Monday, December 21, 2009

Apiarius; Or, Flight of the BumbleCanary

Pattern: Apiarius
Yarn: KnitPicks Stroll Kettle Dyed Sock Yarn in Timber and Gold

I knew what I wanted this sweater to look like - of course, nary do my plans come to accurate fruition. I'll put this one down to a lack of foresight, but there are other aspects of the knit that I'm quite pleased with.

Happy about
: this being the teeniest-gauged sweater I ever did make. It didn't really take as long as you might think. This is rather encouraging, and methinks there are plenty more sock-yarn sweaters in the near future.

Unhappy about: the fact that the honeycomb doesn't line up all nice-like. This is because I had a brain blip and didn't factor in all the raglan decreasing I'd have to do. I think I was a little more focussed on designing the fracking honeycomb pattern :p
You can see this boo boo pretty well in the pic on the left.

Happy about: the yarn. Once again, KnitPicks comes through and makes purty yarn with purty colours work very well. I've slipped the sweater on a few times now, and it feels super awesome to have a sweater in this gauge. I'd encourage one and all to give it a go.

Unhappy about:
my lacklustre attempts at colourwork. I've done it a few times now, but clearly haven't polished those skills off yet. There's also a place or two where I mussed up the honeycomb, and haven't decided yet what I'll do about that (truthfully, probably nothing!)

Happy about: my bottom-up raglan construction. I actually made the sleeve caps sit decently this time! Very pleased with that.

Happy about: the photoshoot!
I went out earlier today with a willing photographer (I've recruited my mom this time) and had a lovely brunch by the waterfront and frolicked around while the snow happily fell.

If you look real close at the photo below, you can even see some pre-melty snowflakes sitting gracefully for their portrait.

We were also joined by a sizeable number of mallards, a seagull or two, and this paddling swan.

I really enjoy the subtle colour shifts in this Tonal yarn; you can sort of see them at work in the honeycomb, particularly the ones that I "filled in".

I now have a considerable amount of these two shades leftover.
I believe they're heading for bee-striped sock territory!

And yes, I am *that* much of a geek that I purposefully wore my bee locket necklace for this here photoshoot.
Along with something of a goofy grimace :p

And finally, the detail I added because it makes me smile:
there's a bee on my left arm!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Indie Designer Day

PhotobucketDesigner: Samia Buchan
Blog: fkdiary
Website: French Kit
Etsy Shop: Sassy Knits
Rav ID: frenchkitty
Some Great Designs: frenchkitty's Rav Designer Page

With a last hurrah until 2010, I end the year with the textural cable fun of frenchkitty's designs.

Pictured you see Bliss, a saddle-shouldered classic-cabled fantasticness. For all my ravings about my love for the beautiful cabled sweater I've still yet to make one; this one, I must say, is very high on my list!

Frenchkitty's cables can also be flowing, organic and very modern - witness the chic Crazy Cables. I love that this sweater and Bliss have come from the same designer! The ability to plot long, meandering cables like this makes me a touch envious.

She also has great examples of lacework, and Discovery is a very pretty, retro-esque design that makes me want to dig through both my yarn and my ribbon stash (indeed, I have one of those too!)

I've highlighted a few sweaters here, but take a moment and check out her rav designer page - she's also got some very pretty mitts, hats and other accessories!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Jingle Jingle; Or, Sugar Delivery!

Happy December Holidays to Everyone!

This month hasn't brought me my Christmassy weather,1 but my oven has certainly been delivering results.

I've had something of a cookie factory going on here for the past couple weeks, and it'll continue to chug along for a week or so more. This is how I'm accounting for the lack of original knitted-related content.
I thought I'd try a bunch of new-to-me recipes this year - my favourite so far are the "White Chocolate Dream" cookies, a tasty collision of oranges and white chocolate chips. Yummers.

Quick poll: if presented with a cookie that had chocolate-covered coffee beans in it, would you be

a) happy and gobble it up directly!
b) politely accept said cookie but nibble around the coffee beans
c) have a mini tongue-revolt in your mouth at the thought of ingesting such a bitter "treat", and turn down said cookie (with all due formality and politeness, of course.)

