Sunday, July 28, 2013

Pretty Petals

Last week, I showed you a little teaser of the back of a cotton t-shirt I'm knitting.  On Friday night, I finished that piece and cast on for the front.

I wanted to knit the back first, to figure out exactly what I was doing, since the original design calls for both the front and back to be knitted in five separate pieces and seamed together.  While I don't mind a nice evening of mattress stitch, that seemed like a crazy amount of extra work when they could easily be knit in one piece for back and one for front.  However, doing so also means doing a lot of configuring and a lot of what knitters dread most: shaping that happens "at the same time..."

I had to put the shaping for all of the pieces together in one monster piece, and I thought it would be easier to do that on the plain stockingette of the back.  Having figured all that out, it's easy now to concentrate on enjoying the pretty flower pattern on the front of the t-shirt, bobbles and all.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Let's Recap: Anthro 101

I'm sure it's no surprise to hear that I'm waaay behind in showing things off on this blog.  Even I was surprised to see how long this one has been waiting, however.  It's over a year since I was finishing up this cardigan and wanted to show it off.  How time flies.

I won't go into great detail, here.  That old post gives all the deets on the cardi: where the inspiration came from, the yarns I used, etc.  I ended up scrapping the crocheted belt, in the end.  I just didn't feel like it did the cardigan justice.  Other than that, I think I did a pretty good job of replicating the original Anthropologie cardigan.  There are some great textures in this one, between all of the different yarns, as well as some great colours.

Another triumph for Elizabeth Zimmermann's set-in sleeve and another cute cardi for me.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Blast from the Past

I have a big stash of knitting yarns, it's true.  Enough for several sweaters and shawls and innumerable socks.  Most of the time, I've bought the yarn with a specific project in mind.  Of course, when I bought it, I was chomping at the bit to get started on that particular project.  All too often, I get distracted by one thing or another, and it is shelved while I get excited about something else.  In some cases, the yarn has been sitting in there for ages, just waiting for me to be inspired to pick it up again.

This particular project has been in my Ravelry queue for four years.  It's a summer project - a little cotton t-shirt - so every summer I intend to make it, and then the summer sneaks on by and I put it back down the queue for next summer.  Well, a couple of days ago, having finished the afghan, the shawl, the hats, I realized how few projects I had on the needles right now.  And I can't start my next Camp Loopy project until August 1st, so...  I felt inspired to cast this one on, and didn't hesitate.

Perhaps it looks a bit odd right now for a t-shirt, but all will be revealed soon enough.  (I hope.)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Rock Star

When I posted the lovely photos of my first Camp Loopy project, I mentioned that the second project would be a lace shawl in Madelinetosh.  I bet that even your wildest dreams didn't imagine something this beautiful!

The challenge for the second Camp Loopy project was to knit something with at least 500 yards of yarn, and it had to be a pattern that was so popular that at least 1000 people have posted it on Ravelry.  I went through some of my favourite designs and found a few contenders, but as always Jared Flood stole my heart with one of his designs.  This one is the Rock Island shawl, and ever since the first day I saw it, I knew I needed to make it.

I went through the laceweight yarns on the Loopy Ewe website, and decided that Madelinetosh Prairie would be perfect, in a nice deep grey, and after all, I don't have any grey lace, as of yet.  Then I scrolled down and saw this colour, called Nebula.  The photos of it broke my heart with the dazzling blend of light and dark teals, spun into a spectacular laceweight single.  I immediately changed my order and got the Nebula.  So I still don't have any grey lace.

The construction is unusual: you begin with the edging (71 repeats of it, which take ages) and then pick up the body of the shawl from there.  It's smooth sailing after that, with a simple lace design and then mindless garter stitch.  Once you're in the garter stitch, it's just a matter of watching the rows get shorter and shorter and faster and faster until you are at the finish line.  So satisfying.  A quick soak and then block the Dickens out of it and you're ready for the fanciest event.

You can tell my photographer is more used to people-shots than shawl-shots, but I think you can still appreciate how lovely the finished product is.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Let's Recap: Northern Lights Capelet

This one is a real oldie - it's nearly been two years since I finished it, so it's about time I showed it off, here.

The original pattern comes from Knit Picks (although it appears to only be available on Ravelry, now) and was actually designed as a cute little hooded cape for toddlers.  One day I was cruising around Ravelry and I saw this version by Flint Knits (scroll forward and back through the photostream to see a few more shots of this beauty.)  All she did was knit it in a worsted weight yarn rather than a sport weight, to upsize it to an adult version.  Of course it looks really really gorgeous and chic.

