Urchin

The last of the projects that I finished early last year, before I even moved, was Urchin by Ysolda Teague. This is one of Ysolda’s very early patterns from the 2007 Fall Knitty. The reason I chose to make it is the unique construction. It’s knit vertically around your head and joined when you have the needed circumferences, rather than starting circularly and knitting from the brim to the top.


I HATE that the brim is folded under in all my pictures. I think it looks crazy. One of the problems with getting a non-knitter without much enthusiasm for hand-mades to take your photos… They’re more concerned with snapping the shots and getting out of the cold than with making sure you have awesome photos for Ravelry. Some people’s priorities are so out of whack.
(I also wish I had been told about that one straggly strand of hair, it would have been so easy to tuck into the hat. Sigh. First world problems.) I knit the smallest size which makes a much more beanie style hat than the beret shape that the larger sizes tend to form. All in all it took two days of knitting to make this (and I probably only spent 2-3 hours each day.) Nevermind that Ravelry says it took me a week to make. That’s just a product of the fact that last year was so bad for me knitting-wise.
I used a fun yarn by Colinette called Calligraphy. The colorway is call Gaughin.  It’s a loosely spun thick-thin yarn that’s a bulky 100% wool. It wasn’t bad to work with and the project came out nice, but I don’t feel anything more than “meh” for the yarn. Cute, serviceable, but I’m not losing my mind over it. I would use it again if I found a pattern I thought it would compliment, but I’m not going out of my way to stash it (unlike Madelinetosh which I aggressively horde incase of an unexpected sheep apocalypse.)
Honestly, I can’t tell you how this has held up over the past year because… I don’t know where it is! I know, I know. Losing hand knits sucks. All that work, the expense of the yarn, the memories of what was going on in my life as I was making it. It sucks. I’m a serial hand-knit loser though… mittens, hats, scarves, I just can’t seem to hold on to woolies. I’m going to have to either get my sh*t together and keep track of my things, or adopt a more zen mentality about losing them. Le sigh.

Syllabus

I’m teaching three classes at the yarn shop this month. The first is a class to help people get started with the Dream In Color Club kit for October. Each month in the fall and winter, Dream in Color releases an exclusive yarn and pattern. The shop I work at has decided to do a class for each of the projects to help people with any tricky parts of the pattern. This one involves a provisional cast on and grafting, so that will be the focus of my class.

This is their promotional picture. I only got the yarn 9 days before I’m supposed to teach the class, so I’m frantically knitting, but I don’t have any pictures.
The next classes I’m doing for the month are stranded knitting and intarsia (offered as one 2-part class.) For the stranding class I’ve decided to focus on mittens since they are a relatively small, low commitment project. I gave my students the choice of Winter Twilight Mitts (which I’ve made before), Douglass Mittens (which I will show you friday), Freja (still need to whip one up), and Cotton Reel Mitts which look like this:
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Since this is destined to live at the shop as a store sample I only made one. As you can see, it’s a bit oversized on the hand model. That is a combination of the fact that the hand models are freakishly tiny (not even children have hands that slender) and that the pattern seems to run a bit big. Looking at all the pictures on ravelry, these look a little roomy on most people.
I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that Ysolda suggests a US 3 needle for fingering weight yarn. I have small hands, so if I wanted to make a pair that fit me, I would probably drop down to a US 0. If you have large hands you’ll be fine as written. For an “average” hand I would probable drop down to a US 2.
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They are also meant to come down your forearm a ways which the hand model doesn’t allow for.
The yarn I used is Spud and Chloe Fine which is a seriously good yarn. It’s 80% wool 20% silk fingering weight. These colors are goldfish and anemone.
As always, Ysolda has thrown in some amazing construction elements. These start with a 7-stitch i-cord that forms the bottom of the cuff. You then pick up stitches from the loose stitch in the back of the i-cord to begin knitting your mitten. This snugs up any looseness and leaves you with a great double-thick cuff.
I would absolutely make myself a pair of these (on smaller needles) if I wasn’t so buried under other projects. Oh, did I mention that the new knitalong starts on Friday?

Cool Stuff

Cool thing number 1: I made a few small blog improvements since last post.  See those pink circles under the “Follow Me” heading over there on the right?  Click on any of them to find me on the various sites they represent.  See those “share” buttons down at the bottom of the post? Click on any of them to save/share anything from the blog.  To add those two things took me about 3 hours… html coder-extraordinaire I am not.  Each < and / had to be checked and rechecked.  I’m pretty proud of my meager victory.

Cool thing number 2: I finished Pear Drop. I love it.

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The pattern is from Ysolda Teague’s book Saturday Treat which has some pretty freaking adorable accessories in it.  To knit this pattern, you sart with the edging and knit it side to side, then you pick up along the top of the edging and knit the body of the shawl up decreasing to make the crescent shape.
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I used Fyberspates Scrumptious Lace yarn in colorway Midnight.  The yarn is 50% silk 50% merino–in other words, absolute heaven.  The silk gives it beautiful sheen and drape and the merino ensure that it’s still warm and soft.  I “split” the skein with a friend that I knit with–gave her half the price of the skein for half of the yardage–because the shawl only needs about 275 yards for the small size and a full skein is over 1000 yards.  I weighed my leftovers when I got done and I have 25.6 grams left, so theoretically I could just eek out a second one if I wanted.
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Cool thing number 3: Finishing the Pear Drop means that I now ONLY have 10 projects currently on the needles.  I know that that sounds like tons to some people but I haven’t had so few in a long time.  My (probably unreachable) goal is to get it down to five and keep it there.
Cool thing number 4: Everyone else’s finished projects linked up over at Tami’s Amis.

