Posted tagged ‘scarf’

Call me at the station, the lines are open

January 16, 2015

IMG_2958

Pattern: 198 yds. of Heaven by Christy Verity (rav link)
Yarn: Ella Rae Lace Merino Worsted (100% merino), overdyed
Needle: U.S. 7 Knit Picks Sunstruck wood 26″ circulars (worked flat)

One of my favorite things about knitting, at a certain level of competence, is that you can create things that would command luxury prices in a boutique — but in actuality can’t be bought anywhere, at any price.

IMG_2956

Here’s an example. This started with a poor orphan skein of yarn at Tuesday Morning that had lost its label . Sight and touch made it obvious that it was a bouncy merino, and I initially pegged it as Fibernatura Yummy, a sportweight I had bought at the store before, with a similar twist. But careful examination showed it was heavier, and a colorway not found in that yarn. My curiosity piqued, I searched stash photos on Ravelry until I determined its true name and nature.

IMG_3984.JPG

Then into the dye pot it went, with my favorite Easter egg colors — spring green, denim blue, and teal — dumped directly from the dye cups that had held eggs the day before. Pure alchemy. You be the judge.

Untitled

It sat in my stash, a reminder every time I caught sight of it of its priceless singularity, until the moment I decided to make my mother a lace scarf for Christmas. That moment came one week before she was set to visit. I had a deadline.

IMG_2953

With a day to spare — a day needed for blocking, at that, so really right at the nick of time — my version of this popular pattern came off the needles. There are 5523 other scarves like it on Ravelry. But this one is mine, the utterly unique and unrepeatable combination of serendipity, experimentation, and technique.

IMG_2952

Gorgeous, if I do say so myself. Anyone who appreciates beauty would crave it, even with three or four figures on the price tag. But it’s not for sale. It’s for Mom.

Advertisements

I’ll show you the ropes, kid

January 12, 2015

IMG_2986

Pattern: Purl Ridge Scarf by Stephen West
Yarn: Debbie Macomber Blossom Street Collection Fleur de Lys (90% merino, 10% cashmere), colorway 405 (overdyed)
Needles: U.S. 8 Harmony wood Options 26″ circular needles

Some projects take the long way home. This one started with a find at Tuesday Morning — yarn of a beautiful fiber, but an ugly color.

Untitled

That’s … brown. Not really the rich, autumnal brown that sometimes draws me in. Kind of pink-undertone brown. Not even just drab — really actively off-putting. Hard to photograph, probably. Uninspiring, to say the least. I couldn’t imagine an entire garment in that color. But the single-ply yarn was beautifully soft. I knew I could turn it into something better.

Untitled

Here are the five balls I bought (all they had, of course), skeined up and overdyed with 2 red PAAS Easter egg dye tablets dissolved in a tbsp of white vinegar and 6 oz. of water, kettled in a crockpot on low for half an hour. Much better — a shade of bright brick red with the original brown shade showing through in places. Now, what to make?

I settled on this scarf, long in my queue, awaiting just this kind of semi-solid colorway to show off its depth of texture. I made the whole thing, dear reader, from one laboriously engineered hemmed edge to the other. I worked on it, off and on, for four months. And then I unraveled it, the whole thing, cutting the yarn where I had spit-spliced it (or just wherever it refused to stop sticking together, as is the nature of single-ply yarn so often. I just had to face facts. It wasn’t what I had hoped. It was kind of stiff and flat, not soft, lofty, and textured. The hems I tried didn’t work out at all. This yarn was too beautiful for such a fate. Back to the drawing board.

IMG_2987

Ah yes. That’s better. Simple hits of garter-ridge texture on a smooth stockinette background. Soft, flexible, inviting. All the color shows through with no fuss. Why didn’t I do this the first time? I gave it to my sister-in-law for Christmas, thrilled that it had turned out so perfectly.

IMG_2983

CG kept making exaggerated faces as she modeled this scarf, then bursting into laughter. I kind of love this shot — she’s in motion, blurred and ecstatic, but the scarf is in crisp focus. Finally that beautiful fiber has found its purpose.

