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December 14, 2005

Some for you, some for me

Between pity parties about our gas and working, I have managed to get in some knitting. On the bus I knit that Dragon Hoodie and at night, I've been working on the pattern for my shawl with my own roving.

Confession time, I have made designing a shawl far more complicated than it really is, until I had the "AHA!" moment and I realized how flippin' easy it really is. I should really clarify that sentiment. There are some amazingly beautiful and complex shawls out there, but the essential premise of increasing at the center and edge and gradually incorporating more and more repeats of a single motif, is very easy. This is what happens when you try to design something you've never knit before. I'm sure if I had knit even a single triangular shawl, that concept would be rather straight forward.

Nonetheless, three days of toiling have brought me here:

Not so exciting, but I think the effect will be nice once I've worked a few more inches.

The Hoodie is much further with far less toil

I'm hoping this will be a good size for the baby. My gauge is slightly tighter because of the difference in fiber, but she is very young and I'm knitting the largest size. Worst case scenario, if it's too small, I have a friend who is due in a few months, I can give her this and make a new one for Matt's friend.

I still have several more posts I'd like to get up this week, including one about a cowl that won't do what it's told and some amazing Christmas presents from my family.

December 16, 2005

A little more progress

The Dragon Hoodie is moving right along. I love knitting baby stuff. I feel like such a prolific knitter.

The body is done and a sleeve begun. The sleeves are going slowly because this yarn is hard to knit on plastic needles. Metal is definitely the best choice but since I'm saving my pennies for Christmas presents, I'll get by.

I've also been working on my shawl a bit. You can use the squares on my ironing board for scale, if you like. The top pieces hoodie is about 11-12" wide (it's not blocked so I'm estimating a bit)

December 19, 2005

If it's green, it's good

What do you think of the shawl?

I ripped her out and washed and dried the yarn, so I could start over. There was a problem, several rows back, no life line and not enough shawl in existence to really warrant a tedious fix, so I ripped her. The deadline is so far off, that I'm not terribly bothered by that.

But it hasn't all been the foul smell of failure. The Dragon Hoodie is progressing beautifully.

I'm working on the hood right now and will begin all the little dragony details after that.

In spinning news, my parents sent me roving for Christmas. What? Christmas is a week away? Are you saying that when I get a package at my door, a couple weeks before Christmas, with my parent's return address, I should know not to open it? Insanity!

And look at what was inside! Each bag is half a pound of gorgeous roving. The left two bags are a rich olive green Corriedale roving. It appears that MJ has almost identical roving, herself. I met her in person for the first time this weekend, at a knitting get together. It's a little eerie that we both have matching Kundert spindles and green roving, if we hadn't been seen in the same location at the same time, someone could have assumed we were the same person.

I managed to snap a pic of the Corriedale, on the spindle this weekend. She has her own ray of sunshine here. That means this is the only picture with enough lighting to be any good.

It sort of makes the rest of the pictures look even worse. I began spinning this on the Kundert, and it spins well, but I really found myself feeling like I had to spin pretty thick singles on it, so I switched to the Golding. I may have to invest in a few more Goldings just so I can spin more than one roving at a time. This 0.9 oz has been perfect for just about everything. I love it.

This is how it looks plied. The color is really a true olive green, despite the variety of shades you see here. When I was spinning it near daylight, I saw undertones of yellow shine through, it's actually quite lovely.

The other roving in the bags is a Merino/silk blend. It spins up into more of a sage green shade because the white of the silk soften the colors.

You know, though, there's a pretty good chance that I'm not going to be able to spin all that roving by hand. I mean, I'm a relatively quick spinner (spindler? spinster?) but a pound of sock weight yarn is a lot of yarn to spin. So Julia and I are talking about renting a wheel. I'm a little scared to go down that road, but I think it's time. Look for news of that next year.

December 21, 2005

I may still make my deadline

Isn't the hoodie looking cute? I have to admit, I enjoy this knit even if it is my own design. Unfortunately, having talked to the woman to receive this, it appears the piece may be a little too short. I'm going to have to pull out the trim on the body of the piece. It's all knit in one piece with nice mitered corners and a tubular bind off which is great because it looks so nice but I suspect that now that the ends are woven in, it may be a bit of a P.I.T.A. to pull out. That's what I get, though, huh?

On a completely unrelated note, this should be reassuring to every one of us who has ever wished we looked as good as a woman on the cover of a magazine. Warning: requires Flash

Also, a couple hilarious songs (one with video)
Here
and
Here

December 27, 2005

Something for Sofi

Sofi is the name of the little girl who will be wearing this sweater soon.

The only thing not done are the spots. I'm not sure I'll have time to do them and I don't think the sweater is hurt by being plain, but the spots sure are cute. We'll see. I'm also dangerously low on purple yarn so what spots I might knit will be of a fairly small quantity.

December 28, 2005

More Dragon Hoodie

Well, I took the comments to heart and I decided two things,


  1. You need a view of the back of the Dragon Hoodie Thanks Julia

  2. The sweater needs spots



Here's the back. The spine is crocheted, though a person who can't crochet could certainly do some garter stitch points instead. It's very soft so it just flops to one side when baby lies on it.


And here's what I think I want to do for spots. Instead of patches, like the original has, I'm doing bobbles. I used Nicky Epstein's Knitted Embellishments as a reference for the technique. I think it'll be cute and much faster than trying to get full sized spots knit before this afternoon when the recipient's mom arrives.

I'll, of course, have a final picture for you when it's done.

December 29, 2005

Spots make the dragon

I had enough time to make a few spots for the little Dragon Hoodie, before the gift was due to be received. I really like how they look in front.

The back of the sweater, and notes on this version of the pattern, after the bump.

Continue reading "Spots make the dragon" »

January 9, 2006

It's not just Panda and Politics around here

I've been doing my crafty thing as well. Here is some left over wool/soy silk roving I've had a little sample of. Since there was such a small amount, I spun it as finely as possible. I used my 0.6 oz Golding spindle which helped me achieve a true lace weight yarn. I knit a little swatch of it last night and got 9 stitches to the inch on a US #1 needle and I certainly could have gone down a needle size without a problem. This stuff spun beautifully. I assume it's the soy that gives it its smooth drafting ability since I still find myself struggling a bit with pure wool.

It's taken me a little while to adapt to my 0.6 oz spindle. I learned on a 1.3 oz, have been using my 0.9 oz for almost everything but I'm now really starting to appreciate this lighter one. I know there are people who can spin spider web thin yarn on a 3 oz spindle and I tip my hat to those folks. I just can't get enough spin into the fiber soon enough to ever be successful. My spindle will have proven its dropping ability long before I get a yard spun. But a light spindle holds its own challenges. I realize it's all simple physics, but it's hard to know exactly how it will feel if you aren't well versed on those sorts of sciences. In my case, I face two big hurdles with a lighter spindle.


  1. I have to spin the spindle harder to get a long enough spin to be productive. Or, I have to spin the spindle more than once to spin the same length of yarn.

  2. The spindle tends to be less stable in its spin. I suspect this is partially technique on my part, but, while drafting, I sometimes maneuver in such a way as to send my spindle into a planetary like rotation, where the poles no longer sit at a true north/south*. While this works splendidly for our fine earth, it's less effective for a spinner.

* Ok, ok, I know that North and South are relative to our own planet and not the least bit relevant once you step off the planet or out of our solar system. Let's think "grade school diorama," for this analogy, ok?

More spindly fun, after the bump.

Continue reading "It's not just Panda and Politics around here" »

January 11, 2006

Watching sausage being made

I really want to show you images of the handspun I've been knitting. What is my problem? Lighting. I get up at 4:30 am to blog, and I've spent an hour trying to get a decent picture. It's not light out when I'm home, this time of year. While I've certainly offered my fair share of crappy photos, I genuinely do strive to have something decent to show you.

There are some bloggers who just never seem to have bad pictures up. They tend to photograph their pictures in natural light to ensure that everything looks beautiful.
I am not these bloggers, nor any of the others, who, ifI weren't so sleepy, I'd remember. Nope, I take pictures when I am ready to blog and light be damned! But it doesn't mean I don't lament my crappy photos. This morning, I took my soy silk yarn on a field trip around the house in hopes of finding a decent shot.

Go on the adventure, after the bump.

Continue reading "Watching sausage being made" »

Shine your light on me

Well, I found a couple minutes to snap a photo of my knit handspun. There's a big old window near a couple of empty work stations, in my area, and since I get to work so early, there was no one to ask, "Marnie, why are you taking pictures of a band-aid sized piece of knitting, at the office?"

Here is a picture that shows how textural the stitch is.

And this shows, fairly nicely, what the stitch really looks like.

The handspun has proven to knit up much better than I could hope. There's a gradual transition from one dominant color to the next and a subtle second color that acts like a highlight.

Here's my knitting enjoying the view. If you were able to look right, up a steep hill and into the "nice" part of town, you could also see where Leo works.

Many of you have asked about the stitch. It's the same stitch used in this cardi from Vogue Knitting

I've found a couple variations in my Harmony Guides. They refer to this one as "Star Stitch II"

I really like this stitch because of its versatility. Worked on larger needles and blocked out, it produces a lovely flower like lace stitch. Worked tightly on smaller needles, you get a great textural stitch that doesn't curl and is just unusual enough to catch peoples' attention.

The stitch is worked as follows.


With a multiple of 4+1
Star: P3 tog, but leave old stitch on left needle, yo, P same 3 stitches together, removing the old stitch from the left needle.
Rows 1 and 3: Knit
Row 2: *k1, star stitch* repeat to last stitch, k1
Row 4: k1, p1, *k1, star stitch* repeat to last 3 stitches, k1, p1, k1

Actually, I knit it slightly differently, because I knit in the Combined method, which means my knit stitches sit differently. I essentially reverse the pattern. I Purl the odd rows and I work purls between the stars and work the stars with k3togs, only, because of the way my stitches sit, it's like I've done an SSSK. I'm not sure that's actually of any interest to anyone, but there you go.

January 15, 2006

How do you make your knits look great?

Put a baby in them.

Jess said I could post pictures of her little one making my Dragon Hoodie look almost too cute to bear.

If you think that's cute, check out the other pictures, after the bump.

Continue reading "How do you make your knits look great?" »

January 23, 2006

Finally, some knitting

Before I bore you with more of the same, how about a little something new?

I finished my stealth knit a little while ago, and it's awaiting whatever fate the yarn gods have in store for it. That left my needles free for other things.

I begin teaching some classes at the KnitCafe, starting this week. The owner asked me to come up with a simple eyelet scarf pattern and the above image shows the results.

I'm relatively picky about scarf stitches. I don't believe they have to be completely reversible, but I do feel that, if others are respecting your personal space, it shouldn't be apparent if the back and front don't match. So my quest was for a stitch pattern that used only knits, purls, k2togs, ssks and yos, and did so in a manner that was very simple, basically reversible, and would lie flat without any additional edge stitches. I couldn't find anything that entirely suited my needs, so I modified a stitch pattern and came up with what you see above.

Here are some close ups.

There isn't a front or back, per se, but let's call this the front.

And here's the back

The yarn is the leftover Karabella Aurora 8 from Hopeful. I used exactly 2 balls with less than a yard left over after I wove in all the ends and cut the fringe. The scarf blocked out to about 6 feet long. The stitch pattern is a modified 5x5, with a 3 stitch selvage on each side.

I will post the pattern, for free, sometime soon.

And now, some entirely unnecessary images of my Cotswold as it basks in the California sun, after the bump.

Continue reading "Finally, some knitting" »

January 30, 2006

About that hat

Last we met, we learned all about my insecurities and short comings. Yay! It appears I've unveiled some kindred spirits in the process. I'm sure if we all took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test, we'd find ourselves scoring largely the same. But that's not what this post is about. I thought I'd tell you more about that hat I had mentioned.

It sort of came out of nowhere, huh?
Get the whole story, after the bump.

Continue reading "About that hat" »

February 1, 2006

I'm almost reluctant to post this

I'm back to trying to design a shawl with my handspun, and once again, I'm starting from scratch with a new design and new yarn.

For those of you who visit regularly, you are probably well aware of my current fascination with my Autumn Spice Cotswold from Nistock Farms. It will then come as no surprise that I want to actually knit what I've spun.

This is what I have so far.

I like it. So why am I reluctant to post this? Because I'm a bit worried it will go awry, as my previous attempts at a shawl have. I'm not terribly fond of repetitive knitting. I'd much rather work something with an intricate stitch pattern or lots of shaping, than something that's very repetitive. I can manage a scarf or sock, here and there, but it's hard for me to keep my interest. So will this piece ever be anything more than a glimmer in my eye? Time will tell.

Even more questionable, though, is whether or not I'll ever spin enough of the roving with my spindle to have a shawl large enough cover my shoulders. I suspect I’ll need quite a bit once my rows get a bit longer.

More spicy goodness, after the bump

Continue reading "I'm almost reluctant to post this" »

February 5, 2006

Not much progress

I haven't had as much time to knit as I'd hope, so the shawl is going slowly. Admittedly, that's partially because I don't consider it a traveling knit. I really have to focus on it pretty well to make sure I don't mess it up and that means it's hard to work in poor lighting or while commuting. But, I am still really happy with it and am channeling all those words of encouragement from folks.

Wanna see more?

It kind of looks like it did in the previous post, huh? But I'm not just knitting for it, I'm spinning for it too.

Here's everything I've spun to date. It comes out to about 74 grams sock weight yarn.

My most recent batch is 67 yards and weights 20 grams. Anyone have any idea how many yards/grams I'll need to make an averaged sized shawl?

February 9, 2006

Have you ever had a stitch marker break?

I don't believe that I use any sort of ninja death grip when I knit. My hands don't get cramped and my gauge is fairly loose. Nonetheless, I have managed to break stitch markers while knitting.

For many years, I have happily used my Susan Bates stitch markers. They are readily available and cheap as can be. A small box of 20 will run you less than $2.00. It was not until I crushed a few, mid row, that I decided I needed to see what else was out there.

Now my collection of stitch marking paraphernalia looks like this:

In my knitting nook, I have a set of those dishes you put your soy sauce in when you eat sushi. In one dish, I keep standard safety pins, some with the loop at the bottom, some without. In another dish, I keep a variety of closed ring, circular stitch markers. In the third dish, I have split ring and locking stitch markers, and in the last, I have a beautiful set of hand made stitch markers my friend Amy gave me.

If I haven't bored you yet, read the rest of my post on stitch markers, after the bump.

Continue reading "Have you ever had a stitch marker break?" »

February 12, 2006

The fascinating lives of stitch markers -- Part II

Last we met, we were discussing my stitch marker collection. Here they are again:

While I have plenty of uses for the split and locking stitch markers, they don't do much of the heavy lifting here at Chez Marnie. I have to say, though, the feedback I got from the previous post was interesting. It appears that most people fall into one of a few disticnt groups.

There are the people who are most concerned with aesthetics. Having something cute or sparkly brings a smile to the knitter's face. While others are economical and practical. Using bits of string, hair elastics or a cut up straw means never worrying about lost markers or spending too much. Finally, there are people like I am. So without further ado, go ahead and read a bit more about the madness to my method, after the bump.

Continue reading "The fascinating lives of stitch markers -- Part II" »

February 18, 2006

Happy Cruddy Photo Day to Me

I'm here at Stitches West and it's been quite an adventure. I should preface this by saying that Leo and everyone I work with have been sick for the past month or more. I said to my mom, a couple weeks ago, "I bet you anything, I’ll catch a cold right before Stitches." I was wrong, I caught a cold the day OF Stitches. Lucky me. So between hacking up a lung and not sleeping well, it's made me less than 100% of myself.

But I did go to Sally Melvile's speech the first day.

This was just before she went on stage, so do enjoy the view of everyone’s head and nothing else. She was discussing the process she used for designing pieces in her newest book, Color.

Here's my mom modeling a scarf/necklace thingy she knit and felted. Oooh, so cute. This is apropos, nothing, really, I just think she's cute.

She and I both had our first class together. We took Debbie New's Labyrinth Knitting course. If you aren't familiar, it's a technique from her Unexpected Knits

Here are some of my swatches.

None of mine are exactly right, but I got the concept. You basically make a jigsaw of your knitting and work them out to fit exactly into a certain shape. Very interesting stuff.

Between classes I've been working on my Voodoo top. I actually got an email from someone who wishes to remain anonymous, but who took umbrage with my last post, so I've taken it down. I believe it to be at least partially, a misunderstanding. I think this person thinks I plan to figure out the construction of the inspiration piece and write it up as my own pattern for distribution. This is simply untrue I've just knit this piece for myself, but I'm afraid I wasn't able to coherently communicate this and it's clear the offense has pushed the issue beyond reconciliation. I feel bad about that but I can respect this person's feelings on the topic.

That said, I'm very happy with the results so far. Here is the piece with all the knitting done and none of the ends sewn in. I still need to crochet more trim and add a closure.

I originally planned to use a frog closure but I lost mine in the travel from LA to here, so I've since bought some buttons, which I'll post soon.

Unfortunately, I can't find any pictures online of the original inspiration piece. It's called Red Dragon and it was issued by GGH/Rebecca magazine, but it's a bit like this and this. I just love that look and incorporating it into knitwear poses some interesting construction challenges that were fun to play around with. Don’t worry, all those ends will be woven in and there is more trimming to do. Oh and it needs a serious blocking as well, but just pretend that bottom hem is straight. I’ll post all my notes and a decent picture, as soon as I can.

Well, times a-wasting and it is my birthday, after all.

February 24, 2006

Guest Pattern Writer

I was planning to post some pictures of my Stitches purchases and my finished keyhole top, but Leo needs the camera today.

Instead, I thought I'd take a pole.

You know that funky scarf/necklace thing my mom was wearing in an earlier post?

Well, she has offered to make the pattern available for free to you guys, via my website. If you are interested, please leave a comment and if there's enough interest, I should be able to get something up for you by the end of the weekend.

February 26, 2006

Don't thank me

Thank my mom. She wrote up the pattern and it's now available. If you want to take a look, just pop on over here.

March 13, 2006

Life's a beach

We took Miss Panda to Ocean Beach where they have a lovely stretch just for dogs.

It's about an hour and a half drive for us, so I did a bit of knitting on the way.

That's the unnamed shawl I've been knitting with my handspun. You can really see how, from skein to skein, the tonality of the yarn changes, but I like it. It might be because, having spun the yarn, designed the piece and knit it, I can't bear to NOT like it, yet I truly think that once it's blocked it will look good.

But you don't want to hear about the shawl, do you? You want to see some fun Panda pics, which I'm here to offer, after the bump.

Continue reading "Life's a beach" »

March 17, 2006

Guess who's blocking

It's only about 4 feet wide, so it's a mini-shawl, but it's my first and it's made from my handspun so I'm as happy as can be.

Leo said "It looks like it could fall apart, like it could break." I informed him that the term is "delicate" and that, for lace, that's a good thing.

It should be dry tonight and I'll be able to get some better pictures, but for now, this will have to do.

And boy, Panda has been in belly rub heaven. She loves the love, so thanks to all of you who sent her some. For those who asked, yes, she is getting cuter and yes, I'm a complete sucker for her big brown eyes and yes, she knows she's working it.

March 22, 2006

Upgrading to Marnie 2.0

I got word, yesterday, that starting Monday, I'm officially promoted. Yay! I had been vying for a couple open supervisor positions at my company and both managers had told me I was their top pick, but last minute I was asked to decline those positions in exchange for equal title/pay/grade level and remain in my current role, at least long enough to complete a large project I've been working on. In essence, it means better pay and I appear more qualified, on paper, but in truth, nothing much will change about my job. I have asked to be able to attend management training courses, as they are made available, so that I will, at least, be able to beef up those skills in some way.

So to celebrate, here are some more pictures of the shawl. They still aren't quite what I want, picture wise. I'm hoping to actually don my handmade apparel, to get a better picture, sometime soon. But these are definitely better than the blocking pictures.

This picture really shows the stitch pattern well, but doesn't really show the color, because it's backlit.

This is the best representation of the color, but is a little soft in the details.

I see it worn over a black dress, on a mild spring night.

March 23, 2006

I'm knitting with sunshine

I just think you need to see how beautiful that Almost Solid Roving is when spun and knit.

I knit this while commuting, just trying to think of different stitches off the top of my head. That's why the lacy bit at the top is kind of wonky. I think I'm going to have to spin up more and see if I can come up with a cute scarf pattern. My gut is to go with a mitten/glove/mitt sort of pattern, but I have so many of those, it feels like a bit of a cop out. I can't really do a hat, because that color looks pretty bad right against my face. I'm sure a scarf isn't really better, but since I have this scarf already, and it's never bothered me, I figure another yellow scarf won't hurt.

In case you are wondering, I've also spun up that other Almost Solid shade I bought. It's drying now.

March 24, 2006

Shawl Project Notes

All the notes after the bump

Continue reading "Shawl Project Notes" »

March 28, 2006

Moving on

The shawl has been so much fun and I'm very excited about it but I'm pretty sure I cannot maintain a knitting blog on that one shawl alone. So I was sitting around, trying to decide what to knit next and what yarn to use. I definitely plan to do more with my handspun but I wanted to work on something a little different.

So this weekend, I knit this:

But I didn't knit it by hand, I used my trusty knitting machine.

The yarn is Silk City Soft Stretch which is a cotton yarn with 4% Elite.

It's hard to see what's going on, because the yarn is a bit dark and everything is curly, but I've worked up the main pieces on my machine and am sewing them together. It's a very fitted cardigan, with a deep v-neck and a hem that descends from the natural waist to just about the hips. What got me thinking about this design was Jody's post about this design. I love the hem and I think the piece is lovely and flattering on the model, but having read Jody's description of the construction, I wasn't sure it'd be something I would be able to use a lot. Like Annie's Vogue Knitting cover design, the basic construction is that of a circle, which forms the front, back and collar. I'm oversimplifying here, but you get the idea. While I think that's a brilliant idea, knowing my body shape and what I like to wear, I wanted to mimic that curved hem, but I wanted it to be a bit more fitted throughout. So this piece is basically a hip length cardigan, fitted, set in sleeves, very simple overall. The only difference is that the front hem starts at around the natural waist and slopes to the lowest point, center back.
It's worked bottom-up, in separate pieces. The front pieces curve with a series of increases, while the back gets a very gentle curve by way of short row shaping.

Once I'm done piecing the main bits together I'll work all the edging. With my knitting machine, I find the cast ons and bind offs sub par, so everything was done with a provisional cast on and bind off and all live stitches are held on waste yarn. I'll be playing around with different treatments, but it will probably be one of a few ideas I have.

  1. A simple ruffle that runs all the way around the edges, including the sleeves to make a simple bell at the end.
  2. A crochet border, very simple with a delicate picot detail for interest
  3. Lace, much like the ruffle idea but much lighter
  4. Shawl collar and i-cord bind off, for a more classic and simple look
  5. Whatever else comes to me in a fit of inspiration

March 31, 2006

Cardigan Trim

I have been working on the trim for my machine knit cardi, for a couple of days. I started by trying to pick up stitches around the whole piece but found that none of my circular needles were long enough. Next, I tried crochet, but I couldn't quite get the effect I wanted. Crochet just tends to be denser and less drapy, and I wanted to keep the trim soft.

So today, I went to an LYS and picked up a longer circular needle. It's funny, really, while it only took me a couple days to knit the piece on the machine, it's taking me much longer to actually finish it.

Not much to look at, really, though I tried it on before picking up to knit and I am very happy with the fit.

When I'm not working on the cardi, I've been spinning up more of my sunflower colored roving

I've spun just over half of the 4 ounces that I bought. The left skein is my first and the right, my most recent. It's a little finer than the first round but not by much.

I've also made one last addition to the shawl.

It's a little rose crocheted from the same yarn. I think it'll be a nice way to close shawl without tying or holding it.

April 1, 2006

Would you like some hat with that pom-pom?

I actually knit this hat a while ago but didn't finish it until yesterday. I've been wearing it to walk Panda early in the morning, but I knew it needed a big pom-pom before I could really show it here.

It's made of GGH Aspen, knit on US# 10.5 needles.

This is one of those ridiculously easy hats that can be knit up in a day, if you have nothing else to do. It's a chunky yarn made of merino and microfiber so it's warm but soft enough to wear against the skin. I usually can't wear hats with any wool content, without feeling itchy, but this hat gives me no problems. I think the combination of the simple stranded pattern, funky ribbing and huge pom-pom, make for quite a hat. Panda, however, finds it rather gauche for her taste.

April 5, 2006

Dogs in raincoats, swords and ruffles

After my last post, I got together with a bunch of my girlfriends for dinner at a Tunisian restaurant.

There was wine and, well, belly dancing.

See, here's the thing about me, there's really not much more than a thin veneer of self decency that keeps me from breaking into dance at the drop of a hat (or in this case, drape of a scarf). I love to dance. So when my friends hoisted me, bodily, at the belly dancer who was trying to coax another of the group up to dance, well, I didn't put up much of a struggle. And hey, just because I've never belly danced before, doesn't mean I won't try to fake it.

And if you aren't having an hearty laugh at my expense yet, I will add that while I had had a little bit of wine, I wasn't even buzzed. I act this way sober.

Anyway, enough of that.
I've been knitting some trim onto my cardi.

There are something like 1500 stitches going around the edge of this piece, and it is taking me days to cast off. The saddest part of all is that I'm not sure if I like this treatment. I'll bind off and see, but I'm thinking I might want something a bit softer, less ruffly. I did try it on up to this point and it looks pretty cute, but, it's not quite what I envisioned.

Would you like to see that ruffle a little closer?

It's a completely reversible ruffle that I designed for this piece, though I'm sure others have come up with the same sort of idea. If I do end up ripping this out and trying again, I'll probably try the same thing again but with fewer increases and a wider ruffle. Or, I'll get fed up and try a different style.

And since I'm in a non sequitur kind of a mood, here's a dog in a raincoat that I saw yesterday while walking to Leo's office after work.

April 7, 2006

Did I exceed my ruffle quotient?


I don't know, I think the ruffle may be too much. I like the ruffle idea, but maybe a little softer. I'm sort of dreading having to rip it out and reknit it, but it may be necessary. What do you think? Try to ignore the fact that I'm wearing my pajamas and that the sleeves are done yet.

Continue reading "Did I exceed my ruffle quotient?" »

April 11, 2006

What have I learned this weekend?

I got so many great comments and even more votes in my little poll. It appears that around 62% of folks that voted like the cardi as it is. However, most commenters leaned more towards softening or modifying the ruffle. I think, based on the feedback, I'll keep the piece as is for now. It seems like most of the people who didn't love the ruffle are not ruffle kinds of people anyway. What can I say? I'm pretty girly sometimes. I'm also working on a matching camisole with no ruffle, to wear with the cardigan. It's a simple square neck, fitted piece with a very simple crochet border that should compliment the cardigan without making the whole thing too busy. Yes, I know, a good blogger would have a picture. Sorry about that.

This weekend, I also learned that Deciduous likes to go out dancing. Want to see pictures? Check 'em out after the bump.

Continue reading "What have I learned this weekend?" »

April 12, 2006

That Cami I mentioned

Here's a preview of the camisole (ok, it's more of a tank, but I think camisole sounds better) that I plan to pair with the cardigan.

There will be no ruffles here, just stockinette and crochet. I think the horizontal lines will play nicely against the sweeping hem of the cardigan and the clean look of the crochet will tone down the effect of the ruffle a bit. The nice thing is that this piece is comfortable and wearable enough to be layered with other pieces. The straps are wide enough to hide a bra strap and the fabric has stretch so it hugs the body without being too constricting.


Here's a detail shot of the neckline. It could do with a bit of blocking. It's just three rows of single crochet, the last row I decrease every 9th and 10th stitch, so that it will sit flat.

Obviously, I still have one arm and the hem left to do, but it’s been a very quick piece to pull together overall.

I got your pom-pom right here


Several people have requested the pattern to this hat, so I've posted it in the pattern area of my site. You can get the pattern here.
It’s really a very easy hat to knit, and it’s made with chunky yarn so you can bang this baby out in a weekend.

April 17, 2006

Merigold

I know I said I was going to knit a scarf with my sunflower colored Corriedale handspun. I know I said I wouldn't knit a hat because I don't look good in yellow.

I say a lot of things.

So yah, I knit a hat with my handspun and I'm pretty happy with it. The stitch pattern is from a Barbara Walker book and is called "Bleeding Hearts." It doesn't really look like bleeding hearts to me, unless it's some commentary on my political stance, then maybe.

Here's a little close up of the stitch pattern

Panda decided she wanted in on the photo shoot, so I picked her up and gave her a big smooch.

And then I took her picture because after the last post, I felt I needed to prove that I do not condone the humiliation of doggies except inasmuch as I find it funny and post pictures of it which means I sort of do condone it. But let's not dwell on alleged ducky slippers and robes. Instead, let's admire how cute Miss Bear is.

Awwww...

Anyway, I've submitted the hat pattern for consideration in a future edition of Spindlicity. If Janel doesn't want to run it, I'll post the pattern here, so either way, if you want yourself a similar hat, it'll be available somewhere, at sometime.

April 20, 2006

Almost published

It seems like forever ago.
The talented and wonderful, Shannon Okey, contacting me to ask if I'd design a piece for the second of her KnitGrrl books. I hadn't ever worked with her before but her enthusiasm was enough to sway me. I drafted up a proposal and sent it to her and she accepted the idea. The result is Drake the Dreaded, the Dragon Backpack:

I think he's cute. You see that tongue there? It's functional.


When you open him up, that tongue is the pull cord to cinch the bag shut.

Here's his backside.

Shannon gave me great positive feedback when I finished him and sent him off. I was excited. Unfortunately, he didn't hold nearly as much charm for the editor of the book and he was cut, last minute. It happens and it was definitely not a personal thing. I was offered the choice of having him be a free promotional pattern for the book or just getting him back to use as my own pattern. There was some problem getting any final paperwork from the editor so we decided to cut our losses and Drake is back home with me.

Since I still have my original pattern instructions and I now have my sample back, I was thinking I'd offer the pattern up on my site, for a very small fee, say $3.50. I wanted to feel it out though and see if folks thought that would be of interest to them. So leave me a comment and let me know what you think and if there's a lot of interest, I'll post a pattern this weekend.

In spinning news, I've been spinning up some of my yummy Almost Solid Series Sampler.

This is some BFL in colorway "Redwood." It's my first time spinning BFL and it's a delight. I'm spinning it on my 0.9 ounce Golding. When plied, it should be about a DK weight.

If you've been wondering about the machine knit cardi and cami, they are done, I just need to get them on me and in front of a camera when there is actual daylight.

April 21, 2006

Well, in that case

I don't think I could have gotten a more positive response to good ol' Drake, if I had bribed you guys. So, I've cleaned up the pattern, fixed the typos (I hope) and posted him for sale.

People have made some great suggestions for modifications and variations. One I like in particular was to convert him to a messenger bag. While I no longer have the yarn or even the dyelot numbers to do that, I think it's worth mentioning for anyone who might be considering making one for themselves.

Curses

Next up, a possible exercise in futility. I want to knit Leo a sweater. I do this with a great deal of trepidation. Leo is not a fiber artist of any sort. He switches between calling it "sewing," "crocheting," and "knitting." When I wind, spin or knit yarn, his general thought is "Aren't there machines to do that?" I do not begrudge him this. He takes no end of joy in things that bore me to tears.

I have knit Leo a boatload of hats and I've even knit him a sweater before. He is always appreciative, but I have never knit him something he is totally satisfied with. The perfect item will always be lace weight thin and softer than silk, while still being manly in every way. Colors? Sure, as long as it's grey, brown, navy, or black.

So why do I want to knit him a sweater despite the fact that he hasn't asked and I'm pretty sure he won't be entirely content with it? Well, I want to design a few men's garments, to fill out my pattern portfolio, and I think the design is one that marginally less picky men will like, but I also can't help myself. I think he's pretty darned wonderful and knitting is about the most special thing I can do for him, so dammit, he's getting a sweater.

I started with a trip to the LYS where I got 4 skeins of yarn.

All were dubbed "a little thick." But I informed him that it would just have to do and he could wear it when it's colder out. I love him, but I'm not knitting a sweater on needles smaller than US #3.
So he began the feel test.
The top was the finest, but the superwash merino just wasn't soft enough.
The alpaca was soft enough but too thick
The Cathay was dismissed out of hand. No interest there
The last was the Baby Cashmerino. Thin enough to be acceptable, soft enough to pass the test, and if bought in a different color it would do.

So I shopped online for some good colors and prices. I know my LYS doesn't carry the quantity and color selection required. Webs had the best price once the discount was applied and I made my order.

In the mean time, I swatched.

Yup, the whole thing will be in ribbing. May the knitting gods grant me the strength to finish this baby.

Both swatches have been through the washing machine and laid flat to dry so I know the yarn will survive his general MO for washing sweaters. And yesterday, after about a week of waiting, the yarn arrived.

That's 13 skeins of grey/blue Baby Cashmerino.

April 23, 2006

Ribbing ribbing ribbing ribbing ribbing

I took a couple rough photos of the machine knit cardi and cami

The pictures aren't so good because there was only a little daylight left when I took them. And I've been doing housework all day, so the hair; it is in no condition for photographing. But, I think it gives you a general idea of what the pieces look like.

I'm now fully engrossed in Leo's sweater.

This is the back piece. I'm about halfway to the armsceye. It looks thin, but it will block out much wider. So far so good. I got most of it done while watching a movie over at a friend's place. It was a great, relaxing evening.

Leo went out with some friends and brought me home this:

He’s so sweet. Little things like that make knitting miles of ribbing seem fun.

April 27, 2006

Keep going while the going is good

I've been cranking away on Leo's sweater, which I simply must find a name for since it's early stages bare a striking resemblance to someone else's sweater for a Leo. I am happy to report that while my Leo will be wearing a ribbed sweater, I have not accidentally designed a piece that is nearly identical to that one. But I do believe that the two men are cut from the same cloth (or should it be; knit from the same yarn.)

So, for the start of the sweater I cast on of about 120 stitches, and worked in ribbing for about 120 rows. In the world of exciting things to do, this rates at about a -3. But, we are at the early stages of knitting this piece and, like a relationship, the things that may annoy or bore me later, are simply delightful now.

So knowing that the thought of casting a new piece may feel like torture, by the time I finish the back piece, I've decided to leverage my existing enthusiasm and get the most tedious bits out of the way first.

So there is the back, knit up to the armsceye, with the front, cast on and knit for a few rows, sitting on top.
I gently blocked the back so you could see the fabric as it will be when completed. The first inch of each piece is knit on a slightly smaller needle so that the bottom edge won't flip out in some wonky way.

Now, when it comes time to knit the rest of the back, it won't seem quite so dreary. I'm thinking I'll need to knit both sleeves at the same time as well, to rid myself completely of second sleeve syndrome. Some people find knitting the sleeves first to be the best remedy, but in a man's garment which will be knit rather long, I suspect that this portion of the knitting will be the hardest to find motivation for. Time will tell if I'm correct.

I've also been spinning a little. I actually completed this skein several days ago.

It's the Redwood colorway from my Spunky Eclectic haul.

May 7, 2006

Gir!

A friend of mine is due, any day now, to have a baby. She has a great affinity for Invader Zim and a really quirky sense of humor. She doesn't seem like someone who'd be likely to be content with run of the mill toys and garments for babies. I decided I had to come up with something that no one else would be able to get her.

So I found some green Calmer, and some left over black cotton yarn. I picked up a little bit of felt and I went to town.

Thus was born a little Gir.

And for scale, here he is in front of some knitting needles.

I know he's not a perfect match but I have to admit to being happy with him nonetheless. He'll be popped in the mail tomorrow to go to his new home.

May 8, 2006

2 out of 4 ain't bad

That's 2 out of the 4 big pieces for the Leo sweater, of course.

And this is not a sleeve:

It's the back of the sweater. Leo is not a super skinny man, it just needs some blocking.

Yah, I know that most people block at the END of the process, but I bet most of those people don't have a cool new blocking board and blocking wires. Actually, that's only gravy for me. I like to do my finishing as I go. It keeps me motivated.

Quite a few folks have asked me if I'll be using my machine to knit this piece. In this case, it won't be possible. My machine has no ribber, and the manual task of dropping the stitches that should be purled and using a latch hook to rework them, is tedious and makes my back ache. I'm sure I'll machine knit Leo a sweater in the future, but this piece is all hand knit.

I'm back working in Orange County this week, which means no bus, and lunch at my desk, so progress is slow on the sleeves. Knitting Gir was a nice little instant gratification project, but I'm hoping to crank through as much of the sleeves as possible over the next couple weeks.

May 12, 2006

Thank god I'm knitting them both at once

You know, I'm not completely burned out on knitting navy blue ribbing, but I'm pretty sure that having to start another sleeve from scratch would be a challenging endeavor. I think that knitting them both at once is a good choice. It's a bit of a bummer knitting all those stitches in a row and knowing I have many increases ahead of me, but in the few minutes I'm finding to knit each day, I can usually zone out and enjoy myself. My mind definitely starts wandering, yearning for future projects, but there's also that side of the project that's all about doing something special for Leo. I know, so sappy.

So those are the two sleeves, almost a third of the way to the sleeve cap. They are perched upon the blocked back piece, for scale.

