Knitting

Gloves with Golden Ruffle

The last time I made a pair of gloves I swore would be the last time I made a pair of gloves. Working those fingers is just too exacting, and how many pairs of gloves would I ever need?

I changed my mind when a friend gave me the wonderful gift of her vintage Vicuña coat. It’s bracelet length, perfect for showing off these ruffled gloves.

The pattern is #27 from Vogue Kniting, Winter 2011-12 (so glad I hang on to those back issues of VK!) and is cleverly called “Gloves.” The simplicity of the name belies their fancy nature. The pattern calls for a much longer ruffle — about twice as long — with a looped, crocheted bind-off. Now that’s fancy.

I knit the body from Blue Sky sport weight, 100 percent baby alpaca — a fitting match for a vicuña coat. The yarn for the ruffle is the fantastic Silk Cloud by Shibui Knits. That is the most gorgeous lace mohair I have ever seen. It puts the rest to shame, and the cost reflects it.

Because I made a smaller ruffle, I didn’t need as much of the Silk Cloud as the pattern calls for (it actually calls for Douceur et Soie, another wonderful yarn). One 330-yard skein was plenty, although I would have been short if I’d gone with the original ruffle.

brown gloves
I much prefer the shorter ruffle.

I used three skeins — almost all of it — of the Blue Sky. After I finished the first glove, I weighed the yarn I had left, and it was 25 grams. Exactly half of the second skein. So instead of playing yarn chicken, I bought another skein, which I can’t return because I had them wind it. Looks like I’ll be buying even more and making a hat or a scarf.

The fingers on this glove aren’t too difficult, because you’re not knitting a stitch pattern. Still, it can be tricky picking up and casting on those stitches for each finger. If you haven’t done it before, I’d suggest practicing with a shetland yarn or something as stable. The alpaca slides like butter, generally a good thing but a bit of a challenge when knitting gloves.

I wear my other pairs of knitted gloves all the time in winter. Of course the last few winters have been so mild (global warming?) that the number of months that constitute “all the time” is shorter.

Looking forward to the first time I can wear these — and my wonderful vicuña coat!

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Knitting

Colorful Cowl

Another variation on the design I’ve been working on (I actually have that design about ready to publish, but I still mess around with variations). This one is using the brightly colored yarn I had available — the solid red is WollMeise, and the multi-colored is Lorna’s Laces Rainbow in a fingering weight.

I didn’t do the cables on this design, in part because, frankly, I was running out of the WollMeise (this was from my stash; that yarn has fantastic yardage). However, the length of it — about 9″ — is still right for a cowl.

ColorCowlHowever, the fingering weight yarn isn’t ideal for this pattern. Unlike the design from a couple of posts back, which used Malabrigo Rios, the lace points don’t naturally lie flat. In fact, they tend to curl up. After blocking, that problem was minimized enough to make this wearable, but I suspect they’ll turn up again.

And of course, the lightweight yarns aren’t as practical for protection from the cold. I’m considering trying this with the sportweight Lorna’s Laces. I like the short repeats of color for the design, so I believe it would be worth the effort.

In case you didn’t see my samples a couple of months ago, this design is not a stranded or Fair Isle pattern. I slipped stitches to obtain that look, and the multi-colors help with the effect. You’re only using one strand of yarn each row. I did do three rows of the mult-colored, then three rows of the solid instead of alternating two rows of each yarn like I did in the sample.

ColorCowl2

I consider this cowl a “learning” piece since I wouldn’t suggest this pattern in a fingering weight yarn. However, it will still be wearable, and no doubt I’ll find the right day to wear it!

Knitting

Cowl Design Complete

A few weeks ago I posted a couple of samples of cowl designs, asking for feedback. Well, one of them is on its way to being my local yarn store’s fall design, while the other one — the one I’m featuring here — I worked up for myself.

The yarn is Malabrigo Rios, and it’s perfect for this design. It’s shaded rather than variegated, and the shades of color add depth and interest to this rather simple pattern. (By the way, I haven’t yet written up the pattern.)

This is a close-fitting cowl, about 21″ around and 8″ in height. As you can see, it drapes nicely around the neck, and while you could wear the lace points on either bottom or top, I demonstrated it wearing them on the bottom. They lay there nicely, and I didn’t even have to arrange them for the picture. That’s just how they fell naturally.

The Rios yarn made knitting it quick and simple, although I did find that when I needed to wrap the yarn for the dropped stitches it tended to pull tightly on the needle, making it difficult to knit the next row. I’ve worked that same stitch with a variety of yarns lately when testing this pattern, and the Rios was the only one with which I had a problem.

