Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Work of all stripes

It's been a bit busy 'round these parts. We've had a lovely fall, and work (all the works) have been busy, with a variety of projects in various stages of completion.

Photography, Nicholas Kupiak
Copyright Marian Rae Publications

One awesome little project that just wrapped up is JOURNEY, a knitting pattern book by Shannon Cook and Jane Richmond. I was the project copy editor on this book and it was an absolute pleasure to work with these two creative ladies. We met through blogging a couple of years back, and although they live clear across the country and we've never met in person (yet!), I'm happy to know them both. (In addition, Shannon was the mastermind behind my website and I've had the pleasure to knit several patterns of Jane's devising.)

I hope that you'll go out and snap up a copy of JOURNEY as soon as you can. The photographs are lovely, the sentiment behind the collection will touch your heart, and good luck deciding which pattern to knit first! Head on over to watch the video or read more about the book.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes, my own knitting continued unabated.

This is my version of Daybreak, in two colours of Noro Silk Garden Sock, one neutral, one not. The self-striping yarn meant I got great graduated colours without having to sew in dozens of ends.

This is not a pattern I'd have chosen on my own – I did it as part of a knitalong – I prefer more traditional constructions, and lace rather than colourwork for shawls. But it turned out well. Just goes to show you that it's good to break out of your comfort zone now and again.

(The endless, endless rows of purling toward the end did get to be a bit much, though. When one row of shawl equals ten rounds of sock, I begin to get a bit weary of the whole endeavour.)

In the small-and-cute department: a baby layette. That's a Baby Sophisticate, Bernat Baby Booties and an out-of-my-head tuque that may or may not fit...how big are baby heads, anyway? It's all in Spud & Chloe Sweater, a wool-cotton blend that I really enjoyed working with.

And get out your sunglasses, because, wow, SOCKS! That's TurtlePurl Turtletoes self-striping yarn in a colourway I can't remember, but not for lack of brightness. The pattern is also out of my head, although let's face it, once you've made a pair or two, it's not hard to figure out the schtick. 

And with that, I've got a handful of socks-, shawls- and sweaters-in-progress calling my name, so I'll be going...

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

It's been a while

Things have been busy since last we met. Among other things, I finished my Pi Shawl (finally); started two (!) new (!) jobs; met a lovely blog reader in person (hi Anne!); and did a bit of exploring outside the city. (If you can get there, Spirit Tree Cidery in Caledon is a perfect field trip at this time of year. Just lovely.)

At some point during the hurly-burly, the weather started to slide from August's lush, humid days into the cool, crisp days of autumn. Today the trees in my neighbourhood look like this.

With the advent of October, I finally had a bit of time to do whatever I wanted, all by myself. Yesterday was a self-imposed vacation day, and considering I'd been going full-out for a month straight, it arrived just in the nick of time.

Around about the time I poured cup of tea #4, I found this decorative knitted maple leaf pattern on Ravelry. What's better for a day off than a bottomless tea pot and an intriguing knitting pattern? Not much. Maybe a bit of cake. But I digress.

So down came the TFA Yellow Label in Garnet (a suitably Canadian maple leaf red, I thought) and a pair of 4 mm needles. Armed with the pattern, my pink highlighter, even more tea and a slew of BBC panel shows to play in the background, I got down to business.

The pattern is a masterpiece of short rows, constructed by the sort of logic that my fingers grasped quickly but that my brain is still grappling with. It's a peace-and-quiet pattern (at least for me); none of that talking while knitting during this project, row by painstaking row.

But it was worth it, don't you think?

This leaf, made with DK weight yarn on 4 mm needles, using the instructions for the medium size, measures almost 9 inches high by 10 inches across. (Next time, I'd go down to 3.5 mm needles for a bit more...structural integrity.) I washed and blocked it overnight, pinning severely to get the definition at the tips of the leaf.

As I worked, I imagined how great it would be to make a garland of these leaves for your fall window or mantelpiece. Imagine a whole bunch of tiny maple leaves in an autumnal skein of KPPPM (maybe P327, P338 or P352?) strung on a piece of I-cord. Cute, don't you think?

(If you'd like the challenge but prefer something more functional, I think that these garter stitch gloves worked on two needles might fill the bill. A very neat piece of work indeed.)

Now, back to the grindstone. Close to the top of the list: doing something about this little situation.

It's my WIP pile and it's out of control. Send reinforcements (and cake)!