Friday, August 19, 2011

FO: Fanette

When I saw Fanette in the Summer 2011 issue of KnitCircus, I thought it was pretty, and it went into the queue. However, it probably would have sat in the queue for a while longer (my queue is long!) had it not been for a Knit-a-long going on in the KnitCircus Ravelry Group. It seemed like a fun idea, however, so I decided to cast on and join in!

I love the lines that the slipped stitches make down the body of the shawl. I ended up adding two extra rows to the body, because at that point, it seemed like I had so much yarn left that I figured I couldn’t possibly use it all on the lace portion! It’s a good thing that I didn’t add any more extra rows, because I was worried about running out of yarn towards the end there- I only had 2 grams (of a 100 gram skein) left!

I used Malabrigo Sock yarn for the shawl. This is probably one of my favorite yarns. It’s super-soft, and the colors are gorgeous. I happened to have a skein of it in Velvet Grapes in my stash that was absolutely perfect.

I really enjoyed working on this. The pattern is simple enough that I didn’t get frustrated, but complicated enough to keep me interested. My only complaint was that the lace pattern moved every row. This made it impossible to separate the lace repeats with stitch-markers. I think it was worth it, though!

Pattern: Fanette

Yarn: Malabrigo Sock

Colorway: Velvet Grapes

Yardage: 431.2 yards

Modifications: None

Ravelry Project Page

This post is part of Tami's Amis' Finished Objects Fridays. Head on over to see what everyone else is working on!

Friday, August 12, 2011

FO: Alison Shawl

I finally finished my Alison Shawl. This shawl was a long time in the making. I start it in 2010, and I honestly can’t even remember why it ended up in hibernation. I found it in my UFO bin*, and decided that it was about time that I finished it! I am thrilled with the finished result, and am not sure why I put it off so long! I wish I could count this in 11 Shawls 2011 but, alas, since it was started last year it does not count.

This thing is really big and warm. It’s a great size for wrapping around me when I’m freezing (which is most of the time, in my office building!). Not only is it functional, but the lace pattern adds a bit of elegance. I love the color, too!

Berroco Ultra Alpaca is such a wonderful yarn. It’s soft and makes you just want to cuddle up with it and the colors are gorgeous. It also has fairly decent stitch definition, but is fuzzy enough to be a little forgiving of mistakes.

The only downside is that this shawl is kind of heavy. I’m a bit afraid that it will stretch out. I suppose if that happens, though, a good sock and re-blocking will fix it.

I made a few modifications to the pattern. First of all, the pattern calls for K3tog. Knitting three stitches together hurts my hands when I’m doing a bunch of them, so I decided to do a centered double decrease instead. I slipped two stitches knitwise, knit one stitch, and then passed the slip stitches over. It’s way less complicated than it sounds, I promise!

I decided to omit the four rows of garter stitch at the end of the shawl. The shaping of the shawl through the lace pattern naturally makes points at the bottom, and I felt like the garter stitch smoothed out these points a bit, even more than blocking could fix. I was concerned that the pattern would curl without the garter stitch, but it seems to have blocked out okay. I only wish that I had decided to omit the garter stitch before knitting those 1,124 stitches, then having to rip them out!

I also decided to go without the picot edging. Picot edging can be really pretty, but it seems like the only way to get it to lay flat is to pin out each one of the little picot bumps. I have neither the patience nor sufficient pins to make this happen. Additionally, when I tried the picot edging, some of the little picot peaks were lining up kind of weirdly with the natural points in the shawl, looking off-center. I ended up just doing my favorite nice, stretchy bind-off. Basically, instead of the typical bind off, you knit the two stitches together instead of pulling one stitch over the other.

Pattern: Alison Shawl

Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca

Colorway: Oceanic Mix

Yardage: 806.3

Project Ravelry Page

Modifications: Centered double decrease instead of K3tog, no garter stitch at the end, no picot bind-off.

This post is part of Tami's Amis' FO Fridays. Head on over there to see what everyone else is working on!

*“unfinished object,” not “unidentified flying object,” for those of you who are not knitting initiated.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

WIP Wednesday

It’s been a pretty decent week for knitting this week! We went to Kings Dominion on Saturday, and the drive gave me some time to work on my sock.* I am currently working on the leg. I’m not sure how high I want these socks to go- I’m kind of tempted to just keep knitting until I get close to the end of the skein, but I haven’t decided yet. I’m going to keep trying them on as I go until I decide they’re the right height, I think. I am loving the texture that I get from the pattern, and the sock seems to fit really well so far.

I bound off the Summer Flies shawlette. The picot bind-off took a while, but it was worth it. Now, I just need to weave in the ends and block it. I need to figure out exactly how I want to block it out- I’m thinking about maybe pinning out each of the picot points, but I may need to buy more pins if I do that. One of my sets of pins seems to have gone missing!

I restarted my Seascape stole. I had started knitting it last year, then it got put aside and forgotten. Unfortunately, I couldn’t remember what size needles I was using,** so I ended up biting the bullet and frogging my progress. Luckily, I hadn’t gotten too far, so it wasn’t too huge of a tragedy. I’ve started on chart A, and I’m not too far along yet, but I am remembering why I liked this pattern before. I also love the yarn- the colors are perfect for the wavy-like pattern, and it doesn’t really pool.