So now I have a decision to make. Does this go in the potential gift pile, or do I keep it for myself? Since it’s the same yarn I used to make a shawl earlier this year, I’m leaning toward keeping it. Time will tell.

Malabrigo cowl2

Knitting

Pink Basketweave Sweater

A new top for spring! And the way it’s been warming up lately, just in time. Sigh. I don’t really feel I got full use out of my winter wardrobe this year. It took so long for any cold weather to arrive, and it’s been so warm so often.

Pink Cable Sweater 2But I digress. The pattern is from Vogue Knitting, Spring/Summer 2012, pattern #28, “Cap Sleeve Top.” It was designed by Wenlan Chia for Twinkle Knits, those big chunky yarns that were popular a few years ago — and have since been discontinued. Oh well. I had a stash of Rowan Wool Cotton yarn (also discontinued) and I put it to work, using two strands to get the desired gauge.

Actually, the Twinkle yarn the pattern calls for also used two strands held together. I didn’t know that Twinkle had ever made a DK weight yarn, but that’s useless trivia now.

Anyway, I used size 11 needles for the body of the sweater, just as the pattern suggested. The ribbing required size 8 needles, but I used 9s for the bottom band. I did use 8s for all the rest of the ribbing, including the bands that were knit separately and attached.

Attaching those bands was a tiny bit tricky, You’re knitting two separate pieces together, and it’s easy to miss — and drop — stitches.

I’ve done this basketweave stitch before, and while I like the look, knitting it is a tiny bit tedious. You’re using that cable needle A LOT. The chunky yarn compensated for that, however, and it’s only in the front, so overall, this sweater knit up very quickly.

Even though I had the same yardage and weight as the suggested yarn, I was concerned it wasn’t going to be enough (as I said before, this was stash yarn that’s been discontinued, so I couldn’t get any more), so I knit the sweater two inches shorter than the pattern length. As it turns out, I was really close on the yarn, so that was a wise decision, but I think I would have liked the extra length.

Pink Cable SweaterI expect this to be a great transition weather sweater, one I could even wear as a vest over a blouse (I have one that would be just right, I think), but it will be far too heavy for our very hot summers.

I was surprisingly happy with the neckline. That’s such a tricky part of knitting, knowing whether or not the neckline will work for you.

Overall, this project was a success!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Knitting

Lovely Grey Shawl

Just finished this shawl, and I’m looking for a place to wear it. (Of course the weather has just gotten very warm here in my area, but I trust it will cool off again before spring truly arrives.) Great design, one that looks more complicated than it was to make.

Grey Lace Shawl

The pattern is from Vogue Knitting Holiday 2016, pattern #4 “Faux Cable Shawl.” I’m not sure I’d really call it a “faux cable,” more of a “medallion lace,” but no matter, the result of this lace pattern is desirable. As you might guess, you knit the same pattern repeat for the bulk of the piece. It’s a twelve-row pattern, one that increases by 12 stitches with each repeat. It knit up very quickly and was a pleasure to work on. I seemed to get through each pattern repeat so quickly, despite the increases!

I used five skeins of DK Merino Superwash by Plymouth in Light Gray (love the simple way they name their yarns!), which knit up to gauge with a size seven needle. The pattern called for a 48″ circular needle, and while I eventually outgrew my 24″, the 40″ I ended up with wasn’t necessary to comfortably accommodate all the stitches. I believe a 32″ would have been fine, and maybe a little easier to work with. But, to each his own.

The yarn I used isn’t as dressy as the yarn used in the pattern, but it knit up beautifully. I’m very pleased with my choice.

I wet-blocked the shawl, and initially it stretched out several inches wider than the finished size listed in the pattern. However, as it dried, due to the nature of the lace pattern, it regained some of the “bubbly” texture it had as I was knitting it, which pulled it back to the listed size.

The picot edge didn’t come out quite like the picture in the magazine, however, it did pull those points out and give it the intended swoopy-edge (you can’t really see that in the above picture, but the final result had the swoops).

I was going to put this on my sofa and use it as a convenient decorative piece I could wrap myself up in on cold evenings, but once I took a good look at the throw currently serving that purpose, I changed my mind. My cats somehow think knit pieces on the back of the sofa are akin to scratching posts, and that poor throw is so pilled from being clawed. I don’t want that to happen to this shawl!

