Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Lots of Good Things!

I have quite a number of good things to choose from right now to fill my knitting time. Nothing motivates me so much as having knitting projects calling out me. My knitting time is generally in the evening, after 8 p.m. or so when my husband and I usually settle in for a bit of quiet time in front of the TV. When I know there’s a project awaiting me, I seem to be more focused on getting lots of work done during the day, so I can knit without any nagging feelings of guilt about other things that I should be doing.

Last night, I spent my knit time finishing up the Delicato Mitts by Anne of Knitspot that I started a few weeks back using the glorious handspun yarn (also by Anne). I won this yarn in a KAL contest, but ran a bit short before I finished the mitts. Anne was her usual gracious self and sent me enough yarn to finish up the project.

I just love how these turned out! You can really see the beautiful details of the pattern, yet the handspun yarn gives them a slightly rough-hewn (for want of a better description) look that really brings them to life. They are a bit large on my hands, but they're destined to be a gift for a friend who is not afflicted with stunted-growth-hand-syndrome as I apparently am, so I think they’ll fit her well.

As if it wasn’t enough to receive the additional yarn I needed to finish this project, Anne also sent me a glorious surprise treat in the package.

That’s right! Another handspun gem from Anne. I must have done something grand in a prior life to deserve such riches! Anne’s spinning is just amazing!

This yarn is sitting on my desk right now, so that I can periodically pick it up and give it a squeeze. It springs back from my grasp with an energetic bounce that delights me.

Once I got over my burst of excitement at the unexpected treasure, I suddenly realized that the color looked familiar. I checked in with Anne and found out that indeed this yarn was spun from some superwash merino roving I had sent her some time ago. How cool is that?! I’m inclined to knit one of Anne’s sock patterns with this yarn, as that just seems to be such an appropriate way to create the ultimate joint project. I dyed the roving, Anne spun the yarn, Anne wrote the pattern, and I shall knit it. It almost makes me want to knit the socks and then send one to her and keep one myself. Of course, that makes no sense at all, but you get the idea. For the time being, however, I will just leave this skein perched happily on my desk so I can continue to enjoy it in its current form a while longer.

In the meantime, I’ve continued working on Eunny Jang’s Print ‘O The Waves Stole in my FF Laceweight Merino. I need to move quickly on this to meet the deadline for my niece’s prom in May and am making great progress so far. A few more pattern repeats and I’ll have the second half of the center back completed. Then it will be time to graft the two halves together and then pick up stitches around the perimeter to begin the inner edging. I must admit, this is the one part of the project that I’m not looking forward to. 640 stitches around. EEK! But it must be done. When I get to that point, I’ll post another photo.

Another project that’s ready to start any day now will be a spring sweater. You may recall the Anny Blatt viscose/cotton yarn that I boomphed a bargain on recently?

I noodled a bit on what to do with this yarn and finally came up with a pattern from a Spring 2004 Filati publication that I thought would work nicely. Sweater is probably the wrong word for it. It’s a slightly oversized top that’s knit loosely with openwork. Although in the picture it’s worn alone, I would be more inclined to wear it over a tank top or camisole. The pattern calls for a heavier weight yarn, so I experimented with knitting two strands of this yarn together. The pattern stitch works up nicely this way, as it masks the irregularity of the yarn itself (which is not irregular exactly, but just a bit uneven and textured). Well, it doesn’t exactly mask it really, but it just works. The open stitchwork is not meant to be smooth and perfect the way stockinet or something of that sort would be.

Anyhow, I did a gauge swatch using two strands of the yarn and it worked perfectly, so I set about beginning the project. The top is knit in one piece, from side to side, beginning with the bottom edge of one sleeve. I had just about exactly twice the yardage called for in the pattern, which seemed perfect given that I was knitting with two strands. Alas, it was not to be. What’s with patterns and required yardage? Sometimes the yarn requirements seem so far off that it makes me wonder if the designer just grabbed a number out of the air and plugged it in. Or are they doing it to torture us? Or is it a conspiracy of some sort, and if so, what is the purpose? All of that aside, the point is that it quickly became apparent that I was not going to have anywhere near the amount of yarn I needed.

