Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas knitting in its natural habitat

I'm still on vacation - so instead of a wordy post...here's (most of) my Christmas knitting in the hands of it's ultimate recipient.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Oh selfish me

My Christmas knitting is done! D. O. N. E - done! And while I enjoy making all my Christmas gifts, it's always nice to be DONE.

It's been snowing here in Boston for about a day and a half straight (with a small break yesterday afternoon) - so while I'm done with my Christmas gifts I've already cast on two things for myself. I know - insert a shocked *gasp* here. I so rarely knit for myself.

Yesterday while cleaning my knitting area I found one skein of Caron Simply Soft in a luscious purple color. I'm quite sure I got it while working at Michael's in Colorado (so it's been in my stash for quite a while). I've even cast on a couple things using it and I ripped them out because it just wasn't working. I know one of the ripped ones was a project from the '07 Interweave Knits Holiday Mag called the Huckleberry Ascot. While I loved the pattern, the yarn just wasn't working for it - too stiff.

So when I re-discovered this skein I realized it would probably be perfect for a cowl that I've been thinking of making for myself for about a month now. I'd been searching the pattern database on Ravelry and had several options. When presented with the "free" yarn from my stash, however, I realized I also had many pattern books I needed to start using more AND a couple of said books dedicated only to one skein projects. It was fate.

I finally choose the lacy Sofia Cowl (image on the right from the book's website) from One Skein Wonders. I have about 2.5 inches knit so far and I think the yarn and pattern combo are perfect. Soft enough for a cozy cowl but stiff enough to stand up a bit around my neck and help keep me warm. The good part about this pattern is I have more yarn then the pattern calls for, so I can just keep knitting and end up with a larger version. It'll be nice and slouchy and warm when I'm done, despite the open lacy fabric.

The second cast on from my post-Christmas-selfish-knitting-binge is an effort to knit all of the Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock sock club yarn. I just signed on for another year of this sock club and in order to better justify the expense I told myself I had to finish all the socks from this year before the first shipment from next year (which arrives in the third week of January). I only had one more skein remaining after all the Christmas socks were done. About one month to knit one pair of socks - plenty of time!

The one skein I have left is from the May shipment. It is a nice purple variegated colorway meant for a pattern that came with it called Cleopatra's Stockings. I like the yarn but don't care for the pattern. It's a pretty pattern but far too "fiddly" to knit. I cast on and couldn't even get through the first pattern repeat without pulling my hair out. So I ripped it out. In order to cast on I had to find a suitable pattern that worked with it's variegated loveliness. In my opinion, there just aren't enough patterns that are interesting AND work with variegated sock yarn.

After more Ravelry searching, I had a couple of options. The top of the list was a pattern called Mad Color Weave socks. On the surface it looked like a complicated and fiddly pattern. I almost had my mind made up to give it a try but decided to ask a fellow sock club member who had already made the socks what she thought of it. (Pic on the left is linked in from yecatsml's photo stream on Flickr - gorgeous!).

The other sock club member (rabbitsknit) loved this pattern. Not too fiddly at all (she actually thought the same about the Cleopatra's Stocking pattern) - so I trusted her opinion. To see the Sock Club Member's socks - click here.

I have the cuff of one of the socks done and so far I love the pattern! Complicated only on the first repeat - after that it's a piece of cake.

**Note - sorry for all the linked pictures. Since it's snowing and dreary I can't take my own. I'll update later with some of mine.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Since April in pictures

Well...April. April was the last time I posted. I took a little break from blogging...now I'm back. Without getting too wordy...here's what I've been doing knitting-wise since April:

Rockin Socks Club '08 - Serendipity Socks

Cabled Comfort Throw (close up)

Easy Lace Caplet

Anenome Socks - Rockin Socks Club '08, October

Secret of the Stole III - Estes Park

Trail Mix Socks

Felted Clogs

Felted Clogs

Gumdrop Socks - Rockin Sock Club '08 - May (?)

Jaywalker Socks

There is more - but these are the highlights. More regular blogging to come!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Rockin Sock Club '08 - Leaflings

Last week I started knitting my March shipment Rockin' Sock Club '08 socks. After finishing my Undulating Rib Socks I felt I should just keep the sock knittin' momentum going. The Leafling socks in the March shipment was appealing to me..mostly because they have a cable looking motif in the front. Plus I'm feeling like a sock project is great to take with me to my weekly Stitch 'N Bitch meetings...small and portable and usually don't take a lot of brain power. If I take anything too complicated I loose my place while I'm chatting it up. That's the danger of knitting in a group.

I'm actually much farther along then what these pictures here show. I've just completed the heel ribbing section and am about to turn the heel of the first sock. So far I love the yarn - it's super soft and squishy and the color is nice too. No color pooling, as some people on Ravelry reported. I'm making the size mediums which have been running a bit big (also reported on Ravelry) but I pulled the top cuff up over my foot this morning and it seems OK. A bit looser then other socks I've made but still fits OK. Given the thickness of the yarn I think a bit looser will work out. The heel construction is done a bit differently on this pattern, though. I'm concerned about the sizing issue after completing the heel portion. A flabby out of shape heel just wont work.

