New to the Queue: A little bit of everything

Sidenote: This is the second of three new weekly features I’m introducing. New to the Queue will appear each Monday and will feature patterns added to Ravelry during the previous week that I love enough to add to my queue. The third feature, Yarn of the Week, will appear Wednesday.

Mini Lovey Blankie Menagerie

Mini Lovey Blankie Menageri

Photo courtesy of Rainebo on Ravelry.

I cannot get over how adorable these little lovies are. I may still only be in the planning stages for my wedding, but I will definitely be making a few of these for my own kids when I have them in a few years. My fiance’s nephews have similar lovies and they love them, so that combined the handknit (and extreme cuteness) factor of this pattern makes it an instant queue for me.

Price:$6 USD

Craft: knitting

DesignerLorraine Pistorio


Flight Home Shawl

Flight Home Shawl

Photo courtesy of YuliaAV on Ravelry.

I love the way the lace patterns in this shawl work together. The diamonds bend with the semicircle shape of the shawl so nicely, and wherever the shaping is it blends in well enough that I can’t actually see it. I also love that the shape of this shawl wraps around, so it would have no trouble staying on my shoulders.

Price: $5 CAD

Craft: knitting

Designer: Yulia Vysochina


Country Cottage Pillow Cover

Country Cottage Pillow Cover

Photo courtesy of BibbityBobble on Ravelry.

As soon as I saw this pattern, I had to queue it. I’m currently in cool-things-for-the-house mode, having recently completed setting up wedding registries with my fiance. These pillow covers will be perfect for our future house, and I can make our pillows the exact colors we want!

Price: free

Craft: knitting

Designer: Beth Richardson


Stray Cat

Stray Cat Shawl

Photo courtesy of AnimaKnits on Ravelry.

This shawl caught my eye after I saw a finished project of it on the Ravelry forum radar. I love the use of stripes to keep the solid interior section interesting, and the transition to a lacy border for a bit of flair at the end.

Price: $6 USD

Craft: knitting

Designer: Kristina Vilimaite


Blairsden

Blairsden

Photo courtesy of SFAlpacas on Ravelry.

I have a thing for stripes this week, apparently. This sweater jumped out at me from the pattern search this weekend. I love that the stripes begin around the bust and end before the waist. There’s enough striping to make the sweater interesting, but they don’t overwhelm the design. I have a feeling this cardigan will find its way into my wardrobe soon.

Price: $5 USD

Craft: knitting

Designer: Maria Olson

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Favorite Pattern Friday: Aeolian

Sidenote: I’ve decided to start up a couple new weekly features here including Favorite Pattern Fridays. These will be recurring posts. Check in again Monday for another new feature, “Queued of the Week!”

One of my favorite patterns I’ve made is the Aeolian shawl. It’s a very popular pattern on Ravelry, and for good reason.

My handknit Aeolian shawl

Me modeling my finished Aeolian

My Aeolian was my first beaded shawl, and was quite an undertaking. Having only have completed two shawlettes prior to beginning this project, I wondered if I’d gotten myself in over my head. However, I had found a yarn I loved and the perfect beads to match it (both on Etsy! The yarn here and the beads here!)

The allure of the finished product was strong enough, though, that I ignored my reservations and cast on.

Modeling my handknit Aeolian shawl

Another photo to show off the prettiness

One of the reasons I love this pattern is because it’s pretty easy to understand, even for someone relatively new to lace knitting. I had to go back and forth in the directions a few times for things to click in my head, but other than that I had very few issues. The beading was even easier than I feared it would be.

The main issue I had with the pattern was that the difference between k2tog/ssk and k3tog/sssk wasn’t entirely clear to me on the charts at first. Looking back now, I can see clearly that the k3tog/sssk lines are much bolder, and reach from corner to corner in their boxes, while the k2tog/ssk lines as thinner, slightly off-center in the boxes, and don’t reach the top corners of the boxes. While I was knitting, though, I couldn’t figure it out, but found the answer on a Ravelry thread. I had no other problems.

