Thursday, June 28, 2012

WIP Thursday

Whoops, forgot to post this yesterday, so I guess it's a WIP Thursday this week!

I’m still chugging away on the Ubiquitous Kate and Radiance shawls.  While I’ve completed a few more rows on the Ubiquitous Kate, it does look pretty much like it did last week, so I don’t see much of a point of showing you almost identical pictures!

I’ve made a lot of progress on the Radiance shawl.  I am now about 50% of the way done.  I’m still on my first ball of yarn, so I am no longer worried about running out before I reach the end of the shawl.  Because so much of this shawl is stockinette/garter stitch, it’s a little bit more rewarding to work on than your traditional lace shawl, because I can see how pretty it will look even before blocking.  Don’t get me wrong, I will still need to block it, but I have a much better idea of what it will look like.  I’m still really enjoying knitting with the Malabrigo Lace. Unfortunately the cat seems to have developed exceptionally good taste in yarn, and she wants to play with my Malabrigo too.  At least we get to both enjoy my knitting!

I’m also working on the Wendy Knits Summer Solstice Mystery Shawl.  I made Wendy’s Summer Mystery Shawlette last year, and loved knitting and wearing it (I even made a second one for my Mom!).  This year, we’re knitting a bottom-up shawl.  Basically, you start knitting this thing with no clue as to how it is going to look.  I’d be hesitant to do this with most designers, but I love pretty much everything that Wendy has ever designed.  She has a schedule (more or less weekly, depending on how big each part is), and she releases the pattern in pieces.  So far she has released three pieces of the pattern.  The first included gauge/swatching and material information.  The second one was the edging of the shawl.  The third piece is the next shawl chart.

I’m knitting it in Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in the Forestry colorway.  I purchased this skein some time ago, and it has been languishing in my stash, waiting for the right project.  It’s a gorgeous green color with hints of blue.  I’ve finished knitting through chart B (clue 3).

The pattern calls for making nupps, but Wendy suggests that you can substitute beads instead.  My poor boyfriend has been so patient with me on this, since I was working on it while I spent the weekend with him.  First, I decided I wanted to knit the nupps, but I didn’t have a proper-sized crochet hook, so we had to make a trip to Michael’s to get one.  Then I tried working the nupps, and decided that while I am capable of doing them, I really don’t like it, and certainly would not enjoy knitting the hundred-some that the pattern would require.  Knitting is something I do for fun, so it doesn’t seem worth it to me to force myself to do a technique I hate.  We went back to Michael’s a second time for beads and a smaller crochet hook to add them to the knitting.  Fast forward to later when I tried using the beads....and discovered that the color beads I had bought really didn’t work all that well with my yarn.  I convinced my boyfriend to go the craft store with me for a third time (Joann’s this time), where I purchased clear beads with a silver lining.  The boyfriend is sick of craft stores, and sick of staring at bead colors, but I finally have beads that I like!

So far, I really love the way this shawl is turning out.  I love the color, and the beads provide a subtle hint of glitz to the shawl.  I’m having a lot of fun knitting along with a group, and it’s also a great support system- if you get stuck at all, all you have to do is post your question in the thread and either Wendy or another helpful knitter (or both!) will help you figure out what you need to do.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

WIP Wednesday

 I’ve been working on the Radiance shawl, and I am loving it!  I’m knitting with Malabrigo lace, and it feels so wonderful on my hands as I work.  I used it as my travel knitting because it is such a simple pattern that I can pick it up and put it away without too much worry about losing my place.  I also got a compliment on it from the airline stewardess, who thinks that the color is “very jean-friendly.”  I’m a little over 30% of the way down (The pattern will tell you in 10% increments how far along you are!  How cool is that?)

My other project is also a shawl, the Ubiquitous Kate.  It’s modeled after the shawl that Kate Middleton wore.  I love the look of ruffles, and really wanted to make something similar.  There are a couple of patterns imitating that shawl, but I really liked this one and it is free!  I had some Knitpicks Stroll Sock yarn in a beautiful dark purple color in my stash (I think I bought it for a sweater at one point), and decided to use that.  I am enjoying working on it, but it does require a little more concentration than the Radiance shawl.  Even though it’s not lace, there is a subtle zig-zag pattern made up of purls, and it’s charted.  The wrong side is really easy, however- except for a increase at each end of the row, it’s all purl stitches!  I’ve completed three repeats of the zig-zag pattern so far.

What are you working on this week?  If you’d like to see everyone else’s works-in-progress, head on over to Tami’s Amis’ Work in Progress Wednesday!

P.S.: In case anyone was wondering, it is much easier to photograph a WIP when your cat isn't trying to steal your stitch markers. Thanks, Maddie!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Blog Overhaul

As you can see, I’ve been rather neglectful of the blog lately.  I’ve decided that it needs an overhaul, so I’ve decided to make some changes around here.

I’ve started with a new name: Knits, Cooks, Cats, and Books.  I think this pretty accurately represents what’s going on in my life right now.  My main hobbies are knitting, cooking, and reading, and of course my cat, Madelyn, is a huge part of my life.

I’m going to try to participate more often in Work in Progress Wednesdays and Finished Object Fridays, but I’m also going to try out some new posting topics, too.  These may include book or movie reviews, recipes, and stories about Madelyn’s antics (and that little hellion does manage to get herself into a lot of trouble!)  I may also post to let you guys know when I find a cool giveaway somewhere on the internet.

I’ve also started a twitter account- you can find me under @ACraftyKnitter.

I’ll start posting again week after next- this coming week, I’m on vacation in Orlando!

In the mean time, enjoy a gratuitous cute cat picture. Please ignore the boyfriend's socks on the ground. Look how well Maddie is getting along with Zoey (the boyfriend's cat!)