Sunday, August 24, 2008

Final Ravelympics Update!

After doing the first Chevalier mitten, the second one just sorta flew by! I didn't finish the thumb on it until this morning, though, so really I finished up just in time:

I LOVE these mittens! That photo doesn't entirely do them justice, so I will certainly try to take some better ones soon. They are just perfect, though! The cable pattern is beautiful and they fit me just right. I do think some light steam blocking might be a good idea, so I'm going to give that a shot soon, but basically I'm thrilled with them as they are.

You might remember that I did have another Ravelympics project, the Juniper Mitts. Well, I made one. It knit up quickly and the yarn I had looked phenomenal with the stitch pattern...but I really disliked the construction of the mitts themselves. They were basically just knitted tubes with a little hole for your thumb to pop out, which made them fit awkwardly & not look terribly attractive. I'm waffling on whether to make a second one, but at this point I'm strongly leaning toward just frogging the one I did make and using the yarn for something I like better. Oh well.

I'm still so happy I participated in the Ravelympics! It was really fun and motivated me to actually start & finish two great projects that otherwise could've languished in my interminable queue for years.

Now that I'm slightly mittened out my thoughts are turning to socks & sweaters. I still really want to make myself a nice fall sweater and I've been spending truly ridiculous amounts of time on Ravelry looking through basically every sweater pattern in the world, trying to finally make up my mind as to which of them is worthy of my time & effort. My standards are entirely too high but I am starting to narrow it down and with any luck I'll be ordering some yarn & getting started before much longer!

First I need to find something small to cast on for today, though. I have a long bus ride down to Illinois coming up tomorrow and I definitely want to spend it working on some socks (or maybe a hat, or maybe another cowl...). I'll be in Illinois all week, so you may not hear from me for a while, but when I get back I should have plenty of fun things to show you. If all goes well I should be visiting an ALPACA FARM (!!!!!!!) during my stay, which means you can look forward to all kinds of adorable alpaca photos and, if I'm really lucky, some pretty new yarn!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Ravelympics: one project down!

So I've officially finished one of my three mitten projects! Evangeline:


Overall I'm pretty happy with them. There is a subtle error in the cabling on the left glove, though, which drove me nuts when I figured it out last night. Of course I was far past it when I noticed it, and frogging back would've involved unpicking the bind-off for the thumb stitches. After some contemplation I decided it wasn't really worth the trouble. Not that I don't want them to be perfect, of course, but the mistake is barely even noticeable. A few times I've looked down & been unable to find it for a minute or two, and I know exactly where & what it is! So at this point I'll be interested to see if Linn notices it without me saying something...

The yarn, Berocco Comfort, was easily the nicest synthetic yarn I've ever used. It's soft with great stitch definition & nice colors. If you're going to use it, though, be forewarned that it must the splittiest yarn in the entire world, which isn't disastrous but can make it a bit of a pain to use. Still, I think it was a good choice for this project!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Ravelympics: halfway there!

So we're about halfway through the Ravelympics and I'm a little less than halfway through my projects. I did just finish the first Evangeline mitt, though!

I think I like it! It's in between the wrist & elbow length variations and I completely changed the thumb. I wish I'd made the thumb part a bit longer, actually, but considering that I had absolutely no idea what I was doing when I decided to add a gusset, I think it looks pretty decent! Hopefully Linn (the recipient) will agree. Now that I've figured out how to do the thumb and the length I want, I'm hoping the second mitt will go by quickly.

I've only barely started on the Juniper Mitts. My brilliant plan was to save most of the work on them for my long bus ride to Illinois on the 25th. They're certainly easy enough for that and I'll want something to occupy the time anyway. It only occurred to me today that perhaps I should look into when the Ravelympics end. As I'm sure most of you smarter people were already aware, they're definitely over on the 24th. Damn! So much for my bus knitting -- time to get to work!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Quick Ravelympics Update.

I've almost finished my first Chevalier mitten! Only the thumb is left to be done. Here it is a few days ago:


It's much more impressive-looking now, so new photos will follow before too long. I'm pretty ridiculously proud of it so far -- it's definitely one of the more complicated patterns I've attempted! Not that it's really hard to do, exactly, but you definitely have to pay attention.

Though the actual thumb isn't done yet, the little thumb hole looks good. I was nervous about this because the thumbs on Dashing and Fetching came out looking a little weird. On Chevalier you need to cast on stitches in the middle of a row to bridge the gap above the thumb-hole. I'd only previously attempted casting on in the middle of the row under the sleeves on my Cloud Bolero and, to put it as kindly as I looked like crap. After some Googling, though, I found this marvelous tutorial on how to cast-on in the middle of a project. I followed it and everything looks lovely!

I've also made some progress on Evangeline. Here's the first mitt a few days ago:


It's gotten just a bit longer since then.

No pictures for Juniper yet. I did cast on for it on the 8th, because I liked the idea of starting all of my projects on the first day, but it needs to be restarted. I was doing the medium/44 stitch version because I'm probably going to give the mitts to Brian, but it was coming out looking much too huge. It did look pretty cool, though, so I'm looking forward to restarting! After all of this cabling it'll be nice to do something a little mindless. (Honestly, even the phrase "miles of stockinette" is sounding slightly appealing at the moment...)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Anticipation + a new cowl.

Just a few more days until the Ravelympics!! I'm so so eager to start my projects. I bought the last of the necessary yarn & needles yesterday (or, more accurately, my supremely generous/enabling Aunt Andrea bought them for me during our day of adventures). Here's what I'm making (Ravelry links):
  • Chevalier Mittens for me, in a gorgeous dusty blue Cascade 220 Heather.
  • Evangeline, elbow length, for my wonderful friend Linn. (Usually I don't blog about in-progress gifts for friends unless I'm fairly certain said friends don't read this. Linn does read this, actually, but I'm making an exception for the Ravelympics & I'm sure she'll understand.) She's allergic to all animal fibers and I'm not too experienced with plant fiber so I picked up some beautiful turquoise-y Berroco Comfort. It's an acrylic/nylon blend and probably the softest synthetic yarn I've ever felt.
  • Juniper Mitts using the rest of my Mountain Goat yarn in the Juniper colorway (that's the stuff I used on my cowl). I haven't decided yet about keeping these or giving them away.
So do you think I can manage all of that in 17 days?! It'll be fun to try, anyway!

Last night I started a new cowl, since I loved the last one so much and I'd been dying to cast on for something with the Malabrigo Silky Merino I bought recently. This yarn, you guys! It is beyond perfect. I've gotten carried away and proposed marriage to it a few times. It's soft, it's squishy, it's a dream to work with, and the color is just beautiful:

(That's my lavender plant creeping in at the top of the photo.)

The cowl is just star stitch, inspired by the Holding Hands, Feeding Ducks scarf. I had to practice the stitch a lot before I started this -- it's a little tricky! It's not exactly easy on the hands, either, what with all the p3tog. But isn't it lovely?