Saturday, March 31, 2012

Dark Vulpix

I didn’t have the needles called for, so I went down a size. I knit loosely anyway, and if the fabric comes out a little dense, that’s just fine by me.
Part 1
This is an addictive knit. In section 2, I had some trust issues because I couldn’t visualise what was going to happen, but I followed the instructions, and a few more lines in, it becomes clear what the overall effect will be.
I’m loving how the colors are coming up, dark and kind of goth. No idea what I’ll wear them with, but they look dramatic, no?
Finished section 2. The colors and pattern together remind me of Voltron. O_o
In section 3, I started with the Japanese short rows as per the pattern, but I don’t have enough stitch markers I could use, so I’m switching to shadow wraps (as explained here) on the 7th stitch before each previous turn (so the same stitch is the wrapped stitch). I’m liking how it’s coming out.
looks like Voltron!
After section 3: 
Color 1 - 77g left 
Color 2 - 127g left
short rows
Started section 4. It’s hard to tell what the overall effect will be, now that the shawl is all scrunched up on the needles. I like the short rows, from what I can tell.
Final yarns left over: 19g color A, 29 g color B
Measurements before blocking: 
Centre spine: 37 cm 
bottom wing tip to centre: 115 cm 
wingspan across top edge: 207 cm/2.2 yrds
finished shawl
Measurements blocked: 
Centre spine: 53 cm/ 20 in 
bottom wing tip to centre: 128 cm 
wingspan across top edge: 220 cm/ 2.4 yds

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What's on the needles?

March has been all about casting on, and progress.

I have one project finished that I can't show (yet), but I can say that I love it very much and it's been going places with me.

Apart from that, I've been knit-knit-knitting away on the Vulpix shawl and the Vivian cardigan.

Looks like this week's WIPs are brought to you by the letter V!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Carving Socks

These were supposed to be knee-highs.
These were supposed to be my boardgame night knitting.
These were supposed to be easy.
What they are, is done.
By the time I'd ripped them out once and looked at them for several months, I was thoroughly sick of the colours. I loved the colours at the start. Then, not so much.
I'm still not sure if I like these socks or not.
But they're done.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

What's on the needles?

 It's all about new things on the needles in March for me.
Some call it startitis, some call it stash-down, but for me, it was a matter of shaking things up.

I've still got projects languishing on the needles, like the colorwork mittens I started in Hakuba, or the intricately twisted, gorgeously bright pink Wollmeise socks.
Never mind my plain-ish ribbed striped socks.

But I started the Vivian. A complicated cabled cardigan out of a gorgeous Madelinetosh DK. The color is called Maple Leaf, but it reminds me of apples. You know, real apples. Not that fake apple red of coloring books, or the bright red of hand-turned pretty-but-tasteless apples. Real apples that taste of crisp fall mornings.
I love it.
I've already finished the sleeves and have made a bit of progress on the body.
The Vivian is supposed to be my birthday sweater. I splurged on the yarn and the pattern, and knitting it is all about me. I wasn't expecting the yarn to get this quickly to me, but the elves at the Loopy Ewe worked some miracle magic. So how could I resist?
I even swatched, and things are turning out great.

And then the new Stephen West shawl club pattern got sneak previewed. It's called Vulpix, after the adorable six-tailed fox pokemon.
I haven't been too wild about the patterns in the shawl club so far, but this one, I had to knit.
I love the way it looks, but I really got sold on the name. I'm a sucker for names, as we all know.
So I cast on a Vulpix in Wollmeise in Sanguinella and 47Ag. it's a very bright, in-your-face combo, kind of movie Goth or vampire-y. It's striking, but I'm not sure if it's really me. okay, I'm pretty sure it's not, but hey. Don't let that stop me!

So yeah, these two are taking up all of my knitting time.
Well, not *all* of my time. There's also a little something I'm designing right now, but that's a secret for another time.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Hexipuffs of March

Where are the hexipuffs?
I haven't talked about the little puffy hexagons in a while, and I have slowed down a bit as other things have been clamoring for attention.
But I'm still puffing.
In fact, March is leftovers month for me.
Inspired by one of the Nerd Wars challenges, I'm trying to reduce my scrap heap.
Now, my scraps certainly aren't as impressive as others, but they're filling what little space I have for them.

So the idea is to turn all those little balls into hexipuffs and re-allocate the larger balls to proper projects.

You can see some Wollmeise and Malabrigo left over from the Clockwork shawl, some Decadently Divine left over from gloves and some Another Crafty Girl from the Vine Whip beret that should have enough yardage for a small hat, or some mitts or a cowl.

The jar is still full of mini skeins and sock leftovers.
How many of these can I knit up this month, and how many puffs will that be?
We'll see...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Swedish Chef Hat

 The Swedish Chef is not just a Muppet, he's also the inspiration behind one of Another Crafty Girl's cuter colorways. She's got a whole series of Muppet-inspired yarn, in case you're curious.
But it was the wild colors (and fond memories) of Swedish Chef that spoke to me.
So much so that I custom ordered a skein to have it right NAO.

