Sunday, December 30, 2007


no time for a real post, just wanted to say, I just logged into Ravelry and we're into four digits for number of people online right now!! just over a thousand, but it's the first time I've seen the number be that high.

we're growing and growing and it's amazing! I'm expecting a huge influx of holiday knitting projects being uploaded--previously secret, now gifted and ready to be admired!! I know I've posted my fair share... here is a little pile of holiday knitting (on top of an ancient crochet project I have never remembered to photograph and post!):

Happy New Year!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

first amigurumi

well, obviously there is a lot of secret crafty knitting going on!! here is a little gingerbread man ornament I made for a gift exchange at work. the lucky winner requested that I 'sign' the back of it so last night I finally got around to stitching in some initials and the year. happy holiday crafting!!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Thanksgiving loot!

Before I get carried away with my loot, here is an artist who crafts things out of old knitting needles. Cool!

Now, I got a slice of daylight yesterday and took some pictures. It was tricky, as the 10degree F outdoor temp kept me inside and not a whole lot of light was hitting any clean surface that could serve as a background for my new lovelies. I did my best.

Without further ado, here is my loot! All snuggled and cosy on the day bed.

That's a pretty big score for yours truly. I really haven't been buying any yarn since the summer--I skipped a whole season! Because I went overboard then and I've been working on using some of it up since then. from left to right in the back we have 6 skeins of Patons Merino Classic, 3 cones of Halcyon yarns: Satin Bamboo in M Brown, 3/2 Pearl Cotton in Lt Rust, and Satin Bamboo in Wine. Each weighs about a pound, and the bamboo each have about 1050 yards while the Pearl cotton is about 1200 yards. Enough for three good sized projects and such nice yarns to work with! Next in the back there is a skein of Harrisville Highland Tweed in Blue Loden, very tweedy and nice, destined to become a hat!

In the middle there is a pile of three super soft skeins of Debbie Bliss alpaca silk snapped up at a steep discount also at the Halcyon Yarn showroom in Bath ME. To its right we have another super soft find, Inca Gold 100% alpaca in a gray heather that really called to me. It's sport weight. I haven't seen this before, it is really pretty. Gift yarn. If I can bear it. The stripy-ness on the right is more Patons Merino Classic in 'Retro'. That'll be a felted bag project for after the holidays with CK. Nice!

And in the very front there is this:

Celestial Merino Dream sockweight 100g in 'Bittersweet Chocolate'. It looks way more purply in this shot than it really is, it was so tough to photograph in the cold winter light! I couldn't leave the Loop Craft Cafe without it. (I hit up a Halifax knit night while in town for the two nights, it was great! They were having one day only, 15% off sock yarn sale...) In real life this skein is dark bitter chocolate brown and almost black and super deep purple, with the slightest hint in one or two spots of a dark periwinkle-gray. Love it. I was sold when I found out the dyer is local artist Lucy Neatby, who lives across the bay in Dartmouth. Well, actually they're her colors but are dyed up locally by someone who follows directions well. I realized that later. But it's still gorgeous yarn and a great trip souvenir!

I love the Satin Bamboo, that's what I knit my Intolerable Cruelty out of. It's so nice to work with, but a pain to pay to ship! That's why I had to go and get it myself.

One last closeup of the Patons 'Retro' Merino. The colors are so fun! There is a good sized felted back just waiting to happen in there.

Back to holiday knits. They aren't going to just knit themselves you know!

One last thing--I put in a few hours at the library yesterday and someone returned a Christmas Crafts Book (old fashioned and full of projects that would take a year to finish, like a super complicated blanket with a hundred different yarns and embroidered Santa's faces or something) plus Iris Schrier's Exquisite Little Knits. I shelved everything else on the cart, and kept that one to flip through. Turned off as I was by the fluffy ribbon yarns and things I was intrigued by patterns written for cashmere etc, and I was almost thinking about checking it out for myself when someone else came along and while I was checking out her audio books she spotted it. She was a knitter. She wanted it. I gave it to her. Charitable act for the day. Plus I'm in there on a weekly basis and when it comes back I will get it. Plus plus plus I am already in the middle of a bunch of projects without enough time to finish them! And I don't knit with eyelash sequin yarn.

[PS Just as I was finishing up that last paragraph and about to publish this post, Firefox quit. It has been doing that a lot lately but what with google being so good about saving automatically I have not had that heart-skipping-a-beat sensation of losing a long email or blog post for some time. My heart skipped a beat this time, as it was so sudden that Firefox failed me, and I was afraid blogger hadn't autosaved since I'd pounded out the last paragraph...

It was all there!!! hooray for autosave!!]

Saturday, December 1, 2007

fetching fours

It has been four hours since I wove in the last end and photographed my fourth pair of Fetching fingerless mitts to post on Ravelry (as I found that link I realized this was actually my fifth pair!!)

I think they look like they're discussing the contents of the bookshelf. Or maybe just waving after a bit of time separated in different areas of the living room, one in the WIP box and the other on the table waiting to be picked up again.

Having gone out for a chilly walk (it's 10F in the sun here currently, coldest day so far) and come back, and gotten out all my Thanksgiving trip loot yarn to photograph while the sun is above the horizon I logged back into Ravelry and already there are two newer pairs of Fetching than mine. What a pattern. Ravelry lists 2706 projects, with another 1200 or so queued up and waiting in the wings.

Gotta love it. Going to grab the sun while it's out and post more about yarn soon!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

yarn yarn more yarn

Over the holiday weekend we headed east. About as east as you can get. We detoured slightly to visit this:
The fabulous storerooms of Halcyon Yarns in Bath ME. Drool-worthy.

