Saturday, December 30, 2006

Post-Christmas knitting

Hi all,

It's been a little bit since I last posted, but for longtime readers, not necessarily a surprise, I think. I thought about posting last week, leading up to Christmas, but in Denver, we had a major snowstorm(read: blizzard) and of course I still had my crappy camera and wasn't wanting to deal with that. Now after that holiday, got a new camera (thanks M!), but of course had to figure out how to use it and then I decided to switch over to the new Blogger during the second blizzard in a 7-day period (insane!). After fiddling with Blogger for the past few hours, I'm still missing some things on my sidebar, but hopefully the HTML/XML knowledgeable among us may be able to offer me some help or it just won't make it on the page, definitely not the end of the world. I'm very excited by the new blogger and the functionality of using labels and such.

I meant to answer Sheila's question from my last post, whether or not I finished the sweater for M in time for Xmas and the answer is yes. And Sheila, I did not stick to my schedule of finishing it at all. I started seaming one side last Monday. Put it down, hardly knit for the next few days b/c I felt guilty for not finishing his sweater. Ooops, I guess I did finish another spiral rib hat out of some Malabrigo that Nachaele gave me. But I made myself sit down Christmas Eve and weave in all the ends on one side and then after Christmas Eve dinner with friends, around 11:30 p.m., I seamed up the other side and wove in all the ends there and finished at 2 a.m. Christmas morning. I blocked it with my portable mini-steamer and boxed it up for M to open. I have other news to report, but for today, I must show you M's finished sweater. He's a bit blog-shy, so his face will not appear on the blog.

from the front:



Project Specs:
Yarn used: Steinbach Wolle Merino Soft in olive green (#18 color)
Needle size used: sz 3 US(3.25 mm) for ribbing and sz 5 US(3.75 mm) for body
Pattern: Port Orford Pullover Sweater from Oat Couture
Modifications: one, which was on the front of the sweater, where you do the pattern stitch to delineate from all the stockinette, M decided that he wanted it all in stockinette, so I obliged.

I really like how the sweater turned out. I still don't like the dropped shoulders at all, but he does and it's for him, so that's all that counts. Now he wants to know everything that I'm knitting if it's for him. And the second part of that is now M2 has asked that I knit him a sweater (with argyles). Why is it the kid that always asks for the hard stuff?

Since finishing Hourglass and M's sweater, I've still been working on accessory items. Although it was nice to not have almost the pressure of working on sweaters, save for baby knits, I'm getting the urge to cast on for a new sweater. Some of the accessory items will continue to be worked on, but on the side. I really need to get cracking on the other two baby sweaters. I plan to cast on for one of these by tomorrow.

I expect to post at least once more over the long weekend, as I don't return to work until Tuesday, January 2nd.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

'Tis the Season

To be merry and bright, fa-la-la and all that jazz. While I do love the holidays, it just means more busy time leading up to the actual holiday. Last week, I hardly got any knitting done. I had to send out my Christmas cards and that was at last count, about 95+. This is actually lighter than my usual Christmas card list in years past, but it's still a lot of cards. It took me 4 evenings working on those cards to get them out, so I was very glad to get that done. This past weekend, M's company had their holiday party and most of my knitting girls got together this weekend for a holiday exchange as well. Lots of holiday cheer and festivities which really helped to get me in the mood. A day off yesterday spent shopping for friends and loved ones really sealed the deal.

I've been knitting a lot, but mostly on a hoodie sweater for Chason that I did get finished in time for Christmas. I plan on making 2 more for two of M's younger nephews as well. Between knitting for babes, my other knitting has been on accessories. I declared December as the month of accessories, which started out well as I made a pair of handwarmers out of some Lorna's Laces Lion and Lambknitted tam, as with having locs, most hats don't fit over the humongous head of hair that I have! I haven't yet felt the desire to cross over to the dark side (of crochet) to learn to make myself a tam to hold all of my hair, so I found out about a tam pattern and thought I would use my LL's L&L (50/50 silk and wool) to make a tam, handwarmers and scarf.

As luck wouldn't have it, the LL pooled so badly and the pattern is for an aran weight yarn, so the LL wasn't quite thick enough for aran weight and I did not add stitches. The hat was too tight to fit over my head and the pooling was so awful that I wouldn't wear that had on my head, alone in a dark room, cause I would still know how bad it looked. I ripped it out. As I thought more and more about reknitting it, but alternating every two rows or so with 2 skeins, which is a practice I abhor, I decided to abandon that yarn for the hat and I picked up some new yarn yesterday, which I know I will love better. The Lion and Lamb is destined to be another Clapotis. I have just over 3 full skeins and some left from a fourth. Jeni finished one in the Black Purl colorway and it's so beautiful. I think I may live to Clap again. Although it may be a little while. The Lorna's Lion and Lamb is too special to not be used in something fabulous!

So below, I have a basic pair of handwarmers in Lion and Lamb in the colorway Vera, as well as a 1/2 pair of handwarmers using some recycled Koigu into handwarmers as I have 1 full ball and one half ball. Although I will still have probably half a ball when I'm done with the second handwarmer. Lastly, in the middle you will find a Spiral Rib Hat made from Araucaunia Nature Wool. Michelle made one for her hubby and a friend and it looked so nice as she was knitting it, that I had to make one too. I loved using the Nature Wool, especially as it has the subtle variegation of one color. It sure beat knitting a hat in solid navy. I went a little overboard in the Araucania love this weekend as I purchase 4 more skeins to make hats for other family members and friends. I obviously need help. And Stacey, don't be mad because I already finished mine! ;-)

And below is the finished hoodie sweater for Chason. I plan on making one for M's nephew in New York, who was featured on the blog last year, as he's obviously in need of more handknits. But I also need to make something for the slightly older nephew. I was going to make a cardigan for him, but thankfully I found another pattern through Knitting Pure & Simple, which is another hoodie pattern as a tunic and I think I would prefer that better.

