Sometimes all the basic hats and socks and sweaters have to give way for something a little more spectacular, something a little more shiny. Even in winter, a girl needs a little bit of something precious and lovely. This particular lacy bit of a scarf is not for me, but it's something I'd love to keep, if I could.
The colour is a bit off in the photo (and yes, I also know it's blurry; I'm terrible at this, sometimes.) This is an amazing alpaca/silk blend in a beautiful teal colourway, with pretty coppery beads glittering throughout either end.
I had ordered nice matte teal beads for this project, initially, but once I started to knit, I realized that the beads were too perfect a match for the yarn - they were almost invisible, so what was the point of doing all that beading? I frogged the knitting, went back online, and ordered a second batch of beads, this time in a beautiful metallic copper - sure to be visible! I love the colour combination, and think that it was a much better decision to change things up.
The original pattern also has a column of beads up either edge of the scarf, which would indeed be beautiful, but I see the potential for those beads to be a cold shock against the neck when initially putting the scarf on, so I left those columns off.
It was a somewhat complex project, with several charts to work off at any one time. It also seemed to take ages to knit this, but I expect that's just because I was working on a few projects at once, and most of them were smaller and simpler and used fatter yarns. In the end, it's quite lovely, and should be warm, too, even though it's light as a feather.
I've had this hat (called Kathleen) in my queue for a while. I loved the cables and the giant tall ribbing and the funky little slouch. When I started thinking about fall/winter knits, a few months ago, I grabbed a lovely fluffy ball of red wool from the shelf and began this one.
I knit practically the whole thing at the recommended gauge, with my hands getting stiff from all the tight cabling, before I faced the fact that it really wasn't going to fit my big head. I ripped it out, back to the end of the ribbing, and went up a couple of needle sizes to reknit it. This time my hands didn't get as stiff, and I found that it fit better.
Although I do enjoy the look of it as a slouchy chic hat, this week it's been bloody cold, here, and I found that if I fold the brim double, it still looks cute, in a different, Steve Zissou sort of way, but will also keep my ears warmer.
Sometimes it's hard to find a good manly pattern that will please both the man in your life as well as your inner desire to knit something lovely and amazing. When I saw this pattern, charmingly called John Huston, the Tarnished Hero (ravelry page) I knew it was a winner on both fronts.
The leg of the sock has a great chevron pattern, made of traveling twisted stitches, that is reminiscent of a military chevron in style, and then that chevron splits in half to continue down the foot. In addition, the central part of the leg and foot is a nice stretchy 2x2 rib, which will ensure that the finished sock will snugly adjust to fit virtually any width of foot.
I knit them out of soft and strong Stroll sock yarn from Knit Picks, in a deep dark brown called Fedora. It's a bit darker than the photos look, more of an espresso.
Knitting these socks was a bit of a challenge - the twisted stitches were traveling on every round, with no rest rounds, for example, and it took a while to get the gist of the pattern so I could knit it without the charts to back me up. The end result is a really great sock, though, and hopefully will be appreciated by the recipient.
There were a few great things about participating in Camp Loopy this year - one was having a chance to make a few lovely projects, another was having the chance to buy fabulous yarn at a discount to make them. One of the final treats is that successful participants in Camp Loopy got a free skein of fingering weight yarn at the end of Camp! There were a few colourways to choose from, and the one I chose was called Meadow Wildflowers, a lovely blend of grassy greens and gorgeous purples. The base yarn for the free skeins is Lorna's Laces Solemate, which I've knit with before and really like. There's a beautiful sheen to it and a really soft touch, along with a drapiness that reminds me of bamboo blends.
I didn't fuss about with this yarn at all, but just did my simple toe-up stockingette sock, to let the colours shine. I'm so happy with these beautiful comfortable socks!
The second of the knitalongs was of course the first one I finished, since it's just a quick little hat. I love the lilac colour so much, and think it really works with these cables.
The skein of Green Label Aran had plenty of yarn in it to do a third repeat of the cables before closing the top, which makes the hat just a bit longer - long enough to cover my ears in the cold, which was the idea. I probably could have made it with a bit of a looser gauge, so it wouldn't be so snug around my big ol' head. It's ok as is, but I feel like a bit more give would be more comfy and give more of a slouchy fit when I don't pull it all the way down.
Either way, I'm happy to have a bright spot of colour to cheer me up on those cold winter walks to work.
Well, I've finished both of my knitalong projects, so now I can get back to my regularly scheduled knitting. I have a long queue of things I want to get around to, not to mention various weaving projects (a set of towels I wanted to have done by now comes to mind, as well as this year's set of kindergarten scarves.)
But for today we celebrate having another lovely pair of socks - as mentioned previously, these ones are the Lambda sock pattern in Hazel Knits Artisan Sock. The Twilight colourway continues to be a challenge to capture accurately, but I think you can sort of make out what's going on, here. If you click on the photos to enlarge them, that helps, too. The socks are really lovely in person (where the pattern is more visible) and I would totally knit these again. I think they would make a good pattern for dudes, too.
