January 30, 2015

New Pattern: Wicker Asymmetrical Shawl

Meet Wicker, my just-released (and a very quick knit) asymmetrical garter stitch and openwork triangular shawl.






Did I mention that this pattern is completely reversible, so there is no right or wrong side once it has been blocked?  How fabulous is that!?


I'm afraid I didn't have any supermodels on hand when I took these pictures, so I had to use myself.  Many thanks to my two photographers who thought they were being tortured were very happy to act as my photographers.  The pictures were taken in my back yarn; thus, the pictures may also include an occasional hungry sheep.



The name, Wicker, comes from the openwork panels of this shawl.  The design, when blocked, appears to be very similar to the traditional wicker furniture pattern that I grew up with.  If you are old  young like I am, and you grew up in the '70s and '80s, then you will recognize this pattern from the wicker furniture craze.  Come on.  You know you your parents had some, and it was probably not patio furniture, am I right?

I have to confess that I rarely use a shawl as such; rather, shawls double as scarves for me.  This pattern makes a REALLY attractive scarf, by the way.


When you look at this shawl, know that this shawl is actually 2 separate sock patterns, worked and ripped a total of 5 times, in addition to being this shawl, which also includes about 30 invisible rows of knitting in its current form. I had originally planned to use my favorite Journey colorway, Cappadocia, to knit up one or the other of two new sock patterns that I've done (coming soon!), but the yarn had other designs for its eventual existence, and so we have this nifty shawl pattern.

There does need to be a quick note about this pattern and my own style of knitting.  Since I am a European Continental knitter these days, I knit all of my flat rows through the back of the loop.  With garter stitch, since there is no purling, this causes the stitches to twist.  You do not have to knit like I do in order to work up this pattern, though your finished product may look a bit more like traditional garter stitch rows and a bit less like woven rows.  OR, you could try it my way and you might find that you really like this simple method.  There's a note to this effect in the pattern.

The pattern is available through this blog (left-hand side links), on Ravelry, on Craftsy, and in my Zibbet.com shop as a pdf download.  I hope you will check it out the next time you are in the neighborhood!







January 21, 2015

To the elbows

I am nearing completion of a sweater that I have been working up for about three months.  The sleeves are nearly finished and this brings me to a realization about my own knitting.  I rarely knit sweaters, though I have drawings and charts on my bulletin board waiting to be realized and I have a gazillion--wait, maybe that's too much of an under-estimation--sweater patterns printed and in binders, plus a library of magazines and books, and let's not forget my Revelry library ... The point is, I LOVE SWEATERS!! I pine all through the warm months for sweater weather, and when it gets here, I have no new hand knits to show for it.  Oh, I have sweaters on needles in bags in hibernation that I have started and abandoned. I have a few hand knits in the closet, even if they became sweater accidents and felted to a size too small for me to wear, but there are very few.

So, why is that Captain Ron?

It's the sleeves.  I can work up a back and 2 fronts in a jiffy, but once my needles and I get to the sleeves, things go South pretty quickly.  It's knitting like mad to the elbows and then I've had enough and I need a new project.  And guess what?  I've knit to the elbows on this sweater and I'm already thinking about how I should maybe cast on for something else, even though this test knit is all that is standing in the way of publishing my new sweater pattern (and it's fabulous, by the way!). I've even been knitting the sleeves 2-at-a-time on the premise that when one's done, so is the other and there won't be a chance for second-sleeve syndrome to set in.  It's not working. I'm not really working on these sleeves and thinking "Wow!  Look how fast these TWO sleeves are knitting up!"  I'm thinking "Wow!  This is really getting cumbersome."



So I'm at the elbows and I guess we'll see just how much further this goes. With any luck, I'll make it to the collar by the end of the week.

January 15, 2015

JOURNEY

How about some new yarn for the new year?

Introducing JOURNEY. This 100% superwash merino is your next favorite yarn. Squishy. Soft. Hand painted in small dye lots.  Each hank is unique in its patterning. This is the yarn that you will want to carry with you on all of life's journeys, even if you are only journeying to work or to the grocery store.

