Sunday, July 8, 2012

Catching Up

Lindsey here with lots to catch up on. The entire month of June went by without a single post! I'd like to blame it on the heat, but I think it'd be a lie. Apologies for the radio-silence on my end... I have no good excuse (except a huge work-related-thing that is now done. mostly). Since my last update - in April - I've done a decent amount of knitting! In anticipation of my first Madelinetosh Sweater Club yarn shipment (which arrived Memorial Day weekend), I did my best to finish some UFOs and knit from my stash. Two weeks of hellish jury duty in April along with diligent knitting until the end of May helped me achieve finishing the following projects: Girasole (for my parents' for their anniversary), Featherweight (which only needed a sleeve and a collar), Codex Cowl (for me), Snapdragon Mitts (pt. II for my NY friend), and a Scroll-Lace (which I did not love and gave to my mother for Mother's Day). Apparently you can get quite a bit of knitting done when you're not busy blogging (although a better knit-blogger would've made time for both).

Above is my second pair of Snapdragon Flip-tops (this pair for someone who actually needs the flip-top part) knit in Tosh DK in Copper Penny. But the real Tosh DK project I want to talk about is Girasole:

I knit Girasole in Tosh DK Briar which sat in my stash for over a year due to some inconsistencies in the color. I had tried knitting sweaters out of it multiple times to no avail. Finally I decided to put it to good use and knit a blanket for my parents' anniversary. I could not be more pleased with this project - everything from the pattern to the product. Sure, the final blanket has some color variations I would've been happy without, but since it forms concentric circles in tandem with the lace, it doesn't look have bad. Not only was the yarn amazing to work with, but the pattern was possibly one of the most enjoyable I've ever knit. Several different lace charts kept things interesting, but you also always go to know each chart well enough that you didn't have to refer back to it. It was always interesting and yet never overly challenging. I can't stress enough how much I recommend this pattern!

Anyway, the weekend of my brother's wedding I finally received my Tosh DK Twist in Dustbowl and immediately cast on Water and Stone. You can see a (terribly lit - sorry) picture of the yarn and collar above. The yarn is much darker and more gray than I expected, but now that I'm through with half the body and a sleeve I'm okay with it. I can't wait to finish this sweater and get started on the next when shipment two comes at the end of the month.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Move, FO's and the Beginning of the End

So Kendra here, finally checking in again with lots to update you on! First off, I moved! It took what felt like ages to actually pack up four years of living in NYC, but we made it out after shipping 49 boxes and selling all of our furniture. 10 bags at the airport later...
...and we made it to California!!! It's good to be home, I gotta say. I miss my Brooklyn knitters dearly but it really is great to be back. We even found an apartment in San Francisco already, a gorgeous home up on a secluded hill. Here is the view from it, although the photo does not do it justice and the trees are about to be trimmed so it'll get even better!
And although I haven't been knitting a great deal recently I have finished two things since I last spoke up. My Scroll Lace Scarf, aka Whimsical Little Mushroom Scarf, was knit up ages ago (only took a couple of evenings in fact!) but I've barely stopped wearing it long enough to photograph/I forget to ask someone else to take a photo when I wear it. So here it is finally, in all its golden glory!
I knit it out of the beautiful Metamorphosis by A Verb For Keeping Warm in an awesome colorway that is naturally dyed with "locally foraged mushrooms". As an Oakland based company, this seems like the perfect welcome back to the Bay Area project! I love the color because it goes with everything so it's been my in-purse-in-case-of-chill-emergency scarf since I cast it off over a month ago.

The next big FO is a Color Affection shawl, the beloved pattern by Veera Valimaki. I love it!!! I picked out three colors of Miss Babs Yet Lace (in Pewter, Moss, and Oyster) while at Stitches West 2012 (with fellow WLKAer Lindsey's help!) and got knitting! And look how pretty!
This was one of those fortunate times when "blocking will fix that" actually worked out! The garter edge was just wee-bit-too-tight, but I foraged ahead because that's how I roll. By the time it was finished the effect was quite obvious and causing the points to spiral. I had pretty much decided to call this a Design Element and move on, but a goofy blocking on the bed with towels (this thing is HUGE!!!) where I tugged at the straight edge and smooshed the garter body and poof! Perfect shawl!

(Side note: Turns out adding a yarn over after the 2nd stitch then dropping it on the way back is good idea to help this tight-edge problem - little late for me, but thought I'd help a fellow knitter out.)

I love the pattern and loved knitting it, but making the lace weight version meant by the end I had probably 600+ stitches (although to tell you the truth I didn't actually want to know the number at the time) so the last 20 rows were a bit painful. Now that it's bound-off and blocked the painful memory is gone and now it's just the warm and fuzzy feeling of new love. Even Adam is a fan...
Now it's on to the next and last project of Whimsical Little Knits 2 with the Cotton Reel Mittens. I'm making mine in the fingerless mitt version out of Miss Babs Yummy Toes in grey and greenie-yellow. The pattern starts with an I-cord that becomes the bottom of the cuff which is super cool in this knitter's opinion, which is as far as I've gotten so far.
Luckily I'm casting on in time to take them with me on the flight back to NYC for graduation. Back already, I know, but it means I get to see some knitter friends so it's all good :) Stay tuned to see how the final project of this knit-along goes and what we'll be knitting up next!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Red Scroll at Night

- Claire
Now that Mother's Day has safely passed and my package has arrived in rural Michigan (hi Mom!), I can finally tell you about my Scroll Lace Scarf. 

