Saturday, January 3, 2009

Catching Up

Let's catch up on a few projects I've started or finished lately:

1. I started a red better plastic bag yesterday.
I am just loving the solid red colour; it's surprisingly rich and looks like it's just been soaked in dye. It looks like I'll have plenty to make at least one large tote. (Phew!) This bag has a rectangle bottom (about 4" x 12") and I'm not sure yet how tall it will get. I think I will do short "in line" handles (like the black and white book bag) instead of the longer handles I did on the other large totes.

2. I cast on for another Hat Fit for a Boyfriend. This one is for a co-worker's son who was recently deployed to Iraq. It's cold at night so I thought a soft, light-weight, Malabrigo hat would be just the thing. I should have enough of the same brown left over from the two hats I made previously.

3. I finished my Birthday Cowl. I had a few false starts but really like how it turned out. First of all, the Malabrigo colour "Snow Bird" couldn't look better! Second, it fits well and is so warm; it seems to keep a cushion of warm air around my neck--so nice!
I did modify the pattern slightly. It's a biased rib, written to slant from right to left. But doing decreases right to left means you have to do a slip stitch decrease (aka ssk) which is a) time consuming because you have to pause in your forward momentum and "back up" to slip and pass the slip stitch over; and b) not as attractive. No matter how you do it, the ssk is never as smooth or nice as a simple K2tog. But the K2tog leans left to right so you can't use it in this pattern...right?

Nope, you simply need to accept a left to right slanting bias and reverse the instructions. So sl1, k1, psso, k6, yo, k3 becomes k3, yo, K6, K2tog. Simple, right? It was, and is. And then I made one more small change: I didn't like the hole left by the YO so I just picked up the yarn from the previous row. (This is exactly equivalent except the YO makes the yarn a little longer and that's what I didn't want.) So my final pattern was k3, M1, K6, K2tog.

3. This session's Caps for a Cure:
I did the yellow in November and got the red one done during my travels and time off over Christmas. I like the Foliage pattern a lot. They will be sent to a cancer center in LA, CA. (Why do they need hats in such a warm climate?? Mostly because of A/C being set too cold! :pet peeve alert:)

You may notice I tried a little modification on the second cap at the crown. I didn't really like the heavy look of the four two-stitch "ribs" going down from the top so I tried the second cap with a one-stitch rib. Besides not really liking the look, this was also suggested by the pattern which has you decrease the extra rib stitch where they end in the pattern: if you have to take it out later anyway, why put it in in the first place?? So I took it out. I'm not sure it's a big improvement, but it was fun to try and turn my irritation into action! I also fiddled with the decreases: the pattern had a left leaning double decrease which really should have been a center double decrease. That was definitely an improvement, but I'm quite sure you won't be able to see the difference in these pictures.

4. And finally: what happened to my Candle Flame Scarf?
I got it finished in early December and it came out great. The Kitchener stitch to connect the two halves worked great and the seam is nearly invisible. Despite being made from the delectable Malabrigo, it turned out a little itchy on my neck. I have been advised to wash it in vinegar and then treat it with hair conditioner (wool being animal hair after all). I haven't yet tried this, partly because I'm quite enamoured with my cowl.

[ETA: the Candleflame scarf won a 2nd place ribbon at the 2009 County Fair (knitted hat, scarf or mittens set).]

Up next, I bought supplies today for the lovely "Sahara" designed by Wendy Bernard.
I'll be doing it with cap sleeves out of a silk/merino mix and the trim is a silk with sequins.'s so exciting! I haven't cast on yet because I need to take a breath and some time to get ready to do the necessary swatching and gauge-checking. (So tedious; so essential.)

And I also bought a unbelievably lovely Malabrigo lace weight in "Jewel Blue." At 470 yds I thought it might be enough for a shawl, but now I'm not so sure. Looking through lace shawl patterns has got me all fired up, but first things first. (And first, the Sahara!)

All this makes me wonder, how can I convince my hubby that I really should leave my job and be a stay-at-home wife?

Let me know if you have any great ideas on that!

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