Sunday, March 30, 2008

Cashmere Cables

...are the only thing that kept me from screaming when I woke up to snow on Friday morning. We are nearing the level of Greek-mythology-tortue here. I actually didn't even wear this scarf because although it is adorable I needed a heavy-duty woolen muffler to wear on the commute and in awful ice-cold rainy Boston.

Anyway, the Miranda Cable Scarf with a nice shot of the cables:

As a jaunty ascot, since that will probably be how it is worn (or maybe as above, but with a pin):

Miranda Cable Scarf by Smariek Knits, found on Ravelry
Yarn: Black Pearl Yarns Cashmere in Singapore Smoke, 1 skein (200 yards)
Source: kpixie, as a Christmas present, although I don't see anymore of it there
Needles: Susan Bates US size 7 24" circular needle (to make it more commuter-friendly)
Modifications: I only did three cable crossings instead of four since I only had one skein (CO 40 stitches instead of 52, and just follow all the directions from there) and obviously that made it shorter as well. This yarn was so delicious, but I have to admit I probably won't be buying it again anytime soon. I think baby alpaca is just as soft and much cheaper. It was nice to treat myself (or let Santa treat me) this time, though. It was also nice to bust some more of the stash, even if this one has only been there since Christmas.
I've been working on a lot of other things, but I hate posting in-progress pics (which is really selfish, especially because I love to see others' in progress pics). There has also been some sewing and some embroidery, and some room-cleaning, but nothing so interesting that I can post it. This week should be more productive, since one of my classes is canceled (w00t!)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Making a stand

A couple of weeks ago I wrote in an e-mail to a friend that I was really happy that spring was finally here, and that it came right before I cracked.

Needless to say, I spoke too soon, as the past week and half have been filled with snow, icy blasting winds, and rain that is just above freezing--so when it hits you it feels like water but it is so cold it chills you instantly. I'm not taking it anymore. Last night I wore my Mary Janes with leggings and no socks. This morning I refused to put flannel sheets on my bed. I put the t-shirt sheets on instead, which is smart because they are warm when it's cold and cool when it's hot (and makes a stand without making me cold, like the no-socks act did last night). And I made the Rochefort Chapeau from the Purl Bee:

I don't know what it is about the Purl Bee, but I am powerless to stop myself from making just about everything on their site. Maybe it's the way they perfectly capture my aesthetic or the stories and inspirations behind the projects. Joelle Hoverson, author of Last-Minute Knitted Gifts, is the brain behind Purl and the Purl Bee. Whenever I have knitting stress or am feeling uninspired, I look at that book and I feel better.

I saw the Rochefort Chapeau when it was first posted and thought, "Oh, that's cute, but I don't really need to make it." Ha. It worked its way into my head until I couldn't stop thinking about it and was mentally pawing through my stash to find the yarn. The great thing is that the Purl Bee has helped me bust so much of my stash. As much as I would have liked to use the Blue Sky Alpaca and Silk that Whitney used, I knit mine with one skein of Plymouth Wildflower DK in navy blue and one skein Patons Grace in white. It will be a great spring hat, if spring ever decides to come.

In case it doesn't, I have yet another pair of mittens to wear.

Tweedy Mittens from the Stitch'n Bitch 2007 calendar (designed by Missa of kpixie, my favorite online yarn store)
Yarn: Reynolds Whiskey, one ball each of light blue and orange
Source: The Elegant Ewe
Needles: Brittany Birch US size 7 dpns
Modifications: I knit with two strands held together, since I couldn't find the yarns called for in the pattern and no other worsted weight yarns had the right shades of blue and orange that I was looking for. I did a gauge swatch to make sure, and if you have this pattern, you might want to mark down that the gauge is supposed to be five stitches to the inch. It was accidentally left off the pattern and I found the gauge posted on Craftster by Debbie Stoller, but it is hard to find in the threads.

Another Purl Bee (and specifically Whit's Knits; so is the Rochefort Chapeau) inspiration:

The Granny Chic Crocheted Hat
Yarn: Less than one ball of Manos del Uruguay kettle-dyed wool
Hook: Clover US size I crochet hook
Modifications: None.

