Archive for the ‘Finished Projects’ Category

Green with evil

June 16, 2011

Actually, there’s no evil to be found here. It’s just that when I was in high school, my favorite television show was Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, and there’s a character on that show, Zorak, who describes himself as green with evil. I repeated the phrase so often that green and evil are sort of permanently linked in my mind. Green is also one of my favorite colors, so there’s a hugely positive association with this green evil business. A frightening little tour of my psyche, that.

Anyhoo, I’ve had a lot of deadline knitting lately, and I’m not the fastest knitter on the block, so I have had relatively little time to knit simply for fun or to knit other people’s patterns. I say relative, because a lot of more prolific designers than I am have far less time to knit anything just for fun. I’ve had a couple of little windows between projects, though, and I used that time to knit a little warm weather cardigan.

The pattern is Safire, by Hilary Smith Callis. She’s got a lot of lovely sweater patterns that I want to knit, but I picked this one when I was looking for something to do with my pretty Sundara Merino DK the Second. It’s club yarn, and the yardage ended up being less than expected, so while it’s lovely, I couldn’t use it for the project I originally had in mind. The color was so bright and pretty, though, I didn’t want to use it for an accessory, so I went looking for a shrug or cardigan pattern that would work with less than 600 yards of yarn. Safire fit the bill, and as I quite like cropped cardigans, it was a really appealing option.

This is a great (and free!) little pattern. I was over on gauge even with smaller needles, so I knit the smallest size, and it fits perfectly after blocking. While I did not otherwise make any modifications, if I were to knit this a second time, I would not do the waist decreases, and I probably will still add a crocheted edge to the button bands. I feel like the decreases break up the ribbing in a way I’m not that fond of, and the ribbing itself works pretty well to nip in at the waist. That’s a matter of taste, though, and the decreases aren’t especially noticeable when I’m wearing the sweater.

I have yet to get modeled photos, but I have worn the sweater out and about. We don’t get super warm weather even during the summer most of the time, and our summers are always punctuated by cold spells, so a little layering piece like this is ideal. The yarn is pretty dreamy – very firm and smooth and it feels like it will wear like iron despite being soft on the skin. The color is also gorgeous. It’s called  Turning Leaves in the Fog, and the spring greens are punctuated with the occasional cool streak.

I’m sneaking in an apology at the end here – I know apologizing for failure to blog is silly and pathetic, but I can’t help it! I have a post about nostalgia on deck but I haven’t found time to finish it, so it may be only posts when I finish a project for a while. Mea culpa! And happy summer!

Wrapping up

January 8, 2011

There are a number of projects I finished last year that we never got around to photographing in modeled pictures. I think there are some projects that I never got around to photographing, period. I’m trying to remedy that now, and as we’re finding time, we’re taking pictures. One thing I’d love to do this year, actually, is go back to a lot of old projects and let you know how they’re holding up. It’s a good way to review yarns and see if the projects I chose for them were appropriate. (I don’t think a yarn is poor just because it didn’t hold up well. That can mean that it was simply badly chosen for a given project.)

This project is Francis Revisited, which is a free project from Beth Silverstein on Ravelry. I loved the look of this sweater from the first time I saw it, and a spate of excellent finished projects had me very eager to make a Francis of my own, but finding the time proved harder than expected. This is a fast, easy project, knit in the round with worsted weight yarn and oversized needles. Nonetheless, since I was knitting it between other projects, my progress was of the leaps and bounds variety.

When I finished, I actually wasn’t sure if I liked it. The pattern was quite good, but I felt like I’d made a few poor choices. My seed stitch looked sloppy to me. I didn’t like my bind off. I felt like I ended the sleeves at the wrong point. I felt like I should have gone down in gauge for a different fabric. I had four skeins of Cascade 220 in a magnificent green, but I ended up using only two and a half to make the sweater, so the possibility of ripping and beginning again was real.

