Busy Busy (Queen) Bee

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All About That Brioche by Lisa Hannes

I can’t believe that I’ve not written a post since Father’s Day! Yikes! I didn’t realize how busy I’ve been … or how I’ve totally neglected my blog!

We have had visitors a couple of times. My aunt and cousin and his family came for a visit from the other coast. We had a hoot and I got my fill of babies and toddlers. The kids were so much fun and I am so grateful that my cousin’s wife wanted to come east to spend time with us. My eldest daughter and her husband and their dogs came for a visit, too. I am always happiest when one of my kids is in the house! Both visits put my knitting on hold for a few days.

Today I finished my All About That Brioche shawl by Lisa Hannes. Let me chronicle the adventure that was this shawl for you!

I bought the kit from Kitterly. Yellow … NEON yellow and charcoal gray. What’s not to love? They’re bee colors! Madeline Tosh (Merino Light) yarn is very soft and not plied. Sometimes it gets a little fluffy which is not always what you want. Regardless, it’s a delight to knit with and will be a delight to wear. The pattern is fun to knit. A bias-knit garter to begin and then two bands of contrasting two-color Brioche. I needed to pay a little bit of attention to the increases and decreases but it’s a relatively simple six row repeat.

Initially, I thought I wanted to add an additional colorway to the mix but after knitting a little bit of the way, I decided that there was a reason the original design had only two colors. The addition of a third would have messed up the contrast. So, I frogged the first attempt and proceeded with the gray/yellow color palette.

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I’m not crazy about the edge on one side of the shawl, if I’m totally honest. I guess I wasn’t paying close enough attention to how the rows begin. The point is to slip the first stitch and then bring the working yarn to the back or front so the edge has a consistent color.

This is right.

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This is not right.

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Can you see the black yarn crossing over the yellow edge stitches? And to the right there is yellow yarn crossing over the gray edge stitches? Yeah. This is not the way it’s supposed to be. BUT I also decided that it wasn’t worth frogging the Brioche section to repair this so I went forward knowing that I was going to have a funky edge on one side of the shawl. I’m ok with it (most of the time, anyway!)

I need to weave in my ends and block it today to make it wearable. I think the size will increase exponentially when I block it. Right now it’s a little bit too small for my liking. But I can’t wait to wear it … and it won’t be long until fall! We are experiencing crisp, clear, cool mornings and evenings here in Maine! I love the changing seasons!

Gone knitting!

A Hare Pair (Rabbit Hat by Jane Terrza)

IMG_4456I have had this ball of white-ish yarn (Oasis Farm Fiber Mill “Bunny Yarn”) in my stash for years. It’s tried to be a scarf a couple of times and, subsequently, frogged. I had set it aside because I didn’t know what it wanted to be. Until I saw the Rabbit Hat by Jane Terrza on Facebook one morning a couple of weeks ago.

I have two adorable nieces in northern California and I just HAD to make the Rabbit Hats for them for Easter!

I used the following yarns from my stash for the hats: Oasis Farm Fiber Mill Classic Bunny in white. I had two skeins that I wound into one huge cake. I used about half of the two skein cake for both hats. (Don’t you love knitting for children and babies?) I needed something pink for the inside of the ears in a similar weight. I had a skein of Lorna’s Laces Sportweight wool in a very pale pink (pale pink colorway, I think) that I won in a contest for a soapbox package. It was perfect!

First Hat

First Hat

The first hat was the larger of the two and I made it as the pattern was written with a kitchener stitch graft at the top of the hat and reverse stockinette on the inside of the ears (the pink part).

Reverse stockinette inside the ears

Reverse stockinette inside the ears

The pattern was easy to follow and the hat is adorable. The hat is knit in the round and the ears are knit in two pieces each from stitches placed on stitch holders. Once knitted, the ears are seamed. Easy enough.

What I found “awkward” was that all of the decreases for the ears were all done as K2tog. It seemed to me that the top of the hat could be more easily seamed with a 3 needle bind off rather than kitchener stitch and be nearly as pretty (and take a lot less time to seam). I guess it will be up to you to decide what you want to do but I wanted to share with you what I did with the second little hat for the baby sister!

