Friday, March 21, 2008

Sssilky Mmmerino Entrelac Wrap-Up

The yarn:


The stitch pattern:


The Plan:


The wrap:


Entrelac Wrap (using entrelac stitch pattern from Vogue Knitting Stitchionary Vol. 1, p. 175)
Malabrigo Silky Merino, color "Bosques," 50% Silk / 50% Baby Merino Wool (150 yards / 50 g per skein), 4 skeins
US 6 (4.0 mm) Knitpicks Options circular needles
US E/4 (3.5 mm) crochet hook

With the idea of making a scarf, I cast on 40 stitches and began the entrelac pattern (each square is 10 stitches wide by 20 rows tall). I soon realized that I should have cast on only 20 or 30 stitches, as it was coming out much wider than I'd initially thought it would, and the two skeins of yarn I started with weren't going to make a very long scarf. I thought about making a neckwarmer, but my short "scarf" was so wide I would have had to fold it in half lengthwise unless I wanted it to cover my eyes, and that seemed like kind of a waste. So what did I do?

IMG_2269.jpg "right" side
IMG_2291.jpg "wrong" side

I ordered more yarn : )

... and changed my plan to make a wrap-type piece instead. You can see in my "Plan" (above) that I shaped the wrap through strategically binding off (BO) the edges of some squares and leaving the edges of others on stitch holders (*) before changing the direction of my workflow and re-incorporating those held stitches. After finishing the knitting, I used single crochet to neaten up the original cast on and final bound off edges and to reinforce the center back "V," which you can see here:


I used up almost every bit of yarn (luckily my calculations were good). After washing and blocking, the fabric lost it's highly 3-dimensional quality, but, in exchange, it's now gorgeously soft and drapey.

For fun, here's a peak at what the entrelac pattern looks like backlit:


More Model Knitting for Schaefer

I started another knit for Schaefer Yarn Company. It's the Andrea Dogwood Blossom Wrap in the beautiful "Dian Fossey" colorway.

When I wound the yarn into a ball, I discovered this lovely pooling on the ball itself:


... from lighter greens at the top edge of the ball to darker tones at the bottom edge. Cool, huh! I'm about halfway through the first of 7 and a half repeats of the charted pattern - and enjoying it so far.


New Technique

I also started something else. Two of the things I want to learn to do this year are stranded knitting and continental knitting, so I'm getting some practice with with both knitting Eunny Jang's ubiquitious Endpaper Mitts.


I'm using Hand Jive Knits Nature's Palette Fingering Weight yarn in subtly variegated dark and light teal. I wasn't sure at first, but I think there's enough contrast between the two shades.


I'm having, ahem, "fun" trying to learn to knit with yarn in each hand.... I think I'm getting better at it, but only time will tell how crazily uneven the stitches look after washing and blocking : )

...and if you have been disappointed by the dearth of felines so far in this post, I will point out that there is, in fact, an out of focus kitty in one of the above photos - but here's another (in focus) kitty for your enjoyment:


P.S. Thanks for all your nice comments about the Thrummed Mittens!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The mittens, they are multiplying!

Note: Mentally insert Jaws music here.


Doh! Yeah, he bit (and paw thwacked) the mittens (wish I'd gotten a better picture with more teeth showing) : ) I had to retreat for a bit to preserve the puncture free state of my fingers...

He was probably getting me back for this:


Don't they look like furry feline Marge Simpson impersonators?

Thrummed Mittens (Interweave Knits, Winter 2006)
Shaefer Yarn Company Lola, 100% Merino Wool Superwash (280 yards / 114 g per skein), what I'm calling "rooster colors," 0.46 skeins
merino wool roving for thrums (~ 1 ounce)
US 3 & 5 dpns

I knit these pretty much as directed except I started the thumb a bit earlier (I didn't figure out I liked this better until the second one, so I did surgery to remove the first thumb and reattach it - fun stuff). I like the wild combination of yarn and thrums. The only thing I wish I'd done differently was to make the thrums more robust. From the written description of thrum making in the pattern, I thought I was making my thrums on the large side... little did I know. Unfortunately, they don't do a great job of blocking the wind as they are, so I may try to use a crochet hook to add more fiber to my thrums at some point.

However, if we have any really cold days in the immediate future, I will be reaching for these gorgeous things in lieu of the ones I made:


Can you believe my luck! Rosina made me the cushiest, warmest, most all around wonderful thrummed mittens for Pay It Forward. She saw them in my queue and started before she knew I was making some, and I'm so glad she did!

Just take a look at these (Moana helped me unwrap them):


Now, those are real thrums! (compare to my stringy, anemic ones above) ...and they are so buttery soft (being BFL, and all). The yarn (Berroco Ultra Alpaca) is super soft, too!

But what's this?


She also made me a bag ! The wool fabric is recycled from a skirt. It is definitely perfect for "toting around a small project" (as she suggested in her note to me). Check it out:


I love the lining, and it matches the mittens so well:


I am so impressed with everything! (I hope my downstream PIF folks aren't disappointed with my meager offerings - don't worry guys, I didn't forget - they're in the mail!)

Since I'm already exceeding all rational limits for photos, I'll save my Entrelac Wrap reveal and some other stuff for a future post (hopefully soon).

Now for a few more gratuitous cat/mitten shots courtesy of Bug (cue the Jaws soundtrack again, if you wish - those mittens are sneaky!):


Yep, Bug thinks they're pretty darn comfy, too : )