Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Ariel Socks

Even though I put a great deal of effort into knitting up my whole variegated sock yarn stash, last year, there are still times when seeing a particularly beautiful skein makes me weak in the knees.  When I saw this yarn at the Loopy Ewe, a fuzzy warm BFL called Willow, from Huckleberry Knits, I noticed not only the amazing colours but that the colourway was named Little Mermaid.  How could I resist that?

I started out using a 2.25 mm birch circular, on the first sock, but somewhere around the heel of that sock, the needle tip broke off (ugh) so I transferred everything to a 2.25 mm steel circular.  Being as the needles were the same measurement, I never imagined that the two socks would turn out so different!  You can clearly see the different ways the colours stack on each foot, and somehow it even looks like there's a limey green in the right foot (there isn't.)  It turns out that my stitches are a wee bit snugger and tidier on a steel circular.  This may change everything.

I have another variegated sock yarn on the needles right now, and it's doing something even crazier, but that will be a topic for another day.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Jollyoly Hat

A couple of weeks ago, my HLM realized it's autumn.  Soon after, he realized that his Opie Hat has gone missing, and requested another one.  I told him that I'd get around to knitting him one, soon, and then, as I was motoring through the mall on the way to an appointment, I came upon a little craft store that had some yarn in the window.  I popped in and grabbed a ball of some nice-ish acrylic to make his Opie Hat.  Then I spotted a ball of lovely soft silvery nylon/acrylic sportweight and fell in love with it.

I decided it needed to be a hat, and once I got home I started scrolling through the patterns on Ravelry to find something great.  I found the Jollyoly hat and thought that it would marry up well with this particular yarn, so I started it as soon as I was done the Opie Hat.

I got gauge right away and began to knit, only to discover after a few inches that it seemed a bit tight.  Now, if you look at the original pattern photos, they show a loose, slouchy, chic hat.  I scrolled through some of the finished projects and found a lot of snug toques.  Not exactly what I wanted.  So I improvised.  I ripped it all back to naught and cast on again, this time for one size bigger, using a size bigger needles, as well.  This time, the hat seemed loose enough for the fit I wanted.  I added an extra repeat of the design, as well, to add some length, and was mostly happy with how it fit.  Then I added the pom pom (made from a bunch of leftover madtosh tosh merino light, a pretty posh pom pom for an acrylic hat) and the weight of it helps the hat to hang just right.

Ready for autumn.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Porthos Socks

There's this great designer on Ravelry that goes by the name "Caoua Coffee" - this person cranks out beautiful patterns, mostly for socks and little accessories, and gives them all away for free!  As someone always on the hunt for fabulous and fun things to make, I certainly won't even try to resist a whole flock of well-designed patterns that are free for me to enjoy.

This time I chose a simple knit/purl design, no cables or lace or anything fancy at all.  I matched it up with a lovely shade of Knit Picks Stroll sock.  The photos really don't do this colour justice - it's called Jackrabbit Heather, and it's the prettiest grey brown heather.

The socks were a lot of fun to knit, and looked really cool on the needles, the way the knit columns sway back and forth, based on the tension of the ribbing/garter stitch surrounding them.  Once they're on the foot, the swaying is less pronounced, but they do make a nice manly lattice.  Yep, they're for gifting, to one lucky dude.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Snowflakes in Red

Every serious crafter knows you'd better have your holiday ducks in a row by the time the leaves start changing, or you'll be caught in a mad panic, come December.

I'm pretty well on top of things this year (it helps that I don't really participate much in exchanging gifts at the holidays) and am just enjoying this cute set of striped towels before I get serious about working on my charity weaving.

Don't you just love 'em?

Friday, October 3, 2014

Fair Isle Hood

Throughout my years of making things, people have sometimes called me an artist, and I balk at the term, as I've usually considered myself a crafter, not an artist.  It is something that has dogged me, actually - the dividing line between art and craft - and there are only a couple of times that I've made something that I might actually consider art.

This is one of those times.

I had an idea spark in my mind one day, and the more I thought about it, the more I was amused and entertained by that idea.  The more I thought about it, the more I thought of little details (fair isle, buttons, short row shaping) that would make it perfect.  And the more I thought about it, the more I really wanted to make it.