Hat 2

Hat 2

I knit the hat just as the pattern was written. (I happen to love a little rolled brim on a hat!)

The changes that I made came in the top seam and the ears.

For the top of the hat, I did a 3 needle bind off. Next time I would turn the hat inside out first but I am not unhappy with the little seam on the top of the hat. I took a bit of time to adjust the stitches onto holders … I had to knit the first six stitches to get the yarn into the right place to bind off the top of the hat but otherwise, it was a cinch!

I knit the ears with a K2tog (knit two together) decrease for a right-leaning decrease on the left sides of the ear pieces and a SSK (slip slip knit) decrease for a left-leaning decrease on the right sides of the ear pieces rather than always using a K2tog decrease as written in the pattern. I think this looks a little bit prettier.  I also was thinking about treating the ear as one piece circularly and carrying the contrasting yarn across. I decided to seam them instead to save the yarn. (Hey! I am a Yankee at heart!)

Stockinette inside the ears … by mistake but it still looks cute.

Stockinette inside the ears … by mistake but it still looks cute.

Because it was the second hat, I wasn’t paying attention to the pattern directions and totally forgot about the reverse stockinette on the inside of the ears. As a result, they are stockinette stitch. And it’s fine. Bonus! I find the seaming easier this way.

Since I was using natural fibers, I steam blocked both hats and made sure the pink insides of the ears were “hugged” by the creamy white backs of the ears all around. I think they are adorable and can’t wait to see my little nieces wearing them!

A Pair of Hare Hats … blocked and heading to California!

A Pair of Hare Hats … blocked and heading to California!

Which one do you like best? The pattern can be found on Ravelry and is a minimal charge … buy the pattern and support the designer!

Gone knitting!

Design – 2012 Trends

I’m already laughing because the original title to this post was written “Design – 2010 Trends” … and it’s true that I am not a fashion plate, what the heck gives me the chops to design? And my response to myself is, “it’s for dogs!”

I do believe that fashion trends are created by the industry solely to give designers and fabricators job security. Those of you who are fashion-driven (I do not belong to this group) will be drooling over the new colors and styles paraded across magazines and runways and city streets. I just happen to be missing that gene. But, dressing my dogs … that’s a whole other situation!

Bright colors seem to be the trend and lots of pattern. The Señorita Lolita is still in vogue (no, not the magazine) and I still believe that neutrals and traditional cables like the MacTire are timeless. This little coat is really cute – celery green and with the fabulous seed stitch texture. I have to find the right buttons to go along with it … perhaps one that is feminine and one that is masculine (for obvious reasons.)

I knit this coat with a super bulky merino wool by Rowan called “rowan big wool”. It’s 100 gram ball (at approximately 87 yards) was just enough to make a coat for a or 11 pound dog … with a little bit of wiggle room depending on button placement. The shade that I used (29) is a light celery green … one of my favorites! I love knitting with this wool. It’s soft and not at all splitty and knit up it’s light weight but really warm. Care for this wool by washing in cold water by hand and dry flat. Never wring hand knits – simply roll them up in a big towel and press the water out of the garment, unroll and dry flat.

Rowan has a bunch of beautiful patterns FREE on their website! You’ll need to register but, trust me, it’s worth it! Their patterns are beautiful and plentiful!

I think the second draft will have to be in a tangerine orange color as the Pantone color of the year is “tangerine tango” a vivid red-orange that would look so wonderful on my boy, Boogie! I never liked “orange” but find myself wearing it today! Go figure! I’m so stylin’!

So, off to the yarn store in the world wide web I go.

Photos to follow soon of all my finished projects!

Gone knitting!

Short Rows Superwoman!

Short Rows.

I’ve attempted a couple of short rows projects over the years. Never successfully. Until today – and thanks to a great short rows tutorial posted by the Purl Bee. Click here to head on over to see the tutorial and bookmark it!

