In the blur that was the holiday season 2010, there was lots of knitting but no blogging or photographing of FOs — especially since presents were part of the mix. The upside of that, however, was that I got a fresh mix of scenery and faces for this blog.
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash (Lichen)
I’ve long-admired this pattern on Ravelry and picked it because I could easily lengthen the center section. (Mom isn’t a fan of wool, or anything really warm, right around her neck.) Plus, she’s also a big fan of Bones, so I knew she’d appreciate the nod to the show made by the pattern’s designer. Since she wore it throughout present opening, I’m pretty sure it was a hit. She was a good sport about modeling it for me later in good light (and, as promised, she’ll be happy to see that I did not include her no-makeup face in the posted photo).
Yarn: Araucania Nature Wool Solids (Orange)
This pattern is seriously addictive. I was only about half-way done with Mom’s where I decided I needed to make a second. This one for my friend Liz, who’s also a knitter. (Meaning, I could rest assured that she’d appreciate a handmade birthday present.) I really loved this yarn, which I haven’t knit with before, but picked because it was the closest match I could find to the yarn I bought in Taos for my Transverse Cardigan that she openly coveted. Mission accomplished because she asked within minutes of opening the scarf, “Is this that yarn from Taos?”
Pattern: Destroyed Cowl
Yarn: Brown Sheep Handpaint Originals (Rose Slate)
This last FO was actually the first finished, started and completed during that long Thanksgiving weekend as I kept Izzy company on the couch and watched too-many-to-count episodes of Monk (selected because the kid is really into mysteries at the moment and this is one of the few series where the violence is kept to a minimum; plus, if you saw Izzy’s room you’d understand my desire to try to send a little OCD vibe her way). While this one was knit for me, I was happy to share its wooly warmth for her test run in MN of her new ice skates.
Pattern: Basic Knitted Dog Sweater from Dogs in Knits
Yarn: Crystal Palace Yarns Taos (Hopi) and Nashua Handknits Julia (Velvet Moss)
Started: Nov 6, 2010
Finished: Nov 20, 2010
After making a sweater for a co-worker’s dog, how could I not make one for our little puppy? That’s the question Izzy recently posed. Then as if to drive home her point, the shaggy but not particularly furry Violet keeps shivering outside in the mornings. (Nice to see Izzy’s been sharing her dramatic skills.)
So I set about using leftover yarn in my stash, just in case Violet turned out to be sweater averse or decided it was as tasty as Izzy’s socks. I saved the leg cuffs for last, testing after I’d added one — and good thing, that band proved the tipping point for Violet’s tolerance. Off it came. Right now, Violet’s wearing her sweater without complaint. Izzy even swears she’s smiling about it.
Pattern: Finley from by Marie Grace Smith
Yarn: Mission Falls 1824 Cotton
Started: June 2010
Finished: Nov 2010
I started the year with two simple, but long overdue, goals: knit lace, knit cables. For nearly two decades, I hovered in the advanced beginner realm, picking projects that promised relaxation and few challenges. But 2010 would be different. I’d stretched but hard for work the previous year and came out the better for it and not too banged up. Time to move out of my comfort zone in other areas.
Being a “let’s hold our nose and get the worst of it over first” kind of person, I started with the lace. The pattern was easy on the lace scale, but a worthy enough foe to make it one of my now prized possessions. Onto the cables … and the discovery that I couldn’t wait to turn that next cable.* The pattern, itself, was addicting and oh-so-smartly written. What’s not to love about a sweater that requires weaving in ends and toggle buttons as the only finishing details. No seaming! (And even so, that finishing sat untouched for a good month.)
Since I wanted to morph the Finely coat into a closer-fitting sweater for Izzy, I chose to use up a bunch of black cotton yarn I’d had for years — intended for Leigh Radford’s gorgeous Kandinsky Kimono. I purchased it back in 2002 during a moment of “nothing’s too hard if you want the knit item bad enough” delirium. (On a side note, kudos to the four Ravelers who’ve actually completed it. I’m so not worthy.)
Other than swapping out the wool yarn for cotton and using the 4-6 directions (Izzy’s 9), the only other mod I made was to do one fewer toggle (knew she’d never want it buttoned at the neck).
Special thanks to The Knitmore Girls for their terrific couture button tutorial.
* And couldn’t wait to start the next cable project; while I worked on Finley’s cable-less sleeves, I added in a few bibs.
I, like so many others, loved the Citron when I first saw it in Knitty. I watched it explode in popularity for the Ravelympics and then continue to be added to queues at a healthy double-digit/day pace in the many months since. (Any statistics junkies out there really need to check out this cool feature, if you haven’t already.) So by the time I got around to actually knitting it — not counting my first failed attempt with Classic Elite Yarns Silk Alpaca Lace (which is now taking an extended timeout in my stash bin, given that it was the second failed project attempt with said yarn) — I called it “Citron #1,000,001.”
And off I went, casting on with Malabrigo for the first time. What can I say about this heavenly soft, color-drenched yarn that hasn’t already been said? Sigh. Or about the mindless mindful knitting Citron‘s many stitches provide? (It was only that last 540-stitch ruffle that tested my patience.) Then I tried on my unblocked piece and, once again, was reminded that my neck is as short and stumpy as Ms. Callis’ is long and graceful. (This probably wouldn’t be such a sore point, but all my life it’s a detail that’s been rubbed in with silly zodiac descriptions proclaiming that as a Taurus I have a “swan-like neck.” No, I’m not bitter.)
