Sunday, September 28, 2008

FO: Navajo Wedding Basket Purse

Most people learn to do intarsia from a booklet, a tutorial, or failing that, a published pattern.

I learned by designing an intarsia-heavy project from scratch.

Fortunately, I then felted the heck out of the sucker, which hides almost any mistake.

Here's the backstory: No, I'm not Navajo. I don't live in the American Southwest. I don't have anything in the way of Southwestern decor or clothing.

Last year, I participated in a volunteer trip to the Navajo Reservation, where we spent a week on home repair for a few of the locals. One day over lunch I met a lady who helps run a local charity. She saw my recently completed Reasonably Hip, and the next day she invited me to her office to see some fiber-related crafts that she and the ladies of her family had made.

She showed me a rug, a hat, a crocheted purse, and a few pictures of the Navajo wedding basket motif. Each had variations on color and structure, but all of them followed the stair-step pattern with a gap on one side. "That's to let the evil spirits out," she explained. "If you're superstitious." (After designing this pattern, I've come to the conclusion that the women who originally created those baskets just told people that to hide the jog in the spiral. But then I'm a cynical knitter.)

See the gap on the backside? It's always supposed to go on the eastern side of the piece, or failing that, away from the vital opening.

She requested a couple Reasonably Hip-style hats with that motif. Whoopsies, I still haven't done anything about those, but I did happen to use the half-pound of Brown Sheep yarn I bought while I was out there (wonderful thing, expandable luggage) to create this purse. At Sunday's fundraising luncheon for the 2008 volunteer trip, it brought in about $20.

I plan to post a pattern for it ASAP, for any who are interested.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

FO: Helleborus, aka My Yellow Rose

We here at A Mighty Good Yarn were a little surprised to wake up to find that two weeks have passed since the last post. I won't make excuses, but I will brag:

This, this, and some of this have been occupying my time. Among other things.

Here's the tardy report on my completed Helleborus. The word, according to the designer, comes from Helleborus niger, the Latin name for the Christmas rose. Since I knit it almost entirely during the summer, and given my status as a dyed-in-the-wool (get it? get it?) Texan, I'm calling it my Yellow Rose instead.

Plus, you type "niger" too many times, and you're bound to run into trouble.

Color's off, whoopsies. End-of-the-day lighting, couldn't be helped. At least the scarf is pretty close to the actual yellow.

pattern: Helleborus by Terhi.
completed: August 29, 2008.
yarn: Plymouth Royal Silk Merino (colorway: 0017; 3 skeins; love it, love it, love it).
made for: me
needles: size 9 circs
notes: I had so many brain farts early on with this project. You know that thing you do, where you think to yourself how you'll totally have enough yarn, even though you have half what the pattern calls for? Yup. I cast on 38 stitches on my third try, and it was only a good wash and a block that got this piece to the minimum 66 inches in length I need for my scarves.

I love the yarn, I love the color, I love the finished product.

How was the knitting, you ask? Boring as sin. The designer knows it, and I'm not afraid to say it. Some knitting pieces you work on in solitude in a comfy chair and let yourself slip into the brain massage that is lace knitting or Fair Isle. Others, you take on the bus.

This one I took on the bus. That's okay, too.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

FO: Duimloze baby-handschoentjes

Roundabout when I was finishing up the Leyburn Socks and noticed a copious amount of leftover, machine-washable sock yarn, I came across this post at Girl Who Knits. A perfect gift for two nice people about to welcome their first:

These no-thumb baby mittens go to overseas friends in honor of their upcoming release. Included are care instructions, translation into Dutch courtesy of Arts the Beatdoctor. Who says hip-hop musicians can't be sweethearts?

It took me even less time to knit these than it did to get around to posting about them.

pattern: Baby Mittens by Malin Nilsson.
completed: August 28, 2008.
yarn: The Woolen Rabbit merino/nylon sock yarn (colorway: Rosemary and Thyme; 1 skein; machine washable). Soooo soft!
made for: Inf and Nita's
first true collaboration.
needles: size 1 dpns
notes: Used twisted rib instead of regular (just gotta be different). I got very confused by the vertical measurements -- I did what the pattern said, but it came out too long, for some reason, so I knit them to match the picture in the pattern. Also, I made a 3-stitch i-cord. If I had it to do over again, I'd use only 2 stitches. Otherwise an adorable, quick pattern!

I highly recommend this pattern. It's a quick, fun bit of easy knitting, and an excellent option for leftover sock yarn. I might just have to go make another six pairs.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

FO: Leyburn Socks

It's been crazy, crazy times here at chez Cobbalicious. Darn me for my restraint on revealing personal details online, but let's just say this is a kooky, awesome transition period that sends ya right to the feet of Ganesh* with all the milk and honey you can muster.

Fortunately, when life is changing, there are socks to keep us steady. At the very least, our feet are clean and warm.

The Leyburn Socks: I've complained about this so many times to anyone who will listen, so blah dee blah, the stranded stitch pattern on top but not on the sole makes sizing wonky, or at least it did for me. I also learned the hard way that I need at least 8.5" around the ankle and calf, even if it's loose, because my heels are long and pointy.

Now there's an interesting digression: I am like a female version of my father, appearance-wise. It's eerie to look at pictures of his family, because you can trace my nose on through the generations. (And oh, what a honker it is. I like it for comic effect. Plus there's extra storage room in there when I've got a cold.)

My mother's genetic material manifests itself in my heels. We both have long, narrow, pointy heels. Her feet are dainty, mine are... not. But the heels are proportionally long, narrow, and pointy. Now isn't that just fascinating?

Okay, okay. Another sock picture, coming up. Check your Rav for close-ups.

pattern: Leyburn Socks by MintyFresh.
completed: August 23, 2008.
yarn: The Woolen Rabbit merino/nylon sock yarn (colorway: Rosemary and Thyme; 1 skein; machine washable). Soooo soft! Got even softer after a wash.
made for: me

size 1 dpns

My first socks! Naturally, I chose a pattern with complicated sizing due to the stranded stitch pattern on the instep but not the sole. I also got cocky and went with a yarn with a smaller gauge. ("Oh, I'll figure it out!") Eight months later...

* Or transition-oriented deity of your choice.

Monday, September 1, 2008

FO: Albuquerque Gloves!

Apparently camera + cord + battery + recharger = pictures!

No kiddin', I've got pictures this time. For realz.

pattern: Albuquerque Gloves by Cailyn Meyer.

completed: August 20, 2008.

yarn: Knit Picks Palette (100% wool; 1 ball each of Sky, Calypso Heather, Marine Heather, Golden Heather, Salsa Heather, and Garnet Heather. Enough left over for perhaps a second pair?)

made for: charity auction, with permission.

needles: size 1 dpns

mods: Lessee... I switched out a couple of the blue tones. The ribbing is 2x1 and 2 rows longer at the wrists. I did some m1L and m1R for my increases, because I'm stubborn... That's about it. A great chance to improve my colorwork abilities!

These really aren't my style personally, but I'm still crazy-goofy proud of them. For one thing, these were my Ravelympics project, the one that I finished on time and in twelve days. For another, that's some nice stranded colorwork there, folks. If I do say so myself.

Props to Cailyn Meyer for writing a good pattern, by the way. If you're interested but would prefer a more traditional design, look at her Snowflake Fingerless Gloves.

While borrowing my fella's camera (and cord and battery and recharger) I snagged some shots of a couple other FOs. La la la, it's gonna be picture city around here for a few days!