Having folks take my quiz has been really fun, by the way. It's interesting to see how folks imagine my life to be. For those who didn't score so high, don't feel bad, it's not like most of that stuff comes up in day to day blogging.

May 17, 2006

Passed down pattern

My mother and my paternal grandmother both knit. My grandmother has since passed away, but I'm still able to share my love of knitting with my mom. Recently, she dug out a little relic of my childhood, a hat she had knit when Matt and I were kids.

It is based on a pattern my grandmother had knitted for one of my older cousins whose origins are now lost.

I'd love to adapt this pattern, myself, and offer it up for all of you out there, but I'm a bit concerned that it may be based on a copyright protected design. My mom isn't sure whether this is an original design of my grandmother's or something she worked from a pattern.

It's a fool's errand to try to prove a negative, (i.e. how would I prove that there was never a pattern like this before?) and I suspect that more than one person has ever designed a hat with a clown face theme, but if anyone recalls a pattern from the 70s or earlier, that looked strikingly like this, I'd love to know. If not, I'd like to adapt this into a free a pattern, with some minor modifications.

Modifications? Yes, I know, I can never leave well enough alone, but I think I could design this so the ears are knit along with the hat, and I think it'd be good to make it in a lighter gauge since most of my friends of baby making age, live in warmer climates.

My mom also brought me a big bag of cashmere roving (oh la la) in a gorgeous dusty grey brown shade, but I haven't been able to get a good picture of it. All this on Mother's Day weekend, no less.

May 19, 2006

Pleading Patients Overlooked

I can't quite decide what my the PPO portion of my medical insurance is referring to. I thought it was shorthand for "the world is your medical oyster" but I'm finding myself a tad frustrated today. The short story is that I need to get some inoculations so I can take a business trip to India in July, which is a very cool opportunity but is involving a lot of effort I hadn't originally considered. I think I've sorted most of the confusion out in what appears to be the first instance of my insurance company being more helpful than the doctor's office. Who knew? Anyway, I have two sore upper arms and a yellow card detailing my immunities to some rather icky viruses. There was also a bit of time to knit on Leo's sleeves.

I will still need some boosters and a tetanus shot, as well as a few prescriptions, but I've got the stuff that needed a lot of lead time out of the way.

Working on Leo's sweater, I've given myself little leeway to do much else. Obviously, I knit Gir but there really hasn't been much else. I occasionally pick up my spindle which has some lovely alpaca on it.

It's not that I'm not enjoying spinning it, it's just that I really want to crank through Leo's sweater and I cannot spin and knit at the same time. But, imagine if I could...oh my own vision of Valhalla.

Knitting miles of ribbing does give me ample time to consider what comes next. I'll definitely be working on the clown hat, but what should I do in India. July = monsoon season in the area. Temperatures, apparently, can average around 120 degrees though I'm told it's quite a bit cooler where we'll be. Even so, I'm thinking small, portable, and able to be worked on mindlessly. All signs point to socks. I'm not a huge sock knitter, but I am feeling that 2 socks on 2 circs will prevent second sock syndrome AND be more likely to survive a trip through security and customs without a lot of explanation. I like working on DPNs, but having a preference for metal to wood means that's probably a bad idea.

So last night I ripped out a partially knit, now abandoned project that was started with some Socks that Rock in colorway, Carbon. It needed a bath and hanging to get the kinky bits out but now looks as good as new.

I also have some solid shades of koigu around and plenty of self patterning sock yarn, all of which will only take up a small amount of space in my luggage but which should easily entertain me for my 24 hour long commutes to and from India as well as the small amount of down time I'll have during the trip.

May 22, 2006

Because he's worth every stitch

Since my post on Friday, I've done about 80 rows on Leo's sleeves. I am finally at the sleeve cap, which means no more increases. Not a moment too soon, I say. There were a few moments when I mentally psyched myself out and I wasn't sure I'd ever see the end of them.

There is actually a likely possibility that the sleeves are a little bit long. Personally, I'd rather have to shorten a ribbed sleeve than have to lengthen one. Ribbing is unidirectional. If you pickup and knit from the other direction, all stitches will be half a stitch offset from the point you picked them up. This means that lengthening a ribbed sleeve is best done by knitting a new cuff and grafting, in ribbing, to the base of the sleeve. I'm very comfortable with grafting in stockinette but ribbing is a whole other beast.

But you know, it's easy to find motivation when knitting for Leo. It's not all about eating dog cookies at our place. On Friday, Leo treated me to dinner at my favorite Italian restaurant.

He said he loved me so much, even the stains he leaves on his placemat are heart shaped.

After dinner, we made an attempt to go out and tear up the town, but having both gotten up around 6 am, we were pretty beat by 11pm and the bars still all seemed empty. Leo did take this cool picture of us reflected off the mirror behind the bar.

You can see his camera peaking through the bottles, if you look carefully.

It ended up being an early night, and a quiet weekend. On Saturday, I knit sleeves while I watched Memoirs of Geisha. It may not be as good as the book, but it's been quite a few years since I read the book and the cinematography alone was captivating enough to hold my interest. There were a few things I remembered well enough to feel like I could pick apart the movie a bit, but it never stopped me from enjoying it.

May 29, 2006

I love long weekends

Given my druthers, I'd gladly work 3 - 13 hour days a week to have 4 day weekends. Alas, that probably isn't going to happen for me so I'll just have to enjoy the long weekends bestowed upon us by federal holidays.

Leo's sweater is nearing the finish line. All the big pieces are done and assembled. It's still damp here and in need of some final blocking. The wash was just to get all the commuter grime off of it, but I'll do a proper steam block when it's dry. It'd probably be better to wet block it, since it's already wet and all, but I'm a strange girl.

This is the back view. The front is largely the same but the neck is a little lower.

While I'm waiting for the sweater to dry so I can start the neck, I've been knitting some socks. I'm one of those people who is more than happy to knit on DPNs. I have absolutely no aversion to them and find that socks zip along just merrily on them. However, I have some concern that I may not be able to take metal DPNs on the plane with me to India (nationally, it's not a problem, but internationally, there may be some issues). So I'm attempting the socks on two circulars method.

I have to admit, I don't care for it. To me, this method is slow and clumsy. I've improved the process for myself by clipping the two socks together, which resolves some of the issues I had with the socks constantly migrating away from each other and increasing the time it takes to go from knitting one sock to the other.

Even though I really do not like this method, now, I feel obligated to try to knit a whole pair in this manner. It may simply be a matter of acclimating to the technique. Even so, I'm not sure why this method is so popular amongst the DPN averse. In truth, the circulars simply act as two very long DPNs, so I'd think anyone who could master this technique, could certainly master the use of DPNs.

Ok, I'm off my soapbox here. It's true that there are merits to being able to knit two socks at once, and the circulars fold up more compactly than DPNs, so I still feel this endeavor is worthwhile.

I'm not sure what the yarn is, I've long lost the label. It looks a lot like Opal but it's not, it's some other, less known, self striping sock yarn.

You may have noticed that the underside is slightly different than the top, at least down at the toes. This is because I worked a short row toe, so I started from the ball of the foot, working flat to the toe then back down to the top of the foot before joining in the round. Personally, I prefer the idea of a bright red toe, so that's going to be the top.

May 31, 2006

Finn-Tastic

Remember the GIR I made? Well, he's settling in with little Finnian who was born at 1:13 AM on May 9th.

I've said it before, I'll say it again, babies make one's knitting look better. There's really no arguing that one.
And just in case you haven't gotten enough of handsome little Finn, here's another great shot.

I hope you'll all join me in wishing Finn and his parents (first timers in the baby making department) great health and happiness. He's already got the looks so no need to worry about that.

June 2, 2006

I haven't abandoned Leo's sweater

But I have decided to whip through these socks for a little while.

I'm not sure if it's by design or by luck, but it just so happens that I was able to knit the toe and the heel in the same colors without cutting the yarn. I'd like to believe that the yarn manufacturer was brilliant enough to plan it that way, but it's hard to say. From toe to the start of the heel is exactly one repeat in their colorway.

Tell me that isn't cool.

Tomorrow is my sweet Leo's 40th birthday so we'll be spending most of the weekend celebrating in excess. May my waistline and liver recover quickly.

June 4, 2006

When birthday gifts come late, it means the birthday lasts longer

Some people give me way too much credit, and Julia is one of those people. I wish it were true that Leo's sweater were finished and blocking, as she suggested, but it's not quite the case. However, it is terribly close to being done.

I'm just working on the neck now.
Leo looks amazingly good in turtlenecks, however, with sweaters, he finds that his stubble is always tearing the turtleneck apart, wearing out the sweater long before it's truly ready to be retired. This sweater will have a mock turtleneck and several separate full turtleneck pieces to tuck in and switch out as necessary. If that just doesn't work, I have the yarn and can simply remove the bind off on the mock turtleneck and knit a full turtleneck each time one wears out.

Leo has tried on the sweater up to the point you saw it in the last post. He has declared that the fit, fabric and look are all up to his standards, so I'm feeling pretty good about the endeavor.

For those of you who knit a lot of raglans, you may have noticed that the shoulder shaping is a bit different than one might expect. Instead of a steady slope, there is a true shoulder shape at the top. Do you see what I mean?

Here's a little sneak peek of how I did that.

There is an extra "raglan" running along the top of the shoulder that extends from the neckline to about the end of the shoulder (I actually stopped about a half inch short of the final shoulder length). Calculating it was an interesting challenge and I did it by printing out gauge sized charts and origami folding it to the right shape. This is not quite so mathematical as one might hope. Eventually, I plan to work out a pattern and will have to use my experience with this piece to write up a more useful explanation for determining the correct ratio.

Oh, and the sweater has been named. It's now "The Big Four-Oh" in honor of Leo's birthday. And I agree with any of you who share the sentiment that Leo doesn't look at all like he is 40.

June 6, 2006

Swatching and socking

You guys really make a 40 year old guy feel good. I, of course, tell Leo he's a youthful looking and damn fine looking man, pretty much every day, but he considers my opinion to be biased. Sheesh, like that matters. But who can argue with comments from relatively anonymous sources?

I have knit the mock turtleneck of his sweater and finally got him around to trying it on again and it looks great on him, absolutely delicious. I can't say I'm excited to knit several turtlenecks in the round now, but since it's all I have left to do, I hope to get at least one cranked out this weekend.

In the mean time, I've been doing two things.
Knitting some silly socks on the bus:

This has been the first week that I'm back to working in my LA office and I've forgotten how relaxing it is to be able to take the bus. I usually only knit a few rounds, since I'm generally too tired to deal with 2 circs and 2 balls of yarn (I like the yarn well enough, but it's like velcro to itself. Has anyone else had that problem with sock yarns?) I'm about 2 inches up the leg. I don't know how long I want these socks to be. I'll probably just knit for a while until I pretty much use up the yarn, or maybe I'll get bored, do some ribbing and bind off. We'll see.

The last thing I've been doing is swatching. It's my unfaithful little heart. I should be finishing, not starting, but what's the harm in a little swatching, right?


It's some beautiful Silky Wool that I bought from a destashing effort. It's been a while that it's been sitting in my own stash, and I've been reserving a little corner of my brain for ideas. They are still evolving, but I'm pretty sure I want to go with some sort of diamond all-over pattern.
After this shot was taken, I finished the lacy diamond motif that is partially knit by the needles and I worked a more vertically elongated knit and purl diamond motif. I then bound off, washed the swatch and am letting it dry flat. I would show you, but it is dark and I still have much getting ready for work to be doing.

June 11, 2006

That's a-lotta sock in one skein

The socks have been my mindless diversion lately. They get knit on the bus or in waiting rooms, where the balls are tucked away in my knitting bag. Since I have a handy dandy cooking scale, I was able to divide the original skein of yarn evenly into two separate balls. After that, it was a matter of cutting of a couple grams of yarn on one ball to get them both started in the same spot (in this case, at the beginning of a brown stripe. The smaller of the two balls ends with a complete red stripe and a little bit of yellow, so it means I can have socks that have red toes, red heals and a red cuff. YAY.

What I hadn't noticed until recently, was how many repeats I actually had. I'm about to complete the second repeat, and it's already past my ankle, and then I have 2 more full repeats plus a couple stripes after that. That means my socks can be twice as long (from toe to cuff) as they are already.

I'm torn though. If the sock doesn't reach to my knee, and I'm not quite sure it will, will it just become a slouchy mess? Am I better off making a shorter sock?

I plan to do quite a bit of ribbing at the top of the sock (maybe 2-3 inches) but if it's mid-calf, I'm not sure that will help.

Anyone with sockspertise should feel free to chime in.

June 12, 2006

We are in partial stealth mode here

I spent a good deal of my weekend working on some swatches for someone else's book, this weekend, so bloggable progress is pretty scant. I can show you my gorgeous Silky Wool swatch, though.

I am fighting every urge to cast on for this piece right now. But I can't and shouldn't, not until at least one turtleneck is done for Leo and my swatches are finished for the unbloggable items.

I will tell you that I have big plans for this yarn. Oh how I love the Silky Wool. I don't know how it stands up to the test of time, but it's a great weight, comes in a huge assortment of colors, has good yardage, has a delightful texture, is soft enough to wear against the skin and appears to have just the right balance of drape and structure to pull off a lot of designs.

In entirely unrelated news, I thought you might be happy to learn that the next season of Knitty Gritty has been scheduled.

New episodes should start airing next month. You can see what's coming in the next season by clicking here.

The two episodes that I'm in, do not air until later this year.

June 14, 2006

The ugliest little swatches ever

This is really the first time I've done test swatches for a design for someone else's book. I've had pieces in books and I've had sketches accepted for publication in magazines, but normally I self publish so my swatch is always in the color and yarn that I intend to use. There was a part of me that felt it would be good to run out and buy the "right" colors of yarn, but there is no guarantee that it will actually be the yarn I use, so I decided to stick to stash yarn, almost exclusively. The result is swatches so horrible to the eye, that I feel I'm giving nothing away by sharing them.

They are sitting atop the stitch by stitch chart I've done up for my Silky Wool yarn. As insane as it sounds, even for my own use, I generally chart every stitch of the piece I plan to make.

I wanted to get everything in sunlight, last night, and while the days are long here, there's only really one little spot by the window that gets direct sunlight. Guess who gave me a hand with the photo shoot:

She was checking the lighting for me.

And no, I haven't been neglecting my girlfriendly duties, Leo's turtleneck is nearly done.

On the commute home, a couple days ago, I asked Leo "Hey, do you prefer your turtlenecks on the long side or on the short side."
"Oooh, I don't know, kind of medium. Helpful, huh?"
Indeed.
So this piece will probably be done before my next blog post, but getting Leo in front of a camera, may still be days away. From what I've seen of it on him, though, I think it'll be worth the wait...hubba hubba.

June 18, 2006

The Big Four-Oh Pattern Notes

Also known as "Curses Foiled Again".
This is the second sweater I've knit for Leo and neither have, yet, resulted in the end of our relationship. I will spare you my diatribe on the boyfriend sweater myth, because I'm simply too pleased to have this off the needles

I hope to have a properly modeled version of this for you soon. For now, you'll have to settle for it on me (and slightly rumpled).

Pattern notes after the bump.

Continue reading "The Big Four-Oh Pattern Notes" »

June 22, 2006

Peppy Long Stockings

So I am weak. I had every intention of knitting a whole pair of socks on 2-circulars needles. I was going to force myself to become a skilled practitioner of the technique. I said to myself, "Marnie, you cannot judge a method until you have really learned it, so do a whole pair of socks this way."

But it's all I can take. The socks have gone their separate ways and are now to be knit on DPNs alone. In my defense, I did move them well after the production of both heels, so I certainly knit a full sock's worth of sock, these are just going to be particularly long socks.

And on the topic of long socks, my most current measuring efforts suggest that I should have no trouble reaching my knees with this babies. I'm not sure that's necessarily a good thing. This may be a case of You Knit What? But I'm proceeding ahead regardless.

From what I can see, I am nearly doubling my knitting production, now that I'm back to knitting socks on DPNs (and yes, I am accounting for the fact that I was knitting twice the number of socks before). What really slowed me down was the pushing and pulling of socks and needles to get started on a new row. In general, I find it inefficient, but on a bus, it's nearly exasperating, as I contort to move everything around without touching my bussly neighbor. I'm as much of a process as product knitter, finding my fingers antsy when I have no knitting to do, but my process needs to be product oriented. Does that even make sense?

On a different topic, now that I'm back to spinning more regularly, here's some more Almost Solid Roving, this time in Corriedale in colorway, Pine.

For those of you for whom my ability to describe a technique, has let you down, here's what I meant by the thigh roll. I haven't been able to find a good example of the cabling method I described for both my hair and for the spinning.

June 25, 2006

You know what they say about women with big feet, right?

They've got HUGE socks.

Well, my feet are pretty average, but check out this sock, baby. I've just started the ribbing portion which will run three color stripes deep, ending in a red stripe.

I don't know, maybe I'm getting subliminal messages about stripes but I'm really smitten with these socks. I should note that I own no (appropriate) skirts or shorts with which I could wear these and display them to best advantage, and yet I simply cannot wait to finish knitting both socks so I can wear them. There's a little twisted part of me that thinks I should wear them with one of my official work outfits, you know blazer, long trousers, ankle length boots, and the most crazy arse socks ever. The likelihood is that no one would know I had on my peppy long stockings, but if someone did catch a glimpse it'd definitely confirm my "not quite right in the head" status with them.

I've got some new handspun too.

Same technique as the redwood colorway, but in pine instead. This particular batch of roving has tended to leave a little dye on my fingers, and lost a bit of blue in the bath, but is otherwise lovely and really does spin up to look like a pine forest.

June 28, 2006

Are those socks gonna fit?

As I knit away on sock number two, the question arises, can a knee length sock with no shaping, whatsoever, possibly fit a relatively shapely leg?


All signs point to yes! Sock number two is actually a bit further along than shown in the pic. These socks will be perplexing passersby in no time.

Oh and thank you to everyone who left my blog a happy birthday note. It's so sweet to hear from first time commenter, old friends and everyone in between. Being the insanely shy person I am, I know I'd never have gotten to meet you all (even if it's only virtually) without this glorious interweb thingy.

July 12, 2006

Loot

Well, I can't show you everything I got because much of it is gifts for people who read this blog. No need to give them a sneak preview. But I can show you a few things I acquired for me.

These books were gifts from the hosts. I haven't had a chance to crack them open but I'm looking forward to it.

But books, smooks, you want to see the fabric, don't you?
I bought myself 2.5-4 yards of each and they are all silk.

This is a gorgeous iridescent green and purple fabric.

I should stop right now and explain that I have no idea what any of these will be used for. I think this one would make a great lining for some hand knit or crocheted purses, but who knows what it will actually become.

This is some light light sage green raw silk. The color is very hard to capture, trust me, it's a lovely shade.

This stuff was so cheap, I'm embarrassed to say how much I spent on it. I have 4 meters of it and I think it's about a 48" width. I think it'd make a beautiful structured mandarin collar jacket with princess seams, but, again, I reserve the right to completely change my mind about that.

These next two fabrics were a little pricier but so beautiful, they make my heart skip a beat.

I think I might like to turn one into a gored skirt maybe with some black chiffon insets or with some contrast piping. Did any of you even know that I know how to sew? Well, I do, though I'm not incredibly good at it. I have more vision than skill, that's for sure.

And yes, I did buy a sari.

No, I'm not going to model it for you. Not yet, at least. I think I've figured out how to do the standard drape, but it's pretty crude, sort of the equivalent to one's first fun fur scarf, if you know what I mean.

Finally, I bought shawl/wrap type things. The first two are a very soft wool. If I recall they are pashmina but not of the super fab variety. Both are reversible, in the way that double knit is reversible. The dominant color within a section of the weaving becomes the secondary color in the same section on the back.

The last one here is silk and hand dyed. They use a tie dye type process and the result is a light and crinkly silk scarf that is surprisingly warm when needed.

All three are about 2-3 feet wide and at least 6 feet long so they are perfect for casually throwing about the shoulders when there is a little chill in the air, but the fold up small enough to fit in a decent sized purse when it's warm.

Oh and jewelry is quite a bargain in India too. There is gold aplenty, but I prefer silver for sure.

Much of these have or will go to friends, but I don't think any of them wander by my blog. All are sterling silver with semi-precious gems.

Oh, and by the way, I did work on one sock while I was there:

It's a bit small. If after blocking it's still tight, I may actually have to rip it out.

July 13, 2006

That sock

You'll have to excuse the bad photo, Leo has the camera today and so I had to use my phone.

This is the sock I started on the flight out to India. I call it "Nod to Jaywalker" because it uses a similar stitch to Grumperina's Jaywalker. The scale of the pattern I used is quite a bit smaller and the increases and decreases are paired unlike Grumperina's which uses double increases and decreases. This sock will have a ribbed fold over cuff, which is what I'm working on right now.

Oh and if I see out of sorts lately then:


  1. You are very very observant, or stalking me.

  2. It's because I'm sick and partaking of an at home pity party of one.

I was wondering why I was having such a hard time re-acclimating. I mean, I expected to be tired, but I was nearly useless. It hit me the night before last, but didn't seem too bad, however, as the work day proceeded, I just felt worse and worse. But the end of the day, I could hardly talk and was switching between bouts of sweating and bouts of chills. I had a meeting and the consensus was that I looked like hell. I've been joking that it's SARS or Avian Flu. Everyone loves hanging out with a sick person who just got back from a developing country.

So as a courtesy to everyone else, I'm taking it easy today, being well attended to by Miss Panda and all the cold soothing remedies that Leo hooked me up with last night. Go DayQuil Go!

July 16, 2006

The finished Peppy Long Stockings

For any of you that feared I might be wracked with malaria or some other such disease, fear not. I've been fighting a fever, cough and general run down feeling which may possibly be strep throat, but I've been taking it easy and getting lots of rest, and am already starting to feel better. Saw the doctor on Friday and will know on Monday if it's strep. As a side note, does anyone else have the hardest time with those giant q-tips being jammed down their throat? Man alive!

Between vegging out on the couch watching cartoons, and sleeping, I was able to snap a few photos of my Peppy Long Stockings in all their glory. Here are the pattern notes as well.
Pattern: Peppy Long Stockings
Designer: Me (but based on your every day toe up sock with short row toe and heel)
Yarn: Unknown. It's a self striping sock yarn but I've long ago lost the label. It came in a 100 gram skein, 94 grams of which were used to make the pair of socks. If anyone recognizes the yarn, please let me know.
Needles: Started as 2 socks on 2 circs, switched to DPNs, all in size US #2

I didn't do any shaping in these socks and they fit fairly well. They are a touch baggy at the ankle if I stand on tip toe, but otherwise look pretty cute.

It managed to work out pretty well with the toe, heal and top of the socks coming out in red. It wasn't planned, but it is exactly what I'd want to happen.

And what's a photo shoot without my little glammor girl?

July 23, 2006

Pygmie + Angora = CUTE

For my birthday, Julia got me the Bellwether Exotic Fiber Kit. The first fiber I grabbed was Pygora and having never heard of it I decided to see what it was.

The little cutie to your right is the first picture I saw. Read all about him here. I've quite enjoyed spinning pygora, though I've only spun a small amount. I'm using my 0.9 ounce Golding and haven't had any problems spinning it, yet. The color is actually more of a creamy shade than it appears on screen and I'm spinning the singles at a about a lace weight.

I've also been plodding away on my N2JW sock.

I'm about an inch away from the heel right now.

July 31, 2006

Blogher!

So, the second N2JW has been progressing at a speed that would make most glaciers honk in frustration at my pace. I mean, this baby has been taking forever.

At Blogher, I knew nobody. This is not like Stitches was. I traveled with my mother, and met a great deal of friends while there. Further, in the world of knit bloggers, I'm like a C list star. I ain't no Yarn Harlot, but people have stumbled upon me on occasion. For comparison's sake, I'd put myself at about a Carrot Top. At Blogher, I had my normal anonymity, which is fine, but it does mean that I have to make the horrifying step of socializing without any safety net. Let me see if I can find a good knitting analogy here. That would be like my saying that I was going to use the most slippery needles on earth, and knit a complex lace shawl with 600 stitches per row, in mohair, with no life line. And if that doesn't scare you, I would ask you to shoosh, because I don't want to hear it.

So how does an introvert of my neurotic level adapt? She knits. She knits like a fiend and the results; a finished pair of N2JW socks done lickity split. In fact, I was so sad to be done, I toyed with the idea of knitting a third sock, because the only other knitting project I brought is too complex to allow me to knit while paying attention to things around me.

But Blogher was great. If my battery in my camera hadn't been dead (duh) I would have pictures to prove it. The panel on which I was asked to speak was called "Is the next Martha Stewart a blogger?" and was moderated by Maggie Mason. If you ever meet her, please, stop her and beg her for insight. She did a brilliant job moderating and imparted so much level headed wisdom and kindness. I feel like she could done the panel solo and would not have left a single question unanswered.

My fellow panelists were (in alphabetical order for lack of a better option):
Andrea Scher: Despite her proclamation that she was nervous, Andrea brought a warmth and spirit to the group. She lives by the motto that things should be "Fun and Easy" which are words to live by if ever there were any. Hearing about how she came to an understanding that she needed help with her business and how it really liberated her to do what was most satisfying for her, was wonderful. I think we can all take a page from her book, there.

Gayla Trail: A true perfectionist, Gayla really drove home how important it was to impart your own values in what you do. No aspect of her business is done halfway and she gives a great deal of thought to everything she associates herself with. I really respect her sense of principal and dedication.

Pim Techamuanvivit: Like a sparkly ray of sunshine. Her enthusiasm is absolutely contagious. She seemed to have a little slice of experience in every bit of media and an air of confidence to pull it all together. She offered wonderful pearls of wisdom for expanding one's reach and did it all with a beaming smile.

I felt like a girl among women on the panel but wouldn't trade the experience for anything.

Next post: pattern notes for N2JWs.

August 3, 2006

N2JW

My Nods to Jaywalker are done and here be the pattern notes.

Pattern: Nod to Jaywalker
Designer: Me with inspiration from Grumperina's Jaywalker
Yarn: 48 grams of Lang Jawoll Jacquard 159. However, I needed a little bit of a second 50g skein in order to complete the socks because I lost some amount of yardage matching the stripes of the two socks.
Needles: US #2 set of 5 DPNs


About: The sock is a standard toe up design with both a short row toe and a short row heel. The chevron is made of sets of paired increases and decreases which, to my eye, give a slightly softer look than the more defined chevron used in Jaywalker. This is in no way better or worse, just different, you know?

The socks are technically a touch too small for me, circumference wise. I worked off my stockinette gauge instead of the gauge of the chevron, but I don't mind it. It doesn't bind at all, it just stretches a bit between the chevrons.

I used a tubular bind off at the top and did so with complete disregard to where the row technically began and ended so I'd have a very deliberate looking last stripe. I think this helps prevent the slight irregularity of self patterning sock yarn.

What the heck am I talking about? Well, instead of waiting until I got to the end of a round to start the bind off, I knit a complete round of my last color (purple) regardless of where that purple color started in the round. When every stitch in the round was purple for a single round, I began the bind off from there. I think this is a nice way to finish these self striping socks. The sock on the left is at that point where I'm about to begin the tubular cast off. I'm mid round, but it doesn't matter because it's where I have a single complete purple round of stitches.

I did something similar with my Peppy Long Stockings only with those, I knit until I completely ran out of the red shade and then did the tubular bind off with the yellow. The effect was not so good. It gives just dots of yellow across the top instead of a nice clean stripe. It just doesn't look as purposeful.


Sorry for the crappy photo. It got dark when I was thinking you might want to actually see a picture of what I meant.

One might ask, "Marnie, why not just bind off at the end of your color stripe of choice, so that the stripe is the same width as it appears throughout the sock?" That would be a splendiferous idea, indeed, but it does pose a challenge. It would mean plotting the exact point where you'd have enough yarn to perform a tubular bind off without going into the next color. It could be done, but would probably require some frogging which is not so fun with tubular bind offs. In the end, the stripe would probably still be off by just a smidge, so why not make it look like you bound it off that way on purpose?

Of course, all these points are moot if you forego the tubular bind off for a more traditional bind off. In that case, frogging is much easier and it may make sense to try to plot the bind off to use up almost the complete last stripe. Just note, you still need to leave a tail to weave in and it should be a tail that matches the area around it.

So the socks are done and I’m working on my silky wool project until I begin some work on a certain someone’s book. More on the the former soon. For the latter, you’ll just have to wait.

August 4, 2006

I loves me some silky wool

I've actually been working on this piece, in dribs and drabs, for a while now. It's not that I'm not enjoying the process, I really love the yarn and the idea I have, I hope, will be great. It'll have princess seams and waist shaping, all things that I think look lovely. I’ve just had so much else going on that it hasn't been a project I could really give the proper focus to, so I knit a row here and there and put it down for a little while.

One thing you'll find about me and my knitting is that I knit almost everything with a provisional cast on, and this project is no exception. I feel like it gives me a lot more options. I can always cast it off normally, if it turns out I don't need those stitches.

Now that most of my worldly goods are in Portland, I'm sans ball winder (until the gracious Ms Julia takes me in on the 15th) so I'm reduced to winding my own center pull balls.

I use an empty prescription pill bottle. If you want to try this at home, look for one that is fairly tall. Circumference doesn’t make a huge difference. Tuck one end of the yarn in the container. Close the container to secure the end then wind as though using a Nostepinne. When you are done, open the bottle and slide off your center pull ball. It's not as convenient as a ball winder, but it works in a pinch.

In move news, Leo and Panda are doing very well in our new home in Oregon. He's already emptied the whole truck by himself.

And Panda has taken to the place like a fish to water. She hung out by our giant tree:

And watches our neighbors from a choice vantage point.

It appears that our lawn could do with some tending, but we'll get to that when we can. For now, I'm just happy to know that everyone is home safe and sound. Pity party is still in overtime but it's winding down a bit.

August 6, 2006

Like classic knitting burlesque

I could throw out the now ubiquitous term "knitting porn" but I wouldn't want to sully these amazing images that way. This is definitely high class burlesque.

My friend Bill did some consulting for a company in an old mill building in NH. Inside, they had this knitting machine.

It's a Vanguard Supreme, and I can't stop looking at it. Versions of it are still made today and it appears to be used for knitting things in the round.

If you are as smitten as I am, take a look at the rest of the peep show after the jump.

Continue reading "Like classic knitting burlesque" »

August 8, 2006

Roughing it at home

I probably don't mind moving as much as some people do. In general, I have a slight pack rat mentality, but when it comes time to pack boxes, I'm a drill sergeant. While there are exceptions, my general rule is that if I haven't seen it, thought about it, touched, or used it in at least a year, it's probably something I don't need in my life. This is rather refreshing to me, though it does mean that I end up needing to re-buy things I may have tossed by accident. Leo is also a bit of a pack rat, but his philosophy is "Throw it in a box or trash bag and we'll sort it out at the new place."

We diverge greatly on this topic. I say, “Why move something I don't want or need?” But his take is "Let's make SURE we don't need it. Better safe than sorry." This makes for rather comical packing sessions. Picture Marnie approaching a pile of items that need to be sorting for either packing or Goodwill. Marnie begins heaping EVERYTHING in the Goodwill pile. Old family heirloom: Goodwill. Free CD from bar visited a year ago: Goodwill. Wine glasses so delicate that we never use them because we keep breaking them: Goodwill. If it has been tucked away in a dark cabinet for a year or more, it gets little more than a passing glance before heading into the pile. And then Leo turns around to say something to me. His eyes grow large as they land upon some cherished whatnot in the pile, then another. I already know what's coming and I yell, "TAKE NO PRISONERS!" But then he gets those puppy dog eyes as he snatches something dear from the pile. I relent.

Though, on the other end of the spectrum, when it comes to books, I'm like a mother with too many children. I know I can't possible house and care for them all but every one of them is dear to my heart. Leo took to packing the books himself and threatened to toss them all, their numbers were so great. "Don't you dare!" I exclaimed. All of a sudden, this drill sergeant went soft.

We have agreed, though, to get rid of most of our old furniture, some dating back to well before Leo and I met. This is mostly because we couldn't really justify the cost of moving it and after going from several places in Boston to Burbank and then to Playa Del Rey, it was all starting to get a bit tired. So between periods of scrubbing down the house to get it ready for moving out, I've been trying to sell this stuff on Craigslist.

This all keeps me fairly busy, but between all that, I do have some time to fill. With no TV or radio, I've been getting a lot of reading done, listened to a few audio books, and of course, I've been knitting and spinning.


The Silky Wool top is cranking along at a good pace. Isn't the stitch definition great? I’m probably another inch or so past what you see here. I’m experimenting with the construction of this piece a little which will become more apparent once I finish this main body piece.


I've been trying to spin some Yak from the Bellwether sampler. This is definitely not going as well as the Pygora, but I'm getting the hang of it.

And for a little bit of exercise, while I'm stuck at the house waiting for the next prospective buyer, I've been using this baby.

It's an Indo Board, and one of the few examples of something Leo is ready to give up and I want to keep. I don't do any sort of board sport but I find it terribly fun to risk my neck playing with this. As a responsible blogger, I need to go on record as saying that you are, indeed, risking injury using this and while I find it fun, I recommend that if you do try one, you do so at your own risk.
We have wall to wall carpeting which makes this less perilous to use. A grassy lawn would offer even more security. I’ll play around with it for a few minutes here and there just to get my blood moving and the next day my tush and abs will be just a little achy (in a good way.)

It’s a bit stressful being away from Panda and Leo, it’d be a lot more fun to do all this stuff together, but we’ve been making the best of the situation and time is flying by with all there is left to do.

Oh and the best news of all, it looks like I may be able to keep my current job and work remotely from Portland until the end of the year. Talk about taking a load off my mind.

August 17, 2006

I want off

When I was a kid, I used to go to Canobie Lake Park every year with my parents because the company they worked for rented out the park for a day, once a year. I remember seeing all the roller coasters, even the one in the little kids' area and thinking "yah, I want to go on that." But as soon as the ride got going, I'd realize that this was definitely NOT what I wanted to be doing and in fact, if I didn't get off STAT, I was going to need to scream my fool head off. Luckily, I was a fast learner and quickly came to the conclusion that I was happier on more tame rides and getting "antique" photos taken with my friends. Odd, but I always loved the Turkish Twist which was like a tilt-a-whirl without the tilt and down in a pit where the floor dropped out from under you. So it’s kind of like being in a salad spinner.

Anyway, moving has been much like riding that roller coaster for the first time. I think, "Yah, no problem, I'm ready for this. While I'm at it, maybe I'll bring peace to the middle east too." Then suddenly I realize that everything is happening and I can’t turn back; Leo and Panda take off, the apartment is full of things I need to sell, and work is hitting a busy point. I see that apex of that long first hill ahead of me and start to think, hmmm, am I actually ready for this?

And what a ride it's been. Moving out of the old place on Tuesday was such a relief. I really do love LA, I've been very happy here, but I've been on a strict regiment of "no fun, all cleaning and selling old furniture" for the past week. I have a new disdain for flakey people who say they are coming to get your furniture and never show up. I also have scorn for people who try to haggle me on items I'm already trying to sell for much less than even Goodwill would charge. I'm not bitter, nah, not at all.

But I'm now a guest of a certain winter minded friend of mine, and life is good again.

I've made a small amount of progress on the Silky Wool cardigan. You can now see the full effect of the princess seams. She’ll look better after a little blocking.

The front and back are almost done and then I start playing around with sleeves. I do the bulk of my designing in Adobe Illustrator.

I don't want to give anyone the impression that using Illustrator is quick or easy, but I find it to be a great tool for the way I like to design for myself. In this case, the first thing I do is build a grid to scale. Then I create a pattern swatch that exactly matches a single pattern repeat for the stitch pattern. Since I generally create my document to be an exact 1 to 1 scale of the final pattern, I can use the actual inch markers on the built in document rulers, to draw the shape I want.

A little hint if you want to try this yourself, if you want a smaller scale, try working in centimeters instead of inches or picas instead of centimeters. For instance, if I draw my design pretending that each centimeter is an inch, I can basically scale the whole piece down by half, but I still have a ruler to go by when making modifications.

Just like working on regular graph paper, once my general shape is defined, I need to go in and redraw the shapes so they are made up only of whole stitches. Once the initial design is built, I fill it with my original pattern swatch and if all goes well, it will perfectly align with my gauge grid.

From there, I can reshape the piece at will and see how it will look. Then, I just print it out and work directly from the chart while I knit.

Since I have both a stitch-by-stitch, row-by-row representation of the piece and the stitch pattern, I can forego the row counter altogether. I just tick off the last row I worked and if I'm unsure if I remembered to mark off the last row, I can double check by looking at what row of the stitch pattern I just knit and comparing it to the chart.

I’d be curious to hear how other designers out there like to do their designing. Do many of you use Excel? Pencil, paper and calculator? Design programs? (I have one, but generally don’t use it for much more than calculating the armsceye and sleeve caps of multi-sized patterns.) Do you have another technique all together? Do tell.

Continue reading "I want off" »

September 6, 2006

A little glimps of what I'm doing

While I have a myriad of knitting ideas and projects in my head, and a couple on the needles, right now I'm working on two projects for Kat Coyle's upcoming book, so knit blogging will be sparse at best. She has granted me permission to post little unrevealing bits of what I'm doing, and so, I give you a swatch’s eye view of my current progress.

