Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy new year!

A bit late, I know, but I mean it all the same.  It's 2012, and I hope for each and every one of us a good year, full of the things we love most, including fiber of course, but also in my world, family and friends and long walks with my dog, and time spent on the beach, and good books, and delicious meals shared in good company. 

I got a lot of that over the holiday break, in fact - I feel very lucky to have ended what in other ways has been a tough year in such a wonderful way.  Rick's brother and sister-in-law and our niece came to spend nine days with us, and I loved every one of them.  It was hard to see them go.  I've got pictures to share another day, in fact - we did a lot (including running my first 5k, thanks to my SIL's inspiration - I still think that she slowed down for me, but I stuck to her heels, and made it over the finish line in the end; can you tell I'm feeling proud?).

Meanwhile, until I have all of that organized, I thought I'd share the last few knitting projects from the old year, just to wipe the slate clean, as it were.  I didn't aim to do any holiday knitting, but I did finish one last baby surprise jacket plus booties for a friend's baby-to-be, and managed to give it to her at my LYS' holiday party - thank goodness, because her baby came a few weeks early!  I don't have any pictures of the sweater and booties, alas, but I'm hoping that perhaps I can get a picture of them in situ, on the baby herself.

I also started and finished a sweater for Younger Daughter in the weeks just before Christmas.  I saw two projects in IK Winter 2011 that I knew immediately were meant for my girls.  The first was the Fabled Cardigan, which I wanted to knit for Younger Daughter.  I promptly cast on after picking the yarn up at my LYS (I used Cascade EcoWool), and this knit up fast.  I will never be a fan of chunky yarns and big needles (but wait 'til you hear what I'm working on now!), but I admit that this one is right for what it is.
Of course, I couldn't leave well enough alone, so I didn't put the garter stitch edging on the bottom hem, letting the cables do the finishing for me (the picture below is truest to color).
And I added cables at the bottoms of the sleeves, as well.
I figured that this was in keeping with the front sweater skirt, which has cables right along the edge.
And I found the perfect buttons in Grandmom's button box.
All in all, I'm very happy with the way this turned out, and if it would just get cold around here, maybe I'd see more of it on her!

I have also cast on for Older Daughter's project, of which I have no pictures as yet.  I am knitting for her the Leif Slipover from IK Winter 2011, in Cascade Lana Grande (which I have an overwhelming urge to call Lana Grossa; perhaps this says something about how I feel about knitting on yarn this big), on size 15 needles, which are, frankly, not so much needles as boar spears.

I also knitted a little sweater for myself.  I saw it (and the yarn) at my LYS during the holiday party there, and knew that I really had to have it for Christmas eve this year.  I finished it at 3:30 on Christmas eve, an hour before people started to arrive for the annual herring fest aquavite binge Christmas eve party.  Whew.
It's just meant to be a little light cardi to add some color and warmth, and that's exactly what it did.  I'm ashamed to admit that I can't remember the pattern right offhand, but the yarn is Baah! La Jolla, hand-dyed (beautifully, I might add) by my friend Mira
I think this one is going to get a lot of use, actually, even though I hadn't been actively desirous of a sweater like this. It'll be perfect in the classroom, for example - the sleeves are short enough to stay out of my way, and it adds just enough warmth to be nice, without making me all crazy and overheated when I get excited about, say, morphophonological variation.  Heh.

I also finished up the socks I started for Cat Bordhi's class.
I'm much happier with the way I finished up the cable in the second sock (on the left); I need to decide whether it's worth ripping the first one back to fix, or whether I'll just let it go.  They fit very nicely - I love this heel quite a lot, and this kind of short-rowing worked beautifully for the toe, as well; my first short-row toe.
I'm particularly happy with the spiraling cable.  It's hard to get a picture of the back of one's leg, but:
There are more pictures on my Rav page.  The yarn I used for this was Dye Dreams Luster Sox, and it was a very interesting experience.  It's a lovely 3-ply yarn, made of Blue-Faced Leicester (BFL), which is perfect for socks in so many ways.  However, I found that it handled very differently from the way I expect yarn to handle - it seemed to be picking up twist as I knitted.  I finally checked and found, interestingly, that the yarn had been spun counter-clockwise and plied clockwise, which is opposite to the usual spinning and plying pattern for knitting yarns.  I had heard and read many times that it is better for knitting yarn to be spun clockwise and plied counterclockwise, but this is the first time that I've worked with a yarn that hasn't been.  It definitely makes a difference in the manageability of the yarn.  I have some left over, so I want to take some time to play with it a little bit to see if I can really see what's going on when I throw the yarn to knit, and why that seems to be adding clockwise twist (which in turn causes the yarn to behave as if it were overplied).  Very interesting.

