As of January 6th 8 am, this post has been closed for comments. The winners have been announced in a separate post.
In an effort to rid myself of some clutter, I'm going to give away a chunk of my knitting needles that I no longer (or never did) use. Those who are interested, leave a comment to this post, indicating which set(s) you are interested in, by Friday January 6th 8:00 am Eastern European Time. If there is more than one person interested in a particular set, the winner will be chosen randomly. After I've determined who gets what, I will make a separate post announcing the winners, and after that the winners can contact me with their information, an address to send the needles to. I will pay for shipping to anywhere in the world. There will be no cost to the winners (but if the package causes some customs duties in your country, those you will have to take care of yourself). Even the needles that are not really a set, like the fixed Addi circulars, will be given out in one batch (as numbered), not separately, to keep this somehow manageable.
1. KnitPro Symfonie Rose Interchangeable Needle Set
Wooden interchangeable circular needles in sizes 3.5-8.0 mm and cables to make 60 cm, 80 cm, 100 cm and 120 cm needle lengths. The cables are otherwise identical to regular KnitPro cables, but they are brown in color. The needles are made of the same wood as the regular KnitPro Symfonie needles, but colored as rosewood.
2. Addi Lace Click Interchangeable Set
Nickel-plated needles in sizes 3.5-8.0 mm and red cables to make 40 cm, 50 cm, 60 cm, 80cm and 100 cm needle lengths. A connector to join cables into longer ones. There is a noticeable bump at the join of the needle and cable that bothers me, but there are many people happy with their Addi Clicks, so I'm hoping these will be of use to someone.
3. KnitPro Nova Metal Interchangeable Set
Nickel-plated brass needles in sizes 3.0-6.0 mm and cables to make 60 cm, 80 cm and 100 cm needle lengths. Stops and cable keys included. (I think I originally bought the Starter Set with 3 needle sizes and added 3 more to it.)
4. Prym KnitPro Natural Interchangeable Needles
Prym needles that are identical to KnitPro Symfonie needles, the only difference is that the cable is black. The needle tips and cables are interchangeable with KnitPro ones. Needles in sizes 3.0-4.5 mm each in two different lengths. The shorter tips will make a 40 cm circular needle with the shortest cable, and the longer tips will make 60 cm, 80 cm and 100 cm needles with the longer cables.
5. Addi Fixed Circular Needles
The regular nickel-plated brass Addi circular needles which are marketed as "Turbo" in North America. Gold-colored cables. Size 2.0 mm in 40 cm, size 2.5 mm in lengths 40 cm, 60 cm and 100 cm, size 3.0 mm in length 40 cm, size 3.5 mm in lengths 40 cm and 60 cm, size 4.0 mm in lengths 40 cm, 60 cm and 80 cm, size 4.5 mm in lengths 40 cm and 60 cm, and size 5.0 in lengths 40 cm, 60 cm and 80 cm. The tips on these needles are too blunt for my taste, but they seem to have a lot of fans among other knitters.
6. Addi Lace Fixed Circular Needles
Brass needles with red cables in sizes 2.5 mm/ 80 cm, 3.5 mm/ 60 cm, 3.5 mm/ 80 cm, 4.0 mm/ 100 cm
One gold-plated needle in size 2.0 mm/ 100 cm
7. HiyaHiya Stainless Steel Fixed Circular Needles
Very lightweight stainless steel needles in sizes 2.0 mm, 2.25 mm, 2.5 mm and 2.75 mm in the 80 cm length. Used for Magic Looping socks, but the bump near the join bothers me when knitting at a tight gauge.
8. KnitPro Symfonie DPN Set
Wooden DPNs in sizes 2.5-5.0 mm in the 20 cm length.
December 26, 2011
Some last minute Christmas knitting for my two brothers, improvised ribbed hats. The red one was knit with Cascade 220, the black one with Artesano Superwash Merino. Not a whole lot to say about knitting these, just thought I should post them for "closure".
The Ravelry project pages for the red and the black one.
December 21, 2011
Yet another Brooklyn Tweed pattern. Jared Flood's Fortnight is a very well written pattern, and obviously thought has been put into making it well fitting. However, unexpectedly after completing a project like Bridgewater, I felt I wasn't making progress with this hat fast enough, the cabled part seemed to be taking too long for my impatient mind. Go figure. I would also like to try knitting the version with the sort of earflaps, but maybe not immediately after completing this one. Yet I'm itching to start Leaves of Grass, an obvious two-week shawl project. I don't always understand how my mind works. But before I can do that, I need to finish some last minute Christmas knitting first.
