Monday, November 28, 2011

FO Post: Flower Basket Shawl


The endless parade of FO's continues!  This Flower Basket shawlette only took me two weeks or so to knit, and I think it's a really good fit for the yarn.  I had bought this Handmaiden Seasilk a bit on a whim, and there was a minute there where I wasn't sure how the variegation would work with lace.


And whether or not it was successful, I like it.  It's mostly magenta and a very bright, citrusy orange, with a little bit of pistachio and paler orange in there too, and this pattern is just basic enough to let the colors shine while still being interesting enough to keep my attention.


I think it will be a good little scarflette to wear with a t-shirt and jeans.


I didn't really see it while I was knitting it, but the lace really does look like little flower baskets.  As usual, Evelyn Clark's little lace shawl patterns are well-written and addictive as hell, with a super cute product.


Yet another one to add to the shawl drawer!

Pattern: Flower Basket Shawl by Evelyn Clark, distributed by Fiber Trends
Yarn: Handmaiden Seasilk, colorway Turkish Delight, about 400 yards from a 437-yard skein
Needles: Size 5 US Addi Turbo Lace
Modifications: None!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

FO Post: Crown Prince


So this post is a long, long time coming.  I first cast on for Crown Prince from Knitted Lace of Estonia in early summer of 2010.  My friend Ethan and I cast on at the same time.  He finished probably... a year ago?  At least?  And due in part to moving to Japan, and in part to my own laziness, everything but the blocking of Crown Prince was finished by around this time last year.  Then I moved to Oberlin, and I doubted the capacity of my blocking boards - they ended up being the perfect size, actually - and I stuffed my poor shawl into a bin for "later blocking".  Meanwhile, I knit and blocked many less insane and beautiful lace projects, and Crown Prince started to wonder whether I had forgotten about him.


But no matter; all is right now.  It took every last inch of those blocking boards, but last week I soaked, threaded blocking wires, and pinned this bad boy out.  It was actually embarrassingly easy.


And holy crap, he is huuuuge.  And square.  I find square shawls pretty difficult to wear, which probably makes sense since our anatomy is not square and last time I checked knitted shawls are meant for people and not robots or puppies.  I read somewhere that square shawls are traditional, and so is folding them in half to wear them as triangular shawls.  It doubles up the fabric, which I like, and hey, triangular shawls are my favorite anyhow!


Looking back on it, this was probably one of the most enjoyable projects I've ever knit.  Once I got used to nupping pretty much every row, it settled into a nice rhythm.  The yarn I used, Jaggerspun Zephyr, was a dream to knit and nupp with, and I am beyond pleased with the end project.  It's soft, slightly crispy, light, and warm.  I would definitely use Zephyr again.


This is definitely how I'll be wearing this shawl.  Also, I was looking through my Ravelry project this morning and realized that this is my seventh project of fourteen from Knitted Lace of Estonia.  So I've knit half of the patterns without really meaning to... oops!


And just to give a sense of the "holy crap this thing is ENORMOUS" that I get every time I look at it, here it is in its full, square glory.

Pattern: Crown Prince Shawl from Knitted Lace of Estonia by Nancy Bush
Needles: Size 5 US Addi Turbo Lace
Yarn: Jaggerspun Zephyr Wool-Silk 2/18, 1.25 cones (probably 1700 yards?)
Modifications: None.  

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Whirlwind tour of Portland


Sort of on a whim, Lumberjack and I decided to take a 2-day jaunt down to Portland.  Portland was on the short list of cities that we considered moving to after I graduated from Oberlin.  I went to Sock Summit with Lumberjack and my parents back in late July, but since I was in classes all day I only got to see a little bit of the city.  This time, we've done a quick food, yarn, and fashion tour and are on our way home tonight.


I've really loved the food - so far we've eaten at a hole-in-the-wall Mexican place called Santería, a fabulous brunch restaurant called Bijou that reminded me a lot of Black River Cafe in Oberlin, and an izakaya called Shigezō, where we took these pictures.  Above you can see the leftovers of our okonomiyaki appetizer, complete with the little metal serving spatulas.  We also shared some chicken katsu curry.  The super green drink was called Godzilla, and had Absolut Citron, Midori and Calpis in it.  Eating in an izakaya made me really miss Japan... sigh.