I've ordered from them twice and hoped to avoid the serious (never discounted) postal fees by stocking up on some additional cones of pearl cotton and silky bamboo, two of the nicest yarns I've worked with, and they come on cones so there is no joining for larger projects.
CK is fondling Harrisville Highland Tweed in washed skeins, really pretty and sturdy stuff that she has already cast on for mittens with!

I'm just waiting for some nice light and a free five minutes to photograph my loot from this place, as well as a couple of other yarns suppliers in Halifax NS (our destination.) Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

FO: Lace Leaf Pullover

At last! According to my notes I started this in August...yes, I do remember working on it in August. It languished a bit in October particularly--I reknit much of the bottom after disliking my waist shaping, and reknit much of the top after screwing up my short row efforts to make the bust area sensibly shaped, and oh, I reknit both sleeves after finishing them while watching the US Open and realizing I just wouldn't be happy with how snugly they fit. Now they're loose and comfy and great. I finished reknitting them Saturday, blocked the whole thing that evening:

And seamed the still slightly-damp-and-smelling-of-sheep-in-the-rain sleeves Sunday, finishing setting them in (had grafted live stitches at the top of the sleeve cap to the shoulder sts already) Sunday night and wished for nice light to snap a picture of it. Still no good light (it's snowy here!) but here we go:

Pattern: Teva Durham's Lace Leaf Pullover from Loop de Loop.
Yarn: Knitpicks Cadena in Mahogany (5 skeins)
Needles: size 10.5
Mods: I added the leaf motif to the back left hip as well as working it as directed in the front top and bottom and one sleeve. I completely reworked the math for a smaller gauge with the different yarn and smaller needles.

This pullover is basically my first proper sweater to ever (a) get finished (b) fit well enough to ensure lots of use. Yay!

While LLP was drying I worked on these:

My fourth (can you believe it?) pair of 'Fetching' mitts. Cascade 220 Heathers. Progressing well, started a couple of weeks ago and good for working on just a few rows at a time since the metal dpns hurt my fingers after a little while.

And by popular request I have finally managed to pose for some shots of Josephine. I've worn it a few times already and I really like it. I would totally knit another in a cotton or bamboo for summer, it was so easy and turned out so well! I might try to knit it in the round this time though to eliminate the seams. And I would knit the top section longer so that the ribbon could be tied under the bust. As it is, I'm wearing it without any tie.

Exciting news: I'm headed to the Halcyon Yarns showroom in Bath, Maine tomorrow!! I LOVE the satin bamboo and pearl cotton (both on cones, yay yardage!) I've ordered from there in the past and I have been making lists of yarns/projects in preparation for tomorrow. They never seem to give a break on shipping so I'm hoping to make this worth my while and plan ahead for some projects. Hopefully after the holiday weekend there will be some excellent haul!!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Snakeskin cuff pattern

I knit this back in July and intended to write it up but apparently never managed to. Today is a good day for tying up some loose ends.

At last, the Snakeskin cuff pattern! A quick gift pattern--I feel pretty much like a rockstar with mine on!

First a couple of notes from my Dragon Scales cuff pattern to get us started:
By the way, if you are wondering how to knit with beads, please check here is some help from Knitty, where I first got the idea for knitting beaded cuffs. The instructions for adding a bead to your knitting (they're pre-strung, btw):

Insert the needle into the stitch to be knit, slide a bead up close to the needle, and pull the bead through to the front as you complete the stitch. The bead should sit on the right leg of the "V" formed by the knit stitch.

Thanks, Elizabeth!

-First, select some DMC no. 5 Perle cotton and US size 1 (2.25 mm) double pointed needles. Don't be distracted by your ordinary cotton floss, it's not the same and not handy for knitting. I tried.

-Find a few beads that will fit on the cotton, if you want. I found some interesting square glass beads at a local beading shop but this would look nice without beads too. Oh, and I used sew on snaps to connect the ends around the wrist, but be creative--I've used hook and eye closures, and you can always sew on a couple of buttons and then crochet loops to go around them!

-String on the number of beads that you want. I chose to just do 7 and place them intermittently through the knitting, for a little glitz.

-Cast on 18 stitches. I used a long-tail cast on, but you may do whatever you like
-Knit five rows, ending on a right side row if you used the long tail cast on, or knit an additional row if you started on the right side in the first place.

Pattern rows: (based on 'snakeskin' stitch pattern from Vogue Stitchionary)
Row 1 [RS]: sl 1, k1, yo, ssk, (k2, with yarn in front sl 2 sts, bring yarn to back, return 2 sts to left needle, k2,) twice, k2, k2tog, yo, k2.
Row 2 & 4 [WS]: purl
Row 3 [RS]:
sl 1, k1, yo, ssk, (with yarn in front sl 2 sts, bring yarn to back, return 2 sl sts to left needle, k2, k2) twice, with yarn in front sl 2 sts, bring yarn to back, return 2 sl sts to left needle, k2, k2tog, yo, k2.

Repeat the pattern to desired length. I repeated it 16 times, placing beads intermittently through the scale pattern. You could omit beads or use as many as you like.

After 16 repeats I knitted five more rows in garter stitch to overlap the initial garter stitch rows. I blocked it to straighten it out well and sewed in two black snaps, spaced about an inch apart.

My cuff was designed to overlap to allow sewn in snaps to connect. Depending on how you want yours to work, you might want to knit a little less so they just meet and then button or hook or whatnot. Let me know how it turns out!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

lego knitting machine

I got sort of hyp'knit'ized by this.

Sleeve cap progress is being made on the Lace Leaf Pullover! Took out Pride and Prejudice (had choice of Colin Firth version or Keira Knightly version and went for the latter...having seen the former many many times) from the library earlier, have tea made, have plans to finish sleeves tonight and block them immediately and hopefully seam them tomorrow!! Also I finally have a couple of pictures of me wearing Josephine so I'll be downloading those this weekend and posting them too. Yay crafty weekend time!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

bite it, sleeve cap.