This hat was knit with Cascade 220, which I've found a good yarn for hats for its softness. However, for cabling without a cable needle, it felt a bit splitty, so I don't plan on doing any intense cabling with it in the future.
The Ravelry project page
December 18, 2011
While I'm happy with the finished project, I did not enjoy knitting Jared Flood's Bridgewater pattern as much as I would have hoped. Both the garter stitch center square and the fiddly knitted-on edging mostly made me feel I just wanted to be done with it already. I only really enjoyed the middle part, the Horseshoe lace pattern, which was no more than 25% of the knitting time, if even that. The knitted-on edging took the most time per amount of yarn, and after I'd calculated that with my normal knitting speed it would take at least a week to complete, I decided to finish it in a knitting marathon this weekend, just to be over with it and able to move on to other things (if I left this brewing while starting new projects, I would never pick it up again). So, yesterday I spent the majority of my waking hours working on the last half of the edging, and finally finished it around 10 pm. Never before have I been so exhausted from knitting! (I calculated that if I'd knitted this whole shawl full-time like yesterday, it would have taken me about a week to complete. If I were to knit something like this for money and have a decent hourly wage, this shawl would have to cost several hundreds of Euros.)
I did not make any intentional modifications to the pattern, but there is an unintentional modification (I don't call them mistakes) where I systematically knit the stitches on the wrong side of the edging that should have been purled. I was so far into the edging when I finally noticed this mis... er, modification, that there was no way I'd rip the whole thing, so I decided to repeat the same thing for the rest of the edging. It looks fine to me, so I don't really mind. If the big picture looks good, I don't have a problem with details such as that.
I did enjoy the yarn, madelinetosh tosh lace, quite a bit, even though on metal needles it was a bit slippery. I bought the yarn from a craft fair recently specifically for this project, and I think it was a good yarn-pattern match. I'd love to work with this yarn again, but not on this pattern, though. I think one go at Bridgewater was enough for me! I'm thinking Jared's new Leaves of Grass shawl pattern will be more to my taste, since it reminds me of the construction of Girasole, but I have a different yarn planned for that one. However, in the year 2012 I seriously plan to knit 12 shawls, so there will probably be several possibilities for working with tosh lace again. I'm thinking maybe the Briar colorway, which looks very pretty in pictures. The colorway I used on Bridgewater is called Glazed Pecan.
The Ravelry project page
December 1, 2011
Knitting worsted weight yarn after so many fingering weight projects felt unnatural at first, but my first time working with SweetGeorgia Superwash Worsted was still a pretty pleasant experience. It was a particularly suitable yarn for a cabled hat, even though when I picked it up at a craft fair I didn't yet have a clear plan for how I was going to use it. I just knew I had to have it, and would find a way to justify the purchase later.
This was my second time knitting the Laurel pattern by Jared Flood. It's a lovely pattern, but I was somewhat disappointed to find out the errors I informed them about last January, when I knit this pattern for the first time, still haven't been fixed. I have a feeling this is more due to Classic Elite, who published it, rather than Jared, because the latter is usually very good about keeping his patterns error free. I've had wonderful knitting experiences with all the rest of them. (Having knit the Porom six times and the Girasole twice, for example, should tell something.)
This is the time of the year when taking pictures in natural lighting is starting to get challenging, particularly on work days. Today, the sun sets at 3.15 pm. There is still some lingering light for some time afterwards, since the sun sets slowly this close to a pole, but the last bits of daylight aren't really ideal for photos where you want to reproduce the colors as accurately as possible. The next time I photograph a knitting project probably has to be on a weekend, since it's only going to be closer to the winter solstice.
November 26, 2011
Jaffrey, the third project I've knit from the The LOFT Collection, is pretty cable intense. There were several points in the beginning where I was about to give up, doubting I could bring myself to complete the daunting number of cables still ahead of me. The slowest rounds took me 20 minutes to complete. But I decided to take it as a challenge. I figured that, with enough practice, cables will eventually feel as everyday as stockinette stitch. Having been a knitter for so many years, I feel it's time to step out of my comfort zone every once in a while.
