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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Pink Ops

Several years ago, I made myself an OpArt blanket from Melissa Dominguez's pattern in the Fall 2008 Knitty. You may remember I blogged about it here. At the time, I thought I Thatprobably would never make another one, since it's really A LOT of garter stitch, and gets pretty unwieldy at the outer edge.

Back in December, I was showing off my Ravelry catalog of finished projects to Bob (I know, I know, I am super cool) and he LOVED my OpArt. He asked if it would be hard to make a second one. Gotta love non-knitters--even garter stitch impresses them!


Of course I knit a second one. We went to the yarn store to pick colors, and I was a bit surprised when Bob picked the exact same pink and cream color combination I had used originally. I mean, it's an awesome combination, but a bit unexpected for Bob. On my original blanket I used cheap One Pound yarn by Caron. For Bob's blanket he sprung for something a little nicer to work with--Berroco Vintage in colorways Watermelon and Buttercream.     


That's the blanket in action (and in really poor lighting.) I followed the pattern as written and knit through the stripe that is 10 garter ridges wide (half-way between the small and large sizes.) Because the pattern calls for DK weight and I was using worsted, I upped my needle size to a US 9. I also used a I-cord bind off rather than a normal bind off to give more stretch and a more polished edge. 

I knit on this a lot while I was studying for the Washington bar exam so the garter stitch wasn't as painful as the first time around (or maybe the pain was just so far outweighed by bar exam pain that it seemed small in comparison.) Still, the last few stripes were a real slog. I may be jinxing myself, but I really hope this is my last OpArt. Great finished product, but not very exciting on the needles.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Monster!

Long long time ago (winter 2012) I joined Stacey Trock's (who designed under the name FreshStitches) kit club. Ever other month for 3 months she mailed out a kit for a cute stuffed crochet toy. I had good intentions, but almost two years later two of the three kits are still tucked away unopened.

The last kit mailed out was for Amigurumi Roosevelt the Monster and it came with a ball of yarn that changed colors slowly. This cute little guy was enough to make me pick up a hook and get to work.


The color changing yarn was very pretty, but it actually changed a little too slowly for this little guy. I knit the ears, eyes, and just started the first leg before the first color change, and the second color took me all the way through the rest of the project. I didn't even get to the third or fourth colors. 

I grew up in the 90s so this guy always makes me think of the cartoon Aaahh! Real Monsters, doesn't he remind you a little bit of Krumm? 

I sprayed him with catnip spray so he's a favorite around her. That photo was taken when he was brand new, but he's got a lovely halo of cat hair always, no matter how many times I take him out on the balcony and shake him out.    

Friday, August 29, 2014

Countess Mitts XL

Christmas 2012 I wanted to knit a gift for the woman who always hosts our family for dinner and makes amazing delicious food and really just goes all out. Don't believe me? This is how she sets the table:


Unfortunately, and I say this with love, she has giant hands for a woman. The mitts I made were way too small. They were knit in fingering weight yarn on size 1.5 needles and they were lovely (see them here) but way too small.  

Christmas 2013 I was determined to get it right. I used the same pattern and the same stitch counts, but used a worsted weight yarn and size 6 needles. They came out just right. 


The pattern is Countess Mitts by Colleen Powley and I got it in a kit with the yarn to make the original pair of mitts, though it looks like you can also download it separately on Ravelry. These are very big on me, but they fit the recipient perfectly. They look a bit less delicate than the original, but I think it's more fitting to her style anyway.


The yarn is Knit Picks Sugarbunny in colorway Peacock. It's 80% merino and 20% angora so it has a lovely little halo and the mitts are incredibly soft. They advertise it as a worsted weight but I would say it's a bit lighter than traditional. I'm guessing they suggest knitting it at a worsted gauge to give the angora halo room between the stitches to bloom. 


I didn't get much knit this month because 1) it's been hot, and 2) I moved again and my yarn was all packed. I'm all unpacked now (except I can't find my Kindle and it's making me crazy!) and I've really been feeling the knitting bug lately. I've got a lot of projects that went on hold when I went through my knitting funk, and I've been pulling them all out and remembering why I cast them on and all the good things about them and wondering why I ever put them down. Time for a good knit I think. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Calystegia

I spend a lot of time on Ravelry.  Less than I use to, but I still keep it up in the background on my laptop at home and usually check in on the new "hot" patterns several times a week. I frequently find myself wondering about why some patterns become runaway hits and other seemingly equally-wonderful patterns don't really get off the ground. Calystegia Cowl by Lankakomero is a pattern that doesn't have a lot of love on Ravelry, despite being pretty wonderful.


This pattern is well written and an extremely fun knit. At $4.50 it's reasonably priced. I don't know why thousands haven't been made. It's a pattern I would seriously consider knitting again and I almost never re-knit patterns unless I'm making a gift that has been specifically requested. 

My mom asked me to knit her a cowl for Christmas 2012. I ran out of time, so she got a box with a lovely skein of Handmaiden Casbah Sock in colorway Saltspray and a promise that a cowl would soon follow. Soon was not exactly accurate, as I boxed up the finished cowl just in time for Christmas 2013.


It's tall enough to fully cover your neck and just loose enough not to make your feel like you're being choked. The Casbah is 80% merino, 10% cashmere, and 10% nylon so it's amazingly soft and perfect for having right up next to your face. 

