27 July 2008

Knitted Dolls

As my little lady gets bigger, we get more interested in dolls. Or maybe I just get more interested in dolls. Or maybe I've been interested in dolls since I was a little girl and finally have a safe outlet for my interest, since I don't want to be one of those creepy doll ladies.

Anyway, this morning I discovered some awesome dolls on Ravelry that combine my appreciation of dolls with my interest in historical fiction, particularly the Tudor period. Check out Anne Boleyn with detachable head! The doll is gorgeous, and I love the details. She makes the Jean Greenhow Topsy-Turvy Cinderella in my faves pattern list look pretty blah. No offense to Jean Greenhowe, whatsoever. Her dolls are very sweet, and I have a fondness for topsy-turvy dolls.

And it looks like Ms. Caffaknitted's dolls are going to be in a show here in NYC in December! So, I'll be able to give an in-person report on them then.

22 July 2008

FO: Razor Shell Cowl

Pattern: Razor Shell Cowl (my own pattern)
Yarn: Misti Alpaca Lace, colorway 7120 (sea foam)
Needle: US4 16"

Apologies for the dismal photographs. I'll have to work on my self-portrait setup some more, perhaps get the tripod out.

Anyway, here is a birthday gift for a dear friend, capitalizing on the current cowl craze sweeping the knitblogosphere (is that how you spell it?). This was such a quick knit, despite using laceweight yarn. Even doubling leaves you with a thin-ish yarn, perhaps closer to fingering weight, but it's so light. Having just complained about this yarn used single, I'm happy to report such a pleasant experience with it doubled. I'll have to weigh this item to see just how much yarn was used, as I had two skeins to pull from (the next project OTN uses doubled Misti Alpaca Lace as well, but I only have one skein, so the experience there is a little different).

I used one of the Razor Shell variations from one of Barbara Walker's Treasuries and just knit away for twelve inches and used the k2tog tbl bindoff method I've found so nice and stretchy for shawls. No one wants to struggle to get a cowl over their heads!

Another birthday alpaca FO to come shortly...

14 July 2008

FO: Old Shale Shawl

Pattern: Old Shale Shawl by Evelyn Clark in Piecework, January/February 2005 [Ravel It]
Yarn: Misti Alpaca Lace, colorway 8105 (an almost indescribable shade of grey/periwinkle/lavender)
Needle: Bryspun 29" US6
Mods: None
Recipient: BFF Karen

I'm still shocked that I used the yarn called for in this pattern. Last time I made one of these it was in sock yarn, and this yarn is sooo thin in comparison. Apparently, I have trouble counting to, like, five these days, so there was a bit of tinking, which is a challenge with this yarn, though it held up nicely. Very happy with the final outcome, but I've come to realize this is not my favorite pattern, as I seem to recall having similar counting problems when I knit this for my mom last spring. Oddly, I seem to do better with a slightly more complicated lace pattern.

It is interesting to go back and knit a pattern you've done before after some time, to realize what you've learned about knitting. So, I'm glad I did this one, and maybe I'll knit another one in a few years to see if I can finally count to five!

06 July 2008

FO: French Press Cozy

Pattern: French Press Cozy from Design*Sponge
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran in Red
Needles: Bryspun US5
Mods: I knit on i-cords rather than locating buttons for the closure.

Last month I knit this up as a little Father's Day present for Nick for our french press in Maine. I hadn't considered that the press itself is green (whoohoo, Christmas!), but a number of other items in the kitchen are red, so this seemed appropriate.

My feelings for this yarn are mixed. It makes a nice fabric and is pretty low maintenance (yay, machine wash!), but I don't particularly like knitting with it, and unless knit up at a small gauge, which it is here, it seems too floppy for my taste. But it does make a lovely, velvety fabric.

The knitting took about two-and-a-half hours and used under one skein of yarn. A really nice, quick project that will see a lot of happy use.

01 July 2008

Maine Yarn Crawl

Isobel wanted to show you the bit of roving she received at the Portland Fiber Gallery from the spinning lady. She calls it her "fluff". Maybe I'll get her to be the spinner in the family, and I'll knit with her handiwork.

While we were up in Maine, we went on a little yarn crawl after taking Nick to the airport. We visited Knit Wit (just a block down from the Fiber Gallery), which is in a great space, has fun toys up near the front for kids to play with, and a really nice selection of yarn. I bought this GGH Wollywasch on sale and plan to make a yoke sweater with it at some point.

