Friday, November 30, 2007

Presents and new projects

Thanks for all the nice comments on Juno. I've worn it quite a bit and am pleased with how the Yorkshire Tweed is wearing (not much pilling yet). Here's what's been going on in my knitting world over the past few weeks. First, I told you I got some cool birthday gifts from Bill.

Has anyone seen or used these before? They look pretty cool. Here's a close up:

I haven't tried them out officially, as I'm not working on any projects with size 6 needles, but they do glow nicely in the dark!

See the glow?

This gift here took the cake, however. I don't know where he got it, but this swift is beautifully made and works great, as you can see.

For my WIPs, I've got quite a bit on the needles now, actually.

Fetching, using Cashmerino Aran. I've never knit a complete project on DPNs before. You know, I've used them to finish hats and stuff, but this is BIG for me. So far, so good. I'm not minding it too much.

I started another sweater: Starsky from knitty. I'm almost done the back.

This was a big disappointment for me. I got some Malabrigo in Olive for Christmas last year, and have been waiting to cast on for Wicked. I finally did, and I hate it! I'm alternating skeins of yarn of everything, but to me, this looks like army camouflage. I'm sad over it, partly because I've been so psyched up to start a project with Malabrigo. I think the green is nice, but there's too much dark color variations in it. Not sure what I'm going to do with the 5 skeins - this may go up on my Ravelry trade/sell page.

I've made progress on Bill's one row reversible cable scarf. This will be ready by Christmas. The only other Christmas knitting I'm doing is a scarf for my brother. I picked up some Patons Shetland Tweeds in charcoal to make him a manly scarf, too.

I also started Gretel. I am not liking working with DPNs on this one, so it will sit until I can buy a pair of size 5, 16" circulars.

Lastly, we are remodeling our bathrooms next week! Our house was built in the 50's, and we have the original tub and toilets, and possibly original tile (though we think it's more 70's tile). We are replacing the tile, toilets and tiling over the floors. New cabinets, mirrors and lighting, too.

Before: Bill's bathroom.

Bill's wallpaper. Giddee-up!

Before: My bathroom.

After pictures: stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

FO: Juno!!!!

I am probably just overly excited by the outcome of this project, but I really have to say that Juno is one of the best knits I have ever done. Here it is, with lots of pictures!

Pattern: Juno, from Rowan 40. A HUGE shout out to Silvia over at silverknits for mailing me her copy of Rowan 40. I am so grateful for the kindness of other knitters. Silvia, I am mailing your magazine back with a surprise this week!

Yarn: Rowan Yorkshire Tweed Aran in Wild Plum, just a wee bit over 6 skeins. The pattern calls for 2 strands of Wool Cotton held together, but if you've seen other FOs or checked out the Ravelry project pages, you wouldn't think it. Ever since Vanessa at Coloursknits debuted her Juno, in which she substituted the Yorkshire Tweed Aran, everyone else followed suit. This is an example of why I am so thankful for blogs and other knitters who share their experiences. The Tweed is a perfect substitute and makes for a beautiful (and less expensive!) sweater. Buttons are from Joann's, $6 for 8 of them.

Modifications: I did make several modifications to the pattern. Other knitters had noted that they were unhappy with the boxier shape of the body, so I cast on the numbers of stitches in between the 32" and 34" size and worked some waist shaping. I also made the body longer, about 15" before the armhole. I followed the pattern as written for the armhole shaping. For the sleeves, I cast on 34 sts and increased 1 st at each end every 12 rows until 52 sts and then followed the pattern as written. I followed the instructions for the button band and collar as written.

Verdict: Um, I LOVE IT. Can I marry this sweater? I've never made a sweater that knit up so quickly or fit so well. I did my best to knit up the sizes of the back, fronts and sleeves that are best for my body, but I think I lucked out that this yarn behaved and stayed on gauge! The collar is really unique. Even my mom asked, "You didn't knit that, did you?"

I really like the color of the yarn. It has little flecks of hot pink and green and red in it, so I have many options with the color of my layering tee underneath. Here I've got red. Yesterday I wore it with a hot pink and today I'm wearing it with a purple (yeah, I've worn it 3 days in a row!!).

