Finished for a friend’s birthday

Well, I have another finished object for Friday. This is quite something! I knit a hat for a friend who celebrated her birthday this week. She is a non-knitter but very deserving of handmade gifts. I used a leftover skein of Rowan Pure Wool Superwash I had in my stash. The pattern I followed is called “Skelter.” This product may seem overpriced. I still remember the thought process I went through a couple years ago when I considered buying it. I was hesitant and thought about it for maybe a week before I finally broke down and let go of my money.

skelter

I’ll definitely make more of these hats in the future, so I suppose I’ll get my money’s worth out of it. I’m sort of feeling guilty because I bought the pattern so long ago and hadn’t bothered to use it until now! But, maybe I can feel less guilty today and in the future. Besides, it’s a great pattern for using a spare skein of worsted weight yarn that you’ve got lying around.

Also, to give the designer some credit, it’s a solid pattern. The instructions are clear and assume the knitter is totally ignorant about everything, including how to make a pompom on the cheap. I used my pompom maker to make my pompom, but you don’t need one to make one. Another thing I like about “Skelter” is the way the decreases are incorporated into the main stitch pattern. As you can see in the photo, the cables gradually slim down all the way up the crown.

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In progress: “Aran Pullover”

I’ve cast on and been working on the “Aran Pullover” from the out-of-print book Knitting with Balls.

bluesweater

I don’t think the book this pattern is in deserves to be out-of-print! It’s a shame, but life goes on. At least I got the book way back in The Pleistocene when it was in print. I actually wanted to review it, but decided not to bother since it’s difficult to buy nowadays.

Another wish I have: The pattern title needs to be less generic. It’s a very classic cabled look and it’s actually really easy and the whole thing is quickly memorized. I hardly need to look at the charts anymore and I’ve only finished about 47 rows. I would have called it “Looks Hard, Knits Easily .”

This is one of my generous knitting projects. The sweater will be for my partner, not me. Neither of us needs another sweater, but who cares?

Blue crochet sweater FO

It only took me two weeks to crochet my blue cotton sweater. I made it up as I went along, starting at the top and stitching downward.bluecrocweater1

This sweater is a little weird because it has three different types of edges. The cuffs at the end of the sleeves are done in what is called “crochet ribbing” which, in reality, is a fake rib. It doesn’t stretch much. You have to make it sideways, alternating rows with slip stitches and single crochets. The bottom of the sweater’s body has no edging at all. I didn’t care for using anything “fancy” because I wanted it to flare out a little at the hips. The collar is just several rounds of single crochet, with a gradual decrease to raise the yoke up around my armpits and shoulders.

The yarn is cotton, so it will be fantastic for autumn or spring weather. The color is good for khakis or jeans as a “wardrobe pairing.” It’s kind of see-through, because of the rows of double crochet, but wearing a darker colored tee under it distracts the eye from noticing that aspect of it.

I haven’t blocked it yet, and still, it doesn’t look too shabby!

 

SAL Update for “Pandora’s Box” with beads

There isn’t too much progress to report on the “Pandora’s Box” blackwork sampler, although there is some to see and talk about. Mostly, time has been devoted to beads because the next square to work on needed beads incorporated into its all-over stitch pattern. This also meant decisions needed to be made. I hadn’t planned on what color beads I was going to use for the project because I wanted to wait and see how different ones would look. The pattern calls for Mill Hill “Old Gold.” In the end, I opted for a more brightly sparkling gold bead from my stash.

pandorasep

To see what other SAL participants have been up to, you can visit their blogs here:

 

Finished and put away

It’s still too hot to wrap things around my neck. When the chilly autumn weather arrives, however, I’ll be ready with my Trillian.

trilliangreenpurple

I made this with some Done Roving merino sock yarn, which I bought in Dover, NH, just across the border from my home state of Maine. This is one of those “OK, I think I’ll splurge on that pricey stuff in the knitter’s boutique” types of things. It was a special day when I was visiting the USA, out shopping with my mother and sister, who are both yarniacs like me. It was a great day. We went out to lunch and hit all the craft stores in the area. The skein cost me $30 or so. Having spent so much on something like this, I waited three years to use it, carefully considering the options. This warm accessory will be especially appropriate for wearing in October, since the colors remind me of Halloween and cartoon representations of Frankenstein’s monster. Most important of all, though, is that every time I wear this scarf I’ll remember our fun day out in the cold weather browsing the craft stores and just having lots of fun.

When I finshed the scarf I decided to use up some wool I bought locally here in Valladolid to crochet the Linen Stitch Cowl. It’s long enough to wrap around the neck twice and it’s very thick and fluffy.

