Saturday, February 26, 2011
Back at the tail end of 2010, I signed up for a super sweet lil neckware swap over on Flickr. Moments later that good ol' trusty companion SELF-DOUBT arrived right on schedule. That train is never late! You see, I am terrified of disappointing others. What if I flake and never actually complete the item, get trapped into a self-created negative spiral in which I avoid knitting the object out of some sense of misplaced resentment and overwhelming sense of anxiety about the task at hand, let it go on for far too long and am then subjected to scorn and ridicule? What if I mail it, am too chintzy to get delivery confirmation, it gets lost in the mail, the recipient has justifiable righteous indignation, runs me out of Knitsville on a rail with the villagers and their pitchforks and I am then subjected to scorn and ridicule? Worst of all, what if I carefully knit said item, the recipient receives it with great anticipation and then throws it down in disgust due to its overall shoddy execution and poor choice of materials? Do you now see how of a sweet lil neckware swap can be a one-way trip to hell?
Luckily that was not the case here. Whew!
Pattern: Crow by Larissa Brown
Yarn: Malabrigo Chunky in 'Sapphire Green', 1 skein.
Needles: size 10.5
Mods: None. It's a cowl.
This is a great pattern from one of my fave designers and gray hair style icons, Larissa Brown. I am in the process of letting my hair go 100% its natural shade of salt and pepper, and clicking on the pattern for Crow just serve to remind me what a stone cold fox she is. AND the pattern is up to her usual standards of beautiful, portable and jolly-making.
My recipient, the delightful Maryse was pleased with my cowl. I was so glad to send it off to her as she's one of my favorite KnitPals ever. In honor of her mighty Frenchitude, I had another Gallic Hot Mami, Sandrine do me the modeling honors here. More proof that I am a terrible friend: I had her model this for me mere moments before a series of high stakes exams. It's all about me and my sunlight needs, people! She was her usual gracious and obliging self. I mean, come to think of it, nipping outside in the fresh air probably took her mind off the event...I am so thoughtful.
An interesting flipside to the above-mentioned swap induced foolish nonsense: I have never once received an item in a swap I didn't 100% completely love. You knit this for me? Really? I LOVE IT! This swap was no different, but more on that next time.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Knitting with my beloved Felted Tweed is time well spent indeed. Any respectable inventory of this fair yarn's qualities would have to include mention of the unbelievable array of colors from which to choose, the springy-sproinginess of its hand, and of course, the felt-in-your-hand workability of it. If it were a sailboat, Katharine Hepburn would certainly describe it like this:
Yar. Yes indeed.
Pattern: Striped Beanie by Martin Storey
Yarn: Felted Tweed: 'Rage', 'Avocado' and 'Treacle', bits and bobs of the first two, about a third of a skein of the latter.
Needles: size 3 and 5
Mods: So many that they are included in several paragraphs below. A departure! Usually I'm a go-with-the-flow-it's-all-good type of knitter, but there were many ways to make this pattern work better.
First off, knitting this hat in the round was absolutely essential. Back and forth and then seaming this mother up? Martin, please. So not happening around this joint. Doing it in the round just made much better sense to me and made for an all-around pleasant knitting experience, which is how I like my hobbies.
My next modification involved the jogless seam technique à la Brooklyn Tweed's Turn-a-Square, which if we're going to get real for a moment, should be acknowledged as the all-time most clever way to ever deal with the Stripe Problem. No jog. Problem fixed. Next.
Since we are cannibalizing BT's Turn-a-Square, we might as well also borrow with super awesome crown decreases, because let's face it, they just work. Please note: I am not the first person on Ravelry to come up with these ideas by any means, many other more intrepid knitters then me have done them to great effect. Just go and check the gallery and you will see the magic all in one place.
A word about the book in which this pattern is published: Knitting for Him: 27 Classic Patterns to Keep Him Warm. Now, given the title, it could have easily been one of those odious books that trots out the tired clichés about fickle men and the needy women that risk relationship stability by knitting them sweaters. But I am very relieved to say that but it isn't. It doesn't press any of my major gender buttons and that's a good thing! The projects are super-stylish and worn by semi-hot English fly fishermen and country gents. At least in my fantasy they are...
Well friends, I have ridden this hat wave just about as far as she'll take me. I might have one or two in the pipeline for 2010-2011, but we are gradually transitioning over to something more seasonally appropriate: shawls. Stay tuned!
Thursday, February 03, 2011
Several weeks ago, before I became a virtuous knitter who made do with her (quite abundant) stash, I was a slovenly, undisciplined knitter who bought many random skeins of Madeline Tosh yarn with no particular project in mind at all. And boy am I glad that I did! Because now that I've made a deal not to buy yarn without much discernment and a solemn sense of gravitas , I am so glad that this is the yarn that I chose to buy. MadTosh has colors to beat the band! Just ask Babs, she patiently stood by while I spent what must have felt like an eternity dithering as I made my choices [wait...do you like Terrarium or Ginger better? What about Faubourg?]. Of course in the end I bought all of the colors I wanted. I'm sure she's wishing she could get that half hour back....but luckily she is a lifer like me, so she played along. *Take it away, Dionne*
Pattern: Molly by Erin Ruth
Yarn: Madeline Tosh DK in 'Glazed Pecan', .75 of a skein
Needles: size 3 and size 6
Mods: Because the cable and stitch pattern rows don't match up, you are keeping track of two things at once, and I have decided that I no longer willing to do that. Nope. Life's too short, knitters! So I made the cable row match up with the pattern row. And no one died.
I am extremely happy with this pattern. I was a bit dubious at first because a busy stitch pattern combined with cables has the potential to be quite loud and even maybe a little vomit inducing, does it not? I mean, the potential for this to go way off the rails is indeed quite high. We're talking Shetland Triangle-in-Koigu off the rails. Luckily that didn't happen here and everything comes together in a way that I find quite pleasing.
This yarn is truly everything it's made out to be. Not only gorgeous but ultra-sproingy! It's the perfect yarn for a slouchy hat. My pal Carolyn joked that I am a hat machine. What can I say? It's my perfect project. It's small. It will probably fit. You can put it in your purse. And if you muff it up, who cares? It's just a hat!