Friday, July 29, 2011

FO Friday #20 - Blue Fall

Happy Friday Everyone.

It is a long weekend here in Canada and the weather in my neck of the woods is supposed to be gorgeous. Sunday night I am going away to the mountains with three friends for a overnight crafting-extravaganza. Life is good.

I am excited to show off my pretty blue Saroyan today. It knit up much faster than I expected and used less yarn than I thought it would.

The original Saroyan pattern called for a worsted weight yarn but I wanted a light thinner more-scarf-than-shawl and knit it using the glorious Malabrigo Sock in Azules, a light-fingering weight.
I knit it with a new Hiya Hiya bamboo circular. I loved the feel of these needles but found the tip a little blunt for the lace work.
In the end I used 80g of yarn in total. There was some bleeding of the color when I washed it, but less than I expected. And, although the yarn had a tendency to turn my finger blue, it didn't affect the needles.

I had a lot fun blocking with my lace wires. Hm... that last sentence definitely qualifies me as a knit geek doesn't it? I know, I know, I crossed that road a lonnnggg time ago ; )

I knit 11 increase and decrease repeats and 19 straight leaves. I used Stashnstitch's modifications for pointier ends. And, 53Chevy's mods for decreases that matched the increase side a little better. Seriously, what would we do without Rav?

I am really happy with how it all turned out. The colours in this yarn are beautiful.

It ended up being the perfect length for the light-weight accessory I was looking for.

Blue Fall

Pattern: Saroyan by Liz Abinate
Yarn: Malabrigo Sock in Azules
Tools: Hiya Hiya 2.5mm/US3 circular
Knitpicks Lace blocking wires

It's ironic, given my good mood today, that I have named my new beautiful scarf Blue Fall as a play on the colour and leaf lace edging, but also because I am pretty apathetic about the approaching autumn. One of my very best friends is moving a way in a couple weeks and I am not looking forward to life without her : (
To say I feel blue would be a bit of an understatement.

Still, it is a pretty scarf, don't you think?

Cheers, Nikki

Don't forget, you too can be on your way to becoming a "knit geek"...
just start by checking out some of the awesome finished projects though Tami's blog ; )

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

WIP Wednesday #27 - We Interrupt this Program...

Happy Wednesday everybody!

I had some specific goals I really wanted to achieve for my knitting this week:

1. Finish knitting my darn Saroyan (newly christened "Blue Fall")

Well, I am happy to say that I got it done*

* of course it is currently blocking, so you will just have to come back on Friday to see a decent pic : )

2. Swatch for my Goodale project (like a good little knitter)

Shazam! Check this. Not only did I swatch (and discover my gauge was way off) but I also washed the swatch and was shocked to discover I now had perfect gauge. Lesson learned!

lovely lovely Madelinetosh Pashmina in Iris

3. Start knitting my Goodale as I can't take with me on vacation in a couple weeks because the intended recipient will be there.

um... and that where everything went off the rails.

Because, on Sunday, I picked up this from the post office:

18 Skeins of Plymouth Royal Llama Silk for the final project in my 2011 family sweater knitting resolution. I really feel I should actually accomplish at least one of my resolutions for this year. So, I will use this yarn to knit this sweater for my hubby.

In the end, there has been more swatching (and washing!) instead

Maybe others had better luck staying on track with their WIP's. Find out through Tami's blog.

Cheers, Nikki

Friday, July 22, 2011

FO Friday #19 - My First Adult Sized Sweater!!!!

It is very timely that I have finally finished my "Ode to Hedwig" sweater  just as the last Harry Potter movie is released. (I haven't seen it yet but am really looking forward to it!)

Of course it isn't as timely that I have finished a bulky wool sweater in the middle of a July heat wave... but whatever, it will keep : )

I am so proud that I have actually knit myself a full sized sweater that appears to actually be wearable!!

The Owls pattern is knit in the round from the bottom up. The pattern is very well written and very easy to follow. This is my first attempt at a yoked sweater and it has worked out rather well. The bulky yarn on big needles made it a very quick knit.

The sweater is meant to be have a very slim fit and is a little shorter than I normally go. Even though I knew the shape wasn't entirely my style, I couldn't resist those owls. This pattern was one of the first ones I queued when I started knitting last year. It did not disappoint.

Kate Davies overhauled the pattern this year and I knit the new version. There had been a lot of comments about the back back shaping causing "puffy pouching" in the old version. I am very happy with how the shaping fits in this version.

I think the side shaping lies a little funny but I think it is more the result of the way I blocked it than from the pattern.

For the most part, I stuck exactly to the pattern. My gauge ran slightly small but I didn't want to go up on my needle size, so I knit up one size than my measurements. I used magic loop for the sleeves. I did a sewn bind off for the neck and it is more than stretchy enough. I bought some 11mm mother-of-pearl buttons at a local knitting shop for the eyes. Choosing buttons was probably one of the toughest parts of the whole sweater and sewing them on was one of the more time consuming! I haven't done the owls around the arms because I thought they might lie funny. What do you think? Should I leave it as is, or add the rest of the buttons on?

The Yarn in Bendigo Rustic. It is a 100% wool 12 ply yarn that comes in 200g balls at a fantastic price (especially if you can get someone to bring it over from Australia for you - Thanks again Carol!)  I really enjoyed knitting with it. I think it grew slightly with blocking but I had anticipated that. I find this wool very warm and comfy to wear but it may be a little rough for some (I probably wouldn't use if for baby items).

