Monday, July 18, 2016

it took long enough

The fingerless gloves in the photos below have been in my Ravelry queue for QUITE a while. I think I've run through about 5 different 'plans' to make them during that time, each with different leftover yarn. Well. This May I finally got my act together and cast on. 

Having finished up one small project from my leftovers, I started this one that same day. I'm pretty sure we were watching Midsomer Murders the day the picture above was taken - easy pattern to follow. The leftovers I chose were from Kelpie, a Pendulum shawl I finished last summer. I still like this combination of Big Sur and El Greco, so I stuck with it. 

I knew I wouldn't have enough of the gray to get very far, so I weighed the skein and started the wrist and button straps with that color. As I went I weighed very few rows to make sure I was leaving myself enough wiggle room to have about the same length of gray on the second glove. These worked up very quickly, taking only about a week of occasional knitting. I just haven't 'finished' them yet by sewing on the buttons and straps. The whole thing is stockinette in the round - a simple thing that I think showcases the variations in this lovely turquoise very nicely. The hardest part, as always for me, was closing up the hole at the thumb after that was done. Even the ribbing on the tiny needles was ok! 

Eventually I'll get those buttons sewn on. The instructions weren't super clear about how or where to sew the straps on, so that's the hold up. I haven't sat down to think about it yet. No rush though, since it won't get 'cold' here for a while yet. It is the height of summer, after all.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

something for the road

This lovely skein of yarn, and a friend, hopped into my things just hours before hopping on the plane to return home from our Kentucky vacation. We were driving around town with Dave's folks after brunch (at a wonderful restaurant - Butchertown Grocery) and it occurred to me that since I had finished my Summer Sampler I would have no knitting for the plane. The horror! Truth be told, I don't always work on the things I take with me, especially on a red eye when I'd rather be trying to sleep, but it's a comfort to know I'll have the stitches to distract me if the ride gets long. 

Being a busy yarn I found a simple pattern to go with it. This is going to be a small cowl with ribbing on either side and a sort of waffle stitch body. Stockinette in the round with the occasional 1x1 rib row - easy peasy. 

Given that I found this yarn in the discount bin at the back of the Joann's I'm super tickled that I like it so much. It's soft and the gold/copper nylon thread that runs through it is looking so neat. This project is my new TV knitting I think!

Monday, July 11, 2016

appalachian knitting

Dave and I went on vacation to Kentucky last week. Not wanting to take along my increasingly heavy blanket in progress but also not wanting to have idle hands in the anticipated stretches of relaxation time (what a waste!), I started something new and colorful the week before we left. I began with a sort of blob of yarn like this:

And after a week ended up with this:

Not bad! Granted, it's currently a little lumpy because I haven't blocked it yet but still - finished! In a week and a half! I found the pattern by perusing Ravelry for a few days before our trip. I knew I wanted to take along my colorful experimental acrylic Mom got me last fall, but hadn't yet decided on a pattern. I have a harder time pairing variegated yarns with patterns so these lovely colors had been sitting in my stash waiting patiently for their turn. Searching for patterns other folks had made with this line of yarn (Red Heart Unforgettable) in the amount I had (2 skeins) turned up the Stitch Sampler Shawl.

It is essentially a rectangular wrap that has stripes of different stitch patterns. From the pictures I could see that this pattern is ideal for variegated yarns of all types. The section shown above is a double moss stitch (ish) that mixes the colors up in a way that makes them sparkle. It's my favorite part of the piece. Even though I don't like actually knitting long rows of k1, p1, it was totally worth it.

There are also sections of these neat loopy stitches that are made from dropping multiple yarn-overs. The effect is somewhat like hairpin lace crochet. Having never tried that before I can't say which is easier to do. These were the fiddliest rows in the whole thing to knit, though. They look a little floppy but I think they'll look nicer when everything is blocked out. 

It was quite a nice vacation, with most of the knitting time spent on a camp chair in the middle of the Appalachian mountains out of range of both internet and phone, truly unplugged. Downpours, bug spray, shitzus, canoes, banjos, and dulcimers all went into the making of this, jumbled and juxtaposed into the week much like the stitches themselves.

Friday, June 24, 2016

fog rolling in

I spent a lot of time in Chicago last week working on this Tree of Life blanket, aka Forest Fog. I'm amazed at how quickly it eats up yarn! While there I finished working on most of this flower garden section and used up a full 200-yard skein in a few days. Oh worsted yarn, how wonderful you are. Fingering weight yarn might be nice for many things, but there's no substitute for the self-provided pat on the back that goes along with 'wow! finished another one!' I was a little over ambitious and packed TWO extra skeins of yarn, but still. If i wasn't trying to be responsible with taking care of my hands I may have made it to that back up skein. I think if I were working on a longer cable it would be less straining, but for some reason after a few rows (granted they are LONG rows, with a lot of purling) I start to get tired.

