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Posts Tagged ‘Mmario’

What else have I finished

It is that busy time of year again.  Several birthdays are interwoven with the holidays this time of year.  But I have other things I want to show you, so while my daughter is taking an almost nap on my legs, I will show you something else.

I know I have told you about a designer named Mmario before.  The one that designed Hippo Gnu Deer, and who organizes the MMKKMMysteries (just click MMKKMM on the right to see more of these projects I did from his mysteries.)  Last summer he started another, MMKKMM 2014.  I finished it in just a few months, and here is what I had left of my yarn:

IMG_7084Really, it was only a few yards.  What yarn?  It was Knitivity Primo Lace, a lovely soft yarn, with a nice sheen.  It is 80% Merino/20% Tussah silk, 1000 yards per skein.  And I got a couple of skeins of this from my parents-in-law, in the gorgeous Winter Spice color way.  Lucky me, don’t you think?  I love the yarns from Knitivity, they are always soft, very well dyed, and very reasonably priced.  I would strongly recommend you take a look, the next time you are looking for some nice, hand dyed sock or lace yarn.

Oh, the shawl?  Here is what it looked like before I blocked it.

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Pretty dumb looking, isn’t it?  Yes it is square, and you can see some holes.  But, once I gave it a bit of a wash, and put it up on my blocking frame:

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Isn’t it pretty?  Yes, those dark dots are all nupps!

Some details, first the center:

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Then one of the quarters:

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I was quite pleased with it, so I took some more pictures, which I will also share:

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After blocking it is about 42″ square.  That is just over a meter, for my metric friends.  Not terribly big, but because it is square, it is actually quite comfortable.  I have not been able to find the finished pattern posted anywhere, but you can always join the Yahoo group mentioned before, and get it from there.  🙂

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Catching up

It has been quite a while.  Dare I say it?  Daily life kind of got in the way.  As some of you may know or remember, I now have a 1 year old and a 3 year old (almost 4) who keep me quite busy most of the time, as well as a 6 year old who is now going to kindergarten.  This kindergarten thing required a lot of adjusting of our schedules and such all of it’s own.  Life as parent of school age kids is quite something different then life as ‘just’ a stay at home mom.  Yesterday, however, my husband informed me that a friend of his wanted to look at my blog.  Not a big deal, but I started thinking about it again.  I really have not been as quiet on the knitting front as the blog made me seem.  It was more one of these things where I could either write a blog post, OR relax with some knitting.  And at times it really is true what they say:  I knit so I don’t kill people… 😀

But I thought I would start with trying to catch you up with what I have been working on.  First of, back in September of last year, I finished Hippo Gnu Deer, a gorgeous shawl that was designed by Mmario.  I am utterly and completely in love with it:

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I was the first one who knit the whole pattern, and I loved being able to find the mistakes, and sometimes figure out the best way to solve them.  I  think Mmario is a wonderful (and prolific) designer, and always very helpful if you have any questions.  I used KnitPicks Pallette yarn in the color Silver; a fingering weight, 100% Peruvian Highland wool yarn, which is available in 231 yards, 50 gram skeins.  It is not necessarily a luxury yarn, some would probably call it a little scratchy.  But I really enjoyed working with it, and even though I had a little bit of an issue with 2 skeins that looked like they might have been attacked with a box cutter, an issue KnitPicks very quickly took care of by sending me new skeins, I would highly recommend this yarn for something like a shawl.  I started off the pattern, which is knit from the center out, with US 5 (3,75 mm) needles, and changed the size up every couple of rows until I had US 8 (5 mm) needles.  This keeps the center just a little more tight, and I think that looks better.

Next I finished a lovely cardigan:

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This I made for a friend from the Netherlands who was expecting a baby. (That was back in October, the baby was born healthy and well in November, and is now almost 2 months old!)  It is a pattern from ‘The Little Box of Baby Knits‘, by Sandy Scoville.  The pattern was called ‘Tie-on Sacque’.  I made it using Paton’s Silk Bamboo yarn, a DK weight yarn made up of 70 % of rayon from bamboo, and 30 % silk.  The colors used were Orchid and Stone.  I love the softness of the yarn, but it is also incredibly slippery.  It really needed a bit of a hand wash to even out the stitching. And my daughter loved taking the units apart.  (I am not sure what else to call the units the yarn comes in.  The yarn is wound over a 3″ cardboard core, but I would not call it a cone, it looks more like a ball…)  I love the pattern though.  The cable that runs over the sleeve is just adorable.  I love the way the second color pops the left front and the cables on the sleeve, though you could just as easily use a single color.  It just would make the pattern speak a little less loudly.  The ties on the front are really a nice touch, though I think next time I might use an I-cord edging, it just provides a little neater finish.

