Sunday, August 22, 2010

Summer Swatch Me Week 11!

The Summer Swatch Me Sampler is a done deal! Several knitters from our group have already blocked and are sharing their photos as I type. Many more are still working on their samplers, so it will be a few weeks before we have a group post to share all the projects.
You can see the last few stitch patterns in the photo above, and the first few in the photo below.
And some details in the photo below...
And a close-up of the border below, showing the bead placement.
The photo below shows how I suggest you block your sampler. Use the finished dimensions in the pattern directions as a guide. Weave in your ends to the wrong side, but do not clip them. Soak your piece in cool water, giving it a wash with soap if needed. Follow the general care guidelines for the yarn you used. Be sure the piece is rinsed well and totally wet. Press out the excess water and roll in a towel. Lay flat and pin out each point (where there is a bead there is a point!) Make sure to work evenly, using a ruler if needed to achieve the suggested blocking dimensions. If you used a different gauge/yarn/needles just block to your chosen dimensions. Leave the piece alone until totally dry. Remove the pins carefully, clip the ends and enjoy!
Here is my sampler blocking, and you can see how I dealt with the points and the corners.
The winner of the little blue skein of handspun yarn is LambChop (Heather) and her skein will be in the mail tomorrow! I'll be back in a few days with more Summer Swatch Me fun. Until then, Knit on!

Summer Swatch Me Week 10!

Hi everyone! This is just a quick update with news that the Swatch Me Group has started on the sampler border. The chart was posted on Sunday and several people have already completed their samplers! Photos have started to appear and I can't wait to see all the various yarns and how each one blocks out. I will keep this week short and sweet (and quite late) but I will be back on Friday with a longer post, including blocking directions and finished photos, along with the winner of my little skein give-away from last week.

I plan another little "raffle" to celebrate the end of our summer group project. We are not at the end yet, but in preparation I want to warn all my group members that we will be having a large group blog post, where I can showcase all your work. I hope many of you will participate. It means you send me photos of your finished work, along with your project specs. For every finished project that you send me a photo of, I put your name in the raffle one time. All the photos that you send become part of the final summer post. Stand by for details!

Until Friday, knit on!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Summer Swatch Me Week 9!

At long last, we have come to the final stitch pattern for the Summer Swatch Me Sampler. This week, we have Traveling Leaf. Most group members will be adding this stitch pattern to their samplers, and next week we will move on to our border pattern, which should be fun. This stitch pattern is one of my favorites. We have two side projects this week! Number one is Traveling Leaf Mitts, which are made using Land O Lace Kabob, in the Ramsey colorway. This yarn is delightfully springy and fun to knit with. These mitts are very well fitted, with a subtle beaded edge and a thumb gusset.
They keep your hands warm without getting in the way, so you can write, knit or play your guitar in style!
Plus, they look great! These have the BadKitten teenage stamp of approval...
We also have a quick, one skein scarf. You can use any of the Summer Swatch Me stitch patterns for a scarf, but I put a little pattern together using this stitch pattern and one skein of Crystal Palace Kid Merino, in the colorway Plum Tones.
My final bookmark for this project, the Traveling Leaf Bookmark, is shown above using one more skein of my FiberOptics handspun. I have one more skein left of the spindle-spun yarn I made for this project, plus the little bits you see below. The picture is a bit funky, but the remaining skein is about 30 yards of lace weight, spindle-spun by me from FiberOptics fiber. It is blues and black (darker than the picture) and is spun so that is will stripe with long repeats (like the bookmark above.) I spin pretty well, so the yarn is even and balanced. It is enough for a bookmark, a pretty swatch or just to play with. Would you like my last little skein? Well, I want to know how many people are actually paying attention! All you have to do is leave a comment. Be sure you include your email address in your comment, so I can contact you if you win. I will take each comment, throw it in a hat and have BadKitten pull one winner out for me. I will ship anywhere, so your location doesn't matter!
I'll be back next week with our sampler border. Until then, happy knitting!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Summer Swatch Me week 8!

