Sunday, May 9, 2010

Abrazo Embraced

Here's the super-gorgeous Abrazo:

Designer: Susanna IC
Yarn: Fiddlesticks Zephyr Lace Wool/Silk
Published in Twist Spring '10

I fell in love with this shawl as soon as I saw it in Twist. I ordered the pattern and was happy to realize that I already had the yarn. It is quick for a shawl, and the dimensions are interesting. It's about 16" tall in the center and wider than my wingspan. The short rows make it stay put when wearing it like a shawl, but it can also be worn as a scarf because of the width of the thing.

The only problem I had was because I ignored the designer's suggestion to use backward loop cast on- because I find it hard to knit the first row, and instead I did long tail cast on. After I cast off the shawl I realized that my cast-on was way too tight, and I PICKED OUT 367 CAST-ON STITCHES, then bound them all off very loosely. Lesson learned. I'm just thankful that my mistake was fixable. It was all worth it.

I noticed that the designer has a similar shawl with a different lace pattern- and I'm very interested in knitting another. It's that cool.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

FO Parade

Leafy Lagoon Vest:

It's a Sweaterbabe pattern, and it couldn't be better written or easier to follow. I'm very happy with how this turned out.

Pattern: #100 Lacy Little Vest
Designer: Sweaterbabe
Yarn: Knitpicks Shine Worsted in Lagoon
Mods: I have several:I added a lot of buttons, I changed the back, as written the pattern has two lace panels on the back. I made the front lace panels symmetrical, and I lowered the back neckline, so it's more of a tank than a vest.

It was considerably smaller before I blocked it. I knit it in a slightly smaller size than I wear because I read on Ravelry about how the yarn sometimes stretches. It turned out to fit perfectly. The yarn is velvety soft and I will definitely knit with it again.
Up next: The Flirt n Flare Skirt. I finished this last spring. It took a long time to knit, and included a 6 month hibernation. I'm oh so happy that I persevered though.

Pattern: Fit-n-Flare Trumpet Skirt
Designer: Joan McGowan-Michael
Yarn: Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy (don't know the color)
Mods: Only changes: I left out the elastic from the waist, and I started the eyelet rows in the front at the bottom, for modesty.
It's pretty see-through anyway, and I want to sew a thin gauzy liner or slip for it. I don't even own a slip, so I wear it with cotton/lycra shorts. I love the way this skirt moves. It's a very flattering shape for most women. And it's ever so comfy in the hottest part of summer, it's like wearing nothing.
Finally, My Blue Heaven:

Pattern:97-18 Tailored Cardigan
Designer: Drops
Yarn: Home-dyed Ultra Alpaca by Berroco
Mods: I know I changed a few things, but I no longer remember what they were. This isn't the most flattering picture, but I love this cardi, I wear it all the time in winter. I love the way the yarn turned out too.
My WIPS update: I have both sleeves done for Que Sera and the body about 10 rows in.
Abrazo: I just have to cast-off and block. YAY!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Dropped Rib Vest- Finished

I'm delighted to share my completed vest. I started it right around Valentines day- which must have influenced my color choice- and I love it. The colors shimmer and dance, and they make me want to dance too!

Pattern: My own, inspired by Macro Lace Cardigan (see below)
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted, in Intenso
I wanted to knit a shrug/vest/cardi in a similar construction to the Macro Lace Cardi by Laura Chau. I like her version, but I wanted it more fitted and I've wanted to use the dropped rib stitch for a long time. I love the way it undulates, and with the bright red and pink colors, the individual “drops” look kinda like tiny vaginas.

To knit the vest, you first knit a rectangle, then fold it in half, pick up stitches along the cast-on and cast-off edges, and join to knit the ribbed edge and collar in the round. Then you have a short seam on either side to make the arm holes the right size. I used the construction of the Macro Lace, but I used my own pattern, and worked out the increases for the collar as I went. It turned out with a sort of a ruffly edge, and I like the way it looks.

I wasn't sure I would like wearing it, as I've never been much of a vest person, but it's comfy and bright and fun to wear.

My Leafy Lagoon Vest (aka #100 little lace vest from Sweater Babe )is coming along too, and I like the yarn a lot. It's Knit Picks Shine Worsted, and the color has depth, despite that it isn't heathered or anything. The shadows from the plies, along with the shimmer from the modal, make the color shift a bit. It's also soft and smooth. I think it will feel really good on my body.

My next project comes via the new Knitty- I've already ordered the yarn for Que Sera by Kristen Kapur. I signed up for the KAL for it too- my first! Now I'm in an extra hurry to finish Leafy Lagoon so I can cast on this gorgeous cardi.

I'm having a lot of fun with the warm-weather knits this spring.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Olympic Dreams Derailed and Defeated by Startitis

My dreams of Knitting Olympic Gold were side-lined by an intense case of Startitis, that bane of crafters everywhere. I had a particulary bad case, as it attacked not only on the knitting front, but on the sewing front as well.
So, I have yet to complete the embroidery on the Duckie Onesie. It is so cute and perfect, and I’m afraid I will ruin it. So I have decided to practice first on a swatch. This decision, wise though it seems, has set things back considerably. Luckily, it’s turning out to be more like 6-month size than newborn size, so if it’s a 3-month-old gift, it will be perfectly appropriate, size-wise.

