one day the sun will come out

This is actually one of my more favorite projects and concepts...knitted letters sewn onto a canvas backing. Knitting is an art form, after all. This was my first attempt to use canvas, so the background ended up getting painted a flat black. I like the stark contrast anyway, I think it lends itself well to the word. For the letters, I used Louisa Harding's Grace Hand-dyed...half silk, half wool, all wonderful. I improvised the letters as I went, but they turned out okay.

I was going to use that acid green Grace with blue Colinette for another painting/knitting hybrid project, but that one didn't work out because the painted canvas stood alone. I'll try to photograph that one soon so everyone can see how it turned out, maybe I'm biased but I think painting is very, very cool. More to come?

I'm calling this "Unyielding Hope", a phrase Barack Obama used in his acceptance speech.


you could hope for substance

Oh, and so the despondent tone of my knitting life continues. I've temporarily laid aside hopes of designing something for Berroco, it's just not happening right now. Apparently I can't create things on command? Sigh.

Instead, I'm reverting to old projects that I had left for dead. Last year this little shrug (begun as a gift for my mother) was my epic road trip knitting challenge. I drove from Minneapolis to New York City with some friends and decided (as if the fact I keep a knitting blog wasn't silly enough) to see if I could knit this sweater in the 22+ hours in the car. I didn't succeed, mostly because I was gawking at scenery and sleeping for part of the time....but anyway, back to knitting.

The pattern is really cool and was a store model at Needlework Unlimited. It's the sort of sweater that looks good on everybody regardless of body type. We made everyone try it on! Plus, it's knitted using Tahki Yarns' Cotton Classic, which is a fantastic yarn that's been around for years. Held double stranded, the knitting goes quickly!

You start knitting at one sleeve, then across the back and cast off at the other sleeve. The only seaming that's left is for the underarm (so about 8" total). I thought this was brilliant, except (there's always an exception with me, right?) the sleeves wouldn't match exactly because increases and decreases look different. You would increase on the first sleeve to achieve the length for the back, then decrease at the other side to form the other sleeve. Instead, I reversed shaping and knit the two sides separately, intending to graft them in the middle. This did not look good, I got frustrated, and I threw the whole thing in my closet for a year.

Instead of reknitting the whole thing, I'm going to take out the graft in the back...it's off center anyway. I'm going to fix it so there's a seam in the back center instead, pretend it's intentional, then knit on the collar and give it away just in time for summer to end. Knitters are such funny people sometimes, aren't they?


all night out on the run

I decided it was finally time for a post, since it's been a while since I updated anyone on my knitting exploits.

Well, the bad news is that what you see above is about all I got done. I am suffering, it's terrible.

I mentioned that I was going up to the cabin for a couple of days to escape civilization and fight my knitter's block, but alas, all I managed to do was take a cool picture and get a bunch of mosquito bites. I knit a little swatch that I really hated (and have therefore not pictured), then gave up and went for a walk in the woods instead. After I got back to the city, I had a knitting meeting with Annie and managed to cast on for a hat. It's coming along now, but since it's on little needles it takes a bit of time to get anywhere with it. The problem with it is, though, that once I get done with the ribbing I have to decide what to do for the rest of the hat...NOOOO! Knitting really shouldn't cause this much angst.

I should just knit a baby sweater, I need a gift for an October baby boy.


time to believe in what you know

I've been going through a knitting drought the past week or so and therefore have very little to show off. Of course I have tons of ideas floating around in my head, but haven't had the time or concentration to put them on needles. Luckily I was saved from this nearly-disastrous knitter's block by Berroco: they're having a design competition and the only requirement is that you use one of their sock yarns! I was like...allll over that. I've raved about Berroco's Ultra Alpaca Fine before, so this is the perfect opportunity to create more amazing knitwear using one of my favorite yarns.

These socks were knit over the winter, also using Berroco Alpaca Fine. They turned out beautifully, the yarn was lovely to knit with. They took quite a while as they were knit for large feet on size 0 needles, but it was well worth it. I've lately become partial to knitting on tiny needles! Over the next few days I'll be gone to the family cabin in Northern Michigan, so I'll log some knitting time and hopefully come back with a design that I could submit to the contest.


if you work it out, tell me what you find

Earlier this spring, I had a particularly eventful weekend and twice ended up going to venues where you receive wristbands as you enter. I think we all know the material those wristbands are made out of- that indestructible paper/plastic hybrid that some postal envelopes are made out of- and I kept those wristbands on for a week at least. They looked artistically battered, and it was with great regret that I cut mine off so I wouldn't feel guilty wearing them at work. The other person I'd gone with kept his on much, much longer...although they looked very worn, they were mostly intact after weeks.

