Tag Archive | handmade

FO: Mab Shawl

My Mab shawl is done! It might be my favorite thing I’ve ever knitted, thanks to the perfect combination of yarn and pattern. I have no idea what the name means, but you can find the pattern on Ravelry here.

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I absolutely loved knitting this pattern. The lace wasn’t difficult, but I did have to keep track of what I was doing. I think I’d been craving some intricate lace knitting, and this definitely fit the bill.

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For this one, I even tinked back when I made mistakes, rather than just fudging things like I usually do. I really wanted the lace to line up from top to bottom. I knit the pattern exactly as written, no modifications, and I made sure to bind off loosely so I could get the gorgeous points along the lower edge.

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As I was knitting, I worried it would be a little too small, but thankfully it blocked out beautifully into a very generous shawl.

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I tried very hard to photograph the sparkle in the yarn, but it was a challenge. I’m afraid my photography skills are still lacking in some departments. The yarn is Canon Hand Dyes Oscar Sparkle Fingering in the color Isobel Crawley and it was marvelous. Soft in the hand, not splitty, clearly has wonderful stitch definition. I’m sure I’ll be looking for more of her yarns in the future! And in the meantime, I’ll be eagerly waiting for a chance to wear my new shawl!

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Summer Knitting?

I did indeed finish my Mab shawl as I said I would, so it is currently pinned out and drying. (And it is stunning, if I do say so myself. I’m hoping to do a photo shoot tomorrow.) So what am I doing with my pruned down stash and fewer projects on the needles?

I’m planning a sweater, of course.

It’s over 90 degrees outside. Our downstairs A/C isn’t working so it’s 86 degrees in my living room. (Thankfully we have two units and it is blessedly cool upstairs in the bedrooms and my craft room.) You get the idea: it’s hot. So why in the world would I be working on a sweater, a wool/alpaca sweater even?? Because while I was going through my stash to pull out unwanted yarn, I found four skeins of Berroco Ultra Alpaca, all the same color and the same dye lot. What are the odds, right? Especially since I know I bought it back when I thought I’d never knit sweaters. It was probably on sale, and since it was purple, I probably just bought what they had left.

Sadly, four skeins isn’t quite enough on its own to make a sweater that will fit me. So I dug through the stash a little more and found two more colors, two skeins of each, and the three colors together easily get me enough yardage for a pullover. I’ve got four skeins of the top color (Berroco Ultra Alpaca in this unusual light purple), two skeins of the middle (Plymouth Baby Alpaca Worsted in Navy), and two skeins of the bottom (Berroco Ultra Alpaca Tonal in … magenta?).

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I’m planning to make Tea with Jam and Bread by Heidi Kirrmaier (I even have my gauge swatch already laid out and drying too!) but I’ll alter the stripe pattern a bit. I don’t think I’d like the navy as the bottom stripe (can’t tell you why, just my brain saying no don’t do that) so I’m going to do the top stripe navy, and then the bottom stripe and the bottom sleeve sections in the magenta.

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(LOOK! It even has POCKETS!)

And if I get to that bottom stripe and don’t like the color variation of the magenta with the lighter purple, well…I’ll figure something else out. But until then, I’ll be working on my wool sweater in June in the midwest!

Oops, I did it again

I started a sock. Yes, the spell of the shawl is broken. I didn’t knit at all yesterday; I had lunch with a friend, then went home early with a muscle spasm in my back. The meds I took for that weren’t conducive to knitting, let alone lace knitting. This morning when I was getting my things together for work, I immediately grabbed this new yarn and project bag. Partly it was because I figured I’d have lunch with my knitting friend at work and needed something easy, and partly because I wanted something new and fun to work on. Specifically, I wanted my Flowers in the Mist kit from Knitting in the Heartland!

The yarn is Show Me Yarn’s¬†Bootheel base, and it was dyed to match this gorgeous project bag (which also has two coordinating stitch markers!).

You could only get it at KITH this year, I believe, and I’m pretty sure I was the first one to snatch one at the special night of shopping after Franklin Habit’s keynote address. (I can move fast if yarn is involved.) I actually did cast on right after KITH but set it aside after just a few rows because I got distracted by other yarns. But now I want these pretty flower socks!

I just made it past the 1.5″ of ribbed cuff so it’ll be lovely mindless stockinette for a while, and I can see how the colors behave. I might not wear them for a while, but it will be nice to have them waiting for fall!

A little gift

My husband is very clever, and handy with tools. He recently made a little pen holder for my desk and today it was ready to be put in place.