I've made me some of them this year; I think they're quite fantastic and a little "sophisticated" (if a cookie can be said to be so). My concern is that many people won't really be a chuffed as I am about it, and my impulse is to warn every cookie-recipient that they may be biting into a coffee bean sometime in their near future.

1Incidentally, if there's any Houston area readers, I'd much appreciate if you'd send your snow this way. I understand this precipitation has lost its way and in a rather unusual move migrated to the southern US.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Indie Designer Day

PhotobucketDesigners: Anna & Heidi Pickles
Blog: Pickles
Rav ID: picklespatterns
Some Great Designs: picklespatterns' Rav Designer Page

Serendipitously1, our profilee for this week is the talented pickles.
Here pictured is the lovely ensemble of Hello New York - Scarf, Hat and Mittens. I love the simple combination of an unexpected colour combination, along with the variation in pattern and texture. This makes the three patterns "go" without being matchy-matchy. I'm very inspired!
(Incidentally, I recently heard that 'you can always tell a knitter because her winter accessories never match'. I must admit I'm guilty of this charge meself. Perhaps this holiday season will see me make up a lovely set of Hello New York accessories!)

Stylish, casual and interestingly constructed, the Baggy Bolero made my list of pickles patterns to point out (amongst the many wonderful ones she has). Perfect for this time of year, and easily adaptable to the warmer weather, this knit is simple and attractive.

Finally, I'll also draw your attention to her Warm winter mitts. The wee bit of colourwork along the cuff gives these winter essentials a subtle touch of class.

Check out her designer page on Rav - it's bursting with loveliness!
1You can read about the supposed German Pickle ornament of legend here.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Indie Designer Day

PhotobucketDesigner: Kayla Dyches
Blog: The Yarn Bearer
Etsy Shop: The Yarn Bearer
Rav ID: TheYarnBearer
Some Great Designs: TheYarnBearer's Rav Designer Page

For a long time I've admired TheYarnBearer's designs. I knew I'd found a kindred spirit when I read the sub-title on her blog, "In yarn, we lust."

First is her shrug Gaia (pictured right). With a brain-teasingly beautiful construction, this simple, multi-directional knit is lovely and wearable.

I'll also draw you attention to the comfy, cozy (and free!) Darkwood Cardigan. With bulky yarn, a seamless design and interesting cable details this cardigan is a perfect accessory to holiday-time fire-side maxin' and relaxin.

Horizontal cables always catch my eye, and TheYarnBearer's Elfin Cable Cardi is a wonderful example of how to use this technique to very pleasing ends! Personally, I can't believe there's only 5 people who're knitting it on Rav. It should be up there with the superstars of sweet indie-designed patterns.

Finally I'll mention the sweet wee Spritely Hat. While the image is of the child's version, fear not; it's also sized for adults, and will be available in the 2010 pattern-a-day calendar.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The Riddle of the Interlocking Honeycomb Pattern

Myth: You need good math skills to design yourself a sweater.

Fact: They would certainly help.

I laboured an entire evening trying to figure out a simple geometric colourwork pattern. It took several incarnations, but finally I arrived at the appropriate honeycomb shape.
Subsequently, I have incorporated said laboured-over chart into a sweater I'm currently knitting up, fancifully titled Apiarius.

As of this moment I've gotten up to the arm joins (Apiarius being a bottom-up yoked sweater), and now have only to cross my fingers and hope the honeycomb pattern will line up nicely when all sweater bits meet.

Being the lazy, math-fearing knitter I am, I have laughed in the face of preparedness and scorned the preliminary work of creating an accurate chart as to placement of said honeycomb patterning for the entire yoke section.

This post, it must be added, is implicated in aforementioned preparedness-scorning, and may very well be scorned itself when the knitting gawds get wind of my haughty trot into the wild unknowns that are colourwork yokes.

You'll be able to tell how I've gotten on with this sweater by the number of creative Shakespearean curses I do, or do not, include in my next post.

Til the morrow!