26 November 2010

Twigs

A knit-to–fit hat that you can wear all day long. In my neck of the woods Fall always brings wind and with it, branches, needles and twigs everywhere. This simple hat was inspired by the abundance of earthy branches in my neighborhood after an Autumn storm.

Yarn: Nashua Handknits; Vignette, 1 skein
Colorway: Earth (this is a bulky yarn.)
Needles:  US 9 (Circular with 30” cable for “magic-loop” method to close the hat top.)

The finished hat was 3.5” deep. The integrated I-cord edge helps the hat to “snug” down on the top of your head.

download now (free until 15 Jan 2011, then will be available for a small fee.)

10 November 2010

Round and round and round in the circle game

"And the seasons they go round and round
 And the painted ponies go up and down
 We're captive on the carousel of time
 We can't return we can only look
 Behind from where we came
 And go round and round and round
 In the circle game"  -- Joni Mitchell

Joni's right, in that, "We can't return we can only look behind from where we came " --  but as life often takes us in a circle, I re-visited a project I completed 25+ years ago when I was learning to knit. It was a fabulous project then. And guess what, even better the next time around. I learned more, it went faster, waaaay faster than in the '80s.

The Sweater Workshop Sampler by Jacqueline Fee



I knit this sampler to try and motivate members of the Snohomish Knitters Guild to adopt the concept of making a sampler, growing skills, and having a reference for future design efforts. In the process, I completely enjoyed revisiting all the folksy instructions by Jacqueline. The sampler took little more time than a hat.

A few modifications that I made:
1. I knit on two circular needles so I only needed to knit 64 stitches. It makes for a small sampler, but you never spend very long on any one section.
2. At the cast off sections at the top (Icord and lace cast offs), I followed instructions for the first 1/2, then for the last half, I knit through the back loop rather than front in the cast off. The difference is marked! Through the back loop for future when casting off in Icord or lace. The look is so much neater.

Specs:
Size 6 US needle; Cascade 220 yarn; I purchased paper tags, wrote the instructions for each section and tied it to the section so I could refer to the sampler and know what I did (not illustrated in the above photos.)

Takeaway: I'm going to always have a circular sampler going to try new ideas out on. This was a fun project, highly recommended!

Social Knitting–Or now I can knit and purl and talk at the same time

A few simple projects to offer the promise of warm shoulders in the future and mindless knitting in the present:
First up – a stockinette take on the garter stitch Sunday Morning Shawl by Martina Kastanek. (read: I thought I remembered how the Sunday shawl was constructed and I was wrong…! So, er, right, I meant to create a stockinette version!) Designer Martina had a great idea, but it was SmokingHotNeedle’s version of the pattern that motivated me to take up my needles.
(Picot edge details above) Yarn: rainbow-ey sock yarn held with black sock yarn knit on biggish needles, probably US 7. I’m gonna knit a hundred more of these, except I’ll remember to do it in garter stitch!

Next up: the Morlynn Shawl by Alexandra Wiedmayer gets simplified, or I really cannot knit lace. Hope springs eternal, and I bought this lovely pattern thinking that knitting just a border of lace would be possible. But, of course, I give myself the impossible task of doing so with mohair. What was I thinking? I got to the lovely border, knit about 10 rows, got hopelessly lost, ripped back and made a much more sensible ribbed border (which I love, love, love). I stopped knitting because I was done – enough! But, as it turns out, the size is perfect – not too big. Perfect on the shoulders pinned. Warm, lovely to the touch. Let’s keep it between you and me that this is a franken-shawl and say I planned it that way.
Yarn was a mohair I dyed chocolate brown held with some of my handspun, dyed by Allspunup. Allspunup rarely has much fiber in her Etsy store though, because it gets snapped up the minute it goes up. If you are looking to get some of her lovely fiber, I suggest you join the Allspunup Ravelry forum and lurk until you see some comes available. This shawl has a lovely halo and it feels heavenly – I highly recommend knitting with wool/mohair for a luxurious knit.

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