Lavaliere

Lavaliere – an ornamental pendant, usually jeweled, worn on a chain around the neck

Cecily Glowik MacDonald’s Lavaliere pattern is a nice lightweight cardigan, worked in one-piece top down.  The neckline & front bands are worked in a smocking pattern – making it somewhat ornamental, I suppose.  Mine is even more elaborate as I ended up doing short rows around the fronts to widen the front bands, then knitting in a lining for the whole band as I didn’t like how it was lying.

Lavaliere cardigan

The result?  Pretty good, I think.

Lavaliere cardigan

 

Details of mods on my Ravelry project page.

Year of mittens – part 1

So for this year’s insane challenge, I’m going to try to knit a pair of (stranded) colourwork mittens every month … in addition to all the regular knitting I normally do.

For starters, I did the Torirot Mystery Mittens January 2014 – now called Den hammelige hagen (The Secret Garden).  Nothing like leaping in at the deep end!  I love a mystery KAL, so it was actually a good way to get started and to pace myself.  They came out pretty well, I think.  They’re a little too long in the hand, and the tension across the colourwork isn’t brilliant, but I’m happy with them.

secret garden mittens

Let’s see if I can actually achieve this particular challenge!

 

late to the (crochet school) party

Thanks to a helpful post on the LSG group over on Ravelry, I’m going to take the plunge this summer and actually learn to crochet.

Crochet School is the brilliant product of the craftyminx.  I may actually learn more than the absolutely rudimentary skills I remember my Nanna showing me a very, very long time ago.  I recently had to crochet an edging around this hat:

Thorpe hat in Brown colours

I had absolutely no clue how to do it, but with the help of the interwebs, and this helpful video from Hooked on Needles, I figured it out.  It made me slightly ashamed that I had been ignoring crochet as an option for so long and prompted me to think about what I could do to change that.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to work through all the lessons this summer.  Who knows what I might be inspired to make?

11in11 update

Well, I continue to mess with the master list of eleven cabled items and eleven pairs of socks, buy hey, it’s my list so I can do whatever I want.

For cables, it occurred to me that two hats finished early in the year were actually cabled projects.  Single stitch cables to be sure, but cables nonetheless.  So, I have completed two Travelling Rib Hats, one Rock Creek Hat, and I’m underway with a pair of Hugs & Kisses socks (my own design), and Schmidt vest for The Boy.  That’s three done and two on the needles.  I’d better get moving!

Traveling Rib hatSchmidt vest underway

In the sock stakes, I’ve finished six pairs, and I’ve started the seventh pair (the afore-mentioned Hugs & Kisses).  I also knitted a few tiny socks early in the year.  I’m totally counting those (and any more I whip through) as another pair.  ;)

Tiny socks

Skew socksHiss socks

Hugs & Kisses socks underway

The plan (well, today’s version of it anyway) is to knit at least one more pair of Hugs & Kisses, then I’ll only have two more pairs to do.  I’ll pick two from the revised list to round out the eleven (most likely Raindrops and Cauchy).  For cables, I’ll knit Dashing with my mods (twice, for two giftmas presents), the Hugs & Kisses can double as cable projects, then I’ll need to finish three projects from the revised list (definitely Wall Street Cables and Vivian, and possibly Beatnik, for myself).

Then there’s the Westknits Mystery KAL which starts August 1 (that’ll be a whole blog post by itself, I suspect), and assorted giftmas presents to get through.

Also, I’d really like another cardigan before I start work ….

carolinas part 2

What would a vacation be without some knitting?  Yes, I’ll admit it, I packed my knitting before anything else.  Knowing that I’d have six or seven days in the car was a good motivation!