I really like the Plume colorway of LOFT. One skein of it was enough for both this tam version of the the hat and the dominant color in the Carlisle mittens. While it's a thin yarn, the all-over cable pattern gives a uniform structure to the hat. Despite being a relatively fragile yarn, it didn't break once during some pretty tight cable knitting, which there was a lot of. I'm still a fan.
November 18, 2011
I'm pretty sure two finished colorwork projects in a row is a record for me. The mitten patterns in the Brooklyn Tweed LOFT Collection definitely have inspired me, and the second pair was knitted with the yarn it was designed for. LOFT was a very pleasant experience for stranded knitting. It's a lot softer than I expected. It's also pretty fragile, and pulling too hard will break it, but at least my normal knitting style is not rough enough to break it. It's great for something that you'll wear against the skin; at least a test ride today didn't reveal any itchy qualities. I'm definitely looking forward to using it on many different projects in the future. It'll probably be great for most kinds of projects, except definitely not socks.
The pattern was also very easy. The hardest part was the tubular cast on, but that could be easily replaced by a regular long-tail cast on. Each row was easily memorized and there were no long floats. But it seems I still need some practice with either choosing color combinations for stranded knitting or my knitting technique, because I don't feel the pattern stands out enough in this pair of mittens, either.
November 13, 2011
As one might be able to tell by glancing at my knitting projects, colorwork is not among my favorite techniques. However, in my opinion, there is no beating stranded knitting for mittens, and I also happen to be in dire need of said accessories, considering I wore a hole through my favorite pair last winter. These factors combined with the publishing of the new Brooklyn Tweed LOFT Collection finally got me to a point that I was able to knit a pair of colorwork mittens from start to finish.
While the patterns are primarily designed for the newly published yarn LOFT, I had to strike while the iron was hot, and therefore didn't have the time to wait for an overseas delivery of yarn before starting the project. Instead, I went for some Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift that I purchased from Michigan three years ago, and some leftovers of Handu PukkIlu, both excellent yarns for colorwork, but the color combination may not have been ideal. I feel there isn't quite enough contrast to bring out the pattern. While immersed in water, the gray Spindrift turned a darker shade and made the dominant orange stand out much better. This effect was sadly lost immediately after taking the mittens out of water.
In any case, I'm very happy with how they turned out. Straight off the needles, they felt slightly tight, but some wet-blocking took care of that. I'm pretty sure these will see a lot of use this winter.
October 23, 2011
Looks like I accidentally knit something trendy; When I wore this hat for the first time the other day and visited a department store, they were selling a nearly identical hat, in colors that were clearly aimed at younger people.
It was a fun pattern to knit. On paper, it took me well over a week to finish, but had I actually concentrated on finishing it, I could have done so in a day or two, including blocking. I would like a knit another one in a different color. I only wish my favorite hat yarn, Rowan Kid Classic, came in a wider selection of colors. I already own three hats in three colors of this yarn, and I would like a different one. I like how this yarn creates a fuzzy surface but doesn't have so much mohair in it that the knitting would be painful (I detest knitting full mohair yarns).
October 8, 2011
A fun pattern from Martina Behm that allowed me to use up most of the Wollmeise Sockenwolle 80/20 Twin yarn I had left. Despite the general hype about Wollmeise, I'm still not a huge fan. Sure, the colors are vibrant, but the yarn, the second time around, is still too splitty for my taste, and keeps twisting on itself. I have other yarns in this weight category I like better, I don't think I will be buying more of this.
On a finished project, I have no complaints about the yarn, it's only about the knitting experience. This shawlette should be able to make itself useful as a fall scarf, for which there is plenty need at the moment.
September 28, 2011
More Veera Välimäki designs! Supporting a fellow Finn, I went for her Stripe Study Shawl. This is actually a fairly patriotic finished object, since also the yarn, Ohut Pirkkalanka by Pirkanmaan kotityö, is local, in fact from the same town I live in. I have, umm, should I say, a moderate selection of colors of that yarn in my stash. Choosing the color combination was a challenge, and I'm not 100% sure I made the right decision. I like the shawl as it is, but it may not be that wearable. I think replacing the teal with the green option that made it to the top three colors may have been a more practical choice. Well, who's to say I couldn't knit another one with different colors!
