Sunday, December 27, 2009

Finishing the year with Finished Objects

It has been a long time since I have posted a blog entry. Is there material for a New Year's Resolution here?

The last month has been very productive, knitting-wise. I have completed quite a few projects, and while I have entered all the details on my Ravelry site, they didn't quite make it to the blog.

The most ambitious was the Masked Ball in Venice shawl, which I had hoped to finish in time for the High Holidays in the fall, but because I ran out of yarn (twice), that didn't happen. I used yarn that was a slightly heavier gage (really just a tiny bit heavier) than the pattern called for, thinking that it was just a shawl so gauge didn't matter. With all those stitches (about 1200 per row by the end) scrunched up on the needles it was impossible to tell how big it was. Then I bound off and washed it and set it out to block. Oh my goodness -- it was enormous!

Pattern: Masked Ball in Venice by Monika Eckert
Yarn: Jaggerspun Zephyr

This was done as part of a KAL, but I fell far behind. The pattern is gorgeous, and the KAL was fun because in addition to the pattern, sections of the story that inspired it were released from time to time. I really needed a black shawl and had a substantial part of a cone of Zephyr left from another project, thinking it would be enough. Wrong! Unfortunately, the beautiful detail of the pattern will probably not ever be seen, since I will be generally be wearing the black shawl over a black dress. Lesson learned from this project: Gauge does matter, even with shawls. And "a little bit off" can add up to a lot when there are hundreds of stitches to a row.

The two sweaters that were finished this month were both done with Colourmart yarn. The first, a pullover, with cabled neckline and sleeve detail, was done in Extra Fine Merino, which is soft and luscious.

Pattern: 114-8 Jumper with cables by DROPS design
Yarn: Colourmart 100% Extra Fine Merino 12/30NM Super DK Weight
Needles: KnitPicks Harmony US #7

The yak cardigan was a real labor of love. The designer had offered to customize the pattern for members of the Colourmart group and I jumped at the opportunity, fortunately before she realized that her generous offer would be far too much work if more than a few people responded!

Pattern: Classic A-line Yak Cardigan by Margarete Dolff
Yarn: ColourMart Superyak/Extrafine Merino (50/50) 3/14NM Fingering Weight
Needles: KnitPicks Harmony US #3

The yak/merino yarn is very soft, very light, and very warm. Despite the miles of potentially boring stockinette (on very small needles), it was so delightful to knit that it wasn't a problem. It was perfect for knitting during movies, lectures, and conversations with friends. The ribbed band is knit separately and sewn on because it is a different gauge from the stockinette, and that turned out to be the perfect project for one of my flights down to Florida to visit my mother, even when the return flight had a 4-hour delay.

And speaking of labors of love, I made backpacks for my grandsons for Chanukah, but only after asking them if they thought they would like them and asking them to select which of the adorable patterns from Morehouse Farms they would like. One chose the Owl, and the other the Snake.

They are knit with the yarn doubled for the bottom and top band, and a slip-stitch pattern for the body, so they are quite substantial – especially because they are knit on size US #5 needles, quite a bit smaller than what one would normally use with this yarn. My friend Debby, who had made the Hippo backpack for her granddaughter, realized that nylon straps with buckles instead of knitted straps would be much more practical, and she offered to do the same for mine. The kids seemed to like them, so the project was a success. Now on the needles... two more for the other grandchildren.

A New Year's wish for all you knitters... May all your projects knit to gauge, and may all your UFO's be finished by the end of the coming year!

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