Monday, January 18, 2010

FO: Flat 'at

Morgan driving cap

Pattern: Morgan
Source: - Fall 2008
Yarn: Rowan Felted Tweed
Needle: Knit Picks Options, size 6
Started: November 29, 2009
Finished: March 28, 2009
Mods: Sewed brim to front of hat, free-handed brim stiffener.
Ravel It!

Here in lies the problem with blogging knits so long after you finish them. I can't remember how I came to knit this one! I'm sure I saw it in Knitty that fall when, like everyone else, I crashed the site the day it came out. I do remember having stealing a similar hat from my Dad when I was young, so I'm pretty sure that's why I wanted to knit this one.

Morgan driving capI'm not entirely happy with how it turned out, though I don't hate it either. I had worn it a couple times. For me, the Felted Tweed makes the hat too light; like it doesn't have enough substance. The hat doesn't want to keep its shape, instead it conforms to the shape of my head. I also wasn't too pleased with how the brim template fit into the actual knitting. Perhaps my gauge affected things, but I ended up free-handing the layout with some cardboard. The main complaint I've read about this pattern is the fact that you have to pay constant attention to the written pattern because the increases are spread randomly throughout the crown to better disguise them. I can't say it really bothered me, although I do remember having to constantly count the number of stitches on my needles.

I'd like to knit another one of these with more substantial yarn - and something not so warm - so I can have a summer version. This one is more suitable for fall. I did pick up some Cotton Ease for it, but couldn't get gauge. I've also got the idea in my head on how to design my own version. It would be constructed differently and I think it would be better. Also, I want to put cables on the top of the hat. I don't know when I'll get around to that.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Ravelympics 2010

As you surely know by now, the 2010 Winter Olympics in lovely Vancouver, BC are fast approaching; they begin February 12th, one month from today. That also means the Ravelympics are almost upon us. I competed for the first time two summers ago during the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and knit my Dr. G's Memory Vest in 17 days.

This time around, I won't have as much time to knit because we leave for a 7-day cruise on February 13th that returns February 21st. If I don't knit a stitch on vacation, that would leave me with only 7 whole days. Let's break this down.

  1. From the official Ravelry page: "The One Rule To Rule Them All: Challenge yourself by starting and finishing projects during the 2010 Winter Olympics." (The emphasis is mine.) At first I thought I would knit a hat or two, or maybe a large gauge pair of house socks and call it good. But are the Olympics just about participation? In all honesty, for some countries/athletes, yes participation is enough, but that's not the true spirit of the Olympics. Every athlete has challenged him or her self to be the best and aspires to win the gold medal. We're definitely looking at a sweater or vest here.

  2. I will be on vacation for 9 days during the games and let's face it, I'm just not knitting for hours a day on a cruise. I will, however, have the opportunity to knit on the drive to and from Chicago at either end of the trip, and on the flights to and from San Juan, PR. And surely I can squeeze in a few rows before bed or during a day at sea. What exactly constitutes a challenge with those parameters is still to be determined. Another thing to consider here is all the 'venue' changes. Managing DPNs or cable needles only complicates things. I'm all for challenges, but complications I can do without.

  3. Is it better to have tried and failed than not to try at all? While I don't want to disappoint Team Michigan with an incomplete project at the end of the games, a half knit sweater is 50% closer to a finished sweater than one that isn't started at all. I think an Olympic athlete would answer this question in a heartbeat with a strong affirmative.

  4. Pattern selection. This again comes back to the challenge concept. Last time I knit a cabled vest with all the time I chose to devote (minus work) to the task. Are a raglan or seamless hybrid sweater equivalent with my time constraints? A sweater has sleeves where the vest doesn't but I'd probably knit it in stockinette since that's what I want anyway.

  5. Some miscellaneous issues to consider: How much yarn will I need to bring? I probably need to plan to be at least a third done by the end of the trip. Will I have enough room to pack it all? Have to leave room for souvenirs booze. Will it totally suck to knit with wool in the Caribbean? Will there be enough room on the plane? Will security let me through with needles and cables?
All good questions and points to ponder in the next 31 days.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

FO: Mini Hockey Sweaters

Mini Canucks jersey

Pattern: the beer sweater
Yarn: Knit Picks Palette
Needle: 2.0 mm bamboo needles
Started: late June 2009
Finished: July 14, 2009
Ravel It!

I knit this Vancouver Canucks sweater for our first off-season swap in the Puck This! group on Ravelry. The sweater has 4 row hem at the bottom to keep it from curling up. The sleeve and body stripes are all duplicate knit, which added more bulk than I anticipated. Normally it probably wouldn't be an issue, but on a sweater this small, it shows a little. I decreased sharply at the neck to keep it from curling and to make it more like a real sweater. Therefore, it will not actually fit on a beer bottle.

The logo is needle felted using Knit Picks Palette yarn. I outlined the green oval twice to give it more thickness. This was my first time needle felting and I learned that white can be tricky to use. The felting needle tends to pick up fibers from the surrounding space - in this case blue - and they can muddle the white color. Also, I think the white yarn I was using was a bit thinner than the green.

Mini Bruins Sweater

Pattern: the beer sweater
Yarn: Knit Picks Palette
Needle: 2.5mm bamboo needles
Started: August 23, 2009
Finished: September 3 2009
Ravel It!

The Boston Bruins sweater was also knit for a Puck This! swap, the second round during the off-season. Using what I learned from knitting the Canucks sweater, I went up a needle size and added a few stitches to the body and sleeves. I also knit the yellow stripes on the sleeves and body, and then duplicate stitched the small white and black accent stripes over top of the yellow. This worked better to reduce the bulk of the stripes.

