Tuesday, September 25, 2007

FO: Trellis

Pattern: Trellis, from Spring 2005 Knitty.

Yarn: Elann Connemara in Wedgwood Blue, about 5 balls

Size: 6 months

Intentional: I knit the back and front pieces together to avoid a few extra seams to sew. I also picked up stitches around the collar and knit until it was about 7" long, then used a 3-needle bind off to make the hood.

Unintentional: I knit part of the cable incorrectly. The 4-st cable where it says to knit through the BACK loop and then knit 2 together through the back loop . . . yeah, I knit through the front and couldn't figure out why mine didn't look like everyone else's. Oops. Well, I decided that no one would know and who the heck cares.

Verdict: Very cute pattern. I think this one delivers a real bang for the amount of work involved. It looks really complicated but is actually rather straightforward. I will definitely be making this again (but with the right cable pattern!). I gave it to my friend at her shower on Sunday and it was well-received.

So, what's next? I've been in a slight knitting funk the past few weeks. I've been distracted by some home improvements (painting) and the sewing. Thanks for the comments on my Swing Bag; I've used it a lot have received compliments! I am taking a little break from sewing (long story, but I tried making a mini clutch out of the leftover fabric I had, and it was a disaster). But, I am thinking of making the clutch bag from Amy Butler's In Stitches. There are some nice FOs of it here and here.

I did finish the Irish Hiking Scarf, ordered more yarn to finish my Cable Down Raglan and am s l o w l y making progress on the garter stitch body of Bea. I am trying really hard not to start my next 2 real fall projects: Juno and Wicked. Must finish WIPs first. Can you believe it's almost October??

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Amy Butler Swing Bag

A few weeks ago, I decided I wanted to paint our family room a different color. It's on the bottom level of our house and doesn't get much natural light, so I wanted to do something bright. I picked a warm yellow and thought "I'm going to go all out and get some nice fabric to make some bright pillows for the couch!" I ended up picking up 1/2 yard pieces of Amy Butler's new Nigella prints. I sewed up 4 coordinating pillows.

Last year, I had purchased the pattern for Amy Butler's Swing Bag, but I never got around to buying fabric and making it. Buying these Nigella prints got me excited and giddy, so I found some of her Lotus prints at purlsoho and ordered the pieces I needed to sew the Swing Bag. Let me say, I have sewn pillows and curtains before, but I've never, even sewn from a written pattern where you have to cut out the pattern and cut pieces from your fabric.

I set Saturday aside to make my swing bag. I laid the pieces out and even used my iron (I've learned how important it is to press!)

It took several readings of the pattern instructions to completely understand what the heck I was doing. After a few hours and few rips, I had this:

So far, so good. I certainly had some moments when I wanted to throw my machine and the fabric out the window, but I continued on. It's not perfect, but here is my finished Swing Bag!

Pattern: Amy Butler's Swing Bag
Fabric: Amy Butler Lotus: 3/4 yard Brown Lacework for exterior, 3/4 yard of Coral Star Paisley for interior, 1/4 yard of Lime Star Paisley for the scarf.

Modifications: None, except I made my own scarf. Amy's pattern calls for 1 1/4 yards and has it sewn on the bias. I chose to make it with just 1/4 yard, folded in half and sewn with folded edges. Mine is shorter, but cost a lot less!

The fun wasn't finished there. I used the leftover fabric and Caro from splityarn's tutorial for making a zippered wristlet to make this:

I decided to throw all my knitting notions in here and keep with my knitting projects:

I had a really fun time doing these projects, although sewing is pretty tiring for me. I like that I can veg out on the couch with my knitting. When sewing, I was up and down from the machine to the ironing board, to the table cutting, measuring. And, there are so many accessories for sewing! But I do have another project in mind for the leftovers from my Nigella print pillows - I'm thinking of a large wristlet/small clutch!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Fall projects: What's OTN?

It seems that every month or so, I give you all an update on my current WIPs. There are few that I haven't blogged about, so I guess it's time for another edition of "What's OTN?"

