Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Burnt Tomato Blouse

This project plan began when I decided I could use a blouse to wear with a particular, hard-to-match vest I had knitted for myself several years ago.

I took the vest to Fabricland to match it to the fabric. Then I picked out this pattern, which is Vogue V887 -- and decided to go with option F in the shorter length. And then there was the problem of buying buttons for it. Nothing matched this odd shade of... what should one call the colour of this blouse's fabric? Orange? Rust? Burnt tomato? After looking in Fabricland and every store on Queen Street that carries buttons, I settled for a pack of buttons that were a suitable colour, though they were larger than a blouse's buttons usually are. I also had to buy twice as many buttons as I needed.

Here's the finished blouse with a skirt that it just happened to work with perfectly. The only alteration I ended up making was to shape the blouse a little through the waist -- it was going to be too unflattering otherwise. The buttons still look too big to me when I look at the blouse itself, but judging from this photograph they won't to the casual observer. The blouse took much longer than it should have as I seemed to make so many mistakes. My first attempt at running the tucks was a disaster and had to be taken completely apart and done again. I had to redo the edgestitching on the collar several times -- it turned out the problem was that my sewing machine needle was too dull, which caused it to skip stitches. I also had some problems with the buttonhole and button bands. But in the end I prevailed. I like the blouse and am pleased that it will go with a number of other items from my wardrobe.

And here the blouse is with the vest it was specifically chosen to go with. They do pair well. I especially like how the necklines work together. But that dark brown skirt doesn't quite go with the vest, and neither do any of my other skirts. I think I might have get the vest a skirt too.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

An Elementary Christmas Present

Over a year ago, my sister flipped me a link on Pinterest with the words, "Dude. I want this."

"This" being a crocheted Sherlock Holmes amigurumi, designed by Vilma Ilona. The doll, of course, is based on the character played by Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC's Sherlock, a show that (if her Pinterest board is any indication) my sister is obsessed with. She told me she wanted the doll to keep on her desk at work, so that she "could use it to talk to people with."

Yeah, I don't know either.

I dutifully added the doll to my project list, and here is my version of it. Most of the Ravelry members who made it seemed to use worsted or even bulky weight yarn for this project. I used sock yarn for it, because I didn't have the right colours in any other weight. I worked with two strands so that it wouldn't turn out too small, and I think the finished doll was just an inch or so bigger than the designer's sample was (I forgot to measure the finished doll, but I'd estimate that it is about 8" long). My version has some shortcomings. I didn't quite have the right gray -- Sherlock's overcoat is supposed to be a charcoal gray rather than this medium gray, but I thought it was close enough. I also didn't get the hair right -- this doll's hair looks more like eighties-era Kirk Cameron than current day Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes -- but again I thought it would do.

I can't say I enjoyed making it. I don't like crocheting and I don't like working on such a small scale, and the combination of the two drove me right up the wall. This little project took weeks because I simply couldn't keep myself at it. It was a huge relief to finally finish it in time, on Christmas Eve, and then to wrap it up with the things I'd bought to go with it and put it under the tree. Originally I'd planned for this doll to be a stocking stuffer, but then it occurred to me to expand on the concept and to make my sister's present a throughgoing fangirl kit. I bought first the notebook folder, and then the official Sherlock calendar with accompanying vinyl sticker that appears in the photo at the top of this post. I made sure to get a notebook folder with the "Get out. I need to go to my mind palace," quote on it because it's the sort of thing my sister would say. And judging from the way she chortled as she took each separate item from the package, the fangirl kit idea was very much on point.

Monday, December 26, 2016

A Biased Sweater

This project plan began when I fell in love with a design.

Four years ago, the Arc-en-Ciel Pullover, designed by Maria Leigh, appeared in the Spring 2013 issue of Knitscene. The pattern has been in my Ravelry favourites ever since, and I bought that issue when it was on the stands because I immediately decided I had to make it. It took me awhile to get to it, though.

