Friday, August 20, 2010

FO: Seriously Simple Shawl (Less Dressy Green Version)

I love the way the last Seriously Simple shawl looked, and I decided that I had to make another one. As is normally the case, it was a little easier to knit this pattern a second time, because I knew exactly where I would have issues and figured out how to make things easier (for example, it's worth it to have stitch markers marking off every repeat. Even if that means 32 stitch markers are in the shawl). This one felt like it went a lot faster.

The yarn looked a little bit bluer on the website, but that's okay! This color matches the green stripes in one of my dresses perfectly.

Pattern: Seriously Simple Shawl

Yarn: Jojoland Melody

Colorway: Greenish-Blue (that's not the name of the colorway- the name is a lot of numbers. It's my description).

Needles: Size 6

Made For: Me

The Verdict: I love it. It's lacy, yet solid enough to keep my shoulders and back warm. The yarn wasn't quite as soft as I would have liked, but it's also really reasonably priced, and it's not unsoft, either. It feels like it will hold up very well.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

FO: Seriously Simple Shawl (Sparkly, Dressy Version)

Wendyknits posted this shawl on her blog, and I simply couldn't resist- I had to make one! I did not, however, have 600 yards of any one fingering-weight yarn in my stash, so I needed to order some. Universal Yarn Star Light was only $6 for a 300-yard ball, making for a $12 project- score! It was also sparkly- how could I resist?

The shawl was fairly easy, if you paid enough attention to it. The chart really laid it out very well, and was so easy to follow! I had the most problem with the zigzag pattern at the bottom, but so long as I didn't get distracted, I was fine.

The yarn was fairly easy to work with, but a little difficult to frog. Nothing nearly as difficult as frogging pure mohair, though.

I wasn't sure how it would block out, being acrylic and all, but I was pleasantly surprised. My boyfriend called it my bat shawl, because when I pinned it out it looked rather batlike, and was, of course, black. Maybe I could see it- if the bat managed to get into a jar of glitter.

Pattern: Seriously Simple Shawl

Yarn: Universal Yarn Star Light

Colorway: Black

Needles: Size 6

Made For: Me

The Verdict: I love it. It's so soft and sparkly! I have no clue where I'm going to wear it, but I'll find someplace!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

FO: Ballybrae Clutch

I decided that I needed to make a nice small clutch to go with the beret. The Ballybrae clutch totally fit the bill. It's nice and small, and I had enough yarn left over from the beret to use the same yarn, which meant that it would be a perfect match.

The construction of the purse is rather unique- you make almost an upside-down T. You then fold the sides of the T inward to meet each other, and sew the seams. This creates a seam across the bottom and down the front. I know it's really hard to picture; taking a look at the pattern might help you understand better. I'm not sure how I feel about the construction, as I don't really like having the seam down the front, even if it is mostly covered by the flap.

For a closure, I saw the button on sale for 50% off at the Fabric store, and it seemed perfect for a Black & White color swap. I lined it with a nice daisy print white and black fabric.

Pattern: Ballybrae Soft Clutch

Yarn: Valley Yarns Northhampton

Colorway: White

Needles: Size 3 Circulars

Made for: Montly Color Swap (July: Black & White)

The Verdict: I'm fairly pleased with the finished result, but not thrilled- I'm not a fan of the seam down the front, and I wish it were a little less floppy (really, for a worsted weight yarn knit on size three needles, I was expecting it to be a little stiffer). Overall, though, I think it's definitely a nice purse and should please the recipient.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

FO: Star Swirl Beret

My swap partner for the July Monthly Color Swap let me know that she loves knitted berets, so I decided to make one for her. I found a pattern on Ravelry, printed it out, knit it, discarded my hard copy and then…couldn't find it again. I've found several similar patterns, but I cannot seem to find the one that I knit. I'm very confused.