I've picked up a couple of really good things while we've been down here.  In an exceedingly strange turn of events, Lumberjack and I went into a vintage shop, where he bought a shirt, and I bought... nothing!  Annnnd since I don't really buy books, and I've been holding out on picking up some knitting books that I've been lusting over, what better place to lose my willpower than at Powell's?


And holy crap, there's so many amazing yarn and sewing shops here... I have my eye on some Liberty of London cotton lawn and maybe another Colette pattern, and probably some Brooklyntweed Loft (hooray!).  Today we're hitting up Knit Purl (again - yesterday I was so overwhelmed that I couldn't choose what yarn to buy!) and Dublin Bay Knitting Company, where I have very strategic plans about what I might get.  I sort of wanted to get a sweater's worth of Shelter in the gorgeous red called Long Johns, but all the stores pretty much everywhere are sold out.

Now we're off to eat breakfast... I know it's a total cliche, but I think I love Portland and want to move here...

Monday, November 21, 2011

Outfit Post: Sanjo Dress


On Saturday the Lumberjack, his parents, and I went to visit some of their family and then stop by a yarn and fabric shop called Shibori Dragon.  The shop carried all sorts of Japanese and Japanese-inspired needle arts materials, from Showa-era kasuri fabrics to sashiko kits to quilting fabrics.  I bought a pattern, fabric and thread for some sashiko coasters and a pillow, which I'm super excited about trying out!


The temperature has recently dipped into the thirties in the Seattle area, so I reached for one of my favorite outfits from Japan: this floral printed dress I bought in Kyoto and vintage yellow wool cardigan I picked up at a Salvation Army for a dollar.  When I first bought this dress, I was a little worried that I wouldn't be able to style it to its full potential - I love the printed fabric, the tiny cream braids between the floral and solid, and the delicate herringbone of the collar and border fabric, but I wasn't sure that the straight shape would be flattering with my full bust.  All that aside, though, this is one of those dresses for which I hold a passionate (and somewhat irrational) love, mostly because it reminds me so much of my time in Japan.


And, throughout wearing it and playing around with belts and proportions, I've found that a skinny belt at my natural waist helps pull it in nicely, and the gathers are small enough that they look intentional.  I wasn't sure how well this little bow belt would do its job, but I love it.


And I swear, all my Tasi earrings go with everything.

Yellow Halle Brothers Cardigan: Thrifted
Tights: Hue
Boots: J Shoes
Red Bow Belt: Sale at Nordstrom
Earrings: Tasi

Friday, November 18, 2011

Weekly Reading

Reading. Totally not napping. What are you talking about.

Sarai of Colette patterns wrote about her experience at Quilt Market and brought up some very good points about the perceived differences between quilting and garment sewing in the needle arts industry.

Megan Nielsen of Megan Nielsen Patterns shared some really helpful information about starting a business online.

This kind of outfit from Sea of Ghosts (and Sea of Ghosts in general - her blog is a new favorite) has been majorly influencing my clothing choices lately: lots of rings, lots of grey, slouchy shirts and a little bit of edge.

Andi finished a gorgeous Audrey in Unst, and noted something that I have to try really hard to remember too: it's almost never a good idea to knit something because you feel like you need to.

Patty the Snug Bug, another recent blog find, did a series this month on fixing languishing projects.  Her fixed-up magenta Colette Beignet skirt, and the resulting color pairings, are spectacular.

Susan Crawford's new book, A Stitch in Time Volume 2, has just come out in the UK, and she posted this video of some the new designs on her blog.  So.  Excited.

Kate Davies wrote an in-depth review of her Deco cardigan after a year of wearing.  Just another reason why wool is amazing.

I'm a little late in the season to repost it, but Jules' deer hat with little antlers is so freaking adorable I couldn't resist.

Happy weekend!