I have plenty more to show, but I am going to stop here for now.  This post is long enough, or so I would think.  It is my sincerest hope not to wait another 4 months or so before I bring you the next installment, though I do have a gorgeous shawl that keeps calling my name… (and might well distract me…)  More about that gem later though.

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Long time no see

It has been a long time…  But I have been getting used to 3 little ones running around my house.  Yes, the littlest one is also crawling, making nothing safe, and no time peaceful.  But in the evenings I have been managing to do some knitting here and there.  And I have gotten over the problem that I mentioned last time.  Do you even remember?  Can’t blame you if you don’t.  I was having some issues with not wanting to finish my current projects.  I stop working on them, just so they won’t get finished.  It really is something like  saying goodbye to a dear friend, even though, since these projects stay with me, I won’t actually have to miss them.  I know, it is complicated.   But all of this, just to say that I actually did finish some projects.  As we speak, Hippo Gnu Deer designed by MMario is blocking on my floor upstairs, and the 22 leaves shawlette, designed by Lankakomero is drying on the blocking frame at the other side of the house.    I don’t have pictures of those two yet, but I do have a picture of this:

Yep, Wingspan is truly finished.  It was a fun, simple pattern, pretty well written, though if I made it again I would probably wrap the short rows.  I just think it provides a slightly neater look, even though most people don’t really see the difference.  I made it 9 wedges, instead of 8, as I wanted to use up as much of the yarn as I could.  Poem works really well for this pattern.  The yarn has some thicker and thinner parts (though not like a novelty thick/thin yarn, much more irregular), which would have really bugged me if I had continued to use it for the socks I had initially intended for.  Some people might really like it, but I could do without the thicker/thinner parts.  The colors are absolutely gorgeous, and as wingspan it works really, really wel.

 

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Three months later

As you might have figured, not too long after the last blog post, more then 3 months ago, my family was increased with a darling, absolutely lovely daughter. And of course that is when my leisure life had to be put on hold for a while. Hardly surprising, but babies really do take all the time you give them, especially the first 3 months. What? You want a picture? Alright. This was a day after she was born.

She really is a wonderful baby, sleeps a lot, doesn’t cry much, and grows very, very well.  At this point she has found her thumb, and finally gives me a little more time for…. Me.  So, I have a chance to catch up with all my crafting friends, and even get a little knitting done here and there.

What have I been working on?  Oh this and that…  Wait, you actually want to know?  Hmm, let’s see.  One of my favorite things to work on are shawls.  And I have about 3 active on my needles at this point.  Two came from one of my favorite designers, Mmario.  The first one, that is currently furthest, is called Hippo Gnu Deer.  I am currently a little further then this picture, but I don’t believe I have shown you this yet, and the current one would not be all that much more interesting.

I am also working on Caroling, Caroling, the latest Mmystery Kal that was organized by Mmario.  The Kal was of course finished a couple of months ago, but I am no where near finished on it yet:

And the third one is a brand new start:

Yep, you have seen that right, it is the Poem sock yarn of the socks that I took out because my gauge had changed QUITE significantly over time.  I think it is actually much happier as a shawl.  I will probably have an update on that next time.  I also have some other things on my needles, as well as a couple of things that came off the needles, and I promise, I will tell you about all in due time.

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The five gathered stitches

Today I am going try to show you how to do a stitch that has been referred to as the 5 gathered stitches. A member of one of my favorite Yahoo groups, MMarioKKnits (yeah, I know, I have never mentioned Mmario before 😉 ) asked how to do this stitch. He is planning on knitting the gorgeous Queen Silvia shawl. Here is a free version of part of the pattern. I am in fact using part of that chart. The instructions for the 5 gathered stitches can seem a bit daunting if you are not a person who easily visualizes things. So I am going to try to show this stitch, step by step, with pictures. It really is a pretty cute stitch, you use 5 stitches, and you make 5 new ones, all in one stitch.

