Friday, August 31, 2012

Finished Object Friday

Pattern: Morning Glory Socks

Yarn: Top Cat MCN in Black Orchid colourway

Modifications: As usual I upped the primary stitch count so that I could knit the sock on size 0 needles, this time casting on 70 sts. I prefer the fabric I get from finer needles. The sock as designed features a lot of K1P1 rib, but I switched it to a wider K3P2 rib. After doing that the leg pattern no longer flowed into the intended slip stitch rib heel, so I opted for Eye of Partridge instead.

Comments: My neighbour Nina happily agreed to model these socks for me, and then grudgingly agreed to give them back, so a big thanks to her. When she put on the socks she decided she wanted the lace pattern to climb up the inside of her feet and legs rather than the outside as the designer intended. Doesn't matter, does it? The socks look great either way. 

While knitting this yarn I was amazed at how distinctly I could feel that 10% cashmere content. Very nice to the touch and a dream to wear. I guess I'm spoiled now, so I went ahead and ordered another skein :) 

It's Friday - the Friday before a long weekend, hurray! - so check the links at Tami's Amis. Why not see what everyone else has finished? And if you'd like to knit these socks, leave a comment saying so. On Tuesday morning I'll draw from all the comments posted on this blog entry from now until Monday midnight and send a copy of the pattern to the winner through Ravelry!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Work-in-Progress Wednesday

I've made steady progress over the last couple of days on my Morning Glory socks. Just a teaser shot today; expect the full reveal on Friday! These socks are very pretty on the blockers, but the pattern really shines when worn. Really! Just wait 'til you see them on Friday! One thing though? I'm almost sorry I picked this Top Cat MCN yarn - that little bit of cashmere may have spoiled me for any other sock yarn :)

My evening knitting time has been divided between those socks and my Meida's Mittens for my Year of Projects. Tonight I'll start the decreases for the top of the mitt and then there's just the thumb to knit to finish the first mitten. It's a very colourful cuff and it's been the perfect pattern to use up little bits of sock yarn leftovers from my stash. The hand and the thumb are unpatterned brown so that makes it easy enough. So far it looks like they're going to go very nicely with my chocolate brown winter coat!

Last but not least I've been spending my knitting time at work on a Clapotis. I know, I know, after knitting a Clapotis from silk mawatas for my Ravellenic project, and after confessing to be bored silly by the pattern, I'm as surprised as you are to find myself knitting another one. But here's how it happened. Linda agreed to model the first Clapotis and then asked if she could keep it. I agreed and she was thrilled. She wore at work. She wore it at home. She wore it at college. And then she wore it when she took her mom for chemo ... and now we need to make one for her mom. A silk shawl is warm, light and very easy on sensitive skin - the perfect thing for a chemo patient shivering in a cold waiting room, right?

This time around I'm knitting from Handmaiden Sea Silk - much faster than drafting mawatas. I took Jen's tip and am purling to mark the to-be-dropped stitches rather than using stitch markers - faster again. And finally, I'm knitting on straights rather than fighting circs - even faster still.  As a result, I'm about a quarter of the way through after a day and a half of knitting. Quick, huh? I hope so, because I'm hoping to present the finished shawl to Linda when she returns from her cottage vacation next week!

Lot's going on, huh? It's not just me busy - check out the links at Tami's Amis to see all the beautiful work being produced by so many talented crafters!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Year of Projects 2: Meida's Mittens 01

Folk Knitting in Estonia: Aino's Gloves • Anu's Christmas Gloves • Anu's Mittens • Anu's Stockings • Avo's Mittens • Ellen's Stockings • Helgi's Mittens • Hilja's Mittens • Ilmar's Socks • Juta's Stockings • Kalev's Mittens • Kristi's Mittens • Laila's Socks • Landra's Gloves • Liidia's Gloves • Liivi's Stockings • Maarja's Socks • Maimu's Mittens • Marko's Mittens • Meida's Mittens • Merike's Gloves • Rita's Stockings • Sander's Mittens • Tiit's Socks • Ulla's Gloves • Virve's Stockings

No matter how closely you peer at the pattern photo for these mitts, I daresay you can't see the difference between the dark blue and the dark green that Nancy Bush used in the colourwork cuff. As a result the corrugated ribbing disappears, as do a lot of the details in the chart.

Bet you have no trouble seeing all the colours with my choices! My colours are really bright ... sugary candy colours on a field of chocolate brown. Normally I wouldn't be comfortable with that much colour but since the rest of the mitten is uninterrupted dark brown, I think it'll be fine. The dark pink is Alley Cat sock in the colourway Raspberry Beret, the light pink is Alley Cat sock in Peeps colourway, the blue is Candy Skein's First Birthday colourway and the brown is Foot Loose from Diamond Yarns. If I've calculated correctly the second mitt should use up almost every last inch of those first two leftover yarns. Hurray for working from stash yarns!

