Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Colonnade Shawl

I finally got to make one of the shawls that has been in my favorites list on Ravelry for some time. This is the Colonnade Shawl by Stephen West. I love the way it is constructed. It stays on your shoulders very well. It was very windy on the day I wore it and yet it stayed put.
After reading the project notes by other knitters, I wrote out each row of the four row repeat. Then after I finished each row I would check it off. This helped keep me clear as to which row I was on. Plus, it made the rows with all the yarn overs easy to navigate. I did a total of ten times through the openwork repeats. For the cast off I used Jeny's surprisingly stretchy bind off.
An interesting little note about yarn for this shawl...when the shawl pattern was first published the yarn used was Manos del Uruguay. It has been 3 or 4 years since then. I don't know if the quality of that yarn has changed or if the author just got a good batch. I bought Manos del Uruguay for this shawl, but my finished shawl is not knitted in it. The Manos I had was terrible. It ranged from being so thick it was like unspun wool to being so thin that it was like thread. Then in a couple of spots there would be a tiny knot and in those places there was no dye. So every so often there would be a tiny stitch in white.
The Manos yarn was a splurge for me. I liked the shawl enough that I wanted to use the same yarn and have a warm, comfy shawl. Instead, I paid a lot of money for yarn I hate. I did try to knit with it. I made it all the way through 3 repeats before I frogged it. I just could not make this beautiful shawl with yarn that looked so terrible. The stitches were all over the place and some yarn overs would be huge, others very small. I ended up using some Shepherd's Wool from Stonehedge Fiber Mill. I use this yarn a lot, I love it, but it wasn't the right yarn for how I wanted this shawl to turn out. I wanted a bulkier, larger shawl. The Shepherd's Wool, while lovely, seems to behave more like a DK weight than an Aran weight. I do love my shawl and I use it, but I want to make this pattern again using a bulky weight yarn. In fact, I found some yarn at the Clever Ewe in a nearby town. Now I just have to save for it! The Manos yarn is up for sale if anyone wants it. It is a lovely dark teal color. I have three balls of it (138 yards per ball). I paid almost $40 for it and will happily sell it for $20 (or a $20 gift card to Knit Picks). Of course, after telling you everything that is wrong with it, I don't expect any takers! Oh well!!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

A tale of Three Easter Sweaters

I did manage to make each of the kids a sweater for Easter. I actually finished Gavin's Saturday and was sewing buttons on all three Saturday night. My poor fingers were like pin cushions!
Gavin and Henry's sweater is Tama by Kelly Brooker. It is started as a piece that you knit back and forth. Lots of stitch markers are used to mark off the front, back and sleeve stitches. This is great because you keep track of stitch counts so much easier. Once you reach the correct number of stitches you out the sleeve stitches on a past a waste yarn. Then the first 4 stitches and the last 4 stitches are knit together, turning 8 stitches into 4. Now, it is one piece and is knit in the round until the appropriate length. The sleeves are knit after and can be made short or long.
Only the top button is functioning. I picked out the top buttons for the sweaters so that they all matched. I let the kids choose what they wanted for the other buttons.
Irene's sweater is the sister pattern to the Tama. It is Hine by Kelly Brooker. The construction is basically the same. The neck is higher and is knit in ribbing just like the sleeve and bottom edges. The sleeves are knit in a lace pattern and I just love how it looks!
Gavin picked out dinosaur buttons. He loves dinosaurs and I had a hard time getting him to let me sew these on the sweater!
Henry picked out red airplanes. I wasn't sure about the color, but it is his sweater and if he wants red then he gets red :-)
Irene picked out seashell buttons. After some thought, she settled on purple and yellow ones.
I highly recommend these patterns. I bought them together in an e-book for $8. The size only goes up to a 6 but it starts 12-18 month and gives you seven sizes total. It also gives the pattern in different yarn weight. I used the worsted weight pattern and used Bernat Satin yarn.