In July 2015, I took a trip to Romni Wools to get yarn for this project. I did really like the suggested yarn, which is Noro Taiyo Sock, but Romni didn't have it in the sample colour. So I scouted around for a substitute and settled on the yarn you see pictured above: Drops Fabel Print, in a shade Ravelry informs me is called Red Chili. I ended up being quite satisfied with my choice. While I loved the rusts, reds, plums, and greens of the Noro Taiyo Sock yarn, I wasn't too thrilled with the accompanying strips of gray and mustard yellow. The Fabel Print had not only the rust, red, plum, and greens I loved in the Noro, but also some brown, cream and peach that I liked, and though it didn't offer quite the same self-striping effect, I preferred its colourway to that of the Noro. It also turned out to be quite a pleasing yarn to work with and wear.

And this is my finished Arc-en-Ciel pullover. The sizing gave me some trouble. It's difficult to assess gauge on a bias-knit sweater. I thought my yarn was a little finer than the Noro, and I was between sizes, as the pattern offered sizes 36 and 40. I adjusted the instructions to make a size 38 and knitted on a pair of 3.25 mm needles to compensate for the yarn weight. The bottom of the sweater seemed to be just the right size, so I stupidly proceeded to knit away until I'd finished the front and the back and part of one sleeve... only to realize that the sleeve was way too big, and then that the chest measurement on the front and back was way off as well -- I think it was 45", or maybe more. Upon checking the pages of other Ravelry members who had made this design, I found out the pattern's sizing was off -- everyone was complaining that the size 36 turned out to be close to a 40. Sigh.

The project got a long hiatus -- over a year -- and then I ripped the whole thing out and began again, knitting on size 3.0 mm needles and working according to the instructions for size 36. I also added waist shaping. This time I finished the sweater and though it is indeed a size 40, I think it's just as well for a bias-knit sweater in this style to be a little on the generous size. I am very pleased with this piece and don't even care that it will only look right with a dark brown bottom piece. After all, it's such an interesting piece in its own right, and I have quite a few dark brown skirts and trousers: this suiting skirt, a velvet skirt, velvet leggings, a pair of faux suede trousers, and a pair of suit trousers, so I can dress it up or down. I'm also thinking my little collection of peridot jewelry (it's my birthstone) will look nice with it.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Stash Slippers

For some time now I've had my eye on the knitting pattern for these little numbers, which is the Knotted Slipper, designed by Julie Weisenberger. I do love a knitted slipper with a bit of style, which these definitely have. They are made with fingering yarn, and I have plenty of that sitting around, so this year I thought I'd whip up a pair of slippers for my little sister for part of her Christmas present. I actually made these slippers and wrote this post in January 2016, but have set the post to publish on December 25, 2016 so as not to spoil my sister's surprise. I don't think my sister reads this blog, but it would be just my luck if she should decide to start this year.

This is the finished pair of slippers, looking as crumpled and unimpressive as possible. To photograph these slippers to any advantage, one needs either a pair of antique shoe trees or a pair of photogenic feet, and alas, I have neither.

The finished pair of slippers on an improvised model -- a pair of my flats. The yarn is Bouquet Sock & Sweater yarn, which according to Ravelry is discontinued. Perhaps five or six years ago a former co-worker of mine gave me quite a large bag of Bouquet Sock & Sweater yarn in blue, gray, and burgundy that she said she was never going to use. So far I've made two children's sweaters and this pair of slippers from it -- which has barely put even a dent in the total amount. It's a good thing yarn keeps!

This pattern whipped up very quickly -- I was done in a few evenings -- and used just 60 grams of stash yarn.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Leftover Red Yarn Sweater

Back in 2012, when I made a panda dress, jacket and purse for my grandniece Cauliflower's fourth birthday present, I had over 350 grams of red Sirdar Country Style DK yarn left over from this project that couldn't be returned. This year when I spied the red yarn in my stash, I started thinking about using it to make a sweater for my three-year-old grandnephew, but I soon realized there was too much of it to make a sweater for him and it seemed like a shame not to make a larger project that would use almost all of it up at once.

