Saturday, January 30, 2010

1:10 English Teacher

There's a delightful knit-along on Ravelry challenging knitters to make 10 shawls in 2010. Eight can be small and two must be medium sized. There are prizes for those who complete the challenge, but (what really sold me) also prizes along the way. It just so happened that I was already planning to make this shawl for a friend, but the contest gave me that much more incentive to get it blocked and photographed. For perspective's sake, I'll mention that when I entered it into the completed projects for January there were about 650 other completed projects before me! Without further ado, let me introduce English Teacher...

shetland inspired shawl shetland inspired shawl shetland inspired shawl

I had my doubts when I was putting in that big black stripe, but after blocking the darker colors became proportional to the body of the shawl. I do hope that it is just what the recipient had in mind!


Pattern: Feather & Fan Comfort Shawl - yes this is my third, and I'm not tired of it yet!

Yarn: Elann Peruvian Highland Wool - worsted weight, inexpensive, good sturdy stuff. Will use again.

Needles: US 7s - this gave a reasonable amount of flexibility for blocking while keeping the shawl mostly solid.

After all that grey, I've now cast on with this...

shimmer glimmer

On to shawl number two!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Who Me?

This is an auspicious beginning to the new year... at least as far as knitting goes.


I completed this sweater in 18 days. This was possible because of the gauge (things speed by on size 11's) and because a terrible cold landed me in quarantine. At least having a huge, fuzzy, cute sweater is some consolation for a missing a pay-check and spending the greater part of two weeks without social interaction.

So, the lowdown:

Pattern: Owls (long gone free version, although the fee version is quite reasonably priced)
I thought the pattern was straightforward. The only thing that struck me as odd was that the short rows to tilt the yoke were not centered. I hear these rows have been removed altogether from the new version of the pattern.

Yarn: 570 yds of Elann Peruvian Highland Chunky
Love the color. The yarn is softer than I expected and sheds easily. Not surprising for a loosely spun bulky weight. Would buy and use again.

Buttons: vintage Czech glass. Each pair is different. I had enough to do the whole sweater but I thought that was bling overkill. I picked out a set that made the center owl appear to be looking left, a sparkly set, and a set that reminds me of a rotary phone dial. That owl has WIDE eyes people.

Needles: US size 10 & 11 needles, I probably would have preferred to go down to 10.5s and rework for a tighter gauge. That might have made the sweater a little slimmer. However the specified gauge did give a nicely draping fabric and prevented the sweater from weighing 1oo lbs.
I went with it because I didn't think I had enough yarn to mess around.

Size: s/m up to the waist, size xs waist to neck (yep, pear here).

Mods: removed some rows due to different row gauge.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Christmas Knitting


These mittens were my most ambitious holiday knit. The yarn was handspun and the pattern improvised to match the bulky gauge. Mittens knit on size 10.5 needles take less yardage than I would have guessed, which was nice. Although I started early, I reworked this project so many times that it was the second to last thing off the needles before Christmas.


My other projects were less colorful. One of my brothers got the exact same hat as last year, but in a different color brown. From the evidence on facebook he had pretty much worn the first one all year, so I thought it might be good to have a spare. To add something new to the mix, I also got him this print, which makes me think of the new heaven and the new earth. Had a bit of a hard time parting with it (it was the last. one. ever.), but I know that said brother will appreciate the art and the symbolism.

Other brother (as he is often called) got a handspun Gotland hat. The knitting was about as simple as it gets, the fiber was the star. Gotland really does have a great steely/green grey quality. I had to frog the hat back twice to get the size right, so it was finished only in the nick of time... sadly, no picture. This hat was apparently a win as I have heard that it has actually been worn... no word on whether the matching grey machine gun tie has been seen around town yet.

As of today, I am working on fulfilling two "gift certificate" knits. One of the projects allows me to fulfill my longstanding desire to knit something with gradients of grey...

grey shawl

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

In Blackwater Woods (an excerpt)

Every year
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
at the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in the world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

~Mary Oliver

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Holiday Review

shawl pin

2 last minute trees. Avatar in 3D. Christmas Eve service. Newly made hat & mittens drying on the heater just in time. Thoughtful gifts from family. Secret family recipes. Coffee with childhood friend. Lucky visit to bookstore. Poetry books. Holding very cute baby. Shopping for clothes to match knitting projects. Cross country skiing & wienerschnitzel with mom. Russian shawl pin. Snow on the trees. Lost cell phone. New cell phone. Found cell phone. Chocolate overdose. B & B. Block building contest. Resolution to eat new mushrooms. Prayer for the new year. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle... until 2:00 am. More coffee with friends. Tired. Reunited. Fin.