Friday, February 29, 2008

The week that was

I finally finished FULLY one project... when I say FULLY, that meant having knitted, washed (if needed), blocked (if needed), the ends have been woven in and any fringes have been added. This makes the finished object, or FO, ready to give to the intended recipient.

That's why in some projects, I have 95%-99% ratings which mean, the knitting's done but I still need to do something more with it before I can declare, finito.

That said, my only FO this week is, or rather, are, the two headbands I made for my friend Gay, whose father left the body recently. That sort of moved up the date when we were going to see each other again, and the day i went to the wake, her headbands had just been washed, and still being dried. Plus the ends still needed to be woven in...

This just means I'll see her again soon, to give the headbands and make chika.

This also means, I still have at least 3 knitted projects that have already been washed and blocked, but still need end-weaving and fringing. I had wanted to do that by today, but an editing racket came my way and right now I'm playing hooky from it, so I could do at least a weekly update here.

Friday, February 22, 2008

From Lacy Woven to Lacy Seed

I changed one of my projects this week, the one I was knitting with the tencel colorway, Painted Desert. Originally, it was called the Lacy Woven Scarf, using as my stitch pattern that of the Slip-Stitch Weave. It was knitting fast, but after about 12-14 inches of knitting, while the body of the fabric was shaping well, the sides weren't. I was using too loose a selvedge... but it was similar to what I had used in the swatch. Apparently maybe I should have swatched at least six inches to see how the selvedge would "hold" the fabric together.

So now... the Lacy Woven Scarf is due to be frogged.

And I decided to move on the another slip-stitch pattern, called the Pebbled Stitch. Because this stitch pattern has alternate rows of seed stitch and slip-stitch, I decided to call the scarf pattern as Lacy Seed. And the scarf is designed to be about 10-11 inches wide, making it a "shawlette", so I'm calling the project "Lacy Seed Shawlette."

I've also used a seed stitch selvedge, knitting the first and last stitches. So far, looks ok...and I'm almost done!

The stitch produces a nice-looking reverse/wrong side too... here are some pics, along with a view of the Painted Desert yarncake...

View of the right side

Front view, with Painted Desert yarn

View of the wrong/reverse side

Wrong/Back side, Lacy Seed

A view of the Painted Desert colorway, again, this time as a "yarncake":

Another view of the tencel yarn, Painted Desert colorway

Monday, February 18, 2008

Latest pics

Finished objects first!

1. My Black and Beige headhugger, a modified version of the Pi Topper Chemo Cap, a pattern that starts from the top down and was the very first hat pattern I knitted, for my mom.

I changed it a bit so that after reaching 144 stitches, more or less, I'd do single rib instead of continuing in stockinette, so the last 3-4 inches sort of hugs the head, nicely... it practically covers all of my short hair!

Another side view of Pi Topper

By the way, if you're looking at this from my Ravelry page, you'll notice I try to put different pics from what I have there... just to make the experience of clicking to this blog post a bit worth it :-)

2. Next, ready for fringing is a Lacy Garter Stitch scarf done in tencel, Iris combo colorway from WEBS and solid red-purple. I just call the color combination as Blue-Purple. Just the usual garter stitch done with size 13 needles. It's been washed, to shrink it, since I read somewhere that tencel will shrink once only... might as well do the job before selling it to anyone!I also blocked it so it would stretch. It nicely drapes!

Another close-up
Unfortunately, I can never do justice to the rich and glossy colors of the tencel yarns... this colorway doesn't really have any white colors, it's just the light reflecting off the yarn :-(

Here's how Iris combo looks like:
it's a cool, classy mix of iris blue, dark blue, red purple, black and grey. I think it also has some silver too.

I'm also going to combine this with black to make the colorway stand out. The scarf above emphasized the red-purple.

And now, what's been keeping me busy are the following Works In Progress (WIPs):

1. A unisex scarf based on the Linen Stitch, using one strand each of Dark Teal and Black

Linen Stitch scarf close-up

This pic more or less captures the color the yarn. Here's how Dark Teal looks like, from the WEBS page:

2. Another WIP is a Lacy Woven Scarf made of two strands of Painted Desert tencel colorway, using Slip-Stitch Weave which knits beautifully and speedily:

Right side of Lacy Woven Scarf

Here's how the Painted Desert colorway looks like, online :

It's a yummy mixture of coral, amethyst, olive, lavender, teal... a feminine combination that's ideal for lacy designs. I might make a shawl for myself from this colorway!

3. I've saved the best for last. I call it Strip 1, which would be 4.5 inches wide and about 72 inches long. Because it's made of natural hemp, its color is, well, natural. I'm thinking if I'll dye it or not... for now, the natural color works. The work looks stiff because the yarn IS stiff... it will soften when it's washed.

The pattern is a Baskwetweave Variation, includes 5 rows of garter stitches between the knit and purl blocks... I'll post the pattern someday soon.

Another view of Strip 1

How much hemp do I have? Well, here's a pic of the humongous cone I ordered online from, which says the hemp came from Romania. I expect this should have all the yarn I need for the blanket... or else I'll have to order another cone again. Only problem is, I don't know when any of my 3 sibs in the US are coming over to the Philippines.

