Sunday, January 30, 2011


Apparently I never really answered the question that prompted my last article, "Returning to my Comfort Zone - Knitting" and, apparently the question still begs an answer since it has been pointed out repeatedly that I did not and there are those who would like to see!  Well, other than the cowl and coffee cup sleeve that I produced for that article I have several UFO's (UnFinished Objects in knitter speak) in varying stages of progress and several Finished Objects which I can share now that the holidays have passed.

I'll show you the UFO's first.  I started several of these projects simply to keep newly possessed yarn from sitting in my stash, figuring that if I saw the projects in progress I would continue with them before buying more yarn...nice try anyway.  Several pieces have been set aside because they are "seasonal" to me - projects geared to the Spring or Summer.

I am making an alpaca lace, cap-sleeved vest  from a very fine lace-weight alpaca yarn that was given to me by a very good friend who knows me well (...mmm, alpaca).  The light blue color is beautiful, the yarn is very soft, and I decided that the snowflake lace pattern would suit it well. The Vintage Vest pattern is a free one from Valley Yarns that I have been wanting to make but didn't have the appropriate yarn (thank you, thank you really good friend).

The stitch pattern has lots of yarnovers and slipped stitches so it is to be worked on when I'm alone and with no distractions.  I like to have one lacework piece available for those quiet moments.  You can tell from my lack of progress that I have not had too many of those for a while!

The next photo shows what will eventually be a very basic cotton tee that is worked purely in garter stitch with very little shaping. - the variegated yarn supplies much of the interest. I bought The Garter Stitch Topper pattern by Plymouth Yarns when  I saw the top in its completed state at my local yarn store. I thought it would be an easy project to knit in a social setting.  I like to have a very simple, no thought project to work on when knitting with friends.  I can converse and knit with a project like this! 

Next up -  a cotton lace Cabled Vest that is practically done. The Tahki Yarns pattern is one I bought several years ago but I didn't like the yarn they used so it sat, collecting dust in my pattern collection until  I recently found a compatible yarn locally.  I was excited to get this vest going!  The pieces are complete and have been blocked. It is just waiting for me to be compelled by the promises of Spring to sew it together and add the collar and buttons.

This was a fun item to work on although I had some problems with a bit of "vagueness" in the pattern instructions that I purchased.  Here is a closer view of one of the front pieces.
(The color in this photo came out better also.)

Currently I am working on what will be a pair of fingerless convertible gloves at the request of my younger son. I have been working on the design details feverishly. Each will have a mitten-style flap attached to flip over the open fingers.  He is a photographer and needs to have his fingertips available for camera adjustments. The photograph shows the prototype that I am working up. I have finished one finger so far.

I call this a prototype because I am making up the pattern as I go, based on my yarn, my gauge, and my son's preferences.  I already know that I want to use a smaller needle for the cuff...maybe the body as well so I can produce a denser fabric.  The white strings you see are holding stitches yet to be worked into the rest of the fingers and the thumbs.

I also have two unfinished charity projects on my needles,  I work on them intermittently between other projects and I will show those to you in a future article which will focus on knitting for charities.

Now that I have re-entered my comfort zone of knitting I seem to be blasting through small project and am full of ideas for more projects.  I know I will have to switch gears soon and start roaming the library shelves for other craft books to review and techniques to share but for now, I am having so much fun with my knitting! 

Here are some of the projects I recently finished and gave away as gifts:

I knit and felted (purposely shrinking a wool item to create a thick, durable felt product) a zippered case for my friend (the one that gave me the yummy lace-weight alpaca yarn) to store her circular needles in. 

When an item is felted it loses more length than it does width...I'm never really sure what I will end up with!  My photo shows the completed length to be 7" and the width to be about 12".   Prior to felting the piece measured 11" x 11".

I used the same pattern, but casted on 10 fewer stitches, to create a small clutch for my sister.  I was amazed at the difference in the striping of the variegated yarn with just 10 fewer stitches!  You never really can tell with variegated yarn how it will stripe. 

Here it is before felting (note the difference in the pattern from the previous case):

And how it looked after felting:

Staying with the 10 fewer stitches, but using different yarn I made a case for my older son's girlfriend.  I inserted (and attached with a whip stitch) a small plastic zippered cosmetic case so she could keep some make-up inside if she desired. 

It turned out well in the long run but the black yarn I used was not wool as I had thought so it didn't "felt". (FYI: Wool fibers have microscopic scales on them that "mesh" when agitated which is how they "felt", and non-wool fibers are smooth so they can not "mesh" together.) You can see the difference between the black stitches and the red.  Originally I had a black band along the top that matched the bottom band.  I actually liked the loose bottom band but not the top one because it made it too big for the plastic case I was inserting and it was too loose.  To reinvent the piece I cut that off and pulled the pieces out of the felted red fabric which left tiny holes:

I then single crocheted some frizzy black yarn I had in my "stash" using the holes as a guide and it turned out better than my original idea!

I also knit my son's girlfriend a Neck Cozy - a collared style neck wrap (for lack of a better term), that she could wear under her coat and not be bothered by a long scarf.  The pattern is one I made up but it is essentially a rectangle that I folded to create a collar and added a button at the top so she could snug it as tightly or as loosely as she desires.

And lastly, I knit a couple of hats because you can't make it through the winter without knitting a hat for someone!

I told you that I was on a tear!

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