Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Mystic Pullover

Pattern: Mystic Pullover by Melissa LaBarre
Yarn: Alize Pure Wool Cashmira, 325 g
Needle: 3.5 mm rib, 4 mm body
Time to knit: 17 days

1) Knit in the round up to the armholes, without the pockets, the waist shaping is at the sides.
2) The ribbing is not knit additionally, as in the original pattern, it starts from cast on and my number of stitches was larger, as I knitted it with smaller needles (as I usually do).
3) Changed the cap of the sleeves as in the Phildar sweater.
4) Lowered  the neckline an inch.
5) The neckline stitches on the back and the front were left live rather than cast off and picked up again.
6) The picked up and live stitches, forming the collar, are more than the pattern calls for for my size - I actually made the collar the largest size.

One word jumps to mind when I think of this sweater - effortless. I usually struggle with my sweaters - knit and unravel, until I'm satisfied with the result. With this sweater, however, although I made some arbitrary decisions - the number of stitches for the ribbing, the waist shaping, the sleeves, and especially the number of stitches and rows for the neckline, everything turned out as I imagined it. As easy as pie.

The color is turquoise, not blue as in the pictures, but I was not able to capture it neither at home, nor outside :( However, it seems to be one of the colors of the season in the knitting blogland - during the past week I saw two more sweaters in Alize 17 on the blogs I follow :)

And speaking of colors - this is the bleakest photo session I've ever shot! It's been raining lately, it's actually raining / snowing  right now and there are even small traces of single snowflakes on some of the photos. The banks of our river are ugly and muddy. We've had a fairly mild and snowless winter, but I can't say that spring is in the air, not yet ...

Monday, February 18, 2013

Cute Hearts Hat

Name: Cute Hearts Hat
Pattern: From Norway with Love
Yarn: Alize Cashmira 100% wool in
black, purple, violet and pink
Needle: 3. 5 mm rib, 4 mm body
Double brim 88 sts, body 110 sts (11 repeats)
Time to knit: two days

I know, last you checked, no such hat was listed as a WIP on my blog and I said I had more than enough on my needles. So how did it happen that early Saturday morning I picked up my needles, knitted a few rounds of my Mystic Pullover and then all of a sudden began pulling out various Cashmira yarns and cast on a new hat?

Here's how it all began:
1. On Friday night gvozdiShe published a new outfit, featuring her cream color Verena sweater. I love that sweater, so Saturday morning, while drinking my coffee, I searched her on Ravelry, tagged her in my friends' list and browsed the other Barthilde projects.
2. Nadinkova's Barthilde is just gorgeous, so I favoured it, looked her up (no blog, alas) and browsed through her other projects. I noticed, that she mentioned Lena.
3.Nadinkova's latest sweater - Parlan (beautiful work, again!) also mentioned Lena with a link to her Ravelry profile. So I went to look up Lena.

4. Bee-Lena is another sophisticated knitter and she also blogs. So - on to her blog.
5. I subscribed to her blog and browsed through it - plenty of beautiful knitting and sewing projects, including masterfully made coats! (I'm so glad I studied Russian and English in school! Thus I have most of the knitting blogs world wide covered. But of course, when your mother tongue is spoken by some 7 mln. natives and a couple of foreigners, you just have to study languages :)

6. I was intrigued by a grey cardigan and clicked on the page. And there I also saw the From Norway with Love hat with hearts. I've had that hat on my Ravelry queue for more than a year, I think. So that was it - the last drop - I had to make this hat NOW. I immediately imagined it in black with purple and pink hearts and I had just the yarn needed.

So I set aside my turquoise sweater, dug out the Cashmira balls and cast on the hat.

Do you proceed any similar to that when casting on a new project :))) ?

Shared with Creative Friday
and FO Friday.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Current State of Affairs

Finally, I think I got my knitting mojo back three days ago, when I cast on the Mystic Pullover from New England Knits in this beautiful turquoise Cashmira. I plan it as a heavily modified version without the pockets and I intend to follow my notes on the purple Phildar sweater for the sleeves and the decreases.

I also resumed my cross stitching process - the Buttercups Flower Panel. I'm stitching from here and there - the easy background when I'm not feeling like following the complicated chart and the flowers when I feel the need for some color.

These are the two projects that are actually viral at the moment, and here are the other WIPs that I do intend to finish (eventually :)

This large-scale cross stitch is my own design based on a paining by Frederick Arthur Bridgman - A Street in Algeria. Frankly, I'm not very happy with my choices for the color palette and the big canvas (Aida 14,  I should have made it on much smaller canvas, 18 or even 22). It's enormous and I don't quite feel like finishing it, so this is a may be:

This blue cotton cardigan is a modified version of a free Japanese design I found on Ravelry. It's for my daughter and I'll finish it for early May (if I can get my head around my notes):

The linen blouse is for me, it's OK so far, though the process is a slog, but I should have it ready for late spring - summer:

I had forgotten to include this project - the two picnic cushions:

My son asked me to sew him a cosy for his tablet. So I dug into the bags of sewing materials and came upon these almost finished things.
This dress was intended as a little black dress, but I ruined the velvet by ironing it. I still have no idea how to sew velvet, if I'm not allowed to iron it, even through a cloth and from the back. Anyway, I'm thinking of using the lower cotton part for the inner lining of the tablet cosy.