Awesome image copyright Susan Crawford.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Hat Challenge FO #1: Buffalo Gal Eyelet Hat


Yet another finished object, hooray!  I finished the first Hat Challenge hat three or four weeks ago, washed it a couple days ago and wove in the ends on Monday.  As soon as the ends were woven in, I put it on and didn't take it off for hours.


Because it is so, so cozy.


The yarn really bloomed with washing, which gave it a lovely halo and softness.  I can't even tell that the yarn was thick-and-thin anymore.  I love the color, and I love (love love love) the finished object - it has the perfect amount of slouch.  I think this hat will get a ton of wear.


Pattern: #09 Eyelet Cap by Cathy Carron, from Vogue Knitting Fall 2009
Yarn: Buffalo Gals Homage to the New World
Yardage: Almost all of a 360-yard skein
Needles: Size 3 (3.25 mm) US Addi Turbos
Modifications:  I knit the ribbing a little shorter.  The pattern calls for an 8" brim, and I only knit for 6" because I was running out of yarn.  In the end, I think the brim is exactly the right length as is, and if I were to knit it again I would make the same change.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Stash Color Story: Reds

Lately I've found myself shunning my usual pinks and purples for greys and reds.  Perhaps because of the gigantic, fire-engine red men's cashmere pullover I found a few weeks ago at a vintage shop for 15 bucks, or the turning of the leaves; who knows.  But the reds in my laceweight stash have been growing, little by little, and I've been looking to them more and more for inspiration.  I love how evocative the color names are, and perfectly suited to each nuanced color.


Pomegranate - Schaefer Audrey
Wool/silk blend


Ruby - Sunnyside Ellen Fine Silk
100% silk


Really Red - Jade Sapphire Silk Cashmere 4-Ply
Silk/cashmere blend


Maple - Handmaiden Marrakesh
Camel/silk blend


Byzantine - Madelinetosh Prairie
100% superwash merino


Ruby - Louet Mooi (discontinued)
Bison/cashmere/bamboo blend

I've been trying to knit down my works in progress, but I think when I finish one or two more projects, I might cast on for something with one of these reds.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

November Favorites: Shawls, Scarves and Wraps

Lately I've been looking through a lot of patterns, trying to pair each yarn in my stash with the perfect pattern.  These are some of my favorites.  Some are old, some are new; some are by established favorite designers, and others are by up-and-comers.


Anthemion Wrap by Miriam Felton

I didn't notice this one when it first came out in Knitty, but one night I was on a Miriam Felton kick on Ravelry and came across this gem.  I love how her designs are so architectural, and how beautiful and weightless they look in laceweight silk.  I have quite a bit of laceweight silk in my stash, so I think I might attempt this pattern with this Claudia Hand Painted Silk.



Sakura by Leila Raabe

This one is from Brooklyntweed's new Loft collection.  I've really been loving my triangular shawls as of late - I wear them as scarves because they have concentrated warmth right at the neck where I need it and the ends hang out of the way.  Plus they're a great way to add color to an outfit!  So whenever I see pretty triangular shawl patterns, I'm automatically drawn to them.

I like that this shawl is textured, and just a touch lacy.  Plus, it's made out of Loft - I haven't seen it in person yet, but I love the colors and subtle tweediness.  I might be able to dig into my stash for this, but I almost want to hold out and make it in Loft in either Postcard (a soft grey-purple) or Camper (pink!).


Lady of the Blue Forest by Ashley Knowlton

Okay, so I might be attracted to patterns in part because of the colors they're knit in.  I deeply love this shade of cobalt blue, and I like how the different elements of the pattern grow out of one another.  I also have a tendency to adore designs that have a motif at the back neck - although it's not always visible, I love knowing it's there.  Just like Calvin and his lucky rocket-ship underpants.

If I were to make the small shawlette version, I'd consider using this skein of Handmaiden Camelspin, one of the suggested yarns for the pattern.  I'm also tossing around the idea of knitting an Annis in it, so we'll see how that shakes out.



Lucky Clover by Helen Stewart

I like the simplicity of this one - seems great for showing off a softly variegated yarn.  Just enough detail at the bottom and up the spine to keep it interesting.  Plus garter stitch looks smashing with a little bit of color variation.

This Pigeonroof Studios sock yarn I got in New Haven might be just the ticket.



