Sunday, January 31, 2016

Of Dreambirds and Ojos de Dios and other knitted things.

I thought I'd done a knitting post fairly recently, but then I did a search. Holy cats -- the last one I did was in July? Surely I've finished something since then...

So, um, yeah. I've finished several somethings, the most recent one today. But I like things in chronological order, so let's start where we left off in the summer.

I mentioned I was interested in making a Dreambird shawl -- and I did. Here's how it turned out. The pattern called for making 17 feathers. Maybe it was 22. It was some crazy number, anyway. I had no interest in making a shawl long enough to wrap around my middle multiple times, so I measured another shawl of a similar shape and decided eleven feathers would be sufficient for my purposes. Now that I've worn it a few times, I kind of wish I'd made one more feather, or maybe two. I still could -- I have plenty of yarn left over -- but since I haven't done it yet, I'm guessing it's not ever going to happen.

Next, I tackled a cowl for my friend Kim. (That's her, wearing the cowl.) She gave me several skeins of yarn when she was packing up to move from the Washington, DC, area to Michigan, and I used one of deep purple to make the cowl for her -- figuring she would need it because it's so much colder and snowier in Michigan than it is here (oh haha, see last week's Snowzilla post). The pattern is called Millwater, and it's pretty simple except for the 24-stitch cable up the middle. See, to make a cable, you move a certain number of stitches to another needle and drop it either in front of, or behind, the work in progress, depending on which way you want the cable to cross. Then you knit an equal number of the stitches from the original needle, and then you do this sort of awkward, hey-presto thing to bring the needle holding the set-aside stitches into line so you can knit the stitches off that needle. A four-stitch cable is pretty easy -- set aside two stitches, knit the next two, and knit two off the cable needle. But the wider the cable, the more awkward the maneuver gets. And 24 is pretty wide.

At least I only had to do the cable crossing row 17 times. You're welcome, Kim.

Next up in our Gods, Whatever Was I Thinking category: The Tuscan Sunflower. This is the summer shawl/table-topper in my seasonal series. The pattern in the brown is a spiral, which was challenging because I wasn't exactly sure how it was supposed to look. Once I got to the golden petals, it went very quickly. Honest.

Technically, this is a lace pattern, and knitting that brown section in the center reminded me why I hate doing lace.

After that, I needed something stupid easy. Behold: the Dangling Conversation. I picked up the yarn and pattern in Virginia Beach, VA, while on a self-designed yarn crawl with my pal Melody. She was on vacation with her family, and I came down to hang out with them for a couple of days. The yarn I used comes in a cake with the colors in order. You do stockinette stitch 'til the yarn changes color, then throw in a row of eyelets and keep going 'til the next color change, when you do another row of eyelets and keep going again. The pattern calls for knitting in beads along one edge, but I decided instead to lace big, wooden beads onto the tie ends. I've been wearing this one to work a lot.

I also mentioned in July that I planned to make an Ojo de Dios shawl. I got that one done, too.

The way you make it is to knit a triangle from the outside to the middle; then pick up stitches along one edge of the triangle and knit another; and so on, until you have 17 triangles. Then you pick up stitches and do garter-stitch short rows to fill in the rest. I didn't like the way the pattern called for joining the triangles, so I got a little fancy, and consequently ran out of yarn a few rows short of the top. But I've been wearing it a fair amount because it goes with a bunch of stuff in my wardrobe -- and also because at Yule, Kitty gave me a cool silver shawl pin that features a three-sided Celtic knot.

After I finished the Ojo de Dios shawl, other things began to take priority -- NaNoWriMo, the holidays, and so on -- and the knitting kind of got bogged down. I did cast on a cowl called the Black Forest once I'd finished NaNo, but it featured lace panels on relatively skinny needles, and it seemed to take forever to do a single pattern repeat.

Finally last weekend, I got sick of looking at it and decided to power through and get it done. I finished knitting it last night and steam-blocked it this morning. I'm calling mine the Blue Forest for obvious reasons.

I still have two other works-in-progress: a garter-stitch afghan so I can use up a bunch of leftovers from various projects; and a braid of roving that I intend to finish spinning with my drop spindle any day now. Did I ever do a post on spinning? Maybe I'll do that next week.

Anyway, back to the Tuscan Sunflower. I now have three of the four seasonal table toppers done, leaving only spring to knit. I plan to use this pattern with this yarn in the Green Apple colorway. We'll see how it turns out. Stay tuned...

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Speaking of NaNo, don't forget: I'm offering 50 percent off my usual editing rate through the end of March. Email me at lynne.cantwell@hearth-myth.com if you're interested.

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These moments of knitting-frenzied blogginess have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell.
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