Thursday, December 30, 2010

Two Hats

Hineri in Rowan Cocoon "Lavender Ice"Star-Crossed in 'Malabrigo Pearl'
I know I've said it before, but I am such a small accessories knitter. Cowls, hats, shawlettes, mittens, not-too-complicated scarves? I am so there, with bells on. Sweaters--ok, I'll give them a go once in a while just to keep it real. Please note that I DO NOT consider socks to be small accessories. They are the work of Satan himself their own category, mmkay? And I will never knit them again. Got it? Right.
Star-Crossed in 'Malabrigo Pearl'Hineri in Rowan Cocoon "Lavender Ice"
These two hats were completed right before the Junior Texting Dream Team hit the skies on a flight to Dublin that when it left, was headed to an airport that was open but then closed like 5 minutes after it took off. Nothing like being told by a nonchalant, callous airline employee that your kids are on a flight that "...might be diverted to another European city, or circle the airport and land somewhere else." Commence plotzing in 3...2... [...]. Luckily the airport briefly reopened and their flight managed to land but not before I learned the joys of real time tracking of trans-Atlantic airline flights combined with copious amounts of vodka.
Star-Crossed in 'Malabrigo Pearl'Hineri in Rowan Cocoon "Lavender Ice"
The Specs
Pattern: Star-Crossed Slouchy Beret by Natalie Larson
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted in 'Pearl'
Needles: 10.5 + 11 addi turbos
Mods: None

Pattern: Hineri by Olga Jazzy
Yarn: Rowan Cocoon, 1 skein in 'Lavender Ice'. Perfect yarn of this project!
Needles: 8 + 9 addi turbos
Mods: None, but I ended up ripping it out at least three times due to my inability to read all the way through a pattern.
Star-Crossed in 'Malabrigo Pearl'Hineri in Rowan Cocoon "Lavender Ice"
For all the colorwork knitting I do (and OH MAN do I have something to show you very soon), I still love a good solid colored hat as much as the next person. So stylish and easy to match with a variety of coats, right? Both of these hats were easy and can thus be classified in the 'knit while watching the idiot box' category. My only word of warning relates to the Hineri pattern--the cables are BEYOND tight, so if you have a larger head, this garment might be a tad too snug for your big Irish noggin'.

Box of Hand Knits

While the girls have been gone, we've taken to throwing their shit out rearranging. After an hour or two of gathering the family hand knits, I had amassed this gigantic box. I must say it was a thrill to see some of these again. Ufserud! December Lights tam! Such a pleasure to see you again, I hope your time behind the cookbook shelf wasn't too dusty and unpleasant, welcome back to permanent rotation. The large collection here requires desperate measures, so yesterday I went to Ikea (i.e. where previous lower back injuries are reactivated) and got a storage bench for these beauties. So this is what I'll be watching The Curmudgeon do on New Year's Eve. I hope you all have similarly thrilling plans!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Insert 'Terra' pun here: _____________.

 Shelter: Homemade Jam, Button Jar and Hayloft
As you might know, I never do anything by half-measures, especially when it comes to participating in land-rush style buying of new brands of yarn. I have a tendency to go, oh what is the expression....whole hog. So yes, a month or so ago, back before the Vikings hadn't thoroughly ripped out my heart and put it through the ritual wood chipper known as tanking on national television, I got a skein or two more of the Shelter than I initially let on. Like, at least four-more-colors-in-multiple-skeins more. See photo above.

Terra in Shelter 'Almanac'
After making Habitat, which I recently gave to my favorite Norwegian bachelor farmer, I knew that I was destined to have a long, protracted relationship with this yarn. I wanted to make something more substantial than a hat but not as commitment heavy and pocketbook unfriendly as a sweater, so I set about Ravelry to see what others in my situation had come up with. Several keystrokes later I had my answer: Terra!

Terra in Shelter 'Almanac'
The Specs
Pattern: Terra by Jared Flood
Yarn: 4 skeins of Shelter in the color 'Almanac'.
Needles: Size 9
Mods: see below

Terra in Shelter 'Almanac'
The main body of this shawl is done in a garter ridge pattern which is easy enough. You make a lot of progress in a short period of time and can easily do other things while knitting, like watch the team you've loved since your childhood implode before your very eyes on national television. Once you get to the lace portion, it's also smooth sailing, because it's easy and quite intuitive. It's only after you really get into it that you realize wow, one row is taking for-ev-er. Sadly once you realize this, you are then immediately obsessed with the fact that it's taking for-ev-er and can't shake the feeling that you're indeed not sitting on the couch watching your QB get a head injury on national television, instead you are in the Knitting Bermuda Triangle, a place where the normal laws of time and space are suspended, as several hours of knitting only seems to leave you back where you were when you started...

Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up...
Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close up...

I credit the above-described sensation as the reason for my early retreat from the full experience of Terra. Many intrepid knitters on Ravelry had indicated that they only dipped into the fifth skein of Shelter for the last few rows, and since I personally hate the idea of that, I decided to forego the final chart, thereby leaving off the final repeat. The FO is no worse for it as far as I can tell as it's a rather large shawl.

Terra in Shelter 'Almanac'
For this pattern I got to try a new technique. I know, another one! The directions would have you finishing the shawl by kitchener stitching the first 12 sts of the provisional cast-on, which for the life of me I couldn't figure out. To me, kitchener stitching had always been a way of joining two edges, so the idea of using the technique to join stitches in a row was about as crazy as a 40+ year old QB who hadn't practiced with his team for 2+ weeks starting a game in less-than-ideal weather conditions. Instead I consulted my Tweeps and the Hungry Knitter herself suggested that I do a sewn bind-off instead, which is actually the bind-off recommended for the main edge of the shawl. One excruciatingly boring Youtube video later and I was in business!

Terra in Shelter 'Almanac'
Shelter in 'Almanac'

I must say that Shelter has other similar yarns beat, not just in regards to the twee names (Button Jar? Embers? Hayloft? Yes please...) but on the basis of the colors. 'Almanac' has got to be the most gorgeous shade of blue-that-is-almost-black I've ever seen, and I'm not even a blue person at all.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Needy Mom Alert

Star-Crossed Slouchiness
Something happened on Friday afternoon that hasn't happened in ages and ages and may never happen again, so I am choosing to view is at a star-crossed moment: one of my kids actually gave me a specific request for a hand knit. Not '
willing to wear around the house something I knit'. Not 'wear to bed a pair of socks I made'. But actually 'mom will you knit me a slouchy beret?'. Knock me over with a feather!

Star-Crossed Slouchiness
The Specs:
Pattern: Star-Crossed Slouchy Beret by Natalie Larson
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted, .70 of a skein of 'Paris Night'
Needles: size 9 and 10 1/2. If I were making this for a full-grown adult, I'd certainly go up a needle size. This hat is slouchy beret on her but on me it's skull cap material!
Mods: none

Star-Crossed Slouchiness
Of course I jumped to and cast on in a fit of motherly neediness. Oh you want me to knit you something, you say? Yes right away, I'll try to have that done for you asap so you can show your friends. Maybe you could have them over and I'll make those little Totino pizza rolls and I can serve them to your gang, along with some hot chocolate maybe?

Star-Crossed Slouchiness

The above interlude brought to you by the needy, pathetic ramblings of a middle aged mom. Ahem.

This is indeed a nice one-day pattern. You know that feeling of blind rage when you see knitters comment on their projects listed on Ravelry and say "oh I finished this in an evening" and for you it ends up taking a week? Yeah, this is not one of those. It's actually a one-day knit. You can bank on it!

Star-Crossed Slouchiness
I haven't used my beloved Malabrigo in a while, and am pleased to note once again that it is ever the soft luscious fiber to knit with...although I am praying so hard that it won't end up pilling like a mofo like several other of my other Malabrigo knits. Yes, it's the dark underbelly of this yarn for sure, here's hoping that this one will be different because the Paris Night colorway is especially ooh là là magnifique.

Star-Crossed Slouchiness
This project is a milestone for me for another reason as well, as it represents the first time I have done a particular knitting technique that it likely old hat for most of you. Steeking, you wonder? Cabling-without-cable-needle? No, I am talking about the very pedestrian long tale cast-on. Hmm mmm, you read that correctly. I've never been able to do it before, but this time I was determined to learn how. So I scheduled some special alone time with me and my computer (YOUTUBE, let's keep it PG-13, please!) and after much pausing and replaying, I am now a full-fledged practitioner of the LTCO. And so proud! I'm amazed at what a superior cast on it is, the stitches are perfect and make such an impressive edge. So even if the momentary good will on the part of the junior set directed to me and my craft disappears and we return to 'you and your knitting are embarrassing', at least I'll have my LTCO!