Archive for the ‘Future Projects’ Category

Wonderful

June 28, 2010

I came out of last week exhausted, but I am going into this week feeling happy and refreshed.  My tenth wedding anniversary was on the 24th, and yesterday, my husband and I finally got our big anniversary date.  (We did go out on our anniversary as well, making this an unprecedented two-dates-in-one-week extravaganza.)  I have yet to get the rather silly pictures off of Mr. Kninja’s phone, but we went to Stow Lake and rented a rowboat and had a romantic afternoon out of a Renoir painting.  It was perfect, and I feel like my soul has been refreshed – rather lavish wording for a pragmatic atheist, but it’s true nonetheless.

I’m also so so very close to finishing up the first Sunniva sample.  I’m a knitting monogamist at the moment, very unusual for me, but I feel so excited, both about finishing and about starting on a new idea, that I’m sticking to finishing Sunniva until I find out that I need to do something else.  (I have some submissions still up in the air places, so it’s possible that my monogamy will be broken by an acceptance.  I’m not counting on it, though.)

So Red-Violet Sunniva is currently one-sleeved, with most of a second sleeve done.  I expect to finish the second sleeve today and then it’s a matter of edging the neck and deciding whether to add the lace to this sample or not.  (Since the lace is optional, I’m thinking I’ll do one with and one without.)

Anyway, once the Sunnivas are done, I have had an inspiration for a small collection of accessories, and the sketching, yarn planning, and various inspiration boards have already begun.  I’m very, very excited about this idea.  Many of the projects are quite small, but I think they’re all a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to get started.  I’m using the energy I have for that new project as inspiration to finish up my current project!  And I got to scout out some gorgeous yarn from A Verb for Keeping Warm for one of the projects this weekend, so as soon as I have the extra cash on hand, I’ll be picking up some more lovely yarn for my future projects!  Happy happy.

I need to get together with knitting friends, something I’ve been wanting to arrange for a while yet, but while Mr. Kninja’s schedule is so wonky, it’s quite hard.  So that’s the one little thing left to wish for this week, but overall, life’s pretty darn good.

Jum

April 8, 2010

Jum, jum, jum!  Those were the keys that weren’t working on my keyboard: u, j, and m.  Today, a new to me keyboard arrived in the mail!  Hooray!  I no longer have laryngitis of the keyboard, which is nice, as I actually have a lot to say, as usual.  You never realize how often you use various letters until they’re no longer available.  (And I do apologize on a much more general level to everyone.  Even before the keyboard, I’d dropped off in emailing folks.  I’m trying to catch back up, but I’m slow and forgetful, so please know that I’m not ignoring anyone.  I’m just bad at being organized.)

Here’s where we’re at: I pushed Sunniva back in schedule to a summer release, though I’m still working on it.  I still would like to release at least one pattern for spring.  I have three options, all of them appealing on some levels, all with some disadvantages.  I am working on two of them already, and a third would be very easy to begin, as I have a mock up already.  I thought, since I’m trying to be all open about the design process, I’d open up this decision making process as well.

First up, a design submitted and rejected!  Never any hard feelings in rejection, because each publication gets so many submissions and has only so much room.  It’s also very possible that this design didn’t fit the tone of the issue.  It’s out of character for me, but struck me one day out of the ether as I glanced over at my yarn cabinet.  These colors were originally purchased to swatch for a skirt idea I had, but when I got them home, I found that I didn’t love the idea of bright orange for a skirt, much as I loved the orange in question.  However, somehow the idea of a capelet struck me and I knew instantly what it would look like.  Rather than work a traditional swatch, I decided to knit a miniature version of the capelet.  This small one fits my daughter’s American Girl doll, but is meant to represent a design for women.  It’s called the Creamsicle Capelet.

Pros:

  • Mock up will help lots with making a larger version.
  • I adore the colors and the ruffles and garter stitch – it’s just a fun design for me.
  • Meant for autumn, but light and fun for spring.
  • Fairly simple, which is a plus in many ways.  I think simple, but fun to knit and attractive is the magic formula for an accessible design.

Cons:

  • I would need to buy more yarn.  I don’t currently have enough for an adult version.
  • I love how this looks, I do, but I have trouble imagining how to wear it.  It’s cute and fun and it’s practical in some ways (good shoulder warmer, buttons would keep it in place) but I’m not sure if it’s going to fit easily into a wardrobe.
  • Laceweight yarn.  I’ve been working with thin yarns a lot lately, and I’m a wee bit sick of it.  It’s a simple design, but the yarn’s thinness may mean it would take a while to knit up, and I’d like to go fast.

The next possibility is an old one.  Do you remember last summer that I reknit my Textured Toddler Tank and reworked the design, but never wrote it up?  (Note: the name of this design will certainly be changing, especially as the new sizes are not just for toddlers.)  I really would like to write it up.  I love the little tank top I made, and I love the feel of the Cotton Bam Boo yarn I used to make it.  There are a few details I want to improve, but I feel pretty excited about this possibility.

Pros:

  • Yarn is already taken care of.  I purchased some Cotton Bam Boo from a Ravelry destash.
  • I have my notes from the previous version, as well as the actual physical previous version, and so a lot of that work is done.
  • Knits up fast, and the yarn is thicker than anything I’ve worked with in a little while.
  • Texture keeps the knitting interesting.
  • I really like the pattern.
  • Seasonally appropriate.