Then I actually wore it out a few times. I may have been unsure about it, but the sweater was drawing compliments right and left. I’ve knit a good few things that I wear regularly, and most of them go uncommented upon. There’s nothing especially bad about that, but the fact that people noticed and liked the sweater made me think that maybe it was OK as it was. (Also, the prospect of ripping and reknitting didn’t sound like much fun.) I’m keeping it.

We did double duty in this picture and got a shot of the Side Slip Cloche from Boutique Knits that I made after Stitches West 2010. It’s knit in Toots Le Blanc Alpaca/Jacob and since I was talking about how yarn holds up, this has held up like a dream. I wear this cloche all the time when it’s cold, and not only is it incredibly warm, it doesn’t show any sign of wear at all. It’s one of those sheepy yarns that gets softer with the wearing, too. I remember that when I was knitting the hat, I was a little worried that the yarn felt scratchy, but the perceived scratchiness lasted only as long as I was knitting.

A couple of thoughts on both patterns: Francis is a good, simple, top down raglan. Were I to knit it again, and I might, I’d make the sleeves a little bigger, and I’d make both body and sleeves a little longer. I think I might still consider working in a tighter gauge, as well, though I’ve liked the loose gauge better as wear has changed the drape. I’m ultimately happy with this sweater, though, and having been getting a lot of wear out of it. The yarn is exactly what Cascade 220 always is: a good workhorse of a yarn with fantastic colors.

The Side Slip Cloche is a clever, well thought out design, but I found it a little lacking in two areas, both of which have been noted by others. One was the schematic. It’s a little unclear when it comes to joining the ruffle band. I had to join it several times before I felt happy with how it looked. The other part relates to the band as well. As written, the sizing is on the small side. I have a small head, but I had to lengthen the band to make it fit. The other cloche that I made from Boutique Knits tends toward the large side, so it’s good to pay close attention when knitting from this book. That said, the pattern is very cute and the changes needed are not hard to figure out. Other than those two issues, it was well written and clear, and the end result is one of my favorite hats ever.

Oh, and I got a much needed haircut! I feel a lot happier with the state of my head now.

See and do

November 1, 2010

This is much later than I intended it to be, but better late than never! Back over the summer I was lucky enough to do some test knitting for Stephen West‘s Westknits Book One, which came out last month. Stephen has a distinctive design aesthetic that is always appealing to me, and these new designs are no exception. Clean lines, interesting colorwork, clever shaping, and a lack of extraneous frills characterize these beautiful shawls, hats, and scarves. They’re fun to knit without being frustrating to knit.

I knit Urbana, an interestingly shaped garter scarf/wrap, in the gorgeous Malabrigo Twist in Sealing Wax. Oh my gosh, you guys, squishiest scarf ever! Combining Twist and garter is brilliant, and since the yarn is so thick, it knits up fast before the garter can become tiresome. The shaping is a lot of fun, too. It works into an elongated parallelogram with a keyhole to make wearing easy. I had a hard time deciding on a contrast color for the edging, but eventually settled on Burgundy for a gentle contrast. My husband wears this scarf all the time. My photos don’t show off the shape well, but you can see a lot of great pictures of the shape on Stephen’s site.

I also knit a shawl, Chadwick, in luscious Sanguine Gryphon Bugga! in Beyer’s Jewel Scarab and Shibui Knits Sock in Dragonfly. Picking the colors for this two color shawl was a lot of fun, and knitting it was more fun, especially as it was my first time using Bugga! That is a yarn that is just a pleasure to knit with, and it makes the smoothest knit fabric I’ve ever made. One again, you can see better pictures of Stephen’s clever shaping on his site, but I got a lot of pictures of the shawl on its recipient – my dear friend Christine, who surely deserves a Bugga! shawl if anyone does. I think this design is so great with her style, too – she’s not a frilly person, but she wears a lot of accessories and looks great in them, especially bright colors. The clever shaping and colorwork involves a little more concentration than Urbana does, but Stephen makes intarsia easy, and the different ways the colors meet up and cross keep this project from ever becoming tiresome.

