Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Chevron Lace Throw

... at least that's what it's called in the Vogue Knitting On the Go! Baby Blankets book but Brendan keeps insisting that it looks like the Chrysler building.
This is my attempt to reduce stash and use up all the green Rowan Wool Cotton that I have in one go. So far so good. I'm down to my last two balls and this baby isn't even due until June!
I think leafy is a better descriptor than "Chrysler building".

A Bit of Lace

I get some desperate vibes off of my stash sometimes. Bags of Cashmerino DK needing a form, loose balls of aran-weight longing to warm someone up, but most especially my skeins of yarns because they know that working with them requires an extra step and some tools that I have not yet invested in. How lovely was it, then, when a co-worker announced that her husband and daughters had bought her a Swift and ball-winder for Christmas? In exchange for a skein of Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn (in Peacock), she happily wound my largest skein of superwash variegated wool (a bargain buy two years ago at the Skep in Yorkshire) which I'd been eyeing as the makings for a birthday gift. It was so large, in fact, that they were compelled to cut it when the first ball got so big that it could no longer turn on the winder. Here's what's left of the second ball...
The project is called "Lacy Top" in Vogue Knitting's 2006 Holiday edition. I thought that the blues and reds in this yarn would suit my friend, Karen, who favours rich, vibrant colours. Now the picture in the magazine is a little bit misleading since the pattern shape doesn't actually have a waist. In fact, the whole thing is really quite bell-shaped, to be honest. I may have to buy a belt for her too, just in case!
I'm foregoing the little bow in front. I think the feather-and-fan collar is ornamental enough and she could always add a broach is she feels it's really necessary.
Here's the main piece sans collar and ruffles just after joining the shoulder seams. I knitted the whole thing in the round from the hem up and then separated at the armholes and finished up the front and back pieces individually. The knitting in the round is probably to blame for the colour pooling just about the lace edge. It kind of reminds me of wood grain around a knot... if the wood was red and blue.
The ruffles are done now as is the collar but the poor thing needs to be reblocked because the collar is curling and only then I can make my attempt at attaching the ruffles! Gah!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Cardigan Conclusion

All right, I didn't get this project finished for Christmas Day but that was only because I only purchased the blocking board that I "needed" on Christmas Eve and the cardigan was still drying on the board on Christmas Day. I spent most of Boxing Day sewing in the zipper (another first!) and it was finished by Boxing Day evening. Of course, I was in a nasty mood by this point as hand-sewing a black zipper into a charcoal grey sweater using black thread can make a person slightly frustrated. I actually threw the completed project at him when I tied off the last thread. He asked if it was done. I said that there were two bits of yarn that needed to be woven in. And then, he just let it sit there. "Aren't you even going to try it on?!?" I asked. "You said it wasn't finished," he said, all innocent-like. "It's TWO BITS of yarn," I responded. He quickly put it on and wore it religiously for the next three days. Clever man. In the meantime, my yarn needles ALL went walkies at the same time so those two bits on the collar didn't get woven in until the New Year.
All in all, I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. The cabling is simple and the design is straightforward. I'll happily NOT do another zip for a long time but so far it seems to be holding up and it only seems to buckle in a funny way when Brendan slouches while sitting. (Point for good posture, yay!) I was able to adjust the pattern to both our likings. To recap for those who have forgotten (and quite understandably as this was one of my longer motivated projects), this is the Pentagon Aran Cardigan from Norah Gaughan's Knitting Nature book. I added an inch of ribbing at the hem, extended the length and decreased the stitches in the collar to create the mock turtle that Brendan prefers, and added folded back cuffs (which you can't see because he insisted on facing the camera as if it were a firing squad). I'm very happy that I chose to do the sleeves from the top down since it turns out Gaughan's pattern would have been very tight in the upper arm and shoulder as it was written. That adjustment was a lot simpler than I would have thought.He actually likes it. Really. He just doesn't like cameras. Anyhoo, things I'll keep in mind for the future include: Russian joins don't work so well in this yarn (Mission Falls 1824) and installing zips is a true test of affection.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Just in time for the New Year

... the Chinese New Year, that is.
I've been a very bad knitting blogger over the last few months. This certainly doesn't mean that I haven't been knitting, though. I finished the dread Christmas cardigan (pictures and story to follow) in time for Boxing Day. Suffice it to say, me and zips do NOT get along. I also made a couple of pairs of thrummed slippers for my cold-footed friends and managed to get this baby blanket (pictured) done for my friends, Mary and Randy, who just had their baby, Monica, at the end of January.
My Christmas prezzie to myself was the blocking board (also pictured) which folds in half into a handled portfolio-style carrying/storage form.
This baby blanket was fun and frustrating in equal measures. The octogonal swirls were done individually and didn't take long and were nice little projects that I could tote along anywhere. Then the little moss-stitch squares were picked up along an edge and knitted onto 17 of the 18 octogons. THEN, they had to be sewn together. And, of course, I fitted the first three together in the wrong direction and refused to tear out the seams which meant doing some creative fitting near the end. There's meant to be a crocheted edging (well, there's also meant to be seven bobbles on each of the squares but THAT wasn't about to happen) and I'm toying with the idea of doing it in a different colour now that I know it's a girl. Crochet... ugh.