Wednesday, May 31, 2006


I'm glad I'm not the only one lusting over the Bonne and Clyde sweater. If I could do it, I'd probably try to do it top down a la MJ's beautiful Gedifra cotton sweater. A slip stitch pattern over 2 rows to get the faux stripeyness going on, and well, since I don't really understand smocking, maybe a cable pattern might achieve the same effect? I've been looking through the BW fourth treasury of knitting that I got on sale from Stitches from the Heart (20% off of a Schoolhouse Press book - now that's a sale!) and I think there may be a cable pattern in there that might look a bit like smocking, but I don't think it'll draw in the waist that much. Hmm, I see a swatch in my future.

I ignored all of you (I'm a spaz, what can I say) and went with the Wendy's dream swatch head wrappy thing. I cast on for it on Saturday on the way down to Costa Mesa to go to the largest freaking Macy's I've ever seen... and I didn't even go to the main store! I finished it today, and well, it's sort of retarded looking. Not retarded as in I hate the stitch pattern or anything, it's just too short. I didn't weave in the ends, but I can't quite bring myself to rip it out either. When I get the energy up to take a picture, you too can vote for ripping out knitting and listening to your sage advice to knit Molly's Headband instead.

On the other knitting front, I've been off and on knitting the pieces of the VK Fall 2005 hooded pullover. The front is now complete up to where I need to start the armhole shaping. Except I had such a great time at SNB tonight that I just kept on knitting and forgot to stop to shape the armhole. Up next: fun with frogging furry yarn.

Oh yeah, and in case you've been wondering why I've been so spotty with my blogging, there's that wedding thing coming up (see sidebar). I'm about 4 and a half months away now, so apparently I'm supposed to be thinking about what gifts to ask for. With some 300 people invited to the wedding, I'm wondering if I'll need to rent out a small storage closet for the gifts since I already live in an apartment the size of a closet. or at least it feels that way with the amount of camping/climbing gear taking up the closet. Oh and I guess the yarn I have in case the sheep decide to stop growing wool probably isn't helping our cause.

And then I'm supposed to publicize all this to a website. I'm using blogger since is pretty limited in its ability to link to outside websites. My problem is this: why is it that every template I pick (I'm using Minima now) seems to eat the sidebar content on the individual post pages? This blog doesn't have that problem, but apparently I'm completely HTML inept. Anyone have suggestions?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Random lust

Okay, one of my favorite blogs to read has nothing to do with knitting.

*a hush falls over the crowd*

But I still have knitty thoughts while reading them. Take today's Go Fug Yourself entry. I saw the sweater from the old photo of Faye Dunaway and I just WANT TO MAKE it. Simple short sleeve crewneck with smocking to draw in the waist... that could be really cute in sport weight yarn...

No pictures today, but go check out Aija's (Quickeye) headwraps. I can't decide which one my leftover (from the Simply Lovely Lace Socks) Zen Yarn Garden pink yarn is destined to become. What do y'all think?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Hello from under the pile of FO

Well, I didn't think it would be two whole weeks before I'd post again, or else I would have apologized in advance for my unexplained disappearance. The road called once again and in addition to the week I spent in my hometown for work and coincidentally planning a little event in October, I also traveled to Florida for a meeting last week. Not much time for blogging, but lots of time for knitting.

First off, not much progress was made on the hoody the rest of the week I was home for event planning. I just finished the back of the sweater and have since cast on for the front and am not quite up to the section of ribbing at the empire waist. No pictures today since there are a bunch to follow, but how exciting is a piece of hot pink fuzzy back?

I just have to say, I think it's totally funny that everyone commented on the last post about finishing the second sock up in no time flat and maybe even give it away if I really don't like it after I finish the second. I don't think anyone noticed my use of plurals when referring to the socks that I was thinking of ripping back, or the 99% completion in the side bar. Yes, I was indeed considerig ripping out two almost complete socks in all my spazzy perfectionism. I decided against it, and now I present to you:

Simply Lovely Lace Socks
Pattern: by Karen Baumer in Interweave Knits Spring 2006
Yarn: Zen Yarn Garden Superwash Merino (100% superwash merino wool, 250 yards.) ~80g of a 117g skein in color Passionfruit.
Gauge: 26 sts/4 inches on size US3 Addi Turbo circulars, 24" and 32".
Finished size: 4" from cuff edge to top of heel flap, 7" circumference, 9" from toe to back of heel when laid flat.

Started: May 5, 2006
Finished knitting: May 7, 2006
Finished: May 13, 2006

Only a minor adjustment of decreasing one extra stitch on either side of heel gusset (by mistake, but it's okay since my feet are narrower than my ankles might suggest). Also started decreasing more frequently in toe shaping a bit earlier than the pattern would suggest since it looked like the toes would end up too long with their original shape. Also used twisted 1x1 ribbing for the cuff.

