Vintage Knitting Needles and Antique Bottles

Vintage Knitting Needles and Antique Bottles

Friday, September 12, 2014

Ravelry Top Twenty Patterns OMG, have you seen this??????

Fox Paws, a wrap by Xandy Peters
Do you lurk daily on the Ravelry Top Twenty patterns? Imagine the swooning that has been witnessed here on this end? Between the latest release of Brooklyn Tweed's Wool People and now this designer, I should be in a Jane Austen novel with the vapors I have been suffering! I had to Instagram the news to my knitting friends when I found this treasure trove of ideas!

Fox Paws
What smacks you first? For me it was the colors, then the gorgeous stitch pattern and finally, the absolute originality of the concept! I consider knitting akin to doing puzzles, to knit this would be the equivalent in completing (correctly) the Sunday Times puzzle with no divine intervention. No, that's not accurate... completing a swatch in this stitch pattern would be just the thing to push my skills to a whole 'nother level. I would try this just for the brain stretching that would ensue, not to mention the challenge to create a unique color combination approaching the ones shown on Xandy's pattern page.

Another color version of Fox Paws
I pride myself on being a Ravelry stalker, in a good way of course! I am on the site daily, adding to my endless list of Favorites and Queuing things I may never, ever get to knit. It is the desire for omniscience of all things knitting that drives me to pursue this obsession. I love to enable, I enjoy sharing a new fiber, indie dyer or designer. In doing the enabling, I figure I am parceling out the projects I can only dream of.... would you buy this pattern just to show the love for the concept? I did just that and I urge you to consider joining me in my fervor to spread the word of a concept, pattern, yarn, or technique to anyone who will listen.

Image by Marj Loeper, imported from Ravelry page.
Fox Paws, by Xandy Peters. This is a wrap, but can be scaled down to a scarf or shawl size. The project is worked with over 1100 yards of fingering weight yarn on size 6 needles. The "stripes" are so elaborate and look like delicate feet. As described in her Ravelry project notes, the horizontal bands of color are shaped with increases and decreases, using two or more colors without strands or floats on the reverse side. Are you intrigued? How did she do that?

Fox Paws
Fox Paws is just one of ten designs by Xandy Peters. Take a look at the second one that appealed to me, Petal Cowl. This pattern is worked in fingering weight on size 5 needles. It is a smaller scale project calling for under 500 yards of self striping yarn, perhaps a relative quick knit? In choosing a self-striping yarn, the selection of an exciting color palette is done for you. The pattern was released in June 2014 and there are 55 projects listed already! Be brave, jump in!!

Petal Cowl, project by berin. Image imported from Ravelry page.
Close up view
Endless possibilities for color combing!
The skills required to make Petal Cowl include knitting in the round, increasing and decreasing, and may I add, a brave quest to choose an edgy skein of self-striping yarn that combines and contrasts colors for the optimal effect.

Have a look at Xandy's patterns page, if only for the sheer amazement factor. The third design that intrigues me is Solarita, this was actually the first pattern I looked at. It is currently on the Top Twenty Patterns page. The curved sweep is appealing, and the intricate edging is so different from any I have seen, it drew me in. The border takes me back to Greek art history classes, the repeated shapes call to mind urns and murals from long ago.

Wrapped Solarita, back view
The pattern design was inspired by the shifting colors of sunset and the need for an in-between weight wrap for cool summer evenings. The shawl is knit with Brooklyn Tweed Loft, a fingering weight yarn, on size 6 needles.

The final temptation is Feather Flame, a shawl pattern that was released in March of this year. (How much do you envy prolific designers?)

Feather Flame
The shawl is reminds me of feather and fan stitches but it is different. The chevrons are tipped in a bias fashion and the shape of the shawl has a bit of curve for ease of wear. The difficulty factor calls upon skills of increasing, decreasing and the pattern is both written and charted. The yarn featured on Xandy's project page are Lion Brand Sock Ease in the Red Hot colorway. Any fingering weight, self-striping yarns would be appropriate, the shawl is knit on size 5 needles.