Isn’t it cute? It’s so little and simple, but it has this subtle slant on the front. He even said he’d be willing to make more! This one originally had five holes, but then Duncan got a hold of it so one end had to be removed. Maybe my next one should actually have five holes!

Rainbow Warrior, Part Two

Today was so sunny and bright that I braved the cold temperature to take some photos of recent projects, and I decided to add my Rainbow Warrior to the mix. I’d never taken any pictures in good lighting, and I was reminded of how gorgeous this shawl is. Stay tuned for pictures of new projects in the next couple of days!

Striped Convertible Mitts

It’s no secret that I like knitting. I’m a process knitter, which means I knit because I like the process of knitting, not necessarily because I want the end result. So when a friend asked me if I’d make her some mittens, I agreed right away. I’d be knitting anyway, why not make something a friend would enjoy wearing?

It turns out she’d bought the kit for these Line by Line Mittens to Gloves from Knit Picks, complete with five colors of Knit Picks Swish, because she wanted to learn to knit. Then she tried, and discovered she didn’t love it, and it made her hands and elbows hurt. But she still had this kit sitting there, staring at her and mocking her. (I’m imagining that last bit; that’s what it would be doing to me, anyway.) And she still wanted the mitts. They didn’t look complicated to me, even though I’d have to learn how to do the convertible top. She insisted there was no hurry, but when I finished the husband’s socks (which were supposed to be Christmas gifts but oops were not) I was happy to do something new and different, and I cast on the first mitt over the weekend.

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They knit up quickly, though it didn’t take long for me to realize I’d forgotten the downside to stripes: ends. Lots and lots of ends to weave in. I texted her a progress photo after the first one was done, joking that I’d let her weave in the ends, and cast on for the second mitt.

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With the basic mitts done, it was time to figure out the convertible tops. I took a break long enough to weave in a crap-ton of ends (yes, she would have happily done it herself, but I needed the break, and it was satisfying to see the neat and tidy mitts). Then I counted down the rows to where I was supposed to pick up 24 stitches. But I’d never picked up stitches in the middle before; I’d always picked up from an edge. So that took a few tries before I found a method that worked and looked acceptable. Not sure if it’s the “right” way, but eh, who cares about that, right? Getting the stitches all set up for that convertible top was kind of a hassle, to be honest, but once I got the first couple of rows done, it was smooth sailing, and by the middle of the Golden Globes last night, I had a complete mitten!

I’ll do the last mitten top tonight so that I can give her the mittens tomorrow, and then I’ll give the pattern back and never knit it again. I didn’t really care for how it was written. The thumb gusset was set up on both sides of the beginning-of-round marker, so I was fiddling with color changes and increases within a few stitches. I prefer it when the gusset is closer to the middle of the round, especially if there are color changes. Still, these are awfully cute, and it does feel good to do something nice for someone else sometimes!

Black Friday Fun

I spent too many years working retail to ever want to go to a big-box store or mall on Black Friday. Instead, we continue a tradition started by my husband and mother-in-law when I had to be at work, and we go to a small town with a charming downtown of little independent shops. We eat at the same cafe every year, where we’re waited on by the same sarcastic, funny waitress every year. We get a photo with Father Christmas and buy fudge at the corner ice cream parlor/sweet shop. And we walk around and admire neat things, and usually buy a few things.

I found a lot of fun sheep/yarn related things…actually, the husband pointed out a couple of them! The only one I actually bought was the sheep teabag holder, because how could I resist that?

Lucky me, I also found a store that sold crafts supplies like buttons, ribbon, wool, and yarn! There were some big brands, indie dyers, and an in-house yarn. This is what jumped into my arms, Malabrigo Rios in Aniversario (all that PINK!) and Hedgehog Fibres Sock yarn.

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They’ll both probably have to wait until I’m done with my Christmas knitting. I’m not sure I’m going to finish all the socks I wanted to make, but I’m not giving up yet. I made good progress on my Strutting Peacock this weekend. I’m past the gusset and just zooming along on the foot right now.

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I did make a small modification, and I’m just doing stockinette on the foot instead of the zigzag pattern. It’ll be smoother in the shoe, nobody else sees that part, plus it’s a lot faster, so I know I’ll be able to get this pair done well before Christmas.

Speaking of Christmas, I did spend part of the holiday weekend putting up some decorations. No tree yet, because I don’t have the energy and I have a crazy dog that I’m afraid will eat the tree. But I’ll get there. Until then, I have my favorite part: my Santa collection!

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Now, I just need to make sure I can keep Duncan away from it…

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To all my U.S. friends, I hope you’ve had a lovely long Thanksgiving weekend!