Thursday, 19 January 2012

Gift Knitting (Part 3)

While I was on my mitten kick, I thought I'd also knit some for my mum for Christmas. This idea was modified slightly when she saw the ones that I was knitting for my mother-in-law and didn't seem particularly enthused.
Close consideration of when she'd wear them quickly made me realise that gloves would be a much better gift for her, so I cracked out Knotty, a pattern that's been on my waiting list since it was first published.

The yarn is Fyberspates Sheila's Sock yarn in a glorious, vibrant purple. It's a very smooth, high twist sock yarn which works well with the design of this glove.

I made some modifications to the placement of the fingers while I was knitting - these are obvious from the orange lifelines. I don't like when the fingers of a glove are all picked up off the same round of stitches - the little finger never fits properly. What I do is to put all the stitches on waste yarn and knit the little finger, then pick up the rest of the stitches, knit another 4 rounds, put the stitches back on waste yarn and knit the remaining fingers. I leave the waste yarn in as a lifeline as it also makes it much easier to count the number of rows in each finger so the two gloves match.

This yarn haemorraged dye during it's first soak, but the colour remained unchanged - whew!

The stitch definiting on the cable worked out beautifully with this yarn and I've got enough left over from the skein for a little highlight in my current project.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Gift Knitting (Part2)

Some time ago, I suggested to the Resident Radiologist that I might knit his mother some Scandinavian-style stranded mittens for Christmas (I had just finished my Chrysanthmums at the time and was on a mitten kick). The response was distinctly non-committal until he saw the pattern, Cavaleras by Pamela Schwab, at which point the enthusiasm picked up considerably...

In case some of you know the Cavaleras pattern and are starting to think that this is an odd choice, I should probably explain a bit about my mother-in-law. She studies funerary monuments and is a member of the Church Monument Society. The senior women in that society pride themselves on the procurement and wearing of garments or accessories adorned by sculls. Not scull-and-cross bones, just skulls. The more (discrete) skulls you have, the better... which is why Calaveras was perfect.

The yarn is Drops Alpaca (which I love, love, love for colourwork), knitted on 2.5mm DPNs. The pattern was wonderfully written and charted and very simple to follow (and memorise). I altered the cuff slightly so that the corrugated rib wasn't actually a rib, just stocking stitch. My stranded colour-work still leaves a bit to be desired, but there is a definite curve of improvement from my first Chrysanthemum mitten, to the last Calaveras one.

When I wrapped them, I put them with their backs together and the palms facing out. When my MIL unwrapped them, she looked pleased, thanked me for them, then separated them out, saw the pattern, and laughed out loud (in a good way). I hope that they'll come in useful in many cold and draughty Church visits in the coming years.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Gift Knitting (Part 1)

Happy New Year.

In the last few months of 2011, I was knitting pretty constantly on gifts for Christmas and the Resident Radiologist's birthday. Now that the wrappings have been opened and surprises revealed, I can post some of the projects here.

First up in chronological terms was the RR's birthday. He received the statutory pair of socks and in addition, a new hat to keep his ears warm in the Glasgow autumns and springs (it's not really thick enough for winter proper - not that we're having one of those at the moment).

The yarn for both projects was Colinette Jitterbug in Velvet Leaf. I bought this yarn about six years ago, back when Colinette was pretty much the only show in town when it came to beautiful yarn from a UK dyer. Now of course, there is such a huge availability of indy-dyed yarn, we hardly know where to start.
At the time I bought it, Jitterbug was sold as superwash but I'm proceeding with care in that respect as I vaguely recall hearing felting horror stories from others. The yarn is lovely and springy and the varigation in the colour is really subtle.

The socks are my usual basic top-down, heel-flap pattern, knitted on 2.25mm DPNs.

 The hat pattern was a 2x2 rib pattern by TinksDarkerSide that works the decreases at the top to form a lovely simple swirl.

Both the socks and the hat appear to have entered into regular use which is all a knitter can ask for really!