Thursday, November 20, 2008

Cabled Cowl

I love everything about this project.

The pattern.

The designer.

The yarn.

The color.

So why do I keep getting distracted?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

WHAT in the...

Wow. Do I have a lot of practice ahead of me, or what?

What the heck kind of knitting is this?! It looks like I used my fingers and teeth.

Good googamooga... this fancy fair isle knitting is real tricky.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Fairest Isle Of Them All

I've never attempted this technique of colorwork - fair isle. Was I intimidated? Maybe a little. I love the fun and quirky yet classic and countryside effect of this technique. But, every time I found a pattern I liked it was overwhelming. I would need a magnifying glass, and one of those chart readers just to be able to get through the chart. And usually many many more than just two colors would be used throughout the entire project. I always said, "Someday."

Well, someday arrived. When my crafty friend suggested we take a class at The Point in NYC, I couldn't resist. Our goal was to knit this hat in order to get used to working with a chart and handling two strands of yarn at once.

Much to my surprise, I felt like I got the drift of this technique fairly easily. I think there were three things working to my advantage.

1) I used to knit english style, but switched over to continental. So when holding one strand in each hand was not a problem. I knew which direction to wrap the yarn and could switch between left and right, and the two colors quite comfortably.

2) Loving cables has taught me to read charts efficiently as well. You start to pick up little patterns within the chart and use those to your advantage.

3) After putting in miles and miles of knitting, you start to knit without looking. Since this hat was knit in the round, I only had to deal with knitting and no purling. I could keep my eyes on the chart and keep knitting without having to pause and make note of where I was every time my eye had to move between the chart and the knitting.

Definitely not my style, but I do feel like I got the hang of working with two different yarns in the round by the time this hat was done. We started this hat in class, and I was able to finish it when I got home. A great idea for a holiday present, I might add!

The provisional cast-on was a really nice touch on a hat like this, too.

My only advice: knit LOOSELY. I tend to knit rather tightly, which did not jive with this technique. You'll notice towards the bottom of my hat that the white stitches looked sucked into the brown stitches. That's too tight. Way too tight. I really loosened up towards the top and you can see the stitches look more even.

I'm ready to tackle my second fair isle project now! Maybe another baby gift? A hat, perhaps? Oh, the possibilities! That is definitely my favorite aspect of learning a new technique. I feel like another door has opened with the possibility of a gazillion knitting projects behind it! Just waiting for me!

Monday, November 10, 2008

It's the little things

It was hard coming back from vacation. Parrot Cay exceeded our wildest dreams. This private island near Providenciales in Turks & Caicos was heavenly.

You could see all the beautiful shades of blue as we flew closer and closer to the islands. Sandy, who showed us around the resort when we landed simply asked, "Oh... well, what color is the water where you come from?" I was a little embarrassed trying to find some "J. Crew"-type word for sh*t brown.

So, I made the conscious decision not to bring any knitting to Parrot Cay. I didn't want any pressure to do anything.

After not knitting for almost a week, I came home and decided to start with little projects. The first thing I had to start on was a doll quilt for DQS 5. I have to send it out by December 1st. So, not to spoil the surprise, here's a sneak peek at the little charmer.

Is that Liberty fabric you spy? I say nothing.

Then, last Saturday was my little puglet's 7th birthday. I can't believe how fast time has flown by. I can still remember her first day at home with us. Her big head with her even bigger eyes on her tiny little body. She was 3.3 pounds. Now, she's 20+. My little cutie.

For the upcoming winter, we bought her a cute little Wagwear quilted coat. It's getting fleece put into the lining, so we don't have it yet. Pictures will definitely come. It's adorable. But, I had to give her something she'd actually appreciate. Being the little nudist that she is, the quilted coat is more of a torture device than anything else.

So, I baked her some oat-rolled peanut butter treats. She definitely enjoyed them. She swallowed them whole, so actually, I can only guess that she enjoyed them.

Finally, I have a baby shower next Friday. Yes, another baby shower. Thankfully, it's for a great friend, so I wanted to make something special. A keepsake. So I thought I'd try the Blue Sky Alpacas's Baby Bobbi Bear.

I decided to use Cascade 220 Superwash because I wanted to use white yarn. The thought that this little baby may not even know polar bears to exist on this earth disturbs me. So, I made him a polar bear. At least he'll have that.