Thursday, November 12, 2009

Gray for the boys

Two of my nephews have birthdays in November, and I decided to knit for them both. Nephew 1 turns six this year, and since I made socks for his older sister on her birthday earlier in the year, he gets socks too. (These kids have great taste in socks; they love the hanknitted ones.)

cmf atl socks done2
Yarn: my handspun
Needles: 2.00 mm (US size 0) DPNs
Pattern: 2x2 ribbing with purl ridges

cmf atl socks macro2
Mainly I picked this yarn because it was the most masculine handspun superwash yarn in my stash. Masculine or not, I'm now thinking of making socks for myself out of the other skein of this yarn. I love how it knitted up.

Nephew 2 was born a few days ago, and he's getting this:

owl vest slant2
Pattern: Owl Baby Vest (Rav link), by Jodi Haraldson
Yarn: Knit Picks Swish DK, "Cobblestone Heather"
Needles: 3.5 mm (US size 4) and 3.75 mm (US size 5)

owl vest macro2
This is such a sweet little vest. I've been waiting for an excuse to knit it for quite a while. I did make a few modifications to the pattern...nothing drastic, though. I knit the body over 112 stitches (vs. 110 in the pattern) to make it easy to center the V-neck over the middle owl. Then I knit the V-neck edging in the traditional manner, decreasing one stitch on each side of the V on each round. Finally, I did five rows of 2x2 around the neck and armhole openings.

Crochet comeback

I am a crocheter.

dotty quarter
Really, I am. I know I have shown very little evidence of it in the lifetime of this blog—notwithstanding this post, which has more hits than any other post I have written—but I was a crocheter long before I was a knitter.

Mainly I crocheted afghans. Between the ages of 15 and 30, I crocheted well over 100 afghans. You can imagine how I might have gotten a little burned out. But when my friend commissioned a baby blanket a couple of months ago, I knew I would crochet it rather than knit it. Crocheting is just faster. Or so I thought.

dotty bed
The whole project turned into a bit of an ordeal when I decided to design the pattern myself and crochet it out of fingering weight yarn. This blanket is based on a very similar design I did several years ago, except that the previous version had flowers around the border. Since this blankie had to be gender-neutral, I decided that flowers were out. Bring on the dots!

dotty folded macro
I crocheted the border motifs first and sewed them into strips. From those strips, I measured the dimensions of the center section. After doing a gauge swatch, I determined the number of stitches needed for the center, and away I went. When the center was almost done, I realized, to my great annoyance, that it was a bit narrower than I needed it to be. (Gauge swatches can lie!) Rather than rip out all that work, I added some rounds of single crochet around the edge before attaching the motifs.

dotty rumpled
I used Cascade Heritage sock yarn for this project, and I'm really pleased with how it turned out. The blanket is so soft and cushy. If I had to make one complaint about the yarn, it would be that the it tends to be a bit splitty. But I think that mild annoyance was worth it in the end.

Monday, November 02, 2009

And we're back

Last week the Professor and I returned from a short jaunt to northern New Mexico.

NM Oct. 2009
It was glorious to get away for a little while, and the weather around Santa Fe was just what we needed. There was snow in the high mountains (Snow! How I have missed thee!), but otherwise the weather was sunny and crisp.

Because of the traveling and of some impending project deadlines, I haven't done a lot of spinning in the last two weeks. Before that, though, I had been on a bit of a chain plying jag.

aef fwb sas fiber
The Arts at Eagle's Find fine wool blend, "Sunset at Sea"

aef fwb sas swirl
480 yards, 124 grams

gc swm rb fiber
Gaia's Colours Sunna superwash merino, "Rainbow Beast"

gc swm rb swirl macro
360 yards, 114 grams

asu m embers fiber
All Spun Up merino, I call it "Glowing Embers"

asu m embers swirl1
416 yards, 127 grams

Chain plying has never been my favorite way to ply, but for inexplicable reasons, I seem to want to chain ply everything lately. It's just a phase, I'm sure, but I am surprised it has lasted this long.