I'm probably about halfway through the main body. I have two more tree panels and another half a flower garden to do before picking up for the ruffled edging. It will be slower going in the next part. The flowers are pretty easy to knit without referencing the pattern once the first set up row is done. All those little cable branches for the trees take a bit more attention, though. At any rate, happy to be working on this project again and making some progress. I'll probably start one other thing just so I have two options to choose from when I want to knit something in the evenings. Spoiler: it's gonna be colorful! Totally different from all this lovely foggy gray. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

sky blue sky

I have been challenging myself to work on a some smaller projects with leftovers from my stash and enjoying the process of perusing Ravelry for things to work on. The filters are so useful when I have a certain yarn in mind with a limited amount of yardage. It's easy to find a slew of potential patterns that I know will be appropriate based on weight or even the exact yarn.

I started this hat at the airport when we went on our weekend jaunt to Las Vegas last month. I didn't get very far on that trip, but made a lot of good progress after coming back and finished it up before the end of May. I wet blocked it over a dinner plate. Yes, seriously. It was the perfect size. That opened the lace up a lot making it look less like a lump of blue yarn and much more like a beret. Magic. The band isn't super tight, but I don't think that's what you'd want in a hat like this anyway.

It may seem strange to be working on a winter accessory with summer approaching, but again - working from leftovers. This yarn is a silk/wool blend leftover from a cowl I made for one of my friends a few years ago. In retrospect, it's kind of an odd color to use for a leafy/floral pattern since there isn't much that is naturally this color in the world of plants, but the yarn itself jives with the pattern very nicely.

The pattern was a freebie on Ravelry, and quite a nice one at that! I enjoyed making it and loved the fact that I had a big round of double pointed needles I was working from rather than a circular. The work in progress kind of looked like a porcupine. I didn't make it for anyone in particular, so it's going to go in an aspirational pile of grab-n-go gifts. I don't think that diminishes it's specialness in any way for the eventual recipient, because of course I'd only gift it to someone that I thought it was a good fit for (literally and figuratively).

I don't tend to think about making hats or gloves or, in fact, anything small when there are so many pretty shawls and wraps to work on, but I must say actually finishing in less than two weeks is a nice change of pace!

Pattern: Springtime in Philadelphia (my Ravelry page)
Yarn: Cascade Heritage Silk in 'cerulean'
Needles: US 2 and US 0 (tiny!!)

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Mother's Day

As Mother's Day rolled around last month I pondered and considered and decided that part of my gift this year would be handmade. Dave and I happened upon a neat street market in San Francisco one weekend while we visited friends and I picked up a pretty necklace from one of the vendors there. What better wrapping to give it than a fun zippered pouch? Having made one recently it only took me a couple hours one afternoon to fiddle around in the office and wind up with a colorful package to gift. 

The blue linen and navy polka dots are some of my favorite fabrics in the stash. They go with just about everything and are pretty classic. The flower print I've had from way back when, but haven't found a great quilt to use it in. The trouble with some prints is if you start making patchwork pieces with them each piece will have very different character depending on what colors and what pattern you capture with your cut. This kind of project is a great place to use something like this that I really like but can't imagine liking cut up much. 

The flowers are great, too, because I miss gardening with my mom. I remember springs and summers spent with my fingers in the dirt planting geraniums and petunias (which would then be subject to munching squirrels and bunnies). I have some pots on the patio here, but it isn't quite the same. 

I used another one of my flea market zippers, the last coral one. I'm getting pretty good at dealing with these! Time to purchase another grab bag full, methinks. I'm a little bit irritated that my sewing machine chose to start skipping stitches while I was sewing the super noticeable red top stitching. It might be time for an appointment with the tune up folks, if I can find some nearby.

Similar to last time, I followed the tutorial loosely, not including any "inner bits" and using steam-a-seam and some muslin on the panels instead of the interfacing called for. Macgyver sewing room, folks! I use what I've got. 

Since  we saw my folks in Las Vegas the week after Mother's Day, I waited until I could gift it in person. So much more fun than sending a box! Boxes are great too, but you miss the smiles :) 

Saturday, June 4, 2016

knitting anywhere

This is approximately how much knitting one can get done on a plane from San Francisco to Las Vegas. It's a short flight, and there was not nearly enough room between me and the seat in front of me to wrangle this many needles and that iPad!

There was plenty of room for me and Kepler (and eventually Newton) to hang out in bed one recent weekend to catch up on our zzzz's and knit some more. That pretty yarn bowl is courtesy of Dave's mom. 

Not only pretty, but also convenient bedside knitting storage.

Knitting goes anywhere with you, a few rows here a few rows there. Most projects end up feeling a bit like a travel journal, which is a unique way to be reminded of remember-whens.