Happy Sunday! We are on our second to last stitch pattern for the Summer Swatch Me project and this week's stitch pattern is called Champagne. Most of our group members will be adding this stitch pattern to their samplers. Look who is home! And not a moment too soon, because it was really hard to photograph this one without my model. I call this the Champagne Hug. This was made using one skein of Jade Sapphire 2-ply 100% Mongolian Cashmere, in the Lichen or Not colorway. You can't see the beads in the photographs, but there are silver lined teal ab beads sprinkled throughout.
You can wear this piece a few different way and it looks pretty elegant from all the angles. The pattern for this is more of a recipe, with direction to customize for a perfect fit. Any of our Summer Swatch Me stitch patterns can be used.
I have been playing with our stitch patterns in these "side projects" and this week is no exception. The stitch pattern for the sampler is worked with a stockinette stitch ground, but for the hug I used a garter stitch ground. This works well with some stitch patterns and not so well with others. I think it works very well with this stitch pattern, and I invite you to swatch some of our other stitch patterns to see what you get!
Here you can see my Champagne Bookmark, for those group members working on bookmarks. Again, I used some handspun from my FiberOptics collection.

Do you like what you see? You can still join my Summer Swatch Me group. Read the details here. We have one more stitch pattern next week, a border for the sampler the following week and then a bunch of weeks focused on playing with our stitch patterns. We will do some pattern manipulations and discuss designing a unique stole using our various stitch patterns and manipulations. I will be sharing charts for several other projects, including a cowl and two full stoles, plus charts for alternate stole centers and goodness know what else I will come up with between now and then. I better go knit...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Summer Swatch Me Week 7!

Happy August to everyone. I am pleased to report that the weather here in New York is much more comfortable this week, improving the quality of my knitting time immensely! I hope the same is true for all of you. Our Summer Swatch Me stitch pattern this week is Reverse Pod. You'd think I could some up with a better name for this lovely pattern, eh? I figure some of you are ready to add this right on to your the chart has been posted to our group.

Before I introduce our "side Pattern" this week I will share a seasonal cooking tip. I am a fiend for fresh beets, and on the east coast of the USA it is beet season. Here is what I do: Trim and scrub the beets. Scrape them with a sharp paring knife. Rub them with olive oil, salt and fresh black pepper. Toss some herbs in if you have them. Wrap the whole group of beets in foil, sealing the package by folding the foil over, to make it as air-tight as possible. Bake for two hour at 400F. Let them cool, slice and enjoy! Be sure you drizzle any juices from cooking over the beets. You can also serve them in a sweet vinaigrette dressing...

All right then. This week we have Reverse Pod Socks. I used our week 7 Summer Swatch Me pattern, but I took a few liberties. First, I enlarged the pattern from 14 to 16 stitches. Group members can compare our stitch pattern chart with the sock chart to see what I did. Second, I used twisted knit stitches for the waves in the pattern which give an embossed look, especially in the yarn I used. These socks are worked with a finer weight yarn than our last socks and with more stitches cast-on. They use classic sock construction and a different but classic heal stitch pattern, called Eye of Partridge. The yarn that I selected for this pattern is from Lorna's Laces and called Shepherd Sock Yarn (in Periwinkle.) It is a delight to work with. It has wonderful stitch definition, really lets the twisted knit stitches pop, and makes a really elegant sock. Apologies for the photo sans model, but I just finished the second sock and my lovely model is still away! The two socks are mirror images of each other, which I like to do. Once you get the idea of manipulating our charts to do this, it is just a short jump to using the same trick to design a larger piece. More on that in a few weeks!

For those of you working on bookmarks, here is our Reverse Pod Bookmark, using another of my handspun FiberOptics yarns, made from their lovely pencil roving.

Our week 7 pattern can be used to make a scarf and would also be a really nice hat. Come to think of it, it would make some killer mitts too! I can't wait to see what our group comes up with. If you like what you see you can still join us at the Summer Swatch Me group! Read all about it here. I'll be back next week with even more. Until then, knit on!