Monday, February 23, 2015

Rook: A Sweater

An actual, full-sized person sweater!  Hurray!

 Please excuse the terrible lighting - I was just so excited to finally have my husband home and available to take pictures (poor thing's a tax accountant :( ).  Can you just see the delight in my face?  It could be Walker's presence...or it could be that sweater.  It's just that pretty.

I really love this sweater - it's so cozy and warm and look at all the pretty cabling down the front!  It's mirrored on the back and, to a lesser extent, down the sleeves.  I wore this bad boy skiing a few weeks ago and barely felt the cold!  I probably couldn't say the same thing if I were to venture out today, but that's February in New England for you.  -21 degree windchill just hurts my fingers to type!

I ended up making it a little bit wide for myself - you can especially see that in the sleeves, but that means it's the perfect size to wear over a blouse to the office.  I swear I must have the coldest corner in our building, so I expect that this sweater will be making many an appearance before spring comes.

The patter is Rook by Kyoko Nakayoshi.  It took me a couple of tries to get started, but mostly because I didn't like the raglan increases as written.  They seemed to like yarn over based increases and, frankly, they look a little sloppy to me on a cabled sweater, so I changed it to lifted increases.  You can actually see a little hole on my left shoulder where I tried and abandoned the yarn over increases.  Live and learn, right?

I also made the mistake of overestimating the amount of yarn I would need to make this sweater, but that just means that I get a matching hat now, too!

This one's another Brooklyn Tweed pattern by Jared Flood: Skiff.  I looove huge cabled patterns like this one - it means they never got boring!  They're simple enough that you can memorize the shape of it, but you don't get bogged down in endless repeats.

The yarn I used for both of them is Knit Picks Full Circle Worsted.  I really like it for cables - they tend to pop nicely, plus it's super soft.  Beware, though, it's not an easy yarn to work with.  It's not spun very tightly (at all), so watch out for splitting.  And don't abuse the finished garment since it tends to grow a little.  Or a lot, in the case of my first foray into cat sweaters (I still have a small bump on my forehead from chasing him under the dining table!).  Do not use this yarn for pet garments!  The looseness does give it a considerable amount of loft and a lot of insulation, though - super warm!  Great pieces for a cold day like today!

What is your favorite yarn for bitterly cold days?


Monday, February 9, 2015

A Little Winter Stashbusting

Remember me complaining about being over winter about a month ago?  And that was before all these storms!  It seems like we've gotten a snow storm every other day!  We're seriously running out of places to put the snow.  I ask myself every morning why on Earth we decided to live in Maine.

...and then I go into my closet and see all the warm winter woollies! (Bear with me - I'm looking for the silver lining). Californians just don't get the same kind of sweater selection.  And come on, you don't get to wear octopus gloves in Miami!!

How cute are they??  I mean, when you put them on, your fingers become tentacles!

The pattern is Kraken Knuckles by Annie Watts and they were almost as much fun to knit as to wear.  That inventive pattern never gets boring and did I mention the finger-tentacle thing?  These are just one example of a big stashbusting project, but probably my favorite so far.  The purple is leftover from my favorite sweater evar and the gray is leftover from an original pattern that's due to release next month (I wish I could tell you more about that - I'm SO EXCITED).  They are fun, they are warm, and also, finger-tentacles.

One other success was with some lace-weight yarn I'd bought for the 100 Diamonds Shawl, after which I had about 800 yards left!  So many options there!  Ravelry is chock full of gorgeous lacy shawls and I ended up settling on an old favorite: the Echo Flower Shawl by Jenny Johnson Johnen:

This one came out even better (and bigger) than the last time I tried it!  What a beautiful design!

Here is a closeup of the pattern:

The bulk of the pattern is pretty easy to memorize, but not so simple to bore the knitter.  I wouldn't recommend this one to someone just starting with lace, but what a beauty to aspire to knit!  I'm really looking forward to taking this one out for a stroll!

Oh, and I also made the cat another sweater.  I just couldn't call myself a crazy cat lady if I stopped at one, right?

Isn't he sweet?  It was snowing and he was just fascinated - even tried to get the snowflakes through the glass door.

I used the same pattern as last time, just with a yarn that had some nylon in it.  The last time I used Knit Picks's Full Circle, which is lovely, but doesn't have much  memory to it, so the first sweater stretched and stretched and that little peanut was able to wriggle his way out of it every night.  It sort of became a game every morning - "Hunt the Sweater."  That is, until I wound up with a giant bruise on my face from trying to chase the little munchkin under the dining table!

Of course, the solution was not "let the cat run around without a sweater."  For a knitter-cum-crazy-cat-lady, the answer was "buy more yarn!"  So I did.  I bought some Berocco Vintage, which is blended with nylon for ease of care and he's been stuck in there for almost a month!  Problem solved!

That is until all his hair grows back and I get to vacuum it all up again, hurray!

Enjoy your snow day kiddies!