Monday, December 10, 2007

Pay It Forward

I joined a Pay It Forward swap - started by Nurhanne (love her lace - love!). I'm a degree removed from her (Hi Kat!), and can only hope that I get someone (well, three someones) to sign up from me. Here are the guidelines:

“I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.”

What a great idea! I also want to specify - I don't think that the gifts need to be knitted. It's about handmade gifts, so soaps, sewing, quilting, jewellery, hand spun and dyed yarn, etc. are all possibilities. And, as the people who sign up need to have a blog (or cannot continue the Pay it Forward chain with their own commenters), it's easy to go back through the archives and get a sense of what each person likes. Yep, I like this.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Waa Haa Haa!

What a difference a different model makes ...

I was so incredibly disappointed in the finished Beatrice shawl - it just didn't hang right on me. But then, my MIL tried it on - perfect! Exactly what I had wanted! The neck shaping hugged her like it was made for her, and tucked under her collar practically without any helping hands.

The central back panel draped beautifully, the shoulders sat exactly where they were supposed to sit, and the front bands lined up perfectly and exactly.

And then, just when I thought it couldn't get any better, I buttoned in the (surprise!) optional removable button-in front panel, and it was like the clouds parted and the sun shone down ... okay, I'm pushing it a bit, but really, it was friggin' brilliant!

Apparently, Beatrice fits a 36-40" bust perfectly. Sadly, I'm not in that range. I guess she just wasn't meant to be mine. I have to sew 6 more buttons in place (the gaps between the buttons are a bit large with only the 4 buttons on each side of the panel), then she will be ready for her photo shoot - yep, I'll be publishing this one after all. Granted, she looks awful on me, but that's a problem with my body size/shape, not with the shawl. She looks great on Sandra, and will likely look just as good on Janet (who will probably be the cover model - heads up girl!).

While I was still steaming about how badly Beatrice fit me, I worked on some small projects - a (really, really, really boring) 2x2 ribbed hat for Tom (which he loves - the more boring the knit, the more he loves / wants the knitted item), and my first two-colour stranded knitted mitten, for me. It's actually the first time I've made a mitten.

I based the design on the work of Anna Zilborg, author of Magnificent Mittens (out of print - but I just picked up a copy from my LYS, at the original cover price - don't choke on your coffee when you see the asking price on Amazon - oy!). The orchid design is part hers, part mine (from a cuff pattern in her book). The pinstripes are an exercise in yarn dominance (Google it - definately worth the reading if you're ever going to do stranded knitting).

The mitten was started with Judy's Magic Cast-On, at the fingertips, then worked down the hand. I started the thumb the same way, worked to the join, joined it to the hand, then continued working in the round (using magic loop on a 32" circular needle).

This is also the first time I've tried corrugated ribbing - and loved it! I don't know if I did it right, though - I was having too much fun faking it to bother looking it up. I worked the ribbing one round in the main colour (dark olive green) as [k1, slip 1 p-wise], then the next round in the contrast colour (a heathered ochre) as [slip 1 p-wise with yarn in back, bring yarn forward, purl 1, bring yarn back]. I cast off with a purl round, as I have a weakness for the way that looks (it's like punctuation after the ribbing).

Anyway, I immediately started the 2nd mitten, and am doing it exactly the same (I was thinking of reversing the colours, but changed my mind).

It doesn't take much to totally improve my outlook on the knits. Much better now, thanks. :-)

Oh, I've also been learning to spin on a spindle - so far I've made "novelty yarn". I hope to graduate to half-way decent someday. There's a definate learning curve, and I've only just started the climb...