Cons:

  • It’s an old pattern, and it never has generated a lot of interest.
  • I was planning on sizing it just for kids.  I’m not sure how strong the interest is in kids’ knits.
  • There are some problems yet to solve with the pattern.

The third and final possibility is something I’ll be knitting no matter what, and will probably write up eventually.  I’m making a baby sweater for a friend’s baby, and I came up with an idea I like very much.  I don’t have a picture of my sketch currently available, but I can tell you that it’s a unisex baby cardigan, knit in one piece from the top down, with raglan sleeves, and some simple colorwork.  The teal and brown yarn  I posted a picture of yesterday is what I’m using.  I’m about a quarter of the way into the actual knitting.

Pros:

  • Already started, and most of the math is worked out.
  • Fun colors.
  • I have a baby model available!  This never happens!
  • One piece, and using small amounts of sock yarn, so good for folks knitting from the stash for gifts.

Cons:

  • I’ve never graded a sweater for babies.  Their proportions are tricky, and the standards I have sound off.
  • There are a few things I’ve done that sound tricky to write up.  I feel foolish, because it looks like it should be simple, but I’m having trouble writing it up concisely.

And that’s pretty much it, at least as far as I’m thinking right now.  This is where my brain is currently at.  If you’d really like to see one of these patterns, or if you have some thoughts of your own, let me know!  I’m going to keep working away on the baby sweater and hopefully something will strike me soon.

Lifesplosion!

March 4, 2010

So behind!  Stitches and the end of Ravelympics came in quick succession, and I met up with a bunch of wonderful people and now I’m leading a Malabrigo March KAL (join us!) and working hard on a new pattern.  And I’ve blogged about none of it.  Because I’m sporadic that way.  Now I just need to work on convincing people that sporadic is a synonym of wonderful.

Right!  First things first.  I finished my second Ravelympics project, the blue fingerless mitts mentioned last time, and they were promptly claimed by Mr. Kninja, who loves them and squeezes them and calls them George.  He has worn them a lot since I finished them and it is because they are squishy and warm and utterly fantastic.  Malabrigo, dahlinks, please, please, please release Dos next? Please?  It’s such a nice yarn to use.  I suspect that it will ultimately pill, but the ply makes it sturdier than the Worsted, and oh my goodness, it is plump and wonderful.  Also, it has not grown the way my Worsted sometimes does.

Let us speak of M1 for a moment.  There are, of course, many ways to make one in a knitting pattern.  I have a favorite way, and I used it on these mitts.  I’m very happy with how the increases look around the thumb, so let me see if I have a picture that better displays these increases.

There we go.  OK, the increase I like to use is one mentioned by Elizabeth Zimmermann in one of her books, possibly more than one, but I definitely learned it from EZ.  As far as I know, it does not have a mirror increase, so there’s a small disadvantage there, but I think it’s neat and clean enough that it looks good in all situations.  Using the right hand needle, you pick up a stitch below the next stitch on your left hand needle and knit into the back of this stitch.  It’s very similar to a M1L increase, but it’s slightly neater, and results in an almost invisible, tight increase.

Yeah, yeah, mitts, you’re thinking.  Fine.  But where are the pictures of yarn??  You are so impatient.  Here they are!

I realize that compared to some other folks, this is a pretty modest haul, but other than in buying sweater quantities of yarn, I have never bought so much yarn at one time, ever, in my whole life.  It was largely thanks to the generosity of some of my favorite knitting buddies that I was able to get this yarn, so I am very, very grateful.

I shopped with a purpose.  There were a few projects I was looking forward to and I wanted to get yarn for them.

The above is Becoming Art Cielo Fingering in New Moon (Light).  Isn’t is gorgeous?  I’m not usually very good at working with yarns that have a lot of colors in them.  I like tone on tone variegation.  But Becoming Art yarns make me so so happy!  Lisa, the talented dyer, manages to work colors that are very different into a harmonious whole, and her yarns knit up beautifully.  I made a Clothilde for my mother in law some months back in this same base, and the bright purples and browns and pinks just sang.  I got to meet Lisa, and she’s as nice as her yarns.  At the time that I made my Clothilde, I thought that the yarn would work really well for a Milkweed Shawl.  This yarn is for a bright autumnal Milkweed for me.  I don’t know when I’ll have time to knit it up, but I cannot wait.  The colors mean that every stitch is going to be a pleasure.  The Fiber Fix has a lovely selection of Becoming Art yarns, too, and I’m really coveting the Outlaw and Wicked shades for future projects.

This is Little Red Bicycle Snowflake Sock in Cthulu.  Yes, it really does look iridescent in real life.  It reminds me of fly eyes.  I almost didn’t see this gorgeous skein when I was in the Femme Fatale/Little Red Bicycle booth, but luckily my eye fell on it before I headed out with the wrong color in hand.  One of my big goals for the year is to knit a pair of fingering weight socks and finish both of them.  With that goal in mind, I was looking for a wool/nylon blend sock yarn in a color so inspiring, I’d have to finish my socks because I’d be so eager to work with the yarn.  This is my sock yarn.  I am in love with it.  And Didi of Little Red Bicycle is awesome!  I’ve actually been following her on Ravelry for a while without connecting her to her yarn, so it was really cool to meet her and to see the gorgeous stuff she’s been making.

