Monday, December 31, 2007

Next

I've had a long, drawn-out, handmade holiday season this year, what with the early Christmas in Oregon, and the yet-to-be office holiday gift exchange, but now that most of the holiday gifts are made and gifted (my handmade gift exchange at work is this Thursday), I'm excited to get started on some new knitting projects! I treated myself to some Christmas yarn, pictured here.

And guess what came in the mail? The Winter 07/08 Vogue Knitting! Check out the preview. There are actually several little numbers in this issue that I'd love to knit up.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Knitted Christmas Gift #9 Revealed!



Pattern: Baby Bamboo Stripey Scarf for Lil MC, my own pattern

Yarn: Bernat Bamboo yarn in Corn and Dill, 1 skein each

Needles: Size 9 thrifted aluminum straights


Reactions:

- Pattern: Again, this project was so simple, it doesn't seem right to call it a pattern, but still. I wanted to knit a baby-sized scarf for Lil MC because I find it hilarious to dress babies up in clothes with structure, or that require a certain jauntiness to pull off. I also was just gifted by a coworker with two balls of this bamboo yarn and I was dying to try it for the first time. Straight-forward garter stitch over maybe 25 stitches + 2 rows of each color, alternating until yarn runs out = baby scarf!

-Yarn: Ooh, this was very nice. Smooth, cool to the touch, very shiny.... What's not to like? I will definitely get this stuff again for future baby projects. The yarn is very loosely plied with a small (nylon?) thread, so it's kind of got a boucle quality to it. I like the color choices offered in the line, but I wish they would stray a bit further from traditional baby colors. A nice slate would be a good addition, making the combination possibilities more versatile.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Knitted Christmas Gift #8 Revealed!


Pattern: Oregon Winter Horizon Scarf for my dad, my own pattern

Yarn: Patons' SWS in Natural Wood and Natural Denim, 1 skein each

Needles: Bryspun 29 inch circular needles, size 9


Reactions:

-Pattern: I went to Michael's with my sister early in my visit to buy supplies for fun crafting with her. The plan was that my sister would have a whole day to sit around and do crafts and watch movies and bake cookies...that didn't happen. Anyway, I wanted to knit something simple to keep my hands busy and also because I am teaching my sister to knit, so a plain old garter stitch scarf was the perfect answer. Knitting two rows of each color, I just carried the yarn along the side rather than breaking yarn and weaving in all those ends. Simple, simple, simple. It wasn't really intended to be for anyone, but luckily it had an admirer.

-Yarn: This yarn is lovely to look at! I'm impressed with Patons' new yarn selections. The colorways and yarn content are very nice. Unfortunately, this SWS is pretty itchy when knit up, but it has a fantastic halo. Luckily, my dad LIKED the feel of this scarf against his face, and after testing it out, he asked me who the scarf was for. Sold! The colors I chose for this scarf are evidence of a deep fascination I have with topaz-like browns, blues and greys- reminds me of the ambiguous, shady hues seen along the horizon of the wooded hills in Oregon (hence the project's name). The "Natural Wood" colorway was a solid, but the "Natural Indigo" was an ombre, and I think the color transition looks nice split up between the bars of brown.

-Needles: This was my first chance to use Bryspun's needles, and I really liked them! I have avoided them in the past, thinking plastic couldn't be good, but I admit I was wrong. They're lightweight, flexible, and have a balance of both slick and grip to their surface. The circular cord is very light and bendy. The best thing about them though, is their tips! They're slightly concave, and they seem to grab the yarn when knitting. I loved that!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

It's Slow in the Office...

This is a fun way to kill time

Knitted Christmas Gift #7 Revealed!


