Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Infant Fancy *Wool* Socks

I have been looking at my pattern books with the aim to actually knit from them. Crazy I know! I have all of these books, and I really want to use them. Digging around in my extra sock yarn bag, I started thinking about this pattern from Vintage Socks. On the one one hand it seems a little silly to knit fancy socks, especially in a baby's size. On the other hand, my sister is having a second baby, and I want to make sure there are a few new handknits for the new baby in addition to her sister's hand-me-downs.

Pattern:Infant Fancy Silk Socks
Pattern Source: Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush
Yarn: Louet Gems Fingering Wt. in sandalwood
Needles: US 2 / 2.75 mm

These were fun to knit, especially the dutch heel (which I first tried on the Black Man-Socks). My only complaint is about the fact that the lace pattern is not symmetrical. It is still pretty, the lack of symmetry just tweaks me.

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Wedding Afghan #1

Months ago I mentioned the wedding afghan that I was making for one of my brothers. Well the wedding shower was last weekend, so it was time to stop putting off weaving in the ends any longer. Since the last time I posted I also improvised the edging based on the stripe pattern, and I am really pleased with the result.

Pattern: Two-Color Afghan by Lion Brand Yarn
Hook: 6.0 mm (J)
Yarn: Plymouth Yarn Encore Worsted

I am not crazy about Lion Brand's log-in system for their free patterns, but this was simple enough that it would be easy to reverse engineer if you were so inclined. I believe I started with a more chains since I wanted a slightly larger blanket, big enough for the newlyweds to snuggle up under on the couch.

Perhaps I gifted it a little too soon though. I hear they are already (goodnaturedly) fighting over who it gets to live with until the wedding. It is a good thing that the other brother getting married this year already lives with his partner. Now I just need to pick a second pattern. Any suggestions out there? It just needs to be in worsted weight yarn, because I already have enough of it in my stash in 2 colors.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Geode Shawl

Many moons ago when I finished my Masters, I stopped by Mind's Eye Yarns to pick up a small treat for myself. At the time, Lucy had just gotten in a shipment of Jojoland Harmony, and I was absolutely smitten. I had never worked in cobweb weight yarn before, but the long color transitions were so beautiful that I decided that this would be my reward. I didn't even ask about price, knowing Lucy's prices are always fair. So I was shocked to find that it was only a few dollars... for 880 yards!

When I started it at the beginning of March, my main concern was about whether or not the long color transitions would be long enough when working in crochet (which eats more yarn than knitting) by the time I got to the bottom of the shawl. But in the end it was no problem. This shawl took exactly one ball, and it looks good all the way to the bottom edge.

Pattern: Eva's Shawl (pdf) by milobo
Yarn: Jojoland Harmony in C07
Hook: 2.75 mm (C)

Ultimately I found the fine weight not to be as big of a problem as I worried it would be. The only concern was that process of crocheting provides a bit more friction on the yarn than the process of knitting does, so I had to be fairly gentle with the yarn as I worked.

Looking at this pattern on Ravelry, I saw several comments about people who opted out of the final edging, but in looking through the pictures I couldn't find a good picture of what it looked like. Going with the advice that it took more yarn than expected, I set out to give it a shot, and I think the ultimate success on this edging has everything to do with how you block it. I did mine with an extra piece of yarn. After blocking it retains that open, delicate look that is the perfect touch to edge this shawl.

The concentric layers of color of this shawl are so perfect for the simplicity of this pattern. Between the two it reminds me of those geode slices you sometimes see for sale as sun catchers. (Did you know those are often dyed? I learn so much writing for this blog.) Chalk this one up as another "earth" inspired project.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Mer-tinis under the Lake?

Round 1 socks complete! It is Sock Madness time again, and none too soon. I have been needing to crank out some more socks recently.

Yarns: Mind's Eye Yarns Tencel/Merino sock yarn
& Lang Jawoll Superwash Solid
Needles: US 1
Pattern: Tropical Mer-tini (Sock Madness '09 Round 1)

I am not normally a huge fan of knit-purl patterns, but this one is interesting in that it is based on a quilting pattern called the Drunkard's Path:

But these socks have another point of interest. Although the heels look like a basic eye of the partridge heel flap heel, they are actually a type of replaceable heel. (Although the pattern calls it an afterthought heel, it actually has more in common with a forethought heel.)

Neat! Now to work on something other than socks for a few days. (BTW if you get the title of this post, you totally get a cookie.)

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Baby Socks

Even though I have been doing more crochet this month, I have still been doing a little knitting. Specifically, I have been knitting baby socks, as my sister has announced that she is pregnant again!
(Amusingly while Salvbard had a euro in his pocket for scale, he did not have a US quarter. That we had to dog out of the change jar.)
The first pair is a basic pair done with no particular pattern over 44 stitches. The second is part of a continuing effort to actually knit from the books in my library. These Infant's Fancy Silk Socks are from Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush. Little socks go so quickly!

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

National Crochet Month '09

Did you know that March is both National Craft Month and National Crochet Month? Well I am always up to a lot of craft, so I have been trying my hand at a little more crochet. Besides the chucky alpaca hat I have 2 other projects on the hook.

The first is a baby sweater in some un-loved stash yarn:

And the other is a shawl I plan on wearing to at least one of my brothers' weddings this year:

The latter in particular is driving me a little crazy though. I have never crocheted anything so fine. The Jojoland Harmony is listed as cobweb weight, so I need to pay attention. The yarn itself is lovely though, and the price point amazing!

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Sunday, March 08, 2009

Chunky Alpaca Hat

With the start of March we have begun a new round of Project Spectrum. This year each of the 2-month periods are focused on a different cardinal direction. We begin with Earth.

NORTH (March/April)
Color: Green
Material: Stones/Gems/Rocks
Season: Winter
Element: Earth

So I dug around in the stash and rediscovered a single skein of Misti Alpaca Chunky that I have had plans for and cast on. The color was absolutely perfect for my thoughts about this element at the moment. It is that pale yellow green of tentative green buds. Whenever it is cold enough to wear an alpaca hat, I need a reminder that spring will follow before too long.

Yarn: Misti International Misti Alpaca Chunky in color 1477
Yarn Supplier: the (now closed) Knitting Room
Pattern: Big Hat by Rosemary Waits
Hook: 6.0 mm (J)

Modifications: Because my yarn was not as heavy a weight as recommended I did one extra increase round (dc twice into same stitch, dc into each stitch 3 times repeat) and then continued in pattern until out of yarn. Top down hats are awesome like that!

I have always been slightly dubious of double crocheted hats. I think that they just looked like the wind would blow right through them, but when I saw this pattern when it was first posted on Rosemary's blog, I knew I had to make it. And the slightly fuzzy, warm alpaca actually compliments the pattern more than I had anticipated. This hat has quickly become a favorite, and I have a friend who already is plotting to try to steal it. Maybe I should think about making another one...

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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Sock Madness 3

Just a note for those of you interested. Sock Madness sign-ups are ending soon. I have participated in the last two years, and it is always lots of fun. Plus it is a great way to make a dent in the sock yarn stash!

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