Holly Jolly FOs

I hope everyone had a happy holiday. We sure did at La Casa de Weasel. And despite all the hectic-ness of the holidays, baking, family visits and all the rest, quite a bit of knitting was accomplished round these parts.

First, my order from WEBS arrived–with a single skein of Mulberry Merino safely ensconced–and my Beaumont was finished and blocking the very same night.

Graphic-print awesomeness

It’s just a little big on me, but I still love it. The yarn is buttery soft and drapey, and it haloed beautifully. The pattern is very well written, and worked up easily. If I were to knit it again with a yarn with this high a percentage of silk content, and therefore little actual structure, I’d go down a needle size on both the ribbing and the colorwork to tighten it up a bit.

Rocking the slouchy tam

Shortly before I finished Beaumont, the new Knitty went live, and some of the patterns really called to me. So, I dove into the stash, came out with three hanks of Malabrigo Worsted, grabbed my US 10 Addi Turbo and quickly cast on Stephanie Japel’s Frost Diamonds. In my opinion, this pattern was made for Malabrigo.

The warmest frost ever!

This knit up ridiculously fast. And it’s huge! The pattern was pretty simple; even though, I made a few mistakes. Luckily, with the colorway combined with the diamond lace pattern, the errors are almost invisible–even to me, and I tend to be pretty self-critical.

Loving the drape

I can definitly see the appeal of worsted weight lace. It’s still drapy, but it’s so warm and cuddly, and there’s real weight to the finished fabric. It makes a wonderful finished piece, and with it being so cold here now, I’m having trouble taking it off!

:::love:::

In new project news, I also fell in love with Citron from the new Knitty, and cast on with the hank of Malabrigo lace I picked up on the recent trip to WEBS with the doctors.

Little Mal ruffles

I can see how this could get tedious to knit as it gets larger, but so far it’s airy and sweet and I’m determined to power through.

Also in my WEBS delivery were these seven hanks of alpaca and tencel blend..

Classic Elite Miracle

…which are destined for Willoughby. I’ve had one false start on Willoughby already, but I will be giving it another try very soon.

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A Short Update after a Busy Weekend

This weekend was dominated by holiday baking, some pretty pretty snow, a nightmarish trip to the grocery store and dress shopping, so very little knitting took place.

I did work on some new spinning for a little bit…

Hi! My name is Lorna and I’m fabulous!

…and while I did have some concerns about spinning superwash, since I’ve never done it before, it’s working out quite well.

My first singles in Lorna’s “Bittersweet” colorway

Ten ounces of pretty pretty Lorna’s Laces top will keep me busy for a while.

While we didn’t get as much snow as they forcasted, Madori still enjoyed playing in the few inches that we did get.

I’s a cute fluffy snowbunny!

She hates her sweater.

But I love it.

And I have opposable thumbs, so I win!

In Which the Sock Knitter Goes Hat Crazy

I’ve never really been a big hat knitter. I guess everyone has their thing, and for me that’s mostly been socks. Sure, there’s a scarf here, a sweater there, a couple bags, a pair of mitts…but hats have never really been my thing.

It’s kind of weird, too, because hats are such instant gratification. They take so little yarn and so little time, you’d think I’d have knit more of them. Well, maybe I’m making up for lost time, because I been on a little hat kick recently and can’t explain why.

First was my handspun Selbu Modern, and then came this handspun number…

Mountain Nights Toque, with pom

…which, at first, I thought might have been better in theory. The pompom makes it, though. This is the Mountain Nights Toque (Rav link) in my “Creation of Adam” handspun merino. I cast on two extra repeats on US 10 needles for this one, since the pattern calls for bulky and this is more of a worsted, and it did come out pretty slouchy and squishy.

Gahh! Apologies for the dreaded “no-make-up” shot…

I like it, but not on me so much. I’m clearly not a beanie-style-hat person.

Next came the Half-pipe Hat (Rav link). I’d made one of these before, and it’s a pretty quick pattern, again on US 10s. This one worked up in one night, over only a few quick hours.

Nothin’ but a g-thang…

I used some long-stashed plastic canvas for the brim, and the yarn is Sheep Shop Sheep 2 bulky-weight I picked up on closeout during a recent trip up to WEBS with a couple of doctors. I’m thinking this will be gifted to my brother, as he can probably rock this way, way better than I can.

Finally, there’s Beaumont.

Hello, colorwork…

On the same trip up to Northampton, the docs and I stopped into Northampton Wools, where I (finally!) picked up one of their last copies of Jared Flood’s book for Classic Elite, “Made in Brooklyn.” I also picked up two balls of Plymouth Mulberry Merino, which I just could not walk away from, to start this tam.

The yarn is buttery soft and drapy and shiny. I’m loving it, but it is splitty. Very splitty. I knit the ribbing on a metal US 4 fixed circular needle from Knitpicks, and that was kind of torture. The needle was way too pointy and kept splitting the stuff apart. After the ribbing, I switched to a US 7 fixed Harmony wood circ from Knitpicks…much, much better. It’s notably less sharp of a point, so while it still splits, it’s not nearly as bad.

