Monday, March 30, 2009

Messing Around With Hats

During a mad search for leftover Lopi with which to darn my slippers, I came across a couple of skeins of my mother's handspun. Well, I suppose she might have bought it, but I prefer to think that she spun in, or one or the other of us spun it.

I had a couple of beanie caps that weren't worth their weight in wool lying around in the hat drawer. Neither one even came down over the ears. Anyway, it came to me that these skeins would be perfect to make nice fleecy brims for the beanies.



First, the brown one. 


The crown of this hat was first knit by a sister in law in the 1970's. I still remember how bad tempered she was as she knit it. When she finished, she wasn't happy with it either. It was too big for anyone and it kind of flopped. Gorgeous multi coloured coppery yarn though. It came into my possession and I kept it for a few decades in the hat drawer until a few years ago. I frogged that hat and reknit it in a seed stitch ribbing. I liked the resulting fabric, but the hat was too short. I knit on a cuff in dark brown sport weight Brown Sheep. It made me feel like a pin head. 

Now I've undone the sport weight brim and added a curving brim in this very, very soft mystery yarn.

I cast on around the edge of the crown in 5.5 mm needles and knit around 3 times. This created a flat section that curves nicely upward. Then I switched to humungous needles, the biggest I have and knit and purled around 3 or 4 times to create the body of the brim. Lastly, I changed back to the smaller needles knit around once and cast off loosely. This last made the top of the brim pull back in towards the hat. The effect of all this is a rounded brim rather than a thick flat one.




Here's the blue hat. The crown of this hat is knit from a Christmas present one skein of hand painted yarn spun and painted by a student at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. 























And here's a close up of my mother's handspun. Click to embiggen. I wonder what it is?































Monday, March 16, 2009

The Green Carpet



















If there was ever a day to plaster my web page with photos of my new green shawl, today's the day.

Pattern: North Sea Shawl by Cheryl Oberle (Folk Knits)
Yarn: About 1000 meters of laceweight baby alpaca. I used a Russian yarn called Orlis, held together with a strand of Karabella Mohair Lace (2 skeins).
Needles: 3.5mm






























































































Howay, Ginger!































Sunday, March 15, 2009

Blue Twilley's

Pattern: Twilley's of Stamford 9079
Yarn: Freedom Spirit
Size: Only a bit too big

I continue to be challenged by sweater knitting. Glad this one was not a complete disaster - it is borderline, though. It looks a bit like an old man sweater (sorry Dad), but I think I'll wear it a lot due to it's cosiness.

Pro's:
Lovely colours.
Feels very light, almost like you're not wearing it.
Very cosy.

Cons:
Strange colour pooling, especially on the button band.
Could be a size smaller - the cabling and ribbing makes it expand. 
Shaping is totally lost.
Not flattering to the figure when buttoned.
Sometimes feels like it's falling off my shoulders, tho' this is overcome by holding it closed with a brooch.















































Thanks for the compliments on the Double Bordered Scarf, everyone. The person in the photo is not actually me. It's Stephanie, our Art librarian, who is the recipient of the lovely scarf.

Coming up

Two disastrous sweaters from the past take on new lives, and the beautiful North Sea Shawl is finished, dressed and photographed in Nature.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Take heart...

... the Pussy Willows are in bloom in Western New York. It's hopeless for me to try to take a picture of them, but they're here! That's all.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Double Bordered Diamond Scarf

This knitted lace pattern is from the book, Victorian Lace Today. The 20 row repeat is divided horizontally into 3 sections: two borders and a narrow middle section. 

3 skeins = 765 yds. 
36 pattern repeats
Length: 60 inches


Each row starts with plain knitting for the first border, followed by the mesh stitch center, and finishing up with the second border which is knit in lace pattern stitches.  Here you can see the 3 sections up close:

























I enjoyed figuring out how the pattern worked, but after the first 10 repeats or so, working it became routine. I really had to push myself to keep going to the end.


























Tres elegant, non? Makes me think about working this with other border patterns and a different center stitch. The possibilities are endless.


















I have 2 more skeins of this yarn in navy blue and I keep ogling the remainder in the yarn shop. I'm tempted to make a pair of gloves out of it. It feels like it would make good gloves. Maybe after I finish the brown socks... 

This week I also finished the blue Twilley's cardigan. It's blocking now and I'll be looking for buttons. North Sea is in the home stretch too. Guess I'm finally getting over that bronchial thing. After seeing this in the garden, I'm feeling hopeful that Spring may be on its way:


















Monday, March 2, 2009

Sea Green. Really.
















I know it's hard to believe, but this shawl is actually a beautiful deep sea green colour. I hung it up in the window to show the lace pattern. It's a surprisingly simple pattern, with only one lace row alternating with a purl row and then a series of knit rows to set off the lace panes. Easier than feather and fan. The pattern is in this book by Cheryl Oberle, which is well worth investing in for this and many other patterns.















Approaching what might well be the end of the first border, I blocked it out in order to determine how many more repeats I need to get the desired length. I'm not using the yarn called for in the pattern and my gauge was seven stitches to the inch, somewhat finer than what the pattern called for. To start with, I cast on extra, adding two pattern repeats to the width. I'm not sure how wide it is at this point, maybe 22 inches, but I'm comfortable with it. I'll measure it at the end.

I'm more concerned with balancing the length of the two borders with the center section. The shawl is supposed to be 72 inches long. I'm aiming for the center section to be about 18 inches ( 25% of the length) and 27 inches (37.5%) for each of the two outer, or border sections. I haven't decided whether I'll do the stitch shown in the pattern for the center section or some other stitch. What shape would look well with these squares?

This picture shows my progress so far. It reflects the colour the best too, though it still doesn't do it justice. Oooh, I just scrolled up and down through this post. The pattern made me dizzy. Do you suppose if I stood with the light behind me and waved the shawl at my enemies they'd crumple?




















On another note, I've actually finished and blocked the Double Bordered Diamond Shawl, thus restoring my self respect. Hoping to get some good pictures soon.