Friday, October 08, 2010

It's October, Y'all

How did THAT happen? Time forever seems to escape me. Sigh. So I wanted to post some knitting stuff, purchases, etc. from the last month or so.

My good friend, Jen, is having a baby girl in January. So since late August I've been knitting up some goodies for her new addition. She's going to get a lot of knitted stuff from me. Ha ha. Gotta love Ravelry and the folks that put free or relatively inexpensive patterns up there. I don't think I've purchased a knitting book since I've joined Ravelry 3 years ago. Anyway, I digress.

First I knit a Garter Stitch Baby Bath Wrap:

Here's a link to the pattern, if anyone is interested. But really, it's a giant diagonal dishcloth with a hood attached. I'm sure even a beginner could figure it out. However, I could NOT figure out how to do the fancy, i-cord castoff for the hood part, which is what sets this pattern apart from it being just a giant dishcloth. Steam was pouring out of my ears, I was taxing my brain so hard. So I ended up just seaming it closed inside-out. It looks fine, I think.

Incidentally, colors for the baby's room (or as I say, "habitat") are green and yellow with a touch of orange. I had this yarn in my stash (Filatura Lanarota Circus) and it worked out perfectly. I got this yarn years ago from Smiley's online. It's been long discontinued. Super-nice cotton "roving" with acrylic color filaments. Very soft and great to work with. Wish I could put my hands on more, but it's not commercially available anymore and few people are willing to part with theirs on Ravelry (understandably)! Anyway, I really like it when I can work from my stash. Makes my random purchases somehow seem valid and awesome.

Next I knit a Breezy Baby Blanket:

Again, here's the pattern. A really fast, neat-o knit! I've seen something similar to this pattern where the dropped YOs are actually stockinette stitches. I think it's called Lizard Ridge?

Anyway, this is similar to that in appearance, but infinitely faster and easier, I think. For one thing, you are doing triple YOs and dropping them. And there are no short rows at all! No brain torture!

The yarn for this is Plymouth Bella Colour. I got 7 balls in this colorway (which I think was called Sherbet) from Discontinued Brand Name Yarn last summer. It an aran weight 55% cotton/45% acrylic blend that stripes rather beautifully. I used a little more than 4 balls, so about 440 yards total. How awesome is it that I had yarn in a vibrant lime, orange, and yellow colorway?? SCHWING!

I like this pattern a lot. So I am going to make a wrap for me in this pattern. Something that I can use in the winter in my flippin' cold house while watching TV or sitting in bed knitting or reading. I bought some striping aqua/chocolate yarn from Joann that I think will look cool.

Then I knit a Cotton Candy Baby Jacket:

I've knit this little baby sweater about a dozen times. No, seriously. I can just never remember to write about it or take pictures. This pattern is in a book called Hip Knits. It's one of the first knitting books I ever bought, in fact. I like most of the patterns in here. On Amazon, it's only got a 3-star overall rating (I gave it 4 out of 5). I don't know why. I think some people expected it to be "edgy" or "trendy" based on the title. Whatever. It's a decent book, in my book!

This is the first time I made it with the hood, as the pattern dictates. I always just made it a regular crew neck in the past. I like the hood!

So this yarn I got on clearance from Webs. It's darling. It's called Starship by di.Ve'. (WTF kind of name is that for a yarn company?) Anyway, it was cheap! I think I got it for $2.99 a ball. I used 3 balls and I have one left over. This colorway was called Parrot. I made 3 buttonholes in the front (as you can see) and only just Wednesday did I get myself to Joann's to buy buttons for it. So now it's completely done.

Wait there's more!

The Knitted Bunny:

Pattern link. Some patterns beckon me with a siren's song, and this is one of them. This is one of the most unique and wonderful patterns I've ever seen. I'm shocked that it was free.

Basically, you knit a square in stockinette and then with strategic seaming and a little pillow stuffing, you turn it into a bunny. It's amazing how it works.

