Monday, January 31, 2011

FO: Napoleon's Coat

This was done in time for Christmas, but I only just now got some good pictures back. This adorable fellow is Napoleon, my brother’s girlfriend’s dog. He spends a lot of time at my parents’ house. As a tiny little thing, he finds most people pretty scary and is super-aggressive to them. However, around my family, he is the sweetest little angel. He loves to cuddle up to us, and one of his favorite places to be when I’m in bed is sleeping on my chest.

He’s also always really really really cold. The poor darling shivers all the time. My parents bought him a winter coat, but it’s really not that great- it’s too big, light blue (it’ll get so dirty!), and just looks kind of weird on him. I decided he needed a nicer coat for Christmas. How could I not want to make something nice for someone who adores me so much?

I chose to knit it in superwash wool because I wanted something that would be warm and also be able to go in the washing machine when he decides to roll in something yucky. I had a picture in my head of how I wanted the coat to look, with a cable going around the whole edge, but I couldn’t find a pattern that fit what I wanted. I ended up having to design it myself. I knit the cable at the butt-end of the coat and picked up stitches along it for the body, using some short rows to shape the corners. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, especially since I didn't have Napoleon with me to try it on as I designed it.

I’m really happy with the results. The color looks great on him, and the coat fits him really well. It’s been keeping him nice and warm this winter!

Pattern: My own design

Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash

Needles: US5

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

WIP Wednesday

I’ve definitely made some significant amount of knitting progress this week! I’m almost done with my Everlasting Bagstopper- just a few more rows to go, then the handles!

The Monkey socks are looking good as well. I’ve turned the heel on the first sock and started the foot.

I joined a second ball on the Truly Tasha's shawl- it doesn’t look like I’ve made a ton of progress, but I’m definitely moving on it.

Last but not least, I cast on last night for my mother’s birthday gift, a pair of Café Au Lait Mitts. I've just finished knitting the thumb gusset:

This is part of Tami’s Amis WIP Wednesday. Take a look to see what everyone else is working on!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Knitpicks Arrival!

Look what came in the mail for me today! My mother’s birthday is coming up, and she mentioned to my father that she wished she had another pair of fingerless mitts (why she didn’t tell me, the knitter of said mitts, this, I have no idea!) Anyway, my father passed this information on to me, and I placed an order with Knitpicks. I chose some Swish DK in Dusk to knit either the Café Au Lait mitts or Susie’s Reading Mitts.

However, since I was placing an order anyway, and Knitpicks has just come out with the gorgeous Chroma line, I also had to order some of that. I chose two skeins of the worsted weight, one in the Fossil colorway and one in Galapagos. I intended to use these to make one of the Noro Striped Scarves, but after seeing them in person, I’m not sure that the colors really go together. What do you guys think? Here's a picture of the two together:

I also ordered a skein of Midwinter. I’ll be striping this with Knitpicks Palette in either gray or purple to make a Daybreak shawl.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

FO: Lavalette

I bought this yarn on impulse from Dizzy Sheep’s Labor Day Spinoff. I wasn’t really in a sock-knitting mood, so I decided to use it for a shawlette. I picked the Lavalette shawl. Although the pattern is intended for laceweight yarn, I saw that someone else had used Berocco Sox Metallic, and it was gorgeous. I decided to do the same.

The pattern was really simple. It alternates stockinette portions with sections of yo, K2tog. This does beautiful things with the color variations in the yarns.

The yarn feels fairly durable, and I bet it would make great socks. The colors are so bright and pretty, and it has sparkles! (Sparkles are always a plus in my book!)

Pattern: Lavalette

Yarn: Berroco Sox Metallic

Colorway: Acai

Needles: US7

The Verdict: I really like the finish project. The pattern is simple enough to show off the yarn, while having enough going on to keep me interested. It’s also nice and cheerful-looking!

Friday, January 21, 2011

FO: Biscuits & Bones Dog Sweater

My first finished object of 2011 was a Christmas present that should have been done in 2010: A sweater for the dog. She gets really cold after she gets bathed, and I can’t stand to see her shivering! I chose a beautiful dark teal color of Berroco Vintage. It’s soft and warm, and makes a nice, thick fabric.

The pattern I chose, Biscuits & Bones, was admittedly rather challenging. It has two different cable patterns, neither of which is simple. I found it easier to create and copy paste the rows from the two patterns together, so that each row’s directions would show everything that would need to be done, rather than directing me back and forth to different patterns.

One of the biggest problems I had was trying to out-think the pattern. I saw "moss stitch," and thought that I vaguely remember reading somewhere that moss stitch is the same thing as seed stitch. I thought the pattern was written wrong, tried to fix it, ended up messing up, end had to unravel some parts. Finally, I gave in and just followed the pattern and, guess what? It turned out perfectly!

Pattern B makes some really cool diamond shapes in the center of the sweater, while pattern A forms the biscuits and bones for which the pattern is named.

I absolutely love how this turned it. It fits her perfectly, and it is so beautiful! The pattern is a little complicated, but really satisfying for a project this size. If I tried to do something this complicated in a sweater my size, I think I would have gotten frustrated and never finished.

