Wednesday, February 26, 2014

WIP Wednesday - sweater progress

I thought I'd give an update on my Liwen/Design Three project, seeing as how it's WIP Wednesday and all.

I've been working hard since last week! Again, this is the left front portion of the sweater. I got through the moss stitch with some mistakes, but mostly OK. (Decreases look better when you finally figure out which way they should slant.) Got through the ribbing portion and on to...

CABLES! I have been dying to do cables ever since I started knitting a few years ago. I just thought it would be so complicated. Guess what? It's not. It's fun. And the results? Woohoo, pretty twisty things! I am totally smitten.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

FO from Summer 2013 - Purple Gossypium

Last summer, I discovered the Gossypium (that's a pattern link that will take you to a pdf). It's a gorgeous cowl that looks cabled but isn't, and has a beautiful "leaf" pattern. It was my first venture into lace knitting. Once I got the hang of it, it was so much fun to make! I decided to make several as gifts, but I only managed to finish one other one and I still haven't given it to its recipient. (This purple one is mine, all mine!) More about the gifty things later. Here's my Gossypium (or, as I called it on Ravelry, Gossipy-YUM) blocking:

I am totally in love with it. It's made from Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted Cotton, which is so soft and pretty. The pictures don't do this cowl justice.
There it is on me. The photo is a pretty bad selfie and I'm wearing a really casual t-shirt with the cowl, and the color is so much more vibrant in person. Someday I will have someone (probably my husband) take a good picture of me wearing it!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

WIP Wednesday

I'm currently working on my very own Liwen Jacket (aka Design Three) by Jenny Watson. From the moment I first saw the pattern picture, I knew I had to have one.
I am a big fan of moss stitch - I love the texture it makes. This sweater involves a whole bunch of things I've never done before - ribbing, cables, picking up stitches. It's very exciting. I really, really hope it turns out OK! But I'm getting way ahead of myself. So far, I'm on Row 20 of the Left Front Panel. (The pic below was taken a few rows ago.)
I got gauge with my Knitters Pride Trendz acrylic interchangeable circs in size 11. Acrylic would not have been my first choice, but my other size 11s - Knit Picks interchangeables - are in use for a blanket I've been making for a while. Besides, the acrylics work fine with this yarn, and they're PURPLE! Love me some purple.

I'm using Araucania Tepa yarn in colorway 1781, which is mainly turquoise but also contains a rainbow of other colors. I'm completely in love with it. It's exquisite. A birthday present (WEBS gift card) from my best friend paid for about half the cost of the yarn, and I splurged on the rest. I could never, ever wear it against my skin, but it's a jacket - meant to be worn over a shirt anyway.

Here's the Tepa when I first got it, brand new in its bag. Now, before you go and say, "That's a lot of yarn!" you might want to think for a second. When you tell a knitter the amount of yarn for a sweater she's making for herself is a lot, you are, in effect, telling her she's fat (or maybe just that she's making a really oversize sweater - which I'm not). Am I thin? No. Am I plus size? Yes. Do I want to be reminded about that by people saying "Wow, that's a lot of yarn!"? NO. And that's the end of that rant.

(Yes, this is something that happened fairly recently. Facebook drama, woohoo.)

This sweater/jacket was started Monday night, then frogged and re-started twice! I'm sure there will be more frogging ahead, but I will be brave! I can do this!

I really hope it'll fit well. The finished bust size is the same size as most of my sweaters, but it decreases in places where my body doesn't really decrease (ahem, waist), so we'll see. If it doesn't fit well, maybe I can alter it somehow.

About that blanket I'm making:
It's also still a WIP, so there it is. Sorry about the messy not-woven-in ends there in the middle. They'll be fixed eventually. It's straight garter stitch in a bulky cotton chenille. I know I posted about it in this blog before (probably last year). I'll be working on it for a while yet.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

FO alert!

Finally, a finished object to post about that was finished this year! For the past month or so, I've been working away on a Honey cowl using Jill Draper Makes Stuff's amazing Hudson Superwash Merino yarn. The colorway is called Coleopterist's Cabinet.
Believe it or not, this was my first time working with superwash merino. I don't know if it's usually this deliciously sproingy, or if that's Jill Draper's yarn in particular, but I love it so much - and it doesn't seem to bother my neck. This is the first animal fiber I've ever met that doesn't make my neck itch. (I hope. I still haven't worn this cowl for any particularly long length of time.)

The yarn was expensive. It was a splurge when I was away with girlfriends in New Paltz, NY, and we stopped in to the White Barn Farm Sheep and Wool yarn store. (And then we stopped in there again the next day! Heehee. Yes, it is that good a store. And cute, too - see pic below. Yes, that's me by the door.)

I highly recommend a visit if you're a fiber fan and happen to be in New Paltz at some point. Anyway, I adore that Hudson yarn. The colors are amazing and a camera can't really do them justice, but I took plenty of project pictures anyway, and then my husband took some pictures of the finished cowl on me. This Honey cowl is a size Large, but I didn't knit it to the full width of 12 inches, I only did 8 inches. (As you'll see, that was plenty!) I also haven't blocked it yet. Not sure what superwash merino will block out like (anyone have any answers for me?). I'm happy with it unblocked, though! And I would never, ever put this in the washing machine, even though I could, in theory.
That last one is of the cowl wrapped around twice. It is warm and squishy and comfortable. I give the yarn most of the credit, but I guess I have to give myself some, too. The cowl didn't make itself. ;) This is the second Honey I've made - the first was a size small with Lorna's Laces Honor yarn (pic below). It is an alpaca and silk blend, and it feels heavenly to the touch - until I put it against my neck. Sigh. Itchy. Heck, cashmere makes my neck itch. I'm keeping my first Honey for now with the thought that I might wear it sometime with a turtleneck underneath.

I messed up quite a bit with the stitching on that first one (it's actually sort of obvious if you know what to look for), so for the second one, I placed stitch markers every 20 stitches so that I'd know whether to purl or slip the next stitch. It worked great!

This is a very repetitive pattern, but it makes for a beautiful cowl if you can stick with it. (Ugh...honey...stick...see what I did there?)