Friday, December 3, 2010

WIP: Thorpe Hat

This week I started my first stranded color work project that involves more than simple stripes. I have been wanting to try for a while, inspired by all the glorious Estonian mittens and socks out there. As with lace, I decided to make my first color work project in a thicker yarn than the more advanced things out there knit up in sock or fingering weight. I chose Kristen Kapur's Thorpe Hat. Thorpe has been in my queue for ages (over two years, according to Ravelry!) and I thought it would be a perfect starter project. I am knitting it up in some Lion Thick and Quick that has been in my stash since my days as a knitter began.

The stranded nature of the project is making for very dense fabric. It is taking me forever since I have not yet mastered the art of changing colors swiftly. Each time I have to change colors I am dropping my yarn and picking up the other one. It definitely takes a while, but I am liking the results.

I loved this sculpture I came across at Civic Center while doing my Jury Duty this week:

Sunday, November 28, 2010

WIP: Sock Yarn Scrap Blanket

I started an ongoing scrap yarn project-- a granny square blanket. With the fairly thin sock yarn, the squares are coming out very delicate and lacy. I crocheted about 13 squares this weekend, and do not have too much scrap yarn left, so this is bound to be in the works for a while, unless I break the rules of a scrap project and buy some assorted skeins to finish up. I love making up the squares with unlikely color combinations and seeing what happens. Below are the scraps from my last Traveling Woman shawl and some teal socks I knitted up last year.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

FO: Sea Silk Traveling Woman

My mom gave me a skein of Handmaiden's Sea Silk about 2 years ago, after several years of lusting over the product. As knitters tend to do with coveted yarn, I hoarded it until I thought I found the perfect pattern.

I loved the Traveling Woman Shawl I made for my mom so much that I decided to make myself one, too. Paired with the Sea Silk, the FO is beautiful and wearable.

I did make some mods to the project. I knit extra stitches in the garter portion to give me an extra repeat of the first lace pattern. Then I knitted an additional repeat of chart A, to make a bigger shawl. Naturally, I made no calculations, only guesstimates, and ran out of yarn midway through chart B. I just cast off when I ran out of ran, because I do not tend to be overly controlling about my knitting. I have no problem casting of mid chart if the project still looks good, which I think it does.

I blocked the shawl to have a round edge versus points, as I usually wear this type of shawl bandanna style and I like the way the rounded edge drapes.

I am having some problems cutting the ties with this pattern. I currently have another one on the needles, hopefully to be cast off today. Its a gift for my aunt in a very fall colorway. I think I will have to take a break from the pattern after this project, but its so fun that it might sneak its way back into my queue in the not so distant future.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Secret Is Out

If I've been gone awhile, it's only because I couldn't show you what I've been knitting the entire year. I still love you. Promise.

But now that I've gone ahead and gotten married (if only in God's eyes since we can't seem to find our marriage license) and gifted this year's loving labors, I can finally reveal:

THE BRIDESMAID SHAWLS. All five patterns plus my own wedding shawl were knit from Knitted Lace of Estonia by Nancy Bush. It is maybe the best knitting pattern book I've ever bought, and actually knit from. All five bridesmaids' shawls were knit using Valley Yarns 2/14 Alpaca Silk in the colorway so aptly named "Dark Gray." See Ravelry links for all mods, dates, needles, etc.

I can't say that every moment working on these shawls was a joy, but I will say that it was worth every second of it. The time spent knitting these shawls for my wonderful bridesmaids cannot even compare to the love, appreciation, and gratitude I feel for each of them.

To my ladies: Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Fall Knitting

A few FO posts to come, but for now, a taste of my fall knitting.

A Romney Kerchief inspired shawl for mom, in Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool.

Another Traveling Woman Shawl, this time for my aunt, in a lovely colorway of DIC Smooshy. The color is Chinatown Apple and it makes me feel fall festive even though our trees don't really turn here.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

FO: Wispy

FO: Wispy
Project: Wisp
Yarn: 1 Skein (250 yards) Louet Kidlin Pixie (mohair/nylon/linen)
Needles: US 8 Bamboo Circs

Another yarny gift from my mom! Louet Kidlin Pixie lace weight, a strong, fluffy mohair/nylon/linen blend. Looking at the yardage for Wisp, I thought I would need both skeins my mom gave me, but I decided to cut it off after one, lest I make the world's longest Wisp. This has been happening to me a lot lately, thinking I will need more skeins of a particular yarn than I actually do. I suppose that is better than running out part way through.