This is the public side of the fabric. It's worked in Alpaca in a stitch known by several names. I believe Barbara Walker refers to it as a "Woven Stitch" and the Harmony Guides refer to it as "Linen Stitch." Either way I love the way it looks though it's a beast to knit and a real yarn hog. I don't care though, it's worth every hour spent. Check out how the back of the fabric looks:

Isn't it great? It's a sort of highly defined seed stitch, though of course, not reversible. Despite the fact that all the knit stitches face the front of the fabric and all the purl stitches face the back, the fabric does not roll the way a stockinette does, which means that the requirement for edging is really minimal. All in all, I'm very happy with the results so far.

But that's about as much of that as I can show you. Instead, how about a little spinning?

Here is some roving from Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks (no site, but you can search google to see all sorts of shops that sell her work.) It's tencel/merino blend in colorway "Sandlewood"

I can't decide which shot I like better.

On the left is the roving in the shade. There's a bit of a flatness to it but it's got a soft and pleasant look to it. On the right, she basks in direct sunlight. You might need sunglasses for the glare but it really shows her sheen. Either way, I'm in love. And can I just say how much I love this tree stump in my backyard?

September 22, 2006

Sometimes it takes someone visiting from out of state to get you out into your own neighborhood

After seeing MK Carroll's Knitty Gritty episode, I popped off a little comment to her and we started conversing. Turns out, she was going to be in my area, right about...well…now. So she invited me to a local Knitting Guild which offers two free visits for non-members. I went last night and had a great time. I met some lovely people, MK included, who made me feel incredibly welcome to my new town and who didn't act the least bit put off by my rather clumsy conversation and non sequiturs.

First, there was Amanda, who kindly welcomed me to her table when I showed up late and popped down in a corner. She was gracious enough to forgive me when I, in my infinite social nervousness, didn't recognize her name. Sorry! She just happened to be sitting next to MK and then introduced me to the rest of the table; Katrina, Chrissy and Donna one other woman whose name has escaped me but who should not take that as any reflection of my opinion of her. I'm still trying to find someone in Portland who is mean, but I'm not having any luck. To paraphrase Leo, who is paraphrasing someone else, "If you can't find the jerk in the group, chances are, it's you." I'm kidding of course, no need to fill my comments with reassurances.

Since I didn't take any pictures while there, I'll have to leave you with some Panda goodness instead.

Here's my little girl all curled up and sleeping on the couch, one chilly morning this week.

When she hangs out by the computer, Leo calls her our little firewall.

And here she is, realizing that she can see Leo on the other side of the window. He's taunting her and she's barking.

I spy, with my little eye, something beginning with "L."

October 18, 2006

Relying on the kindness of strangers and friends

I have a huge favor to ask you guys out there. I'm working on a pattern for a company and I need to have some good leg measurements for all different kinds of women, from petit to zaftig. I would NOT expect anyone to want to leave those sorts of measurements in my comments, so I'm hoping I can sweet talk you into emailing me those measurements with assurance that your numbers and names will never be released in combination with each other.

So, what I'd need is:

  1. Circumference at ball of foot

  2. Circumference at ankle

  3. Circumference at knee

  4. Distance from ankle to knee

  5. Circumference at mid thigh (Sit down. Measure halfway between knee and crease of lap)

  6. Distance from knee to mid thigh

or click the "Contact" button above. Either will allow you to send me an email. Include the subject line "my leg" and the measurements for each number in the body of the message.

And because I know this is a bit of a pain in the butt, I'll be sending one random contributor a special gift. The winner will be picked Friday night and can choose either a knitting or a spinning related little prize.

October 20, 2006

Final Countdown

Wow, you guys are awesome! I have been getting so many submissions for the leg contest, along with great little asides from many of you. I'm sorry I haven't had the time to personally thank and respond to each and every one of you.

For those who might be on the line about sharing your measurements with me, here's a little something that might sway you one way or the other. Below are pictures of what the winner will get to choose from.

If you choose a spinning related prize, you can choose from one of these orifice hooks.

Either a lamb themed hook.

Or a lizard themed hook.


If you prefer a knitting related prize, you can choose from one of two pairs of US sized 7 Clover knitting needles with decorated ends.

Again, I have a lamb themed variety.

Or a lizard theme.

These are definitely hand made and look the part but they're made with plenty of TLC, for whatever that is worth.

If the winner opts out of any of the items above, there will be an option for a yarn or roving prize instead.

I've extended the contest just a little longer, so you may get in your entries until mid-day Saturday, when the winner will be chosen.

Thanks again for all the submissions so far. I hope they keep rolling in.

October 23, 2006

Winner!

One Ms. Eve Ng has won our grand prize. She has chosen to receive a pair of knitting needles. She's left it up to me to choose which ones.

The remaining items will be sold in the near future.

For now, I'm sorting and charting and playing around with the 70 submissions I've received from all of you.

I'm fascinated and a little daunted by how many sizes and shapes we all come in. This should be a challenging project indeed.

December 29, 2006

As I spin, so shall I knit

I generally do not knit variegated yarns. Firstly, when knit normally, they create a horizontal line that, in garments, may tend to add weight where not desired. Additionally, I tend to prefer solid or small scale patterns lest I be lost in all the noise. But I cannot deny the allure of colors combined beautifully and when spinning, it ads another level of interest to the whole process. So I've been thinking about ways to use my variegated handspun yarns. Chevrons and feather and fan stitches are a great way to add interest and I've used those in the past. Lace can produce a similar effect, but tends to clash with the variegation, leaving both looking a little haphazard. So how about a slip stitch pattern?

Good choices are ones that are meant to combine multiple colors and will work best with yarns that have a lot of very intense color changes. So a monochromatic or subtle variegation is probably not ideal. I thought this would be a great way to work my Autumn yarn.


This is a relatively simple slip stitch pattern meant to be worked in two colors. You work a series of double YOs over on one row, then slip those YOs for 4 rows, working the other stitches in stockinette. Then you fan out and work those YOs, over the course of 3 more rows, to produce a leaf like motif. The idea is that you'll probably be working a different color in the yarn than that used when you first created your YOs.

This breaks up the very horizontal effect of the variegation and introduces some interesting vertical lines from the slipped stitches.

Here's a close up for you as well. And for those of you who think I'm a consistent and skilled spinner, you'll note all the thick and thin/over and underspun sections as well

I think this is the first time I've ever wished my yarn had even more variegation. The whole piece will need some good blocking, but I think you get a good idea of the effect.

The goal is to work this up into a little hat, and maybe a pair of gloves or mittens. It'll be a nice reminder of the colors of autumn through the long winter months.

January 3, 2007

Tutorial - Speeding up your long tail cast-on

This is more of a mini-tutorial, as it assumes you are already well acquainted with the long tail cast on. Many of you may already know this little tip but I'm posting it for those who may not.

Because I know that not everyone has QuickTime, I'm loading two different versions, one is a video, which is more complete and the other is an animated GIF which should be viewable in almost all browsers and is better for people with slow connections.

For the QuickTime movie, click the image below

What I'd give to have someone do my voice overs for me :oP

If you prefer an animated GIF, click here.

Each frame should display for about 3 seconds and the whole movie should loop if you need to watch it more than once.

January 5, 2007

Comeing soon to a browser near you

I have finished the hat and gloves I've been knitting from my handspun, and they have already helped me keep out the chill as I did my errands today.

I'm hoping to finish up writing the pattern by the end of the weekend. It'll be available for free, and will contain suggestions for using different weight yarn.

As a side note, I wanted to show you how great store bought variegated yarns can look in slip stitch patterns. If you like the pattern but don't spin your own yarn, or prefer not to spin such fine gauge yarns, you can definitely substitute any variegated sock yarn.

Obviously, the stitch pattern is a little different but the effect is the same. The yarn is Socks That Rock in colorway, Carbon. If you'll notice, there is some definite flashing going on but the slip stitch sort of breaks that up.

Oh and here's hoping a few of you out there got to see Miss Panda on TV today. She was a natural, I tell you.

January 8, 2007

I've got your hat right here

The hat pattern has been posted.

The gloves are coming soon.

January 9, 2007

Perhaps the longest glove pattern ever

The Lake Park Glove pattern is now available for free in the pattern section of my site. This thing was a beast to put together so if you find any issues, feel free to drop me a note.

The pattern is very simple, but I've offered lots of information for modifying the pattern and I made charts and verbose instructions for those of you who have a preference. I give because I love.

I hope a few of you will show me your hand spun and variegated yarns worked up in this stitch pattern. I think it'll be great to see how different yarns look.

January 18, 2007

Remember this piece?

Back before I moved to Portland and before I took on a plethora of non-bloggable design projects, I was working on a piece knit from Silky Wool.

I'm a little further than the last time I posted about it, though there has been a great deal of ripping, knitting, ripping, crocheting, ripping and, well, you get the idea.

I had planned the body of the piece really well, but had left the details such as the sleeves and bands much looser. This is primarily because I wasn't sure how much of the main color yarn I'd have after I completed the body. It turns out I had just a little more than needed to knit the body. So now it's a matter of finding a way to use the other two yarns (of which I had a single skein, each) in the most aesthetically pleasing way. Hopefully, the end result is a piece that will look like it was designed intentionally as opposed to a design driven by a lack of yarn.

While I really love the deep mahogany shade, and considered using it as the trim, I didn't feel it popped enough against the main color, so I used the gold instead. In order to make the sleeves seem more cohesive with the rest of the piece, I threw in a little pleat with the main color, to bring it all together.

I snapped a few very unflattering pictures of me wearing the piece in its current state. You can check them out after the jump.

Continue reading "Remember this piece?" »

January 25, 2007

Book Review: DomiKNITrix: Whip Your Knitting Into Shape -- Part II

All images in this post are from the book and are reproduced here with permission from the author.

When last I blogged, I posted an interview with Jennifer Stafford, the author of the book DomiKNITrix: Whip Your Knitting Into Shape. I hope you'll take the time to read through the interview because it's chock full of great tidbits and suggestions, for the knitter and pattern designer alike.

In this post, I'll be discussing the book itself and my review of it. I am a tough reviewer so expect to hear the good and the bad, as I see it. Take it for what it's worth and take into account your own preference for both learning and knitting, since my taste may differ from yours. The review is rather long, so if you are a skimmer, I suggest jumping ahead to the Conclusion section of this post.

Find the full review, after the jump.

Continue reading "Book Review: DomiKNITrix: Whip Your Knitting Into Shape -- Part II" »

January 29, 2007

Side projects

I just got back from a quick business trip down to LA. It was so short, it hardly seemed worth mentioning, because I knew I wouldn't have time to see all the people I wanted to. In the process, I did manage to catch myself a little cold. I suspect I got it in the airport or in one of the many meetings I attended. Leo may have another cold all together, which means in the next few days, we may be in a mountain of tissues and in a cold medicine haze. This is my lead in to saying that, for the time being, if it isn't cozy and snuggly warm, I won't be modeling it here on my blog, which means there are no progress posts of the silky wool piece.

So while I eat my chicken noodle soup (with a splash of lemon juice,) I've been sticking to less taxing projects, like, spinning some beautiful Chameleon Colorworks fiber.

This is approximately 4 ounces of peachy colored singles. It's an unnamed colorway, in a Merino/Viscose blend, spun at a fairly fine weight. I'll be making a 2-ply with it sometime soon. It's definitely not as exciting to spin a monochromatic colorway, as it is to spin something vary variegated, but I love the subtle shading that is produced. The colorway is mostly very soft and muted shades of orange, with touches of gray throughout. The best way to describe it would be "cream of pumpkin." I've actually been spinning this fiber for several weeks, but finally finished the last little bit of it last night.

I started this other project last Wednesday night.

It'll eventually be a pair of socks for Leo -- he of the arches so high you could fit Donald Trumps ego under them.
The yarn is Blue Moon Sock Candy in Pecan. The fiber is 96% cotton and 4% elite. The pattern is a variation of one of the patterns from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks. Normally, I prefer to knit socks toe-up, but I've heard those aren't so good for the sky high arches that Leo was blessed with, so it seemed as good a time as any to start acquainting myself with the more traditional cuff-down variety of sock. Leo is particularly concerned that there be no seams, which I have assured him will be the case. I've also made it clear that he should not get used to wearing handmade socks. Luckily, he's always been very appreciative of hand knits.

February 13, 2007

SSS and SBS

Second Sock Syndrome (SSS)
I finished the first of Leo's two socks and it looks and fits great.

No, he doesn't have itty bitty feet, the gusset just pulls the sock in a bit and makes it look shorter, I swear.

The heel is really unusual and attractive. This is the bottom of the sock and you can see the paired decreases that form a delicate ridge along the bottom. It isn't bulky at all, it just has a nice little visual detail.

I've cast on for the second, but it's moving slowly. 9" of ribbing in the round is just not my idea of big excitement, especially now that I'm not working under any deadlines and the world is my knitting oyster.

Sewing Buttons Syndrome (SBS)
I've discovered that while I like buttons, I dislike, with great zeal, sewing them on. I find it tedious, boring and prone to fault. It's sad really. When you are at the point that you should be sewing buttons, your piece is all but done. What could be so bad about sewing buttons on?

For about a week, the Silky Wool piece has been at this point, give or take.

The buttons aren't far enough apart, I'm currently taking them out to sew them back in....again.

Oh and remember all that talk about having juuuust enough yarn to knit the body of the piece? Well, I did some stash organizing and clean up this weekend. Guess what I found? My original giant swatches and the ball form which I knit, equaling a whole additional ball of the main color.

In my defense, much of our lives still sits in boxes because we:
A) Sold most of our furniture
B) Don't plan to buy furniture until we buy a house
C) Don't have anywhere to put stuff in the interim.

While this is, by no means, the way I hoped to start things in Portland, it does keep us motivated to pay off what remains of our credit card debt and start house shopping. Woohoo, and way to go off on a tangent.

February 14, 2007

Stick-to-it-tivness

I have overcome one of my previously mentioned afflictions, or at least have suppressed it long enough to complete the Silky Wool piece.
The lighting in the "model" shots is a little cruddy, but I'm happy to say that shooting myself in front of a dark brown wall appears to make me look slightly less fish-belly white. Not a bad trade off.


I'm modeling here with a pair of dark brown cargo pants, which, oddly enough, suit the top. I'm thinking the top needs some sort of lacy cami underneath, in order to be truly practical, but as a garment, am happy with the end product.

Pattern Notes
Design: My own
Yarn: Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool
Method: Knit with crochet
Will I write up this pattern? I'm thinking not. It's a rather involved pattern and I can't fathom having the time to size it and write up the whole thing. Who knows, maybe someday.

Some bits and details:


The sleeve has a button to keep the pleat from flaring too much. It made a huge difference in the finished appearance. The Silky Wool is so light and able to hold it's shape that the sleeves tended to fly out a bit too much for my taste. An alternative solution would have been to start the pleat halfway down the sleeve, but I like how the button pulls the design together.
The sleeves were knit in the round, from the top down, using Barbara Walker's method, though I had to make some serious modifications to the technique in order to leave the opening for the pleat. In fact, saying it was knit in the round is really a misnomer since the sleeve was worked back and forth with short rows, leaving a wide opening where the pleat went.
The inset was worked by picking up the stitches from the top of the armsceye and working down, then the edges of the inset and the edges of the sleeve, were seamed via crochet.



Here you can see the princess shaping. I have about a 10" difference between my waist and my chest, and hips. When I've knit a piece to correctly match my dimensions, by only decreasing at the side seams, the garment has tended to fit oddly with a funny little peplum effect at the sides and too much excess fabric at my lower back. These princess seams allowed me to distribute the shaping over more points and where they are most needed. I removed the side seams altogether, working it all in one piece. I faked the seams up the princess line by working a slipped stitch, every other row, where the seam would be. The project could just as easily have been worked in separate pieces which would have made the piece easier to block, but it would have probably made the seams less apparent because mattress stitch tends to be so invisible. I really wanted the "seams" to be a design feature.


The buttons are just from my local craft store, nothing fancy shmancy, though I like them. They are metal, maybe pewter, and have a relatively ornate engraved design. I thought for a while about what sort of button would best set off the piece and while I thought wood would be a nice color compliment, it seemed too rustic for the design, while shell or pearl was too dressy. The metal seamed to blend more with the look of the piece, so that they complimented while not overpowering the piece. Even better, the holes in the button were big enough to accommodate a small Chibi. This meant there was no need to find matching embroidery floss or thread to finish the piece. Life is good.

So that's that, another FO.

February 19, 2007

"Gauge" is not a four letter word

This post has also been added to the Create Along blog.

Whether your are designing your own knitwear, or knitting someone else's pattern, a gauge swatch can be invaluable. This is not to say that you cannot design and knit without swatching first. For as long as there has been knitting, there have been people who picked up yarn and needles and simply jumped forth, feet first, into their projects.
That said, there are some distinctly useful reasons to consider knitting, washing and blocking a swatch of any yarn you plan to knit with, and if you love knitting (and I think you do) you can make this a fun aspect of the project.

When I think of designing I think of it like building with Legos. Each block can be a different size, so that 10 –1 inch wide blocks stacked next to each other will be an entirely different length than 10 - half inch blocks in the same arrangement. If you are planning to make your Barbie a fort, replete with moat and dragon, you'll need to make sure you build it large enough for her and her cavalcade of cannons (to keep the riff-raff out, of course.)

These blocks have different gauges.

Saying that her walls need to be 20 blocks wide doesn't mean anything if you have 4 different sizes of blocks to choose from. Pick the blocks that are too small, and Barbie just isn't going to fit inside. Pick blocks that are too large and you might find it no longer fits on the dining room table (where we all play with our Legos and Barbies!) Gauge tells you how big your building blocks are and gives you the Rosetta Stone to knowing where to go next with a pattern, whether it's your own or someone else's.

Once you know you have X number of stitches and Y number of rows per inch, you can easily determine how to decrease evenly from your hips to your waist, then back out for your chest, even if your measurements are wildly different than the average. Without those numbers, you might find yourself decreasing too quickly or not quickly enough and that either means a trip to the frog pond (rip-it, rip-it, rip-it) or an ill fitting garment.

Furthermore, knitting a gauge swatch gives you a chance to get to know your yarn; how it commingles with your needle choice, and gives you a chance to try the stitch pattern and see if it suits your taste. I can't tell you how many times I've realized that my needles were poorly matched to my yarn, occasionally with disastrous results (think rough wooden needles snagging smooth microfiber.)

Best to leave those discoveries to the swatch stage before you've begun knitting rows of 200 stitches.

Finally, as designers, you are not limited to the gauge and needles specified on the ball band. Your yarn may knit up with too much drape, or not enough, when knit at the specified gauge, but go up or down a few needle sizes and the fabric may be just what you hoped. Use your gauge swatch as a chance to find that perfect match between the two.

I could stand up on this soapbox all day, extolling the virtues and joys of knitting gauge swatches, as these are just the a few highlights, but I don't want to scare you all off yet.

My next post will show my theory in action! Stay tuned for my adventures in swatching.

PS. Go team CALMER!

February 26, 2007

Casting on Lily

This entry has also been posted at the Create Along.

I've cast on and begun knitting Lily. As with almost everything I design, I start off with a provisional cast-on.

Working the waistband last gives me a chance to see how the proportions of the piece really fit me and find the best way to accent the look. The only time this can be a poor choice for me is when I want to work a knitted hem. In this case, with the lace, a knitted hem is probably not going to work, since it will show through the holes in the design, so I can feel comfortable proceeding with the provisional cast on.

I worked the bottom of the piece separately until I had worked enough rows to complete 2 repeats. Then I joined the two and am working them in the round. This will create little vents at the base of the piece.

While I originally planned to knit the sleeves separately and sew them in, I'm considering doing the garment entirely seamlessly so that I can be sure the motifs will align perfectly at the raglan. I've also decided that 3/4 length sleeves may suit the length of the garment better. While my sketch was originally for a tunic length piece, I really don't ever wear tunics, so I've shortened it to be about 5" below the waist. I should point out that I'm VERY long waisted so this may actually look a little more cropped on me than it would on other people of the same height.

March 5, 2007

A little more Lily and some wonky nupps

This entry also posted at the Create Along.

Because I don't have a definite plan mapped out for Lily, the time I've spent knitting the body, so far, has been a nice time to contemplate how I'll handle the arms and upper body of the piece.

Progress has been largely smooth, though I've had to tink and rip out some mistakes in the lace a few times. It's not a hard lace pattern but I've found I've repeated the same mistake with the nupps a few times.

I took a class on Estonian Lace, with Nancy Bush, about a year ago. In it, she demoed nupps as a detail worked over 2 rows. On row one, at the point that the nupp is to be performed, one works a series of alternating knits and YOs into the same stitch, always starting and ending with a knit. On the following row, all the nupp stitches are purled together. Shown by an expert, they seem deceptively easy. In the hands of a novice, they can be the instrument of torture. An even and exceedingly loose tension is required.

Barbara Walker prescribes a slightly different method. At the point of the nupp, 5 stitches are worked into one by alternating knit and purl stitches into a single stitch. The stitch count is reduced back to the original number, immediately, by passing the 4th, 3rd, 2nd then 1st stitch over the 5th one worked. I speed this up, ever so slightly, by grabbing all 4 stitches at once and passing them over the 5th stitch, in one step. However, I've been known to grab one too many or too few stitches, in the process, and throwing my stitch count off, unbeknownst until two rows later. The only fix is to rip back, though I usually do so over only the 11 stitches of that half of the stitch repeat.

Regardless, progress continues, as you can well see.

This shows the start of the 6th repeat of the 7.5 that I'll need before the armsceye begins.

You may be able to tell that there is a fairly long vent up each side of the piece.

I may seam up a little of it if I decide to put an additional hem on the piece. However, if I end up working just a crochet edge, the vent will stay, as is.

I've added the vents to improve the drape of the piece. I have a 10" difference between my waist and hips and when I shape at the side seams only, it tends to cause the fabric to buckle in odd ways, even when the measurements are perfect for my size. The fit is far better when I use waist darts, but they would have distracted from the lines of the piece, so the vents seemed the best alternative.

April 6, 2007

A little slice of heaven

When I worked on site, at my job, I was often pretty far away from windows throughout the day. What little of the day I saw, was usually while I bustled between meetings.

Now that I work from home, I sit right next to a window, and I have Panda by my side. It's all I could ever have hoped. I love it.

There is one downside, though, when the days are absolutely beautiful, I feel like I'm in 3rd grade waiting for the school bell to sound and mark the end of the day.

Yesterday, was one such day. The sun is absolutely beaming, everything is verdant, and it was a mere hours before my weekend was scheduled to start. I could barely contain myself.

When my shift was up and I'd finally completed all those little things that seem to come up just when I think I'm done for the day, I decided that Panda and I needed a relaxing afternoon in the backyard.

We don't have any proper lawn furniture, but we do have some portable camping chairs. Ours happens to have a perfectly sized drink holding divot and yarn holster.

For a drink, I had myself a beer, though, to be honest, I was more like 25% of a beer, because I am a cheep date and it started to make me sleepy. For knitting, I had my super secret Stitchy McYarnpants project, so all you get to see is the gorgeous plum color and a big heap of knitted fabric, stitch holders and needles.

For entertainment, A Game of Thrones on my iPod. I'm such an audio book junkie. I'm so enamored of them, I exercise to them instead of music.

Panda made good use of the backyard as well.

Then she finally settled into a nice shady spot to watch me knit.

In the evening, I spun some of the Pearl colored Optim I got from Janel, last year.

This is my first time spinning Optim and it is unbelievably smooth and soft. Her colorway is beautifully subtle, which I love. This will be a colorway I can work into a very wearable item. I've started the second bobbin and will ply the two before moving onto my new Luxury Fiber of the Month; Baby Camel! I'm sure I'll absolutely bastardize the camel like I did the yak, but who cares, it's too soft to let languish.

April 16, 2007

I'm back!

Well, I just mailed off my top secret project, with all its fixin's to it's rightful owner. I'll miss that beautiful plum color Calmer but not as much as I've missed being able to talk crafty on my blog. While stories of Panda and hikes and tea and eating are all fun, it's yarny goodness upon which this blog is built.

So adios pretty plum calmer and, long time no see, Lily!

I've only had time to cast on and work a few rows of the second sleeve and it's amazing how hard it's been to get back into the swing of it.

Truth be told, I'm the sort of person who would likely have abandoned this with such a long hiatus. I know that's crazy, but when I lose momentum on something, it's almost never that I pick it back up again. It's good for me to push myself to finish these projects so they don't languish and end up ripped, or worse, donated to charity in their half knit form.

I have a couple other projects I'll probably be working on this year; projects that cannot be blogged right away but which I'm pretty excited about. But I also have big plans (bigger than any warping of the space time continuum can accommodate) that should all be bloggable.

May 17, 2007

Order one for everyone you know. No, order 2!

Thanks to Julia for posting about this.

I really can't tell you how excited I am for the release of this book. I have a pattern in here but I'm not just excited about my own piece. There are some phenomenal pieces from Julia, Mary Heather, Edna Hart and, of course, the author, Kat.

It was a truly extraordinary experience working with Kat. While I can't say I've had too many bad experiences designing for other people, working with someone who is an experienced designer, in this capacity, is liberating. She knows how to give just enough encouragement and direction to keep you on track but leaves you plenty of room to flex your creatively, and she is unfailingly supportive.

Since I was living in LA at the time, I was able to see many of the original proposed designs and I'm eager to see their final incarnations. The items I have seen are instant classics and should appeal to wide range of skill levels and taste.

The photograph? There's only one word for it, "beautiful."

It looks like I have to wait until November to get my grubby hands on a copy. If you are interested in pre-ordering, all the info is available here.

July 6, 2007

Dogs in repose

It's been hot, and Thea and Panda are shedding hair like they think their comfort depends on it. Wait, I guess it does. Anyway, it's hot, and when it's hot, doggies like to sleep.

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I just didn't realize one would want to do it in my sandals.


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Thea is a very good sleeper


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Panda ponders whether or not I've forgotten how to use the vacuum cleaner.

Yes, I know, it's been a LOT of doggy pictures. Would it help if I told you I'm actually knitting?


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It's a project I'm doing for Stitch Diva. It's coming along swimmingly though I've done a lot of ripping to get it to the point where I'm happy with it. Luckily, my time frame for the project makes it possible to get it juuuuust right. I like that.

In other news, I saw Ms. Kat Coyle's gorgeous Lace Style skirt on Knitty Gritty, yesterday.

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It's so sad that it's styled better on KG than it was in the actual book. Oh how I pine for that skirt.

July 10, 2007

Switching horses mid-stream

While I'm really excited about my current project for Stitch Diva, this particular stretch of the piece has dogged me. I originally calculated and cast on for this section on Saturday, while watching The Queen and enjoying a glass of wine. After more than 25 years of knitting, you'd think I'd know that I needed a little more focus than that, to calculate a pattern. I'm obviously a slow learner. I cast on 250 stitches, using the long tail cast-on, (my personal favorite for it's speed,) only, BAH, not enough tail.

So I ripped, and cast on again and made it. I knit my 250 (give or take) stitches for 20 rows, during the movie, and a bit the following day, before realizing that my calculations were off. Oh, yes, there was ripping.

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I focused myself on my calculations. I checked my work, and cast on again. After three tries, to get the cast on tail the right length, I nearly chucked my work out a window. Less stubborn knitters than I might have tried a couple of alternatives, such as:


  • A knitted on or cabled cast on, which requires no tail.
    Vetoed because I find it so dreadfully slow to do, I'd rather rip the long tail out forever and redo, like Sisyphus rolling his boulder up the mountain.

  • Long tail cast on worked from both ends of a center pull ball.
    Vetoed because it means another end to weave in. Also vetoed because of the aforementioned stubbornness.

  • Actually note the length of the tail for the failed cast on and extrapolate the needed additional length from there.
    Vetoed because I'm stupid.

But, all stubbornness and stupidity aside, I nearly did admit defeat and put the item in temporary time-out, until I realized that the cast on will be completely concealed with crochet. There is no way anyone is going to be able to see it. This gave me an option, when I realized I was about 50 stitches short of my goal. When I was left with a sufficient tail to weave in the end, but not enough to complete the cast on, I switched to a knitted on cast on.

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This puts a little tail in the middle of the cast on. To the right of the tail, in the image, is the long tail cast on, to the left is the knitted on cast on.

Here she is, really close up

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Personally, I would never do this if the cast on would be visible. There's a pretty noticeable difference and it would irk me even if no one else ever noticed. But since this baby will be obscured by crochet, there's no harm, no foul and my sanity is preserved.

July 13, 2007

The piece I never posted about

You'll probably all think I'm weird, but there was a piece I knit in December of 2005, that I never posted about.

I guess that while I was happy with the concept, and reasonably pleased with the end result, I wasn't 100% content with the final product. On some level, I really wanted to reknit it and get it right, but it's hard to find the time to redo a piece when I have a backlog of new ideas in my head.

Anyway, I present to you, Juliette.

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Pattern: My own
Yarn: Cascade 220 in a pretty heathered green color

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The piece, like Deciduous, has no body shaping, it all happens by way of ribbing. The sleeves, however, do have shaping. Instead of doing the shaping at the seam, like most sleeves, the shaping is done in the center textured panel. I used kfb or knit and purl in the same stitch, in a manner that would maintain the k/p pattern.

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The neckline was just finished with a little bit of single crochet. The cables are from one of the Barbara Walker books

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I think, conceptually, it's successful, but I find Cascade 220, just a touch too prickly to wear against the skin. I also wish I hadn't made it with so much ease. It's looser than I normally like.

As a first aran-like design, I don't think it's too bad, but I'm a bit tepid about it overall.

So why the heck am I posting it now? I guess with Ravelry and the Create Along, I'm doing a lot of exploring of the work I've done over the past couple of years. When I saw this in my catalog of photographs, it just seemed right to post about it.

August 14, 2007

Hey, how about some knitting and crocheting?

I've been posting a lot of dog photos lately, mostly because I can't post much else, but look. I have crafting!

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Remember those motifs I crocheted? I have been playing around with how to use them. I knew I didn't have enough of the motif yarn to make a whole garment, but I realized that the September Glow Cotswold and Silk yarn I spun, would look nice with the muted peach color of the motifs.

I think I want to make this into a skirt. I have quite a bit more of the Cotswold, that I can spin. I've played around with knitting and crocheting the skirt portion. Right now, the motifs are joined in such a way that they make a natural chevron, which is great for this subtly variegated yarn. I tried crocheting the skirt, but I wanted it to be a little softer and drapier, so I switched to knit instead.

It's actually really hard for me to post a this point, because I'm not totally sure I love it and I might very well rip the whole darn thing out if I'm not satisfied with the results, still, so far, it looks good enough that I feel I can share.

And aren't I doing well, not a doggy in sight.

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Urm, well, yes, Thea did sneak her paw into that shot. You can see her little goth pinkie nail. But we aren't looking at puppies in this post, we're looking at handspun yarn working up into a skirt.

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*Sigh* I'm sorry. I couldn't help myself. I mean, come on, that's funny, people. Even if you hate dogs. Plus, I think the color really brings out the pathetic expression plastered on Panda's face. Don't you agree?

August 20, 2007

Keeping busy

I've been keeping pretty busy, crafty wise. Quite a few hours go to working with the test knitters for the secret Stitch Diva project.

I'm also knitting up a garment for Donna Druchunas' upcoming lace book.

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The yarn is Lorna's Laces, Lion and Lamb. Soft and subtly shaded. Who could complain? If you look carefully, you can see some darts in there. I'm hoping this piece comes out as well as I'm envisioning it. And yes, I realize there is no actual lace yet, but it's coming, I assure you.

I have also sneaked in a few rounds in my knit/crochet skirt. I'm trying to be good and focusing most of my energy on my deadline stuff, but I keep this handy for mindless knitting.

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Here's a closeup of the knitted portion.

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Between bouts of knitting and pattern editing, I'm spinning up more of the yarn for this skirt. So far, this is just enough variety to keep me interested.

August 30, 2007

Is she a bad dog or am I a slow learner

I'm guessing it's the latter.

Over and over again, I obviously need to be reminded that Thea is not Panda and probably won't ever be. In my nearly 6 years with Panda, I can think of only a couple of items she has destroyed before she learned that she could only have things that had been explicitly given to her, everything else was off limits. Brilliant, I know. We were spoiled.

Thea, she is loving and sweet and cute in so very many ways. But there are times.

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And while her handy work does take your attention away from some of the clutter, I'm not sure it does so in a very aesthetically pleasing sort of way. Luckily, it was nothing important.

That was 3 weeks ago. Except for an odd incident when I found her giving a hex wrench a taste, she's been as close to angelic as she's capable of being. Then, on Monday, Leo and I came home from dinner to this...


Brace yourself.

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Since I last posted about this skirt, I've probably put another 6 hours into it and all that work has been handily undone.

The Inox needle and clover stitch markers are destroyed. She seemed to mainly be interested in those and not the skirt itself. There are only one or two breaks in the yarn and areas where she has pulled out short sections of rows, repeatedly, down several inches, but not across the whole round. It salvageable but it'll be some time before I'm back to where I was.

I think the hardest thing is that my momentum for this piece has been (hopefully temporarily) quashed. A few hundred stitches, worked in stockinette chevron does not for exciting knitting make.

But just when I think I might actually be able to hold a grudge, she goes and makes cute at me again.

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I'm such a sucker.

August 31, 2007

It's ALIVE

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The yarn was broken in two places and all the knitting had to be ripped, but the skirt has been revived and I've even knit a few rows.

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And lest you all think I hold any sort of grudge towards Thea, fear not. I could never be mad at her for my own poor planning. I do, however, love to give you all a good laugh, and I suspect that you all find Panda's guilty conscience even more humorous than Thea's mischievousness. If we could harvest just their best traits, we'd have one perfectly balanced pup and enough left over parts for one entirely neurotic dog.

September 3, 2007

Lovely long weekend

Leo and I have put this labor day weekend to good use, if I do say so myself. Since we are renting a house, it's always a struggle to decide how much time and money we should invest in beautification of our humble abode. It's a great little place, but after years of being rented, there's a lot that has gone neglected. This is not the loving little first home, it was originally built to be, but a way point in the lives of folks like Leo and me. Still, never one to shy away from a little hard work, Leo has decided we should get things tidied up, so on Saturday and Monday, we shoveled, we weeded, we hauled masses of toppled brick and we planted a little flower garden that we hope we'll stick around long enough to see bloom once, and only once, before buying our own home. But Sunday, we put aside our shovels and spades and seeds and bulbs and packed up our car for a trip to Manzanita Beach.

On the way, we listened to Harry Potter and I got in a little knitting.

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This skirt remains my one mindless piece of knitting, that I can plug away on when I don't want to have to worry about row counters and lace patterns and other distractions.

We were expecting some serious crowds at the beach, and places like Cannon Beach and Hug Point, were, indeed, crowded, but Manzanita proved to be an ideal spot. While there were many people, we never felt crowded or cramped.

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The girls had a wonderful time and Thea is really starting to come into her own. Slowly, Thea is building her recall and we are able to keep her off leash for longer without incident. She's still so filled with social excitement that I wouldn't trust her implicitly, the way I do Panda, but she's proving to be a wonderful little girl.

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After a quick stop over at Blue Heron to pick up some provisions, we went back to Manzanita and set up camp. We are currently conducting reconnaissance in preparation for a bigger excursion with our friends; Erica and Larry and Jackie and her pup Tulip.

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Leo is in charge of setting up the fire.

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I am in charge of proving that pups will do almost anything for salami.

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Thea was a little scared of the fire at first. Can you see her hiding behind the log?

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But she came around after a little while.

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We attempted to take a family portrait, by way of self timer.

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Twas not so successful.

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And as the sun set and the air got a little cooler, my ample tush proved excellent insulation for the not-so-little one.

See more pictures over at Flickr.

September 22, 2007

Assessing the skirt progress

It seemed about time to move the skirt to some waste yarn and see how it's coming along. I have mixed feelings

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Things I like:
  • The crochet: I think the motifs are cute and hang nicely.
  • The colors: While I don't usually buy these colors for myself, I think they are lovely and the colors compliment each other nicely.
  • The chevrons: Who doesn't like chevron? It breaks up the horizontal nature of the subtly variegated yarn.


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Things I don't like:


  • Yarn choice: I feel like the main yarn should be a little drapier. I don't feel there's enough weight to the piece to pull off the effect I'm envisioning

  • Skirts: I don't wear skirts. What the hell am I thinking?

  • Shape: Would a-line instead of straight have been better?

I'll probably finish the piece, just to see how it comes out, but I'm starting to think there may have been a better project for these yarns.

On the plus side, I should have 300 or more yards of the main yarn leftover when I'm done. What will I do with it? I dunno. I'll have it nonetheless.


I've been spinning bits of the Corriedale, here and there. It's been quite relaxing and mindless.

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I'm annoyed, though, with my Woolee Winder. It's great, don't get me wrong, but it really upsets my sense of balance that it doesn't load the yarn evenly. Some of it appears to be that the whorls from Schacht aren't perfectly machined. There's an ever so slight gap, but I'm realizing that it's not enough to account for the severity of the imbalance.

Has anyone else who has a Woolee Winder seen this and if so, is there a way to fix it?