Overall, I love this pattern, and I’d recommend it to any knitter who enjoys a little bit of a challenge.

A busy month, a big finish

I’m finally back to a “normal” knitting schedule after spending the vast majority of July racing to finish my Aeolian in time to wear it on the beach on my vacation at the end of the month.

Happily, I did finish it!

It’s finally finished!

I started the shawl as my Spring 2011 HPKCHC OWL, and while I didn’t finish enough in time to get the 50 mid-term points, I did finish in time to get the 100 completion points. Plus, I was just proud of finishing it in general. It’s the most intricate, complicated thing I’ve ever made!

I did have to give myself a break from the tiny yarn, tiny needles and tiny beads occasionally, though, so I did work a fairly quick test knit hat that turned out to be perfect for some llama yarn I had, and almost in Gryffindor colors too!

Now I just have to decide how crazy I am for next HPKCHC term, which starts Sept. 1. I’m thinking an OWL of 6 pairs of fingerless mitts as Christmas gifts, plus a small shawl for an Order of the Phoenix mission, and blanket squares for classes. But we’ll see. In the meantime, I’m just trying to clear my needles. 🙂

Sightseeing socks, lace addictions and the consequences of marathon knitting

What do you get when you cross marathon knitting with wrists that have personal vendettas against you?

You get almost a week of no knitting time, that’s what. 😦

I think the fact that I was knitting lace on tiny needles (My Aeolian and My Heaven, both lace on size 2s, and a sock also on size 2s) didn’t help either.

Let me just tell you, you know your hands need a long break right. now. when your thumb starts involuntarily shaking whenever you bend it, so much so that you can’t type on your phone with it. Ask me how I know.

As difficult as it was, I did make myself rest from knitting for several days. I was able to alleviate some of the restless hand-ness by spinning on my drop spindle, something I haven’t done in quite a while. I spun some gorgeous chocolate brown alpaca top that I had gotten at WEBS a few months ago, which proceeded to shed all over me. (Have you ever cleaned up after an alpaca? I have. It. Was. Awesome.)

Granted, I should have seen this coming. Let’s think about what I’ve been knitting over the past several weeks…

You can see where the sunset part comes in.

Spectacular Sightseeing Sunset Socks

Why yes, I am a fan of alliteration, how did you guess? 😉

These socks actually came about for exactly two reasons: 1) I wanted to try Michaels’ new Loops & Threads Luxury Sock yarn, and 2) I wanted something small and mindless to knit on a trip to New York City. I figured a pair of plan stockinette socks would be the perfect travel project, and would allow me to try this new yarn (which is very nice, I might add, I just wish it came in solid colors).

Over the course of two days, these socks were knit at:

  • Car ride from CT to NY train station
  • Train ride to New York City
  • NYC subway station while waiting for the train
  • Central Park bench
  • Yankee Stadium while waiting for the game to start
  • Train back from NYC
  • Car ride home from NY
  • Car ride to the beach
  • On the beach
  • At the outlet stores waiting for the rain to end
  • On the way home from the outlets

That’s a lot of tiny needle knitting.

That red is my lifeline, juuuust in case.

Aeolian

I’ve blogged about my Aeolian before, it’s my Ancient Runes OWL for the House Cup. In order to get “midterm credit” for it, I need to have it 50% done by the end of the month. My goal was to get out of the yucca pattern repeats (there were 12 repeats of 8 rows, and with each row getting longer, those yuccas seemed to go on forever).

On the morning of June 7, I had it at 15.10% (thank you handy Google spreadsheet). By the end of the day on June 11, I had it at 25.83%. That means I knit 7,332 teeny tiny stitches, complete with a whole lot of teeny tiny beads, in four days.

This is the edging as it’ll look on the shawl.