I still need to block it but so far I love it. It will be a good transition hat between winter and my Rochefort chapeau. Part of the reason I love the Purl Bee so much is because most of their patterns are for small items that travel well. When I'm commuting to school I need something small that travels well and that I can pick up and put down quickly when I knit during class breaks.

What is this new yarn, you ask?

A couple of weeks ago I went to a concert in Northampton, MA. What else is Northampton, MA? Webs, of course! I was really good, considering they have an entire warehouse that is open to the public. This is Kangaroo Dyer Silk and Alpaca Laceweight. I bought Evelyn Clark's Estonian Wrap pattern to go with it, but I realized this yarn will make a perfect Icarus. Since I've been doing some serious stash-busting lately, I think it's allowed. Also, when I go back to Webs in a couple of weeks to see the Yarn Harlot, I am going to buy a little more yarn. Carefully planned, all with projects in mind, and with a very definite spending limit.

Monday, March 17, 2008

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming

So I was on spring break, in which I didn't have class but still had a whole lot of work to do, which explains the quiet blog. I did manage to squeeze in some knitting though (I'm good like that).

First, my lucky shamrock socks in case I didn't show them last year (this also serves as photographic proof that I do wear my own handknits):

My own design, one skein of green and two skeins of white Baby Ull (e-mail me if you'd like the shamrock chart). You can see that my intarsia skills are non-existent, but they were a fun quick knit anyway.

A crocheted afghan that I started three years ago, finally complete:

Classic Ripple Afghan from Cozy Crochet
Yarn: Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick'n'Quick, in fisherman, navy, and charcoal (I have no idea how many balls)
Hook: Plastic turquoise US size P
Modifications: None

Wiggly Worm Scarf from Knitting Pretty (the book that helped me learn to knit)
Yarn: Manos del Uruguay, one skein
Needles: Crystal Palace Bamboo straights, US size 9
Modifications: None

Monkey Socks from Knitty
Yarn: Claudia Handpaints Fingering Weight in Toast
Source: kpixie (a Christmas present)
Needles: Swallowtail (I think that's the name) casein dpns, US size 2 (these were also a Christmas present, ordered from kpixie--if you look under needles you'll find them)
Modifications: None

Well, I'm off to class now. Luckily there is a long bus ride so I can knit!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Holy FOs Batman

Ladies and gentlemen, the finished commissioned Clessidra stockings:

(which look much better on a human leg, but I didn't want to stretch them out). The purchaser called me "a knitting rockstar superstar" and I was told the recipient hasn't stopped smiling, so I'm happy.

Clessidra from Knitty Spring '07
Yarn: Knit Picks Risata Sock Yarn, four balls grass
Source: Knit Picks
Needles: Addi Turbo US size 1 24" circular needles
Modifications: Knit on two circular needles instead of dpns

Above and below are pictures of chemo caps that I made in January and February. One of my knitting goals this year is to knit for a new charity every two months. November/December was afghans for Afghans, and these will go to a local hospital for women who have lost their hair during chemotherapy. I think March and April will be the pet blankets from Knitting for Peace, since so many puppies and kittens come into shelters in the spring.
The hats above were knit with Plymouth Baby Alpaca Brush, which is one of the softest yarns I've ever used. The green lace hat is a combination of two patterns: Kim's Basic Hats in Last Minute Knitted Gifts and the Lacy Eyelet Chemo Cap in Knitting for Peace. The striped hat is the Basic Roll Brim Hat of Kim's Basic Hats. The hats below are made with Berocco Chinchilla, which is also very soft, and the patterns were free with the purchase of the yarn from Patternworks. It was great to clean out the stash and make nice things for people at the same time.

As a treat for finishing the Clessidra socks, and also as an antidote to all the snow and cold, I ordered some Vesper Sock Yarn from Knitterly Things and received the pin above in my package, along with the coolest sock yarn I've ever bought:

If this doesn't scream spring and ward off the winter blues then I don't know what does.