Monday, February 20, 2012

Squirreling Away

After much procrastination, a Jessly squirrel is finally taking shape! I won't make excuses -- although moving and knitting a sweater are great ones, if I were to be in the business of excuse-making. Anyway, I finally cast on Nathaniel yesterday, and this little pillow is just flying by! I'm already about halfway done, and I'm seriously enjoying the chart. Although it doesn't look totally squirrely yet, I can see how it's coming together. For now, my Frankenberry doll is currently using it as a sleeping bag.

A word about yarn selection: the original pattern is knit in a beautiful 100% wool. Since this is a pillow, it will inevitably live on my couch, where it will be subjected to the less than graceful presence of my boyfriend (okay, and me) around food and beverages. That's why I'm using Lion Brand Wool-Ease Chunky: it's easy-care, so I can clean my pillow whenever need be without fearing felting. Since I grew up in West Virginia, I had to make my squirrel gray (the most common type of squirrel in the area). The charcoal shade has a nice heathered quality to it, too, which I really enjoy. Like Claire's, my squirrel seems to be knitting up a bit smaller than I expected, but that'll probably change with stuffing. I almost wish this project were taking longer since it's so fun, but I'd really rather finish it before I move. Eek!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Hi-ho, Squirrelio!

Hello all! Claire here, joining the "We're still here!" posting line up. And yes, we have been busy in our silence. I started my Levenwick shortly after the new year and am making good headway on that. Then Jess and I both got the beautiful book Coastal Knits and were ooh-ing and aaah-ing over that for quite a while. Finally she pressured me enough (like it was hard!) to get the yarn to start the Rocky Coast cardigan. I ordered myself some nice light grey Shepherd's Wool from Stonehedge Fibers. I admit, it was a front-runner because it's from a mill in Michigan - yay mitten! I think this is the first time I've had 2 sweaters going at once, so it's been a challenge to keep pace on both of them. I also finished a sock, started (trying) to learn Continental knitting, and made an exuberantly pom-pomed hat. It keeps me cheery in this snow-less NYC winter. 

And FINALLY I have put buttons on my Peaks Island Hood. Finishing a piece can be the trickiest part, and  honestly I wasn't sure if I was going to put buttons on this, since I think I blocked it a little too much and the scarf parts were quite long. But I fiddled with the placement some, broke out the embroidery floss and needle, and in 10 minutes I had a truly finished hood! 

Chewie here was kind enough to model for me. Doesn't he look cosy? I think I mentioned in an earlier post that the buttons are some I got for Christmas, from a company called Buttons by Nature. Made of spalted maple, they're the perfect size and give the hood a nice little rustic flair. 

And now on to further projects in the Whimsical Little Knitalong! We've made our way to Nathaniel, the cutest little squirrel pillow you ever did see! So far he is a very fast knit, and has some interesting construction details as well. You start with a garter strip, slipping stitches on the side to be picked up later for the squirrely body. It's a little awkward at first, but with a chunky yarn it goes very quickly! Clever decreases shape the feet and tail parts. I think my gauge is a little small, but I think Lawrence (of Brooklyn) will be just the right size to cuddle with on the couch and watch Shaun the Sheep with me. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Returning to Life as Usual

Obviously the past year has been full of changes for me, so it feels great to finally be settling back in (to knitting and life in California). It's been a bit of a knitting dry spell for me lately. There were lots or reasons why I wasn't knitting, but one really great reason I got back into the swing: a new knitting group. Not to belittle the importance of my fellow WLKA-ers, because without them I don't know where I'd be (knitting or other-wise), but having a group of people to knit with is such a wonderful thing! Looking back on my knitting career, I remember that it was always being around people who knit (and often knitting-along, thanks Jess) that ended past dry-spells.

When a few girls at work (P.S. I'm officially full-time employed!) decided they wanted to learn to knit, I jumped at the opportunity! It took a little planning, but last Wednesday we all got together to buy some yarn, drink some wine, eat some pizza, and KNIT! I brought my yarn with me, but of course managed to spend too much money at the yarn store anyway. To be fair, I've been telling myself I can buy yarn required for WLKA projects. So I got enough Mirasol Miski for the Peaks Island Hood. I also had to buy needles to cast on a cowl. Who goes to knitting night without needles?

Anyway, I taught the girls to knit and started casting on a seed stitch cowl (inspired by Gap-tastic). The "party" went till almost 11 (on a school-night!) and I didn't even finish casting on - but the social knitting was just what I needed to reboot. I'm now done with my cowl, plus I organized my stash and added it to Rav (photo-less, but still an accomplishment)! Now that I'm back on track (with both my knitting and adjusting to California), I rewarded myself with... A KNITTING CORNER! That's right, I went from living on a couch to having a knitting corner!

~The Perpetually Prodigal Knitter, Lindsey

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I've Not Only Been Quiet, But Quietly Knitting & Crocheting

Kendra here with another apology for the lack of recent posts but it hasn't been for a lack of yarn crafting! Here's the laundry list:

Finally finished the Estelle Cardigan by Melissa LaBarre! Not exactly in time to wear to Rhinebeck, but it's done none-the-less. I'm not crazy in love with it yet, but we're warming up to each other. I am still obsessed with this gorgeous MadTosh Tart ToshDK for sure though and have leftovers - I see a gorgeous red Ysolda hat (Snapdragon? Rose Red?) in my near future!

I also rocked out 2 (two!) crochet sweaters in January - both only took a matter of days although one was technically started a year ago. The first is the Persimmon Pullover by Doris Chan, in Sky LB Collection Superwash Merino. I made the sweater longer than written to make it more of a tunic and it's super easy to make, great to wear.

The second is the Textured Jacket, also by Doris Chan, in Eggplant LB Collection Organic Wool. Here I am sporting it for the first time at VK Live in NYC (photo credits to Jess!)

With those distractions out of the way, I finally finished my Peak Island Hood, which I'm calling my Llama Hood 2.0. I'm calling it done although *technically* it's in my room, drying on the blocking boards. 
Then it's buttons on and hood wearing time, because it's SNOWING outside as I'm writing this! Finally winter is trying to arrive out here and although I'm not thrilled about cold, I want snow!

And as a teaser, here's another little guy that's been keeping me busy and I'm expecting to have a completed pattern available soon!
We'll be back on track with this knit-along very soon and next up: Nathaniel! Lindsey made her's ages ago, so it's time for the rest of us catch up.