I’m a fool to think something so impossible

June 21, 2014

IMG_1523

Pattern: Princess Franklin Plaid Collar by Franklin Habit
Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light (50% wool, 50% alpaca), colorways Redwoods Mix, Blueberry Mix, and Pea Soup Mix; Aslan Trends Santa Fe (85% merino, 15% nylon), colorway Crudo; Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Sport (100% wool), colorway Caution
Needles: U.S. 2 nickel Options 24″ fixed circulars, magic-loop style

 

IMG_1494

Pattern: The Age Of Brass And Steam Kerchief by Orange Flower Yarn
Yarn: Knit Picks Diadem DK Special Reserve, (50% alpaca, 50% silk), colorway Copper
Needles: U.S. 8 Harmony wood Options 36″ circular (knit flat)

IMG_1542

Pattern: Julia’s Cabled Headband by Pauline Chin
Yarn: Mirasol Yarn Miski (100% llama), colorway Gold
Needle: U.S. 7 Harmony wood Options 16″ circulars (knit flat)

Ravellenics 2014 was a bittersweet experience. Political chaos and controversy tore the group apart, and fractured the moderating team that had worked together for six happy years and three previous Olympiads. We weathered the Great USOC C&D Debacle of ’12, but we could not recover from early mistakes handling politically sensitive issues. Yes, in a knitting competition with imaginary prizes, there are politically sensitive issues.

IMG_1530

But even though it put me at odds with old friends and colleagues, I worked hard to stay engaged and to keep the event going. When the dust settled and the actual knitting began, I got busy on two major projects right away. One was a quest to use some of this lovely yarn, an alpaca-silk blend. I finished knitting this simple scarf while at a symposium on science and religion at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.

IMG_1537

The other, and by far the most difficult challenge of the Ravellenics, was this cowl, which was knit flat in stripes and grafted together (poorly) before single strands of contrasting colors were woven perpendicular to the knitting direction, through the garter ridges, to create the plaid pattern. It was demanding, exacting, time-consuming, and utterly magical. I spent four solid days weaving, watching the Games, and dreaming about what colors I would use to make another one.

IMG_2151

In the very last days of the competition, I hurriedly cast on for my last planned project. I got this skein of llama yarn in a swap with another Raveller. The theme of this Ravellenics was stash, and this beautiful soft buttery yarn had been sitting in mine for way too long.

I’m balanced in so many ways between what I spent a long time building, and what I want to come next. Sometimes you’ve got to clear out what you’ve accumulated. But I’ve never been able to just throw useful things away. I want to make something beautiful with them if I can.

And the kids got coke and chocolate bars

April 14, 2013

IMG_3700.JPG

Pattern: Thoreau Hat by Terri Kruse (Ravelry link)
Yarn: Quince & Co. Lark (100% wool), colorways Bark and Nasturtium
Needles: U.S. 7 Harmony wood 24″ circulars (magic-loop)

Sometimes you get on a hot streak, and sometimes you can’t wake up the cards. Early this year I suddenly hit the jackpot on three or four blog contests, all at the same time, winning yarn and books and such. One of those windfalls was this Quince & Co. yarn. I fell in love with its sturdy, honest richness. I wanted to knit it immediately.

IMG_3692.JPG

Noel needed a hat. I’ve made him a balaclava and a scarf and even a sweater for the frigid temperatures of Park City at Sundance time (he didn’t get to go this year, but I hold out hope for the future). But if he’s going to keep up his walking regimen in even the relatively tame Arkansas winter, he needs a warm hat. The proportions of colors I received in this yarn reminded me of a hat I saw in a magazine, with a pop of color around the brim. I searched and searched, until I found it. Man, do I ever love this hat.