This was very enjoyable to knit, and a pretty genius construction with the short row stripes. In fact, I would love to knit another one.
September 17, 2011
Three weeks of knitting and 1476 meters of yarn later, it's done. The pattern is the Still Light Tunic by Veera Välimäki. The color of the yarn was not the most exciting to knit, but it was a choice based on what I'd actually want to wear, and I still like it, after three weeks of knitting. And the fabric is exactly what I wanted, soft and slightly fuzzy, which is why I didn't use sock yarn unlike many other knitters. Less stitch definition and more fuzziness was what I was after and what I also got. After the success of this project and Cria, I'm a total swatching convert. It's so much more satisfying to end up with the kind of product you envisioned rather than something less so.
I'm extremely happy with the finished product!
August 26, 2011
I've been planning to knit the Cria pattern from Ysolda's Little Red in the City book ever since I first saw the preview pictures, I think some time last fall. In January, I ordered the yarn, Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light, specifically this project in mind. The pattern was released a couple of months ago, but, as usual, my summer has been slow in the knitting front, so I didn't get around to it until now.
The construction of the yoke is quite unusual, and it took me a while to wrap my brain around it. The rest of the cardigan, in contrast, was very easy to knit. This is, so far, the best fitting sweater I've knit for myself, even if it isn't exactly perfect. The part I'm the least satisfied with is the pockets; all the seaming and multiple layers of fabric was apparently too much of a challenge for my finishing techniques. If I ever knit this pattern again, which I'm considering for the long-sleeved version, I will probably leave the pockets out.
Overall, I'm very happy with this project, which is rare for sweaters. This will probably be my go-to cardigan for hanging around at home for this fall.
July 18, 2011
I haven't been excited about making a blog post about a failed project, so this is way overdue. A couple of weeks ago I finished a simple beret based on Laura Chau's Lightweight Raspberry Beret pattern. It's my third time knitting it. The previous times the hat turned out larger than I preferred, so I went to the other extreme and made this one too small. Even aggressive blocking over a balloon didn't fix it. I think it's time to move on to other hat patterns! I love the yarn, though, Malabrigo Sock in Lettuce.
April 20, 2011
My second Girasole, and hopefully not the last. This is one of my all time favorite knitting patterns. It looks more complicated than it is; it has just the right amount of challenge while still being something you can knit while watching TV, for example. And the end result is gratifying, as well. I regularly use the first Girasole I knit over two years ago, and it's also one of my projects with the most favorites on Ravelry.
Since the yarn and pattern combination worked so well the last time, I took the safe route and used the same yarn, Ohut Pirkkalanka by Pirkanmaan Kotityö Oy, again, just in a different color. This seems to be a great yarn for larger shawls that have some weight to them. On smaller shawls it doesn't have quite enough drape for my taste, but for this one it's perfect, and very durable, as my first Girasole is barely showing any signs of wear despite frequent use.
The needles I used for the majority of the project, Signature Needle Arts circulars in size 3.75 mm, were very enjoyable to use. My least favorite part, just like the last time, was the edging, but it was still faster than I remembered. It took me just under three weeks of very leisurely knitting for the whole shawl, and the past few days were spent on the edging. Overall, totally worth it.
March 30, 2011
It's been somewhat slow knitting wise in the past few weeks, but I got inspired to grab the needles again for a specific purpose. I wanted to knit a hat as a gift for a friend, and Windschief by Stephen West was a pattern I'd had in my mind for a while. It was a very fast knit, perfect for the purpose, since I wouldn't have had the mental effort for anything complex. Unfortunately, I think it turned out a bit too small, although the recipient seemed to think it was just perfect, so I suppose that's all that matters. I used some of the gray Berroco Ultra Alpaca (my favorite yarn for hats) that I bought on my Canada trip.
February 28, 2011
After getting only two hours of sleep last night (due to staying up for the Oscars broadcast), I'm not quite firing on all cylinders tonight, but I think this is simple enough a project to post about with only half the brain capacity. This is an improvised scarf meant to both use up the Cascade Heritage Silk I bought recently and to have a neutral colored accessory to wear with my various knitted hats. I'm quite happy with the result, it's pretty much exactly like I wanted it to be.
