"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."
Gandalf, The Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien.
"If you wish to be happy, think not of what is to come nor of that which you have no control over but rather of the now and of that which you can change."
Oromis, Brisingr, Christopher Paolini.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

A Few of my Favorite Things, Part 1

Here is a sweater I knit for DD2 at the end of last summer. This is "Aggi" from The Best of Lopi, knit in Reynolds Lite Lopi purchased from Yarnware. It is size 2, knit on #3 and #6 needles.

I knit most of this sweater during a week-long visit to my parents in Chimacum, WA for Dad's 60th birthday. My eldest two kids were busy climbing trees with their cousins, and my youngest was very busy running from one end of the deck to the other. I had a lovely visit, drinking tea, knitting and chatting with Mum.

This was my first attempt at a Lopi sweater. We purchased sweaters for everyone during our visit to Iceland in 2005, but since DD2 was only 8 weeks old at the time, she needed a bigger size this winter. She loves it, and says "My ducky sweater. Pretty." every time she wears it. It's wonderful to have one's handiwork met with such honest appreciation.

On the needles:

This is Wendy's Generic Toe-Up Sock Pattern in Opal Dreamcatcher 1237 on #2 needles. I started it while Sigvaldi was drying, because having finished that behemoth I was experiencing a weird knitting withdrawal panic attack. I love knitting socks. They don't take much thought, and I find self-patterning yarns very amusing (probably more so than I should, but I lead a sheltered existence).

Last year I started buying souvenir sock yarn while on vacation. It's a great game: I can check out the cute LYS, not blow the bank, and have something I know I'll use fairly soon. (Not that I should worry about that -- sock yarn doesn't count, right?) This particular yarn was purchased at Bad Woman (love that name!) in Manzanita, OR. We went to Manzanita with my ILs for a week last April. It was cold and blustery, but we all had a restful time. We stayed here. The guys went fishing. I knit socks.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

First Post, First Finished Object for 2007

This is "Sigvaldi" from The Best of Lopi, in the Oatmeal colorway. It is size XL, knitted on #6 and #10.5 needles. The yarn is Alafoss Lopi from Handknitting.com. (This is the same yarn as the Lopi sold by Reynolds here in the US, but Rust is a discontinued colour, which limited my options given the other two colours I needed for this project.) The buttons are Norwegian pewter dragon buttons from Garden Fairies Trading Company.

When I was about 6 years old, my father returned from a long business trip with a Lopi sweater for himself and one for my mother. They were traditional Icelandic pullovers in natural wool colours. Both of my grandmothers knit, but their sweaters were usually single-coloured, perhaps with a few stripes or a small amount of intarsia. I don't think I had ever seen colorwork like those Lopi sweaters, and I loved them!

In June 2005, we travelled to Norway to visit DH's grandparents, and took the opportunity to visit Iceland on our way home. I fell in love with Lopi sweaters all over again. When I saw this pattern and colorway, I just had to knit it for DH.

The pattern calls for the body to be knitted flat, which seemed fine until I was discussing it with my MIL and realized that to do that I would have to purl colorwork with three colours. Not my idea of fun, to say the least. She convinced me that steeking is no big deal, so I knit in the round and braved my first steek. There's good info on steeks here and here, among other places.

Here is the knitted sweater with the center front steek machine-stitched and ready to be cut. Honestly, I think the machine-stitching was the worst part of the steeking process. I thought I'd end up blind sewing the main colour! Perhaps next time I'll try a crocheted steek.

The button bands are crocheted, which was also an adventure, given that my crochet experience is limited to what a girlfriend taught me during recess one day when I was nine. The pattern has blue button bands with oatmeal edging, but I switched the colours because I ran out of blue I thought it looked better. The oatmeal button band makes the cut edge less obvious, and the blue edging brings out the colorwork on the collar.

All in all a great project. I learnt a few new things, and it looks good on DH. Yes, the sleeves are too long, but he has this weird sleeve "thing" and likes them that way.

Cast on: 12/16/2006
Blocked: 2/3/2007