Thursday, January 28, 2010

Wood Hollow Vest, aka the Best Thing I've Ever Made

Wood Hollow vest by Through the Loops
I know I tend to veer towards the hyperbolic about most things (along with sneering contempt it's my favorite mode of expression), but I am here to tell you that I have just completed test knitting the best thing I've ever made, courtesy of Kirsten Kapur of Through the Loops fame. Wood Hollow Vest! Wood Hollow Vest! Shout it from the mountain tops--it's a real honey of a pattern that deserves your immediate attention!
wood hollow vest 5Wood Hollow vest by Through the Loops
The Specs
Pattern: Wood Hollow Vest by Kirsten Kapur of Through the Loops
Yarn: Cascade 220, 4.5 skeins of #9564, 'Birch Heather'.
Size: 44
Needles: size 6 and 7 circs
Time: Cast on Christmas Day while starting into the void and my in-laws in NJ, worked on it on and off while doing other things, and finished last night.
Mods: Excuse me? What is this 'modifications' thing of which you speak? ETA: there is one unintentional mod--I muffed up the cable panel on the front. But hey--only God is perfect, etc.
Wood Hollow vest by Through the Loops
There is so much to love about this pattern. One thing that I so appreciate as Chesty McChesterton is that the pattern comes in sizes 32-54 in a way that actually works, meaning that it's not like those patterns that work perfectly at the smaller sizes but haven't been properly thought out at the larger end. The cables are perfectly proportional in all sizes.

This is the ultimate Cascade 220 project as the yarn makes the stitches pop to perfection. I'm sure that right now most of you even have enough in your stashes to do this pattern. This particular color is also quite appealing as well as it's a tad odd. I first saw it chez Babs as she's using it for a vest that SHE NEEDS TO FINISH. Ahem. To me it just screams 'Old English Furniture polish', which in my world is a supreme accolade. It also reminds me of the shag carpeting the Silverman twins had in their basement as well as the cock-a-poo Ginger our family had in the 80s. All good associations!
Wood Hollow vest by Through the Loops
There's a new Wood Hollow KAL on Ravelry if you fancy doing this pattern with the real time, live blogging assistance that only a RavKal can provide. I also think that this would be the perfect Ravelympics pattern as it would hold your interest and is totally doable in the time frame of the event. Me? I'm a moron and am trying the Autumn Rose Pullover because apparently 'going down in flames' is how I plan on celebrating the Winter Games.
Wood Hollow vest by Through the Loops
From the department of shameless family promotion, because it's what we do: You might have heard about a little device announced yesterday with a regrettable name? Well guess what--my brother CALLED IT over four years ago as a writer at MadTv:

Friday, January 22, 2010

Going shawl-out for 2010!

Saroyan progress shot
Waaa-waaa. Ravelry has been blowing my mind recently with a lot of crazy awesome features. The newest one? The Help for Haiti patterns: buy a pattern from a favorite designer and at least 50% of the proceeds will go to relief efforts for Haiti. Yo: I'm not talking about crocheted toilet paper holders here (see how I vilify what I don't understand?), I'm talking about patterns that are already in your queue. I nabbed several, including KK's Dorothea beanie, M-H's Simple Things, Daybreak, Wandering the Moor and two shawls I've been dying to make: Clothilde and Milkweed. So check it out, the designers have been so generous to offer their proceeds.

While on the topic of Ravelry, I am excited to have joined an insane group on there called 10 Shawls in 2010. Yup, you guessed it: you knit 10 shawls in one calendar year. I'm kind of excited about it because I have recently rediscovered the awesome power that is the shawl, and it is this: the key to wearing them and not looking like a society for creative anachronism member or historical reenactor is to wear them as bunched up as scarves. VoilĂ . Such an earth shattering observation! What's next? Leggings as pants? NO.

I'm making fantastic progress on my Saroyan, and have my eye on the above-mentioned shawls as well as a top-sekret test knit, Mara, another Shetland Triangle, Summer Shawlette, Woodland Shawl, and Candlelight Shawl. Am I missing any? What's your favorite shawl pattern?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Stangers with (Arm) Candy*

Arm Candy by Amy StashKnitRepeat
If you are looking for a quick knit with a maximum hubba hubba factor, look no further than ARM CANDY.
Specs: Arm Candy by Amy Herzog (Stash Knit Repeat)
Yarn: Valley Yarns Colrain in Grape Jelly, 8 skeins
Needles: size 7
For: My mom.
Mods: The only mod I did was to pick up the sleeves and knit them in the round. I am still looking for that missing entity, you know, that magical object that will make my life complete, i.e. THE PERFECT BUTTON. Once located, I will crow about it.
Arm Candy by Amy StashKnitRepeat
This was a very fast knit: the pattern is intuitive and expertly written, the sizing options are out of this world, and the finished sweater is a winner. There are several shaping options: I went with shaping in the back but not the front. Teen thing is modeling it here and it looks very drapey on her slight frame, but a larger gal would fill this out for some serious va-va-voom.
Arm Candy by Amy StashKnitRepeat
I have yet to meet a Valley Yarn I didn't like, and Colrain is not exception. It far exceeds my initial expectations, as far as I'm concerned. It sells for the nice price, is super versatile, and is silky and sheeny yet not disco. That is totally my new motto btw. Amy was a love to let me test knit this for her. Thanks!
Saroyan in Malabrigo Twist 'Tuareg'
Next up for me is a Ravelry viral hit: Saroyan. I'm breaking into my precious, newly acquired stash of Malabrigo Twist in Tuareg and I am here to tell you that it is unreal and is basically making the regular Malabrigo feel like sand paper. Yeah, it's THAT soft.

*Thought I'd sneak a little Jeri Blank in the title because well, I love her. FANDANGO.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Empire state of mind

Empire hat-3
First project of 2010 alert! First project of 2010 alert! And it's another Kirsten Kapur winner, folks. I feel like I am that Julie chick and that I'm trying to cook my way through Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, except that it's knitting and I'm knitting my way through the Kirsten Kapur design catalog. If you don't know her designs, you should: she is terribly talented and her patterns are among the clearest out there. Do yourself a favor and get on board while you can.
Empire hat
The Specs:
Pattern: Empire Hat by Kirsten Kapur
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted in Marine, .75 of a skein.
Needles: size 7
Size: small
Mods: AS IF!
Empire hat-4
Because I made this for my friend Dave's daughter, I opted to only do one repeat of the main pattern and went ahead with the size 7 needle. The next one I make will be done on a size 8 and I'll do the full two repeats for optimum whimsy.
Empire hat-2
I was afraid that the recipient would have a bout of shyness and wouldn't want to model the FO for me, so I went ahead and snapped some pics before gifting it. Worrying that all our heads would be too big and not wanting to go the grapefruit route, I remembered my parents New Guinea art collection and that there was a statue that would be a perfect stand-in. Hooray for being home, where despite the -15 temps, I can get something accomplished!
Empire hat-5
Luckily I was wrong and Dave's daughter was a willing accomplice. She squealed when she received the hat and noted that it will match her backpack. So, YAY!