Pattern: Biscuits and Bones Dog Coat

Yarn: Berroco Vintage

Needles: US7 (Body), US6 (edging and neck)

The Verdict: The pattern was great, and the yarn was absolutely lovely. I’ll definitely be knitting with it again!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

11 Shawls in 2011

Remember how I lost my mind and committed to trying to knit 11 shawls in 2011? Well, upon further consideration, I’ve decided it may not be such an insane idea after all! I have so many shawls in my queue, and I have a bad habit of knitting them, then not weaving in the ends or blocking them. This will encourage me to actually finish the shawls!

I’ve looked through my queue, and I’ve decided on 8 shawls that I think I’ll probably do. That leaves three for me to decide on as the year progresses.

First up, of course, is Truly Tasha’s shawl, which I’ve already started. I’m using Baby Alpaca Brush by Plymouth yarns. A lot of times, I order yarn with a specific project in mind, and then it sits in my stash for awhile and gets used for something else. Not this time! I ordered the yarn with Truly Tasha in mind, and that’s what I’m using it for!

Daybreak has been calling to me for a long time. It’s so pretty! I keep seeing FOs of this popping up all over I ordered the yarn from Knitpicks when I ordered the materials for my mother’s birthday present, and I’m waiting on it now. I got the shipping notice yesterday! I’m going to be working on it in the new Chroma fingering weight yarn in the Midwinter colorway for Color A, with Palette in either a dark purple or dark gray as Color B (I ordered both, because I wasn’t sure which one would go better).

Summer Flies is also one of those shawls that’s been languishing in my queue* for awhile. I’m going to use Berroco Ultra Alpaca in Winter White for this. It’s a nice sampler type pattern, with several different lace patterns, and I think it will be a lot of fun to work on.

The Swallowtail shawl is one of those shawls that everyone seems to be making. All of the FOs look so pretty, and I just have to have one (I want to be one of the cool kids, too!) I’m going to be knitting it in Knitpicks Shadow in a gorgeous burgundy color.

Clapotis is another one of those shawls that everyone is making. I think they look pretty cool, and I really want one too. The idea of dropping stitches on purpose is just so much fun! I’m making it in Elann Adara in a pretty mix of different shades of brown called Pecan.

Saroyan is so gorgeous, and I think it would make a great scarf/shawl. I love the leaf edging! I’m not sure what color I want this to be (green seems most appropriate, but most greens are not really my color), but I do know that I’d like to knit it in Berocco Vintage. I used the yarn on the dog sweater and fell in love with it. Next time I make a trip to the LYS I will pick up a couple of skeins.

Revontuli is one of those patterns that just looks so incredibly cool in a self-striping yarn! Self-striping yarns are always fun, but especially so on a pattern that makes waves or zig-zags. I picked up some of the fairly new Patons Lace in a blue and white colorway (I think maybe it’s called Porcelain or something?) a few months ago, and I intend to use that for this shawl.

Last but not least is Garden Pond. I only queued this one a month or so ago, so I haven’t been drooling over it for long, but it’s so pretty! I’m going to make it with 2 skeins of Arauncania Itata Multi in a colorway that kind of reminds me of blue jeans.

The best part of this is that I have the yarn for five of these shawls in my stash already, and for two of them it is currently in transit. The only shawl I’ll have to buy yarn for is Saroyan. This should definitely help me cut down on my stash some.

I’m glad I’m leaving myself some extra flexibility, too- I really don’t want to lock myself into 11 shawls now, then find a gorgeous one later and not be able to knit it! This way, I can choose three more as the year progresses.

*Also, I finally managed to memorize how to spell queue. No more “quque,” “queque”, etc. I am so proud of myself! I’m not sure why I was convinced there were two “q”s, except for the fact that it seems really weird to have four vowels next to each other.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

WIP Wednesdays

I spent the last week pretty sick with a really bad cold that was totally kicking my butt (thus no finished object posts- I simply didn’t have the energy to take pictures!), but I still managed some knitting, and I’m finally starting to feel a little better.

I made a fair amount of progress on my Everlasting Bagstopper. I think I’m about half-way done with it.

I also did a ton of knitting on my openwork lace scarf. I’ve knit an entire skein of the yarn; I do have a second one, but I just ordered a swift and I’m holding off on winding it so that I can use my new swift! Unfortunately, this means that all progress on the scarf has come to a halt until my swift arrives.

Having recovered from the problems I had with Katika last week, I apparently have taken leave of my sanity and committed to try to knit 11 Shawls in 2011. I started Truly Tasha’s Shawl out of a soft alpaca acrylic blend. The body of it is really simple, although the edging looks like it might be a little complicated. It should make a really thick, warm, large, soft shawl. My office is freezing, and I wanted something a little more classy than huddling under a blanket at my desk, so a shawl like this seemed like the perfect compromise between freezing and blanket. I’m still on the first skein (of 8), but I’m making progress!

This is part of Tami’s Amis WIP Wednesday. Head on over and see what everyone else is working on!