Despite doing copious amounts of math today at work (are your taxes due tomorrow?) I broke down tonight and finally did the math for the lace leaf pullover sleeve caps. What with my yarn, needle size, and gauge being completely different from the pattern, I spotted the sleeve cap tutorial ("perfect bell shaped sleeve caps every freaking time") in the new holiday IK a week or two ago when the latest issue arrived in my mailbox, and thought, great! I'll do the math, and get a perfect sleeve cap. Folks, the Pythagorean theorem was involved. say no more.

I did the math.

I dug out a decent pencil. Sharpened it. Found graph paper at the bottom of the stationary section of my so-called desk. Remembered that I love graph paper.

I graphed the sleeve cap.

I agonized over using an even or odd number of stitches, as, looking at the top of my almost-completed-sleeve, I noticed I'd increased one extra time at the top on one edge and not the other; I think at the time I was going for an odd number of stitches total since I had 7 stitches at the top edge to match up with, and I wanted to decrease an even number of sts each side of that center stripe. A testament to my abilities with a crochet hook and laddered stitches, I dropped a stitch on the other side and did a kfb increase four rows back. The sts were a little tight, but it worked. that's a first.

Of course, second glass of wine down the hatch (why won't I ever learn?) I forgot to bind off four stitches each side before really getting started with my graphed chart and the every other row decreases (x 12 or so) and wondered why my sleeve was still so wide....luckily the great thing about the KP Cadena I'm using is that it can be ripped back and the stitches picked up perfectly in line with no tinking and no laddering. It just stays where I want it till I get the 10.5 size needle poked back through. Backed up to the appropriate point four rows back or so and bound off those silly stitches. Now I'm really on track. I think it just might be this weekend that I could have a FO. If I could just get these sleeves finished up and block the pieces Friday night.... Saturday afternoon or Sunday all I would have to do is set in the sleeves and it would be ready to keep me warm.

winter weather advisory tomorrow night, possible 6 inches of snow/slush! And tonight getting home at 6 in the dark it was 55 degrees. What is that about? happy knitting!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

short days/happy package!

Well, summer time has officially come to an end, with the blessing of the US Congress. A week later than the rest of the world (don't quote me on that, but I do know it was a week later than Norway), mornings are brighter's completely black outside at 5 pm. Luckily something very cheery arrived late last week and I managed to use some of the earlier sunlight to photograph it.

What could be better than a package in the mail?

A package containing YARN, of course!

And what could be better than a package with yarn in it?

A package that I wasn't expecting at all!!

And what could be better than an unexpected package with squishy beautiful yarn in it?

A surprise package that not only includes luscious handdyed yarn, but a funky Japanese craft magazine, knitting themed notecards, not one but TWO mix CDs with great music (and pretty handmade covers!), and Japanese candy too!!!

Thanks to subliminalrabbit for totally surprising me and making my day!!

The yarn is Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport and I am considering what it will grow up to be...

I know there has been a severe shortage of knitting related pictures but the light has been terrible and I haven't been home to see much of it anyway. Today was better. Here is the new pair of Fetching that I cast on for last night:

The yarn is Cascade 220 Heathers in Purple Jewel. Needles size 7 which is supposed to be the smaller of the recommended sizes for the yarn but a size up from the pattern suggestion. I'm hoping they'll just come out ok. It's good knitting for when you're on the phone or watching tv, since I pretty much have the pattern memorized by now. This is my first time using Cascade wool, how exciting!

In other knitting progress, the U-Neck Back to School vest is coming along:

I know, it doesn't look that pretty, but I think it will once it's being worn. It fits, at last check, in any case! I still want to rework the front neckline so I am knitting the back part first after I divided front from back.

And the lace leaf pullover is grafted and waiting its second sleeve and for me to work out the setting in of the sleeves and shaping of the sleeve cap. Luckily the IK winter issue arrived Friday and there's a whole article about setting in sleeves! I could follow the pattern but what with the liberties I've taken with yarn selection and gauge, I might be setting myself up for disaster. And hey, I have loads of time to figure it out for myself, right?

Riiight. Happy knitting!

The Subtle Stripe

Unable to find a suitable v-neck pattern to contour my tall, slender Scandinavian S.O.’s long-torso and slim hipped dimensions, I came up with this more-than-meets-the-eye vest. Knit in the round with a subtle bas-relief vertical striping pattern, it also features twisted stitch ribbing and narrower racer stripe details under the arms. Although my muse may not currently need it, the vertical stripes are slimming and understated, perfect for any fashion conscious fellow.

The knitting is very simple once you get the hang of the twisted stitch & purl combo at the edge of the stripes, and it's knit in the round to the armholes. I’ve suggested using a little bit of short row shaping around the shoulders for a better fit and then kitchener stitch to join the front and back of the vest at the top, meaning there is not a single seam to be sewn up on this piece! In fact, the finishing was so easy I was inspired to immediately cast on a second one for my dad.

The Knitpicks Andean Silk is soft and smooth to work with and blocks well, though it hardly needs it. The alpaca-silk-merino blend is quite warm, perfect for transitioning into the winter months in cool climates, and keeping that thermostat turned down a notch or two through the dark months. In warmer areas or for a longer season of wearing, I'd suggest substituting a different worsted weight yarn so use your imagination! When blocking be sure to pay attention to the straight lines of the piece -- they may tend to curve slightly in one direction depending on your personal knitting style, but are easily coaxed into place.