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Oh and Thea had her stitches taken out and has been taking full advantage of the ensuing belly rubs.

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She's such a little floozy.

October 2, 2007

Fine tuning

A little while back, I posted this picture and lamented that my WooLee Winder wasn't filling evenly.

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Well, June came through with a most excellent suggestion. If I twist the traveling loop so that it is angled towards the smaller end, it will shift everything in that direction, resulting in a more even feed.

It's going to take some fine tuning, but I'm definitely seeing improvement.

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The skirt is progressing. After taking this photo, I threw in a lifeline and am now deciding how I want to work the chevrons into flat stitches. The key is not only making smooth transition from the zigzag to flat, but also adjusting the gauge which changes from 8 stitches per inch in chevron to 6 stitches per inch flat.

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And look, my garden gave me another bloom. I am pleased.

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Quite a few more buds have popped up and several look ready to burst open in the next day or two.

I don't know how obvious it is to you, but I think we have two different varieties of Cosmos here. The smaller flower actually has slightly different shaped petals than the bigger one. I may be totally wrong but since we dumped several different mixes of seeds here, I think it's possible.


And finally, I'll be posting an interview with Donna Druchanus at the end of the month. I'm day 23 of her blog tour. I'm about halfway through the book now and gathering my questions.

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I've worked with Donna before and am really looking forward to the interview. Expect lots of questions about the book and her travels and maybe some little tangents into her other interests. I just hope that I'm able to come up with questions she hasn't already answered a million times.


October 4, 2007

Getting there

Boy do I love life lines. I've used this one a couple times, but by Jove, I think I've got it. Some of the mishaps may have been caused by watching an episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Man, that show is funny, and distracting.

Here's a closeup of the lifeline, subsequent filler stitches and Thea's paw.

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The vertical row of locking stitch markers indicated decrease rows. I really don't want a huge amount of cinching required to hold this skirt up. When you have a 10 inch difference between hips and waist, that can be a substantial amount of extra fabric.

Here's a view of the whole skirt so far. There's only one spot in the house that gets much natural light and it's where Thea and Panda's bed resides. They seem to find it curious that the spot also becomes my photo studio, some days.

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It's really easy to tell how far I've knit since I blocked the piece.

Tomorrow, I fly down to the greater San Fransisco area for a quick meet up with the owner of Stitch Diva Studios. We're finishing up another project together. That's all I can tell you for now, but I hope there'll be a sneak preview up in the near future.

October 8, 2007

Boho Baby Knits

I am so excited to be able to post about this book. Kat Coyle approached me a little over a year ago to see if I'd like to contribute to her upcoming book. I received my copy last week and wanted to wait until she posted before I did so.

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The cover alone will probably sell you. The patterns in this book run the gamut from simple to complex, but each is original, fun, and worked in gorgeous yarns. I think I speak for everyone who contributed when I say that Kat is absolutely fantastic to work with. She has great vision, an impeccable eye for color, and her years of designing makes her keenly aware of what a designer needs to do their job successfully. I'm so proud to be a part of this book.

This is my pattern, The Poet Coat. It's worked in two shades of Blue Sky Alpaca and adorned with gold star buttons and a zipper pull.

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The main pattern is a linen stitch which produces a really dense fabric without much bulk.

The model is simply too cute for words.

My friends, Mary-Heather Coger, Julia Trice and Edna Hart, also contributed patterns, as well as Beth Abaravich, whom I never got to know but whose work is absolutely brilliant.

October 10, 2007

Shoes that hurt with a brand new skirt

It was rainy most of this morning so I thought I'd only have crappy indoor shots to show you.

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Or pictures of the piece being blocked

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A closeup of the waistband facing might be interesting

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But we got a bit of sun and I was able to take some better shots.

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With a little help from my friends

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October 15, 2007

Giselle

I am so pleased to present my newest pattern, Giselle, which will be available exclusively through Stitch Diva Studios.

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The pattern is currently in the tech editing stage, in Donna Druchunas' capable hands. After that, it goes to layout and then the pattern will be available for order.

Jennifer asked me to model the garment so I met with her, near her home and we shot over two days. I have the first day's shoot up at my Flickr account. I'll have the second day's shoot, shortly in the same location. Check out a couple of the outtakes at the end of the set.

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The garment is modeled in three variations; an all knit version (orange), a knit and crochet version (red and silver-mo betta pictures to come) and a cropped version in knit and crochet (to come, in brown and teal.) However, the knitter can work any of the styles in a single color or in two colors and may work knit or crochet trim in any combination.

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This design is based on a piece I've called, The Wedding Cardi, which I knit for myself back in 2005, for a friend's wedding.

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It was knit in a discontinued yarn, and well before I had a firm grasp of pattern writing. I had it as set dressing for one of my episodes of Knitty Gritty and have continued to receive requests for a pattern, since. I hope that this ends up being a popular pattern. I'll let you know when it's available for purchase.

October 25, 2007

Epona

It is probably obvious that over the last year I have worked on some rather time consuming projects. I have several as yet unveiled ones as well as the Poet Coat and Giselle.

Something hit me this weekend and I just needed to knit a sock. As a general rule, I'm not much for knitting socks, though there are obviously some exceptions, but this weekend, it just felt like the right project and it is more portable than my larger secret project has become.

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Stats

Yarn: Socks that Rock Medium Weight Superwash Merino
Color: Rose Quarts
Yardage: About 130 yards per sock so a 380 yard skein is more than ample for a pair
Constructions: Toe up, short row toe, gusset, decorative heel flap, tubular bind off
Needles: Toe worked on 2.75MM, remainder of sock worked on 3.25 MM

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I did a few things that might not be totally standard. I worked the toe in a smaller needle than the rest of the sock because the gauge of the stockinette toe is so much wider than the twisted stitch pattern. The smaller needles weren't to match the gauge, just to make it a little more even.

And I decided to forgo the reinforced heel flap that most people like. I realize it's more functional to do a standard slipped stitch heel flap, but I just never liked how it interrupted the flow of the stitch pattern on a sock.

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Both motifs, on the sock, can be found in Barbara Walker's stitch dictionaries but I made some modifications to both. The main motif required a substantial overhaul while the side motif was just changed so that it would have the same number of rows in each repeat as the main motif.

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I think my only concern with this design is that anyone with even slightly shapelier legs than my own, will need some shaping at the calf. Luckily, I've thought about how to handle that and will be putting shaping instructions in the pattern.

Oh, did I not mention that I plan to write a pattern for this? Yah, I do.

November 17, 2007

A ripable offense

Life here on d'nile is certainly lovely, don't you think?

Uhgh, so I thought I was in the home stretch on my garment for Donna's book. I was just picking up the stitches around the neck and front, and counting to make sure the piece had the same number of stitches on both sides.

The signs were there all along. It should have seemed odd that I had trouble picking up the same number of stitches on both armscyes. And it probably should have piqued my interest that I was having a little trouble blocking the fronts evenly. But apparently, I can be pretty resistant to the signs of reality.

01-Identify issue

You see those two stitch markers? They should both be the same distance from their respective shoulder seams.

The piece is knit seamlessly, which means that the sleeves are picked up and knit down from the armscyes. So in order to rip out the extra rows on the front section, I first thought I'd have to rip the entire *sob* sleeve out.

But I gave myself a few minutes to think, and realized there is another option.


O2-assess options

I decided to cut the sleeve off, just under the sleeve cap, and rip only the sleeve cap out. Once the front is fixed and a new sleeve cap knit, I'll graft the two parts together again.


03-safety net

I'm using a yarn with a fairly high wool content, and it tends to felt, every so slightly, to itself. I knew that unraveling would require some tussling and I didn't want to drop stitches on the sleeve, so I inserted a smaller gauge needle into the row of stitches that would remain live on the sleeve.


04-OMG cut

I made a small noodly prayer to the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and snipped.


05-no turning back

No turning back now.


06-unravel

Now it's just a matter of unraveling along the sleeve cap side.


07-catch mistakes

If you missed a stitch, just grab one of those locking stitch markers, and clip it on. In my case, didn't pick up stitches on the spare needle, in a straight line. I was offset by a row for a few inches. Once I realized, I secured the loose stitch, eased out the needle and re-thread it through the correct stitches.


08-pieces separate

The sleeve will be secured on the needle, when you are done, and you can unravel the remaining sleeve cap and reuse the yarn.

Oooh, I'm halfway there.

I'll let you know how the reknitting and grafting go.


And on that note, I need a pup fix.

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November 28, 2007

What I did with my long weekend

I know I'm a little late to be reporting about my weekend. But these pictures are making me happy right now and I want to share.

I finally finished the piece I've been knitting for Donna Druchunas' upcoming book. We were all asked to incorporate one of Dorothy Reade's lace patterns into an original design. I love this sort of challenge. I find I'm far more creative when I have some sort of rule or limitation.

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I wish I could show you the whole thing but this teaser will have to do for now. The yarn is Lorna's Laces, Lion and Lamb. And the wee buttons? Those are vintage. I just love old buttons. I've been slowly amassing (maybe more of an "asmattering") a little collection of vintage buttons.

Completing this piece basically frees me of all deadline knitting. There is actually one other small item I need to knit but it's, as I said, small and I expect it to be rather fun, too.

I do have a substantial amount of pattern writing to do now, though. It's never as much fun as the designing and knitting but I guess it's what they pay me for, right?


On Saturday, Leo and I walked around downtown Portland a bit. We live about 10 minutes from downtown, but for the sake of our savings accounts, we don't go terribly often.

Obviously, most shops were a mob scene, this weekend, but we weren't terribly bothered by it. The air was crisp, there was no rain and very little wind. Just gorgeous.

I love how the sidewalks get stained by the fallen leaves.

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Hi, I'm the weird girl who photographs the sidewalk, how are you today?

When one stops staring at her toes, the stuff higher up looks pretty darn nice too.

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Check out THAT hottie.

December 4, 2007

Bad knitter, no cookie

I have no good excuse for casting on a new project when I have plenty of existing projects on the needle. Bad knitter. Bad bad knitter.

In a recent trip downtown, I stopped in at Knit/Purl. I actually don't really have that much inclination to buy yarn, these days. I like my stash and knitting my own handspun is really satisfying, but I had this image in my head of a stranded sweater in an easy care fiber, that I could wear on my outings with the dog.

Less than 30 minutes later, I walked out with 5 skeins of Cascade 220 superwash. They only had 2 skeins each of purple and gray and only one of the natural, so my design is driven by my limited yardage.

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Ravelry makes us name our projects, so I'm calling this Astoria, after the quaint little town on the Oregon coast.

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The garment is shaped with darts instead of side seams and still needs a neckband and sleeves.

I'd like to do full length sleeves, but I'm not sure I have enough yardage to do so. I'll certainly have enough gray and white to add the stranded motif to both sleeves.

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So far, this project has been very satisfying. I knitted and washed a swatch but otherwise, I have just designed as I've gone along. I wasn't even sure if it'd be a cardigan or pullover until I finished the neckline shaping.

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The colorwork pattern is very loosely based on one I found in my Vogue Stitchionary. The inspiration motif is called Arles, in case you are playing along at home, and is on page 78 of volume three. That one is stacked, turned sideways and tiles in the other direction, but I thought it could be made into a fun wave motif so I reworked it to fit the design and tile correctly.

Let's hope this rash of starting will result in a subsequent rash of finishing, so I can get me that cookie. What, there's not really a cookie? Dag nabbit.

December 12, 2007

Rookie mistake

After knitting the colorwork on both sleeves, I realized that I made one of those head slapper goofs, that can only be fixed with a rip.

After determining the number of stitches I'd need to decrease before the cuff, I determined how frequently I'd need to work decrease rounds. Pattern calculating-101. So where did it go awry? Each decrease round reduces the stitch count by 2 stitches, yet I was calculating as though only 1 stitch were reduced per round. Silly mistake, and constricting too. Oy vey.

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On the left is my finger numbingly tight first go at the sleeve. On the right is the reworked sleeve, new and improved to allow for blood circulation.

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Another look at the happy arm.

Nothing like a little ripping to keep me humble.

December 20, 2007

Astoria

I finished Astoria.

Astoria front alone Astoria front layered

If I hadn't flubbed the sleeves, the first go around, I probably could have finished this baby in a week.

Most setbacks slow my momentum substantially, and this was no exception, but since this piece is one of those ubiquitous top-down raglans, there was no reason not to finish it up. Almost all the work was already done, and having tried it on, I was sure it was a design I'd enjoy wearing.

Astoria front full length Astoria with helpers Astoria back full length

The finished piece looks just like I hoped. The body darts allowed me to get a good custom fit and I think the wave motif pops nicely against the deep gray and purple.

And for all of you voyeurs, here's a look at the garments naughty bits.

Astoria floats

I ended up with plenty of leftover yarn, after the piece was done. I could have made the sleeves much longer but I didn't think it would look right with the length of the garment. Like Goldilocks would say, this seemed "juuuuuust right."

For those who might ask, and several of you have already, I'm not sure if I'll offer a pattern. Right now, I'm just happy to have a deadline associated with this. We'll see. It's simple enough that it might be worth it to write something up.

On an, arguably, unrelated note, you see those jeans up there? I like them. They fit me well. You see how, in that top left shot, they sit on my hips, near the hem of Astoria? Those are considered a high waisted cut. Can you believe that? When did our waistlines get so low that 3 inches below my belly button is high waisted? Or is my torso so freakishly long that there isn't a mom-pant alive that can pass my hip bone? Let me tell you though, it's nice to wear a pair of pants that doesn't threaten to show the world my knees from a bird's eye view. You know?

January 8, 2008

Not exactly a little project

When your hat has over 200 stitches per row, it's not really a a little project, is it?

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While in Mendocino, I picked up three balls of Crystal Palace Maizy, two in deep purple and one in a coordinating print.

This yarn is 82% corn and 18% nylon which means it's soft and stretchy. It'd make fabulous socks but since I'm really not much for knitting socks, at least not second socks, I wanted to do something else with it, something I'd actually use.

Maybe winter in Portland, with all it's overcast skies and rainy days, makes me dream in color, but lately, I've just been bitten by the colorwork bug. Instead of working a standard stranded or intarsia design, I decided to give double knitting a go.

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Double knitting produces a flat piece of fabric that is knit on both sides. It can be used to make two color pieces that have alternating color patterns on each side and it's none rolling. All good stuff. But even better, keeping an even tension in double knitting is loads easier than other color work techniques. Because of the way double knit is worked, you are never carrying your yarn more than two stitches, and just maintaining one's normal tension is sufficient to produce a relatively elastic and even tension.

The progress is slow going but I'm happy with what I've done so far. This was a great, nearly mindless piece, to work on the road, too. The right side rows (those on the predominantly purple side) progress in a standard pattern, and the wrong side rows are worked exactly as the previous row, so there's little need to refer back to the chart I made.

January 14, 2008

Green cards and argyle hats

My dear Canadian friends got their green cards, last week, and threw a little party to celebrate. The other guests wore green in honor of the occasion and I brought some AmeriCone Dream ice cream. With knee slapping humor like that, here in the states, it's a wonder they didn't pack their lovely things and head back to the icy embrace of the Canadian snow. It was a small but rowdy festive group, and the hosts ensured there were plenty of libations.

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But I learned something very important about myself.
I
am
the
BLOCKUS QUEEN!
I admit, I may have let loose with a bit of language that was unbecoming a queen, but when one must bring the smack down, one must also bring the smack talk. I believe their is a theorem that covers this.


In other news, the Corn on the Nod hat is coming along nicely.

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I've completed the argyle section and now need to decide how long I want to make the hat before decreasing for the crown.

January 22, 2008

Corn on the Nod

Corn on the Nod is finished.
This little guy used one full skein of Crystal Palace Maizy in Bittersweet (dark purple) and about a half a skein of Crystal Palace Maizy in Neptune (variegated blues, purples and greens). I knit it on US#1/2.25mm needles.

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From the hem to the top of the argyle, I used one method of double knitting in which both the front and back of the knitting are knit in a single row. This produces a fabric that is double thickness, reversible and attached, so that the two sides cannot be separated.

For the striped areas, I used a second form of double knitting that allows you to knit in the round on straight needles. You knit the front on one row, then turn and knit the back. The front and back sections are not attached to each other. It's the same method I use to knit the fingers on my Hooray For Me Gloves. Once I started the shaping, on the crown and ear flaps, I separated the stitches onto two circulars and knit in the round per the standard two-circs method.

In the argyle areas, the two sides have reversed color patterns. In the striped areas both sides are identical. This gives both sides of the hat a unique but unified look. I thought I'd like the mostly purple side more, but now that it's finished, I'm lean a little more towards other side. Luckily, I don't have to choose.

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As you can see here, my seaming is a bit wonky in areas. In hindsight, I should have worked the selvage stitches slightly differently in the first double knit section, so that seaming would be easier.

Thoughts on the yarn

Maizy is a great option for people who want a plant fiber yarn with a little memory. The corn is soft and comfortable to wear against the skin and the elastic content gives the fabric just enough memory. This yarn seems to be geared towards sock knitters but could certainly be used in a variety of applications.

There are a few things about which I'd caution you. Firstly, is blocking. I have not touched iron to this fabric but I've seen swatches of corn based fibers that looked decidedly melted in spots. I would be hesitant to use this for anything lacy that would need serious blocking. Additionally, the yarn is pretty splitty which means you do need to keep an eye on what you are doing, but it's certainly manageable. Finally, this yarn is horrible for seaming. I would highly recommend subbing out Maizy for some embroidery floss for any seaming you might do. Otherwise, though, it's a great yarn and the hat even passes Leo's stringent standards for comfort.

Thoughts on double knitting

I like how even my colorwork looks with this method, and I suspect I'll use it again sometime, but I find it a slow process and wouldn't want to have to do it with any regularity. Still, it was fun to work a project in a technique I have not used much before.

January 31, 2008

Because sometimes I get sick of taking my own picture

Since Ravelry came to town I've noticed an upsurge in pattern sales, which is fantastic. It also meant I could finally treat myself to something I've been pining for, for a while.

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This isn't one of those cool adjustable dress forms that you can make to your exact body specifications, but at around $50 (including adjustable stand), it's a great alternative. The measurements are very close to my own, right down to the rather long torso. The waist is just about exactly my size and the bust and hips are a little smaller. I think it'll be easy enough to slap a bra on this baby to more accurately simulate my own shape.

The form is totally pinable so I can easy throw partially worked knit pieces on it and see how it's all coming along.

On that note, you've probably also noticed the new knit in that picture.

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I'm using a bit of Madil Sahara, that I have lying around. It's 70% Viscose and 30% Linen.

Here's the thing, though, I don't have enough of the brown to complete the garment, so I was thinking about working the rest in some of the Euroflax Linen I have.

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I can't decide which color I want to use. I love the orange with the brown but it feels a little 70s-ish to me. I wonder if I'll actually be happy with the end results. The pink is probably a better color on me and would be very valentines appropriate, but it might be too garish. What do you guys think?

I also have a couple balls of the Sahara yarn in a very light mint green, which I like with the brown, but I think it might wash me out when used at the top of the garment. I'm not even sure I"ll have enough leftover brown yarn to crochet around the green to give some contrast.

I have a feeling there may be some trial and error in my near future.

February 3, 2008

On second thought

Well, after claiming that I would need to use the pink or orange yarn and after an overwhelming majority suggested the pink, as the best option, I went with...

Linen progress top 1

...mint green.

Once I completed the brown portion of the garment, with most of the 4th ball left, I realized that the two balls of mint green should be just enough. I really like the pink yarn, but I'm going to use it for something different.

I knit and reknit the green portion, a few times to get just the right effect.

Linen progress top 2 Linen progress top 2 - back

When I was finally happy with the results, I debated doing the straps in brown, but decided green, with brown trim would be better. After three days of obsessing over the piece, the knitting and crochet are done.

The sun poked her little head out today, so I decided to get some shots while the shooting's good. The piece is just lousy with unwoven ends, right now, but the nice thing about having a mannequin is that I can easily tuck them away, and she won't move around and set those ends loose.

Finished top - front

So here it is, all done, but for the weaving.

I don't think I'll keep that particular ribbon at the bust, I'll swap it out for something simpler, but I wanted something there to complete the look.

Finished top - back Top with jacket

Here's a back view and a view of how I'll most likely wear it; layered under a jacket. If I had more yardage, I think I would have done short little flutter sleeves, terminating in the same lace as the hem, but a tank is nice too.


Continue reading "On second thought" »

February 5, 2008

Dusting off Lily

Do you remember Lily? Well, I sure do. I have kept the bag she's been in, in plain site, since I last worked on her in May. Oy vey. I put Lily into time out after trying her on, and feeling the design had gone astray. The motifs, running along the raglan, were coming so close together that they appeared to draw an (unattractive) arrow to my face. When I tried her on, I knew I was not happy with the look.

I put Lily aside and I wasn't sure that I'd come back. I usually have a very hard time revisiting sleeping projects.

But, something about the soft olive colored calmer and the lily of the valley motif, drew me back.

So I pulled out Lily and simply started ripping. I figured I'd have to rip back to the armscye, or further. But something stopped me, after only a dozen rows. I decided I should put all my stitches onto waste yarn and throw Lily on the mannequin.

The piece was rumpled but the little bit of ripping proved to be a good starting point.

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I realized, I had it all wrong. I was going for a boat neck, but I was trying to make the neck too high. I think this piece is salvageable with minimal modifications.

I gave Lily a bit of a steam, and I'm back in the race.

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I'll tackle the neckline first, resolving that issue, before dealing with anything else. After that, I'll probably close up the vents at the hem and work a bottom edge that matches the neckline.
Finally, after all that is done, I'll assess the sleeves.

Let's see if I can take the U out of this UFO.


For those of you who like looking under the hood, I've uploaded some detail shots of the Linen Top, including the final ribbon I've chosen.

I don't have any immediate plans to write a pattern, but I think some people might be interested in a look at how the garment was constructed.

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February 6, 2008

Lily

It's a relief to have this finished. UFOs really irk me, I think because I'm so bad about revisiting them if I've lost my momentum. I seem to be getting better at it, with age, but I still think I do best with a big burst of inspiration.

Finished Lily Front

You know what's funny? This might be one of the few garments that looks a little better on me than the mannequin. The very narrow hips and shoulders of my stand-in, make the piece look unbalanced (top heavy?), to my eye. Still, she holds still which is useful on these overcast days.

Finished Lily w/ Thea

When I first started designing this, I felt sure that I did not want ribbing at the neck and hem. I can't remember why, because I actually really like it, now. At the sleeve hem, I just used a simple i-cord bind-off to maintain the rather pronounced scallop that the lace produces. But, at the neck and hem, I think the ribbing does a nice job of producing a clean finished edge.

Finished Lily Neckline

Speaking of the neckline, I used a few decreases to keep that boat neck from falling off the shoulders. It juuuust covers my bra straps. I could probably have done a little more ribbing if it bothered me, but right now, I like it.

I really don't think I need to say much about my love for Calmer. I've used it quite a few times before and love it to pieces. It's soft, soft, soft, soft, soft, and for those of you who can't stomach the price, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at the yardage and how far it goes, when knit at the recommended gauge.

All in all, I think it's another piece I'll actually wear. I'll try to get a shot of me in it, eventually, but it's a bit too rainy and cold right now.

February 22, 2008

Accessorizing

I've been working on lots of little things lately. There's a bigger item on the needles too, but I haven't had the time or mental fortitude to tackle it recently.

Firstly, the handsome one has been subtly hinting that he needs more hats. And by subtle, I mean he's been saying, "I need more hats." Leo wears beanies almost every day, and his favorites are soft, wool-free, and in a neutral colorways.

Worked in Frog Tree Pima/Silk [85% pima cotton/15% silk] this little beanie bears a striking resemblance to the Carlsbad hat, only worked in a larger gauge.
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I need to get a shot of him actually wearing the hat. Right now, this dark, blurry shot of Leo (and the hat) watching me teach Madeline to salsa dance, is the best I can offer.

Hey, you celebrate your birthday, your way, I'll celebrate my birthday, my way!

And now that one hat is done, I've cast on another.

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Beanie number two will be worked in solid black (same yarn) and entirely in 2x2 ribbing. This will be a variant of the Pismo hat.

I think Leo will really enjoy wearing these hats, because the yarn is so soft, but the fibers aren't as easy care as some of the other hats I've made, so I'll probably be casting on at least one more design, in 100% cotton.

My friend, Julia, was asking if I put elastic into my cotton hats. I never have and the hats don't seam to be any worse for the wear. Some negative ease seems to be enough for the hats to keep their shape.

On the tatting front, I feel like I'm really getting a grasp of the basic. I'm certainly no expert, yet, but it's all starting to make more sense.

These are the two types of thread I've been using.
The green is standard Pearl (or "perle") Cotton. It's size 5 and seems to come in a huge selection of colors.

The white is Pearl Cotton in size 8, which comes in little balls and is available in a much more limited color range. The craft stores have white, black and ecru, while a local needlepoint store had those and some primary colors.

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The latter produces very delicate little lace pieces, while the former really shows off the texture of the tatted stitches. They almost look like little beads, to my eye.

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I worked on this while riding the local public transportation and was really appreciating how portable it was. I was even able to work on it while standing, which I find harder to do with my bigger knitted pieces.

Passing fancy? New passion? Who knows, but it's fun so far.

February 26, 2008

Inspir(al)ed

I'm just heading out to a meeting...in Chicago. My flight in last night was delayed a couple hours, but I made it here in one piece. If I can manage to walk across the street without falling on my arse, I'll consider it a successful trip.

Since I got in at the time I should have gone to bed and my meeting is mere minutes away, I don't have time for a proper post, so instead I'll tell you to march your bum on over to MJ's site and check out her new pattern. I've already made one for myself and I love it. It kept my head toasty warm last night, in this brutal Chicago weather.

February 29, 2008

Sun damage

About a year ago, I bought a sweater's worth of Elsbeth Lavold Cotton Patine. It was on sale at an LYS and it was so soft and squishy, I just couldn't pass it up.

Well, despite the fact that I've had it tucked away in a dark corner, in a bag, the yarn is showing definite signs of fading from exposure to sun. It's subtle enough, that I can't seem to capture it in photos, but when I try the garment on, I see obvious bands of fading at the start of each new ball of yarn I add. The effect is one of belly cellulite. I'm quite sure that this is not a look I want to go for.

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But, even though I noticed this a while ago, I didn't stop knitting it. In fact, I'm plowing along. Why? Because I have a really sweet mum. She's going to over dye my piece, when I'm done, to even out the coloring. She's been dying natural fibers, at home, and graciously agreed to throw turn my brown eyes garment, blue.

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I'm sort of giddy about it. I think that the end result will look even better than if my yarn had been perfect to start with.


I didn't have a chance in my earlier post, to put up a picture of my Inspir(al)ed hat, but now that I'm back home I can show you this picture of Inspir(al)ed, having a moment with Thea and me.

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It's good to have an assistant.


And finally, more tatting

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I'm back to using the size 8 pearl cotton (the finer stuff). I just love how delicate it looks, next to the size 5 cotton. I'm a painfully slow tatter. That image above shows several hours worth of work. But I have these visions of trimming projects in tatted lace and I get so excited, I just can't put the project down. By the way, thanks to each of you who sent me resources and suggestions. I've been trying to take it all in and I know I'll be coming back, again and again, to revisit your comments and links.

I may have ordered myself some more tatting goodies from an online resource. I've used this site for purse handles, and now it's becoming my go-to place for tatting supplies.

March 5, 2008

Not much to show

It feels like I haven't done too much lately. Work has been one crazy deadline after another and by the time the day is up, not even my crafting looks appealing to me.

I have made some incremental progress on the cotton cowl.

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I think you might even be able to make out some of that bleached effect, in these pictures. It's noticeable to me, but I've been staring at it for a couple weeks.

I've also purchased a few new tatting supplies.

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I bought two balls of variegated thread, and three new shuttles. So far, I like the little hooks at the end of the Boye shuttles (the ones with the bobbins) but I find my original Clover plastic shuttles a little nicer to hold, because they are so light. It doesn't seem like the bobbin holds much more of the #5 pearl cotton, but I'm sure its fantastic with fine threads.

The pretty little silver shuttle is lovely to look at but with no hook or pick at the end, it requires that I always keep a fine crochet hook around for joining picots and that's just a bit of a drag.

I also got myself an inexpensive little picot guide (not shown). If I ever make anything that could be an heirloom, it'll sate my persnickety side that wants everything to be just right.

My humble little tatting collection all fits snuggly in a tea tin, right now.

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I'm not sure how long that will last, but I like it for now. Since I've started working from home, I've gradually moved from being a coffee drinker to being exclusively a tea drinker, and I have many little tins and containers to prove it. Any opportunity to put them to good use fills me with a bit of glee.

Lastly, I've finished Leo's second beanie.

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I've had this done for a while but black knits are a real beast to photograph and I've been dragging my feet on it.

I still want to knit him at least one more hat, in something easy to care for. The pima/silk blend is a delight to knit and wear, but he needs some real work horses to keep up with his beanie wearing schedule.

March 10, 2008

Paging Nurses Panda and Theano

Leo has been sick...icky sick, since Wednesday night. It seems like it may finally be passing, but for a while, he was in rough shape.

Luckily, I didn't have to tend to him alone.

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Panda monitored his vital signs.

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And Thea...

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She made sure Leo got plenty of sleep.

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If you haven't already, I suggest you get one of each for yourself, in case you get sick.

When they weren't tending to the sick, they helped me get a few shots of the cowl in progress.

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I actually knit about a skein's worth of cowl and hated what I did. I got a little too creative with it and it wasn't pretty. We are ripped back to this point.

March 18, 2008

Caught in a ray of sunshine

Two pups napping.

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A little more progress on the cowl.

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March 23, 2008

Practical

This piece is so different than my normal style. Usually, I like to create something you couldn't just pop into Old Navy or Gap and buy. But sometimes it's nice to crank out something so utilitarian that you could wear it twice in a week and no one would notice.

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There's not too much to say about it. The lines and construction are all quite simple. It's incredibly comfortable and should be a nice layering piece on those rare occasions I need to be in the office for work.

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I think my mannequin wears it a little better than I do. She's such a show off.

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Even though this piece feels a little "blah" to me, there are elements I like. I find the wide ribbing very flattering and I thought the way the collar looked, when half finished, could be modified into an interesting shawl collar on a cardigan.

For now, this piece is off to New Hampshire to get a warm dip in a dye bath.

April 2, 2008

Spin Off

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A couple of my online friends have already sent me congrats on my shawl write up in Spin Off. In fact, Deb saw it before I even got my copy.

When Interweave contacted me about including my shawl in a "gallery of shawls," I imagined a couple of page of a dozen or more baseball card sized boxes with a photo and a short description. Even after filling out the questionnaire, I simply assumed they wanted enough material to be able to cherry pick what they printed. When I saw that I got a whole 2-page spread I was floored...and pleased.

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One thing I discovered, while filling in the details, is that I am still a real neophyte at this spinning thing. How many twists per inch in the singles? I dunno. What drafting method do I use while spindling? Anything that keep the spindle from going plummeting to the floor, I'd say.

But still, it was fun to revisit this piece and I'm still proud, of the fact that I produced so much yardage on a little hand spindle.

April 12, 2008

My cowl quotes Tobias Fünke

My mom did an amazing job overdyeing my Cowl.

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"I’m afraid I just blue myself"

She used two dips in a muted blue dye which allowed just a little of the warmth of the original beige to shine through. The result still looks blue to me but teeters on the edge of a sage green. It's really striking in person. Of course, pictures never do it justice.

The girls are just there to draw attention away from how much we need to prune the shrubbery.

April 18, 2008

Astoria Pattern

When I finished knitting Astoria, late last year, and decided I'd write a pattern, I thought it'd be a piece of cake. Well, after 4 months, innumerable hours and much conversing with my tech editor and beta reviewers, I think I've come up with a pattern I feel comfortable selling.

This 7 page pattern, filled with diagrams, charts, and tons of modification suggestions, comes with 10 sizes from 31"/79cm – 58"/147cm.

Additionally, you can download an Excel document, for free, with the motif, set up so that you can play around with different color combinations.

The pattern is available for download for $9.99. You can check out all the supplies, sizes and other specifications for this pattern here.

Thanks to everyone who expressed interest in the pattern. I hope that people will enjoy knitting this piece.

April 21, 2008

Brightening an overcast day

It's one of those Mondays that feel like it needs brightening up. I'm a bit tired, the sky is overcast, work is crazy and I'm trying to sort out an issue with my taxes (don't ask.) So what's my remedy?

How about knitting a little handspun into a vivid scarf.

BFL scarf closeup

I'm about halfway through the scarf, and thought I'd give it a little bit of blocking to see how I like it.

BFL scarf progress 1


Simple but effective.

I used the Spinning for Speed and Softness method on this yarn. My technique is still a little rough so the finished two ply has a lot of personality. I wanted a stitch pattern that had a bit of an organic feel to it to highlight those thick and thin areas and I think this one fit the bill.

From the looks of it, this stitch pattern is a half sibling to one used in a really gorgeous piece you may have noticed in my knitting neighborhood. The version I'm using is in one of my Japanese stitch dictionaries under the leaf heading, but blocked out it's really pretty abstracted.

The yarn is some of Amy's BFL in the colorway Poppies. I have enough yardage that I'll be able to knit an entire scarf and a hat to match with plenty leftover.

This is just a brief little break from the knitting deadlines I have and after I crank this little project out, I'll be back to the grind, but I do think I'll work you up a quick freebie pattern for this, as a thanks for all the support for both Astoria and Crime of Fashion.

Out of curiosity, could you guys let me know your preference. What do you like; PDF downloads of patterns or HTML pages that are printable?

I have my opinion, but I'd like to see what other think.

And for those of you who wonder what a dog does on a day when it's too cloudy to go out and play, I have your answer right here.

Sleep

Thea takes a nap.

And enjoy treats

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It's real torture.

April 25, 2008

Sinuate Pattern Available

Sinuate in front of weedy lawn

The free pattern download for Sinuate is now available. If you are on Ravelry, you can see all the details here.

The pattern is two full pages of instructions plus a cover.

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The piece uses about 270 yards of fiber that's 15wpi (somewhere between a DK and Worsted) and requires US #6/4mm needles and a size F/3.75mm crochet hook.

If you have any trouble downloading the pattern, please let me know.

June 16, 2008

The unblogable list just keeps growing

If you were to look at my Ravelry notebook, you'd notice a lot of projects that are super top secret. (If I showed them to you, I'd have to kill you, and nobody wants that.)


Sadly enough, this doesn't even represent the full list of unbloggables. Two are to come (awaiting yarn) and one two-part pattern isn't represented (didn't get a good swatch shot before I sent it off.)

So, that means I've been very busy and haven't much to show for it around here.
But, in the next month and a half, or so, I expect to have a new self published pattern for you, which will reveal the whole behind these two little pieces.

Swatch1 Swatch2

And, the premier issue of Twist Collective will be out with this bad boy.

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The rest will come in its due time. So funny too, I had this grand idea that I'd work on all self published stuff this year. How silly I am. I have been trying to do more of my own designs, but the opportunities that have arisen, to work on other projects, have just been too good to pass up. In the end, I think it's all worked out for the best.

That said, with several patterns being tech edited right now, and other patterns due very soon, I've been so entrenched in numbers and details that I needed to give myself a little break yesterday.

That's when El Matchador, some Spunky Eclectic merino and I, had ourselves a luxurious few hours while watching Deadwood on DVD.

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These are the singles spun not-too-tightly, using a supported long draw method. I plan to ply it pretty tightly once I've spun the 4 ounces I have. I think this will retain the softness without being too prone to pilling. The colorway is called Sage and it's an amazing mix of greens and browns, ranging from deep leafy green to red and yellow ocher. The picture really doesn't show the color well. You'll just have to take my word for it.

I'm eager to finish spinning up the remaining fiber, yet also feeling mentally refreshed enough to dive back into my deadline work.

In unrelated news, my parents arrive on Wednesday when we will belatedly celebrate Father's Day with my now-legitimate-no-longer-step father. Huzzah! And to add to the fun, my mom and I will be at the Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene on Friday and, maybe, Saturday. If you'll be there too, please say "hi." I have a feeling my wallet will be substantially lighter after leaving the event.

June 29, 2008

Coming Attractions

Yesterday was Julia's baby shower, where crafty women, from far and wide, came to rain gifts and well wishes on Julia and her li'l bun in the oven. It was so great to see my local friends and meet some amazing women I hadn't met before. Such a great day.

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Honestly, so many people were taking pictures that I didn't go to great lengths to get all the prime shots, but you can see what I took, over on Fickr.

But there are a couple of shots that I'd like to highlight, for totally selfish reasons.

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See those bad boys? Their name is Alsace Le Monstre and the patterns for each will be available soon.

Here's a more detailed shot that will appear in the pattern.

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In the mean time, I leave you with a little more sweetness

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Townes sleeping in Mary-Heather's gorgeous mobile from Kat's Baby Boho book.

And, my friend Chrissy's dog, Akasha, wearing a hand knit sweater.

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Yes, she is real, not a stuffed animal, and yes, yes, yes, she is ridiculously cute.

July 15, 2008

I don't want to alarm you, but there's a monster in the room

The pattern for the Alsace Le Monstre Hat, Doll and both combined, are now available for sale.