I love the styling, the colors pop.
I urge you to use your Instagram or Twitter account, or just word of mouth to spread the news to your knitting groups, blog or podcast. Share a pattern, yarn or technique, you know you want to be an enabler, yes you do!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Works in Progress

My knitting space, and collected objects that make me smile.
This has been such a relaxing and chill summer. I did not teach at the extended year summer session for the first time in four years, instead chosing to take a break from work after a hectic spring in my classroom. I have been enjoying this summer off from work and have been knitting so many, too many, things. There are a a ton of things on the needles, in part because of the East Coast Knitters Neutral KAL and also due to any stash diving that brings an old yarn purchase back to the surface.

Prize in the Neutral KAL. Beacon Hill Box bag, (yarn and needles are shown for scale).
If you haven't heard, the East Coast Knitters Ravelry group is hosting a Neutral KAL. Go have a look at some of the photos of projects completed and please consider joining us. To participate, post a photo of your yarn and pattern and complete it before the end of September. It is fun to check in on the forum thread to see what others have posted. The KAL will close at the end of September and there will be a random drawing of names. The prizes will include a project bag from my Etsy shop and a Ravelry download pattern of your choice with a value up to $7.00. There is still plenty of time to join in, any project knit in a neutral color qualifies! Searching for and selecting a pattern for a neutral yarn causes me to look harder for something with an interesting texture or stitch pattern that will pop because it doesn't compete with color.

The three projects together.
Would you like a peek over my shoulder to see just three of the projects I am currently working on? Here goes!
Brickless by Martina Behm
Yarn- Filatura di Crosa Tempo on size 4 needles
This yarn was purchased at Stitch House quite some time ago. I made a scarf that failed miserably and so it sat waiting to be frogged. The yarn has slow shifts of color in fairly large blocks, so Brickless highlights that feature. If you have yarn where the color is stunning and has runs of color, consider buying this pattern, you won't regret it. As for difficulty, you will be knitting, purling, and casting off 6-12 stitches at the end of a row, and the lace/net stitch calls for knit two together and yarn overs. You can do it!

Easy Garter Stitch Scarf
Detail of the edging. Humble but lovely garter stitch, how I love thee.
Easy Garter Stitch Scarf by Rosemary Falk
Yarn- Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool in natural on size 7 needles
The pattern is so simple and old school that it will become one I make often. In its own homely way, there is beauty to be found in the simplicity of garter stitch and slanted bias. This too is an easy to knit pattern that a beginner could master. But, be forewarned, scarves are best when they are long, beware the boredom factor! I do love the mindlessness of this pattern and I can work it while enjoying the raucous conversation of the family rollicking around me. I plan to make this a long scarf, hopefully the skein will provide for ample yardage, or I might have to get another. (So much for stash busting).

Nymphalidia, before blocking.

Nymphalidia by Melinda Vermeer
Yarn- Madelinetosh Sock in the Bearded Iris colorway and Louet Gems Fingering weight in Navy on size 5.
This is a free pattern from Knittyand when I first perused the issue containing the pattern, it didn't jump out to me. What caught my eye and had me aching to cast on was a sample I saw when visiting at the Iron Horse Yarn shop in Natick. Nymphalidia calls for a colorful sock yarn and a complimentary or contrasting solid. It just pops when you find the right color combo. The pattern is easily memorized and not too difficult for a knitter with a little experience under her belt. The pattern of welted rows accented by a flair of colorful sock yarn is stunning as it flows from your needles.

The blog has been quiet as I have been spending time in Maine at my parents' house, helping out, cooking and keeping company. I am relishing in this new routine and hope to make the most of each day as the summer winds down. My return to school and work, and consequently, less time for all things fiber is approaching oh so quickly. Must. Savor. Each. Day.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Neutrals, with a twist

I've started an Albers Cowl.
Can I start by sharing that I am obsessed with knitting, but more than ever before? And that I have taken the summer off from teaching for the first time in four years, so I have time to spare, more than ever before? And that I am devoted to reducing the stash, so I started this Neutral KAL? (This year the stash grew, more than ever before).