I knit it in Valley Yarns Northhampton, which has some seriously impressive yardage- I managed to knit this beret and a clutch out of one skein. It seems pretty comparable to Cascade 220, but is cheaper for more yardage- what's not to like?

Pattern: ?

Yarn: Valley Yarns Northhampton

Colorway: White

Needles: Size 3 Circulars

Made for: Montly Color Swap (July: Black & White)

The Verdict: I love the way it looks. The swirl pattern on the nice simple white looks very chic and sophisticated. When I was knitting it, I was afraid that it would be a little small, but the yarn really bloomed out nicely when I washed and blocked it. I'm quite pleased with the result, and hopefully my Swap partner will be too!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

FO: Chastain Park Shawl

When I saw Noro Silk Garden in a gorgeous colorway on the Jimmy Beans Wool Watcher at a really decent price, I couldn't resist ordering three skeins. I then had to find a pattern to make with my pretty new yarn- something simple, so that it would show off the pretty color changes, but with a little bit of lace to add some interest. I settled on the Chastain Park Shawl pattern.

I loved the pattern. It was an excellent choice for the yarn. It was simple enough, yet still pretty. I managed to mess up on the lacy edge a few times, but that was totally my fault, not the pattern's. My only complaint is that I hadn't done much triangular shawl knitting in the past, and it wasn't really clear from the pattern that it was to be knitted from the top down- I was incredibly confused until I actually just gave up trying to understand and started knitting. Once you can see it in action, it's fine- but since this is a pattern that is supposed to be good for beginners, I think they should spell that out a little bit better to prevent confusion.

While the pattern was great, I was no so thrilled with the yarn. So many people seem to either love or hate Noro that I refused to buy it at full price, and I'm really glad that I did that. While most of the color changes are gorgeous, I really don't get the hype. There was way too much vegetable matter (twigs and bits of wood)- I don't want to get a splinter from my knitting! It went way beyond a thick-and-thin yarn- there were points where it was like a ball of fiber just got bound up with the rest of the yarn. I ended up having to trim these places. To make matters worse, while most of the colors were gorgeous (pinks, purples, and a little bit of blue), there was this awful mustard yellow that kept showing up. The yellow completely did not go with the rest of the yarn, and I ended up having to cut it out, leaving me even more ends to weave in- and I hate weaving in ends.

Luckily, I had a little more yarn than the shawl required, and I ended up making the lacey portion a little bit bigger- I basically kept knitting it until it looked like the yarn would run out.

Yarn: Noro Silk Garden

Pattern: Chastain Park Shawl

Made For: Me

The Verdict: I love the finished object- it's really pretty, and the colors are perfect. I would definitely make the pattern again. However, the yarn was way more trouble than it was worth- It created a lot of extra work, since I had to pick out splinters, trim down the slubby bits, and cut out the yellow portions. I definitely would not buy Noro Silk Garden again. I might be persuaded to buy a different Noro yarn if it was really on sale, but even that isn't particularly likely.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

FO: Squatty Sidekick Purse

First of all, I don't know that this is the best name for the pattern- it makes it sound really unattractive, when it's actually pretty cute! I made it for the Monthly Color Swap group on Ravelry- the color was red, as you can probably tell. Felting is a lot of fun, so I thought I'd make a nice felted bag for my swap partner.

It was fairly easy to make; there wasn't really anything difficult about the pattern. The worst part was lining it- it was easy enough to sew the lining on the machine, but I hate hand-sewing it into the bag- it's so hard to make the stitches look nice and neat! The bag actually sat around for awhile because I couldn't bring myself to finish sewing in the lining- it's a good thing that there was a deadline, because it forced me to finish it!

Pattern: Amanda' Squatty Sidekick

Yarn: Paton's Classic Wool

Colorway: Bright Red

Made for: Montly Color Swap (June: Red)

The Verdict: The purse turned out really nicely, and I'm quite pleased with the result. I probably wouldn't make one for me, just because I generally like larger purses to lug around all of my stuff, but I'd definitely make more as a gift.