The yarn is apparently a sock yarn, but I would not use this on a pair of socks, at least not as the main yarn. It's weird how the mere 15% silk content makes this feel very different, lacking in structure, compared to regular sock yarn. I think it's much better suited for something that benefits from great drape, like shawls and scarves.
February 21, 2011
I've thought about knitting this pattern from Nancy Bush's Folk Socks for a while now, and finally got around to it when I thought of this color combination. I had always thought of using dark brown, and the socks I've seen in brown and white yarn look very nice, but my teal colored leftovers of Araucania Ranco Solid from KawKawEsque inspired me to combine the brown with teal. I have not felt inspired to knit plain brown socks, but this combination made the brown Ranco seem a lot more interesting. I had already considered trading or gifting that yarn, because I always passed over it when choosing yarn for a pair of socks. But, as this and some other recent experiences have taught me, sometimes the old, boring parts of my stash come to life with the right kind of a project.
The three rows of stranded knitting were just about the ideal amount of colorwork in a project for me. I have to admit I really enjoy knitting plain stockinette socks, even though it seems that knitters are sort of socially conditioned to always say they enjoy challenging projects and find stockinette boring. This makes plain stockinette projects almost a guilty pleasure. Lately I've found it particularly difficult to find the willpower to finish a full-on colorwork project. That's why I don't have proper, warm mittens at the moment because I wore a hole through my favorite pair and haven't managed to knit a replacement.
February 14, 2011
It's starting to look like the hats come in sets of three. Next it's gotta be something else. It's just that they are such an instant gratification, and, unlike with socks, there is no such a thing as a second hat syndrome.
This one was a test knit for Circé Belles Boucles for a pattern that hasn't been released yet. It has cables and bobbles, kind of like Laurel that I knit lately, but this pattern has a more grounded and organic feel to it. Kind of hard to explain what I mean, but this hat makes me think of gardens and vegetables. I used the same yarn, Berroco Ultra Alpaca, on both hats, but this one is, or at least feels, thicker.
February 12, 2011
There can be several reasons for knitting the same pattern six times. In this case, it was because I wanted a slightly improved version of the previous Poroms I've been wearing.
Of the five previous ones I've only really worn two. The first one was a disaster, because I stretched the brim too much during blocking, and, frustrated, threw it into the washer, which, of course, felted it into an unrecognizeable shape (having been knit out of Rowan Felted Tweed). The second time was more successful, but it turned out slightly too big and stiff for my taste (knit with Pirkanmaan kotityö Ohut pirkkalanka doubled). The next three were quite successful, and one of them was gifted to Denise. All the successful versions were knit with a 100% alpaca yarn SandnesGarn Alpakka, so I figured an alpaca blend such as Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light would likely also work well, and the 50% of wool would give it some sturdiness and make it a good compromise between too stiff and too relaxed.
I also wanted this one smaller, less slouchy, than my other Poroms, so I started the decrease chart earlier. I also blocked it quite conservatively, actually using the same "speed blocking" method I developed with Norie: Pull a dry hat over a small balloon, spray just the top of it with water, and leave the brim, which you don't want stretched, dry. Then blowdry so you can take pictures before daylight runs out. It worked perfectly.
February 8, 2011
I think this project, Fenimore by Jared Flood, holds the unofficial record for the most different sets of needles I've used on one project. By default, with my knitting style at least, it required three: A smaller (3.5 mm) circular needle for the brim, a large circular needle (4.5 mm) for most of it, and DPNs for the top. However, I started to experiment with different set-ups to see which I liked the best, since I've been buying a lot of new needles lately. I used a fixed KnitPro Nova circular, a fixed Addi circular, an interchangeable Prym/KnitPro circular, a longer KnitPro Rose for magic looping, and an Addi Lace Click circular (at two different lengths, 40 cm and 50 cm). And the KnitPro Symfonie DPNs. The wooden ones I found too slow. I did not like magic looping a circumference this large. And I preferred the Addi Lace tips to the regular Addis for cabling without a cable needle (and for everything, really, I can't think of an occasion where I'd want blunt tips). The fixed KnitPro Nova needles were also good, but I only had them in the smaller size, so I could only use them on the brim. This, naturally, sent me to an online knitting supply store to buy some more needles.
The pattern was fun to knit (easier than it looks, and fast, too), but I'm not crazy about the end product. I did not stretch it during blocking, but I'd still like a more fitted style. So, it's probably going to be gifted. But I do love how the pattern is integrated into the crown decreases seamlessly. Guaranteed Jared Flood quality.
