Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Mr. Greenjeans

Remember a little while ago when I showed you this?

It was the beginnings of a pair of socks that turned into these:

They are my first new pair of socks for the winter 08/09 sock wearing season and I feel like I'm off to a good start! They were knit in Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Lightweight in the Mr. Greenjeans colourway. I knit them top down on 64 stitches on 2.25mm needles. I downsized to 2mm needles for the short row heel and for the toe. I think that they're perfect for me! I wouldn't change a thing! To be perfectly honest, I prefer a standard slip stitch heel, but because the of changes in the number of stitches due to the decreases after picking up stitches from the gusset, it always ends up really distorting the rhythm of self striping yarns. I'd rather deal with a slightly tight heel then have to stare at weird pooling. Very pleased. Gorgeous blue-green colourway, so sad it's been discontinued! 

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Dad's Moss Socks

There are some people that I don't really knit for. When an occasion comes along where I feel inclined to give them a gift, say a birthday or Christmas, I'd rather just buy something thoughtful rather then knit them something. It's not because I don't like them as much as I like the people that I do knit for, it's just that I've found that some people just don't understand the effort, the time and the love that goes into knitting a gift by hand. They receive the gift and graciously say thank you, and they probably even think that it was really nice that you knit them something, but then they put it aside with all their other possessions and don't give it the importance it deserves. I don't blame them, chances are they probably weren't raised in a household that emphasized crafts and hand made gifts. They just don't realize how much of you is actually a part of that gift. I once gave a friend a sweater for her baby and despite seeing them every couple of weeks since the day he was born I never once saw him in the sweater. Now, I just buy them gifts. I still love them, but I shop for them, I don't knit for them.

My cousin Michelle is not one of the people I shop for. For her, I knit so much she's probably sick of it! When I was first figuring out how to knit I made her baby a sweater that was falling apart at the seems after one afternoon of wearing it, but she still put it on her every chance she got! I once gave her a sweater that I'm sure was kind of tight in the armpits and knit out of a particularly scratchy wool, not very comfortable, but she wore it like a champ whenever it got chilly. And she still wears all the stripy, pooly, crazy socks I knit her when I was nuts about multicoloured sock yarns, even though they are pretty outrageous. She's the kind of person I love to knit for. But we grew up with a grandmother who knit in all her spare time, and we had the value and importance and specialness of hand-knits engrained in us since we were little. That's the kind of person that's rewarding to knit for. Someone who understands and really appreciates the process, wether the result is as perfect as something that could be bought at the Gap is so not the point, it's the fact that you made it yourself, that's where the value comes from. 

Another wonderful person that I love to knit for... my Dad! When it comes to my dad it's all about the hand knit socks. Last year I made him his first pair of knit socks and after about a month my mother begged me to knit him another pair because she said that it was all he would wear! She would have to pull them off his feet to put them in the laundry and then he'd put them right back on the second they were dry. Clearly, he needed another pair. So I made him another pair. During the following 6 months or so of appropriately cold weather I did not see my father even once when he wasn't wearing one of the 2 pairs of socks that I had knit him. That's the kind of person I like to knit for! So here you go Dad, your next pair of socks to help get you through the winter:

They are the Retro Rib Socks from Interweave Knits Favorite Socks. I knit them in my own yarn in the Moss colourway. Hope you like them!

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Kiri Shawl

I never really thought of myself as a lace shawl person. Though I admired their craftsmanship and thought that they were really beautiful as objects, I couldn't imagine how I would work one into my wardrobe. But then I realized that even if I were to technically knit myself a shawl, nothing would be stopping me from wearing it wrapped around my neck like a scarf, which is something that I have plenty of use for, I love scarves! So, with that in my head I set out to knit my first shawl. The Kiri Shawl. I had been wanting to knit a lacy shawl with my fingering weight yarn for a while (because even though I didn't consider myself a shawl person I knew that my yarn would lend itself very well to the application). So, here it is, my first shawl, knit in my Peacock colourway:

When I actually wear it, I probably look more like this.

I'm really happy with how the whole thing turned out. I've been wearing it casually thrown around my neck all week, even though it hasn't really been all that cold. I went to the movies on Sunday and it proved very handy in the heavily air conditioned cinema. I love how I can wear it all scrunched up around my neck and have it look lovely, but then when I take it off, say when I sit down to eat at a restaurant, and drape it over the back of my chair, it transforms from a scarf into an intricate, lacy, fascinating piece of knitting. 

The colour was very difficult to capture in these photo's, this is probably the most accurate:

Can you sort of see how there are bits of darker blue and greener turquoise? It's really quite varied in tones, but I'm not as good at photo-taking or photo-shopping as I need to be to really show off the qualities of this yarn. A great introduction to shawls.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Gathered Pullover

I think I have a new all time favorite sweater. Presenting the Gathered Pullover from Interweave Knits Winter 2007, arguably my most successful and wearable knit-by-me sweater ever:

See, so wearable, I'm just casually wearing it at the dog park while I give my puppy a run. I knew while I was knitting this that I was potentially going to love it, the yarn is so soft, the colour is everything I love (purple with blue, teal and pink all shimmering through in it's heathery goodness) and the pattern is simple and elegant yet interesting and special. Such a great combination. I made the smallest size and added a little bit of waist shaping, but other then that followed the pattern exactly. Actually, I added a hem to the bottom because is was really curling, and I did a purl row half an inch up the wrist because it helped keep the curling to an appropriate level on the cuff. But that's it. 

Not much else to say about it. I just love it, and plan on wearing it all winter, every winter, for many winters to come. And it only took me a week from start to finish.

