Monday, December 31, 2007

A break....

I took a break from knitting to venture into some sewing with this book. I love it! There are so many cute ideas and I just had to try them out. I wanted to make this puzzle ball from the very beginning, but had used up all of my stuffing with the birds. I finally was around a supply of stuffing (not cotton, I'm afraid -- my mom had plenty of polyfill hanging about that I used instead) and got to work. I also had to improvise for a template. For the record, an old CD works great, even with a rotary cutter!

And here's my fourth project from the same book. Four! I can't believe how much I'm using this book! This pattern is from the author of Wee Wonderfuls. I never considered stuffed animals to be something I had any interest in making, but now I'm changing my mind. I just have to get so I can give the finished toys away, though -- what will I do with all of them? Right now they are both sitting right next to the television....

Saturday, December 22, 2007

If it's all neutrals, does it count as colorwork?

I went to my yarn shop in search of the Interweave Holiday Edition and found something so much better. Magnificent Mittens has been out of print, and I have been eyeing the Ravelry lists enviously. Then, on the shelves, I spotted it -- at cover value. I just had to buy it. I mean, it's retailing for over $200, right?
So as usual, I searched my stash for yarn for a week and mulled it over. I still have a Christmas knit to finish, and I'm not close. I don't have any appropriate yarn, either, so how can I knit a mitten?

I guess when there's a will there's a way. I found this luscious 50% Yak, 50% Merino blend from School Products in my basket. I've been holding onto it for something special, and purchased it long ago for some colorwork. It's so soft that I felt maybe it would be better for lining the mittens -- but instead of searching some more, I just picked up some size 7 needles and began knitting. No swatch. I didn't even check the gauge of the mittens. I didn't wash anything to see if it would grow and bloom with washing. I know. It's horrible, right?

I must be really pretty good at eyeing these things, or I must have the best luck in the world.
Did I mention that this yarn has several plies that are loose? See that tail? That's what the yarn looks like when you're knitting it. It probably isn't the best thing for fair isle.

I left all the ends out until after I washed it. This is still unblocked, so it's still bumpy. I've washed it now, and it's evened out. I think it still fits, too. (I did just now, in a fit of impatience, try on a soaking wet mitten, so if it's too big it's my own fault.) I don't think this is too bad for 2 days of knitting. And I'm getting better at colorwork, too! Maybe I'll be able to knit one of those fancy fair isle sweaters or vests sometime soon.
Now off to my grandmother's Christmas present!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Mystic Waters

I guess you could say that this week has been a blocking festival.

My Mystic Waters is complete!

My first knit-along went quite well, and I kept up with each of the clues. The pattern was wonderful, and I love this edging that borders the entire shawl.

This is my other favorite part -- I love the design to the right and think it would make a lovely border on a wide scarf!

I love the specks of indigo that got caught (unintentionally, I must confess) when I was dyeing the yarn.

And yes, this shawl is HUGE. That's a full-sized bed, and it goes off the ends on either side AND reaches across all but 6 inches of it. I knit my shawl on size 4s with Knit Picks Laceweight, so I thought it wouldn't be as large -- it still hangs quite low on me. Luckily, the weather has turned here -- today I caught a chill so I wore both Mystic Waters and the Shetland triangle at once while I cooked my dinner!
Mystic Waters Shawl pattern by Anna
Needles: Knit Picks classic circulars size 4
Yarn: Knit Picks Bare Merino Laceweight, 1.2 skeins, dyed using natural indigo dye
Started: October 2007
Completed: December 15, 2007

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Holiday Cheer

I have a flock of these at home.
From this fabric, using the pattern from here. They were REALLY quick -- and will make great stocking stuffers & simple gifts.

Friday, December 14, 2007

At last:

There is one pattern that I have been yearning to knit since I first laid eyes on it.

I usually don't buy pattern books unless I am overwhelmed by the technique and know I would make many of them. Folk Socks, for example has won me over. I love Knitting Vintage Socks and Victorian Lace Today. I know I will knit several of the shawls from Folk Shawls, and I've made good use of my Interweave subscription.

One pattern from a book, though? Just one? That really can't justify the purchase, can it?

No. Unless it's the Shetland Triangle from Wrap Style.

After I bought the book for the pattern, I was on the lookout for some luscious silky wool. Some heavyweight yarn, because this shawl just screams to be knit in a heavier yarn. I looked for red, because once you have that picture in your head it is so hard to think otherwise.

Months passed.

Last weekend I rummaged through my stash and found 5 1/2 balls of Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in the most luscious colorway, Fog -- now discontinued. Maybe not silk, but such a cosy grey. Irresistable. Left over from a sweater meant for my mom.

I chose size 8 needles -- the first knitting needles I ever owned, and ones I don't particularly enjoy using. The pattern looked tight and I wondered if the shawl would have any drape. I persisted, convinced that blocking would give it all the drape it needed.


I couldn't be happier.