XS [S, M, L, XL] (shown in size XS [Cranberry], M [Olive])

Chest: 36[38, 40, 42, 44] inches
Length: 22.5[22.5, 23, 23, 23.5] inches


KnitPicks Andean Silk [55% superfine alpaca, 23% silk, 22% merino wool; 96yd per 50g skein]; color: Cranberry or Olive 7 [7, 8, 8, 9] skeins

1 32-inch US #5/3.75mm circular needle

1 24-inch US #5/3.75mm circular needle

4 stitch holders/spare cable needle

5 stitch markers (one should be unique to mark beginning of row)

Scrap yarn ties/safety pins to help with picking up stitches around openings


Safety pin

Tape measure

Tapestry needle


22 sts/30 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch

Click on the Paypal button for your copy of The Subtle Stripe. You'll receive a pdf copy via email after payment. If you're in a big hurry leave me a comment or message me on Ravelry (I'm malaraky over there), that's the quickest way to get to me! Thanks!

[11.16.08 ETA: You can now purchase this pattern and download the pdf right away through Ravelry:]

Or use Paypal here if you like, just make sure to send me a message or leave a comment so I send you the pattern - I don't check my Paypal balance every day!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

McK's kitty bed is a new FO

Well, not so new. Maybe... a week ago?

This is McK the visiting kitty. On the new daybed matching ensemble and the very not-matching rainbow pastel ugliness yarn that I decided to dedicate to the visiting kitty. Who is very nice and purrs generously and curls up for a snuggly nap whenever I'm home long enough.

He looks a little drugged so I think he likes it. It's not big enough for him but I think he understands that it's for him and he can sort of half lay on it and be happy. We'll see how that works out. He's sort of locked up now that it's colder out and he wouldn't be happy all day long in the cold with no one to let him in. He might be around a bit more and trying to come in my door on the weekend if my landlord is around too.

In other crafting news..................where to begin? No pictures till the weekend but the first sleeve of the Lace Leaf Pullover has been reknitted and is a nice size and just about right to fit into the armholes (yay) so I've started the second sleeve....two rows in to the leaf chart pattern only to realize I left the pattern in my other home last weekend. Can't get it back till this weekend.


U-neck vest. Have abandoned lifted increase dart shaping in favor of make-1 increases. Yeah. I tried the lifted ones, they didn't look pretty, I looked at everyone and their mother on Ravelry who has knitted this thing and thought, well, either people aren't having this problem or they are changing the increase to something more comfortable. So I ripped back and did that too. Ran out of yarn in my second home over the weekend (totally never though to throw in another ball, who does that?) so had to put that down and work on the am in opposite position of being able to work on the waffle stitch and dart shaping with plenty of yarn but not having the pattern to do up the sleeves for the pullover. And it is so pullover weather. Oh well...

In additional crafty news I got the most amazing craftastic package yesterday and I can't wait for good light to take pictures and detail my happiness when it comes to the goodness that the postman was holding for me!! Thanks to subliminalrabbit!! You rock!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

where am I?

Time is a-flyin... it has turned grey and wet here--I wish I could send some moisture to the south-west coast, ack.

I thought I would get around to photographing WIPs, yarn acquisition, and even a new FO. but there is no nice light available these days and when I get home it is dark. Transitional time of year. just as a quick update before I return to work to use up the daylight hours earning rent, so let me tell you, I'm re-knitting the first sleeve on the Lace Leaf Pullover, and it's going to be comfy-sized rather than tight now, which I'm sure I'll be glad about later even though currently it seems too loose. Also on the Back to School U-neck vest I am up to the waffle stitch upper body and have put it down since the weekend because over that two day chunk of knitting time I managed to screw up the darts and though I searched Ravelry and searched online for others who had trouble witht the lifted increases (new to me), it seems like this was no trouble for others. gahhh. I need to go back and possibly switch to another increase to avoide screwing up the waffle stitch pattern. Just haven't had the time yet.

Last Wed CK and I made it to Kaleidescope Yarns for the first, time, lovely place! We were hunting for some purple yarn for Christmas gift and ended up picking up two skeins of Cascade 220 heathers in a lovely dark aubergine type color. First time to work with Cascade for me! I also found two IK issues from last year, before I started subscribing, with patterns I have been coveting!! More on that asap, my morning computer time is running out.

But the FO! is the fugly cat bed for McK the visiting kitty. It looks like a crocheted rainbow frisbee but we'll see what happens next time McK comes along for a nap. CK says it's only half as big as he is, so that should be interesting. even if he just sprawls on it and sort of contains the shedding cat fur a bit, I'd be pleased. we'll see. we also just picked up a new matching daybed ensemble so I wouldn't be surprised if he'd prefer to shed all over that first.

pictures of these things to come--had to recharge my camera battery and now am waiting for the sun to show her face. have a great day!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

big mistake

How about this for a fabulous (gutsy!) knitter's tattoo?

So here is a lesson learned and I'm sharing it because I made a big mistake earlier this week. Don't be me.

I have been making ok progress on my Lace Leaf Pullover. I frogged the upper part and took better measurements and not a little bit of time last weekend to figure out how big the armholes should be to fit me. I put in the time, I got the results. Armholes that were the perfect size. I even tried it on just as I reached the point where one could put in a couple of short rows for bust shaping, were one so inclined, and I did that too. And it fit great. And I was moving smoothly toward my waist, where I was considering a couple of decrease rows for a bit of an hourglass shape. It was all going so well.

The straight stockinette even lent itself to knitting while watching DVDs of the third season of Alias. Not every project is suitable for this, let me tell you. All continued to go well.