Last, but not least, I finished the Not Stockinette socks that I cast on over Thanksgiving to alleviate my stockinette slump.  These are the Isabella D'Este socks from the amazing Clara Parkes' The Knitter's Book of Socks (I love every single one of her books, and would like to be her when I grow up).
I love everything about these socks.  They fit like a glove, and the pattern makes me very happy.  It's hard to go wrong with a picot edge, little lace motifs, and a gusset decrease that manages the movement of the lace pattern on the foot.  So elegant and finished.
I couldn't get pictures that really do these justice - I'll work on it.  But that one is pretty close to the true color.  These are knitted out of Jitterbug, which is perfect for socks - a springy, round 3-ply in a barely variegated solid that doesn't hide all the pretty patterning going on here.
I am very pleased with the way these turned out, and I'm betting I'll wear them a lot.

I do have some knitting plans for the new year, but I will wait on those until I've taken some more pictures to go with them.  I did, however, do some playing around on Ravelry this evening, and it seems fitting to end this with a recap of this year's projects:

30 projects started and finished in 2011, including:
7 pairs of socks
6 shawls
9 hats
3 baby sweaters and booties
4 sweaters (two for me, one for my mom, one for Younger Daughter)
1 pair of mitts

Not too bad, all things considered.

Happy New Year!


Willow said...

Hmmm, if you remember the name of that pattern for your sweater, let me know. I think I might have a go at it...

Happy New Knitting Year!

Jane said...

That was a very productive end to the year. The shape of your daughter's sweater is wonderful, so unusual, perfect with the cables

Anonymous said...

You must be a thrower. Almost all yarn unravels for me - except Beaverslide, which is spun on an antique rig that spins counterclockwise and plies clockwise - as I am a picker.

We talked about this in a workshop in October and when I finish the batch of yarn I am currently working on I am going to change my spinning direction to better suit my knitting style. After all, what is the point of spinning if you aren't making exactly what suits you? Also Hello!

Wool Enough said...

Wow! That's a lot of projects. Gotta admit -- my fav is Younger Daughter's sweater. It's lovely, and she looks lovely in it. Isn't it fun to tweak patterns? Those cables at the sleeve ends are perfect, really should be on the original pattern.

Allison said...

I promise to provide pictures of my baby in the baby surprise jacket and booties. She just has to grow into it first! (She was much smaller than was estimated.)

P.S. My husband just loved the little pink booties, and briefly considered naming the baby after you.

Wanderingcatstudio said...

Great projects - and congrats on the 5K run!
Hope 2012 is a stellar year for you and your family!

Anonymous said...

Congrates on the 5K, next you'll be tackling the 10K! Don't worry if your SIL slowed down a bit for you, that's one of the pleasures of cheering on and encouraging a new runner. :)

I had to double check your figures out of pure astonishment that you've knit so many items this year, and many of them big. All while you hold down a demanding job - that's really several jobs and being engaged with your family. Can I borrow your needles? They must be magic.

It's good to see the picture and get your feedback on both the Fabled Cardigan - which I've been thinking about knitting for Feathers, and the Leif Slipover. I love the cabling and the hoodie but am not sure about the join across the front. Will look forward to your outcome with it.

Brandi Schoch said...

You have been super productive. I think I only finished a bunch of headbands and neckwarmers.

RobinH said...

Gorgeous! Younger Daughter looks delighted with her sweater, and for good reason. And those blue socks are quite lovely.

Also I'm with Wool Enough- those are a lot of large projects. And you didn't even mention spinning or teaching spinning!

Lynne said...

Some beautiful knits to finish off the year, which was very productive for you.

Mary Lou said...

Happy New Year to you, oh most productive knitter. I should go back and count myself, so I don't feel like such a slacker! I really like that red sweater.

Anonymous said...

I second Willow's comment - I'd like to know what that sweater pattern is!

YD looks beautiful in that sweater, and it looks beautiful on her.

And your sock adventures are wonderful - and inspiring. As is your record of finished objects. Wow!

twinsetellen said...

oh, and way to go on the 5k! It is such a good length for a run - not so long that it will cause you long term damage, yet long enough to feel so very good about accomplishing it.

EGunn said...

Love the sweaters! The cabled edges look beautiful on YD's sweater. The red one is perfect for Christmas, too. Must have been something in the air...I was dying to cast on for a holiday sweater just days before I'd have needed to wear it. Fortunately, my LYS didn't have anything in the right color, and so my sanity was saved.

There is a Lana Grossa yarn, too. I'm actually more familiar with Lana Grossa than the Grande. (Though I fully agree about the super bulky yarns...can't stand them!)

Rachael said...

Gorgeousness all around!

Nana Sadie said...

Wow. Gorgeousness...And either my monitor has dramatically improved or those colors are amazingly brilliant! BEAUTIFUL!

And you just reminded me that I didn't do a count of what I did complete last year! Must do...
And Happy New Year to you, too!