Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hats off!

I've got to tell you guys, I'm a hat knitting queen this month! Three hats done, and two more on the needles. A quick overview:


Pattern: Snapdragon Tam, Ysolda
Yarn: Shibuiknits Merino Worsted in Mulberry
Is it for me? No :(


Pattern: Porom, Jared Flood
Yarn: Madelinetosh ToshDK in Copper Penny
Is it for me? YES!


Pattern: Frukttradgard, Melissa LaBarre
Yarn: Classic Elite Fresco in, um, green?
Is it for me? No :(

Two hats have been sent away to swap recipients, and two hats on the needles aren't for me either, alas. But no matter, I've also finished a sweater that IS for me. I love it. It's warm and soft and pretty. But that's for next time. ;)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Knitting with scissors

Not actually with them, you know, but using them to complete a project. Like EZ's Mitered Mittens. I loved the look of these and it wasn't until I had actually started that I realized they have an afterthought thumb. And not just any afterthought thumb, but the kind where you purposefully snip your yarn and unravel a hole in your knitting.

Some patterns will have you knit across the thumb stitches with waste yarn, then come back and take it out later to reveal live stitches. But EZ is the gutsy type, and she wants you to knit the whole mitten, then go back later and rip a bit out, which frankly leaves a lot of opportunities for disaster. You could snip the yarn in the wrong place, drop a stitch, accidently cut two threads, etc.

But I did as I was told, and it turned out ok:

(I do realize this isn't the best photo, but I'm still figuring out all the bells and whistles on my NEW camera, which will ultimately--hopefully--lead to even better pictures)

The yarn is some Knit Picks WOTA Bulky Handyed, so I can take no credit for the pretty awesome striping pattern that resulted. Since it's a bulky yarn I did make some adjustments in the numbers of stitches for the pattern--I think I cast on 36 stitches. Other than that, it was easy-peasy, quick to memorize and quick to knit up. But as usual, I gave these away, so I'll need to find another mitten pattern for myself.

Speaking of patterns, I am  . . . wait for it . . .

Working on my first pattern design.

And it's nothing fancy, just a scarf.

But it's a lot harder than I anticipated. It's easy to look at a finished pattern and say, 'oh, the designer just plugged stitch patterns in here, here and here, and that's all."  But that's not all. There are a lot of stops and starts as you figure out what works and what doesn't, shrink or expand your stitch patterns, reconfigure what goes where. And that's just for a scarf. I can't imagine what it's like for something as involved as a sweater (though I suppose it may be one of those things that gets easier the more you do it).

But I'm really enjoying it. And hopefully the end result will be a one-of-a-kind scarf for a special someone at Christmas. And then a pattern for you guys. You know, assuming it doesn't wind up looking like a tangle of wool bits that's been runover by Santa's reindeer.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Free time: I haz it again

FINALLY! Two weeks of torturous meeting are complete and I can have a life again. Let me tell you, no one should ever have to be in their office at 11pm.

Of course, now I'm busy trying to convince my Expert group to send me their revised reports, and then correcting their revisions, so it's not exactly paradise here. But still, I leave at 5:30pm, so it's doable.

(With this weekend's time change, I'll now be walking to the subway in the dark--I hate that. I get home and feel like it's time for bed!)

With all of the torture going on, I haven't managed to knit much, but I did finally complete my mom's birthday gift--2.5 months late! Oh well, what was she going to do with a sweater in August anyway??

Yarn: Gedifra Shetland Deluxe
Needles: sz 8
Mods: knit at smaller gauge to get something more like 32", as the smallest size given in the pattern was 36"; knit sleeves in the round up to the cap to eliminate seaming.

To be honest, this wasn't the best yarn for this pattern. It's too dark to show off the eyelet/cable detailing on the front, and it's really too drapey for what should be a more structured cardigan. But, once I started, I wasn't going to stop.

It's got some mohair, so it's a little fuzzy, but really turned out quite soft and with a bit of sheen after washing.

I also didn't finish the sleeves, I left a rolled hem on them. I like it.

While I was knitting the collar, I couldn't help thinking that a short-row collar would've looked so much neater--but while I can usually successfully implement short rows these days, I certainly can't come up with them on my own, so I knit the collar as written, which uses a stepped bind off to create the shaping.

And check out these set in sleeves;

Pretty smooth, huh? This is on the second or third garment I've done with set-in sleeves, but this time, instead of panicking and sewing the sleeves in every which way, I sat down with my tools, took my time, and slowly but surely sewed the sleeves in correctly, with some help from Cirilia:

Now that this is done, I'm dying to knit myself a hat. Pattern suggestions?