Monday, January 13, 2014

An itty bitty pile of itty bitty FO's

First off, the teeniest, tinyest little canary.

It's about two inches... sooo tiny. I made it with the Bluebird knitting pattern, made of course, with yellow yarn instead. This yarn is the leftovers from the incomplete Pikachu from last fall that I ran out of matching yarn on ... I've been using it up a bit here and there on various projects, frogging it as I work on the next item.  Hobby Lobby in the fluorescent yellow that I can't find in their stores nor website any longer. It's a heavy worsted, but I used tiny needles and it stayed nice and tiny. It probably took about 45 minutes to make from start to finish. I used crinkly plastic around the stuffing so that it makes a satisfying noise when grabbed... and I left a slight opening at the very bottom and have been periodically sticking a little catnip in... the cat is intrigued, but doesn't want me to see her playing with it (she's still working on haughty disdain).

Very fun to knit, and turned out really REALLY cute.

HPKCHC Note: This was a great turn-in for CoMC being 'yellow' which was one of the recommended colors for the class prompt. I also did it in honor of my pride, the canary creams as someone had suggested that we could make matching canaries to show pride unity.

And then I also whipped out a cute little ball rattle with the same leftovers...

This was made with a free online pattern - Baby Ball Rattle. To try to keep it 'noisy' and washing machine safe... I wrapped a couple of small jingle bells in a plastic pouch which was wrapped with fiberfill... and I'm hoping that means it can be filthy, yet tossed in the washer and dryer at will. Time will tell, I guess.

Again, a super quick project. Though the rapid increases and rapid decreases were a bit irritating and it wasn't my favorite project. However, not having any seams? That was a very good thing!

HPKCHC Note:  This was turned in for Divination... one of the prompts was to make something inspired by change. My brand new grandbaby who I don't expect to meet until this summer? Well, that seems like a big change that needed to be honored.

And lastly - a super cute Baby sweater (which ended up just HAVING TO HAVE a hat as well), because ... OMG the cute.

The photo is more in focus than you can tell from this shot... the green/white variegated and the white with shots of pale, colors is pretty light... and threw the camera for a little bit of a loop. The pattern is from Last Minute Knitted Gifts using discontinued yarn from Bernat yarns, specifically their Jacquard Jr's line. It's a sport weight yarn that does self-patterning with sections of variegated and stretches of stripes (as you can see by the sweater).  They do still carry the Baby Jacquard line which is more pastel yet... and tends to be true baby colors. But, I fell in love with the Junior line as it has a less baby-true palette and more bright colors.  I had purchased enough to make a small child sweater... And this sweater and hat didn't even use a full skein... so I am still trying to figure out what the next project this yarn is destined to become.

I made a slight mistake in placing the placket ... but it's a newborn sweater and honestly? with the baby due in August, it's unlikely to end up getting worn much, if at all. I figure though that cold air conditioning and/or a cool evening means that this way they have a sweater for the baby. If he/she never gets to wear it, well, then I can stress less about the mistake anyway.  It's great being able to pour a little love into a simple, cute project and it felt like this sweater practically knit itself. About the only things I would change (besides putting the placket in the right spot) is to use a more stretchy cast-on. I used the long-tail cast-on and the waist band and wrist cuffs are still a bit tight.

HPKCHC Note: Muggle Studies asked us to make items of clothing that Professor Quirrel might have worn during the times when he would have been a Muggle Studies professor. Well, wizards generally have a quite odd sense of clothing styles... and I did think about posing with the sweater on my head mock-turban style and the hat on my hands... but then I ended up stating that I simply practiced my reducto charm to shrink the items so that they would fit the new grand baby. No response yet from the professors, but I really don't expect one... they usually love little twists like that to help sell the project.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Knitting in the works

I've started working on Lempster... a new pattern on Knitty by Norah Gaughan. I'm using Knit Picks Shine Worsted in Macaw - which is a BRILLIANT, BRIGHT jewel-toned green. This yarn is super soft and is the same yarn I used for my Velvet Morning Cardigan (also, I believe, a Knitty Pattern) ... which I am wearing today in the sub-zero freezing temperatures.

While she seems to be a brilliant pattern designer... her take on top-down construction is new-to-her and a bit unusual... and ... challenging. It's turning out ok... and now that I'm at the upper shoulders and in some repeat rows, I'm loving it. It's still challenging now, but it's no longer scratch my head and frog it three times - hard.  After the set up, it's been pretty smooth sailing and I am loving watching the complex cables start to really show off in the yarn.

I've got one other heavily cabled sweater that I've made for myself, - only that one gets a little too warm. With this one having the nice wide neckline and being made in cotton/tencel blend, I'm hoping it will make a great warm, but not too warm sweater for me. The yarn is a joy to knit with and I really do need to plan on buying more for sweaters and/or other tops for myself in the future.