In my last update I had resigned myself to ripping out all of the body and starting the short rows again. I waited until I had good company for the ripping - Kendra! We had our last Monday coffee date before her big move a couple weeks ago, and she even wore her finished Scroll Lace so I had a handy reference. I reworked the short rows, "eating" up larger chunks for the whole body. I was able to do the picot bind off, but had to add more plain bind off stitches in between the points. But finally - it was done!!! 

A little bath and some stretching later, here is the fully finished result:

The slight semi-solid nature of the Tart colorway was perfect for the scarf. Mom just received the box today and called to say that she loved it. She made a good point that knitters don't often receive knitted gifts, which is sad, because we make the perfect recipients for handcrafted lovelies.  A knitter knows how much time and care went into that project!

Although if you train them well enough, non-knitters can come to appreciate your good work as well. Also in the box was my Dad's belated birthday present - a squishy knitted Alien face hugger! Hopefully he and the cat will have lots of adventures with it. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Alternative Knits

Jess here with an admission: I'm a little bit picky with my knitting projects (okay, super picky). This is probably because I'm primarily a selfish knitter. So while I did like the looks of the Scroll Lace Scarf, I decided it wasn't quite my style. Instead of knitting along with the other ladies, I decided to go back to the beginning and re-knit Damson. As I previously mentioned, I left mine on a G train, and as any New Yorker will tell you, it's just not worth going after. Thus, I wound my yarn -- Tosh Merino Light in the beautiful, versatile Dust Bowl -- and began my knitting. As with my previous version, I knit the body in stockinette so that I wouldn't run out of yarn. The result is absolutely perfect. I haven't gotten the chance to snap a great photo of it, but here's a less than flattering shot to tide you over!

Damson the Second

I'm so happy with how this version came out. I'm loving Dust Bowl even more than Smokestack; the slightly darker gray shade goes with my skin tone a little better, and it matches more of my wardrobe. I'm also pleased to report that I'm the proud owner of blocking wires, so I was able to make all of the loops stand out with ease. It's amazing how good blocking can elevate a project from good to great!

I had about 20 yards leftover, so what did I do? Okay, I saved half for hexipuffs, but the other half I used to create a fun little pal! Meet Joel the Jackalope.

Joel the Jackalope

Joel was based on the patterns Tiny Easter Bunny and Tiny Reindeer from Teeny Tiny Mochimochi by Anna Hrachovec. He's a little sweet and a little scary, which I find hilarious. I'm about to attend a wedding in Mexico, and I think that Joel will be the perfect date.

Beyond that, I've somehow managed to become a prolific knitter in the past month or so. I've finished my Rocky Coast Cardi, knit a Bunny Nugget, made a Tiny Armadillo named Queso (also coming with me to Mexico), and have started a pair of Elm Socks. Not too shabby. Now, time to keep knitting my socks! It's cold and rainy today, so I need some bright pink/red socks to make me smile!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Scrolling Along

Claire here with a quite update for you on a Monday evening. I'm closing in on the last hours of my 3-day weekend, and wanted to share a couple projects with you!

Let's start with a non-WLK2 project, but one that has been in the works for a while - I finished my Levenwick cardigan! I could have had it done much sooner, but of course it took me a while to do the front bands, and then to block it, and then to find the right buttons, and then to sew them on  - you know the drill! However, it is now complete, just in time for the warm spring weather. 

Sorry for the photo quality - I have to find time (and a willing photographer) for a pretty session outside, before it gets too warm to wear! 

I like it, but I'm not 100% in love with it yet. Hopefully that will come with wear. I think I over blocked it a but, so it's drapier than I'd intended. I do like it with just the top 4 buttons done, or with all of them done, but I think I will wear it the most with just the top button left undone. The buttons are cute little carved sunflowers, in a sepia colored resin. 

Continuing with the vaguely disappointed theme, I have an update on my Scroll Lace Scarf

I've made it much farther since this picture was taken - I was nearly done this afternoon, in fact! I decided to do the body in garter stitch to get rid of the curling factor. I knew it was going to take more yarn than the stockinette version, but I neglected to realize HOW much extra yarn I would need. 

I ran out. 

I'm still committed to the garter stitch body, but I'm going to have to figure out how to re-work the short rows, and I think I'll have to omit the picot edging as well. Until I feel like ripping out the scarf will be thinking about its mistakes in the knitting basket, and I'm going to get back to work on my Rocky Coast cardigan. Must finish wooly projects so I can start some spring things!

I Did a Bad, Bad Thing...

... and it's all Jess' fault. After years of avoiding pulling the trigger and joining the Magnolia Society, I finally joined. I'm in for three sweaters' worth of beautiful yarn. After a very long, confusing color selection process, I decided (with Jess' help) on these stunning color + yarn combos:

DK Twist in Dustbowl

80/10/10 Sport in Venetian

Dream Alpaca DK in Malachite

I haven't received any yarn yet, but used the pics above (from Ravelers jettshin, shkitty, and pnason respectively) to help judge what each color would like on that particular base. I know dye lots differ and such, but you could definitely see a trend with each base.

Next steps: 1. Finish Girasole (I'll post more about that later). 2. Twiddle thumbs (or finish other projects) while I wait for my first shipment.

Missing brunch, my enablers, and all things NY,

P.S. I don't know why I'm signing off like it's a letter - but I was told once I need to include my name in my posts. So there.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

It Happened! Squirrel! Made a Friend!!!

A squirrel came to check out Squirrel!!!! As you can see, this was quite an exciting moment in my day. There may have been loud exclamations involved, but luckily there's no proof of that part.

It's a terrible picture, but it happened! I couldn't get to my phone fast enough, but this interaction started with Outside Squirrel sitting up and facing Squirrel! in the exact same pose. I promise it happened.