The other two interesting and decades old sewing projects are a dress and a jacket. They are both Burda patterns, started really many years ago. Unfortunately when we moved to our new apartment six years ago I threw away (I still shiver out of horror when I think about it - how could I !!!) all of my sewing and knitting magazines, my tracings, my notes. Then I was in a state of mind to sell, donate or throw away most of the old stuff and I thought if I needed sewing magazines, I would buy new ones. I should have given it a second thought, but ... oh, no use crying over the spilled milk now.
The dress is a possibility, though an ill-fitting one - it feels narrow around the bust when I move my hands and the shoulders are 2 cm drooping. The fabric was expensive silk blend (impossible to photo shoot!), I should probably finish it anyway:

The jacket is a disaster. It's very wide shouldered (with those enormous shoulder pads, once popular), it looks two sizes bigger on me now (and I know I haven't shrank). I like the fabric though - some checkered bouclé, and please notice the perfect invisible pockets :))) But I fear repairing it is beyond my abilities :(

And yesterday I also went to my first Pilates class. It's been more than three years and a half since I last attended a proper sports class and I feared that I've gone all jelly. The good news is that I still have most of my muscle strength and stretchiness (the latter being more of a natural one rather than due to my own diligence :). The bad news is that today I feel as if I've been processed through two grinding stones - every  bone and muscle in my body aches. I plan to make it a once a week Monday class and I'm putting it in writing here, hoping to make it permanent and not an accidental Monday whim. The facilities and the instructor are excellent, it's a half an hour walk from home and my plan is to go there on foot as a pre and after class exercise.

Well, seems I've got enough WIPs, back to work :)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Cagnes-sur-Mer Puzzle

Puzzle: Cagnes-sur-Mer by Sam Park
Manufacturer: Schmidt 1000 pcs.

This is the last of the three 1000 pcs. Sam Park puzzles we bought last month. A few happy early mornings, after I've sent the children to school and while drinking my morning coffee and watching some popular science tv program. So now I associate the assembly of the ark with the story of the Cologne cathedral and the flower bunch to the left with the family history of a contemporary British artist :)

This puzzle came in a metal box. I hadn't seen that before - I like it!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Alpacana Jane

Pattern: personal pattern, using the idea of Jane by Jane Richmond
Yarn: Lanoso Alpacana 130 m
Needle: 4.5 mm rib, 5 mm body
Time to knit: a few hours

The weather this February is quite dynamic, as the weather people call it. Only two days ago it was +16C and skate time, today it's sleigh time. It was gloomy and rainy all day yesterday and during the night the rain must have turned into snow, because this morning we woke to a super beautiful winter fairytale scenery - white streets and trees and bright blue sky.

I'm so glad I have another hat to show you on this beautiful background. And though the hat is nothing special, the background is hopefully compensating :)
The yarn is recycled from another hat I knitted last year. It was my most favourite and warm hat, but it relaxed too much, so I decided to reknit it. This time I improvised a pattern, similar to Jane Richmond's Jane. I don't have her pattern, and anyway my gauge, yardage (only 130 m) and yarn are all wrong for her pattern, but I love those mock cables and the double brim.

This time I cast on a significantly smaller amount of stitches for the brim - only 60 sts and used a smaller circular needle (4.5 mm). For the body I increased every two stitches to 3 for a total of 90 stitches and knitted evenly in the round until I had about 10 m of yarn left and then started improvising decreases, until the yarn was all knitted up. That's it :)

And now a most curious series of pictures - find the hidden hat :) 
That's the camouflage hat to go for, if you need to hide in a snowy forest :)))

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Castello di Verrazzano Puzzle

Puzzle: Castello di Verrazzano by Sam Park
Manufacturer: Schmidt 1000 pcs.

Schmidt 1000 is definitely my kind of puzzle - various puzzle forms, doable, yet not too easy to assemble, beautiful pictures. I might get addicted to these puzzles :)

This one took me longer to assemble than some of the previous ones. I did it on my own and somewhat leisurely, taking small chunks of time to place a piece or dozen.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


Pattern: Graham by Jennifer Adams
Yarn: Alize Cashmira 100% wool, 60 g
Needle: 3.5 mm rib, 4 mm body, 96 sts
It's reversible:

Simple boy's slouchy hat, quite a quick knit and a gratifying result.

And now my husband wants one for him too :) 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Red Borika

Pattern: Borika Gloves (personal pattern)
Yarn: YarnArt Pure Merino, 100% wool, 50 g, 140 m
Needle: DPNs 3.5 mm (US 4)

This is the second pair of Borika Gloves I've knitted, incorporating some minor modifications (improvements) to the original pattern I made for me in green. The yarn is the same pure merino I used for the first Borika, but white and hand dyed in red. Alas, I'm unable to shoot reds with my camera, I really don't know why, but the colors always turn out very different from the real thing. The brim of the gloves is knitted with a small amount of the yarn I dyed with a mixture of lighter and darker red, in an imitation of dye-dipping. The transition is much more subtle and natural in real life colors.

This pattern is free and downloadable in English from here: