Saturday, January 30, 2010

Snow Day 1 - 2010

The fall and winter came so quickly last year that I was sure we'd have a long, hard winter. There has been a very little bit of frozen precipitation - it snowed some huge, fluffy flakes in mid December and there have been a couple of days of freezing rain. The weather has been a little more extreme than usual. We've always gotten warm spurts in winter (often in the 60s and 70s), but this time, each lasts about 10 days and it's either warm or it's freezing. All of that is to say that today it snowed, so I figured it was a good time to take pictures.

Well, to be totally truthful, it snowed a little last night, and since then, there has been a consistent frozen rain. Really. It hasn't stopped at all and won't until tomorrow. So what we have is about six inches of tiny tiny frozen droplets that are packing together. It's the kind that you walk on top of instead of fall into.

That picture brings me to my next point. Mittens. I used Adrian Bizilia's Generic Norwegian Mittens template. I read that the sizing is meant for a standard sport weight yarn. Instead of swatching (you know where this is going) I decided I would just check yarn labels. I picked out Classic Elite Fresco from my stash, a luscious 60% wool/30% baby alpaca/10% angora blend. The pattern called for 3.25mm (US 3) needles and the yarn called for 3.75mm (US 5) needles, so I figured it would work out. I drew out my pattern on the template and jumped in. What I ended up with was one, beautiful, delicate, soft, squishy mitten...

... that would fit a 5 yr old.

I re-knit it in worsted weight, which of course was too big, but with the colorwork, it worked out reasonably well.

To take it back a couple of months, just before the Harlot caught site of them, I saw the French Press Felted Slippers (do you even NEED that link? I'm sure you know where to find them) and was immediately enamored. I'll put myself in knits from head to toe. These are the only slippers I've seen that are cute (!!!) and that you can wear outdoors, as everyday shoes. I thought I would make dozens of pairs. I've got plenty of Patons wool around and I wanted them in every color. I worked for a few hours the first night I got the pattern and started to hand felt (because I had JUST done laundry) and this is how far I got:

I got through to the felting on one, did almost all the knitting for the other (can't find the other pieces in my UFO box), and haven't looked at them again since. As you can see, I didn't even finish the felting. This isn't complicated or time consuming, but it's easy to get distracted since there's not much that's actually fun about making them. The knitting is boring, the seaming is boring, and the (hand) felting is boring. I will finish these though, because I so want the finished product. If I can delay gratification long enough to work through something tedious (this is an overall affliction of mine), I can get something quite good at the end.

Next up is my Valentine's Day doll. A simple doll made out of Lion Brand Thick and Quick with a small heart out of Patons, layered buttons for eyes and both stuffed with polyfil. I was thinking of making a couple of these to put in some care packages for loved-ones overseas. It's a nice squishy for a baby and is a super quick knit. You can even add your favorite scent and send it to your love who's far away. When they squeeze it, their body heat will release the smell of you. It's very comforting. Oh and he's about 12-14" tall.

I'm working on some things to sell. Progress is slow.

A seed stitch hat and mitten set. Not quite finished and still working out some kinks. I'll let you know how it goes.

Finally, the big one. I heard about Knit Picks' Independent Designer Partnership Program and I thought it would be a great idea to really sit down and write up a good design. I've always just knit things, so technically I've designed, but I never write down a pattern or anything.

I was inspired by a gorgeous snake called the Northern Red-Bellied Snake. LOVE those colors. I decided to do a yoke sweater but the only KP yarn that had the right colors was Palette, a fingering weight. So I bought enough to make a whole sweater --I figured if I didn't have a pattern at the end, I'd at least have a sweater -- and I swatched...

and swatched...

and charted...

and swatched some more...

and I couldn't figure out what the problem was with the colors. I don't like them knit together as much as I like them side-by-side. After weeks of markers and Microsoft Paint and crayons and colored pencils and graph paper I realized something:

The orange and yellow should be on a dark blue background. Duh. Again, I'll let you know.

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