Monday, September 26, 2016

More FOs from ages ago

Thanks to the recent release of a couple of fantastic new design collections, I've some finished knits from way back to share. 

First off, Wychavon by Woolly Wormhead, from Painted Woolly Toppers for Kids
This was a test knit, in Malabrigo Sock yarn in Ravelry Red, with the addition of two pink buttons previously pilfered from my mother's button tin. In spite of the face she's making, the Small Human has been delighted with this hat, insisting on wearing it on very sunny days. This cloche is a very straightforward knit with character, and the garter stitch fabric is very accommodating of growing heads; I knit the 19" size, which stretches to accommodate The Small Human's 20" head.*

I adore this collection; the hats are wonderful & inventive - full  of character while still being wearable. The photography has just the right mix of clarity (so you can see the pattern) and a sense of the wonderful models having fun. Each pattern makes wonderful use of hand-dyed yarns (sometimes it can be difficult to match busy yarns to suitable patterns) And as usual with Woolly Wormhead patterns, there are a range of sizes from small kid to adult. I look forward to seeing some adult-sized finished projects cropping up on Ravelry. 

The hardest part is deciding what to knit next - I'm a little torn between Allerton & Gorton. I'm hoping to get to see some samples in-person in the not too distant future to help make this difficult decision.**

Knitting With Rainbows by Carol Feller is another recently-released collection which really excites me. This is another collection which focuses on making the most of special yarns. The book discusses gradient yarn types  (one-skein, mini skein or DIY gradient sets using a combination of individual yarns) and how to use them, and includes accessory patterns to illustrate these ideas.

I had the pleasure of knitting some samples for the book using mini-skein sets from Fyberspates.

Probys gauntlets begin with a folded picot hem & use a super-simple but satisfying slipped-stitch pattern to ease transition between colours, and create some visual interest.

Arch Lane Cowl uses a combination of garter & slipped stitches; it includes instructions for two sizes, with additional information on changing the size of the pattern to suit the amount of yarn available. I've been considering knitting another version of this using a mini-skein set combined with a single-colour neutral yarn, though it might have to wait until some deadline-knitting is out of the way... and I have an appropriate gradient yarn.

This is a beautiful book, full of clear information and beautifully shot pattern photographs (I love the use of bright & bold street art as a background for bright & bold yarn combinations). The use of textured stitch patterns adds interest to the individual knits while still showing the yarn to its best. (I would have previously thought to stick to stocking stitch or garter stitch only to avoid yarn & stitch pattern competing). The only dilemma for me is what to knit next from this collection; Half Moon Street and Shanakiel have been calling to me, but I'm also hugely impressed with the DIY gradient effect used in Forge Hill. I suppose I could make time by not sleeping....

*I feel the need to explain my seemingly neglectful parent-knitting; At the time I committed to the test knit, the Small Human was asleep, and I was looking at head measurements from about 6 months before the time of knitting. Kids grow quickly...

**I'm also very very excited about Woolly Wormhead's upcoming workshops in This is Knit. I've been increasingly fascinated by her work since the release of Painted Woolly Toppers & was delighted when these fascinating workshops were announced, having missed her previous visits here in Dublin.  It's been... what seems like forever since I have taken part in a workshop so this is an extra big treat for me! Yay! Learning!!
Both workshops are fully booked, but you could add yourself to the waiting list.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

FO from ages ago

Knitters often put off finishing details like sewing up garments, or blocking accessories. I have a number of finished projects that just needed to be photographed for sharing.  (It's ridiculous how one can procrastinate at times)

First up,  Dark Pearl by Carol Feller, knit in Alpaca Select 4 ply.
I originally knit this project as part of a KAL when it was released, (June 2014) but was unhappy with how the front sat. If I remember rightly, I think I had added some extra increases to the front section (really should have taken notes!) and found that I did not like how the gathered front sat; I'm sure the fluffy alpaca yarn did not help the lack of elegant draping as seen in the original pattern sample.

The yarn was from deep-stash; a giant cone of green alpaca with a subtle brown heathered effect, bought at the knitting & stitching show a number of years ago. I used less than half the cone for this garment; the rest has since gone to live with another knitter as I have found that alpaca yarn irritates me while knitting. 
After languishing in the to-do pile for some time, I ripped out & re-knit the front section, without any increases along the top front. The front hangs much better, but now that I'm looking at photos, I think I might reposition the buttons to avoid obvious visible gaping.
As is usual with Carol's patterns, the instructions are very clearly written, with plenty of encouragement for modifications to improve the fit. I would certainly consider re-knitting this with a slightly different lace pattern on the front, for example. The alpaca yarn is super-warm; great for cold weather but not too bulky. (It was perfect around last December, when I finished it for the second time!)

The second finished knit is Old Growth by Tin Can Knits.
The yarn is Spud & Chloe Sweater, which I received in a stash swap last summer (Thanks Grainne!)
I flew through this pattern while on our recent holiday in Kerry (or rather, while The Mister was driving there & back again).
I knitted the 2-4 year size, with some extra length as the Small Human is quite slim. The sleeves are long enough to turn up at the garter stitch cuffs for now. so, like most things I knit for her, it has some room for growing.  I also omitted the lace motif from the front.
As with most Tin Can Knits patterns, Old Growth is written in a wide variety of sizes, from newborn to large adult. The pattern is well-written; simple & straight forward, but with a little visual twist in the wide neck & off-centre button band. 

Photos of me were taken with the Small Human's assistance. We have been experimenting with a tripod & remote for the camera.  She's good at pressing the remote button; not so good at telling me that there's a tissue/ piece of paper sticking out of my arse pocket. Like many children, she's just begun play school.  I'm both proud & nervous for her quiet little self going off on new adventures; I'm grateful that I get to see her growing up, & make memories with her.