Sunday, January 22, 2006

UFOs

From Summer '05 - I started this Adrienne Vittadini Cable sweater. I love making cables, and the yarn I used was RYC Cashsoft (154 yards!) on a US 7. It's a cashmere-merino-microfiber blend; a very easy knit, and soft, very soft. As of now, I have knitted the back, and the front, up to the point of doing the neck (joining 2 balls), and both sleeves. I am probably about 75-80% done.


Also from Summer '05, I am even closer on this project. It's a shell with Slip stitch using Berrocco Softwist in Red, and Muench Yarn's Verikeri in Brown. Very easy to knit, but I am interrupted easily with this project(it's a good candidate for doctor's offices).


The back is finished, and the front, I am at the point of the neck. Same part as the blue. I am thinking of adding sleeves since it's winter now. Who knows ? It might take another summer at the doctor's to finish this one.

Flower Facecloths

I love these face cloths - they're from Weekend Knitting by Melanie Falick. I used Cotton Chenille by Crystal Palace. Each one uses almost one skein. Although I had enough to start another flower, the remnant is enough for the petals, but not the center, so it looks odd if you mix colors. As facecloths, they are very absorbent. As decorations, they add a little fun to the bathroom.

socks - cuff down

Socks, cuff down. It was a class in June '05. My instructor was Kristina at KB. The best idea is to start the second sock just after starting the first, so you can practice all of the techniques. I did and finished the pair just after the end of class. The green was my in-class sock. I used Art Yarns supermerino, 3 skeins. It's hand-painted yarn. That's about $25 + effort for these socks... yep. enough said.

Knitting Bee Trunk Show













In July '05, Knitting Bee held a Customer Trunk Show, and I brought my finished cardigan in to display at the Shop. It was nice to have it presented. For the kick-off party, Jamie offered us champagne and truffles, and had a drawing. I didn't win, but having my cardigan on show was enough.

Next project..a sweater cardigan

My next project was a sweater. For this, I took a class (April-May '05) at The Knitting Bee a shop near to my home. The instructor Charlene had us choose an Adult or children's drop-shoulder cardigan using an unsual pattern which mapped out all of the increases/decreases. Once we knew our gauge, we just read down the column and followed the instructions.

As usual, my mind raced ahead to a different kind of design. By now, I had discovered that I was not satisfied with the majority of the knitting patterns on the market. When I went into shops and fell in love with the yarn, I would ask about patterns to use the yarn, and would often be asked, "Don't you have a pattern already ?" It seemed that most shops would like us to believe that the pattern is bought first, and then, the yarn is bought according to the pattern. In my mind, I already had an idea of what I would make, but couldn't find the pattern I wanted. In conjunction then, with the pattern from class, I worked with a colleague of mine to map out the design I wanted to knit. I made many swatches for color and gauge, and learned how to use graph paper to plan my design. I learned intarsia, and discovered that I love it.

I used Elsbeth Lavold's Angora in black (a "no-no" in the traditional knitting world for beginners) on a US 7, and Debbie Bliss' Alpaca Silk (also black) on a US 5 for the button band. The pattern called for knitting the button band at the end of the row of the front panels of the cardigan, rather than picking it up at the end. So, each row, I knit across and then, changed to the smaller needle. At each step, I multi-tasked - intarsia, sizing, button bands, button holes. I decreased for the arm hole, and added slip pockets, and a collar. It was fun and challenging.
The class was an 8-week class; we met 4 times, every other week. I was travelling after the first class, so my time was shifted slightly to finish the cardigan within the 8 weeks.

The result ? On the back, a sun setting on water, and on the front, a silhouette of trees with the sunset behind. It was fun.

One of my lessons learned - always follow the instructions for making the first button hole a 1/2" from the bottom edge of the cardigan, otherwise, t won't close.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Next up, felting

I'm fascinated with the "new", at least that is, new to ME.
After scarves, my next major milestone was felting. I dove in straight away and signed up for a class to make a felted pillbox hat. There were 4 of us in class - 2 had front-loaders, and 2 only had access to coin-operated machines. So, Elaine offered for us to use her machine. What fun! For my first hat, I used Manos del Uruguay. What a pleasure to knit with - unfortunately, after washing and felting, most of the color was lost. My lovely red and purple hat (no, I'm not 50 yet), ended up looking like something of the Dr. Seuss-style.

Everyone else loved it! well, except me.
I was more impressed with the other hats that were made in the class. One used Noro Kureyon which felted to the softest hat ever, and an incredible blending of color from one hand-painted line to the next. The lady in the middle made her hat to replace one she'd lost. It's 60 rows using Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride. That was my next project!

After the class, I obsessively knit a few hats, ok, 5 - 2 using Lamb's Pride - a Black one, and a Red one; one using Noro Kureyon (shown here as the striped pink one); a periwinkle hat from Lamb's Pride Bulky. Here they are stacked up on my table - pre-felted. Since I needed a top-loading machine that was vigorously felt and shrink my wool hats, I co-opted a coworker who has just such a machine, and offered to knit her a hat in exchange. The Periwinkle hat with the darker purple stripe is hers. I wanted to make one to match her periwinkle coat. It turned out to be just perfect.
Did you count ? I only described 4.

The fifth was an alpaca hat that I'd started during the same time as class. It's one of Bev Galeskas' patterns of a hat with a felted brim. The reason I separated it is because I wanted to show you how big the hat was BEFORE I felted it. yep. HUGE. The after-shot fits my head much better.











and it fits- what a bargain!


Here's the red one - I gave it to my friend Lynn as a gift:

Starting fresh...

Finally, a place to park my thoughts, and upload photos of various knitting projects that I've been working on in the last year.

Christmastime 2004, I asked my mom if she could show me how to knit. I'd become well...fascinated with the pretty scarves I'd seen around town, and knew I wanted to learn. We started with some Lion Brand cheap stuff, and size 11 needles. I made a long and variable-width scarf. After that, I was off and running. I was into scarves big time. It wasn't long before I had a few.
From right to left - the blue & gold one I made for my boss who was retiring in Jan.'05. She loves it and has received many compliments. The two on the left were made for other co-workers who were leaving. Not bad for a beginner.

Herakles Socks

I'm currently knitting plain socks toe-up Yarn for Toe of Sock: Sanguine Gryphon Yellow Dung Fly from a 10g mini (sport weight) Yarn...