Nothing like modeling one's handmade knitwear for the camera in a crowd of eager museum goers!
I have been wanting to make Wisp since it came out in Knitty a few years back, but more exciting projects kept usurping its place in my queue. When this mohair blend yarn strolled into my life, I wanted to choose a project that would make frogging a non-issue. Something simple that eliminated the possibility that I would have to rip back the mohair and end up with a tangle of sadness. So, Wisp re-entered my radar. In the end, I am glad I made it, but it was kind of a boring knit. I was itching to cast on another Traveling Woman shawl in Sea Silk, but I needed my Wisp needles to do so. I spent most of the project knitting as fast as I could to get to the next one, which does not happen to me all to often. Usually if I don't want to knit on something, I fling it aside and knit what I want. But here, I wanted this off the needles.

All in all, I like the finished product, and I think it will be wearable for the days/nights here when a full on wool ensemble is to warm, but the fog and the breeze require some sort of protection

Monday, September 6, 2010

FO: On the Silk Road

Love: long weekends, friends and family, and luxury fiber. I have been knitting with some nice stuff lately, all thanks to my yarn patron numero uno, my mom! This was an amazing fiber gift-- silk, cashmere, camel, and alpaca spun into a really smooth yarn with a nice sheen. I have really been liking projects lately that combine stockinette with random (or seemingly random) garter ridges. I really like the fabric the stitch combination makes.

FO: On the Silk Road
Pattern: Reversatile Cowl by Katie White (free pattern here!)
Yarn: The Road to China, The Fibre Company, 65% Alpaca, 15% Silk, 10% Camel, 10% Cashmere
Needles: US 7 bamboo DPNs

I only used one of my two skeins of this lovely yarn on this project, and am contemplating a cabled cowl for the other skein. I was thinking of doing matching fingerless gloves, but the yarn is so soft that I did not think it would be a practical choice for handwear.

The color is a very lustrous jade green that I think will look great for fall. We have finally been having some warm weather here, so I will have to put off wearing it a bit longer.

The cast off edge is a tad tight...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Traveling Women

FO: Red Traveling Woman
Pattern: Traveling Woman by Liz Abinante
Yarn: Rowan 4-ply Soft, 100% wool, fingering weight, 2 full skeins
Needles: 5.0 mm bamboo circs

Yay! I loved this pattern. I usually like most patterns I knit, aside from a few epic fails (including a short row hat) but I LOVE this pattern. Quick, fun, accessible lace. Pretty, too. I really like lace patterns in fingering and sock weight yarns. I like the increased stitch visibility. I still have a lot of trouble seeing my stitches when I knit in lace weight. The pattern was intuitive, and since I was able to see my stitches much better than when I use lace weight, things went quickly, easily, and happily. Usually I spend a ton of time counting, recounting (every repeat!) and then at the end of the row I am still off. This has dominated my lace experience until Aestlight, which I knit in sock weight. I am now a big fan of the lace pattern-sock/fingering weight combo. Not as delicate as a lace or cobweb shawl, but much more realistic and enjoyable on the knitting end.

This yarn was given to me by my mother, my number one source of amazing yarn. She loved the yarn so much, that I always wanted to make it into something for her. I have had the yarn for at least two years, maybe more, before I found the perfect pattern. I am so glad I waited for it. The yarn looks great with the pattern, and was very easy to work with. I have read critiques that the Rowan 4 ply soft is anything but soft, but I did not find that to be true. I thought it was springy, soft, and held its shape really nicely as I knit. It only got softer with blocking. I am a bit sad its discontinued, personally.

Happy wearing, Mom!

Preview of the next Traveling Woman, in the oh-so-lush Sea Silk:

Preview of another FO, a Mohair/Linen version of Wisp:

Saturday, August 7, 2010

I've been blocking....

Hemlock Ring

Traveling Woman

And yes, I block with safety pins. They work much better for me than straight pins that tend to pop out when I stretch the fabric.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Lovely Handspun

For this amazing handmade, undyed yarn, I decided to go with a basic stitch pattern that would let the focus of the project be awesome yarniness. My mom and sister got this yarn for me as a graduation present, from a shop in Point Reyes that sells the work of local, Northern California Fiber artists. This particular yarn is the softest yarn I have ever used or even touched, and is 100% angora goat. Here are the specs for the yarn:

100% Angora Handspun
The Studio by Alice Rantos
Inverness Park, CA

Purchased at Black Mountain Artisans in Point Reyes Station, CA.

FO: Handspun Cowl
Pattern: Shetland Feather and Fan Cowl by Tara-Lynn Morrison (free pattern!)
Yarn: 100% Angora Handspun (169 yards, about worsted weight)
Needles: US 9 bamboo dpns

I knit in the feather and fan pattern until there was no more yarn, making for a fairly long tube-- about 12 inches. I have noticed that with some of my shorter cowls, the whipping winds still find their way onto exposed neck in winter. Problem solved! I can wear this cowl all scrunchy as pictured above, but it is also long enough to fold over double and wear that way. Both ways are incredibly warm.