On of my favorite aspects of this cowl are the wrapped stitches that form the bottom of each shell. I'd never done anything like these wraps before and I really like the effect it gave this pattern.


I used about 60% of my skein of yarn, so unfortunately I won't be able to get a second cowl from one skein, but I may have enough left over for some coordinating fingerless mitts. Maybe I can get a jump on Mom's Christmas 2014 present...

Don't let the fact that this hasn't been made many times (according to Ravelry) fool you. This pattern is really wonderful! I don't know this designer or anything about her and I didn't get anything for this post, I just really like the pattern.



Saturday, July 26, 2014

Fraternal

Hand knit socks are one of the little luxuries that non-knitters don't get to experience (unless they have a knitter who loves them very much.) They are so comfy and warm and can be customized to fit perfectly. Then there's the endless variety of amazing sock yarns--pretty much any fiber blend and color you can hope for. Here is my latest pair (and by latest, I mean they were finished in October.)


Side note: taking pictures of your own feet takes an inordinate amount of body contortion. These are plain stockinette socks following the Yarn Harlot's Sock Recipe. As much as I like the look of fancy socks with cables and lace, and as interesting as they can be to make, my favorite socks to wear are the plain knit ones. 


These are knit with Patons Kroy Socks FX in the color way Clover Colors. By sock yarn standards this yarn is incredibly cheap (in price) and can be found in most of the big box stores like Michaels and Jo-Anns. It's a blend of 75% wool 25% nylon so its nice and sturdy. It's definitely not as buttery soft as the luxury yarns with cashmere, merino, etc. but its definitely fine for wearing on your feet. These feel like they will wear really well and after a full winter of wear I don't see any signs of weakening in the heels or balls where I tend to wear holes through my socks. 


I made no effort to try to make the colors match from one sock to the other. I just started each sock from the beginning of a 50g ball and let the colors line up as they may. With such a long color repeat and slow transition it would have been a real pain and really, I just don't care that much about having matched up socks. I think the fraternal pair is actually really cute. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Quicky

Sometimes, you just want to feel like you've accomplished something and finishing a knitting project can be just the thing. At times like that, it's nice to whip up a quick little project that you can take from start to finish in just a few hours. Marian is just the ticket.


Knit with super bulky yarn and size 19 needles this seed stitch cowl only takes about three hours. I love that it hangs a bit lower for a single-loop cowl. I don't like having things right up against my neck. 


Mine is knit with Malabrigo Rasta in colorway Azul Prfundo. I've always wanted to use Rasta for something, but it's hard to find a use for such a bulky yarn. I don't know that I would want a hat or traditional scarf out of such fat yarn. Mittens and slippers would be way too unwieldily. Something about this one-loop drapey cowl is just perfect for this nice fat yarn. I think it will be a popular go-to in the winter. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Garter garter garter garter garter...

I've mentioned in my last few posts (spread over 6 or so months... I know... I know...) that from about May of last year until two-ish months ago I really lost my knitting mojo. Lots of changes in my life certainly contributed--end of a big relationship, a move across town, old job that I hated to wake up to, new job that I do not hate but that is super challenging in other ways, another bar exam... by the time I got any alone time I would end up just holding my knitting but not actually creating any stitches.

I did not like that knitting had taken a major back seat in my life so I decided to try and change that. I decided that what I needed was something simple. Something so simple that I would normally never consider it. So simple that I could do it blindfolded, in the dark, with one needle tied behind my back. In short, I needed lots and lots of garter stitch with no shaping. Hello Garter Squish by Stephen West.


It's a blanket made with two strands of yarn held together, done on size 15 needles, entirely in garter stitch. Not to toot my own horn, but I could knit this dead. Which was exactly what I needed since that is exactly how I felt at the end of the day some times. I couldn't handle decreases. I couldn't handle increases. Or short rows. Or charts. But I could do the knit stitch, over and over, endlessly.


The pattern (yes there is actually a pattern) calls for two strands of worsted weight yarn to be held together to make a super bulky yarn. I held one strand of worsted and one strand of DK together because I am a rebel. The DK was Berocco Vintage DK all in the color Cracked Pepper. The blues are Berocco Vintage Worsted in Neptune, Tidepool, Emerald, and Breezeway. 


I used the highly sophisticated stripe technique of knit with one color until the ball is completely gone, begin using next color. I had two balls of each blue color, so once I went through the color repeat once, I just started over and did it again. Tres Modern. If it looks like some stripes are 19 garter ridges and others are 22, they are. I can deal. The double yarn combined with the garter stitch make this a super squishy blanket. It's also really really stretchy. Unstreched its about as wide as twin bed and maybe 2 feet longer, but it can stretch to gigantic proportions.  


I started in October of last year and finished just before Christmas. I gave it to Bob for Christmas 1) because he is my best friend and 2) because he only had one smallish blanket and if you are friends with me you need lots since I am perpetually cold. It gets used near daily and some of the end have worked their way out, so I need to give it a little TLC and weave them back in. Overall, I've been super pleased with the finished object and with the care and use I've seen it receive.

This project really helped get me knitting again when I had stopped almost completely. My productivity has been agonizingly slow compared to my usual, but I do find a little time most days to squeeze in a stitch or two.