Sunday, February 21, 2010

A little busy

My goodness. I'm getting really terrible at this whole blogging thing. The last month and a half have gone incredibly fast - between weaving, sewing, knitting, and getting started with the semester (which is now onto week 3!) life has been crazy. I have been finishing things left and right, mostly spurred by my current complete lack of project monogamy. I'm actually sort of loving having so many projects; as I may have expressed before, it means that I always have something to knit, and I finish things about once every week or two, instead of once every month.

First up? I finished Halcyon. I cast on sometime during the beginning of last semester. I remember working on the back while waiting outside my physics professor's office for help with the problem set, and then later to tell him that I would be dropping the class. The sleeves came with me to Chicago and were finished within a few days. The front lagged for a while, but I finally finished it about three weeks ago, and then picked up and knit the collar a week or so later. And, again, blocking proves its magical powers to soften yarn, even out patterns and make the fit beautiful.

All in all, I'm pretty happy with this. I would change a few small details - the cuffs are a touch short, the front a little high, and the drop shoulders are not the most flattering style on me. But the color is fantastic, and it's super warm. It's become my go-to sweater for chilly nights curled up reading for class.

Speaking of which. I'm taking exclusively East Asian Studies classes this semester, and although there's a lot of reading for each of them, I'm digging the parallels that I'm able to see when studying early Meiji-period Japan and the roles of Japan and Korea in the beginnings of the Cold War simultaneously. Even though sometimes I have to take a break to be really intensely angry at Stalin so that I can move on to the next sentence.

Fascinating, scary stuff, this history.

But you guys care about knitting! Halcyon was knit in Ella Rae classic, in almost exactly 7 skeins. I used the recommended size 5 and 7 US needles for a 40" sweater, and followed the directions from A Fine Fleece to a t. I'm so knitting more sweaters from this book.

Oh yeah, also: socks.

Unst, from Knitting on the Road, in Jitterbug Oyster Blush on size 1.5 US needles. Fast, easy, and so flippin' pretty.

And last but not least, the socks that singlehandedly changed my mind about Socks That Rock variegated colorways.

Oh socks, my first knitting love.

Ok, time for bed!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Stash Appreciation Wednesday: Snowed In Edition

Stash Appreciation Wednesday is back! Well, sort of, because it's actually Thursday. Stash Appreciation Wednesday got stuck in her driveway while trying to back out in the damn snow. The snowplows finally came around last night, but until then little Wednesday had to stare out the window longingly.

This week, the spotlight is on Pagewood Farms Willow Creek laceweight in the colorway River Rock. I don't usually go for multi-colored laceweight, but this colorway is just brilliant: softly heathered colors, deep and complex like shetland, but soft enough to wear around your neck. I noticed a lack of purples in my laceweight stash, so when I went to Weaving Works over the holidays and Santa (aka my mother) asked me what I wanted for Christmas, this was immediately in the running.

And I even got to act surprised when I opened it on Christmas. I think its destined to become the Triangular Scarf in Leaf Pattern, a somewhat under-loved pattern from Knitted Lace of Estonia. Are we seeing a trend in my lace-knitting projects? Damn you, Nancy Bush, for being so brilliant!

Also joining the party: a newly-cast on Multnomah in Ella Rae Lace Merino. And yes, this is a different colorway from what's already in my stash. Yes, I realize I have a problem. But one color in my stash is reserved for a design project, two are for a large project, and one is a combination of colors that I'm only brave enough to wear on my feet. So, you see, I had to get a face-friendly, super-soft skein of yarn for this project, which I suddenly and violently became enamored with after seeing many beautiful versions on ravelry. Plus, it's perfect in-class knitting: not too much going on, but just enough garter-y goodness to keep me focused.

Now, if only it would stop snowing...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

FO: Narnia Coat

The coat is finished, and today was the fashion show. I asked the lovely Elaine of Smith's Furnishings to take pictures, and I managed to be making a silly face in most of them. I got a lot of questions and compliments on the coat as well as my performance - I was pretty much smiling nervously the entire time, but apparently I picked up some fierceness from watching the models on Project Runway because my awkward walk-walk-stop-smile-turn technique fooled people into thinking I knew what I was doing.

Right before the fashion show. I was pretty nervous, because I know where all of the imperfections are, even if no one else can see them. The shoulder pads are pinned in temporarily, and I think I'm going to make some that fit the shape and give the shoulders a little more structure.

I've talked so much about the coat today that I'm not even sure what else to say, except that I'm pretty proud of it, and glad that it's finished so I can focus on classes... which start tomorrow, eek!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

designer details

So close. The lining has been made, now, and just needs to be sewn in. I hand-sewed the collar and cut off the excess fabric at the sleeves today in addition to the construction of the lining out of slippery, finicky pink fabric. It needs hems, a pleat, and a buttonhole and then stick a fork in it, 'cause it's done.

Also, recently I was looking at the label of the gorgeous alpaca shawl-collar sweater that I bought at Stella over the holidays. The designer is one Catherine Malandrino, and just from glancing at her collection, I absolutely love her color palette and overall aesthetic; and, between the sweater that I own (which only appears to be machine made because of the seams) and the numerous sweater jackets and delicate knit tops, it also seems as though she has an intimate understanding of the versatility and sometimes unexpected refinement of knitwear. Go, knit-savvy fashion designers!

Hello, shawl collar. I like you a lot.

Plus, as I suspected, any beautifully made alpaca lace sweater that only costs $60 is an absolute steal. A lot of her pieces go for $250+, which is a little much for my college student budget. I feel lucky to have found it, and not only for the knowledge that it has a famous designer, either: it has quickly become one of my favorite tops.