February 6, 2011
Since I've decided to take part in the 11 Shawls in 2011 knit-along (in addition to the 11 hats and 11 sweaters challenges) on Ravelry, by the end of January I was starting to feel pressure to have at least one finished shawl soon. That's why I thought it might be a good idea to start with something simple and fast, just to build up some confidence and show myself I can do it. So, I went with Stephen West's popular Pogona pattern, which was a good decision for many reasons.
First, I got to use up the rest of the Fleece Artist Merino 2/6 that I received in a trans-Atlantic yarn swap almost two years ago. Second, I got to test my new 3.75 mm 80 cm Signature Needle Arts circular needles, which turned out to be just heavenly (and made me wish I could knit exclusively with their needles for the rest of my life). Third, considering this pattern asks for 20 stitch markers, I also got to test the majority of the new stitch markers I just made.
I'm not completely in love with the color of this shawl, so it may end up being gifted. Nevertheless, I'm quite happy with the finished product overall.
February 1, 2011
My second time knitting the Gentleman's Half Hose in Ringwood Pattern from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks. I recently sort of rediscovered the pair I knit almost two years ago, realizing it was great for wearing over stockings with a skirt and a pair of boots in the winter. I wanted them in a different color and decided the olive green Katia Laine Nylon I bought a few years ago would be suitable. The last time I knit this pattern I made a mental note to use a tighter gauge the next time, so I went down to needle size 2.0 mm, and it worked out great (the pattern is written for a man's foot). The socks are also shorter as a result, but the staying up thing for these "almost knee socks" is not a problem when I wear them over stockings. I'm very happy with them and might end up knitting a third pair some day.
January 26, 2011
While I seem to enjoy the supposedly boring stockinette stitch more than the average knitter, I have to admit that by the time I was nearing the bottom of the body of this sweater, Turmeric by Veera Välimäki, I'd had enough of it. It just never seemed to end, and each round was only adding a couple of millimeters to the length. But I'm glad I made it to the end, because I'm quite happy with the result. I'm not sure if this is totally flattering to my top-heavy body shape, but, nevertheless, it is a nice design.
And I like the combination of pattern and yarn. It was my first time working with Sivilla from Wetterhoff, and I'm very pleased. The wool and silk blend has a nice drape, and I can see myself using this for both sweaters and shawls in the future. The softness and lightness should make it a good yarn for warm weather items, like a skimpy cardigan.
As usual, my camera was unable to reproduce the correct shade of teal. Some postprocessing later it's a bit closer to the truth, at the price of my face turning green. And the color of the sweater is still not correct.
January 17, 2011
Probably not my most photogenic pair of socks ever, and not the most fun to knit, either, but I'm still very happy with the finished product. I love the yarn, Malabrigo Sock, and even though I'm not usually a huge fan of blue yarn, this one is gorgeous. In person it looks like bits of black and dark blue mixed together. And it's just the right amount of semi-solid, and, most importantly, soft. These were made to be a pair of bedsocks for myself, so it was important they were very comfortable to wear and not too warm. I think these would make great summer socks, also. The lace pattern makes them well ventilated.
My gauge was surprisingly tight, considering I used 2.5 mm needles, which usually give me maybe 7 stitches per inch. This time it turned out 9 stitches per inch. Luckily the lace pattern is very stretchy, so even the size small at a tight gauge is still a perfect fit. In fact, these are the best fitting pair of socks in a while, maybe ever.
While Hedera is an old Pattern from Cookie A, her new book, Knit. Sock. Love., and the Ravelry KAL inspired by it, made me knit these socks now. The lace pattern was easy to memorize, and I was even able to somewhat watch TV while knitting, but by the second sock I'd had enough of the 4-row repeat and just wanted to have them done as soon as possible. I think that's why I finished them faster than I'd expected. The repetition of the lace pattern was not helped by the fact that I decided to continue it down the heel flap (because I still don't like reinforced heels). While I enjoy the actual activity of knitting, I'm still the most satified with a finished project.
January 12, 2011
Every once in a while I'm extremely happy with a finished project. This is one of those rare times.