Each colorway is representative of a landscape or a cityscape that is a bucket list kind of destination.  The colors in each hank are representative of some overarching quality of the destination.  For example, Lerwick is a sea port in Shetland that is characterized by its fishing industry history and the beautiful seascape that is such an integral part of this village.

Lerwick
Norris Point, Newfoundland is a western coastline town around which visitors and natives are sure to find wild lingonberries.  Nature enthusiasts enjoy lengthy nature trails through bogs, hillsides, and cliffscapes.  Here lingonberries are called "bake apples", and the restaurants of the region serve them in "apple pies". Yum!!

Norris Point
Avignon, France.  Although this area of the French provincial countryside is a bit more out of the way than most tourist destinations, this agrarian landscape boasts, among many others, the stunning Abbey Notre-Dame de Senanque.  This stone abbey, built in 1148, exists in remarkably preserved condition, having been used as a monastery through 1988.  In the summer months, this amazing architecture is surrounded by fields of lavender.
Avignon
 Ah, Glen Coe.  This is one of those idyllic countrysides that epic movies and romantic poems are written around. The highlands of Glen Coe, Scotland are both stunningly green and inviting and historically important.  When I think of sheep grazing on lush green pastures near small, quaint villages, these highlands automatically come to mind.  The highlands are accompanied by surrounding mountains of volcanic origin, so this is also a bucket list destination for hiking and climbing.
Glen Coe
Speaking of volcanic origins, I first became aware of the mythical Cappadocia in Anne Rice's novel Lestat. Curious to see if people really carved there homes in contemporary times into the face of rock and outfitted them with all the modern conveniences, I, of course, googled it.  Yep. They do, and some of these homes are AMAZING! What is also amazing are the Byzantine cathedrals with gold-leaf walls and breathtaking ceiling frescoes.  Of course, the mythology of the place is, like Stonehenge, centered around some unusual rock formations, the "Fairy Chimneys". These look like very tall mushrooms of similar shape and size that remain to remind visitors of a more ancient time. 

Cappadocia

Hey, I think you have a little drool on your lip.

These colorways are available in limited quantities in my Zibbet.com shop, so click the link and pop on over because you know you want this yarn!

January 14, 2015

First FOs of 2015

The first two weeks of the new year have yielded 2 FOs: a pair of plain jane socks (the pair that I've been complaining about) and a pair of Sportswoman gloves.


These socks took me a few days longer than usual--I don't know why except to say that they were more automatic knitting than my brain was quite looking for, I think.  There were also a few novice mistakes that made me a bit nutty, like this dropped stitch that I didn't notice until I had worked about 10 rounds beyond it. (Colorway appears different due to lighting.)

BEFORE
AFTER




















They also worked out to be a bit large at the ankles, and I think that I will do a little taper from now on when I knit a plain pair of socks.  My husband exclaimed repeatedly that they looked so large that this pair would fit him, but since that was definitely just crazy talk because the foot fits me like a glove, I think it was his way of telling me that he's hoping the next pair that I cast on will be for him (too late, already cast on a new pair for me! Haha!).



The gloves also have a story, and it's a sad tale for those of you who only allow yourself to indulge in the expensive stuff a few times a year.  With Christmas gift certificates, I bought this lovely selection of fingering weight yarns that will work out to be a shawl and some pretty rockin' socks for me.  Also in this photo, you will see 2 hanks of Claudia Hand Painted ADDICTION in the Walk in the Woods colorway.


Now, Claudia Hand Paint is pricey, especially considering that it is only 175 yards to the hank, so I expected that I was going to be getting some pretty top-of-the-line yarn.  I did not.  Instead, I received what turned out to be upon working with it, 2 hanks of yarn that was really just mill seconds quality.  One hank had 8 joins in the first 75 yards.  The other hank had 4 or 5.  Although they are the same dye lot, I also ended up with two different dye variations: one full of dark, vivid colors and the other much lighter for every color.  In the end, I did complain to the yarn shop from which I purchased the yarn, and I did work up a pair of Sportswoman gloves to wear with my "winter" coat (I use the term"winter" loosely here because that season's temps. are usually in the 50s here, so it's a "spring" jacket for probably everyone else).  These will just be knock-about gloves, I guess, and if I keep one hand in my pocket, no one will notice that one looks like it has spent a significantly larger number of occasions being run through the washing machine.



