January 23, 2008

Consolation Knitting

I'm not normally a product knitter. What this means is that I enjoy the process of playing with the yarn. In fact, I've often said that I only knit so that I have an excuse to play with yarn. I'm rarely concerned with finishing anything and most often I'm knitting things that I won't and don't wear.

I don't think this is a big shock for anyone that regularly reads this blog considering the few pictures of finished objects I show and the large amount of pretty yarn I gather.

But I really wanted this. I really wanted to have this to wear this week while it is so cold. I wanted to look cool and bohemian (this is a sickness with me) and be warm and practical at the same time. This was knitting with a purpose.

Which is why it is is such a bitter disappointment to have the cabling go horribly horribly wrong. I have marked the path the cables are supposed to take. It is clear there is no relationship between where it is supposed to be and where it has gone. I am beyond off track. I am not in the same state as the track. It is like I was drunk and never cabled in my life. Neither of which was necessarily true but might have made the whole experience better.

I shall persevere because I still believe this hat is the key to making me look cool and bohemian (no need to tell me otherwise, ignorance is bliss) but I'm consoling myself with some hand-painted yarn I got at Knit in South Carolina. I've been wanting a feather and fan scarf. It seems like a classic and I'm using the Last Minute Knitted Gifts pattern that I've seen others use and like. The yarn is a Schaefer Yarn called Judith. 100% prime alpaca (no more plebeian alpaca for me) in a colorway called Elena Piscopia. The color is part of a series named for memorable women.

Mmmm, soft and pretty...

I didn't even read Elena's biography when I bought the yarn. I went strictly by passion for the color. But I think it is interesting to read her achievement because I bought this yarn on a trip where I decided to go back for my doctorate.

I guess I got a little nod from the universe backing up that decision!

February 13, 2007

The felted bowl disease may be spreading...

Saw this in the paper this morning:

55 nuns from a monastery in Sidirokastro are on the run after running up debts of more than $1 million from a knitting business that went bust, Greek police said. The nuns had secretly run a knitwear company on the side for 10 years, but blew their money traveling to fashion shows across Europe.


Someone asked about a pattern for the felted bowls. I did poke around online a bit to see how they were decreasing and how many they were casting on. Because I didn't have a specific size in mind I was free to just play. So of course, everything turned out perfect. This site was my main source of information. To get various sizes I decreased the stitch count by 10 and we saw how the different yarns changed the sizes too. I was thinking of stacking bowls when I did this and it did work out perfectly.

The first bowl I made, I followed the pattern and I made it in Cascade. It ended up around 8" in diameter. I blocked it aggressively around a standard 9" glass dish and it did really well. Plus now I have a pretty "cozy" for that bowl that will double as a hot pad.

So how did I get the flat bottom? That happens pretty naturally. Think about when you set a hat upside down on a hard surface. It naturally flattens out. The decreases on the bottom of the bowl were the same I have seen for some hat patterns. Blocking really helped shape the flat bottoms though. I dried the felted bowls over various glass bowls I had around the house. The ones I stretched a little around a glass refrigerator dish with a larger flat bottom ended up more stable than the ones I blocked around a standard bowl that slopes to a small flat bottom.

This is a great project for a newbie to try out. Felting is very forgiving and if you don't have an expectation of what you want, just enjoy the discovery of the process I think you will enjoy the results!

Tune in tomorrow for the next obsession:

mitered squares out of Noro. The beauty! The beauty!

January 21, 2007

Somebody stop me!

While we had our snow days last week, I embarked on a bowl binge. Sounds seedier than it is. I started knitting bowls to felt and I couldn't stop! I began to ransack every corner of my stash for nuggets of wool. Stray skeins here and there or leftover bits from other projects. I could have kept going but I decided it was getting out of hand.

Behold, the bowls in their pre-felted glory:

line o bowls

Let us look a little closer at them.

Double stranded, Cascade 220 and a strand of hand-painted mohair. The one on the left is the last of the Cascade 220 and mohair and the bottom half is a strand of Cascade 220 and a strand of Kochoran which has some angora.

mohair bowls prefelting

The mohair and angora bloomed as expected. I like the effect but I need to give away the angora one soon since I'm allergic to angora. I really like how the angora one ended up being more shallow with the sides sloping out a bit. That makes it look kind of like a pottery bowl.

mohair felted bowls

Double stranded Cascade 220 and a thread of hand-painted Knit One Purl Too mohair. Lovely stuff. Just gave it a little pop of color. The one on the left is Cascade 220 and the stripes are the end of a ball of gorgeous hand painted wool I got somewhere, lost the ball band and have been hoarding for a couple of years.

red bowls prefelting

My favorite ended up being the red bowls. It may all be due to the color but their sizes are good too. The one on the right isn't near as wonky as it looks at this particular angle. The one with the hand painted for striping looks like a beautiful Christmas bowl, doncha think?

red felted bowls

These two were done single strand with the hand painted yarn I striped in the previous bowl. I've had this yarn for a while and kept pulling it out to admire it and then putting it back. I still may be sorry I didn't make a hat out of it as intended. But I'm glad I finally did something about whittling the stash down. I did discover something interesting about felting with this kind of yarn.

hand painted yarn bowls prefelting

It was a single strand, unplied yarn that I didn't double with anything for these bowls. One of them I knit smaller than the others but the big one is the same size as the other big ones. Maybe because it isn't plied it felted down a LOT!

Like into these wee little miniature bowls:

hand painted felted bowls

The smallest one barely fit over the end of a water bottle. The larger one is about the size the smaller one was pre-felting. I'm not entirely crazy how the color ended up working out. It is pretty cool that the smaller one spiraled but, knowing what the yarn looked like before felting, I'm a little disappointed. It is pretty with the red but by itself it just looks mottled.

I've made a call to a 12-step bowl felting group. Here is hoping I can move onto other projects.

November 27, 2005

There is still knitting going on

Thursday is D-Day. I'm working like crazy on my thesis and I'm making progress which is why I'm allowing myself this one little post.

I have been knitting a lot actually. Thank gawd for the knitting. If I didn't have that outlet for relaxing I might have imploded a few weeks ago.

This was my favorite project I finished recently. My step-mother had surgery and I thought she needed a cozy shawl to wrap up in while she is healing.

Hug shawl

I made it in Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk in a lovely dark teal. Teal is supposed to represent health. Plus the Alpaca Silk gave the shawl some weight so it is like I knit a hug.

The pattern is from Sally Mellville's The Purl Stitch. I was pouring over all my books and magazines but, there it was all along, in my favorite reference book. Why don't I do more out of her books? Everytime I make something it ends up being my favorite projects to make and use.

I have to call attention to my kick-ass corners. These are a technical advancement for me and I totally nailed them. The edge was way fun too. I got sick of turning the whole shawl around after knitting six stitches so I practiced my backwards knitting.

shawl edge

And then, just because there has been a shocking lack of hound pictures. Argus and Sapphire got treats today and Argus was so excited with his that he forgot to put his fanny down. He ate his treat like this the whole time.

Argus' fanny

Not too bad for an old boy of 11!