Saturday, March 31, 2012

Lovely Breezeway

I wanted to try a crescent shaped shawl, and came upon this little gem (FREE!) on Ravelry, "All About Love" by Sylvia Bo Bilvia.

However, I couldn't afford a very expensive luxury yarn (like Madeline Tosh.... which is what I would have LOVED to knit it out of, lol), especially since this particular shawl calls for a worsted weight (which means you need 2 skeins to get the yardage..)  Soooo, I decided to try Berroco Vintage (50% Acrylic  40% Wool 10% Nylon), and I went with the color "Breezeway".

This really was a quick little knit.  You start with the lace portion on the bottom, and then use a series of short rows to shape the shawl.  After a soak, and blocking overnight, I was left with this beauty:

So... my verdict?… love the color, but I am not happy with the yarn choice. It just didn’t block out the way I wanted, and I guess I’ll have to chalk it up to the wool/acrylic blend.  Don’t get me wrong…. perfectly wearable, and very lovely, but not the drape I was looking for, and even though it has a very stretchy bind off and a garter band… there is still some tendency for it to curl at the top.
As for the pattern.. very nice! I love the lace edging, and it was a easy pattern to memorize (and intuitive as well). The pattern also comes with directions on how to block your finished object, which were handy (but did contain some profanity).

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Simple Shawl

Suprise.... a new shawl.  I read a post on Ravelry about finding your first shawl pattern to knit (for beginners), and one thread said,  "Good Luck!  Once you finish your first shawl, you will be hooked!"  And I have to agree!

I wanted to make something a little bigger than a shawlette this time though, and so I settled on LaLa's simple shawl by Laura Linneman, a free pattern on Ravelry.

and Patons Lace in Sachet

When I had only done 4 repeats of the pattern, it was almost as big as the shawlettes I had been making… and I decided just to keep going until I ran out of yarn.  The Paton’s Lace is very pretty.. nice color changes, and a lovely little mohair halo (but, this of course means that it is VERY DIFFICULT to tink any of those mistakes!!)  Even though it has a high acrylic content, I still really like this yarn. Very warm, and quite pretty.

I was a little concerned about how this would block, since it is mostly acrylic, but it was just fine (soak in cool water, spin with the salad spinner, and pinned out on the livingroom carpet). Lovely.

I decided to add a row of glass beads towards the bottom of the shawl (crochet hook method), and I ended up using all but a couple of yards of this yarn. I also went with a stretchy bind off (K2, put tip of left needle through the front of these 2 sts, knit them together, k1; rep from until you only have 1 st left on right needle, break yarn and draw through last st.)

These last two shots are modeled by my lovely daughter, since the intended recipient won't be getting it until mother's day (shhhhhhhh!)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Sunrise Beaded Oaklet (Prayer Shawl)

I came across this gorgeous hand-dyed sock yarn on the 2012 Rose City Yarn Crawl (Merino Superwash/Tencel 50/50) by Alexandra's Crafts out of Silverton, OR. 

The perfect colors to knit up a shawl for a close friend of mine who is expecting a new little one.  I just made my first shawl, my beaded Holden, and I wanted to try another simple shawl, with a bit of lace.  I finally settled on the Oaklet Shawl by Megan Goodacre

It looked perfect... stockinette body, with a touch of lace that I could bead up at the end.  My swatch gauge was 23 st/4 in = 5.75 on size 5 needles, and I happily started out knitting the pattern. 
I knit the first few rows of this shawl, and then frogged it, because I decided to use a garter stitch tab at the start to give it a little more stability. First, I cast on 3 stitches and then knitted 6 rows (garter stitch). After the last row (without turning) I rotated the work 90 degrees, and then picked up 3 stitches along the side in each of the three garter row bumps, then three stitches along the bottom edge. This made 9 stitches total on my needle, and then I started with Row 1 of the pattern.

I also added some size 6/0 seed beads (orange, peach, pink mix) to give it a little sparkle, (per Studio June’s oaklet) on row 10 (stitches 12, 16, 20, 24, 28, 32 and 36) - which puts a bead on the purl row inbetween the yarn overs, and on row 18 (stitches 16, 24, 32) - which does an offset bead from the original beading). I used the crochet hook method (worked well) - This shawl took almost the entire skein of yarn (I was starting to worry!)

Here is my lovely dd, modeling for me once again:

Since this is a gift for a friend of mine who is expecting a new baby, I also made up a gift tag on photoshop to attach with care instructions/fiber information (as well as some extra yarn for snags, etc). I decided to use it as a prayer shawl, since the pattern wasn’t too complex - so I was able to pray for my friend and her upcoming little one while I worked on it… I love the idea of her wearing it, with all of those thoughts tucked around her shoulders!

Here is a page of labels I made up, in case you need one for one of your own projects.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Little Smocked Frock

While on the Oregon Coast Quilt Run 101 this year, I came across this book:

I've been eyeing it for some time now... especially for these booties!  But that's not what ultimately convinced me to buy it. 

The store down in Crescent City, A Perfect Yarn, had this little smocked dress on display... and I was hooked!

But, I couldn't afford to get the book.. AND the two skeins of Cascade Quattro the pattern called for.. so I settled for the book and two skeins of Washable Ewe from Stitch Nation by Debbie Stoller

Here's the knitty-gritty:  Gauge: 5 st/in with size 6 platinum needles (6.5 rows/in), and I cast on 144 stitches for the 24 mo size.  This pattern starts from the bottom up, so after rows and rows of boring stockinette, I finally got into the good stuff at the bodice.  The smocking stitch was suprisingly easy (to knit, and to memorize the stitch pattern).. and this yarn feels just like Cascade 220.

Following the pattern, nine inches was WAY TOO LONG for the straps for my little munchkin (like.. 3 inches too long)… Seven inches would have been plenty. With nine inch straps, the bodice hung around her belly-button. Also, even though I made the button holes, I ended up sewing the buttons on - through the strap - to help keep them on. The straps are stretchy enough that it is easy to get the dress on (I also left the extra strap material inside the dress, so I can alter the strap length as she grows )

With only a  teeny little bit of yarn left from my 2 skeins…I give you.... the darling little smocked dress :)