Thursday, January 20, 2011

My Lady

 As I mentioned before, I participated in the "Swap the Seasons" fiber craft swap, hosted by CoggieTM of The High Fiber Diet podcast.  MargoKP kindly sent me the loveliest hank of yarn - StrickenSmitten's Shimmer Glimmer in the Serendipity colorway.

I knew I had to do something special with this yarn, but I wasn't sure what.  Until I found the Lady Magdalene Shawl by Kimberly Delacruz.  Perfect!

I got the pattern all printed up, and did the cast on, then had to set it aside to work on some deadline projects.  Well, I got the "have to-s" all finished, so I came back to this shawl.

The pattern is divided into four sections, which I liked as it keeps it from ever feeling overwhelming.  Knit with a fingering weight yarn on size US 7 needles, the shawl knits up quickly while the finished project is the perfect size.  The charts are clear, easy to read, and, most importantly, error free.

I love this yarn.  The fiber content (50% Merino wool/50% silk) and it's softness, the drape, the color...  It makes me happy just looking at it.  Needless to say, I wanted to use it ALL.  Fearing that I would have quite a bit left over when all was said and done, I added a repeat of chart 2.

Then I began running low on chart 3.

Knowing that I couldn't handle the trauma of ripping all the way back to take out the extra repeat, I began mentally running through my stash, trying to think of something that would go well with it.

I couldn't think of anything. 

I began to plan a trip to my lys to buy some black yarn (which I decided was the perfect complementary color to the green), but decided to do a quick rummage through the stash, just to be sure.  There is was!  The perfect yarn -- Bristol Yarn Gallery's Buckingham in Black!   Sadly, this yarn is now on closeout.  Get some while you still can.  It's truly lovely.

Okay, it was lace weight, but I decided that didn't really matter; I'd simply adjust.  So I did, switching to size US 4 needles to keep the stitches looking even, I knit up chart 4 in the black, knowing that it would all come out in the blocking.  And it did.

Dear Gypsy kindly consented to model it for me, after it was "styled" to her liking, of course.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Bag for Lara

Friends of mine, Sam and Lara, are adopting 3 children from Ethiopia.

The children are lovely, and are going to be part of a wonderful family.  And I'm sure they will be a blessing, as well as being blessed.

In the process, Sam and Lara have to make a few trips to Ethiopia.  Lara, who has long stated her wish for something hand knit, asked if I would make her a bag that she could bring with her.  So I did.

In the bright colors of the Ethiopian flag, I knitted and fulled this tote.

After punching the holes for the i-cord straps to go through, I reinforced them with grommets.
(h/t: AuburnChick for the excellent idea!)

The bag is roomy enough to store several items, and sturdy enough to keep them safe.

I hope she enjoys it on her next trip.

Speaking of which, I better hurry and get this in the mail so she gets it in time!

Details:  Knitted and fulled bag, designed by me.  Made from Wool of the Andes Bulky yarn in Wine (3 hanks), Turmeric (2 hanks), and Grass (2 hanks).  The bag was knit in pieces on size US 10 1/2 circular needles, then the pieces were crocheted together for a visible seam.  The i-cord was knit on size US 10 double-pointed needles in one piece, then cut into two pieces after fulling.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Few of My Favorite Things

Some of the lovely things I received in my stocking this year:

There are several patterns that I wish to make included in this book.

A pencil case, pencils, and note cards that all have a knitted design on them.  I had hoped that the pencil case might be large enough for an on-the-go sock knitting bag, but, alas, it is not.  I guess I'll just have to use it as an accessories case.  It's rough, I know. ;)

I loved these so much, I went back to Michael's Arts and Crafts to purchase even more.  There was even a serendipitous inclusion of a magnetic note pad.

I also received some gifts that enabled me to purchase this:

Nook 3G+WiFi, and the books The Unincorporated Man and The Unincorporated War, both by Dani and Eyton Kollin.  Of course, I've also been able to load several free ebooks offered by Barnes & Noble, as well as Project Gutenberg.

And this:

2 balls of Patons Stretch Socks yarn.  It's a blend of cotton, wool, nylon, and elastic.  I didn't have such a great experience the last time I tried stretchy sock yarn (different brand), but hopefully I've learned a bit better how to knit with it.  I've started some socks, and am anxious to see if they turn out like I'm hoping they will. 
I hope your stockings (and presents!) were also filled with some of your favorite things.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Yarrow Blouse

Maybe you've heard that Knit Picks has released some e books.  I was fortunate to be able to work on one of the patterns.

I knit the Yarrow Blouse, in the Oregon Coast Heather colorway of Shadow

Yep, the entire sweater is knit in laceweight yarn.

The pattern combined some basic and lace knitting techniques with some basic crochet, for an end result that works very well with the e book it's published in.

Okay, I admit it, this pattern does not suit my personal aesthetic, but it is well designed, and for someone whose aesthetic it does suit, it is a lovely sweater.

As always, the yarn is soft and lovely.  The depth of color in this colorway was also surprising, and very pleasing, to me.  In addition to the light brown, there are also notes of pink, gray, and green.  The heathers that Knit Picks puts out are always so lovely, with a greater than expected depth.

It also looks like the other patterns in the American Prairie eBook are lovely as well.  And for the price, it looks like a good purchase. 

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Knitting Nautically

 I picked up the Nautical Blanket kit from Knit Picks in May with the intention of finishing it for my in-laws for Christmas.  I figured that would be enough time to finish it, and it truly is the perfect thing for them.

