Sunday, May 16, 2010

Just getting started

Considering that I'm quite eager to get some new projects underway, I'm going about it in a rather lackadaisical manner. I've been diddling with yarn and needles for these two projects for some time and while progress is discernible it's on the subtle side, shall we say.

The first project is Sandrine by Bonnie Marie Burns of Chic Knits. It's a pullover sweater with a pretty wrap bodice in a rib stitch, and a plain lower body. I'm using a bamboo/cotton blend yarn in a deim blue from called Bamboo Fusion. I like the contrast between the shiny bamboo strands and the matte cotton ones, but the yarn splits like crazy and so I eliminated all of the possible uses that included complex stitch work such a lace or cables. Simple ribbing and stockinette stitch I can handle so Sandrine is turning out to be a good choice for this yarn.

Sandrine is knit from the top down without any seams, which I really enjoyed while making my Spring Peasy so will try the technique again, this time in the round as there is no center front opening. The pattern also includes a wrap cardigan view which looks very nice in photos I've seen of it. So far, I've managed to get a gauge swatch done and the cast-on plus 2 rows of the neckline. Not much but at least it's now on the needles.

Secondly, I'm trying out some ideas for a project to take on vacation next week. For me, vacation knitting should be easy, uncomplicated, big enough to last for the trip without being too big to fit into a suitcase, and enjoyable to work on. At Stitches West last March I bought a couple of skeins of this wonderful silk/wool blend with an interesting thick/thin texture. It's called Ellie from Brooks Farm Fiber. The yarn changes very dramatically in diameter from very thin to really thick but overall works up at about a worsted weight gauge or a little bigger. The fabric alternates between very airy and light and quite dense. The colour isn't good in either photo; it's actually a vibrant deep blue/violet.

I had intended to make a vest out of it and have been searching for some time for the shape and style I wanted. After a lot of perusing of my knitting books and magazines I finally found the right combination of simple but interesting styling and yarn requirements in Vogue Knitting's spring/summer 2009 issue. It's style #11 and if all you look at is the photo you might never look twice. The neckline of the garment is edged with a very fluffy feather boa that hides everything in it's path, and in true Vogue Knitting form, the model is clutching the front of the garment with her had so there's no possible way to tell what this thing actually looks like. Only by looking at the line drawing could I see there was a very nice vest lurking under all the frou-frou.

The front pieces of the vest are shaped almost in a wedge form at the front edge and fall in folds from the neckline. In Vogue's version the wedges are sewn together along the center front line to make the vest more of a pullover tunic. I don't know if I'll do that or just let the fronts hang; it will have to wait until I'm done. I'm still tweaking withe the gauge to get it right. The vest is so simple that it's easily adjusted if my gauge is off but I want to like how the fabric looks.

So I will be off to Glacier National Park on my annual road trip with TW. I'll definitely not be blogging next week and may not the next one either, but I'll be back in June for sure. See you then!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Springing forward

Given the blustery, showery weather today it seems more like February than May, but it's still spring in my mind no matter what the weather. So I have finally finished my first sweater project for the season. While it's quite a simple pattern it took a very (for me) long time to complete; I've been working on it sinch early March. No particular reason for the long time; I just didn't work on it as furiously as I usually work on my knitting projects. I've needed to slow down a bit as of late so it just means everything takes a little longer than it used to. But it's done, I've worn it, and I love it.

The pattern is called Peasy (I assume because its easy-peasy to make). The little vine lace at the neck is very simple - an 8-stitch repeat over 4 rows - and is a nice touch on a simple shape. I changed the sleeves slightly by adding more of the lace at the hems. It's the first top-down, all in one piece sweater I've ever made. This technique is nice because you can try on the sweater as you go, and now before you're done that it really fits. Always good knowledge to have!

I used 6 balls of Silky Wool yarn colour #9 Verdigris. I've made at least 4 sweaters from this yarn in various colours and will happily use it again. With 50% wool and 50% raw silk it's light, soft, and gently warm without being too heavy and bulky. As I bought this yarn on my Christmas trip to Mendocino with Thomas it counts as both special occassion and souvenier yarn so it's extra special. :-)

Speaking of special, aren't the buttons beautiful? They're vintage buttons of unknown age that I've had for many years, and they were perfect with the yarn. If it's not clear from the picture they contain a little scene of a bluebird feeding a baby bird in it's nest on the branch of a tree. I'm so glad to fianlly have found a good use for them.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Hats continued.....

I finished another of the Piper hats for a Sew Group friend; this one for Judy L. I've made a bizillion of these hats by now,and this one really takes the cake. Judy's choice of colours was great, and the sunflower ornament is fantastic. It will get mailed to her this week, and I'm pretty confident that she'll love it.

For the knitters out there, here are the details:

Pattern: Piper from Twist Collective
Yarn: Summer Tweed from Rowan (cotton/silk blend)
Sunflower: purchased at Knitterly; it's by a company called Grayson that makes leather purse handles and other hardware for handbags (sorry; couldn't find a link for this one)