Monday, March 2, 2009

March=Spring, Damnit!

DAMN! DAMN! DAMN! It's MARCH! March and it's 16 degrees outside. My mother and father are enjoying fantastically warm temperatures in the 70s down in New Mexico and I'm shivering to death up here. As a proper pacific-northwesterner, having lived until I was 18 in southern Oregon, I associate March with the start of spring. Sure maybe it's a bit raining, and maybe there are some days in the high 40s at the beginning of the month... but 16 degrees? Damn the Midwest! OK, rant over.

Much as I hate the freezing cold weather in what everyone knows is the first month of spring, my knitting group from school got to go to the Bjorklunden lodge this weekend which was a perfect place to be in below-freezing temperatures. Bjorklunden is a lodge that Lawrence owns up in Door County, WI--right on lake Michigan. The lodge is huge and so cozy it was a perfect place for a nice weekend getaway. I didn't take any pictures inside the lodge (because I'm crazy) but yarndude did and he captured it perfectly. See. I'm the one in the red. I did make it outside to take a quick picture of the project that I finished though. These are called "pescovegetarian mittens" from villaelain's blog. They use bulky yarn which means they work up super fast and the simple knit-purl motif on the back of the hand shows off a slightly variagated yarn perfectly! I used malabrigo bulky, in the violetas colorway, to make them and like the worsted and the lace version of the yarn it's perfect and wonderful and soft and squisshy and fantastic.

Aside from the mittens I also worked on Andrew's sweater (believe it or not) and the sleeve is growing slowly but surely. And, I even managed to do some work on my small-but-growing Swallowtail shawl. Aside from the projects for myself, as a group we decided to knit preemie hats for knit one, save one a totally awesome charity that helps keep preemie babies around the world warm and alive.

Before we went up to the lodge I was frantically trying to finish this monster hat. This is the bokaclava pattern that is available for free on Ravelry. My version is knit in Encore because it's cheap and it was for my brother who is by no means a fiber snob. Here it is modeled on my roommate Peter. There is a lot of seaming and casting on and off and weaving in ends for such a small finished object. I don't think I will ever make this again, but the designer also has a Dragonclava and a Cthuluclava and my brother has already requested them both so similar projects seem to be in my future.

This is a scarf that I knit for Andrew because the one he had before is from when I first started knitting and it was pretty bad. Andrew picked out the yarn and colorway and approved the pattern as sufficiently manly. The pattern is Staggered Rib Scarf from Suzie Blackman and it is a great knit-purl pattern for a unisex scarf. I used Swish Bulky from knitpicks in the Marlin colorway. The yarn is very soft and squishy but I think it's pretty thin to be called a bulky yarn. I think all their yarns tend to be on the then side for what they claim to be--but for the price you pay who cares.

These convertable mittens have been on Andrew's wish list since last winter and I finally buckled down and knit him some. He was particularily indignant that I knit a pair of convertable mittens earlier this school year for my brother who has been waiting far less time that Andrew had. So I cast on and whipped these up pretty quickly. The yarn is Rustic by Cascade and it's a wool-linen blend that is very soft. The linen softens up so much after just one wash and has continued to soften with wear. The pattern is one of the downloadable patterns from the knitpicks website called "Men's Convertable Fingerless Gloves." I made two small modifications to the pattern. First I added a buttonhole to each thumb so that Andrew can pop his thumbs out if he needs to use them for gripping. Second I picked up stitches across the back of the and and knit from them rather than knitting the mitten top seperately and sewing it on later.

The last sock blank swap that I moderated had a theme of "where I'm from" so I decided to go New Mexican rather than just leaving the blank snow white to represent Wisconsin. This is my interpretation of New Mexico. I'm very curious to see how these knit up into socks so I'm hoping that the person I sent them to gets picturtes up shortly. It made me very happy to dye this because the bright southwest colors were nice to play with as the snow continued to fall here.

These are the fingerless gloves that I cast on right after I finished my mom's christmas sweater but it took me a while to finish them because I was a bit tired of knitting (gasp I know) after plowing throught the sweater in record time. They were finished shortly after I got back to school and I got them in the mail to my Grandma who seemed to appreciate them even though I did get a snarky remark about them being late... That's my grandma for you. This yarn is Rowan Cocoon and it's extremely expensive--$16 a skein! I only used one skein to make these, so my project cost was reasonable but I don't know how people can afford to make sweaters out of this stuff. The pattern, like most of the patterns I use, is free on Ravelry and it is called "Delovely."

This is the sock blank that I recieved from the swap that happened in the fall (so I'm a bit behind on my sock knitting... I love the swap anyway!) I requested a halloween-themed blank and I love what I got. The blank is translating into the most vibrant gorgeous socks. The best part is that while they can totally be worn for halloween, the socks don't look OVERLY halloween-y so I can wear them all year round (or all of the year that wool socks are appropriate) without feeling silly. These are about double the length that they appear in the picture below, but I still have about 3 inches before I can turn the heel. I'm using the two-at-a-time toe-up magic loop pattern from the knitpicks website and so far it's great. I used judy's magic cast on (truly magic!) for the toes and case on 18 stitches per side (36 per sock) and increased up to 52. I have very square toes so I don't need the traditional pointy socks. When I got to the middle of my arch I increased to 60 and I think I'll stay there untill I do some more increases for my calf.

It's a giant pain in the ass to move pictures arround so my pictures are in reverse chronological order. Scroll back up to the top of the page and you'll see things in the right order.

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