Cropped Cardigan with Leaf Ties (a.k.a. "Leaf")

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I'm not worthy!

Just days after receiving those lovely gifts from Cassandra, I found more goodies waiting in my mailbox. These are from Kristin, whose knitting and color choices are so similar to my own that it's almost scary. She sent me some Rowan Cashsoft DK which I think would make lovely fair isle...something. Maybe mittens? I swear, Cashsoft DK is one of my favorite yarns ever. You could ask Cassandra for proof, as I think I mentioned it in my SP questionnaire. I used it in this scarf for my mom, and found it absolutely lovely to knit.

She also sent me this book of cute knitted accessories. It has several neat patterns for mittens and gloves, and after my relative success with Urban Necessity, I'm ready for another pair. (To be honest, I wish my knitting instincts were more seasonally-appropriate.) There's a pair of mittens with a cable over reverse stockinette that I think would do well in the Louet Gems Sapphire I have sitting in my stash.

Finally, she sent me goodies from Lush, and somehow she knew my tastes there, too! I love the bubble bars from Lush most of all. Temple of Truth is a favorite, and I'd bought French Kiss for a friend but never used it myself. The Ginger soap smells divine. It brings back childhood memories of my mother's perfume--spicy and intoxicating, just a little heady. Mmmmm...

Lest this seem like a post solely designed to celebrate drooling, I do have a little actual knitting content to discuss. I finished Mike's scarf, following the Child's Rainbow Scarf pattern from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. The pattern is so simple, but it uses self-striping yarns beautifully! Mike wanted a blue and brown scarf, so I used Patons SWS in natural navy and natural denim and stopped every so often to admire the way the stripes progressed. I think it looks even better in Noro Kureyon because there are more color changes, but I'm pleased with this one--not too striking for Mike to wear, but more interesting than a simple two-color scarf. A man's rainbow scarf, if you will. ;)

Add another to the "just in time for spring" file (although, truth be told, I tried out the glittens today and they were necessary!). I knit this hat from some bulky yarn originally purchased to make the felted clutch from One Skein, but I think I'm satisfied with just one. It's warm and cute (in my opinion) and makes a good replacement for the one I knitted out of Lion Brand Homespun--also cute, but no good against a biting chill.

Next on the needles? I'm not sure--maybe a sweater. I really like the patterns at Zephyr Style, but most of them have boatnecks or crewnecks, which just don't suit me. I may go for Ms. Marigold, but that looks pretty similar to Sizzle, which is also on the list. They've had this teaser up for a few weeks, which looks promising...Hopefully it'll actually come soon!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Chocomel, o chocomel...

Despite my pretensions at adulthood, I have to admit I have a few kid-like tendencies. I often stubbornly refuse to go to bed, and let myself fall asleep on the couch instead. I have been known, on occasion, to send my rubber ducky for a swim in the tub. And I love chocolate milk. Those of you who dislike chocolate and/or milk can skip ahead one paragraph.

I've had chocomel once before--when I was in Belgium and the Netherlands with a group of student carillonneurs. It's lovely. It's better than Hershey, better than YooHoo, Nestle, and all the other imposters on the supermarket shelf. Yumm. That was six years ago, though, so imagine my surprise when a bundle of yarn arrived in my mailbox--and stashed among it was two boxes of chocomel. :) A neat trick, since, as it turned out, I'd been craving chocolate milk again, and had gone to the store to buy some Hershey's. Guess which one(s) I drank first?

Anyway, there was much other loveliness within. A lovely skein of purple hand-dyed yarn. I wish I could capture the colors on camera. I'm not sure what I should do with it.

This pretty skein of soft burgundy wool yarn. It looks like it would make very nice wrist warmers.

And a bunch of other goodies, including a cute little i-cord maker, some yummy sour candies (now long gone), and some hand cream for my poor winter-parched hands. All beautiful and thoughtful gifts from my knitty secret pal--thanks so much!

It purported to come from the southwest United States, but the chocomel gave it away!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Just in time for spring

I finally finished the convertible glove / mittens (aka Urban Necessity) after hesitating over the mitten caps for a couple of weeks. I had these done down to the fingertips a few weeks ago, but wavered over using the diamond pattern as written for the cap. I was also put off by the fact that, despite knitting these at nearly the same time and using (I thought) the same row and stitch counts, they turned out to be asymmetrical. I guess it's a little weird, but that annoyed me enough to put them down for a while. In the end, I decided to abandon the pattern and use mirrored decreases (ssk / k2tog) from the end of my 5th finger until my fingertips, then k2tog around until I had 5 stitches left. I worked the cap a few times using some variations, but I think the shaping turned out best this way.

I really liked this pattern--I found it a lot more intuitive than Broad Street from knitty. I found some pattern notes online that were really helpful in making the decision to knit Urban Necessity...I'll try and dig up the link. As I was knitting, I realized that you don't really need the 4th and 5th fingers to be uncovered and could use a cap for the thumb, because your first three fingers are really all you need to use...but I think the end result would look weird. I think I found a pattern online where someone had made that modification, but I can't find the link.

I used DK weight yarn (Karabella Majestic) instead of worsted and compensated for the smaller gauge by knitting a larger size, which in retrospect was a good choice, since I think the fingers would've been bulkier in worsted yarn. If I knit it again, I'd consider using ribbing over the mitten cap to hold it in place better, but I think it looks fine as is.

I also decided that I was annoyed by the presence of cotton yarn in my stash, especially since it wasn't enough to knit Sheldon. Instead, I decided to make some pinwheel washcloths in a smaller size than the last (teal) one, which was a little hard to handle. The purple one is going to my not-so-secret SP shortly, although I've dawdled too long to make it to the post office today.

Right now, I have a rainbow scarf on the needles for Mike. I'm making it in Patons SWS rather than Noro, and I'm finding the striping wonderful. Yet another winter knit postponed until spring!