Saturday, February 12, 2011

WIP roundup

Having sent most of my stash and a few WIPs ahead of me by post, I'm a bit freaked out by the relative emptiness of my knitting basket.  Two of socks waiting for mates,

a crochet scarf project with way too many ends to deal with,

a half-done scarf,

and a shawl I'm saving for the airplane.

There was a hat in there until this morning; once my hat model gets back from India, I'll post about it.

I wasn't worried about running out of knitting until my hat model aka boyfriend left Friday night.  Once I move back to US we won't see each other for quite a while, and I wasn't planning on knitting much these last couple weeks and instead spending my free time interacting with bf.  But yesterday his grandmother died and within hours he was at the airport headed back to India.  Even so he just barely made it to the funeral.  In total he'll be gone almost a week.

It seems he's been living at the airport this month, having just come back from a trip to India a couple weeks ago, and having taken a trip with me over Chinese New Year to Phuket and Kuala Lumpur. We got the bag in the background of the photos above in Phuket, can you tell I think it's really cute? I suppose I should show some photos of our trip, but they're still in my camera so perhaps the next post.

Anyway, this trip is going to be tough for bf, facing the death of a beloved family member and an extended family rife with feuds, many involving my bf.  I stay out of all this - it's not my place and our cultures are so different that I can't even understand what the arguments are about half the time.  I think we all learn at some point that just as we have to accept out partners, we have to accept their family dynamics as well.  But it's damn hard to do that sometimes.

Anyway, a week of evenings to myself with a backlog of podcasts and a queue of audiobooks lined up, and I can see myself burning through most of those WIPs before he gets home.  Then what will I do?!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

FO: Pointelle Socks

Another Christmas present reached its recipient so I can talk about these socks now.

Pattern: Pointelle by CookieA
Yarn: Cascade Heritage
Needle: 2.5mm (2 circs)
My Rav project page.
When Cookie A's new sock book came out, I read a great review over at Knitspot and decided to buy the digital edition and see why everyone was so excited about her designs.

The book is really nice, and the patterns are extremely detailed and well-written.  This entire sock was charted, for example, which made it great fun to knit.  You may also notice that one sock is the mirror image of the other, which eliminated Second Sock Syndrome because you knit from a completely different chart.

 I had bought the yarn some time ago with the intention of knitting socks for my friend out of it; she used to wear this color often and generally looks amazing in blue.  I just noticed while writing this post that Cascade Heritage is the yarn used in the pattern -  so I followed the pattern exactly. I don't know if I've done that before!
 Anyway, I love this yarn, this is the second pair of socks I've knit with it.  If it came in semisolids I probably wouldn't buy any other yarn for wool socks.  It's a little cottony-feeling while knitting, but after a wash it's acceptably soft.  My previous pair went in the washer and dryer with all my other clothes and were just fine. Maybe not perfect condition, but certainly wearable.
I'm glad these found a happy home with my friend. There is nothing like spending time and effort to create something special for someone who really appreciates it!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

FO: Beaded Lace Scarf

 I couldn't get the whole thing in one shot, but you get the idea.
Beaded Lace Scarf
Pattern: from Knitted Lace of Estonia
Yarn: Jaggerspun Wool-Silk 2/18
Needle: 3.5 mm

This was a Christmas/birthday gift for my BFF who loves to wear pink.  She finally received it the other day so now I can post about it.

I used the book Knitted Lace of Estonia to piece together the pattern for this.  The body of the scarf is the Piibelehtkiri pattern from the stitchionary, and the edge is taken from Madli's Shawl.  I love this edge and might use it again in the future, maybe knitting Madli's Shawl itself.

Throughout, I used beads instead of nupps.  These beads are plastic, and almost a perfect match for the yarn color.  They give a bit of a sparkle when caught in the right light, but otherwise just melt into the yarn, providing a subtle "something" that's classy but really hard to photograph.
Speaking of the yarn, this is Jaggerspun Wool-Silk 2/18.  I really enjoyed working with it, and after blocking the fabric is light and slightly soft but not fuzzy (unlike the alpaca yarn I was knitting recently).  I liked it enough that I scooped up a couple more skeins from another Raveler in Singapore, but of course I'm not going to have time to knit it until I get home to US anyway.  Sigh.

I didn't worry about getting the blocking done perfectly, because I knew I would be cramming it into an envelope to send it off.  Even so, when I look at the photo I took of the blocking below I realize that it was quite wonky.  There are no straight lines to be seen hehehe.  Luckily, it will be twisted around a neck most of the time, so nobody will notice that some sections are wider than others.

The recipient of this scarf is no stranger to knitted gifts.  Almost every year since I learned to knit, I've made her something for Christmas.  I'm not sure exactly why I started up this particular tradition, but she got me interested in yarny crafts in the first place so it only seems right. (She's on hiatus from being an avid crocheter and taught me to crochet years ago.)
I always pick something that's beyond my current skills, and challenge myself to make something awesome for her. In the past, she has received my first complete cabled item - a cotton towel, yeah don't ask me what I thought she was gonna do with a knit towel with cables all over it - and a pair of mittens which were the first all-over stranded knitting project also the first mittens I knit.  This scarf was the first time I've used beads and is certainly more challenging than anything lacy I've knit before.

I'm already wondering what new technique to tackle for her this Christmas.  Brioche knitting, maybe, or entrelac?  I've got about six months to decide before I need to start working on it.  Isn't that terrible, to be thinking about Christmas knitting again already?  How time flies!