Sunday, December 21, 2008

Holly Jolly Legwarmers

I can't believe I finished these before Christmas. I didn't really take them with me on my daily travels, since they weren't the easiest thing to pick up and put down quickly, plus there is a chart (easily memorized, but still) and multiple balls of yarn to juggle. This is only my second successful stranded knitting project. I had tried to make these a couple of years ago but the stitches were so wonky it looked like my cat had gotten a hold of it.

I took a Fair Isle class last January at The Elegant Ewe and it really helped. I didn't really try the technique again until November but now I'm kind of a Fair Isle fool. Next up is Kate Gilbert's Bird in Hand Mittens.

I'm really happy with how these and the previous Fair Isle project (a present, so it's a secret) turned out. I will say that they did need a steam from my mom's awesome Rowenta iron before they looked like this; there was some bunching and a few misshapen stitches, especially at the join. I'm kind of a rebel so I actually just ironed the legwarmers on the wool setting, and pushed the steam button to add more steam. Apparently this is a really horrible thing to do, but nobody died and my legwarmers look much better than they would have if I just hovered over them with the iron. I would not recommend this with anything other than a Rowenta iron and not with just any project. I also test a small spot first before I just go at it.

Holly Legwarmers by Jo Sharp from Handknit Holidays
Yarn: Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport, 2 skeins N48S Scarlet (A), 1 skein 225 Brick Road (B), 1 skein N91 Aran (C), 1 skein light brown (D; I lost the label), 1 skein N27S Monument Green (E), 1 skein 522 Nervous Green (F)
Source: Patternworks
Needles: Addi Turbo US Size 5 12" circular needles, Brittany Birch US Size 4 dpns
Modifications: Knit in the round instead of flat (note: do not use a jogless join because the design will not line up).

The insides, of which I am very proud:

I hope everyone has a relaxing holiday full of knitting!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Happy Holidays

I keep reading everyone's posts about their holiday knitting, and even though most of them are very stressed, I am feeling a little left out. (I am a sick sick person). I don't have as many people to knit for as I did a few years ago, since I am now considered an adult and participate in the adult Yankee swaps as opposed to exchanging presents with everyone. I did add one small item to my list, and there is room for a little more, so I should just enjoy the fact that I have most of my holiday knitting done.

It is nice that I have the time to do a little holiday knitting for myself. I am currently working on the Holly Legwarmers from Handknit Holidays. I finished the first one last night and started the second one this morning. The not-so-jolly part is weaving in a thousand ends.

Other holiday knitting tidbits:

  • I just ordered the Ana Bandana kit from Knit/Purl. I've wanted one ever since Blue Garter posted about it awhile ago, but it was sold out at the time. I was kind of obsessed for awhile and then forgot, but I remembered again when Fyberduck posted about it. It's one of my treats for surviving grad school (more about that next post; it's still to close and traumatic right now)
  • I am getting a Namaste Newport bag from kpixie for Christmas. I am sooo excited about this bag, and I'm not the only one. Jenna over at Knits & Pieces (love that blog) ordered one too. She knits such pretty stuff and makes the most gorgeous jewelry, so it makes me happy that she shares my taste in bags.
  • I am also knitting an Urchin from my handspun and a wayward skein of Rowan Ribbon Twist (the handspun won't be enough). I also hope to start a new Porom soon and I really want to knit Habitat also. Can you tell that it's cold in New Hampshire? (and that I have a short attention span?)
  • I finished the Swirled Pentagon Pullover a couple of weeks ago. Will blog about it soon.

I wish those of you busily knitting away for the holidays the best of luck, and I hope everyone is taking time to enjoy this busy time of year.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Kneesocks and Mesocks

In a burst of getting things done today I realized that I had some extra time (that never happens!) and that I'm much closer to getting all my school stuff done than I'd previously thought (also never happens), and the sun was actually out so I could take some decent pictures (more and more rare these days, or at least it seems that way at the times I leave and come home).

First up, the Mesocks:

Better known as the Sandalwood Socks from the Winter 2008 issue of Interweave Knits, and humbly designed by yours truly.

I'm a little sad that these pictures don't fully express the beautiful hand-painted yarn from Spirit Trail Fiberworks, but I think the one above comes closest. The colors in the yarn inspired the pattern (which is called November Lace in my head). These are socks for cozying up by the fire, a romantic lacy sock that is ladylike but warm.

The subtle dye job doesn't overwhelm the lace patterns, which is something I suggest looking for if you would like to use a variegated yarn for this pattern. It might look a little crazy in some of the photos, but it is much calmer in person. This yarn is the color of bare tree branches, cranberry sauce, tawny grass, pumpkin pie, pink cheeks from the cold. It is so beautiful, I could rhapsodize about it forever, but instead I'll send you over to their site. I have to warn you that the colors are probably much more beautiful in person.

Sandalwood Socks from Interweave Knits Winter 2008, designed by Caitlin Stevens (me!)
Yarn: Spirit Trail Fiberworks Fingering Weight Superwash Merino, hand painted, 1 skein
Source: Spirit Trail Fiberworks booth at the 2007 New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival
Needles: Accessories Unlimited US Size 2 Bamboo dpns (the pattern calls for 1s, but this yarn was a little thicker than the Louet Gems that I used for the sample pair)
Modifications: Worked extra repeats on the foot to accomodate my large feet.

If you are knitting this pattern and have any problems, please don't hesitate to comment or pm me on Ravelry (my name is CaitlinGracie).

And Kneesocks!

(Sorry the pictures are a little dark. They looked much better on my camera. I'm not sure what the computer did to them...)

Closeup of the clever merging of two cables to create one larger cable when the calf decreases are finished:

Clessidra from Knitty Spring 2007, by Gabriella Chiarenza
Yarn: Knit Picks Essential, 3 skeins #23698 Burgundy (I ordered 4 balls and recommend you go by the yardage required in the pattern, just in case)
Source: Knit Picks
Needles: 2 Addi Turbo US Size 1 24" circular needles
Modifications: Knit on two circular needles instead of dpns; lengthened the foot a bit. (Actually knit them completely last year, then frogged and reknit them this year because I had added stitches to make them larger and they fell down, and now I am very happy with them)

I have some sad knitting news to share with you. I lost my new beret. The same day I read about Alison's sad loss, my beret fell out of my pocket when I was racing to catch the T. I didn't even have to run! I had plenty of time to catch my bus! I never leave things in my pockets without holding on to them! (For those of you wondering, this particular evil train, the E train on the green line at the Museum of Fine Arts stop, only comes around every 10-12 minutes and is an above-ground stop. This does not sound like a long time until you have to catch a bus or it is twenty below). Another reason I hate graduate school: it steals my hats. I just hope a homeless person picked it up and is a little warmer now.

I had an excellent Thanksgiving, and I hope you all did too. Some things I'm thankful for:
  • Family and friends to celebrate with
  • A room full of yarn and crafts and books
  • Pie and other desserts
  • Having my pattern published
  • Only one more week of graduate school!
  • The holiday season