It's wool, it's not really practical, and the button is purely decorative, since it doesn't even have a buttonhole under there, so it's not really a useful object in the end (is that what makes it art?)  But it's awesome and I love it.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Celebratory Towels

So it's just another photo-heavy post to show off the completed, washed & dried & ironed towels, because I'm so delighted with how they look, both individually and as a set.











Tuesday, September 16, 2014

More Twill Towels

For the fourth towel, I changed to a different set of weft colours.  This one had less contrast again, with a blue and black weft.  What a change in tone from the previous three towels!  All the colours are still there, but much more muted.


Then I brought in the brightest colour of them all, the light green, and made the fifth towel with all the contrast, in black and green.


Then I did the last one in green and blue, a little less contrast and tonally more similar.


But wait!  I finished the sixth and final towel only to realize I had tons of warp left on the loom.  When I initially planned out the pattern, I thought the magazine allowed for an unnecessarily long warp, and upon getting to this point in the weaving, I realized that I easily had room for another towel.  My first thought was to use the last of each colour to do a really variegated stripey weft, but I was sort of done with swapping shuttles and winding bobbins.  I couldn't bear to waste such a pretty warp, though, all ready to go.  I decided I'd use some spare 10/2 cotton I had, in white, without any stripes at all.  This made something completely different and a bit unexpected and I really really like it.  The colours are softened a bit, and the blocks look like changing transparencies of glass over the stripes of colours.


Now to finish them up!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Set of Twill Towels

I don't know if it's just because of the change in the weather, but I got a real case of startitis this week, and began a second pair of socks for gifting, an out-of-the-blue artsy knitting concept, and I really have my eye on a new slouchy hat for fall... maybe some fingerless mitts... not to mention this baby from the new BrooklynTweed collection.

But before I get to any of that, I should catch you up on my weaving.  I did get the skully napkins off the loom (seemed like they took forever) but I haven't gotten to hemming and finishing them yet.  Instead, I got really distracted with these babies, a set of dishtowels using a bit of colour and an irregular twill weave to add interest.

There are six colours in the warp, and I chose two of those for the weft of each towel.

The first towel had a red and pink weft.  The two colours didn't have much contrast, but it still looks quite nice:


Then came a towel with an orange and red weft:


Then one with a pink and orange weft.  It looks quite similar to the last one, again since there isn't much difference between the red and pink, but there is still a different tone to it:


That last shot shows the design most clearly, since it's nice and close.  There are warp stripes in six colours, weft stripes in two, and the overall pattern is an alternating 3:1 and 1:3 twill.  The places where the twill changes is offset from the colour stripe changes, which makes the whole thing much more interesting and gives more colours to the eye.  I can't wait to see how much better they all look, once they're washed and ironed.

Next time I'll show you the other weft combinations!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Doppler Socks

It's hard to follow up on those fluorescent green socks, but I had a couple more balls of the bright sock yarn from Knit Picks, and decided to knit it up, too.  These ones were blue and orange, which is another crazy colour combination (unless you're an Oilers fan.)  I decided to mix things up a bit with the stripes, and went from one row of orange to two rows to three rows and back again, keeping six rows of blue between.  It doesn't look as dramatic as I thought it might - perhaps varying the blue stripes would help, as well.  No worries, they are still cozy and fun socks, and my sock drawer is starting to look pretty wild!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Catching Up

I've actually been working on so many projects lately that I don't even know where to begin.

I finished my third Camp Loopy project on time, last month - this one was a lovely garter stitch wrap called Edge (Ravelry), which uses short rows to make little wedges of colour.  I used the Loopy Ewe's solid series yarn, incorporating a couple of neutral browns with a lovely clear blue for the accent colour.

It took a fair bit of yarn and a good chunk of my August knitting time, but since it's garter stitch, it went pretty fast.  The colour changes and short rows helped to keep it interesting enough, too, that it seemed to go fairly quickly, even if it took a few weeks.

The pattern specified a particular type of bind-off, to allow lots of stretch for blocking, but I found that the bind-off was a bit too stretchy, since when I blocked it (and I stretched it out beyond the recommended dimensions) the edges still ended up a bit ruffly.  Next time, I'd use a regular bind-off, probably.  Yes, there will probably be a next time, since this one is intended to be a gift, and I would really love to make myself one in a different colour scheme.  Lord knows I have plenty of sock yarn to make up something pretty for myself.

Overall, I really like the wrap - it's nice and big, and the garter stitch is so squishy and comfy.  I think it will be really perfect for cozying up in for a night of reading in the dark of winter.