Wednesday, March 29, 2006

A Chulo for a Chum

One of my co-workers wanted a Chulo style hat, so, not having a pattern, I started to wing it. Starting at the top, I knit a square of 10x10 stitches x rows, then picked up ten stitches on each of the other three sides of the square and began knitting on two circular needles, increasing at the beginning and end of each row until I had the number of stitches I wanted to start the pattern rounds.
I used his initials, 'LC' as the main body pattern, then added a section of twisted cable underneath. Next came the ear patches, which I positioned
based on my own ears, then again just winged it.

The challenging part was the I-Cord border (I did have to cheat by referencing several patterns to learn how to do that part. After it was finished, and I was convinced that I could repeat it for the person involved, I showed the prototype to him at work. He instantly liked it, but when he realized that his own initials were the basis of the pattern around the headband, he got quite excited. I measured his head (he referred to it as his 'Mellon' and started out on the final project.
The original yarn was Lion brand Fishermen's Wool in Natural, and Berry Blue Kool-Aid dyed. I wanted contrast to show off the charting. For the final project, he preferred something more muted, in his color range. I used the same wool, dyed with Berry Blue, Black Cherry, and Lemonade for the main color and the secondary color was done with Orange and Grape for a nice rich golden brown.
The patterning was more subdued, yet pronounced all the same. Tomorrow I get to give it to him, will see what he says, and will ultimately see if he wears it. Hmmm, if it turns out as planned, I will have to call it "Chulo-Vista".

Happy Knitting Subs.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Sweaters For Men

I know that the percentage of women who knit is far higher than the percentage of men who knit, but, men still need sweaters and it is nearly impossible to find patterns for men's sweaters that don't look like the ones the step-father wore in 'The Santa Clause" if you know what I mean!

That's why I was pleased enough to fork out the $35.00 bucks US yesterday when I visited my LYS (Local Yarn Shop) for this book. It has some nicely shaped garments and some beautifully illustrated colorways (not that I intend to follow the colorways, but they are inspiring all the same).

The book is by Tricoter and is titled 'Simply Beautiful SWEATERS FOR MEN' Linden Phelps and Beryl Hiatt.

This book is full of garments designed by women, knit by women and published by women (you know I have nothing against women, but, guys we need to organize a project of goods for men designed by men who would wear them after they have been made, don't ya think?).

The Lion and the Frog

On the Needles is the newest hat project. I am using the Lion Brand Fishermen's Wool and the Frogged Lambswool from the sweater en'thrift.

Something experimental on this one, same cast on and beginning, but I an experimenting with stepped decreasing to try and get a tiered effect if it works out the way I want it to. I want the top to be stepped more like a Zigurat. Time will tell.

Variations on a Theme

My Buddy David expressed interest in wanting a pointed hat, I just found another wonderful sweater en'thrift in orange lambswool that I had just frogged and he was interested in Orange for his pointy hat.

I used my basic Beanie pattern, added enough stitches to go around his head, changed the ribbing to a knit-6 purl-2, a ribbing style I have come to enjoy the look of much more than just a k-2, p-2 (I really hate all those Y-O's if you know what I mean). Then, instead of decreasing for the beanie dome effect, I decreased 2 stitches evenly spaced every 4 rows of knitting (on two circular needles) to get the long pointed effect.

Here is the resulting ribbing with the k-6, p-2. I have heard many people on the knit list ask how to get rid of the gap where the cast on stitches are joined to form the circular work. I knit about 4 rows of straight stitches back and forth, not in circular leaving the cast on tail for use later, then I join these few rows of straight (excuse the term) knitting into the circular and knit away. When I have finished the project, I use the cast-on tail to sew the first few rows closed, and the resulting edge is only detectable when I look for where I have worked the end of the yarn into the body of the item. Works for me, and it is a lot easier than dealing with sewing an entire seam up the item.

Here are the finished pointy hats. The Orange one is for David, the other is mine. I knit mine in Lion Brand Fishermen's Wool (the only decent product I think they make, remember, I am a Dyed in the Wool Yarn Snob here,) after I finished knitting it in the white wool, I dip-dyed the bottom edge in Kool-Aid "Tropical Punch", flipped it over and dip-dyed the pointy end in "Grape" Kool-Aid leaving a center section un-dyed natural.

Frogged Pencil Roving Ideas

Some would call me thrifty, some would call me the cheap bastard that I am. I love wool, good wool . . . friends call me a Baaaaaad Boy, perhaps Ewe might too. Recently in my thrift shopping cirquit, I located a sweater in this wonderful white pencil roving 100% wool. I frogged it, threw some of it into sample batches of Kool-Aid, my dyestuff of choice, then carded some of it to see how the loft was.

The Blue is "Berry-Blue", the Red on the left of the ball is "Watermellon-Cherry" and the Orange is, well, I think you may have guessed, "Orange". If you want to know the basics of Kool-Aid dyeing, has it in the archives, that is where I got introduced to it, and I have played with a lot of different applications since that indocronation.

This particular wool that I frogged from the sweater cards out wonderfully, and feels like either lambswool or Merino (more like Merino, yummmmmmmm!). I like doing small batches of dyeing, then blend the batches together for the consistant inconsistancy. Looking forward to doing more with this project, as the resulting roving weighs in at just over 2 pounds avoirdupois and I think it quite a bargain at a purchase price of $6.99 US Dols.