Wednesday, April 30, 2014

FO Retrospective Roundup: Socks, Gauntlets, and a Giveaway!

This is the last of the posts summarizing the projects I've finished over my months-long hiatus. Starting next time, there'll be all-new content! And lots of it, too - I'm suffering a serious bout of startitis and the number of projects on my needles has exploded exponentially.

Now, don't let the title of this post fool you into thinking I've finished any socks over the past nine months. Because I haven't. Not a single solitary sock. Oh, I tried to finish some socks. I've even knit quite a lot on socks! But, you know, I think I might just be suffering from a curse in this department. I finished almost an entire sock for Pickle, only to find that it was so small that he couldn't even put his foot into it. This is the fourth time I've tried to knit him the pair of socks that I promised him for his birthday nearly two years ago, and it may well be two more years before he finally gets them.

Meanwhile, I made an astonishing discovery.

Knitted scalemail gauntlets! How cool is that? After I heard that such a thing was possible, I found out where to buy scales in bulk, sat down with my needles and some trusty Cascade 220 Superwash, and made a few swatches to figure out sizing.

You can see that the scales have holes at one tip that allow them to be seated onto loops of yarn in exactly the same way that you would bead a stitch.

Scales, even lightweight aluminum scales, do odd things to knitted fabric, making it stretch and pull in odd ways, so I kept half of the gauntlet scale-free and added ribbing for extra stretch.

I'll be knitting at least two more pairs of these, as commissions, and I'm wondering whether I should write up a tutorial or a pattern walking through the exact steps. It would be an awful lot of work... but it's also too exciting to keep to myself!

Finally, in honor of my return to blogging - and in an attempt to break my sock curse - I'm holding a giveaway!

I'm giving away this skein of Sunshine Yarns Classic Sock Yarn in Fields of Heather, a set of size 1 Kollage yarns Square DPNs, and a DPN/sock project holder.

All you have to do is leave a comment on this post with what project you'd make with it (doesn't have to be socks!) and a way to contact you (either email or Ravelry username) before May 15th! On May 15th I'll do a random drawing to determine the winner. Open to everyone worldwide.

(Please note that this yarn is beautiful and lovely and squishy and dyed locally to me and I don't want to let it go... but also that it's just 370 yards per skein. You may want to keep this in mind for project planning.)

Saturday, April 26, 2014

FO Retrospective Roundup: Bandit's Sweater.

Started: February 12, 2012
Finished: January 10, 2014


It's... it's finally done.

I'm free.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

FO Retrospective Roundup: Shawls.

So, it's been quite a while, hasn't it? I'm looking back over old posts and thinking how much has been knit (or cast on, or frogged) since then. I can't wait to show you what's come off my needles and what's on those needles now.

Shawls have definitely been my greatest strength over the past year - I think I've knit more of them than everything else combined! And for some reason my shawl mojo is just always strong. I never seem to have gauge problems with them, or mess up the pattern, or make disastrous mistakes, or lose at yardage chicken. The same certainly can't be said of socks, at any rate.

So, meet the shawls I've finished:


Started: April 13, 2013
Finished: July 4, 2013


This shawl, uniquely, has always been about kindness. I received the yarn years ago when I was just beginning to dip my toes into knitting, when a very generous knitter took my facetious request to take some of her stash off her hands seriously. She sent the lovely purple laceweight to me, telling me not to worry about paying her back but rather to pay it forward. I got the chance to do just that last year, when my custom-shawl-knitting services were auctioned at a charity auction to benefit Doctors Without Borders. I wanted very much to use this yarn, and when I didn't have enough yardage, I looked in Ravelry stashes and found a single skein of matching yarn for sale or trade, and a second very kind knitter rushed it to me. I finished it a while ago, as you can see - well before the blog went silent, in fact - but neglected to take pictures when it was finished. The recipient was kind enough to send me some recently.

So. This is the result (or the embodiment?) of an endless flow of kindnesses large and small. It's not the most opulent shawl I've ever knitted (I doubt anything will take that title away from my Nouveau Beaded Capelet) but it certainly never fails to humble me when I think about it.


Storm Warning

Started: June 13, 2013
Finished: August 24, 2013


If Vostok is about kindness, this shawl should be all about celebration and joy. It was made out of yarn that Bandit gave me for our two-year anniversary, after all, and was knit for Luna for her birthday present.

It's not about joy. Nope. I definitely did not feel any joy while I was knitting this. The endless garter stitch was tedious and the yarn was splitty and the beads weren't cooperating and oh my goodness would the shawl just be over already? I think it may have been this shawl, actually, that broke the blog. Much of August was focused on gritting my teeth and powering through all those complaints in order to have it done by Luna's birthday... and I just didn't have much to say while I was knitting it. Not much that could be published, anyway.

But I did power through it, and I did finish knitting it, and you know what? I think this shawl is about the value of hard work. It takes a lot of work to maintain a relationship, and it takes a lot of work to be a good friend, and it takes a lot of work to run a household and take care of a family, especially to do so as well as Luna does. It's not always going to be easy or fun, but the important thing is that you keep at it and do it anyway. And I'm glad I did.

That said, though, I'm never knitting this pattern again.


Out of Darkness

Started: July 19, 2013
Finished: September 6, 2013


This shawl is about the importance of reading your patterns carefully.

I cast this on just before the trip to Reno last summer, and it was a wonderful, wonderful knit (as well as a wonderful distraction from Storm Warning!) I was having so much fun with the beautiful pattern and the lovely soft yak yarn, and associating it with great memories of Reno, and... somewhere along the way, I managed to skip a chart and a half. And I didn't even notice until months after I bound off.

It's so tiny that it barely wraps around my neck. As beautiful as I think it is, I haven't been able to use it at all.


Gold Stars in Dark Clouds

Started: March 9, 2014
Finished: April 5, 2014


And this one would be about second chances. I revisited the Out of Darkness pattern (being very careful to read this time). I used a cobweb-weight yarn that Pickle and his sister had given me as a gift years ago, that had failed miserably with a different pattern. I used tiny bright brass beads that had been bought for a sewing project but had holes too small for my sewing needles. And, given a second chance, they all came together. And I think they came together beautifully.

Monday, April 21, 2014

*sneaks back in guiltily*

So, uh... if I distract you with pictures of new yarn and FOs, will you overlook the fact that I've been away for nine months?