Friday, December 28, 2007

My Work Shawl

I was going to wait to post this FO until I had taken a picture with me wearing it, but I haven't gotten one, and, well, 2007 is quickly coming to a close.

I am always FREEZING at work. I'm also always freezing at home, so maybe I was always destined to be a knitter - that way I can wrap myself in warm wooly goodness. In the spring, I set out to knit myself a shawl to keep at work. Just something that throw around my shoulders when it got a little chilly in the office (which is every single moment I'm there these days). I also set about to knit something out of Victorian Lace Today, because I had just received the book and fallen in love with it. I had never knit a border onto a piece before, though, so I wanted something simple. I decided to go with....

Large Rectangle with Center Diamond Pattern. Yeah, the name could use a little work, but so could all of the names in VLT. This particular pattern is on page 20.

Large Rectangle with Center Diamond Pattern

Pattern: Victorian Lace Today
Yarn: Rowan Kidsilk Haze, Anthracite, 3 skeins
Needles: US 7/US 6 (for the border)
Timeline: 6/5/07 - 10/26/07

I did make significant progress on this in June, but by the time July rolled around, I could no longer stand having all of that mohair and silk in my lap, no matter how soft, light and pillowy it was. So, it got put aside for awhile, but came back onto my radar as I became determined to finish old projects (which I'm still determined to do, and still working on).

I both enjoyed and loathed working with the Kidsilk Haze. It really is a lovely yarn, but is very hairy, and it can sometimes be difficult to see the stitches. The good news is, like with my very first knitting project, it's difficult to see mistakes, particularly in the border. :-P

It took me a few tries, but once I got through the first repeat of attaching the border, it went rather quickly. It used way more yarn than I thought it would, though! I still came a bit under the 750 yards called for in the pattern, though, and I knit it exactly as specified (I used about 2 1/2 balls of the KSH, maybe a little more, and now have 1 1/2 balls with no purpose!).

I'm wearing the shawl as I type this (because of course I am cold, so I guess this project was a big success!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Ecological Wool Scarves

I was in Chicago for the last week (no, I didn't visit any yarn stores), and just returned yesterday. I realized that I really need to hurry up and get the 2007 FOs posted before it becomes 2008. So this will be a double FO post, but at least both things have multiple things in common: they are both scarves and they are both made out of Cascade's Ecological Wool, which I now love. :-) I also failed to get FO pictures of either of them before they were gifted, but since they are scarves, the WIP photos are good enough I think.

Irish Hiking Scarf in progress

Pattern: Hello Yarn
Yarn: Cascade Eco+, Black (0050), 1 skein
Needles: US 9
Timeline: July 2006 - 11/18/07

Yeah, I started the Irish Hiking Scarf a really long time ago. And not with this yarn. Whatever I had wasn't enough and produced a three-foot scarf. Clearly not enough for my dad (which is who this scarf went to). So, I went in search of another skein, only to not even know what the other yarn was. No big loss, enter Cascade Ecological Wool (or the colored version, in this case)! This yarn seemed scratchy in the skein, but was really a pleasure to work with. And the yardage! In the end (once I made myself work on it), I did enjoy this project to some degree (hated the pattern, I don't know why, even though it turned out well).

I enjoyed the yarn so much that a few weeks later, I started this...

Phillotaxis Scarf in Progress

Pattern: Knitting Nature, by Norah Gaughan
Yarn: Cascade Ecological Wool, #8049, 2 skeins
Needles: US 7/US 8
Timeline: 12/2/07 - 12/19/07

This scarf I loved the pattern. I loved it enough that I want to make one for me. After a slight misstep, where I could not figure out where the pattern was shifting, I got the hang of this one very quickly and was able to knit nearly the whole thing by touch. The first half went very fast, and then the second half dragged a little, like most scarves, because, well, I was dragging the scarf (which it turned out was worse than normal, because it was knit in the round). But I did finish it and I think it came out well. This one went to my grandfather because I had him in the annual family Christmas exchange. I'm not sure that he'll ever wear it, but he did seem to like it, and that's what counts (and I got him some other things, just in case!)

I must use this yarn again. Maybe in another scarf (though I might take a breather for a little while)!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Summer of Love Lace in Winter

Why not avoid work by posting something I finished knitting more than a month ago! Whee!

Summer of Love Lace Socks - 4 of 7

Pattern: Blue Moon Fiber Arts (Rockin' Sock Club August pattern)
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Lightweight, Flower Power, 1 skein
Needles: US 1.5
Timeline: 10/27/07 - 11/6/07

These were a relatively quick knit, and as I've already said, I don't love them for me, but I would for a little girl. So, I haven't worn them yet. Whenever I go to grab a pair of handknit socks, I just think these aren't appropriate. I want more than my ankles covered in wool, typically. Hopefully I find some use for them.

Here's an up close picture of the cuff:

Summer of Love Lace Socks - 6 of 7

That really was the only difficult part of the sock, so these went relatively fast (less than two weeks). In case you're curious about construction:

Summer of Love Lace Socks - 1 of 7

This was the only Rockin' Sock Club package that I was not able to finish before the next arrived. I already have the October kit finished, it just needs to be photographed, so that is complete before the December kit arrives. And since I didn't renew, not finishing the December kit in time won't be a problem! Hopefully it'll be something that I love.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

A Little MIA But Still Knitting....

I know I've taken a little bit of a break (oops), but that's mostly because I've been keeping busy (and that includes with a lot of knitting!). The unfortunate part of that is there are a lot of things I want to blog about and now have to work through a backlog! This one will be short and sweet, though, because I want to keep my eyes on the Pats game as much as possible. :-)

I decided this year that I wouldn't be doing a lot of Christmas knitting. Last year was way too stressful, and I started my Christmas knitting in August (or thereabouts). Birthdays are spread out, though, so I can do knit gifts then (I hope my friends and family love receiving handmade gifts as much as I like making them!). So there's one Christmas gift I'm knitting because it was originally going to be a November birthday present, but I had to switch things around. And then I decided to pick up one more - while it's taking quite a bit of time (and yarn), I think it's totally worth it!

I have my grandfather in the annual family Christmas gift exchange, and he is notoriously hard to shop for. I will be picking up a few things (we're supposed to keep it to around $100), but I wanted to see if I could get a scarf done to go along with the gift. My grandmother is a knitter, after all, so hopefully he'll like it (even though I have a feeling he's not a scarf person, like my dad).

Phillotaxis Scarf in Progress

This is the Phyllotaxis Scarf from Norah Gaughan's Knitting Nature. I love this book, even though this is the first thing I've knit from it (and while there are other things I do like from the book, of course, I'm not sure if I'll ever get around to them!). It's knit in the round, which means twice as much yarn as you'd expect to need for a 6-foot, 8 1/2-inch wide scarf (which is pretty big as it is). So, I decided to go with a behemoth... Cascade Ecological Wool! I recently finished my dad's Irish Hiking Scarf in this yarn, and loved it more than I thought I would (even if I didn't love the pattern). So I picked up two skeins last weekend at Mind's Eye Yarns in Porter Square, and I'm already through the first skein!

I'm loving the pattern, and am still in love with the wool. I'd really like to make a sweater out of it, because while it's not merino soft, it's much softer than expected, and very hearty, plus has the amazing yardage (and at an affordable cost!). Here's a picture of one of the yarn cakes next to a skein of Dream in Color Smooshy (450 yards, fingering weight):

Cascade Ecological Wool - # 8049

I need to not put too many skeins of this on my ballwinder, because I think I'll end up breaking it!