Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Catching up

It's been a lot longer than I would have liked between this post and the last one, but life has once again gotten in the way of my quality knitting time. The chiengora chapeau, a.k.a. the Poodle Hat is finished! Since the heat went out in my building at work on Monday and wasn't restored until this Wednedsay afternoon, and the hat has been a lifesaver, helping me to stay warm. Here it is being modeled by my juice bottle, and again by me. The second picture shows the back of the hat with three lovely tassels that add plenty of personality. (I'm not thrilled with the quality of the second picture, as the flash has washed out some of the pattern, so I'll try to get a better picture in natural sunlight when I get a chance.) Most people that met the hat had an immediate reaction of wanting to try it on. And then they would smell it, not believing that it was made from dog hair. Well, your wool sweater doesn't still smell like a sheep does it? (Unless you're wearing one with the grease still in, those don't count for this example!) But thankfully, poodles are naturally low odor dogs to begin with, and the yarn was washed before I received it. I don't even think I'll bother with blocking it because it fits so well!

One project that worked up in an evening was a second catnip mouse for Chaussettes, a cat that belongs to my friend/co-worker, Corinne. I decided to make it for her after she (the cat, not Corinne!) made an unprovoked attack to the end of my Irish Hiking Scarf while I was wearing it. It's not like I go rolling in catnip or anything. And I'm not sure which sets her off more, the smell of the wool or the catnip, but in less than a week, she has thoroughly demolished the mouse! The whiskers are gone and some of the woven in ends have been pulled out. I guess Mouse 2.0 will have to be felted so it will last longer, but I'm glad to see she's happy with her toy.

I've also been working like mad on my Cozy shawl, and I'm now pulling from skein 4 out of 8. Almost halfway done! There are more commercials than sports on the Olympics it seems, so I've got time to knit between event coverage. I'm determined to get the shawl finished so I can start some more projects. The pressure is building to get some of them done from the backlog of stuff waiting in the cedar chest. I'd really like to start working up my Christmas yarn from Jan, the sportweight wool vest (just in case the heat goes out), at least one of three Lopi sweater kits, or... the list goes on. I've also got a head full of ideas for developing knitting patterns, but finding time to get those ideas onto paper is difficult.

That's all I've got time for now, and I'm sure I'm forgetting something, but that's the bulk of it. Perhaps Cozy will be done in time for the next update? Stay tuned.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The warmest hat in the world

The latest project I started is definitely in the running for the warmest hat in the world! Bev gifted me with some wonderful chiengora (that's poodle "wool" to the rest of you) in two colors, natural white and brown. Each yarn is actually a number of different shades because she used fiber from several different dogs when she spun it. What a wonderful gift it is!!

I started trying to design my own pattern to use with the chiengora, but it just didn't feel right. There's nothing wrong with my design skills, mind you! I have just been coveting a certain hat in one of my pattern books and this was simply the perfect way to put this yarn to use. The pattern is lifted from some socks, a Turkish two-color design. I've almost finished with the first repeat of the pattern, and all I need are 8 inches from the cast on edge... I believe I have 3 inches knit so far. I'm concerned because there is less white than brown, so I hope it will last me long enough! To get gauge, I'm using size 4 16" circulars. The stitch count must be exact for the pattern to work, as the hat pattern is based on a total number of stitches divisible by 3 to make it right. I'm rather pleased with my first attempt at the herringbone edge, too. Though instead of giving an in progress pic, I'll just wait until it's done.