Saturday, February 18, 2012

Non-stop Needles!

Lately, my needles have been working non-stop.  I've got a lot of things either in process or recently finished.

Currently I'm working on my Charms OWL at Hogwarts (see HPKCHC group on Ravelry), as well as my Dozen Shawls in 20Dozen KAL (group also on Ravelry) with this project - the Aeolian Shawl by Elizabeth Freeman.  This pattern is available for FREE over at Knitty.com in the Spring '09 issue.  I'm working this out of Madelinetosh Tosh Lace in the Saffron colorway - 950 yards of orange, gold, copper, rust and 100% superwash merino beauty!  I fell in love with this yarn several months ago and bought a skein with no real plan - I only knew that it was for me and had to be made into something special and beautiful. When my wedding anniversary came around in December and I bought a new black dress for our dinner celebration, I found myself yearning for this in a shawl as it would have been a spectacular accessory.  Early this month I cast-on and look forward to wearing it well before our next anniversary, if not also then.  This is the first pattern I've ever worked that featured nupps - a new technique for me.  Nupps are essentially bobbles in lace and need to be worked very loosely.  For this pattern, I'm working 7-stitch nupps.


I'm also working on a pair of bed socks for John, having just completed a pair for myself.  For these I'm using  Malabrigo Worsted.  His are being worked in Ravelry Red.  I worked my pair in Lime Blue  This yarn is incredibly soft, smooth and down-right yummy.  No, it is not the ideal yarn for socks... it does pill, and I am making socks out of a worsted weight yarn, but these are for sleeping in, and do not get any more wear than kicking in the night will cause.  Being 100% pure merino wool, they are delightfully warm.  Since completing mine I've actually seen a significant improvement in the quality of my sleep (amazing what warm feet will do) as well as a significant increase in my desire to stay in bed in the morning relishing their warmth.  


I particularly loved how the striping lined up in these without even trying.


Friday concluded my most recent session of the Skill Sampler Hat class I teach at Village Wools here in Albuquerque.  I re-knit whatever item I teach with ever session, and therefore I have yet another (5!) of my Gracie hats.  This time I chose Cascade 220 Heathers in Nectarine.  It's a brighter color than I've worked this pattern in before and I really like it.  I really enjoy working with this yarn.  You get a lot of "bang for your buck" with 220 yards of 100% Pure Wool for an affordable $9-11.  This hat pattern works up in 140-170 yards (depending on embellishment), well within the 220 yards Cascade provides.  This yarn blocks well, and I've not had a problem with splitting.  My students almost always have favorable things to say about it in class.


Also on the completed works list is this adorable change purse - Coin Pocket - Monster Fish by Daniela Nii, available on Ravelry for just $4.00 US.  I simply couldn't resist.  This was a quick project, that I was able to knit and felt in one day. To be fair, I modified the eyes from the instructions... somehow a fish out of water for that long seems more natural dead to me - I have an odd sense of humor, I know. 


This was my first hand-felting project… I’ve always just thrown it in the washer before, which I learned gave me a whole lot more control over the felting process, however I will be needing to pick up some good rubber gloves before I do this again as it was a rather harsh process for my hands.  Sewing the zipper in was a bit clumsy at first - place it, pin it, UNZIP it and then sew. I ended up ripping it out once just because I wasn’t thrilled with the placement. Next time I’ll baste it in place first. (Lesson learned!)  It also occurred to me that sewing in hook and loop tape, you could make this a cat toy with a catnip pouch inside and when it gets frayed, simply remove the catnip pouch and toss in the washing machine to re-felt.   I’m thinking a whole lot of people and fuzzy friends will be getting these for Christmas.  I have two more awaiting fins.  For this project I used two of my own Kool-Aid dyed yarns.  100% wool (duh, felting!) and I loved the effect the color changes had once felted.  


Also on the needles, lest I be without something to do, is the Holden Shawlette by Mindy Wilkes available for FREE on Ravelry, which I'm working from Twilight Luxury Wool in Teal Sparkle by SoftnShiny (keep your eye out for a Dyer Moments Interview with her in the near future!)  I've got 870 yards of this gorgeous dark teal (picture color is quite off, sorry) that features 75% superwash merino, 20% silk and the sweetest little 5% bit of silver stellina which adds a nice accent.  Normally, I don't go for sparkly yarn - glitter just isn't my thing, but this one is delicate enough that you have to look twice to be sure of what you saw.  I have modified Mindy's pattern slightly, to work less of a stockinette field.  As I've blogged before, I do not like being a stockinette-zombie, I prefer the action and challenge that you can only get whilst running from zombies.  (Shout out here to both Ray and John, brothers both in blood and spirit who have action plans in place for the inevitable Zombie Apocalypse - I love your kind of crazy!)   Therefore, I did a little math and am working the wave charts earlier, as well as many more of them - the original pattern calls for just 450 yards.  My finished shawl will be larger and slightly lacier than the original, but will feature all of Mindy's design aesthetics in heart.  This project also counts toward my Dozen Shawls in 20Dozen KAL, effectively as number 3.

Wow!  I'm starting to realize, I knit a lot.  My first clue should have been that weird dream I had in the early hours shortly before the alarm where I was walking down the street seeing stitch patterns appearing in the asphalt beneath me.

And of course, this isn't all that I'm working on.  There are a couple projects in hibernation (always!) including another shawl and a hat.  There is one new pattern design in the swatching department.  And there will forever be projects in my queue.

What are you working on?  What amazing project do you suggest I add to my queue?  Let me know!

Oh yeah, and no, I wasn't paid or asked to review any of the patterns I linked to above (not that I am or would be opposed to such - hint, hint!).  I link to what I love to share great things with you!