Alright, I have started a swatch, which includes a cat’s paw pattern as well as the gathered stitch. I know, my bottom cat’s paw does not look very neat, but it is only a swatch. I needed something to fill up the space! I have practiced the 5 gathered stitches, to make sure I could do it. Now, I am getting ready to start the row that will include the gathered stitch. I am using some laceweight cotton (10/2 I believe), and US 3 (3.25mm) needles. I am assuming we are knitting from left to right, or the regular right handed way. If you knit truly left handed, and need help converting this, just let me know. Here is the swatch at the beginning of the needle:

I knit 3 stitches to get away from the edge. Then the first step of the 5 gathered stitches is to do a knit 5 stitches together (or k5tog). First you insert your right hand needle through all 5 stitches, from left to right:

Then you pull your yarn through, just like doing a knit stitch, but then through all 5 at the same time. (It might be easier to actually do this with a crochet hook, but I did not need one. If you want to see how that would work, let me know either by e-mail or in the comments.) See how there are now 4 loops on my right hand needle? Very important, do not let the 5 stitches slide off of your left hand needle.

Then, while you still have those 5 stitches on your left hand needle, make a yarn over. You do this by wrapping your yarn over your right hand needle. You can see the yarn goes over the needle 5 times now:

Then we are going to be doing another k5tog with the same set of five stitches on the left hand needle we used earlier. First you insert your right hand needle again, left to right:

Then wrap the yarn like you would for a knit stitch, and pull through all 5 stitches, leaving 6 stitches on the right hand needle. Make sure you still don’t let go of those stitches on the left hand needle, we will need them one more time.

Another yarn over, leaving us with 7 stitches:

And the last k5 together, using the same set of five stitches as the previous two times we did the k5tog. Insert your needle, again, from left to right:

And pull the yarn through, which will give you 8 stitches on your right hand needle:

And this time you can let the 5 stitches from the left needle finally slip off:

Congratulations, you have finished the 5 gathered stitches stitch. This is what it will look like when you have finished purling back:

Your yarn might not be showing quite as clearly. I used cotton, because it shows great stitch definition. The little hole in the center will pretty much disappear when you block the shawl. The 5 stitches will kind of fan out. I really like how it looks. If you have any questions, please let me know!

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A quick update

I have been very busy knitting. But I realized that I did not share much about this. So, here is a quick update. A dear friend of mine had started Oregon Shawl, but because of several reasons does not think she can finish it. So.. A couple of weeks ago she asked whether I could please finish it for her. She had finished the center, and picked up the stitches for the sides. Being the friend I am, and because I think an unfinished project with no chance of completion is one of the saddest things in the world, (and the compensation she has promised me doesn’t hurt either 😉 ) I said sure. She was making Oregon in a lovely looking white with a shimmer yarn, called Star Light by Universal Yarns. So, last week, she handed me the yarn, the shawl on the needles, and the pattern, and it came home with me. I knitted a gauge swatch to try and match her tension, at least somewhat, and I was off to the races. I did have to go down a needle size, maybe should have gone down 2 needle sizes, but I did not feel like knitting a shawl on US 2’s (2.75mm), so 3’s (3.25mm) it is. . I have been working almost exclusively on it, and this is what I have done so far:

That is 16 rows, or one repeat of the pine cone pattern that is on the sides of the shawl. The composition of the yarn is 56% acrylic, 6% glitter, 19% mohair, and 19% nylon. The yarn is not bad to work with, though I have found that the glitter thread tends to cause the other yarn to bunch up, or is just plain broken here and there. This is not a big problem, as it does not make up the main body of the yarn, and won’t ravel, because the other 2 plies are still very much securely knitted in place. Those 2 plies are rather loosely plied together, which I thought might cause splitting, but so far I have not had an issue with that. It is actually fun to knit on, as I have quickly re-memorized the pattern, and only need the chart for the corners. I have enjoyed knitting this in front of the television this week. It is VERY soft to the touch.

This means that my other project I had been working on has been mostly put aside for now, though it still lives in my travel bag. That would be Hippo Gnu Deer, the shawl that I started less then a month ago.