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Special thanks go out to Julia getting knocked up and inspiring me to come up with something unique and to Ada for her tech editing work.

If you have any trouble purchasing the pattern or find any issues with the instructions, don't hesitate to contact me.

July 29, 2008

Sam I Am Cardigan

I was sort of on the line about whether I wanted to blog this garment, because I thought it could be something fun to submit to Knitty Spin or Spin-Off, but I've decided, what the heck, it's another top-down fitted raglan. If you can't find 450 patterns like it, you just aren't looking hard enough.

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I'm calling it the Sam I Am Cardigan because it feels very Dr. Seuss to me, with the sort of wonky stripes. The wonkification (technical term) comes from using handspun yarn, of course.

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I've been working on this piece between deadline projects. It's good, relatively mindless knitting and it's in my favorite color combination, if you haven't noticed. The showcase yarn is merino in the colorway, Sage, from Spunky Eclectic. The purple is from Penchant to Knit, and the white cormo is from Black Berry Hill Farms. All three finished fibers have some seriously thick and thin qualities with the white tending to be thickest and the purple tending to be the thinnest. I'm amazed at how they all seem to come together into a cohesive whole.

I don't know how long the finished piece will be and I don't have a scale with me, in LA, to check on my current usage, but I'm a little further along and expect to be able to get half length sleeves, and the body at least a few inches below my waist, plus all the bands. I'm looking forward to diving into my stash of vintage buttons to finish off the look.

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I had to include a shot of Julia's cat, Townes when I was over her house, knitting this piece. He was giving that yarn the hairy eyeball and when I tried the piece on later, he crawled up and grabbed himself a little pawfull. I guess I can't criticize his excellent taste in handspun.

In entirely unrelated news, my friend took me to see Diana Ross in concert at the Hollywood Bowl, this weekend. It was a lot of fun and crowd was nearly as entertaining as the performance.

August 8, 2008

Sam I Am Cardigan....Again

The Sam I Am Cardigan is complete, and I got way more length than I thought I would.

There is something truly satisfying about creating a garment from pure fluff (albeit, pre washed and dyed fluff, thankyouverymuch.) I simply haven't had the sticktoittiveness to spin up 1000 yards of a single fiber, so stripes are an obvious solution.

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The finished piece fits well and is soft enough to wear near skin, which isn't surprising since it's mostly merino with some silk and cormo.

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I don't think I'll ever use more than one button on this. It's how I wear almost all my cardigans, but I put in a whole set of them, just to leave my options open.

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Speaking of the button band, I can never remember which way it should open for men versus women, so if I reversed it, I'm not surprised. I had a 50-50 chance to get it right.

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I can't finish this post without including a shot of me wearing the piece. Here I am on our dormant lawn. Portland goes pretty hot and dry in the summer and it's a rare person whose lawn is actually green, but come winter, with all the rain and mild temperatures, it's lush as all get up. So, um, ignore the lawn, if you would.


Completely unrelated, but of great importance, there's a new pusher in town. For those of you who read JenLa, the La half has started her own little crack yarn line and I'm fortunate enough to have a sample of it. It's damn fine stuff, indeed. Think soft, smooshy merino in gorgeous and rich monochromatic variegated colors. I foresee quite a following for it.

It looks like she may be sold out right now, but keep your eyes peeled, I expect she'll be dying up more.

September 2, 2008

Making a statement with your tush

When I first found Schmeebot's blog, I came for the Waffles, but even now that the photogenic golden has moved away, I enjoy my regular fix of delightful images. Recently, though, she gave me even more reason to love her blog, she's a member of the Axis of Evo. Woohoo!

Once I mentioned my interest in joining the brigade, she challenged me to a hot-pants-design-off. Well, that makes it sound a little more competitive than it is. Really we're just both designing some boy shorts and I'll be offering the pattern for free. Yipee!

Here's my initial sketch.

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And Schmee's great sketch is here.

I've code named this pattern, "Asses of Evo" but I'll need a more family friendly name for the final pattern.

The pattern will be worked in Elann Esprit in "Coffee Bean" and "Pecan" to be a sort of inverse of Charles Darwin's original drawing. I also picked up some "Wine" and "Natural" that I might use to knit a second pair, if the first come out well enough. For those who don't want to order from Elann, Esprit is the same as Cascade Fixation.

Surely, you are all awaiting, with bated breath, a chance to knit up some evolution themed hot pants, right? RIGHT? Sure you are.

Also, on a somewhat related note, I plan to do a new tutorial, sometime soon, on colorizing your sketches in Photoshop and using the program to play around with color combination.

September 17, 2008

Good lighting and a flattering angle

The second and final version of Assets of Evo are done. The first were pretty good, but I knew there were some elements that could be better.

I love the wine and black color combo. The browns are gorgeous, but this is more my color.

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I redid the duplicate stitch chart to better reflect the proportions of the artwork. The previous was a little short and stout.

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The front meets the strict standards of our Quality Control department, which is always good.

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The new crotch gusset fits so much better than the original design.

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And if I stand in just the right position, wearing a cute pair of shoes, with flattering lighting and soft focus, it doesn't look too bad on me.

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I am now finishing up the pattern and then I'll be looking for a tech editor.

September 21, 2008

Nehalem Bay

Recently, I picked up Evelyn A. Clark's Knitting Lace Triangles. It's a lovely little book that gives you lots of tips for knitting, well, lace triangles. She gives four lace patterns and combines them in a myriad of ways, working them either in stockinette or garter, alone or in combination, with or without transitions.

Everything is so clear and simple, I just had to cast on. With some beautiful Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock that a dear friend sent me, recently, I quickly worked up a few repeats of the ripple lace motif. But after that, I knew I wanted to go my own direction. Heaven forfend I actually follow a pattern, huh?

On our way to the beach, I knit away on my little shawl.


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The colors of the yarn made me think of the autumn leaves just starting to show, on our route to the ocean. The ripples make me think of the sea lapping at the shore. As we passed by lovely little Nehalem Bay, I knew I had my shawl's name.

This morning, I moved my stitches onto longer cords and did a little steam block to see how it's looking.

nehalem-bay-progress

I just started my second of two skeins, after nearly finishing 2 repeats of the feathery leaf pattern. The piece blocks out to about 48" wide right now. After I add another repeat of the feathery leaf, and then the border, I think I'll have a shawl that's another 6 to 8" wide, which I feel will be a good size to work as either a scarf or a small wrap for date night with Leo.

As for the beach trip, you know that went great.

Mozaic of September 20th trip to Manzanita, Oregon

1. IMG_0064.JPG, 2. IMG_0054.JPG, 3. IMG_0006.JPG, 4. IMG_0015.JPG, 5. IMG_0030.JPG, 6. IMG_0031.JPG, 7. IMG_0057.JPG, 8. IMG_0061.JPG, 9. IMG_0093.JPG, 10. IMG_0105.JPG, 11. IMG_0097.JPG, 12. IMG_0110.JPG, 13. IMG_0114.JPG14. IMG_0097.JPG 15. IMG_0110.JPG 16. IMG_0114.JPG

See entire set here

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

We tried riding our bikes on the beach, but the sand was either too dry (thus too soft) or too wet (thus too soft) to ride on. We'll try again at lower tide, though, because bikes + beach = a darn good run for the girls.

September 24, 2008

Scenic view of the Bay

I finished the Nehalem Bay shawl a couple days ago but it took me a little while to get it all blocked out and modeled. The lighting was pretty poor, so the shots aren't great, but you get the idea.

Nehalem Bay Shawl Mozaic

1. Nehalem Bay Shawl - Back (worn), 2. Nehalem Bay Shawl - As scarf, 3. Nehalem Bay Shawl - Back, 4. Nehalem Bay Shawl - Front (worn)

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

Stats

Name: Nehalem Bay
Pattern: The first lace panel area is from Evelyn Clark's Knitting Lace Triangles the remainder is my own design based on a stitch I found in a Japanese stitch dictionary.
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Gold Hill (Superwash Merino/Nylon)
Needles: US#4
Size: Approx 58" across and 26" deep, after blocking
Yardage: 96 grams/365 yards
General thoughts: This was a fun project, plain and simple. The yarn is absolutely delightful to work with and a perfect choice for lace because of it's harmonious shades and short color repeats. I just love that there's no noticeable flashing or pooling. The lace was interesting enough to keep me going on the long stretches yet simple enough that I could converse or watch a show without getting confused.

The size is also a good one for my intended use. I like the idea of a shawl, but I get a lot more mileage out of scarves and I expect to use this that way, a lot, this winter. The best part is that even when I get to my destination, the scarf converts back to its shawl role if it gets too chilly in the building. This makes it all the more appropriate to use a good sock yarn, since it's likely to get lots of real world wear and tear. I have to thank Julia for gifting me such fantastic yarn.


On a totally unrelated note, my dad's colleague is going to be traveling to Vancouver, BC with her SO. She'll have a lot of time to wander around the city while her guy is at a convention. Does anyone have any recommendations for her for things she might do while she's there? You can leave a comment or click that Contact button up in the navigation bar and let me know.

September 26, 2008

You want some hot pants? I gots your hot pants right here.

tattoo and shorts.jpg

Assets of Evo is up!

I'm playing around with a whole shareware sharewear (thanks colin, you know I love a good pun.) concept here. The pattern is free, either for download from my site or from Ravelry. So go get yourself a copy and knit away. If you happen to like the pattern and you can afford to do so, there's an option to make a donation towards the cost of the tech editing, supplies and labor that went into the pattern. Don't want to make a donation? Don't. It's all good.

As always, I try to provide error free patterns, but even with tech editing, errors can slip in, so please let me know if you find any problems with the pattern.

Now go get a copy and knit and be merry.

October 1, 2008

Spindlicity is back

Hey, guess who's back and looking better than ever?

I even have a pattern in this edition.

I actually designed this way back when, right after I designed my Lake Park Hat and Gloves. In fact, I designed it so long ago, it was before we adopted Ms. Theano-Purl. (Excuse me while I get a little nostalgic for puppy cuteness and then remember what a huge pain in the keister she was and how much more delightful she is now.)

Anyway, I haven't had a chance to actually look through the whole site but what I've seen looks great. Yay for the return of Spindlicity.

October 7, 2008

A compelling reason to buy the pattern

I have a feeling that almost everyone who reads my blog, also reads Julia's, but if you haven't seen, this, you are missing out.

Grif_Als01.jpg

Granted, the hat is knit for someone a little bit bigger than little Griffin is right now, but I still think he rocks it.

If you think that's cute, you can up the CQ (cuteness quotient) exponentially by adding some baby bell bottoms and some itty bitty toes.

Grif_Als03.jpg

I may not want kids for myself, but I sure love how they make knits look.

In unrelated news, blogging is probably going to be really sparse for the next week and a half. Leo has to make a last minute trip down to Uruguay for a family emergency. I've got my fingers crossed that things are less dire than they sound, but in the interim, I'll be basically cameraless and busy holding down the fort. Luckily, I'll have this great eyecandy at the top of the page, until blogging recommences.

October 22, 2008

Freudian stitch and other ramblings

I have been busy, and maybe a bit distracted lately, so while I have been meaning to blog more, it hasn't been happening.

I want to start by thanking all of your for your well wishes and condolences. I know I've been remiss in replying to people, individually, but just know, it's nothing personal, I'm rude to all people equally.

So, in the spirit of being completely random and a wee bit scatterbrained, here's a collection of largely unrelated things I've been meaning to blog about, but haven't.


swatch2.jpg


A swatch for a potential publication/self-publish/who knows project I've dreamed up. I can't decide if I love this stitch or if it looks like, um, a part of the female that is normally fully covered in mixed company. I am henceforth calling it the Freudian stitch. Please feel free to weight in.


Swatch1.jpg

Swatch of a publication piece for Spring. For the amount of ripping I've done on this piece, I could have knit 2 whole garments. I'm not frustrated, I'm just beating my head against the table for sport.


Leo and I carved pumpkins and I have determined that his is way more awesomer than mine. Go ahead, tell me I'm wrong.

Mine:

mypumpkin.jpg

Cute but derivative and pedestrian.

Leo's before carving

leopumpkinbefore.jpg

Awesome

Leo's after carving

leopumpkinface.jpg LeoPumpkinFullFrontal.jpg

Fantastic, no?


Lastly, I leave you with some freshly flipped-off hummers. I've flipped-off three in the past week, though for one, I had no camera. I'm pretty sure the driver did, indeed, see me and my s*** eating grin, which is just as satisfying as sharing photos with you. I'm a class act. Oh and my friend Erica even helped me. Hooray for partners in crime crass.

lumo-flip-downtown.jpg hummerflip-at-lunch.jpg

Who on earth still thinks these things are status symbols?

November 11, 2008

What I'm doing when I'm not doing thing I can't show you.

I finished spinning the One Wild Night roving I got from Mary-Kay last year. The 4 ounces yielded approximately 500 yards of 3-ply worsted weight yarn that I'm knitting up into a long skinny scarf. I will probably also make a pair of mittens to go with them, time permitting, and if I'm really motivated, a little hat to boot.

But first things first, the scarf:

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The piece is worked in linen stitch which is worked kind of like ribbing, only every other stitch is slipped. This results in a lovely soft transition between rows, as the color from the previous row is carried up into the next row, every other stitch. I thought that would be perfect for yarn that already had fairly subtle gradations between colors. This stitch would also work great in something like Noro.

scarf colors.jpg

The final fabric has a woven look on the right side and a sort of seed stitch look on the wrong side. The seed stitch really highlights the unevenness of the handspun which might bother some people, but I'm going to consider it "charming" and "rustic."

I'll probably work a little i-cord edging around the piece to even off the edges, or maybe single crochet. I haven't decided.

Of course, the knitting pictures are boring without a certain you-know-what. This is for my friend Erica who always chastises me for draping stuff on Panda's head.

panda and scarf.jpg panda and scarf 2.jpg

Oh you can all just shush, she got so many kisses after that, she hardly remembers the embarrassment.

And seriously, look at what the rest of her life is like:

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Yah, life is tough, around here.

With all that I have on my plate, it doesn't leave too much time for other projects, but I did start some more roving on El Matchador.

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This is the absolutely exquisite bamboo/merino from Blue Moon, in colorway, Eggplanted. I kind of want to marry this roving. And yah, that's Thea's blurry butt in the shot. She's just checking to make sure there's plenty of dog hair on the floor. Wouldn't want to run out.

November 13, 2008

Dietrich

The new Twist Collective is up and I think you'll agree that it's a fantastic issue. There are so many great designs by so many great designers.

My own contribution is Dietrich

dietrich_page.jpg

Photos copyright Caroline Bergeron All Rights Reserved

Layout by Twist collective.

Dietrich is a simple felted cloche with a subtle, asymmetrical brim. When I told Kate I really wanted to adorn it with a feather, she said it was a great idea and said she had just the feather, if I hadn't picked one out already. I think she did an amazing job styling it. I love it.

The only problem with designing felted items is that you can't know if you got it just right until it's too late to undo what you've done.

The hat starts big and floppy

dietrich1_pre felting.jpg

The first version had a VERY dramatic brim, which is fun, but not as practical, so I knit a second version, that you see in the pattern shots, and kept the original to play with.

dietrich1_embroidered2.jpg dietrich1_embroidered3.jpg

Using a simple back stitch, I embroidered some vines around the brim. I found a ribbon that picked up the shades of the embroidery and added that as well. I think it's cute and I'll definitely find more excuses to embroider on knitting.

Dietrich not your thing? There's oodles of great content over in the winter edition, so go on over and check it out.


December 2, 2008

One Wild Scarf

Scarf
1. IMG_0008.jpg, 2. IMG_0006.jpg, 3. IMG_0003.jpg, 4. IMG_0012.jpg
Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

It's always good to have one little mindless project on the needles that can go anywhere. I've been toting this little project around for a month now, and mostly working it on the train, when my more involved projects would be unmanageable.

The final piece is really dense, so very warm, long enough to wrap around the neck several times, and bright and cheery enough to counteract the winter gloom in Portland.

Stats

  • Pattern: my own
  • Fiber: Merino/Silk roving from Red Rock Fiber Works
  • Color: One Wild Night
  • Spun on: El Matchador (Schacht Matchless)
  • Plied: 3-ply using the chain plying method to produce self striping yarn
  • Weight: Approximately worsted
  • Needles: US#9/5.5mm
  • Finishing: Single crochet

December 10, 2008

Taking my own advice

You know, sometimes I talk all knowingly about how there isn't one right needle and you should swatch and blah blah blah, but you know what? I love metal needles. I use them almost exclusively. I like that they are smooth and fast and many have sharp little points. It's all about efficiency to me. Wood needles seem slow and plodding to me, like swimming in molasses. Plastic needles range, but are often just too grippy for my taste and certain brands are all wobbly bendy.

But you know what? I've been hating this sleeve I'm working on for a particular pattern. It's lace, worked in the round, on a small circumference. The lace requires working 3 stitches together, and every other row, those three stitches shift, which means that stitches have to be moved between needles. Worse, it's laceweight black yarn worked on big ol' needles.

needles.jpg

I tried two circulars, but the problem with this method is that it's nearly impossible to move stitches back and forth between needles at such a tight circumference. One, essentially, has to use a cable needle or spare DPN. Talk about inefficient.

So then I moved to some metal DPNs. I'm sure there'll be gasps of disgust but I have absolutely no issues knitting with Susan Bates DPNs. The really small ones are a bit bendy, but anything above a US#1 seems to work fine and they come in pretty colors. Who could complain? Unfortunately, working with laceweight yarn and these heavy needles was almost as bad as the 2-circs. The weight of the needles was so great that I couldn't maintain a comfortable tension on the yarn. This got even worse between needles, forcing me to maintain a constant death grip on the yarn while also fearing that the needles would make a run for it. I finally had to admit it, I was using the wrong needle. I'm a stubborn woman.

I went over to the local craft store, picked up some cheapo bamboo needles, and it's been smooth sailing since. The wood's grippiness keeps all the needles in place and the weight is light enough that the thread isn't pulled from my fingers as I work. I'm not a convert, I'm just reminded that sometimes I have to step out of my perceived comfort zone.


And since my 1970s ripple afghan has received so much attention, here she is again, albeit a bit rumpled. Oh, there are also a couple of dogs next to her.

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Thea seems to think she's a cat.

January 14, 2009

Bijou

I have been working on this project since June, so it's with more than a little excitement that I finally show you my newest pattern in Twist Collective, called Bijou.

Bijou
1. Bijou - Red, 2. Bijou - Black, 3. Bijou - Red, 4. Bijou - Black
Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

Available in 12 sizes with two different sleeve options, this piece is knit in the round, from the bottom up, and is totally seamless.

The red version is shown knit in my size with no ease. The black version is knit a size larger and has about 3" of ease.

As always, let me know if you have any questions. I love to get feedback.

March 30, 2009

And for the gentleman

I got Leo's scarf all warped up. I haven't spent as much time weaving as I'd like to, but when I do, it's completely entrancing.

So far, I've been kinda winging it with my weaving projects, but since this is for someone else, I wanted to carefully plan what I did. I had two possible accent colors; red and blue. The blue was fine but both Leo and I liked the red better. So I went through three stages of plotting the pattern, shown below. I did this all in Illustrator. The first shows a very small scale plaid, which would be fine but I have found that stripes that are less than 4 rows long don't look as nice because you have to weave in the ends and they take up as much extra space as the rows themselves. So the second version shows the same plaid but with all the rows doubled. The last version has the plaid slightly modified and offset so the center stripe is the accent color. You can click each of the swatches to embiggen.

As much as I like the plaid, I might make a version for me that's thinner and has just the vertical stripes. I think that'd look pretty nifty, and I'll have plenty of the yarn left over.

The dynamics of working a weaving project is pretty different than knitting. With knitting, if I get a little bored with a project, it can go into a black hole of solitude, never to be seen again (or at least until the yarn or needles are required for something else.) But with weaving, I can't start my next project until I finish the one on the loom, which means that my constant startitis is handily defeated. It's not that weaving isn't fun it's that I have a dozen different ideas I want to execute and I can't do them all at once so I have to do crazy things like prioritize and time manage. Whoda thunkit?

Brown and red plaid scarf

I'm awaiting yarn for a publication piece so in the interim, my knitting time has been spent on some brown lace

Prett brown lacy something

I don't yet know if this will be submitted somewhere or self published so I'm just showing this little teaser for now. Notice the lifeline running through. Lifelines are like car insurance, damn inconvenient when everything is going fine and totally worth it when you actually need it. Ask me how I know.

Also, I think this blog needs some dog

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For some reason, they'd much much rather lie on our bed than on their own.

April 4, 2009

La Cumparsita -- Coming Soon

La Cumparsita is arguably the most famous tango. We may not all be masters of those intricate yet subtle steps and intimate grips, turns and dips, but we can surely feel as sultry, wrapped in an airy and soft lacy shawl.

La Cumparsita

Sometimes finishing a project is an act of pure willpower and sometimes projects are a joy from conception to completion. This project fell into the latter, for me. I had no other pending deadlines, so this wasn't even a procrastination project, it was simply fun to knit.

La Cumparsita La Cumparsita La Cumparsita

  • Pattern: My own (to be released soon!)
  • Size: 62”/157.5 cm wide by 31”/70 cm deep
  • Yarn: Dizzy Blonde Yarns Super Sock in Farrah
  • Yardage: 550 of the 560 yards in the skein (WOOHOO!)
  • Needle: US#5/3.75mm

I am nearly done writing the draft of this pattern and am looking for a tech editor to finalize it. I hope to have the pattern available for sale by next month (fingers crossed.)

La Cumparsita

April 13, 2009

Out of towners

My brother and his girlfriend came up from So Cal to visit. It was great to see them.

Matt and Aileen Visit

We took them to our favorite fancy pantsy sushi restaurant, then out for cocktails and some dancing.

Matt and Aileen Visit

In case you were wondering, Leo's still shaving his head.

Ooh and Matt brought along an awesome belated birthday present; a whole POUND of undyed soy silk fiber. That's just half of it, there.

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I plan to hand card it with some wool. I was playing around with it a little on my spindle and I really like the way the soft creamy color plays against the cool purple.

It's always nice to have a little spinning project when I'm also working on a knitting project, like, say, another super secret publication piece.

New project

What-o-what will it be?

By the way, my tech editor for La Cumparsita has been the awesome and we're already ahead of schedule so I'm hoping to have the final pattern available for sale in the next week or so.

April 15, 2009

La Cumparsita

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The pattern for La Cumparsita is now available for purchase. Get all the details about the pattern here.


Though I've shown it as a shawl, this pattern is the perfect size to wrap around your neck as a versatile scarf, easily unfurled to cover those chilly arms or shoulders, when you are out for a nice meal or at the theater.

The pattern is made up of two simple lace motifs that grow down and out from the top center point. A simple picot bind off adds a charming touch to the hem of the shawl. The pattern will beautifully showcase your favorite kettle dyed, and nearly solid hand-painted sock yarns, or would look striking in a silk or mohair yarn.

May 19, 2009

Knitting in the Sun Blog Tour

I lived most of my life in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, experiencing the full range of seasonal changes from hot and muggy to sub zero, covered in ice, I think my eyes just froze shut cold. But it wasn't until I moved to Los Angeles that I suddenly rediscovered knitting and took to it in earnest. Five years in a climate that rarely dips below 55 degrees Fahrenheit and often blasts right past 90, gave me a keen appreciation for versatile and light knits. As any of you living in warmer climates know, balancing comfort in the hottest temperatures with the over zealous application of climate control in various offices, restaurants, theaters and stores, is not as easy as one might assume.

Enter Kristi Porter's newest book, Knitting In The Sun. This collection of 32 projects is sure to please almost anyone who lives somewhere with at least a few months of warm weather.

For my stop on Kristi's blog tour, I'm doing a brief interview with several of the contributing designers from the book. A huge thank you to the following designers for their contribution (in alphabetical order).

I think you'll all agree that their answers are really interesting and their designs are simply lovely.

Images from Knitting in the Sun
1. Quimper, 2. Anna Maria Tank, 3. Cinnamon Bay, 4. Blacksea, 5. Alishan, 6. Yehliu, 7. Bordeaux, 8. Cover, 9. Provence, 10. Bardini, 11. Vernazza, 12. Cabrillo, 13. Puget Sound, 14. Coronado, 15. Windansea, 16. Aviara
Ravelry Link to the projects in this book here
Most images Copyright Wiley Publication, all rights reserved. One image copyright Julia Trice, all rights reserved.

Continue reading "Knitting in the Sun Blog Tour" »

June 3, 2009

When weaving met knitting

linenskirt_side linenskirt_front linenskirt_back

The weaving/knitting combo is coming together and I like it. The woven part has been washed and dried and I washed and dried a knitting swatch to determine my final gauge, so don't be alarmed by how open and baggy the knitted portion looks right now. That should firm up and better match the woven portion.

Also, the plaid needs a good pressing.

Tomorrow, I head off to Maine for the Fiber Frolic where I plan to treat myself to a bit of gorgeous fiber and maybe even another spindle. Oh and, of course, I'll get to see my parents too, which is always a treat.

I won't be taking my laptop along, which is a first for me. It seems like it'll increase my chances of relaxation. Hopefully, I'll come back with a bunch of pretty pictures to share.

June 19, 2009

Just in time for summer

A crisp cool linen skirt. What could be nicer on a hot day?

Plaid linen skirt Plaid linen skirt

This will definitely need a slip or underskirt, since it's a bit sheer, but that seems fine to me. I think I'll pair them with my black Doc Martin mary janes.

All in all, a fun little project that was a good mindless knit. I love how the linen softens and tightens up when washed and dried. Except for the bit of ironing it will require, it should be a sturdy and low maintenance piece. On that note, does anyone have a visceral response to putting their knits in the dryer? I'm so used to hand washing and drying. Even knowing that linen loves to be washed and dried, didn't keep me from feeling a little dread when I put her in the dragon's maw.

August 15, 2009

Pas de Valse

So guess who has a new pattern out in the fantastic Twist Collective? Me! Did you guess that already? Is it weird when one answers her own rhetorical questions?

Anyway, the pattern is called Pas de Valse, and it's available in 12 sizes from 30" (to fit 28" bust) to 63" (to fit 61" bust).

Pas de Valse

My hope is that this will be a really versatile piece that will be both flattering and comfortable. It's also a fantastic canvas for showing off a special shawl pin -- just saying.

As always, I'm thrilled to be contributing to Twist and humbled by the beautiful pieces my colleagues have created. Go check out all the pretty now.

August 24, 2009

Total slouch

Sometimes being a slouch is just fine. Normally, I love knitting fitted, figure hugging designs that appreciate all the fantastic curves we women have to offer but occasionally, all I want is something comfy and slouchy and relaxed while still being appropriate for human interaction. (I've heard it's frowned upon to go out in public in your robe. Go figure.)

Remember Freudian Stitch? Long since ripped, it's now become this.

Slouchy Silky Wool Pullover w/Fireplace Slouchy Silky Wool Pullover w/Fireplace

It's a simple design with plenty of ease and a huge scoop neck that can be worn on or off the shoulders. The cowl is gently flared to allow it to drape loosely at the neck or be worn across the shoulders, as desired.

The simple cable running up the front and back has been scaled down to run along the sleeves as well.

As I've noted in the past, I just love working with Silky Wool. The tweedy color, subtle texture and crisp hand, make for a lovely fabric and the light weight doesn't add bulk and is suitable for most seasons.

I'm not sure if I'll offer a pattern or not, that'll depend on time and customer interest. It's not a complicated piece but I would be offering several different cable charts to ensure that the scale of the cables fits the larger sizes so the cost in time and tech editing would be a little higher than usual.

But hey, this is my first official knitting photoshoot in the new home. It's silly but it feels a little momentous to me. Even the girls got in on the fun.

Slouchy Silky Wool Pullover in Yard

September 3, 2009

In the works

Well, your collective response to my inquiry about that slouchy cowl in my last post was so great that I got right to writing the pattern. My beta reviewers are looking over the very rough draft and then it's off to the tech editor early next week. As per most of my for sale patterns, it'll be offered in 12 sizes and have plenty of tips for getting a good fit. I hope it'll be well received.

It took a while to get the charts, calculations, schematic and text together, and I still need to get some detail shots and start the layout, but I've taken the summer off from classes, I don't have any design deadlines, and the most time consuming parts of the move are done so I actually had some *gasp* free time! I'm trying not to get used to it.

I've even had a little time for some more knitting

Prism lace transition

The yarn is some of the singles I spun during the Tour de Fleece. It started off looking like this.

Prism as hat

It's going to be a rectangular wrap but I think it'll be coming up a little shorter than I'd like so I've set aside some possible yarn with which to trim it.

And, since I've been doing cable charts for this project, I'm thinking about doing another illustrator chart tutorial. I just need to find the box the microphone.

September 13, 2009

Memories of Mumbai

The Tour de Fleece pushed me to do a lot of spinning and now I feel compelled to knit my new skeins.

The thing, though, with knitting your own handspun is that the quantity you have is it, especially if you buy handpainted fibers produced in small quantities. Mostly, my skeins run 2-4 ounces which may vary in yardage depending on fiber type, ply and weight. Ideally, I want to avoid projects where I'll come up short on yardage, but I still want to use as much of the yarn up as possible so as not to waste any of my hard work spinning it. A challenge!

My very last skein from the tour was a merino/bamboo blend from Freckle Face Fibers that I spun up into a little more than 600 yards of fingering weight singles. It seemed like plenty of yardage for a rectangular wrap, so I got to looking through some stitch dictionaries to find something that was lacy but simple enough to stand up to the highly variegated rainbow colorway.

Making use of my kitchen scale and a center pull ball, I managed to achieve my goal of using the entire skein, with no waste.

last-of-the-handspun
I call this, "burning the skein at both ends."

I trimmed the shawl with a little Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud in a light beige shade, blocked and voila.

Handspun and Alpaca shawl


The colors make me think of the lovely silk saris I admired on my brief trips to India and the simple scarf shape and ruffle remind me of one of my favorite shawls that I bought there.

Handspun and Alpaca shawl
Do you see anyone peeking around the corner.

The main motif is out of one of the Barbara Walker treasuries, and then I scaled it down near each end and finished it off with a simple ruffle.

Handspun and Alpaca shawl

The cast on edge is actually the center back and to use up as much yarn as possible I used the tail from the cast on and felted it to the start of the yarn that I used to pickup and knit down from the other end. So the only ends were at each end.


And lastly, my dogs are cute.

Manzanita 09/06/09

October 12, 2009

Jamison Square

I'm happy to announce the release of Jamison Square, formerly known as the slouchy cowl.

Click on the image or right here to see all the details about this pattern.

Price $9.00

Thanks to all of you who encouraged me to finish the pattern. Here's hoping you enjoy knitting it as much as I enjoyed designing it.

And since I know not everyone has $9 to throw at a pattern, here's a picture of my petulant little pup.

TheaLooksPetulentHere

See, a little something for everyone.

November 16, 2009

Successful Lace Knitting

Almost three years ago, if I have the time line correct, Donna Druchunas asked me if I'd be interested in submitting a design for a book she was working on. She had a variety of lace stitches we could choose from and our pieces had to feature at least one of those stitch patterns.

Donna just released a couple of the pictures from the book, Successful Lace Knitting: Bringing Dorothy Reade's Patterns and Techniques to Today's Knitters, and, lookie, mine is one of the ones she's previewing.


Photos by Brent Kane, copyright Martingale & Company

You can see the other pieces she's previewing here.

I'm knee-deep in deadline knitting. I like to think that means I'm embracing my alter ego:

The Knitter
The Knitter

The upside is, I think I make a decent super villain. The downside is, I won't have much to blog until the end of the holiday season.

I'll try to slip you a few pup posts in the interim, you know. like this, where I send my dog out into hail.

November 27, 2009

Little things make me thankful

After weeks of mostly rain, we have a gorgeous sunshiney day, two antsy dogs and a tank full of gas. We're off to the ocean (can't say "beach" or the dogs will go crazy pants.) Before I go, I wanted to give you a sneak peek of my most recent finished object. I'll have better pictures in the near future, over in ravelry.

SimpleThingswithPups

This project is Mary-Heather Cogar's Simple Things Shawlette. It was exactly what I needed to work on while I wait for yarn to arrive for my next deadline project. I followed the pattern, almost to the letter, except that I omitted one repeat of the garter ridge. I used this bind off to get a good loose edge and it worked a charm.

As a side note, for no real reason whatsoever, except that I have a slightly geeky side, I created a little spreadsheet that can be used to plan out yardage for any triangular shawl that increases 4 sts every other row. You would have to expand the number of rows for longer shawls (like my La Cumparsita) or delete rows for shorter shawls.

Why would you use this? Well, let's say the pattern called for 400 yards of yarn and you have 350. You could use this to determine approximately how many rows you could actually work, without running out of yarn mid-row. Alternately, you might simply like to know when you are actually at the halfway point, or how far through the project you've gotten. Anyway, if you want to play around with it, you can download the file here.

Note: this does not have any information about the shawlette or any other pattern in it, it's simply a tool for calculating stitch counts and yardage in triangular shawl pattern. I am offering this for free for your own use, personal or commercial, but I cannot offer you technical support for this file. It is yours to play with but you will need to understand excel or open office to edit it and I cannot train you to use those programs. If you wish to modify it to be more functional, I would love it if you'd share it with others, and pass along your expertise.

January 6, 2010

The mother of invention

I have freakishly small ears that reject all ear buds. I've used in-ear models that work like ear plugs, and models with little hooks that go over the ear. The former cause me endless pain and the latter fall off when I move at a pace faster than a gentle stroll. All this makes running while listening to my ipod, an exercise in frustration. The solution seems to be to combine the hook on models with a comfortably snug hat, to hold the ear buds in place.

All my hats are warm wool or fleece so I decided to knit a hat. And heck, while I'm coming up with my own design, why not make something that would actually allow for a ponytail or two.

These dark and blurry pictures are just a sneak peak of the dead simple design I came up with. The yarn is Elann Esprit (nearly identical to Cascade Fixation) and the colors are leftover from my Assets Of Evo project.

Hair Apparent mosaic

I plan to put together a very inexpensive little pattern for this, that I hope to release in the next few weeks, time permitting.

Also, an obligatory doggy fix.

Lazy Sunday Morning Snuggles

January 22, 2010

Hair Apparent and giving even more

I've finished the pattern for Hair Apparent and added it to the collection of Help For Haiti patterns. Like all my more recent patterns, 50% of the price will be donated to Doctors Without Borders for any sales from January 15-January 31, 2010. 75% of any sales of my older self-published patterns, retroactive to January 15th, will also be included in the donation.

Not to get sappy, but I've been following a few Ravelry threads and the amount of money knitters have been able to donate is awe inspiring. If you are interested, check out the tally Yarn Harlot is keeping or browse the other patterns in Ravelry that are marked for donations to Haiti. The good godless folks of LSG alone have raised $40,000. It's a great reminder that many people making small gestures can add up to a lot.

I hope that any of you who have been on the line about sending a donation, will consider finding a charity you respect and sending an amount that you can spare. And for the loads of you who have clearly already reached deep into your pockets, despite the poor economy, I just want to say how moved I am by your generosity. Ok, sappiness over. Thanks for humoring me.

Hair Apparent

This ultra easy pattern can be worked up in a productive weekend or gradually completed over a week. There's a fun little braided brim and I've included a full photo tutorial at the end of the document for those who feel it may be beyond their skill level. I've also included both stripe instructions and both snap and button options. The hat is available in 5 sizes from premie to adult. The pattern is 4 pages plus a cover and is laid out so that secondary info (tutorials, gauge, schematics, etc) are on separate pages from the actual pattern instructions, so you can print out only the info you actually need and save paper and ink.

The price is $3.
Find out more about the pattern here.

IMG_0059

The pups were a great "help" during the photo shoots.

April 2, 2010

Damariscotta

The Spring/Summer 2010 Twist Collective is up and it's visually stunning and filled with amazing designs. I was lucky enough to have two submissions accepted and will do a blog post for each.

The first piece is Damariscotta.

Original Damariscotta Sketch

Named for a hard to pronounce but lovely little town in Maine, near where my dad's family has land. I'll sometimes fly out to Maine to go to the Fiber Frolic with my mom, and we'll all stay at a little cabin that my dad built on the land there.

June 2009 -- Maine

Having grown up in New England and having spent plenty of time in Maine, I associate the area with a love for the ocean, a rather pragmatic sensibility and clean and structural design. I strove to capture those qualities in this top.

Damariscotta

The piece is knit from the top down with instructions for an entirely seamless construction, right down to the double-knit hems that are grafted closed. I've also included instructions for people who might run at the sight of the words "graft" or "double-knit" so don't despair if that's not your cup of tea.

I also think this piece would be magnificent with a simple lace border around the hem and sleeves, instead of a finished hem shown. A wee bit of single crochet would prevent any curling and it would turn this simple piece into something worthy of a pretty pencil skirt and heels.

While I love the idea of a deep angled square neck (image it over a pretty little lace tank,) I knew that wouldn't suit everyone and that is why I chose the top-down construction instead of my preferred method of knitting bottom up. Keeping in mind that the single crochet will pull in the neck a little, one can simply throw the live stitches onto waste yarn and try the piece on to determine the most comfortable and flattering neckline depth and width.

