Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My Three Latest

Over the past couple of months, I've knit quite a few things. I knit a whole red set for my sister: mittens, scarf and hat. I knit a pair of socks for Fred while we were in India. I made a scarf for Patty. (Let's hope she can keep track of this one.) and I made a baby hat that will probably become my go-to baby hat.

A post on the rest of that stuff will have to wait because I have photos of these other projects I can write about now.

Several months ago, my sister-in-law, Vera, asked for a scarf that was long and soft. I agreed to do it because I like her, but I knew long scarves are no fun to knit. To mitigate this, I decided to make it as pleasurable experience as I could by using a really good yarn: GGH Baby Alpaka, which I bought at Penelope Craft. It is really soft, comes in several natural (and some not-so-natural) colors and I was curious what it would be like knit up.

I got five balls in different colors and I mixed them by knitting four row stripes with two colors - gray and white. Half way through the white ball, I changed from white to black. So the stripes became gray and black. When the gray ran out, I changed to blue, and so on, ending with the last bit of the white and a quick, relieving bind off.

The whole thing was knit K1, P1. It was 45 stitches across and I carried the color I wasn't using up the one side every time. If I were going to do it again - and I am not - I would do five row stripes, so the 'resting' yarn would get carried up on opposite side - thank you Nancy for that late but educational suggestion. As it is, all of the carried yarns are on the one side, which makes it appear less symmetrical than I wanted. Oh well. I don't have to look at it all the time. It's about seven feet long - and it's alpaca, so it will probably grow a bit. It was also very soft.

I gave it to Vera at a party during the pre-Christmas season. She appeared to like it. She said, "Ik ben verlieft." (I think that's what she said. I'll hear about it if it wasn't.) Fred didn't think the scarf looked like a lot of work. Said I should have added a cable. I just wanted auto-pilot knitting. And cables with stripes? Every knitter I showed it to - and some who just walked up and talked about it - could tell it was a lot of work, said it was very nice. K1 P1 looks great and lays flat, but it's a giant bore to knit. The strips helped to some degree. You can see it better in this picture. I can see doing that again with shorter repeats and a different color choice.

And about this rug. Have you ever seen a chunky rug like this in a store and you think, Who buys a rug like that? It's us. We did. I could do a whole post on that rug.

My friend, Andrea, is an artist in Dallas. I've known her since college and we've recently gotten back in touch after a period of not being in touch. She sent me a drawing a few months ago and I thought it would be fun to knit something for her. But she's allergic to wool, which is a bit of an issue. There are non-wool alternatives: bamboo, cotton, alpaca and silk, to name a few. They all have their charms. But I am also on a bit of a yarn diet. I didn't want to buy yarn until I'd knit up a lot of what I already have. And the only choices I had in stock were blue alpaca and a red bamboo - both lace weight. Then she mentioned that she likes green (as do I.) Then I happened to be at Penelope Craft where they have some lovely Cascade Alpaca Lace in a really beautiful green.

So I went off my diet, but it was for green alpaca lace. I think I'll be okay. I really wanted to knit lace after that scarf, miles of K1 P1 and Fred's socks, which were basically stockinette topped by about six inches of twisted rib, which looks beautiful, but is endless K1 P1 on steroids.

Anyway, I picked a great pattern that will be fun to knit, that was free and that I will name at a later date. At this point, I will say that I am knitting it and it's a lot of fun. I hope to make some progress on it on the way to Berlin on Thursday or on the way back Sunday. I would knit on it now except that I snapped the needle I was using while I was biding off Fred's socks on Christmas Eve. I'll get a new one tomorrow.

The yarn is super soft. And when I told the designer that I was making it, she said, "You're the first person I've ever met who has made or is making it." There are like 900 on Ravelry. I'm amazed that no one local has made it. This is a close up, but you can't tell much because it's not blocked. The color is better in the top photo. See those markers? I like markers and I like a safety line. I am a much calmer knitter with those in place.

I wanted to do lace because my other project is completely stockinette. I'm participating in a Cardigan KAL (knit along) with my local knitters. It's just a cardigan theme. We have all winter to finish and we can use any pattern. I'm knitting the Style No. 9608 V-Neck Cardigan with Saddle Shoulders from Vol. 96 Men’s Classics magazine 1966. Here's the picture in the magazine.

I'm using Madelinetosh Vintage in the Cover colorway. I bought it through Yarns Apart, which is sadly no long in business. Of course I'm making some modifications. For one, it won't be as long as it is the picture. Secondly, I might not do the pockets it calls for. Thirdly, I will probably do a zipper in place of the buttons.

I will say that I love this yarn, but when I was knitting my last cardigan out of Madelinetosh Vintage, I got to the second bag and saw that the colors were a lot different. When I opened these bags, I suspected that there were some variations. It's all hand dyed, so the colorway is a bit of a...range. I ended up doing a fairly large swatch for each ball. By fairly large, I mean like a 6 x 6 one. I don't mind swatching. I tried different cast-ons and bind offs. It was a good experience.

The cast-on I decided on is the Channel Island Cast On. It's a nice look. I'll also take this one along to Berlin. I've got an audio book I'm going to try to get through on this trip. I probably won't be able to, but it will be hours of knitting. It will be nice to have the option of the lace and the stockinette. And maybe I'll even read something. Six hours on a train both ways? That is my kind of vacation!