Which brings us on to Femme Fatale, in the same booth!  Liz of Femme Fatale is also the designer of the Traveling Woman and Saroyan shawls (and other pretty things), so you may be familiar with her work.  The above is some lovely Lilith Sport in Poison Sleep.  I was blown away by the blues and reds of the Femme Fatale yarns.  This skein is for an exchange.  It’s a full 400 yards, which I thought was pretty darn awesome!  I was lucky enough to go into the booth in a slightly slower time, so I could stop and chat a bit.  It’s going to get a bit repetitive as I keep saying how nice people were, but yeah, everyone I met was really freaking nice, and Liz was no exception.  Perhaps next time, yarnies, one of you should punch me in the face to stand out in the later blog entry.  😉

Miss Babs Yummy Toes in Violet and maybe Peony, maybe Dahlia? shown with Malabrigo Sock in Violeta Africana, not purchased at Stitches.   These little skeins are for the colorwork in Eleanor’s Paper Dolls Sweater.  I’ve had the main purple color for a while and known that she wanted pink dolls and white or pale purple flowers, but I was reluctant to purchase whole skeins of sock yarn in pale purple or pink.  I just don’t think I’d use them up.  Now Nora gets her PonyPrincessGirlyGirlyGirly sweater and I don’t have to try to find a use for yards and yards of princess pony colored yarn.

Toots LeBlanc Jacob/Alpaca 50/50 Blend–Worsted in White.  I have already used half this skein to make a hat, to be shown in a coming post.  It’s so scrummy.  In the skein and knit up, it’s very soft.  Oddly, while knitting it, it felt very hard on my fingers, but because of the lanolin content, my fingers actually softened while I was working with it.  The resulting fabric is strong and warm, but also very soft.  I love it.  It’s a sheepy wool, very satisfying to use.  And I love my hat.

Malabrigo Twist, in Paris Night and Sealing Wax, for a hat for Mr. Kninja and a chance for me to try Twist and see whether I think it will work well for a sweater.  Not much to be said.  My love of Malabrigo is well known and this looks to be a very nice yarn, very squishy and soft.  I am hoping it will not pill as much as Worsted, since it’s plied.  We shall see.

I have more I want to write, but this is getting crazy long!  I’ll conclude in a second post!

Plugging away

September 1, 2009

Oh, urgh, ugh.  I’m in the knitting doldrums.  I’m plugging away at the shrug pattern, which is all very well and good, but is not exactly knitting.  My Herbivore is nearly done, but as I’m close to the end, I’m getting the “hurry up and finish” eagerness that makes me less into the actual knitting and more into wanting to see the end of it.  I still haven’t finished Gabriel’s sweater, and I am so so sick of that yarn that it makes me want to scream.   I’ve got a new pattern in mind and on the needles, but I don’t feel like working on it right now.

No, what I really want is to cast on for something new, something that I didn’t design and that hits that sweet spot where it keeps you interested, but you don’t need to concentrate super hard either.  I’ve got all these patterns I really want to knit and I’m just not there yet.  Herbivore actually fits that description to a tee – it’s just that I’m almost done with that.  (Oh, and hey, the pattern’s out now, so go get it!  It’s a very fun knit, and the finished object works equally well for a lady or a very dapper gentleman.)

Right now I want to use my Tosh Lace to cast on for a Footlights Cardigan, but that will have to wait.  No new sweater for me until Gabriel has a sweater, unless it’s the new pattern I’m working on.  (Stern warning to self here.)

Also, long overdue picture!  Remember that sample I was making for Malabrigo?  I actually finished a while back, but I took ages to find buttons that satisfied me.  So, in all its glory, Salto:

Tomorrow I ship it off.  It’s very warm, and I really enjoyed knitting it.  It’s very, very simple – just garter and stockinette with short rows – but it adds up to something a little different from a typical cowl.  I will mention, though, that I needed a little more than the one skein of Gruesa called for in the book.  I don’t know if this was my issue, or if I had a skein that was a little short, or if the pattern’s just a little bit off, but I figured I’d mention it in case anyone else wanted to knit this pattern.

If you haven’t, be sure to offer a name for my shrug pattern if you haven’t!  Tomorrow I will draw three people to win a copy of the Clothilde pattern.  Good luck!

Resembling ripe lemons and egg yolks

February 5, 2009

Let’s talk about yellow.  The most noticable color on the spectrum, it’s been largely mistreated for years, misused, and under appreciated.  Until recently, when I thought of yellow clothing, I thought of that hideous pastel yellow that comes out in spring, often paired with pastel pinks or blues, or a set of primaries, often used in stripes.  There’s nothing inherently wrong with these yellows, but I’ve never found them appealing.  Yellow is a color that I can wear, but usually don’t.

But lately, I’ve been drawn to yellow.  It seems like yellow’s finally getting its due – it’s been used lately by designers in such interesting and attractive ways that I can’t help seeing its virtues.

