Friday, January 27, 2006

Felting the Pinwheel Purse

My latest project is the Pinwheel Purse from Iris Schreier's book Modular Knits. I worked it in Noro Silk Garden, colorway 213, on size 8 bamboo needles. It was dreadfully floppy and awful-looking once I got it all sewn together, so I gave felting a try. I got lots of good felting advice from the list members on the Multidirectional group. I asked for advice on felting in a front-loader, and got great feedback. I ran it through 3 power-wash cycles, then hand-felted it in boiling hot water in the kitchen sink for about 15 minutes. This is a picture of it blocking. Now to find the perfect button to fasten it!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

A Work in Progress: Sheer One-Piece Shawl

I'm knitting toward my next free pattern with this Sheer One-Piece Shawl from Iris Schreier's book Modular knits. The yarn is a huge skein of handpainted Pima cotton in the colorway Dusk, which I found on eBay from Over The Rainbow Yarns. I am using a double wrap instead of a yarn over for the elongated stitches, as Iris suggested, and it is working up very quickly. More pictures as I get further along - I'm almost finished the back center-increase diamond.

MD Scarf in Cashmere

Along with being a knitaholic, I'm also an eBay addict, where I found one skein of Makalu handpainted cashmere DK. It was high time I got over my fear of messing up luxury yarns - I did okay with the ArtYarns Regal Silk - and started using some of my small stash of high-end treasures. The cashmere was just enough for a multidirectional triangle scarf, a joy to work with and so soft and warm to wear.

Multidirectional Triangle Baby Hat

For my next free pattern project, I knitted an MD Triangle hat for my 8th grandchild, Cassandra Ruth. It is done in Bernat Sox, colorway Hot Jazz on US 3 circular and dp needles. I like the way the colors spiral around to the top of the hat.

Cassie Ru would like you to note that she is wearing her Ugg Boots, a gift for her first birthday from Grandmom and GrandDoug. They are all soft suede and are perfect for first walking shoes.

CassieRu liked her new hat, only pulling it off once to admire the colorful pattern. That's Matt in the background, CassieRu's big brother and my second grandchild.

Friday, January 06, 2006

A Giant Leap to The Diamond Blossom Scarf

I admit it, I am a freebie junkie. Iris Schreier's Multidirectional group on Yahoo offers free patterns for completing different projects, and I am determined to get them all! So as soon as I had Iris' book, Modular Knitting, in my hot little hands, I jumped in feet first on the Diamond Blossom Scarf pattern.

I had to order another skein of Regal Silk 101, a flimsy excuse to buy more ArtYarns! I started working on this pattern during a tornado watch and warning, so I ended up frogging and tinking several times - I was a little tense, watching the emergency broadcasts on TV and alternately scanning the sky for funnel clouds.

I realized after I started working that I should have worked through the multidirectional tutorials before jumping into this pattern , but the lure of another free pattern was incentive enough to keep at it until I had the pattern fixed in my brain.
It is lovely, it is gorgeous, and I wore it outside and in for its' lightweight warmth and luxurious drape. I never envisioned being able to create something this beautiful! DH even noticed and complimented me on my work!

Monday, January 02, 2006

Multidirectional Scarf and Hat

When I was visiting my mother in California last October, we went to the By Hand Yarn shop in Sonora. There are no local yarn shops close to where I live in Southern Illinois, so I was eager to browse for luxury yarns. I came away with enough Berocco Denim Silk for a sweater, 2 skeins of Noro Daria to make a bag, and the focus of my visit - silk yarns. I had never worked with silk yarn before so I chose single skeins - Angora Cottage 100% silk in Night Dreams and Soy Silk/Angora/Wool in Fall Leaves, Artyarns Regal Silk 101 and Silk Ribbon 123. I was thinking of using the silks and the Daria for beaded knotwork, but being the Internet junkie that I am, I had to look up the websites on the yarn labels to find out just what could be made with silk yarn.

The patterns at Artyarns sent me back to By Hand Yarn looking for the Starburst Shawl and Diagonal Tank patterns. Further study of the ArtYarns website revealed the mutidirectional knitting group moderated by Iris Schreier, author of Modular Knits (Lark, 2005) and co-founder of Artyarns, which offered free patterns, advice, and a warm group of knitters from all over the world. I knew I had to join the group, buy the book, and learn this fascinating knitting technique.

I have been knitting madly ever since. Pictured is my first mutidirectional project, the MD scarf, worked in Caron Rainbow colorway Jetstream. The fringe is a crocheted design posted by a member of the multidirectional group - thanks, Sarah! I earned the free pattern for the matching hat, and the set was claimed by one of my granddaughters, Arlyn Danielle, when I went back to New Jersey over the holidays. The colors look great with her auburn hair!

Little Red Riding Hood and Me

This is the last item I crocheted before I rediscovered knitting, a sweater for my granddaughter Arlyn Danielle.

My mother taught me to knit when I was quite small, from an old, well-thumbed knitting booklet of doll clothes featuring Little Red Riding Hood. I aspired to knit a Red Riding Hood cloak for my Ginny doll, but I can only recall making a small garter-stitched square in dark red wool. I remember thinking that the eyelet row for the drawstring was too complicated, so I put it away. As I grew up, I would occasionally start a knitting project from my mother's McCall's Needlework Magazine, but I always chose large advanced projects which took forever to complete, and I soon lost interest. I actually managed to finish a pair of mittens and a baby sweater, but my knitting just didn't look right, it was bumpy and the stitches twisted the wrong way. A college roommate taught me how to crochet in 1970, and I was happy with how quickly a project worked up, and I didn't have to fuss with dropped stitches or finish an entire row before taking a break. I occasionally attempted small knitted projects, but my stitches still twisted in a peculiar fashion and never looked quite right.

Recently I found a pattern that I just had to make, but it was knitted. Now that I had a computer and access to all sorts of free information, I did some research on the Internet and discovered, to my chagrin, that I had been knitting backwards for years - knitting through the back of the loop instead of the front. No wonder my stitches looked strange! I had to re-learn the basics, and my knitting finally looked the way it should. I also picked up lots of speed, and now I am knitting faster than I ever crocheted.