Saturday, March 7, 2015

Caturday and some beautiful new yarn

Many of my friends like to post pictures of their cats "helping" with their knitting. Well, here's a picture of our cats helping with mine:
Yep, we've got 2 cat celebrities here - Grumpy Cat on the left and Lil Bub on the right. They like to help me with my Elder Tree Shawl. Sweet, aren't they? They never mess up my knitting! They do love yarn, though.

I got some yarn today that I'd ordered from The Cyborg's Craft Room a few days ago. I was so excited to receive this yarn because her colorways are exquisite. (I could tell from the photos - I had never seen the yarn in person before.) The yarn I got is Digital base (superwash merino worsted) in the Wildflower colorway. Here's a picture I took of it today:
It's a terrible picture of really beautiful yarn. Granted, even the photo on Etsy didn't do it justice - it's mostly purple, and purple is notoriously hard to photograph. This yarn comes out bluer in photos than it actually is. But my point is, it is GORGEOUS! I'm so happy! There are so many different patterns I want to make with it. Decisions, decisions.

I definitely want to make a shawl or cowl with it. What do you think: Arroyo shawlette? Podcaster cowl? A Cowl for Every Season? Embrace the Cowl?

Friday, February 27, 2015

FOs on parade!

I've got a bunch of Finished Objects to share with you. First up: my husband's scarf, made with Malabrigo Rios in Pearl Ten and Azul Profundo. It's a Seeded Rib Easy Reversible Scarf. Here it is in a not-quite-finished state, being modeled by our friend Pudgy the moose:






And here's the finished version (with sunlight streaming through the blinds):


It was hard to get a decent pic of the finished version because it's really long! Hubby wanted a long scarf. He's been wearing it constantly. We're both very happy with it!

Next up: my crocheted Quick Top-Down Mitts in Jill Draper Makes Stuff Hudson superwash wool yarn. I had this yarn left over from my Honey Cowl, and I was hoping it would be enough to make these mitts. It was, and I have a tiny bit left over! I've been wearing these quite a bit.



I finally finished my Dew Drop Cowl in Queensland Sugar Rush yarn. I will wear it in the spring. Here it is:


It looks really good after blocking. I should've used a stretchier bind-off, though. The pattern recommended one but I was too chicken to try it. Oops. Anyway, I blocked the heck out of it! It's definitely wearable and looks pretty.

Next, some jewelry. Here is a pair of earrings I made for my friend for Chanukah:





Sterling silver with black onyx and green turquoise beads, and the big round beads are fair trade wooden ones from India. They match a necklace I gave to the same friend a while back. I don't think I ever posted a pic of the necklace in this blog. I am going to remedy that now!


Here's a close-up of the clasp. It's a hammered silver toggle clasp and I really like it.





My friend had told me what beads she wanted in the necklace - I just had to put them together in a cohesive design. I hope she wears the necklace and earrings in good health. Honestly, I hope she wears whatever she wears in good health! She's a great friend.

And last but not least, here is a necklace I made with beads from Olga Manina's Etsy store that were bought for me for my birthday in November 2014 by my grandmother, who recently passed away at the age of 99. I miss her terribly.

I didn't get a really great picture - I would prefer to take one on a white background at some point so the colors in the beads are clearer - but this will do for now. I picked out the beads (my grandma had dementia and probably had no idea she was buying them for me - my mom was in charge of her finances at that point), but I still think of her and remember her fondly every time I wear it or even look at it.

Love you, Grams.



Wednesday, February 25, 2015

At long last, a WIP Wednesday post

I have some WIPs to show off today. First, the one I started last night. I am so excited about it! It's an Elder Tree Shawl. I'm using Malabrigo Rios in the Jupiter colorway, generously given to me by my mom last year. I have 4 skeins, and I doubt I'll use them all for this project, but I want to make this pretty big so I can wrap myself up in it and be all warm and snuggly. (Yes, I know it's lace and has holes in it. I'm sure it'll still be nice and warm.)

 
I'm using size 9 circs and alternating skeins - I've got 2 different dye lots going on here. My mom isn't a yarnie and doesn't know from dye lots, so she got me 2 skeins from one lot and 2 from another. I could've just used one of the sets of 2 for this shawl, but like I said, I want this to be really big, so I'm alternating and I think it looks great. I don't know if I'll want to use more than 2 skeins for this shawl, but I like having that option.

Speaking of my mom and Malabrigo Rios, I'm crocheting a pair of Basic Fingerless Mittens for her out of Rios in Azules. I've made one and a half so far.


She tried the finished one on and it fits, well, like a glove! ;-) These are turning out great. I love this pattern. It's my 2nd time using it. I plan to make myself a pair eventually. I have a skein of Rios in Bobby Blue waiting for me. Anyway, my mom's apartment can get very cold, so I'm glad to be able to make these for her. May she wear them in good health.

I'm also still working on the Clapotis and on my kimono sweater (which had been in hibernation for a while), but they don't look different enough from the last pics I posted of them to bother putting more pics here!