I was trying to figure out why yellow’s been so mistreated for so long.  It is a difficult color for many people to wear.  A little goes such a long way.  But that can’t be the only reason.  A trip to the dictionary indicated that our discomfort with yellow goes back a long way.  Yellow is cowardly, yellow is morbidly sensationalist, yellow is envious, yellow is sallow, yellow is an offensive racial slur.  Yellow is the color of jaundice, poisonous beasties, gall, quaratine, disease, stinging insects, old age.

But yellow is also the color of filling foods, first light, hair browded in a tress, precious metals, fluttering songbirds, chattering monkeys, taxi cabs, Spring.  It’s not a color that is willing to be passive.  Yellow is loud and boistrous, even in its more muted shades.  There’s something a little bit uncomfortable about a color that is so indecently itself at all times, but there’s also something enticing about yellow.

When I was a small child, yellow was the only color I couldn’t pronounce.  I called it reh-roh, which probably made me sound like Scooby Doo.

The word yellow comes from a line of words leading back to the Indo-European gelwa, which meant to shine or glisten.  Yellow was not much distinguished from green in its early etymological stages.  It’s funny to think that so much of how we see color derives from how we say color.  The distinctions we make between, say, blue and purple, are fairly arbitrary, and need not have existed.  The etymological course of gelwa shows that it developed into words meaning white or green in some languages.

I’ve been craving something yellow lately, but I’m not sure what.  It’s not actually a color that I have a lot of.  I’m going to think on this a bit more, but I think there’s a lot of yellow in my future.

Sweaters!

February 2, 2009

I have two new sweaters.  Two!

The first is pretty obvious – I got the last skein of Andean Treasure and finished up my McQueen Knockoff.  Only two years in the making!

The Andean Treasure is a very good yarn for the price.  The baby alpaca is soft and warm and feels very nice against the skin, and the heathered qualities of this line make cables stand out in a starker relief.  The color in the above picture is not quite accurate.  The shade I chose, Ember, is a red and black heather, and the black is stronger in real life than it is in that photo.  I’ve been wearing the sweater quite a lot, and there’s a little pilling under the arms, but it’s not enough to get worked up about.  All in all, I’m very happy.  I needed a sweater of this sort – something pretty and basic that would work as a warm transitional top.  I don’t have enough of those in my wardrobe.

Here’s the story of sweater number two:  It’s actually been warmer here lately, but the other night it got really cold again.  I was huddled in layers of wool, wishing I was warmer, and then I grabbed Mr. Kninja’s Seamless Hybrid and pulled it on.  And it was WARM.  So warm.  That’s when I realized that I don’t have a big cozy pullover and that a pullover is warmer than even the warmest cardigan, and I knew I wanted one immediately.  I thought about my stash and how frustrating it was that I did not have enough yarn to make a big pullover and then I remembered the six skeins of RYC Soft Tweed.

Those skeins are the color of raw pork, I thought.  They’re funny looking.

I’m cold, I thought.  I want a sweater!  That is enough thick warm yarn for a smallish pullover.  Forget the color, I thought.  Make the sweater.  Dooooo iiiiiit!

It wasn’t hard to pick a pattern.  I’ve been crazy about Kate’s o w l s sweater ever since she posted it.  (I am not alone.  I think it may well be the most popular finished object on Ravelry with over 2000 loves.)  I grabbed the yarn and immediately cast on for an extra small, even though I wear a small, because I wasn’t sure I had enough yarn otherwise.

I had just enough yarn for an extra small, as it turns out, and would not have had enough for a small, so it’s probably good that I made the extra small.  Probably.  It’s a little, well, va-va-voomish.  Perhaps rather too much so.  The sweater is currently wet and blocking, but even with the way RYC Soft Tweed grows, it’s still really small.  On the other hand, it is a very warm pullover, which is exactly what I wanted.

The slapdash nature of this project leaves a number of things up in the air.  Things like, “Should I wear a sweater that is actually too small for me?  Should I wear pink, or should I try to dye this thing?  Does it turn out that raw pork is the one shade of pink I can wear?  Oh, ew, I think it does.  Is it OK to have pink owls?  Is it a problem that the only buttons I have that are both the right size and number to make the owl eyes are a pale lime green?”

These, and other questions, will be answered when the sweater is dry.  In the meantime, I can say that o w l s is a fast, beautiful, well written pattern, and everyone should make one.  I’m sure I’ll be making one in my own size when I have the yarn for it.

So those are the finished sweaters, but I’m also finishing up my Transparency sweater and I have the yarn to make Liam a Tomten jacket.  Also, remember poor Gabriel’s languishing cabled saddle shoulder cardigan?  I restarted that thing more than five times, and I’ve decided it’s a wash.  I had a talk with Gabriel, who is a very sensible child, and he said, “It’s better to have a sweater than to wait around and never have the PERFECT sweater,” so we decided to scrap the sweater o’ doom and design something simpler and faster.  He settled on a saddle shoulder pullover with cables up the arms and a contrasting yarn on the cuffs and neck.  We’ll make it a little big, since the child grows like it’s going out of style.  We already have to shop for his shoes in the Men’s section.

I love sweaters.  It’s nice to think there are so many yet to knit!

Hiya!

March 24, 2008

Sorry ’bout that. I up and disappeared there.

