Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fall - the Best Season

I love fall - it is by far my favourite season. The colours, the cool, crisp air, it's an all around awesome time of year. Naysayers will point out that fall is quickly followed by winter, the longest, coldest season, but fall is where it's at. What's not to love about crinkling leaves underfoot? Wood smoke in chilly night air? Unexpectedly warm afternoons? Tasty warm beverages? It's all good according to us here at TBL. I took these photos on an afternoon hike on the Thanksgiving weekend. It was a beautiful day - gorgeous colours and warm sunshine. It was the colours that inspired me to knit these:

These are Nutkin socks by Beth LaPensee, knit up in Fleece Artist merino sock yarn that's been marinating in my stash for ages. The pattern is, as LaPensee suggests, easy to memorize and quick to knit. I enjoyed pattern/colourway combination immensely. I did make a few modifications to the pattern - I used 2.25mm dpns, substituted a flap heel for the short row heel and a round toe for the short row toe. Hmm, it seems that I wasn't feeling the short row love this time around.
I'm pretty happy with these socks, they already have good memories attached to them - I knit most of the first one at the Maritime Fall Fair while watching large horses pull large wagons while I ate some tasty, tasty fudge. A good way to spend an evening if I do say so myself. My only issue is with the fit of the sock - I have found that they tend to twist slightly on the leg. I like to have my socks stay in one place and I wonder if a ribbed cuff instead of the folded cuff would help to keep the sock in line so to speak. A minor quibble as I am pretty pleased with them.
So, it's almost Halloween, it's almost November - it must sweater season. I've got one in the works - do you?

Friday, October 10, 2008

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a WIP

A small project to keep me from succumbing to lace overload. Stay tuned for the finished object.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Socks by the sea

My Snappy Sweater wasn't the only knit to get some sun on my photo shoot - my Noro socks got in on the action too. I finished these sometime in late spring and they've hibernating until this week. They fit me better than the photo shows (I had just taken my shoes off and was goofing around with the settings on my camera).
What can I say about these babies? It was a simple ribbed sock, knit from the top down on 2mm dpns. Good and mindless. The colour changes kept things interesting - I love watching the colours play out, it's brilliant. The Kureyon sock yarn has the same issues that the worsted variety does - that irritating thick and thin business and off course those breaks in the yarn that mess up the colour patterning. But, we all know it and we keep going back for more. It's those colours, they sucker me in every time - this is funny because for those of you who know me (Mammals, this one's for you), you know that I'm not into "colour." I prefer monochromatic colour schemes, subtle shading, nothing too "loud." Except, it seems, in my socks.

Happy knitting!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Snappy New Fall Sweater

Here is the latest addition to my sweater wardrobe, the A-line jacket from Drops. I love this sweater! I'm a big fan of the Drops patterns, but this was the first one that I have actually worked up. I searched it out on Ravelry and read all the reviews and they were right - it is an easy knit. I will admit however that I did not strictly follow the directions. There were a few modifications - I lengthened the body by a couple of inches, did a three needle bind-off for the shoulders and knit the sleeves in the round to save myself the seaming. I also decided to omit the buttonholes. This was not some clever design element, or an attempt to improve the pattern. This was me not paying attention. I didn't even notice. I happily knit all the pieces, seamed them together and THEN noticed my mistake. Sheesh. Well, there was no way that I was going to undo everything I had just done to add buttonholes so I decided to fake it. Under those big silver buttons lurk some shiny silver snaps. Cheating? Probably, but they work and you can't notice, so good enough for me.

Harrisville Yarns Orchid with Cashmere was the yarn of choice and a new one for me. This yarn is okay - not super, not sucky, but okay. I found it almost like a pencil roving - a little weak in spots, but easily fixable with a good spit splice. I'm betting that this stuff felts really nicely. I also have a feeling that this yarn will pill (think Malabrigo), but I'm hoping not too badly. The stitch definition is nice and I really like the way the double moss stitch showed up. The sweater is lightweight and warm and I'm happy with the fit. The only changes I would have made, aside from remembering the buttonholes, would have been to knit a few rows of double moss stitch instead of the garter stitch/2x2 ribbing along the bottom edge. Minor stuff to be sure.

Ah, the hazards of the self-portrait. Me, looking pleased to at the beach in my new sweater.

What's next for Through the Back Loop you ask? Well, I've still got a major commissioned piece to start, finish and mail, but I need to knit for me too. This morning was chilly and I was reminded that I really need a new scarf and some mittens. I'm also feeling the need for some colour work, so mittens it is - easy to carry around and relatively quick to knit up. An excellent alternative to all the lace coming my way. Now the hard part - picking the pattern and choosing the colours! While I struggle with these momentous decisions - I'll wish you warm hands and happy knitting.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

It's in the bag

Hurray for pretty patterned napkins - they're just the right size for a project bag.

I dug out the sewing machine this week and made myself 2 zippered bags to carry my knitting around in. I modeled them after those super handy zippered pouches that sheet sets come in. Sewing is something I enjoy, but not something I do on a regular basis. It would probably be easier if I ever used a pattern, but I tend to make it up on the fly. I'm pretty happy with how they turned out, but I do need some practice putting in a zipper and there is a reason that there are no shots of the interior (somebody needs to work on prettifying the seams and that's all I'm going to say about that).
Then I decided that if I had fancy new knitting bags, I better have some knitting to carry around in them - my Conwy socks from Knitting on the Road were just the thing! I had admired the pattern for a while but a crazy notion that they would be too hard. I was happily proven wrong. The pattern is easy to follow and the yarn was lovely (and continues to be so, as I have quite a bit left over).

The colour is most accurate in the third pic - rats to living in such a dark apartment!

I used Fibre-Isle's Lovit Yarn (100g - 450 meters). It's a blend of merino, Lyocell and Canadian Bison. It felt a little twine-like in the beginning, but after being handled, it softens up considerably and feels pretty darn luxurious on my tootsies. With the 30% Lyocell content I was worried about elasticity and wanted to make sure that my socks wouldn't end up in a puddle around my ankles - to that end I think that Conwy was a good choice. The twining cable pattern hugs my leg pretty well, so far no slouching. I almost wish that I had made them longer, but I'm an impatient knitter and I wanted them finished now. The natural oatmeal colour of the yarn was also a factor in the pattern choice - it was crying out for a nice textured pattern to make it come alive. Plus, texture makes for a more interesting knit.
I really like the idea of having bison socks, it some how makes my feet feel warmer. This yarn was part of a present from my dad - he may not knit, but he's got good taste. This summer the Man and I, along with my sister and nephew, visited my dad in PEI. I had hoped to visit the Fibre-Isle mill, but after hayrides, giant potlucks, sightseeing and general vacationing, there just wasn't enough time in our weekend for a trip to the mill. Since I couldn't go to the mill, the mill, in a way, came to me. I was spoiled rotten with a gift of Bison sock yarn, 2 skeins of Niji lace weight and the Baby Cable shawl pattern. Bison-o-rama here I come! I'm hoping to have the shawl finished by the end of November so I can show him what it looks like, but it may not happen - I've got a time sensitive project on the go and it gets precedence for the time being.
Well, that's me for now. Hopefully tomorrow I'll be able to get out and get some photos of my Drops sweater, snaps and all. Happy knitting!