Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 - A year of Knitting in Review

The obligatory FO photo mosaic:

I managed to pack in 20 finished projects for 2008. They included:
  • 1 sweater
  • 2 cowls
  • 2 lace shawls
  • 1 pair of mittens
  • 3 pieces of miscellanea
  • and, of course, the 11 hats
I'm feeling very good about what I was able to produce over the course of the year. In 2009, I plan to challenge myself with my knitting, test my hand at designing, and make time to knit every day (even in the depths of my semesters). I think these three things are certainly both reasonable and achievable. I'm also in the process of building myself a brand new website (a holiday present I purchased for myself this year!). The launch of that site will be seen sometime within the next year--I will obviously be keeping everyone posted!

Lastly, special thank yous and well wishes to the wonderful support of all the fabulous knitters, crafters, and passerbyers that have stopped by in 2008. In my opinion, the knit-blogging community is one of the most friendly and supportive groups out there; thank you for making me feel a part of it. Looks like that's a wrap for this year, I'll be back soon in the new year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Good Luck

Hello! I just had to sneak one last project in before the new year quickly approaches. This piece was "commissioned" by a good friend as a gift for his mother [who is fantastic]. I finished it a little later than originally planned (sorry Nick!), but I'm pleased with the final product. I will say this though, it was considerably more difficult to get decent pictures of this one as opposed to the Chickadee cowl which stood at attention without me even touching it. Detail time!

Pattern: Good Luck Cowl (ravelry)
Designer: Christianne Gerstner
Yarn: 1.3 skeins of Blue Sky Alpacas, Alpaca Silk - teal
Needles: US #5 Addi Turbos
Made for: Mrs. P
Level of Love: reasonably happy camper

Modifications: I omitted one pattern repeat (for sanity's sake) and used a 2x2 ribbed edging instead of the original purled border. I like that it gave the piece a cleaner edge that wouldn't scallop.

I did enjoy this project, but admittedly got bored working on it for long periods of time (which is probably the why it took longer than expected). The lace pattern is fun, but it's extremely similar to the one done in the Bousta Beret which I completed not too long ago. Though I thoroughly enjoy the finished product here (and I've received word that the recipient does too), I'm not entirely sure I'd knit this again--there are just too many patterns out there to make, right?

That's all for now--travel safely for the remainder of the holiday season and have a fun-filled (and happily knit) New Year!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Chickadee

Hello everyone--Merry Christmas to those celebrating today! I wanted to drop in to show you one of the items getting delivered for holiday gifting later this afternoon. Here it is:

Pattern: Chickadee Cowl (Ravelry Link)
Designer: Kirsten Kapur
Made for: Ms. A
Yarn: Malabrigo Chunky - Velvet grapes (yum)
Needles: US #10 Addi Turbos
Dates:12/19 - 12/23
Level of Love: lots and lots

I really enjoyed this project. It was quick, it was fun, it was mindless, and the final product is very pretty. The pattern uses a linen stitch which is especially beautiful with variegated yarns (plus it breaks up pooling too!). With the linen stitch on the outside it creates something along the line of seed stitch on steroids on the inside (shown above). The final product is a very dense (yet surprisingly flexible) fabric that is capable of standing on its own, which will effectively block out pesky winter wind. Success.

That's all for now--take care and have a wonderful holiday (tonight is night #5 here)!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Guess what?

It's Hanukkah! It officially started at sundown this evening. Now, I definitely understand that I'm a bit of a minority here, but for the Jewish folk out there, our holiday festivities began tonight (and will continue for the next 7!). I just wanted to share a few photos I took earlier tonight-- a glimpse into my family:

Aren't they pretty? Every year we hang Hanukkah ornaments from the chandelier in our dining room . Some of them get pretty creative...

Like this one for example! I made it in 2nd grade. It took a little extra work (and some arm twisting) to not have to use the Christmas tree patterns the rest of my classmates used...but it was totally worth it.

Hey look! It's Judah Maccabee! (made out of clothespins, felt, pipe cleaners, and cotton balls. Classy guy.)

Childhood artwork by yours truly. (*ahem*...age 19 months!)