So, basically, it went like this. Mr. Kninja took off for the wilds of So Cal and took our shiny new computer with him. And my computer went ahead and instantly croaked. So I’ve been mostly computerless (though a kind friend did loan me a computer, but it couldn’t really handle WordPress very well) and all the way busy. It’s amazing how very, very much work it can be just to take care of three children and keep a house from devolving into chaos. I always feel so incompetent when it takes me all day to accomplish really simple tasks that a complete fool could handle with ease, and at the end of it, I’m feeling proud of myself for having managed to do dishes and laundry, as though it in any way fulfilled me or as though it’s anything that other people don’t handle every day.

No computer, incidentally, meant no form of electronic entertainment. We don’t own a television, and I tossed my stereo, which was big and clunky and not in good shape, when I realized that we were only listening to iTunes or last.fm or Pandora. So no electronic entertainment, and I don’t own a car right now, so I got to be a sort of unwilling Mennonite. I suppose the knitting was very apropos, though, and I have done quite a lot of it in the last few weeks. And I reread all my least informative novels and fun to read nonfiction and thought a great deal.

It’s Malabrigo March, and with that in mind, I decided to go ahead and use up the Malabrigo in my stash. It’s just a good excuse to buy more in future clear out space. Yes, clear out space. I also had my mother’s birthday to think of. Some of you may have noticed this comment, from a certain mysterious “Sue”, on my entry about my Drops jacket:

Wow! What a fabulous jacket…and adorable photos of YOU! I’m thinking that moms would love this jacket, too! If it’s a quick knit, maybe Mother’s Day would be the perfect time for a gift such as this! Hee,hee…
Love,
Mom
P.S. Grinning becomes you.

It’s nice when you have a direct clue about what someone might like. I spent a great deal of time poring over Ravelry, trying to find the perfect yarn for a jacket for Mom, only to discover that I’d had the right one in my stash all along. I bought a cone of some random bouclé on Ebay some years back, and have never quite figured out what to do with it since. It’s very pretty, a fingering weight yarn with a myriad of colors that add up to a sort of soft greyish brown at a distance. I swatched and found that if I held four strands together, I’d get gauge. So Swing Coat the Second was born. I don’t recommend doubling (or quadrupling) bouclé as any regular thing, but it did work, though the yarn had a galling habit of sticking to itself and to the already knit fabric. This meant it was slower going than the first coat, but I was able to send a completed jacket down with Mr. Kninja just after Mom’s birthday.

I don’t have any pictures, though. I just sent it off as soon as it was done.

I do, however, have pictures of the Malabrigo bounty. None of it is modeled, but you can at least see that I’ve been making things.

There’s a lot, so I’ll just stick a mess of pictures in, say what they are, and expand in a future post. I still have something I wanted to ask of all you wise folk.


A hat for Liam.


Tudora, before I put a button on it. Looks much cooler when worn.


I finally got a picture of Mr. Kninja’s insane Axel Mitts!


A Koolhaas hat made of my impulse purchase of therapy Malabrigo. The color is crazy, but irresistable. My camera doesn’t do the loopy, glowing green any kind of justice.


Look! Crochet! This is the Ruffle Cravat from One Skein. I can be my own nemesis.


See? Not perfect, but I love it.


And this is the lace pattern I made up. I’m making a scarf now, and then I’ll make a shawl, and there will eventually be a pattern for both. Eventually. We all know how not-quick I am at these things.

So, I know this is turning into something very long and disorganized, but I have to tell you that the insane green Malabrigo is called Apple Green.  Have you ever seen a less apt name?  If I met an apple in that color I would be entirely alarmed.  The whole time I was knitting with it, most appropriate names kept flowing through my mind.  Cactus Jelly.  Life on Mars.  Poisonous Caterpillar.  Electric Quince.   Glow in the Dark Spaceship.  It’s a glorious, noisy, happy color, but it’s not something I can really associate with apples.  I am not sure it’s in particularly good taste, but I don’t care.  I’m going to be the most chartreuse person on the block next winter.

So, we come to my question.  Mr. Kninja bought me a present down in L.A.  He stopped by Knit Cafe and picked up two glorious skeins of Yorkshire Tweed Chunky (don’t I just have a marvelous sweetheart?) in Coast, a perfect steel blue.  I still have four skeins of the brown Scottish Tweed Chunky, which adds up to six skeins of beautiful thick tweedy wool, even in colors that go together.  Six skeins is as many as it took me to make my Drops Jacket, so there’s clearly enough here for something, but what?  Should I purchase another couple of skeins of chunky tweed and make a striped cozy sweater?  Should I find something to do with what I’ve got?  What would you do with an unexpected tweed windfall?

Whew.  It’s good to be back.  I’ve missed this.

Good things, disaster, and starteritis

October 12, 2007

The most beautiful green yarn, the very yarn I’ve been lusting after since the beginning of summer, showed up on my doorstep, courtesy of Blue Garter Sarah.  That’s a magnificent skein of Dream in Color Smooshy, in the Happy Forest colorway.  And it being as gorgeous as ever I imagined it, I couldn’t resist casting on right away and starting on the Clementine Shawlette from the Spring issue of Interweave Knits.

