Monday, January 20, 2014

Roving Kind of Cowl

A couple of years ago, I made Trish Woodson's My Kind of Cowl for my sister for her birthday. 

This year, I made one for my birthday.  For me!
My kind of cowl - Imperial Wool two-strand roving

My Kind of Cowl, designed by Trish Woodson
  • Imperial Yarn bulky two strand pencil roving, dyed charcoal color, two skeins, 100% wool
  • US size 11 needles
  • 38 stitches, knit for 42 inches, grafted (That's the whole pattern, really)
  • on Ravelry here
I started thinking about making this cowl when I saw a picture of my faux leather top with a similar cowl.  I made it "longer" than the first one to fit over my shoulders.

The pencil roving makes a wonderful, warm, lofty piece, but it is tricky to knit with - it's better to avoid quick tugs or tight knitting.  It is REALLY tricky to graft with.  I used some good instructions for garter kitchener stitch, but then got it backward.  I could show you, but I won't.  I'm not fixing my mistake, because I don't think the roving would hold up to a re-do.  Even with twisting the roving often to keep it from wisping apart, I had to splice the grafting yarn back together fairly often.  This is a great piece of knitting for a beginner, but I'd suggest a beginner use a more constructed yarn.  On the other hand, if you're NOT a beginner, give this pencil roving a try.  I'm very happy with my cowl.

Another bit of birthday happiness was waking up to this photo in a text from my daughter -
Dilys, being worn in Italy.  Happy.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

All I got for Christmas (knitter's version)

Well, not ALL, but I was blessed with quite a lot of knitting-ish presents this Christmas.

First of all, there are few women and even fewer knitters who think that "too many bags" is a real thing.  So, I was delighted to get two wonderful bags for storing and toting my knitting.  From my mom, the wonderful Swift bag from Tom Bihn.

As many of you might know, this bag was a joint effort between Tom Bihn and the gang at Knitty.  You can read more about all its cool features - but I'll just say, it really is a terrific bag.  It doesn't feel or look much bigger than a medium-large purse, but it holds a whole sweater's worth of yarn, and the pattern book, and a bunch of knitterish tools.  And your phone.
It includes what Tom Bihn calls a medium stuff sack. 
I brought some knitting to the movies the other night, and knit with a cake of roving from the stuff sack.  It worked great.

The other bag was from my son, and it's double terrific.
A Tardis, and though maybe not TRULY bigger on the inside, it still holds two skeins and needles.  Plus, it's a Tardis.

Then, my sister and brother-in-law drew my name this year.
Knitivity: Create Your Own Knitted Nativity Scene. Fiona Goble
The Knitivity book is quite inspiring.  I like the idea of knitting one figure (maybe two) a year for a nativity scene, maybe for myself and a few other family members.  Will I do it?  Maybe.  Is it a good idea?  Yes!

I don't have a link for the mug, but if you find one, you'll like it.  The "knit" part feels unglazed, but the top and inside are glazed.  It feels great in your hand, and it's made my morning coffee even MORE welcome.

And then there's this:
My kids channeling awkward family photos in their "twin" Urban Aran sweaters.

Knitting love for Christmas. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

2013 in Review

2013 was not a prolific knitting year.  I have always been a slow knitter.  I knit a little almost every day, but only a little most days.  The black sweater I knit for myself gets worn VERY often, so that was time well-spent.  I discovered what a cute background our little crabapple tree makes for small items.  And, the sweater I just finished took almost a quarter of 2013, but wasn't finished by the end of the year. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

I've been knitting all week like it was Christmas Eve!

Because I needed to finish this:
. . . before my daughter got on the plane to Italy this morning.

In fact, knitting for a departing traveller is more intense than knitting for a gift.  I have never been too ashamed of wrapping a partly finished project (or even yarn) with a picture and a note, and giving the gift when I finish.  But once she leaves, my daughter is gone till April.  It's expensive to mail parcels, not to mention the risk I'd take, mailing something hand-made.  Plus we've heard enough stories about parcels held by customs in Italy to make us think we'd be better off not mailing anything but letters.  So, I had a true, hard deadline.

And I made it.

The sweater is Dilys, from the Rowan Tweed book by Marie Wallin.

I love this design - someone else on Ravelry called it their Reims sweater, and I think that's a perfect name.  The cables are delicate gothic arches of knitting, and then the yoke is the rose window of stained glass, er, tweed yarn.  I was so glad when my daughter said she not only liked it too, but wanted one.  It was fun to use the Rowan yarn the pattern called for, though we tweaked the colors a bit.  One of the things I love about Rowan color ranges is that their yarns work well together - I also used a Rowan yarn for the Counting Pane afghan I made a few years ago.

We substituted the red and brown colors for the more subdued mossy greens of the original, but kept the oatmeal color (actually called Arncliffe) for the body, and a darker beige as one of the yoke colors. By the way, this yarn is greatly improved with the first washing.  I washed my gauge swatch and was glad I did - both to see how pretty it was when the yarn relaxed and bloomed,  and also because the gauge was different after washing. 

Dilys by Marie Wallin
  • Rowan Tweed yarn, 100% wool, dk weight, colors Arncliffe, Bainbridge, Keld, and Bedale.  
  • Size 4 and 2 needles (US)
  • leather buttons I've been hoarding for years (still have a few left too.)
  • On Ravelry here (more construction details, too)
I wish we could have gotten some pictures in natural daylight, but by the time the knitting was finished (Wednesday night), the ends woven in (Thursday afternoon) and the sweater was washed, blocked and (nearly) dried (Thursday night late), there was no daylight left before the departure.   Still, it's done.  I love the wedge shaped button bands - made with short rows. Actually, I love pretty much everything about this cardigan. 

Now the sweater and my daughter are somewhere over the Atlantic, and I'm missing them both.  But isn't it nice they're on this trip together?