Berkanan Shawl by Anne-lise Maigaard

I think I saw test-knit pictures of this shawl in a Ravelry group, and it is gorgeous.  The leaves down the spine, the organic growth from the lace at the center to the leaf border, and nupps - oh, nupps! - on the edging.  Love.

I think Madelinetosh Prairie would be an excellent yarn for this project, as would Jaggerspun Zephyr.  For my purposes, I think this Prairie in the colorway Byzantine would be gorgeous.



Daphnaie by Tori Gurbisz

Another shawl with a spine detail, which I adore.

It calls for Malabrigo Sock, and I have a skein of Ochre that I think would be perfect.



In the Garden by Ilga Leja

Even though this is a capelet, which I don't usually wear, I think it could work really well as a layer over a t-shirt and jeans.  I think I'd want to do it in a soft grey color.  Maybe this alpaca/bamboo fingering weight by Classic Elite called Vail?



Eiki (Strength) Shawl by Janel Laidman

As with many patterns I end up obsessed with, I passed this one over when I first saw it.  But the delicate border and the red color stuck in my mind once I saw a couple of stunning versions on Ravelry.

I think it would be a good pattern for this skein of Sanguine Gryphon Skinny Bugga that I picked up at Sock Summit.  It's a deep, gorgeous shade of red.



Farthing by Jared Flood

The contrasting edging on this really drew me.  It feels a little bit vintage, and would be a fun way to play with color.  I sort of like the idea of doing this in a laceweight silk and a contrasting edging of mohair/silk, probably because I'm thinking of this scarf featured in an Interweave Knits, from Feminine Knits by Lene Holme Samsoe.  I love the idea of combining two different textures to create a soft, lacy and feminine scarf.

All pattern and project photographs are copyright of their respective owners.  Yarn photographs belong to me.

Monday, November 14, 2011

FO: Ene's Scarf


My blocking queue had gotten a little long again, so I've been trying to block at night while I'm thinking about it.  It's started getting dark around 4 pm since Daylight Saving's Time, so I've had to plan my time according to the light a bit more.  So, last week I finally blocked Ene's Scarf, a project I finished probably a month ago.  Above is how I'll probably wear the shawl, but for the sake of showing it off, here it is from some other angles.


This is the shawl unblocked.  It measured about 22 inches at the spine, and was very crumply.


After blocking?  Pure magic.  The spine now measures 32 inches, which means it grew just about 10".


I really, really enjoyed working with this yarn, Madelinetosh Prairie.  Tosh Merino Light is the popular Tosh yarn on Ravelry right now - so popular, in fact, that LYSs are having a hard time getting and keeping it on the shelves! - but as a lace nerd, I totally covet Prairie.  It's a finer version of TML, relatively tightly spun for a single, seems to be pill-resistant so far, and has the most beautiful shine at its core, almost as if it contained silk.


The best part, though, as with all of the Madelinetosh yarns, is its deep, awe-inspiring color.  This particular colorway is called Curiosity, and it is a shapeshifter - lavender in some lights, blue with violet undertones in others.  The subtle variegation of the yarn doesn't distract from the lace pattern one bit, but lends that depth of color that I just love.


The fabric it creates is light as a feather, too.  I'll have to style this shawl a little differently than my heavier ones, perhaps as a light layer over sweaters rather than a standalone scarf.  Seattle has gotten chilly as well as dark lately, and I haven't yet tested how well this shawl keeps the cold out.

All in all, a very satisfying and quick knit that I can't stop looking at because it is so dang pretty.

Pattern: Ene's Scarf, from Scarf Style collection.  Pattern by Nancy Bush.
Yarn: Madelinetosh Prairie, colorway Curiosity
Yardage: About 800 yards of a 840-yard skein
Needles: Size 6 US Addi Turbo Lace
Modifications: I did a cable cast-on and two rows of garter stitch as set-up rows before the first chart.  Miralda employs this garter set-up, and I love the way it looks as an edging to set off the lace.  Otherwise, I knit the pattern exactly as written.  As usual, Nancy Bush writes beautiful and easy-to-read patterns.