FO Friday: Silky ZigZag Shawl

2415 Zig Zag

Last week I finished my “purse project” — a portable project that I carry with me and work on in tiny increments when I have time on my hands. I bought a skein of Tonos Pima Silk after reading a review in Interweave Knits, and I totally love it.  The hand-painted colorway is subtle and intriguing. The soft, soft yarn is lovely to work with and lovely to behold in the finished item.  I’ll talk more about the yarn in an upcoming yarn review post.

2416 Zig Zag

Project: Silky ZigZag Shawl

Pattern: ZigZag Shawl

Designer: Marion Bulin

Available: FREE! on Ravelry

Yarn: Misti Alpaca Tonos Pima Silk

2418 Zig Zag

I let the yarn determine pattern choice for this project. I wanted something with a lot of stockinette and uncomplicated structure so that the hand-painted colors could take center stage. However, it couldn’t be TOO boring to knit, or it would never get done! I also wanted a pattern that was flexible, so I could use as much of the skein as possible.

The ZigZag Shawl fit all my requirements! It is worked from point to point, and is easily adapted to be larger or smaller. I knit until my skein was half gone, then decreased down. I have a tiny bit leftover, which is perfect. The wide swath of stockinette is beautiful, and the garter-stitch edging helped speed the knitting along and helped me keep track of the increases and decreases.

2419 Zig Zag

52 in 52: Project Roundup for 2010 – 2011

Last year at about this time, I joined a group on Ravelry called “52 Projects in 52 Weeks.”  The group description runs thusly:

The goal is to start (and finish!) 52 projects in 52 weeks. You can knit, crochet, spin or dye. Mix and match, it’s your choice. The goal of the group is to hone skills, expand horizons and destash.

0174 completed Mandala IIThere are some guidelines given, but the group is open-minded and allows for a lot of interpretation, personalization, and outright alteration.  For example, I often have more than 4 projects going at once, because that’s what works for me.  I decided that a single thing was a project, no matter how0345 Golden Snitch (frog) large or small. That meant that the bazillion-hour Mandala Shawl only counted as one project, but that the quick-knit Golden Snitch  also counted as one project.  (Other knitters chose to break down large projects into chunks, or count a pair of socks as two projects, or group several small items into a single project.) I also gave myself permission to count projects that I started in the previous year.

First question first: yes, I did finish 52 projects in 52 weeks! In fact, I finished 61 projects between June 1st, 2010 and May 30th, 2011. I also frogged six projects during the year — this was a relatively new behavior for me, because in the past I would force myself to finish projects, even if they weren’t working or making me happy anymore.

0656 complete East-West bagWhich project had the most love over the last year? My East-West Bag won the most favorites of any of my projects over the last year.  It’s complex and dramatic, so that’s not too surprising. I have 0679 cell phone cozymany projects with no favorites at all (including the aforementioned Snitch!), so I will choose one that is a personal favorite of MINE to cheer on: my Touchscreen Cell Phone Cozy, made up as I went along.  I used some lovely left-over yarn from my Socks That Rock club kit, and designed it to fit my new (at the time) Samsung Moment.  I fills that role perfectly, and I love seeing my pretty Blue Moon Fiber Arts yarn every day.

I thought it might be interesting to see how projects broke down for the year — who was I knitting for?

Purpose Count %
Me 15 25%
Remily Knits 15 25%
Gift 9 15%
Sample 8 13%
Commission 6 10%
Test Knit 5 8%
Barter 2 3%
Donation 1 2%

Also (potentially) interesting: what kinds of things did I make?

Type Count %
Baby Clothes 7 12%
Mittens/Gloves/Mitts 7 12%
Toy 7 12%
Scarf 6 10%
Socks 6 10%
Cowl 5 8%
Sweater 5 8%
Hat 4 7%
Cozy 3 5%
Shawl 3 5%
Anklets 2 3%
Bag 2 3%
Dog Sweater 2 3%
Earwarmers 1 2%
Necklace 1 2%

FO Friday: Electric Kool-Aid Acid Socks

1930 STR March 2011

The March 2011 Rockin’ Sock Club kit from Blue Moon Fiber Arts was extremely colorful, to say the least!  The colorway had a great name: Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.

1932 STR March 2011

Two great patterns, as usual, made it extremely hard to choose … but ultimately I decided on one and got to work.  I love how the basic p1, k3 rib can get so excited with a slipped stitch here and there.

1956 Intrepid Traveler socks

Project: Mar 2011 RSC Socks

Pattern: Intrepid Traveler

Designer: Gail Marracci

Available: to club members now (join up! it’s fun!) and to the general public in 2012

Yarn: BMFA Socks That Rock Lightweight in Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test

I’m proud to say I finished this kit’s socks *before* this month’s kit has even shipped!  Even though they weren’t a “priority” project, they trucked right along.  Inexplicably, the two socks pooled and flashed differently. This colorway is so wild, it really doesn’t matter.