A Ravelry search for a design that would require about 350 grams of DK yarn led me to this pattern, which is the Verthandi's Knotwork Sweater, designed by Catherine Waterfield. I thought it a simple, attractive, and wearable, and definitely the kind of design that suits a bright solid colour yarn. I'm a sucker for a Celtic knot pattern, and I also liked the unusual belled cuff shape that is more commonly found in blouses than in sweaters.

And here's my version of the Verthandi's Knotwork Sweater. It hasn't photographed well here and looks a bit as though it were sized for the Incredible Hulk rather than a slightly top heavy woman, but it looks quite satisfactory in person.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Two Shades of Cream Top

This project began when I decided it was time to reknit a certain cream cotton top that I'd made years ago, back before I clued in to what shapes suited me. The result was a cute top that looked like hell on me. I thought a slightly too short and narrow and tragically empire waisted cap-sleeved knit top would easily make a sleeveless top of the right size, and I also had half a cake of the yarn left in my stash, and I searched Ravelry for a suitable new pattern.

I settled on the Canyon Lace Tank, designed by Kristen Ten Dyke. It called for the right weight and amount of yarn and is a very attractive and flattering piece.

And here's my finished version. I made just one modification to the pattern, and that was to raise the neckline by about two inches. I have a short torso and the designer's neckline specifications would have put too much of my goods in the shop window. But I did run into one snag, and that was that I didn't have enough yarn. I'd finished the body, but I had the neckline and the armhole bands still to knit, and only a handful of scraps to do it with. Not only had the yarn been bought years ago, but I didn't even know what brand it was, much less its dye lot. But I did know I had bought it at Romni Wools, and made the trip there hoping I'd have some rather phenomenal luck and be able to match it. Of course I wasn't able to find the original yarn -- I don't think Romni even stocks it anymore. But I examined all Romni's fingering weight cottons in cream, looking for a decent match, and settled on one that was fairly close.

The supplemental yarn is Katia's Concept, a cotton-cashmere blend. (No link to the yarn's Ravelry page because it doesn't seem to be in the Ravelry database.) It's a little creamier in colour than the body yarn, but the difference is quite subtle. I did the armhole and neckline bands in the Concept, and then cut the hem band, which was in the original yarn, off and reknit it in the Concept so that all the bands would match. I'm not a hot weather person, but this outfit does make me look forward to spring.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

From Bowknot to Stripes

This project plan began when it became necessary to reknit an existing sweater.

Back in 2010, I knitted myself a Schiaparelli Bowknot sweater from the iconic 1920s pattern out of Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool in burnt orange, and Sublime Yarns Cashmere Merino Silk DK. Then, because the sweater didn't seem to go with anything I had in my wardrobe, over the course of the spring and summer of 2015 I made a skirt in a material and a style specifically selected to go with the sweater. And then, just when I'd finally gotten a whole outfit together, what happened? Moths happened. And they, or more accurately their larvae, ate about four holes in my Schiaparelli Bowknot sweater.

I wasn't as upset as you might expect. I had been considering redoing the sweater anyway, and it was almost a relief to have the matter decided for me. The fact was that I had never really been satisfied with my Schiaparelli Bowknot sweater because the twenties-era lines of this sweater were too shapeless and unfinished-looking to suit my figure or my taste. Years ago I used to think I loved 1920s fashions, but when I did some reading up on it and paged through actual twenties designs, I discovered that what I had actually loved was our contemporary costume designers's recreations of twenties clothing, and that actual 1920s clothing looks shapeless and unflattering. And as I continued looking through books on twentieth century fashions, I discovered that it was the 1930s, with its beautifully shaped classic clothing and clever detailing, that was my favourite fashion decade. I've made two sweaters from vintage 1930s patterns that I am thrilled with because they have both great shaping and great style, and I just didn't feel the same way about my bowknot sweater. With only four holes, the yarn I had used to make my Schiaparelli Bowknot sweater was worth reknitting, but I definitely didn't want to reuse the same pattern for the reknit, and I turned to Ravelry to find a new look for the yarn.

