Sunday, February 18, 2018

Alaska Hat

Hi kids! First, thank you for your lovely notes on my last post. My CT scan came back normal, so the doctor is thinking I have a viral ear infection. I haven't had any more dizziness, but have an occasional bit of...that feeling you get when you stand up too fast. It's worse when I turn my head too quickly, so I'm watching that, but for the most part I'm definitely feeling much better. Not quite my usual self, but getting there.

Second--look at these beautiful pink roses I received for Valentine's Day. The light was coming in at just the right angle, so a picture was necessary.

Third, I made another hat. I'm getting a kick out of knitting colorwork hats as they're quick and satisfying, and justifies my purchase of an interchangeable 16-inch circular needle set. This pattern is called 'Alaska' and is available on Ravelry. I used the exact same yarns as called for in the pattern so as to get the northern lights effect, but this simple pattern would look great in a combination as simple as white and gray.

I made marks all over the chart so I would know where I trapped the floats so I coud trap them somewhere else on the row above (if you trap them in the same spot all the time, they show through the work). Some of these sections had looooooong floats that I didn't love, but I took my time, worked consistently, and everything came out fine.

I even like the way the inside looks. I've been doing research on color dominance when doing colorwork. According to some, there should be no dominant color as that indicates bad tension. This makes absolute sense to me and is what I'm aiming for. However, there are more on the other side of this particular coin that say your background color should carry on the top and your dominant color should be on the bottom (the 'dominant' color being the one you want to stand out the most). The dominance part comes in with how the strand lays on the back of the work, and how it is pulled naturally by the stitches, and so on. I wanted my trees to be dominant, so I sub-consciously decided to NOT make them so (would you expect anything else?). Either way I look at it, though, I really like this hat (and truthfully I don't think I can tell if one color is more dominant than the other unless I knit another one up the other way and compare them side by side).

I finished off with a tidy little pom-pom and promptly wore it out. It's a toasty thing, and fits without squeezing my brains out (but also stays put). 

All this stranded knitting to build my confidence for an Icelandic sweater. I've made good progress on the sweater, but have yet to hit the colored section. With the way our weather has been I won't be needing it this winter so it doesn't really matter how long it takes me, anyway.

OK, tea and the Olympics are calling my name. Later, kids!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Mock Rib Watch Cap (and a Ginormous Pom Pom)

Hello. How goeth it with thee? I'm sitting very still right now, as I had a severe case of vertigo yesterday (I've never had that before, and it is one of the scariest things I've ever experienced), and I'm a little nervous to drive so I called off from work today (which I absolutely hate to do). The doctor did his little tests and ordered me a scan as he couldn't tell what the issue is, and I can't have it soon enough, let me tell you. I will be overjoyed if I never ever feel that way again. I'm just glad it didn't happen during my date on Friday, or at the bookstore on Saturday, or heaven forbid while I was driving.

Anyway, a few weeks ago when I made this cowl, I was going to take a crack at a very matching hat. But I was also very eager to make a simple hat with the multi-colored yarn to see how the stripes worked up. Simple won out, so here's the hat:

It's hard to tell in the photo but the colors soften towards the peak, almost as though they come from two different balls of yarn. The pattern is the Mock Rib Watch cap by Tanis Gray (it's free on Ravelry). I did an extra half inch of the rib for some reason I don't remember right now, but I like it. I've made this cap before in a different yarn and it's still one of my favorites.

I even love how this yarn looks on the inside. I saw a tip somewhere on attaching pom poms so they can be removed. You feed the ends through a button with big holes and tie a really secure bow. Then just untie it if you want to wash the hat.

Speaking of pom poms, at Christmas time I bought some pom pom makers. I think I perfected my technique (because you know, it's probably a high demand sort of thing), and the key is to not wind up too much so there's room for everything to squeeeeeeeeze together when you tie it off. I made the biggest size for this one--it might have been overkill.

This is a really nice-fitting hat. I didn't do a gauge swatch or anything, just went for it, and it fits just how I like.

I won't tell you how many photos I took before I was able to deem one "somewhat acceptable." It looks like it's a snug fit, but it's not. It's fitted, but it is not squeezing the life out of my head. It's been warm and rainy here, so if winter could remember it's supposed to be here so I could go ahead and wear this I sure would appreciate it.

OK, I am going to go attempt to make some tea without falling over. Wish me luck!

Monday, February 5, 2018

Tesserino Cowl

We have had some wicked frigid weather here this winter. No snow, though. I love snow. I want it to snow. But there is nothing like sitting all cozy with some yarn in your lap and something sprouting from the ends of your needles or hook when it's cold outside. Throw in a big mug of tea and some Netflix and I'll hibernate. Well, I would hibernate if I didn't have to go to work.

But anyway, when I went to Vermont a few months ago we got a nice little swag bag of yarn goodies at the retreat. I had some Plymouth Yarns Galway, and some of their Gina. I decided to use these to make the Tesserino Cowl. This is a free pattern offered by Louet. All you have to do is sign up for the newsletter (which you can always unsubscribe from), and they'll email you the pattern. Here's the link.

Anyway, the colorwork technique used is mosaic knitting. It's a slip-stitch technique, so you're only knitting with one color per row. Slipped stitches create the pattern. There are some floats to manage here and there in the pattern, but nothing long or difficult to control.

So here's my finished cowl:

I used the recommended needles, but this did come out a little bit tight in the stitching and smaller than I thought it would. Now that I understand how this technique works I understand why (the slipped stitches pull the fabric a little bit, making it tighter). If I made this again I would needle-up, that's for sure (or figure out how to elongate my stitches without pulling them too much). But it's a pretty fun knit, and pretty cool to see the design emerge. There are books of mosaic knitting designs, so if you'd like to do colorwork but are nervous about color-changes and floats this might be a nice starting point.

In this next photo you can see the slipped stitches--they're twice the height of the 'normal' stitches next to them.

And here is the back of the work, which is kind of fun to look at, too.

This cowl was supposed to finish a bit higher (I did five repeats instead of eight) because I thought the full size might be too stifling. I do like the thinner size, but I wish I had done a thicker black garter stitch border, as I don't know if what I did is enough to keep it from curling (it's been wet blocked, and is OK so far). We shall see. Here it is on:

I wanted it long enough to double-wrap, but it's not (and looking at pattern photos it's not supposed to be). However, it's an easy ten-stitch (if I'm remembering right) repeat, so that'd be an easy adjustment. Knitting it in thinner yarn as a borderless tube that you kitchener together into an infinity scarf would be fun, too.

This was a fun knit, I love the way the stitch looks, and it's an easy technique for a nice impact. Colorwork of various forms is my 2018 knitting objective (oh, if only I could write my work goals with the ease I write my craft goals) so I'll share my adventures as I take them.

Now, I must trot to bed. I was up a bit late last night. Not sure if any of you paid attention, but our Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl, and I was a bit wired last night. Toodles!


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