Monday, September 28, 2009
I am what you might call a bit of a Rowan floozy. A one-woman gold rush waiting to happen where it is concerned, I will do my own version of a run on the banks if it means more Rowan. Case in point: the Felted Tweed Aran frenzy of last month & the newly acquired Cocoon for the Heather Hoodie (ding! ding! told you I was self-involved). Feel free to make any champagne-taste-on-a-beer-budget comments you like, I am fully aware of the road to bankruptcy that Rowan can induce.
Lima is brand new and holy mackerel is it awesome. It has the chainette construction of the dearly departed Rowan Cork but doesn't have that hollow feel that Cork sometimes had. It is 84% alpaca with some merino and nylon thrown in for added structure. The colors are all lovely as well. In short, Lima is sure to be your new best friend if you happen to be so lucky as to nab some.
Pattern: 198 Yards of Heaven by Christy Verity
Yarn: 1.75 yds of Rowan Lima in color # 886, 'Puno'. This color is the perfect fall neutral--it is somewhere between mushroom and camel, a little region I like to call my own personal land of guaranteed knitting enchantment.
Needles: Size 8
Time: Less than a week. Proper!
Mods: The only mod I made was to do the lace edging in stockinette stitch rather than the called-for garter stitch. While I can appreciate the role of garter stitch in some patterns, I was concerned that it was going to take this shawl on a one-way trip to busy town, so I held off.
This pattern was pure joy from start to finish. While I enjoy making hats/mittens/sweaters for the sheer practicality of them, nothing gets me going like a shawl. I mean when I am hitting my stride with the perfect yarn/pattern combo, I become an unstoppable knitting ninja. This pattern was everything I wanted it to be: a fast knit in a new yarn that would make a nice little gifty for another knitter. Stay tuned and that identity will be revealed in my next post...
Monday, September 21, 2009
Aren't I just so clever? Right about now you might be thinking that I chose this mitten pattern strictly for the purpose of giving my blog post that clever title. My brother and I used to be obsessed with small businesses that would choose cutified names just because they could--almost as if the name of the store came before the business idea itself. In Minneapolis we had Curl Up and Dye (hair salon), That's a Wrap (pita pockets), Sox Appeal! (socks, which do they really even merit a free standing store, anyway?) It's Greek to Me (spanakopita et. al.) as well as my brother's favorite, some bootleg operation that just sold refrigerator magnets or some such nonsense at the Mall of America [Brucie, help me out here], the name has been erased from my memory--THANKFULLY.
Luckily these mitts--the Merion mitts--are about as far away from a bootleg operation as one could imagine. The pattern is a winner down to every smallest detail. I had been wanting make these in forever and cast on for them last week, thinking that I would give them away next month to a friend. I worked on them and then realized that one of my favorite colleagues/friends ever was having a birthday this week. As she's a smoker--mais oui!--I'd always wanted to make her a pair of fingerless gloves for campus puffing purposes. Hey it's cold out by that dumpster! Right when I was about to wig and lose my knitting cool, I realized that I was at the perfect place to McGuyver this project and voilà, the fingerless iteration of the Merions were born...
Pattern: Merion Mitts by Pepperknit!
Yarn: Misti Alpaca, 1.5 skeins, 'fiesta mélange'
Needles: Size 5, l'anneau magique (heh heh), Hiya Hiya
Mods: Obvs. the fingerless part. I worked the pattern chart 1.25 times as then just made a twisted rib cuff. In order to compensate for the seed stitch palm not having the same height as the cabled back, I just purled back after a row of ribbing and that took care of that.
This pattern is pleasurable because you get to do just enough seed stitch that you don't lose your mind à la most Debbie Bliss patterns. The twisted rib pops brilliantly and the bobbles, for me, were something new. I can now check 'bobbles' off my list of never-attempted knitting manoeuvers. Now that just leaves steeking and intarsia...
