Sunday, August 24, 2014

Danshui at Sunsrise and Sunset

First I made the Danshui at Sunrise using Ornaghi Filati Super Sport in almond color. The yarn is sturdy, and woolly, which I liked it fine. A workhorse type of yarn I bought from Elann over a year ago.  The best part, it cost about $25 to make this sweater.  I really liked how the sweater turned out.  Looking at the photos now, it kinda look like a lab coat...

However, after I finished the sweater, even though the size I knitted fitted well, I took a look at the pattern I first wrote, and realized the larger sizes had rather generous back neck.  I re-graded the pattern with more moderate neck opening for all sizes.  And I decided to re-knit one for sample.

With so much yarn in stash, I had a hard time deciding what to use for the second sweater. I went with Quince and Co. Chickadee in Honey.  Initially I had a small lot of this color and made a shawl and a hat with it.  Because I really liked the color, I ordered more. When the yarn arrived, my heart sank, the new dye lot was dramatically darker, not as vibrant as the first lot.  The yarn sat in the stash lovelessly for 2 years.  Every time I looked at it, I thought to myself, Id never make a pattern with it. Well, I decided to to give it a chance this time since I liked the first version of the sweater enough that even if the second one didn't come out nicely color-wise, it would be OK.

Now that it's done. I really do like it. You'd think I should know better, since I teach colors with my classes.  And I always stress that colors have no meaning on their own.  It's all relative.  In the case of sweaters, it's what you paired with, and your skin tone, and hair color, etc. But, I don't always practice what I teach... Its' a good marriage between the yarn and the pattern. I'm glad the yarn finally receives the love it deserves.

Calling the pattern Danshui.  It's a place outside of Taipei city, where the river flows into the sea.  It's the place people of Taipei go to watch the sunrise and sunset.  So the first sweater is named Danshui at Sunrise, and the second one, you guessed it, Danshui at Sunset.  


Friday, August 15, 2014

Wandering in the Souk

Yarn:  Cascade Pure Alpaca, color 3029 Turquoise.
Needles:  US #3, and #4 

When I first saw the yarn, I totally fell in love with the color and the softness of alpaca.  (Sadly the photos are not capturing the depth and the richness of the color.)  I started knitting it for another design but I wasn't happy with the combination,.Then the yarn just sat there waiting for the right design.

In June, I took out the yarn, and knew it wanted a somewhat delicate design of cables and lace  The alpaca was not exactly high stitch definition yarn to get the relief of the cables. But I didn't care, I wanted the softer effect.

I used top down, round yoke construction for this sweater. It turned out to be sort of  a sister to Juno with one basic design difference, the motif started immediately after neck band ribbing, whereas in Juno, each motif sat distinctly separated from each other and from the ribbing.

I used needle #3 for ribbing and #4 for body.  The neckband stretched out during block, partly due to the fact that alpaca stretches more easily.  If I were to re-knit it, I may use size #2 for ribbing..
Size 39 was what I knitted, and I think I could use one size smaller, not completely sure, but also I like my sweaters a bit on the loose side.  

I named it Wandering in the Souk, simply because I often dream of visiting Morocco again, especially Marrekech and the desert, so the design, the name. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

New Hat Pattern

Tell you a secret, I wasn't even sure if I wanted to finish the pattern and publish it.  Thankfully, Stacey (aka StaceyKnitsIt on Ravelry) volunteered to test knit. That nudged me to be more motivated wtih the pattern. Now I'm glad I did, as I really think it's a fun hat.  Sometimes there is just a gap between loving to design/knit something, and to write up a pattern and get it test knitted and tech edited.  It took 2 days to design and knit, and it took over a month for the rest of it to happen.  

Summer flew by.  I'd been so busy doing things that I haven't properly enjoyed my summer.  I knitted a lot of swatches that went nowhere. I frogged coupla things, re-knitted coupla things. I did a lot of knitting related stuff, but I felt I haven't really accomplished as much as I'd like.  I don't know what happened...  I'm not ready to go back to teaching... 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Quiting Stitch Top

A belated posting. I finished this sweater back in June, but never got around to post it for various reasons.
I used quilted stitch with yarn only traveled on the right side of sweater.  The yarn I used was Cascade Eco Alpaca, color 1510 Natural and 1515 Chocalate. I really love the buttery feel of this yarn. I think I'm turning into an Alpaca fan. I used US #4 needles for the ribbing, otherwise, it was US #6 for most of the knitting. 

I think the sweater looks kinda funky with the contrast quilting stitch, and I love that. While I was knitting it, I kept thinking, it looks like a giraffe! Even Paul liked this design.  

The sweater has a funnel neck, short sleeves. It's gonna be perfect for layering for the coming fall.  

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Quick Projects

I got some sewing done yesterday when I should be knitting.
I felt like I should be getting some designs going for the coming knitting season, but I really wanted to do some quicker design projects.  To realize an idea in knitting would take weeks, when it only took a day or two for me to sew a non-complicated outfit.  During summer I'd get impatient when I have more free time to day dream about clothing ideas.

Initially I had an idea of sailor style pants, but I decided the pants will pair with a bright print top, so I used the fabric for the top to accent the pockets.  Adding buttons like in sailor pants would just be too much, so I let go of that idea. Fabric was some wool blend, light brownish color with teal and yellow thin stripes. I got it months ago from Mills End in Reno.  I made it wide legs but more fitted on the upper part.

The top was a synthetic blend fabric that I bought at the same time as the wool.  I knew exactly the style I wanted when I finished the pant, with gathered body around the round neck.

I totally dig this outfit, a bit funky with the print.  I like that it's more urban looking yet easy wearing with the rather relaxed fit.  It's a winner in my book.

Monday, August 4, 2014

New Pattern - Tulip Shawl

Yay! a new pattern is up. It's the Tulip Shawl. 

This is probably one of my favorite lace motifs I'd designed, so I'm really excited that the pattern is here. 

Many thanks to my wonderful testers, the 3 Vs and a T, Virginia, Vaida, Valentina, and Tatjana.  I think and I hope, these wonderful knitters have become sort of my regular shawl testers.  I really love working with the 3 Vs and a T, they're reliable, fast, very easy to work with. It's ways just a smooth process and they sure are wonderful to communicate with.  Also many thanks to my tech editor Judy, who was willing to edit this pattern when her summer has been so busy lately.  

I got copula sweaters going, one on the needles and I just watched the whole final season of The Killings on Netflix with it. Then there was one finished a week ago that I had yet to sew on buttons. Hopefully photos coming soon.