Saturday, September 27, 2008
Yarn: Knit Picks Shamrock in Doyle
Needles: Knit Picks Options, size 8
Started: September 6, 2008
Finished: September 8, 2008
Photographed: September 9, 2008
Modifications: I modified the instructions to repeat steps 6-14, also to finish with 22, then 20 rows and repeat
Another reaffirmation of my love for garter stitch, I even love the raw knitted edge rather than a nice, smooth, slipped stitch edge.
The instructions have you knit 8 total sections around the circumference of the hat using short rows to shape the crown. The first wedge has progressively shorter rows with the second section working back up towards the crown with increasingly longer rows. I flipped every second section around and just knitted straight back to the crown after completing the first wedge. I felt it gave a rounder shape to the crown. Oh yeah, by the way, I figured that out because I knit this beanie twice. The first time was too big all around, the second attempt fits perfectly. I guess that shows I can learn from my mistakes.
In order to end up with a completely seamless beanie, the pattern starts with a provisional crochet cast on. Never worked one of those before, but no problem there. The other half of seamless hat equation then, would be garter stitch kitchener. Whaaaa?! Of course, I hit the internet and was relieved to find this wonderful tutorial (PDF). Looks easy right? Right. The pattern instructions hold your hand with explicit instructions on how to orient the stitches on your needles to avoid a telltale indent at the brim edge. I don't know how, but I beefed it. Oh well, at least the rest of the seam turned out right.
The was the third time I've used Shamrock. I know from the scarf I have that it's warm enough, but I also know from the neck warmer I made that it gives off a lot of fuzz. What I found out this time around was the colors in Doyle are kinda weird. Light blue and brown together, it's become increasingly popular in recent years. Brown and white, sure why not? A simple combination. Even orange and brown works for me, they're both warm colors and the orange is not shockingly bright. But all in the same yarn? It's almost one color too many. I say almost because I'm just weird enough to wear it anyway :)
Monday, September 22, 2008
Pattern: Mitered Mittens
Author: Elizabeth Zimmerman
Source: Knitter's Almanac
Yarn: Noro Silk Garden
Needles: Knit Picks Options, size 7
Started: September 8, 2008
Finished: September 17, 2008
Photographed: September 17, 2008
Modifications: Thumb Gusset by Grace Ivy, garter edge instead of ribbing
Love these. My hands will definitely be warm this winter.
This is the second pattern I've knit from Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitter's Almanac and it's just as inspired as the February Baby Sweater. I swear, EZ never ceases to amaze me. I did add the thumb gusset rather than the afterthought thumb. I've knit mittens like that before and my hands just aren't built that way; The palm fabric ends up pulling like crazy.
I knit these both at the same time using magic loop - after the initial cast on. It saved me from having to count rows of the first mitten to make the second one match. I also knit the garter cuff in the round: knit to the end of the row, slip the next stitch, wrap it, return it to the left needle, turn and knit. Finally, for aesthetic reasons, I placed the thumb gusset opposite the 'seam' created by wrapping stitches in the garter cuff. That places the seam on the outside of my wrist, so even if it was a little wonky, I wouldn't have to see it.
This was my first experience with Noro Silk Garden (killer price at divaknitting.com by the way) and I came away impressed. It was soft and buttery as I was knitting with it and bloomed nicely after a good soak. I haven't worn the mittens yet, so I can't say how well the yarn will hold up. There was some vegetable matter - which I hear is the thing to expect with Noro - but I wasn't bothered a bit by it. To me, it added an extra bit of interest to the knitting process. I did find a knot in one of the skeins, but it happened to be in the portion I didn't use. I used almost a full skein per mitten and the cuff starts about three inches before my wrist.
The only thing that bothered me about the yarn was the colorway. Most of the mitered mittens knit with this yarn look different for sure, but still related since more than one of the colors usually show in both mittens. In mine, the connective colors are the black and gray, so it's not quite as obvious. But, that's more my fault than anything, I should have rewound the skeins first and chose the two that coordinated best.
The photo of the yarn also marks the first and last time I got to use my DIY light box. I used a rather large box that our patio chairs came in, figuring I could use it for larger items like sweaters. Unfortunately, that meant it was stored on the floor of the basement. After last week's heavy rains from hurricane Ike, our basement flooded and the cardboard was soaked. Oh well. It was kind of a pain to make since it was so big and this gives me the opportunity to make another.