IMG_3711.JPG

Pattern: Easy Missoni Style Long Moebius Cowl by Haley Waxburg
Yarn: Plymouth Happy Feet DK (90% merino, 10% nylon), colorway 55
Needles: U.S. 11 24″ Harmony wood Options circulars

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been trying to find my motivation to knit in different places. It’s not that I am tired of knitting; it’s that I have a number of stalled projects that are sapping my willpower. I feel like a failure for not taking care of the business I’ve already started. So I look to necessity or to pleasure for motivation. I need a warm hat for my walks to school, or a long-sleeve cardigan for layering — that’s necessity. I want to use a yarn that I really enjoy, or make a type of pattern I’ve long wanted to try — that’s pleasure.

IMG_3706.JPG

And yet, even when determined to follow these muses, I get sidetracked into my other motivations. Necessity drove me toward attractive accessories Knitwise could sell at its annual Craftin’ for CASA event. The perennial desire to use up stash yarn I’ve had for years, yarn that has been taunting me with my inability to find a pattern suited for it, led me to this DK yarn I bought from the Dizzy Sheep in the distant past. Brilliant pink is emphatically not my color, but it is most definitely the kind of color that will draw the eye when displayed for sale.

IMG_3713.JPG

The motivations you need sometimes come along as a surprise once the work begins. Held double, this yarn made a decadent squishy soft fabric. I learned the cool moebius cast-on, and could see myself knitting moebiuses (mobeii?) as go-to travel projects. Circular needles (I don’t take my beautiful and expensive Signature straights through airports, since confiscation can’t always be predicted), easily memorized pattern, plenty of mindless knitting for meetings and sessions.

IMG_3703.JPG

On the other hand, I plowed through this one pretty fast — so fast that I didn’t put down the needle size or how many skeins I used on the project’s Ravelry page. Maybe it wouldn’t last long enough for my travel needs.

IMG_0278.JPG

It didn’t last long at the sale, either. The lovely Ashley took it home, and CASA of the 20th Judicial District took home the proceeds. Stash busted, children benefited, knitter happy, necks and hearts warmed.

I’m a fool to think something so impossible

December 6, 2012

IMG_3012.JPG

Pattern: The Boy Hat by Elizabeth Heath-Heckman
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted (100% merino) colorway Nostalgia
Needles: U.S. 7 Harmony wood Options 24″ circular needles (magic loop)

More catching up with little knits and random gifts from the past year! After the Ravellenic Games this year, I was in a hat mood. The thought of single skeins, easily portable bags, quick finishes appealed to me. I assuaged the yearning with this quick beanie using a orphan skein of my beloved Malabrigo. It’s on the charity shelf waiting to warm and brighten someone’s winter.

IMG_3211.JPG

Pattern: Multidirectional Diagonal Scarf by Karen Baumer
Yarn: Wisdom Yarns Ballad (100% merino), colorway 317
Needles: U.S. 8 Signature straights

For some reason, every time I score yarn at Tuesday Morning, I can’t wait to use it up right away. It must be something deep in my Protestant or perhaps Scottish heritage. A skein of luxury yarn sits in my stash for years; an everyday purchase waits forlornly to be utilized; but bargain yarn demands to jump onto the needles within hours or days of coming home with me. This Noro knockoff became a new version of one of the very first scarves I made for a family member. This time I made a lot fewer mistakes, which I’m sure the eventual charitable recipient will appreciate.

IMG_3022.JPG

Pattern: Intuitive by Julia Zahle (Ravelry link)
Yarn: Patons Classic Wool Merino (100% wool), colorway Bright Red
Needles: U.S. 5 and 8 Zephyr acrylic Options 24″ circular needles (magic loop)

I had this project in reserve in the Ravellenics in case I got done with my Montague Vest early and needed a quick extra medal opportunity. The longing I felt to turn to it when the vest seemed far too hefty to drag out in the heat of summer — well, that’s the source of my determination to make hats hats and more hats after the Games. This single ball was left over from a 2008 Christmas project, Alex’s Irish Hiking Scarf.

More to come …

Let her dance to our favorite song

October 14, 2012

IMG_2971.JPG

Pattern: Shaelyn by Leila Raabe (Ravelry link)
Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll Tonal (75% merino, 25% nylon), colorway Royalty
Needles: U.S. 5 Harmony wood Options 24″ circular (knit flat)

This was my travel knitting project during our summer vacation to Atlanta. As longtime readers will remember, I have very specific requirements for travel knitting. The project has to be fine gauge, to get maximum knitting mileage out of yarn that takes up minimal space in the luggage. Socks do the trick, but socks have one drawback — I’m not experienced enough to be able to turn heels without lengthy careful attention, so sock projects always come to a point where I can’t easily pick up and put down the knitting at a moment’s notice. So my default travel knitting is a fingering weight scarf.

IMG_2967.JPG

And lately I’ve been all over lacy triangular scarves. I think my favorite one I ever made was this Larch for my mom — or maybe it’s a matter of absence making the heart grown fonder. The Shaelyn pattern reminded me of that one, only with more lace. I did have to count rows, and sometimes with travel knitting I go for something truly mindless, but since I wasn’t going to be knitting while sitting in meetings or conference sessions, I craved a bit of complexity.

IMG_2964.JPG

Purple knits are always in style at my workplace, since the university’s colors are purple and gray. And I love nothing better than a colorful accessory. I tend not to wear neutral outfits, so I’m piling color on top of color in most cases. But I don’t care what purple does and doesn’t go with. Red, green, blue, another shade of purple — that pretty much describes my wardrobe of solid, basic tees, and I’ll throw a scarf of almost any color on top of any of them.

IMG_2972.JPG

Tone-on-tone, semisolid yarns are my absolute favorite to knit with. The colors are always one-of-a-kind, rarely pool or stripe unattractively, and never fail to coordinate. The result is a garment or accessory that couldn’t be purchased off the rack — a true original, a statement, a signature. This beautiful scarf, with its luxurious deep hues and gracefully shaped textures, perfectly illustrates that quality

She couldn’t help thinking that there was a little more to life somewhere else

September 29, 2012

IMG_1588.JPG

Pattern: Noro Scarf (two-tone diagonal garter stitch) by Suzanne Pietrzak
Yarn: Bernat Mosaic (100% acrylic), colorways Calypso and Spectrum
Needles: U.S. 8 Signature straights

Time to play catch-up! I have several finished objects going back to 2011 that have not yet been blogged. This simple, colorful slant on the classic Noro scarf was completed on the eve of our Craftin’ for CASA sale last year, and was purchased by Claire for her sister Marie.

IMG_2129.JPG

Pattern: Harris Tweed by Luise O’Neill
Yarn: Tuesday Morning Exquisite Chunky (57% merino, 33% microfiber, 10% cashmere), colorway Cream
Needles: U.S. 10 Signature straights

This was also for the CASA sale. I loved knitting this one; this beautiful three-dimensional, fully reversible, unisex-appropriate stitch pattern deserves to be more widely known. I’d also love to get my hands on more of this yarn, which I picked up at Tuesday Morning; some people have said it’s relabeled Rowan Cashsoft.

IMG_2162.JPG

Pattern: Enjoyable-Rib Scarf by Anne K.
Yarn: Moda Dea Tweedle Dee (80% acrylic, 16% wool, 4% rayon), colorway Thunder
Needles: U.S. 10 Signature straights

By my count, I’ve knit this pattern five times. I often go looking for another simple but visually interesting rib pattern for chunky yarn, but I always come back to this one. So satisfying. This one hasn’t found a home yet.

IMG_2118.JPG

Pattern: Habit-Forming Scarf by Elizabeth Morrison (PDF link)
Yarn: Diakeito DiaFelice (50% wool, 28% nylon, 22% mohair), colorway 506
Needles: U.S. 8 Signature straights

I bought this yarn in Japan during my September 2011 visit, and knit it up over the Christmas break. It took me a lot of experimentation to find a stitch that showed off the colors, which are wool and mohair encased in a shimmery nylon casing. I was bedeviled by the fabric’s tendency to curl into a tube, though. If I recall correctly, I donated this to a silent auction to benefit Conway Cradle Care.

IMG_2317.JPG

Pattern: Reversible Cabled Brioche Stitch Scarf by Saralyn Harvey
Yarn: Knit Picks Andean Silk (55% alpaca, 23% silk, 22% merino), colorway Scarlet
Needles: U.S. 7 Signature straights

Ah, brioche stitch. There is nothing like you for squooshy ribbing. Throw in big reversible cables and a luxury yarn, and you have the perfect scarf. Only fault I can find with it is that the complexity of the ribbed reversible cables incorporating yarn-over-heavy brioche made the use of a cable needle (or in my case, a DPN) imperative. I donated this one to the Conway Cradle Care silent auction too. I hope it brought in a good price.

IMG_2555.JPG

Pattern: JustRight Dishcloth by Deborah Ellis
Yarn: Ella Rae Baby Cotton (88% cotton, 12% nylon), colorways Ecru and Ink
Hook: 5.5mm (I) Tulip Etimo

IMG_2556.JPG

Pattern: Squaring the Spiral Dishcloth by Deborah Ellis
Yarn: Ella Rae Baby Cotton (88% cotton, 12% nylon), colorways Ecru and Ink
Hook: 3.5mm (E) Tulip Etimo

Two crochet dishcloths for CG’s second-grade teacher whose favorite fashion look is zebra print. These both come from a lovely e-book of crochet dishcloths, containing patterns both basic and quite striking. I love using this DK-weight cotton blend that I picked up at Tuesday Morning; it’s soft, smooth, and drapey.

IMG_2589.JPG

Pattern: A Beautifully Simple Coaster by Deborah Ellis
Yarn: Louisa Harding Nautical Cotton (100% cotton), colorways Sage and Light Blue
Hook: 4mm (G) Tulip Etimo

And this was the teacher gift for AA’s fifth grade homeroom teacher. I was really itching to crochet up some cotton last December, clearly. More Tuesday Morning yarn; I like the sage green a lot better in combination with the bright blue than alone. Six coasters in the set, three of each color.

IMG_2617.JPG

Pattern: Sixty Cables by Gabi Krisztián (Ravelry link)
Yarn: Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock Solid (80% wool, 20% nylon), colorway Pond
Needles: U.S. 4 and 6 Zephyr Options 24″ circular needle (magic loop style)

I started this faux-cable hat for the Craftin’ for CASA sale, but didn’t finish it in time. Terrific textured hat pattern with just the amount of slouch I like. Still doesn’t have a home; might be part of this year’s upcoming sale for CASA.

IMG_2715.JPG

Pattern: Lacy Baktus by Terhi Montonen
Yarn: Inca Sportlace Hand-Painted (75% wool, 25% nylon), overdyed with Easter egg dye
Needles: U.S. 5 Zephyr Options 24″ circular (knit flat)

This is one of the two skeins I overdyed (full story here) in my first crockpot kettle dyeing experiment. I started with the colorway I liked less, the reds and pinks and yellows, just to see how the fabric looked knitted up. When I ran out of yarn, I added a purple corner in Knit Picks Palette (leftovers from my Endpaper Mitts). Although at the time I liked it as a homage to a very famous version by bluepeninsula (used as a guide and inspiration by many Ravelers), every time I put it on I worry that it just looks like a kludge. So I haven’t actually worn it yet, and might end up donating or selling it.

Dishcloth for Ellen

Pattern: Forked Cluster Stitch Washcloth by Oshinn Reid
Yarn: Knit Picks Simply Cotton Worsted (100% cotton), colorway Bermuda Heather
Hook: 5.5mm (I) Tulip Etimo

Practically Hyperbolic dishcloth for Ellen

Pattern: A Practically Hyperbolic Dishcloth by Deborah Ellis
Yarn: Knit Picks Simply Cotton Worsted (100% cotton), colorway Bermuda Heather
Hook: 5.5mm (I) Tulip Etimo

Two quick crochet washcloths made as a housewarming gift for a new faculty member. The Practically Hyperbolic was already a favorite; the Forked Cluster Stitch was new to me and made a very handsome texture. I’ll definitely use it again. Excuse the horrible indoor Instagram photography — I only had to time to snap a quick pic after they were given.

Believe it or not, there’s still more … but that’s enough for one day and one post!