Mindless knitting at its best. Had to be the easiest lace pattern to memorize, though the K-tbl stitches between the yarn overs just about made me want to tear my hair out and slowed me down considerably. I couldn't decide if I'm sort of meh about these socks because they're sport weight and seem a bit chunky or if it's because the lace pattern looks like there's a column of knots running down the instep and cuff. Oh well, the Zen Yarn garden superwash is dyed beautifully and it's oh so soft. It does develop a bit of a fuzz to it after blocking, but I like it. Slipping the edge stitches of the heel flap made picking up stitches so much neater. I'll definitely have to try this on all future heel flap projects.

Previous posts on this project:
Legacy on May 9, 2006

Halley's Comet Hat
Pattern: by Marnie Maclean
Yarn: Cascade Sierra (80% cotton, 20% wool. 191 yards per 100g skein) 50 g in color 42.
Gauge: 18 sts/4 in in st st on size US8 DPN (Susan Bates aluminum)
Finished size (when flat): 8 inches tall with brim unrolled, 9.5 inches wide

Started and finished: May 18, 2006

No modifications to pattern except yarn substitution.

I loved this pattern! Partially, this was because I managed to finish the hat in one plane ride to Florida which would have been really nice except that I made it too long and had to rip out some of the length. Even that was easy because the lace pattern was so straight forward.

The hat is a great lightweight summer hat and it'll be perfect for my great grandmother for the arctic air-conditioning. Yes, it's sort of a girlie color, but she deserves something nice is what I think. The pattern used exactly half a ball of Sierra, so now I have enough to make a second one for myself to match! Thanks Marnie for an addictingly quick and beautiful pattern.

In case you're wondering, the color is slightly dustier than shown in the photo of the top, and no, the socks and hat are not the same color. The socks are closer to a bubble gum pink but this doesn't show well in the shade.

And last and also least:

Magic Stripes Socks
Pattern: none
Yarn: Lion Brand Magic Stripes (75% wool, 25% nylon. 330 yards) approximately 40% of one ball in color Denim Stripe. Patons Kroy Sock Yarn (75% wool, 25% nylon, 203 yards) approximatey 40% of one ball.
Gauge: 8 sts/in in st st on size US1 Addi Turbo circulars 24" and 32".
Finished size: 5.25" from sole to cuff, 8.75" long, 6" circumference relaxed.

Started: May 19, 2006
Finished: May 22, 2006

Pattern notes:
Cast on 28 sts by Turkish cast on in CC. Worked short row toe on these 28 sts down to 12 sts. Worked one round plain then changed to MC. worked 28 sts of instep as *K2, K-tbl, P, k-tbl, K2* repeat to end. Worked sole sts in plain stockinette. Heel turned exactly as toe in CC. M1 corners where heels meet and decrease extra stitches away on next round to avoid holes. Worked cuff entirely in pattern stitch as established on instep until ran out of MC. Then switched to CC and worked one round even in stockinette, then 1x1 ribbing. Just before cast off, worked two rounds of "double-knitting": round 1 - Knit 1, wyib, sl 1 as if to purl, repeat; round 2: - wyib, sl 1 as if to purl, purl 1. Cast off using faux kitchener bind off or tubular cast-off.

This project was mostly intended to use up left over yarn. I did manage to do that, but I still have 8g or about 30 yd of Kroy sock yarn left over. Maybe I'll use that to tip some gloves or some other kind of contrast.

I listened to Brenda Dayne's Cast On Episode 22 the other day and she describes the 3.5 rules of knitting. One of them was Knit Crap. I think this one definitely falls into the Knit Crap category. It's kind of freeing to think that it's okay to knit Crap since it gives you an idea of what you really don't like.

In this case, I discovered that I don't like the way the twisted stitches on either side of purls looks. I did this originally because my knit stitches before purl stitches in ribbing inevitably look sloppy and loose so this definitely fixed that problem. But now the purl columns look WAAAY too wide in proportion. I would have done bettern to drop all of the twisted stitches. I also could have flown through this so much faster.

I also learned that I like 1x1 ribbing in twisted stitches for the crisp look, but I HATE weaving in ends with this kind of ribbing. Of course, if I wove in ends like a normal person, and didn't duplicate stitch my way to insanity, then it probably wouldn't bother me that much.

