Introducing: Bradac

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I'm pretty sure I've mentioned here before that I learned to knit from a teddy bear kit in 2005 and many of the first things I made were another bear, an elephant, and a flying pig. Though I moved on from my initial focus on knitting softies, stuffed animals are still knitting comfort food to me.

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While my usual excuse for knitting an animal is an impending birth, Bradac is just for me. I got the notion in my head to knit a Polar Bear and I went to Purl Diva in search of some yarn. I wanted a slightly off-white, superwash wool and the Lambs Pride worsted from Brown Sheep fit the bill perfectly.

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Named for a college roommate who's fond of the creatures, Bradac is knit seamlessly in the round from nose to tail.  Most details, like the ears, are worked in short rows, while the legs are knit with scrap yarn and then picked up and worked in a similar fashion to an afterthought thumb or heel.

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The bear is stuffed as you go and measures approximately 12 inches from nose to tail and takes 200 yards of worsted weight yarn, plus some additional contrast yarn for the face and scarf.

Bradac is available for purchase for $5.00 USD

or you can queue it up on Ravelry.

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To find out about pattern releases and sales right as they happen, sign up for the mailing list or follow me on Twitter. Sign up for the mailing list by Dec 15th and get access to an exclusive free pattern.

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Everybody's Weavin' on the Weekend

Measuring the Warp Thanks to loaned warping board (Thanks Mags!), I got the loom all set up and and started weaving on Saturday!!

Yarn selection

The loom came with a bunch of yarn cones, and I chose this neutral-toned mid-weight one (20 wraps-per-inch or wpis) as my first warp and chose an eggplant-colored thick-and-thin yarn for the weft.

Sleying the reed

Lacking a sley hook for getting the yarn through the reed, I improvised with an old club card, which worked really well.

The pattern appears

I wanted to step it up a bit from my first woven scarf, so I chose one of the example draw-downs from Deborah Chandler's Learning to Weave. The hardest part was figuring out how to read the draw-down chart, after that the necessary threading and treadling is no more difficult than for a plain weave.

Point Twill

I'm working on getting a rhythm for treadling and beating, which is probably the most difficult part of the process for me at this point, but thus far, I've got about one foot of weaving done. I do think I may have made the sett (or spacing between the warp threads) too wide, but we'll see once I take it off the loom (and wash it).

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On the Wires, On the Needles

Wednesday night I finished my lace project and put it on the blocking wires. Getting a project like this wet is awesome and terrifying, awesome because the lace really opens up and becomes truly lovely, terrifying because I had no idea how big it might get. (I generally only do gauge swatches for sweaters). Border & Waves

Fortunately this "scarf on steroids" project, as I've come to call it, ended up wider, but not substantially longer than the pattern. Not to say it isn't huge anyway - for a sense of scale, the orange strip on the ground is a yard stick.

On the wires

This weekend I'll pull it off the wires and do some wearing demo photos and then it'll be packed up and shipped off to my mother in Northern California.

Reaching to Infinity

My long-neglected second sock not piquing my interest enough, I immediately cast on a new project (after swatching!) yesterday morning and I've already knit through a ball and a half. Lord love bulky yarn!!

Knitting Bulky

Here's what I've done so far. FLOGS Collar

Must knit more!!

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Work In Progress

Lace in Progress

In the midst of all the painting, packing and scraping, it's nice to have a simple lace pattern to turn to at night.

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Finished Object Round Up

If you're one of my friends on Ravelry, you might have noticed that for the past several months the top half of my project page seemed pretty empty. I had no photos of anything I made in the past 4-5 months - oops!

I blame this on two things - one: I didn't feel like putting on woolly things in the middle of the summer to take pictures of them and two: something I affectionately call That [email protected]#n Sweater.

Chevron Cardigan

That [email protected]#n Sweater is the achingly lovely Joy pattern from Rowan's vintage knits - my second and not last project from that book. It's a perfect lightweight cardigan that goes with anything and I wear it probably three times a week these days.

Chevron Cardigan

So why the name? Three reasons, it's black, textured and involves the following US needle sizes: 1, 2, 3. All of this is to say, I started it January 28 and finished around July 5th. A nearly six month labor of love.  That said, I'm a huge fan of the finished product, my only caveat is that I wish I had used better quality yarn, it's made from Knit Pick's Palette, which doesn't feel as nice as I'd like and it's already doing some serious pilling, but in any case I'm sure I will wear this cardigan to the bone.

