Monday, January 14, 2008

Tilted Duster, Calmer Koolhaas, kooky cats, and more!

Hey everyone! I hope the new year is treating you well.

I am, as usual, a bit behind on my blog reading, but at least I got some knitting done : )


I did a bit of swatching a while ago:


And I got gauge for one of my projects right away... so I cast on and, like magic, it appeared (or rather, that's how it seems - due to my lack of in-progress blogging - doh!).

Tilted Duster (Interweave Knits, Fall 2007)
Berroco Peruvia, 100% Peruvian Highland Wool (174 yards / 100 g per skein), color 7180 "Alcaparrones," ~5.5 skeins
US 8 Knitpicks Options circular needle (32")

I made the 32" size, pretty much as written. I used the suggested yarn in a colorway (7180) that until recently didn't seem to exist except at Webs (where I bought it several months ago). Now Berroco's website has the color listed and it's called "Alcaparrones," the Spanish name for caperberries. (Cool! Now my Tilted Duster reminds me of capers - I can totally see that!) By the way, the yarn was really nice to work with... very soft, and I do love the (caper!) color. The gauge it's knit at produces a sturdy yet fluid fabric which looks great now, and hopefully won't pill too badly in the future.

Norah Gaughan's design is an interesting one - the two fronts are knit on the bias, then joined to the upper back piece before the "skirt" is picked up and knit downward. There are four buttons (two of which are visible) that close the deep, ribbed collar.


It's always a little challenging to pick up the correct number of stitches and seam the sleeves in neatly, however, the only real "excitement" (by which I mean, moment of terror) I had with this knit, was when I was pinning it out to block after washing. That's when I noticed that something had gone amiss during my bind-off, and one of the edge stitches had dropped a few rows. It didn't end up being a big deal - I let the sweater dry completely, rescued the dropped stitch with a crochet hook, and used a length of yarn to correct the situation - but it sure did give me a start when I first noticed it! Eeek! I guess I need to be more careful with my bind-off in the future : )

I don't usually go for super long (butt-covering) sweaters. They make me feel weird, as if they're emphasizing something they shouldn't be... however, I really like this design. It's definitely got a jacket/coat feel to it, and is very warm and comfortable to boot!

IMG_1569.jpg (inside out)
Koolhaas Hat (Interweave Knits, Holiday Gifts 2007)
Rowan Calmer, 75% cotton, 25% acrylic/microfibre (175 yards / 50 g per ball), color "Garnet," ~1 ball
US 5 Denise circular needle (~16")
US 7 Denise circular needle (~16") and dpns

I knit the womens size pretty much as written, but when I'd finished, I thought the hat wasn't deep enough. I debated frogging back the top decreases and adding another repeat, but I decided upon picking up stitches along the brim and knitting downward to make a fold up brim. I think it worked out pretty well.


I used a ball of Calmer that was leftover from my Fifi sweater, as the friend I made the Koolhaas Hat for has a wool allergy. It was a good substitution, I think : )


Two of the swatches shown in the first photo above (the light blue and "mulled wine" swatches) were attempts to get gauge for the Seeded Cables Cardigan by Sarah Heiniger from Sensual Knits, the lovely new book put together by Yahaira Ferreira. I just love this design! All the beautiful cables have me drooling...

I'm using Patons Classic Merino Wool in "Worn Denim" (that I got on sale at a craft store a while ago) and so far I'm liking the yarn quite a bit.


I was able to get stitch gauge with the Classic Merino, but not row gauge, so I decided to start with a sleeve in an effort to make a big gauge swatch (gauge is given in stockinette in the book, but I want to see how my gauge responds to all the cables before I start changing things up):


I've run into some issues with the instructions, some of which have now been added to the errata page, and some of which I'm waiting to hear back about - so this project is on hold for a bit.

Prize Yarn!

Cattywampus had a great challenge going in December to encourage people to donate to Heifer International. Her summary post about it is here - $4185 was raised!

By the luck of the draw, I won this gorgeous yarn donated by the very generous Ronni:


She even included a candy cane! Thanks Cattywampus & Ronni!

Knitting Accomplishments & Resolutions

Anphoe tagged me for a knitting accomplishments/resolutions meme, so here we go (Anphoe, you will notice I have a few things in common with you!):

In 2007 I accomplished the following (not necessarily in order):

1. I started my blog! (and subjected my cats to public knitwear humiliation)
2. I met some fellow knit bloggers in person.
3. I had great time at the New York Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck (related to #2) : )
4. I learned how to knit a sweater from the top down.
5. I learned to knit socks.
6. I joined my first mystery group (Mystery Stole 3).
7. I knitted my first lace weight project.
8. I made my first toys, one of which I designed myself (Octopus).
9. I did my first "model knitting."
10. I joined Ravelry.
11. I learned (well, started learning) to spin with a drop spindle.

