Saturday, July 14, 2012

Not sure what I was thinking

I'm really not sure why I thought this third section of Color Affection would fly by. Maybe because I love the short rows? Perhaps because I was itching to start Rams and Yowes. Or could it be that I thought the knitting fairy would come and keep plugging away at this piece when I got swamped with work this week?

Regardless of how long this takes to finish, I'm having a blast! I do truly love the short rows. (There are just a few -- ok, several . . . many . . . lots -- more than I had anticipated.)

Please excuse me while I go knit.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

On a roll

Happy 4th, everyone! I'm on a roll with this midweek vacation, thanks in large part to Mr. Tinks and Frogs for letting me carve out some big chunks of "me" time today. I'm actually caught up on blog comments (for all of the comments for which I had or could find an email address for the response). It feels so good to be moving forward with a clean slate and no backlog.

So now I'm going to try to catch up on FO posts, too.  I know there are a few pieces that I finished over the last several months and have yet to talk about on the blog (Catkin springs to mind). But I have absolutely no desire to model wool wraps outside in 100 degree weather so those will just have to wait. For now, I'm going to stick with FOs for which I have pictures hiding on my hard drive.

Today you get my belated birthday present to our favorite five-year-old, which went in the mail a couple of months ago.

Little n is an enthusiastic lover of seals and requested that I knit her one for her birthday this year. Finding a seal pattern is actually quite tough. There are a few in ravelry but nothing was quite what I was looking for. 

My first thought was to modify the loch ness monster pattern that I had knit back in January. I think I started that version twice before giving up on that idea - the body shape just wasn't what I had in mind. I had spent quite a bit of time googling pictures of seals (now that's an interesting set of results in google images) to get a sense of seal anatomy. Ok, maybe I was going a bit overboard on this one but I really like n and her mother, N, and wanted to get it right.

Then I searched some more and found a vintage toy pattern on Etsy that looked closer to what I had in mind. Still not quite what I wanted, I tried to reverse engineer a smaller version of that design. I think I spent two attempts on that tack before giving up.

I finally settled on a ravelry pattern that I had seen in my initial searches: the Showoff Seal (sans ball). I used a heavier yarn - Tosh Chunky (details on my project page) - to make a bigger toy than the pattern called for. I'd really wanted to make something bigger (the seal is only about 7 or 8 inches long) but instead of resizing and trying again, I made a second one.

The last component of the gift was a "seal blanket" made with Miss Babs Sojurn, a cashmere silk yarn (one skein, held double, and worked in a subtle cable pattern with garter edges) that n had picked out at the Michigan Sheep and Wool Festival last year.

French knots for the eyes and whiskers from the Tosh Merino Light that I had slated for my Color Affection completed the piece. I'm pretty pleased with the final result and I hope n is enjoying it, too.

What did I think of the pattern? It was quick and easy (very welcome after I had had so many false starts on this project). I much prefer the flippers from the loch ness monster pattern - they came out looking more polished than the garter stitch version here. But this pattern is certainly a lot less fiddly. The body is knit in the round with a bit of short row shaping and that's it for anything tricky. It would be a great first toy pattern if you're thinking about jumping into this sort of project but are worried about the finishing and other finicky aspects of amigurumi knits.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

No sheep yet

I told myself that I wouldn't cast on for Rams and Yowes until I had finished Color Affection. The short row section is so much fun that I don't regret that decision in the slightest. Yet. 

So while I plow through many more rows of garter stripes, here's a little distraction for all of us as we're waiting to play with the shetland yarn:

This is 216 yards of (oh shoot, I forgot to check the wpi again - let's call it roughly light worsted) navajo-plied BFL silk dyed in a gradient dye by Friends in Fiber. The fiber was a delightful surprise gift from blogger friend Rachel a few months ago. This was such a fun fiber to spin! BFL/silk is a glorious combination - soft with a lovely sheen, and it drafts like a dream. The color shifts from the light lime into something closer to avocado and finally into emerald. Such lovely greens!

What to do with them? Right now I'm content with fondling and petting the skein but eventually I think it'll be a cowl with some sort of simple texture to play off the color changes. Is anyone else yearning for fall weather already?