I decided to try to recreate her magic so I ordered a bunch of Wool of the Andes from Knit Picks, in pinks and browns, and got to work.  I added a couple of extra rounds of motifs to the bottom of the cape, since I wasn't convinced it would be long enough to adequately cover my bustline, otherwise.

The cape itself is knit in the round, using steeks for the neck opening and for the opening at the front of the hood.  This makes the stranded knitting a lot easier than knitting back and forth would be.  As well, you bind off your stitches at the neckline and then pick them up again for the hood, which creates more stability at that spot.

I could have added a little crocheted loop and a button at the neckline, but I thought it might be a bit chokey, so I haven't.  As well, I have to admit that I haven't really worn this one at all.  As cute as it was on Ms Flint Knits, I feel a bit silly in mine.  Every time I've put it on to wear it out, I end up taking it off again and wearing something else.  Maybe I am just not a cape sort of a girl.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Let's Recap: Beatnik

It was a long time ago, in the depths of winter, that I last showed you my Beatnik sweater.  I made a bunch of changes to the original pattern as I knit it, like adding some length, creating a mashup of two sizes to make it fit me perfectly, and knitting the sleeves and body together at the yoke as an EZ set-in sleeve.  I feel like I might have also done some funny business at the neckline, to ensure it wouldn't be too wide, but it was so long ago that I can't remember for sure.

I finished the sweater in the winter, and have worn it a few times in the interim, weather permitting, but only just now have managed to get my photographer to take a few shots for me.  You can tell from the photos, I'm sure, that he was worth the wait.

Don't you love it?  The cables, the neckline, the fit, the colour...  Incidentally, the colour is Doeskin Heather, one of my all-time faves from Cascade 220, which I bought so long ago for a completely different project, but one day I just had to make Beatnik, and this beautiful yarn was just sitting there waiting for me to use it.

So glad I did.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Hue Shift Afghan

The story of the Hue Shift Afghan has gone on for a while.  I bought the kit from Knit Picks in the last vestiges of winter, and started knitting it up not long after, slowly working my way through the first three of four quadrants.  Then I made a herculean effort to knit the last quadrant in five days in May, on our Jasper trip, and then set the whole thing down to languish before finishing the seaming and border.  I am not usually one of those knitters who puts off finishing an almost-finished project (the two long-ignored knitted bags notwithstanding) but this one just sat and sat while I worked on other things.  In the last week I finished up a handful of projects (some hats, some socks, some lacy cowls and a shawl) and I had an urge for something simple.  Garter stitch borders couldn't be simpler.

When I ordered the kit, Knit Picks was out of the black yarn for the border, so I chose a dark violet instead.  I think it's a perfect colour, since it is still dark but also really suits the rainbow colour scheme of the blanket, and is the next logical colour in the progression from either end.

I also really love how the lines made by the decreases on each of the mitred squares creates a sort of star design when the blanket is pieced together.

Even more awesome than finishing this is that I have a bunch of brightly coloured yarn scraps left over, so you know some lucky kid will be getting the most glorious rainbow scarf when I start my woven scarves for charity in the fall.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Crazy Hat Lady

A while back, I knit a hat for my HLM (which never got a photo on the blog since he is shy of cameras) based on the hat that Opie wears on tv's Sons of Anarchy.  He loves it and wears it a lot.

Recently, one of my friends, who is quickly progressing through the basics of knitting, decided she wanted to knit herself a hat in that style.  We decided to do a hat knitalong, and both bought yarn and measured our heads and got to work.

The end result is a really simple slouchy hat that I love.  Sorry about the crazy eyes.

After finishing that one, I had the hat bug, and pulled out some yarn and a pattern that I picked up at the knitting store in Jasper on our girls' vacation.  A simple pattern by Wooly Wormhead, it knit up in a couple of days.  I added a half-inch to the length, and am I glad I did - it's still not really as long as I'd wish.  It's also a bit snug and wants to pull up, so it might be a donation hat, rather than one I keep.  The design uses a reverse-stockingette background with a travelling twisted knit stitch across it.  If I knit it again, I'd probably do a YO & SSK combo, instead, which would be easier on the hands and would give more-or-less the same effect.  It would also have more stretch, so it might even stay on my head a bit better.