Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Grey Jewel Cowl

Sometime in mid-June I came across a beaded cowl pattern on the Stash 'n Burn group on Ravelry. I think I cast on the same day, and the only thing that slowed me down was picking out the PERFECT beads at T & T Trading Company.  Of course, rather than coming home with one $5.00 vial of beads I came home with a selection of about 12 vials of $2-$10 beads. Yeesh. I am SO not about restraint sometimes.

Pattern: Jeweled Cowl by Sachiko Uemura
Yarn: Treadsoft, hand dyed by Nancy McRay (my boss!) ~490 yards of sock yarn
Needles: US 7
Beads: 8/0 Japan 649 GREY AB beads, 1 vial from T & T Trading Co. in Grand Ledge, Michigan
Mods: I used the size 8/0 beads called for in the pattern, but discovered the crochet hook was tearing apart the yarn a little bit, so I devised a way to bead that didn't use a hook and didn't require pre-stringing either.  I followed Sachiko's advice and knit the first stitch before the yo through the back loop.  This kept a nice neat line of yo's as the cowl progressed. 

This gorgeous thing will be staying at Woven Art for a few weeks as a shop model, and then will be sent off to a friend.  I will be teaching a one day Tips & Techniques class around this project to help people learn the new beading method I worked out, and to help them through the simple lace.

A little word about T & T Trading Company - it is a fantastic brick-and-mortar shop out in the farm land west of Lansing - perhaps 20 minutes from where I live.  I have gone several times, and I have never left empty-handed.  In fact, I get delusions of grandeur when I am in there - especially if I have been browsing etsy before I go. (I have to remember  I am NOT a jewelry maker.)  The wall of 6/0 and 8/0 beads is humbling.  You can buy vials, but you can also get bulk beads should you need a 1/4 kilo of Japan beads. (I may have bought 2 1/4 kilo bags of silver and peacock beads last year.)  I have tried my more local bead stores and have found only 2 or 3 colors of beads appropriate for knitting. T & T has dozens of colors.  Whenever I teach a class involving beads I always encourage my students to go there.

I was thinking I might want to go back there this week - even though I have MORE than enough beads. So. Addictive.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Houndstooth Check Cowl

This project was a total queue-jumper during a terrible bout of start-itis I experienced a few weeks ago.  I have been working with a lot of fingering weight yarn recently, and the idea of a quick two-skein chunky project was irresistible!  And since the pattern was also written by a friend I felt an extra incentive to cast-on.

Pattern: Houndstooth Check Cowl by Megan Knitprints
Yarn: Misti Alpaca Chunky in charcoal and yellow/grey, 1 skein each
Needle: US 10.5
Mods: I didn't bother getting gauge - I wanted a big luxurious cowl that I could wear with my enormous down coat this winter - I can easily double this around my neck. I knit the pattern as written, then knit through row six, then did Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off.  I love using Misti Alpaca Chunky for two-color projects, and I certainly have a bunch of leftovers - so I may be knitting another cowl soon with a solid main color and leftovers for the accent colors.  My finished cowl measures approximately 36 inches in circumference, or 18 inches when laying flat and 8 inches wide.

Here you can see the right side and the wrong side - both are lovely. I would highly recommend using a 20 inch circular needle - I used a 16 inch because it was free and it was a super tight squeeze!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Summer Startitis

It seems that my favorite thing to do this summer is to cast on for new projects.  It is all I can do to keep focused on the five projects I have going.  Right now my favorite project is more than halfway done.  It doesn't travel well - beads and tools aren't easy to set up in the car - but it IS gorgeous.

This project comes out of stash - in fact, out of my tremendous sock yarn stash.  I am trying to diligently knit down some serious yardage there.  I am Cold Sheeping again until Rhinebeck, and participating in the Sock Stash Knitdown (SSK) challenge to try to use 12 skeins of sock yarn for the year. So far I have used 5. Yeesh, behind already!

The Jeweled Cowl by Sachiko Uemura is a free pattern on Ravelry, but the designer has asked for people to donate for Japan relief in lieu of payment.  So I will be making a donation to UNICEF. Maybe it was all the trick-or-treating I did in the late 70s to early 80s, but I miss those little cardboard boxes full of pennies.  So UNICEF gets my money this time.

Friday, July 8, 2011

E 10th Holland Michigan

Pattern with Pattern with Pattern

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Daybreak in stash

This was my June stash project - two skeins of Madtosh Sock and a lovely half-circle shawl by Stephen West.

Pattern: Daybreak, by Stephen West, size medium (16 stripes)
Yarn: Madtosh Sock in Turquoise (color A) and fig (color B)
Needles: Size 4
Notes: The first section went quickly, but the counting for the increases started to cause grief. I finally paid attention to the math and realized that with every pattern repeat you add 3 to find your middle increase stitch.  So, if your previous row counted 11 stitches to the increase, then your next increase row would count 14 then increase.  Vague? It will make sense if you have the pattern.  I also found that I used a lot more of my color B than the pattern stated.  I have just a few grams left, so be careful if you take on this project!

My Daybreak is lovely and subtle and rich.  And sadly, it is finally too warm in Michigan to wear it.  So I hope that my one week vacation in the Adirondacks at the end of August will be cool. Otherwise it will be pulled out in October for cooler days and Rhinebeck!