Knitting

These Chickens Don’t Lay Eggs

Look for “chickens” in a pattern search on Ravelry and you’ll find more than 300 patterns each for knitters and crocheters, but none is as charming as “Esther, Ernie and Enid.” Their added value is just how easy they are to make.

chickensWhile there’s one size only for the yarn given in the pattern, simply by changing the gauge of the yarn and/or the needle size you can make them bigger or smaller. The biggest here is about 6″ tall, the smaller one, a little over 4″. I used a sport weight cotton for the smaller and Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece for the larger.

The beauty is they take less than 100 yards of yarn each, not including the accents, which can be made with scrap yarn of any type. In fact, you could really have some fun by using novelty yarn there.

The legs and the crown are a simple chain stitch, and the eyes and circles on the body are embroidered on. Just think how cute a little bow tie would be! You could garter stitch or seed stitch a small rectangle, wrap some yarn tight around the center and sew it on. Easy!

My little chickens perch on top of the microwave in my kitchen, and they add a lot of character to that small space. They sit flat because, while they’re mostly stuffed with regular poly fill, the bottom is rice.

They don’t lay eggs, but that’s okay, what would I do with all those eggs anyway?

Embroidery

Hummingbirds in the Kitchen

I am not an expert at embroidery, in fact, I’m every bit the novice. I see some of the other posts in this category, and I’m in awe. However, I’m still pleased with the work I do, and I enjoy having these pieces in my home.

This post is to show you that you don’t have to be an expert to show off your work.

hummingbird-towels

I made these kitchen towels for my mom, who loves hummingbirds. I looked up pictures of the real thing and admittedly took some liberties with the coloring, but no two birds are alike, right?

As with my other embroidery work, I used some iron-on designs. A word of “warning” (actually, it’s just the opposite): the package tells you that on most fabrics, the designs won’t wash out. I’ve found on 100% cotton it always washes out. I make no guarantees for your projects. I’m simply sharing my experience.

I’m learning something new with every project. This is one of my favorites.

Embroidery

Pretty Pansy Pillowcases

I’ve taken a break from knitting while my thumb heals –apparently the way I held my knitting needles caused tendonitis — and I’ve been doing a little more embroidery. As I promised myself, a pair of pillowcases was next.

I found an iron-on pattern with pansies, one of my favorite flowers. To pick out the right colors I researched the real thing, and found colors I was able to mimic in my embroidery. The purple on the left-most flower isn’t quite as dark as the real thing, but I couldn’t find any thread that deep of purple.

I used mostly a chain stitch and satin stitch. I haven’t embroidered in a long time, so the second pillowcase was a definite improvement over the first, although I was happy with the results on both pieces.

pillowcases2
The second pillowcase.

Growing up we always had pansies in the yard. They are such a cheerful flower to me, colorful and bright, as well as plentiful. On top of all of that, they have staying power.

One thing I regret about this project was I didn’t use pillowcases with a higher thread count. These are only 300 count, pretty lightweight, and I think in the future I’ll look for pillowcases with at least a 600 count. With all the time that goes into this work, quality products are key.

Of course these will be primarily decorative, so there won’t be a lot of wear on them. Hopefully they last a good long time.

For however long they hold up, they’ll make me smile.

Embroidery

Kitty Kitsch

kitty-kitschWell, I guess this blog doesn’t only have to be about knitting (although I likely won’t veer from that too often). After all, I take on other creative endeavors, as evidenced here by these admittedly kitschy kitty kitchen towels. I love them. The looks on their little faces, the smock dresses and bloomers, the nostalgic feel of embroidered towels.

I purchased the “blank” towels (you can’t see it here, but they have the traditional blue stripes on the other side) and the iron-on designs at Joann Fabrics. I imagine other craft stores, such as Michael’s or Hobby Lobby, might have these or similar designs. There is a plethora of artwork available with a wide variety of subjects, from flowers to wine bottles to roosters and of course, kitties.

The instructions also suggest using fabric paints to complete the design as an alternative to the stitching. I prefer the embroidery, and depending on your skill level you could use more complex stitches than the simple outline and chain stitches I primarily used. But as you can see, it doesn’t take anything really fancy to bring out the charm.

Now, according to the directions, the days of the week should have been worked in black thread, but I liked idea of “red-letter days.” So the lettering is in red.

The real question becomes, do I actually use them in my kitchen? Right now they are almost purely decorative. I have other towels I use for the “dirty” work. Every once in a while I find I’ve accidentally dried my hands with one of the kitty clothes. Gasp! But they’ve stayed clean.

Next embroidery project? Some pillowcases, I think. I embroidered a set years that have long since fallen apart, but they were special. It’s time for a new pair.

Kitty Kitsch
I just kept on going…I finished these several months after I originally published this post!