Sunday, June 28, 2009

WIP again: pewter Picovoli

After a week of fairly dedicated work on the Drops cardigan in the beautiful Fleece Artist Nyoni, I've picked Picovoli back up. This is possibly prompted by a feeling of intense frustration this week as the weather warmed up and I ran out of sensible summery tops to wear to work.

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I tried Picovoli on yesterday, putting the live stitches on a narrow ribbon threaded through my darning needle; this is my new favorite method for holding stitches because the fine ribbon makes picking the stitches back up easier than when I use scrap yarn. And there is a dearth of stitch holders around at the moment.

Right now, this top fits great! Yesterday the neckline and armholes were looking great and just about the right size; I've been working on knitting down to cover the bust. I've added almost two inches. A couple more and I'll try this on again and look at the instructions for the waist decreases. It would be a nice top to have for work. Happy knitting today!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

swatching / pretty button

It was nice to get the reactions to my new yarn purchases... I am determined to finish one of my half dozen or so WIPs before starting something new but even so -- swatching must be allowed!! Rearranging bookshelves I stumbled across my copy of the latest IK and sat down yesterday to flip through it. I was reminded of the Elemental Boatneck and intrigued by the linen stitch.

I decided to swatch the Araucania wool I picked up last weekend. I really like it. I really like the color of the yarn and how the linen stitch makes the slight variegation muddle together even more. We may have a winner.

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The yarn is more green than the photo shows, a hard color to get right onscreen. As a side note, when I started winding this hank last night, the first five meters or so were wound and suddenly there was a break in the yarn. I used that bit for the swatch. I wondered if there would be any other sudden stops in the yarn but luckily the rest wound up into a single cake. I was mildly unimpressed for a minute, as I hadn't cut any of the ties myself and was pretty sure there was no way it was my fault.

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I really need to finish up a couple of summery tops though before I get right into another wool sweater, even at a fine gauge.

Also, this is the super pretty button I picked up at the Torpedo Art Center in DC almost two weeks ago, by an artist named Diana Chamberlain. She was lovely to speak to and treated me like a patron of the arts even though all I bought was a single button, and she had so many beautiful things. She made this button by somehow pressing lace into the clay. Love it. No idea what it will be used for but it makes a nice souvenir.

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

stash enhancement goodness

I had a couple of opportunities in the last week to visit yarn shops outside my usual roaming range.

I've been plugging right along on some projects and making good progress so I felt pretty good about going into Knit Happens in DC and coming out with something a little different - a single skein of kettle dyed laceweight cotton.

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Araucania Lonco Solid. It has very slight variegation and is a beautiful rich rust. I'm picturing a simple lacy stole for summer. I had to stop myself from buying two skeins - at 440 yards I'm pretty sure I can do whatever I'm going to do with only one. Olgajazzy was working, so I complimented her on her latest pattern in IK. I wanted to gush a little more but I was with two non-Ravelry casual knitter friends and felt a bit self-conscious!

Since I was in DC for WWKIP, I missed the events in Halifax. Several other knitters from my Tuesday group missed it as well and we hatched a plan to get brunch together yesterday and then visit a yarn store outside of the metro area - totally unreachable without a car. There was a 40% off sale on everything at Basket of Yarn. Eeek.

I had almost talked myself out of some lovely wool but then realized that the sale was on - it had been rumored before we got there, but then there were no signs around and it was a small shop so I didn't want to ask my friends. As they were starting to get their purchases totalled however, I managed to ask about sales and then when I heard about the 40% off business I went straight back over to the shelf and grabbed four of these beauties:

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I always feel good about taking all of the skeins in a particular color rather than leaving one or two behind, smaller amounts being possibly harder to use if you need more yardage. In this case the yarn is basically sock weight though so even one skein would be good for a pair of socks. I love the slight variations in color and the yarn matched the shirt I was wearing perfectly. Such a great color. I'm thinking of another lightweight cardigan for fall. I might have to design it myself, as fine gauge sweater patterns are hard to come by sometimes.

Once I did the math on how much things were going to cost me I went over to another shelf where I had petted some lovely 100% alpaca in burgundy, and decided to buy the pale gray color instead since I'm trying to be aware of what colors I tend to buy - and branch out a little bit. I'm thinking of a cropped cardigan or stole for this as well, I got four skeins.