After some searching to find a pattern that called for two colours of fingering yarn in the amount I had, I settled on this design, which is the Amande Tee, designed by Atelier Alfa. It's a contemporary pattern, but I thought it had a certain 1930s vibe to it. Knitwear of the 1930s often did have Art Deco-inspired artful stripes. The construction was unusual. One begins by knitting each shoulder patch from the centre out, and once the two patches are complete, picking up and casting on more stitches for the front and back until one is knitting the body in the round. It was a bit of a challenge to make this sweater, but a worthwhile one.

And here's my completed version of the Amande Tee. I am much happier with this sweater than I was with its former reincarnation. It has a far more polished and flattering shape and looks much more current, and it's visually striking. And, of course, it is entirely moth-hole-free.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

The Very Last Knitted Dress

I've knitted my niece Cauliflower a dress with an accompanying matching purse every year since she was born. But the "knitted dress with matching purse" is a very little girl look, and given that Cauliflower has just turned seven, I decided that this should be the last year I do it, and that starting next year, I will be knitting her sweaters and sewing her dresses. I further decided that this seventh and last knitted dress must be extra special.

The first step was to search Ravelry for a special little girl's dress pattern. I chose the Seamless Flower Dress, by Ewelina Murach. It's an attractive piece of contemporary design, and it's quite simple and wearable -- it's not too dressy for school.

The pattern called for a DK weight yarn, and I also wanted wool. As to colour, my niece loves pink and has dressed Cauliflower in pink (and done her room in pink) ever since she was born. I've never made Cauliflower anything that was pink as I thought she ought to have some other colours in her wardrobe. However, Cauliflower is now old enough to have her own favourite colours, and her favourite colour is... pink, with red running a close second. This last special knitted dress really ought to be in a colour she loved, so I decided the dress should be pink or red. I visited Romni Wools during their 20% off sale and found just the right yarn in their bargain basement: the discontinued Debbie Bliss Blue Faced Leicester DK in Rose.

And here's the finished dress and purse. I made the dress in a size 8, which was the largest size the dress pattern ran to. The dress has an unusual construction: one begins by crocheting the centre of the floral device and then knitting outwards until the flower is completed, places the sleeve stitches on holders, knits the skirt, knits the sleeves, and knits an I-cord finish on the neckline. I didn't modify this pattern at all. I do have my qualms about those eyelets, which will mean Cauliflower has to wear a slip or some sort of underlayer. I suppose little girls generally wear undershirts in cold weather anyway and it won't make much practical difference to Cauliflower.

This pink was a very difficult pink to match. I couldn't find a pink button for it (the Queen Street West button store that was my go-to source for hard-to-match items closed down because the owner retired, sob), so I wound up using this white button with iridescent pink streaks that I had in my button tin. It stands out too much for my liking but doesn't actually look bad, and it'll be hidden under Cauliflower's very long hair anyway.

The purse, for which I used the Squircle pattern, and some pink ribbon that goes but doesn't quite match. I visited a shop on Queen Street West that carries nothing but ribbons and this was the closest match they had. I wish I could have matched the ribbon's colour to the dress's button instead of going with this off-shade pink, but I bought the ribbon before I realized I wasn't going to be able to find a pink button -- but again, the button is going to show very little.

I made the ribbon rose you see here and also a corresponding one for the other side of the purse using some internet tutorials. Making ribbon roses is a very useful little skill (store bought ribbon roses are only available in a few colours and sizes), and pretty easy once you get the hang of it. I do wish I'd taken the trouble to make the bag design more like that of the dress -- I could have added some eyelets, for instance. Knit and learn, I guess.

