Saturday, January 28, 2012

WIP's (Works In Progress)

Aside from working on my entrelac scarf this week, I wanted to show you some other WIP's (works in progress). 

My first Mystery KAL. 
The designer, Susanna IC, tells us how much yarn we need and how many beads we need. 
She is sending us a few rows at at time in the form of "Clues". 
This is Clue #1 through Clue #3 knit up.
I just received Clue #4 today. 
All I know is that I will end up with a crescent shaped shawl in the end.
This is yarn from the Sock Summit 2011 and I am making this project to go with my "little black dress" to wear to a special concert in April 2012.  More about that another day!

Silky Soft Socks
Pattern link HERE.
Using Lion Brand Sock Ease yarn in "Cotton Candy" colorway.

Bamboo Socks
Pattern link HERE. 
Using Shoppel-Wool Zauberball yarn in a colorway called "Durch die Blumen"
Thanks to many years of studying German,
I know that means "Through the Flowers" (clever girl that I am)!
But when I saw this yarn I saw "watermelon".  There is green in there, trust me;
you just can't see it yet!  I am purposely making the socks NOT matched... just for fun.


While in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, a few years back on vacation... I bought some expensive Noro Silk Garden Sock yarn on an impulse.  I paid nearly $20.00 per skein and I bought two skeins. Eeeee-GADS!  That's some expensive souvenir yarn!  One of my knitting goals for 2012 is to use this yarn.

With this yarn...
I considered making a Clapotis...
I considered making a Hemlock Ring Doily Throw...
But this yarn WANTS to be entrelac.

 I've had a little experience with this design or technique before... a dishcloth, a little bag I made, and a square on my Great American Afghan. After these experiences, I thought I would never make anything entrelac again. It's rather slow going and the backside of the project kind of looks lumpy and bumpy and messy. 

But this yarn wants to be ENTRELAC.

I am surprised I am enjoying this project so much. It's almost addictive. I find my self saying, "Okay, just one more row of squares and I'll put this down!"  But next thing you know, I can't put it down and I have a few more rows of squares (and triangles done).  I am using THIS PATTERN which is free on Ravelry.

My husband and son don't often have much of a reaction to my knitting projects, but my husband always comments that the entrelac projects are especially nice looking.  In fact, I think he likes the entrelac square on the GAA the best.  In my current entrelac project, my husband and son both think the colors look great.  I agree.  Noro yarn is not as soft as you would expect (it's rather scratchy), but the colors are amazing!

Entrelac Square in my Great American Afghan

Friday, January 20, 2012

Gingko Shoulderette Shawl is Complete!

Ginkgo Shoulderette Shawl

This project was a dream to make. The yarn, the pattern, the needles... a match made in heaven!
The pattern link can be found HERE.  The yarn contains cashmere and is dreamy soft and drapes so nicely. The yarn is Zen Yarn Garden "Serenity 20" in a colorway called "Butterfly Kisses".  It is gorgeous in person but I think the pictures also capture the beautiful colors in the yarn. If you can get your hands on some of this amazing yarn, buy, buy, BUY! 

As for me, the yarn was a gift from my good friend, Kerri.  Thank you, Kerri!  I love, love, LOVE it!
This is a fun pattern.  I enjoyed it very much.  The lace portion is entirely charted so it was a fun exercise for my brain.  In some lace patterns you just purl all the stitches on the wrong or back side of the project, but in this pattern, both the front side and the back side require careful attention to the lace stitches. The lace portion is only 34 rows.  The pattern does include instructions for how to make the shawl larger but I did not think I would have enough yarn.  Unfortunately, the pattern only gives yarn yardage requirements for the smaller version of the shawl and I did not want to risk running out.  I will probably make this pattern again someday... it was that much fun!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Love Letter Larch is Complete!

Love Letter Larch

I struggled with this pattern quite a lot, which surprised me as I expected this to be a rather "straight forward" pattern.  I did a lot of un-knitting due to problems along the way, which made me feel as if I should have been done with this days ago.  Whatever the case maybe, I am pleased with the finished project and have a recipient in mind (a gal at work who is retiring in February).  The yarn is my favorite thing about this project. The yarn, a generous gift from my friend, Kerri, is Miss Babs' Yummy Superwash Sock and Baby yarn. It's a treat to work with. It drapes nicely and knits up nicely.  If you ever come across some Miss Babs yarn like this, don't hesitate... buy, buy, buy!

Pattern:  Larch by Tinks and Frogs Rue
Yarn:  Miss Babs Yummy Superwash Sock and Baby Yarn
Colorway:  Wool Girl's "Love Letters"...

Love Letter Larch

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Love Letter Larch Scarflette

I had a ridiculous case of Startitis over New Year's Weekend, casting on a total of three shawls.  Clapotis, Ginkgo Shoulderette Shawl, and this Larch Scarflette.

I have almost exclusively knit on the latter all week long with some struggles along the way. The pattern for the Larch project can be found HERE.  The yarn I am using is fingering weight merino wool by Miss Babs (Miss Babs Yummy Superwash Sock and Baby Yarn) in a colorway called "Love Letters". The yarn is nice to work with and I like the colors. It's almost as if someone took creamy white yarn and dipped it in rich, dark red wine... Burgundy, Merlot, Shiraz... some parts of the yarn are darkly stained where as other parts just have a hint of color.  I think it's knitting up nicely in the garter stitch body of the shawl. This yarn was also a gift from my good friend, Kerri. Thank you, Kerri!  I love it!