Pale blue (shocking, I know) for the body and brown, fawn, cream, and pink for the yoke. I'm thinking of adapting EZ's pattern from The Opinionated Knitter for the yoke. (Or I may pull a "Kathleen" and research fairisle yoke patterns ad naseum until I master the subject and create my own - you never know.) I also acquired a copy of Loop-de-loop at half the price. What a thought-provoking book, even a few years after publication.

After our visit to the Portland Fiber Gallery, which had lots of lovely roving, some handspun, and information and tools for spinning, dyeing, weaving, and such (which got a little overwhelming in the heat of the late morning, pre-snack), we had organic (in Isobel's case Vegan chocolate chocolate chip) cookies "as big as our heads" at North Star (a very hip cafe next door to the Fiber Gallery), then headed back up to our neck of the woods.

We checked out the Knitting Experience Cafe in Brunswick, which also had a nice selection of yarns (and some toys for 'Bel). I couldn't leave without some pretty blue mohair (my only confusion about this yarn is that I thought Trendsetter distributed Kid Seta but this is labeled "Cascade", but I'm not complaining):

And, of course we visited Ellen at Purl Diva, and I couldn't leave without some Fleece Artist sock yarn from the Great Wall of Socks. Isobel helped me wind it into a cake and declared that I could make her some *gloves* with it. They're always watching you, those little ones: Mommy has gloves for next winter from sock yarn, so Isobel must need them, too. I guess I'll have to look out for a winter coat for her that will match this pretty chocolate covered cherry colorway.

I also took Isobel to visit Romney Ridge Farm. Kelly was very welcoming, and Isobel loved meeting the chickens, ducks, sheep, dog ... in other words "the farm". And I enjoyed checking out all the yarn, including some absolutely gorgeous handspun mohair in a robin's egg blue color that was out of my self-imposed budget. But I did indulge in some of last year's millspun (by the wonderful people at Green Mountain Spinnery) that Kelly dyed a lovely spring green. It seems to be heavy laceweight or light sport, and I am thinking of a shawl for my sister with it, but it will probably have to marinate in the stash for a little while. Kelly said her next batch of millspun yarn should arrive in the next week or so, and then she'll hit the dyepots. I can't wait to see what she comes up with next. Apologies for not snapping a picture of the shop, which is an adorable fiber-filled shed, but it was starting to rain. Next time.

And time spent in Bath isn't complete without a visit to Halcyon Yarns. I mean, I can walk there!

Misti Alpaca 2-ply (laceweight) in cherry red, Classic Elite Wool Bam Boo in a beautiful turquoise color (Halcyon is discontinuing Wool Bam Boo from their lineup, and I couldn't resist the color - just wish there had been more! I'll have to find a one-skein project for that), and a skein of Rio de la Plata Sock Yarn in Coral Rose - a lovely, lightly variegated orange that I think I'm going to turn into socks for my grandma. I don't think I mentioned that the Amy March Slippers I made for her for Mother's Day, according to her, didn't even go into the drawer but right on her feet. Now, that's a woman who will appreciate handknit socks!

FO: Gloves Can Be Deceiving

One seamed, one to go.

Model shot.

With the coat.


Pattern: Gloves Can Be Deceiving from Knitty.com, Winter 2007
Yarn: Madeline Tosh Multi-Sock in Pool
Needles: US2 Bamboo straights (I know! I can't believe it either)
Mods: I knit these with one yarn only rather than the stripey sequence called for in the pattern, and, of course, I made the fingers longer than the pattern called for, as I have very long fingers.

This was a great project, perfect for the park. I even had a mom ask if I was knitting gloves on two needles in a somewhat surprised voice. "Why, yes, I am." The sewing up takes a little time and concentration, but these are totally worth it. I love the yarn, and, as you can see, they will look fabu with my new Alpaca reversible jacket from Winter's Gone Farm.

I bought the yarn from the lovely Ellen at Purl Diva in Brunswick (my hand can be seen here - well, first you can see me and Isobel modeling our sweaters, and *then* you see my hand in the next picture) and have about half a skein left. I'm contemplating a cowl of sorts with the rest, since we all know about Mad Cowl Disease. Hehe.