archives: knitting

year of the dragon!

Try to look at these mittens and not smile. I dare you. There’s something lighthearted, almost laugh-out-loud funny about them, in my opinion, and knitting them was just as fun as, I hope, they will be to wear.

I made these dragon mitts for Pamela Wynne, the only friend I know who can pull off mismatched mittens with dragons on them. I placed the Noro (both Kureyon and Taiyo) exactly where I wanted it to get just the right color transitions. I had to tweak the pattern, which I found on Ravelry, to accommodate my gauge and Pam’s hands. It was kind of a lot of work for something that I had hoped would simply make her laugh.

But I hope they make her laugh every time she puts them on, in cold winters in Michigan.

Details, for posterity: The gray is the fabulous Universal Deluxe Worsted in a dark charcoal gray; the yarn is something like a “dupe” of Cascade 220 and held up great to some, ahem, frogging (I had knit an entire right mitt but decided I needed to go down a needle size). The pink-to-orange mitt is in Noro Taiyo, and the green one is Noro Kureyon. I used very very partial skeins of both colors but luckily was able to get just what I wanted out of them (the Taiyo had some black-and-white sections that would have been a travesty in these mitts!).

Knit about 7 inches long and 7 inches around, with this worsted yarn on size 3 needles. Got decent at twisting the floats, and added a lot more dots of color so that my floats weren’t as long. I worked the thumb gussets as colorwork but finished off the thumbs plain and duplicate stitched the color. It was actually my first time working duplicate stitch—I want to only do that forever more!

buckwheat

If you’re like me, you often look at basic sweaters in stores and mutter to yourself, “I could just make that.” How often do you see a simple pattern from a knitwear designer and think, “but that’s just a basic sweater, I could just make it up myself.” But how often do you? Well, if you’re still like me, and you’re being honest? You never do. If you embark on a design idea, you get more ambitious and end up paralyzed with indecision. That’s when you should, like me, rely on the fantastic patterns already out there. Veera’s Buckwheat fit the bill perfectly.

Because, let’s be honest, it’s a simple little sweater. Knit from the bottom up in the round, then joined at the shoulders so that the sleeves can be picked up and worked down, it requires practically no finishing and gives you a clean-lined, simple sweater that goes with anything. I wore it with dress pants to give a talk at TNNA, and I wore it with jeans when hanging out with friends that night. At breakfast that morning, I mentioned having just sewn on the buttons and my coworker, both Vogue Knitting’s executive editor and Knit Simple’s Editor in Chief, laughed and said she had assumed it was store-bought. Aw shucks!

The yarn is Sanguine Gryphon‘s Skinny Bugga, bought at this past Rhinebeck with no knowledge that the company was going to shutter within weeks (and split into two new dye studios). Sanguine Gryphon was legendary at fiber festivals; people would line up and wait more than an hour to be rung up! I happened into the booth during a rare quiet moment when there were, honest, about 3 people browsing. I needed 3 skeins, so I was definitely limited by colorways that had multiples, but even if I’d gotten there first thing, I think I still would have chosen this color. (“Sea Star”)

It blocked out a bit loose and floppy, which means it’s just a touch too big, but no matter. I like the way it drapes. Sadly in just one day of wearing it, and carrying a purse (as one does), it’s starting to pill and look a little ragged on the side. That’s super disappointing, but hopefully will just require a little upkeep between wearing. The buttons? A mismatched pair of about-the-same-size black ones I found in my button collection. Likely they are both spare buttons from other garments I own. Who knows. I hate buttons. I hate selecting them, sewing them on, etc. So these are just fine by me!

buckwheat! and pam!

The awesome FO shots? Courtesy my friend Caro of Splityarn, the photographer-to-the-knitting-stars (and me!). We met in a parking lot in Phoenix, along with Pam of FlintKnits, who was getting her own personal photo shoot, too, for a to-be-released pattern (Isn’t that sweater awesome? Love the color and all those cables). Stitchy, of course, was there to smooth the wrinkles and tame flyaway hair. Caro and Stitchy are a photography duo par excellence. (And for hire!) Afterward we had dinner of cheesy Mexican fare and had drinks in a revolving bar. Revolving bar!

how do you choose?

hannah

I had the pleasure of taking Hannah Thiessen, the new Creative Director for Premier yarns, on a little excursion tonight. We didn’t have time for much, just a jaunt to Purl, which happens to be near the office. How ever do you choose from all the goodies there (or at any yarn shop)? It’s always nice to be a little ambassador to the city and what it has to offer. I showed her the colorful array there and then the twinkling lights of the city from above…

2011 in yarn: the annual wrap-up

2011wrapup

My attention span for knitting grew, apparently, this year. Take a look at last year‘s output: Practically all amigurumi. This year? I’ve got sweaters, relatively large shawls, and a full-on dress. I dabbled in other crafts, but this was the return of knitting, in all its glory. It’s also the year I discovered designer Veera Välimäki, as is evident by having knit four of her designs this year (one not pictured but blocking as I type), one pattern twice! Turns out I was also bad at documentation this year (no surprise): There are two projects in this mosaic that I never blogged about!? Unacceptable.

bulky cowl

kelly-cowl

It’s been forever since I worked with bulky yarn, and oh what a speedy joy it can be! I actually made two of this cowl, by request from my cousin who does not knit (I know, I know).