And I'd wax sentimental about this last knitted dress... but for the fact that there are other little girls in the world for whom I can make as many little dresses and purses as I could possibly find time and materials for. Thank heaven for little girls.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Third Time's a Charm Cardigan

The plan for this project had its genesis in the fact that I had a turquoise cardigan in my sweater cupboard that I didn't like very much and wanted to reknit. I made it back in the day when I used to design by making things up as I went along. It didn't look bad, exactly, but I've spent the last 3.5 years as a knitwear design critic and it no longer met my standards for acceptable design. When I took it apart and was wondering why there were so many yarn joins, I remembered that the yarn had actually been reknitted once before, from a wrap cardigan that turned out not to sit right on me. I decided this third knitting had better be the last, for the poor yarn's sake. The yarn was Patons Kroy Sock yarn, a fingering weight. I decided I would like to make another cardigan with the yarn.

After the obligatory Ravelry search, I found this cardigan pattern, which is Matomoko, by Cheryl Chow. I liked the beautiful stitchwork around the bottom and the cuffs, the shape was good, and it called for the right amount of yarn. There was another sweater I liked better but that I had to pass up because it would have taken more yarn than I had.

Here's the finished project. I made just a few modifications. The stitchwork at the bottom was supposed to be 10.5" deep, which wasn't going to work with my figure (it would sit partly over my bustline rather than under it), so I decreased the depth to 8.5". I also didn't like the way the directions said to do the buttonholes, so I used a two-row buttonhole technique rather than in a single row. These are not the buttons that were on the old cardigan, as they were too small and there were only six of them. I bought a new set of buttons, and was very pleased that I only had to buy six new ones as I already had two identical ones sitting in my button tin -- I no longer remember what they were purchased for, which means it was quite some time ago. Button styles don't often stay in production for that long.

And I'm vowing to never reknit this beleaguered yarn again. But then there shouldn't be any reason to. It's a well-designed piece that suits me and that won't either go out of date or become too young for me.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

You Can Tie It in a Knot; You Can Tie It in a Bow

Perhaps four or five years ago I realized that bow-tie blouses had come back in and that I wanted one. I spent quite a while looking for a suitable pattern for one, and even had to wait a few seasons for new designs to appear on the market, because most bow-tie blouses have bows that sit right at the throat. This is a look that may work on small-bosomed, willowy-necked types, but would make me look like a professionally and sexually frustrated secretary from 1983. I wanted a blouse that had a more open neckline and a much lower bow.

I'm a Vogue Patterns devotee and use their patterns for 90% of my projects, but they hadn't a suitable pattern for this project. I ended up going with Simplicity 1779, view C, in a single fabric.

And here's my finished version of Simplicity 1779, in a teal and olive green polyester satin print. And yes, after all my efforts to find a bow-tie blouse, I ended deciding that this blouse's tie looks better (less prissy and more elegantly understated) when done in a simple knot. I was very pleased with the contemporary-style teal and green buttons I bought for this item, and very grateful to the sales associate in the Queen Street button store who found them for me. There's nothing more helpful than a sales associate who knows the store's stock and has an eye for what works.

And how am I going to style the blouse? This blouse goes quite well with this thrift shop skirt of mine, and is also going to go perfectly with a teal suit that I plan to make before the end of the year -- I have the materials and pattern on hand for it. I have a pair of dark olive velvet trousers that will work with it too. Those are the only outfits I can make with it, as teal is a hard colour to match and this blouse is too dressy to be worn with jeans and khakis, but three options gives me plenty of versatility, especially when this is such a specific piece. I like this pattern and intend to use it again in the very near future because I have another printed fabric to make up.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Hearts & Turquoise

Some years ago I bought 750 grams of a turquoise worsted yarn at Value Village for perhaps three or four dollars. The yarn was wound into several balls and plainly had been knitted up before. I have no idea what brand of yarn it was, though I was fairly certain it was a cotton. I originally planned to knit the yarn into cushions for one of the bedrooms in my house, but I ended up going with another stash yarn for that project. Then I didn't know what to do with it until I caught sight of it in my cottons box some months ago and began to see it as the perfect yarn for a little girl's jacket that could in turn make a nice gift for my grandniece's seventh birthday.

A search of children's jacket patterns on Ravelry produced the Lavanda pattern, designed by Elena Nodel. It really is lovely and almost romantic in style.