Actually, it’s probably the impending birth of my friend Molly’s baby that sent me over the edge. I went to her shower, where I observed no newborn sized hats and no handmade blankets, but I did see tiny perfect (non-handmade) socks. All of these things inspired me. The incredibly beautiful and sweet hat and tiny awesome booties that I knitted left my hands without a photo to mark their existence, but I’m proud to report that they, along with the bright, lovely and oh-so-soft blankets I sewed, are going to the hospital with Molly to be among the first things to comfort her new baby.
Here's some pics of the blankets:
The animal print is soft cotton flannel.

The back is remnants of cotton. I had a lot of fun making this.

I adore the owls. They are bright and psychedelic.

The back is a red fan print, which has a weird optical effect
that makes it look shimmery when it covers a lot of space.
Hopefully stimulating for baby's young mind.

So, I didn’t finish the Onesie or my Dropped Rib Cardi, and so I didn’t take Gold. But, I’m happy with what I’ve accomplished anyway. There’s always 2014!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Knitting Olympics

I got a wild hair and decided to join Stephanie Pearl McPhee’s Knitting Olympics, which apparently is separate from the Ravelympics. My goals were to finish the Gaia shrug and the Duckie Onesie. The Onesie, though an easy knit, requires embroidery, which I haven’t attempted for about 30 years, Seriously, 30 years!

I was expecting the Gaia shrug to be simple and quick, and I planned to use my lovely red and purple alpaca/silk handspun. Of course, I hit a major snag, which was that no matter how many different ways I measured, I could not get the patterns dimensions to match mine. This is a problem because I had calculated the amount of yarn I would need by following the pattern. I figured that I need to knit at least 6 more inches (66 square inches) to make a shrug that will fit me, but I don’t have that much yarn. Sigh. I realized this after I was about 4 hours into my knitting.

So plan B. I went and bought 4 skeins of gorgeous Malabrigo worsted in Intenso:

The knitting in the pic is a swatch, not the shrug.
I’m going to make this shrug (because 'shawl collar vest' is too long and boring a name,henceforth my version will be called Dropped Rib) , only with a different stitch pattern, which I‘ve wanted to knit for a long time. I expect it to take longer than my original plan, but wow, these colors vibrate with awesomeness and I’m inspired to knit this!

Naturally I completely neglected the Onesie (which I'm calling 'Just Duckie') while I was driven to figure out my shrug plan. Luckily it is small. I’m using a lovely yellow shade of Bliss Cashmerino DK, which immediately tangled hopelessly. I think I need one of those yarn socks to keep the ball intact.

That’s been my last couple of days. Happy Valentines Day, and good luck to my fellow Knitting Olympians!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Entrelac Stole #2 is Done!! Plus Mole and Handspun!

Yes- I finished the Entrelac Stole and blocked it today- YaY! Here's some pics:

I love it! It's a lot more colorful than the last one. At some point I will dig all the Noro tags out of the project bag and list all the colorways I used.

Earlier this week I made Mole for the first time. It was very yummy and a culinary adventure. I took several recipes that I found online and adapted them for the ingredients I could lay my hands on and the amount of work I was willing to do.
It was a little weird putting chocolate, tomatoes and chilies in a sauce together, but it turned out fantastic!
The mole, delicious as it is, isn't terribly photogenic, so I only have pictures of the ingredients:

I made fresh corn tortillas to go with it and I don't have to tell you what a treat that was.

I've also started swatching my alpaca, silk handspun, and it is luscious! Here's a picture (sorry it's sideways):

I feel like I've had a very creative week already, and it's only Wednesday. I wonder what else I'll do?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

New projects and Old WIPS

Last week flew by in a blur of activity. I completely missed my intended blog post in the rush. That's when I realized that I can only count on having time over the weekend. So, it's been a little less than two weeks since my last post, but much is happening.
I came to the sinking realization last week that my hooded scarf was not fated to be, as evidenced by my lack of yarn, and my inability to acquire more, as I had spun it from a kettle dyed one-of-a-kind. So, I unraveled my work, and came up with these pretty pictures of curly recovered yarn in the last of the day's sunlight:

It's going to take a hot bath, then I'm going to knit it into Lee Meredith's Skoodlet.
This design uses the right amount of yarn, it's a style that I like and it's practical. YaY!I love how her designs feature innovative construction, and she's not afraid of bright colors.
I worked on my Entrlac stole, and I finally got a decent picture. Witness:

For comparison's sake, let's look at the one I took indoors:

Yuck, the color is all yellow and icky.
The stole is so pretty, and that picture is so not.
Now I'm only a few rows from done and ready to block, which is where it becomes a silky, drapey beauty.

I sewed the buttons on my Veyla mitts(Rav), which I finished knitting a few months ago:

These were knit from some of my earliest handspun, and my first merino attempt. I love them.

On top of that, I'm beginning to knit a baby onesie, for my dear, brave and beautiful friend Molly, who is about to become a mother again. I swatched some Bliss Baby Cashmerino, and it will be perfect. It's my first baby garment,
and I couldn't be more excited. I get to be an Auntie again!

Also this week I swatched some (more)lace, and I'm starting to get quite the collection of purty swatches. What should I do with all of them?

My last bit of news: I'm trying to fight off a bout of startitis. I've never had it before, so my immunity is low. So many projects are so appealing right now. Must stay focused!

Have a great week!