Last but not least, I have been working on knitting some catnip mice. I made a couple of these for the boyfriend’s cat, Zoey, for Christmas, and they went over really well- so well, in fact, that the cat kept stealing them out of his bag when he was packing them to bring with them to visit his parents. The pattern is really simple, and the nupps for the ears are much easier to knit using the tutorial on the Knitty Blog. I’ve decided to use the left-over scraps of yarn from other projects to make these. I’m hoping to have a bunch done by the next time I go to visit my parents, so that I can felt them in their washing machine (I have to use the communal one in the basement to do laundry at my complex, and it costs a lot of quarters!) After felting, they just need to be stuffed and sewn up. One will go to Zoey, because hers doesn’t seem to be very catnippy anymore,*** one will be saved for the cat that I intend to adopt as soon as I move to a cat-friendly apartment next winter, and the rest will be donated to shelter kitties.

What are you all working on this week? Head on over to Tami’s Amis to see what everyone else is doing.

*The boyfriend has complained of the noise my metal needles make when he’s in the car with me, so I packed a bamboo needle project.

**Bad knitter! Always make notes in Ravelry!

***This probably has something to do with the fact that she kept dunking it in her water bowl and making catnip tea.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Book Review: Outlander Series

Lately, I’ve been reading a series of books that I have been thoroughly enjoying, and I wanted to tell you all a little bit about them, too, so that you can enjoy them if you want. The books are part of the Outlander series by Diana Galbadon. I’m currently on book 4, Drums of Autumn.

The basic premise is that the protagonist, Claire, accidentally walks through a gap in time from Scotland in the 1940s to the 1740s. In doing so, she leaves behind her husband, Frank. As you can imagine, her modern(ish) clothing and attitude does cause some significant clashes and problems while she is there- most notably, she was thought by the first locals that she encountered to be a prostitute, because of her knee-length thin cotton dress. Although at first she wants nothing more than to escape back to her own time, she begins to settle in and make a life in her new world. She had been a nurse during World War II, and her medical knowledge proves to be very useful in making a name for herself as a healer. She also ends up forced to marry again, a handsome Scotsman named Jamie.

One thing that I found really interesting was that the author never actually intended to write the first book for publication. She started writing the novel as a practice exercise, and it pretty much took on a life of its own, and started a whole series!

I don’t want to tell you much more about the series, because I’m afraid I’ll give something important away and spoil the books. They’re incredibly good, though. I’ve been checking them out from the library on my Nook, because they’re kind of long and I’d really rather not have to tote them around. The problem, however, is that I can only borrow a book from the library for two weeks (and I can’t renew because there is a waiting list). Each of these books seems to get successively longer. The Drums of Autumn, which I downloaded on Wednesday, is 1,050 pages long. I think (hope?) I can manage to finish it in the allotted time, but I’m concerned what will happen when I get to the end of the series, if they books continue to grow in length!

Friday, August 5, 2011

FO: Spring Meadow Socks

As some of you may remember from last week’s Work in Progress Wednesday, I had been working on some nice, basic, top-down socks. I started them ages ago, forgot about them, and recently rediscovered them. Since then, I've finished them!

I love self-striping yarns- you get such a complicated-looking effect for very little effort. I do try to use the stripes to match up the socks, too- for example, I make sure to start the toe at the beginning of the pink part on both socks.

I think I made these socks a tad too small, but they’ll stretch. I really like the colors, and the way the pink stands out against the pale green and blue flecks. I can’t wait until the weather is cool enough for me to wear them!

I have made this pattern so many times that I barely have to look at it when I’m knitting socks. I do glance at it to double-check and make sure I’m turning the heel and doing the kitchener stitch properly, but I’ve pretty much got the rest of it memorized. It’s a nice, simple pattern that really makes striped sock yarn stand out!

Pattern: Silver’s Sock Class: One Sock on Four Double-Pointed Needles

Yarn: Premier Yarns Deborah Norville Serenity Sock Yarn

Colorway: Chili (at least I think it is- I don’t seem to have the ball band anymore, and this color online looks similar to what I have)

Needles: US2 DPNs

Ravelry Project Page

The Verdict: Obviously, I love this pattern- I’ve made it several times already. I also love the yarn, and in fact have a pair of socks in Serenity Sock Yarn in another colorway on the needles now. So, I think it goes without saying that I will use both the yarn and the pattern again. I really do want to stress that Silver’s Sock Class is the best place to go if you’re new at top-down socks and want to learn how to knit them. I knit my very first socks using her tutorial, and I have returned again and again. She has really detailed pictures showing you exactly what you need to do, and breaks it down into tiny little steps.

This post is a part of Tami's Ami's FO Fridays. Head on over to see what everyone else is working on!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

WIP Wednesday

I've been busy again this week! I finished my Spring Meadow socks, so I cast on for a pair of toe-up socks. I've only knit top-down socks so far, and wanted to learn a new technique. I decided to make the Sunrise Socks by WendyKnits- I've knit two of her shawl patterns, so I know I like her designing style, and it seemed like a really basic pattern. I started with Judy's Magic Cast-On- as a side-note, if you are new to knitting toe-up socks and want to try them, this is an excellent tutorial for the cast-on.

I've made it through the heel of the first sock. The toe was really fiddly, but I got through it! I was thrilled to discover with the heel that I didn't have to pick up any stitches. I'm not super-thrilled with the way the yarn is pooling, but these are practice socks and, worst-case scenario, I can always wear them in the winter hidden under boots.

I did make one small (accidental) modification to the pattern. The pattern calls for one row of k1p1, then three rows of stockinette. I somehow managed to read that as two rows of stockinette, but it looks fine this way, and by the time I had realized what had happened, I was too far along to want to frog back.

My Summer Flies Shawlette is coming along really nicely. I'm on section six of seven. I'm considering making this section (the Knotted Openwork) a bit bigger, but i haven't decided yet. I've really been enjoying working on it!

This post is part of Tami's Amis' Work in Progress Wednesdays. Head on over to see what everyone else is working on!