Overall, this sweater was a fun and quick knit. It is definitely a reasonable project for a beginner sweater knitter. I learned a lot but was not overwhelmed by the process. The best part is that I have a great sweater that I am excited to wear come winter (in the far far off future).

An Ode to Hedwig
Pattern: Owls by Kate Davies
Size: 3 (36")
Yarn: Bendigo Woolen Mills Rustic 12 ply in Elm
(I used about 450g/ 600m total) 
Needles: 6.0mm/ US 10 & 6.5mm/ US 10.5 KnitPicks nickel circulars

Don't forget, there are plenty of more inspiring and satisfying finished objects to be found through Tami's blog for FO Friday!

Cheeers, Nikki

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

WIP Wednesday #26 - It's All Downhill From Here

Happy Wednesday everyone. Today marks 6 months since I started participating in work-in-progress Wednesday. It's now part of my weekly routine and I really enjoy it. It is because of you for visiting and leaving such nice comments every week that this is such a lovely thing to be a part of. Thanks!

I have actually started the decreases of my yet-unnamed blue Saroyan. Originally, I worried that I wouldn't have enough yarn. Then I started worrying it would be too long. I want to be able to wear it as more of an accessory than an actual function scarf or shawl. Hopefully I have found a happy medium (I will be mighty ticked if I finish and decide it is too short!)

As the home stretch is in sight, I have already started plotting my next project. More Christmas knitting. And more Madelinetosh : ) I think I will need to learn a lot as I go on this pattern. Fortunately the expert knitter in my Craft Night group made a Goodale last year. So, I start off knowing I will have some serious back up if I get stuck : ) I will definitely be swatching for this one!

I thought the yarn was worthy of a second shot. Doesn't it look yummy?

Hope your Wednesday has lots of time for crafting in it. And for perusing other WIP posts through Tami's blog!

Cheers, Nikki

This is the last pic of Doodlebug's birthday yesterday.
I think the day was a success ; )

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Happy Birthday Doodlebug!

 The story of one baby's first year through handknits.

First knit at one day old
Baby Sheep Hat
Coming home from the hospital
Garter Stitch Blanket

Ok I'm cheating but I did sew this blanket

First knitted gift - baby blanket from Aunt Sandra

Saartje's Booties
Probably my favourite knit of the year - Little Pumpkin

2 months old

Simple Baby Hat & Baby Booties

3 months old

Just Ducky Hat & Just Ducky Socks

Almost 5 months

Oliver Beanie with my own colourwork

Raglan Cardigan at 6 months

Cutie Patootie Cardi made by a friend

Gorgeous crocheted blanket made by someone at my husband's work

The three summer babies (in gorgeous knits made by their mummies)

Ok more cheating. I made the vest but it wasn't for her ; )

8 months

This cardi was made by my husband's grandmother for the first granddaughter and has now been passed on to the first great-granddaughter (believe-it-or-not, you can still buy those buttons at Walmart...)

11 months
Dear Liza
Wow! That's a lot of knits for one little person. And all the love that went into them is only the tip of the iceberg of all the best wishes, hopes and blessings that are coming your way today from around the world...

What a year it has been. I can't imagine my life without you in it. 
Happy 1st Birthday my dear Doodlebug. I love you so much.

Cheers, Nikki (Mummy)

Friday, July 15, 2011

FO Friday #18 - Round the Twist

Happy Friday everyone!

It is another glorious summer day here in Calgary and the  kids and I are off to yet another stampede breakfast. You'd think we would get tired of free pancakes and sausage everyday... but nope : )

I have finally finished the "Round the Twist" hat for a special little guys 3rd birthday (which was unfortunately in May - another victim of Canada's postal strike... sort of.)  Well, it's the thought that counts right? Besides he will definitely not be wearing this hat for a few months yet.

This was my first Wooly Wormhead pattern. Tinker is a very fun hat with simple construction. Basically you just knit round and round  until it is long enough and then finish with a 3 needle bind off straight across the top. The killer is that 8 out of 10 rounds require cabling every 3 stitches. About 20 rounds in, just as I was ready to bury the partially knit ring of madness in the far back corner of my closet I figured out how to cable without a needle (no idea if I am doing it the "standard way" - I just made it up but it certainly works). That made a huge difference and the rest went pretty quickly.

I used Berroco Blackstone Tweed. I loved knitting with this yarn. The tweedy look gives the overall colour interest. The yarn is super soft.

For the 19" size hat this is how much I had left from one 50g skein:

Of course, I had bought a second skein just in case, so I guess there will be another green tweedy project in my future.

The intended recipient lives on the other side of the country so I kindly asked bribed my children to model the hat for this post.

Our friend's little guy is one of three, so I thought it might be cute to make the other two similar hats for Christmas. And I already bought the yarn... you know, just in case.

Round the Twist

Pattern: Tinker by Wooly Wormhead
Size: 19"
Needle: 4.5mm/US 7 Knit Picks Nickel 16" circular

I didn't make any modifications to this project. I also didn't check my gauge but it seems like a nice fit for my 3 year old. I didn't block it because I like the way the cables look now and the hat feels sooo deliciously soft and squishy. I just couldn't risk over stretching it.

If any of you came looking for Owls, I am still sewing on buttons. I promise it will be ready for next Friday.

Don't forget to twist on over to Tami's blog to check out more fabulous FO's.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend.
Cheers, Nikki
Completely unrelated shot of Bellini's at the bar from Girl's Night
 on Monday when we went out for dinner and to see Wicked.
It was, well, one seriously wicked evening.