Anyway, here are some other close ups of the leaf pattern. The back is all stockinette so it's rather boring to photograph.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Noro Socks - Done

My Undulating Rib Socks (needle knit) are finally finished! They've been hanging out in my WIP pile for (what feels like) quite some time. I got the yarn, new Noro sock yarn, not long after Christmas and immediately started to knit.

The pattern I used is from a book I got for Christmas. The Undulating Rib Socks from "Favorite Socks" by Interweave Knits. I chose this pattern mainly to suit the yarn, but it is easy to memorize and I think looks great. The "nubbiness" of the pattern texture suits the "nubbiness" of the yarn.

The Noro sock yarn I'm not really impressed with. The yarn is inconsistent in weight, going from very very thick to very very thin and while the colors are beautiful, the stripped patterning is impossible to match from sock to sock. The stripes on my pair actually go in reverse from one sock top to another...I pulled from the same place for both socks. Frustrating, but still pretty.

Here are some more close ups of the finished socks. I like 'em even if they aren't a matched set. "fraternal twins" as someone in my Stitch 'n Bitch group calls them...

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Wire Knit Ring - my experiment

For Christmas this past year I made a bead crochet necklace for my mom. I had seen wire knit and beaded wire knit jewelry but I've never given it a try. I got a itch to give it a try this morning since I had wire and (obviously) plenty of knitting needles.

I sort of like what I came up with. The result is slightly flexible and light and airy to wear. I'm not sure how durable it is...I plan on wearing it a while and see how it holds up. I looked up wire knits on Etsy and came up with a few items. Most are beaded but use large chunky beads. Since I don't like chunky rings, I think I would need to use tiny seed beads in order to not add a lot of bulk. I also thought maybe only adding beads at the top part so the sides and bottom would not get too bulky. I think I'll be experimenting a bit more with these...

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Pattern for my Sophie bag flap

Enough people have requested my instructions for the flap that I added to the Sophie bags I've been making so I thought I should post it so everyone can benefit.

First off, download the original pattern for the Sophie's here:

Then when you get to the binding off part, follow these instructions instead:

At the top of the bag, where the pattern tells you to bind off 39 stitches, only bind off on one of the sides. So this will leave you with 6 stitches on a holder for one side of the handles, 39 stitches bound off, 6 stitches on the other side for the handles, and then 39 stitches on the back of the bag for the flap. These last 39 stitches I placed on a holder in order to finish the handles before working the flap.

Put the 39 stitches back on the needles. Knit back and forth in Stockinette stitch for about 10 rows. Increase one stitch at the beginning and end of next right side row. 2 stitches increased - total of 41 stitches on the needles. At this point its good to start counting rows with a row counter. Then -

  1. Knit 9 rows in Stockinette stitch. Then increase one stitch at the beginning and end of next. 43 stitches total
  2. Knit another 9 rows in Stockinette stitch.Then increase one stitch at the beginning and end of next. 45 stitches total
  3. Knit another 9 rows in Stockinette stitch.Then increase one stitch at the beginning and end of next. 47 stitches total
  4. Knit 2 rows in Stockinette stitch.
  5. Bind off all stitches in next row.

The flap (after felting) will have an A-line shape that matches the bag sides.

Once felted I added the twisted icord edging from "Knitting on the Edge" by Nicky Epstein. The pattern is on page 58 in the book. Knit it long enough to go around the edge of the flap. Then sew on using a needle and matching thread.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Rockin' Sock club - Spoiler Alert!

If you are a member of the Rockin' Sock Club '08 and haven't gotten your package

- don't look!

From the red of the January shipment, to the green of this shipment... the newest Rockin' Sock Club yarn is here! I love this one...and the pattern is luscious! Vibrant green with subtle variegation in the yarn and a beautiful pattern with cables running up the leg and down the top of the foot. Can't wait to work this one up!

Here's a couple more pics to make you green with envy :)

The Sophie's

Wow. What have I been knitting since the Central Park Hoodie? It's been so long since I posted, I thought I should take a look.

On the left you see my version of the free Magknits "Sophie" bag. This one was made using leftover yarn from the CPH sweater - about 1 skein of Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted. The body and handles are made exactly as the pattern is written. I added the flap and then felted it as usual.

When it was all felted and dried, I looked at it and thought it just needs something else. I considered embroidery on the flap, a flower or flowers...all kinds of ideas. Then I pulled out my copy of "Knitting Over the Edge" by Nicky Epstein. Flipping through the pages I decided on a twisted (cabled) icord that I could make and then sew around the edge of the flap. I chose this cord because it matches the twist in the handle and it's simple and understated like the person I made it for. Flowers or embroidery would have been over the top. Here's a closeup of the edge. I really like how it looks. (Plus, I already have a Christmas gift all made a ready)

Oh, and as you can see, this icord is made after felting and sewed on. I used tiny (size 4 needles) to make sure the stitches were a nice size when put next to the felted edge. I do love how the Lamb's Pride has this beautiful shine to the yarn - this shine next to felt looks great.

