Wednesday, September 28, 2011

a simple pleasures hat

Last fall I found myself in Purl Soho lost in the yarn for about an hour (maybe more, I'm not saying if it was any more than that). I'm pretty sure that one of the staff members was mocking my indecision but let me tell you - it was hard to choose yarn for the Simple Pleasures hat (and the spiral seat cushions and the endless loop scarves that I was making up in my head for Christmas presents with my imaginary endless time to knit).

I settled on two absolutely wonderful colors, Mulberry, which is made by Jade Sapphire and is a 2 ply Silk/Cashmere blend and First Crush (the secondary yarn, thinner) by Alchemy Haiku. I find the color variation absolutely stunning. You can see how much blue is present in the Mulberry yarn...

Anyway, the hat is a free pattern on Purl's site, and it charmed me with it's simplicity. But don't let that charm fool you - it takes forever to knit even though it's easy ribbing followed by plain old stitching (*note the hat only took 6 days, once I started it last week). The simple pleasures hat is at least 13 inches long, probably closer to 14. It's a slouchy hat. Mine came out slouchier than I intended and I confess that I have wet it and stuck it in the dryer twice on low. It's still a little loose and I think I'll do it once more increasing the heat. I wish I had used #7 needles on the ribbing instead of 8's, I think my inexperience with cashmere led to me not knitting as tightly as I probably should have. Perhaps I thought the silk would lessen the elasticity? It didn't. Well it's still lovely and I think it's going to be wonderful to wear this fall with my cranberry colored coat.

You can view my project file on Ravelry.

Monday, September 12, 2011

in threes cardigan

I harbored a disdain for knitting until I had babies. It seemed too time-consuming, too fussy. It is still both of those things to me but I've become more appreciative of the slow movement and the fussy movement. The fussy movement is the one that causes you to be more of a perfectionist than you would be, normally.  That's sewing, that's knitting - striving for perfectionism but allowing those imperfections to become part of your work. Now that I have the babies, everything can be made smaller which makes projects feel that much more attainable.

My very first knitting project was a Habu textiles scarf made of stainless steel yarn (abandoned). I moved along to the purl soho wedding washcloths (perfect beginner project), I made a hat, I made another hat, and another and another two. I didn't finish a hat, I didn't finish a washcloth, I made three cowl neck wrappy scarves that I invented the pattern for (k200 four rows, p200 four rows - repeat till you run out of yarn ending on the fourth k200 row; chunkier yarn adjust to k180 x 4, p180 x 4), and I didn't start two blankets that I bought a lot of expensive lusty yarn for.
And then last Tuesday I decided it was time to knit a sweater. This is a big step. Big difference between hats and sweaters with buttonholes. But I had some lovely yarn left over from the 8 cowl scarves I planned to make for Christmas last year and all I needed was some #5 24 inch circular needles. So I bought them and some more yarn for another sweater. And while I was at it, I ordered some more yarn for another sweater. It's Ravelry's fault. There are too many pretty things to look at once you determine what you're looking for.
I started the sweater. I made the mistake of not training myself to KFB. Then I found this video and I learned it on my third reconstruction.

Lesson learned. I learned how to cast on backwards loop method with this video.

I knitted 50 rows and saw that I made cap sleeves.
I love my baby sweater. I love my Manos del Uraguay silk blend yarn in Pewter #3064. I love that I'm knitting something a size too big because I worried I'd never ever finish it and didn't want to be heartbroken if the correct size was too far off.
The sweater has been a lovely diversion since it's been raining buckets. Every day since last Saturday. Things have been weird here. Earthquakes, hurricanes and fallen trees, rain rain rain and leaky ceilings. We are getting by and I am keeping my eyes on the knitting.

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