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Posts Tagged ‘Cooperative Press’

One Project off the Christmas Knitting List

I’m the first knitter on Ravelry to finish (or even start) the Diamonds in the Ruff collar.  The pattern was published last March in Defarge Does Shakespeare from Co-operative Press, and I want to thank Heather at Craftlit for getting me hooked on both the series and the publishing company.

Diamonds in Ruff materialsKnitting

This is the project which helped me improve my beading method. As I mentioned before, I picked up the seed beads from Bead Biz.  I also got ribbon, focal beads (rose and leaf) and hook and eye clasps from Jo Ann Fabric, and just a couple of beads from stash.

There was lots of beading involved in this one, so the knitting took longer than such a small project normally would.  Not that the beading was that difficult, but it made the project completely non portable.  Too much set up before knitting and clean up after, too many little bits to make a mess.  So I could only work on this one at home.  It took me nearly three weeks from cast on to finish.

Blocking

I have heard many people say unblocked lace supposedly looks horrible, but honestly, I just don’t see it myself.  It’s bumpy, true, but I usually find it interesting.

Diamonds in the Ruff Unblocked

This is another piece I blocked using wire.  I threaded one thin wire through the cast on stitches and the other one at the end of the “A” chart.  I threaded a thicker wire (because I was out of the thin ones) through the bind off.  I pinned the first two to the target measurement, and stretched the remainder of the ruff out to really display the lace.

Diamonds in the Ruff blocking

Finishing

Once the piece was blocked I stitched 3/4″ ribbon to the wrong side, and sewed two hook and eye clasps on.  If I do it again I’ll leave slack at the short ends of the ribbon, and attach the clasps between the ribbon and the lace rather than on top of the ribbon, but it is acceptable as is.

Diamonds in the Ruff baubleMaking the faux clasp was a lot of fun.  I took a large silicone stitch marker and crocheted around it with the Knitpicks Gloss Lace I’d used for the ruff, beading as I went, and left a tail, which I then beaded.  I attached a second length of yarn and beaded it as well.  Then I sewed the whole assembly onto the ruff so that it hides the hook and eye clasps.

The final product is a very dainty and delicate piece, almost more jewelry than anything else.

Of course the person I’m giving it to probably expects a much bolder ‘infinity scarf’, so I bought one at Kohls to give her as well.  Because if I gift this to her and she seems disappointed I might just have to kill someone…

Diamonds in the Ruff FO

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I didn’t win the last Michelle’s Assortment name that pattern giveaway, so I entered the next one (20 December).  I’ve missed some, but I’ve caught a couple of the Knitter’s Pride series of giveaways (20 December) and the Phat Fiber Edgewood Garden Studios BFL roving giveaway (also 20 December).

 

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Problem Solved

Some time ago I described a painful beading incident which occurred when I was working on the Belle Greene shawl.  I’m now working another beaded pattern,  the Diamonds in the Ruff collar (from Defarge Does Shakespeare).  This is the project which called for the Bead Biz purchase at the Alpaca Festival.  Once again, I’m working with small beads and a really tiny crochet hook.  I’ve made two changes in the process, which help with both speed and safety.

First of all, rather than working the stitch and then threading it through a bead, I’m just beading the unworked stitch and slipping it to the right hand needle.  As long as I do it consistently it works beautifully.

Secondly, I’ve got a new crochet hook.  One with a soft  grip and, more importantly…

beaded hook

Comet wanted to cuddle with the pattern

covered hook

Therefore, camera time

…it has a cover. Now, as long as I cap it before putting it away, there will be no more ‘painful incidents’, even if the cats do knock my project bag on the floor.

You can never be too careful.

But, seriously, it’s a stunning design, and I’m enjoying working on it when I stop the cat from lying on it.

In addition to the seed beads, I’ve gotten the ribbon and some focal beads for finishing

beads

I think it’s going to be stunning.  Now, if I can just be sure to finish by Christmas…

Blog Giveaways

I didn’t win the “Wonder Clips” from A Simple Homestead, the luxury yarn basket from Expression Fiber Arts or the pattern and yarn from Aroha Knits.  I did win the Arciform sweater pattern from Aphaia.

I entered the Expression Fiber Arts November/December yarn basket drawing (15 December) and the Knitting Pipeline drawing for Wool Baby Patterns ebook (26 November).

