It's a FOrmidable FO day here at the Scarlet Knitter's headquarters. Actually, the O's have been F(inishe)d for a while, but we had a heat wave and the mere thought of photographing wooly things had me hyperventilating. Now the Bay Area's natural air-conditioning has returned, and I feel civilized again and quite happy to plug in the iron and give these wooly things a final burst of steam before their turn in front of the camera.
Oldest and warmest is the minimalist log cabin blanket which will be given to my friend MK for her birthday later this month. MK has minimalist tastes so the colors were an easy choice. Like several other projects, this started with the sincere hope of using all stash yarns. I did have a lot of red at hand, but not enough greys and blacks, so the project required a visit or two to the yarn store. The Yarn Boutique in Lafayette had a good selection of Berrocco Peruvia yarn and the shades of grey sold me on this yarn as opposed to other possibilities. I have already lost track of how much yarn was used -- about 4 skeins of each, maybe more.
The red yarns were two different shades of Cascade Lana d'Oro: a cherry red and a darker scarlet one, bought around 2001. I contemplated making a larger blanket but couldn't find those same reds listed on the current Cascade color cards. This yarn is a bit thinner than the Peruvian, so I sometimes remembered to switch to a #7 needle instead of the #8 I used for the grey and black logs. Then again, sometimes I forgot.
I love the visual impact of Mason-Dixon's Log Cabin blanket pattern, but I am wary of trying the pattern as a true stash-buster. I think homogeneity in the yarns' feel and weight gives the simple design a definite polish.
Second is the alpaca shawl for the current afghans For Afghans drive. I had knitted striped scarves side to side before, but the steeking was a new and utterly addictive twist for me. I am convinced it is the way to go if you have more than, say, 150 stitches on the needle. I had 300, and after the cast on, the knitting took no time at all.
Now this project was a true stash-buster. I used all the olive green Honey Lane alpaca I had left after my hooded scarf project, and several odd skeins of purple Pastaza and Lana d'Oro, so old I cannot possibly remember why I brought them home in the first place six or seven years ago. Every skein was used to the last couple of inches, and my only yarn purchase was a skein of Berrocco Peruvia (my new yarn crush, I guess) in a heathered purple, for the edging.
I had planned to do an i-cord edging, but I discovered the one drawback of the side to side method: long edges curl mercilessly, and the applied i-cord was no match for hundreds of stockinette stitches determined to roll (even though I had started and finished the shawl with one ridge of garter stitch). Next time, I would resort to several rows of seed stitch for the first and last stripes. Meanwhile, I managed to tame the curling beast with two rows of single crochet on each long edge. I am so glad I took a crochet class last summer! The straightforward appearance of this edging goes well with the geometry of the stripes, too ... and took a fraction of the time I was about to spend on an applied i-cord edging.
The backside of the stripes looks as attractive to me; I love the way striped reverse stockinette looks like those gorgeous ikat fabrics. But the backside is saddled with the steek facings and thus the shawl isn't truly reversible. Still, it will be fine once draped on the recipient's head and shoulders, I hope.
It feels good to check this pile of wooly, stripey goodness off the List, but first I need to admire it one last time and enjoy the sight of yards and yards all folded up before I send them on their way. It's as though all my hours of addictive TV watching had turned into something of substance, literally.