I finally got some hollow glass beads from Alisha White's Etsy shop. I have sapphire blue and emerald green and I know exactly what I'm going to make with them. I just have to get myself to actually do it!

My New Year's resolution was to learn how to knit hats and socks. I've got some Craftsy classes and a bunch of books. I've ordered some DPNs so I can make the socks the way the class instructor makes them, and I think I have enough interchangeable circular needles to try using 2 or doing magic loop. I do not have the smaller sizes for socks yet, but I already know I get hand and wrist pain from using smaller needles, so I may have to stick to making heavier socks.

That's it from me for now, but I have a bunch of FOs to show off, so watch for a Friday post...

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

WIP Wednesday, sort of - and a FO

Hi! Wow, it's been a long time since I last blogged. Oops.

My main project right now is a striped scarf in two colors of Malabrigo Rios (Azul Profundo and Pearl Ten) for my husband. He picked the colors. The pattern is the Seeded Rib Easy Reversible Scarf. I'm about halfway done. It was supposed to be his birthday present, but his birthday was October 19 and I (obviously) didn't finish it on time. I wanted to, but my neck and shoulders have been hurting a lot, which hinders my knitting progress.

Anyway, I don't have a picture of the scarf just yet, so I will entertain you with things I am not currently working on but which are WIPs that I will get back to when I finish the scarf.

Here is my Clapotis:

That one's not a great picture of the colors, but here's a close-up that is:

I've gotten to some of the dropped stitch rows! So exciting! This is going to look so cool.

You may have noticed that I ditched the stitch markers (much as I love them) in favor of purl stitches. It really does make this pattern easier - I just had no idea where the purl stitches (which become the dropped stitches) were supposed to go when I started this. Once I figured it out, this technique started to make sense.

And here is another WIP, my Dew Drop Cowl:
It's just a few rows away from being finished in this picture...and now it's actually just 1 row away, 2 if you count the bind-off. I will finish and block this and then post more pics when I'm done. Here's a close-up:
A little messy-looking in some places, but hey, if I wanted only perfect stuff I'd go buy a cowl at a department store or something.

Now for that FO. I kept this one a secret because it was a wedding present for my cousin and his wife:
It's a super cuddly giant Granny square blanket made with Lion Homespun in a bunch of different colors. I'm really pleased with the way it turned out - I hope they are enjoying it. My husband helped me pick the colors. Here's a picture of it folded:
And that's it for today! Scarf pictures next time, I promise!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

WIP Wednesday (Clapotis!) and FOs, too!

Yep, I'm finally making a Clapotis. I've only wanted to make one of these puppies since...well, since I first started knitting. ;-) It sat in my Ravelry queue forever. I was scared by its seemingly complicated instructions and unsure of what yarn to use.

I eventually decided to use my Wool in the Woods Cameo, which I've had in the stash for even longer than I've wanted to make the Clapotis! It's a DK-weight rayon yarn. I'd originally purchased it with a plan of crocheting a sweater with it (in hindsight, a sweater made with this yarn would've been more of a blouse, but whatever), so I have a large quantity. This means I won't have to worry about running out of yarn for the Clapotis, which uses quite a bit of yarn. The original Clapotis pattern calls for worsted weight yarn and size 8 needles, and I'm using 7s since that's what's recommended for the yarn, so mine will be a bit smaller but I don't mind that at all.

Here she is:
The colorway is called Jackpot. It's a little more purple and a little less dark than this picture suggests. The dropped stitches, which make the Clapotis so open and airy, will be incorporated later. (See where those holes are (from yarnovers)? That's where the dropped stitches will eventually go down to. Neat, eh?)

I started working on this with some trepidation - after all, the instructions were long and I didn't know how to knit or purl through the back loop. I found spreadsheets to help me with the pattern but they were long too and quite intimidating. I finally settled on the spreadsheet with the most color, since we have a color printer and I like color-coded things.

And you know what? Much like other things I've knitted, it's not nearly as complicated as I'd thought it would be. Lots of repetition, which is OK by me since I don't like to have to look at a pattern every 5 seconds. I learned how to knit and purl through the back loops from one of the books I have, and it's not hard.

By the way, you could knit this on straight needles, and a lot of people probably do. I just don't like straight needles much (in fact, I despise the longer ones) so I am using my trusty circulars.

Also, lots of people advise to purl the stitches to be dropped instead of using stitch markers. However, when I started the pattern, I didn't have a clue which stitches would be dropped or how that would work. Now I know, but I've already started with the stitch markers and I love using my handmade ones. The butterflies and flowers look so sweet with the colors of the yarn! You have to use a total of 18 stitch markers for this, but of course I have plenty. :-)

Now on to those FOs! Unfortunately, I can only go into detail about one right now, because the other one is a secret. (Shhh!) The one I can discuss here is, of course, the Croeso! Drumroll please...

On the blocking board! This thing was really hard to pin out. I wet blocked it with some Soak wash and then used literally all of my T-pins on it.

 Hangin' out on the couch.

 Outside, by our favorite tree.

 

 Front view.

Back view with my hair out of the way so you can see the branching cables.

I am so pleased with this. I especially love how the green yarn looks on the last few rows - what a gorgeous border that turned out to be! I am almost glad I ran out of yarn! Many thanks to a dear friend (you know who you are! Love you!) for the green yarn.

I am thinking about adding a small button to the front of this because it doesn't have a long enough wingspan to use a shawl pin without my wrapping the shawlette around my neck, and I can't do that because of my wool allergy. Also, I don't want it to be wrinkled up at all - I want to show off the whole darn thing when I wear it!

Measurements turned out to be: 41" wingspan and 21" from top to bottom at lowest point. The one gripe I have about this pattern is that no finished measurements or gauge were given, so I had no idea how big it would turn out to be. The finished size of mine is a little unwieldy. It is so beautiful, though! I'm really proud of it, in case you couldn't tell!

I will post about my other FO once I am sure it has been received. Rest assured that lots of pictures were taken.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Croeso progress, Dew Drop Cowl, and a non-knitting FO

Hi all! Happy WIP Wednesday! Here is my latest Croeso progress update picture:
Oh I love this shawlette so much. You might notice, though, that in the top left corner is a little ball of yarn...that's all I have left of this colorway. I'm trying desperately on Ravelry to get a small amount of coordinating yarn to finish with since I am pretty sure that little ball doesn't contain enough yardage.

I know it's a stretch, but does anyone reading this have a small amount of any sport weight wool that might go well with this, that I could buy from you? I can't get another full skein of JDMS Mohonk anytime soon - it's very pricey. It's well worth it, but I just can't do it right now.

Edited to add: Yarn problem solved! Hooray!!!

Also, while I'm asking questions, here's one for anyone who has knit a clapotis: any idea why those who have made it on Ravelry have used such drastically different yardage? I've checked out several projects using just 1 specific yarn, and people have used anywhere between 4 and 10 skeins. I'm having trouble figuring out how much yarn I actually need for the pattern, since the pattern itself says I'll need more than I have but the projects would have me believe otherwise.

On another note, I've realized that the smaller size needles I use, the more my hands hurt when I knit. Right now I am also working on a Dew Drop Cowl - here I am posing with it at the latest Stitch & Bitch:
I'm using size 10 needles for the cowl. My Croeso shawlette is knit on size 4 needles. The difference is crazy - I don't need my wrist braces while working on the cowl and I have almost no hand and wrist pain. When working on the shawlette, I need the braces and I need to pace myself much more and stretch a lot.

Anyway, I'm not in a hurry to finish the cowl because it's a great project to bring to Stitch & Bitch! It's just stockinette except for a few eyelet rows. Great mindless knitting. I still managed to mess up the first eyelet row while working on it at S&B, so I have to make sure to do the eyelets at home! LOL! Most knitting is not truly mindless enough for me to work on it while talking, but straight stockinette or garter I can do.

And here, as promised, is an FO:

I made the little mookaite heart earrings on the left to go with the "Angel Pig" on the right. These were gifts for my second-oldest niece's birthday, which just passed (ohmygosh she's 10 - where does the time go?!). I hope she likes them. We weren't able to give the gifts in person because my sister and her family are camping, so we had to mail them. My hubby picked out the piggy and helped me choose the heart beads. The earrings are sterling silver (posts, headpins and little round beads - all sterling). I like to use the good stuff. ;-)

Not sure if my niece ever wears dangly earrings. These are very short dangles, so maybe she will wear them. She is very athletic, so I didn't think big dangles would be such a great idea! I made sure to use post earring findings so they'd be less likely to fall out of her ears.

I am almost finished with a secret crochet gift project. More on that in 2 or 3 weeks when it's been finished and received...

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

WIP Wednesday - more Croeso, a knitting pain update, and Clapotis thoughts

Hi! I don't have any pretty pictures for you today, but I hope you'll bear with me anyway.

My wrists and thumbs are doing a little better lately. I took 2 days off from knitting, and I got wrist braces (nothing fancy, just OTC stuff) from the drugstore and a wrist rest for my mousepad. All these things together seem to be helping. I've also been trying for better posture while knitting.

I can still really only do 2 rows on the Croeso at a time, but they're pretty long rows at this point so I do feel like I've made progress even after just doing that much. I've finished section 4 and started section 5. This is the last section! In the next row, I'll be starting a few more cables.

I've been obsessing a little about a certain section of cable that I accidentally twisted. It looks weird and is somewhat noticeable, but it's way back toward the beginning and there's no way I'm going back to fix it now, so I've just got to learn to live with it. Whoops. Checking my cables a lot more carefully now.

I've been thinking a lot today about knitting a Clapotis. I have 2 different yarns I could use - one is Berroco Cotton Twist (worsted cotton blend) in a brown/white/teal multi and the other is Wool in the Woods Cameo (100% rayon DK) in a green/blue/pink/purple multi. Leaning toward the latter only because I have more of it. I've only got 595 yards of the Cotton Twist. Of the others on Ravelry who have made it with the Cotton Twist, some have used more than this and some have used less. I can't figure out why the amount of yarn used varies so widely. (If you know, please leave a comment!) :-)