is my major project for 2011 - followed by all the projects that came up after I started it - which explain why I just finished it in January - that and the fact that I feared, no expected, that it wasn't quite coming out as well as I hoped, and unfortunately I was right.
Knit of a super fine cashmere70/silk30 (Superior by Filatura de cross) paired with a strand of fine merino, it's called "Sounds of Silence" in a pattern book called Duettes, and it's soft as a cloud. I thought it would be almost a summer sweater because it is so light, but it's very warm.
The problem is the low wide neck, and the shawl collar is too short in the back (knit according to the pattern, which didn't show the back in the picture) so it doesn't lie right. If I'd had more yarn, I would have made the collar longer down the back and I think that would have made the front lie better too.

I was inspired by some beaded wristlets I saw a friend wearing at a meeting last January and decided that would be my Christmas gift project for the year. I started in the summer and made at five pairs - including one I customized for Emily with curly W's for the Washington Nationals - my first venture into charting an original design. I experimented with various sizes and kinds of beads. The only hard part is stringing 1080 beads onto the yarn before starting - the smaller the bead the harder it is, because you have to use a beading needle instead of a fine crochet hook.

I started the year with a blue Malibrigo worsted scarf and hat for myself, after I finished the orange set for Emily's birthday. The pattern was from Interweave - Rivulet, I think, and I found a compatible pattern for a slouch hat on Ravelry. (The new kitten - Nemesis - is a great aid to knitting and photography)

Along the way I began (and after interruptions) finished an Estonian lace shawl, of a nice rose colored silk, merino, and alpaca blend. I was very dubious about how it was turning our until I blocked it - yes really blocked with pins and water etc, for the first time in my life. It was knit from the middle to the end with a provisional cast on and then picked up there for the other half.

Once I discovered beading, I used another color of the same silk/alpaco blend and made a purple scarf. This beading was easier because the beads were put on the yarn over loops with a crochet hook and knit in one at a time as the work progressed, instead of having to be strung first.

My final interruption was to knit up the interesting yarn I found in Portland, Maine, on vacation in August - Berroco's Boboli. I finished that vest ("Dodgson")on Columbus day weekend at the beach when John got sick. It was quick and easy - but a nice weight and texture in a reverse stockinette, with wide ribbing around the collar and front.

And then the scramble to finish the wristlets for Christmas. Maybe next year I'll clean the beads from last summer's road trip out of the car where they still jingle in the passenger side door pocket.

So that's why it took me a year to knit the ruffled and cabled grey cardigan. [I hope the blog fairy can rearrange the pictures to go with the text - I haven't figured it out.] Maybe I'll even round up the lables and patterns and post on Ravelry and figure out how to insert the hyperlinks.

I wish you all a happy New Year, knitting your yarn and futures!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

under them skies of blue

First things first: I arrived at work this morning to see that the fence surrounding my office's parking lot had been yarn bombed! It's hard to see in my photo, but someone has tied scarves to all of the posts of the fence along one city block. Needless to say, I was absolutely delighted. Perhaps it's the work of the knitty gritty committee, or of the person who works in my building and has a license plate cover that says "I'd rather be knitting." Either way, I'm hoping it lasts for a little while because it will make me happy whenever I pull into the parking lot.

Holiday knitting was a dreadful fail this year, even though I wildly scaled back my plans for it. The only thing I finished (sewed in the ends and steam blocked it mere hours before boarding a plane to return from vacation) was this sweater for a little girl who loves "hop hops". I'm hoping her love will continue until she grows into it since it is quite ample now.

Getting a picture of her was very difficult, so most of my pictures look like this.

(Since she is actually quite cute even when she is not in handknits, those of you who know my family may want to check out these pictures of her birthday celebration.) My fair isle still has a ways to go, but at least the bunnies are recognizable as bunnies. Thanks to Wamps for suggesting this pattern!

I used Spud & Chloe sweater, which knit at a much larger gauge than the pattern required. So I knit the stitch counts for the 6 month size, but used the lengths for the 2-to-4 year old size, which worked out well proportionately. I only had time to steam block before gifting, but plan to wet block it when I'm next at home. Since it's unlikely that she'll grow into it before then, I think that it's a safe plan.

Hope you've all had good starts to 2012 and that your holiday knitting was more successful than mine!