Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Winter Knitting

Outside it continues to look like this:Which means that I will be inside knitting this:
Pattern is Road to Golden by Lisa Shroyer. I'm not totally in love with the colorwork design but I'm going to get a little farther into it before I decide if I should switch to something different. I've been browsing Ravelry and found some inspiring projects that might be more fun (like a hedgehog sweater!).

Not going to lie, I consider myself to be a good knitter, and I happily brag about stuff I've made. Then I go on Ravelry and see someone who has a bazillion projects they've completed, all of which look amazing, and most of them are sweaters (not like my huge pile of mittens and easy hats!) Oh, what's that you're serving? Humble Pie? Oh, I don't want a slice, I'll take the whole thing...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Shovel, knit, rinse, repeat

We got hit with about 18 inches of snow overnight, the upside of which is that since I work at a college, it was closed and I got a snow day. I'm not sure if I'm a masochist or just a true Northeasterner, because I love a good storm. In bad weather I take a perverse sort of pride in being prepared for the weather. On go the lined L.L. Bean boots, the Smartwool socks, maybe some long underwear, my boiled wool sweater, and best of all, my hand knits. There is no greater feeling than stepping out into whatever weather mother nature throws at you and actually being prepared.
Plus cold, blustery weather just reminds me of why it is so awesome to be a knitter. I can stay cozy and stylish in my hand knit cowl, hat, mittens, or fingerless mittens. Even with all the hard work I did on my snow day (aka watching No Reservations and drinking hot cocoa) I've been able to get some knitting done. I recently finished a bulky garter stitch cowl in a lush single ply and a winter white hue, it was knit side to side and then kitchner stitched together. Then I fulfilled my dreams of having a slouchy beret. The pattern I made was inspired by folk knitting motifs and was knit in Beroco Ultra Alpaca (stash from the MIL mittens I made for Christmas). After blocking it's a little too slouchy and I tried soaking it in boiling water to get it to shrink down a little. Might have to give that a second go since the brim has lost all elasticity, or I could try sewing some elastic thread into the brim. I'm even thinking of ripping out the brim section and working it again on smaller needles since I have had visions of this hat dancing in my head for so long that I want it to be perfect!
As for the fuzzy creature above... no, I did not knit her. But she is a good tool for measuring our snow accumulation. "Look, we got belly-height inches in the last 12 hours." If hoity-toity kings can make their own feet a standard form of measurement, why can't the distance between my dog's belly and the ground become the new standard? It can be called the Ruby system and I'm sure it will be all the rage within the next couple years!

Now to get back to swatching my next project. More on that next post.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Christmas mittens

This is one of the Christmas projects I wasn't able to show before. They were made for my mother in law out from Berocco Ultra Alpaca (so soft and delicious to knit with, plus I love the slight haze you get from the raised pile on them).
The pattern was Lopi Mittens from the book Folk Mittens. These at first were too small, so I added a pattern repeat on each side, and several repeats before and after the thumb to get a nice long cuff and a good comfy fit through the hand. I also did the same knit braid embellishment along the cuff that I used for the Inga hats I've made.
Folk mitten patterns are pretty irresistible (bold graphics make them visually appealing, and the patterns often have simple repeats making them easy to remember and fun/fast to knit). I'd recommend this book to anyone since the patterns are great but the historical background information is even better! Did you know that mittens used to be used as currency; I wonder how my landlord would feel about me paying my rent in mittens. There also were a lot of traditions around marriage, such as knitting a pair of mittens for every guest at your wedding, or a pair for every member of your new family. I have toyed with the idea of knitting things for my bridesmaids, and I do knit things for R's immediate family, but I feel a little faint when I think of making 100 pair of mittens between now and September! EEK!

Back to the book though... I love so many of the patterns in this book that I'm toying with the idea of knitting my way through the e n t i r e book ala Julie Powell who cooked her way through Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking and her exploits then turned into the book Julie and Julia (although I have NO plans to be as whiny or melodramatic as Ms. Powell!). 38 patterns would be a fun challenge and force me to get some more techniques under my belt, as well as work on perfecting some skills I already have (gapless thumb anyone?) however with a wedding coming up I don't think I would but a year deadline on myself, that just sounds like a recipe for pain rather than a fun learning experience.