On to 2008, and some KNITTING RESOLUTIONS for the new year:

1. I will try to knit from stash as much as possible.
2. I will learn to knit continental style.
3. I will try the magic loop method.
4. I will try out entrelac.
5. I will make more socks.
6. I will knit a bunch of colorwork projects and try steeking.
7. I will design and knit my husband a really cool (I hope!) cabled sweater.
8. I will try to design more of what I knit (which is hard, because there are already so many lovely patterns out there that I really want to knit!).
9. I will learn to spin on a spinning wheel (and maybe get one for myself) : )

Feel free to take this meme and run with it, if you'd like.

Gratuitous Kitty Photos : )

In my last post, I mentioned that Wendy of Catknits had included a cat toy in the wonderful package she sent me.


As you can see, the feathers are detachable, but the cats love the feathers on, hee, hee!

Here are a few shots of Moana giving it a little workout (every time she batted it onto the floor, I tossed it back in her cat bed - otherwise she would have been scooting around the house willy nilly, flinging the toy into the air and batting it crazily, far away from this well-lit corner of the couch).



P.S. Bug wouldn't participate in the photoshoot, but he was watching : ) He likes to pretend he's too dignified to play with it, but he'll occasionally stage a walk-by (you know, "I'm just walking along, minding my own business... and I absolutely do not see that fluffy, feathered toy laying there in my peripheral vision. And even if I do see it, which I don't, I really couldn't give a hoot. Do de do de do... do de do de do...) that is interrupted by a sudden, mad flailing attack on the unsuspecting toy. Yes, he's very dignified, indeed ; )

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

I hope you all have been enjoying the holiday season (and getting lots of knitting time) : )


Clementine Shawlette (Interweave Knits, Spring 2007)
Bristol Yarn Gallery Buckingham, 80% Baby Alpaca, 20% Silk (218 yards / 50 g per skein), color 1042, ~1.8 skeins
US 3 Knitpicks circular needle (32")

I did, indeed, finish this in time to get it to my mom before Christmas. I really enjoyed using this yarn (so soft and such a pretty color), and I think it worked well with the simple, but lovely pattern. I didn't make any modifications to it (intentionally, at least). My gauge was a little different on the two halves (not sure why), but I'm probably the only one who notices. I blocked it so it's more or less symmetric.

Here are some more views:

I did the grafting as suggested, which resulted in the "right side" having a significant ridge at the join, as you can see here (and in my first photo, above, where it's shadow is quite obvious):

...while on the "wrong side" the grafting was slightly recessed and less obvious.

If I were to make another Clementine Shawlette, I'd probably try to reverse this situation (by holding the opposite sides together while grafting), but I don't really mind the ridge - I just think of it as a design feature : ) I did try to keep the main body of the shawl the same width, as opposed to allowing it to widen at the graft. Allowing the widening and spreading of the stitches in this area would have diminished the appearance of the ridge, but I prefer a more uniform width, so I'm happy.

Christmas Fiber Goodness!

The fantastically generous Wendy of Catknits sent me a most wonderful package!

Inside were these:

A knitting(!) s'mores snowman ornament - so cute! (I want to eat him, he looks so real):

A lovely, squishy skein of Fiesta Boomerang in the very appetizing color "Raspberry Mocha":

And a beautiful Boxy Bag Zippered Pouch from ZigZagStitches:

Not that that's where I'll be keeping it, but see how nicely the yarn fits inside : )

There was another item in the package... a feather tufted fleecy cat toy, which Bug and Moana have been enjoying immensely. I've forgotten to take a picture of it thus far, but I'll try to remember to do that soon.

I love it all! Thanks, Wendy!

We made a trip to Webs for their end of year sale. With Christmas money from our parents (thanks, guys!), we invested in some new yarn.

For my husband, Cascade 220 Superwash for some thick socks, Classic Elite Skye Tweed for a cabled sweater of my design, and Berroco Jasper for a hat (I just love this colorway):

For me, a little bit of Mondial Fresco Soft to play around with, some purty Noro Kureyon Sock yarn in outrageous colors, and mmmmmMalabrigo Silky Merino (hard to photograph) that reminds me of subtly iridescent beetles:

Here's another photo of the Silky Merino...

I also received payment for my Schaefer Yarn model knitting:
From upper left: Schaefer Judith (Dian Fossey colorway), Schaefer Helene (Julia Child colorway), Schaefer Anne.

I'll be making the Andrea Dogwood Blossom Wrap in the Dian Fossey colorway for them next:

Kitty Photos

Since I didn't manage to get any exciting cat/knit photos recently, here are a few lazy cat photos for your enjoyment:

(I should have saved this one for Valentine's Day...)