lundi 30 novembre 2015

The Doodler - A Mystery KAL

I have knit a few shawls from Stephen West, but this was my first time going through the challenge of doing so in a Mystery KAL. We received four clues, spread on four weeks and knew we needed three skeins of fingering weight yarn.
The process kept me on edge... especially after Clue 2, when all stitches were bound off in i-cord. We were all "clueless" as to  what would happen next. Where would he have us pick up stitches?
I used two yarn from stash that were purchases from the last Twist Festival. To be honest, I had Stephen West in mind when I bought the speckles yarn from Violette Yarns! The third one is a Hedgehog Fibers Sock yarn in Coral. They were all very thin for sock yarn, making them good candidates for a shawl knitted on 3.5 mm. I'm pretty happy with my colour choices, even though they are a little candy-ish for me.
One thing I really like about this shawl is the cable on top. It's such a nice discovery for me, since it holds the shawl in place. This part works like a collar and keeps some weight up there, preventing it from sliding off my shoulders. Who would have thought? This fabulous designer did!

I'm also a fan of anything scalloped, so I blocked it in that shape, using the increases to pull the fabric. I pinned it a little sloppily, so the edge is not very neat... maybe next time I wash it. I tried using my blocking cables, but it was a mess.

I still have to weight the leftover yarn in Turquoise and Coral, but I'd say about a third of a skein. More details to come on my Ravelry page.

lundi 16 novembre 2015

Slow vs Quick

One of the many things I like about knitting, is the fact that you can vary your projects in endless ways. You can knit from cobweb to superbulky weight, changing needles accordingly (or not). You can go super speedy and produce a rewarding one-evening-FO or carry a project for weeks if not months! Different fiber types and textures also bring novelty to the craft. Playing with techniques and construction will then change the experience of knitting all over again. 

All these variables, and many more, I'm sure, make me enjoy the process and allow me to stay tuned! 

The two FOs that I'll be sharing today are very different in length, but are both a pleasure to knit and wear!

I did this wrap within a very reasonable window of time, but it was still a slow process in the sense that I had to repeat the same section 10 times. 
If it had been a solid one colour project, it would probably be still sitting onto a pile of WIPs, but since it featured two sets of gradients, the ever-changing colours kept me going. That and the fact that the design combined lace and garter. It's a very relaxing knit.
The pattern is called Inara Wrap and is designed to use two sets of gradients of either four, five or six colours. Mine used five greys and five pinks and I had to modify it slightly to make sure I didn't run out of yarn. You can see my mods in my project page, along with many more photos.

Then there are those super fast rewarding projects that you knit in one sitting, watching a few episodes of your new favourite TV series! Arika Cowl by Jane Richmond is one of them. To be fair, I admit that I cast on for this yesterday pm. I did some more ribbing after diner and all of the lace while watching two episodes of Gotham (not a favourite, but good enough for knitting). I blocked it before 11 pm, leaving the sewing and fringes for breakfast. And voilà! 
This cowl is genius! It's basically a ribbed scarf that grows into lace and is then attached. You add fringes to the piece and it becomes this awesome shawl/cowl that is just so fashionable and comfy.
My yarn is a very orange tweedy mix of Merino, Alpaca and Rayon and is so soft. Too bad it's discontinued. Next time, I want to knit Arika in Cascade Ecological Wool. I saw Jane Richmond did one and it looks perfect!

lundi 9 novembre 2015

It's Hat Season, People!

I've done a fair amount of knitting since I last blogged about my Laurie Sweater, but weeks flew by and I wasn't able to make time to chat about my craft. 

But I had this subject in mind : hats. 

They are such rewarding projects. You can pretty much cast on, cast off within a day or two, depending on the complexity of the pattern or yarn weight. Plus, it's the perfect size to feature that one special skein that you hold dear. Which is probably why I made not one, but five hats in the past month and a half! 

My Odd Clayoquot
I knitted a sample of this tincanknits pattern for the shop, made out of Zara Yarn. It's a really nice superfine merino, very springy and soft... perfect for colourwork. My first pick of colours were way more conservative, but for the second version, I went with almost kinky colours. 
Taken seperately, they are kind of hard to look at, but combined together, I think they work really well. For me anyway.

Lantern Lights
This yarn is the same I used for my Laurie. It's called Sylvan Spirit and comes from Green Mountain Spinnery. I used the yellow Citrine colour for this pattern by Joji Locatelli. I wanted to knit something more lacey with the yarn and see how it looks. I love it! This skein was a little on the thick and thin side, but it didn't bother me. 
Because it's not springy, the brim loosened with wear to the point where I thought it would help to add an i-cord. I'm happy I did. It works really well and adds a little feminine touch that I like.

Syncopation 2
I knitted this typical Westy brioche hat last year and had an awesome time! I like how Stephen West provides pattern for leftovers. I used lots of soft yarn for this one. Mainly Cascade Eco Duo (almost all the way through).  Slouchy, comfy and warm. What else can one ask for?

This little hat was the cause of startitis for many knitters, including the very talented Alana Dakos (of Never Not Knitting). And it's no wonder, would you look at those sheeps! So cute! This hat knits up very quickly. I knit two in the course of three days. But then colourwork is addictive. 

I modified the pattern slighty, by using DK, omitting the double brim and doing a twisted rib instead. I did the rest according to chart. This lovely design is available freely through Shetland Wool Week.

Bray Cap
Can't go wrong with a Jared Flood pattern... This particular combination of lace and cables really does it for me. And the yarn, New Mexico Organic, by Green Mountain Spinnery, is so smooshy!
Again, once blocked, the brim got a little too smooth for my taste, so I hid a thin elastic in the tubular cast on. 

Well, I think I can be assured that my head will stay warm in the months to come. I might even have to part with some of my hats, as I know I'll want new ones again in a near future. But I did frog some old ones that did'nt get a lot of wear of. Phew!