They're also warm, which is a good thing for pictures in the snow.
While many knitters are probably tearing their hair out trying to finish all their knitted gifts for the holidays, I'm not one of them. There are a few reasons for this, including my general assertion that the holidays should not be about gifts so much as about spending time with loved ones, and the fact that I don't knit a lot of things for other people, being quite unabashedly selfish about how I spend my limited knitting time.
The end result, of course, is that I have time right now to join some knitalongs.
The first one I decided to indulge in is one at Hazel Knits (ravelry link) - this one is a Mystery Sock knit, with the option of knitting other patterns by the same designer if you don't want to knit the mystery sock. I was excited about the mystery, so I started that sock cuff, but decided I didn't love it by the second clue. I ripped them out and picked another pattern by the designer (called Lambda socks) and began that one instead. This is the toe of the second sock - it's a really quick knit and the socks are quite lovely, too. I'm using Hazel Knits Artisan Sock in an old club colourway called Twilight. It's a very dark teal, nearly black, and very difficult to photograph!
Once I was doing one knitalong, it seemed easier, somehow, to fall into a second one. This one is over at Tanis Fiber Arts, and is simply a chance to knit some accessories from TFA yarns. I could always use another hat to brighten up my winter doldrums, so I decided to do Tanis' Cabled Canuck pattern. Ever since I knit my Colour Affection shawl, I've had a hankering to knit something else with the Lilac colourway, so I used this chance to do it. The pattern calls for two repeats of the cables before closing the hat at the top, but I think I'll try to squeak three out of this skein. That will make the hat longer, to cover my ears (the project photos make it look a bit short for that) and also give me a chance to fold the ribbing up to double it up over my ears. Get the feeling that I'm planning for some cold weather?
There's still time to join either or both of these knitalongs, if you're feeling inspired...
Many years ago (nearly a decade already?) when I was a beginning knitter, there was an amazing yarn dyer in Edmonton named Virginia vanSanten. I used to admire her yarns in the shops and dream of knitting with something so wonderful and beautiful. I bought some of her yarn for a shawl once (Ravelry link) and loved every moment of knitting it. Some time after that, I found out from one of the LYS owners that she had passed away. It was a palpable thing, to know that such an amazing fiber artist was gone. Suddenly the few skeins of her yarn that I had left seemed so precious.
These socks represent the only skein of her sock-weight yarn that I had in my stash. I held onto it all these years, but finally decided that I would do it justice by knitting it, more than I would by keeping it in storage. The colourway was called June Gardens, but I've always felt that it was more of an autumn colourway, with all that orange and red. Perhaps her garden was full of marigolds and roses.
I did my usual toe-up sock recipe, a 68-stitch circumference on 2.25mm needles, but for the afterthought heel I did something a bit different: a star heel with decreases in the round, since I felt like that would reflect the shape of my heel more than the usual way (simply reversing toe shaping.) If the center of the star heel doesn't feel weird when I wear them, I may do this for heels from now on.
A couple of years ago, I knitted a pair of Elementary Watson socks for my dad, and they were a lot of fun to knit and turned out very nice. When I had occasion to knit a pair of men's socks for another man in my life, I could have gone another route and tried something new, but as he is an avid Sherlock fanboy, I knew that these ones would be the right choice (again.)
I once again relied on the kindness of SweetGeorgia to supply me with a beautiful colour, this time a fairly solid slate grey, and went to work. I went down a needle size, since I found them to be a bit biggish last time, at the recommended gauge.
Note to self: men's socks take ages, since their feet are even bigger than mine.
In the end, the socks are lovely and pretty perfect for the recipient, so hopefully he'll love them as much as I enjoyed knitting them.
I've been meaning for ages to knit myself a little sleeve for coffee to-go cups, since I keep burning my hands trying to carry my cup of Timmie's to work. I hate the paper waste from getting a second cup to insulate, so I never do, but I also hate burning myself. Every time I get a coffee, I think "oh yeah, I should knit one of those when I get home" but I never remember.
It just so happens that I've been spending a lot of money at The Loopy Ewe this summer (and have been ordering yarn from there for a friend, as well, to save on shipping.) They have just started up a new customer reward program this year, and with the amount we have spent, I got (among other things) a little teeny ball of yarn and a little pattern for a coffee cup sleeve. Perfect.
I knit it up in an hour or so, over (yet another episode of) Doctor Who. It works like a charm.
Living life somewhere in the grey area between Liz Lemon and Nancy Botwin. I live with my beloved Heterosexual Life Mate (HLM), no kids, two beautiful feline ladies, and what I can only assume are self-replenishing stacks of fabric and yarn.
rstovin on ravelry