Saturday, November 20, 2010
I have a finished project to show you--a pom pom hat! I cast on for this a couple of days ago, and it was pretty much an unplanned project. Earlier in the week, I'd been thinking of moving along my collection of Interweave Knits and was looking through them when I came across this hat in the fall 2007 issue (the one with the Tilted Duster by Norah Gaughan). I don't think I'd ever noticed the hat before, but suddenly I had to have a pom pom hat! I think lurking in the back of my mind was this podcast from Stash and Burn. I've only recently discovered knitting podcasts, and since I like Stash and Burn better than any I've listened to, I went back to the first episode to begin at the beginning. In this one dating back to 2007, Jenny talks about how she was in Italy and kept seeing all these hats with enormous pom poms on them. The one I made is not quite as large as the Italian ones, but good sized all the same. Here's the original hat from Interweave.
I bet I'm the only person to knit this who rewrote the pattern to be knitted flat instead of in the round. I started it in the round but frogged it and began again. One thing was that I kept having to think about what row I was on, and I realized when there's a purl side, it simplifies things: I'm either on row 1 or row 3, but it can't be row 2 or row 4, for example. With cables I find it hard to see what row I'm on anyway, I'm hopeless with row counters, and I guess I like to keep things as mindless as possible :o). Actually, I prefer to knit things flat, and I like seaming, too.
The hat was made in Rowan Cocoon. Since I was using leftovers, I weighed it to see how much yarn it took. The finished hat weighed 90g, which is a few yards less than one ball (about 113 yds). I knew Cocoon would make a good pom pom--so fluffy and definitely my favorite part of the hat!
And, I decided that, much as I'd like to lighten up my bookshelves, I can't get rid of my Interweaves! There's just too much good stuff in them and I notice things on rereading that I hadn't noticed before.
For anyone interested, here's how I made the pom pom. I cut out two 4-inch circles of repurposed cardboard, made a smaller hole in the center and cut out a wedge from each.
I sandwiched the thread I planned to tie the pom pom with between the two pieces. This yarn or thread should be something very strong. Leave a long tail to be able to sew it to the hat.
Sorry, I didn't take pictures of the rest, but I'll describe it. I just wound the yarn around the cardboard until it was covered and looked like it wouldn't hold any more. I cinched up the tying thread, tied it in a half knot and cut the pom pom apart, with the blade of the scissors between the 2 disks of cardboard. Then I removed the cardboard, tied the strong yarn tightly in a knot, fluffed up the pom pom, gave it a bit of a trim, and sewed it on with the tails. The resulting pom pom was 4 inches, although I've read that you should make your cardboard circle 1/2 inch larger than the pom pom you want.
This method was a lot easier than I thought it would be. I did look online for pom pom making and found this neat device and demonstration by Susan B. Anderson on the pom tree, so there's another option.
Each day my hand is better, so I've been able to resume some of my crafting, including spinning. I thought I'd share a few pictures of my wheel.
It's pretty simple, with just the bare minimum of hardware. The wood is curly maple. And like pom poms, it makes me smile just to look at it.
Happy crafting, everyone!
Saturday, November 13, 2010
I finished one of my Toasty mitts this afternoon. Toast is the wonderful arm warmer pattern by Leslie Friend of A Friend to Knit With, and Toasty the mitt with the thumb added. The yarn I'm using is called Leche, by Queensland Collection. It's nice and toasty!
I'm happy to have finished just one of them, because my right hand and arm have been strained this past week, due I believe to the work I was putting in on the Lizard Ridge blanket. It's disappointing, but I've decided to stop work on it for the meantime. I can't carry on at this pace without risking injury to my hands, but without carrying on at this pace, it won't be finished by Xmas. The recipient didn't know she was getting a blanket, so she won't be disappointed, but I'm sad it won't be done in time. Well, with any luck, and working in small bits of time, I'll finish it by her birthday in June. I'll have to come up with a small project for her, because I usually make my mom one of her birthday and Christmas gifts each year. She's a big tea drinker, so she might like a tea cozy, or I could sew her something for her table.
Oh, I nearly forgot to mention Tony Curtis! I read his second autobiography, American Prince, and found it funny, touching and incredible (Hollywood was pretty lively in those days). I got this photo just after he died earlier this year, and since I love classic movies and movie stars, it's inspired me to start collecting autographs of my favorite old Hollywood stars, the ones who are still with us, that is. I'm not prepared to pay top prices for the long-dead ones just yet! It's too bad that Dana Andrews, Jimmy Stewart, Glenn Ford, Gary Cooper, and Rita Hayworth aren't still around, but I'll continue to do more research. Next up, Lauren Bacall.
