Monday, February 22, 2010

Cowl explosion

(you like how that rhymes with bowel explosion? you're welcome.)
If there's one thing I never seem to get tired of, it's cowls. (Though you my faithful readers are no doubt SICK of hearing about 'em!)

pattern: Cabled Cowl from Vogue Knitting Holiday 2009
yarn: 3.5 balls of Lang SilkDream (50% silk, 50% merino)
needles: 5.5mm and 6mm

When I saw this pictured originally in the holiday issue of Vogue Knitting I really didn't give it a second glance (it's modelled in a pastel pink, go figure...) and it wasn't until I saw the myriad of gorgeous versions of it on Ravelry that I decided I had to give it another look.

I'm glad I did. This little number really has become one of my go-to favourites.

I'd also been dying to knit something in Silk Dream again and this was a perfect fit. One of the first "real" things I ever knit was my humoungous Clapotis in a cranberry Silk Dream, and I still wear it a lot (yesterday in fact!). It really is one of my favourite yarns, and not one that people seem to mention much. It has just the right amount of silky sheen and comes in some gorgeously rich colours. Soft, like buttah!

Actually that said, I've been thinking lately that it is time I knit another Clapotis. I mean there's a reason thousands of people have knit it (or does anyone have a suggestion for something similarly awesome?)

In case you're wondering where I house all of these cowls and scarves, I literally have several baskets that I pull from almost every day (though in truth there's really only about 4 items that I seem to rotate through the most...) and I've been thinking lately that it's time for another purge, or at least a frogging of the unworn.

And I promise you there are more substantial knits in the works.

The knitting for this is DONE:

Hold your applause because it's all pieces sitting in a pile in my living room that taunt me every time I walk past. Why does a blanket with a neck hole need to be in 7 pieces you ask? Good question. I am really loathing putting it together for some reason.

I am also one sleeve deep into the Treeline Striped cardigan from the Purl Bee:

I actually feel like I wasted most of my weekend on that one sleeve and I'm still not happy with it. A one-row stripe apparently equals a "negligible" jog.

For those of you new to knitting stripes in-the-round, this basically just means that the stripes don't quite line up perfectly at the end of every row...knitting stripes in a circle is more like knitting a "coil" since the stripes don't "stack".

And while this negligible jog is sort of true because the stripes aren't very wide, it's also meant that my yarn seems to be blobbing-weird-all-over-the-place with every increase. I tore the whole thing out THREE times and have finally gone with some instructions for a seamless jog (I did this almost halfway through my fourth try so the first half of sleeve one is still really bugging me and I may still rip back a fourth time). Using a seamless jog is also changing my tension on the seam since I keep having to pull up stitches from the previous row to make it look nice. yay me!

All that to say, things are not bodding well for this cardigan and it may be a long slog. The Purl Bee is always really great about tons of close-up photos and tutorials, and links to other helpful sites and lots of detail but I find I can sometimes get mired in all of the "extra" instructions. Or I zoom past important details in my "yeah, yeah, I get it, what's next?!" frame of mind and totally screw up something elemental. Right now the opposite is true though. I find I am reading and re-reading the same line over and over again and it seems to make less and less sense every time I do.

Am I over-thinking this?:

Final Round (with Color 1): Knit to end of round, remove marker, K 3(4).

(seems simple, right? I knit a round in colour 1. check. Knit 3 (presumably of the next round?!) check. Wait, is that still in colour 1 cuz technically the next stripe is colour 2)

Place previous 6(8) stitches on a holder. Uh, okay, so I go back to the last row and put those six stitches in front of the three I just knit on a holder. Fine, check.

Break yarn, leaving a tail.. Ummmm, what about those three stitches I just knit? and what about the other 44 stitches still on the needle?

GAHHHH. I am no doubt being a real dummy about the simplest of instructions. In the end I just put it all on a holder and will worry about it when it comes time to attach the stinking things.

Alright...all of that: TMI. Sorry.
How 'bout them Olympics?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Maybe I really SHOULD learn how to crochet...