This is the finished jacket. It's knitted up in a child's size eight. I had a little trouble knitting the yarn up because there were many cuts in the yarn and there was some discolouration that meant not all the pieces were a good colour match, but as is usual with the tremendously forgiving medium of yarn, once the project was done, washed, and blocked it didn't betray its humble origins at all. It was also something of a challenge finding buttons to go with the sweater because turquoise is hard to match and I wanted some cute, characterful buttons, but I think I managed it. I predict that the buttons will be my grandniece's favourite feature of this jacket, like they were the time I made her a teddy bear dress with teddy bear buttons on it. This project subtracted 550 grams from my stash, and now I get to figure out what to do with the remaining 200 grams of this turquoise yarn.

A Tree of Life and a Little Leaf

In late 2015 my friend Lindsie told me she was expecting to have a baby in May 2016. I started planning the standard baby gift set I usually give to close friends and family: a handknitted baby blanket and booties, a sewn stuffed bear or bunny, and a story book. My first step in getting the gift ready was to turn to Ravelry, where I researched baby blanket patterns.

For the blanket pattern, I chose the Baby Tree of Life Throw, designed by Nicky Epstein. It's a free pattern. I asked Lindsie what her nursery colours and theme were, but it turned out she didn't have one. She was keeping her baby preparations as low key and simple as possible, saying (quite rightly) that parents really do decorating for themselves rather than for a baby who's too young to notice or care. She hadn't painted the baby's room but left it the white it was when she and her partner moved into her apartment. Her diaper bag was a backpack that would be useful after the baby no longer wore diapers. She'd bought a changing pad that would go on top of the chest of drawers in the baby's room rather than a changing table, and she had in general kept the baby paraphernalia to a minimum. Since she was knitting the baby a blanket herself, I questioned whether she would even want a second baby blanket, but when I said as much to my mother, who raised eight children (five biological, three foster), she said, "When Lindsie finds out how often everything needs to be washed, she'll realize that two baby blankets are minimal." The blanket plan was therefore on, and I then looked for a bootie pattern to go with it.

I decided on the Leaf Lace Booties, designed by Jacqueline van Dillen. This pattern was published in 60 Quick Baby Knits: Blankets, Booties, Sweaters & More, and I used it last year when making a baby gift for my niece's baby girl.

And here's my version of the Tree of Life afghan and the Leaf Lace Booties. I used Patons' Decor yarn in Oceanside, which is a decent quality yarn with some wool content but is still machine washable and dryable as a baby blanket should be. It also comes in beautiful colours. I chose this soft grayish blue because it seemed attractive and yet subtle enough not to clash with anything else the baby might own. I managed to get the yarn for a very reasonable price because I printed several "40% off one item" coupons off Michaels' website and made three trips to the store to get enough skeins. (The things you'll do when money's tight...) The blanket required slightly less than 250 grams of yarn. I goofed up during the tulips section, didn't read the pattern carefully enough, and assumed the "leaf" effect was created after the blanket was finished. I didn't discover this error until the main section of the blanket was done and I was sewing on the leaf border, and I was not going to rip out that much work if I could help it. I found a way to recreate the leaf effect by stitching it on with a darning needle. This really is a lovely pattern and I'd make it again -- but I will take care not to make that mistake again.

A closer look at the Leaf Lace Booties. It turned out that I was just 10 grams short of the yarn I needed to make them once the afghan was done, and I didn't want to have to buy another 100 gram ball, so instead I finished the slipper off with some burgundy-coloured yarn I had on hand. Thus this project, which was to be knit from new yarn, instead resulted in a net stash decrease of -10 grams.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

The Dangerous Living Hat & Scarf Set

This project plan began with a need: I needed a hat set that would go with a dark brown jacket of mine as well as a certain velvet coat I intend to make (I have the pattern and all materials for it). The velvet is printed with a subtle green and plum floral print on a dark brown background. (That may not sound very attractive, but it really is.) I thought plum would be the colour to go with, because it would also go with an olive velvet jacket I have. Besides, I've developed a real thing for plum in the last couple of years, and have so far acquired a sweater, a rain jacket, and a long-sleeved T-shirt in plum. Now I was going to have a plum hat and scarf.