Next up for me? Well I am sewing the buttons on a true gem of a sweater at the moment and am about to cast on for a hoodie in some Rowan Cocoon that, well, has my name written all over it. What's in a name? Can you guess?
Monday, September 14, 2009
I think I might be on a bit of a sweater roll these days as I am pleased to report that my Vine Lace Top-Down Cardigan is finished--poof--just like that. This project basically took a week with the longest portion being waiting for the flipping thing to dry during blocking. Hooray!
Pattern: Vine Lace Top-Down Cardigan by Sweaterbabe.com
Yarn: Lamb's Pride Bulky in Kiwi, 7 skeins exactly.
Size: Xl, the second to the largest size.
Needles: Size 11
Mods: I did the pattern exactly as written which was not hard as it is exceedingly clear.
Many have vaunted this pattern and let me now add my voice to the chorus of praise. The pattern has so much to recommend it: very clear directions, an interesting lace panel that gives way to pleasing ribbing that ends up with a stockinette zone-out fest. The sleeves go quickly and the collar is a lot of fun--it also represents the first time I've ever bound off in pattern, isn't that insane? For some reason I had it into my pea brain that binding off in pattern was this terribly difficult task that one day I might be brave enough to attempt. Then I stopped by SYAO & Cynthia disabused me of this notion in about oh 3 minutes. Wait, it's just as easy as all that? Ohai I make things more difficult than they actually are...
This was a 100% satisfying knit as I now have an all-purpose heavy sweater to wear to Rhinebeck. Although at the rate I'm going I might even have another sweater or two completed by then. I am chalking this increased knitting productivity up to my new 'power of three' rule, which I must say is totally working out for me. While waiting for the smell of sopping wet wool to subside during the interminable blocking process, I cast on for two new projects--O W L S and Merion Mitts. This was done in a cavalier and 100% guilt-free manner, and I couldn't be happier to have put my knitting tsorris behind me!
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
One of the joys of my commute is that I frequently stop in and see my pal Cynthia in Pine Grove Mills at Stitch Your Art Out, i.e. the best yarn store between Yinz and Youse Guys. On this particular day it just so happened that the stars had aligned and we were in the same knitting mental space, which is to say, totally freaking sick of all our projects and ready to cut some bitches.
We talked through our gripes, did some digging and decided that the whole knitting 10+ projects at once thing wasn't really working out so well for us as it was leading to a blind rage typa deal, so we made a mutual pact to change our ways and improve our attitudes in the process. Radical measures to rectify the WIP Excessfest 2009® have been taken and many, many projects have been removed from permanent rotation. By removed I mean either ripped out, stuffed in a ziploc bag and banished to the third floor behind the stack of Consumer Reports that I'm going to read someday or put into the temporary holding zzzzz tank of Ravelry. Out of sight is the operative term here.
We have come up with a power of three concept--at any given time, only three projects can be in the mix. Why three? Three is enough to not get bored but also to make some progress. Three--one portable, one concentration-centric and one t.v.project. Three--enough to keep you content and rolling along and hopefully prevent you from hurting others.
And guess what? All my knitting agita is gone--poof!--just like that, so much so that I even finished a long-term pain in the noodle WIP!
Pattern: Ann Budd Basic Sock Pattern--i.e., my go-to generic sock pattern. So clear and intuitive.
Yarn: Regia 4-ply Kaffe Fassett in 'Landscape Fire' (?)---for an industrial yarn, it ain't half bad, much better than many others. Trekking--I'm looking at you.
Needles: 1 1/2 addi turbo lace needles--needles that have gotten so much use the finish is wearing off them, which is a bit of a concern.
Time: I cast on for these last March and am oh so glad they are done-ski.
Now that I have finished a project, a spot has opened and I can FINALLY cast on for one of the many sweaters I have planned. First up is the Vine Lace Top Down Cardi--I've been itching to try my hand at this one ever since seeing Earthchick, ASHLEY and Babs' impressive versions.