FO: Tea Cowl

So, with 5 days till the end of the year I decided that I wanted to cast on and finish a project by year end.  I hadn’t knit to such a tight deadline before, and with the Tanis Fiber Arts Knit-a-Long (KAL) starting on January 1st I had  a real incentive to get it done on time.  I didn’t want to hibernate this cowl till February because I have big plans for the KAL (which I will showoff once I get the projects started).

I have had this yarn in the stash for a while, and I wasn’t quite sure how it was going to knit up.  It turns out that Earl Grey is a fantastic color. I hope to get my hands on more of it in the future.

The pattern was one I had found while searching for patterns for cowls for my mom, who is starting to knit.  I was attracted to the pattern because it ends up being reversible, some I really appreciate. I am a total cowl fanatic and this is a much appreciated addition to my collection.

– Details –

Project Name: Tea Cowl

Pattern: Hourglass Cowl by Leslie Weber

Recipient: Me

Yarn: madelinetosh Tosh DK in Earl Grey

Modifications:

  • Enlarged – using my scale I managed to finish the project with just yards to spare, well about 5 yards.

New Skills:

  • Braiding ends – Because the pattern is reversible there is to wrong side to weave in the ends on so I braided the tails together because the yarn was superwash so no spitsplice and I am all thumbs when it comes to the russian join.  I must say I was totally impressed with the braided join.

Feedback:

  • Yarn: As with the Olivia hat, the tosh DK yarn was fantastic, the yarn is a nice balance of drape and twist. However in this case I was just blown away by the color.  The Earl Grey color was an interesting dance between a multi and a tonal and make me thing of a cup of milky tea and for some reason Austin, TX.  The sand and greys remind me of the colors in the city.
  • Pattern: Good pattern, I really appreciated how the spiral ribbing worked beautifully into and out of the body pattern, and the way the reverse side is as attractive as main side.

Re-Knit?: Probably not, too many cowl patterns too little time, however I would suggest it to others as it is seemingly error free and a great size with two skeins of heavy DK/light worsted yarn.

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On 2011 and Looking Back

Well, after yesterday’s look at how I did on my 2011 goals, I thought it would be good to run my numbers for 2011, and see how it stacked up to 2010.

2011 was a very different year than 2011.  I worked for one non-profit, spent 3 months unemployed (my contract ended), found another job with another non-profit (on a one year contract), started up a local fiber guild, helped my grandparents fix-up and sell their house.

The one thing that was like 2010, is that at the start of 2011 I had no idea where I would be at the end of the year.

So like last year I collated my numbers, the stats from 2010 are given in parentheses.

2011 by the Numbers:

  • 14 (23) miles of yarn acquired during the year
  • 22 (18) miles of yarn currently in my stash
  • 6.2 (4.5) miles of yarn knit/crocheted into projects
  •  2,771 (426) yards of handspun yarn
  •  6 (5.7) pounds of spinning fiber acquired
  • 12 (5) pounds of spinning fiber in stash
  • 6 (7) pairs of mittens
  • 5 (14) hats
  • 3 (6) shawls or stoles
  • 0 (3) scarves
  • 2 (2) bags
  • 2 (0) blankets
  • 6 (1) cowls
  • 3 (1) pairs of socks
  • 10 (0) dishclothes
  • 0 (1) baby sweaters
  • 100 (28) blog posts

Wow, the numbers are quite different from last year, but 2011 was quite different from 2010. It appears my stashing was less out of control than I thought it was and will be possible to get things really under control in 2012.

Also, biggest difference between 2010 and 2011 is the fact that I went through a serious knitting slump this summer and early fall, but I still managed to get more yarn used than the year before.  Doing some larger projects (including two crocheted blankets and two felted purses) made a big different in the “volume” of yarn used.

I enjoyed most of my projects this year, and I learned so much from each of them. I can’t wait to get started on my 2012 projects!

Get a closer look at all my projects from the year from checking out my Finished Objects tab  above or as a slideshow below.

On 2011 and Goals

So back on January 1st, I set out some personal and fibery goals, I checked in on them again in July, and now I get to see how I stacked up.  I will be setting some new goals for 2012, which I will announce on January 1st, 2012.

So here I have reframed my goals as things I have (or haven’t done) in 2011.

In 2011, I:

Personal Life-

Fibery –

  • I bought less yarn than last year, but still bought a bunch of yarn.
  • Spun fairly regularly and tried a few different techniques.
  • Didn’t manage to dye any yarn (although I did a cheap Old Navy pashmina during an unfortunate washing incident)
  • Worked on some old techniques like stranded colorwork, lace, and cables, although not all that much as I would have liked.
  • Tried out some new techniques like duplicate stitch andI-Cords, although that doesn’t cover half of the cool techniques out there.
  • Crocheted two blankets, and am now working on a cowl.
  • Didn’t make a mitten of the month club, although I did finish five pairs of mittens, including one pair of the Woodlands Mitten Kit from Knit Picks.
  • Updated the blog regularly, including FO posts as well as other posts, fibery and otherwise.

So overall, I did well to meet my goals and there are a few things I wasn’t planning on when I set my goals in December that came up through the year, like socks.   I am excited to set my goals for 2012.

FO: Olivia

Another day, another finished object. After the serious knitting dry spell I went through this summer/fall I am back with a vengance.  I have been trying to make a hat out of this madelinetosh tosh DK since the spring, but it wasn’t till I found this pattern that everything “clicked”.