I first queued Jared Flood's Laurel pattern when it was published more than a year ago. I didn't have access to the original pattern booklet, so I had to wait until it became available as a PDF in April 2010. Around this time I bought and downloaded it. Then at some point I changed my mind and dropped it from my queue until recently when I, for a reason I don't remember, again decided I wanted to knit it, anyway. One of the reasons probably was that I thought it might look good in the grey Berroco Ultra Alpaca I bought on my Canada trip.
Fairly early on I noticed a couple of errors in the pattern that were not mentioned in the official errata. I don't believe I was the first person to notice, though, since this hat has already been knit hundreds of times by other people. The errors were nothing I couldn't figure out on my own, though. Despite being very cable (and bobble) heavy, I found it a very enjoyable project. Even if the most heavily cabled rows took me half an hour each to complete. I did most of the cables without a cable needle, expect the cable that asks for two cables needles. With that one I used one cable needle and did part of it without (put the first two stitches on a cable needle, knit the next three without, then knitted the two off the CN). I'm not sure if my bobbles look exactly the way they are supposed to, but I think they are OK.
Originally I was going to block this to a tam shape. But when I tried on the unblocked hat, I liked the slightly loose beanie style so much I decided to keep it that way. I just wetblocked it on a flat surface, no stretching instruments, only a little pulling here and there with my fingers while it was drying. I can always reblock it later, but I figured it's easier to go from a beanie to a tam than vice versa.
January 9, 2011
My second time knitting Laura Chau's lightweight raspberry beret pattern, and I don't think this was the last time. Sometimes I really just want to go for some simple stockinette. And since I made a vow not to buy new yarn in January, I dug up some old Ohut Pirkkalanka by the local Pirkanmaan Kotityö Oy, a yarn that comes in tens of colors (I even have their color card now, which officially makes me a knitting geek).
I joined a group called 11 hats in 2011 on Ravelry, since it looks like this will be a hat heavy year for me, anyway. I have several other hat patterns lined up already. Right now I have Jared Flood's Laurel on the needles.
January 6, 2011
My second finished project of the year was the perfect opportunity to "test" the new tripod I bought for myself for Christmas. My old tripod, which will still be useful, as well, due to its much smaller size and lighter weight, was a problem when taking pictures of hats. If I stood up for the pictures, the angle would be too low, since the maximum height of the tripod is less than my height (which isn't really that much to begin with). So, I finally went and bought a tripod that goes up to at least 180 cm, which should be more than enough for me, and it also has a nice ballhead that allows practically any position for the camera you might want. The only downsides are that it's quite large and heavy, and not very easy to carry around in a snowy forest, for example, but at least for short distances I can manage.
The project itself is the Norie pattern from Gudrun Johnston's The Shetland Trader. A fast and easy knit, although my yarn choice, Rowan Felted Tweed, kind of hides the lace pattern. Otherwise, I think the yarn and pattern are a good match, since Felted Tweed is so pleasantly lightweight. I think I'd like to try it on a sweater some time. To be able to take the pictures I wanted today in adequate daylight (which isn't so easy this time of year here, when the sun sets just after 3 pm and makes it hard to take pictures on work days), I did a sort of a high-speed blocking: I pulled a dry hat over a balloon, sprayed just the top of it with water, because I didn't want to stretch the brim, shaped the crown flat and then used a blowdryer to dry it. This worked out pretty well.
January 5, 2011
The first finished project of the year did not turn out quite as perfectly as I expected. This was my second time knitting the Garter Yoke Cardigan by Melissa LaBarre. I knit the first one for my mom over a year ago, and made notes what kind of adjustments I would make if I ever knit it for myself. However, that was not enough to make a 100% successful fit this time, either. Upon switching to a larger needle I also ended up with a yoke that's too loose, while now the lower body is a good fit, the opposite of last time.
The yarn is part of my Canada trip stash haul. I've knit with Berroco Ultra Alpaca before, and found it to be one of my all time favorite yarns, with the problem that it's not sold in Finland. So, I took advantage of my visit to North America and bought it in three different colors, enough for at least two sweaters and several accessories. The yarn didn't disappoint this time, either, and I also like this color a lot. This particular colorway was actually purchased in two separate yarn stores, and each of them only had 2-3 skeins of it, combined enough to knit a whole sweater. This is my favorite yarn for sweaters, and it's also great for hats, and probably colorwork mittens, as well.