Pattern: Basic Man Beanie for BIL N, my own pattern

Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes (Chocolate), Cascade 220 (Squirrel Heather), and Plymouth Tweed (Lemon Tweed)

Needles: Size 8 Brittnay Birch dpns


Reactions:

-Pattern: This is technically "my own pattern", but really, it's hardly a pattern. It's just k2, p2 around for about 10 inches over 72 stitches, and then k2tog around, then another k1, p1 around, then k2tog around and around until there are just a few stitches on the needles, then break yarn and weave the tail through the live stitches. Oh yeah, and I knitted a yellow tweedy stripe, outlined in a stone color. I see now that the pictures clearly show the jog, but due to the ribbing, this is much less noticeable in real life. I love a simple k2, p2 rib. So stretchy and versatile. See? The hat fits both N and his son, Lil MC!

-Yarn: Not much to be said here that I haven't already said about some good, basic worsted yarns (Wool of the Andes and Cascade 220). This was my first time using the Plymouth Tweed, though, and I really enjoyed it. The Lemon Tweed color is bright and wonderful, with crazy flecks of lime, orange, and white. The yardage is great, and Plymouth offers some other outlandishly bright colors that I'll have to try soon. As bright as it is on its own, it blends in and mellows well next to the neutrals used for the rest of the hat. My BIL likes it, and look how well it matches with his Powell's sweatshirt! He's asked for a matching scarf, which I will get to some time in the next 5 years.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Knitted Christmas Gift #6 Revealed!


Pattern: Fingerless Mitts for Brother T, my own pattern

Yarn: Handpainted Yarn's Worsted, colorway forgotten, 1 skein

Needles: Size 8 Brittnay Birch dpns


Reactions:

-Pattern: As you might remember from last year, knitting simple fingerless mitts is an addiction of mine. I wanted to make something very simple, useful and "hip" for my brother, the college student, and again I convinced myself that fingerless mitts were the answer. My brother has long, narrow hands, so I knit the finger section longer than one might expect, but they fit him like a glove (he he).



-Yarn: I had this great, manly colorway (They aren't really purple, like shown above. They're more black and brown.) patiently waiting in my stash, and thought it would be just the thing to give a little extra something-something to this project. Look at how the colors pooled and spiraled around the mitts! I like it- looks like flames.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Knitted Christmas Gift #5 Revealed!


Pattern: Strawberry Hat for Sister J, my own pattern

Yarn: Cascade Pastaza in Cherry, a little less than 1 ball

Needles: Size 8 Brittnay Birch dpns


Reactions:

-Pattern: I had such a time trying to get my sister's gift right this year! Before flying to Portland, I tried 3 different projects, nearly completing each before realizing that it was all wrong, and abandoning it. I was so frustrated to have nothing to show for all my efforts, and I was worried I wouldn't be able to finish anything in time for the gifting events in Oregon. On my second day, though, I begged my brother to take me to Abundant Yarns, close to my family's house. That night I cast on for the hat, knowing only that I wanted it to be more voluminous than a beanie, but less slouchy than a snood-type hat. The pattern took shape quickly, and soon, I had a final product! I really like the structure of this hat. It's not droopy at all, but instead has a semi-rigid, formable volume to it.

-Yarn: I really love this yarn! While the resulting fabric is a little itchy (luckily, Sis says she's not hyper itch-sensitive), it was soft to work with and has the rustic, slightly thick and thin quality to it that I love. The llama fibers, being longer and sorta wiry, contributed to the structured end product, and provided a nice halo of fuzz.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Knitted Christmas Gift #4 Revealed!


Pattern: Woven Trellis Scarf by Kristen TenDyke, from Vogue Knits Holiday Issue 2006

Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Black Cherry Heather

Needles: Brittany Birch dpns, size 8

Modifications: none


Reactions:

-Pattern: I had this project in mind for my mom since last year, when the pattern was featured on the cover of Vogue Knits. The look of the finished scarf was really neat, and unlike entrelac scarves that have a similar woven look, this one was reversible. The instructions were clear, but the actual knitting was ETERNAL. Sooooo much knitting, all the long finished cords flapping around when you're knitting the last few-- ugh. My sister gasped when she saw the scarf, but I quashed her hopes right away. I'm never making another one of these! I'll opt for an entrelac version next time. However, I do love the tactility of this scarf. It's so squishy, and you can really play with its volume, either pulling it longer and narrower, or fluffing it up.

-Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes is a work horse staple in my stash. This was the first time I used the heathered variety, though, and it seemed much smoother and silkier to knit with. I like it! There was very slight variation in the shade from yard to yard, which really emphasized the texture in the end result.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Knitted Christmas Gift #3 Revealed!


Pattern: Boiled Wool Flap Cap for my Dad, my own pattern

Yarn: Cascade 220 and KnitPicks Wool of the Andes

Needles: Size 8 Brittnay birch dpns


Reactions: This was an enjoyably quick holiday knit. I didn't begin with the intentions of fulling the wool, but my end product was a bit bigger than expected, and I'm really happy with the way the wool transformed when boiled (on the stove, in a big enamel pot) and aggitated (with two big wooden spoons). The Cascade got so soft, and the little purl/knit stripes came to life with the haze created by the fulling technique. My dad says this hat is so soft and comfy. Doesn't he look happy with it?

Christmas 2007 Part I


I returned to New York this morning via a red eye flight out of Portland. I can't believe that was a week I just spent there! It wasn't nearly enough time to catch up with family and friends.



I'm happy to report that my Pepere is doing AMAZINGLY well! I was so happy to finally join the rest of my family and support him in person at the hospital. (These first two pictures were taken on the way down to visit him.) The first time I walked into his room, he even had the scarf I made him draped over him. He's just as sharp and funny as he's always been, and the recovery will continue, I'm sure. He is so strong.



Now that I'm back, I can start posting some of the knitted gift reveals! I gave my family their gifts a bit early so I could see them open them in person. One gift that was knitted while there, though, I'll post right now. It wasn't actually planned out, and it was such a quick knit, it would feel wrong to give it it's own post.



It is certainly worth sharing here, though, thanks to the adorable model: Mr. Lil' MC! I knitted him a chunky red elf hat one night out of Lion Brand Wool Ease Chunky. Agh! Sooo cute! He truly is elfin-like- always cheerful.



More holiday gift knits coming soon!

Friday, December 07, 2007

FO: Dog Walking Mittens


How could I not love this dog?


Admittedly, I've now become a DOG PERSON, who will talk obsessively about various characteristics of my dog if prompted, or even if simply not discouraged.


Look at these two. They've become very romantic these days.


But they still wrestle and chase each other constantly.


(I named my latest personal FO "Dog Walking Mittens" just so I'd have an excuse to post pictures of my dog. Shameless, I know.)



Pattern: Dog Walking Mittens, my own pattern



Yarn: Noro Kureyon, colorway 095- just under 1 ball



Needles: Size 8 Brittany birch dpns

Reactions: Knitting these convertible mittens was necessary for two reasons- 1) my fingerless Manos mitts are filthy from 2 years of use and picking out muddy beets at the Saturday market 2) I needed a palate cleanser after all the frantic holiday knitting I've been doing. They were a very quick knit- probably 5.5 hours total, and a stash buster. Bonus points all around!

Pattern- I made it up as I went along, but I've since written out the pattern. On the elevator this morning, a colleague complimented me on the mittens, and asked to borrow the pattern after I told her I'd finished them the night before-- another knitter!!! This is actually the ONLY OTHER KNITTER I've encountered at my work. I'm was so happy with this new discovery, I spent the first hour or so at work typing up the pattern for her.

Yarn- I love Noro Kureyon yarn, though this is only my second time working with it, and it's the same colorway. I find it rustic and charming. It feels great to knit with on birch needles- both are so lightweight and have a kind of waxy texture to them.

(The pictures of my mittens were taken before I bothered to sew on buttons for the mitten cap flaps.)