This only took about 6 weeks to knit, while working on other things. I could have knocked it out in a month for sure if I hadn't been distracted by other knits. The body went really fast (the back only took 2 days), but the collar took much longer. I ended up doing 13 repeats of the cable pattern. Once I got the hang of it, it went faster, but it was slow going in the beginning.

What else can I say? I celebrated a birthday yesterday so Juno was a fantastic birthday surprise. I also got 2 really awesome knit-related gifts from Bill, which I'll share with you in the next post. In the meantime, be thankful for the gift of knitting and everything and everyone else in your life you have to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

FO: Pink Rockstar Scarf

Another super quick project comes off the needles. This scarf is so beautiful I can't stand it. Really. You have to see it in person because the pictures don't do it justice, but I tried to take some nice close ups for you all! If you click on the pictures, they will blow up and really show the yarn.

Yarn: Tilli Tomas Rockstar in Hope, 1 skein.

Pattern: Reversible Lace Stitch, found where else? Ravelry. It's a 12 st repeat so, I cast on 26 sts and kept the first and last stitch in garter. I also slipped the first stitch every row to keep the edges neat. The stitch pattern is really lovely and it's perfect that it's reversible.

Verdict: I LOVE this scarf. The silk is so shiny and the beads are so pretty. It came out long enough to wrap around my neck and tie. It's not a scarf to keep the cold out, but it did keep my neck warm over my v-neck sweater yesterday at work.

I'm at work. Serious face.

Close up of the shiny pretty yarn.
I know I've had a lot of FOs lately, but after Juno, that trend is going to end. I'm am almost finished with Juno . . . the collar is taking WAY longer than I expected. Lots of cabling. I have three more sweaters on the horizon that I'm itching to cast on for, as well as a few accessories. No Christmas knitting for me this year means I will have more time to work on them! I enjoyed Christmas knitting last year, but it took a lot of time and I have to admit that I'm not sure how well appreciated the handknits were. Oh well. I really really really want to have Juno finished by the weekend, so send me fast-cabling-collar thoughts!

Friday, November 09, 2007

FO: Ivory Sequined Scarf

I had a lot of fun using the self-timer and taking pictures of my finished sequined scarf. I'm no photographer, but the contrast of black and white with the lighting looks cool to me!

Throw it over your shoulder.
Pattern: Reversible cabled scarf, inspiration found here. I wanted a simple stitch pattern so as not to overwhelm the delicate silky yarn and sequins. I also wanted it to be reversible. Here's what I did:

Cast on 20 sts.
Row 1: K2, [K2, P2] to last 2 sts, K2
Row 2: Repeat Row 1.
Row 3: K2, [C2B, P2, C2F, P2] to last 2 sts, K2.
Row 4: Repeat Row 3.
Repeat rows 1 - 4 until desired length. That's it!

Yarn: Tilli Tomas Disco Lights in Natural, 1 skein.

Wear it like a normal scarf.

I envisioned this to be a fun accessory for the holidays. It has just enough sparkle to add some bling to an otherwise basic black cardigan or other outfit.

Or tie it loosely around your neck.

Or wrap it several times and wear shorter around your neck.

When I bought this at Stitches, I was undecided between this color and a very light pink one with beads (you know me and pink). I didn't want to drop all that $$ on two skeins, but I become obsessed with this luxury yarn while knitting it. As luck would have it, I found 1 skein of that exact pink yarn (Tilli Tomas Rockstar in Hope) on eBay ON SALE. Whoo hoo!

I've already started knitting another fun scarf with it and I am in love with this one. I think this is going to be one of my favorite knits of all time.

The shiny variegated pinks with the delicate little beads and the lace pattern are beautiful together. I found the stitch pattern here. It's a reversible lace that has a scalloped edge and flow to it. Gorgeous. I can't put it down, which means I'm having some finishingitis with Juno. Almost all the knitting is done on Juno (just about 2/3 of the collar remains). I am hoping to have it done by Thanksgiving.