Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Heads up for a Giveaway

I know a lot of you out there love Tanis' lovely yarns, so I wanted to let everyone know that she's having a giveaway for one of her Baby Shane Blanket kits. If you read this before April 1st, head over there and enter. I'm thinking of what a lovely Wool Eater (Ravelry) this would make, but I'd love to see what you'd do with it, if you win, too.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sky at Sea Scarf

I wish these photos showed the design better, but frankly, the variegation of the yarn and the lighting strongly affect how well it shows up, even to the naked eye. The scarf ended up light as a feather and, while the fabric is still a bit on the sleazy side, it's got just a lovely hand to it, and drapes beautifully, as you can see in the second photo.

If I did it again, I would probably do a closer sett, perhaps around 24 epi, rather than 20. I think that would help with the visibility of the design. Also, using yarns with less variegation would obviously help, too.

Nevertheless, lovely.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Caprica Socks

Sometimes when you're working on a bunch of complicated projects (be it stranded knitting or lace knitting or fancy weaving) you crave some simplicity. At times like that, it's nice to have a couple of balls of self-striping sock yarn laying around in the stash, because you can just cast on a simple toe-up stockingette sock and knit around and around and around while your brain unwinds.

These ones are from Knit Picks Felici fingering weight, which is a slim and hardwearing sock yarn. Over at Knit Picks, they change up their colourways pretty regularly, but this particular one is called Caprica, hence the project moniker. (Sorry it's not something cooler, Battlestar Galactica fans.) Using Judy's Magic Cast On and an afterthought heel makes them super mindless, since I can just knit a long tube sock and then open it up later where I need a heel. Matching the starting spot for the cast-on also means the socks match up pretty well. I did a bit more ribbing than I intended (since I started it a bit earlier than I should have) but that just makes for a nice long cuff, and there's nothing wrong with that.

Chalk up one more pair of comfortable, practical, well-fitting socks. Not to mention a few days of easy and relaxing knitting.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Another 8-shaft Weaving Project

Upon completing my Ombre Cardigan, I had tons of laceweight yarn left, especially the lighter shade of grey. I decided it might be fun to try weaving something with what was left. Because I had less of the darker shade left over, that was my limiting factor, for the size of the project. I chose a complicated looking 8-shaft weaving draft that I'd spotted on Weavolution (which originated on and did some math. I deliberated a bit about the appropriate sett (density) of this yarn in this pattern, and decided to weave it at 20 epi. At that sett I had enough of the darker shade to do one pattern repeat across the width of a scarf and eight repeats in length.

I wound a warp and put it on the loom and yesterday I started the weaving. The sett seems a little loose at the moment (in weaving parlance, we call that "sleazy" fabric, which is pretty awesome terminology, I think) but I am hoping that once I have it off the loom, no longer under tension, and wash it, it will be a nice fabric. Time will tell.

The variegation in the two shades also takes away from the weave structure, but again, I think it will be better once the lighter shade is under less tension and can fluff up a bit. Certainly if you click on the photo to see a close-up, that will help you to see the design more clearly. If you are curious, the papers on the right hand side of the photo show the lift plan for this pattern. It takes a bit of concentration, but isn't nearly as hard as it looks. I have two repeats done, so far, so six to go. Even with frequent sock-knitting breaks, this one shouldn't take too long.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

North Wind Hat

Before I got all excited about my rainbow scarf, I mentioned that I'd recently made a couple of new hats...

This one happened simply because I fell in love with this colourway (Sweet Georgia Yarns' Saltwater.) When I saw this glorious vibrant blue colour, I was totally enamored of it, and once I saw Felicia's North Wind Hat pattern (which only takes one skein of her Superwash Worsted weight) I was reminded of Oscar Wilde: I can resist anything except temptation.

It's quite a different yarn than the worsted weight yarns I'm used to, very dense and round, but lovely. Every stitch of this project was a labor of love, since it's so darn pretty. I am only sorry it didn't last longer. It's very comfy to wear; I think the folded-over ribbed hem is the best part. The colour does nice things with my eyes, too, which is always a bonus. Supporting another Canadian yarnista by buying yarn and patterns is the cherry on top.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Rainbow Gamp Scarf

A colour gamp is a weaving project where you make a progression of colour stripes in the warp and match those stripes in the weft. It lets you see how various colours will interact with one another, in a woven design. They are often done just as an exercise for weavers to learn about colours in weaving, but they are so beautiful that I decided to use the idea for a scarf, instead.

The original scarf design was from Handwoven magazine, May/June 2009. It was done in a heavier yarn, made of alpaca, and used only two colours: ivory for the circles and brown for the borders. I wasn't very impressed with it, to be honest, and wondered if there was any way to make it more attractive. Colour is the obvious answer, and I thought that if I dressed it up in rainbow shades, it could be quite lovely. I decided to use Knit Picks Palette, since it comes in so many colours and is inexpensive and feltable. Of course, choosing a new yarn changed the sett and required me to do a lot of math to reconfigure the whole thing.

I showed you a close-up of the fabric on the loom, last time. I did finish weaving the scarf the next day, and twisted all the fringe the day after that. After some serious hand-washing and hand-fulling, I laid it flat to dry and ended up with a nice light warm wool scarf. I have been wearing it, which is why it looks somewhat wrinkly in the photos. I enjoyed weaving this scarf, and actually considered doing more of them in different colour themes: maybe shades of pink and orange or blues and greens...

It's the first time I have tried using all 8 shafts on my loom for a project. Fortunately it wasn't very complex, and I managed it without much difficulty. I think I might even try another 8-shaft project before going back to some simpler projects I have planned. Stay tuned.