Mega Doily by Ladies & Gentlemen

Friday, February 12, 2010

I heart u

In honour of Valentine's day...some knits that are heart-shaped!

pattern: Winged Heart tattoo from Anny Purls.
yarn: mostly Patons classic...Red for the heart, Aran for the felted wings. For the yellow banner I used Mirasol contanani, and the "embroidery" yarn is Patons Grace in black.
needles: 4mm I think

This little guy has been in my queue for EVAH. And what better time to knit it I suppose...

My only issue are my "wings" which as you can tell from the photos are near-invisible they are so small. I know they are optional, but I think they kind of "make" it, so I am probably going to do them again. I sent them through the wash twice to felt them...the stitches were too visible still for my liking on my first round of felting, which is why I sent it through again. Technically it's the right size (the template she provides for the wings is what I used to cut out the felt) but I've obviously made my heart big enough to obscure them (yeah I know, I did not check my gauge and I am definitely a loose knitter). Details, details!

Why does one even knit something like this you ask? why for FUN, of course! I suppose it qualifies as a toy. Ideally I should make a HUMUNGOUS version of this and use it as an actual pillow!

thank-you Nathaniel for grudingly "modelling" these for me!

I contemplated doing the "mom" embroidery for my mother for Valentine's day, but in the end went with "love". I'm actually thinking that I may incorporate his little knitting into our official wedding photos somehow (but that's another story). So I gave my mom some other heart-shaped knits instead:

Heart-shaped dishcloths!
needles: 5.5mm
yarn: mostly stash-busted lionbrand cottonease

Not much to say about these apart from "Much Cuteness"(and a fast knit!)

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

She of the warm neck

ok I hate to go all Heidi Montag on everyone but looking at this picture as I post it is making me contemplate some kind of ear-related-plastic-surgery.

I kid!

pattern: Drawstring cabled cowl from Michele Wang
yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted Hand dyes in "Chocolate" (2 skeins). Expensive, but awesome.
needles: US #9

I know I've said it before but I love miss Mischi2x and all of her fab cowl patterns! And she has also seriously inspired me to knit with a more neutral palette lately. I've always been a bit of a "neutrals" girl to begin with (my main exception here being my rampant affection for all things sixties-mod) but in knitting tended to go for some bolder colours. (I think I always felt like I should be accesorizing "brightly" to make up for my overall drab) but no more I say! Lately I'm really starting to get into all the taupes/beiges and caramels this world has to offer (really those are the cowls and scarves I alway reach for anyway, but now I'm finally beginning to own it.

And the added bonus?

POM-POMS! (testicles of the knitting world!)

Actually they're not quite so sad looking anymore, I've since torn them out and made them bigger/fluffier (that's what she said)--ok that joke didn't quite work but I still felt it HAD to be used here. Actually, in the interest of full disclosure, what really happened was: yours truly fell asleep on the sofa unwittingly laying on said cowl, and woke up to discover bits of yarn all over herself (yeah, I had destroyed the pom-poms, oopsy). So they were re-built bigger and better.

And more on the full-disclosure front: I also tore out the side slip cloche to re-use the yarn for it. Never one to bow to peer pressure this move has flown in the face of many knitters out there recommending I leave the hat as it was. Sorry Ravelry friends!

I have lots of new things on the sticks lately too, as well as a couple more completed "shrugs". I'm sick of talking about those stinking shrugs though. I keep tweaking little things on them trying to get the pattern "just so", or not loving the colours I've chosen etc...this was the latest:

Knit in Patons Silk Bamboo, I even threw a flower in my hair to make it look more "wedding-y" for you...

Nothing like a flower and some lace to dress up any T-shirt! At this point I'd be happy to just get married in jeans. I seriously am the worst bride evah. Aye yi yi, where is my suicide machine? As I type this there is another white one blocking upstairs in a cotton/bamboo blend. I don't think I can even bring myself to take pictures of it. Even as I was castiing off I was thinking "maybe I should dye this yellow?"...honestly, why do I obsess over these things?

All part of the self-effacing magic-that-is-me I guess!

Monday, February 01, 2010

Hot Mess

There's been lots of knitting happening chez nous since the New Year began...I think my slump is finally over! Though that said, it's been lots of "little" things knit for the most part, and I find myself immediately backlogged when it comes to updatting this 'ol blog about them.