Damariscotta

Once you work the neckline you like best, you can shape the torso to follow every curve or leave out the shaping altogether for a more relaxed fit. The sleeves can be worked the same way, and can easily be lengthened to fit your climate and preference.

So that's Damariscotta for you. I hope that those of you who like the design will enjoy knitting it, and if it's not your style, I have no doubt there's another piece in this edition that will catch your eye.

Check out this and all the other beautiful patterns in the Spring/Summer 2010 edition of Twist Collective, by going here.

April 14, 2010

Cecchetti

I talked about Damariscotta in my last post. This time, I'll be talking about Cecchetti.

Most of my designs are either inspired by a detail I've seen around which I build a garment or they are an interpretation of a theme or idea someone has proposed. In this case, Cecchetti may somewhat fit the former category but in many ways it's an interpretation of a sort of nostalgia I feel for things that aren't so much a part of my life these days.

Cecchetti Original Cecchetti Sketch

I'm a little bit bottom heavy (perhaps "pear shaped" is a more acceptable description) and I have always found drape neck designs, with their delicate folds of fabric framing the face, to be quite flattering on my figure, especially layered under the many suit jackets I no longer wear, now that I work from home. (I'm not complaining, working in my PJs with my dogs by my feet, beats looking fashionable, any day of the week.)

Inspiration for Cecchetti

Along with the subtle drape at the neck (for which I provide notes in the pattern for modifying it to be more or less draped) I also tried to capture the aesthetic of the warmup clothes my classmates and I used to wear when I (long ago) took ballet lessons. I was amazed at how overly long sleeves and leg-warmers, would make one's extensions and arm placements look even longer and more graceful. Cecchetti has a little more ease than those pieces I used to wear, and the soft, decadent silk and merino yarn is surely not meant for sweating and leaping, but the vertical body darts, sleeves that slip past the base of the hands and the hip length all serve to elongate and flatter the body.

I think that people who knit this piece will find it very comfortable as well as flattering and very easy to modify as you go to get a good custom fit. As with most of my designs, it's knit seamlessly in the round, including the set in sleeves. And do not worry about it being all in reverse stockinette, the instructions allow you to knit it either right side (purl side) out or wrong side (knit side) out.

Check out Cecchetti or any of the other beautiful Spring and Summer pieces over at Twist Collective.

June 20, 2010

Contest

You know what I think is really useless? Blogging that you haven't blogged for a while and then apologizing. But you know what I think is cute? Posting a picture that captures that same sentiment.

Manzanita June 18, 2010
Contrite dog is contrite*

But how'z about I make it up to at least two of you out there.

Picture%201.png
Successful Lace Knitting


A little while ago, I posted about Donna Druchunas' new book, Successful Lace Knitting, to which I contributed the cover project. Well I recently received my copy and one extra copy, both of which are signed by the author. That means I have one more copy than I rightfully need.

To enter for a chance to win, leave a comment below answering the following question.

What is the most embarrassing thing your parents/guardians ever did in front of your friends?

Here's my answer:
My biological father used to crochet his own banana hammocks and wear them in public to swim at the local country club. I'm from a small town, and people I grew up with still talk about it. It's memories like that, that make me all the more thankful for the upgrade I got a few years back. (Speaking of which, a very happy father's day, dad2.0!)

Here are the logistics of the drawing. Get your comment in by the end of day Friday June, 25, and I will pick one comment at random to receive the signed copy of Successful Lace Knitting. I will also award one gift certificate for a Twist Collective pattern (you will be able to pick from any that they offer) to the person who makes me laugh and/or cringe the hardest with their comment.





*Note, no dogs were actually made to feel contrite to produce this blog post.

July 19, 2010

Cowl Swap

This post is so late I might as well be reporting about those new fangled talkies and the steam engine, but what the heck, it comes with a puppy fix AND a beautifully knit finished object so it can't be all bad.

Back when I lived in LA, there was a small group of us who met somewhat regularly for general crafty goodness. Many of us have moved away and a few have had children and other big life changing events, but we still stay in contact, at least by email. About a year ago, someone suggested a cowl swap and Mary-Heather was assigned to knit my cowl.

Well, she couldn't have produced a more perfect piece. In a luscious deep purply wool with a delicate blend of lace and cables this slim little cowl adds that bit of extra warmth one want on those particularly blustery days.

I've had this lovely in my possession for a while now but it wasn't until Mary-Heather mentioned she could use a shot for her project page, that things got serious(ly silly).

A  beautiful cowl from a beautiful person on two beautiful dogs
1. Modeling is very serious business, 2. What are you photographing? Why is it not us?, 3. Panda is sweet and chic, 4. Cowl from Mary-Heather
Created with fd's Flickr Toys

I never realized it but it appears that dogs and cowls go together like dogs and shawls. Or maybe I'm just a crazy dog lady. Are the two mutually exclusive?

Anyway, it was a great gift, received in time for winter and packaged with some extra goodies to warm the new house. Lucky lucky me.

September 9, 2010

Tolovana: the making of

I put a lot more time into planning my wedding shawl than I did my actual wedding and to be honest, that's not saying much because my wedding planning amounted to sending an email to my closest family, booking a hotel room, getting a license and hoping for the best. If only knitwear design were so easy. Though, to be fair, I find designing pretty fun but would be entirely content to never plan another wedding.

So to start, I pulled out my entire collection of stitch dictionaries looking for motifs to pair together. I didn't have a strong sense for what I wanted but I knew I wanted to take what I learned from designing La Cumparsita and expand on it, making a project that had more details, and a strongly scalloped hem. I ended up choosing only a single motif and scaling it up and down to form three versions, a border and transitions between each.

At the same time, I started to think about yarn. I wasn't sure what I was going to be wearing but I thought red might be pretty so I ordered three Grafton Batts from Amy.


sweet batts are sweeter with candy

It was a little challenging but I did my best to work all three batts as one to maintaining the color transitions these batts are so well known for.

I ended up with about 1100 yards of rich glorious fingering/sport weight singles and began the swatching and knitting and charting and calculating. I was cranking along and doing great until I actually decided to start looking at dresses.

I suppose this my have been an acceptable reason to consider a white or ivory dress, but as I am already a brilliant shade of "fish belly" and since *ahem* the symbolism associated with wearing white most certainly wouldn't apply to me, I was determined to wear some other color and some other color I found. It just turns out that blue-green doesn't actually go terribly well with red and burgundy.


so sad, don't let the door hit you on the way out

At this point, spinning another 1000 yards or so of fiber just wasn't going to be an option, but I had some purple Handmaiden Seasilk burning a hole in my stash that was more than up to the task.

The final shawl is incredibly delicate and actually snagged quite dramatically right before the wedding. But really, what's a wedding without at least one moment of panic? The fibers smoothed out as easily as they snagged, but it was clear to me that this would always be a special occasion sort of wrap, not one to to throw around my neck before heading out to the city.

When Kate asked me if I'd like to publish the pattern in Twist Collective, I jumped at the chance. Instead of the delicate seasilk we decided to go for two uniquely different yarns and offer two variations of the pattern.

The green version is worked in Sundara Sock. The lace has larger expanses of stockinette for a warmer, denser feel. This is the version I'd use as my all purpose, scarf/wrap on chilly winter days. It's washable, strong, tightly spun and the colors are rich, yet it unfurls into a beautiful shawl that looks great wrapped around your shoulders while you are out on a dinner date.

The violet version is more true to the original, and worked in Sundara Silky Merino which offers the drape and sheen of the prototype with a little of that merino resiliency I love so much. The more delicate and open version of the lace pattern makes it a great option to wear for more formal occasions, but it's not so delicate that you'd be afraid to put it to good use.

It was really a fun design to come up with and as someone who knit the pattern twice (I did hire a sample knitter to knit the third one) I found it really enjoyable too. This may have something to do with my fond feelings for the whole project but I do hope that others will find it equally enjoyable. If you are interested in knitting Tolovana, you can get it here. And of course, don't forget to check out all the other beautiful patterns available at Twist Collective.

October 12, 2010

Works in progress

I'm giving my main site a bit of a facelift, which I think is long overdue. I unveiled the previous redesign about a year after I started blogging, and its been almost 6 years since then.

I'm still playing with the colors and the fonts and the little bits and pieces, but I've cleaned out a lot of the clutter, both visually and in the content.

I can't bring myself to get rid of the doggy themed blog format (yet) because Thea's face makes me laugh every time I see it but the rest of the site should reflect the new design.

I'm also working on a little self published piece, Marmalade Skies*.

The pattern is fully written and I'm working on scheduling someone to tech edit the piece. It's was a really fast knit for me, taking just 10 days and the only seams are under the arms and sewing down the neck facing. Loads more pictures here.

As a reward for all this productivity, I might need to make another batch of these.

Apple Butter Fingerprint Cookies




A big "thank you" to Rebeca Velasquez for suggesting the name. I love it.

October 31, 2010

Picture Yourself

Every time I work on this pattern, I get Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds stuck in my head for a few days. I guess we can all be thankful I didn't call it, Achy Breaky.

This was a really fun pattern for me to knit and write. It just all happened pretty easily and I've already worn the piece out a couple of times. With all the rain and fog we have in Oregon right now, the bright orange stripes just seem so cheery.

The pattern is now available, thanks in no small part to Laura Chau's hard work tech editing it. You can get all the details about the pattern here on my site, or over in ravelry.


As an added bonus, until the end of the year, anyone who buys 3 or more patterns from me, will receive a 20% discount. No coupon required and past purchases through ravelry will apply! Applicable to all purchases except the Manzanita collection. The economy is still dragging. It seems like a great time to offer a discount.

November 16, 2010

Mata Hari

The Winter 2010 edition of Twist Collective is live and it features 31 patterns, along with some fantastic articles.

I'm pleased and flattered to have been asked to contributed to the Designer's Choice section. We were asked to come up with a design we would love to wear and model it for the section. My design is called, Mata Hari and features a plunging v-neck in back and a wide scoop neck in front. The garment looks just as good worn backwards and an optional bow adds just a touch of fun to the piece.

Mata Hari Mosaic
1. Mata_Hari0716, 2. Mata_Hari2011, 3. Mata_Hari1762, 4. Mata_Hari1421

I plan to write more about this piece later. For now, I hope you'll take a few moments to check out this beautiful edition.

December 14, 2010

Designing Mata Hari

Mata Hari is my ninth design for Twist Collective and like every pattern I've designed, it was uniquely challenging (and thus, uniquely fun) to produce the final results.

Kate asked me to design a piece for the Designers' Choice story. The idea was to design something just for me; something I'd love to wear and something I'd be happy to model. I began to think about detailing I like such as body shaping, smooth stockinette stitch, vents at the hips to ensure the garment falls flatteringly, and a low v-neck in back that is shallow enough to cover foundation garments but low enough to be dramatic.

Mata_Hari1607

Even better it can be turned around so that the v-neck sits in front, showing off a lovely camisole or a simple tee. The end result could be as casual or dressy as the wearer pleases.

My final submission was a vision of what one might wear to an office holiday party; flattering but still appropriate to wear around the folks you'll see the next day by the copy machine.

MataHari_sketch

I think it can be helpful when submitting, to include a flat drawing of the garment, along with the sketch, so I included an approximation of what I intended for both the front and back.

MataHari_flats

There were two elements about which I had some concerns; the self-faced neckline and the bow, both of which could get quite bulky if I wasn't careful. When I was assigned Catherine Lowe Couture Yarns, Kate put me directly in touch with Ms. Lowe to determine the perfect blend of fibers and weights. The lovely thing about these yarns is that I could have any number of weights and blends of fibers in perfectly matched colors which turned out to be a great boon to the project. The body is worked in a quick-to-knit DK weight yarn (worked at a relatively loose gauge) while the neckline and bow are worked in a finer sport weight, so when folded, there's no unnecessary bulk.

Mata_Hari0132

But I also realize that not everyone has access to, or the budget necessary for the project yarn and many people love to stash-dive when possible, so I've included instructions for working the entire garment in a single weight yarn as well.

Mata_Hari1220

And, as with most of my patterns, I included plenty of tips along the way for getting a great fit. I hope it'll be a fun knit for anyone who tries it and a flattering piece to wear, no matter your shape or size.

January 14, 2011

Perspective

Yesterday was one of those days; those days that ensure I won't be a dog horder in the near future. Rainy weather and long working hours have left me making excuses not to walk Darwin as much as I should. When you have a young herding dog and you decide to skimp on walks and training you might as well batten down the hatches and prepare for the storm because you are about to see what 25 lbs of super smart and endlessly energetic has in store for you.

Darwin Socializing_03
Being cute is a survival mechanism

It was a rough day but today is already better, we've left our minor setbacks behind us and braved the downpours for a a nice long and positive walk. A little perspective (and a good nap) is usually all I need to get past a particularly bad day. I mean really, look at this lot.

Darwin's First Trip to Mt. Hood_29
Cute, non? Cute, oui!

In the same way, our other stresses in life can seem overwhelming. With one of us out of work for nearly a year now and the economy showing few signs of life, it's easy to get caught up in the uncertainty and doubt and fear. We could let the setbacks and rejections cripple us but we try to keep perspective. We have our bad days and sleepless nights but we try to remember that we have so much even if it feels like we are teetering on the edge. When I heard a friend and her son had lost their partner and father, respectively, my heart just broke. It's one of those moments where the only thing I can think to do is hug everyone in the house and tell them how important they are to me. The dogs mostly just wag and hope for a cookie. That's good enough for me.

I know that nothing can ever bring back this wonderful man my friend and her son lost and no small gesture can change that pain left behind, but perhaps it was as therapeutic for me as anything, to make them each a small gift with empathy for their terrible situation. I guess, on some level, I feel like the time I spent on each was time I was reminded to value the people I do have in my life; forget my petty concerns and endeavor to be as honest and caring as I can while time still allows me to do so.

Handspun Shrug_10
Handspun Grafton Batt crocheted side to side. Trimmed in knitted handspun optim

And maybe, if you'll indulge me a bit longer, you can find someone you love, human, dog, cat or other, and let them know you love them for no reason at all except that you do, even if they drive you up the walls sometimes or always leave a mess. Chances are, they overlook a few of your shortcomings as well and love you equally.

Lil_Monster07
Monster crocheted with DK weigh merino, with knit socks and scarf worked in sock yarn

February 20, 2011

Let's continue the birthday celebration

Friday was my birthday and I put it to good use. I released a pattern:

Dweezil_In_Space

And I went to the beach with the three beasts and one human I like best of all.

My birthday at the coast
1. February 18, 2011_Oregon Coast_171, 2. February 18, 2011_Oregon Coast_046, 3. February 18, 2011_Oregon Coast_053, 4. February 18, 2011_Oregon Coast_065, 5. February 18, 2011_Oregon Coast_118, 6. February 18, 2011_Oregon Coast_126, 7. February 18, 2011_Oregon Coast_130, 8. February 18, 2011_Oregon Coast_148, 9. February 18, 2011_Oregon Coast_150, 10. February 18, 2011_Oregon Coast_157, 11. February 18, 2011_Oregon Coast_169, 12. February 18, 2011_Oregon Coast_176, 13. February 18, 2011_Oregon Coast_182
Created with fd's Flickr Toys

And as an added bonus, I did an interview a little while ago and now it's live. Check it out here.

Hope you all had a happy my-birthday as well.

March 22, 2011

Tidewater

I am very pleased to present my newest patterns, a set called Tidewater featuring:

A cowl:

Tidewater Cowl modeled by all of us
1. Tidewater_Cowl_19, 2. Tidewater_Cowl_27, 3. Tidewater_Cowl_24, 4. Tidewater_Cowl_08
Created with fd's Flickr Toys

And a shawl

Tidewater_Shawl_25 Tidewater_Shawl_45

The patterns are both charted. The cowl also includes written out instructions for the lace, for those who are not comfortable working from charts. Each pattern is available individually and both are available together, as an ebook, for a reduced price.

Click to see all the details for the cowl and the shawl.

April 1, 2011

Raina

The new Twist Collective is live and for my friends and family still digging themselves out of snow drifts just to check the mail, it's a fresh, springy, breath of fresh air.

This is another stunner of an edition, with many names you probably already know and love and a few new folks as well. My design is Raina.

This piece is worked in Madelinetosh Pashmina so it's incredibly soft and a delight to wear. The lace trim at the hems, long lean ribbing and body darts, all make for an elegant and feminine fit, while the short sleeves, long length and modest scoop neck make it as comfortable as a favorite t-shirt, to wear.

Raina132

I hope you'll take a few moments to flip through the great new edition of Twist Collective. If Raina isn't your style (or even if it is) there is so much more to see and love.

August 1, 2011

Fall 2011 Twist Collective is Live

The new Twist Collective is live and it's beautiful. I have seen these patterns from their thoughtfully laid out submissions right up to their final tech edited PDF. I've read the articles from their early drafts to their polished finished composition. I feel personally invested in each and every piece's success and receptions from knitters.

There's a lot to love in this edition, including two beautiful garments from my dear friend, Julia Trice, and a must read article on seamed knitting, by Sandi Rosner. And while I think all the articles are fantastic, I'd be remis if I didn't direct you to this story, where you'll struggle to decide which is more endearing, the story itself or the beautiful illustrations.

Of course, I've made my own contribution to this edition (beyond my work behind the scenes), about which I plan to do a separate, more in-depth post. Make sure you cruise by my his and hers pattern, Doppler.


Photo copyright Jane Heller

Originally conceived as just a men's garment, with an asymmetrical ribbed pattern to keep the knitting interesting but not too fussy, I added in a women's version too, sized proportionally for women's standards, with just a hint of waist shaping. Both patterns come with both the crew and turtleneck instructions, so you can really tailor this garment to your preference.

I know it's simple, without the excitement of some of the myriad designs also available in the edition, but I hope it'll be a wardrobe staple for those who choose to knit it.

Now stop reading my blog post and go check out this amazing new edition.

September 10, 2011

Interview at the Designer's Studio

Exactly 3 years ago today I posted an interview I did with Faina Goberstein and Dawn Leeseman about their book Casual Elegant Knits. Their blog tour was my first chance to get to know Faina, but it hasn't been my last. Since then, she and I have both contributed to the book Knitting in the Sun and Twist Collective.

When Faina first asked me if I'd do an interview for her ongoing Designer's Studio series, I agreed and then promptly got overwhelmed with other things and dropped the ball. Luckily, she gave me a second chance. The interview is now live and you can read it here. Don't forget to check out all the other interviews and if you find any interesting, consider leaving Faina a comment to thank her for all her hard work.


Ooof, there aren't any pictures in this post. Time to remedy that with some non sequitors.

Puppies at play.

Battling the water monster_comic
Click through to get to embiggen

And check out quilt numero dos.

My second quilt_23

November 15, 2011

Theano and Zosia


The new Twist Collective is live. I know I say it every season and I mean it, I am honored and humbled to be a part of such an amazing magazine.

My two patterns this season are

Theano


And Zosia


As always, I'll talk more about the designs in a follow-up post. For now, go see everything in this beautiful edition, including all the amazing articles.

December 4, 2011

On the horizon

I feel like I'm on a designing kick right now. I just released two patterns for Twist, I have yarn for two deadline projects, due to publish next spring and I just sent a new design, Cercis, to my tech editor to be self published.

cercis_outtake_001

I took some pictures of Cercis this weekend, while we were at the coast. I thought I'd share my favorite outtake. It's useless for actually seeing the sweater but it has everything I love; my pack, haystack rock, a bright sunny day, knitting and the ocean.

I hope to have this pattern ready for release in the next couple of weeks. Until then, I have some designing to do.

March 21, 2012

Free to be you and twee*

Last year, I made some reusable shopping bags that I shipped off to loved ones for the holidays

Reusable Shopping Bags_21

Reusable Shopping Bags_05

It's from a fantastic pattern I picked up at a local quilt shop, but which you may purchase here, if you're so inclined.

While I was sad to see them go, I knew I'd make more, I just didn't know (though I should have) that making 12 of the same item is a special kind of torture for me. It's not that they are hard or laborious or anything, it's just, well, more and more of the same thing.

But after sitting on these half finished bags for months, I finally found the motivation to finish them up, in all their glorious adorableness.

Woodlands_Reusable Bags_17
Six folded bags and a sash to keep them tidy. Don't mind the wonky hook and loop tape.

Woodlands_Reusable Bags_20
The sash can hold up to 6 bags...

Woodlands_Reusable Bags_27
...or as few as 2 bags

Woodlands_Reusable Bags_19
Templates for the tree and leaves are included in the pattern.

And seriously, how fricken cute is this fabric?

Woodlands_Reusable Bags_08
The squirrels are killing me

I believe it's now discontinued so you'd have to hunt around if you wanted to get some. it's called Woodlands from Anthology and I made the whole set with 1 half-yard bundle of the entire line, along with a few yards of bleached muslin to line the bags.

And before you ask, yes, I still knit. I even have proof:

some knitting


This one isn't even a deadline project, just something that might end up being self published.

Continue reading "Free to be you and twee*" »

June 7, 2012

Because it's summer

Sometimes, I read through the designer forums on Ravelry and people discuss ideal times to release different types of patterns and often it's pointed out how terrible sales are in the warm months and how unwise it can be to release a pattern at a time when it won't generate a lot of buzz. All really interesting stuff, and good advice.

In unrelated news, I have a new pattern, Uchiwa.

uchiwa_02

It's worked in a delightful merino/cashmere/nylon blend that is both soft and sturdy enough for regular use, though I did do a prototype in Koigu, and it worked just as well, albeit with a little less cushy softness.

Ahhh, cashmere in summer, I'm getting clammy just thinking about it. I'm pretty sure I missed my calling in marketing. I can tell I'm really selling you on this idea. But I'll say this, the holidays (if you celebrate them) aren't too far off and mittens and hats make for good gifts. And also, mittens are small and portable and it's winter in the southern hemisphere, so, this is totally the pattern you are looking for.

Want to find out more? Check out the pattern details here or on Ravelry

uchiwa_18

June 29, 2012

Foothills

I have been waiting with bated breath since Quince & Co posted this preview, last Monday. I love designing shawls. When Pam asked me if I would consider designing one for Quince & Co, right as I was swatching up a shawl design, I figured it was serendipity. I put together a quick proposal and the rest is history, except it's the present, not history, but you know what I mean.

The design starts with small textured hills growing larger and then ending in a deep fluted ruffle. It brought to mind the drive to Mt Hood, which we can see from our bedroom window.

The pattern starts at the center-back neck and works out to the bind off at the end of the ruffle, in a single piece. The pattern is primarily charted.


© Carrie Bostick Hoge

I love Quince & Co's dreamy styling and high key photography. It beats the pants off my standing in front of our run down fence near the strawberry patch.

Foothills_15
No strawberries were harmed in the filming of this shawl.

If you like the pattern, you can purchase it here. To see even more pictures, you can check out the Ravelry page for it.


Foothills_38
Darwin helps with the modeling

August 27, 2012

Tangerine Trees

My increasingly graying hair and I have a new pattern.

Tangerine Trees_53

I feel like I design fairly regularly, especially now that I publish most seasons with Twist, and I'm always trying to appeal to a wide variety of people, but Tangerine Trees is really a design for me. I love wide ballet style necks, body darts, buttons and cuffs. I don't normally wear prints or complicated textured patterns. I love all types of designs, but this is a design that looks like something I'd have in my personal wardrobe.

The garment is worked from the hem-up, with no seams except the underarm bind offs, which could be joined with a 3-needle bind off if you are really averse to grafting. The yoke features raglan shaping as well as an additional series of neck decreases which can easily be added to, to make the neck narrower. Short rows at each shoulder help to hide your underpinnings.

Tangerine Trees_details_12

I used fabric covered buttons on the cuffs and hem which gave me an excuse to dive through my stash of quilting remnants.

Tangerine Trees_57

If you like the photos, I have more details here and on the ravelry page, and the latter offer tons more photos.

A big thank you to Laura Chau for tech editing my pattern and of course to my pups for photo-bombing me while I was trying to take serious pattern photos.

February 22, 2013

Coming soon

The skies have opened up and we're having a perfectly Oregonian kind of day, so I can't get any proper pattern shots, but here's a little sneak preview of something in the works; a double knit cowl in some Berroco Vintage

Double Knit Cowl_14_cropped

Thea's on the fence but I think the color suits her.

December 19, 2005

If it's green, it's good

What do you think of the shawl?

I ripped her out and washed and dried the yarn, so I could start over. There was a problem, several rows back, no life line and not enough shawl in existence to really warrant a tedious fix, so I ripped her. The deadline is so far off, that I'm not terribly bothered by that.

But it hasn't all been the foul smell of failure. The Dragon Hoodie is progressing beautifully.

I'm working on the hood right now and will begin all the little dragony details after that.

In spinning news, my parents sent me roving for Christmas. What? Christmas is a week away? Are you saying that when I get a package at my door, a couple weeks before Christmas, with my parent's return address, I should know not to open it? Insanity!

And look at what was inside! Each bag is half a pound of gorgeous roving. The left two bags are a rich olive green Corriedale roving. It appears that MJ has almost identical roving, herself. I met her in person for the first time this weekend, at a knitting get together. It's a little eerie that we both have matching Kundert spindles and green roving, if we hadn't been seen in the same location at the same time, someone could have assumed we were the same person.

I managed to snap a pic of the Corriedale, on the spindle this weekend. She has her own ray of sunshine here. That means this is the only picture with enough lighting to be any good.

It sort of makes the rest of the pictures look even worse. I began spinning this on the Kundert, and it spins well, but I really found myself feeling like I had to spin pretty thick singles on it, so I switched to the Golding. I may have to invest in a few more Goldings just so I can spin more than one roving at a time. This 0.9 oz has been perfect for just about everything. I love it.

This is how it looks plied. The color is really a true olive green, despite the variety of shades you see here. When I was spinning it near daylight, I saw undertones of yellow shine through, it's actually quite lovely.

The other roving in the bags is a Merino/silk blend. It spins up into more of a sage green shade because the white of the silk soften the colors.

You know, though, there's a pretty good chance that I'm not going to be able to spin all that roving by hand. I mean, I'm a relatively quick spinner (spindler? spinster?) but a pound of sock weight yarn is a lot of yarn to spin. So Julia and I are talking about renting a wheel. I'm a little scared to go down that road, but I think it's time. Look for news of that next year.

December 16, 2005

A little more progress

The Dragon Hoodie is moving right along. I love knitting baby stuff. I feel like such a prolific knitter.

The body is done and a sleeve begun. The sleeves are going slowly because this yarn is hard to knit on plastic needles. Metal is definitely the best choice but since I'm saving my pennies for Christmas presents, I'll get by.

I've also been working on my shawl a bit. You can use the squares on my ironing board for scale, if you like. The top pieces hoodie is about 11-12" wide (it's not blocked so I'm estimating a bit)

December 14, 2005

Some for you, some for me

Between pity parties about our gas and working, I have managed to get in some knitting. On the bus I knit that Dragon Hoodie and at night, I've been working on the pattern for my shawl with my own roving.

Confession time, I have made designing a shawl far more complicated than it really is, until I had the "AHA!" moment and I realized how flippin' easy it really is. I should really clarify that sentiment. There are some amazingly beautiful and complex shawls out there, but the essential premise of increasing at the center and edge and gradually incorporating more and more repeats of a single motif, is very easy. This is what happens when you try to design something you've never knit before. I'm sure if I had knit even a single triangular shawl, that concept would be rather straight forward.

Nonetheless, three days of toiling have brought me here:

Not so exciting, but I think the effect will be nice once I've worked a few more inches.

The Hoodie is much further with far less toil

I'm hoping this will be a good size for the baby. My gauge is slightly tighter because of the difference in fiber, but she is very young and I'm knitting the largest size. Worst case scenario, if it's too small, I have a friend who is due in a few months, I can give her this and make a new one for Matt's friend.

I still have several more posts I'd like to get up this week, including one about a cowl that won't do what it's told and some amazing Christmas presents from my family.

December 29, 2005

Spots make the dragon

I had enough time to make a few spots for the little Dragon Hoodie, before the gift was due to be received. I really like how they look in front.

The back of the sweater, and notes on this version of the pattern, after the bump.

Continue reading "Spots make the dragon" »

December 28, 2005

More Dragon Hoodie

Well, I took the comments to heart and I decided two things,


  1. You need a view of the back of the Dragon Hoodie Thanks Julia

  2. The sweater needs spots



Here's the back. The spine is crocheted, though a person who can't crochet could certainly do some garter stitch points instead. It's very soft so it just flops to one side when baby lies on it.


And here's what I think I want to do for spots. Instead of patches, like the original has, I'm doing bobbles. I used Nicky Epstein's Knitted Embellishments as a reference for the technique. I think it'll be cute and much faster than trying to get full sized spots knit before this afternoon when the recipient's mom arrives.

I'll, of course, have a final picture for you when it's done.

December 27, 2005

Something for Sofi

Sofi is the name of the little girl who will be wearing this sweater soon.

The only thing not done are the spots. I'm not sure I'll have time to do them and I don't think the sweater is hurt by being plain, but the spots sure are cute. We'll see. I'm also dangerously low on purple yarn so what spots I might knit will be of a fairly small quantity.

January 11, 2006

Watching sausage being made

I really want to show you images of the handspun I've been knitting. What is my problem? Lighting. I get up at 4:30 am to blog, and I've spent an hour trying to get a decent picture. It's not light out when I'm home, this time of year. While I've certainly offered my fair share of crappy photos, I genuinely do strive to have something decent to show you.

There are some bloggers who just never seem to have bad pictures up. They tend to photograph their pictures in natural light to ensure that everything looks beautiful.
I am not these bloggers, nor any of the others, who, ifI weren't so sleepy, I'd remember. Nope, I take pictures when I am ready to blog and light be damned! But it doesn't mean I don't lament my crappy photos. This morning, I took my soy silk yarn on a field trip around the house in hopes of finding a decent shot.

Go on the adventure, after the bump.

Continue reading "Watching sausage being made" »

January 9, 2006

It's not just Panda and Politics around here

I've been doing my crafty thing as well. Here is some left over wool/soy silk roving I've had a little sample of. Since there was such a small amount, I spun it as finely as possible. I used my 0.6 oz Golding spindle which helped me achieve a true lace weight yarn. I knit a little swatch of it last night and got 9 stitches to the inch on a US #1 needle and I certainly could have gone down a needle size without a problem. This stuff spun beautifully. I assume it's the soy that gives it its smooth drafting ability since I still find myself struggling a bit with pure wool.

It's taken me a little while to adapt to my 0.6 oz spindle. I learned on a 1.3 oz, have been using my 0.9 oz for almost everything but I'm now really starting to appreciate this lighter one. I know there are people who can spin spider web thin yarn on a 3 oz spindle and I tip my hat to those folks. I just can't get enough spin into the fiber soon enough to ever be successful. My spindle will have proven its dropping ability long before I get a yard spun. But a light spindle holds its own challenges. I realize it's all simple physics, but it's hard to know exactly how it will feel if you aren't well versed on those sorts of sciences. In my case, I face two big hurdles with a lighter spindle.


  1. I have to spin the spindle harder to get a long enough spin to be productive. Or, I have to spin the spindle more than once to spin the same length of yarn.

  2. The spindle tends to be less stable in its spin. I suspect this is partially technique on my part, but, while drafting, I sometimes maneuver in such a way as to send my spindle into a planetary like rotation, where the poles no longer sit at a true north/south*. While this works splendidly for our fine earth, it's less effective for a spinner.

* Ok, ok, I know that North and South are relative to our own planet and not the least bit relevant once you step off the planet or out of our solar system. Let's think "grade school diorama," for this analogy, ok?

More spindly fun, after the bump.

Continue reading "It's not just Panda and Politics around here" »

December 21, 2005

I may still make my deadline

Isn't the hoodie looking cute? I have to admit, I enjoy this knit even if it is my own design. Unfortunately, having talked to the woman to receive this, it appears the piece may be a little too short. I'm going to have to pull out the trim on the body of the piece. It's all knit in one piece with nice mitered corners and a tubular bind off which is great because it looks so nice but I suspect that now that the ends are woven in, it may be a bit of a P.I.T.A. to pull out. That's what I get, though, huh?

On a completely unrelated note, this should be reassuring to every one of us who has ever wished we looked as good as a woman on the cover of a magazine. Warning: requires Flash

Also, a couple hilarious songs (one with video)
Here
and
Here

January 15, 2006

How do you make your knits look great?

Put a baby in them.

Jess said I could post pictures of her little one making my Dragon Hoodie look almost too cute to bear.

If you think that's cute, check out the other pictures, after the bump.

Continue reading "How do you make your knits look great?" »

February 1, 2006

I'm almost reluctant to post this

I'm back to trying to design a shawl with my handspun, and once again, I'm starting from scratch with a new design and new yarn.

For those of you who visit regularly, you are probably well aware of my current fascination with my Autumn Spice Cotswold from Nistock Farms. It will then come as no surprise that I want to actually knit what I've spun.

This is what I have so far.

I like it. So why am I reluctant to post this? Because I'm a bit worried it will go awry, as my previous attempts at a shawl have. I'm not terribly fond of repetitive knitting. I'd much rather work something with an intricate stitch pattern or lots of shaping, than something that's very repetitive. I can manage a scarf or sock, here and there, but it's hard for me to keep my interest. So will this piece ever be anything more than a glimmer in my eye? Time will tell.

Even more questionable, though, is whether or not I'll ever spin enough of the roving with my spindle to have a shawl large enough cover my shoulders. I suspect I’ll need quite a bit once my rows get a bit longer.

More spicy goodness, after the bump

Continue reading "I'm almost reluctant to post this" »

January 30, 2006

About that hat

Last we met, we learned all about my insecurities and short comings. Yay! It appears I've unveiled some kindred spirits in the process. I'm sure if we all took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test, we'd find ourselves scoring largely the same. But that's not what this post is about. I thought I'd tell you more about that hat I had mentioned.

It sort of came out of nowhere, huh?
Get the whole story, after the bump.

Continue reading "About that hat" »

January 11, 2006

Shine your light on me

Well, I found a couple minutes to snap a photo of my knit handspun. There's a big old window near a couple of empty work stations, in my area, and since I get to work so early, there was no one to ask, "Marnie, why are you taking pictures of a band-aid sized piece of knitting, at the office?"

Here is a picture that shows how textural the stitch is.

And this shows, fairly nicely, what the stitch really looks like.

The handspun has proven to knit up much better than I could hope. There's a gradual transition from one dominant color to the next and a subtle second color that acts like a highlight.

Here's my knitting enjoying the view. If you were able to look right, up a steep hill and into the "nice" part of town, you could also see where Leo works.

Many of you have asked about the stitch. It's the same stitch used in this cardi from Vogue Knitting

I've found a couple variations in my Harmony Guides. They refer to this one as "Star Stitch II"

I really like this stitch because of its versatility. Worked on larger needles and blocked out, it produces a lovely flower like lace stitch. Worked tightly on smaller needles, you get a great textural stitch that doesn't curl and is just unusual enough to catch peoples' attention.

The stitch is worked as follows.


With a multiple of 4+1
Star: P3 tog, but leave old stitch on left needle, yo, P same 3 stitches together, removing the old stitch from the left needle.
Rows 1 and 3: Knit
Row 2: *k1, star stitch* repeat to last stitch, k1
Row 4: k1, p1, *k1, star stitch* repeat to last 3 stitches, k1, p1, k1

Actually, I knit it slightly differently, because I knit in the Combined method, which means my knit stitches sit differently. I essentially reverse the pattern. I Purl the odd rows and I work purls between the stars and work the stars with k3togs, only, because of the way my stitches sit, it's like I've done an SSSK. I'm not sure that's actually of any interest to anyone, but there you go.

February 18, 2006

Happy Cruddy Photo Day to Me

I'm here at Stitches West and it's been quite an adventure. I should preface this by saying that Leo and everyone I work with have been sick for the past month or more. I said to my mom, a couple weeks ago, "I bet you anything, I’ll catch a cold right before Stitches." I was wrong, I caught a cold the day OF Stitches. Lucky me. So between hacking up a lung and not sleeping well, it's made me less than 100% of myself.

But I did go to Sally Melvile's speech the first day.

This was just before she went on stage, so do enjoy the view of everyone’s head and nothing else. She was discussing the process she used for designing pieces in her newest book, Color.

Here's my mom modeling a scarf/necklace thingy she knit and felted. Oooh, so cute. This is apropos, nothing, really, I just think she's cute.

She and I both had our first class together. We took Debbie New's Labyrinth Knitting course. If you aren't familiar, it's a technique from her Unexpected Knits

Here are some of my swatches.

None of mine are exactly right, but I got the concept. You basically make a jigsaw of your knitting and work them out to fit exactly into a certain shape. Very interesting stuff.

Between classes I've been working on my Voodoo top. I actually got an email from someone who wishes to remain anonymous, but who took umbrage with my last post, so I've taken it down. I believe it to be at least partially, a misunderstanding. I think this person thinks I plan to figure out the construction of the inspiration piece and write it up as my own pattern for distribution. This is simply untrue I've just knit this piece for myself, but I'm afraid I wasn't able to coherently communicate this and it's clear the offense has pushed the issue beyond reconciliation. I feel bad about that but I can respect this person's feelings on the topic.

