Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Post Holiday Projects

After the hectic holiday season, it was nice to grab my copy of Ever Yours: the Essential Letters of Vincent Van Gogh (a Christmas present) and sip my coffee while I read. Not only was Van Gogh a talented and prolific artist but he was also an eloquent writer. I first became acquainted with his writing two years ago when I received a copy of Dear Theo for Christmas. I couldn't put the book down and was sorry to finish it, so when I saw that Ever Yours was going to be published before Christmas, it went on the top of my list. The letters are in chronological order and include the sketches that he often sent in his letters. For anyone interested in learning more about Vincent Van Gogh I highly recommend reading his letters and Dear Theo is a good place to begin.

In addition to some cards and other studio projects that will be posted at a later date, I'm working on some knits. I love Susanna IC's shawls. They are so beautiful and her patterns are well written and easy to follow. Her latest pattern- the beautiful Shawl for Emma was recently published in the fall issue of Jane Austin Knits. I love Jane Austin's novels and this shawl is stunning so it was a must knit. I ordered the yarn that Susanna used to knit her shawl, Juniper Moon's Findley in Dove, since I wanted my shawl to look exactly like the model. Interweave Knits must have really lightened the photographs because rather than the off-white pictured, the Webs site showed the color as a light pearl grey which I ordered any way.

Shawl for Emma in Dove.

It's not the off-white pictured but the color is very pretty. This pattern starts off by increasing the first row with left and right lifted increases every few stitches. This is not something that you want to do if you are tired. I found myself getting to the end of the row and having too many stitches left and having to pull the entire row out. I had ripped the shawl out so many times that my husband said that he thought I should choose a less demanding hobby because knitting and then ripping out what I had just knit can't be enjoyable. The problem with lace is that once you start ripping out stitches, other stitches slip off the needles and then it's difficult to tell what row you're on even if you are keeping track with a row counter.  After restarting my shawl from cast on for the 7th time I decided to add a life line. My Addi lace needles had the cords that allow life line attachments maybe now is the time to use them.  Once I started the yarn overs, I started using the life line every two rows until I reached the end of the first chart. A couple of times a few stitches slipped off the needles but the life line kept everything in tact while I replaced the slipped stitches. Now I am finally at the short row shaping and 1/3 of the shawl has been knit.

The same day that I had ripped the Emma Shawl out for the 7th time I decided to knit a quick project to build my knitting confidence back up.  Malabrigo has just published Book 7 Rasta in Brooklyn. The book is filled with brightly colored cowls, hats and sweaters all knit in the super chunky Rasta yarn. Normally I am not a fan of knitting with chunky yarns on large needles but I love Malabrigo yarns and after knitting with lace yarn on size 4 needles this might be a nice change of pace. I chose the Dumbo brick stitch cowl. The pattern called for size 17 needles but thankfully I was able to get the exact gauge using the slightly smaller size 15 needles. I was able to knit the cowl in two nights with no dropped stitches or ripping out rows. I really liked the colors used for the model but was a little disappointed when the yarn actually arrived. The actual yarn was not as bright as the model in the photograph. While I really like the colors of my cowl I do wish that those printing the pattern books would not enhance the photographs. If the yarn used in the knitted model appears muted print it that way, so those of us who want to knit that design can see the actual color. Kudos to Webs who both times showed the yarns as they actually appear. Both times I knew that knitting in the exact yarn as the model would not yield exactly the same color garment as it appeared in the pattern book but I decided to order it any way.

Mozart is modeling the Dumbo cowl from Book 7.

This yarn did not photograph as it actual appears.
I am disappointed that the archangel color photographed mostly red instead of showing the actual colors. I wish that the colors of the yarn were actually that bright. The Azules (blue) is a soft shades of muted blue and the Archangel is not mostly red but has muted earth tone fall colors, much like the color of leaves.