Project 1: finish Zach’s basic ribbed socks.  This pattern from Drops has been translated really badly, so I just used my basic cuff-down sock pattern-fu and figured it out for myself.  The yarn is Knit Picks Stroll (mine is old enough to still be called Essential) in Carbon Twist.  Nice to knit with, soft in the hand, but it splits very easily.  Also, the skeins must be really out of whack as I knit one whole sock (with a bit left over) from one skein, but only got to the beginning of the toe on the second sock.  Grrr.  I hate being unable to finish something as planned!  Luckily, I have heaps of this yarn as I bought it to do the edging on both the kids’ sock-yarn blankets. Now, all I have to do is find it in the house somewhere.  ;)

zach's easy ribbed socks

Project 2: TATU (Try-a-toe-up) socks.  I’ve done toe-up socks before, but I was looking for a good, easy, fairly vanilla pattern for toe-ups and this one certainly fits the bill.  It’s also written for sport-weight yarn on US 3s so they really moved along.  They just need the ends woven in and a quick wash and they’re done (for me)!

tatu easy toe-up socks

Project 3: Riley.  My god-daughter will be visiting the US from Australia in April/May with her husband and daughter (my great-god-daughter ;)) and we’ll be catching up with them in either Boston or NYC, work schedules permitting.  I’d like to have something summery but not too light-weight for the baby (Tabitha) to wear as necessary while here, but to grow into for the Australian spring and summer.  I recently made a baby kimono and hat from this cotton/microfiber blend and I loved the finished garment in terms of drape, texture and usability.  I’m knitting a pattern from Nashua Handknits and am going out on a limb a little bit in terms of size.  If I’ve done the knitting maths correctly (and there could always be a first time ;)), knitting the 12-month size with this yarn and US size 5 needles should result in an 18-month-ish size.  Fingers crossed!

Riley baby cardigan in progress

Riley baby cardigan in progress

Project 4: Custom Zooming. Several months ago, I experimented with a pattern (Zoom) to make a cotton cover for the Swiffer sweeper.  I’m pretty sick of throwing away endless pieces of paper (Swiffer cloths – both wet and dry) so I’d like to find a more sustainable solution.  I played around with the pattern and customized it to fit our particular Swiffer.  It works pretty well on dry floors and really well wet (although I’m yet to find an easy and mess-free way to get it wet enough but “wrung-out” enough for mopping floors).

zoom swiffer cover

Luna with Zoom

Project 5: Dishcloth.  Have I, perhaps, been on another planet?  Growing up, I was oblivious of the whole knitted dishcloth phenomenon.  Maybe we didn’t have it in Australia? (Someone please correct me if I’m wrong?)  Anyway, I’ll admit to being a Sugar’n Cream snob for many years …  now you can call me a convert!  Between the Swiffer Zooms and my newly discovered obsession for knitting dishcloths in the car … beware A.C. Moore!  I tried out my first ever dishcloth today, and I’m in love.   I can totally see putting out a new one of these every day and washing them in the weekly old towels/rags/zoom/dishcloth hot+bleach wash (we have one of the old Maytag Neptune front loaders with the inherent mold problems, and I’m always looking for an excuse to run a hot wash with bleach!).

dishcloth

First ever dishcloth

dishcloths

I'm hooked!

The vacation was a complete knitting success, especially as we finished our trip staying in a B&B where the host(ess) was a knitter and we compared knitting war stories over breakfast.

year of scarves update #10

Tenth and final update on the Year of Scarves.  It worked out pretty well and the final count is twelve scarves (or shawlettes) for 2010.  Having a goal of getting one done each month (even if I didn’t actually stick to that timetable) really proved a good incentive.  Having graduation, birthday, and Christmas gifts ready to go was also an excellent carrot for this donkey.

The final contenders in the YoS were these two:

Un_Noro striped scarfUn-Noro striped scarf

Both done in Moda Dea Tweedle Dee (discontinued) for fast, machine-washable, and warm winter scarves.  For the ungrateful one and the boyfriend for Christmas.  I love this pattern and I’d do it again in a heartbeat with the right yarn.