Suddenly, disaster! The combination of draining my first glass of wine and being distracted by Alias was too much. I noticed a funny lumpy pully weird stitch a few stitches back on one side of the front of the pullover. I didn't like it. It had to go. I dropped the corresponding stitch above it back and worked it back 8 rows or whatever it was, and bizarrely (to my befuddled brain) when it got there I could not figure out what was going on--there was like a sideways stitch sticking out of that row next to the stitch I'd dropped back to, and it didn't go away when I picked up my stitches again, working up the ladder.

If you haven't been drinking and you know how short rows work, you'll realize that I frogged back to my short row and screwed it up royally by not realizing what it was and by trying to get rid of the wrapped stitch. I still didn't realize this still I decided, fine, it's late in the evening but I'll frog, and I frogged (fueled by my second glass of Chardonnay) right back to the short rows and I said to CK, well this must be my problem! I picked this up at some point and started knitting in the wrong direction and it totally screwed everything up! How could I have done that while working in straight stockinette?? What an idiot. I kept frogging, and hit the other end short row. At which point I said, wait, I wouldn't have done that twice....


I had completely forgotten about my clever short rows. I had taken a perfectly fitting upper body of a sweater and ripped it back beyond my perfect shaping.

Take it from me, chillens. Don't frog if you've been drinking. Just put it down, step away, and look at it in the sober light of morning. Or the following weekend--whenever you have time to look at it and consider it and think, what was I thinking when I veered from the black and white of the written pattern?

The reason I noticed a weird stitch a ways back and was tempted to work back, then frog back to get it right, is because I wrapped the purl stitches the wrong way. At the time I didn't think they looked great when I picked up the wraps but I didn't bother to stop and check my handy knitting question book. If I had done that I would have been reminded that if you are purling and wrap a stitch, you moved the yarn to the back and slip your stitch and move the yarn back to where it needs to be. The opposite of wrapping a knit stitch. So at least I've worked back to that point and wrapped the stitches the correct way. The irony being, I've gotten good enough at reading my knitting (normally) and at dropped a stitch on purpose and working it back up a number of rows if I have twisted a stitch at some point, I should have been able to wrap that stitch around the correct way and work back up to my current row without screwing up everything. But I didn't recognize the wrapped stitch for what it was.

Lesson learned. Everytime something like this happens I just think, ok, now I know what that looks like. This is the journey of knitting, right?

In other news, I picked up a new copy of Erika Knight's Classic Knits from the new books section of my local public library this afternoon. I can only borrow it for two weeks since it's new but I borrowed it anyway. The simplicity of the stuff is nice, I like cables too but I know that if a piece is too complicated I just won't wear it often enough. I'd like to build up my wardrobe of basic pieces. I think that if I put my head down, in two weeks I could do the Silk Shrug (Ravelry link). I'm short of silk so I'm thinking of my Knitpicks Shine Sport which is a drapey cotton-modal blend. Turquoise. Yes, it's the yarn I've suspected of being cursed but I got a couple of balls out this morning thinking I would cast on for the IK Lace Ogee skirt wrap thing tonight, then went to the library and found the Erika Knight book. So maybe it is time to try the shine sport once again, all signs are pointing in that direction.

Hopefully tomorrow--pictures! Of the pullover at least, which I am going to work on tonight while watching Frasier DVDs--another library loaner. happy knitting!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

kitty bed WIP

In which I occasionally break out a crochet hook without needing it to pick up a dropped knit stitch.

My landlord's pretty ginger kitty likes to come in and visit when I get home from work earlier than my landlord. He rubs his face all over my packing boxes (new apartment 9/07) and whatever is new to him, then makes his way upstairs and curls up on my bed for a nap. he likes to push my pjs/blankets around with his not-declawed paws so I'd prefer he had his own little bed to curl up in! This is the ugliest cotton I have, I must have gotten it really cheap because I just don't know what I was thinking!! I'm just going to sort of spiral around and then stop increasing when it seems to be big enough for him--he's pretty big and likes to stretch out and roll around with his tummy exposed so I might just end up using up this ball of fugly cotton. yay!

In other non-illustrated knitting news, I busted out some concentration last night and frogged back the too-big armholes of my Lace Leaf Pullover, figured out where the armholes should end (this section is worked top down from the neck, divided for front and back, then rejoined for under the arm scythes) by trying it on over and over as well as comparing it to a couple of sweaters I have that fit. This time it is much better, well worth the work and effort, and the top part fits nicely now. I haven't compared the snug sleeves to the new armhole opening but I think I'll be happier (and smell better) if I suck it up and reknit the sleeves anyway to be looser and wider, especially at the cuffs, which would currently be fitted to my already-somewhat-skinny wrists. I do want to make sure to figure out just about how many stitches I want to end up with to fit into the armholes before I frog the sleeves--I'll be sensible and frog those one at a time for comparison purposes, natch.

That was my big effort of last night, but Friday night and yesterday during the day I made some good progress on the U-neck vest. The real color is more sea-green than this shows.

Super easy, super fast. Yet I look at the photos on Ravelry and think, mmmmm, needs mods. Everyone who models it looks like their assets are really emphasized, and squished together into one big lump. Hmm, not flattering. Projects that are not modelled look bizarre because the ribbing pulls in the lower section so much and then the top part blooms out like a mushroom. I like the pattern and I think I will like the vest, but I am either going to chang the neckline to be even more squared off, come up higher like a boatneck, or at least make the top straps thinner. They're downright chunky and that just doesn't help my narrow shoulders. Harrumph! More math this way comes...

