Monday, October 13, 2008

Another Bag

The past few weeks I have been lucky enough to have several days off of work, and I've been keeping myself busy. I started this bag over the summer, and have been gradually working away at it.
Each of those blue circles were sewn by machine and turned inside out. There are slits in the blue where they were turned. Then I sewed them together into the shape above. I put batting and the green batik in the centers of the circles and am in the process of stitching each of these down by hand. Once all of the batting is in, I think the bag will have a good deal of structure. I love the way it is coming together.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Knitting for others:

I usually make things for myself. I don't feel guilty about it: I knit for myself, both my mind and my wardrobe. I'm getting to the point where I wear something I've made almost every day, but I still have a list of things I'm working on. I have worked on things for a few other people I'm close to, but it's not frequent.

Until the end of August. A dear friend of mine emailed me and asked if I would be able to knit shrugs for three bridesmaids for a wedding in November. I wasn't sure about it, but I agreed. Yarn was purchased, and a pattern was determined.

This is the yarn, Webs Merino Tencel in the Grape Jelly colorway. I'm using it double stranded for an almost-worsted yet still lacy gauge. The knitting goes pretty quickly, but I'm going to have to fiddle a bit with the finishing to make sure it fits their needs.

The only problem? I am halfway done with the shrugs (finishing not included) and have less than three weeks left. Hmm! I know where I'll be during this time!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

A Little Behind the Times

I have some summer knitting that I'm finishing up this weekend -- just as the heat is about to turn on. It is part of the cotton kick I have been on, and let me tell you, I can't wait until I cast on for my next new project so I can use 100% wool.

The yarn for this is great, though -- it's Elann Sonata in a burnt orange color. It's a deep, rich color and it shows off the texture pattern very well.

This is the Josephine Top by Deborah Newton (in last summer's Interweave Knits). I'm not the only person knitting this pattern, or even in this color. I'm happy with the pattern and am now almost finished with it, except I have a problem: I might not have enough yarn. I'm carefully reorganizing the order in which I do the finishing steps (the neckline, the cap sleeves, the bottom edging) to make sure I have enough. Then all it will need is a good wash, and I may be able to wear it before the warm weather disappears completely. I also think that this pattern will look good as a layer, so it might get even more use before next summer.

So, soon this will be officially off the needles, and I will only have two things on the needles. But also 3 projects that are only half complete (Laila's Socks, Mom's mittens, and one more sock) so there are many unfinished ends. It's kind of hectic.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Red Strip After Red Strip

So in April I was at home and finishing up a quilt, and my mom said to me, "I would love something like that on my kitchen table." I had been eyeing a pattern (Bargello) in Stashbuster Quilts (by Lynne Edwards) that used strip piecing techniques to create a quilt with a wave pattern. I bought the fabric for it right away, and then started the project in August. The blocks came together pretty quickly:

You start with color strips that are sewn from light to dark, and form a tube with the strips.

You cut the strips into various widths (the smallest one there in the center is 3/4" wide) and rip one of the seems forming the tube.
The strips then form a nice, neat pattern of undulating waves.

And then you sew. Something this wide (about 22 inches) ends up looking like this:
Each block ends up being about 16". (I haven't gotten around to measuring them exactly, yet, but that's the ballpark figure.)

Above: A block and a half. Do you see the penny for scale? I love the tiny, itty bitty pieces.

Six blocks sewn together equals this:

This is the way it will be oriented when it is finished.

Now, I'm not intended on making a full quilt with batting for a table. I'm going to layer this top with another one (more on that later) and use a layer of flannel in the middle. It's going to serve more of a decorative function than anything else, and no -- the table is not in a place that receives a huge amount of sunlight that will bleach out all of these beautiful reds too quickly. It's still a departure from tradition, but I'm enjoying it.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Fair Isle Socks

I spent the summer exploring new things: new places, new crafts, new organization and new techniques. One thing I decided to explore further was fair isle knitting.

Up until I made these mittens, I wasn't completely sold on colorwork. It was interesting, but it just took too long to knit, and I still conjoured up thoughts of reindeer sweaters when I thought of it. Not that there's anything wrong with reindeer sweaters, they just aren't a style I would like to wear out in public.

Enter Laila's Socks. This pattern must have been knit close to 1000 times already. (Or so it seems. I just checked on Ravelry and there are only 47 projects.) It's a great colorwork pattern for socks because you don't need to carry the second color of yarn with you around each of the rows. I decided a long time ago that they would be my first attempt at socks with a fair isle pattern.
About a year ago I found this Essential Tweed yarn at Knitpicks. I loved the slight contrast between the slate blue and the deep brown tweed yarns, and ordered enough for my socks. I don't like to knit my socks out of very light yarn -- I just imagine the soles getting terribly dirty and the socks getting ruined. I liked the idea of a fair isle sock that would only reveal its pattern to someone nearby. When the yarns came I wasn't sure they would work together: the values of the two colors seemed very close. I procrastinated a while after the yarn came, and started these socks around July. The first was finished over a weekend, and then other things got in the way. I have a few other things I need to get off the needles before I can cast on for the second one.

I like the way the sock has the looks of colorwork without being double thick. One of my other concerns about the pattern and stranded socks in general was that they might not fit in any of my shoes. That isn't even a concern with this pattern, as most of the rows are knit single-stranded.