Saturday, November 27, 2010

Mojo Knittin'

I was never a big Mojo Nixon fan (except for the classic "Elvis is Everywhere," of course) but every time I think about my knitting mojo, my brain does a little trick and his name pops into mind.  That is entirely irrelevant, but true. 

What's also true is that I am back in business as far as finishing projects goes.  First, a couple photos of my Traveling Sweater.  These were taken on Thanksgiving by my mother, and I look completely dorky in them.  I chalk that up to all the cooking and tasting I'd done at that point in the day.  Anyway...

Then there's a super-quick project I knit in about three evenings - a Skeleton Key Tam knit in Malabrigo Twist.  This project reminded me how much I enjoy knitting cables, especially ones that can be done without a cable needle.  They provided just enough spice to keep the knitting challenging without keeping me from watching tv.  We recently got HBO so we could watch season three of In Treatment, and we've now become addicted to Boardwalk Empire and Bored to Death as well, so there's been a lot of HBO OnDemand watching going on around here... 
Anyway, it's a very comfy, warm hat, and although it might slouch in an odd way now and then (like in the picture above), I think it'll see a lot of wear this winter.  And I love the color next to the Point the Way scarf I showed you last time, so those two together might just be my super-cold-day accessory uniform.

Then there are my new mittens. 

Oh, these mittens.  I think they're my new favorite knits.  After taking a Fair Isle Tams class at Stitches last year, and the Bohus Stickning class this year, I finally felt ready to tackle a stranded colorwork project, and I was pleasantly surprised how thoroughly do-able I found it.  The pattern was perfectly written (I've been ogling SpillyJane's patterns for years now and I'm sure this will be the first of many I knit!) and the yarn was absolutely delicious.  It's Quince & Co's lovely Chickadee, which is the perfect mix of hearty wooliness and softness, not to mention being milled in the US from American-grown wool, and sold at a wonderfully reasonable price.  I just loved everything about knitting these mittens, and was able to knit one mitten each of the past two weekends.  I have lots of leftovers of the contrasting colors, and I've ordered another skein of the main color, Chanterelle, to knit a stripy hat to match these, although now that I think of it they also sort of tie together the colors of my Point the Way scarf and the Skeleton Key tam.

And so, the details:

pattern: Skeleton Key Slouchie Tam, by Simone Van Iderstine
yarn: Malabrigo Twist, bought from the Loopy Ewe
colorway: Tuareg
yardage: 190

pattern: Isidora, by SpillyJane Knits
yarn: Chickadee from Quince & Co.
colorways: Chanterelle, Moss, River, Honey, and Pomegranate
yardage: 420

2010 so far:
finished objects: 21
yards knit: 7670

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Back on track (FOs #17-19)

I have been knitting.  A lot.  Not a day has gone by since my last FO post without at least a row or two completed on one project or another.  But for various reasons, I just didn't manage to finish anything for a (long) while.  All that has changed, though, and I have three items to show for my recent productivity.

First, last weekend I finally kitchenered the toe on sock #2 of my Mad For Plaid socks.  I'm pretty proud of these socks.  The color combination came to me one night last summer when I was at Ocean City.  I can't remember what exactly inspired them - probably a salt water taffy wrapper or something.  But I clearly remember sitting (okay, huddling) on my bottom bunk and ordering yarn from The Loopy Ewe for these.  I used their new-at-the-time Solid Series, a well-priced line of superwash merino sock yarn available in a kabillion colors.  I did as the pattern suggests and swapped colors between the two, so the big stripes are black on sock #1 and white on sock #2, and I have plenty of yarn left over to eventually make another pair with orange and turquoise big stripes with black and white skinny ones, so I'll have four socks of varying degrees of matchy-ness.  But to be honest, I haven't actually woven in all the ends on these yet, and the thought of another whole pair of ends to weave in will take me a little while to warm up to...

Also last weekend I finished up my new favorite scarf, a Point the Way knit in Malabrigo Chunky bought from Eat Sleep Knit.  This was a super-easy pattern to knit, with just enough going on to keep it interesting, and the yarn is just so delicious it was a treat every time I picked it up.  The color (Frank Ochre) makes me think of a delicious curry, which didn't hurt either!  It also ended up providing a perfect practice piece for a new knitting skill I picked up at Stitches East - knitting in both directions!  I took a class taught by Gwen Bortner (who is just a fantastic teacher, and fun to spend a few hours with if you ever get the chance) and although at first it felt like trying to rub my tummy while patting my head while chewing gum while standing on my hands, I kept practicing away on this scarf, knitting right to left then left to right then back again, and I now think I've really got the hang of left-handed knitting.  And of course, the finished product is so squishy and warm and bright, I just want to wear it all the time.  And as the weather continues to cool, I think I'll be doing just that!

Then this past week I managed to finally assemble and finish my Traveling Sweater.  It took me a long, long time to knit, the finishing was challenging to my not-so-great spacial relations abilities, but oh, the finished product is so, so worth it all.  It's easily my favorite sweater I've ever knit, very comfortable, and so stylish.  What a fun project.  I already have half a mind to order more Woobu and start another, but then I take look at my stash of sweater yarn and decide to hold off just a bit longer...  No photos of this sweater yet, as I can't quite work out how to snap a picture of my entire torso with just me and an iPhone handy.  I'll have to get someone to help me out one of these days and report back with the results...

Now that those are done it's on to the (many) other projects I've already got on the needles.  Getting the most knit-time currently are a Skeleton Key Tam in Malabrigo Twist, a pair of Kalajoki socks knit two-at-once (another new skill I picked up at Stitches) out of STR Heavyweight, and swatching for a scarf requested by the Mr - black with a gold vertical stripe and his initials (also in gold) at one end.  Also planning a pair of mittens combining the leftovers from the Point the Way scarf and the Skeleton Key to tie them together as a set.  Chartreuse and dark aqua - yum!

Mad For Plaid Socks
Pattern: here, free from Knitty
Yarn: The Loopy Ewe Solid Series
Colorways: Caribbean, Orange, Black, and Ivory
Yardage: 400

Curry Scarf
Pattern: Point the Way, by Trina Brielle via Knitpicks
Yarn: Malabrigo Chunky
Colorway: Frank Ochre
Yardage: 360

Traveling Sweater
Pattern: here, by A. Karen Alfke via BMFA
Yarn: Woobu
Colorway: Manly Yes, But I Like It Too

Yardage: 2300

2010 so far:
Finished objects: 19
Yards knit: 7060