My Pillow

To make myself feel better, this is a project I completed from start to finish in about three days, one which involved a marathon session of watching The West Wing.

Pillow Pieces

The project was inspired by a similar pillow pictured in SouleMama's book Handmade Home, which I picked up at a local book signing a few weeks back. The "bluework" pattern is free on a site called Pattern Bee (which as of 9/10/09 appears to be down for maintenance - the link should be re-activated around 9/16). The fabric is from a fat quarter pack I picked up at Z Fabrics a while back. The whole thing looks very nice on my sofa.

Woven Scarf

This one you've seen a lot of, but here's me actually wearing that scarf I wove earlier this summer (June). The ladies in my knitting group like to mock me for my consistency in color selection. Looking at the items in this post and my current (unpictured) knitting project, I'd be the last one to deny it. What can I say?  I like the colors of the ocean!

Book Jacket Photo

Another scarf photo, in a long tradition of what I like to call the"Book Jacket Photo."

Ishabel Shawl

This is Ysolda's Ishbel shawl from Whimsical Little Knits, which I picked up back here and knit in  some hand-dyed lace weight from Pine Star Studio that I got at the Maine Fiber Frolic. I knit it in about 10 days and took about 2 months before I got around to blocking it, which really does make all the difference in the world.

Ishbel Shawl

This is my new favorite picture of myself. All of the knitting/weaving photos were graciously taken by Mr. Cleaver while we took a walk around Mackworth Island this Labor Day. Mr. Cleaver joined me in creating the final FO ofthe post, of contribution to Mackworth's village of Fairy Houses.

Our Fairy House

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Weaving Week Three

Weaving Progress: Week Three

This week I learned several things in weaving class, how to change colors (cut and insert), how to make a repair (there was a knot in the warp), how to get more even edges (practice and a light tug after beating), and that after set-up, the weaving part really flies! I actually told myself to stop some I can draw out the enjoyment of this first project.

Weaving Progress: Week Three

That said, this thing is really starting to look like a scarf! 

Weaving Progress: Week Three

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Driven to Distraction

For the most part, up until recently I was a one-project knitter. But this:

Coiled Scarf

Drove me to distraction.

I love hand-knitted scarves, I do. They're warm and cuddly and made with love. But I hate hate knitting scarves. They are generally mind-numbingly boring and so long, but never as long as you think, so they take forever to knit. Now I've never done one of those lovely lacey numbers, and maybe several months from now, when I've forgotten knitting this scarf, I'll give it a go. 

So why did I knit this scarf? The yarn. The lovely lovely yarn that is named after my old neighborhood in Chicago - Edgewater. As you may or may not know, Lorna's Lace is based in Chicago and many of her colorways are named after and inspired by Chicago neighborhoods: Argyle, Ravenswood, Devon, Lakewood, etc. When I found out she added a Edgewater colorway I leaped with joy and began haunting my LYS on a weekly basis until they got it in stock.

Geared up

I normally only pick up Lorna's in sock weight because I can never figure out what to do with multi-colored yarn on a large scale that doesn't seem too busy, but this time I went with the worsted weight. I decided I wanted to make Mr. Cleaver a scarf (knowing that he doesn't really wear them) to remember our two years in the Windy City. I picked up the yarn in early August and hoped to finish it before we moved - hah! 

I tried, I really did, but even knitting this thing while watching TV was boring. And I decided to do the whole thing in seed stitch, which gave it a great texture and made me a great big fool. And if you can't tell, it's actually two yarns- Edgewater & Black Purl, alternated every 16 rows: which is my I call this my Sextuple S Scarf: Seed-Stitch Self-Striping Striped Scarf.

Windy City Winter set

So while I was trying to finish this scarf I started and finished a cardigan, a hat to match the unfinished scarf, an identical hat for a friend who liked the hat that matched the unfinished scarf, and a beret I designed. I'll post about the other projects after I get a chance to photograph them, but Mr. Cleaver was gracious enough to model his new gear for me.

Turn a Square

The hat is Brooklyn Tweed's Turn a Square. It's super simple  and a quick knit. A great beginning hat pattern for those wanting to try knitting in the round. I really liked the way the multi-colored yarn worked with the grey and since I have a good chunk of the Black Purl yarn left, I think I'd like to do a similarly toned vest and give steeking a try.

Walking in the Woods

Oh, and for a guy who doesn't really like hats or scarves, Mr. Cleaver gave both of these his stamp of approval.

Whew!

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