My Heaven

For some reason, I’ve become addicted to lace, and decided a couple weeks ago that I just HAD to find the perfect lace pattern for some gorgeous red baby alpaca yarn I have. I decided on a My Heaven (Ravelry link), as I had done a search for red lace shawls and saw a project page for a My Heaven done in red, and absolutely loved it. I haven’t been able to work on it much yet, because I want to get my Aeolian to 50%, but I’m trudging along on it.

The construction on this shawl is interesting because it’s unlike any shawls I’ve done before: you knit the entire edge sideways first, then pick up the stitches along the long edge to knit the body. The shawl as written has a garter stitch piece in the middle of the body, but I plan to just continue the lace pattern the entire way to make an airy, delicate shawl.

The colors are a little richer than this photo shows, but you can see the stitch definition.

Cotyledon Hat

This hat I’m doing as a test knit for another Raveler. I’m using madelinetosh tosh dk, and it is sucha lovely yarn to work with. It’s super soft, but it has a fairly tight twist and great stitch definition for the knit-through-the-back-loop ridges and the cables in this pattern.

The pattern actually caught my eye because it looked pretty and complex, but it turned out to be very simple, consisting of a few cables strategically placed.
So yeah. I think I can understand why my hands decided to freak out. For now, I’m going to work on finishing my hat on size 6 needles before moving back to my teeny tiny projects.

Close encounters of the stitch dropping kind

My Aeolian is coming along quite well now that I’ve been able to devote my time to it. In the past week, I’ve been able to get about 15% of it done, which I know thanks to a wonderful spreadsheet a fellow House Cupper made.

I had a scary moment while knitting the other day, though. I’ve decided to put lifelines in every 4th yucca  chart repeat (there are 12 total) and every chart repeat after the yuccas. I was almost to the point where I could put in my second lifeline, when this happened:

Begin panic mode now.

I don’t know exactly how many stitches slipped off the needles. I just sat there staring in horror at it. Luckily, I was able to pick up the stitches and resume knitting with no major mishaps. Once I got my second lifeline in, and got 4 rows into the 9th yucca repeat (so that I could mark it as 15% on Ravelry), and put the project away for a few days so that I could breathe.

Wanting to give myself a break from the tiny yarn and tiny needles, I decided to start a pair of worsted weight fingerless gloves (I know, May isn’t exactly glove season).

I was debating what colors to use; I was originally thinking purple and black, but the purple was too dark to differentiate it from the black. I found some bright blue yarn I had, and decided to alternate it with the black instead.

I played around with a couple charts and settled on a pair of black mitts with blue dots placed throughout. I’m up to the thumb increases, and plan to make the pattern available on Ravelry once I finish one glove and get it test knitted.

The neverending shawl has ended!

Even though I thought it might never happen, the neverending shawl is finally finished!

Here it is right off the needles, with a water bottle for size reference. You can see why I needed to block it:

See the ruffly edges?

Here it is blocking. Let me tell you, pinning out a shawl with a rounded top edge is a huge pain in the rear:

It took forever to pin out.

In the end, it turned out very pretty, and my mom loved it. It barely even lost any size after I unpinned it, which surprised me because I tend to be pretty severe in my blocking:

It’s so pretty!

Gearing up for the Spring 2011 House Cup term!

It’s almost May, and as my House Cup friends know, that means it’s almost time for a new term! Only 2 days until the new term starts, which means Sorting is up and the new common rooms are open!

What that means, to those unfamiliar with the Cup, is that I am frantically trying to free my needles, while planning what I’ll be making in the next three months.

Currently, I have three projects on the needles/hook: a pair of Crocheted Felted Slippers, a shawl I’m test knitting, and a pair of Endpaper Mitts. The slippers and mitts are both about half done (one of the pair is done) and the shawl is about 25% done, I think (it’s so hard to gauge the halfway mark on triangular shawls!).

I’ll probably be putting the mitts and slippers aside for a while, but will definitely be finishing the shawl, since the deadline for the test knit is mid-May. Side note – check out the cool cobweb-like appearance my alpaca yarn is giving between stitches!