As you can see, it’s a super fast knit – this represents less than two days worth of knitting, and it’s an easy, mindless pattern in many respects once you get to the straight part, but interesting enough not to get boring.  Of course, the magnificent greens make it hard to get bored as well.  All the shaping is cleverly kept within the inner increases and decreases, which I personally have found a lot easier than shaping the outer edges.

It’s a rainy day, so the light here wasn’t the best, and my picture quality is limited.  I’m sure there will be more pictures as I progress, though.  Onward to disaster.

Willow is dead. Felted to death by her creator, she is no more.

I thought that perhaps if I cut off the button bands and collar and re-knit them, that she could be saved, but alas, there is no hope. I did cut off the button bands and the collar, as you can see, and it was then that it became obvious that the shrinking had not made the coat any less wide, though it made it shorter and placed the shoulders in a ridiculous and undignified position. They are puffy and set too far down my arms now. Even if I had mad seamstress-y skillz, I do not think I could rescue Willow.

I’ve been in a bit of a funk about this, but I’m trying to look on the bright side. I learned a lot, and I know I’d like to knit Willow again. It was a fast and fun project, and now I know all kinds of things about felting that I didn’t know before. Like, for example, don’t use it to shrink a too big sweater coat.

I have no real desire to dwell on such a sad demise, however, and wish only to say that while Willow will be missed and lamented, she is not the only knit out there.  I’ve had a spate of starteritis lately.  Besides the pink diamond wrap which you saw in a previous post, I’m still working on Nora’s Tomten, and I’ve been swatching the Cascade Luna for a scarf, and finding that it hasn’t the stitch definition for a DNA cable scarf.  I’ve tried a variety of stitch patterns, and so far nothing is jumping out at me, but I got some good advice on Ravelry and shall keep plugging away at it.

I also knit a Twitterpated purse, originally intended for self use, but now going to the growing pile of finished holiday knits.

Related challenge: finding the box in which all my fabrics are packed to make the lining.

The yarn used is a random wool acquired in a swap, and I laced just a little leftover Cotton Glace through the top, which actually enhanced the frills pretty well.  I’m a little sick of garter stitch, though, between this and the Tomten.  One can have too much of a good thing.

Here’s some more garter stitch, finished long ago, but just now photographed and ready to be sent out: the Mason Dixon baby kimono.

The bad light makes it unclear, but that’s a rich, dark red, and the buttons are a pale lime green.  I bought a ton of the lime green buttons in bulk about a year ago because I liked them so much, but this is the first time I’ve gotten to use them.  Baby is of unknown sex, so I went with colors I like rather than worrying about traditional gender roles.

Finally, I’m about ready to restart on Gabriel’s languishing sweater, but he’s picked a whole new direction for it.  After looking at pictures of various jackets online, he, with infinite taste, settled on the saddle shoulder cardigan from Wool Gathering, made net-famous by Brooklyn Tweed and Elliphantom.   I can’t say the boy lacks taste.  Since the sweater is sized for adults, and Gabriel is a tall, but not enormous eight year old boy, I decided to order a sport weight yarn rather than a worsted weight.  The yarn I had on hand for his sweater was worsted and not a pure wool, which struck me as a bad idea for steeks, so I ordered some Knitpicks Telemark in what turns out to be the exact same color as his previous choice.

Behold the Lazurite Heather.

Now I’m just waiting on the pattern, which I duly ordered from Schoolhouse Press, along with the Adult Surprise Jacket pattern.

My fingers are twitching in anticipation.

In the meantime…

July 17, 2007

One of the reasons why the Kninja household is sometimes stretched a little thin is that Mr. Kninja works so far away. His daily commute totals three hours back and forth. In one week, he’s on the road for at least 15 hours. It’s too much, and we’re tired of it. That’s why we’re uprooting and moving closer to the job! We finally, after a couple of months of looking, found an apartment. It’s so nice to know what the next few months look like. We’ve been very stressed about all of this.

Anyway, posts will be a little random for a while, since we’re going to be packing and planning and getting ready to haul all our worldly possessions to the East Bay. And knitters, envy me, for I shall be living in walking distance of Stash. More details as events unfold.

I don’t yet have any pictures of my knitting progress, but Willow has a back, two front panels, and the beginning of one sleeve, so I’ll be posting pictures shortly. Also, thanks to my very very awesome best friend Dr. Suzanne, I have a new skirt, and I can sort of sew! The proof will require pictures as well, and I am thinking of going over to the dark side to crochet some lace for a border on my skirt.

Since I don’t have any knitting pictures today, I thought I’d just go over patterns I’ve liked recently, and my plans for the (dah dah dum!) future. Since we live in the naughts and no one is wearing the jumpsuits we all were promised, I guess I’ll be making retro future garments for extra confusability.

Here’s what I’m planning at the moment for the yarn I already have. Plans are always subject to change, because I am fickle. Also, this is in no particular order. And I’m leaving out oft-mentioned projects, like Gabriel’s languishing and now entirely frogged sweater.

* Finish McQueen Knockoff, which you saw me start some months back.

