Friday, October 19, 2012

Dinner in the Eiffel Tower

I wish this was an exciting post about how I whisked myself away to Paris for the week to actually have dinner in the Eiffel Tower, but it's not. It's a post about how several weeks ago I finished knitting the shawl that is called Dinner in the Eiffel Tower by Jessie Dodington. Almost as glamorous right? I know.


It is Ms. Dodington's only design and it's very pretty. I did make a few modifications to make the knitting easier. I started with a garter tab to even out the first lace section and keep an even border on each side. I also replaced the "ridges" section with another repeat of the lace pattern. This is partly because I love lace and partly because I heard from some others who made it that the ridges weren't as stretchy as the lace and made the shawl pull in a bit through that section. Finally, I changed the plain bind off to a pico bind off because what shawl isn't improved by a pico bind off. 


The yarn I used is Manos of Uruguay Silk Blend. It's a single ply 70% merino 30% silk DK weight yarn. It's heavenly soft and once you block it it drapes very nicely. The colorway is creatively named 3019. 


This shawl is a little too small to wrap around and stay without a pin, so I've been wearing it with this great pin by Plover Designs.  The neutral color of the pin and the yarn mean that I can wear this with pretty much everything in my wardrobe, and I have been wearing it a lot. Even though it's a single ply yarn it hasn't pilled at all. Overall, the shawl makes me make this face.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

It's so fluffy!

First, if you haven't seen Despicable Me do so now. I'll wait. Your appreciation for fluffy things will be increased 10 fold.

Yesterday at the shop, the owner remarked that we could really use a sample for the store knit in a new Rowan yarn called Tumble. I jumped at the chance because I have been wanting to try this yarn since it arrived at the shop. It's 90% alpaca, 10% cotton, and 100% FLUFFY.

Sadly, all I have right now is a crappy late-night iPad photo since my camera seems to be playing a one-sided game of hide and seek.

I'm knitting this on size 15 needles. They feel like giant sticks and I can only knit on it for about 45 minutes before my wrist starts to hurt because of the giant gauge.

It's so soft and going very quick. I may have a hat to show you on Friday. All camera-finding vibes are much appreciated.


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Douglas Mittens

When it comes to knitting I have a serious "Ooooo Shiny" problem. By which I mean I a easily distracted from my current projects by the newest coolest thing leading me to drop everything currently in progress to start something new.

Such was the fate of my Douglass Mittens by emilyelizabeth. I cast them on in March when I had a strong urge for some color work. Then something (I'm not sure what) distracted me for about 5 months. When I finally got back to them, they only took about 2 weeks to finish. I have no idea why I abandon things that are so close to completion. (See the above mentioned "oooo shiny" problem.) Have a look.


I love them! I knit them in an aran weight yarn on size 5 needles as called for in the pattern and they came out too big for me. (This is not surprising because I have VERY small hands.) They fit my mother perfectly and she has already claimed them as her birthday present this December. 


The pattern is well written and easy to follow. It even comes with directions for how to knit a lining for your mittens. I think in theory linings are a great idea because they protect your colorwork strands from getting pulled and allow you to knit the colorwork in a "hearty" yarn like a traditional shetland but still have super soft comfy mittens by picking a soft yarn for the lining. That being said, I didn't do the lining. It's just not cold enough in Oregon to need mittens that warm.


I used Madeline Tosh Vintage 100% Superwash Merino in colorways Antique Lace and Cloak. Even though the yarn is merino, it's spun very tightly, so it shouldn't have the problems with fuzzing and pilling that many merino yarns have. I have yet to meet a Madeline Tosh yarn that I didn't love, and this is no exception. 


I find colorwork to be very addicting, and easily get into the "just one more row" mindset. In fact, I think I will cast on another pair of mittens this week. More on that later.   

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


I'm teaching three classes at the yarn shop this month. The first is a class to help people get started with the Dream In Color Club kit for October. Each month in the fall and winter, Dream in Color releases an exclusive yarn and pattern. The shop I work at has decided to do a class for each of the projects to help people with any tricky parts of the pattern. This one involves a provisional cast on and grafting, so that will be the focus of my class.

This is their promotional picture. I only got the yarn 9 days before I'm supposed to teach the class, so I'm frantically knitting, but I don't have any pictures.

The next classes I'm doing for the month are stranded knitting and intarsia (offered as one 2-part class.) For the stranding class I've decided to focus on mittens since they are a relatively small, low commitment project. I gave my students the choice of Winter Twilight Mitts (which I've made before), Douglass Mittens (which I will show you friday), Freja (still need to whip one up), and Cotton Reel Mitts which look like this:


Since this is destined to live at the shop as a store sample I only made one. As you can see, it's a bit oversized on the hand model. That is a combination of the fact that the hand models are freakishly tiny (not even children have hands that slender) and that the pattern seems to run a bit big. Looking at all the pictures on ravelry, these look a little roomy on most people. 

I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that Ysolda suggests a US 3 needle for fingering weight yarn. I have small hands, so if I wanted to make a pair that fit me, I would probably drop down to a US 0. If you have large hands you'll be fine as written. For an "average" hand I would probable drop down to a US 2. 

They are also meant to come down your forearm a ways which the hand model doesn't allow for.

The yarn I used is Spud and Chloe Fine which is a seriously good yarn. It's 80% wool 20% silk fingering weight. These colors are goldfish and anemone. 

As always, Ysolda has thrown in some amazing construction elements. These start with a 7-stitch i-cord that forms the bottom of the cuff. You then pick up stitches from the loose stitch in the back of the i-cord to begin knitting your mitten. This snugs up any looseness and leaves you with a great double-thick cuff.

I would absolutely make myself a pair of these (on smaller needles) if I wasn't so buried under other projects. Oh, did I mention that the new knitalong starts on Friday?