Tuesday, September 20, 2011

FO: Simmer Dim

You may have noticed last time that I said I finished two projects last week but only showed you one. The other was Simmer Dim, a fabulous design by Gudrun Johnson. All of the techniques involved are simple but the finished piece is intricate and elegant. I'll definitely be knitting this one again. This version used malabrigo lace yarn (olive colorway) and size 6 and 10 circular needles.

The knitting itself was easy and I sped right through. Blocking was another story.

Well, the blocking itself wasn't particularly difficult.

But there is a pin in every single yarn over on the last row. And there is a yarn over every other stitch on that 500+ stitch row. That's a lot of pins. I think it might be time to find some flexible blocking wires.

I knit this one as written and only have one little note to make. I used a 3-stitch i-cord bind-off on the center triangle. I wanted a sturdy yet elastic edge and the i-cord seemed to do the trick. It's a bit thick so next time I'll try a 2-stitch i-cord and see how that turns out.

Simmer Dim is another very wearable shawl. The curved shape makes for easy draping. And the simple texture goes well with just about everything in my wardrobe. Of course, the green goes pretty well, too.

I love how unassuming Gudrun's designs are. Simple and understated. And perfect every time.

Besides, who can go wrong with malabrigo lace yarn? I'll have to try this pattern in handspun (and maybe a few other things in my stash). I don't think I can stop at just one.

Monday, September 19, 2011

FO: Whipporrwill

Saturday was blocking day here at chez Tinks and Frogs. Because I did the unthinkable: I finished two projects last week. And for a brief bit of time, I didn't have any active projects on the needles. It felt very odd.

First up, Whippoorwill.

This is a lovely, simple pattern by Carina Spencer. The original calls for two contrasting colors but I think it looks great in handspun. I knit the small size on size 6 needles and it's a great scarf/neck warmer piece.

Blocking this one was pretty straightforward.

I almost could have skipped the pins entirely. After giving the piece a bath, I just gently pressed it into shape with my fingers and used T-pins to help maintain the scalloped edging.

Did I mention I really like this pattern in handspun?

It's very wearable, too.

Mr. Tinks and Frogs took a bunch of lovely FO shots for me and the shawl comes off very well. His model . . . well, let's just say that I'm still working on an alternative to a cheesy grin. Perhaps a second cup of tea would help things along. Note to self for next time.

Back to the shawl, I love how the horseshoe shape of the piece curls around the neck. It just lies naturally with no fuss at all.

I think this may be my go-to piece for fall.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

FO: Leaflets

That's right, Leaflets. Plural.

When I saw the Leaflet pattern in the latest edition of Knitty, I thought it was a nifty adult cardi that could be turned into a really nifty baby sweater. So I set out to make a new sweater for Tadpole and I started by making a swatch, er, sweater for me.

Why? Well, I wanted to try out the Quince & Co. Osprey yarn and (more importantly) I wanted to see how the sweater was constructed before I started making any modifications. Sure, I could have just studied the pattern but that would have required more sleep than I was getting at the time.

Mama Leaflet Specs - 
Pattern: Leaflet by Cecily Glowik MacDonald
Yarn: Quince & Co. Osprey, Cypress colorway, 4 skeins 
Needles: size 9 addi lace circulars
Size: 34.75"
Mods: I made the bottom ribbing 13 rows long to match the length of the neck/front ribbing
What you should know: knit a swatch and wash it! My swatch grew by 1/4 stitch per inch after washing. 

Baby Leaflet Specs - 

Yarn: Quince & Co. Chickadee, Parsley colorway, 2 skeins 
Needles: size 4 addi lace circulars
Size: 34.75"
Actual Size: 21.25"
Mods: I only changed two things (other than gauge) for the baby version. First, I worked the body without any waist shaping. Second, I only worked 10 rows of neck/front ribbing but that was because I was worried about running out of yarn. I might have made it but I couldn't be sure and I didn't want to have to rip back in order to be able to finish the sleeves.

Tadpole is 6 months old (exactly!) in these shots and you can see she has plenty of room to grow in this sweater. It should definitely fit her through the winter and into spring. But it fits reasonably well now, too.

It also makes a great chew toy. She was munching on the shoulder the entire time we were taking pictures.

As for my Leaflet, it's comfy and cozy. And it holds up tolerably well to baby drool. She spent plenty of time gnawing on my shoulder, too. Now we'll just have to see if I'll wear it. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Catching up

I adore knitting with handspun. There's something really fun about watching the colors and textures shift subtly as you work. Besides, I get to look down and say "I made that!" Twice. It never ceases to amaze me and this particular project is no exception.

So what project is this? (Can't you tell from that helpful shot of a beehive cone of yarn?) It's Carina Spencer's Whippoorwill, which I'm slowly learning how to spell. The pattern calls for stripes but there were several lovely handspun versions on ravelry that convinced me I'd be fine using just one color.

Maybe "colorway" is more appropriate.

There's more green in there than you can see in this shot. And the yarn is from that gorgeous braid of BFL/silk top from the Portland Fiber Gallery that my sister sent me for my birthday a few months ago. Oh, why did I go click over to their Etsy shop? That almost got me in trouble the last time I posted about this company, too.

I've finished the first - stockinette - section of the wrap and am waiting until my sidekick is asleep for the night before continuing since the next row will require some attention and counting. Not the best plan when she could wake up from her nap at any time now.

My other active project right now is Simmer Dim. That's right, I found it! Who knew that I kept project bags under a pillow on the couch? Not me, for about a week. I'm using malabrigo lace and loving it just as much as ever.

I'm still plugging away at the center triangle section but even garter stitch is a joy to knit in this yarn.

What about those two Leaflets? I actually wove in the ends and washed the baby version last night. It's so humid here that I think it's going to take at least another day to dry.

I'm curious to see how much the fabric grows. My swatch of the Quince Osprey grew by about a quarter of a stitch per inch when it got wet. I didn't swatch for this one out of Chickadee so it'll be a surprise.

The unblocked sweater seemed to fit reasonably well.

But it was a little hard to tell since my model wouldn't hold still for the camera - she's discovered the joys of rolling. Maybe once she can sit up unassisted it'll be easier to get modeled shots.

I'll block my Leaflet soon, possibly tonight. It's tough to be motivated about an aran weight wool sweater when it's 90 degrees outside.

So for now I'm going to plug away at my lace knits and figure out how much of my stash I have to knit through before I can go buy yarn for Catkin.

Along the same lines, here's a puzzler for you: if I want to make Stripe Study with a skein of tosh sock in the stash but need to buy a second skein, too, does that second skein count as adding to the stash when buying it will mean I'd use up both the new skein and the old one? I think it'll have to depend on whether my LYS has the color I'm looking for.