Back to school knit

August 18, 2010

Eleanor starts kindergarten this year. She also outgrew her much loved Tomten jacket finally and most of her lightweight jackets and her coats. So it seemed logical and celebratory to make her a new coat for school. I bought the yarn, Malabrigo Twist, some time back when it was on sale at The Fiber Fix, and then was waiting for a chance to make something cute out of it. I had planned on writing up a whole process post, but the days are slipping by as we get ready for school to start, and at the end of each, I realize I haven’t written up a post at all, so for now, here are pictures – nothing fancy, as Nora was not especially cooperative when I was attaining them. But I think the coat came out rather nicely, even though it was largely spontaneous. I hadn’t planned on writing up a pattern, but I’ve gotten a few requests, and it’s been added to the queue.

Into existence

August 7, 2010

All those long months back, I had this idea for a sweater that I drew on paper and submitted to Knitscene. They didn’t want it, which I’m ultimately happy with, because I got to take my time and keep getting more and more fiddly until I had two versions of the sweater.  Yesterday I finally finished the second version, and today I’m having that moment you get in any sort of creative endeavor where you look at something you’ve made and realize that the thing that once existed only in your own head is now a physical reality.

I got unsure about the lace panels as I was finishing them up, but now I’m so glad I went through with it!  It feels finished now, and I think the lace does something really different and special to a simple tee shirt pattern.  The buttons, Victorian glass numbers from Green Ray Productions, are the final touch to make this special.  The body of the sweater is knit in Malabrigo Sock (under two skeins) and the lace is Misti Alpaca Lace.  It is a ridiculously soft little number.

For comparison’s sake, here’s this photo paired with the original drawing.  Admittedly, the angle of the photograph isn’t wholly conducive to comparison, but I think you can see how it turned out.  I’ll probably take at least one photo with the silly ribbon belt I originally imagined!

So with this done, it should be less of the all Sunniva all the time situation that it’s been for months around here.  I tell you, I’m very happy with how this turned out, but I will think twice before deciding to design a sweater in two versions and light fingering weight yarn any time soon!

A little something

July 29, 2010

Two little somethings, really!  I have been meaning to make mitts for all my kids for ages now, but somehow it always gets put off.  Come autumn and winter, our walks to school involve nippy weather and little hands feel pinched.  Pockets help, of course, but mitts would be even better.  And of course, the poor kiddos with the knitting mother don’t have any.  I had some leftover Sanguine Gryphon Bugga! from a test knit for Westknits that I can’t yet show you, and the color is Liam’s favorite, so it seemed like fate to whip him up a pair of little mitts.

The yardage on the Bugga! must be very generous, because I still have a fair quantity left over when I’d expected to use it all up in the test knit!  It is such a pleasure to knit with this yarn.  It’s unusual for yarn this soft to feel so sturdy, and of course, the color is amazing.  This is Beyer’s Jewel Scarab, and it looks like a solid, but there are little variations in the color that are just beautiful – barely there blues and yellows that give the color depth and beauty.  I could squish these all day.  There’s a decent chance that they’ll be lost early in the school year, of course, but with so little yarn and time spent, I think it’s worth it!  Now I just need to make mitts for the other two.

Let the sun shine in

July 12, 2010

Sunniva the First is finished.  Holy heck, that was quite a process! Thanks so much for all the encouragement, advice, and kindness along the way!  It’s somewhat embarrassing to open up the design process when it doesn’t go as planned, but the end result makes me feel glad for all the changes and rips and frustrations, since the fact that I didn’t compromise means that I got the sweater that was in my head.  I have a thing for puffed sleeves, though of course, a knitter who wanted to make the longer sleeved Sunniva and didn’t like puffed sleeves could easily knit straight and have a rather different look.

So, traveling back in time to the beginning, you’ll remember that I wanted to design a sweater that was very much like a tee shirt in ease of wear, but more formal in look and style.  I like button down blouses, but I’m not too keen on potential gapping at the button band, or in the fiddly process of fastening such a garment.  I feel very happy with what I’ve got here.  It is a tee shirt, essentially, but I think it does have a more formal look.  It’s very comfortable to wear, and the false button band looks pretty much as I’d hoped it would with my first, failed method of using twisted stitches. Since I was basing it on jersey tees, the shaping is at the sides, taking advantage of the knitted fabric’s stretch and natural drape.  I am a big fan of darts, but sometimes I feel like they interrupt the look of plain stockinette, and so in this case, we left the shaping to the sides.

