Sunday, December 10, 2006

holiday extravaganza

Thank you all for your comments about Birch! That was a comment record for me! You all make a girl feel so good!

I haven't been knitting that much lately* (on which you can blame my lack of posting), but have been planning some holiday projects. Can Christmas really be 2 weeks away? For some reason I feel silly starting any holiday stuff until after Thanksgiving, but at that point it seems Christmas is already here. I'm also a procrastinator. This is not a good mix for holiday craft making goodness.

Anyway, starting today I'm working at full throttle on my holiday projects. So far, I've been shopping. That counts, right?

Here's what's on the agenda.

PROJECT 1 - WEEKENDER BAG #2
Yeah, so I'm not *exactly* finished with Weekender Bag #1, but I've never been big on finishing. I *will* finish that soon, though. And the half-finished interior hasn't stopped me from using it. In any case, my sister requested her own for xmas and how can I turn that down? I'm still waiting for the exterior fabric and zipper to arrive, but here are the other ingredients:

Basically a big ol' pile of interfacing, peltex, cording, and the lining fabric. Shopping the second time around was so.much.easier. Let's hope the bag construction follows the trend. The exterior fabric is the only surprise of her gift, so that will have to stay under wraps until official gift giving ensues. At least I'm working on a deadline, so we know it will happen. (actually, she told me I can take until January or February so I've got some time)

PROJECT#2 - LEGWARMERS


My sister-in-law has been requesting leg warmers since, oh about mid-summer, and I just happen to choose her in the secret santa so these made the holiday project list. I didn't want to spend $50 on legwarmers with the prescribed yarn, so I opted for some Cascade Alpaca. Duuude, this yarn is yum-my. Yummy like I'm considering knitting a bed out of it. I'm using smaller needles than the yarn suggests, so they will be thick, warm and soft - all required attributes for legwarmers. (well, and that they stay up). I'm using the pattern from LMKG and think they will work up quickly.

PROJECT #3 - LONG OVERDUE ORANGE HAT a.k.a. LOOH
Last winter, a friend requested an orange hat. I made him
this (scoll down a bit). Wrong yarn + Wrong color = ugly, unwearable hat. That's why he needs a new one. I'm letting this one be a surprise. I have yet to cast on, but I can guarantee this version will be much better. Here's why:

The perfect color, weight, and softness only found with malabrigo. I still have to choose a pattern, but I'm thinking a standard bottom rib, stockinette body.


OTHER PROJECTS
I'm also planning on making all my christmas cards (I predict this to be my downfall), baking, and making those ubiquitous sweater ornaments to top everyone's gifts. Oh, and I want to finish Beau so the hubby can show it off on Christmas (I plan on making him wear from December 20 to 31st). Although none of these are giant projects, I'm intimidated (but confident!) by what's on my plate.
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*one of my knitting distractions was tending to this little cone dog.


He had to wear this for almost a week after getting fixed. Poor little man. It was pretty comical watching him bang into walls and try to climb stairs, though. In a cute way. Okay, fine, I'm a terrible person:)

Back soon with progress!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Done: Birch

Yesterday, I tricked my sister-in-law into modeling birch for me. See, I was the official photographer for her holiday card photoshoot featuring her two pugs, Lola and Luda. After casually slipping in the request after spending a half hour snapping photos and following two ADD dogs around while my brother-in-law lured them with treats, she was happy to oblige. Did I mention they're practically still puppies, only turning one last week? Pug puppies have zero attention span. Anyway, let's get down to business.

Birch

Pattern. Birch by Sharon Miller
Source. Rowan 34
Yarn. Rowan Kidsilk Haze in Majestic, 3+ balls (Thanks again,
Melissa!)
Needles. Bryspuns US8
Duration. July __? to November 6th

(GIANT Shawl!!)
Commentary.
This was a thoroughly enjoyable first KSH lace project. It took some time adjusting to the slippy yarn, but the Bryspuns eased that along. The plastic needles and sharp points grip the yarn and prevent hairpulling and yarn throwing with those K2tbl's. KSH is the warmest, yummiest yarn EVER. I see why there are so many addicts out there. Not only is the yarn deliciously soft and practical, but I feel like I really achieved something in taming it. Seeing all those little leaves lined up perfectly after seeing the yarn in its original ball form just puts a smile on my face. And it kept me warm while I kniting.

The pattern. Any normal knitter can memorize the pattern, although I compulsively referred to it for the first 200 rows. I *did not* want to frog KSH. (although I did have to a couple of times). I prefer working slow than fixing mistakes.

The most daunting part for me (other than the 299 stitch cast on that I did TWICE) would have to be weaving in ends. I tried splicing them to no avail, so I weaved them in for a good 4 inches or so. I hope that's enough. I hear that KSH gets hairy over time, so I hope the little ends will stay "stuck." ***crossing fingers*** I think I would cry if it unraveled when my mom was wearing it. I can't even begin to imagine how to fix that, either. There should be seamstresses for knitted items.

What else? I relied on Mason Dixon's
"Top Ten Things to Remember while Knitting Birch" as my Birch primer, which Veronique's blog steered me to. I used the stitch markers the whole time, although they slowed me down. Again, didn't want to make mistakes and frog KSH.

I think if I were to knit another Birch, which is certainly possible, I would use smaller needles. The final product is HUGE, which doesn't bother me, but it could produce the same effect with a smaller size.

I've read this all over the blogs, but I'll say it again. Buy 4 balls of yarn! I wasn't clued in on this until after I purchased the yarn and spent the duration convincing myself I would have enough yarn. "Oh, the rows just get shorter! These balls of KSH last forever!" I would tell myself. Yup, I was wrong. So, I repeat, buy extra yarn!

Mods. I followed the pattern to the T with the exception of starting with two rows of stockinette suggested by MDK (hmmm, maybe that's why I ran out of yarn...) More than just helping you set up those first pattern rows, I think the little border stablilizes that first pattern repeat in teh final product. Otherwise, the leaves would look like they could slide off the shawl.

Overall. Love it! I just hope my mom does, too.

Next steps. *Finally,* gift this to my mom. Happy Birthday, Mom....4 months late. Hopefully, I'll get some shots of her wearing it to post.

And here's a pic from the photo shoot.

Lola and Luda... I still couldn't get them both to look. Luda's eyeing the treat.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Hourglass Replacement Sweater

With my easy knitting project MIA, I cast on for the project waiting on deck, Beau. This will be J's 2006 sweater. Here's a lackluster shot of the back...

(For a much artier shot of Beau's back, check out Elli's here.)


I'm using Rowan Yorkshire Tweed Aran in Husk, the yarn prescribed for the project. I thought Hourglass was going to be a fast knit, but this is just flying off the needles. Yay for nice thick yarn and easy peasy ribbing! I'm actually knit a bit more than when I took this photo and nearing completion on the back. Fastest . Sweater . Ever! I was hoping for a finished sweater by Thanksgiving, but that was before I realized just how close that was. I don't think I'm up for that kind of challenge.

I signed up for the Phildar Swing Coat KAL organized by Vanessa but am still floundering with the decision to shell out neary $30 for the pattern book when I don't think I would knit any other pattern. It's just such a cute sweater! What to do...what to do...

Updated to Add:
This pattern pic:

And to thank Jenna and Veronique for their suggestion to order the pattern mag directly from Phildar at nearly what I expected! Woo hoo! It's on it's way here as I type. Thanks, guys!