I have finished chart 1, and discovered only one minor issue. The pattern starts with Cast on 8, knit 1 round. The the chart starts with the first round being a yo. After discussion with MMario, I assumed this meant that there was a dividing stitch between the 8 panels. But I am now starting to think that is not the case, as the number of repeats changes, which would leave a dividing stitch between some repeats and not others. I think the round 1 of the chart is actually the cast on round. I have not asked Mmario’s opinion about this yet, and will let you know what all the official changes are when I get a chance to finish this. The pattern is easy, and at this point knits up quickly. The yarn is turning out to be quite nice to knit with. It is Palette, from KnitPicks. It has not split on me, it feels relatively soft, and shows pretty nice stitch definition. I am very curious how it will block out.

I guess my quick update is not as short as I expected, I guess I had more to talk about then I thought. 😀

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A new beginning

I have been a bad girl. As if I do not have 3 other shawls on the needles. I started a new one. This time, I got talked into it by a wonderful group of women who are part of a handicraft club I belong to. The question that started it all was something innocent, something like how would one wear a circular shawl. Not a difficult question, one would think. Until you start trying to find pictures on the internet. The only set of pictures that I found were not exactly complete, and the lady modeling a pretty, circular, white, lace shawl was also wearing a long, as in ankle length, skirt. I have nothing against ankle length skirts, I have one myself that I love to wear, and I am fully intending on making another one, when I get the chance. But one of the ladies taking part of this discussion was saying that it looked like the modeling lady was wearing a table cloth wrapped around her shoulders. She thought this might be because the lady was wearing that skirt. So I suggested imagining that she was wearing a pair of jeans. One thing brought forth another, and I found myself saying that I would have no problem modeling a circular shawl, with a pair of jeans underneath, with the caveat that I did not have a circular shawl. If they could be patient, I would have to knit one, and this could take a long time, because we all know how much spare time I have….

So, earlier this month, I cast on Hippo Gnu Deer, a circular semi-pi shawl designed by Mmario, with some Filatura Di Crosa Centolavaggi Chine in a very nice Camel coloring. I believe I have mentioned Mmario before, I really like the shawls he designs, and he actually provides them for free via the yahoo group. Most of the finished (as in tested and proofed) patterns are also available on Ravelry, just do a search for Mmario on the patterns tab. He is quite prolific, and there are many, many patterns on the yahoo group. Most of which are untested, and have never been knit. Hippo Gnu Deer is one of those untested patterns.

The Centolavaggi Chine is not a fingering weight, as I see it. It comes in 100 gram skeins which measure 1531 yards. This would in my book be a lace weight. When I had knit to row 17, which is just over 10% of the total number of rows, it was barely measuring 5 inches across the entire piece. This would extrapolate to a 50 inch shawl, barely over 4 feet. Not what I had in mind. So I ripped it all out, and have put the Centolavaggi Chine away for another project. I love the feel of that yarn.

Instead, I ordered some Palette yarn, in a gorgeous silver color.

At 462 yards per 100 grams (though it comes in 50 gram balls) this would be more along the lines of what I call fingering. This finally arrived last weekend (I am nothing, if not impatient, it did not even take a week for me to receive it). It is 100% Peruvian Highland Wool, which feels quite soft in the skein. I find it a little less soft once knitted up, but I will see what happens after a nice soak, when I am finished. And I would still be quite thrilled to have a shawl feeling the way it feels knitted up right now. I decided to use the Palette, because I had been curious about the Peruvian Highland wool. I figured this would be a good project to try it out on.

And over the last couple of days, I have knitted a number of rows. This was a picture of the shawl at round 19:

I have not been able to stretch it complete, and get a good measurement, due to it being on double point needles at that time, but I think it will larger then it would have been with the Centolavaggi Chine, hopefully large enough to please me. I believe those are 8 inch long needles. Of course you can’t see the points, but I am guessing this took up about 6 inches. Oh, I have slowly upgraded my needles from a US size 4, (3.75mm) to a US size 8 (5mm). I started with the smaller needles, because it was easier to hold on the the beginning stitches that way. And the best circular center start I have found is Emily Ocker’s circular cast on. This is the website I used. I had to pull the loop tight in stages, by tightening the yarn, going through the first round of stitches, in between the stitches, since my yarn is pretty grabby, and would not just slide through. But I have done this with cotton as well, and that time it slipped right trough until the opening was basically not there. Definitely a recommended approach to a circular cast on. Let me know if the website is not clear enough, and I will attempt to clarify, maybe do my own series of pictures.

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