I also seem to be seriously considering finally getting a sample pack from ColourMart, something I have been thinking about for so long... they have many pretty yarns and I love the idea of a sweater-worth of yarn on one cone!! But I am nervous about the oils on the yarn, and it would be great to do a sample first. It's not like it'll break the bank, $4 on their site or $5 on their ebay store (I think they charge a dollar extra because you get another comment/rating, and too many people are doing that), I just want to look through the yarns and request a few specific types to make sure I get samples of stuff I'm considering ordering anyway.
Off to be productive!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Lace Leaf Pullover / U-Neck Vest WIPs

Lace Leaf Pullover update:
this sweater is mostly knit, but it's going to take more work than I was hoping for. I ended up using size 11 needles rather than the 13s because I liked the fabric better in the swatch. I've been doing math every step of the way to accommodate for that choice. Now I am forcing myself to admit that even with the extra sts the sleeves are too small--I knit them after knitting the bottom section first--because after knitting the top and reconnecting under the armholes I had to admit that the armholes are MUCH bigger than the sleeves and there is just not enough sleeve to go in there! As the sleeves would be well fitted and the sweater would be nicer (and I have the yarn) as a looser pullover, I am thinking of frogging the sleeves and reknitting them a bit wider. At least the weather is so warm in the NE I don't need any sweaters yet!! I'll try to fix this thing this weekend.
Meanwhile, while I've been in denial about continuing the math practice that is my Lace Leaf Pullover, I needed to cast on a new project as I had nothing simple that suited itself to watching the incroyable 5 disc Discovery channel 'Planet Earth' DVD series in the evening with one's second glass of chianti in hand (who am I kidding, you can't knit while watching this amazing DVD set! too many cute bear cubs and things!). I've been waiting for the right moment to cast on for Stephanie Japel's Back-to-School U-neck Vest from Fitted Knits. I did do a bit of tipsy swatching in the last week, and here we are with the first rows, knit last night:

I picked up the Mission Falls 1824 wool half price in August, finally cast on a couple of nights ago and it will be a super quick knit if I just spend the time on it! I swatched on 7s, as the pattern calls for, but got closer to gauge on 8s and decided to knit a slightly smaller size (35.5) than I think I'll want in the end to make up for that extra quarter inch I'll gain every four inches of knitting. Should work out to a 37, we'll see!

Again with the math, what am I, a glutton?! At least this time I'm very close in gauge and am adjusting by knitting a different size that should come out to my size, rather than adjusting every darn step of the way. Happy knitting!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

FO: Urchin

Yeah, excuse my sexy sweatshirt from the early high school years; I was excited to get a picture, and in the nice afternoon light, no less. Had to take my own pictures though, at arm's length, no one around to help at present!

I used Classic Elite Inca Alpaca Print, 100% alpaca, and size 10.5 needles. The pattern is Urchin from the fall Knitty. I adjusted it for gauge, casting on more stitches than called for for the middle size as I had no bulky yarn on hand and I wanted to cast on right away. It has been quite awhile since I've done something that was so quick and satisfying. Of course it was cold as the whole week before the new Knitty emerged at last, so I was ready to knit a warm accessory. Now, naturally, we're back in the 70's every day so I have not broken out any hats yet. Scarves in the morning when it's still 50 before the sun really gets the fog out of the way, yes, but no hats. Fingerless gloves (hello, fetching!) definitely.

I did find right at the end that it was growing a little large in circumference (it's knit in garter stitch side to side, with short row shaping for the beret shaping) so I omitted a couple of the longer rows in the 8th wedge in order to make it fit. Used just about all of my two skeins of yarn, as it was held doubled to make it kind of bulky, which is what the yarn actually called for in the pattern would qualify as.

I really love these colors, all fall-like and warm and cosy. This yarn was super soft and lovely to work with. I used almost all of it. I would have used all of it had I knit the full 8 wedges but then it would have been too big to wear. And we can't have that, can we?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Urchin progress / Ravelry improvements

I am often amazed at the new and excellent features Ravelry keeps incorporating into the site--two weeks ago I squee'd when they added mini progress bars to the projects page for one's WIP's, and it looks like just today they've added a little feature that tells you how many times a project has been viewed. it's not retroactive, unfortunately, someone must have just thought it would be nice to start keeping track of how many times things are being looked at, which I can understand would be impossible to make retroactive since you would have needed to track it from the start. I know it's not retroactive, for example, because a bunch of people have commented and marked as a favorite my Intolerable Cruelty (19 people love it, but who's counting?) but it says it has only been looked at 1 time. It will be neat to see this feature catch up with itself in a way.

Someone beat me to a finished Urchin beret already! I checked last night and it was in a bunch of queues but no one had officially started the project yet; this morning one person had 'cast on' and this afternoon there are two official projects and one of them is done already! Mine is half finished, and I haven't had the chance to just plug away at it, in which case it would be done because it is a super quick pattern on big needles, but I just checked and someone has posted a picture of their finished one! I still hope to finish mine this weekend. No picture yet. Hey, it's a quick project, I'm hoping to just finish it and take a picture rather than waste the potential knitting time digging out my camera, hooking it up, downloading to my computer, fixing it in Picasa2, uploading to flickr, and posting to Ravelry. Too many steps, people.

(yes, I am addicted to Ravelry. No, I haven't logged in to Myspace this month. Or last month. Ok, maybe I did once.) back to the knitting!

Friday, September 14, 2007

FO: Josephine

I finished Josephine earlier this week, blocking and all, and managed to get it posted to Ravelry, but not here yet, sorry for the neglect! Ta da!

Close up of the overlapped neckline--I like how it came out:

I used's laceweight (held doubled) in 'sunset' on size 5 needles. I went down a lace repeat on the smallest size because my gauge was a little large but it was easily adjusted for this pattern. The colors came out really well, blending together nicely with only minimal striping in spots. I like the effect and the stitch definition is quite good too.