That said, I'm very happy with the results so far. Here is the piece with all the knitting done and none of the ends sewn in. I still need to crochet more trim and add a closure.

I originally planned to use a frog closure but I lost mine in the travel from LA to here, so I've since bought some buttons, which I'll post soon.

Unfortunately, I can't find any pictures online of the original inspiration piece. It's called Red Dragon and it was issued by GGH/Rebecca magazine, but it's a bit like this and this. I just love that look and incorporating it into knitwear poses some interesting construction challenges that were fun to play around with. Don’t worry, all those ends will be woven in and there is more trimming to do. Oh and it needs a serious blocking as well, but just pretend that bottom hem is straight. I’ll post all my notes and a decent picture, as soon as I can.

Well, times a-wasting and it is my birthday, after all.

January 23, 2006

Finally, some knitting

Before I bore you with more of the same, how about a little something new?

I finished my stealth knit a little while ago, and it's awaiting whatever fate the yarn gods have in store for it. That left my needles free for other things.

I begin teaching some classes at the KnitCafe, starting this week. The owner asked me to come up with a simple eyelet scarf pattern and the above image shows the results.

I'm relatively picky about scarf stitches. I don't believe they have to be completely reversible, but I do feel that, if others are respecting your personal space, it shouldn't be apparent if the back and front don't match. So my quest was for a stitch pattern that used only knits, purls, k2togs, ssks and yos, and did so in a manner that was very simple, basically reversible, and would lie flat without any additional edge stitches. I couldn't find anything that entirely suited my needs, so I modified a stitch pattern and came up with what you see above.

Here are some close ups.

There isn't a front or back, per se, but let's call this the front.

And here's the back

The yarn is the leftover Karabella Aurora 8 from Hopeful. I used exactly 2 balls with less than a yard left over after I wove in all the ends and cut the fringe. The scarf blocked out to about 6 feet long. The stitch pattern is a modified 5x5, with a 3 stitch selvage on each side.

I will post the pattern, for free, sometime soon.

And now, some entirely unnecessary images of my Cotswold as it basks in the California sun, after the bump.

Continue reading "Finally, some knitting" »

February 12, 2006

The fascinating lives of stitch markers -- Part II

Last we met, we were discussing my stitch marker collection. Here they are again:

While I have plenty of uses for the split and locking stitch markers, they don't do much of the heavy lifting here at Chez Marnie. I have to say, though, the feedback I got from the previous post was interesting. It appears that most people fall into one of a few disticnt groups.

There are the people who are most concerned with aesthetics. Having something cute or sparkly brings a smile to the knitter's face. While others are economical and practical. Using bits of string, hair elastics or a cut up straw means never worrying about lost markers or spending too much. Finally, there are people like I am. So without further ado, go ahead and read a bit more about the madness to my method, after the bump.

Continue reading "The fascinating lives of stitch markers -- Part II" »

February 9, 2006

Have you ever had a stitch marker break?

I don't believe that I use any sort of ninja death grip when I knit. My hands don't get cramped and my gauge is fairly loose. Nonetheless, I have managed to break stitch markers while knitting.

For many years, I have happily used my Susan Bates stitch markers. They are readily available and cheap as can be. A small box of 20 will run you less than $2.00. It was not until I crushed a few, mid row, that I decided I needed to see what else was out there.

Now my collection of stitch marking paraphernalia looks like this:

In my knitting nook, I have a set of those dishes you put your soy sauce in when you eat sushi. In one dish, I keep standard safety pins, some with the loop at the bottom, some without. In another dish, I keep a variety of closed ring, circular stitch markers. In the third dish, I have split ring and locking stitch markers, and in the last, I have a beautiful set of hand made stitch markers my friend Amy gave me.

If I haven't bored you yet, read the rest of my post on stitch markers, after the bump.

Continue reading "Have you ever had a stitch marker break?" »

February 5, 2006

Not much progress

I haven't had as much time to knit as I'd hope, so the shawl is going slowly. Admittedly, that's partially because I don't consider it a traveling knit. I really have to focus on it pretty well to make sure I don't mess it up and that means it's hard to work in poor lighting or while commuting. But, I am still really happy with it and am channeling all those words of encouragement from folks.

Wanna see more?

It kind of looks like it did in the previous post, huh? But I'm not just knitting for it, I'm spinning for it too.

Here's everything I've spun to date. It comes out to about 74 grams sock weight yarn.

My most recent batch is 67 yards and weights 20 grams. Anyone have any idea how many yards/grams I'll need to make an averaged sized shawl?

February 24, 2006

Guest Pattern Writer

I was planning to post some pictures of my Stitches purchases and my finished keyhole top, but Leo needs the camera today.

Instead, I thought I'd take a pole.

You know that funky scarf/necklace thing my mom was wearing in an earlier post?

Well, she has offered to make the pattern available for free to you guys, via my website. If you are interested, please leave a comment and if there's enough interest, I should be able to get something up for you by the end of the weekend.

March 17, 2006

Guess who's blocking

It's only about 4 feet wide, so it's a mini-shawl, but it's my first and it's made from my handspun so I'm as happy as can be.

Leo said "It looks like it could fall apart, like it could break." I informed him that the term is "delicate" and that, for lace, that's a good thing.

It should be dry tonight and I'll be able to get some better pictures, but for now, this will have to do.

And boy, Panda has been in belly rub heaven. She loves the love, so thanks to all of you who sent her some. For those who asked, yes, she is getting cuter and yes, I'm a complete sucker for her big brown eyes and yes, she knows she's working it.

March 13, 2006

Life's a beach

We took Miss Panda to Ocean Beach where they have a lovely stretch just for dogs.

It's about an hour and a half drive for us, so I did a bit of knitting on the way.

That's the unnamed shawl I've been knitting with my handspun. You can really see how, from skein to skein, the tonality of the yarn changes, but I like it. It might be because, having spun the yarn, designed the piece and knit it, I can't bear to NOT like it, yet I truly think that once it's blocked it will look good.

But you don't want to hear about the shawl, do you? You want to see some fun Panda pics, which I'm here to offer, after the bump.

Continue reading "Life's a beach" »

February 26, 2006

Don't thank me

Thank my mom. She wrote up the pattern and it's now available. If you want to take a look, just pop on over here.

March 22, 2006

Upgrading to Marnie 2.0

I got word, yesterday, that starting Monday, I'm officially promoted. Yay! I had been vying for a couple open supervisor positions at my company and both managers had told me I was their top pick, but last minute I was asked to decline those positions in exchange for equal title/pay/grade level and remain in my current role, at least long enough to complete a large project I've been working on. In essence, it means better pay and I appear more qualified, on paper, but in truth, nothing much will change about my job. I have asked to be able to attend management training courses, as they are made available, so that I will, at least, be able to beef up those skills in some way.

So to celebrate, here are some more pictures of the shawl. They still aren't quite what I want, picture wise. I'm hoping to actually don my handmade apparel, to get a better picture, sometime soon. But these are definitely better than the blocking pictures.

This picture really shows the stitch pattern well, but doesn't really show the color, because it's backlit.

This is the best representation of the color, but is a little soft in the details.

I see it worn over a black dress, on a mild spring night.

April 5, 2006

Dogs in raincoats, swords and ruffles

After my last post, I got together with a bunch of my girlfriends for dinner at a Tunisian restaurant.

There was wine and, well, belly dancing.

See, here's the thing about me, there's really not much more than a thin veneer of self decency that keeps me from breaking into dance at the drop of a hat (or in this case, drape of a scarf). I love to dance. So when my friends hoisted me, bodily, at the belly dancer who was trying to coax another of the group up to dance, well, I didn't put up much of a struggle. And hey, just because I've never belly danced before, doesn't mean I won't try to fake it.

And if you aren't having an hearty laugh at my expense yet, I will add that while I had had a little bit of wine, I wasn't even buzzed. I act this way sober.

Anyway, enough of that.
I've been knitting some trim onto my cardi.

There are something like 1500 stitches going around the edge of this piece, and it is taking me days to cast off. The saddest part of all is that I'm not sure if I like this treatment. I'll bind off and see, but I'm thinking I might want something a bit softer, less ruffly. I did try it on up to this point and it looks pretty cute, but, it's not quite what I envisioned.

Would you like to see that ruffle a little closer?

It's a completely reversible ruffle that I designed for this piece, though I'm sure others have come up with the same sort of idea. If I do end up ripping this out and trying again, I'll probably try the same thing again but with fewer increases and a wider ruffle. Or, I'll get fed up and try a different style.

And since I'm in a non sequitur kind of a mood, here's a dog in a raincoat that I saw yesterday while walking to Leo's office after work.

April 1, 2006

Would you like some hat with that pom-pom?

I actually knit this hat a while ago but didn't finish it until yesterday. I've been wearing it to walk Panda early in the morning, but I knew it needed a big pom-pom before I could really show it here.

It's made of GGH Aspen, knit on US# 10.5 needles.

This is one of those ridiculously easy hats that can be knit up in a day, if you have nothing else to do. It's a chunky yarn made of merino and microfiber so it's warm but soft enough to wear against the skin. I usually can't wear hats with any wool content, without feeling itchy, but this hat gives me no problems. I think the combination of the simple stranded pattern, funky ribbing and huge pom-pom, make for quite a hat. Panda, however, finds it rather gauche for her taste.

March 24, 2006

Shawl Project Notes

All the notes after the bump

Continue reading "Shawl Project Notes" »

March 23, 2006

I'm knitting with sunshine

I just think you need to see how beautiful that Almost Solid Roving is when spun and knit.

I knit this while commuting, just trying to think of different stitches off the top of my head. That's why the lacy bit at the top is kind of wonky. I think I'm going to have to spin up more and see if I can come up with a cute scarf pattern. My gut is to go with a mitten/glove/mitt sort of pattern, but I have so many of those, it feels like a bit of a cop out. I can't really do a hat, because that color looks pretty bad right against my face. I'm sure a scarf isn't really better, but since I have this scarf already, and it's never bothered me, I figure another yellow scarf won't hurt.

In case you are wondering, I've also spun up that other Almost Solid shade I bought. It's drying now.

April 17, 2006

Merigold

I know I said I was going to knit a scarf with my sunflower colored Corriedale handspun. I know I said I wouldn't knit a hat because I don't look good in yellow.

I say a lot of things.

So yah, I knit a hat with my handspun and I'm pretty happy with it. The stitch pattern is from a Barbara Walker book and is called "Bleeding Hearts." It doesn't really look like bleeding hearts to me, unless it's some commentary on my political stance, then maybe.

Here's a little close up of the stitch pattern

Panda decided she wanted in on the photo shoot, so I picked her up and gave her a big smooch.

And then I took her picture because after the last post, I felt I needed to prove that I do not condone the humiliation of doggies except inasmuch as I find it funny and post pictures of it which means I sort of do condone it. But let's not dwell on alleged ducky slippers and robes. Instead, let's admire how cute Miss Bear is.

Awwww...

Anyway, I've submitted the hat pattern for consideration in a future edition of Spindlicity. If Janel doesn't want to run it, I'll post the pattern here, so either way, if you want yourself a similar hat, it'll be available somewhere, at sometime.

March 31, 2006

Cardigan Trim

I have been working on the trim for my machine knit cardi, for a couple of days. I started by trying to pick up stitches around the whole piece but found that none of my circular needles were long enough. Next, I tried crochet, but I couldn't quite get the effect I wanted. Crochet just tends to be denser and less drapy, and I wanted to keep the trim soft.

So today, I went to an LYS and picked up a longer circular needle. It's funny, really, while it only took me a couple days to knit the piece on the machine, it's taking me much longer to actually finish it.

Not much to look at, really, though I tried it on before picking up to knit and I am very happy with the fit.

When I'm not working on the cardi, I've been spinning up more of my sunflower colored roving

I've spun just over half of the 4 ounces that I bought. The left skein is my first and the right, my most recent. It's a little finer than the first round but not by much.

I've also made one last addition to the shawl.

It's a little rose crocheted from the same yarn. I think it'll be a nice way to close shawl without tying or holding it.

March 28, 2006

Moving on

The shawl has been so much fun and I'm very excited about it but I'm pretty sure I cannot maintain a knitting blog on that one shawl alone. So I was sitting around, trying to decide what to knit next and what yarn to use. I definitely plan to do more with my handspun but I wanted to work on something a little different.

So this weekend, I knit this:

But I didn't knit it by hand, I used my trusty knitting machine.

The yarn is Silk City Soft Stretch which is a cotton yarn with 4% Elite.

It's hard to see what's going on, because the yarn is a bit dark and everything is curly, but I've worked up the main pieces on my machine and am sewing them together. It's a very fitted cardigan, with a deep v-neck and a hem that descends from the natural waist to just about the hips. What got me thinking about this design was Jody's post about this design. I love the hem and I think the piece is lovely and flattering on the model, but having read Jody's description of the construction, I wasn't sure it'd be something I would be able to use a lot. Like Annie's Vogue Knitting cover design, the basic construction is that of a circle, which forms the front, back and collar. I'm oversimplifying here, but you get the idea. While I think that's a brilliant idea, knowing my body shape and what I like to wear, I wanted to mimic that curved hem, but I wanted it to be a bit more fitted throughout. So this piece is basically a hip length cardigan, fitted, set in sleeves, very simple overall. The only difference is that the front hem starts at around the natural waist and slopes to the lowest point, center back.
It's worked bottom-up, in separate pieces. The front pieces curve with a series of increases, while the back gets a very gentle curve by way of short row shaping.

Once I'm done piecing the main bits together I'll work all the edging. With my knitting machine, I find the cast ons and bind offs sub par, so everything was done with a provisional cast on and bind off and all live stitches are held on waste yarn. I'll be playing around with different treatments, but it will probably be one of a few ideas I have.

  1. A simple ruffle that runs all the way around the edges, including the sleeves to make a simple bell at the end.
  2. A crochet border, very simple with a delicate picot detail for interest
  3. Lace, much like the ruffle idea but much lighter
  4. Shawl collar and i-cord bind off, for a more classic and simple look
  5. Whatever else comes to me in a fit of inspiration

April 23, 2006

Ribbing ribbing ribbing ribbing ribbing

I took a couple rough photos of the machine knit cardi and cami

The pictures aren't so good because there was only a little daylight left when I took them. And I've been doing housework all day, so the hair; it is in no condition for photographing. But, I think it gives you a general idea of what the pieces look like.

I'm now fully engrossed in Leo's sweater.

This is the back piece. I'm about halfway to the armsceye. It looks thin, but it will block out much wider. So far so good. I got most of it done while watching a movie over at a friend's place. It was a great, relaxing evening.

Leo went out with some friends and brought me home this:

He’s so sweet. Little things like that make knitting miles of ribbing seem fun.

April 12, 2006

I got your pom-pom right here


Several people have requested the pattern to this hat, so I've posted it in the pattern area of my site. You can get the pattern here.
It’s really a very easy hat to knit, and it’s made with chunky yarn so you can bang this baby out in a weekend.

That Cami I mentioned

Here's a preview of the camisole (ok, it's more of a tank, but I think camisole sounds better) that I plan to pair with the cardigan.

There will be no ruffles here, just stockinette and crochet. I think the horizontal lines will play nicely against the sweeping hem of the cardigan and the clean look of the crochet will tone down the effect of the ruffle a bit. The nice thing is that this piece is comfortable and wearable enough to be layered with other pieces. The straps are wide enough to hide a bra strap and the fabric has stretch so it hugs the body without being too constricting.


Here's a detail shot of the neckline. It could do with a bit of blocking. It's just three rows of single crochet, the last row I decrease every 9th and 10th stitch, so that it will sit flat.

Obviously, I still have one arm and the hem left to do, but it’s been a very quick piece to pull together overall.

April 11, 2006

What have I learned this weekend?

I got so many great comments and even more votes in my little poll. It appears that around 62% of folks that voted like the cardi as it is. However, most commenters leaned more towards softening or modifying the ruffle. I think, based on the feedback, I'll keep the piece as is for now. It seems like most of the people who didn't love the ruffle are not ruffle kinds of people anyway. What can I say? I'm pretty girly sometimes. I'm also working on a matching camisole with no ruffle, to wear with the cardigan. It's a simple square neck, fitted piece with a very simple crochet border that should compliment the cardigan without making the whole thing too busy. Yes, I know, a good blogger would have a picture. Sorry about that.

This weekend, I also learned that Deciduous likes to go out dancing. Want to see pictures? Check 'em out after the bump.

Continue reading "What have I learned this weekend?" »

April 7, 2006

Did I exceed my ruffle quotient?


I don't know, I think the ruffle may be too much. I like the ruffle idea, but maybe a little softer. I'm sort of dreading having to rip it out and reknit it, but it may be necessary. What do you think? Try to ignore the fact that I'm wearing my pajamas and that the sleeves are done yet.

Continue reading "Did I exceed my ruffle quotient?" »

April 21, 2006

Well, in that case

I don't think I could have gotten a more positive response to good ol' Drake, if I had bribed you guys. So, I've cleaned up the pattern, fixed the typos (I hope) and posted him for sale.

People have made some great suggestions for modifications and variations. One I like in particular was to convert him to a messenger bag. While I no longer have the yarn or even the dyelot numbers to do that, I think it's worth mentioning for anyone who might be considering making one for themselves.

Curses

Next up, a possible exercise in futility. I want to knit Leo a sweater. I do this with a great deal of trepidation. Leo is not a fiber artist of any sort. He switches between calling it "sewing," "crocheting," and "knitting." When I wind, spin or knit yarn, his general thought is "Aren't there machines to do that?" I do not begrudge him this. He takes no end of joy in things that bore me to tears.

I have knit Leo a boatload of hats and I've even knit him a sweater before. He is always appreciative, but I have never knit him something he is totally satisfied with. The perfect item will always be lace weight thin and softer than silk, while still being manly in every way. Colors? Sure, as long as it's grey, brown, navy, or black.

So why do I want to knit him a sweater despite the fact that he hasn't asked and I'm pretty sure he won't be entirely content with it? Well, I want to design a few men's garments, to fill out my pattern portfolio, and I think the design is one that marginally less picky men will like, but I also can't help myself. I think he's pretty darned wonderful and knitting is about the most special thing I can do for him, so dammit, he's getting a sweater.

I started with a trip to the LYS where I got 4 skeins of yarn.

All were dubbed "a little thick." But I informed him that it would just have to do and he could wear it when it's colder out. I love him, but I'm not knitting a sweater on needles smaller than US #3.
So he began the feel test.
The top was the finest, but the superwash merino just wasn't soft enough.
The alpaca was soft enough but too thick
The Cathay was dismissed out of hand. No interest there
The last was the Baby Cashmerino. Thin enough to be acceptable, soft enough to pass the test, and if bought in a different color it would do.

So I shopped online for some good colors and prices. I know my LYS doesn't carry the quantity and color selection required. Webs had the best price once the discount was applied and I made my order.

In the mean time, I swatched.

Yup, the whole thing will be in ribbing. May the knitting gods grant me the strength to finish this baby.

Both swatches have been through the washing machine and laid flat to dry so I know the yarn will survive his general MO for washing sweaters. And yesterday, after about a week of waiting, the yarn arrived.

That's 13 skeins of grey/blue Baby Cashmerino.

April 20, 2006

Almost published

It seems like forever ago.
The talented and wonderful, Shannon Okey, contacting me to ask if I'd design a piece for the second of her KnitGrrl books. I hadn't ever worked with her before but her enthusiasm was enough to sway me. I drafted up a proposal and sent it to her and she accepted the idea. The result is Drake the Dreaded, the Dragon Backpack:

I think he's cute. You see that tongue there? It's functional.


When you open him up, that tongue is the pull cord to cinch the bag shut.

Here's his backside.

Shannon gave me great positive feedback when I finished him and sent him off. I was excited. Unfortunately, he didn't hold nearly as much charm for the editor of the book and he was cut, last minute. It happens and it was definitely not a personal thing. I was offered the choice of having him be a free promotional pattern for the book or just getting him back to use as my own pattern. There was some problem getting any final paperwork from the editor so we decided to cut our losses and Drake is back home with me.

Since I still have my original pattern instructions and I now have my sample back, I was thinking I'd offer the pattern up on my site, for a very small fee, say $3.50. I wanted to feel it out though and see if folks thought that would be of interest to them. So leave me a comment and let me know what you think and if there's a lot of interest, I'll post a pattern this weekend.

In spinning news, I've been spinning up some of my yummy Almost Solid Series Sampler.

This is some BFL in colorway "Redwood." It's my first time spinning BFL and it's a delight. I'm spinning it on my 0.9 ounce Golding. When plied, it should be about a DK weight.

If you've been wondering about the machine knit cardi and cami, they are done, I just need to get them on me and in front of a camera when there is actual daylight.

May 17, 2006

Passed down pattern

My mother and my paternal grandmother both knit. My grandmother has since passed away, but I'm still able to share my love of knitting with my mom. Recently, she dug out a little relic of my childhood, a hat she had knit when Matt and I were kids.

It is based on a pattern my grandmother had knitted for one of my older cousins whose origins are now lost.

I'd love to adapt this pattern, myself, and offer it up for all of you out there, but I'm a bit concerned that it may be based on a copyright protected design. My mom isn't sure whether this is an original design of my grandmother's or something she worked from a pattern.

It's a fool's errand to try to prove a negative, (i.e. how would I prove that there was never a pattern like this before?) and I suspect that more than one person has ever designed a hat with a clown face theme, but if anyone recalls a pattern from the 70s or earlier, that looked strikingly like this, I'd love to know. If not, I'd like to adapt this into a free a pattern, with some minor modifications.

Modifications? Yes, I know, I can never leave well enough alone, but I think I could design this so the ears are knit along with the hat, and I think it'd be good to make it in a lighter gauge since most of my friends of baby making age, live in warmer climates.

My mom also brought me a big bag of cashmere roving (oh la la) in a gorgeous dusty grey brown shade, but I haven't been able to get a good picture of it. All this on Mother's Day weekend, no less.

April 27, 2006

Keep going while the going is good

I've been cranking away on Leo's sweater, which I simply must find a name for since it's early stages bare a striking resemblance to someone else's sweater for a Leo. I am happy to report that while my Leo will be wearing a ribbed sweater, I have not accidentally designed a piece that is nearly identical to that one. But I do believe that the two men are cut from the same cloth (or should it be; knit from the same yarn.)

So, for the start of the sweater I cast on of about 120 stitches, and worked in ribbing for about 120 rows. In the world of exciting things to do, this rates at about a -3. But, we are at the early stages of knitting this piece and, like a relationship, the things that may annoy or bore me later, are simply delightful now.

So knowing that the thought of casting a new piece may feel like torture, by the time I finish the back piece, I've decided to leverage my existing enthusiasm and get the most tedious bits out of the way first.

So there is the back, knit up to the armsceye, with the front, cast on and knit for a few rows, sitting on top.
I gently blocked the back so you could see the fabric as it will be when completed. The first inch of each piece is knit on a slightly smaller needle so that the bottom edge won't flip out in some wonky way.

Now, when it comes time to knit the rest of the back, it won't seem quite so dreary. I'm thinking I'll need to knit both sleeves at the same time as well, to rid myself completely of second sleeve syndrome. Some people find knitting the sleeves first to be the best remedy, but in a man's garment which will be knit rather long, I suspect that this portion of the knitting will be the hardest to find motivation for. Time will tell if I'm correct.

I've also been spinning a little. I actually completed this skein several days ago.

It's the Redwood colorway from my Spunky Eclectic haul.

May 31, 2006

Finn-Tastic

Remember the GIR I made? Well, he's settling in with little Finnian who was born at 1:13 AM on May 9th.

I've said it before, I'll say it again, babies make one's knitting look better. There's really no arguing that one.
And just in case you haven't gotten enough of handsome little Finn, here's another great shot.

I hope you'll all join me in wishing Finn and his parents (first timers in the baby making department) great health and happiness. He's already got the looks so no need to worry about that.

May 12, 2006

Thank god I'm knitting them both at once

You know, I'm not completely burned out on knitting navy blue ribbing, but I'm pretty sure that having to start another sleeve from scratch would be a challenging endeavor. I think that knitting them both at once is a good choice. It's a bit of a bummer knitting all those stitches in a row and knowing I have many increases ahead of me, but in the few minutes I'm finding to knit each day, I can usually zone out and enjoy myself. My mind definitely starts wandering, yearning for future projects, but there's also that side of the project that's all about doing something special for Leo. I know, so sappy.

So those are the two sleeves, almost a third of the way to the sleeve cap. They are perched upon the blocked back piece, for scale.

Having folks take my quiz has been really fun, by the way. It's interesting to see how folks imagine my life to be. For those who didn't score so high, don't feel bad, it's not like most of that stuff comes up in day to day blogging.

May 8, 2006

2 out of 4 ain't bad

That's 2 out of the 4 big pieces for the Leo sweater, of course.

And this is not a sleeve:

It's the back of the sweater. Leo is not a super skinny man, it just needs some blocking.

Yah, I know that most people block at the END of the process, but I bet most of those people don't have a cool new blocking board and blocking wires. Actually, that's only gravy for me. I like to do my finishing as I go. It keeps me motivated.

Quite a few folks have asked me if I'll be using my machine to knit this piece. In this case, it won't be possible. My machine has no ribber, and the manual task of dropping the stitches that should be purled and using a latch hook to rework them, is tedious and makes my back ache. I'm sure I'll machine knit Leo a sweater in the future, but this piece is all hand knit.

I'm back working in Orange County this week, which means no bus, and lunch at my desk, so progress is slow on the sleeves. Knitting Gir was a nice little instant gratification project, but I'm hoping to crank through as much of the sleeves as possible over the next couple weeks.

May 7, 2006

Gir!

A friend of mine is due, any day now, to have a baby. She has a great affinity for Invader Zim and a really quirky sense of humor. She doesn't seem like someone who'd be likely to be content with run of the mill toys and garments for babies. I decided I had to come up with something that no one else would be able to get her.

So I found some green Calmer, and some left over black cotton yarn. I picked up a little bit of felt and I went to town.

Thus was born a little Gir.

And for scale, here he is in front of some knitting needles.

I know he's not a perfect match but I have to admit to being happy with him nonetheless. He'll be popped in the mail tomorrow to go to his new home.

June 14, 2006

The ugliest little swatches ever

This is really the first time I've done test swatches for a design for someone else's book. I've had pieces in books and I've had sketches accepted for publication in magazines, but normally I self publish so my swatch is always in the color and yarn that I intend to use. There was a part of me that felt it would be good to run out and buy the "right" colors of yarn, but there is no guarantee that it will actually be the yarn I use, so I decided to stick to stash yarn, almost exclusively. The result is swatches so horrible to the eye, that I feel I'm giving nothing away by sharing them.

They are sitting atop the stitch by stitch chart I've done up for my Silky Wool yarn. As insane as it sounds, even for my own use, I generally chart every stitch of the piece I plan to make.

I wanted to get everything in sunlight, last night, and while the days are long here, there's only really one little spot by the window that gets direct sunlight. Guess who gave me a hand with the photo shoot:

She was checking the lighting for me.

And no, I haven't been neglecting my girlfriendly duties, Leo's turtleneck is nearly done.

On the commute home, a couple days ago, I asked Leo "Hey, do you prefer your turtlenecks on the long side or on the short side."
"Oooh, I don't know, kind of medium. Helpful, huh?"
Indeed.
So this piece will probably be done before my next blog post, but getting Leo in front of a camera, may still be days away. From what I've seen of it on him, though, I think it'll be worth the wait...hubba hubba.

May 29, 2006

I love long weekends

Given my druthers, I'd gladly work 3 - 13 hour days a week to have 4 day weekends. Alas, that probably isn't going to happen for me so I'll just have to enjoy the long weekends bestowed upon us by federal holidays.

Leo's sweater is nearing the finish line. All the big pieces are done and assembled. It's still damp here and in need of some final blocking. The wash was just to get all the commuter grime off of it, but I'll do a proper steam block when it's dry. It'd probably be better to wet block it, since it's already wet and all, but I'm a strange girl.

This is the back view. The front is largely the same but the neck is a little lower.

While I'm waiting for the sweater to dry so I can start the neck, I've been knitting some socks. I'm one of those people who is more than happy to knit on DPNs. I have absolutely no aversion to them and find that socks zip along just merrily on them. However, I have some concern that I may not be able to take metal DPNs on the plane with me to India (nationally, it's not a problem, but internationally, there may be some issues). So I'm attempting the socks on two circulars method.

I have to admit, I don't care for it. To me, this method is slow and clumsy. I've improved the process for myself by clipping the two socks together, which resolves some of the issues I had with the socks constantly migrating away from each other and increasing the time it takes to go from knitting one sock to the other.

Even though I really do not like this method, now, I feel obligated to try to knit a whole pair in this manner. It may simply be a matter of acclimating to the technique. Even so, I'm not sure why this method is so popular amongst the DPN averse. In truth, the circulars simply act as two very long DPNs, so I'd think anyone who could master this technique, could certainly master the use of DPNs.

Ok, I'm off my soapbox here. It's true that there are merits to being able to knit two socks at once, and the circulars fold up more compactly than DPNs, so I still feel this endeavor is worthwhile.

I'm not sure what the yarn is, I've long lost the label. It looks a lot like Opal but it's not, it's some other, less known, self striping sock yarn.

You may have noticed that the underside is slightly different than the top, at least down at the toes. This is because I worked a short row toe, so I started from the ball of the foot, working flat to the toe then back down to the top of the foot before joining in the round. Personally, I prefer the idea of a bright red toe, so that's going to be the top.

May 22, 2006

Because he's worth every stitch

Since my post on Friday, I've done about 80 rows on Leo's sleeves. I am finally at the sleeve cap, which means no more increases. Not a moment too soon, I say. There were a few moments when I mentally psyched myself out and I wasn't sure I'd ever see the end of them.

There is actually a likely possibility that the sleeves are a little bit long. Personally, I'd rather have to shorten a ribbed sleeve than have to lengthen one. Ribbing is unidirectional. If you pickup and knit from the other direction, all stitches will be half a stitch offset from the point you picked them up. This means that lengthening a ribbed sleeve is best done by knitting a new cuff and grafting, in ribbing, to the base of the sleeve. I'm very comfortable with grafting in stockinette but ribbing is a whole other beast.

But you know, it's easy to find motivation when knitting for Leo. It's not all about eating dog cookies at our place. On Friday, Leo treated me to dinner at my favorite Italian restaurant.

He said he loved me so much, even the stains he leaves on his placemat are heart shaped.

After dinner, we made an attempt to go out and tear up the town, but having both gotten up around 6 am, we were pretty beat by 11pm and the bars still all seemed empty. Leo did take this cool picture of us reflected off the mirror behind the bar.

You can see his camera peaking through the bottles, if you look carefully.

It ended up being an early night, and a quiet weekend. On Saturday, I knit sleeves while I watched Memoirs of Geisha. It may not be as good as the book, but it's been quite a few years since I read the book and the cinematography alone was captivating enough to hold my interest. There were a few things I remembered well enough to feel like I could pick apart the movie a bit, but it never stopped me from enjoying it.

May 19, 2006

Pleading Patients Overlooked

I can't quite decide what my the PPO portion of my medical insurance is referring to. I thought it was shorthand for "the world is your medical oyster" but I'm finding myself a tad frustrated today. The short story is that I need to get some inoculations so I can take a business trip to India in July, which is a very cool opportunity but is involving a lot of effort I hadn't originally considered. I think I've sorted most of the confusion out in what appears to be the first instance of my insurance company being more helpful than the doctor's office. Who knew? Anyway, I have two sore upper arms and a yellow card detailing my immunities to some rather icky viruses. There was also a bit of time to knit on Leo's sleeves.

I will still need some boosters and a tetanus shot, as well as a few prescriptions, but I've got the stuff that needed a lot of lead time out of the way.

Working on Leo's sweater, I've given myself little leeway to do much else. Obviously, I knit Gir but there really hasn't been much else. I occasionally pick up my spindle which has some lovely alpaca on it.

It's not that I'm not enjoying spinning it, it's just that I really want to crank through Leo's sweater and I cannot spin and knit at the same time. But, imagine if I could...oh my own vision of Valhalla.

Knitting miles of ribbing does give me ample time to consider what comes next. I'll definitely be working on the clown hat, but what should I do in India. July = monsoon season in the area. Temperatures, apparently, can average around 120 degrees though I'm told it's quite a bit cooler where we'll be. Even so, I'm thinking small, portable, and able to be worked on mindlessly. All signs point to socks. I'm not a huge sock knitter, but I am feeling that 2 socks on 2 circs will prevent second sock syndrome AND be more likely to survive a trip through security and customs without a lot of explanation. I like working on DPNs, but having a preference for metal to wood means that's probably a bad idea.

So last night I ripped out a partially knit, now abandoned project that was started with some Socks that Rock in colorway, Carbon. It needed a bath and hanging to get the kinky bits out but now looks as good as new.

I also have some solid shades of koigu around and plenty of self patterning sock yarn, all of which will only take up a small amount of space in my luggage but which should easily entertain me for my 24 hour long commutes to and from India as well as the small amount of down time I'll have during the trip.

June 12, 2006

We are in partial stealth mode here

I spent a good deal of my weekend working on some swatches for someone else's book, this weekend, so bloggable progress is pretty scant. I can show you my gorgeous Silky Wool swatch, though.

I am fighting every urge to cast on for this piece right now. But I can't and shouldn't, not until at least one turtleneck is done for Leo and my swatches are finished for the unbloggable items.

I will tell you that I have big plans for this yarn. Oh how I love the Silky Wool. I don't know how it stands up to the test of time, but it's a great weight, comes in a huge assortment of colors, has good yardage, has a delightful texture, is soft enough to wear against the skin and appears to have just the right balance of drape and structure to pull off a lot of designs.

In entirely unrelated news, I thought you might be happy to learn that the next season of Knitty Gritty has been scheduled.

New episodes should start airing next month. You can see what's coming in the next season by clicking here.

The two episodes that I'm in, do not air until later this year.

June 11, 2006

That's a-lotta sock in one skein

The socks have been my mindless diversion lately. They get knit on the bus or in waiting rooms, where the balls are tucked away in my knitting bag. Since I have a handy dandy cooking scale, I was able to divide the original skein of yarn evenly into two separate balls. After that, it was a matter of cutting of a couple grams of yarn on one ball to get them both started in the same spot (in this case, at the beginning of a brown stripe. The smaller of the two balls ends with a complete red stripe and a little bit of yellow, so it means I can have socks that have red toes, red heals and a red cuff. YAY.

What I hadn't noticed until recently, was how many repeats I actually had. I'm about to complete the second repeat, and it's already past my ankle, and then I have 2 more full repeats plus a couple stripes after that. That means my socks can be twice as long (from toe to cuff) as they are already.

I'm torn though. If the sock doesn't reach to my knee, and I'm not quite sure it will, will it just become a slouchy mess? Am I better off making a shorter sock?

I plan to do quite a bit of ribbing at the top of the sock (maybe 2-3 inches) but if it's mid-calf, I'm not sure that will help.

Anyone with sockspertise should feel free to chime in.

June 6, 2006

Swatching and socking

You guys really make a 40 year old guy feel good. I, of course, tell Leo he's a youthful looking and damn fine looking man, pretty much every day, but he considers my opinion to be biased. Sheesh, like that matters. But who can argue with comments from relatively anonymous sources?

I have knit the mock turtleneck of his sweater and finally got him around to trying it on again and it looks great on him, absolutely delicious. I can't say I'm excited to knit several turtlenecks in the round now, but since it's all I have left to do, I hope to get at least one cranked out this weekend.

In the mean time, I've been doing two things.
Knitting some silly socks on the bus:

This has been the first week that I'm back to working in my LA office and I've forgotten how relaxing it is to be able to take the bus. I usually only knit a few rounds, since I'm generally too tired to deal with 2 circs and 2 balls of yarn (I like the yarn well enough, but it's like velcro to itself. Has anyone else had that problem with sock yarns?) I'm about 2 inches up the leg. I don't know how long I want these socks to be. I'll probably just knit for a while until I pretty much use up the yarn, or maybe I'll get bored, do some ribbing and bind off. We'll see.

The last thing I've been doing is swatching. It's my unfaithful little heart. I should be finishing, not starting, but what's the harm in a little swatching, right?


It's some beautiful Silky Wool that I bought from a destashing effort. It's been a while that it's been sitting in my own stash, and I've been reserving a little corner of my brain for ideas. They are still evolving, but I'm pretty sure I want to go with some sort of diamond all-over pattern.
After this shot was taken, I finished the lacy diamond motif that is partially knit by the needles and I worked a more vertically elongated knit and purl diamond motif. I then bound off, washed the swatch and am letting it dry flat. I would show you, but it is dark and I still have much getting ready for work to be doing.

June 4, 2006

When birthday gifts come late, it means the birthday lasts longer

Some people give me way too much credit, and Julia is one of those people. I wish it were true that Leo's sweater were finished and blocking, as she suggested, but it's not quite the case. However, it is terribly close to being done.

I'm just working on the neck now.
Leo looks amazingly good in turtlenecks, however, with sweaters, he finds that his stubble is always tearing the turtleneck apart, wearing out the sweater long before it's truly ready to be retired. This sweater will have a mock turtleneck and several separate full turtleneck pieces to tuck in and switch out as necessary. If that just doesn't work, I have the yarn and can simply remove the bind off on the mock turtleneck and knit a full turtleneck each time one wears out.