The yarn is of course BFL wool from OrangeFlower, custom dyed in a Red Violet.  I love the color ridiculous amounts, which you may already know, since I haven’t shut up about it since I started.  It’s a light fingering weight.  The light part is important – it makes the fabric very breathable, and it means that the gauge is a little different than what you might get with a regular fingering weight.

Now, I still have to make – or rather remake – the second, short sleeved version of Sunniva, which will also incorporate an optional lace neck edging.    For comparison’s sake, here’s the starting sketch (which is of the other version of Sunniva) next to the finished longer sleeved version, without the optional lace.

It makes me happy to see that it’s pretty darn close.  I have everything I need for the second version, and my great hope is that it will go pretty fast, since the first one is done and can be used as a template.

Mostly just pictures

May 21, 2010

Real post soon, including a continuation of the Lace Triangle tutorial (and I found some places where the illustrations need improvement in previous posts, so I may return to those and tidy them up) but in the meantime, here are some images.

Saartje's Bootees in Wool Candy Meringue in Damson

Westknits test knit in Malabrigo Twist in Sealing Wax

madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Wicked

Plain and simple

May 3, 2010

Oh my gourd, you guys.  I am so tired.  I don’t know what’s going on, but I’ve been falling asleep in the middle of the day lately.  I’ve got a huge list of things I want to get done and only so much energy to do them.  However, I’m proud of the fact that I’m sorta keeping up despite the tiredness.

As a result of the tiredness, I’m on the lookout for simple, relaxing projects I can pick up when I have some down time.  I keep finding things that are perfect, just perfect, and then realizing that the needles I need are in use, or that I don’t have needles in the right size.  So annoying.  However, in a little spot of just right, I made these plain fingerless mitts.

They’re almost aggressively plain knitting wise, but that’s just what I needed.  Garter rib and stockinette.  The yarn is some Patons Classic Wool that I got in a trade and then had trouble making use of.  It’s so pretty in color, but it does tend to pool and when it does, it is not attractive.  These little mitts are just the right size to break up the colors in the skein, and I think they’re pretty cute.  They’re for my aunt, who has worn out the first fingerless mitts I made her.

Thanks for all the thoughtful responses to my last post.  Every time someone responded, I’d think, “Yeah, that!  And I forgot to mention that, too!”  I may not have the largest readership, but I think I’ve got one of the most interesting readerships.  I love what you all have to say.  Thanks for forcing me to think again and again!  I will address some of the responses more specifically, but that whole tiredness thing is overwhelming right now.  My brain, it cannot keep up!

I do not have to do anything else this year

April 28, 2010

Because my one New Year’s resolution was to knit a pair of sock weight socks, and I am DONE!  Who is the woman??  I AM THE WOMAN!  (Now there are chest bumps and a victory dance that looks suspiciously like The Funky Chicken and Mr. Kninja dumps a bucket of Gatorade over my head.  You’ll have to imagine that part.)

The pattern is Child’s First Sock from Nancy Bush’s Knitting Vintage Socks, and the yarn is Snowflake Sock in Cthulhu from Little Red Bicycle.  I need to get modeled photos taken by someone who is Not Me, but in the meantime, enjoy some pasty legs and green clad ankles!

For the record, I am wearing pants in this picture, but I rolled them up so that the socks would be visible.  Just in case you were worried.  I am a pants-wearing citizen.  They happen to be my husband’s penguin-festooned pajama pants right now, though, and that doesn’t really go with killer soul eating tentacly green socks of absinthe madness.

(This is the moment to insert my very most favorite Cthulhu related comic.)

I love the fact that I just knit Victorian socks in a green that ripples and undulates and shines.  I know the Victorians used a lot of color, but I still think my socks would probably cause a stir.  They’re just so…I don’t know the word.  But I love them!