* Start Sweet Mary Jane bed jacket. I bought this pattern from Knitpicks ages ago. They no longer offer it, but if you like the way it looks, you can now get it for free, according to this blog entry. The Designer, Celeste Culpepper, would love it if you make a donation to the Yarn Harlot’s Knitters Without Borders when you get the pattern. I’ll be making this in the recommended yarn, Knitpicks’ Shadow, in the color Campfire Heather. The yarn is very lovely in real life, and quite soft, and since the size I’m making requires only three skeins of yarn, it’s quite a bargain, too.

* Some pretty chunky thing for my sister. I was going to use a pattern, maybe Wenlan Chia’s Best Friend Cardigan, or Debbie Bliss’ Simply Marilyn (there’s a particularly lovely version of this sweater at Fig and Plum), but now I’m thinking I’ll make up something with fun cables. I think my sister would look good in fun cables.

* Nora’s Tomten jacket, which will be done in a much finer yarn than I’ve yet seen used for this pattern. I may double the yarn and I know I will be putting in a few stripes of various colors. My plan then is to line it with fabric to make a very warm winter coat. You can see some especially inspiring Tomtens here. Nora’s will be knit primarily in a very purple tweed. I bought it before she fell hard for purple, but she’s wild for the color right now, with blue as a close runner up, so I’m planning on making some of the stripes blue.

* The Daktari Skirt from Greetings from Knit Cafe. It’s very pretty in the book, but what sent me over the edge was seeing Julie’s lovely version at Mind of Winter. She knit it in the recommended yarn, and I’ll be using Sir Galli, but I think that it should turn out well. And it’s yummy.


Other sources of inspiration for which I have, as yet, no yarn:

* I’ve seen so many beautiful versions of Lelah, but I never saw it as something I’d personally wear until I saw this lovely version with straps, knit by Mary at Ramblings of a Knitting Obsessive. (She’s also the designer of the lovely Mrs. Darcy cardigan.) Now I’m smitten.

* I admire many of Anna Bell‘s patterns, but I’m really lusting after a particular few right now. The one I want most, Bridie, won’t be available until this book comes out, but there’s still Cherry to want.
Bridie:

Cherry:

I guess I’ll leave it there, as I can lust after knits all day. I hope things are going well for you all!

Loot

June 22, 2007

I thought I was going to be a good girl and go on a bit of a yarn diet this year. Truly, I did. I have a fair amount of yarn, I thought, so using it up before I bought more seemed wise. It turns out that I have no restraint, plus I’ve given all of my relatives a good clue as to what might make me happy no matter what the holiday, so the stash keeps on multiplying. Rarely has it grown at the rate it did this week, though.

You might recall that I mentioned ordering a pack of RYC Soft Tweed and some Rowanspun. They arrived as expected, but when I opened the package I had a bit of a shock. The shade of Soft Tweed that I ordered, Twig, is a very light greyish brown, so the glimpse of raw shocking pink that I got when I opened the package was a real surprise. This is where the best customer service on the web comes into play. Actually, I’ve usually had excellent customer service from the companies I order from. Mr. Kninja, in ordering a gift for me from Little Knits, for example, tells me that they called him on the phone shortly after he placed his order because he’d picked a bad method of shipping and they wanted to advise him that there was a cheaper option that would take the same amount of time. Most often, though, I buy yarn from Cucumber Patch, usually through their Ebay shop, and they are wonderful. I’m sure many of you already know and love Cucumber Patch, so I’m probably preaching to the choir, but I still have to rave about them. I’ve never had a mix up in an order before, so I emailed them and asked what I should do next to correct the problem. They wrote back promptly to tell me that they were sorry, that the correct package was already in the mail and winging its way toward me, and that they’d just write off the package sent me accidentally. In other words, I received a free pack of Soft Tweed in the color Bramble for a minor mix up. It’s a lovely color, a lovely yarn, and I’m overwhelmed that the Cucumber Patch folks would be so generous.

You’d think that three packs of yarn would be enough for now, but you’d be wrong. I also ordered the green yarn I’ve been craving after finding the perfect shade at Sundara Yarn. I have not yet received it, but it was shipped last week, and may even arrive today. So, that would seem to be enough, right? No.

You see, my seventh anniversary is on Sunday. According to this chart of traditional anniversary gifts, the seventh anniversary is traditionally the wool or copper anniversary (with the bizarre “modern gift” of desk sets). We went with wool and exchanged gifts early, partially because we got mixed up and thought our anniversary was sooner than it actually is, and partly because we’ll be on vacation on Sunday, and hauling gifts along is cumbersome. I began a wool sweater for Mr. Kninja, tailored to his specific likes and dislikes, and he gave me…yarn. Beautiful, beautiful yarn. Three skeins of a lovely clear blue-grey Yorkshire tweed four ply that will be the basis of fair isle gloves, and a whole pack of Scottish Tweed Chunky in a rich, delicious brown studded with orange and blue and green flecks. Oh, and a subscription to Craft magazine, as though he hadn’t done enough.

I don’t know how I got so lucky. Seriously. I can start now and go backward in time, and it’s still bewildering. I have a husband who not only tolerates my obsession hobby with grace and charm, but actually encourages me and indulges me in it. But how I managed to meet this man at eighteen years of age, and how it is that here I am with him ten years later is a mystery for the ages. There aren’t many people who could handle the roller coaster that our life together has been, and we’ve had our tough moments, but no matter how hard it gets I have the good fortune to have married my best friend, the funniest person I know, and one of the only people who makes me feel comfortable in my own skin.