My unnatural attachment to these wristbands gave me ideas for knitting, naturally. When my original cuff bracelet came out a little too bulky, I re-designed it and used a utility cotton that made it both wearable and durable. I've since subjected these to constant use, I was curious to see how they would hold up in the shower, swimming, cooking, etc. The best part is that, although I don't usually take them off, I could remove them without ruining them if I needed to. I was so utterly delighted with the braided bracelets that I (naturally) wanted to make more.

Now we finally arrive at the purpose of this post: to introduce my eco-chic, recycled, reused pop-can-tab bracelet. Similar in size to a wristband, it can also be made in bright colors and can be worn everywhere and anywhere. I can't take full credit for this innovation, it was made to imitate a bag I own that's made entirely of tabs; my friend Emily (also my very first knitting teacher!) figured out how to crochet the tabs together. We promptly produced three bracelets which were worn with smugness befitting a clever and successful craft endeavor.


don't even know what i'll find when i get to you

A few posts ago I featured a Fisherman's Cuff bracelet (here). It is a beautiful object, but is unweildy to wear. The problem is in the fastening. I had used a button AND a snap hoping to reduce damage to my precious button; coupled with the already bulky bracelet, the snap/button/bracelet sandwich was nearly an inch high! Besides that, I wanted to knit with something other than the Shibui Knits wool...it's gorgeous, but a wool cuff is a little impractical for summer.

Thus began another knitting adventure! I knew I wanted something natural-colored to imitate an aran fisherman's sweater. I also knew I wanted a cotton, silk, or similar (also natural) material so that the bracelet would be easy to wear in the summer heat...something that could stand vigorous wear and washing. The yarn also needed to be rather fine (DK weight or lighter) because I didn't want another bulky bracelet. I never really found anything satisfactory at yarn stores so started brainstorming possible substitutions...the hardware store!

I wandered around our neighborhood hardware for a while, looking down every aisle...gardening, no; kitchen, no; yardwork, no. Finally I found a salesperson and asked for string (cringing as I asked...I have met so many customers over the years who mistakenly say string instead of yarn and have gently corrected them). The lady gave me a strange look and pointed me in the right direction. Apparently I don't look like the sort of customer they normally get in a small-town hardware store. Then I found it: all-purpose cotton twine! $2.79 for 20 yards! A deal.

The string (cringe) worked perfectly! The bracelets are dense and much less bulky than the first, wool bracelet. The utility cotton wasn't really any different than working with cotton knitting yarn, although it wasn't quite as refined consistency-wise. I've been wearing the bracelets constantly for about a week now and they've held up very well (I'm going for the fashionably, intentionally distressed look eventually). These activities have included cooking, swimming, and showers...they're comfortable and hard-wearing. Perfect!


i would want to, i am game

It is exactly what you think it is. Hilarious, right? A knitted traffic cone! When left to my own devices, I tend to think that ridiculous ideas = good ideas. Especially when knitting is involved.

The backstory: my brother and his friend are very silly people. I live with my brother, and came home one night to find a very large, bright orange traffic cone sitting in my bedroom doorway. They had obtained it at some point in the evening and brought it back to the apartment to contribute to the curiousity-shop decor. As I do with most things, I immediately wondered if it could be knit. It could, in fact! I'm still contemplating a life-sized cone, but in miniature it's even funnier.

Yarns used: scraps of Jamieson Shetland DK for the base, Debbie Bliss Merino DK for the body, and Mica by Berroco for the reflective stripes.


an afternoon that's never ending

For whatever reason, I really like i-cord. I think it has so much possibility...whether it's as a bind-off, purse handles, or any other miscellaneous project...i-cord is simple but effective. This is a necklace of sorts, a fusion between a scarf and jewelry if you will. I have a substantial button collection, so I scavenged a few glass/faux pearl buttons, added a crocheted flower, and a few beads I had randomly lying around. The yarn itself is Louisa Harding's Grace Hand Dyed, you might remember it was purchased a few posts ago for my art-knitting fusion project. The art part of that project ended up being pretty cool all on its own, so the knitting got left off. This was fine with me, because who could complain about having a silk/wool hand dyed yarn left over?

Similar to the braided cuff, I think I'm going to try a few more and see if I can modify my design a little more. Knitted jewelry, to me, always looks a little chunky or too handmade (unless you use wire), so I'm experimenting in the genre. We'll see?