30 October, 2006

All Blue

Thank you so much for the great compliments on the Glowing Colors sweater. Pippi thanks you, too!

I have a new favorite distraction now, which is watching the live Elecam, from the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. I became aware of this sanctuary a few years back when seeing a National Geographic program about elephants being retired from zoos and circuses and allowed to move there. If you have ever seen this program, you know how touching their story is, and how happy they are to be able to live in a big family again, and not be living singly as most of them were. Both my husband and I cried when two of the elephants were reunited after thirty years. I love watching this webcast and seeing the animals just move around closely together. They are so sweet. If you are lucky you can catch them having a blast in one of the ponds.

In knitting news, you all were right, socks are fun! My first socks are finished, and actually they have been finished since last week, but the thought of making a "modeled" shot kept me procrastinating. It's cold, and I don't want show off my purple long-johns, and besides, purple doesn't seem to photograph well anyway.

Pattern: Beaded Rib toe up socks from Sensational Knitted Socks
Yarn: Gjestal Silja in denim blue

My only problem was that I didn't stretch out the ribbed fabric before measuring my gauge and calculating the number of cast-on stitches. Silly me! Therefore they are a little bit big and are going to be for the husband. Good thing I picked a dark color!

They were fun to make, but not nearly as interesting to look at as all the cool socks you all are making out there. I have ordered some handpainted sock yarn for future fun, though.

I have also started working on a scarf in beautiful, tweedy Dale Sisik, which I was lucky enough to get in a swap with Kris a few months ago. The colorway is Camel, and the yarn is delightful! So soft and silky. It's a mohair, wool, acrylic, viscose blend. I join the chorus of people wishing it had not been discontinued.

And there is more! My next sock project is this turquoise lacy sock, also from Sensational Knitted Socks. Top down this time. Actually my mother started this one for me when she came to visit me from Norway, so I am kind of cheating. The yarn is again Silja.

While she was here, she also knitted me some mittens. She was really inspired when we went to Knitting Treasures in Plymouth, where she found this pattern for Newfoundland Mittens (click on the picture to see the pattern better). The yarn is Brown Sheep Lambs Pride Worsted, and I was the one who picked out the bright colors, Kiwi and Sapphire. I keep finding myself gravitating towards brights recently. They are really warm and the Lambs Pride wool/mohair mix is super soft.

We also picked up the book Jackets for Work and Play from Knitter's Magazine which is excellent! She took it with her of course, and I may have to go and get my own copy. It was so interesting that my mother, coming from Norway, was finding all the knitting interest here inspiring. She tells me that all the yarns stores near where she lives have closed!

23 October, 2006

Glowing Colors Sweater

The second of my three projects. It's been so long since I published FO number one, that it seems lame to now bring out FO number 2. We will just forget about that whole numbering scheme... Instead I am naming it the Glowing Colors Sweater, formerly known as the yellow, red and green sweater.

I finished this on Saturday morning, and I have been wearing it ever since. It is so incredibly comfortable, nice and warm, but not too warm, very lightweight. I love the square neckline, and the tapered sleeves. It is practically windproof with that double thickness of wool, but not too hot at all. This yarn is perfect. I have usually worked with worsted yarn before (worsted type, not worsted weight), and this is woolen yarn. It traps a lot of air, and therefore is very lightweight, and seems to keep the perfect temperature indoors and out. Most knitting yarn is worsted, and therefore heavier.

I tested it out by walking all around Cambridge Sunday, in alternatingly sunny, windy and overcast weather, and then sat down on the ground to watch some of the Head of the Charles regatta, and never got cold, never got hot. It's also been great for walking Pippi.

Detail of sleeve patterns

Only problem, you don't get to see this sleeve pattern much, because the sleeves are too long on me and bunch up a little. I may have to make them shorter... Arrgh! Blossom, I am ready to swap this now, for a bottle of tequila...

The finishing for the neck and the sleeve.

Pattern: From "Norsk Strikkebok", 1990, Tone Takle and Lise Kolstad
English version known as "Sweaters: 28 Contemporary Designs in the Norwegian Tradition".

Yarn: Rauma 3-tr Strikkegarn, from Nordic Fiber Arts

Size: Unisex size Small

Colors: Yellow 131, red 144, green 198, honey 146, brown 199
(I think of the colors as Saffron, Red Pepper, Apple, Honey, and Chocolate. I am always thinking of food). The red is one of the most beautiful dark reds I have seen.

Modifications: Square neck instead of round, tapered sleeves with cuffs and picot edge, changed the dark natural brown with a lighter brown. I kind of wish now that I had stuck with the original dark black/brown color; it would have been a much better contrast.

The great thing about this book is that it's kind of a recipe for making sweaters. It has modular sweater instructions in the back where you pick the neck style (boat, round, square), the size (kids to adults), the gauge (baby wool to bulky). But there is so much more than sweaters though; there are several jackets, child's dress, a cape, a long coat and many really cute hats. I have made a few in the past. Too bad this book is out of print, it's one of my favorites.

Thanks to the husband for taking the pictures!

14 October, 2006

Fall colors

As the leaves outside turn a happy yellow and red, here are some shots of my yellow and red sweater. I think I am going to need these happy colors soon, so yesterday I finally started finishing it.

Armholes were stitched,

armholes were cut,

and shoulders were grafted.

One sleeve is almost attached.

Left to do:
Attach the second sleeve, darn in all the ends, and pick up and knit the neck edging. At my speed this could take all week.

Brrrrr, I need to hurry.