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Earlier I was on Ravelry in the forums and stumbled across a post where people had pictures of some of their massive stashes. Made me feel a lot better about my own modest one - almost everything is in one bin and I have plans for most of it. Just not enough time to put all those plans into action but I'm trying. I will be pattern surfing on Ravelry lots this week, I think!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

WIP: A Little Something

Earlier in June I volunteered to test knit A Little Something (Rav link). Even though I deliberated about the color, it turns out that the lemongrass/chartreuse sort of shade I ended up doing it in matches two skirts I have and a dress. Crazy. I don't have lovely modelled shots yet but I do have better shots of the pattern as I started it as well as a blocking picture.

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I found a lovely button at the local farmer's market a couple of Saturdays ago. Overall, I'm quite pleased - especially with how fast this knit up! I have been knitting things at such a small gauge, I forgot how fast it can be to finish something that you do on 7s or 8s.

Ah - that button you see on the blocking cardigan, that is something made by one of the lovely gals in my Tuesday knitting group - a button to advertise to those in the know at my conference that they'd found a kindred spirit - I missed the WWKIP celebrations in Halifax to be in DC!

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Happy weekend knitting!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

duct tape vase. with yarn.

We now depart from our usual knitting content to bring you a brief description / inspiration for a gift I recently made for a friend who really likes duct tape. This is a friend who probably wouldn't appreciate being given something she didn't need, something frivolous, but this was a simple idea I had for giving her something that reflected her tastes as well as mine, something a little funky, something that shows I appreciate her friendship because I took the time to make something.

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If you like the look of this thing, feel free to adapt it to your own aesthetic sense. I used silver duct tape, a random scrap of yarn from my random scraps of yarn bag (this happened to be Soy Wool Stripes, a soy/wool blend of yarn, single ply and slightly thick/thin in a gray turning to mauve), and a beer bottle.

First, I wrapped the bottle (after rinsing it out, of course) in duct tape as neatly as I could manage.

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You might be surprised how awkward it is to wrap a wide tape around something cylindrical that narrows at one end. I didn't worry about the sloppiness too much.

Next, I took my length of yarn and wrapped it around the bottle a few times to get a sense of how long it should be.

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I wanted more texture so I tied random knots in the yarn.

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I wrapped the yarn around the bottle and taped it into place in a few spots, trying for an organic rather than a regular look.

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I bought a couple of bright yellow spiky flowers (Anastasias?) and trimmed them to a good length, popped them in the vase and left it on my friend's desk for her to find right before her birthday. I had fun making this, and I think it looks a bit homely but also cute.

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Happy crafting this weekend!

Friday, June 5, 2009

cardigan update and new WIP

My Internet was down much of this week but I'm back online! Hooray. So two quick things for you on a beautiful sunny Friday morning just before I get the coffee on - first, the Drops cardigan in Fleece Artist Nyoni is coming along beautifully (despite the fact that I haven't picked it up in at least a week - so it was coming along beautifully):

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And then I think someone must have slipped some crazy into the water here because I signed up to test knit something even though I have more than a few other obligations. The pattern will be available by and by, for now I'll just show swatches (the designer has said it is fine to post photos) and mention that it is a short sleeved lacy cardigan knit on bigger needles than most of my projects these days and - gasp - I am knitting it from stash.

I tried several yarns:

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Briggs and Little Heritage in Mulberry, Debbie Bliss Cotton Angora in a plummy purple, and Lion brand Wool in lemongrass. These are all yarns in roughly the right weight that I have enough of for sweater as long as it is not huge - like probably without full sleeves. To my surprise, I liked the lion brand best for the lace pattern, and I do like the color (and I got it half price :) ):

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Also by the third swatching effort I had actually figured out what was going on with the lace chart. I'm about six inches into the body (it's knit bottom up) now, and have high hopes of getting it pretty much done this weekend. Happy Friday!


Monday, June 1, 2009

WIP: Picovoli (now with illustrations)

Hooray, I have been able to download my pictures and now I can show you the pretty gray cotton I picked up:

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And evidence that I swatched:

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I've started noticing that my tension improves if I go down a couple of needles sizes - in some cases smaller than the yarn calls for as well as smaller than the pattern lists. In this case, I'm using 3 mm needles (size 2.5 or something silly) which are like heavy sock sized needles, yet I'm using them to knit up a cotton tank. Hmm. As long as it looks nice.

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It doesn't look like much for now, but my goal is to finish the raglan increases and get down to the armholes in time for knitting group tomorrow evening. Hopefully that way I can be on a nice easy round and round we go part and make the most of the designated knitting time. Love it, such a nice group. Have a great evening!