Reviewing my list, I think the next project should be gloves but here's the problem: those patterns call for 1.75mm needles which I don't have. Shocking I know, since I would have guessed that I have several sets of every size. Out of curiosity I had a peak at the Black Thorn website and they do have 1.75mm needles in stock. But ... should I just order them? ... or should I order more sizes and save on shipping? Decisions, decisions!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Work-in-Progress Wednesday

The third month of the Summer of Socks 2012 started yesterday, and I had really hoped to show you my start on the month three pattern. However, after the votes were counted the pattern elected for month three was Simple Skyp Socks -  a pattern I've knit before. It's a very simple and charming pattern but not one that I'm interested in repeating right now. Particularly as I don't have any qualifying yarn in my stash to suit that pattern.

Instead I've cast on the pattern that I nominated, Morning Glory Socks. Lucky me, I won the yarn and pattern about a month ago from Wandering Cat Yarn; had it been chosen I would have been already to go for SoS month three! The yarn is Top Cat from Wandering Cat Yarns - that cashmere content makes it absolutely wonderful to touch. The colourway is Black Orchid; it's the most lovely deep berry purple tonal. The pattern features two assymetrical columns of petals - one climbs up from the toe to the cuff at the top of the leg and another that climbs from heel to cuff.

I've changed things up a bit though. First I increased the primary stitch count to 70 so that I could knit the socks on my favourite size 0 Blackthorn DPNs. Next I changed to K3P2 rib from K1P1, because I thought the sturdier rib was less likely to distort around the pattern. Besides I like wide rib. I also made the cuff longer than the pattern as written. And finally I've knit the heel as eye of partridge. The pattern directions have a slipped stitch ribbed heel that flows from the ribbing on the leg, but after changing my ribbing that pattern detail was lost, so eye of partridge it was.

There's lots going on this work-in-progress Wednesday. Have a look at the links at Tami's Amis and prepared to be amazed!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Year of Projects 2: Tiit's Socks 02

Folk Knitting in Estonia: Aino's Gloves • Anu's Christmas Gloves • Anu's Mittens • Anu's Stockings • Avo's Mittens • Ellen's Stockings • Helgi's Mittens • Hilja's Mittens • Ilmar's Socks • Juta's Stockings • Kalev's Mittens • Kristi's Mittens • Laila's Socks • Landra's Gloves • Liidia's Gloves • Liivi's Stockings • Maarja's Socks • Maimu's Mittens • Marko's Mittens • Meida's Mittens • Merike's Gloves • Rita's Stockings • Sander's Mittens • Tiit's Socks • Ulla's Gloves • Virve's Stockings

Yesterday morning I woke up with a cold - sore throat, headache, congestion and dry cough. So not surprisingly through most of the day you could find me on the sofa with a mug of neo-citran, a box of kleenexes and my knitting. As a result the second of these Tiit's Socks is done.

It's been a great little project to use up really small scraps of sock yarn. From cuff down there are at least a dozen different yarns: Tanis Fiber Arts Fingering (natural), SRK On Your Toes (navy), Zarzuela Fibers Symphonic Sock (blues), Fiber Optic Footnotes (greens), Pagewood Farms Alyeska (reds), Mountain Color Bearfoot (blues), Shelridge Farm Soft Touch Handpaint (greens), Estelle Arequipa (reds), Wandering Cat Alley Cat (pinky reds), Rocky Mountain Dyeworks (greens), Koigu PPM (orangey reds), Wollmeise Twin 80/20 (blues), Malabrigo Sock (greens) and possibly some other scraps I've forgotten. 

What's next? Meida's Mittens, I think. I can entirely visualize which stash yarns I'll use to knit them, so that's a good place to start. More stash-busting ahead!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Finished Object Friday

Hey! What's this? It smells good ...

Pattern: Easy Peasy Catnip Mouse

Yarn: leftover Cascade 220 Superwash

Modifications: none

Comments: The designer suggests that this little mouse shouldn't take more than 20 minutes to make. I doubted that, but now, after completing this one her time estimate seems pretty accurate.

The way the ears are designed makes them very simple. All the ends tuck inside so there's little finishing. I added about a teaspoon of catnip with the stuffing.

