Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Another Henslowe

I promised my sister a pair of socks (she will get them, at some point), but for her birthday this year I wanted to surprise her. Last year I made her the Grey Loop infinity cowl, which she seemed to like well enough, but which was for me a lesson in the downfalls of free patterns and super-growy alpaca. She admired my Henslowe shawl when she saw me wearing it over the holidays, so I made her one of her own, in a similar yarn.

I knit it in Zen Yarn Garden's Serenity Silk Single, a merino/cashmere/silk blend. It has nice drape and a bit of sheen, and I think it will be warm as well.

I almost never make the same pattern twice, so this is a statement on how much I love Henslowe. It's my go-to shawl to wear because it's both functional and beautiful. The garter stitch is warm and hugs the shoulders, the shape makes it easy to wear either traditionally or bandanna-style, and the lace is delicate and pretty without being fussy. And knitting this shawl is enjoyable too. The construction is a little unusual, but it's explained clearly, and the lace sections are really simple to knit but look deceptively detailed. I have the feeling that I'm not going to stop at two Henslowes.

(You might notice that this Henslowe has a bit less lace at the edge than the original pattern - I played yarn chicken, and things didn't look good, so I did two rather than four repeats of the Roman Stripe pattern. I like it a lot this way, and might actually use this modification again if I make another shawl for myself).

Sunday, February 23, 2014

January socks

I'm trying to use my sock yarn in the order it entered my stash, so first up for this year was my Strong Sock from Another Crafty Girl. I chose this colorway specifically for the Herbology Socks from the Unofficial Harry Potter Knits collection.

Everything was progressing at a good pace, so I decided to call these my January socks since I'd probably be done within the month. And then I had a huge project that left me no knitting time at all, and I didn't touch the socks for a few weeks. And then there were other knitting projects with deadlines. And then, finally, the Olympics started and I sat down and finished a sock and a half in a few evenings of tv-watching. All told, these socks took me six weeks - the longest ever!

This is no fault of the pattern, which I love. These are the first socks I've made more for the pattern than the yarn - usually I pick the yarn first, and find something interesting and generally simple to complement it. My January socks will definitely be for special occasions (occasions like wanting to put something pretty on my feet and sit around and gaze at them). Juniper found them so appealing that a sniff and a rub were not enough:

Don't worry, the sock (and my foot) was unharmed.

Friday, February 21, 2014

More winter gear

Despite how cold it's been this winter, since early February I've actually been pretty comfortable. Here is why:

I was craving something thick and smooshy to bundle up in, and Cristina Ghirlanda's Polonaise hat and cowl looked like they would do perfectly. I knit them in Cascade 220 Superwash Aran, a very affordable, wonderfully soft, and surprisingly non-pilly yarn. I've worn the hat and cowl nearly every day since I cast them off (and shoved them into bags and pockets in the mean time) and they have very little noticeable fuzz.

This project was speedy and enjoyable, and perfect for comforting myself in the middle of winter. I had fun with the cables but was glad to get both the hat and cowl finished within a week, because they have been even more satisfying to wear. Now I do not fear the cold!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

First FO of 2014

And here is the first project I finished in the new year. I had them all finished early in January, but then I was so busy that I didn't get a chance to photograph them until the end of the month. Sometimes it's hard to get my free time to match up with sunlight hours, especially in winter.

The pattern for these is called Rye, by Hanna Katajamäki. I followed the pattern pretty closely, except that I narrowed the width of each "ribbon" by two stitches, and made the button loops from a crochet chain instead of casting off stitches.

The yarn is Performa Kiwi Fingering from Zealana, and it's a blend of merino, cotton, and possum, which is why I call these my "possum mitts." It was a little tricky to work with as it was very splitty, but I do like the way it feels. It's very soft and warm, and knit up in stockinette, it almost feels like sweatpants material - in a good way.

It's the buttons that really make this project for me, though. When I saw these at my LYS, I was inspired to find a pattern to use them.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

For chilly fingers

You might have noticed that it's really, really cold. I'm pretty sure these are the coldest temperatures I can remember, and so I am inspired to wrap myself and everyone I know in yarn. In particular, I wanted to share my new-found appreciation of mittens with my boyfriend, who was complaining about cold fingers but was not sure mittens would be practical for him.

Solution: Chilly Podsters, by Glenna C. (or one of any number of convertible mitten/glove patterns on Ravelry, but I specifically wanted one with separate fingers). I knit them in Cascade 220, and stubbornly squeezed them out of a single skein, even though it meant shortening each mitten top by one row and spit-splicing my discarded ends together.

They turned out just like I wanted, though, and my boyfriend has been wearing them and said they are "awesome." Success!

Now I am knitting the thickest, wooliest things I can find for myself, because despite all my pretty shawls, I don't have any scarves or hats for me that are really, seriously, not-messing-around warm.