My mom is a volunteer at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery. Besides doing tours for schoolchildren and other groups throughout the year, they are gearing up for their big event as the salmon make their way back to the hatchery to spawn and die. The town celebrates this event by holding Salmon Days, where tens of thousands of folks make their way to Issaquah to watch the return of the salmon and generally mill around. I knit this quick project for her. I know my fish isn't anything like a real salmon, but he was fun to make.
It gave me a respite from my Felted Tweed project, which has met its end, too. I finished the back and front of the Paisley sweater, seamed it and tried it on. It was huge! I hadn't bothered to check my gauge because I had already done a sweater in Felted Tweed that turned out just fine. But my gauge was terribly wrong on this one, so I un-seamed and frogged it. I decided not to redo it but to cast on for a different project with the same yarn. So I'm now knitting Salina by Kim Hargreaves.
This sweater has been made by many and seems to look good on everyone. Hopefully I can have a success with this one! I'm most of the way done with the back (with some modifications based on others' comments) and have been measuring all along. I even frogged it once when I suspected the body was too long. We'll see.
This weekend I got to go to Churchmouse Yarns & Teas on Bainbridge. I had time to sit and knit and soak up some of the atmosphere. One thing I noticed is that the staff use quiet voices, which adds to the calming atmosphere of the shop. That and many other thoughtful things make this shop one of the best. The day I was there, a harpist was playing in the courtyard outside--unrelated to the shop but it sure was nice to listen to.
I bought one of their patterns after trying on the shop sample. The beret below is made of 1 skein of Handmaiden 4-ply cashmere. It's knit on very fine needles and by doing so, the yarn smooshes together to make a cashmere fabric, pliable but sturdy and so luxurious. I will make mine in black.
I also got this book by Kim Hargreaves recently. It is actually part of a birthday present from my husband, so I really should put it away since my birthday is not till November. I'll tell you more later, but the present comes with yarn! (I'm thankful to have a pretty great DH :o)
I hope you're finding inspiration for your fall knitting and any other crafty endeavors!
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
I don't know what happened but I've gotten myself into three new projects. Two were even started on the same day. Here is one of them: the mohair bias loop from Churchmouse Yarns & Teas. I saw a shop sample at Churchmouse this past weekend and immediately found a use for two balls of Kidsilk Haze I had. The pattern is knitted as a bias rectangle, more of a rhombus really, then kitchenered together. Although the dark raisin color above is probably not what I would have chosen, it was in my stash so the choice was made for me. The finished loop can be worn as a scarf, which is probably how I will wear it. Pretty, isn't it?
Here it is worn as a shawl-type thing:
The next one really isn't a brand new project, but I haven't talked about it before. It's a basic pullover from the book A Season's Tale by Kim Hargreaves. I'm using Felted Tweed in a color called Treacle. I think I'll make mine a v-neck because they're so comfortable.
I originally got the yarn for these two projects to go in one sweater called Elfin, also by Kim H., which has a large mohair ruffle around the neck and at the wrists (it's better than it sounds). Somewhere along the line I realized that it wasn't something I would wear very often, whereas a v-neck pullover and a scarf are things I could wear casually all the time. So I chose to be practical on this one.
My next project is called Peerie Flooers ("little flowers" in Shetland dialect) and is by Kate Davies. It's done in the new Rowan Fine Tweed, a 4-ply yarn they've just come out with this fall. It's a lot like their Yorkshire Tweed which was discontinued, but in brighter, sunnier colors.
photo from Kate Davies' project page
I'm super excited about this one, and when my yarn arrived from the UK I had to start right away. My husband helped advise me on the colors, since I didn't want it exactly like the original and some of my colors didn't work (it's hard to choose from an online color card). So I mixed the new ones with some of my Jamieson's Spindrift, and came up with the colorway you see below. It's so much fun to see the pattern emerge. I see more fair isle hats in my future.
I hope I can keep going on all of these, and the knitting is kind of a mixed bag. I can take the mohair one to my knitting group, because it's just straight stockinette, and even the sweater. The hat stays at home since it takes more concentration and fiddling.
Friday, September 9, 2011
Just a quick post to show you my shrug that I finished a couple days ago. I rather like it. It's done in Berroco Alpaca and took about 485 yds of yarn (3 skeins). I still have 150 yds left to make a hat or mittens or something.
I loved working with the Ultra Alpaca, but it grew substantially when I washed it. I read that others have found this, too. Of course I didn't make a swatch and wash that! But I believe it regained some of its old shape in the drying process. I also dried it in the dryer on the tray for laying things flat, and I think that helped. I don't mind it in this shrug, but I would be more careful making a sweater to check the gauge on a swatch after washing. Someone wrote in the comments for this yarn on Ravelry that they thought alpaca should only be steam blocked, but you'll have to wash it eventually, right? Once all that's worked out, I'm more than happy to work with this yarn again. I restarted work on a sweater in Rowan Felted Tweed, and it feels downright scratchy after the Berroco, when before I didn't notice that.
Gotta run--happy knitting!
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Fresh off the sewing machine is this decorative pillow. I'm glad to have finished it since it was kind of an abandoned project for a while. The pattern is by Susan Pinick of "On Pins and Needles," but I can't find a website for her to link to--she had a booth at a local quilt show where I got the pattern.
The wool felt bunny is hand appliqued onto another piece of wool, which was then appliqued to my fabric. After trying her variations (see original below), I chose only a few plain embellishments for mine.
This project was rather labor intensive for what it actually is. I decided to do buttons on the back in case I should ever have to wash it (hope not). I used a vintage button maker my mom gave me to make covered buttons. I also had to refresh myself on how to make buttonholes on my sewing machine. The last thing I did was finish the seams with my serger, which required lots of manual reading to thread the thing. So all in all, a most useful project :o)
It's not without its design features, though. I love this fabric but it never occurred to me to see if there's an up or a down to this print. My little birds are all diving towards the ground because they are upside down.
I continue with the Ultra Alpaca shrug. I love 4-row lace! There's the benefit of knitting lace without having to slog through a lot of charts or use stitch markers, etc. It's a very enjoyable project. I've knitted into it the BBC documentary Windsor Castle: A Royal Year, about the inner workings of the Queen's official residence, which is by turns fascinating and bizarre.
I'm also reading this book by British artist David Webb and thinking of trying watercolor again now that school's back in session.