My cat seems very happy with it so I plan to make a bunch more for her, as well as some for friends and relatives with cats. It's perfect for using up small amounts of worsted - a nice little stash-busting project. And you know, I think I even have a few jingle bells to stuff inside some of them!

As always on Friday, I encourage you to check the links at Tami's Amis. I'm guessing there are scads of finished objects way more impressive than this! Maybe ... but how many will feature such a cute cat picture?! 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Work-in-Progress Wednesday

Now that the Ravellenic Games are over and my  Scarf Hockey project is done, I can turn my attention back to these socks.

The pattern is Tiit's Socks from Folk Knitting in Estonia. Rather than knitting it in blue and grey as shown on the pattern, I've decided to knit multicolour patterns against a natural undyed background. My aim is to use up a bunch of little sock yarn oddballs from my stash.

Other than the colour changes, I've made one more modification to the pattern. As written the colourwork continues through to the tip of the toe, however I can't bear the thought of those floats around my toes. Instead I've stopped the colourwork before beginning the toe and knitted my usual wedge toe.

Seems I knit up colourwork patterns more quickly than plain knitting - the lure of the next row of the chart and the next colour seem to be very motivating. My goal is to finish the second sock in time for my Year of Projects update on Sunday and then cast on something new. Hmmmm ... what to do next? Maybe somewhere in the links at Tami's Amis I'll find inspiration? Why not have a look?!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

FO: Clapotis

Pattern: Clapotis

Yarn: drafted unspun silk Mawatas hand-dyed by Sunnyside Ellen

Modifications: none

Comments: It's done and it's lovely. Truth be told it's still a bit damp from blocking but Linda doesn't seem to mind ... especially as she gets to keep it. Now that all the dropped stitches are dropped all the way down, the drape is really gorgeous.

It was fun and interesting to draft the mawatas and knit the silk when I started out, but the novelty wore off pretty quickly. I'm glad I did it, but once was enough. If you're interested I have about a dozen leftover mawatas - I can mail you a couple to play with if you PM me (lynnw63) on Ravelry with your address. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

the agony of defeat

"Agony"? Not exactly. Perhaps "irritation" or "annoyance" is more apt. It's the day after the Olympic closing ceremony and my Clapotis is still not done. It's close though. I'm well into the decreases and expect that I can easily finish it today and block it tonight.

Where does the annoyance come in? Well it's obvious to me now that with a bit more effort I could have finished it well in time. I'm bored with drafting mawatas and I'm bored with knitting this pattern, and as a result I haven't given the project as much time or focus as I might have otherwise.

Still, I'm pleased that I undertook the project, and I'm happy to have finally knit through the mawatas. The finished Clapotis will have that wonderful sheen of silk and it's light as a feather. Can't wait to see it after blocking!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

slogging along

Sorry that I haven't been posting very regularly; some days the Clapotis doesn't look much different than the day before, no matter how much time I spend knitting. With luck I'll be starting the decrease rows later today. Meanwhile, here are some thoughts:

• Drafting mawatas was fun and interesting when I started this project ... now it's tedious.

• Raw silk sticks to everything.

• It is possible to drop a stitch in raw silk, but it takes some convincing. Possibly because raw silk sticks to everything?!

• Clapotis makes a beautiful finished object but it's an extremely boring knit.

• I (still) hate circular needles.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Work-in-Progress Wednesday

Just a quick update today - after enjoying a holiday Monday, I find myself very behind on my chores for the week!

My Ravellenic Scarf, a Clapotis from handspun silk mawatas, has stalled. I guess I just got a bit bored with it. But I'm determined to finish it; if not by the end of the Olympics, then definitely by the end of the Special Olympics. And to make sure that happens, I promise to knit monongamously on that project only. Cross my heart, hope to die.

While ignoring the Clapotis I cast on a pair of socks for my year of projects and have become entirely obsessed with using every last bit of leftover sock yarn in my stash. So far there's more than a dozen different yarns in this sock. It's making a really thick, warm and colourful sock. Perfect for padding around in stocking feet on a cold winter morning! And yes, if you're wondering, I do expect it will take hours to weave in all those ends.

What about you? What are you working on today? Why not join up with the gang at Tami's Amis on this Work-in-Progress Wednesday?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Year of Projects 2: Tiit's Socks 01

Folk Knitting in Estonia: Aino's Gloves • Anu's Christmas Gloves • Anu's Mittens • Anu's Stockings • Avo's Mittens • Ellen's Stockings • Helgi's Mittens • Hilja's Mittens • Ilmar's Socks • Juta's Stockings • Kalev's Mittens • Kristi's Mittens • Laila's Socks • Landra's Gloves • Liidia's Gloves • Liivi's Stockings • Maarja's Socks • Maimu's Mittens • Marko's Mittens • Meida's Mittens • Merike's Gloves • Rita's Stockings • Sander's Mittens • Tiit's Socks • Ulla's Gloves • Virve's Stockings

Last week I missed posting for my Year of Projects; I've been knitting furiously on my Ravellenic Games project so there wasn't much to update otherwise. But with my scarf at the halfway point I'm bored - time to cast on something new.

