Thursday, January 29, 2015

Not everything takes 10 years

Handspun alpaca spun to cushy thickness and knitted to a lumberjack hat. Makes me want to sing, "I'm a lumberjack and I'm okay. I sleep all night and work all day."

But I don't care. I've never had a hat this warm and that's all that matters. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

7 years in the making...

Or is that 8...

In the (what I prefer to call) persistence category, I present my handspun, designed, hand knitted shawl. 
I don't remember exactly when I started it but it couldn't have been less than 7-8 years ago. In my defense, it's handspun to a true lace weight (probably at least 800 yards). Part was spindle spun but the majority if it was spun on a wheel. (Don't ask me which one because that would be embarrassing - I don't remember but probably Kromski Minstrel). The fiber is Bluefaced Leicester from Frabjous Fibers. 
Then I started knitting. If I remember right, this was a project that started out as something but didn't want to be that thing so I ripped it out and made it into this. It's one of those projects that I made good progress on until I got sidetracked so it got put away then discovered. A little more was worked, rinse and repeat. 

It's actually supposed to have a lace edging on each end but I finally ran short if yarn and decided just to fish rather than cut bait. 

I have to say I do (still) like it. Even after all these years. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Fuzzy Wuzzy

Mohair is the most ambivalent fiber out there. Some people love it. Some people love it but can't wear it. Some people hate it. Some people say it's too hard to work with and others buy whole fleeces of it to spin. 

Most mohair yarn is lace weight but about a thousand years ago I bought several skeins of chunky mohair. 
Sirdar color soft - 60% mohair/40% acrylic. 

I started a project that I ended up not liking it so I ripped it out. That's not easy. So then I had this idea that I would crochet a shawl using a large size crochet hook because that would use it up quickly. 

Tonight when I was vacuuming, I came across a project bag that was hidden under another project and I've decided to rip it out and I'm going to knit a project. 

If you think it's hard to rip out knitted mohair, wait until you try ripping out crochet mohair. Fun. 

Anyone taking bets on whether it will work out?

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Best of the best

Here we are in Illinois in January. Although we only got a dusting of snow, the polar cold is moving in. I just heard on the radio that our average temp for all of 2014 was 49.9 degrees F. 

The serious cold moves in tonight and for the rest of the week we're expecting wind chills in excess of -20F. 

With that in mind, I've decided the best article if clothing I've ever made in my whole life is...my Doctor Who scarf. 
All 12 feet long and 8" wide of it. The yarn (Cascade Pacific) is soft but has some substance to it and it's long enough to wrap around 3 times and still have tails long enough to cover my front. 

I had a friend who years ago defined the criteria I still use for a proper mug. She called the 3 finger test. If you couldn't comfortably fit at least 3 fingers through the handle, it didn't qualify. 

I now have a new criteria for the perfect scarf and this Doctor Who scarf is the criteria against which all winter scarves will be judged against. Forever. Period. 

Want to make your own?  If you can form a knit stitch, you can do it because it's garter stitch from start to finish. www.doctorwhoscarf.com

And if you don't know who Doctor Who is and why the scarf matters?  www.bbcamerica.com/doctor-who

The scarf belongs to the 4th doctor played by Tom Baker and you can see episodes (both the original and the modern day versions) on Netflix. He was my first doctor back in the 70s so that makes the scarf even better (as if it needed help :-) ). 

So if you live in a cold climate it if you're just cool, you need your own Scarf. 

Monday, December 29, 2014

Third time charming

The third Doctor Who scarf really is charming. I have to say, knitting 3 Doctor Who scarves in about 5 weeks was a little over the top but I know the kids loved theirs and I definitely love mine. 

Theirs were knit with the most accurate colors I could lay my hands on in 100% acrylic so easy wash and easy dry for Mom.  (www.doctorwhoscarf.com has everything you need to know if you want to make yours)

Mine, however, was knit with Cascade Pacific, 40% super wash Merino/60% acrylic, in the colors most closely related to the proper colors. It's not really that close but they were what was on hand at Knitorious in St Louis. 

(This pic doesn't really show the colors very well.)

I probably never would have used this yarn had it not been for this project but I really enjoyed knitting with it and the Merino gives it enough softness that I'm seriously considering it for a new sweater. 213 yards in the skein so you could definitely do something cool for a reasonable price. 

It would be a perfect pick for a modern take on a fair isle pattern. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

It's my perogative

As usual I started a spinning project with one garment in mind only to change my mind once I got into it. 

A few weeks ago I bought 8oz of blond alpaca at Knitorious in St Louis. To make the most if it, I plied it with a Merino/angora blend. 
Even though I was able to get about 500 yards, it wasn't going to be enough for the original project. 
That stripy look will become a tweedy look once it's knitted up. The new plans are to use a baby sweater pattern that has the bodice knitted from wrist to wrist and then stitches are picked up and the skirt is knitted in lace. 

The other thing I've been working on is the oven pads. With the latest one, I thought it would be cute to have a hotpad and a washcloth to go with it. 

I just can't make myself stop making them!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Be prepared

The latest snow and cold made me realize that I needed to start beefing up my winter warmies. (Warmies to include those made with acrylic yarn.)

Chunky yarn + size 8 needles = fast and easy hat. 

This is a quick pattern that I designed last year. 

Start with a 4-stitch I-cord and make it long enough to tie a little knot in it. Then transfer them onto 4 double points (or two circs) and increase every stitch so that there are 4 stitches on each DP.  These represent 8 sections of 2 stitches each. 

Make sure to work a knit row every other round. 

On the increase rounds, increase at the beginning of each of the 8 sections until there are 13 stitches in each section. Increase more for a more slouchy hat and  fewer stitches for a less slouchy. 

Knit even in stockinette until the hat is as large as you want it. 

On next round, decrease once every 5 stitches (or as many as it takes for band to fit snugly). Work in K2/P2 ribbing for 2-3 inches if you want a single band or 4-5 inches if you want to turn up the band. 

Do a stretchy bind off and BAM you have a hat.