I solved my yarn shortage dilemma by deciding to use just one strand of the Anny Blatt yarn, but to add another yarn to the mix. For that purpose, I picked up a couple of skeins of this bamboo yarn at my favorite LYS last week.

Now I’m all set to start this project any day now. I’d like to get to the point on my niece’s shawl where I’ve finished picking up those 640 stitches around the edge and then I’ll let myself start this new project. If I begin a new project before reaching that dreaded phase of the shawl, I fear I will never bring myself to do it!

As if this weren’t enough to keep me happily occupied for some time to come, I have another project that’s in the planning phase. My husband has been asking for a small throw blanket/afghan for a couple of years now and I think it’s finally the right time for me to start that. If I begin now, I can work on it slowly throughout the spring and summer, knitting a few rows here and there to keep me from going mad with boredom, and have it finished in time for the fall/winter weather.

I have some sportweight superwash merino that I dyed some time back in colors that should work nicely in my living room. I’ve just been undecided on what type of pattern I want to use. In the back of my mind, I’ve had an itch to do something in a ripple stitch. When I think of ripple stitch afghans, the first thing that springs to my mind are those crocheted afghans everyone’s grandmother or aunt seemed to make in the 60’s and 70’s. You know the ones? Undulating ripples of bright, cool shades of yellow, blue and red? Generally hideous crochet stitches that look nothing like the lovely crochet I see around today. Well, anyhow, that’s definitely not what I have in mind. I’m thinking of a more elegant ripple stitch and the colors I have are warm and lovely shades of varied browns - rich, rusty, golden and mossy.

From time to time, I’ve thought about this project and my ripple stitch options. There are the usual Go To’s such as Fishtail Lace or Feather and Fan, but I really wanted more choices. Then, on an excursion last week to a yarn shop about 45 miles from my house, I found this little gem.

The book has both knit and crochet ripple stitch patterns, so my choices are not quite as vast as the title suggests (unless I suddenly get the urge to learn to crochet), but there’s still plenty to choose from here. I’ll keep you posted on this project-to-come.

That’s all for today. Knit on! (I had the urge to type “Knit On With Your Bad Self” there, but perhaps that’s too geeky even for me. Oh, wait a minute. I guess I did type it, albeit parenthetically. Forgive me.)


Elisa said...

Have you seen the Ripple-along here: ? Crochet would be so much faster than knitting a blanket. Think I could teach you long-distance?

Colleen said...

Your fingerless mitts are gorgeous! Sounds like your new projects will keep you inspired to knit on...

~Tonia~ said...

What pretty mitts you have there. Very nice job.

How cool about the you dye/she spins/you knit yarn. I say do it again with a complamentary yarn and make one of each color for each of you so you both have a new creative pair. :)

I can't wait to see the 2 yarns held together it the openwork sweater. Looks like they are going to make it bright and summery.

I have been seeing the ripple stitch afghans every where and it seems that the 200 ripple stitch book is the launching pad. Humm I might have to go hunt for it. I thought that it was only for crochet.

anne said...

i say ripple on with YOUR own bad self!
i have that book and i love it—brings back so many happy memories of afghans that passed through my grandma's hands in my childhood . . .

ambermoggie said...

love the mitts Deb and the yarn pics are very inspiring:) I've been toying with getting the ripple book myself and doing something different for a throw instead of my usual large granny square crocheted or noro cavendish throw knitted
amber in scotland

Stacey said...

beautiful! the yarn is amazing - anne does some great things!!!!

Micki said...

The mitts are lovely! (I also suffer from Small Hand Syndrome. Also Big Head Syndrome. It just isn't right.)

And that handspun--oh wow. You are so lucky! I love the whole "life comes full circle" story behind it.

Kitty said...

An elegant ripple stitch? Is there such a thing?
BTW I just LOVE the Vitamin C sock yarn. Geez, I could just eat it, it looks sooooo yummy. I think a nice lacy sock would be nice. Take care!

Katinka said...

That bamboo is so pretty! Makes me want to hunt down a grapefruit... :)

Lynne E. said...

Another good source of ripple stitches is a book published by the American School of Needlework, edited by Jean Leinhauser, titled 101 Ripple Stitches. This one also has both knit and crochet stitches.