Monday, July 27, 2015

More Random Summer Knitting and a Hat for Nepal

The weather finally got warm here in Chicago, so I don't want to work on anything too big and bulky. Smaller items are just the ticket for summer knitting and I can easily keep them in my bag for knitting on the go.

I've done a couple more wash cloths. I was thinking of giving them to my sister-in-law as a housewarming present (she just bought her first home), but I might keep this orange one for myself. I love orange. My nephew loves orange, too, however, so I think he might want it more than I do.

I'm also making a few hats for charity. The good folks at Loopy Yarns are collecting knitted and crocheted garments to be taken to Nepal in November to help people who were displaced by the April 2015 earthquake. I've already got a couple of wool hats in the stash, and I finished a new one last night.

I think the brown wool is Lion Brand fisherman's yarn, but I'm not sure what the green wool is. It has been in my stash forever. I plan to make a couple more hats with that brown yarn. If I have time, I might also make some mittens and socks.

What are you knitting now that the weather is finally warm?

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Random Summer Knitting

Happy Independence Day! I hope you're enjoying the long weekend and not blowing your hands off with illegal fireworks. People in my neighborhood have been insane with the fireworks all week. I'll have to shut my windows and turn on the air conditioner tonight to be able to sleep. My cats are nervous wrecks, poor things.

Anyway, I finished knitting that silk mawata scarf last week. It turned out beautifully and it's a nice length, long enough to go around my neck twice and be tied in various ways. My only complaint about this unspun silk yarn is that it tends to stick to itself. I feel like I'm always smoothing out the fabric because it crumples on itself and won't drape the way it should. Still, it was a fun project and I would do it again.

I started making a cardigan for myself but it's slow going--the lace pattern requires quite a bit of concentration and I haven't memorized it yet--so I don't have a picture worth posting yet. I do, however, have this dish cloth I knit last night while watching the final 2 episodes of Orange Is the New Black season 3. (Side note: am I the only one who was very disappointed by this season? I found myself getting very bored during some of the episodes, and that never happened to me during the first two seasons.)

I love pink and green together; it reminds me of watermelon, which is appropriate given the season and given the fact that I made watermelon popsicles yesterday, too. I'm keeping this one for myself. The cheerful color combo makes me happy.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Knitting With Silk Mawata

I bought this mawata (silk cocoons stretched over a square frame and then dyed) kit years ago.

I don't even remember when and where I got it. All I know is that I found it buried in the stash when I was looking for something else. So, you peel apart all these whisper-thin layers of silk, stretch the fibers out into one long strand, and then try to spin them. 

I'm not a good spinner. The results are rustic at best. But I don't mind thick-and-thin yarn and I think it looks good knit into this very open lace pattern on big needles (size 10 1/2).

Also, these colors, copper and turquoise, are gorgeous! I cannot wait to finish and wear this. It has been pretty chilly in Chicago so far this summer, so I might not have to wait until fall.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Practical Knitting

As much as I like to make beautiful, fragile things that require a lot of care, I also like to knit things  that are a little sturdier and can stand up to heavy use, like dish cloths. Paper towels are wasteful (I try to reserve them for nasty cat-related mishaps) and sponges harbor too many bacteria, so washable reusable cotton dish cloths are what I use for everyday cleaning in the kitchen.

For my sister-in-law and her mom, I made pink dish cloths for Mother's Day; they love these cloths and are always asking me for more, so I was happy to oblige them. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures before I gave them away. However, I made one for myself using the leftover yarn, so at least you can see the colors. Pink usually isn't my thing, but I like this combo of light and dark.

I made this trio of cloths as a housewarming present for a friend who just bought a new condo. I hope he likes them. I often see him wearing blue and yellow so I at least know he likes this color combo. Whether it goes with his other kitchen gear is another subject, but I'll leave him to sort that out.

Last night I dug out an old project I started but never finished: a baby hat knit with unspun silk mawata. I had bought the kit for a class I took at the Madrona fiber arts festival years ago. I'm determined to finish this hat and then start another mawata kit I bought long before that, at a Stitches Midwest back in the mid-2000s. I got frustrated years ago and set it aside but now I think I know what I'm doing. We'll see. As always, pictures will be posted. Hope you're enjoying the 3-day weekend.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Late Spring Knitting

Hope you all had a lovely Easter (or Passover or Ostara or whatever spring holiday you celebrate). I started the first 2 projects featured here during Lent and finished them right around Easter. I made hats for the children of some good friends of mine; I had made them both hats a couple of years ago, but they have since outgrown them and needed new ones. 

For the boy, I made an orange beanie using leftover sock yarn. The pattern, if you can call it that, is my own. I did rib knit for a while, then switched to stockinette, and then when it seemed deep enough, I did the spiral decrease for the top. It looks really cute on him.

For his older sister, I made a tam o'shanter using some wool-silk hand-dyed yarn from the stash. I had used this yarn to make a Clapotis scarf for myself a while back. The pattern is from Ann Budd's book of handy knitting patterns. I still have plenty of this blue-green-yellow yarn left over, so I might make another project for myself, such as some gloves.

 Finally, I knit yet another cowl for myself. This one uses Disco Diva yarn from Mia Bella in the color way Oranjello. I finished this late last night and haven't blocked it or even woven in the ends yet. That's a Sunday afternoon project. I knit it in the round using a zig-zag lace pattern from a Barbara Walker book.

It's getting warmer, but I think I'll still have a few opportunities to wear it before summer. It has been a chilly spring so far, and it's always cooler here by the lake.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Lenten Knitting 2015 Continued

These 2 hats are made with the same yarn. The only difference is the size and stripe pattern.

The gray is Lamb's Pride from Brown Sheep, and the red is Full Circle from Knit Picks. Most likely, I'll give them to Afghans for Afghans the next time they have a campaign, or whenever I get enough things made to justify paying for shipping (and waiting in line at the post office).

Holy Week starts tomorrow. Lent really flew by this year, at least it did for me. I'm currently knitting a hat for a friend's son, but I fear I'll run out of yarn before I get it big enough for him. If/when I finish it, I'll post a picture.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Lenten Knitting 2015

As I typically do during Lent, I devote my knitting to other people, not myself or even my own family. This year I'm participating in a pay-it-forward initiative that someone started on Facebook. Only one of my friends was interested, and I decided to knit her a lovely cowl. I kept it simple and did seed stitch stripes in the round. The yarn, Naturally Caron Country, has been discontinued, unfortunately. It's a machine-washable wool-acrylic blend that's very soft and was fun to work with.

I had plenty of yarn left over, so I used it and some additional gray acrylic yarn from my stash to make a scarf for the Christmas at Sea program, which is an Episcopal charity. A lady at my church collects these scarves and sends them to the parent organization every year.

Finally, I made a baby beanie using some bulky yarn I found in the stash. The labels are long gone, so I can't give you any info on the fiber or manufacturer. I don't know who will get this hat. I'll either give it to a friend who is expecting or save it and mail it to Afghans for Afghans at some point.

I plan to do a few more charity hats using more yarn I dug out of the stash. As always, pictures will be posted as I finish them.