Saturday, April 02, 2011

Not one but two new projects

There I was, with the shawl - blanket off the needles, and really only a sock and a hat on the go ..., which seemed to few a number to keep busy with, so I did what any responsible knitter would do. I dug through my project queue on Ravelry, I cross referenced what I liked with my stash - because the project needs the right yarn to pattern match before it is ready for any serious casting on. And I checked my Diary, yup - it was KSG (Knitters Study Group weekend), which meant that there would be a group session, this time on Double knitting. Now Double knitting has several meanings, here in New Zealand it is the common term for a yarn that Americans would consider between Sport and Aran, we call it Dk for short and it is usually knit on 4mm to 5.5mm needles (Ymmv). But to those more worldly about knitting, double knitting also refers to a method of knitting that knits up a fabric that is essentially two layers of knitting sandwiched together. That kind of double knitting was the focus of Saturdays class. Now double knitting has a reputation for being fiddly, and with any thing fiddly there is always the risk that the technique may just prove to be to awkward to make the effort worthwhile. With that in mind I decided that I needed a 'go-to' mindless stash busting project on the go as well, just in case. Result was last Thursday I started two new projects, you know - just to be safe, just in case I was left with nothing to knit on (as well as the two projects already on the needles).

Some time ago I participated in a Scrappy swap. I'm a little fuzzy on the reasons for such a thing other than fun and meeting people and sharing, but the process seems to be sign up, send away a set amount of fibre, and in return get the same weight of fibre back made up from small portion of what each person sent in. End result is that one has 100g plus of spin-able fibre made up from small amounts of lots of different fibers. I guess the more coordinated scrappy swaps have themes, but the sheer randomness of the colours and fibres in a the swap I was part of were challenging - in a good way. Once the yarn was spun I set it aside wondering what sort of project it would become. Whenever I visited my yarn stash that yarn reminded me it was there - waiting to become something. Then a passing comment from one of the cubs sparked an idea, as they watched Yo-yo sleep on Bears jersey they wondered out loud if I had ever knit anything for Yo-yo. Bingo! The scrappy swap yarn was destined to become a cat-nap-mat for her. I even had the perfect pattern queued, Ten stitch twist by Frankie Brown.
The reverse side looks like this, I'm slipping the first stitch on the return row so there is a neat chain spiral on the reverse of mine. When I pick up the edge stitches I knit through both of the loops, which makes the chain even more noticeable. So far Yo-yo has sat under this as I knit it, watched me pull the yarn past her ears and into stitches, and perched beside it as a I photographed it, but seems not to know it is for her.

My double knitting project was selected before Saturdays session, as double knitting is a technique I have played with before. In my queue I found Yuma Double Knitting mittens by Alexandra Miedmayer. I didn't queue them because they were double knit, but for another reason. The feature I loved the most about these mittens was the way the colour faded from one to another as the mitten was knit, I also loved the idea of customizing it with Owls, Flowers, Bears or the standard running sled dogs. I didn't have high hopes for this project, honestly I thought it would be a starter and then set aside for more achievable and interesting projects, after all there are only 16 projects listed on Ravelry and only three are tagged as finished! I went with the Bears, but no as of yet the mittens are not for Bear.

I love this, I find it fairly easy to knit once I am in the rhythm of slipping both yarns so they ride between the layers. I had worried about the chart .. but I'm developing the skills to relate what I see as alternating pink and chocolate stitches on my needles to the single layer chart with half that number of stitches in front of me. The best bit is when I turn them inside out ... I get a negative image of the pattern ... in this case a coconut ice polar bear on a chocolate background. I just noticed that one of the dots is missing in the decorative round under the Bear! - odd what shows up in photos sometimes.

The yarn is VP Vintage sock, a limited run non superwash yarn from 2010, perfect for stranded colour work. What I think of as Chocolate is in reality 'Top Soil', and what has become to me 'Coconut ice' is in fact 'Now we are Two'. The original names of the yarn were fine until I started to knit the two together and all I could think of was sugary pinky white coconut ice with one side dipped in chocolate. The pattern is very well written, with lovely clear photos, and instructions on the fiddlier aspects of double knitting ... and following those instructions results in lovely increases shaping the thumb gusset.

There I am then, with four projects on the needles, a Tam, socks, mittens and a cat-nap-mat, plus the neverending fish blanket. That feels about the right number, plenty of choice and I should be good for a bit more knitting before I have to stop and select a new project to settle in with. And I'll leave with a photo showing the blocked edge of the shawl/blanket. The lace opened up nicely and held its structure well ..... I'm pleased with it, and perhaps something lacy might be amongst the next few projects?

Take care, it is daylight savings here, autumn so we 'gained' an extra hour sleep last night, making today feel all relaxed, a nice place to be on a Sunday.

na Stella


KathyR said...

The bear-y mittens are very nice. A tribute to the late Knut, perhaps? Once the cat-nap mat is finished surely Yoyo will eventually get the idea that it is especially for her, even thought it is nearly too pretty for a cat! The lace surrounding your shawl/blanket has blocked out even better than it promised - lovely!

Vintage Purls said...

"a limited run non superwash yarn from 2010" - how extraordinarily kind of you to phrase it that way. :)