Thursday, March 17, 2011

WIP Thursday

I have three different projects on the needles at the moment. Two are for me and one is for my youngest daughter. They are keeping me busy and happy and each offers a different knitting experience. I like it like this.

Typically I am a end-product knitter. And one of these projects fits that bill. The other two are process pieces and I am enjoying learning about how I react to them - and when I turn to work on them, or not.

Here is a photo of the cardigan for daughter #3. This is the product piece, and I can't wait to see her wearing it. She is 3 years old, going on 5, and she takes every opportunity to show you as much. Physically she is taller than her sisters were at her age and thus I am making her a size 5 cardigan. It will be big, but she'll get a couple years of wear out of it.

I really enjoy connecting with her through this project. In the beginning I picked out three patterns I was interested in knitting, left them at her chair at breakfast time, and let her pick out the one she wanted. Then we turned to the magic of the internet and picked out some yarn (Knitpicks CotLin) that would suit the pattern. She got to pick the color - a striking red. I am about half-way done with the piece and hope to finish it off shortly. It needs 3/4-length sleeves and some finishing details. We've already begun calling it her big sister sweater.

This next project - arguably soon to be out of season - is very much a process piece. I am knitting up some mittens with silk (inspiration here). I've never done anything quite like this and love, love, love it. It is very organic, very raw and very rustic.

The silk comes in a hankie (or roughly 11-inch square) that is as thin as a cobweb. Termed mawatas, these hankies are made from the the cocoons of silkworms (DO NOT FOLLOW THIS LINK IF YOU ARE SQUEAMISH ABOUT BUGS/WORMS). The cocoons are degummed, flattened, layered and then dyed, if one desires. Mine were dyed by the very talented folks at Blue Moon Fiber Arts.

For this project I am using the silk as is, no spinning or processing. I simply stretch out the sticky hankie, split it in one place and ply the end of one to the end of another. Then start knitting. Voila!

The width of the 'yarn' is all over the place, but that is one of things that I love about the project. The variation adds so much character. But stretching each hankie as I needed it caused me to stop too frequently, so instead I stretch about 10 hankies at one sitting and then wind them onto a spent paper towel holder. This allows me to work the yarn much faster and with fewer interruptions.

This last piece has been going for some time now (see here), but has been temporarily abandoned while I work on the two above. This scarf will take forever to finish - it is knit from three balls of sock yarn. Each ball gives you roughly two small socks so this scarf is the equivalant of knitting 6 socks. But the beauty! The colors! The new-to-me stitch pattern! It will be a happy spring scarf if I gather the energy to finish it. It would also make for a stunning fall accessory don't you think?