Friday, November 28, 2008

Let's Skate!

Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving! Now that I have my new top ready, I can go skating to work off my turkey dinner.

After three months of work, I finally completed my Skater's Top, the overtop. This is really a two piece set- a lace short-sleeved overtop and a plain stockinette long-sleeved undertop. The long sleeve top does have interesting cables on the sleeves. Although I wasn't planning originally to knit the undertop, I am now interested in making it to wear separately, not as a set. The weather here is not cold enough to merit wearing both simultaneosly. For me, a thin layering tee is enough to wear under the short-sleeved top.

081123 skaters overtop

For the overtop, there are two main lace charts to follow to make the pattern, the tree pattern and the little fir cone pattern. Things were fine until I had to decrease at the sleeves to shape the cap, etc. With my stitch count off everytime, I slowed my knitting between rounds, counted stitches, and decided how I would proceed while maintaining the stitch pattern yet decreasing here and there. Basically, I winged it but didn't write down my alterations (sorry). Luckily, it fits! As I knitted the last few rounds, I suddenly worried that it wouldn't fit and that all my work would have been wasted. Knowing that lace can stretch, I consoled myself that it would fit somehow, unless it had to stretch to frumpy proportions.

On Ravelry, I am one of the few people who have not used Rowan Kid Silk Haze, the recommended yarn, to make my top. Instead, I chose Valley Yarn's Colrain Laceweight, a wool and tencel blend, which I bought at the WEBS booth at Stitches West earlier this year. Lovely yarn. It felt smooth, running through my hands as I knit. Although it doesn't give off that "hazy" halo look as in the Kid Silk Haze, I think the clear stitch definition from this yarn works well for this top too. And I only used about 120 grams of the yarn, so I have half of the cone left! Need to think of something to use that for...

081123 skaters overtop2

Pattern: Skater's Top, overtop
Book: Knitting Classic Style by Veronik Avery
Size: 38
Yarn: Valley Yarn's Colrain Laceweight, used ~770 yards (120 grams), blue grey
Needles: size 6 (4mm)

Completing this top was my goal for November's Knit a Sweater Month (NaNiSweMo). I'd been working on this for so long but allowed myself to work on many other projects at the same time. When the November challenge came up, I decided to finish the top and not let it drag out for more months. Anyway, it's done. So are my Fawkes socks (Belated Socktober). So many things suddenly reached a happy end recently. After months of slogging through WIPS and never feeling like I'd made progress, I finally made it to the end. Including things at my real job, last week really marked the culmination of a lot of work with knitting and non-knitting. I can fully enjoy the holidays! Now, what to knit next?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Belated Socktober

Better late than never! Originally, I meant to finish these in October for the Socktober challenge, but it didn't happen. Oh well, I completed these last Friday, about a month after my start date.

081122 fawkes socks.jpg

Pattern: Fawkes Socks by Monkey Toes
Yarn: Superwash Sock Yarn (merino wool/bamboo/nylon) by Mary Jane's Attic
Color: Bananarama
Needle: 2.75mm

The pattern was inspired by Fawkes, Dumbledore's phoenix, in the Harry Potter series. And yes, I realize I didn't use red or orange yarn to go along with the flame theme. I might try out a few of the other Harry Potter inspired sock patterns by the same sock designer- Nagini and Bellatrix. Fawkes reminded me a little bit of Cookie A's Monkey sock pattern but had narrower curves. The flame pattern is pretty cool, although I'm not sure how clear it is to see in this particular yarn colorway.

By the way, I chose this colorway because it's different from anything I'd usually buy. It's kind of crazy, and I really like it. The yarn was hand-dyed by Jamie of Mary Jane's Attic, who happens to be a childhood friend of my cousin. Small world! Recently, she opened her own fiber store in San Francisco, Urban Fauna Studio. Check it out! You can also see her yarn at the San Francisco Bazaar Bizarre this Sunday, November 30th. A cool indie craft fair that sounds similar to the Renegade Craft Fair I went to this summer. Can't wait to go!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Recycled Plastic Bag

In an effort to be less wasteful, I'm interested in ways to re-use/recycle items at home. By using my own cloth bags at stores, I've reduced the amount of plastic and paper in our bag pile. That's fine, but, as a knitter, I want to go a step further and make something out of it. I can't help wanting to turn those plastic bags into something useful, other than garbage bags. Recently, I came across the Re-bag pattern by Cocoknits. It's a knit tote bag made out of chopped up plastic bags. It's a great idea, and she includes a tutorial on how to turn the plastic bags into yarn. Looks cool and crafty! I wonder how sturdy it is?