I thought about sewing a face on it, but I like it just plain. The pattern mentions how to make a tail. (By taking a crochet needle, you just yank out a tuft of the stuffing right at the butt. Ingenious.) But since this bunny is going to be for a baby, I thought a tail wasn't a great idea. Believe it or not, I knit this in Sugar & Cream dishcloth cotton. The colorway is Buttercream. I used 1/2 a ball. Seaming was a little challenging at first, but the end result is well worth it. I see many more of these in my future. I already knit another in a fuzzy alpaca yarn for a friend's daughter. Just too cute.

Ok so the last thing I'm knitting (I think it's the last thing) is a Diamond and Smocked Cover. I don't have a photo of this yet, as I'm only about 7 inches into the project. But it's gorgeous. You can see it here. This was a "free" pattern, but the link to it doesn't work anymore. It's originally from an OLD Patons knitting pamphlet from the 1940s called Beehive for Bairns, Vol. 2. Some of the knitting jargon is a little odd. But I am managing through it ok. For example, instead of indicating a yarn over by today's standard, "yo," it says either "w.o.n." or "w.r.n." Yeah. I was like whaaaaaa?? But basically it means YO, depending on if it's before a knit or a purl stitch.

I just noticed that someone was selling the pamphlet on e-bay, so I bid on it. It's a 64-page booklet, so I imagine there are other undiscovered knitting treasures in there! This pattern is truly a thing of beauty to behold. I am using a cream colored 100% washable merino wool called Super Aussie from Queensland Collection. This yarn is so nice to work with. Very soft and light. So this item will be more of an "heirloom" knitted item. I hope to have it done by mid-November, which is when her baby shower will be.

September 25 was Knitters Day Out (KDO). I had a much better time this year than last year. (Well aside from the ghastly lunch that they foisted upon us a part of our registration fee. $15 wasted. Grrr.) Mostly because my wrist was in a splint last year and it was pretty painful to do anything. As always, I lumbered around the knitting vendors area in-between classes at the conference, drooling and stuttering. Financially, I'm still digging out of a hole, but I decided to splurge a little and get a couple amazing things from independent yarn shops. Time for show and tell!

First, I fell in love with the color of this yarn:

The color is called "Dill," and it's a sport weight 50/50 wool and alpaca blend from a local vendor in PA called Bearlin Acres Farm. I've purchased yarn from them every year I've gone to KDO. They are lovely people and have amazing yarns. And now they have a shop on Etsy! Man, I'm in trouble! :-)

I'm going to use this yarn (held double) along with a black wool worsted yarn I bought from them last year to make a felted bag. This bag, actually, but without the music bar and notes and I want to strap to be longer.

As I wandered around the vendor booths repeatedly, I kept passing this amazing yarn, copping a feel every time I went by:

I lurve the color and it has amazing luster, too. It's a deep taupe or mushroom color. I came to learn that it's the natural color of the goat that gave the fleece. Yes, I said goat. It's 50% mohair and 50% wool. Most of you who know me also know that I really can't do mohair. Even yarns with small amounts of mohair are usually so unbearably itchy that I steer clear.

Not this yarn. This feels like alpaca or a merino silk blend or something similar. It's amazingly soft and pettable. Not exactly cheap: $24 for 250 yards of worsted weight. But worth it, I think.

I learned a lot about mohair from the vendor, Steam Valley Fiber Farm. Basically most of the mohair found in yarn that is commercially available from major yarn companies is crap. It's the fleece from a very old goat or a goat that has been shorn so many times that their mohair is coarse, wiry, and itchy. Poor goats. The best mohair is from young goats and/or from goats that have had a limited number of shearings. So, I'm wondering what to do with it. Maybe a cowl of some sort? I'll think of something. Maybe I'll go pet it some more.

So that's about it so far for my creativity. I did make and post the pattern for the Sweet Kitty glasses case. Here's the link to it on Ravelry. All-in-all, a pretty creative month!