The only other issue I’ve had with the yarn so far is the yardage. It only comes in 99-yard hanks…which I thought would be enough…which was clearly a delusion on my part. I’m two rounds away from the start of the decreases, and I’m out of the white. Boo. Another hank is on it’s way, but I was hoping to have this finished and blocking by the weekend. Oh well. I just really hope the red doesn’t bleed into the white when I wash it…spray block maybe?? Instead of wet block? We’ll see…

And at least it’s the white and not the red. How off can dyelots really be on white? Oh, sweet delusion…

Adventures in Felting

I never do Christmas knitting. In fact, I’m notably anti-Christmas knitting. But there are a few people on my list that are always difficult to buy for.

So this year, I caved. And French Press Slippers (Rav link) made it a year of remarkably non-stressful Christmas knitting.

French Presses, all in a row

I’ve only attempted felting once before, and it was an utter disaster. It was a felted purse, and I knit it far too tightly. On top of that, I decided to try felting by hand…not a good idea at all. It resulted in a whole lot of frustration and total felting failure.

So, the first pair were experimental…and it kinda shows. But luckily, they were not gifts but were for me!

Voila!

For this pair, I used Knitpicks Wool of the Andes in “Cranberry” and my US 15 straights.  The knitting went quick enough. The assembly…was less than stellar. And the first attempt at felting. Yeah, not so great. A lot of holes developed and they just felted kinda uneven after three runs through the washer.

I patched the holes and sent them back through for one more cycle, and they did come out a little better. But there are clearly parts that did not felt as well as others. They fit well, and they’re very cozy…but I’m a little less than thrilled with them.

So, I was a little nervous about future pairs. For those, though, I just used Paton’s Classic Wool (yay for Black Friday sales!)…and what a difference that made!

So cute!

This gray pair is for my gram, and they felted perfectly after only two runs through the wash! Wow!

And this black pair is for my brother’s girlfriend, Annaliese, and they only took three washes to felt up so nicely!

Love these!

I did the seams different on these, and they felted much better. There’s no stitch definition on these two pairs at all. All three pairs have puffy paint soles because they were pretty slippery on the hardwood without them. All in all, I think they’ll make really nice gifts, and they took very little time to make…bonus!

Also, aren’t the buttons awesome! They’re handcovered in cottons and silks from LiDDesigns Supplies, and I’m more than a little in love with them. And I might have more where these came from. Because they’re fantastic and really very well constructed.

With my minimal amount of Christmas knitting done, I’ve started a couple new projects. One uses this fantastic buttery, amazing yarn from Plymouth

:::swoon:::

…and I started some thrummed socks. Can we say toasty toes?!

Ummmmm…Lorna’s Laces DK weight merino/silk….

Finally, I’ve discovered bombyx top…

Hi, there. Today we’re going to spin some silk thread.

…and it’s going quite well.

Like a Hug, Only Tweedier

Quite some time ago…probably going on a couple of years now…the infamous purveyor of amazing things known as School Products had a sale.

Well, such a momentous occasion couldn’t go uncelebrated, so I indulged a little. Okay, maybe more than a little. But they had camel and yak and laceweight cones…oh, my, it just couldn’t be helped! They also had these gigantic cones of Italian tweed–wool, cotton, silk and rayon all blended together.

Hello, Tweed!

How could I say no?

Well, this tweed has lingered for a while. At one point, it was on its way to becoming Smokin’ (Rav link) for my stepfather, but it quickly became clear that even this huge cone wouldn’t be enough to make a sweater that would fit a man as large as my stepfather.

So, it sat around a while longer, before I finally decided that the time  had come to try to make a dent in this stuff. Send in the Big Sack Sweater.

Tweed and cables are like peas and carrots

There’s no shaping here. Nothing fancy or lacy. It’s a simple raglan sack of a sweater that’s ridiculouly warm and downright cozy.

I added a couple inches to the body length here, and probably could have added a couple more. It’s still a tad short in the back for me, but it works. I also added length to the sleeves, and they’re just perfect.

I was worried about the wool content. The rolled collar rests right against my neck. The wool content must be pretty low in this, though, because it softened significantly after a bath and a good soak in conditioner and it hasn’t caused me any itchies so far.

Sorry, this is the best shot I could get…

I decided to seam, rather than changing it to knit in the round, for a couple reasons. First, I really like the structure that seaming gives to a sweater. I think it holds together well and just fits more like I want it to. Second, I love the mattress stitch. I don’t know why. Can’t really explain it. But taking all those pieces of a sweater and seaming them up, watching the stitches just slide in next to each other all snug…well, I really enjoy it. And this one was no exception.

So, there you have it. Another sweater successfully finished. And that cone of tweed? Well, after frogging the remnants of Smokin’, you can barely tell I even made a dent it the thing. I think it might turn into a much-altered version of the Estes Vest (Rav link)…maybe even with sleeves!

BTW, the mini mittens from the previous post were made using this pattern (Rav link), with a couple small changes. I reversed the thumb increases on the second mitten to that they would be a matching pair, instead of identical twins. From start to finish, they took about an hour and a half to make, and they barely made a dent in the scrap ball of sock yarn.

The palm shot, for scale

 And, they are just freaking cute!