 

If I make this cowl again – I probably will, but with more than just the linen stitch pattern incorporated – I think I’ll crochet it flat and then join it together invisibly. The instructions tell you to work on it in the round but this creates a jog because of the starting chain. I didn’t like the way it looked following the directions as they were so I fiddled around with it and figured out a way to hide the jog a little bit better, crocheting round and round like on an amigurumi, without a joining slip stitch. All of this, though, could be eliminated by working on it flat and then sewing it together invisibly.

These two pieces of neck wear have been washed, dried, and put away in their “for the summer” plastic boxes with other woolly handmade garments and accessories, waiting for the approaching cold weather.

While I’m waiting for some crisp, fall air to hit me, I think I might try to update my Ravelry photos. I’ve been posting my knitting and crochet projects here but I haven’t added anything to my project library in ages. Mostly, I think I’ve been spoiled by the instant gratification I get from sharing my handiwork here. On Ravelry there isn’t a whole lot of interaction happening in my project gallery. On here, we’re all excited about each other’s stuff and we encourage each other. I can’t wait to see what you’re working on or what you’ve finished!

 

Crochet WIPs on the fast track to wearing status

This week in my spare time I’ve been crocheting a lot. I’ve been working on a couple of things, both rather easy. I need easy crochet in my life. The school year is starting and my brain mostly continues to sizzle after work, which calls for a mind-numbing binge on repetitive movements.

First up, let’s check out my “Linen Stitch Cowl,” a free pattern that works up pretty fast. It’s so easy you can mess it up without messing it up.

Photo Sep 04, 13 02 55

I’ve been thinking about how I’d like to combine the two-colored linen stitch pattern with another one to make a cowl with a more “crazy” look. But really, later, when my mind can assimilate things.

My other crochet WIP has a brief back story. You see, a friend of mine made a cotton top for herself out of mostly double crochet. She had some nice, cheap cotton yarn in her stash and just came up with a top all on her own. She finished it and wore it one day when we went out for coffee and I was like, “Wow! I want a crochet cotton top!” So, I’m crocheting myself a cotton sweater with some cheapy cotton yarn. I love it. Here I am trying on the yoke:

Photo Sep 05, 20 55 40

Evidently, the yoke wasn’t ready to be joined for the arm holes just then, so I kept crocheting.

I figure that, if it gets too cold by the time I finish this sweater I can start wearing it in the spring. If I can wear it a couple of times during the “Indian Summer” that typically strikes in October, then that will be great. Anyway, I’m thrilled to be having my very own plain crochet sweater. It won’t have lacy shoulders like my friend’s low-cost double crochet improvisation, but it will be this really cool denim blue color that I can never seem to resist buying when I see it on sale.

Only exciting for some people

Have you ever crocheted or knit in the company of a non-knitter or non-crocheter and suddenly, out of nowhere, you got to this “cool” thing in the pattern and when you followed the instructions you said to the non-crafter, “Look at this! This is sooo cool!” Usually, the other person really doesn’t get what you’re so darn excited about.

We learn, over time, to just keep these “marvels” to ourselves. But still, it’s hard to shut up sometimes and you just have to say, “LOOK AT THIS WICKED COOL THING!” This is why blogs exist, I suspect! Ever since last night I’ve been so well-behaved, so quiet, waiting for the opportunity to sit down and share it here, where people can take it or leave it. I said absolutely nothing out loud last night. My partner is a very nice person, but not the type who gets excited about crafts.

So yes, while crocheting an oval-shaped doily in my living room last night, in the presence of my partner, I got to the end of a round and the directions said, “fasten off,” but I wasn’t done with the doily yet. But then I saw the next round, which instructs you to start a new chain and then apply shells all the way around. The result is so cool! It can especially be appreciated when you continue with further rounds and you see shells going sideways and then later on you see shells “right-side up.” Isn’t it the coolest thing ever?

Photo Aug 28, 11 06 14

This technique reminds me of knitting, when you cast on some extra stitches and apply a border to your fabric. Instead of a cast on, you chain and work around.

To get an idea of how this is coming along, here’s a more “panoramic” view of the unfinished doily:

Photo Aug 28, 11 06 56

If you’re curious, this is from the Leisure Arts Leaflet “Pineapple Doilies” and the pattern is called “Pineapple Garden.” This pattern, in particular, is very interesting to me because it has all kinds of things I’ve never tried before, like the sideways shells. It also has lots of creative ways to finish off rounds to disguise the starting chains.