I also learned that I really don't like the link above for the tubular cast-off. It was just ridiculously confusing, and even after I thought I had corrected their seemingly erroneous instructions (they don't seem consistent from beginning with a knit vs. beginning with a purl), the cast off flares and just plain looks ugly. So, *gasp* I tried a different cast off for the second sock, and PEOPLE, the SOCKS DON'T MATCH and I'm okay with that. I definitely like the grafted bind off shown in the link above much better and will be doing this in all toe up socks with 1x1 ribbing from now on. The part where the tubular cast off people say to work 2 rounds of double-knitting? Yeah, that's crap. I don't see any reason to do this if you are working the grafted bind off, so I'll skip this next time.

Whew! What a long post! Thanks for hanging in there and I'm off now to go catch up on all 300 of the posts that I've been missing. Sorry in advance for not commenting on your blogs, but 300 posts!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


Energized by my quick completion of Blackberry, I cast on for a new sweater on Thursday night. Yes, I'm still casting on for wooly sweaters despite the fact that it's almost summer. I get cold easily, and well, summer in Los Angeles close to the coast is all of 10 degrees warmer than winter, so I'd have to swear off of sweaters entirely if I paid attention to the weather here. Thankfully, I get cold easily.

I'm loving the Filatura di Crosa Ultralight that I'm using for this sweater. It's soft and fuzzy and has no mohair content to make my eyes water. Plus, I got it for practically nothing from WEBS a while back. They still have the color I'm using for $30 a bag if you're interested.

And with a long plane ride ahead of me, I decided to start some socks as travel knitting. I finished knitting these on Sunday night, but I didn't graft the toe closed because I'm sort of feeling meh about these socks. What do y'all think? Should I rip them out and try something different?

I had a chance to visit with my grandparents this weekend. My grandmother took one look at the socks above and said that I should make her a pair like them for her. Only in cotton instead of wool because wool is too itchy and knee high since her knees always get cold. My grandfather was nice enough to only request crew socks, and my great-grandmother decided that socks like these are too cute for an old lady, but a lightweight hat would be nice instead. I'm thinking of using Marnie Maclean's Haley's Comet Hat pattern in Cascade Sierra. I'll try not to pick something "cute" and offputting for old lady sensibilities.
At the end of my visit, my great-grandmother took me aside and started to excitedly rummage through her drawers. Hands waving about and unintelligible Chinese flowing, she pulls out her collection of needles and her stashette. I have no idea what she was saying, but I at least understood that she's a knitter.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Wham, bam, thank you ma'am!

Before we move on to the best quickie ever, I'd like to give a shoutout to Lisa over at PurlThis. She was kind enough to send along a nice like RAK from the Knittyboard this week in response to my desperate plea for more sock yarn. Go check out her blog and the very cute pictures of her cats in their new kitty bed.

So remember how I needed something quick and painless after my seaming disaster? Well, Blackberry turned into just that. Well, quick at least, maybe not quite painless...

Pattern: Blackberry by Jennifer Thurston
Yarn: Rowan Yorkshire Tweed Chunky (100% wool, 109 yds). Just under 5 skeins in color Stout. Size 11 Denise Interchangeables.
Gauge: 11 sts/4in in stockinette
Finished size: 40" (includes overlap) at bust, 19" from collar to hem, 20" from underarm to cuff

Started: April 23, 2006
Finished: May 3, 2006

Followed pattern almost exactly except that body was worked in one piece and arms were worked in the round. Body and sleeves were joined and worked in one piece to collar. Did not break yarn but instead continued picking up sts down right front, across bottom, and up left front to work ribbed edging. Total # of ends to weave in: 6. Priceless.

I was worried that this pattern would look ridiculous on me since I'm a small person and generally think that chunky yarn would overwhelm my petite frame. But looking at the pictures closer, I realized that the designer is about my size and she didn't look ridiculous, so I'd give it a go.

Converting the pattern from flat pieces to seamless wasn't that bad. I just had to keep a closer eye on where I was in the shaping of each piece and how that related to the shaping on the other pieces. Thankfully, everything pretty much lined up on the same rows, so that was a relief.

The only problems I ran into were the bobbles, which I mentioned before and my idiotic displacement. Dropping down those two columns of stitches and reworking the bobbles again worked pretty well, and I can't really tell that I moved my bobbles over except that the sts around the bobbles are a bit loose now. I'm okay with that. Did you hear me? I'm okay with the slight imperfection. I know. Go get some smelling salts.

What I'm less pleased with is the apparent growth of my sweater during blocking. I swear that I blocked my swatch and took my gauge after blocking. Still, my sweater turned out to be a whopping 2" larger around and 2" longer afterwards. Before I blocked it, it was this cute, cropped, fitted top with sleeves that just covered the backs of my hands. Now, they pretty much cover all of my fingers and even with a DPN to secure drastically overlapped fronts, it's still baggy under the arms. See this throwaway picture (DF said, "look constipated!" right before snapping the picture) for an idea of the actual sleeve length.