So after scanning Ravelry to see how else knitters were wearing it, I found a kinder draping. Check. Then I decided that as much as I loved the ruffles, it was a little too girly for my wardrobe liking. How about mixing in a few hard edges? So I blocked it with some random, angular points. (Promise: It wasn’t just lazy pinning.) Must say, I’m pleased with the outcome.
And, for better or worse, so is Izzy.
Even before “sweater weather” meant hand-knit woolens, fall was my favorite season. But here in Albuquerque, crisp mornings continue to betray me. Midday temperatures climb with the sun, reaching for 80. So it was with great joy that I actually cast on a wool sweater this weekend — the “Transverse Cardigan,” which has been at the top of my Ravelry queue since I bought the burnished terra cotta yarn in Taos.
And the desire to start that sweater meant I found the momentum to finish the straggling projects I’d decided needed to be done first. My “Citron” is blocking right now (stay tuned) and I completed the second round of “Modern Cabled Baby Bibs” (the blue ones below, alongside the girly one I knit earlier in the summer but never got around to blogging). This pattern is a fun variation on cotton dish cloths when you’re looking for a cheap thrill. And the FO photos are a good lesson/reminder — I’m going to pull up these side-by-side pics the next time I’m tempted not to block anything.
Next up? The i-cord loops and button band for Izzy’s “Finley” so I can cast on that “Oscilloscope Shawl.”
Let me begin with the knitting, for a change. After much ado (and I do mean much ado), I have survived my knitting kryptonite and completed Deep Peace. All told, I knit this wrap nearly three times. My problems had nothing to do with the pattern, which fulfills its promise of two straight-forward lace repeats, but had everything to do with being new to lace. And did I mention, irrationally afraid of lace?
When I first started knitting Deep Peace, I flashed back to those early knitting days — the half-holding your breath when working through a pattern for fear of making a mistake with no idea of how to correct it. I went in with the low, low goal of knitting something *close* to the pattern. Hey, this was a “lace experiment.” Even then, the center section is what nearly did me in. Each unmistakable mistake meant ripping it back to the garter-stitch divider. After a half-dozen starts, I got smart and hunted down some tips … and (cue choir of angels) discovered lifelines.
Once I knew that sustained perfection was no longer a requirement, I exhaled. And relaxed. Started feeling that deep peace. And then frogged the whole thing to start over. Because why not aim for something close to perfection when it’s within reach? (And being the knitter my grandmother raised, really there is no other choice.)
So, feeling all ridiculously “hear me roar,” I decided to tackle another aspiration.
Meet Violet, our 10-week-old puppy.
Just to be clear: I haven’t thrown in the proverbial towel on my Moderne Log Cabin blanket.
Rather, thanks to the wise words of McMary, I’ve reframed my perspective. The new goal? A personal best, which really couldn’t be more achievable given that this is my first Ravelympics appearance. So let’s see just how much I can get done in the remaining Olympics week. And let’s be smart about competing — like the marathon winding session this morning of all remaining blanket yarn (with an assist from Izzy).
As the weekend comes to a close, here’s the current standing: one block (#5) down and another well on its way. Not to mention a renewed appreciation of the miles of Zen this project offers.
Oh yeah, and just to appease that crazy type-A part of my personality, I made and attached the tassels on my trio of hats WIP. Knitting was done a few weeks ago, but I just don’t enjoy making pompoms, tassels, etc. Seriously, the amount of angst (and procrastination) produced by these finishing details is crazy.
Wanted a scarf better suited for running around ABQ, and I found this one-skein Askance Cowl pattern on Ravelry. It was just complicated enough to keep it interesting, yet simple enough for a relaxing evening project. (Did I mention it was a crazy-busy week at work?)
Pleased with the yarn (soft, washable, light-weight wool) and the colors (green, blue, purple — big surprise — with a nice gold to set them off). In fact, decided to grab another skein from my LYS so I can create a matching set of fingerless mitts.
I finished the knitting on Thursday, while watching Conan. Still love me some Robin Williams. But now as the mother of a spirited child, I can’t watch him without thinking about what he must have been like as a child. Oy.
Anyway, had planned to block the cowl this morning, but decided that I liked it wavy. Of note: It’s also been quite a week for the bulb Izzy gave me for Christmas, which was just barely sprouting last weekend. (Have I mentioned how much I love Izzy’s Garden Club at school?)
Right before Christmas, Izzy spied a pair of mittens at the holiday craft safe at our church. I try not to give into these whims — the whole giving rather than receiving thing — but not only were the mittens adorable and fleece-lined wool, they were also crazy cheap. The fact that they were fair-trade wares from Peacecraft is what pushed me to “yes.”
But then, of course, my little fashionista needed a hat to match. And it needed to be a quick knit — we are in Albuquerque, where spring is right around the corner.
Well, I pretty much knit the whole thing up today during a two-and-a-half-hour spelling bee. Mission accomplished plus sanity preserved.
And, yes, that is the Christmas tree still up in the background. It’s coming down this weekend. Hey, St. Knut’s Day fell during the week… (I’m Swedish, so that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)