The newest WIP is the Grannie Smith Cardigan, by neoknits. I started this last fall with some Kid Silk Haze and had a nightmare of a time keeping track of the stitch pattern. Since I loved working with the Baby Silk so much on my Mom's Sweater, I decided to get some before Elann ran out. I just started and am having a much better time keeping track of the lace pattern.

I also started the Irish Hiking Scarf, by Helloyarn. I bought 5 balls of Cashmerino Chunky earlier this year and used 2 to make a cabled hat. I planned on using the other 3 for a matching scarf and really liked this cable pattern, especially the garter edges. I've knit through 2 balls and it's about 1/2 as long as I'd like it. I only have 1 ball left, but thanks to Ravelry, languidly had 1 left in her stash that was the same dyelot that she wanted to sell. Score!

Cable Down Raglan: I don't knit with dpn's when I don't have to. I would rather seam a 20" long sleeve than knit it in the round. I decided to work the sleeves flat first and them come back and finish the body. I'm about 4" past the underarm, and I'm going to run out of yarn. Need to pick some up from WEBS asap!

Hooded Trellis: This is for a friend who is having a baby in December. She doesn't know the gender, but I showed her my copy of Special Knits for Babies by Debbie Bliss and she pointed to a hooded sweater. I had already started Trellis for her, but I decided to add a hood instead of knitting the collar. I think it came out OK, but I had to fold and sew down the sides, because I think baby might get suffocated otherwise. Yikes, we don't want that! I am thinking of adding a button to the top of the hood so she can fold it up and down. I'm worried a button on top of baby's head will look stupid, so we'll see!

You all met Bea in my last post, so no updates there. What fall projects have you all started or are thinking about?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

New Bea-ginning

Thank you for all the helpful suggestions on what to do with Rusted Root. I haven't made a decision yet, but I am leaning towards frogging it. I think I'd want to start this one over from the beginning and make some adjustments to the neckline (and that darn nubbin') as well.

In the meantime, I've been working on a long-ignored WIP. Way back last year, I saw cmeknit's beautiful version of Bea, by Kim Hargreaves. For those of you not familiar with Kim's designs, they are done in Rowan yarns are are available in kits only. Patterns cannot be purchased separately.

Bea, from the Kim Hargreaves website.

Well, this got my creative juices flowing, because while I'd love to spend the $100 for the kit, I couldn't justify it. So I studied the pictures available online and started a knock-off version of Bea in February of this year. When spring arrived, I put it aside and ignored it. I was using Debbie Bliss Merino DK and liked the yarn just fine, but it wasn't thrilling me.

A few weeks ago, I saw knitterknatter's version of Bea on Ravelry. It is stunning and renewed my interest in this WIP. I decided to frog what I had started in the Merino DK and start from scratch using some Debbie Bliss Wool Cotton I had picked up at Black Sheep Knittery while on vacation. The original pattern uses Rowan Wool Cotton, so I thought this would make my knock-off even more like the real thing.

Here's how it's progressing. I know I'm not using the same exact stitch pattern (I'm just adding a purl stitch every 5 sts), but I think it's pretty close!

The faux-picot edging. I'm using knitterknatter's technique of doing a KFB on the last stitch and then casting off 1 on the next row, every other row.

The only issue so far with this knit is dye lots. I purchased 5 balls of the wool/cotton at Black Sheep Knittery and when I decided to make Bea, I knew I needed more. Because it is a discontinued yarn, I found what seemed like last 5 at Tropical Yarns's website. The batches of 5 and 5 are from different dye lots . . . you know where this is heading.

They are VERY different in shade. I know this because I started a new dye lot while still in stockinette - the effect was very obvious. To hide it, I knit from the beginning with 4 balls from 1 dyelot and reached the point when I would begin the garter stitch from the waist to the bottom hem. I switched to a new dye lot and garter stitch at the same time. The change from smooth stockinette to garter ridges really masks the shade change - see picture above.

But, I still have the sleeves to contend with. I have 1 ball of the original dye lot left and will probably alternate between dye lots while knitting the sleeves to gradually change, but I'll worry about that when I get there!