HPKCHC Note: This is part 1 of my Herbology OWL, option 1 (heavy cables). I expect to use only about 1100 yards or less on it... so there are some heavily cabled charity hats in my future once I'm sure how much yarn I need to get to the 1200 yard minimum. Had a rough start... but the yarn is flying off the skeins now... and I'm LOVING it.

I'm also working on learning how to knook. I did a washcloth last month and learned how to avoid twisted stitches on my purl rows... so this month, I'm branching out further doing a Sampler scarf.  The pattern is great... and basically, you are alternating each section of knook vs crochet stitches. I'm having a hard time sticking to the pattern as-written... but the ghist is in my head now, and I'm off and running. I've only got about two more stitch patterns to go to get to the half-way point... which then has you repeat the stitch sections again in reverse order (so you end with the same pattern you start with). But, I'm kind of thinking that I might do some of the sections I had done differently than written  the way they were written... and the ones where I followed the directions, I might swap those out for something new. The possibilities are pretty endless as long as you aren't doing any SSK's (which I suppose, I could figure out an alternative to).

I picked another Knit Picks yarn for this project... only it was their Diadem DK Special Reserve - which was a special order, no longer available product. It's actually quite 'unspun' as far as yarn goes. But the combination of alpaca and silk is divine to say the least... and the sheen? Is stunning. Add to it the bright gold color? And it's no wonder I had to have it!  The camera I'm using is not doing my colors justice. but, hopefully the FO pictures will be magnificent.

Knit picks does have fingering yarn with the same base - Diadum fingering; and if I worked with lighter weight yarns more often, this would be a big 'luxe' prize that I would purchase. As it is, DK is thin enough. Though the yarn does have subtle variation in thickness. At times, it's worsted weight easily enough. Great for something like a heavily textured scarf... not so great if one were working on intricate colorwork socks.

This particular project is 'ok'. I don't hate working on it... after all, who doesn't love alpaca and silk running through their fingers, especially in an almost-liquid-gold like feel. But, I'm not in love with the knook. I don't suppose I thought I would be... but that it felt like a nice tool to have under my belt in case I wanted to expand my teaching opportunities. In my brief exposure, it's not something I would recommend to existing knitters. It's something that 'might' be ok for existing crocheters who have trouble learning to knit. Mostly I find crocheters do better if they learn to knit continental style and don't really need that 'hook' to do it. But, it's still probably going to be my go-to tool if I'm working with someone with physical impairment. If their hands shake, or they have other fine motor skills issues, it's an option. But to be honest, it still is a challenge even with the hook and the cord helping ... but it's an option when there might not be many other options open to them.

HPKCHC Note: This will be class #2 for the term... there are lots of options between classes and badges for working with a new tool... and since I'd been procrastinating on working with the knook so long, it seemed like it was time. I'm planning on turning this in for Arithmancy!

And lastly, a semi-secret project.... in some Bernat Jacquard Jr (also discontinued yarns) that I picked up some time ago waiting for the 'right' project and the 'right' recipient. No more clues available at this time other than the picture. Again, colors are deeply faded - but you get at least a glimpse of some of the fun I'm having as the 'picture' is being painted on the project.

Now, this project? This project is hard to put down. It's in sport weight yarn, which I don't normally love. But it's simple, mindless knitting. It's growing fast, and every time I turn around I think... oh, I can knit a couple of more rows, then I'll get to the green & white section... or then I'll have the blue section finished, etc. Very fun, very quick (I started this just the other night)... very easy... well, what's not to love? Add that it's a special project for a semi-secret person... well, all the better!

HPKCHC Note: I figure this will fly as a reducio'd muggle garment for the Muggle Studies class this month.

Friday, January 3, 2014

My 2014 first FO's

It hardly counts, but weaving in one last end on the first of the month is becoming a tradition that's hard to break!!!

Here (with a little better lighting) is my striped Mermaid T...

I'm not entirely thrilled with the bottom edge. I'm putting it through laundry and we'll see what it does. I might end up having to add a couple of rows of crochet to get some 'weight' on it so it's not so curly and odd... It's supposed to flair slightly, but this is an out and out curl, which is not my style. Love the upper half tremendously and it does fit well... so now if I can just get the hem to settle down.

And secondly, my first charity hat of the year... cast on and finsihed on January 1. No set goal in mind for number of charity hats completed, but my goal is to use up scraps of leftover bits and pieces of yarn. So stripes will be common!

It's bright and red and cheery. I got to use up one small ball of burgandy-ish red and most of the scrap ball of a variegated red... and half of the ball of white. What's too little to save for future hats will find it's way to my scrap braided rug project.