Damson

This project was very nearly frogged back into a pile of kinky and forlorn yarn. Not because it’s not pretty. Look at it!

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This is Damson by Ysolda Teague. Her patterns are so adorable. I’ve also made her Ishbel shawl (who hasn’t.) The yarn is String Theory Caper Sock in colorway Didgeridoo. This yarn is a luscious 80% merino, 10% cashmere, 10% nylon blend. And the colors, as you can see, are amazingly deep and complex.

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Why then, you ask, would I come so close to frogging this? Because I ran out of yarn on the second to last row. You see, the patterns calls for one skein of Malabrigo sock yarn. I took this to mean that any 100g of fingering weight sock yarn should be sufficient. WRONG. Malabrigo Sock has 440 yards per skein. Caper Sock has 400 yards per skein. Those 40 yards matter. Don’t be arrogant! If you are making this pattern, make sure you have all yardage required.

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How is it that I managed to finish, you ask. Did I lay down $25 for another skein? No. That would, in effect, make this a $50 scarf, and I’m not OK with that. I went on ravelry and looked at all the projects that had been made with this yarn. Then I narrowed the search to just this colorway. Then I contacted people who had recently completely projects with this colorway and begged for their yarn scraps. CraftyPancakes totally came through for me. She made these super cute socks and had some leftovers, which she kindly sent me. It was just enough to get me to the end. I love her this week.

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Here it is all pinned out. I mostly wear it like in the second picture–wide part in front, tails pulled around the back and hanging down the front. It’s so soft and squooshy that I love having it up against my neck/face. It even smells good (that may be the SOAK.)

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I just think this picture’s pretty.

Some Actual Knitting

Alright, so now that you’ve been apprised of my new house and my major yarn-related outing it’s probably about time for me to tell you about so actual knitting that I’ve done. First, though I know it doesn’t look like it, I’ve made some progress on my Op Art blanket.

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The last time I showed this to you there was a giant tail of circular needle sticking out because I was magic-looping it on a 60″ needle. Now the entire needle has stitches around it and it’s not even half the total number of stitches. I’ll probably not show you any more pictures of it until I get it off the needle since it will just look like a bigger and bigger wad of knitting. If you really care a lot you can keep up with the progress on the side bar.

Next are a couple of FOs. The first was actually finished in time for me to wear to sock summit, which was very lucky because they’re probably my “funnest” pair of socks yet.

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They are just a basic sock with a short-row heal. I decided to try the short-row heal because it is supposed to be the best kind of heal for striped yarn because it doesn’t screw-up your stripe length like a heal with a gusset does. I don’t much like it but at least I learned a new skill. The yarn is Knit Picks Felici in colorway Coney Island.

Finally, I finished my Ishbel shawl two days ago and it finally finished blocking this morning. It’s made from yarn that someone handspun and sent to me as part of a swap. I managed to make the full large size with the yarn and still have about 15% of the skein left. It’s not made from very soft wool but I can wear it with no problem.

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I never know exactly how to wear shawls but I enjoy making them and they make good gifts so I guess my lack of fashion sense isn’t really a problem. Next post I’ll tell you all about the new house guests.

The Same Thing

Remember last post when I showed you this hat?

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Well, my new FO is this hat.

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I promise, those really are two different hats. The gray yarn in the second hat is totally different from the gray yarn in the first hat. If you remember, my dad asked me to make a replica of the first hat so his running buddy could have one. I had run out of the gray from the first hat (Wave by Filatura Di Corsa) and decided to sneakily sub something from my stash for the second hat instead of buying more new yarn and breaking my yarn fast even more. In my stash I found some Knit Picks Palette in Ash and decided to just hold it double to get gauge. When I showed the Palette to my Dad the first time around he said it wouldn’t work, too scratchy. Now that both hats are done (and I told him I used the same yarn) he can’t tell them appart, except that he knows that one is a bit shorter. The first one came out a little big, so for the second I knit the whole hat on size 6 needles instead of changing to 7s after the ribbing. Both hats are Turn a Square by Jared Flood aka Brooklyn Tweed. It’s not a bad pattern, but I really didn’t enjoy making the exact same thing twice in one week.

In other news, I’ve joined the cult of Ishbel and cast on one of my own.

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I have no idea what size I’m going to make because the yarn I’m using was hand spun for me and I got it in a swap. It didn’t come with any label so all I know is that it’s 65-ish grams of lace-weight wool. My friend finished the biggest size with just over 50 grams of lace so I’m hoping I can make the big one. As of now I’m just short of the small stockinette section. I’m planning on putting a life-line in there and then continuing on till I have enough for the large stockinette section (just in case I have to do some ripping back due to yardage limitations). It’s going really fast right now but that’s because it’s just stockinette so far.