The beaded scarf is finished, looks lovely, and was received with much joy and surprise by my mother-in-law. I highly recommend this sucker as an introduction to bead knitting. Again, I'll just say, I got it from Heartstrings Fiber Arts. They have lots of other lovely patterns which I will some day investigate once I run out of things to do.. ha ha.
In other project news, I will include a photo of a baby blanket I made for my cousin and his wife who are expecting their first child in about two months. I made this blanket during my period of unemployed-craftacular-movie-watching-time. As anyone who has been through a period like this knows, it isn't all it is cracked up to be, but you sure get a lot of crafting done.
This blanket is filet crocheted in panels. Originally it was supposed to have ribbon woven in between these panels, however, what I learned is that ribbon is not stretchy, and yarn things are. This annoying paradox (of course not guessed at until much careful weaving had been accomplished) resulted in a blanket that would either un-weave its ribbons every time you wrapped it around a baby, or a blanket that would try to cinch the baby with its steel-girder like ribbons. So the ribbons removed, the blanket was sent on its way, off to become a useful member of blanket society.
And finally, a little sneak peak of a hat I'm working on for a Boston friend. It is mosaic, so when I do work on it, it is very quick. I only have really two more vertical squares worth of rows to go and then I'll sew this puppy together and send it off to Boston. I'm sure it will still be snowing there. Even if I don't send it till May. No, really, I hope to finish it soon, if only because it seems like I don't find the impetus to post without having finished a project, a practice I would love to remedy, but really, who are we kidding?
So, though there has been a break in posts, there has been no break in crafting. In fact I may have yarned myself out. I have yet to block the lace scarf from last post, so no pictures yet, but hopefully soon, I need to get it in the mail. On other fronts, I did complete a birthday present for a friend:
It is a headband, based on this bracelet pattern from Knitty. Of course, my flash washed out the colors a little, so the ribbon is much more of an olive color. I think that the best part about it is that it is knit from thread. Working with thread for crochet is my favorite and it was only a matter of time before I knit with thread. Of course the trouble with making anything with tiny thread and tiny needles is that it takes a long time to make anything of an impressive size, the thread crochet beds. So hair ornaments it is.
I do have some other half-started projects. The embryo of a hat (with two weights of yarn, the dye of one comes off on my hands, which smacks of impending disaster and heartbreak), and the beginnings of a crocheted conch shell (which looks like a small desert explorer hat for a cat). Pictures will follow if either of those fellows get to a photogenic stage. I'm kind of having one of those moments like when I start a new book. I'll pick up 3 or 4 and read the first page or two until I find one that can hold my attention. And these are books I own mind you, books I think that I should read. In the same way, I've been picking up craft projects, knitting or crocheting a few lines, and then not feeling engrossed. They will all get finished, just like the pile of books by my bed, it just may take some time. Right now I'm keeping busy not blocking that scarf by working on a cross-stitch of a family tree, a family tree that has spaces for my yet unborn children, so I can't work on it too quickly, but it is from a kit, I've taken no liberties with color or design, and so, in the end, there is very little of myself in it, no photos for now, though I'm sure at a certain point it will be impossible to resist. There is artistry in execution as well, and a zen quality to following a chart exactly. Viva rote crafting as a break from mental crafting!
So, I actually finished my mom's socks a little while ago. Maybe January 24th? Her birthday is on Valentine's day, so I'll be mailing them off soon. Here are some pictures of the finished product:
The best part of making these by far was learning how to do the mosaic pattern. I love Fair Isle type patterns, and enjoy the challenge of working with the multiple strands, but I have to say, I think once you go mosaic, it is hard to see why you would want to go back. All that being said about multiple pattners and strands etc, I also love the way the heel of these socks came out, (eye-of-the-partridge). The texture is lovely, and the natural inconsistency of the dye on the yarn lends some depth without being overbearing. It may just be that I'm saying that because it is juxtaposed to the rainbow (which I secretly came to like, shhh.) They are perfect for my mom though. Anyone who knows her would tell you so. I feel a little bad because she keeps hint-asking if I've been able to start them and I keep saying how busy I am. But she loves surprises, so the thrill of the surprise will cancel out the disapointment. But I still feel a little like a tricky jerk.
At any rate, onward, and away from socks for a while. Though there are a few different heels and ribbings, and they are really so practical, there isn't so much techinque once you've mastered the basics. Therefore, onward to a gift for my mother-in-law. I wanted to make her something that looked like it could be bought in a boutique. A lacy beaded scarf is what I chose. This was supposed to be a Christmas present, and then turned into a late Christmas present when my husband was going out to see his parents in January, and now will just be a mid-February/early-March present. She lives in a very cold climate, so it will still be a useful gift when it finally arrives at its destination. With 10 of 15 repeats finished, I should be done pretty soon.
The beads are all pre-strung and then pushed along on the yarn until they are needed, so I string on about 5 diamonds worth of beads and then when I've run out, I cut the yarn, add more beads, and get back to knitting. It is a lovely process and the yarn is lace weight on size 5 needles, so it goes pretty quickly. There are four colors of beads, which you may or may not be able to see in the detail picture, a matte brown, a shiny brown, a pearl, and an iridescent white which comes out almost lavender. The original pattern which I really love, used only one color of bead. It looked too stark to me, and so with the help of friends, one visionary in particular, I became convinced that not only was it not insane to use multiple colors (I had great fears about stringing them in the right order, but it turns out that once you have done it a few times and messed up once, it is pretty simple) but also a slightly more muted palette was devised. I happened upon the "Beadwrangler" who has the most beautiful treat for the eyes of a website you've ever seen. Also the yarn is baby mohair and silk, so it is like knitting with what you wish spider webs felt like. Once I'm finished I will block this beast, something I never do with my knitting, so I would imagine will post some pictures of that as well.