And it's adorable. Very Skittles in the sun, it's a pastelly yarn with tan to tame it a bit.
It had to be a hat.
I've made a hat from ACG's yarn before and loved how it turned out, but this time, I wanted to combine one of my favourite yarns with one of my favourite designers and some mods.
So I was going to take Stephen West's recently released Dustland Hat (originally written for worsted weight yarn) and modify it to work with fingering weight yarn for a lighter, slouchier transition weather hat.
After all, we still have quite a few warm days ahead of us, and hats are more fashion than function for a few months yet.

I cast on 120 stitches, going up from the largest size provided, but keeping my total divisible by 8, since that was relevant later in the pattern (well, ok it didn't really matter, but all the other sizes were divisible by 8, and I just wanted to belong).
After that, i did the ribbing to the same height as specified, then did each pattern repeat roughly 1.5 times to keep a similar height each time.
I did the crown decreases over two rounds to get me to the specified stitches, then worked the rest of the hat as written.

It turned out just like I thought it would. okay, it's a little bigger and slouchier than I expected, but it's all good. It works.
I couldn't quite decide whether I loved it or hated it at first, but I think it's a very fun, cheery hat, and I can't wait to wear it out and about.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Bamboo Robot Mitts

 Lorna's Laces in the amazingly named Robot Overlord was the first nice yarn I ever bought.
You know, the kind that comes from an LYS, not a general craft store. one that's expensive. one that is gorgeous.
What I didn't realize is that this yarn is also magical.
Not only did I knit a single skein up into beautiful Monkey socks that still look fabulous and the leftovers into several hexipuffs for the neverending blanket, I also made a little bird.
And I still had leftovers!
Enough leftovers, in fact, that together with one of my favourite Lorna's laces mini-skeins, they made a pair of fingerless mitts. Not short mitts, either. These are decent, halfway-up-the-arm mitts knit in bamboo stitch to show off the colors swirling.
The mitts were a quick, easy knit, especially since I left the thumb gusset out so I could wear these as wristers.
Wristers are a knitter's best friend. Also a writer's must-have. Or really for anyone else that works with their hands and needs to keep their wrists protected.
Covering your wrists in winter prevents your fingers from feeling stiff and your wrist joints from becoming achy.
if your wrists are already sore, putting some tiger balm or other cooling cream on, then putting cuffs over the top can be quite a relief.
And if you work in a chilly office, wristers are obviously a must-have, too.
So yay for wristers, yay for infinite yarn, and yay for fabulously named skeins of yarn addiction entry wool.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

What's Knitting?

What's on my needles this week?
The Bazinga blanket saw some love and now has a third block of color. I've successfully reduced my acrylic stash by three balls now. Life is good.

I also cast on and almost finished the Bamboo Robot mitts, knit out of leftover Lorna's Laces in Robot Overlord and a matching mini ball from the Bag o'Fun. The colors match just as well as I envisioned.

Fingerless gloves are a must-have in my life, and as mornings are (finally) getting cooler, it seemed like a timely little knit.

But the big news? I'm about to cast on for the first sleeve of Vivian, my first-ever sweater. And I'm super excited about it.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Like Clockwork

Knitting shawls is popular, no doubt about it. There are stunning lace creations, squishy, brightly-colored winter accessories and everything from bold statements to classy cover-ups.
I've knit one shawl before that I loved deeply. Of course I knit it in early summer, so it hadn't seen much use until I travelled to Japan. There, it was a trusty staple while walking through fashion-fabulous Tokyo.

But I loved knitting the shawl, so I knew I wanted another one.
I'm not in a lace place right now, and lace shawls don't really fit with my wardrobe.
I like Stephen West's bold, geometric designs, so I knew I wanted to make another one. This time, in two colors.

After a bit of humming and hawing (too many great patterns!), I settled on Clockwork, with its garter stitch squishiness, simple stripes and slip-stitch steampunky detail.
And I was going to knit it out of two rockstar yarns, Malabrigo Sock (in Solis) and Wollmeise (in Feldmaus).
Could things get any better?
This would be perfect travel knitting. Beautiful yarns in pleasing colors, a simple yet gorgeous pattern and just enough size to see me through the trip.
And it sure did.
As an added bonus, I got to knit the first section twice, because I am brilliant and cannot remember directions for a whole row.
So I did only one set of increases, instead of increasing throughout the row, like I was meant to do. No wonder the first section knitted up so quickly!
Good thing I like knitting, so ripping back and reknitting wasn't much of a chore.
The yarn stood up perfectly to ripping and being re-knit, by the way.
Fabulous yarns.
And what can I tell you about the end result?
The shawl is squishy, it's large, and it's fabulous.
Unfortunately, it was also unfinished by the time we came back to Melbourne, so I haven't had an opportunity to wear it yet.

If you're looking for an easy-ish knit to use up two skeins of gorgeous yarn, you could do worse than try a Clockwork.
Mine used suprisingly little yarn all up, so now I have leftovers, almost enough to knit another one, if I so chose.