Friday, March 29, 2013

Hats and jags

Most knitters understand knitting jags. Despite my plans to finish my gray Breezy Cardigan, I've been indulging in a hat knitting jag. And it's all because of a good deed - I cleaned out my stash.

During the big stash closet organization earlier this year, I ran across some bags of my hand spun from years ago. In 2005, I bought the Shepherd's Choice competition bag of various fleeces at that year's Shepherd's Harvest Lamb and Wool Show. Then I had to come up with something made out of them for the 2006 show. Well, I put it off and put it off and ended up only having time to make a scarf.

According to my notes, the edge stripe of purple is Jacob wool dyed violet, the yellow is Southdown dyed with lemon jello and knitted with Kidsilk Haze, the green is Border Leicester, the golden rose is Lincoln, the turquoise knitted with Kidsilk Haze is Suffolk, the gold is Polypay, the red-purple is a mix of Ramboullet/Border Leicester/Corridown and the final pink stripe is Ramboullet.

The leftovers have been kicking around from box to box in my closet and I decided to use it all up with some hats. It seemed perfect for the Quarters Cap pattern by Kristin Nicholas. She recommended using all one color to make your first hat and that's just what I did

The first hat - the practice hat - I did in all one color of hand spun gray for Mr. Daisy. It turned out a little wide as I was misreading the pattern. Still, it's not bad.

What is that thing on your head?

After I had a good look at the pattern again, I tried again with all the colorful leftovers.


He's a big fan of purple so this one is striped purple, turquoise and yellow. Yowza! 

Now, time to return to that gray . . . 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Is a swatch wasted time - or - Did you swatch that?

Last weekend I attended the Minnesota Knitters' Guild's retreat in northern Minnesota. Lots of knitters, relaxing walks, funny movies, and even enough snow to cross country ski. And one of the funniest conversations was about swatching. One fellow knitter never swatches. For anything. BUT  she only knits washcloths! But then she always asks other knitters if they swatched for their projects. 

And that led me to do a little swatching of my own.

I've been experiencing a lot of cable hunger - my current project, the Breezy Cardigan, is lots and lots of stockinette stitch - and I really want something different.

Right now, I'm basically knitting more than 360 degrees of sweater. Grr.

Don't get me wrong, I'm enjoying the swingy shape of the Breezy Cardigan despite the stockinette tedium.
 After about two more inches on the body, I'll finish off with k2,p2 ribbing for a few inches. And then onto the deep ribbing that goes all around the neckline and the front of the sweater. And then add some sleeves and, ta dah, a cardigan!

On the swatching front, I pulled out some gray Shetland handspun, some Rowan Felted Tweed, and some  Classic Elite Yarns Inca Alpaca and worked out my swatches. I was good and even washed and blocked them. I had been eyeing the Inca Alpaca for an Acer Cardigan but I kept thinking it was a lot lighter blue. Actually, it's a misty, heathered teal that is much nicer in person. And I got perfect gauge with it!

Do you think I have a gray fixation? Here's some other gray handspun. One thing I've learned from my swatching is that my own "nothing special" handspun is not the worsted weight I've always assumed but bulky. So, I'm on the search for a good cardigan pattern using bulky yarn. Perhaps a Spoked Cardigan by Carol Feller?

Sunday, March 03, 2013

After the fact

Well, I finally finished up Oldest Daughter's Final Blue Fantasy Sweater.

Yes, it's still hanging out in my sewing room waiting to be steamed but - all done!

I particularly liked the collar  - maybe there will be one for me in the future?

In the meantime, I've been working on two take along projects - 

The Splash of Color cowl in Liberty Wool - absolutely simple circular knitting that lets the yarn do all the work.

Also, another shawlette. The Fledermaus-Tauch shawl. I saw that Prairie Piper from the Knitting Pipeline podcast did this a few years ago (yes, I'm listening to the back catalog right now!)

Of course, I'm still chugging along on the Breezy Cardigan but it is simply back and forth in stockinette stitch right now so it's not terribly exciting. 

What is exciting is deciding what sweater to do next - I'm ripping apart my stash trying to organize it into sweater lots of yarn and what sweater patterns they match with.

One big mess!

Some deep, dark stash that needs organizing.

Hmm. I'm thinking an Acer cardigan. Perhaps in some Inca Alpaca I got years ago . . . I'll know better once the stash is aired!