Since using the computer mouse for very long is irritating to my hand, I've been looking at knitting books, and I'll show you some things I've been thinking about knitting.
Isn't this a fun jacket? It's not my usual thing at all, but I like it a lot right now. The pattern is by Cirilia Rose. Love the chunky-ish yarn, the tweed, and the quirkiness of it all. What's cool about the back are these ruffles:
The original was made in Blackstone Tweed aran and chunky weights. I haven't sorted out which one is used where in the garment, but maybe it could all be made in this red Rowanspun Aran. I'm one of those people who is very influenced by the color of something in a photo and have trouble visualizing it in any color other than the one shown. If I had gray, I would choose gray. I'm not a big "red" person, but this yarn is so saturated and a really good red, and that is how it came to live with me in a Ravelry trade.
The other sweater that's caught my eye, and one I will definitely knit since I have the pattern already, is Tortoise and Hare by Kate Davies. There's a lot that's captivating about this pattern, such as (obviously) the little tortoises and hares, the braid just above the ribbing, the natural colors used, and okay, it's just so cute. There are also some new techniques to learn, like the braid and short row sleeves knit on from the body of the sweater. I may have said this before, but I like short sleeved sweaters. They're warmer than they look and no getting stuck on Sleeve Island!
Finally, look at this awesome bike--it's the 2011 Madsen cargo bike. Okay, I admit it, by posting a link to their website on my blog, I've entered myself to win one of these in a contest this month. But can you see riding to the grocery on this (with or without dog)? It could be the SUV of the future. If you think this bike is as neat as I do, get yourself on over to Madsen Cycles and get your own link. Winner announced on November 17th.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
I've been spinning! Just last week, I got my spinning wheel back from the fellow who made it. It had been making a funny squeak, and he took a look at it and fixed the problem, but my wheel was traveling for a few weeks. You wouldn't think this is such a sacrifice since I hadn't been spinning much these past months, but I had just gotten into it again, and I was happy to have my wheel back after all its travels. At first we sent just the round part of the wheel by itself, but that wasn't enough to diagnose and fix the problem, so we had to send the entire wheel cross country to Maine. Gilbert, the guy who makes the wheels, was most obliging.
I've been wanting to improve the quality of the yarn I make, and that's all a matter of practice. The photo above is more yarn from Happy's fleece, a sheep from Homestead Wool and Gift Farm that I've posted about before. This batch came out differently from the other batch, so I don't know what I'll end up using it for, since the two batches are different weights, one being finer than the other. One thing that caught my eye was this:
A handspun shawl called Indigenous by Lynne Vogel, pattern online at Knitty Fall 2010. I like the irregular look to it, which would suit my irregular yarn.
I also cranked out samples of some other fiber:
The top is some BFL, I think, from Weaving Works in Seattle (note to self: record what the fiber is when I buy it, for goodness' sake!). Very soft and easy to spin. The bottom not-in-focus one is from a big ball of mystery fiber I got off eBay when I first started spinning. I'm trying to come up with some 4 ply yarn to do a fair isle project I've been thinking about, and I think it just might work.
On another note, my mom stopped by this week with a gift of yarn. She'd bought this beautiful yarn in Victoria BC a while back and didn't think she'd get around to knitting it. It's from Fleece Artist, and the label has a pattern on the flip side for mittens and socks. The recommended needle size is US 8s, with a gauge of 14 st/4". Candy the dog is trying to identify the fiber content--ah, 100% mohair!
I thought it might make a nice Opal by Kim Hargreaves. What do you think?
And, if one gift isn't enough, there has been more stash enhancement to report. Funny how I've started thinking of November as my birthday month; that way, the celebrations go on for more than a day. This was a treat to myself. I love the feature on Ravelry to search stashes for sale/trade yarn. One can find really good deals on yarn in general, but also yarn that has been discontinued and can't be found in any shop. (This can be dangerous!) I was searching for anything by Rowan and found many treasures, but I could not resist 10 skeins of Rowanspun 4 ply in charcoal from a Raveler I trust, Susan Crowe of the entertaining Damn, Knit & Blast It blog.
A Season's Tale, a collection of classic designs by Kim Hargreaves. Here are two other designs from that book I'm considering:
The first is Berry, which has a Kidsilk Haze border on the bottom. The KSH is used doubled, by the way, which would make a cozy border. The other is Isla, and it has a Lurex Shimmer rib in two colors. I like the look of it, but may just do the very edge in Lurex Shimmer. It's also a discontinued yarn, so I'd have to scramble to find some if I wanted to use it. I'm really torn between the two designs. The top one is something I've admired for a while, but the cardigan would be more useful.
Xmas update: I'm still plugging away on the Lizard Ridge throw--on square 8 now. Seems like it will be always with me.