The blanket consists of 30 squares, 26 of them look like the nautical flags of the International Code of Symbols (corresponding to each letter of the alphabet), and 4 squares that have two-colored stars on a white background.  Each square has a border that is knitted on, then they are sewn together.  At least, that's what the pattern calls for.

I knit the squares, off and on, until I finally finished the last one in November.  Instead of knitting on the borders, as the pattern says to, I decided to crochet a narrower border onto each square before sewing them together.  I used a simple whip stitch to sew them all together, and then thought it needed something more.

I had always planned on adding a border around the blanket, as I thought it looked uneven around the edges without one.  Since I was wanting a more finished look, the border was mandatory.  I settled on a simple cabled border that resembles a rope, tying it in with the nautical theme.

I finally got it finished, washed, blocked, wrapped, and ready to ship on the Tuesday before Christmas.  At this point I wasn't sure it would make it there in time, but I headed to FedEx to see what they could do for me.  They gave me an expected delivery date of Christmas Eve, but made no guarantees that it would actually make it.

Each day I anxiously went online, hoping to see that it had arrived.

And on December 24, it did.

They LOVED it!  They called early (for them - different time zone) on Christmas morning to let me know how perfect it was and how much they loved it.  They called it an heirloom, and have it prominently displayed on their front room couch. :D  It is wonderful to create things for people who enjoy them. 

Here are the details:
Neither the pattern or kit are available any longer.  The blanket is made out of Wool of the Andes worsted in the Winter Night (blue), Caution (yellow), Grass (green), Red, and White colorways, using a total of 45 balls of yarn.  Knit on size US 6 needles.  The finished dimensions are 5 feet wide by 6 feet long.  Due to the overall size of the project (could be overwhelming to a novice), and the use of both stranding and intarsia, I would say this project is better suited to advanced intermediate to advanced knitters.  Of course, if you're a fearless beginner, it's great for you too!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year - 2011

Happy New Year, everyone!  I hope this year finds you happy, healthy, surrounded by those you love, and is filled with peace, joy, and love.

So, 2010 went by in a complete blur.  I met some goals, missed the mark on others.  I finished quite a few projects, but started many more.  I read some books, listened to others, and wish I'd read a few more.  Some health issues showed up, others were resolved, and I'm starting this New Year feeling better than the one before.  We welcomed a new fur baby to our family, and discovered he's well named (if you go by the British use of the word bogey) as he's one giant, furry bundle of slime.  That's okay -- we still love him.  Jay started attending public school, after being homeschooled his entire life, and is thriving in every way; I miss him.

We went to see Tron: Legacy at Jay's request.  It was okay.  I thought it had some serious pacing issues, making it boring at times, and the dialog left a lot to be desired, but the special effects were cool.  I need one of those light planes!  For me though, the most memorable part was trying to remember what other movie we'd recently seen one of the actors in.  It turns out we'd seen Michael Sheen in Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, which has become one of the most replayed movies on t.v., and which we were watching because my dh didn't remember watching earlier, because he'd fallen asleep shortly after it started.  Yeah, it's that good.

Last night, for the first time ever, we set off fireworks.  Before this year's election cycle, they had been illegal here.  They seemed a lot more spectacular when I was younger, but Jay really enjoyed them, so that's all good.  Gypsy kept trying to enjoy them, too; she was completely fearless and we had to shut her in the house so she wouldn't burn herself.  Bogey, on the other had, reacted as most dogs do, by running away and into the house as fast as his legs would carry him.  Fun times!  We didn't stay up to greet the New Year, though as we had an early tee time.

So this morning found us headed to the golf course in 30ºF weather, bundled up against the cold and expecting frost delays.  There were delays, but not too bad, because the sun decided to put in an appearance today instead of hiding behind the clouds.  It even made 40ºF feel warm, until the wind started blowing.  Still, at least we've finally had a taste of winter.

My golf game today started out good, fell to merely okay, and disintegrated into terrible by the end.  One of these days I'll actually manage to keep it together enough to break 100.  I'm the only one in my family that has yet to do it, and I have to admit, I'm getting a bit frustrated with myself.  Ah, well.  There's always tomorrow.

So other than golfing, I've been doing a fair bit of knitting.  I did managed to get the Christmas present done and shipped off in time, and they LOVE it!  It's so much fun to make stuff for people who appreciate and will use it.  I wrapped up another KP project, I've just got some finishing details on another gift (felted bag), and am 1/2 through my Lady Magdalene shawl.  Too bad I still have at least a half dozen projects in the works that have been, and are being, sadly neglected.  Maybe they'll be finished in time for next year's New Year's Day post.

And I've been playing with the Nook (it's the 3G + Wi-Fi) I got for Christmas.  I don't think it will ever completely replace the paper versions for me, but I really do like it, and am very glad I got it.  Oh, and e ink is Incredible!

I also headed out to see my sister today to deliver her Christmas present.  It's a learning "laptop", and she was Very Pleased Indeed to get it.  I have a feeling there will be lots of learning going on for her.  As I was leaving her place, I noticed her neighbor's house, and had to stop and take a photo.  Every square inch of their yard was completely covered with Christmas lights and decorations.
 It was amazing.  I'm sure their electric bill is too. 

As usual, I'm not making any resolutions for the coming year.  No goal or plans either.  I do hope this year won't pass by quite as quickly, though. 

Happy New Year!