Thursday, July 31, 2008

Another FO: Reversible Brioche Scarf

My other final finished Christmas Gift (again, last Christmas) is this scarf made for my dad, again to accompany the gloves and hat, all to keep him warm at Seahawks games.

Reversible Brioche Scarf

Start-End: Feb 18 - Mar 8, 2008
Pattern: Reversible Brioche Scarf by Lori Law. I found the directions on The Brioche Stitch much clearer for the brioche stitch itself.
Yarn: RYC Cashsoft Aran in SH008 and SH006
Needles: US7/4.5 mm
New-to-Me Techniques: Brioche stitch

I can't recommend The Brioche Stitch website enough for anything to do with the brioche stitch. The site contains directions and color pictures of many different variations. Much like entrelac, I found the brioche stitch to be a lot of fun once you got the pattern down. I did make a couple mistakes, and found it very difficult to rip back, so there are more "design features" in this than I would normally like.

Brioche up close

This is another pattern I may do again. The knitted fabric is very warm and cushy.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

FO Parade: Seahawks-Inspired Danica

I've finally finished all of my Christmas knitting... from last Christmas.

I've posted before about making Danica for my mom to accompany a pair of gloves and a hat to keep her warm at the Seahawks games, and I'm very pleased to say that it's all blocked and ready to be mailed.

Danica completed

Start-End: Jan 1-27, 2008
Pattern: Danica by Jesse Loesberg
Yarn: RYC Cashsoft Aran in SH008, SH004, SH006
Needles: KnitPicks US 8/5.0 mm
New-to-me Techniques: Entrelac
Modifications: I wanted a wider scarf, but instead of adding an extra column of diamonds, I changed the number of base triangle stitches to 16, instead of 10.

Despite having a lot of ends to weave in, I really enjoyed this pattern. I found entrelac to be a lot of fun - simple enough that you can still watch a movie, but with enough complexity that you don't get bored. I also loved working with this yarn. It's the type of yarn that is spendy enough I would likely never have bought it, but when you get it at 75% discount (due to a store closing) you grab what you can.

When blocking this scarf, I decided to try blocking wires. I found a few stainless steel wires at a local welding supply, and enjoyed how quick and easy the process was.

Blocking Danica

I already have plans to knit this pattern again, perhaps playing with the arrangement of color blocks.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

FO: Fearless or Foolish?

Over on Knitting Daily, there has been much talk of being a fearless knitter. As a still-somewhat-new-knitter, I find it very easy to be a fearless knitter. For example, I've found that a lack of experience and knowledge as a knitter makes it easy to explain away less-than-wise choices. No one is more accustomed to frogging and not getting things right than a beginning knitter, so I've learned that being fearless and learning new things go hand-in-hand. Not being fearless would mean that I would still be in stockinette or garter-stitch land. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I do like a challenge.

So, when Susoolu asked at a WI meeting for craft items for an upcoming rally, I offered up one of my recent FO's. It didn't occur to me until after Susoolu had collected the item that it might be judged, and this struck a bit of fear in me. What would be said about an item that was made by a beginner who had no idea that it would ever be judged?

So I ask you: Opening yourself up for critique and criticism by submitted a knitted but not-intended-to-be-judged item for judging... fearless knitting, or foolish behavior?

Hooded Baby Blanket

Start-End: March 19 - May 9, 2008
Pattern: Hooded Baby Blanket by Nikol Lohr
Yarn: Lion Brand Cotton-Ease in Lake and Charcoal
Needles: US8/5.0 mm
Modifications: Added the "waves" cable pattern (#125) from the Vogue Stitchionary Volumne 2: Cables
New-to-Me Techniques: Cabling without a cable needle

This is pattern is an easy quick knit, perfect for baby showers. The pattern itself is a great canvas to which you can add anything you would like for extra personalization. I had a lot of fun with the cable pattern, though I wish I had left one or two stitches/rows around the pattern to make picking up for the border a bit easier.

The Cotton-Ease is a real great yarn to work with. It is a 50% cotton/acrylic blend that looks lovely but is easier on your hands than 100% cotton.

As for cabling without a cable needle, I found this tutorial from Grumperina, which is very easy and straight forward. There is a moment of potential panic, as you have live stitches off needles, but depending on what your project is, it shouldn't be too scary. It is a very slick trick and I'm glad I learned how to do it.

Border detail

As for the WI rally, the items were judged, and all told I think I came out of it pretty well.

The judge's decision

Not bad! That's 19/20, with the comment that the item may be heavy for a real little baby. It's a fair enough point, but I do like the use of cotton in a baby blanket/hooded towel. As for the recipient, it will soon be mailed off to a little guy who had a rough and early start on life, but is doing ok.

Woolfest 2008

I've had so much I want to share here lately, and not as much time to sit down and share it with you. Today, I'll let pictures do the talking as I share with you images from this year's Woolfest.

The drive to the Lake District is beautiful, regardless of the weather

There are alpacas

Shorn sheep

and Longwool sheep

Live music fills the building

Oversized knitting needles if you would like a challenge

or perhaps you'd prefer a spinning wheel

Colorful jumbles of roving

and neatly bundled ones