So...I finished this nice little bag and then took it with me to my parents house so I could use her fabric stash to line my bag. My mom has a fabric stash bigger then my yarn stash due to her chronic quilting habit. While there for the weekend, not only did I line this 1st Sophie, I completed a second one made out of Paton's SWS Soy Wool Stripes. Mom claimed it the second it came out of the washer. That one got a lining before I left and she started using it. So that's Sophie #2 done. (sorry, it was snapped up so fast I never got a picture)

Well, also while I was home I did more then just knit (believe it or not). We went in to Portland to see a show at the Portland Museum of Art by John Bisbee. I was particularly interested in seeing this show because he went to my almamateur Alfred University. Very good show!

Anywho...back to knitting...before leaving the house, I decided to take the 1st Sophie bag with me (to test it out, you know). My aunt (and Mom's twin sister) came along with us to the museum and as soon as she got in the car with us she pounced on the 1st Sophie. She loved it and wanted one of her very own.

Needless to say on the way home from the museum we stopped at Michael's to get some wool for her bag. My Mom bought enough for another one for her (in the same color as her twin's) so now I'm on the hook for another 2 Sophie's (that's #3 and #4...in case you lost count). I have #3 done (except for the lining) and #4 is all knit I just have to felt it and add the edging. My mom will do the linings for both...so I'm in the home stretch. Here is #3 and 4 in their current states:

These two are made using Lion Brand Wool in color Majestic Mountain. I was skeptical of it's feltability at first. But the Sophie #3 felted easily and quickly in the washer in less then one wash cycle. I'll be using this for other felting projects, I'm sure.

So that's what I've been working on since February. There are a couple other projects in there...but this post is already so long...I'll leave them til later.

PS: if anyone is interested in my pattern for the flap, let me know. I've got it down to a science by now :)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Central Park Hoodie - finished!

The Central Park Hoodie is finished and I've been wearing it for a couple weeks now! It's taken me this long to get my butt in gear and take some pics. This morning was pretty sunny in our apartment...so what better time then now?

I love, love, love this sweater. It's my favorite I've made ever. It's very, very warm (great for the Boston winters) and fits just the way I wanted it to. I lengthened the sleeves and the body so it would get a bit more coverage and I love it!

Here's the specs:
Yarn: Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride worsted weight
Color: Loden Leaf (discontinued)
Yardage: 8 skeins (barely used the 8th)
Needles: 6 and 8
Size: 40"
Notes: I lengthened the body by 3" and lengthened the sleeves by 2". Everything else is exactly as the pattern specified. I love this yarn and will be using it again.

Now...here are some more pics of me in my new sweater.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Progress on the Central Park Hoodie...and other news

All the pieces (except the hood) are complete, have been blocked as pieces, and are already dry and ready to be seamed up! WooHoo! I've already unpinned the sleeves and am about to start seeming them. The fronts and back are still on the blocking board.

I think I'll have it at least partially seemed by tonight. Then it's on to the hood.

In other news, I got my first shipment from the Rockin' Socks Club! It was sitting at the front door when I got home on Thursday. I took some pictures of the package. Since this is my first year in the club I wasn't sure what to expect in the package. Check out my booty below:

Of course, if you read my blog you'll notice that I don't do red or pink anywhere. The few things that I have made in those colors have been for other people. It's funny, I opened the package (in the elevator going up to my apartment...I couldn't even wait until I got home) and I thought....yuck...red. I don't like red. I was disappointed.

But, then I took out all the contents of the package and read through the intro letter with the pattern and the yarn. It was about hating the color red and how giving this color another look may possibly broaden your outlook.

OK. So, I read this letter and was feeling better about the yarn. Then, I looked at the pattern that came with it. OMG! I love the pattern and I can totally see the yarn knitting up beautifully in that pattern.

Now I can't wait to start. :)

Monday, January 21, 2008

Holiday Knitting

Yep - you heard right. Holiday knitting at the end of January?

I was trolling through Ravelry yesterday and came across a mention of a Gift-A-Long group that was starting up. Participants set attainable goals for monthly gift knitting. You get stars for finished projects and there are even prizes involved!

The group is called KnitAllYear and it's a year long gift-a-long. They are still accepting sign ups until the end of January. Get ready now for that holiday crafting crunch!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Progress on the Central Park Hoodie

My Central Park Hoodie is coming along nicely. I have the back and the two fronts done. I cast on for the sleeves last night before going to bed. I have about 3 inches done on the ribbing for the sleeve cuffs.

I love how its coming out. Even while working both fronts at once I had no problem working the armhole and neck line shaping while still holding the cabling pattern. I love that the pattern is written with the right and left front pattern instructions written side by side and lined up across the page. I'm assuming they did this on purpose since it's too brilliant to be an accident. (kudos to Knitscene pattern writers!).

I went ahead and ordered an extra skein of yarn to accommodate all the extra length I added. I was getting worried as I did the back that I wasn't going to have enough. I think I'll be OK now...but I'm also keeping my fingers crossed. That hood looks like it could take an awful lot of yarn to finish. If it gets too close I may have to just add a collar instead of the whole hood. That would be a test of my needle knits design skills. I'm sure it's totally doable but something I haven't really tried before. A collar's not that hard..right?