Hot Off The Presses Shawl – Finished At Last

eda6bd61-6f1b-409a-b87a-37c99b380923Okie. Finally it’s finished.  There’s a bit of a story behind the name of this project.  When I decided I wanted to teach a mosaic knitting class at the end of March I thought I had found a great, easy pattern to use for the class.  Well, ummm, I started working this pattern up for a shop/class sample and discovered it was busted and was more of a string of suggestions than an actual pattern.  I got to work and started knitting and writing like mad to come up with something my students could learn the technique on.  The draft, (I say draft now, because a student discovered some typos) was finished about two days before the class.

First let me promise to future students, I will never teach a pattern that hasn’t been test knitted at least a half dozen times again.  Things are going fine with this class, but having a couple of typos turn up has really bothered me.  This is not the experience I want my students to have.  Mea culpa.  Mea culpa.

Anyway, all that aside; it’s finished!

img_0968I’m offering this one up for some test knitting if anyone is interested, and I have no intention of selling the pattern, but will be offering it for free since it’s my first design out of the gate.  If you have a couple of 400 yard skeins of fingering weight yarn hanging about yell, I’ll happily respond with the PDF.  After it’s been tested a few more times a final version will be released for download on Ravelry.

This project also featured a yarn I hadn’t had my grubby paws on before.  It was worked up in Feza’s Harvest Sock, an organically dyed superwash merino. I used Rubia (Red) and Oleaster (Off-White).  The two colors are striking together, and the Rubia photographs more red, but is truly a deep rusty red orange.  One of my students is using the Indigo colorway with the Oleaster and it’s amazing.  Working with this yarn is easy with sharp needles, it has a looser twist so blunt needles may split here and there.  Don’t let the feel of the skein fool you if you pick it up, this yarn creates a very soft fabric that would be great next to the skin.

Edit: At the urging of several designer friends I’ve been told this pattern should only be available free on Ravelry for a limited time.  If you are interested in this pattern the download is available here.

Project Post-Mortem: MochiMochi Land Tiny Alpaca

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Y’all meet Peanut.  Peanut meet the world.
Of all the things I’ve knitted I never thought a Tiny Alpaca would make it onto my list of finished projects. The key word there is TINY.  This guy, now affectionately named Peanut, is a little under 2-inches tall.

 

Peanut is part of a MochiMochi Land kit, and was designed by Anna Hrachovec whom has created a ton of fun critters.  She has listed her design influences as Pee Wee’s Playhouse and Dr. Suess.  If you’re a 80/90s kid like me, you really can’t go wrong there.

This is my first go at a kit, and my first attempt at knitting an animal, and I survived!  Well, the first one of the two alpacas this kit will make has been made.  Peanut’s brother Cashew is still sitting on bobbins waiting to be worked up.

So what do you need to get these little guys going? 

Besides the kit, you’ll need (4) size 1 double-pointed needles and a tapestry needle, and quite possibly some glasses.  There is a lot going on with these little guys and squinting causes wrinkles so a pair of readers will probably go a long way.

Difficulty Level:

A firm intermediate because of the tiny size.  This pattern requires short rows in a few places to form the neck and head.  Also the size may create a little frustration knitting 2 stitches together in a couple of places.  Overall if you have had experience with short rows, and feel pretty confident with them you’re good to go.

As small as he is, Peanut took a solid four hours to knit, and assemble, while hanging out with the knitting group on a Saturday afternoon.  With no distractions, he would probably take about three.

Overall Impression:

I will happily make Cashew (Alpaca 2) when I have some downtime in the evenings this week, and I would love to knit a few more MochiMochi Land patterns in the future to give to friends at random.  I’m eyeballing her gnomes.  The pattern was well written, there was no question as to where I was supposed to be when, and the kit itself is simply packaged and well put together.  I think a giant alpaca may  be in order once I get around to seeing if I have any chunky yarn in my stash.