Friday, October 30, 2009

Finished Object Friday

Last week I was at Stitches East, which turned out great. It was fun to meet new students and see others who have been in my classes before. I had great times with the other teachers who are my pals, and came home with some more awesomely complicated yet elegant contract knitting from Gwen.
I really appreciate everyone's support and generous congratulations about my Knitter's cover. It is one of the fun things of life that I'll always remember. Really, the real congratulations go to Alexis, Rick and Natalie and everyone at Knitter's for their great eye and the amazing visual impact of the magazine. They do such a great job. I'm well aware that this is a super-lucky break for a fairly new designer, and I have no illusions about the challenges ahead for getting published. This does give me a lot of motivation to keep on going, though.

So, this week for Finished Object Friday, I celebrate two double-whammies: Both of these are done, and they are completely from stash. No new yarn was purchased or harmed in the making of these items.

First is a blanket for Afghans for Afghans. I missed the clothing campaign, but I think I'll be able to get two blankets sent in time. This one is made of some gifted Lopi. I know it won't be the softest blanket, but it might be the warmest, and babies look so nice in red. It is a basic big block design and it went very quickly once I decided to just get it done. I would estimate that this has been sitting in my bedside knitting basket for over 2 years. Confession is good for the soul. Now I'm letting it go and I'm thrilled.

Next is a vest from Stephanie Japel's excellent book Fitted Knits. She did it in a solid color, but in the spirit of stash shopping, I used two harmonizing colorways of Berocco Keltic, a nice wool blend in tweedy, subtle gradating stripes. I changed the bottom rib to corrugated rib, sacrificing the stretch, but I'm thrilled with the two-color results and got lots of complements on this while wearing it at Stitches. It was a fun, fast knit. Next time, I would work the darts even smaller to accommodate my mostly flat chest. It is warm to wear and perfect for fall and winter when a vest can make a huge difference in feeling just right-not too warm, but not chilly. This is already a favorite, and its fitted silhouette is a very strong enticement to do that weight training to keep the tummy IN!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Finished Object Friday

I know, it's Saturday, but I intended to post this yesterday and eventually I hope to make it, dare to dream with me, a regular post as I strive to shop my stash and clean out the many bags of UFO's living all around my house. In the last couple of weeks, I've finished all sorts of lingering projects due to my new-found discipline born of the excitement of contract knitting. Now the day just isn't complete without a 2-6 hour session of focused knitting, and it's amazing what you can accomplish! Of course it helps that my volunteer and teaching activity have dropped to record low levels for the last 10 years. That's the real reason I have all this time to knit. But let me blather on no longer. Here is the list!

First for this week's Stash Shopping: Angora Baby Booties

Need a quick gift for a baby? These are my favorite. I have a whole bag of gorgeous pure angora that I picked up on clearance at Cloverhill a few years back. This is now my go-to gift for premies. I've adapted the pattern from Joelle Hoverson's gorgeous Last Minute Knitted Gifts for a 4 pound baby. The sister of a dear friend recently delivered a wee set of healthy triplets, and these were my offering. Each little foot is about as long as my thumb. The whole lot took about 3 hours and came from stash.

Rescued from the UFO Zone:

The Homecoming Socks, started about 2.5 years ago on a plane ride home from Seattle. The yarn is Artyarns Merino sock yarn purchased in Port Townsend, Washington. I'm actually quite happy with how they turned out and may publish the pattern. I actually finished these a while back and even posted photos, but I count them among this group of lost projects.

Also in the sock collection (I think I have found 3 additional sock projects in process) is this pair made from Cestari Cotton Wool Blend purchased at MD Sheep & Wool Festival probably 10 years ago, seriously. I was excited about the yarn and started the socks pretty much immediately, finished the first one and then came down with a very protracted case of SecondSockSyndrome. So, here I am in a new decade and century even, finishing them up. These are time traveling socks. I kinda like that.

(BTW, I'm aware that, as I tell these stories of lost projects found, some of you are wondering what is wrong with me. I feel no shame though. I know I'm not alone in this, so even if you think I'm weird, I'm NOT! )

Happily, the Time Traveling Socks turned out to be worth the wait-really comfy socks and even though the yarn is on the thick side, a DK weight. I knitted them tightly on 3's in a mock cable rib. The cuff is a little loose, but it is short enough that they stay up and are perfect around the house or with my Birks. I don't know how common this is with this yarn, but there was a lot of lumped up purple dye that was problematic while knitting, but has gradually faded with a couple of washings.

But wait, there's MORE! Yes, this has been a productive time. Here is the little bolero I started last spring. I am going to send it to my sister for her sweet little girl. She'll have to grow into it, but this is a fun pattern: Knitting Pure and Simple #275. I will likely make it again. I like to sometimes give baby gifts that are not in baby sizes, and this goes all the way up to size 10. It is made from a great yarn that is of course discontinued: Sunsette-a synthetic blend with some rayon that made it washable yet really soft with a unique hand.

So, that is this week's report. Now I am feverishly working on 2 projects from the UFO zone for Afghans for Afghans. Stay tuned to see if I get them done and out the door!