I’ve got some pretty big plans for this term, and I mean that quite literally. Not only am I going to attempt to get as many classes done as I can, plus detention, but now that I’ve completed one OWL, I can propose two in one term, and I am crazy enough to do it!

In fact, I think I’m extra crazy when you consider what my plans for my two OWLs are.

This beautifully tonaled yarn should make a really pretty shawl.

One of my proposals is to make a full-size beaded Aeolian shawl, which should use about 1100 yards of yarn (according to the pattern), and a couple thousand beads. I’ll be using size two needles, so it will probably be pretty slow going, but the end result should be great. I’ll be using a blue-green laceweight yarn with matching blue-green beads, both of which I found on Etsy. I have to admit, I was thrilled to discover that my beads perfectly matched my yarn.

Looking at other projects on Ravelry, I think I should be able to get the shawl done within the three month timespan.

One difficulty I do anticipate is figuring out where my halfway point is. It’s difficult because the shawl gets bigger with almost every row, so I can’t just measure halfway. I’m going to have to do some research on what others have considered their halfway point, since I know there have been several other OWL Aeolians.

My other OWL will be good for knitting on the go and on car trips, which is good because I’ll be doing a lot of riding in the car this summer: I’m planning to make a Bernat Sampler Afghan, with some minor changes. The pattern as written calls for 30 blocks measuring 7″ by 9″, with 15 each of two colors, making a blanket that’s about 4 feet long and just under 4 feet wide. There are five different texture patterns to the blocks, and they’re arranged in a specific order.

I’ll be using dark green, dark blue and black to make my blanket.

My blanket is also going to be 30 blocks, arranged in the same texture pattern, but they’re going to be 10″ by 12″ and I’m going to make 10 each of three colors. My blanket should be 50″ by 72″ before any edging, so it should be a full afghan size instead of a lap blanket.

I won’t be doing all 30 squares for the OWL, however, as I’m pretty sure I’d never be able to finish it in the three months, especially considering I’ll also be working on the classes and Aeolian. My proposal is going to be for 19 sqaures: 9 black and 10 blue. I already knit one black square to use as my gauge swatch, and that square took me about three hours to knit, so I’m estimating my OWL at around 55 crafting hours, averaging about a block and a half a week.

For right now, I’m working to get that Snowdrop Shawl done so I can properly focus on my new term. My main problem this weekend is going to be deciding whether to cast on and swatch my Aeolian, or work to finish the other shawl! 🙂

Swallowtail Shawl, finally!

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been working on a Swallowtail Shawl (click here for PDF of pattern) on and off for the past several months, using Knit Picks Shadow Tonal yarn in the Deep Waters colorway. It kept getting put aside in favor of more pressing projects, or out of boredom with the repeating lace.

Finally, I’ve had the drive to finish it, and last night I did!I have to admit, despite my trepidation after reading accounts from people on Ravelry, I didn’t find the nupps difficult at all, and they came out very pretty.

I’m extra excited about this project because it’s the first full lace I’ve done, and my first large-scale blocking.

It took me about an hour to get the pinning done right, but part of that was probably because I’d never pinned anything out to block before. Oh, and my room smelled like wet sheep all night, because I forgot to put any sort of wool wash in the water. Oops. That was definitely a lesson learned.

One thing I did learn was that, when pinning out lace, you can’t just stick the pins in straight up and down, because the lace will pull up and bend the pin forward. I figured out that if I stuck the pins into the mat at an angle, so that the pin was almost flat and was stuck through the mat for most of the pin length, it held much better. I used a 48″ x 96″ x 0.5″ portable foam fitness floor as my blocking mat.

Unfortunately, I forgot to measure it pre-blocking, but while blocking it’s about 53 inches by about 31 inches. I used up just under a full 50-gram skein of the Shadow Tonal.

Without further ado, here she is – my Swallowtail!

Before blocking:

During blocking:

After blocking!

My shawl is coming along nicely!

I started this shawl last year, got distracted, and stopped working on it, but I finally started again and look at how far I’ve come!

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