I find I have trouble with hats, because I like having my ears covered in these cold Ontario winters, so earflap hats are my favorite, but they look goofy.  I like the look of berets but they don’t stay on my head. Beanies look silly and don’t cover my ears.  This hat is the perfect balance of decent look and ear coverage.

This and Winter are my two most favorite hats (and I haven’t had either of them very long), I look forward to lots of wear in the future.

– Details –

Project Name: Olivia

Pattern: Hefeweizen by Larissa Brown in Stitchmarker

Recipient: Me, all me

Yarn: madelinetosh tosh DK in Olivia

Modifications:

  • None

New Skills:

  • Hops Stitch Pattern (the ribbed band section)

Feedback:

  • Yarn: tosh DK is a great yarn, the color is fabulous, hand is a nice combination of flop and twist, and it is ever so soft.  I have yet to have a disappointing experience with tosh DK.
  • Pattern:  This is my first time using a Larissa Brown pattern, I am impressed by the pattern, the photographs of the Hops Stitch Pattern was very helpful.  I have been looking at her other designs to see what else I can get into!

Re-Knit?: Maybe.  I like the proportions of the hat so I might one day use it again but change up the band for something different.

FO: Opal Burnham

This project is a combination of a few of my favorite things, KnitPicks Palette for mittens and a Brooklyn Tweed pattern.

When the LOFT Collection came out from Brooklyn Tweed this fall, I dropped my plans to get my Woodland Winter Mitts done on schedule in order to jump these up the queue.

While they didn’t turn out exactly the way I had pictured them in my mind, they are really, really nice. Stranded colorwork mittens are one of the things I quite enjoy, they are warm and fun.

– Details –

Project Name: Opal Burnham

Pattern: Burnahm by Leila Raabe in the LOFT Collection

Recipient: Me

Yarn: KnitPicks Palette in Opal Heather and Cream

Modifications:

  • Adapted needle size to get gauge

New Skills:

  • Latvian Braid, Sorta.  I had used them on my Bevo Hat almost two years ago, but I had to relearn how to make them for this project.

Feedback:

  • Yarn: As I have said before Palette is a great yarn, I know it gets a bad rap for being scratchy, but it comes in 120 colors and is durable as all get out making it perfect for stranded colorwork in things like mittens.  Also it is crazy cost effective.
  • Pattern: The charts are clear and the overal visual appearance of the pattern is fantastic.

Re-Knit?: Probably not, although my mom was drooling over these mitts so if I want go back to it I might make a pair for her.

FO: Baby Ripples Blanket

It is going to be a bit a race to the finish to blog all the things I need to blog before the end of 2011.  This blanket is the biggest project I have done to date.

At this point I don’t have any recipients lined up for the blanket yet, but I know that a well made cotton/acrylic baby blanket is a good gift on had as I (and my friends) get closer to 30 than 25.

Yet again, I am pleased with the fantastic instruction that is an Attic24 pattern, when I grow up I want to be as cool as Lucy.

– Details –

Project Name: Baby Ripples Blanket

Pattern: Neat Ripple Pattern by Lucy of Attic 24.

Recipient: Unknown as of this time.

Yarn: KnitPicks Comfy Sport in Fedora, Ivory, Cashew, Sea Foam, Marlin, Creme Brulee, Silver Sage, Peony and Honey Dew.

Modifications:

  • Chained 171 to make an 40in edge
  • Patterned the ripples to use up the maximum amount of yarn

New Skills:

  • Crocheted Ripple Pattern

Feedback:

  • Yarn: Such a good workhorse yarn, and after washing (Warm/Cold) and drying (medium) it blooms and is just so soft. Also because of the acrylic it doesn’t seem to to shrink up and it kept its drape.
  • Pattern: As always Lucy’s pattern is clear, concise and with lots of photos.

Re-Crochet?: Probably not, however I might do more of Lucy’s patterns. I don’t have much use for crocheted blankets as I have some beautiful quilts.

FO: Dad’s Christmas Mittens

The hat was knitted for my dad by my sister.

Generally, I find knitted gifts a poor decision, it is so easy to invest too much time and energy in something that is at best unappreciated and at worst hated.  However, with my father back in Canada for the winter mittens are always appreciated.

My Oma, his mother, was a talented knitter, and although she didn’t teach me (her hands and mind weren’t their best when I wanted to learn) I have many of her tools in my stash.  She knitted in rough wools and crunchy acrylics, so he hasn’t always loved knitting, but hopefully the fantastic soft and beautiful Tanis Fiber Arts Green Label will sway him to the dark side.

Now that Christmas morning is past us, I can report that he likes the mitts (and even more the hat my sister made for him in matching yarn).

– Details –

Project Name: Dad’s Christmas Mitts

Pattern: My Own (built from the Fried Chicken Mitts) but with similar mods to my Winter Sunshine Mitts

Recipient: Dad

Yarn: Tanis Fiber Arts Green Label in Olive

Modifications:

  • Knitted two at a time (and amended pattern to work that way)
  • Knitted two thumbs at the same time (and amended pattern to work that way)
  • Adapted gauge and size
  • Changed top to paired “flat” decreases rather than spiral decreases
  • Used kitchener stitch on the top instead of a gather.

New Skills:

  • The desire to start writing patterns
  • Two at a time thumbs

Feedback:

  • Yarn: The twist is very tight, which makes it abrasion resistant but also a bit odd to use as a center pull ball.
  • Pattern: Same issues as last time, but this time I think I wrote my mods in such a way that I can make my own default mitten pattern

Re-Knit?: Yep, but with my own mods.  I am interested in writing up a mitten pattern based on my experiences making these mittens.