Monday, December 30, 2013

Why Are There So Many Scarves About Rainbows

This is the final scarf of this year's Kindergarten Scarf series, and none to soon, since it's the Zz scarf.  I might have to use the Greek alphabet to name them, next year!

This one is another scarf of leftovers, this time using leftover yarn from my Hue Shift Afghan (in every colour of the rainbow) and a bit of teal from my Opie hat.  You might notice that this scarf is therefore 100% acrylic.  Not my favourite, but certainly practical for a kid.

I used all of the colours (except the violet from the weft) to wind the warp, mostly in random single stripes, with a few doubled.  I had tons of the violet, which is why I chose to use it for the weft, but not quite enough to do the whole weft with it, so I considered a few options for stripes.  In the end, I did a 4:2 ratio, with 4 picks of violet to 2 picks of an alternate colour.  I did wide bands of the colours rather than changing up the alternate colour a lot, mostly because it would leave me with fewer ends to weave in.  With wool it's not so bad, because the ends will felt into the fabric somewhat, but with acrylic, I'm a bit more worried about things working themselves loose, so I figured the fewer ends the better.

I'm really happy with this one - I think it's pretty wild and some kid will love it!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Experiment in Stripes

Another scrappy scarf, this time using the Irelande and Chocolate and Robin's Egg blue from previous scarves, and some Chartreuse Patons Wool with a bit of Peace Fleece in Kamchatka Sea Moss.

I did a warp stripe, but it's almost lost in the twill - I swear the weft was open enough when I was weaving it!  You can see the angle of the twill is pretty much 45 degrees, so I'm not sure why the vertical stripe is so subtle.

What shows up fairly well is the sort of fade I did to change from blue to chartreuse and back again.  I think it really turned out, and makes a cooler transition than just a clean break from one colour to another.

Happy holidays to one and all - I'll be out of town and away from my loom, so the last scarf will have to wait until next weekend!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

A Little Bit Hobbit

Changing up to a different sort of colour scheme for this one, I chose some nature-shades for a little hippie kid.  Upon weaving it, I find it very hobbitty.  The vertical element of this scarf really makes me think of trees.  Needless to say, I like it.

More Cascade 220 Wool Heathers, this time it's Chocolate Heather and Irelande Heather.

Another scrappy scarf is up next.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Using the Leftovers - Oranges & Pinks

Once I've made a few of these scarves, I have enough leftovers from the colours used to make a new scarf with the combination.  This time I added a bit of Galway wool in Natural and a bit of Custom Woolen Mills wool in Red, to round things out and give a bit more contrast.

I kept it in hopsack, which for some reason I thought would end up looking different than just a fat plain weave.  Live and learn.

I do love these crazy plaids, and I'm betting some of the kids do, too.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Shrimp & Eggs

I like to put a few unconventional scarves in the pile, in some crazy colours, because I know that kids aren't afraid to have fun the way some adults can be.  I'm also kind of into hopsack at the moment, so for this scarf, I revisited a hopsack design that I'd used in the past: sort of a windmill design.

While I was weaving, I decided the Robin Egg blue and Shrimp pink didn't have enough contrast to be really effective in this design.  In fact, the fear of that was partly the reason I chose a pattern that had big blocky elements to it.  One of these days I'll remember to think more about contrast when planning colour combinations.  For now, it's just one more warm and wooly scarf done.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Weaves with Orange

For the second scarf, I chose another classic weaving pattern - a simple but effective herringbone design - in some unconventional shades of orange.  The darker one is Provence, which I used last year as well, in a crazier scarf, and the lighter one is Tangerine.

I was a bit concerned that there wouldn't be enough contrast for it to look good, but I think it ended up being a nice subtle herringbone.

If you're thinking that this year's scarves are a bit conventional, don't worry.  Things are about to get wild.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Another year, another pile of scarves

I got a bit of a slow start on the Kindergarten Scarves this year.  I've been meaning to weave a set of towels and even wound the warp to make them, but just never got inspired enough to put them on the loom.  Eventually I decided I'd have to make the scarves first, since time is ticking away, so I set the towel warp aside and started to wind some wool.

The first one I made is a fabulous pink and black houndstooth for some fashion-forward kid.  I kind of love this one a lot, and would gladly keep it for myself.  One can never have enough scarves, after all.

I definitely found my scarf mojo with this one, and have been diligently weaving since then.  I'm pretty excited about how things are going!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Magic Carpet Ride

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.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Red Kathleen

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.


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Manly Socks

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.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Iris Socks

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!