The original pattern has you put stitches on hold where the body and sleeves meet and graft them together when finished knitting. Since these aren't meant to be worn and that method left some bulk under the arms, I omitted those stitches. The yoke of the Bruins sweater was different than the Canucks sweater as well. I switched to yellow for the last 5 rows and continued to decrease until the neck opening was small enough. I then came back and duplicate stitched the black yoke accents.

Again the logo was needle felted and I'm proud to say that I did the entire logo at lunch one day sitting in my car. It was tricky to free hand the circle and B, but very rewarding once I got it right. With this sweater, I also doubled the yarn (essentially) to bulk up the lines of the logo.

I'm really please with how these turned out. I even received a Detroit Red Wings jersey of my own in the swap!

Mini Wings jersey

Friday, January 8, 2010

2009 Finished Knits

2009 Finished Knits

1. Frivolity, 2. Mother In Law Scarf, 3. Little Coriolis Sock, 4. Little Sky Sock, 5. Plane Red Sock, 6. Neapolitan socks, 7. Earl of Noro Socks, 8. Orange pooled socks, 9. Beyond the Sea Socks, 10. One Pink Sock, 11. Mini Bruins Sweater, 12. Mini Canucks jersey, 13. Cobblestone, 14. Pembroke Vest, 15. Turn a Square 2.1, 16. Morgan driving cap, 17. Red Wings Winter Classic hat, 18. Yzerman Aran Hat, 19. Turn a Square 2.0, 20. 8-trick pocket hat, 21. A Square Turned, 22. Everlasting Bag Stopper #1, 23. Swiffer cloth

Better get this one posted before too much of 2010 gets away!

Two scarves, five pairs of socks, three mini socks, one sweater, one baby vest, six hats - one of them twice - and two accessories. Not too bad for a year's work. Looking back on my knits from 2009, I'm proud of what I did. I'm also motivated to push myself farther and expand my knitting horizons. Maybe not with more finished pieces, but with harder projects. I really want to have more sweaters and a cardigan or two. The Bartlett I have hiding upstairs calls my name constantly.

In compiling the collage photo above, I also realized how many of my FOs went unblogged in '09 - over half! I'll have to get on that quick. I'll probably just make some quick posts without a lot of chatter, but I do want to get them recorded.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Hat Trick 2010

It's that time of year again, time to knit some hats! We started discussing the second annual Puck This! knit-a-long back in November and I've been chomping at the bit to get started. The goal is to knit (at least) three hats in the month of January, but that shouldn't be a problem for me; I had 50 different hat designs in my queue! It was seriously hard to wait until New Year's Day to cast on.

Unfortunately, in all my excitement, I messed up my first hat. I started to make Kirsten Kapur's (Through the Loops) Wood Hollow Hat in Cascade 220, but mis-read the pattern and mis-crossed the smaller cable in the design. I wasn't really enjoying the feel of the yarn either, and I already have a hat with that same yarn, so I set it aside for frogging.

In the meantime, I picked out another pattern I've been wanting to knit for a really long time, Jared Flood's (BrooklynTweed) Habitat. I really enjoyed knitting his Koolhaas pattern with Malabrigo and I planned to do the same this time.

Habitat in progress

I knit the brim extra long and folded it in half for double the thickness, squishiness and deliciousness of Malabrigo. Hopefully it keeps my ears nice and toasty warm this winter. I love the way cables look in Malabrigo and Jared has designed such an interesting hat both to look at/wear and knit. No two rows are the same - so that means lots of chart tracking - but you don't get bored. I just started the crown decreases last night, so I should be able to finish soon!

As soon as I do finish my Habitat, I'll be back at the Wood Hollow Hat. I really do love that pattern, and yesterday I picked up the perfect yarn for it. After discovering Stonehedge Fiber Mill Shepherd's Wool this summer, I knew it would be perfect for a hat. Plus I love the fact that it's a locally spun yarn. Bonus: I found a new yarn shop near work that carries the yarn I wanted! Heritage Spinning and Weaving in Lake Orion, MI is less than 10 miles from work and was very nice. I'm always apprehensive about new yarn shops, how they react to a guy walking in. Everyone was very nice and helpful and did not once assume I was there for someone else. I picked out two skeins of Shepherd's Wool in the Berries colorway.

Stonehedge Fiber Mill Shepherd's Wool - Berries

The color is pretty close in this photo - berries really is the perfect name for it - though I really had to massage it in Photoshop. I'll try to get a better photo this weekend when we have some freaking daylight! Maybe I'll already have another finished hat.

Monday, January 4, 2010

FO: Frivolity


Pattern: Liesel
Yarn: Berroco Love It Colors - Monday Monday
Needle: Boye size 8 straights
Started: August 20, 2009
Finished: August 30, 2009
Ravel It!

What can I say? It's a total copy. It's completely pointless. I love it.

I bought the yarn specifically to make this scarf and I have absolutely no use for it. I saw Hannah's version over two years ago and fell in love. And, just like her scarf, mine only has a smidgen of that lovely bright blue at the ends and at one spot in the middle.

the pattern
A frivolous beginingI would definitely knit this pattern again. You definitely have to pay attention while you're knitting it though, since each row is different. I loved watching each leaf take shape as I knit and the whole piece knitted up quickly. Thinking back now, I recall knitting in my car during lunch and it being really hot outside. Which is nice since it's about minus eleventy billion right now.

the yarn
For looks, this yarn has it made. The colors are vibrant and make for quite the odd mixture. It shows the pattern well enough too. For function, it sucks; This is strictly a fashion-type scarf. Made of acrylic and cotton, it won't be keeping anyone warm. It blocked reasonably well for its fiber content, although if you're looking to stretch the size on anything, you can forget it.

Anyone need a scarf?