Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Quick progress update.

Last night I was knitting the Primula shawl onto a longer needle. It seemed like the perfect time to stretch it out a bit and get a couple photos in which you can actually see a bit of the lace patterning. Unfortunately all of my really long cables were in use in other projects, so the edges are still pretty bunched up, but you can see the center blossom fairly well.

I've also gotten a bit further with the quilt. Some of the fabrics I used in the first block were not going to make it through an entire quilt. So, I came up with a second block design. I have a few of each block done at this point. This project will probably not be touched again for at least a week, but I'm glad to have gotten a bit accomplished.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Summer Goals

In May I set three crafting goals for the summer. At the end of June I hadn't touched a single project of the three. So, July has been spent working towards reaching those goals. I don't have a finished project yet, but I have three WIPS:
This is the most boring to look at for the moment. I have been developing a guilty conscience about calling myself a crochet designer and never crocheting any garments.
The reality is that I just prefer knit garments, but I really do want to stretch my crocheting skills. So, I decided to crochet a sweater this summer. This is the back of the sweater, which was worked in less than 1 day (maybe I don't like knitted sweaters better!) I had a good deal done on the front as well, until I realized it was HUGE and I needed to go down a hook size in the front. I'm getting gauge now, but there is too little done to photograph.

I also wanted to spin the yarn for a hand knit sweater this summer. I seem to always want to make a new sweater in October. So, I figured it would be great to spin the yarn for it over the summer.
This is about 60-70% of the yarn here. (3 hanks of fawn, 2 brown, 3 light grey, 1 dark grey) It is all Icelandic, most of which is from a farm in Maine. I bought the fiber from the farmer last fall while I was at the Fryeburg State Fair in Maine.
The dark grey is a commercially processed roving. There is also black, but it isn't plied yet. I have lots more of the two greys- they will make up the main colours of the sweater with the browns and black adding accents. I haven't fully committed to a pattern yet. I had wanted to spin the yarn a light worsted weight, however the fiber seemed to have a different opinion. It's more aran to bulky, averaging 9 WPI.
My third goal was to learn to quilt. For years I have been staring at quilts at fairs, in museums, and shops, and dying to have one. Not one made by a stranger, though. I wanted one of my very own design. It really all started years ago when I saw a stunning art quilt display at the Brush Art Gallery.
I thought I might wimp out of this project this summer, and say that the duvet cover I made was like my practice quilt, but when that was done, and I saw how crisp and square my corners were it got me really excited to get into some real piece work.
You can see from my very first completed quilt block above that it becomes more difficult to get those nice squared corners while working with many smaller pieces. Even though my first blocks have been far from perfect I will keep them and put them into a quilt. Hopefully each new block will improve, and the finished quilt will document my progress.

I have also started a new shawl to replace the super-fine merino shawl I frogged. This one is made with Plymouth Yarns Alpaca Prima, a fingering weight 100% alpaca. I'm using the Primula Design from Marianne Kinzel's First Book of Modern Lace Knitting.
This is a "coffee cloth" pattern. It's sort of a large doily, or very small table cloth, knit in size 60 crochet thread. I've never seen size 60 thread, but I imagine it's about the size of sewing thread, maybe a touch thicker.
I was hoping that the fingering weight yarn and large needles (4.0mm) would make the design large enough to be a shawl with out altering the pattern at all. I've currently knit about 1/3 of the rounds in the pattern, and I am guessing that it's going to be about 44" across. So, I will definitely need to come up with a plan to enlarge, or add on to the pattern.

I have one last project to share today. It's one that really should have been done by now. It's the last of the baby blankets I need to make this summer. The intended recipient was born this past Monday. So, I'd better get going.
I would have been done long ago, but I put it down for a few weeks, and when I came back to it I decided I didn't like the motifs I had been using, and I started the whole thing from scratch.
It is almost done, and I can definitely have it complete and gifted long before it is outgrown.