One candle down, seven more to come! Wishing you all a safe & happy holiday season!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Star Crossed

Hello again, I'll keep the rambling brief today! I'm busily finishing up a few pieces of holiday knitting, and I'll do my best to keep the site updated as I do so. (Often my flickr side panel is a project or two ahead of my posting...I'm trying to diminish the lag!). That said, here is a quick (we're talking 2 discs of Arrested Development quick) beret that has already been gifted and sent off to to it's happy recipient. Here are details!

Pattern: Star Crossed Slouchy Beret (rav link)
Designer: Natalie Larson
Made for: Jamie (pictured)
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted - Amber Gold (less than one skein)
Needles: US #10 & #$ Addi Turbos
Dates: 12/14-12/15 (blocking included)
Level of love: *swooooon*

If you haven't picked up on it by now, I'm a hat girl. To me, they include the majority of the rewards associated with hand knitting. They are the perfect length to avoid boredom, come in an endless sea of beautiful patterns, and the slouchy kind rarely smoosh curly hair. Yes; I certainly love my hats. The 2nd grader side of me chimes in "If you love them so much, maybe you should MARRY them!"

Well? Maybe I should.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

She speaks!

Hello again! As promised, more photos of the mystery cliffhanger sweater. I figured I owed everyone (the sweater included) some decent online recognition. Careful followers will note that this is my first wearable sweater. True, I made a vest that was gifted and a sweater that makes my skin crawl, but this is my first piece of clothing that I can actually wear. Three cheers to that!

Lets get to the goods, shall we?

Pattern: Juliet (rav link)
Designer: Zephyr Gals: Sarah & Rachel
Yarn: 4 skeins Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece (held double) in Provincial Rose
Needles: US #10 Addi Turbos
Dates: 8/1- 9/17 (yes...3 months ago)
Level of love: are we serious?

Mods: The largest modification I made was choosing a different lace pattern for the bodice. The pattern I went with was borrowed from the Vintage Shoulderette pattern. Other than that, I decided to do a single faux button front closure instead of the two separated ones as directed. Originally when I started finishing, the button was going to be functional-- good thing I'm flexible.

enjoy this top very much; its got this A-line Trapezey thing going on. I have already worn it out several times which I believe makes it feel loved and happy. Often I wonder if I'm the only one that imagines knit items having feelings. Yeah...? Just me? *sigh*. I just feel that knit items that are shoved into drawers would naturally be sad, and conversely happy if worn frequently. Okay enough of that, I yield. More finished goodness to come soon!

**Special thanks to my fantastic photographer friend that agreed to take the time to shoot [and edit] these photos just because he's awesome. Won't you pay him a visit?

***Also, can anyone spy the yellow flowers from the picture anywhere else? Gosh I love them.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Foliage Beret-a-fied

Okay, I know what you're thinking: "Two posts in the same week?! Not possible. Somebody obviously hacked into her account and is posting for her--that's the only explanation". Now (admittedly), I deserve that reaction. Really, I do. In the past two months, my time has been spent on classes, studies, work and extra currics--any little time I did have was devoted to knitting. Unfortunately posting took the hit. Watching my blog slowly wither away was making me me sad, so I'm going to make a conscious effort to pop in on a more regularly.

On a more humorous note, the other reason I'm posting twice in the same week is that it occurred to me that if someone had never visited this blog until 4 days ago, their first impression would be of a comical (yet terrifying) staged photo of me. To be quite honest, I get a little creeped out when I look at it--but at least now I know what I'd look like if I actually did go over to the dark side...terrifying thought. Now, lets have a look at some knitting, shall we?

It occurred to me (and has been pointed out by countless others) that lately the only hats I'm interested in wearing are of the slouchy persuasion. Most of the hats I've knit of late fit that bill, but there is one that did not. Re-meet Foliage:
Now again, there was nothing wrong with the pattern or the fit of the hat as it was designed--it just wasn't "me" and therefore wasn't getting worn. In my opinion, no handknit hat deserves to live in a drawer unloved.

So last night, I had an epiphany: "My hat is made of wool...wool blocks well....I have an abundance of clean dinner plates...I'm going to fix my hat!". After the process was complete, it looked like this:

and once it was dry, it looked like this:

Which made me look like this:
Overall the transformation was a success and I now have a cuddly, functional hat that I will most definitely wear more often. Other than my hat re-shapage, I have five projects that are near completion that I will be sharing with you over the neck few weeks. In the mean time, how about a little sneak peak?

Don't you just hate cliffhangers? More photos to come soon!