Enough mushy stuff, you cry! Pictures! Well, I have them, but you’re going to have to excuse me here. I’ve had some sort of nasty illness all week that kept me mostly confined to bed, and while I’m better today, my hands kept shaking when I took pictures, so they’re a little…well, they’re not my best. Better than the washed out flash pictures, though!
Here is a representative sampling of my vast yarn haul.

Starting at the bottom left hand corner and moving clockwise, we have RYC Soft Tweed in Bramble, Rowanspun 4 ply in Jade, RYC Soft Tweed in Twig, Yorkshire Tweed in Sheer, and Scottish Tweed in Peat. I know some people have complained of Rowan’s fanciful names before, but I love them. Yes, I’m a pathetic Rowan fangirl on the one hand, but on the other, I just like the words.

I also got a fair amount of knitting done this week as I was lying in bed. I can’t show you one item yet, as I need to send it out to a friend first, but I’ve got pictures of a few of the items I was working on.

Pattern: Boy’s Booties, from Louisa Harding’s Natural Knits for Babies and Moms
Yarn: Misti Alpaca Worsted in color Marigold Melange
Yardage: Unsure, but I’d guess about a quarter of a skein was used, so less than 30 yards
Needles: size 6 bamboo needles

I found out that a friend I haven’t seen in a while is having a baby boy in just a few short weeks, so I whipped these out.  The pattern is straight forward, but I think these would be better suited to being knit in the round.  Still, they’re cute, and Misti Alpaca is one of the softest yarns in the world.  I was thinking of using a more washing machine friendly material, but I couldn’t resist picking something as soft as baby alpaca.

I also made some headway on Mr. Kninja’s sweater, which is being knit in Rowanspun 4 ply (Sludge and Squirrel), and which currently looks like a striped heap of nothing.  It’s slow going since the Rowanspun is fingering weight and this sweater will be large, but I can work on it in increments, and it’s nice to see progress made.  Mr. Kninja likes fine weight yarns, tweed, and V neck lines, so I’m using all of these things here.  He does not like fancy embellishments,  cables, lace, or unnecessary detail, so there will be none of these.  It is not the world’s most exciting sweater to knit, but it will be a nice wardrobe staple when it is done.

Also, it may make Mr. Kninja look like a convict.  We shall see.

My body was achey from the fever I had for much of this week, though, and knitting on size three needles soon made me weary, so I started on Kim Hargreaves’ Willow, from Rowan’s A Yorkshire Fable. This is going much faster, and I have a few comments.

First off, the Soft Tweed is a delight to work with.  I feel as though I gush over every new yarn that I try, but I do try to buy yarns I’ve read about before and heard good things about, so maybe that’s part of it.  Anyway, the Soft Tweed reminds me a good deal of Rowan’s Plaid.  It is similarly squishy and soft, but without the slight scratchiness that some of the alpaca hairs in Plaid seem to add.  The yarn is 56% wool, 20% viscose, 14% polyamide, and 10% silk.  I wondered what viscose and polyamide are, so I looked them up. Viscose is apparently an organic liquid used to make rayon or cellophane, and it comes from cotton or wood.  Polyamide (also called polyimide or polymide) is a plastic, but it doesn’t contaminate its surroundings when it is made, which makes me feel a little more cheerful toward it than I do toward most plastics.  It is very durable, very insulative, and it can handle high temperatures.  So we have this mix of wool, wood cellulose, plastic, and silk, and it ends up ridiculously light.  Soft Tweed is a chunky yarn, but it is sold in 50 gram skeins.  It feels, when you touch it, like someone sent a jet of air up the middle.  It just feels too light for what it is, but it’s also very warm.  I’m sort of bewildered by it, but in a pleasant way.

The Yorkshire Tweed Chunky called for in the pattern is, of course, discontinued, but Soft Tweed swatched to exactly the same gauge.  It comes in 87 yard skeins, though, while the yarn used in the pattern comes in 110 yard skeins, so if you use the Soft Tweed as a substitute, be sure to adjust accordingly.  I’m making the size small and using 13 skeins of Twig as opposed to the 11 you’d need with the Yorkshire Tweed.  The sweater will be considerably lighter weight, but I hope still quite warm.

The pattern is wonderfully, mindlessly simple.  It’s simple enough for someone knitting their first sweater, but it’s got Kim Hargreaves’ stamp all over it.  First, it’s simple but very nice looking, and the ribbing moves seamlessly into the simple cables.  It’s got pockets, which I love in a coat, and the belt is a nice touch.  I mentioned before that there’s another Willow by Kim Hargreaves done in Ribbon Twist, but that was before I noticed that her current collection, Summer Breeze, also contains a Willow.  That should make things nice and confusing, but heck, when you’re producing as many (beautiful) patterns as Kim Hargreaves, you’re bound to reuse some names every now and then.

I’ve rambled on for too long again, haven’t I?  Well, no worries – I’ll be silent as the grave for the next week. We leave on vacation tomorrow and will be having what I hope will be a relaxing time at the lake.  Happy summer!