The lace border at the edge of the shawl looks very straight forward but I goofed up.  As with all charts in knitting, you read the chart from from right to left.  I took that literally so when I got to the center stitch on the left hand side of the chart, I started over on the right hand side of the chart so both the right and left hand side of the shawl were identical. I made it all the way through the 24 rows of the lace chart before I realized the error of my ways.  What I should have done was knit following the chart from right to left to the center stitch and THEN knit the chart from left to right so that the two halves of the shawl are MIRROR images of one another.  Now I get it. I ripped back the 23 or 24 rows today and am now on the right track!  A few days of wasted knitting but I learned from my mistake.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Ginkgo Shoulderette Shawl in Progress

After finishing up my Happy Octopus Hat on New Year's Eve... I was soooo tired... but I got my second wind.  I cast on a new project... LIKE I NEED A NEW PROJECT... with some dreamy yarn I received as a gift from my good friend Kerri. The yarn is Zen Yarn Garden "Serenity 20" in an amazing golden yellow color called "Butterfly Kisses".  The yarn is scrumptious, yummy, squishy, soft, plump... amazing to work with and the colors in the yarn are very rich.  When I saw the pattern called "Ginkgo Shoulderette Shawl" on Ravelry, I knew it would be the perfect project for the yummy yarn I had.

I have an affinity for the Ginkgo (Ginkgo Biloba) tree.  I remember being impressed by them when I read a blurb about them in a  Botany class a really long time ago and what I read has stuck with me over the years.   The Ginkgo tree is considered a living fossil.  I understand that to mean that trees very similar the now existing Ginkgo trees lived on the Earth hundreds of millions of years ago.  It is also a unique species of trees, with no close living relatives.  You can read more about Ginkgo trees HERE or HERE if you are interested in that sort of thing.  

Ginkgo trees are quite ornamental and their leaves have a distinct, graceful shape, as you can see in the photos above.  I remember learning that either the male Ginkgo tree or the female Ginkgo tree (I cannot recall WHICH one!) gives off a horrible odor, so if you are interested planting a Ginkgo tree in your yard, be sure to research that.  (Yet another odd fact that I remember after all of these years!  No wonder I have to write a grocery list if I am shopping for more than three items... my brain is full of random, useless information).  Ginkgo may sound familiar to some as it is the source of an herbal remedy which some belive enhances memory, among other things.

I am not sure if the "leaves" in my current knitting project are just like the Ginkgo leaves found on a tree, but whatever the case may be, I think the colors in the yarn are amazing, the yarn is an absolute treat with which to knit, and I think the shawlette will be pretty when it is done.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year... Happy Hat

Look Out! There's an Octopus on Your Head!

Yes, this hat has a story.

In early November 2011, I made a pretty crazy hat.  Turns out it was my 50th chemo cap.  You can click HERE to see the hat.  The hat was based on some design elements & techniques I had learned from making a cap called "A Winter Solstice Hat" (to see that hat, click HERE).  The hat called A Winter Solstice was designed by a gal in Colorado who is my good Ravelry email pal, "Colorado Mom".  She's a really cool lady.

When I made chemo cap #50, I kept thinking about the crazy fancy cakes you see on programs on the Food Network.  Colorful and crazy designs and textures.  Good elements for a cap for a kid.

Anyway, I posted my 50th chemo cap on my favorite Ravelry Group called "12 months=24 hats", where the members make it a goal to knit at least two chemo caps per month.  One of the group's members commented that my 50th chemo cap sure was a happy hat.  Based on her comment, the group's founder "Plynn" decided the group should have a "Happy Hat Contest".  How fun is that?!  The deadline was midnight on December 31, 2011.

November was a pretty busy month for me... the Hemlock Ring Throw Blanket that was given to my parents for Christmas was pretty much my constant companion, so making a Happy Hat was not high on my list of priorities, yet I had a few ideas swirling around in my head.  When I finished up the blanket, I started focusing on some other unfinished objects... the Sockhead Hat, Calabaza Calypso, and Chasing Rainbows blanket.  Still no Happy Hat.

Then I got a horrible case of "Startitis" and cast on a Chinook Scarf with beads, a pair of Bamboo Socks, a plain pair of socks, a pair of slipper socks for my son, a pair of fingerless mitts... all while I should have been working on a Happy Hat. What's wrong with me.... seriously, I think I have some sort of affliction.

Last week, another group member sent me a message saying she sure was looking forward to seeing my Happy Hat.  Oh yes, I really must do that!!!!  So what did I do? I cast on a Clapotis!  I tell you... it's an addiction!  Either that, or I am a glutton for punishment.

So in the evening hours of December 30th, I finally cast on my hat and octopus.  I tried to make up on octopus design by myself but failed miserably.  Boy, I wasted a lot of time making Octopus #1... it looked more like a flat sprawling jellyfish... like the dead jellyfish you find laying in the sand on the beach.  Ick!

I woke up really early on December 31st and found the octopus pattern called "Socktopus" on Ravelry. It took me all freakin' day to make that little octopus... you wouldn't think a little project like that would take SOOO much time, but it does.  Eight tentacles!!!!!   Why do octopi have EIGHT TENTACLES!!!!  After the octopus was done, I knit like mad on the plain rolled brim hat... I used size 5 needles... yep, could have used size 7 and cast on fewer stitches... but no, I opted for 108 stitches per round on small needles!  I knit like mad.  I almost gave up.  My husband said he could not believe I could knit that fast.  I was so tired.  I was ready to throw in the towel.

Finally, 9:30 pm on New Years Eve... my hat was done... I made the deadline.  It wasn't even midnight in New York yet.  Phew, what a relief. I was done.

Guess what? I won the Happy Hat contest.  And I get a prize. How fun is that? What a nice start to 2012.

Happy New Year... Happy Hat!