Modifications to the Sportswoman pattern:  I lengthened the cuffs to 4 inches since the sleeves of my jacket ride up when I raise my arms.

So there we are.  I'm still plugging away on the edging for the crescent shawl, and I've progressed to having sleeves half-finished for the new sweater pattern I'm testing (details coming soon!), and I've cast on, knit the cuffs, knit and ripped back the new sock pattern that I've designed and am working up in my new yarn label JOURNEY. Dets on THAT coming later this week. Here's hoping that we see the sun for the first time since, I think, Christmas!!! around here and that plenty of more knitting time is in my schedule for this week.

January 02, 2015

Knitterly Resolutions in the Year of the Sheep

As we ease into 2015 (I say "ease", but my mind was so ready for a new year that I was incorrectly dating checks in November), there must be pause to decide whether or not one is actually going to make resolutions.  I think that for a personality type like mine, that's an automatic given, as my day begins with a list of "resolutions" before I've even had my first cup of coffee.  I've decided that I'm more or less going to just let the cookies crumble as they will this year in the general resolutions of life category.

This is the Year of the Sheep, and that HAS to mean that all things wool will work out amazingly well--at least that's my interpretation and I'm sticking to it!  In the spirit of making improvements in one's life, however, I've decided to stick with my annual knitting resolutions list. Each year, I find it useful to compile a list of projects on my radar that I want to either finish or begin during the new year.  For 2015, the list is so far thus:

1. Finish the top secret cardigan design I've been working up and publish it.
2. Finish at least 6 pair of socks for myself (stash already accumulated for this purpose--friends and family were VERY good to me this year in the sock yarn category).
3. Rip out a vest project and find a new project for that yarn, which I love very much, just not as a vest.
4. A fair isle sweater or something must be knit with my stashed Jamison & Smith jumper weight (probably Cockatoo Brae by Kate Davies)!
5. Finish the 2 cabled sweaters already on the needles BEFORE winter ends.
6. Work up 2 or 3 baby sweaters for an April arrival in the extended family.
7. Finish the Tunisian entrelac blankets that I started in 2014 (though one may end up being a knitted blanket, as all things crochet seem to aggravate my arthritis).
8. Work up a few puppy blankets for charity donation (visit Blankies for Animals RAV group for info if you are interested).
9. Finish my grey Everdene Wrap.
10. Finish my Nairi scarf.
11. Get the secret summer-weight cabled short-sleeve sweater published.

Most of my list appears to be labeled "finish".  I began a seriously insane number of projects in 2014, and somehow just couldn't find the time to get them all finished.  You know how that goes. For me, 2014 was the year of starts and stops.

2015 is off to a pretty great start and, even though I am not 100% enamored of the Sweet Georgia colorway that I cast on for my first pair of socks in 2015, I am putting my nose to the grindstone on this one and forging ahead.  (Truly, "Rusted" should have been named "Mud Puddle".  There's really nothing rusting in this colorway at all.)


And the crescent shawl is coming along.  The body is finished and I'm on to the knit-on lace edging.  It was a good idea at the time, to knit on the edging and create a new pattern instead of just trying to amend a much larger version of the pattern that I was following to make the prescribed straight-knit lace edging work. But on Day 2 of the edging, with only 4 pattern repeats finished and about 300 stitches yet to pick up before I can do the ol' bind off, it seems like I've bitten off a rather large piece here.  (Scout #2 took that picture--he's developing an interest in photography as of late.)


So, in these first few days of the new year, it's going to be farm as usual around here with as much knitting thrown in as possible.


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