I made a start on the required socks for month 2 of the Summer of Socks, but I wasn't happy with that sock, so it's been frogged. I made a start on another pair of socks using the yarn ordered for month 2 of the Summer of Socks, but I wasn't happy with that either, so it's been frogged too. Frustrating! Back to my comfort zone - a sock pattern written by Nancy Bush.

Over the last couple of days I've made a good start on Tiit's Socks, and I LOVE them.  The pattern as written is worked in blue and grey, but after seeing these colourful socks I decided to pull out all the red, green and blue scraps from my stash and put them to work. This strategy fits in nicely with my challenge to Surmount the Stash in 2012 ... and my personal "Odd Ball August" challenge to focus on my scraps. My friend Nancy picked this pattern after flipping through the book Folk Knitting in Estonia; I don't think she'll mind this more colourful version one bit :)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

strike two

After frogging the Lotus Heart Socks last week, I looked around in my favourited patterns to find something that might work with this yarn ... something plainer. And decided on this Porifera pattern. It's a toe-up pattern as written on 64 sts, but it was easy enough to convert it to cuff down and add a knit stitch to each repeat to bring it to 72 sts for knitting on smaller needles.

A day of knitting later finds me about halfway down the leg and not liking this yarn any better. RRRRRIP. Too bad because I really like the pattern. As for the yarn? I might try it in a colourwork pattern for my year of projects next. Or maybe, considering how frustrated I'm feeling, I'll just toss this yarn into a time out and move on.

Perhaps the higher powers are sending me a message? Maybe they're trying to tell me to get back to my Ravellenics scarf?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Surmount the Stash August Update

Once again it's time to evaluate my progress towards my goals to Surmount the Stash. This month's news is better than last month's. Considering how badly I did last month, how could it not?

Monthly budget of $50 for all knitting related expenses: Last month I completely blew it and ended with a deficit of $315.50. This month I didn't spend a penny. Not one cent! I've knit entirely from stash and entirely with patterns I already own. As a result, my deficit comes down to $265.50. Yes there's still a lot of work to do here, but I've made a good start!

Manage my WIPs: There is one project that has been on the needles for weeks now - my Smitten Advent calendar - so I'm determined to finish that up as soon as the Ravellenic Games are done. Other than that, the parade of FOs continued in July - three Miranda hats and three pairs of socks.

Plan projects to work through my inventory of yarns in my Stash: I'm calling this month Oddball August with a plan to work through all those oddballs and leftover bits in my stash. Modwitch (Rav name) has the idea of collecting all these in a basket - we work through as much as we can through the month and then donate the rest at the end of the month. Sounds like a good idea so I'll join in on that too. I'll be collecting up my stash of acrylic worsted, making as many hats, mini mittens and softies as I can. At the same time, my Year of Projects patterns should provide plenty of scope for using up oddments of sock yarn ... have a look at this project for a good example.

Now about that basket ...

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Work-in-Progress Wednesday

At the Ravellenic Games I'm competing in the Scarf Hockey event - my challenge is to draft this stack of hand-dyed silk mawatas and knit the drafted fibre into a Clapotis. I got the idea from the Yarn Harlot's blog here, but decided on a scarf rather than mittens.

Each mawata is the silk from one cocoon - it's whisper-thin and the fibers stick to everything. Sticky like a spider's web, right? These were hand-dyed by Sunnyside Ellen; if you want mawatas they are available from several sellers on Etsy. To start, peel off one mawata alternating from one side of the stack to the other to average out the variation in colour. To draft the fiber I poke a hole with my index finger roughly in the middle of the mawata and then tug the hole bigger and bigger until I have pulled a loop of fiber around my hands. Working my way around the loop I tug at sections of fiber until I have drafted out something close to a fingering weight. Amazing how strong the silk is! And then I pull apart the thinnest section to make an end and start knitting.

In the first five days of the Ravellenic Games I've knit the set-up section, the increase rows and made a start on the straight rows. Maybe I'm fooling myself, but I think I'm getting quicker at it. So is it possible to finish before the closing ceremonies on August 12? Maybe. We'll see how far I am this time next week! To see how far everyone else is with their projects check the links at Tami's Amis!