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Yarn Projects

My Most Recent FO

Goatless Pocket

I picked up stitches on the inside right where the bottom met the side. First stitch of each row I K2Tog with body of bag, slipped last stitch of each row. It worked well. (click for enlarged picture)

I finished the felted handbag using mohair from Flying Goat Farm.  I ran out of the darker brown just as I got to the handle break, so I switched to the orange there.    I had a bit of orange left over, which I used to make a knit-in (garter stitch) interior pocket.  I didn’t have quite enough to make it a good cel phone pocket, but it’ll be good for something, I’m sure.

The bag (pre felting) was a little bit lumpy and awkward, but I was sure it was going to turn out nicely.

Unfelted Goatless

Yeah, I know, if I was more consistent in my tension I wouldn’t have this much unevenness.  BUT – I kept my floats short (see pocket picture above) and felting is a really forgiving process.

Goatless Felted

I’m very happy with the result.  At some point I plan to seam up the swatch ans turn it into a change purse, but other than that it’s good to go!

Current WiPs

So – four project bags, four projects.  From oldest to newest –

Mont Royal Socks

Mont Royal patternThese are slow going, mostly because 1) I’m working on four projects and 2) they’re not mindless.  This picture clearly shows the downside of the asymmetric toes – the stitch pattern is totally centered in the base pattern.  It doesn’t bug me enough to frog and re-knit, but it’s worth remembering for the next pair.  Anyway, the pattern is lovely, the CoBaSi yarn is doing the right thing, I’m happy with these, even if they won’t be done until (at this rate) mid – fall or so.

Fifth Doctor Sweater

This is the project I alluded to in the cockroach post. I’m knitting my husband a sweater.  Now, there’s a knitting superstition that knitting your boyfriend a sweater dooms the relationship*, but I have it on reliable authority that that doesn’t go for spouses.  Besides, over 24 years of marriage we’ve gone through so much (of the good and the bad) that I don’t think a little curse can make much difference…

Because it’s cotton I  not only blocked the swatch, I hung it overnight before re-measuring it.Five Swatch

Yes, with cotton it really does grow and stretch with blocking and hanging.  About a 10% vertical difference, enough that I know to knit it just a tad short.  Not only did I get valuable information, I can use the swatch as a dishcloth (but I’ll hold onto it until the sweater is pieced and finished, just in case).

Five Cast On Casting onto a large project (like a sweater) always intimidates me a little, so I placed a marker every twenty stitches during the cast on, and double counted those stitches, to make sure I had the right stitch count.  I’m not sure how much time it saved over double and triple counting the stitches straight off would have taken, but it did lower my anxiety level about the whole process.

This sweater is the Cricket Jumper from Joy Gammon’s The Doctor Who Pattern Book, because Five is his Doctor.  You will notice it runs over $30 on Amazon, but I managed it for about $15 on eBay.  I’ve been looking on and off for this book for years, and it looks to be worth the search.  Joy Gammon did a lot of media fandom pattern writing in the 1980’s in particular, and the patterns are great (I’m so tempted by the K9 bag!), but she was basically writing with the target audience of not-necessarily-skilled costume and toy makers, so I read over the pattern with an eye for adapting.

The most needed change was size (I had to extrapolate one size beyond the pattern).  I also added a slip stitch selvage. A little reading convinced me that the classic cricket jumper (which would be what Davison wore) would be knit flat in cotton, so that’s the way I’m making the sweater.  I expect this to be done by mid to late fall, because it’s a big project and because I’m working on three others.  There was a little bit of calculating to make sure the cables were properly centered with the new stitch count, but I don’t expect any serious hick ups. I used my LYS’s ‘customer loyalty’ discount for this one, but even if I hadn’t buying the yarn would still have been less than I’d pay for a decent cricket jumper off the rack.

Stereotypical

I’m making a case for my sunglasses.  Once again, I’m knitting a pattern from Stiching in the Stacks.  This time I’m making a case for my sunglasses.  It’s a simple enough idea – two color outer case, change yarns and purl (or was that the other way around) and keep knitting for the lining. Close it up and there’s a lined case.

It’s a small piece, but I’m just planning to have it finished by next summer.  The colorwork is pretty, but it’s not TV knitting.

Pineapple Sunrise

So while I was at Ocean City (watching the beautiful sunrises) I bought a lovely orange-red sundress.  It’s pretty and floaty… and I don’t have anything to accessorize it with.  Fortunately, it was always my plan to stop by Salty Yarns.  Yes, they are a needlework shop, but they have a nice little room full of knitting yarn, including this skein of Kauni.

