28 June 2011

Unicorn! UNI-CORN!

Though I've being playing around the idea about quilts for a couple of years now (have started several projects and managed to accumulate quite the fabric stash), it's only in the past few weeks that the full impact of making quilts has hit me. And hit me hard it has.

Due to an undisclosed communal quilting project that has recently been completed (don't worry, I'll show pictures once the time is appropriate) I have finally realised how fantastic making a quilt is. And also how nice it would be to have a home made quilt. For reals. This is the closest I've come to owning a home made quilt.

I've had quilts before. Even had baby quilts. But they were mostly of the "pre-quilted fabric, just add binding" variety. The closest I ever got was a "home made style" quilt that was heavily discounted in the bedding department one year. Now that I've encountered a real, honest-to-goodness homemade quilt, I realise how poor a facsimile it is.

K. Now I'm getting a tad off topic. Sort of. Quilt = Great. Me. Want. Own. Quilt. So I could barely contain myself while finishing up this secret mysterious non-disclosed communal quilt project, and keep from starting another one right away. But I was good. I waited 20 whole minutes after finishing stitching down the binding before whipping out the fabric for the next on.

After seeing and suggesting the latest in the Old Red Barn Quilt-a-long to a friend who wasn't inspired, I realised that this pattern would work wonderfully for my stash of thus un-planned Far Far Away fabrics.

Fussy cuttin' UNICORNS!

Early Saturday morning, I started fussy cutting unicorns while chatting with my sleepy roommate. We were up early as we had plans for dim sum with friends. While ironing and slicing fabric, I kept singing "unicorn, Unicorn, UNI-corn!" in the style of King Haggard in the Last Unicorn.

By the end of my awesome 4 day weekend, I had a nice little stack of fabrics going. 4 blocks done and a general strategy for the quilt. As you can see, the plan of attack involves diving into my box of 1930's reproduction fabric scraps. The purples used are the most perfect match to the pinky/purple in the one Frog Prince fabric from the Far Far Away collection.

Unicorn, UNI-CORN!

I do have enough of the Far Far Away to make the entire quilt, I do really like idea of the borders using one colour, but many different fabrics. It would have been nice to have a cosy quilt entirely made of double gauze, but I plan to get a nice Nani Iro dot or floral print for the backing. Maybe some nice cotton lawn for the binding. Hrm. That would be a nice touch.

17 June 2011

A Mystery Shawl: begun & finished

Um, hi. I'm not feeling too verbose about this shawl that I finished back in May but we'll see how this goes. The pattern for this mystery shawl caught my eye in my friends' activity stream one day. I grabbed some yarn and got to knitting.

Spriteling detail

While I'm kind of blasé about writing about this shawl, please don't make the assumption that I found the knitting boring. Or am even blasé about the resulting shawl. I could barely contain myself while waiting for the next set of instructions.

Spriteling detail

I think I finished this shawl only a couple of days after receiving the final clue. But I don't have the ideal set up for blocking shawls. Considering that I've knit almost 10 shawls, it's kind of silly that I don't have a proper blocking set up. None of those interlocking foam blocks to put on the floor and pin into. No blocking wire set. I just have about a million pins that I use.

Spriteling clue 1

Fortunately I have an awesome friend with a spare bed and all the necessary blocking devices. I was over at her place one day playing Xbox (my roommate's died from the dreaded Red Ring and I had some games on loan that needed 'testing' before being returned) and we blocked out the shawl (it was a combined effort).

Finished & needs blocking

The blocking was actually kind of challenging for this shawl. The elaborate border and loopy crocheted bind off made the blocking quite confusing. We consulted pictures from others completed shawls to see what the resulting shape should be. There was much pinning out of loops, readjusting of loops and scrounging for more pins before this shawl got to its final blocking state.

It's a shawl

I really love how the shawl turned out. The colours of the Archangel have this unearthly glow to them. Somehow the red emanates from the core of the yarn. I'm not sure how well this is evident in photos, but trust me, in life this shawl is slightly on fire. Maybe more like slow burning hard wood or liquid hot magma. Either way, I very much enjoy and have worn this shawl on every available chilly morning since its completion.

I like this shawl

Alright, so I guess I was more verbose than anticipated. One day I shall be up-to-date with my completed projects.

It's a purty shawl

One more picture of the big fan bit at the center of the shawl.

Border detail

16 June 2011

Clumsy Beret

Enough leftover for a beret?

Hey, so I finished knitting these handspun gloves and still had plenty of yarn left over in the skein and so decided to make a beret out of the leftovers. Initially, working with my gauge information and having knit many a Le Slouch in the past, I was going to just getting knitting some ribbing, do a bunch of beret increases and switch to moss stitch for the body of the hat.

Finished a hat

But after working the ribbing, there was something just not quite right about the hat. I couldn't put my finger on it. So I set it aside and got caught up in mystery shawl knitting (the subject of another post) and traveling down to NYC for an Easter Weekend trip. Oh and I also moved for the first time in 5 years in there somewhere.

Hipstamatic self-portraits are haaard.

After things settled down a little, I found myself stuck at home with a cold and in between mystery shawl clues, I decided to pull out the ribbing and start again. This time I opted to follow the Purl Beret pattern. I liked the idea of having less noticeable decrease rounds in striping handspun instead of a star pattern of paired decreases.

From the top

I had to adapt the numbers slightly (as I usually do) to match the gauge of the yarn I was using. Somehow I never end up using yarn that is a straight across replacement for what's called for in the pattern. But it's an easy enough thing to fix. Knitting math is pretty easy most of the time.

Hey, it's a hat.

The knitting went really quickly once it was restarted. And suddenly I had another hat. Just in time for warm spring.

Boob hat

And eventually I took some more official pictures of this hat.

and I have braids

Though I really haven't worn it yet.

Yeah, it's a hat

It quickly became to warm for hats.

I'm wearing a hat

Oh, and there's still a sizeable amount of yarn left over from this skein. I guess I might be starting a scrappy crocheted blanket at some point.