I eliminated the cap sleeves and just finished the armholes in the same way as the neckline and lower hem. I'm not really into cap sleeves. The yardage held up really well, I have two balls of yarn left, I would estimate they're each around 100 yards at least so that's a good bit of leftovers, not sure what will happen to them! I think it looks good as a sleeveless top. I wet-blocked it with a splash of vinegar to try to set the color. I had blocked the pieces before seaming (more effort that I'll usually put in!) also with a bit of vinegar but then while doing the finished I used un-set yarn so I thought it wouldn't hurt to do a bit more vinegar to try to make sure the color doesn't rub off. It did bleed onto my fingers a bit while knitting, especially on warmer days.

I haven't been able to wear her yet, though she fits beautifully, because I knit the piece in 100% wool and that is not wearable next to the skin the way that cotton would be, which is what the pattern called for. So I'm on the lookout for some sort of cream/pale yellow 3/4 sleeve closefitting top that would be good to wear underneath. Naturally I wouldn't have anything like that in my wardrobe at the moment, that would be too easy.

New Knitty is up! I'm a bit disappointed with the issue for a couple of reasons but there is a nice cardigan pattern called Mr Greenjeans and also I like Ysolda Teague's pattern for a cute cosy hat, called Urchin. Also the lovely lady who designed the pattern for Intolerable Cruelty has a new pattern in there which is really pretty called Cherie Amour; I've queued all these things on Ravelry of course. It has been cool to see the queue counts rise on the new patterns, as everyone tried to get on Knitty at the same time and put all these new things on their lists. I can only imagine the feeling of satisfaction and happiness at seeing that process take place for one's own pattern!

Last night after I determined there was nothing I could not wait to knit on the new Knitty, I could not for the life of me find my pattern notes for the Lace Leaf Pullover I've knit the bottom and one sleeve of, so I had to look elsewhere for knitting fun, now that Josephine is finished. Poking around in a yarn bin (they're accessible now that I've moved, stacked in t
he living room rather than stuffed under the bed!) I found some Classic Elite alpaca I got halfprice at a sale a couple of months ago and I've pressed it into service for the Urchin pattern, to see if it works, though there is no such size as a 7mm needle in the US, or at least in my Knitpicks Options kit, so I'm trying 10.5 and holding the yarn double since it's not a bulky like the pattern calls for. I swatched and decided to try casting on 28 sts to get an 8 inch length to work across. I'll be working on that tonight. The yarn is really lovely and soft and I'm interested to see how the pattern works, as it uses short row shaping to do a kind of beret.

I've just gone back to find my post about my Intolerable Cruelty and realized that I never posted a better photo of it. Here you go:

I think it came out pretty well. Ok, I think it's hot! What do you think?

Saturday, September 8, 2007

busy day

moved into a new apartment today...well, moved a carload anyway. Back in the house now, not the apt. very frustrating and hot work on a humid Sept Saturday. Caught a bit of the men's US Open Semi-finals before I left, the end of the second match when I returned, and watched the women's final tonight. Uninspiring, but I did bring Josephine from her blocking station in the basement and seam her shoulders and pick up and knit and BO sts on the neckline. just the side-seaming, armhole edging (skipping cap sleeves!) and bottom hem edging to go. she's going to be soooo pretty. lower back is hurting though and I need to get to bed! pictures soon.

Friday, September 7, 2007

so behind

What can I say? it has been weeks (it seems) since I've been able to reply to emails--this week I have even gone a day or two without checking my email. My rss reader is borderline triple digits on unread knitting blog posts, let along the (literally) thousands of news reader feeds and such that have gone unread for, oh, about the past three months. I'm moving into a new apartment tomorrow. started two new jobs on Tuesday. Can't wait to see the new Knitty. my first carload will be bins of yarn and crafty stuff. ok, and maybe a cooler with food for the fridge. I've never done such a close move before, where I only have to drive an hour to get to my new place. Usually it's coast to coast or across the ocean. Josephine is well-blocked (let's call her bone dry by now) downstairs but I'll be darned if I can find five minutes (right, three hours) to seam her. Poor dear, she's really lovely, wait till you see. I did manage to bind off the three hundred (300!) stitches of the empire waist tie piece this morning on my (soon to be obliterated) hour long commute this morning.

I wish I had fresh pictures for you but I just don't. Good news is, Verizon hooked up my new phone line today and delivered my modem to my new place so it was waiting when I arrived to do the walk through and sign the lease, as well as the check. I'll try to hook it up asap and use the moving in time and unpacking hours to catch up on podcasts!! Specifically knitting ones, though as I was writing a new pattern on Labor Day (good use of an extra weekend day!!) I did enjoy the NPR all-songs-considered podcast, as a knitting one would surely have screwed me right up. thanks for bearing with me!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Snakeskin cuff / Ravelry

I seem to have managed to forget to post this nice picture. I am so wrapped up in Ravelry that I forget that I started this blog and maybe there are non-Ravelry people who are interested as well. I remember reading someone's comment in their Ravelry profile that if Ravelry had existed sooner they would not have started a crafting blog. Sounds like someone else I know...

Here is the Snakeskin cuff I designed, using a stitch pattern out of the Vogue Stitchionary Volume 1. It came out pretty nicely, I'm pleased.

The other piece of news I wanted to share (becuase I couldn't find an appropriate place on the Ravelry forums!!) is that I logged in today to look at Teva Durham's Lace Leaf Pullover pattern and the 51 people who've knit it, in case I could find someone's notes on knitting it in Knitpicks Sierra (now Cadena) and whether they went down a needle size because I tried to cast on last night in the size 13's I ordered just for the project and my gauge is a little small, plus the fabric looks too loose and I'd rather try it on smaller needles. Before bed I swatched on 11's, which is the largest needle size the ball band recommends anyway, and it looks much better. Still getting 3 sts/inch rather than 2.5 as the pattern calls for, so clearly I need to work some math, cast on more stitches and get this thing to fit and look nice. Went on Ravelry looking for tips (here I come to my point!) and there is an awesome new feature on the projects page--PROGRESS BARS! after my fussing about with the bars on the right here to show off how far along I am with various things, Ravelry has put that into place for one's WIPs. I actually squealed out loud. yay!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Josephine glows

Much progress has been made on my Josephine top, thanks to a lot of knitting time on a road trip to Ottawa last weekend.