Now, I'm knitting this sock:

(Stella loves to pop her head in my pictures, did you notice her in the first Gathered Pullover shot? She's too much!) It's going to be a pair of basic socks knit on 2.25mm needles over 64 stitches using BMFA Socks that Rock Lightweight in the Mr. Greenjeans colourway ( Sadly, I think it's been discontinued). I'm going to do a short row heel on a 2mm needle to a) assure durability and b) keep the striping continuous. They are going to be lovely, practical and durable. You never can tell how successful multicoloured self striping yarns are going to be, sometimes they just pool horribly, but to my relief I think that this striping is happening in a very lovely rhythm. 

I finished my Kiri shawl this weekend, but I'll save that update for another post. Peace!

Wednesday, 10 September 2008


Today I did a little assessment of my works in progress. You see, I'm actually a very guilty knitter. When I start a new project I feel very conflicted. I'm usually very excited to be knitting a new and exciting project that I'm crazy about right at that moment, but then at the same time I feel bad because I almost always have at least one other project on the needles that I felt the exact same way about hen I started it. I'm a fickle knitter. Lately I've been trying really hard to finish up projects that I had started and then discarded, or if I start something new to stick with it until it's done and not let the allure of something new pull me away from it. And today I'm proud of myself. I only really have 2 WIP's that I need to get my butt in gear to finish. Both were started in the Winter/Spring of 2007 (I think around March), and both were my pure obsession for all of a couple of days when I first started them. The first is my Bohus Yellow Lace Collar sweater

I still think it's absolutely stunning, and I'll wear it very proudly when I eventually finish it, but I just can't seem to muster up the interest in knitting two hundred and some odd stitches of knits and purls with colour changes on 2mm needles these days. I think that my lack of inspiration/motivation with this project lies in the poor colour choice I made for myself. As always, I was trying to veer away from my usual all blue habits and take a risk and knit something classic and elegant with subtle beauty that I would love forever even though it wasn't blue, and I picked this kit containing green's and beiges that I think are really beautiful, but just aren't really me. I will finish it, my goal for this bad boy is to have it done by my birthday (in April).

My next WIP is a sad lonely mitten. My one Northern Lights Mitten from Knitpicks in palette (my own choice of colour combinations) has been without a mate for far too long. I really enjoyed this first mitten, but couldn't seem to convince myself to cast on for it's twin. My goal for this project is to make this single mitten a partner by Christmas, and then maybe even gift it to someone! That'll get me going. 

Of course I don't count my Mitered Square Afghan as a Wip because I've intended all along that it be the type of thing that I pick up whenever the mood should strike me, knit a little bit, and then come back to when I next feel like it. I also don't count socks, because I've always got at least one pair of socks going. Something simple to carry with me and work on when I'm away from home. 

So, having concluded that I only have 2 WIP's hiding in boxes under my daybed, and firm-ish deadlines for when they are to be completed by, I can move on to my next project feeling absolutely no guilt! As soon as I post this entry I'm going to cast on for the Kiri shawl and knit it in this lovely yarn:

It's my own fingering weight yarn in Peacock. A colour I'm particularly fond of. I've never knit a lace shawl before, I didn't really think that I could picture myself in a shawl, but I see myself wearing this more as a scarf, not draped over my shoulders, so hopefully it'll all work out. Here I go!

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Finished Scarf

I finished my Diamonds on the Diagonal Scarf, and when I laid out my towel to take a picture of it Stella sat down and would not budge... I I had to take a picture of the scarf on Stella. She cooperated for once and I really like the photo! She almost looks like a statue. Very cute.

She did eventually get up and give me back my scarf, then I was able to take a close-up shot of where the diagonal lines meet and change directions. Lovely. 

The scarf was a really quick knit. Only took me three days. I forgot to weigh the yarn before I began, I wanted to use up all the yarn in this project, so if I had weighed it I would have known exactly when to switch the direction of the diagonal lines and then used up maximum yardage. But because I forgot to weigh the skein and I didn't totally trust the weight given on the label, I opted on the conservative side and ended up with 12g of yarn left in the end. I could have done 1 more repeat in each direction, I'm a little ticked about that, but I'll deal. The next time I knit this scarf I'll know to weigh the yarn first. I'm still planning on dyeing the whole thing a light/bright shade of orange to cover up the unsightly white blotches while keeping the darker orange and red tones. But I don't have any immediate plans for when that will happen yet. It's 3o degrees here today! I have no urgent need for a scarf!

As soon as I finished the Diamonds on the diagonal scarf I was struck by the need to cast on the Gathered Pullover. I saw this great finished project over on the Team Knit blog, had yarn in my stash that I've been itching to use, felt that the pattern and yarn were compatible, and the rest is history! Here's where I'm at so far:

The body is knit in the round, so it's an entire body and two top fronts in 2 days of knitting. This is shaping up to be the fastest knit ever! I'm really happy with it so far. The pattern is great and the yarn I'm using (Elann Peruvian Pure Alpaca Worsted in Hyacinth Heather) is sooo soft and gorgeous. I know that purple isn't for everyone, but I love this shade. It has bits of pink and teal that occasionally pop up upon closer inspection. It's really lovely, and did I mention sooo soft! It's not the sport weight yarn that was recommended in the pattern, but I've seen that others have knit this sweater in worsted with good results, so since I got gauge I'm going to hope all works out. The bottom is curling WAY too much though, so I think I'll end up turning it under to make a hem rather then just letting it do it's thing. The way it is now it's a bit ridiculous. Tonight I hope to finish the back, then work on the sleeves, and hopefully I'll have a sweater by the end of the week! Fastest sweater ever! And so far, I think it might be in the running for the award of favorite sweater ever too!