Monday, February 11, 2008

My Fancy Herringbone Scarf, Red for Valentine

Not really red for Valentine... it just so happened that the color combination was irresistible: two strands of 8/2 tencel solid Spice, which is nice, muted red, and one strand of the 8/2 tencel variegated Spice combo, which has spice, black, a shade of pink and brown...

Then I found an interesting textured stitch in my one and only Barbare G. Walker book, Charted Knitting Designs, bought in a secondhand bookshop just when I began my knitting hobby a few years back... the stitch looked a lot like that used in "My So-called Scarf," which I had wanted to try but was knida intimidated by the seemingly elaborate knitting and purling techniques.

The Fancy Herringbone stitch pattern was rather easy... alternate purl and knit rows with slip-stitching, yarn-over and psso... and produced a lovely, thick fabric which wasn't so thick since I knitted with 3 strands of laceweight yarn ons size 8 needles...

This scarf, I hope, will be my first ever scarf to be offered for sale, marking by debut as a professional hand-knitter. I'm thinking of calling my work, Handknit Dreams...

In view of the season, though, I'm nicknaming this my Valentine scarf. Unfortunately, because tencel is shiny, the pics I've taken have not been able to properly capture the spicy red-ness of the yarn combination.

These shots were more for showing off the Fancy H stitch rather than the color.

This one at left is closer to the actual color. The one at right is too orange (I just can't remember which light setting I used in my camera-phone so I won't use it ever again). Both shots were taken outdoors but one was during a bright sunny day (most likely the orangey shot).

The reverse side is just as pretty looking, although oddly circular vis-a-vis the angular "right side".

I'll soon take pics of my other tencel scarf, a plain garter stitch scarf in a luscious Blue Purple combo. It's done, just needs fringing...

Friday, February 8, 2008

Some more Tanbark shots

Happy as I am that one of my Tanbark shots, a close-up, is being used for Ravelry, I still wish I can decent shots. Well, all I have is a cellphone camera with no tripod. Anyway, here are more shots I took of my Tanbark Towel, already done and awaiting to be gifted to the beloved recipient.

Left, the "right side" which looks like an exaggerated or embossed Moss/Seed stitch.

Right, the "wrong side" which is the loopy one and just as attractive.

Thick, dense fabric with slight curl, probably needs more selvedge. Since it's a towel, I didn't bother blocking it... maybe if I use this stitch for a scarf. I'll probably use seed stitch selvedge.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Hot hats!

My brother in Oakland called long-distance today, just to say thanks for the hats I gave him when he was here in the Philippines, just before he was about to fly back home across the Pacific Ocean. He especially LOVES the bright blue-green hat that wasn't even really for him, but for my sister in San Francisco... well, it fits his bald head so well.

It's a cool color combination of Peacock Blue and Lime Green... I adapted a pattern for a chemo cap, here, to make the 2-inch rim (I think) in head-hugging single rib.

I realized today that I hadn't posted pics of this hat here in my blog, but have done it already in Ravelry ... so here's how it looks:

Left, a pic of the hat in progress, and right, the finished hat... I'm gonna knit at least two more in this color combo...

Here's a work-in-progress pic of the hat I'm knitting now, an orange acrylic hat :

It's almost done, I'm now making a single-rib rim. Will soon post pic of the finished hat...Just like with the chemo cap pattern, I adapted a basic, top-down pattern called Karlchen to give it a longer rim, maybe 2.5 inches instead of 1 inch.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Hot on the needles

My first attempt to make a scarf to be sold commercially, my first ever project as a professional knitter, went pffft yesterday.

I used the wrong needle size and the very nice mint-colored scarf, in light blue and mint green yarn, produced a stiff fabric. This means size 8 needles are not good primarily for the Carmencita yarn... unfortunately, acrylic totally hates plastic and wooden needles, and my sizes 9, 10 and 10.5 needles, both circulars and straights, are either both...

I have been saved only by size 11 metal dpns, ten inches long, SB Silvalume... set of 5! Ther acrylic slides so smoothly with these metal needles. (Note to self: buy more metal knitting needles! Sizes 9 onward--only if I plan to buy more acrylic for my commercial stuff. Need to think about it well.)

So now, I'm using one pair for my second attempt to become a professional knitter, this time making a leaf green scarf in simple alternative 6 rows of seed and garter stitches. My other extra Size 11 DPNs will be for the mint-striped scarf.

So far, it's been knitting up well except that I realized I didn't have enough yarn! One skein only produced around 9 inches of fabric... I had to scrounge and found 2 skeins of black Carmencita yarn. What I'll do is use the black yarn for the center portion of the scarf.

I'm calling this project the Green and Black scarf.

I like using seed stitch since it produces flat fabric. I had to alternate with garter stitches so it would knit up faster than usual....

Update: As of February 2008, I've officially declared this green and black scarf project as DEAD OBJECT. Not yet frogged but on its way to being frogged...