For starters,

The Colonnade shawl from Knitty.

yarn: Manos Del Uruguay Wool Classico (in Emerald, I think?)
needles: 6mm

This shawl technically was finished in 2009, but it took me so long to block it out and take some pictures that I finally just decided to count it as my first knit of 2010.

Now I know I've mentionned this particular yarn before...I've knit THREE other things with it (and subsequently frogged them ALL). You can see those three items here. This shawl marks my FOURTH attempt to use it. If that isn't due dilligence, I don't know what is.

It's even the prescribed yarn for this pattern. And to be blunt: I hate it. Though that's not the pattern's fault---it's just this horrible yarn that has been trying to mess with me and wear me down. It may have finally won, because I'm also counting this shawl as a frog-worthy failure.

Even if I hadn't made a big hideous boo-boo in it (a boo-boo I didn't notice somehow until this beast was essentially done and I refused to then turn back...):

Ugh, what was I thinking?

Even if I hadn't made the mistake, I still wouldn't be happy with it. It is simply too thick/lumpy/bumpy/itching/bulky and oddly-shaped to ever sucessfully be worn. Now that it's done I'm really not even sure what to do with it. I refuse to rip back and fix the mistake, plus I know it's one of those non-noticeble mistakes to anyone but for now, I will put it in the "gift box" until I decide what to do with it. In truth I'm not sure if I could even bring myself to gift it to someone knowing there was such an error in it. Ideally I will just frog it all again, and then gift the four possessed/cursed/mean-spirited skeins to a more accomodating knitter than I. It will seriously be a miracle at this point if I decide to attempt a FIFTH project in it.

I tell ya, the tail-end of 2009 (for more reasons than I will admit to you here) was not looking so hot for me. And it seemed to show in my knitting.

free pattern: Destroyed Cowl
needles: 5mm
yarn: Malabrigo Worsted in "Emerald Blue" (about 1 skein)

Sure it looks purty in the photos, but I was really more "meh" about it in actuality.

Honestly what IS my problem? Two revered yarns...Manos and Malabrigo, and yours truly can't make 'em work??? Gah.

Though in defense of the Malabrigo, the yarn itself is squishy and's just the colour that's not me. I used the same yarn making this hat, and knew then that it didn't really suit me, so I've subsequently found a home for it in this newest incarnation as well. (See, already I'm doing better than last year in the gift-giving department!)

That one was also pretty much a 2009 knit as well. I was starting to feel thoroughly depressed that things for 2010 weren't boding well, but then as my French cousins say "le trois fait le mois..." (though that's more a weather-related expression), and now here it is FEBRUARY already and 2010's gone off with a knitting bang, and I've got lots of new knits to post about.

So, speaking of thick and crazy-ass-warm (and a hot mess, really --though a hot mess that kind of worked out for me...)

pattern: French Press felted slippers
yarn: Hand-me-down-20-year-old Lopi from the stash, in several colours...raspberry, cranberry, coral, black...
mods: Double-stranded knitting for the soles, single-stranded on top
needles: 10mm
size: smallest (I'm a 6.5 shoe size)
buttons: From my stash...likely just from Fabricland.

Quite simply: these rule!

I literally just began by grabbing Lopi from the stash cause I wanted to get rid of it. I really never thought they'd turn out even remotely wearable, so it was kind of an unexpected surprise that they did! And not only that, our house is so freaking cold that I've been wearing them non-stop ever since...and there's not a lot of knits I can say that about.

They knit up VERY fast...probably within a couple of hours. The downside: they took equally as long (nay longer) to seam together. And frig, I hate seaming small things together, which is why I'm not so keen on knitting toys. I really thought at first that these would make excellent gifts and that I'd start cranking out a lot of them, but I think all the seaming has made me change my mind on that score.

Also I would caution you not to use Lopi. I felted them in the washing machine twice to get them down to my size, but really felting with Lopi is another hot mess (literally) is super fuzzy and leaves crap everywhere (but I knew this going in and went for it anyway!). My next pair of these will definitely be made with Patons Wool. And finally: they are wipe-out-central. Definitely put some glue dots on the bottom (I meant to but still haven't gotten around to that). I've wiped out about three times now on our hard wood floors.

But regardless of those issues, they are totally adorable, and those are all pretty easy fixes.

Okay, I need to stop typing now...I've probably lost you at this point anyway.