Saturday, July 24, 2010

Summer Swatch Me Week 6!

This week marks a special milestone, as we are now officially at the half-way point of summer! I don't know about where you are, but where I am we hit near 100 degrees F yesterday. Sounds like smack in the middle of summer to me! Luckily, we took pictures for today's post last month... Our Summer Swatch Me stitch pattern this week is Fountain, and most group members will be adding this stitch pattern to their Summer Swatch Me Samplers. This makes our 6th (out of 9) patterns for the sampler.
We have two side projects this week. First we have the Fountain Mitts, which I knit using one skein of Land O Lace Steffi, in the Mazeppa colorway. Just as an aside, when I went to the Land O Lace website to snag the link for this post, I noticed they are having a 10% off sale (plus free or reduced shipping) through July 26th. I am not trying to lead you to temptation or anything, but I couldn't resist (the temptation) myself, and I thought I would share my discovery with you.
I just LOVE this colorway. It is hard to appreciate from my photographs, but there are specks of pale purple which create an almost iridescent quality.
The yarn has excellent stitch definition, so the pattern looks almost embossed. The stitches are NOT twisted, although I worked these at a firm gauge.
Like the previous mitt patterns in this series, they have a fitted thumb gusset and beads embellishing the wrist. The pattern is well suited to additional bead placements, if you so desire!
Our second side project this week is for a simple scarf, the Summer Swatch Me Scarf, using one skein of a special yarn and some beads for good measure. I used Crystal Palace Kid Merino in the Sage Colorway, along with some silver lined gold rainbow beads. Delicate, quick and a perfect gift. The scarf can be made using any one of the nine stitch patterns we will be using this summer, but this week I made a scarf using Fountain.
Finally, we have this week's Summer Swatch Me Fountain Bookmark, using another one of my handspun yarns, from my FiberOptics stash.
Try to stay cool, while still surrounding yourselves in fiber. That is my plan! I will be back next week with more Summer Swatch Me abundance. The project started the first day of summer and will remain open to new participants until the very last day of summer. If you like what you see and want access to all the projects and stitch patterns I have been posting about, come on over and join us! You can read all about it here. Until next week, knit on!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Summer Swatch Me Week Five!

This week, our Swatch Me stitch pattern is Trails. For those of you working on the Summer Swatch Me Sampler, the chart is now posted at our group! I apologize for this week's delay, but we had to fetch BadKitten from the heart of Amish country and relocate her for the next three weeks of her summer adventure. Before I show you our special Trails pattern for this week, I will force you to see my weekend photographs... Here we are, driving through it. Amish country!
I had no idea how much goodness we would find there! First, right in the city of Lancaster we found the Quilt and Textile Museum, and took in an exhibit of traditional Amish quilts. It was lovely. Second, we drove right by Labadie Looms, in Bird-In-Hand, Pennsylvania. She has looms, spinning wheels, weaving and knitting yarns and spinning fiber. I was pretty impressed! Finally, we ate at a decent Thai restaurant in Lancaster...
We shopped for fabric (for BadKitten's next quilt) at Zook's, in Intercourse, Pennsylvania. The selection was overwhelming. BK selected edibles...
The Lancaster Bead Company, in Lancaster, has a tasty selection of my favorite type of beads (8/0 Japanese!) Left to right: Sparkling Metallic Gold Lined Crystal, Sea foam Lined Crystal AB, Transparent Gray Rainbow Luster, Cobalt Lined Sapphire AB, Amethyst Lined Crystal AB.
And in Intercourse, Pennsylvania, we found a really nice yarn shop with a good selection of yarn including this sock weight yarn that I had never seen before. It is from Knit One Crochet Too.
A buggy driving by...
The corn just goes on and on...
A farm across from where we stayed!
Finally, this week's special Summer Swatch Me pattern is for Trail Socks. I used Bear Foot sock yarn from Mountain Colors, in the Harmony Plum colorway. The yarn is soft, silky and strong. A great sock yarn and very nice to knit with.
This sock is knit from the cuff down and uses traditional sock construction, including a heel flap and a turned heel. They fit very well.
The colors really work, with enough variation to be interesting and not enough to distract from the stitch pattern. The pattern includes directions for making the socks mirror each other, which is a fun detail.
They have the BadKitten teenager stamp of approval!

For those of you working on Summer Swatch Me Bookmarks, our Trail Bookmark is worked in yarn from my FiberOptics collection of handspun yarns.
I'll be back next week with our sixth Summer Swatch Me stitch pattern. If you like what you see you can still join us. Read all about it here. Until next week, knit on!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Summer Swatch Me Week Four!

We are fast approached the middle of our Summer Swatch Me Sampler, with the fourth stitch pattern posted today. This week, the stitch pattern is called Broken Leaves. This is an interesting pattern, in that it can be blocked flat for lace or worked in a more firm gauge, with heavier yarn, for a really interesting textured fabric.
Our small project this week is the Moss Hat. You can see how I took advantage of the texture we can get with this stitch pattern, and how different the stitch pattern looks in this hat, compared to the sampler swatch above. My hat was worked using Fleece Artist Nova Sock Yarn, which has been marinating in my stash for a few years!
For those of you working on bookmarks, I think you can see another lovely feature of this pattern. It undulates, so shows off color changes well and has a nice scallop. The bookmark yarn was hand spun from my FiberOptics collection!
Finally, this week we have another tutorial. To prepare for next week (when our side project is a pair of socks) I am sharing my baby sock pattern, including written directions and step-by-step photographs. It is a great way to learn how to make a traditional top down sock in a very small project. One evening, one sock. Use up your left-over sock yarn. Make one and use it as an ornament! Make two and give them to a baby...

Do you like what you see? You are welcome to join us for the Summer Swatch Me project, to access to all the stitch patterns, projects and tutorials. We will be going strong right through September. Read the details here!

Next week I will back with more! Until then, knit on!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Summer Swatch Me Week Three!

Happy holiday weekend, here in the USA! The Summer Swatch Me group is in full swing, and this week we are working on our third stitch pattern, which I call Vine. Most people are making the project sampler, and will be adding Vine to that this week
Our side project this week is a pair of fingerless mitts, called Vine Mitts. I used the Crystal Palace Mini Mochi again. In case you didn't notice, I really love this yarn. The long color repeats are wonderful and the yarn is very soft and a pleasure to knit with and wear. These mitts not only match colors perfectly from the right to left hand, but the stitch pattern on the right hand is a mirror of the left hand.
It is a fun way to explore the possibilities of lace knitting. Toward the end of the summer we will come back to this little trick, when we look at flipping stitch patterns and manipulating row repeats to create more complex lace designs with our Swatch Me stitch patterns.
These mitts have been VERY well received by the teenagers in my life, and I hope they get a similar reception at your house.
Some Summer Swatch Me members are working on bookmarks. This week we have our Vine Bookmark, made using some of my FiberOptics handspun.
If you like what you see and want to join us, there are still nine more weeks of summer, with new ideas and patterns to come! You can read all about it here. Feel free to drop me an email if you have questions. I will be back next week with something a little different for the Summer Swatch Me group. That would be socks, including a special sock tutorial and a bonus pattern for baby socks. And they are pretty cute...

Until then, knit on!