Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The last couple gifts

As promised, here are the last couple knits that I actually finished in time for Christmas. First up is some handspun merino: 440 yards of fingering weight 3-ply (I navajo plied this one). My mother bought the fiber a couple years ago when we went to Maryland Sheep & Wool for the first time. We both were captivated by all of the lovely fiber available but less thrilled with the yarn selections. After holding out for about a barn and a half, we gave in and bought drop spindles and a bunch of fiber. The spinning bug bit me hard that spring. First, I learned why a drop spindle has it's name (probably putting permanent dents in the floor while I did so). After much swearing and frustration, I asked for a wheel for my birthday/graduation from college that year and haven't stopped spinning since. My first couple attempts at spinning were nothing to write home about but I was absolutely delighted that I had made yarn all by myself. Actually, it never ceases to amaze me when I take a project off the wheel - I just made yarn!

When you look at a picture of the first yarn I ever made

you'll see why I am so proud of my mother's present:

That's a 4.00mm knitting needle for scale.

My last present was a secret project for my husband. Given how suspicious I must have sounded whenever he came home, saying things like "stay right there, give me a minute before you come in any closer" and hiding the project under some papers in the bedroom, I am surprised that the gift was still a secret and delighted that it worked out that way.

About a month or so ago I spun up this lovely worsted-weight three-ply alpaca.

Since the yarn reminded me of tree bark in winter with its hints of silver and chocolate I looked around for a suitable stitch pattern that would evoke the same feelings. There were a couple of possible stitch patterns in my Barbara Walker books but with exams coming up I did not want to take the time to design a full pattern; plus, I needed something that I could knit while I studied. Finally, I settled on Anne Hanson's lacunae pattern and resized for my slightly larger gauge. Simple and elegant, it was just what I was looking for.

DH likes it too.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Still working on the Christmas knitting

Yes, I know that Christmas has already come and gone but I still have two last projects to finish up before my holiday knitting is complete: socks for my father and a sweater for my sister. Happily, one sock is done and the second one is well on its way. Sock number two is about an inch longer than this:

Pattern: Gentleman's Shooting Stockings with Fluted Pattern from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks
Yarn: Dream in Color Smooshy in color Black Parade

My sister's sweater is a basic bottom-up raglan with turned hems and a cable detail between the raglan decreases and is knit out of this lovely alpaca:

I made a similar sweater for myself a couple of years ago and I am basing the pattern (if you could even dignify my notes as a pattern - it's really just EZ's percentage system with some waist shaping) on that. My sister borrowed the sweater when we went to Rhinebeck this past fall and asked if I would make her one if she could find the yarn.

I have some interesting projects coming up (as well as some finished ones that just need a bit of blocking to be truly complete) that I am going to keep secret for a little while. Hopefully some pictures of what I actually finished for Christmas will distract you.

First, socks for my grandparents:

On the left is my grandmother's present: "Lady's'" Sock with Lozenge Pattern from the same Nancy Bush book knit in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, color: camouflage. I say "lady's" sock because I added a bit of calf shaping to the basic pattern and downsized for a smaller foot. On the right is Gentleman's Fancy Sock, same Nancy Bush book, knit in Dream in Color Smooshy, color: November Muse.

Some handspun socks for my father-in-law knit with yarn spun from Spunky Eclectic superwash corriedale, color: burning bush.

More socks - this time for the DH, knit with some Socks that Rock mill ends.

That's it for now. I'll share the rest of my Christmas knits tomorrow, including a secret project that I managed to pull off without my husband knowing about it (I'll always thrilled to be able to do that).