Friday, February 10, 2006

Pitius, haltius, tortius

I'm sad that I'm not participating in Yarn Harlot's Knitting Olympics.

I thought too hard and too long about what would be the perfect project. If I was prepared to buy the yarn, I'd love to cut my Fair Isle teeth on the "Fairly Easy Fair Isle" cardigan in Stitch 'n Bitch Nation. Everything else on my mental to-knit list didn't seem like enough of a challenge. I pondered knitting something fairly simple but large, taking quantity of output as my specific challenge, but that seemed contrary to the spirit of knitting excellence. Plus my next planned project was a crocheted baby blanket for Casey and Heikki's son Markku, so that seemed not quite right for the Knitting Olympics. (If I only crocheted, crocheting would be fine in my opinion...but otherwise it seemed I should knit.)

Well, now the situation has changed. The crochet pattern I wanted to use (and the myriad patterns I attempted afterward) proved a bad fit with the yarn of choice (Patons Be Mine). Crocheting in general is actually right out, because the yarn makes it impossible to see one's stitches. Several knitting patterns were not quite right either. Now the plan is to knit an ultra-simple baby blanket, since that seems to be what the yarn will support, but sadly I only have one skein at the moment.

So in this year's Knitting Olympics, you'll find me on the couch crocheting a dishcloth, swatching for this baby blanket, and maybe finishing Sonja's lace shawl, contentedly knitting along at home as a spectator. I just hope Yarn Harlot reprises her idea for Beijing 2008. That cardigan will still be waiting.

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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Yoga mat bag for ME

Pattern from Stitch 'n Bitch Nation
Lion Brand Cotton in black
Completed January 2006

This wasn't supposed to be for me! Originally I had bought the yarn and formulated the plan when I was looking for farewell and thank-you gifts for the members of my intern committee. My friend Angela does yoga pretty seriously and I thought something handmade would be a good present. Long story short, I didn't have time to follow through and ended up buying gifts for them.

So, months later, I decided to make it for myself. Easy lace pattern, minimal referring the pattern required. Accidentally made it a little large, so it stretches a bit when it's slung over my back by the strap, but still works just great. And, get this, I used half the amount of yarn the pattern called for! So, someone else is probably going to be getting one of these in the future...

I think that's the last of my backlog of projects (I have completed more throughout my life but don't have photos of them all). So it's likely that Needlin' will be updated much more sporadically in the future. Just so you know!

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Capelet #2 for Mom

Pattern found on Fuzzy Galore through a Google search
Moda Dea Wild! in Titanic
Completed mid-January 2006

For Mom's birthday last year, I made her the Town and Country capelet from the Lion Brand website. The pattern was all right (except I don't care for the big chunky rose), but I was not pleased with how the Homespun was wearing as she was wearing this pretty frequently to keep warm during the day.

So, for Christmas, I gave her the promise of a new capelet (and a bunch of dishcloths, which I'm slowly working on and probably won't post here unless they happen to be really cool). The Wild! fit the described yarn closely, came in some neat colors, and reminded me of my first experience knitting with Geisha...sort of like a yarn version of heroin. I had to adjust this particular pattern, as I started making the M-L size and about ten rows in it looked positively tiny. I did two more rows of brutally increasing and it was fine from there on out. Very simple and impressive.

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Neckwarmer for Grandma

Pattern from Barbara S. at First Lutheran in Vancouver
Jo-Ann Sensations Angel Hair in Denim Blue
Completed: January 1, 2006
NEW SKILL: short-row shaping

Grandma found this in her stocking on Christmas. I had started it the day before and it was obviously nowhere near done, so I put it on a stitch holder and wrapped it up and gave it to her partially finished. Now that it's done, she loves it--she lives right on the water and it's perfect to keep her neck warm.

Loved this pattern--easy and interesting at the same time. Mail me if you want it and I'll ask Barbara's permission to send it out. Loved the yarn was a nice surprise. Two skeins needed for this project. Note to self: keep looking for better buttons...these look nice but don't work worth a darn. Grandma added additional clippy-button-things to keep hers together.

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Beret for Aunt Arlayne

Pattern from an old tattered piece of paper Grandma gave me
Cool Finnish mohair in bright purple (can't remember the brand), also donated by Grandma
Completed December 23, 2005
NEW SKILL: using double-pointed needles!

Not long ago, Grandma went through all her old crafty stuff and gave me a bunch of things she thought I would enjoy. As I pondered what I could make for Christmas gifts that were cheap to free, I thought, "Of course! That yarn is Husky purple and I could make the beret pattern that came with it!" (I am SO not a Husky fan, so this was a big concession for me.)

So, off I went. Overall I was pleased with how it turned out. It was slightly too big even for me, so I threaded some gold elastic string through the hatband since that matched the color scheme. The yarn did something unexpectedly beautiful--it started out definitely purple, then became more of an indigo blue, then went back to purple as I finished the very top. And the dpn's at the end were very tricky, so finally I sliced an old wine cork into six pieces and stuck them on the ends of the needles I wasn't using. Booyah! And the resulting star-like top was really cool.

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Purse and scarf for Rianne

Pattern from the Bernat website with a free login
Bernat Boa in Cardinal and Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick 'n Quick in Black
Completed December 2005

Pattern from the Bernat website with a free login
Bernat Boa in Cardinal
Completed December 2005

I love these keyhole scarves. Last year for Christmas I made dozens of them for all my friends that celebrate the holiday. They were a quick and relatively inexpensive way to use nice yarns (nicer than Boa) to make a useful gift. But last year I neglected to put Rianne on my list. (oops!)

This year I made sure she was on there, and added a matching purse since purses are a slight obsession with her. I altered the purse pattern as I went, since I used a thicker yarn and larger hook than recommended, using fewer stitches. I also added the diagonal trim on the body of the purse to cover up my joining stitch at the end/beginning of each round, and added a snap on the inside to close the purse at the top.

I altered the scarf slightly as well, since the finished product was not long enough to reach around an adult-sized neck. I sewed the knit-in slit shut and instead added the black tab you see here, to put the other end of the scarf through.

All together the set took two skeins of each kind of yarn. Rianne says she gets lots of compliments on the purse. :)

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Christmas cow coaster for Pat

Kit, pattern and materials purchased from Michael's
Completed December 2005

Pat collects cows. To the extreme. And I had found these coaster kits years ago at Michael's and never managed to discover them in enough time to whip them out for Christmas. So, I finally found them this year and did the cow one early enough to give it to Pat at their annual tree-trimming party. (btw...Pat is Suzi's mom...see the earlier entry.)

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