In the Christmas knitting stakes, I’m not doing too badly with my original, and somewhat unrealistic, list.  Here’s what is already done:

Cabled coffee coziesDashing cabled mittsDashing cabled mittsDashing cabled mittsHive striped mittsChunky knitted beret

Underway:

  • Jackson’s dead fish hat (just waiting for eyes) – pattern from Knitty
  • Miss Bella’s Arrrgyle dog coat – Bernat’s I-Matey Dog Coat pattern (more about this below)

Still on the crazy person goal items list:

  • Three hats (the architect, the boy, and the boyfriend)

Doing the three pairs of Dashing mitts gave me the time to ponder some modifications to the pattern.  I wanted the cables to twist in the direction of the hand worn (i.e. left-leaning cables for the left hand and right-leaning for the right), I wanted to add another cable round, but only on the top of the mitt – not on the palm, and I wanted a thumb gusset which grew out of one of the cables.  My mods are available on my Dashing page.  Doing this has been a spur to designing my own cabled mitts pattern.  I’m hoping to get these done for the ungrateful one for Christmas, but I probably will have to knit another pair after that to iron out any kinks in the pattern before I publish it.

The dog coat for Miss Bella is based on a Bernat pattern which is, by all accounts on Ravelry, atrociously written.  I’m going to nut it out somehow because I’d like to include something for that sweet and silly dog in the Christmas package, but I’m subbing in an Argyle pattern from Knitty (Mangyle) instead of the skull.  If I figure out the basic structure, I’ll be in good shape to rewrite the pattern next year and make her a custom Steelyard dog coat.  :)

I may do Mangyle down the track for the boy.  He’s hankering after an Argyle vest for some reason.

year of scarves update #9

Getting close to the end!

phoebe's un-Noro striped scarf
This is the ungrateful one’s (or her boyfriend’s) un-Noro scarf in Moda Dea Tweedle Dee. She wanted something in these colours and I was lucky enough to find plenty of each colour from two different Ravelers. One of them kindly sent an extra skein in a different colour and the girl has already knit herself a scarf out of it with some DIC Classy leftovers scavenged from my stash. All I have to do now is get her beyond garter stitch and she’ll be over on the dark side with the rest of us. ;)

That’s the second last scarf this year (I’ll knit another the same for Chris for Christmas), so the total will be 12 for the year.  Not exactly one each month as far as when they were knitted, but it averages out that way.  :)

As far as other knitting goes … well, it is the end of November so the manic Christmas knitting is in full swing.  Here’s what I plan to knit between now and December 24th (crazy person goal items are in italics):

Scarves:

  • Un-Noro for the ungrateful one: underway
  • Un-Noro for the boyfriend: next

Hats:

  • Jackson’s “Alive, alive-O!” fish hat; underway except that I apparently live in some kind of alternate reality where 0.2 of a skein of Knit Picks Swish Worsted in black is enough to do all the black stripes.  Alas, I’ve had to order more from KP, which necessitated buying just over $50 worth of stuff total to get the free shipping.  ;)
  • Botanic for Wright: done!
  • Super-simple fast & easy chunky hand-knit beret for the ungrateful one: I will have enough of the Moda Dea Tweedle Dee left to do one of these in gray, I think.
  • Botanic (I think) for the boyfriend
  • Botanic (again!) for the architect
  • Botanic (I should be able to knit this in my sleep by now) for the boy

Mitts:

  • Dashing in machine wash and dry Wool-Ease for the architect: underway
  • Hive Mitts for our stupendous student aide at work (yarn ordered as part of KP “must get just over $50″ shopping spree)
  • Dashing (ditto machine wash & dry) for the boyfriend
  • Dashing (ditto care and knitting in sleep) for the boy
  • As yet unknown pattern for the ungrateful one

Other:

So, that’s only 2 more scarves, 5 hats, 5 pairs of mitts, 1 dog coat, and 2 coffee cozies to go, right?

Oh, and the Chiral cardigan I’ve done a gauge swatch and bought buttons for.  The buttons are just beautiful.

Argyle pattern pewter buttonsThey’re lead-free pewter in an Argyle pattern from Roosterick on etsy.  Not only are they lovely, but they come beautifully packaged, so they’d make great gifts for other knitters.

Oh, and finishing the ungrateful one’s blanket in time for her 21st a few days after Christmas.  Thankfully, that’s nearly done.  I’m halfway around the i-cord edging and it moves along pretty quickly.
i-cord edging on blanketWe won’t even mention the work I have to do for the final hours of my internship and the paper yet to be written.

