Thursday, February 19, 2009

hats are faster to knit than dresses

It took me, what, 2 months to knit that dress? And here I am, back in a mere week with photos of my finished cloche cuteness. (The crown hasn't been blocked yet, but at least I can put it on!) Ignore my stoned look, it's way past my bedtime and it shows.

I'm not 100% happy with this, partly because I fudged a bit where I had to pick up stitches around the band to form the crown and left too big a hole in one part, and partly because the yarn all over had some fluffy bits and particles of hay that I didn't manage to pick out. In retrospect, I think a more commercial, "perfect" yarn would have suited this project better. I was going to knit up the other colour alpaca I had into a second one of these, but I think I'll find something else for that and if I do this hat again it'll be in commercial wool or even (gasp!) synthetic. But, it's cute, and very soft and warm. And ten bucks says it looks cuter on Rowan.

Friday, February 13, 2009

the next project - super-cute cloche hat

A long time ago (well, about 6 months ago) I picked up some lovely handspun alpaca from Whitehorse. It's so soft and squishy and beautiful, and I bought it as an encouragement to take knitting lessons. I didn't want to use it for my first project because it's a bit on the pricey side (I think it was $24 for each 100g skein - although I think the yarn for Rowan's dress was actually a lot more expensive, altogether) and I sensed it would be harder to work with. And, it's special - I can't get Yukon alpaca yarn here.

With my first project successfully completed and feeling like I could actually knit, I set about finding a suitable pattern for the alpaca. I knew I had about enough for a hat or something about the same size (I bought two skeins, one brown and one beige - they are both natural colours, not dyed). I had no intention of buying a whole book of patterns, but the hat on the cover of this one was SO cute and probably well-suited to the yarn, plus there are loads of gifty-type knits inside, so I sucked it up and bought it.

Cute, no? And not too terribly difficult. In fact, this evening I managed to do the ruffles (which are two pieces knit together then continued to form the band) without messing up anything. I'm quite giddy about it, which is why I'm blogging instead of going to bed.

The alpaca is lovely to work with, soooo soft and silky. Some people find alpaca scratchy to wear, I don't think I do as I have fond memories of an alpaca sweater I had that sadly met with an unfortunate dryer accident and went to live with a coworker's five-year-old. But I digress. I think I *might* actually be able to get two hats out of my yarn. I'm going to try, anyway - worst case scenario I get the crown half-done in the same colour as the band and then have to unravel it and do the crown in the different colour. The pattern calls for one 50g ball, so I'm hopeful - although I did have to knit a tension swatch (and then get larger needles, and knit the swatch again) so that's a small chunk of it gone (I had to block the second swatch to make *sure* it was close enough to the correct gauge). I wonder who the knitting goddess is...? I've got a prayer or two coming her way.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Yeehaw, I finished it!

Well, it's done. And *I* think it's gorgeous, however note the "I'm only smiling because Mummy told me to" expression on our lovely model's face... I will try it a couple more times, but I think this dress may be destined for the model's little friend Charlotte's wardrobe.

I may actually take out the neck insert - I took some liberties with the pattern and did it in stocking stitch so it would match the bodice, however it's a tight squeeze over the little one's head and she has a tiny pea head, so if it goes to Charlotte it would need fixing anyhow, and it's not quite as perfect as the rest of the dress. But aside from that, I'm very pleased with it. Note the perfect fit! (Which, in toddler-land, means it won't fit her in 3 months anyway.)

Overall I think this was a perfect first project. I learned some stuff, I was challenged but not overwhelmed, and I really enjoyed working with this wool.

Monday, February 2, 2009

almost done!

The front, back and sleeves of the dress are finished. Unfortunately I don't have enough pins to properly block all 4 pieces, so I will have to do the rest of it tomorrow, and sew it later this week. Then I will probably knit the optional insert for the neck, which should go pretty quickly, and then it'll be done! If Her Majesty can avoid naps this week, I can have it done by the weekend I think. (Naps mean later bedtime, which means no knitting.)

The sleeves are gorgeous. Unfortunately, *somebody* left the camera connector at work, so I can't post pictures.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

quick update

I've finished the front, back and one sleeve of Rowan's dress. Once the other sleeve is done, I have to sew it together and then knit quick little inserts for the front and back neck. So, soon there should be something like a picture up.

I ran out of the contrast colour and had to go back for more - of course, they were all out of that dye lot. But since the only parts that meet are meeting vertically so the light will hit them differently anyhow, it ought to be ok. I hope.