Leo has tried on the sweater up to the point you saw it in the last post. He has declared that the fit, fabric and look are all up to his standards, so I'm feeling pretty good about the endeavor.

For those of you who knit a lot of raglans, you may have noticed that the shoulder shaping is a bit different than one might expect. Instead of a steady slope, there is a true shoulder shape at the top. Do you see what I mean?

Here's a little sneak peek of how I did that.

There is an extra "raglan" running along the top of the shoulder that extends from the neckline to about the end of the shoulder (I actually stopped about a half inch short of the final shoulder length). Calculating it was an interesting challenge and I did it by printing out gauge sized charts and origami folding it to the right shape. This is not quite so mathematical as one might hope. Eventually, I plan to work out a pattern and will have to use my experience with this piece to write up a more useful explanation for determining the correct ratio.

Oh, and the sweater has been named. It's now "The Big Four-Oh" in honor of Leo's birthday. And I agree with any of you who share the sentiment that Leo doesn't look at all like he is 40.

June 2, 2006

I haven't abandoned Leo's sweater

But I have decided to whip through these socks for a little while.

I'm not sure if it's by design or by luck, but it just so happens that I was able to knit the toe and the heel in the same colors without cutting the yarn. I'd like to believe that the yarn manufacturer was brilliant enough to plan it that way, but it's hard to say. From toe to the start of the heel is exactly one repeat in their colorway.

Tell me that isn't cool.

Tomorrow is my sweet Leo's 40th birthday so we'll be spending most of the weekend celebrating in excess. May my waistline and liver recover quickly.

June 18, 2006

The Big Four-Oh Pattern Notes

Also known as "Curses Foiled Again".
This is the second sweater I've knit for Leo and neither have, yet, resulted in the end of our relationship. I will spare you my diatribe on the boyfriend sweater myth, because I'm simply too pleased to have this off the needles

I hope to have a properly modeled version of this for you soon. For now, you'll have to settle for it on me (and slightly rumpled).

Pattern notes after the bump.

Continue reading "The Big Four-Oh Pattern Notes" »

June 25, 2006

You know what they say about women with big feet, right?

They've got HUGE socks.

Well, my feet are pretty average, but check out this sock, baby. I've just started the ribbing portion which will run three color stripes deep, ending in a red stripe.

I don't know, maybe I'm getting subliminal messages about stripes but I'm really smitten with these socks. I should note that I own no (appropriate) skirts or shorts with which I could wear these and display them to best advantage, and yet I simply cannot wait to finish knitting both socks so I can wear them. There's a little twisted part of me that thinks I should wear them with one of my official work outfits, you know blazer, long trousers, ankle length boots, and the most crazy arse socks ever. The likelihood is that no one would know I had on my peppy long stockings, but if someone did catch a glimpse it'd definitely confirm my "not quite right in the head" status with them.

I've got some new handspun too.

Same technique as the redwood colorway, but in pine instead. This particular batch of roving has tended to leave a little dye on my fingers, and lost a bit of blue in the bath, but is otherwise lovely and really does spin up to look like a pine forest.

June 22, 2006

Peppy Long Stockings

So I am weak. I had every intention of knitting a whole pair of socks on 2-circulars needles. I was going to force myself to become a skilled practitioner of the technique. I said to myself, "Marnie, you cannot judge a method until you have really learned it, so do a whole pair of socks this way."

But it's all I can take. The socks have gone their separate ways and are now to be knit on DPNs alone. In my defense, I did move them well after the production of both heels, so I certainly knit a full sock's worth of sock, these are just going to be particularly long socks.

And on the topic of long socks, my most current measuring efforts suggest that I should have no trouble reaching my knees with this babies. I'm not sure that's necessarily a good thing. This may be a case of You Knit What? But I'm proceeding ahead regardless.

From what I can see, I am nearly doubling my knitting production, now that I'm back to knitting socks on DPNs (and yes, I am accounting for the fact that I was knitting twice the number of socks before). What really slowed me down was the pushing and pulling of socks and needles to get started on a new row. In general, I find it inefficient, but on a bus, it's nearly exasperating, as I contort to move everything around without touching my bussly neighbor. I'm as much of a process as product knitter, finding my fingers antsy when I have no knitting to do, but my process needs to be product oriented. Does that even make sense?

On a different topic, now that I'm back to spinning more regularly, here's some more Almost Solid Roving, this time in Corriedale in colorway, Pine.

For those of you for whom my ability to describe a technique, has let you down, here's what I meant by the thigh roll. I haven't been able to find a good example of the cabling method I described for both my hair and for the spinning.

June 28, 2006

Are those socks gonna fit?

As I knit away on sock number two, the question arises, can a knee length sock with no shaping, whatsoever, possibly fit a relatively shapely leg?


All signs point to yes! Sock number two is actually a bit further along than shown in the pic. These socks will be perplexing passersby in no time.

Oh and thank you to everyone who left my blog a happy birthday note. It's so sweet to hear from first time commenter, old friends and everyone in between. Being the insanely shy person I am, I know I'd never have gotten to meet you all (even if it's only virtually) without this glorious interweb thingy.

July 16, 2006

The finished Peppy Long Stockings

For any of you that feared I might be wracked with malaria or some other such disease, fear not. I've been fighting a fever, cough and general run down feeling which may possibly be strep throat, but I've been taking it easy and getting lots of rest, and am already starting to feel better. Saw the doctor on Friday and will know on Monday if it's strep. As a side note, does anyone else have the hardest time with those giant q-tips being jammed down their throat? Man alive!

Between vegging out on the couch watching cartoons, and sleeping, I was able to snap a few photos of my Peppy Long Stockings in all their glory. Here are the pattern notes as well.
Pattern: Peppy Long Stockings
Designer: Me (but based on your every day toe up sock with short row toe and heel)
Yarn: Unknown. It's a self striping sock yarn but I've long ago lost the label. It came in a 100 gram skein, 94 grams of which were used to make the pair of socks. If anyone recognizes the yarn, please let me know.
Needles: Started as 2 socks on 2 circs, switched to DPNs, all in size US #2

I didn't do any shaping in these socks and they fit fairly well. They are a touch baggy at the ankle if I stand on tip toe, but otherwise look pretty cute.

It managed to work out pretty well with the toe, heal and top of the socks coming out in red. It wasn't planned, but it is exactly what I'd want to happen.

And what's a photo shoot without my little glammor girl?

July 13, 2006

That sock

You'll have to excuse the bad photo, Leo has the camera today and so I had to use my phone.

This is the sock I started on the flight out to India. I call it "Nod to Jaywalker" because it uses a similar stitch to Grumperina's Jaywalker. The scale of the pattern I used is quite a bit smaller and the increases and decreases are paired unlike Grumperina's which uses double increases and decreases. This sock will have a ribbed fold over cuff, which is what I'm working on right now.

Oh and if I see out of sorts lately then:


  1. You are very very observant, or stalking me.

  2. It's because I'm sick and partaking of an at home pity party of one.

I was wondering why I was having such a hard time re-acclimating. I mean, I expected to be tired, but I was nearly useless. It hit me the night before last, but didn't seem too bad, however, as the work day proceeded, I just felt worse and worse. But the end of the day, I could hardly talk and was switching between bouts of sweating and bouts of chills. I had a meeting and the consensus was that I looked like hell. I've been joking that it's SARS or Avian Flu. Everyone loves hanging out with a sick person who just got back from a developing country.

So as a courtesy to everyone else, I'm taking it easy today, being well attended to by Miss Panda and all the cold soothing remedies that Leo hooked me up with last night. Go DayQuil Go!

July 12, 2006

Loot

Well, I can't show you everything I got because much of it is gifts for people who read this blog. No need to give them a sneak preview. But I can show you a few things I acquired for me.

These books were gifts from the hosts. I haven't had a chance to crack them open but I'm looking forward to it.

But books, smooks, you want to see the fabric, don't you?
I bought myself 2.5-4 yards of each and they are all silk.

This is a gorgeous iridescent green and purple fabric.

I should stop right now and explain that I have no idea what any of these will be used for. I think this one would make a great lining for some hand knit or crocheted purses, but who knows what it will actually become.

This is some light light sage green raw silk. The color is very hard to capture, trust me, it's a lovely shade.

This stuff was so cheap, I'm embarrassed to say how much I spent on it. I have 4 meters of it and I think it's about a 48" width. I think it'd make a beautiful structured mandarin collar jacket with princess seams, but, again, I reserve the right to completely change my mind about that.

These next two fabrics were a little pricier but so beautiful, they make my heart skip a beat.

I think I might like to turn one into a gored skirt maybe with some black chiffon insets or with some contrast piping. Did any of you even know that I know how to sew? Well, I do, though I'm not incredibly good at it. I have more vision than skill, that's for sure.

And yes, I did buy a sari.

No, I'm not going to model it for you. Not yet, at least. I think I've figured out how to do the standard drape, but it's pretty crude, sort of the equivalent to one's first fun fur scarf, if you know what I mean.

Finally, I bought shawl/wrap type things. The first two are a very soft wool. If I recall they are pashmina but not of the super fab variety. Both are reversible, in the way that double knit is reversible. The dominant color within a section of the weaving becomes the secondary color in the same section on the back.

The last one here is silk and hand dyed. They use a tie dye type process and the result is a light and crinkly silk scarf that is surprisingly warm when needed.

All three are about 2-3 feet wide and at least 6 feet long so they are perfect for casually throwing about the shoulders when there is a little chill in the air, but the fold up small enough to fit in a decent sized purse when it's warm.

Oh and jewelry is quite a bargain in India too. There is gold aplenty, but I prefer silver for sure.

Much of these have or will go to friends, but I don't think any of them wander by my blog. All are sterling silver with semi-precious gems.

Oh, and by the way, I did work on one sock while I was there:

It's a bit small. If after blocking it's still tight, I may actually have to rip it out.

July 31, 2006

Blogher!

So, the second N2JW has been progressing at a speed that would make most glaciers honk in frustration at my pace. I mean, this baby has been taking forever.

At Blogher, I knew nobody. This is not like Stitches was. I traveled with my mother, and met a great deal of friends while there. Further, in the world of knit bloggers, I'm like a C list star. I ain't no Yarn Harlot, but people have stumbled upon me on occasion. For comparison's sake, I'd put myself at about a Carrot Top. At Blogher, I had my normal anonymity, which is fine, but it does mean that I have to make the horrifying step of socializing without any safety net. Let me see if I can find a good knitting analogy here. That would be like my saying that I was going to use the most slippery needles on earth, and knit a complex lace shawl with 600 stitches per row, in mohair, with no life line. And if that doesn't scare you, I would ask you to shoosh, because I don't want to hear it.

So how does an introvert of my neurotic level adapt? She knits. She knits like a fiend and the results; a finished pair of N2JW socks done lickity split. In fact, I was so sad to be done, I toyed with the idea of knitting a third sock, because the only other knitting project I brought is too complex to allow me to knit while paying attention to things around me.

But Blogher was great. If my battery in my camera hadn't been dead (duh) I would have pictures to prove it. The panel on which I was asked to speak was called "Is the next Martha Stewart a blogger?" and was moderated by Maggie Mason. If you ever meet her, please, stop her and beg her for insight. She did a brilliant job moderating and imparted so much level headed wisdom and kindness. I feel like she could done the panel solo and would not have left a single question unanswered.

My fellow panelists were (in alphabetical order for lack of a better option):
Andrea Scher: Despite her proclamation that she was nervous, Andrea brought a warmth and spirit to the group. She lives by the motto that things should be "Fun and Easy" which are words to live by if ever there were any. Hearing about how she came to an understanding that she needed help with her business and how it really liberated her to do what was most satisfying for her, was wonderful. I think we can all take a page from her book, there.

Gayla Trail: A true perfectionist, Gayla really drove home how important it was to impart your own values in what you do. No aspect of her business is done halfway and she gives a great deal of thought to everything she associates herself with. I really respect her sense of principal and dedication.

Pim Techamuanvivit: Like a sparkly ray of sunshine. Her enthusiasm is absolutely contagious. She seemed to have a little slice of experience in every bit of media and an air of confidence to pull it all together. She offered wonderful pearls of wisdom for expanding one's reach and did it all with a beaming smile.

I felt like a girl among women on the panel but wouldn't trade the experience for anything.

Next post: pattern notes for N2JWs.

July 23, 2006

Pygmie + Angora = CUTE

For my birthday, Julia got me the Bellwether Exotic Fiber Kit. The first fiber I grabbed was Pygora and having never heard of it I decided to see what it was.

The little cutie to your right is the first picture I saw. Read all about him here. I've quite enjoyed spinning pygora, though I've only spun a small amount. I'm using my 0.9 ounce Golding and haven't had any problems spinning it, yet. The color is actually more of a creamy shade than it appears on screen and I'm spinning the singles at a about a lace weight.

I've also been plodding away on my N2JW sock.

I'm about an inch away from the heel right now.

August 8, 2006

Roughing it at home

I probably don't mind moving as much as some people do. In general, I have a slight pack rat mentality, but when it comes time to pack boxes, I'm a drill sergeant. While there are exceptions, my general rule is that if I haven't seen it, thought about it, touched, or used it in at least a year, it's probably something I don't need in my life. This is rather refreshing to me, though it does mean that I end up needing to re-buy things I may have tossed by accident. Leo is also a bit of a pack rat, but his philosophy is "Throw it in a box or trash bag and we'll sort it out at the new place."

We diverge greatly on this topic. I say, “Why move something I don't want or need?” But his take is "Let's make SURE we don't need it. Better safe than sorry." This makes for rather comical packing sessions. Picture Marnie approaching a pile of items that need to be sorting for either packing or Goodwill. Marnie begins heaping EVERYTHING in the Goodwill pile. Old family heirloom: Goodwill. Free CD from bar visited a year ago: Goodwill. Wine glasses so delicate that we never use them because we keep breaking them: Goodwill. If it has been tucked away in a dark cabinet for a year or more, it gets little more than a passing glance before heading into the pile. And then Leo turns around to say something to me. His eyes grow large as they land upon some cherished whatnot in the pile, then another. I already know what's coming and I yell, "TAKE NO PRISONERS!" But then he gets those puppy dog eyes as he snatches something dear from the pile. I relent.

Though, on the other end of the spectrum, when it comes to books, I'm like a mother with too many children. I know I can't possible house and care for them all but every one of them is dear to my heart. Leo took to packing the books himself and threatened to toss them all, their numbers were so great. "Don't you dare!" I exclaimed. All of a sudden, this drill sergeant went soft.

We have agreed, though, to get rid of most of our old furniture, some dating back to well before Leo and I met. This is mostly because we couldn't really justify the cost of moving it and after going from several places in Boston to Burbank and then to Playa Del Rey, it was all starting to get a bit tired. So between periods of scrubbing down the house to get it ready for moving out, I've been trying to sell this stuff on Craigslist.

This all keeps me fairly busy, but between all that, I do have some time to fill. With no TV or radio, I've been getting a lot of reading done, listened to a few audio books, and of course, I've been knitting and spinning.


The Silky Wool top is cranking along at a good pace. Isn't the stitch definition great? I’m probably another inch or so past what you see here. I’m experimenting with the construction of this piece a little which will become more apparent once I finish this main body piece.


I've been trying to spin some Yak from the Bellwether sampler. This is definitely not going as well as the Pygora, but I'm getting the hang of it.

And for a little bit of exercise, while I'm stuck at the house waiting for the next prospective buyer, I've been using this baby.

It's an Indo Board, and one of the few examples of something Leo is ready to give up and I want to keep. I don't do any sort of board sport but I find it terribly fun to risk my neck playing with this. As a responsible blogger, I need to go on record as saying that you are, indeed, risking injury using this and while I find it fun, I recommend that if you do try one, you do so at your own risk.
We have wall to wall carpeting which makes this less perilous to use. A grassy lawn would offer even more security. I’ll play around with it for a few minutes here and there just to get my blood moving and the next day my tush and abs will be just a little achy (in a good way.)

It’s a bit stressful being away from Panda and Leo, it’d be a lot more fun to do all this stuff together, but we’ve been making the best of the situation and time is flying by with all there is left to do.

Oh and the best news of all, it looks like I may be able to keep my current job and work remotely from Portland until the end of the year. Talk about taking a load off my mind.

August 6, 2006

Like classic knitting burlesque

I could throw out the now ubiquitous term "knitting porn" but I wouldn't want to sully these amazing images that way. This is definitely high class burlesque.

My friend Bill did some consulting for a company in an old mill building in NH. Inside, they had this knitting machine.

It's a Vanguard Supreme, and I can't stop looking at it. Versions of it are still made today and it appears to be used for knitting things in the round.

If you are as smitten as I am, take a look at the rest of the peep show after the jump.

Continue reading "Like classic knitting burlesque" »

August 4, 2006

I loves me some silky wool

I've actually been working on this piece, in dribs and drabs, for a while now. It's not that I'm not enjoying the process, I really love the yarn and the idea I have, I hope, will be great. It'll have princess seams and waist shaping, all things that I think look lovely. I’ve just had so much else going on that it hasn't been a project I could really give the proper focus to, so I knit a row here and there and put it down for a little while.

One thing you'll find about me and my knitting is that I knit almost everything with a provisional cast on, and this project is no exception. I feel like it gives me a lot more options. I can always cast it off normally, if it turns out I don't need those stitches.

Now that most of my worldly goods are in Portland, I'm sans ball winder (until the gracious Ms Julia takes me in on the 15th) so I'm reduced to winding my own center pull balls.

I use an empty prescription pill bottle. If you want to try this at home, look for one that is fairly tall. Circumference doesn’t make a huge difference. Tuck one end of the yarn in the container. Close the container to secure the end then wind as though using a Nostepinne. When you are done, open the bottle and slide off your center pull ball. It's not as convenient as a ball winder, but it works in a pinch.

In move news, Leo and Panda are doing very well in our new home in Oregon. He's already emptied the whole truck by himself.

And Panda has taken to the place like a fish to water. She hung out by our giant tree:

And watches our neighbors from a choice vantage point.

It appears that our lawn could do with some tending, but we'll get to that when we can. For now, I'm just happy to know that everyone is home safe and sound. Pity party is still in overtime but it's winding down a bit.

August 17, 2006

I want off

When I was a kid, I used to go to Canobie Lake Park every year with my parents because the company they worked for rented out the park for a day, once a year. I remember seeing all the roller coasters, even the one in the little kids' area and thinking "yah, I want to go on that." But as soon as the ride got going, I'd realize that this was definitely NOT what I wanted to be doing and in fact, if I didn't get off STAT, I was going to need to scream my fool head off. Luckily, I was a fast learner and quickly came to the conclusion that I was happier on more tame rides and getting "antique" photos taken with my friends. Odd, but I always loved the Turkish Twist which was like a tilt-a-whirl without the tilt and down in a pit where the floor dropped out from under you. So it’s kind of like being in a salad spinner.

Anyway, moving has been much like riding that roller coaster for the first time. I think, "Yah, no problem, I'm ready for this. While I'm at it, maybe I'll bring peace to the middle east too." Then suddenly I realize that everything is happening and I can’t turn back; Leo and Panda take off, the apartment is full of things I need to sell, and work is hitting a busy point. I see that apex of that long first hill ahead of me and start to think, hmmm, am I actually ready for this?

And what a ride it's been. Moving out of the old place on Tuesday was such a relief. I really do love LA, I've been very happy here, but I've been on a strict regiment of "no fun, all cleaning and selling old furniture" for the past week. I have a new disdain for flakey people who say they are coming to get your furniture and never show up. I also have scorn for people who try to haggle me on items I'm already trying to sell for much less than even Goodwill would charge. I'm not bitter, nah, not at all.

But I'm now a guest of a certain winter minded friend of mine, and life is good again.

I've made a small amount of progress on the Silky Wool cardigan. You can now see the full effect of the princess seams. She’ll look better after a little blocking.

The front and back are almost done and then I start playing around with sleeves. I do the bulk of my designing in Adobe Illustrator.

I don't want to give anyone the impression that using Illustrator is quick or easy, but I find it to be a great tool for the way I like to design for myself. In this case, the first thing I do is build a grid to scale. Then I create a pattern swatch that exactly matches a single pattern repeat for the stitch pattern. Since I generally create my document to be an exact 1 to 1 scale of the final pattern, I can use the actual inch markers on the built in document rulers, to draw the shape I want.

A little hint if you want to try this yourself, if you want a smaller scale, try working in centimeters instead of inches or picas instead of centimeters. For instance, if I draw my design pretending that each centimeter is an inch, I can basically scale the whole piece down by half, but I still have a ruler to go by when making modifications.

Just like working on regular graph paper, once my general shape is defined, I need to go in and redraw the shapes so they are made up only of whole stitches. Once the initial design is built, I fill it with my original pattern swatch and if all goes well, it will perfectly align with my gauge grid.

From there, I can reshape the piece at will and see how it will look. Then, I just print it out and work directly from the chart while I knit.

Since I have both a stitch-by-stitch, row-by-row representation of the piece and the stitch pattern, I can forego the row counter altogether. I just tick off the last row I worked and if I'm unsure if I remembered to mark off the last row, I can double check by looking at what row of the stitch pattern I just knit and comparing it to the chart.

I’d be curious to hear how other designers out there like to do their designing. Do many of you use Excel? Pencil, paper and calculator? Design programs? (I have one, but generally don’t use it for much more than calculating the armsceye and sleeve caps of multi-sized patterns.) Do you have another technique all together? Do tell.

August 3, 2006

N2JW

My Nods to Jaywalker are done and here be the pattern notes.

Pattern: Nod to Jaywalker
Designer: Me with inspiration from Grumperina's Jaywalker
Yarn: 48 grams of Lang Jawoll Jacquard 159. However, I needed a little bit of a second 50g skein in order to complete the socks because I lost some amount of yardage matching the stripes of the two socks.
Needles: US #2 set of 5 DPNs


About: The sock is a standard toe up design with both a short row toe and a short row heel. The chevron is made of sets of paired increases and decreases which, to my eye, give a slightly softer look than the more defined chevron used in Jaywalker. This is in no way better or worse, just different, you know?

The socks are technically a touch too small for me, circumference wise. I worked off my stockinette gauge instead of the gauge of the chevron, but I don't mind it. It doesn't bind at all, it just stretches a bit between the chevrons.

I used a tubular bind off at the top and did so with complete disregard to where the row technically began and ended so I'd have a very deliberate looking last stripe. I think this helps prevent the slight irregularity of self patterning sock yarn.

What the heck am I talking about? Well, instead of waiting until I got to the end of a round to start the bind off, I knit a complete round of my last color (purple) regardless of where that purple color started in the round. When every stitch in the round was purple for a single round, I began the bind off from there. I think this is a nice way to finish these self striping socks. The sock on the left is at that point where I'm about to begin the tubular cast off. I'm mid round, but it doesn't matter because it's where I have a single complete purple round of stitches.

I did something similar with my Peppy Long Stockings only with those, I knit until I completely ran out of the red shade and then did the tubular bind off with the yellow. The effect was not so good. It gives just dots of yellow across the top instead of a nice clean stripe. It just doesn't look as purposeful.


Sorry for the crappy photo. It got dark when I was thinking you might want to actually see a picture of what I meant.

One might ask, "Marnie, why not just bind off at the end of your color stripe of choice, so that the stripe is the same width as it appears throughout the sock?" That would be a splendiferous idea, indeed, but it does pose a challenge. It would mean plotting the exact point where you'd have enough yarn to perform a tubular bind off without going into the next color. It could be done, but would probably require some frogging which is not so fun with tubular bind offs. In the end, the stripe would probably still be off by just a smidge, so why not make it look like you bound it off that way on purpose?

Of course, all these points are moot if you forego the tubular bind off for a more traditional bind off. In that case, frogging is much easier and it may make sense to try to plot the bind off to use up almost the complete last stripe. Just note, you still need to leave a tail to weave in and it should be a tail that matches the area around it.

So the socks are done and I’m working on my silky wool project until I begin some work on a certain someone’s book. More on the the former soon. For the latter, you’ll just have to wait.

September 6, 2006

A little glimps of what I'm doing

While I have a myriad of knitting ideas and projects in my head, and a couple on the needles, right now I'm working on two projects for Kat Coyle's upcoming book, so knit blogging will be sparse at best. She has granted me permission to post little unrevealing bits of what I'm doing, and so, I give you a swatch’s eye view of my current progress.

This is the public side of the fabric. It's worked in Alpaca in a stitch known by several names. I believe Barbara Walker refers to it as a "Woven Stitch" and the Harmony Guides refer to it as "Linen Stitch." Either way I love the way it looks though it's a beast to knit and a real yarn hog. I don't care though, it's worth every hour spent. Check out how the back of the fabric looks:

Isn't it great? It's a sort of highly defined seed stitch, though of course, not reversible. Despite the fact that all the knit stitches face the front of the fabric and all the purl stitches face the back, the fabric does not roll the way a stockinette does, which means that the requirement for edging is really minimal. All in all, I'm very happy with the results so far.

But that's about as much of that as I can show you. Instead, how about a little spinning?

Here is some roving from Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks (no site, but you can search google to see all sorts of shops that sell her work.) It's tencel/merino blend in colorway "Sandlewood"

I can't decide which shot I like better.

On the left is the roving in the shade. There's a bit of a flatness to it but it's got a soft and pleasant look to it. On the right, she basks in direct sunlight. You might need sunglasses for the glare but it really shows her sheen. Either way, I'm in love. And can I just say how much I love this tree stump in my backyard?

September 22, 2006

Sometimes it takes someone visiting from out of state to get you out into your own neighborhood

After seeing MK Carroll's Knitty Gritty episode, I popped off a little comment to her and we started conversing. Turns out, she was going to be in my area, right about...well…now. So she invited me to a local Knitting Guild which offers two free visits for non-members. I went last night and had a great time. I met some lovely people, MK included, who made me feel incredibly welcome to my new town and who didn't act the least bit put off by my rather clumsy conversation and non sequiturs.

First, there was Amanda, who kindly welcomed me to her table when I showed up late and popped down in a corner. She was gracious enough to forgive me when I, in my infinite social nervousness, didn't recognize her name. Sorry! She just happened to be sitting next to MK and then introduced me to the rest of the table; Katrina, Chrissy and Donna one other woman whose name has escaped me but who should not take that as any reflection of my opinion of her. I'm still trying to find someone in Portland who is mean, but I'm not having any luck. To paraphrase Leo, who is paraphrasing someone else, "If you can't find the jerk in the group, chances are, it's you." I'm kidding of course, no need to fill my comments with reassurances.

Since I didn't take any pictures while there, I'll have to leave you with some Panda goodness instead.

Here's my little girl all curled up and sleeping on the couch, one chilly morning this week.

When she hangs out by the computer, Leo calls her our little firewall.

And here she is, realizing that she can see Leo on the other side of the window. He's taunting her and she's barking.

I spy, with my little eye, something beginning with "L."

October 23, 2006

Winner!

One Ms. Eve Ng has won our grand prize. She has chosen to receive a pair of knitting needles. She's left it up to me to choose which ones.

The remaining items will be sold in the near future.

For now, I'm sorting and charting and playing around with the 70 submissions I've received from all of you.

I'm fascinated and a little daunted by how many sizes and shapes we all come in. This should be a challenging project indeed.

October 20, 2006

Final Countdown

Wow, you guys are awesome! I have been getting so many submissions for the leg contest, along with great little asides from many of you. I'm sorry I haven't had the time to personally thank and respond to each and every one of you.

For those who might be on the line about sharing your measurements with me, here's a little something that might sway you one way or the other. Below are pictures of what the winner will get to choose from.

If you choose a spinning related prize, you can choose from one of these orifice hooks.

Either a lamb themed hook.

Or a lizard themed hook.


If you prefer a knitting related prize, you can choose from one of two pairs of US sized 7 Clover knitting needles with decorated ends.

Again, I have a lamb themed variety.

Or a lizard theme.

These are definitely hand made and look the part but they're made with plenty of TLC, for whatever that is worth.

If the winner opts out of any of the items above, there will be an option for a yarn or roving prize instead.

I've extended the contest just a little longer, so you may get in your entries until mid-day Saturday, when the winner will be chosen.

Thanks again for all the submissions so far. I hope they keep rolling in.

October 18, 2006

Relying on the kindness of strangers and friends

I have a huge favor to ask you guys out there. I'm working on a pattern for a company and I need to have some good leg measurements for all different kinds of women, from petit to zaftig. I would NOT expect anyone to want to leave those sorts of measurements in my comments, so I'm hoping I can sweet talk you into emailing me those measurements with assurance that your numbers and names will never be released in combination with each other.

So, what I'd need is:

  1. Circumference at ball of foot

  2. Circumference at ankle

  3. Circumference at knee

  4. Distance from ankle to knee

  5. Circumference at mid thigh (Sit down. Measure halfway between knee and crease of lap)

  6. Distance from knee to mid thigh

or click the "Contact" button above. Either will allow you to send me an email. Include the subject line "my leg" and the measurements for each number in the body of the message.

And because I know this is a bit of a pain in the butt, I'll be sending one random contributor a special gift. The winner will be picked Friday night and can choose either a knitting or a spinning related little prize.

January 3, 2007

Tutorial - Speeding up your long tail cast-on

This is more of a mini-tutorial, as it assumes you are already well acquainted with the long tail cast on. Many of you may already know this little tip but I'm posting it for those who may not.

Because I know that not everyone has QuickTime, I'm loading two different versions, one is a video, which is more complete and the other is an animated GIF which should be viewable in almost all browsers and is better for people with slow connections.

For the QuickTime movie, click the image below

What I'd give to have someone do my voice overs for me :oP

If you prefer an animated GIF, click here.

Each frame should display for about 3 seconds and the whole movie should loop if you need to watch it more than once.

December 29, 2006

As I spin, so shall I knit

I generally do not knit variegated yarns. Firstly, when knit normally, they create a horizontal line that, in garments, may tend to add weight where not desired. Additionally, I tend to prefer solid or small scale patterns lest I be lost in all the noise. But I cannot deny the allure of colors combined beautifully and when spinning, it ads another level of interest to the whole process. So I've been thinking about ways to use my variegated handspun yarns. Chevrons and feather and fan stitches are a great way to add interest and I've used those in the past. Lace can produce a similar effect, but tends to clash with the variegation, leaving both looking a little haphazard. So how about a slip stitch pattern?

Good choices are ones that are meant to combine multiple colors and will work best with yarns that have a lot of very intense color changes. So a monochromatic or subtle variegation is probably not ideal. I thought this would be a great way to work my Autumn yarn.


This is a relatively simple slip stitch pattern meant to be worked in two colors. You work a series of double YOs over on one row, then slip those YOs for 4 rows, working the other stitches in stockinette. Then you fan out and work those YOs, over the course of 3 more rows, to produce a leaf like motif. The idea is that you'll probably be working a different color in the yarn than that used when you first created your YOs.

This breaks up the very horizontal effect of the variegation and introduces some interesting vertical lines from the slipped stitches.

Here's a close up for you as well. And for those of you who think I'm a consistent and skilled spinner, you'll note all the thick and thin/over and underspun sections as well

I think this is the first time I've ever wished my yarn had even more variegation. The whole piece will need some good blocking, but I think you get a good idea of the effect.

The goal is to work this up into a little hat, and maybe a pair of gloves or mittens. It'll be a nice reminder of the colors of autumn through the long winter months.

January 9, 2007

Perhaps the longest glove pattern ever

The Lake Park Glove pattern is now available for free in the pattern section of my site. This thing was a beast to put together so if you find any issues, feel free to drop me a note.

The pattern is very simple, but I've offered lots of information for modifying the pattern and I made charts and verbose instructions for those of you who have a preference. I give because I love.

I hope a few of you will show me your hand spun and variegated yarns worked up in this stitch pattern. I think it'll be great to see how different yarns look.

January 8, 2007

I've got your hat right here

The hat pattern has been posted.

The gloves are coming soon.

January 5, 2007

Comeing soon to a browser near you

I have finished the hat and gloves I've been knitting from my handspun, and they have already helped me keep out the chill as I did my errands today.

I'm hoping to finish up writing the pattern by the end of the weekend. It'll be available for free, and will contain suggestions for using different weight yarn.

As a side note, I wanted to show you how great store bought variegated yarns can look in slip stitch patterns. If you like the pattern but don't spin your own yarn, or prefer not to spin such fine gauge yarns, you can definitely substitute any variegated sock yarn.

Obviously, the stitch pattern is a little different but the effect is the same. The yarn is Socks That Rock in colorway, Carbon. If you'll notice, there is some definite flashing going on but the slip stitch sort of breaks that up.

Oh and here's hoping a few of you out there got to see Miss Panda on TV today. She was a natural, I tell you.

February 14, 2007

Stick-to-it-tivness

I have overcome one of my previously mentioned afflictions, or at least have suppressed it long enough to complete the Silky Wool piece.
The lighting in the "model" shots is a little cruddy, but I'm happy to say that shooting myself in front of a dark brown wall appears to make me look slightly less fish-belly white. Not a bad trade off.


I'm modeling here with a pair of dark brown cargo pants, which, oddly enough, suit the top. I'm thinking the top needs some sort of lacy cami underneath, in order to be truly practical, but as a garment, am happy with the end product.

Pattern Notes
Design: My own
Yarn: Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool
Method: Knit with crochet
Will I write up this pattern? I'm thinking not. It's a rather involved pattern and I can't fathom having the time to size it and write up the whole thing. Who knows, maybe someday.

Some bits and details:


The sleeve has a button to keep the pleat from flaring too much. It made a huge difference in the finished appearance. The Silky Wool is so light and able to hold it's shape that the sleeves tended to fly out a bit too much for my taste. An alternative solution would have been to start the pleat halfway down the sleeve, but I like how the button pulls the design together.
The sleeves were knit in the round, from the top down, using Barbara Walker's method, though I had to make some serious modifications to the technique in order to leave the opening for the pleat. In fact, saying it was knit in the round is really a misnomer since the sleeve was worked back and forth with short rows, leaving a wide opening where the pleat went.
The inset was worked by picking up the stitches from the top of the armsceye and working down, then the edges of the inset and the edges of the sleeve, were seamed via crochet.



Here you can see the princess shaping. I have about a 10" difference between my waist and my chest, and hips. When I've knit a piece to correctly match my dimensions, by only decreasing at the side seams, the garment has tended to fit oddly with a funny little peplum effect at the sides and too much excess fabric at my lower back. These princess seams allowed me to distribute the shaping over more points and where they are most needed. I removed the side seams altogether, working it all in one piece. I faked the seams up the princess line by working a slipped stitch, every other row, where the seam would be. The project could just as easily have been worked in separate pieces which would have made the piece easier to block, but it would have probably made the seams less apparent because mattress stitch tends to be so invisible. I really wanted the "seams" to be a design feature.


The buttons are just from my local craft store, nothing fancy shmancy, though I like them. They are metal, maybe pewter, and have a relatively ornate engraved design. I thought for a while about what sort of button would best set off the piece and while I thought wood would be a nice color compliment, it seemed too rustic for the design, while shell or pearl was too dressy. The metal seamed to blend more with the look of the piece, so that they complimented while not overpowering the piece. Even better, the holes in the button were big enough to accommodate a small Chibi. This meant there was no need to find matching embroidery floss or thread to finish the piece. Life is good.

So that's that, another FO.

January 29, 2007

Side projects

I just got back from a quick business trip down to LA. It was so short, it hardly seemed worth mentioning, because I knew I wouldn't have time to see all the people I wanted to. In the process, I did manage to catch myself a little cold. I suspect I got it in the airport or in one of the many meetings I attended. Leo may have another cold all together, which means in the next few days, we may be in a mountain of tissues and in a cold medicine haze. This is my lead in to saying that, for the time being, if it isn't cozy and snuggly warm, I won't be modeling it here on my blog, which means there are no progress posts of the silky wool piece.

So while I eat my chicken noodle soup (with a splash of lemon juice,) I've been sticking to less taxing projects, like, spinning some beautiful Chameleon Colorworks fiber.

This is approximately 4 ounces of peachy colored singles. It's an unnamed colorway, in a Merino/Viscose blend, spun at a fairly fine weight. I'll be making a 2-ply with it sometime soon. It's definitely not as exciting to spin a monochromatic colorway, as it is to spin something vary variegated, but I love the subtle shading that is produced. The colorway is mostly very soft and muted shades of orange, with touches of gray throughout. The best way to describe it would be "cream of pumpkin." I've actually been spinning this fiber for several weeks, but finally finished the last little bit of it last night.

I started this other project last Wednesday night.

It'll eventually be a pair of socks for Leo -- he of the arches so high you could fit Donald Trumps ego under them.
The yarn is Blue Moon Sock Candy in Pecan. The fiber is 96% cotton and 4% elite. The pattern is a variation of one of the patterns from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks. Normally, I prefer to knit socks toe-up, but I've heard those aren't so good for the sky high arches that Leo was blessed with, so it seemed as good a time as any to start acquainting myself with the more traditional cuff-down variety of sock. Leo is particularly concerned that there be no seams, which I have assured him will be the case. I've also made it clear that he should not get used to wearing handmade socks. Luckily, he's always been very appreciative of hand knits.

January 25, 2007

Book Review: DomiKNITrix: Whip Your Knitting Into Shape -- Part II