Pineapple Sunrise Tequila

It coordinates with the dress, and it looks very sunrise like.  I’m using the pattern I Promise You Pineapples by Justyna Kacprzak (it’s a free Ravelry download).  I’m liking the effect very much so far.  In fact, with the colors and the title of the pattern and the whole sunrise thing I just had to call it Pineapple Sunrise.

Then I asked my local bartender to make me a Tequila Sunrise with pineapple juice instead of orange juice.

It was beautiful and tasty both!

Pineapple Beginning

This is the last WiP I started, and the one I’m concentrating on.  I want to finish it before it gets too cold to wear that dress…

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I didn’t win the fabric from Marshall Drygoods, or the One Skein Wonder book from Lisa Bogart.  No new giveaways this time.

*Apologies for pedantry, but I can’t make myself not say that the superstition probably has a lot to do with the length of time it takes to knit a sweater vs the length of an average romantic relationship. I just can’t make myself believe that it’s anything more than that, but still, folklore is fun!

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Sheep and Wool Festival

Linked BorderI was only at the Festival for one day this year, but it was a very good day.  I had a lovely time.

I saw some marvelous knitting, as you can see from this really delightful linked border,  There were some absolutely fun shops, such as the yarn bus here.

yarnbus

There were also so many marvelous festival goers, the sheep to shawl competition, shearing and sheepdog demonstrations, and of course all the marvelous food vendors.

I have to admit, however, that I mostly go for

The Loot!

SWF loot

I got Hitch from Cooperative Press.

Flying Goat TapestryBrowns and Orange tapestry mohair from Flying Goat Farm.  I know, I know, Mohair and I have a problematic relationship, but I have a real weakness for local vendors at the S&W, it was just $5 a 100 yard skein and, besides, the colors are just so vibrant and amazing!

I’m thinking of a stranded hat here, with the orange just popping out.

Spinaway Farms BoucleThis wasn’t the only mohair bargain which suckered me in.  Early Sunday afternoon, the proprieter of Spinaway Farms booth must have seen me coming, because he put up a sign declaring all his boucle yarns at 50% off.  I scored 200 yards of mohair boucle for $6.  How could I walk past that?  The website isn’t operational yet, and he hasn’t got an entry in the Ravelry database yet, so this years festival is presumably one of his first venues.  Very exciting.

Montdale MohairI also bought a wonderful skein of worsted weight yarn from The Cavey Family Sheep and Wool company.  It’s 80% Montdale, 20% mohair (yes, I know, it’s a trend) and died orange with “Gaywood Wattle Bark”.  It’s about two shades darker than the Swanns Island fingering I got last month, I’m thinking co-ordinating hat and shawl.  They Cavey Family also doesn’t have a Ravelry presence, or even a web site.  She said she has a shop in her home, hours by appointment.  If you’re going near New Windsor Maryland you might want to give her a call at 410.635.2459.  Tell her I’m the woman who said she’ll enter something from this in next years contest, and that I said hi.

BOTI yarnLast, but not least, I picked up some yarn to knit a replacement “Bigger on the Inside” shawl. (It’s a sad story, I must have left it at a restaurant on the way from here to Ohio last year, when I was getting the younger child from school.) This is from Ashton Studio Arts, whose online store is currently down, but also has an Etsy shop,   This is another shop in the home.  I actually drove by there once and couldn’t find the place, because it’s not only in state, it’s a short drive from my home.

So, yeah, I scored lots and lots of good loot.

The Competitions

I entered three items in the skein and garment competition this year, and won a ribbon for each.  I have to admit, I’m walking about six feet off the ground right now.

ribbons

Playing to the Judges doll cowl – fourth place ribbon in “Knitting for Dolls and Bears” category.  The judges really liked it, but thought that it should have been blocked.

Vexing Socks – fourth place in the “Socks – Commercial Yarn” category.  The judges liked the design.  Thought that the fairl isle technique was good, but that the top was stretched out, and that they showed signs of being worn.  Should have been washed out and blocked.

Tam of Rassillon – first place in the “Garment with more than one color of commercial yarn” category.  The judges liked the color and the finish, and said it had a beautiful hand.

So, yay!  Go me.

Blog Contests and Yarn Giveaways

I didn’t win the Expression Fiber Arts April giveaway, the Messenger Bag from Lisa Bogart or the Merletta from This Knitted Life.

I entered the May giveaway from Lisa Bogart – a cute scissors fob (30 May).

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