Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Little Inga Hat

I've taken a big liking to tackling small projects that use up stash, are instantly gratifying and are cute and challenging to boot! The Inga Hat is just such a project. 

The new technique that I learned from this great hat is how to knit a braid. Every time I saw people on other blogs knitting braids, I always thought that they were really pretty, but that they must be quite tricky, or at least finicky, because people always seemed to lament doing them. But then when I saw that Hello Yarn had voluntarily added a second row of knitted braid to her little Inga, I figured they couldn't be that bad. And it wasn't bad at all! Very much worth the effort. It fits really well, I'll definitely wear it next winter, my only complaint is that I wish I had reversed the colours, like I wish that I had done the background in the turquoise and the pattern in white. I like the colours together with a hit of yellow for umph, but in retrospect, and after exploring finished objects on Ravelry, I think that results seem to be better when the darker colour is used as the background. I can see myself knitting this hat again, so next time I'll make do it that way. Also, before this hat is considered totally finished, I plan on using double stitch to make the little dots in the center of the pattern yellow, I think it'll make them stick out more and kind of look like jewels (I stole that from Hello Yarn too). All in all, I love the pattern, and the shorter version is perfect for my little head.

Friday, 13 June 2008

Fiddlehead Mittens

This weekend I decided to knit Hello Yarn's Fiddlehead Mittens. I love colourwork patterned mittens like this! In Montreal we get a long, cold winters which are made a slight bit easier to take by the fact that we have months and months where we get to sport cozy mittens. So why not make that essential mitten wearing fun!? The prettier the mittens, the more pleasurable they are to wear, or at least that's how I feel about it. 

I had planned on making these mitts for me. I was totally going to buy a kit off of the Hello Yarn website, but she's taking a break from making them, so I had to find another solution. I loved the pattern and had seen them knit with kureyon as the contrasting colour on Ravelry, and since I have a bag of leftover Kureyon ends from my Lizard Ridge Afghan I thought I'd knit them that way. I still have a bag of Kureyon leftovers under my day-bed, but I'm saving them for more fun projects like this. By adding a bit of kureyon to a project involving other leftover yarns, stash-busting immediately becomes a lot more enjoyable! So, here are the mittens: 

I used Patons Classic Merino Wool in Natural Mix as the background colour. I love that wool in that colour, it's so wool-like, it feels like it would have come off the sheep exactly that colour, so natural and hearty. It's probably one of my favorite yarns ever. I used the leftover's from my Must Have Cardigan, so this was a real economical project. The patterns calls for dk weight yarn, but seeing as how I'd seen it done in worsted on ravelry I thought I'd give it a try. I knit it on 3.25mm needles and followed the size for the smallest version, but because of the gauge of the yarn I suspect I got a much larger result then I had wanted. On me, they fit more like oven mitts!

I prefer my mittens to fit a bit on the snug side, so unfortunately, I've had to gift these mittens over to Chris. He's a great sport and will wear almost any colour in hand-knit gifts from me. He's got purple socks, yellow socks, Blue Moon Fiber Arts multicoloured striped socks, and now, he's got pretty mittens, and while the pattern isn't necessarily un-masculine, the first mitt I knit featured exclusively pink and purple kureyon, but he still loves them. I had intended that the mitts be a fraternal pair, so to compensate for the girly colours of the first mitt, I knit the second one in a decidedly more boyish combination of blues and browns. I think they're both lovely! The pattern was a quick and fun knit, and I'll definitely attempt a second (smaller) pair in a thinner yarn at some point.

The pattern calls for the mittens to be lined, but I've opted not to do that since the heavier yarn makes for a very sturdy and warm mitt as it is. The pattern also calls for an I-cord cast on, which I had never attempted before (I almost exclusively use long-tail cast on, it's how I first learnt.) but I'm now in love with the I-cord cast on! It's so clean looking! And though it takes way longer then my beloved long-tail, it's so worth it because of the beautiful finished look it adds. I'm a convert, for certain projects at least. It was really neat to lear something new. And I realize the middle of a heat wave in June is an odd time to be knitting mittens, but I'm not really in to summer knits, so in the summer, I just suck it up, sweat through the heavy knitting, and rejoice when fall rolls around and I can enjoy all that hard work!

Friday, 6 June 2008

Another Baby Sweater

I've been briefly hooked on making baby sweaters. But I think I've gotten it out of my system for now. Here's my second Tanis Fiber Arts baby sweater. I used the pattern for the blended hues cardigan from Knitty, but while the pattern calls for 3 strands of lace weight yarn held together, I used two strands of fingering weight yarn instead, so my colour transitions aren't as smooth. I still think it's pretty cute though. I LOOOOOVE the little fish buttons. The special recipient of this sweater happens to love fishies, or at least she did the last time I saw her, 2 year olds change their minds a lot, by the time she receives this sweater she may be over fish, but I still think they're cute. 

Thursday, 5 June 2008

5 New TFA Colours!

I write this just for you Vince, I feel like you need to be informed about what I'm doing. So, lately what I've been doing is coming up with 5 new colours for my Etsy site and wholesale customers. Here they are, all lined up and looking very pretty in the afternoon sunlight:

From left to right we have Grape, Garnet, Amber, Midnight and Moss. As you can see my new colours are a little more on the "earthy" side then the rest of my collection. I feel that even though there will always be a place for bright, cheerful "look at me" socks, there's also a place for deep, rich colours in my sock drawer. Here are some extra close ups of the skeins:

Hope you like them! 


Monday, 2 June 2008

long hiatus

Hey Vince and mom, I know I haven't posted in over 2 months, so I thought that I should do a little updating. The lack of posts doesn't mean a lack of knitting or dyeing, I've actually been dyeing more then ever, and I always have some knitting on the go. I blame the move and the computer problems for my slow updates. I'm working on it. My new computer is so beautiful I'm always looking for excuses to use it, so blogging will be the perfect solution.

This is my latest favorite knit. I made this for one of my favorite people. She's having a baby! (those of you who know me and her will know who I'm talking about) And the second I heard that she was pregnant I had to cast something on for her little bun in the oven. Even though she's not due until almost Christmas I wanted to get a head start on making her something beautiful and I wanted to make it out of Tanis Fiber Arts yarn. I chose to knit Elizabeth Zimmerman's February Baby Sweater from Knitters Almanac. I have been wanting to knit it for a while, but had no babies in my life to knit it for. This was the perfect excuse. I knit it holding 2 strands of my fingering weight yarn in Buttercup. It's gorgeous. Totally exceeded my expectations, and of course, I couldn't get a photograph that would do it justice.

The colour variations are very subtle and delicate. The fabric is firm and soft to the touch. It's the first time I've used my fingering weight yarn to knit anything other then socks, so the successful result is very exciting. I knit it in a weekend and will definitely be making another one the next time I need a baby gift. I've already cast on another child size sweater knit with 2 strands held together the bun's older sister!

Tanis Fiber Arts is making progress, I'm now in seven stores across Canada. Business is growing slowly but steadily. I've got 5 new colours in the works. Look for them here or on my Etsy site by the end of the week!