That's the back. I've also managed about three lace repeats on the front at this point. I'm really pleased with the color and the laceweight is lasting really well, it looks like I'll be ok for yardage! (I say that now but...)

And I found a nice use for a bit of the Yarn Pirate Booty Club Rum Runner colorway that was sent to me in July. Baby Booties for my cousin. This adorable pattern is free and worked a treat! It has been a very popular pattern, judging by Ravelry's database.

I had to take a picture of the booties by my aunt and uncle's frog pond. Because these booties are definitely not going in the frog pond. They turned out great. And mom-to-be was thrilled.

Yes, the big frog is fake. But the four little ones behind it are for real. The frogs at this little pond are hilarious. They all look stoned. They're like so zoned out and relaxed near the little trickling water source and lilypads, they hardly move all day during the summer.
Yes, the buttons don't match. We thought that was cuter. These knit up super fast, one each in the two evenings before we hit the road, and the little button loops fixed up in the car on the way up.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Josephine top and podcast kismet

Here's Josephine. Isn't she lovely?

I'm calling her my Sunset Jo. I cast on on Saturday, July 28th, after showing off my swatch at the LYS. The yarn is working up beautifully. I did find after knitting a repeat of the lace section (smallest size) that it was too wide, it stretched more than when I swatched, so I frogged that evening and cast on and knit the first section on Sunday.

As of today I've done four repeats of the pattern, so we're up to maybe 9 inches. I've done the two sets of decreases in the rib sections. It still looks lovely! This yarn turns my fingers yellow though...depending on how hot it is and if my hands are sweating slightly. I still love it. I will just have to be careful when I wash it!!

I have so many things on the go right now, I could spend all day knitting, it is ridiculous! Time to tear myself off of Ravelry and blogging and all that and go get some exercise. I must not knit all the time. I must not knit all the time. Oh! The kismet part of this post.

I was listening to the last Lime and Violet podcast that I had not listened to yet, which happened to be number 20. I am now completely up to date, having listened to all their archives. I've been listening to them all over the period of the last three months or so. The song featured at the end is about the 'boob fairy' because of Miss V's medical troubles at the time of the taping. Just before I started this post I started listening to an old Cast On episode--number 8, from a year and a half ago (I started listening to Brenda maybe 6 weeks ago, and have listened to a number of the most recent episodes but am now listening to older ones in order if there's not a new one available) and what song should BD put in the middle of the episode? The same boob fairy song!!
What the heck are the odds of that? I laughed out loud again, it's such a funny song, about how we all get visited by different fairies, or not... thigh fairies, hair fairies, boob fairies... Some of them might even get 'obsessed' with us, while others never pay a visit no matter how much we hope and wish and wait... personally I'm wishing the 'flat stomach fairy' might decide to grace me with her presence. Where was I? oh, yes, going to exercise. Pilates DVD, here I come!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Kyoto Deconstructed.

Warning: This may be painful to see.

I'm telling you, if you can't handle seeing an innocent sweater torn to bits...

You should really turn away now.

It might give you nightmares.

I cannot be held responsible if you need knitting therapy after seeing what you are about to view.

Are you ready?

Can you handle it?

Ok, here we go...

Background story--last year while in Japan a lovely friend was good enough to bring back from a US trip a boxful of KP shine sport in four colors, turquoise, river, sand and grass, for myself and a friend to do a mini-KAL of Kyoto. The knitting was easy. Too easy. I got a lesson in seaming while learning how to put together the 7 (7!) pieces of Kyoto. I liked the yarn, I liked the simple knitting, I almost liked the double moss stitch used for the obi and cuffs and neckline. I knit the obi longer than called for since I didn't really want it to be a cropped sweater. I also knit the sleeves a little longer than called for since I wanted them to be full length and I don't believe they were intended to be. I thought I did everything right. I think I had knitted all the pieces before I left Japan in July 2006. I seamed at home in August. I got this:

Saggy and shapeless. Not well seamed, and not exciting enough to make me want to re-do it.

The cotton, though, I felt would live to see another day. After blue Kyoto suffered in a drawer for the better part of a year while I was off trying to sort out next steps and find employment, I gritted my teeth and started to pull everything apart.

I began.

I picked apart my crappy seams.

I pulled on any knots that presented themselves and undid them.

I got pieces, straining to pull away from other pieces.

It was very satisfying when I reached the end of a seam and got a piece to break away from its friends.

Sometimes it was necessary to frog as I went along in order to avoid bad tangles...

I had to admit, as time went by, that this was not a one day job. Here we are at the end of the first session.

The second day I got right back to it, determined to finish the job in less time than it took me to put the thing together.

At last it was all in pieces, the easier for frogging all at once, my dear.

I frogged like a demon.

Finally I ended up with a beautiful bowlful of redeemed potential.

Since then the yarn has been reincarnated as a market bag for CK:

The beginnings of Badia:

Which came out too wide and silly looking, so it has also been frogged.

And the next project for this cotton just might be the Summertime Tunic from IK. I recently acquired a copy of the summer issue, lucky for me.

I also just encountered someone on Ravelry who knitted a beautiful one piece no seam version of Kyoto. I couldn't find a post on her blog about it but it's in red Noro Cash Iroha and it's really lovely. Wish I'd been so clever. Ha!