Or the Maryjanes booties I took an order for yesterday …

year of scarves update #8

Well, the year is winding down and I may actually make it (remember the goal?  A scarf for everyone as a gift this year?).

I got Mum’s done just in time and it turned out beautifully.  I really like the Moda Dea Bamboo Wool.  Too bad Moda Dea seems to have disappeared.

Pattern: Fishtail Lace Scarf (from Knit Picks)
Yarn: Moda Dea Bamboo Wool

The architect is still an “architect” – but that’s another long story for another day.  His scarf is underway.  He knows he’s getting it and is already bugging me about whether or not it’ll get done in time.  *sigh*  It’s in Malabrigo Worsted which is like knitting with butter.  :)

I got the yarn for the ungrateful one’s scarf through a couple of Ravelry people.  She saw Zach’s and decided that she wanted the same kind of thing.  I *hated* the yarn I did Zach’s in (and I’m worried about the time factor), so I’ve got some Moda Dea Tweedle Dee (super bulky) lined up in the kind of colours she wanted.  I’ve actually got so much of it that, if I have time, I’ll do one for her boyfriend too.  He missed out on the “year of scarves” as his birthday is in February and I didn’t know about it until after then.  If I get both scarves done, I’ll give them to them for Christmas.  The yarn is pretty and should stand up to hard wear and tear I hope.

The prototype versions of the  MaryJanes booties nearly killed me, but I think I’ve finally got the kinks wrestled out of the pattern.  I just need to finish the final pair I’m knitting now and remember to take some pics of the critical/tricky bits in the pattern.  I should be able to get that done by the end of next week.  They’re coming out well.  Pics to come in another post.

A couple of other things started – two are secrets until December (and may remain that way forever if they don’t get finished) and the other is a Chiral cardigan from Interweave Knits, Fall 2010.  I’m doing it in Patons Classic Wool Tweeds on a whim.  So far I’ve only managed the gauge swatch, so no pics on that either.

year of scarves update #7

So, far from having all the spare time in the world now that I’m down to just the 2-credit internship to go, I’m swamped with work.  It might have something to do with still not being very good at saying no.  It’s a subject for another blog post though.

In the year of scarves, I’m still on track!  I finished the boy’s un-Noro scarf just in time for his birthday and I think he might actually like it!

un-noro striped scarfI’m at least 2/3 done with Mum’s Fishtail Lace scarf, but I need to rev up the pace to get it done and blocked before her birthday.

fishtail lace scarfI finally settled on patterns for the architect’s (Here and There Cables) and the ungrateful one’s scarves (Ruffles), so I can get started on those soon.

In the meantime, I finally got around to the two pairs of Shake Your Sockies booties requested by my boss for friends.  I got some lovely yarn at Knitty City when we were in the city the weekend before last and the booties are done, just waiting to be seamed.

preemie baby bootiesAnother big push will be finishing the ungrateful one’s blanket in time for her 21st.  Thankfully the weather is finally getting cooler, so I can work on that comfortably at night.

sock yarn blanket

year of scarves update #6

I’m a little slow getting to this, but I have been a bit busy …

My milkweed is finished and is just lovely.  I will definitely be making this pattern again.

The car-pooling Karius is also done, as is 220yds to graduation, but these are surprise gifts for later in the year, so no pics yet. :(

Midsummer Ruffles for Midwinter is also done.  Ditto re making this again.

Just Enough Ruffles scarfI’ve started the boy’s birthday scarf and although it’s got more bright colour than he would normally wear, I’m thinking it might be nice to see him with a splash of colour every now and then.  If he hates it, I’ll just knit him something more muted and give it to someone else (or keep it for myself!).

Zach's striped scarf underwayI’m not very happy with the yarn I’m using for this (Crystal Palace Mochi Plus).  While it’s dreamy soft and the colours are lovely, it varies so much in thickness that it’s infuriating.  There are sections where it changes instantly from something like a bulky weight to fingering or lace weight.  This produces an effect almost like a crease in the knitted fabric which is annoying.  You can see one in the pic above, right between the section with green stripes and the section with blue stripes – there’s an olivey-green stripe that almost looks like there’s a fold in the scarf.  Grrrr.  I won’t be using this yarn again.