Pattern: Child's Hooded Tunic sized 24 months
Project Length: 11/24-12/18 (really easy and I put this down a few times while working on other things too. I finally weaved in all the ends last night.)
Needle size: US 7
Yarn used: Good ol' Cotton-Ease in Blueberry, used a whopping 2 skeins!

I'm very pleased with this sweater and the cute factor rates highly! I think my sister will like this one very much for him as well!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Ooh,la, la . . .Hourglass FO

For all of you asking about the Hourglass, your wish has been granted. Sorry for the delay and all. But as it is difficult to get good pictures, I had to get M out of the house for 7 a.m. and take some pics outdoors and then rush back indoors to get them uploaded. Yesterday I ended up taking M2 to school, attending a meeting at that school, rushing off to work and then attending another meeting at a potential high school for M2 after work, so there was no time to get the pictures up and a proper post.

Anyhow, here are some pictures for your perusal. M didn't realize the first round of pics he took were in b&w, somehow he changed the setting on the camera. Then we got to retake the pictures. That's always fun when someone is rushing you. But they are done.

The pictures are self-explanatory, so no details there.

Project Specs:
Sweater pattern: Hourglass from Last Minute Knitted Gifts
Yarn used: Jaeger Luxury Tweed in China Pink
Size needle: US 7 (4.5 mm) Addi Turbos
Project Length-October 1-ish-November 30th
Modifications:Not really. Because the yarn I was using was giving me a different gauge, I made a larger size to compensate for my gauge. The sweater is a bit bigger than I preferred. Although after blocking, the sweater did grow as well too. Perhaps on the next large scale project, I'll actually block the swatch! (grr!) Anyhow, I really like this sweater and see myself making another one. It is quite comfortable and the boatneck neckline was more flattering that I thought for a girl with a chest, so I was pleased with that result. Whenever I do make this sweater again, I wouldn't use this yarn. Before blocking the sweater was quite itchy, but a couple of rinses with hair conditioner and then a wool wash really softened up the sweater. Because the yarn is a blend of merino wool and alpaca, it does shed quite a bit. That's the only downside to this sweater is the constant shedding and it's not really loc-friendly yarn for my locs to hang over, but it's done and I love it and the color. Every project is a lesson and while I'd had a thing recently for alpaca as some sort of luxury fiber, those days are far behind me. Alpaca just doesn't work for me and my hair and I really dislike the shedding as well.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Stranded: The Colorwork Challenge KAL

Tthere is another knitalong that I joined. I've been really interested in colorwork as of late, but realistically I'm not sure how much I will get done. Last year, MJ hosted a stranded knitting kal and this year, it has its own blog, here. I especially joined to finish Fair Isle Jazz.

Here's a short questionnaire from the blog:

What are your projects for this knitalong? Fair Isle Jazz scarf, as soon as I get past the cabling, so I can do the other side of Fair Isle on this scarf, as well as a pair of Endpaper Mitts from Eunny Jang. I think these are so cute.

Is this your first colorwork project? If it isn't, what was your first, and has it survived the test of time?
This isn't my first project, but it hasn't been finished yet either. I suppose the correct answer here would be yes, it's my first project, but it has been ongoing since January of this year. This project is a combination of fair isle on both sides of the scarf, with a 24 row cable pattern, to be repeated 7 times. I am now in the final stages of completing the cable pattern, on row 18 of 24, so definitely in the home stretch now. I'm encourage to finish the cabling (which is really not my favorite part) to get back to the fun fair isle.

Hourglass is done blocking. Hopefully I'll get my photographer to take pictures in the a.m.? We'll see how it goes.

Friday, December 01, 2006

A little bit of this, a little bit of that . . .

So I thought I would post a few things. Lots of things have been going on. Some of these pics might be older FOs that never made it to the blog.
Below are a finished pair of M2's shorty socks, the second pair, although the picture is a bit dark of his socks and another garter stitch scarf out of Patons SWS yarn (soy/wool blend) with fringe! I really liked the colors of the yarn, but it sheds entirely too much and is not "loc friendly", so I will give it away as a gift.

Next up, I finished the Thuja socks in Koigu. I love these socks and I am so happy that they are done. This week I've been on a finishing kick and finally decided these lingered long enough. If you can tell, the socks are different sizes. One is larger than the other by about 4 stitches. My gauge changed on the second Koigu sock and I'm happier that I made them smaller. I think if I made socks using Koigu again, I could easily knit socks with 52-56 sts. And the socks got even softer with washing (which I washed in the washer on the delicate cycle, but let them air dry).

And even though I didn't quite get Hourglass done for NaKniSweMo, it was pretty close. I finished the knitting last week and started working on the all of the godforsaken hems. I love the look of them, but they are a beast. I will use it again, but I will start sewing down the hems a lot sooner than at the very end. Last night I finished the last sleeve hem and reworked a kitchener at the underarm. (It became a 3 needle bindoff! ;-)) Now, it still needs a bath and some pinning down, especially around the neck hem, but I think I'm going to like it. I like the fit of it, but if I were to make this again (and there's a strong possibility that I would, I would make it a bit more fitted and a little less long). Expect a post next week with a modeled Hourglass!

And just because my dear sweet nephew hasn't had much face time on the blog in awhile, a pic of Chason being so mischievous. He's grown up so much now and is no longer a baby, but a toddler, getting into everything.
mischevious Chason

Have a good weekend all! I'll soon have another FO to show that was using some lovely Lorna's Laces Lion and Lamb (silk and wool), a purchase I never blogged about! ;-)