A number of my more distant friends and relatives have contacted me after seeing the flood of recent Instagram and FB posts. They are concerned for my mental health and well-being, and my tan... Why all the knitting they ask? It's summer, save the knitting for cool weather?
Nope, not gonna happen, that is my reply. And maybe, if you have the knitting bug, you will see why....

Garter stitch on size three needles
Pattern: Albers Cowl by Anne Weaver
Yarn: MerinoGold by Grignasco Knits

Here is a photo of the latest project that I have cast on. The yarn is MerinoGold by Grignasco Knitting, an Italian washable wool in a DK weight. WEBS has a good supply of colors and at $5.99 per skein, I urge you to consider trying this yarn. It is soft, round and plump, and the stitch definition, well it kinda takes my breath away when I stop and stare.

This past Wednesday, when I went to WEBS, (for the first time ever....!!!!) I had a list of projects and yarns needed, and I stuck to it. If the Knitting Police come to my house to take evidence pictures of the towering stash, you may understand why I feel compelled to hold back on yarn shopping. (De-stashing and going on a Cold Sheep diet of no expenditures isn't really going all that well, but I have not shared photos of all that has crossed the threshold this month). (For shame). (And for future posts).

MerinoGold by Grignasco Knits
My list included four neutral tones in a DK or sock weight yarn for the Albers Cowl. Believe it or not, (I swear) I don't have much in the DK weight, and none of what I have in the stash was going to work. The theory behind the Albers is to use up sock yarn stash and make a powerful accessory as you sort through and play with vibrant colors. Check out Anne Weaver's project page for examples.

My purchase may prevent me from adding this project to the Neutral KAL, because of the peacock color, but I just couldn't get psyched for the neutrals alone, no punch of color. I cast on last night and I am having trouble putting the needles down; I like this garter stitch pattern that much! I did Google "Picking Up Selvedge Edge Garter Stitches" and followed the video from KnitPicks. I thought I knew how to do it, but for the sake of desiring perfection, you know I just had to check in with an expert.

So, join us if you'd like, at the East Coast Knitters Neutral KAL, either with a project or an open mind as you lurk on the photos and project pages in order to save pattern and yarn ideas for the future. Details on how to join in on the group link.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Neutral Knit Down- Quaker Yarn Stretcher Boomerang

Ridged rows of wool
I now have two Neutral projects going, this one was chosen as something I could work on while riding passenger with my friend Gina as we made our way to WEBS yesterday. I am in love with this pattern, such delicious potato chip knitting, and it showcases the yarn so well!

Pattern: Quaker Yarn Stretcher Boomerang by Susan Ashcroft
Yarn: Cascade Rustic
I couldn't fall asleep Tuesday night.... a trip to WEBS, with Gina (yay) and what should I bring to knit??? I tossed and turned, (the heat and humidity were definitely factors!), and when I woke up at 4:30 AM on Wednesday (as I so often do) I decided this would be my car knitting. I cast on and had about eight inches before I even got out to Riverside where I was to meet Gina. It is an easy pattern and such a relaxing knit.

If you'd like to join my KAL, grab some neutral yarn and a pattern and sign into the East Coast Knitters Neutral KAL. There will be photos of prizes soon, I promise. I just need to finish this row....

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Onward, Neutral KAL

Onward by Shannon Cook
 I can't show you all of the details of this project, as it will be a gift to be given shortly. Sorry, but you will need to wait to see the whole she-bang. I cast on this past Saturday and it has been flying along. I just started skein three so I am at the half way mark.

Pattern: Onward by Shannon Cook, from the book Journey
Yarn: Lion Brand Baby's First, size 11 needles

The pattern calls for different, smaller gauge yarn and smaller needles. The fact is, my daughter wanted to knit a blanket from these skeins but never did get to it. I am trying to de-stash and it conforms to the Neutrals palette, so I started knitting a swatch early Saturday. Once I arrived at the drape that I liked, I cast on. The pattern is very well written and after each set of six rows, you are given the stitch count. By doing that, there have been no mistakes or tinking backward. I like when it runs on this way, don't you?

So leave a note if you have been inspired to go through your stash to knit something in a Neutral. I'd love the company!