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

Monday, July 26, 2010

Summer in the City

Taking a break from some lovely Silk Road cashmere to bring you another neglected FO post. Here is the market shawl, knitted with two skeins of light, itch-free yarn, perfect for your walk on the beach in gale force winds! I find myself knitting scarf after cowl after scarf after cowl, but this city is perfect for knitted accessories of all weights, thicknesses, and fibers. San Francisco attire requires layering, as a cold day can turn into a hot afternoon if the fog lifts. My next couple FO posts are some summer scarves and shawlettes I have been using a lot in all types of weather.

FO: Market Shawl
Pattern: Sunday Market Shawl by Vanessa Carter (free pattern!)
Yarn: Adagio, Scackel Collection, Inc., colorway 4, 2 skeins, 220 yards total
Needles: US 10.5 bamboo circs

70% Llama, 30% silk-- soft, cuddly, light, and warm. Perfect for unpredictable San Francisco weather in summer when wool is too hot but the icy breeze is a bit much for a bare neck. This yarn also blocked very nicely, creating a perfect drape with no curling at the edges. I also love the color of this yarn, it makes all of my boring grey shirts look a little more fun!

Morocco. I can't wait to go back.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Feeling Green

In true San Francisco form, it is nearing the end of July, and all of the sun I have seen in the last ten days has been outside the city. I knit a lovely gray cowl, but its the color of fog, and I thought I could at least spice things up with a colorful FO post.

FO: Boomer Socks
Pattern: Child's First Sock in Shell Pattern, by Nancy Bush (Knitting Vintage Socks)
Yarn: Dream in Color Smooshy in Happy Forest
Needles: US 2 Metal DPNs

I knit these socks starting in November 2009, and wrapping up in June of 2010. Essentially, I always have a sock going, but I tend to work on it in random spurts. I pick up socks in between projects, when I cannot decide what to do next, or all my WIPs are feeling bleh. I knit the first sock almost entirely back in November, all but the end of the foot and the toe. I cast on and knit the second sock in a few days this June. Given the time difference between the two socks, gauge is different in each sock!

One sock is much looser in the leg than the other, which is much tighter. Thank goodness my sister/sock recipient has one foot smaller than the other! This was a fun pattern, no mods. The mini-shells come off the needles so quickly, I found that the repeats were flying by in a very satisfying manner. That said, at this rate, I will never even start to make a dent in my sock yarn stash. More FOs to come, following today's windy and foggy photo session at Ocean Beach....nothing like a day at the beach in July where wool is actually needed for warmth!

Istanbul, my new favorite city