This yarn is almost worsted, I think. It seems a bit DK in places, and a bit Aran in others. At times the yarn was smooth, others, it was a bit nubbly. The yarn is so gorgeous, and so soft. I was overly excited to wear it, and had to take it off because though summer in SF is not warm, it does not quite call for double layer wool on the neck. I do look forward to using it a ton in winter and fall.
Catching up with Lenin in the Ukraine.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Loving Linen

As mentioned in the last post, voila, here is the fringed version of the Moonlight Sonata Wrap. Usually, I am not a huge fringe fan, and opt to leave it off most projects when the pattern calls for fringe. I felt like in this yarn, which is nice and drapey, I would not mind the fringe so much. I also had the advantage of seeing this wrap modeled in my hometown LYS in the same yarn with the fringe. The girl wearing it was wearing just a t-shirt and jeans, and the wrap looked very cute and nice, fringe and all. In this picture, the wind was nearly blowing my whole self sideways, the the fringe is a little out of control, but you get the idea.

FO: Sage
Pattern: Moonlight Sonata Wrap by Shelli Westcott and Marilyn Webster
Yarn: Berocco Naturlin, 60% rayon/40% linen, 2 skeins, 230 yards total
Needles: US 10.5 bamboo circs

These wraps practically knit themselves on the 10.5 needles. I made them both over the course of a week, I think. I liked doing the project in two completely different yarns, and seeing the results. The cotton scarf is thick, curls a bit, and looks great wrapped around my neck and tucked in so it looks a bit cowl-like. This one, which is light and drapey, I prefer to wear kerchief-style, with the point in front. I have worn it with cardigans, with t-shirts, and find it to be versatile. I love it!

This yarn, which is softer than 100% linens due to the rayon content, has really nice drape and comes with a much smaller price tag than the 100% linens. Win-win in my book.

Summer wool/sun update: Two days ago it was crystal clear and warm all over the city. Today, I sported my woolly clapotis. My favorite part about San Francisco summer is seeing tourists wearing the SF fleece jackets. They are available for about 10 bucks in Fisherman's Wharf and Chinatown, and are the true mark of the fickle and ever changing weather here. It can be so cold one afternoon that tourists are buying fleeces by the dozens, and the next morning it will be warm and beautiful. When it was warm and beautiful two days ago, we set out for a nice walk in North Beach, stopping at one of my favorite Italian bakeries. Nothing like finishing off a warm day with raspberry almond tarts.

Charming village Spain.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


My original post was lost to the black hole of technology failures, so here goes for a second writing.

This next summer FO is made from a heavy cotton yarn I inherited from my mom. It was an old frogged project of hers from maybe 5 years ago, and the yarn was tangled beyond belief. A giant, two skein wad of tangles. The untangling took nearly as long as the project, which was a fast knit. I think there are about two skeins worth here, but it might be closer to 1.5. I still have some odds and ends of this yarn left over. All told, there were two skeins to begin with, but the yarn has been on quite the journey since that time.

FO: King Tut
Pattern: Moonlight Sonata Shawl by Shelli Wescott and Marilyn Webster for Alchemy Yarns
Yarn: Knitting Fever King Tut, 100% cotton, I think about 1.5 skeins.
Needles: US 10.5 Bamboo circs
Ordinarily, cotton is not my favorite yarn to work with. This cotton seemed nicer than most I have used, buttery and smooth, and not prone to splitting. It was all those things, which made it pretty easy to de-tangle, too. Unlike some wools that felt while tangled and tugged on, the cotton was fairly painless to extract from its knotted nest into nice center-pull balls. This also meant it was nice to knit with, especially paired with such a simple pattern.
Since there are no cables, no cross stitches and no lace, the cotton was easy on the hands as I sailed through all the stockinette. The pattern is simple, perfect for showing off a nice yarn, a mass of stockinette that starts at the right point and ends at the left. When you decide you are half way done, you simply switch from increasing to decreasing. There is a four stitch garter stitch border that can be snipped with scissors to create a fringe that will stop after 4 stitches when you reach the stockinette. For this particular shawl, I chose to leave the border intact. Tune in later for the fringed version, in a linen yarn.
This pattern was co-written for Alchemy yarns by the owner of my hometown's LYS, Knitterly. Alchemy is a local yarn brand in my home county, so the pattern and company have a nice nostalgic feel for me. Incidentally, the LYS owner is also my 3rd grade softball coach, my one and only attempt at a sport involving hand eye coordination. I played third base, and I think the ball only came to me once, and I remember being shocked to see the ball had ended up somehow in my mitt.

Fairy tales are alive in Bavaria's Neuschwanstein Castle