I'm okay with folding up the sleeve, but the width of the body just bugs me. I'm considering spraying the sweater down with a bit of water to get it sort of damp and throwing it in the dryer to see if it'll shrink a bit. Anybody have any suggestions? I know I don't want it felted...

Anyway, this sweater did turn out to be a very quick knit, which is quite satisfying. If I can get the size a bit better, I'll probably live in this sweater during the evenings (believe it or not, I do actually get cold during the summers at night!) I even have an untouched ball of yarn left over. I see a hat or mittens in its future if I have enough to go around. Do patterns always build in an extra ball of yarn just in case?

Previous posts about this project:
Quick, somebody toss me some nail polish!!! on May 03, 2006
a WIP or Two on April 26, 2006

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Quick, somebody toss me some nail polish!!!

After all of the excitement with getting my sockapaloooza socks yesterday, I don't know what to do with myself. Knit some more, I guess.

When we last left off, I was frustrated with the tiny sweaters from the twinset and had to go do something still quick, but without seams this time. Blackberry in a traditional Elizabeth Zimmerman style. Well, my back and tiny sleeves have managed to grow significantly since their humble beginnings. Not quite the quick one week knit that I was hoping for, but anyway... the sleeves are just about ready to attach to the body. See?

Wait, what's that? Do those bobbles seem a bit wrong? Like maybe the ones on the right look just a little too far from the cable compared to the left? Um, yeah. They're a measly one stitch further to the right. With 17 inches of sleeve done on both sleeves that are identically WRONG, what would you do?

Now that you know what a normal person would do, what would you do if you were the Spaz? Clearly, the obsessive compulsive side would overrule any sort of rational thinking here that says no one's ever going to notice a one stitch displacement. Knit spazzing, of course, ensued.

The long and the short of it is shown below. The bobbles look a little bit wonky now, but I think blocking will fix most of that.

The sleeves are now attached and I'm just decreasing away. I'm still holding my breath to see if I managed to successfully translate a flat pattern done in pieces to a seamless pattern. I think I'm now purple, so what color comes after that?

Also, because I know some of you can share in my glee... I wrote to the publisher's general information address when I came across a perplexing issue with one of the charts in the Barbara Walker Fourth Treasury of Knitting Patterns hoping that they might have a book corrections page or something available. I got a response from a real person, and at the end it's signed simply "Meg". I'm sitting there wondering, wait a minute, did I just get an email from Meg Swansen? Holy Crap!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

They're heeerre!

Lookee what I got in the mail yesterday... Yes, a package from my sockpal! Already! I was lucky enough to receive a package from my sockpal Beth and it was totally unexpected. For some reason, I had thought that the packages were supposed to go out in the mail today, not be received by today. Uh-oh. To my sockpal: I'm sorry I misunderstood... your package is on its way today!

I was so excited to get my package that it was all I could do to pause for a second between reading the card (from Boston, hey wait, didn't I just live there?) and pulling the socks on to take a picture. Sorry, I didn't manage to get the picture of them in the sock sleeve, but just imagine it's there... Anyway, the moment of truth...

They fit! They are probably a touch longer than I'd like, not enough to be bothersome at all, but I attribute that completely to my inability to measure my own foot. Overall, they're comfortable and they're a BEAUTIFUL color of blue TWEED with subtle specks of orange, green, and purple! How can Beth have guessed that I've been on a tweed kick lately and have recently come into 40 balls of tweed? I've never seen this pattern before, but it's a clean pattern with a small lace panel down the instep and along the sides of the cuff that really jazz up the sock without detracting from the super classic and oh so me understated tweed. Beth, you absolutely pegged me perfectly with these socks!

If you'll allow me to gush just a little bit more, it appears from Beth's blog that she started these only a couple of weeks ago, but she must be a master knitter because you'd never be able to tell that these were a fast knit for her. Absolutely no shortcuts taken here and as you can see from the closeups of the picot cuff, round toe, and heel that she knits beautifully.

The finishing is impeccable. I wouldn't normally show the inside of a sock, but it's just so well done that I felt it necessary to show off. How come I can't pick up stitches from the heel flap this well? If you're turning your head this way and that like I was after looking at this picture, the lower right corner is the leg and the top left corner is where the heel turn would be.
At any rate, thank you so much Beth for sending me such beautfiul socks. I LOVE them!

Is it normal that now I should feel a little less confident about my own socks? They're in the mail now, so there's not much I can do about it, but still...