I’m becoming a short rows expert today. I’m in my atelier working on a new project that I saw for the first time when I was in Lafayette, LA for my nephew’s wedding. With all the hoopla surrounding the wedding, my sister and I HAD to make a trip to her LYS – the Yarn Nook – and that’s where I found the Bandana Cowl pattern (free from the Purl Bee!) and bought some yummy, super soft Manos Maxima (color way M8881) in Queen Bee colors (mostly yellow and golds and browns and blacks but a touch of grey and blue too).

I love the Manos yarn. It’s 100% extra fine merino wool, kettle dyed and fair trade! They call themselves the “fair trade merino”. The Bandana Cowl is a one-skein project using a little bit more than 100 yards of chunky-weight yarn. My skein has 219 yards (200 m). Gauge is 18-20 stitches per 4 inches (10 cm) on a 6-8 needle (4-5 mm). The yarn doesn’t split much at all despite it’s loosely spun look and feel. The hand of the extrafine merino is so soft, it’s like knitting with a cashmere blend and I’m quite certain that it will feel really nice around my neck.

Now that I have the hang (sort of, I am only referring back to the tutorial once every three wraps!) of the short rows, it’s knitting up pretty quickly. I’m not sure when I’ll have an opportunity to wear this cowl but you can be sure that I’ll be wearing it soon – at least to take a few photos for you!

Gone knitting!

Duck, Duck …

The sun is out today and I’m typing on my favorite desk in my favorite office … my lap is my desk and the front porch is my office. We have a new family of ducks who have been coming by to visit … and get a little bit of bread from me! 🙂

Listening to President Obama’s speech at the University of Richmond while I blog. In the sun! Just having the sun out makes my attitude so much better. I’ve finished the two baby hats that I’ve been working on and they’re really cute. I wish I had a doll or a stuffed animal to put them on for photographs. Neither my hand nor my yarn spool makes a great baby face! Regardless, they’ve turned out well.

Hat #1 is the Aviatrix Hat from Justine Turner (and a free download on Ravelry.) I knit this hat in Plymouth Yarn’s Baby Alpaca DK (colorway 753) in a wonderful grey-blue color. I love it! There are two buttons on the hat so that when baby’s chinny-chin-chin gets all pudgy and kissable, mom can loosen the strap and it will still fit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hat #2 is Garnstudio’s Dropps Bonnet in Rib in Alpaca . It’s such a cute hat and I know it’s going to grow well with the baby as the 3×3 rib is really stretchy. The reason I really like this hat is that it goes over baby’s head like a hood – and they can’t pull it off! I knit this with Reynolds Revue 100% Merino wool in (color 1431) a raisin color – it’s a pretty brownish wine color (in these photos it looks way more pink than in real life!)  that I think will be very “in” this year since it’s an organic color and found in nature. The only “issue” I have with this hat is, I think, the nature of merino wool in that it shows all the increases around the bottom of the hat. Fortunately, it will be under the baby’s jacket but it’s still aggravating for me to be able to see the “irregularity” of the stitches.

I’m having a really proud moment, though, because I tried something that I’ve never done before. (Although, my knitting friend Bob in Ohio did it for me once several years ago.) Anyway, after reviewing several videos, I did a single crochet edging around the opening of the hat and it looks great! I wish I had a doll or a stuffed animal here that I could put the hat on to show it off better … hope my new mom will send me a photo of baby in the hat and for the meantime, my photos on my antique spool will have to do. That’s life!

I found a really quick baby mittens pattern to send along with the hats … without having to knit a thumb gusset, it’s a really quick knit and very quick, indeed!

I’ve been thinking that I need to design and knit up a case for my new computer … cabled? or patterned? lined? unlined? We’ll see what I come up with. I have some really cool yarn that I bought out in northern California in December that has some cat hair in it … and pretty sparkly blue, too. I think that will be my yarn choice! I also have the “Kate Middleton” shawl that I bought some new yarn for. I’ll let you know what I decide!

So, from my porch office with the breezes blowing gently … gone knitting!