2357 Electric Kool-Aid Acid Socks

FO Friday: Coats for Gizmo and Golly

1153 Golly and Gizmo coats

One of my agility friends asked me to knit custom coats for her charming mini poodles, Gizmo (left) and Golly (right).  She wanted durable, washable yarn that was also soft and cozy, and came in her dogs’ signature colors. In terms of structure, the coats needed to have turtlenecks, front leg sleeves, and a high belly cut to allow pottying without soiling the coats.  We looked at a couple different patterns before settling on the attractive and versatile “Biscuits & Bones” pattern, sized from XS to XL. The modified “X’s and O’s” cable pattern resembles circular biscuits and long bones–very clever!

(This week’s FO is a re-wind — I’ve been working like mad all week on a design sample that I can’t share just yet.)

1122 Golly's Purple Coat

Project: Gizmo’s Red Coat and Golly’s Purple Coat

Pattern: Biscuits & Bones Dog Coat

Designer: Patons

Available: FREE! at patonsyarns.com

Yarn: Knit Picks Swish Worsted in Eggplant and Red (3 balls per coat)

1157 Golly's coat

Don’t you just love Golly’s grin??

I made Golly’s coat first (purple!) and made very few modifications.  The neck to tail is worked flat to the leg holes, where the work is split into three parts and worked separately for a few rows.  Then flat work across the entire piece resumes, continuing through the butt decreases.  Ribbing is picked up and knit in the round for the leg holes and around the belly/back (after the chest is seamed). My only serious modification was to keep edge stitches in stockinette, to make the picking up and seaming easier.

1159 Gizmo's coat

Gizmo is such a handsome fellow!

With Gizmo’s coat, I wanted to try knitting the chest in the round, to avoid seaming later on.  At the leg holes I worked just two sections (back and belly) flat, then rejoined for more work in the round, then worked flat for the back after casting off for the belly. This ended up being trickier than I anticipated … if I ever make another coat from this pattern, I will probably just make it flat and deal with the seam.

1152 Golly and Gizmo coats

Overall, the pattern is clear and well-written.  The cable patterns were written, so of course I charted them to avoid going insane.  (I work much better from a visual representation of a pattern.) I really appreciate that it came in so many sizes, and also that it accounted for the real chest shape of a dog (many dog sweater patterns seem to think dogs are shaped like humans, oops).  Swish Worsted was, as expected, perfect for the job at hand. The boys look great and are cozy too!

FO Friday: Arbuckle Hat

1971 Arbuckle Hat

For Christmas this year, I gave seven gift certificates to close family members for a “Knit 4 U x Me” gift: they can choose from several suggestions, or ask for something else completely.  It’s a clever trick, because my giftees get exactly what they want, and I’m not swamped by Christmas knitting.

My Grandpa Bob made this request:

Commercial hat size is “large.” Measure is 22 1/2″.

Summer I’m a bill cap or straw, so best use a wool or such yarn.

Color wise? Hey, I’m color blind, an old dog, what-do-I-know dog.

This left a lot up to me! I wanted to use a pattern that was interesting without being too outlandish, but that my Grandpa could still appreciate.  I chose colors he could see, too. Superwash wool is a must for gifts, unless I’m sure the giftee knows how to care for wool and wants to do it.  Swish DK is exactly the right yarn for this  present.

1970 Arbuckle Hat

Project: Arbuckle Christmas Hat

Pattern: Arbuckle Hat

Designer: Alexis Winslow

Available: on Ravelry for just $2.00

Yarn: Knit Picks Swish DK in Marble Heather and Delft Heather (1 ball each)

I usually knit a bit larger than gauge, so I used the given needles in order to make a slightly larger-than-pattern hat.  Then I threw it in the washer and dryer, to make sure it could handle any rough care it might receive at it’s new home.  (If something will be ruined, I would rather do it myself and then try again.)  It felted just a tiny bit, and the garter edge wants to flip when it’s not on a head, but it survived admirably other than that. I deem it “good enough” to go to my Grandpa Bob.

1972 Arbuckle Hat

FO Friday: Monster Bum Baby Longies

Every Friday I will feature one of my own finished objects. This year I joined the group “52 Projects in 52 Weeks” on Ravelry, and I’ve found it’s a great way to get motivated to finish up languishing projects.  These monster pants weren’t exactly UFO’s, but I’d stalled out on the legs a couple of weeks ago.  This week I bumped them to the top of my knitting priority pile, and soon enough I finished them, lickety split.

1319 Monster Bum Longies

Pattern: Grumpybum Monster Longies

Designer: Wandering Lady

Available: FREE! at thewanderinglady (also available in the original Norwegian)

Yarn: Knit Picks Swish DK in Eggplant, Beach Glass, Tidepool, Hollyberry, Black, and White

1320 Monster Bum Longies

I found the pattern easy to use and follow. I made a few modifications, include a hemmed top edge. (I put in elastic, in lieu of an i-cord tie.) Instead of using duplicate stitch (as described in the pattern), I knit the eyes and fangs directly on the pants, using skills I’ve learned from making amigurumi. For each eye I picked up about 34 stitches, purled one round, decreased to 28, decreased to 21, switched to green, knit one round even, decreased to 14, switched to black, knit one round even, decreased to 7, pulled yarn through rem sts.  For the fangs I picked up 5 stitches and made icord, decreasing on the inside edge every other round.

These pants are for my friend’s little girl, and I simply cannot wait to pop them on her and watch her monster bum toddle around the room.

1321 Monster Bum Longies

1323 Monster Bum Longies (elastic waistband)