I selected the pattern above for the project, which is Lórien, by Ann Kingstone, and figured I could whip up a matching glove pattern for it. I bought three skeins of mauve King Cole Merino Blend 4 ply in the bargain basement of Romni Wools in August 2015. Then I didn't get around to starting the project until January 2016. When I did, I made the hat, and decided I wanted a scarf rather than gloves to go with it. I thought I might have enough to finish the scarf, but I ran short. Uh oh. But perhaps I could get another skein from Romni Wools? I went down to Romni in February and discovered they had no skeins of that shade left and that, further, they weren't carrying the yarn any longer. Oh no. I turned to the internet, and checked Ravelry, with no luck. I found that it was possible to order more of the same yarn from two different places in England, but that neither company had the same dye lot.

You know how two different dye lots can be: they can be virtually identical, or they can look like two completely different colours. If I ordered a skein, it could work out well, or I could wind up with a completely different colour of yarn that I'd have to figure out how to use. It was risky, but on the other side of the equation, I had knitted two-thirds of that scarf in a complicated ruched pattern in a fingering weight. I held my breath, and placed the order. I bided my time until the day the skein arrived...

...And the dye lot was a perfect match to the one I had been using. And yes, the photo meme above is an excellent representation of how I reacted when my gamble paid off. Except that the cuteness factor was dialed down by an order of magnitude.

Here's the finished scarf and hat. I liked the Lórien pattern, but it did turn out to be a rather tricky and time-intensive project. It's easy to make a mistake, not notice it, and wind up having to rip out a couple of days' work. And again, this set was done in a fingering yarn. But ultimately I felt it was worth the work, as I was quite pleased with the set. Another issue that arose was that the instructions said that blocking was not recommended for this project, but the hat turned out to be quite unattractively close-fitting on me. It seemed better to risk blocking than to resign myself to a very unflattering hat that, realistically, I was too vain to wear. That risk paid off too, as blocking gave the hat the drape it needed, and it didn't seem to hurt the texture. I went ahead and blocked the scarf too. Given my high risk internet order and rebel blocking, I don't think anyone can say I don't live dangerously.

As you can see, the scarf is just the ruched pattern from the hat worked flat, and I crocheted around it to make the edge look more finished.

Though I bought this yarn last year, it was one of the two lots of new yarn that I bought in 2015 but didn't include in last year's stash calculations, which means it must count as new yarn this year. The leftover yarn from this project therefore counts a stash increase of +10 grams.

Autumn Flurries Turn to Spring Flowers Top

The plan for this project began to form when I saw a little less than 50 grams of blue Sirdar Snuggly Baby Bamboo and perhaps 85 grams of some orange Berroco Pure Pima in my box of cotton yarns, and thought how pretty and fresh they looked together, especially when combined with some of the odds and ends of cream yarn that were also in the box. I began musing on what I could do with them and came up with the idea of a cream, blue, and orange summer top. I began to search Ravelry for sweater patterns that required three colours and DK weight yarns.

And this pattern, which is the Autumn Flurries pattern and a Drops design, was ultimately my choice. I decided that I would make it in a standard top length instead of this tunic length and that the snowflake pattern, which is rather wintry, would pass as a floral pattern when rendered in the orange Pima.

And here is the finished top, made in a size 38. I bought 300 grams of a cream-coloured cotton wool blend to use for the main colour, but for the life of me I can't remember which brand of yarn it is or find the skein band I thought I'd saved for the purpose of writing up the project. I'll have to get the name the next time I go to Romni Wools. This documentation snafu aside, the top turned out quite well and knitted up quickly with no problems and I am pleased with it. It'll look well with both the tan khaki and denim skirts and shorts I have in my wardrobe. I had just a small amount of each of the blue and orange yarns left, and some of the cream, and this project had resulted in a net stash decrease of -60 grams.